Tag: Allergen Safe Candy

Allergy Safe Halloween Treats Supporting the Teal Pumpkin Project

It has been a busy fall to say the least!  We’re just wrapping up travel soccer season today for my boys and believe it or not I have not shopped for Halloween candy!   Over the years my list has grown quite a bit which is amazing for parents with children that have multiple food allergies. There are so many wonderful food allergy friendly options we can buy for our children and ensure they will have an amazing SAFE Halloween!

Additionally, if you are supporting FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project this year as we always do, please have several non-candy treat items for children that may not be able to have candy at all. Typically, I have a bowl of pencils, erasers, stickers, temporary tattoos, small toys, etc. I purchase these little gifts on amazon.com and our local dollar store.  Oh, and don’t forget to proudly display your TEAL PUMPKIN on Halloween night like we do!

ENJOY! ~Erika

Please Note: ALWAYS check ingredients! This list is only meant to be used as a guide:
DIVVIES Chocolates
Amanda’s Own Confections
No Whey Chocolate
Enjoy Life chocolate bars
Peeps (some flavors have “Milk” double check ingredients)
Swedish Fish
Mike and Ikes
Surf Sweets Natural Gummies, Jelly Beans & Lollipops
Starburst Tropical Candy Corn (the only candy corn brand I have found to be egg-free)
Laffy Taffy
Smarties
Lifesaver Gummies
Sour Patch Kids (most varieties I believe)
Dum Dum Lollipops
Hot Tamales
Starburst fruit chews, lollipops, & jelly beans
Jolly Rancher hard candy (lollipops are made on shared equipment so I do not purchase them)
Kraft Marshmallows (and most marshmallow brands)
Twizzlers
Skittles (most flavors I believe)
PASCHA Chocolate bars
Airheads (small- big airheads have dairy!)
Pez

Delicious Triple Berry Popicles

Summer is in full force here in Northern Michigan.  Last week my youngest son and I went raspberry picking at one of our  local organic farms, a  tradition we have shared the last couple of summers.  Needless to say, we have more raspberries than we know what to do with.  This afternoon our youngest begged me to help him make homemade popsicles.  He is my berry boy and eats berries like they are going out of style!

This is quick and easy recipe I hope you will enjoy!  It took us less than 15 minutes from start to placing the popsicle molds in the freezer.  By the way, I use BPA- free popsicle molds which are easy to find these days.  Also, you can use any kind of fresh berries you have on hand.

Ingredients:                                                Preparation Time: 15 minutes                           Freeze Time:   4-6 hours

2/3 cup raw organic cane sugar

1 cup blueberries

1 cup raspberries

1 cup strawberries

1/4 freshly squeezed lemon juice

Method:

  • Put sugar & 1/3 cup water into a small saucepan.  Over medium heat bring to a boil while continually stirring to make the simple syrup.  Set aside once sugar has dissolved.
  • While simple syrup is cooling, clean and wash berries.
  • Add washed berries to a food processor or blender (your choice.)

 

Squeeze the juice of one lemon, about 1/4 cup lemon juice and pour into food processor and puree mixture until smooth and well combined.

  • Slowly add 1/3 cup simple syrup to berry mixture.  Taste the mixture.  Some people enjoy more tart popsicles and others like theirs’ very sweet.  You can reserve the remaining simple syrup for adult mojitos later!

  • Slowly pour the mixture in your popsicle molds and freeze for approximately 4-6 hours.

  • Now you’ll have delicious and healthy popsicles for the entire family to enjoy!

 

 

 

Allergen Safe Easter Celebration

Chocolate-Bunny-2

With the Easter holiday around the corner and grocery store aisles filled with Easter candy chock full of allergens, it is important to post about how we have a fun and allergen safe Easter in our home every year.  Not to mention, still celebrating the true meaning of Easter and Jesus.

The picture above depicts chocolate covered mini eggs and I’m yet to find these that are dairy, nut and egg free.  For the last eight years I have pre-ordered Easter (and most of my holiday chocolates) from these two vendors:

Amanda’s Own Confections

Premium Chocolatiers

I have written about the delicious chocolates both of these companies offer several times in the past.  Amanda’s Own Confections products are all (except Sunbutter Cups) FREE of the top 8 allergens.  They are delicious and taste like real chocolate!  You would never know they do not contain dairy.  Furthermore, Premium Chocolatier’s products are FREE from: NUTS, DAIRY, GLUTEN and EGGS.  Both companies use dedicated equipment and can guarantee their products are free from the above listed allergens.  Each company makes molds of Easter bunnies that are chocolate during the springs season that are absolutely adorable in various sizes.

