A few of my favorite Allergy Friendly Products…


Enjoy Life Soft Baked Minis 

Recently a super fun event occurred in my life – I had the opportunity to visit the world headquarters of Mondelez International, the American multinational confectionery, food and beverage company. So, big deal one might say but my excitement stems from the fact that ‘Enjoy Life’ is an independently owned subsidiary of Mondelez! I use the word ‘independently’ very consciously. Way back in 2015, when Enjoy Life was acquired by Mondelez, I was concerned, very concerned. Would a small Allergen-free snack food company survive in the big corporate world. On that front, am I relieved or what – Enjoy Life has become bigger and better but continues to have the small company feel. They continue to engage with customers like myself on a personal level via social media which has convinced me that they sincerely care that my child with severe multiple food allergies should be safe but not deprived. The highlight of the visit…an opportunity to drop in at the company store and get my hands on discounted Enjoy Life  – yayy! But the best was yet to come…my greedy eyes fell on the the new snack packs. Small packets of soft baked minis by Enjoy Life. Now, my son and I love the fresh box of Snickerdoodle, Double Chocolate Brownie and Chocolate Chip Cookies by Enjoy Life but my one problem with the soft baked Enjoy Life cookies is that it becomes rock hard within days of opening the box. Granted that I can warm it up in the microwave to soften it but the new snack bags are just right for the school lunch box and I don’t have to worry about wastage after having spent an arm and a leg on them and driving miles to find a store that stocks them.

 

These snack packs are a sure winner and a must try for anyone with the top 8 food allergies or even someone who wants to eat healthy and whole grain or gluten-free.

Vermont Nut Free Chocolates:

Now these chocolates are not dairy-free but they are completely tree nut and peanut free. As a baby my son could not ingest dairy even in minute quantities without his whole body swelling up literally like a cue balloon. However, today at age 11 he can have processed dairy like cheese or chocolate – yes, there is hope. But, I was surprised how incredibly difficult it is to find chocolates that have been processed in a facility that do not process nuts. Initially I would take a chance and unless the packaging said ‘May contain traces of allergen’, I would give him the chocolate. That was until I visited the Hershey chocolate factory in Hershey, PA. Since then,  I have realized that we have just been lucky thus far since cross-contamination is very likely if the equipment is shared. So, if one can eat products like chocolate with dairy in it – this chocolate is the best I have found in the market. The packaging is beautiful and the chocolate itself is shaped soooo gourmet – love!

Picture courtesy: store.vermontnutfree.com Our personal favorite the decadent dark chocolate!

‘Tolerant’ range of Legumes based pasta:

First off, I have to gush over the adorably cute packaging of this range of legume pastas – it instantly communicates the image of fun, youthful and organic through the use of earthy tones on a brown paper base. I am a vegetarian and the nutritionist in me firmly believes in legumes as a fabulous source of fiber, proteins and healthy carbs. And then I found his useful nugget of gold on the Why Legumes page of the Tolerant Foods website, ‘Plant protein found in legumes provide the body steady, lasting energy that can last 4-6 hours vs. meat which only lasts about 2-3 hours!’ In my experience, the incidence of soybean and chickpea/ garbanzo beans allergy is quite high. However, lentils and beans like black bean, red lentil, mung bean, peas is relatively rare. My son is allergic to soybeans and chickpeas so lentils and beans are the way he gets his vegetarian proteins. Apart from the zillion lentil/ bean soup recipes that Indian cuisine abounds in, I love the legume pasta version – packs in the vegetarian protein punch despite food allergies.

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Picture courtesy: Tolerant Foods website

Recently I tossed the red lentil pasta with Allergy Friendly Harissa paste that a blogger friend gifted me (Instagram – LifeDelicious). Harissa is a North African red chili paste Unadulterated culinary delight and my taste buds screamed in joy 🙂 Love you Kavita ❤

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Tolerant Red Lentil Penne tossed with peas and Allergy Friendly Harissa – 19+ grams of protein / serving

Stay tuned for more Allergy Friendly, AllergyFoodie posts as my baby’s 12 birthday draws near…

 

Ushering in 2016 on a high note: Low-carb, Allergy-Friendly Cauliflower Pizza Crust


A quick blog post to usher in AllergyFoodie into 2016 on a high note – allergy-friendly, low carb slice of heaven…

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Deep dish or thin crust – have it your way guilt-free 😉

Ingredients:

For Crust

  • 1 head of cauliflower with stem removed and riced in a food processor
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal + 3 tbsp water (equivalent of 1 egg)
  • 3/4th cup dairy-free or regular Parmesan cheese (you can completely skip this ingredient too)
  • 2 teaspoons corn flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt to taste

For topping:

  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free or regular mozzarella
  • Your fav toppings – I used spinach
Cut cauliflower into small florets
Cut cauliflower into small florets
Rice the cauliflower in a food processor
Rice the cauliflower in a food processor
Riced cauliflower
Microwave riced cauliflower for 4-5 minutes
Spread out on a paper towel for 15 minutes
Spread out on a paper towel for 15 minutes
Dry grind raw flax seed
Dry grind raw flax seed
1 tbsp. flax powder + 3 tbsp water for 15 minutes in the fridge
1 tbsp. flax powder + 3 tbsp water for 15 minutes in the fridge
15 minutes later become glutinous like egg
15 minutes later become glutinous like egg
Squeeze water out using thin dish towel
Squeeze water out using thin dish towel
The nearly dry riced cauliflower
The nearly dry riced cauliflower
Add Italian seasoning + salt + 2 tsp corn flour + 1 cup dairy-free or regular Parmesan or you can skip the cheese
Add Italian seasoning + salt + 2 tsp corn flour + 1 cup dairy-free or regular Parmesan or you can skip the cheese
On a warmed pizza stone shape the riced cauliflower into a pizza
On a warmed pizza stone shape the riced cauliflower either into a 1/3″ thick pizza or thinner crust…

 

Bake it at 450 degree F for 20 minutes
Bake it at 450 degree F for 20 minutes
Add your fav sauce
Add your fav sauce
And your fav dairy free mozzarella cheese...
And your fav dairy free mozzarella cheese…
And toppings you love - we are a spinach loving brood
And toppings you love – we are a spinach loving brood
Now bake it for 6 - 8 minutes. 6 minutes with lotsa cheese or...
Now bake it for 6 – 8 minutes. 6 minutes with lotsa cheese or…

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Now bake it for 6 - 8 minutes. 6 minutes of 1/3" thick crust with lotsa cheese or...
Now bake it for 6 – 8 minutes. 6 minutes of 1/3″ thick crust with lotsa cheese or…
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Thin crust with less cheese and more toppings 🙂

And there you have it…

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Happy New Year – Seize the moment in 2016 and live out your dreams!

Much love,

From our hearth to yours ❤

Allergy Friendly Stir-fry okra and peanuts during pregnancy…


‘Eating peanuts while pregnant cuts child’s risk of allergies’ – hmm! This research study made headlines on Christmas Eve, 2013 in Food Allergy circles. Now, I did eat tons of nuts but it did not help my son escape nut allergies. But, it did help me put on oodles of weight :)) However, one example like me does not a study make and it is definitely good news for all of us!

Dare I complain about the cold with Sochi Olympics in full swing?! Oh well – here in the North East we are getting bombarded by snow storms like never before – the only thing that is keeping me sane is the crackling fire and soul satisfying freshly made Allergy Friendly food in the comfort of my family room. Ye ye – it is bad manners to eat in the family room but try eating in a cold kitchenette when the outside temperature is 0 degrees 😀

So, today I welcome you to the warmth of my hearth with my son’s favorite lip smacking allergy friendly okra stir-fry (yup there is more to okra than the deep fried version) and a bowl of warm split mung bean (with skin) soup seasoned with sauteed onions and a dash of paprika (recipe for the soup in my next post)

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Stir-fry Okra

  • Prep time: 30 – 45 minutes
  • Serves : 2

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Continue reading “Allergy Friendly Stir-fry okra and peanuts during pregnancy…”

Allergy Friendly Pigeon Peas Tomato Soup


Brrr – 14 F but the lure of the snow does not allow one to remain indoors…

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A beautiful, brisk hike till my fingers and toes were numb and back into the warm comfort of home…what better time than to whip up a warm bowl of Allergy Friendly Pigeon Peas Tomato soup which is also surprisingly quick to make…Green Brook-20140105-00804

Yield: Serves 2-3 people

Ingredients:

  1. Split Pigeon Peas without skin: ¼ cup (available in any health food store)
  2. Turmeric powder: 1/8 tsp.
  3. Freshly ground 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds + 1/4 tsp. black pepper powder: 1 tsp.  (I like it coarsely ground)
  4. Curry leaves: 4-5 (optional)
  5. Tomatoes: 2 large
  6. Rock Salt
  7. Finely chopped Cilantro: 1 tbsp.

Method:

  1. Pressure cook the pigeon peas with turmeric powder and 1 cup water till completely soft. You can cook directly on stove top too – it will just take longer! (I keep a cooked batch handy in the freezer almost always)
  2. In a heavy bottomed vessel add the cooked pigeon peas and the remaining ingredients. Green Brook-20140105-00799
  3. Add 3-4 times water and cook over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes. Green Brook-20140105-00801
  4. The flavors of the soup have reached its peak when a whitish red froth forms on the surface – it’s time to switch off the heat. If desired garnish with 1 tbsp. of finely chopped cilantro leaves. Green Brook-20140105-00805
  5. Serve it hot with your favorite allergy friendly bread. For a hearty twist, add 2-3 tbsp. of cooked brown or white rice to the soup.     Green Brook-20140105-00809

Yesss – winter just got better even if you were part of the audience as the 49ers and Green Bay Packers battled it out in Wisconsin’s sub-zero temperatures 🙂

Allergy Foodie wishes you a ‘Safe Eats’ 2014!


Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and healthy 2014! I rang in the New Year quietly – watching the ball drop over Times Square from the warm comfort of home with my little boy cuddled up next to me and a glass of Conundrum red wine.

It’s at in that mellow moment that some random allergy friendly tips popped into my head which I feel compelled to share with all Food Allergy sufferers and caretakers…I will add more as we cruise through the year!

  1. French Macaron: Did you know that this fancy, brightly colored French confection that has suddenly become omnipresent in the US is not a humdrum flour based cookie with a jelly filling? They are made with Almond flour. I almost gave it to my son since he is no longer allergic to wheat and can even have dairy and eggs in baked items. Of all his allergies – my son is most severely allergic to almonds so you can imagine what an accidental bite might have done to him.
  2. Thai food: The crunchy vegetables and healthy meats seem the right choice but wait…very often this cuisine uses fish or shrimp paste in many of its dishes. Thai cooking also uses Soy, Sesame, Peanuts and Tree Nuts extensively. So, unless you understand the nitty-gritty of Thai food – this is best avoided.
  3. Chinese cuisine: I love Chinese fare but then I don’t have any food allergies. Peanuts, Soy, Sesame and Tree Nuts are an integral part of this cuisine hence better avoided completely even though it is the most easily available food when traveling apart from the quintessential pizza slice!
  4. Indian cuisine: Now this is one cuisine I understand well and that is exactly why it freaks me out. Tree nuts and Peanuts are used in gravies, chutneys in such sneaky ways that it isn’t funny. On top of that dairy, mustard seeds and poppy seeds are used across the board – stay away from Indian or any South Asian dishes unless it is homemade or you understand the prep process completely.
  5. Some other cuisines to watch out for: Definitely Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese – all of them use Soy and Fish extensively
  6. Hidden sources of food allergens: As I have learnt from my readers who have contributed to spreading awareness about flax seed allergy through Allergy Foodie – a food allergen may creep into our lives in insidious ways. An allergen may be present in cosmetics, toiletry, pillows/ cushions, jackets and more. In other words – always be conscious of what you come in contact with.

Safe eats!

Love,                                                                                                                                                      Anu

A family legacy and allergy friendly fryums – Part 2


The warm Saturday afternoon sunshine, family gossip and fryums – life just does not get better. Oh wait, it did get better…the one thing I have loved even as a little girl – a handwoven string of fresh fragrant flowers to adorn the hair. That was my kiddie cousin’s spontaneous gift for me from their kitchen garden 😉 India-002

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And the next part of our Allergy Friendly cooking journey continued with ‘Tapioca Pearls Fryums’. What are Tapioca Pearls?  They are white starchy balls (usually 2-3 mm in diameter) made from processed cassava (Manihot esculenta).  Cassava is a shrub that is cultivated in large parts of South America and Asia for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates. The starchy part is often referred to as Tapioca. In recent times – it has been made very famous thanks to the tasty and pretty looking bubble tea. Do not confuse Tapioca pearls with Sago pearls – they look very similar and are cooked in similar ways. However, Sago is extracted from the starchy center of various palm trees. 

Continue reading “A family legacy and allergy friendly fryums – Part 2”

A family legacy and allergy friendly Fryums – ‘Part 1’


Merry Christmas to all! Santa loved the Dari-Free chocolate milk and allergy Friendly Chocolate Chip and Sugar cookies. He also left some mighty fine toys for my not so ‘Naughty’ 8 year old 🙂

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So, on a day that embodies love, family and the spirit of giving I am reminded of my granny and my gorgeous aunt – everyone says I am a splitting image of her so I gotta say she is gorgeous 😉 But my aunt and I do share a beautiful camaraderie.

The last memory I have of my beautiful and sprightly grandmother, or avva as all her grand-kids called her is of her sitting on the front porch of our family home in India in a bright green saree and a big bindi waiting to welcome me – her ‘special’ granddaughter. Or, that’s what I believed – she had a way of making each one of her 7 kids and numerous grand-kids feel as if they were important to her in a way no one else could be – shrewd, huh  🙂

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Aah – the adoring look cast her husband’s way befitting 50 years of togetherness!

My family likes to believe that I am a chip of the grand old block in terms of courage and zest for life. But, I can never hold a candle to my avva who in her last days was a frail 81 year old woman, back bent with age and life’s travails. Even as her health failed and she could hardly sit up – she was a source of immense strength for each one of us and she has left a void which the entire family has been hard-pressed to fill even after 15 years!

Continue reading “A family legacy and allergy friendly Fryums – ‘Part 1’”