Bundt cake

source: http://www.wilton.com/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=8&threadid=74242

I found this recipe and haven't tried it yet (no bundt pan). It might work well for cupcakes. Apparently you can use any flavoring you like in place of the peppermint.

Makes 12 Servings

Preheat oven to 325F.

Spray a 10 inch bundt pan with cooking oil and set aside.

Sift together in large bowl and whisk together well:

2 Cups all-purpose flour
2 Teaspoons baking soda
6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (some Fry's cans ok, others not) Update: NONE of the Fry's are ok anymore.
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Cup white sugar
1/2 Teaspoon salt

Whisk together by hand in medium bowl:

1 3/4 Cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 Cup canola oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon peppermint extract

Add the wet ingredients to the dry with a few swift strokes just until blended. Pour into bundt pan. Bake 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Cool on rack.


raspberry icing

Adapted from http://www.wilton.com/recipe/Buttercream-Icing

* 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
* 1/2 cup safe margarine
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 5 cups (approx 525 g) icing sugar
* 1 cup thawed frozen raspberries

Makes: About 3 cups of reddish-pink icing


In large bowl, cream shortening, margarine and vanilla with electric mixer. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, add thawed raspberries. If too thin, add icing sugar.

Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup.


pumpkin cookies

(origin unknown, cut out from a newspaper)

"Perfect for serving at Thanksgiving, a Halloween party or anytime!  They are delicious and, thanks to the goodness of the pumpkin, actually fairly nutritious."

1 cup (250 ml) white sugar
1 cup (250 ml) canned pumpkin
1/2 cup (125 ml) appropriate margarine
2 cups (500 ml) flour
1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda
1tsp (5 ml) cinnamon
1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt

Preheat oven to 375F
Cream together sugar, pumpkin and margarine with an electric mixer.
Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and stir until well mixed.
Spray a cookie sheet and drop teaspoons of dough.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until brown.
Let cool and add icing if desired.


allergy shots have begun

After testing highly allergic to grasses, dust, feathers and cats earlier this year, I thought best to seek a second opinion before embarking on an allergy immunotherapy program (allergy shots). 
This time nothing came up for feathers, but grasses where 5 (on approx scale of 4), dust mites were 4 and cats were 3.  There were some others, lesser ones, but I don't recall exactly. 
So I got a scrip for better antihistamines (continue daily), more nasonex (continue daily) and eye drops too should the need arise, until such time as the allergy shots have the desired effect.  Good news is that dust mite and grass shot programs have high success rates, as opposed to cats (which I can continue to avoid).
This is my 2nd week now of the shots, and so far so good with nothing more than a tiny pinprick to show for it.  Then again, I have had symptoms of a cold since yesterday... hmm...


another vaccine, another reaction

My older son (now 5) received his Quadracel vaccine this morning.
He got a few rather large hives on his back and sides, so he was given a liquid antihistamine right away.  He was tired, grumpy and complained of being sore all day (hard to tell if that is because of the vaccine, the antihistamine, or other factors).
This evening, we noticed his shoulder (where the vaccine was injected) was all swollen and had white patches of hives approx 4 inches diameter.  It is pretty clear to us that it is an allergic reaction to the vaccine.
I checked the ingredients on a Canadian manufacturers website (can't be sure it is same one that produced the vaccine he was given). 
Since there were none of the usual suspects, it could be an as-of-yet undiscovered allergy.  Most of the ingredients of the vaccine seem reasonably innocuous.  The only one I suspect is Neomycin, an antibiotic (remember he is allergic to penicillin).  Turns out neomycin is also used in the varivax and MMR shots he was given when younger, shots to which he also had allergic reactions (which we had attributed to egg and gelatin, but if indeed allergic to neomycin, we could add that to the list).
So, we'll keep an eye out for the signs of a neomycin allergy (1-2 week papule within 24-48 hours) and add it to the list of allergies at the pharmacies and report it to our allergist next time we see him.
I've also submitted an adverse reaction report just in case this is part of something else.

