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Holiday Whoopie Pie Recipe

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One thing I really love about the holidays is the smell in the air at this time of the year: a mix of pine (from the fresh Christmas tree) and baked goods.  Mmmmm, holiday eating!

I’ve adapted this recipe from Toronto Star’s Cookie Calendar Day – Chocolate whoopie pies from Mabel’s Bakery for a dairy-free and egg-free frosting version (my daughter can have eggs in baked goods, not raw). The result?  It’s a fun recipe to make with children. AND they’re tasty, soft and chewy. As one of our guests said when he was on his fourth one, “They remind me of my childhood!”.

Ingredients:

Whoopie Pie

  1. 1-2/3 cup (410 ml) all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup (250 ml) granulated sugar
  3. 1/4 cup (60 ml) cocoa powder
  4. 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  5. 1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
  6. 1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda
  7. 1/2 cup (125 ml) unsweetened almond milk
  8. 1/2 cup (125 ml) vegan margarine, at room temperature
  9. 1 large egg, beaten
  10. 1/2 cup (125 ml) hot water
  11. 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
  12. sprinkles and/or coloured sugar (for decorating)

Frosting

  1. 2 cups (500 ml) icing sugar
  2. 2 tbsp (30 ml) vegan margarine or vegetable shortening (Crisco)
  3. 2 tbsp (30 ml) water

*Store bought icing also works.  I tried the Duncan Hines Fluffy White Whipped Frosting and it worked beautifully!

Baking / Frosting Directions:

  1. Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda
  2. Mix well
  3. Stir in almond milk, vegan margarine and egg (beaten) until smooth
  4. Stir in hot water and vanilla extract.
  5. Mix well. Batter will be runny
  6. Scoop batter into a piping bag (less messy that way)
  7. Pipe onto parchment-lined baking sheets at least 2″ (5 cm) apart. Batter sizes are at least 1.5″ in diameter
  8. Bake in preheated 350F (180C) oven or 325F (160C) convection until puffed but not cracked, about 12-15 minutes
  9. Cool to room temperature
  10. For frosting, mix icing sugar, vegan margarine and water until smooth. Set aside

Assembly Directions:

  1. Turn 1/2 the cookies upside down
  2. Pipe in frosting using a larger round tip.  Make it thick along the edgeswp02
  3. Add remaining 1/2 the cookies gently on top wp03
  4. Place sprinkles / coloured sugar in bowl
  5. Roll edge of each whoopie pie into the sprinkles wp04
  6. Place in sealed container or enjoy immediately! wp06

Makes approximately 24 child-sized whoopie pies, about 1.5-2″ in diameter.

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Smash Kitchen and Bar Restaurant | Markham

We’ve heard great things about this restaurant from friends already so we thought we’d give it a try one weeknight as part of a birthday celebration.  The waiter was very approachable and understanding (he has food allergies as well).  The selection was limited, but he tried to work with us for Kay to have something she’d enjoy.  It came to three choices that are dairy and nut free: 1) Kids Pasta; 2) Kids Smash Burger (bun-less and cheese-less); or 3) BBQ wings (dry, no sauce) from Starters and Sides.  She chose #3 and shared my fries with me.  The portions were pretty decent.

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But what made this one of her favourite restaurants was the surprise dessert at the end: a dairy-free mango gelato.  She was over the moon when it arrived!

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happy-tummy-ometer : 5 out of 5 . For the meal: “I like the wings.  They’re crispy!” For the dessert: “I get dessert too?!!!”

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Mango Dessert Sushi Recipe

Mango Dessert Sushi

Having a sweet tooth runs in our family.  So when it comes to desserts, we definitely LOVE them.

For dairy-free and peanut-free options that are enjoyable to all, we have to get a bit creative with the recipes.  Here’s one we enjoy making with Kay that’s quick and easy: mango sushi with coconut sticky rice.  Mmm mmm goodness!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup of sticky rice (also known as glutinous rice), cooked
  2. 1 can of coconut milk
  3. 1 mango
  4. 1 tbsp sugar (or 2)
  5. 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Place cooked sticky rice into a medium sized bowl
  2. Pour in coconut milk (can add more to taste)
  3. Sprinkle in salt to taste
  4. Sprinkle in sugar to taste
  5. Mix contents thoroughly
  6. Set aside to cool to room temperature
  7. Peel the mango and remove its seed
  8. Cut mango in thin slices and set aside
  9. Form the coconut sticky rice into sushi
  10. Place mango slices on top of sushi
  11. *Optional* Add garnish (in this case, the blueberry was added by my daughter)

happy-tummy-ometer : 5 out of 5 . “The blueberry mango sushi is my invention!  It is yummier and looks more gooder!”

photo credit : RC2 Films

‘Ohana | Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Disney World

We originally weren’t sure about this restaurant since it’s not character dining for dinner but it soon exceeded our expectations on all fronts.  With excellent service and a cheerful staff that’s also receptive to our child’s allergy needs, we felt at ease right away.

We entered when the events for the children began, where they got to sweep coconuts across the restaurant’s floor with brooms and dance to island music.  Soon after, the polynesian food came out.  We received huge helpings of side dishes first, which ties us over between skewers of meat brought around by our server.  Please note, this is a restaurant for meat lovers (my daughter included).  Vegetables are definitely lacking here.

