about me

I am a dedicated mother of a severely food allergic child. Every moment of every day is spent keeping him safe and preventing anaphylaxis. Follow me as I go through the ups and downs of this anaphylactic life. Please click "our story" below to read the beginning of this journey.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dairy, egg and nut free (healthy) pizza!

Ash loves this pizza, and little does he know it's packed with calcium, protein and omega 3 fatty acids!  I add some goodies to the crust that make this pizza super healthy. You can make this safe crust recipe without the extras if you just want a plain crust.

What you'll need for the crust:
2 1/2 cups of flour  (I use Hyvee brand unbleached)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast

I add a handful (or two) of flaxseeds and some cut up fresh spinach. You can also use frozen (thawed and drained) spinach.

Preheat your oven to 425.  Mix your package of yeast with the 1 cup of warm water and set aside.  In a bowl, combine sugar, salt, oil, and flour.  Add water/yeast mixture and stir until a dough forms. Let it reast for a few minutes. I usually wait about 5-7 minutes.  Put dough on floured counter and knead about 15-20 times.  This is where I add my spinach and flax seed.  Cut into portions. This will make a large pizza or a few small ones. PS- it freezes GREAT! Spray dairy free cooking spray (I use Country fare from hyvee) onto a cookie sheet and either roll out your dough or just gently pat it down.  Put your toppings on and bake about 20 minutes!

For our pizza I do DIAYA brand mozzarella style Shreds (AWESOME and actually melts and stretches like real cheese) and Ragu pizza sauce is safe.  Ash doesn't eat meat so we just do a "cheese" pizza. You can add any topping you like :)  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Dairy free Spinach Artichoke dip!

This dip is amazing. It was a HUGE hit at Asher's Birthday party. You can serve it with safe tortilla chips or bread. YUM.

Just throw all of this is a crockpot on low! Stir occasionally.

1 container of Tofutti better than Cream cheese
1 container of Tofutti better than Sour cream
Diaya Mozzarella shreds (a few handfuls) ;)
Goat cheese (optional)
1 package of Thawed and drained frozen spinach
1 can of drained artichoke hearts, cut into smaller pieces
salt and pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste


Asher's Birthday party was a success. Nothing brings me more joy than to make safe food and treats for a party to celebrate my son.  It is so comforting to have a table of goodies that is completely safe for him. I also love people's reactions when they taste something :) Ash wanted a robot birthday so I made him vegan and nut free chocolate "Robot" cupcakes. I also made Sunbutter Snickeroos, caramel popcorn, fruit tray with "cream cheese" dip, veggie tray with dill dip, spinach and artichoke dip (you'd NEVER guess it was dairy free), little smokies and various other snacks.  All around, it was a perfect day.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Our safe haven no longer feels safe.............

As a mother, the last thing you want is for your child to be in danger or any type of discomfort.  We as a family thought we had Asher's allergens all figured out.  We live a very strict lifestyle with ZERO allergens in our home and when I do take Ash somewhere, I am super careful and vigilant. Well, four times in the last week and a half, Asher has gotten hives around his eyes and forehead and swollen, puffy eyes at while AT HOME. This is a precursor to his anaphylaxis.  The crazy thing is that it seems to be something on me. Last night when I got home, I gave him my usual hugs and kisses and then BAM, hives around his eyes and his eyes were swelling.  As you can imagine, this is making me feel overcome with guilt and sadness. Just when I think I have it narrowed down, it happens again.  Today I will continue the task of reading labels on all of my hair products and cosmetics.  I have to find what is causing this.  We have an appointment for testing in December and are praying there aren't new allergens to add to the list.  Prayers welcome. I am trying to be strong for Asher, but I am terrified......

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vegan strawberry shortcake!!!

I have really missed this summery dessert these past few years.  I found some dairy free whipped topping that is safe for Ash. I am going to also try to make my own whipped topping from coconut milk.  This shortcake recipe is more like light biscuits, but it is super yummy.

What you will need:
4 cups Fresh strawberries, cut up and mixed with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, let sit for 30 minutes
I used Rich's Richwhip non dairy topping.  Its free of the top 8 allergens except for soy! You have to whip this yourself but it was well worth it! http://www.rich.com/product_info.cfm?catid=6159

Combine in a bowl with a wire whisk:
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

cut in with your fingers:
1/3 cup COLD dairy free shortening    Do this until is resembles a coarse meal. Then stir in 3/4 cup milk ( I use rice) until JUST combined.

Preheat oven to 425.  Shape the dough into a ball.  Knead for about 3 minutes and then roll it out to about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut out circles ( I used a glass tumbler).  Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet and bake until light golden brown (12-15 mins).  Cool slightly and slice them.  Top with strawberries and whipped topping!                                                       "mmmmmm mama"

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Tips for Food Allergies - A Child's Perspective

Managing food allergies on a day-to-day basis is a huge undertaking. The learning curve is steep and there is no room for error. The emotional toll that this invisible condition takes on the child and the family can be even more difficult than managing the practical aspects.

