If you missed Allergy Friendly Foods for the Holidays Part 1, click here.

In continuing my “I AM the worst dinner guest ever, and this is how I’m going to help you…” food allergy spirit. I was even MORE food allergy inspired last Friday when I found myself walking the large aisles at Whole Foods Tribeca. (Please, if there is a God, please make the Gowanus Whole Foods as big if not bigger.) The gluten-free baking section was, well, see for yourself:

See what I mean? With so many people complaining about those of us allergy free, gluten-free, vegan, lactose intolerant, “bad dinner guests”, there is so much information and products out there to satisfy even the newest n00b.

I purchased Cherrybrook Kitchen’s  vanilla frosting (nut free, dairy free, peanut free, gluten free and egg free) and put it on my Christmas Cookies (link for recipe and post). It was quite delicious – I wouldn’t recommend putting it on a cake, but on cookies or drizzled on pound cake, it is delicious.

We buy the Namaste mix for cakes and brownies (mostly because they don’t contain potato starch, one of our allergens). Because we are egg allergic, my egg replacer trick of 4 oz of applesauce per egg is a bit too much liquid, so I back off on the amount of rice milk. Another very fine choice (if you can do potato starch) is King Arthur Gluten Free Mixes. These are produced in their own gluten-free facility in the United States. They have pancake, brownies, cake, bread mixes and more.

Then I saw Surf Sweets organic candy canes, called “tru sweets” which according to their packaging has no GMO’s, no high fructose corn syrup, natural colorings and flavorings. I also couldn’t pass up the Gummy Worms, made with organic fruit juice, 100% vitamin C per servering, natural colors and flavors AND gluten-free (also top 8 free).

I think you’re beginning to see my food allergy life in a different light. There are many amazing products on the market and many ways to make them safe for your most difficult dinner guest.

(As a precaution I recommend checking with your food allergic friends to see if there’s anything in the ingredients list that wouldn’t be OK for them, and calling the manufacturer if you have to – everyone is different and my ‘safe’ foods may not be others safe foods).

Returning home, I stopped by Fleishers, Park Slope Brooklyn’s new local grass-fed and organic beef store. I purchased two of the most beautiful beef shank bones to make Beef Stew for my husband for the week.  After making this beef stew with hearty grass fed beef shanks you will never buy “stew meat” again. I used Pacific brand organic low sodium beef stock, (disclosure, Pacific Brands had graciously sent me a case), organic red wine, organic carrots, csa parsnips, and celery for mine, adding quartered red potatoes after about 3.5 hours of slow cooking (on high). While this dish is not vegan, it IS food allergy friendly, gluten-free, allergen-free, nut free, dairy free, egg free, and soy free.

For a gluten-free, allergen-free, lactose free, vegan alternative, I made some vegetarian Pho that we all can enjoy. Using Pacific organic Vegetarian Pho soup base, Annie Chun’s rice sticks, a selection of vegetables including mushrooms, scallions, cilantro, jalapenos and limes. The great thing about making Pho (pronounced “fuh” ) is that it is quite literally a ‘fast food’. So consider keeping some rice sticks and Pho in your cabinet for the gluten-free vegans in your life.

Add to those meals a green salad served with Lucini basalmic vinegar and olive oil and I think you have a full enjoyable winter meal for any of your guests.

Happy Holidays!

Again, and as a reminder, my allergens are not your allergens. Always make sure to read ingredients, check with your board certified allergist when in doubt, and call manufacturers if you have ANY questions.

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