Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dealing with food allergies

Two years ago, I found out that my son had multiple food allergies . He was 1 1/2 years old and I was feeding him some fish and rice for dinner. All of a sudden, he started scratching his tongue with his fingers and I noticed red rashes around his mouth. I called the nurse triage hotline and they told me he was having an allergic reaction.  I gave him some children's antihistamine and slowly the rashes faded away and he was back to normal.  I was so relieved but I was also rattled by what had happened. I took him to the pediatrician the next day and she recommended that I take him to an allergist to get tested for food allergies. Because he was still a baby and would not tolerate a skin allergy test, we opted for the RAST blood test.

When the test results came back, I was in complete shock: he was allergic to peanuts, seafood, eggs, soy, wheat and dairy. The allergist told us that, depending on the severity of each allergy, his reaction could range from a mild skin rash to a life-threatening anaphylaxis. My son did suffer from eczema since birth and we tried everything to relieve his outbreaks. Little did we know it was caused by food allergies. Eventually, most children will outgrow their food allergies, but there are some who never will. She advised us to avoid ALL of these foods or anything that contains even a minute amount of them. She prescribed him an Epi-pen and told us to carry it ALWAYS in case we have to use it. When you're hit with the news the your child could die if he eats the wrong food is incredibly devastating, but to have to avoid a broad range of foods is extremely overwhelming. All I could think of when we left the doctor's office was, "What in the world am I gonna feed him?"

I found a wonderful website that helped a lot. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network website is a great wealth of information. Anything and everything you need to know about food allergies is there. It wasn't easy at first but in time it became second nature to me. Reading food labels, making virtually all meals from scratch, packing allergen-free food wherever we went and carrying an allergy emergency kit at all times was and still is an everyday routine. Last December, he outgrew his wheat and dairy allergy and it made a HUGE difference in his food options. Watching him eat a grilled cheese sandwich and drink regular milk was the best Christmas gift ever.

And since I love to make desserts, I'm constantly trying out recipes and altering them so he could enjoy them. He's a chocoholic like me so I always try to make something with a little bit of chocolate in it.

I'll be posting more recipes when I can, but here are just a few to try...

Banana cake

Banana Cake
I modified my mom's banana cake recipe so my son could have a birthday cake that he could actually eat. I topped them with vanilla frosting (recipe below).

2 1/2 cups oat flour*
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum (found in healthfood stores)
1 Tbs. Ener-G Egg Replacer (found in healthfood stores)
2/3 cup rice milk
2/3 cup canola oil
3 medium bananas, mashed with 1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. molasses
1/2 cup shredded carrots (optional)

*if you can't find oat flour, you can take rolled oats and pulse them in the food processor to make oat flour

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8-inch pans or line two muffin pans with paper muffin cups.
-Combine oat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum and Egg Replacer in a medium bowl. Set aside.
-In a large mixing bowl, mix together rice milk, oil, bananas, vanilla extract and molasses. Add
oat flour mixture to batter and stir until smooth. Pour into prepared pans or fill the muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean.
-Let cool completely before serving.

Vanilla Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup Spectrum vegetable shortening (found in healthfood stores)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 Tbsp. rice milk
1/8 tsp. salt

- Using a whisk attachment, beat together the powdered sugar and vegetable shortening till light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and rice milk.

For Chocolate Frosting, add 2-3 Tbsp. cocoa powder. If it becomes to dry, add a little more rice milk. (UPDATE: Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder plus 1 to 2 tablespoons of rice milk)

Applesauce Cupcakes

Applesauce Muffins 
Makes about 12 muffins
Allergy Note: contains wheat

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Spectrum vegetable shortening (found in healthfood stores)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 cup applesauce
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped apples (optional)

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two muffin pans with paper muffin cups.
- Using a whisk attachment, mix together shortening and sugar till blended.
- Combine applesauce and baking soda. Add to the shortening and sugar mixture.
- Mix in the dry ingredients until smooth.
- Fill in the muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.

