Friday, December 17, 2010

Dairy Free Hot Chocolate

With all this cold weather, it's just a matter of time that my son will be asking for some hot chocolate. Years ago, I "discovered" a great recipe. Ready!? Here it goes!

1 cup rice milk heated- either on the stovetop or via microwave
chocolate syrup-(most brands do not have any dairy in it, but Always check your labels for yourself).

Pour heated rice milk in a mug, add chocolate syrup to taste, stir! Voila, easy hot cocoa! Add a candycane for a little holiday fun!

Want to do away with the additives found in store bought syrup. Here is a great recipe to make your own. It's easy, go ahead try it :)

This recipe is from The Tightwad Gazette (go ahead and laugh at the name, my husband does until he realizes how much I save him!;) by Amy Dacyczyn.

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla
Mix cocoa and water in a saucepan. Heat and stir to dissolve the cocoa. Add the sugar then stir to dissolve. Boil for three minutes over medium heat. Be careful not to let it get too hot and boil over! Add the salt and the vanilla. Let cool. Pour into a clean glass jar and let cool. Yields 2 cups.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dairy/Egg free Chili Recipe

Brrr! I don't know how cold it is where you are but it is down right freezing here today! Thanks goodness for fireplaces(mine is gas logs) and some great chili to keep us warm! That's what's on the dairy/egg free menu for dinner tonight. Nothing like a great bowl of chili to warm you up! This is a recipe I modified from a cookbook my mom gave me called Cooking 101 by Sidney Brockman Carlisle. It's quick, easy and I get lots of compliments on it.

2 lbs ground beef (you can substitute one can of red kidney beans for 1 1b. of ground beef)
3 packets McCormicks mild chili mix (Always check the ingredients, as they can change!)
1/2 chopped onion
2(8oz.) cans of tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can of stewed tomatoes
1/2 jar of mild picante sauce (small jar)
2 cups of water

Brown, ground beef and onion until no longer pink. Drain off grease. Add everything else, mix thoroughly and let simmer on your stovetop, on low, for approximately 45 minutes. Don't forget to stir it now and then! Don't want to use McCormick's? Check out this recipe for making your own chili seasoning!
4 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. seasoned salt (I like Mrs. Dash)
4 tsp cumin
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Stay warm! :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Food Allergy Friendly Advent Calendars!

Well, Wednesday starts the official countdown until Christmas! I'm so excited! One tradition in our household has always been the use of an advent calendar. I usually buy a traditional, chocolate candy one, and give my oldest daughter the chocolate and I buy peppermints(the hard ones usually don't have milk or egg) for my son and they would take turns opening the little doors and then they each would get a piece of candy. Buying the calendar has slipped by me this year because I have moved and don't frequent the store I usually buy it from, but it has gotten me to thinking about other calendars! So, I went looking on the internet and here is what I found:

A cyber Christian Christmas Advent Calendar- This one is my favorite by far! You click on the link and scroll down to the calendar and click on the present for the day and it will have bible verses, activities, crafts, songs, etc. to do for that day. I checked out a couple of the days and everything is so doable. Meaning, easy to do! The recipes, however, are not dairy, egg free, but you could substitute your own. I, definitely, will be using some of the activities and verses with my kids. I love how it keeps your focus on Christ, the reason for the season.

Next, I love Allergy Mum's idea of a Lego Advent Calendar. You open the doors and your child can get a lego for the day and build things with them. My son would love this. You can check these out here!

Another take on the Lego calendar is one put out by Playmobil. Same idea as the Lego one. Each day contains a toy and all the toys are of the same theme. By the end of the month your child has a set to play with! Google Playmobile calendars and you will find a variety of themes to purchase!

I really like the advent calendar put out by L.L. Bean. It's a little pricey, but can be reused each year. It has little pockets you can fill with safe, allergy friendly, candies or small toys if you have a child. You can see it here !

Still yet another idea is make one of your own! There are many websites on the internet with how to instructions. You can use their plans or adapt them and make them uniquely yours. has some great ideas!
Looking for a traditional chocolate candy calendar? offers one that is dairy, egg, peanut, tree nut, and gluten free! They can be purchased here .
Whichever calendar you choose, or maybe you will choose not to use a calendar at all, make sure and keep the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, your main focus of celebration this month. And remember just because you, or your loved one, has allergies doesn't mean you can't have a thriving life!

Until next time!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving- How to make a Dairy Free/Egg Free Pie crust

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope everyone is going to have a great day! At our house we are gearing up for a casual, relaxed day of food and family.

Yesterday my, now seven year old, son helped me make our pies. He enjoys helping me cook, and tends to want to try new things easier when he does! We made our pie crusts from scratch yesterday using the above video, but substituting the butter they used with crisco and coconut oil. You could also use Earth Balance butter, or even all vegetable oil! I did not however chill the dough like they did in the video, I'm too impatient and I really didn't have the time. The pie crusts turned out great. I used to be really intimidated by "scratch" cooking. When I first got married I couldn't even boil water without burning it. The old joke was dinner was done when the smoke alarm went off! So, if someone like me can do it, you certainly can! Check out these links for some great, easy fillings!

Pumpkin Pie

Cherry Pie Sticks- by Speedbump Kitchen* fast and easy*!!