When your child is given a diagnosis of a life-threatening food allergy, it changes how you do everything. For most of us, the world is divided between those who “get it” and those who “don’t get it”. Our child’s physical and emotional well-being depends on us putting others in the right category; the “get it” crowd.

My hope is that the list below will allow a glimpse into how our children experience the world and that friends and family will see the importance of protecting children with food allergies physically and emotionally.

Ten Things Children with Food Allergies Want You to Know
©2011 Gina Clowes

1. I long to be included.

I would like to look, act and eat like everyone else. I’d like to buy my lunch and sit wherever I want. I know I can’t, but I’m happy when someone cares enough to provide a safe potato chip, cookie, or Popsicle® for me. It’s nice when I can have something similar to what the other kids are eating and I love it when I can eat the same thing as everyone else. Whenever it’s possible, please think to include me!

2. I’m scared I could die from my food allergies.

I’ve heard my parents and teachers mention “life-threatening” food allergies and I remember having some reactions where I felt very sick and really scared. I saw how frightened my parents were too. Sometimes, I could use a little reassurance that I will be okay.

3. I feel like I’m the only one sometimes.

If you have a support group or know another way for me to meet other children who have food allergies, I would really like that. It would be nice to know that I’m not the only kid who has food allergies. Having another friend with food allergies in my classroom or to eat with me at lunch would help me too.

4. I get confused when grown-ups offer me food.

I know I’m supposed to be polite and listen to grown-ups, but my parents have told me I should only take food from them. When you offer food to me (especially candy), I’d like to take it but I’m unsure and don’t know what I should do.

5. If grown-ups kiss me, right after they’ve eaten something I’m allergic to, I’ll get itchy spots.

If your dog licks me, I’ll get itchy spots too. I don’t feel quite brave enough or know how to tell you this, but I’m hoping you will remember; if you’ve just eaten something that I’m allergic to and then kiss me, I may get hives. So please don’t kiss me right after you’ve eaten that particular food.

6. I’m embarrassed when people fuss over what I’m eating.

I know I have to eat my own safe food, but it’s easier for me when I’m not singled out. Sometimes, I feel very embarrassed when grown-ups ask me a lot of questions. More than anything, I just want to fit in.

7. I hear all adult conversations about my food allergies.

My ears perk up when I hear grown-ups mention my name or my food allergies. Please don’t pity me or act terrified because that will cause me to feel frightened. Food allergies are just one part of me. Instead, let me overhear you list all the wonderful things about me!

8. Sometimes I’m sad about having food allergies.

It’s hard to be the only kid in the class not having a birthday cupcake and having to eat something different from my box of “safe treats.” What makes it worse is knowing this will happen a lot throughout the year because there are 20 or more other birthdays in my class. I know it’s not the end of the world, but from my perspective, it’s pretty tough at times.

9. I’m watching you! You may think that I’m too little to notice, but I know when you forget my epinephrine auto-injector and return home to get it.

I watch you every time, when you’re reading the list of ingredients on my bag of candy. You are my role model and I’m learning how to manage my food allergies from you!

10. I will do about as well as you do.

My parents and other grown-ups “can-do” attitude will help me cope with the challenges of living with allergies and ensure that food allergies don’t stop me from being everything I was meant to be!

Adapted from the eBook Ten Things Children with Food Allergies Want You to Know.

©2011 Gina Clowes www.AllergyMoms.com

Friday, July 1, 2011

Random hives

Last night Ash had what we call "random" hives. We are not sure what caused them. He had them on his abdomen and one on his forehead.  They ONLY thing I can think of is that I had come home from work with some food residue. People are always eating peanut m&m's and things at work and then I have to touch what they touch, also I work @ a peds office with kids and have to touch their skin/hands etc...I don't know but I feel guilty. It only takes a tiny amount of egg or nut residue. When I get home I always take my scrubs off immediately and wash my hands and arms and I did last night but maybe I missed something. We were laying on the floor reading books and he just burst into small hives. They weren't red like some of the hives he gets. I guess it could have been something on someones shoe that had been in our house??! The thing about hives with Ash is that we never know if they will go down or it will turn into anaphylaxis. We just have to wait.    He is okay now. We gave benadryl and I kept him up late as I was too paranoid to let him sleep.  He did eat baked chicken breast for the first time last night but it was hours earlier.  We have been trying to get him to eat chicken for over a year and he would never swallow it. He did last night.  His chicken blood test came back negative... Who knows.  All I know is he is safe and at home with me now and that makes me happy :)   Thanks for reading!