Saturday, December 25, 2010

Blessings and a Break

It has been a true honor to share these last few months with you. Writing for you has given me back a voice that I didn't realize was lost going through each day as my angel's mom.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and encouragement.  I hope that you take time to reflect upon the blessings that you have been given during this past year .  I pray that you will find Joy this holiday season and blessings throughout the next year.

As 2010 comes to an end, I will be taking off some time to celebrate this special season with my family.  I will be back at the beginning of the year so, keep your eyes open for new posts.  I can't wait to share with you the fun that we had over the holiday and the new things that we discovered. 

May God bless you with Peace as you head into the new year.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Fruit Tray

Fruit Trays are a great filler at any holiday gathering.  They are a healthy, adaptable, make-ahead addition to any table.  This Christmas, I am making a fruit tray for our buffet and I thought that you might like to see how it turned out.

Start with a large tray or plate (actually, in this pic I used a box with 4" sides then lined it with parchment paper).  Cut your fruit into easy-to-manage pieces.  For example, cut the grapes into small groups of 4-5 grapes still on the stems and cut the melons into small wedges (about 2-3 bites worth), keeping the skins on for an attractive appearance.  Then group the fruits on the tray so that they are easily picked up.  Try to vary the colors so that two fruits of the similar colors are not placed near each other.  Also, try not to offer too many kinds of fruit on the same fruit tray.  If there are too many kinds of fruits, the tray looks jumbled to the eye.  Three to four types of fruit are enough.  If you want to offer other fruits, it is better to start another platter.  Then, refrigerate the prepared trays until the event.  These trays can be made ahead 1-2 days.  Remember to cut  bananas and other fruits at the last minute since they turn brown.  Bon appetit!

Aebelskiver Cookware

Aebleskivers (or Ebelskivers) are small spherical donuts similar to what we might "donut holes" in the United States.  Aebleskivers have been eaten by the dutch for generations.  Traditionally the donuts might be dipped in a jam or sprinkled with sugar, although today many are commonly stuffed with apple pieces.  Throughout the world,people make donuts similar to the aeblskiver.  Some cultures form them as the Danish do while others deep fry them like in the United States.  One thing is certain, whatever form you use to cook them, they are fun to eat.
While many traditional donut recipes deep fry well, our allergy-friendly version does not.  To make many of the donut or Aebleskiver recipes we offer on our website, you will need an Aebleskiver pan.  There are a number of vendors so I thought that I would give you a review of two with which I am familiar:

Aebleskiver Pan by SCI/Scandicrafts, Inc., sold at
Put plain and simple, I like the price of this pan.  For someone who wants to try making Aebleskivers, this is a great starter pan.  Having said that, I have two concerns that I must mention.  1- This pan is made of cast iron.  Although cast iron cooks and heats wonderfully, when using it with rice flour, the donut has a tendency to stick.  By using more oil, properly seasoning and caring for the pan, this problem can be minimized.  2- Cast Iron pans often come from the factory pre-sesoned using a soy, corn or vegetable oil.  Without contacting the company directly to find out this information, I can not recommend this product with good conscience.  Having said this, if these oils are not a problem for you, it would be worth trying this product. has an exceptional return policy.  If you find that the pan is sticking and not working well with the rice flour batter, you can always return it.

Ebelskiver Pan by Nordicware, sold at
This is the pan that I use at home.  The non-stick coating ensures a smooth texture so I do not have to worry about the rice flour batter sticking. However, the price of this pan is a draw-back for those who have not bought into the world of Ebelskiver making.  For this reason, I don't recommend this pan for everyone.

Regardless of which pan you choose, the creative cook will find their Aebleskiver pan regularly on the stovetop.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cranberry Filled Ebelskivers

We have come up with a recipe for a fun little donut that is both delicious and allergy-friendly.  Traditionally, this Danish donut was cooked at Christmas time.  This version, filled with cranberies, is a wonderful way to usher in the holiday season.

