Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Update: Peanut and Tree Nut Allergies

I've had a hard time wrapping my head around this and getting my feelings in to words: My 21 month old son has been diagnosed as anaphylactic allergic to peanuts, pistachios and cashews. I tried writing a post about it a few months ago when we found out, but the words ended up having an angry and sad tone. I'm still sad and angry that my son has to deal with this, but as I continue to learn about food allergies I'm understanding that communication and education is key to avoiding accidental ingestion.

Bubs during his first camping trip.

I thought because I'm so familiar with gluten-intolerance and Celiac disease that I'd be pretty savvy when it comes to food allergies, but I wasn't at first. Here are 12 surprising things that I've learned over the last few months:
1. If a parent has allergies (of any kind), their children are more likely to develop food allergies. My son's pediatrician and allergist both asked me the same question: "Do I have allergies?" Well, food allergies? No, though I am intolerant to gluten. They both corrected me, "No, allergies in general." Yup, I've had bad seasonal allergies since I was a kid. (I remember getting my first hay-fever induced asthma attack in Upstate New York on family vacation). 

2. If a child is allergic to peanuts, there is a 25-40% change he/she will also be allergic to tree nuts. 

3. Food labeling laws do require that labels state whether any of the top 8 allergens are in a food, HOWEVER, it is not required that they state whether that food is shared on equipment or made in the same facility as any allergens. 

4. EpiPens and Auvi-Qs can save lives. We have two EpiPens by my son at all times. After the first one is administered, it can wear off within 15 minutes, so if he is in a situation where an ambulance can't get to him quickly, the second one can be be administered.  Sadly, EpiPens don't always work.

5. There are great options out there if you have a child that "only eats peanut butter and jelly." Jam and cream cheese sandwiches seem to be a big hit, as are hummus sandwiches with cucumbers, sunflower seed butter (we like the crunchy) sandwiches and Barney brand almond butter is delicious (and made in a peanut-free facility). If your child goes to school (or the playground, or daycare) with a child that is peanut/tree nut allergic, I'm asking you to re-think sending your child with any of those foods. There are other options and kids so very easily share/take/make messes with their foods. 

6. There are great resources out there that can help educate family members, teachers and caregivers. Kids with Food Allergies is one of them and FARE is another.

7. There are more peanut allergic children born in October, November and December than any other time of year.

8. People with peanut allergies cannot join the military. (At first I wasn't too affected by this, but it really saddens me that Bubs will likely grow up idolizing his dad and wanting to be like him, and one day we'll have to tell him he can't do what dad does.)

9. Just because your child didn't have an anaphylactic reaction the first time he/she ate the allergen, doesn't mean he or she won't. My son got hives the first time he had peanuts, projectile vomited the second time and our allergist tells us the third time could be the most severe and cause anaphylaxis.

10. There are different ways to test for food allergies: skin prick test, blood test and I recently heard about the uKnow Peanut test (I haven't spoken to my allergist about this yet, so I can't vouch for it's effectiveness). So far, my little dude has only had the skin prick test.

11. There is current legislation in Washington D.C. that will hopefully be enacted that will allow schools to have EpiPens on hand that they can give "to children without a prescription, and indemnifies those who administer it in a life-threatening situation." I really hope it passes. Food allergies can come on at any age, at any time, and to foods that children have eaten before. Giving schools EpiPens will save lives. 

12. And some stats according to FARE and the NYT article: "One in 13 children under age 18 has food allergies, with an 18 percent increase having occurred between 1997 and 2007; during roughly the same period, the number of children with a peanut allergy tripled." There are many theories, but no one can definitively say why food allergies are rising. 

