Friday, April 6, 2012

The Easter Bunny is Alive and Well and Living in Your Kitchen



As you know, many Holidays including Easter can be more challenging when you have food allergies. Not only is it difficult to walk through the aisles of so many stores packed with pastel-colored goodies that are usually not allergy-friendly but also having to supplement with safe items can be a little rough on the budget. I am here to say that it has gotten better and it will continue to get better. Don't get discouraged- get motivated!

Myth #1: I can't buy an Easter bunny for my child.   

FALSE.
Not only can you buy an allergy-friendly Easter bunny but you can make one that will be just as delicious as the store-bought version. And who says it even has to be a bunny? There are so many ways to make chocolates for your child that are safe, easy and cost less than your average store bunnies. I have used everything from lollipop molds to mini muffin pans to Jello molds. They all work and they are all waiting to make someone happy this Easter.

The other piece of advice I always give is to keep it simple. As mom's, we are always trying to duplicate pictures of things that we see. Unless you are a chef or a seasoned cook, your foods will not always look wonderful. Most of the time, it's the moms who are upset by how things turn out and the children could really care less, they just want to taste it. Simplicity = happiness all around.

Myth #2: My child won't ever know what a crunchy or crispy chocolate tastes like.

FALSE.
Chocolate SunButter Eggs
Be creative and make some varieties as well. After all, there are also different types of chocolates so why not offer them at home? If you are looking for a little bit of a crunch, try sprinkling the bottom of your mold with some nonpareil decors and then cover it with chocolate. The end result is similar to the all-famous SnowCaps candy. Add a few pieces of a rice cereal such as Enjoy Life Foods Perky's Crunchy Rice Cereal and you will have your own crunch bar candy. The key is to be creative and use whatever you have to use. It doesn't always have to be sensible and it won't always look perfect. In the end, your child will eat it because it's chocolate and after a few tries, yours will look very much store-bought.

Myth #3:  Filling Easter baskets are impossible with food allergies.

AGAIN, FALSE.
Between allergy-friendly companies that make great products and your local dollar store, you are all set to fill up a basket just as fast as you could if you didn't have allergies to worry about. It's all about being creative, flexing the budget here and there and watching out for sales (which is what you normally do anyway). Face it, would any mom pay full price if they didn't have too? All you need are a dozen plastic eggs and an hour at the store. What do you fill them with? Well, I have used mini puzzles, socks (one in each egg), mini Lego figure sets, small matchbox cars, mini bubbles, money, printable Easter coupons, mini Playdough, glow-in-the-dark bracelets, hair stuff, mini nail polish, lip balm, batteries (for the gamers), magic towels that turn into washcloths in the tub, glitter, mini pens/markers/crayons, fun-shaped erasers, stickers, punch balloons, temporary tattoos…shall I continue? Less candy, more "things". BUT, mom to mom- make sure you try and stay away from anything that is too noisy or annoying that will drive you insane after hearing it over and over again for two hours.

Myth #3: I can't just go to the store and buy allergy-friendly candy.

DID YOU HERE THE SILENT BUZZER?
I can tell you after adapting with food allergies for over 10 years, companies have gotten much better at trying to please everyone. I am not saying you will find allergy-friendly sweets in every single store but there is a larger variety available compared to when my son was diagnosed. Spangler Candy is one of the companies that is very allergy-friendly. You can view their site at www.spanglercandy.com. Their site states "We make every effort to ensure that our products are free of the most common allergens. So whether you, or someone in your life, is on a gluten-free diet or has an allergy to wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish or shellfish, you can feel confident that Spangler products packaged in our facility are safe" and they also have a safe chart for six of their products. I, for one, appreciate the fact that when someone pulls out a dum-dum lollipop I know my son can eat it safely. Kudos to Spangler!

Another company is Enjoy Life Foods. They can be found at most Whole Foods locations and your local health food stores. Their site can be accessed at www.enjoylifefoods.com. Enjoy Life Foods produces great goodies that are free of wheat, tree nuts, fish, dairy, egg, shellfish, peanuts, soy, casein, potato, sesame and sulfites…whew! That was a mouthful! They have a wide range of different snacks and I have found that many of their products are also very user-friendly when you are looking to create new foods (see my previous sampling blogs).  If you have been searching for an allergy-friendly candy bar, they are the people to get it from.

There is even  a company that can send an allergy-safe gift basket! Premium Chocolatiers milk, nut, egg, and gluten allergy. They also cater to Vegetarians, Vegans, people who are lactose intolerant and they are Kosher Pareve. Their site is www.premiumchocolatiers.com.They have truffles, lollipops, chocolate covered pretzels and more.

All in all, every Holiday can be stressful for everyone. It doesn't matter if you have food allergies or a friend of the family that you just don't like, make the most of your Holidays by just being with the people that you love. Stay safe, eat well and don't count calories for the day, they will be there tomorrow.









2 comments:

  1. Hi! Thank you for all the 'sunshine and smiles' that your blog has given me! In appreciation, check out my blog for your award! Susan H. @ The Food Allergy Chronicles

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    Replies
    1. Susan-

      I am glad that my blogs are just doing their job- getting the word out with a smile!

      Thanks-

      Tracy

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