Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve Buffet {circa 1949} - Allergy Free

One of my favorite finds ever at my local Goodwill was in 2000 when I came across a vintage cookbook - The Good Housekeeping Cook Book dated 1949. It had a nicely worn red cover with white lettering that caught my eye. It had me from Hello. I paid .50 for it and couldn't wait to get home to look through all the wonderful slightly yellowed pages including full color pages featuring the most retro illustrations! I love it. It's still my favorite cook book even though I know I'll never cook Jellied Tomato Soup or Rabbit Stew.
As I was thinking about what I wanted to do with my blog this year, I knew that I wanted to add many more recipes and meal ideas, above and beyond the sweets category. So, keep your eyes peeled for those! Another thing I thought would be fun is to go through this wonderful cook book and bring back some of the oldies, but goodies - this time in allergy-free form. So, that's what I'm going to do. And just for fun, I'm posting today the New Year's Eve Buffet from pg. 897. Enjoy!

The recipe that stands out from this menu and would be used in my house most often is the Toasted Garlic Buttered French Bread from pg. 476. I have modified it below to make it allergy-friendly:

Toasted Garlic Buttered French Bread {dairy-free, egg-free}
1/2 cup Smart Balance Light {dairy-free}
1 or 2 peeled cloves garlic
1 Pillsbury Refrigerated French Bread Loaf
1/4 tsp salt

Soften 'butter'. Add garlic; mash slightly with fork. Let stand 30 min or longer. While that is going on, bake Pillsbury French Bread Loaf according to package directions. Remove garlic. Approx 5 min before baking is done, take the loaf out of oven and slash bread diagonally into thick slices, almost to bottom. Spread garlic butter generously between slices and over top half of loaf. Sprinkle with salt and paprika. Place back in oven for remainder of baking time. Let guests break off pieces. Makes 6-8 servings.

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Re-introduction...

I've been blogging about food allergies for 3 years now. It's been a huge learning experience for me and my family. One of my daughters has allergies to milk, eggs and peanuts and this is the only life she has known. We discovered her allergy to milk at 8 months old when she had a severe allergic reaction to cow's milk and formula. We avoided it until her first birthday when she had another visible reaction to her birthday cake that did not contain milk. Turns out it was egg whites. So, we took her to an allergist and discovered she was severely allergic to cow's milk (goat's milk ended up giving her the same reaction), eggs and peanuts. We were told she would possibly outgrow one or more by her fifth birthday, but when we took her for a re-check at five years old, she still had all three allergies. The milk allergy appears to be non-life threatening now, but egg has gotten worse and peanut has stayed the same.

I blog in order to journal our lives that are so greatly affected by food allergies, but also to encourage those of you who are just finding out about food allergies and those of you who have been living this lifestyle for awhile. You will find lots of recipes that our family likes and tips/tricks that I use in the kitchen and out to eat.

I am moving my blog to this site because it is much easier to manage and the picture quality is better, in my opinion. So, feel free to go back to my wordpress blog to check out the archives. I have moved most of my posts here to this blog (which is why I have tons of posts dated December 30, 2011), and will have more added as time goes by. I have an 'Eating Out' page on my wordpress blog that may be of help to you. I add to that as I come across allergy-friendly restaurants.

Please subscribe to my posts by email or add me to your favorites to keep checking in. I'd love your feedback, as well.

Thanks for stopping by! The New Year will hopefully be full of new ideas and posts for this allergy blog!

Easy Gingerbread Rice Krispie Treats {Dairy-free, Egg-free}

I have come across several flavors of marshmallows this season and it has been fun making several different treats with them for the holidays! Flavored marshmallows open up a whole new world of sweets! Here's one my kids have been enjoying:

Easy Gingerbread Rice Krispie Treats {Dairy-free}

3T Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread {It's dairy-free!}

1 bag of gingerbread marshmallows {I get mine at Walmart}

6 cups Rice Krispies

Melt buttery spread in medium saucepan, stir in whole bag of gingerbread marshmallows. Stir continuously until melted. Stir in 6 cups of rice krispies making sure to mix well.

Pour into a greased 13x9 inch pan. Let sit until cooled. Cut into gingerbread man shapes! Enjoy!!


And, did you read about the Stained Glass Marshmallow Roll I posted around Thanksgiving? This time I used the Peppermint Mallows by Jet-Puffed that I found at Walmart....Can't wait to try these!!

Sugar Cookie Icing {Dairy-free, Egg-free}

I can't tell you how long I've looked for a perfect allergy-free sugar cookie icing. A lot of them have dairy in them and then I found one without dairy and realized I had no corn syrup. So after some research on substitutions, I came up with this icing. I will use it from now on! It's the perfect consistency and tastes yummy, too!

Sugar Cookie Icing {Dairy-free, Egg-free, Vegan}

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp Smart Balance Light (or Earth Balance buttery spread - they are dairy free)

1 Tbsp Cream of Tartar (I may have used a heaping Tbsp just in case)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Food coloring, if desired

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix until powdered sugar is moistened. Beat at medium speed until smooth. Add additional tablespoons of water to reach desired consistency. Tint with food coloring if desired.

Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies {Dairy-free, Egg-free}

If you are looking for a perfect allergy-free sugar cookie, look no further! This is the best one I've made and I'm sure you will love it, too. I made these for the first time last year and my girl just loved them. I am busy baking today for all the parties my girl has and will be sharing several recipes with you. I hope you find them useful and yummy, too!

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies {dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free}

(Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies)

  • Ingredients
1 cup butter or margarine2 cups sugar1 Tbsp vanilla2 Tbsp cornstarch

5 cups flour (divided)

1 cup buttermilk or dairy-free milk alternative, soured with 1 tsp vinegar

2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt

  • Instructions
Mix together butter or margarine, sugar and vanilla. Add cornstarch. Alternately add the buttermilk, 2 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in additional 2 1/2 cups flour.Chill well. (Approx. 3 hours)Roll out on a floured surface and cut out. Sprinkle tops with sugar (or colored sugar, sprinkles, etc).Bake at 350 °F for 8-10 min depending on size.

This is what the dough looks like when it's been chilled long enough. It is very easy to form and not very sticky.

When baked for 8-10 minutes the cookies turn out perfect! They are not even brown on the edges which means they are just firm enough and still soft on the inside.

Chocolate Donut Muffins {Dairy-free, Egg-free, Vegan, Nut-free}

I've been busy baking today for my girl's Christmas parties this week. This one may be familiar to you because I posted it here awhile back. It is my go-to recipe when I need a donut for my girl. Tomorrow at school, her class is having donuts and chocolate milk while they watch The Polar Express so, of course, she needed a substitute. These turned out delicious and look so yummy, too! I can't wait for her to try one when she gets home from school.

You can get the recipe here. I changed one thing and it turned out to be a great change. *Let the donuts cool for several minutes before tossing them in the powdered sugar. If the donut is too warm when the sugar is on them, the sugar melts. These turned out perfect today! I think you'll like them.

A Lesson on Perspective

Today was decorate-the-gingerbread-houses-at-school-day. I volunteered to help with this because my girl was just a bit nervous about knowing which ingredients she could/could not have and after I went to the classroom and the mess of icing and candy pieces began to escalate, I was so glad I had gone. My girl was so excited to be elbow deep in bright colored candies and I was glad I could be there to monitor the situation. Thankfully, the decorating went off without a hitch and all the kiddos had a blast. I enjoyed being there with those kids who are all so very different from each other, but wonderful and special in their own ways. (Even though, I might have been dreading the mess!!) When I picked up my girls from school this afternoon, C had her gingerbread house in tow and she was greatly looking forward to getting home and eating some of that house. It seemed she had forgotten all about our little discussion about how it was not something she could eat because of the icing that contains egg whites. So, when I gently reminded her of that, there was a major emotional breakdown. This is really the first time she's ever gotten so upset (outwardly) about her allergies. Mega tears were flowing in the backseat from the sheer disappointment of not being able to eat such a beautiful and visually appealing treat that she worked so hard on. I let her vent her frustration for a second and then asked her, "Does God make mistakes?" Of course, her answer was NO. And then I asked her, "Did he make a mistake by allowing you to have food allergies?" Her answer, at first, was yes and then we talked about how God cannot make a mistake - never has and never will. He allows everything in our lives for a reason....even things we don't think are right for us. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that ALL THINGS work together for good to them that love God...according to His purpose." Even a 6 year old can begin to understand that God knows what's best for us and always has our best interest at heart. And while the tears were pouring and the sobbing was in full force, I sat there in the driver's seat praying she will one day outgrow these allergies, but also wondering what else I could say to help her put this in perspective. Then, I pulled off my exit and sat at a red light where homeless people are almost always standing begging for money or food and I could see just enough under the bridge to see others taking shelter there. I pointed them out to my children and showed them what they had never noticed before. There are real people all around us who have no food or home. When put in perspective, food allergies seem so much less of a burden. The fact is, the focus doesn't need to be on what we can't have, but what we already have that, quite frankly, we don't deserve. God has blessed us exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask for or imagine {Eph 3:20} and THAT is what we can be thankful for.

Don't Just Survive the Holidays {and Holiday Foods}...THRIVE!

Christmas is rapidly approaching and with this time of year come lots of Christmas parties and get-togethers with the main attraction being FOOD! Just in the next 7 days, my girl has an event involving popcorn, two Christmas parties at church and school and the traditional (and somewhat dreadful) gingerbread house building at school. All of those things involve food and most of them are foods that are very risky to her health. At this point, I can do one of two things. 1) Avoid it altogether and have her feel isolated and feed her fear of being around those things or 2) Do everything in my power to know what foods will be at what event and make alternatives for her to bring with her so that she can participate like a normal child and teach her to thrive in her environment regardless of food allergies. I'm choosing to do the latter. Her whole life we have been striving to maintain a sense of normalcy for this girl and show her that while she does have potentially life-threatening food allergies, it is possible to be able to enjoy every event and situation involving food. Our 'normal' isn't the same as everyone else's 'normal', but we do our best to help her blend in and thrive. It's very important to us to teach her that while it is absolutely necessary for her to avoid certain foods, she can have just as much fun as everyone else and not be afraid.

So, here are some practical tips for surviving the wonderful holidays and all the food that comes with it!

