Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Homemade Ice Cream

Over the weekend, I was on a mission....a mission to find recipes for safe, homemade ice cream. I went to an adoption yard sale and found an ice cream maker (the kind that you have to put ice and rock salt in the bucket). I have never made homemade ice cream before. I hesitated buying it, because I have heard that a lot of the recipes call for milk and eggs. I felt pretty comfortable that there would be recipes on the Internet, but I wanted to make ice cream that creamy and yummy, not icy. I wasn't sure if we would be able to get the right texture and richness using milk alternatives, etc.

I bought the ice cream maker, and came home and did some research. I came across a book called The Vegan Scoop 150 Recipes for Dairy-Free Ice Cream That Tastes Better Than the "Real" Thing. I looked into it a little more, and knew that I had to get my hands on this book. I called the local libraries and they didn't have it. I was told they could do an inter-library loan, but it would take a week or two to get it in. I decided that I didn't want to wait that long to make some safe ice cream. I found out that The Vegan Scoop was at Borders and had them hold it for me. We went there and I browsed through it and was excited about what I saw. I used a coupon (you can sign up at Borders) which helped out with the cost, but I thought it pretty funny that the book was more expensive than my yard sale find :) Oh well!

With book in hand, and 5 lbs of ripe bananas that I found for a dollar (we froze the rest for smoothies), I was inspired to make safe banana chocolate chip ice cream. The result? YUM!!!!!! I was so excited about how it turned out! Peaches will be ready to pick soon, so I bet you can guess the next flavor of ice cream we will be making...

To me, ice cream is one of the treats of summer and the memories that the kids will have of making it are priceless!

Banana Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

recipe adapted from The Vegan Scoop

This recipe is free of milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish

*it can be soy free if you substitute plain coconut milk and coconut creamer (I saw the creamer at Whole Foods...using plain and not vanilla, etc lets the real flavors of the ice cream come through). It even says in the book that you can experiment with other types of non-dairy milks (Almond, Rice, Cashew, etc.)

*you will need an ice cream maker


3 bananas, peeled and sliced

1 cup plain soymilk, divided *read above to make soy free

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (you can find this at Whole Foods, the brand I got was Bob's Red Mill...this is used as a thickener and helps the ice cream be glossy and creamy)

2 cups plain soy creamer (I used Silk) *read above to make soy free

1/2 sugar (I used organic cane sugar)

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Safe chocolate chips (Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips There is a coupon on Enjoy Life website for .55 off any Enjoy Life product). I just dumped in the amount I wanted to use...just eye-balled it :)


In a food processor, puree bananas and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup soymilk with arrowroot and set aside.

Mix soy creamer, remaining 3/4 cup soymilk, bananas, and sugar in a saucepan and cook over low heat. Once mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and immediately add arrowroot cream. This will cause the liquid to thicken noticeably.

Add vanilla extract.

Refrigerate mixture until chilled, approximately 2-3 hours. Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions. Fold in chocolate chips right before serving or putting back into the freezer.

Yield: approximately 1 quart

Stay Cool!!!!!

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Cherrybrook Kitchen Fudge Brownie Mix

Yesterday, I was at Target, and I found a Cherrybrook Kitchen Fudge Brownie Mix on clearance. It was marked down to $2.58, but had been $5.19. Plus, I had a $1 coupon from when I had contacted the company (it did not have an expiration date). So for $1.58 I decided to try the box of brownie mix.

There is such a convenience of using boxed brownie mixes, but obviously most are not safe for Brody because you have to add an egg (I tried one time to do a gluten free brownie mix with egg replacer and it took us DAYS to get it out of the pan...seriously....it was a rock!) and a lot of the regular brownie mixes have hydrogenated oils and other stuff in them that we try to avoid.

The brownies were pretty good. Next time, I would cook them for less time to make them more "fudge like", but I think you could take these somewhere and people would not question them being allergen free. It was the first time Brody has ever had a brownie and my older son was very excited too! It was such a fun treat for them AND me since I didn't have to cook it from scratch. I just had to throw in some safe melted butter, water and vegetable oil and mix.

