Tuesday, September 30, 2014

When Anaphylaxis is a Good Thing

In September, AANMA (Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics) held their second annual Anaphylaxis Summit. I had the honor of being their guest last year as well in Washington, D.C. (click HERE for last year's recap!) but this year's Summit was equally wonderful. In fact, they have grown so much that this year's event has multiple locations. What, you didn't know that? Gosh, you can still register for their Summits in Denver, CO (Oct 10th) and Philadelphia, PA. (Oct 17th)! Just click on the Summit dates to register before the deadline and find out how you can be a part of it too.

Why Did I Go? I have learned that there is absolutely no end to how much information anyone can continue to obtain about food allergies and anaphyalxis, ever. Part of my personal passion is to continue to help others through my knowledge so I feel a personal obligation to keep up with anything and everything related to allergies. This includes all allergies, not just food because often times, food allergies and other allergies or asthma go hand-in-hand.
One way that I have found to be empowering is to attend the Anaphylaxis Summit.

But Isn't It All the Same? No, thankfully. The AANMA Anaphylaxis Summits are a collection of experts, doctors, top allergy specialists, nurses, and even every day advocates that can bring information from every angle of dealing with allergies. I feel this is an absolutely necessary part of learning to live with any type of allergy since allergies are not just about avoiding one thing in your life. Everyone needs support, everyone needs to know that there are tons of resources available and everyone should know that there are so many doctors and specialists working like mad to help get us some type of answer. I mean, look at all of the information right at your fingertips.

Tons of great resources
FAACT- always proactive

Mylan always sends what we need

Brenda Silvia-Torma (AANMA),
Sue Lockwood (ALAA) &
Tonya Winders (AANMA)
Who Was There? I had the pleasure of seeing some of the great rock stars of the food allergy world that I met at last year's event as well as meeting some new ones. There is also the added bonus of getting to meet other community advocates to pick each other's brains on food allergy topics and concerns. Sue Lockwood of ALAA (American Latex Allergy Association) always reminds us of hidden places to watch for with a latex allergy as well as mentioning synergistic foods for those latex allergic. Synergistic, or cross-reactive foods have been found to possibly trigger a latex reaction so every precaution should be taken to stay safe. You can view more information HERE on their site.

Dr. Ruchi Gupta was a returning speaker at this year's event. Dr. Gupta is such a huge part of food allergy research and study as well as being just a down-to-earth, wonderful person to speak with. Her passion for food allergy knowledge goes beyond simple studies- it includes reading materials, getting teens involved in a much-needed study and even a music video. Who knew her inner rockstar would become her outer rockstar as well! (links for both can be found at the end of this blog).

Dr. John Lee  (AllergyHome)
Dr. John Lee of AllergyHome was another speaker discussing the many tools that are available to help educate others on food allergies within your community. It's great to hear that his brain seems to be in action just as many of ours tend to be- always thinking of what else we can do to improve education and communication and how to get that out to everyone. The fact that he is easy to talk to makes you breath a sigh of relief. This is something that is much needed when you are talking to any doctor regarding food allergies and your concerns.

Karen Harris (FAACT), Dr. Ruchi Gupta,
Eleanor Garrow-Holding (FAACT)
Another one of the highlights for me was finally meeting Eleanor Garrow-Holding of FAACT (Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team) and revisiting with Karen Harris. Although I have been in contact with them for many months, nothing is better than meeting in person. Both of these ladies are truly just as compassionate in person as they appear to be through their food allergy crusade. With just one conversation, their compassion is so truly evident and I know that FAACT will continue to grow as the biggest and most loved resource within our food allergy community.

 I was overjoyed to see Dr. Gene Cash again too. He gave us some wonderful information on how food allergies can impact us psycho socially and what we can do to improve this. Dr. Cash has a light-hearted sense of humor but knows how to get his information across for all of us to make living with food allergies a positive thing rather than a negative thing. (On a side note, there was a mention that he was not the most interesting man, what's your opinion?)

This was just a small handful of the many speakers and attendees that were at the Anaphylaxis Summit. To be surrounded by all of these people was amazing, empowering and I feel honored to have been able to be a part of this Summit again. If there is any question that you have about what you are doing to help, the AANMA Anaphylaxis Summits give you that extra sense of being on the right path and encourage you to continue that path with all of your being.

