Friday, December 29, 2006

He Can’t Eat WHAT????

Boy, just when you start to feel comfortable and confident with the whole food allergy thing for your kids … you get the mystery reaction. (Frankly, I think that is a common occurrence for all parents, just insert a different issue for “food allergy” and I think most parents can relate.)

Here is what happened. We sailed through the holidays (from a food-allergy perspective, not from a “oh my God, I have a lot to do” perspective). Last night, we went over to my in-laws house for dinner and to visit with some out-of-town relatives. We were all enjoying ourselves when I look over and see Big Guy rubbing his eyes a lot while he is playing.

“Come over here, Big Guy. What’s with your eyes?” I asked. “I don’t know, but they really itch, Mommy,” he answered back. When he moved his hands away so I could see his eyes, I could see they were starting to get swollen, almost like he had hives underneath his lower lid. “What in the HELL is that????” I thought to myself. (No! I did not say that out loud to Big Guy.) We hightailed it into the kitchen to show Grandma J and she immediately grabbed the children’s benadryl from the cupboard. We talked him into talking a teaspoon and I cuddled with him in a dark bedroom. He kept saying the light hurt his eyes.

Immediately my mind is trying to figure out what in the world caused this reaction—dinner consisted of chicken, rice, and broccoli. He had a fig Newton after dinner and I let him have three teeny bites of a star sugar cookie my mother-in-law got from some other relatives. Was it the sugar cookie? When I gave it to him I knew there was a good chance there was butter in it, but he has been doing very good tolerating some dairy.

My husband came to check on us and asked what I fed him. When I told him I gave Big Guy a couple small bites of the star cookie, he pointed out that it could have had nuts in it.

Wow, that hadn’t occurred to me. TO ME! I am the ever-vigilant one with these food allergies. I am the one person in the WHOLE WORLD who tries to think of every possible “forbidden” thing that might be in a piece of food they want to eat. But, honestly, it had not entered my head that there might be nuts in these cut-out, tasted like butter/sugar cookies.

And at the same time, my mind is racing watching and listening to Big Guy to make sure his breathing has not been affected. And I am trying to remember where I left the epipen (in my purse, where it ALWAYS is) in case I need to use it. Luckily, his reaction to who-knows-what didn’t get any worse and the wonderful benadryl did the trick.

Overall, he is okay. But this kind of thing makes me crazy. I want to know what evil villain did this to my baby!!!! But, I probably won’t know for sure. That is one of the frustrating and scary things about food allergies.

So, for anyone out there is dealing with food allergies, actually for any parent: my one piece of advice, make sure you have children’s benadryl! And for those with food allergies, make sure you have the epipen. Thankfully I didn’t have to use it, but I was able to deal with the whole situation better because I knew that, if need be, I could use it and possibly save my child’s life.

Anyone else have a mystery reaction recently???

Friday, December 22, 2006

Disclaimer – Part 2

When I first started this blog, I put out a disclaimer to warn parents to use their own judgment regarding what to feed their children with food allergies and, certainly, not to take my suggestions as the final word.

As we are about to celebrate Christmas and enjoy time with family, I want to make another disclaimer. I don’t want any one who reads this blog to think that I don’t fiercely love my kids and appreciate them to pieces. I don’t want my blog posts to come across like whining and wishing my kids were different. They are who they are … food allergies and all … and I love them for it.

I do realize that I am truly blessed to have these healthy and happy kids in my life. I do know that there are millions of couples who can’t conceive or who are dealing with much, much more severe health issues than I do. In the big picture, these food allergies are just a small teeny bump in the road.

This blog is not intended to complain and say “woe is me,” rather it is meant to be a place to share experiences and products that have worked for me and my boys. I have found it really helpful to talk to other parents who have gone through similar experiences and I thought this blog might be a new place to meet other people who can share.

And so, I hope every one who does read this blog appreciates the blessings in their life this holiday season, as I do. And appreciates the spirit in which I write these posts.

… and now, back to wrapping presents for Big Guy and Little Guy!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Cookies He CAN Eat

Unfortunately, I can’t give my kids many of my favorite Christmas cookies from when I was a kid … peanut butter kisses, gingerbread cookies, fudge, or sugar cookies. Most of the cookie recipes call for an egg or two (or evaporated milk or cream cheese). I could use the Ener-G egg replacer, but for some reason I haven’t used it much.

But I am happy to say that I do have some yummy recipes to share with you. Big Guy, Little Guy and I made both of these cookies this weekend. (Thanks to my sister-in-law for the butterscotch shortbread recipe! We’ve been enjoying it for 2 years now.)

Butterscotch Shortbread

½ cup margarine, softened
½ cup shortening
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Beat butter, shortening and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour and salt. (Dough will be dry and crumbly; use hands to mix completely.)

Roll dough into rectangle, 15 X 7 inches, on lightly floured surface. Cut into 1 1/2-inch squares, or use cookie cutters to make shapes. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 25 minutes or until set. (These cookies brown very little, and the shape does not change.) Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Note: I don't have the patience to frost and decorate these after dealing with all the work of cut-outs, so I sprinkle green and red sprinkles on them before they go in the oven.

