Tag: Dairy Free

Halloween Oreos

Although I’m not a big proponent of letting my kids indulge in quintessential American junk food snacks often, these may be the exception. After all, we do eat extremely clean, organic, dairy, egg & nut free. Who doesn’t enjoy an Oreo from time to time? Halloween Oreos are free of 6 of the top 8 allergens & only include wheat, soy, and many other preservatives and ingredients that I have difficulty pronouncing. Lol! But hey- a few for my boys once in a while is my definition of “moderation.”

Enjoy,

~Erika

Low Carb Zucchini Boats

This summer we had an amazing organic vegetable garden which was so much fun for the entire family.  The kids definitely enjoyed watching the veggies grow this summer and they were excellent helpers when it came to weeding and harvesting the vegetables.  We have had such an abundance of fresh zucchini that I have had to get very creative with my recipes.  Also, my husband has cut carbohydrates out of his diet which has made meal prep for me a bit more challenging but exciting for me to share my new creations with the family.   We eat pretty clean and mean with LOTS of flavor!  Enjoy!

~Erika

zucchini 2

Prep Time: 30 minutes                  Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sized organic zucchini
  • 1 lb organic lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or grapeseed oil)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 fresh basil leaves, chopped (1 tsp dried if you do no have fresh on hand)
  • 1/2 C to 3/4 C Daiya dairy-free mozzarella shreds
  • 1 jar good quality organic marina or pasta sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees & lightly grease a glass baking dish.
  2. Cut off the stem end of the zucchini and slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the soft center flesh with a melon spoon if you have one.  Be careful not to remove too much flesh. Place the zucchini halves on the baking dish.
  3. Finely chop the scooped zucchini flesh and reserve.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the zucchini flesh, onion, and garlic until soft, tender and translucent. Add the marinara sauce and simmer.  Stir in the fresh basil.
  5. While the tomato sauce is cooking brown the ground beef in a separate pan.  Once browned you can add the ground beef to the tomato sauce.
  6. Spoon the mixture evenly into each zucchini boat.
  7. Top with Daiya mozzarella shreds.
  8. Bake for 15-20 min until cheese is melted and zucchini is tender.

Chef’s note: In the essence of saving time with my busy schedule I choose to use store bought marina sauce.  If you prefer to make your own simply add 2-3 chopped tomatoes and diced red bell peppers to step #4 in lieu of the marinara.

zucchini

Marshmallow Olaf Party Snacks

IMG_2108

My boys and I recently visited my sister, brother-in-law and their two small daughters.  We celebrated my niece’s 2nd Birthday and of course the theme of her part was the movie “Frozen.”  I helped my sister make these adorable “Olaf” marshmallow snacks and they were so cute I have decided to share them with my viewers.  They are completely allergen friendly and I chose to use Glutino pretzels (GFree Pretzels fron Aldi’s also work) which are not only gluten-free, but dairy, nut and egg free too.  I have found over the years that many of the mainstream pretzel brands are manufactured on either “shared equipment” with peanuts and tree nuts or processed “in the same facility” as peanuts and tree nuts. Additionally, I used the Enjoy Life Chocolate chips as the eyes and buttons.  Kraft marshmallows and most generic brands are safe as well.

You could also modify these to look like ghosts for a Halloween party treat!

Ingredients:                                                                                                         Prep Time: 45 min

1 bag of Glutino Mini Pretzel Rods (or another allergy-friendly brand)

1 bag of marshmallows

Carrots cut into tiny wedges to be used as the “nose”

Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Plastic sticks used to assemble the snowmen

I recommend adding each ingredient above to a separate bowl in order to make the assembly on the Olaf’s easier. 

  • The first step is to add the marshmallows to the plastic sticks;
  • Stick 2 pretzels into the middle marshmallow for arms;
  • Add the chocolate chips to the top marshmallow for eyes and then a few for buttons;
  • Finish off your Olaf by adding the carrot wedge for his nose.

Kids love this party snack and enjoy!

~Erika

FIELD TRIPS WITH FOOD ALLERGIES

skulbus

My boys have now been back in school this fall for about 4 weeks and today is their first field trip to the high school football field for a Homecoming Pep Rally.  Looking back a few years when my oldest son was in kindergarten, I remember feeling quite a bit of anxiety leading up to his school field trips.  Its silly to think about the stress these school functions caused me but I’m sure most parents of kids with food allergies can relate in one way or another to my elevated anxiety levels on the subject. Even though I chaperoned almost all of the field trips,  I think most of my stress came from thoughts about my son riding on the bus and the potential of food that had been left on the bus prior to him riding it, and/or allergen oils on the bus seats.  Additionally, the is an added element of stress knowing that your child may not be as close to he hospital in case there is an allergic reaction.

