Friday, September 30, 2011

Easy Recipes

I have 2 great, very easy reipes for everyone. These are not originals by me (which I will also start sharing soon) but because food allergies add a little extra stress into our lives, I like to share whatever will make our lives just a little simpler.

One recipe is a remake of Hershey's Mini Kiss Peanut Blossoms (minus the peanut) and the other is a pudding recipe that I wish I could remember where I got it from so I could give them credit, but I can't.

Hershey's Mini Kiss PeanutLESS Blossoms
1/2 Cup shortening(can use dairy-free)
3/4 Cup Sunbutter, Soybutter or any other peanut butter alternative
1/3 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg OR egg replacer (Ener-G powdered works well also)
2 tbls. milk OR milk alternative
1 teas. vanilla extract
1 1/2 Cups flour (can use rice flour or alternative)
1 teas. baking soda
1/2 teas. salt
Additional sugar for rolling
1 3/4 cups Hershey's mini kisses OR Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375. In a large bowl, beat shortening and peanut butter alternative until well blended. Add 1/3 cup sugar and brown sugar; beat with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg, mlik and vanilla; beat well. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add peanut butterLESS mixture, beating until well blended.

Shape into 1- inch balls. Roll in sugar, place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately place chocolates into the middle of the warm cookie, pressing lightly as not to crack the cookie.

Eat in mouthfuls  :)

Dairy Free Chocolate Pudding
1 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
5 Tbls. cornstarch
1/4 teas. salt
3 Cups water
1 Tbls. butter (or dairy-free alternative or oil)
1 Teas. vanilla

Whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt in a large saucepan on medium heat.

Add water, stirring with the whisk until well combined. Bring to a boil. Boil one minute, stirring contsantly to avoid burning or chunking. Remove from the heat.

Add butter (or alternative) and vanilla. Stir until completely mixed. Pudding should be thick and smooth. Pour into bowls or cups and let them cool at room temperature or in the fridge.

Again, not my recipe but OH, it's GOOD!!!  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My Mission

This may sound corny, but this is how I feel: I am here to help. That's it. I have always said that this feeling of having to help other people with food allergies is something that I HAVE to do. This is truly the one thing in my life that has not let me walk away or give up on it, it's the one thing that finally hit me as "This is what I am supposed to do with my life". I am so grateful that I have been able to find out what I am meant to do with my time on earth and that I found out sooner rather than later.

My mission is to ease the stress and difficulties that other people may feel when dealing with food allergies. This could be in the beginning, when you have been diagnosed and you are not sure what to use or where to start or how to replace. Or, it could be further down the line when you are just tired of eating the same things day in and day out and you just need someone to say "Have you tried this?" My job is to hand you the research and what I know has worked well in our family. I don't ever want anyone else to feel the way I felt when my son was diagnosed. I don't want someone to be told that their child (or them) could not eat these foods, be handed an Epipen and rushed out the door without guidance on what you CAN eat to stay healthy and nourished. I don't want anyone else to go to the store in desperation, read labels and cry because everything has something that they cannot eat.

This is why I am here and this is why I do what I do and love it. Would I love to be famous and make some extra money? Sure, doesn't everyone but the true secret to happiness is the feeling that you get knowing that you helped someone else because you could. I am not looking for fame, I am not in a constant battle to see if I can beat other people at my talents, I am simply here to support anyone who asks me. I am thankful each day for all of the new people that I meet and come into contact with all around the world. Before I started to do this, I never imagined that I would have people from Australia and Canada and Brazil waiting to see what I write- it's just mind-blowing and awesome!

So, I would like to say, I am here for whoever needs me, unconditionally. If you need help, if you need recipes, if you have questions or if you just really need to discuss a situation with someone, I am here. Please let me help you so that you can sleep easier at night, easier than I did at the beginning of this journey. At the end of the day, we all need to go to sleep knowing that we did our best and, I feel, that's what counts.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Halloween

I know a lot of allergy-friendly moms are unsure about how to handle Halloween. Since my son was a baby, I have always done the same thing each year and found it's very successful. My daughter even enjoys it more than just trick-or-treating.

We have always taken our kids trick-or-treating for a few reasons. One- as a child, you NEED to do this! You cannot skip out on this once a year adventure to see how much candy you can get, how many houses you can reach and how long you can stay out late and not freeze to death. Two- I want my son to be able to understand how real-life works with food allergies. I have watched him go from a small toddler, taking anything to a boy who makes me laugh when he receives a treat and says "I can't have peanuts, do you have something without peanuts?" I want him to know that there is not always going to be an allergy-friendly alternative available to him at all times in all situations but to enjoy the rest of the situation without having that interfere with his good time. Three- I want my children to learn that although it's fun gathering gobs and gobs of candy, this is not always the best thing about Halloween. I want him to know that food is just a small part of life and it will be in a lot of aspects of his life but that giving away can be just as pleasing. And last, because I want to show both of my kids that what other kids do for certain things does not mean it has to be textbook exactly the same thing- it can be altered and it can still be fun, if not better.