The next recipe, Holiday Oatmeal Cookie Brittle, was new to me. I found it on the Quaker Oats Web site when I was looking for info for my last blog entry, Ghiradelli Chocolate Chips (which happen to be dairy-free). I did use white chocolate chips for the marble effect, even though they contain some milk. I know Big Guy can tolerate that little bit of milk and I decided to give it a try for Little Guy. There are so few white chocolate chips in it and I don’t expect Little Guy to be eating large amounts of these treats.

(That is the strange thing about food allergies. Every person is so unique. It’s not always black and white … although for some people, it is black and white—any bit of the allergen can have severe effects.)

Another idea to make these cookies look fancy/Christmasy if you want or need to skip the white chocolate chips is to use other decorations, such as red and green sprinkles. The chocolate chips are really the main source of sweetness.

Holiday Oatmeal Cookie Brittle

2 cups Quaker oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces (I used Miracle Margarine)
1 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups (12 oz.) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup white chocolate pieces

Edible gold dust (optional) (No, I did not use this stuff.)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line two large cookie sheets with aluminum foil.
2. In large bowl, combine oats, flour and baking powder. Add butter. Beat on low to medium speed of electric mixer until crumbly. Add powdered sugar, brown sugar, water and vanilla. Beat on low speed until dough forms.
3. Divide dough in half. Place one-half on one cookie sheet; flatten with lightly floured hands into 13 x 9-inch rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. Repeat using remaining dough and second cookie sheet. (The Boys LOVED this part!!)
4. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, rotating cookie sheets after 12 minutes. Remove cookie sheets to wire racks.
5. Sprinkle 1 cup dark chocolate pieces evenly over each large, warm cookie. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes. With spatula or knife, spread softened chocolate evenly over cookies. Sprinkle white chocolate pieces evenly over smooth chocolate on both cookies; let stand 2 to 3 minutes. With the tip of a knife, run through the white chocolate pieces, dragging them into the dark chocolate, making marble-like streaks. Sprinkle with gold dust, if desired. Cool completely. (Refrigerate 15 minutes to set chocolate, if necessary.)
6. Remove large cookies from cookie sheet and peel off foil. Break each into 24 pieces. Store tightly covered in a cool place.
I will stay on the look-out for Christmas cookie recipes that are okay for people who allergic to dairy, egg, peanut and tree nuts, but I’d also love to know if any of you have any recipes to share!!!

Monday, December 11, 2006


In my last post, Brunch Issues, I lamented about the challenges of going out for breakfast food with the boys. But, I neglected to sing the praises for oatmeal—or eatmeal, as Little Guy calls it—a great breakfast option for kids with dairy, egg, nut and wheat allergies.

We eat Quaker Instant Oatmeal at home … usually Maple & Brown Sugar or Apple Cinnamon. It’s filling, low fat and contains protein. Quaker also says it helps remove cholesterol. I don't know if a four year old and two year old have many cholesterol issues, but hey, can't hurt. And the kids eat it up! But a word of caution regarding the various kinds of Quaker oatmeal … check the ingredient label. Some of them do contain dairy, so look carefully.

When you are out at a restaurant, you can usually get it plain with just a side of brown sugar or raisins. Be sure to ask for it plain or they might bring it out with milk and butter on it.
Hope you, too, can enjoy a nice bowl of warm “eatmeal” on a cold wintry day!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Brunch Issues

This past weekend we went to my niece's baptism. (I am the godmother ... my first time!) The baptism was really nice and Baby Z behaved like an angel—I really think that baptismal water is extra special!

After the baptism, we all went to a restaurant for brunch. Hmmm, brunch for Big Guy and Little Guy .... okay. You see, breakfast can be a tough meal when you have kids with dairy and egg allergies (and don’t even get me started on how much harder it was when Little Guy had the wheat allergy). It's manageable at home, but harder at a restaurant where you can't ensure they use Miracle Margarine on the toast. (Or for that matter, you can’t ensure the bread doesn’t have milk in it.)

Please note: my sister-in-law was great and warned me that there might not be much the boys could eat there. Giving me the heads up helps tremendously. Like the boy scouts say “be prepared!”

I’m not here to whine about what the kids can’t eat, but I do want to address the breakfast issue because I’ve had friends with kids with egg allergies ask for ideas on what to feed them.

So, let’s look at the popular kid foods at a breakfast place and whether my boys can enjoy them:

  • Pancakes – nope
  • Scrambled eggs—no
  • Waffles – nuh-uh
  • French toast-- not going to happen (unless I want to use the epipen)

What can they eat??? Granted, not a whole lot at a breakfast place, but there are some options. Breakfast meats are a wonderful option. We ordered a side of bacon and a side of sausage. The boys ate it UP! Bring it.

Before the pork extravaganza was set down in front of them, they polished off the fruit plate. Cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries (for Big Guy, not Little Guy), blueberries, mango, and even pomegranate seeds! (They didn’t have bagels at this restaurant, but a plain bagel is almost always okay for egg and dairy allergies—not wheat allergies.)

So, they did fine at the baptism brunch. Plus, Little Guy hasn’t grown out of his “not very interested in eating anything” phase, so the fact that most of the menu was off limits to him wasn’t much of an issue.

Would I make going out to breakfast a regular tradition for my boys? Ummm, no. There are just too many things on the menu they can’t eat. But, it was definitely do-able for a special occasion, like this one.

I’ll save my suggestions for breakfast foods at home for another day. Anyone have any ideas for what else to order at the breakfast joint?

