November 30, 2011

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

The holiday season is now in full force.  Our family celebrates Christmas and I love this time of year and all...but it always seem like a sprint between the end of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day!  All of the sudden I'm behind on decorating and gifts and booked solid on the weekends.  With all the big gatherings, big meals, and big cleanup, I feel like I'm twice as busy as before.  Are you feeling as tired as I am already?  :)

When I'm pressed for time, I love to prepare a meal in the slow cooker.  I recently put a favorite recipe for chicken tortilla soup to the test.  I had no more than 15 minutes to prepare the meal before rushing off for preschool pickup.  It came out delicious as always!
Taking this photo took 3 minutes of my prep time!

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup
Adapted from Betty's Chicken Tortilla Soup V submission to

1/2 cup dry black beans or 1 cup cooked black beans
2 fresh chicken breasts (optional)
1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup sugar plum tomatoes
1/2 tsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 jar (16 oz.) chunky salsa
32 ounces of vegetable broth or chicken broth
4 to 6 corn tortillas, torn into smaller pieces
  1. Lay black beans then chicken breasts on bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Stir in all other ingredients except the corn tortillas which are best to add in an hour before serving if you have the chance.  If you must add that in the beginning because of time constraints, it's still going to be delicious but just a thick, stew-like soup.  I loved it this way!
  3. Turn on slow cooker to low heat if you have time to cook for 6-8 hours.  If you don't have that much cooking time to spare, heat on high for 4 hours.
  4. About 30-60 minutes before the end of cooking time, break down tomatoes with a fork or potato masher.  Also, add corn tortilla pieces.
  5. After another 30-60 minutes, check black beans for tenderness.  If they are not tender enough, cook an additional hour and recheck.
  6. Garnish soup with extra cilantro, strips of corn tortillas, crumbled tortilla chips, shredded cheese (or Daiya Vegan Shreds), or avocado slices.
The soup was simple to make and hits the spot on a cold evening.  It can also be cooked in a saucepan in you don't have a slow cooker.  (Check out the above link to the original recipe for cooking directions.)  This made for a perfect meal in a week so crazy busy that I forgot to take a picture of the final product!

November 28, 2011

Felt Leaves

My felt kick isn't over yet.  I saw Martha's fall leaf placemats/trivets/whatever else you can think to use them for and loved the simplicity of them.  Throw them on your table, hang them on the windows, sew them onto a throw pillow or tree skirt.  I got red felt from Joanne's and, um, never got to finishing them for our Thanksgiving feast.  But now that I can take a breath, I'm thinking they're the perfect transitional decor piece for our ThanksChristmas season we've got going on here.  I mean, the Christmas music did start over a week ago now, and our Thanksgiving weekend tree trimming has officially become a tradition after three years!

So I blew up the template, pinned to a piece of folded red felt (so as to make two at the same time), cut out with fabric shears, and voila!  Instant room makeover--or at least, reason to show off my newly cleared off kitchen table.  Ah, simple pleasures.

Happy ThanksChristmas!

November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving menu

We are hosting Thanksgiving this weekend.  I'm really fortunate to have brothers-in-law who like to cook, who don't yet have kids of their own and are very fun and hands-on with my boys.  All this definitely helps when you are trying to prepare for a huge meal!

My brothers-in-law and future sister-in-law have recently (like, four days ago!) decided to take steps towards becoming vegan after seeing this documentary.  Being that we are a dairy-free household and I'm a vegetable proponent myself, I can roll with that!  Aside from the roasted turkey which my brother-in-law already purchased pre-enlightenment, below is what's on our menu.  It's dairy-free and nut-free.  Most of it can be made wheat-free by using gluten-free alternatives where bread or flour is called for.  (Sorry, no easy substitutions for Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.)

