Archive for March, 2011

Mini Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting {dairy-, egg-, peanut-free}

I can hardly wait for my girl to get home from school today so she can try these homemade cupcakes! They are delicious and the frosting – – you just have to try it!! I adapted this recipe from The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook by Cybele Pascal (p.92). If you are going to make full-size cupcakes, I suggest using her exact recipe. My recipe only works well for the mini-cupcakes because of the ingredients I used. These mini’s would be great for a brunch, tea party, after-school snack, dessert, etc.

On second thought, when is a mini cupcake not a good idea?

Mini-Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting {dairy-free, egg-, peanut-free}

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 heaping T cornstarch

1 tsp double-acting baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup almond milk

1 tsp cider vinegar

1/2 cup shortening (I used Crisco Butter-flavored – it’s dairy-free)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp corn syrup

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 recipe Vanilla Frosting (as follows)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin pan. (I didn’t have liners on hand, so I just greased the pan. I recommend liners, though!)

2. Whisk together the flour mix, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

3. Combine almond milk and vinegar. Set aside.

4. In mixer bowl, combine shortening, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Sift in the flour mixture, alternating with almond milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, about 30 seconds.

5. Fill liners 3/4 full with batter. Smooth tops with a butter knife or spatula.

6. Bake in center of oven for about 15 minutes. (This is for the mini’s.) Transfer cupcakes to cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.


1 cup shortening (dairy-, soy-free)

pinch of salt

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup almond milk

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. In the bowl of stand mixer, cream shortening and salt on medium speed for about 1 minute.

2. Add the sugar, milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. You can either pipe or spread frosting onto the cupcakes.

Update: My daughters LOVED these cupcakes. The consistency (in the mini’s) was perfect compared to that of a boxed cake mix where I normally substitute the egg. The boxed mixes do not work nearly as well as this. These were easy and lots of fun to make!


March 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm 6 comments

Southwest Black Bean Stew {Allergy-Free}

This recipe is delicious! And who doesn’t love a crock-pot meal?? I’ve adapted this from a recipe my sister-in-law came up with. I usually call it ‘that chicken-black bean-cream cheese-crock-pot meal’, but thought that title might be a little long. So, without further ado…

Southwest Black Bean Stew {Allergy-Free}

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 cans Bush’s seasoned black beans

1 bag frozen corn {non-buttered}

Emeril’s Southwest Seasoning {or similar}

1 small jar of your favorite salsa {THIS IS KEY! I love Trader Joe’s salsa, but it has been processed around several allergens}

8 oz Tofutti Cream Cheese {this is dairy-free}

Put chicken, beans, corn, seasoning and salsa in the crock-pot. Cook on low for 8 hours. About an hour before cook time is over, use a fork to break up the chicken. It should be very tender and falling apart. Cut the cream cheese into cubes and put in the crock-pot. Once cream cheese is melted, stir the stew to incorporate it throughout. Garnish with cilantro, Tofutti brand sour cream and salsa. Serve over rice or with tortilla chips.


March 30, 2011 at 8:48 am Leave a comment

Allergy-Free Substitutes

If you’re like me, you know that finding a good substitute for certain ingredients while baking or cooking allergy-free is no easy task….in the beginning. I searched everywhere looking for appropriate substitutes that would actually achieve the results I was looking for. So, I thought I would list susbtitutes that I like to use.

For eggs:

1/4 cup applesauce = 1 egg

1 tsp baking soda + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar = 1 egg

1/2 banana, mashed = 1 egg

1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 2 T almond milk or water = 1 egg

1 T cornstarch = 1 egg (this is the one I use most!)

1 T ground flaxseed mixed with 3 T warm water = 1 egg (I use flaxseed in my waffles/pancakes by itself in place of eggs and it tastes great!)

4 1/2-5 oz jar prune puree (baby food prunes) = 1 egg (I have never used this, but it supposedly works like the applesauce does.)

1/4 cup soy yogurt (or coconut milk yogurt) = 1 egg

In place of cow’s milk:

1 cup almond milk {or rice or soy milk} = 1 cup cow’s milk

1 cup almond milk {or soy or rice milk} + 1 T lemon juice = 1 cup buttermilk {let sit for 10 minutes to sour before using}

yogurt can be replaced with soy or coconut milk yogurt

sour cream, cream cheese can be bought in the Tofutti brand {sold at Whole Foods and other stores}

ice cream = Tofutti brand, SoDelicious, Coconut milk types {several options are available now even in regular grocery stores}

1/3 cup canola oil = 1/2 cup butter {read labels on the oil bottles – a lot have been processed around peanuts}

1 cup dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening = 1 cup unsalted butter

I also use Smart Balance LIGHT buttery spread {this is dairy-free}

I’m sure there are other substitutes out there, but these are the ones I use most often. Hope this helps you! And if you have any substitutes you use, feel free to leave a comment and let us all know!

