Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve Dinner

My goal for holidays is to make EVERYTHING allergy friendly. Here is our Christmas Eve dinner. By far, I think it's the best allergy friendly holiday meal I have ever made or could ever make. All of it tasted so good. Both boys enjoyed it.

The Menu:
Allergy Friendly Roasted Chicken
(sorry for the horrible angle)Basmati & Wildrice Rice Pilaf
Maple Squash
Kale with Roasted Peppers & Olives
Bananas Foster
(without the Rum)
Dessert 1: Cinnamon & Sugar Popcorn
Dessert 2: Cornflake Christmas Wreaths
1 bag (10.5 oz.) mini marshmallows
1/4 cup butter/margarine (non dairy)
4 1/2 cups cornflake cereal
Jumbo red nonpareils (I just used sprinkles)
Light corn syrup
Red sour belts (I skipped these)
1. Line 2 baking sheets with nonstick foil or parchment paper. Lightly coat a 1/3-cup measure with nonstick spray.
2. Stir marshmallows and butter in a large saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and tint with 5 or 6 drops of food coloring. Gently stir in cornflakes.
3. Scoop 1/3 cupfuls of the mixture and drop into 6 piles on each baking sheet. Let cool 5 minutes. Spray and shape each pile into a wreath, gently compressing the flakes together. Refrigerate until firm.
4. Decorate wreaths with nonpareils or candy balls, attaching them with a dab of corn syrup. Makes 12 wreaths.
Dessert 3: Christmas Ribbon

5 cups boiling water, divided

1 package (8 serving size) or 2 packages (4-serving size) Strawberry Flavor Gelatin

2/3 cup non dairy sour cream or non dairy vanilla yogurt or non dairy plain yogurt

1 package (8 serving size) or 2 packages (4-serving size) Lime Flavor Gelatin

Stir 2 1/2 cups of the boiling water into strawberry flavor gelatin in large bowl 2 minutes or until completely dissolved. Pour 1 1/2 cups into 6-cup ring mold. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until set but not firm (should stick to finger when touched and mound). Refrigerate remaining gelatin in bowl until slightly thickened. Gradually stir in 1/3 cup of the sour cream; spoon over gelatin in mold. Refrigerate about 15 minutes or until set but not firm.

Repeat with lime flavor gelatin, remaining 2 1/2 cups boiling water and 1/3 cup sour cream, refrigerating dissolved gelatin before measuring and pouring into mold. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Unmold.

Not only was it all allergy friendly, but it was foods the boys loved! Yay!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies

1-¾ cups gluten-free flour mix**
½ to ¾ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup butter or margarine (cold)
1-½ teaspoon xanthan gum I omitted this because of the banana.
½ cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 egg (cold) I used one overripe banana instead of an egg.
¼ to 3/8 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup gluten-free molasses


Combine the rice flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, xanthan gum, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Mix well. Cut in the butter or margarine until the mixture is in crumbs the size of peas.

In a small bowl beat the sugar, egg, and molasses together. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until the dough pulls away from the sides. Form the dough into a flat ball shape and refrigerate for one hour.


Dust some freezer paper (not wax paper) with gluten-free flour or confectioners sugar. (I dusted the counter instead.) Put the dough on the freezer paper and sprinkle with flour or confectioners sugar. (I sprinkled the counter.) Roll the dough to ¼ inch thick and cut out shapes as desired. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 20 cookies. (This recipe definitely made more than 20 cookies!)

** gluten-free flour mix: I cut this recipe in half.
6 cups white rice flour
2 cups potato starch (NOT the same as potato flour)
1 cup tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)


This recipe comes from Vicki Lyles. She adapted it (in desperation) when she learned that our 5-year-old celiacs kindergarten class was going to be making gingerbread man cookies. The resulting cookies were quite good.

Frosting:
2 1/2 cups confectionery sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tarter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
water (start with two tablespoons and then add from there if needed)

This was definitely a fun activity, especially with allergy friendly decorations!

Gluten-free Banana Pancakes

I finally found a pancake recipe that will work for both boys' allergies AND that tastes good. Both boys loved it! I found it at http://www.grouprecipes.com/.

1 cup rice flour
2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
a pinch of nutmeg and a bigger pinch of cinnamon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup milk or soy milk or water
1 overripe banana

1. Mix all the dry ingredients.
2. Mash the banana with the milk and oil, then add to flour mix.
3. Stir well to combine, and let sit about 5 minutes while you heat up your griddle (or cast iron pan, or pan, or whatever).
4. Cook as you would pancakes, dropping about 1/4 c. at a time and wiggling the pan to spread.
5. Cook on each side, then spread with Nutella (or peanut butter, or syrup, or anything) and eat hot.

I believe this is the fourth or fifth pancake recipe I have tried and by far it has been the best. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas Festivities

I am so excited to have found so many wonderful Christmas treats, crafts, and activities that the boys can eat, make, and do.

Here's our plans for the month of December!

Christmas Treats

Allergy Friendly Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

Gluten Free Ice Cream Cone Decorated Christmas Trees
Directions: Purchase gluten free ice cream cones. Frost outsides with allergy friendly frosting, colored green. Decorate with allergy friendly sprinkles, candies, etc...

Corn Flake Christmas Wreaths
(I have no idea where I found this recipe, but I did NOT invent it myself.)

