A food allergy blog

Tag: food allergies

Berry Peach Galette

Berry Peach Galette

A fresh galette highlighting the best of summer fruits that is perfect for any occasion.

Fried Squash Blossoms

Fried Squash Blossoms

The perfect appetizer for any summertime affair, these crispy fried squash blossoms will certainly be a crowd pleaser and leave you with requests for more!

Delicious Vegan Waffles

Delicious Vegan Waffles

 

Waffles are my favorite brunch food ever. Back when I could eat your everyday waffle, full of eggs and dairy, I couldn’t resist ordering them if they were on the menu. Waffles with berries and sugar, waffles with chocolate sauce and ice cream, fried chicken and waffles, duck confit and waffles, waffles dipped in chocolate and sprinkles, egg, bacon and waffle sandwiches. Seriously, any form of waffle equals pure joy and happiness for me.

My first waffle disaster occurred when I ate a yeasted waffle. Growing up my mother always made homemade waffles on the weekends and, in my near 30 years of waffle making, we have never used yeast in the recipe. It was never necessary so I never thought someone would ruin a perfectly delicious waffle by adding in yeast. I knew something was off about the waffle when I was eating it but, like I said, I LOVE waffles so I just kept going. A few hours later the dreaded stomach pains and bloating began and I connected the dots.

(Side note 1: Yes, I know that in Belgium there are two types of waffles and both are yeasted. But traditional Belgian waffles are hard to find in the US and most places that offer “Belgian Waffles” on their menu don’t make authentic ones. The norm here is to use baking powder or baking soda as a quick leavening agent and call it a day. It’s faster and easier (and probably cheaper).)

(Side note 2: My mother still has the same crazy old waffle iron she’s had since before I was born. So far in my adult life I’ve gone through four waffle irons. This isn’t because I decide to buy a new one on a whim; it’s because they keep breaking. Why do appliances today suck so bad?)

My second waffle disaster was when I learned I was allergic to dairy and eggs. The disaster being that I could no longer order waffles off any brunch menu, for the most part.

There was no chance I was giving up on waffles and throwing out my waffle iron, though. So I began my search for the perfect dairy-, egg-, and yeast-free waffle recipe. The requirements were pretty simple: crispy yet fluffy waffles that don’t taste like cardboard and don’t contain any allergens. Most recipes failed the test and though my recipe fits the requirements, it is a little denser than your typical waffle. It’s the closest I’ve ever come and it is honestly so, so delicious that most people don’t realize it’s vegan when I serve it!

Here’s the great thing about these waffles: you can freeze and reheat them and they might even taste better that way. Since my waffle iron is on the larger side and uses so much batter for just one waffle (about half of this recipe), I can only eat 2-3 sections of a waffle before I’m full. The rest I freeze for whenever I need a quick breakfast or as pre-gym snacks for my husband. Put a slice or two in the toaster, defrost, then toast, spread with some almond butter, honey and chia seeds and you have a delicious little meal!

The first thing you want to do is combined your coconut milk and lemon juice so that it can curdle and create a vegan buttermilk. After you’ve let this sit for 5 minutes you can add in your maple syrup, oil and vanilla extract and whisk together. I like to do this all in a large liquid measuring cup so that I don’t have to dirty a bunch of smaller measuring cups.

Next, stir together all of your dry ingredients in a small bowl: rolled oats, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Combine with the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined, and let sit for 10 minutes while your waffle iron preheats. The batter should be pretty thick and will get a little thicker as it sits.

Once the waffle iron is hot, coat it with a light spray of non-stick cooking spray and pour in enough batter to make a full waffle. The amount of batter needed will vary by waffle iron. For instance, my old waffle iron used about 1/2 cup of batter while my new iron uses 1/2 of the total batter for just one waffle! If in doubt, use a rubber spatula to spread a 1/4 inch layer of batter across the bottom side of the waffle iron and go from there. You’ll know if it’s enough after you’ve made the first waffle!

Since I like my waffles with a nice crispy shell, I cook mine between level 5 and 6 on my iron (the two highest levels). This is something you’ll need to play around with on your waffle iron until you get the result you want. The other key to a crispy shell: letting the waffles cool on a wire rack until you serve them. Even if this is just for 2 minutes it will make a difference!

These waffles can be served many ways. I often like them plain with a side of maple syrup for dipping. If I’m going to the gym soon after eating I’ll spread on a layer of almond butter then drizzle with some honey, flax seeds and chia seeds. They are also delicious with lightly macerated mixed berries and a dusting of powdered sugar or dipped in chocolate and sprinkles.

