'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!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Back to School 2013

I cannot seem to wrap my head around the fact that summer is really over. Where did it go? Back in June, the summer seemed to stretch far out ahead of us - almost like it would never end. We had so many exciting plans - and yet summer always seems to go by so fast that we never get to half of them. But enough reminiscing about summer. It is time to move my thoughts onto the school year ahead.

Brother #1 and #2 - 4th grade and 1st grade. How did I get so old?!

The Princess is not in school yet, so I just have to focus on The Brothers. Both boys started at a new school this year. While not pleasant, some change is good and I am hoping this change will be beneficial. Brother #2 will be eating lunch at school this year. Since I am not a fan of school lunch, I have been wracking my brain to come up with new and fun lunch ideas that The Brothers will eat.

Brother #1 is uber picky and only wants what everyone else is getting (namely a sandwich, chips and a cookie). We don't really do chips, so I spent most of last year trying new things to fill his lunch container. Brother #2 is a bit more adventurous (and doesn't care about what others think of his lunch) so we will be trying out some different things with him.

Last year, we tried out Ziploc containers with divided compartments. They worked so great for us (and saved on plastic baggies) that we will be using them again this year. I have a thermos for hot foods (which Brother #1 would never use since you don't need a thermos if you are taking sandwiches every day). I am also planning on picking up some Ball Plastic Freezer jars - we may attempt to send smoothies for school lunch.

I have put together a list of different websites with some great school lunch ideas. No matter what type of allergy your child has or if you prefer vegan, gluten free or clean-eating lunches, there will be something in this list for you!

Keeley McGuire: Lunch Made Easy: 20 Non-Sandwhich School Lunch Ideas for Kids!

New Nostalgia: 14 Healthy School Lunch Recipes Your Kids Will Love

Healthy Kitchen Guide: Simply Healthy School Lunch Ideas

Super Healthy Kids: Sticky Stacky Sandwiches

Have a great school year!!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bowls

I'M BACK!! Despite my long absence, we are all still alive and kicking. Which, if you follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you might have noticed since there was continued activity on those sites. Summer is crazy with vacations, swimming, friends and the flu thrown in there for good measure (really - who gets the flu in July?). I figured I would just take a short break... which turned into a really looooooong break. Ha!

I must confess that I really don't enjoy the "writing" part of blogging. Yeah, I do realize that writing is the biggest part of blogging. What I really like is cooking and baking and sharing my recipes with people. So, I put up with writing (and taking pictures of my recipes - which I don't particularly enjoy either. You might have noticed since they aren't the best photos) to be able to get them out there for you to enjoy. Why am I telling you this? Because it most likely means I will take more breaks (short or long) when I just don't feel like writing. Or when I don't have time to bake - which happened this summer as well. It was just too hot and I was either too tired, too sick or too busy.

I finally have a new recipe idea to share. I saw this on Facebook and thought I should try it out. The Princess and The Brother's loved them! It was super easy and made chocolate chip cookies a little more exciting.

Simply make a batch of Egg-less Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have read that using an all butter cookie recipe will cause your dough to spread too much and create a big mess. I used all coconut oil in my recipe, but it made the dough a bit stiff and hard to work with. I would suggest using half butter and half coconut oil.

Once your dough is made, instead of baking them as you normally would, take a muffin tin and turn it over. Smash the cookie dough all over the muffin "bumps". You can put tinfoil over the bumps if you want, but I just greased them down a bit with some coconut oil and smashed the dough on.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until your bowls are a nice, golden brown. Let cool completely before removing bowls from muffin tin. I made 5 bowls and we ate the rest of the dough raw (yum!!).

Fill with ice cream right before serving.



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Banana Bread with Orange Glaze

The Brother's are really picky about bananas cooked in things... which was a big pain when The Princess was allergic to eggs. There are many recipes that use bananas to replace eggs, which The Princess would eat, but The Brother's would not. It drove me crazy. Now, we don't have that problem anymore, but we always seem to have rotten bananas around. I swear my kids will gobble bananas like crazy and complain that we don't have enough. But, when I buy a whole bunch, suddenly no one wants them anymore and the entire bunch goes rotten.

That is what happened recently. I found myself with about 9 rotten bananas and needed to do something with them. We did make a batch of Chunky Monkey Muffins, but that only used 4. Brother #1 told me he would not eat the muffins, but would eat plain banana bread. Plain meaning it didn't have stuff in it like chocolate chips. This is the same Brother #1 who prefers chocolate chips in all other muffins or he won't eat them. Apparently banana and chocolate do not go together in his book. So, I decided to make some "plain" banana bread just for him.

