'Peanut Allergy Princess' is the story of one mom, one Princess with food allergies (to peanuts and brazil nuts) and our journey through the stress of life with food allergies. Here you will find many recipes, tips on living (and enjoying life) with food allergies, thoughts from a mother of 3 kids (The Brothers and The Princess) and insights into our life. Welcome!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chocolate Banana Cake

Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking
There is nothing like waiting until the last day of the month to squeeze in one more recipe for National Ice Cream month. Obviously todays recipe isn't ice cream, but cake is often served with ice cream so I think it works.

Other cake recipes I have used that don't call for eggs are sometimes a bit dry and crumbly, but not this recipe. One of the reasons I like it so much is how moist it is.  The fat is in liquid form, which gives it it's delicious moist texture and tender crumbs. Plus, it is another great way to use extra ripe bananas which I seem to frequently have on my counter.

I made this recently as a birthday cake and it was a big hit! It serves 16 people which makes it great for large gatherings. Using it for birthday cake is also how I am tying it into recipes using ice cream. You can't have birthday cake without ice cream!

1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar (I used 1 cup raw sugar and 1/2 cup regular sugar)

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or dutch-processed)

1 1/2 tsp aluminum free baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp fresh ground flax seed mixed with 3 Tbsp water

1/3 cup no-sugar added applesauce

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium sized bananas)

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick spray or wipe with coconut oil. Set aside

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk together the ground flax seeds mixed with water, applesauce, mashed bananas, water, non-dairy milk, melted coconut oil and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, or whisk until combined. The batter will be quite thin. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for  35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. When completely cooked, frost with chocolate butter cream frosting.

Here is the basic buttercream frosting that I used, but feel free to experiment with other types of frosting.

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker
3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup stick butter, softened but not melted

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or dutch-processed)

2 to 3 Tbsp. non-dairy milk

Mix all ingredients except milk in a bowl.

Stir in non-dairy milk until smooth and spreadable. This will frost a 9x13 inch cake very generously (or you can save some for spreading on graham crackers later - but don't tell anyone I said to do that).

I hope you love this cake as much as we did. I seriously could not stop eating it - too bad it is a big cake and there was some leftovers!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Fudgesicle Frosty

Recipe slightly adapted from Blendtec (Fresh Blends Cookbook)
July is National Ice Cream month and that is something worth celebrating. So, we are here to celebrate with another ice cream recipe (that brings us up to 2!). Maybe by the end of the month we might make it to 3 recipes. Summer is just so busy... but so is the rest of the year. One day I just might get used to my busy life.

We LOVE  ice cream at our house, but there are a few drawbacks to this obsession. Ice cream isn't the healthiest thing to have an obsession with. And The Princess's mild milk allergy does not allow her to eat a lot of ice cream. Even though it is delicious, who would choose it over an itchy rash. Umm...  not me. Another option is ice cream made with non-dairy milks, but these can get pretty expensive and are usually only found at health food stores or online. Funny story: not long after The Princesses was diagnosed, my hubby came home with lactose free ice cream.  He thought his would solve The Princess's problem. :) I had to explain that she is allergic to the milk protein and isn't lactose intolerant. What a sweet daddy though, trying to help! But, I digress.

My answer to our dilemma... homemade ice cream!!

This is one of our favorite recipes and believe it or not, it is healthy. It uses natural sweeteners which is a bonus when there is so much around us loaded with refined sugar. It has avocado (good healthy fat that is great for growing kids). My family doesn't particularly like avocado so this is a good way to get some in our diet. The best part... it is super fast and easy to make.

Disclaimer - this recipe does call for a high-powered blender. I use a blendtec. Yes, it has a high price tag. So is it really worth it? YES!!!! I bought mine about 3 1/2 months ago and I have used it 3-5 times a day every day. We make smoothies (love the green smoothies), salad dressings, homemade nut butters (obviously not with peanuts, but we like almond butter) and so many other things. If you are in the market for a new blender, take a minute to look into the blendtec. You won't be disappointed. I have not been paid to say any of this... I just have an obsession with my blender.  (Who knew this post would be all about my obsessions?)

On to the ingredients:

2/3 cup coconut milk (I use silk brand)
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup chopped dates*
1/2 large ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
3 cups ice cubes

Add first 5 ingredients to jar and secure lid. Select "Sauces". Add ice cubes to jar and secure lid. Select "Ice Cream" and serve immediately.

