Dairy Free and Egg Free Lunch Ideas

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Lunch is one of my biggest struggles. I’ve always struggled with lunches, but even more so now that we are living dairy and egg free.

Pre-made bread, deli meat, cheese, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, canned stuff…all are off limits!

That WAS true. Here’s what I’ve discovered since first writing this post.

Sara Lee Soft and Smooth bread is “safe” for us. It is, however, processed on a line that also processes other milk products. However, the manager I spoke to said the lines are cleaned stringently AND at least one other milk free product is made on the line before this bread. When in doubt, call and speak to someone knowledgeable. SG is very sensitive and we normally avoid anything that is processed on a line that also processes milk products, but this bread is safe for her. I do rub a piece of bread from each new loaf on her cheek and wait before serving it to her… oh, the things us food allergy mamas will do!!!

Hebrew National Beef Franks are “safe” for us!!! I also called about this and listened to the pre-recorded message about food allergens. (By the way, I was impressed that this option was available. They must get these questions a lot.) Now, I know hot dogs are not the healthiest choice, but ya know what? Our diet is limited and mama needs “easy” sometimes.

Hormel Natural Choice Deli Meats are “safe” for us. The kind in the brown boxes. I also called the company about this and was reassured these products are safe for my child. Yay! (Note: Purchasing deli meat in the deli at a grocery store is not recommended. Too much risk of cross contamination.)

Talk about a game changer… We can now have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, deli meat sandwiches (No cheese but we add mustard and hummus and just have the meat- sounds weird but it’s good. If I have it, I add fresh tomato to “healthy it up a bit”.)

Here are more options for lunch I relied on before my recent discovery of the above products:

Uncrustables. I’ve recently discovered that I can make my own “uncrustables.” That has been amazing and a “lunch lifesaver.”

Hummus. I’ve only tried one brand, Sabra, and it is safe for SG. (If you’re a food allergy parent, I’d guess you’re probably like me, in that when you find a safe food and brand, you will only buy that brand. I don’t want to try another brand. Too risky.) Anyway, sometimes she eats hummus with safe crackers (we use Ritz), hummus with raw carrots, and most recently, a turkey, hummus, and Ritz crackers lunch. It’s delicious! The hummus serves as the condiment and I truly didn’t even miss the cheese!!! This will become a staple in our rotation.

Fresh fruit. This is a must. I try my hardest to always have at least one fresh fruit in the house, preferably more. I also have those little plastic pre-packaged bowls of fruit as back ups.

Fruit salad. Cut up fresh fruit mixed together. I don’t know why but it’s so much fun to call it fruit salad rather than fruit. 🙂

Homemade chicken fingers. I found this recipe from Once a Month Mom and tried it. I had to adapt it to be dairy free, but it was good and easy. The changes I made were to purchase coconut greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt and I also added some seasonings to the Panko bread crumbs. I sprinkled some salt, pepper, paprika, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder in with the bread crumbs. I didn’t add enough, though, because the chicken was a bit bland. However, it was SO MOIST! The best part was I only had to pop my homemade chicken fingers in the oven for twenty minutes and had a healthy protein for both of us. Add some french fries, steamed veggies or leftover sides from the night before and you have an easy and healthy lunch. I love easy and healthy. Here’s the link: http://onceamonthmom.com/chicken-stix/

Bagel Pizzas/Pizza. I use this super easy homemade pizza sauce recipe from Once A Month Mom. Click here to see how to make it. I either use a Pillsbury multi-grain pizza crust to make a pizza or make bagel pizzas. Once A Month Mom has inspired me to try making bagel pizzas to add to my repertoire of easy lunches. Click here to read the original recipe. As usual, I always adapt the recipe. I omitted the cheese and sprinkled nutritional yeast on the bagels instead. I also used Hormel Natural Choice deli ham (cut up) and jarred pineapples (cut up). I’m on a big Hawaiian pizza kick right now.
For my regular pizzas, I pre-bake the crust as Pillsbury suggests, spread the pizza sauce, sprinkle nutritional yeast, and add my toppings. I’ve realized I need to add LOTS of toppings to make up for no cheese. We also add salt, pepper, and oregano to our pizzas before baking.

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Spaghetti. Spaghetti can be labor intensive, but I have that solved! I try to always keep pre-seasoned and pre-cooked ground beef in my freezer. I keep jars of spaghetti sauce and lots of safe pasta on hand. It makes for a speedy lunch! I just heat the meat with the spaghetti sauce and boil some noodles.

Leftovers. We rarely have this for lunch but occasionally do. Ya can’t beat leftovers! No work. Just re-heating.

