The Game of Scones

Ok, this is more bread/muffin-related, but the pun really works better with scones. Let’s just call it a brilliant play on baked good words and move on.

There’s a game I play, as a parent of an allergic kid.  When I pull a recipe, I skip right to the ingredients list.  If I have to substitute any more than three ingredients to make it edible, it’s exiled.

If it’s really good and there are maybe four substitutions, but I KNOW they’re going to work, I’m willing to negotiate.

Let’s just say that in the past couple years, my kingdom has become very exclusive.

However, there’s a thing in my family with this cookbook. Some of you may be familiar with it. It’s called “The New Purity Cookbook: A Complete Guide to Canadian Cooking.” (Insert joke about Canadians and maple syrup/poutine/blah blah blah…)

Purity Cookbook Cover

The version we’ve always worked from is from 1945. I’m not sure where exactly it came from or what made it so influential in my family, but my Grandma had it and now I have it, and there are so many things I love about it.

It features awful gelatin-based monstrosities and pineapple glazed things that ought not be pineapple glazed. Typical stuff for the era. I have major issues with the texture of things and there are a lot of recipes that both repulse and fascinate me in there.

However, it also features kick-ass cakes, muffins, and quick breads (SCONES!) from a time before people thought butter and lard were bad. Short story…it’s always been my goto for baked goods, waffles, etc.

Unfortunately, the winds have shifted and these days, that shit generally doesn’t fly. The oldies I know and love have to be remixed like dub-hop or trip-metal, or whatever the kids are listening to these days.

Most goods CAN be adapted but often they’re pretty terrible alternatives, or a huge pain in the ass.

The average person without dietary restrictions tends to take this kind of thing for granted, but this is a good one.  It freezes well, and everyone likes it.

This my friends, is how I take an old favourite and bend it to my will.

The Original: Banana Nut Bread

Banana Nut Bread

The Non-Deadly Remix:

Three essential substitutions, the quantities are the same, and there’s nothing weird or hard to find.

  • (Optional) Whole grain or wheat flour subs in for all purpose. (Fibre! Fibre!)
  • (Optional) Maple syrup takes the place of sugar. (Ok…Canadian stereotype validated.)
  • Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips replace the nuts. (Who wants nuts in banana bread anyway…really?)
  • Skip the egg and use a flax egg. (The key is to remember to do this before everything else. Logistics! It has to sit a few minutes to hit a good goopy consistency.)
  • Soy milk knocks out the dairy. (Oat milk is good here too, but soy has a closer nutritional profile to dairy so that’s why I use it.)
  • (Optional) Extra banana. (Why? Because my baker sister said to always add more. She’s right! Makes a big difference in texture. Texture can be an issue when you mess with baking ingredients, because chemistry.)

The Result: Nutless Banana Nut Bread

  • 1 flax egg (make 5 min early)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup soy milk
  • 2 very ripe mashed bananas
  • As many dairy free chocolate chips as you like. I won’t judge you.  (Enjoy Life is the brand I find most often)

I dump all the dry in one bowl and mix and then add all the wet in the same bowl and mix. Then I dump that in a glass baking dish with parchment paper in it so I don’t have to work too hard to clean it.  Bake at 350ºF for about 45 minutes (depends how big the dish is). Same mix makes muffins, just bake for shorter time…more like 20 minutes.

Winter is coming…banana bread up bitches!

Food Appreciation: New York Fries

Food Appreciation is a little feature I’ll be doing from time to time about our adventures and misadventures eating out in the world with food allergies. Nothing endorsed or sponsored here. Just our experiences. 

When your kid is allergic to everything, the little things get big. Even small outings require prep.

Everywhere you go you have to anticipate all possible food scenarios and pack accordingly. We have an extensive collection of boxes, bentos, and baggies stuffed with safe options on our person at any given time. If there is any chance an excursion will overlap with meal time, it’s prepared and packed. Meal time not likely? Still packing a crap-ton of snacks.

However, toddlers can be jerks and every effort and option will be ranked, idiosyncratically, on a scale of “That’s awesome, I will happily consume all the healthy options you have so lovingly prepared.” to “Screw you guys, I’m eating exclusively pickles now.” An unfavourable judgment results in a throwdown that escalates quickly and dramatically.

In general, fit or no, it doesn’t matter. There are no other options.

There aren’t, to be honest, many treats either. Especially at the mall.

Fast food service does not generally inspire faith in food handling practices and even when there are options that are supposed to be friendly, franchises take liberties with company protocol and say “nah…just throw that fish fillet in there…”

With our particular combination of allergies, there is but one shining beacon of indulgence at the mall, and that is…New York Fries! We can eat there. All of us!

Thank you New York Fries for using actual potatoes without some weird dairy coating! Thank you for using sunflower oil instead of peanut!  Thank you for putting nothing in the fryer but those delicious dirty (skin on) fries! I will happily disregard the eye rolling from employees while I confirm this with a well-rehearsed series of questions asked in different ways to make sure everyone in this transaction has their facts straight. (Redundancy is important.)

Thank you for being the one place at the mall I can use as a carrot, to get both kids to cooperate, while I drag them through stores and pin their arms down so they don’t touch anything.

We made our purchases. We didn’t break anything. We all stayed calm. We all sat down and ate a giant bucket of hot crispy fries like a normal family. It was magic.


Crying Over Spilt Milk

Crying over spilt milk is what you do when your kid fountain vomits and busts out in hives like she’s been swaddled in poison ivy.  A few stray drops on a table from a friend’s sippy cup or someone’s coffee, and her body explodes. Sometimes it’s ok because she didn’t actually ingest it. But, sometimes you cry…because it’s fucking awful.  Dose her up, grab her bag, be thankful you’re five minutes from a great hospital.  So goes life with food allergies. Never a dull moment.

Two years ago, food allergies became a “thing” in our lives; dairy, egg, peanut, fish, and shellfish. It really could be worse.  As far as these things go, we’re pretty lucky and a lot of people deal with many more complications and many more allergies. But, it’s always there and most days there are ridiculous, or daunting, or scary, or infuriating moments that need to be dealt with.  This blog, admittedly, is part of that process for me.

Like a lot of people, I’m trying to figure this allergy shit out.  I’m far from alone in this, but sometimes you just gotta share.  Fair warning, I’m learning as I go, and learning comes with frustration.  I may get salty.  I like swears. (They’re therapeutic and sometimes nothing else will do.)

I am not, in any way a qualified professional, so please don’t take anything I say as sage advice. I’m a parent, with a toddler who has some scary food allergies.  She has an older brother, who doesn’t.  My partner and I are doing the best we can.  I’ll keep you posted.

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