Food Allergy Counseling

Food Allergy Counseling
Sloane Miller, MFA, MSW, LMSW, Psychotherapist; Specialist in Food Allergy Management, Speaking At Mylan Specialty / EpiPen Event (© Noel Malcolm 2013)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Recipe: Swirled Salted Caramel Ice Cream: Tree Nut-Free, Peanut-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free [Sponsored]

*NB: This is a cow dairy-based recipe.*

Caramel is the stuff of dreams. (Look at how Stella Parks does it in Serious Eats). And it keeps for a while, not that is will last a while. Two-ingredient no churn vanilla ice cream; need I say more? Put those together and you have my latest creation:

Swirled Salted Caramel Ice Cream that’s tree nut-free, peanut-free, egg-free and gluten-free. 

Share this dessert with friends, family, dinner guests, your physical therapist or your doorman (See my Instagram stories for more about that!) and you will be everyone’s dessert heroine!


Reasons why I love this recipe:

I love recipes that use plain, basic ingredients that are just what they are – water, salt, white sugar, cream, milk. 

I love recipes that use ingredients you probably already have on hand (again, water, salt, sugar, milk, cream – you probably have that around) or can find at any local store; these I purchased at my local Fairway.

I love recipes that are mostly hands-off. To make both of these components took about 25 minutes, total. Plus over night freezing. But that’s totally hands-off!

Heavy cream  let’s talk. Most commercial heavy creams have gums and stabilizers, even the organic ones. And that’s fine, I’ve used these brands to make whipped cream my entire life without issue. Typically, gums/stabilizers aren’t nut or fish based (my severe allergens). But given a choice, I’d prefer a cream that’s just cream, especially if I can pick it up at my local store. And luckily, most regular grocery stores do carry many heavy cream options. My point here is read the labels of everything, even if it seems counterintuitive, read the labels every time, because even heavy cream can have more than one ingredient.

Salt – let’s also talk. All salt is salt, chemically, but grain size is all kinds of different and will definitely affect the outcome of baking/candy making recipes. The Serious Eats recipe upon which mine is based uses Diamond Crystal Kosher salt for the recipe. If you don’t want to buy a new salt, just start with a pinch of table salt or another Kosher salt and see how it tastes. You can always add more salt but you cannot take salt away if you overdo.

Kids (lower and middle school ages) can help to whip cream and add condensed milk and stir – get those little helping hands in there.

Older children (teenagers) can help with the caramel – lots of good chemistry lessons to discuss and also how to handle hot things in the kitchen and don't get distracted!

Label reading is for everyone. Once you have your kids in the kitchen cooking, that's a great time to remind them to always read labels, even for the basics. 

And for children of all ages, there is a sense of mastery and pride when they have a hand in making something that then the whole family eats and enjoys. 

I say: if your kids show even the slightest bit of interest, get them in the kitchen to help cook.


Special equipment - if you want to get fancy
(You probably have these all but if you don't, just use what you have)
Kitchen scale (if you don't have you can totally use measuring cups/spoons)
Pyrex measuring cup (2 cups large at least)
Loaf pan or Tupperware shaped loaf style


Recipe: Swirled Salted Caramel Ice Cream: Tree Nut-Free, Peanut-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free 

Make the ice cream to get it chilling in the freezer. 

Lightly adapted from Nigella Lawson and The Kitchn

1 pint (two cups) of heavy whipping cream (use safe for you brand)
1 fourteen-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (use safe for you brand)
1 teaspoon of vanilla (optional)

Whip the cream into soft peaks. Fold in the condensed milk. Mix thoroughly until completely combined and no streaks. Add flavorings if using. Cover with plastic wrap and pop the whole mixing bowl into the freezer while you make the caramel. 

While the no-churn ice cream is chilling, make your caramel. 

Here’s my lightly adapted recipe for Salted Caramel made according to Stella Parks's exact directions because they are just so correct and easy. 

Three-ingredient Salted Caramel
Lightly adapted from Stella Parks, Serious Eats

115g water 

240g Domino white sugar 
2g Diamond Crystal kosher salt
225g heavy cream 

Use Stella Parks' exact directions. I poured my hot caramel into a Pyrex measuring cup for easy pouring later, just saying.


Let the caramel cool first on the counter then pop in the fridge for some extra cooling time. Go have dinner, or workout or hang with loved ones. 