Cranberry-Filled  Ebelskivers

1/2 C rice flour
1/2 C cooked rice
1/4 C brown sugar
1T rice oil
Ebelskiver pan

  1. In a blender, place the first 6 ingredients.  Blend until smooth.
  2. Heat your Ebelskiver pan on medium heat until pan is hot. 
  3. Place a 1/4 t oil in the bottom of each hole in the Ebelskiver pan then fill each hole with batter. 
  4. Drop 1/4 t Dressed-up Cranberry Sauce in the center of each donut and then top donut with just enough batter to cover the filling.
  5. Watch the heat on the pan at this point so that the donuts do not cook too fast (they'll be raw) or too slow (they won't be crispy).
  6. When the dough is brown on the edges and looks dryer on the top, use a small silicone spatula and a wooden chopstick or long toothpick to turn the donuts over.
  7. Add more oil if needed to make this side crispy then cook until brown.
  8. Remove from heat.
  9. Just before eating, sprinkly Ebelskivers with Homemade Powdered Sugar
NOTE:  Ebelskivers taste best when eaten immediately.  But, if the Ebelskivers are needed at a later time, you may re-heat them in a 400 degree oven until they re-crisp and sprinkle with the Homemade Powdered Sugar at that time.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Homemade Powdered Sugar

While living overseas, I had a difficult time finding powdered sugar.  So, one day, a dear friend and I decided that we could make it ourselves, and so we did!  This little adventure cost us one coffee grinder which we burned up in the process....lesson learned there.  But, I am now truly greatful for that lesson because I make my own powdered sugar to use on my angel's goodies.  Here is how we did it:

Homemade Powdered Sugar

1 C white sugar
1 new coffee grinder  or Magic Bullet with the flat blade (see NOTE)

  1. Place sugar in the grinder.
  2. Turn sugar on and run for about 20 seconds then stop.
  3. Start again and run for about 20 seconds.
  4. Continue this until you have completely ground the sugar into a powdered form.
  5. IMPORTANT:  If you start to smell smoke from the grinder, turn off and let engine rest before beginning again!

NOTE 1: A coffee grinder that has been used for spices or coffee will flavor the sugar which may not be bad if that is what you want!

NOTE 2: Special thanks and sincere apologies to V for the use of the first grinder and to IK for the fun that we had!  God bless you, V.   I, those times are dearly missed.

Roast Pork with Pear and Cranberry Pan Sauce

I found the recipe in one of those coupon inserts that come in the mail.  I didn't think much of it at the time that I removed it but now, I wish I had remembered where it came from.  This recipe is fabulous and very allergy-friendly.  The "Pan Sauce" looks like gravy and, although I wasn't crazy for it alone, it really popped when you ate it with the pork.

Roast Pork with Pear and Cranberry Pan Sauce

2 lbs. pork loin or pork tenderloin
2 T orange zest, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T thyme, minced
1 T kosher salt
3 pears, quartered
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 c dried cranberries
1/4 cup chicken broth
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine zest, garlic, thyme, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. Remove pork loin from packaging and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. rub the salt mixture all over the pork loin until well coated.
  5. Place the loin into a roasting pan with pears and onions and roast until internal temperature is between 150- 160 degrees. (approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour).
  6. Remove pork loin from pan.  Let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing.
  7. Put the pan drippings and the vegetables into a blender.  Blend on high until smooth.  Add chicken broth to achieve desired consistency. (I tried to substitute water and it really lacked something in taste.  It definitely needs broth or pan drippings.)
  8. Stir in the dried cranberries and spoon sauce over medallion slices of pork.  Serve.

Monday, December 20, 2010

KFA's Confusion to Confidence

It seems like I have recently had more people than usual contact me about their child's newly diagnosed food allergies.  I am always sorry that they must deal with this but glad that they are helping their little angels feel better.  Food allergies are not the end of the world but they do shake the world as you know it.

Kids with Food Allergies (KFA) released a new version of From confusion to Confidence: KDA's starter guide to parenting a child with a food allergy.  Whether you are a veteran parent of a child with a food allergy or a parent just beginning to deal with this change in your life, I think that you will find this guide helpful. 

With the holidays here and the challenges that food allergies place upon us at this time of the year, take time to review this guide of the basics.  Encourage friends to take a look and make themselves more aware of what it means to be around a child with food allergies.  This guide is easy to read, and easy to index.  It anwers questions like, "What happens when your angel has a reaction?",  "Where did these allergies come from?",  and "What do you feed your angel?".  It is a great starting point for anyone with questions about food allergies.

Have a great holiday and try to be allergy-free!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Day Meal Plan

Each year, on christmas Day, we prepare our food buffet style.  I sit out everything that we need to enjoy the day. With schedules all amuk from the holiday excitement, I decided years ago that a Christmas Day buffet at home was the way to go.  I prepare the food the day before or that morning in a way that will allow people to eat when they are hungry. I try to put out a variety from fruit to sandwiches to the obligatory sweets.  As people stop by to wish us well that day, I never have to worry whether the food is ready or the coffee is hot.