The scope of this blog has has changed a lot over the years. I started writing it as a woman in her mid-twenties who was trying to figure out how to eat without gluten and deal with the deployments and distance of having a boyfriend in the military. I'm now 31, married to that man, have a son who I adore more than anything, and I pretty much have the gluten-free thing figured out. It doesn't mean I'm going to stop writing about gluten-free cooking, it just means other things that pop up in life will be on here too. I hope you'll stay and share your stories too.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Henry & Cloud Star Dog Treats

Poor Henry.
                                More like "poor Jack" in this photo...

This blog used to be all about him. He'd cameo each food shot, be a feature on Fridays - and stories often revolved around him. And then Jack came along: taking up my time and fulfilling my need for daily dancing and snuggles (sad fact: I used to pick Henry up and make him dance with me.. now I do the same to Jack).

I feel bad for Henry, and then I don't, because the day that Jack was born was the best day of Henry's life. You see, when Jack eats, Jack shares (with Henry). We try not to allow it; moving Henry to another room when we're eating dinner, but regardless of whether he's in the room or not, Henry gets the scraps (we're just not that on top of things; we don't clean up the food on the floor before Henry gets to it).

So, where am I going with this? Cloud Star sent me four bags of their Dynamo Dog treats (Hey! They're gluten-free! And grain-free, and full of good-for-your-dog stuff) and while I know Henry loves food, I was worried he might turn his nose up at the treats because he's been so used to people food for the last year. No worries though, according to Henry - these things are pretty darn awesome.

Even my parent's Dog Elsa was loving them too. 

They come in four different flavors: Bacon and Cheese, Chicken (both for hip and joint issues), Salmon (for skin and coat), and Pumpkin and Ginger (for tummy troubles). Cloud Star was really thoughtful in their formulations: each treat includes vitamins and foods that are known to help humans and dogs with the three issues above.

Here's the coolest part of this post: You could win Cloud Star dog treats! Simply:
1. Comment on this post and tell me about your dog (or the dog you'd like to win the treats for).
2. Like The Good Eatah on Facebook and leave a comment telling me you've done so.
3. Like Cloud Star on Facebook and leave a comment telling me you've done so.

This contest will run until 11:59pm on Monday, June 10th. Please leave a valid email address with your comments. I will pick a winner using

Whenever I see this photo montage of Jack and Henry, the song "Let Me Tell You 'Bout My Best Friend..." comes to mind.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Win a Conscious Box!!!

A little while ago I was contacted by the nice folks over at Conscious Box; they wanted to send me one of their eco-friendly boxes and give one away to a reader. I like what they stand for and what they do. How could I say no?

Just a few days later I received a lot of neat things in an adorable little box, and everything comes from companies who are Eco-conscious. You can see in the photo the majority of products are food related. I have yet to try all of them but my two favorites are the Celtic Sea Salt and the Sun Cups (chocolate sunflower seed butter cups). I'm really excited to try the Florax Ready-to-drink probiotic (I think it'll come with my next time I travel) and the Natural Vitality Calm drink (for when, well, I need a chill-pill).

If you'd like to win a 3-month subscription to Conscious Box, you have a few chances. For each thing you do, leave a comment (and valid email address!) that you've done so.

1. Like The Good Eatah on Facebook.
2. Like Conscious Box on Facebook.

The giveaway will close one week from today on Tuesday, May 7th at 11:59pm. Good luck!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Balance Bar Review and Giveaway

Sports nutrition has always fascinated me: the idea that what you put in your mouth can positively or negatively effect your performance just seems so tangible - something everything athlete can do to improve themselves. So when Balance Bar offered to send me some of their new Balance Bar Dark bars I was pretty psyched. Not only because Balance Bar has been around a long time and has a good reputation, but because this bar has a lot of good in it.

First, it's gluten-free, which can be difficult to find in a nutrition/protein bar. Second, the chocolate in it is made with cocoa that's Rainforest Alliance Certified. And third, it's made with a 40-30-30 nutrition ratio of carbs, protein and dietary fat respectively, an idea that I've heard a lot about (think: Zone diet) because it stabilizes your blood sugar and helps you feel fuller, longer. And fourth, it has 13 grams of protein in each bar, which makes it the perfect food for muscle recovery (as a general rule of thumb, the average athlete should consume .05-.07 grams of protein for each pound they weigh after an intense workout).

