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Southern New Jersey

I am a Mom to 2 amazing and fun daughters and wife to a great guy and a wonderful father!

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Kayla, my oldest. She is 4 1/2 and is a sweet, loving and silly little girl. She took us 2 ½ years and 3 IVF’s to conceive. Kayla is allergic to dairy. We manage her allergy and work to balance her safety with giving her a normal childhood. Kayla loves to read books and play games - she amazes me every day.

Alysa, my youngest. She is 3 years old and is a silly little spitfire. She’s our monkey and loves to climb on everything. She was a “natural” baby, but it was only b/c of my wonderful doctors that we were able to stop an impending miscarriage. Alysa suffers from Acid Reflux Disease and sleep apnea. She may be little, but she has a big personality. She adores her big sister and is so much fun to be around. She keeps me laughing every day.

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Mothers Day 2009

Sunday, August 03, 2008
Birthday Party - Part 1
The parties are over and we are all exhausted. Everything went off really well and the kids and adults had a blast. I also got rave reviews on the food – especially the cupcakes and cake.

First, I will get into my menu and will post pictures later. I have them all uploaded, but I haven’t had a chance to go through them yet – all 275 of them!

At the play place - Pump It Up, we had 20 kids plus adults. Of the kids, aside from Kayla, we had a little boy from her class with a peanut allergy, my girlfriend’s daughter who is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, another friend’s daughter who is allergic to eggs and dairy (and avoiding peanuts and tree nuts like we are) and another friend’s son who is allergic to strawberries. I never like to have an unsafe environment for any child, so I always try to avoid whatever allergens I can [there are some that would make things much more difficult]. But dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts are actually pretty simple – at least when you’re well versed in cooking for food allergies.

So at Pump It Up, I made yellow and chocolate cupcakes with Cherry Brook Kitchens cake mix. These are free of dairy, egg, peanuts and tree nuts. Since I also made a cake for the house, I made my life easier by using Wilton’s Ready-to-Use Icing Tubes for the cupcakes. These are dairy, egg and nut free. And there is no dairy in the plant, which always makes me extra happy. I also got some Littlest Pet Shop animals from eBay really cheap to use as cupcake toppers. The kids were then able to take them home with them. For Kayla’s I got her a little birthday set, so her animal had a birthday party hat on. The cupcakes were a big hit and I got a lot of compliments on them.

Aside from the cupcakes, I made a fresh fruit platter with pineapple, blueberries, red and green grapes, cantelope and honey dew melon. I also took a stab at making Miss Roben’s Soft Pretzels. These come as a mix and are free of dairy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, egg, soy and other things. When I first took them out of the oven, I didn’t think they looked that good, but amazingly, they were quite yummy. I meant to take a picture of them, but I forgot.

The place was amazing with Kayla. I had spoken to them when I booked it and they were not turned off at all about her allergy. They told me they would do whatever we needed them to and that J and I could go into the party room early and clean up however we wanted to. A week and a half prior I called and went over everything. They supply water bottles, juice boxes and soda (for the adults), which is all extra, but they said I could choose the juice if need be. The juice they serve was fine (Capri Suns) and I was able to double check on that prior to the party. They also supply the paper products and I requested that due to cross contamination issues they used only sealed packages of plates, napkins, forks, etc. This way nothing came from another party room (where pizza and cake are the norm). I also requested this of the drinks. When I got there I went over all of this again and they knew what I was talking about (so I know they wrote it all down). They had talked to the staff about washing their hands between parties, etc. She even came up to me again later to double check that dairy was our only issue (she specifically asked about latex) and if there was anything else they should be doing and she remembered Kayla was contact-reactive. Once our party room was free, they came and got us. J and I did some extra cleaning – the benches, tables, high chairs, throne chair, etc. Our party coordinator was very nice and even thought to get a fresh box of gloves (they use gloves to serve the food). She also told us that they washed the floor after the other party left. They couldn’t have been nicer, more accommodating or more understanding. This led us to give them a tip because they really made it such a nice and safe and stress-free experience for us. At the end, our coordinator asked me if everything was OK and I told her yes and how much I appreciated all they had done. She then told me she had been nervous. No one likes to be nervous, but from my perspective, it’s a good sign because it shows me how seriously they took the situation.

It also made me feel good to hear the father of the little girl with the egg and dairy allergy say that this is the first party she has been to where she could eat the food. Such a simple thing really does make their day and the day of us, the food allergy parents. She also cried when it was time to leave. The sign of a fun party.