Friday, December 01, 2006

I’m FAMOUS – at least in the blog-o-sphere

This Mama Cooks! Food Blog of the Week

Today, my blog was featured as the cooking blog of the week on Ann-Marie’s blog, This Mama Cooks! Anne-Marie writes several blogs, so I am thrilled that she thought enough of mine to feature it on her blog.

I first found one of Anne-Marie’s other blogs, A Readable Feast, when I was searching for an egg-less meatloaf recipe.

I am learning that writing a blog takes a lot of patience – which if you ask my friends, I don’t have a lot of. I tell people: I had no patience before I had my kids and now all my patience goes to them. But it takes time for people to discover your blog. And so I am so grateful that Anne-Marie chose to highlight my blog. I really think it will help get the word out to other moms who are dealing with food allergies (or anyone else, for that matter).

Since it is after 4 p.m. here I better start thinking about what to make for dinner … not my favorite subject. Maybe I can go to This Mama Cooks! for some inspiration!!

Chocolate Overload

Yesterday, I read a fun blog post from Susan at Friday Playdate about her family's snow day. In it she talked about the baking she did (amongst other things) while she and her boys were holed up in the house. Her post inspired me to bake today after we got 8-12 inches of snow.

Of course, she was very healthy and made muffins, while I made chocolate chip cookies. And not just one kind ... we made one batch of Cherrybrook Kitchen's Chocolate Chip Cookies which are egg, dairy and peanut-free and then of course (since I already had the cookie pans out and the oven on) we made my hubby's favorite: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. I am eating one right now and they are delish!

I discovered the Cherrybrook Kitchen line about a year and a half ago. They also make mixes for chocolate cake, yellow cake and brownies. I haven't tried the brownies yet. The cake mix has been used several times and for both boys' birthday cakes.

And being the chocoholic that I am (and instilling into my boys), we also made hot chocolate. It's a must-have after they came in half-frozen from playing in the snow.

For a long time, I assumed hot chocolate would be off limits for them, but my friend, Amy, found a non-dairy hot cocoa mix -- Ghirardelli's Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa. I just add a couple tablespoons into a cup of soy milk and throw it in the microwave for 1 minute. This makes it luke warm which is perfect for a 2-year old and a 4-year old.

So, I think we now have enough treats in the house for the whole family. Hope you and your family enjoy your snow day ... whenever it happens!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thanks, Jolly Green Giant

After I posted my entry yesterday about not knowing what the heck to make for dinner, I reached into the tried-and-true freezer for the magical answer. And out came .... ho, ho, ho, (no, not Santa), Green Giant! (does this reference to a jingle ring a bell?)

There was a bag of Green Giant "Create a Meal Stir Fry - Teriyaki" that I bought a while back. Hurrah! I had two chicken breasts I cooked the night before, so I sliced those up and threw them in the pan with the bounty from my saviour the Giant. I also made a batch of rice.

Overall, it was pretty good. The veggies were a little on the mushy side, but okay. Big Guy really liked it. He kept saying, "Mommy, this dinner you made is really good!"

Definitely not gourmet, or something I'd want to eat every night, but it was something everyone in the fam could eat ... no egg, dairy or nuts in it. And it was easy, which I guess is the whole point of bags of dinner like this.

If anyone has any ideas on how to get more inspired and organized for making dinner, please pass it on!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What's for Dinner?

Seriously, I think this is one of the most irritating questions! I HATE having to figure out what to cook for dinner! Hate. It!

My mom used to complain about this too and I never understood why ... until I became a mom. It doesn't matter if I am home all day or at work, either way I don't know what to make. I am not much of a cook so that doesn't help. And of course (just to show some connection to the theme of this blog) my options are a bit limited because of the boys' food allergies. But really, that is a weak excuse. Even if they didn't have the allergies, I would dread this part of the day.

Seriously (to quote Grey's), I rejoice and feel such sweet relief when I know I don't have to worry about what to make for dinner. I am in such awe (and also a little bit of disgust) at the people who can plan their menus for the whole week.

And if you notice when I write my blog posts, it is often the time I should be cooking dinner. I am such a procrastinator. Bad, bad mommy. June Cleaver I am NOT!!!

Okay, I really have to go and find something for my poor family to eat. More to come on what they get!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Waffles and more ...

First of all ... I know I am slowing down in posting on my blog. I look at other people's blogs and see how often they post ... WOW! They post every day. I give them a lot of credit. I can't keep up with it that often. I enjoy posting, but every day is too much for me. And I have been reading lots of blogs. It is unbelievable how many are out there ... very overwhelming!

Anyway, we had a busy busy weekend so I haven't been able to blog. Of course the weekend revolved around eating ... we ate a lot of turkey, mashed potatoes (with Miracle Margarine and soy milk), etc. etc. We also saw a lot of friends and I thought it would be interesting to see what the boys ate (and what they couldn't) during the holiday weekend. If your kids have food allergies, you know that people are always wondering what they actually can eat ... here is a sampling.

Wednesday -- dinner with friends and we ordered pizza ... Big Guy can tolerate more milk these days (hurrah!) so he got to eat a couple slices. Little Guy can't eat pizza so I brought leftover Meatcakes for him.