1 bag (10.5 oz) mini marshmallows
1/4 cup allergy friendly margarine
Green Food Coloring
4 1/2 cups cornflake cereal
Allergy Friendly Candy
Corn Syrup

1. Line 2 baking sheets with nonstick foil or parchment paper. Lightly coat a 1/3-cup measure with nonstick spray.

2. Stir marshmallows and butter in a large saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and tint with 5 or 6 drops of food coloring. Gently stir in cornflakes.

3. Scoop 1/3 cupfuls of the mixture and drop into 6 piles on each baking sheet. Let cool 5 minutes. Spray fingers with nonstick cooking spray and shape each pile into a wreath, gently compressing the flakes together. Refrigerate until firm.

4. Decorate wreaths, attaching candy with a dab of corn syrup. Makes 12 wreaths.

Allergy Friendly Gingerbread Cookies with Frosting and Decorations
Recipe found at http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/

Crafts

1. Coloring Christmas Cards

2. Christmas Tree Shapes Craft-found at http://www.dltk-holiday.com/

3. Santa Clause Face Paper Craft-found at http://www.dltk-holiday.com/

4. Pine Cone Ornament-found at http://www.dltk-holiday.com/

5. Winter Windows-found at http://www.fisherprice.com/ under their crafts and activities section.

Activities

1. String Candy on Christmas Tree Countdown Quilt

2. Visit Santa at Bass Pro Shop (free pictures & activities)

3. Christmas Light Drive around town

4. Christmas at Grandpa & Grandma Jackie's house

Monday, November 23, 2009

Allergies

Today was one of those days. I'm not sure what the first trigger was, but there were so many... Monday is grocery shopping day. Normally, I pile the boys into the car and we go to the grocery store together. The managers know us well and are so accommodating when the allergy friendly check out line isn't open. Either they open it for us or lead us to the 10 items or less counter (with our entire cart of groceries) and explain that it's okay for us to check out there. But starting in November grocery trips have become very different. You see, due to the holidays, grocery stores bring out all of their peanuts and tree nuts (there is a difference) and tend to place them in the most convenient places. At Wegman's, the only store that offers allergy friendly food here in town, these nuts are located in the produce isle, out in the open for people to grab and bag. They are at the perfect level for Adam to touch and possibly eat. Some may say, "Well, can't you avoid them, just not go down that isle?" That's easier said then done, especially when they are directly across from peppers, parsley, lettuce, spinach, and so many other essentials. Then one must consider that other people bring their shopping carts down the isle too, causing us to have to move even closer to the nuts. Okay, so a possible next argument, "Just make sure he doesn't touch them!" Easier said then done, especially when there are two toddlers to tend to, while grabbing food. Adam is a professional at grabbing cans, jars, boxes, and whatever else he can find, off of shelves and bins. I can not guarantee he won't touch anything, unless I don't bring him at all. So, my shopping trips take place late at night, after the kids go to bed. I've enjoyed the alone time and definitely appreciated the time to study labels more closely, but the inconvenience of not being able to go to the grocery store when I want to is quite annoying. Especially today. Jason worked late again.

We ran out of allergy friendly cereal, a staple for the boys for breakfast and snacks. We are out of allergy friendly hot dogs for Adam and chicken nuggets for Owen. We are out of french fries, yet another staple. Owen's allergy friendly milk is down to the last drop. And snacks... It's hard enough trying to come up with meals with such limited diets! I'll admit. I panicked today. What was I going to feed my kids? It's not like I can just give them anything. Fortunately, Owen likes homemade allergy friendly french toast and Adam likes cinnamon toast. I had a few allergy friendly chocolate chip cookies still in the cookie jar which helped. But still... It was a long day!

While Owen was napping, Adam managed to get hold of Owen's apple juice sippy cup. Adam knows how to drink from a sippy cup. When I found Adam, the juice was completely gone. Panic again.

I won't go into more details, but there were more than three other incidents today involving crackers, bread, and leaves. Fortunately all did not have to do with Adam. Both boys ended up being medicated.I think I do so well with the boys and the challenges they have come with, but days like today make me second guess just how well I do.

Tonight I found myself very emotional about everything. I cried as I read other allergy blogs. Living with food allergies is SO TOUGH! Especially when there are so many. Even if Adam is diagnosed with Angioedema and he is treatable, all of the allergies won't go away. The doctor says they'll just be more manageable. Again, that's if the type he has is treatable. I'm hoping to get him tested tomorrow or Wednesday. Results shouldn't take too long. I'm guessing a week at most.

As I was reading other allergy blogs tonight, which by the way, is the best medicine ever, I came across some pretty amazing things that I LOVE and want to share. I've found that it's so hard for close friends and family to fully understand the kids' allergies and the impact they've had on our lives. Some may think I'm overly protective or obsessed. Others just try to bring comfort when I need it, yet have no way of understanding and so the comfort doesn't come. I really do appreciate all the support we do receive from family and friends. It's just as hard if not harder for Jason and I to have to accommodate the boys' allergies. It's been a complete lifestyle change.

