When Life Gives You Allergies, Bake a Soufflé…

Alright, though I haven’t tried it, I imagine making an egg-less, flour-less, and dairy-less soufflé would actually be incredibly difficult, and quite possibly no longer qualifying as a soufflé in anyone’s mind.

So, I guess the next best thing would be to pour yourself a stiff drink and occasionally complain to your friends and family about the trials and tribulations of suffering from chronic allergies.

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Sometimes it’s cathartic to complain about the lemons that life hands you. While I don’t suggest you make a daily habit of venting your frustrations (because honestly, at some point your friends, family, and coworkers will stop caring all together), it can be a good emotional release to get out your frustration.

Me, personally? I complain to my mom about my allergies on a daily basis. Now, the only reason my mom still loves me and listens to these rants, is because the woman is a veritable saint.

Also, peeps, she’s the one who taught me how to cook, and how to create my own recipes, so let’s give that lady a round of applause.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with trying to find a way to be optimistic in the face of so many allergies. I had dealt with being gluten free for over five years before I was diagnosed with my new chronic allergies of dairy, egg, soy, peanut (all legumes on earth, 😦 bye bye hummus), kiwi, and honestly who knows what else. Even finding out these allergies, my body seems to have never recovered.

Every week it’s a new allergy. Since January, I’ve been living in an antihistamine haze, and let me tell you, that’s not nearly as much fun as it should be. Constant sleepiness and itching are not suggested ways to move through life.

But here I am, disproving Darwin on a daily basis. What’s a girl to do when all she wants to do is drink coffee and consume pastries, but she can’t?

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If only I could find somewhere to eat my emotions in tasty muffins. Sadly, if I want muffins, I have to make those babies myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love baking and cooking in general, but sometimes, I just wish I could run to Starbucks, grab me a caramel macchiato, and a delicious cheese danish, and eat my feelings.

Unfortunately, if I tempted this venture, the poor barista would be sticking me with an epi pen and telling his coworkers the next day how he shot Allison, the Lobster Queen with a shot of epinephrin in between blending frappucinos.

I envy you people and your delicious coffee and pastries.

And if you’re wondering why I’ve dubbed myself lobster royalty without being properly crowned by the lobster pope, it’s because I believe it’s a well earned title. Sadly, I have been hiding under hoodies for the winter season, but spring shall soon be upon us in Colorado, you know…in July, when we maybe stop snowing at random intervals. My allergies turn me into a lobster.

That’s right people: a lobster. Well…I don’t have feelers, and I’m not a bottom feeder, but let me tell you, I look like a perfectly boiled lobster, skin wise at least.

It’s great. If you drenched me in butter (adding to the lobster glow), you could basically serve me up with a steak and pass me off as a slightly larger than average lobster off the coast of Maine.

I know Hannibal Lecter would approve.

I really just want to eat food. I was a horrible foodie before, always trying restaurants, trying new foods, new recipes, new drinks. With one allergy test result from the Mayo Clinic, all that was taken away.

No more restaurant extravaganzas. No more adventurous recipes. No more…food.

Eating out has become a legitimate fear, a social anxiety, and an embarrassment.

It’s been an adjustment to go from eating out every weekend, to trying new restaurants with my brother, going out with friends. I make up excuses now.

Sorry, I have to work.
I’m just not hungry.
Nothing sounds good, I think I’ll just stay in tonight.

I honestly fear eating out in a restaurant. When you eat out with allergies, particularly chronic allergies, you put your life in your waiter and chef’s hands.

I’ve worked in customer service, and I know how tempting it can be to seek revenge on a customer who is particularly difficult, or even just the customer who broke the camel’s back after a long line of crappy customers.

But when you have chronic allergies that can threaten your life, you legitimately depend on your waiter and chef to take a vested interest, care and concern in accommodating you, and to provide you with accurate information.

If any of this fails, eating out can be disastrous, as I have learned.

But eating out with allergies doesn’t only boil down to the fear of getting very sick. It also boils down to the embarrassment of being THAT customer.

