A as in Anaphylaxis, All About Allergies

How to find the right nursery for your allergic child

Even the thought of having someone else taking responsibility for allergybabe gave me goosebumps.

After all we went through together, 24/7, day and night, I was very uncomfortable to leave our well established safety zone, our castle of protection, into a new and dangerous outside world.

On the other hand, allergybabe is our first and so far, only child. He needed to be around other children, other people with different stimuli and a different language (not just english, but british english…).

So I gave it a try. Equipped with a heavy suit of armour, we were ready to conquer the non allergy friendly world and so far, succeeded.

For over a year now, allergybabe (who is 2,5 years now) is at a very caring nursery, playing happily along his peers and learning something new every day. What makes it such a good and healthy experience is, that we constantly talk about anything that occurs. From management to the practicioners and the catering staff, I could not be more pleased.

But how to find the right nursery? Here is some advise that helped me with my decision:

  • Ask if the staff has had any previous experiences with food allergic children. It is always easier to go somewhere someone else has implemented the rules and procedures then to do it all from scratch.
  • Ask as many questions and meet as much staff as possible. A truly caring nursery will always be happy to answer as many questions as possible.
  • Find out if staff get regular emergency training including Epipen (or other adrenalin devices) training?
  • Drop the word ‘cross contamination’. How familiar are they with it? Can they explain their measures to avoid accidental exposure?
  • Ask about an established plan to proceed in case of emergency. If they not have a plan, are they willed to set one up with professional support?
  • Are they comfortable to give emergency medication?
  • Can the catering provide allergy friendly meals?
  • ask yourself if you feel comfortable with the nursery and the responsible people (management, practicioners, etc.). If you do not feel comfortable, do not  proceed.

Once you have found an appropriate place, do not forget you are a team and that you have to continously work together to avoid an allergic reaction:

  • It is very helpful to have one person as the main responsible carer and one person of the management staff you can turn to all the time. In building a trustful relationship, it is much easier to pass on new information or to raise concerns. They will also get used to your child’s individual case, which is important when allergy symptoms occur, when food has to be ordered, medicine has to be applied or other decisions have to be made.
  • Point out, on a regular basis, how important it is to avoid cross contamination and oral allergen contact. The longer the child has not had a reaction, the easier it is to forget to be vigilant at all times.
  • Ask them to show you how an Epipen works by using the trainer pen. Routine is the best friend in emergency situations.

Have you had any experience about finding a nursery, babysitter, nanny or school for your little one? Are you more comfortable with a nanny who is solely responsible or with a nursery, were contamination may be more likely, but a team of people are there to take care? Is it important to have peers to learn and play with? Would love to read some comments.

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RECIPES

Fail-proof Banana Bread (DF, EF, SF, *GF, vegan)

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This is an adaption of New York’s famous vegan bakery ‘babycakes’ (http://www.babycakesnyc.com) version. I noticed they opened up shops in L.A. and Orlando. London next?

It was the first book I bought A.A. (after allergybabe) to cater for allergybabe’s condition. How disappointed I was when I realized that vegan recipes use, among other things, a lot of buckwheat, flax, and nuts, all of which we cannot have.

Banana Bread was the exception. It was the very first time I baked for the little one, and it turned out just right. I guess allergymum liked it even better than allergybabe. For his second birthday, I made this very cake.

The only fail: I can never wait for it to cool down… .

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Ingredients:

makes one big loaf or 8 mini loaves

300g Gluten free bread flour (Doves farm)

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

125ml coconut oil (or sunflower oil)

150ml Agave nectar

150ml Oat milk (* if rice drink is used)

6 medium bananas, mashed

Method:

Preheat the oven to 170 C.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, bicarbonate, xanthan gum, salt and cinnamon.

In a second bowl, Add the oil, agave nectar, milk and vanilla and mix until combined.

Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.

Gently fold in the mashed bananas until they are evenly distributed.

If desired, add chocolate chips (1/2 cup) or walnuts (1/2 cup) or both.. .

Fill the prepared tin(s) and bake for 35 min, then turn and bake for another 20min. Please note: use a wooden stick to test if bread is done, and mini loaves will take a shorter baking time.

# please be aware that rice drink is not recommended for children under the age of 5 due its arsenic content

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RECIPES

Grand Marnier Icing

Grand Marnier Icing

A true treat for grown ups! A smooth frosting taken to another level by adding a splash of Grand Marnier. Chocolate and orange resembles a very distinguished combination. B.A. (before allergybabe), I used to whip up a very nice and rich mousse au chocolate from scratch, and I always added a couple of teaspoons of orange liquor. Happy days… .

Try this frosting with my chocolate chip cupcakes for an instant soul-hug. Works every time!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup dairy-free spread ( I use pure sunflower spread)
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar (be careful, some contain egg!)

1 Tbsp Grand Marnier
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

Put the spread into a bowl, sieve the sugar on top. To combine, use a fork (or your hands). When combined, mix with a food processor until smooth and fluffy (approx. 5 min). Add the vanilla and the liquor. Mix again.

Pipe or spread on top of cupcakes, refrigerate.

If you feel the cream is too hard, add a few teaspoons of water (or more liquor…). If desired, a few drops of orange food coloring.

For a child friendly version, add orange extract and skip the liquor.

Enjoy!

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RECIPES

Rich and moist chocolate chip cupcakes (EF, DF, SF, NF, *GF, vegan)

Fluffy chocolate Cupcakes with Grand Marnier Icing

When it comes to baking, working with gluten-free flour is the greatest challenge. I experimented with a flour I discovered not long ago- made from oats. I found it added a richness and fluffiness no other flour suitable for allergybabe could achieve. So here is my latest, and, so far, best recipe for chocolate cupcakes.

Ingredients:

100g  gluten free oat flour

100g gluten free bread flour (Doves farm)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

50g caster sugar

1/2 tsp bicarbonate

pinch of salt

50g pear sauce

30g cocoa powder

100ml oat milk (*if you use rice drink#)

100ml sunflower oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 package of moo free chocolate chips

Method:

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 5

– Place liners in a cupcake tray

– Sift the flours and salt into a bowl. Add the baking powder and the cocoa powder. Stir in the sugar.

– In a separate bowl, mix together the oat milk, bicarb, vanilla, pear sauce and oil.

– Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix, until well combines.

– Fold in the chocolate chips

– using a large nozzle, pipe the dough into cupcake liners and bake for approx. 23 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.

– Cool on a wire rack.

Can be enjoyed on its own or with an orange blossom icing (or try the grown-up version: Grand Marnier Buttercream Icing).

Enjoy!

# please be aware that rice drink is not recommended for children under the age of 5 due its arsenic content

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