Hurting Hearts in Texas: How You Can Help

I am writing you this post tonight from my home which is really a miracle in itself.  You see, Houston is home.

 

At this very moment, our homes (many not in flood zones) are filling with water and washing away a lifetime of memories and belongings that are held dear.

Our highways are so completely covered in rising water that neighborhoods like mine are surrounded with water with no real reprieve.

We sit anxiously by our phones to listen for life-saving flood and tornado warning alerts unable to rest.

We are straining our eyes into the inky blanket of night looking and listening for the rush of water that shouldn’t ever come, but because of the perfect storm just might.

Our grocery stores and pharmacies are closed because they are inundated with flood waters and we wonder how we will be able to get the necessities if we can’t get out and no one can get in.

Many of us are without power, and some for the foreseeable future.

Even though the rain is softer now, it is still falling and trees that have rain-soaked roots are giving way and toppling over- some narrowly missing our houses, some not.

We are carefully measuring out the food we have to make it last until more comes.

Our churches and schools and airports have closed.

We are hugging our people and telling them everything is going to be alright, when we don’t really know how alright it’s actually going to be.

BUT…

Houston is so much more than home to me.  Houston is HOPE! Continue reading

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ZEGO Snacks Product Review & Giveaway

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel like it is a challenge to find safe and portable snacks (that are also delicious) that make eating on the go possible during the fast pace of the school year.

Colleen from ZEGO Snacks contacted me to see if I’d be willing to taste test a revised recipe of several of their snack and fruit bars.  I was delighted to do so.

photo courtesy of ZEGO

Before I go into my review of ZEGO’s products, let me give you some background on the company.  Colleen and her family were dealing with Celiac Disease, intolerances, and multiple food allergies and had great difficulty finding a “nutrient-dense convenience food” that could accommodate all of their needs.  So, like so many other amazing mom’s I’ve had the pleasure of championing on my blog, Colleen took matters into her own hands and she and the folks at ZEGO decided to create their own line of safe snacks.  Continue reading

Debbie Adler’s Sweet, Savory & Free: A Cookbook Review

Friends!  I cannot wait to introduce you to a sweet friend of mine, Debbie Adler!  She is a wonderful advocate for those seeking to live a healthy and allergy-friendly lifestyle and a chef extraordinaire to boot.

This is Debbie and I at an Austin Gluten-Free Fest a couple of years ago.

One of the things that makes Debbie so charming is that she is simply a down-to-earth mom of a child with food allergies.  She saw a need and she decided to meet it head on.  I think so many parents of children with food allergies can relate to that statement, but Debbie took it to a whole new level.  The difference for me is that I don’t have Debbie’s mad cooking and baking skills, so I am doubly thankful she authored Sweet, Savory & Free and Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes.

If you are new to my blog, be sure to check out my previous review of Debbie’s cookbook, Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes.  This cookbook is a treasure for those with a sweet tooth that still want to keep things healthy and allergy-friendly.  And if you are close to the Los Angeles area, you can visit Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes in person.

But for today, I am reviewing Debbie’s latest cookbook, Sweet, Savory & Free.  The book includes dozens of delicious plant-based recipes that are free of wheat/gluten, eggs, dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, added sugars, and oil.  Her recipes include breakfast dishes, soups, muffin tin meals, main dishes, breads, and even a few sweets.

used with permission from Debbie Adler

Her new cookbook was born of a desire to share healthy, plant-based recipes after doing some in-depth research about what goes into the food we eat and the effect it has on our quality of life.  By simply reading the introduction to the book, the reader can feel her passion for this healthy lifestyle bleed through every word on the page. Continue reading

Making Valentine’s Safe and How Oriental Trading Can Help

Valentine’s Day is two weeks away and homeroom moms everywhere are gearing up to plan friendship parties.  For many parents of children with food allergies, this can cause high levels of anxiety.

I’ll be honest, my son has outgrown the age where they celebrate Valentine’s at school, but I have a few tried and true tips that might help you if your child will be celebrating at school:

  • Volunteer to be homeroom mom for the party.  If that job is already taken, volunteer to be a helper and offer to purchase all the food so you can choose safe options for your child’s classroom.
  • Volunteer for party set up so you can see how food is distributed and avoid harmful cross contamination of party treats.
  • Make your child similar foods.  If I spoke with the teacher ahead of time and deemed the food at the party to be unsafe, I simply made a like item at home and brought it to my son on a clean Valentine paper plate from home.  Most kids were never the wiser and my son didn’t have to make his food allergies the center of attention and could just enjoy the party.
  • Go through your child’s Valentine’s bags or mailboxes before he/she opens them up.  In my experience, most teachers have an “open your Valentine’s at home” policy that will allow you to do so.
  • Create a trade-in program for your child.  I let my son trade in potentially unsafe treats to me and I would give him some safe candy or holiday trinkets that I bought for him.

That last bullet point used to be difficult for us…there are only so many pencils and stickers a child can get before they become tiresome.  Luckily, we have more options today when it comes to non-food holiday treats.  In my opinion, Oriental Trading Company makes finding such items a cinch…and all from the comfort of your home computer while you shop in your pajamas!  And, of course, be sure to visit their coupon page to look for some awesome deals!

*Disclaimer:  Oriental Trading did not pay me to write this post and the opinions expressed within are my own.  They did, however, send me some free Valentine’s Day promotional items to test out myself.  My family and I plan to donate these items to a local Houston hospital for children with health and dietary restrictions.  My thanks to Oriental Trading for this opportunity to brighten the lives of others!*

Here are just a few of the adorable Oriental Trading goodies I am blessed to review:

Continue reading