Monday, February 29, 2016

Keeping Green Eggs out of the Classroom

March 2nd is Dr. Seuss's birthday, which has nationally become known as Read Aloud Day. This is a great opportunity to increase literacy in younger children by sharing Dr. Seuss's extensive collection of great kids books. Many preschool and elementary school teachers include crafts inspired by the books as a way to increase excitement and student involvement with the stories.

Unfortunately, the mass popularity of Green Eggs and Ham sometimes leads to the exclusion of kids with egg allergies when real eggs get involved.

Nobody likes to see their child get excluded--especially when a dangerous item gets brought into the classroom. If your child has an egg allergy, it's not too late to ask your child's teacher what her/his plans are for the day, and to steer them towards a safer way to celebrate.

Here are some great suggestions, and a Google search for "Dr. Seuss crafts" will point you towards dozens more!

Cat in the Hat hats

These are easy to make and involve only a paper plate, large sheets of red and white construction paper, glue, scissors, and a stapler.

Cut out the flat center part of the paper plate. Cut red stripes roughly two inches wide from the red construction paper (this can be done in advance for younger kids.)

Glue red stripes onto a white piece of construction paper. Curl the striped paper into a tube and insert the bottom 2-3 inches into the hole in the paper plate. Glue or staple the tube together.

Cut 2 inch slits in the bottom of the tube and fold the resulting flaps under the rim of the paper plate. Staple the flaps to the plate to secure the two pieces together.

Bingo! It's the Cat's Hat! (You could secure it with string or elastic if the kiddos are going to be wearing it for a long time.)
Cat mask courtesy of my seven-year-old

Handprint Thing 1 and Thing 2

What child doesn't like to paint with their hands? These are fun to make and a great keepsake to remember how small their hands are!

Start by painting the child's palms and all fingers EXCEPT the middle finger with red paint.

Have them place their hands on a piece of paper with the fingers towards the edge. Having an adult press down on the top of their hands before lifting will make sure fewer gaps are left. Have the child wash their hands and then return.

Paint the child's palm white and their fingers blue, getting a little blue onto the perimeter of the palm as well. Flip the red handprints upside down and line up each hand so that the red handprint is a Thing's body, the new white palm will be the head, and the fingers are the hair. Again, have the child wash their hands.

Once the paint is dry, add a white spot to the center of the body, and then draw features on the face. Write "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" in the white circle once that paint is dry.

Toilet Paper Tube Horton with Clover

This loveable elephant is easy to make, although younger kids may need an adult to cut out Horton's features.

Have the children paint toilet paper tubes gray. Allow to dry.
While waiting, have the children cut out Horton's ears, trunk, and make a black fringe for hair. You can use construction paper or craft foam.

Glue these in place, and then use a marker to draw Horton's features.

Glue a pom pom to the end of a chenille stem for the clover, and glue a speck of paper for the dust speck, if you like.

With a little creativity, there's no need for any children to be left out of the Dr. Seuss Day festivities. Remember, the moral of Green Eggs and Ham is that we should be willing to try new things! That goes for educators too!

Credit where credit is due: I got the hat ideas from this blog, the handprint things from this blog, and Horton from this blog.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Auvi-Q News, Sanofi to drop the Auvi-Q

When Sanofi recalled Auvi-Q last October, it would be fair to say that a lot of people were upset. Plenty of people preferred the Auvi-Q to the EpiPen, and it isn't hard to see why.

The Auvi-Q:
  • Is smaller
  • Is pocket-sized
  • Talks to you
We've never carried Auvi-Qs, but that didn't stop our kids from falling in love with the testers they received at our FARE walk last summer. It was months before I stopped hearing those instructions on a daily basis. (Although on the other hand, the Auvi-Q tester is also how our son Zax learned that Epis have needles inside them, and aren't just magic devices that deliver medicine, which has led to greater Epi fear around here...)

Anyway, I digress. Just yesterday we heard the news that Sanofi is not going to be bringing the Auvi-Q back. 


Here are some things you might not know (especially if you haven't read the article yet.)
  • Sanofi did not develop the Auvi-Q. They licensed it from Kaleo, a pharmaceutical company founded by twin brothers Eric and Evan Edwards. Both have life-threatening food allergies of their own. The two were determined to create a better epinephrine device, and they tailored their post-graduate education to do just that.
  • Kaleo is alive and well, and currently sells another device, Evzio, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the Auvi-Q. It delivers emergency medication to treat an opiod overdose. There has been no news that Evzio has had any problems.
  • Kaleo has a number of options regarding how to proceed here, including producing the Auvi-Q themselves or licensing the device to another company. I'm not going to speculate as to what they'll do. It is, of course, far too soon to tell. And there's no word in this round of news regarding how the problem that led to the recall is being resolved.

