Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The McGuire Munch

In the midst of making the Thanksgiving Day desserts, I remembered that I had started another dessert project but had not finished it. And out of complete and utter laziness of not wanting to think about another food to be completed, I quickly came up with this easy snack.  With just a few simple items, you too can try it out.

What is needed, you say? Well, as you can see here, aluminum muffin cups, Enjoy Life Foods chocolate and your favorite nut butter or nut butter alternative. Our house has two favorites- Barney Butter Almond Butter and Sunbutter Sunflower Seed Spread.

To make them- Melt the chocolate, spoon into the aluminum muffin cups, making sure you bring some of the chocolate up along the sides of the cups. Let them cool completely. Then, gently peel away the wrapper, fill with a spoonful of your nut butter or alternative, sprinkle with more Enjoy Life Foods chocolate chips and done!

The last step is to find highly qualified, reputable taste-testers. (Who am I kidding, these bad boys were devoured by none other than moi!)

And how did I pick the name for this delectable snack? Well, I was initially inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Keeley McGuire who mentioned adding some chocolate chips to her Sunbutter. So what better way to honor her than to name this snack after her. This one's for you, Keeley!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Guest Post- Kathy Penrod

I would like to thank Kathy Penrod, author of the book Tumptin's Sneeze and creator of My Kids Food Allergies for writing this very special Thanksgiving post for my blog-

 Why is Organic Food Better for Thanksgiving (and Always)?

Thanksgiving is such a joyous holiday, isn’t it? Few can argue that it’s important to reflect on the blessings and wonderful people in our lives, and give thanks for them. Is Thanksgiving at your house this year or are you going to a loved one’s home and contributing your signature dish? From cranberries and green beans to macaroni and cheese and turkey with all the trimmings, as you sit down to create your shopping list, don’t forget to make it all organic.

I know many people who swear by organic and locally grown food and others who say, “Pffft! There’s absolutely no nutritional difference between the two! And besides, it’s so expensive! I can buy perfectly good food in my grocery store.”  

While it’s true the organic is more expensive, I know there is a big difference between food grown organically and food that’s mass-produced.

An Organic Apple a Day Helps Keep the Doctor Away
We’ve all heard the expression “an apple a day helps keep the doctor away.” Rich in 1500 milligrams of vitamin C, antioxidants, beta-carotene and vitamin E, apples (and most other fruits) lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes, many types of cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Does an organic apple offer more there is no nutritional difference between food grown organically and conventionally. But does that mean all apples are created equally? While all apples reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer and CVD, over many years of eating apples sprayed with pesticides, any benefits you could have received will have been reversed. Pesticides contain cancer-causing carcinogens; affect hormonal balance and the endocrine system, which can cause reproductive problems and type 2 diabetes.
nutritional value than one grown using what has come to be termed “conventional farming” method? As it happens, no,

But, What About the Worms and other Bugs on My Organically Grown Food?
If conventional farming relies on pesticides to kill everything from mold, mildew and fungus to bacteria and insects, doesn’t that mean my food may have worms in them and bugs on them? Yes, it’s very possible if you go to an organic farm right now and pick an apple off a tree, you may bite into a worm or acck! see a bunch of other creepy-crawly insects on there. The same foods you love to eat and for the same reasons, bugs, invertebrates and birds do as well. If they’re yummy to us, they’re just as yummy to them. Rather than see them as pests, understand their purpose on a farm. Worms aerate soil by burrowing, and they leave trails that run from deep in the ground all the way to your plants’ roots. With all those tunnels created, the natural fertilizer (which I go into at length a little later) can make its way to the plants and enrich the soil with nutrients your plant can continue to thrive on long after it’s been planted. So while that earthworm seems like a pest to you, he’s serves an extremely valuable purpose.

Photo courtesy
Oh those other bugs? Did you ever see the movie the Lion King? Remember the theme song, “The Circle of Life?” I look at organic farming the same way. What some may see as pesky, in reality serve a benefit. Eliminating one or two even several bugs from a farm paves the way for more dangerous organisms to move in and harm crops. I’d like to think that nature can do a better job of creating a system of checks and balances than we humans can. Soap and water can wash off any bugs you can see or can’t see.

