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)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Chipotle, Power Plant, Baltimore, MD

Pratt Street power plant

This is becoming a habit, Chipotle Mexican Grill. But I don’t want it to stop. You are my latest go to when I travel and need to eat somewhere allergen-friendly for me safe and quick and hearty, usually at a conference or work event. 

In the last three months, I have dined at Chipotle in Toronto, Canada, Plymouth Meeting Mall, Pennsylvania and now Baltimore, Maryland. Located in this cool, re-purposed powerplant next to Barnes and Noble (also the bookseller at Expo East and the one who directed me there as we chatted during my book signing), this Chipotle Mexican Grill has a harbor view.

Gorgeous view on gorgeous day in Baltimore

At Expo East, after my book signing and before my panel presentation, I dashed in a quick cab ride to have lunch at Chipotle Mexican Grill. Safe for me and delish!

My usual chicken/fajita bowl at Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill, thank you for creating consistently yummy food that is peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish free!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Expo East, 2012, Recap

Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, MD is the largest east coast conference for the natural, organic and healthy living industry. For the last two years, I’ve been honored to be a part of expert panels relating to food allergies - here’s this year’s session - as well as hold book signings for Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies.

Pretty cool to see my name up in "lights" at Natural Products Expo East
As I walked the floor at Natural Products Expo East of over 5000 booths here is some of what I saw.


Some of the bigger news for the allergen-friendly category is that Smart Balance (makers buttery spreads) purchased Glutino’s and Udi’s Gluten-Free and that purchase was reflected in this year’s booths, repacking, re-branding and new products.

Udi's new French bread
Glutino's new packaging

Other beloved gluten-free, allergen-friendly brands have gotten new looks like, Chebe, GF flours and mixes made from tapioca.

Same Chebe inside, now in boxes instead of pouches

Enjoy Life Foods was there with top secret new products that I can't even whisper to you about but many of you will be super excited. Meanwhile, they are updating their packaging as well and discontinuing a beloved cereal (Perky's crunchy rice) and bringing on a new one: chia and flax cereal.

Chobani is roaring in Q4 and 2013's Q1 with a spate of new products. First on deck are their banana yogurt and pear yogurt flavors.

Cannot wait to try these Chobanis!

And then that follows with Chobani's new "flip flavors" including fig and orange! There is a chocolate flavor and I've already asked about the chocolate purveyor's allergen status updates when I have them. 

These are Chobani tester cups and mock-ups

Food Should Taste Good has come out with a few new flavors - this time a sweet potato chip - oh my!

Cannot wait to try these FSTG chips
Did you know Canyon Bakehouse, makers of GF breads is also nut-free? Me neither.

A new GF bread to try: Canyon Bakehouse

Oats. That was one trend I was noticing most in the spate of new gluten-free and allergen-friendly products.  Here is a dairy-free ice cream made from oats by Wayfare.

Wayfare has a whole line of dairy-free goods

And last but not least, a new line of pre-made organic rice, oats and quinoa, great for traveling, by Minsley.

That Minsley rice bowl six-pack is available at Costco

Thank you Natural Products Expo East for another great show!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Brisket with Plums and Wine, New York Times

So, the mantel has been passed, the brisket-making mantle that is. My beloved Aunt Susie, keeper of the brisket flame and arbiter of all things briskety said to me this Rosh Hashanah: “This is the best brisket you have ever made. It may be the best brisket I have ever eaten. I pass the mantel on to you.” A sweet new year indeed!

The recipe is Melissa Clark’s from the New York Times with some modifications. The pot is the star here, and the meat, of course. The pot is Le Creuset which I received for my birthday last year by my dearest bestest Isabel Rose and the meat was first cut brisket from Fairway Harlem (their second cut was too small to feed 10 people). Here is the original recipe  and then below is the recipe with my modifications mainly due to availability.


Braised Brisket with Plums and Wine


5 hours 45 minutes, plus marinating


1 brisket - 4.5 pounds, first cut
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bunch thyme
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 onions, thinly sliced
1/2  cup red wine
1 stick cinnamon

Zest from 1 large orange
2 whole bay leaves
2 pounds ripe but firm plums, halved and pitted
Thyme leaves, for garnish (optional).


1. Rinse and pat dry the meat. Season brisket all over with salt. Place it in a large container and cover with garlic and half the thyme sprigs. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Let meat stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. Wipe off garlic and thyme.

2. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place a very large
Le Creuset over high heat. Add oil. Place brisket in pot and cook, without moving, until browned. It'll take about 7 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate once browned.

3. Add onions to pot and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook onions, tossing occasionally, until golden brown around the edges and very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in bay leaves, cinnamon, orange zest and remaining thyme. Scatter half the plums over the bottom of the pot and nestle brisket on top. Scatter remaining plums over meat. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Cook, turning every 30 minutes, until meat is completely fork tender, about 5 hours. After 4 hours, uncover the pot so some of the liquid can evaporate and sauce can thicken.

4. Let brisket cool completely in the pot, then refrigerate, covered, overnight. (This makes it easier to remove the fat from the top with a slotted spoon.) Take out meat while cold and slice thinly. Transfer back into pot. Reheat meat in a 300-degree oven for about 45 minutes before serving. Garnish with thyme leaves, if you like.


