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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Food Allergy Research Trends

With all of the advances in medicine, surely there must be something exciting in the field of food allergy research. I invited Dr. Scott Sicherer, a food allergy expert, for a Q and A on the topic.

Kosher with Food Allergies Interview Series
Interview #2  Food Allergy Research Trends, Dr. Scott Sicherer

What are some of the food allergy  research studies currently underway?
This is an exciting time for food allergy research because many ideas have gone from the laboratory into trials in people.  At the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai in New York, we have or are undertaking a number of studies, many in collaboration with other institutions across the US.  For example, the most actively studied approach is called oral immunotherapy, when the trigger food is given gradually over weeks and months under close medical supervision.  This approach has been evaluated for many different foods.  It seems that many people can experience at least an improvement in the amount of food that can be eaten before symptoms occur and some, a minority,  may even experience, after long periods of treatment,  a “cure” where they are able to eat the food without being on the treatment. However, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME because almost everyone has allergic reactions, sometimes severe, and we have a lot more to do to determine the safety and effectiveness of this approach.  Variations on this idea include using even smaller doses under the tongue or giving the therapy along with treatments that suppress allergic reactions.  Other approaches include “vaccines” made from the food but altered in a way to try to reduce the risk of allergic reactions from the treatment itself.  We also have been testing a specially formulated herbal treatment based on Traditional Chinese medicine, which showed promise in improving food allergy in mice.  Other treatments under study include using medications such as  Xolair (which is an asthma medication that is injected and inactivates a protein responsible for allergy). Additional approaches that people have been trying in studies include probiotics (a type of “good” bacteria) and parasite eggs (a type that does not cause illness in people) to try to improve immune responses-there are no clear positive results thus far from these studies.

How does a person participate in research and what is involved?
Each study has specific criteria (age, type of allergy, etc) that must be fulfilled.  Usually, there are various tests to be sure the person is healthy enough to participate, some type of test is included to determine how sensitive the person is to the food or foods.  Once qualified to participate, the treatment (or placebo) is given for a period of time before retesting sensitivity to the food.  In treatment trials, a placebo treatment is included to be sure comparisons are made in a meaningful way. People on false treatment (placebo) usually have some improvement just because of the “placebo effect” of expecting improvement.  Each study has specifics that are related to the exact nature of the study.  Research studies are regulated in a variety of ways to maximize safety for participants.  Being a participant can be empowering for the individual and certainly helps everyone with food allergy since this is the only way to evaluate treatments.  Of course, there could be a direct  benefit to the participant, but since all studies are testing something that is not already proven, you cannot assume there will be a benefit.   You should talk to your doctor about trials.You can look at and search under food allergy to check for local trials.  You can register for studies at  If you can travel to the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute in New York City, you can ask to be included in our research email list by emailing your request to        

How long do you think we have until there is a cure?
We are not at a loss for ideas and we have various possibilities being researched in the laboratory and in people.  The main issue regarding timing is doing the clinical trials because major studies can each take a few years to complete.  The biggest barriers to moving studies forward are finding participants and having funds to do the studies.  Being a participant is a commitment and it is getting harder to find people willing to donate their time, and this definitely slows progress.  We could be doing more to find alternative treatments, but funding is often insufficient.  The treatment that is probably closest to more widespread use is oral immunotherapy, but trials to better define the safety and efficacy so that the approach, if successful enough,  can be federally approved are still years away.  It is already clear that a majority do not get a cure at least after a few years of treatment and so alternatives must also be researched.  It is hard to predict when better therapies will be found, but having more funds and participants would speed the process.
Scott H. Sicherer, MD
Professor of Pediatrics
Mount Sinai School of MedicineJaffe Food Allergy Institute
New York, NY 212-241-5548
Scott H. Sicherer, MD is a professor of pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a researcher in the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai. He is Chief of the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology. He has published over 130 articles in scientific journals and has authored numerous book chapters in major pediatric and allergy textbooks. He has authored several books on food allergy including Understanding and Managing Your Child’s Food Allergies. Dr. Sicherer has been consistently recognized as a “Top Doctor” by Castle-Connolly/New York Magazine, and been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as being among the top 1% of pediatric allergists.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Post Fast/Slow Eating

You've just gone through the physical and emotional exhaustion of Tisha B' Av.
You're ready to feel rejuvenated. Many of us serve bagels as the quintessential break fast food. Why eat food that will weigh you down? Make this break fast meal different with a nutritiously savvy, revitalizing meal.

