Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Donate These Allergy-Friendly Foods This Holiday Season November 25, 2019

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Happy Thanksgiving!

 

There is so much to be grateful for this holiday season – family, friends, and good health among so many other things to be thankful for.  But some families are struggling, worried about where they will get their next meal.  When you add food allergies to their list of concerns, their situation goes from difficult to dire.

 

Food banks and food pantries will be feeding families through the holiday season and throughout the year.  And, reflective of the prevalence across the United States, 1 in every 10 adults and 1 in every 13 kids that uses these services will have a food allergy.  Many will not list their food allergy, as food allergies often go undiagnosed.  But obtaining a ingredients to make a safe meal will not be easy.

 

If you donate to food banks or food pantries this season, please consider donating some of these much needed, shelf-stable items for clients with food allergies:

  • Gluten-free bread (shelf-stable, unrefrigerated)
  • Soy, Rice and Almond-Milk (shelf stable, unrefrigerated)
  • Gluten and nut-free cereals
  • Sunbutter, Soynut butter, and almond butter
  • Nut-free granola bars (such as Enjoy Life, Made Good, etc)
  • Gluten-free pasta and GF pasta meals
  • Soy-free cooking oil (such as canola, olive, etc)

 

Stock the Shelves for Families with Food Allergies - the easy way to increase food allergy-friendly items at food pantries and brighten the lives of families across the U.S. Host a food drive today! shmallergy.wordpress.com

 

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

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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!

There are all kinds of ways to make gingerbread houses using milk cartons, like we did in elementary school.  Let’s face it: the decorating is the best part of this experience anyway!  Gather up some small, individual-sized orange juice/milk cartons (*remember to wash the carton thoroughly before using if you are allergic to dairy*).   Cover the cartons in brown paper and decorate by gluing on safe candy, buttons, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, glitter – anything goes!  You can also paint on windows, embellishments.  Follow this great guide idea from Crafts by Amanda. You can make a whole village and even add trees cut from cardboard decorated!

Recycled Village of Gingerbread Houses - Crafts by Amanda

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!

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.)

 

Holiday Houses and Candied Cheer December 16, 2015

Happy Holidays, everyone!

 

It has been a very busy holiday season so far… and we’re not done yet!  We’ve eaten an entire crop of potatoes in the form of latkes.  I’ve hosted three Chanukah parties; attended numerous holiday concerts; shopped, wrapped and cooked until I broke a sweat.  The kids decorated the house and graciously ate as many doughnuts as they could manage. Finally, we’re building.  Yes, building!

 

Holiday houses, that is.   And, as much as I’d love to create a gingerbread house from scratch, it just isn’t going to happen during such a busy month.  So, I’ve been leaving no gumdrop stone unturned in my search for allergy-friendly, off-the-shelf kits.

 

Here are a couple of fabulous allergy-free finds:

 

Manischewitz Chanukah House:

This nut-free house is easy to assemble, a cinch to decorate and delicious to eat.  It is not gingerbread, but rather vanilla cookie which my kids prefer.

Check ingredient list here: nut-free, lactose-free, contains soy and wheat.

Manischewitz Do-It-Yourself Chanukah House Vanilla Cookie Decorating Kit

Sensitive Sweets Gingerbread House:

How fantastic to find such an allergy-friendly kit!  Gluten, dairy, egg, soy, tree nut, peanut-free and vegan.  And, look how gorgeous the final product can be!  Too beautiful to eat!

Check ingredient list here: Gluten, dairy, egg, soy, tree nut, peanut-free, vegan.

 

A&J Bakery:

A&J Bakery not only manufactures gingerbread houses, but they make Gingerbread Men in their nut and gluten-free facility.  These Gingerbread Men would make a great kids’ activity for a holiday party.  They’re individualized and ready to eat in minutes!

Check ingredient list here: free of top 8 allergens.

