Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Chilly Outside? Warm Up with Allergy-Free Game Day Chili January 30, 2015

Just as scrumptious as when I originally posted several years ago….

In the mood for chili, I decided to adapt my mother’s already-delicious recipe to be allergy-free and to include a few more vegetables.  The result was a fantastic dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, gluten-free meal that everyone loved.  [NB:  I cut the chili powder, and red pepper by about 1/3 (so 1 Tbsp chili powder and slightly less than 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes) to appease the taste budettes of my kids.]



1 lb ground turkey

2 large onions, minced

2-4 garlic cloves, crushed

olive oil cooking spray

1 zucchini, shredded

28 oz can diced tomatoes

6 oz can tomato paste

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp crushed pepper

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/4 cup fresh basil (chopped) or 1 Tbsp dried basil

16 oz can red kidney beans, rinsed


Spray large saute pan with cooking oil, saute onion and garlic for 2 minutes; then add turkey.  Cook , stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until the turkey is no longer pink (about 5 minutes).

Add chili powder, cumin, salt and red pepper flakes, stir and cook for 1 minute.  Add can of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and zucchini and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add bay leaf, basil and beans; cover and simmer for 1 hour.

 Grated Zucchini Ready for the Pan

Serve with Whole Grain Tostita Chips.  Enjoy!


Farmers’ Markets Might Just Be Fabulous January 26, 2015

Today, my daughter and I took a little field trip to Union Market in Northeast DC to have lunch with my brother from out of town.  Leave it to him to already be tuned into the cool DC-find that is Union Market.


I pulled into a ghost town of a closed wholesale food district and thought I must be lost.  But as I have a fascination with industrial areas of cities (don’t even ASK where that comes from!), I was fascinated, not flummoxed.  Making one last turn, I stumbled upon the spot.  A bright, industrial warehouse housing what is basically an upscale, indoor farmers market and series of food stalls.  I’m glad I had only brought my try-anything toddler.  I’ve long been a little leery of farmer’s markets, food trucks and small stalls because of their limited offerings and my belief that the limits of their kitchens might make for a potentially dangerous cross-contamination situation.  With my oldest son allergic to peanuts, tree nuts and sesame seeds and my middle guy going through a picky eater phase, this type of establishment can be a disaster.

But, boy was I surprised today!!  Look at some of the great things I found today:

Here was a bakery that posted the ingredients of all of their breads (and there were MANY – all delicious looking).  Notice what they don’t list:  dairy, eggs, sesame seeds, and peanuts**?

[**I did ask at the stall and the breads were made in the same facility as tree nuts.]



While not everything fit the allergy-free mold here, they did have several dairy-free options:


Vegan means egg and dairy-free!


Let us not forget all the fresh fish, meat, fruit and vegetables on hand to prepare something safe and delicious at home:

2015/01/img_7579.jpg          2015/01/img_7592.jpg


I can’t wait to bring my food allergic son here (below)!  I checked with the staff and their biscuits are peanut, tree nut and sesame seed-free!  Breakfast sandwiches on biscuits.  I’m still stuffed but my mouth is watering!  Mmmm…


And, my younger son will LOVE the bagels they import (below) from New York.  There’s nothing like a NY bagel!


Whether it’s Union Market, Eastern Market, or a farmer’s market near you, get out and explore.  These small businesses were extremely responsive to our allergy concerns and, no matter whether the food was safe or not, I LOVE supporting them!


Union Market, Washington DC


Connect: We’re All Just a Phone Call Away January 16, 2015

Filed under: Parent Sanity — malawer @ 11:30 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Although a growing issue, food allergies have a way of making people feel alone, isolated and different.  My son often feels like the only kid who can’t eat the bread or dessert out at meals.  He’s the one worrying about whether the birthday treat will be safe for him and quietly left feeling excluded from the fun.  But I also feel alone sometimes:  I’m the person silently, but constantly, weighing the risks of every move we make throughout every day of the year; thinking five steps ahead to protect my child’s health.

Let’s face it, having a food allergy isn’t easy.  And, parenting a child with food allergies is stressful.  Sometimes you just need to talk to someone who inherently understands your life.

I was reminded of that recently, when I consulted with someone whose son is about to start kindergarten.  I remember the considerations we had to take into account at that time and the stress it stirred going from a nut-free school to one that is sensitive to nuts, but does not ban them.  I was more than happy to help out in any way I could.  I was glad to let her vent her frustrations, address her concerns and pass along some of our hard-earned lessons.  It feels good to pay it forward as I, too, call upon other moms and doctors for advice and reality checks.

They say it takes a village to raise a child.  But that village doesn’t just support the child, it strengthens the parents.  The village’s collective education, creativity and spirit ensure you don’t have to go it alone.  When you’re feeling turned around or exasperated, the village is there with a cup of coffee (or, in my case, a bowl of ice cream), some calming words and a hug.

I encourage you all to reach out to other food allergic parents and pose questions, offer advice, voice your aggravations, exchange recipes, share ideas, and just generally encourage one another.  And, if you don’t know another food allergy parent, feel free to contact me.  Please visit Allergy Shmallergy’s facebook page where you are welcome to post questions to me and one another, arrange meet up groups, swap great ideas and generally just connect with and support one another.

Thank you for being part of my village.





Baby It’s Cold Outside…But, Sure, I’d Be Up For a Little More Ice! January 10, 2015

Italian Ice, that is!

I haven’t met an ice cream I didn’t like.  Yes, even in these east coast sub-zero temperatures I can’t be dissuaded away from a cold, sweet dessert.

So, the other night, while searching for a last minute dessert to bring to a friend’s house, my son found PhillySwirl’s Original Italian Ice Swirls.



“Mom!!!” He screamed far too loudly from across the aisle, “Read this!”  Smack on the front of the box, it states that they are dairy, gluten and peanut-free.  And, they’re made in a peanut-free factory.  Jackpot!  As you all know, it can be hard to find desserts that are safe for dairy, gluten and nut allergic children. There’s always an unusual ingredient slipped in or a cross-contamination issue at play that ruins things at the last second.  So, you understand our excitement upon finding an awesome treat that’s also safe!

He was so thrilled, in fact, that he insisted we buy them just to support this awesome company.  Needless-to-say, I’ll be sure to check out PhillySwirl’s other products as well because these were DE-LISH!  Kudos go to this company for being food allergy aware!


Happy New Year: 2014 in Review January 5, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — malawer @ 1:13 pm

Happy New Year!

My readers may originate from across the globe (93 different countries – how amazing!), but I’m happy you turn to Allergy Shmallergy as a home for food allergy information and support.  Thank you!

We’re looking forward to a bright and adventure-filled 2015!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 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 31,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.