Apple Crumb Pie-by Food Allergy Mama

Have a great Turkey Day!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quick and Easy Dairy Free/Egg Free Soups

One of the things my family and I love to enjoy is some yummy soup. I don't know if any of you have checked soup labels at the store lately, but I've had a hard time finding any that are dairy and egg free. Worth eating, that is! Recently, I came across these soups and am so excited for two reasons. The first is that when I'm short on time(which is a lot these days) I can throw together a family favorite, soup and sandwiches! I actually do enjoy making a great soup on a cold, wintery day, but this is a great option for those days when cooking for hours is not realistic. Second, most of the soups I checked out on their website were dairy, egg, and gluten free (though not all). So my son can eat the same soup everyone else is eating, which is a bonus, in addition to another timesaver(I don't have to cook mulitple soups for everyone!). So, if you are looking for some fast and easy meal ideas check out the Imagine soups, they have sweet potato, tomato, tomato basil, creamy chicken, etc. Click here to check out their ingredients! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What to do with Food Allergies and the Holidays?

Holiday gatherings almost always center around food, folks, and fun, with a huge emphasis on food! That's great except when you or, one of your children, has food allergies. It can lead to some awkward times and hurt feelings. Since my main goal for my family is to live a thriving life, in spite of allergies, one thing I have to do is to plan ahead! This year Thanksgiving will be at my house, so the planning and meal prepping will all be done by my family, and we are getting more and more used to cooking dairy and egg free, all though we certainly haven't arrived! But eating over at someone else's can be no problem with a little planning ahead.
First, figure out your game plan. Where are you going? Grandma's? Cousin Eddie's? George's next door? How aware and adaptable are they in regards to food allergies? I ask because some people are more than accommodating and will be happy to include things that are "safe" for you or your little one to eat. And some people will look at you cluelessly when you even talk about allergies. You mean you can't have milk? Only not cow's milk? Is there another kind of milk? Get out, they can make milk from nuts, is that even real? And who would drink it? You know what I mean! Anyway, depending on the severity of the allergies, if the host/hostess is willing to cook something new, have a few recipes ready that you'd like to suggest. If your allergies are so severe and you don't want to risk a reaction from cross contamination, tell them your dilemma, and ask how they'd feel about you bringing your own food. Now I don't mean a full course meal for everyone, just pack what YOU would need to eat for the meal. Or if that would be too awkward, make up a couple of recipes for you to share with everyone. This not only ensures you will have something you know is safe for you to eat, but then you can also watch their surprised faces when you tell them that the delicious, creamy, pumpkin pie you made is, in fact, dairy/egg free. I actually had someone say to me once, at a gathering, "I thought when you said that dessert you made was dairy free and egg free it would probably mean taste free, too. I was really surprised to find out how good it really was!" It was good to get feedback from someone on a new recipe, and it also opened the door for me to talk about my son's food allergies, raising awareness about it.
With all that being said, remember the best laid plans can go awry. Something I try and do when we go to a gathering and I'm not sure how it will go, is bring snacks just, in case, there is nothing for my son to eat. Something quick and easy to grab and bring to gatherings are fruit and vegetable trays that are already prepared(discard the calorie laden, milk infested dips that are usually included, though), this also, always insures there is something he likes, that is safe to eat!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's for Dairy/Egg free Dinner?

As the cold weather approaches here in North Carolina I will be "firing" up the old crockpot more often for some great soups, chili's, and simply inviting meals that dish out comfort and bring back great memories. Here's something I made last night, that's simple, easy, and dairy/egg free!

Dairy/egg free Ham and Beans (I don't think this originally had dairy or egg in it, in case you were wondering!)

Ingredients needed:
1 pound of cubed ham
3 -15 ounce cans of chicken broth
1/2 chopped up onion
1 package of white northern beans(soaked overnight)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. each:

dried basil
ground red pepper
2 tsp. minced garlic
crock pot
O.k. soak the beans according to the package directions (mine said overnight was best).

In the morning add the beans, chicken broth, chopped ham(already cooked from the deli or lunchmeat section), and the rest into your crockpot, stir until mixed thoroughly. I cooked this on low for about 3 hours and then cranked it up to high for another 5 hours. I'm sure it would do fine if you set it on low for about 6- 8 hours. Crock pot times will vary. I let mine go that long because that's when I was ready to eat. Delicious! Serves up nicely with some Pillsbury crescent rolls, but cornbread would be o.k. too!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

enjoy life foods - our gluten free, soy free, dairy free, nut free, casein free chocolate bars :

enjoy life foods - our gluten free, soy free, dairy free, nut free, casein free chocolate bars :

O.k. with Halloween coming many of us will be looking for "trade-ins" for our children's halloween candy. A "trade-in" is when you trade candy that contains their allergens in for another safe item. There are many things you can keep on hand, homemade candy, stickers, etc. that will make nice "trades", I came across this coupon from Enjoy Life Foods for some allergy friendly chocolate bars (click the link above to get yours!). I know my son is going to be excited about these! So how about you? What do you and your families do about Halloween? Leave me a comment below!

For more ideas check out

To buy yours online check out . I haven't purchased from this site before, but I followed a link that Enjoy Life Foods had on their site and I'm assuming, from that, they are reputable! Just thought I'd include it in case their were others, like me, who live way out in the "boonies" and don't get to Whole Foods as often as they like!

Friday, October 15, 2010

iPhone Instant Food Allergy ALERTS!

