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Three Sweet Ways to Say “I Love You” Dairy, Egg, Peanut and Tree Nut-Free February 11, 2016

Since we have the weekend to prep for Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d suggest three simple and sweet ways to brighten your Valentine’s day.  All three are easy to prepare, GREAT for classrooms and parties, and all are dairy, peanut, tree nut and egg free.  Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

 

 

Cupid’s Arrows

Grab some fruit and a cookie cutter and you have yourself one adorable (and healthy – shhhh…) fruit kabob!

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Sweetheart Sorbet Pie

Trickiest thing is remembering to prep this a few hours in advance.  And, then not eating it before presenting it to your sweetheart.

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Rice Krispie Hearts

Subbing out the dairy, makes these hearts safe and scrumptious.  If you have letter cookie cutters, you could also spell out the words, “LOVE” or “HUGS” or “XOXO”.  Infinite possibilities!

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Skiing Mount Snow: A Food Allergy Review February 8, 2016

(Please read: Lift Lines and EpiPens: Skiing with Food Allergies)

 

 

Last March, we took a ski vacation up to Mount Snow in Vermont.  The folks at the mountain were extremely helpful when it came to food allergy issues, including handing over ingredient lists for us to review.  And, as it turns out, my son’s ski instructor was well-versed in carrying epinephrine as his younger brother had food allergies.  We had SUCH a great experience there, I wanted to pass along a few *specific* points of information for those of you thinking about going.

We were happy to learn that the hamburger buns at all lodges were sesame seed-free and SAFE for my son!  An unusual find!

Not a great photo from my frozen hands, but the chicken nuggets were made by Tyson, a brand we deem safe at home.  Dairy, egg, sesame seed, peanut and tree nut-free.

For those of you on a gluten-free diet, you’ll be excited to hear that they not only offered gluten-free bread at the main lodge, but they sold Liz Lovely gluten-free cookies as well as Monkey Chew nut-free, gluten-free granola bars.  Woohoo!

For dinner, we found this great restaurant, Last Chair.  The food was excellent, the manager and waitresses knowledgeable about food allergies PLUS they have an arcade to entertain the kiddos while you wait for a table.  A win all around!

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Clearly NOT dairy-free, but check out that plate of nachos.  That’s a PIZZA TRAY underneath.  The Last Chair is not skimping on portions!

 

Lift Lines and EpiPens: Skiing with Food Allergies

As I look out my window, I’m surprised to see green again. Grass is finally peeking through after we received nearly 30 inches of snow.  Even after all that shoveling, all I wish for is that powdery white.  When February hits, all I want to do is ski.  Maybe it’s a holdover from my childhood when we used to get a mid-winter February break – a kind of Pavlovian yearning to be cruising down the slopes this month. Either way, when I see snowflakes, I think trails.
When my food allergic son was old enough, my husband (an avid skier) was ready to enroll him in ski school.  But the idea of trying to manage food issues on a ski vacation seemed challenging.  For one, ski lodges never seem that organized.  I couldn’t imagine who I might track down to get ingredient information on their chicken nuggets, for example – especially at mid-mountain or higher.  Secondly, there’s SO MUCH gear, etc to bring to the slopes, how was I going to carry (and where could I store and easily access) snacks and lunch for him if we brought some from home?  Finally, could I reasonably rely on the ski school to look out for him at lunch vis-à-vis his food allergies?

Well, fast forward almost 8 years, and I can happily tell you that we’ve had a lot of success on the slopes.  Here are some tips I’ve learned over the past few years:

1. Call ahead – way ahead.  Ski lodges are not nearly as disorganized as I had thought.  They’re just a lot more relaxed.  But they take food safety seriously. Be prepared to leave a message and have someone get back to you.  There is typically a food services manager who is knowledgeable about the suppliers and who can track down ingredients for you.  Be sure to ask where kids in ski school usually eat and what kinds of food they receive (are they given snacks, do they have free range on the cafeteria line, etc).

2. Bring your epinephrine autoinjector and show up for ski school EARLY.  Meet with your child’s ski instructor – teach them how to use the autoinjector and WHEN.  Remind them that they will need to store it in an inside pocket of their ski jacket to keep it close to room temperature.

3. Find out where and when your child will be having lunch and consider meeting them to help them navigate the cafeteria line.  But DON’T expect to eat with them!  Skiing creates fast friendships and they’ll have more fun hanging out with their ski buddies – go have a lunchtime date instead!

4.  Pack some safe snacks and store them in your ski locker, car or somewhere else that is readily accessible.  Kids are STARVING when they get off the slopes and cafeterias typically close right when the lifts do.

 

Now we just need some snow!  Happy trails in the meantime!

 

 

Allergy-Friendly Superbowl Party Dips February 3, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — malawer @ 9:27 pm

Anyone have a tried and true dairy-free dip to share? Comment below! I’m making BOTH of these this weekend.

Allergy Shmallergy

No matter who you’re cheering for this weekend, everyone wins with these allergy-free dips.   And not only are they safe, but they are extremely easy to make.  Bring one to your Super Bowl party and score points for deliciousness!

 
 

Kick-Off Guacamole

Salsa and guacamole are especially great for us food allergic parents.  There’re almost always dairy, egg, and nut-free.  And, fresh tortilla chips are totally addictive!