Cranberry Avocado Salsa
Butternut Squash Soup
Mashed Potatoes 
Roasted Yams (Nothing fancy in my house -- just bake until soft and serve!)
Stacy M. Polcyn's Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing (We're omitting the sausage and subbing vegan margarine in place of butter.  I like to bake this outside the bird as a separate dish.)
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Lentil Kale Stir-Fry
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (Check out Sarah's ideas for add-ins)
Apple Cranberry Crisp
Pumpkin ice cream
Pumpkin Pie
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (I subbed in some gluten-free flour blend and xanthan gum to make these GF)

The cookies and pumpkin pie ice cream have already been made and they keep well.  The salsa can be made the day before and the pumpkin pie should definitely be made a day in advance so that the filling can set in the refrigerator.  Definitely piggyback those oven dishes!  Bake the potatoes while you're roasting your butternut squash.  Leave the potatoes in the oven when you trade out your finished squash for the yams and stuffing.  Bake the crisp while the rest of dinner is served.

The day after our big meal we'll probably do some easy group cooking by making potstickers together, subbing in mashed firm tofu in place of the meat...unless we have a whole lot of leftovers!

I'm thankful for my happy little boys!
Have a safe and warm Thanksgiving with your loved ones!

November 22, 2011

Cranberry Avocado Salsa

Still searching for more easy, festive appetizers for your Thanksgiving meal?  Do you have extra cranberries that haven't been earmarked for your cranberry sauce or apple cranberry crisp?

I was pleasantly surprised with Martha Stewart's recipe for cranberry avocado salsa.  I know I shouldn't be surprised that a Martha creation is fabulous but I was skeptical when I saw honey as one of the ingredients.  I made a couple of changes -- I added tomatoes to make it chunkier, more red onions, and omitted to jalapeno to make it more kid-friendly.  Because my avocados were super ripe, it was hard for them to hold their shape when I tossed the salsa together.  The result: my cranberry avocado salsa turned out more like cranberry guacamole.  It still was delicious but if you want yours to stay a salsa, I suggest adding the avocado chunks at the end or cutting bigger, more robust pieces (about 1/3-inch chunks).  These changes made a difference when I made the salsa a second time.

This was my first attempt.  The avocado was a bit smushed.
Definitely have more of everything on hand so you can find your perfect balance!

Cranberry Avocado Salsa
Adapted from Martha Stewarts's cranberry avocado salsa recipe


1/3 cup red onion
2 Tbsp honey
1½ Tbsp fresh lime juice
generous 3/4 cup cranberries, cut in halves
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup sugar plum tomatoes, cut into halves or quarters
2 packed Tbsp of fresh chopped cilantro
2 ripe avocados, cut into 1/3-inch chunks
Sea salt to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp)
  1. Whisk together onions, honey, and lime juice in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add in cranberries, tomatoes, and cilantro.  Toss until well-coated.
  3. Add in avocado chunks.  Gently toss to combine.
  4. Season with sea salt if desired.
Wishing you a restful, reflective, and reactionless holiday with your loved ones!

Like what you're reading?  Subscribe to us or "like" us on our Facebook page.  We are having special giveaway drawings in the months of November and December for fans only.

November 21, 2011

Curried Butternut Squash Filo Squares

I've always wanted to cook with filo dough--but never attempted it--until now.  I've had my Williams-Sonoma Vegetarian for all Seasons cookbook by Pamela Sheldon Johns collecting dust for (gasp!) several years now, but rediscovered it to find some ideas for this year's Thanksgiving side dishes.

I love filo appetizers, but 99% of the time they have nuts or cheese, both delicious compliments to filo, but not for my nut/egg/dairy/shellfish food-allergic children.  So I found this Curried Butternut Squash Filo Pocket recipe, free of most top allergens (except gluten).  Just butternut squash, filo, and a few other ingredients.  Sounded easy enough.

So in my naivete, I started mixing filling and wrapping pockets 30 minutes before dinner, and needless to say, the kids were relegated to the kitchen table for dinner, since my prep stuff was covering half our dining table.  I needed to keep going lest the dough dry out.  AAAAH!  I swore left and right that I would never work with filo again!

