I skipped a week. I didn’t really, but I didn’t post it here. This week I went off tangent. The prompt was homework and well…we just didn’t do a lot of homework this week. Haley is PARCC testing and her teacher gave her a homework pass and Walker only had to do his daily reading. He’s reading Harry Potter by the way. My most favorite book series ever. It makes my heart sing to see him enjoying it. But anyway… This week he had a major milestone and when I realized that it was really happening, I knew that homework was off the list and this milestone was in. Walker has food allergies. A lot of them. We’ve lived with them all of his little life so I have a tendency to forget what a big deal they are sometimes. Other people though, I toss him their way for a sleep over or a play date or a class party and they get glass eyed and wonder what in the heck they are going to feed him. Usually I text them “The List” and wander through their pantry and pull out a few things that I know he can eat. I send him with a lunchbox full of safe staples, nut milk and vegan margarine and something sweet that is safe. We bake most of his treats because safe baked goods are hard to find sometimes. I cook most of our meals from scratch because he has so many allergies that mixes and convenience foods and frozen meal helpers he just can’t eat. We’ve muddled through all of this mostly on our own. When he was a baby, his doctor told me that allergy testing at such a young age wouldn’t really tell us much, that the tests would be mostly inconclusive. He guided me on an elimination diet and had us add in foods one at a time and remove new foods that caused reactions. We managed it all with diet. Just don’t feed him the foods that he reacts to. He was a baby. I was nursing at the time which meant that *I* couldn’t eat the foods he reacted to. No big deal, you do things like that for your kids right? We found our groove and we’d retest things he’d reacted to occasionally and they were always a flop. We quit trying. What we were doing was working for us so we quit trying. We’d have an occasional accidental exposure that would reel us back into reality and remind us that he was still allergic and then we’d settle back down into our comfort zone of just not eating the things he was allergic to. Eight years later he still has a long list of no, you can’t eat that’s.
Last week, Walker asked to try carrots. We hadn’t tried them since he was six months old or so and when I had eaten them, he had reacted with hives. Not a lot of them, but enough of them for me to pull them from my diet and put them on the no list. They didn’t cause intestinal bleeding or facial swelling or blisters all over his skin like some of his other allergens do, just a few itchy hives. So I said yes. I stood there with the Benadryl ready and gave him half of a carrot. No immediate reaction. We went out for dinner later that evening and when we came home he showed me two red, raised blistery dots on his face. It had been four hours and the likelihood for a cross contamination in a restaurant kitchen was high. We cried a bit but I really wasn’t sure so I told him we’d try it again in a few days after his face had healed. A few days later we tried again and stayed home so we could watch more carefully. Nothing. So we did it again the next day and again the day after. After several days of carrots every day, we decided that they were safe to eat. This is the FIRST time in eight years that something on the do not eat list has come off. We celebrated with vegan carrot cake.
I’m often asked for my recipes. I’ve pretty much got this baking without eggs or milk thing down. He’s not gluten free so most vegan recipes work well for us. Except for brownies. I haven’t mastered vegan brownies yet. They are either too dry or too oily. I gave up a couple of years ago and now we only eat brownies when Walker is at Grandmas.
I found this recipe at Love and Lemons. Jeanine has a TON of vegan, dairy free and gluten free recipes. Peek over there for lots of ideas.
- 2¼ cups flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoons nutmeg
- 1 teaspoons salt
- ½ cup applesauce (I used applesauce that my mom had canned last year from apples she grew)
- 1 cup nut milk (I used Silk cashew milk)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup (melted) coconut or canola oil
- 2 cups grated carrots (just shy of 1lb)
- Preheat oven to 325 and grease a 9×13 (or similar) baking pan. I used a bundt pan because that’s how my mom made carrot cake when I was little.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the applesauce, nut milk, vanilla, sugar and oil.
- Mix the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients.
- Fold in the carrots and stir until just combined.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cake cool completely before frosting.
I didn’t use the macadamia nut frosting. It looks amazing though and I’ve used soaked nuts before to make creamy vegan desserts so I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t by yummy. I just squeezed a half of an orange into the leftover donut glaze I had made that morning and then added a little more powdered sugar so it would be thick enough to stay on the surface of the cake when I drizzled it over the top. Next time I’ll increase the recipe by half so that it will fill my bundt pan better.