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)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Signed Allergic Girl Books Sale!

I have TEN Allergic Girl books leftover from the FAAN conferences and no closet space to hold them.

I’m offering these extra copies to you, my readers, at an exclusive, one-time only price: $25.00 USD.

(Includes shipping within the continental US and good through May 19, 2012 or I run out of copies.

Three great reasons to buy from me, right now:
  1. A portion of the proceeds goes to FAAN.
  2. They make a great gift for Food Allergy Awareness Week.
  3. When you buy through me, I will inscribe them!
The pay button is on the upper right hand corner of this blog.

Email me with the name to whom I should inscribe your book(s) and I will ship them out right away.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kumquat Marmalade

I was in my favorite market, Fairway, and there were stacked containers of kumquats by the entryway. Without thinking I picked one up and announced to myself: I’m going to make kumquat marmalade. Have I ever made marmalade before? Nope. But the kumquats were just too pretty to pass up. And I love marmalade.

So this Sunday, I did a quick Google search for how to make marmalade knowing that I didn’t want to officially can it, I wanted something easy and straightforward with few ingredients and I had a hunch I wouldn’t need pectin. I found a  simple recipe that I adapted from Recipe Girl.

Here's Recipe Girl's recipe for kumquat marmalade
Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 40 min Cook Time: 16 min
An easy, microwave recipe for Kumquat Marmalade. This recipe will keep for two months in the refrigerator.

1 pound kumquats (more or less)
1 medium orange, peeled- white pith removed, and chopped
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar (more or less)
1/2 medium (2 Tablespoons) lemon, squeezed

1. Rinse kumquats and remove any stems. Slice the ends off of each kumquat & discard.

2. Cut each kumquat in half and carefully cut out white pith and seeds; discard.

3. Chop halved kumquats & pulp coarsely; place into a food processor along with the chopped orange. Pulse until kumquats are chopped more finely and somewhat liquefied.

4. Measure the mixture at this point and pour it into a bowl. Add equal amounts of sugar to the kumquat mixture (ie. 2 cups of kumquat mixture will need 2 cups of sugar). Mix in sugar and add 2 Tablespoons lemon juice.

5. Microwave on high (uncovered) for 6 minutes, giving the mixture a chance to boil.

6. Stir, and continue to microwave in 2 minute bursts (stirring after each burst) for a total of 10 minutes.

7. Remove from microwave, stir and let cool at room temperature. The marmalade will thicken as it cools.

8. Keep marmalade in an airtight container; refrigerate for up to 2 months. Freeze for up to 6 months.


Here are my Allergic Girl adaptations.
I topped and tailed the kumquats, de-pithed them and then chopped into segments. (I didn’t use a food processor). I put those segments into a container, eyeballed how much they filled the container and then placed them in a large bowl. I then measured sugar in the raw in the same container to the same level, again eyeballing how much. I peeled one navel orange, chopped that into small pieces and add that to the large bowl with the kumquats. I quartered a lemon, ready for squeezing into the mix. Then I added all ingredients to a pot, brought the mixture to a boil and then cooked the slurry on medium heat, stirring often for approximately 30 minutes. It perfectly jelled into a delicious kumquat marmalade!

My Kumquat Lady Marmalade

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Cooking Chanel, Allergic Girl

I love that the segment for Al Roker’s My Life in Food that I did last year for The Cooking Chanel is still running – it means more of you might feel like this woman who Facebooked me:

"Just watched an episode of "My Life in Food" on The Cooking Channel, which had you... My daughter has multiple food allergies & its been a total roller coaster. Glad to know there's others who really do understand."

Here's the show if you haven’t yet seen it. From "My Life in Food":

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ask The Expert, FAAN, May 2012

I’m this month’s FAAN Ask The Expert  – woo hoo! If you are a member of FAAN, send them your question for me by May 1, 2012 about:
  • lifestyle and food allergies
  • creating confidence
  • making safe friends
  • communication challenges 
  • finding solutions
  • managing anxiety
  • or anything else related to lifestyle and food allergies

