Friday, November 8, 2013

Maggiano's Little Italy {a success story}

Last month, we took the family on a mini vacation to our favorite beach in Florida. It was perfect. As always. It's a place we can go and just totally relax and enjoy ourselves. There's something about the ocean that makes you forget everything stressful in your life. It's just pure enjoyment. That's not what this post is about, though. It was on our way home that this story takes place.
We planned to leave early enough so that we would arrive in Jacksonville right at lunch time. We had heard about Maggiano's from family members that had been there and we were really wanting to try it out. As a family that operates on the food allergy mindset, we had never taken our family out to an italian restaurant before because of the egg ingredient present in nearly all pastas. It's never a risk we've been willing to take because there are only a couple different pastas available in stores that my daughter can eat and pretty much every italian restaurant we've looked up online has no egg-free version. But we researched ahead of time {as always} and saw on Maggiano's website that they try to accomodate food allergies, etc. So, we made the decision to go. {There were plenty of other places nearby to eat in case we got there and it proved not to be allergy friendly. We always have a backup plan.} Upon arriving, it was a little busy outside the restaurant, so Hubs let me out of the car to go get a table. When I was greeted by the hostess, I asked her about the food allergies, specifically my daughter's allergies to milk, eggs and peanuts and she said they happily accommodate food allergies and that the chef would come to our table to speak with us about it. Sure enough, a few minutes later, the chef came out {which my daughter thought was awesome} and asked us about the allergies and then gave us our food options. He told us she could eat any of the straight pastas like spaghetti, etc. and then which sauces were appropriate for her allergy needs. When they brought out Callie's big bowl of spaghetti {her very first time eating it at a restaurant!!}, she was thrilled! Spaghetti is her favorite meal at home, but it was even better in a restaurant.
I had to take her picture because this was a moment to remember! Excuse the crazy hair and tired face. We had been traveling all morning.

I, of course, had Benadryl in my purse just in case, but it was completely fine for her and caused no reaction whatsoever. It was a real treat for her to eat pasta that day. I was so happy for her and thankful that she got to have this first-time experience. Wish we had a Maggiano's close to us!

I'm adding this to my list of allergy-friendly restaurants at my page entitled {Allergy-friendly Restaurants}. Go check out the others listed. If you know of some I have not listed, please comment and let me know!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

How to Deal with the Emotional Effects of Food Allergies or Any Other Trial in Your Life {a personal story}

Let's face it. Food allergies are difficult to live with. They affect our emotional being just as much as our physical being. Pain, sickness, and sometimes {unfortunately} even death comes as a result of food allergies. The emotional side brings fear, anxiety, sadness, distrust and feelings of loneliness. It's hard, and as a parent of a child with multiple food allergies it's heartbreaking at times. Today was another one of those moments for both my girl and me. If you've read my blog before this post you know that I try very hard to help my sweet girl live as normal a life as possible. It's time consuming and sometimes inconvenient, but ALWAYS worth every bit of effort. However, there's no way I can make her life feel normal 100% of the time. Because her life requires a lot of care and careful watch over everything in her environment, she naturally feels different from everyone else. This afternoon, she had another one of those moments where it really weighed down on her and she was overcome by emotions. The crying and inability to understand why she has food allergies and no one else in our family has them. Why she can't eat more than half of the halloween candy she got {which we switch out for things she can eat} is a trial for her that she cannot understand. And the tears. They pour down her cheeks like a rushing river. Head in her hands. Sobbing. Until there's nothing left. I just sit there holding back my own tears and once again ask God for wisdom to be able to help her believe in something she cannot see. SomeONE she cannot see, but Whose hand is very evident in her life to those who are watching. I sit there among the sobs and tears and am reminded of His faithfulness. God's protection. His love. My whole life is marked by His faithfulness to me. Every trial and tear, He was there and there was a purpose for it. I couldn't always see the purpose during the hard times, but the sunshine after the rain is always more beautiful. I see Him clearly now in every one of those deep, difficult days. Times when I thought I knew what was best for me, but in His lovingkindness He didn't allow. Times I couldn't understand why life seemed so hard, but now through tear-stained eyes I see. He always has a purpose. And I sit there with my girl, worn out with grief, and begin to tell her - again - about this God that loves and has a purpose for everything. "He makes no mistakes!" I declare for the hundredth time. Do you believe that? This God Who loves with everlasting love, dishes out grace upon grace, and heaps mercy on me in my worst state. He loves. And He cares. He has a reason for these food allergies. I believe it with my whole heart. I have no doubt about that. So, we prayed again asking God to give more grace for these moments, to reveal to us the purpose of these food allergies and for healing from these allergies. But if He chooses not to, I ask Him to help her trust Him that His way is always best. Even when we cannot see or understand and nothing makes sense or seems fair.

These things are sure:
  1. God makes no mistakes.
  2. He loves and cares.
  3. He has a distinct purpose for your trial.

If you're struggling with this or another trial or hardship in your life and you just don't understand why. If it seems like it will never end, let me encourage you to listen to this series on Seeing through Suffering & Pain. It has been a huge blessing in my life and I am sure you will benefit from it, too.
If you have questions or would like me to pray for you, email me through my profile. I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Allerbling {Food Allergy Awareness Bracelet}

My awesome cousin sent my daughter this Allerbling bracelet she got a few weeks ago. She put a pic of it on Facebook and it looked like such a great idea. I had never heard of this company! Well, we got it in the mail today and I am so impressed with this thing!
From Amazon:

Product Description

"The best way to avoid food allergy emergencies is through awareness. Allerbling is a visual educational tool and a conversation piece that has the potential to save children's lives by raising awareness of a child's food allergies.

