Monday, October 31, 2011

Dressing Up Rice

by Kelley Lindberg

Rice. White rice, brown rice, Spanish rice. Okay, that pretty much covers my repertoire of rice cookery.

Apparently I’ve been a little restricted in my thinking.

A friend sent me this link to an article in The Atlantic, “The Rice Principle: A Reminder That We Share Similar Appetites,” and it made me realize that there’s a lot more to love about rice than I realized.

Especially for people with gluten or wheat allergies, rice quickly becomes a staple – but how can we dress it up so that it’s not always the same old thing? Food fatigue can be such a problem, even for people without food allergies (I run out of dinner ideas by Tuesday every week), and it’s an even bigger problem when you’re restricted in the foods you can eat.

This article, by chef Tamar Adler, rattles off an amazing number of ideas for jazzing up rice with simple, easy-to-find and easy-to-cook ingredients – of course, some of her ingredients are common allergens like egg or nuts, but by the end of the article, I was convinced that rice dishes are infinitely flexible, totally forgiving, and worth a second look. She even includes a recipe for Rice and Lettuce Soup. Really? Really! And she makes it sound good!

With a few easy substitutions, like using safe margarine or olive oil instead of real butter, her on-the-fly recipes sound like they’ll come together quickly even on a busy school night. And since rice is one of those foods that most kids like, that’s a plus.

The author offers several methods for cooking rice, and takes us on a quick trip around the world with her story – from Asia to Italy and several places in between. And even though she covers a lot of territory, she doesn’t even mention Spanish paella or Cajun-country jambalaya, both of which are filling dishes that let you toss in whatever veggies and meats you have on hand, regardless of what the recipe might actually call for. (Can’t eat shrimp? Toss in chopped chicken instead!) And don’t forget Greek Lemon Rice Pilaf (search for a vegetarian version if you can’t have chicken broth). 

So if rice is on your list of safe foods, check out her article, and like me, maybe it will help you start thinking outside the Minute Rice box.

And if you have a great rice-based recipe, share it with us in the Comments section!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Allergy-Safe Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

by Kelley Lindberg

Over the weekend, we went to a Halloween party – kids and grownups alike dressed up and spent a fun evening eating and having a great time.

Here’s something crazy: Four of the six families there had kids with food allergies. We didn’t plan it that way. We didn’t go out and hunt for folks with allergies. Food allergies are just becoming that common.

So anyway, in addition to our usual prohibition of milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, fish, and shellfish (which we’ve been eliminating from our parties for years), at this party we also got to eliminate gluten and citrus fruits.

And it still worked out great, with plenty of food to spare! We had tacos with all the fixings (including Daiya cheese and Tofutti sour cream), salsa, corn chips, pinto beans, Spanish rice, Jell-O Jigglers, cornbread, and pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes. Those cupcakes were so good! I asked Cathy if I could post her recipe here, and she graciously said yes. They’re easy to make using an allergy-safe yellow cake mix! So here is her super-yummy recipe, just in time for Halloween and Thanksgiving get-togethers.

Cathy’s Allergy-Safe Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
  • 1 box safe yellow cake mix (Cathy used Cherrybrook Kitchen’s Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix)
  • 1 15-oz can of pumpkin (make sure it’s canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, and 1/4 ground cloves)
  • 1/4 c. rice milk
  • 1/2 c. dairy-free, nut-free chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life brand)
  • Frosting
  • Safe decorations, like colored sugar, safe sprinkles, or plastic spider rings
Mix the cake mix according to the directions on the box, then add in the pumpkin, spice, rice milk, and chocolate chips. Pour into paper cupcake liners, and bake according to the instructions on the box. (Cathy baked hers at 350 degrees for 18 – 20 minutes.) Cool, frost, and decorate!

For frosting, try Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Cream Cheese Frosting (warning: contains soy), or use your own safe recipe. Cathy used this recipe, which tasted amazing:

Cathy’s Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting (contains soy)

Beat until smooth, then frost.
Thank you so much, Cathy!

Allergy-Safe Trick-or-Treating Tips

by Kelley Lindberg

Last week I talked about ten ways to celebrate Halloween even if you have food allergies. One of those ways is trick-or-treating, which may surprise some people. But you really can make trick-or-treating safer, so this week, I’ll offer some tips for doing just that. Remember, these tips work just as well for trunk-or-treats, too.

Tip #1: No one eats anything until everyone gets home and the parent reads the label on every piece of candy. That way, no one is eating unidentified foods and having a reaction while you’re out in the dark a block away from home. Make sure the kids agree, understand, and agree again. No one sneaks anything (not even Dad).

Tip #2: If you child is super-sensitive to an ingredient, you might have them wear gloves with their costume, so that any allergenic candy that touches their hand on the way into the bag doesn’t cause a skin reaction. Toss the glove in the wash or in the trash when you get home.

Tip #3: Unlabeled candy is assumed to be unsafe. Period. The only exceptions are brand-name candies that you are already very familiar with and know are safe. (For example, I know Starbursts and Skittles are okay for my son, so I’ll let him keep those.) If there is a type of candy that he’s particularly interested in, I might promise to look for it at the store the next day, and read the ingredients there. But it goes into a separate container until we’ve seen it at the store and verified its safety. See my post from Oct 10, "Allergy-Safe Halloween Candy 2011, Part 2," for a list of Halloween candies and their ingredients – it might help you sort through what isn’t safe.