Lately I've been asking myself questions, partly in fear of the future. Can schools really provide a safe environment for the boys, especially Adam, when it is time for them to go to school? I've read up on 504 plans etc..., but Adam has SO MANY allergies. Will I have to home school? The boys started toddler time at the library. We went once and then learned that there are parties with treats. Picture twenty 18 month old to 3 year olds having a party with treats. I had to dis enroll because the environment was so unsafe. There are posters placed in the nursery at church listing approved snacks that the boys can eat. All of the other nursery children and their parents have been asked not to bring any sippy cups or other snacks in, because they pose a danger to the boys. If the nursery leaders can't provide a safe environment for the boys, then we can't be there. We have stopped attending all ward activities and functions, because they all have buffet meals and snacks. With so many people and so much activity, food is everywhere. It dawned on me the other day that the boys may not be able to serve missions. I asked the Elders when they came for dinner one night. They said, "Most likely no, with the raising of the bar." After, they did mention that they could probably serve missions from home, most likely in Palmyra, just coming home at night. That gave me hope. I was talking to my best friend on the phone expressing my frustrations about the allergies and mentioned that I was worried that the boys would be looked upon as so different, unable to participate in so many things. Would they ever find a wife who would love them and take care of them? I know this is all stuff in the FAR future, but it's real.

So tonight, as I was reading through posts, I stumbled across this and wanted to share it. It comes from a website http://www.allergymoms.com/, listed on a website http://www.itchykidsclub.com/.

10 Things Children with Food Allergies Want You to Know
By Gina Clowes

1. I long to be included. I would like to look, act and eat like everyone else. I’d like to buy my lunch and sit wherever I want. I know I can’t, but I am so happy inside when someone cares enough to provide a safe potato chip, cookie or Popsicle for me. It’s nice when I can have something similar to what others are eating but I love it when I can eat the same thing as everyone else. Whenever it’s possible, please think to include me!

2. I’m scared I could die from my food allergies. I’ve heard my parents and teachers mention “life-threatening” food allergies and I remember having some reactions where I felt very sick and really scared. I could see how frightened my parents were too. Sometimes, I could use a little reassurance that I will be okay.

3. I feel like I’m the only one sometimes. If you have a support group or another way to arrange for me to meet other children who have food allergies, I would really like to know that I am not the only kid who has food allergies. Having another friend with food allergies in my classroom or at lunch time helps too.

4. I get confused when grown-ups offer me food. I know I’m supposed to be polite and listen to grown-ups, but my parents have told me I am only supposed to take food from them. When you offer me food or especially candy, I’d like to take it but I’m not sure about what I am supposed to do.

5. I get itchy spots sometimes when grown-ups kiss me after they’ve eaten something I’m allergic to. I get itchy spots when your dog licks me too. I’m not quite brave enough to tell you this so I’m hoping you will remember that if you have just eaten something that I’m allergic to, I may get hives if you kiss me soon afterward.

6. I’m embarrassed when people fuss over what I’m eating. I know I have to eat my own safe food, but it’s easier for me when I’m not singled out. Sometimes, it’s embarrassing when grown-ups ask lots of questions. I love to fit in more than anything.

7. I hear all adult conversations about my food allergies. My ears perk up when I hear grown-ups mention my name or food allergies, so don’t pity me or act terrified because then I get scared. Food allergies are just one part of me. Let me overhear you talk about all the other wonderful things about me!

8.Sometimes I’m sad about having food allergies. It’s hard to be the only kid in class not having a cupcake and eating something different from my box of “safe treats” especially when there are about 20 other birthdays in my class. I know it’s not the end of the world, but from my perspective, it’s tough at times.

9. I’m watching you—Mom and Dad! You may think that I’m too little to notice, but I see that you went back home to get my Epi-Pen® when you forgot it. I see that you read the ingredients on the Smarties every time. You are my role models and I am learning how to manage my food allergies from you!

10. I will do about as well as you do. My parents “can-do” attitude will help me cope with the challenges of living with allergies and ensure that food allergies don’t stop me from being everything I was meant to be!Even as I read this through a second time, I tear up.

Okay, so now to the good stuff! The Itchy Kids Club website is WONDERFUL!!! I found so many great products that I LOVE and WANT for the boys. It opened me up to a whole new world of possibilities. At this point, it's pretty much impossible for Owen and Adam to understand their food allergies. Owen knows when we tell him not to eat something, because it will make him sick, that he shouldn't eat it, and he's such a great help with Adam when it comes to Adam sticking everything in his mouth, but he doesn't know what an allergy is and he doesn't know what he can and can't eat. It is going to take a very long time to educate him and an even longer time to educate Adam. It's funny, we make a point to avoid books, games, and toys that are foods or about foods, just because of the confusion it causes with the boys. An example is the board book: Yummy Yucky. Foods that the book teaches are yummy are very dangerous for the boys. But did you know that there are amazing books, videos, and music out there to help teach the boys about their allergies? I guessed there was a book or two, but definitely not music.

So here are a few things that I REALLY REALLY WANT to help the boys, family, friends, teachers, and myself cope and become more educated with allergies. Feel free to check them out on The Itchy Kids Club website,especially the CD of music. You can hear samples of every song. The books are available on Amazon. These products really brightened my day and helped me to have fun with food allergies again, despite how NOT fun they can be.

