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Friday, May 16, 2014

Baking in a Gluten-Free/Nut-Free/Egg-Free World

All right.  Before I go ahead with today's edition of the brand new Foodie Friday theme day, I wanted to do a little bit of self-promotion courtesy of an iPad mini, a white board, and a dream.  Now, granted, most of you who don't live in Ontario, Canada will likely not be able to get to this event, but for those of you who are, consider it my little piece of cross-promotion.

Once again I will be doing the "Relay for Life" event in my hometown, a 12-hour event which will have all participants walking around a track for cancer research.  I had such a great time last year with the event and I am definitely looking forward to participating in the event again this year with some of my friends from work.  And, because we're trying to raise money for cancer research, our team is definitely coming up with ways to try and raise money for the event.

And, what better way than with a cake walk and bake sale?  Or, as I like to call it, the "Cake 'n' Bake"!

Seriously, there's just something about bake sales that always have my mouth watering and my sweet tooth tingling with excitement!  As someone who admittedly has an out-of-control appetite for anything sweet, I've always loved a great bake sale.  And, while I always have maintained that my mother makes some of the greatest baked goods in the whole world, I must say that as long as a lot of love and care was spent on each individual cookie, brownie, nanaimo bar, or pan of baklava, I would be game to eating anything.

Well, anything that doesn't contain a strawberry, that is.  I have an allergy to strawberries.  Luckily, the strawberry is the only berry (and food for that matter) that I have an allergic reaction to.  In fact, it's not even that serious of an allergy.  I just develop several itchy spots all over my body that are the same colour as a strawberry.  It's more annoying than anything.

(And, it makes it really hard to buy yogurt, as 90% of all yogurt multipacks have at least three containers of strawberry yogurt in them.)

But, I'm just thankful that I have but ONE food allergy.  I don't know if it's just me that is noticing this, but aren't food allergies becoming more and more common these days?

Twenty years ago when I graduated elementary school, there was a time in which kids could bring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and the teachers wouldn't bat an eye.  These days, a kid brings in a peanut butter cookie and the school board treats it as if it's a weapon of mass destruction!

I honestly don't really know how to explain why there has been such an increase in food allergies as of late.  Whether it is due to the fault of pesticides, resistance to antibiotics, not enough exposure to probiotics, or simply the need to have excessively clean homes and businesses causing the's really hard to say.

But these days, you can't seem to go into a supermarket without being bombarded with lots of brand new labels on products.  Products boasting that they are peanut-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, egg-free, and dairy-free.  And, in some of these cases, these foods can also be taste-free!

It certainly makes preparing foods to sell at a bake sale that much harder.  For me it's easy enough to still select a treat.  All I have to do is choose foods that do not have strawberries in them.  But for people who have allergies to dairy, nuts, and eggs, it can be that much more difficult.  As far back as I could remember, my mom used all three of these things in almost every single thing she has ever baked.  I couldn't imagine not being able to eat any cookie, cake slice, or brownie that my mom makes because of an allergy to one or more key ingredient. 

I mean, surely there has to be some sort of baked treat that people with any kind of allergy could eat.  I just have to find them, right?

One problem.  My mother doesn't own any sort of cookbook that have recipes that are gluten-free, dairy-free, or nut-free.  So, where would I go to get recipes that people of all nutritional tolerances can enjoy?

Well, would you believe that my own workplace inspired today's recipe share?

You see, there's a magazine that is available at most stores in the retail chain that I work for.  It's a magazine that essentially is targeted towards the typical shopper at one of the stores - a woman in her late thirties/early forties with a couple of children.  It features fashion tips, crafts and games for children, ideas for things to make the holidays better, and of course, it has a whole section for recipes.

And, the best part?  The magazine is absolutely free.  You really don't even have to buy anything at the store to get the magazine.

But here's the thing.  The magazine is only available in Canadian stores.  And since most of my readers come from the United States, you probably won't know where to get this magazine unless you know how to download it onto your smartphone or tablet.

Well, I have a special treat for you.  I'm sure that the people who came up with the recipe page for this magazine won't mind if I scan the recipes from the latest issue on my scanner, and then post the recipes in my blog.  After all, the magazine is absolutely free, and I'm sure that the people who made the recipes up would be quite happy to see them traveling across the globe!

As it so happens, this month's edition of the magazine had a section that focused entirely on tasty treats that still tasted like the cookies and brownies you grew up with, but substituting other ingredients for the ones that would cause people to have serious allergic reactions.

Now, I myself haven't tried these recipes yet, but they certainly look very tasty on the page.  For those of you who do try the recipes, please let me know how they turned out!

For now, enjoy these recipes for Nut-Free Butter Tart Squares, Egg-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Gluten-Free Brownies!  Bon appetit (and, don't worry, if you click on the images, you can blow the font up so that it is easier to read)!

And, I have one more final thing to say before I close the recipe book on another Foodie Friday.  If you have any recipes that you would like to spotlight in this space (it can be anything you want), by all means, you are more than welcome to send it to me.  I will give you full credit for your recipe, and you will have your recipe shared with people all over the world!  I'd call that a great trade-off!

And, I even have an e-mail address where you can send your recipes.  You can send them to or if you like, you can visit the "A POP CULTURE ADDICT'S GUIDE TO LIFE" Facebook page and leave a recipe there.  Or, you can just leave a comment below!  

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