Tuesday, April 7, 2020

You CAN Hang Out During COVID19

Yes, you can.
But there are rules for safety reasons.
Luckily, my rules are super simple.

The CDC is stressing a minimum of six feet apart as well as staying home as much as possible to avoid the possibility of contracting the virus. During this time, it is even more important to stay connected, be able to talk to others and even seek out advice if needed. If anything, to keep your soul calm and to remind yourself that we are all going through this together. I am excited to share two ways to stay safe and visit.

Let's Chat!
In light of continuing to support the food allergy community, I am offering discounted food allergy consultations. These can be done in the comfort of your own home via telephone, Skype or other video chat options. The consultation is $50 and lasts for one hour. Contact me to schedule your appointment by email at Nutrimom@yahoo.com or (336) 486-1905. If you know of anyone that can also benefit from this offer, feel free to share this with them as well. I am here to help!

food allergy consultation support advocacy

April 13th- Let's Hang Out! 
This first ever Meet & Eat created by Dee Dee of AllerCuisine will be the place to be! Join Dee Dee, Chef Martha Morgan of Allergy Dragon and Me. We will test recipes created by our favorite gluten free and allergen-friendly bloggers, gab a little, laugh A LOT and answer questions that you may have.

Monday, April 13th
10AM PT / 11AM MT/ 12PM CT/ 1PM EST
Zoom or Facebook Live
Zoom Registration Here: https://bit.ly/2x9tBBC
Facebook Live: https://bit.ly/2UxfS25

Food Allergies Recipes Questions Live
We are ALL excited to see you soon!

Just a click away!
I am always on social media or an email away if you want to reach out. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube. Stay safe, healthy & well ~

Monday, March 23, 2020

It's a Biscuit.. Or IS It?!

Are you one of those people who used to eat certain foods but you can't anymore? Growing up, one of my favorite Saturday morning breakfast foods were Bisquick drop biscuits with butter. The fluffy yet slightly crunchy biscuits... my mouth is watering right now. This doesn't happen when you try to make them with gluten free options, it just doesn't. Yes, I can make biscuits but nothing has even come close to these... le sigh.

gluten free biscuit baking allergiesOn the plus side, I recently posted about this very subject and asked for people to share their favorite products and recipes, offering a gluten free version for me to try (I am stubborn, I don't give up easily). Not only did I get a bunch of options and ideas, I also received a message from Kalo Foods telling me about their bake and eat Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits ..... wait, what?!! NOT a recipe that I can potentially mess up, an actual pre-made item that I just bake??? OK, this was something I knew I had to try! They do contain dairy but they are free of many other allergens (egg, nut, etc.) Of course, I highly recommend that you visit their website to ensure their products are safe for your allergy needs but wow, this option is one of my must-have wish list items!

- Can I make biscuits from scratch? Yes, because I do so many other things from scratch already.
- Do I want to make them from scratch? No, because I do so many other things from scratch already.

gluten free biscuit egg freeWhat Do They Taste Like? I was very pleasantly surprised by Kalo Foods biscuits! I know I am repeating myself but the fact that I just bake and eat was like heaven, truly. In my opinion, they bake up similar to a biscuit that you might have at a place such as KFC (yes, I hate that I am using this as a point of reference but...) as well as Pillsbury biscuits (yeah, those pop open packages that, again, I normally don't mention or endorse). Texturewise, they were not dry or crumbly simply a decent biscuit that you can slice in half and slather with whatever topping of your choosing. They were excellent for sopping up dishes, if you are one who does that, and they are an easy product to use as a fast meal edition, especially since they do not contain gluten or egg (again, research to be safe at Kalo Foods because I love all of you and want you to eat safely). Being the product detective that I am, I also tested them out in a few other areas:
  • Thawed on the counter Rather than taking them from the freezer, I left a few out to thaw. When I baked them, I placed them on a baking rack to allow more air circulation. They baked in approximately 14 minutes but I noticed using the baking rack made them a little less fluffy.
  • Thawed in the fridge I left a few biscuits in the refrigerator overnight to thaw as well. I baked these directly on a baking sheet. Findings- they were slightly poofier when baked directly on the baking sheet but the middle of the biscuits remained mushier, which disappeared if I let them sit for a few minutes after baking versus cutting them open right away.
  • Reheating previously cooked This was for all of you needing to know if they can also be leftovers and the answer is- yes! I heated the oven to 375 degrees, cut them in half (yes, I tried reheating them whole, not so well) and in 10-15 minutes, you still have the same biscuit! 
  • I DO NOT recommend microwaving them. It's an ok option in a pinch but I am picky about the consistency of my biscuits and I prefer having them as close to the original texture as possible. Microwaving them may cause them to become gummy.