The following is from

Ontario (May 11, 2010) – With food allergies reaching epidemic proportions around the globe, a new iPhone application launched today aims at offering long‐overdue relief and peace of mind to food allergy sufferers.

MyFoodFacts™ available today through the Apple App Store, is a first‐of‐its‐kind Smartphone application designed to help food allergy sufferers identify and shop for allergy‐free products. Using the iPhone camera, shoppers simply scan the UPC barcode to gain instant access to food label information. With a strict focus only on food allergies, MyFoodFacts™ provides food allergen sufferers with immediate food allergy alerts when allergy risks such as milk, wheat, fish, soy, shellfish, egg, peanuts, tree nuts and sesame seeds are found. With MyFoodFacts™ shoppers can:

•Scan barcodes in the supermarket aisle or in their cupboard
•Be immediately alerted to food allergies
•Easily read label ingredients on the iPhone
•Maintain a history of scanned items
•Personalize MyFoodFacts™ for specific food allergen alerts
•Be alerted to common food allergen derivatives
•Search for specialty food allergens

Friday, October 8, 2010

Studies Show Children Can Complete Treatment for Peanut Allergies and Achieve Long-Term Tolerance

Studies Show Children Can Complete Treatment for Peanut Allergies and Achieve Long-Term Tolerance

If you have food allergies, or a child with food allergies, than I know you will be just as excited as I am to read about this new study done by Duke University! While it is still too early to tell, this preliminary study has shown some success with giving minute doses of peanuts to someone who has a peanut allergy, gradually increasing the amount until some can handle, as much as, 15 peanuts a day! Check it out! It will be exciting to see more about this in the coming years!

Monday, October 4, 2010

For all you North Carolinians, on October 23rd, 2010 the Food Allergy and Anaphalaxis Network is having a walk in Raleigh, NC at Bond Park. Check-in time is 9 a.m. and the walk starts at 10 a.m. for more information click the link below. FAAN states they walk for several reasons:
We walk to find a cure for food allergies.
We walk to increase awareness of food allergy and the effect it has on a community.
We walk to provide understanding, hope, and an opportunity for a child with food allergy to simply be a child. We walk to save a life!
All funds raised will go to find a cure for food allergies! Don't live in North Carolina and still want to help? Click the link below to make a donation or check for a "walk" near you!

FAAN WALK in Raleigh, NC

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Encouraging Words

Yesterday something scary happened. My youngest has had a stuffy nose and a little bit of a cough. It all really started around Monday. Yesterday, she woke up, cheerfull as usual, ate and then started coughing, and coughing, and more coughing. She coughed so hard she could hardly get her breath. Off to the doctor we went. Our regular doctor is just around the corner and is so awesome. Anyway, a steriod, and one nebulizer machine later here we are. My suspicion, ragweed allergies. September is prime ragweed season and some other things that have happened are making me see the connection. She is too young, really to do anything about it, except keep indoors, journal her signs and symptoms, and wait and see. I say all that to say this, yesterday I was feeling really discouraged, one child with lots of allergies and now another, how am I to cope? Remembering the long road with my son and all the twists and turns and scares and now I'm going to have to navigate it again! Then I remembered I don't have to go it alone! I've never been in control of it all in the first place. While doing some research yesterday I came across this scripture on a website for allergies it's Mathew 4:23-And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. And it gave me great hope. I have seen God's mighty hand in my own life many, many times. He has provided many resources, doctors, support for us as a family in all manner of situations and I know that I can count on and trust He is in control here and that He has a good future and a hope for my little one and for me!(Jeremiah 29:11) If you are a parent of a child with allergies or you, yourself have allergies, take heart and be encouraged by these words, I am!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Substitutes for Peanut Butter

I was in the grocery store the other day, doing my bi-monthly shopping, and something on the end cap in the freezer aisle caught my attention. It was a line of food by a company named Full Circle. In the display they had something I had never seen before and that was sunflower butter! I was so excited. Almost, since the beginning of discovering my son's food allergies, peanut butter has been a staple in our home. Lately, I've been concerned about him consuming too much peanut butter and possibly causing another allergy and I was thinking about what I can use to switch things up? I knew about almond butter, but my son is not a big fan of it. So I picked some sunflower butter up and had the family try it out. It was good, I would definitely eat it, instead of peanut butter. My oldest daughter agrees, and even ate some for a snack.

Well, I did a little research on sunflower butter and it is the one butter that is close in taste to peanut butter. In case you didn't already know nut butters are a great source of protein and healthy fats, and almond's especially are a good source of calcium. Two things that children with dairy allergies need! So if you are allergic to peanut butter or just looking to switch things up, I highly recommend sunflower butter!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dairy-Free, Egg Free Sausage Gravy Recipe

Yesterday evening I was searching around the kitchen trying to figure out what we were going to have for dinner. Being that it's almost time to go grocery shopping the cupboards were looking a little thin. I decided I had enough stuff on hand to make breakfast for dinner and it turned out pretty good. One of the things I made was biscuits and gravy. Not exactly lo-cal but yummy. As I was making it I figured maybe someone new to food allergies might like the recipe so here goes!