1. Music CD: You Must Be Nuts! Music All About Food Allergies, By Kyle Dine
2. Book: Ask Before I Eat, By Ellen L. Ferrell
3. Book: The Bugabees: Friends With Food Allergies, By: Amy Recob
4. Book: A Day at the Playground with Food Allergies, By Tracie Schrand
5. DVD: "I'm Not Nuts": Living With Food Allergies
6. Book: Sophie-Safe Cooking: A Collection of Family Friendly Recipes that are Free of Milk, Eggs, Wheat, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish & Shellfish, By: Emily Hendrix
7. Book: One of the Gang: Nurturing the Souls of Children with Food Allergies, By Gina Clowes
8. Book: The Itchy Kids Club, Silly Poems for Itchy Kids, By Jill Grabowski

Just recollecting the contents of each book, DVD and CD I feel better already!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner

I am pleased to announce I have finalized our Thanksgiving menu, and everything is allergy friendly for at least one child, if not both. Here is our menu:

Ginger Butternut Squash Soup
Plainville All Natural Turkey
Roasted Potatoes
Basmati Wild Rice Pilaf (alternative to stuffing)
Asparagus
Corn
Allergy Friendly Banana Bread
Allergy Friendly Corn Bread
Grapes
Applesauce (Adam can't have any, but oh well)

Desserts for the boys will include jello and allergy friendly Thanksgiving cupcakes. They are not fans of pie. We'll save the pies for when they go to bed anyways!

I'm very excited about Thanksgiving. It has taken a lot of work BUT we have a meal everyone can eat and enjoy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Trick or Treat

Halloween is approaching all too quickly. I still feel like I have so much to do in preparation for the big event. But mostly it's just picking up a few more items. As mentioned previously, Halloween is the nightmare of all holidays for my boys and their allergies. But I think I've worked hard enough to make the holiday memorable AND enjoyable. I would like to say tantrum free too, but that's asking WAY too much of my 2 1/2 year old.

I've almost completely finished gathering contents for the boys' Halloween bags. While at my parents' home this past week, I counted up exactly how many visits I needed to make before Halloween night, to drop off treats and little gift bags for neighbors, to give my kids when we stop by in costume. There will be 15 allergy friendly stops. I have purchased two Halloween bags for each boy, one for them to put contents in from homes where we know the people, and one for the homes where we don't know the people. I'm hoping this will make taking away dangerous candy much easier. And you never know, perhaps they'll get some candy from strangers that they will be able to eat. We'll wait and see.

Now for the contents... As previously mentioned, the boys are dressing up as Marvel Superheroes, so I tried to keep to that theme with their gift bags and treats. Of course it won't work with everything. It definitely helped me narrow down choices at the Dollar Store, and I'm sure they'll enjoy everything.

Owen is really into stickers right now, so I was able to find these. They should be a hit! Owen should also like this little puzzle cube, especially since he is going to be Iron Man.
Both boys will be able to receive a Frisbee. Even if Adam only uses his as a teether, he'll like it. (The poor little guy is cutting 4 molars right now!)
I'm guessing this little toy will be a HUGE hit with Owen. A paddle AND ball!
Owen has not been introduced to water guns yet, so this will be a fun bath time activity.
Owen enjoys puzzles, and is really starting to try to figure them out. I was excited to find one!
Both boys will receive a sand/clay mold.
Let's not forget cars! One for each car obsessed little boy! (Adam is being the Hulk)
This is Jason's favorite find. The boys love superheroes but have no idea who they are or what they're about, except for knowing their names. Although, Owen does imitate the Hulk quite well. I have no idea where he learned that. Anyways, all the movies we've seen would definitely be too scary for them to watch. We don't have TV and comics are too advanced. But at the Dollar Store of all places I was able to find superhero board books! The boys will LOVE them, especially Owen.
Now for the treats:
I found bubble gum for Owen. He has tried our gum before and didn't like the flavor but always asks to chew gum like Mommy and Daddy. I'm guessing he'll like these flavors.I'm not a fan of these, but allergy AND age friendly candy is hard to find. So I caved and bought Sugar Candy Sticks. Depending on how hard these are, Adam may even be able to have some.Owen LOVES fruit snacks. I found these at Walmart. They are sure to be a hit. Unfortunately Adam can NOT have these though because of the fruit juices in them.Lastly, I ordered dairy free, gluten free, nut free, egg free chocolates! They were quite expensive (About $15 for 22 bite size pieces, once shipping was added to the order), but I'm sure they will be worth it. Both Adam and Owen can enjoy them too! You can find them at Amanda's Own Confections.

I still have yet to pick up a few other items including Skittles for Owen. Willy Wonka candy is safe for both kids too, but mostly hard or sour candy that I'm guessing Owen won't like. I might pick up some Smarties, because both boys can have them. Then I'll make some popcorn bags and possibly homemade candy corn too.

This may seem like a lot, but remember I have to have things ready to trade for the candy that the boys can't have. The cost of Halloween is definitely going to be higher than what it would be for a typical family of four, but I really don't care about that anymore. It's far more important that the boys are able to participate in the holiday traditions like everyone else, even if their Halloween is a little different. Speaking of different-the Great Pumpkin gifts are still being decided, but will be announced soon. I can't wait to have fun with the boys Halloween night!