What also makes me excited is when I can create a recipe from a product other than as directed on the package. I have been missing easy to make gluten free cinnamon rolls. I have tried making them from scratch, I have failed and this option is so easy, you will be as happy as I am. I give to you, my recipe for (Almost) Homemade Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls (everyone happy dancing, parents cheering, children licking their lips waiting). By simply repurposing the "dough", I created this recipe for others that find it challenging to make a completely homemade cinnamon roll dough. I have tried it, my cinnamon roll dough did not come out like it was supposed too, my cinnamon rolls did not taste good and it caused me to feel defeated in my own kitchen, which is what I try not to feel or make others feel, ever. 

So much love can come from simple things, like our own kitchens, so why not build on that? Why not find easier ways to utilize the products that we can eat safely while maximizing the rest of our daily routine as well?

Are you excited too?! Trust me when I say, my recipe is sooooo easy! It's also very budget-friendly (3 Kalo Foods biscuits makes 9 cinnamon rolls) so your family will be chomping down on these in no time with less money coming out of your pocket. Go here to view the full recipe now or visit on my Pinterest page, pin it and share it to help others out, especially since we could all use the help right now.  For those of you who are visual (like me) and find it helpful to see the process, I have this handy dandy not so pretty graphic (apologies, not so easy to take photos of dough but look at the pretty transformation- ooohhhh, ahhhhh!).

I want to thank Kalo Foods for reaching out to me and providing samples for me to review. I also want to thank them for inspiring me to create a new recipe during a time when my mind has been on overdrive about so many other things. For me, cooking and creating is an outlet to let my mind loosen up, to let some of the day to day issues float away for awhile and to find new ways to feed my family (to me, food is love as long as it's safe food). If you are interested in finding out about this Kalo Foods product as well as their other products (yes, they have MORE!!!) visit them on the web, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

As always, never a charge for product reviews as my opinions are always honest and my own

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Very Sneezy Dinosaur [Book Review]

With NutriKids growing up fast, I am always excited to see new child-friendly books coming out to educate younger kids. As much as I love that my children are growing up and becoming their own person, I do miss the nights that I would snuggle and read with them. Now, with my son being 18 and my daughter 15, well.... it may creep some people out and mortify both of my kids if I were to try to read to them. Luckily, I still get approached to give my thoughts about new books. So, although I cannot read them to my children, I get to share them with all of you and your children and that leaves me with warm, fuzzy feelings.

allergy childrens book dinosaur sneezingThe Very Sneezy Dinosaur is an adorable book written by Justin and Michelle Esgar, parents of a son who has allergies. The main character, Elvie, is a dinosaur who cannot stop sneezing. The pictures and wording are a simple way to read to children on a comforting level while allowing them to enjoy a family-friendly story. Although just thirteen pages long, this story of a sneezy dinosaur would be a wonderful way to softly educate families, be used for story time at school or as an easy way to help transition into the world of allergies. Studies have shown that visual reminders are an easier way to educate anyone but children especially tend to pick up on messages more quickly when they find the character someone that they can relate to easily.

Are you wondering how the story goes? You can order a copy (both Kindle and paperback available) directly from Amazon. My personal suggestion- if you are able to provide or donate books to your child's school or a local library, this book would be a wonderful contribution. Copies for birthdays, Grandparents' house or even as an initial food allergy diagnosis gift to share with the child diagnosed would also be something so easy to allow Elvie to help provide even more comfort where it is needed.

childrens allergies book sneeze dinosaurThe next important question is- will there be more books coming out in the future? Stay tuned!

Special thanks to Michelle Esgar for thinking of me and offering to send me a copy for my opinion.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Can You Leave Food Allergies Behind?

I am a blogger that has always just laid it on the line, presented everything as it is. I do not sugarcoat. I do not play games to make myself more popular, that's not my style. What you see is what you get and I proudly stick to that. With a new year starting, I wanted to be open and honest about something new starting with me too- divorce.