Dairy-Free Sausage Gravy
what you need:
-1 lb. ground sausage
-2 cups rice milk(regular not vanilla)
-about a cup of flour, give or take
-salt and pepper
-a pan
-um, oh yeah, a stove to cook it on would be nice too :)
-dairy-free store bought biscuits(I used Pillsburys Crescent rolls last night because that was what I had on hand!) Always check your labels!

O.k brown your ground sausage in the pan until no longer pink. Drain, but save the grease. Set aside cooked sausage in a bowl(whoops you need a bowl too!) return grease to the pan. On medium heat slowly add flour to the grease stirring constantly until it is thick, but not clumpy. Then slowly add the rice milk, stirring continously, until it looks like a thick soup. Salt and pepper to taste. Fold in your sausage that you set aside and voila', yummy sausage gravy! Serve hot over biscuits!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Allergies and Laundry

Along time ago, back when we were first learning about allergies, my son had a severe case of eczema. We went through many "remedies", homemade and store bought, before we figured out what worked for him and now our newest addition. Basically, we have found that removing as many allergens as, humanly, possible from their diet and environment, plus using mild soaps and detergents, and cutting back bathing to every other day(when possible) helps tremendously with their severely dry, and itchy, skin. Now there are many great allergy free products out there that I hear work wonderfully, but I have used very few of them. I found them expensive and several caused their eczema to get worse. A friend suggested a long time ago to switch to ivory soap. I did and haven't gone back since. I buy it by the caseload because not only do we all bathe with it but I make our laundry detergent out of it too. Sounds like a hassle doesn't it? That's what I thought until I started making it myself and realized it only takes about 1/2 an hour to make laundry detergent that lasts me about two months. Also, I can make it for pennies of what the store bought detergent costs! Bonus, huh? Wanna try it? Here's the recipe I use, it's from a great forum called

Stuff needed:
2 bars of Ivory soap(I hear Dove is also very mild)
5 gallon bucket
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of WASHING Soda (not to be confused with baking soda!)
cheese grater
large utensil to stir (BBQ utensils work great for this)

O.k. to get started take your two bars of soap and shred them with the cheese grater.
Next, place them in your pot and cover the pieces with water. Heat on low, stirring continuously, until ALL the soap is dissolved. This takes a while but be patient it is worth it!
When that is completed fill your 5 gallon bucket 3/4 full with HOT water, add Borax and Washing Soda, stir until dissolved.
Add your soap to the mix and stir, top off with additional water, if you have room!

It is ready to be used as is but will be watery. If you let it "set" up for about 24 hours it will gel up and it looks kind of cool. I use about 1/2 cup per load of laundry and it works great. You don't get the fresh, flowery, smell when you use this laundry soap, I kind of miss that but the fragrances used in the store bought detergents are a big part of the problem for us. Anyhoo, I hear white distilled vinegar makes a good rinse, but I haven't tried that. In place of dryer sheets I use dryer balls. These make your clothes and towels just as soft as the bottled or box softeners. I couldn't believe it when I tried them, but they really do work. You can get them at Wal-mart or Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Yummy Dairy Free Smoothie

O.k. smoothies have long been a favorite in our house. They are a great, nutritional, breakfast or quick snack. We have experimented with many recipes, some dismal failures, but now have a tried and true basic recipe. Here goes:

1/2 cup juice
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
Approximately 1 cup fresh/frozen fruit
3 or 4 ice cubes (delete if using frozen fruit)

Add all liquid to blender, mix in fruit(adding slowly if using frozen) blend until smooth, delicious!

Diaper Woes!!

When I began this journey of motherhood 15 years, or so, ago there was much I didn't know. While, I don't know probably a tenth of what I need to I'm learning new things all the time. One thing I realized, lately, is that each of my children are different. They have different likes, and dislikes, they react differently to the same situation and also present different symptoms to the same type of illness. With the recent birth of my third child it has been a joy to get to know her and her sweet little personality. One thing has presented me with a new challenge, though. I think she is sensitive to fragrances of all types. Recently this has manifested itself in the diapers she has been wearing. We received a lot of diapers as gifts and for the first two months of her life enjoyed the economic benefit of them. As I was using up the last package of them I realized I would have to start purchasing my own. Now when it comes to diapers I've always purchased Luvs for my children believing them to be the best buy for the money. So, the next time I went to the store I purchased a new bag(?) of them. When the last of the gifted diapers ran out I, of course, started using the new diapers I'd purchased and with in a day she had a rash! I had a few of the other diapers still left in the diaper bag and I took them out to see if I could tell a difference between them and the Luvs, something that would make her break out and develop blisters on her hiney and when I did I noticed that the other diapers didn't smell. Now mind you these were unused diapers but the Luvs have a very distinct, fresh baby, kind of smell. But the others had no discernable smell to them at all. So, I packed up the Luvs and bought some more of the other diapers and with in a couple of days, no rash!! Yeah! Anyway, I was doing a little research online about allergies and diapers and such and found out that really cloth is best but if you use disposable it really is just a matter of what your baby is sensitive to. Now this isn't a debate on all the icky stuff used to make diapers vs. cloth and the environment,or even Luvs vs. any other brand of diapers, just one mom's experience in discovering what doesn't work for her baby! To read about some other mom's experiences with diapers and which ones worked best for them, and why, click here!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to School with Allergies!

