Please read, before reading

I am saddened by the comments on this blog that often take a judgmental turn. The information is intended to be just that -- information. You need to make your own decisions for your life and be accountable for your actions. I debated closing the blog, but feel there are many valuable items listed for families struggling with food allergies, especially early on.

If you need further information please contact a doctor. If you need to verify a product's ingredients, please look at current labels and contact the company yourself. Note many posts are several years old. Use your best judgment and do not make up comments to scare people.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Food Allergy Books

Here are two great books to use to help explain food allergies to kids.

The Buggabees: Friends with Food Allergies, by Amy Recob

I really like that this story discusses the eight most common food allergies: milk, peanut, tree nuts, fish, wheat, soy, shellfish, and egg.   It's important for children to learn that they have allergies and that other children do, too. The illustration is really fun and interesting.  Highly recommend!

Allie the Allergic Elephant: A Children's Story about Peanut Alleriges, by Nicole Smith.
This story only focuses on the peanut allergies.  I like that it shows the allergic reactions.  It really makes it simple for kids to understand in a fun way.  Highly recommend!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Dill Dip

"We could feed this to other people!"

That's the comment I made after we tried this.  So many times dairy-free come with an odd taste to those of us who are so used to eating dairy.  But this I am convinced I could put out at a party and no one would know it was dairy-free.

I was just experimenting with this so my initial recipe is not exact. I was making just a single serving for my daughter, so it was just a little of this and a little of that.  But I hate when people share recipes that aren't exact, so I am also including the proportions from my veggie pizza recipe that should helpful.  You can always adjust it to your taste.

Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Dill Dip
(single serving)

Equal parts Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese and Tofutti Better than Sour Cream (I used 1 Tbsp of each)
dash garlic powder
dash dill weed

1. Mix Better than Cream Cheese and Better than Sour Cream together until smooth.
2. Add garlic powder and dill weed.
3. Use a veggie dip or spread on crackers.

*I typically add more dill weed than garlic powder*

More exact measurements for Dairy-Free Dill Dip
(taken from my veggie pizza recipe)

1/2 cup Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Tofutti  Better than Sour Cream
1 tsp dill weed
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Check out more recipes at the Grocery Cart Challenge!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Testing Plan

Do you do challenge tests at home?  We do for dairy.  Not for peanut.  We've been holding off for some time because we have moved and it's just nerve racking to give her something and wait for a reaction.  Since her reaction is typically hives from dairy, we feel comfortable doing it at home.  Normally we just give her some icing that I make with milk and powdered sugar.  It's the only way I can think to give it to her so she'll actually eat it.

Here's our plan for our next round of control test for our daughter is just about 2 1/2.

What we know she's okay with:

  • Most baked goods such as cookies, bread, muffins, pancakes, waffles, cake
  • Cool Whip (crazy but true)
What we plan to test.
  • Chicken pot pie that I make from scratch with milk.  It will only have one milk product and will let us know if she can have milk in casseroles.  Boy wouldn't that be nice!
  • We'll do the icing test again a week or so after the chicken pot pie test. Dairy can stay in the system for up to 14 days.  I'll probably cut back on baked goods just before the tests. 
  • Depending on the results chicken pot pie, we'll have her try a casserole with a cream soup.
If we see negative results on any of these we will then decide what to do next.  Last time we tested her with icing at 2, she didn't react until after 10 minutes.  Normally, the reaction had occurred at 5 minutes.  I've also notice that he dirty diapers have been much more solid lately.  That's got to be a good sign, I hope...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tastes like Benadryl

Oh my!

Having a child allergic to milk has had me evaluate foods to give her.  I didn't give her fruit snacks until she was almost 2-year-old. She ate smarties candy for the first time this Halloween.   She just tried dairy-free ice cream a couple weeks ago.  Because we have had to eliminate a food group, it just didn't make sense to introduce too many sweets.  Plus there are so many cross contaminants that I worry if allergens aren't listed on the label.  I prefer to make cookies and muffins for sweets.  Not to mention toddlers go through those picky phases, so whatever nutrition you can get in them is really important.

My 2 1/2-year-old daughter was given some suckers as a gift for Christmas.  Today she ate almost all her food for lunch (lunch tends to be the meal she eats the least amount).  So, I decided to give her one of the suckers.  She picked the cherry flavored one (not that she knew what she was picking). She ate it making her "yum" sounds.  As she was finishing it she proudly proclaimed that  "It tastes like Benadryl."  All I could do was laugh.  She hasn't even had a drop of Benadryl for months.  Out of the mouth of a child with food allergies.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting

This was the most delicious frosting for a cake that I've had in a long time.  My husband wanted carrot cake for his birthday cake.  My daughter helps me with baking and I knew she would want to eat his cake with us.  So, I tried to figure out a way to make a dairy-free cream cheese frosting that still would taste good.  Well, needless to say we all enjoyed it very much.  The carrot cake recipe, which I will include below does have egg, but has no dairy.  The cake was excellent, too.  Both recipes are for one small 9 inch cake.

Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting
(recipe found here)

4 oz Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
1/4 cup dairy-free margarine (I use Earth's Balance)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp lemon juice (freezing lemon juice tip here)

1. Mix Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese and margarine together.  I use my KitchenAid mixer to get it mix well.
2. Add powdered sugar slowly.  Add vanilla and lemon juice.

