“Budín”/ Puertorrican-Style Bread Pudding

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. allergy-friendly old bread (See Amish White Bread Recipe)
  • 2 cups non-dairy milk (I use soy milk)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar +1 cup for caramel
  • ½ cup of water
  • Raisins

 

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°
  • Cut the bread into small pieces.
  • In a bowl, pour the milk and soak the bread in the milk for 15-20 mins.
  • Add the eggs, vanilla and sugar and mix until all is well blended.
  • In a small pan, mix the water and sugar and set in the stove on medium-high to make the caramel. Stir until the mixture has a golden color.
  • In a baking pan [size 8X6X2], pour the caramel, covering the bottom.
  • Add the bread mixture.
  • Finally, add raisins [the quantity you prefer].
  • Set baking pan in a roasting pan. Add water to the roasting pan until it rises halfway up the sides of the baking pan to create a water bath (bain-marie).
  • Bake for 50 mins.
  • Set aside to cool for at least an hour.
  • Run a knife along the edges to loosen. Cover with a platter and quickly, but carefully invert.
  • Cut and serve.

EnjoyIMG_0326

 

 

*If you want the bread pudding to be creamier, you can add ½ cup of non-dairy butter to the mixture. *

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Pastelón de Amarillos (Puertorrican Style Ripe Plantain Casserole)

Makes 1 Ripe Plantain Casserole [size 8x6x2]

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground Beef
  • “sofrito”
  • adobo- I use Goya
  • sazón / seasoning- I use Sazón Goya
  • olive oil
  • 4 oz. tomato sauce
  • 4 ripe plantains
  • 4 eggs

 

Directions:

  •  In a pan, sauté about 1oz. of olive oil, sofrito, sazón and tomato sauce. In a bowl, season the ground beef with adobo. Add the ground beef to the pan and cook until beef is brown.
  • Peel, cut and fry the ripe plantains until golden. I like to use olive oil to fry.
  • Generously grease the baking dish.
  • Beat 2 eggs and spread on the baking dish.
  • Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a layer of plantains.
  • Add the ground beef and spread evenly.
  • Cover the ground beef with another layer of plantains.
  • Beat 2 eggs and cover the last layer of plantains with it.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Cover the pastelón with aluminum foil and put in the oven for 20mins.

                                      IMG_0226-1  IMG_0227-1

Enjoy!!!

 

* You can add vegetables to the beef [such as green olives and green beans]. Also, if you don’t have a dairy allergy, you can top with cheese or substitute with a dairy-free alternative, such as Daiya Cheese.*

Of Family & Food Allergies…

Throughout the years, I’ve learned that what seem to be obstacles in our journey, usually bring something good. Although having food allergies is, most of the time, overwhelming, in my case it has had its share of positive outcomes. We are aware of what we eat, we have a healthier diet, we grow some of our own organic vegetables and fruits, we connect with people around the world going through the same thing, we have developed more empathy towards people, and such.

I think that one of the hardest things about having children with food allergies is feeling that you are alone in this and have no support. Maybe it’s “a phase” that we all go through? I don’t know. I found myself with something completely new, life-threatening and misunderstood by a lot of people. Sometimes, I still feel this way. Also, I feel that some people, because of their lack of empathy, isolate us. I’ve heard all kinds of comments, ranging from “I can’t believe we can’t bring homemade cupcakes to school” to “come on, can’t you give her a little bit of the allergen to help her outgrow this?”  Ummm… NO! Then, you not only feel lonely in this, but also frustrated.

I had been looking for a support group without success, when I discovered that 2 of my cousin’s children have severe, life-threatening food allergies (one, 11 yrs old is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts; the other one, 17 yrs old is allergic peanuts, tree nuts, lentils and peas). Of course, I am not happy that my cousin’s children have food allergies, but in a way I am excited to have found someone that understands what I’m going through. Food allergies have connected us in a whole new and different way. It has improved our relationship, making it one “full of love, support and tremendous understanding.” as Maria (my cousin) puts it.  Ever since we learned about our children’s allergies we talk on a daily basis in order to share information that is valuable to either of us.  And even though we live far away from each other, we are there for each other to learn and help advocate for our children.

I’ve been blessed with someone that reassures me that even though it is a “rocky” journey, it’s a possible one. When I panic about sending Penny to preschool with her food allergies, seeing her children all grown up and healthy gives me a sense of hope because it reassures me that it is something we are going to be able to live with.

