"cream" of broccoli soup

largely from "Finally... Food I can Eat!" by Shirley Plant

a. cut a bunch of broc (including stems, peeled to remove fibers) into small bits
b. wash 1/2 cup millet (or peel&chop one largish potato)
c. mince 2 cloves garlic
d. chop 3 stalks celery
e. chop 1 medium onion
f. chop handful fresh parsley
g. 6 cups water
h. 1 cup rice milk
i. have olive oil, sea salt, vegetable/herbal salts and pepper on hand

1. sauté onion in olive oil until transparent (2mins?)
2. add garlic and celery and stir continuously a couple of minutes
3. add millet (or potato) and keep stirring another minute
4. add 6cups water, tsp pepper, tsp sea salt, tsp veg.salts, and bring to boil
5. simmer 25 minutes or longer (if and as required to cook millet)
6. when cool enough, put in blender with parsley and rice milk, and liquefy!
7. serve (optionally, with a dash of fresh lemon juice)

yields 8-9 cups, can be frozen


St-Hubert BBQ: info in-store only

Bottom line: you have to visit the restaurant and consult their binder to find out if there is a safe option.

Andrew, the manager at the St-Laurent Blvd location, was helpful over the phone and oversaw the preparation of a special meal for lucas (1/4 chicken, steamed veg, roast potato, half baguette). a huge meal for a 3yo, and they charged us full fare. At least they didn't charge the apple juice...

Anyway, they do NOT identify potential allergens on their website, and when asked, they said the information is only available in-store. Be sure to discuss with the manager, he was aware of a recent supplier change that had not been promulgated to the binders yet. Excerpt of online feedback and response copied below (names withheld).

Dear (customer),

Pursuant to your request regarding the nutritional information for items found on our menu, please note that the said information are available in rotisseries only.

For your convenience, we have compiled this information inside a binder which you may consult, on demand, during your next visit to your nearest St-Hubert Rotisserie.

We thank you for taking the time to write to us, and hope the above meets with your expectations.

Should you require further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Service à la Clientèle Réseau
Les Rôtisseries St-Hubert Ltée

-----Message d'origine-----
Envoyé : 28 novembre 2008 15:47
À : Centre de service au client

Message : My son has multiple food allergies (peanuts, nuts, eggs, milk, soy, gelatin, legumes, lamb and shellfish). I applaud you for making your restaurants completely nut-free! Most of his other allergies are also in the government list of priority allergens. We therefore need to plan our visits to restaurants carefully, and would like to see your ingredients lists (or at least allergen information) before ordering. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find that on your website. Where am I supposed to find allergy information for your products?


Wilton brand Cake Sparkles and Gel

Spoke with Kerry at Wilton Industries Customer Service yesterday. 1800-794-5866.
Pink, stock 703-1260 (UPC 70896-07260)
Purple, stock 703-1266 (UPC 70896-07266)
Yellow, stock 703-1272 (UPC 70896-07272)

There is no "may contain" warning either on the packaging or on their website, but these cake sparkles are all made in a facility that does process dairy, egg and soy ingredients. (at least it is nut/peanut free, and no fish/shellfish).

I asked them to look into the other allergies and left them my email address; she warned it might take a few days to get the info.

Update: Here is the response:
Good Morning Customer,
Thank you for your inquiry.
Please be aware, the following information regarding Food Allergens, Food Sensitizers, or Food specifications is to the best of our knowledge believed to be accurate.
There is no lamb, legumes or gelatin in the product or the manufacturing environment for the gel tubes or cake sparkles.
If we can be of any other assistance, please contact us.

Consumer care center

-----Original Message-----
From: Thayer, Angela
Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 2:31 PM
To: Merola, Kerry
Subject: RE: Allergen Question

None of those items are in either of the products.
The manufacturing facility of the Red Gel Tube does not contain any of those items either.
The manufacturing facility of the Cake Sparkles has a fish gelatin but that gelatin is in a different part of the building and is not put down the same line as our cake sparkles. The fish gelatin does not come into contact with the cake sparkles.


-----Original Message-----
From: Merola, Kerry
Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 9:01 AM
To: Thayer, Angela
Subject: Allergen Question

Hi Angie,

I have a customer who needs to know whether Legumes, Lamb and/or Gelatin is in the product or manufacturing environment of stock # 704-318 & 703-1266.
Thank you, I appreciate your assistance.

Have a good day.

Kerry Merola
Wilton Industries

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake (with peppermint, opt)

adapted from http://www.wilton.com/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=8&threadid=74242
I don't remember who sent me this recipe but it isn't mine and I haven't made it so you might want to try a practice one to try it, should work well for cupcakes. You can use any flavoring you like in place of the peppermint.
Makes 12 Servings

Preheat oven to 325F.