This year I even ordered a new product from Premium Chocolatiers called Cream Eggs!  The description sounds like the ever-famous Cadbury eggs we all grew up eating, just without the Allergens!  I’m so excited for my boys to try these on Easter morning!

In addition to the above products, I like adding a few packages of Surf Sweet gummies and/or jelly beans to my children’s Easter baskets: Surf Sweets Candy.  For my local followers the Grain Train and Oriana (in Traverse City) carry them.  These candies are free from the top 10 allergens and are delicious gummy treats!

Now for the Easter Egg hunt that traditionally kicks off Easter morning for our boys. I typically purchase about 50-60 plastic eggs (they can be reused year after year) and fill them with a variety of items such as: money, erasers, bouncy balls, gum, safe Easter bunny marshmallows, little safe chocolates, jelly beans, trinkets, Peeps (be sure to check labels as some have dairy; the yellow peeps are safe for sure!), etc.  I don’t go too crazy.  Additionally, I like to add several non-food items to their basket because it adds variety and little toys and educational items are fun for the boys to work on throughout the day of celebration.

Have a wonderful Allergen-Safe Easter Celebration and please feel free to contact me with any questions.

~Erika

 

 

Ski Trips with Food Allergies

gondola vail

We recently took a week long ski trip with our boys and extended family to Vail, Colorado.  Our two boys have been downhill skiing practically since they could walk.  That’s a bit of exaggeration but if you are a ski family like we are, then you can most likely relate.  We love to ski with our boys and often.

Although my husband and I have been taking annual ski trips together out west for over a decade this was the first trip out west with both of our boys.  We felt that age ages 6 and 8 they would be able to hold their own and ski the majority of the terrain without a problem.

The key to any vacation when traveling with kids that have multiple food allergies is to stay in a place that has a kitchen and well-equipped one if you love to cook like I do.  Thankfully we were also vacationing with my father-in-law who owned his own restaurant for over 30 years and is a professional chef…that definitely helps!  We stayed in a beautiful condo in Arrowhead which is just a hop skip and a jump to one of the Arrowhead/Beavercreek chairlifts.

I’ll cut to the chase today as I want to be thorough but brief.  There was absolutely no chance that my husband and I were going to risk an accidental food exposure for either of our sons while skiing during the day at either Beavercreek or Vail.  For (1) it would be very timely to get a child off the mountain if they  experienced anaphylaxis and (2) I was a bit skeptical of the emergency care in Summit County although I researched it and I’m sure it was more than adequate.

Our boys ALWAYS ski with 2 Epi-pens each which they put carry in their pocket located inside of their ski coat with about 8 Benadryl tablets each.  My youngest son also skis with his inhaler.  We have always felt this is a good pocket for the Epi-pens because it’s close to their bodies and doesn’t get too cold, since these little buggers are temperature sensitive…ugh!

We decided it was easiest to pack tortilla roll-up sandwiches for the boys each day because they took up little space and they are also one of the boy’s favorite foods for lunch.  We would typically roll up organic deli ham, melted Daiya mozzarella shreds, and lettuce.  Typically, we would make 2 roll-ups per boy and then we would give each child 1-2 Enjoy Your Life Choco-Loco bars for snacks on the mountain.  We skied a total of 4 days with the boys and alternated the roll-ups from day to day adding various ingredients so they wouldn’t get tired of the same thing.

My husband Jason and I would typically put a few in our ski jacket pockets and the boys would carry a few for themselves.  Easy peasy.  Then, once we were skiing all morning and decided to go in for lunch on top of the mountain (usually anywhere from 10,000 – 11,000 ft above sea level), we would buy entire lunches for Jason and myself and then just purchase drinks and “safe” chips for the boys.  This system proved to work well throughout the week of our ski vacation.  The boys were happy with their lunches and most importantly SAFE!

It was a huge success and any of the pre-trip anxiety I had about eating on the mountain was squashed once we executed our plan.  This system also enabled us to share a memorable vacation with our boys skiing in the mountains of Summit County Colorado for their first time our West!  It was an awesome trip!  I can’t wait to create more ski vacation memories with my 3 boys in future years to come!

