Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Happy Hanukkah!

The other day I made my first batch of Latkes for the holidays. They were gone within minutes! People always think that making latkes is a long procedure and that the house stinks. If you have a good fan then the house will not smell, and even if it does, they are worth it! A food processor with a grater attachment saves tons of time. Just make sure to squeeze out the liquid from the potatoes.


2 Cups peeled, grated potato’s (Yukon, OR Sweet)-about 6 potato's
1 Med grated onion
2 eggs
4 tbsp Flour
1 tbsp salt
½ cup canola oil
Drop about 2 tablespoons into the oil and let fry until golden brown on both sides (about 2 minutes per side).

Makes about a dozen latkes (to make more just double the recipe)

Happy Hanukkah!



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thank You!

Thank you to all the readers who took the time to send a letter requesting that it become mandatory for teachers to receive training around managing Anaphylaxis.

When people tell me they read my blog, I cannot tell you how happy it makes me. I I really appreciate the feedback I received around the letter writing campaign and the recent voting for the blog to be in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Food Allergy Mom blogs (which I lost but I had only entered 2 weeks into the voting and still ranked around #55!).

So thank you to the followers, regular readers, and those who visit every once in a while!



Friday, December 9, 2011

Letter writing campaign to demand emergency training in Quebec schools

Article from The Montreal Gazette, December 06, 2011:

MONTREAL - Following the death of a 6-year-old Montreal schoolgirl, parents of children with food allergies and support groups are calling on Quebec to make it law for all schools to institute training programs and emergency measures to deal with the potentially fatal allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

It’s estimated there are 72,000 students in the province who are potentially at risk.

First-grader Megann Ayotte Lefort was in the care of daycare staff at Saint-Germain Cousin elementary school in Montreal North while her parents were at an information session with her teacher in September 2010. Megann started showing signs of distress at 6:20 p.m., crying and asking for her father soon after taking small bite from a store-bought sandwich her mother gave her, but it was 25 minutes before staff gave her two puffs from her asthma inhaler when she had trouble breathing, a coroner’s report revealed. It was 40 minutes before staff came to get the parents to say their daughter wasn’t breathing.

When they got to Megann, the parents demanded the staff call 911. Paramedics managed to revive her and rush her to the hospital, but she was declared dead at 8:20 p.m.

“The school was well aware of Megann’s allergies and her asthma. ... Everything about that night was wrong. Everything,” Megann’s father Sylvain Lefort told Allergic Living magazine.

“The problem is that in Quebec the management of children with food allergies in schools is not centralized,” said Marie-Josée Bettez, a Quebec City lawyer who is the mother of a 13-year-old with numerous food allergies and the author of two books on the topic. “Each school board and each school has its own protocol, which means the protection afforded to each student varies from one school to another.”

Anaphylaxis is the most serious form of allergic reaction, and can lead to swelling of the airways or a drop in blood pressure, both of which can be fatal.

In 2005, Ontario created Sabrina’s law, named for Sabrina Shannon, a 13-year-old who died at her school in 2003 from an anaphylactic reaction. The legislation requires training for teachers and school staff, as well as a detailed plan for each school, as well as a plan tailored for each allergic child, with input from their parents and doctors.

This week, the Quebec Association of Food Allergies, Allergic Living and Asthme et Allergies Québec launched a campaign to create a similar law here. They’re calling for a standardized training program at all schools with students with food allergies to instruct staff in the proper techniques to follow.

Because of the rapidity with which a reaction can occur, caregivers need to give victims an adrenalin shot immediately via an epinephrine auto-injector, or EpiPen, then call 911, and give a second epinephrine shot in five to 15 minutes if the reaction continues. Patients must go to hospital right away because the reaction can worsen.

All schools of the Commission scolaire de Montréal, the city’s largest school board, are instructed to follow the protocols set out by the province’s health board, school board spokesman Alain Perron said. Parents have to tell the school if their child has any allergies, and if so, supply the school with two EpiPens. In Montreal’s multicultural mix, where many students can’t speak English or French and are often too young to know how to treat the reactions, it’s especially important for parents to supply detailed information, Perron said.

With 11,000 meals served every day in CSDM schools, the multitude of allergies present and the possibility of children dipping into the meals of their peers, it’s impossible to shield allergic children from all hazards, the board notes on its website.

Bettez’s son Christopher is allergic to eggs, nuts, dairy products, mustard, chicken, turkey, kiwi, and fish, among other foods. What is harmless for most can be poison to him, causing an allergic reaction “that can very sudden and very violent, and where the margin to act is very limited,” Bettez said. She knows from experience.

