Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

An Allergy Update from Krispy Kreme July 25, 2017

A Dozen Doughnuts from Krispy Kreme sameold2010 flickr

Dozen Doughnuts from Krispy Kreme – unedited by sameold2010 via Flickr Shared thanks to Creative Commons Sharealike license

 

Krispy Kreme contacted me last week to alert the allergy community of an ingredient change.  In December 2016, they introduced a Nutella doughnut.  And starting today, Krispy Kreme will begin to offer a peanut-flavored doughnut.  [Cue the chorus of groans…]

 

So, while Krispy Kreme will no longer be safe for those with peanut or tree nut allergies, do not despair!  If you check Allergy Shmallergy’s ever-growing list of Food Allergy Friendly Bakeries, you’ll notice a number of doughnut shops that are both safe AND delicious.

 

From Krispy Kreme:

“On July 24, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts will introduce a doughnut with peanuts and peanut ingredients in our shops and other locations where Krispy Kreme doughnuts are sold. Because the safety of our customers is our top priority, I wanted you and your community to be among the first in the U.S. to know about the introduction of this ingredient to our menu.

The introduction of this specific peanut menu item at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is new, but Krispy Kreme shops have never been allergy-free and specifically nut-free. Our shops have ingredients that can contain known allergens, including nuts. We receive ingredients from suppliers who produce products with allergens, including nuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. While some shops do not sell products made with nuts on the menu, because of how our products are manufactured, none of our shops are ‘nut-free.’ Following national safety guidelines, we take many steps to clean machines and surfaces in our shops, but there is the possibility that trace allergens might be found in our products. As a result, we post and label known allergens and ask guests to make sure they check the post before entering our shops and the labels before consuming.

 

For more information about Krispy Kreme’s ingredients, please visit http://krispykreme.com/Nutritionals.”

 

Get Ready, Fellow Mathletes: Pi Day is Extra Special This Saturday March 12, 2015

Pi = 3.14159265359…

This Saturday is March 14, 2015… or 3.14.15!  And, on that magical day at 9:26 and 53 seconds (3.14.15 9:26:53), I suspect a lot of math fans like me will be eating pie to celebrate its magical homonym Pi.  Mmmm….

Pie can be tricky for people with food allergies for so many reasons.  They typically contain dairy, sometimes contain eggs, often are topped with nuts.   And, of course, that gluten-filled crust.

If you’re planning to celebrate Pi Day, here are a couple recipes to help you and your little calculators eating safely:

Sweetheart Sorbet Pie:

This cold, delicious, fruity pie is a synch to assemble and a joy to devour.

Egg-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free

Moo-Less Chocolate Pie:

If you’re a chocaholic like my younger son, this recipe is for you.  Alton Brown’s recipe uses silken tofu to achieve its creamy, fudgey consistency.  Be sure to use dairy-free margarine/butter in lieu of the milk-based variety.  Read the reviews to determine if you want to include any of the readers suggestions (like adding cinnamon or using a graham cracker crust).

Dairy-free, Nut-free, Egg-free

Crazy for Crust’s Perfect Graham Cracker Crust:

This blogger really knows her crust as evidenced in the narrative leading up to the recipe.  Again, be sure to substitute dairy-free margarine/butter for the real deal in her recipe.

Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Milk-Free ***but also read ingredient list of graham crackers/crumbs you choose to use***

Gluten-Free Pie Crust:

This ready made dough from Pillsbury can be used in both pies and pastries.

Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free

Here are some Pi facts to discuss over pie:

  • Pi is the ratio between the circumference (the distance around its edge) of a circle and its diameter (the distance across the center).
  • Pi is an irrational number. Not only can’t you reason with it, but you can’t write it as a fraction either.
  • Pi’s decimals go on forever without any repetition or pattern.
  • BUT! 314159, the first six digits of Pi, appear in order at least six times among the first ten million decimals of Pi.
  • Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day!
  • Pi has been studied by the human race for almost 4,000 years. The Babylonians established the constant circle ratio as 3-1/8 or 3.125.  One of the earliest known records of pi was written by an Egyptian scribe named Ahmes (c. 1650 B.C.) who was only off by less than 1% of the modern approximation of pi (3.141592).
  • In one Star Trek episode, Spock foils an evil computer by challenging it to “compute to last digit the value of pi.”
  • Comedian John Evans once quipped: “What do you get if you divide the circumference of a jack-o’-lantern by its diameter? Pumpkin π.
 

New Years Resolution? Learn to Cook and Avoid Food Preparation Problems! January 13, 2014

Eight years ago, when my son was first diagnosed with food allergies, I was a terrible cook.  Truly terrible.  If you saw the Discovery Channel documentary, you may have noticed the burnt spoon that had caught fire when I “blackened” chicken noodle soup.  That’s right:  I burnt soup.  Take a moment:  I know you’re all very impressed.

