Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Halloween Snacks: Safe and Perfect for the Classroom or Party October 27, 2016

full-table-halloween

I had so much fun prepping for our Day of the Dead themed Halloween party!  Not only was it fun to lay out the decorations and style the table, but I loved coming up with fun and festive food to serve.

 

I planned carefully to create snacks that reflect the season and are fun – food that fits right in the spirit of Halloween!  The Halloween table – like all dining tables – is meant for everyone to be included – for me, fun, festive and inclusive food is especially important because my oldest son’s food allergies sometimes leave him without a candy option as he trick-or-treats.  As such, I needed to serve things that are food allergy-friendly.  And themed, safe food can be hard to come by.

 

First, I put our pumpkin innards (“pumpkin guts”) to good use.  We scooped and separated out the seeds. In a bowl filled with water, we strained out the rest of the pumpkin core and dried the seeds in a kitchen towel.

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Above, you’ll see two versions of pumpkin seeds – both are nearly everything-free.

 

 

The Classic:img_5770

Pumpkin seeds (approximately 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
2 Tablespoons dairy-free butter, melted
pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 300 F degrees.

 

With your pumpkin seeds already in a bowl, pour the melted butter substitute over the seeds and stir to combine.

Arrange the seed mixture on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast the seeds slowly, stirring occasionally.  At 25 minutes, add salt.  Roast for another 15-20 minutes, bringing the total roasting time to approximately 40-45 minutes.

 

 

Salty Sweet Pumpkin Seeds:img_5775

 

1 1/2 – 2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 Tablespoons dairy-free butter
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

 

Combine sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

With your pumpkin seeds already in a bowl, pour the melted butter substitute over the seeds and stir to combine.

Arrange the seed mixture on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast the seeds slowly, stirring occasionally.  At 15 minutes, add sugar mixture and stir.  Roast for another 20-30 minutes, bringing the total roasting time to approximately 40-45 minutes.

 

 

Next, I threw together some easy, no-brainer jello.  Good ol’ fashioned jello.  But check these out…

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…using the Skull and Crossbones mold, I made fun shapes that my kids gobbled down.  Tip:  spray the inside of the mold with cooking spray before pouring in the jello.  Use a little less liquid than recommended to keep the jello firm.  My larger sized box called for 2 cups of water – I used 1 1/2 cups instead.

 

And, finally, my favorite snack of all….  Stay tuned!  It’s worth the wait!

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Day of the Dead Halloween Party October 25, 2016

Disclaimer: Allergy Shmallergy received these goods in exchange for an honest review.  I only feature products that I use myself and believe would be useful to the food allergy community.

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Trick or Treat banner from Oriental Trading

 

 

Halloween is almost here!  I hope you are all busy painting and decorating your teal pumpkins.  Teal pumpkins are a great way to let food allergy families know that you support them by offering non-food treats.  And by now, you all know that Oriental Trading has an enormous selection of non-food treats to fill your Halloween buckets.  These trick-or-treat items have a huge impact on kids with food allergies who often cannot collect almost any candy.  Food allergic kids can feel very left out at Halloween which is why it’s important to find ways for everyone to have fun safely.

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My middle son sporting a pair of glow in the dark vampire fangs…

[Oriental Trading supports the Teal Pumpkin project.  Check out their Halloween selection here.]

 

And, don’t forget to check their coupon page (you never know!):  Oriental Trading Coupon & Promo Page

 

We have a tradition of hosting an annual Halloween party at our house.  I began this as a way of ensuring that my son had plenty to eat and lots to celebrate when he was a young trick-or-treater.  Initially, he was allergic to so many foods that I couldn’t find a single candy he could enjoy safely.

 

I’m happy to report that he has since outgrown a few allergies.  Most candy is still off limits to him.  But surrounded by great friends at a pre-trick-or-treat dinner and post-candy-swap, he doesn’t mind.   Every year, the party grows and grows to include more families and more fun!

 

This year, I’ve create a Day of the Dead themed Halloween table.

halloween-middle-table

The playful patterns and colorful sugar skulls dress up any table.  Check out the cups!

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I couldn’t resist these plates and napkins – so I infused a little of the traditional Halloween with the addition of these irresistible black and white plates and napkins.

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Just like an outfit, accessories can make a table.  This sugar skull bowl and small skulls were a great addition to the black and whites at play.