“When you’re rushing to the emergency room with your child in that condition, it’s very difficult,” she said.

At the start of every school year, Bettez had to meet with school administrators, teachers and staff to explain the proper procedures. But not everyone has written two books on the subject and is in a position to instruct the teachers, she said, which is why there is a need for a an overarching law. That Quebec does not have one yet is in part due to the fact the public has not pushed hard enough, she said.

In response to Megann’s death, and the concerns of parents expressed for years, Allergic Living magazine recently launched a write-in campaign on its website,, calling for an anaphylaxis law for Quebec schools. Parents are asked to write Education Minister Line Beauchamp and Health Minister Yves Bolduc.

Reached yesterday by The Gazette, an aide for Beauchamp said she would not be commenting at this time. Bolduc’s spokesperson said only that the minister had taken note of the campaign.

The magazine was hoping to generate 2,500 letters. To date, 855 have been sent.


Please support this cause and write a letter. These are the email addresses to send the letters to:

Thanks for your support



Monday, November 21, 2011

Peanut Butter Parties

I came across this article about mothers in Australia who take their kids to organized ‘parties’ to test for a peanut allergy.

There appears to be a heightened awareness of peanut allergies amongst new parents compared to years ago. It seems everyone fears their child may be allergic to peanut butter and worries about the first time they introduce it. A recent study I read showed that 8% of children in the United States under 18 years old suffer from food allergies. The most common allergen was peanuts. Of the 8% with food allergies, about 39% had a history of severe reaction and 30% were allergic to multiple foods. The number of kids with food allergies went up 18% between 1997-2007. Considering these numbers, it comes as no surprise that parents have this fear.

As you know, we have been introducing nuts very slowly, and we have been actively doing this near the hospital in the event of an emergency. I’ve never heard of such a party here in Montreal, but perhaps Australian moms are onto something. I have heard that there is a room at the Montreal Children's hospital for parents to bring their kids to introduce peanuts. I asked an allergist at the hospital about this, and he laughed at this rumor. Yes, there is a room for allergists to do food challenges on kids known to have allergies, but not for random people to come and introduce their kids to food for the first time. Perhaps the hospital cafeteria would be a good public venue for this sort of party!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Boy who Ate Almonds

Round two of our nut introductions was successful. We gave him slivered almonds which rumor has it are not so tasty on their own, but he ate them all up! No reaction … next cashews. Stay tuned.

Are there any good chocolate bars with cashews?


Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Best Peanut/Nut Free Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!

I make these cookies all the time. The recipe yields a lot of dough, so I often freeze half and use it when I have impromptu company, or when I give the boy a really special treat.

2/3 C. Butter or margarine (Melted)
2C. Lightly packed brown sugar
2 Eggs
2 tbsp Water
1 tsp Vanilla
2 1/2 C. Flour (plus 2 tablespoons)
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Baking Soda

¾ C. Milk Chocolate Chips or Semi Sweet
¾ C. White Chocolate Chips
(OR 1 1/2 C. of swirl chocolate chips which are half milk/half white-Presidents Choice makes these)

Beat the melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, water, and vanilla
Stir in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda
Mix the chocolate chips and cranberries

Bake at 375f for approximately 10 minutes

Makes about 50-60 cookies (depending on size)

Enjoy :)


Friday, November 11, 2011

Peanuts and Medication

The other day I had a close call. I was prescribed a medication that had peanut oil in it. Luckily, I have a habit of double checking EVERYTHING that goes into my mouth, including medication. While I was waiting for the pharmacist to check his book of medications, I googled the medication, and to my surprise there was in fact peanut oil in it.

This situation reminded me that I can never be too careful. It is my responsibility to double check everything including medication. So for all you allergic people, double check!



Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Boy who ate Nutella

Since the test results came back negative a couple months ago we have been talking about introducing nuts. I have had almond milk and nutella in my grocery cart at least six times, and each time I get to the cashier I freak out and give the product back. Something about having these products under my roof seems wrong to me.

Today was a beautiful fall day, and we were heading to the market to buy some pumpkins. Since it was early, we had no plans, and the market is down the street from the Children's Hospital, I decided today was going to be the day! I called my neighbor and she made a nutella sandwich for the boy in her house, double bagged it, and off we went. When we arrived at the market, I insisted we take a parking spot that had quick access to the road in case we had to drive up the hill to the Emergency room. Armed with the Epipen Jr, we gave him his nutella sandwich on the corner about 25 feet from the car (I didn't want any to get on the car seat).

This stuff must taste good because the boy loooved it! He devoured his sandwich. We were checking his body for hives and making sure he was breathing every 10 seconds. He chose 3 little pumpkins, and we went back to the car. On our way home, he fell asleep which is not uncommon for him, but of course we kept checking if he was breathing. He was 100% fine.