After about two hours, grab the bowl of chilled ice cream mixture from the freezer and be ready to work quickly. Into a Tupperware that’s loaf sized with a top, layer in first ice cream, then a ¼ cup drizzle of caramel. Continue until you hit just a ½ inch from the top. No need to swirl, it will do that for you. Magic! 

Self-swirling magical dessert!
Put the top on the Tupperware, pop back into the freezer and go live your life. Around 6-8 hours later, it’s dessert time. 


NB: If you describe this dessert as “allergen-free” people will be shocked, but it is truly top 7 allergen free, so easy and so delish.

Thank you Fairway Market for sponsoring* this delicious allergen-friendly recipe!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Recipe: Homemade 3-Ingredient Caramel, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free

As part of the continuing #cook90 Epicurious challenge, and expanding my food world and go-to recipes, I’m continuing to create a new recipe a week and it's MARCH!

So…vanilla and caramel and butterscotch, these flavors speak to my deepest foodie dreams.  Recently, I delved into caramel sauce making. Luckily the ingredients are not expensive because it took fully four tries before I created the perfect batch.

I found what looked like an excellent recipe from Serious Eats.  Here are the author’s reasons why this method is easiest and works. And here’s Stella’s recipe on Serious Eats

I made no changes but still the first time it didn't work for me; the sugar never caramelized. I wrote to the author on Twitter and we had a lively exchange where she guided me step by step on pan size, pan diameter and heat needs. The second time it worked beautifully but I wasn't in love with the salted aspect; it grew on me but still it wasn't the caramel of my dreams. 

The third time, I let it go 5 seconds past “amber” and it was too dark. Edible, in fact I know some people would love it on that edge of burned but alas, not for me.

The forth time, I turned up the heat, after 10 minutes the colored showed, I swirled, took it off the heat a hair past amber and swirled in my heavy cream.  It cooled into the perfect most delectable scrumptious caramel sauce. Oh joy!

Some recipe notes: 

My pan is heavy-bottom 3 quart with a 7.5 inch diameter, which means that the second stage took a full 10 minutes and needed a little hotter than medium heat to get the sugar to caramelize. Pan size matters here.

When you buy heavy cream, read the ingredients. Yes, there can be more ingredients in heavy cream other than cream. There’s shouldn't be but there be. So look for a safe for you brand. I’ve used Whole Foods 365 and Natural-By-Nature with great results. Read the labels. 

I made caramel using the below four ingredients with Serious Eats directions.

Also one more pro tip, it turns too dark/burns really quickly, as in will go from gorgeous perfect amber to oh no – dark brown - so really keep and eye on it. Go under versus over when it comes to amber as it will darken as it cools.


Recipe: Three-ingredient Salted Caramel: Nut-Free, Gluten-Free
Barely adapted from Serious Eats
(I went with grams here to really get the weight correct)

115g  water (1/2 cup; 115g)
240g Domino white sugar (1 1/4 cups; 240g)
A pinch of Morton’s Kosher coarse salt
225g Natural by Nature heavy cream (1 cup; 225g) 

Follow Serious Eats directions. 

My only correction is after the initial sugar water boil, don't touch the heat to "simmer" let it continue to blaze. 

Monday, March 06, 2017

Recipe: Sweet Potato Spice Cake, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-free

As part of the continuing #cook90 Epicurious challenge, and expanding my food world and go-to recipes, I’m continuing to create a new recipe a week and it's MARCH!

So last week, when I bought a 5-pound bag of sweet potatoes at Costco (I shop for a lot of my produce there as I go through so much fruit and veg during the week), I baked up two over the weekend for lunches and dinners, so easy and yum. The next day, when I looked into my fridge, at the cold baked potato and a box of Namaste Spice Mix with one portion of mix left – inspiration struck: Sweet Potato Spice Cake!

Using cold mashed baked sweet potato creates a moist, subtly flavored spice cake (i.e. the sweet potato is not noticeable, like it doesn't taste like a veggie cake, it tastes just YUM!). It’s a cake that would be very happy with a mug of tea for afternoon or tea or after dinner or for breakfast or just whenevs. 

If you want to frost it, an orange glaze would be lovely here: 1 cup confectioners sugar mixed with orange zest and fresh orange juice until desired consistency. Add juice teaspoon by teaspoon. 

