Tag: Allergen

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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Game Changer- Amazing New Vegan Cheeses on Market

CHsses 2

Over the last 7 1/2 years that we have been practicing an allergy safe diet, our family has literally tried every vegan and nut-free cheese on the market.  And I mean EVERY cheese!  Some cheeses are too sticky, many do not melt well, several taste like rubber, others taste like chemicals, some are artificial tasting, even oily, and a few are gritty.  Gross!

I was at our local Spartan-Brand Grocery Store, D & W Fresh Market, a few days ago and they have completely redesigned the entire store creating a large allergy-friendly/gluten-free area that includes several smaller aisles with a large refrigerator cooler and frozen food section.  I was jumping for joy!  In the refrigerator, I noticed several Follow Your Heart cheeses with “new” written on the packaging.  Since these have not been available to us in the past, I purchased a few different options to take home to my boys and husband and conduct a family a taste test.

CHeese 1

I purchased these cheeses that we then sampled at home on Wheat Thin crackers: Provolone 1 oz packages, Mozzarella slices, American slices, Cheddar slices, and American 1 oz. packages.  The overall consensus between my two boys, husband, and myself was that all 3 cheese flavors, not only had the texture of real cow’s milk cheese, but ALSO THE TASTE CLOSELY RESEMBLED REAL CHEESE!  I was shocked!  I grew up eating dairy until my children were diagnosed with food allergies over seven years ago and decided to give up all dairy in order to support them, live a healthier lifestyle and maintain the safety in our home.

The Follow Your Heart Provolone is a mild semi-hard cheese that has a subtle sweetness.  It can easily be paired with sliced apples, pairs, grapes, etc.  We loved it!  The Follow Your Heart American Cheese holds its own!  I’m actually convinced that many of my “dairy-eating” extended family members would not be able to tell that it is vegan- it’s that good!  The texture was medium and the taste was creamy and melted in our mouths!

Finally, the Follow Your Heart Cheddar Cheese was medium flavored, not too sharp and everything you would expect from a cheddar cheese!  It’s smooth and firm texture was absolutely perfect!  A real winner!

My children were so excited after the tasting that I went back to the grocery store the next day and loaded up on more of these amazing cheeses.  I now feel like I could even entertain non-vegan guests with these cheeses and they would simply enjoy them without the standard questioning, “Is this dairy-free? Is this vegan?”

Kudos to Follow Your Heart for developing such amazing new products that have become Game Changers for my family!  Follow Your Heart is a company that has been in the vegan business for a long time since 1970 and they know how to create yummy foods that we all love! I have to admit, I cannot stop snacking on these cheeses!  They are delicious with everything!

Now, I just need to figure out if I can order this cheeses by the case at D & W Fresh Market or our local organic co-op, The Grain Train, where I’m a member/owner.

These cheeses are Life-Changing for our family!

Enjoy and Happy Cheese Eating!

#Cheese#DairyFree#Vegan#Allergy#NutFree#PeanutFree#AllergyFree#Anaphylaxs#Cheddar#Provolone#AmericanCheese

~Erika

Game Changer- Amazing New Vegan Cheeses on Market

CHsses 2

Over the last 7 1/2 years that we have been practicing an allergy safe diet, our family has literally tried every vegan and nut-free cheese on the market.  And I mean EVERY cheese!  Some cheeses are too sticky, many do not melt well, several taste like rubber, others taste like chemicals, some are artificial tasting, even oily, and a few are gritty.  Gross!

I was at our local Spartan-Brand Grocery Store, D & W Fresh Market, a few days ago and they have completely redesigned the entire store creating a large allergy-friendly/gluten-free area that includes several smaller aisles with a large refrigerator cooler and frozen food section.  I was jumping for joy!  In the refrigerator, I noticed several Follow Your Heart cheeses with “new” written on the packaging.  Since these have not been available to us in the past, I purchased a few different options to take home to my boys and husband and conduct a family a taste test.

CHeese 1

I purchased these cheeses that we then sampled at home on Wheat Thin crackers: Provolone 1 oz packages, Mozzarella slices, American slices, Cheddar slices, and American 1 oz. packages.  The overall consensus between my two boys, husband, and myself was that all 3 cheese flavors, not only had the texture of real cow’s milk cheese, but ALSO THE TASTE CLOSELY RESEMBLED REAL CHEESE!  I was shocked!  I grew up eating dairy until my children were diagnosed with food allergies over seven years ago and decided to give up all dairy in order to support them, live a healthier lifestyle and maintain the safety in our home.

