Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Brotherhood of the World Blogger Award December 22, 2017

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A huge THANK YOU to Rachel Alexandra of the fantastic blog, Roots,  for nominating Allergy Shmallergy for the Brotherhood of the World Blogger Award.  What an exciting way to round out a crazy week!

 

As part of the process of accepting this award, nominees answer questions.  [See additional rules and nominees below.]

 

My answers:

1.  What is your biggest regret?
That’s a tough one.  One of the things I regret is not taking more time to travel before I had kids.  I’ve lived overseas multiple times and really enmeshed myself in local culture.  But I’d love to have spent time in Africa or South Asia while I was living relatively nearby.  I guess the kids will have to pack their bags because I’m not done roaming!

 

2.  What is something that your younger self would be most proud of about you?
Great question!  Hm…  I think my younger self would be proud to know I’ve been bold about pursuing my passions.  For example, when I was younger, I wanted to be a writer – now look what I’m doing!

 

3.  What is your favorite fruit and why?
(I love these questions!)  Raspberries and summer ripe blueberries are irresistible to me.  And, it’s hard not to DROOL over kiwi.  Hairy on the outside and sweet, emerald deliciousness on the inside… Mmmm…!

 

4.  If you could play any instrument, what would you play?  (Or what can you play?)
I used to play the flute – and wish I had played for longer.  But I still play the piano!  Now, I just wish I could sing (at all) and play at the same time!  Piano takes concentration!

 

5.  What setting from a book or movie would you like to live in or experience?
That’s easy!  Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.  What I wouldn’t do for an hour in that edible room with the chocolate river!

 

6.  Why did you start blogging?
I started writing as a way to find a like-minded food allergy community to connect with.  When you get any kind of diagnosis, you tend to feel alone in the world.  When you can relate to someone else’s journey, it can sometimes take the stress out of your own.

 

7.  What is something you’re looking forward to?
There’s so much to look forward to over the next year!  One thing I’m working on is getting my organization, AllergyStrong, up and running.  AllergyStrong is an organization that revolutionizes food allergy information in education, psychosocial impact and advocates on behalf of all patients with food allergies, but particularly for those at-risk and low-income families who could use the additional support.

 

8.  If job availability/money were not factors, what would be your dream occupation?
A ballroom dancer! It’s harder than it looks and is so elegant when done well.  I’ve taken ballroom dancing from the time I was about 10 through college.

I’d also love to be a television/movie writer or a documentary film maker.  I love storytelling and think very visually.

 

9.  If you could start any charity, what would it be?
I’m starting one:  AllergyStrong!

 

10.  Name a skill you want to learn and why.
I’d love to really learn how to figure skate.  I always played around with it as a kid and never lost that amazing sensation of gliding and spinning on ice.  It was invigorating!

I’d also like singing lessons…  Ooo, and horse back riding!  Tap dancing…  Speaking Italian…  I’ve clearly got to get cracking; I have a lot to catch up on!

 

The Brotherhood of the World Blogger Award

I nominate these excellent bloggers, whose work is inspiring, insightful and on my short list of must-reads:

1.  Michelle of MyVinyasaPractice

2.  Nicole of Cole’s Moveable Feast

3.  Debbie of Femmunity

4.  David of LoveAfterKids

5.  Lisa of No Nuts Moms Group

 

 

The Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to his/her blog.
  2. List the rules of the award and post a picture of the award.
  3. Answer the questions from your nominator.
  4. Nominate other bloggers and be sure to let them know.
  5. Write a list of questions of your nominees to answer.

 

 

Questions for Nominees:

  1. Where do you get inspiration for your blog/writing?
  2. If there are past lives, who were you/what was your profession?
  3. What song brings back a strong memory each time you hear it?
  4. What’s your hidden talent?
  5. What makes you feel grateful?
 

Allergy-Friendly Hanukkah Doughnuts: Buy Them, Make Them, Eat Them! December 12, 2017

חנוכה - Hanukkah (5235439434)

As a food allergy consultant to schools, I get asked all kinds of questions and involved in all sorts of projects.  Recently, I received a fun assignment!  My daughter’s school asked me to find a safe doughnut to help them celebrate Hanukkah while adhering to their strict nut-free policy.

