About Us

When you have a child or children with food allergies you soon realize how much a part of our lives food is. We celebrate with food, we show love with food, we console with food, we reward with food. Without food we would not survive.

My world turned upside down because of food.

My eldest son, Michael, is allergic to dairy, eggs, sesame, beef, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts and raspberries. My second son, Matthew, is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. Both have asthma and Michael suffered from birth, to just a few years ago, from severe atopic dermatitis.

Their father works hard so I can be at home doing what I do best…taking care of my family and creating some magic in the kitchen!

The Hawrylow Family

I pore over cooking magazines and books looking for recipes to adapt. I can spend hours in a grocery store or health-food store reading over ingredient lists hoping to find something that my boys can eat. When I do, they prefer my home-baked goodies. I am dedicated and addicted to adapting recipes to create yummy replicas of foods that my children long for!

Join me as I journal my journey–from feeling like Dorothy, when she landed in the Land of Oz, “not in Kansas any more”–to 15 years later. Over the years, I have clicked my red Birkenstocks many times, in the hopes of “going home.” And like Dorothy, I learned that my red shoes always provided me with the means of “getting home.”

Home is where the heart is! My heart is full of love for my boys and my husband! With that love we are creating a life full of new traditions, new rules and a new understanding of what home is to us!

I hope you enjoy reading our chronicles, and testing out our recipes. And comments are always welcome!

Susan
xo

That photo is credited to Aaron Harris for The Toronto Star. Our family was recently featured in a What’s for Dinner story. You can read it here.

45 thoughts on “About Us

  1. Hi Susan,

    I can’t tell you how much it has meant to me to read about your life with food allergies… I feel like I’m reading about our own family! I heard about your Toronto Star article through a mutual friend of ours (Karen S. from your university days! Karen is a good friend and neighbour of ours). This is the first time I’ve taken part in a blog discussion, so I’m not sure how “private” these converstations are, so I’ll keep this fairly brief. Anyway, it feels so good to hear that another person is living this life, and I can relate to everything you are saying. We have 2 children, a 12 year old daughter and 9 year old son. Our son has multiple food allergies: peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, poppy, mustard, green peas, pineapple, watermelon, fresh apples, pears, cherries, peaches, nectarines (OAS – oral allergy) as well as birch pollen allergy, cats and horses. I subscribe to Allergic Living, and take part in the forum, and I don’t know where we would be without it! By the way, I also love our breadmaker!!!! We make all of our own bread, buns, pizza, etc., so I read with great enthusiasm your Friday night pizza story and Banana Bundt cake. We have begun to venture out with more travel, but never very far. We come very well prepared, bringing all of our food and cooking supplies (fry pan, rice cooker, toaster oven… whatever we need.) Anyway, I said I would keep this brief, but I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated hearing your story and reading your blog! Take care.

    • Hi Julie- Thank you so much for your comment! It brought tears to my eyes and yet made my day! It is comforting to know we are not alone. I hope you will continue to follow our families journey as we tackle travelling, dining out and our every day life experiences with multiple food allergies. ~Susan H.

  2. Hi Susan,

    My son Matt Holt is in Matthew’s class and told me about your delicious treats that you brought in on Friday. He really enjoyed them. We don’t have food allergies in our house, but I do have a killer chocolate cake recipe that is dairy/egg/nut free that I would love to share with you if you are interested. I know I have sent it in to the school in years past and all the kids loved the cake. It has been the standard birthday cake in my family since I can remember. Can I post it on here for you?

    Sue K.

    • Hi Sue-Thank you so much for your comment! I also have a yummy dairy, egg, peanut/tree nut free chocolate cake recipe from my childhood. I wonder if it is the same? I will be posting it in the near future. Perhaps you could send the recipe in with Matt for me to review. I will be in the school tomorrow. The dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut chocolate chip cookies I brought in on Friday will be posted tomorrow. Your family will be able to enjoy them for themselves! ~Susan H.

  3. The recipes are very helpful I have tried them before and really like them.
    This is a very helpful blog and I congratulate you and your family on making the newspaper I actually saw the article.