With the holidays now here , I thought that I would post the holiday menu that I have been working on.  I just can't believe how quickly the year has flown by.  It seems like just last week I was getting my angel ready for the first day of school.  I am sure that this menu will adjust itself as Christmas Day approaches.  I will add links as I prepare the recipes so that you have all you need to make any of these dishes.  I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday. 

Christmas Day Meal Plan
Roast Pork with Pear and Cranberry Pan Sauce
Cranberry-Ginger Wild Rice
Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Edward and Sons Holiday Giveaway

Edward and Sons sent me a box of samples that I thought you might enjoy trying as you gear up for your holiday feasts.  There are two boxes and two winners for this giveaway.  Here is what is in each box:

NOTE:  As always, be sure to check individual products for any allergens particular to your family.  You may click each link then on the link next to each product for a complete list of ingredients.

Box #1:
Quick Gravy contains soy

Box #2:

To enter, post a comment at the botom of the post entitled "Edward and Sons Holiday Giveaway" telling me how you would use the ingredients in these boxes.  You may enter up to two times; once for each box. Have fun!  Winners will be selected Tuesday, December 14, 2010.

More Details:
  • Entrants may not participate with multiple e-mail addresses. Any entrant who
    attempts to enter with multiple e-mail addresses, under multiple identities or uses
    any other device will be disqualified from participation in the promotion and all
    entries submitted by that entrant will be void.
  • Two winners will be selected from all eligible entries at the time of drawing on Tuesday, December 14, 2010.
  • The winner will be notified via the My Angel's Allergies blog, Facebook page, and Twitter handle.  In the event that we are unable to contact the contestant within 48 hours of the first notification, the prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner will be selected. 
  • This giveaway has not been sponsored by, endorsed by, nor is affiliated with Edward and Sons.
  • All entries and participants are subject to these rules and those set out in our Contest and Giveaway Rules.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snack Match: Macaroni and Cheese

A snack match is an allergy-friendly snack that nutritionally and/or visually resembles a popular children's snack.


This week's snack is: Macaroni and Cheese

Snack Match substitute: Vegetable Pasta Toss



This recipe was frequently made by an American team member while I was working in Central Asia.  This person was a wonderful cook and, unbeknownst to her, the reason that I learned to eat tomatoes. She would make this dish with tomatoes, pepper and sausage for our meetings.  Not wanting to pick them out, I would eat them.  To my surprise, I started to like them, and even crave them each spring.  This dish is a simple, healthy lunch.
Broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, bacon
Vegetable Pasta Toss

1/2 bag of rice pasta or macaroni
Any combination of safe vegetables like:
  • 1/2 crown of broccoli, chopped and par boiled
  • 1/2 bell pepper, julienned
  • 5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tomato, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, very thinly julienned

 1/2 lb ham, prosciutto, or crispy-fried bacon (omit for vegetarian option)
2 T oregano or other safe Italian spices
2 T garlic powder, adjust to taste
rice oil
  1. Cook 1/2 package of pasta per package directions just to al dente.  Strain and place in a large bowl.
  2. Toss pasta with rice oil to coat.
  3. Add vegetables to the pasta.
  4. Cut ham or prosciutto into 1/4 inch cubes or crumble the bacon and add to the pasta.
  5. Add oregano and garlic powder to the bowl of pasta. Toss.
  6. Taste.  Adjust seasonings and add salt if needed.


Chopped beets make it pink.

NOTE 1:  I have heard complaints from people who tried rice pasta.  I have never had any problems with it and have actually come to prefer it over regular pasta.  The brands that we use are Trader Joe or Tinkyada.  We tend to use Tinkyada the most because they such a wide variety of shapes.

NOTE 2:  Boarshead prosciutto does not contain any allergens including corn products, dairy products, soy products etc.  The prosciutto di parma only contains pork and salt.  The other prosciutto contain pork, salt, and pepper.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Bacon Roasted Pumpkin

This recipe started out as a Thanksgiving accident.  I began the day with the intention of making Caramelized Pumpkin.  However, the day got away from me and I suddenly realized that I was out of time and pans.  I threw through this together using similar ingredients and baking it in the oven.  To my surprise, it was the talk of the table.  This came as a shock to me since I hadn't tasted it yet.  Imagine my surprise when I was "wowed" by my own dish! 