Balance Bar sent me their three "dark" flavors: Dark Chocolate Crunch, Dark Chocolate Coconut and Dark Chocolate Peanut. The box was sitting on my doorstep as I pulled in the driveway from a workout I had to cut short because I started feeling dizzy; it was perfect timing. I happily scarfed down the Dark Chocolate Crunch: the crunch and smooth chocolate combo was super tasty and I felt immediately better. I've sample the coconut and peanut varieties too and can't wait to "earn" them in their entirety after another workout.


Here's how you could win your own box of Balance Bar Dark. Balance Bar will send one randomly selected winner the goodies, and you've got a few ways to increase your chances (leave a separate comment for each thing you do).

1. "Like" Balance Bar on Facebook (comment below that you did that).
2. Comment below and tell me which flavor you'd most like to try.
3. "Like" The Good Eatah on Facebook (comment below that you did that).

A winner will be selected by 11:59pm on Monday, April 8th and will be notified by email (please make sure you leave a valid email address when you comment). 

Disclaimer: One winner per household, email address or home address. If you have won this prize on another blog you are ineligible to win again.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vegetable & Cream Cheese Quiche with Almond Crust

Quiche. I always associate it with spring - maybe it's because of the eggs (Easter Egg hunts) or the vegetables (Bye winter! Hello fresh veggies!) or because they're such an "Easter Brunch" friendly food (can be served room temperature). Either way, this quiche, made with an almond flour crust, is something I'll be serving all year long.

I've long been a fan of Elana's Pantry; her almond flour and coconut flour recipes are delicious and her cookbooks are gorgeous. I love her philosophy about food and the fact that she uses her grain-free diet as a way to treat her Multiple Sclerosis symptoms. (This is especially fascinating to me because my mother has MS and I'm always looking for alternative ways to help her cope.)

If I were trying to convince anyone to try a grain-free diet (cough, cough mom), this is one dish I'd present. Elana's chocolate chip cookies are another. 

Vegetable and Cream Cheese Quiche with Elana's Pantry Almond Crust

You'll need to make one recipe of Elana's savory pie crust recipe (there's a version of it here on another favorite of mine, Spunky Coconut's blog - or a version of it here on Elana's site) but you'll have to get her book to get the recipe I used. Here's what I typically do for my quiche fillings, you need:

4 eggs, whisked
2 small heads broccoli, roughly chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons cream cheese
scallions and parmesan cheese for garnish
salt, pepper, & garlic powder, to taste

Preheat your oven to 350F. In a large bowl add all of the vegetables and dollops of the cream cheese (don't try to fully blend them in with the veggies/eggs), then add the eggs, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add the mixture to your prebaked crust, top with some shaved parmesan and bake for about 35 minutes (it will be ready when the middle of the quiche has a wiggle to it). Let stand for at least 30 minutes before serving, garnish with scallions and more parmesan.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gluten-Free Spinach Wraps

My Mom finds the best gluten-free stuff. Whenever I visit her and my Dad, or when they come this way, she always has some sort of new gluten-free food to share with me. It gives you a little peek into her mindset: she's always thinking about others.

Her latest discovery were these Rudi's Gluten-Free Spinach Tortillas. I believe she got them at Market Basket in Mass; I haven't seen them here (Upstate NY) anywhere yet. You guys - they're awesome! Chewy, pliable, tasty, and they don't break apart like most gluten-free tortillas. If you want to ensure that they stay "flexible," just warm them up on a skillet for 10 seconds a side, but they really don't require it.

                    That's my version of the wraps, with hummus, spinach, cukes and tomatoes.

