Will We Be The Reason The Helpers Quit?

A week or so ago, my Facebook and Twitter feeds were filled with two major news stories:

Minutes later, the fallout began and it hasn’t yet stopped.

The blogsphere is buzzing and some people are drawing a line in the sand and telling you to choose a side.  More than a few went so far as to question the intelligence and loyalty to the food allergy cause of those that support any of the above companies.

That’s when I decided.

The nay-sayers may kick and scream to be heard, but no matter how loud they are- they certainly don’t speak for me.

There is no better feeling that sitting down in a quaint establishment filled with deliciously rich smells that tease the senses and knowing that I can safely eat gluten-free.  For me, P.F. Chang’s is one of those establishments.

I love that I can dine there and have a whole gluten-free menu to choose from.  And it’s not just an item or two that is gluten-free, it’s the works.  They offer gluten-free appetizers, entrees, and even desserts.  Do I think that they charge higher prices for gluten-free versions of menu items?  No.

To be honest, even if they did charge a tiny bit more it wouldn’t offend me.  I pay more everywhere I go for gluten-free food, why should a restaurant be any different?  I’m so grateful for P.F. Chang’s genuine efforts to create a gluten-free menu…to lovingly include those of us with gluten dietary restrictions so that we are able to eat out with friends and loved ones.  Thank you, P.F. Chang’s.

Let’s switch gears to the Enjoy Life Foods…

Before I continue (and in full disclosure), if you look to the right of my blog you will see an Enjoy Life Preferred Blogger badge.  It is a badge that I put on my blog months ago to show my appreciation for the company for all that they do to accommodate those individuals and families with food allergies.  I am not paid or compensated in any way for displaying my badge on my blog.

Enjoy Life Cookies

Now that we have that out of the way…let’s get one more thing out in the open.  I STILL support Enjoy Life Foods with my business and my trust.  I’m appreciative for all that they do.

As an individual who is gluten-free with a child who has multiple food allergies, I am forever grateful to Enjoy Life foods for creating so many delicious products that my son and I can safely share together and that are free of the top 8 allergens.  Many of their products are also highly portable which makes them a Godsend during trips and vacations.  (To read my uncompensated reviews of their products type in Enjoy Life in the Search box to the right.)  Thank you, Enjoy Life Foods.

I’m blessed to have met both Joel Warady and Katie Brunk of Enjoy Life Foods in person, and am so impressed by their dedication and commitment to their company and products.  Personally, I think that with the increased cash flow and reach that Mondelez provides, Enjoy Life will be able to both expand their existing product line and make it more accessible to the public.  In fact, just this weekend Enjoy Life tweeted they will be releasing a new baked goods line in the coming months.  I have no reason to believe the company’s commitment has changed.  And I know their heart for the food allergy community hasn’t.

You know that line in the sand I mentioned in the beginning of my post?  I just crossed it.  Well, let’s be honest…I backflipped over it.

Am I telling you to support P.F. Chang’s?  No.  But, yes, it is definitely my personal choice to do so.

Am I going to tell you that you have to support Enjoy Life Foods?  No.  It is absolutely my personal choice to support this company with my business, but it doesn’t have to be your’s.

The food allergy community is blessed to have access to a wide variety of allergy-friendly products online and in supermarkets near and far.  We are so blessed that we have individuals who work tirelessly day after day to give their best in medical research and product innovations that serve the food allergy community.

What I will tell you is that if we demand perfection (of which there is no such thing) from someone and they know they can’t provide it…they won’t even try.  This concept applies to medical research, dining establishments, and even allergy friendly products.  Imagine how differently our world would look if no one tried.

So to all the naysayers, I don’t want to be the reason people and companies quit trying to help us, the gluten-free and food allergy community.  Do you?

Nine New Friends You Just HAVE To Meet

Despite the icy roads and crazy cold Texas weather, I had an amazing time at Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest in Austin today!

GFFAF Austin

These were the lovely ladies I shared my blogging booth with!