Brenda Silvia-Torma (AANMA), Dr. Gene Cash,
Dr. Dana Wallace, Dr. Stanley Fineman &
Dr. Menon (AAIC)
Not only do you leave the Summit with a renewed sense of power but you also leave with brand new friends that understand what you are going through too. If you are looking for just one reason to be a part of this, it's impossible because there isn't simply just one. Need proof? I can show you the reasons right here ~

I would also like to send out heartfelt thanks to Winona Pure Oils who sponsored my trip to this very special event. I am honored to that they care enough about their products and felt confident in sponsoring me to continue to work together to help others know how to stay safe and use the healthiest options. I invite you to visit their products at http://winonapure.com/ and make sure you let them know that Nutrimom sent you!

*Dr. Ruchi Gupta's Teen Study Needs You! View Here 

** See Dr. Gupta in action, singing her heart out for allergy awareness "I Will Thrive"


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cupcake Granola

Have you ever had that baking dilemma when you know that you shouldn't overfill the cupcake tins and yet, you do it anyway? And then you actually become upset when you open the oven to find that the cupcakes have bubbled over, leaving a nice solid chunk of overcooked cake batter. So what do you do with it? Do you scrape off the pieces into the garbage and whimper because you are wasting those goodies?

Stop right there! In true Nutrimom fashion, I am here to say that you should not be whimpering! There is no crying with allergic friendly food! And there certainly is no such thing as throwing away those pricey foods either. As I tell everyone, over and over, rethink your kitchen and how you utilize the foods that you can eat. This includes what to do with things that did not turn out as planned, such as bubbled over cupcakes. So when life hands you crumbled cupcakes, make Cupcake Granola!

What You Need  Three simple ingredients (we love simple!) -

Line a baking sheet or shallow casserole dish with parchment paper and set aside. 

Using your food processor, chop the cupcake crumbles. In a large bowl, add the crumbs and SunButter. Mix until well combined, adding additional SunButter if the mixture is too dry. Spread evenly on the bottom of the parchment-lined dish. Set aside.

In a medium pot, melt the chocolate on medium/low heat. Spread the chocolate on top of the crumb mixture and place in the refrigerator to cool completely. 

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This is very crumbly but it makes a great snack, dessert topper or a perfect yogurt parfait ingredient.

Serving sizes vary

Friday, September 12, 2014

There's a New Wave of Lunchs Coming!

During my yearly school shopping efforts, I happened to come across a reusable lunch bag. At first glance, my immediate mom-budget brain kicked in and being so zoned in on school shopping, I dismissed it as I am admittedly cheap when it comes to lunch bags. But alas, NutriDaughter (who has a weird fascination with containers and boxes of all sizes) grabbed one and continued to open it up to show me all of the items stashed inside. "Look!" she pleaded "It's not just the lunch bag, it's got all of the containers and a water bottle! I could fit all of my lunch in this. Look at it, mom!" And, as many moms do while shopping with their children, I murmured "Not today" and we walked on.

But the nagging did not stop there. NutriDaughter began to lecture me on how much it usually costs for just a lunch bag alone plus separate containers and a water bottle (which we go through like mad since none of them are ever leak-proof or fit inside of an actual lunch bag). "I will pack my own lunch every single day. They have all of the containers- one for my fruit, a veggie, a wrap, chips, and I don't know what that meshy-thing was but I could put stuff in that too!" Yes, NutriDaughter did have a valid point. So I decided to investigate it further with NutriDaughter at my side, of course. And much to my daughter's happiness, a product review was requested and thus began the waiting game which ends every single school day with "Did we get the lunch bag yet?!"

The lunch bag is produced by New Wave Enviro Products. The Litter Free Lunch Kits include 1 BPA-free reusable bottle, 4 BPA-free reusable containers and the insulated lunch bag. And, as pointed out by NutriDaughter, the inside also contains a mesh pocket for additional storage. Even better, all of the containers are safe for the dishwasher and the microwave (dishwasher safe- yay but microwaving...not so much. To each his own I guess).

New Wave Enviro Products also sent me one of their 12 ounce stainless steel water bottles as well. As a mom, this water bottle is awesome. Why? The stainless steel water bottle is different- not only does it also fit interchangeably in the Litter Free Lunch Kit but I decided to give  it a 24 hour drip test (upside down, in a bowl in the fridge). The result? Not a single drop- just a dry bowl and a full water bottle that was ready to be used in another lunch. For all of you out there laughing at me, it's ok. I am assuming that you either don't have children or do not use reusable water bottles because if you did, you would be nodding your had in agreement as to how this is so wonderful to hear.

