Monday, February 23, 2009

Cookie Fun!

A couple of weeks ago I was looking at a magazine and Brody happened to look over my shoulder and saw an ad for Pepperidge Farm Verona Cookies.

Brody: "Mom, those look so good!! Are they safe for me?"

Me: "No, honey, I'm sure they probably aren't safe for you, but we can certainly try to make our own!"

Brody: "Awesome!!!"

So over the weekend my little assistant baker and I made our own dairy, egg, and nut-free version of the PF Verona cookies...and boy where they a hit! Just a warning, the cookies do seem to be dry and crumbly when they first come out of the oven, but they will soften up nicely after sitting for a while.

Strawberry Shortbread Cookies

1 1/2 sticks dairy-free margarine

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream margarine and sugar. Add vanilla and salt. Gradually add flour until mixture is a soft dough. Roll dough into small balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten the balls slightly and using a rounded measuring spoon or your thumb, make an indentation in the center of the dough. Fill each indentation with a small amount of strawberry jam. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown on the edges.

Variation: Fill with any flavor of jam you like or even chocolate chips!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

To Fly or Not To Fly

Walt Disney World Planning -- Part 1

My husband and I have finally decided that it is time we take our family to Walt Disney World! We have been avoiding this topic of conversation for several years, but now that our oldest is 12 we just can’t put it off any longer. Where has the time gone?!

Traveling with multiple food allergies is quite the adventure in itself what with cooking/baking/packing enough food to feed an army for a week (seriously my youngest son has a bottomless pit kind of a stomach!), but when you add flying into the mix, I can’t help but wonder how will this possibly work? Granted, I have heard that WDW is very allergy aware and many of the restaurants will be able to accommodate my son’s food allergies as long as we communicate with them in advance. However, I still have no intention of eating out more than a couple of times while we are there. I just feel much more comfortable making my son’s food myself, especially being so far from home in case he did experience an allergic reaction from eating something a well-meaning WDW chef created for him. So for this reason we have decided to rent a house during our stay in Orlando. This way I will have the convenience of a full kitchen at my fingertips.

But back to the flying…The thought of being 30,000 feet in the air with my anaphylactic child while people all around us happily munch on their beloved peanut snacks terrifies me! Eek!!! So how do we know which airline will be the safest bet for our situation? I found this chart on that shows what each airlines policies are regarding peanut allergies. I have to say it all makes my blood pressure rise a bit to realize that there really is no completely safe airline option to choose from, but I also know that allergic people fly everyday without incident. Still…maybe driving 20 hours with 2 super excited/anxious/crazed boys wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Brody's asthma has been acting up since October. Several doctors have tried switching his asthma medications, prescribing a short burst of oral steroids (which did wonders for his eczema!), trialing medication for reflux, and even suggesting that what Brody really has is VCD (vocal cord dysfunction). Yesterday Brody had an appointment with his pediatric pulmonologist who wanted to have him do an exercise treadmill stress test to see if this would trigger an asthma attack with pre- and post-exercise PFTs (pulmonary function tests) which evaluates how quickly you can move air in and out of your lungs. Of course Brody loved running on the treadmill and the nurses were quite amazed at how well he did. I tried to explain to them that Brody is an extremely active child and this test wasn't really going to show much or even trigger an asthma attack because he usually pushes himself much harder than they were allowing him to run on the treadmill. He's quite the competitive little boy I must say!

As I expected, the test did not trigger an asthma attack and his PFTs looked great, but luckily Dr. Guilbert agreed that they probably hadn't pushed him hard enough during the test to get to his trigger point. The doctor suggested that Brody start pre-treating with his Albuterol inhaler before any strenuous exercise (gym class, karate class, just running nonstop like the crazy child he is) to see if that helps stop him from developing the chest tightness, shortness of breath, etc. Dr. Guilbert does still think that Brody might have a component of VCD along with the asthma and thinks he should see an ENT specialist to look into that possibility. Unfortunately diagnosing VCD involves spraying a numbing solution into the nose and then threading a tube with a small camera attached at the end up through the nose and down into the throat to actually visualize the vocal cords while making various sounds. Not something Brody has any intention whatsoever of agreeing to! For now we'll see how the pre-treating with Albuterol goes and then decide where to go after that.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Candy Heart Contest

Enjoy Life Foods is having a Candy Heart Phrase contest on the Enjoy Life Facebook page.
"All phrases must contain a nod to an Enjoy Life product or one of the common food allergies. All entries are due by February 14, 2009. Winners will be chosen the week after Valentine's Day."
So put on your thinking caps and sign up now for a chance to win a FREE Enjoy Life Foods t-shirt!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Disposable Wristbands

I recently found this website ( which offers a product called "My 411 Wristbands". These disposable wristbands can be customized to relay important information about your child.

“My 411 Wristbands” are designed to give parents peace of mind when dropping off children at birthday parties or field trips, or even when taking them to amusement parks. Other adults or caregivers have a means to contact the child’s parent or to learn vital information by looking at their 411. The disposable wristbands include the child’s first name, the parent’s first name and cell phone number and any allergies or special needs the child may have. These can be customized to fit any parent’s needs.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Valentine's Giveaway!

Head over to One Frugal Foodie before Sunday, February 8th, for a chance to win a Valentine's Day box of chocolate hearts from Premium Chocolatiers which is a company that makes gourmet dairy-free and nut-free chocolates!

"Premium Chocolatiers supplies the finest gourmet truffles and chocolates to all chocolate lovers including those with milk or nut sensitivities. Vegetarians, Lactose Intolerant, Food Allergy sufferers, as well as Kosher Pareve consumers can now also enjoy quality milk like, though dairy free chocolates!"

Monday, February 2, 2009

Combining Forces To Find A Cure

"For a number of years, FAI and The Food Allergy Project have worked toward a common goal of finding a cure for life-threatening food allergies," said Todd Slotkin, FAI's chairman and president. "After partnering on many important research and advocacy initiatives, our two organizations have now formally joined together with a renewed commitment to bring families affected by food allergies the treatments that we are all so eager to find."
Food Allergy Project And Food Allergy Initiative Merge To Find A Cure