A few notes: the coconut milk can be subbed with any other milk alternative with an equally delicious result. The oil can also be swapped for whatever oil you prefer in baking. I’ve tried these with olive oil before and they were delicious but a little more on the savory side. Because I don’t like things super sweet, I use the minimum amount of maple syrup in these to give a hint of sweetness. If you like things sweeter, feel free to increase the amount of maple syrup in the recipe. You can also swap the maple syrup for honey or agave.

Delicious Vegan Waffles
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, these waffles are yeast-, dairy-, and egg-free and could easily be made gluten-free as well. They make a wonderful breakfast or dessert when dipped in chocolate.
Author:
Recipe type: breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cup coconut milk + 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup grapeseed or coconut oil
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1¾ cup flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • pinch sea salt
    optional
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Combine coconut milk and lemon juice in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Add in oil, syrup and vanilla extract, if using, and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together all of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently stir until just combined. Let batter sit for 10 minutes while your waffle iron is heating.
  3. Lightly coat your waffle iron with a spray of non-stick cooking spray then pour enough batter in for a full waffle. The amount needed will vary per waffle iron. Mine takes about half the batter for just one waffle! Cook according to the instructions provided with your waffle maker.
  4. Remove from the waffle iron and let cool on a wire rack. Serve with your choice of toppings.

Let me know if you’ve tried this recipe! Comment below or post a photo to instagram and tag me @champagneandfrites!

Crispy Baked Pommes Frites

Crispy Baked Pommes Frites

Crispy golden brown on the outside with a light and airy, fluffy center, these baked french fries will satisfy any fry-lovers craving for fries.

Flying with Food Allergies + What Foods to Pack

Flying with Food Allergies + What Foods to Pack

Flying with food allergies, especially on long-haul flights, can be excruciating and embarrassing. Ward off the hanger with my tips on what foods to pack that are TSA friendly and will keep you full and happy.

Celebration, Florida

Celebration, Florida

Happy May and Happy Allergy Awareness Month! I have been getting pummeled by allergies since we were in Florida a few weeks ago. I heard recently that “pollen season” in NYC is at it’s worst in history, and we won’t get a break until winter basically. Yippee!  I foresee several Benadryl comas in my future….

In April we spent time in Celebration, Florida. We usually spend a few weekends there every year visiting Scott’s parents and grandparents. This year we went down for Easter and my birthday then extended the trip so I’d get to see my sister march at Disney World later in the week.

Celebration feels like a quaint little town, even though it is actually rather big. The houses are picture perfect thanks to strict color and design standards, everyone says hello and waves to each other on the streets, the town center is walking distance and is always lively between lunch-goers, the after-school Starbucks crowd, and evening activities, and it is close to so many major parks and attractions. It’s basically a slice of Americana. Of course, since it’s an Orlando suburb, there is Orlando traffic to deal with if you want to go to a major shopping mall, the outlets or one of the theme parks, but other than that it is a relaxing, sunny and happy place to be.

While the town center has several restaurants, not all are worth eating at. And because we were staying for 10 days, I decided to do a full grocery run to buy Kelley friendly foods to cook throughout our stay. We still went out to eat a few times, though. There are two places in town that we rarely stray from: Celebration Town Tavern, serving traditional American food with Boston flare, and Cafe D’Antonio, serving Italian food.

Celebration Town Tavern is great for a few reasons:

  • It has a large covered outdoor area with a bar, perfect for watching sports while having a drink
  • There is also a large covered dining area dedicated to those with dogs
  • The food is consistently good

Our waiter was excellent and very attentive to my allergies. The chef sent him back out to ask about cross contamination concerns because they use one fryer for all their fried foods including my beloved french fries and hated shellfish. Funny enough, only a few other chefs have ever raised this concern so I said, let’s try it! We’ll find out if it’s an issue. Now, I know this is a horrible idea and I really do not suggest anyone with food allergies be so risky. I only did it because I know I’ve had french fries in the past that have been in a contaminated fryer and I’ve never reacted.

Everything turned out well on this occasion: I had a plain burger, no bun, and a side of fries for lunch, and I felt fine afterwards. We went back a few afternoons to watch the Indians and Cavs play (Go Cleveland!) and each time I had an order of fries with no reaction.

Our other restaurant staple is Cafe D’Antonio. While this is my favorite in Celebration, it is not always the best with allergies, which I put on the waiters, not the chef. On this trip we went to Cafe D’Antonio on two occasions: once as a family and once just Scott and me. When we went with my in-laws, we were welcomed and treated differently because they know them. The waitress diligently wrote down all of my allergies, checked with the chef that my order could be prepared allergen free, and reported back to me before placing the order. I felt completely taken care of and had no worries about my food.

