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, 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!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Recipe: Easy Blackberry Jam, Vegan, Tree Nut-Free, Gluten-Free

Blackberry saucy jam on pancakes

If you follow me on on Instagram @allergicgirlnyc or on Facebook you'll see, I've been going gaga for blackberry jam. it's so easy, it's so good and dresses up just about everything.

This is not a stiff, set, jelly like jam. This is runny, saucy and sexy jam. It works as a topping on pancakes (see above). Or a side for cold sliced chicken (see below).

You can swirl it into yogurt (see here), 

Or hot cereal or spoon it over ice cream. I even swirled it into a chocolate bark with great success (look away, it's beyond delish!). 

The uses are endless. 

Recipe note: I don't make mine overly sweet and I err on the side of less sugar, because you can always add more sugar but you can’t take it out. But that’s totally up to you. I also use Turbinado sugar/sugar in the raw as that’s what I have on hand. White sugar is fine here as well.


Recipe: Easy Blackberry Jam, Vegan, Tree Nut-Free, Gluten-Free

Adapted from The Kitchn, Martha Stewart and me

1 pound blackberries, clean and picked through for any leaves or particulate matter
.5 cup Turbinado sugar
½ fresh lemon, juiced (or half a navel orange, juiced)

Combine all in a heavy bottomed bot, cook on medium high heat, stirring for about 10 minutes until thickened. Press fruit to break it down further. Taste and add sugar if more needed. Let cool and transfer into a lidded container and store fridge. Will last about 7-10 days.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Recipes: Week 3 Goals, #cook90, Epicurious

So as part of Epicurious’s #cook90 challenge ("...cook three meals a day, every day, for a whole month." - @epicuriouslast week, I made:

--Candied orange slices (in preparation for orange /some-herb bark that I will make this week) 

--Mint chocolate chip ice cream that I gobbled up (and my rule is only one dessert in my house at a time, so chocolate bark had to wait) 

--Chimichurri fried rice

--Vegan chickpea chilli

--Homemade yogurt 

--Easy morning rice pudding 

(Search for these recipes on the box on the upper left corner box of this blog. 

What I didn’t do: I didn’t use those books as much I thought I would. Turns out I use the Internet far more for recipes and recipe-ideas than I thought. Also I took a break from more making chicken this week.

Moving into this last week of #cook90, my cooking plans are: orange chocolate bark with either fresh rosemary or fresh oregano, maybe some chicken tenders or an orange beef dish or a lamb and prune dish or both/all.

Join me on Instagram @allergicgirlnyc and on my Allergic Girl Facebook feed to see the #cook90 month unfold.  Or tag me at @allergicgirlnyc to cook allergen-friendly with me!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Recipe: Blackberry Jam and Thyme Chocolate Bark: Vegan, Top 8 Allergen Free

One of the benefits of joining Epicurious’s #cook90 challenge ("The #cook90 challenge is simple: cook three meals a day, every day, for a whole month." - @epicurious) had been that I’ve upped my leftover game. Epicurious calls them #nextovers, because the challenge is to transform your leftovers to something new and more delicious, or at least different. I don't usually do that, I make a big batch of something on Sunday -- a soup, a chili and braised meat thing -- and then, well, just dine on that as is. And I’m fine with that, it’s autopilot, it’s safe and delicious for me.

But this #nextovers concept and doing it online (public accountability!) has pushed me to do a bit more than simply reheat what is already delicious. 

Like this. 

Bark ready to be chilled

I made a big batch of blackberry jam (recipe here) the other day. And I had some herbs I had purchased but hadn’t yet used. Part of my personal #cook90 goals are to use more herbs and spices. So I wondered: what blackberry jam and thyme and chocolate would be like together? Pretty terrific, I guessed. I did a quick search online and saw that several others had created desserts using  that combination so I did a test run. 

Chocolate bark, if you haven’t made it before, is so ridiculously easy and it’s a great treat to make and bring to parties or get-togethers. It looks impressive, tastes delicious and for the home cook is a buh-reeze to make. 

Essentially it’s melted chocolate, spread out on a parchment covered pan and then you sprinkle your favorite toppings on top. Chill until it’s hardened, break up it glorious uneven shards, put on a plate and serve and listen as your guests ooh and ahh (which I promise they will.)

The combinations are endless. This is a great kid-cooking project and they (and you) can go crazy with the flavor combinations: sweet, salty, spicy, sour, it can all go with chocolate. Go play!