The foods you break a fast with are critical to replenishing your body. It’s important that these foods be easily digestible and not tax your body. Foods that are are heavy and hard to digest, such as meat, bread, fried foods and whole-fat dairy products are poor choices. Instead, opt for foods that are light, nutrient dense, and easily digestible. Raw fruits and vegetables are great choices. Fruits high in water content like, watermelon, grapes, and honeydew, are ideal. High water content vegetables such as lettuce and cucumbers are smart post fast vegetables. Low–Gas producing, nutrient dense vegetables like kale, avocado, sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, and greens are also great choices. Choose easily digestible proteins like eggs for this meal (*egg allergic-try string beans, peas, lentils, or sprouts) Try not to sprinkle salt on those eggs. Limiting salt after a fast, while you’re trying to rehydrate, is important.

Don't forget it's not just what you eat, but how you eat. Some people overeat at this post fast meal to compensate for the day's restrictions. Don't fall into this trap. Be kind to your body and eat slowly. Savor each bite and give those digestive enzymes a chance to do their job! Remember to replenish the fluids lost through fasting by drinking Convinced yet to ditch your usual high carb, high fat post fast meal yet? Even if you’re not, you can still incorporate some of the ideas from this post to make your meal reJEWvenating!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pre Fasting Tips

Tisha B'Av, the saddest day of the year,is coming up(begins Saturday Nt)
      What's Tisha B'Av ?  
This means that the last meal before the fast will be eaten late Shabbos afternoon (Shalosh Seudot).
How can we make that meal count so that we have the stamina for the fast?
Pre-fast tips:
1- check local time the fast begins (don't let this be a surprise, rushed "quicky" meal)
2- avoid caffeine and salt (or at least reduce)
3- avoid the temptation to overeat at this meal (indigestion will not make the fast easier)
4- hydrate- drink plenty of water and other non-caffeinated beverages (powerade, gatorade too)
5- make the meal carb heavy *gluten free carbs - sweet potato, alternative pastas,alternative breads/muffins
6- include fresh fruits and vegetables that are packed with water (ex cucumbers, watermelons)
Pre-Fast Meal Ideas:
rolls (whole wheat, or gluten free versions- see below)
pasta salad (sesame noodles, couscous salad, tabouleh, quinoa salads)
cut vegetables(lots of cucumbers) with dips (not too salty)
fruit salad
plenty of cold drinks (water, powerade, juices)
carb heavy dessert (nothing fried though)
UP Next.... Post Fast Suggestions

Sliced Challah Bread Gluten Free
Gluten Free Rolls


cold pasta salad recipes (can be customized for gluten free)