The Follow Your Heart Provolone is a mild semi-hard cheese that has a subtle sweetness.  It can easily be paired with sliced apples, pairs, grapes, etc.  We loved it!  The Follow Your Heart American Cheese holds its own!  I’m actually convinced that many of my “dairy-eating” extended family members would not be able to tell that it is vegan- it’s that good!  The texture was medium and the taste was creamy and melted in our mouths!

Finally, the Follow Your Heart Cheddar Cheese was medium flavored, not too sharp and everything you would expect from a cheddar cheese!  It’s smooth and firm texture was absolutely perfect!  A real winner!

My children were so excited after the tasting that I went back to the grocery store the next day and loaded up on more of these amazing cheeses.  I now feel like I could even entertain non-vegan guests with these cheeses and they would simply enjoy them without the standard questioning, “Is this dairy-free? Is this vegan?”

Kudos to Follow Your Heart for developing such amazing new products that have become Game Changers for my family!  Follow Your Heart is a company that has been in the vegan business for a long time since 1970 and they know how to create yummy foods that we all love! I have to admit, I cannot stop snacking on these cheeses!  They are delicious with everything!

Now, I just need to figure out if I can order this cheeses by the case at D & W Fresh Market or our local organic co-op, The Grain Train, where I’m a member/owner.

These cheeses are Life-Changing for our family!

Enjoy and Happy Cheese Eating!

#Cheese#DairyFree#Vegan#Allergy#NutFree#PeanutFree#AllergyFree#Anaphylaxs#Cheddar#Provolone#AmericanCheese

~Erika

Earth Balance Buttery Spread Vs. Smart Balance Light

butter

I have been a big fan of Earth Balance Buttery Spread for the last several years since it’s dairy, nut, and egg free.  Plus, it’s low in cholesterol and actually taste delicious and has a nice flavor in baked goods.  However, I have NOT been a fan of the price.  I get it– manufacturers price gauge those with food allergies or special food sensitivities because they know that we HAVE TO purchase their products and have limited alternatives.

I spent about 20 minutes at our local grocery chain Meijer last week reading ingredient labels for different types of margarine.  Come to find out, Smart Balance Light w/Flaxseed Oil is actually distrbuted by the same company (Boulder Brands, USA, INC) that distributes Earth Balance Buttery Spread and it’s only $2.99 for a 15oz container compared to $3.99 for a 15oz container.  This may not seem like a big deal to most, but for our family it is a nice savings.  Especially during the holiday season when my homemade baking increases by about 70% and I use vegan butter like it’s going out of style!  Additionally, the container states on the bottom it is, Non-Dairy, Vegan, Lactose-Free, Gluten-Free, Gelatin-Free, Expeller-Pressed Oils, Non-GMO and has 0g Tans Fat.  WE HAVE A NEW WINNER!

I try to find little savings everywhere because, as you most likely know, grocery shopping with multiple-food allergies on a budget is very challenging.  I posted a great article last year that was based on a survey done by Northwestern University on families with food allergies.  The conclusion was that $25 billion dollars is spent each year on food allergies and thus roughly $4200 on each person with food allergies.  I’m sure this number has since grown and is probably closer to $10,000 for our family of 2 boys, each with multiple food allergies! This is a good reminder that families with food allergies are paying much more than the average consumer.  If we can find little savings here and there it is definitely worth it in my book!

http://www.peanutallergy.com/news/food-allergy-news/childrens-food-allergies-cost-25b-per-year-4200-per-affected-family

ALL AUVI-Q’S NOW RECALLED THAT ARE ON MARKET AND SET TO EXPIRE OCT 2015- DEC 2016

Last week I posted the voluntary recall of Auvi-Q’s and now the recall has expanded to include ALL auto injectors on the market. 0.15mg and 0.3mg.  The lot numbers included in the updated recall have expanded quite a lot!  This means the Auvi-Q’s I left at my children’s school that were deemed to be safe under the original recall last week now need to be removed!  Now I’m definitely not sure how I’m going to quickly replace the 6 sets of 2 packs at my children’s school.  I’m open to ideas from any followers if you have any recommendations on how to quickly refill the Epi-Pen Junior 2 packs???