Well, today was the first official day back to school for my children. Things were hectic around here this morning, to say the least! Can you believe one of the things I let slip under my radar this year was addressing my sons allergies with his new teacher? I realized last night at open house I had yet to do that and with all the other new students and their parents vying for my son's new teacher's attention, it was obvious that was not the time to do it! So learn from my mistake and address this much earlier on! If I was going to do this over I would 1. set up an appointment with my son's new teacher and other staff members that will be responsible for his care. 2. make sure I have all his prescriptions up to date, and 3. come up with an action plan, a sort of expectations I have for his teacher and others to follow should he have a reaction. I found these free, downloadable, forms from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network to help me. 4. This is a no brainer, but here goes: Take the medications and action plan to the appointment and clearly explain my expectations to those who will be providing his care. Grab your action plan forms here!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Yummy Dairy Free/Egg Free Chocolate Chip Cookies!!

Over the weekend we all got a hankering for some chocolate chip cookies. With my son's food allergies making desserts has long been a challenge, especially desserts that everyone likes, so he can feel included! Well, I "found" a cookie recipe that was a hit with everyone and if I didn't tell you, I bet you wouldn't have guessed it was dairy/egg free either! So if you're in the mood for a little baking check out this recipe from Mother's Click, delicious!

Makes 2 1/2 - 3 doz.(small cookies, if you don't eat some of the dough!)

Ingredients with measurements:
1 c. dairy-free margarine*
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. soy milk or rice milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 c. unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In large mixing bowl, cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add rice or soy milk and cream. Mix in vanilla extract.

Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to the creamed ones. Fold in dairy free chocolate chips.

Drop by spoonful on to a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Let cool on wire racks. Yumm!

*For the butter substitute I used Earth Balance from my local health food store. For the chocolate chips I used a brand called Tropical Source by Sunspire that are dairy and gluten free, always check your own labels though. Enjoy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Milk by Another Name

A friend of my daughters recently was diagnosed with milk allergies,among others. Talking with her about what to do to get started reminded me when reading food labels that milk is not always listed as just milk. When looking at ingredients in the products you buy keep an eye out for these:

Ammonium/calcium/magnesium/potassium/sodium caseinate
Casein/caseinate/rennet casein
Delactosed/demineralized whey
Dry milk/milk/sour cream/sour milk solids
Hydrolyzed casein, hydrolyzed milk protein
Lactalbumin/lactalbumin phosphate
Milk derivative/fat/protein
Modified milk ingredients
Opta™, Simplesse ® (fat replacers)
Whey, whey protein concentrate

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list but should get you started!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Anaphylaxis and Your Epi Pen Training Video

Recently, we signed my son up for allergy shots to, hopefully, get some relief from some of his environmental and seasonal allergies. When we talked to our allergist about the shots, she prescribed an epipen the rare case he would have an anaphlactic reaction after he would leave the office. The nurses there gave a great demonstration on how to use it, but if your new to using an epipen or would like to train other family members or caregivers on how to use one check out this great video from the Allergy and Asthma Clinic of Georgia. It's about five minutes long but covers the signs and symptoms of anaphlaxis and what to do if you or someone you are caring for has a life-threatening reaction. One of my most fervent prayers is that I never have to use this information in real life, I pray the same for you!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thinking About Allergy Shots!

Hello, it's been awhile since my last post and I'm excited to get started back to blogging about our life with allergies! I've been checking out research on immunotherapy shots, otherwise, known as allergy shots. My son has allergies not only to dairy, eggs, and shrimp, but also, a mix of grasses, dogs, and cats. At his last appointment with the allergist, she stated that he was a good candidate for the shots. The requirements are; be mature enough to handle getting the shots. This is usually around 5 or 6 years old, but can be older. They determine maturity with how the child/person handles the allergy test. If they can administer the test with little to no crying than chances are they are ready for the shots. Other things they look for are when the allergies are not responding well to medications. For a great article, written by the Mayo Clinic staff, on the different medications used to treat allergies and their side effects click here. Anyway, looking at all the research out there about the shots, I think we are,definitely, deciding in favor of them for our son. The short term risks are low, to include a mild reaction to an anaphalatic one, and so far I have not found any long term side effects, that anyone is talking about. One other deciding factor for me is that I had allergy shots for several years as a child. My mom said that after taking them for a little while I went from the middle reading group, at school, to the highest reading group. I remember taking the shots and after the first little while, they weren't a problem for me. Enough said. If you are thinking about allergy shots for you or someone you care for make a list of the pros and cons and do your research!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Our newest member!

O.k. just wanted to let you all know what I've been up to since last week's post! Well, in case you were wondering I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. We named her Elisana. So, forgive me if I don't post anything "on topic" this week. I will be getting some much needed rest and enjoying the newest edition to the Ames tribe! Have a great week!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Food Allergies Truth

I thought this video was awesome on explaining food allergies and testing. It certainly fits with what I'm finding with my son! Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How to do an Elimination Diet for Food Allergies

An elimination diet can be used to identify foods responsible for food intolerance, sensitivities, and allergies. If you have one or two foods that you suspect are causing a reaction then an elimination diet may be for you. There are a couple of different ways I would approach an elimination diet. The first being eliminating the offensive food entirely from my diet for about 3 days to a month and then monitoring or journaling how this effects me. If the symptoms improve drastically or clears all together then it is safe to assume that there is, at the least, a sensitivity to the food and the best course of treatment is to avoid it, and any other food that has it listed as an ingredient. For example, say I suspect eggs as an allergy or sensitivity. Then I would want to do a trial of excluding all eggs from my diet, including eggs that are cooked in other things like cakes and cookies, etc.

