Monday, October 31, 2011

I'm in Great Company

See that little circle icon on the top right-hand side of the page? Circle of Moms has nominated my blog as one of the best food allergy blogs. And I am in really good company, with many of my fellow food-allergy friends and bloggers also nominated. What an awesome community this is!

Click on the icon to vote for your favorite. I'd be honored if you vote for me!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mary’s Gone Crackers Sticks and Twigs

A while back the folks at Mary’s Gone Crackers sent me products to try, including these sticks and twigs. I tried the cookies first (and one happy reader won a free sample). I had set the twigs aside, waiting for the right occasion to open the bag.

I was expecting to find something akin to a pretzel, but what I found was very different from what I expected. The sticks and twigs are very cracker-like. They have a discernable crunch when you bite into them. They are like a very thin cracker rolled into a stick. The package I tried first – chipotle tomato – is spicy – not too spicy, but they have a bang to them.

All in all I really like these. If you serve them to someone expecting a pretzel they may be disappointed, but instead of a cracker they are an excellent choice. This is a great party snack, or accompaniment for soup.

Mary’s Gone Crackers
products are manufactured in a gluten-free, wheat-free, nut-free facility. Some of their products contain soy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cripsy Brown Rice Treats Made with Erewhon Gluten-free Cereal

The past few weekends I have been traveling to my son’s water polo tournaments. While these events are a lot of fun, they are long days spent hanging around the pool. Sometimes my son’s team only has an hour or so between games to grab a snack – and they burn a lot of calories in that pool.

And because some of these campuses are in the middle of nowhere, and the local sandwich shop or pizza joint just won’t work with my son’s food allergies, I like to bring along a bag full of goodies for him.

This week I decided to whip up a batch of allergen-free crispy rice treats – the kind we all used to make with Rice Krispies. I figured these could double as a breakfast bar or a snack while he’s on the road.

Crispy Brown Rice Treats

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) Earth Balance natural shortening
1 bag (10 oz) marshmallows
1 box Erewhon Crisped Brown Rice cereal with mixed berries

Line a 9X13-inch pan with wax paper.
Melt the shortening in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add the marshmallows. Stir constantly until the marshmallows are completely melted.
Turn off the heat. Add the crisped rice cereal and mix, folding the cereal into the marshmallows.
Spoon the mixture into the lined pan. Place a second sheet of wax paper over the mess and push with your fingers to flatten and smooth to the edges.
Refrigerate for an hour. Lift the waxed paper out of the pan. Cut into bars or squares.

For those of you needing an allergen-free Halloween treat, this will do the trick!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Taking a Bit of a Break This Week

Every now and then we all need a break, right? So, instead of a typical post today, I'd like to share a link to a cartoon post, with a little bit of gluten-free humor.


BabyBummers Real Troopers

Monday, October 17, 2011

Today is an Important Day

It’s a milestone day for me. Today is the day that I deliver the manuscript to my publisher for my first book. I know I’ve been quiet about it here – perhaps I’ve been afraid that I would jinx it – but my dream of publishing a book for families with multiple food allergies is coming true.

The book is all about baking without wheat, milk, eggs, soy, nuts, and gluten. It’s part cookbook and part how-to, and will be published in Spring 2012. Yes, I'm very excited! Yes, it's scary, and yes, it's a lot of work.

I must say that I have a new-found appreciation for anyone who has ever written or edited a book – especially cookbooks. It’s amazing how many different ways there are to write, “Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.” There are a lot of details in cookbooks, and they must be right.

I am so excited to be able to work on this project and can’t wait to be able to share it with all of you!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Enjoy Life Does it Again

Whenever the folks from Enjoy Life Foods ask me if I want to sample one of their new products I never hesitate to say yes! It seems the company has been on a roll lately, with their new crunchy cookies, and mega chocolate chips. Their latest product – Seed and Fruit mixes – are a fantastic addition to their line-up!

They sent me two flavors to try. Beach Bash is a mix of sunflower kernels, pineapple, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and apricots. Mountain Mambo is sunflower kernels, pumpkin seeds, raisins, apples, chocolate chips, and cranberries. Two awesome combos!

They are made with all whole foods and contain none of the top allergens. I love the bags – they are small enough to be able to throw in a tote bag – and since the bags can be re-closed it’s easy to divide into lunch box portions.

This is what I would describe as a trail mix – it has a good mix of carbs and protein, and is perfect for a wholesome mid-afternoon snack. The seeds don’t overpower the fruit, and vice-versa. Of course, my favorite is the one with chocolate chips, but chances are you’ll want to keep both on hand!

Every food allergy family should keep a stash of these trail mixes. Have you tried them yet? What do you think?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dear Colette, I Think I’m Allergic to Sucralose

2D structure of artificial sweetener sucralose
Chemical structure of sucralose via Wikipedia
I recently received a letter from Maggi, who was concerned about a reaction she was having to the artificial sweetener Splenda. Here is an excerpt from her letter:

I have experienced yet another episode of unbelievably itchy hives on my face, neck, ears, and arms that lasted almost 72 hours after inadvertently consuming sucralose (Splenda). Having seen a doctor, an allergist, and a dermatologist over a period of 2 years with wild guesses at common causes of allergic reactions, I finally diagnosed myself after baking a pie using Splenda and suffering a near immediate severe allergic reaction shortly thereafter. My last reaction a couple of weeks ago was worse than any before after only a small inadvertent dose that was added to some vanilla syrup (the kind that is added to coffees). It wasn't until I got sick that I picked up the bottle and read it was pure sucralose.

My response to Maggi:

Sucralose is sugar that has been chemically modified by adding chlorine. It is considered to have “no calories” because the body cannot digest it. That fact alone should cause us all some concern. I would question whether a food that cannot be absorbed by the body is indeed food at all.

Since sucralose is a sugar, it doesn’t fit the mold of traditional allergies – which are to the proteins in food. However, I did discover that sucralose also contains a small amount of binding agents – including corn, which could also be a trigger of food allergies.

Whether it’s a reaction to the chemicals used to process sucralose, to the binding agents, or something else, it’s clear based on the direct cause and effect that you are experiencing an allergic reaction to sucralose.

The solution is to avoid the product. One of the hardest things for all of us with food allergies is to learn to read product labels. You must read every label for every food product you buy, even if you’ve used it before without a problem. Formulas change, and it’s likely that the use of sucralose in processed foods will increase over time.

Readers, what adiditonal advice do you have for Maggi?