Trust me waiters, I know that you have gone back into the kitchen at times with the reaction of “You would NOT believe what someone is asking now…” or some sort of variation thereof.

So let me introduce you to The Apologetic Allergen.

My opening with a server usually starts with “I’m really sorry, but I’m going to be THAT customer tonight… I called ahead, but I really do need you and the chef or manager to confirm that your kitchen can accomadate w,x,y,z allergies…” Trust me when I say that people with chronic allergies don’t BUG AND PESTER out of a desire to be horribly annoying, but out of a desire not to end up with another medical bill.

So please, I beg of you to any server’s who read this, please treat your Apologetic Allergen with respect, understanding, and a vested interest in providing them as safe of an eating out experience as possible. When you do, you’ll find yourself a DEDICATED repeat customer, and someone who will go out of your way to mention to your manager your helpfulness.

Kindness to the Apologetic Allergen pays off people.

At this point in time, my life can pretty much be summed up as follows:

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It’s funny, but true. Allergies have made me lose control of my life. The only way to combat losing control? Wake up at 4 am and bake. And eat. And bake some more.

While life may not be full of soufflés full of everything wonderful in the world, at least with some insomnia induced chemistry experiments I can create some delicious baked goods.

So, until next time, I bid you adieu my fellow allergy sufferers (or not) and thank you for tuning into the momentary bitterness of a 20-Something Allergic to Life.

This blog post is: full of sarcasm, sour lemons, free of tasty foods, and free of allergens.

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Adventures in Dairy Free Caramel Experiments: Part 2, Crockpot Caramel Sauce

I know you’ve all been waiting for the second edition in this adventure, so here it is: a How-To Guide on doing Dairy Free Crockpot Caramel Sauce.

Now, as I’ve told you before, caramel is not dairy free in and of itself. While you may think that caramel is typically just sugar and water that’s been heated and melted down, it actually isn’t. Making caramel sauce can be quite complicated, because it has a tendency to crystalize and solidify, turning into a brittle candy, rather than a nice gooey sauce.

Because of that, I’m trying to simplify this recipe a bit into a more beginner to intermediate cooking level.

Remember, that when we finish this caramel sauce, we’ll be one step closer to our final product in Part 3, which will be A Little Bite of Sunflower Heaven: A Chocolate Covered Sunflower Butter Cup filled with a Gooey Caramel Center.

What you’ll need for this recipe:

1 crockpot (I use a 2 quart crockpot)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
4 tablespoons melted coconut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup condensed coconut milk

***Note***
While the ingredients here aren’t paleo, there is an easy way to make it paleo friendly.
What you’ll need to do is substitute raw coconut sugar, and maple syrup or honey instead of corn syrup.

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And yes, that is a zombie head cookie jar in the background.

If you happen to be wondering why we are including cream of tartar in a caramel sauce recipe, there is a perfectly valid reason. Caramel sauces can be rather fickle and tend to crystalize. By including the cream of tartar and the corn syrup in the sauce, it keeps the sugar from crystalizing in the sauce. Basically, it stabilizes it. If you don’t have cream of tartar on hand, you can substitute 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice instead.

Now let’s get down to the dirty work.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 – 8 hours

In the crock put, mix together your white sugar, brown sugar, and your cream of tartar.
In a separate bowl mix together your water, melted butter, vanilla, and light corn syrup together.

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Once your sugars are mixed together, add in your wet mix, and stir together in the crock pot. Now turn the heat on that baby high. Be sure to mix it up very well, otherwise you’ll end up with dense clumps of sugar in different spots. So, stir and enjoy the nice creamy look and texture of it.

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While your crockpot warms up, go ahead and place your previously made condensed coconut milk (hopefully stored in a glass mason jar), in a pot of warm water, to loosen it up a bit. Once your condensed coconut milk is warmed up, add it into your crockpot mixture and stir together.

Don’t use a metal spoon, because it conducts heat and can pull out the heat from your sugar mixture. Wooden spoon would work, but I’m not a fan of them because they tend to store germs, and also sap out the moisture from your mixture.
What do I suggest? A silicone spoon.