But when those crispy pockets came out of the oven and I took my first crunchy yet creamy, smooth, sweet, utterly delectable bite I was immediately sold, wondering why I hadn't bought two boxes of filo instead of one.

The process is a bit tedious, so if you don't have help to look after curious/cranky/bored children, I wouldn't attempt it.  But hopefully you've got some family around next week.

So join me for just this one, Martha-esque week, where we pull out all the stops.  Filo, here we come!

I made a few modifications to the recipe to tone down the flavor a bit for the children, and of course subbed in dairy-free margarine for butter:

1 butternut squash, about 1 lb
2 shallots, minced
3 tablespoons minced cilantro
1/2 tablespoon curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup non-dairy margarine (we use soy-based Earth Balance). Use olive oil or olive oil in a spray can for ease and to address any soy allergies
6 filo sheets, thawed as directed (overnight in fridge or on counter for 5 hours)

Helpful tools: potato masher & pastry brush


1.  The night before making the filo squares, pop the box of filo into the fridge and forget about it til the next day.

2.  While prepping breakfast for the kids, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

3.  Use a sharp knife to cut the squash in half through the stem end and scoop out and compost seeds and fibers.  Place the squash in half, cut sides down, on your baking sheet, and bake until softened, about 20-25 minutes (or, if you just grabbed the biggest squash they had for whatever reason, it may take you more like 45 minutes until it softens--just keep an eye on it and poke it with a fork every 10 minutes).  Transfer to a rack and cool.  (If you have extra squash, try making soup).

4.  Scoop out the squash pulp and mash until smooth using a potato masher.  Stir in shallots, cilantro, curry powder, salt, and pepper.  Set aside.

5. If you're using olive oil from a can or otherwise, skip this step.  If you're using margarine, you'll need to clarify it.  Place the butter in a pan and melt it over medium heat.  Skim off the foam from the surface and let it cool a bit.  Pour off the clear yellow liquid into a bowl, discarding any white solids.

6. Reline baking sheet with foil.  Lay the stacked filo sheets on a cutting board and cut lengthwise into quarters (I just put the layers on a piece of wax paper and cut using cooking shears).  Cover it with a damp kitchen towel to keep them from drying out, removing strips as needed.

7. Lay a filo strip on a workspace (another piece of wax paper or silpat works well).  Brush the strip with your clarified margarine/olive oil, or spray with olive oil, then lay a second strip on top of the first.  Put 1-2 tablespoons (I liked it with about 2) of filling near one end and fold the strip over about 4 times to form a square.  Brush another strip with clarified margarine and wrap it around the open sides of the square.  Place the square on the baking sheet.  You may brush the top of the square with more butter, but I skipped this and it turned out just fine.  Repeat with the remaining strips and filling.

8. Bake until golden brown, 15-18 minutes (mine were perfect after 15).  Serve immediately.

Advice for cutting down prep time:
  • Use the can spray olive oil--you won't have to clarify the margarine and you won't have to brush anything on AND the kids can help spray (bonus!).
  • Set up some kind of assembly line for the filo.  I worked on 4 at a time--brushing with margarine, layering, adding filling, etc.
  • Get more filo than you need.  It is inevitable some tissue paper-thin filo sheets will tear beyond repair.
  • Double the recipe--you've already got your hands dirty, you might as well make more!
  • Cut squares in half into triangles before you serve to further double your servings.
Take a moment to enjoy cooking and preparing with your family this Thanksgiving.  Have a wonderful week!

November 18, 2011

Our {Thanks}Giving Tree

Last year we officially started hosting Thanksgiving at our house, an honor only bestowed upon the family with the most young children, the least kitchen space, and the messiest house!  Yet, it brings our families together and I have to say I kind of love hosting, as I get to channel my inner Martha a little bit. 