No-bake Miniature Chocolate Cheesecake

Mini No-bake Chocolate Cheesecake

Allergy Note: contains dairy and wheat
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
16 ounces (2 bars) cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream, whipped

-Line two muffin pans with paper muffin cups.
-Mix crumbs, butter and melted chocolate together; press a tablespoon of the mixture on the bottom of each muffin cup.
-Soften gelatin in water. microwave for 30 seconds. set aside.
-Beat together cream cheese, sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract at medium speed until well blended. Gradually add the gelatin.
-Fold in the whipped cream; spoon mixture into muffin cups. Refrigerate until firm.
-Garnish with chocolate chips, leftover graham cracker crumbs and chocolate syrup, if desired.

Please note: I am not a paid endorser nor did I accept any freebies of the brands or products mentioned in this post.  I just love them and wanted to share them with you :-)


blueberrycheesecake said...

That's pretty sad but good news to hear that he can now eat wheat and dairy.

I hope God will cure his allergies so you could make him anything he wants.

God bless and more power! =)

Libby said...

Thanks for sharing these. The choc cheesecake looks amazing. I'll have to find a nondairy sub for the whipped cream. (I can use Tofutti cream cheese.)

Would you consider submitting this post to the Living With Food Allergies Blog Carnival?


Art of Dessert said...

Thank you Libby for sharing the Living with Food Allergies Blog Carnival with me. I'll definitely submit this post. Hopefully others can enjoy these recipes as well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the recipe. My two kids have multiple food allergies like your son. I find it very hard to get hold of a good cake recipe.

Anonymous said...

your recipes look amazing! i can relate to your story very son had severe eczema...asthma...then he reacted to a cheese wheel that i gave him at 7 months. our lives changed forever. he has severe dairy,egg, peanut, tree nut and legumes. i have some allergy friendly recipes on my site too so feel free to those out for your son as well! :)

Art of Dessert said...

Thanks Kelly! I love your blog. Can't wait to read your future posts :-)

Anonymous said...

What a great blog. My son also has severe food allergies (milk, soy, chicken, turkey, rice, green beans, strawberries, lecithin, xantham gum, guar gum, blah blah blah.)

I have been modifying recipes on my own for years (he is 6) but this is fantastic. I can't wait to read future posts. We call my recipes "Momma this and Momma that." Momma Oreos, Momma Fish Sticks, etc.

I have found that Jungle Shortening works better for pie crusts and baking than Spectrum, its texture is more like butter/margarine.

Anita said...

Oats can be cross-contaminated with gluten from nearby wheat and barley fields, so if you're going to use them in a product meant for someone who must be gluten-free, you need to buy guaranteed gluten-free oats. (Even then, there is an ingredient called "avenins" that can be in those oats that very sensitive people can still react to.) There are several brands of those oats available on the internet and through some health food stores. Also, graham flour can be a problem for some gluten sensitive people.

Joy said...

oh my i feel your pain. all 3 of my kids have food allergies and the one i am most devastated the most is my youngest w/ the milk allergy. i pray everyday that she grows out of it. like your son my 2 older kids are allergic to nuts, seafood and "raw eggs". ya see if it's cooked they can eat it but if they ingested it raw cake batter they break out in hives. anyways, i'm glad that i stumbled into your site and will be visiting it to check out any new recipes!

Chocolate Cardamom Cappuccino said...

If you think that chocolate cheesecake is whaet and dairy free think again there is wheat in Graham crackers and milk in Cream Cheese

Art of Dessert said...

Hi Chocolate Cardamom Cappuccino! You might have skimmed through my post and didn't read that my son outgrew his wheat and dairy allergy last December. He's still allergic to eggs so a no-bake cheesecake was the best alternative for him.
I do include allergy notes on all my recipes to help readers see if a particular recipe has any of the top 8 food allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, soy, eggs, wheat and dairy).

Christelle said...

Thanks for your very informative posts about allergies!

Anonymous said...

for the chocolate cheesecake, can i use chocolate powder instead of choc chips?

Anonymous said...

hi, for the gelatin is in powdered form or leaf? if i cant get graham crackers, which biscuits/ingrident can i use?