The only hang up I would have is paying $5.19 for a box of brownies next time, since I probably won't find them on clearance or have a coupon. Honestly, that is a deterrent for me. Maybe it would be a good deal to buy them in bulk from Amazon? Anybody know any other ways to get the $5 box of brownie mix cheaper?

Click HERE to see the ingredients (they do contain wheat and soy)

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Another Reaction...Much Different from the Last Time

Last Friday, I ran to the store with my boys and had a million things on my "to do" list. As I was backing out of my parking spot (trying to see past the huge Tahoe that was parked on the drivers side), I felt my car stop. A F-150 and my car hit. Everyone was fine, both cars a little messed up, but we sat in the parking lot of the grocery store for about two hours and here is where the story begins....

It was almost 7pm by time we got done with the report, etc. The boys were hungry, it was getting late and I was emotionally exhausted. We decided to grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant that has been safe for Brody the past couple of times we have eaten there.

When we got to the restaurant, it was extremely busy (Friday night). I spoke with the manager and made sure that the recipe for refried beans had not changed. He assured me that they were safe (no milk, eggs or peanuts).

We ordered the food, sat down and when it arrived, I noticed that Brody's beans had a little cheese on the side of the cup. I asked the lady if she could please get us another one because my son is severely allergic to cheese and it makes him have problems breathing and I told her we have to use an Epi-Pen. She took it back and brought out another one. Now, a little concerned, I took a spoon and looked through the beans and noticed that they looked "stringy", (like there was cheese in it). At this point, I was pretty frustrated and Brody was very upset that he couldn't eat his food. I walked up to the lady and asked her if there was cheese in the beans. She said no and I proceeded to ask if she saw them make it. She assured me that there was no cheese in the beans.

We ate our food and I didn't enjoy my dinner very much because I was watching Brody like a hawk to make sure that he didn't have a reaction, because I just felt so uneasy about the circumstances.

We got the boys home, put them to bed and two hours after ingesting the beans, Brody woke up screaming. When we went in to get him, he was wheezing, having difficulty breathing and extremely congested (snot was pouring from his nose) and coughing a little bit. We immediately gave him Benedryl and then I called a friend who is a nurse (she then called a relative that is a nurse practitioner) and recommend that we use Albuterol also and see if that didn't help the wheezing subside. Our plan of action was to use the Epi-Pen and get him to the hospital if the Albuterol didn't work.

I also called a friend of mine who has been on the food-allergy journey for awhile (I was so thankful that she got on the phone with me at 10pm) and asked if her son has ever had a reaction this long after ingesting something. I stayed on the phone with her throughout the breathing treatment. It is so encouraging to talk to those who can empathize with you.

After the Albuterol treatment, Brody's wheezing stopped and his breathing went back to normal. I held him for two hours and monitored his breathing. He also slept in my bed so I could keep checking on him (I set my alarm to wake up).

So, my thoughts on all of this?

First of all, I was thinking the entire time we were having to make decisions on what to do, was the $2 cup of refried beans worth all of this? Absolutely not. I felt responsible that he was going through this. It made my stomach feel sick. I guess we cannot trust certain places. I know it sounds bad, but I am more comfortable with the more expensive restaurants because the managers always seem to take care of it and ensure the safety of the food (but even then, there are no guarantees).

Next, my husband and I struggled with, "Is this a delayed reaction?" Can a reaction that happens two hours later be life threatening? Do we use the Epi-Pen? Last time, he reacted immediately after his accidental ingestion. I feel like there are not solid answers when it comes to using the Epi-Pen. I called my allergist yesterday and told him what had happened over the weekend. He said that this was not a delayed reaction...which made my heart drop. We essentially could have used the Epi-Pen and if he had reacted like this at the restaurant we probably would have administered it and ended up in the ER.

I was so thankful that Brody was alright, but it is something that hangs over our heads all of the time. Is the dining out going to cause a reaction that could make us end up in the emergency room? I am starting to feel more and more that it isn't worth it. People make mistakes and a little mistake could really hurt my child.

