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, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays, 2012

Have a wonderful, safe and food allergy free holiday season everyone - see you in January 2013!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

FDA, Risk Assessment for Establishing Food Allergen Thresholds; Request for Comments, 2013

From the FDA:

SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is establishing a  docket to obtain comments relevant to conducting a risk assessment to  establish regulatory thresholds for major food allergens as defined in  the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004. 

Establishment of a Docket and Request for Information

    We are establishing a docket to provide an opportunity for interested individuals to submit comments (including data) that we can use to design and carry out a quantitative risk assessment for
establishing regulatory thresholds for major food allergens. In particular, we invite comments on the following matters:

    1. How should we define ``an allergic response that poses a risk to human health?''

    2. Which major food allergens are of greatest public health concern and what is the size of the at-risk population?

    3. How should clinical dose distribution data be used when establishing regulatory thresholds for the major food allergens?

    4. What approaches exist for using biological markers or other factors related to the severity of allergic responses in a threshold risk assessment?

    5. What data and information exist on dietary exposure patterns for individuals on allergen avoidance diets?

    6. What data or other information exist on current levels of exposure associated with the consumption of undeclared major food allergens in packaged foods?

    7. What other information or data should we consider in establishing regulatory thresholds for major food allergens?

DATES: Submit either electronic or written comments by February 12,  2013. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Latkes with Applesauce & Maple Cinnamon Yogurt, Recipes

Latkes with homemade applesauce and maple/cinnamon yogurt

Even though Chanukah is over, latkes are great this time of year – who doesn’t love fried potatoes in any form? The New York Times did a nice run-down of a few different types here, more latke debate here and one more lakte thought here.

A party guest made the latkes in the above picture – everyone was raving. Here’s his recipe.

Jason’s Latkes

6 cups of peeled and shredded potatoes
6 beaten eggs
3 tablespoons grated shallot
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Fried in vegetable oil
Made about 24.

My addition was applesauce & maple cinnamon yogurt on top. I made my own applesauce with three ingredients: apples (cored, pealed and sliced), orange juice and a sprinkle of cinnamon. It’s a one pot situation. Bring all ingredients to a boil then simmer until the apples breakdown. Total deliciousness. For the “sour cream” I altered this recipe, substituted two percent Greek yogurt (so rich!) and used  Grade B maple syrup and cinnamon.

These two additions, made in no time flat the day before my last dinner party, created a luscious appetizer that was beloved!

Friday, December 21, 2012

12 Days of an Allergy Free Christmas, Kyle Dine

Colleague Kyle Dine has done it again - creating an adorable video for the food allergy community called: "12 Days of an Allergy Free Christmas"! 

From his website: "Kyle Dine - A Christmas classic with a new spin! Food allergy musician Kyle Dine goes over 12 necessities to have an allergy safe and festive holiday season. This cheeky song gets a little crazy with props flying all over the place and concludes with Kyle getting choked up over a tray of delicious gluten-free, egg-free muffins!"

And here's the video - enjoy!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cater to Guests Gluten-Free by Linda Freeman

*Update March 2103 : the article is no longer online.*

Dear friend Linda Freeman (also the founder and president of the Celiac Disease Foundation Hudson Valley N.Y. Chapter ) penned this article, "Cater to Guests Gluten-Free", recently about hosting gluten-free guests (Disclosure: I’m quoted within the article). Even though her focus is on the celiac and gluten-free community, she has some excellent and poignant advice for anyone who wants to host a loved one with a dietary restriction. My favorite quote: “Please be aware that your guests may be uncomfortable asking for special consideration and will be grateful if you broach the subject with them. Don’t assume you understand, either. At a dinner party, a host told me, “Trust me, I wouldn’t give you anything you can’t eat.” Asking your guests to trust you puts them in an uncomfortable position of having to choose between offending you and being sure they are eating safely.” Well said, Linda! Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wegmans, Allergic Girl Book

Photograph sent to me by a colleague

I’m thrilled to announce that Wegmans now carries AllergicGirl. I’ve heard about Wegmans for years, specifically as they have an excellent in-house dietary team that also covers food allergies responsibly. I’m honored to be chosen to for their shelves!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cybele Pascal, Allergy-Free And Easy Cooking, Preview

Cover photograph courtesy of Ten Speed Press

This is just a sneak preview but I’m so excited about this book I have to tell you about it before I cook a recipe from it (which is my standard blog review procedure). I sped through reading this review copy of Allergy-Free And Easy Cooking by Cybele Pascal and, wow, has Cybele done it again!