Another way to conduct an elimination diet is by eliminating several suspected foods at once, again for a 3 -30 day time period. As with the single elimination I would journal or track everything that is eaten during this time period and any signs and symptoms, the severity or lessening of these symptoms, etc. At the end of the time period each food would be slowly added back to the diet, one at a time. Monitoring everything I eat and drink closely, and journaling, any and all suspected signs and symptoms. I would stop immediately, of course, if any signs and symptoms showed up that even hinted at a severe reaction, such as, swelling of the tongue or lips, a rash, hives, my teeth/throat/mouth was itching, wheezing, and would seek treatment from a professional immediately! For more on what to do when someone has a severe reaction, check out these great videos below!


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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Update on Allergy Testing

We went back for my son's annual allergy testing last week and received some, what we had hoped would be, good news. First, my son tested negative to milk and eggs! He was elated and couldn't wait to try his first whole candy bar! I talked with the doctor about doing a food challenge and felt, since he has never had a life threatening reaction to any of the foods, we could do one safely at home. So, we started with the candy bar and he ate a piece of a Hershey candy bar about every fifteen minutes until it was all gone. No reaction! He was so excited and couldn't wait to try more things, but I wanted to take things slowly, knowing the kinds of reactions he has had in the past usually started with behavioral issues and moved into lots of sinus drainage, and then ear infections! Sure enough two days later we were starting to see the beginning signs of the effects of milk. My son started doing the whining thing, and I don't just mean the occasional whine, he was distraught over just about everything! We had seen this in the past but decided to move ahead cautiously! We let him eat things that had milk in them but not in large quantities. Such as a couple of chocolate Chip's Ahoy cookies, things like that, and we limited his selections to about two a day. Four days later the sinus drainage showed up, in full swing. He woke up in the morning with his nose totally blocked with dried drainage(o.k. snot)! Still not wanting to burst his bubble I let him continue on, but still limited how much he took in. Today is day six and he woke up with the croupy cough, plus the sinus drainage and the huge circles under the eyes! No school for him today and I had to tell him no more milk either! He was not happy, in the least! I felt really bad for him though, I know he was so excited to be just like the other kids! But once I explained to him that it was either eat things with milk in it and be sick all the time, and take a lot of medicine to keep it under control or not eat it and be able to be active and do the things he liked to do, he was fine.

Well, some of you are probably wondering how do I know it is milk causing him to exhibit these symptoms and I'll tell you, past experience. We tried a food challenge for him before when he had had a negative skin test to milk, and a positive blood test for it. The doctor said more than likely he was not allergic, so we tried the same thing then, and little by little, day by day, we saw more and more signs of an allergy to it. We stopped at around a week then also, when he woke up with a fever and ear infection.

Allergies can show up in many forms and fasions. Not all food allergies will illicit a life threatening reaction. Some will and quickly, others like my son's allergy to milk, show up slowly over several days time, which can be tricky and hard to figure out. If I suspected a food allergy and had my child tested and they came up negative, I would still probably do an elimination diet with that food and journal anything they eat, their activity levels, behavior, and any symptoms for about a month and then do a food challenge to see if there were any kind of reaction to that food. I would only do this on my own if my child didn't have, or I didn't suspect them to have a life threatening reaction with that food, otherwise I would do it under the advice of an allergy specialist! Be on the lookout in the following weeks for more information on elimination diets and how to do a food challenge, that is if I don't go into labor first and I'll keep you updated on his progress! For now check out this great interview from the Allergy Moms blog, it's with a little girl, named Maya, and what she wishes others knew about living a life with allergies!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Allergies and Vaccines, Who Knew?

Well, I was talking to my sister a while back and she said she was out and about on her farm with her husband, doing some work and he brought up something interesting about egg allergies and vaccines. Apparently, some vaccines are made with eggs! Who knew?! I, certainly, had not heard that one before and promptly set about researching it's validity. Turns out that three common vaccines are all made with eggs. The measels, mumps, rubella vaccine, the flu vaccine, and the yellow fever vaccine (o.k. maybe that one isn't so common, but I've heard of it before!). But before you freak out (like me) and decide to do away with all vaccines forever, do some research, talk with your doctor, and make the best, educated, decision for you and your family. That's what I plan on doing! Here is a great article to start with!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Since we've moved I've noticed that my sons current regime for allergy prevention and management has not been holding up. He has developed and kept a nagging little cough and mysterious rash around his lips that comes and goes. Well after developing a fever, said cough grew worse. We took a trip to the doctors office and after a round of antibiotics and steroids, I decided it was time to make another appointment with the allergist. We went last week and they have prescribed an inhaler containing a low dose of steriods he is to get every night before bed, plus a "rescue" inhaler. When I asked the doctor about the cause of his coughing and linking it with moving, I really didn't get much feedback. I'm all for making my child better, but really would like to know the underlying cause, mainly to see if there is something that can be done to avoid the allergen and keep use of medication to a minimum, you know? At our next visit we plan on doing the annual skin testing, to see where he stands with his allergies, if they are better or worse than they were a year ago. I'll let you know how that goes! In the mean time I plan on doing some more research on elimination diets, etc. I found one site that really has a lot of good tips. You can view it here.

