Archive for August, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Donut Muffins {dairy free, egg free}

This afternoon I found out from my daughter’s Sunday School teacher that the class is having donuts and orange juice in class tomorrow to celebrate the last Sunday of the summer schedule. I’m thankful for those who teach my daughter at church and care about her spiritual well-being, as well as, her food-allergy needs (i.e. letting me know ahead of time about special snacks). I just happened to be going through recipes looking for some good ones I could convert to allergy-free when I got the message and I came across this one. It is already a vegan recipe so I only changed a couple things to make it exactly how I wanted it. If you’re interested in more allergy-friendly or vegan donut recipes click here and here. I picked this one because it involves chocolate is quick and easy to make, and will be easy to store. It’s also great for portion control and it’s portable!

Vegan Chocolate Donut Muffins (Egg Free Dairy Free)

Makes 11-12 regular donut muffins, or 20-24 mini donut
muffins (mini muffins pictured above)

2/3 cup sugar
1 T ground flax seed + 3 T water (mix together)
1 T cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup almond milk  OR soy milk OR coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup
powdered sugar (confectioners)

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a muffin tin with cooking spray or vegetable oil. (Do not be tempted to use liners – the point of doing these directly in the muffin tin is to have them pop out and be able to get sugar to stick to the sides without the addition of butter)

In a large bowl, beat together sugar and ground flax seed mixture until well incorporated. Add 1 T cornstarch, mix well. Pour in vegetable oil, almond milk and vanilla extract. Mix to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Pour into wet mixture and stir to combine.  Stir gently.

Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups or 24 mini muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

While muffins are baking, pour confectioners sugar into a small bowl.

When muffins are done, allow them to cool for about 15 minutes.  Pop them out of the pan and then roll them in confectioners sugar, coating all the sides until it is completely covered.  Repeat until all muffins are done.

*I just finished making these and they are very good! Almost no difference from a chocolate cake donut hole. YUM! Can’t wait for my girl to try these in the morning!*

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August 27, 2011 at 10:10 pm 1 comment

Chocolate Waffles {Dairy-free, Egg-free, Peanut-free}

By now I’m sure you know we like to eat waffles in this house. {I posted about them here and here.} But last night, when I realized I once again forgot to take the meat out of the freezer for dinner, I had to use a backup plan. Waffles! Homemade waffles are so yummy and the perfect texture, but I wanted to try a different variety, so I made chocolate waffles. Now, before you go getting all excited on me, I have to say these are pretty healthy waffles {minus the syrup!}. They were even better served with turkey bacon, fruit and an omelet {for those not allergic to eggs}.

Chocolate Waffles {dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free}

Follow the directions on the Bisquick box for waffles. Instead of egg, add 2 T of ground flax seed {brain food}, 1 T baking soda, 2 T cocoa powder, 1 T cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla, and then add almond milk {or soy milk/rice milk} instead of cow’s milk. Spray the waffle iron with Pam and load it up.

My oldest said these taste like the whoopie pies {minus the cream and sugar} I posted about here. And she was right. These would be good as dessert with ice cream, too!

Don’t forget to sign up for the giveaway I posted yesterday! It ends Sunday!

August 26, 2011 at 10:23 am Leave a comment

100th Post & Our 1st Giveaway

This GIVEAWAY has ended. CONGRATS to SARAH!

When I started writing this blog, I did it because I wanted to document the things I was learning about food allergies so that as my daughter gets older she can use this as a reference and also find some of her favorite recipes that are free of dairy, egg and peanuts. But I also wanted to write the blog because I found it very hard to find info from real, live people about living this life with food allergies. It would have been a tremendous help to me to read someone’s own online journal of what they’ve experienced as a result of food allergies, but I just couldn’t find one. My goal for this blog is to help those of you who are walking this road and encourage you that you are not alone. I hope to be more faithful in blogging and finding more useful information, tips, and recipes to help you along your journey. If there is anything specific you’d like to know more about, let me know!

Last year, my daughter was re-tested for her specific allergies {I wrote about that here.} and found out she still had all of them. While that was not exactly what I wanted to hear, we learned that none of hers are now considered life-threatening. I was glad to hear that, but also very skeptical. I was told that it was up to me whether to carry EpiPens or not now that they were not life-threatening and for months I thought about whether I should or not. I still hadn’t made my mind up until yesterday when I read about two kids that died just in the past week from food allergies. One was 16 and ate something that didn’t have peanuts in it, but he was unaware that it has been processed around peanuts. That one bite took his life. Until then, he had never had an allergic reaction, even though he was aware of his allergy. That settled it for me. The fact is you just never know when a severe allergic reaction will occur. One exposure may be mild and then the next time it could be the last time. Food allergies are very serious on every level. They cannot be taken lightly. When I read that article about this boy, I cried my heart out for that family. I cannot imagine living through this kind of loss. Their situation was purely accidental and no one ever imagined this kind of reaction would have taken place. So, today I had the pediatrician refill my daughter’s EpiPen Jr. prescription. Our deductible is very high, so it was all out of pocket expense and I nearly choked when I found out it was $170. No matter what the cost, though, I have to realize this is a small price to pay for saving my daughter’s life if it comes down to it. EpiPens are like a life insurance policy. Don’t leave home without yours. It isn’t worth the risk.