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Light Fish Recipe

15036 sicilian tilapia health dinner relish spry
My sons learned how to fish this summer. While they haven't brought home any fish yet, they did inspire dinner. If you're allergic to fish, sorry this post isn't for you (but hopefully you'll find quite a few that are on this site). Kosher fake crab meat products, while shellfish free, are not fish free (fish allergic-stay away from those too). My friend Cheryl, with a gourmet palate and deft culinary hands contributed this lovely recipe. Kudos to her daughter, Allison, for this one. This light, flavorful fish dish is a great catch!
Steamed Flounder with Couscous and Vegetables
1 cup couscous
1 red bell pepper (finely diced)
1 zucchini (finely diced)
1/2 t dried oregano
3 T olive oil
1 heaping T honey mustard 
4 flounder fillets(tilapia is fine too) (6-8 oz each)
1 T tarragon vinegar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t fresh ground pepper
1-In a 2-qt shallow, microwaveable-safe dish, combine couscous, red pepper, zucchini, oregano, 1T oil, 1/2 cup water. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, microwave on high until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Stir mixture.
2-Dividing evenly, spread 1T mustard over one side of fish, season w salt and pepper. Drizzle fish with a little bit of lemon juice. Roll up each fillet and place side by side in a row on top of couscous. Cover and microwave on high until fish is almost cooked through, about 4 minutes. Let stand (covered) for 5 minutes to finish cooking.
3-Make vinaigrette: whisk1t honey mustard with 1T vinegar and remaining 2T olive oil. Touch of salt and pepper.Drizzle fish and couscous with vinaigrette.

*Tips for Customizing this Recipe
1- substitute quinoa or brown rice for couscous (will require longer cooking time)
2- add other vegetables (broccoli, stringbeans etc..)
3- get creative with the seasonings 
4- garnish with lemon slices and fresh parsley

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Alternative Pastas

Plate of pasta with tomato sauce
The Pasta Post
So you think you can't eat pasta anymore because you're avoiding wheat. Well, think again....
We live in amazing times. You can have your pasta and eat it too. Alternative gluten free pastas can be made from: quinoa, brown rice, potato, lentil, and even corn. They come in a variety of shapes as well. The taste and textures of these noodles is not the same as the wheat versions but with the right sauce you'll get used to them. Follow the cooking directions on the box for the best outcome and top with your favorite sauce and vegetables. A flavorful marinara sauce with sauteed zucchini, fresh garlic,onion, basil and mushrooms can make a bland pasta sing. Avoiding milk, worried about a protein source for your pasta? No problem, choose a high protein pasta like quinoa or lentil. No need to add any additional protein. Alternative pastas aren't only found on the shelves.. they could be in the produce section too! Cook up a spaghetti squash and you'll be astonished by the pasta-like quality of the squash. Experiment and tell me about your favorite "un-pasta" in the comments section.

 Sam Mills Gluten Free Lasagne Corte Corn Pasta 16oz.                         Ancient Harvest Quinoa Gluten Free Elbow Pasta 8oz.                  Pastariso Brown Rice Penne Gluten Free Pasta 16oz.
Corn Lasagne                            Quinoa Elbows           Brown Rice Penne
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Monday, July 23, 2012

Gluten Free Falafel

Heaven Mills Gluten Free Pita Bread 12oz

Heaven Mills Gluten Free Pitas
Falafel are a great choice for people who can't tolerate dairy. This iconic Middle Eastern dish is typically made with wheat and then stuffed into wheat laden pitas. If you're not sensitive to wheat, go ahead and buy the packaged frozen falafel (like Amnon's).If you're gluten sensitive try the recipe for falafel balls below. Stuff the balls into warm gluten free pitas.  Gluten Free Pitas from Heaven Mills are "heavenly" with falafel. Fill with shredded salad, diced pickles, chumus (make sure it doesn't have pine nuts), and chopped tomatoes. Make it as spicy as you like. Just because you're avoiding allergens doesn't mean you have to  avoid flavor.
* If you're allergic to legumes (such as peanuts or peas) be aware that chickpeas (found in falafel and chumus) can have cross reactivity with other legumes. Don't avoid un-necessarily, ask your Dr.

Gluten Free Falafel Recipe from
Alison Kent's Canadian Living Vegetarian Collection

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Joy of Soy

Let's skip the dairy, but not the protein.
Soy is a dairy-free source of high quality protein.
It is extremely versatile and can be used as an alternative to dairy in many types of recipes.
Tofu (soybean curd) readily absorbs marinades and seasonings and comes in a range of textures (soft to extra firm).There a variety of soy-based products (like patties, "chicken" strips, and "beef style" crumbles) that have allergens such as wheat, dairy, and egg added. As always, check these products before using.

