Nut-free Ice Cream + 1 Year Anniversary of Anaphylactic Episode

Well duh, most ice creams without nuts are nut-free, right?

Wrong.

If you have looked at the ingredient label of your ice cream lately, you’ve probably noticed a change in the label. All labels have to clearly state if an allergen is present. The top 8 allergens are:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts)
  • Fish (such as bass, cod, flounder)
  • Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, shrimp)
  • Soy
  • Wheat

There are MANY other allergies besides these, but these are the most common. What manufacturers do NOT HAVE TO STATE is whether or not the facility in which the ice cream is made contains nuts. This is a big deal for anyone who is very sensitive to allergens, like peanut dust, that may come into contact with an otherwise safe product.

Today is our ONE YEAR ANAPHYLACTIC EPISODE ANNIVERSARY with my daughter. Last May 19, she ate a Roundy’s Brand Fudge Popsicle that sent her to the ER after EPI-PEN was administered by her school principal. The packaging on the Popsicle did not disclose any allergy information, and I was not made aware that this Popsicle was going to be given out at school. However, when I called the Roundy’s facility, the manufacturer stated that the facility the Popsicles were made in also processed peanuts and tree nuts. This is how cross contact can happen, at the facility, not necessarily IN the product directly, but around it, then on to it.

Because manufacturers do not have to disclose facility information (although more and more are doing this due to the sheer volume of phone calls of nut-allergic kids and worried moms and dads) it is up to the consumer to find out how safe a product actually is.

I learned a lot about ice cream today.  Ice cream is tricky.

Many manufacturers make many different types of ice cream from Butter Pecan, Caramel Cashew, plain Vanilla and delicious Chocolate. It is up to the manufacturer to clean, sanitize and properly flush all the ice cream making lines before making the next flavor. However, it’s difficult to clearly state that the lines are 100% free of certain allergens, so makers of Blue Bunny, Hy-Vee, Sam’s Club, etc are not able to ensure that their products are safe for people with allergies. The difference in these manufacturers though is that Blue Bunny CLEARLY STATES information about their facility and manufacturing process, whereas the others DO NOT state this information.

After my daughter’s teacher asked me about Hy-Vee brand ice cream today, I approved it after reading the label. The label said “Contains: Milk” and I automatically assumed that it was safe for my daughters ice cream party.

While I was driving my son to school, I decided to call Hy-Vee because we rarely have ice cream and Hy-Vee answers my questions so very quickly. While I was on the phone, the woman told me that anything made by Hy-Vee has the potential risk of cross contact due to the facility that it’s made in; it’s made in a facility that also processes peanuts and tree nuts. My heart sank. I’m driving and trying not to panic.

I call the school and get the message to her teacher asap.

At this point, I’m having Dejavu. But I’m prepared and so is her school. Deep breaths.

After dropping my son off at school, I decide to head over to Hy-Vee to see what kind of allergy free ice cream I can find.

Hy-Vee was over the top helpful. I had not 1, not 2, but 3 people helping me in the frozen food section trying to find a safe, nut-free ice cream for my daughter. All three guys had their phones out researching safe ice creams, manufacturers and calling around trying to find one that would be acceptable.

My heart was overflowing with gratitude.

We decided to try Breyer’s Ice Cream and we finally find a winner. Not only did they disclose all the allergy information, they have a designated allergy line to call for more information. After hearing that and then calling customer service to confirm, I know that Breyer’s Natural Vanilla ice cream is made in a nut free, gluten free facility and only contains the allergen: milk. Breyers will be my go-to ice cream this summer. Luckily, we dont eat much ice cream, just popsicles.

Have a great weekend – I am grateful for all the help I received today and will be even better when I pick my little lady up from school today to celebrate 1 year of epi-pen free. I’m thinking tonight will be a movie and popcorn type of Friday. Thank goodness.

Hugs to you and yours.

 

Two Nutty Moms

What do two nut-free Mom’s do on their night out together?

We eat whatever the hell we want.

Seriously.

A good friend of mine shares the same food restrictions that I do when it comes to feeding kiddos. No nuts allowed!

Her son has nut allergies too, so we lean on each other for support and ideas all things food and holiday related; and life in general, too. We have a lot in common, conversation and humor come easy.

That being said, we had a ball last night on our “girls night out” together. We enjoyed pedicures, dumplings (not a “safe place to eat”), specialty chocolates (also, never safe), and lots of shopping. Ironically, the stores all closed at 9pm, and we ended up at the far end of this mall inside a grocery store. I thought I was just going to pick up some produce for the weekend, when the two of us started reading labels and researching companies on our phones to determine what baked goods were safe. We ended up finding some great new items to share with our kids. Too funny. Mom’s at work, gotta read those labels, find safe snacks. Actually, easier to do when we don’t have our kids at the store with us. These items were found at Metcalfe’s Sentry

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If you’re at the grocery store and want a quick baked treat for your child’s class or next get-together, look for Lofthouse Bakery and Clyde’s Donuts.

I’m grateful for these companies that CLEARLY state that these products are made in a dedicated nut-free facility. Not peanuts, no tree-nuts.  Not everything that Lofthouse Bakery makes is nut-free, so be sure to check the label. The nut-free label is red and says it right above their logo, you can’t miss it.