So, to celebrate 100 posts on my allergy blog I am giving away personalized food allergy labels!

You can choose between 6 – 3 inch round labels, 12 – 2.5 inch round labels, OR 20 – 2 inch round labels! These are very cute and the colors make them stand out and be noticed {which is the whole point anyway!}.  If you decide you can’t wait to have some, you can go here and purchase your own.

Giveaway Facts:

Starts NOW and ends Sunday 8/28/11 at midnight (EST). Winner will be chosen at random through Random.com. And I will announce the winner Monday, 8/29/11. Winner will have 48 hours to respond or I will have to choose someone else.

To Enter:

Leave a comment telling what you specific allergy topic you would like to know more about OR leave a favorite tip for the rest of us.

Extra Entries:

Post the giveaway on Facebook OR blog about it and leave a comment telling you did. (1 entry for each)

If you link your comment to your blog, I will contact you that way. Otherwise, please leave your email address in the comment so that I have a way to contact you if you win!

Good luck and THANKS for stopping by!

August 25, 2011 at 11:48 am 4 comments

Back to School: The Parent/School Relationship

Sending your food-allergic child to school can be a bit scary. We wonder if our child will be able to handle the whole food issue when we aren’t there to protect them and read labels. We pray that the teachers will be as concerned as we are and realize this is a serious issue in an emotional way just as much as it is physical. Tons of questions and ‘what-if’s’ flood our minds and sometimes finding the right balance between concern and worry can be tricky. But one place that balance is absolutely necessary is in the parent/school relationship. I thought I’d write a few things I’ve learned by doing and maybe they will help some of you to cultivate a healthy relationship and open communication between you and your child’s school.

  1. Be proactive. Before your child starts school, find out their policy on food allergies, epipens and benadryl. Talk to the nurse. And as soon as you know who your child’s teacher is, get to know her. Make an info sheet about your child’s allergies explaining what she’s allergic to, what a reaction looks like, what to do if a reaction occurs {or if your child is exposed to an allergen}. Put emergency numbers on the sheet, as well as, a picture of your child’s face. That way any substitute teacher or helper will know exactly who your child is. A good print out for this type of form can be found here. You’ll also find other helpful forms there related to food allergies and school.
  2. Be the Room Mom. At our school, every class has a designated Room Mom. The duties include overseeing parties and special events in the class {which always involve food} and doing other things to help the teacher out. I signed up to be my daughter’s Room Mom this year so that I can be directly involved in that. I have time to help out and I want to be there as much as possible when there’s food planning. When I’m planning the food, I can control what foods are offered to an extent. It’s a perfect scenario.
  3. Pick your Battles. There will most likely be issues that arise that are out of your control. Unfortunately, we cannot protect our kids from feeling left out when the whole class is enjoying a yummy-looking snack that we weren’t aware of. The teacher may not remember to give you a head’s up when something involving food is coming up. Some things we just can’t help and we have to let our kids learn to adjust and grow through these issues without us. They will be stronger for it in the long run. But there will be issues that must be addressed. So, when that happens, go in with the right spirit and non-accusatory attitude. Remember: Kindness matters. We are totally invested in our children and it’s easy to get offended or offend when an issue with our child arises. Just keep your cool and try to look at it from every vantage point. The right attitude is key here to keeping a good relationship with your school and teachers.
  4. Offer solutions. If there is a craft or art project {or anything} involving an allergen {i.e. milk cartons, hand soap with milk in it, etc.} be ready to offer a solution such as, ‘Can we use empty water jugs instead of milk cartons? or Can I provide the handsoap for the class? or Can I come in and check out the supply of hand soap brought in to be sure it’s safe for my child? Don’t just tell the teacher there’s a problem. Have a solution. Afterall, we are the ones with a heightened sense of awareness about allergens, not them. As much as they care for our children, they are still able to overlook things that we would immediately notice.
  5. Say Thank You. When things go right, when the teacher takes special measures to keep your child safe, say thank you. When a staff member, teacher or helper goes out of their way to make your child feel special, say Thank You! Recognize their efforts. Send flowers or a card. Do anything to let them know you really appreciate what they are doing for your child {and for your peace of mind} because they are really having to make an effort to remember. What’s second nature to me, is often a difficult and stressful thing for the teacher who is not constantly reading labels and scanning the environment for unsafe allergens. A small thank you goes a long way.