Set on high and let sit for 4-8 hours, depending on your desired caramel darkness and flavor.
Be sure to check on your mixture every hour or so in order to stir it and avoid any burning on the bottom of your crock pot (due to hot spots in the ceramic)

Your sauce mixture should be a really nice creamy color, and should smell absolutely wonderful.

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Now, it is of vital importance that you just let your caramel do it’s very own little caramel-y thing. Every time you remove the lid from the crockpot you will be letting the heat escape from the sauce, causing it to evaporate faster and risking your sauce burning, or crystalizing due to too little liquid.
After about two and a half hours, you should have a nice, bubbly mixture like so:

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If you happen to have a larger crockpot than I do, here is another viable setup for you:
Another way to set up your crockpot:
4-6 quart crockpot double boiler.

What you’ll need is another ceramic 2 quart pot or 2 quart glass pot. Mix together your ingredients as described, in the pot. Put it the pot in your crockpot, and slowly fill up water until it’s about two inches from the top of the pot inside. Turn the heat on high, and continue to cook for 4-8 hours, depending on your desired caramel darkness and flavor. With the double boiler, you will be able to let it sit for the full time without periodically stirring.

Now, after about four hours of simmering, my sauce had a beautiful light caramel-y color to it.

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But, the thickness and the color weren’t quite to my liking, so I let mine sit for a bit longer. Consequently, I let it cook for another two hours. For me, my caramel turned into a nice medium/dark color, with a wonderful sweetness.

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Say hello to some wonderfully tasty caramel, and don’t forget to say hello to Eduardo the Zombie Jar too.

Now, to let you all know, in all my caramel research I did discover another way to make crockpot caramel, and it’s insanely easy as well.
If you fill your crockpot with water, and place your cans or jars of condensed milk in the crockpot on high, for 4-6 hours, it will turn into caramel on its own. I haven’t tested this as of yet, so if you happen to try it and enjoy it, please comment with the results!

Enjoy this caramel with:
-ice cream
-coffee
-apples, bananas, strawberries, fruits
-pastries (if you can eat them)
-chocolate

Remember to stay tuned in for PART THREE where we make delicious bites of Sunflower Heaven: a mixture between a peanut butter cup and a Cadbury egg.

This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, nut free, and paleo friendly.

Let’s Celebrate International Waffle Day: Belgian Style Coffee Cinnamon Pumpkin Waffles

If you didn’t get the news update guys, today is a super important day: International Waffle Day!!!!

So, while it may be 10:15 at night when I’m writing this, because I didn’t get home from a twelve hour shift at work until 9:00, it’s still a perfectly good reason to fix waffles. And honestly, who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner??

Once I heard it was an international celebration of the glorious breakfast/brunch food of waffles, I knew it was done: waffles were happening.

So, as I sat at work, in my cubicle of a call center, slinging TiVos like they’re crack-cocaine, and dealing with the general jerk-world of customer service, I thought up this little recipe.

And let me tell you guys…. these waffles are AMAZING!!!!
Seriously, I bit into these babies, and OH-MY-GOD, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Even though these puppies are gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, and nut free, they are TO DIE FOR, and a for sure hit for any family brunch or friendly get together.

Shall we start? Let me introduce you to some amazingly tasty NOMS:

BELGIAN STYLE COFFEE CINNAMON PUMPKIN WAFFLES.

What you’ll need:

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-2 1/2 cups Namaste gluten free flour mix for waffles and pancakes
-3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
-2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
-2 Energe egg replacers (or 2 eggs)
-1/2 cup cold brewed iced coffee
-1/4 cup coconut or rice milk
-2 tablespoons applesauce (or 2 tablespoons melted, and cooled butter)
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla
-1 can pureed organic pumpkin (with no additives)

You will also need a waffle maker (duh), and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to oil it all up. Remember that cooking sprays are NOT soy free.