Next week...Almond Milk.



Thursday, October 20, 2011

Trick or Treat!

As a kid Halloween is one of the most exciting days of the year. Dressing up and eating candy freely! I remember the minute we walked through the door my siblings and I had to empty our bags so my mother can filter out the peanut snacks. At the time, it was not uncommon for people to give peanuts as treats. I walked away from those houses! Nowadays, Reeces Pieces, Peanut M & M’s, along with countless other treats are still very popular choices and parents need to be on top of their children with allergies before they dig into their stash. Every year there seems to be a new company declaring themselves peanut free, meaning more to choose from for those allergic. My personal favorites are the mini-chips ahoy, mini mars bars, and the mini Hershey’s variety pack (with the cookies and cream, milk chocolate and caramel chocolate bars).

What is your personal favorite Halloween treat?

Have a safe Halloween!



Saturday, October 15, 2011

School Board Bans Peanut Butter Substitute

In my opinion, this is going too far. Parents of allergic children should be happy the school board is peanut free to begin with. I could understand if it was banned because it is not considered a well-balanced meal (this is a topic for another post altogether!). I understand that the two products may smell similar, and cause cnfusion, however tf the parents are writing 'peanut free', then it should be acceptable.




Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Reminder

As ridiculous as it may sound, people who are not allergic to nuts or peanuts may not realize that nuts can be found in foods even with the word ‘nut’ in it. Everyone knows peanut butter has peanuts in it, however, someone very close to me once had Honey Nut Cheerios in their home, and when I noticed it and commented, they honestly said they didn’t realize there were nuts in it. Another time, a mother sent her child to the daycare with bread and nutella for breakfast and I smelled it from across the room at drop off, and she too explained she didn’t realize there were nuts in nutella. And again yesterday the same story with Almond Breeze. So… this post is just a reminder to not take anything for granted and always make sure to check, double check and triple check everything.



Sunday, August 28, 2011

Being Bullied

Bullying is said to be the number-one non-academic issue that educators face. As a parent, I have not had to deal with this topic, and I hope I won’t ever have to, but in my younger years I was a victim of bullying twice in my life and both were related to my allergy. Bullying happens in many forms; Verbal, Phyical, Social (leaving someone out of a game or group on purpose), Extortion (stealing someone's money or toys), or Cyberbullying. It can happen at daycare, camp, school, work or just about anywhere. This is definitely a topic that can draw different opinions, and one that can create tension amongst parents especially when the bully and the victim’s parents are friends. In my opinion there are many different parenting styles, and usually several ways to handle the same situation effectively. Ultimately, the victim’s safety needs to be he priority.

I am writing about this topic for two reasons. First, to share my experience and second, to raise awareness that bullying does happen.

Both my experiences happened at sleep away camp (two separate summers). The first incident was when a bunk-mate threatened to put peanut butter in my mouth while I was asleep, and the second was when another bunk-mate told me she was going to eat peanut-butter M&M’s on my bed. If either of these situations happened today, I have no doubt they would have been handled differently than they were in the 1992 and 1994 respectively. To this day, I maintain that the girl who threatened to put PB in my mouth while I was asleep should have been sent home. She was forced to apologize, but that was about it. As the victim, I was frightened enough to bring it to the attention of the head staff who at the time failed by not sending her home.

Parents don’t know what goes on in the school yard or at the lunch table. Parents of kids with food allergies need to consider that their child’s food allergy may be something others poke fun or use against them. I believe it is a good idea for parents to always have an open dialogue with their kids and ask them daily how things are at school. Obviously if there are issues with bullying, it would be wise to address it with the school asap.

So good luck with the back to school week, and have a safe year!



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Travel-Part 2

A while age I posted about travelling with a peanut allergy and everything that comes with it (calling the airlines, exploring restaurants, proximity to the hospital etc…). A few weeks ago we went to Maine with my sister in law, brother in law and their baby. It was a wonderful week away, especially because it gave me the opportunity to have a full week with the boy. We rented a house, and it was the best decision we could have made. My husband grew up going to Maine every summer, and most of the accommodations are motels or B and B’s. Given we were with a baby and our toddler we wanted a fridge, a yard and enough room for the kids to move around inside. We found a great house that was adorable, updated, and walking distance to the beach.