Also, I found a great video by the Mayo clinic that shows you how to use a metered dose inhaler. Teaching a six year old how to use one has been a challenge, but we're getting it down now, thanks to this video. See it here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dairy Free yogurt, Ice cream and the Like!

I'm so excited to be talking about a new product that I found, quite by accident, at the store recently. I ran out to the store a few weeks ago, with the kiddos in tow to pick up a few things. While out, my son was begging me to buy some of his favorite ice cream sandwiches. Well, I'm not a huge soy fan, but because of his allergies I occasionally allow him this treat and without looking at the box too closely I threw them in the cart and we headed home. As I was putting our purchases away, I happened to look at the box of ice cream sandwiches and noticed it was slightly different then the ones we usually pick up and I had to investigate closer! Low and behold I had accidentally picked up Turtle Mountains,So Delicious' new line of ice cream bars made with coconut milk. Cool, huh? While not completely soy free, with the wafer part being made of soy products, the ice cream was only coconut milk! So I had to go to their website, listed on the box, and low and behold they have a whole new line of coconut milk based products! The most exciting to me being the coconut milk yogurt, which is listed as dairy, soy, and I believe gluten free and carries live, active cultures. Check it out here!

Also, while investigating the coconut milk they offer I've found that nutritionally speaking, in regards to the fat content, it is closer to cow's milk than the rice milk I have been using for my son for years! Which is important because at his young, very active, age you certainly don't want to be cutting calories anywhere! Here are links to check it out for yourself:

Coconut milk

cow's milk

rice milk

Some of the other products they have are coconut milk ice cream, creamers and kefir! Yummy, I can't wait to try them all, umm that is have my son try them all! :) If you're interested in trying them for yourself or your loved one stop by here and fill out a little information about yourself and receive free coupons from the company. I was only able to print one coupon right away, but am sure now that I'm on their mailing list more will follow! Happy eating!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

How to Save Money when shopping for your Food Allergic Child!

Having a child with multiple food allergies can be quite expensive! Recently, I was watching Joyce Meyer's show, Living Everyday Life, and she had a visitor named Sarah Roe. Ms. Roe is a mom to a food allergic child whose food allergies were costing them dearly each month at the grocery store. So much so, she and her husband really couldn't afford to eat! She desperately needed to reduce their grocery bill and coupons are the method she found to do just that. Read more of her story here!

Using just a few of her tips and tricks at my last trip to the grocery store I saved $16.00 and some change and I only spent about 15 minutes in finding and cutting out my coupons! I can't wait to see how much more I'll save by following her other tips and tricks, check them out for FREE here!

To check out more of her website go to the 918 Coupon button in the sidebar!
Happy savings!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Allergy and Asthma Certified Friendly Products Website

I was at the doctors office the other day, at 7 months pregnant, and with two other children I feel sometimes like it's my home away from home! Anyway, in the waiting room they have lots of great magazines to keep you occupied while you wait. While I was perusing one, can't remember which one at the moment, I came across an article that talked about a website that certified products as allergy and asthma friendly. Curious, I had to check them out and this is what I found:
The asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program helps consumers identify products that have been proven more suitable for people with asthma and related allergic sensitivities.

Certified products have been found to meet or exceed the independant asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Standards. In addition, all of the products' allergen claims have been reviewed and found to be accurate and clear for consumers to understand and the products can be identified by the presence of the destictive Certification Mark on the packaging and promotional materials. Where applicable, the products also include clear, concise care instructions outlining how to maintaing the items in a reduced allergen state.

So, if you are in the market for some allergy and asthma friendly products like air filters and purification systems, cleaning supplies, toys, etc. Check them out they have a lot of great information and can tell you about products they have tested. You can visit their website here.

Monday, February 22, 2010


O.k. so if you've been following my blog and checking back you will notice some new additions! Back in January I talked about some supplements I liked to use with my son, in the sidebar you will see I added a new section called supplements that have links to them. I really like the Bone Ami which is a dairy free, egg free, gluten free calcium and vitamin D supplement. The other is a liquid vitamin I used for a long time with him that is also dairy, egg, gluten, and I believe yeast free, as always check the labeling as products do change things up from time to time. These supplements seem kind of pricey but believe me they last for a long, long time, well over 3 months!

Also, you will note I added a Recipe and a links page and will be adding more and more in the upcoming weeks! Thanks for stopping by and looking around!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Homemade Bread

Well, we survived the snow and ice here in the Carolina's and are so thankful we didn't lose power. Being snowed in gave me the itch to do some baking. Many years ago my oldest sister started baking homemade bread and it was so good. Well, she lived too far away to bum it off of her, so I started making my own! This bread is made from freshly milled wheat. There is a lot of speculation that people who are allergic to gluten or are gluten intolerant can handle wheat in this form. As always, do your research and decide what is going to be best for you and yours. For a great article on the history of wheat and the exploration of why so many are becoming allergic to gluten or are gluten intolerant click here: Against the Grain.

If you are interested in making your own homemade bread, click here for the recipe I used! Happy Baking!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

It's a snowy day here in the Carolina's, expecting a lot of sleet this afternoon. A perfect day for hanging out in our pj's and for some hot Apple Cinnamon Pancakes, yummm! I usually start these out from my basic pancake recipe and adapt it to taste. Here is the basic pancake recipe with adaptations following it:

1 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Then combine
1 c. milk (or water)
2 teaspoons oil

Mix wet and dry ingredients together. Makes about 8 pancakes.

