Daiya Pizza With Natural Selections Sliced Pepperoni, Ham, Bacon, Mushrooms and Onions

Out grocery shopping one day I happened to notice a new product…

A bag of Natural Selections Sliced Pepperoni

Natural Selections Sliced Pepperoni by Maple Leaf.

As my son, Michael, has yet to try Pepperoni (due to cross-contamination issues at the deli and products that may or may not include his allergens) I thought he might like to try this new, allergen free (for him) Pepperoni. It would be the perfect compliment on his Friday Night Pizza Night ‘Daiya Pizza’ along with all his other toppings…ham, bacon, mushrooms and onions.

Michael's Dairy Pizza with bacon, ham, mushrooms and Natural Selections Sliced Pepperoni

It was a hit…boy did it look and smell good!

A slice of Michael's Daiya Pizza with bacon, ham, mushrooms, onions and Natural Selections Sliced Pepperoni


How do you top your Daiya Pizza?


Gluten, Dairy, and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmeal Apple Crisp

Fall is here…

An Empire Apple at Watson's Farm perfect for picking

Perfect time to go apple picking!

It is all about apples at our house…the boys (including my husband, Andy) are super excited because ‘apple picking season’ means one thing…lots of baking with apples.

Andy jumped at the chance to go apple picking with me…so we made it a ‘date’. We headed off to Watson Farm after work…it is a little bit of country nestled amongst the city of Bowmanville. Together we picked a bushel!

I have already made 3 batches of applesauce, two Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Kuchen Cakes , two Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Crisps and I made a froze a Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Piealways good to have something in the freezer, just in case.

I decided to make my Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Crisp with a twist…I made it with gluten-free oatmeal and oatmeal flour!

Gluten, Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmeal Apple Crisp

Absolutely delish!

No one was the wiser…in fact, Michael, Matthew and Andy all commented that the crisp was “really good”. In fact, Matthew went on to add, “Mmmmm…the apples melted down into a tasty mush”. Well, okay?…I am taking that as a compliment!

If oatmeal is in your diet and you are as big a fan of oatmeal as I am…the Canadian Company, Chateau Cream Hill Estates Gluten, Wheat, Barley, Rye, Triticale, Spelt and Kamut Free Lara’s Rolled Oats and Lara’s Whole Grain Oat Flour are the ticket.

I just loved the combination of the toasted oatmeal flour and rolled oats a top the sweet baked apples. So comforting…the perfect fall dessert!

The following recipe is an adaptation from Canadian Living’s Country Cooking.

Gluten, Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmeal Apple Crisp

Gluten, Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmeal Apple Crisp

6-8 apples peeled and thinly sliced (I used my freshly picked Empires)
2/3 cup Demerara Sugar
2/3 cup oatmeal flour
2/3 cup rolled whole oats (not instant or quick)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup canola oil

In a 8 inch baking dish add the sliced apples.
Tip 1: Use more or less apples to fill the dish.
In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
Drizzle in the canola oil and mix to combine and form a crumble.
Tip 2:  I like to use my hands to really massage the oil in with the dry ingredients then I crumble it over top of the apples. Make sure all the apples are covered.
Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes or until the apples are have softened.
Tip 3: After 20 minutes, cover the dish with foil so as the top does not over cook.
Let cool on cooling rack.

Just in time for Thanksgiving Weekend!

Enjoying a bowl of Gluten, Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmal Apple Crisp

Enjoy…still warm with its crunchy top!

Of course now my poor bananas are being left to the wayside. No worries, I can always bake up a Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Banana Bread or Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Banana Bundt Cake.

What are your favourite apple desserts?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anphylaxis Canada and Loblaw Pharmacies Pair Together: Allergy Class

Did you know…Anaphylaxis Canada and Loblaw Pharmacies have formed a partnership to create a new Food Allergy Management Assessment Program? Click here for a link.

The Food Allergy Management Assessment Program is offered in pharmacies located in Loblaw retail stores to “help educate consumers about food allergies and emergency preparedness.”