March 28, 2011 at 11:59 am Leave a comment

Snickerdoodles {Dairy-, Nut-, Egg-Free}

Today was the first time I tried to make Snickerdoodles in my life and I decided to make them allergy-free {like most of the baked goods I make} so that my daughter could enjoy them with the family. They turned out GREAT! Perfect consistency, great taste and appearance! My girls loved them. And that’s why I do all of this in the first place. So, here’s how I made them:

Snickerdoodles {Dairy-, Peanut-, Egg-Free}

2 1/2 cups plus 2 T all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup dairy-free shortening

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 T packed brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 T cornstarch

1/4 cup + 1 tsp Almond milk

2 T sugar mixed with 2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two sheet pans. Whisk together flour, soda, cream of tartar and salt. In the mixer bowl, combine shortening, sugar and brown sugar, mixing on medium speed until fluffy. Add vanilla and cornstarch. Mix. Add flour mixture and almond milk, scraping down sides as necessary. Roll the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and roll balls into cinnamon/sugar mixture to coat the outside. Place on baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool. Store in airtight container.

March 27, 2011 at 7:26 pm Leave a comment

Grown-up ‘Peanut’ Butter Truffles {peanut-, dairy-free}

Are you guilty of running to the pantry with spoon in hand looking for the peanut butter {or soy butter} jar ready to dig in for a heaping spoonful of protein to boost that energy? Now there’s a better alternative! This is a great mix of protein and brain food perfect for a mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up! And it only has approximately 1 gram of sugar in each truffle!

Peanut-Free Truffles: Grown-up style

1/2 c crunchy soy butter {almond butter or sun butter works here}
1/2 c rolled oats
3 T ground flax seed
2 T pure cocoa powder
2 T Agave Nectar (natural sweetener, like honey)
Put ingredients in mini food processor and pulse until blended. Roll into balls and place on wax paper. Chill until stiff. Keep chilled in fridge – they are better this way! Yummy snack with only approx. 1 gram of sugar per truffle. Makes 10-12 truffles.
These would even make a good after-school snack for the kids! Or a great addition to their lunchbox.
Ground flaxseed is high in fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids and lignans. Ground flaxseed contains 1.6 grams of Omega-3s per Tablespoon and it is recommended that adults have 1.6 grams per day. And the benefits of Omega-3s are incredible…they promote better brain function and higher intelligence, there is a lower incidence of childhood disorders with Omega-3s, among many other benefits you can read about here.

March 25, 2011 at 11:36 am 3 comments

The Must-Have’s for the Allergy-Free Pantry

My daughter is allergic to milk {dairy}, eggs and peanuts and has been since birth. So for 5 1/2 years, I’ve been trying out new things and continuously searching for allergy-free products, but recently I decided to begin looking for more ‘normal’ items that my girl can eat. And I have been pleasantly surprised by some of the things I’ve found. I may add to this list later, but off the top of my head, here are some of the things I buy on a regular basis that are free of milk, eggs and peanuts.

*Please keep in  mind that some items are made and distributed from different places and therefore may be labeled differently for various parts of the country, so please continue to check every label and not go by word of mouth.*

Pantry: {in random order}

Snack foods:

  • Oreos brand cookies {not Cakesters} the moment I realized this, I’m pretty sure I shouted ‘Hallelujah!’
  • Teddy Grahams
  • Lorna Doone
  • Animal Crackers {Only Nabisco brand}
  • Marshmallows {so far, I haven’t found a brand she can’t eat}
  • Fruit snacks {although, I try not to buy these}
  • Honey Maid Graham Crackers {some off-brands have been processed around allergens, check carefully}
  • Saltines brand crackers {Great Value brand has been processed around allergens}
  • some Ritz brand crackers – not the sandwich crackers {Check label}
  • Pringles Original chips, Whole Grain chips and Honey Mustard chips
  • Duncan Hines brand cake mixes {READ LABELS, not all of them are okay and labels change often}
  • Pillsbury Frosting {Read labels}
  • Cherrybrook Kitchens Cake Mixes, Cookie Mixes and Brownie Mixes, available @ Whole Foods

