food not fear

Allergy Friendly Food– recipes and restaurants

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Orange Strawberry Smoothie

I woke up today with a sore throat. It’s really not a surprise to me since I’ve been running nonstop for weeks. I really don’t have time to get sick right now, so I headed to the kitchen to whip up an orange strawberry smoothie.

Orange Strawberry Smoothie Recipe

Everyone knows that oranges are high in vitamin C, but by weight, strawberries are actually slightly higher. Instead of opening the medicine cabinet, a cold prompts me to head to the fridge. One smoothie will give me 250% of the recommended daily vitamin C intake. Paired with some extra rest, I’m hoping to kick this cold before it kicks me!

Here’s what you’ll need to make 16 oz:

1 1/2 cups of your favourite Orange juice. I drink one with added calcium since I don’t drink milk.
3/4 cup of frozen strawberries
A blender. I use an immersion blender, but I tried out my in-laws’ Ninja blender and I was highly impressed.

Blend your ingredients and pour into a glass. Enjoy.

Not only does this smoothie give you a huge dose of vitamin C, but it also provides 4 of your 13 daily fruit and veggie servings. Check out this post for more easy ways to fit more produce into your diet.



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

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 😉

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!


Banana Split Cake

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


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

Photo thanks to Mindy Peltier

Photo thanks to Mindy Peltier

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Recipe — Bacon Veggie Muffins

bacon veggie muffin dairy free option recipe healthy

I haven’t been around in a while. Oops. It’s more than a lack of posts though– I’ve barely been cooking.

Along with the new year, I set some food goals with the hopes of improving my health and my food budget. I have (more or less) stuck to a menu for the last week, and actually gone into the grocery store with a (somewhat vague) list. If this doesn’t seem like it could possibly be an improvement, check out how much I like to bend the rules in Confession Time: I Hate Recipes.

One of my rules is that I will not buy desserts at the store. This rule was easier to follow when my dairy allergy was in full swing. Now that I can have small amounts of milk products without serious effects, I’ve been cheating. A lot. In fact, I’ve probably bought 5 or 6 desserts since the rule went into effect. Bad Nessa!

But this past week, I decided to be good. My kitchen was clean– a major feat– so I decided to make some muffins. First, I made Orange Cranberry ones (From the Company’s Coming Muffins and More book– they are delicious! And dairy free without any substitutions). My son has a thing against banana and chocolate chips in muffins, so I have to work a little harder to please him. Of course, my second batch was Oatmeal, banana, chocolate chip. I do NOT share my son’s dislike of these ingredients. I needed to make some high protein snacks for my kids’ lunches, and was working on some baked bacon omelette muffins when I got a craving for a savory muffin– a real muffin, not just scrambled eggs that look like muffins.

When I was in high school, the grocery store in my town (Yes, there was only one) made the BEST veggie cheese bread. My mom would buy a loaf and the two of us would sit at the table and devour it in under half an hour. This is a LARGE loaf of bread. I’ve tried to replicate this bread multiple times with no success– it was always mushy and flavourless. No longer. Lately, my husband and I have been oven roasting our veggies. They caramelize a little, get crispy, and are full of flavour. And they would be PERFECT in my veggie bread. So would the bacon I was cooking up for the egg muffins.

I found a base recipe for cheese and bacon muffins (again in the Muffins and More book), and started tweaking to get the flavour and texture I wanted. Sub some of the white flour for whole wheat, use rice milk, cut back on the cheese, and pile on the veggies.

*** A side note on cheese. I can eat cheese again. I shouldn’t, but I can. I understand that a lot of you come here for dairy free recipes. These muffins will still be WONDERFUL without the cheese. Or you can use your favourite dairy free cheese substitute. I’ve heard awesome things about Daiya Cheese but it’s made with coconut oil and I’d rather not risk my life. If you can have coconut, go ahead and try it.***


*** A side note on bacon. Yes, I know that nitrates and nitrites are bad you us and that they cause cancer. Having had cancer already I should stay far away from them. Agreed 100%. And yet, I’m posting a recipe that involves bacon. Again. If you’ve never tried my Dairy Free spinach and bacon pinwheels, you don’t know what you’re missing! While it’s harder to find, uncured bacon is available at many grocery stores. I buy mine at Trader Joe’s. If you have one in your area, I highly recommend it. The uncured bacon is applewood smoked, delicious, and only $2.99 a pound if you buy the ends and pieces. Bacon is bacon, even if it’s not pretty. I just check the package to make sure there are no HUGE chunks. I want bacon, not pork belly.***

Bacon and Veggie Muffins

2 cups of chopped broccoli (about 1/2″ pieces)
3 carrots, peeled and grated or shaved with veggie peeler
2 TBSP oil– olive or melted fat of your choice
2 TSP seasoning salt or favorite seasoning blend.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 TBSP granulated sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/4 TSP salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese or cheese substitute (Optional)
5 slices of cooked and crumbled uncured bacon

1 lightly beaten egg
1 cup milk or milk substitute
1/4 cup fat of your choice– oil, butter or bacon drippings (I use the bacon drippings– they add more flavour)

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Chop and grate veggies. place in a bowl with oil and seasoning and stir to coat. Hands work better than a spoon. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Veggies should be slightly shrunken and lightly browned. Try to resist snacking on the baked veggies (Or just double this part of the recipe– the baked carrots are sweet and crunchy and the broccoli is better than potato chips!)

3. Increase oven temp to 400.

4. Stir together the next seven ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the center.

5. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg, and mix in the milk/substitute and oil/fat.

6. Pour the egg mixture into the well in the dry ingredients and stir just enough to form a lumpy batter.

7. Divide the batter into 12 greased or paper lined muffin tins– about 3/4 full.

8. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy warm. Refrigerate any muffins you won’t consume in the next 24 hours.

Or ignore that last bit. They won’t last 24 hours.

More options

This recipe is further customizable. There are three distinct flavours in here: bacon, cheese, and veggies. You need at least two of them, but you could omit any one of the three and still have a really tasty muffin. Without the cheese, they’re dairy free. Without the bacon, they’re vegetarian. Without the veggies, you can’t pretend they’re healthy anymore, but they’re still delicious.

Also, feel free to change up the veggies. The bread my mom and I loved also had onion and cauliflower. Diced and sauteed onion would add extra flavour. Cauliflower can be prepared the same way as the broccoli before adding. Sun dried tomatoes would add sweet, bright notes. Pepper flakes would add a touch of heat. Get creative.

Let me know how this recipe turned out for you, and what your favourite flavour combinations are.


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!