But, as I said, I haven't seen these anywhere around me so I wanted to recreate them so I don't have to wait for a visit from Mom to eat them. My version is based off a recipe I created in 2009 for a regular wrap, or, flatbread. I added some pureed spinach and tweaked a few things, but I'm pretty happy with the results.

I hope you'll like them too!

Gluten-Free Spinach Wraps (dairy-free, egg-free, vegan)
makes 8

1 3/4 cups superfine brown rice flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xantham gum
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup pureed spinach (defrost frozen spinach and puree)
1 cup water

Whisk together the brown rice flour, cornstarch, salt and xantham gum in a bowl, then add the applesauce and spinach puree. Next add the water, a little at a time until combined. The dough should feel more "pizza dough" like and less cake batter-like.

On a floured work surface (I just use more of the brown rice flour) take two heaping tablespoons of the dough and roll out to desired size. Cook on a skillet over medium heat about 30 seconds on each side. 

Store in the refrigerator for a week, or freeze and thaw before using.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Perdue Gluten-Free Breaded Chicken Tenders

The folks at Perdue were kind enough to send me coupons to try their new Perdue gluten-free chicken tenders. The words below are solely my own.

I'm not being dramatic when I say these chicken tenders saved our family (okay, I'm being a little dramatic) but really - there was something horrid going around our little trio (or foursome, I thought I heard Henry throwing up once but couldn't find any proof... I hope I never do) for a full week.

It started with me, then it hit the A-man, and finally Little Guy. It would come and go. One day I was bed-ridden, the next it was A-man; it went on and on. Fortunately, it was staggered, otherwise our son and dog would have had the run of house (images of what could have been - Little Guy grabbing Henry by the tail, Little Guy climbing on Henry to break into the pantry, Henry eating all the dog food and Little Guy emptying every single container on the ground - are things I am sure would have happened...)

No one had the energy to cook, and most everything we thought about heating up would send us gagging, except these: glorious tenders of chicken in a light and crispy crust. Oh thank the gluten-free Gods that I got these and put them in the freezer mere days before the week-long plague. And thank goodness they only take 9 minutes in the oven (or a lot less in the microwave) to cook. (I don't think I've mentioned before how much I do love my Breville mini-convection oven, so here: I really love it and use it daily.) 

They hit the spot for all three of us and because the Little Guy is obsessed with dipping things right now, he got a trio of sauces to dip his in: ketchup, bbq sauce and maple mustard (just whisk 1 part maple syrup or maple cream to 3 parts yellow mustard - it's super tasty). We had no desire to make any sort of recipe with these; they really are delicious on their own (and less expensive than other gf breaded tenders out there.)

The gluten-free community can only win when a large, well-known company like Perdue comes out with gluten-free foods: more people will take it seriously now that a mega-company does and hopefully more companies will follow in their footsteps. They did it right too: See that "Certified Gluten Free" logo in the upper right corner of the packaging? It means exactly what it says - the food has been tested to make sure there is no gluten (technically less than 10 parts per million of gluten) in the product.

Thanks, Perdue!

*Check out Marlow this week as she pins with Perdue!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Rice Noodle Bowl with Crispy Tofu

Want to know my favorite thing about cooking vegetarian? You don't have to worry about disinfecting your kitchen for salmonella. Want to know another? Crispy tofu: It's crunchy, tender, and really, really delicious. (Even my chicken-wing obsessed husband, who has claimed to hate tofu proclaimed his love for it while eating this dish.)

There are many more reasons to eat vegetarian of course; I highly recommend watching "Forks over Knives." It didn't inspire us to become vegetarians, but did inspire us to add more vegetables and cut more meat out of our diet. This recipe is partly me trying to make my husband feel full with a vegetarian meal while training for a marathon and partly inspired by a place I used to frequent in my old grad school town - Xinh Xinh Cafe.

This recipe is my take on a delicious dish that seemed to always be the "special" at a beloved Vietnamese restaurant in Urbana Illinois. I have fond memories of eating here with my sis, bro-in-law and niece (watching my then-toddler niece slurp noddles remains one of the cutest things I've ever witnessed.)