In this world where Food Allergies are misunderstood, I suggest you try finding someone who’s walking the same road as you are because it will make your journey a lot easier. I know it has helped me a lot. I am so lucky, that in my case, this person is also family.

 

 

Amish White Bread

Not too long ago, I decided that I was going to make from scratch most of what we eat. I started buying cookbooks and searching online for allergy-friendly recipes. I stumbled upon a recipe for bread that seemed easy, delicious and allergy-friendly. The result was delectable. So, for those of you in need of a recipe for bread that is dairy, peanut, tree nut and soy free, here’s a good option.

 IMG_0170

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of warm water (110°F)
  • 2/3 cups sugar [I use brown sugar]
  • 1 ½ tbsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil [I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil]
  • 6 cups of bread flour [I use All-Purpose flour]

 

For the direction visit: allrecipes.com

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

Stay Safe!

Playdates

Penny is almost 3yrs old. Now she has friends, and of course this means that we get to participate in playdates. Exciting, huh? Well, although it’s great that my lil’ one is socializing more, for us moms of children with food allergies, the whole thing can turn out to be a little bit frightening.

When the word playdate comes up, I can’t help but get a little anxious. Have the children that are going to be present eaten or touched anything with [insert allergen]? If the playdate is at someone else’s house, what are the snacks that are going to be offered? What if Penny get’s a hold of a toy that is contaminated with [insert allergens]? These are some of the questions that run through my mind. So, what do I do?

  • I try to host the playdate. I ask the people coming over to refrain from bringing anything with allergens, in our case, milk-based products, peanuts & tree nuts. I’ve learned to ask my guests to wash their hands right when they get to our home- that way if they have allergens in their hands, I make sure they wash them off.
  • I alert the people that are going to be around Penny about her food allergies. Sometimes I might get carried away talking about this topic, but you need to understand that it is only because I want to keep my child safe and it simply takes a small amount of the allergen for my child to get an allergic reaction, and potentially an anaphylactic shock.
  • If hosting the playdate isn’t a possibility. I bring all of Penny’s snacks. Usually, I bring more than what she eats so we can share them. Usually, on the go, I carry Enjoy Life products, which are safe for almost everybody, since they are free of the top 8 allergens. Also, this is the reason we refuse to accept homemade treats, we don’t know what ingredients are in them.
  • I carry wipes everywhere. Wipes have been proven to be a good way to eliminate allergens from surfaces, so if we are going to eat I wipe down Penny’s area. Don’t feel offended if I go to your house and wipe down tables or chairs- I’m not insinuating that your house isn’t clean, I’m just keeping my child safe by making sure there are no allergens in the surfaces she will be in contact with.
  • Last but not least, I carry her medication (a bottle of Benadryl and 2 EpiPens) and emergency plan everywhere. Sometimes, even when you take precautions, reactions occur.

 

I was once told that I was making myself more nervous by reading so much about food allergies and posting so much information on social media. My intention is the exact opposite, I am trying to learn and inform myself on the subject in order to be able to create awareness and advocate for my child and for other people with food allergies. Food allergies are real!

 

 

Pizza Friday

As a family tradition, we bake homemade pizza on Fridays. When Penny got diagnosed with Dairy & Peanut allergies, pizza Fridays became a challenge. As we learned to identify allergens and to substitute them, it became a lot easier.

We love to use Daiya’s Mozzarella Style Shreds as a cheese substitute, but lately the kids have gotten bored of plain or veggie pizzas. Today, while grocery shopping, we discovered Applegate’s Natural Pepperoni. It’s dairy-free, which means that it’s safe for us to bring home and eat. It is delicious & the kiddos loved it!

Dairy-Free Pizza

Back Home!

I’m back!

I am happy to say that Paulo is back home from the hospital, since Thursday evening. He was discharged with a gastroenteritis diagnosis. The main focus on his stay at the hospital was to keep him hydrated.

It has been a long week, but he has gotten a lot better. Today he feels great! He is eating, drinking lots of fluids and playing happily with Penelope. Which means that we are back to our routine!

Today, I plan to go grocery shopping to prepare for an allergy-friendly Easter!

Hope you are all having an awesome week!

Stay Safe!

Oh, and Happy Passover!