Friday, December 19, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chocolate Sandwiches, Yum!

I have made these delicious and oh so simple treats for breakfast, dessert and as a treat to take with me on the go. My daughters love them and it just goes to show you that simple ingredients combined can make the best treats. Great substitute for doughnuts or chocolate croissants in the morning.

Chocolate Sandwiches
You will need:
2 Slices of white bread
A thin chocolate bar or a handful of semi sweet chocolate chips (making sure it meets your allergen requirements)
A butter substitute such as Earth's Balance ( or butter if you can have it)
Confectionary Sugar (optional)

1. Take the chocolate bar or chocolate chips and place in between the two slices of bread. Make sure the chocolate is not too close to the edge because as the chocolate melts it may run over.

2. Take a nonstick pan and heat it over medium heat.

3. Put a pat of your butter or butter substitute in it and let it melt.

4. Place your chocolate sandwich in the pan and press down on it with a spatula.

5. Lightly brown one side of the sandwich and then place another pat of butter or butter substitute in the pan and lightly brown the other side.

6. Take out the sandwich and let it cool for 1 minutes then slice in half or into quarters and serve. You can get fancy and dust with confectionary sugar for an special effect.

You can also let it cool completely and take it in ziploc bag and you have your treat on the go.

Easy and Delicious!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Recent Allergic Reaction!

Just when I thought I had everything in control (allergen related that is) I had a major wake up call. Two days ago, I woke up with a swollen face and an immense headache. I quickly took Bendadryl (my airway and mouth were fine) and went to my doctor's office 5 minutes away carrying my epi-pen in my hand as I drove just in case. My blood pressure was low and I started a course of steriods along with the Bendaryl that was already in my system.
How could this have happened? I narrowed it down to an herbal supplement I took that was supposed to help support my immune system during this cold and flu season. I had gone over the ingredient list very carefully and even called the manufacturer. It was 100% all natural but had a combination of different herbs. The manufacturer said it was clear of the allergens I was avoiding so I felt good taking it.
Well, it turns out I am obviously allergic to one of the herbs and in the future I will not take any combination of herbal supplements. My system is sensitive to anything I ingest and I need to be extremely careful. I had a scare but it taught my an important lesson about the potential risks with herbs.
So in this winter season and beyond, I encourage you to be very careful with vitamins and herbal supplements. Try to stick to getting your vitamins from a clean and simple diet or try and take the purest form of a vitamin (just a straight vitamin C or B-12 with no dyes or herbs) and try half the dose at first. Learning to live with allergies is an ongoing process. I hope some of the lessons I have learned will help make your life easier.

Here's to a SAFE and Happy Holiday Season! Patsy

Monday, December 8, 2008

Still learning about blogs!

We are still trying to figure out this blog thing at Cherrybrook Kitchen! We have our list of 20 people from our newsletter mailing list that posted first on either of the Cherrybrook Kitchen blogs (also see us at What we didn't realize is that we would not have any way to communicate back to you that you are a winner!!?? Here is a list of the people that will get a free coupon. If you are on this list, please email us at We will follow-up with you about your free coupon!

Sorry for the hassle. We'll do better the next time.

Organdy Cupcakes
Jennifer B
debra nimtz


Thursday, December 4, 2008

So how did you come up with Cherrybrook Kitchen?

This is a very common question that I get everywhere I go. The simple and honest answer is that I was desperate for a delicious chocolate cake! I developed adult onset food allergies and could not have any eggs or dairy. This eliminated all those delicious desserts: cakes, cookies, brownies, ice cream, tarts, doughnuts, pies...ect. I would try other "safe" dessert mixes and to be frank I would have rather have a piece of fruit than the dry tastless options that were on the shelves.

I set out in my kitchen with my mixing bowls, measuring cups, baking pans, lots of dish soap and good quality basic ingredients to make a yummy chocolate cake. I must have tried over 100 times to make the perfect chocolate cake my taste buds so fondly remembered from my pre- allergy days. I even ate some of the rejects.

I would be taking spoonsfuls of warm chocolate goo out of the cake pan and my husband would look at me in horror, "What are you doing?" I would just smile a chocolately grin and smack my lips and say "I am having my chocolate cake!" Granted it was a puddle of chocolate with some chocolate lumps in it but hey it tasted good! You have to recognize and enjoy (or eat) every small step to sucesss on your path to your goals. Finally, I was able to make a chocolate cake that came out of the oven looking like a traditional cake. Sara and Caroline (my daughters) sat with me as ate the whole cake toasting to my success with our forks. It was such an awesome achievement. I was now able to make cake for myself and bring it to parties and fully participate in celebratory events.

When I would bring my cake to the parties, everyone would eat mine over the traditional treats on the table. At the same time, my daughter was in preschool and I watched with a sad heart as the children with allergies pulled out their bags of cereal or fruit during celebrations at school. That was a light bulb moment for me! I could help the kids and their parents! I had perfected at least 6 of the classic favorites chocolate chip cookies, yellow cake, chocolate frosting, vanilla frosting, sugar cookies and chocolate cake. Now how could I get it to these families?

Through brainstorming I came up with the idea for mixes. Great! Fantastic! Now I had the recipes and the I knew how I wanted to package them but I had no experience in the food industry whatsoever!

I literally packed up my cakes and cookies in Tupperware containers and brought them to business centers, manufacturers, grocery stores and advisors looking for any information to help me start this company. I will say most people were extremely kind and helpful. I did notice that the people who did not want to help would still eat my cake and asked to keep any leftovers! One of them even took my cake with the cake container and never returned it!

Next blog I will let you in on how I learned how to take a recipe for 1 cake and turn it into a recipe for ten thousand and how we made our first Cherrybrook Kitchen samples /packaging by hand! I will also post a simple recipe for a quick chocolate treat!