1. MAKE A LIST AND CHECK IT TWICE. Compile a list of all the parties/events that your child will be a part of and make a detailed list of each menu. Mark the items that he/she can have and then make allergy-free substitutes for those items which he/she cannot have. If your child is old enough to understand, then go over the lists with him so he is aware of all the substitutes.

2. GIVE STUFF! Volunteer to bring items for school parties/church parties and sign up to bring items like cupcakes or cookies (or whatever your child cannot have) and bring an allergy-free type for the whole class. There are some things like graham crackers that my child can only eat certain brands of, so in that case, bring only that brand or ask the teacher if she can specifically request certain brands to be brought.

3. GIVE TIME! Volunteer to help at the parties so that you can monitor the food situation. My child is old enough to know certain things that she can/cannot have, but I know that she is much more comfortable to partake if I am there. When she doesn't know if an item is okay, she will just refrain from eating it. I know some kids may not have that kind of self control, but your child might.

4. HAVE A LITTLE CHAT! Communicate with the teacher(s) as the time draws near for the party/event to remind her of your child's specific needs. Send a note in on that day, as well, reminding her. You can also have your child wear allergy alert jewelry or a sticker/pin stating his/her allergies so that even volunteers can be on alert. My girl will be wearing her necklace on the days of her parties/events.

5. LAST BUT NOT LEAST! In case of gingerbread house building, find out the exact ingredients that will be there and deal with it appropriately. The 'glue' that my girl's teacher is using to stick the house together has meringue powder in it and that is an absolute no-no for my sweet girl. So, we are going to have her use gloves while putting these houses together. And then I have checked into all the ingredients and sent in some of the ones where my girl needs specific brands. After all that, we know of one ingredient that she cannot partake of and she is aware of it. So, she's feeling pretty excited about building herself a little gingerbread house with the rest of her class. And I have to say that this momma is at peace with it and looking forward to seeing what my artistic girl comes up with!

I'm planning to post a few Christmas recipes coming in the next few days, so stay tuned! And I have some plans in the works for the new year on this blog! Exciting days ahead!

Stained Glass Marshmallow Roll {Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free}

We've arrived at the time of year again where tasty, traditional food is a BIG deal! I'm excited about Thanksgiving dinner in a couple of days, how about you?? And with Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, I've had to come up with some more fun desserts for my girl. I wanted to do something a little different for her this year in the sweets department and as I wandered through the baking aisle, I spotted the colored marshmallows. I was actually looking for marshmallows for something else I'll post about later, but when I saw the colored ones, my tastebuds were catapulted back to my younger years when my mamaw would make Stained Glass Marshmallow Rolls. {Now I'm drooling.} I called my sister to see if she had the recipe, but no luck. So, I googled it and found one that works for me - with minor adjustments, I've got myself a dairy-free, peanut-free treat that I am sure my girl will love! Hope you enjoy it!

Stained Glass Marshmallow Roll {dairy-free, peanut-free}

1 lg bag Vegan Chocolate Chips

1/2 cup Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread {dairy-free}

Pour both ingredients into large bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir and let sit until cool.

1 10.5 oz bag colored mini-marshmallows

Once chocolate is cool, stir in marshmallows and pour mixture onto a sheet of waxed paper. Roll into a log shape.

Shredded Coconut

Spread coconut flakes onto waxed paper and roll the log in the coconut so that it is covered all around. Wrap the finished product in waxed paper and put in fridge to chill. When you are ready to eat it, slice it into 1/2 inch slices and serve! They look like stained glass windows!

Happy Thanksgiving from our allergy-free kitchen to yours!!

What's in YOUR Orange Juice?

A friend of mine sent me this the other day and I wanted to share it with you. I check every single label before I buy something, but sometimes in the back of my mind I think, 'I already know this is safe.' I've even thought to myself this week as I bought orange juice that I know it's safe, but I checked it anyway because there is always a chance I could be wrong. For some reason, Minute Maid has decided to put plant steryol in their Heart Wise OJ because healthy fat from nuts is good for the heart. I don't know about you, but I'd rather eat peanuts by the handful than have them in my orange juice. Click here to view the ingredient list minute maid.

Allergy Alert Necklaces by My3Chickadees

Hey Friends, I'm back. It's been awhile since I last posted, but I am planning to update a little more often in the upcoming days. I have been working on a new venture and wanted to give you a sneak peek at one of my favorites because it is so important to me. My daughter is now 6 and I've been wanting a better way for her to be able to alert teachers, etc. around her about her allergies other than wearing a big huge sticker that draws a lot of attention to her. So, I came up with this necklace...

I've decided to start making these upon request for boys or girls - The colors I have available are pink, orange, blue and green. The pendants will match the chains and the girls' pendants will also have a sparkly glaze on top. I think these are perfect for older kids who don't necessarily want a big sticker stuck to them. The necklace is great for my daughter because she knows her allergies and can voice them to the people around her, but now she can show them the necklace, as well, so they can see for themselves and be reminded of this very important part of her daily routine.

You can view this necklace here. I only have the pink one up on the shop, but I do have blue, green and orange that I will make upon request customized to fit specific allergy needs.

This would make a cute stocking stuffer, Christmas gift, birthday gift or 'Just Because' gift. Let me know if I can make one for you!!