Weeds: Why Pull Them and Your Back Out When There’s Weed Killer?
If you’ve ever done any gardening, you know it’s not just an expression when people report it’s backbreaking work. Hard on the knees from squatting while planting and painful on the back from yanking those weeds that seem to grow at an alarming rate, it’s easy to see why many just use a week killer like Round Up. The preferred method by homeowners and suburbanites, it’s estimated that approximately 100 million pounds are dumped on lawns and farmlands across America. Have you ever thought about what’s in Round Up, and why it’s able to kill weeds on contact? Further, despite the manufacturer's claim's that it's safe and biodegradable, there are two ingredients in Round Up that are linked to many chronic diseases.

In several clinical studies (MIT, University of Sweden, others), Round Up’s main ingredient, glyphosate, is linked to everything from non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, other cancers, reproductive problems, Crohn’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Autism, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.

An ingredient that didn’t have any attention paid to it until the last couple of years because it is inert, POEA is a detergent that’s comprised of animal fat. Its purpose is to allow the main ingredients in Round Up to bind to the weeds, so they can kill weeds “better, faster and stronger,” as the expression goes. It turns out that POEA is just as potentially dangerous as glyphosate and studies done by the National Institute of Health Science concluded that it causes cancer and is particularly dangerous to embryonic cells. Gosh, how many suburbanites do you suppose use Round Up in their gardens and on their lawns who are pregnant?

Fertilizer: You Really are What You Eat
I have a friend who has flat out said she’d rather eat foods grown using chemical-based fertilizers vs. knowing her fruits and vegetables have been growing using natural fertilizer (which involves mixing animal manure with compost). I asked if she realized that most fertilizers made in a laboratory add petroleum to their “recipe,” which means she’s exposing herself to cancers and hypoxia? Although she hadn’t before I mentioned it, she said that this still seemed perfectly acceptable to using manure on her plants, which as she says, “grosses me out!” With no exception, all commercial farmers use chemical-based fertilizer vs. the compost/manure combination.

Leaving aside the fact that the chemicals and petroleum in commercial fertilizer can kill us (as if we can ignore this), it is destructive to the environment. Run-off of these chemicals into the waterways kills fish, algae and other living organisms who make water their home. Additionally, it depletes the soil of nitrogen and other valuable nutrients. So while plants do grow at faster rate, is the trade off really worth it?

The objection I frequently hear from people who don’t buy organic is that it’s too expensive. While the unit price can be almost twice that of commercially grown foods, when I add up the cost of treating all those chronic illnesses and the cost to the environment, it seems to me that organic foods are actually cheaper in the long run.

Essentially if you let nature do its thing and don’t mess with it, it will repeatedly reward you by giving you healthy food today and even better, it will continue to allow future generations to eat healthfully. As you are enjoying your Thanksgiving dinner of organically grown food, remember that it is a better representation of the very first Thanksgiving dinner, long before dangerous chemicals made their way into our food.

Now that’s something to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Little About the Author
Kathy Penrod is many things: a wife, mother and children’s author of the book Tumptin's Sneeze. She lives in Colorado with her family and she has a Bachelor’s of Science, which Kathy received after she was married and had had her children, thanks to her supportive family. Having a daughter with food allergies, and understanding the challenges this has brought to their lives and the lives of many families who struggle with the same issues, Kathy created My Kids Food Allergies. There isn’t a day that goes by that Kathy doesn’t feel blessed for all the wonderful things and people in her life, which she contends, wouldn’t be possible without God’s love and putting God at the center of her life.


Monday, November 25, 2013

How the Grinch Saved Thanksgiving

You have heard the story of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas but have you heard the secret story of how he saved little Johnny Who from an allergic reaction?

Dr. Seuss The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

To find out more, click HERE and read my guest blog on My Kids Food Allergies.

Stay tuned for their guest blog here, tomorrow!

M is For Morsels

I am a definite chocolate lover (who isn't, right?) and our family has used Enjoy Life Foods products for many,many years. I am beginning to wonder if they can read my mind because just when I was beginning to see them appear here and there, I felt myself feeling pangs of jealousy. I was seeing all of these people getting them, tasting them, trying them out. I had silent temper tantrums even though I was happy for my fellow bloggers. Then, ta-da! So you can only guess my delight when I was asked if I wanted to try out their new Dark Chocolate Morsels. I did not hesitate and I could not respond fast enough, to say the least. (Did I mention that I really like chocolate?)