Like no other allergen-friendly cookbook author I know of, Cybele understands and answers the food allergy community's needs, fears, concerns and questions about allergen-free cooking before we even ask them. She has food allergies as well is the mother of children with food allergies. Questions about substitutions? She’s got answers that makes sense and take all options into account. Need ingredient resources – she lists them; not all books do, many in fact don’t and expect you to fend on your own for ingredients that are free-from. (Disclosure: My website is listed as a resource) Only need to eliminate wheat but not eggs or wheat and eggs but not nuts or all top eight allergens or only three of the top eight; she has a formula that makes each of these recipe adaptable to your needs. Want to get in and out of the kitchen in thirty minutes? Yup, Cybele has done that, too. 

Here’s more about the book from her website: Allergy-Free And Easy Cooking by Cybele Pascal:"A collection of 75 completely allergen-free recipes ready in 30 minutes or less, perfect for food allergic kids and busy professionals who need to get meals on the table swiftly...With her acclaimed cookbooks and loyal following, Cybele Pascal has been pioneering allergy-friendly cooking for more than a decade. As the mother of two kids with food allergies, Pascal knows the value of weeknight-friendly allergy-free recipes that can be prepped and on the table in half an hour without sacrificing flavor or texture. Through adept ingredient substitutions and easy-to-follow techniques, Pascal excels at providing enticing recipes that steer clear of the top eight allergens and appeal to home cooks who need to avoid dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and sesame. Pascal’s allergy-friendly versions of favorites like Creamy Mac ‘n’ “Cheese,” Buffalo Wings with Ranch Dressing, Chicken Mole Soft Tacos, Gnocchi, Deep Dish Pizza with Italian Sausage,  and Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry have all the appeal of the originals, and are perfect for food allergic kids and busy professionals. Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking is a delightful solution that will help you get flavorful, safe meals on the table swiftly."

Allergy-Free And Easy Cooking by Cybele Pascal will make an excellent addition to your home library, a fantastic gift for a food allergy loved one or a newly diagnosed loved one and I’ve even recommended it to my corporate clients!

Congratulations Cybele – can’t wait to dive in!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Review

I received a reviewer copy of Deb Perelman’s 
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook right after Hurricane Sandy. Needless to say, it's taken me a few weeks to get to it. First know this, Deb is not an allergen-free baker nor recipe creator. She is a fellow blogger who has been writing and cooking out of her small NYC kitchen for several years now, turning out gorgeous pictures and gorgeous food, with humor and seemingly without effort. Her new tome (The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook), has the same tone as her blog: a If I Can Do This And I’m An Un-trained Cook, So Can You. It has great pictures and step by steps, some lovely ideas, some new takes on old favorites and some naturally allergen-friendly finds. It also is a mix of a few recipes from her blog and mostly news ones created just for the book. From her website (with the recipe I’m dying to try ):

“The book has 105-plus recipes, with chapters devoted to Breakfasts, Salads, Sandwiches, Tarts and Pizzas, Meatless Main Courses, Main Courses with Meat or Fish, and oh yes, a whole lot of Sweets, from Cookies to Pies to Tarts to Cakes and Candies and Puddings…The recipes are overwhelmingly completely and totally new — I was a little obsessed with making sure this book had value to everyone, even if you’ve never missed a site update, so only about 15 favorites were plucked from this url, essentially things that no book bearing the name The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook would be complete without. There are a ton of photos (at least one for each recipe), stories, and every single recipe includes ingredients in both cups-and-spoons and metric weights. When you open the book on your kitchen counter, it should stay open (it’s called lay-flat binding, and I specifically requested, nay, begged for it). And I really hope you love it."

To give the book a test drive, I made Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats. I’m a sucker for the regular old Krispie Treats from the box recipe. Since becoming wheat intolerant seven years ago, I’ve made that classic recipe a few times with a few different safe GF brands: Enjoy Life has a cereal now discontinued, Kellogg’s came out with their GF rice krispies (which I reacted to and they discontinued) but Erewhon has an organic GF brown rice cereal that I've used consistently and with excellent results. 

Doubling and browning the butter is one new twist to this trusted classic. It deepened and darkened the overall tone said my regular-diet recipe taster. But we both felt it was the addition of salt (I used Celtic sea salt) that pushed this recipe into "Huh"-land, as in, "Huh, that’s interesting. Can I have some more?" Salt added to sweetness makes it a more tempered, slightly dressier affair; what is usually sickly sweet, in the best most delicious sense, for an adult palate, becomes richer and ready to sit at the adult table with salt

Great job, Deb! Looking forward to diving into The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook further.

Friday, December 07, 2012

King Arthur Gluten-Free Bread Mix

What a happy loaf!