 20140112-210104.jpg

As soon as the doctor listed my son’s food allergies (at that time: peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, dairy, eggs, soy, wheat and corn), I was thrust into a whole new world.  One in which I would have to cook.  And, the result would need to be edible. (Gasp!)

 

Now, many years later, I actually enjoy cooking.  I can’t have enough cookbooks and I love the challenge of turning something that isn’t initially allergy-friendly into something safe and delicious.

 

But the biggest bonus must be the understanding and innate sense of what goes into a dish.  It has helped me innumerable times to determine what is safe for my son while we’re out enjoying the world!

 

It’s important to have a sense not only of ingredients, but also of the process in the kitchen.  A sampling of questions, I’ve needed to ask are:

  • Can you check the breading on fish?  Or, the breadcrumbs in the meatballs?  Breadcrumbs very often contain sesame seeds.
  • Are the chicken nuggets/calamari/fried zucchini coated with egg?
  • Is there egg in the salad dressing?  Some contain either eggs or mayonnaise.
  • Does that sauce contain flour?  Many are thickened with gluten flour.
  • Is there parmesan cheese in the marinara?
  • Do you add milk to your scrambled eggs/omelet/pancakes?

The more hands-on experience you have in the kitchen, the more you’ll understand what kinds of things you may need to look out for in others’ kitchens.  You’ll be surprised at how often you save yourself from a potential reaction.  So, cook and speak up!

 

Here are a few tips for starting out:

  • If you’re brand new in the kitchen, don’t feel overwhelmed by trying to make a main dish and sides.  It’s okay to try ONE new recipe and buy preprepared sides or make a new side dish and buy roasted chicken.
  • While looking at recipes, don’t be put off if they include your allergen.  Simply do a little research to see if there’s a safe alternative and/or omission.  We just omit peanuts from our Kung Pao Chicken dish.  And, we sub-in soy milk for regular in pancakes.
  • In choosing a recipe:  read the recipe in full once before you even go shopping.  It may call for “1 garlic clove, minced” which you could mince yourself or buy pre-prepared.
  • And, while reading the recipe, take note of prep time as well as cooking time.  Ingredient lists often list ingredients that have been pre-prepared like garlic noted above, a pie-crust pre-baked, or “3 cups spinach, sauteed”.   This translates to time, so simply be aware and plan accordingly.  This was tricky for me for a while.  I can’t tell you how many times I served a meal a whole HOUR after I thought it would be ready.
 

Good luck, watch your soup, and send me picts (and samples – mmmm!) of your best recipes!

photo: countryliving.com
 

A Call to Hostess Customer Service Regarding Dairy Allergies… August 9, 2012

My son is in an in-between phase of his dairy allergy.  He is allergic to raw milk products, but can now tolerate baked milk such as you might find in baked goods.

 

Contemplating fun food items to stick in my son’s lunch or use as a safe substitute for all those in-class parties, I grabbed a box of Twinkies at the market the other day.  It’s possible, I thought, that the cream inside might not contain milk – much like Oreos.  No peanuts! No nuts!  No sesame seeds!  But milk was listed as an ingredient and the list was not separated into cake/filling so there was no way to determine if it was a safe possibility without a phone call to Hostess.

 

I called and got a customer service representative on the phone.  She was quick to put me on hold once I explained that I wanted to find out if their snacks would be safe for my son, wondering if there was cream in the filling.  The Hostess Snack Company rep came back to let me know that they couldn’t disclose that information.  Let’s face it: it’s not that Hostess cannot disclose the information, it’s that they are choosing not to disclose it which I  find to be unnecessary and unhelpful when dealing with such a serious issue.  The customer service rep finished by advising anyone with a milk sensitivity against consuming any Hostess Brand  products.  This is such an unfortunate response.  It struck me as insensitive and dismissive of my concerns and the broader concerns of parents of food allergic kids.

 

“[Hostess,] You could’ve given us help, but you’ve given us so much m0re.”  (Bill Murray in “Quick Change”) Like a reason to buy another snack from another company.

 

Allergy-Friendly Purim Hamantaschen Cookies March 6, 2012

Even if you don’t celebrate Purim, this time of year is just a fabulous excuse to make these delicious fillable treats.  I mean, any holiday whose representative food is a huge cookie is going to be a good one!

 

Turns out that hamantaschen is really easy to make dairy, egg, peanut and tree nut-free!  Hamantaschen literally meaning “Haman’s Hat”, so called for the shape of the hat worn by the ultimately defeated villian of the Purim story.  They are triangular-shaped cookies, filled with anything from chocolate to jam and anything else you can think of.