The sauce I made for this dish uses Bragg Liquid Aminos - my absolute favorite soy sauce alternative. It's a whole lot lower in sodium, naturally gluten-free and has a nice, deep flavor. And, hence the name, contains those wonderful amino acids.

Here's what you need...

Gluten-Free Crispy Tofu Rice Noodle Bowl
serves four

Noodles and fixings:
1 package rice noodles
2-3 tablespoons canola oil
1 package firm tofu
1/2 cup cornstarch
julienned vegetables: cucumber, peppers, carrots
5-6 green onion, whites included
1/3 cup chopped peanuts (I love these Our Daily Eats Thai Chile Peanuts - they're locally made, to me - with this dish)

For the sauce:

1/3 cup coconut aminos
1 tablespoon gluten free fish sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon agave
1-2 teaspoons siracha
2 teaspoons freshly minced ginger
1/3 cup warm water

Cook the rice noodles according to package directions, set aside (you want the noodles to be room temperature or cold when serving). Heat one tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat in a wok. Cut tofu into desired shape (rectangles, squares, triangles - they all work) and douse in cornstarch. Add the corn-starch-coated tofu to the oil and cook until crispy, about 1-2 minutes per side. Place on a paper towel and finish cooking all tofu in small batches.

In a small dish, add all of the sauce ingredients together and whisk until fully incorporated.

When serving: layer the noodles first, then vegetables, tofu, peanuts, green onion, and pour 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce over the top. Enjoy!

(Little Guy just learned that he can climb on the dining room chairs and use chopsticks like they're drums.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Carrot & Black Cherry Baby Jellies

The huz was telling me just yesterday (after the Little Guy threw his chicken, then potato and then asparagus on the floor during dinner) that this is payback for me always playing with my food. However, I say playing and throwing are two different things. My playing was usually artfully sculpting a pool out of mashed potatoes with gravy as the water and carrots as the diving board. Little Guy, I swear, just likes to break my heart by throwing my most time-consuming meals directly on the floor for the dog to eat.

In his defense, he's 14 months old and it has to be really awesome to watch a furry animal with big teeth gobble anything he gives him.

But I digress. This is post is about playing with a fun, wiggly, shiny food. Food I apparently loved as a kid.

Meet jigglers. Or, "baby jellies" as the recipe card my mom gave me calls them. I'm not sure the origin of the recipe; I just know my mom's been using the recipe since I was a wee-one and it's great because you can control what goes in them. There's no added sugar in these and no chemicals - it's straight up juice (of any kind really) and gelatin (which isn't for everybody). I've made them with 100% carrot juice and 100% black cherry juice and Little Guy eats more than he throws. (Score!)

This recipe is so simple, you really can't mess it up.

Carrot or Black Cherry Baby Jellies 
 gluten-free, dairy-free

8.5 oz carrot or black cherry juice
1 envelope unflavored gelatin

In a small saucepan, sprinkle one envelope of gelatin over juice. Let stand one minute. Stir over low heat until dissolved, about 3 minutes. Pour into a small glass "pan" - I used a Pyrex 3 cup glass container (a glass loaf pan will work too). Chill until firm in the refrigerator (about 2 hours) and cut until squares (or use fun cookie cutters).

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Peas as Protein & Why I'm So Pissy

I am all armed out. For the past week (and for another additional week) I am on doctor's orders "not to use my legs."

I can do everyday stuff, like walk around the house, but I'm not to go for walks, run, bike or use the elliptical or stair climber. I'm going a bit crazy.

For me, breaking a sweat on a daily basis is almost a required event. If I don't, I get cranky and tired. So, for the last week I've been trying to get good workouts in without using my legs.

And, well, It's been challenging.