So for our first official Thanksgiving-at-our-house, I got the idea to create a leafless tree silhouette out of some brown paper I had laying around and some paper leaves for guests to write on, and express what they were thankful for. 
This year I got a bit more ambitious.  I am really into felt lately and picked up tons of felt squares from the Joanne's quarter per sheet Halloween sale.  I had some leftover felted wool from making Addi's Halloween costume, and though I was saving it for a matching skirt or hat, I got too excited and decided to use it as the background for this year's reusable felt {Thanks}Giving Tree. 

Here goes:

1 art canvas, big enough for your tree and its leaves (I believe mine was 18 x 24")
piece of felt large enough to cover the face of the canvas with about 1.5" on each side to wrap & glue
glue gun
various colored felt squares for leaves, tree, and anything else you want to add
fabric shears

1. Gather materials and start heating up the glue gun (little girl not needed, but sure makes crafting more fun!). 

Glue gun & fabric shears not pictured

2. Cut around your large felt piece so that you have about 1.5" to wrap around each edge.  It doesn't hurt to have extra.  You can always trim later.

3. Take your glue gun and glue the edges of the felt around the sides of the frame, little by little, pulling taut and smoothing out as you go.  It's nice to neaten up your corners so they don't bunch up on the front or sides.

Give your little one the felt squares to play with while hot gluing.  Next stop, the clean laundry bin!

4. Take your felt and cut out the bare tree, and the leaves, and anything else you're inspired by.  You can freehand if you're comfortable with this or draw first.  Get crceative--there's really no messing up!  I like to fold the felt in half to cut the leaves so they're a little more symmetrical.

I put the leaves in my favorite milk glass vase.  The kids love pulling the leaves out of something so special!

Take your scraps and make felt people and other stuff.  Make use of your new felt board all year round!

In my efforts to take a few quiet(er) moments and reflect on what we're thankful for this year, I went about trying to tie the tree into Thanksgiving and showing our appreciation for the people in our lives with the book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  The older kids understood that giving made the tree happy and sad, and that it needed a show of appreciation and love.

The plan is each night the kids state something they're thankful for and why, and then each adds a leaf to the tree.  Here were the first night's responses:

Addi (2): [I am thankful for] Ms. Marian.  Why?  Because she teaches you how to dance?  [Big smile & enthusiastic nodding]

Logan (4): I am thankful for Mah-Mah (grandmother).  Why?  Because she cooks me food!  (Extra sweet because she was sitting two feet away listening to the whole thing)

Tristan (7): I am thankful for [a girl in my class] because she helps me when I get hurt (I'm feeling a second grade crush coming on, especially since his statement was accompanied with a bashful smile.  Oh, boy!)

These are the moments that make those other ones (you know which ones I mean) all worthwhile....

November 17, 2011

Oh My! Pumpkin Pie!

For your Thanksgiving feast are you planning to cook traditional dishes?  Or do you like to put a different take on the ol' holiday stand-bys?

Whether you're dedicated to popular turkey day foods or like to experiment, cooking with respect to food allergies can make either experience more challenging than usual.  This is especially true concerning desserts.  Below are two pumpkin recipes -- one traditional and one not so much -- that can be made deliciously without the top eight most common food allergens and with the help of some fragrant spices and coconut milk.

Pumpkin Pie

Adapted from Bryanna's Pumpkin Pie recipe

15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
1 cup canned coconut milk
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

1 unbaked pie crust (if you have a wheat or gluten allergy, check Whole Foods Market for this)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Combine all ingredients (except for pie crust) in a large bowl.  Blend until smooth and well combined.
  3. Pour mixture into pie crust.  Cover edges of pie crust with foil to prevent premature burning.
  4. Bake pie at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook an additional 45-55 minutes until pie starts to darken.  Cool the pie completely and then refrigerate before serving.                   
The pie will probably not be set when you take it out of the oven.  My pie did not pass the "Insert the knife, is it clean?" test.  But since the top was on the brink of burning, I took it out.  After cooling and refrigerator time, the pie did set.