Soup. I love to freeze extra soup. I found a great chicken noodle soup on allrecipes.com. It freezes beautifully! I tried my hand at creating my own chicken and rice soup, spanish style, and it was a hit! This also freezes well. When I’m in a pinch, I heat up a Campbell’s tomato soup. The kind in those microwaveable bowls. It’s safe for SG. Here’s the link to our favorite chicken noodle soup: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/quick-and-easy-chicken-noodle-soup/

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Yogurt.  Silk yogurts are yummy and safe for us. SG usually has one as part of her breakfast, but if she hasn’t, I give it to her to round out her lunch. We have also recently starting adding coconut yogurt to our diet. I’ve yet to eat it outright. I use it in recipes, but I know SG would eat it.

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Food allergy parents, what do you feed your child for lunch? I’m ALWAYS looking for new ideas and recipes. Please share, my friend!

Disclaimer: Please know that what works for us may not work for your family’s needs. Please be diligent in calling companies and making a decision that works for your family and dietary needs. Also, companies change their ingredients so please ALWAYS read the labels. I am not liable or responsible for any harm caused by my suggestions.

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Vacationing with Food Allergies

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Vacation. If you’re a food allergy parent, this word might strike fear in your heart. If you’re not a food allergy parent, you might be jumping for joy. We’ve vacationed since SG was born, but this has been the first time we’ve vacationed that she is really aware of what’s going on.

Here are some of the things and ways we prepared for our vacation visiting our families.

Cook and bake like crazy:
I sat down and wrote a list of everything I needed to make, bake and buy for our vacation. Vegan blueberry muffins, vegan banana bread, crustless PB&J sandwiches, homemade chicken and rice soup, BBQ beef, chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, twenty something Silk yogurts, our Silk coffee creamers, and other safe snacks.

Here are the links to the recipes I used. I made or baked them and froze them. I then went out and bought the biggest cooler I could find. We took the cooler with us, filled with safe foods.

Vegan muffins (I subbed frozen blueberries for the chocolate chips. Note: The first time I made this I used canola oil and the second time I used the suggested coconut oil. I personally prefer the muffins with canola oil. Just my preference.)
http://www.egglesscooking.com/2012/05/18/vegan-chocolate-chip-muffins-recipe/

Vegan banana bread (I omitted the nuts and made these into mini loaves. It was the perfect serving size for SG for breakfast. I doubled the recipe and ended up with 16 mini loaves of banana bread.)
http://www.egglesscooking.com/2011/02/24/vegan-banana-bread/

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Safe chocolate chip cookies
http://silk.com/recipes/chocolate-chip-cookies

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Crustless Sandwiches (Since writing that post, I have found a safe commercial bread!)
https://blessedlittlefamily.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/dairy-egg-and-peanut-free-homemade-uncrustables/

BBQ Beef (lunch served on Pillsbury Crescent Rounds and safe potato chips)
http://onceamonthmom.com/barbecue-beef-sandwiches/
http://onceamonthmom.com/homemade-bbq-sauce/

Make Dinner Plans:
Since we were visiting both families, I spoke with both mothers and came up with a plan. In the past, we all ate whatever and I made her a special dinner. She never noticed. Now she does. And I didn’t want to make her feel different. We decided I would cook all dinners for my family while at my parent’s house. When we visited the in-laws, they wanted to cook the meals (with my approval to keep SG safe.) I chose recipes to serve my family that didn’t need substituting. If you’ve read my menu plans, they are recipes I have in constant rotation in our day-to-day life.

Here are the links to the recipes I made for my family on vacation:

20-40 Garlic Clove Chicken (I doubled the recipe. I served this with zucchini tossed in olive oil and salt and pepper, sautĂ©ed in a pan. I also baked up two bags of Ore-Ida’s zesty french fries. Yes, I was feeding a crowd!)
http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2009/04/crockpot-20-to-40-clove-garlic-chicken.html

Ally’s 20 Minute Stir Fry (I used the leftover chicken from the garlic chicken, doubled the recipe and served the stir fry over rice.)
http://www.sweetandsavoryfood.com/2013/04/20-minute-skillet-stir-fry.html

I also made my homemade chicken and rice soup or arroz con pollo soup (recipe will be posted soon!). I made that at home and froze it in gallon ziploc bags. I defrosted it and added a little extra chicken broth and baked some crescent rolls. That was an easy dinner. I also made spaghetti for everyone using safe noodles, Bertolli sauce and more crescent rolls. 🙂

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I spread the baking and cooking out over 2 weeks time. I kept a list on the fridge and slowly worked my way through it.

Think Everything Through and Try to be as Prepared as Possible:
I also asked the allergist for another prescription for Epi-Pens, as one of our sets of parents live up a mountain with a hospital quite a ways away. We traveled with six Epi-Pens and lots of Benadryl. And lots of prayer!