Soy Dinner Options:
1- Tacos (veggie crumbles w taco seasonings, shredded salad, salsa,)
2- Tofu Stir fry ( extra firm tofu cubes stir fried w favorite vegetables like onion, zucchini, red peppers, mushrooms)
3- Levana's borekas (eggfree)

 Spinach Borekas Recipe (dairy free, eggfree)
A gourmet recipe from Levana Kirschenbaum. Levana is a pro at using healthy ingredients and frequently provides 
gluten free options for her recipes. For more glorious, adaptable recipes from Levana go to  
Spinach Borekas (dairy free and eggfree)
1 medium onion, grated fine (use a food processor)
1 large potato, grated fine (use the food processor)
2 10 ounce boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed thoroughly dry
1 8 ounce container vegan cream cheese
Salt and pepper to taste (easy on the salt, the dough is salted)
Good pinch nutmeg
1 pound puff pastry sheets, kept chilled
Sesame seeds
Instructions:Preheat oven to 400 degrees.Mix all filling ingredients. Cut the puff pastry to desired size. Place some filling in the center and close on all sides, pressing all around the sides with a fork. Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake about 30 minutes, or a little longer, until golden brown and puffy.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012


Have you heard about Quinoa yet? It is quite an amazing food. It looks like a grain but actually grows like spinach. It is gluten free, very high in protein, and fiber, and is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Quinoa is a much better grain alternative than rice, corn or potato because of its superior nutritional value. It has even been touted as a "prevention" food for disorders like breast cancer and diabetes. It is a side dish and main course rolled into one. It is super versatile. It can be prepared like rice, hot cereal, or even as a "couscous" type salad. It's a great choice for the 9 days (and the other 356 days of the year). 
* There is evidence that quinoa gives some celiacs cross reactivity symptoms even though it isn't a grain. Read here
Quinoa Recipes
* check recipes for allergens, all recipes on these sites are not necessarily safe
(modify them to your needs)

 Orgran Toasted Multigrain Crispibread with Quinoa 4.4oz.         
                                                                  Quinoa crisp bread
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dairy Free Nine Days

The Nine Days are upon us once again. This historically sad period in Jewish History shouldn't be made worse by allergic emergencies. If you (or your child) suffers from milk allergies (or lactose intolerance), planning meals for the nine days can be a challenge. During this time period of collective Jewish mourning, we refrain from deriving the pleasure and enjoyment that comes from consuming meat. Dairy meals during this time are very popular substitutes.
Up next, delicious alternatives to dairy meals...

In the meantime, check out these phenomenal meal ideas from a creative food allergy mom

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Nut-free Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

Chocolate can be a problematic ingredient for the allergy-minded cook. Even when nuts aren't in the ingredients they are frequently on "may contain" warnings. What's a chocoholic to do...?
Here are three options for making delicious, allergen free chocolate dipped pretzels. 
This recipe can be customized to be nut free, dairy free, and even wheat free.

OPTION #1- purchase safe chocolate chips (like Enjoy Life- made in a nutfree factory). Melt the chips and dip the pretzels in.
Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
Enjoy Life Gluten Free Mini Chocolate Chips 10oz.

OPTION #2- take a container of dairy free, nutfree cake frosting and melt it over a low flame. Once the frosting is liquid, you can dip broken pretzel rods in (dip the broken end to cover its "broken-ness".
- experiment with different frostings, flavors, and colors
white frosting with a little bit of strong, hot coffee makes a mocha flavor
add coloring to white frosting (pink, lt blue etc...)
garnish w sprinkles or drizzle with melted chocolate frosting
Pillsbury Frosting (use a 'pareve' /non-dairy flavor)

* place the pretzels on waxed paper on a baking sheet. Once cooled, cover and freeze.
These need to be served frozen for the frosting to have a hard chocolate shell rather than a soft frosting one.