So here I took it easy on the blackberry jam as you want pockets of juicy fruit, rather than wall to wall, which gets messy and textural boring. I also took it easy with the fresh thyme. You want a hint of it, you want to get the herby goodness but not so much that it’s all you taste. Having said all that, I eyeballed this, it’s barely a recipe.

I melted a .5 cup Enjoy Life chocolate, swirled  in 1.5 T of blackberry jam, had the leaves from three single stalks of thyme and a light sprinkle of Kosher salt. And it was perfect for my tastebuds: the herbs with the jam and the chocolate created an exciting taste profile, something different, juicy, herby, sweet but not wildly sweet and chocolatey. It was so delicious, I had to give half of it away before I ate the whole batch. My tester loved it, too.

Next up I may try orange zest and rosemary and chocolate. What?! Yaassss! Stay tuned.

Join me on Instagram @allergicgirlnyc and on my Facebook feed to see my #cook90 month unfold. Better yet, tag me at @allergicgirlnyc #cook90 to cook allergen-friendly with me!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Recipes: Week 2 Goals, #cook90, Epicurious

Chicken. Ugh. The bones, the blood, the flesh, yuck. But when it’s cooked well, it’s heavenly. And I totally know HOW to cook chicken: a whole bird or parts; I can make braised chicken, roasted, baked, sautéed chicken; I can make chicken stews and soups. 

But, I don’t usually want to.

So, my challenge for week two of #cook90 was to cook chicken. (NB: I didn't get to it week 1 because by the time I was emotionally prepared to tackle the chicken I had purchased, it didn’t smell right. I took it back to Whole Foods and returned it. PS Whole Foods is great with returns, no questions asked, no stink eye.) My chicken didn’t have to be anything crazy fancy or complicated; just something yummy to get back into the habit of cooking chicken.

Monday, I bought chicken thighs (skin and bones included. Yum, crispy chicken skin) and chicken tenders, all by Bell & Evans, one of my preferred brands. I tossed the chicken tenders into the freezer to use next week and turned up my oven to pre-heat. And I also planned on using goal #2: use more herbs and spices daily.

To one thigh, I added an Italian herb-mix-blend I created (dried oregano, thyme, basil, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper); two thighs received a sprinkle of Kosher salt and one thigh received a Greek yogurt treatment (yogurt, lemon juice and zest, dried oregano, salt and pepper).

They smelled very chicken-y whilst they baked. A good smell, a meaty smell but also a little too chicken-y. 

First lesson of week 2: four thigh of chicken is a lot of chicken for this Allergic Girl to consume in one week.

The first night, I had the Italian herb thigh and it was delicious: crunchy skin, gentle herb notes, with a side of rice and peas. (I cooked it in a 375 degree oven for an hour. I've also cooked thighs in 450 degree oven for 45 minutes. Both worked!)

The next day, I had the plain thigh, sliced, with blackberry jam and sauteed broccoli. I used my homemade blackberry jam like cranberry sauce and OMG what a discovery, cold dark meat chicken with a sweet, sour, jammy sauce was delicious. This needs to happen more often.

The third day, I had cold sliced chicken thigh on a sweet and crunchy salad (chopped carrots, chopped raisins, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper).

And then, I topped out on chicken – too much chicken. That fourth thigh, I couldn't get to it and as it’s been over 4 days, I fear that left over is too left over.

So, what did I learn week two of the #cook90 challenge by Epicurious?

I can totally throw chicken thighs into the oven with easy, on-hand pantry staples (herbs, spices, citrus etc.) any night of the week. And that I probably should freeze two of those thighs for the next week right away, because, ugh, too much chicken. Or enjoy them with my future boyfriend. Or invite friends over.

Next week’s plans: more herby combinations (like orange rosemary chocolate bark, what? yasss!), maybe those now-frozen chicken tenders (I’d love to recreate my teenaged recipe of breaded tenders to dip in honey), redo a meringue (I added twice the sugar, and it didn't bake properly, bah!) and continue playing with #nextovers.

Oh and dip further into those cookbooks!

So much to do, cook, bake eat and enjoy! 

Join me on Instagram @allergicgirlnyc and on my Facebook feed to see the #cook90 month unfold.  Or tag me at @allergicgirlnyc #cook90 to cook allergen-friendly with me!

Monday, January 09, 2017

Recipe: Chimichurri, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free

Ingredients ready to go!

When I was thumbing through Allergy-Free And Easy Cooking by Cybele Pascal, I found an old note to myself to try the Chimichurri. That was back in 2012! So it’s definitely time. 