food allergy child and parent

I began this blog because my son (now 18) has multiple food allergies and asthma. Eighteen years ago, doctors did not communicate as well with their patients, not many stores carried allergy-friendly products and let's face it- most of the earlier products were just awful. Food allergies were something still seen as "new" and knowledge was left up to everyone to figure out on their own. It's a scary place to be when you are a parent. One day, you are freaking out because you feel like you can't figure out the parenting thing and you have a meltdown because you never seem to snap the onesie up the right way. The next, you feel like an even crappier parent because you watch your child have an allergic reaction and don't even know what it is or how to stop it. Because even your pediatrician didn't really know what to tell you to do. Until, the phone rings again and it's the pediatrician's office calling back asking, nonchalantly, if your child is still breathing. Never was I told to use Benadryl, or an autoinjector nor did I have any idea what could have happened. We were lucky- HE was lucky. These are moments that never leave a parent's memory, they are only repeated and made worse imagining what might happen next time. So that was me- 18 years ago, watching my son after he ate the tiniest amount of egg from a baby food that he didn't even ingest. He gagged and spit it out. Hives appeared down the side of his face and neck. He got dark circles underneath his eyes.
food allergy reaction anaphylaxis baby
Fast forward 18 years and 22 years of marriage. Fast forward through the sleepless nights of a mother who slept next to her son some nights when his asthma was bad because she was afraid he would stop breathing. Fast forward through years and years of class parties, food stress, being the parent that the other moms grouped together and whispered about because her cupcakes didn't look like the store-bought cupcakes. Fast forward through the ER visit when I knew something was not right with my son's breathing but my husband insisted I was overreacting and it resulted in thirty+ inhaler puffs to open up his airways properly again. Fast forward through the times when my son would have honest discussions with me because he knew he could talk to me about anything. Fast forward through various family dinners when my son was pressured to "try just a little bit" of a food he is knowingly allergic to while I am looked upon as the overbearing parent who defended his decision not to. Fast forward through the beginning of High School and dating and hanging out and a whole new area of terror for a food allergy parent. Fast forward through the nights that I stayed up until my son got home safely while my husband slept peacefully, not a care in the world. Fast forward to now where my food allergic son has decided not to live with me but chose to live with his father instead.

kitchen apron cooking food spoonCut the apron strings - an actual term that so many people have said to me... really? I mean, really? Parenting with food allergies is not at all about a parent who doesn't know how to let go of their child but it IS also all about a parent who doesn't know how to let go of their child. This is not the same scenario of "He will only do it once, he has to learn" because unlike staying out too late or forgetting to do homework, having an allergic reaction without having life-saving medications will, yes indeed, only happen once because death is only a one time thing. Truth is powerful, even when it's scary.

The current divorce rate is fifty percent. This does not specify if food allergies have any part of this. There is plenty of data and research about how food allergies can take a toll on a marriage, how one parent often takes on the bulk of the stress and responsibility, blah blah blah..... does it matter? Divorce is divorce. Things that you cannot mend. If my marriage ended in part because I protect my son fiercely, then I accept that with honor. If my marriage could not continue because my time and efforts to keep my son fed with safe foods that I purchased across town from multiple food stores didn't match with the other families that do not have a child with food allergies, I accept that. Being a parent is always priority, even within a marriage.

food allergy awareness support tealGoing forward I love my son, I will always love my son and I support his decision because it is his, no one else's. My hurt should not hinder his life, that would be selfish. Going forward, I am interested in how many other parents are going through a similar situation. How many of you may be on the fence about deciding to get divorced? How many of you are looking for someone just to listen to what you are going through? I feel as if there is so much pressure and a feeling of almost embarrassment which tends to keep people from sharing or asking for the advice that they may need. How can we support each other? How can we continue to remain a strong food allergy community and not be overwhelmed, trying to figure out how to handle a situation such as this? Tell me. Now. Email me, comment, tweet, reach out- I have always wanted to help so please know, I am here. I'm going through it. Most importantly- I am and you will be just fine.

Nobody ever expects to have a child with food allergies. Nobody ever gets married with the intent of getting divorced. And nobody ever anticipates their child choosing not to choose them. Yes, there will be people who will be told one side and not the other and many may believe it. But you know the truth and that is enough.

positive light and energy life

Cut my apron strings but no matter how big the scissors are, everything that I have done for my son and taught my son will remain intact and that's what matters. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Food IS Happiness

I admit, I am not one of those food allergy moms that tried to ban food inclusive parties. I support those that do but with NutriSon, I felt that it would be better for him to go through the motions of everyday life as it would happen. Did I get stressed out whenever there was mention of a yet another class party or special treat being planned? Yes. Did I get angry at those who "forgot" to tell me, leeaving my son without safe treats? Absolutely. Ultimately, I was the parent that always lurked in the back of the classroom armed with wipes, medications and safe foods while keeping one eye on my son at all times but also trying to seem like any other parent that was there to socialize. I didn't complain, I didn't judge those who tried to debate with me about why my son "should" be able to eat their foods- I simply smiled, shut down the conversation and went on with the day.

food love happiness gratitude family

You see, food IS happiness. Food IS love. Food IS tradition, regardless of what nationality or religion you. Some can argue that food should not be used as a prize but why not? I feel we should not be deprived just because it is food. I needed my son to grow up understanding that yes, there will always be times and places that he will be surrounded by foods that he cannot have. I needed him to know how to handle those situations because no parent follows their child around for the rest of their life. And I needed him to know that I had his back every single time that I knew I could.