So, what do we do? We trick-or-treat and gather our goodies. When we get home, we sift through the piles and remove whatever is not safe for my son. We bag it and he keeps his loot, which is actually pretty substantial most of the time. Then, my kids get their Trick-or-Treat bags from us. It's almost like an extra holiday for them since they consider it presents. I know this may seem like spoiling them but I always try to keep in a budget and get them fun things that can be used as well as some candies. What do we fill the bags with? Usually a card with a few dollars, Halloween socks from the dollar store, stickers, tattoos, creepy erasers, a book that they have wanted or cd/movie, silly string, glow sticks, homemade candies (on sticks, sunbutter & chocolate cups), coloring projects, craft things, a rolled up comic magazine, creepy eyeballs or whatever the dollar store has that looks squishy and bloody, toy cars or small figures of whatever they are currently collecting (BeyBlades, Squinkies), gum, mini cameras, tic-tacs, silly straws, fingerless gloves, fake hair pieces, baggies of pretzels or homemade rice krispy treats, bounce balls and, of course, allergy-friendly candies that are store-bought.

There are a few good companies that can help you out as far as safe treats for your children. Spangler (www.spanglercandy.com) has a wide range of candies that "does not contain peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, or gluten. It has been manufactured on dedicated equipment." This makes us FA moms very happy!
Premium Chocolatiers (http://www.premiumchocolatiers.com/) Their statement claims "Premium Chocolatiers supplies the finest gourmet truffles and chocolates to people with milk or nut sensitivities. Vegetarians, Lactose Intolerant, Food allergy sufferers, as well as Kosher Pareve consumers can now get quality milk like, though dairy free chocolates!" Yay! If you check out their website, the candies all look oh so awesome!
Shabtai Gourmet Gluten Free Bakery (www.shabtai-gourmet.com) has great baked items like brownies, ring dings and all of those packaged goodies that most allergic people can't have. They say their company is "Baking the finest Gluten Free Cakes & Cookies, that are also; dairy free, peanut free, soy free, lactose free, casein free, corn free, and Kosher." And I know that being a kid means you need to try one of these goodies!
Smarties Candies (www.smarties.com.)  says "our entire line of products are free from most of the known allergens except Bubble Gum Smarties® which contain soy lecithin. All products are free of milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts and wheat. Smarties® products are safe to eat for kids with peanut allergies." Awesome! And we love small packages for Halloween as well as something to slip into lunches.  

Our family enjoys Halloween just as much as families without food allergies. We pick our pumpkins, we go through corn mazes, we decorate our front porch with creepy things and we enjoy the holiday for what it is. It's a day of happiness and not a day of what we have to worry about in our foods. So hug your kids, get dressed and just be thankful for this time of year together.                             

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Letter to Use For Class Parents

This is the letter that I use to inform my son's classroom parents of his allergies each year. I feel that this gives them some insite, let's them know how to contact me and it keeps me in touch with the parents who decide to send in foods into the classroom.


August 2011





I am very excited that my son _____ will be starting this year with your son or daughter this year. I hope that this year will be enjoyable for your child as well as my son’s.
I am writing to you to make you aware that _____ has several severe, life-threatening food allergies (specifically eggs, peanuts, dairy, watermelon and shellfish) as well as food intolerances that cause other minor side effects. His condition is severe enough to require an Epipen and Benadryl to be within reach at all times because of the possibility of anaphylactic shock if he ingests these food items. Because of this, I have instructed the nurse and _____’s teachers that _____ is not to have any food items given to him unless I have provided them myself.
The other favor that I ask, if possible, is that you let me or the teacher know a few days ahead of time when you plan on sending in birthday or party treats to the class. With a little bit of advance notice, I will be able to pack ____ a “special” treat for that day as well and make him feel included with the class.
Please understand that these considerations would be a huge favor to my son and myself. Also understand that if the situation was reversed, I would do my very best to do the same for your child’s safety. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Thank you for your understanding and I look forward to meeting you during the school year.
Sincerely,


Tracy Bush
Phone Number
Email Info.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The World's Easiest & Best GF Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have perfected the recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookie that is free of gluten, egg and nuts! Now, before you judge me, I do use a box recipe and add to it BUT, in the words of Bette Hagman, "Use as many prepared items as you can". This has saved my life because I am still making most everything from scratch, just with a little help and a lot healthier. This is the recipe I use:

1 Box Arrowhead Mills GF Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
1 4-oz cinnamon applesauce
Ener-g Powdered Egg Replacer

Prepare the box mix as directed EXCEPT omit the oil and use 4 oz. of applesauce. Omit egg and add Ener-G Powdered t the mix. Add the butter (can substitute with soy butter or alternative) and add water. If the batter is a little too thick or dry, add tiny amounts of water until the batter is still thick but moist. You an also add a milk/milk substitute if you desire instead of water.

Do not spray the cookie sheet. Drop the cookie mix onto the cookie sheet in desired amounts, depending on if you want a smaller cookie or a larger cookie.

Bake and keep an eye on the cookies. The bottoms will brown but the top will still be very tender. Using a spatula, gently lift a cookie and check the underside. Cook them until they are browned but not burned.

When you go to remove them, they will be very pliable and can easily break apart. But, if you use a flexible plastic spatula, you can gently slide it under the cookie and lift it off without crumbling the cookie..there's a joke in there somewhere!

Cool on wire racks. They last about 3 days, if not eaten first.

Happy snacking!