The side dishes of pan-fried dumplings and chicken wings are both dairy and peanut free and very tasty! Kay feasted on this meal alone and really didn’t need to eat anything else.  She also had some skewered chicken and pork but preferred the crispiness of the dumplings to all other foods.

'Ohana side dish

For dessert hers came out first, which made her feel really special.  It’s also her first ice cream sandwich!  This dairy-free, peanut-free and gluten-free dessert is made with Rice Dream vanilla ice cream and Enjoy Life chocolate chip cookies.  It’s as good as it looks, so she gobbled it up really quickly. It’s definitely a memorable night for us.

'Ohana dairy-free dessert

happy-tummy-ometer : 5 out of 5 . For the meal: “Mmmm. The ‘dum-pe-lings’ are so crispy and yummy” For the dessert: “Ooh it looks deeelicious! Soo yummy. And I like the raspberries a lot.”

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So Delicious Coconut Milk Minis

So Delicious Dairy-Free Minis

Aaaah… summer’s in the air!  With the LONG winter we just had, this nice weather is a refreshing and long awaited change.

With summer months come frozen treats.  That means I’m on the prowl for dairy-free and peanut-free treats for Kay that we can also enjoy.  Freezies can only go so far with me, although they’re good enough for her and her peers.  Dairy-free ice cream is usually a tricky one to find.  Some of the frozen treats out there may be creamy enough to pass for an ice cream substitute but are lacking in taste, or vice-versa.  So it’s usually quite a process for me to find a really good and creamy dairy-free ice cream.

I recently came across So Delicious Coconut Milk Minis and thought they’d be great for her to try out. The size is just right for her (sometimes just enough for me too).  They look like mini ice cream sandwiches and come in two flavours: vanilla and banana split, which looks like neopolitan ice cream.

We tried the Banana Split together and really liked it!  It tastes like bananas mixed with strawberry and chocolate.  I’ve had other vegan ice creams before and in my opinion, coconut ice creams are rich, creamy and the closest in texture to dairy.  Two thumbs up for me!

So Delicious Mini

happy-tummy-ometer : 5 out of 5 “YUMMMMMY!!! It’s a PARTY in my tummy!”

Yak & Yeti | Animal Kingdom, Disney World

Disney World restaurants impress us with on how they cater to food allergies. The manager came over to discuss our daughter’s interests and food allergies as though as it’s a natural thing and happens all the time.  That’s what I really like about their customer service.  You feel like you belong.

Yak & Yeti is a Pan-Asian restaurant.  Their cuisine is a nice departure from the typical quick service offerings at Disney parks (fries, hamburgers, hotdogs, etc.). In retrospect, we should have ordered the pan seared pork potstickers for Kay so that her food is similar to ours. But when we found out their hamburgers from the Kids’ Entrées are dairy-free, buns included, we couldn’t resist ordering one for her. At most of the other restaurants, her hamburger orders are bun-less since bread is typically outsourced and the ingredients are unknown. So this was a nice change.

The Mini Burger we ordered came with a good serving of baby carrots and apple sauce (rice and brown rice are also side options). She liked her burger but not as much as the dessert.  There was no dairy-free dessert for kids so she selected the Sorbet from the adult menu. It’s a trio of mango, lemon and raspberry sorbets, nicely plated with large portions. Needless to say, she wasn’t able to finish it (and we wouldn’t have let her anyways).

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happy-tummy-ometer : 4 out of 5  [referencing the Sorbet] “Wo-oah! This is sooo pretty. Mmmm and yummy too! I like the Mango the best.”

Jasmine Lounge, Fairmont Southampton | Bermuda

We vacationed in Bermuda and wanted to try the Jasmine Lounge at the Fairmont Southampton.  Our experience?  Well, let’s just say we went back twice more!

For our first time, Kay had the chicken fingers.  The waiter verified it with the kitchen before we ordered it since chicken fingers tend to have dairy in them.  The side was fries and a tiny ketchup bottle. The verdict?  No-go for the chicken fingers, unfortunately.  They were too peppery for her.  But the fries and tiny bottle of ketchup were a huge hit!

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happy-tummy-ometer : 3 out of 5 “Chicken is spicy. Fries are crispy and yummy!  The ketchup is sooo cute!”

At our second visit the chef came over to speak with us, which was a nice touch!  We settled on whole-wheat penne with tomato sauce and meatballs.  For the drink, she had a virgin strawberry daiquiri.  She ate the penne but preferred the virgin daiquiri.  For dessert, she had a dairy-free, sugarless banana ice cream with mixed fruit (think frozen mashed banana).  Her eyes lit up when it arrived since this was one of the few times she can enjoy dessert at a restaurant.  Usually I had to bring a small treat for her if we wanted dessert too.

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happy-tummy-ometer : 3 out of 5 “It’s okay. I like your meatballs better, mommy.”

For the third visit, we had the pleasure of talking with the chef again.  We mentioned her disinterest in previous meals so he offered to make her something she would enjoy.  Did he say dairy-free pizza?   This personal pizza had gluten-free dough (which is also dairy and egg-free), tomato sauce, chicken, bacon and basil.  She polished off most of it in addition to her fries.  And for both her drink and dessert, she had the virgin strawberry banana daiquiri – less sweet than the other drink.   Like they always say, third time’s a charm!

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happy-tummy-ometer : 5 out of 5 “Party in my tummy!”