Vegan Chocolate Donut Muffins {Dairy-free, Egg-free, Vegan}

This afternoon I found out from my daughter's Sunday School teacher that the class is having donuts and orange juice in class tomorrow to celebrate the last Sunday of the summer schedule. I'm thankful for those who teach my daughter at church and care about her spiritual well-being, as well as, her food-allergy needs (i.e. letting me know ahead of time about special snacks). I just happened to be going through recipes looking for some good ones I could convert to allergy-free when I got the message and I came across this one. It is already a vegan recipe so I only changed a couple things to make it exactly how I wanted it. If you're interested in more allergy-friendly or vegan donut recipes click here and here. I picked this one because it
involves chocolate is quick and easy to make, and will be easy to store. It's also great for portion control and it's portable!


Vegan Chocolate Donut Muffins (Egg Free Dairy Free)

Makes 11-12 regular donut muffins, or 20-24 mini donut
muffins (mini muffins pictured above)
2/3 cup sugar
1 T ground flax seed + 3 T water (mix together)
1 T cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup almond milk OR soy milk OR coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup
powdered sugar (confectioners)
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a muffin tin with cooking spray or vegetable oil. (Do not be tempted to use liners - the point of doing these directly in the muffin tin is to have them pop out and be able to get sugar to stick to the sides without the addition of butter)
In a large bowl, beat together sugar and ground flax seed mixture until well incorporated. Add 1 T cornstarch, mix well. Pour in vegetable oil, almond milk and vanilla extract. Mix to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Pour into wet mixture and stir to combine. Stir gently.

Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups or 24 mini muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

While muffins are baking, pour confectioners sugar into a small bowl.

When muffins are done, allow them to cool for about 15 minutes. Pop them out of the pan and then roll them in confectioners sugar, coating all the sides until it is completely covered. Repeat until all muffins are done.

*I just finished making these and they are very good! Almost no difference from a chocolate cake donut hole. YUM! Can't wait for my girl to try these in the morning!*

Chocolate Waffles {Dairy-free, Egg-free}

By now I'm sure you know we like to eat waffles in this house. {I posted about them here and here.} But last night, when I realized I once again forgot to take the meat out of the freezer for dinner, I had to use a backup plan. Waffles! Homemade waffles are so yummy and the perfect texture, but I wanted to try a different variety, so I made chocolate waffles. Now, before you go getting all excited on me, I have to say these are pretty healthy waffles {minus the syrup!}. They were even better served with turkey bacon, fruit and an omelet {for those not allergic to eggs}.


Chocolate Waffles {dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free}

Follow the directions on the Bisquick box for waffles. Instead of egg, add 2 T of ground flax seed {brain food}, 1 T baking soda, 2 T cocoa powder, 1 T cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla, and then add almond milk {or soy milk/rice milk} instead of cow's milk. Spray the waffle iron with Pam and load it up.

My oldest said these taste like the whoopie pies {minus the cream and sugar} I posted about here. And she was right. These would be good as dessert with ice cream, too!

Don't forget to sign up for the giveaway I posted yesterday! It ends Sunday!

100th Post & a Giveaway!


When I started writing this blog, I did it because I wanted to document the things I was learning about food allergies so that as my daughter gets older she can use this as a reference and also find some of her favorite recipes that are free of dairy, egg and peanuts. But I also wanted to write the blog because I found it very hard to find info from real, live people about living this life with food allergies. It would have been a tremendous help to me to read someone's own online journal of what they've experienced as a result of food allergies, but I just couldn't find one. My goal for this blog is to help those of you who are walking this road and encourage you that you are not alone. I hope to be more faithful in blogging and finding more useful information, tips, and recipes to help you along your journey. If there is anything specific you'd like to know more about, let me know!

Last year, my daughter was re-tested for her specific allergies {I wrote about that here.} and found out she still had all of them. While that was not exactly what I wanted to hear, we learned that none of hers are now considered life-threatening. I was glad to hear that, but also very skeptical. I was told that it was up to me whether to carry EpiPens or not now that they were not life-threatening and for months I thought about whether I should or not. I still hadn't made my mind up until yesterday when I read about two kids that died just in the past week from food allergies. One was 16 and ate something that didn't have peanuts in it, but he was unaware that it has been processed around peanuts. That one bite took his life. Until then, he had never had an allergic reaction, even though he was aware of his allergy. That settled it for me. The fact is you just never know when a severe allergic reaction will occur. One exposure may be mild and then the next time it could be the last time. Food allergies are very serious on every level. They cannot be taken lightly. When I read that article about this boy, I cried my heart out for that family. I cannot imagine living through this kind of loss. Their situation was purely accidental and no one ever imagined this kind of reaction would have taken place. So, today I had the pediatrician refill my daughter's EpiPen Jr. prescription. Our deductible is very high, so it was all out of pocket expense and I nearly choked when I found out it was $170. No matter what the cost, though, I have to realize this is a small price to pay for saving my daughter's life if it comes down to it. EpiPens are like a life insurance policy. Don't leave home without yours. It isn't worth the risk.

So, to celebrate 100 posts on my allergy blog I am giving away personalized food allergy labels!