This is a recipe I received in a recipe box as a wedding present. It was my FAVORITE recipe for banana bread up until The Princess was diagnosed with an egg allergy and we switched up our diet. There was just too many eggs, too much sugar and a whole lot more things wrong with this recipe. I decided it was time to "clean" up this recipe. I was nervous it wouldn't turn out since I made quite a few changes. Lucky for me and Brother #1 (and for you), it not only turned out, but Brother #1 said it was amazing! Although he probably won't like it tomorrow (because that is how fast his tastes change), at least it was a hit for one day. I will take that!

Banana Bread with Orange Glaze

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup no-sugar added applesauce

3 bananas, mashed

2 eggs

1 chia egg (1 Tbsp chia mixed with 3 Tbsp water, let sit for 15 min before adding)

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional, but so delicious!)

3 3/4 cups wonder flour*

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

1/4 cup agave nectar

1/8 cup orange juice

1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)

1/4 tsp vanilla

1 tsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 loaf pans with coconut oil.

Combine flour (* if using another whole grain flour besides wonder flour, cut the amount to 3 cups), salt, soda, cinnamon, wheat germ, shredded coconut and chopped walnuts (if using) in a bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine buttermilk, sugar, coconut oil, applesauce, bananas, eggs, chia egg, vanilla and almond extract. Mix well.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just barely combined.

Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour.

Just before bread is done baking, prepare the glaze. Combine agave, orange juice, almond extract, vanilla and melted butter and whisk to combine.

Remove bread from the oven when done and set pans on wire rack to cool. While bread is still hot, drizzle glaze all over the top of the loaves. Allow to cool slightly before turning out of pans.

Eat one loaf and give the other away to a neighbor in need (otherwise you will eat it too)!


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How To: Use Whole Grains in Baking

A few weeks ago, I posted about whole grains of all kinds and all their benefits... which does no good if you don't know how to substitute them for white flour in your baking. So today, you will learn how to use them.

To start, let me just say to not be afraid of playing around with different flours. Failures are ok, I have had many of them myself. You will learn what types of grains you prefer in certain recipes by testing and trying things for yourself.  The things you will learn in this post are just guidelines but definitely not rules you have to follow.

When most people think of replacing white flour, they go right to wheat flour. And more often than not, they are left with a very dense product with a funky texture or something that resembles a brick. In case you didn't already know (which I didn't when I first started learning about whole grains), there are 3 different types of wheat flour: hard red wheat, hard white wheat and soft white wheat. Red wheat is what most people think of when they hear the word "whole wheat" - it is the strongest and heartiest tasting of the three varieties and what you find in the stores (labeled wheat flour). That isn't really a bad thing, but sometimes you don't want that dense, strong flavor. So, here you will learn about other options to replace white flour with rather than just "wheat" flour.

So, here we go!

Soft White Wheat and Hard White Wheat
Soft white wheat tastes very similar to white flour and has a light, fluffy texture.  It is definitely not as dense or strong tasting as red wheat. It is lower in protein than red wheat making it perfect for food that doesn't need to rise like cookies, cakes, quick breads, muffins etc. Higher protein flours are good for breads and rolls - basically anything that needs to rise. In that case, you would want to use hard white wheat. Soft white wheat can even be found in grocery stores now - it is labeled whole wheat pastry flour. Or you can mill your own with a grain mill. Just be sure to store it in the refrigerator or freezer after milling to keep all nutrients. 
Substitute 1 cup of white whole wheat (or hard white wheat) for 1 cup of white flour

Kamut has a yummy, buttery taste that is delicious! It is amazing in cookies (to add that yummy buttery taste without all the butter). It adds fiber and vitamins to cookies that is missed when white flour is used. Kamut is also yummy when used in pancakes and quick breads. It is not a good choice in foods that need to rise. You will need a high powered blender or grain mill to mill Kamut into flour. It can be purchased at a health food store or a company like Azure Standard (which is how I buy mine). Store in the refrigerator or freezer to preserve the nutrients and prevent the freshly milled flour from going bad. 
Substitute 1 cup Kamut for 1 cup white flour.

