Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

New Snack Alert! Enjoy Life Granola Bars September 6, 2017

Note: Enjoy Life sent me their new granola flavors to sample.  I am reviewing because I truly enjoyed them and believe they are a good product for families like mine.

Your lunch game just got easier.  Enjoy Life recently released granola bars in a few new flavors – and they are anything but ordinary.  While on vacation with our extended family, we decided to have a taste test.  We’re a picky crew, because between us we are allergic to:  peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, dairy, eggs, pineapple, shrimp, salmon and gluten (celiac).


Amazingly, these were a big hit with everyone, allergic and otherwise.  Everyone had their own favorite flavor.  Mine was the Caramel Blondie.  Sweet and buttery, the caramel tasted fantastic dotted with chocolate chips.  Why hasn’t this flavor been created sooner?!

My cousin, a chef, loved the Carrot Cake granola bars.   The cinnamon-y, pumpkin spice flavor was just right balanced against the sweet carrot taste.  Your kids will LOVE eating their vegetables this way!  If only it counted towards their daily intake!

Her daughter, 6, preferred the Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed.  What a sophisticated palate – clearly the child of a cook!  These were moist and delicious like the others.  The blueberry and poppy tastes were complimented by the citrusy lemon.  Yum!  I’d eat these for breakfast!  Is that a thing?!


Best of all, as always Enjoy Life is free from: gluten, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, soy, fish and shellfish and are Kosher and Halal and non-GMO.








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!


Nut, Egg and Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread July 8, 2015

I wonder if every family is the same…  One week my kids can’t eat enough bananas.  The next week, they’re not at all interested.  So we cycle between having an empty fruit bowl and having overripe bananas.

This used to frustrate me.  Then I looked at the sunny side of having too many bananas: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!  This bread is delicious.  I mean mouthwatering delicious…  I recommend heating it up in the toaster oven or microwave briefly and eating plain (with lots of napkins to let those melty chocolate chips know who’s boss) or with butter.  I might have to make some now…

I omitted the nuts often called for in banana bread recipes and adapted this particular one to be egg and dairy-free.  I already can’t wait for breakfast!

Almost Everything-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup dairy-free butter or shortening

1 cup whole wheat flour + 1 cup white flour (you can use all white or all wheat as well)

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3-4 bananas)

1/2-3/4 cups dairy-free, nut-free chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter (or shortening) for approximately 5 minutes (note: mixture does not get smooth).  Add dry mixture little by little to creamed butter and sugar, alternating with mashed bananas and beating after each addition.  Stir in approximately safe chocolate chips with a spoon.  The batter will be fairly thick.

Grease 9″ x 5″ x 3″ loaf pan.  Spoon batter into pan and bake at 350F for approximately 40 minutes or until toothpick can be inserted/removed cleanly from thickest point in bread.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to wire rack.

Mashed bananas (does anyone else hear The Wiggles song when you read that?!). Looks gooey now, but this is flavor gold!

The dry ingredients.

Can you smell it? To ensure you have a moist – but not undercooked – bread, check it with a toothpick. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before moving to wire rack.

When’s breakfast? Maybe we serve this for dinner…

I had to snap this quickly. That butter was melting fast against the warm chocolate chip bread. And, the sweet banana smell was intoxicating!


Fluffy Dairy-Free Pancakes October 1, 2012

Filed under: Recipes & Cooking — malawer @ 8:57 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Watching his brother eat pancake after pancake, morning after morning, has finally piqued my FA son’s curiosity.  Even though he has tried various allergy-free pancakes several times (without truly enjoying them), he recently requested them.


Without pre-prepared pancake mix on hand, I researched a recipe and tweaked it to make it dairy-free.  Success!  These would taste great with cinnamon, chocolate chips, blueberries…Give it a whirl:  you may never go back to a mix again!



3/4 cup vanilla soy milk

2 Tablespoons white vinegar

1 cup flour

2 Tablespoons white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

2 Tablespoons dairy-free butter, melted

cooking spray/dairy-free butter


Combine soy milk and vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for approximately 5 minutes to sour.


Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl.   Whisk egg and dairy-free butter into soured milk.  Pour flour mixture into soured milk mixture and whisk until lumps have mostly disappeared.


Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat with either cooking spray, or (as I prefer) dairy-free butter.  Pour 1/4 cups of batter onto skillet to form pancakes.  Cook until bubbles form on one side before flipping.  Continue cooking until lightly browned on the other side.


NB:  You may wish to *carefully* wipe the skillet with a dry paper towel between rounds of pancakes to remove the browned butter.  If you do, remember to add a little more butter to coat the pan and to turn down the heat slightly for another perfect round of ‘cakes.  Mmmmm…. I can’t wait for breakfast!


Summer Resolution: Train the Sous-Chefs June 19, 2012

Ok, I realize that summer resolutions may not be as traditional as those made at New Year’s.  However, the end of the school year feels like just the right time to begin my new undertaking.


My resolution for the summer is to get the kids more involved in cooking with me.  I’ve given up trying to convince the boys that the healthy meal I’ve made for them is also delicious.  If they have a hand in making the meal, perhaps they’ll be more interested in gulping it down at dinnertime.  And, for my food allergic son, this will be a great way to get him thinking about what goes into different kinds of dishes so he can help protect himself when we’re not together.

Pixabay paprika-1539491_640

To take a tip from the First Lady, I’ve allowed my son’s to each pick a vegetable plant to tend to throughout the summer.  My younger son chose a pepper plant; the older one, a tomato plant.  Plus, we have pumpkin vines growing in the yard where our old jack-o-lanterns were ransacked by squirrels a few years ago, as well as mint and basil that keeps sprouting up whether or not I plant it.  It’s not a produce section, but it’s a start.


My husband and I also had a heart-to-heart with the boys one night after everyone was either very difficult about or refused altogether to try a very family-friendly dinner I had prepared.  We’re putting the kids’ suggestion for trying new dishes into practice: each week, the kids will pick a recipe of their choice for the family to taste at dinner.


Finally, the boys are getting in on the preparation.  They are old enough to help with the meals.  Not only does this give them an appreciation for making the meals AND give them an incentive to eat their creations, but it also teaches them how to cook.  I only learned when my oldest son was diagnosed with food allergies and commercially prepared dishes just weren’t an option.  I want our kids to see cooking as a family affair. To enjoy the process of learning a new dish.  To appreciate the culture from which it comes.  And, most of all, to feel confident in a kitchen and appreciate healthy, well-prepared food.


This is especially important for my oldest son, who may not outgrow many of his food allergies.  I want him to feel confident about food, not nervous around it.  I want him to eventually possess the skills he needs to prepare nearly any dish he cares to try.  And, as stated above, I’d like him to be familiar with the kinds of ingredients that are common to various dishes so that he can ask the appropriate questions and protect himself from reaction when I’m not around to do it for him.


I’m excited to begin next week.  And, who knows what we’ll be having.  I have some kid-friendly cookbooks handy and can’t wait to taste those peppers and tomatoes when they ripen.  Wish me luck!  I may need it….


Pixabay cookies-448358_640


Intrigued by The Commissary December 4, 2011

My sister-in-law, who has a variety of food allergies herself, was visiting DC recently.  While here, she met a friend for breakfast at The Commissary, located on P St between 14th and 15 Streets in the District.


She noted that The Commissary’s menu was allergy-friendly for her particular food allergies and ordered with ease.  But what struck her most was that the waitress would not leave the table without taking note of everyone’s food allergies, making sure each diner understood their meal would be prepared on separate equipment.


With all the press lately about how restaurant staff have little to no understanding of food allergies, this sounds like a standout place who deserves some kudos on their food allergy education. They note right on their website that they will accommodate most common food allergies and note the menu items that are vegan and vegetarian.  I’m looking for any excuse to try The Commissary!


EatWell Group also owns Logan Tavern, Grillfish DC and the Heights restaurants.  Have any of you had any food allergy experiences with these restaurants?  I’m relying on your recommendations.  Comment below!


Gluten-Free Grocery – Brown Rice Krispies November 29, 2011

Check this out!  Snap, Crackle and Pop are officially gluten-free.  I found this in our local Giant and pleased to see the price point was about the same between this GF version and the original.  And, instead of regular white rice, this version is made with brown rice making it just a little healthier too!



Now might be a good time to use those holiday shaped cookie cutters to make Rice Krispie Treats using this dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free recipe!