But I will say this. The Auvi-Q was the flagship product of Kaleo and the Edwards brothers. The company is larger than those two, and it has grown, but at its core it came from the desire of two teenage boys to carry a better epinephrine auto-injector. It was their passion project.

The way I see it, the Auvi-Q coming back on the market is just a matter of time.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Bright Side of Life

I'm handing the blog over to my husband Dean for another guest post today. And it's not about donuts! It is about something sweet though. Take it away, Dean!

Oh, I should warn you that he likes puns.

He really likes puns.

Time for another guest blog post from Dean (the SuperDad in this family of Superheroes). When Zax was diagnosed with his egg allergy, it wasn't completely alien to us since Eileen has her tree nut allergy. And she had an egg allergy when she was much younger. He's just a chocolate chip off the old block. But it was still a newer and different allergy than we were used to. Unlike peanut, we came to realize just how prevalent egg is in so many items, especially baked goods.

We didn't want to stop baking or completely give in to that's how the cookie crumbles, so the search was on for an egg replacer. We came across Ener-G, a powder that you mix with water. It works pretty well for a lot of things, (I use it for pancakes), but it works well for cookies too.

I've always loved chocolate chip cookie dough, especially in ice cream. It's my favorite. When anyone around me would make cookies, I would sneak some of the cookie dough. Sometimes I would be caught with my hand in the cookie dough bowl, sometimes I would get away with it. It was a small amount and to me, worth the risk of salmonella poisoning. Tsk, tsk, to me.

But a silver lining to Zax's egg allergy means being able to eat the cookie dough (or cake batter) without the fear of getting ill! For me, it's one of the brightest spots to his otherwise crummy allergy.

The first time I made cookie dough with the egg replacer, Eileen asked if I was making cookies. I told her no and she raised an eyebrow. She's one tough cookie. I was making it to go in ice cream. That way it was more cost effective and more importantly, I could control the amount of cookie dough in each bowl.

So here is the recipe that I love for chocolate chip cookies (it might have been posted here before by Eileen, but here it is again!)

Free From: Egg, Peanut, Tree Nut, Fish and Shellfish. I hate sea flavored ice cream. It could easily be soy free with Enjoy Life chocolate chips, and substituted with your other allergy friendly substitutions so it's not just another cookie cutter recipe.


  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 4 tablespoons of water = two eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (and definitely can't substitute with baking powder!)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chocolate chips


In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla; beat until creamy.

Beat in egg replacer.

Gradually add flour mixture.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Test cookie dough to make sure it's good enough for your family.

Have your family double check your work.

Drop in as much cookie dough you want into your favorite ice cream (I used chocolate chip ice cream, you can't get enough chocolate chips) and enjoy! My family said it was good, I like to think I'm one smart cookie. Until my next blog post, don't forget how super you are!

My apologies for offending anyone with my cookie puns, especially Cookie Monster. Please don't eat my cookies or cookie dough.

Linking up at Allergy Free Wednesdays

I did warn you that he likes puns.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Slow-Cooker BBQ Pork

I love my crockpot! It's so nice to dump all the ingredients in one big pot and let time do the cooking all day. I'll use it any time I get the chance!

Another thing I love is pulled pork. I've shared my Hawaiian Pork recipe before, so today I'll share how to make a succulent barbecue pork in your crockpot!

The crockpot also makes this a great party food! I served it at our Superbowl Party, and the crockpot kept it warm and safe throughout the whole game!

Slow-Cooker BBQ Pork

Recipe by Eileen Rhoadarmer - 2nd Generation Allergy Mom
Top 8 free! (At least, it is if you're using safe bbq sauce!)
Prep time: 15-20 min
Cook time: 18 hours**
Total time: 19 hours**
  • 1 pork shoulder or butt roast
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • barbecue sauce of your choice
Cooking Directions
  1. Layer one sliced onion in the bottom of your crockpot.
  2. Place pork roast on top of onion.
  3. Pour vinegar all over roast.
  4. Layer second sliced onion on top.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours**, turning if necessary. (I've never turned mine.)
  6. Once tender and shredable, siphon out the juices. Discard, or allow to separate if you'd like to add a little back in or keep for another purpose. Once separated, discard the fat.
  7. Using two forks, shred the pork. Remove any bones or large pieces of fat that remain (most of the fat will have cooked down, and you removed it with the juices.)
  8. Stir the shredded meat until evenly distributed with the onions in the crockpot. Add approx. 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, or more to taste. Add back some of the strained juices if you want to give it more tang. Stir again to distribute the sauce.
  9. Cover and continue cooking on low for 4-6 more hours**, or until flavors have married.
  10. Serve plain or on a bun and top with more of your favorite sauce, if desired.

This is really all you need!