Have a great day and remeber no dream is to big!


Monday, December 1, 2008

Going out to Fun and Safe Dinner

We are planning on going out to a fun holiday dinner with our girls Sara and Caroline in December. Normally going out to dinner for me is a study in steamed vegetables and broiled steak or chicken. I have even had restaurants proudly bring me a "plain grilled chicken breast" only to find out it had been sitting in butter as a marinade!!!! I also go to great lengths to explain "No I am not on a diet and cutting down on butter, No I am not lactose intolerant, No I can not have a little bit, No you can not just scrape the cheese or butter off". At this point, my husband usually raises his voice and says, "If she has any dairy she will have an anaphylatic reaction and have to adminster this epi-pen (which he is now waving in their face) and have to be taken out of here on a stretcher and may die!" Note: My husband is a straight to the point type of guy. I have a couple of hints to pass along that hopefully will make your life easier if you choose to go out to dinner:

1. Call ahead and explain your allergies and ask if they feel comfortable in keeping you safe. I would rather they tell me the truth even if the answer is no.

2. Make an earlier reservation time so they can attend to your needs.

3. I review the menu before I go (online or ask them to fax or email one to you).

4. I have cards printed with my name and allergies (the card also states that I carry an epi-pen and if I do have an allergic reaction I will need to have it administered and they will need to call 911 imediately). That is a real attention grabber. Sometimes I have been known to put out my epi-pen next to my knife as an added utensil to my place setting just to give a clear visual to the waiter. They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

5. Feel free to speak with the chef or manager directly to confirm your order and needs.

6. When your dinner does arrive confirm that is it free of the allergens you are allergic to.

7. After a good meal always thank the chef, waiter and manager.

8. Lastly, I always have treats in my frig and freezer and I can usually duplicate most dishes at home that are on the menu. I have had to readjust my thinking that when I go out it is usually extremely simple and at home I can make gourmet dishes and dessert. Setting up reasonable expectations like this has really helped me cope with the struggle of eating out.

I have to go and make dinner now.....hmmm what to make?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tis the season of the Cold

This time of year brings colder temperatures, warm fires, family gatherings and the sniffles. I am very prone to colds and I need to take extra care when taking medicines. As I sit here with my tissue box, tea with honey and my pink slippers I believe this is a timely topic. If you have food allergies it is important that you read the ingredients on all medicines (also tissues with added lotions) and call the manufacturer. Your immune system is in a weakend state when you are sick and you need to know what works for you or your child.
I have 2 labeled bags (one for home and one in my car) with safe cold medicines and cough/sore throat drops . Of course, when I travel I bring a bag with medicines for almost any ailment with me. Nothing is worse than trying to hunt down a specific medicine at 11pm at night in a strange city while you are sick. Trust me I know!
Homeopathic remedies are also a great addition to the traditional medicines you find on drug store shelves. A simple search on the web will usually yield a great variety of suggestions for home remedies for almost every ailment you can imagine.
The best advice when you have a cold is still get lots of rest and plenty of fluids. I have chicken soup and bread in my freezer that I keep on hand for when I get sick. I can not have most commercially prepared soups, so I make a batch of my own and freeze it in tupperware containers in single servings to pull out as needed.
As with all allergy issues being prepared ahead of time is always best. I hope these tips will help make the cold and flu season a bit easier to manage!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chocolate Mousse without the Moo!

One of my all time favorite desserts was and still is chocolate mousse. I would dream about the light fluffy texture and the rich and velvety chocolate taste. If you top it off with rapsberries or strawberries it transforms into one of the ultimate gourmet desserts! I have found a way to make this decadent dessert dairy, egg, nut and gluten free. I can make this up to two days in advance and place it in my refrigerator to pull out whenever dessert is served.
We had dinner with friends and they had make your own sundae fixings for dessert. Well when I pulled out my chocolate mousse all spoons stopped mid air! Everyone including all the kids ate my entire batch of chocolate mousse and I happily whipped up another batch. It felt so good to see the longing in the eyes of my friends for my dairy free, egg free, nut free, gluten free decadent dessert.

I have written the recipe below. You may want to make a double batch if you are having guests over. Also, try and place some in little mini tupperware container and then pack in a lunch bag with an ice pack and send them in with your child for a special treat. It can feel good to be the envy of the lunch table !

Chocolate Mousse without the Moo!

3/4 cup warm chocolate soymilk

1 bag (12 ounces) of dairy/ gluten free semisweet chocolate chips

12 ounces silken tofu (such as Mori-Nu)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (check for gluten free versions)

1. Heat up the 3/4 cup of chocolate soymilk to a warm temperature on the stovetop or microwave.

2. Melt 12 ounces of the semisweet chocolate chips (read the label to make sure there is no dairy) and stir until all lumps are gone.

3. Mix the warm chocolate soymilk, melted chocolated chips and silken tofu in a blender until smooth.

4. Pour into fun glasses, mini bowls or tupperware containers f(or great lunch treats) and place in your refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Place in an airtight containers or wrap with saran wrap to keep the top soft and smooth.

5. You can add berries, sprinkles or a dairy free whipped topping to create an extra special dessert.

Makes about 6 dessert servings.
It is sooooooooooo good!




This is the launch of my blog Patsy's Sweet Inspirations. I will post about my personal and professional experiences with food allergies. There will also be many behind the scene peeks at Cherrybrook Kitchen for a real insiders view. Best of all, I will also share some of my all time favorite recipes that are lip smackingly good!

I have been fortunate to meet many people, foundations and companies that together create an incredible support system for those with food allergies. I want to share those experiences with you and hopefully bring a smile to your day.

I can't wait to begin and tomorrow I will post a recipe for one of of my favorite chocolate indulgences.

Chocoholics Stand By!