Saturday, December 27, 2014

Food Allergies- One Byte at a Time

I had the pleasure of meeting Brynn Elizabeth Hadler while I was at the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference this past September. For those of you who may not have heard of her just yet, she is an author, a fellow food allergy mom and you can visit her at AllergyBytes. Much like myself, Brynn shares the same passion of needing to help others navigate through the world of food allergies at an easier pace. (Can I also say that I am possibly partial to her since her website and mine are both a play on words! AllergyBytes, AllergyPhoods...) On a personal basis, she is just a great, down-to-earth person to speak to.

I was even more touched when she asked if I would post a review on her book "7 Ways to Get Your Children to Eat Healthy Food". Although this book is just 43 pages, it is a great item to have for children with food allergies but also for children in general. The very first quote that I took as true to my own thoughts is on page 2 when Brynn writes "When it comes to the diets of children today, there is theory and there is reality." YES, nailed it! One of the first things that I always stress to any person looking to change their diets it to do what they can do to the best of their ability and not what someone else does. In every day life, our lives and schedules do not always allow for a completely home cooked meal but not every meal has to be so extravagant either. And, just as I feel and Brynn addresses in her book, on the days that you don't have all of your energy to commit to foods, keep it simple but keep it healthy. Brynn does a great job reminding us that sometimes children prefer simple- sometimes, it's not all about how fancy we can present things but just the fact that we made an effort to show them something different for that day.

Some other things that Brynn focuses on are

  • Keep your children involved- Very,very important to do! I have learned this as a mom myself- the more they are a part of being involved in their foods, the information about their foods and different ways to use them, the more this will stick with them and entice them to want to learn even more on their own.
  • What you want to eat in not always what your children want- Agreed again. And even as adults, we do not all want to eat the same foods, so why force it? Try asking them what they want and then have them come up with an idea on how to use the food for their meal.
  • Eat what your child eats- Yes, again. If you do not eat what you expect your child to eat, how is that encouraging them? And how many times have you been eating something and you are not even on the second bite and that little face appears, asking if they can have some?
  • Use food as powerful knowledge- One of my personal favorites as well. There is nothing more interesting than having your own child tell you something that they have learned about their foods when you thought they were not listening.
  • Let your child feed you- Great idea however, I strongly recommend that you either use separate utensils or consider doing this when you know that you (the parent) has not eaten any possible allergic foods earlier that day.

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to Brynn for giving me the opportunity to read through her book and offer my thoughts. As an author myself, I am always interested to see what everyone else is also sharing with our communities. For more information on Brynn and what she can do to help you or if you are ready to order her book and start to get your child eating better, please visit her website at

As I have said before, "If you say that celebration & life is not all about food, you are wrong. It IS about finding the right foods that are healthy and safest. Food is not something that tears us apart, it brings us together. After all, this is how I have connected with all of you." ~

*Photo courtesy of

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Grinch, an EpiPen, What?!

The secret is out- find out why the Grinch is green and why he is carrying an EpiPen...curious? Click HERE for the exclusive, tell-all story!

photo courtesy


Monday, December 15, 2014

Organize a Holiday Party For Your Allergic Child

I was recently approached by Fay over at Label-Land asking if they could write a holiday blog post for my blog. I was more than happy to have them as a guest- after all, within the food allergy community labels are a necessary part of our lives. So sharing is also a must- the more, the merrier (especially during the holiday season, right?!)

Food allergy parents and teachers are all beginning to enter that time of year- it can be tons of fun but it can also be a disaster waiting to happen if it's not handled in an organized manner. Thankfully, Label-Land has outlined five easy tips to keep our children safe. And by children, I mean ALL children, not just the allergic ones. So grab a warm beverage, sit back and jot down what will help you stay calmer, safer and maybe even a bit more sane.

#1: Gather Information Although you may know the best way to manage your own child's allergies, there are other things to consider. Most school districts have their own requirements in place to ensure an allergen-free event. Even if your school doesn't, there may be other children in the school with moderate to severe allergies.

Before planning the party menu, meet with school officials and other parents to assemble a list of unsafe foods. When in doubt, plan the menu so it is safe for those with the most severe food allergies.

#2 Educate First The party planning committee may require some education on food allergies, especially if they have always done the holiday a certain way before a child with allergies joined the school community. Key points to bring up with the planning committee include:

  • Provide facts. 1 in 13 children under the age of 18 suffers from food allergies, so it's a safe bet that there are multiple children that require safe options.
  • Avoid making it just about your child. Change is more difficult to institute if people see it as selfish, although your intentions are only for your child's health. Instead, work with other parents of children with allergies to show that you are doing this for the entire school community.
  • Bring literature to back up your case. Your allergist can provide information to help you with your presentation. Consulting with your allergist is a good idea anyway, because they can point you toward further resources.
  • Finally, be ready to step up. Parents that don't live with allergies may see the entire process of a safe menu as frightening or as too much work. Volunteer to provide food or an allergen-free kitchen for food preparation as a group.
#3 Plan the Menu Volunteering on the food or menu committee is the best method to ensure an allergy-safe party. You are likely familiar with your child's allergies but you will also need to consider the food sensitivities of others.

