Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Day Treats

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, and what better way to let your friends and family know how much you love them than to make allergy-friendly Valentine treats! Whether you make heart shaped pancakes for breakfast or just frost sugar cookies with pink icing, your little ones will be excited and feel extra special! But if you’re looking for some new ideas, maybe you’d like to give one of these recipes a try…

Lemony Love Potion
12-ounce can of pink lemonade concentrate
1 cup raspberry sorbet (I use Whole Fruit brand, available at Woodman’s)
12 ounces lemon/lime soda

In a pitcher, prepare the lemonade concentrate with recommended amount of water. In a separate pitcher, combine the sorbet, soda, and 1 cup of the lemonade. Stir, serve, and enjoy!

Easy Oreo Truffles
1 (16 ounce) package Oreo cookies
1 (8 ounce) container Tofutti soy cream cheese
1 package Enjoy Life chocolate chips

Crush cookies in a food processor or resealable plastic bag using a rolling pin. Place in a medium bowl. Add soy cream cheese and mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Place balls in refrigerator or freezer for about an hour. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler. Dip the balls in the chocolate and place on a wax paper covered baking sheet. Decorate with sprinkles or colored sugar if desired. Refrigerate until firm. Store leftover truffles, covered, in refrigerator.

Variation: Use Golden Oreos in place of the chocolate Oreos and add a couple drops of red food coloring to the cookie/soy cream cheese mixture to give the truffles a nice pink color for Valentine’s Day when biting into them!

And of course you can never go wrong with…

Chocolate Covered Strawberries
1 package Enjoy Life chocolate chips
2 Tbsp shortening (optional)
1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth. Carefully dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture and place on wax paper to cool. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Walt Disney World Rocks!

We just returned from our week long trip to Orlando, Florida a few days ago. The entire trip was wonderful and I wish we could go back to stay! I’ve always heard that Walt Disney World is the place to go with a food allergic child. And after experiencing it ourselves…I couldn’t agree more! Several months before our trip I had contacted Special Dietary Guest Services at to request information about how food allergies are handled in the parks. I quickly received a wealth of information in the form of several documents including a Guest Dietary Letter, a Guest Allergy Dietary Request Form, a Food Allergy Dietary Reference Sheet, and Allergy Menus for Epcot. Along with this, the contact person (Lee Brady) also gave me a list of quick service locations that would be able to accommodate our special dietary requests. He also gave me a “heads up” about a potential concern in Animal Kingdom. Apparently the animal keepers roam the park throughout the day and at any given time could have nuts in their pocket to use for demonstration and educational purposes while handling birds and that birds are located in just about every area of that park. In his words…”Be mindful that these keepers would have nut oil on their hands and remnants in their clothing”. Very good to know! Luckily this wasn’t an issue for us though since we weren’t planning on going to Animal Kingdom anyway. We decided it would be a lot like going to a huge zoo, and since the boys have a hard time seeing the animals at zoos because of their vision impairment, it didn’t seem like something we wanted to pay a large chunk of money to do. So instead we spent 1 day at Hollywood Studios, 2 days at Magic Kingdom, and 1 day at Epcot.

Although we only ate at 3 restaurants (2 quick service and 1 table service) during our visit (we brought in our own sandwiches and snacks to help keep the cost down), below I will list some of the very helpful information Lee Brady sent to me…

Prepackaged Snacks
Divvies Chocolate Chip Cookies, Caramel Popcorn, and Jelly Beans are made without milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts and can be found in the following locations:

Magic Kingdom – Main Street Bakery
Epcot – Liberty Inn & Electric Umbrella
Animal Kingdom – Kusafari Bakery & Tusker House Restaurant
Hollywood Studios – Starring Rolls Bakery

Quick Service Restaurants
Ask to speak to a manager upon arrival and they will be happy to go over an ingredient list with you. The following locations have menu items or products that may meet most dietary requests:
Magic Kingdom
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café (located in Tomorrowland)
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café (located in Fronteirland)
Main Street Bakery
Toontown Farmer’s Market and Liberty Square Market
Pinocchio’s Village House (Fantasy Land)

Liberty Inn (located at The American Adventure in World Showcase)
Sunshine Seasons (located in the Land Pavilion)
Electric Umbrella

Animal Kingdom
Restaurantosaurus (located in DinoLand USA)
Flame Tree Barbecue (located between Asia and DinoLand USA)
Harambe Fruit Market

Hollywood Studios
Rosie’s All American Café at Sunset Ranch Market
Backlot Express
Studio Catering Company
ABC Commissary
Toy Story Pizza Planet

Additional Information
The following is a list of specific products and where they are located:

Many of the above mentioned quick service locations offer:
Allergy Free Chicken Tenderloins (top 8 free)
Fresh Fruit Cups
Hamburger on Tapioca Roll (Ener-G)
Hot Dog on Tapioca Roll (Ener-G)

I found Frozen Coca-Cola and Silk Soy Milk at The Launching Pad in Magic Kingdom.

Also available at several locations within the parks are Gluten-Free Brownie (contains egg), Rice Milk, Tofutti Frozen Dessert, Rice Dream Frozen Dessert.

Table Service
It is best to make reservations for a table service restaurant several months in advance so they can be fully prepared for your visit. However, even though I had made reservations for Chef Mickey’s at The Contemporary Resort, when we arrived to check in I was told that there were no reservations under our name. I have no idea how this happened, but the hostess reassured us that there would be absolutely no problem with the chef accommodating Brody’s allergies. In fact when Chef Matt came to our table, he told us that he handles 40-50 food allergy families every single day! Chef Matt walked Brody and I through the buffet and explained what was in every single item and what would be safe for Brody’s allergy set. Once Brody decided what he wanted to eat, the chef went back into the kitchen and made up Brody’s plate himself so there would be no chance of cross contamination. Brody enjoyed chicken strips, ribs, rice and steamed broccoli. And for dessert Chef Matt brought out a large bowl of Tofutti “ice cream” and a safe cupcake loaded with sprinkles! Brody was thrilled with his first experience eating at a table service restaurant and I honestly think this might have been the highlight of our entire trip for him!