Tag archive for "Food allergy"

Jewish Hostess of the Week Rachel Packer-Mom With an Allergy Free Mission

kosher dessert recipes, kosher pareve recipes, shavuot recipes and ideas

Jewish Hostess of the Week Rachel Packer-Mom With an Allergy Free Mission

3 Comments 01 June 2011


When I first met Rachel Orenstein Packer, I was SO impressed with  how she turned her son’s allergies into a personal mission to educate herself  about cooking allergy free so that her son could enjoy Jewish holidays and family meals. I LOVE her mantra “When Life Hands You Lemons…Make an Egg-Free Lemon Cake.” I encouraged her to start her own  blog because I know that this is a new hot topic for many moms nowadays. Growing up we really never heard much about children’s allergies, but it seems that the topic is now coming to the forefront in many households.  Not long after meeting Rachel, I discovered that my own teenage son was also allergic to egg and dairy. What a small world! Enjoy Rachel’s recipe and Happy Holidays! Marlene

Please visit Rachel’s blog at Life Is Good Lick the Bowl.

by:Rachel Ornstein Packer

When my son was diagnosed with severe food allergies at three, it literally turned my family’s world upside down. It was a mission I didn’t want or ask for, but I had no choice.  So I rolled up my sleeves and armed myself with knowledge regarding food allergies, forced myself to learn how to bake (something I really didn’t do very well before allergies) and became an advocate/ freelance writer regarding food allergies, recipes and nutrition.

The mission of food allergies is a major focus for her family as it affects many of the decisions they make regarding holidays, school celebrations and vacations.  It’s important to not become consumed by the mission, rather, incorporate it into your life, try to achieve some kind of balance, and don’t forget to truly embrace the moments and simchas that truly deserve our full attention.  When I first started to bake, I felt I needed to prove to everyone that allergy- free food was stellar to its allergy counterparts.  I would spend long hours in the kitchen whipping up desserts to impress those who didn’t even have allergies when all Ari wanted was cupcakes.  In retrospect, that’s what I mean about being consumed by a mission.  I was missing out on time I could have spent with my family.

Balance is something we all strive for as mothers, hostesses, advocates, business professionals etc….  We are multi-tasking so much everyday that sometimes we just forget to relax and just be in the moment.  Perhaps that means letting something go in your schedule because you choose to do something fun with your kids instead, or leave work early to have dinner with the family.

Make the upcoming Shavuot holiday one that is stress free, easy and delicious.  Below is a recipe for Le Petite Strawberry Shortcake with Vanilla Sauce.  It’s a lovely, light, summer type dessert that is sure to impress without a lot of fuss or baking time.  Enjoy the moment with your family.

Fresh and Creamy Le Petite Strawberry Shortcake with Vanilla Sauce

Dairy Free and Egg Free

These biscuits are adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking-Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Allergy Free Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (you can use unbleached all purpose instead)
  • 1/3 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 TBSP wheat germ (optional, I use it for a nutritional boost)
  • 1 TBSP SUCANAT ( you can use any type of sugar or eliminate altogether)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup soymilk (use vanilla soymilk if you want a little extra sweetness)


Preheat oven to 475

Lightly grease a cookie sheet (I line mine with aluminum foil)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, wheat germ and salt.  Use a whisk to fully mix them together.  Add the milk and oil until the dry ingredients are moistened.  It will be very thick and sticky, not like cake batter. Use a regular heaping tablespoon to scoop batter onto the cookie sheet.

The recipe originally yielded 24 smaller sized biscuits.  I doubled the scoop to make them larger as shortcakes.  It should yield 10-12 biscuits depending on how large you want to make them.

Place them at least 1 ½ inches apart and bake until the bottoms are golden brown, about 8 minutes.

Vanilla Sauce

I love this sauce.  It is slightly frothier than regular sauce, but not quite cream. I like it because it has a rich vanilla flavor but isn’t as heavy as whipping cream.  Certainly, you can use any store bought whip topping, and in the case of dairy allergies-there are plenty of good dairy free ones as well.

  • ¼-cup soymilk
  • ½-cup canola oil
  • 1-2 TBSP sweetener (I use Florida Crystals)
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch (or potato starch)
  • 1 tsp. good quality vanilla (good quality vanilla makes a big difference in taste)

I have tried making this with a blender, processor and beaters.  The hand beater worked the best.

Combine the soymilk, sweetener, starch, and vanilla and beat until combined.  Slowly drizzle in the oil and continue to beat until the mixture is frothy and slightly thick.

Place in the fridge for roughly an hour or so.  As it gets colder, it thickens slightly.