For a fun change of pace, consider making pumpkin pie ice cream instead!

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
Adapted by Hannah Kaminsky's pumpkin pie ice cream recipe


15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
14 ounce can of coconut milk + 3/4 cup coconut milk
1 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp arrowroot starch
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  4. Prepare your ice cream per the directions of your ice cream maker. Serve immediately or freeze.  You'll need to defrost frozen solid ice cream for 10-20 minutes on the counter before serving.

Happy pumpkin-eating with your little pumpkins!

November 16, 2011

Buttery Mashed Potatoes --- without the butter!

It is kind of crazy to me that foods can taste buttery without a single drop of milk product in them!  Artificial flavoring can do that but so can olive oil in a much healthier way.

I used to make mashed potatoes with vegan margarine such as Earth Balance.  Nowadays I use olive oil and soy milk to achieve the texture and taste that keeps my kids coming back for seconds, thirds, and fourths.

Soy Dream Original is another critical ingredient here, at least in my eyes.  Soy Dream is my regular substitute for milk in baking and stovetop cooking especially when I'm making a savory dish.  This brand of soy milk has a mild taste, isn't super sweet or infused with vanilla, and adds richness to dishes. 

Also, I bake - not boil -  my potatoes.  I do this partially because it's easier to slip in several foil-wrapped potatoes next to crisps, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, or whatever else is baking in the oven.  Baking is a better cooking method for retaining the potato's nutrients.  The potatoes will be a little drier but that's where the oil and soy milk come in handy!

Fellow mashed-potato lovers, be warned: my mashed potatoes are a little lumpy, which is how I like them.  They aren't as creamy smooth or fluffy as, let's says, those instant Potato Spuds.  I wanted to fully disclose this because I know there are opposing and very passionate camps of smooth versus lumpy in Potatoland.

Mashed Potatoes
This makes a full 9-inch pie pan's worth of potatoes which was more than enough for our family of four.
9 red or Yukon potatoes, washed (You can use about 4 russet potatoes if you like.)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup Soy Dream soy milk and extra
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt and extra
  1. Wrap potatoes in aluminum foil.  Bake at 400 degrees until soft, approximately one hour.
  2. Remove potatoes from oven and foil.  After potatoes are cooled off a bit (not burning hot), cut open and peel off the skins.  Alternatively if you don't have time to peel them when they are still hot, reheat them in the microwave.  It's easier to peel a warm or hot potato than a cold one.
  3. In a large bowl or deep dish (like a glass pie pan) break potatoes into smaller chunks with a fork or potato masher.
  4. Sprinkle garlic powder over potatoes. Add about half the soy milk, 1 Tbsp of olive oil, and 1/2 tsp sea salt. 
  5. Mash garlic powder and liquid ingredients into the potatoes.  Use a fork or spoon to scrape potatoes off the edges and mix potatoes.
  6. As the liquids combine better with the potatoes, add more soy milk and 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Continue using a masher and fork/spoon to combine ingredients together.
  7. Add extra soy milk and mash until you get the desired texture for your potatoes.  Also, taste test the potatoes.  Add more sea salt as needed.  (I used 1 full tsp of sea salt for this recipe.) 
For leftovers, you will need to reheat your mashed potatoes and stir in more soy milk to restore the lighter texture.  Enjoy!

November 15, 2011

Apple Cranberry Crisp

Are you as shocked as I am that Thanksgiving is right around the corner?  Usually I attribute this shocking feeling to the fact that stores get their shelves and displays ready for the big holidays a couple months in advance.  But this time it's different.  Seriously.  Thanksgiving.  Next week.  Yikes!

We usually have Thanksgiving with either my husband's family locally or mine in Southern California.  I love to experiment with new recipes before the big feast so that I can make sure that (1) what our big family eats is delicious and (2) I do not have any one dish that will take up all of my time and energy.  There's nothing worse than a bottleneck at the oven or kitchen sink when you're trying to have 8 dishes ready, all at the same time!

