Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back To School - What Do I Ask?



The beginning of another school year is always a daunting task for any mom, let alone a food allergy mom. Especially when it is the first year that your allergic child is starting school. There are so many uncertainties, so many situations and so many different factors to keep in the back of your mind to keep your child safe. To help ease the anguish, I have compiled a list of things to discuss with your child's teacher. I have found that writing things down will help avoid any last minute questions or unplanned events from (hopefully) happening. Create a basic list and then revise it each year for school. As your child grows and changes, so will the list.You may still feel as if it's a fiasco every school year but at least it will be a slightly organized fiasco.

My first thought to any food allergy mom doing anything for their child is this- if you do not feel comfortable leaving your child there, don't do it. You may be paranoid but 9 times out of 10, a mother's intuition is always right. If you are afraid of hurting someones feelings because you don't want to inconvenience them - don't. Your child should come first, no matter what someone else does or doesn't want to do. Never, ever jeopardize your child for the sake of someone else's comfort. If I feel pressured by teachers/guardians/caregivers, I push back and simply say "You do not have to like me or my child, you just need to make sure that my child is safe." This is not something I have had to say often but sometimes you need to show taking the easy way out is just not an option in this case because it's life-threatening.

Snacks

- Are snacks brought in by each individual child or do the teacher's ask for food donations from the parents?
Many schools will do either one. My daughter's school even rotated- Kindergarten they brought in a snack, First Grade the teacher asked for snacks and then back again. Finding out ahead of time will help you to be more prepared as well.

- Can I provide a letter to be sent out to all of the class parents giving them a heads-up about my child's food allergies?
Many times, class parents are more than willing to work with you to try and keep your child safe. By letting them know about your child's situation it will help them to be prepared as well. Just because their child doesn't have a food allergy does not mean that their school day is any less hectic. A sample can be viewed at one of my previous blog posts at http://allergyphoods.blogspot.com/2011/09/letter-to-use-for-class-parents.html

- Can I provide a "Safe Snacks" box for my child?
Some food allergy parents are against this because they feel it makes their child stand out. Personally, we have used the Safe Snacks box for all of my son's school life and I have found it to be a lifesaver many times. In fact, the only time he felt like he stood out was either NOT having a snack that he was able to eat or his snack looked better than the other snacks being served. It's important to educate your child to read labels and not accept foods from other people but also do your best to make them feel just as special with their classmates.

-How is snack time handled? Do the children eat at their assigned desk? Do they sit on an area rug? Do they move around?
If your child's new classroom has children walking around and socializing while having their snacks, this also means that the food particles are being social as well. Discuss this with the teacher and suggest some options. Often times, teachers do not even realize that wandering children and wandering food don't mix well.

- Can you be a class helper at parties and celebrations?
I have never once had a teacher tell me that they would not allow me to help during a class party. Think about it- one or even two teachers with 20+ some children = food = hyperactivity and messes. Most teachers love having an extra person there to get things back into order, to help wipe down the desks and tables and to help wrangle the kids up when they are done. I always say I will be the silent helper with the Lysol wipes.

Field Trips

- Do any of the field trips involve receiving a food or using a food?
If you don't ask, you will have a sad child who comes home from a day trip and tells you that the historic park showed them how they made apple fritters and they couldn't have one. Always ask the teachers ahead of time. If they don't know, call the place to be visited before they go and ask them. It's fast, it will save you the time of having to rush around the night before trying to get a snack together and your child will be a part of the gang. You will be Super Mom and not even realize it.

- Can I accompany my child on the field trips? 
This is a tricky one. I remember when I was in school, there was always a mom going on the trips. This is not the case (at least not in our schools). If you are able to go along, it's a great bonding time with your child and his/her friends, it's a great support to the teachers and your child will be safe.

