Moving house (plus a “guest” recipe!)

So we are moving!  Moving is at the same time stressful and exciting.  There is something about a new place that bring a feeling a freshness.  Don’t worry, though.  The kids will find a way to make it un-fresh really quickly!

Because we are moving, I’m taking a short break from posting recipes.  I just can’t put it all together while moving house.  So in the meantime, I wanted to share a recipe I found on Garnished.  Completely allergy-safe, and so easy!

Check it out here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySuSFNRmkCU

If you make this, let me know how it turns out for you!

Food Detective: A game changing app?

I can feel it.  Every time.  It starts as a slight discomfort, a minor pressure. It’s as if someone is taking their thumb and lightly pressing it on the back of my head. If allowed to continue, though, the intensity of the feeling increases. A creeping feeling of tension on the neck, an uneasiness in the air, the knowledge that someone else is there.

It’s not the beginning of a young writer’s first attempt at a thriller; it’s what every food allergy parent (or anyone with food allergies themselves) experiences every time they go to the grocery store.  Because every time you stop to read an ingredient list, someone comes up behind you, trying to get to the thing that you are standing in front of.  You do everything you can to be as out-of-the-way as possible, but no matter where you are, you are going to block someone from something.  Reading food labels gets really old really fast. So someone has set out to change that.

 

my food detective

My Food Detective is a **free** app that is designed to help navigate the aisles of the grocery store. No more reading ingredient lists; just scan the bar code, and bish-bash-bosh, you know if it’s safe or not!

It starts out with several allergens already in place.  You can set your own specific allergens, deleting those you don’t need, adding those you do.  In our case, the list includes peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs, dairy, strawberries, and pineapple.

After all your allergens are set, just click “scan” and position the bar code in the scanning area.  Based on your selected allergens, the app will let you know if it is safe or not.

This app has the potential to be a game changer for those of us dealing with food allergies.  However, there are certain things to watch for.  First of all, it’s only available for iOS right now (no problem for me, but for you Android people, you’re out of luck for now). The allergens are incredibly specific.  “Peanuts,” “peanut,” and “roasted peanut” are all different.  Or rather, they all have to be entered differently, because the app will look specifically for what’s in the list and doesn’t know how to look for other things. “Tree nuts” needs to have all tree nuts listed. However, and seemingly a contradiction of what I just said, we got a few “false fails.”  Our little MegaMan can’t have soy protein, but he can have soy lecithin and soybean oil.  Despite going through the allergens as thoroughly as I could, I couldn’t find a way to delete soy oil and lecithin while retaining soy protein and soy flour. A few things that I know are safe came out as a fail.  Enjoy Life chocolate chips didn’t pass, and I can’t figure out why.  The best I can figure is that the app got confused by “chocolate,” but that doesn’t seem to make sense.  Now, it is very possible that I just need to explore it more, but I was disappointed to see something I know to be safe get a big ol’ fat frowning face.

BOTTOM LINE: Check out www.myfooddetectiveapp.com to find out more. If you have an iOS device, get the app. It is brand new (as in just came out in the past two weeks at the time of this writing). If more people get it and give suggestions for improvement, the developer may be able to tweak it to make it even better. Explore the app thoroughly and try it out.  I’m excited to use this app more to see if it really can make grocery shopping easier.

Once you try this app out, comment below and let me know how it goes!  I would love to hear what you think of it. And if you figure out how to deal with the issues I had, let me know that too!

Dairy-free, Egg-free Chicken Nuggets

I’ve made chicken nuggets before.  Never like this!Chicken Nuggets (small)

You know, ostensibly this is a blog about the food I make for my kids. Truth be told, though, I love “kid food.”  Corn dogs and pigs-in-a-blanket are my top favorite foods. Chicken nuggets (good chicken nuggets) are pretty high on that list. I’m that guy who, despite being a grown man, will go to a restaurant and order chicken tenders.  So when my wife Michelle suggested trying to come up with a chicken nugget recipe that would be Reese-safe, I jumped at it.  I had to start things the night before, though.  I mean, after all, today was Free Comic Book Day!  I couldn’t miss out on that! Continue reading

Aquafaba

So, maybe I’m late to this party, but I have recently been introduced to something called “aquafaba.”  Have you guys heard of this? Apparently it’s taking the vegan/food allergy world by storm.

Why is it called aquafaba? Well, because “bean water” just sounds gross.
But that’s literally what it is.  Bean water.  In fact, that’s what the name means – aqua is Latin for water and faba is Latin for bean. aquafaba Continue reading

Homemade Sunbutter

Tastes better AND costs less? Sign me up!Homemade SunButter2

I recently saw one of those inspirational quotes online that perfectly describes what today was like.  You know the ones with the beautiful picture in the background that has nothing to do with the actual quote?  This particular one said, “Are you really having a bad day, or just a bad five minutes that you are letting ruin the rest?”  THAT, my friends, was today.  Overall, pretty good.  But man, the way it started left me sour for a good while.  I was supposed to work an event that got canceled, but no one told me it was canceled. After that, everything seemed to go wrong.  Quick stop at Burger King?  Nope, their credit card machines are down.  Run to Taco Bell?  Nope, Reese can’t eat there. Go to the store to buy sunflower seeds.  They contain peanuts.  Um… what?  Start trying to make a new recipe, then get interrupted by a 4-year-old potty emergency, then by not making it to the potty in time…. Seriously, all things considered, it was a good day and it’s a good life.  But man, this post didn’t want to happen today!