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Sweet Nature Candy Canes:

These candy canes are made in a gluten, dairy, tree nut, peanut, egg, fish and shellfish-free facility.  Their allergen information page is impressive and their candy canes minty and fresh!  Spangler, the parent company also makes our favorite, safe lollipops, DumDums!

 

Check ingredient list here: free from wheat, gluten, dairy, tree nut, peanuts, egg, fish, and shellfish.

Eleni’s New York:

Among the insanely adorable cookies and treats that Eleni’s offers for nearly EVERY occasion are these fantastic and creative Color Me! holiday cookie sets.  The Hanukkah one below is sold out, but you’re in luck – there are still Christmas sets available!

Color Me! Hanukkah Gift Set

Check out ingredient lists here: everything is nut-free (and Kosher). Woohoo!

 

Living with food allergies can be crazy.  Especially during the holidays.  These gingerbread, Chanukah houses and other treats are such an easy way for my kids to feel included in the fun.  They all love to work together to create the perfect house, covered in as much frosting and candy as they can manage.  They’ve been excited to participate in the fun of decorating and devouring gingerbread cookies at a party.  And, we ALL love setting out a treat like nut-free candy canes knowing that anyone that walks through our door can enjoy them – safely and with confidence!

 

 

 

AANMA’s “All In Good Eats” Article: Allergy-Free Holiday Recipes December 4, 2014

Remember this picture?!  In September, I told you I was up to something and I meant it!

 

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Allergy Shmallergy was featured in Asthma and Allergy Network’s (aanma.org) publication Allergy & Asthma Today.  I wrote the All in Good Eats article this quarter and included some of my favorite allergy-free holiday treats.  You don’t need to celebrate Chanukah to try my mouth watering recipe for Sweet Potato Chanukah Latkes.  And, I also included a *NEW* recipe for Double Chocolate Peppermint Holiday cookies.  Anytime candy canes and TWICE the regular amount of chocolate are included in your ingredient list, you know you’ll have a party favorite.

 
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The Asthma and Allergy Network works to educate and advocate for families living with allergies and asthma.  Check out their site and peruse the wide variety of resources they have available.  Pick up a copy of Allergy & Asthma Today in your doctor’s office, online, or join AANMA to stay up-to-date on their publications, reference materials, and other related resources.

Allergy & Asthma Today, Winter 2014 Edition:  All In Good Eats, Festive Bites

 

 

 

O’My Goodness! Peanut-free and Tree Nut-free Chanukah Cookies December 9, 2012

We can almost NEVER buy baked goods off-the-shelf.  They always seem to conflict with my son’s food allergies and, thus, he’s relegated enjoying the creations that result from my sometimes limited baking and decorating skills.

 

However, while grabbing some items at our local Balducci’s, we read through the ingredients label of fabulously decorated dreidel, star and present butter cookies.  Amazingly, they are produced in a peanut and tree nut-free facility!  And, if you have a dairy allergy but can eat baked dairy (as our allergist advised we could), the frosting did not contain dairy (the cookie, however, did).

Here’s a link to their Chanukah cookies which you can order online.  But they also sell cookies for other occasions.  *One warning*, their cookies are likely for special occasions only (baby arrival, holidays, etc) as they are not priced to buy in bulk.  But, it was a special treat for us to even find one like it that my son could eat – and he loved every bite!

 

Egg-Free Latke Series #3: Cilantro-Jalapeno Latkes December 12, 2011

The folks at Cooking Light are geniuses!  This is an amazing adaptation of your run-of-the-mill latke.  It’s definitely my favorite so far in the series.  And, you can make a dairy-free dipping sauce included below which is also delicious with tortilla chips.   
 