When renting a house, it is important to anyone with an allergy to consider the fact that the homes utensils, pots and so on may pose a risk of cross contamination. When we arrived, I wiped the counters down, and in an effort to not use anything from the house, I brought all sorts of stuff with me, down to the coffee maker! We travelled by car, so it was easy to bring this stuff. I took cutlery for myself and the boy (we didn’t have the test results at the time), 1 large pot, 1 small pan, a disposable baking dish, 1 small mixing bowl (I used this the most), paper plates, and my own coffee mug. I’m not a breakfast person, so that was not a big deal for me, and the boy was happy with cereal. Given my restrictions of only eating in restaurants that have absolutely no peanuts on the menu altogether it was a challenge to find somewhere to go 7 nights in a row. Ultimately we ate at 3 places, two of which we doubled up on. Myself and the boy even had lunch at one of those three restaurants 3 times! The other nights we stayed home. There were definitely places I would have loved to try out, but given my reality I was better off without it. I’m looking forward to going back next year, and at least the boy can enjoy the bakeries and countless ice cream shops.

Travelling with an allergy can be a difficult task, but this happened to be one of the easier trips for me. I was relieved to know that we were only about 7 minutes from a hospital (the fire chief told me when we were at the station visiting the trucks!).

: )


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The results are in

According to the results of the blood test, there is NO allergy to the following:

Brasil Nuts

I spoke to the allergist today, and she explained that it is possible he had a sensitivity to the skin test last year that appeared to be a positive result.

Next to introduce nuts with me around!



Monday, June 20, 2011

The Waiting Game

I am waiting eagerly for the test results from my sons ImuPro Allergy test. He had a follow up skin test about a month ago and it appeared clear from all allergens. I was very excited, but due to the conflicting results from last year to this year, it was felt that doing the ImuPro test would be ideal as it is apparently very reliable. Also it can test for multiple things in one blood test. To be completely honest, I am not sure how this test is different from the RAST, but our allergist suggested it.

I can’t even imagine being able to go out and allowing him to eat at any bakery, restaurant, ice cream shop or even a friends house. All simple things he has not had the opportunity to experience. If the results are positive … life goes on, and I will continue to keep him in a safe nut-free bubble.



Thursday, June 2, 2011


Someone sent this to me today, and I watched it 3 times before I was able to form an opinion as to whether I liked, loved or hated this PSA. In doing a little research, I found out that the goal of the PSA was to illustrate the dangers that seemingly innocent foods pose to thousands of children every day.

That being said, I loved the PSA. I think it met the goal is set out to achieve. The message is clear, and the delivery is powerful. The message serves as a reminder that an allergic reaction can be fatal, and parents, teachers, and caregivers should watch this. The more awareness there is, the better.

Please comment and share, do you like, love or hate?



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Food Allergy Awareness Week!

It's Food Allergy Awareness Week.

I can't tell you how many times in my life people see my Medic Alert Bracelet and ask what my medical issues are. I've been wearing one for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, I lost my bracelet somewhere between Boston and Montreal on Sunday. I'm so bummed about it because it was a 'nice' sterling silver one. They come in all sorts of varieties now, but I'm not a believer of getting one of the really fancy Medic Alert bracelets that look like jewelry because I'm scared people won't recognize it for its function in case of emergency.

I guess it's not so strange, but I felt uncomfortable going in public without wearing one for the first time in years. Yesterday, I went straight to my mothers to pick up an old one. I'm going to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of wearing a Medic Alert if you have food allergies. It truly can save lives.

What are you going to do to raise awareness this week?



Monday, April 25, 2011

Peanuts on Planes



Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

Over the past five or so years, I started to become a little more 'green'. I began hearing staggering statistics about recycling (or lack thereof), and reports that that our current consumption, and habits will directly impact our own future, own children’s future, our future grandchildren and hopefully great-grandchildren.

Everything from eco-fashion to organic food has helped the world become a little greener. Since the day the first blue box was dropped off at my childhood home my family recycled. The old style blue boxes were comparable in size to a cardboard box. Now, most neighborhoods near my house have giant boxes that are about 10x the size of the old ones. At our house, the box is full every week.

These are the small steps I have taken over the past few years at being more green.

1- A re-usable water bottle. Anyone who knows me is aware that I always walk around with mine. I feel guilty whenever I drink from a plastic one as millions of plastic water bottles find their way into landfills each year.

2-Bring reusable bags to the grocery store. In Montreal they charge 5 Cents for each plastic bag as a way to encourage people to use the reusable ones. Personally, I find the reusable bags handle the groceries much better, and are easier to carry (FYI-after testing each stores bags, I like the IGA and Costco bags the best).

3-Think before you print.

4-Compost-O.K not for everyone, but where I live, we have these giant compost containers the size of the recycling ones. I don't compost everyday but when I am cooking and have a lot of scraps, or vegi peels I will throw it all into a compostable bag that goes into the bin. Leaves, branches, and even Pizza Boxes can be composted. In some places so can diapers.