 

I’m excited to share this recipe and can’t wait to hear how you fill and adapt these delicious cookies!

 
Adapted from the fabulous blog, A Shiska in the Kitchen
 
  • Substitute for 2 eggs:  1/4 cup applesauce and 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer combined with 2 Tablespoons water or soy milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 to 5 tsp water (if needed)
  • Nonstick cooking oil spray
 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
  2. Before you begin making the hamantaschen dough, choose and make your filling (see below) and have it on hand to work with. Hamantaschen dough dries out quickly if left to rest too long, so it’s best to have everything ready to assemble when you start.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, canola oil, orange zest and vanilla.
  4. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet, using a large wooden spoon until a crumbly dough begins to form.
  6. Knead until smooth and slightly tacky to the touch. Try not to overwork the dough, only knead till the dough is the right consistency. If the crumbles are too dry to form a smooth dough, add water slowly, 1 teaspoon at a time, using your hands to knead the liquid into the dough. Continue kneading and adding liquid until dough is smooth and slightly tacky to the touch (not sticky), with a consistency that is right for rolling out. It can easily go from the right consistency to too wet/sticky, so add water very slowly. If the dough seems too wet, knead in a little flour till it reaches the right texture.
  7. Lightly flour a smooth, clean surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick. Scrape the dough up with a pastry scraper, lightly reflour the surface, and flip the dough over.   If you prefer a crisper, more delicate cookie:  Continue rolling the dough out very thin (less than 1/8 of an inch thick) – just make sure that the dough is still thick enough to hold the filling and its shape! Lightly flour the rolling pin occasionally to prevent sticking, as needed.
  8. Use a 3-inch cookie cutter (not smaller) or the 3-inch rim of a glass to cut circles out of the dough, cutting as many as you can from the dough
  9. Gather the scraps and roll them out again. Cut circles. Repeat process again if needed until you’ve cut as many circles as you can from the dough. You should end up with around 35 circles.
  10. Place a teaspoon of filling (whichever filling you choose) into the center of each circle. Do not use more than a teaspoon of filling, or you run the risk of your hamantaschen opening and filling spilling out during baking. Cover unused circles with a lightly damp towel to prevent them from drying out while you are filling.
  11. Assemble the hamantaschen in three steps. First, grasp the left side of the circle and fold it towards the center to make a flap that covers the left third of the circle.
  12. Grasp the right side of the circle and fold it towards the center, overlapping the upper part of the left side flap to create a triangular tip at the top of the circle. A small triangle of filling should still be visible in the center.
  13. Grasp the bottom part of the circle and fold it upward to create a third flap and complete the triangle. When you fold this flap up, be sure to tuck the left side of this new flap underneath the left side of the triangle, while letting the right side of this new flap overlap the right side of the triangle. This way, each side of your triangle has a corner that folds over and a corner that folds under– it creates a “pinwheel” effect. This method if folding is not only pretty– it will help to keep the cookies from opening while they bake.
  14. Pinch each corner of the triangle gently but firmly to secure the shape.
  15. Repeat this process for the remaining circles.
  16. When all of your hamantaschen have been filled, place them on a lightly greased baking sheet, evenly spaced. You can fit about 20 on one sheet… they don’t need to be very spaced out because they shouldn’t expand much during baking.
  17. Place them in the oven and let them bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, till the cookies are cooked through and lightly golden.
  18. Cool the cookies on a wire rack. Store them in a tightly sealed plastic bag or Tupperware.
  19. Eat and enjoy!
 
For the Prune Filling:
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • ½ cup plum jam
  • 2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
  • ¼ teaspoon orange extract or 1 teaspoon orange zest
For the Poppy Seed Filling:
  • ¾ cup poppy seeds
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup dark raisins, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
For the Apricot Filling:
  • ¾ cup dried apricots
  • ½ cup mixed dried fruit (apples and pears, not prunes)
  • ½ cup apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
For the Apple Filling:
  • 2/3 cup peeled and cored McIntosh apples, diced into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1/8 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup finely chopped raisins
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

To Make the Prune Filling or Apricot Filling:

1. Purée all ingredients in a blender or food processor.

To Make the Poppy Seed Filling:

1. Pour boiling water over the poppy seeds and set aside for 15 minutes. Drain and grind (or put them in your food processor with the honey, brown sugar, raisins, and lemon rind).

To Make the Apple Filling:

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Put in a blender or food processor and pulse for a few seconds to make mixture a little moister and easier to use.

NOTES

If your dried fruits (prunes, apricots, raisins) have become hard, soak them in warm water until soft but firm.

 

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!