- Do the teachers understand that the medications bag MUST go with them on all of the field trips?
Again, unless asked the teachers may not even think about this. If you are worried about your child's medications being lost or left on the trip, have them get a fanny pack or a bag that they can drape across their shoulder and hang it to one side. We have used a Swiss Gear Travel Bag and it worked well for us. It is large enough to fit all of my son's Epipens, Benadryl, asthma inhaler and his peak flow meter and it's neutral so it can be used for either a boy or a girl. You can view it at: http://www.target.com/p/swissgear-vertical-travel-bag-black-grey/-/A-11149392

Crafts & Activities

 - Are any classroom or specials (art, music, etc.) activities going to use a food as part of the lesson?
When you were in school, did you make the seasonal pine cone bird feeder using peanut butter? Did you make pictures using dried macaroni? Both of these items as well as many other food items contain food allergens. Items most often used in the classroom are dried macaroni, dried beans, peanut butter, marshmallows and small hard candies. Playdoh also contains wheat. As your child's advocate, you need to be one step ahead and present situations that the teacher may not even be aware of. After all, if you were not allergic to gluten, what would the chances be that you knew there is wheat in Playdoh? How would you know to check a macaroni box for eggs?

- Can I have a list of the craft/art supplies used?
Working with the teachers ahead of time will help you out and help the teachers out. This will keep all schedules flowing as normally planned and should not upset the balance. Offer to suggest safe food replacements for the foods they will be using. You may even consider offering to send in the safe foods for the entire class to further lessen the chance of a reaction. If the teachers are not open to that, then offer to send in a tray for each child to do their activity on. The trays can be transported, they can be labeled with each of their names and the activity (for the most part) would be more contained.

Hand Washing

- Do they hand wash or do they use hand sanitizer?
Replacing hand washing with hand sanitizer has become the new trend in many school. This kills the germs and is faster and easier for the teachers. But the teachers may not realize a few things about hand sanitizer- 1) using hand sanitizer does NOT remove food and dirt. Think about it- have you ever used hand sanitizer after being outside? Does it automatically remove the dirt or does it just smoosh it around? Not too bad if you already have clean hands but otherwise, yuck! 2) There was a study that stated food allergic children should not be using hand sanitizer. The results said that the alcohol in the hand sanitizer dries out the skin, thus allowing more chances of an immediate allergic reaction by entering directly into the child's bloodstream through the cracked skin. This is the exact opposite of what want to do.

- How often is this done?
Try and find out when this is done- is it before entering every classroom? Is it usually just before lunch and recess? Perhaps you can suggest additional items throughout the day or after certain projects that this can be increased.

- What can be done to ensure that hands will remain cleaner?
Whether it be asking if the teacher can increase mandatory hand washing time or allowing your child to wash their hands whenever they feel it is necessary, then this will make the chances of a reaction much less. Teachers do have a busy schedule but by discussing this ahead of time, they should be able to allow that extra 3-4 minutes of time that will be needed for extra washing.

Medications


- How many sets of medications will the school need for your child?
The rule of thumb for many food allergic parents is as follows: 1 for homeroom class, 1 for the School Nurse and 1 for a child that will self-carry. I advise parents to always supply the school and your child with an Epipen Twin Pack. This will be more bulk but if there is an emergency and one Epipen fails, there will always be a second as a backup. The bags for the school should also include Benadryl or Benadryl-like medications, asthma medications, a peak flow meter and anything else that your child might need if an allergic reaction occurs. Every year, I tape an updated picture of my son with his name, date of birth and grade on every single medication in all of his bags to avoid any confusion of who he is and what he needs. This is especially important for a Substitute teacher that may not know your child.

What is the school's policy for keeping a bag inside of your child's homeroom?
More and more schools are becoming accepting of this- thank goodness! The medications can be kept in a safe place from other children, say on top of a tall file cabinet? The important thing is for the teacher to be able to access the bag quickly at all times. Also, ask at what age your child is allowed to self-carry his/her medications. The younger they are, the more used to doing this going forward they will be. It teaches your child to take part in being responsible for his/her allergies as well as understanding what the medications are needed for as opposed to being afraid of having them on themselves.


- Are all of the teachers Epipen certified, including specials teachers?
Most schools have an Epipen certification that the School Nurse will complete before the start of a new school year but always verify this. Some teachers may be new to the school and others may not have attended the certification. An Epipen certification class is fast, easy and if you needed to do this with your child's teachers, you could easily take on the task. All you need is an expired Epipen, a mug with an orange in it (to jab and not jab yourself) and printed Epipen Directions for the teachers. Having the printed directions is just a precaution should anyone need to use an Epipen and panic. Printable directions are available at: http://www.epipen.ca/en/about_epipen/how_to_use_epipen/

Other Allergies

- Are there any other children in your child's class with a food allergy or other allergies?
Sometimes it eases me if there are other children in my son's class who also have allergies. This heightens the teacher's awareness because the number of possible reactions is increased and (I feel) my son will feel like he is not the only one with allergies.