**This would be great for cupcakes**

Carrot Cake Recipe (Dairy-Free, not egg free)
(recipe found here)

2 eggs
1/2 cup and 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup grated carrots

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9 inch round cake pan.
2.  Mix eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl.
3. In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
4. Add flour mixture to egg mixture.
5. Fold in carrots.
6. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until down

**Double recipes for 13x 9 cake pan or two 9 inch cake pans**

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dairy-Free Ice Cream

Can't begin to tell you how excited I was the other day when I gave my daughter her first ice cream cone.  I know, I know she's almost 2 1/2 and not had an ice cream cone.  Main reason being that I didn't know until very recently that there was dairy-free ice cream.  I bought Purely Decadent Ice cream that truly was delicious. I accidentally found it at our local grocery store.  That made me extra happy because our grocery store is hands down cheaper than Whole Foods.

Purely Decadent Ice Cream is made of coconut milk, which I like because soy tends to be the alternative for everything non-dairy.  With some of the research I've read, it says to be cautious of coconut because it may soon be one of the top food allergies to look for.  My daughter seemed fine.  Me on the other hand, I had a slight swelling of the throat (I have food allergies to raw fruits and vegetables).  Go figure.  But it was so good.  I plan on serving it at her next birthday party.

Here's a link for coupons.  I also see this product with coupons on

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dairy-Free Puppy Chow

Here's the original recipe for Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddies.  Well, there are three ingredients there that my allergic daughter can't eat -- chocolate chips, peanut butter, butter.  But these treats are so good.  I found a solution to make this dairy-free and taste almost the same.

Dairy-Free Puppy Chow
(I halved the original recipe because it makes so much)

1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)
1/4 cup Soybutter (for detailed information go here and here)
2 Tbsp daiy-free butter (I use Earth's Balance)
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cups Rice Chex cereal
3/4 cup powdered sugar

1. Melt chocolate chips, soybutter and butter in microwave for 1 minute.
2. Add vanilla to melted mixture.
3. Pour Chex cereal in large bowl.
4. Pour chocolate mixture over chex mix. Gently stir to cover.
5. Pour into a gallon plastic bag with powdered sugar.  Shake until covered.
6. Put on wax paper to cool.
7. Store in air-tight containers.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Vegetable Stock - so easy

I am always shocked by the ingredients in certain items, such as stock.  So many broths or stocks are actually made with milk, not to mention a bunch of preservatives I can't pronounce.  I read a long time ago how to make vegetable stock and put it on my list to try.  I can't believe how easy and tasty it is.  I don't think there has to be any hard fast rule on this one.  I did read not to use too many cabbage products, such as broccoli and cauliflower because it might over power the stock.

Simply keep scraps from your veggies and put them in the freezer.  Samples of what I use are onions ends, potato peels, carrots, celery ends and leaves, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic (after using it in the press), sweet potato peels, avocado peel, green onion ends, corn, beans, etc.  Basically, any vegetable piece you might toss can be used. If you notice a vegetable going bad in the fridge put in your veggie stock stash.

I also add a couple bay leaves.

1. I use about 14 cups of water and about 3 cups of a variety of frozen vegetable scraps.  This can vary depending on what you like.
2, Bring water and vegetables to boil.  Boil for 2 hours.  It will reduce some.
3. Strain vegetables. Then it's ready to freeze or for cooking.

I store in 1 cup containers I bought from the Dollar store and put in freezer for up to a day.  Then I transfer the frozen stock to one ziplock bag.  That way I can take out a cup at a time.

I also store in a large glass jar (reuse an old mayo jar or another type) and freeze for soup.

Vegetable stock is great for soups, cooking rice, cooking potatoes, cooking couscous, boiling noodles, making gravy, and can be used as a good substitute for chicken or beef stock.

For more great "healthy" recipes check out Life as a Mom and the Grocery Cart Challenge.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Soybutter - Hooray!

I recently wanted to try Soybutter, but the sample request I made was with 50,000 other people.  So they didn't send the sample out due to cost.  I actually forgot all about it until I got an e-mail from the company stating that now samples would inccur a shipping charge.  Well, I figured I might as well just find it and try it for cost of the sample.

Soybutter is completely nut-free.  Listed here are the health benefits. And it tastes really (really) close to peanut butter.  I was so excited when I tried it because it's consistency is very close to peanut butter.  I now can make puppy chow, soybutter sandwiches, soybutter cookies and so many other fun recipes for our nut-allergic daughter.  I found it at Walmart under the Great Value label and it was just under $3.  I would have never figured out that I could buy it there unless I had done the research prior.  To find soybutter near you go here. To search a Walmart near you that may carry soybutter, go here.

Our daughter seemed to like her first bites. I put it on crackers.  No reaction (you never really know no matter how safe it says it is). I call it a success as she ate two whole crackers and licked some of the other crackers.  She also makes happy humming sounds when she eats something she likes and I heard those, too.

Our daughter does occasionally eat Sunbutter, but it's a hit and miss.  The jar we have has small sunflower seeds in it and I'm not sure she likes those.  It has a great flavor, too.  But not exactly like peanut butter and it is a little more oily than peanut butter or soybutter.
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