2015 Giving Food Allergy Thanks (Top 23 List)

You’ve been on Facebook and no doubt seen the days of thankfulness challenge.  You know the one…Day 1 and I’m thankful for…fill in the blank.  Although I don’t participate on social media, it is something I introspectively make room for every day…time to count my blessings.

Gratitude is a powerful tool.  Outside of faith, I think it is possibly the only other action that gives us the perspective on life that we so desperately yearn for…peace.

So in honor of the countdown to Thanksgiving, here are 23 things that I am giving food allergy and/or gluten-free thanks for:

1.  My son:  As an almost 12-year-old, my son inspires me every day.  He lives out loud that food allergies can only define you if you let it.  You are beyond amazing, son, and I am so proud of your perseverance and determination.

2.  Our allergist:  I know you are reading, Dr. K and we are always so grateful for your guidance and wisdom.  Thank you for knowing the true value of listening to a parent who knows their child better than anyone else!  We need more doctors like you!

3.  Food Allergy Research Education (FARE):  This organization (formerly FAAN) has been an invaluable source of education and support from a time before online support groups existed.  Thank you for the free resources you provide families, schools, and organizations.  I’m particularly grateful for your advocacy efforts and all that you do to make the world a safer, more understanding place for people with food allergies.

4.  Enjoy Life:  This company makes a ton of delicious products that are free from the top 8 allergens.  On any given day you can find our pantry stocked up on Enjoy Life granola and crunchy cookies…just to name a few of our favs.  They continue to raise the bar in the number and quality of allergy-friendly products they offer.  Thank you for all you do for the food allergy community!

5.  SunButter:  There are no words to convey my family’s love for SunButter or our admiration for their dedication to the food allergy community.  This is our favorite sunflower spread on the market.  Their new on-the-go SunButter cups are a simple and protein-filled compliment to any meal or snack.

6.  King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour:  It feels like I’ve tried every gluten-free flour mix known to man, and not a one of them has come as close to the real thing as King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour.  I’m also loving the great gluten-free recipes you share on social media.  Thank you for making such a quality product that is available at most grocery stores.

7.  Izzi B’s:  Making a gingerbread house every year has always been a tradition for me and my family when I was a young girl.  At the onset of a food allergy diagnosis, that came to a screeching halt…UNTIL I found and fell in love with Izzi B’s amazing gingerbread houses!  It is a holiday MUST!  Truly, nobody makes allergy-friendly gingerbread houses like Izzi B.  Order one today and beat the holiday rush!

8.  Allergic Living Magazine:  This a highly informative publication that has their finger on the trends in allergy and asthma living and research.  I especially enjoy reading articles by contributor, Gina Clowes.

9.  Mylan:  The EpiPen saves lives and we are so grateful to have access to it.  I’m especially thankful for Mylan’s commitment to the food allergy community in all that they do support schools and organizations.  Their EpiPen app and autoinjector cases are just two more examples of their dedication and attention to detail.  Thank you, Mylan.

10.  H-E-B:  This Texas grocery store chain has a huge variety of gluten-free and allergy friendly goodies at rock bottom prices.  They are a food allergy family’s best friend!  And did you know that if you don’t live in Texas and are hearing me rave about this store…you can now order online and experience the H-E-B goodness in your own home (delivery to 46 states)!

11.  Stephanie Sorkin:  One of my fav children’s books for food allergies is Nutley the Nut-Free Squirrel, by Stephanie Sorkin!  She does an amazing job of educating children about food allergies!  This book is a must have to share with your child’s class at school, church, or any extra curricular activities.

12.  Canyon Bakehouse:  This is my go-to gluten-free bread this year!  I’m simply in love with their gluten-free bread, bagels, brownie bites, and more.  This company takes great care in their work of producing a quality and delicious product.  I’m also especially grateful to Canyon Bakehouse for supporting our FARE Walk team this year!  This is an amazing company!

13.  Carrabbas:  We have one of these restaurant’s close by and they are phenomenal in meeting our food allergy and gluten-free needs every single time we visit their establishment.  The whole family is able to safely eat at our local Carrabba’s and as most of you know, that in itself is quite a treat!

14.  Kinnikinnick:  This company holds a special place in my heart for bringing back the gluten, nut, and peanut-free donut.  Thank you for making this a perfect Saturday morning treat!