And really all I did was add a cup of mashed sweet potato to the recipe on Namaste’s box, just like the carrot cake suggestion. But here it is spelled out.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Spice Cake, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free
One 8” square pan cake

Approximately 2.5 cups of dry Namaste Food Spice Cake Mix (or 13-ounces of dry mix)
2 large organic eggs
1/3 c water
1/3 cup Lucini olive oil
1 cup mashed sweet potato (cooled, no skin, no dairy/spices – just the flesh of the potato)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your pan with parchment paper. Whisk together the water, oil and eggs until incorporated. Add the mashed sweet potato until all is combined. Add the dry mix and mix until combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread out until even.  Bake in oven between 30-35 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Recipe: Homemade Lactose-free Yogurt, Nut-Free, Gluten-Free

UPDATE: Here another method, very similar, via Food52.
UPDATE: I've been straining my results, WOW! Strained = Greek yogurt or even Labneh. So good!

I saw this recipe in the New York Times food section a year ago (February 2016) and it’s taken until now (February 2017)to make it. Don’t you wait that long to try this out. I’m a yogurt fan, I usually have a portion as a mid-morning snack. I also make quick jams often as swirl-ins. But making yogurt from scratch? Don’t you need a machine? Or special equipment? Nope and nope. Just this genius recipe from Melissa Clark and the New York Times.

As Melissa says: “…I found the most accessible and complete guide in a book called “Yogurt Culture,” by Cheryl Sternman Rule, published last year. Her book made homemade yogurt seem not only easy, but also kind of essential. She persuaded me that making my own yogurt was one of those techniques that, like baking bread, every passionate cook should try at least once — if for nothing more than to connect with an ancient tradition.”

Ancient tradition connection made! PS Here’s Rule’s method on her website, Team Yogurt

Some recipe notes: I adapted the recipe slightly for my amount needs (4 cups not 8 cups) and lactose intolerance needs (I used Lactaid milk) and what yogurt I had on hand (Dannon Plain Whole Milk yogurt). I was concerned about the keeping it warm in an off oven with just the light. The NYT help line said this: “For this recipe, 'warm' means anything above 70 degrees, which can usually be achieved on top of the fridge. If you're not sure, take a quick check around the house with a digital kitchen thermometer for a good spot.” Melissa Clark on Twitter also wrote to me suggesting that I preheat the oven to 200 degrees and then turn if off and put the yogurt in, if I was concerned about warmth. I tried the completely off oven with the light on for 8 hours (one batch) and 10 hours (another batch). Both were perfection.

In future, I might try with whole Lactaid milk and might try straining it. But for my first try out of the gate, this works!  NB: Cheryl Sternman Rule has some options for non-dairy options on her site.

Creamy Homemade Yogurt
Adapted from #NYTCooking

4 cups Lactaid milk %2

In a heavy pot add milk and bring to a bare simmer, until bubbles form around the edges (190 to 200 degrees), stirring occasionally as it heats. Remove pot from heat and let cool until it feels pleasantly warm when you stick your pinkie in the milk for 10 seconds, (110 to 115 degrees). Transfer 1/2 cup of warm milk into a Pyrex measuring cup with spout and whisk in ½ cup yogurt until smooth. Stir yogurt-milk mixture back into remaining pot of warm milk. Cover pot with a large lid, wrap it in a kitchen or tea towel and move to your off oven with the oven light turned on. Let yogurt sit on the off oven for 8 hours, have a peek at 8 hours. It should have thickened, and smell like yogurt. (I left one batch in for 8 hours and another for 10 hours. Both were yum.) Transferred the pot to the refrigerator and chill for at least another 4 hours as it continues to thicken. Decant into clean Tupperware and use, all the time! Stir in your favorite mix-ins and enjoy!


Join me on Instagram @allergicgirlnyc and on my Facebook feed to see what I'm cooking right now and to cook allergen-friendly with me!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Recipe: Easy, Candied Orange Slices, Vegan, Tree Nut-Free, Gluten-Free

After I made that glorious blackberry thyme chocolate bark, I felt inspired to try another flavor combination, something with orange and an herby note. But how to get the oranges into chocolate without being too wet? Yes, I could zest, but since pushing myself during the #cook90 Epicurious challenge, I thought why not try something one step beyond that: candied orange slices. I’ve made candied orange peel before and dipped it in chocolate, heavenly. But not in a million years. So, I searched and found many super easy recipes and combined two and created this recipe below. 

My food allergen tip, scrub the peel really well as you’re going to be eating it.