The Food Allergy Mom and Erin SmithThis is me with Erin Smith.  If you are wondering about traveling gluten-free, THIS is your gal.  Follow her at Gluten-Free Globetrotter and Gluten-Free Fun!  She is a wonderfully kind and amazing lady!

The Food Allergy Mom and Lauren PechacekThis lovely lady is Lauren Pechacek, an AllerCoach.  Had such a great time visiting with this sweet lady who is passionate about helping those with food allergies!

I also had the pleasure of meeting a few wonderful ladies, I would love to introduce you to.

The Food Allergy Mom and Debbie AdlerLove, love, love this lady, THE Debbie Adler of Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes and author of Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats:  Allergy-free and Vegan Recipes.

The Food Allergy Mom and Gina MeagherThis is my new friend, Gina Meagher, the author of There is Something About Gina.  She was kind enough to autograph a copy of her book for me today and I’m looking forward to reading it.

There were booths and booths and booths of fabulous gluten-free vendors.

Here are some new friends I made today.  I’ll be blogging about their products in the coming months.

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The Food Allergy Mom and Bona Dea

The Food Allergy Mom and GF Jules (1)

There were also a few old friends I really enjoyed visiting.

King Arthur Food Truck

The Food Allergy Mom and Enjoy Life's Katie Brunk

SUCH a wonderful time today and I can’t wait to go back tomorrow.  So blessed to be a part of this event!

Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest Austin – Happening Right Now!

I’m here at the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest Austin.  Where are you?

GFFAF Austin

Come out and see all the fantastic companies and resources that are here to help you!

Pillsbury Funfetti Gluten-Free Cookie Mix: A Product Review

It was Friday morning when I strolled down the aisles of my local H-E-B looking for a sweet treat to serve at my daughter’s play date.  Usually I try to make homemade goodies, but when I spotted a new product on the shelf, Pillsbury’s Funfetti Gluten-Free Sugar Cookie Mix, I thought it would be the perfect snack.  That AND it would be perfect opportunity to taste test and share the results with you!

This is what the box looks like.  Although I can’t remember the exact price, it was under $5 and quite a bit less than the competition.

IMG_1118

Making the cookies was a snap.  I only had to mix in butter and one egg with the prepared mix.  Then you drop the dough by rounded teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet (I used parchment paper on my cookie sheet).   *It is important to round the cookie dough as you put it on the cookie sheet, unless you don’t mind wonky looking cookies.

Below is what they look like fresh out of the oven.

The cookies don’t change much in appearance other than flattening out a bit.  The box advises to bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes but I baked mine for closer to 11 minutes (it can be a little tricky to tell when they are done since they don’t brown on the edges).  The box also advises for you to let the cookies cool for two minutes after coming out of the oven before removing them from the cookie sheet.  They aren’t kidding…wait at least two minutes or the cookies will fall apart.

The cookies taste sinfully buttery and sugary.  The funfetti didn’t add any real texture or flavor in my opinion…it’s more of an aesthetic than anything.  I loved that the mix was so easy to assemble and could be whipped up in around 30 minutes or less, but I wasn’t wowed by the taste.  The first cookie was good, but by the second cookie it was overwhelmingly sweet and left a strange after-taste in my mouth.

Although all the kids ate a cookie yesterday, when I asked if any one wanted another today for a snack, everyone politely passed.

Bottom Line:  This is not a product I will be buying again.  I much prefer Pillsbury’s refrigerated gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough.  All the same, I do appreciate Pillsbury’s efforts to cater to the gluten-free market and will continue to give their other gluten-free products a try.

To read more about my reviews on other Pillsbury products, find the search box on the right side of the page and type in Pillsbury.

Ticket Giveaway: Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest Austin

**GIVEAWAY UPDATE:  Congratulations to the GFFAF Austin ticket winners, Grace Matlock and Charla Turnbow!**

 

Living Without’s Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest is coming to Austin on February 28th and March 1st of 2015.  I’m going to be there and would love to meet you!  Keep reading for more information on how two lucky individuals can receive weekend tickets to the Fest courtesy of the folks at Living Without’s Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest.

Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest Austin

  • Where:  Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX
  • When:  Saturday, February 28th and Sunday, March 1, 2015 from 10am – 4pm
  • What:  Great opportunity to mingle with others who have food restrictions, be inspired by compelling guest speakers, and sample delicious products provided by exhibitors
  • Who:  For a full lecture description of the below mentioned presenters, read about it here

Saturday Lectures:

Erin Smith – Gluten-Free Globetrotter: How to Plan Your Gluten-Free Vacation
Debbie Adler: Finding Abundance in a Food Restricted Life
Dr. Samantha Brody – Gluten-Free 101
Laura Bryne Russell – Identifying Gluten in Common Asian Ingredients
Brandy Wendler – Mental Health & Your Gut

Saturday Demonstrations:

Bona Dea Baking Co. – Easy AM Hot Breakfast Options
Kristine Kidd – Whole Grain and Naturally Gluten-Free Baking
Beth Hillson/Jules Shepard/Erica Dermer – Open Forum Discussion/Live Webinar
Udi’s/Glutino – Learn Some Creative Cooking and Baking Ideas Using Glutino’s Pretzels!
Jules Shepard – Homemade Gluten-Free Flour Tortillas
Karen Morgan – Debunking the Myth of All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour

Sunday Lectures:

Erin Smith – Gluten-Free Globetrotter: How to Plan Your Gluten-Free Vacation
Debbie Adler – Finding Abundance in a Food Restricted Life
Dr. Samantha Brody – Gluten-Free 101
Brandy Wendler – Mental Health & Your Gut

Sunday Demonstrations:

Bona Dea Baking Co. – Easy AM Hot Breakfast Options
Kristine Kidd – Whole Grain and Naturally Gluten-Free Baking
Beth Hillson – Make Friends with Your Bread Machine
Udi’s/Glutino – Learn Some Creative Cooking and Baking Ideas Using Glutino’s Pretzels!
Jules Shepard – Homemade Gluten-Free Flour Tortillas
Karen Morgan – Debunking the Myth of All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour

Sounds fabulous, doesn’t it?  I’m already a little star struck at all the amazing authors and bloggers that will be part of this event.  I’m particularly excited about meeting Debbie Adler of the gluten-free bakery, Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes.  She is such a sweet and down-to-earth gal, not to mention a whiz at baking gluten-free.  I loved her cookbook, Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats, Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes.  Check out my review of her cookbook here.

I’m so honored to be invited to take part in the blogger’s booth, mainly because it means I get to meet all of you!  Two lucky individuals could receive one weekend ticket to Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest Austin.  To be eligible, simply  comment on this post with the name of your favorite gluten-free and/or allergy-friendly treat.  The giveaway ends on Friday, February 15, 2015.  Two names will be chosen at random to receive one weekend ticket to the 2015 Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest in Austin.  Individuals whose names are picked will be notified on or by Monday, February 16, 2015 by email.

Good luck and hope to see you there!

Eat Your Way Through The Super Bowl

Super Bowl Sunday is a mere few days away and people are getting down to business…planning the party menu.

The thing I love about the big game is that you don’t have to be a football fan to watch.  You can be there just for the commercials.  You can be there just for the half time performance.  You can be there just for the food.  It’s a win-win for everybody…except one of the contending football teams.

I’ll be honest.  I’m not a big fan of either team, but I am a fan of Russell Wilson and his outspoken faith, so I’m rooting for him to win.  Does that count?

Instead of a big party, it will be just the four of us on Sunday night carrying on the tradition of my husband’s family…finger foods galore for the duration of the game.

Here is what’s for dinner (and maybe dinner the next day or two after) at The Food Allergy Mom’s house:

