Thursday, December 9, 2010

RECIPE TUTORIAL: Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes! Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free! Lots of pictures!

We have been devouring delicious moist chocolate cupcakes for the past 24 hours, so I had to blog about it! I included step by step instructions and a ton of pictures so that you can see each part of the process. The cupcakes below are Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Peanut-Free, Soy-Free, and Sesame-Free!

Yesterday, my daughter wanted us to bake, so I pulled out one of my cookbooks. Since my daughter is allergic to dairy and egg, a wonderful resource for us has been “What’s to Eat? The Milk-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free Food Allergy Cookbook” by Linda Marienhoff Coss.

Ms. Coss was kind enough to grant me permission to publish her Chocolate Layer Cake recipe on my blog. This recipe, along with a few others, is also available on her website:

Linda Coss Books:
A selection of her recipes:

This recipe was reprinted with permission from “What’s to Eat? The Milk-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free Food Allergy Cookbook” by Linda Marienhoff Coss, available at

"This is my children's first pick for birthday cakes!" - Linda Coss

Preparation time: 10 to 13 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup dairy-free 100% cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using 100% vegetable shortening, grease and then flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Beat with a spoon or wire whisk just until batter is smooth and ingredients are well-blended.

Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pans 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely. Frost.

Makes one 9-inch round double-layer cake


I invite you into our kitchen. Below are detailed descriptions and photos of each step I took in making the cupcakes.

First, gather all of the ingredients. If you have food allergies, make sure that you check the ingredient labels and allergen statements on each item.

Measure 3 cups of flour and pour into a large mixing bowl.

Add 2 cups of sugar.

Add a 1/2 cup of dairy-free 100% cocoa powder. Important: Do NOT use cocoa mix or hot chocolate mix. Only use dairy-free cocoa powder. We have been using this Hershey's brand for about a year now, and it has been safe for my milk-allergic daughter. The only ingredient is cocoa.

Add 2 teaspoons of baking soda. I use Bob's Red Mill Aluminum Free Baking Soda that happens to made in a gluten-free, dairy-free facility. Please note that not all of Bob's Red Mill products are made in this specialized facility. Check their product labels carefully.

Add 1 teaspoon of salt.

Use a wire whisk to mix all of the dry ingredients and make sure that everything is evenly distributed.

I prepare my wet ingredients separately before adding to the dry ingredients. Measure 2 cups of water into a large measuring cup (big enough to add oil) or a separate bowl. Add 2/3 cup of vegetable oil to the water. I use Safflower oil.

Next, add 2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar.

Next, add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Check the ingredients of the vanilla extract you are using. Make sure that it is real vanilla extract and that there are no allergens present.

Mix all of the wet ingredients.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients.

Mix until batter is smooth and well-blended. My silicon utensil is on the small side, a larger one would be better.

For cupcakes, line a baking pan and sheet with paper baking cups. If you want your cupcakes to turn out uniform in shape and size for a party or guests, then use a muffin pan. My kids enjoy fun shapes, so a muffin pan is not necessary. Pour batter into prepared baking cups. For tiny cupcakes, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop and pour. This produces about 30 teeny tiny cupcakes. For regular size cupcakes, use a 1/2 cup measuring cup.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

To check if the cupcakes are done: Stick a toothpick or butter knife into the center of a cupcake to make sure it comes out clean. Here is an image of a just baked tasty cupcake.

The cupcakes are taste wonderful plain! My kids loved them. But if you don't mind the extra calories and would like to add frosting, they taste spectacular!

You can have lots of fun with frostings, icings, and toppings. I'll blog about frostings and icings another time. To receive my latest postings, follow me on this blog, Twitter and Facebook! My info is on the right side of my web page.

Feel free to comment below. I'd love to hear from you!
Thanks for visiting my blog!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bring Color to Your Veggie Dishes

Stir fry or steamed veggies can be a great entree or side dish for people with food allergies or other dietary restrictions. To make veggies as appetizing to the eyes as they are to your palette, try making the dish as colorful as possible. Whenever possible, use fresh vegetables instead of frozen or canned.

Pictured are mushrooms, sugar snap peas, and red, yellow and orange bell peppers cooked with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add any other seasonings or vegetables you have on hand to vary up the dish. If you are not allergic to soy, you can substitute the salt with tamari (wheat-free soy sauce) for an Asian flare. Or throw in fresh chopped tomatoes for more acidity. If you are not vegetarian, a lean meat dish would be a tasty accompaniment and would keep that meal low-carb and healthy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

RECIPE: Vegan Banana Cake by Tasty Cake Recipe for People with Food Allergies!

If you are searching for a banana bread or cake to fit to your food allergy or dietary restrictions, try this dairy-free, egg-free banana cake recipe. This recipe is also soy-free, peanut-free, tree-nut free, sesame-free, garlic-free. My kids love this banana cake, and guests always help themselves to multiple servings. No one can tell that it is vegan. I hope you enjoy this recipe that I've created.

Please note: If you have food allergies, make sure that the ingredients you are using do not have any cross-contamination issues with any offending allergens. For example, my daughter has a severe milk allergy, so we use baking soda made in a dairy free facility (like Bob's Red Mill Aluminum Free Baking Soda. It is made in a gluten-free facility that happens to be milk-free as well).