I had the Capellini d’Angelo without parmesan and shared the peas and prosciutto with Scott, made with olive oil instead of butter. The meal was delicious and filling and I felt good afterwards.

The second time we went, just Scott and I, we were welcomed and seated immediately. Our waiter was friendly but kind of brushed off my allergies, saying he was allergic to shellfish also so he knew what it was like and would make sure all of my food was OK. But, he didn’t want to hear any of my allergies and didn’t write them down when I listed them. He was falsely over-confident because we shared an allergy threat, usually the opposite of how someone who shares food allergies reacts. I was a little worried but figured all would be fine.

I ordered Pappardelle Bolognese and happily saw that the pasta that came out was penne, substituted for the fresh pappardelle to avoid the egg allergen. This put me at ease and I went to town, hungry after all day in the sun walking around Disney. By the time we left the restaurant my stomach hurt so badly I could barely stand up straight. I will never know exactly what caused the reaction but I figure there was dairy or yeast of some sort in the sauce.

I had one other food encounter on this trip that didn’t turn out well. I had never heard of Dole Whip before so my mother-in-law took me to the Polynesian at Disney to try it for the first time. As I understand it, until 2014 the only place Dole Whip was served was at a stand inside of Magic Kingdom, which explains why the legend of Dole Whip had alluded me. We looked up the ingredients online, some of which looked a little suspect to me, but decided this was something I clearly had to experience in life so I went for it. The pineapple soft serve is completely dairy-free, vegan and gluten-free. Here’s the scary part: the vanilla soft serve only has casein from dairy, just the protein, so not any actually milk…… If you have a dairy allergy you absolutely will be allergic to it but if you’re lactose intolerant, you will be fine.

Anyway, we went, we ate (just the pineapple for me), I understood the glory that is Dole Whip, and then I paid the price. Scott tucked me into bed early (like 9pm early) and I watched Netflix until I fell asleep, deciding that I would come up with my own version of Dole Whip at home. I haven’t started experimenting yet but I will soon!

My absolute favorite thing to do while we are in Celebration is to go to the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Spa for some pampering, pool-side rays and the best healthy food at Vitale, the spa cafe, by the most lovely and friendly chef I’ve ever met, Chef Mirtha. I was spoiled and went twice on this trip: once for my birthday and again as a family day where we all got pedicures together, even the men!

The spa uses a few different lines of products, from all natural to more chemically enhanced lotions and serums. I went through my allergies with my aesthetician and she was able to come up with a mixture of products that made my skin look and feel great without any reactions.

But the real reason to go to the spa is so that you can lounge poolside for the day. Since the spa pool is only accessible to those who have booked a treatment or bought a spa pass, the pool is quiet and relaxing. The first day we went we were some of the only people there but the second day it was a bit more packed since it was the weekend. Thankfully the spa manager set us up with a cabana so even though there were a lot of people sunbathing, we felt like we were in our own little paradise.

The spa cafe, Vitale, serves their full menu poolside. On our first trip there I mentioned to our server that I had allergies and, instead of trying to wade through the menu himself, he sent out the chef to speak about preparing a custom meal. Chef Mirtha was extremely knowledgable and more than happy to personally cook and prepare a meal for me. After walking through the list, she suggested a simple grilled chicken salad loaded with veggies and topped with a honey-lime emulsion. She even brought the prepared dish out to me herself to make sure everything was OK.

I do not know what she did to this chicken while it was grilling but it was the juiciest, most delicious piece of grilled chicken I’ve ever had. Needless to say, when we returned later in the week I requested the salad again and shortly thereafter Chef Mirtha appeared with another outstanding dish. To top it off, she prepared a plate of dairy- and soy-free chocolate covered strawberries for me so that I could enjoy dessert with everyone else.

I also took the opportunity to try the new(ish) Moët Ice Imperial, the first champagne made to be enjoyed on ice. My expectations were really low; I figured it would be flat and overly sweet. To my surprise, it was actually delicious and extremely refreshing on a hot day. But that’s where the issue came in: it disappeared really quickly as in I couldn’t stop drinking it because it was like alcoholic flavored seltzer. Would I buy a bottle for myself? No. I would drink it on the beach if someone else brought it, though.

The rest of our trip was spent relaxing/working at the house and at the parks. While we usually do not go to Disney or Universal, on this trip we did both. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that both parks have strict allergy and dietary standards, which I’ll talk about in another post. The good news is, I was able to eat at both without any problems.

I’ll leave you with a few more photos from this trip including a two friendly kitties that live around the neighborhood and like to visit with you on walks.

Stay tuned for part 2: Eating at Universal and Disney.