Super Sunday Super Bowl Menu

  • Virgin Strawberry Daiquiris:  And without the alcohol, it’s really just frozen strawberries, water, and a non-alcoholic mixer thrown together in the blender.  It’s delicious and something the kiddies can enjoy too!
  • Grilled shrimp:  We buy them de-veined, peeled, and ready to go.  Before cooking we let them marinate in a concoction of cilantro, lime, lime juice, and oil for a couple of hours.
  • Wings:  You can find dozens of variations of crockpot recipes for wings and we have one all picked out!  All I can say is that we’re from the South so it will involve lots of BBQ sauce!
  • Chips and Guacamole:  One of my favorite brands of chips is On The Border tortilla chips and I pair it with homemade guacamole (mashed avocados, finely chopped tomato and onion, and salt and pepper to taste).
  • Veggie tray with cheese cubes:  Whether you buy the pre-made version or assemble your own veggie tray, it is the perfect healthy addition for your table.  If we do buy the pre-made version, I choose to make my own dips (my kids love it when I mix sour cream with salsa for a tangy dip).
  • Tortilla wraps:  We’ve made these in the past with everything from bologna and cream cheese to rotel and cream cheese.  To make them gluten-free friendly, I use gluten-free corn tortillas.
  • Chocolate-covered strawberries:  There are all kinds of ways to make these, but if you’re starting your menu planning today for Sunday and need chocolate fast, I simply melt my favorite brand of chocolate chips and dip the strawberries.  Works like a charm!
  • Cake balls:  This is a new one for us.  My daughter received a cookbook for Christmas and we are making these for the first time.  Keep your fingers crossed for us!

In order to effectively work off all that food, I’m pretty sure I’ll have to run triple the yards they run in the actual game.

How about you?  What are you cooking up at your house for Super Sunday?

$0 Co-Pay Offer For EpiPen® Is Back For A Limited Time

So very excited to share this amazing news from Mylan.  The $0 Co-Pay Offer is back and valid until December 31, 2015.  Can’t think of a better way to start the year than celebrating Mylan’s commitment to the individuals and families that count on EpiPen®.  Thank you, Mylan!

 Epi $0 Copay*Below release provided courtesy of Mylan*

******************************************************************************************

Mylan is excited to announce the continuation of the “$0 Co-Pay Offer” for EpiPen® (epinephrine) Auto-Injector through Dec. 31, 2015. As part of our ongoing commitment to access and to continue to support those managing potentially life-threatening (severe) allergies, we are pleased to share the following important information related to the offer.

  • The “$0 Co-Pay Offer” is valid for up to three EpiPen 2-Pak® cartons or EpiPen Jr 2-Pak® cartons per prescription, and it can be used as many times as needed through Dec. 31, 2015.
  • This co-pay offer is available to commercially insured patients. Certain restrictions apply.*
  • The offer, along with more information regarding terms and eligibility, is available for download at com.
  • Like life, severe allergic reactions are unpredictable, so people at increased risk for anaphylaxis need to be prepared.
    • Being prepared means having an anaphylaxis action plan that includes 1) avoiding known allergens, 2) recognizing the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, 3) having immediate access to two epinephrine auto-injectors, such as EpiPen Auto-Injector, and 4) seeking immediate emergency medical care should anaphylaxis occur.
  • According to the food allergy guidelines developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, immediate access to two epinephrine auto-injectors is critical.
    • The “$0 Co-Pay Offer encourages preparedness everywhere. Patients and caregivers may find it helpful to keep their EpiPen 2-Pak or EpiPen Jr 2-Pak in multiple locations such as home, at school or extracurricular activities. With the offer valid on up to three cartons per prescription, people can keep them where they need them and on them in between.

Thank you for your continued support to help increase anaphylaxis awareness and preparedness.

*This CO-PAY card can be redeemed only by patients or patient guardians who are 18 years of age or older who are a resident of the United States.  Not valid for cash paying patients and patients who are covered by any state or federally funded health care program, including but not limited to any state pharmaceutical assistance program, Medicare (Part D or otherwise), Medicaid, Medigap, VA or DOD, or TriCare; if the patient is Medicare eligible and enrolled in an employer-sponsored health plan or prescription benefit program for retirees; or if the patient’s insurance plan is paying the entire cost of this prescription.  This CO-PAY card is not health insurance.  The CO-PAY card is not transferable and the amount of the benefit cannot exceed the patient’s out-of-pocket expenses. Cannot be combined with any other rebate/coupon, free trial, or similar offer for the specified prescription. Program expires 12/31/2015. Program managed by McKesson Corporation on behalf of Mylan Specialty L.P. Product dispensed pursuant to program rules and federal and state laws. Void where prohibited. The parties reserve the right to amend or end this program at any time without notice. This is not an insurance card.