In the end, Brody was alright (thank goodness), I learned more about how he reacts and that even two hours later could be a life threatening reaction. I was also told by my allergist that if Brody had been in the care of someone else while he was wheezing and having this reaction that he should have been given the Epi-Pen; but he felt comfortable with what we did and the plan we had if it wasn't working.

To use or not use the Epi-Pen? I feel this seems to always be the question.....When in doubt, use the epi-pen. It cannot hurt your child to use it, but not administering it when needed, could be deadly.

Have any of your children experienced a reaction "after the fact"? I guess in my mind I thought that a severe reaction would happen immediately...now I know better....

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ideas to Make Church/Preschool Safer for your Child?

I was approached by the Director of the Children’s Ministry at our church and he would love to hear thoughts/ideas from parents with food-allergic children on how churches, pre-schools, etc. can make it safer regarding snacks.

Most of the time, snacks are served to young children, and as we know, it makes it difficult to find a snack that is completely allergen free (milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish).

We bring in a safe snack for Brody each week, but that doesn't mean that he couldn't accidentally grab another child's snack (which has baked eggs and Brody has had an anaphylatic response)

What are you thoughts? What has worked at your church or preschool to make you feel comfortable? What would you like to see done?

Your opinions are invaluable...I would love to share this with him on Sunday at church :)

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ban Peanuts on Planes?

I heard this on the news last night, and read the article today. I was interested to read the comments, and found that they literally made my stomach turn. Some attitudes were insensitive, downright mean and uninformed.

Are peanuts really that important to people, or does banning them signify something else? Until your child (or someone you love) is affected by this, I truly believe that you cannot empathize. I was there, I did not get it AT ALL before. Life experience has changed my attitude.

We don't even know if Brody is definitely allergic to peanuts since it just showed up positive on his blood test (and since we won't be giving him peanuts for awhile to "find out"), but even if it turns out that he is not allergic later on down the road, I hold in my heart what it feels like for another mom going through it and would never jeopardize the safety of another child.

We teach tolerance on all different levels, why not for life threatening food allergies? I guarantee if someone saw a child turn blue, eyes rolling back in their head, stop breathing, have to be injected with a huge epi pen and seek emergency care afterwards, they would see it in a different light.

Ban Peanuts on Planes? It's Not Nutty to Allergics

By Russ Bynum
Associated Press Writer /June 12, 2010

SAVANNAH, Ga.—Federal regulators are considering a snack attack on the nation's airlines that would restrict or even completely ban serving peanuts on commercial flights.

Advocates say the move would ease fears and potential harm to an estimated 1.8 million Americans who suffer from peanut allergies. Peanut farmers and food packagers, however, see it as overreaching and unfair to their legume.

"The peanut is such a great snack and such an American snack," says Martin Kanan, CEO of the King Nut Companies, an Ohio company that packages the peanuts served by most U.S. airlines. "What's next? Is it banning peanuts in ballparks?"

Twelve years after Congress ordered it to back off peanuts, the U.S. Transportation Department gave notice last week that it's gathering feedback from allergy sufferers, medical experts, the food industry and the public on whether to ban or restrict in-flight peanuts.
The peanut proposals were listed in an 84-page document including several other proposed consumer protections for air travelers. Three options were given: banning serving of peanuts on all planes; prohibiting peanuts only when an allergic passenger requests it in advance; or requiring an undefined "peanut-free zone" flight when a passenger asks for one.

While those options only pertain to peanuts served by flight crews, the document also states "we are particularly interested in hearing views on how peanuts and peanut products brought on board aircraft by passengers should be handled."

Spokesman Bill Mosely said the department is responding to concerns from travelers who either suffer from peanut allergies or have allergic children, "some of whom do not fly" because they're afraid of exposure.

"We're just asking for comment on whether we should do any of these three things," Mosely said. "We may not do any of them."

Peanut allergy can cause life-threatening reactions in people ingesting even trace amounts. Just breathing peanut dust in the air can cause problems -- though usually minor ones -- such as itching, sneezing and coughing.