Here is the first of several recipes to consider for your Thanksgiving feast.  Apple cranberry crisp is tart, sweet, and beautiful.  It's a perfect choice for dessert or even an autumn brunch treat.  And you could even make it a day in advance and reheat it although I'm not sure if you will want to do this since you might have a 20-pound turkey that demands a lot of fridge space.  Keep this recipe in your back pocket for the day after Thanksgiving if you have a lot of cranberry sauce left over.
Trader Joe's cranberries are $2 for 12 ounces.
The flavor and texture of Granny Smith apples hold up well in baking.
Trader Joe's certified gluten free rolled oats, 32 oz bag for $4

Apple Cranberry Crisp
Adapted from Diana Rattray's recipe which appears at

Cranberry sauce
12 oz. bag of cranberries
1 cup orange juice
1 cup granulated sugar

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4 to 1/2-thick pieces

3/4 cup rolled oats (buy certified gluten-free oats if you are allergic to wheat or gluten)
1/2 cup flour or gluten-free flour blend*
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbsp vegan margarine, softened and cut into small chunks (Earth Balance makes milk-free, soy-free varieties)

It was looking quite lovely before I baked it.
  1. Combine cranberries, orange juice, and granulated sugar in saucepan.  Cook over medium heat partially covered.  Stir occasionally.
  2. Cook until most berries have burst and a thick sauce has developed.
  3. Remove sauce from heat.  Mix in apple slices until they are fully coated with sauce.
  4. Pour apple cranberry mixture into a greased 13"x9" pan or equivalent. (I used a pretty round dish that was less than 2 inches deep and sauce bubbled out onto the oven.  Yikes!
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
  6. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the dry topping ingredients.
  7. Add chunks of softened vegan margarine into dry mixture until coarse chunks form.
  8. Drizzle topping over fruit mixture completely covering the fruit. 
  9. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes until topping is golden brown.
A delicious but macabre mess from my too shallow dish.

How to make Gluten-free Flour Blend 
3 cups brown rice flour
1 cup potato starch
1/2 cup tapioca starch
  1. Thoroughly mix flour and starches together.   Store in an airtight container.
  2. You may want to double the recipe so that you have a good-sized stash of GF flour blend for your future baking needs.
  3. Although I think it's not necessary for the above crisp recipe, usually you need to add xanthan gum or guar gum when you use a gluten-free four blend.  Xanthan gum (which contains corn derivatives) and guar gum work as binders for baked goods.  
  Use the following rule of thumb for adding xanthan gum or guar gum:
  • 1 tsp per cup of flour mix = sandwich bread/pizza crust
  • 1/2 tsp per cup of flour mix = cakes/muffins/quick breads
  • 1/4 tsp per cup of flour mix = cookies

November 14, 2011

Food Allergies Rock: The Kids' Perspective

I think I speak for both Irene and myself when I say that we are both still on top of the world about last Sunday's event.  We met so many happy parents and adorable children who were delighted to be celebrating their food allergies with us.

Giving my children an opportunity to see that there are lots of other kids out there with food allergies or who support allergy awareness was a really unique experience.  So we thought it only fair to get the kids' perspective on the event.  We asked our kids to draw and write about Food Allergies Rock!  Enjoy!

By Tristan, reluctant writer/willing party-goer:

Ryken, who we had assumed blacked out after inhaling four Tofutti ice cream sandwiches that day, fondly remembered Kyle's performance and the tasty samples.  Clearly he partook in the many Ryken-safe treats there was at the event:

"I liked Kyle Dine's singing.  I liked the Miglet's cupcake and sugar cookie.  I liked Mary's Gone Crackers cookie.  I liked the molasses cookie, the pumpkin pie pocket, and ice cream sandwiches.  I had two Zicos.  It's one of my favorite drinks.  And I liked to play with the play dough." (Editor's note: Can't you just see Ryken as an ad man someday?  He sure knows how to plug products!)

