Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Special Cupcakes

( Sorry, the pics were uploaded in reverse order)
We officially discovered Shelby’s allergies when she was about 6 months old. She’d had a rash on her cheeks for a couple of months that would come and go. Sometimes, she’d have a fine rash all over her body. Because she was exclusively breastfed, I suspected she was reacting to something I was eating. This suggestion was blown off by the pediatrician on the several occasions it was made. I finally insisted that they do an allergy test, even if I had to pay for it. One day before the results came back, Shelby was all of a sudden covered in nickel-sized hives. It looked awful, but she didn’t appear to be uncomfortable. I gave her an oatmeal bath and thought back on what I’d eaten that day. The most recent meal had been scrambled eggs with lots of cheese. It’s the eggs! I thought.
The next day the doctor calls. Shelby is allergic to eggs, milk, peanuts and codfish! Codfish? I’d never heard of an allergy to codfish! Oh, no! I’ll have to take her off the breast! Everything has eggs, milk & peanuts! I wasn’t ready to take her off the breast! She was to be my last baby! I reluctantly weaned her, but after about 2 weeks, I relactated and breastfed her for 5 more months. I figured I needed to lose weight anyway, and anything that had milk and/or eggs in it was probably something I didn’t need to be eating. Amazingly, there’s a lot you can eat. In spite of her dietary restrictions, Shelby is the chunkiest of the bunch. One of her nicknames is Fatburger, Burger for short.
I was going to donate the 2+ gallons of frozen breast milk I had. My habit was to eat a PBJ sandwich while I pumped at work. All the milk was tainted with peanuts, so I couldn’t use it. In the end it had to be thrown away when DH accidentally left the freezer door open and it all thawed out.
So now I am always on the lookout for egg, milk & peanut-free recipes. Any version of a food bought especially for Shelby is called special around here. She has special cookies (Oreos), candy (almost any hard candy) and potato chips (so far Cape Cod is the only milk free brand I’ve found). When grocery shopping, labels always have to be read, as food makers sometimes change the ingredients of their products.
Shelby will be three in November and she is surprisingly cool about her allergies. She has yet to get upset when she’s told she can’t eat something, even when everyone else is eating it (ice cream & cake at bday parties, for instance.) For her birthdays, I’ve found a health food grocery store that has the best vegan chocolate cake! You’d never guess it’s missing most of the usual ingredients!

Glazed Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes
(Vegetarian Times Sept 2008)

Avocado replaces the eggs and most of the oil in a rich, chocolaty batter that turns out super moist baked goodies.

1 ½ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 avocado, pitted & peeled
1 cup pure maple syrup
¾ cup plain soymilk
1/3 canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract

¼ block silken tofu, drained & patted dry
3 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
4 oz semisweet vegan chocolate chips, melted

To make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl. Puree avocado in food processor until smooth. Add maple syrup, soymilk, oil, and vanilla and blend until creamy. Whisk avocado mixture into flour mixture.
2. Spoon batter into prepared cupcake cups. Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with some crumbs attached. Cool.
To make glaze: Blend tofu, maple syrup, vanilla and salt in food processor until smooth. Transfer to bowl. Dip tops of cupcakes in glaze, pulling straight up from glaze to form peaks.
Better than I expected! Next time I might try to make them sweeter by using semi-sweet cocoa or adding a 1/2 cup of sugar. Shelby loved them! These are her first cupcakes ever! They are moist and chocolaty just like the recipes says. Shelby insists on using a fork to eat it so her hands don't get dirty. This from the one who cleaned the table with her shirt...and tongue. I promise the pics were not staged.