Tag Archive: allergy

Granola-ish Bars [allergen free]

Does granola necessarily mean oats?  Or grains?

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I read that buckwheat is a fruit the other day.  Hmmmm…I know it’s not related to wheat and I know it’s not a grass…eh, whatever [too lazy to google].

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Ok so I made these bars and I’m not really sure if they count as granola or not, but if you feel like the ingredients list suits you, then go ahead and give them a shot.  And then send me a new recipe name suggestion.  🙂

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The recipe is allergy friendly, and has no nuts, eggs, dairy, soy, wheat, or sesame.  It’s no KIND bar, but it’s good in it’s own right.  I mean, hello, they have squash in them!  That’s cool right?

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Cranberry Orange Squash Granola Bars [vegan, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free]

Ingredients:

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine chia seeds and water and stir.  After it’s had enough time to gel, mix chia together with the rest of the wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Add in dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Press into 8×8 greased baking pan (or lined with parchment paper/tin foil).

Bake for 30 minutes.  Wait for them to cool fully before removing and slicing (it will be hard but seriously, don’t sneak any until they have chilled).  I recommend putting them in fridge so the coconut oil solidifies and they’re easier to cut.

Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

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You can buy NuNaturals’ products online (discount code BLG0614 will get you 15% off your entire order, also orders over $35 get free shipping in the US).

Tagatose subs just like cane sugar, so it’s a really easy conversion and makes it a super simple ingredient to bake with.

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Disclaimer  I’m not an allergy expert!  Consult with a medical professional before trying new foods for the first time. 

Eating out with a child with allergies

Whether or not you have a baby with allergies, dining in public is a small adventure each and every time. 

But when you have to worry about how clean the tables/chairs are, or if the last diner ate something with nuts and there’s residue on the furniture, or…the list goes on and on…it’s enough to overwhelm a rookie parent!

I’m not an expert by any means, but here are some of the ways I make it easier and safer for me and P.

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BYO wipes.  I love these ones by Burt’s Bee – they are eco-friendly and non-toxic but still clean well enough that I can use them on his hands and face as well as the high chair and table.  It took me for-eh-ver to find a hypoallergenic wipe that didn’t have tons of chemicals and didn’t cost a fortune, so I don’t recommend these lightly.  They clean P’s hands and face well and don’t leave his sensitive skin chapped or dry.  Also they don’t smell strongly of anything.  I bought them off amazon (prime) – but for some reason you can only order them as an add-on (to an order over $25) or subscribe-and-save (like a monthly subscription).  Fortunately, I just discovered my local Target sells them (in the aisle with baby hygiene stuff). 

Table toppers.  These ones by neat solutions are not the most environmentally friendly (because they’re not reusable), but you have to pick your battles when it comes to dealing with severe allergies.  They are basically sticky place mats that you can attach to the table (all four edges have a tape strip), thereby enabling you to put food directly in front of your kiddo.  Saves you from wondering what potential allergens are on the table, plus it’s an easy clean up.  No mess to leave behind for the poor waiters.  I bought them off amazon (prime) as well.  They seem to be a good deal there, especially if you order big packs.  They have different designs too, depending on the age or interest of your child.

Ignore the menu.  I have yet to order food for P from a public kitchen.  Unless the restaurant specializes in allergy friendly food service, I avoid it.  It’s a risk for my kid and it’s a risk for the restaurant.  I’m sure my tune will change once he’s older and knows that he’s getting “special” food that I’ve pre-packed, but for now, I’ll just continue to bring tupperware with his eats.  It’s only a hassle if we decide to dine out spontaneously, but since having a kid, almost all the spontaneity in my life is long gone.  If we are going out to eat, it’s definitely in the calendar in advance, which means I can get all his food ready before we go. 

For me, the easiest food to give P is stuff that (a) takes him a long time to eat; (b) isn’t super sticky/messy; and (c) doesn’t require me to spoon feed him.

If I give him a pile of peas, he’s happy for a while and I can eat my food too.  Other winners: apple slices, grapes, blueberries, celery, corn, carrots, green beans, corn or rice puffs, scrambled eggs, cubed meat, deli slices, etc.  Other fruit is great too (banana, melon, berries, stone fruit), but can be messy, so bring at your own risk.  Usually I don’t mind a little mess, but it depends on the restaurant.  I save super ripe pears and fruit that stains for home consumption.

Bring an epi-pen.  Goes without saying, I think, but there – I said it.

Ask questions.  Don’t assume anything.  If you want to know more info, ask.  If you know of questions or concerns ahead of time, call in advance and talk to the staff.  If you’re nice and explain your situation, I’m sure they’ll do anything and everything to help accommodate you and your child.  And if they do (or even if they don’t), tip well.  Kids can be a handful for waiters, so reward them for helping you keep your little one safe. 

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Allergy friendly snack bites

More substantial than fruit and veggies, I need (quick) snack ideas that have both nutritional and caloric oomph.  Preferably ones with protein and fat (since carbs are easy to come by in my experience).

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Balls for the win.

These look so hideous it’s almost embarrassing to post.  It’s not a wonky camera mode, they are really that green color.  It’s because there’s green stuff in them.

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Frozen Green Chai Vanilla Bites [vegan, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, nut free]

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp protein powder of choice (I used Amazing Grass chai vanilla infusion)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds + 4 tbsp water
  • [optional] 1 tbsp liquid sweetener (maple syrup, honey, agave)
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

Add everything to a food processor and pulse until it all comes together and forms a large ball.