Recipe: Easy, Candied Orange Slices, Vegan, Tree Nut-Free, Gluten-Free

Barely adapted from Food & Wine & The Repressed Pastry Chef

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar in the raw (turbinado sugar)
1 cara cara navel orange, sliced crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices

In a medium skillet, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil. Add the orange slices and cook over moderate heat, turning them occasionally, until the liquid is reduced and the orange slices are translucent, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the syrup is thick and the slices are tender but still intact, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer the orange slices to a rack to cool. Reserve the syrup for another use.

Follow me on Instagram @allergicgirlnyc, tag me @allergicgirlnyc and join me on my Facebook feed to see the these recipes as I post them live.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

RECIPE: Orange and Cinnamon Scented Beef Stew: Nut-Free, Gluten-Free, Fairway [SPONSORED]

"Dontcha wish your dinner was sweet meat like me?"

I really, really wanted a beef stew with the spice of cinnamon and the sweetness of oranges and dried fruit. And I looked and looked and could not find anything in all of my cookbooks and online that was exactly what I was looking for. So I made this version up, using tried and true braising methods and all of the flavors that I wanted: tender, melt in your mouth beef from Fairway Market, made even more tender by red wine, adding a little heat from cinnamon, sweetness from the carrots and raisins all in a luscious brown sauce - this is the stuff of dreams. 

It's also top 8 allergen free!

Happy plate for beef stew for days!

After the first 10 minutes or so, it's two hours of cooking, all hands off. Easy! Everything, but the meat, which I purchased at Fairway Market, you probably have on hand in your fridge and pantry. (If not, it's a quick trip to any market for these common ingredients.) I love recipes like that, don't you? Items you already have on hand, no special ingredients - easy! And as it’s Valentine’s Day 2017, *if* you’re so inclined and have the time, you could start cooking this dish this afternoon and have dinner on the table for your honey, tonight. Easy!


Orange and Cinnamon Scented Beef Stew with Carrots and Raisins

One Pound Wine Braised Beef Stew
Makes around 13 ounces of beef stew

One pound cubed chuck beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 T tomato paste
1 dried bay leaf
1 cup red wine
2 cups water (add more if needed to cover but not submerge meat)
.5 t ground cinnamon
1 cara cara orange, zested and juiced
½ cup raisins
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and make room on the middle rack. Heat two tablespoons of EVOO into a large Dutch oven/ceramic pot on medium high heat. Dry the meat cubes, salt them on all sides and add the meat to the hot pan in batches as to not overcrowd, and brown thoroughly on all sides. (If the pot it needs more oil, add it and make sure the fond doesn’t burn.) 

When the meat is all browned and sitting on a platter, resting, sauté the onions until translucent and fragrant. (If you need more oil, go ahead and add a glug). Once the onions are fragrant, add garlic and sauté for one minute until fragrant (do not burn the garlic!). Add the tomato paste, cinnamon and orange zest. Stir and heat for 30 seconds. Then add wine and bay leaf and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom. Boil the wine mixture until slightly reduced. Add the meat back into the pot with any juices. Bring the mixture a boil and then take off the heat and place into the 350 degree oven with the lid on the pot. 

While meat is cooking, add orange juice to raisins to rehydrate.  

About 1.5 hours into cooking, add chopped carrots and rehydrated raisins with any residual OJ. 

Let the mixture cook for another 30 minutes, until the meat is tender - a total of two hours.

Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed. 

Serve over the grain or pasta of your choice with a side of salad and some yummy steamed greens.

Served with a side salad and oranges for dessert (uh...and a yoga block). #healthyhabits!

Enjoy and thank you, Fairway Market*.

(NB: *My policies regarding sponsored posts.)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Recipe: Vegan chickpea chili, Nut-Free, Gluten-Free, Top 8 Allergen-Free

Vegan chickpea chili over rice - yum
 I’ve been making this recipe, or aversion of it, since college. It’s economical, easy, high in nutrition but low on calories/fat, it’s made from pantry staples that you probably have on hand, it whips up in ten minutes or less which all means that you can walk in the door any night and be sitting down to this nutritious plate of yum in two shakes.

A few recipe notes: Chili powder is a mix of spices like cayenne, cumin, oregano, chiles, salt, pepper and other spices. Worried about allergens? You can easily make your own, here’s a recipe from The Kitchn.  Also, I like a little sweet in my chilis, even meat chili; maple syrup in particular, it’s totally optional but you should try it.


