Best Banana Bread Muffins

Whenever we have bananas that have sat in the kitchen a bit too long, I break out this banana bread recipe. Adapted from multiple different recipes I have come across, I added some of my favorite ingredients to make this the best banana bread I have ever tasted. My nut allergy prevents me from enjoying most banana bread recipes in restaurants, as they usually contain nuts, so I make my own that includes everything I do like and nothing that I don’t. One of these ingredients are oats. Including them in the batter gives the bread a more rustic feel that I enjoy in homemade breads. This way, the bread has a nice texture that you would associate with something hearty and homemade.

Yield: About 24 muffins

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes at 350 degrees

Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas

¾ cup melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 and ½ cups flour

1/3 cup oats

1 tsp baking soda

Dash of salt

Chocolate chips optional

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mash bananas and melt the butter. Combine with both sugars, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda over the top of the wet mixture.IMG_4953
  3. Add in the flour and oats and stir until just combined.IMG_4954
  4. Top with chocolate chips or cinnamon sugar and bake for 25 minutes, making sure to only fill up the muffin tin half with batter.IMG_4959
  5. Let cool and enjoy right away or store in the fridge for later.

You can also customize the bread by adding any toppings that suite your tastes, (I added chocolate chips and cinnamon sugar to mine!) though they’re delicious without anything else too. These banana bread muffins are the perfect grab and go breakfast in the morning or as a snack later in the day. Bon appétit!

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Introducing Allergies á la Carte on Pinterest!

Follow Allergies á la Carte on Pinterest to get all of the updates from the blog and more. The perfect place to save all of the delicious nut-free recipes you’ve found and share the interesting stories you’ve read. Including everything that is already present on this site, more advice and facts about food allergies from other sources will also be available. Happy pinning! –Lauren

10 Fresh Food Allergy Facts

As someone who believes that education is the first step in creating a safer and more understanding community, I wanted to share these food allergy facts so you can become more educated on the matter and be equipped to educate others.

  1. 15 million Americans live with food allergies every day.
    • How to Help: Donate to food allergy research or go on an official Food Allergy Walk.
  2. The top 8 most common food allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish.
  3. 1 in 3 children report being bullied for their food allergy.
    • How to Help: Spread the word about the seriousness of food allergies and how they can be as live-threatening as any other serious disease.
  4. People do not outgrow peanut, tree nut, fish, and shellfish allergies. However, people can outgrow milk, egg, and wheat allergies, but would usually do so before the age of 5.
  5. Not introducing a common allergen to children early on does not reduce the risk of developing food allergies later in life.
    • How to Help: Introduce small amounts of allergen, such as peanuts, to your child/family member at an early age. Of course, do so only after receiving the permission of your doctor.
  6. The Americans with Disabilities Act, instated in 1990, also applies to those with food allergies in areas such as employment, public transportation, and restaurants.
  7. 200,000 Americans each year require emergency medical care because of food allergies.
    • How to Help: Clean off your area when you’re done eating an allergen in a public space or learn/teach the signs of an allergic reaction.
  8. Since 1997, food allergies have increased by almost 50%.
  9. Epinephrine is the only defense against anaphylaxis, the most serious form of a food allergy reaction.
    • How to Help: Learn or teach someone how to use an epinephrine auto-injector.
  10. 25 billion dollars each year are spent on food allergies, i.e. Emergency room visits, buying allergen-free food, etc.

Feel free to share these facts with other members of the food allergy community and those who might need more knowledge! Education is the best tool in keeping food allergic individuals safe and and creating a better world for everyone.

 

 

 

Maple Apple Granola

One of my favorite snacks happens to be granola. Both sweet and crunchy, it’s the perfect snack for any time of the day. Unfortunately, many store-brought granolas contain peanuts and other tree nuts, so I usually make my own. It so happens that many recipes I found online also contained different types of nuts. Each of these recipes would be a bit dull if all of the extra ingredients were taken out so I came up with this recipe, which includes cereal and pretzels, so you still have that nice crunch without the nuts.

Yield: 2 cups

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

½ cup of dried apple (You can make your own or buy them)

1 cup oats

½ cup cheerios

¼ cup pretzels

1 tsp of cinnamon

2 tbsp. of maple syrup

¼ of vegetable oil

¼ cup brown sugar

½ tsp of vanilla

Pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients (Oats, cheerios, pretzels, apple, cinnamon, and salt) in a medium sized bowl.IMG_4940
  3. Combine oil, brown sugar, vanilla, and maple syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil. After about 30 seconds remove from heat.
  4. Stir the sugar mixture into the dry mixture and spread on a cookie sheet. IMG_4945
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, stopping to mix after half the time.
  6. Allow to cool and store in a plastic bag

Though it’s the middle of summer, my favorite flavors happen to be ones that remind me of Fall which is why I decided to include dried apples and maple syrup. This granola recipe can easily be changed up by swapping out the dried apples for other dried fruits and taking out the maple syrup and using coconut oil or honey instead. This nut-free granola can be enjoyed anytime over yogurt or just by itself. Bon appétit!