Thursday -- breakfast with friends ... homemade waffles!!! I learned something new--you can make Bisquick waffles with just milk, no eggs!!!! I have stayed away from making pancakes and waffles because of the need to include eggs. But my friend pointed out that the package says "egg optional." We made them with soy milk I had brought over and they were delicious. The kids never even missed the egg.

The big dinner ... the boys ate turkey, mashed potatoes, beans. Neither of them could eat the rolls (they had eggs in them), but they were okay with that and they could eat the yummy cran-apple pie. It was from Market Day.

Friday -- post-Thanksgiving casual dinner with my brother and his family. My hubby made hand-ground hamburgers. They were delicious and everyone could eat them up. We also had waffle fries and green beans. The boys could eat it all!!

Saturday -- more leftovers ... nothing too exciting.

Sunday -- Big Guy and I went to see Happy Feet and since he is able to tolerate some dairy, he could have buttered popcorn.

Dinner at friends while watching the Bears game -- most of the kids had chicken nuggets. It can be tricky to find nuggets that don't have any dairy or egg, so I brought dino nuggets from the 3 lb. bag I got at Costco. Turned out Little Guy preferred the Beef Bourguignon (good taste for a two-year old) that the adults ate. (Thanks to hubby for making it!)

So, let's sum it up: Did I have to make allowances for the kids? Yes. Were they able to eat every single thing their friends ate? No. Did they care? No. Did it add a lot of extra stress to my life? No.

I was more stressed out by the Bears loss, figuring out what to bring as an appetizer Thursday and Little Guy's intense interest in his binky (aka pacifier).

Monday, November 20, 2006


Some days are just better than others. It's a fact of life. It seems like usually you notice it when it is a bad day ..."oh great, it's going to be one of those days," you mutter to yourself. Or "could this day get any worse?" And while you take note of the spectacular days ... vacation days or holidays (although sometimes those are more stressful than fun) ... it's nice to appreciate a regular ol' nice day.

I am lucky. That is the kind of day I had today. And since it is only 3 days before Thanksgiving, I am feeling especially thankful for today. It wasn't a spectacular day, but a lot of little nice things happened today.

I figured out early in the day what to make for dinner (yummy and fun individual muffin-size meatloaves which were deemed "meatcakes" by Big Guy ... think ground beef cupcakes) which was HUGE for me. I love not having that niggling feeling in the back of my head all day wondering what I'll do for dinner that night. And they were delicious! I used one of the flavored Stove Top Stuffings (mushroom and onion) and it was easy and really tasty.

I got a chance to exercise this morning while watching the last half of Oprah on the Grey's Anatomy set. And while I did that Big Guy and Little Guy played well together. They both ate a decent breakfast. These are all good things.

Later in the day we went to the library. I LOVE the library. I love all the books that I can choose from and if I don't really like one, I can return it--no harm, no foul. I don't lose any money. It's great! I filled the canvas bag with so many books I had to put some back. I can just go crazy there ... books seem to fly off the shelf into my hands. And I'm talking about both children's books and adult books. Even the librarian who checked me out commented on the number of books I had (hence, putting some back).

Oh, and the reason I could do all this on a Monday is because I am LUCKY and have a great boss and work for a great company that lets me work 3 days a week. So, Mondays are one of my days with the boys. A day I can slow down and hang out with them ... go to the library and make meatcakes (with ketchup "frosting.")

Enjoy the little things or as they said "long ago" ... Don't Worry, Be Happy.

Friday, November 17, 2006

You're Giving Him That?!?

Earlier this week I saw a great post called The SanctiMommy about how other mothers judge you as a mom. Give it a read ... it might just hit a nerve. I was thinking about this phenomenon in the context of raising the kids with food allergies and it has made for some interesting circumstances.

On the one hand, there is the time I was giving Little Guy potato chips at the grocery store in order to keep him occupied, happy and less likely to pull the displays down. Out of the corner of my eye I see another mom looking at me with that face. The face that so obviously says "how can she give him fatty potato chips? can't she at least give him pretzels?" I so wanted to slap her upside the head and say "NO, I cannot give him pretzels since he is allergic to wheat!" But in order to avoid jail time, I chose to ignore her. I was unfairly hit with the judgement of the SanctiMommy.

On the other hand, one day I was dropping Big Guy off at preschool and, following my usual routine, I checked with the teacher to see what the other parent brought in for snack that day for all the kids. I had to do this to see if Big Guy could eat it ... much of the time he could not, so the teacher would give him one of the snacks I brought in earlier in the year. No one made a big deal about it, he just ate something else.

On this day, I was told that the snack was mini-Twix bars. I quietly told the teacher not to give it to Big Guy and instead give him a bag of Teddy Grahams. Then I overheard the mom who brought the snack tell her husband, "She won't let her son eat our snack! She thinks its not healthy enough." So she thought I was being a SanctiMommy and wouldn't loosen up and let my son eat a candy for snack. Umm, NO! He is allergic to milk and can't eat your candy. I wish he could, but he can't. Of course, I did not go up to her and tell her. Maybe I should have. Instead I was just pissed.

In both situations people judged my actions with my kids based on their assumptions. They didn't know me or my kids. They thought they knew what I should be doing, but they had no clue. For me, it all goes back to the old cliches ... "don't judge a book by its cover" or the one about walking a mile in someone else's shoes. I guess they are cliches because they are so true (and I think even saying that is a cliche!)

In the end, we are all trying to do the best we can with our kids. I wish we could try to be more supportive of each other rather than judgmental.