5-Do you really need all those napkins?

6- A Re-Usable coffee cup. This should be on my favorites list. I love mine. Not only does it keep my coffee hot longer, it saves money! Most coffee shops give a discount when you take your coffee in your own cup. And for those who are not into the idea, ditch the cardboard cup sleeve. Unless of course it is actually way too hot to drink without it!

7-Change your light bulbs. The next time your bulb burns out, use an eco-friendly bulb to save energy. On this note, turn the lights off when possible. Save energy.

8-Energystar appliances. When we were appliance shopping, we made it a point to buy appliances with the Energy Star rating. FYI, the cost of maintaining an ancient fridge is so high that it can be recouped in just a few years of using an Energy Star rated one.

Let’s do our best to protect our earth, there are dozens of other tips for going green. For more info,

Happy Earth Day!



Thursday, April 14, 2011


I am looking to buy the boy a few kids books that are about food allergies. Any suggestions before I order?



Saturday, April 9, 2011

BBQ Season

The weather is finally warm enough to break out the BBQ. Last night, we had a family dinner at my mother's and the plan was to BBQ. While walking there, I could smell BBQ everywhere, and I was looking forward to the first batch of real grilled veggies and steak. Unfortunately the BBQ died over the winter and didn’t start. Three people tried to get it working and it was finished. We decided to use an indoor grill pan, sear the steaks and finish them in the oven, which is what I do all winter long for steak and veggies anyways. My mother has never used that technique before, and was not very excited about the prospect of 8 steaks going to waste. I promised her they would be good, and they were. I must admit that the smoke alarm did go off because a lot of smoke developed while they were in the oven, but we managed to save dinner.

Someone half joked that we should ask one of the neighbors to borrow theirs. The whole ordeal reminded me of those public BBQ’s in parks, large picnic areas and even some apartment buildings. For so many reasons those public BBQ’s gross me out, but there is an allergy concern as well. The cross contamination is very risky on any shared kitchen equipment. A BBQ is no exception.

I thought I’d share this recipe. During the summer I make these at least twice a week if not more. The leftovers find themselves in my salad the following day for lunch, or as a topping for pizza on pita.

My favorite grilled vegetables

1 red pepper cut in 4
1 yellow pepper cut in 4
1 zucchini cut on the diagonal
1 box Portabella mushroom slices (the large slices)
1 onion cut in 4 (make sure you keep the root intact otherwise it will fall into many pieces) note- after grilling cut the root off each piece
(you can also use eggplant, asparagus or any other vegetable of your choice)

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 Handful of chopped fresh oregano (or your favorite herb)

Combine all the vegetables in a large freezer bag, mix the marinade and pour into the bag. Let it sit for minimum 1 hour max 24.



Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Wedding

I’ve been married for 5 and a half years. When we were planning our wedding it was very important for me to be able to actually eat at it. Since we had a Kosher wedding, our selection of caterers was small to begin with. We chose to hire the caterer that did my sister’s wedding 3 years earlier. At the time of my sisters wedding he seemed to be very well versed on peanut/nut allergies. I was aware that he had 2 kitchens, one for cooking, the other for pastries. When we met to discuss my wedding, he told us in advance that the main kitchen was peanut/nut free but that the dessert kitchen did have risk of tree nuts, though he guaranteed he would not use any for our desserts. A wedding cake was something that was not of tremendous importance to me, so it was no big deal that dessert was off limits. We signed a contract that stated no nuts/peanuts in several places, gave a hefty deposit and I crossed caterer off my list.

2 ½ months before the wedding I personally went to the caterers store front to book a tasting, and reminded him of the allergies. When we went for the tasting with my now husband, mother in law and mother we sat down and before touching anything I half-jokingly, half-seriously said ‘no nuts in anything right’. The caterers response was, ‘Oh don’t eat those’ while pointing to one of the Hors Doeuves samples. I said “what”, he said “there are almonds in that”… I nearly lost it.

That night we made a unanimous decision that we were not going to use this caterer for the wedding. Despite his excellent reputation in the community, he could have killed me. The next morning, my husband went to the store front with the unopened bottles of wine we were given to sample and gave them back. He told him that we cannot trust him, nor his food, and that we were not going to be using his services for the wedding. My husband asked him to send us the deposit back at his earliest convenience and even offered to pay for the cost of the sample meal. The caterer minimized the nut/peanut issue, and refused to give the deposit back.