You can choose between 6 - 3 inch round labels, 12 - 2.5 inch round labels, OR 20 - 2 inch round labels! These are very cute and the colors make them stand out and be noticed {which is the whole point anyway!}. If you decide you can't wait to have some, you can go here and purchase your own.

Giveaway Facts:

Starts NOW and ends Sunday 8/28/11 at midnight (EST). Winner will be chosen at random through And I will announce the winner Monday, 8/29/11. Winner will have 48 hours to respond or I will have to choose someone else.

To Enter:

Leave a comment telling what you specific allergy topic you would like to know more about OR leave a favorite tip for the rest of us.

Extra Entries:

Post the giveaway on Facebook OR blog about it and leave a comment telling you did. (1 entry for each)

If you link your comment to your blog, I will contact you that way. Otherwise, please leave your email address in the comment so that I have a way to contact you if you win!

Good luck and THANKS for stopping by!

Back to School: The Parent-School Relationship

Sending your food-allergic child to school can be a bit scary. We wonder if our child will be able to handle the whole food issue when we aren't there to protect them and read labels. We pray that the teachers will be as concerned as we are and realize this is a serious issue in an emotional way just as much as it is physical. Tons of questions and 'what-if's' flood our minds and sometimes finding the right balance between concern and worry can be tricky. But one place that balance is absolutely necessary is in the parent/school relationship. I thought I'd write a few things I've learned by doing and maybe they will help some of you to cultivate a healthy relationship and open communication between you and your child's school.
  1. Be proactive. Before your child starts school, find out their policy on food allergies, epipens and benadryl. Talk to the nurse. And as soon as you know who your child's teacher is, get to know her. Make an info sheet about your child's allergies explaining what she's allergic to, what a reaction looks like, what to do if a reaction occurs {or if your child is exposed to an allergen}. Put emergency numbers on the sheet, as well as, a picture of your child's face. That way any substitute teacher or helper will know exactly who your child is. A good print out for this type of form can be found here. You'll also find other helpful forms there related to food allergies and school.
  2. Be the Room Mom. At our school, every class has a designated Room Mom. The duties include overseeing parties and special events in the class {which always involve food} and doing other things to help the teacher out. I signed up to be my daughter's Room Mom this year so that I can be directly involved in that. I have time to help out and I want to be there as much as possible when there's food planning. When I'm planning the food, I can control what foods are offered to an extent. It's a perfect scenario.
  3. Pick your Battles. There will most likely be issues that arise that are out of your control. Unfortunately, we cannot protect our kids from feeling left out when the whole class is enjoying a yummy-looking snack that we weren't aware of. The teacher may not remember to give you a head's up when something involving food is coming up. Some things we just can't help and we have to let our kids learn to adjust and grow through these issues without us. They will be stronger for it in the long run. But there will be issues that must be addressed. So, when that happens, go in with the right spirit and non-accusatory attitude. Remember: Kindness matters. We are totally invested in our children and it's easy to get offended or offend when an issue with our child arises. Just keep your cool and try to look at it from every vantage point. The right attitude is key here to keeping a good relationship with your school and teachers.
  4. Offer solutions. If there is a craft or art project {or anything} involving an allergen {i.e. milk cartons, hand soap with milk in it, etc.} be ready to offer a solution such as, 'Can we use empty water jugs instead of milk cartons? or Can I provide the handsoap for the class? or Can I come in and check out the supply of hand soap brought in to be sure it's safe for my child? Don't just tell the teacher there's a problem. Have a solution. Afterall, we are the ones with a heightened sense of awareness about allergens, not them. As much as they care for our children, they are still able to overlook things that we would immediately notice.
  5. Say Thank You. When things go right, when the teacher takes special measures to keep your child safe, say thank you. When a staff member, teacher or helper goes out of their way to make your child feel special, say Thank You! Recognize their efforts. Send flowers or a card. Do anything to let them know you really appreciate what they are doing for your child {and for your peace of mind} because they are really having to make an effort to remember. What's second nature to me, is often a difficult and stressful thing for the teacher who is not constantly reading labels and scanning the environment for unsafe allergens. A small thank you goes a long way.
I hope these are helpful tips. I would love to hear some of your tips. If you have some, leave a comment for the rest of us!

Buying Allergy-Free Foods

Occasionally I come across a new allergy-free food find that I haven't heard of previously or I didn't know my store was selling. When that happens, I am so excited {especially when the price is right!}. And today, I sort of hit the jackpot. I normally shop at Publix {because I totally heart Publix's BOGO sales and their friendly staff}, but I decided to head to a local grocery bargain store for some bread and while I was there, I found allergy-free waffles! Van's Natural Foods is the brand and I had never heard of them before today. There are 6 in a box, so I bought 4 boxes today for $1 each. I'm going back to buy more for the deep freezer. I have been looking for a good frozen waffle that my girl can have and now I finally have it! She will be thankful for a little more variety at breakfast. {I make a homemade allergy-free waffle, but sometimes convenience is so much more appealing!}

I also found breaded chicken tenderloins by Allergy-Free Foods Company. They make products free of the 8 most common allergens {wheat/gluten, milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, soy}. Again, another company I had never before heard of! I got this bag of tenderloins for $2.95. I can get some Tyson frozen breaded chicken products, but they still contain wheat. When I can get it completely allergy-free, that's what I prefer.
What kind of deals have you found lately? What allergy-free brands do you love to buy? And where do you buy them?