We've Heard the Pro's, any Con's? The only teeny, tiny mention would be the sealing factor of the containers. The containers are great, they all fit inside of the lunch bag and stack however, I noticed that the tops do not stay closed as tightly as I would prefer they did. My thoughts are flashing forward to younger children using this at school, talking with their friends at lunch and spilling the contents. But in the vast scheme of the world's issues, is this a deal-breaker? Nope. I am still very happy about the product and the basis of how the company if encouraging all of us to help the environment.

Who Wants a Chance to Get One Too?! Because I am so excited about this product, I was even more excited when New Wave Enviro Products offered to be on of the Sponsors for the upcoming Mega Allergy-Friendly Giveaway starting Monday! What, you haven't heard about it?!! Beginning September 15th, myself and multiple companies have teamed up to bring one lucky person a slew of 36 item to win. Intrigued and excited? Mark your calendars and get over to Brothers-All-Natural to enter right HERE (please note this link will not be active until Monday, September 15th). Please feel free to share the contest news as it is open to all.

A big, grateful thank you to New Wave Enviro Products for allowing me to review these adorable lunch bags. I can tell you that it is already in immediate use and has been fully claimed by NutriDaughter who was generous enough to give the additional water bottle to NutriSon. As I tend to say often "I wish something like a new lunch bag would make me that happy!" but honestly, this one does.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Recap of the Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event (Raleigh, NC)

Exactly one month ago today, I attended the Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event in Raleigh, NC. For those of you who have never been to one of these events, it's a room chock full of gluten free items as well as great local businesses in the area. The event spans across nine different cities and each event includes oodles and oodles of samples, take-home items and products, lectures, giveaways and simply put, is a great way to spend the day with your family. They even give you your own reusable tote bag when you arrive to carry all of these wonderful goodies.

Not only did I attend but I was honored to be one of their official Blogger Team Members. Talk about a win-win! And I was beyond excited to meet Pam Jordan of ImaCeliac as well as so many others - it was the eqiuvalant of a collection of food allergy rock stars to me.

The night before the event I got to dine at the yummiest restaurant ever- Primal Food & Spirits. Not only was everything on their menu simply delicious but the selections were gluten free and the waitstaff was nothing less than the best. I got to sit among dozens of bloggers, magazine editors, business owners and we all had a gluten free feast together.I have proof- take a peek at these and tell me your mouth isn't watering now!
I had locally-made gluten free bread and butter (yes, that was my appetizer because I truly miss bread!), I had a perfectly cooked Grass-Fed Tri Tip Steak with tomato & cucumber salad and a gluten free chocolate dessert that I was too full to eat but I just had too. What I found hilarious was how Heather Angell (EatPlayWin) and so many others were making sure we all took pictures before we dug into our foods. But in-between, there was plenty of conversation and happy people.

The day of the event I was accompanied by my friend Andrew Spafford of A Special Needs Plan. I need to take an extra moment and just say thank you (times 1,000) to Andrew! He drove hours to and from the event to help us out- he videotaped interviews for me, he carried craploads of everything and he never once complained. He was just downright wonderful, helpful and I am truly, truly thankful! Please take a moment to visit their website to see what they are all about.

At the event there were so many vendors, samples, people- can we say packed house?! Andrew and I did our best to interview many of the people there but alas, due to the overwhelming excitement in the air, many of the videos are difficult to hear. I do recommend that you click through the playlist (click HERE) as there are always new products and information that we could all find to use.

Tables, samples and great people as far as the eye could see! There were a total of 53 Sponsors and vendors at this event and it was all I could do from wanting to run to every single booth to see what they all had. But rather than doing that (because that would not be professional) I started at the beginning. I was delighted to see my friends Michael and Fabian from Freedom Foods as soon as I walked in as well as the Enjoy Life Foods table. I saw Pam all decked out in her I'm A Celiac-wear (loved it!) and I even got to meet Allergen Menu Mom, one of my page followers (I love when that happens!). It was as if I had stepped into a room full of supportive, energizing, delicious inspiration and I soaked up all of it. If you have never been to one of these events, you have to go so that you will understand what I mean. You leave exhausted but your brain is on wharp speed because you have learned so much in just a few short hours.

In between, I got to sample so many delicious gluten free items that by the time I was half way through, I truly could not eat another bite. I wanted too, I really did but it was just impossible. I guess there is such thing as too much of a good thing, but in a good allergy-friendly way.

