Tag: Food Allergy Safery

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!

Promoting Ways to Live a Healthly Lifestyle in Rural America
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!

 

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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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

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.

Labor Day Weekend Detroit Tigers Game with Our Food Allergic Boys = AMAZING TIME!

comerica park

My husband and I recently enjoyed a hot Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park in Detroit with our two food allergic boys.  This is the second time we have taken our boys to a Major League baseball game and I have to say kudos to Comerica- our experience could not have been any better!

Prior to arriving at the ball park we met several family members for a “Family Fun Day Sunday” at Punch Bowl Social in downtown Detroit on Broadway Street.  The staff was extremely helpful and our server took our 3 x 5 pink Restaurant Food Allergy Card back to the chef to ask for dairy, nut, and egg free menu recommendations.  My boys happily settled on the sweet BBQ and cilantro chicken wings and washed it down with a delicious root beer.  Not very healthy but hey– it was game day and a special occasion!  They loved it!   Plus Punch Bowl has several bowling lanes, an arcade, and shuffle board…a paradise for both parents and children for a pre-game with the family!

After meeting up with all of our family at Punch Bowl we then walked to the ball park which was only a few short blocks away.

In the past I have carried in a soft 12″ x 12″ inch cooler filled to the brim with safe snacks for our boys to enjoy during the game in addition to the 4 Auvi-Q epinephrine pens, Benadryl and asthma inhaler.  Last Saturday however I only packed a few snacks in my purse (Auv-Q’s  of course) and my boys were able to enjoy multiple food/drink items at the park.  Upon entering Comerica in the 85+ degree heat we bought Minute Maid Frozen Lemonades for the boys and a few waters.  Not to mention the multiple souvenirs (ie. water squirt fans to keep the kids cool, stuffed animals, new baseball hats, and jerseys of course).

Unfortunately, the Tigers were not winning and at one point during the game I ventured to the Big Cat Food Court area where the merry-go-round is located.  My husband stayed back in the seats with the boys.  The Hot Dog Vendor Sidekick did not have a line at all and I decided to venture up to the counter.  After noticing they sold hot dogs, I politely asked one of the employees if he could possibly grab the box of hot dogs and buns from the walk-in cooler in order for me to read the ingredients list.  He also mentioned that out of the two different types of Ballpark hot dogs they sold one brand had casein in them.  Once he brought me the box of dogs without the casein I re-read the ingredients at least 3 times after realizing they were COMPLETELY safe for my boys to eat.  Additionally, the bun brand they carried was safe as well!  My eyes literally started welting up and tears started to trickle out of the corners of my eyes underneath my sunglasses.  Why did I start to tear up you may ask yourself?  Well, it’s actually quite simple…this is the first time my two little boys would be able to enjoy a hot dog at a Ball Game!  A quintessential moment enjoyed by most Americans during their lifetime!

When I returned to the our seating section my husband and kids were standing near the entrance to our seats with my brother and sister-in-law and nephew.  I handed the boys their hot dogs and told them they were SAFE and they proceeded to devour each dog!  My husband and I were ecstatic!  It was a very memorable moment that will stick with us for a long time to come.

Our Sunday Fun Day at Comerica proved to be an amazing experience with our boys and extended family!  We will definitely be back with the boys and hopefully next time the Tigers will have a WIN!  Thank you to our family and Comerica for a amazing fun filled day at the ball park!

Labor Day Weekend Detroit Tigers Game with Our Food Allergic Boys = AMAZING TIME!

comerica park

My husband and I recently enjoyed a hot Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park in Detroit with our two food allergic boys.  This is the second time we have taken our boys to a Major League baseball game and I have to say kudos to Comerica- our experience could not have been any better!

Prior to arriving at the ball park we met several family members for a “Family Fun Day Sunday” at Punch Bowl Social in downtown Detroit on Broadway Street.  The staff was extremely helpful and our server took our 3 x 5 pink Restaurant Food Allergy Card back to the chef to ask for dairy, nut, and egg free menu recommendations.  My boys happily settled on the sweet BBQ and cilantro chicken wings and washed it down with a delicious root beer.  Not very healthy but hey– it was game day and a special occasion!  They loved it!   Plus Punch Bowl has several bowling lanes, an arcade, and shuffle board…a paradise for both parents and children for a pre-game with the family!

After meeting up with all of our family at Punch Bowl we then walked to the ball park which was only a few short blocks away.

In the past I have carried in a soft 12″ x 12″ inch cooler filled to the brim with safe snacks for our boys to enjoy during the game in addition to the 4 Auvi-Q epinephrine pens, Benadryl and asthma inhaler.  Last Saturday however I only packed a few snacks in my purse (Auv-Q’s  of course) and my boys were able to enjoy multiple food/drink items at the park.  Upon entering Comerica in the 85+ degree heat we bought Minute Maid Frozen Lemonades for the boys and a few waters.  Not to mention the multiple souvenirs (ie. water squirt fans to keep the kids cool, stuffed animals, new baseball hats, and jerseys of course).

Unfortunately, the Tigers were not winning and at one point during the game I ventured to the Big Cat Food Court area where the merry-go-round is located.  My husband stayed back in the seats with the boys.  The Hot Dog Vendor Sidekick did not have a line at all and I decided to venture up to the counter.  After noticing they sold hot dogs, I politely asked one of the employees if he could possibly grab the box of hot dogs and buns from the walk-in cooler in order for me to read the ingredients list.  He also mentioned that out of the two different types of Ballpark hot dogs they sold one brand had casein in them.  Once he brought me the box of dogs without the casein I re-read the ingredients at least 3 times after realizing they were COMPLETELY safe for my boys to eat.  Additionally, the bun brand they carried was safe as well!  My eyes literally started welting up and tears started to trickle out of the corners of my eyes underneath my sunglasses.  Why did I start to tear up you may ask yourself?  Well, it’s actually quite simple…this is the first time my two little boys would be able to enjoy a hot dog at a Ball Game!  A quintessential moment enjoyed by most Americans during their lifetime!

When I returned to the our seating section my husband and kids were standing near the entrance to our seats with my brother and sister-in-law and nephew.  I handed the boys their hot dogs and told them they were SAFE and they proceeded to devour each dog!  My husband and I were ecstatic!  It was a very memorable moment that will stick with us for a long time to come.

Our Sunday Fun Day at Comerica proved to be an amazing experience with our boys and extended family!  We will definitely be back with the boys and hopefully next time the Tigers will have a WIN!  Thank you to our family and Comerica for a amazing fun filled day at the ball park!