Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pump It Up

Max decided he wanted a Pump It Up party this year. As he talked about it he suddenly got thoughtful and asked "Do they make you have pizza to eat though?" "Oh, no," I replied, "I'm sure we could bring our own food, like hot dogs or something."

Boy was I wrong. I called to schedule the party and the woman on the phone started talking about the pizza packages. "Wait a second," I said. "Are we not allowed to bring in our own food."

"Well, yes and no. You can bring in your own cake and pre-packaged snacks. But no other food including any kind of salsa or dip."

"Well, we have a problem then." was my response. I explained Max's dairy allergy and that he couldn't eat pizza.

"Oh, in the case of an allergy we can make an exception." I was momentarily relieved until she added, "You can bring in seperate food for the birthday boy, but you will need to order a pizza package for everyone else."

"That still doesn't seem fair for Max. It is his birthday and it does bother him when everyone around him is eating something he can't have. It's an emotional issue for him as well."

"Well, how about this, for the time your party is set up most people have already had lunch. You could do a pre-packaged snack and the cake, which you can bring yourself."

I found this to be acceptable and honestly less work for me.

I will give Pump It Up half-credit. The woman I spoke to was kind and understanding of our situation. She handle the conversation professionally and with tact while sticking to Pump It Ups rules. (I'm sure she personally did not make them). But under no circumstances will anything other than pizza be served at Pump It Up. You may not bring your own hot dogs.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Camping With Food Allergies

PK (pre-kids) David and I car camped up and down Western Washington state. From Orcas Island to the Cascades to the Olympic Pennisula. We prided ourselves on being minimalist in our car camping as well. We cooked over the open fire. However, our meals were often elaborate. Cashew Chicken Stir-fry, Brown sugar crusted salmon with pasta and snow peas, one pot chicken with vegetables. Scrambled mess for breakfast (eggs, potatoes and bacon.) We'd come back to camp from a long day hike to some high peak and spend lots of time chopping and drinking wine and relaxing around the camp fire. Okay, David was chopping and I was drinking. PK David was the chef and did a majority of the cooking. Now I do most of the cooking, however, I am more of a short-order cook.

This weekend we took both kids car camping for the first time. Meals are quite different with two food allergy kids. We had hot dogs roasted over the fire. We purchased a camp stove for making bacon and pancakes (recipe from "What's To Eat"). One night we had hobo dinners (hamburger, potatoes, carrots and onions cooked in tin foil on a grate over the fire). And of course a camping trip wouldn't be complete without s'mores. Chocolate bars prove to be the most complicated. I had to melt down safe chocolate chips into candy bar molds before we left. But allergy wise all went fine.

Owen-wise was more difficult. The kid was way too interested in the campfire so we spent most of the time getting in between him and the flames.

So our first excursion was less relaxing and less gourmet but in the end we want to create memories for our children that will take them into their adulthood and hopefully out into the woods.

(PS We packed four Epi-pens for the excursion. Two for each child. And Benedryl.)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Anger Management

Warning: Off Topic Post

I have been taking an anger management class lately (it has made me realize my quick temper lately is more from my feeling of being overwhelmed than that my kids drive me to madness.)

Soon after the second class, which laid out our homework as noticing when we were getting angry and cooling our self down, Max tested me.

I was putting Owen in the bathtub. Max got up on a stool and started flicking the light on and off. "Max, please don't turn the light on and off. I can't see what I'm doing." He does it again. I turn to him very calmly and repeat "Max, please stop." He stops until my back is turned and does it one more time. I turn and yell "MAX, STOP DOING THAT."

He replies, "Ah, ah, ah, Mommy. Remember your class? I am just giving you a little practice."

Bested by a child again.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Due to fairly recent recalls on Silk Soy Chocolate Singles due the presence of cow's milk proteins, the milk allergic might be questioning the safety of their soy milk. I have a solution for you. Make your own! A friend recently mentioned that her mother makes her own. She blogs about it at Soy Simplified. It's inexpensive and you are guaranteeing the safety of your own food.

Now, you might ask, does that mean you are taking up soy milk making? And the answer would be no. It's not that soymilk is inexpensive (it's not at almost $5 for a half gallon). It's not that I'm lazy (which I sort of can be). It's not that I wouldn't know what to do with the mounds of okara that is the by product of making your own soymilk (because I really wouldn't even with the help of my friend's mom's blog). It's that if I went through all the bother of making my own soymilk and my kids hated it and refused to drink it, I would be a little resentful. Max is the super taster you know. A change even in a brand of a product we use and he detects the subtle difference. For heavens sake I bought Red Delicious instead of Gala apples last week and he refuses to eat them.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Lactic Acid Starter Culture

From everything I have read lactic acid starter cultures MAY contain milk proteins if they are derived from milk. However, lactic acid starter cultures may be derived from vegetable sources such as beet and corn. So if you see it on a label and have no way to call the company and get a straight answer (assuming someone at the company is knowledgeable enough to answer your question and/or will actually respond to you) assuming that the product contains dairy is the safest route to go.

Most companies don't indicate on packaging what the source of the lactic acid starter culture is, however, I know of a least one that does. Wellshire Farms does a line of meats including turkey sticks and pepperoni. On the label for their turkey sticks it states that the lactic acid starter culture is derived from corn. I personally think they are tasty though Max thinks they are too spicy. I haven't looked at a package of pepperoni but you can search their products with elimination of your specific allergen and pepperoni does come up as dairy free. If you are in doubt please call the company but (this is mainly for elisha (Hi! Thanks for introducing yourself)) may be worth a shot.

The Food Allergy Labeling and Consumer Protection Act only covers labeling for foods under FDA inspection. It does not cover anything under USDA, hence meat. Which is why companies don't have to disclose the source of their lactic acid starter culture. Here is a good FAQ sheet about FALCPA.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ice Cream - Take 2

I've been meaning to bring up some of the comments posted recently on a variety of subjects but as I suck at blogging lately I haven't done it. So I'll start today and try to do one a day.

A lot of people commented on the Purely Decadent post. Many of you really like Turtle Mountain products, a few prefer Tufutti. 1AllergyMom brought up that Turtle Mountain does process their product on shared equipment and felt like the labeling was misleading. I read their website and I guess I was heartened that they are at least watching out for cross contamination by batch testing. Here is part of their statement:

"Turtle Mountain applies strict quality control measures in an effort to prevent contamination by undeclared food allergens. To assure our preventative measures are effective, we sample test our product for the presence of gluten, dairy, peanut and almond allergens using state of the art testing methods. "

Mama o' the matrices also brought up that Tufutti does peanut products but does not label their products as such and sites a risk with these products as well. So, research well my friends, and decide what is best for your family. Cross contamination labeling is optional.

Coincidentally a new blogger had recently commented about Ice Cream as well. I had not heard of Temptation Ice Cream. At the end of this post she shares that Whole Foods claimed the company making the ice cream was going out of business and that's why they were no longer carrying the product. Via private email the author has told me that a call to the Chicago based company revealed this to be an untruth and they are still cranking out Temptation Ice Cream. In fact I picked up my first pint today at Wegman's. I'll let you know how the kiddos like it.

PS Also agree with Speedbump Kitchen that trying to clean Tufuttie Cutie Ice Cream Sandwich bits off toddlers fingers is ridiculously hard.