15.  Crave Cupcakes:  There is no other way to say it.  This company makes the. best. gluten-free. cupcakes. ever.   No really…they do.  The cupcakes taste sinfully delicious, are not at all crumbly, and simply melt in your mouth.  Seriously, if there is a gluten-free cupcake of the month club here…it’s the perfect Christmas gift for me!

16.  Walt Disney World:  I’m so grateful to Disney for allowing the Magical Kingdom to be truly magical…even for those with food allergies.  They are beyond wonderful when it comes to vacationing with food allergies.  Thank you for bringing vacation back!

17.  Conte’s:  It’s hard to find a really good gluten-free pizza, but the whole family enjoys Conte’s pizzas.  If for some reason you’re not crazy about the kind of pizza that comes straight from the box, you can buy plain frozen crusts (in a 2 pack) and make your own creation.  We love it!

18.  Liberation Gluten-Free Bakery:  It’s almost criminal how easy Angela at Liberation Gluten-Free Bakery makes baking look.  She offers a variety of confections from cookies, to cakes, to brownies, and so much more.  She is our go to for delicious baked goodies on special celebrations.

19.  Kids With Food Allergies and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America:  These organizations work together to provide outstanding coverage of food allergy education, advocacy, and resources.  They so willingly give of their time and energy to support the greater food allergy community!  Thank you, KFA and AAFA!

20.  Trader Joe’s Raw Pecan Pieces: I’m so thankful for the special pecans I could find only at Trader Joe’s that are made in a pecan only facility.  These particular pecans were a life-saver (literally) for my family when I needed pecans (with no cross contamination with other nuts) for my son’s pecan challenge.  (And he PASSED the food challenge and I’m beyond thankful for that!)

21.  Garth Brooks‘ song, “Mom”:  It perfectly reminds me of my job as a mom…especially The Food Allergy Mom.  I *heart* this song.

22.  God:  I honestly wouldn’t be where I am without my faith.  Thank you, God,  for walking my precious family through every single step of this journey and the blessings you provide along the way.

23.  YOU:  I am so thankful for my readers who support others in their food allergy journeys.  Thank you for being a source of positivity for so many.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Wishing you much joy and many blessings,


My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

This Thanksgiving, I’m giving thanks for you, my reader.  Thank you for taking the time to read my posts and share your thoughts and comments with me.  Thank you for sharing about The Food Allergy Mom with others.  Thank you, thank you, thank you…for all you do to help raise awareness of food allergies.  You are simply amazing!


Here is a quick recap of some past posts that include my favorite Thanksgiving recipes.  May they warm your heart and home and bring great joy to the table.

Mimi’s Homemade Holiday Dressing/Stuffing

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie Delights

Pie Crust

Pecanless Pecan Pie

Cinnamon Cake

Chocolate Cola Cake

Joy and Blessings,


Peanut and Nut-Free Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin season is in FULL swing now with Halloween just behind us and Thanksgiving straight ahead.

Wondering what to do with that pumpkin you painted teal now that Halloween is over?  What about the pie pumpkin you bought for baking at the store last week?

Did you know that the seeds in your pumpkin can be made into a peanut and nut-free protein-filled snack for your family?

Teal Pumpkin

A few years ago, I became frustrated that there weren’t many peanut and nut-free protein-filled snacks readily available for my son.  It’s true I could probably find some online, but many come with hefty price tag…plus shipping.  Then a friend was talking about roasting pumpkin seeds for her family.  It seemed like a great way to make my own budget friendly snacks at home.

Now, every year when we head to our local pumpkin patch for Halloween.  We pick out medium to large-sized pumpkins with lots of “lines” on the side as we have found the more lines a pumpkin has, the more seeds it contains.  When we get ready to carve our pumpkins, we save the seeds for roasted pumpkin seed snacks.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


  • Pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of cinnamon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of salt