I looked at Cybele’s recipe as well as Steamy Kitchen, Food and Wine and Garden Betty and I made my version to my taste: not too garlicky, not too hot, easy on the salt and acid. I started conservatively at first to create this basic recipe. I might play around with it next time, like fresh lemon or  fresh oregano or curly parsley or fresh cilantro. But for my first time out, this was balanced just right.

Recipe: Chimichurri, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free

.5 t red pepper flakes
1 t dried oregano
1T red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a nice big, non-reactive bowl, taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. This sauce can be used as a marinade for anything or as a sauce for anything. It’s so flexible and easy. Enjoy! 

Finished chimichurri ready to be spread on everything!

Discovered that chimichurri fried rice is a thing - heat a teaspoon of chimichurri in a skillet, add .5 cup day old rice, saute, adjust salt and pepper, put a fried egg on top = heaven!

Fried eggs over chimichurri fried rice

Also, chimichurri can be frozen in small batches and be used later on. I made so much chimichurri the first time out, I used one batch that first week, gave away a batch and froze a batch. 

Defrosting chimichurri

I defrosted that batch two weeks later and it was perfection - still bright and fresh, the green parsley still bright. The spicy flavors had calmed, so you could add more chili flakes back in if you desired, but totally still yummable.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Recipes: Week 1 Goals, #cook90, Epicurious

These are the four cookbooks that I’m diving into to help me reach my Epicurious #cook90 goals which I wrote about here in this post

Food52: A New Way To Dinner, Brassicas by Laura B RussellAllergy-Free And Easy Cooking by Cybele Pascal and Whole30 Cookbook by Melissa Hartwig

(NB: all of these books I received for potential blogger reviews from the respective publishers.)

After thumbing through Allergy-Free And Easy Cooking by Cybele Pascal, I know want to make chimichurri, an Argentine herb-based marinade/sauce. It looks super easy, I just need to buy the herbs and chop, chop, chop. Goal 1 will be achieved!

Goal 2. Make something chicken-based. So, I’m eying Allergy-Free And Easy Cooking by Cybele Pascal’s Chicken Piccata. 

So stay tuned to Instagram @allergicgirlnyc and my Facebook feed as I make these two dishes this week!

Monday, January 02, 2017

Recipes: Follow #cook90 on Instagram @allergicgirlnyc

Pancakes with homemade blackberry jam

I’m joining #cook90 via my @allergicgirlnyc Instagram feed via @epicurious & @davidtamarkin: "The #cook90 challenge is simple: cook three meals a day, every day, for a whole month." - @epicurious

You can sign up here like I
In truth, this is no biggie for me. If you follow my @allergicgirlnyc feed, you’ll often see my three meals a day (and snacks, too); I work from home (mostly); I’m already a skilled cook and baker (mainly); I already love to cook and entertain; and I already love to read cookbooks. So I already check many of the #cook90 boxes. (Lots of alreadys there!)

However, as much as I’m a routine-driven person and love routine, I get into food ruts.  I can eat the same thing every day with complete joy and satisfaction (routine-girl!) but suddenly it will back up on me and I’ll think, “Ugh, I don’t want to think about what I’m making for dinner.”

So, the #cook90 challenge for me is two-fold:

1. Try new recipes. I have a two new cookbooks that have been waiting patiently for my attention: @food52 #anewwaytodinner & @whole30. Now I will break them open and check them out. Also, I have tagged many dessert recipes from my new #instafriends that I cannot wait to make #allergenfriendly for all of us.

2. Get more creative with leftovers. As I said I could easily just eat the same thing 4x a week, and be totally in love with it each time. But. I’d like to get a bit more creative with leftovers or the basics I make each week (a pot of red sauce, veggies/fruits, steamed grains, proteins).

My #cook90 challenge goals:

1. To try at least one new recipe a week, namely something chicken, I really don't like preparing chicken; a holdover after 17 years of being a vegetarian I'm certain. Yuck. Raw chicken.

2. To use more herbs and spices, fresh herbs especially, which I buy and they they die so quickly without being used. :(

3. And to make some new desserts that work with my dietary needs (and yours I bet)!

*What won’t change*:

I will always be #allergicgirl compliant. All of my recipes will be free from my anaphylactic allergens (all tree nuts & all seafood are the biggies, plus some fruits and vegs) as well as my food intolerances (wheat and soy). They will be portion controlled. And they will be delicious!

Join me on Instagram @allergicgirlnyc and on my Facebook feed to see my #cook90 month unfold. 

Better yet, tag me at @allergicgirlnyc #cook90 to cook allergen-friendly with me!