Dairy & Soy Free Thanksgiving Meal Plan

Thanksgiving Cover - 3D

Thanksgiving is almost here!  Are you ready?

Is this your first year preparing the turkey feast?  Or perhaps, you have been doing it for years, but now someone in your family has a newly diagnosed food allergy or intolerance?

Image from page 54 of "St. Nicholas [serial]" (1873)
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I remember the first time I had to prepare the Thanksgiving turkey.

It can be pretty intimidating.  I was in graduate school and it was going to be my first Thanksgiving away from home.  I probably could have found somewhere to go, but I really wanted my Grandma’s bread filling!  So, I ventured through the store in the craziness of the weekend before Thanksgiving and my little dinner was a success.

I felt like I was doing it for the first time all over again when I had to adapt these recipes for my children and their milk and soy food intolerance.

So, this year, I put it all together in a meal plan for you.  You don’t have to plan!  All you need to do is open the file and get to the store and you, too can prepare your own Thanksgiving dinner! Of course, you WILL still have to do the actual cooking. 😉

This is my personal plan for putting together a real Thanksgiving Dinner (the same menu my Grandma prepared) while still enjoying time with my family.  And, now, I’m going to share it with you.

My brand new Dairy & Soy Free Thanksgiving Meal Plan will help you pull it off without breaking a sweat!

Helping Your Kid Thrive!

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P.S.

And don’t forget to get my free 7 day top 8 food allergen free meal plan!  Your Kid Can Eat This is everything you need to eat allergen free for the week!

 

Halloween Fun! Easy food free ideas to keep the fun in Halloween!

Halloween Fun!

Are you dreading the Halloween season this year?  Are you concerned that your child will feel left out with all the candy and fun because of food allergies or intolerance?  It is entirely possible to have a great tie AND stay safe this Halloween.  Here is a list of things you can do!

Get a cool yard sign!

Decorating the house in Halloween themed signs, skeletons, etc. are a great way to bring the fun right to your front door!  And, who doesn’t love the look of cute smiling pumpkins and friendly ghosts while out Trick or Treating!

 

Try out a cool inflatable!

Why not enjoy the fun of the latest trend in everything?!  You just really can’t beat the Minions and a 3 ft minion on your front lawn would just be too cute…Hmm, I wonder if you could change the sign and use it for Christmas, too!

 

 

 

 

Bake some allergen-free cupcakes and use a cool liner.

Okay, so this idea is not exactly food free, but, it should still be safe if you remember to check the labels for your specific food allergens.  And these cupcake liners are just too cute to pass up!

 

Or, why not try out a Halloween themed Lego?


Legos will keep your kids busy and happy for hours…Just be sure to check for dropped pieces before you walk around barefoot!

 

 

 

And don’t forget the costume fun!


I just love this Olaf costume from the movie Frozen, but sadly, my girls are only interested in Anna and Elsa.  And, we did that last year, so I think we are going to be searching for some other princesses this year.

 

 

 

 

So, get out there and enjoy Halloween this year!  Don’t be afraid to have some fun with your family, just be sure to follow your safety precautions.

Have a Happy Halloween!

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P.S.

Don’t forget to checkout and participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year!

 

Milk-Free, Soy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Milk-Free, Soy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Does your child like to have a special treat when their friends are having one?  Do you need an option for chocolate chip cookies that are both milk and soy free?  Do you want a recipe to make with your kids so you can participate in your family’s holiday traditions?MKHW_141211_00132.jpg

 

I grew up eating the best cookies.  My Grandmother made them.  Every year we would visit her for Thanksgiving, and then, the day after, when most people were shopping, she and I would bake the Christmas cookies.  They were the best cookies.  We made several different kinds.  She always used butter, so I had to play with the recipe a bit to make them come out right so that my girls could enjoy them as well.  These days, I make the Christmas cookies.  And, it’s not always the day after Thanksgiving.  Today, I am going to share with you my adaptation of her Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

Ingredients:MKHW_141211_0013_thumb.jpg

 

  • 1 cup milk-free, soy-free margarine (I used Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cup milk-free, soy-free chocolate morsels (I used Enjoy Life) or chopped up chocolate bar (like Aloha superfood chocolate)

Directions:MKHW_141211_0016_thumb.jpg

1. Beat margarine, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla with electric mixer.

2. Add eggs and beat well.  Gradually beat in baking soda, salt and flour until well combined.MKHW_141211_001-7

3. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

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4. Refrigerate 30 minutes or overnight.  (You can also go ahead and drop the cookie dough onto cookie sheets and freeze as dough balls to bake later.)

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. And drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

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6. Bake 9-11 minutes, rotating halfway through.

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7. Let sit on cookie sheet 1 min.  Then use a spatula to move them to a towel to cool.  When cool to the touch, you can stack them.

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8. When completely cool, store in an airtight container with a piece of bread to keep them fresh.

