Last week was my dad’s birthday and Father’s Day, and at the center of my family’s celebrations was a chocolate and sunflower butter layer cake. My dad was really excited about it – before my peanut allergy was diagnosed my dad loved peanut butter, and since we’ve now eliminated all peanut products from our house, he has converted to sunflower butter. Try doing a search for chocolate and sunflower butter layer cakes (the kind of cake he requested for his special week) and you won’t yield nearly as many results as you would have by searching for peanut butter instead. Something I have learned about cooking and baking with food allergies, though, is that there are simple ways to make recipes more allergy friendly.
The recipe my mom and I chose to use for my dad’s cake was for a chocolate and espresso cake with peanut butter icing. Upon reading through the ingredients for the recipe, we realized that only the icing called for peanut butter and the cake was entirely peanut free. So we stuck with the cake recipe (which was from Damaris Phillips) and searched for a different icing recipe, ultimately settling on a recipe developed by the Sunbutter brand. To top off the layer cake, we sprinkled bits of chopped Suncups around the circumference of the cake instead of the chopped peanuts the original recipe had suggested. The result was a photogenic, delicious, and safe cake for our celebrations! So next time you find a recipe that looks great but contains your allergen, simply find other ways to make substitutions or even patch two or three recipes together.
I recently came across a red velvet cake recipe that was easy and delicious (and photogenic), so I thought I would share it. I also thought I’d share the cocoa powder I used in the recipe. It can be tricky to find cocoa powder from a nut free facility, however, I discovered a brand called Guittard Chocolate Company, and have since sworn by their chocolate chips and cocoa powder. I used the “Cocoa Rouge” unsweetened cocoa powder in the red velvet cake. The chocolate is not only delicious, but it also comes in gorgeous packaging. Apparently they also make chocolate bars, but I haven’t tried them (yet). I’ve come across some of their products at stores like Whole Foods and World Market, and their products can also be ordered online.
Happy Food Allergy Awareness Week! FAAW 2016 runs from May 8th – 14th. This year, I requested proclamations from my governor and the mayor of my city, and both came through for me! FAAW is being celebrated in other ways as well. Turn it Teal is working to build food allergy awareness by lighting up iconic buildings in teal (the color for food allergy awareness). Tonight (May 8th) the Empire State Building will feature teal lights and on May 13th Niagara Falls will be lit in teal as well. (See the full list of lighting around Canada and the US here.)
My family recently traveled to Seattle for a summer vacation. Before we left for the trip, we researched Seattle’s nut free options for food and dining. In doing so, we came across Little Rae’s Bakery. This bakery is completely peanut and tree nut free, and their delicious products are sold in many cafes and markets around Seattle including Pike Place Market. Their bakery items and sandwiches are wrapped in plastic wrap and are easy to pack. While in Seattle, we called the bakery to ask a question and staff worker Maureen was so sweet and helpful. It was great to be able to relax and eat safe food while out whale watching on a boat far from shore, hiking high up on Mt. Rainier, and also on the plane ride home. We tried their sandwiches, cookies, brownies, pumpkin bread, and croissants throughout our stay, and enjoyed every product. So, if you ever find yourself in Seattle, be sure to try Little Rae’s Bakery’s products (even if you do not have food allergies) because you will not be disappointed!
The Superbowl has come and gone, but I thought I’d share that NFL’s Adrian Peterson is allergic to shrimp, scallops and lobster. Shellfish is one of the top eight food allergens in the U.S. The first part of the following interview contains Peterson’s diagnosis story. Click here to watch the video.