Okay, I am done with my rant/soapbox diatribe.

Monday, November 13, 2006

He Won't Eat That

Little Guy is driving me crazy!! Other moms probably can think of a thousand reasons why I would say that. And my reason is no different than any other mom's. He is two years old and won't sit still to eat a meal.

I am so tired of cajoling and negotiating with him to eat his meal ... breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just. eat. your. food! I know this is standard for a two-year old, but that doesn't make it less tiring.

Today, I discovered a new mommy blog "A Readable Feast" from a mom who writes about cooking and children's books. I found her when I was looking for a recipe for eggless meatloaf. Most recipes for meatloaf use egg to hold it together and since both my boys are allergic to eggs, I had to search the internet for a recipe. Thank goodness for the internet! She also writes another blog (who has the time to write this many blogs?!?) that looks interesting called "This Mama Cooks." It's fun to find new blogs.

Anyway, back to Little Guy and the lack of interest in eating. This is one issue that really doesn't have much to do with the food allergies ... only that it is extra frustrating when I try to cook something he can eat and then he refuses. But I'm sure all moms can relate and if you have any suggestions ... fire away!

Well, I guess this is just one more example of why they call it the Terrible Twos.

By the way, I ended up making a "hamburger stew" with ground beef and potatoes--a recipe I found on It was pretty good ... perfect comfort food for a cold, wet day ... at least for those of us who would eat it!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Creatures of Habit

Thanks to the blog, many of my friends have been asking me how Little Guy likes wheat since we got the go-ahead to add that to his diet from our allergist (see he CAN eat that!!!)

I think everyone (including myself) imagined that we would be stuffing him with wheat products all day long. But, in reality, old habits die hard and I haven't changed his diet too much.

PLUS, I have all those expensive non-wheat items to finish up. (No way am I throwing them out ... he WILL eat them.) For example, we found the Ener-G pretzels pretty good ... although my husband thinks they taste like stale pretzels, Little Guy LOVED them. And we have to finish off all the wheat-free pasta and cookies and the Nature's Choice breakfast bars, etc. etc.

I will say those breakfast bars must have been pretty darn good because when Little Guy was learning to talk, "Co-Co" was one of his first words (which actually says a lot about me as a mom). Co-Co meant cookie and he would stand under the cabinet where we kept them and point to cabinet shouting "Co-Co, Co-Co, Co-Co!" until we got him one.

Another reason I haven't given him a lot of wheat products is because most of the bread we currently have in the 'frig has a small amount of whey, casein or milk in it (whey and casein are products of milk). Big Guy can now tolerate that small amount in his bread, but I've got to get new bread for Little Guy .... I really have to do that.

It would probably also be good to get a few other grocery items since our refrigerator looks barren ... one sad yogurt, three sips of milk that are about to go bad, a bruised apple and some wilting broccoli. I'm a GREAT mom.

Anyway, I'll let you know what bread I find that has wheat but none of the other "taboo" ingredients.

P.S. Thanks to my loyal readers, Alma and Lynn, who encourage me to keep up this blog. :-)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Pseudo Vegetarian

Okay, today I got an email from Big Guy's day care center (where he goes two days a week) with tips on what peanut-free snacks parents can bring in. The center is peanut-free so they are trying to help people out with some ideas because (apparently) some people can't exist without those pesky legumes.

Before I share the list (which by the way, about 50 percent of the things on it my kids can't eat because of all their other allergies ... sigh), I want to share a funny story about what recently happened to him at his day care as a result of his allergies.

At this day care they feed him lunch and a snack. I usually ask Big Guy what he ate for lunch and he was often telling me "I had beans and a tortilla, mommy. But everyone else had chicken." Oooo-kay, I thought. I guessed the chicken was breaded and had egg in it so they didn't give it to him.

After a couple weeks of this, the teacher asked me, "Can he eat chicken? I'm just wondering because the kitchen doesn't give it to him, but I gave him some because I thought he could eat it." I asked her if it was breaded. "Nope, just grilled chicken," she answered.

Well, we figured out that the kitchen misread his card about his food restrictions and thought he was a VEGETARIAN! And so all he got were beans!!!! Jeez! Poor kid already can't eat a lot of the things the other kids eat and now he can't eat meat either AND he is loaded up with the toot food!

So, a big thanks to the teacher who caught it and helped fix the mistaken identity Big Guy had with the day care kitchen.

Anyway, back to the list of peanut-free snacks for those who are lucky enough to only have ONE food allergy ....


General Mills
  • Cinnamon Toast Crunch
  • Kix, Berry Berry Kix
  • Lucky Charms
  • Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Wheat Chex
  • Trix
  • Kellogg’s

Cereals: Corn Pops, Crispix, Fruit Loops, Post Alpha Bits, Quaker Cap ‘N Crunch

Nutri-Grain: Apple, Blueberry, Raspberry
Nutri-Grain Twist: Banana & Strawberry, Strawberries & Cream

Honey Combs


Mootown Snacks- Cheeze & Pretzels, Cheeze & Crackers, Cheeze & Sticks

Go-Gurt, Drinkables

Other Cheeses -- Sliced, cubed, shredded, string cheese, cream cheese, spreads, dips

  • Austin
  • Zoo Animal Crackers
  • Betty Crocker
  • Cinnamon Graham Cookies
  • Dunk Aroos
  • Sprinkled Vanilla Frosting