Registered Dietitian, Lisa Ireland at the Loblaw Pickering location…was recently featured in our local paper promoting healthy food choices for the family with a series titled “Your Life: Healthy alternatives for the whole family to enjoy.” Click here for the article.

I was pleased to note the series included, “Your Life Nutrition: Managing food allergies at school.” Click here for the link.

I love the combination of Anaphylaxis Canada, a dietitian and grocery store. Any questions you may have concerning food allergens, nutritional requirements and food products can be answered by the local Loblaw dietitian or pharmacist. Fabulous!

The main article described the role of the dietitian: to “help people reach their nutrition goals through interactive grocery store tours, educational classes, food demonstrations, and one-on-one nutrition ‘check-ins.’ “

I recently attended one of the educational classes, titled Allergy Class, at the Pickering Loblaw location. The pharmacist covered the basics of Anaphylaxis that was developed by Anaphylaxis Canada followed by Registered Dietitian Lisa Ireland’s overview of meeting one’s nutritional needs with food allergies, reading labels carefully for potential food allergens and answering many personal questions.

Registered Dietitian, Lisa Ireland speaking at Allergy Class at Pickering Loblaw store

The Allergy Class provided hand-outs including pamphlets from Anaphylaxis Canada, EpiPen, Allerject, Government of Canada, and a fantasic booklet from Anaphylaxis Canada titled, “Living Confidently With Food Allergy: A guide for parents and families.

I think the partnership of Anaphylaxis Canada and Loblaw Pharmacies with the concept of educating about food allergies ‘in-store’ is genius.

Such a shame that offering a Food Allergy Cooking Class is not possible due to…cross-contamination issues.

Besides living in a bubble…cross-contamination issues in kitchens will always be ‘on the table’.

Learning how to avoid and minimize cross-contamination in the kitchen…now that is a lesson worth giving.

Has anyone participated in the Anaphylaxis Canada and Loblaw Pharmacies Food Allergy Management Assessment Program?

Planning For University With Multiple Food Allergies…Allergic Living Magazine To The Rescue

Love the front page side bar on Allergic Living Magazine’s Fall 2013 edition it reads:

“Colleges Get Allergy Aware: Free-from meals and educated chefs are the new normal”

Perfect timing…my eldest son is in his last year of high school.

Planning for university next year is forefront of my mind…especially since he has multiple food allergies (dairy, egg, beef, lamb, peanut/tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, mustard and raspberry).

Seems like Allergic Living Magazine is on the ‘same ‘page’.

I can hardly believe it is time for my oldest to head off to university. At the same time, I am coming to terms with ‘wrapping my head around’  all the multiple food allergy issues that will inevitably play a part of his decision-making process.

Allergic Living Magazine’s article titled, “Learning Curve” was just what I needed to put my mind at ease…included in the article is a university ‘to-do list’ to follow.

Another great piece of information…a chart that compares allergy practices in Canadian Universities. Click here for the link.

Michael and I are planning to visit a few Universities this fall…with all this great information, we will be prepared to ask informative questions. Not only does Michael need to choose a university to meet his educational pursuits…he needs to find a university that will accommodate his unique food allergies.

I would love to hear from anyone who has already been through this process or is at the same place as we are…any tips would be helpful.

I hope to keep you up-to-date on our progress…as Michael prepares to head off in a new chapter of his life.

Multiple Food Allergies…Our Visit To Moxie’s Grill & Bar At Yorkdale Shopping Centre

This past weekend, my nephew was in town for his teams first hockey tournament of the year. As the arena was a good 40 minute drive from our house…going home for lunch was not an option between games.

An article in the Allergic Living Magazine Summer 2013 edition…”Hit the Road! Allergic Living’s guide to eating out safely on the family vacation” by Patrick Bennett and Alisa Fleming…gave me an idea. 

The article outlined “Hot Tips For Travel”, “Dining Do’s” and listed their “current top picks for nationwide restaurant chains that ‘get it’ when it comes to food allergies.”

Perhaps this was a chance to try eating out at another restaurant with multiple food allergies.