At this point my wedding was 2 ½ months away and I did not have a caterer. The venue was a synagogue so it had to be kosher. I was freaking out! We called around and discovered that one of the other caterers in the community suffers from personal allergies of his own and guarantees the food would be nut/peanut free. He explained that he has used nuts/peanuts in his kitchen in the past but that he sterilizes everything before starting. Given he has allergies of his own, and he appeared to understand the gravity of the situation, we chose to go ahead and hire him.

As far as the other guy was concerned, we sued him in small claims court for the amount of our deposit and won! He even had to pay the court fees.

I am sharing this story because it is so important for people to be comfortable at their own events. This was a close call for me. I can’t even imagine what may have happened.



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Patch of Hope




Monday, March 28, 2011

No Sharing, part II

A few months ago I posted about the dangers of sharing food and teaching the boy to NOT share food. Myself, my husband, and his teachers have all been instrumental in teaching him to not share food. My husband took him to a swimming class the other day, after the class he asked the boy for a cookie from his snack container, and the response was “no share food!”

This is one of my proudest moments as a parent of an allergic child!



Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bye Bye Latte

I am a morning coffee drinker, and occasionally i'll drink a cup in the afternoon if the mood strikes. I am very particular about my coffee though. I don't like it too strong, but I also don't like it weak. In our coffee maker the perfect cup is made by using 8 cups of water to 5 1/2 tbsp of coffee and a dash of cinnamon (a hint from my sisters friend). I am not into the fancy coffee beans either, presidents choice or folgers are just fine.

When I do indulge in an afternoon caffeine fix, i'll usually go for a latte. I find the filtered coffee from most of the big name coffee shops undrinkable. As you know, I am only allergic to peanuts, but I do stay away from all other nuts. If I was allergic to hazelnuts I would never drink coffee out because there is such a high risk of cross contamination between the coffee carafes used in the stores. In fact, I know someone who did have a reaction from this type of cross contamination.

Yesterday it was brought to my attention that one of the Starbucks that I frequent regularly sells peanut butter cookies. Since I never eat the cookies, brownies, cakes or other baked goods due to my allergy I never even look at them.

I was very upset at myself for never realizing this before, but it dawned on me that there is a risk to me and my latte. What if the barista just served a cookie to someone else and touches my cup? What if the peanut butter crumbs land on the counter and I touch it? I pride myself on being super careful, to the point where people have criticized me for how extreme I am. I was a bit upset with myself for having never considered this risk factor to myself, but from this day forward I will start to look at the desserts to make sure there are no peanuty ones that may pose a risk to my latte.

As far as the boy is concerned, he is many years away from being a coffee drinker, but with a tree-nut allergy coffee shops will be out of the question for him.



Thursday, March 10, 2011

My favorite Things...#2

Dare Foods is definitely my favorite peanut free company for off the shelf peanut free products. They were the first company I can remember to declare they are peanut free. At Dare Foods, they are very allergy conscious, and have a huge variety of peanut free products. The following statement was taken from their website:

"We’ve taken extra care when it comes to quality control at each of our 5 Canadian manufacturing facilities so that you can rest assured when choosing Dare products:
we put our process and packaging equipment through a regular allergen cleaning procedure; we work with our key suppliers to ensure that they also have a stringent allergen management process; and we ensure that staff do not bring any nut/peanut products into the facilities."

Of all the products this is a list of my family favorites:

Breton Regular and Minis

Bear paw crackers-Original flavor

Vinta crackers

Simple pleasures-Digestives and chocolate thins

Real Fruit

Bread Sticks

Melba Toast

Whippets-A delicious treat that was always in my house as a kid.

Simple Pleasures Moments-Lemon Poppy (These are new. I bought them yesterday for the first time, and they are the perfect alternative to a cookie).



Saturday, February 26, 2011

I Love Loblaws

I love Loblaws for a few reasons (for American readers, Loblaws is part of a major Canadian grocery store chain). The Joe fresh section, the selection or organics, and most importantly their customer service at head office. I love to cook, so I make virtually everything. That being said, I do a lot of grocery shopping.

A few weeks ago, my sister pointed out that there is a planters peanuts dispenser located at the exit, and she noticed peanut shells all over the floor. I never noticed this before, so prior to taking the next step of calling customer service I went to check it out myself, and saw the same thing. My biggest concern was that customers would buy some of the peanuts, touch their grocery carts, and then the next customer would touch the cart. If I was the next customer, or if a young child sitting in the cart with an allergy touched the handle this could potentially lead to anaphylaxis. For those without an allergy, this may sound extreme, but for me, this is a real concern. I happen to be the type to wipe down the cart with some Purell from my purse and a baby wipe before I touch it anyways but I’m sure most people don't.