Lunch/Dinner Foods:

  • Wacky Mac brand pasta
  • Publix brand pasta {name brands have all been processed around or contain eggs}
  • Laura Lynn brand pasta {please check labels, just in case}
  • Canned beans {I buy Bush’s brand. Publix brand works, but contains High Fructose Corn Syrup so I do not buy them.}
  • Long grain rice {Uncle Ben’s, etc. The boxed kinds need to be checked for allergens. Some are ok, some not.}
  • Soy Butter {I use Safe4School WowButter – sold @ Walmart for approx $3/jar – Also, look for almond butter, sun butter, etc. but check to make sure they haven’t been processed around peanuts like most I have seen.}
  • Kraft Creamy Italian Dressing! This was another ‘Hallelujah’ moment for me and my girl!
  • Tyson brand Chicken Nuggets {breaded or honey battered} It’s better to make your own, but these are great for the sake of convenience.
  • Great Value brand or Armour Meatballs – plain, NOT Italian {Great as barbecued meatballs in crockpot or meatball sandwichs or spaghetti & meatballs.}

Refrigerated/Frozen Items:

  • Smart Balance Light buttery spread – non-dairy and tastes great!
  • Tofutti brand cream cheese
  • Tofutti brand sour cream
  • Silk Almond Milk (there are other brands, too.)
  • Rice Milk, Soy Milk
  • SoDelicious brand yogurt and ice cream
  • Coconut Milk Yogurt and ice cream
  • Trader Joe’s Cherry Chocolate Chip Soy Ice Cream {delicious!}
  • Tofutti brand ice cream sandwiches and ice cream
  • All Fruit Sorbets
  • Luigi’s Italian Ice
  • Philly Swirls in popsicles or cups
  • Popsicles {not creamsicles or fudgesicles}

These are just a few off the top of my head that I rotate and/or keep in my house regularly. These are, of course, in addition to fresh meat and fresh fruits and vegetables. If you can learn to cook fresh foods and leave out the processed things, your child will have healthy, balanced meals everyday. It may take a little longer to prepare, but it is SO worth it. Shopping with food allergies becomes difficult when we’re looking for convenience foods. I think breakfast is the one I struggle with the most and I will be doing some posts on breakfast foods soon! Hopefully, I can bring some new ideas to the table!

What are your staples??

March 24, 2011 at 12:23 pm 1 comment

Great Cookbook & Chocolate Fondue {dairy-, soy-, nut-free}

When my daughter was first diagnosed with food allergies almost 5 years ago, I found a wonderful cookbook full of recipes for the food allergic family. If you are allergic to any food, this cookbook would be a good resource. The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook by Cybele Pascal is very informative! I recommend it to those who are just beginning their journey of allergy-free living. Not only does it have 200 gourmet & homestyle recipes, it has a lot of great tips and info on foods to keep in your pantry, etc. This was a great help to me in the beginning! My daughter is only allergic to milk (dairy), eggs and peanuts, so I did not have to use all of the substitutes she calls for in these recipes, but many people have multiple food allergies and for those people, this book would make life so much easier. You should check it out! Get it on Amazon here. *I have not been paid to advertise this book, I just highly recommend it!*

One recipe in this book, that I’ll be making soon is Chocolate Fondue! {Can you tell this family loves chocolate?} Here’s the recipe {from pg 164}:

Chocolate Fondue

10 oz. dairy-free, soy-free semisweet chocolate chips {Enjoy Life brand, Whole Foods 365 brand, etc.}

1/2 cup enriched rice milk {I use almond milk because of this.}

1 tsp. vanilla extract

assorted fruit for dipping {apples, bananas, pears, strawberries, kiwis, pineapple, grapes, and peaches all work well.}

Cut fruit into 1-inch pieces, and de-stem strawberries. Set fruit aside. Combine chocolate chips and milk in saucepan over lowest possible flame. Melt chocolate, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Transfer to fondue pot over low sterno flame if you have one. If not, you can set the saucepan over a bowl of warm water, or just eat quickly. You may also transfer the fondue to small ramekins for kids. Serve with fruit and fondue forks or wooden skewers, or toothpicks for kids using ramekins. Serves 6-8.

March 23, 2011 at 10:19 am Leave a comment

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