food not fear

Allergy Friendly Food– recipes and restaurants


5 Comments

Have a slice of my birthday cake

Banana Split cake recipe

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me… Here, have a slice of cake! Okay, so it’s actually just the recipe, but it’s worth making! I had a birthday tea today and all of my friends LOVED the cake. It’s always a favourite whenever I make it. Moist, rich, not too sweet, but with loads of toppings, just like your favourite banana split! Swap out the toppings for your favourites.

This treat is dairy free and nut free. Sub the shortening and frosting, and it can be made soy free as well.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this cake:

Banana Split cake ingredients

Banana Split cake ingredients

Cake:
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
4 TBSP cocoa powder
1 cup mashed banana (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup milk (or rice/soy milk)
1 cup chocolate chips (Ghiridelli semi-sweet are diary free– I used the mini ones 😉

Topping:
1 can Classic Vanilla frosting (I’m a big fan of Duncan Hines)
1 cup whole or sliced strawberries
1-2 fresh bananas
Chocolate syrup

Banana Split Cake recipe
The batter is light and fluffy, but not runny.

1. Cream shortening. Add sugar gradually and continue to beat until fluffy.
2. Add beaten eggs, vanilla, and chocolate syrup. Beat until light
3. Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with milk and bananas.
4. Beat for two minutes with an electric mixer– I use my KitchenAid stand mixer.
5. Add chocolate chips and stir to mix
6. Pour into greased cake pans and smooth the top: 1 bundt, 2 round layer pans, or 1 9″x13″
7. Bake @350 F for 40 mins for layer pans, 50 for 9″x13″, or 60 for bundt. (start checking 10 minutes earlier. May take up to 10 extra minutes.) Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in top comes out clean.

Banana Split Cake

Let cake cool. Ice with Vanilla frosting. For a poured effect, warm the frosting for 15 seconds in microwave (make sure you get ALL of the foil wrapper off first!), stir, and spread gently over a slightly warm cake– it’ll look funny at first, but the warmth will cause it to drip attractively down the edges. Or ice the cake by spreading room temp icing. Top with a few whole strawberries.

The remainder of the toppings are added just before serving. Add to the whole cake only if the entire thing will be eaten within a few hours, otherwise, just put the toppings on the individual slices as they are served. Top with sliced bananas and strawberries, and drizzle with chocolate syrup. Add a maraschino cherry if you like that sort of thing.

Enjoy! You can serve with Vanilla ice cream to get even more of a banana split effect if you want, but the icing tastes nearly like ice cream already!

Now find a few friends to share it with!

P1200514

Banana Split Cake

I couldn’t resist having a second (or third…) slice.

P1200527

I’m updating the post with a picture my friend Mindy dubbed my “50s Housewife Pose”. Check out more of her photography and writing at www.MindyPeltier.com

Photo thanks to Mindy Peltier

Photo thanks to Mindy Peltier


Leave a comment

Feasting in Florida

Sweet plantains. Mmm… I’m full of yummy Caribbean food. I’m on vacation in Florida where I lived when I was first diagnosed with my food allergies.

One of the biggest differences between Seattle and Orlando is the amount of business chains. Seattle had very few, and mostly small local chains. Orlando is filled with chains– probably to keep things familiar for tourists. While local restaurants have a lot of advantages, chains can be great for people with food allergies, because once you’ve figured out what you can eat at a chain, you can eat it anywhere. Seattle has a great variety of food choices, and while there are far more allergy friendly options, it’s a lot harder to chose a restaurant with confidence that there will be a safe option. Each new location requires research and questioning.

While I’m here in Florida, there are a handful of favourite restaurants I’m planning on eating at. These menu items are all dairy free and nut free, though not made in a dedicated kitchen, so plan accordingly.


— Carrabbas. I adore their sausage and lentil soup, Italian bread, and spaghetti. The pizza is wonderful if ordered without cheese.


— Pollo Tropical. Lots of safe options here. I don’t trust the breads, but I’ve never had any reactions to any of their meats. The only questionable sides are the mashed potatoes and corn, oh, and the new cheesy yucca bites. My personal favourite are the plantains. They’re nearly impossible to get in Seattle, though I was told about two places to get them outside of town. And if you’re here, don’t forget to swing by the salsa bar. The quava BBQ sauce is amazing. I met friends here tonight and they had never been before. They didn’t know what they were missing.


–Sonny’s BBQ and Smokey Bones BBQ. The meat is a great option, and baked sweet potatoes without butter are safe. I haven’t been back to these places on this trip so I don’t remember the other sides. Most veggies are safe if served without butter. BBQ is regional, but I really like the way Florida does it.


— Pei Wei– this cafe by the owners of P.F. Changs is wonderful. I always get the mandarin kung pao with brown rice. The lettuce rolls and edamame are tasty too. You really can’t go wrong here, though there are dishes with nuts, and the kung poa contains peanuts. I can’t wait to get my mouth on this food!

So it’s a week of fun, sun, and food I can’t find at home. I hope I can still squeeze into my clothes by the time I leave 😉

I’m participating in NaBloWriMo this month and blogging every day in October. Like Vanessa Brannan on facebook to see all of my posts.


4 Comments

Cutting your Costs– time and money!

Allergy friendly eating can be expensive or time consuming– often both! If we want prepared foods, we often have to turn to expensive specialty brands. But cooking from scratch can eat up a huge chunk of your day, and by the time you buy all of the ingredients you need, you may end up paying nearly as much!

I have a bad habit of buying foods that look appealing in the grocery store, but not being in the mood to make the meals when supper rolls around. My fresh foods go to waste and we end up eating processed convenience foods. I have vowed to myself over and over to stop eating this junk, but I always go back to it because it’s so much easier.