A few limited studies on airline passengers with peanut allergies found a number of people reporting symptoms while flying, but few were severe or life-threatening, said Dr. Scott Sicherer, who studies food allergies at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

"But there's discomfort," Sicherer said. "It's sort of like if you were allergic to dogs and all of a sudden they brought 50 dogs onto the plane."
Why worry about peanuts on airplanes, as opposed to other public spaces?

Advocates with the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network say the answer's simple: planes are confined spaces where the air and dust particles get re-circulated. And there's no way to stop and get off during a severe reaction during flight.

"It's a different environment when you're basically 30,000 feet in the air," said Chris Weiss, the group's vice president of advocacy and government relations. "If you're sitting around a bunch of people and all of a sudden they're all handed packages of peanuts, that could release enough peanut dust into the air to trigger a reaction."

The Transportation Department previously weighed imposing peanut-free zones on airliners in 1998. The agency retreated after getting a hostile response from Congress, which threatened to cut its budget.

Several airlines such as Continental, United, US Airways and JetBlue have voluntarily stopped serving packaged peanuts as mile-high grub. Delta and Southwest still hand out goobers as in-flight snacks. American Airlines doesn't serve packaged peanuts, but it does offer trail mix and other snacks that can contain peanut ingredients.

Not surprisingly, government regulation of peanuts on planes is a woefully unpopular idea in Georgia -- the nation's top peanut producing state and home to former President Jimmy Carter, who grew up on a peanut farm.

"The peanut industry feels like we're being picked on," said Armond Morris, who grows peanuts on about 270 acres in rural Irwinville and serves as chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission. "If we're going to go targeting food products, maybe we just need to ban all food" on planes.

Arlene de Armas of Miami sees things differently as she makes plans for her family to fly to Pennsylvania for a summer vacation. Her 7-year-old son, Leandro, is allergic to peanuts.
She's already planning on what precautions to take -- calling the airline ahead to request no peanuts are served on her son's row, bringing sanitary wipes to clean the folding table in front of his seat and packing epinephrine -- or adrenaline -- to administer if he suffers a severe reaction.

"It's the added stress of knowing, God forbid, you could have a situation where he has a reaction and you have no way of getting to a hospital," de Armas said. "Peanut allergies are severe enough and common enough. Why not serve fruit?"

Go HERE to leave a comment for DOT (Department of Transportation) under What DOT wants to know from you
If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments with the info/link
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Sign up for the FAAN walk in Nashville

I am sure I do not have to tell you that life is busy. I finally sat down and signed up team Allergen Free Please for the FAAN walk here in Nashville on Saturday, August 28th. I called and asked family and will be asking friends to join our team to help find a cure for food allergies and bring awareness to our community. If you want to walk, check in starts at 9am and the walk begins at 10am. The distance we are walking is 2 miles.

It was easy, and free to register. You can register a team or walk as an individual. It will be a fun day!

Take a few minutes to think of a team name and sign up now. August will be here before you know it!

Go HERE to register


Date: Saturday, August 28, 2010

Time: Check-in begins at 9:00 a.m.; Walk begins at 10:00 a.m.

Location: Centennial Park, 2500 W. End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203

Distance: 2 miles

Restrictions: No pets, glass bottles, bikes, roller skates or skate boards. Baby Strollers and wagons are welcome.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

An Easy Way to Add Calcium

When I first found out that Brody was allergic to milk, I questioned where he would get his calcium from. It was ingrained in my head that my kids move to whole milk when they turn a year old and that is where their calcium comes from (and also from other dairy products). The more I learn, the more I know that he is getting calcium from other sources.

For our family, besides eating other sources high in calcium, we have added a calcium (and vitamin D) fortified orange juice. This has been a simple step that we have taken.

There are a few on the market, just make sure that it is 100% juice :)

Keep getting a wide variety fruits and vegetables into your family!

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Monday, June 7, 2010

The Tastes of Summer...Watermelon!