When In Doubt... Add Chocolate Chips

I have been trying out lots of new allergy friendly recipes lately-pancakes, cookies, muffins, granola WITHOUT coconut yogurt, (Coconut yogurt costs $2 per individual container.) and much more. Some recipes have gone better than others, BUT I have found that if I add those wonderful chocolate chips that I displayed in the previous post, the product is sure to be a success! Owen is eating like he's never eaten before. I couldn't be happier! Sadly though, we did have one disappointment. As we introduced pumpkin to Adam, it was discovered that Owen is allergic to pumpkin. Adam's trial was successful, which we're excited about, but... I'm going to have to look for some other treats to make for Halloween and Thanksgiving for both Adam and Owen to enjoy.

Good news: I found allergy friendly Halloween sprinkles at Walmart today! I think it's cupcake decorating time!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pumpkin Cookies

This recipe was taken from http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/. I only made a couple alterations. The cookies are very yummy! Just be sure that you store left overs in the freezer. They don't stay fresh long.

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups flour of choice (I used rice flour)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Cream together, sugar and margarine, then gradually add and beat in maple syrup, vanilla, and pumpkin puree. Add and beat in flour mix. Add walnuts and/or cranberries if desired.

Drop onto baking sheet and bake 8 minutes.

My alterations
I omitted walnuts and cranberries and added 1 cup non-dairy, non-gluten chocolate chips instead.

Enjoy! Regular flour can be used with this recipe too!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Heaven

It almost feels like I'm living in Heaven when I find foods that my boys can eat and LOVE all at the same time. This week I stumbled on some GREAT finds!

Who doesn't love Oreo cookies? They are one of my favorites. Unfortunately the boys can not have them... until now! Both have enjoyed eating these treats all week long. Owen is now very proficient at eating all the creme filling out of the cookies, while Adam enjoys the chocolate cookies themselves. I've tasted them myself, and they're not that bad. Of course there's still that gritty rice flour taste, but I'm getting used to that and besides, the boys LOVE them! The same day I stumbled upon the Newman O's, I found these! Gluten free graham crackers. Owen used to eat graham crackers all the time before we realized he was allergic to them. Adam has never had the privilege. All summer long I wished that I could teach my kids to make s'mores, but could never find a cookie. That's not the case anymore! Yeah! Owen LOVES these. Just the boys finished off the package in four days. These graham crackers are much harder than regular graham crackers and do taste different, but they're good and don't crumble nearly half as bad!I've been using this next item for a while now, but wanted to share the excitement. Because of these dairy and gluten free chocolate chips, I have been able to make so many fun treats for the boys to enjoy. Tonight we made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. They turned out delicious! I am so thankful for this product!
Lastly comes the most exciting purchase of the week-Sunbutter and Peach Preserves. Owen can have peanut butter and jelly, but Adam is allergic to peanuts as well as all berries we have tried. Sunbutter was introduced to me while searching for Halloween treat recipes. It's made of sunflower seeds. Sunflower seed oil is used in making potato chips and tortilla chips, which Adam has had, so I figured it was worth it to try it out. I decided to search the jams and jellies to see if I could find a flavor of jam Adam wouldn't be allergic to. Sure enough I found Peach Preserves. Adam is not allergic to wheat and I was able to find him a store bought loaf of bread without oats, dairy, nuts, etc... as well. While Owen ate his peanut butter and jelly on his special bread, Adam tried his first Sunbutter and Peach Preserve Sandwich. He LOVED it! The kid can down a half a sandwich faster than I can make one. I must admit I'm not a huge fan of Sunbutter, but I guess if you've never had peanut butter, it wouldn't be that bad. Having Sunbutter as a replacement option in recipes that call for peanut butter will open up so many possibilities!
We've definitely had fun with food allergies this week!

Allergy Friendly Thanksgiving Festivities

Here are the final plans for our month long Thanksgiving Celebration. Unfortunately there will be no trip to Virginia. It's so funny, just as we make plans, something or many things always seem to come up. Oh well. We'll still be doing lots of fun things!

Thanksgiving Treats
1. Food Allergy Friendly Pumpkin Pie-www.allergymoms.com
2. Allergy Friendly Pumpkin Cookies (same as used in Halloween post)
3. Sweet Turkey Treats with some alterations-www.familyfun.com
4. Thanksgiving Cupcakes

Thanksgiving Activities
1. Charity Donations (Getting rid of ALL the stuff in the house that we don't need!)
2. Football Party & Game
3. Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Crafts
1. Thanksgiving Tree
2. Pumpkin Candle Holders-www.familyfun.com
3. Boy Pilgrim Doorknob Hanger-www.dltk-holidays.com
4. Cornucopia Paper Craft-www.dltk-holidays.com
5. Finger Print Turkey Craft-www.dltk-holidays.com
6. Thanksgiving Cards
7. Leaf Place Mats-www.familyfun.com
8. Leaf Rubbing Place cards-www.familyfun.com

My apologies. I could not get links to work again. Who knows why, hopefully the problem will be fixed soon. Meanwhile I'll just label where I get every idea. Hope this helps! We'll definitely be having fun with food allergies in November. Details about food for the football party and Thanksgiving dinner and dessert to come in a later post!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Allergy Friendly Halloween Festivities

Halloween is coming soon and I am FINALLY ready to celebrate the holiday with lots of fun allergy friendly festivities including crafts, treats, activities, and more. All crafts and activities are centered around my 2 1/2 year old Owen. Here are the final plans:

A Halloween Treat a Week



3. Chex Muddy Buddies/Sunbutter Puppy Chow

4. Pumpkin Decorated Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes (I have to make some adjustments to the recipe.