One of the restaurants on the Allergic Living Magazine’s Allergy- & Gluten-Aware Restaurants list happened to be Moxie’s Grill & Bar located just down the road from the arena at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Click here for the article and here for the full list.

The article explains that the “chain’s founder has children with severe food allergies and understands the desire for families to safely eat out.”  It goes on to say, “Moxies encourages people with food allergies to dine at its restaurants and the company expresses pride in its allergy awareness and guest protection procedures.”

My eldest son has multiple food allergies…dairy, egg, beef, lamb, peanut/tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, mustard and raspberry...my youngest…peanut/tree nuts.

Upon our arrival at Moxie’s Bar & Grill, I informed the hostess that we had food allergies…she assured us that we would be accommodated and that the manager would be alerted.

Once seated, I informed our waitress that we had food allergies. She wrote down the list of food allergies along with my boys’ menu requests (chicken tenders with fries and a hamburger with fries) and took it back for the chef to review.

The manager came to our table…Matthew was fine to order the hamburger and fries (the buns were not made in house…as there was not a peanut/tree nut allergy warning on the package, he had the bun) but Michael’s request of chicken tenders and fries could not be accommodated due to the fryer being contaminated with ‘seafood’.

It turned out, there really was nothing on the menu that Michael could order…therefore, the manager asked him to create something he might make at home. The end result…Penne pasta, chicken, a mixture of vegetables in a tomato sauce.

Michael loved it! It was delicious…I know because gobbled up the remaining veggies!

I was impressed that Moxie’s Bar & Grill was willing to go ‘off the menu’ to provide my son with his very own allergy friendly meal.  However, even though the chain’s founder has children with ‘severe’ food allergies…I was a little taken aback when I looked at their allergy menu guide which is titled, “common mild allergen guide’. Click here to view.

It states:

“IF YOU HAVE A SEVERE FOOD ALLERGY, please inform your server and ensure that a manager handles your order personally, to confirm your food is prepared safely.

“If your allergy or intolerance is not severe – you are comfortable eating foods that contain very small amounts of the identified allergen – then please use this guide along with our main menu to make your selection.”

I am always reluctant to measure my sons’ food allergies as mild, moderate or severe.  How does one truly know how severe an allergic reaction one will have until it actually happens…hindsight is too late.

Also, I don’t know anyone with a food allergy that would be comfortable eating any food that contains even the tiniest bit of their identified food allergen…do you?

An article by Allergic Living Magazine touches on this very subject.

Click here to read about a very tragic story about thirteen-year-old Natalie Giorgi in the article, “Lessons From A Teen Food Allergy Tragedy”, written by Jennifer Van Evra for Allergic Living Magazine. Natalie was camping with a group of families in Sacramento, California. She took a bite of a Rice Krispie Square and immediately spat it out…she recognized the taste of peanuts.

Natalie’s mother gave her a dose of antihistamine even though she was not experiencing any symptoms…20 minutes later the systemic reaction began. Her father, a physician, gave her 3 doses of epinephrine…but it was not enough to stop the chain of events…vomiting, her throat swelled to the point she could not breathe and then she went into cardiac arrest. She died in her father’s arms.

The article is followed by interviews with Dr. Robert Wood , the director of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at the John Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore and Dr. Susan Waserman, an allergist and professor of medicine at McMaster University in Canada.

Both experts answer questions on “What to do in case of an accidental allergen ingestion.”…very much worth reading.

Personally, when people question me whether my boys’ food allergies are severe or not I always say yes…both have asthma, both have had reactions to their food allergens, both have a peanut/tree nut allergy (according to Dr. Brown peanut/tree nut allergy have the most fatal reactions increasing the potential for a severe reaction) and both are in their teens. Therefore, I believe both have the potential to have a severe anaphylactic reaction if they were to ingest one of their food allergens.

I am not willing to play Russian Roulette with my boys lives.