Art of Dessert said...

thickblackhair- yes, you can use cocoa powder. the gelatin I use is powder but you can also use leaf; just use 1/4 ounce. if you don't have graham crackers, you can shortbread or oreos instead.

another allergy mom said...

hi there. for the chocolate frosting, do you use 1/2 cup of the spectrum tub? i spoke to someone at Cherrybrook kitchen and they said to use the sticks for their frosting mix but i can't seem to find any sticks - only tubs.

Art of Dessert said...

I used the Spectrum tub. I don't think I've ever seen the stick version at my local grocery store.

Allergy mom said...

I am not a baker/cook at all but my son who is turning 2 next week is allergic to dairy, soy, nuts and eggs. So, I'm trying to attempt to make him a cake and I wanted to put chocolate frosting. In your recipe for frosting, you mention something about the chocolate version and then you have a NOTE that talks about chocolate frosting. I was confused... What exactly should I put in for chocolate frosting for a double layer 9 inch birthday cake? Thank you so much.

Art of Dessert said...

Oops! Thanks for catching that. The Note was really meant to be an update :-) The chocolate frosting tasted better with just a teeny bit more cocoa powder. I'll correct it right now.

Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes said...

Wow, I'm sorry to hear about that. But really glad he overcame that reaction and I love your desserts!

Anonymous said...

Looks heavenly! What would be a good substitute for the 1/4 cup water and gelatin?

Art of Dessert said...

You can try replacing it with agar powder or flakes.

family hugs said...

Hi!! I'm Jen, my (hungry) husband, Jenner, & I met you at Maggie's bday dinner earlier today and I asked you if you knew any Dairy-free recipes... I stumbled upon another blog dedicated to allergy sensitive recipes. You've probably seen it, but I didn't notice it on your list of blogs, so I thought I'd share. I found a couple of recipes that I may try. Btw, I LOVE your blog and all the desserts you've created! I used your lego cake blog as inspiration for a couple lego cakes/cupcakes I recently made. Everyone thought it was just a big toy! lol. NEway, it was really nice meeting you! :D

Art of Dessert said...

Hi Jen! It was so nice meeting you and your funny hubby. Thank you for sharing this site. I'll definitely check it out:-)
Thank you so much for following my blog! Look forward to seeing you again :-)

Leslie Alane said...

I just found your site via Pinterest. So happy I did. I am dealing with a 2 year old with dairy, peanut, and sesame allergy and a 4 year old with a soy and nut allergy. Since your son is older now, I was wondering if he has outgrown any of this allergies yet.

Also, do you use coconut oil for any of your substitutions? I have been experimenting and I am having trouble getting that "creamed butter/sugar" combo. Any suggestions?


Art of Dessert said...

Hi Leslie! I'm so glad you found my blog! My oldest son is seven now and he's still very much allergic to peanuts, seafood and eggs but he can tolerate foods containing soy lecithin and soybean oil. My youngest is two and a half years old and he's allergic to dairy and eggs so I've been going back and trying to figure out how to make my egg-free recipes dairy-free as well. I love coconut oil but in order to use it for cakes and frostings, you have to melt it so it's not ideal for the creaming method. I like using Spectrum organic vegetable shortening because you can get that "creamed butter/sugar effect" with it.

Lindsey Lipski said...

I just made your applesauce muffins and their delicious! Thank you so much!

Sarah said...

I have been looking for a cake for my food allergic daughter who is about to turn 1...i've looked at MANY recipes and this one looks approachable so I think I'll give it a test try! Bananas are her favorite and I have most of these ingredients. Thank you!!!

Art of Dessert said...

Thank you Sarah! I try my best to make easy allergy-friendly recipes. I hope you like them :-)

Allergy Free, Mother of Three said...


I made your banana cupcakes and they tasted great! However, the all sank in the middle. I baked them at 350 for 27 minutes. Can you tell me how to fix this? I'd love to use this recipe to make a cake for my daughter's birthday next week. Thanks!



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