Saturday, December 17, 2011

Creating Holiday Memories with a Hot Air Popcorn Popper

I hope everyone is preparing to relax and spend time with their family over the holidays.  I have to share something that I purchased a few weeks ago that we are really enjoying. It has been a part of us making some great memories this season while watching Christmas movies.

A friend of mine was talking about a hot air popcorn popper, and I realized that Brody was 3 years old (milk, egg and peanut allergy) and has never had popcorn.  This was enough motivation for me to purchase the popcorn popper.  I also loved the idea of being able to buy organic popcorn kernels (so I can avoid GMO's) and control what, and how much "butter" and salt goes on our popcorn.

The popper pops wonderfully and leaves very few kernels (so quick and easy).  It is easy to clean and is so much fun to wait and watch the popcorn overflow out of it (the kids get a kick out of that).  Sometimes we use Earth Balance dairy free butter, and sometimes we just eat it plain (what a great low calorie snack).

The best part, you don't even have to leave your home to purchase it.  I bought mine online at walmart and paid .97 to have it shipped to my house...AWESOME!  It was so worth it to not have to go in and look for it and "hope" they have it this time of year.

If you are looking for a last minute gift or want to treat yourself with something that the whole family can enjoy together, I highly recommend it!

Go make some memories!
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Greek Style So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt

I was really excited to see that So Delicious has a new Greek Style Coconut Milk Yogurt.  It was "on sale" at Whole Foods, so I grabbed a couple.  Coconut milk yogurt, in my opinion, is much tastier than regular yogurt (and also safe for my milk allergic child).

The greek style yogurt is decadent; it is thick, creamy and delicious!  We put some granola on top and had it as a snack today.  We tried the strawberry, but I am thinking I will have to buy the chocolate next :)

Click HERE to request a coupon

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

15% off coupon on Food Allergy Bands at USA Baby & Big Kids Too

I am excited that our family's journey with food allergies is being featured on Nashville Kids Furniture Blog.  I am passionate about spreading awareness about food allergies and helping to encourage other families who are on a similar journey.

USA Baby & Big Kids Too in Franklin, TN is offering Allergen Free Please readers a 15% off coupon on a Food Allergy Band.  Just in time for pre-school and school starting, you can protect your child from food allergens in a fun, kid-friendly way.  

The Food Allergy-Band was the brainchild of three partners from the Nashville area, who have personally been affected by their kids with food allergies.  The Food Allergy-Band offers an added layer of protection because they stay with the child when parents and guardians cannot.

The initial Food Allergy-Band will be available in 
three styles:
  • Dairy
  • Nut
  • Food
Did you know that dairy and nut allergies are the two primary food allergies that can be life-threatening? The number of children affected by food allergies has doubled in the past 10 years and now affects over 12 million Americans. Each year more than 125,000 children visit emergency rooms because of food allergy reactions.

Each band is designed for a specific allergy, is 
100% latex free and incorporates a "kid friendly" design.

Print out your 15% off coupon HERE (expires September 30, 2011), stop by USA Baby & Big Kids Too and pick your Food Allergy Band up today!

USA Baby & Big Kids Too

1113 Murfreesboro Rd. Suite 370
Franklin, TN 37064
Mon-Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 1pm-5pm
"Like" on Facebook

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nashville Sounds Peanut Free Night August 17th

A friend of mine told me that the Nashville Sounds have had a few peanut free nights this season.  I know some of the food allergy moms worked hard to make this possible.  I also want to thank the Nashville Sounds for bringing awareness to food allergies by setting aside nights so children that have life-threatening peanut allergies can enjoy a baseball game with their families. This is wonderful!

The last peanut free night is Wednesday August 17th 2011 at (against the Padres) at 7:05pm in Section D. Click HERE to read more. *Section-D will be designated as a peanut-free zone at Greer Stadium. For more information, call (615) - 690 - HITS.