Back to School with Food Allergies

Sorry for the absence from the blog lately. My girls started school last week and I have been busy getting back into the whole routine of school in general and then adding to that the adventure of introducing my child's food allergies to her new teachers at her new school. My brain was on overload last week, but I'm back and hope to post a few new things this week!

We started the school year off with a student in my daughter's class bringing cupcakes for his birthday. To say I wasn't prepared for that is an understatement. Thankfully, her teacher called me the night before and warned me so that I had time to get her an alternative special treat. I didn't have time to make allergy-free cupcakes, so I checked with my girl and she said Tofutti brand Ice Cream sandwiches would be fine with her. (Thankfully, her class has a full-sized refrigerator and I can store snacks like that there.) It is hard for me to see her have to cope with being so cautious all the time about food, but God has given her an extra measure of grace to handle it. She amazes me. At almost 6 years old, she handles it extremely well and that makes me proud. I know that it is hard for her to always have a different snack than everyone else and she even declined a snack her second day just because she didn't want to be different from everyone else. I had to choke back tears when she told me that, but it gave me the opportunity to explain to her that God made her very special. Psalm 139:14 says, "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works and that my soul knoweth right well." The fact is God doesn't make mistakes. Every person has something they have to deal with, hers just happens to be food allergies. But everything God allows in our lives is just a learning experience in our path to becoming more like Him. Through food allergies, "C" has experienced God's protection many times and she has experienced God's love and comfort when the day has been emotionally tough. It's hard to be thankful for something that is so dangerous and scary, but the lessons we have learned from living with food allergies have been {and continue to be} good and for that we can be thankful.

We are also very thankful for our girls' teachers this year. I hope all of you have great teachers who are willing to communicate with you and work with your child's food allergies. I pray they will have great compassion for your child, as well. Good luck with a new year!

No Bake Granola Bars {Dairy-free, Nut-free}

I found these the other day while searching my new favorite website Pinterest. These will be great for lunchboxes, after-school snacks or even breakfast on the go. And healthy, too! I am on a mission to provide my children with brain-food for breakfast on school days and this recipe below should do just that. I adapted it a smidge from here and it's gonna be a good one!

photo from

No-Bake Granola Bars {dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free}
Makes 12
  • 2 large overripe bananas
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup crunchy cereal (I'd use rice krispies)
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup(or any other sweetener you use - I use Agave Nectar)
  • 2 tbsp soy butter
  • 2 tbsp vegan chocolate chips (I use 365 Whole Foods brand)
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries or other fruit (I will leave this out)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed {brain power!}
  • 2 – 4 tsp cocoa powder
Line a muffin pan with paper liners, or use a silicone muffin pan for easy removal. Mash the bananas. Add wet ingredients and cocoa powder and mix well. Add all other ingredients, mix well then press into prepared muffin tin. Freeze at least 60 minutes before serving. Freeze them overnight and throw one or two in the lunchbox before school. By the time lunchtime comes around, they will be perfect for eating!

Allergy-Free Mom Food

A normal blog post for this blog usually centers around kid-friendly food, but I realize that some of you are adults with food allergies (or you just want to eat a more healthy diet - and so do I) so I decided to start putting more 'adult-style' food on here when I can. Today I made a yummy, healthy lunch and wanted to share it with you. My kids wouldn't touch this with a ten foot pole because it involves lettuce, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! It's a great one for these record-hot days of summer.

Grilled Chicken Strips & Salad with Homemade Balsamic Vinagrette

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into strips {chicken tenderloins would work, too}

Olive Oil

Garlic Powder

Sea Salt

Black Pepper {a natural metabolism booster!}

Green Leaf Lettuce {washed and cut into bite size pieces}

1 Tomato, diced

1/2 Zucchini, washed and diced

White Mushrooms {sliced}, washed and diced

Balsamic Vinagrette

1 part Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 parts Balsamic Vinegar

Garlic Powder

Sea Salt

Black Pepper

1. Rub chicken with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Grill to your liking. Cut into strips.

2. While chicken is grilling, cut up your lettuce and veggies. Toss together in a bowl or on a plate.

3. Mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper. Pour onto salad.

4. Add chicken strips OR cut the chicken strips into smaller pieces and toss into salad.

This salad is loaded with nutrition and you could even add more veggies to it.

Zucchini helps cure asthma, as it contains Vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. It contains useful amounts of folate, potassium and Vitamin A which are all necessary for proper functioning of the body. Regular consumption of zucchini can help protect the body from colon cancer. All of this and much more in one little veggie.

White Button Mushrooms have Vitamin D. In fact, they contain 100% of the recommended daily allowance of Vit D. They are also a cancer fighter, aid in estrogen reduction (helps reduce risk of breast cancer), contains potassium (great for high blood pressure, reduce risk of stroke and low blood sugar, prevents heart attacks), and decreases risk of prostate cancer.

Tomatoes are cancer fighters, they fight heart disease, promote healthy colon and prostate and reduce blood clots and inflammation. When grown organically and on a vine in the sunshine they soak up lots of nutrients that are good for your body!