My son started Kindergarten last month, and his school schedule has forced me to get more organized. Also, with only one kid at home during the day, I have time to get a little more done. On Wednesdays, I go to Bible study across the street from Trader Joes (If you’ve never heard of it– it’s an affordable grocery store with lots of great produce, organic, and allergy friendly foods). After the study, my daughter and I grab our shopping bags from the car (Seattle has gone bagless!) and do our shopping for the week. I go in with three specific meals in mind to shop for, then on Thursday, I spend the day baking and cooking. I make a double batch of each meal, put one in the fridge and the other in the freezer.

Last week, I made:

– “My Favourite Veggies” Soup (My very first food creation– a tomato based turkey vegetable soup)
– Chili
– Creamy chicken broccoli casserole.

Today I bought the ingredients for a sweet potato casserole, chicken pot pie, and spaghetti sauce. We will eat those meals this week, and pull others from the freezer as needed.

I’m not sure if this is actually saving me time in cooking, but having to wash pots and pans once a week instead of seven times? Well, that makes it worth it right there! I love to cook, but I dread the clean up so much that I often forgo the whole process. Instead of ending up with dishes everywhere, I am forced to do my dishes as I go, because I don’t have enough pots to do that much cooking all at once.

I know I am saving money, because I buy what I need, and I use it the next day. My food waste bin is much emptier this week than it has been in the past. Nothing feels worse than throwing out healthy food while you eat junk!

This is only my second week of bulk cooking this time around. I am sure that with practice, my technique will improve. Last week I cut up all of the onions I needed for all three recipes and cooked them together. My eyes were pretty watery by the end of four onions, but I saved some cooking time and only had to wash the pan once. I know I could save more time by making similar foods all on the same day, but I want some variety since I’ll be eating all three meals in a row.

Have you tried bulk cooking? How did it work for you? What’s your favourite meal to make and freeze?


5 Comments

Dairy Free Spinach and Bacon Pinwheels

Fluffy puff pastry, savoury bacon, and sweet hints of apricot. And not a drop of milk in sight!

Mmm… is your mouth watering yet? I came up with these savoury little pastries when I needed a fancy hors d’oeuvres to bring to a wedding. There among all of the catered dishes, my little pinwheels stood their ground. Everyone was surprised to discover they were dairy free too! I need to bring a snack to our Women’s Midweek Bible Study tomorrow, so it seemed like the perfect time to post my first recipe.

In every recipe I post, I will be careful to note which major allergens are avoided in the food. Each and every one will be dairy and tree-nut free because these are my allergies. When applicable, I will let you know if it can be made wheat, egg, peanut, or soy free as well. This recipe contains wheat and soy, and though it lists egg, you can easily leave the egg out and seal the dough with water.

So, let’s get started. First, gather your ingredients.


1 package of 2 puff pastry sheets. I like Pepperidge Farm.
2 cups cooked and finely diced chicken. (about 6 tenderloins or two breasts)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp seasoned salt
2 cloves minced or crushed garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)
5-6 slices of crisp cooked bacon, crumbled (I used thick cut, but regular is preferable)
8 dried apricots, finely diced.
1 cup chopped spinach (if using frozen, thaw and squeeze out excess moisture)
4 TBSP Tofutti Better than Sour Cream (packaging may be blue or white with green text– available in most grocery stores in dairy aisle)
1 egg, beaten and divided in two equal amounts.

1. Remove your puff pastry sheets from the freezer. They need to defrost 45 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.


2. Dice your chicken and cook, adding pepper, seasoned salt, garlic, and onion powder toward the end of cooking time.


3. Cook your bacon until crisp, let cool, then crumble into small pieces.
4. Chop your spinach and apricots.

(Note: the smaller you chop your ingredients, the better. It’s time consuming, but the roll will be easier and neater to cut if everything inside is tiny)


5. Combine chicken, bacon, spinach, apricot, Tofutti Better than Sour Cream, and one half of the beaten egg. Stir to combine well. Set aside.


6. Flour the surface of a clean countertop or table. Unfold your first pastry sheet. Mix 1/2 tsp of water with your remaining beaten egg and brush over the surface of the dough with a pastry brush (your fingers will work in a pinch).


7. Spread half of the chicken mixture over the surface of the dough, leaving 1″ clear at the bottom edge.


8. Carefully roll the dough, starting at the top edge. Pat the ends of the roll as you go to keep any filling from falling out.


9. Gently pat the seam with your fingers to seal the edge of the roll.


10. Wrap the finished roll in plastic wrap.
11. Repeat steps 6-10 with the second piece of dough.
12. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Dough can be made up to 24 hours in advance of baking.

13. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.


14. Remove plastic wrap and, using a sharp, serrated knife, cut the dough into 1/2 inch disks.


15. Place the pinwheels on a lightly greased baking pan. Lightly brush the tops with the egg and water mixture. I forgot– oops! But it makes the tops glossy and the filling less likely to fall out after they’re baked.


16. Bake for 15 minutes @ 400 degrees until lightly golden. Peek in around 12 minutes. Cool on the pan for 5-10 minutes.


Serve them up! They’re best at room temperature. You can refrigerate them for a day or so, but the texture is best when they’re fresh. I actually only baked one of my rolls tonight so I could take pictures (and snack on them– sooo good!!). The second roll is in the fridge waiting to be baked fresh tomorrow morning. So I get to look like I got up at 5am to make these fancy little pinwheels, when they will only add 10 minutes to my morning routine– how awesome is that?

Give them a try and let me know what you think!