Tickets are $12 in advance (prior to game date).  Children 2 and under are free, if they do not occupy a seat. Ticket prices include tax. To see more details, click HERE

Enjoy a night out with the family!!!!

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Make Your Own Smoothie Pops

Popsicles are the perfect summer time treat!

I love being able to make my own pops so I know what's in them. It is fun to make different flavors with fruit and the kids enjoy being a part of creating them.

The hardest part of making your own pops is finding the right popsicle molds.

I found these popsicle molds from Tovolo and I really like them (I actually found them at TJ Max but it looks like you can get them off of Amazon).

I like that these molds have a base that each pop sits on so they do not fall over when you put them in the freezer.  They are durable and even have a drip guard.  They come out star shaped, which is fun AND they are BPA free and dishwasher safe.

*Tip: do not fill the pop up to the top with smoothie or the stick has a hard time staying in.

How to make Smoothie Pops

1. get a great popsicle mold (I like the Tovolo Shooting Star Freezer Pop Molds)
2. get out your blender (I am in love with my Vitamix and we have definitely have gotten our money's worth, as we use it at least 2-3 times a day).
3. real fruit juice and frozen or fresh fruit

Here is my recipe for one of my favorite smoothie pops, but you can be creative and use any fruit combination

OJ (not from concentrate) (about 2 cups)
Frozen chunks of mango (I buy at Trader Joe's)
Frozen pineapple tidbits (I buy at Trader Joe's)
Frozen organic strawberries (I buy at Trader Joe's)
I sprinkle in some ground flax seed for Omega 3's

Blend ingredients in blender and pour into the molds.  Whatever does fit in the molds, we drink ;)

Also, if you want to make what we call around our house "Shrek Smoothie Pop" add a handful of kale or spinach.  Both greens are extremely nutritious and will turn the smoothie a cool green color.  Bonus: you will be sneaking in some veggies.

These molds come in handy when you make a blender-full of smoothie and you are not able to drink it all....we just have smoothie pops for later on and it is not wasted.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Farmers Markets Around Town

Summer is all about Farmers Markets; an abundance of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the farm. Fruits and vegetables are always safe for us and it is an activity that we can do as a family. My boys enjoying know where their food comes from (they love to know what farm it is from) and it gets them more excited and involved in healthy eating.

Here are some local farmers markets around town

Open all week long

Nashville Farmers Market Monday-Sunday 8am-6pm
Find them on Facebook HERE


Franklin Farmers Market behind the Factory in Franklin from 8am-1pm
Find them on Facebook HERE

Spring Hill Farmers Market at the TN Children's home from
Find them on Facebook HERE

Columbia Farmers Market at the Public Square in Historic Downtown Columbia 7am-12pm
Find them on Facebook HERE


Franklin Farmers Market
at the Whole Foods at West McEwen Drive from 3-6:30pm
Whole Food Franklin puts out reminders, etc. Find them on Facebook HERE

Thompson Station Farmers Market near Thompson Station Church from
Find them on Facebook HERE

If you not local, find some farmers markets around town and check them out. It is a fun way to try new foods, support local farmers and maybe you will be excited to try something new for your family...they might even like it if they are a part of picking it out :)

Let me know if I am missing any local markets

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Amazing Allergen Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I first found out about Brody's food allergies, I was thankful for Enjoy Life because I knew that their ENTIRE line of products were "safe." It definitely helped make my life easier as I was trying to figure out the world of food allergies. It was also an easy recommendation for others who were dealing with food allergies (even if they are different from ours) because everything is free of the top 8 allergens (wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish).

We have been eating the Enjoy Life cookies (the small soft ones) and they are good...but these NEW cookies? THEY ARE GREAT!!!!! They taste like a "bad for you cookie" without all of the stuff that you don't want. It still amazes and encourages me how something can be free of so many allergens and still taste amazing!