What are your favorite veggies in a salad??

Stuffed Shells {Dairy-free, Egg-free}

My mom used to make Stuffed Shells when I was growing up and I loved them! Recently, I was reminded of them and made some for a friend who had just had a baby. I made enough for my family, too, but I wasn't sure how to make them dairy-free. Then, today I came across this post from Jenna @ Eat, Live, Run. She just began a blogging adventure with PBS and she posted a recipe for these dairy-free stuffed shells. Go HERE for the yummy recipe! I plan to try these very soon. But, Shhhhh.....don't tell my husband. Tofu scares him.

*Be sure to use egg-free jumbo shells* I get mine at Publix and use the Publix brand.

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods {Dairy-free, Peanut-free}

If you're looking for a quick, yet fun treat for the kiddos {or yourself} look no further! These chocolate covered pretzel rods are super easy to make and hit the spot when you're craving something sweet and salty! The kids love them and this is a great one for them to help with! Minimal mess...amen?

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods {dairy-free, nut-free}

Rold Gold Pretzel Rods {Rold Gold brand has NOT been processed around peanuts}

Vegan Chocolate Chips {365 from Whole Foods is great}

Sprinkles of your choice

Melt vegan chocolate chips in a double boiler on the stove. Lay out a sheet of wax paper and when chocolate is melted and smooth, pour some onto the wax paper.

Take your pretzel rods and roll them in the chocolate covering only the upper half of the rod.

Lay chocolate covered pretzels onto wax paper lined cookie sheet. And then sprinkle your choice of colorful sprinkles onto the chocolate while it is wet. Then, place full cookie sheet in the fridge so the chocolate will harden. Store in an airtight container. Delish!

*These would be great for classroom treats {think back-to-school}, party favors, etc.

Is your Child Starting Kindergarten with Food Allergies?

Then, you might want to read my post at 24/7 Moms today! It's all about sending your food allergic child off to school and some things to think about. I will have more on this subject over the next few weeks....Until then, check out my featured post! And while you're there, you might like to see what other helpful and interesting articles are featured on 24/7 Moms!

Strawberry Dip {Dairy-free}

Several days ago my sister posted this strawberry dip on her blog. I love all things cream cheese, so I didn't even have to taste it to know it was delicious. I knew I wanted to make some for my family so I began thinking about how I could make this dairy-free. And here it is...

{photo courtesy of}

Strawberry Dip {dairy-free}

1 jar (7oz) marshmallow cream

1 tub (8 oz) Tofutti Cream Cheese {I buy mine at Whole Foods}

1/2 pkg (or more) strawberry gelatin

Mix together first two ingredients until well-blended. Add in 1/2 pkg of strawberry gelatin (or more depending on how you like it). Mix well. Serve with fruit or graham cracker sticks. YUM! This would be great in a lunchbox with fresh fruit!

Great news for Food-Allergic Travelers!

I have mentioned Divvies more than once on here and today I have one more reason to love them more. Go here to check out all the Divvies goodness. Today on their e-newsletter, I read this little tidbit of wonderful news and wanted to share it with you....
Planning your summer vacation? You can find Divvies at Disney World and SeaWorld in Orlando, Hershey Park in Pennsylvania, Petticoat Row Bakery in Nantucket, and Great Wolf Lodge, in addition to other fun family destinations. Take us with you, or call us to ask that we ship directly to your hotel.
So, if you're headed to Disney Orlando, Sea World, or the others listed, be sure to stop by and have some yummy allergy-free sweets!

Waffles {Dairy-free, Egg-free}

I love waffles. Not so much eating them as I do love the convenience and speedy prep time involved. My kids love them. Hubs likes them as long as I provide a meaty side or a fried egg. So, when I remembered I 'needed' to be at a friend's baby shower/Ladies' Night Out last night, I quickly ran to the pantry to be sure I had all the necessary ingredients for waffles and much to my delight, I did. So, here you go. You can make these a million different ways and with a myriad of topping options, so be creative!

Waffles {Dairy-free, Egg-free}


Almond Milk

Ground flax seed

Vegetable Oil



Follow the instructions on the back of the Bisquick box for Waffles and substitute almond milk for milk, 2 T ground flax seed for the eggs and then add in some cinnamon and vanilla for extra flavor. Minimal prep + minimal cook time = great last-minute meal. Serve with your choice of sides. I topped our waffles with fresh blueberries and strawberries and a wee bit of syrup. Big hit with the fam, as usual.

Confetti Bananas {Dairy-free, {Peanut-free}

So, the kiddos got up from their quiet time begging for a snack, as is usual for our household and since I was out of 'convenience' kind of snacks, I decided to make up something with bananas. This is absolutely a no-brainer, but the girls loved it.

Confetti Bananas {dairy-free}

2 bananas, peeled and sliced

Hershey's Chocolate Syrup

Sprinkles of your choice

Divide sliced bananas into 3 bowls {or more if you desire}. Drizzle with chocolate syrup. Top with your favorite sprinkles. Serve with a toothpick for eating with. The end.