  • Scrape out the insides of a pumpkin and put them in a large bowl.  Now pick out the pumpkin seeds from the gooey insides and put the seeds in a separate bowl.
  • Put seeds in a colander and wash thoroughly until seeds are clean and no longer sticky and slimy.
  • Pour out seeds on to paper towel (spread them out evenly in one layer) so that seeds can dry.  Do not let seeds air dry on the paper towel for more than an hour or two.
  • Transfer the seeds to a sheet of foil (spread them out evenly in one layer) to dry out overnight.
  • The next day, prepare to roast them.  Mix pumpkin seeds, olive oil, cinnamon sugar, and salt together in a bowl.  Mix well.
  • Roast the pumpkin seeds on a small roasting pan and bake at 400 degrees in the oven.  Cook seeds for 10 minutes and then remove from the oven to thoroughly stir them.  Now return the seeds the oven and cook for only 5 to 8 minutes more.  *Keep an eye on the seeds while they are roasting.  You do not want the sugar to burn as it will give the seeds a bitter taste.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and let seeds cool completely.  We store our seeds in an air-tight container in the pantry.

Happy Fall!  What recipes will you make with your pumpkin seeds?

Be A Part of Wellapets’ New Food Allergy Game Launch

Wellapets has a special place in my heart because of the amazing app they put together to teach children about asthma.  It is such a positive way to learn about asthma…and in the form of a game so it doesn’t really seem like learning to a child!  Read my review of the Wellapets asthma app HERE.

Courtesy of Wellapets

Courtesy of Wellapets

Exciting news…Wellapets is now working on an app that caters to the food allergy community!  Currently, Wellapets is launching exclusive-early access for their new food allergy game this month.  Want to be a part of it?  Check out the below information from Wellapets:

Wellapets believes in empowering positive change through play. They are launching an exclusive-early access for their food allergy game this month! Any kid between ages 6-11 and access to a smartphone or tablet is welcome to test. To sign up – http://tinyurl.com/pm4zrdc

Thank you, Wellapets, for all you do in the asthma and food allergy communities!  Keep up the fantastic work!

Peanut and Nut-Free Mini Pumpkin Pie Delights

These are a favorite of mine to make each Fall and even a cute little dish to take to Halloween parties since they are bite-sized.  They are peanut and nut-free mini pumpkin pies and when it came to making them it was as easy as…well…pie!  They were a huge hit and are perfect for portion control!

Mini Pumpkin Pies

  • 1 box of peanut and nut-free uncooked pie crust
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of pumpkin
  • 1 (8oz) package of cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Directions:  Use a pumpkin cookie cutter (make sure it has a stem) to cut out pumpkin shapes from the pie dough.  Take a pumpkin cutout and press into the cup of a mini muffin pan, leaving the stem extending past the muffin cup and onto the top of the pan.  Repeat until you have used all the dough.  In a large bowl, mix the last seven ingredients thoroughly and then spoon into the mini pie crusts.  Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for around 20 minutes or until the crust is browned.  Let the pies cool and then refrigerate.  Five minutes before serving, add a dollop of whipped cream to each mini pie.  *Note:  If using a canned whip cream, do not add until ready to eat…or it will lose it’s shape (like mine above).  Enjoy!
  • Optional:  Although I didn’t use it in my above recipe, mini chocolate chips would be the perfect for crafting scary faces for your pumpkin bites!

What recipe creations are you making for Fall?  Please share!

Back To School Series Part 3: School and Food Allergy Basics

Back to school is here…in fact, school is about two weeks away for many of us.  It is in that spirit that I make this post, the third part of my back to school series.

In 2011, I was honored to be a guest columnist in the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network’s (FAAN) August/September member newsletter.  This article is still one of my absolute favorites to author because I am so passionate about letting children with food allergies still have the opportunity to be kids.  I hope you enjoy it too!

As The Food Allergy Mom, becoming a member of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) is one of the smartest decisions I made.  If you haven’t become a member of FARE yet, I hope you will take a minute to visit their website and consider signing up to be a member.  This is a worthwhile investment in your child’s safety and their future.  But don’t take my word for it…visit their website on your own and click around to see all the resources they offer families with food allergies and the research and advocacy they do as well!

*This article was reprinted with express permission from FAAN.*

Enjoy Life Hits Home Run With New Baking Mix Line

It’s not really a secret that I’m a HUGE Enjoy Life Foods fan.  You only need to see my Enjoy Life Preferred Blogger Badge on the right for verification.  That said, I’m always honest in my product reviews and the below reviews are no different.

When I received these mixes in the mail, I won’t lie…it felt like my birthday.  I’d been waiting on pins a needles…anxious to get my hands on these baking mixes so my family and I could taste test and I could share the results with you!