Recipe: Vegan chickpea chili, Nut-Free, Gluten-Free, Top 8 Allergen-Free

1 15 ounce can Goya chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 15 ounce can organic chopped tomatoes
1 shallot, peeled and minced (or small onion peeled and chopped)
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
Chili powder to taste (I started with two healthy shakes and then taste)
1 glug of maple syrup (or another sweater like brown sugar or honey)
Lucini EVOO
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté shallot in evoo until translucent and fragrant. Add garlic and sauté for one minute, then sprinkle chili powder, and stir until spices are fragrant. Add tomatoes and maple syrup, stir and let everyone meld for a few minutes. Add the chickpeas and let warm through. Taste and adjust for seasons. Serve over steamed rice and a side of green salad or steamed greens and enjoy!

Follow me on Instagram @allergicgirlnyc, tag me @allergicgirlnyc and join me on my Facebook feed to see the these recipes as I post them live.  

Monday, February 06, 2017

Recipe: Easy Rice Pudding, Lactose-Free Tree Nut-Free, Egg-Free

When I was in junior high school, one of my best friends was Venezuelan and after school, we’d raid her fridge. Two things they always had for after school snacks were rice pudding with raisins and empanadas, both nut-free and both so beyond yum. (They also had Nutella, this was in the mid-80s, which they brought from South America. Of course, I didn’t touch that.)

Every time I think of making rice pudding for myself and I look up recipes, they involve so much milk and/or cream and/or sugar and/or sweetened milk condensed and/or evaporated milk and/or a custard base and/or a house of stirring. Ugh, the work and I’m hungry when I wake up in the morning.

So, one morning while doing the #cook90 challenge by Epicurious, I thought hmm, what if I warmed up day old rice in milk, added raisins, topped with cinnamon and finished it with maple syrup, what might happen? Quick and easy rice pudding happened and IT IS GLORIOUS!

Recipe: Easy Rice Pudding, Lactose-Free Tree Nut-Free, Egg-Free
Makes one portion, scale up for your needs

.5 cup cooked white rice
.25 - .5 cup Lactaid milk 2%
Handful of golden raisins to taste
Cinnamon for sprinkling
Maple syrup to taste

In a heavy saucepan, on medium heat, cook the rice in the milk until the milk has been absorbed. Taste for texture, add more milk if needed. Plate in your favorite bowl, sprinkle on cinnamon, add a glug of maple syrup and enjoy!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Allergic Girl: #cook90 challenge by Epicurious: Take-Aways

This month, I joined the #cook90 challenge by Epicurious on Instagram

"The #cook90 challenge is simple: cook three meals a day, every day, for a whole month." - @epicurious 

No biggie for me, basically I already do that so I gave myself more specific goals: use new recipes and be more creative with leftovers, all to get out of a cooking/dining rut. You can read more about my stated goals on my Allergic Girl blog.

Overall, I’d say goals were MEGA achieved and even better than that, I feel like I reconnected to my deep love of food and creating i.e. I got out of my food rut!

I upped my #nextover game: sliced cold chicken with refreshed chicken skin with a side of blackberry jam for dipping – beyond! I made candied oranges and then orange chocolate bark. I used herbs in interesting ways – I’m looking at you chimichurri and blackberry thyme chocolate bark. I made recipes I had been dreaming about: yes, you homemade yogurt. I became the queen of roasted chicken thighs, especially those with Italian herbs. I made easy oven fries that are stupid good. I even made up a recipe all by myself! (That one will be sponsored and on the blog soon.)

What a joyful month of cooking! And I’m going keep it going.

For February, I’m thinking:

Chicken skin tacos

Poached chicken breasts for salads

Lamb with prunes

Suzy-Q cakes (which I’ve never had)

Stay tuned and follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to see what I'm cooking right now!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

ADVOCACY: AAFA Sends ACA Coverage Letter to Congress, Add Your Story

From our trusted colleagues at AAFA, this call to action is from their website:

Congress is moving forward to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a plan in place to ensure that Americans will continue to have access to the health insurance they need.  

The ACA guarantees that people with chronic conditions have access to affordable health insurance, and Congress could take this away.  This means our nation risks going back to a time when people with chronic conditions like asthma and allergies could be denied health insurance or forced to pay outrageous premiums or dropped from coverage just when they need it most.

AAFA needs your help now. Many lawmakers have begun the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Contact your members of Congress (your senators and representatives) and urge them to fight on behalf of you and all their constituents who depend on the Affordable Care Act.  

Tell Congress not to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act until there is a guarantee that you will still have access to equal or better coverage.

Go to this link on the AAFA website for more information to let your voice be heard NOW!