Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

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.)

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Peanut-Free Bird Feeders: Lesson Learned February 16, 2012

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So, I was contacted by my son’s Hebrew school earlier this week to let me know that they would be making bird feeders.  They were kind enough to email the food allergic parents to explain that they would be using Crisco to bind the seed to the feeder and have checked to verify that the bird seed did not contain nuts.

 

Well, that takes a load off, doesn’t it?!  After a quick exchange about having my son wash his hands afterwards, I put the whole thing out of my brain.

 

When I arrived to pick my son up, his teacher quickly pointed out that he made a bird feeder but not with bird seed.  (Oh?)  His very thoughtful teacher decided to double check the bird seed package and read that it did contain nuts.  She made a wise judgement that my son shouldn’t handle the birdseed and cleverly had him make what will likely be a super-popular bird feeder from crushed graham crackers.

 

I have alerted the school that this brand of seed shouldn’t be used in the future.  And, the lesson is:  it pays to double check the facts and ask the obvious questions sometimes….

 

Easy Allergy-Free Valentine’s Day Treat February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Here’s a perfect treat to make with kids – or just for yourself (guilty as charged!).      

 

 

1/2 cup allergy-free margarine

1 package regular size allergy-free marshmallows

6 cups Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal

 

Grease an 11×7 inch baking dish.  Melt the margarine in a large pot over low heat.  Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat and add Rice Krispies.  Stir well until the mixture is well coated.  Pour into baking dish and flatten with the back of a spoon.  Let cool before cutting into bars.

 

Optional:  Melt allergy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips over low heat and pour over flattened treats.  Let cool before cutting into bars and serving.

 

Suggestion:  Use heart-shaped cookie cutters to cut into surprise shapes and use frosting to pipe on Valentine’s Day messages.

 

Nothing says “Be Mine” like a chocolate-covered Rice Krispie treat!