4 large bananas, very ripe (4 bananas will produce a very moist cake. If you prefer less moist, use only 3)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar (sometimes called evaporated cane juice)
1 teaspoon baking soda (make sure you are using baking soda, not powder)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I usually use safflower or sunflower oil, but any vegetable oil should be fine)
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease an 8x8 inch baking pan, or 9 inch pie pan.
3. Make sure bananas are very ripe. If they have a few black spots (like freckles, not bruises) on the outer peel, that means that they are very sweet and perfect for this cake. Peel and mash the ripe bananas on a very large plate. Remove any banana "strings" and bruises.
4. In a separate large bowl, mix the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda with a wire whisk.
5. Pour the vanilla extract into the liquid measuring cup holding the oil, and mix well.
6. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth.
7. Pour the mashed bananas into the batter, and gently mix. The batter will be lumpy.
8. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the cake appears golden brown.
9. Cool, then serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.

This banana cake tastes great freshly baked or cold. Enjoy your cake and let me know how it turns out!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Allergen Awareness with Cosmetics and Skin Care Products

As you may already know from carefully scrutinizing food labels, it is just as important to read labels in beauty, skin care, and other household products.  Allergens frequently appear in the ingredient listing of soaps, lotions, lip gloss, eye cream, etc. 

After about 5 years of wearing minimal makeup, I have recently leaped into a cosmetic shopping frenzy.  The majority of my recent makeup purchases have been through because of the convenience of shopping online while the kids are in bed, and the usefulness of reading customer reviews and ingredient listings.  Please be aware that not all cosmetics have their ingredients listed.  And I have even come across a product or two that had incorrect ingredient information listed on the website.

Since many cosmetic products carry allergens, I try to read the labels as carefully as I can to keep our home free of milk, sesame, garlic, and egg. (I want to make sure I can safely kiss my kids on the cheek or give them a cuddly hug without them breaking out in hives or eczema.)  Many companies change ingredients without notification.  So even if I've purchased a product many times in the past, I usually try to remember to read the ingredient label each time I purchase.  

If I've made any errors below, feel free to send me a email.  Or if you would like to share info about cosmetics that have worked for you, feel free to post a helpful comment.  

FAVORITE NEW FINDS FOR ME (Click on links to see images of items):

PRODUCTS OUR KIDS USE (Click on links to see images of items):

Friday, November 26, 2010

Allergy Friendly Muffin Pan Meals

If you have very picky eaters in your household, this is a fun way of feeding them allergy friendly meals.  Muffin pan meals are fun for kids because they can enjoy small portions of a variety of foods. Also, for very picky kids that don't want all of their food mixed together in one dish, muffin pans allow for separation of different foods.  Here is an example of one meal that my 4 year old enjoyed. We use stainless steel muffin pans and stainless steel utensils since they are the healthiest and most sanitary.  Everything pictured above is FREE of dairy, egg, garlic, sesame.  It is also peanut-free, tree-nut free, soy-free, wheat-free, low fat and healthy.  To make the meal even healthier, you can substitute the lemonade for 100% fruit juice, a non-dairy beverage (my kids are fine with nuts, so they consume Almond Breeze sold in the asceptic container), or water.  Also, if your child is open to eating a variety of vegetables, it would be great to add broccoli or another green leafy vegetable to the mix.  You can be as creative as you like with muffin pan meals.

Pictured above from left to right:
Top Row: Brown basmati rice, red seedless grapes, Trader Joe's lemonade

Middle Row: Diced chicken (cooked with olive oil, salt and pepper), baby carrots, steamed cauliflower, stainless steel fork and spoon, napkin

Bottom Row: Annie's Naturals Organic Ketchup (This is the only garlic-free ketchup I am aware of), second helping of basmati brown rice

Sometimes we fill the open spots with a dessert for the end of the meal, or a children's multi-vitamin once a day.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Introduction...Welcome to my first post!

The kids are asleep and this is my first blog post on  I'll begin by telling you about my family and what I hope to accomplish with this blog.

I have a 4 year old daughter with milk protein and egg food allergies.  My 2 year old son is allergic to sesame and garlic.  We have been living with food allergies since my daughter was born.  The first year dealing with food allergies was the most challenging.  However, after countless nights of researching my children's food allergies, numerous doctor visits, and the many trials and tribulations figuring out what was safe to feed our kids, life is now a lot easier.  Eating is no longer about what we can't have.  It is now about what we can eat.  And discovering a new food, ingredient, or recipe is an exciting new experience for us.  We love being able to find something new that is safe to eat and makes life easier and more enjoyable.

I plan on using this blog to post recipes, thoughts and experiences.  Since this is a new blog, it will probably evolve over time.  I will try to include pictures and links whenever I have time.  I hope you enjoy reading my posts.  Feel free to email me or post any helpful comments.

Please be aware... I am not a doctor or medical professional.  I am a stay at home mom that has worked very hard to provide a safe, loving home to my children.  My blog posts are by NO means medical advice.  Everyone has different allergies, dietary needs, health issues, medical concerns, etc.  Please consider your own situations and consult your doctor for any medical advice.