*Make sure you read the lid of the box in the above picture, because it pretty much says it all when it comes to these baking mixes.  They are the reasons that set these making mixes apart!

Amazing, right?  But would the mixes be as good as their billing?  Check out my individual product reviews below for all the details…


The brownie mix was the first box we opened and tried.  Hello…chocolate will always be first on my list!

The brownies had a great texture and did not crumble the way some allergy-friendly baked goods sometimes do.  And I love that each brownie contains wholesome ingredients AND a shot of protein.

My son, who has multiple life-threatening food allergies, absolutely loved the brownies…more so than the others I usually make.  That said, of all the 5 baking mixes we tried, this was the only one my husband, daughter, and I weren’t that fond of…but we don’t have nearly as many dietary restrictions as my son.

I STILL say kudos to Enjoy Life for this mix simply because while it might not be a favorite for some that do not have food allergies, by and large this product is geared for those with one or multiple food allergies that can have serious dietary limitations.  For many of those individuals, like my son, this product is a delicious miracle that can be thrown together from a boxed mix in about a half hour.



The next mix we tried was the pizza crust.  The instructions, just like for the others, were ridiculously simple to follow, making preparation a snap!

While I did follow the directions on the box, I ended up having enough dough to make one large pizza and one small personal pizza rather than two equal sized pizzas.  We topped our pizza with all our favorite toppings and were salivating by the time it was ready to come out of the oven.

I like to shape the pizza crust with my hands versus a rolling pin.  It’s just the way I make my pizzas…old school.  To that end, the texture wasn’t picture perfect like maybe Domino’s, but that may very well have more to do with my methods than the mix itself.  Either way, when we sat down to dinner, everyone inhaled the pizza.  We especially loved the rich taste of olive oil in the crust.

This mix is perfect for those busy week nights when everyone in our family is going different directions.  This mix will most likely become a staple in our house.



I was pretty excited about this muffin mix as we bake and eat a lot of muffins at our house (plus they freeze really well).

While if I had my choice in what kind of muffin to make, I probably would have opted for a concoction of SunButter and banana, or cinnamon blueberry, or strawberry, or…well you get the idea.  However, I let my kiddos pick what kind of muffin they wanted to make and they were desperate for vanilla cinnamon sugar, so that is what we made.  Apparently they were that good, because I forgot to take a picture the first day and when I remembered to do so the remaining muffins were M.I.A.   Maybe that’s more of a testament to their deliciousness than any picture could truly deliver.

We all liked this baking mix and would most definitely use this gain…only this time maybe I will sneak in some fun flavor combinations to spice things up a little bit.



Most weeks my family does breakfast for dinner at least once.  It’s comfort food at it’s best and usually fairly healthy.  One of our favorite meals is pancakes and eggs.  My husband, son, and I all like pancakes in general but my daughter isn’t really a fan of pancakes or waffles.

The boxed mix, like the others, only calls for two additional ingredients plus whatever flavors (if any) you choose to add.

We like to change it up and try different kinds of flavor combinations in our pancakes.  Some of our favorites are:  chocolate chip, cinnamon sugar, banana and chocolate chip, and blueberry.  In order to properly review the taste of the pancake mix, we chose to add our flavor as toppings instead of mixing it in.

I served up pancakes with a strawberries and strawberry sauce topped with a little whipped cream.  Both kids’ eyes lit up and they were eager to dig in.

I tried a plain pancake before adding the strawberries, and I loved it.  Most gluten-free pancakes I’ve made don’t quite have that buttery taste a real pancake has and because of that, I don’t eat pancakes very often.  But this Enjoy Life pancake mix was fabulous and something we will no doubt be making over and over in our house.

Still not convinced?  My non-pancake-loving daughter who normally turns her nose up at even the mention of pancakes ate ALL of the pancakes on her plate and gushed about how they were the best she’d ever had!



This was the last mix I tried.  We were expecting company and I needed to prepare a snack, so I used the all-purpose mix in place of regular flour for my chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I did make the bar cookies (in a 9×9 inch pan) rather than individual round cookies.

Again, I was very pleased with the final product.  The cookies tasted very similar to my usual recipe except for maybe a hint of earthiness which probably lends itself to the quality ingredients and shot of protein.  My son loved them!