Click on the link below to view Taylor ripping it up on the Word Cup Downhill run Birds of Paradise at Beavercreek Resort:

Taylor Birds of Prey

First Friday for Foodies at Crooked Tree Arts Center Today

Please come out to Crooked Tree Arts Center today at 11am and support local Food Allergy Awareness.  I will be offering delicious samples from some of my favorite allergen friendly healthy recipes.

http://www.petoskeynews.com/calendar/community/first-fridays-for-foodies-small-town-allergy-mom/event_bf7e097a-dd83-11e5-90d2-10604b9ffeb6.html

Please Follow Me!

email icon

I just transferred my blog domain name to a new host site.During this challenging transition, I did not retain all of my BLOG followers.Please click on the link and FOLLOW ME to receive updates from Small Town Allergy Mom™ on social media.

I sincerely appreciate your support and I promise to keep adding useful content!

~Erika

Small Town Allergy Mom is Interviewed During “Live Podcast”

Just prior to Halloween on October 24, 2015, I was interviewed by Sean Miller at the Petoskey News Review for the “Teal Pumpkin and Food Allergies” live Podcast.  Please click on the link below to listen to my live interview and learn more about food allergies in general.

Enjoy and thank you for your listening support!

http://www.petoskeynews.com/podcast/

 

 

 

Classic Pumpkin Pie

I cannot imagine a Thanksgiving meal without pumpkin pie for dessert.  I have had several requests for my pumpkin pie recipe which I have borrowed.  My go-to for the last several years is from Kelly Rudnicki’s  The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking Book.  Her pie is easy to make and definitely a crowd pleaser!  I however, cut corners a bit and use the store bought Pillsbury pie crust or Spartan brand.  If you want to make everything from scratch I have also included her pie dough recipe below.

Oh and do not forget to top each individual sliced piece of pumpkin pie off with a dollop of So Delicious Coco Whip!  You can read my review of the product here:  http://smalltownallergymom.com/2015/06/18/vegan-whipped-cream-finally-a-1st-for-our-boys-boy-is-it-so-delicious/

Enjoy!

pumpkin pie

 

Classic Pumpkin Pie

½ recipe Best Pie Dough for 9 inch pie

1 ½ c. silken tofu, whipped in blender until creamy

¾ c. packed light brown sugar

½ tsp. good quality vanilla extract

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground nutmeg

¼ tsp. ground cloves

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)- I use organic

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fit chilled pie dough into 9 inch pie plate and trim dough to form a rim. Crimp with fingertips. Line dough with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until crust is very light brown, about 15 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. In the large bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine ½ c. whipped tofu, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, spices and canned pumpkin  Add remaining 1 c. whipped tofu and beat well. Pour mixture into prepared pie plate and bake 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 50-60 minutes or until set. Cool to room temperature on wire rack, then refrigerate.

BEST PIE DOUGH

¾ c. cold dairy free shortening (buy in stick form, and cut into small pieces)

1/2 tsp. salt

2 c. all purpose flour

4-5 T. ice cold water

 Combine flour and salt in a food processor. Add chunks of shortening and pulse a few times until mixture is crumbly. Add water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing until dough just comes together. Transfer mixture onto floured board, and divide into two disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour or frozen up until one month.

 

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Vegan Green Bean Casserole for Thanksgiving

 

With Thanksgiving just one week away I thought it would be appropriate to post one of my favorite holiday recipes.  I have been preparing a dairy, nut and egg free Thanksgiving dinner for the last 7 1/2 years.  It is not only healthy, but most importantly SAFE for our two boys.  Not to mention DELICIOUS!

One of my father’s all time favorites is the standard American “Green Bean Casserole” dish.  This is an iconic American Thanksgiving staple and to be honest with you, my father didn’t think I could make a vegan version of it seven years ago that would even come close to his unhealthy “Cream of Mushroom Soup Green Bean Casserole.”  Well, I have proven him wrong year after year and he begs me to make it every Thanksgiving!  I have added my own delicious and healthy twist to an American Thanksgiving classic.