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Are you looking at this table runner?!  You can’t quite tell from the photos, but it has spiders at the center of the webs and glitters in the light.  And, that pumpkin?!  I’ll be using it on my table through Thanksgiving!

 

 

I also picked out this silicone mold – which can be used for ice or to dress up snacks!

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Here’s a list of the items I used to create my Day of the Dead Halloween table:

 

Day of the Dead Candy Dish

Glittered Spider Table Runner

Foam Orange Pumpkin

Skull & Crossbones Ice Cube Tray

Skulls

“Trick or Treat” Halloween Cardboard Pennant Banner

Spider Web Dinner Plates

Large Polka Dots Dessert Plates

Boo Beverage Napkins

Day of the Dead Disposable Cups

Glow-in-the-Dark Vampire Teeth

Colorful Halloween Spider Rings

Day of the Dead Skull Wall Decoration

 

 

Now that the table – and the mood – are set, stay tuned later this week to see what I’m serving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Little More Halloween Magic with The Switch Witch October 19, 2015

Let’s face it:  candy makes Halloween magical for most kids.  As a kid, when else do your parents let you go out after dark and collect candy from your neighbors?  It’s heaven!

Unless you have food allergies.  And then it’s fraught with danger and uncertainty.  Not only is candy laden with dairy and nuts, but wheat, soy and eggs are all potential pitfalls for families with food allergies.  Ingredient lists are often missing – or extremely hard to read – on small, packaged candy.  And what may be safe to eat in a larger size is sometimes no longer safe when miniaturized due to manufacturing practices. Even when candy does not contain a particular allergen, it’s often processed on equipment that poses a risk.

Nothing is more fun-ending for a kid than realizing most of your candy isn’t safe to enjoy – except, of course, having a food allergy reaction.  There have been many years when my son’s “Trade” pile was larger than his “Keep.”

Switch Witch

Enter The Switch Witch.  At bedtime on Halloween night, tired and over-sugared kids can leave a heap of their Halloween candy out with their Switch Witch doll.  While they’re sleeping, the Switch Witch trades their stash for a special gift.  It’s brilliant!  Whether, like us, you have a child with food allergies whose Halloween candy isn’t safe for him or -also like us- your kids are just super-stellar candy collectors who have amassed way too much unhealthy sugar, the Switch Witch extends the excitement of Halloween.  This is a great way for food allergic children to have fun trick-or-treating, knowing that their milk and nut-filled loot will be traded for a satisfying surprise.

I’m getting on board this craze now!  It’s sure to be fun for ALL my kids.

 

[I feel like I need to say it for the record, but I get nothing from the genius that is Switch Witch.  This is not a sponsored post.  There are affiliate links within the article – a portion of which will benefit AllergyStrong, an organization that supports at-risk and low income families with food allergies.  Thank you and enjoy!]

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Valentine’s Day: Safe List of Nut-Free Candy February 4, 2015

If your sweetheart is allergic to peanuts or tree nuts, be very careful what you’re giving them for Valentine’s Day.  Candy is certainly not an essential part of Valentine’s Day, but if it’s on the menu you’ll want to make sure you’re giving them a safe treat rather than a trip to the ER.

The Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board compiles a list of peanut and tree nut free candy that could save the day!   As always, double check the ingredient lists to verify that there have been no changes in ingredient lists or manufacturing practices.  And, pay particular attention to candy that has been miniaturized or made larger as that often has manufacturing (and therefore, food allergy) implications.  Some of the items are available online but many are commercially available.  Among the many items they list, are:

  • Skittles
  • Dum Dum lollipops
  • Haribo Gummies
  • Peeps (I’ll remind you of this one in another couple of months)
  • Laffy Taffy
  • Wonka’s Nerds
  • Dubble Bubble
  • SweeTarts
  • Twizzlers
  • Tootsie Pops and Tootsie Rolls
  • Rolo
  • Starburst Fruit Chews, Lollipops, and Jelly Beans
  • Junior Mints
  • Lifesavers
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Hershey’s plain chocolate kisses (not King Size or Holiday/Seasonal Bags)
  • Hershey’s plain chocolate bar personal size only (not King Size or Minis)
  • Smarties
  • Hot Tamales

Peruse the full list here:

The Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board’s 2015 List of Peanut and Tree Nut Free Candy

           

 

Need to Whip Up a Last Minute Dessert? Dairy-free, Egg-Free and Maybe Even Gluten-Free Cookies November 26, 2014