Enough complaining, though.  On with the Homemade SunButter! Continue reading

The Most Perfect Snack Food

When it comes to snacks, it is my humble (and 100% correct) opinion that popcorn is king. In fact, I’m eating some right now as I type this. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I eat popcorn about 4 nights a week on average. It’s an easy and delicious way to get more whole grain into your diet. Although, my preferred way of eating it probably cancels out those health benefits, as it involves a good amount of browned butter drizzled over the top.

Popcorn is also extremely easy to make safe for my little EOE dude. He can’t have butter, but there are so many more things you can do to popcorn. When I make homemade popcorn, I simply use popcorn, sunflower oil, and fine salt. As simple (and almost boring) as it sounds, if you use good quality ingredients, it beats out a big tub of the buttery movie theater stuff every time. Sometimes, though, I just can’t be bothered to make my own popcorn.  There are countless store-bought popcorn brands out there, but Reese’s current favorites are these: Continue reading

Kitchen Failures (or The Curious Case of the Disintegrating Churros)

The other day I had an idea. It was a brilliant idea. An idea I couldn’t get out of my head, one that I had to try as soon as possible. Someone in our EOE support group shared a picture of donuts she had made using nothing but a gluten-free cake mix, a bottle of Sprite, and some Enjoy Life chocolate chips (which you already know I am a big fan of). Mix the ingredients together, pop them in a donut maker, and bish bash bosh, you’ve got safe donuts. I don’t have a donut maker, but this was my thought: what if I put the batter into a piping bag, squirt it into some hot oil, and have some safe churros (or at least a churro-like product)? This would have to be put to the test. So this morning, I got to work.

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I know that’s not gluten-free mix, but gluten isn’t a problem for us, and the all GF mixes I could find at the store had milk and soy, which ARE problems for us!

I gathered the ingredients (which didn’t take long) and heated up the oil. I know churros for breakfast is a bit of a stretch, but we eat donuts for breakfast, so is it really that much different? I’m going to go with no. Continue reading

No eggs? No problem!

Before we knew that Reese had EOE, we found out that he had an allergy to eggs.  Unlike his EOE reaction, eggs cause a skin reaction (and once his lips swelled up like a poorly done Kylie Jenner challenge).  So we have been on a quest to find effective replacements for eggs.

The problem is that eggs have so many different functions in recipes.  They can bind, add moisture, improve color, serve as leavening or structure… the challenge is knowing how what the eggs do in your recipe so you can effectively replace them.  THAT particular challenge is something I’m still learning how to deal with.  I have a tried a few things, but I’m always afraid that I’ll try something and it will turn to trash and I will have wasted all that time (and more importantly, all those ingredients!)

But that’s why I’m here: to explore, to learn, and to share.  So without much further ado, here are some things that have proven to be effective egg replacers, all safe for my EOE/allergy kiddo. Continue reading

Fire-roasted Salsa

The ultimate party snack, leveled up.

IMG_1296 (1)

I love Mexican food. Like a lot. Authentic Mexican, Tex-Mex, shoot I even love stuff like Taco Bell and Taco John’s. And one of the best parts of going to any Mexican restaurant is the free-flowing chips and salsa. Hot or mild, red or green, I love it. My wife likes it, too, but can’t handle too much spice, so I usually end up getting to eat the majority of the salsa at the table. Totally fine with me. Plus, salsa is SUPER healthy. It’s an excellent way to deliver all the goodness of veggies without feeling like you’re just eating a load of veggies.

But why do I bother making my own? Jarred salsa, even the expensive, good quality stuff, isn’t that expensive, and it’s rare to find one that is bad.  To be honest, I don’t usually bother making my own. But why do I go back and watch all the Marvel Studios movies at least once a year? Because sometimes you just want to do something. Continue reading

Enjoy Life!

Have you ever just been sitting around and suddenly you think, “I need some chocolate…”?  No?  Just me?   Hm….. weird.

Anyway, I grew up in a house with chocolate.  I don’t mean sometimes we had S’mores, or that we have ice cream and with Hershey’s syrup in the summer times.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, we did.  But I mean we always had a tub of chocolate chip in the pantry.  At. All. Times.  The primary use of those had nothing to do with cookies.  They were there so we could eat them.  I would melt them down and spread it on graham crackers.  I would dip up  a spoonful of peanut butter and stud it with chocolate morsels.  But more than anything, we would just grab a handful and eat them in pure, unadulterated chocolatey goodness.

Fast forward to now.  Reese, our little EOE dude, can’t have dairy.  And therefore, can’t have most chocolate.  He can’t have peanuts, so he can’t have peanut butter.  Those two things mean he can’t have my favorite candy of all time: Reese’s peanut butter cups.  *tears* Continue reading