Coconut Creamsicles {Dairy-free} I am going to go out on a limb here and say that these homemade coconut creamsicles are hands-down the easiest popsicle to make and quite possibly, the tastiest. I had leftover coconut milk from making my banana split bites the other day and while I was thinking of what I could do with the rest of it, I remembered my cute little neglected popsicle molds. I quickly grabbed them from under the counter, filled them up and stuck them in the freezer. I just tasted one and sweet mercy! You have to try these. The first bite, will catapult your mind to a tropical paradise, bare feet covered in sand, the smell of suntan oil {does anyone use that anymore? We're all about SPF 50 in this house!} and relaxing with a thick novel while listening to that wonderful sound of the ocean. Ahhhhhh....... don't wake me up.

Coconut Creamsicles {dairy-free}

Mix together 1 can of light coconut milk and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Mix on high speed for about a minute. Pour into popsicle molds. Freeze overnight.

See, I told you it was easy. Can't wait to let my little girls try one!

Banana Split Bites {Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free}

When I found these little desserts, it was love at first sight. What's not to love about these cute little banana splits!?! I knew I had to make them pronto. And you should, too!


Banana Split Bites {dairy-free, peanut-free}

Bananas, cut into 4 pieces approx 2 inches long

Vegan chocolate chips, melted


1 can Coconut milk

1 cup powdered sugar

Maraschino cherries

Dip each banana piece into the melted chocolate chips, approx. halfway up the banana. Then, dip into the sprinkles so that they cover the chocolate. Place banana in a muffin tin. Chill in fridge until chocolate is set.

Meanwhile, put coconut milk and powdered sugar into a chilled mixing bowl. {Chill bowl and beaters for about an hour before this step.} Beat on high until mixture becomes thick. Add more powdered sugar if necessary. Place a dollop of cream on top of each banana. Top with a cherry. Serve!

Blueberries: Summer's Candy

So, with summer staring us in the face, I'm continuing the 'eat more fruit' series I started with the strawberry post last week. This time, I decided to give you some snacks/meal ideas with blueberries.

Besides the obvious of just eating blueberries right off the bush, or out of the plastic container from the store, why not try some of these things?

Blueberry Quesadillas (courtesy of my sister's kitchen) - Just substitute butter for Smart Balance Light buttery spread - it's dairy-free and substitute the cream cheese for Tofutti brand cream cheese, also dairy-free. Delicious idea! Can't wait to try it!

Vegan Blueberry Cobbler {dairy-, egg- and gluten-free} courtesy of

Vegan Blueberry Muffins {dairy-, egg-free} courtesy of


Blueberry Vanilla Yogurt Parfait {dairy-free}

Fresh blueberries, rinsed

coconut milk yogurt, vanilla flavor {or soy yogurt}


Layer in a parfait glass (or cute tall glass or glass bowl) the blueberries and yogurt. Top with granola. Serve. YUM!

*photo courtesy of - recipe by yours truly.

Cinnamon Rolls {Dairy-free, Egg-free}

I recently posted about Quick Breads and one of my favorite doughs is the Pillsbury brand. I use all different types of their refrigerated doughs for my daughter who is allergic to milk, eggs and peanuts. Most of these doughs only contain the allergen, wheat, so they are safe for my family. I love to keep Pillsbury Crescent Rolls on hand for last minute desserts, bread, etc. that I may need. Sunday morning, I made cinnamon rolls out of the Crescent Rolls which are always a big hit around here.


Cinnamon Rolls {egg-free, dairy-free}

1 roll of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

Smart Balance Light buttery spread


Brown Sugar

Pecans or Walnuts, optional

Open can of crescents dough and unroll it into a rectangle shape. Pinch together all the seams and use a hand roller or rolling pin to roll it out smoothly. Spread Smart Balance Light buttery spread onto the dough. A thin layer all around will work well. Sprinkle a 'healthy' amount of brown sugar and cinnamon over the buttery layer. Sprinkly chopped pecans or walnuts (optional) on top of that. Then, carefully roll the entire thing up from one end to the other.

If you go from short end to short end, you'll have normal sized cinnamon rolls. If you roll from long side to long side, you'll have several mini cinnamon rolls which is what I did. Then, slice into 1-inch slices (for minis and 2 inch for regular) and place them in a round baking pan that has been greased. Bake at 375 degrees until tops are just turning brown.

Mix together 3/4 cup powdered sugar with 3-4 T almond milk or lemon juice and you'll have a nice glaze to drizzle over the top of your cinnamon rolls.

Serve with fresh fruit and/or bacon. Enjoy!

Making Faces Pancakes {Dairy-free, Egg-free}

This has to be the easiest breakfast to make...ever. The Hubster makes breakfast for our family every Saturday morning. It's his specialty and it's a great break from the norm - cereal and milk. Today he made some delicious pancakes for our girls - with a smiley face. It brightened up their morning and gave them one more reason for why they love their daddy so much. And really, it's so easy I'm almost embarrassed to tell you.

First, follow the directions on the Bisquick box for pancakes. Substitute milk with Almond Milk {or your choice of dairy-free milk} and 2 heaping tablespoons of cornstarch in place of the eggs. Fry up some sausage links, cut them into the shapes you want for your pancake face and arrange accordingly. Finally, EAT UP! {with a healthy dose of maple syrup}

See, I told you it was easy.