Saturday, January 30, 2010

Vegan Carrot Cake

Recently I decided to start making allergy free foods for my daughter (instead of buying the same foods for her all the time). We usually eat desserts that she cannot eat due to her food allergies. I hate her being or feeling left out because she cannot have what we are having. So, the first thing I decided to work on is desserts. Surprisingly she loved the cake. She wasn't to keen on the icing. She thought it was too sweet (she has never been big on sugar).

Crazy For Carrot Cake
(1,000 Vegan Recipes - Robin Robertson)
(makes 8 servings)

2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain or vanilla soy milk
1/2 cup canola or other neutral oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups finely shredded carrots
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 recipe "Cream Cheese" Frosting

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt.

3. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, soy milk, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla, then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir in the carrots and raisins until just mixed.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

5. Let the cake cool in pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. When completely cool, frost the cake with "Cream Cheese" Frosting.

"Cream Cheese" Frosting
(makes about 2 1/2 cups)

1 (8-ounce) container vegan cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. vegan margarine
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and margarine together with an electric mixer on high speed until well blended.

2. Add the sugar and vanilla, then beat until light and fluffy. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Food Allergies and Birthday Parties

Kids with food allergies and birthday parties don’t always go hand in hand, in my opinion. Most parents who have children with no food allergies don’t worry when they plan the menu. They tend to think about what their child likes to eat and serves it. Nothing against it, it is totally understandable, but it does cause some problems for parents with kids who can’t eat everything.

 My daughter was recently invited to a birthday party. Luckily they served cheese pizza and not regular food. I have noticed, in the past, some parents would get a little offended when I asked them where their food came from and how it was prepared. I would have to explain that she has food allergies and I have to be careful what she eats. Some understood, yet others weren’t so understand. So I try to plan now and bring food for my daughter depending on what they are serving. Even if she has her own food, I still have to watch how the other kids are eating around her. She is still young and doesn’t know how to keep an eye out for flying food or shared napkins. Or as nasty as this may sound, kids who talk with food in their mouths and spit it across the table.

Now, when it comes to the birthday cake and ice cream….. I have to say, I really feel for kids who are allergic to milk and eggs. That has to be hard to deal with. I can get around the ice cream sometimes with my daughter, but most of the time I avoid it. The cake, she can never have. Most bakeries have the warning on the boxes regarding nuts and tree nuts and even if it is homemade it could come from box cake mix, which we cannot do. I have asked my daughter if she wanted me to bring her a cupcake or slice of cake to eat when they sit down to have theirs, but she refuses. When she was younger it was easier to deal with, but as she gets older she seems to want to eat exactly what the other kids are eating.

 So, birthday parties for me aren’t always fun to attend. I spend most of my time looking to see if she is okay. Sometimes when kids carry food around or spill it near her, I have to make sure she doesn’t get any on her. I know I probably sound overbearing, but I have never had to use her epi pen and I plan on never having to use it. If that means watching her like I hawk, then that is what I will have to do.

 As I dropped my daughter off to school today a parent handed me an envelope. I opened it up. Guess what, another birthday party. Here we go again…..

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Food Allergy Suspicions

When my daughter was a toddler, I had my suspicions that she was allergic to nuts. I wasn’t quite sure because her only reaction was scratching at her tongue. Most people who saw her react that way would just say they didn’t think she liked the texture. I would state that I thought it was a little more than that, but everyone told me to let it go. So, like a typical uninformed mother, who didn’t know about food allergies, I begrudgingly let it go.

 A couple of months later, we decided to visit some relatives of ours. I usually took food along for my daughter when we ate out because she was very picky. The one time I didn’t do it, I received my wake up call. She was eating a vegan casserole and loving it. I was shocked, because this wasn’t typical of her, but excited just the same. She asked for more and I gave her more. Then suddenly, she said she didn’t want anymore and developed a blank look on her face. I looked at my mother which made her immediately ask my aunt what was in the casserole. Low and behold, it was made with cashew butter. All we could do was watch her closely. At the time, I thought it was a good thing when she suddenly decided to take a nap. I figured she could sleep it off. What I didn’t know was that her blood level was dropping causing her to fall asleep. When she awoke, she was the happy perky child that was playing earlier. Yes, I thought. We are out of the woods and everything would be okay. Wrong. On the way home, she looked at me and said, ‘Mommy, I need to throw up.’ Casserole everywhere! After seeing that, I realized there was more to this than I thought and decided she needed to get tested right away.

And this began my journey into food allergy frustrations.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Time Traveler's Wife

If you are looking for a beautiful love story, than look no further than The Time Traveler's Wife. This story shows the love of a couple that is never ending. It shows how love can hold you spellbound from a child to a grown adult.
Henry DeTamble is a dapper, fun loving gentleman, at times, who performs the duties of a librarian. He has one gift and that is to be able to travel through time. Throughout the book he travels back and forth between being young and old. Along the way he meets up with a loving, trusting artist named, Clare Abshire who has to deal with him coming and going in her life. The writer lets you experience their happy times, along with their sad moments. You feel Clare's anger when Henry travels and you feel their love for each other whenever he comes back into her life.
Their story is set up in the format of a diary. Because of this, you are able to feel as though you are following along their journey with them. It is laid out with the date and ages of both Henry and Clare each time they cross paths. It does jump from Clare's "story" to Henry's "story" quite a bit which can make you feel like you are hopping back and forth between the two lives instead of following a straight story line. At times I felt as though I had to look back at the beginning of a chapter to check on the ages and to see whose story I was following. Also, the beginning of his life where he time travels with himself didn't hold my attention too much. I felt as though I got more into the story once Clare became a more prominent character in the book.
I do highly recommend this book if you like to read love stories. I haven't read one this good in awhile. After their initial story began, the book kept me captivated until the very end. It did leave me wanting to know more. Like most books lately, this one was also turned into a movie. But if you want my honest opinion, I recommend the book over the movie.