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve realized my amazing dessert plan is too elaborate or altogether unnecessary for a big meal like Thanksgiving.  If you find yourself in a crunch (or if you’re just in the mood for a classic with a twist), check out this recipe originally posted in 2011.  The delicious hints of pie spice and pumpkin are reminiscent of a traditional Turkey Day pie but the chocolate makes it sooo much more satisfying!  My mouth is watering just remembering how good these were.  I barely have time, but I might just have to work these in tomorrow…

 

 These cookies are adapted from a recipe I found that was already egg-free (a great start!). But I’ve tweaked it to be dairy and nut-free and included a reviewer’s suggestion at the bottom for making them gluten-free as well! This recipe produces a ton of cookies, so invite the neighbors over about 5 minutes after they’ve cooled to help you chow down.
 

Ingredients (**see bottom for gluten-free substitutions**):

 
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free margarine
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour** (see below for gluten-free substitution)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

 

Cream the sugar, shortening, pumpkin and vanilla together. Mix until light and well combined.

 

Mix the flour, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice. Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture. Mix until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

  

Drop by teaspoons onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes or until set. Let cookies cool on a rack.

 
Makes 4 dozen cookies.
 
**To make them gluten-free, one reviewer commented that she substituted the following for the flour:
  • 2 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup soy flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  

I am thankful for these cookies!

 

Teal Pumpkin Project for Food Allergy Awareness During Halloween October 27, 2014

Filed under: Holiday,Preparedness — malawer @ 12:47 pm
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My kids and I were asked to do a news segment yesterday for Fox 5 News about Food Allergies during Halloween.  As we all know, having food allergies during a food centric holiday can be very difficult.  Luckily, FARE aims to make that easier with its #TealPumpkinProject.  Please watch the clip and pass it on!  I think it goes without say that Halloween would be even MORE fun if it were more inclusive and SAFE for all children!

 

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Our segment is running throughout today, but in case you missed it or don’t live in the DC market – here you go:

Teal Pumpkin Project for food allergy awareness – DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG.

 

And, please read my next post for Trick or Treating tips and non-food Halloween ideas!

Teal Pumpkin Project
 

Halloween, Safety and Teal Pumpkins October 24, 2014

Filed under: Holiday,Preparedness — malawer @ 11:45 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 

  • Teal Pumpkin Decoration For Food Allergy Awareness
 

Halloween is a particularly tricky time for kids with food allergies.  I’m always amazed at how many houses give out treats laden with peanuts, tree nuts and other common allergens.  Although my son understands that he can get safe candy from me when the trick-or-treat is a no-go, it’s hard not to be disappointed for him.   Holidays routinely make kids with food allergies feel left out and Halloween is king among them.

 

There ARE a few things you can do to make this Halloween safe and pure fun:

 

1.  Carry a variety of safe treats for your child to choose from so that he/she can get a replacement treat when the neighbor’s doesn’t cut it;

2.  Always carry your epinephrine while you trick-or-treat and remind your child NOT to eat any candy until you get home to ensure its safety;

3.  Don’t forget to read the labels of even candy you know to be safe.  When miniaturized, manufacturers often use shared equipment that isn’t a problem at the candy’s regular size package.   Read, read and re-read;

4.  Always carry your cell phone.  In addition to taking adorable shots of your kids sprinting from house to house, you may want to have it with you in the unlikely event that a reaction occurs.

 

And, look for houses with TEAL PUMPKINS.  The non-profit Food Allergy Research Education (FARE) is encouraging families who are offering non-food treats to place a teal pumpkin on their doorstep to let kids with food allergies know that they can safely trick or treat at your house. Read more about the Teal Pumpkin Project here.

 

In that vein, here are some great non-food options to offer.  Order today so that they’ll arrive before Halloween!

 
 
                                       

Glow in the Dark Vampire Teeth

Glow In The Dark Fangs - 12 per pack

Mini cans of Play-Doh

GlowStick Bracelets

Slap Bracelets

Head Boppers (remember these,  parents?!!  Flashback!)

Flashing Rings (for the Pop Princesses that visit) 

EYE BOUNCE BALL

Bouncing Eyeballs

Creepy Glow Fingers

Zombie Eye Patches

  • US Toy Glow Witch Fingers CostumeZombie Eye Patches

 
 

 

 

Happy Haunting, everyone!

 

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