Halloween Crafts

1. Decorate House



4. Paint Pumpkins (rather than carve)



7. Halloween Cards


9. Decorate Halloween Cupcakes


10. Decorate Halloween Bag

Special Activities

1. Visit to Pumpkin Patch

2. Halloween Movie Night

3. Library Toddler Time Halloween Party

4. Family Halloween Party

5. Halloween Night Trick or Treating

Other Snack Possibilities





Hope you enjoy! Specifics about our Allergy Friendly Halloween Night are coming soon!

For recipes and crafts, click on craft for link. All pictures come from websites where recipes were found.

Note about post: For some reason the links to the crafts don't work. You can find most of the crafts at http://www.dltk-holidays.com/. I believe there may be one craft that I found at http://www.familyfun.com/. Just search under their Halloween or Autumn sections. Sorry about that!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Adam's Allergy Friendly Birthday

Adam's first birthday went amazingly well. Despite his allergies we all had lots of fun! The celebration started off with an allergy friendly breakfast for both of the boys-Adam's favorite cereal: Trix! After a small immediate family morning celebration, preparations for the next day's massive birthday party commenced. Thirty-five guests were expected. Thirty showed up.

My first task-the birthday cake! The recipe for the cake is in my last post. The decorator's icing recipe is Wilton's Buttercream Icing but with rice milk and Fleishman's Unsalted Margarine in place of butter. Everything was egg free, dairy free, gluten free, nut free, and so much more!
Knowing the cake wouldn't be enough for everyone I made cupcakes too, using plastic decorations I found on the Wilton website. If I were to do everything over again I think I would have put more effort into the cupcakes and less into the cake. I'm learning that rice flour cakes are very difficult to bake evenly. Cupcakes always turn out nice though.
Snacks for this party were quite the dilemma. Did we serve all allergy friendly foods, or only some? Would the party be outside if there was good weather or would we be stuck inside? In the end, with a 70% chance of rain forcasted, we decided to go ALL allergy friendly, which turned out to be a HUGE blessing.
For snacks we served plain potato chips, plain tortilla chips, watermelon, cantaloupe, and a bowl full of Kix and Trix. We served bottled water as a drink. There were no complaints about any of it!When the party was over and our guests had left, there was SO MUCH food on the floor. We couldn't get to it fast enough. Adam was picking up leftovers and putting them in his mouth. That's when we learned the importance of serving allergy friendly food at parties! Can't wait for Owen's birthday. I already picked up the pan that I want to use to make mini train shaped cakes! It will be a Thomas the Train birthday party.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Yellow Cake Recipe

Sorry it has taken me so long to post up Adam's birthday cake recipe. Here it is!

This recipe comes from The Kid Friendly Food Allergy Cookbook by Leslie Hammond and Lynne Marie Rominger.

I made a cake and cupcakes using this recipe, but the cupcakes turned out much better than the cake. Like the Banana bread recipe I ended up cooking the cupcakes twice as long. Also like the Banana Bread recipe there is the actual recipe and then alterations.

Cupcake recipe (or regular cake)

3 eggs (or 4.5 tsp egg replacer mixed with 6 TB water)
1 1/2 cups sugar (or 1 1/2 tsp stevia)
2 sticks of butter (or the equivalent of oil or margarine)
3 cups of rice flour
2 tsp baking powder (or 1/2 tsp baking soda mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1 1/4 cups rice milk mixed with 1 1/2 TB lemon juice)

Bake at 350 degrees. 10-12 minutes for cupcakes or 25 – 35 minutes for cake.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Banana Bread

I have found the most delicious banana bread recipe! Both of my boys can eat it with all of their many food allergies AND I really like it too.

I found the recipe on-line. I only altered it a little. The recipe is so flexible to accommodate several allergy needs. First I will give the recipe as I found it online and then I'll give the exact recipe that I used.

Joy’s Banana Bread

3/4 cup sugar (OR 1 tsp stevia)
1/2 cup butter, margarine or oil
2 eggs (OR 3 tsp egg replacer mixed with 4 TB water OR an extra banana)
1 cup mashed bananas with 1 tsp baking soda mixed in (usually I do 2 bananas and skip the baking soda step, but my sister says it makes a difference)
2 Tb milk (cow, soy, rice)
1 tsp baking powder (OR 1/4 tsp baking soda mixed with 1/2 tsp of lemon juice)
1 3/4 cup flour (wh. or br. wheat, spelt, or rice flour OR my favorite mix: 1 cup br. rice flour, 2/3 cup chickpea flour, 1/3 cup tapioca flour – this mix can be used in place of wheat in almost all recipes)
pinch of salt

Bake at 350 degrees. 50 minutes for wheat, 45 minutes for spelt, 40 minutes for rice/chickpea/tapioca flours.

