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If you only knew (a glimpse at traveling with food allergies)

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of “you never come see us anymore.”  Not that visits were frequent before children but our closest relatives live at least an hour away.

I never knew how much stuff a baby needed when traveling. It’s quite a chore, especially if you’re staying the night!  Now let’s add food allergies into that mix. YOWZAS!

Here are some of the extra steps I have to take when traveling.

1. I start by thinking (and obsessing) over every little detail. Who will be there? Will they respect my rules regarding Squid’s allergies? Will there be food? If there is food, will it be safe? If it’s not safe, will people wash their hands before touching Squid? What will we eat? How long are we staying? How much food will we need? Should I take extra cleaning wipes for other people’s hands/our eating area?  HOW AM I GOING TO KEEP MY CHILD SAFE??? The list goes on and on and on!

2. Take all those questions from #1 and begin packing. It takes me AT LEAST two days to pack and make sure everything is perfect because we do not have the “stop at the nearest fast food option.”  It’s what I bring or nothing because after several reactions and way too many close calls, I really have a hard time trusting food that wasn’t cooked by me or with me present.

3. The day has come. We’ve made the trip and arrived safely. The hard part is over right? HA! Not a chance. Remember all of those questions from #1? They’re still buzzing in my head but this time they’re being played out in real life. I can’t relax at all during my visit due to worry about what Squid may accidentally be exposed to and how many hives he will get THIS time.

Vacation is not a vacation for me! My idea of a vacation these days is leaving Squid with Daddy and having some Mommy time of some sort. Family events where I can relax are very rare, especially if they involve food.  Needless to say, Thanksgiving is my new version of a complete nervous wreck nightmare!

4. Making it back home without hives or a hospital visit is nothing short of a miracle! Praise God!

Please be understanding. Please be patient. Food allergies are rough.

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BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse vs Food Allergies

So amazed by the service we recieved at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse last night. I gave the waitress our chefs card when she was taking our drink orders. After she gave it to the chef, she walked us through our order on what we could/couldn’t order/alter and how everything was cooked. Then the manager came over to check who ordered what and their proximity to the person (my son) with allergies. When our food was brought out they told is what was on each item on his plate and exactly how and where it was cooked. Amazing service! Above and beyond!

Guilt free take-out

Before you get excited, I’m talking about foods that you can bring around (and possibly share) with your food allergy child.

We’ve always had a Sunday habit of bringing home Whataburger.  That is our “cheat” meal of the week. Cheating because it’s totally unsafe!  Well, what I get is totally unsafe.  There are a few exceptions on the menu.  It works out (for now) because Squid falls asleep on our way home from church so we swing by, pick it up on the way home, put him in the crib and then pig out.  Although it does turn me into  M-O.
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One day, we brought home Wingstop and my husband dropped a fry on the floor which of course sent me into cleanup mode.  We always wait until Squid is asleep before we bring out unsafe food items.
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Out of curiosity, I looked up their menu to see exactly which of their items I needed to be concerned about.  Turns out, not too many and not the ones we brought home.  Finally!  A restaurant where Squid can actually eat!  Dairy and egg allergy people, Wingstop is your friend… just don’t get any dips. 

Want to add to that list of friends?
We’re having some work done on our house so we needed something quick to eat.  We had a few leftovers as backup to feed Squid but not enough for the 3 of us.  I really wanted some In-N-Out Burger so I looked online for their allergy menu information.  Sadly, couldn’t find it but I did find several blogs of people with a dairy allergy saying they’ve eaten there safely… again without sauce. 

I sent my husband to get the food.  He said their customer service was amazing.  They went to a separate cooking area and dedicated ONE worker to handle Squid’s food.  They labeled it “the allergy burger” as it was going through its prep process.  I wish all food establishments would handle allergies this way!

 

 

Images:
http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/robots,walle/Interesting
http://pixar.wikia.com/File:M-o_wall-e_contaminador.png

Squid’s Life Changing Pancakes!