OPTION #3- Use gluten free pretzels instead of traditional wheat based pretzels.
Barkat Gluten Free Pretzels
Barkat Pretzel Sticks 2.65oz.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Allergen Sniffing Dogs

I've heard of seeing eye dogs, narcotic sniffing dogs, but allergen sniffing dogs?
Yup, watch this video and learn how a trained service dog helps one little girl manage her peanut allergy. 
My thoughts... I think this might be a nice adjunct to traditional approaches to food allergy management, not a substitute.I would hate to see people letting their guard down because they think their dog has given the place a "hechsher"(seal of approval).What do you think ? Want more info? Checkout the Angel Service Dogs Site!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Oral Allergy Syndrome

Recently, I blogged about kiwi allergies and it got me thinking about oral allergy syndrome vs. food allergies. The distinction between the 2 is an important one. 
True food allergies can be life threatening,  OAS  is not. I interviewed Dr. Robert Cohen to learn more about the topic.

Kosher with Food Allergies Interview Series
Interview #1 Oral Allergy Syndrome, Dr. Robert Cohen

What's the difference between OAS and a food allergy?
Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) is caused by tree and weed pollen, not an allergy to the fruit itself. When tree and weed pollen allergic individuals ingest produce from those corresponding pollen groups they exhibit OAS symptoms (itchiness of the mouth or throat). If these individuals were to be allergy tested for the fruit they reacted to their testing would rarely be positive for that food. 
What are the most common culprits for OAS? 
For those allergic to ragweed pollen, approximately 25-50% of them will have OAS symptoms upon ingestion of gourd foods including melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew) as well as raw eggplant, zucchini, and ripe  bananas. For those who are highly allergic to tree pollens, symptoms may occur when eating apples,  peaches,pears, and almonds.
What should a person do if they don't know if they have OAS or a true food allergy? Most individuals elect not to eat the offending fruits and vegetables due to the mouth and throat symptoms which occur. Although generally not dangerous and short-lived, the symptoms of OAS are very aggravating. It is important to know that symptoms generally do not occur if the foods are well cooked. The heating process makes the food less allergenic. 

Can Oral Allergy Syndrome be outgrown?
Yes, it is certainly possible

Dr. Cohen is Board Certified in both Pediatrics and Allergy and Clinical Immunology. He was the senior partner at Georgia Allergy & Asthma, formerly The Allergy and Asthma Center, L.L.C. which he founded in 1986. Dr. Cohen was also the founder of DataQuest Clinical Trials, and served as its Director of Clinical Operations. In addition,  Dr. Cohen served as the staff allergist for The Georgia Pediatric Pulmonary Associates, the largest pediatric pulmonary practice in the country. He was twice recognized by The Best Doctors in America: Southeast Region. Dr. Cohen now lives in Israel and practices medicine in Ramat Beit Shemesh. He brings to Israel his vast experience and the patient centered approach to which many in the Anglo community are accustomed.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thank-You to my readers who so generously offered use of their dryers after my last post.
You're the best! After the repairman diagnosed my dryer with 'serious problems', my service agreement provided a temporary dryer rental. As a token of gratitude, I offer you a sweet treat: home baked, gluten free, dairy free, nut free Chocolate Chip Cookies. OK, I can't actually bake them for all of you but this recipe is so easy you won't mind doing it yourselves! The mix is certified by MK (Montreal Bais Din) and pareve.These cookies are so good everyone will eat them and not even know the difference!Make a batch for Shabbos (better make two)!

Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free, dairy free, nut free)
Betty Crocker (gluten free) chocolate chip cookie mix (told you it was easy)
1 stick of margarine (non-dairy)
1 egg
 gluten free vanilla extract
(follow package directions for baking)

    Find out more about this product

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dryers and Food Allergies

What do dryers and food allergies have in common? No, this isn't a joke. Dryers breaking down in a household of 12 is not very funny(this just happened to us). Neither are food allergies. If you're dealing with food allergies, you know about adversity.
We don't ask for challenges but when they come our way we really can grow from them. Let's see, what's the silver lining in not having a functional dryer with mounds of laundry to do? Hubby has been shlepping the laundry to the laundromat, less laundry to deal with for me (more time to focus on our family and this blog). What's the silver lining in dealing with food allergies... developing discipline. Children who learn to live with food allergies eventually learn to be independent and disciplined about their eating.
This skill can transfer to other areas of their lives as well. Allergist, Dr. Paul Ehrlich mentions that kosher patients are prepared to manage food allergies by being familiar with restricted diets. View his article hereEnough about self-growth, anyone have a dryer I can use?

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kiwi Allergy

One of the best things about summertime is enjoying fresh fruit.The kiwi fruit's bright green color and tangy sweet taste make it a very appealing choice for fruit salads and platters. While not one of the big 8 (the most common allergens) kiwi allergies can be severe. I have 2 children who are severely allergic to kiwi. When one of my sons was 2 years old he had a small piece of kiwi and immediately reacted with vomiting and hives. It was a very severe and dramatic reaction. Needless to say, kiwi doesn't make it's way into our household. Just beware of that little fuzzy fruit. It may be more trouble than it's worth!

Kiwi Allergy Facts:
Kiwi allergy prevalence is steadily increasing in North America. It is one of the most common allergies in Europe. According to research, geography may play a role. They have found that where there's more birch, there's likely to be more kiwi allergy. Birch pollen, avocado, rye grain, banana, and hazelnut all cross-react with kiwi (these allergens share similar traits and can react the same way in the body.(source:

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Summer Allergies

 Many people with food allergies also suffer from airborne allergies such as pollen, and dust mites.
The spring allergy season is over (Thank G-d) but wait could there be summer allergies as well?
Unfortunately, yes! Two of my boys have been rubbing their eyes incessantly and have the accompanying runny nose (rhinitis). In the Spring, tree pollens are the offending agents. In the Summer, the culprits are usually grasses, and weeds (like ragweed). The long and short of it, airborne allergies(just like food allergies) can be a year round nuisance (especially true for dust mite allergy). So if you're suffering, it might be time to speak to your allergist. You can also try these tips: head to the beach (less allergens there),  clean your home air filters, and stay indoors when those pollen counts get ridiculously high.Wishing you a clear eyed, sniffle-free summer.


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Monday, July 9, 2012

Eggfree, Nutfree Birthday Ideas

Having food allergies often means that we can't buy our kids b-day cakes at regular bakeries (due to problematic ingredients and cross-contamination). This doesn't mean the b-day boy/girl can't have a special cake. Everything's possible with a little bit of creativity....

That special nephew of mine that I blogged about just turned 6. Happy Birthday Menschi!
My sister made him an awesome eggfree, nutfree birthday cake that tasted great and was super easy to make(see recipe below).It even looked amazing. My sister, an artist, made him a gorgeous cat-shaped cake(by request).We're not all artists, but we all have creativity we can tap into. Think out of the box. Feel free to use safe cake mixes as well. Remember to be careful about edible toppings, many have egg and nut ingredients. Instead, you can try non-edible toy decorations.Need inspiration for birthday cake designs? Try this site cake inspirations. Oreo cookie balls (dairy free, nutfree, eggfree) are a birthday party favorite too. 

Super Easy Eggfree Birthday Cake
1 Duncan Hines golden cake mix (always check box for may contain statements)
3/4 cup seltzer

Bake at 350 (follow baking directions on package)
(Just 2 ingredients? I was skeptical too, but it really works. The consistency is fine and so is the taste.