I bet you may be wondering how a morsel is different from their chocolate chips? (well, I wondered). There are a few things-

A) Morsels are dark chocolate while the
other chips are semi-sweet chocolate (as seen on the package)

B) the size of the chips are different (see picture proof to the left). Clearly, exhibit A are the morsels

C) Ingredients are slightly different. Morsels contain unsweetened chocolate and cane sugar while the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips contain evaporated cane juice, natural chocolate liquor (non-alcoholic)and non-dairy cocoa butter.

D) and , for some odd reason, you get one less ounce of Morsels than you do with chocolate chips....Hey Enjoy Life Foods, what's with that? I may be busy cooking up great stuff with your chocolate but did you think I wouldn't notice that I was missing a full ounce of my precious? Hmmm, maybe if I hold something for ransom, they will send me more. Or, maybe they will just taunt me and I will die alone, chocolateless (is that a real word?)
This is the best part of trying them out (chewing) because (chew) I really need to taste everything to make sure (chew) that it's acceptable for everyone, you know what I mean? (smiling with chocolate stuck in between my teeth) As I sat staring at the bag, I was waiting for a brainstorm. Something out of the ordinary, something fun, something that would impress Enjoy Life Foods (thus, sending me infinite chocolate). In the end, I came up with three recipes to share with all of you. With Thanksgiving almost here, I created a turkey cookie using some of Enjoy Life Foods Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies but I am sure that any of the other cookies would taste just as great with the too.

Turkey Cookies
What did the turkey say? Eat! Eat! Eat!
2 Enjoy Life Foods Soft Baked Cookies
10 pieces of candy corn (I used Starburst Candy Corn because it is egg free)
Enjoy Life Foods Dark Chocolate Morsels
1 graham cracker (I used Josef's Gluten Free)

Roll one of the cookies into a ball for the turkey's head. Take the second cookie and gently insert the candy corn, spacing slightly. Take two pieces of the candy corn and slice off the colored area, leaving the white areas to use. Insert them for eyes. Insert one piece of orange candy corn as the beak.

On low heat, melt the morsels until smooth. Place a small amount of the melted chocolate on the bottom of the turkey head and secure it onto the body, using the chocolate as a "glue". Then do the same with the turkey body, attaching it to the graham cracker as a base. Using the end of a lollipop stick or toothpick, dip it into the melted chocolate and dot the eyes to make eyeballs. Let cool completely.

Makes 1 turkey cookie

Nog Pops
3 Ounce plastic cups
Enjoy Life Foods Dark Chocolate Morsels (plus additional, depending on your taste)
1 Quart So Delicious DairyFree Coconut Milk Nog (or your preferred egg nog)
Lollipop sticks
Optional- crushed pretzels (I use Glutino) candy canes, nuts, etc. for toppings

Place the plastic cups in a shallow dish for support. Sprinkle enough chocolate chips to cover the bottom of the cups. Pour the nog into each cup, leaving room at the top for chocolate. Optional- add chopped cherries to the cups.

Cover the entire dish securely with plastic wrap. Gently poke one lollipop stick through the plastic wrap into the middle of each cup of nog. Place in the freezer until firm.

Once the nog cups are frozen, prepare the chocolate. Melt the chocolate chips on low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Once melted, remove the nog pops from the freezer and gently spoon some of the chocolate onto the top of each filled cup. Add optional toppings, making sure you gently press down to ensure that they become secured into the chocolate. Place back into the freezer until you are ready to serve.

Allow the pops to thaw for a few minutes prior to serving. To loosen, run the cups under warm water.

Makes approximately 15 pops

Advent Necklace (can also be used as edible garland)
Chocolate advent mold (as seen on EBL Food Allergies)
Elastic String (I recommend you find one that is in a sealed package and is not dyed)
Enjoy Life Foods Dark Chocolate Morsels

Thoroughly clean the advent mold and dry. Begin setting up the necklace/garland by arranging the string along the mold, making sure to push the string down into each mold. I recommend using small bits of tape to hold them in place until after they are solid.

On low heat, melt your Morsels until smooth. Carefully spoon some chocolate into each area, filling completely and making sure the string has been covered. If the string is not covered properly, the chocolate will not adhere to the necklace and will come apart (leaving you short a day or two for the 25 days of Christmas). Let the chocolate set until firm, then gently remove and use. WARNING: chocolate smudges so prepare to see some happy chocolate smears.