-How would you handle an allergy?
This is a good question to ask, especially if the teacher has stated that they have had previous experience with food allergies. Sometimes their awareness is not as sharp as it should be or perhaps the previous allergy situation was different. Be specific about what type of reactions your child might have and be specific about how the teacher should handle it. Draft a Food Allergy Action Plan and give a copy to all of your child's teachers (not just the homeroom teacher) as well as placing a copy inside of each of your child's medication bags. This prevents anyone from questioning what they should or should not do. If you would like a blank Food Allergy Action Plan, please feel free to email me at Nutrimom@yahoo.com and I will be happy to forward one to you.

- Have you ever treated a child for an allergic reaction? If so, what was the outcome?
Again, this is just to clarify what is necessary for your child. Is the allergic reaction from touching, ingesting, inhaling or even just being in the same room with that allergen? The previous allergic reaction that they handled could have been much more simple compared to what you are trying to prepare them for.

- Is there a previous food allergy parent that was in their classroom that you could speak to?
There is no such thing as being too demanding when your child has allergies. You, as a mother, need to feel completely comfortable sending your child to school every day. If this means contacting a parent of a child that had the teacher last year, then do it. If you are calm, your child will be calm.

Emergency Facilities


- How far is the nearest EMT, Firehouse, Police Station and/or hospital?
If you are as adamant as I am, you probably already know the answer to this question. It's always good to ask if they know as well.

- Do they understand that a teacher MUST stay with your child if there is an allergic situation until one of the parents arrive?
This is so very important! Make sure your child's teachers know that your child's Food Allergy Action Plan clearly states this- DO NOT LEAVE MY CHILD ALONE! Picture this- an allergic reaction occurs, teachers are scrambling to administer medications and call 911. The ambulance arrives and they send your child to the hospital. What happens if the hospital has questions? What happens if your child is recovering and a very nice nurse offers your child a special treat to make them feel more comfortable? Avoid all of this- state that there MUST be someone with your child at all times until one parent arrives to be with them.

- If there are multiple hospitals in your area and you have a preference in which hospital your child is sent to, include this in the Plan
Our location offers several hospitals to choose from but there is a Children's hospital that I state my child is to be sent to. In a bad situation, of course I am not going to be angry if the school sent my child to a different hospital because they had too. Ultimately, your child's safety comes first.

School should be a fun time for your child. With a few precautions, your child should have a great school year!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Energized by Ener-G Sampling

I had the awesome experience of receiving a bundle of samples from one of our most used allergy-friendly companies, Ener-G. As you can see, they were more than generous in what they decided to send to me to try out.


The box that we received included Powdered Egg Replacer, Bachman Gluten Free Puzzle Pretzels, Wylde Pretzels, Yeast Free Rice Pizza Shells, Rice Vermicelli, Focaccia Crust, Chocolate Chip Snack Bars, Brownies, Cinnamon Cookies, Sunflower Cookies and Yeast Free Flax Meal Loaf....fyew! That's a mouthful (literally)!

Powdered Egg Replacer
(Free of Gluten, Wheat, Casein, Dairy, Yeast, Egg, Soy & Nut)

For those of you who are not able to use egg, I recommend the Powdered Egg Replacer. I have used it for over 9 years with great success. I do caution that sometimes it seems to work better on recipes that require 3 or less eggs but that's just with what I have made. The ingredients are Potato Starch, Tapioca Starch Flour, Leavening (Calcium Lactate [not derived from dairy], Calcium Carbonate, Citric Acid), Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose and Methylcellulose. The directions to use it are simple, just add water and stir but I myself have found that it also seems to work just as the unmixed powder in recipes where moisture is not an issue.

Bachman Gluten Free Pretzel Pieces
(Free of Gluten, Wheat, Casein, Dairy, Egg, Soy & Nut)

The Bachman Gluten Free Pretzels were a very yummy, crunchy treat that we enjoyed. My son eats pretzels once in a blue moon but he actually asked for seconds on this one. They are thinner than regular pretzels but that's what makes them nice and crunchy. And nothing is funnier than watching your kids trying to actually piece them together. Ingredients include Potato Flour, Corn Starch, Rice Flour, Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Hi Maize Corn Starch, Corn Glucose, Ener-G Baking Powder (Sodium Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Potato Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Cellulose Gum, Bamboo Fiber, Salt and Yeast.