    • Hi Will – Thank you for your comment. As one of my official ‘guinea pigs’, I appreciate all the taste testing you have done over the years! You will be happy to know there is more to come! ~ Susan

  4. You guys sound like us! Food allergies, eczema, allergies. We’re in Montreal. Isn’t it just a whole other world cooking around food allergies? It’ll be great to follow you guys on your journey.

    Enjoyed the newspaper article as well!

    Jennifer
    It’s an Itchy Little World

    • Hi Jennifer- I know…after reading your blog, It’s an Itchy Little World, shivers went down my spine. It was like listening to myself describing my life almost 15 years ago! I still fear we are not ‘out of the woods’ yet. His skin has good and bad days, with the good outweighing the bad finally! Our journey continues on a daily basis…thanks for your comment and for following along! ~ Susan H.

  5. Wow…what a story to share. I am sure you are going to be a great resource and inspiration for families/people suffering from similar conditions.

    I would love to see more ideas of the types of meals you do eat and serve to your family. Do you have a recipe section?

    • Hi Jen- Thank you for your comment! Writing a blog is all so new to me…focusing on our meals is a great idea. I have catagorized my recipes for easy access. Since I love to bake…most recipes are baking related…brownies, muffins, cookies, cakes. Yummy!

    • Hi Marcie’s Mom- I am crossing my fingers for you too! Our dermatologist warned us that sometimes when the eczema clears up the asthma kicks in. We are monitering Michael as his eczema seems to have cleared…so far so good…he is off Singulair and his puffers…only needing his puffers when he plays hockey. Take care. ~ Susan H.

  6. I really think that you should open your own restaurant, it would be perfect for families like yours (and mine) who are always worried about cross contamination, and never really get a chance to eat out together. Also your awesome recipes are always a big hit with my brothers and sisters, each of them are severely allergic to a different food item (So you can imagine how hard it is to make something everyone can enjoy.)

    • Hi Odette! The thought has crosssed my mind! Cross contamination is a big worry when dining out…determined to cross that hurdle. So happy to hear that your brothers and sisters are enjoying our recipes! Thanks for the comment! ~ Susan H.

  7. The best part about your blog is the positive spirit, warmth and love that emanates in every post. Tough experiences need not make us jaded and cynical. I feel that much more empowered knowing people like you – thank you :-)

    • Hi Anu! Thank you for your kind words. Living with limitations has not been easy. Our family’s mental, emotional and physical states have been challenged…hope, love and positive thinking are my saviours.

  8. This is fantastic site! I completely understand your journey. It is wonderful, that you get out and share all your ideas, and mainly AWARENESS. My son Derek who is 5 has severe life threatening food allergies. Our family has been also on the crusade to spread awareness and save lives. Derek has been advocating and speaking out on his own. Sometimes when children talk, people listen. Please visit us, and spread his message on how to protect friends with allergies.
    Donna

  9. Hello Susan,

    My name is John Hoy of Yummyearth.ca. Thank you so much for adding us to your site! I noticed today that the link you have used is now expired! Feel free to use http://yummyearth.ca in place of your old link. We are soon launching a few more great products and it would be great if you could include more lins to our new sites as well. You can email me at: john@westdistribution.com

    Thanks!

    John

  10. Thanks Susan, email me your address and I will send you 2 family size bags of Yummyearth products, one for you to keep and one to give away somehow to one of your subscribers!

    Thanks very much!

    John

  11. Hi Susan, I’m a french Canadian form Quebec and I just found your blog. It’S great, I love reading your posts. I discovered your blog search on Google about GMO… ^^ Say hi to your great family from me :) I’m going to read your blog starting today for a while :) Good night.

    • Thank you Jeremy for your comment. Not sure how I came up under GMO, but I am glad that you are enjoying my posts! Do you have a food allergy or know someone with them? Either way, the recipes are delicious! Enjoy!

      • Actually, I do not have any allergy, but I’m trying to eat organic-vegetarian and gmo-free foods :) It’s kind of complicated in this world of profit where the health doesn’t worth a penny. :) My friend is allergic to gluten, and her brother is allergic to lactose, sugar, meat and gluten… The only meat he can eat is kanguru and a couple of vegetables only.

