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.
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.
- Wash, hull and slice strawberries (You only need 1-2 large to fill the biscuit with extra for the plate)
- Make sure the biscuits are cool before splitting them in half.
- Place a few strawberry slices on the bottom half of the biscuit and drizzle sauce.
- 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.