 

2 Tbsp coarsely chopped red onion

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

pinch of sea salt

1 garlic clove

1/2 small jalapeno pepper

1 ripe peeled avocado

(optional 1 Tbsp cilantro leaves)

 

Place first 5 ingredients in food processor; pulse 5 times or until finely chopped.  Add avocado; process until smooth.  Optional:  Sprinkle with cilantro.

Serves about 4.

 
 

Halftime Hummus

Hummus is off-limits to those with a sesame seed allergy like my son.  The key ingredient, tahini, is

View original post 117 more words

 

The Beauty of Hampton Creek Mayo (and Bang Bang Chicken) January 18, 2016

Before I dole out this delicious allergy-friendly recipe for Bang Bang Chicken (dairy, egg, nut and sesame-free), I need to gush a little about Hampton Creek.

 

If you don’t know of this company, check them out.  They are revolutionizing the ingredients we use in some of our much beloved foods.  Hampton Creek aims to recreate foods (such as mayonnaise and cookies) with affordable, healthier, and more sustainable versions that are just as delicious!  They make dairy, egg and nut-free cookie dough that you can eat from the container carefree!  Need I say more?!  Okay, one more thing – their allergen menu identifies foods beyond the standard eight and they are very forthcoming about their equipment and facilities.

Hampton Creek allergen screenshot

 

I’ve had my eye on this company for a long time.  So needless to say, I was thrilled when they sent me a mayo sampler.  Check it out:  who knew there were so many different flavors of mayonnaise?!  I was instantly hungry for a sandwich.  And, if you’re wondering (and I know I would be): yes, the mayo tastes the same even without the egg!

Just Mayo Sriracha caught my eye.  So I decided to create a recipe as an excuse to use it.  Thus, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Sesame-Free, Nut-Free Bang Bang Chicken was born!

 

Allergy Friendly Bang Bang Chicken with Hampton Creek Sriracha Dipping Sauce

 

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 chunks

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup olive oil, preferably infused with minced garlic over low heat

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

For the sauce:

Hampton Creek Just Mayo Sriracha

 

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2.  Combine panko breadcrumbs, paprika and garlic powder on plate or in shallow bowl.

3.  Dip chicken chunks into infused olive oil, then coat with panko breadcrumbs.

4.  Place wire cooling rack on baking sheet and coat with cooking spray.

5.  Place coated chicken on wire rack.

6.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink and any juice run clear.

7.  Place chicken on serving plate and either drizzle with Hampton Creek’s Sriracha mayo or serve sriracha mayonnaise as dipping sauce on the side.

 

Step 3: After dipping in garlic infused olive oil, coat chicken in panko breadcrumbs.


Step 5: Oven ready!  Place coated chicken on wire rack.

  

Baking at 375 degrees F.  Don’t they look good already?!

GET IN MY MOUTH!  These were crispy where they should be, juicy and with the right amount of tang and kick in the sauce.  Addition of green onions, optional.  Maybe next time – I couldn’t wait to eat them.


Mmmmm……

 

Milk Alternatives -Best of the Best January 8, 2016

Getting the proper amount of calcium is a tough job for those with a dairy allergy.  There are many ways to incorporate dairy into your diet (see How to Get Enough Calcium When You’re Dairy-Free), but a nutritionist recently told me that the best way to get calcium is to drink it.  And, sometimes you just want something cold and delicious to pour on cereal.

I recently stumbled upon an article from Real Simple (April 2015) where their food contributors reviewed a variety of milk alternatives to come up with the best tasting among them.

Here’s the original link to the article:  The Best Milk Alternatives.  And, below are they’re declared winners.

Best Original Soy:  Silk Soymilk Original

Best Vanilla Soy:  Silk Soymilk Vanilla

Best Unsweetened Soy:  365 Everyday Value Organic Soymilk Unsweetened

Best Vanilla Almond: 365 Everyday Value Organic Almondmilk Vanilla

Best Unsweetened Almond: Almond Breeze Almondmilk Unsweetened Original

Best Rice: Pacific Foods Rice Non-Dairy Beverage Original

Best Oat:  Pacific Foods Organic Oat Non-Dairy Beverage Original

 

Now I can’t speak about the almondmilks since my son has a tree nut allergy.  I can, however, vouch for both the Silk soymilks and the Pacific rice milk.  He enjoyed them both.  But if he were to put in a vote for best milk alternative, he’d put two thumbs (and maybe a foot) up for Silk Very Vanilla Soymilk.  Tastes great and works fabulously well as an ingredient in baked good.

We’ve also tried Costco’s Kirkland Signature Organic Soymilk Vanilla which came in as his close 2nd favorite.

 

What kinds of milk alternatives do you use?  Any input on creamers, cream cheese, sour cream?  Bring ’em on!  The more votes the better!

 

2015 In Review January 7, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — malawer @ 8:00 pm
Tags: , , ,

Happy New Year!

Before we start a new dialogue for 2016, I wanted to begin by thanking you for all of your support this past year.

Looking at the blog’s statistics (below) is amazing.  We have fellow food allergy parents/readers in 96 different countries from all around the world!  And, I love hearing from you all and listening to your different experiences and perspectives.

Keep talking to me and each other.  The input and support is both interesting and encouraging.  Comment on a post!  Send questions!  Give answers!   Food Allergy parents are tough cookies – there’s no doubt about that.  But, we’re stronger because we’re in it together.

Best wishes for a wonderful and safe new year!

Erin

erin@allergystrong.com

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

 
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