Wylde Pretzels
(Free of Gluten, Wheat, Casein, Dairy, Egg, Soy & Nut)
There is an allergy statement that they may contain Sesame Seed and Poppyseed so use caution.

Wylde Pretzels are these crunchy little ring pretzels. My daughter kept wearing them on her fingers and then eating off her "jewelry". In  the past, we have had these and although they are a good treat alone, they also do well as a dessert ingredient. Chocolate covered Wylde Pretzels can be used if you need a round shape on a dessert, maybe chocolate arms on an edible person or whatever else you can come up with. As most food allergic moms would probably agree, having a food that can be used in multiple ways makes our life just a little bit easier.  Ingredients include Potato Flour, Corn Starch, Rice Flour,Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Hi Maize Corn Starch, Corn Glucose, Ener-G Baking Powder (Sodium Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Potato Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Cellulose Gum, Bamboo Fiber, Salt & Yeast.

Yeast-Free Rice Pizza Shells
(Free of Gluten, Wheat, Casein, Dairy, Yeast, Egg, Soy & Nut)

Because I have many clients with allergies to Candida (yeast), I have been on the hunt for a pizza alternative. I was very excited when these arrived- I didn't know they existed! The texture was similar to a slightly stale pizza crust when I tried it on the first night. However, I quickly realized that it was easily fixed by simply brushing a small amount of oil on the bottom before you bake it. Viola! Definitely a pizza that I can eat without wishing it was something more. I am excited about using the rest to make other foods, maybe a garlic bread toast or even cutting it into triangles and making a quick baked cinnamon and sugar snack. Ingredients include Filtered Water, Brown Rice Flour, White Rice Flour, High Oleic Safflower Oil, Leavening (glucono-delta-lactone, sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate & monocalcium phosphate), Methylcellulose, Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose, Orange Citrus Fiber & Salt.

White Rice Vermicelli
(Free of Gluten, Wheat, Casein, Dairy, Yeast, Egg, Soy & Nut)

I have had my share of rice pastas over the past 10 years. I have to say, Ener-G has some of the better tasting gluten free pasta. I am very picky about taste, consistency, if it stays together or mooshes too easily. Nothing is worse than overcooking rice pasta when you are starving and then having to start the meal all over again, which is what I did with half of the bag that they sent to me. Rule of thumb with any gluten free pasta- watch it carefully, don't overcook it, always rinse it with cool water and do not leave it in the strainer for too long or you will be left with one formed ball of rice..ugh! The second half that I made was much better- not too starchy and the noodles were like any other non-gluten noodle. Ingredients include just White Rice Flour and water.


Focaccia Crust
(Free of Gluten, Wheat, Casein, Dairy, Egg, Soy & Nut)

I can safely say that this is the answer to a great gluten free bread item. I made it into a garlic bread with the pasta (picture above) and it was so scrumptious, I ate every single bite. It was flaky, it was soft and it was wonderful. There was no dryness to it like you get with some gluten free breads and the only complaint I have is there are too few in the package. I'm sure this would have also made a great alternative to a flat bread as well...goodness, I would have been dipping it into all sorts of spreads! I think someone would have found me beneath an empty pile of Focaccia packaging. Mental note- when ordering, order multiple packages.  Ingredients include Filtered Water, Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, High Oleic Safflower Oil, Pear Juice Concentrate, Bamboo Fiber, Modified Cellulose, Salt, Potato Flour, Orange Citrus Fiber, Invert Sugar ( from cane), Yeast, Calcium Phosphate & Baking Powder (Glucono Delta Lactone & Calcium Carbonate).

Chocolate Chip Snack Bars
(Free of Gluten, Wheat, Casein, Dairy, Yeast, Egg, Soy & Nut)

I will admit, in all of my years of making different kinds of allergy-friendly foods, I cannot seem to find a recipe for snack bars that stay together without using marshmallows. These snack bars are a great product for people like me. To me, they taste almost like a mixture between a cookie and a crispy marshmallow treat. A bit of chocolate, a bit of sweetness but not too sweet and the size is good- a little larger than your average snack bar (which is usually too small). I think it's safe to say that they may be the best prepackaged snack bars out there. Ingredients include Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Crisp Rice Cereal (rice flour, rice bran, honey, calcium carbonate), Corn Starch, Ener-G Chocolate Chips (evaporated cane juice, unsweetened chocolate, tapioca syrup), Organic Tapioca Syrup, Plum Puree (prune juice concentrate, dried plums), Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Filtered Water, Ener-G Egg Replacer (tapioca flour, potato starch, leavening [calcium lactate, calcium carbonate, glucono delta lactone], cellulose gum), Vanilla Powder (vanilla bean extractive & dextrose from corn) & Salt.