Begin by collecting a list of allergies present in the school, along with their severity. Some children cannot even be in the same room as a peanut, for example, while others are only affected if they eat the food. Knowing the severity level allows you to plan a menu that completely leaves out the severe allergens, while ensuring you clearly label foods containing mild to moderate allergens.

#4 Delegate the Duties It isn't realistic to think you can handle all food preparation yourself. Instead, delegate the various duties to other parents and members of the party committee. When selecting members for a task, make sure they are completely on board with allergy safety. It's an unfortunate fact that some people do not take food allergies seriously and these people should not handle any part of the food service.

Duties to delegate include:
  • Food sourcing. One person can source allergen-free ingredients and main ideas. This task should go to a parent of an allergic child since they will have the necessary experience in deciphering package labeling.
  • Cooks. A few parents will need to handle the food preparation once the menu is decided and the ingredients purchased. Make sure all food is prepared in an allergen-free kitchen and that care is taken to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Serving manager. At least one adult will need to manage the food tables during the school party. This ensures that no unapproved treats are placed on the table and that serving spoons don't end up in the wrong dish and contaminate a formerly safe food with an allergen.

#5 Label Everything One of the best ways to avoid an allergy emergency is to make sure that every item being served is clearly labeled with a non removable label (this includes backpacks and lunch bags that are labeled with a non removable label like this. Label foods not just with their name but also with a detailed list of every ingredient. Use two labels for everything- one visible label and one taped to the bottom or back of the dish in case the main label is misplaced.

Planning a school party with allergies may seem overwhelming,but it's well worth it when all the children are safe to celebrate together. It's easier to take on a project of this size when you work to get everyone working together in the children's best interest.

*All photos courtesy of

Friday, December 12, 2014

Chip, Chip- Hooray, it's Luke's!

Before I begin, I need to apologize to Luke's Organics...(hanging head) they were kind enough to send me their products months ago after we met at the the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference in Las Vegas and I am just now posting the review. (Shame, Nutrimom, shame!!) It was not intentional and I appreciate that they not only sent so much product but also were kind enough to not send me emails like "Um, yeah, hey. Did you, maybe get to taste all of those items that we sent to you yet? You know, the entire line of our products that we mailed out...right we promised." Instead, they were professional, courteous and they just let me do my thing. Thanks Luke's! I promise, it won't happen again.

As you can see, I was completely serious when I said they sent me one of everything because, well, they really did! Let's do a quick rundown of what they have here:
Multi Grain & Seed Crackers
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Multi Seed
  • Bean & Seed
  • Chia Seed
  • Garden Vegetable
  • Ancient Grain Multi Grain & Seed
  • Kale Multi Grain & Seed
  • Protein Blue Corn & Red Lentil Multi Grain & Seed
  • SuperFood  Sweet Potato, Hemp & Buckwheat Multi Grain & Seed
  • Brown Rice Chips Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
  • Cha-Cha-Cha Chia Seed Multi Grain & Seed
ALL gluten free, can we say selection? Yes, we can! So what does a blogger do with said items? I could just eat them (and, obviously I did) but you know how I have that habit of seeing what else I can do with foods. Just depends on my mood but I also like to stretch my food to it's limits. You know, boost it's ego and make it recognize that it's much more important than everyone says it is. Plus, it's fun. 

Let's just jump right into those recipes, shall we? Heck, I waited long enough (uh, yeah, it's been since September) Gasp! Here we go-

Stuffed Mushrooms
9 Stuffing Mushrooms (cleaned)
1 Al Fresco Apple Chicken Sausage (cooked)
6 Chips EACH (Chia, Black Pepper & Multi Seed) Crackers, ground
5 Roasted Brussel Sprouts
1 Tablespoon Hummus (I used Roasted Red Pepper)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a pan with oil to prevent sticking and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the sausage, ground chips, Brussels sprouts and hummus. Combine well. Spoon mixture into the mushrooms and spray lightly with additional oil spray. Bake until golden brown.

Makes 9 Mushrooms

Chicken Fried Burger
Winona Pure Oil
4 Burger Patties
45 Multi Seed Crackers (ground)

In a large pan, spray with oil and warm the pan on medium heat. Coat the patties with the ground crackers and place into the pan. Fry, flipping once until no pink remains in the middle.

