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. About.com has some great ideas!
Looking for a traditional chocolate candy calendar? PeanutFreePlanet.com 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!