Tag: Allergen

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!

 

 

 

Flying United Airlines with Nut Allergies

United

We recently took a family trip to Naples and flew on a new carrier- United Airlines.  Typically, in the past, we have flown on Delta with our food allergic boys and have had no major problems.  And I must add, we travel quite a bit via airlines, with our boys.

Two weeks prior to our departure date I called United customer service and notified them that one of my children had a “life-threatening” peanut and tree nut allergy.  I asked them what their company policy was for food allergic passengers?  The representative on the phone told me she would make a note of the allergy in her system and on our tickets.  She also told me United would not distribute peanuts to passengers on the flights.  She said the safety of their passengers was a high priority.  I thought we were good to go, however part of me thought, and this is a bit pessimistic, that this was too good to be true!

Additionally, a few days before our departure I reached out to United via Twitter and their Facebook page asking them what the company policy was for peanut and tree nut allergic passengers?  Here is the response I received via United Facebook:

“We prioritize safety for all of our passengers. While we do not offer buffer zones on our planes, please notify a flight attendant of your son’s allergies and they will be able to pass on that message to their aircraft. Please use this link for more information: http://bit.ly/1Sk5iQs. Feel free to reach out if you have additional questions.”

The day of our departure during check-in the United representative told me that she would notify the head flight attendant of our son’s nut allergies and to make sure to mention this again to the gate attendant.  She stated that United takes food allergies very seriously.  Upon arriving at the gate I also spoke very politely to the gate attendant about our son’s food allergies and reiterated to her what the check-in attendant had mentioned.

Then, when we lined up to board the aircraft, the gate attendant told  my husband and I, “the crew wiped down everything in our aisle on the plane to take extra precautions.”  That was  music to our ears!  Jason and I were thrilled United “went the extra mile.”

However, upon getting to our seats, we noticed several pistachio shells on the floor in the aisle surrounding our seats and in front of each of our seats throughout the entire row.  My boys were TERRIFIED!  I remained calm and grabbed my bag of antibacterial wipes, re-wiped down everything again and picked up the pistachio shells and handed them to the flight attendant.  I explained our concern to her and she said, “I would be nervous too if I had a serious nut allergy.”

After calming our boys down and assuring them they would be safe (I kept my cool of course).  We were able to get ready for takeoff.  My husband and I reiterated to our 6 & 8 year old boys not to touch their shoes, do not put your fingers in your mouth or close to your mouth, and everything will be okay.

Thankfully we survived the flight without any accidental exposures to the nut residues!  No Benadryl or Epi-Pens were needed!  THANK GOD!

United, on a scale of 1 to 10 I would give you a 5.  The process seems to be there but the implementation of the food allergy process is poor, based on our recent experience.  There is lots of room for improvement.

Thankfully, we didn’t experience any additional concerns on the other 3 United flights during our entire travel process.  United- we will fly your carrier again.  In the future, hopefully you will improve your processes for peanut and tree nut allergic passengers which will improve their safety during the flight.

 

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

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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

Nut Free Granola- FINALLY!

 

granola

I’ve been on the quest for over 7 years now to find a healthy granola for my boys that is not only dairy and egg free, but NUT FREE as well.  This has been a very challenging feat as most granolas are either made with nuts such as almonds and peanuts or either manufactured on the same equipment as, or in the same facility as NUTS!

Yesterday, while I was shopping at our local Meijer grocery store and in the cereal aisle, I saw a new type of granola called Nature Valley Granola Crunch Oats ‘N Honey by General Mills.  I immediately grabbed the bag off the shelf, read the ingredients and then found my fingers dialing their customer service number to double check the allergen statement.  The allergen statement read “CONTAINS SOY INGREDIENTS” but didn’t mention anything about nuts.  I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes.

I patiently awaited on my cell phone in the cereal aisle for the customer service representative at General Mills.  I read the item number and UPC code to the representative who was very polite and asked her if there were any additional allergens in the granola besides the “soy” listed on the declared statement?  She responded by saying that General Mills has a policy to declare ALL of the top 8 allergens in all of their products.  She could tell me 100% for certain that this product does not contain any of the top 8 allergens besides SOY.  I was relieved and happy that my boys could finally have a safe and healthy granola snack.