Now, while this may seem like quite a few ingredients just to have some waffles, let me tell you, it’s typically your around the house ingredients, and the prep time is not that involved.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: Roughly 5 – 10 minutes (depending on your crunchiness desire)

Now, mix together all your dry stuff. You can either put your dry mix or your wet mix in the big bowl, but either way, you’re going to want to eventually combine everything in a big bowl.

So, after you’ve mixed together your flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon, set it off to the side for a moment.

Mix your wet ingredients all together now: take your brewed coffee, milk, applesauce, and vanilla. DO NOT ADD IN YOUR PUMPKIN YET!!!! At this point in time, mix together your Energe egg replacer mixture (3 teaspoons replacer to 4 tablespoons of warm water).

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Now that everything is mixed together separately, combine your ingredients into a nice fluffy mixture. Once it’s all fluffy and has an awesome cloud like texture, you want to slowly add in the pumpkin, about a half cup at a time.

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Once you have mixed in the entire can of pureed pumpkin, you want to oil your waffle maker. Be sure you haven’t pre-heated it already, otherwise that would be rather uncomfortable…

First, you want to take your 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and heat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. The reason you are heating it up is because coconut oil is in a solid state at room temperature, and needs just a bit of heat to become a liquid. Now, you can take either a pastry brush or a folded paper towel and oil up the grooves.

I’m poor and don’t have a pastry brush, so I lovingly oiled up all the little nook and crannies of my waffle maker.

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At this point in time, take your delicious smelling, slightly orange waffle mix, and put it in the waffle maker. It’s going to be rather thick, so about 1/3 to 2/3 cup mix is a good amount to use. Be sure you spread it out, because it’s not as runny as normal waffles, so it needs to be shaped just a wee bit.

**Note**
You could totally make this moment awkward and amusing with a special someone if you recreate the pottery scene from ghost with waffle mix.
If you happen to do this: PLEASE POST A YOUTUBE LINK NOW.
Just a suggestion.

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Alrighty, so we’re in the home stretch you guys.
Let your waffles cook for roughly 5-8 minutes. It is a much thicker batter, so they need to cook a bit longer in order to cook all the way through. Also, it makes them deliciously crispy (which is the best way to have a Belgian style waffles).

Once they are all done, you want to take them out.

Be sure to butter them (either with the real stuff or with vegan soy free butter replacement), and either slather with maple syrup, or cinnamon sugar.

I used cinnamon sugar and a wee bit of powdered sugar, and damn was it GOOD!

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Serve with:
-hot tea
-coffee
-a shot of espresso
-chai tea
-hot cocoa
-milk

AND ENJOY!!!!

This recipe is: vegan, paleo friendly, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, nut free, and FULL OF TASTINESS!

Adventures in Dairy Free Caramel Experiments: Part 1, Making Your Own Condensed Coconut Milk

Good Day My Allergy Prone Foodies! (Or not so prone if you’re inclined that way.)

Spring has sprung, and is finally upon us. What does this mean? It is time to start making caramel and chocolate combinations in preparation for all of those sweet treats you’ll be bombarded with at the grocery store.

One little problem: caramel is not dairy free.
Sadly, neither is chocolate (most of the time).

Don’t fret my lovelies, I’ve come up with a solution! And that solution will be delicious. After this three part blog series, we will end up with Dark Chocolate Sunflower Butter and Caramel Cups.

Think of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups mating with Cadbury eggs. Yum.

Now, caramel sauce recipes, and caramel in general will call for condensed milk in order to actually make the caramel. It’s important that you used condensed milk, rather than just normal milk, because the process of condensing milk actually changes it into an entirely different product.

So the question here is, how do you make dairy free condensed milk?

Well, question asked question answered. You make condensed coconut milk.

How do you make condensed coconut milk, though, you ask?

Simply! Let me show you how:

Ingredients:
-Thai Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla
-1/3 – 1/2 cup refined cane sugar (or maple syrup or honey to make this recipe paleo friendly)
-1 tablespoon brown sugar (not required, but adds a nice pinch of sweetness)

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: Roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes

What To Do:

At this point in time, you’ll want to open your can of unsweetened coconut milk, and put it in a medium sauce pan.