Brownies
(Free of Gluten, Wheat, Casein, Dairy, Yeast, Egg, Soy & Nut)

Ener-G also sent us some brownies. In our house, this is dangerous. We are all chocolate lovers and we will fight over the last morsel left. What makes it worse is that I limit the amount of chocolate that we keep in the house to avoid temptation but here they were, staring us all in the face. The brownies were fudgy, chocolaty and heavenly. But, I do have to mention something that we noticed so that my readers just trying them out do not think I am giving out misinformation. I am not quite sure why but the brownies should stay in the refrigerate. When we first opened them, they were at room temperature. My daughter and I snuck a piece out and we both got a very dry, undesirable mouthful of which we were completely disappointed. As I have said before, as a food allergy mom, I waste nothing. I put the rest in the fridge to figure out what else I could use them for. Later that night, my husband was wolfing down large amounts saying how good they were. I was confused but I tried them again. The magic is in the temperature- like I said, fudgy and heavenly. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe others have not found this to be true but I always post what is true for me. Ingredients include  Filtered Water, White Rice Flour, Hi Oleic Safflower Oil , Cocoa, Tapioca Syrup, Evaporated Cane Juice, Flax Meal, Methylcellulose, Ener-G Baking Powder (calcium carbonate,magnesium carbonate, glucono delta lactone,citric acid),Pectin, Salt & Guar Gum.

Cinnamon Cookies
(Free of Gluten, Wheat, Casein, Dairy, Yeast, Egg, Soy & Nut)

If you are a cinnamon lover, your taste buds will melt when you try these cookies. Crunchy but not too hard and they are coated with cinnamon goodness. They are good alone but we also had some with a side of our non-dairy ice cream. The best thing that we discovered was that they make the ultimate pie crust. I had some leftover pumpkin from another recipe so my waste-nothing attitude kicked in. Granted, I only had 7 cookies left when I thought of this so our pie crust was a small, 2 serving crust but it was still simple and really, really good. Ingredients include Potato Starch, Evaporated Cane Juice Sugar, Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Filtered Water, Rice Starch Flour, Cinnamon Powder, Sunflower Lecithin, Calcium Carbonate & Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose.

Pie Crust:
7 Ener-G Cinnamon Cookies
2 tablespoons shortening (I used Spectrum Palm oil).

Puree the cookies in a mini chopper until they turn into a flour, then add the shortening, using a fork to mix evenly. Gently press into a small casserole dish (6x4) and add pumpkin pie mixture of your choice




Pie Mixture:
(This is for a full pie, you will have leftovers) 

1/2 Can Organic Pumpkin
1/2 Cup Non-Dairy Milk of Your Choice
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1 Teaspoon Ener-G Powdered Egg Replacer
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Allspice

Preheat the oven to 350°. Prepare a casserole dish or pie dish with the crust of your choice.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients with an electric beater. Using a flexible, plastic spatula scrape into the prepared dish.

Bake for 45-60 minutes. The pie will still be a littler jiggly when it comes out but this will firm up upon cooling.

Sunflower Cookies
(Free of Gluten, Wheat, Casein, Dairy, Yeast, Egg & Nut)
There is an allergy warning that the Sunbutter is made on equipment that processes soybeans

If you have food allergies, I am sure that you have heard of Sunbutter Sunflower Butter. These cookies are like little mounds of sunflower butter but crunchy. I will admit the taste is on the stronger side but this does not mean in any way that it takes away from their great taste. These are great cookies to pack into lunches because they are not only peanut free but an extra punch of protein due to the sunflower. I am constantly looking for ways to get as much protein into my family as possible to balance out the foods that we cannot have. Ingredients include Natural Sunbutter ( Sunflower Seed, Dehydrated Cane juice,Salt,Natural Mixed Tocopherols ) *, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Ener-G Egg Replacer [tapioca flour, potato starch, leavening (calcium lactate, calcium carbonate, glucono delta lactone), cellulose gum], Potato Starch & Salt.

