Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Food Allergies are Contagious

NutriSon will be 14 this year- gasp!!! Dabbing eyes, feeling short and old(er). I am so very proud that he takes everything in stride and although he chooses to stay on the quieter side of how he deals with his food allergies, I feel that this entire journey has been a new opportunity for us to speak out. I can truly say that food allergies have changed out family's life for the better- a blessing in disguise. And although many people may not agree, I know this entire process has taught all of us how to examine our foods on so many levels that we never would have.

What I find comical is sitting back, listening to some of the situations that come up in every day conversation with myself or my children. This is true for any family but I often catch myself giggling so I wanted to share some of it with all of you. After all- laughter is a necessity so if our family can stir up one giggle for you, we have helped in some way. So, in no particular order, I share with all of you how food allergies can be contagious (in a good way):

  • Your children have a 20 minute conversation about a movie scene, debating if they washed their hands before they began making a pie
  • Your favorite aisle in the food store is the kitchen gadgets aisle
  • You get excited when you see one of those same, expensive kitchen gadgets at the dollar store
  • Your daughter instinctively finishes the Subway commercials that say "Eat fresh" with a prompt "yoga mats"
  • Your children won't speak to you because they found out once upon a time, you ate McDonald's chicken nuggets as a child (hey, go yell at Grandma for that one)
  • Your family watched an episode of Master Chef Jr. and asks why they don't have an allergy-friendly version of the show
  • Your daughter asks why the open barrel of peanuts has to be next to all of the produce
  • Your non-allergic child can explain what "carmine" is
  • If you already know what "carmine" is (how many of you are Googling it right now? Comment)  :)
  • When discovering there is a chocolate shortage, your children immediately ask if it will effect any of the Enjoy Life Foods products
  • The discovery of the chocolate shortage leads to a new conversation about whether or not it's dairy free chocolate or all chocolate
  • Your children walk down the cereal aisle and when they see the new and improved sugary cereals, their response is "How many GMO's do you think are in that?!"
  • Your child refuses to allow her friend to use a certain type of SunButter because it's not her favorite variety 
  • When Grandma gets mad because her grandchildren will only use Vegenaise
  • Your child comes home in a bad mood and explains that her friend had no protein in her lunch and why can't she just understand that it's so important to eat it
  • An allergy-free expo is now a mini family vacation
  • The kids are reminding the teachers at school that there is a zero copay card for the EpiPen refills

How many of these do you identify with? Share your family's allergy funnies below- Nutrimom loves a good family share <3 

Have YOU visited a Pure Room yet?
Click  here to watch my video review
This article was sponsored by my friends at PureRoom.com - certified pure air solutions for your home and beyond~ 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Epi App Has Upped it's Game

Last March, I was excited to share the news about the free app called My EpiPlan and all of the wonderful details that the app provides. (click here to read) I mean, what could be better than a free app that not only keeps track of your EpiPen information but also has a step-by-step training video and multiple other learning benefits right at the touch of your finger? Obviously, as helpful as the app was when it was new last year, the peeps at Mylan (marketer/distributor of EpiPen) have shown me that even great things can be improved. Ladies and gentleman, I share with all of you, the new and improved My EpiPlan app.

So What's all The APPiness about? In addition to the original app benefits, My EpiPlan app also has:
- The ability to digitally sync profiles between epipen.com and the My EpiPlan app
- The ability to create unlimited custom Allergen Profiles and Device (EpiPen) Profiles
- Access to the latest copay Savings Card offer right from your phone (hey, does this mean it might be continued?! That would be uber-awesome, just saying..nudge, nudge)
- Custom reminder settings that let users choose in-app, push and/or email notifications
- A new library of concise, actionable tips to help tweens, teen and young adults with food allergies navigate tricky situations, including school cafeterias and dining halls, class trips and extended travel as well as living away from home for the first time
- Recipes! I do admit, this is selfishly my favorite because my recipe for Pretzel Hummus Chicken can be found among a bunch of other delicious, allergy-friendly recipes.
Need the recipe? Just click! 

APParently, it's Great for Everyone Just a reminder (because all of us have brain fog sometimes and just cannot think of everything) this app is useful for everyone, not just those with food allergies. My EpiPlan app can be a great resource for parents, caretakers, babysitters, school staff- basically anyone whose lives are touched by food allergies in some way.

Ready to get the app? My EpiPlan app can be downloaded/updated by visiting the iTunes/Google Play app stores. You can also get more information about it by visiting epipen.com.

In the world of food allergies, time is of the essence, always. It's been said over and over again but truly, moments can be crucial- what better safety than to have (both) two EpiPens at all times and the My EpiPlan app to help you navigate through the rest of what you may need exactly when you need it.