A friend of mine gave some of these new cookies to a non-food allergic child who was over to play with her son who has multiple food allergies. The result? The child kept asking for more! There is something that makes a mom feel good when those who do not have food allergies want what your child is having because it is GOOD.

Go out and grab a box. You won't be disappointed. I even had to try a few just to make sure I REALLY liked them ;)

Thank you Enjoy Life for helping to make my life easy and yummy!!!

Check out the other new crunchy varieties also

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Amanda's Own Confections

Before Easter, I was looking safe chocolate for Brody. Not just any chocolate, but SPECIAL chocolate that was in cute seasonal shapes. I really was looking for little bunny shapes instead of a big bunny that he would have a hard time eating . For holidays, it is more difficult to find candy that is special for children who have food allergies, etc.

I could have bought him an Enjoy Life chocolate bar, but I felt he deserved to have some sort of bunny chocolate like other kids are able to eat :) I don't want his food allergies to keep him from having special memories. I remember, as a child, having special chocolate in my Easter basket and wanted to see him enjoy a special treat.

I was searching allergen free chocolate on the Internet and came across Amanda's Own Confections. I discovered that the chocolate was dairy free, egg free, gluten free, tree nut free and peanut free. I was really excited to see all of the options to choose from for holidays and for special occasions.

Amanda's Own Confections was developed as a result of their daughter Amanda's life-threatening food allergy to diary products. Her parents did not want her miss out on all of the chocolate for holidays or other special occasions.

They started making chocolate that was totally diary free, tree nut free, peanut free, egg free and gluten free for Amanda, and she loved it. They they began to share the chocolate with friends who have children with food allergies and it received such a positive response in regard to the great taste and safe ingredients, that Amanda's Own Confections was created to offer safe chocolate for others!

Here is the statement about food allergies that made me feel confident in the product I would be receiving:
The purity of our dairy-free, tree nut-free, peanut-free, egg-free, gluten-free chocolate is of the greatest importance to us, as the safety of our child and yours depends on it.

The chocolates were delicious and the shapes were adorable. It made me so happy to see Brody eating special chocolate for Easter. My older son enjoyed it and loved it too.

I connect with why Amanda's Own Confections was created and I am thankful for those who are passionate about helping other children have yummy, healthier treats. I love supporting companies like this.

I know I have said this before, but I truly believe some of the yummiest, healthiest food is the allergen free food.

You can find Amanda's Own Confections on Facebook

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Last Minute "Healthier" Easter Candy

At Whole Foods, you can find Yummy Earth Organic Gummy Bears. These are individually packaged and perfect to put inside Easter baskets (10 snack packs). They are on sale for $4.99

What's best about these gummy bears?
  • Certified Organic
  • No artificial dyes
  • No corn syrup
  • Tree Nut-free
  • Real Fruit Extracts
  • 100% Natural Flavors
  • Gluten Free
  • Peanut Free
  • Soy Free
  • Dairy Free
  • GMO-Free
  • No MSG
I think that about covers it. Not to mention, they are REALLY GOOD! I have had a hard time not eating them this week (I think I still have enough for Easter baskets ;)

The Yummy Earth brand is wonderful choice for a "healthier" candy. You can also grab a bag of their lollipops...YUM!!!!

Have a wonderful Easter with your family!
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil

As long as I can remember, Brody has had sensitive skin and eczema. When we removed Brody's allergens from his diet, his skin drastically improved, but we still had issues with eczema from time to time. It seemed like if we didn't keep his skin moisturized, the eczema would flair up , which would make him itch, which would then make his eczema worse. It was a vicious cycle.

We were told by different health care professionals to use different lotions/prescriptions on his skin to help with his eczema; some had steroids (which I did not like to consistently put on him) and others were full of ingredients I had no idea what they were (nor could pronounce them). Because we tried to keep his skin moisturized, we put products on his skin every day, sometimes even twice a day.

I decided that I wanted to switch to a product that was more natural for his skin and move away from products with a ton of ingredients that I could not pronounce (which could have potentially been irritating his skin even more, making the eczema worse because his skin is so sensitive).

