Here are a few samples of food pieces I’ve written for VegNews Magazine.
9 Simple Substitutions for Common Food Allergies
People of every dietary persuasion can enjoy these delicious dishes.
Food allergies are the worst. For some, it could be a deadly anaphylactic reaction; while for others, it’s a bad stomachache that makes Timmy’s birthday cake unpalatable. Soy, wheat, peanuts, and tree nuts are among the most common food allergies, but coconut and citrus fruits make their mark (in the form of hives) too. While food allergies have been on the rise in recent years, the silver lining is that more people are aware of allergens, and there’s a bounty of substitutes just waiting to be tossed, baked, and blended into your treats. With these readily available alternatives, you can have your soy-, gluten-, peanut-, tree nut-, citrus-, and coconut-free cake and eat it too.
Citrus allergies can be quite sour. Though not as widely discussed as other allergens, citrus fruits, such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange, cause about three percent of adolescents, and many adults, discomfort. With so many drinks topped with lime or zested with orange, we feel for those who spend Saturday nights seeking a citrus-free adult beverage. Vegan White Russians and other creamy cocktails are a safe bet, as are grape, pear, or watermelon-based drinks––none of which are citrus fruits. Strawberry, raspberry, and apples are also in the clear; so give this Apple Cider Sangria recipe a try for your next book club meeting.
Coconut, with its thick and creamy consistency, is a vegan staple often used to replace dairy. It’s the base of ice creams, curries, and sweet drinks everywhere, and while there are plenty of cruelty-free alternatives (rice, oat, or soymilk or even mashed up soaked cashews) that can easily be called in to take the place of coconut in recipes, some of us just want a coconut-free dish without the research and math that goes along with substitutes. If coconut allergies have kept you from digging into ice cream or curry, check out this raw Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream that uses a cashew base, or nosh on some lentil curry that is totally coconut-free.
Peanut allergies are one of the most common food allergies today. With an occurrence of nearly one in every 50 children and one out of every 200 adults, peanut-heavy cuisines, such as Thai food, and childhood favorite peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are off limits. These allergens are often the cause of anaphylaxis, a severe condition where patients’ throats swell, closing off airways. Thankfully there are plenty of seeds––sesame, pumpkin, and hemp to name a few––that have a nutty flavor and are offered in butter-form. We can’t get over this divine and simple DIY Pumpkin (Pie) Seed Butter. Forget PB&J: pumpkin seed butter is like magic on toast.
Tree nuts are another common trigger that affect nearly 1.8 million Americans. While cashews, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and macadamia nuts are among those that should be avoided, there are a bevy of nut-like choices available to the tree-nut intolerant. Sunflower seeds lower risk of heart disease and make a great substitute for tree nuts with the added benefit of anti-inflammatory properties. Next time you’re in need of a healthy meal, feeling a little puffy, or just in the mood for delicious noodles, toss some pasta with Miso Sunflower Seed Sauce or go ahead and dip your spring rolls in it.
Beloved by many vegans, soy is also a source of much heartache––or at least stomachache––for those allergic and intolerant. Soy allergies are not as common in adults as they are in children; almost 300,000 people younger than 18 show signs of a soy allergy. But regardless of age, it poses a real problem when it comes to pizza as many come covered in soy cheese. The first dairy-free cheese, made of fermented tofu, is said to have originated in Asia in the 1500s. Luckily, vegan cheese isn’t what it used to be, and has grown beyond just soy. Kathy Patalsky’sPesto Cashew Ricotta Pizza is a perfect example of how delicious soy-free cheese can be.
Wheat is a major problem not only for those with celiac disease (gluten intolerance) but also people with wheat allergies (they’re two different ailments). Wheat may well be the most prevalent grain; it’s found in everyday staples such as bread, pasta, and seitan, as well as in obscure places like caramel coloring and soy sauce. Reading labels and having a keen eye is key to managing this allergy. Replace traditional flour with tapioca or rice flour in your baked goods, or pop this Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread into the oven and take it easy because life without wheat is good.
In case you’re still thinking about that allergen-free cake we promised, here’s one sure to win you and your friends over. With these simple swaps, you needn’t fret another moment about missing out on good eats because of food allergies.
13 New and Unique Ways to Eat PB&J
Celebrate National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day (April 2) with innovative recipes that go beyond bread.
Things that trigger vivid memories of childhood: bowl cuts, swing sets, velcro shoes, and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. We remember plenty of days spent swinging away, the wind blowing through our perfectly straight-edged bangs, our velcro-ed feet kicking gleefully in the air, and our chipmunk cheeks smeared with PB&J. While those were indeed the days, who says adults can’t enjoy the childhood staple? Here are 13 dishes bringing peanut butter and jelly back––though we’d advise leaving the bowl cut in the past.