        I’m trying to develop a website to help people choose which food they can eat based on their allergy or specific filter (like vegan, gmo-free, organic) and I was making some research about that when I found your blog :)

        Do you read french? Because I might start a litle blog soon about that.

        And I’ll let you know as soon as I’ve tried one of your recipes too :D

        P.S. Feel free to update this post to fix the grammars and the words if you want to, I’m not so good in english :)

      • Sounds like a great idea! Unfortunately, my french is very weak, but let me know when it is up and running. I have a couple of gluten free recipes where I used Namaste Perfect Flour Blend. You might want to check that product out…it is free of most of the top food allergens. I hope you enjoy the recipes. Good luck.

  12. Hi there, I’m happy to say both my sons are allergy-free by my next door neighbour has two boys who are allergic to practically everything. Not an exaggeration. The youngest (6) can only eat rice and rice based things such as rice oil, rice milk and rice flour. The oldest (9) is the same, but he can also have a *tiny* bit of white meat. Obviously, they can tolerate some kind of nutritional “milk” but it took forever to find one. They were allergic to the own mother’s breast milk! It’s actually very sad to witness, especially at parties and gatherings. But their mother is great and is always trying to make things easier and fun for them.

    Have you heard of anything as severe as this? We live in Sydney, Australia btw!

    • Gosh, that will be a challenge for your neighbour. I believe my eldest reacted to food I was eating through my breast milk. Dairy was a huge culprit for my second son. In the early days, it was a challenge as my eldest son had food allergies and sensitivities. For my son, including a dairy free acidophilous to increase the good flora in his gut, I believe aided in the decrease of his food sensitivities…he still has many food allergies. I am not an expert in this field…this is just what has worked for us. I hope your friend seeks the advice of good practioners that will guide her on her journey. Check out the blog Frugal Food Allergies…the link is on my blog. Her daughter is extremely limited with food options. Thanks for your comment! :)

      • Thank you Robert! I reviewed the press release from the link you provided…very interesting. It is one of the reasons I volunteer my time at my boys’ schools to educate their fellow students, teachers and staff on the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and the proper use of an epi pen. Keeping the lines of communication open is key to educating not just the public but those living with food allergies themselves. Anaphylaxis is nothing to hide behind. Thank you for your input.

  13. I love finding blogs that write about this from a parent’s perspective. I grew up with severe food allergies, severe eczema and severe asthma and with blogs like yours, I see the stress and worry I must have put my mother through! I’m glad you’re able to stay home with your kids and cook for them – that must give you much more of a sense of control.

    • Thank you! As a parent, I just want the best for my boys. Yes, it has been difficult, but I wouldn’t change a thing for the world. The silver lining to all this…their experiences have made them who they are today…independent, loving and empathetic young men. :) Being able to stay at home with them through all this has been a blessing. :)

  14. Dear Susan:

    Glad to find your blog. All of my family members have food allergies. Dairy is the top culprit and then the allergies branch out – different for different family members. My son almost died from a citrus allergy. I had an ordeal myself and then had to completely change my diet. (see blog article for Fit American Families 11/26/12 Food Allergies: The Food-Body Connection
    http://www.fitamericanfamilies.com/2012/11/26/food-allergies-the-food-body-connection/)

    After being so ill, I wrote three cookbooks with over 200 recipes.

    The Fast & Fabulous Gourmet Cookbook series – Mediterranean, Pacific Rim and Diet editions – can be found in Kindle, Nook, iPhone and iBook formats. Check out: Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and iTunes/Apple http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/shan-boggs/id554891788?mt=11 or visit: http://www.fastandfabulousgourmetcookbooks.com/

    The cookbooks are priced as inexpensively as we could possibly make them.

    It is my hope they will be of help to others with food sensitivities.