Since I knew I would be cooking, I brought my own pots and pans. The risk of cross contamination scares me. I also purchased duplicates of things I needed like olive oil, canola oil, safe margarine, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, etc. I did not want to try anything new on vacation.

I want to send a huge shout out to my parents and sister who went dairy and egg free when we were in town. My father, who loves his evaporated milk in his coffee, suffered through soy creamer just for SG. Thanks Datty! My sister went as far as to have a dairy free and egg free birthday party for her three year old, which is the reason we traveled (for the party.) Click here to read how to have a rockin’ party, DF and EF!

How do you “do” vacation? If you’re a food allergy parent, have you found vacation relaxing or stressful? The preparation is a lot of work, but TOTALLY worth it! Do you have any tips on how to vacation smoothly? Please share.

The Menu Plan: Week of June 23, 2013

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Skillet Mac & “Cheese”:
http://onceamonthmom.com/family-approved-skillet-mac-cheese/
For the “Cheese”:
http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2013/05/cheesy-cauliflower-sauce.html

Garlic Chicken (never made last week!):
http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2009/04/crockpot-20-to-40-clove-garlic-chicken.html

Chicken Stir Fry using leftover garlic chicken:
http://www.sweetandsavoryfood.com/2013/04/20-minute-skillet-stir-fry.html

BBQ Beef:
http://onceamonthmom.com/barbecue-beef-sandwiches/
BBQ Sauce:
http://onceamonthmom.com/homemade-bbq-sauce/

Marinade for Italian Chicken:
http://angelaskitchen.com/2011/06/22/make-your-own-italian-dressing/

Spiced Cauliflower:
http://onceamonthmom.com/spiced-roasted-cauliflower/

The Menu Plan: Week of June 16, 2013

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For the Chicken Burgers (I never made them last week- oops!):
http://onceamonthmom.com/better-than-the-freezer-aisle-copy-cat-trader-joes-chili-lime-chicken-burgers/

Hawaiian Pizza:
I’m experimenting with this. I’m using Hormel Naturals Deli Ham, jarred pineapple, Pillsbury multi-grain pizza dough, and a homemade pizza sauce. Instead of cheese, I’m going to sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top of the pizza sauce.
To make homemade pizza sauce:
http://onceamonthmom.com/homemade-pizza-sauce/

And my old faithful, 20-40 Garlic Clove Chicken Drumsticks:
http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2009/04/crockpot-20-to-40-clove-garlic-chicken.html

Delicious Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies: Dairy Free and Egg Free

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These cookies are AMAZING! I used Silk Almond Vanilla Milk, sweetened. For the margarine I used Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine or Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks and Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Warning- these are highly addictive.

Click here for the link to the recipe from Silk. Thanks Silk for the yummy recipe!!!

SG is going to be so happy to wake up from her nap and find fresh baked cookies waiting for her!!!

Update:  I now add in Enjoy Life chocolate chunks along with the chocolate chips.  Mmmm!  Even better!

Happiness Is…

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I received an email invite to a toddler’s birthday party and immediately thought, “Rats, I can’t take SG. Too many allergens. It’s not fun for either of us when I hover over her and get stressed and don’t let her touch anything. I don’t want her to cry again when she eats a different cupcake.”

I clicked on the invite and read it anyway. No sense in delaying my responding “No.”

Happiness is reading that a friend is having a DAIRY FREE AND EGG FREE birthday party for her non allergic child so my very allergic child can attend.

Happiness is a friend asking others in an invite to NOT bring dairy products to the party.

Happiness is tears of joy springing to my eyes when someone goes out of their way to keep my child safe.

Happiness is friends who love you and care for you and your family.

To say my cup runneth over is an understatement.

Thank you, my dear sweet friend. You have touched me SO deeply. You are loved.

The Menu Plan: Week of June 9, 2013

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Teriyaki Burgers:
http://onceamonthmom.com/gluten-free-dairy-free-teriyaki-burgers/

BBQ Baked Chicken Thighs:
http://onceamonthmom.com/bbq-baked-chicken-thighs/

Mashed Cauliflower: (Scroll down to the second mashed cauliflower recipe. That one is DF and EF, not the first one.)
http://angelaskitchen.com/2006/10/12/roast-chicken-and-“smashed”-cauliflower/

Pork Chops:
http://mommahenskitchen.blogspot.com/2010/07/honey-garlic-baked-pork-chops.html

Pasta Salad:
http://www.momables.com/ladybug-pasta-lunch/

Grilled Chicken Skewers: (I never made these but intended to in my last menu plan!)
http://onceamonthmom.com/gluten-free-dairy-free-chicken-skewers/

Chili Lime Chicken Burgers:
http://onceamonthmom.com/better-than-the-freezer-aisle-copy-cat-trader-joes-chili-lime-chicken-burgers/