First I emailed the company with a picture of the area. No response. A week later, I went back to the store, and I addressed the concern with one of the floor managers who explained that the dispenser is privately owned. I then called the head office while roaming through the aisles doing my shopping and the lady on the other end assured me someone would get back to me in a few days and she apologized for the lack of response to my email. Fair enough. Well... yesterday I got a call from head office to inform me that the manager has agreed to remove the dispenser from the floor. Victory!



Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Favorite Things... #1

I decided to compile a list of my favorite things, they will all be allergy related of course. I will talk about these things in separate postings in order for each one to have a moment in the spotlight.

The first is Oliver’s labels. My son attends daycare, so everything needs to be labeled. I send him with lunch everyday, so he has about a dozen or so food containers and sippy cups that are on a constant rotation. His sippy cups, cutlery, clothing, jacket, even his shoes are all labeled. I found the perfect solution at Oliver’s labels. has these adorable sticky labels that have a no nuts logo next to his name. They come in all different sizes for shoes, containers, clothing and so on. Even though his daycare is peanut/nut free and I send him food from home, the no nuts symbol serves as yet another reminder that he is allergic. I have a friend whose daughter attends a different daycare, and she is allergic to dairy. For the first few weeks when she started her daycare, she sent her with one of these stickers on her shirt!

The labels have been through the dishwasher and laundry countless times, and they are showing no signs of wear and tear. A great find. Check it out at



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New Food Labelling Regulations

After years of advocating for clear and accurate labelling, the Canadian government announced yesterday that they have passed the food labelling regulations we've all been waiting for. Effective August 2012, any hidden ingredients will have to be listed. This is great news for anyone with an allergy, or with celiac disease. It is the expectation that labels will be clear. For example, in the case of a product with sesame, instead of listing seasonings as an ingredient, the new regulation would require the word sesame to be written.

The one catch is the Health Minister did not pass this regulation to the brewery industry. So... the campaign continues, but at least this is a step in the right direction.



Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

Personally, I am not a big fan of Valentines day. By Tuesday, Valentines day displays will be over, and Easter will take over.

As far as the chocolate treats are concerned, many companies in Canada have jumped on the peanut free bandwagon so there are choices out there, but nothing compares to a homemade chocolate dessert prepared with love for Valentines Day. This recipe is super easy to prepare, but it does require some last minute baking for the ‘lava’ effect. The batter can be prepared in advance.

Molten Lava Cakes:

• 1 cup unsalted butter
• 8 ounces chocolate (I like Hershey’s semi-sweet chocolate chips for this recipe)
• 5 eggs
• 1/2 cup sugar
• ½ tsp of salt
• 4 teaspoons sifted flour
• 12 regular muffin cups OR 9 large muffin cups
• Cooking spray

In a double boiler OR microwave melt chocolate and butter.
Beat eggs, sugar and salt, then add this to the chocolate mixture and beat until smooth.

Add the sifted flour and mix until incorporated. Line 12 regular muffin cups (sprayed with cooking spray such) and preheat oven to 450. NOTE: if using large size cups the recipe will only yield 8-9 cakes.

Divide the batter among the cups and bake for approx 7-10 minutes.

Remove the papers, and serve immediately. I like to garnish with a mint leaf and raspberries or strawberry slices.



Sunday, February 6, 2011


A dating website for singles with food allergies. I saw an add for this site while perusing an allergy website recently. I am all for internet dating, I actually met my husband online, as did my sister in law, and my best friend.

I can totally understand why someone came up with this idea, in fact i'm surprised it wasn't me who came up with it! About 8 years ago, I was set up with this guy and we went on a few dates. I told him about my allergy even before the first date because any restaurant we went to had to be peanut free. He appeared to be somewhat sensitive towards the allergy but made mention of how he missed certain snacks with peanut butter more than once. I was young and should have known better at the time. We dated for about 2 months, I even took him to my sister's wedding. The video later had to be edited to remove any shots of him! In any case a few months after it ended, a friend of mine told me that she knew someone who also went on a few dates with this same guy, and that on their date he openly told her that he was not interested in girls with medical problems. He even told her that he once broke up with someone because she had juvenile diabetes, and another girl because she had a peanut/nut allergy. As for the peanut allergy girl, he was obviously referring to me! The biggest laugh of all is that this guy is a doctor!! Anyways, I hear he's still single…shocking.

All to say, that this website seems like a great idea!



Saturday, January 29, 2011

Peanut Dog

This is not a joke! Like guide dogs (a.k.a seeing eye dogs), there are peanut detecting dogs. Dogs who can sniff out peanuts to ensure their owner is safe.