Just a warning, it’s going to be a whee bit thick. Actually, it looks a bit like Crisco, so prepare yourself young padawan.

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Pour in your refined cane sugar (or sugar of choice), your brown sugar, and vanilla into the sauce pan. Heat on medium high heat until coconut milk and sugar has completely melted together. Once you have some bubbles around the edges of your delicious concoction, turn your temperature down to the lowest setting you have.

Now, your coconut milk will sit on the stove for about an hour (remember on the lowest setting), stirring every 5-10 minutes to help the evaporation process for your milk.

You’ll know that your coconut milk is deliciously condensed when it has thickened up and has a sweet smooth soft color to it. It will look a bit silky and have a slightly soft caramel color to it (even though it isn’t caramel yet).

Once it’s ready to go, you’ll pour it into a mason jar.

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Now that you have condensed coconut milk, it will store in the refrigerator for roughly a week. You want to be sure to use it before it goes bad, or else you’ll have wasted all your time and effort to make homemade condensed coconut milk.

You’ll be able to use this in:
-pumpkin pie
-sweet potato pie
-coffee
-mix with a bit of dairy free/soy free cocoa mix
-AND IN CARAMEL SAUCE!!

Stay tuned for the next installment in Adventures In Dairy Free Caramel: Part 2, Caramel Sauce!

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This recipe is: gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, legume free, and paleo friendly.

Sunflower Butter Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, it should be known that I have a horrible sweet tooth. I’m a certified choco-holic, with a particular love for cookies and baked goods. With that being said, I’ve been missing my tasty sweet treats as of late.

Since my diagnosis of like a bajillion new allergies, I have yet to eat any cookie worth the name of a cookie. As a consequence, I have spent my day off from work gathering random kitchen supplies to bring to you cookies so delicious, you won’t be able to tell that they are dairy, egg, soy, peanut (all legume), and gluten free!

Now let me tell you peeps, while making these cookies I thought they would turn out alright, just a bit decent; but I was pleasantly surprised. These turned out so delicious that I turned into a veritable Cookie Monster.

Five cookies mysteriously disappeared. No idea what happened to them guys.

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So what we have here is a collection of delicious cookies. I’ll give you the recipe for how to make them dairy, egg, soy, peanut, and gluten free, however, I’ll also give you the way to make them full of all those goodies, if you happen to be so inclined.

What you will need:
1 box of King Arthur cookie mix (processed in a factory free of the 8 common allergens, so it’s safe and gluten free)
1/2 cup applesauce (or butter if you can)
1 egg replacer (or 1 egg)
2 tablespoons of freshly brewed coffee (I used espresso for a stronger flavor)
1/2 cup Sunflower Butter
1 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips

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First things first, preheat the oven to 350 degrees,and then you’ll want to take half of your flour mix (about 1 and 1/2 cups) and mix it with your applesauce (or softened butter). Once you’ve created a nice smooth mixture. While that is all mixing together, mix together your egg replace (1 1/2 teaspoons of Energe egg replacer to 2 tablespoons warm water).

Once you mix in your egg replacer (or egg), you’ll also want to mix in your 2 tablespoons of freshly brewed coffee, and add in the remainder of your flour mixture.

Now, it’s of vital importance that you let this all mix together for at least a good two minutes. With gluten free flours, they tend to be grainier than wheat flours due to the difference in textures. The most common ingredients in gluten free flours are tapioca starch, potato starch, tapioca flour, and xanthum gum (for your binder). Now, these have a slightly grittier texture than wheat flour, and subsequently, you need to BLEND THAT MIXTURE until it is nice and smooth.

Here is the fun part: measure out a 1/2 cup of Sunflower Butter and mix it until smooth. Now, the sunflower butter will make the batter very thick. At this point in time, I actually added an additional tablespoon of espresso, because my batter was a bit too thick, so be sure to follow what you need.

Once your sunflower butter is mixed together thoroughly, you will want to add in the chocolate chips. I’m a big fan of chocolate chips, so I added in a good 1 cup and change of chocolate chips.