A friend of mine suggested Tropical Traditions Gold Label Standard Virgin Coconut Oil and we started using it in the beginning of the fall. In the past, winter has made Brody's skin dry and cracked and his eczema seemed to get worse. I have to say that this has been the best winter for Brody's skin. I am very pleased with the coconut oil and have used it all over his body (we cover him in it), on my family's chapped lips and even as moisturizer for my face.

The more I learn about about the skin being the largest organ and how it absorbs toxins just as if you have eaten them, I understand how important it is to find more natural (as close to nature ingredients as possible) products. I try to use the rule, "If I wouldn't want to eat it, I won't put it on my skin."

What else can you use the coconut oil for besides a moisturizer? You can cook with it (it is one of the best cooking oils you can use) and you can also add it to smoothies for great health benefits.

You can "Like" Tropical Traditions on Facebook and you will get access to sales and coupons codes, etc.

Here is a great offer from Tropical Traditions: You can try the 16 oz trial size and if for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with your trial size in the first 30 days, you get a full refund-no questions asked.

Anyone else use coconut oil for the skin?

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Monday, April 4, 2011

What Could Be Causing An Increase In Food Allergies?

Have you found yourself asking this question to your family, friends or doctor?

When I tell people about Brody's food allergies, I always find myself saying to them, "Do you remember going to school with kids who had food allergies? I didn't know one child with food allergies when I was in school or even when I was teaching almost 4 1/2 years ago. Now, almost every day I meet someone who has a child that is food allergic. It is becoming an epidemic and our children are suffering"

In this 18 minute talk, Robyn O'Brien shares how one breakfast changed her outlook on food. After she discovered that her daughter had a severe food allergy, she became determined to figure out what was causing a spike in the food allergies here in the U.S. Here is what she found:

Robyn O’Brien is a former food industry analyst turned crusader for safe, healthy food talks about the link between food allergies and our food system.

The facts about our food system are eye opening. As Robyn says in her talk, “one person can make a difference.” She encourages everyone to “Do One Thing” to improve your health and that of your family and our country. What’s your one thing?

Other resources
Food Inc,.
Food Matters

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Living With Food Allergies

This video will touch your heart

Me my son Brody

Our Story:

Our journey with food allergies started with our son Brody having severe eczema at 4 months old. The eczema on his face would get so bad, that it would be open and weepy. People would make comments about his cute red cheeks and I would just smile, knowing that it was not normal. There were times when his face looked so bad it made my stomach turn.

I remember calling doctor offices crying and asking them to see our son as soon as possible. We took him to our pediatrician, a dermatologist, and a pediatric dermatologist. We tried expensive topical treatments (that I did not like to use because of the steroids) and nothing completely took it away. I asked all three doctors if something that I was eating could be getting into him from nursing, and all of them said it was not possible and wrote me a prescription (I now know otherwise). It was frustrating to watch him be so uncomfortable; I felt helpless.

At 7 months old, I introduced whole organic yogurt, and he immediately broke out with hives all over his body. It took me a minute to process what was going on, because I had never seen anyone have an allergic reaction, nor did I anticipate our child would have one. I called the triage nurse at our pediatrician’s office and was told to give him Benedryl and watch to make sure his throat did not close. We were asked to come in to see our pediatrician the next day, and he recommended a blood test.

A few days later, the pediatrician called and said, “Brody is allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts and wheat.” I said “Ok.” He then asked if I was going to continue to nurse him; I immediately said, “Yes, of course” and he replied, “You know that what he is allergic to is in everything?” I realized that what I had been eating was hurting him. I cut those allergens completely out of my diet and went on what we affectionately called “ The Brody diet.” His eczema went way, he was a happier baby and I was overwhelmed, yet relieved to find out the root of the problem. I was on the "Brody diet" for 6 months, since I had decided to continue to nurse. I am glad I chose to do this; it forced me to find safe foods and recipes that tasted good.