Recently, I was on a podcast with Jordan Googe as the guest. He was discussing how food is used as comfort. I felt a pang of guilt go through me as I am the person who loves to feed (also Italian so if you are not fed, you have failed as a person). But Jordan immediately looked at me and said "I think you are guilty of facilitating a happy relationship and happy emotions from people. It happened to be created through your cooking." .... I honestly think that is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. No guilt for being who I am and no shaming for involving food in our life. When was the last time someone has said something to you and it just seemed very profound and much needed for that moment in your life?

holiday promotion allergies save supportBecause I share food with my friends and family, I want to share food with all of you too! I am offering a holiday discount - For $150, the package will include a limited consultation, a copy of my ebook The Stepping Stones to Food Allergies and additional recipe ideas all free of your specific allergens (this is a savings of over $200!). Any consultations that are scheduled with me by December 31, 2019 will receive this special promotional offer*. Consultations may be take place beyond December 31st but MUST be scheduled with payment by December 31, 2019. I am also happy to offer this as a holiday gift option if you are looking for a unique idea for someone that you know is in need of some support. Contact me today for details and set up your consultation now to begin 2020 with positive thoughts about food, life and otherwise. We are in this together!

*Those who are seeking a longer consultation session will be charged for additional hours at my regular rate of $85/hour

Monday, November 18, 2019

Inhaler Innovation Webinar

allergies asthma inhaler healthOften, many people may find that allergies and asthma go hand in hand. With so much information overload, it can be confusing and overwhelming to try to navigate through what choices are the best choices for your specific health needs. Health care is not a one size fits all situation- everyone has different ailments, different physical capacities, different views on what they feel comfortable pursuing and most of all, everyone has different paths that they take to make their decisions.

My personal choice of determining our family's road of treatments almost always includes listening to everything and everyone but making a choice of our own. This means I try not to discount anything and I try not to judge anyone else for the choices that they have made. I have found that by listening to multiple ideas, I may come up with just one decision, many or even nothing at all. The point is to listen and keep a mental inventory. Because many of the times where I thought I had come away with nothing, I actually saved it inside of my brain and had an "a ha" moment some time later when it seemed to apply at that time.

allergies asthma patient healthcare webinar

Today, I am sharing an easy way that you can listen to information every single month. It costs you nothing, just the time that you spend listening. Allergy & Asthma Network offers a free webinar each month, also offering a different topic each month. This month's topic is "Inhaler Innovation and History- What is the Right Choice For You?" The webinar is on Thursday, November 21st 4-5 PM EST but you must register to join the webinar at that time. To register, simply click here. Once you are registered, you will receive an email with the details on how to join the webinar. All of Allergy & Asthma Network's webinars can also be found on their website under Education. Do you have an idea or recommendation for a webinar topic that you would like them to consider? Tell them! Allergy & Asthma Network invites all feedback so that they can continue to improve their advocacy for our community.

I recommend signing up for instant email notifications to avoid missing any future webinars, events, advocacy insights and more including opportunities to volunteer. Anyone who is interested in volunteering, please email me at tbush@allergyasthmanetwork.org for details.
allergies asthma nonprofit health network
Stop reading. Start registering and sharing. Remember- this webinar could be the key to improving your health or someone else's.

Disclaimer- I am a paid consultant for Allergy & Asthma Network as their Volunteer Manager

Monday, November 11, 2019

Stop Baking!

Like many of you, I have been cooking, creating recipes and dabbling in the recipe world for many years due to NutriSon's food allergies. Although it truly is a labor of love, when I come up with allergy-friendly recipes that are both easy and delicious, I pat myself on the back. Yes, I have spent hours upon hours in the kitchen. Yes, I do it because I want too. But for the times that I don't have too, there is a small flash of gratitude that passes through my heart. 

With the holidays approaching, I wanted to come up with a recipe that was something worthy of gift giving, party pick ups, wintry night noshing and just something very easy. This recipe does call for bourbon however, you can use any safe alcohol of your choice. For those that are not able to or choose not to have alcohol, I (believe) these would still be just as tasty.

gluten free no bake bourbon balls 
1 (8 ounce package) crushed gluten free animal crackers (such as SimpleTruth) + 4 ounces more for rolling
1 cup ground gluten free pretzels
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking cocoa
1/4 cup bourbon (can also use other liquors)
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons water
Additional confectioners' sugar, crushed pretzel or crushed animal crackers

  1. Mix together animal crackers, pretzels, confectioners' sugar and baking cocoa
  2. Combine bourbon, honey and water
  3. Stir into mixture
  4. Shape into 1- inch balls
  5. Roll in additional confectioners' sugar, pretzel or animal cracker crumbs
  6. Store in an airtight container

Makes approximately 26

Mom Reminder- do not forget to check processing and labeling on all/any alcohol that you are going to use as allergens can be lurking there as well. I'm sure you know- I am a mom, I had to remind you.