I hope that you and your family are able to participate in this holiday baking tradition.  For more allergen-free holiday baking ideas, be sure to check out the Freedible cookie exchange.

Back to School Checklist for Kids With Food Allergies

Back to School Checklist for Kids With Food Allergies

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It’s easy to take care of your kids when they are under your constant supervision.

But, at some point, we have to let them go out into the world and learn to manage their allergies for themselves.

Here is a back to school checklist of things that you can take to help your child as they head back to school or off to camp this year.

  1. Learn to inject epinephrine. Speak with your child’s doctor about training your child to use an epinephrine auto-injector. Younger kids will need adults to do this at first, but as they grow older and more responsible, children need to learn how to administer the life-saving medication themselves.  You can even let them inject an orange when your current stash expires so they understand exactly what to do.  Practicing will help make the proper response more automatic in a crisis situation.
  2. Don’t share food. Though they may have the best intentions, your child’s friends can accidentally hurt your child when they share their snacks or lunch.
  3. Wear your allergy bracelets. The choices of bracelets, necklaces and even shoe tags are as numerous as the children who need to wear them.  Be sure to find one that your kid loves and is not embarrassed to wear.
  4. Introduce yourself to adults. Teach your child to greet adults and explain their allergies when going to a new place. This includes school. Even though you may talk with your child’s teachers about the allergies, it helps if the educator can put a face to your child’s name.
  5. Recognize the symptoms of a reaction—and tell someone. Severe allergic reactions require immediate medical attention. Help your child learn to recognize the early symptoms of an allergic reaction. These symptoms may include itching, coughing, chest discomfort or tightness, difficulty breathing, and nausea or vomiting. If these symptoms occur, your child should speak with an adult immediately.

Flying with Food Allergies?…5 Tips For Staying Safe

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Are you planning a last get away before the school year starts?

Whether you are heading to the beach, plains or mountains there are extra things to prepare for when managing childhood allergies.  Unlike driving where you are able to pull over to handle an emergency, flying with food allergies leaves less room for error.  You need to plan ahead to keep everyone safe.

Here are my top 5 tips for air travel with food allergies:

1.  Be sure to check your airline’s allergy policy.

It is usually found on the airline’s website.  This will tell you just what the airline employees are able to do to help.  Keep in mind that airlines cannot guarantee a peanut or nut-free flight because they cannot restrict the food brought on board by other passengers.

2. Book a morning flight.

Most planes are only cleaned at the end of the day, so booking the first flight of the day will minimize the risk of crumbs or food residue from the last passenger in your seat.

3. Pack your own safe food when traveling.

Getting sick away from home is no fun!  It’s better to leave nothing to chance.  Be sure to check the regulations before heading to the airport.  Any coolers will be thoroughly checked and items that are not allowed must either be eaten at security or disposed of in the handy trash cans.  (My daughter had a full scale meltdown when they made us throw out a single serving cup of mandarin oranges because it was considered a liquid.  It’s not a fun experience.)

4. Wipe down your seat and the area around it to prevent contact reactions with food particles or spills.

Eating food off a contaminated surface could lead to accidental ingestion of allergens as well.  Some airlines will allow you to pre-board so that you have more time to do this.

5. Carry your Emergency Care Plan with all your medications, including your epinephrine autoinjector.

It should be safe to pass through the x-ray machines and visual inspections may increase the risk of accidental activation or damage.  The Trasportation Security Administration allows passengers to bring their epinephrine on board the aircraft, but you should be prepared to show the printed prescription label from the pharmacy and a note from your doctor that confirms your food allergy.

 

Anaphylaxis: Do You Know How to Recognize and Treat It?

What is Anaphylaxis?

Most people experience mild allergy symptoms like a runny nose or itchy eyes.  But, some people experience a much more severe reaction known as anaphylaxis.  This means that exposure to a common item, such as food, latex, or a medication can send them into a state of shock or even kill them.  Do you know how to recognize the signs of anaphylaxis?  It could save a life.

Signs and Symptoms of Anaphylaxis

The symptoms of anaphylaxis occur quickly and worsen rapidly.  According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Hives or swelling
  • Tightness of the throat
  • Hoarse voice
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Cardiac arrest

If you experience these symptoms

If you experience these symptoms, you should use your epinephrine auto injector and call 911.  If you have experienced these symptoms in the past, be sure to talk with your doctor about whether you should be carrying epinephrine.

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How To Throw An Allergy Friendly Backyard BBQ

Texas - Driftwood: The Salt Lick BBQ - Barbecue pit
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What’s more fun in the warm months than grilling out? It’s grilling out with friends.

Host your own allergy friendly backyard BBQ and invite all your buddies over for a tasty meal and some backyard fun. Here are some tips to get that party started right.

