A very proud Mommy Moment :)

Today I got a call from J.T.’s school nurse. She was letting me know that in art class the students were using egg cartons…and that J.T. was choosing not to participate. After the art teacher checked in with the nurse, the nurse tried telling J.T. that the cartons were safe for him to touch and when he still refused she offered to call me, I think expecting me to say it was OK. Which I immediately said it was not. Egg’s are a life threatening allergy for J.T. and our thinking about them is very black and white. Eggs are unsafe. There is no gray area where J.T. has to make decisions about when or why they “might” be safe. He knows they could make him very sick and not to come into contact with them. Someday he will have to make those decisions for himself, but not in first grade. 

The nurse was concerned that J.T. would feel left out if he didn’t participate in the project, he was more concerned that he would get sick if he touched the egg cartons. I was concerned that it was happening at all (since it states in his health plan that all project materials are supposed to be allergen free). But the overwhelming emotion that I felt through all of this was pride. My first grader stood up for himself, and not just to his peers but to his adult teachers. He made it clear that he was uncomfortable and that he was not going to participate in an activity that he felt was harmful to his health. He understands his allergies and the risks involved and that is so important. In the end, he didn’t feel left out or different and he didn’t let his allergies get him down. He had a great day and came home to 2 super proud parents!

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allergen free slow cooker meatballs

Allergen free slow cooker meatballs.

1 lb. ground turkey

1/2 Cup panko breadcrumbs (You can also use crushed rice krispies for wheat free. Or if you are able to have italian breadcrumbs use them and omit the next 6 ingredients.)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1-2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 large (or 1 small) onion, chopped

1 jar pasta sauce ( I used Classico fire roasted tomato and garlic)

1 can crushed tomatoes

1/2 can tomato paste

1 green pepper sliced thin (optional)

In a bowl mix ground turkey, breadcrumbs, salt, parsley, pepper, onion powder, oregano, basil, garlic and onion. Shape the mixture into 16 meatballs. In the slow cooker mix the jar of pasta sauce, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and pepper (if desired). Place the meatballs into the sauce and cook on low for about 6 hours.

I’m no photographer…but here they are in the crock pot.

Avoiding eggs

JT’s egg allergy is his most severe. His allergist was baffled when he first tested JT because he had never seen an egg allergy so severe. The allergist refers to this allergy as JT’s “life or death” allergy.  We take it VERY seriously. When hearing about a severe allergy most people will assume that the allergy is to peanuts. JT’s classroom at school will be peanut free and he will sit at a peanut free lunch table. And while he is allergic to peanuts and should certainly avoid them they aren’t the allergen that we are most concerned with. There will be no egg free classroom or egg free lunch table so we have to rely on the tactics we’ve relied on his whole life. Being vigilant about what we are feeding him and teaching him to never eat foods that he is unsure of (in this case anything I didn’t pack for lunch).

So, what does JT need to avoid for his egg free diet? Well, eggs of course, we don’t even have them in our house and we don’t take him to restaurants that are serving breakfast. They are probably the thing my husband and I miss the most and any time we leave the kids over night the first thing we do in the morning is head out to breakfast. We also avoid baked goods that aren’t baked by me (or by JT’s Nana or Grammy), many breads, ice creams and puddings, meatloaf, casseroles, mayonnaise, some crackers and pretzels, egg noodles, canned soups with noodles, french toast, most battered or breaded foods, meatballs, fudge, some marshmallows, fluffernutter, some salad dressings, tartar sauce, and anything else that could have egg as a binder or an egg white wash on it…which reminds me, sometimes jelly beans are glazed with egg white.

Learning to read nutrition labels takes a while. As a general rule, if I come across a word I don’t recognize I google it to find out what it is before deciding if it’s something JT can eat. Over time, you will become more familiar with labels and it gets easier.  Here is a list of other words that appear in ingredients that should be avoided with an egg allergy. I don’t come across  these very often, but am always on the look out just in case.

albumin, globulin, livetin, lysozyme, meringue, ovalbumin, ovomucin, ovomucoid, ovovitellin, Simplesse

If you are avoiding eggs be sure to read this tip about baking without eggs!

Pancakes

I love making breakfast with the kids on weekend mornings. Our breakfasts unfortunately don’t include egg (oh how I miss eggs). So usually it’s pancakes, bacon and fruit. I’ve mentioned previously how much I love Bob’s Red Mill pancake mix but sometimes I like to make our pancakes from scratch and they tend to be a little fluffier than the mixed variety. This recipe can be made as is or you could substitute cows milk back in for the rice milk or eggs back in for the banana. You could also try it with a wheat free flour blend for a wheat allergy but since I’ve never tried that I can’t speak to how fluffy they will be.

Pancakes

1 Cup flour

1 Tablespoon white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 Cup rice milk

1 jar baby food bananas (stage 2) OR 1 mashed up banana

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (use whatever oil works best for you)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine dry ingredients and mix. In separate bowl, whisk wet ingredients together. Add wet mixture into dry and mix just until smooth. Heat an oiled frying pan over medium heat, pour about 1/4 C for each pancake onto pan. Once you see bubbles and the edges start to brown flip and cook other side.

Enjoy!

The best tip

Once I learned of all my son’s allergies I thought I would never be able to bake again. I’m not a baker to begin with, I don’t have enough patience for all of that precision and measuring. Baking without ingredients like eggs, all-purpose flour and (cows) milk seemed like such a daunting task.  Especially baking without the egg! There are other kinds of flour and there are other kinds of milk but there aren’t other kinds of egg. There are some egg replacers out there but they are difficult to find and some contain soy, which my son is also allergic to.  My hairdresser also has children with food allergies and in the beginning she was a great resource for me. She shared recipes and tips and helped me to feel like this allergy thing was something I could handle. The best tip she ever gave me was that in a baking recipe you can replace one egg with one mashed up banana. It helps to bind everything together just as an egg would, it adds great flavor and it’s healthier!  Now, if the recipe calls for more than one banana you can add more banana but it does change the recipe some. It will have more of an obvious banana flavor and the consistency will be more dense. Over time I’ve started using one stage 1 jar of baby food bananas (or bananas in a jar as JT calls them) instead of mashing up a banana because of the longer shelf life. When I hear that someone has an egg allergy I’m always sure to share this great tip!