These bright, stretchy bracelets are a great way to alert others about your child's food allergies. To insert charms, simply stretch the wristband a little with one hand, and elongate a hole. Then squeeze the charm backing and insert it partially into the hole and pull the backing through the other side - a bit like threading a needle. Do not use a sharp object to elongate the hole. Continue until you have installed all of the charms your child needs." 

What I love:
*The bracelet comes with 5 holes to accommodate 4 food allergy charms + 1 medic charm. It comes with 8 charms and you can choose from the 14 they offer.
*I also love that the charms are not easily removed from the bracelet, so there is no chance of them falling off or even being pulled off.
*It's the perfect size for my girl. Not too big, not too small. Just right.
You really need to purchase one!!

*These are my own opinions, no one paid me to write about this post. I just want the world to know about this great product!*

I'm sharing this with some of these friends, as well as, everyone I know with food allergies!!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Daughter's 1st Trip to a Pizza Place {Vegan Pizza}

About two weeks ago, my husband discovered a local pizza place that offers a vegan pizza. We are always looking for places to go out to eat with our 8 year old who has a dairy, egg, and peanut allergy. So, when we realized there was a pizza place she could actually eat at, we were so excited to try it out!

We have NEVER gone as a family to eat at a pizza place without bringing my girl her own food to eat, so this was a highly anticipated event. Not only that, but this place does Kids Eat Free on Sundays! Win, win situation! Your Pie is where we took her. They have a choice of two crusts, two sauces and a cheese that are all vegan. You pick your toppings accordingly. My girl isn't a fan of pepperoni or other meat toppings, so she chose cheese and black olives.
Here she is getting ready to eat her very first restaurant made vegan pizza:
And, here's her first bite:
The look on her face is a slight indication of how she felt about it. I only wish I would have gotten the next picture - think: face scrunched up, tongue sticking out. She did not like it. {Insert X-Factor Buzzer Sounds} We were all a little disappointed for her. She wanted to like it so bad, but she just couldn't handle it. The one lesson she learned today is that now she knows she isn't missing out on anything when people around her are eating pizza. She just plain didn't like it.
In defense of Your Pie, I did try it {and they warned me that most kids didn't like the Daiya cheese they use on their vegan pizza}. I consider myself an expert on pizza tasting. I love pizza just like 99% of the free world, so I tried it for myself to see how it compared to the taste of my own pizza. It was actually VERY good. There was no weird taste or smell about it. It looks like real cheese. It's a great dairy-free option!! I highly recommend it. My girl just clearly hasn't aquired a taste for cheese since she has never in her life tasted real cheese.
We drove down the street to her favorite place, Taco Bell, and got her favorite bean burrito with no cheese and no onions and she was all set.
Have you ever tried vegan pizza? Is there a restaurant you like that offers it? What's your favorite vegan cheese brand?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Art You Can Eat - part one {allergy free recipe}

These yummy cupcakes were made for my daughter's 8th birthday!

 She's my little artist in residence and I gave her an art themed birthday celebration. She loved every minute of it!
You can get the recipe on my other blog, Life is {Sew} Daily. 3 ingredient cupcakes that are egg free, dairy free and peanut free. Moist and delicious.

If you make some, give me a shout and let me know how you like them!

Thanks for stopping by! {I made another allergy-free artsy treat for her - come back to check it out soon!}


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tomato Bisque

Who doesn't love a good comfort food? Soup is in my comfort food category and I think you might love this one too! My mom found this and shared it with me. This is free of all the main allergens {cashews are optional} and is super healthy, too!

{Not pictured here - 4 cloves minced garlic, Mrs. Dash, red pepper flakes}
Put all ingredients in the pot, except the cashews. Stir. Heat to boil. Simmer approx. 30 minutes. Put 1/4 cup cashews in food processor, add 1 cup soup. Puree. Add back to pot. Stir and serve!

This takes tomato soup to a whole new level! It was very quick and easy to make. So, make this your next rainy day meal! Add a little grilled cheese and you're set!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Popcorn Balls {dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free, gluten-free}

Just in time for Fall parties and celebrations! Last Saturday I had to come up with a dessert for a Harvest Party that would be fun for a group of college students. I wanted something that fit into the 'finger food' category that would also be allergy-friendly for my daughter. In group events where food is involved {when is food NOT involved?}, I like to make something allergy-friendly so my girl can eat what everyone else is enjoying. I was happy to have found this Fall favorite and make it allergy-friendly. So, if you're looking for a quick treat that doesn't require much effort, this is it!

Popcorn Balls {dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free, gluten-free}

3/4 c light corn syrup
1/4 coconut oil
2 T cold water
2 5/8 c powdered sugar
1 cup marshmallows
5 quarts popcorn, popped {I airpopped mine - delicious}

Heat the first 5 ingredients in a saucepan and mix well. Once thoroughly combined, add in marshmallows, stir constantly until melted. Pour mixture over popcorn and mix until coated. Lay wax paper down and form popcorn into balls. Place on wax paper to set. I wore disposable gloves sprayed with cooking spray to form the popcorn balls and it worked like a charm. No sticking. These turned out great with very little effort!