Both items have been tested and approved by my loving 3 and 6 year olds. I also have to say that both items taste amazing. Donuts have been on our list for a while now, we cannot have them anywhere – they all “may contain nuts” – so when my friend texted me a photo of the label from Woodman’s (grocery store) last week, I was excited! We are so pumped to have these on Sunday with our breakfast and coffee.

I’m so grateful for my friend who has supported our family through so much. She truly understands the ups and downs of the nut-free lifestyle. She’s an amazing Mother, wife, friend, and listener. She gives freely of her time to others for good causes and bakes up a storm to ensure everyone can enjoy safe, nut-free treats at school, home and work. I’m so happy to call her my friend. I would be lost in this nutty world without her.

Happy Mother’s Day, Moms! Enjoy this beautiful weekend!

 

 

Grocery store nut-free cookies!

It fills me with utter GLEE when I stumble upon new nut-free items at the grocery store! Lofthouse Bakery makes sweet treats in a nut-free facility. The two we decided to try for Easter are sugar cookies with sprinkles and chocolate layer, and lemon meltaway cookies. 

These sweet treats are so good and I actually prefer the lemon cookies. They melt in your mouth and have a very distinct 🍋 flavor. So if you’re out and about looking for a “safe sharing snack” for school church, or play group, or just a desert among friends, Lofthouse Bakery is 100% nut-free!
Lofthouse Bakery items can be found at Target and Metcalfes Sentry. 

Happy spring!

Allergy Free Popsicles!

As I was scouring the shelves at the newly renovated Pick N Save on Fish Hatch, I came across these popsicles in the freezer section.

I’m very cautious about ice cream and popsicles since we had an anaphylactic reaction to Chocolate pudding pops last May. The popsicle was made in a facility where nuts were also processed, and that information was NOT on the box.

These popsicles, their formal name is “Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit” are wonderful. They are non-dairy, GF, vegan, kosher and non-GMO. While the box does not say anything about nuts, they are nut-free. Originally I bought them as a joke, since my daughter’s name is Chloe as well. Turns out, they are amazing and contain three simple ingredients.

  1. Dark Chocolate Puree (🍌 banana, cocoa with alkali, natural cocoa)
  2. Water
  3. Organic cane sugar

Super simple. Very fast, no weird funkiness. love them!!

It’s Our Snack Week!

Just thought I’d share some of our snack week ideas:

Monday: Mandarin Oranges + Teddy Graham’s Travel Size Bags, Original flavor

Tuesday: Fruit Leather by Target (simply balanced) + Mini Cucumbers – photo below

Wednesday: Holiday Party Food + Cheese-Its

Thursday: Pirates Booty individual bags

Friday: Skinny Pop individual bags

55 School Safe Snacks

With school in session and snack schedules assigned, I’ve had a lot of questions lately about what is considered a “safe” snack for the classroom for sharing. Most of us nut-free families prefer pre-packaged items to minimize cross contamination that can sometimes happen very easily in our home kitchens.

  1. Fresh Strawberries
  2. Bananas
  3. Pop tarts – check labels
  4. String cheese
  5. Go-gurts or any yogurt
  6. Applesauce
  7. Boom chicka pop – pop corn
  8. Tostitos tortilla chips with mild salsa
  9. Carrot sticks
  10. Celery sticks
  11. Red pepper sticks
  12. Plain hummus (look for pine-nut free kinds, Boars Head, etc.)
  13. pre-packaged rice krispie treats
  14. NutriGrain Bars (must be the NutriGrain brand)
  15. Plain Raisins (coated are NOT safe)
  16. cuties or canned mandarin oranges
  17. canned fruits or fruit cups
  18. triscuit crackers
  19. goldfish cheddar crackers (Graham Goldfish are NOT safe)
  20. Honeymaid graham crackers
  21. cottage cheese
  22. deli meats
  23. Hostess Cupcakes – NO LONGER SAFE
  24. Hostess DingDongs – NO LONGER SAFE
  25. Hostess Twinkies – NO LONGER SAFE
  26. Hostess Donuts – NO LONGER SAFE
  27. Entenmanns Cake Donuts
  28. Enjoy Life Brand – Seed and Fruit trail mix
  29. Enjoy Life Brand – Cookies + brownies
  30. Enjoy Life Brand – Cocoa Loco Chewy Chocolate Bars
  31. Entenmanns Little Bites Blueberry Muffins
  32. Treasure Mills Brand Banana Bread Bars
  33. Treasure MIlls Brand Cookie Bars
  34. Treasure Mills Brand  Brownie Bars
  35. Tootsie Rolls
  36. Tootsie Pops
  37. Junior Mints
  38. York Peppermint Patties
  39. Nilla Wafers
  40. Oreo Cookies
  41. Grapes
  42. Watermelon Balls
  43. Pineapple
  44. Kontos or Kangaroo Pita Bread
  45. Most Fruit Snacks (check label)
  46. Brenton Crackers
  47. Suddenly Salad
  48. Tomatoes
  49. Avocado
  50. Pickels and Olives
  51. Cereal – Multigrain Cheerios
  52. Cereal – Fruit loops
  53. Cereal – Cocoa Krispies
  54. Cereal – Red Berries
  55. Cereal – Kix