Bon appetite!

green beans

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients:

Sauce:

12 oz. fresh button or baby portabella mushrooms, washed, trimmed and sliced thinly

1 tsp good quality olive oil

4 cloves freshly minced garlic

1 shallot minced

2 Tbsp flour

3/4 cup soy creamer (I use Silk)

Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

1 Tbsp dry cooking sherry

Beans:

1 1/2 lbs fresh Haricots Verts or Fresh Green Beans (I like to use Haricots Verts because they are not only more tender but have a more complex flavor, do not worry if you cannot find them)

2 quarts of water

1 Tbsp salt

Casserole Topping:

1 -7 oz bag French Fried Crispy Onions (I use the Meijer Brand, make sure to check ingredients as many brands include allergens)

3 slices bread (I use All Natural Koepplingers 100% Wheat Bread)

1 pinch of salt to taste

1 pinch of freshly ground pepper

1 Tbsp Earth Balance Butter Spread

3/4 cup organic vegetable stock

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Bring the water to a rolling boil in a large pot.  While it is heating trim the beans into 1 inch pieces.  Add the salt and beans to the boiling water.  Cover and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes.  Do not over cook the beans.  Drain the beans in a colander, and plunge into an ice/water bath to stop the cooking process for a few minutes.  Then let them continue to drain in the colander.  Set aside.

For the sauce, heat up a frying pan over medium heat and add a teaspoon of olive oil.  Add the mushrooms, garlic, shallots, salt and pepper.  Cook until mushrooms are soft.  In a separate bowl whisk together the flour and vegetable stock.  Then, add to the mushroom mixture and gently combine and reduce the heat.  Next add the sherry to the sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens.  Once the sauce starts to thicken add the soy creamer and continue to simmer for 5 – 10 minutes until the sauce thickens more. 

While the sauce is simmering, add the bread, Earth Balance Buttery Spread, salt and pepper into a food processor and pulse until crumbly.  Pour into a separate bowl and gently fold in the French Fried Onions with a spatula.

Then gently add the green beans to the sauce mixture and remove from the heat.   Add to an oiled casserole dish.  Top with the bread crumb/onion mixture and bake for approximately 15 minutes until the bread topping is cooked through.  Turn on your oven broiler to medium and broil the casserole for about 1-2 minutes watching constantly until the topping is golden brown.  Remove from the oven.

Serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Auvi- Q Epinephrine Auto-Injector Recall

auvi a

This recall couldn’t have come at a worse time with Halloween less than 2 days away!  We switched over to the Auvi-Q Epinephrine 0.15 mg auto injectors over two years ago for my boys because of their ease of use.  They are also smaller and easier for my sons to fit in their coat or jacket pockets.  Plus, they even talk to you so it makes it easier for teachers and caregivers to know how to properly use the device in an emergency situation. We love our Auvi-Q’s!

Thankfully, one of my friends who also has children with food allergies, sent me a text this morning notifying me of the massive recall.  Sanofi states on their website below that the recall includes lot number 2299596 through 3037230, which expire March 2016 through December 2016. 

I just left my boy’s school and sure enough I had to pull a total of 2 two packs that had been expired.  In addition to that I had 3 more recalled 2 packs in our kitchen and my purse where I always carry 4 auto-injectors.  Thankfully, I had enough Auvi-Q’s that were not recalled to replace at school.  As I was walking out of my children’s school building holding the ziplock bag that contained the 6 two packs that I pulled from the school I ran into one of my best friends.  She asked what was going on and I quickly explained what had happened, then started to burst into tears!  My anxiety level is about at an all time high today trying to figure out how to replace all of these injectors in a hurry so I have some on hand when I pick my boys up from school.  Ugh…the stresses people with food allergies face daily.

Since I do not have any on my person right now and I’m anxiously awaiting my son’s pediatrician to call in new scripts for the Epi-Pen Junior 2 packs.  This is my recommendation to everyone who may be in the same boat as myelf right now.  In the interim, until Sanofi figures out how they are going to replace/reimburse us for the thousands of dollars of recalled Auvi-Q’s, we can have our child’s doctor call in new scripts for the Epi-Pen Junior packs.

Also this is what the Auvi-Q site states, “Due to high volume of calls being received on the Auvi‑Q customer service phone line, callers may periodically receive a message that the line is down. We appreciate your patience and please call back.”  I recommend not calling them like I did and being placed on hold for a decade.

Please click on the link below for more detailed information from Sanofi…hopefully my day will get better once I’m armed with new Epi-pens.

https://www.auvi-q.com/