Frito Lay
  • Cheetos- Crunch, Zigzag, Puffs
  • Rold Gold Pretzels
  • Sun Chips- Original, Sour Cream, Cheddar, Classic, Flavored

General Mills
  • Bugles- Original
  • Keebler
  • Bite Size Snackin Grahams- Cinnamon, Chocolate
  • Elf Grahams- Honey, Cinnamon
  • Fudge Stripes Shortbread Cookies
  • Golden Vanilla Wafers
  • Grasshopper Mint Cookies
  • New Rainbow Vanilla Wafers
  • Munch’ems- Sour Cream & Onion, Original, Ranch, Cheddar
  • Snack Stix
  • Sugar Wafers
  • Toasteds- Wheat, Buttercrisp
  • Town House Classic Crackers
  • Wheatables- Original, Honey Wheat, Seven Grain

  • Handi-Snacks- Cheez ‘N Crackers, Apple Dippers, Cheez ‘N Pretzels
  • Handi-Snacks Teddy Grahams- Honey, Chocolate

  • Air Crisps
  • Potato- Sour Cream & Onion, Ranch, Barbeque, Cheddar
  • Pretzel- Original
  • Ritz- Original
  • Wheat Thins- Original, Ranch
  • Barnum Animal Crackers
  • Cheddar Sportz
  • Cheese Nips
  • Dizzy Grizzlies- Vanilla Frosted, Chocolate Frosted
  • Graham Crackers- Honey Maid, Cinnamon, Chocolate
  • Newtons- Fig, Cobblers, Raspberry, Apple
  • Ritz Crackers- Original
  • Saltine Crackers
  • Teddy Cheddy
  • Teddy Grahams- Cinnamon, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate, Honey
  • Triscuits, Triscuit Thin Crisps
  • Wheat Thins
  • Old Dutch
  • Baked Cheez Curls

  • Crunchy Curls
  • Pretzels
  • Pepperidge Farm
  • Butter Thins
  • Goldfish- any flavor
  • Goldfish Graham Snacks- Honey, Cinnamon, Golden
  • Pringles - Any Flavor
  • Sunshine
  • Big Cheez-It
  • Cheez It- Regular, Reduced Fat
  • Hi Ho Crackers- Regular, Reduced Fat


  • Fresh-Apples, Bananas, Oranges
  • Packaged Fruit- Apple Sauce, Apple Sauce Mix, Diced Pears, Peaches, Raisins, Mandarin Oranges
  • Fruit Snacks- Fruit Roll Ups, Fruit by the Foot, Fun Fruit

Jell-O and Pudding Snacks:

  • Barrel O’Fun
  • Corn Pops (No Kernels)
  • Frito Lay
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Chester’s Popcorn Butter
  • Old Dutch Popcorn
  • Carmel PuffCorns, Cheddar, White, White Cheddar

Fresh Carrot Sticks, Celery Sticks

Special Treats:

Cub Foods Bakery, Kowalski’s Bakery, Sam’s Club Bakery White, Chocolate, Marble Cakes

Air Heads
Dum Dum Pops
Gum Drops
Shock Tarts
Hershey Kisses-Milk Chocolate, Extra Creamy
Jolly Ranchers
Junior Mints
Life Savers
Mike & Ikes
Sugar Babies
Milk Duds
Sweet Tarts
Tootsie Pops
Tootsie Rolls
Ring Pops


  • Cub Foods Bakery
  • Donuts/Donut Holes- Glazed, Powdered Sugar, Sugar
  • Sugar Cookies
  • Kowalski’s Bakery
  • Iced Sugar Cookies
  • Donut Holes- Plain, Glazed

IceCream/Frozen Treats:
  • Edy’s
  • Whole Fruit Bars
  • FlaVorice- Freezies
  • Good Humor Popsicles
  • Sherbet Cyclone
  • Icee- Squeeze up tubes
  • Italian Ice

  • Fudge Bars- Regular and Junior Size
  • Ice Cream Bars
  • Ice Cream Cups
  • Ice Cream Sandwiches- Regular, Mint Chocolate Chip
  • Twin Pops- Any Flavor
  • What’s Up Orange Sherbet Treats
  • Klondike
  • Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches
Minute Maid
  • Soft Frozen Lemonade
  • Polar Express
  • Ice Cream Sandwiches

Monday, November 06, 2006


Yesterday, my family and I had Faux-giving ... Fake Thanksgiving ... because my parents will be out of the country on the real Thanksgiving. The family event consisted of myself, hubby and the two boys; my brother and his wife and their two young'ins; and my sister and her boyfriend.

One of the things that really struck me about this year's family gathering (other than the fact that all four kids were actually old enough to play on their own for longer than 5 minutes before they started wreaking havoc) was how easy it was to feed the kids. All the food allergies, pretty much a non-issue.

I attribute this phenomenon to the fact that my family know "the products." My mom doesn't even give it a second thought when she makes the mashed potatoes ... she uses the Miracle Margarine (along with soy milk). And she uses it in the carrots, green beans and sweet potatoes.
On a related note, Little Guy LOVED the sweet potatoes (probably because they are soaked in margarine and brown sugar). But jeez, he could not get enough of those. I was seriously afraid to give him too many, I mean, would he turn orange??? He could be the orange version of Violet Beauregarde.