I’m headed out the door to stop at all of the pharmacies and see how they can help me.  I still have not received any type of response from my emails or voice messages to Sanofi from last week.  Still never received a phone call from Walgreens where I filled 12+ Auvi-Q scripts last year about the recall!  Can you believe this?

This is straight from the Auvi-Q website:

“Sanofi US is voluntarily recalling all Auvi‑Q® (epinephrine injection, USP). The recall involves all Auvi‑Q currently on the market and includes both the 0.15 mg and 0.3 mg strengths for hospitals, retailers and consumers. This includes lot numbers 2081278 through 3037230, which expire October 2015 through December 2016. The products have been found to potentially have inaccurate dosage delivery, which may include failure to deliver drug.”

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

auvi a

Halloween Party Treats

pumpkins

Halloween is finally here and like every other year we are hosting our annual Halloween Open House.  Because we live north of the 35th parallel and right on Lake Michigan, the weather can be pretty cold for trick-or-treating.  Our friends usually stop by our house throughout the night to warm up, give their kids a break from trick-or-treating, and to enjoy the special Halloween treats and baked goods I prepare every year.

My boy’s favorite Halloween treats, in addition to my donuts, are my Chocolate Pretzel Rods with Sprinkles.  They look really cute and are always a huge hit!  Plus, they are dairy, egg, and nut free.

Ingredients:

Gordon Food Store Pretzel Rods

1 bag of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

A few containers of your favorite Halloween sprinkles.  Make sure they are free of allergens

pretzel 3

Preparation:

  1. Cover a few cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Add about 1/3 of bag of chocolate chips to a glass bowl;
  3. Microwave chocolate chips for 60 seconds then stir constantly;
  4. Microwave again for about 40 seconds and then stir repeating this process until all of the chips are melted.
  5. Take a pretzel rod and use a spoon to add the chocolate to it, spooning off excess chocolate.
  6. Gently roll the rod into the sprinkles that you have poured onto a plate.
  7. Repeat until you make desired amount.
  8. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens, place rods in a festive glass or mug, serve and enjoy!

pretzel 1

pretzel 2

Do You Practice What You Preach?

Scout on trail

It’s Thursday morning and the majority of Americans are more than halfway through a standard work week.  That means we should also be more than halfway through our weekly workouts also, right?  How many people have been telling themselves each and every day this week, “I’ll just get back into exercising tomorrow.”  Procrastinating just one more day to spend more time on the couch watching TV, playing with electronic devices or spending extra time at the office sitting in an office chair perched in front of your computer with terrible posture.  Who has time to exercise in this fast-paced society with work, children, extracurriculars, etc?  Right?  We’re all guilty of making excuses of why not to exercise.  I know I have been known to do this on more than one occasion.  “It’s too cold outside, I don’t have enough time, I’ll do it tomorrow…”   The list goes on and one.

Enough said!  I know I have preached in many of my posts that because of food allergies we tend to eat clean, healthy, low fat, and organic.  I can proudly say that I do practice what I preach when it comes to cooking for my 2 food allergic boys and husband.  Additionally, I haven’t posted very much on the importance of ALSO living a heart-healthy lifestyle by incorporating daily exercise into your program.  Whether it’s 20 minutes or 2 hours daily exercise is essential for living a well-balanced life.  You have to find the right balance for YOU!

Thankfully, I grew up an athlete from a young age and was very successful with my athletics throughout high school and college.  Although I chose not to ski race in college at the varsity level I did participate in our school’s club ski race team.  We even qualified for Nationals 2 years in a row which was pretty exciting considering we were not a school sponsored sports team!  The point I’m trying to make is that for me exercise has always been easy, enjoyable and a MAJOR part of my life! When I don’t exercise I feel TERRIBLE, crabby and I’m sure I’m just not a nice person.  Just ask my family.

When my children were first diagnosed with food allergies over 7 years ago I may have taken my exercise levels to a place that most people would think was a bit obsessive.  I trained for countless numbers of hours 6-7 days a week preparing for triathlons in which some days I would even complete 2 hard workouts.  In the end, I placed in the top 3 in most of my events and even won a race.  What the heck— I felt that all of the hard work definitely paid off!  I grew to love the sport of triathlon as an adult and during my training sessions I was able to focus on something I loved and not be distracted by the constant worry of my children’s food allergies and the potential of an anaphylactic reaction.  For me, exercise IS and WILL always be a way for me to control my anxiety of worrying about my little boys. Exercise is a way of life for me.   I’m sure this anxiety about the constant worry of my boys will never go away as long as I am a parent.  I have, however, toned down my trainings a bit over the last year and a half and have learned to find more balance with my workouts.