From the FAAN site:
The next expert in FAAN’s exclusive Members Only “Ask the Expert” website feature is Sloane Miller, M.S.W., L.M.S.W., author of “Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well With Food Allergies.” Sloane, a speaker at this year’s Food Allergy Conferences, will answer questions related to managing food allergies with confidence. The deadline to submit questions is Tuesday, May 1. Send your questions To access this feature, FAAN members may log in to Not a member? Join today and submit your own questions to (Remember, we will do our best to get answers to as many questions as possible, but can’t guarantee that all questions will be answered due to experts’ schedules and the high volume of e-mails.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Allergy Survey, Dey

Just this morning, I saw a new television advertisement by Dey, the makers of EpiPen, about anaphylaxis. [Disclosure: I have a relationship with Mylan Specialty.] On national TV, NBC at 8:15am to be exact. The ad is for My Allergy Survey - a free tool from Dey The survey goes through your allergen triggers and the possible allergic reactions. The point of the survey is to “…help you prepare for a discussion with your doctor about the warning signs, so you can find out if you, or someone you care for, may be at risk for anaphylaxis.”This survey is clearly NOT a diagnostic tool but a beginning point to have a conversation with you board certified medical provider about anaphylaxis risks. You know how strongly I feel about talking with your doctor about your needs. This is a good free tool to start.

Here’s another one, my free FAQ for Allergists downloadable on my website site: 

The point of the Dey survey and my  FAQ for Allergists is: get in there and start talking with your medical providers if you suspect that you are having severe adverse reactions to food. Want a partner to support you through the process, contact me through

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chicken with Honey and Cumin

So I made the Passover chicken this year.

Most years we buy rotisserie chicken from Fairway Market - perfectly cooked every time it takes a lot of the stress and hassle from throwing a dinner party for 8, 10 or twelve guests if the chicken is already done. But this year I was determined to try my own version.

As a vegetarian for 17 years until 2005, cooking meat still feels new and novel and I don't regularly cook meat at home for myself. However of January 2012, I’ve been hosting monthly Shabbat dinner parties with a meat dish as the main (often with vegetarian options). But not chicken, not yet.

To create the Passover chicken masterpieces, I combined two recipes: simply recipes technique for coking chicken parts (and with the help of my trusty meat thermometer) and then another recipe for an added flavor: honey and cumin. Here's that recipe in a jpeg from a book whose title I cannot recall (I eliminated the vinegar as I didn't have any on hand):

Everyone was fainting over the chicken-y goodness, the breast was tender and flavorful, the thighs fully cooked and tender.

I will so be making this again.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gluten-Free Cake, Manischewitz

Ingredients for gluten-free Passover cake mix

Gluten-free vanilla cake with chocolate frosting
Gluten-free chocolate cake with chocolate frosting

About a month ago, supermarkets starting putting out their special Passover food section. I happened upon a box of Manischewitz gluten-free yellow cake mix which I quickly snapped up to try. That same week I attended a press event for Manischewitz where I had an opportunity to talk directly with Paul Bensabat, the new owner as of 2004. We discussed the company’s new focus on comfort food, healthy foods and a Moroccan line (he is of Sephardic Jewish ancestry). We also discussed their new gluten-free line. They rolled out a gluten-free chocolate cake as well as vanilla cake for passover. Additionally, they have plans for a honey cake and coffee cake that is GF for Rosh Hashana, which I'm excited about.

Manischewitz is making the gluten-free product line in their facility which is not wheat-free nor gluten-free. According to Paul, they have created strict gluten-free protocols regarding cleaning and manufacturing; in addition, Paul said they are “gluten-free certified” by a third party certifier. However, this certification is not on their packaging yet nor on their website, which is vital for those who need further information. Additionally, their only allergen statement from their Manischewitz health corner website is about nuts and not about wheat nor gluten: "The above products are peanut & nut free and made on a peanut and nut free production line. - Passover cereals are made in a plant that is cleaned for Passover when nuts are not used, but nuts are used in the plant the rest of the year. - Nuts are used in our Passover Macaroons And Cookies." (NB: I called and spoke with Manischewitz's representative directly about these gluten-free issues and getting the necessary information for you. They said the certification would be on the box "next year" but still haven't told me who the certifier was.)

The GF upshot as of now: their GF products may or may not be suitable for your needs depending upon the severity of your allergy or intolerance. If you are wheat sensitive, wheat allergic or celiac, follow up with Manischewitz directly about your gluten-free needs and make a determination at that point.