Here's what I did:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Fleischmann's unsalted margarine (dairy free)
1 cup bananas (3) plus 1 extra banana in place of egg
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tbsp. rice milk
1 tsp. baking powder
1 3/4 cup rice flour

The bread took about 65 minutes to bake, rather than the 40 minutes the recipe called for, but it is SO moist and... I don't think I've tasted an allergy friendly recipe that I liked so much. We will definitely have fun eating this bread again and again!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

An Allergy Update

There have been lots of reasons to celebrate in our household these past few weeks. There have been a couple of disappointments too, but that's okay.

Adam is thriving in more ways than we could ever imagine. Not only is he crawling, but pulling himself up, talking, and eating ALL the time! What is he eating you ask? WHEAT, SOY and WATERMELON!!! Adam is NOT allergic to either of them, which now gives us SO many options that did not exist before. He will even have a REAL birthday cake with REAL frosting on his birthday. (The cake will not have nuts, eggs, dairy, etc..., but it will still be real, compared to our options before now.)

Jason and I are so excited. Adam's list of non allergy foods is growing. He now can eat: bananas, cantaloupe, watermelon, peaches, grapes, chicken, turkey, rice, corn, potato, wheat and soy! This week we're experimenting with oats. At this very moment Adam is eating Cheerios! Hopefully we see no reactions.

Our sad news-We decided to reintroduce Owen to wheat at the same time we introduced it to Adam. Unfortunately Owen is still allergic and DEFINITELY has affects from it. Poor Owen. My challenge now is to keep wheat in Adam's diet, but not Owen's. This would be easy if Owen had never had crackers, breads, and cookies before, but he has and LOVES them. He still doesn't understand they make him sick.

I don't want to dwell on the not so fun stuff. So we'll just focus on the fact that Adam is having so much fun with wheat!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Peanut Butter Balls

Tuesday I was in need of a "no baking required" dessert that Owen can eat. Remembering a delicious treat from my past I began to search for peanut butter ball recipes online. All that I found had either wheat or dairy in them. That is until I found these!
Owen LOVED helping me make them. The only thing I would have changed was the type of peanut butter I used. I used Jiff with 33% less sugar, and it caused the peanut butter balls to be REALLY sticky and not harden as well, but they were still delicious. I didn't have any non dairy chocolate, so we didn't dip them in chocolate, but they were delicious without it! Here is the recipe. The picture and recipe are from Little Joys website.



For peanut butter balls:
18 oz. smooth peanut butter
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 1/3 cups ground rolled oats
12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (We used non dairy margarine.)



For chocolate coating:
12 oz. bag chocolate chips (We'll use non dairy chocolate chips.)
2 Tablespoons butter (We'll use non dairy margarine.)


Line a cookie sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until evenly combined. Scoop the peanut butter mixture by the rounded teaspoon and form into 1-inch balls, arranging the balls on the parchment-lined sheet. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or until very firm. The best way to test is to pick one up, bring it close to your mouth and bite it in half. It shouldn't be at all squishy. Leather hard, if you’re a ceramicist.

If you desire chocolate covering your peanut butter, pour the chocolate chips and butter in microwaveable bowl (or double boiler). Melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally, until they’re smooth and creamy. Coat the balls in chocolate — you can carefully pour it over top of the balls, or you can do what I did and drop one at a time into the bowl, spin it around or spoon chocolate on top until it’s coated, then lift it out with a fork, tapping the fork on the inside of the bowl a few times to let some of the excess chocolate drip off. Replace the balls on the tray and refrigerate again until chocolate is set.



Makes about 48. Probably more if you don’t eat any out of the bowl.

Serving suggestions: These would be fun for kids to make, to give away at holidays, or for girlie bridal and baby showers. These are also really good for breakfast.


I can't wait to make these again. Owen was SO excited!!! They will make a great holiday give away that Owen can help make! Perhaps someday Adam will grow out of his oats, peanut and soy allergies and be able to eat them too.

video

Peanut butter balls are wheat and dairy free!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Allergy Friendly Birthday Party Preparations

Adam's birthday is in three weeks. I can't believe he's turning 1 year old. Lots of family and several cousins will be here celebrating the event with us. Plans have been underway for months now. I finally understand why Heavenly Father blessed me with the talent of planning and organizing things. In the past three months I have learned that EVERYTHING must be planned out in great detail when dealing with kids with food allergies. A simple trip to the mall can turn into a nightmare when it's time to eat if I haven't packed lunches for everyone. Food court foods are off limits. My husband and I wanted to go out to eat as a family this week. Adam is eating table food now. Running down the list of restaurants that we are familiar with in town, we realized that there is not one place that can provide Adam with an allergy safe balanced meal. Very few if any permit people to bring in their own food. Family gatherings are now very stressful with buffets of dangerous foods, plates and drinks left out everywhere... Adam is now on the move, putting everything in his mouth. Despite these challenges, we're managing quite well.
Adam's birthday party is the biggest challenge I'm facing right now. It is a soccer ball birthday party. We are expecting a crowd of at least 30 people ranging in age from newborn to 83 years old. There will be food, drinks, etc... everywhere. I've decided to make sure all of the food is allergy friendly for both Adam and Owen. Luckily they can both eat plain potato chips and tortilla chips (without soy bean oil). Plain popcorn and an allergy friendly caramel corn are safe too (not necessarily for a 1 year old, but if he accidentally eats a piece left on the floor, it won't cause an allergic reaction). For drinks I was able to find bottled water decorated with sports balls. The bottles are even shaped like balls.