My mise en place
Meat browned, onions cooking down
Laying plums and aromatics down before meat goes back in
Step 4, after four hours of cooking - checking the brisket
The next day, slicing the cold meat before the reheat
A view of a slice - heaven


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Expo East, Speaker, 2012

I’m thrilled to announce that I will be speaking again this year at Expo East in Baltimore, MD. This time I will be on a panel with Jennifer of Navan Foods called Beyond Gluten-Free: Serving Your Special Diet Customer, Friday, 09/21/2012, 3:30PM - 4:30PM , Room 319.

I will also be signing Allergic Girl books at the Barnes and Noble bookstore at Friday, 09/21/12 at 1pm on, Level 300, By Sharp Street Terrace.

And I'll also be walking the show meeting new allergen-friendly food vendors and seeing some old friends and reporting on it all.

If you’re planning on attending the show, find me at the panel or get a book signed and say hello!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lungs, Asthma


I’ve had asthma since I was four years old. For thirty years, I took daily medication for my asthma. Only recently did it become apparent that I didn’t need medication anymore; my asthma had gone into remission.

This past spring, I met an artist, Kai Margarida-Ramírez de Arellano. She had created a series of papel picado pieces based on the body. I thought: I’d like to celebrate a part of my body that has survived a long journey - my lungs. I'd like to exalt them, glory in them, embrace them. For even though I was sick for most of my childhood, I’m well in this moment. So, I commissioned this piece by Kai: dark blue lungs resting serenely, floating on a gold background of embossed shells.

This is my thank you. Thank you lungs, we’re both still here.

And thank you Kai for creating such a lovely piece.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Food Allergy Bill, NYC, Greenfield

** Update as of September 26, 2012: "Council Member Greenfield recently introduced Intro 924, which would require restaurants to post major allergens that are used as ingredients in their food. It is similar to Council Member Lappin’s bill Intro 981 and we’re working with committee staff to figure out what the distinction is." **

I’m all for more food allergy legislation that makes it easier for both restaurants and patrons to make informed choices about dining out safely and effectively with severe dietary restrictions. However,  this NY1 story and this Daily News story about a new food allergy bill in New York City is unclear and leaves me with more questions than congratulations. [NB: I’ve written to my contacts at the city council for clarification and am awaiting a reply.]

The gist from Daily News: "City Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that would make restaurants put up posters that alert patrons if a particular offering contains any of the eight most common allergens — peanuts, eggs, nuts, milk, wheat, fish, soy or shellfish."

Here’s the bill information that I found the site:  "A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the City of New York, in relation to food allergy awareness in food service establishments...The department shall create a poster containing information on food allergy to be posted in food service establishments, including, but not limited to, warnings if food contains eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, soy or wheat as ingredients. Such poster shall be printed in the covered languages and shall be made available by the department to food service establishments.”

I don’t know one restaurant that doesn’t use one or more of the top eight allergens at some point in their menu. How would that poster read? Wouldn’t it have to be huge? What about an ingredient book instead like the kind Chef Ming Tsai uses at Blue Ginger that is accessible to all patrons? What about implementing some of the other great legislation that Massachusetts fought so hard for and won?

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Allergen-Friendly Chipwiches


At my first dinner part of the fall season I had both Kosher guests and dairy allergic guests and a planned to make chipwiches  i.e. vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies rolled in more chocolate chips. So what to do? Why make two versions of course. And even easier, the ice cream one was a do-it-yourself chipwich station.

The chocolate chip cookie “recipe” was from a mix, King Arthur Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. They do contain eggs otherwise are free from gluten, wheat, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, soy and dairy. *If you are egg free, King Arthur has suggestions on egg-replacement options.* I used Spectrum organic palm shortening instead of butter.  Enjoy Life mega chunks for the chocolate. The frosting was the "buttercream" recipe on the box of Domino's Confectioners Sugar substituting palm shortening for butter and rice milk for milk. And the extra kick was Tahitian vanilla from Nieslen-Massey. Et voila, a Kosher-ready, dairy-free "chipwich style" dessert!

I assembled the dairy-free version first earlier in the day and served those people first, placing the covered platter with a diary-free sticker on it in the fridge to ensure absolutely no dairy confusion. Then I placed a platter of a few dozen cookies, Hagan Daaz vanilla ice cream with scooper, a bowl full of mini chips and lots of napkins on the table and let everyone go to town. Beyond delicious and fun and easy to make.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

KFA, Plymouth Meeting Mall, 2012

What a great event this weekend in beautiful Plymouth Meeting. I was at the KFA Walk and Expo selling Allergic Girl books and TeamAllergic Girl t-shirts and connecting with all of you! Here are a few snaps of the event I could catch when I could sneak away from my table.

Set up just getting started
Food allergy educator and resident rock star, Kyle Dine, welcoming the crowd
KFA Board Chairwoman Heidi Bayer about to introduce Rep Murt from PA
Me signing Allergic Girl books
Me and Kyle Dine

Thank you KFA for a great day!