Allergy Safe Birthday Cake!

It is still hard to believe that three years ago I birthed a human into this world!Those of you that have been following know that Kai has multiple food allergies and sensitivities.In the past I have taken attempts at Allergy- Free , Allergy- Safe cakes and they have been a fail.

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While grocery shopping I ran across this brownie mix by the Enjoy Life brand. The idea popped in my head that I could use this brownie mix as a birthday cake for Kai!

If you have a child with food allergies I would highly recommend this product! It was the most simple recipe I have ever made and best of all it was free from ALL of the Top 8 (dairy, eggs, tree nut, peanut, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish). You literally only have to add oil and water.  For oil I used Organic Virgin Coconut Oil and I topped the brownie with Powdered Sugar. The baking instructions suggests to use a greased pan, however I used parchment paper to ensure that the mixture did not stick to my baking dish. I cut off the edges of the brownie to make it a square shape.

Needless to say that Kai loved and enjoyed it. I cried tears of joy seeing my baby girl so excited about having a birthday cake, a chocolate birthday cake. Kai has watched everyone around her have birthdays and blow out candles which has made her request a birthday cake however, she knows that she cannot eat it. So to see her be able to cut her own cake and enjoy it was a moment I will never forget!

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Allergy Friendly- Vegan Cornbread Muffins

These muffins are one of Kai’s favorite foods. She requests them all the time, she does not know that these muffins do not in fact just appear when she wants them, I actually have to spend about 40 minutes to make them. LOL!

They are gluten free, nut free, egg free, soy fee and dairy free! The specific brand of ingredients that I use that are allergy safe for Kai are in parenthesis, however you can use any variation of ingredients that you wish and it should all work out the same. Kai has a super high metabolism so we use these as a side item for meals and even for a filling snack. She also loves them with honey on top. I hope you Enjoy! 

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees
  2. Lightly grease muffin pan or you can use cupcake liners
  3. In a large glass bowl, combine all ingredients gently using a spoon or whisk DO NOT OVER MIX (if you over mix the muffins will not rise).
  4. Last. Add In the melted vegan butter, gently stir again.
  5. Scoop mixture into the greased muffin pan
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Allow the muffins to cool off (if you can wait) and enjoy! 🙂

**Storage: Store muffins in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

**Reheating: I prefer to reheat in the oven or you can simply wrap muffins in a damp paper towel and microwave for 10-15 seconds.

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Food Allergies on the Go

When you are on the go with a kid with food allergies you have to plan and prepare.My daughter Kai is allergic to all of the Top 8: Eggs, Peanuts/ Treenuts, Wheat, Soy, Fish/ Shellfish, Diary.

If were going to be away from home any longer than 2-3 hours I always pack a lunch and snacks for Kai. It really saves me from being in a situation where we are gone for too long and my child does not have food that is safe to eat.  It also saves me money because we always bring our own snacks. So if you are simply looking for a way to save $$$ It’s a Win, Win!

I know packing meals everyday sounds like a lot but I have a few tips to make it super simple for you!

Tip #1 : The Preparation

The length of our trip and where we are going, determines the type of food I pack. For example, if we are just running errands that will run into her lunch time I will only pack a snack or a lunch. If our destination is a family member’s house and we will be there a couple of hours then I will usually pack two meals. If it is a long or over trip and I know there will be an accessible microwave I will pack a sandwich (for lunch) along with a more filling dinner option such as chicken wings, chicken legs, meatballs, etc.  If we are leaving early morning and returning in the evening I will pack breakfast for the car and lunch along with lots of snacks. I try my best to wake up before Kai, dress myself first, then I prep her food.

Tip #2: The Lunchbox

You need the right lunchbox. I prefer a lunchbox with a strap for convenient carrying. I also like a bag that has an outside pocket to hold my daughter’s water bottle. We use this Samsonite lunchbox, I found at TJ Maxx for $12.99. I love it!IMG_0222 It is spacious and keeps things cold with a freezer pack for 8-10 hours. My daughter drinks rice milk that I usually store in these Dr. Brown Bottles because they have a screw on lid and they fit perfectly in this lunchbox and remain very cold. This lunchbox also has a front pocket that I like to use to store my daughters food items that I prefer to kept at room temperature such as her Sun Butter Sandwiches.

 

Tip #3: The Food

Easy Finger Foods that do not require reheating are always a GO-TO for us. I love a balanced meal so I always pack a Protein, Whole Grain or Starch, Fruit, and a Fun Snack. Below are a few that we use weekly.