After I learned a little more and had time to digest what was going on, we decided to see an allergist and do a skin test to compare to the results of the blood test and begin a relationship with a doctor who takes care of children with food allergies everyday.

We have since had some accidental exposure to allergens, which have been both eye opening and scary. We have also done a baked egg challenge with our allergist and Brody’s lips turned blue, his eyes rolled back in his head and he was given the Epi-pen. This incident built our belief in the Epi-pen and we do not leave home without it.

Being allergen free was a dramatic change for our entire family, since none of us have any food allergies. We were completely immersed into this new lifestyle. I began to look at food differently. I always knew that what a person eats could eventually hurt them, possibly causing heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. but for our family, certain food could cause our son to stop breathing.

Reading labels has made our family so much more aware of what is actually in the food that we are eating, and we have cut out a lot of processed foods and are eating whole foods, fruits, vegetables, food made from scratch and with fewer ingredients (which is much healthier). This has definitely been the silver lining since Brody has been diagnosed with food allergies.

Along the way, I have met and have been encouraged by other moms who are on similar journeys. I have met local bakers who make delicious allergen free treats for special occasions, which makes my heart happy. We embrace this path for our family and are learning that being allergen free can be healthy and delicious.

There are days where I feel anxious, but other days I am so thankful that God has put our family on this journey. It is stretching and growing us.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) Philippians 4:6-7

What are food allergies?

It is estimated that approximately 12 million Americans suffer from food allergies.. Food allergies occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks a food protein. Ingestion of the offending food may trigger the sudden release of chemicals, including histamine, resulting in symptoms of an allergic reaction.

What are the top eight allergens?

Milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish.

What are some symptoms of an allergic reaction?

Symptoms may be mild (rashes, hives, itching, swelling, etc.) or severe (trouble breathing, wheezing, loss of consciousness, etc.). A food allergy can be potentially fatal.

How a might a child might describe a reaction?

Children have unique ways of describing their experiences and perceptions, and allergic reactions are no exception. Precious time can be lost when caregivers do not immediately recognize that a reaction is occurring or don’t understand what a child is trying to tell them.

Some children, especially very young ones, put their hands in their mouths or pull or scratch at their tongues when having a reaction. Also, children’s voices may change (example: become hoarse or squeaky), and they may slur their words.

Here are some examples of the words a child might use to describe a reaction (from FAAN)

• "This food's too spicy."
• "My tongue is hot [or burning]."
• "It feels like something’s poking my tongue."
• "My tongue [or mouth] is tingling [or burning]."
• "My tongue [or mouth] itches."
• "It [my tongue] feels like there is hair on it."
• "My mouth feels funny."
• "There's a frog in my throat."
• "There’s something stuck in my throat."
• "My tongue feels full [or heavy]."
• "My lips feel tight."
• "It feels like there are bugs in there." (to describe itchy ears)
• "It [my throat] feels thick."
• "It feels like a bump is on the back of my tongue [throat]."

If you suspect that your child is having an allergic reaction, follow your doctor's instructions.

What is the best treatment for a food allergy reaction?

We carry Benedryl and an Epi- with us everywhere we go. For a very mild reaction, Benedryl is great. For a severe reaction, Epinephrine, is the medication of choice. It is available by prescription as a self-injectable device. If you have been prescribed this medication, carry it with you at all times. It could save your child’s life.

How to Grocery Shop?

Grocery shopping takes more time, because the ingredients and each ingredient statement must be carefully read. Manufacturers change the ingredients of their products all of the time, and these changes may not be seen by looking at the front of a package. Make sure to read the ingredient label every time you purchase a food, even for “safe” food you have previously purchased.