In case you missed it above, these five Enjoy Life Foods baking mixes boast all of the following:

  • Free from the top 8 allergens
  • Probiotics to promote immune health
  • Certified gluten-free and kosher
  • Contain 5 grams of plant-based protein per serving
  • Verified non-gmo

What other products do you know that do all of that and are pretty tasty to boot?!

Enjoy Life products (there are many more than I can review in one post) have drastically improved the way my family and I live with food allergies every day.  I am so grateful to these folks for their dedication in making healthy, delicious, allergy-friendly foods for people with food allergies and various dietary restrictions.  I literally cannot imagine my life without them.

Thank you, Enjoy Life, for all you do!  Your work is such a blessing to my family!

Back To School Series Part 2: Food In The Classroom

Close-up of fruit salad

Image via Wikipedia

My son had multiple food allergies throughout elementary school and still does now that he is starting middle school.  If you have a child in elementary, you know that much of school still revolves around food.  There are birthday parties, holiday parties, food-based science projects, food-based class activities, and the list goes on.

For a child with food allergies, it can be even harder to participate in these food-related activities…and it’s not just because of the food allergy consequences.  Unfortunately, so many other things can come with this.  Some children feel panicked and shameful if too much fuss is made of their food allergies which could bring unwanted attention from other classmates.  Some children may feel just the opposite, frustrated and angry that no one ever considers their special needs.  So, how, as parents, do we mediate?

Here are a few suggestions that have helped us throughout the years:

1.  Be sensitive for your child’s needs.  No one asks for food allergies.  No one really likes having food allergies.  Some children do not like the unwanted attention of being “the child with food allergies.”  Others are not bothered at all by this extra attention.  So, when planning for this school year…sit down as a family and discuss how you would like to handle food allergies in the classroom and then plan accordingly.

2.  Create an allergy-friendly snack box for school.  Buy a large tupperware container and fill it full of allergy-friendly, shelf life-friendly snacks for your child.  Be sure to include a wide variety of your child’s favorite snacks so it doesn’t become repetitive.  This way, anytime a classmate celebrates a birthday or a special snack is provided to the class that could contain an allergen, your child’s teacher will be able to provide the child with an allergy-appropriate snack.  Be sure to refill the snack container again in January when returning from winter break.

3.  Make the teacher your ally.  Talk with your child’s teacher at the beginning of the year.  Sign up to help prepare special food-based projects or activities.  This will allow you to purchase allergy-friendly versions of the food for the class.   (For example:  My son’s class made gingerbread houses for the holidays, so the teacher let me know and I brought all the necessary goodies for my son’s table.  They were able to use normal candies that I knew were allergy-free and I was able to do the same for the icing.)

4.  Volunteer to be homeroom mother.  Yes, this position does take time and effort, but it will be well-worth it in the long run.   Being homeroom mother allows you control over the food that is bought for class parties.  Even if the teacher requires certain types of food such as graham crackers and chocolate, you can buy allergy-friendly versions of this food.

Now it’s your turn.  What great ideas have worked for your child and food in the classroom?

Back to School with Food Allergies, Part I: The Forms You Need

Used white paper behind apple and above apple ...

Image via Wikipedia

During August, I will be doing a back to school post series to help you and your school-age children with food allergies prepare for going back to school.  Today, I want to focus on the dreaded forms.

The forms…there are a lot of them and they are a royal pain, but they SAVE lives.  Please take the time to find and fill out each of the below forms, have your doctor/allergist initial and sign them, and then provide to your child’s school the first day of school.

1.  Authorization and Permission for Administration of Medication Form:  This form allows the school to administer your child’s medications, so you will need to fill out a separate form for each medication your child will be keeping at school.  The form specifies what medications your child needs, what dosages, under what condition the drug is to be given, and any other special instructions.  To find this form, check on your local independent school district’s website and or contact the school nurse.  (NOTE:  This form most often must be completed by a parent/guardian AND a physician.  Please plan accordingly.)  Once the forms have been signed, keep the originals for yourself and make copies for the school nurse.