Breakfast Protein: Bacon, Sausage, Pancakes, Sun Butter and Banana Toast, Avocado Toast

Lunch/Dinner Protein: Black Beans, Sun Butter Sandwich, Avocado Toast, Turkey Avocado Sandwich, Homemade Chicken Tenders

Whole Grain or Starch: Homemade French Fries, Baby Gold Potatoes, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Rice Cakes, Ener-G gluten- free Brown Rice Loaf 

Fruit/Veggies: Avocado, Bananas, Grapes, Strawberries, Blueberries, Pears, Pineapple, Craisins, Baby Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, Tangerines/ Mandarin Oranges

Fun Snacks: Lays Potato Chips, Veggie Straws, Ruffles (Plain), Air Popped Popcorn

Tip #4: Food Storage

I like sturdy containers. Our lunchbox will do a lot of moving around and it sometimes gets shaken up. I prefer to keep the food separated (Who likes soggy food? LOL). Since a lot of our “on the go meals” are eaten in the car I aim for containers that are easy for her to open on her own. I really love these Sistema Containers. IMG_0218We have had these for about 2 years and they are still holding up well! You can find these containers at TJ Maxx, Homegoods, Target, or Amazon. The only con to them is that they do not store well in the cabinet because they do stack one inside another.

I always keep a spoon, fork, and knife in the pocket the lunch box. We do not use restaurant utensils due to possible cross contamination. I think it is better safe than sorry. If I forget these utensils then I will request plastic utensils.

Also, I  carry a back pack with Kai’s EpiPen and a bottle of Benadryl as a just in case measure. That way I am prepared if anything does happen.

Tip #5: Patience

My final tip is patience. It requires a lot patience to be a parent and even more patience to meal prep and pack a lunch daily. However, the benefits outweigh the time put into it. It guarantees your child an allergy safe meal no matter where you go and for parents with kiddos with no allergies, it saves money on impulse buys!

Thank you for reading! 🙂

Sending Love, Sasha Small

Introducing New Foods

Hello everyone! I just wanted to briefly share how I introduce new foods into Kai’s diet. As you all know Kai has multiple food allergies. She is on a very strict diet. Now that she is 17 months Kai has gotten fed up with her limited options and actually started refusing food (sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, chicken, sausage) :#oor baby. So I made the decision to step out on faith and we have began trying new foods (even foods that she is “allergic to”).

I usually try to only introduce new foods early on a Friday afternoon, right after I pick her up from daycare  to give time for reaction symptoms to subside by Monday so we can both return to work and school!

I only try one new food at a time. Then if there are no reactions I will give it to her again on Saturday. If there is still no reaction. Then I give it to her on Sunday as well. After she has had the food three days in a row I deem her not allergic, then we have a major celebration!

Some new foods we have recently introduced are:

This past weekend we introduced the Van’s Cereal and boy was it a hit!  It is Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free, and Corn Free. This cereal is very yummy and between Kai and I we have almost consumed the entire box just this weekend. Please do not judge us. LOL

If your child has mild allergic reactions I would try this at home. If your child has SEVERE food allergies I would not recommend you trying this at home as it could be very dangerous for your child. For severe cases your child’s Allergist will recommend you come in to office and do their food clinics. Kai was offered this opportunity, but I didn’t see any point of scheduling an appointment for a doctors visit and waiting for hours for them to do something that I can do at home. It just wasn’t the most convenient option for us. I do strongly encourage you to try new things with your child if you are comfortable. There are some foods that I was keeping from Kai that she could eat like, wheat. Also, her allergy testing gave us the green light on consuming Oats, however Oats were actually breaking her out. So the allergy test are not always 100% accurate. What prompted me to start trying new things is when Kai started to refuse food. I also personally feel that even though she might have had a mild reaction from a food such as hives around her mouth, her coming into contact with the food will help her better tolerate it in the future. This is just my theory. Lol

If you have any questions about trying new foods or foods we have tried feel free to comment with your questions I would love to hear from you all. Until next time…. Happy Food Testing!

Home-Style Sweet Potatoes with Avocado

Kai loves this combo! It is the perfect finger food for toddlers and can be eaten at any temperature. Kai is very picky and there are  certain foods she will not touch if they are served cold. This dish is not one of them. LOL It literally takes me 20 minutes to make and the clean up is super easy. So busy mama’s this is for you!

