Monday, April 21, 2014

Food Allergy Friendly Party: Easter and Birthday Celebrations

How do you have an amazing egg free, dairy free, nut free and sesame free Easter and birthday celebration? Here's how!

You wake up to two great food allergy friendly Easter baskets that the Easter bunny left for Little Guy and Little Gal. The baskets included: Fun mess free marker and pad, new cups for the kiddos, the TASTY Pascha Organic Chocolate (free of the top 8 allergens!), Annie's Organic Bunny Fruit SnacksSimply Balanced Strawberry Fruit Strips and Play-Doh Eggs.

easter basket food allergies

You eat a well-balanced and healthy food allergy friendly meal with your family to celebrate both Easter and Little Guy's birthday.  What did we have? Ham, shrimp cocktail, chips and salsa, fruit salad, green salad, sweet potatoes (not pictured - in the oven!), no mayo potato salad and homemade rosemary bread.
food allergies dinner party

You of course don't worry about any messes that you made while trying to prepare the meal.  OOPS.
food allergies birthday party meal

You let your Little Guy help put the candles in his egg free, dairy free, gluten free and nut free cake (I used King Arthur Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix). With Little Gal trying to stick her finger in the icing for a secret lick. Priceless.
egg free, dairy free birthday cake

You eat a wonderful food allergy friendly dessert (including chocolate chip cookies and Snicker-doodles!) with the whole family and celebrate a beautiful Easter and birthday party for Little Guy.
food allergies birthday party desserts

We had an amazing day yesterday. How about you?

Here are some of the food allergy friendly Easter basket goodies we used:

You might also like these posts:

Egg Free Easter and Easter Bunny Hayride

Another Food Allergy Friendly Easter Basket Idea

Gluten free, Dairy free and Egg free cake with a strawberry twist

Fireman 3rd Birthday Party

Healthy First Birthday Cake

Birthday cake - Gluten free, dairy free and egg free

Monday, April 14, 2014

Eating Out with Food Allergies: Penn State Trip

I have another great food allergy friendly restaurant experience to tell you about. We traveled to Penn State in State College, PA this weekend as a fun little getaway and family reunion. My cousin is graduating from PSU this spring, so it was time for all of us to meet at PSU for some family time. Of course, when planning any travel or long term trip that will involve eating out a restaurants, my first thought am I going to feed Little Guy safe food allergy friendly food?

So, I started my usual process:

  • CALL AHEAD: Since I went to school at Penn State, I already knew about a few restaurants that might work well with food allergies (and kids!). I called the Allen Street Grille, The Deli (where we had a previous great experience) and the restaurant at Toftrees where we were staying, The Down Under Steakhouse. All restaurants said they had previous experience cooking for food allergies and could accommodate our requests!
  • REVIEW THE MENU ONLINE: I usually order the same thing for Little Guy - a plain burger or chicken, steamed veggies and potato or rice. However, I always like to see if there's anything different on the menu he might be able to have.
  • PACK OUR OWN FOOD: I planned to pack enough food that would get him through the weekend - even if we couldn't find a restaurant that could serve him safe food.
  • USE OUR CHEF CARD: The chef card is what I depend on to communicate how SAFE we need to be when cooking food for Little Guy. It also helps the information get directly to the chef.

We ended up eating two meals at Toftrees' Down Under Steakhouse since it was the most convenient place to meet family on a busy weekend at Penn State. The kids loved just walking from our hotel, and especially loved playing on the open green space outside of Toftrees golf course.

We ate dinner and breakfast at The Down Under Steakhouse (although I only got a photo of breakfast). Two great meals for everyone!

state college, pa

This was the first time we ordered breakfast for Little Guy at a restaurant. Breakfast is usually such an egg and dairy-focused meal that we haven't really tried to go out for it much. But The Down Under Steakhouse had a number of great options. Little Guy ordered the oatmeal, sausage and fruit (potatoes and bacon were other safe options!).

Look at that oatmeal bowl - ENORMOUS! He loved it. Especially when we added a little brown sugar and raisins.
state college, pa

Little Guy thoroughly enjoyed his food allergy friendly meals as you can see!!
state college, pa

Here's my official review!

Food: American-style food focused on steak, burgers and chicken (of course since it's a steakhouse!). Small kids menu for breakfast, but great food overall.

Allergy-Friendly: Yes. As mentioned above we had a great experience with this restaurant and the staff.

Atmosphere: Dark wooden furniture makes it feel more upscale, yet it's a casual place that's great for kids too. It overlooks the golf course and we walked right outside and down some stairs for the kids to play in the grassy area while waiting for our meals. A great place for kids and adults.

I'll be sure to add my great review to AllergyEats!

You may also like my list of other food allergy friendly restaurant reviews with photos of some of the food! 

DISCLAIMER: My reviews are only reviews of our unique experience at these restaurants. They are not an endorsement of safety when eating at these restaurants as each restaurant, staff and kitchen are different. Please do your own research and take all precautions for you and your family when eating out.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Egg Free Easter and Easter Bunny Hayride

Although Easter is a few weeks away, we had a ton of Easter-themed fun this weekend.

It was EGGstraordinary.



Okay, okay. So Little Guy and I played with "egg" words this weekend for a little language focused fun. As an almost 4 year old, he loves playing with words, making up new words and being silly in general.  The ironic part is that since Little Guy has a food allergy to eggs, real eggs were not involved in our weekend at all!

In fact, we made EGGstra effort (ahem) to keep eggs OUT of our fun.

How did we do it? Well, with these little beauties.

egg free Easter

They look almost real, right? They're not. They're plastic dyeable eggs I found at Walmart for $1.97.

easter eggs egg allergy

We used the good old PAL egg coloring kit tablets to dye the eggs.
food allergy easter ideas

The only difference I noticed was that the plastic eggs didn't sink to the bottom like a real egg. Something I didn't think about until we tried it!  See how they're sitting on top of the water?
easter eggs egg allergy

But we made it work anyway with stickers and traditional food coloring.
food allergy easter ideas

Grammy and Little Guy had fun coloring the eggs despite a few hitches!
food allergy easter ideas

We also had fun HIDING the eggs for our own private Easter egg hunt. As you can see, Little Guy was in his glory!
easter eggs egg allergy

Little Gal had fun at the Easter egg hunt too. Grammy got her a pretty new Easter dress. We tried it on her and had to take a few photos even before Easter Sunday. Oh, my little sweet one.
food allergy easter ideas

A big highlight of our weekend was a hayride to the Easter bunny at Linvilla Orchards. It was SUCH a cute experience for our little ones.  I think these Easter bunny photos about sum up the sweetness and fun we had at Linvilla. It not only has hayrides, but also lots of farm animals and a playground!
egg free easter

egg free food allergies

food allergies egg substitute

So, Easter is on the way, and I'm still thinking about food allergy friendly Easter baskets for the kids. I usually fill them with a few treats and add some little toys in the baskets too.

Here's an example of what we did last year for our food allergy friendly Easter baskets.

And here are a few things the Easter bunny is going to give the kids this year!

What EGGstraordinary fun are you having this Easter and spring!? What is the Easter bunny bringing your family?
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