On another note, my other son (almost 4 months) got two shots today too.  He was mighty pissed (still is) and cried a lot all day (normally he beams whenever anyone even looks at him and only cries out of impatience for food; but today he sounded in pain).  For sure it's too early to tell whether he'll develop any allergies or not (genetics put the odds against him), but so far so good.


chocolate pumpkin pie

we followed this pie recipe and filled little filo(?) pastry shells with it.  Apparently it was really easy.  Trouble with these desserts is they're still a lot easier to eat than make :)

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie (Vegan, Nut-Free, Soy-Free)
Go Dairy Free - Monday, 15 November 2010


potential meatball recipes

here are a few recipes I found that may be safe (always check ingredients) and have yet to try:


Life Embrace (video)

something parents can all relate to

" A little less worry over the child and a bit more concern about the world we make for the child to live in. "

— Adolph Meyer psychiatrist (1855-1950)



A weekend favorite!
Loosely based on Whole Grain Waffles recipe in The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook, Over 350 Natural Food Recipes Free Of All Common Food Allergens, by Marjorie Hurt Jones

1 tsp flax and 1tsp salba mixed with 1tbsp boiling water (optional)
2 cups whole wheat flour*
1 cup oat flour*
1.5 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups vanilla-flavoured milk substitute* (if plain, add 1tsp vanilla)
3 tbsp oil
dash cinnamon
*Can also use other types of flour, need to vary quantity of milk-substitute accordingly:
3 cups rye, use 3.5 cups milksub
3 cups spelt, use 2 cups milksub
3 cups Kamut, use 3 cups milksub
4 cups barley, use 3 cups milksub

  • Pour boiling water over flax/salba and let sit (optional)
  • Mix dry stuff in a large bowl.
  • Combine milk and oil (and flax/salba mix) in a 4-cup measure.
  • Pour wet stuff into the dry stuff and mix just until combined.

    If batter thickens too much, stir in a little water.
    Pour onto preheated and misted waffle iron and cook at medium heat until steam stops.
    Re-oil and repeat.
  • 2010-04-23

    lists of foods and food families

    lists of foods and food families can be handy when dealing with broad category-based restrictions, as is often the case with young children until enough info is available to narrow the list to specific foods.


    Ling Ling (Discovery Foods) Potstickers

    telephone 1866-454-6454 "cannot be completed as dialed" (presumably USA only).
    submitted fol info via their website:
    UPC 1087801664 BB OCT 05 10 purchased at Costco
    thank you for stating your allergy policy in your FAQ. my son has several allergies, including nuts and peanuts (severe), milk, egg, and soy. We would like to share this produt with him (NOT the sauce). Can you clarify whether "soybean and/or canola oils" in the filling and wrapper are highly refined, or is there reasonable possibility of contamination with soy *protein* from some other source? Please advise. Thank you.


    Chocolate Coconut Balls

    adapted from: http://www.veganoccasions.com/pages/chocolate-coconut-balls.html
    In case their site moves or goes down, here's the recipe, modified to suit our particular allergy needs:

    Chocolate balls
    * 375 g (2 cups) semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
    * 90 g (just under 1/2 cup) safe margarine (e.g., Becel Vegan or Crystal from Costco)
    * <60ml beverage="" cup="" nbsp="" p="" rice="">* 42 g (1/4 cup) icing sugar (less if using sweetened coconut or sweetened chocolate)
    * 75 g (1/2 cup) fine flaked coconut
    * cocoa to taste

    Coating mix: 
    * 25 g (1/4 cup) icing sugar
    * 25 g (1/4 cup) fine flaked coconut

    Melt the chocolate chips (Bosch induction setting 2; microwave or double-boiler) and stir in melted margarine.  Remove from heat. Add the rice beverage, icing sugar, and coconut.

    Mix until the chocolate begins to thicken. You may have to put the mixture in the freezer for a few minutes, or garage for an hour. Stir frequently while cooling. It will thicken suddenly when it reaches the right temperature.

    While it cools, mix the confectioners sugar and coconut together on a pie plate, and line a cookie sheet or air-tight 1.2 L container with parchment paper.

    Form small uniform balls by rolling the (initially hard, clay-like) chocolate mixture in your hands (Note: they melt in your hands and can become very messy - prep your supplies ahead of time or have someone to assist ifwhen needed!) then roll them in the coating mix and place them on the lined cookie sheet or directly into a container lined with parchment paper.

    Cover and refrigerate.  Let them warm up before serving for a better texture and taste.