Anyway, my mom also bought soy ice cream for the boys to eat while the rest of us pig out on French Vanilla. And Big Guy can eat the apple pie. Both boys could eat just about everything on the table. This is probably not a big deal to other moms, but it is pretty cool to me.

It wasn't that long ago (2 or 3 years) that I was quizzing my mom about what was in all the food so I could figure out what Big Guy could eat .... answer: not much. With all the hullabaloo with the holidays, my mom forgot to use miracle margarine and used regular butter. I felt bad Big Guy couldn't eat much, she felt bad she forgot. Overall, not a great scene.

But, you can see that with time we don't even think about it. What used to be a stessful big deal, has turned into a nonevent. A regular happy dysfunctional Faux-giving.

I have a LOT to be thankful for in my life and what I am blogging about today just represents one small thing on that list.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

he CAN eat that!!!!!!!!!!

Hurrah!!! Yippee!!!! Zipedeedoodah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Little guy can eat wheat!!!!!! At least we can give it a try. We just got back from the allergist's office and she said that based on his blood test and his skin test it looks like he has grown out of the wheat allergy. WOW! Only one year after he first showed that he had the allergy to it.

My mind is reeling at the possibilities! Of course, we still have to avoid eggs, dairy and nuts. But this is a start. And I'm used to avoiding those things since Big Guy has had those allergies for the past 4 years.

So, for dessert tonight he got his first taste of a classic -- animal crackers. He was very excited to eat elephant. But when he saw the bag he said "that makes me sick." We told him the doctor said he could eat it now. He told me they were yummy. Now, let's hope he doesn't hurl!

Happy to share such good news!!!!

Wheat a Minute!

We are off to the allergist this afternoon. Our regular 6 month visit to see how the boys are doing and if I need to change up our allergy/asthma routine. I am pretty excited about this visit ... strange, I know!

But my two-year old was diagnosed with an allergy to wheat a little over a year ago and since I had gotten used to my older son's dairy, egg and nuts allergy I pretty much freaked out when my little one had wheat added to the mix.

Aghhhhhhhhh! How do you not feed your kids wheat!?? I mean they can't possibly live without Teddy Grahams, spaghetti and breadsticks, right? Wrong!

It was just a matter of first, having a good cry and then once that was out of my system and I lost the "woe is me" outlook, I scoured the speciality stores and found wheat-free pasta, cookies and breakfast bars (to name a few).

But a few weeks ago, we volunteered to be part of a study at Children's Memorial Hospital on kids with food allergies and the boys had to get skin and blood tests and lo and behold!!!!!! my little guy tested negative to wheat!!

So, today we show the results to the allergist and see if it was a freaky test or if he can start eating stuff with wheat in it. It is pretty exciting to think he could eat that stuff.

Stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Some for you ... some for me!

Well, we just went through the Halloween candy and it was a good haul for a four-year old and a two-year old! But my poor two-year old lost a significant amount of candy due to the allergies ... even many of the non-peanut treats had chocolate (and therefore dairy) in them. More for Mommy! (And Grandpa Leo has dibs on all the Mary Janes since they have nuts in them).

It is crazy that I feel bad taking away candy from him (because of the allergies) because he really and truly has enough other candy for his little body for several days ... proof point #1 -- the melt down he is currenly having! But I do feel bad and I know it all stems from wanting him to enjoy all the things I do and experience Halloween like I did. But the reality is life is VERY different for kids today in so many ways. I need to just ...

This is like a therapy session for me. And I'm sure that is a phrase I'll use a lot when writing in this blog.

Hope everyone had a great Halloween and got all the treats they were looking for!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Tricks or Treats?

Today we went to a neighboring suburbs downtown's businesses trick-or-treat "fest." It was fun -- lots of kids in fun costumes. A chance for our kids to wear their costumes again. My older son is a skeleton/vampire (started out as a vampire, but the cape started bugging him so he now wears last year's skeleton costume with the white face paint and fake blood from the vampire) and my little one was Buzz Lightyear.

Of course, in the car on the way there my husband and I tried to reinforce to the kids that they absolutley should NOT eat any candy without having a grown-up look at it first. This warning was not because we are health freaks, but because of the food allergies. My older son is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts and my younger has all those allergies, plus a bonus ... wheat!

It was amazing to me how many of the candies have nuts in them! This isn't really a surprise to me; it's not like I've been living in a cave the last 30 years and I understand why ... they are yummy! Peanut butter cups, snickers, peanut m&ms, almond m&ms, I could go on and on. But since the schools have gone to the peanut-free zone, I don't see all those candies as much any more.

Luckily a lot of the places had dum-dum lollipops, starbursts, dots, and licorice -- all safe for Buzz and the vampire/skeleton. And I guess all the "illegal" candies that made it into the candy haul can be treats for mommy and daddy.

It is scary to think of what would happen if one of my boys ate one of those "treats" -- to say it would be a trick is an understatement. Honestly I'm not sure what would happen to them because they've never had nuts. I've seen the reaction when they eat milk or eggs, but peanuts are still a mystery ... thankfully.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Miracle Margarine

Fleischmann's Unsalted Margarine actually helped make me feel like things could be normal for my food-allergy kids. Who knew that margarine had such super-hero qualities??

