Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Apple Cake For Those of You Who Don’t Get the Washington Post… September 29, 2011


I saw this in the Washington Post a few days ago.  How fantasic!  A recipe for Rosh Hashanah and an allergy-free one to boot!  Check it out:

All-Inclusive Apple Cake


Allergy-Free Challah – Need Your Feedback! September 28, 2011

I’ve heard it said that when substituting for egg that if a recipe calls for 3 or more eggs, forget it.  This makes baking allergy-free challah very challenging.  Part of what makes challah so addictively delicious is how light and airy it is — and that’s due to the large number of eggs it usually requires.


So, what do we do for the holidays (or anytime we’re craving amazing french toast), then?!  Well, I came across a tried and true 2-egg recipe that looks very promising with a few adaptations.  I haven’t tried it yet, but am heading out to get the ingredients right now.  Would love anyone’s feedback on it!!!


Here’s my adapted recipe:


Allergy-Free Challah


2 packages quick-rising yeast

1/2 cup water, warmed to 110 degrees

3 tablespoons sugar, divided

substitute for 2 eggs:  I would suggest 3 tablespoons vegetable oil mixed with 3 tablespoons water and 2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup vegetable oil

8 cups flour

1 tablespoon salt

2 1/2 cups water, divided

3 tablespoons dairy-free butter/margarine, softened at room temperature

1/4 cup dairy-free butter/margarine, melted


With the oven rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  For round challah, you can cut a liner from parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan or use a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Lay down the liner and coat with cooking spray.   [For straight braided challah, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with vegetable spray.]


Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and set aside mixture in a warm place to proof (about 10 minutes).  Mixture will bubble when yeast is proofed.


Place egg substitute and oil in a small bowl and beat until combined.


Sift together flour, remaining 2 tablespoon of sugar, and salt into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Make a well in the center of of sifted dry ingredients, add proofed yeast mixture as well as 3 tablespoons of softened dairy-free butter and mix about 10 minutes.  [If you do not have a standing mixer, you can do this by hand.]  Remove paddle attachment and attach dough hook and knead dough 6 minutes at medium speed.  If dough is too dry, add remaining 1/2 cup water.


Oil a large bowl, place dough inside and turn over so that all surfaces have a film of oil.  Cover with a slightly damp towel.  Put in a warm, dark place and allow to rise until double in size (about 1 hour).  Punch down dough and divide in half.  Cover again with damp towel and allow to rise (about 30 minutes).


To make a round challah:  Roll dough into 3 ropes on lightly floured surface. Cover and allow to rise (about 10 minutes).  Connect the strands at one end and braid.   Pinch braided ends together to form a circle.  Place in cake pan (or on baking sheet) and allow to rise until double in size (about 30 minutes). [To make braided challah, simply do not pinch together ends and place on baking sheet to rise.]


Bake challah for 20 minutes.  Brush with melted butter and place back in oven for 5 more minutes or until golden brown in color.  Remove from pan and cool on a rack to room temperature.  Store wrapped in plastic at room temperature.



L’Shana Tova!


Rosh Hashanah Inspired Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies September 26, 2011

In the spirit of Rosh Hashanah, I thought I’d share one of my favorite apple-themed recipes.  In the Jewish tradition, apples are served with honey to symbolize a sweet new year.  While this recipe doesn’t contain honey, it remains sweet and delicious!

Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies

(adapted from Cooking Light)


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup grandulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

6 tablespoon unsalted dairy-free butter, softened

2 tsp vanilla extract

Substitute for 1 large egg:  my suggestion for this recipe: 1/4 cup of applesauce

3/4 cup finely chopped dried apple slices

3/4 cup caramel bits or 16 small soft caramel candies, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Combine flour and next four ingredients (through salt) in a bowl and stir well.

Place sugar, brown sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and applesauce; beat well.  Gradually add flour mixture; beat at low speed until just combined.  Fold in apple and caramel bits.

Drop dough by 2 teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Flatten balls slightly with hand.  Bake for 9 minutes.  Cool on pan for 3 minutes.  Remove cookies from pans and cool completely on wire racks.


Yields 4 dozen cookies.


Child-Proof Your Child’s Epipens for Playdates September 22, 2011

Filed under: Preparedness — malawer @ 10:30 am

While speaking to our school nurse the other day, she mentioned a product that would be great for sending along with your FA child to playdates.  [And, before you wonder:  I don’t mean to sound like an advertisement, but I’ve done some preliminary research in the hopes of presenting you with some options and there doesn’t seem to be much on the market to satisfy this kind of niche need.]


The Safety Sack is a clear nylon pouch large enough to store two epipens plus room to include Benadryl, etc.  It is sealed with a child-resistant zipper lock and displays an emergency action plan right on the front.  And to top it off, it’s reasonably priced.


While there are still other things to do in order to ensure a fun and safe playdate (see Playdate, Anyone?), it looks like the Safety Sack will make it easier.


Safety Sack at


Did You Know Some Vitamins Contain Allergens?! September 19, 2011

Have you ever read the back of a vitamin bottle?  Not just the supplement facts, but the ingredient list?  I was surprised to find just how many common allergens can be found in a given children’s multivitamin.  You’ll probably need a magnifying glass to do it, but it may be worth your time to check.


Ever since Silk Soy Milk became a cross-contaminated product (with tree nuts) – one that we could no longer purchase – my FA son has been boycotting all soy and rice milk products.  My concern began to focus on calcium intake.  After stocking up on calcium fortified orange juice, I turned to a multivitamin.


I sat down and got comfy in the aisle of our local pharmacy and studied the Supplement Facts section of each bottle to determine which had the most calcium.  I scanned the long lists of ingredients of each product I considered, made my choice, and headed home. My younger son loved them; my FA son…not so much.


A few days into the vitamin regime, I randomly skimmed the back of the bottle again.  I don’t know what made me do it, but I’m glad I did.  Among the nine, long lines of teeny tiny printed ingredients was lactose.  Milk!  In a vitamin!  I couldn’t believe it!  He showed no symptoms, thank goodness, and I couldn’t believe I had missed it the first time.


Having investigated further since this discovery, I’ve noticed that many vitamins contain common allergens.   In addition to dairy, I’ve seen children’s vitamins that contain wheat, soy, dyes of all colors, corn, and strawberry.


To solve my dilemma, I again took a seat– this time, in the aisle of a vitamin store — and carefully read the backs of all of their multivitamins.  I went home with one that contains soy, but is free of wheat, yeast, gluten, milk, artificial colors and all nut derivatives.  I feel much better about its safety and it satisfies my son’s supplement needs.  Now, let’s just hope he likes it…