Upon taste testing the granola with my boys, we were completely impressed.  The Nature Valley Granola Crunch Oats ‘N Honey is basically granola bars broken up into delicious small granola pieces.  It has no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial colors and no artificial flavors.  Additionally, it has 13 g of whole grains.  The bag states that there are 21 granola bars broken up in one bag!  The granola was crunchy, had just enough honey and did not get mushy when my youngest added it to his coco yogurt.  This product is a sure winner and I hope you’ll try it!

Thank you General Mills for finally making a safe nut-free granola product my boys can enjoy!

 

Dairy Free Hot Cocoa Mix

hot cocoa

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!

We finally have excellent snow in northern Michigan and the downhill skiing at Nub’s Nob Ski Resort has been wonderful!  My husband, boys and I have been season pass holders here for years and we’re happy to call this resort our home during the winter months. 

Many children that ski often look forward to hot cocoa breaks in the lodge to warm up their cold bodies from being out in the elements.  Obviously, our boys cannot drink the hot cocoa from the vending machine in the cafeteria since it contains “milk” as one of the main ingredients. 

Over the years I have been making my own dairy free version of powdered hot cocoa mix.  I make several individual servings for my boys to use throughout the ski season. They simply put the zip lock baggie in one of their ski jacket pockets, add hot water from the cafeteria “hot water” machine, stir,  and they are the happiest kids in the lodge.

Here’s my recipe which has taken a few years to really perfect:

Dairy Free Hot Cocoa Mix

Yield: 8-10 servings

Ingredients:

1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hersey’s)

1/3 c. granulated sugar

1/3 c. powdered soy milk (I use Better Than Milk Vanilla Soy Powder purchased in bulk from amazon.com- it’s the creamiest!)

Method:

Mix all of the ingredients together with a wire whisk in a bowl.  I will often double or even triple the recipe making a huge batch that I store in an air tight container for the winter.  I will then scoop about 3 Tablespoons of the mix into several small ziplock bags for my boys to take skiing each day.  It stores well and is easy for them to grab out of the pantry in individual servings.

You can also add dehydrated or mini marshmallows to the individual baggies.  I usually add these since my boys love marshmallows with their hot cocoa like most children.

Just add hot water to the mix, stir and enjoy!  This powdered hot cocoa is not only Dairy Free but it’s creamy and delicious as well!  Not to mention easy to take on the go whether it’s skiing, sledding or ice skating!

 

Egg-Not Nog!

egg not nog 2

With the holiday season in full swing and Christmas only 3 days away what is more appropriate than posting a review of one of my all-time favorite holiday cocktails?  Who doesn’t love egg nog?  Since our children are deathly allergic to eggs, and we have not kept them in the house for over 7 1/2 years we drink “Egg-Not Nog.”

I tried to make my own “Egg-Not Nog” several times last year during the holidays and failed miserably.  I could not re-create the consistency and texture of the egg nog I grew up drinking as a kid.  With all of the entertaining, baking, running around, etc. that we do during the holidays I decided to cut myself a break and buy store bought egg-not nog this year. 

My husband and I conducted a taste test last night of So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog and Silk Nog.  I poured 1 oz. of good quality spiced rum into each cocktail glass filled with ice, then added 4 oz of nog to each glass, stirred and topped off with a pinch of ground nutmeg.  The rum could certainly be substituted for brandy or bourbon if you prefer a different flavor.

Egg not nog

If you are a nog lover I have to say that both the Coconut Nog and Silk Nog were delicious!  The coconut nog has a thick smooth consistency more similar to the egg nog made with real eggs.  It has a subtle hint of coconut that is not over powering and amazing nutmeg flavor which blended well with the rum.  The Silk Nog was a bit creamier in texture and flavor.  Although it lacked the nutmeg in the ingredients,  I just made sure to stir the pinch of nutmeg into the Silk cocktail completely.  Both products are great paired with liquor or by themselves.  My personal vote is for the So Delicious Limited Edition Coconut Milk Nog!  I think it’s a real winner and delicious stirred, shaken or alone (my son loves it!)

Enjoy your Egg-Not Nog and holiday cheers to you!

 

DOVE CHOCOLATE RECALL

Please click on the link below to see the detailed information about the voluntary Dove Chocolate Snowflake recall for eggs, wheat and peanut ingredients that are not listed on the packaging:

http://breaking911.com/recall-alert-chocolate-recalled-nationwide-mars/

 

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/