As always, our family appreciates Mylan for continuing to help our food allergy community out <3

Photos (other than my recipe) courtesy of Mylan

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Enjoy Life Foods Mix Up

Since I began blogging in 2008, I have had the enjoyable added bonus of being approached to post product reviews. This means a company asks me to try their product, I do and I get to play with their foods, literally. And, I am always honest because my word is an extension of what I do and I fully stand up to that. The fun part is that writing these reviews will often make my blogger brain turn on and instantly go crazed to try to find something, anything that I can do with allergy-friendly products that the average consumer may not even think of doing. This is important since so many of us already feel limited by our foods when dealing with the journey of food allergies. I am here to tell you that mixing up your foods can be fun, easy and still be allergy-friendly. What do I consider the positives? There are a few:

I get to try new products, sometimes before they are available in stores (yay!) This time around, I was sent a box of Enjoy Life Foods newest baking mixes (and they also included a #KitchenGeek gift for me too). And not just 1 but all 5! Brownie Mix, Pancake & Waffle MixMuffin MixPizza Crust Mix and All-Purpose Flour. Now, these may all look innocent and you may be wondering why these are any different from other brands on the market. Not only are they still free of the eight most common allergens but they also contain (drum roll please.....) shelf-stable probiotics. You know- probiotics. The stuff that everyone has been talking about but doesn't really understand why we truly need it or how to incorporate it into our diets to stay healthier. Ok, so probiotics are basically like your digestive systems buddy. More and more research is proving that our bodies react to the foods that we eat so it makes sense that keeping your gut healthy will also keep the rest of your body functioning properly. By adding the probiotics directly into these mixes, Enjoy Life Foods has now taken away the fears of "How will I know which probiotics are safe to use?"* or "I can't get my kids to use those!". Bravo E.L.F. peeps- this is a winner for NutriFamily.

I get to compare my older recipes (here) to my newer recipes and continue to be inspired When I began posting product reviews, I (tried) to showcase the products well...my beginning pictures are a bit scary. Then I began to consult and tell my clients about how to look at the foods that they can have, to rethink how they are using them and I began to incorporate these ideas into my product review recipes as well. Why not? If I can share a recipe and make someone feel good about the products they are using, it's worth it. So, of course, I felt compelled to see what I could do with these baking mixes too!

Brownie Power Bars
A no-bake recipe that I tweaked from my lovely friend Michelle

1 Cup SunButter
3 Tablespoons raw honey
1 1/4 Cups Enjoy Life Foods Brownie Mix
2 Cups Enjoy Life Foods Crunchy Rice Cereal(for added benefits, use their Crunchy Flax, Crunchy Flax with Chia or a combination)
1/2 Tablespoon Oil (I recommend Winona Pure) OR True Solution Protein Shakes

Using a large pot, combine the SunButter and honey on low heat until blended and smooth. Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients. Press into a 9x13 parchment-lined pan. Cool completely before slicing.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator (especially if you add dairy as they will mold without proper cool storage and that is not healthy for your gut!)

Serving sizes vary

Bitty Buffets
You have leftovers, you have places to go & people to see so multi-task your foods

2 Cups Enjoy Life Foods Pancake & Waffle Mix
3 Tablespoons of oil
2 Cups water
1 Cup cooked, ground sausage (or other meat)
2 Cups cooked, diced potatoes (I used Alexia Foods Oven Fries)
1/2 Teaspoon onion powder
1/2 Tablespoon sea salt
Optional add-ins: pureed greens, cheese

Preheat an electric griddle to 325 degrees OR medium heat for stove top pan (do not grease it).

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Spoon preferred size onto the griddle and cook until bubbly, flipping once. Cook until golden brown. Store in an airtight refrigerator or freeze for future fast meals.

Serving sizes vary.

Party Bread
A delicious way to have more bread options

Enjoy Life Foods Muffin Mix
Optional: leftover pureed fruit, chocolate chips

Blueberry & SunButter, Strawberry/Pineapple &
So Delicious Coco Whip and Chocolate chip/SunButter & Banana
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare the muffin mix as directed on the box.

Line a muffin tin with parchment baking cups (I use IfYouCare because they work very well with allergy-friendly items and don't require any spraying).  Spoon ONLY 1 tablespoon of prepared batter into each cup. If adding pureed fruit, add 1 teaspoon onto the top of each filled cup and swirl with a toothpick.

Bake at 350 degrees as directed on the box approximately 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and store in the refrigerator. Eat alone or use them for small sandwiches.

Pizza Roll Ups
When is pizza not a pizza? When it's rolled up!