I was happy to see my friends from Lowes Foods there as well. I have become an fan of Lowes Foods in the past few months - I am loving the fact that I can shop and pick up a ton of allergy-friendly items right at the same store! (Keep up the good work, guys!) Me tending to take a more proactive approach to food allergies means that when I see the same being done elsewhere, I can't help but feel the need to do even more to spread the word.

Folks from Delight Gluten Free Magazine
I left with full hands for sure! I had product reviews to write, people to email, research to do and did I mention the wonderful swag bag that I got in addition to my other full bags? And coupons, lots and lots and lots of coupons (you all know I love coupons!).

If you were not able to attend this event, please check their website at http://gfafwellnessevent.com to see where the other locations and dates are. This is an event that you will want to make a yearly outing to visit.

I also wanted to thank the coordinators of the Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event for having me be a part of it all. I could not think of a better way to have better food, have met better people and to know that gluten and allergen free wellness is happily spreading across the United States as we speak.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Freedom is Thinking Inside of the Box

Over the past few months, I have posted several product reviews for Freedom Foods after having the pleasure of finding their products at an expo in Georgia. (Missed the previous reviews? Click on the dates  to read them June 4th and July 15th ). And once again, I have been given the amazing opportunity to try out some additional products to see if they also rank as high as the others at the Nutrihomestead. My taste buds always say yes to these requests and happily, I love to come up with different ideas for us to use and share with others as well.

The first thing I was really excited about was to have the new and improved box of Tropico's! They were great before but now- perfect! They are still colorful but instead of adding all of those nasty artificial colors like other cereals, my family is eating things that are good for them, like sweet potato and carrot.

Although I have had their Smudge before, another jar was given to me so what else could I do but to oblige? Smudge is one thing that I do truly love having- a great alternative to a ready-to-use allergy-friendly chocolaty topping  (and, of course, for Smudgestashes!). It was a super hot day when I begin this review so we decided to utilize Smudge in an easy, old fashioned favorite way- popsicles! Three simple ingredients but a lot of flavor and a lot of smiles.

Smudge Pops
1 Cup dairy free milk of your choice
8 Tablespoons Freedom Foods Smudge
Enjoy Life Food chocolate chips (optional)

In a medium bowl, mix the dairy free milk and Smudge. (You can stir until well blended but we actually preferred to leave the mixture a bit "chunky" because it leaves some wonderful chocolate surprises for you to find while eating the Smudge Pops.) Add additional chocolate chips as an option. Pour the mixture into small plastic cups, place a plastic spoon into the middle for a handle and cover with plastic wrap. Place into the freezer on a tray until frozen. Once frozen, remove them from the cups and store in an airtight container to avoid freezer burn.

Servings sizes vary depending on cup sizes

NutriSon decided that he had to try making his own "Death By Smudge" dessert. Simply add Smudge over your favorite chocolate brownies to have a decadent treat. Better yet, heat the Smudge just a bit and pour the warm mixture over that dessert then proceed to feel yourself slide into a lovely, enjoyable chocolate coma..... tell me that your mouth is not watering right now.

Speaking of mouth-watering, I added both the Smudge and some pieces of Tropico's to my gluten free donuts (recipe here) for a special Sunday surprise. I am happy to report that both NutriKids were unable to leave any leftovers behind (and I was caught licking my fingers as well). Mmmm, donuts! Can we say "freedom" from donuts with the guilt? What I can say is that we approve of both.

I also got a box of the Ancient Grains cereal. This cereal is gluten free and is a hearty cereal flake. I found it to be almost like a cross between hemp and cornflakes with a slight almost smokey flavor to it. It's not sugary but does have a slight sweetness to it. And although I enjoy it as a cereal, I was thinking of the NutriKids. I was thinking of picky eaters and smaller hands. I was thinking NACHOS! How's that for making a sneaky, healthy snack?

Teeny Tiny Nachos
Freedom Foods Ancient Grains cereal
Apple of your choice (cleaned & cut)
Cheese of your choice (can be substituted with dairy free cheese)

Spread some Ancient Grains cereal on a place. Top with apple and cheese and heat until the cheese is melted in a microwave or oven.