Here’s what you will need:

  • 1- Sweet Potato
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1- Ripe Haas Avocado
  • Potato Peeler
  • 10 inch non- stick frying pan

Here’s what to do with it:

  1. Wash and Peel Sweet Potato
  2. Dice sweet potato into cubes
  3. Heat Frying & add in Olive Oil
  4. Once the pan is hot, add in the sweet potatoes
  5. Sprinkle on your desired amount of cinnamonimg_4127
  6. Sautee sweet potatoes until crispy and golden brown (about 15 minutes) on medium heat
  7. Once sweet potatoes are brown remove the pan from the heatimg_4138
  8. Slice open ripened avocado and serve on the side diced or cubed. What ever you prefer.img_4158

Breastfeeding Babies with Food Allergies

It was not until I had to feed a toddler solid foods that I realized the many options that were out there for myself when I was breast feeding. I was on an elimination diet while I was breast feeding my daughter and I still could not control her outbreaks or figure out what was triggering them. An Elimination Diet, is when you eliminate a different common allergen food and see if your child’s symptoms disappear. If symptoms disappear after the removal of the suspected allergen then you would leave that food out of your diet because your child’s body cannot tolerate it. Some symptoms to look for to see if your child might be having an allergic reaction to your breast milk are:

  • Mucus / Watery stools
  • Frequent “Blow outs”
  • Hives
  • Red Inflamed Skin Rash/ Eczema
  • Rosy Cheeks
  • Constant scratching/ irritation

My daughter was experiencing all of these symptoms. Kai could not have a blood draw allergy test which is usually the most efficient until she reached 6 months of age. So I had to turn to formula. Initially, I stayed on the Elimination Diet and kept pumping my milk up until Kai was about 5 and a half months. If you’re a breast feeding mama I’m sure you know how demanding and annoying it is to exclusively pump. I understand why most women quit. Giving baby the milk straight from the tap is EFFORTLESS!!! I mean you can lay down, stand up, move around, and still breast feed. Pumping on the other hand is a totally different case; it wore down on me.

I decided I would gain some self control and buckle down on my diet and give breast feeding one more shot with this new restricted diet I had worked on. One day I just couldn’t handle another dry sandwich so I added just a slither of mayo to it. I ate, then I fed Kai and about 30 minutes after Kai’s feeding she broke out all over her face. I felt horrible and declared that was it. I was exhausted, both mentally and physically which was no good for either of us. After that I let my supply dry up (which hurt like crap). At the time I had no idea of all of the alternatives for certain items that were out there. All I could see were my limits, not my solutions. I did not find very many resources on the subject either. Below I have one MASSIVE FOOD list of allergy free friendly foods that I have found using trial and error, research, and just straight up spending hours in whole foods walking the aisles reading labels. I hope that it helps someone. I truly believe that breast is best. Not because breast milk is any better than formula…. But because of all that it entails. It was one of the most proud moments of my life seeing what my body could produce and watching my babies rolls appear, looking at her knowing that the milk from my body was the cause of that. It is truly an amazing experience and if I could go back I would do it over and over again.

One suggestion I would make that I learned from experience is, the best way to combat food allergies is to start out on an Elimination Diet and add in one of the common allergens at a time that way you know exactly which food it is that your child is reacting to versus trying to guess. The hardest part for me was finding snack food that did not contain NUTS and SOY. Especially nuts since they are a favorite of mine for snacking. They seemed to be in almost EVERYTHING.

For you future mothers out there who are contemplating breast feeding…. DO IT! I promise you will not regret it. It is very beneficial for you and your baby. Not to mention I never got sick until after I stopped breast feeding. It’s like you have an untouchable immune system and to think, it’s all for your baby. Isn’t God amazing?

Food List (DAIRY, NUT, SOY, WHEAT, & EGG FREE)

Snacks

  • Dried Fruit (Cranberries, Raspberries, Apricots, Mango, Bananas, Pears, Apples etc.)
  • Apple Chips
  • Terra Sweet Potato Chips
  • Lundberg Rice Cakes
  • Veggie Straws
  • Hummus & Pretzels/ Cucumber Slices/ Carrot Chips (Warning: Store bought Sabra hummus contains Soybean Oil which is soy and might cause a trigger a reaction in your baby if they’re allergic)
  • Guacamole
  • Enjoy Life Brand ( Most if not all of their products are allergy free!!!! :))
  • Rice Works Chips
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Air popped popcorn (l typically use Olive Oil to drizzle over the popcorn and add Sea Salt, Vegetable Oil is made from Soybeans)
  • Kale Chips
  • Lentil Bean Snaps
  • Beef Jerky