FAAN (Food Allergy Anaphylaxis Network)

Food Allergy Initiative

Kids With Food Allergies

Local Resources (Nashville Area)

Allergen Free Please (Also on Facebook)

F.A.C.T. (Food Allergy Community of TN) is a support group that meets at the Whole Foods in Green Hills the first Tuesday of every other month.

Email me for more information at

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Grand Opening of Aunt April's Bakery, Saturday March 19th

Click HERE to learn more about the Green Wagon's Spring Re-Opening Celebration AND the GRAND OPENING of Aunt April's Bakery on Saturday, March 19th, 12pm-10pm and to RSVP.

GRAND OPENING - Aunt April's Bakery

Aunt AprilIn addition to being GF, all our items are soy & dairy free. So we are the premier 'allergen friendly' bakery & cafe in middle TN. April's OMGoodies will be for sale and there will be a coffee tasting to let you help us decide our "house coffee."

To read more about Aunt April's Bakery, click HERE

1100 Forrest Avenue
Near 5 points, East Nashville
Nashville, TN 37206

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

AllergyFree Foods-Eliminating the Top Food Allergens

Thank you AllergyFree Foods for sponsoring our March F.A.C.T. (Food Allergy Community of TN) Meeting!
Kelly Young and Richard Croteau did a wonderful job of communicating the mission of the company, who believes that EVERYONE has the right to purchase food products that are of both great taste and value.
AllergyFree Foods works with Joel Schaefer, a former Manager of Product Development and Special Diets for Walt Disney World Resort, their products are free of the top 8 food allergens (wheat/gluten, milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish and soy).
Now those with allergies can finally enjoy the products that they crave such as chicken nuggets, chicken wings and more.
Allergy Free Food offers All Natural Chicken Products (Minimally processed, no Artificial ingredients)
· Chicken Filets
· Chicken Nuggets
· Chicken Tenderloins
· Chicken Tenders
· Chicken Wings
Be on the lookout for some dry mixes to be offered in the near future!

Check out the list of the products/ingredients or order.
AllergyFree Food products have been featured at and have been successful with independent and chain grocers nationwide.
See if AllergyFree Food products are available at a grocery store near you.
Would you like to have Allergy Free Foods available to purchase in your local grocery store? Print a Grocer Request Form, download, print and take it to the manager of your local grocery store (the more people request, the greater likelihood that they will carry it). The distribution centers that the grocery store can order from is: UNFI, Tree of Life and KeHe Foods.
Find AllergyFree Foods on

(706) 265-1317

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Allergen Free Please is now on Facebook

Is Facebook an easy way for you to stay connected?

Do you feel like your email inbox is overloaded? Facebook is a great way to check out posts, etc that interest you without having to delete a million emails.

"Like" Allergen Free Please on Facebook and get updates that might not make the blog and have a way to connect with others who are dealing with food allergies or who are making lifestyle changes.

You can find the Facebook link right on or you can search pages on Facebook and find it.

Have someone you know that is dealing with food allergies, etc.? Feel free to share! Thanks for being a part of this journey with me!

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Avocado and Raspberry Pie...Perfect for Valentine's Day!

Oh my goodness...I have a dessert that I feel confidant that you will love and the ingredients are ones that you might not have ever thought about putting together.

My husband and I have been following a strict Vegan "diet" for the past 28 days and we have been experimenting with some new plantstrong recipes. We are doing the Engine 2 Diet, not as a diet, but more for a lifestyle. Whole Foods Market has been supporting us through this journey with weekly check-ins and letting us sample wonderful new recipes. Tonight, they made this dessert and I think I could have eaten the entire pan. Who knew that chocolate and avocado could be so creamy and decadent? Plus, I felt a whole lot better as I ate it, knowing that it was full of heart healthy fats. My boys will LOVE this and I will love knowing that I am sneaking in avocado. I know if you are like me, you might be wanting a yummy dessert for Valentine's day....ENJOY!!!!!
Avocado & Raspberry Pie
This recipe is free of milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, soy, tree nuts, fish and shellfish
Mash two ripe avocados and splash 2T of orange juice over the top
Melt 14 oz vegan chocolate chips in a double boiler with: (example: enjoy life is free of the top 8 allergens)
1 T vanilla extract
1/3 c “milk” — try 365 Soy or Almond (or other milk alternative; rice, etc)

