Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bradley's Birthday Party

My best friend's son is turning 1 year old next month. Our entire family is invited to the big birthday bash. This will be the first real party that we've been invited to since both boys have been diagnosed with food allergies and are eating solid foods. I am determined to make this a good experience for all of us. A birthday party that's not fun is no birthday party at all!
Knowing that both boys are so young and have such limited understanding of their allergies I have been working hard to avoid as many problems as possible. Luckily, it's my best friend who's throwing the party. She's super supportive and cheering me on the whole way. I don't know what I'd do without her!

The birthday party theme is Sesame Street. There will be hot dogs and hamburgers, chips, a few other sides, and cake and ice cream. Still VERY new at all of this stuff I have been working hard to find alternative food for the boys that they will eat. It's one thing to find an alternative, but another to have them actually like it. Luckily, I've been successful at both!

First the main meal. Applegate Farms makes wonderful turkey hot dogs! Other substitutes we have tried tasted awful, but all of us like these! They are gluten free, dairy free, beef free, pork free, and well free of a lot of stuff! Child II LOVES them. Child I is leary but will deal with it. As for chips-Lays Plain Potato Chips are doing the job! The oil is safe for both kids and the only other ingredients are potatoes and salt. Most importantly the both boys love them.

Dessert was a little bit trickier but I've found a solution. Bradley is having a Sesame Street Birthday Cake. Child I will DEFINITELY want some, especially if it has Elmo on it. So after asking my best friend if it's okay, I went to the Wilton website and found an Elmo cupcake design and decorations. Having some cake decorating experience, I can definitely pull this off! Last night I was able to find the decorations, frosting colors, and Elmo cupcake holders at A.C. Moore Crafts. Child I LOVES cupcakes. If he sees me making them and decorating them, he'll be sure to want one at the party, instead of the cake.

The last challenge was finding a cake mix and frosting that both boys can eat. I'm still working on the frosting, but do have one to two options if I HAVE to use them. Believe me when I come up with my final choice, I'll be sure to post it.

After attempting to make my own gluten free, peanut free, dairy free, egg free, soy free cake and not succeeding I've decided to use Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Free Dreams Chocolate Cake Mix. Child I loves it and I honestly think it tastes quite good myself. The best part about this mix is that the result actually looks like a cake!
As for ice cream-there is a brand, All Natural So Delicious that makes coconut milk icecream and yogurt that is dairy free, gluten free, and soy free. Both boys LOVE the yogurt. I have no doubt that they'll enjoy the ice cream too. And for the record, I've tasted the yogurt myself and absolutely LOVE it! It's too bad it's so expensive or else we'd buy more.
I'm getting really excited about Bradley's birthday party. The boys will have a fun time despite their food allergies. Best of all they'll be eating what everyone else is eating, just a safer version of it! I'm noticing that birthday parties or parties in general that the boys are invited to will be a lot of work for me, but I know in the long run it will be worth it. Hopefully every parent will be as supportive as my best friend is! (Chances are slim I know, but I can dream right?)
The week after Bradley's birthday is Child II's birthday! Stay tuned for all of the wonderful plans for that party! We're going to have LOTS of fun!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Applesauce Muffins

I have been meaning to write a post, actually several posts for quite some time now. I'm hoping in the next few day I can write several and get caught up. Child II has another allergy appointment tomorrow with more testing. I have a long list of questions and concerns. Hopefully the doctor will take me seriously. Last time we were there he refused to believe that Child II actually was allergic to so many foods. But experimentation along with accidents have proven otherwise since our last visit.

Still very new at this I try to keep a running list of child II's allergies in my head, but sometimes I miss one. Last week was one of those times. Child II had not physically tasted or tried oranges before, nor did I remember him being tested for them. So I experimented with a Gerber Baby Food: Banana & Orange Medley. He vomited every time he had some. Although sadly I didn't recognize it as an allergy sign, I thought he was sick with something else. Sure enough when I spoke with the allergy office about his next appointment and mentioned I wanted him tested for oranges they confirmed that he had already been tested, and yes, Child II is very allergic to oranges. To say the least I felt like an awful Mommy that day.