Three-year-old Callan drew about his memories and attempted to write Kyle Dine's name. (C Di -- not bad!)  He said this about his picture:

"Kyle Dine is singing.  I liked eating the desserts and playing with the play dough.  My favorite dessert was EVERYTHING!"

Still singing the refrain from "My Epineph-Friend"?  Are they still talking about the gluten-free play dough or the treats?  We would love to hear about your kids' memories from the event!

Have you checked out our snazzy event t-shirts?  Whether you attended the event or just want one to show off your support, you can get one now.  Pre-order your t-shirt to ensure that you get the perfect fit for you or the allergic rocker in your life.

Also we will have Follower Appreciation drawings in November and December.  Subscribe to Get Allergy Wise or become a Get Allergy Wise follower on Facebook today.  We may be announcing a prize winner very soon!  :)

November 11, 2011

Our Food Allergy Rock Event Tees: Pre-Order Starts Today!

You asked.  We listened.  And we are SO excited!

Photo credit: Brett Lando

Photo credit: Brett Lando

That's right!  Due to popular demand, we will be producing more t-shirts for sale.  Our stylish Food Allergies Rock! t-shirts (yep, just like Kyle's!) will be available for $15 each, with all proceeds going to Anaphylaxis Canada's teen programs, an organization that Kyle is directly involved with.  We are taking pre-orders starting today.  Please provide your name, email, and sizes in the fields below, and we'll contact you when the shirts come in! 

Size chart (Note: Please order up one size as toddler and kids tees shrink down one size after washing)

Toddler lap tees 2T or 4T
Youth tees 4*, 6, 8, 10
Adult Sizes (unisex) XS, S, M, L, XL

*the youth size 4 fits between the 4T and the 6.

Pssst!  If you haven't already become a Get AllergyWise follower, now would be a great time!  We'll be hosting some secret drawings during the month of November to show some follower appreciation, and someone might just be scoring a t-shirt or two!  :)  You never know when a subscriber may win something...

Just enter your email and click subscribe under "Follow Us" and confirm your subscription in the follow-up email, OR click "Subscribe in a reader."

Fantastic Friday to all!

November 9, 2011

Y'all Rocked Food Allergies!

On November 6th, storm clouds disappeared and made way for the sun to shine down on our Food Allergies Rock concert with Kyle Dine.  We sang, we danced, we played, and we made new friends.  

Kyle Dine draws in the crowd with a song about his food allergies. 
Photo Credit: Brett Lando

Food-allergic children even got to sample sweets like cupcakes, cookies, and ice cream that may have been gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, or nut-free, but were definitely not lacking in taste and smiles!  They may even have sufficed as lunch for some of the little ones (I'm not naming names, but we knew who they were when they crashed hard at 6pm!).  

We were honored to have the support of BAAAB founder Mireille Schwartz who believes in our blog and dedicated time at our event and behind the scenes to help our event reach the widest possible audience.  

We were thrilled to have Kyle Dine headline our event.  He was every bit of the dynamic kids' performer as we had hoped, plus a really nice person!  We hope you had a chance to meet him as he mingled with guests before and after his performance.  Our kids loved Kyle and have been singing his songs and reenacting their concert experiences at home.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU... 

To our friends at Miglet's Gluten Free Bakery, Udi's Gluten Free Foods, Zico Pure Premium Coconut Water, Cinnaholic, Tofutti, and Mariposa Baking Company for providing fresh and delicious treats at the event. 
To Amy Fothergill--the Family Chef, Generation Allergy, and Mother Knows, who were there to discuss their products that support our food allergy community.

