Allergy Shmallergy

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Preparing for an Egg-Safe Easter and Avoid Articial Dyes! April 16, 2014

 (Photo: SheKnows)

Eggs and Easter are virtually synonymous.  But what do you do when you have an egg allergy?  


We had been using plastic eggs to hide safe candy for years.  My food allergic son was thrilled with the hunt, but it just didn’t feel like Easter unless we were sitting around smelly bowls of colored vinegar dyeing eggs.  When he was at the height of his egg allergy, I finally asked our allergist if my son could participate in this fabulous Easter tradition.  He informed us that the shell of an egg is made almost entirely of calcium carbonate – the same material found in sea shells, chalk, and pearls – and NOT the egg protein that my son was so allergic to.   Which meant…. that he could safely handle eggs enough to dye them!  


My son still couldn’t eat the eggs themselves, but faced with a choice between jelly beans, peeps and a hard boiled egg…  it didn’t feel like he was missing out!

If you are avoiding artificial coloring, try some of these natural dye recipes from Better Homes and Gardens:



Get Started on Passover with an Egg and Nut Allergy April 9, 2014

Spring holidays are upon us!  And while they are festive, they can be very difficult for those with food allergies.  Particularly if you have an egg or nut allergy.


Have no fear:  Allergy Shmallergy is here to help!


Let’s first discuss Passover as that is the holiday approaching the soonest.   Passover is a week-long holiday highlighted by a huge feast marked with tradition called a Seder.  Because many families eat according to tradition by avoiding leavened bread, many cooks are improving with matzo this time of year.  This becomes a challenge for us egg-free families, since egg is often used as a binder in food containing matzo.


Below is a link to an Egg-Free Matzo Ball recipe I found a few years ago.  There’s nothing like Matzo Ball Soup (at Passover or anytime throughout the year), so this recipe comes in VERY handy!


Egg-free eaters, aren’t the only ones who struggle at Passover.  Nuts dot several traditional dishes and desserts, including one right on the seder plate:  Charoset.  The link below also includes a delicious nut-free charoset recipe that your guests will be excited to indulge in.

Allergy-Free Charoset and Egg-Free Matzoh Balls


For an egg-free, nut-free dessert, why not try my favorite Sorbet Pie or some other passover friendly filled pie?  I came across this recipe and can’t wait to use it on Monday.  I’m thinking Raspberry Sorbet AND Chocolate Mousse Pies…. Mmmm…


Pesach Pie Crust (via

Shmallergy Sorbet Pie


I’ll continue to post any allergy-friendly Passover recipes I come across.  In the meantime, you get cooking!




Play Ball! April 1, 2014

The Washington Nationals have announced their peanut-free days this year and so have many of the MLB and minor-league teams!  Mark your calendars, grab your tickets and bring your glove.  You never know if you’ll catch a fly ball, but you can rest assured knowing that you’ll enjoy the game without worry!


Here’s the Nats schedule:

Date Opponent Time
Sat, Apr 26
Nationals vs San Diego Padres

San Diego Padres

1:05 pm
Sun, May 18
Nationals vs New York Mets

New York Mets

1:35 pm
Sat, Jun 21
Nationals vs Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves

7:15 pm
Sat, Jul 19
Nationals vs Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers

7:05 pm
Sun, Aug 17
Nationals vs Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates

5:05 pm

Check your local team’s website for more information.


Flying with Food Allergies March 20, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — malawer @ 1:39 pm

Spring Break is just around the corner (yes, it IS possible that this interminable winter might ACTUALLY turn into spring someday).  While you’re planning your trip, consider these few extra steps before you fly.  There’s nothing that sets the tone of a vacation better than a stress-free (reaction-free!) flight.


1.  Check  your airline’s allergy policy, often found on their websites.  Just understanding how your airline views allergies, will help set your expectations.


2.  While airlines can make some accommodations, they often don’t have the time constraints and resources to fully sanitize your seats/the cabin.  So, consider booking the first flight of the day, if that’s possible.  The plane will have been cleaned overnight.  You’ll have peace of mind – plus, you’ll arrive at your destination early!