At this point in time, don’t over mix. If you mix to vigorously, your chips will actually start to melt a whee bit, and we definitely want to wait for that to happen in the oven.

Now, you’re ready to put them all on the cookie sheet, roughly 2 inches apart. Be sure you’ve lined your cookie sheet with parchment paper, or else you will never get those babies off the cookie sheet.

Your cookies will need to cook at 350 for roughly 10-14 minutes depending on your location.

When they are golden on the very edges, you will need to take them out, and place them on a cooling tray.

This recipe will yield about 24 cookies.
Or you can bake half of them, and place the remainder of your dough in an airtight container for a rainy day (which is what I did).

The best part of these cookies is you can eat them as still warm and gooey, because there isn’t any egg to risk salmonella!

Eat and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee. 🙂

This recipe is: gluten free, egg free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, peanut/legume free.
Remember, if you aren’t allergic to the world, modify your cookies to contain all those tasty allergens for a truly premium cookie!

An Experimental Breakfast: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pancakes

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Let me start off my saying, that a bought of insomnia spawned these babies this morning: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pancakes free of dairy, egg, soy, peanut, and gluten.

What you’ll need to start off:
-2 cups Namaste (or brand of choice) gluten free/soy free pancake flour mix
-3/4 cup of Rice Milk or water
-Energe (soy free) egg replacer (1 1/2 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons warm water mixture = 1 egg)
-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
-2 large spoonfuls of organic apple sauce (don’t forget to check your labels!)
-2 teaspoons all natural, gluten free organic vanilla (mine is a gigantic bottle from Mexico, mm mm good!)
-4 teaspoons brown sugar
-2 tablespoons homemade cinnamon sugar

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First things first…get all your wet ingredients prepped first.

Pour the oil in your medium sized mixing bowl of choice.

In a small cup, measure out your egg replacer. This recipe calls for two eggs. What this equals is: 6 teaspoons of Energe Soy Free Egg Replacer to 4 tablespoons of warm water. DO NOT mix your replacer together quite yet, just set off the dry mixture to the side for a moment.

It is very important that you use warm (NOT HOT AND NOT COLD) water, or else your mixture will not have the same physical texture of an egg, and will not have that magical “egg” like quality that allows your baked goods to poof up a bit.

Pour in your vanilla, and then dump in your two spoonfuls of apple sauce.

Once you’ve poured in your vanilla, you’ll want to add the 4 tablespoons of warm water to your Energe Soy Free Egg Replacer. Be sure to stir it for a good thirty seconds to get rid of any clumps that may form in the mixture. When it’s properly mixed, it will resemble something along the lines of a frothy milk/cement glue mixture (tasty image I know, but it’s pretty accurate).

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Dump it in the mixing bowl, and stir it all about…

Then add in your Rice Milk (or dairy free replacement of choice).

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At this point in time, you’ll want to mix everything in together, so that all your liquids are really well combined.

WE’RE ALMOST DONE!

It’s time to pour in the final ingredient: THE FLOUR!.
Now, I personally like to pour my flour in small quantities so that everything mixes together and is smooth, rather than having clumpy spots.

So, if you would like to follow suit, pour in your flour in 1/2 cup increments.

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Once all of your flour is mixed in with your liquids, it’s time to add the sweet bits!

-Add in 4 teaspoons of brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of homemade cinnamon sugar. Be sure to mix it all together really well.

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I know it’s been a process just to get some pancakes, but stick with me, because we’re almost done, and you will be well rewarded!

At this point in time, you want to fire up a small skillet, grab your ghee, and your mixing bowl.

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Now, if you’re like me and you had NEVER heard of ghee until either this recipe, or just recently, we’ll take a very minor detour on a history of butter.

Ghee is a classic Indian process of taking butter (which is processed from cow’s milk), and clarifying it through boiling the butter, straining it multiple times through cheesecloth, and setting it aside to process on it’s own.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Allison…dairy…cows…butter…WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!?”

Well, I’ll keep you updated, because this is my first time trying ghee. Ghee is supposed to remove all of the complicated dairy bits of butter, and leave you with basically a solidified oil/fat that can retains some of the aromatic deliciousness that comes with butter.