*Wheatfree birthday idea- make your own sundae party. Purchase or make a safe ice-cream for your child (there are lots of non-dairy options out there). Top with safe syrups and toppings.
Another option is making gluten free cake from scratch or from a gluten free cake mix.
                                                      Chocolate Frosted Cupcakes are just as good as our gluten free muffingluten free, dairy free, nutfree cupcakes

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Food Allergic Camper

Today's post is dedicated to a very special food allergic camper, my nephew, "Menschi"
(Menachem Shalom).Menschi is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs but he has had a few other challenges in his life that make the food allergies look like a picnic. At the ripe old age of 6, Menschi'  is a cancer survivor. To read more about Menschi's story go here or  here. Menschi is gearing up to go to a special Jewish camp for cancer warriors called Camp Simcha.  The camp is a magical place where kids with serious medical histories are treated with a healthy dose of simcha. Before he heads off for camp he needs to have follow up tests to make sure nothing ruins his magical time. Please daven for Menachem Shalom Ben Miriam. May he get a clean bill of health from his doctors and be off to camp with simcha!

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Gluten Free Cholent

Thought I'd get one more Shabbos recipe in there for you as we head into that special day.
Cholent typically is made with barley which has gluten. In addition, many wheat allergic people can't tolerate it.Other sources of gluten in cholent include: condiments used to flavor the stew like BBQ sauce and Teriyaki sauce. What's a Yid to do? Fear not fret not, you can still have that hot comfort food you love for Shabbos lunch. Instead of barley use a bag of brown rice (like success rice boil bags). Got lots of guests? Add another bag. Whatever you do, don't cook the bag in the cholent (just the rice). Substitute gluten free condiments for those sneaky allergenic ones. Some kosher, lip-smacking gluten free alternatives are San-J Teriyaki sauce and Smokin Joe's BBQ sauce.  Next, prepare the cholent as you normally would. Go ahead, make it for your family this Shabbos. They'll love it!
Have a Good Shabbos!
                           San-J Gluten Free Tariyaki Sauce 10oz.find out more about this product

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Eggless Challah

In keeping with the Shabbos theme of my previous post, I thought I'd post my recipe for eggless challah. This is traditionally a braided bread ( the most I can handle is 4 strands- but a shout out to readers with superior manual dexterity). Most challah recipes call for eggs in the bread and for a glaze (egg "wash"). I omit the eggs in the dough and leave the braided loaves unglazed. Try it, you'll never miss the eggs!
Eggless Challah (rich tasting water challah)
5 Tbsp dry active yeast (like Fleishman's- I use the Sam's Club industrial size ones not rapid rise)
2 cups sugar
5 cups very warm water
(mix all ingredients till foamy)
2 T vanilla extract
1 t of salt
1 1/2 cups canola oil
5 lbs bread flour ( I like Gold Medal Better for Bread in orange bag)

Knead in a large bowl till dough is consistent and smooth and not too sticky.
Shape into loaves
variations: omit vanilla and add 1T dried minced onion
sprinkle sesame and/or poppy seeds (if tolerated) for an "everything challah"
interesting article on sesame allergies from

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes
yield: about 5 medium loaves

                          Sandwich Rolls Gluten Free,Dairy free Casien Free Milk Free Wheat freeGluten Free Challah

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Shabbos Prep Simplified

Shabbos is coming! But it's only Wednesday you say. True, but do you really want to leave it all for the last minute? Whether you're cooking for two or a crew, a little organization goes a long way. If your current Shabbos prep. system is working for you, great, you can stop reading now!
If you'd like to hear how we keep the Erev Shabbos anxiety at bay at our house read on...