To California Baby, Dr. Lucy's, Enjoy Life, Select Wisely, Allerbling, Follow Your Heart, Allergy Alert Stick Ons, Especially Yours, Mary's Gone Crackers, San Francisco Recreation and Parks, Little City Kitchen Co., Allergic Living Magazine, and the Sequoia Foundation for all the goodies they sent for our guests and the invaluable services they provided to help everything go off without a hitch!

To authors Juniper Skinner and Sandra Beasley for contributing copies of their latest works for our raffle.

To theGRQP's Shawn Cordeiro for designing our laminating tags and coloring contest sheet. 

To Jamie Wong for the endless mounds of brightly colored gluten-free play dough and GAW contributor Michelle Tsang for all the leaf printing, two of our most popular activities at the event.

To Charlotte Jude who provided Epi-Pen training for our young guests.

To Ken Wee who provided and set up all of our audio equipment and made sure that everything was heard loud and clear! 

To Jennifer Jung and Jarvis Mak who helped the event run smoothly by overseeing our 6 attending vendors and 40 volunteers. 

To our volunteers from Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity in San Francisco State and UC Berkeley for their help with all aspects of the day. We could not have accomplished this without their help.

To our event photographers, Tiffany Chen and Brett Lando, for their tireless work in capturing great memories from the event.

To Jordan Brooks of BAAAB for supporting our event with guidance through the publicity process.

To our friends, our spouses, our family who supported us by volunteering, attending, advising, and simply lending their endless moral support of this huge endeavor.  Thank you for your words of praise, but please know that you share in this achievement.

The kids' craft tables were always buzzing with activity.  Photo Credit: Brett Lando

Mireille Schwartz's speech garners some laughs as daughter Charlotte Judd looks on.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Kids help Kyle Dine identify symptoms of an allergic reaction.  Photo Credit: Brett Lando

Kyle's set list included "My Epineph-Friend," "Stop! Please Don't Feed Me" and "Food Allergies Rock" (of course!). Photo Credit: Brett Lando

Udi's rep Kim Rice offered an array of gluten-free goodies. Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Sheila Parmar and Johanna Silva of MotherKnows shared about their online medical record management services.  Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Kyle Dine hangs out before the event with a tiny portion of his huge new SF Bay Area fan base.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Jamie Wong, who made all of our colorful gluten-free play dough, pictured with daughter Joie and husband Marcus.  Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

GAW's Sarah Chuck and Irene Chu, their kids, and Kyle Dine.  Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Miglet's Gluten Free Bakery, represented by owner Katie Ortiz and her mom Elaine Taylor, was a huge supporter.  Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Alpha Phi Omega volunteers helped with all aspects of the event including the Halloween candy trade-in. 
Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Guests were greeted by the warm smiles of GAW contributing writer Michelle Kishimoto and Betty Wong.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Ky-Yen Wong, Lydia Lam, and Michelle Tsang helped with raffle and kids' crafts.  Photo credit: Tiffany Chen

Kyle Dine with GAW's Sarah Chuck and Irene Chu. Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Lori Fletcher, her kids Lindsey and Justin with Kyle Dine. Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Mireille Schwartz was interviewed by KQED's Rebecca Wolfson for an upcoming segment on food allergies.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Daughter and mother Charlotte Judd and Mireille Schwartz with GAW's Irene Chu and Sarah Chuck.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Raffle winner Asha Fletcher-Irwin and her proud father, Buzz Irwin.  Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Our helpful friends including Jennifer Jung (right of Irene) who took care of our vendors.  Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Kyle Dine with Generation Allergy's Kelly Brady and Heather Brady Gallegos. Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Lastly, thank you especially to all of our readers and their wonderful families, and for the sea of happy faces that made all of our hard work and planning worthwhile!

Shower love on your newfound allergy-friendly businesses by visiting their stores, their websites, and Facebook pages.  Please check out Kyle Dine's website for info on the artist and how to buy his CDs.

And please share your comments, photos, and experiences with our blog community or on our Get Allergy Wise Facebook page--we're loving your feedback!

Sarah & Irene