BACK TO THE BAKING!

So, take just a sliver of ghee and heat it in your skillet. You don’t need much, it only takes a teeny tiny amount to create this oily mess (honestly, much more effective than normal dairy-filled butter).

Then put in about 2 1/2 large spoonfuls of batter into the pan. Let your listless pancake sit for a bit until you see a multitude of bubbles frothing forth in the batter, and you have some nice golden edges going on around the sides.

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NOW FLIP THOSE BABIES!

Once you’re done, you’ll have some nice, golden, crispy (albeit a bit thin) pancakes.

Be sure to top them with a bit of soy free, dairy free butter (I’m a bit fond of the Earth Balance Soy Free brand), and top your brown sugar cinnamon pancakes FREE OF EVERYTHING with a bit of locally made and organic strawberry syrup. My favorite brand is from a local store here in Colorado as you climb the canyon to Estes Park, known as The Cherry Store, because they always use organic, locally grown products, with no unnecessary additives!

Butter, syrup, and om nom nom away!

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This recipe will make about 10 pancakes that are really great when reheated in a toaster, or in a skillet again.

Soy: The Secret Ingredient in Basically Everything

Have you ever bothered to actually read the labels on your food? And by read, I don’t mean looking at the calorie content, maybe the serving size, possibly even the fiber/carbohydrate/sugar content.

I’m going to go ahead and take a guess and say no. Most people don’t actually have a reason to read their food labels. Sometimes it’s trendy, as it was for so long with gluten free, and it now is with paleo. There seems to be a stigma against the people you see standing in the aisle reading their food labels, trying to understand the intricacies of chemical names for ingredients.

What you may not always realize, is that for some people there is a legitimate reason to be an avid label reader. It’s not always some lady and/or man who is the obsessive ingredient jerk at Whole Foods. Sometimes, you’ll get the apologetic allergen as I like to call them. These people are otherwise known as individuals with legitimate allergies, who aren’t trying to be rude, but trying to avoid a hospital visit.

Now, it’s moderately easy to accommodate gluten free diets these days, at least in a state as health conscious/friendly as Colorado; but when you add in dairy, egg, peanut, and soy, reading labels gets much more difficult (as well as depressing).

Optimistically, it is possible find gluten free, dairy free, nut free foods (though these seem to be buried in the back of the freezer section). It’s difficult, but you can find them. Add in egg free? That is an ingredient that can seriously mess up any hopeful products you may find.

How about soy?

Now soy, that shit is in everything.

If you’ve never had a reason to look before, look now.

Soy can be found in the following non-consumable products:
-makeup
-Chapstick
-lipstick
-face wash
-lotion
-shampoo/conditioner
-medications (yes, I know you consume these, but they aren’t tasty, so they don’t qualify)

As for soy in consumable items? It’s almost impossible to escape. Almost, but not entirely so; however, it can be rather disheartening to read labels when looking for food.

Soy is used as a preservative, an emulsifier, for coloring, for added “health benefits”, and for what just seems to be general corporate desire to overuse one particular ingredient.

When reading labels, even if it states that the product is soy free, it is of vital importance to still read the ingredient list.

“But why Allison? Why would I have to read the label if the front of the package tells me it’s soy free?”

Companies can label their product as being soy free while it still contains soy lecithin. It’s of a general consensus that the amount of soy contained in soy lecithin is so minimal that even an individual with a soy allergy can still consume the product with minimal to no harm.

Now, this may be true for you, and to that I say “Good on ye’ mate!”

However, depending on the severity of your allergy, it should no be risked, because there remains enough soy content to still cause a reaction.

Sadly, soy lecithin is used in the processing of chocolate.

So what’s a girl to do in a world now bereft of chocolate, and the necessary equipment for pastries and baked goods? Cooking and baking free of soy, dairy, egg, peanut (all legumes in general, really) is definitely a system of trial and error.

The main idea here is, you need to be aware of what is actually going into your body, even if you don’t have allergies!