2.  Student Emergency Plan Form:  This form is much like that of a food allergy action plan, but I prefer to have them both in my arsenal of forms just to be on the safe side.  The form requires that you list what allergic symptoms your child could exhibit and the proper action to take for each.  To find this form, check on your local independent school district’s website and or contact the school nurse.  For this particular form, keep a copy for yourself and then deliver a copy to the school nurse and two copies to your child’s teacher (one is for their substitute binder).

3.  Student Emergency Plan for Food Allergies Form:  This form alerts the staff of your family’s contact information, physician information, daily allergy management plan, emergency action steps, medications that should be administered and when.  To find this form, check on your local independent school district’s website and or contact the school nurse.  (NOTE:  This form most often must be completed by a parent/guardian AND a physician.  Please plan accordingly.)  Once the forms have been signed, keep the original for yourself and make a copy for the school nurse and two copies for your child’s teacher (one is for their substitute binder).  *If your child has asthma, make sure you also fill out the Student Emergency Plan for Asthma form.

4.  Food Allergy Action Plan Form:  This is a fantastic form put together by the folks at Food Allergy Research and Education.  It is a two page document that warns of your child’s severe and mild allergy symptoms, medications and doses, monitoring procedure, and step-by-step picture instructions along with emergency contact information.  Be sure to print out a copy of this form for yourself today.  (NOTE:  This form most often must be completed by a parent/guardian AND a physician.  Please plan accordingly.)  Once the forms have been signed, keep the original for yourself and make a copy for the school nurse and two copies for your child’s teacher (one is for their substitute binder).

It is important to do these forms in advance so they can be completed with the most up to date and appropriate information and have all the proper signatures.  Do the forms now while you still have a few relaxing days of summer left and you will beat the rush when school starts up again!

Stay tuned for more back to school tips and, if you haven’t already, be sure to visit Sugarcrafter’s guest post on some great lunchbox meal ideas for your kiddos.

Walt Disney World Is Magical For Those With Dietary Restrictions

My family and I were blessed to vacation at Walt Disney World, Florida earlier this summer.  To say we had a blast is a ridiculous understatement.  We are still going through what we affectionately call vacation withdrawal at my house (the name makes it sound much cuter than it really is).

We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge while at Walt Disney World and had a magnificent experience.  To learn more about this amazing hotel, be sure to visit my post.

Our first full day in Florida, we visited Universal Orlando.  While I’m glad to have enjoyed the experience, the park’s commitment to customer service for those with dietary restrictions leaves quite a bit to be desired.  For more specific information about our visit, be sure to visit my post.

Before I review our dining experience, I want to note:  Every single Walt Disney World park map I picked up had the first aid station clearly labeled with a yellow Epi-Pen icon.   I am so excited about this and am so grateful to Disney for taking such a vested interest in their consumers!

While at Walt Disney World, we did a little bit of sight-seeing outside of the main parks.  One of our favorites was an evening stroll around Disney’s BoardWalk, a circular strip of real estate that boasts restaurants, live entertainment, music, and a stroll around the lake.  Evening is a perfect time to take it all in as the temperature is a bit cooler and the lights of the BoardWalk truly make it look enchanting.  We didn’t eat here during our visit, but rather took in the scenery by way of a surrey bike for four.  We did two laps in under half an hour and thoroughly enjoyed the ride (disclaimer:  there are two rather large bridge inclines on the route, so be sure everyone is pedaling).

We also enjoyed just riding the monorail around the park to take it all in!  One of our favorite stops to make is Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.  Aside from the fact that this hotel is more elegant and gorgeous than words can do it justice, it is where my husband and I stayed for a couple of nights on our honeymoon.  Of all the marvelous Disney hotels I’ve stayed at, the Grand Floridian was possibly the most grand (forgive the pun).  It was wonderful to be back, even though it’s a with a few extra pounds and a few more years!

We had also hoped to take our kiddos to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Luau (also something my husband and I did on our honeymoon), but found the menu options to be largely difficult for those with dietary restrictions and food allergies.  This broke my heart, because the Polynesian puts on an amazing show that the kids would have loved!  (Special Note:  A travel agent that specializes in Disney vacationing and food allergies (such as Pixie Lizzie) might be able to help you better navigate the luau if you want to give it a try.)

During our actual visit to Disney’s Magic Kingdom, the whole family (even with all our food allergies and dietary restrictions) ate like virtual kings and queens!  Here’s a breakdown of our favorites:

Be Our Guest (located within the Beast’s Castle):  This was truly an amazing place to visit, much less eat.

