Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

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

חנוכה - Hanukkah (5235439434)

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!

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.)

 

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
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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.