In preparing my children for today’s school outing I referenced a very helpful checklist provided by FARE at www.foodallergy.org.  I have included this helpful checklist in the “Food Allergy Folder” I prepare for each of my children’s teachers at the beginning of each school year.  It’s a wonderful reference guide and I hope you will find it helpful to ease your mind while your children are safe and enjoying their school field trips.  ~Erika

Field Trip Tips

For Parents

  • Keep yourself up-to-date on upcoming special events in your child’s school. The more time you have to plan ahead, the better.
  • Remember that you and your child’s teacher need to work together as a team to keep your child safe.
  • Role-play with your child and practice what your child should do if a reaction is occurring.
  • Often times children are reluctant to mention that they’re having symptoms of an allergic reaction for fear of creating a scene. Teach your child to be persistent. In the event of a reaction, rapid treatment is essential.
  • After the event, briefly call or meet with your child’s teacher to discuss what went well and what, if anything, should be changed in the future. Be sure to give praise for a job well done; a thank-you note reinforces the idea of teamwork and builds a positive atmosphere.

For Educators

  • Update the food-allergic student’s Food Allergy Action Plan. Ask the parents to review the plan you have on file and note any updated information. Also ask parents to check the expiration dates on any medications.
  • Review the Food Allergy Action Plan with regard to the upcoming event. Find out where the nearest hospital is and discuss how a student would be transported there in case of an emergency.
  • Brief the staff and chaperones that will be supervising students during the event or trip. Identify the food-allergic student, discuss what foods must be avoided, explain the symptoms of an allergic reaction, and review the Food Allergy Action Plan. Designate a staff member to check the safety of any food served to that student.
  • The day of the event or trip, carry the food-allergic student’s medications wherever the student goes. In the case of a severe allergic reaction, known as “anaphylaxis,” speedy access to medications can be the difference between life and death. Keep all staff and chaperones informed about who will be carrying the student’s medications.
  • Carry a cell phone to place emergency calls, if necessary. Make certain all staff and chaperones know where the phone will be kept.
  • Take all complaints seriously. If a food-allergic student notifies the staff that he or she is not feeling well, compare the symptoms with those listed on that student’s Food Allergy Action Plan. If the student is having an allergic reaction, activate emergency procedures immediately. Remember, if epinephrine is administered, but not needed, the student may experience increased heart rate and nervousness. If epinephrine is needed, but not administered, the student may experience a severe or fatal allergic reaction.

“Safe” School Snack List

snacks

This week I seem to be posting a lot of  lists.  In the world of food allergies, lists are extremely important to have around as references.  In addition to the “Safe Halloween Candy” list I posted yesterday, I thought it may be helpful to post my comprehensive “Safe School Snack List.”  Parents and teachers alike constantly ask me for healthy safe snacks in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Labels must be read every time since manufacturing practices and ingredients can change at any time. Please check for dairy, eggs, peanuts & tree nuts (butter, cheese, yogurt, milk, cream and many times labeled as whey/casein, albumen, and lactic acid starter culture). Also, see any allergen warning for “may contain” or “made on/processed on the same equipment as” or “made in the same facility as…”

Suggested Safe Snacks:

  • Fruits & Vegetables are highly encouraged (no cream dips/peanut butter)
    • Also, Sunmaid & Meijer Brand Raisins & Most apple sauce containers
  • Meijer Brand Naturals Baked Sea Salt natural pita crackers;
  • Silk Soy Yogurt (blueberry & strawberry)—ALWAYS read this label as several Silk Soy Yogurt flavors are processed on the same equipment as almonds!
  • Organic Ville Non Dairy Ranch Organic Dressing
  • Whole Soy & Co. Soy Yogurt
  • Follow Your Heart Vegan Cream Cheese
  • Go Veggie Classic Plain Cream Cheese Alternative (This is our favorite brand!)
  • SO Delicious Dairy Free CocoWhip Coconut Whipped Topping
  • Nabisco Honey Maid Graham Crackers or Spartan Brand Honey Graham Crackers
  • Nabisco Whole Grain Premium Saltine Crackers
  • Nabisco Low Sodium Premium Saltine Crackers
  • Nabisco “Original” Wheat Thins (Whole Grain) Crackers
  • Triscuit Original Whole Grain Wheat Crackers
  • Back to Nature Harvest Whole Wheat, Crispy Wheat, Organic Satines & Organic Stoneground Wheat Crackers
  • Glutino Brand Pretzels
  • Keebler CLUB crackers
  • Ritz Crackers (no sandwiches)
  • Savoritz Original Woven Wheats (Aldi’s Brand)
  • Savoritz Original Clubhouse Crakers (Aldi’s Brand)
  • Live G Free Gluten Free Mini Twists & Straight Pretzels (Aldi’s Brand)
  • Southern Grove Banana Chips (Aldi’s Brand)
  • Live G Free Cocoa Loco, Mixed Berry & Caramel Apple Baked Chewy Bars (Aldi’s Brand)
  • Enjoy Life Choco Loco, Mixed Berry & Caramel Apple Baked Chewy Bars
  • Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips and Multi Grain Pita Chips (not parmesan herb)
  • Sabre Original Hummus, Tribe Organic Roasted Garlic Hummus and Tribe Classic Hummus (Glen’s)
  • Whole Grain Cheerios (not honey nut)
  • Rice Chex
  • I.M. Healthy Original Creamy Soynut Butter (peanut free) & Safe 4School WOW Butter
  • Aunt Millie’s 100% Whole Wheat or Whole Grain “Hearth” Hamburger buns & Thomas 100% Whole Wheat Mini Bagels
  • Koepplinger’s 100% Whole Wheat Bread
  • Lotus Biscoff Spread Smooth and Crunchy
  • Lundberg Brown Rive Organic Rice Cakes
  • Most brands of Tortilla Chips- Always check the labels as many contain “Milk”
  • Most brands of salsa
  • Ocean Spray Berries & Cherries Naturally Flavored Snacks

 Common UNSAFE FOODS (please avoid):

  • All granola bars
  • Almost all English Muffin Brands contain MILK- Aunt Millies seems to be milk free
  • All Goldfish (Pepperidge Farms)
  • All Annie’s Bunnie Crackers
  • Veggie Shreds Soy Cheese Products ALL HAVE MILK CASEIN
  • Cheez-Its Crackers
  • Yogurt tubes, cups or Yo-gos
  • Cheese/String Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Veggie Straws (may contain milk) & my oldest son started to have a reaction from cross-contamination last spring!
  • Hostess Snacks and most processed cookies/sweet snacks

Dairy, Nut, & Egg Free Halloween Candy List

Halloween Picture

Well it’s that time of year where people start asking me for a comprehensive “Allergen-Friendly” Halloween List.  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 options nowadays that we can buy for our children and ensure they will have an amazing SAFE Halloween!  Please Note: ALWAYS check ingredients!  This list is only meant to be used as a guide.  ENJOY!  ~Erika

  • DIVVIES Chocolates
  • Amanda’s Own Confections
  • Premium Chocolatiers Chocolate bars & candy
  • Enjoy Life chocolate bars
  • Peeps (some flavors have “Milk” double check ingredients)
  • Swedish Fish
  • Mike and Ikes
  • Surf Sweets Natural Gummies & Jelly Beans
  • 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 (most flavors)
  • Pez

Delicious Watermelon Popcicles

It has been a rainy chilly morning here in Northern Michigan and after picking my son up from soccer camp we listed a few ideas to occupy our time indoors today. My boys & I decided to use the new BPA Free Popcicle molds I just purchased last week from Whole Foods. This was a fun & easy project for both of my sons & I. Not to mention inexpensive & healthy too!

 Here is the recipe we used which can be modified & eye-balled:

4-6 cups chopped & very ripe watermelon

1/2 cup cranberry juice or in this case I had pomegranate wild berry on hand

Juice of 1 lime

Agave nectar to taste

Purée all ingredients together in a food processor & pour into molds. Freeze molds 4-6 hours & enjoy! This entire process took less than 15 minutes & it was fun to have my boys helping me in the kitchen.

Delicious Watermelon Popcicles

It has been a rainy chilly morning here in Northern Michigan and after picking my son up from soccer camp we listed a few ideas to occupy our time indoors today. My boys & I decided to use the new BPA Free Popcicle molds I just purchased last week from Whole Foods. This was a fun & easy project for both of my sons & I. Not to mention inexpensive & healthy too!

 Here is the recipe we used which can be modified & eye-balled:

4-6 cups chopped & very ripe watermelon

1/2 cup cranberry juice or in this case I had pomegranate wild berry on hand

Juice of 1 lime

Agave nectar to taste

Purée all ingredients together in a food processor & pour into molds. Freeze molds 4-6 hours & enjoy! This entire process took less than 15 minutes & it was fun to have my boys helping me in the kitchen.