It felt like I walked into a page of one of my daughter’s Beauty and the Beast storybooks.  No really, I’m not exaggerating.

Guests are seated in one of three locations:  the forbidden West Wing, the Grand Ballroom, and the Castle Gallery.  (Special Note:  Dinner reservations are not required but highly advised.  We made our dinner reservations six months in advance.)  We were seated in the Grand Ballroom which featured breathtaking detail from the ornate chandeliers to the “snow” falling right outside the windows.  Our customer service was a wonderful experience.  Our waiter was advised of our food allergies and invited Chef Ryan Hart to our table to discuss our orders.  Chef Hart has first-hand knowledge of food allergies and our family felt very blessed to be eating under his supervision.  Not only were there safe menu options, there were delicious AND magnificent options.

We started with the most delicious, specially-made warm dinner rolls.

And aren’t the rose shaped napkins the perfect touch for dining at the Beast’s castle.  He is all about the magic rose, you know!

Then, my son and I each ordered this for dinner:

The steak and veggies were flavorful and delicious.   See, I told you we ate like kings and queens.  But…Oh.My.Goodness…the french fries were out of this world.  And this is coming from a girl who isn’t all that big on french fries to begin with.  The main entrée was simply fantastic!

But dessert was down right decadent.

I enjoyed every-single-bite of this decadent, gluten-free cream puff.  As if getting to eat such a beautifully made treat isn’t enough, I love the special touch of the “Be Our Guest” chocolate tile that sits on top of the puff.


Pinnocho Village Haus

A fast-food favorite for us inside the Magic Kingdom is Pinnochio Village Haus (right beside the It’s A Small World attraction).  I pulled aside a cast member inside the restaurant to let the know about our food allergies and she was kind enough to present me with this menu to review while she fetched the manager.

When the manager arrived a few minutes later, my son and I picked out the items we wanted for lunch.  The manager was extremely patient with us and walked us through if the item we selected was safe and then let us review each of the ingredients (found in a large white binder most Disney restaurants keep on hand).  Both my son and I decided on pizza, although each of ours was made differently and personally watched over by the manager.

My pizza was made on an Udi’s crust and was quite delicious as you can tell by the way I ate half before I remembered to take a picture.

Then I enjoyed this delicious brownie from OMG…It’s Gluten-Free.

You can find these brownies and chocolate chip cookies readily available throughout the parks and resorts.  They were sinfully delicious and quickly became a favorite of mine!

The food at this restaurant was tasty and safe and the scenery was amazing as if you can grab a table by the window on one side of the restaurant, you have a view of the inside of the It’s A Small World attraction.


Coral Reef Restaurant

We spent one day at Epcot and dined at the Coral Reef Restaurant on our dining plan.  The restaurant was quiet and fancy.  If you sit down at the front of the restaurant, your table sits next to a huge aquarium that is almost the size of the entire wall.  The aquarium is home to hundreds of fish and a ginormous sea turtle!  To be honest, I felt a little bad eating fish in front of the fish!

I will say this restaurant has a fancier fare with less of the “normal” foods you see at other establishments.  Here’s a view of the allergy friendly menu the waiter gave us to review while he alerted the chef.

Our waiter was wonderful and very careful to work with us on our orders.  Although the chef did come out to the table and was kind, I felt like the allergy menu information he gave us had been thoroughly rehearsed and not as personalized as it could have been.  Regardless, I was grateful to both men for their help in finding my son and I safe meals to enjoy.  My son and I both ordered the Seared Rainbow Trout, which was very tasty.

Although dinner was good, I can tell you that my son and I were blown away by the dessert.

This may very well have been one of my favorite sweet treats during our Disney vacation.  Decadent doesn’t even begin to cover it.  This dessert is a masterpiece all on it’s own.  Too bad they don’t mass produce these for purchase at grocery stores!


Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

For dinner in Epcot, we escaped the rain and dined at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.

This is definitely a restaurant you need to make dining reservations far in advance for as Disney Princesses come by your table to chat and take pictures during your meal.  The decor is charming and has quite a bit of the same designs and shapes you see in Disney’s Frozen (as the story takes place in Norway).  My daughter loved being able to meet the princesses and dine like a princess too.