Yesterday Child I asked if we could make "cupcakes." He thinks anything with a cupcake liner is a cupcake. Little did he know we were making GF Applesauce Muffins found on
The muffins do have eggs and soy, but no gluten, nuts, or dairy. Child I LOVES them. Honestly I think they're okay, and definitely tolerable with powdered sugar on top, but I'd love to find a better recipe both boys can eat.

Child II ate about 9 "cupcakes" yesterday, stealing one or two every chance he got. I didn't mind because he's such a picky eater. Whenever I can get him to eat, I let him eat all he wants. But on one occasion mid afternoon, while I was in the living room, Child I decided he was going to share one of his "cupcakes" with Child II. Child I called for me from the kitchen. As I walked through the play area and dining area I could smell vomit. All I saw were pieces of wrapper and crumbs on the floor. I had no clue how much muffin Child I gave Child II. Not to mention I had no clue how much Child II ate. But there he was sitting in a puddle of vomit. His clothes were drenched with it too.

I cleaned up what I could quickly, grabbed the Benedryl, and then called the doctor. Poor Child I didn't know what was going on. He thought he was being a great big brother by sharing his snack. I, on the other hand was really rattled by it all. This was the first experience where I hadn't given Child II the food he reacted to. It was the first time I realized how VERY hard this whole allergy thing is going to be. Some of it is completely out of my control.

Once things had settled down I talked very calmly and lovingly to my 2 1/2 year old little boy. I explained in as many was as I knew how that only Mommy and Daddy can give Child II food to eat. "Cupcakes" are yummy for Child I, but they make Child II very sick. Honestly in the end I think he actually understood. Today while eating his "cupcake" he reminded me that Child II couldn't have one because he would get sick.

Though Child II's reaction to the Applesauce Muffins was a negative experience. Child I and I always have fun making his "cupcakes." And now I have someone else who has become very protective of his little brother, just like Mommy. I think that will be a big help, even if he is just 2 1/2.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Peanut Butter & Jelly

I can't remember the last time my oldest son had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He was diagnosed with his allergies about two months ago, so it was definitely before that. It was my goal to make a bread that both of my boys could eat with their allergies. My first attempt was a failure. Rice flour recipes are so sensitive to water. I learned that when using too much, the entire loaf of bread caves as soon as it's out of the oven.

Yesterday was attempt two. There was still too much water but not enough to ruin the recipe completely. The second lesson I learned is to wait until the bread has completely cooled before cutting or breaking into it. At first glance my oldest son refused to eat the bread. But my youngest had his mouth open wide and absolutely loved it smiling the whole time.

Today I brought some of the bread for the youngest to snack on while we were in church. My oldest son found the container and to my surprise decided to take a bite. He loved it! In seconds the piece of bread was devoured. When he woke up from his nap today he saw peanut butter and jelly on the counter and asked for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I made it with my homemade bread and he ate it, enjoying every bite. I've never been so excited about peanut butter and jelly before, but knowing he had been asking for it for weeks... It was so worth the effort!

The recipe comes from The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread, by Bette Hagman. It is called New Allergy Rice Bread. The bread is gluten, egg, dairy, and soy free.

It uses the author's Featherlight Rice Flour Mix which includes:

1 Part Rice Flour
1 Part Tapioca Flour
1 Part Cornstarch
1 tsp. per cup Potato Flour

There are other ingredients as well, but that's the bulk of it. Can I just say I'm so excited my oldest son can still have fun eating one of his favorite meals: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Basmati & Wild Rice Pilaf

I tried this recipe for the first time today and it was delicious. I prepared it with a side of Cuban Black Beans, but learned quickly it was a meal all in itself. If I was to serve it again, I'd serve it with chicken if anything, although my husband really liked mixing it with the beans.