Our next item was the Pro-Teen Crunch cereal. These rectangle-shaped cereal pieces are also the perfect pick-up size as well as being tasty to eat with or without milk. Slightly sweet, the Pro-Teen Crunch pieces are similar to a familiar crunchy corn cereal but with an added banana flavor- almost like Kix meets Brothers-All-Natural Banana Fruit Crisps. Sounds especially kid-friendly, right? These are also the perfect answer to a fun, fast activity to do with your children and as an on-the-go breakfast of snack. Or, dare I say, a great idea for an allergy-friendly class treat or party favor bags? Just a quick stop at your local craft store to pick up some plastic beading thread and you are on your way to an edible necklace or bracelet. I have to say that the time it took me to save this photo on my computer for the review, NutriDaughter had already demolished the bracelet and was starting on the necklace.

Not a fan of breakfast-on-the-go? How about another frozen treat instead?

No-Gurt Crunch Cakes
3/4 Cup Freedom Foods Pro-Teen Crunch cereal
3/4 Cup Freedom Foods Ancient Grains cereal
5 Tablespoons butter or butter alternative
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 Cups Non Dairy Yogurt
1/4 Cup Raw Honey
8 Strawberries, cleaned & pureed (saving the tops)

In a mini chopper, add the cereals, butter or butter alternative and the cinnamon. Once mixed well, press into aluminum muffin cups , filling half way.

In a medium bowl, combine the vanilla, non dairy yogurt, honey and pureed strawberries. One smooth, spoon the mixture onto the half-filled cups. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer until solid.

Thaw slightly before serving and top with strawberry tops for decoration.

I also wanted to share what we use our leftover Smudge containers for. Yes, we wash them out and recycle some of them but they are the perfect size to reuse too. NutriDaughter has a fascination with keeping her items inside of things to keep everything in it's place (hmmmm, possible ADD but I can't imagine where she might get that since I am way to busy cleaning up the dishes at 10 PM only to remember that I didn't fold laundry which also makes me remember that I never did put away those magazines I went through). These containers make wonderful holders for anything and everything- kitchen items, hubby's extra nails in the garage, a fast snack on the go holder and even to re purpose for a nice holiday gift of a homemade treat inside. And since Freedom Foods is also a part of the NPC (National Packaging Covenant), I thought sharing would be the best way to help our environment as well.

In a nutshell (gasp! Maybe not a nutshell), Freedom Foods continues to offer products that are great tasting, healthier for you, free of GMO's in addition to so many other allergens and they are taking a huge step in helping our planet as well. I know that I always recommend that people try to think outside of the box but when you have boxes that are this good, there is no need. Instead, be free to think inside of all of the better boxes.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

"Why Winona?" Winner

As many of you know, I have teamed up with Winona Pure Oils to host a biweekly giveaway. (In case you missed the original post that announced the details, you can view it HERE.) The plan is that I share some difficult pictures of foods and meals that I have made utilizing Winona Pure Oils Popcorn Butter Spray. Those who commented and were correct were entered to win. I have to say, there were some very interesting guesses to my odd pictures but I love that everyone had their thinking caps on.

I am happy to announce that the contest winner for this round of "Why Winona?" is

Hayley Wallace!

Hayley, please send your shipping information to me at Nutrimom@yahoo.com so that Winona Pure Oils can get you your goodies ASAP (well, please be patient and give them 7-10 business days to ship it out)

So what were these pictures? Let's have a look and find out:

Cinnamon & Sugar Waffle Bites
A great alternative to cinnamon toast- simply add Winona Pure Oils Popcorn Butter spray to your favorite waffles, add cinnamon & sugar and cut into bite-sized pieces. Perfect for for a snack or for little fingers.

Rice Pasta Water
By adding a touch of Winona Pure Oils Popcorn Butter spray to your gluten free pasta while boiling not only helps keep it from sticking but it also adds a nice, buttery flavor.

Warm Amaranth Cereal
Add some Winona PureOils Popcorn Butter spray to have a buttery, warming cereal. Need a recipe? I've got that for you right HERE

 Baked Chicken
Add Winona Pure Oils Popcorn Butter spray before you bake it and enjoy the buttery taste with the added bonus of keeping it moist.

Thank you to Winona Pure Oils for making such great, allergy-friendly products that are safe for so many families and can be used in such a wide variety of ways. I am grateful and honored to help share your product with so many people.

Are you still asking yourself "Why Winona?"?! I invite you to view all of their products and information at http://www.winonapure.com/ 
AND next week, I will be posting another chance to win some products so stay tuned!

*Nutrimom is proudly sponsored by Winona Pure Oils for this years AANMA (Asthma and Allergy Network Mothers of Asthmatics) Anaphylaxis Summit.