Overall, I felt the experience at Moxie’s Grill & Bar was a positive one. As my boys travel through the teenaged years…learning to navigate eating out with food allergies is a life lesson worth teaching on the road to independence.

What have your experiences been at Moxie’s Grill & Bar with food allergies?

Unique Opportunity For Teenagers With Food Allergies…Food Allergy Cooking Classes

I am very excited to announce a unique opportunity for teenagers with food allergies…Food Allergy Cooking Classes!

The Town of Whitby’s (Ontario) 2013 Fall Activity Guide is offering Food Allergy Cooking Classes to youth 15+…click here for a link.

The Food Allergy Cooking Classes will focus on:

– how to read ingredient lists for their food allergens
– cross-contamination in the kitchen
– how to adapt a recipe to meet their food allergens
– how to follow a recipe
– hands on experience creating delicious food allergy friendly foods

Preparing youth with food allergies to be independent in the kitchen with basic cooking skills is an essential basic need.

Our youth with food allergies will one day be moving on…giving them the basic tools to create allergy friendly foods for themselves is a lesson worth giving.

I am happy to announce that I will be teaching the classes…so excited!

This is a great opportunity for youth with food allergies to get together, socialize, learn some life long kitchen skills, enjoy some great tasting allergy friendly food and realize they are not alone on their journey.

If you have food allergies and live in the Durham, Ontario area…this course is for you!

Have you ever taken a Food Allergy Cooking Class? How was it?  What did you learn?
Are there Food Allergy Cooking Classes in your area?  Have you ever considered signing up for one?
If you could take a Food Allergy Cooking Class…what would you hope to learn from it?

I would love to get your feedback to help me prepare for the Food Allergy Cooking Classes…thank you.

Back To School With Anaphylaxis 2013

Well it is that time of year again…time to think about heading back to school.

As both my boys are anaphylactic and have asthma…I will be updating, if need be, their Emergency Medical Plans (provided by the school), writing a letter to the school staff outlining their specific medical conditions…food allergies and asthma…and creating a quick reference Emergency Medical Form for their teachers and substitute teachers (provided by Anaphylaxis Canada see below) and a quick reference Asthma Action Plan (provided by the Canadian Lung Association…click here for a link.)

My eldest starting grade 12…dairy, eggs, beef, lamb, fish, shellfish, peanut/tree nuts, sesame, mustard and raspberries and my youngest starting grade 10…peanut/tree nuts.

Anaphylaxis Canada makes my job easier by outlining some key resources for me to review:

1)  An online webinar:  Back to School – How to Manage Allergies This School Season…click here.
2)  Parent Checklist:  Key reminders for parents and students…click here.
3)  School Staff Checklist:  An overview for educators and school staff…click here.
4)  Information for Teens and Young Adults:  Why Risk It? …a teen site for safety and management tips…click here.

My personal favourite this year…a one page Emergency Medical Plan Form. This form quickly identifies my boys with their photo, list of food allergies, auto-injector information/expiry date/location, signs and symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction, procedure to follow during an anaphylactic reaction, and emergency contact information.

The one page Emergency Medical Plan Form is easy to fill out, easy to read, and acts as a quick reference for each of my boys’ teachers to have on hand for their file, for the substitute teacher’s file, for the staff room and main office. Click here for a link. Click here for a link for more of Anaphylaxis Canada’s list of Helpful Info.

Personally, I think the more information we offer to educate our educators and the students that interact with our children with anaphylaxis on a daily basis…the better.

As parents of children or students with anaphylaxis…we cannot totally rely on the school systems to be up-to-date on the ongoing progresses in the ‘world of anaphylaxis.’

It is up to us…as parents/caregivers…to continue to be advocates for our children with anaphylaxis.

With the onus on us…as parents/caregivers…setting a good example by teaching our children with anaphylaxis to becoming advocates for themselves.

We need to learn to ‘pass the torch’…giving our children with anaphylaxis the opportunity to be confident, independent, contributing members of society.

As parents of a child/children with anaphylaxis…what will you be doing to get ready to send your child/children off to school?