3.  Most airlines won’t guarantee a nut-free cabin, but they may make an announcement on your behalf.  So be sure to alert both the airline when you book and a reservation agent/flight attendant when you check-in/board the plane.


4.  Bring baby wipes on-board to wipe down your food allergic child’s seat, seat belt and tray table.  Place your food allergic child by the window (with a family member in the middle) to create a buffer with a stranger on the aisle.


5.  Carry your emergency medication as well as Benadryl on you (not packed away in your suitcase) at all times.


6.   Bring your favorite snack/meal on-board.  Let’s face it:  you’re not missing out on the questionable airline food no matter WHAT they’re serving.  Your meal will be both tastier AND safer.


7.   Speak up!  Let strangers you may be sitting with know you have a food allergy.  And, by all means, TELL someone if you’re experiencing a reaction while in the air!


Now, go!  And, have fun!

(Let us know if you stumble across any great allergy-friendly places on your journey!)


Allergy-Friendly Purim Hamantaschen Cookies March 13, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — malawer @ 7:14 am

Originally posted on Allergy Shmallergy:

Even if you don’t celebrate Purim, this time of year is just a fabulous excuse to make these delicious fillable treats.  I mean, any holiday whose representative food is a huge cookie is going to be a good one!


Turns out that hamantaschen is really easy to make dairy, egg, peanut and tree nut-free!  Hamantaschen literally meaning “Haman’s Hat”, so called for the shape of the hat worn by the ultimately defeated villian of the Purim story.  They are triangular-shaped cookies, filled with anything from chocolate to jam and anything else you can think of.


I’m excited to share this recipe and can’t wait to hear how you fill and adapt these delicious cookies!

Adapted from the fabulous blog, A Shiska in the Kitchen
  • Substitute for 2 eggs:  1/4 cup applesauce and 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer combined with 2 Tablespoons water or soy milk

View original 959 more words


Sonny’s BBQ and the Problem with Menu Allergen Lists February 27, 2014

We recently ate at my father-in-law’s favorite restaurant chain:  Sonny’s BBQ.  It’s a southeastern BBQ chain that reminds my father-in-law of the time he spent at the University of Florida.  So whenever we’re in Florida, we “dine” there.


As usual, before we went, I reviewed their allergen menu and identified a few items my FA son could choose from.  And, as usual,  I verified all my information with the manager.


Now, let me say, Sonny’s manager couldn’t have been nicer or more responsive.  He researched the ingredients for the hamburger bun and the cornbread from his suppliers and was willing to bend over backwards to accommodate my son as best as he could.  And, as a result, we enjoyed a safe and yummy meal.


But I noticed something that was distressing in asking all our usual questions.  While the manager knew his ingredients and was willing to investigate further when he wasn’t sure, Sonny’s BBQ corporate may not understand how food allergies actually work.  For example, Sonny’s Corporate allergen menu shows that their fries are milk, egg, tree nut, peanut, shellfish, and SOY free.  But that’s only if you eat them UNFRIED because their manager confirmed they were fried in vegetable oil.


While soy is no longer a concern for my son, I can imagine this mistake would pose a danger.  If I had read their allergen menu and decided to just take it at face value, my son could have wound up with some serious problems.


Corporations need to take into broader considerations when publishing food allergen menus.  Their menus must reflect fry oil and cooking methods as well as supplier-driven “manufactured on equipment” issues.  More information of this kind allows diners to make better, clearer choices.  Whenever I can make more sure-footed decisions about meals for my son and other food allergic family members, I feel grateful and relaxed.  And, that’s something that will keep me coming back.



Happy Valentine’s Day February 14, 2014

Filed under: Holiday,Uncategorized — malawer @ 3:28 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I was inspired by old posts and made heart shaped everything for my younger son’s Valentine’s party this year. Best part was the smile from his friend with multiple food allergies who loved the allergy-friendly treats!

Hope you all had a lovely Valentine’s Day! I’d love to see what allergy-free things you cooked up!






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