‘Tis the season to get together and bond around family, friends and food, many different kinds of food. It is a time to be joyous and attempt to be worry-free. We were once that family. We went from one family function to another; only worrying about how many notches we would have to extend our belts. I remember clearly our first set of holidays living with food allergies. It changed our carefree holiday times into the most stressful time of the year. I would get very panicky. I was worried about what could happen.
Our first year of holiday festivities, I decided to call all the homes we would be going to and ask them what they were serving and if anything contained any kind of nuts. I then told them about my son’s nut allergy and explained it was life threatening. Everyone I spoke with said they would do their best to not include nuts at their holiday event. Everything went very well and everyone was very cautious. I was grateful and relieved! Now, after several holidays have come and gone, holidays are once again pretty carefree. Granted I still get a little nervous but each year gets better and everyone is SO understanding. I really think explaining how incredibly allergic he is and sharing with them the things I learned from the allergist and the food allergy websites helped a lot.
I have several tips I would to share regarding label reading. Even though food labeling has gotten so much better, it is still good to know how to read a label for peanuts. The following is a list of ingredients to avoid:
Artificial nuts, beer nuts, cold presses, expelled or extruded peanut oil, goobers, ground nuts, mixed nuts, monkey nuts, nutmeat, nut pieces, peanut, peanut butter, peanut flour.
The following types of food and/or ingredients may indicate the presence of a peanut protein:
African, Asian (especially Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese), and Mexican dishes, baked goods (pastries, cookies, etc.), candy (including chocolate candy), chili, egg rolls, enchilada sauce, flavoring (natural and artificial), marzipan, mole sauce, nougat.
- Mandelonas are peanuts soaked in almond flavoring.
- Arachis oil is peanut oil.
- Experts advise patients allergic to peanuts to avoid tree nuts as well.
- A study showed that there’s a strong possibility of cross reaction between peanuts and lupine.
- Sunflower seeds are often produced on equipment shared with peanuts.
These lists are from The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network.
As always, I have a recipe to share. While trying to decide what to share, I was trying to think of favorite family recipes that we have changed to exclude nuts. Honestly, I couldn’t think of any. However, we did switch over to making several baked goods from scratch instead of buying them already manufactured.
One of our favorites is a peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, milk-free, egg-free, wheat-free shortbread. (Note: This recipe is not gluten-free unless you use gluten-free oats).
1 cup cranberries, chopped (sometimes, I use Craisins)
3 cups oat flour (I put uncooked oats in the food processor until they are a powder)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. oil
¾ cup orange juice
1 ½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
Mix oat flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add juice, oil and vinegar. Mix well. Stir in cranberries. Pour into a greased loaf pan.
Bake at 350°F for 60 minutes.
You can make this recipe as a muffin recipe as well. Just spoon batter into lined muffin tins and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
Makes 18-20 small muffins.
This recipe freezes well, too.
During these weeks of thankfulness, kindness and giving, please share this information with family and friends. The more we educate ourselves about food allergies, the safer the world becomes for people who live with life-threatening food allergies. If your child has food allergies, remember that you are their advocate, make sure you let people know about their allergies and what they need to avoid.