*I buy chopped dates rolled in oat flour because they are cheaper than whole dates. They can be soaked for a bit (if you remember - which I never do) before using. I generally just throw mine in and use the "Sauce" button a couple times to make sure they get well blended.

You can even make your frosty into fudgesicles. Yum!! For a full recipe of these, substitute 1 cup ice cubes for 1 cup of plain almond milk. After blending, pour the frosty into popsicle molds, insert popsicle sticks and freeze until solid.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Living the "Food Allergy Lifestyle"

You are probably wondering what the 'food allergy lifestyle' is? Most people don't know - have no need to know. Yet once you or your child receive a food allergy diagnosis, you will begin living the 'food allergy lifestyle'. Not by choice, but by necessity.

Here is a prime example of a situation that happened to my family recently that demonstrates living the 'food allergy lifestyle. My in-laws invited us to participate in a breakfast/children's bike parade held at their church to celebrate the 4th of July. Nothing special about that, right? Things like this happen often. Here is where it became tricky: the breakfast of choice was pancakes and scrambled eggs. Obviously being allergic to eggs, The Princess can't eat either. That left us with 3 choices:

1, We could just not attend (but that wasn't a very fun option because who wants to spend the 4th without family?)

2, We could send our sons to eat with their grandparents while we fed The Princess at at their house and than joined them afterwards for the bike parade. This meant we would not be able to eat together and enjoy each others company.

Or 3, I could make egg-less pancakes to take so The Princess would have something to eat. This meant I would need to pack the needed ingredients and take them with us and get up extra early for my morning run so I would have time to make the pancakes (so they would be warm and yummy for my Princess).

We chose the third option. I'm sure people at the breakfast were wondering why I was carrying a tinfoil covered plate while standing in line, and we did get a few stares. It works for us now, but as The Princess gets older, I'm sure she will realize that she isn't eating the same thing as everyone else. Will that bother her? Sometimes it already does. She is a very smart princess. Will she complain? Will she feel bad about herself because she will be labeled as "different" in certain situations? Will she willingly choose to not attend certain things so as not to stand out?

When invited to parties, family events or anything that involves food, we are forced into the "food allergy lifestyle". We have to debate whether the event is worth the stress and headache. There are some events that we simply don't attend because we don't want to deal with it. Others require us to call the host and ask questions about what food will be served to see if it will be safe for The Princess. Sometime we have to bring separate food just for her. It always requires advanced planning and thought.

While life with food allergies is crazy and stressful, we are very blessed to have family and friends who are so supportive. Our family and friends are still willing to invite us to dinner and allow us to stay the weekend at their homes, even though it means they will have to accommodate The Princess. I have friends who were willing to become educated on food allergies and trained on the epi-pen so they could babysit occasionally. This is a HUGE blessing because finding "trained" babysitters in a home I feel comfortable sending The Princess to is very hard.

Don't think that I am just ranting and complaining about my difficult life. We all have situations in life that are challenging and sometimes no fun. The key is to realize the situation, accept it for what it is and move on. This is easy for me to say though, since I am on the outside. But what about The Princess... she has to live it every day.

Sometimes I wonder what the future will bring for her and hope that she is secure enough in herself to not care that she might be "different" or what others think or say about her. I hope that she is accepting of what life has dealt her and can learn from every situation and challenge. I hope that we have prepared her well enough and that she will always be surrounded by people who love and support her.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Peach Crisp

Adapted from Oprah.com
Since July is National Ice Cream month, I had big plans to feature a handful of our favorite recipes that include ice cream. If you haven't noticed... there have been zero posts about ice cream. I promise, the thought was there. At least the month is only half over so I still have time.

I love peach crisps and cobblers - anything like that but they are usually full of fat and not healthy at all. I found a recipe that started out ok and made it healthier. It is still delicious. You won't know anything is missing!! Of course, it must be eaten a la mode since that is the ONLY way to go.

The princess loved it... but not her brothers. They have issues with peaches. But, since it is National Ice Cream month at least they can have the 'a la mode' part and enjoy the festivities.