Enjoy Life Foods Pizza Crust Mix
Winona Pure spray oil (utilize different oils!)
Waxed Paper
Tin Foil

Optional (Dinner): Sauce, cheese, Applegate pepperoni, taco meat, garlic powder & spices

Optional (Dessert): So Delicious Coco Whip, fruit, chocolate chips, cinnamon & sugar mixture, sprinkles or my dairy free cream filling.

I am a visual learner. If you are too, simply click below to watch my tutorial

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and prepare the mix as directed.

  • Cut a piece of paper the length of the roll up that you would like to have. 
  • Cut a piece of tin foil that is double that length and a bit shorter on the sides. 
  • Place the paper onto the tin foil, then fold the foil in half. 
  • Roll into a small tube, leaving the width of your pinky on the ends. 
  • Make two cuts on each end, folding the foil inward (use caution as foil can be sharp)
  • Spray generously with oil to prevent the dough from sticking. This is a step that I realized I forgot to mention until later in the video and I wasn't about to redo the entire video (hey, a blogger gets tired too!)
  • Take prepared dough (a bit larger than golf ball size) and flatten it on a piece of waxed paper
  • Roll flattened dough around the oil-coated foil tube, making sure the ends of the foil tube are exposed
  • Spray with oil, add spices (or other options for dessert variety) 
  • Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for approximately 10 minutes
  • Allow to cool before removing the foil gently
  • Fill with desired ingredients. 
Store remaining pizza roll ups in an airtight container or freeze and thaw for later use.
(Hey Nutrimom, how do I fill the dessert roll ups?! Easy! Fill (either) a pastry bag or an empty large- mouthed condiment bottle with your choice of whipped filling).  

Edible Photo Frames
Perfect for party favors, back-to-school lunch surprises or just to let your family know that you love them
1 (4 oz) Applesauce
1 Cup raw honey
2 Teaspoons Ener-G Powdered Egg Replacer 
1/2 Cup shortening (I used Spectrum)
1 Box Enjoy Life Foods All-Purpose Baking Mix
2 Teaspoons baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder (I used Hains Gluten Free)
1 1/2 Teaspoons vanilla
Optional: Sugar, sprinkles, colored sugar
Chocolate & Oil (for melting)
Frame Stacking Options: half of a mini marshmallow, Surf Sweets Sour Gummy Worms (cut lengthwise), Glutino pretzels or Enjoy Life Foods Chewy Bars or Decadent Bars.

Make the Frame In a large bowl, combine the first four ingredients with an electric blender. Slowly add the baking mix, little by little, and stirring gently. Add the baking soda, baking powder and vanilla, scraping the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm the dough up.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place some of the prepared dough directly onto the lined baking sheet (This dough is too soft to shape and transfer), flatten and cut into a square. You will want to make sure you pair up two squares approximately the same size to make the frame. Using a knife, cut away the inside of one of the square (for the top frame). Sprinkle with optional toppings on cut out square. Bake until browned (about 10 minutes). Cool completely on a wire rack.

Assemble the Frame Precut your choice of stacking options before assembling as the chocolate will harden too fast. You want to choose items that will allow enough room to insert a picture between the cookies but not so much that it will slide out easily.

Once the cookie frame pieces are cool, melt chocolate chips and add a squirt of spray oil. Coat the flat side of the complete square with melted chocolate. Line 3 of the 4 side with stacking options. Use more melted chocolate on the bottom side of the open square as a "glue" and place on top of the bottom square to complete the photo frame. Make sure you leave the top open to insert a photo. Cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

I get to see how our foods transform right in front of us I have to say that this is one of the exciting parts of what I do. Over the years, I have used a lot of different allergy-friendly products and I am happy to report that manufacturers are listening to what we are asking for. The Enjoy Life Foods baking mixes are a step up from others and as a mom who doesn't always have the time to tweak every single recipe, I appreciate the fact that the mixes require minimal ingredients to prepare (especially with multiple food allergies), they work well with dairy free substitutions and the end result is light, fluffy and moist.

Ready to Get Some & Try it? The baking mixes are just now beginning to hit the stores so be patient and ask if your local store will carry them for you (I have a personal preference of being able to go get it as needed). In the meantime, you can also order online at http://enjoylifefoods.com/. Please be sure and check their Facebook and Twitter pages for promotions, coupons, events and news (hey, saving is saving and you all know this blogger loves coupons!).

As always, special thanks to Enjoy Life Foods for sending me the products to try out. I am honored to be included as one of your Preferred Bloggers

*Because anyone can be allergic to anything and everyone's allergies are different, please check the ingredients and research prior to use to ensure these products will be safe for you to use.