I hope these are helpful tips. I would love to hear some of your tips. If you have some, leave a comment for the rest of us!

August 23, 2011 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

Buying Allergy-Free Foods

Occasionally I come across a new allergy-free food find that I haven’t heard of previously or I didn’t know my store was selling. When that happens, I am so excited {especially when the price is right!}. And today, I sort of hit the jackpot. I normally shop at Publix {because I totally heart Publix’s BOGO sales and their friendly staff}, but I decided to head to a local grocery bargain store for some bread and while I was there, I found allergy-free waffles! Van’s Natural Foods is the brand and I had never heard of them before today. There are 6 in a box, so I bought 4 boxes today for $1 each. I’m going back to buy more for the deep freezer. I have been looking for a good frozen waffle that my girl can have and now I finally have it! She will be thankful for a little more variety at breakfast. {I make a homemade allergy-free waffle, but sometimes convenience is so much more appealing!}

I also found breaded chicken tenderloins by Allergy-Free Foods Company. They make products free of the 8 most common allergens {wheat/gluten, milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, soy}. Again, another company I had never before heard of! I got this bag of tenderloins for $2.95. I can get some Tyson frozen breaded chicken products, but they still contain wheat. When I can get it completely allergy-free, that’s what I prefer.

What kind of deals have you found lately? What allergy-free brands do you love to buy? And where do you buy them?

August 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm 1 comment

Back to School

Sorry for the absence from the blog lately. My girls started school last week and I have been busy getting back into the whole routine of school in general and then adding to that the adventure of introducing my child’s food allergies to her new teachers at her new school. My brain was on overload last week, but I’m back and hope to post a few new things this week!

We started the school year off with a student in my daughter’s class bringing cupcakes for his birthday. To say I wasn’t prepared for that is an understatement. Thankfully, her teacher called me the night before and warned me so that I had time to get her an alternative special treat. I didn’t have time to make allergy-free cupcakes, so I checked with my girl and she said Tofutti brand Ice Cream sandwiches would be fine with her. (Thankfully, her class has a full-sized refrigerator and I can store snacks like that there.) It is hard for me to see her have to cope with being so cautious all the time about food, but God has given her an extra measure of grace to handle it. She amazes me. At almost 6 years old, she handles it extremely well and that makes me proud. I know that it is hard for her to always have a different snack than everyone else and she even declined a snack her second day just because she didn’t want to be different from everyone else. I had to choke back tears when she told me that, but it gave me the opportunity to explain to her that God made her very special. Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works and that my soul knoweth right well.” The fact is God doesn’t make mistakes. Every person has something they have to deal with, hers just happens to be food allergies. But everything God allows in our lives is just a learning experience in our path to becoming more like Him. Through food allergies, “C” has experienced God’s protection many times and she has experienced God’s love and comfort when the day has been emotionally tough. It’s hard to be thankful for something that is so dangerous and scary, but the lessons we have learned from living with food allergies have been {and continue to be} good and for that we can be thankful.

We are also very thankful for our girls’ teachers this year. I hope all of you have great teachers who are willing to communicate with you and work with your child’s food allergies. I pray they will have great compassion for your child, as well. Good luck with a new year!

August 21, 2011 at 8:40 pm 1 comment

No-Bake Granola Bars {dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free}

I found these the other day while searching my new favorite website Pinterest. These will be great for lunchboxes, after-school snacks or even breakfast on the go. And healthy, too! I am on a mission to provide my children with brain-food for breakfast on school days and this recipe below should do just that. I adapted it a smidge from here and it’s gonna be a good one!

photo from fooddoodles.com

No-Bake Granola Bars {dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free}

Makes 12

  • 2 large overripe bananas
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup crunchy cereal (I’d use rice krispies)
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup(or any other sweetener you use – I use Agave Nectar)
  • 2 tbsp soy butter
  • 2 tbsp vegan chocolate chips (I use 365 Whole Foods brand)
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries or other fruit (I will leave this out)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed {brain power!}
  • 2 – 4 tsp cocoa powder

Line a muffin pan with paper liners, or use a silicone muffin pan for easy removal.  Mash the bananas.  Add wet ingredients and cocoa powder and mix well.  Add all other ingredients, mix well then press into prepared muffin tin.  Freeze at least 60 minutes before serving. Freeze them overnight and throw one or two in the lunchbox before school. By the time lunchtime comes around, they will be perfect for eating!

August 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm 3 comments

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