 

Indications

EpiPen® (epinephrine injection) 0.3 mg and EpiPen Jr® (epinephrine injection) 0.15 mg Auto-Injectors are for the emergency treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) caused by allergens, exercise, or unknown triggers; and for people who are at increased risk for these reactions. EpiPen and EpiPen Jr are intended for immediate administration as emergency supportive therapy only. Seek immediate emergency medical help right away.

 

Important Safety Information

EpiPen and EpiPen Jr Auto-Injectors contain a single dose of epinephrine, which you (or your caregiver or others who may be in a position to administer EpiPen or EpiPen Jr) inject into the middle of your outer thigh (upper leg) (through clothing, if necessary). Get emergency medical help right away. You may need further medical attention. Only a health care professional should give additional doses of epinephrine if you need more than two injections for a single anaphylactic episode. DO NOT INJECT INTO YOUR VEINS, BUTTOCKS, FINGERS, TOES, HANDS OR FEET. In case of accidental injection, please seek immediate medical treatment. Epinephrine should be used with caution if you have heart disease or are taking certain medicines that can cause heart-related (cardiac) symptoms.

Tell your doctor if you have certain medical conditions such as asthma, depression, thyroid disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, have any other medical conditions, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Be sure to also tell your doctor all the medicines you take, especially medicines for asthma. If you have certain medical conditions, or take certain medicines, your condition may get worse or you may have longer lasting side effects when you use EpiPen or EpiPen Jr.

The most common side effects may include increase in heart rate, stronger or irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea or vomiting, difficulty breathing, paleness, dizziness, weakness, shakiness, headache, apprehension, nervousness or anxiety. These side effects may go away if you rest. Tell your health care professional if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Please see the full Prescribing Information and Patient Information.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.

Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Finding Food Allergy Wisdom

This week at a post-Christmas family dinner, the conversation turned to football.  Not surprising with my family.  My son, husband, father, and even my sister love talking football.  I’m not an avid football fan in quite the same way they are (except for when it comes to my Fightin’ Texas Aggies).  I get more enjoyment out of the underlying stories of the coaches and players.  I’m a total sucker for the heartwarming segments on ESPN and SEC Nation about players overcoming the odds and giving back.

Stay with me here.  I’m going to talk about football for a minute, but it relates in a much bigger way to our food allergy journey.

Our dinner conversation soon focused on a recent (2014) hire for my Texas Aggie football team, Mikado Hinson.  Hinson’s title is Director of Player Development but it’s not what you think.  He’s not just another football coach in a growing college football dynasty.  Believe it or not, he doesn’t even groom players for the game.  His only job is to listen to players navigating emotional and mental challenges of their collegiate experience.  Hinson listens but also reserves the right to provide guidance if the situation calls for such action.

Guiding athletes through the storms of life is nothing new for Hinson.  During the last 14 years, he’s served as the Team Chaplain and Character Development Coach for the University of Houston Cougar football program.  Hinson also served the Houston Rockets as Team Chaplain from 2000-2008.  To learn more, check out this TexAgs interview with Hinson.

So how does what Hinson does at Texas A&M apply to you, much less food allergies?

Look past the man and focus on the concept: listening and reserving the right to provide guidance IF the situation calls for such action.  Do you have someone that listens to you and will guide and gently redirect if needed?

Consider these scenarios:

  • You eat at a friend or family member’s who thinks they have made a safe meal, when in fact it is a food allergy minefield.  Do you:  Resolve never to eat there again?  Become angry and lash out?  Bring out the safe food you carry with you and kindly educate?  Invite them to your house next time?  Consider that your child is watching and learning from your reaction to the situation and will mimic it when faced with a similar situation on their own?
  • You are speaking to a friend about the way another family tried to accommodate your child during a recent play date.  You are angry at their inept handling of the situation.  Your friend listens and sympathizes because having been such a well-educated non-food allergy friend, she understands.  Then she gently asks:  What will you do?  Will you stay angry?  Will you forbid playdates with that friend?  Will you educate?  Will you invite the friend to your house next time?  Will you consider the safety AND feelings of your child as you handle this situation?
  • You are blogging and a frustrated reader pens an angry email about one of your heartfelt posts.  Do you stop to consider that:  Everyone has a bad day now and then?  The person behind the email is hurting?  The author is at a different point in their food allergy journey than you are?  There is no making everyone happy all the time?  Sometimes there is more than one approach to solving a problem?

