A Greek Festival

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There’s a Greek festival in our area today and tomorrow. Apparently there’s tons of homemade Greek food, and tons of dessert treats. It’s a very popular festival and they have parking lots to park in then you ride a bus to the event.

I love Greek food. I love Greek desserts. Cake loves buses, and has been asking to ride on one for about 2 years, basically since he could talk.

Will we be going? No. It’s too risky with Cake’s food allergies. No Greek lunch, no yummy treats, and no bus ride.

There wasn’t really anything for a 3 year old to do there except eat and dance, I guess, so he would’ve gotten bored after an hour or so if he was able to eat anything there.

On the positive side, I found another festival for next weekend that has rides and games for kids in addition to food. Maybe I’ll bring Cake to that one (and pack our own food or go before lunch or something). Still no idea on a bus ride for him, though.

Birthday party: making accommodations for everyone!

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I already wrote about how meeting Cake’s needs at a party is a pain. Then I started planning Cake’s birthday party. I can do milk and nut and other foods free…..and I’ve made cupcakes that are milk free several times so that’s a no brainer for me to do. Plus we are ordering pizza, and Cake can eat pizza from a few places around us where they make the crust and sauce and some toppings milk free/cheese free so that’s not a big deal.

Then I started thinking about the other guests…..I have invited 3 families plus my mom will be flying in for the week (yay!). Between all of us, there are several variations on diet issues:
– milk/peanut/tree nut free (& Cake’s other allergies)
– vegan
– gluten free
– food dye free

So now I had to make milk free, vegan, gluten free, food dye free cupcakes…..decorated like Minions from Despicable Me because that’s what Cake would like.

I did my usual replacements for cupcakes – Earth Balance butter for butter and So Delicious Coconut Creamer for milk. Then I switched out 1/3 cup of applesauce for eggs, then added some honey in them for extra sweetness (because I’ve made cupcakes before with a certain recipe and while it was good it needed to be lighter and sweeter). They came out pretty good. I was thinking of making the wet mixture then taking some out before adding the flour and making those into a gluten free cupcake for my mom – I have both coconut flour and almond flour but I’m not sure which one works best.

Then there’s the frosting. The issue with the frosting is that when you mix Earth Balance butter with powdered sugar and milk to make frosting, it comes out a dull yellow, which doesn’t work great for Minion cupcakes. I think I’m going to give up on figuring out this replacement and just ask that mom to borrow her all natural food coloring (hopefully it won’t contain lemons…..)when I make the cupcakes. I’m sure she will, and then *hopefully* everyone’s dietary needs will be met.

Oh, wait, my mom is gluten free…..I’ll have to either order her a gluten free, milk free pizza for herself or I’ll just make her a meal at home to eat for lunch for Cake’s party. Hopefully she will understand….

I think next year we will skip buying pizza and making cupcakes. Since I’ve practiced about three batches of cupcakes, Cake has started asking if we can just do cookies for his birthday instead…..I think I’ll do that next year. I’ll just buy some boxes of various cookies to meet various dietary issues, do it at a non-meal time, and call it done!

Refried beans….

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We tried a new Mexican restaurant today. I ordered Cake a chicken taco plate after discussing his severe milk allergy with the cashier. She knew the ingredients of the tortilla, rice, beans, and chicken. I reminded her of the milk allergy again.

Yet his refried beans came with cheese on them. Great.

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Easter eggs.

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First, this post is overdue. My bad. I haven’t had any time lately to write any posts. Two kids under three (I only get that excuse for another week or two, then Cake turns three!), neither of which find sleeping to be all that important means I barely have time to do anything useful.

Eggs. Easter has a lot of them. Cake is allergic to eggs but only mildly…..which is determined by the fact that he has never had a reaction to eating baked eggs. When he was a baby, I tried to give him some scrambled eggs and some egg whites on different occasions. He generally just spit them out. He even tells me that he doesn’t like them, so I don’t worry about it.

When we bake and make batter with raw eggs I have him keep his hands out of the batter. This is done mostly by giving him some powdered sugar or the beginning of the batter, pre-eggs, to eat (which is just sugar and butter mixed together). And I have him wash his hands when we finish baking then watch for any reaction. There hasn’t been any. He’s even touched the batter and there hasn’t been any reaction.

