Tag: Awareness

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!

 

 

 

Vegan Hot Cocoa – Perfect for this Time of Year

hot cocoa

It’s snowy and cold here in Northern Michigan.  Today is the first day of our downhill ski season  and I thought it would be timely to post my delicious hot cocoa recipe.  Many children that ski often look forward to hot cocoa breaks in the lodge to warm up 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.  It’s creamy, warm and delicious!

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Small Town Allergy Mom™

 

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!

 

Allergen Safe Easter Celebration

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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

 

 

Please Follow Me!

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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

Food Allergy Awareness Video

This collaboration video Food Allergy Voices by FARE (Food Allergy Research Education) and CBS is eye opening for those who are not affected by food allergies on a daily basis. Please pass along and share this to help us spread food allergy awareness.

Egg-Not Nog!

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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!

 

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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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/

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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/