Go through each of these three scenarios and write down your initial gut reaction.  Is it what you thought it would be?  Is it what you want it to be?  What were you listening to when you chose your response?  Your heart?  Your head?  Your emotions?

Would your reactions have changed if you discussed it with an objective confidant first?

I think we all need someone like Mikado Hinson in our lives:  Someone who will listen without reserving judgement.  Someone who won’t simply tell us what we want to hear without objectively thinking it through.  Someone who isn’t afraid to tell us we might need to think a little longer and harder about the situation at hand.  Someone who is trustworthy and wants us to succeed in life.

Find that person in your life and remember to utilize them as a sounding board when the challenges of the food allergy life strike.

“No man has all the wisdom in the world; everyone has some.”  -Edgar Watson Howe

Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes Give Away

Looking for some new holiday recipes?  Have you heard of Debbie Adler from Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats?  She has a cookbook, Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes, that focuses on gluten, egg, dairy, soy, sugar, and nut-free baked goods.

Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats Cookbook

Sounds pretty amazing, right?  Find out why it is by reading my full review of her cookbook here.

But…wait!  It gets BETTER!

Debbie will be giving away one copy of Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes to two randomly selected readers who subscribe to my blog via email.  You have until December 10, 2014 to subscribe.  Two lucky readers (existing email subscribers are automatically eligible) will be announced on Thursday, December 11th and will be eligible to receive a free copy of Debbie’s cookbook.

Debbie’s Dark Chocolate Drizzle Cranberry Macaroon recipe is my favorite.  Wonder if I have time to make a batch today?  Yes…I think I do!

*UPDATE: I emailed two email subscribers of my blog (that were randomly selected) to receive Debbie Adler’s cookbook. Thank you so much for following my blog!

 

20 Days of Food Allergy Thanks

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 20 things that I am giving food allergy thanks for:

2014 Houston FARE Walk (1)

1.  My son:  At the ripe old age of ten, he continues to show me day in and day out that food allergies can only define you if you let it.  You are amazing, son, and I am so proud of your sweet spirit 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 value of listening to a parent who knows their child better than any other!

3.  Food Allergy Research Education (FARE):  This organization (formerly FAAN) has been a invaluable source of education and support from a time before online support groups existed.

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.

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 and the people who work there are simply amazing!

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.

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!

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.  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!

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!

12.  Cookbooks:  Baking allergy friendly is not for the faint of heart.  It can be brutal when you are messing with the chemistry involved in making a single batch of muffins or cookies.  One of my favorite cookbook authors is The Gluten Free Table by The Lagasse Girls.  These ladies have a new cookbook out called The Lagasse Girls’ Big Flavor, Bold Taste–and No Gluten.

13.  Red Robin:  The whole family can eat safely at Red Robin and it is hands down our favorite restaurant to dine at as a family!  They have a great allergy listing for their menu and their burgers are just THE best!

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.  Udi’s:  This is one of the only gluten-free breads that my son and I can share with both of our dietary restrictions.  But don’t let that be deceiving…their bread is simply fabulous and so reminiscent of the gluten-filled breads I remember.

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.  Ancient Grains Quinoa:  This is the main pasta I use for most of my dishes.  It has a great taste and texture that resembles that of regular pasta…and…it doesn’t dissolve into cream during the cooking process.  There are always several boxes of this pasta on hand in our pantry.

20.  God:  Praise my Heavenly Father from whom all blessings flow!  Thank you for walking every step of this journey with my precious family.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Wishing you much joy and many blessings,

Kimberly