Prep a 10 inch bundt pan (spray with cooking oil or grease with all-vegetable shortening) and set aside.

Dry ingredients

Sift together in large bowl and whisk together well:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet ingredients

Whisk together by hand in medium bowl:
  • 1-3/4 cup (375 ml) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp peppermint extract (PS - make it a short tablespoon)
Add the wet ingredients to the dry with a few swift strokes just until blended. Pour into bundt pan. Bake 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Cool on rack.

UPDATE: this was an AWESOME cake - Added allergen-free chocolate chips and baked a double batch in a (rented) butterfly cake mold. Next time, though, we'll go just a tad lighter than prescribed on the peppermint extract.
UPDATE 2: we tried again with orange extract instead of peppermint; result was far below expectations - maybe a little too heavy on the baking soda.
UPDATE 3: no all-purpose flour so used 1 cup WW flour with 1 cup Pastry flour and 1 Tbsp gluten. Added 1 cup choc chips. Also didn't find any flavouring so used extra Tbsp applesauce. Finally, poured a single batch into a 9x13 pan. I hope it'll rise enough...

Kathy's Barbequed Wings

from http://www.angelfire.com/mi/FAST/maindishes.html

Submitted by KL

In Buffalo, eating wings is now a tradition, but authentic sauces usually contain butter.

Wings are also often deep fried. This lower fat version cooks the wings in the oven (but they're still plenty fattening!) Hot sauce on the side should please the daring adult palate, but these sweeter tasting wings are kid friendly. This barbecue sauce is also delicious for ribs...

3 to 4 tablespoons canola oil, or other preferred oil
1 onion, large size, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup honey, or molasses
1/4 cup vinegar, or lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
5 to 6 pounds chicken wings, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 375. Place wings in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Cook at 375 for 25-35 minutes until juices run clear. Cooking time is longer with frozen wings (follow package direction).

In the meantime, saute onions in oil until soft and translucent, but not brown. Add garlic, saute for 2-3 minutes longer.

Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Place cooked chicken on a broiler rack, coat one side with barbecue sauce. Set oven to broil. Broil chicken for 10 minutes. Turn chicken wings, and coat with remaining sauce. Return to oven and broil for additional 10 minutes. Serve with raw celery and carrots, any leftover sauce.

5-6 pounds will yield approximately 60-70 wings. Leftovers can be frozen.

UPDATE: My sister made this with molasses (not honey) over the weekend - tasted great!

Egg-Free, Wheat-Free, Milk-Free Meatloaf

from http://www.bigoven.com/81795-Egg-Free,-Wheat-Free,-Milk-Free-Meatloaf-recipe.html

1 1/2 lb Ground Beef

1 ds -Pepper
1/4 c Raw, grated potato 1/2 c Broth; up to 1 cup
1/4 c Chopped 1 c Chopped Vegetables
1/4 c Grated Carrot Green peppers etc
3/4 ts -Salt;or less

Mix all ingredients. Bake at 350* for 1 hour. You do not have to add the optional vegetables, but it is a good way for children to learn to enjoy them.
PROTEIN: 135.5 grams; CALORIES: 1466
These are all from the _Whole_Foods_For_The_ _Whole_Family_Cookbook_. From: SANDRA MAY Refer#: NONE Conf: (1010) F-COOKING From Geminis MASSIVE MealMaster collection at www.synapse.com/~gemini

Note: I went with 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth, added 1/3 cup quick oatmeal and skipped the chopped veggies and green pepper, then pressed the whole thing into a large pie plate so it can cook faster.

UPDATE: vegetables released quite a bit of water, and the organic ground beef I used gave it a really peculiar flavour. We liked it, but the intended diner wouldn't touch it (or let anything else in his plate touch it). Oh well.


sweet poem about the emotional journey

This poem is pretty bang-on. My wife received it at an allergy support group meeting a while back, I just stumbled upon it myself tonight. Of course I googled it, and support groups for parents of kids with all types of disabilities everywhere in the english-speaking world use it. No surprise there.
Ironic thing is that I have visited family in Holland many times, and we visited Italy when only 3mos pregnant with our child.
Welcome to Holland - Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this ...

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip … to Italy. You can buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Colosseum the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. Its all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes and says "Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a new language and you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And the rest of your life, you will say "Yes that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I planned".