1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cold butter, diced
1/2 cup slivered almonds*
1/4 cup sucanat
1 1/2 pounds ripe peaches, peeled and finely diced**
2 Tbsp. honey (preferably raw, local)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. turbinado (or raw) sugar

* I haven't found slivered almonds that are "peanut-free" so I used whole almonds (found at Costco). I would suggest processing them in your food processor before mixing with the other ingredients. I put them in whole with my flour and butter and I think that is what caused some of my issues. If you can't use almonds at all, try a different nut like walnuts or pecans. If that is a no-go as well, play around with adding a little bit of oatmeal to the mixture.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a food processor, pulse together flour, butter, almonds and sugar until crumbly. To be honest, I think I pulsed mine a little bit too long (due to my almonds being whole) since it resembled cookie dough and wasn't very crumbly. It still worked out though, so no fear!

Spread mixture on a cookie sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on sheet, then crumble into small pieces. Mine resembled small "cookies" when it came out of the oven, but once cooled, it was easy to break into small pieces and was still quite crumbly.

**Here is a quick tutorial on how to easily peel the peaches - in case you forgot how and need some help (like I did). Don't worry if your "diced" peaches are not very pretty. My finely diced peaches were really a fine mess of small peach chunks, but once they cook up it doesn't matter what they originally looked like. You really just want them in smallish pieces.

While "crisp" is baking, combine peaches, honey, lemon juice and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until peaches are tender and juices thicken slightly. Remove from heat and cool.

Spoon 1/3 cup peach mixture into each of 6 cups or serving plates. Sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons crisp. Serve with ice cream (because would you really want it any other way?)

Since my boys wouldn't eat any, there was quite a bit leftover. I think it would freeze really well but I don't know for sure because I ate some every night for a week until there wasn't any left to freeze. It really was that delicious!!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Eat Well, Spend Less

Summer is always a crazy time of year with so many activities and vacations planned. Sometimes healthy eating goes out the window along with the schedule, but it doesn't have to. It is always better to be prepared and have a plan, but when food allergies are in the mix, it is that much more important. Having healthy meals and snacks planned and prepared in advance can prevent a crisis and save money!

I saw this post on one of my new favorite blogs and thought I would share it with you. May your summer be full of fun - and yummy, healthy meals and snacks!

Eat Well, Spend Less During Your Busy Summer Schedule


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Egg-Free Sugar Cookies

I realize that I haven't posted very regularly - again. I did finally finish one of my DIY projects (pictures coming soon) which had been taking up residence in my garage causing my car to be parked in the hot sun. But now, we are working on putting in a sprinkling system in the back yard, I spent a night at girls camp and we have family in town that we have been visiting. So... I really am not a slacker, just a very busy mom!

In honor of the 4th of July, I wanted to make a fun dessert that everyone could enjoy. My kids and I LOVE sugar cookies - for all occasions. We make them at least every other month. When the princess was diagnosed with an egg allergy, I couldn't use my stand-by sugar cookie recipe anymore. I set out to find/create a new favorite. We tested a lot of recipes before I found one that we liked - not too soft but not too crunchy.

I have fiddled with it to try and make it a little bit healthier (not healthy - just healthier), but it does change the look and texture of the cookies a tiny bit. If that just doesn't work for you or it is too expensive or you can't find some of the stuff, go back to white flour and white sugar. Just eat them sparingly - if possible!

Makes about 36 cookies

1 cup butter (or coconut oil, or half butter and half coconut oil)

1 cup white sugar (I substituted raw sugar, which makes the cookies have a slight crunch)

2 Tbsp fresh-ground flax seed mixed with 6 Tbsp water

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 3/4 cups flour (I used wonder flour which makes them a little bit darker in color)

2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 cup cream cheese (if you can't do dairy, try Tofutti)

1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in flax seeds mixed with water and vanilla. Gradually add the flour, baking powder and cream cheese.

2. Form dough into a long loaf and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets (unless using a silpat).

4. On lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes (stars for the 4th of July) using a cookie cutter. Place about 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.

5. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until bottoms and edges just barely start to brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes on baking sheet, then remove to wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container (if there are any left).

Each batch covers about 24 cookies

2 cups confectioners' sugar

6-8 tsp. of non-dairy milk

4 tsp. honey

1/2 tsp. almond extract

Food coloring

1. In medium bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in honey and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more honey.

2. Add food coloring to reach desired color. Dip cookies and allow to dry overnight.

This type of icing is a bit messier, but it makes such beautiful cookies. Buttercream is also delicious and easy - and we like our cookies frosted both ways.