As always, I would like to thank Enjoy Life Foods for allowing me to review their products. I love their products and I am grateful to be a part of what they do. Do they pay me to do it? Of course not. So what motivates me to do it? Feeling you get while eating chocolate- Priceless. Feel free to check out all of their other products at Just make sure you don't buy up all of the chocolate because somebody needs to have some too (wink, nudge).

Friday, November 22, 2013

Who Found Winona?

A few weeks ago, I announced a giveaway called Where's Winona. The rules were simple- I post a picture of a Winona Pure Oil and somewhere in the picture, people like the picture and email me for a chance to win. This was the infamous picture...can you find Winona?

Today I have the lucky winner of this giveaway....drum roll please-


Still searching for Winona? Look carefully- the bottle is hidden in the popcorn container and you can just about see the spout. Those oils can be pretty darn good at playing hide-n-seek! What is not sneaky is that they do not contain all of those ingredients that you are trying to stay away from, such as propellants, soy, lecithin, chemicals or additives. And why should they, all you really need is the oil.

Wendy, please email me your shipping information to You will be receiving a package from Winona Pure Oils shortly. 
Thank you all who participated and for being a part of what I do! Also a big thank you to Winona Pure Oils for allowing me to work with them to help spread the word on how much I love their products.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Where's Winona?

Do any of you remember the books "Where's Waldo"? This has inspired me to put an interesting twist on my Winona Pure Oils giveaway over the next few months. I could follow a typical enter your name to win, guess how many jellybeans are in a jar, how do you use this product......but I like to mix it up a bit. Level with me- doesn't life get a little bit more hum-drum and settled in the autumn? So let's keep our brains on high speed and have some fun! Who's with me?

For those of you who haven't seen or heard of Winona Pure products yet, I will give you a little bit of insight on what they are. I found them in my local supermarket and I was overjoyed to see that they were the only oil sprays that were just that- oil. I have been trying to eliminate soy as much as possible and so many other brands not only contain soy but also contain other harmful chemicals like propellants. I think it's best said as described on their website-

"Winona Pure natural cooking spray oils use exclusive technology to eliminate chemicals and propellants as well as alcohol, silicone, soy and any other artificial additives"

Photo courtesy
I always stress that with food allergies you want to expand your diet, not limit it so when I find products that are healthy, I want to share them with everyone. Can you see me standing on my rooftop yelling "WINONA!!!!"

Back to my giveaway details
Every month for the next four months, I will post a picture on my blog and Facebook page.

To enter:
- Click "Like" on my Facebook post
- Share the post (as this is open to everyone) #WheresWinona
- Send your guess of where Winona is in the picture to

Only one guess per email so make it specific. One winner each month will receive a can of Winona Pure Oil mailed to their home. My plan was to provide someone with a new flavor for each Holiday coming up (you see my motive?).

Ready? Set? GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Where's Winona? 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nutrimom Gets Seedy

For those of you who follow me, you know that I constantly stress protein- all of the time, every meal, always. I try to teach others to embrace different ways to incorporate all forms of protein into their eating styles to get the most benefits. When Super Seedz approached me for a product review, I envisioned not only new proteins to eat but flavored sources of proteins. After all, we all kind of get bored of eating the same thing over and over again. Why not get some taste buds tingling?

So here I was, a lonely food allergy blogger faced with eight different varieties of pumpkin seeds. How does one begin? Which flavor do I start with? When in doubt, eeny-meany-miney-mo always works best. I landed on Somewhat Spicy. These are perfect for someone who likes just a hint of spiciness without running away feeling as if their mouth is on fire. Check out the oodles of spices on each seed- do you see the flavor specks?

I sat down to eat my lunch and it was missing something. Oh, I don't know, maybe some more protein? (I did mention that I like protein, right?) What would bring my salad up a a notch? Perhaps a tad bit of flavor, a side of crunch....Original Curry was just what I was craving. The flavor was not as much spicy as it was just very flavorful and just downright good.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day (yeah, yeah, we know, protein...freakin' protein). It was a drizzly day, so dark and just blah! I craved something that would warm me, make me feel comforted almost. Something to drive away the dullness and push me into a better day. Can we say oatmeal topped with some Sugar & Cinnamon seeds? Mmmm! A little bit of raw honey, some seeds, maybe a piece of banana here and there and I was off munching.