When melting chocolate, mix in milk alternative and vanilla extract.
Once melted, mix with the avocado — with a food processor (or blender) to make smooth,
Once combined, pour over fresh raspberries in a pie pan. Put more fresh raspberries on top and refrigerate until it hardens.
Tip: I used frozen raspberries because they were cheaper :) I layered some on the bottom, then added the "chocolate" mixture and then added more on top. YUM!
It comes out super firm. Cut into small wedges because it is so dense, firm and yummy!
Recipe by Renee Mahon

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Avocados...The Perfect Game Day Snack!

Today ONLY: February 4th, Organic Avocados are on sale 5/$5 at Whole Foods
*Call your local store to make sure they are participating

Here are two great recipes for your delicious, healthful avocados!

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

4-6 ripe avocados
1/2 red or yellow onion, minced
1-2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice
coarse salt to taste
A dash of freshly grated black pepper
1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped (optional)
*if you want, omit the onion, serrano chiles, and tomato and just add some fresh salsa (about 1/4 cup). Doing this makes this recipe SO easy!

1. Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out avocado from the peel, put in a mixing bowl. (See How to Cut and Peel an Avocado.)
2. Using a fork, mash the avocado. Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime or lemon, salt and pepper and mash some more. Chili peppers vary individually in their hotness. So, start with a half of one chili pepper and add to the guacamole to your desired degree of hotness.
Keep the tomatoes separate until ready to serve.
Remember that much of this is done to taste because of the variability in the fresh ingredients. Start with this recipe and adjust to your taste.
3. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation from the air reaching it. Refrigerate until ready.
4. Just before serving, add the chopped tomato to the guacamole and mix.

Serve with tortilla chips

Black Bean Salsa
This recipe is free of milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, peanuts, fish and shellfish

2 cans of black beans drained and rinsed
*I like to use organic black beans or whole foods 365 black beans (they are only .89) and they do not have preservatives or added salt.
1 small bag of organic frozen corn, drained
1 lime OR lemon (for juice)
1 Haas avocado cut into pieces and soaked in fresh lime or lemon juice to preserve its color
*You might want to do this right before you serve this dip so the avocado is at its freshest
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 mango, diced OR pineapple, diced 
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
fresh cilantro, chopped

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover. Let refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve. Stir before serving.

Serve with tortilla chips

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Where in the World is Children's Benadryl Dye-Free Allergy?

Has anyone else been looking everywhere for Children's Benadryl Dye-Free Allergy?

I have been on a search for Children's Benadryl Dye-Free Allergy for a couple of months now and cannot find it anywhere. Yesterday, I decided to call the company and see if I could get some answers.

In September 2010, Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl were recalled. If you have any of these medicines sitting around your house and you bought them awhile ago, they might be part of the recall. Call this number, 1-877-717-2824 and they can tell you if it has been recalled and if so, they will send you a refund.

As of now now, the company is having a hard time distributing the Children's Benadryl Dye-Free Allergy after the recall, and they are unsure when it will be back on the shelves.

Would I give Brody the regular Benadryl with dyes if I had no other options? Absolutely, but if I can find an alternative that is dye-free, that would be my first choice.

Since Dye-Free Benadryl is not an option right now (and we do not know when it will be available), I spoke to a pharmacist at Walgreens, and he recommended the Children's WAL-DRYL Allergy Dye-Free. He personally has food allergies uses it.

I bought it, but wanted to call my allergist to confirm that is was alright to give. My biggest concern was that on the Children's Benadryl, it said do not give to children under 2 and on the Children's WAL-DRYL Allergy , it said to not give to children under 4. My allergist said that it was fine to give and the most important thing to look at was that the Diphenhydramine HCl (which is the antihistamine/active ingredient) was 12.5mg per teaspoon, which it is.