Food Allergy Preparedness in Schools

Growing up, I was well aware of the risk my food allergy presented and would carry my Epi-Pen on me at all times. Being a kid, however, most of that time was spent in school. I was careful to avoid my allergens but there was always a risk present being in a building with so many other people. As far as I know, there was not epinephrine available in the nurse’s office at any of my k-12 schools. If I had forgotten to bring my Epi-Pen one day and had a reaction, the availability of epinephrine at my school would be the difference between life and death. This is why all schools, public and private, should have a stock of epinephrine available for the use of any student who needs it. Many of the cases where a student has had a fatal reaction are because they needed more than one standard dose of epinephrine or did not have one administered fast enough.1 Therefore, increasing the availability of epinephrine in schools would save those lives. As of today, only 13 states require schools to have a stock of epinephrine, though all states allow for a student to carry their own.2 This leaves millions of students unsafe at school every day.

For schools to be prepared to provide a safe education to food allergic students, the nurses need to be trained in how to use an Epi-Pen, handle an allergic reaction, and interact with food allergic students. In my experience, especially in elementary school, the nurses were not aware of how an allergy works and how that can be different for each student. While it is important to have them all be trained on epinephrine delivery, they should also be trained in how to best handle situations that can be threatening, but common occurrences in classrooms. These situations include a teacher handing out an allergen in class or the cleanliness of shared areas such as desks or toys. In my situation, the nurses were unaware of these things and putting the stress of having to explain them on a child, at the risk of not being taken seriously, is unfair. I believe that better training is needed in schools across the country to provide a safe learning environment for all children. For children with food allergies, they must not only deal with the physical stress of possibly having a severe reaction but the psychological stress of worrying about accidental cross-contamination or bullying. Having the adults in charge be knowledgeable and trustworthy is vital in keeping children safe and making sure they feel safe.

References:

  1. foodallergy.org

 

 

Homemade Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Coming to college, I was lucky enough to discover a bakery with the most delicious donuts ever. Extremely soft and covered with a cinnamon powdered sugar, they are seriously the best donuts I’ve ever eaten. As a college student with food allergies, I was glad to find something delicious that everyone enjoys that I can enjoy with them too. To avoid a risk of cross-contamination, and as a fun challenge, I decided to try to replicate the recipe on my own. Though these might not be quite the same as picking them up from the bakery, they have a similar effect.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 9 minutes

Ingredients:

Cinnamon Donuts:

1 cup of flour

1 tsp of baking powder

¼ tsp of baking soda

1.5 tsp of cinnamon

¼ tsp of salt

1 egg

1/3 cup of brown sugar

¼ cup of milk

¼ of sour cream

2 tbsp of melted butter

2 tsp of vanilla

1 tbsp of maple syrup

 

Topping:

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp sugar

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients, (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon) Set aside.IMG_4919
  2. Next melt the butter in a microwave safe dish and stir in the vanilla. Pour into a larger, suitable bowl and add the rest of the wet ingredients (egg, brown sugar, milk, sour cream, and maple syrup)IMG_4920
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.IMG_4923
  4. Pour batter into a donut pan and bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes.IMG_4927
  5. While the donuts are baking, stir together the ingredients for the topping.
  6. When the donuts are finished baking, roll them in the powdered sugar as soon as they are cool enough to transfer from the baking pan. You can also make a glaze from the topping by adding a tablespoon of water to the mixture. I prefer the powdered topping personally though.
  7. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to three days.

Enjoy these delicious, spicy donuts! Comment below with your favorite lookalike recipes.

How to Be a Great Friend to Someone With Food Allergies

In my experience with explaining my food allergies to friends, I have come across some common themes in what I want them to understand. Here are some tips that might be helpful for those with food allergic friends.

  1. Become Trained in Using an Epi-Pen: A great way to alleviate some of the worry that comes with being around someone with a severe allergy is to be comfortable knowing what to do if they do have a reaction. This not only makes you more comfortable, but will make your friend safer too.
  2. Know the Rules: The rules they tell you for being around them are simply for their safety. People with allergies must live by certain rules that may seem arbitrary to others, but this is to keep ourselves safe so we can live normally. In caring for your friend, know that they don’t wish to be a burden and don’t make them feel like they are one.
    1. Depending on the type of food allergy, you might have to avoid cross-contamination if you frequently eat with this friend or hang out with them a lot.
  3. Ask the Specifics: Know how severe their allergy is and exactly what they can or cannot eat. Having as much information as possible will allow them to feel more comfortable, knowing that someone close to them knows the seriousness and specifics of their allergy.
  4. Be Open: Try foods that you might not have before with them. Eating nut-free or gluten-free can be interesting, even if you don’t have to on a daily basis.
    1. On the same note, try out some of their favorite restaurants. You might find a new favorite too!
  5. Simply Listen: People with food allergies mostly just want to be taken seriously and live safe lives. Being a true friend and providing that security as someone who understands and cares about their health is the best thing you can do.

With these steps, anyone can become a more understanding and knowledgeable member of the food allergy community.

Comment with your best tips for being a friend to those with allergies!