Meat

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Seafood (I would proceed with caution)

Fruit

  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapes
  • Pineapple
  • Peaches

Vegetables

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Avocado
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • White Potatoes
  • Red Potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell Pepper
  • Onion (some infants are sensitive to onion)

Condiments

  • Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Oil & Vinegar
  • 365 Organic Raspberry Vinaigrette
  • Sriracha Sauce
  • Mustard
  • Hot Sauce
  • Vegenaise (Egg Free but Contains Soy)

This is just a short list, so it does not contain every food. It also only contains foods that either Kai or myself consume. So, once again it is a very minimal list. Print it out and take it along with you when you are doing your grocery shopping. I just simply wanted to help you ladies that are struggling with the same issue I did. You do have food options even with an Elimination Diet. Stay Strong & Happy Eating! 🙂

~Sasha

Allergic to Life

I am sure from the title you can tell I am about to talk about allergies, food allergies. My daughter is allergic to life. Not literally, but pretty close to it. My daughter Kai Alaina is 14 months old. She has suffered from severe food allergies since she was about 2 weeks old. It all started with our breast feeding journey. Around 3 weeks old Kai got a really bad rash all over her face and neck that we mistook for “baby acne”. A couple of weeks passed and it never went away. So after consulting our pediatrician we realized that she was having allergic reactions from some of the food that I was eating and she was ingesting through my breast milk.

And so our journey began…. I eliminated Dairy, Eggs, Soy, & Nuts from my diet. This doesn’t sound too bad right? Wrong! I did not know that this also included items that contained Dairy, Egg & Soy which is basically everything. Even if I put a strip of mayonnaise on my sandwich she would break out in this rash like the one pictured above. This trail and error process went on until Kai was almost 4 months old. After cutting almost every recommended food (nuts, soy, dairy) out of my diet I was basically eating meat & potatoes :(Even with all of these efforts it still was not enough. My daughter was still having reactions to my breast milk. I felt defeated and eventually had to transition her to formula. I was heart broken. Formula was not the easy route either. We had to try 4 different formulas before eventually finding the right one. She drank Neocate Hypoallergenic Infant Formula until she was 13 months.

Food

Solids which are an exciting time for most mothers was a very stressful time for me. I’ll just start with everything that Kai is allergic to:Eggs, Dairy (milk containing products), Soy, Nuts, Wheat, Egg, Squash, Raspberries to name a few. Lol

Below are pictures of Kai’s most serious allergic reaction after trying Butternut Squash Baby Food. This resulted in a trip to the emergency room due to tongue & face swelling.

Lets just say feeding Kai has been a challenge. But after much trail and error and a few trips to the emergency room, allergist, and dietitians. I have finally gotten a handle on things. Kai only has a few things that she can eat and I thank God that she does not know all of the food possibilities out there otherwise she would be miserable. Kai has to eat food in it’s most natural state so no processed foods for Kai!

Some of Kai’s favorites are:

  • Sweet Potato
  • Russet Potatoes- She can not eat store bought French fries since most of them are processed which means soy is most likely present, which is an allergen for Kai
  • Baked Chicken- Little bit of Salt & Lemon Juice for seasoning (it has to be moist or she will spit it out on the floor or throw it. LOL)
  • Apples
  • Avocado
  • Fruit Smoothies (Spinach, Strawberries, Pineapple, Banana)
  • Veggie Straws
  • Lays Potato Chips
  • Terra Sweet Potato Chips

Some new foods I recently ran across are:

All three of these I found at Whole Foods!

I will keep you all updated on things that Kai likes and how she reacts to them. I did not realize how common food allergies are becoming. Many children now a days are diagnosed with eczema and doctors prescribe steroid ointments into children’s skin care regimen when in fact the root to the issue is much deeper and something as simple as ingesting what their bodies look at to be a foreign substance. So as a mother if you have a feeling about something, follow your gut. No one knows your child better than you. Doctors don’t know everything and that is okay, keep asking questions, keep demanding tests, take notation and photos of your child’s progress and see as many different experts as you need to. Kai is on her 3rd set of doctors in 14 months of living and I will not stop until I find the person that is empathetic & anxious to help us find a solution!

Thank you for reading!

~Sasha