Once you’ve ordered your drinks, guests are allowed to visit the appetizer bar.  Let me be perfectly clear, this is no ordinary appetizer bar.  The spread is full of fancy Norwegian meal favorites.  But I’ll be honest, as soon as I saw it, my heart sank.  Some dishes obviously had our allergens and the buffet style made it a resounding no for me and my son to participate in…until we met with the chef.

The female chef who visited our table listened intently to our allergies and guided us in ordering safe meals for me and my son.  In addition, she offered to bring us some safe items from the appetizer bar (but straight from the kitchen to ensure our safety.)  She asked if there was anything specific we wanted, but I told her we were delighted to be eating part of it at all and to surprise us.  Boy did she!

To be clear…this is just MY appetizer plate.  My son had his own that looked just like this!  The food was amazing…we especially loved the potato salad and cucumbers!

For dinner, I ordered Norwegian meatballs…a tradition for specific to that country.  It was a little unusual, but still very good.

My son ordered this pasta dish, which disappeared so fast, I’m thankful I snapped this picture quickly!

Overall, this was a treat.  The restaurant was beautiful and the princesses’ visits delightful, but what really made our dinner was our chef’s careful attention to detail of our dietary restrictions!


Toy Story Pizza Planet

When visiting Hollywood Studios, we ate lunch at Toy Story Pizza Planet.

We ate a little on the early side as we did for almost every meal as it helps your servers ensure you get their full attention.  I enjoyed a gluten-free pizza and my son also enjoyed a pizza, but each were made differently to ensure our safety for our separate dietary restrictions/allergens.

Because of the fast speed of counter-service, I’ll admit to being a little concerned about getting the meal right, but it was unnecessary.  The cashier was extremely knowledgeable and still had the manager come out and go over our orders with us.  They were thorough and we did not feel rushed.

The meal did take considerably longer to make, but I’m not complaining because I was grateful to have something safe for my son and I to eat.  Pizza really hit the spot!


50’s Prime Time Cafe

This place was so. much. fun!  In 50’s Prime Time Cafe everything is styled as it was in the 1950s from the decor to the food to the way your server interacts with you.  He/she might remind you not to put your elbows on the table, to eat all your vegetables, and wash your hands before dinner.  Our waiter, Eric, was hilarious and we had a really great time.  I think this was one of our kids’ (and my husband’s) favorite places to eat.

Both the waiters and chefs were very knowledgeable and kind and we had a great experience!

I ordered the chicken and dumplings which the chef was kind enough to make gluten-free.  It was absolutely delicious.  Any time I get to eat comfort food that is gluten-free and still delicious…feels like my birthday!  That’s exactly how this was!

My son ordered Aunt Annie’s meatloaf and enjoyed it!

Dessert was a special treat…allergy safe ice cream, brownie, chocolate sauce, whip cream, AND Mickey Mouse sprinkles.  Get outta town!  We felt so special…even the non-allergic family members at our table were drooling over our food!

I highly recommend this restaurant…for the food and the atmosphere!


Chef Mickey’s

Our only bad Disney experience was unfortunately on our last day at Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary for breakfast.  Breakfast is set up as buffet, but in the past a chef has been wonderful to bring us safe options straight from the kitchen.

After being seated, I asked to speak with a chef.  When the chef arrived he didn’t once crack a smile.  He seemed irritated to be speaking with me about food allergies at all.  He told me what I could get off the buffet.  When I explained my concerns about cross contamination he almost sighed out loud.  He begrudgingly took my requests and a staff member delivered them too us.  I’m sure the food was really better than what I remembered, but I was so put off by the experience, I don’t remember much good about it.  I even found a wayward tater tot on my breakfast plate (not something I asked for nor am I sure it was safe).  The entire experience was very disheartening.  With that said, we’ve had great and safe meals here in the past.  I feel that under a different chef’s direction, our meal could have been a different experience all together.


Walt Disney World is simply an amazing place for those living with food allergies and dietary restrictions.  It is my favorite place to vacation because I don’t have to pack any safe food or worry about my son feeling left out.  Disney just simply makes the vacation a more magical place than you can ever imagine!

From the bottom of The Food Allergy Mom’s heart, thank you…thank you…thank you, Walt Disney World!