As for me, Manischewitz  is a brand I’ve used my entire life without tree nut allergy issues, although they routinely manufacture products with nuts (not ones I have eaten though). In terms of the new GF line, as I’m wheat intolerant, it is neither an allergy nor do I have celiac disease, I tried these products and had no issue. But my needs may be very different from yours. So, please follow up with them about your needs.

Product review: I made both of the cakes and they taste like regular Passover cakes, that is non-wheat based cakes. The mix is primarily potato starch based and require the addition of eggs and oil. The cakes as you can see above were light and fluffy with a lovely crumb. The icing goes on in a thin layer which is good because it's pure cocoa and sugar tasting i.e. super sweet. I loved these cakes as did my Passover dinner guests most of whom were not gluten-free; I would buy and serve them again.

Thank you Manischewitz for creating these beauties. Can’t wait to see what rolls out in the fall.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Chef Cards, Travel

Recently, I was the Twitter expert for a panel hosted by the Alliance for Women in Media held at the AOL offices. All bunches of cool. 

But best of all, the colleague that invited me, Anne, told me that because of a conversation we had about her diary allergy over lunch one day she decided to do things differently on a recent trip to Italy. She asked an Italian friend to translate her cow diary allergy needs into Italian, printed up a sheet of pre-made cards and had them laminated. Here they are.

She was in Italy for two weeks and said when she went to dine, she would place the card on the table and it spoke for her. She had an entire diary-free trip in Italy, no allergic reactions and she was thrilled.

Have you traveled overseas recently? How did you handle your allergic needs?

Friday, April 06, 2012

Holiday Planning, Food Allergy

It’s that time of year and I’m hosting Passover. I bought the New American Haggadah by Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander to use, I'll be leading the seder,  I’ve devised the menu and am cooking fifty percent of the below.

Right now, the menu consists of the below.



Roasted broccoli
Roasted cauliflower
Matzoh farfel

Gluten-free chocolate and vanilla cakes by Manischewitz

There will be allergic girls and boys at the table as well as omnivores. I will make an announcement at the start of dinner, no double dipping, nor taking food with your own fork. I will keep all labels of anything pre-made as well as recipes of everything I make.

For you all, there will be recipes and pictures very soon.


Meanwhile, are you hosting this Passover and Easter weekend? Who are your guests? What are you making?

Thursday, April 05, 2012

FAAN Conference, Oakbrook, IL

What a wonderful weekend in Chicago, IL at the FAAN conference. I gave the keynote about how you can create food allergy confidence, led an adult workshop about the role of communication in food allergy confidence, spoke with the teens about food allergies and living confidently and signed Allergic Girl books to 100 new food allergy allies and friends.

The weekend was made even more wonderful by virtue of being with parents, adults and teenagers who when you say, like I did, “I have food allergies, allergies, asthma and eczema” hands go up, nods and looks of recognition happen. There is great comfort in being in a room of two hundred people who are instant atopic disease allies.

If you haven't' yet experienced this sense of community, are a newly diagnosed family or want an allergy tune up, I will be speaking at the end of April in Tarrytown, NY. I hope to see you there!


The below pictures are courtesy and copyright of Morgan Smith of, and my new favorite Food Allergy Teen Ambassador.  

Giving the keynote
Signing books after the keynote
Talking to the teen session

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Pure Room, Hyatt, Hamburger University

Last weekend, I was the keynote speaker at the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network conference in Oakbrook, IL. (I’ll be speaking in Tarrytown, NY too!) It was held at McDonald’s Hamburger University and I stayed at the University- connected Hyatt.

Here is the bridge between the Hyatt Hotel over Lake Fred heading to the University building.
When I called to double check my reservation and ask for some special allergy needs (no feathers for example) they told me they had Pure rooms. I was thrilled and for $20 was upgraded to a special room, one that I’ve written about before here. About two years ago, Hyatt adopted the Pure program for “… 2,000 Hypo-Allergenic Rooms at 125 Full-Service Properties in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.”  They call it Respire at the Hyatt.

What this meant for me – a room purifier, low to no fragrance in the room and feather free bedding. They do all other kind of unseen asthma-friendly things which equaled a non-wheezy Allergic Girl who could make three presentations during the conference with a low incidence of allergies and wheezing. That is the best.

Thank you Pure and Hyatt for a lovely stay.