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October 27, 2008

Halloween and child food allergies

With Halloween approaching, I'm sure many of us who have children with food allergies are getting anxious. It's worth checking out FAAN's article on which candy is safe to eat. The article also has a couple of other links to check out.

Happy trick-or-treating!

Posted by Ann Marie at 8:58 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2008

Tips for Staying Sane at Halloween

Halloween can be one of the most challenging holidays for those children with food allergies. It's not just that a big part of the Halloween celebration includes candy, it's that the candy given out at Halloween often times has different ingredients than what we buy throughout the rest of the year. For example, a regular size Hershey milk chocolate bar that we buy for making s'mores (think summer camp outs) is fine, but the miniature Hershey milk chocolate bars in stores around Halloween contain traces of nuts. For those of us veteran parents, this probably seems so obvious that it's silly. But I remember my first couple of Halloweens after my daughter was diagnosed food allergies; I was a mess! It seemed easier just to leave the country than to subject my child to so much stuff that she couldn't have.

At first, I put together a Halloween goodie bag filled with safe candy, Halloween stickers, festive coloring books, crayons and other fun little things. As my daughter got a bit older (and I got a bit wiser), we just exchanged the off-limits candy with safe treats at the end of the night. My non food allergic children still enjoy this ritual because they get to trade in some of the "boring stuff" for M & M's, Milky Ways and other candy that we just don't get during the rest of the year.

What we've started doing recently is when my children are done trick or treating and are satisfied with their trades, we give the rest of the candy out to those kids still trick or treating. It's usually a bit later in the evening so the preteen crowd is out and about. They act like they've hit the jackpot when we give out handfuls of Snickers bars and Reese's. Everybody wins.

And truth be told, my daughters with food allergies don't really care that much about the candy anyways. They are in it for the costumes and the fun.

Posted by Ann Marie at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2008

Halloween Tips

If you are one of those parents struggling with keeping Halloween fun and safe, there is a good site that's worth checking out. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) has a checklist for Halloween fun for children with food allergies. It's a one pager that only takes a minute to look, but it may give you a few ideas.

Happy Trick-or-Treating!

Posted by Ann Marie at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

October 6, 2008

Cherrybrook Kitchen comes through again!

I love Cherrybrook Kitchen!! This company makes great allergy free mixes. My favorite part is the wheat free products! They have new wheat free products that my daughter LOVES! Mini vanilla and mini chocolate chip cookies. Great for lunch boxes! And they have super easy cake mixes that taste good too! If you haven't already, check out Cherrybrook Kitchen.

Posted by Ann Marie at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

October 5, 2008

A letter to a room parent

I'm sure as parents with children who have food allergies, we come across people that are very sincere at trying to make our lives a little bit easier. The room mom in my daughter's class this year is such a person. She is going all out to make sure my daughter doesn't feel left out of class activities and treats. Our way of dealing with food allergies at school is that my daughter only eats baked goods from our house, even if a parent offers to make the treat allergy free. I only have so many ways of saying no thank you and at the same time trying to express my appreciation of the offer.

I recently sent this email to my daughter's class room parent, who has been really trying to make it so my daughter can share in the celebrations. It's so important to express gratitude for those people on our side, especially if we want them to keep helping us!

Hi. I will send Kristine with some of her own pumpkin bread and something else instead of pie. The applesauce should be fine, if it's just the apples and cinnamon and sugar all mashed together.
Also, I want you to know how much I appreciate you thinking of her food allergies. And I don't want you to think that it's your responsibility to take care of figuring out the foods she can eat. I would never put that on you, heck, sometimes it's hard enough for ME to figure out what she can eat! :-) hee hee

You are an awesome room parent! Thanks for all you're doing. Our class is lucky!!

Ann Marie

Posted by Ann Marie at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

October 1, 2008

Egg Free pumpkin muffins

For those of us dealing with our children's food allergies, Halloween can bring many challenges. Even though there is a general push in the direction of healthy snacks in the elementary schools, this time of year still brings lots of treats. Which means we have to be even more on top of things. When I was new to food allergies, I tried to substitute treats at school for my daughters with home baked treats that were as identical as I could get to what the other kids were eating. I now realize that it's nearly impossible to do this and besides, that's not real life. So I substitute the same foods when I can, and when I can't, my daughter just eats something different. And that's OK, with both of us.

So anyway, I have a really easy recipe for pumpkin muffins. You can make them egg-milk-nut free. I also bake them in a rectangle cake pan for variety. All of my children and neighbor's children love them! It's an easy treat to send to school to replace pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Muffins/Pumpkin Bars

15-oz can of pure pumpkin
1 box Spice Cake Mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the above ingredients together until smooth (I use a hand mixer). Divide mixture into muffin tins. Bake muffins for 18-21 minutes, or cake pan for a bit longer, until toothpick comes out clean.

You can serve them as is, or sprinkle powdered sugar on the top. I also sometimes drizzle cream cheese frosting on top (for those not allergic to milk).

Posted by Ann Marie at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)