This is my new favorite grain! It is 60% higher in protein than wheat and contains all eight essential amino-acids. This grain is packed with B vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium and fiber. It hasn't been hybridized or changed to make it grow faster or in more abundance like wheat - which is why it costs more. It can used in anything from pancakes, cookies, quick breads, and also breads and rolls that need to rise. It is very versatile. It bakes up lighter than wheat flour and has a yummy nutty flavor.You can find spelt flour at some health food stores, but the cheapest way is to buy it as a grain and mill it yourself (I also buy my spelt from Azure Standard).
Substitute 1 cup spelt flour for 1 cup white flour.

Wonder Flour
This flour is a blend of three grains. It was developed by Chef Brad. He is a professional baker who experimented for awhile until he came up with this amazing blend. It is perfect for anything that doesn't need to rise. It is lower in gluten and therefore doesn't work well for bread, rolls, breadsticks, etc. We love it in cookies, cakes, pancakes and waffles. Wonder flour is equal parts brown rice, barley, and spelt. 
How to make wonder flour: get yourself a big bowl and mix 1 cup brown rice, 1 cup barley and 1 cup spelt together. You can use as much as you want, just make sure you use equal parts of each grain (I usually use 4-5 cups of each to fill my big container). Put the mixture into a high powered blender or grain mill and grind into a flour. Store in the freezer or refrigerator to preserve nutrients.
Subtsitute 1 1/4 cup wonder flour for 1 cup white flour

A quick tip for making the best baked goods - do not over stir! This makes a big difference in the texture of the batter in quick breads, cookies, muffins, cakes, etc. It is a good thing for bread however as it develops the gluten and gives it the structure the dough needs to rise and maintain shape. For anything that doesn't need to rise, stir just enough to mix the dry ingredients with the wet.

If you are new to baking with whole grains, pick just one new grain to experiment with. Also, you can start by using 50% whole grains and 50% white flour as you slowly make the adjustment. 

Have fun in your baking and experimenting and enjoy your whole grains!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Soft Sugar Cookies with Lemon Glaze

In case you are wondering, this is not the same recipe as my Egg-free Sugar Cookies. Why, you might ask, does one blog need 2 sugar cookie recipes? That is simple...  because they are not the same - in fact, they are quite different. And not just because one has eggs and one doesn't.

There are 2 types of sugar cookies out there. First, the super, soft and chewy kind. Second, the crunchy kind. Most people have a preference. I prefer the super soft and chewy kind. That is why this recipe needs to be on the blog. This is my FAVORITE sugar cookie recipe ever!! The yogurt in this recipe keeps the cookies soft and moist (which I guess could make it kind of the secret ingredient). The Egg-free Sugar Cookies are a bit more on the crunchy side. So head over there if those are your preference.

I served these yesterday at our family BBQ for Memorial Day - they were a big hit! The lemon glaze makes for a yummy but light topping... perfect for the start of summer.

Soft Sugar Cookies With Lemon Glaze

1 1/2 cups sugar (for a healthier option choose raw)

1 cup coconut oil (consistency of shortening - if yours has melted, but it in the fridge for a bit before adding)

3 eggs

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp pure vanilla

5 1/2 - 6 cups flour (I used a combo of kamut and white whole wheat - check out Whole Grains 101 for more info)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp real salt

2 Lemons

Confectioners Sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and coconut oil. Beat the eggs and add them to your bowl. Add Greek yogurt and vanilla. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine 5 cups of flour (notice this isn't all the flour listed above - pay attention, there is a good reason), baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix together.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Add the last 1/2 cup to 1 cup flour as needed. How much flour you use will depend on what type of flour you choose. I used all 6 cups and wish I would have used just a bit less (but I mixed all my flour together with the baking soda and powder, therefore I had to put it all in my cookies. They still tasted good, but were a bit drier than I would prefer).

Chill dough in fridge for at least 15 minutes. It can be left overnight if needed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll dough out to desired thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Bake on greased cookie sheet (or use a silpat) for 8 - 10 minutes, depending on thickness.
Allow cookies to cool completely before glazing (is that a word? Well, it is now). 

While the cookies are cooling, prepare the glaze. Start by zesting 1 lemon in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, juice both of the lemons. By using 2 different bowls for the zest and the juice, I ensure that no seeds get left in the glaze by hiding themselves under zest. There is probably a better way, but this works for me.
Mix zest with juice, whisk in confectioners sugar by the spoonful to the juice/zest until desired consistency is reached. For thinner glaze, add more lemon juice. For thicker glaze, add more sugar.

When the cookies are completely cool to the touch, glaze away. There are 2 options for adding the glaze. You can either drizzle it across the cookies or spread it with a knife. Your choice... equally delicious both ways!