Blondies are brownies minus the cocoa powder; the decadent dessert bars use brown sugar in place of the traditional brownie’s cocoa and we like it. Take the already unconventional a step further by whipping up a batch of these Gooey Peanut Butter and Jelly Blondies for your next picnic. Plus, they’re made with garbanzo beans so those with gluten intolerance can enjoy worry-free.
If you picked up our March + April 2013 issue, you know how much we love breakfast pizza. What could possibly elevate breakfast pizza to the next level? You guessed it, everyone’s favorite sweet combination of peanut butter and jelly. Pop this healthy protein-packed Peanut Butter, Jam, and Banana Breakfast Pizza in the oven to kick any morning off right.
One of the many reasons we love PB&J so much is that it’s appropriate for any meal. With breakfast covered, how about indulging in a bite-sized chocolatey snack? Topped with a sprinkling of sea salt, these Chocolate Peanut Butter and Jelly Cups are more than your typical store-bought candy. Wait, it gets better; there’s no baking involved and they’re simple to make.
We know what you’re thinking: I’ve got these delicious PB&J chocolate cups, wouldn’t fudge be just too much chocolate? While we don’t think there’s such thing as too much chocolate, for those concerned we have good news: the Peanut Butter and Jelly Fudgeis rich, decadent, and free of chocolate––not to mention there are only six ingredients.
Ice Cream Bars
As the temperature outside begins to rise, we’re reminiscent of days spent lounging in the grass noshing on a PB&J, so imagine our excitement when we saw that our beloved sandwich could be made in ice cream bar form. What better way to ring in warm spring days? Oh, and did we mention that they’re raw? Consider our minds officially blown.
Be still our hearts, these adorable peanut butter and jelly heart-shaped linzer cookies beg to be eaten. Dusted to perfection with powdered sugar, the cookies sandwich a swath of raspberry jam between peanut buttery goodness. While it suggests a card accompany these sweets with the message, “We go together like peanut butter and jelly,” we’d be too busy eating the cookies to read it.
No need to worry about anything sticking to the roof of your mouth with this light and fluffy peanut butter and strawberry jam dessert. With the slightly tart but delightfully sweet strawberry layered between smooth peanut butter and salty chopped peanuts, the PB&J mousse bar is frankly irresistible and, by the way, sugar-, soy-, and gluten-free.
Sometimes pizza for breakfast just isn’t what you’re in the mood for, and what you need is a more traditional grab-and-go start to your day. That’s where peanut butter and jelly-filled muffins come in. Made with bananas, rice milk, and flaxseed, Robin Asbell’s Elvis-style muffins from Big Vegan are the way to go for breakfast, lunch, or a mid-afternoon snack.
It’s no secret that a dollop of peanut butter, and perhaps a surreptitious scoop of jelly for the adventurist, can brighten up any dull bowl of oatmeal, but we bet you didn’t think of serving up the morning staple in a decadent yet healthy stack of pancakes. With oatmeal as the inspiration for the pancake batter, we think these PB&J Oatcakes are perfect for Flapjack Fridays.
Move over boring movie snacks, popcorn is about to get a whole lot better. Veggie Gal’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Popcorn Balls are a melty mix of peanut butter, jelly, brown rice syrup, vanilla, and a pinch of salt for good measure. Sweet and sticky in all the right places, debut these sure-to-be-a-hit munchies at your next movie night––just make sure to have plenty of napkins on hand.
While the mere mention of a sugary peanut butter and jelly ice pop makes our mouth water, we can’t believe how pretty these popsicles are; brightly colored jelly frozen beneath a layer of rich, cool peanut butter––the only thing missing from the Peanut Butter and Jellies is the man in the white paper hat and his ice cream truck.
Sometimes we’re running a little late and can’t be bothered to prep, mix, and bake our way to a full stomach. Luckily, the household blender lends itself well to whipping up delicious meals in seconds, and this Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie is just that––a satisfying blend of nutty almond milk and the natural sweetness of dates and blueberries ready after one quick whirl. There’s plenty of omega-3s and antioxidants to go around.
Stuffed French Toast
Oh la la! French toast buried beneath a mound of luscious peanut butter and jelly’s fancy French cousin strawberry compote has arrived. Not only are the slices of baguette toasted to golden perfection, but they’re also filled with caramelized bananas and dairy-free cream cheese. Roll up the sleeves of your silk pajamas and get ready to daintily dig in on your next trés chic Sunday morning brunch.
For those of you hankering for a PB&J throwback but just don’t have time to turn on the oven or pull out the blender, we present to you Van Gogh’s peanut butter and jelly flavored vodka. We’d like to make a toast (smothered in peanut butter and jelly), and wish you a sweet National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day.