Here is the Apple Cinnamon version

1 1/4 c. buckwheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Then combine
1 c. of rice milk
1/2 c. of applesauce

Mix wet and dry ingredients, add several liberal shakes of cinnamon and a dash
of vanilla. Makes about 8 pancakes.

P.S. I like to add a little bit more rice milk to this recipe to "thin" these out some, the buckwheat flour makes for a very thick batter. Delicious!

Friday, January 22, 2010

How do I know if my FA child is at a Healthy Weight?

From the time I found out my son had problems with dairy, one of my fears was that he would be malnourished and not gain the proper amount of weight. If you've read our bio. on how we got started, then you'd know our trip to the nutritionist was not very helpful. I'm not knocking nutritionists, just the one we went to was not up to speed on food allergies and provided little information on how to increase his body weight without dairy products. Since then I've learned a lot and am still learning everyday. Just the other day I came across a fellow blogger who uses avacado oil in a lot of her FA child's food. I had never heard of using this particular oil, but apparently it is a good one to "sneak" into their smoothies, etc. as it doesn't have any noticeable flavor. I've yet to try this, but plan to, on my next trip to the health food store.

Anyway, I thought I'd include a link here to a BMI calculator I found at BMI stands for Body mass index and if you know your childs height and weight, you can plug them into their program and they will be able to tell you if your child's weight falls in the under, over, or healthy weight range. BMI is calculated by taking a person's weight and multiplying it by 703, you then divide by the person's height in inches and get a percentile. Anything between 5 and 85% is healthy, above 85% and they may be overweight, below 5% and they may be underweight. Check them out here.

As always, if you have any concerns check in with your child's doctor.

In health,


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Great Dairy and Egg free Recipes

I was cruising other food allergy blogs today, diligently doing research, :), and came across a blog called It had some great dairy, egg, and nut free recipes I plan on trying out really soon. One of them is for brownies, which is a big thing in our home, it was tried out by another food allergy mom and she highly reccomends it! I can't wait. An interesting ingredient that kept popping up in a lot of the recipes is avacado oil. I had never heard of this oil and am intrigued to know if it leaves any aftertaste like cooking with coconut oil sometimes does!? Does anyone out there have any experience in cooking with avacado oil? I'd love to hear more about it! Leave your comments here!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dairy Free, Egg Free, Kid friendly Supplements

O.k. when I first started this journey 6 years ago I really stressed over my son getting the right amount of nutrients. What mother doesn't? With a child that has multiple food allergies, one of them being dairy, this can be a real challenge. While there are many ways to get the right amount of calcium and fat that you need, I've found that supplementing my son's diet with vitamins and other supplements a neccesity and stress reliever, for me. While, I feel, you shouldn't rely on these wholly for all your nutrition, it can take the pressure off of you to always be producing well rounded meals and snacks. Here is what we are currently supplementing with; a great multivitamin by Rainbow Light called Just Once Kid's One Multistars, and a liquid calcium/magnesium supplement called Bone Ami by a company called Beeyoutiful. In the past I have also used Carlson Cod liver oil for Kids with great results. All of these products can be found on the web at reasonable prices and all are, currently, dairy, egg, gluten, and shellfish free! (please check all labels as ingredients can change). I'll be adding links for these supplements soon!

In health,


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What to do when your Food Allergic child has a party at School?

O.k. this is my son's first year of school and so far it has been great! We were, definitely, blessed with an awesome teacher for him. She is so understanding and helpful when it comes to his needs as a food allergic child. One of the things I had stressed about before he started school is what do you do when someone is having a birthday and the mom wants to bring cupcakes or some other special treat for the child to celebrate their birthday? My son's teacher has been so gracious to keep me informed whenever that occurs and lets me know well ahead of time, so I can be prepared.

This is what I've come up with so far. Usually I keep a batch of cupcakes on hand in the freezer for him and icing in the fridge or pantry. So, all I have to do is defrost one or two the night before and frost it in the morning before school. I pop it in some tupperware and send it off with his lunch. They usually have birthday celebrations at snack time and this way my son can be included in the celebration. If we have time I let him frost the cupcake(s) and add sprinkles, if I have any around!He loves it!

He had a birthday celebration today and I had discovered yesterday we were out of cupcakes! Of all horrors! Anyway, I made some yesterday and was going to show some pictures of them but I made a small error and they flopped. I managed to salvage enough he could still have some today but, alas, I forgot to adjust the water amount when I added my substitution for eggs and it took them forever to get done! When they were finished they were crispy on top and easily fell apart. Oh well, he still ate them up and loves the special treat. I will have to make some more soon, so I can restock the freezer, I don't want to be caught off guard for a last minute party!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm back!

Well, just wanted to say Happy 2010 to everyone! If you've been wandering what happened to me, I took a little hiatus. Over the Christmas holidays we moved houses. What a chore, but now I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and figured I'd better get back to my blog! I would've have been back a week sooner too, only the stomach flu hit our household pretty hard. My husband and I had it at the same time, which never happens! Really lousy, but thanks to my daughter, who took care of us, we survived! Well, thanks for stopping by and check back soon, as I will be adding more!