Before I realized that this margarine didn't have any dairy in it, I was going to specialty food stores to get soy butter for my son with the dairy, egg, peanut, tree nut allergies. I felt like dealing with these allergies was going to be a BIG deal (and yes, sometimes it can be a big deal). But finding something in the regular dairy case -- and a product I could easily direct other people to get -- was awesome.

I thought I was a little nuts to get such happiness from a margarine until my friend told me what happened after her daughter's birthday party. My friend (the b-day girl's mom) made rice krispy treats with the Fleischmann's Unsalted Margarine for my kids since they couldn't eat the cupcakes. She then offered one of the treats to another mom at the party (who happens to be her best friend), but the friend declined because her son has a dairy allergy. B-day Mom told her it was okay for him to eat them because of the Fleischmann's (side note: DON'T get the salted/regular stuff, it does have milk in it). The friend didn't know about the great powers of Fleischmann's Unsalted Margarine and was delighted and surprised that she could fill her kid up with those yummy treats. But later she told B-Day Mom she was a little mad that she hadn't told her about Fleischmann's earlier since she knew that she was dealing with the milk allergy.

SEE!!!! Everyone wants to know about Fleischmann's! Actually, I think this little story demonstrates how we all want to keep things as normal for our kids as we can AND not have to go to 5 different specialty stores to get food for the little critters.

All Hail Fleischmann's! But I am still searching for the spreadable kind ... I only know of one local grocery that carries it. SO, I read a bunch of labels and found out that Smart Balance spread also has no dairy in it. Yeah!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Treats for Kids with Allergies

I have a feeling I'll have several posts about Halloween and the fun/fear with it when your kids have food allergies. But I wanted to share some great tips from my new friend -- thanks to this blog, Mary Ann Holecek. (Thanks, Kina for sending Mary Ann the blog info!)

Mary Ann has two kids with food allergies and some of the allergies are pretty severe, so she has to be VERY careful with what treats make it into her kids pillowcases at Halloween (do kids still use pillowcases??) She suggested the following peanut-free goodies:
  • Baffles caramel rice popcorn-like cakes
  • All Tootsie roll products are in a dedicated nut-free (tootsie rolls, suckers, charms blow pops, charlestowne chew, jr. mints)
  • Mike and Ike's

You should be able to find all of these products at Jewel Food Stores. Hurrah! One less trip to Whole Foods.

My First Comment

Hi there, anonymous! Hurrah!! I got my first comment to He Can't Eat That!: Hello!. Thank you!!!!! She/He provided two Web resources ... I will check them out and probably put up on the site.

I am guessing that you are dealing with peanut and milk allergies. Good luck!

The First Red Welts (aka hives)

So, we first figured out that my first child had a dairy allergy when we tried to give him formula when he was about 5 months old. Previously, he had only had mommy juice (aka nursing). The first time we gave him formula was when I mixed it with rice cereal. Within 10-15 minutes he started getting blotchy. Red welts (which I later learned were hives) on his face and hands ... everywhere the rice cereal touched. Thankfully he didn't have breathing problems or swell up to twice his size, but it was definitely scary. At that time, I was a fairly new mother, so anything unusual puts you into hyperdrive.

Let me digress a minute and just say that as time went on and I got more used to dealing with effects of food allergies, my reaction was very different when those red welts would pop up. As long as there are only a couple hives, now I often just sort of shrug it off. If my son is not bothered it by, then I'm not. I think about what could have possibly been in the food he just ate, but many times I can't figure out what could have caused it. Either way, I might give him a dose of Benadryl, but often I just wait it out.

So, anyway ... we called the pediatrician and he suggested we try the other brand of formula -- same thing. So then we tried soy formula and ta-da, he was okay. We stuck with soy formula and assumed he had a milk allergy, but weren't totally sure.

Anyone out there who wants to share their "first time" they saw an allergic reaction??

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A disclaimer

I feel the need to start off this blog with a disclaimer before I start talking about food allergies and what to give your kids. I am not a doctor (nor do I play one on t.v.) and the information I share in this blog is based on my experiences and what worked for my family.

Moms are always getting lots of advice from lots of people (neighbors, mothers, co-workers, doctors) on every topic under the sun. But the bottomline is that you know your kid the best and you decide which advice to take, which to modify and which to politely throw out the window.

This blog is no different. Food allergies are such a unique thing that you sort of have to learn as you go. I hope this blog provides a place where parents can share ideas, frustrations and victories. And back to the disclaimer ... always talk to you doctor, allergist, etc. before making any significant changes to your child's diet.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Okay, why is this Blog called "He Can't Eat That!"?? It's because that is a phrase I have had to say MANY times in the past three years. A little over three years ago, we figured out that my son (who was about 13 months at the time) was allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. This came as quite a shock to me because I have never had any kind of food or airborne allergies.

It has been an interesting journey the past three years and I have learned a lot--though I know there is a lot more to learn. In that time I have met a few other mothers who are dealing with the same thing and I found it was really great to talk to them about how they deal with food allergies and what foods they found for their kids.

Finding this "community" has not always been easy so I thought a blog on this topic could be a cool way to connect with other parents who also have kids with food allergies. I'd like to share what has worked for me and I'd like to hear other people's stories when they have had to tell someone "he can't eat that!"

I am not all that familiar with blogging, so I'll tell you right now that I may not do this very well. But what the heck, I can give it a try!