My oldest son enjoying his piece of watermelon. I love having a dessert like this, because everyone enjoys it and it is safe for Brody!

A nice big piece of cold watermelon...a crowd-pleaser and allergen free!

I bought a $3 watermelon this weekend, and we enjoyed it for dessert with a group of friends the other night, had some more tonight with my parents and STILL have more leftover. I think it is a GREAT deal and it is an easy, allergen free dessert to bring to a BBQ or just to have on a hot summer evening.

Go get a watermelon and enjoy the tastes of summer! Stay Cool!

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Antipasto Salad

This is a fresh summer side dish that you can adjust to the tastes of your family.

Antipasto Salad

This recipe is free of milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish

*can be wheat free if you use wheat free pasta

*can be soy free if you make your own vinaigrette/dressing

*if you use pepperoni, make sure that it is not cross contaminated if cut in the deli (ask them to clean the machine for you)


16 oz. bow tie pasta (or something similar if using wheat free pasta), cooked

3/4 bottle of Kraft Italian Dressing (I like the one that says no artificial preservatives on the bottle...Kraft Seven Seas Viva Italian also only contains soy) *make your own dressing for soy free version

1 can of kidney beans, rinsed

1 can of chickpeas, rinsed

1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half (you could always use tomatoes from the garden also

small box of frozen green beans, cooked

1 can of pitted olives, drained and cut in half

1 green pepper, chopped

1 yellow or purple onion, chopped

4 oz of pepperoni (I bought Boarshead already prepackaged that did not have nitrites or nitrates), cut into small pieces *leave out pepperoni for a vegetarian version

Put all ingredients in a large bowl, stir and put in the refrigerator so the flavors come together.

Serve cold. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Frozen Banana Pops

I remember eating chocolate dipped frozen bananas at Disney World as a kid and wanted to recreate this treat for my kids.

These are relatively "healthy" treats and are pretty inexpensive and easy to make....perfect for summer!

Chocolate Dipped Frozen Banana Pops

This recipe is free of milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish
*can be free of soy if you do not use Earth Balance natural shortening (you could substitute safe, soy free butter to thin it out)
*Makes 8 banana pops

Ingredients/What you need

  • Wooden Sticks (I bought them at Michaels, they are called Woodsies and you get 150 sticks for$2.99, I then used a 40% off coupon and got them for $1.96...these will last for awhile! *You can find Michaels coupons in the Sunday paper) *You will need 8 sticks for this recipe
  • wax paper
  • 4 ripe bananas, peeled and cut in half (will make 8 banana pops)
  • 1 bag of safe chocolate chips  (Enjoy life has completely allergen free chocolate chips also, it is a 10 oz bag....go to HERE to print a coupon)
  • 1 TBSP of Earth Balance natural shortening (contains soy)-this helps make chocolate a little easier to work with by thinning it out
  • medium pot and a bowl that fits on top to make a make-shift double broiler OR use a double broiler if you have one
Cut the bananas in half (you will have 8) and insert wooden sticks. Put bananas in something (I used an 8x8 glass baking dish) and place them in the freezer for at least 4-6 hours, but preferably overnight.
Make sure bananas are frozen. In a medium pot, boil water. Put a bowl that fits over the pot, but allow a little of the steam to escape (this will make a make shift double broiler so your chocolate doesn't burn). Add your chocolate chips, natural shortening and stir until melted. You can turn your burner off once the chocolate is melted and maybe even remove the bowl from the pot so your chocolate can cool down (see tip below). You can quickly dip the bananas into the chocolate and/or spoon and smooth the chocolate on and lay on wax paper. *I would keep your bananas in the freezer until they are ready to be dipped in chocolate.
Once all of your bananas are dipped, let them dry on the wax paper for a little while (just until hardened) and you can put them back into what you froze the bananas in and place them back in the freezer until you are ready to eat. *A freezer bag would be a great way to store your banana pops so you have them ready for whenever
*Tip-I noticed as I started to get down to the chocolate at the bottom of the bowl, it was so hot that it started melting my bananas and making it harder for the chocolate to stick.
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