When I got pregnant, breakfast meats and eggs started making me nauseous (even pancakes).  The thought of eggs still makes me squeamish and the big pile of greasy sausage and bacon make me feel gross all day after I eat it.  How convenient that my child has an egg allergy and I never have to look at another plate of eggs at breakfast again!  However, the dairy and egg allergy did cut out my husbands favorite pancake batter.

One day my husband was craving some pancakes so he searched the magical term we’ve come to love, Vegan!  Squid’s Pancake recipe entered our home and they’re the best pancakes I’ve ever tasted!  Nice and fluffy.  I love that we’re completely vegan at breakfast now!

Ingredients: (Makes approx. 12)

2 cups flour (whichever kind you prefer)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons baking powder  (Read the ingredients!  Some brands are processed in the same factory as dairy products.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups soymilk
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Blueberries (optional)

See full recipe and directions here.  This website is interactive so you can tell it how many you want to make and it will calculate the amount of ingredients you need.

Enjoy!

Squid’s Alfredo Pasta

Since we discovered Squid’s allergy and its severity, we’ve banned dairy and egg from our home because we want it to be his “safe place” when he’s old enough to understand.

That being said, we do, on occasion,  CRAVE our forbidden temptress (dairy) so we have to look for Squid safe substitutions.

Squid’s Alfredo Pasta

Thank you buzz feed for putting together a list of 19 Creamy And Delicious Vegan Pasta Recipes!

#4 on the list is an Oh She Glows recipe for Cauli-power Fettuccine “Alfredo” (Vegan).  This recipe is toddler approved so we’ve had it twice already. Pretty awesome substitution for Alfredo.

We did make a few adaptations. We basically use any egg free pasta that we have on hand at the time. It’s difficult to find a pasta that does not have a “may contain traces of egg” warning. Although, we’ve never had a reaction to Skinner, it is processed in the same facility as egg.

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We also added spinach and mushroom sauteed in extra virgin olive oil and garlic.

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That addition is probably the best decision we’ve ever made. Delicious!

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We also went without the parsley garnish.

YIELD
4 SERVINGS (OR 3 CUPS SAUCE)

PREP TIME 20 MINUTES

COOK TIME 30 MINUTES

 

Ingredients:
4 heaping cups cauliflower florets (1 small/medium cauliflower)
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (from 2 med/lg cloves)
1/2 cup unsweetened and unflavoured almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon pepper, to taste
Fettuccine pasta of choice (I used one (8-oz) box of Eden Organic Spelt Ribbons)
Fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:

Add cauliflower florets in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a low boil. Once boiling, cook for another 3-7 minutes until fork tender. Drain.

Meanwhile, add the oil into a skillet and saute the minced garlic over low heat for 4-5 minutes until softened and fragrant, but not browned.

We added mushrooms to this step. When they’re soft, add spinach.

In a high speed blender, add the cooked and drained cauliflower, sauteed garlic, milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend until a super smooth sauce forms. If using a Vitamix use the tamper stick as needed. The key here is to get a really smooth sauce so don’t be afraid to let it run for a minute or so. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add your desired amount of pasta and boil for the time instructed on the package. Drain pasta.

Add cauliflower sauce into the pot (you can use the same pot!) and add the drained pasta. Heat over low-medium until heated enough to your liking. Salt again to taste (the pasta dilutes the flavour).

Serve with fresh minced parsley and black pepper. Feel free to add in your favourite sauteed or roasted vegetables. I think peas, spinach, or broccoli would work very nicely! I added mushrooms, but I wasn’t overly crazy about them in this dish.

Notes: 1) To make this pasta sauce extra decadent-tasting, add a tablespoon or two of vegan butter into the sauce. 2) To make this dish gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta. 3) To make this nut-free, use a nut-free non-dairy milk such as soy milk instead of almond milk. Be sure to use unsweetened and unflavoured milk.

Enjoy! 🙂