If you are like us, we do not go anywhere without "Benadryl" because there have been many times that it has saved us from going to the Emergency Room (too many times to count). If you do not take it with you and you have children with food allergies, I recommend getting some to take with you. We even keep it at the grandparents' house that live close by, so that we are never without it. So, until the Children's Benadryl Dye-Free Allergy comes back onto the shelves, the Children's Wal-Dryl Allergy Dye-Free would be a great replacement.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Aunt April's Bakery

Aunt April's Bakery is Nashville's very first ALL gluten free bakery. In addition to being gluten free, the products are also soy and dairy free. Some of her options are also vegan. April's heart is to be able to make allergen free treats for any food allergies and is more than willing to accommodate them.

Aunt April's gluten free, vegan (no egg, no dairy) and soy free Heaven Cake is available to purchase at The Wild Cow in Nashville. It is an extremely moist chocolate cake with a creamy, decadent icing.

We had April make the Heaven cake for Brody's 2nd birthday. We ordered a sheet cake so we could cut it up into smaller pieces for the adults and bought cupcakes (also Heaven cake) for the kids. It was a big hit! The adults were going back for seconds and my husband and I had to hide the rest of the cake so we had leftovers. Everyone couldn't believe how many things the cake "didn't have in it", yet it was delicious! Aunt April's also offers seasonal gluten free, soy free, vegan cupcakes at The Wild Cow if you are not in the mood for chocolate or are allergic.

You can also find some of Aunt April's Bakery baked goods (muffins, brownies and cookies) at the Edgehill Cafe.

When you buy Aunt April's baked goods from one of these places, you will find that they are clearly labeled with what is not in it (gluten, dairy, soy, vegan (no milk or eggs), etc.) and you will find a detailed list of ingredients (which I love).

For Thanksgiving, Brody was able to have his first pumpkin pie. April baked a gluten free, egg free, milk free, crustless pie. I was so thrilled that he was able to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving treat.

Aunt April's Bakery is going to be opening (hopefully the end of February) inside The Green Wagon near East Nashville. April will offer her delicious baked goods, and will serve lunch, which will include homemade soup and sandwiches. I am so excited about this! How nice to be able to go and grab some yummy treats when you are out and about, or meet up with some friends at a place that really "gets" food allergies.

If you would like Aunt April's Bakery to make something for you special order, give her at least 48 hours to be able to make it just the way you need it!

You can sign up for Aunt April's Bakery VIP Program by sending a text to 56687 and put Aunt April in the body of the text. When you spend $100 over a period of time, you will get $8 back. Also, 5% goes back to a non profit.

Thank you Aunt April's Bakery for sponsoring our January F.A.C.T. meeting! The Heaven cupcakes were fabulous and we loved the baking tips.

Here is one of April's tips for baking egg free:
Substitute for one egg:
2 tsp of flaxseed meal
3 Tbsp boiling water

Mix together and then let sit for about 10 minutes. The end result will be a egg-like consistency.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact April. She is more than happy to answer your questions!

Aunt April's Bakery
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Monday, January 3, 2011

F.A.C.T. Meeting

Our next F.A.C.T meeting (Food Allergy Community of TN) is tomorrow, Tuesday, January 4th at 7pm at the Whole Foods in Green Hills (we usually meet upstairs).

Start the new year off with some great tips on allergen free baking!

April Graves from Aunt April's Bakery (an allergen friendly bakery in middle TN) will be teaching a workshop on baking with food allergies. April is passionate about baking safe, tasty treats for those with food allergies and will teach us tips on how to prepare safe baked goods for our families.

She will be bringing some yummy allergen free treats for us to try. For more information, go to
She can accommodate any food allergy. Email me at if you have any questions.

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