So after we decorated eggs, Cake wanted to ‘play’ with them. I told him they were for eating (my bad!) and not playing. By ‘play’ Cake means he will likely hold them, squeeze them, somehow get dirt/food/unknown objects on them (seriously this kid gets stuff on his hands all the time, no idea how), and/or put them in a ‘special place’ where they will be forgotten about.

So this lead to Cake wanting to eat the boiled eggs. Sigh. Not coming up with a good reason not to, I showed him how to crack the eggs open and let him have one bite of an egg white. Then watched him like a hawk for the next few hours. No reaction and asking for more.

So the next morning I let him have three bites (three is the current favorite number). Again, I watched for a reaction. None. Awesome.

So the third morning I let him have half a boiled egg, only the whites, and again he was fine. By this point, we ran out of boiled eggs and I’m not hurrying up boiling more or trying it again for awhile, but it’s good to know that he doesn’t have a huge reaction to even boiled eggs.

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Peanuts….

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I try to question Cake often about what foods he can eat and what he can’t eat. I’ll ask him if he can eat _____ and he gives me the correct answer almost all of the time. We had a friend over the other day and he told her he can’t eat eggs that ‘look like that’ (while pointing to over easy eggs). Yay! I thought, awesome, he’s actually getting that he can’t eat certain foods!

Then we went to a park.

And he was sitting on the bench eating an almond butter and jelly sandwich (almonds and coconuts are the only nuts he can eat, which is awesome because so many products have coconut and almond in them). A women came up and talked to him. She started to ask about his lunch. The conversation went like this:

Woman: Wow, is that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
Cake: Yup it is!
Woman: Yummy, I love peanut butter and jelly!
Cake: Yup, me too. I love peanuts!

Cake has never eaten any peanuts before. Ever. And if he ate one, he would likely get the epipen and we would go to a hospital.

I guess my questions and quizzes for him haven’t been as successful as I had thought. We’ll keep working on it, I guess!

Ingredients in ‘dried mango’ apparently contain a lot of allergens!

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I bought some dried mango slices from whole foods. The ingredients? Mango slices, sugar (see picture). Then, in all capital letters ‘may contain: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, and soy.’

Really? They really needed to write that their 2-ingredient item may contain 6 top allergens? They didn’t feel the need to include fish and shellfish in the list, apparently.

I get that there’s no *official* policy on the ‘may contain’ label for foods, and that companies are just trying to cover themselves in case of a reaction, or that the label may mean it’s manufactured in the same factory as those foods, or whatever. But these type of labels make me think twice about buying products for my food allergic toddler. However, with just 2 ingredients in the label it’s doubtful that any of those other ingredients actually exist in the product and I ended up buying it (Cake was totally fine eating it).

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Ice cream

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Before I had kids, one of the traditions I was looking forward to having with them is having movie nights and eating ice cream, preferably with hot fudge or caramel sauce or other yummy toppings on it, while watching the movie.

That image came to a screeching halt when I found out Cake can’t eat ice cream. I tried giving him some So Delicious ice cream when he just turned 2 and he didn’t really like it. I couldn’t find any hot fudge topping for him, and most of the fun toppings like m&ms have milk in them. So even if he liked it, there wouldn’t be a ‘sundae’ or yummy toppings.

Lately, though, Cake has been really into sorbet, mostly because Allergy Dad brings him out for it about once a week. Cake started asking about ice cream so I decided to try it again. We went to a different Whole Foods today which had an ENTIRE plus some freezer door area full of milk-free ice creams. Our normal Whole Foods has about 3 shelves of milk free ice cream, so there were a lot more options for flavors and brands at the one we went to today. Cake picked out So Delicious vanilla ice cream (even though they have that at our regular Whole Foods, and he always says, “no, thanks” when I ask him if he wants any) and I picked out NadaMoo mint chocolate chip. I also found……milk free hot fudge topping! It’s from a local place in Santa Cruz which is nearby.

We ate it after lunch. Cake’s review is,”yeah, sure, it’s good! Let’s have some later!” I agree! We may be traveling an extra 20 minutes to this Whole Foods in the future so we can try all the different flavors.

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