When dealing with food allergies, there is more to think about to make sure that everyone stays safe.  Be sure to have your supplies ready and available to protect your food allergic kids (or guests).  I like to keep small foil sheets on hand.  This lets me prevent cross-contamination on the grill itself.  Also, if other people are bringing dishes be sure to communicate any special needs that should be considered.  And, be prepared to have a back up plan in case they “just don’t get it.”

The biggest complaint I have about throwing a barbeque party is that the I end up doing more cooking than enjoying the company. Last minute preparations mean that the food is not ready when the guests arrive. It is hard to entertain and fix the appetizers at the same time. People seem to eat in shifts as the food gets ready.

Let’s avoid that bit of that nonsense this year. If you are going to have an allergy friendly backyard BBQ get-together, plan ahead so that it is easy on the guests and the hosts.

  • Know your menu. Decide the week before what you will serve for the meal. Appetizers or finger foods of some sort allow guests to munch while they wait for the main course to finish on the grill.
  • Appetizers should be small especially if you plan on serving a variety of grilled meats and vegetables. Try a veggie or fruit tray with some low calorie, allergy-friendly dip. This is easy to make—you go to the store and pick one up! Okay, you can get the veggie part pre-made and just whip up a yummy dip!  The name of the game here is to have fun and to do as much as you can ahead of time.
  • Sweet iced tea is a good idea for a party where there will be children as well as grown ups. You could also serve punch.  If your punch is meant to be sparkling (adding soda), chill the punch first without the soda and add it just before the guests arrive. That way, the punch won’t lose it’s kick while in the fridge.
  • If the guests were told to bring their appetites, you may want to eliminate grilled chicken from the menu. Chicken takes a long time to cook depending on the parts of the bird you are grilling. This alone will cause some people to get their food ahead of others. So no guest is left with an empty plate, choose other meats or pre-bake your chicken before grilling to reduce cooking time.
  • Remember to always preheat the grill. When people come in and see smoke rising from the grill they expect that you have already put food on it. Don’t surprise them with the smell of smoldering charcoal. Forty-five minutes before the party, start the gas or charcoal grill so that the coals get hot and are ready for grilling once the guests arrive.
  • As for the side dishes and cold salads, prepare those at least an hour (for the side dishes) or two (for the salads) before the party. This cuts down on the work of the host and hostess. You can sit with your friends and await the goodies from the grill. Better still, everyone can watch the grill master at work and nibble on appetizers.

The allergy friendly backyard BBQ should flow smoothly when you take the time to prepare. When the work is done early, the fun can begin as soon as the guests arrive.

So get out and enjoy your summer allergy friendly backyard BBQ season!  And, tell me what else you do to keep everyone safe when you barbecue…

Milk-Free, Soy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Milk-Free, Soy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Does your child like to have a special treat when their friends are having one?  Do you need an option for chocolate chip cookies that are both milk and soy free?  Do you want a recipe to make with your kids so you can participate in your family’s holiday traditions?MKHW_141211_00132.jpg

 

I grew up eating the best cookies.  My Grandmother made them.  Every year we would visit her for Thanksgiving, and then, the day after, when most people were shopping, she and I would bake the Christmas cookies.  They were the best cookies.  We made several different kinds.  She always used butter, so I had to play with the recipe a bit to make them come out right so that my girls could enjoy them as well.  These days, I make the Christmas cookies.  And, it’s not always the day after Thanksgiving.  Today, I am going to share with you my adaptation of her Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

Ingredients:MKHW_141211_0013_thumb.jpg

 

  • 1 cup milk-free, soy-free margarine (I used Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cup milk-free, soy-free chocolate morsels (I used Enjoy Life) or chopped up chocolate bar

Directions:MKHW_141211_0016_thumb.jpg

1. Beat margarine, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla with electric mixer.

2. Add eggs and beat well.  Gradually beat in baking soda, salt and flour until well combined.MKHW_141211_001-7

3. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

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4. Refrigerate 30 minutes or overnight.  (You can also go ahead and drop the cookie dough onto cookie sheets and freeze as dough balls to bake later.)

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. And drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

MKHW_141211_001-11

6. Bake 9-11 minutes, rotating halfway through.

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7. Let sit on cookie sheet 1 min.  Then use a spatula to move them to a towel to cool.  When cool to the touch, you can stack them.

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8. When completely cool, store in an airtight container with a piece of bread to keep them fresh.

I hope that you and your family are able to participate in this holiday baking tradition.  For more allergen-free holiday baking ideas, be sure to check out the Freedible cookie exchange.

Milk-free, Soy-free Buttermilk Substitute

 

Read ThisIt’s time to get started thinking about all those Christmas cookies and other goodies we eat this time of year.  Do you know how to make milk-free, soy-free buttermilk?

I found this great substitute on the Kids with Food Allergies website.  It’s simple, and it works great!  In fact, I have used this same trick with regular milk before we were dairy free!

Vinegar + Non-dairy milk = buttermilk!  For the exact ratio, be sure to check out this post!