These cookies also kept giving me some type of familiar taste that was bugging me...what could I do with them to figure it out? I decided to make banana muffins topped with some bits of the Sunflower Cookies and chocolate chips. The result was a combination of a special treat with an bit of a crunch.


Banana Muffins With Sunbutter & Chocolate Crunch
3 Very ripe bananas
Ener-G Powdered Egg Replacer (or) 2 eggs
2 Cups Brown Rice Flour (can also use white rice flour)
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Hain's Gluten Free Baking Powder
1 (4 oz) Applesauce of your choice
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Allspice

Crunch Topping:
Ener-G Sunbutter Cookies, broken into chunks
Allergy-friendly Chocolate Chips (I used Enjoy Life Foods)
  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin pan by spraying it with baking spray.

In a large bowl, mash up the ripe bananas until smooth and very few lumps (unless you like chunks). Add the remaining ingredients (minus the Crunch Topping) and mix well. The mixture should resemble cake batter. If it's too dry, try adding a little bit more applesauce or milk of your choice but add little by little as not to make it too watery.

Spoon into the muffin pan, filling no more than half way.

Sprinkle on top of each muffin. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean (approximately 30 minutes).

Cool completely on a wire rack to avoid the muffins from getting soggy, then keep in an airtight container.

Makes 12 Muffins

Yeast Free Flax Meal Loaf
(Free of Gluten, Wheat, Casein, Dairy, Yeast, Egg, Soy & Nut)

Trying to find yeast-free bread is difficult. To be honest, most of them are not very good. I will say that the bread from Ener-G toasted up very well and was better than others that I have tried. It stayed together more like regular bread and I am confident that it would also work well for meatloaf, gluten free stuffing, gluten free croutons, etc. Now although our home is peanut free, we are almond eaters (don't judge) so my go to snack with this bread was toasted with some almond butter (we use Barney Butter Crunchy). I say it's my go to snack because that's one of the things that I miss the most is toast. Ingredients include Filtered Water, Brown Rice Flour, White Rice Flour,High Oleic Safflower Oil,Flax Meal, Leavening (glucono-delta-lactone,sodium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate), Methylcellulose, Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose,Orange Citrus Fiber & Salt.

As I have said before, I have used many of Ener-G's products over the past 9 years. Most of their products are free from most of my son's food allergies and we, as a family, trust them. Their packaging is clearly marked as well as their website which can be viewed at http://www.ener-g.com/. There product line includes breads, crackers, snacks, cookies, cakes, pastries, pastas, egg substitutes, cereal, flour mixes, baking ingredients and specialty foods. Keep up the good work Ener-G, we appreciate what you do for us!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fast & Easy Cinnamon Blueberry Cake

As a food allergy mom and a blogger, I do try to come up with original recipes by using my allergy friendly products. However, one of my priorities has always been helping people who are just starting out in the world of food allergies. To me, this means that you need to ease them into it. There is no handing them a huge cookbook of weird, funky recipes and expecting them to skip off happily. In a perfect world, this would work. In every day life, we all work and still have our daily routines that are followed. This does not always allow for meals that are all made from scratch all of the time, seven days a week. Is it more cost effective to learn how to make everything rather than purchase a lot of boxed items? Yes (unless you are an awesome couponer and sale finder). But, again, in a perfect world.

Our local store had a sale on blueberries this week. We have had blueberry pie, blueberry gluten free pancakes, froze some for later use and I also made a blueberry cake that even my fussy son scarfed down. This is not a completely homemade recipe but it's great tasting, it's fast and it's allergy friendly.




Ingredients:
1 Box Gluten Free Pantry Muffin & Scone Mix
Ener-G Powdered Egg Replacer = 2 eggs
3-4 Tablespoons Spectrum Organic Palm Oil Shortening
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Cup Milk of your choice
3 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Allspice
5 Oz. Blueberries
Topping- mixture of cinnamon and sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a square cake pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the box mix and egg replacer. Mix well. Add the palm oil shortening, vanilla, milk and spices. Mix until there are no lumps. Gently fold in the blueberries making sure to mix gently to keep most of the berries intact.

Pour the mixture into the cake pan. Top with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bake approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool before slicing.