Allergy Mum and the Quest for the Holy Granola

The Allergy Brothers are creatures of habit and so they have their breakfast routine perfectly honed.  Allergy Little has almond milk mixed with chocolate Nesquik powder (surprisingly dairy free), and Nature’s Path Chocolate Munch.  Allergy Big likes to start the day with corn wraps filled with peanut butter and Dutch breakfast sprinkles.  I am still searching for my breakfast nirvana….

I really like Granola because of its versatility.  I like that you can have a bowl of it for breakfast, and then snack on the clumps later in the day.  I decided to start my quest for my perfect granola close to home with Essex-based company, The Moral Munch.  I tried their Super-seeded date and cacao granola.  It’s suitable for vegans, but I completely forgot that the oats were not gluten free.  Delicious and recommended, but not for me.

I decided to take a leaf out of Allergy Little’s book and try a Nature’s Path product, specifically their Nice and Nobbly Pumpkin Seed, Almond and Raisin Granola.  This product is gluten free and vegan.  It is incredibly sweet (raw cane sugar is listed as the second largest ingredient after gluten-free oats), but really quite moreish.  I was happily snacking away on the granola (straight from the packet while watching TV; I am classy) when I realised that I didn’t feel that great and that my snacking hand was really hurting.  I was surprised to see that my skin was having a reaction to one of the ingredients.  I suspect coconut, as it is an Allergy Brother allergen.

I have come to the conclusion that my perfect granola is not out there as a ready-to-buy product.  I am going to have to make my own granola, and so my quest for the holy granola continues…

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CoOp Watermelon Lollies


Water, Watermelon Juice from Concentrate (20%), Sugar, Apple Juice from Concentrate (10%), Glucose Syrup, Chocolate Flakes (1%) (Sugar, Cocoa Mass, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Powder, Emulsifer (Soya Lecithin), Flavouring), Gelling Agent (Pectin), Concentrates (Safflower, Carrot, Spirulina), Citric Acid, Thickener (Locust Bean Gum), Flavouring.

Allergy Advice: Soya.  May contain peanuts, nuts, milk.

Aren’t these cute?  The ice lollies, not the Allergy Brothers!  Allergy Little gets very cross if you call him cute.  The red part of the lolly is watermelon flavoured with chocolate pips, and the green “rind” is apple flavoured.

The Allergy Brothers weren’t very impressed, but they are not big fans of frozen desserts.  I thought they were really yummy.

Vegan Cheese Omelette!

Recently, Allergy Little had to have a day off school because he had a cold.  Obviously, I wasn’t pleased that he was ill, but it was nice to have my cooking wingman back for the day.  It was like the beginnings of this blog when he was at home during the day while Allergy Big was at school. Enough reminiscing…

Allergy Little and I decided to try Terra Vegane’s Egg-free Omelette Mix, which we bought from The Veggie Stuff website.  The ingredients of the mix are Potato Starch, Cassava Starch, Chick Pea Flour, Amaranth Flour, Sunflower Oil, Nutritional Yeast, Corn Starch, Baking Agent (Potassium-Tartrate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Turmeric, Kala-Namak Salt.

The mix is easy to prepare as you simply mix 4 tbsp of omelette mix with 4 tbsp. water.  Allergy Little and I were very surprised by how eggy and sulphurous this smelt, as eggy as an egg mayonnaise sandwich left in a plastic lunchbox on a hot coach on a summer term school trip.  Luckily, the smell quickly disappeared.

We cooked the omelette mix in a little olive oil, and used Vegamigo Pizza Melty vegan cheese as the filling.  And what we ended up with was pretty impressive.  It’s not exactly like a fluffy egg omelette, but nonetheless it tasted good and not at all like it had smelt on mixing.  The texture is different too as the cassava flour makes it a little doughy.  However, judged on its own merits, and not as a fake cheese omelette, it was very good.

Jom Organic Candy (Vegan, GF)

Finding treats for the Allergy Brothers is surprisingly difficult.  Lots of sweets are flavoured with citrus or strawberry (both Allergy Bros no-nos) or have lots of artificial ingredients in.  The Allergy Brothers seem to be so sensitive to their allergens that they react to products synthesised from their allergens, for example Maltitol is an artificial sweetener that is derived from corn or wheat.  This is a long-winded way of saying “hooray for Jom candy!”