  1. Wash, hull and slice strawberries (You only need 1-2 large to fill the biscuit with extra for the plate)
  2. Make sure the biscuits are cool before splitting them in half.
  3. Place a few strawberry slices on the bottom half of the biscuit and drizzle sauce.
  4. Replace the top of the biscuit and drizzle sauce over the top.  Decorate plate with extra strawberries. Serve immediately.*This sauce is also great for any kind of fruit dipping, or to drizzle over a brownie, or even ice cream.


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Allergy-Free Challah- Mom With a Mission

kosher bread recipes, kosher recipes

Allergy-Free Challah- Mom With a Mission

11 Comments 01 February 2011

Enjoy this Kosher Recipe for Allergy Free Challah

Challah with a Mission

By Rachel Ornstein Packer

When my son was diagnosed with severe food allergies, (eggs, nuts and citrus), I realized that I, along with so many others, was now faced with a mission…to keep my son safe, and educate others in the process.   Food allergies are terrifying and daunting, and for the first few months, I was a deer in the headlights.  Slowly, I started to get a handle on things as I researched, experimented, failed and succeeded.

It took a while for a virtual non-baker like me to get the hang of baking without eggs, but I did.  One of my first projects was to learn how to bake challah because I wanted my son to continue to enjoy his favorite Friday night ritual, safely.   I found that it was easier, safer and tastier to make it myself, rather, than to relentlessly ask questions at the bakery which only yielded non-chalant responses that could result in a potentially life threatening episode.

Often, my guests ask me for this kosher recipe and as part of my mission, I now pass it on to you.  Another benefit of this challah (aside from the fact that it is ridiculously simple) is that it is cholesterol free for those family members or guests who are on restricted diets.  Enjoy!

Kosher Recipe : Challah with a Mission

Ingredients for this Kosher Recipe

  • 1-cup warm water (approx. 105-115 degrees)
  • 4 ¼ cups flour (I use 3 cups unbleached flour and 1 ¼ whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2 ½ tsp. rapid rise yeast
  • 1/3- cup sugar (I use Florida Crystals because they are less processed)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 TBSP. canola oil

Egg Replacer-Whisk these together briskly with a whisk or fork

(These three recipe ingredients work as a binding agent.  The “fizzing” that occurs when whisked together provides the “lift” to the finished product).  Make sure you add the egg replacer right before the flour-see Notes for Great Challah below).

Kosher Recipe Directions

  • Pour yeast into warm water along with a pinch of sugar in a large bowl and mix until combined.
  • Let the mixture to rest for 5 minutes or so until bubbly and creamy (I usually measure out the flour while waiting for the yeast)
  • Add the sugar, salt, and additional 2 TBSP. of canola oil and mix.
  • Beat the egg replacer with a whisk (it will fizz) and pour into the yeast mixture.
  • Add the flour, a cup at a time until it is difficult to stir the mixture.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it until it is smooth and elastic (approximately 7-10 minutes).  It should be springy.
  • Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a slightly damp cloth or plastic wrap and set in a warm place for 90 minutes.  It should double in size.
  • Transfer to a lightly floured surface and cut dough into two equal halves.
  • Divide each piece into three pieces and roll out into 10-12 inch ropes.
  • Pinch the ends together and proceed to braid the dough.
  • Place on parchment lined baking sheet and let rise for additional 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes depending on your oven.
  • Kosher Recipe for ' No-Egg' Challah

    Kosher Recipe for ' No-Egg' Challah

  • Kosher Recipe for ' No-Egg' Challah

Notes for Great Challah:

  • Add the egg replacer right before adding the flour. The reaction between the ingredients is what will give your challah lift (in lieu of eggs).  If you put it in first, you will not have as much of a reaction when you add the flour.
  • If you are looking for a healthier option, try using a cup or two (I use 1¼ cup) of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour.  It has all the nutrition of its whole-wheat flour counterpart, (4 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein per ¼ cup) though because it is ground from the wheat berry, it yields a far more delicate consistency.
  • Make sure you preheat your oven.
  • Baking powder needs to be relatively fresh.  Old baking powder will yield a hard, flat challah.
  • If you put the dough in the oven to rise, make sure the oven isn’t hot.  Turn it to 200 degrees for 20 seconds and then turn it off, otherwise it will bake the dough prematurely and it won’t rise well.
  • You can shape these challahs into rounds or rolls.
  • You can also add raisins, chocolate chips.  Use your creativity.  My kids love it when I brush a little oil to the top of the challah and then sprinkle with a dusting of Florida Crystal sugar before baking.

Enjoy this Kosher Recipe for Allergy Free Challah

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