Monday, May 12, 2014

Food Allergy Awareness

In honor of Food Allergy Awareness week, I would like to dedicate this post to all who suffer from food allergies, and to those who strive to raise awareness, educate others and inspire action of allergies and anaphylaxis. The current statistics show 15 million Americans with food allergies, including those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis. This affects 1 in 13 children in the United States, or roughly 2 in every classroom. FARE is a non-profit organization that was formed in 2012, a merger between the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network and the Food Allergy Initiative. The link below to FARE is devoted to sharing knowledge, research and education about food allergies and anaphylaxis. There are tools and resources available to learn about allergens, symptoms and ways to get involved by learning how to manage and treat reactions.

I am a mother of a child who has food allergies. Learning to adapt and live without certain foods has been a struggle and a challenge. Children's birthday parties are stressful when your child can't eat the pizza and cake the other kids are enjoying. Going to school, restaurants or having dinner with others can be a nightmare with the risk of potential exposure. We can't leave the house without the EpiPen, Benadryl or our rescue inhaler. My son is 5 now, he is smart, strong, and fully aware of his food allergies. I have taught him to ask about food, inquire what is in it and advocate for himself. He inspires me to continue to research ways to create delicious food without harm, and to share our experiences with others.

Although any food is capable of causing an allergic reaction, there are eight foods that account for 90% of all food allergic reactions in the United States.

Tree Nuts

My son has 2 documented allergies in the above list, this is not counting the other allergens of pollen, dust, mold, and animal dander which trigger his asthma symptoms, I'll save that post for another day. A couple years ago, these allergies presented a constant state of fear in me and my husband. With so many questions, we were forced to seek help and inquire with other families and friends about food allergies. Eventually, the connections were made, support systems secured and the information gained has been invaluable. I love to share what I've learned and ease the hearts and minds of others dealing with these issues, in an effort to find a place of confidence and empowerment.

Recently, I was acquainted with another mother whose son has 4 documented allergies in the above list, along with 2 more potential allergens to rice and oats.  My heart went out to her and a kinship developed. How do you create wholesome, nourishing meals when recipes call for ingredients that can't be consumed?

You get creative and find another way.

A stranger in another state, a neighbor down the street, a child on the bus, we are all connected, we all share in the bounty of this world. Sharing food is a way for people to come together, it is one of the most defining forces in all societies. Every celebration and joyful occasion is enjoyed with food as a central point. If you are lucky enough not to have food allergies, I am sure you know someone who does.

Here are some simple offerings in the form of recipes, that I have found success with in my own home.
As with any known allergen, read all food labels and look into cross contamination on shared equipment. Use all your resources, be prepared and trust your instincts.

Banana Blueberry Crumble Muffins


1/2 cup quinoa flour (high protein)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour OR *gluten free flour of your choice for wheat allergy
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder (aluminum free)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp spices (your choice: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, *turmeric to 'orange' veggie puree)
** 1-2 T ground flax for increased omega 3 fatty acid**

1/2 cup light brown sugar OR maple syrup OR agave nectar
*I like to add in 1 T of blackstrap molasses into the pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot bread for increased iron.
1/2 cup canola oil OR vegetable oil of your choice (melted coconut oil is my choice)

1/4 cup plain or vanilla greek yogurt (**egg substitution** try So Delicious coconut yogurt for a milk allergy)
1 tsp vanilla extract (madagascar vanilla extract is really nice:)
1 1/2 cups puree fruit (pumpkin, banana, applesauce)

1/2 cup any vegetable puree of your choice **There are some interesting pre-made fruit & veggie combinations: Apple/Rutabaga, Pears, Peas, and Broccoli, Sweet potato and Pumpkin, Carrot, Apple, Parsnip and Mango and Spinach make really good add-ins**

Fold dry into wet, then add in 1/2 cup of fun extras: *Enjoy Life dairy/soy free mini-chocolate chips,
raisins, prunes, dried cherries, shredded coconut, or fresh berries like frozen blueberries, and peeled, diced apples or pears. 

Get creative, here are some combinations that have worked well together!

Pumpkin, Carrot, Sweet Potato with Mango, Spinach and mini chocolate chips or raisins.
Apple, Rutabaga, Pear, Pea and Broccoli with prunes, raisins or dried cherries with crumble topping.
Banana blueberry with shredded coconut and crumble topping.

*For gluten free flours, I like Pamela's products. The artisan flour blend works great in these recipes.

OPTIONAL Sugar crumble to top muffins:)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup all purpose flour OR gluten free flour for wheat allergy
1/2 cup melted butter (Earth Balance Soy/Dairy free butter works great here!)
Mix together and drop onto muffin tops before baking:)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, canola oil cooking spray is good to prepare loaf pans or use muffin cups.
In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together.
Slowly, add the dry mixture to the wet mixture with a wooden spoon.

Pour the batter into a loaf pan or spoon into muffin cups.

Bake loaf pan for 50-55 minutes, Bake muffins 20-25 minutes.
Cool before serving, cool completely before storing. The muffins freeze well too!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Piped Frosting and Fresh Strawberries

Banana Cupcakes with Frosting and Sprinkles


2/3 cup non-dairy milk (I use vanilla flavored So Delicious Coconut Milk, Vanilla Rice Milk works well too)
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg's Raw Organic Unfiltered ACV)
2/3 cup agave nectar (light) or Maple syrup
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use safflower, canola or coconut oil)
2 tsp vanilla extract

*option add 1 1/2 cups banana puree

1 cup all-purpose flour OR *gluten free flour for wheat allergy
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry OR gluten free flour (**If you want chocolate cupcakes add 1/3 cocoa powder)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch (1 tsp) fine sea salt

*For gluten free flours, I like Pamela's products. The artisan flour blend works great!

Combine the milk and vinegar in a medium bowl, set aside for 5 minutes or until it bubbles a little, if it doesn't bubble, keep stirring the mixture until it does. Add the agave nectar, oil, vanilla extract and stir.

In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, a mixer is great here to minimize any lumps. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, bake for 18-22 minutes. Tops should be slightly springy when pressed. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup softened butter (I use Earth Balance Soy/Dairy free butter, it works great:)
1-2 T Vanilla flavored milk (I use So Delicious Coconut milk) add slowly so the frosting isn't too liquid.
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp maple syrup

*option add 1/3 cup cocoa powder if you want chocolate frosting

Whisk or blend together, the mixer is great here:)

Cool cupcakes completely before frosting and storing. These cupcakes freeze well too:)
I love using old fashioned pipettes to create designs on the cupcakes, otherwise a broad, flat spreading knife works well too:) Fresh fruit and fun sprinkles are great additions to these sweet treats!



  1. I have a yummy chocolate frosting for you: mash avocado with cocoa powder and maple syrup, to taste. I can eat it like pudding!

  2. Yes! I have tried this too. It is very good refrigerated:)