Jom Candy is gluten free, vegan candy, and, as a nice ethical bonus, is palm oil free too.  We tried the wild raspberry flavour (Ingredients – sugar*, invert sugar syrup*, water, corn starch*, glucose syrup*, acidity regulator (citric acid), concentrate of raspberry* (0.29%), natural flavouring, glazing agent (sunflower oil*, carnauba wax*); *=certified organic ingredients).  Well, I say we tried it.  I ate one and then the Allergy Brothers snarfed the lot!  They really liked these sweets.  The sweets tasted of real raspberries, rather than fake flavourings.  The best bit was the texture.  Vegan sweets can be a bit floppy and soggy.  The Jom sweets were more solid with a satisfyingly chewy mouth feel.

In summary, I will be buying these for the Allergy Brothers’ teachers to keep at school.  It is always handy for their teachers to have something stashed away for them, when someone brings in a treat for the class that the boys can not eat.  I might keep a bag or two back for me though…

Freeze Dried Fruit Snacks

We have recently tried two types of freeze fried fruit snacks.  The first type was made by Googly Fruit.  We tried the apple and blueberry flavour, and the banana and raspberry flavour.  In both cases, you have freeze-dried pieces of one fruit (apple or banana) mixed with whole freeze-dried berries (raspberry or blueberry).  The Allergy Brothers were not impressed.  The freeze-dried blueberries were a little yucky looking.  Also, the fruit starts rehydrating in your mouth as you eat it, which is an unusual sensation.  I thought they were okay.  I was hoping to be able to keep a couple of packets in the cupboard for the days when I am disorganised and have run out of fresh fruit or salad to put in their packed lunches, but the freeze-dried fruit just came back home minus one or two tested pieces.


I also tested a Freya’s Sour Cherry crunchy fruit bar.  This product is more processed so it is in the form of a bar (it is broken into chunks in the photo; it’s like a chocolate bar), and has more ingredients (Sour cherries (30%), fruit extract (carob) and fruit juice concentrate (apple and grape), Trehalose, Maltodextrin, Gelling agent:Pectins).  I think this product looked nicer than the slighty weird looking whole freeze-dried berries.  It still rehydrated a bit in your mouth, but not as much as the Googly Fruits products.  You could actually crunch into it as you ate it.

The Allergy Brothers quite like eating fruit (well, at least the ones that they aren’t allergic to) so I don’t think these products are that helpful for us.  However, I do think they have their uses.  If you needed to pack an easy to store, non messy fruit snack (perhaps for a long journey), then these might be good for you.

I think the best use for these products are for children and adults who don’t like fruit normally.  People with sensory processing dysfunctions and who are on the autistic spectrum often find the wet textures of fruits unpleasant to eat.  If you have a child who is happy to eat dry, crunchy foods then these freeze-dried fruits might be a way of encouraging them to eat fruit.  They get the fibre and nutrients in the fruit without the distress of eating a food that has a disagreeable, to them, texture.


Lucy’s Ginger Snaps

Gluten free, vegan, no peanuts, no tree nuts, no milk, no eggs, no GMO, Kosher.

Ingredients – Lucy’s blend ™ (Gluten-free oat flour, chickpea flour, potato starch flour, tapioca flour, sorghum flour, broad bean flour), cane sugar, soya drink (soya beans, filtered water), sustainable palm fruit oil, expeller pressed rapeseed oil, olive oil, vanilla extract, non-dairy lactic acid, raising agents (sodium bicarbonate, potassium bitartrite, monocalcium phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate), ginger (3%), oil of lemon, red pepper, gluten-free vinegar, black treacle, stabilisers (Xanthan gum, corn starch, carrageenan), salt, calcium carbonate, colour (Annatto extract), emulsifiers (Sunflower lecithin, sodium carboxymethylcellulose, methycellulose).

Sadly, these biscuits are not Allergy Brother friendly as they are allergic to three of the ingredients so I selflessly tried them with a cup of tea.  They were very good.  Everything you would want in a ginger snap biscuit.  They made a satisfying snap when I cracked them in half (little known fact – if you break a biscuit and then tap it on the plate then the calories fall out; this also applies to broken biscuits at the bottom of the tin.  This is definitely true.).  The biscuits had a good crunch when I bit them, and, most importantly, they tasted good.  The snaps had a good, strong, but not overpowering ginger flavour, and were just the right amount of sweet.  I hope the Lucy’s brand considers branching out into the UK, because I would definitely recommend them.