The recipe comes from the Allergy-free Cookbook by Alice Sherwood. I highly recommend it for fun get togethers. It's a dish that will be enjoyed by all without strange ingredients. Plus it's dairy, egg, gluten, wheat, and peanut free!

4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (make sure it's gluten and dairy free)
1/2 cup wild rice (make sure it's gluten free)
2 tbsp. flavorless nut-free oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 cup white basmati rice, washed and drained
leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp. currants
2 tbsp. dried cranberries
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp. pine nuts toasted
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Put 1 1/4 cups of the stock in a saucepan, bringing to a boil and add the wild rice.
2. Cover and reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45-50 minutes until the rice is just tender and has absorbed the liquid (it will still have a nutty texture). If necessary, remove the lid and boil rapidly for a few minutes to evaporate the last of the stock.
3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a separate saucepan and fry the onion and celery until softened but not browned, 3 minutes.
4. Add the basmati rice and stir until the grains are evenly coated and glistening. Stir in thyme leaves. Add the remaining stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the bay leaf, currants, and cranberries and cover and simmer very gently until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed (about 10-12 minutes).
5. Remove from the heat. When the wild rice is cooked, add to the basmati with the parsley and pine nuts. Season to taste and fluff with a fork.
6. Tip into warmed serving dish and serve immediately.

Serves 6

This recipe may appear expensive at first but after buying the ingredients the first time I have enough left over to make this dish at least 7 other times. It's just the initial expense that's scary.

Fun Desserts

Today as I was looking through the gluten free Chex recipes offered on their web page, a particular ingredient caught my eye. The ingredient was Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownie Mix. What? I've never seen that before. So I went online and did some searching. Sure enough Betty Crocker has a line of gluten free desserts that hits stores this summer. You can also order them in bulk on Amazon.
These products were reviewed on, if you want to look up how they rated and the possible allergens. Have fun!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fun Cereal

I went to the grocery store tonight and went through the never ending task of reading food labels. While in the cereal isle I noticed these:

I almost cried I was so excited. Child 1 loves cereal in the morning! Wegmans, the grocery store I went to, did not carry the Strawberry Chex, but I was able to read the backs of the labels of the rest. Corn Chex, Rice Chex, and Honey Nut Chex contain no dairy either. Chocolate Chex and Cinnamon Chex do. But still I now have three new cereal selections!
When I returned home I went and visited their website. I was thrilled to find lots of gluten free Chex snack recipes too! This truly made my day!
Did you know that Fruity Pebbles is Gluten and Dairy Free? What kid doesn't like Fruity Pebbles? Actually the cereal is very allergy friendly. Child 1 & 2 love them! My kids have fun at breakfast with food allergies!

Grandparents Coming to Dinner

This week marks my first week of allergy friendly meals without specialty foods from health food stores. It took a few hours to make the menu for the week, but it will be worth it. After having our grocery bill triple over the last two months, I'm anxious to resume a more typical food budget. Although I still will end up buying milk alternatives for the boys and flours on special occasion.

The menu was a bit tricky in places. Grandparents are coming to visit. I wanted to prepare a dinner that they would enjoy, but still allergy friendly for Child 1. It had to be simple and not exotic.

And of course we can't forget dessert! There is a rule in our house that when company comes over we have dessert. This has been extremely hard with the newly diagnosed allergies, but I finally hit the jackpot and found a fun recipe that everyone can have (minus the 10 month old).

Here's what I came up with-

Dinner: Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Chicken Kabobs with Rice
(Click on meal to obtain recipe.)

Dessert: Caramel Corn

Recipe given to me by Dana R. Dwyer
1/2 cup margarine (Fleischmann's Unsalted Margarine contains no gluten or dairy. It does contain soy.)
1/2 c. honey
Dash of maple flavoring
4 Quarts popped popcorn (or more), cooled.

1. Melt margarine and honey. Bring to boil and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in maple flavoring.
2. Pour over popcorn and stir. Let cool.

-Can add molasses for more flavor.
-Sugar can be substituted for honey.

What a great way to have fun with food allergies!