Typical Shabbos meals (even simple ones) consist of several courses. This adds up to a lot of prep.time.
Allergen free ingredient shopping and experimenting with new food allergy recipes can mean even more time.
I've found that making Shabbos gradually throughout the week makes it more mangeable. Here's the system that works for me:
  • Tip #1- Only save for Friday the things that can only be done on Friday
  • (Ex putting up the cholent, prepping fresh salads and fruit)
  • Tip#2- Make a menu list at the beginning of the week (scheduling guests in advance helps)
  • Tip#3- Break that menu down into a shopping list
  • Tip#4- Figure out what items on your menu can be made ahead and frozen Ex (kugels, shnitzel, challah, even baked goods.  hint(wrapping food tightly with foil goes a long way).
  • Tip#5-Shop for ingredients early in the week so you have them on hand when you have a few minutes to cook ahead ( I typically do a big grocery run Sunday morning and then a pre-shabbos run on Thurs.).
  • Tip#6-Think about your schedule for that week and when you have cooking slots available (keep in mind the prep time involved in different foods- you'll want to leave a larger time slot for challah and a shorter one for a quicky recipe like pareve ice-cream.
  • Tip #7- Cook and Freeze throughout the week gradually ticking all your menu boxes
  • Tip #8- Shop on Thursday for any items you still need for Shabbos (this is usually my flowers and salad trip)
  • Tip #9- Do as much Thursday as you can that to do list should be very short going into Friday(don't forget to defrost all of your well wrapped goodies).
  • Tip #10-Friday should be mostly spent on cleaning with all of the cooking out of the way. If the cleaning  can all be done before the kids get home from school that is ideal.(including setting the table).
Hope that's helpful. Sorry, have to go now and make my challah.

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Allergy "Free" 4th

It's the 4th of July, time for the all American BBQ. Typical BBQ sauces and salad dressings can have problematic ingredients (like wheat, soy, and eggs). Nuts are some times tossed into salads too so be careful. Foods get so much flavor from the grill so just say good bye to those allergen laden sauces. Instead, choose marinades. I've included a mouthwatering menu that's full of flavor, not allergens. 
4th of July BBQ Menu


  • 1.Spinach Strawberry Salad w Balsamic Poppy Seed Dressing
  • 2.Grilled Chicken Kebob (w zucchini and red peppers)
  • 3.Baked Potato
  • 4.No Mayo Slaw
  • 5.Watermelon Slices 

1. Spinach Strawberry Salad (bag of spinach leaves, 8 strawberries cut in slices, toss with Balsamic Poppy Seed Dressing). Balsamic Poppy Seed Dressing (1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1Tb. poppy seeds, 5T canola oil, 1/2cup balsamic vinegar, 1tsp dried minced onion, pinch of salt).

2. Grilled Chicken Kebob (marinade chicken chunks, zucchini, red pepper, and onion chunks in bottled gluten free Italian dressing (such as Pfeiffer's). Place on stainless steel skewers and grill.

3. Baked Potato- do I have to tell you how to do this, you really can't get this one wrong- bake it in the oven or wrap it in foil and throw it on the grill. Be patient (can take 45min to 1 hr) depending on temp.
4. No Mayo Slaw (bagged shredded cabbage tossed with homemade no mayo dressing) I like to add celery and craisins as well. No Mayo Dressing (1/4 cup distilled white vinegar, 2T canola oil, 3T sugar, pinch of salt and pepper) .
5. Watermelon- Watermelon tends to be less allergenic than other melons such as cantaloupe and honeydew. My son was allergic to cantaloupe and honeydew but tolerated watermelon beautifully.
 San-J Gluten Free Asian Barbeque Sauce 10oz.                             Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Hamburger Buns 12oz.                Hot Dog Buns Gluten Free
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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Overly Restrictive Diets

If you're dealing with food allergies chances are there are some foods that you must avoid to stay healthy. Sometimes in our quest to stay safe we avoid too many foods. This is especially the case for parents. We tend to want to protect our children. This is a good thing but too much of a good thing can be harmful. Dealing with restricted diets is challenging for adults. It's even harder for kids. I try to make my children's diets as expansive as possible for nutritional and socio-emotional reasons.   If you're avoiding a certain food because you're afraid of a reaction ask your physician if you can take a food challenge in his office. This way you can safely experiment with a new food. Be careful to follow your doctor's advice about what needs to be avoided but don't make that list longer than it needs to be. 
For an interesting study about the effects of overly restricted diets click on this link
Food Allergy Fears Drive Overly Restrictive Diets (in Science Daily based on a study from the Journal of Pediatrics)

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