I've been boxing which is a great workout and I've been lifting - a lot. But really, that's all I can come up with. No squats, lunges, burpees, mountain climbers. No one-leg dead lifts. No lateral jumps. Those were all my go-tos. (And I already mentioned no running. No classes at the gym either.)

I should explain why I'm not supposed to be using my legs: I have stitches in the hamstring of my right leg. I had to get a weird calcified cyst removed and biopsied (haven't heard from doc; no news is good news).

I've been thinking about putting together a little video of the arm workouts that have been successful for me; I have a handful that get my heart rate up, but I just look so dorky when I'm doing them. One of these days I'll get over my vanity and post it :)

Oh! There's a point to this post. A recipe, and a good find that I'm happy to share.

There are many studies that show you need to consume protein shortly after lifting to help build muscle. This article explains it best I think:

"A recent study found that addition of just 10 grams of protein to the post-exercise carbohydrate resulted in a net increase of protein uptake."

Many people use chocolate milk as a recovery drink because of the mix of protein and carbohydrate. I do that too (though I usually choose an added protein nondairy beverage, like the So Delicious brand and Ovaltine - make sure you get the chocolate and not "malt" one), but I recently stumbled on pea protein. Love and Peas, specifically.

I've known it existed for years as an alternative to whey and egg white protein powders, and I've eaten it in foods before but I decided to buy it as a supplement because in the winter I tend to do more resistance training than aerobic. And you guys, I really like it.

It's sweet, but not too sweet and has a mild vanilla flavor. If you use a lot of it, it can taste chalky, like many protein powders, but I tend to stick with one rounded scoop per drink. The best part is, because it's not dairy or egg based, it's good for sensitive stomachs like yours truly.

Here's how I've been eating mine lately:

Banana Peach Pea Protein Smoothie

1 rounded scoop of pea protein powder
1 frozen banana
4-5 slices frozen peaches
large handful spinach
about a cup of coconut milk beverage
(if you like cinnamon - a pinch is a nice touch)

Blend and drink. (A more decadent smoothie I also make with it includes the protein powder, the banana, a scoop of peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of Ovaltine and non-dairy beverage - that one tastes like an awesome chocolate peanut butter milkshake) 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger: Creamy Dreamy Peppermint Mousse

All Mondays should begin with chocolate.

And really, you can't feel guilty about eating this chocolate because it's made with avocado, cocoa and agave. (And it's Valentine's Day week, so, you're supposed to have chocolate multiple times a day... at least in my world.)

This post is part of the "Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger" event that Sea at Book of Yum started. I've loved this idea ever since I started blogging back in '07. There's a talented and supportive gluten-free community out there and "adopting" is a fun way to sample other bloggers' goods (and my, are they good!)

I chose Allergy Free Test Kitchen as my adoptee; her site is relatively new to me (only because I had a bit of a blogging break while I was figuring out the whole being-a-mom-thing). Everything she posts looks and sounds amazing - and she's really informative too. It was pretty difficult to choose just one recipe to make, but with Valentine's Day coming up, I decided her Creamy Dreamy Peppermint Mousse had to be in my belly. Here's the recipe.

Putting together the mousse was super simple: you throw everything into a food processor (I used my Vitamix) and press start! It comes out creamy, rich and oh-so chocolately. Can you believe there's no dairy in this? It's referred to as mousse, but I really think it's more like a deep, dark pudding. And the peppermint - if you're a dark chocolate/peppermint fan like me - it's refreshing and dare I say - sophisticated? I think it'd be the perfect Valentine's Day dessert. (And if you don't like peppermint, just don't add it. It'll still be awesome.)

Thanks to AFTK for coming up with such a tasty and healthy treat and to Sea for hosting this! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Weekend in Photos

Smoothies, snow, sledding and a fun birthday party (for a little girl who I knew when she was in her mama's belly! Such a special thing to see). Also, A-man and I also got a night out for a fire company event, but of course failed to take any pictures all dressed up.