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.


birthday parties

preparing safe food for them is going to be a lot of work...
Anyway, he kept playing in the living room while the other 3yos smooshed their food everywhere at/around the table, then he popped over in time for dessert (special chocolate cupcake with Dairy Free ice cream). All in all worked out quite well!


blue menu all beef sausages update

Frederic just called re blue menu sausages inquiry from June.
Going through cases not closed yet; was apologetic about delay. The top 10 allergens were not in the product, line nor plant. Previous product made was "Frankfurters in a skin." He'll reissue a request to confirm legumes, lamb and gelatin.


Pacific Natural Foods Oat Beverage

Spoke with Beth at Pacific Natural Foods, 503-692-9666 x1317 a week or two ago, about their oat beverage (not available in Canada because of some rule that non-dairy beverages cannot be sold here if fortified). I don't have the details at hand, but she reassured me that it would be ok for our kid's suite of allergies.


Olympic Double Smoked Half Ham

Thank you for your recent inquiry about Olympic Double Smoked Half Ham.

We would like to inform you that here are no peanuts, milk, eggs, lamb or shell fish used in the manufacturing facility. Soy is used, however we cannot provide information on gelatin or legumes (may or may not be used) as we do not have this information at our disposal at this time.

If we can provide any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-595-9072.

Thank you for choosing Mitchell's Gourmet Foods.

Telephone inquiry 23 May 08:
Olympic Fine Meats, Double-smoked ham, 2.655 kg
Maple Leaf Consumer Foods, Mississauga
COSTCO label: Packing May 1 08 Best Before Jul 3 08
UPC 257841 241312

Mitchell's Gourmet Foods website lists Olympic Fine Meats 306-382-2210
referred to Maple Leaf Consumer Inquiries 1800-595-9072
"UPC not in system (on label only, not on packaging)
No info on gelatin, lamb or legues, has to contact (...) and will c/b."



Higher asthma rates in first-born kids linked to pregnancy conditions: study
May. 20, 2008
Provided by: The Canadian Press
Written by: Sheryl Ubelacker, Health Reporter, THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO - First-born children are known to have a higher risk for developing asthma and allergies than their younger siblings, and researchers suggest part of the reason may lie in the womb.

A study of 1,200 children on the U.K.'s Isle of Wight, followed from birth into childhood, found first-borns had higher levels of a specific immune-response substance in their umbilical cord blood than did second-born children. The substance is an antibody called IgE.

"This was important because there are two different schools of thought," lead author Dr. Wilfried Karmaus, an epidemiologist of the University of South Carolina, said in an interview. "One is considering the hygiene of the delivery of the birth is important for the immune (system) development and the other thought is that the prenatal exposure during pregnancy is important."

"And we could show that the immune markers (the IgE antibody) in first-born are already higher compared to second-born," he said. "I think it's not the hygiene, but the prenatal programming that plays a role."

(The hygiene hypothesis suggests that first-born children are not exposed to as many germs as their younger siblings are, so their immune systems overreact to common substances like grass, pollen and dust as if they were infectious agents.)

The study, presented at the American Thoracic Society's annual international conference in Toronto, also showed that the elevated risk for asthma and allergies persisted in eldest children throughout childhood.

At age four and 10, those with a higher amount of the antibody in their cord blood were more likely to have a positive skin-prick test for allergies and asthma compared with a younger sister or brother, Karmaus said Tuesday.

First-borns had more than double the risk of reacting to skin-prick allergy testing than did their younger siblings, the study found.

Karmaus said the amount of IgE is linked to a specific gene. In a first pregnancy, this gene appears to be more active, leading to a greater expression, or output, of the antibody.

"It's unclear what is the driving force behind it or what is the potential of risk for increased cord-serum IgE," said Karmaus, noting that women giving birth to their first child also have a higher blood level of the antibody than they do when having a second child.

"We assume that the contact between mother and child leads to a more immunological upset or arousal in the first pregnancy, so that something in the gene becomes expressed," he speculated, creating a higher risk of the child's immune system reacting to allergens.

Karmaus estimated that 20 to 30 per cent of all cases of asthma and allergy could be prevented if pregnancy conditions for first-born children could be altered somehow, although how that could be done is unknown.

"We don't know (how) yet, but the idea is to produce a condition during the first pregnancy which is comparable to a second pregnancy."

Commenting on the research, allergist Dr. Susan Waserman of McMaster University called the research interesting but by no means definitive.

The findings suggest that some process could be occurring in the uterus that affects first-borns and may represent an intervention point for preventing allergy, she said from Hamilton.

"But at this point it's just the subject of interest and future investigation."


blue menu original frankfurters

upc 60383 78786
best before MA 26
lot 66809803 (66865803?)

prod info not available on website
4 may 08: reaction cough, gag reflex, body rash, anxiety. suspect related to this product, can't be sure.
7 may 08: called PC 1888-495-5111 frederick 1410. noted allergies, apologised and will call mfr to find out.