As a student with anaphylaxis…what will you be doing you do to get ready to start a new school year?

Click here to read about how EpipenPrincess at A Tale of Anaphylaxis is preparing for Grade 12 with anaphylaxis with her post on ‘Back To School Basics’.

Anaphylaxis Canada Launches Exciting New Program For Teens: The Allergy Awareness Challenge

Today, August 28, 2013, Anaphylaxis Canada is launching an exciting new program for teens…The Allergy Awareness Challenge.

Check it out…click here for a link.

The Allergy Awareness Challenge was designed by teens for teens…Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel...helped to design all the games and materials.

The Allergy Awareness Challenge is an educational tool for teens which specifically focuses on spreading the word about anaphylaxis through three fun days of interactive challenges:

1)  Adopt An Allergy
2)  Food Allergy Jeopardy
3)  Food Allergy Spelling Bee

The Allergy Awareness Challenge is student run with all the materials provided by Anaphylaxis Canada…free!

I would really love your feedback on Anaphylaxis Canada’s Allergy Awareness Challenge.

Parents, caregivers, students…is it something you would consider proposing to your school?

I know I will definitely be informing my boys high school about this unique opportunity.

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Caramelized Peach Ice Cream

Ontario peaches have hit the stores…time to try a new allergen friendly ice cream.

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Caramelized Peach Ice Cream.

A dish of Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Caramelized Peach Ice Cream

Creamy, rich with the sweetness of summer’s best peaches…oh my!

The idea sprung from the July/August edition of Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine. Click here for the recipe.

I followed the recipe for caramelizing the peaches and then just added the cooled mixture to my cooled mixture for Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Vanilla Ice Cream from the recipe in the Summer 2013 edition of Allergic Living Magazine by Senior Editor Alisa Fleming. Click here for my post.

Caramelizing Peaches

2-3 medium peaches
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Cover peaches in boiling water and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Submerge peaches in cold water and peel the outer skin.
Slice and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
Combine peaches and sugar in a pan and cook over medium heat until caramelized…stirring constantly.
Let cool completely before adding mixture in at the last 5 minutes of making the Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Vanilla Ice Cream base in an ice cream maker.
I poured my completed Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Caramelized Peach Ice Cream in a loaf pan that had been placed in the freezer to cool. Cover and replace in the freezer until you are ready to enjoy a bowl.

The possibilities seem to be endless… so dig in.

Enjoying a bowl of Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Caramelized Peach Ice Cream


Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Caramel Ice Cream Sundae With Dairy Free Caramel Sauce

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Caramel Ice Cream turned out to be amazing!

Scooping Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Caramel Ice Cream

Rich and creamy with a hint of caramel…my mother, Matthew, Michael and I all deemed it to be a success.

So easy to create…I just replaced the granulated sugar in the Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Senior Editor Alisa Fleming’s recipe in the Summer 2013 Edition of Allergic Living Magazine with Demerara Sugar.

I let the ice cream base sit overnight with the vanilla bean to get as much vanilla flavour as possible. Follow your ice cream maker’s instructions to create a batch of your very own Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Caramel Ice Cream.

A bowl of Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Caramel Ice Cream

Soooo good!

For even more caramel flavouring…drizzle with a Dairy Free Caramel Sauce.

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Caramel Ice Cream drizzled with Dairy Free Caramel Sauce

Oh my, yummy!

I found an easy recipe to adapt by Chatelaine Magazine recipe…Salted Caramel Sauce click here.

I just replaced the butter with Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, omitted the extra salt and used Belsoy for the cream.

Matthew got excited with the new Sundae dishes…he ‘went to town’ by scooping himself some Chapman’s Peanut/Tree Nut Free Vanilla Ice Cream….topping it with  Dairy Free Chocolate Sauceand taking it ‘over the top’ by crumbling a Dairy, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Brownie.

Matthew's creation, Chapman's Peanut/Tree Nut Free Vanilla Ice Cream topped with Dairy Free Chocolate Sauce and a crumbled Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Brownie

Matthew enjoyed every bit of it!