Makes 4 Burgers

Sweet Potato Hash Browns
Winona Pure Oil (Popcorn Butter)
1 Cup Pureed Sweet Potato
10 EACH (Super Food and Brown Rice) Chips, ground
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander

In a large pan, spray with Popcorn Butter spray on medium heat.

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Place a spoonful at a time onto the greased pan and fry, flipping once.

You may also bake them- preheat oven to 400 degrees, fill a muffin tin with IfYouCare muffin liners and bake. Spray with additional oil when they begin to crisp. Please note that this method does make them fall apart very easily but still just as tasty. Serving sizes will vary

Wondering about the orange food? Click HERE for the recipe!
Easy Gluten Free Topping
Grind a mixture of All (Garden Vegetable, Bean & Seed, Sea Salt) crackers
Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
Fish of your Choice (also great for poultry)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the fish into a casserole dish, coat with Vegenaise and top with ground cracker mixture. Bake thoroughly. Serving sizes will vary

No Recipe Needed (Sometimes)
After much taste-testing, recipe-making and thinking, I realized that sometimes...just sometimes a recipe is not needed. Sometimes, you can just enjoy the chips- taste the chips, dip the chips or be really gross and do what NutriSon did and lick the salty taste off the chips prior to eating them (gag). I chose to make up a fast and easy pick platter of hummus, homemade guacamole and a neighbor's secret recipe barbecue sauce (curse you, Chris! I must have the recipe!!). So hubby & I got to munch on the Kale, Protein and the Chia chips.

Chips Vs. Crackers
I do have to say that if I had to choose, I prefer Luke's Organics line of chips over their crackers. I'm siked that they are all gluten free and contain heartier grains but, well, the crackers all kind of tasted a bit similar to me. But, on the flip side, I would definitely use their crackers for items like breading, mix-in's, etc.

Now their chips on the other hand- loved! To give you a heads-up, here are my first impressions of each chip variety (in case you tend to lean toward a particular type). Please note that descriptions are merely my interpretation of how they taste. Chip tastes my vary due to opposing taste buds.

~Ancient Grain Multi Grain & Seed- Hearty, crunchy and just a tad of salt
~Kale Multi Grain & Seed- Tastes just like any usual tortilla chip but no bitterness from the kale ~Protein Blue Corn & Red Lentil Multi Grain & Seed- Hearty, a bit of a slight smokey flavor ~SuperFood  Sweet Potato, Hemp & Buckwheat Multi Grain & Seed- Not much of a sweet potato taste but still good and hearty
~Brown Rice Chips Himalayan Pink Sea Salt- Salty, almost a nutty flavor
~Cha-Cha-Cha Chia Seed Multi Grain & Seed- Similar to a "Frito" kind of taste

I so appreciate that a company like Luke's Organic is out there for our communities. They are free of peanut, tree nut, soy, gluten, GMO's and as you can see from all of their information on their website, they are passionate about keeping their products healthy for us. Please make sure you visit all of their media sites to see what else they are up to & please let them know that Nutrimom sent you (sharing is caring!).

*No compensation was received for this review other than the products themselves as my reviews are always honest.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

SunButter Surprise Krispy Treats

Do you remember what is was like before food allergies? Driving to the store, choosing your favorite chocolate bar that was absolutely not good for you but you still had to have one? I do. My favorite was Twix...drooling. That chocolatey, crunchy caramelly bar. Can I still go and get one- yes but I know it's not safe for my son and I know that ultimately, I will feel like crap after I eat it. My answer to these situations is to limit my forbidden treats but every once in awhile, I find a recipe or make a recipe that tastes very close to that beloved snack so that I don't have to worry about cheating or not cheating. Sometimes. I can have my candy and eat it too.

This morning, I started out trying to make one type of recipe and it turned out to be something else but better. This crispy treat (to our family) tastes almost like a Twix bar. But even better than that, it's easy to make (even for me..remember, I suck at making crispy treats..see HERE). Easy, allergy-friendly and may I say, slightly addictive? May I happily present my recipe for SunButter Surprise Crispy Treats

SunButter Surprise Crispy Treats
Winona Pure Oil SunButter Spray
5-6 Tablespoons butter, butter alternative or Winona  Pure Popcorn Butter Spray
6 Cups mini marshmallows (can use Dandees)
5-6 Teaspoons SunButter of your choice (I used Natural)
3 Cups Enjoy Life Foods Double Chocolate Crunch Granola

Spray a casserole dish with the spray oil and set aside.

In a large pot over medium-low heat, add the butter (or butter, spray alternatives) and mini marshmallows. Stir frequently until melted to prevent burning and sticking. Remove from the heat and add the SunButter. Mix in the Double Chocolate Crunch Granola and mix well.

Using a plastic spatula, pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Cool completely before slicing (or, eat them directly out of the pot using care as not to burn yourself in the process).

Serving sizes vary.