Please don't judge me, but I am not a dog lover. I like other people's dogs. Especially golden retrievers, burnese mountain dogs, and more recently some of the cute creations interbreeding has resulted in. I think they make a great pet, but a furry friend is just not for me. I think it's the OCD, but it's a safe bet that our home will be dog-free.

I heard about peanut dogs a few years ago from a magazine. They can be brought anywhere and everywhere because they are classified as service dogs.

For anyone interested, check out I just called and apparantly they are not doing peanut dogs at the moment, but this can change in the future. Maybe they stopped doing them because the cost of a peanut detecting dog is$14,995. That is not a typo!



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No Sharing!

I’m on a 100% no sharing policy!

Since the boy was born I have been involved in different music groups, playgroups, gym classes etc… The moms always bring their toddlers snacks and sometimes these snacks get shared or grabbed by the other kids. Most of the moms are allergy aware and would never bring a nutty snack. Despite this I am still the mother running around ensuring my child does not take food from any of the other kids, eat off the floor or grab someone's snack, just in case. On the same note, I recognize people mean well by offering to share their child's snacks when another toddler seems interested in it, but in my opinion people should never feed other people's kids without permission. Sharing is caring, but with an allergy sharing is not so caring.

How do you handle these situations?



Thursday, January 20, 2011

Exciting News!

I am excited to announce that my blog is now featured on has always been my number one reference for all things peanut related. The site has a wealth of information including forums where questions can be posted for just about any subject.

Welcome to all the new readers!

: )


p.s Happy blogoversary to me! Today marks the 1 year anniversary of the blog.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Definition of a Peanut Free/Nut Free Home?

As you all know by now, I don’t eat at other people’s homes unless they are 100% peanut/nut free. We were invited to someone’s home for dinner where the hostess actually had a peanut allergy. One would assume that if you go to someone’s house where there is someone with a peanut allergy, that their home would be peanut free. Wrong!!

Before eating, I asked if everything was nut free to which she responded ‘of course’. While the evening was really nice and the food was entirely peanut/nut free, I later found out that they keep peanut butter in the home for the peanut butter loving husband. My husband gave up peanuts cold turkey, so this could lead into a whole other discussion but it won’t!!

As soon as I heard that they keep peanut butter in the home, my heart skipped a beat. I don’t know why, We were finished dinner and I was totally fine. It’s not like the peanut butter was going to jump out of the pantry onto the plate, but I have been consumed by the whole idea of how people define peanut/nut free? To me it’s easy, a kitchen completely free of all peanuts, nuts and any product that states may contain traces of peanuts or nuts. With a jar of PB in the pantry this ultimately impacts the level of control one has in a peanut/nut free home. I could not stop thinking about when he eats it? Where does he keep it? Does he use a plate? Does he eat it near his wife? What if she touches the plate after? We all make our own decisions, and we know our respective comfort zones. The allergic hostess has been living with a peanut loving husband for a few years and she’s just fine.

The big question is I am posing is what defines a peanut/nut free home in your opinion. This sounds like a simple question, but there are many answers.



Friday, January 7, 2011

New Diagnosis

Having a child with a peanut allergy or any allergy for that matter is a huge responsibility. It is not trial and error like so many aspects of parenting can be, as the error can be fatal. Anyone who has an allergy or a child with an allergy will establish their own way of handling it and develop their own comfort zones. Like anything, with time they will become more comfortable with the way of life that comes with it. Some parents are more relaxed than others, and some people like myself take the allergy issue to another level, and use extreme caution at all times.

In the past three weeks two of my friends have told me their respective son’s were diagnosed with peanut allergies. When I read the first email, I got teary eyed, not for her son who has to live with this allergy, rather I felt sorry for her. I sort of just accepted it with no tears when the allergist told me that my own son seems to have an allergy to tree nuts. I am used to this way of life, I know the ins and outs, the safe restaurants, the questions to ask at restaurants, how to use an epipen, how to teach the teachers about handling an allergy, how to explain to the other mom’s, what to teach the boy about not eating food from anyone but his parents etc… For my two friends who are new to this world, I can imagine how overwhelming it is. They have to figure everything out, and change so many parts of their respective lifestyles. Of course both mothers’ will make these changes, and they will eventually forget what life was like before they had to check ingredients every time their kid eats. They will educate themselves, and they too will become ‘experts’ on how to handle an allergy. Like me, they will have no choice but to go through life asking questions and reading ingredients.

We all know there are worse things in life. As my friend’s kids are growing older, statistically speaking I will get more calls, and I will tell them all the same thing, that it is scary but manageable, and to never let your guard down.