I’m extremely lucky to live in an area where I can road bike, mountain bike, trail run, water ski, playing tennis or paddle ball, skate ski and downhill ski, snow shoe, etc…it’s a playground for outside activities!!!  Exercise has become more enjoyable for me.  I know this is not likely the case for most people but YOU HAVE to make an effort to seek out something that you enjoy and is a good workout.  Whether it’s pumping iron in your local gym or walking the dog at a fast pace in your neighborhood there is something for everyone!  Just give it a try or try a new class of some sort.  MAKE THE TIME!  Get up just 20 minutes earlier in the morning.  Whatever it takes YOU have the POWER!

Now if you haven’t broken a sweat this week and have been eating garbage all week this is the time to take a stand for yourself and make a positive change!  For mind, body, and soul!

Do you like the picture of my running partner this morning on the trail?  I tried talking myself out of running because the wind chill was about 30 degrees with 15 mph winds but thankfully our dog Scout kept looking at me with guilty eyes that basically said, “Take me for a trail run!”

#running#roadbiking#moutainbiking#organicfood#foodallergies#hearthealthy#lifestyle

Teal Pumpkins Are Painted at Our House- Have You Taken The Teal Pumpkin Project Pledge?

Teal Pumpkins Painted

My boys painted their Teal Pumpkins for the FARE’S Teal Pumpkin Project to raise awareness for food allergies on Halloween.  This national campaign will ensure that every child has a safe Halloween.  Have you taken the Pledge?  Please visit FARE’s website below and join the thousands who have already taken the Pledge.

http://www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project

Heart Healthy Panko Crusted Chicken Tenderloins

What child does not LOVE chicken fingers?  What adult doesn’t love them for that matter?  I have developed a heart-healthy/allergy-friendly recipe I guarantee everyone will love and they will beg for seconds, I promise!  I usually serve my Panko Crusted Chicken Tenders with steamed organic brown rice and steamed broccoli.   It’s fun to serve with a few different vegan dipping sauces like honey mustard, my ginger dipping sauce or even ketchup. Place them in cute ramekins for serving and enjoy!

Panko Crusted Chicken Tenders

 Prep Time: 20 minutes                                                                                   Cook Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6-8 servings (leftovers are good!)

Ingredients:

2 pounds organic chicken tenderloins

2 cups organic soy milk

1 tablespoon white vinegar

3 cups Panko Japanese Style Bread Crumbs

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon olive oil or olive oil spray for greasing the pan

Preparation:

Preheat a conventional oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the soymilk and the vinegar in a glass bowl and set aside to form a buttermilk consistency. Then set up a “dredging” and “bread crumbing” assembly line.

Mix together the bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper with a spoon. Set aside. Grease your baking sheet or place a piece of parchment paper on it. Set the baking sheet at the end of your assembly line station. Once your station is set up, take each piece of chicken separately and (1) dredge into the buttermilk mixture (2) then coat the chicken with the panko mixture on both sides (3) place neatly on the baking sheet. Repeat these steps until you have coated all of the chicken.

FullSizeRenderpanko

Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook for approximately 30 minutes or until the chicken has clear colored juices and is cooked through. Once the chicken is cooked, turn the broiler on high heat and broil until the chicken is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Be sure to watch it so it does not burn.  Look at the beautiful golden brown crust below.

panko 3

Serve with my garlic ginger dipping sauce and enjoy!

Garlic Ginger Dipping Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes                                                                                               Serves: 4-6

Cook Time: 20 minutes

 Ingredients:

4 cloves garlic minced

2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger minced

1 teaspoon shallot minced (if you have on hand)

¼ cup scallions (roughly 2)

¾ cup Low Sodium San-J Tamari soy sauce

¼ cup water

Preparation:

Add the water and soy sauce to a sauce pan and gently bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling whisk in the garlic, ginger and shallots. Reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Once the ingredients are nicely softened add the scallions and turn off the heat. Pour into separate dipping ramekins and serve warm with Panko Crusted Chicken for Dipping.  Note:  If you would like to add a little kick to your dipping sauce add a pinch of chili peppers.