Dipping sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons dairy-free sour cream (Tofutti makes one that is often sold in regular supermarkets as well as Whole Foods)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Latkes:

  • 6 cups shredded peeled baking potato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 cup grated fresh onion
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional – I omitted since I don’t love cilantro)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper (handle carefully, jalapeno oil can burn!  I have a funny story about this – totally at my expense.  Another time….)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
 
  1. To make dip: Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  2.  Place grated potatoes in ice water.  After 10 minutes, remove potatoes to colander and reserve water.  Let water sit for 10 more minutes while potato starch settles at bottom.
  3. Carefully pour out water, retaining potato starch.  This will help create a crispy latke when fried.
  4. Combine potato and onion in a colander. Drain 15 minutes, pressing occasionally with the back of a spoon until barely moist. Combine potato mixture, potato starch, flour, and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; toss well.
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Spoon 1/4 cup potato mixture loosely into a dry measuring cup. Pack together and pour mixture into pan; flatten slightly with back of spoon or spatula. Repeat the procedure to form remaining latkes. Sauté 3 – 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Remove latkes from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and potato mixture to yield 12 latkes total.
 

Serve with sour cream mixture.

 

Latke Series #2: Egg-Free Sweet Potato Latkes December 9, 2011

Filed under: Holiday,Recipes & Cooking — malawer @ 9:05 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

I can’t resist a sweet potato with brown sugar, so it’s no wonder this recipe appeals to me!

 

Ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and well shredded

4 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 cup flour

olive oil

 

Place shredded sweet potatoes in a bowl.  Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour to sweet potatoes and combine well.

 

I would grate the sweet potato even a teeny bit more than this...

Cover bottom of saucepan with thin layer of olive oil and heat to medium.

 

Form mixture into ping pong size golf balls, gently squeezing to get rid of excess liquid.  Place in saucepan and flatten with spatula into 1/4″ thick pancakes.  Flip cakes after 2 to 3 minutes (when bottom is browned) and brown on the other side (about 2 minutes). Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

 
 

Serve with maple syrup or the more traditional applesauce.

 

Chanukah Latke Series December 7, 2011

Chanukah is nearly here!  In fantastic Jewish tradition, we’re whetting our palettes for all things fried.   Mmmmm…  Most notably, we serve jelly doughnuts and potato pancakes called latkes.

 

And,  who doesn’t love a latke?!

 

With that in mind, I’ve decided to chronicle a list of latkes and its many, many variations.  Although usually made with egg as a binder, these recipes are all egg-free.  And, as always, they are peanut, tree nut, and dairy-free as well.

 

Let’s begin with a traditional latke.   This one comes from Linda Coss’ milk, egg and nut-free cookbook What’s To Eat?

 

Prep time:  about 15 minutes

Cooking time:  20 minutes

 

2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled

1/2 small onion

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

approximately 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

 

Using the grating disk on a food processor, grate the potatoes and the onion.  Remove contents from processor’s bowl and exchange grater for metal blade.  Place potato/onion mixture back into the food processor; add flour, baking powder, and salt.  Process with metal blade until the batter is a well-blended “mush.”

 

Pour enough vegetable oil into a large non-stick frying pan or non-stick skillet to make 1/4 inch layer of oil.  Heat oil over medium high heat for 3 minutes.  Drop batter by spoonfuls into hot oil , forming pancakes approximately 2 1/2-3 inches in diameter; flatten dough with back of a spoon.  Cook for 2 -3 minutes, until edges of latkes turn light brown.  Flip latkes and cook an additional 2-3 minutes until browned.  Drain cooked latkes on a few layers of paper towels before serving.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Serve hot.

 

Makes about 24 latkes.

 

How many more days until Chanukah?!  Maybe we don’t need to wait until the end of the month to enjoy these….

 

Free From Magazines March 23, 2011

My sweet and thoughtful friend bought me a copy of Living Without magazine the other day while out at Whole Foods.   Living Without is a magazine for people with restricted diets (focused mainly on gluten- and dairy-free nutrition).  Showcasing allergy-free recipes, the magazine also offers information regarding food allergies and sensitivities, celiac disease, allergy-free products and related health and lifestyle issues.

 

I find it informative and pick up a copy from time to time.  Living Without currently publishes another magazine, Gluten Free & More!  So before you check out from Whole Foods, check out these informative magazines or subscribe today on Amazon!

 

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

 

 
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