After the kid party, we had a couple close friends come back to the house where our families joined us for the continuation of food and fun. Back at the house, we only had dairy, peanut and tree nut allergies. Here is my menu:

-Potato Chips (Lay’s), Pretzels (Bachman) and Fritos
-Onion dip – made with Lipton Onion Soup Mix and Tofutti’s Better than Sour Cream. This really does taste the same, if not better than regular sour cream onion dip

Appetizers/Side Dishes:
-Fruit Salad
-Macaroni Salad
-Summer Salad
[This is the first time I made this salad and it got rave reviews.]

2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
2 cups baby greens
1 cup strawberries, halved or quartered
1 cup grapes, halved
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (I obviously left this off)


equal parts balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dijon mustard
couple dashes of salt
dash of pepper

(Please note all ingredients in the dressing were approximated. I winged it.)

Main Course:
-Spiral Sliced Ham – sliced and heated
-Chicken Thighs
I get Perdue Chicken Thighs, put them in a pan, cover them (and I mean cover them) with McCormick’s Original Chicken Seasoning and bake at 350 for maybe 45’ish minutes – until cooked. I never time it I just check them until they are done. These are so easy and great for parties. I cook them in the oven in the small disposable pans so then they fit in the sternos when they are ready to be served.
-BBQ Pulled Pork, which I got from my Sister

3 lb Shoulder/Butt Bone-in Ribs
1 Can of Beef Broth or Chicken Broth or Chicken Stock (14.5oz)
1 Bottle BBQ Sauce (18oz)

Put the pork and broth in the crock pot. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or until cooked. Take out the pork and pull the meat off the bone. Put back in the crock pot with the bbq sauce and cook for 1 hour on high. Serve with burger buns.

I actually made 10 pounds of pork, which barely fit in the crock pot (I had to use my Mom’s oval instead of my round). In case you’re wondering what 10 pounds of bone-in pork looks like.

Once the pork was pulled, the meat filled my standard sized round crock pot. I ended up with enough left over for 2-3 sandwiches. I actually made this in two days. I cooked and pulled the pork on Friday (well, J pulled it for me) and on Saturday before we left for the kid’s party, I put it in the crock pot with the bbq sauce and turned it on. Easy peasy – just what I like.
For the cake, I made a Porcupine Cake which I found in an Allergy Mom’s newsletter. Since I was having 40 people at the house and the cake mixes I use are only single layer, I used three boxes of the Cherry Brook Kitchens chocolate cake mix. I baked them in my 10 inch Longaberger mixing bowl. It took forever to bake, but it did cook all the way through (although I had to turn the heat down to about 250-275). Once it was done, I cut off the very bottom (what was at the top of the bowl) to get it to sit flat. I turned it over so the dome was facing up and let it cool down in the fridge. I then iced it with home made and dairy-free Chocolate Buttercream Icing. For the chocolate in the icing, I melted Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips. I also used these to coat the Bachman pretzel rods in for the spikes. I let the pretzels rods harden through the day on Friday and overnight.

I took the cake out of the fridge a couple hours before I was ready to serve it and put the spikes in right before we were going to sing. I got a lot of compliments on how cute the cake was and there were no chocolate covered pretzels left to save with the leftover cake. Kayla was super excited about her “porceepine” cake.

That covers the food. We do have left-overs which is great because it means less cooking for me for the next few days. I got compliments galore on the food and the fun. The kids had a blast and we lucked out with mostly sunshine at the house. We got a rain storm in the morning and a small thunderstorm and a little rain around the time we did the cake. Other than that it was hot, humid and sunny.

I will be back later or tomorrow with pictures.

posted at 4:23 PM  

At 4:56 PM, Blogger Christine said...

Yum! Everything looks wonderful! SO glad the menu was a hit. Good job, sis!

At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a mom to a peanut allergic child a little young yet for b-day parties, this post was great to read. I'm so anxious about this stuff, & it's great to see that normalcy and fun don't have to be sacraficed for safety.

At 7:49 AM, Blogger ChupieandJ'smama said...

Looks yummy!! I'll be stealing that pulled pork recipe:)

At 1:22 PM, Blogger Blessed said...

I love the cake!

At 2:49 PM, Blogger Jennifer B said...

Wow! Sounds like a great party. Way to go!


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