 

Hanukkah is celebrated over eight nights – recognizing the miracle of the burning oil in the ancient Temple of Jerusalem.  Recognizing that miracle, celebrants everywhere look forward to the tradition of indulging in food fried in oil each night, including doughnuts!  I mean, if we must…

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Traditionally, Jews serve sufganiyot, a jelly doughnut during Hanukkah.  The Big Bang Theorys Mayim Bialik offers this awesome vegan recipe (which means it’s dairy and egg-free!):

Mayim Bialik’s “Unbelievably Delicious” Holiday Recipe – Hanukkah Sufganiyot

 

I will acknowledge, doughnut making can be time consuming and messy!  Preparing doughnuts from scratch is also tough if you’re trying to feed a crowd.  Krispy Kreme used to be the go-to Hanukah doughnuts for my own family as well as for the classrooms I teach in.  Now that Krispy Kreme donuts are decidedly not safe, where can you buy a nut-free doughnut?

 

Enter Katz’s Gluten-Free Donuts.  Sold in boxes of 6, these doughnuts are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and soy-free!  You can find them in the kosher frozen food section of the supermarket.  There’s no preparation necessary – just thaw.  Or, for a mouthwatering experience, heat up for a few seconds in the microwave.  (I’m drooling as I write this…)

 

 

Be sure to check out our list of Allergy-Friendly BakeriesDun Well Donuts, The Donut Pub, Brandon’s Best Allergen-Free Sweets ‘N Treats and Amazing Donuts are just a few bakeries on our list that make doughnuts reviewers rave about.  There may be a bakery near you!  (And, if your favorite allergy-friendly bakery isn’t on the list, shoot us a note!)

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Deck the Halls: Allergy-Friendly Gingerbread House Round-Up December 4, 2017

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No one should miss out on holiday traditions.  But families with food allergies are hesitant to participate in activities that revolve around food, particularly baked goods.  Baked goods are often cross-contaminated with nuts and typically contain dairy and eggs – three of the top eight allergens responsible for 90% of allergic reactions.

 

Now with the options below, there’s no reason to sit out the holidays!  Check out these allergy-friendly gingerbread house ideas.  Everyone can gather together and decorate a gingerbread dream home safely!

 

BUY IT:

A&J Bakery’s Allergen Friendly Gingerbread House

If you’re lucky enough to live in Rhode Island, you might want to pop into A&J Bakery to grab their Allergen Friendly Gingerbread House Kit.  Otherwise, you’ll want to place an order now!  In addition to being vegan, these gingerbread houses are free from peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, gluten, wheat, soy and dairy.  The kit comes with the house (assembly required), five different types of allergen-friendly candy to decorate it with as well as some non-edible decorations.

 

Manischewitz Chanukah House

Finally, a Chanukah-themed house!  Manischewitz’s Chanukah House is made with vanilla cookie (a preferred flavor in my house).  Plus, it is nut-free, dairy-free and egg-free!  We have used this kit and it couldn’t be easier to put together and the walls are very sturdy – it surely could survive a candy hurricane (or a not-so-gentle little sister)!

 

MAKE IT!

Did you know that LEGO has a Gingerbread House!  It’s made of Legos, so it’s guaranteed to be allergen-free!

 

Melissa and Doug Mess-Free Glitter Christmas Tree and Gingerbread House

Baby, it’s cold outside!  Make today a craft day indoors with this foam decorating kit.  Kids can decorate it anyway they like without allergens OR mess!  A win-win for parents and kids alike!

 

If you’re determined to make the edible kind, you can use these easy-to-work-with Silicone Molds to create consistent and detailed gingerbread house parts.  [See below for gluten-free recipe!]

 

Sweet Ali’s Gluten-Free Bakery in Illinois has a great recipe posted along with How-To instructions for assembling a gluten-free gingerbread house.  Check it out!

 

DON’T FORGET!

 

There are all kinds of ways to make gingerbread houses using milk cartons, like we did in elementary school.  You can use icing to stick safe graham crackers to the sides of a small size carton of milk (8 or 16 oz size).  (Remember to wash the carton thoroughly before using if you are allergic to dairy.)  You could line the carton with candy canes or pretzel rods to make a delicious log cabin.  OR, you can line the carton in craft paper and decorate it with stickers, buttons, pipe cleaners, etc using glue!

A NOTE ABOUT ROYAL ICING and RECIPE:

 

Royal Icing (the kind used to stick candy to gingerbread houses) often contains egg.  But making royal icing is fairly easy and fun to do with kids.  Try this recipe:

2 cup *sifted* powdered sugar

4-5 tablespoons water

Combine sugar and 4 tbsp of water until smooth.  Continue adding small amounts of water until glossy and thick.

As I understand it, powdered sugar and water icings don’t do well in pastry bags (for piping).  We usually use a knife to carefully line the edges of the house parts and paint them directly on to the candy before sticking them on to our houses.

 

(Thank you in advance! A portion of the proceeds of affiliate links go toward AllergyStrong.org – an organization aimed at helping at risk families with food allergies.)