Layer one sliced onion in the bottom of your crockpot.
Place pork roast on top of onion. Pour vinegar all over roast. (I didn't have quite enough apple cider vinegar left, so I made up the balance with white wine vinegar. Still came out great!)
Layer second sliced onion on top.
Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours**, turning if necessary. (I've never turned mine.) It'll come out looking like this.
Once tender and shredable, siphon out the juices. Discard, or allow to separate if you'd like to add a little back in or keep for another purpose. Once separated, discard the fat. (I suppose this step isn't 100% necessary, but it removes fat, and the pork would've been really sloppy with all that juice!)
Using two forks, shred the pork. Remove any bones or large pieces of fat that remain (most of the fat will have cooked down, and you removed it with the juices.)
Stir the shredded meat until evenly distributed with the onions in the crockpot. Add approx. 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, or more to taste. Add back some of the strained juices if you want to give it more tang (I added back maybe 1/2 cup.) Stir again to distribute the sauce.

Cover and continue cooking on low for 4-6 more hours**, or until flavors have married.
Serve plain or on a bun and top with more of your favorite sauce, if desired.

**A note on cook times. I have an older crockpot, with just "high" and "low" settings. With the newfangled ones out there, cook times probably do not need to be as long. Instead of starting it the night before, you could start it in the morning for an evening meal. Just make sure it shreds easily after the first cook time, and give it a few hours with the bbq sauce to let the flavors marry.

Linking up at Allergy Free Wednesdays and Gluten Free Fridays

Friday, February 12, 2016

Why are our Allergens Villains?

A few weeks ago, Hubby and I sat down to plot the course of Allergy Superheroes for 2016. It's hard to believe we've been around for more than a year, and been "open" for almost a year. We've had a lot of ups and downs, and learned tons of things along the way.

One of our potentially contentious decisions was to make the allergens into villains. As we did market research, everywhere we turned we saw products with happy, smiling cartoons of the country's top allergens. The prevailing trend seemed to be to depict allergens as goofy, friendly types.

I understand the idea of trying to remain non-threatening, and even to depict allergens in a positive light to minimize future backlash (in case a child outgrows an allergy.) But we just couldn't get behind the "friendly" allergens.

Speaking for myself, I understand that nuts are food for other people. I know this in my head. But when I see a nut, I don't see a smiling acorn. I see this:

Despite parents' best efforts to portray food in a positive light, most kids with allergies develop an aversion to those allergens unless outgrown in toddlerhood. (I didn't willingly eat eggs by themselves until college, despite outgrowing that allergy by age three.)

But even more important, we feel that cute allergens don't treat food allergies with the respect and seriousness that they require.

Asking a peanut-allergic child to wear a smiling peanut creates the impression that peanuts are happy, friendly, and safe--not that they are a danger.

We aren't trying to scare anyone with our villains. We're going for cartoon bad guys, not terrifying real ones. What we DO want is for them to remind children and caregivers that specific allergens are not safe for each individual child.

We knew we were taking a risk by breaking the mold, but we still feel it was the right thing to do. We stand behind our villainous allergens (in fact, we keep a wary eye on them at all times.) Besides, villains fit perfectly with our theme. What's a superhero without a nemesis, after all?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

I purchased a set of football cookie cutters a few years ago, and I decided to break them out again for our annual Superbowl party, since our home team THE DENVER BRONCOS made it to the Superbowl!!!

Rather than make brown or chocolate frosting, I decided to make chocolate cut-out cookies so that the cookies would already be brown. These are very similar to my regular cut-out sugar cookies, except better, because EVERYTHING'S better with chocolate! They sure were a hit at the party!

Chocolate Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
Contains wheat and dairy
(Gluten-free flour and Earth Balance (or similar) butter substitutes would easily remove those)

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer + 8 Tbsp water (or 4 eggs equivalent of your favorite egg replacer)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

(I forgot to take pictures while making the dough this time. Sorry, it was late the night before a party.)

Cream butter and sugar.

Beat in Ener-G and vanilla. Stir in cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

Switch to a dough hook if using a stand mixer. Then gradually add flour and mix until fully combined.

Cover/wrap and chill 1+ hours.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out cookies and cut. I cut the cookies on the plastic wrap I had used to refrigerate the dough, and I didn't have to dust anything with flour. It worked well!

Place 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 6 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool completely.

Once cool, decorate with your choice of frosting. I used my aquafaba royal icing, tinted blue and orange.

(Or hand frosting bags to children, smile as they decorate five cookies, and then finish the job they got bored with. ;)


Linking up at Allergy Free Wednesdays and Gluten Free Fridays

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Save the Date! FABlogCon 2016

Guess what?

We're thrilled to help announce that

(The Food Allergy Blogger's Conference)

will be

back in Denver this year!

Save the Date!

November 4-6, 2016

at the

Denver Renaissance Hotel
3801 Quebec St
Denver, CO 80207

Come join us 
for the only time you will see so many 
Food Allergy Advocates 
in one place!

And Early-bird tickets are on sale already!

Be a part of this FABulous event this year!

We hope to see you there!