For this dish, you may buy your favorite winter squash or just use any of the pumpkins that have been decorating your house for fall.  The punch is from flavoring with the bacon so don't skimp thinking you'll save calories.  These pumpkins need that moisture as they slowly roast. 

Bacon Roasted Pumpkin

3 pie pumpkins, or approximately 1 medium to large pumpkin
1/2 lb. bacon, uncooked
1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 C honey
1/4 C maple syrup
3T brown sugar
1 T thyme
1 T salt
rice oil
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cut open the pumpkin(s) and remove seeds. 
  3. Carefully remove outer skin of pumpkin. 
  4. Chop pumpkin into 1-inch pieces and place in roasting pan.
  5. Cut bacon into small pieces and add to roasting pan.
  6. Add remaining seven (7) ingredients to the roasting pan and toss.
  7. Coat lightly with oil and toss.
  8. Cook slowly until pumpkin is soft and onions are translucent - approximately 1 - 1.5 hours.
  9. Remove from oven and serve.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Preparing Children for Food Gatherings

With parties at home, at school and with friends or relatives visiting, this is an important time of the year to think about your allergic child's safety.  It can be quite overwhelming. 
Here are helpful hints that have helped me prepare my angel to manage food gatherings:
  1. Let your angel know what to expect at the gathering.  Who will be there and what types of foods they might see.
  2. Tell them where they can find safe food and drink. 
  3. Point out anyone from whom they are allowed to accept food.  Our policy is that we may not accept food from anyone other than mommy or daddy so that we don't have any confusion.
  4. Remind them not to eat food from guests without showing it to you first.
  5. Teach your angel the language that they need to politely manage food situations.  Teach them specific phrases to help them identify safe foods and refuse food. 
  6. If your angel is given food that they can not refuse, tell them to immediately bring it to you for approval.
  7. Show your angel where the restrooms are so that they may safely wash their hands when necessary.
  8. Remind them to wash their hands before eating to avoid cross-contamination.
  9. Review what your angel should do if they are not feeling well or if they eat or touch something unsafe.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cleaning House: Part 2

As I type this update about my dirty little "dump" room, I am struck by how utterly symbolic it is.  I am rushing around to clean my "dirty" room because my in-laws will arrive soon.  While they are here, I can't just shut the door and pretend they don't notice its condition.  I mean, these guests aren't just dropping in, they are living with us.  In fact, not only did I have to clean the room but I also had to clear out the closet.  After all, they need a place to hang their hat, don't they?  I had to throw away old things, condense others and make room for them in our lives.  But, I just can't help but think, why don't I just invite them in and let them live with us among the mess.  Why can't I just let them help me clean it up?  After all, they love me and they accept me for all that I am - good and bad.

The room is clean and I feel some relief.  It is organized and ready for my guests.  I am thankful a good friend who helped me get it all done.  However, even with this work behind me, I can't stop wondering why I feel the need for it tot look perfect before she comes.  And, I can't stop wondering if I am this way with God, too.   How often do I rush make myself look pretty in the places that are easily seen, while God is waiting to move in my unclean heart? 

It is sometimes hard to admit that we have dirty rooms that need attention and even harder to admit that we could use some help cleaning them up.  So often, God waits patiently while we tidy up the mess deep within our hearts.  Sometimes we hide behind work or holiday traditions without stopping to acknowledge the Spirit behind the celebration. As Christmas approaches, it is time for me to stop and assess my heart.  It is time for me to look inwardly at the parts of my heart that are hidden from others;  the parts known only to God.  It is time for me to ask myself, "Is my heart ready for a Guest? Am I ready to bring someone else into my life just the way that I am?  Am I ready to stop hiding behind the mess that is inside me and, instead, spend time with the One who can best help me clean it up?

While my husband is thrilled that I cleaned my room, he continues to tell me that his mom could have helped me while she is here.  He reminds me that everything does not have to be perfect for her because she is really here to spend time with us just the way that we are.  Spending time with them is more important than how the house looks....and I know that he is right.  Just as I would never tell my in-laws that they can't visit, I can't say, "No," to God.  He knows me and loves me and I want to spend time with Him.  As a dear friend helped me clean my house and my room today, I was reminded to let God do the same in my heart. 

As we prepare for this Christmas season, let's not just decorate and dust alone.  Let's make room in our hearts and lives for our Guest.  Let's make Jesus a part of our preparations and our celebration.  Let's truly make it a celebration to remember.