    Right now I am looking for reviewers and have a few promo codes available for free iBook/ iPad 2 downloads. Anyone interested should email my business address: shan@burtonwoodmedia.com

    Thanks so much for letting me share, Shan Boggs

    • I hope your family members with food allergies enjoy some of my adapted recipes. How wonderful that you are sharing your knowledge with others living with food sensitivities. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  15. Dear Susan, I found you on Michael Penny’s web site. I am writing this letter to give your boys hope for the future. I was born 76 years ago with both eczema, asthma, many food allergies, and other allergies such as feathers and animal dander. For years I could not have a piece of cake, and I did not have a dog until I was in my 40s. I will not bore you with all the details of my long life, but I want to share with you that I have not had asthma in 43 years. And I can eat any food I want. I will also add that I am a sixteen year breast cancer survivor and am in extremely good health. Lots of love to you and your family. Jerry Stocks

  16. susan, do you have a recipie for a small batch of cupcakes, my daughter is having her first birthday party with school friends this weekend and one of them, her friend is allergic to nuts and eggs. I would really like to be able to make some cupcakes that he can have too. he told me once he doesnt like birthday parties because he cant eat cake. it nearly broke my heart. any suggestions or recipie you could offer would be great. i have been researching it on line but some of the ingredients are unknown to me.

    Many thanks

    Cora Collins
    Cork
    Ireland

    • Cora, I have two perfect recipes to meet your needs…Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes. Over the years, I have baked many batches of both recipes for my boys’ birthday parties…much to the pleasure of all their guests. Click here for the link to my Vanilla Cupcake and here for a link to the Chocolate. You should not have a problem finding all the ingredients as they are all basic ingredients easily obtained at the grocery store. Any leftover cupcakes could be sent home with her friend to be enjoyed at home or frozen (not iced) for a later date.

      Some helpful hints from a mother of two boys with food allergies that have attended birthday parties…I always talked with the birthday child’s parents to review my boys’ food allergies and administration of an Epipen. If the birthday cake was not peanut/tree nut free, I would send a cupcake for my boys to enjoy at the party. You may want to review with the child’s parents your good intentions. (I always sent a cupcake with my eldest son due to his multiple food allergies) They may have a recipe that you could bake. I, personally, gave the Vanilla Cake recipe to my neighbour who always made it for her children’s birthday parties that my eldest son, with the multiple food allergies attended. She was very careful about any cross-contamination in her kitchen and my son was always delighted to be able to eat the ‘birthday cake’ that all the other children were eating.

      If you are baking the cupcakes…please be careful with any cross-contamination from nuts or eggs that may be in your kitchen. Double check all ingredient labels for his allergens, make sure the bowls and bakeware are free of the allergens, the children all wash their hands before eating and use paper liners for the cupcakes.

      I hope all this will be helpful and your daughter and her friend enjoy a perfect day! :)

      P.S. If you click on the cupcake category…you will see all the times I have made these cupcakes in the past year. Enjoy! :)

  17. I just found your blog, after you found me at lifewithfa.com. I can’t wait to dive into your recipes. It’s not easy working around our sons’ 18 food allergies (combined) but doable. I just stumbled across a fantastic cookie recipe. Like you, my head’s already spinning thinking of ways to up the healthy factor. Glad I found you!

    • I agree…happy to have found you from The Allergista’s list of ‘Very Inspiring Bloggers’…your story is very inspiring! I have had success with Namaste Perfect Flour Blend when I need to make a recipe gluten free…have you heard of them?

  18. What a fabulous site, thank you for doing this! I was wondering if you (or anyone else who may be reading this) have found any food colouring products that don’t “May contain” egg/milk? I bake to bring in extra money and have always used Wilton, but we recently found out our son has an egg and milk allergy and Wilton products may contain every allergen imaginable!
    Thank you.

    • Thank you! :) I have to admit I do not use food colouring in my baking. It is not due to the fact that they may or may not contain any of my boys’ food allergens…I stayed clear of them to reduce the amount of artificial ingredients in my home baking. I like to use food colouring to colour the ceramic eggs I order from EggNots. Perfect for any child or adult that is allergic to eggs and wants the opportunity to touch, feel and colour an ‘egg’. :)

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