    Papa's Own Organics cookies

    two varieties: vanilla sandwich and fudge creme sandwich (UPC 63493 20001)
    these products indicate "Contain wheat and soy" which is evident from the ingredients list, but there aren't any "may contain" statements.
    The packaging indicates distributed by "KML FOODS, MILTON,ON L9T 3H2"
    I found their contact information on Google: (905) 878-0805‎
    and left them a message.
    I also tried googling the Papa's Own Organics. The only other distributor I found was Horizon Distributors at 1.800.663.1838. They didn't have any additional information on these products nor could they provide manufacturer contact info other than the manufacturer was pulling out of Canada.
    Looking forward to hearing back from KML.


    the apple and the tree

    I went for allergy testing myself yesterday.
    Here are the results:
    +alder (tree)
    +++ house dust
    ++++ grass mix A
    ++++ grass mix B

    Apparently you're not supposed to take antihistamines for a full week before testing. I took my last one 48 hours prior.
    24hours have elapsed and the grass points are still tender. Wonder how itchy I'd be had I not taken them for the full week prior?
    then again, I've had hives so often (exercise-induced cold urticaria or something like that) that I'm almost immune to itchiness.


    PC Marinated Pork Souvlaki

    (from a few months ago, possibly nov 2009)

    UPC 6038369617
    facility code 36
    lot number 067K 91169

    Spoke with Nathalie at 1888-495-5111:
    Line also processes peanuts, milk and soy.

    Looks like I'll have pork souvlaki for the next little bit...


    allergy-friendly probiotics and supplements!

    After trying various other probiotics unsatisfactorily (including this incident) and asking around, Catharine N. pointed me to Kirman Labs as their probiotic strains are grown on chicory root rather then on milk. Their Canadian distributor is www.spectrumsupplements.ca.

    I first spoke with John at Spectrum Supplements (located in st-laurent, montreal) on 2010-01-04. He suggested Kirkman prod no. 316 for very strict diet, and to call Kirkman labs directly for technical questions at 1800-245-8282. He ships next day for $9 flat rate (waived if order over $99).

    I called Kirkman customer svc (1800-245-8282 #1) and spoke with Shelly. She recommended product no. 442, "pro-bio gold". I asked about about allergies: no nuts in plant, not just casein-free but completely milk free; no shellfish etc used either.

    I called Kirkman again on 2010-01-11 to discuss other potential supplements, and spoke with Kerry-Jane(sp?). She suggested the fol products:
    no. 379 children's chewable multi-vitamin
    no. 320 chewable calcium tablets
    no. 344 ProBio chewable wafers

    I asked about the calcium source (re: shellfish allergy). She indicated "calcium typically from oyster shells but ours is not." - good.

    I placed the order through Spectrum Supplements and received it the next day, as promised, in an insulated mailer with an ice-pack. My son has been taking them since without any incident (even incidental or unexplained). So far, very happy with them!


    Nabisco Triscuits

    (apologies if this is a repeat; i'm cleaning up my desk.)
    Emailed Nabisco after a serious reaction in December, thinking /maybe/ it had something to do with one of their triscuits varieties that uses soybean oil.
    Darryl Pope called back a few days later. He had spoken with the mfg plant. They are free of major allergens (including nuts, peanuts, eggs, milk) except for soy, which is refined (oil). They track customer complaints in a database and have had none in past 12 months. Reassuring, but still doesn't help us identify what it could have been.


    Bolthouse Farms C-Boost fruit juice

    Called 1800-467-4683 to inquire about this juice UPC 71464 30251.
    spoke with Tonya who said:
    some prpoducts contain milk ingredients (whey), also some with soy, others with hazelnuts. would be done on same line, but have a "state of art" cleaning, sanitization and test program between every flavour change to ensure no residue. Never had a positive result but would discard all product and restart sanitization process if they were to find anything.
    Sounds reasonable, so I will try not to be paranoid about this one.

    Hi-Liner pan sear select salmon

    (Originally posted 2010-01-22)
    Called (don't have details handy), spoke with Chantale.
    It's a new product, not in database yet. For sure no peanuts in plant, but may be packaged in the same facility as another product made with almonds. Will put in a request and call me back (maybe not today).
    UPDATE re highliner pan seared select salmon, mediterranean.
    Chantale called back with allergen profile.
    Only wheat and fish present in product, cannot guarantee against trace amounts of contaminants.
    Dairy, shellfish, egg in some products. Peanuts not in plant, almonds could be but not on line.

    They use safe practices on lines, if chance of cross-contamination -> strong sanitization technique + swabbing + high-pressure wash.

    I think we chose NOT to try this product as we had found another salmon product that was plain and clean.

    Tropicana OJ with calcium

    called Tropicana at 1800-237-7799 (Judy) re no pulp Tropicana Essentials 100% OJ with Calcium "specially designed as a source of calcium for people who do not drink milk" UPC 48500 01847.
    She insisted that top 8 allergens (I thought there were more than 8 but anyway) would have to be printed on the label but she would check anyway. The Calcium is derived from a mineral (not dairy or shell) source. Yay!