You say tomato, I say toe-mah-to....I was in an Italian kind of mood. I had some gluten free pizza mix, I had some Tomato Italiano seeds staring at me. Behold- the crunchy crust personal pizza was born! (Not that I would mention this but do you also notice the protein on it?) I had my own little crunchy heaven and when kids started to ask if they could have a piece, it was like I was a vampire hovering over my prey. Of course, the seeds would have been just as good to eat by themselves but I was in an adventurous mood.

Sometimes you do just want a simple, crunchy fast and easy snack on the go. I took advantage of my ability to do this so I popped a handful of the Sea Salt seeds into my mouth. We were out the door but I had my snack. Not too salty (don't want to be drinking eight gallons of water later) but these seeds definitely tempted me to take more than a few handfuls. Plus, it's just a really great source of pr-...I mean, good for you.

Ok, admission time... I have a personal relationship with chocolate. It tempts me, it finds it's way into my life almost daily and sometimes I find myself thinking about it all day, especially on tough days. Am I an addict? Coco Joe says no, that I am just a hard-working blogger who has kids, has to get her book published and who can be comforted by a special treat. Special? The best combination ever- chocolate flavored protein! (wink, nudge, see how I worked that in?)  Mix it with a bit of popcorn and you have a chocolaty salty crunchy goodness. Although, I did find myself picking out more of the chocolate seeds...

Have you ever noticed that sometimes your foods can just be a bit bland? You need an extra kick or spice or something? There I was- I had my noshing items all set but there was just something amiss. I needed to be dazzled, I needed to have tastiness... I needed something Super Spicy that day. I do have to say, these were spicy! Still not tongue-burning but the flavor was great and it was just the right combination for me to say yowzer! (BTW, yowzer spelled backwards is protein).

Can you guess what happened next? I am here to tell you that I, Nutrimom, went naked. (Did she just say naked?!) Yes and it will probably not be the last time (it's probably all of the protein, it's gone to her head!). And not just naked but Really Naked.  And I have proof right here-
(smiley photo courtesy
Disappointed, really? Come on now, let's not go overboard. All kidding aside, these seeds were awesome- a hearty almost nutty and milky flavor, if that makes sense. Because sometimes you don't need all of the extra fuss, you just want simple. Plus, they're crunchy and crunchy always seems to help when you are in a snacky kind of mood.

Super Seedz are produced by Kathie's Kitchen. Kathie’s Kitchen is dedicated to bringing America healthy great tasting snacks. So what's so special about pumpkin seeds? They are loaded with protein (see, even Kathie says it!!), low in carbs and are naturally vegan, gluten free, tree nut free, peanut free, dairy free, MSG free and soy free. I for one would like to say thank you, Kathie for striving to make snacks that not only taste great but they are healthy and allergy-friendly.

For more information, please visit their website at

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Skeeter Says...

Today is the day that I announce the winner of my Skeeter Snacks Giveaway!

What did you have to do to be entered to win? So simple-  comment on my Facebook page for this post and tag @Skeeter Snacks. Bam! Done, you were entered!

Drum roll please as Skeeter reaches into the bag of entries........

The winner is
Jenette Loveday!

Jenette will receive a bag of Skeeter Snacks goodies in the mail! Please email me at with your shipping information and then patiently wait for the package to arrive.

Thank you to Skeeter Snacks for sending so many great items to try out and to share and, as always, thank you to everyone who entered to be a part of it all.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Food Allergy Mom Goes on Strike

These words may seem harsh but that is exactly what I did! (Well, I wouldn't say strike really. Maybe more of a vacation?) But as food allergy moms, we know how every day stresses can wear on us. Not that we would ever trade it for anything- we completely love our children and fight tooth and nail for them to be safe and happy.

But sometimes, just every once in a long while, food allergy moms hit a point where they are just worn to the core. They need to step away from packing lunches, planning five different meals each day, every day. And the dishes... I just don't even need to explain that one, do I? It's not that we are being selfish or giving up or even showing weakness. Not at all. I can guarantee you that a fight with a food allergy mom comes pretty close to a scene out of The Exorcism. Mama Bears protect with all of their might.

