Friday, September 27, 2013

Traveling with a food allergic toddler

A couple of weeks ago we traveled to see my family for an early birthday celebration for Cody. 

The thought of traveling with a toddler can make even the most calm parents want to shudder in terror. So many questions, so much planning, and SO MUCH STUFF! Why so much stuff?

What if our usually very good little boy suddenly decides he's going to be a screaming maniac on the airplane? What if our iphones with the apps that keep him occupied and calm after he's bored with all the other books and toys we bring lose battery power? Why do we have 20 more bags to bring for someone so tiny? Would he sleep during his naptime on the plane as planned? The answer to that question in our case was that Cody had a nice, leisurely five minute nap. Yay. 

Traveling with a food allergic toddler? Well I just had to try not to think too much about it and throw myself into the planning and preparation for transporting a small child across the country and back.

I had a shopping list of foods for my parents to buy and have ready for when we arrived, we ordered and shipped some other items to them and went shopping for remaining items when we got there. Luckily there's a Whole Foods where they live, so we could easily find what we needed. And we packed 
our own cooking pan, utensils and blender to avoid cross contamination. 

We also had to make sure we had enough for Cody to eat during the long trip because we can't just pick something up for him to eat along the way. And our little guy likes to eat.

I have to say I was really happy with the security process and with Southwest Airlines and their policies for peanut allergic travelers. 

I was really worried about getting Cody's food and oat milk through security, but it was surprisingly easy. They just had us open his bottles to test the contents (they don't have to put anything in them to test) and everyone was very nice and helpful. 

We received a special boarding pass from Southwest that allowed us to board early so we could wipe down the area around where Cody was sitting and get his car seat in place which, for me, was his peanut barrier from stray peanuts/crumbs that may have been on or between the seats. We gave the boarding pass, which noted Cody's peanut allergy, to the flight attendants and they didn't serve any peanuts on the flight. One announced that there was a peanut allergy passenger, so no peanuts would be served.

I am surprised that airlines still serve peanuts at all given the increase in people with severe peanut allergies and the confined space, but I was very happy with how Southwest handled the situation.

It was much easier than I thought it would be and we had a great vacation and visit with my family. The preparation was well worth it! Oh yeah, and Cody did not turn into a screaming maniac on the plane. Whew!

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Allergy-Friendly Icing On The Birthday Cupcake

Ha, ha, ha! Sorry, but I couldn't resist that silly title. It just got stuck in my head!

I found the perfect recipe for icing for Cody's birthday cupcakes. It tastes right, has the right texture, and it's allergy friendly and vegan.

Here is the link to the recipe for "Best White Icing Ever".

I used organic vegetable shortening made from palm oil and added some puréed cherries and blueberries for color and flavor.

In a previous post I posted the recipe for tasty allergy-friendly and vegan chocolate cake.

Cody really did not like the chocolate cupcakes, so I also made some vanilla cupcakes. I just substituted the cocoa with more oat flour and added another 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.

Voila! I had birthday cupcakes after some trial and error. One important note: do not overfill the cups otherwise you will have a gooey, fun mess at the bottom of your oven. I'm sure experienced bakers know this, but I learned that one the hard way!

What did Cody think of the cupcakes? Well my little Mr. Picky was not a fan. Too sweet and sticky for him I think. Oh well, more for me!

The cupcakes are wheat free, dairy free, egg free, peanut/treenut free, corn free and vegan.

Yummy Allergy-Friendly Chocolate Cake

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm trying out birthday cake and frosting recipes for Cody's upcoming birthday.

I found many recipes for vegan chocolate cake and they were all pretty much the same. I usually try to give credit when I use someone else's recipe, but slight variations of this one seem to be so widely used that I don't know where credit should go.

This cake came out really good and I was very happy with the way it looked and tasted.

My little food critic; however, wasn't impressed. This was his first taste of something chocolate. After a couple of tiny nibbles and licks he finally took a big bite. He made his "pfffft" noise, shook his head and spit it out.

So I'll try a few more times, but I guess I'll try another flavor.
and see if he likes it better.

The frosting proved to be more difficult. My plan was to make a cherry frosting. I tried sunflower oil based recipe and it tasted funny. I tried coconut oil and that was much better, but the coconut flavor overwhelmed the cherries and my husband doesn't like coconut. Also, the oil based frostings seeped into the cake after a while.

I did some research and I think the answer is vegetable shortening. I bought an organic, palm oil shortening, but I haven't tried it out yet. If you need frosting before I can try mine out, there are many recipes for shortening frosting out there. Let me know if you try it.

Below is the recipe for chocolate cake. It's wheat, dairy, egg, soy, corn, peanut and tree nut free and vegan.


Moms and Dads, what allergy friendly cakes have you made for your kids?

This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Chocolate cake

1 1/2 cups oat flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup oat or rice milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 and grease cake pan or muffin pan.
Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
In another large bowl combine the milk, oil, vinegar and vanilla.
Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Be sure to mix well.
Spoon the batter into the cake or muffin pan. Bake for about 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Colorado flood disaster relief

I went to school at CU Boulder, so Boulder and Colorado hold a special place in my heart. I was saddened to see the damage caused by the devastating floods. Many people were evacuated and their homes were damaged or destroyed.

There are families in need of assistance including families of children with food allergies who often face unique challenges in emergency situations.

Kids with Food Allergies Foundation is always great about finding places that will accept and distribute allergy friendly foods to families in need.

Below are two addresses where allergy-friendly foods may be sent. And here's a link to the KFA website with more information:


10700 E 45TH AVE
DENVER, CO 80239

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy Birthday to Cody!

Happy Birthday to my sweet, funny, happy boy! He's the the best thing that has happened to us and the inspiration for this blog. I love him more every day!

This post is a few days late. We've had a whirlwind couple of weeks. I have some catching up to do, but I didn't want to miss posting about Cody's birthday on a blog about him!