Roll into smaller bites sized balls and store in the fridge or freezer. 

Notes: the amount of sweetener is up to you and will vary based on what protein powder you use (i.e. if it is sweetened or not).

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The pairing of chai and vanilla and coconut in these is awesome.  I totally recommend Amazing Grass’ vanilla chai infusion.  It’s got that characteristic "green" taste (and color), but has a delicious unique chai flavor.  I love love love chai.

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Chia gel on the left, ready to roll on the right.

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Depending on the size, you should get ~12 balls. 

These are nutrient dense like whoa.  Thanks to the Amazing Grass powder, they have (rice and hemp) protein, plus the sunflower seeds, chia, and coconut offer fat (and a million other fantastic nutrients) as well.

More allergy friendly snack ideas:

  • dried coconut / dried fruit
  • banana chips
  • glutino pretzels with sunbutter
  • home-made bean dip
  • tortilla chips with salsa/guacamole
  • avocado on wheat free crackers*
  • pepitas / sunflower seeds
  • hard boiled eggs

As you’ll notice, several of these require you to make them yourself.  In the safety of your own kitchen, you have 100% control over what goes into your food.  Time consuming, for sure; but at least you’ll be less stressed because you will be sure of the exact ingredients. 

Other ideas??  Feel free to chime in! 

*If you are eating something pre-packaged, be sure to check ingredients lists carefully.  If it’s a gluten free product, it may still have some other source of allergen (case in point Mary’s Gone crackers, which are wheat/gluten free but do have sesame seeds).  Unless something is made in a certified peanut/tree nut-free facility, there’s always a risk of contamination.  I’ve called a few companies and so far everyone has been really helpful in making sure their customers are informed.  Be a responsible consumer – don’t be afraid to get in touch with customer service and ask questions!

Amazing snack smoothie

It’s raining and I’m showing a cold smoothie.   Hmmm…

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Sometimes you just crave them.  Actually that’s not true with me.  I always think they look good when others make them, but I never think to make them on my own.  Whenever I’m searching for some sort of afternoon pick-me-up snack, I forget about smoothies.

But lately I’ve been at a loss when it comes to allergy friendly snacks.  Hence the smoothie. 

Without nuts, sesame, soy, and wheat I feel…constricted.  I used to grab bars or trail mix when I needed something on the go; and if I had time to sit and snack it was always hummus with veggies or nut butter with crackers. 

So now I’m going to have to be better about planning in advance.  I’ll have to make my own hummus (with avocado or olive oil instead of tahini) and my own trail mix and bars (with oats and seeds).  This is all a learning process.  I hope I’m not sounding whiny because I don’t mean to complain, I’m just pointing out things as I process them.  And of course, if any of you have suggestions, I’m all ears!!

I have lots of seedy protein powder ball ideas in my head, but in the meantime, smoothies are filling the gap.

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This is kinda like a chocolate milkshake with greens.  You can definitely taste the greens, but it’s one of those things that you get used to…and after a certain amount of time, you stop tasting it altogether.  Personally, I love that grassy, earthy flavor.  If that’s not your thing, add more banana or some nut butter. 

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Look at all those nutrients!  Can you believe it’s not only delicious but healthy too?!?!

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Basic Chocolate Green Smoothie [vegan, nut free, dairy free, gluten free, soy free]

  • 1 packet chocolate amazing meal
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • [optional] liquid stevia (to taste)

Blend in a high speed blender until smooth.

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Enjoy!

Allergy friendly chocolate cake

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This past weekend’s mission was to test run a chocolate cake for P’s first birthday.

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Mission: accomplished.  🙂

Like, SO accomplished.  I was beside myself with pride when it turned out.  Now I can serve a cake for everyone to enjoy that will make my son feel normal!!!  Hooray!

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It is chocolaty and rich and tastes indulgent, despite having no added sugar.  It’s also free of grains.  And nuts, seeds, soy, wheat, and dairy.  And it actually tastes good.  Scratch that.  It tastes great. 

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Grain free, allergy-friendly chocolate cake [wheat/gluten free, grain free, nut free, dairy free, soy free*]

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup enjoy life chocolate chips*
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 banana
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil together until smooth.  Add vanilla.

Combine eggs and banana and blend with an immersion blender or in a standing blender until frothy.

Add chocolate to whipped egg/banana mixture (starting with a little bit at first so the warm chocolate doesn’t cook the eggs).  Stir until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones.  Again, stir until combined.

Let sit for a few minutes to thicken.

Meanwhile grease a cake pan with coconut oil.

Pour batter into cake pan.  Bake for 20 minutes (or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean).

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[optional] Chocolate frosting [vegan, dairy free, nut free, soy free, wheat/gluten free]

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips*
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • [optional] pinch of salt

Directions:

Chill your can of coconut milk overnight and upon opening it, scoop the solid layer on top into a mixing bowl.  This (cream) is the portion you will use (but feel free to save the liquid portion for another use).

Combine coconut cream and melted chocolate chips and whip until smooth and thick and delicious.

Let both the cake and the frosting cool to room temperature before icing.

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*Make sure you check the ingredients of the chocolate chips you use.  Enjoy Life brand is definitely allergy friendly (as noted by the dairy, nut & soy free label), but various brands of dark chocolate chips may be suitable as well.  Soy lecithin is often safe for those with a soy allergy, but please check with your MD or allergist first.

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YUM!

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Happy 1st birthday little boy.  I am so happy to be your mama.

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