I have been wheat-free, due to a food intolerance, for over seven years now. And in all that time I haven’t yet baked my own loaf of gluten-free bread. Until now. King Arthur Flour has sent me a sample of the GF bread mix some time ago. *They make their gluten-free products in a top 8 facility – yay!* The King Arthur Gluten-Free Bread Mix wasn’t past its expiration, so earlier this week I decided to try it. I did buy fresh GF yeast as yeast doesn’t last long and I was concerned that the one packed in the mix wasn’t fresh enough.

There was great pleasure in proofing the dough, watching it rise and then punching it down to proof again. Whilst baking, the happy loaf, pictured above, gave off a bread-y, home-y, yeast-y aroma – oh how I had missed that. Once out of the oven, I took out my large serrated bread knife (I had to root around for it as I haven’t used it on fresh homemade bread in so long) and sliced into the loaf.

There is a thin, beautifully brown “crust” and the inside, had clear air pockets produced by the yeast reaction. The texture was spongy, cake-like more than bread-like and to my taste buds, very clearly a tapioca-based product. It wasn’t able to hold up to very heavy toppings (on separate occasions, it buckled under both a layer or hummus and a layer of cream cheese.)  I don’t know that it would hold up to a traditional French toast creation (although I bet it would do fine if you did a baked version like Smitten Kitchen’s).

Upshot: it is definitely not what I remember bread like but warm out the oven with butter and sea salt it was pretty darn good.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Recipe: Nut-Free, Gluten-Free Graham Pie Crust

Pumpkin pie with GF crust - oh yes!

Isn’t that just gorj? And it was delish. The crust was wonderful but next time I don’t think I will blind bake it before pouring in the filling. But having said that, pretty darn fab overall.

I created the pumpkin filling from a can of Libby’s packed pumpkin puree using their recipe which is nut-free and fish-free i.e. my food allergy needs. The crust I adapted using dear friend, fellow allergic girl, colleague and author of the new-soon-to-be-classic allergen-free cookbook out this week (Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking: 30-Minute Meals without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, Shellfish, and Sesame), Cybele Pascal.

Here is her crust recipe as part of "Allergy Free Sweet Potato Pie".  And here is my adaptation. Further adapted in November 2013.


Nut-Free, Gluten-Free “Graham” Crust
Adapted from
Cybele Pascal 

I package of Kinnikinnick S’moreables Graham Style Crackers crushed
4 Tablespoons melted organic butter (or Spectrum Organic Vegetable Shortening or any safe for you shortening).

Preheat oven to 350°F.

By hand or in a blender, create “crumbs” of the cookies. Add melted fat. In the pie plate, press buttered Graham style crumbs into bottom of pan, using palm of hand to press down. Use fingers to coax up sides of pan about 1/2 inch. Patch as necessary, being sure there are no holes or cracks. Let chill in fridge 1 hour (or 10 minutes if you're impatient like me. Still works just fine.) Bake crust 10-15 minutes until fragrant and golden. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, pour in your pumpkin pie filling (or any filling) and bake according to pie recipe.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Sweet Noodle Kugel

Kugel fresh from the oven, cooling on my window sill

For Thanksgiving, this year I had two guests who I know die for my sweet noodle kugel. They wait all year for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year to have it. In a stroke of brilliance, while creating my Thanksgiving day menu, I thought, wait I can serve this at Thanksgiving, too!

The recipe is nut-free and fish-free my two main allergy concerns and so easy it’s ridic. I use organic where I can, mainly with the eggs, butter and diary. I also make a lightly lighter version by using yogurt instead of sour cream and 2% milk instead of whole milk.

NB: I have tried a gluten-free, lower lactose version and it was okay, not fab so I need to keep playing with the recipe. You can find my attempts here. So basically, I can't eat this version as I'm wheat and dairy intolerant but for my guests I was happy to prepare this!

Sweet Noodle Kugel
adapted from Bon Appétit and further adapted by me

8 ounces Manichewitz wide egg noodles 
Generous handful dark raisins
5 large organic eggs
1 cup Greek 0% fat yogurt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted organic butter, melted, cooled
1/3 cup sugar in the raw
4 cups 2% milk

3 cups cornflakes, coarsely crushed
 plus 1/4 cup 
sugar in the raw

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread uncooked noodles over bottom of prepared dish and sprinkle with raisins. Whisk eggs, yogurt, butter and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Whisk in milk and pour mixture over noodles. Leave room for the cornflakes! Let kugel stand 5 minutes.

Mix cornflakes and

Mix cornflakes and
sugar in the raw

 in bowl and crunch up flakes by hand. Sprinkle evenly over kugel.

Bake kugel until set in center, about 1 hour. Cut kugel into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature. I cut into 16 squares so serves about 8 to 10.