So how does a food allergy mom go on strike, uh, I mean vacation? All it takes is a little glimpse of what life would be like without having to constantly think, think, think...did I mention think? Something that is still safe for their child. Something just as simple as say, an  overnight class trip with Dad? Really? Gosh! Think of it. Can I do this, can I really do this? Let him go and just pretend to take care of myself for once? Is that awful? Is it being a horrible mother that is neglectful? Will I be punished for eternity for taking just an instant for myself? The answer is no- you CAN do this and I recommend that you do.

The hardest part is the preparation. You know your child and you know that being at home is easiest- there are always safe foods or you can run to the store to get whatever you need. But what happens if you send him off and he eats more than what you have packed? What if he is stuck in the middle of nowhere and everybody else is eating and he has run out of food and starves to death? What if he gets so hungry that he desperately tries to eat something that he is not supposed to have? What if...what if something happens and you were not there to keep him safe?

This was my mind for weeks before the trip. Planning, double-planning, speaking with teachers, asking my son what to so if he starts to feel "not right" and trying to still stay composed so that your child does not get stressed out with you. This is key- STAY COMPOSED! Remember, this trip is about him and should remain that way. Make it easy and stress-free so that he leaves feeling excited, not afraid. Besides, Dad is going with him. He will be safe(r). But then I see Dad stressing and I actually relax a little because I understand that this is something that our whole family deals with, not just me or my son. Inside, I am slightly relieved that someone else is stressed about it as well.

Food allergy moms become masters of traveling with small, compact grocery stores. We think of (most) everything that will be needed and then we magically condense it as much as we can into a somewhat organized pile. For those of you who have not ventured away from home yet, this is a sneak peek at what you can expect-

Yes, this is what was needed for just two nights of a trip. Full cooler, food bag, clothes, etc and this was not including what my husband brought with him. Still not convinced? Well, let's take a peek at my method- (trying) to be organized so that even Dad will not have to think. There is no room for mess ups with food allergies which means staying one step ahead of what may happen.

Step 1- Meals. I literally create all of his meals, seal them and mark them to avoid any confusion. Plastic bags keep the meals fresh, contamination free and dry from the melting ice in the cooler during travel. The kitchen staff is instructed that ONLY Dad or my son will go to get his food to avoid any possibility of a slip-up.

Step 2- Activities. Camp means activities. Activities mean that you need to ask a lot of questions that people without food allergies don't think of. What will be involved? Who monitors it? Are foods involved? Will hands be washed prior to the foods? My son's trip was having smores over the campfire one night. Yum! But this still required asking if the wood that they burned was treated or contained any nuts (that would have sucked). Nuts in wood? Uh, yea!

Step 3- Label and seal. Everything, everything and everything is labeled and sealed. Safe egg-free marshmallows, safe chocolate bars, safe graham crackers and even his own smores stick (end wrapped in foil to avoid accidental dropping or touching). Every package also contains individual packets of hand wipes in case they are out and away from sinks and soap. Because tromping through the marsh and then using the same hands to put smores together...ugh! (vomiting in mouth just a bit).

Step 4 - Wave and relax- This is strangely what I did. I never thought that I would be able to send him off and not completely loose my mind but I did. Now I am not saying that I did not keep close tabs on them (thanks Dad for the texts!) but I did feel as if I could, well, just breathe. Do you remember that feeling? I had forgotten it but I knew that it meant that all would be ok. And if my mommy-voice is saying "It's ok" then I go with it.

And for three days, that's what I did- I just went with it. I did not go to the food store, I did not pack any lunches, I did not run the dishwasher or check with teachers to see if anyone was sending in food or snacks. I did not say no to my daughter when she wanted to go out to dinner. I did not read any labels and I did not worry about what I had touched or who may have handed me something. I did, however say no to my daughter who wanted to try shrimp because I did not have an EpiPen with us and that mommy voice kicked in and shook her head at me.

And the end result? Everybody was fine. I had bonding time with my daughter and my son came home safe with Dad- both exhausted and smelly. I had mounds of dishes and laundry but I was still relaxed and just going with it. Life was back to normal with one exception- I was glad to be back as the food allergy mom. For me, food allergies have become our way of life. This is our "normal" and although I had a few wonderful days, I enjoyed the homecoming even more. I am not saying that this mom doesn't need a break now and then but I will say that this mom will always be grateful for what she has.