It has been an eventful week in our house with exciting events and disappointing ones as well. Last Thursday, my 3-1/2 year old son had his first food challenge to wheat. Although he has never had a reaction to wheat, he has had positive RAST and skin testing to it which is why we were told to avoid it.
At the appointment, he ate a handful of Teddy Grahams (his choice) over the course of two hours and was observed for two hours. Yes, it was a long four hours in the clinic but at the end of our wait, the allergist declared that he had passed the food challenge and could now eat wheat. We were so excited!
The next day we went to the store to pick out some new foods that he could have. He chose Twizzlers which he had seen before and was always told, "nope, those will make you sick". We also got some Cheerios. That night he ate a little of both (3/4 piece of Twizzlers and a handful of Cheerios) and an hour later, complained of a stomach ache. Not long after that, he threw up. Not long after that he was coughing, itchy and had hives and a rash all over. He was having his very first reaction to wheat!
So, for a day we lived with allergies to only three foods. And for another day or two I grieved. It didn't take long, however, to get to the final stage - acceptance. After all, we've lived without wheat for four years and have done just fine! To celebrate this acceptance, I baked wheat free cupcakes and topped them with a new frosting recipe. They were delicious (if I do say so myself)!
I'm sharing this story because food allergies have probably caused you (or someone you care about) to feel discouraged or even depressed at some point. While it's normal to be down sometimes, we always have to remember that life is good - even when there are setbacks. Sure, food allergies can be challenging but, even with them, life can still be quite delicious! :)
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty signed a Food Allergy Awareness Week proclamation which will be read prior to the game on May 20th.
Tickets are $30 and the seats are in the Cambria skybox which overlooks right field. You can purchase these special group tickets online.
The game starts at 7:10 PM but plan to arrive early to cheer as the Food Allergy Awareness proclamation is read immediately before the game.
If you live near the Twin Cities and are a baseball fan, don't miss this fun and exciting event! Go Twins!
Food Finds of the Month
Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten-Free Brownie Mix
It is no newsflash that Cherrybrook Kitchen makes delicious baking mixes, in fact, I have written about one other CBK mix in a past issue. I did, however, come across an end cap display at the specialty food store filled with boxes of the CBK gluten-free brownie mix. To make it even more tempting, it was on sale!
Even though I like to bake and don't mind making baked goods from scratch, it is nice to have a mix on hand in case of a sweet tooth emergency, an empty pantry or last minute guests. This mix was very easy to prepare and only required the addition of margarine or butter, water and vegetable oil.
The brownies were cakey, yet chewy, and had chocolate chips in every bite. Yum! To tell the truth, I think this mix yielded better brownies than any other mix I've had in recent memory, allergen free or not. If you like brownies, give these a try!
Note: While the CBK gluten free brownie mix is free of most of the top 8 allergens, it does contain soy lecithin and would not work for people avoiding soy (unless soy lecithin is tolerated).
Wildtree's Butter Flavored Grapeseed Oil
If you've read past newsletters, you know that I am a big fan of a company called Wildtree. All of their products are peanut free and the company pays a lot of attention to people with dietary restrictions. They do this by leaving out unnecessary ingredients and having stringent guidelines in place to prevent cross-contamination. Above all, the food is versatile and delicious!
One of my favorite products (so far) is the butter flavored grapeseed oil. While it is great for adding butter flavor to vegetables and mashed potatoes, I have also been using it in place of margarine in baked goods. This is a great option for those of you with a dairy AND soy allergy (as you know, dairy and soy free margarine can be tough to find). Here are two recipe examples: Chocolate Chip Cookies Whipped Cream Frosting
Aside from being delicious, grapeseed oil offers a lot of health benefits as well. It is low in saturated fat, even lower than olive oil. It is high in antioxidants, vitamin E and omega 6 fatty acids. It is cholesterol free and there are even studies showing that it can help raise HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and it may even lower blood pressure. Wildtree's grapeseed oils, including the butter flavored, are all expeller pressed which means no chemicals are used to extract the oils from the seed.
OK, so microwave popcorn isn't the most exciting thing to have a recipe for, after all, can't we just buy that at the store? Well, if you have a dairy allergy, you will find it hard to find "safe" microwave popcorn. We always had to buy kettle corn which is good for a sweet tooth but doesn't satisfy a craving for salt. To satisfy my need for salty popcorn, I began making it on the stove top - the old fashioned way. Then one day I learned that you could actually make microwave popcorn yourself.
The do-it-yourself method is quick, easy to clean up and you can make it the way you want it. Try adding different spices to the unpopped corn or even sugar for your own kettle corn. Now, you're in control (which is just the way those of us who are eating with food allergies like it)!
1 small paper lunch bag
1/4 cup popping corn
2 teaspoons oil
1/2 teaspoon table salt or popcorn salt
1) Pour the popping corn, oil and salt into the lunch bag. Shake the bag to coat the popcorn with oil and salt. Fold the top of the bag over twice. Place the bag in the microwave and cook on high for about 2 minutes (you can always go with the "3 second rule" - if you don't hear popping for three seconds, it's done). Take the bag out of the microwave and pour into a bowl. Add salt and, if desired, "safe" margarine to taste.
For delicious, dairy-free butter flavored popcorn, drizzle a teaspoon or two of butter flavored grapeseed oil to popped popcorn. It's the closest I've come to buttered movie theater popcorn (and it is much healthier!)
Makes about 8 cups of popcorn
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