2 Jun 08: follow-up call: Case #814935. still no confirmation; not usual concerns so have to check with their ingredient suppliers. Asked for Establishment number (in round logo with a crown and Canada above it): #354. "That will narrow search and hopefully get you an answer sooner."


Mexicali Rosa's - update

Exchanged a few emails with the executive VP at MR Franchise Company. At one point he seemed interested in making changes to minimize the risk of cross-contamination, but he must have consulted a laywer since then; his last email basically said "consider everything a risk and to feel free to bring your own food."
I'm not giving up so easily.


Mexicali Rosa's

Went to MR's tonight for the 2nd time.
The Kanata restarant closed for relocation, so we went to the Hunt Club location (at Merrivale) instead. I telephoned ahead and the staff was extremely attentive, with a list of suggested meals and a few lists of ingredients at the ready. Unfortunately, the tortilla chips (which kid much enjoyed during last visit) are fried in the same fryer as all other stuff, including dairy, and the raw chips really aren't to write home about. One of us deeked out to buy a bag of tortilla chips we knew to be safe.
I give them an A+ for effort, but a B- for infrastructure (they need a better-equipped kitchen).
I emailed the Kanata store manager with the suggestion for when they reopen in the new facility.


Barbara's Bakery: multigrain shredded spoonfuls

product question
product: Barbara's Bakery, multigrains shredded spoonfuls, BB 07 MR 08
their Contact Us page doesn't list a telephone number for consumer inquiries, but it does offer an online form through which I submitted the following:
I cannot find any allergy warnings on your product. My son is allergic to: PEANUT, DAIRY, SOY, EGG, GELATIN, LAMB, SHELLFISH, and LEGUMES. Is your product safe for him?

"You request has been successfully submitted. A customer service representative will respond to your inquiry within one week."

Not satisfied with the online only interface and 1week(!) response time, I called their info number for retailers (707-765-2273) and spoke with Cathy. Very understanding and collaborative. This was her response (both verbal and follow-up email):

  • Soy: not in product, but *is* on that production line (as soy oil)
  • tree nuts: processed elsewhere in facility, not that product line
  • eggs: elsewhere in fac, not prod line
  • dairy: elsewhere in fac, not prod line
  • peanut, seafood: not processed in facility at all
  • lamb: info not available, not likely
  • legumes: info not available, will have to confirm with production facility and c/b

When I asked her about listing allergens on their packaging, she indicated there is no obligation in the US but they "are phasing allergen advisories on our labels when the need arises for us to reorder packaging."

Update: one week later, I still haven't heard back from her. I'm not terribly worried about this product, though it would be nice to get confirmation.



lucas has had issues with beef ever since we first tried introducing it. the skin prick test was negative, so he's not considered allergic to it. however, every time we've tried feeding him some, it would bring his entire meal right back up. we held off for a few months (frequency of vomiting was creating concerns with burning away the enamel on his teeth). we tried again last week, and he managed to eat a little bit and keep it down without any bad signs. yay!
his skin, however, flared up with eczema for the next few days, almost as bad as when we (didn't know any better and) fed him milk and/or soy-based formula as a baby. it was also some of the driest days of the year. coincidence? i suspect not. sigh. we're in no rush to try beef again.


Quick & Easy Elk Stew

From the Elk Ranch

1 kg Elk Stew meat

1 cup water

2 bay leaves

1 tsp rosemary & 1 tsp thyme

½ tsp savory

½ tsp black pepper & Salt to taste

1/3 cup hearty red wine or dark beer

3 Carrots

3 Sweet Potatoes (or white or red)

1 Onion

½ - 1 cup fresh cranberries

1 apple (cored, peeled, and chopped)

Place frozen elk stew, along with water, herbs & spices into crockpot or slow cooker in the morning.

Around 1-2 hrs before dinner, add chopped vegetables, apple, cranberries, and wine or beer!

Remember that Stew is nutritional and fun, add your own favorite herbs & spices, mushrooms, any other favorite root vegetable i.e. turnips, parsnips, try John’s Hot Sauce-Peach Vidalia to taste, and/or 1 tsp maple syrup.

Make it your own. Put it on before you leave for work and get the kids involved by letting them add the prepared fruit & vegetables after school, that’s how the apple ended up in ours.


like a ball and chain

Left home yesterday morning to ring in the New Year in Montreal. When we arrived, we realized we somehow managed to leave the diaper bag - with antihistamine, salinex, epipens, medicare card, etc - at home. So, since large family parties with lots of food and other kids is not the safest place for him to be allergy-wise, off to the nearest pharmacy I went to buy more of everything. argh (at least it wasn't my family's party that I was missing).