Last week Adam successfully ate Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Free Dreams Chocolate Cake without any allergic reaction. Besides being gluten free it is peanut free, dairy free, egg free, nut free, and soy free. He LOVED it! We have a cake AND a boy who's not allergic to cocoa!

Unfortunately this week Adam had an unsuccessful trial with soy. Unless anyone has information as to where I can find a soy free, dairy free margarine, the poor boy will not be able to have decorative frosting on his cake. Although I do have a glaze recipe that I may use on his cupcake.

My biggest success lies in the goodie bags. Eleven goodie bags needed filling. There will be six girls, four boys, and a baby. All of the bags are allergy friendly! Just look at the contents:


For the Baby: For all of the kids:
For the boys:For the girls:
It may seem a bit overboard to make sure the goodie bags are allergy proof too, but chances are the children will open them before they leave the house. If there is food in them that Owen and/or Adam can't have and they see it, they'll wonder where theirs is. I'd like to avoid this. The second threat is that if the goodie bag were to have treats that my boys can't have, and one were left lying around somewhere, leave it to one of them to find the bag, empty the contents, and start chowing down. This way all is safe for everyone. I'd be surprised if the kids don't like the contents of their bag.

When I went to one of my friend's children's parties my friend handed out goodie bags to adults and/or families too. I LOVED this idea. Obviously parents go to a lot of trouble finding a gift for your child, bringing them to the party, etc... It will be so nice to have a way to say thank you right at the party. My friend's goodie bags were filled with cookies. Obviously we won't be doing that, but I did come up with another idea. Instead of cookies, everyone will be receiving a 1 year portrait of Adam. Over 75% of the people coming to this party are family, so they'll love an updated photo (especially since the last one they received was when he was 6 weeks old). Those who don't make it to the party will receive the portrait in the mail with a "We missed you!" card.

Here's a sneak peak at the unedited photo taken by photographer Bill Lockhart:

It should be a fun birthday party don't you think? At least in the way of goodie bags and thank yous. More details about the party will be posted after the big event! I can't wait! It truly is amazing that we've all made it through this first year. There are definitely reasons to celebrate!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bradley's Birthday Party

My best friend's son is turning 1 year old next month. Our entire family is invited to the big birthday bash. This will be the first real party that we've been invited to since both boys have been diagnosed with food allergies and are eating solid foods. I am determined to make this a good experience for all of us. A birthday party that's not fun is no birthday party at all!
Knowing that both boys are so young and have such limited understanding of their allergies I have been working hard to avoid as many problems as possible. Luckily, it's my best friend who's throwing the party. She's super supportive and cheering me on the whole way. I don't know what I'd do without her!

The birthday party theme is Sesame Street. There will be hot dogs and hamburgers, chips, a few other sides, and cake and ice cream. Still VERY new at all of this stuff I have been working hard to find alternative food for the boys that they will eat. It's one thing to find an alternative, but another to have them actually like it. Luckily, I've been successful at both!

First the main meal. Applegate Farms makes wonderful turkey hot dogs! Other substitutes we have tried tasted awful, but all of us like these! They are gluten free, dairy free, beef free, pork free, and well free of a lot of stuff! Child II LOVES them. Child I is leary but will deal with it. As for chips-Lays Plain Potato Chips are doing the job! The oil is safe for both kids and the only other ingredients are potatoes and salt. Most importantly the both boys love them.

Dessert was a little bit trickier but I've found a solution. Bradley is having a Sesame Street Birthday Cake. Child I will DEFINITELY want some, especially if it has Elmo on it. So after asking my best friend if it's okay, I went to the Wilton website and found an Elmo cupcake design and decorations. Having some cake decorating experience, I can definitely pull this off! Last night I was able to find the decorations, frosting colors, and Elmo cupcake holders at A.C. Moore Crafts. Child I LOVES cupcakes. If he sees me making them and decorating them, he'll be sure to want one at the party, instead of the cake.

The last challenge was finding a cake mix and frosting that both boys can eat. I'm still working on the frosting, but do have one to two options if I HAVE to use them. Believe me when I come up with my final choice, I'll be sure to post it.

After attempting to make my own gluten free, peanut free, dairy free, egg free, soy free cake and not succeeding I've decided to use Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Free Dreams Chocolate Cake Mix. Child I loves it and I honestly think it tastes quite good myself. The best part about this mix is that the result actually looks like a cake!
As for ice cream-there is a brand, All Natural So Delicious that makes coconut milk icecream and yogurt that is dairy free, gluten free, and soy free. Both boys LOVE the yogurt. I have no doubt that they'll enjoy the ice cream too. And for the record, I've tasted the yogurt myself and absolutely LOVE it! It's too bad it's so expensive or else we'd buy more.
I'm getting really excited about Bradley's birthday party. The boys will have a fun time despite their food allergies. Best of all they'll be eating what everyone else is eating, just a safer version of it! I'm noticing that birthday parties or parties in general that the boys are invited to will be a lot of work for me, but I know in the long run it will be worth it. Hopefully every parent will be as supportive as my best friend is! (Chances are slim I know, but I can dream right?)
The week after Bradley's birthday is Child II's birthday! Stay tuned for all of the wonderful plans for that party! We're going to have LOTS of fun!