Tip #4: A week or a few days before Halloween, try setting up a network of “safe houses” – families in your neighborhood who will agree to have some “safe” candy to give to your child. Most neighbors would be more than happy to accommodate your child if they know ahead of time. No one wants to think they’re ruining a child’s big night. You’d be surprised how willing most people are to help.

Tip #5: Before you head out on your adventure (preferably several days before, so that the kids aren’t overly excited and can actually hear you), talk about what you’re going to do with any candy when the night is over. Here are some ideas:
  • Go trick-or-treating with a friend or sibling, and at the end of the night, dump both kids’ candy together, then make two piles – a “safe” pile for the allergic kid, and the other pile for the non-allergic kid. If they both know about this plan beforehand, they are usually more than willing to do this. (My son often trick-or-treats with a friend who has braces – there are plenty of candies the friend can’t eat because of the braces, and plenty that my son can’t eat because of allergies, and it’s amazing how generous they both have been about handing over “safe for you” loot.)
  • Buy a bag of safe candy ahead of time, and at the end of the night, let your child “trade” you for all the unsafe candy he brought home.
  • “Buy” the unsafe candy from your child – but establish a price ahead of time, such as a nickel a piece, a dollar a pound, or the whole kit and caboodle for a new DVD, a new toy, a trip to the movies, a night out with Dad, a visit to the dollar store, or other such treat.
  • Look for a dentist or other business in your area that buys candy from kids on the day after Halloween. There’s at least one dentist in Layton that does. The kids get money, and the dentist donates the candy to a children’s hospital, I think.
  • Let the child “donate” the unsafe candy to Mom or Dad, so they can take it to work and share it with their coworkers.
  • Let the child donate the unsafe candy to a local women’s shelter, food bank, homeless shelter, or family of a soldier – the soldiers always seem to appreciate candy that they can share with friends or give to children in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Got any more trick-or-treating tips? Post a comment and share!

And don’t forget UFAN’s NO-CANDY Trunk-or-Treat, this Saturday, Oct 29, 2011, at the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah. Decorate your trunk and bring non-edible treats (toys, small novelties, etc.) to pass out. There will be prizes for the best-decorated trunks as well as festive music. See for more information.

Whatever your family chooses to do for Halloween this year, I hope it’s spooktacular!





Monday, October 17, 2011

Ten Allergy-Safe Ways to Celebrate Halloween

by Kelley Lindberg

First, a quick “candy corn update”: is now selling A and J Bakery Candy Corn that is nut-free, peanut-free, and gluten-free, but it still contains soy, egg, and corn. (For those of you who hate candy corn, I apologize for the updates – but it’s a hot topic every year!)

Meanwhile…Halloween is about more than candy corn (yes, it’s true!). It’s also about parties and trick-or-treating, both of which can add stress to an already-stressed parent of allergic kids. So it’s time to post some suggestions for ways to help take the “scary” out of Halloween.

Especially for parents of newly diagnosed kids, this holiday brings up a lot of questions. Should we let them go trick-or-treating? Should we have a party instead? Should we stay home, lock the doors, and turn out the lights? What about that giant bag of unsafe candy?!!

In our family, we’ve discovered that the candy is really the least important part of the holiday. The adventure is the best part. Candy seems like the goal (“I’m going to fill this WHOLE bucket!”), but it’s really just the excuse for dressing up, running around the neighborhood in the dark squealing with flashlights, and getting together with friends.

Focus on the adventure, and create your Halloween traditions around the parts of the holiday your kids love best. Here are ten ideas for a fun Halloween:

1. Go trick-or-treating. If they want to trick-or-treat, don’t be afraid of it. There are plenty of things you can do with unsafe candy afterwards, and if the kids know about the rules ahead of time, it will be surprisingly easy to keep them safe while doing it. (I’ll post my tips for safe trick-or-treating next week. I promise you can do this if your kids have their hearts set on it!)

2. Have a party at your house – that way you can control the food that comes in and out of your door. Kids can wear costumes, decorate mini pumpkins, play games, or watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” (Okay, it’s probably too tame for kids these days, but it was always MY favorite.) If you go to a party at someone else’s house, call them ahead of time to offer your help planning the menu, bringing safe treats, etc.

3. Visit a haunted house or Lagoon’s Frightmares (which has attractions for tiny tots as well as older kids and teens).

4. Get lost in a corn maze. Many of them have additional attractions, like small rides, hayrides, or pumpkin patches.

5. Rent The Nightmare Before Christmas and snuggle up together in the dark with your favorite safe popcorn or candy. Wear your costumes, or indulge in some Halloween pajamas for the whole family!

6. Catch a movie at the theater (the kids can dress up!).

7. If your kids are a little older, reserve tickets for a “ghost tour” of your local city. In Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah, you can find these tours offered by storytellers through Ogden & Salt Lake City Ghost Tours. (Just be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time.) The tours run from Oct 20 – Oct 31, 2011.

8. Stage a “Zombies vs Aliens” soccer game or Frisbee match – invite all their friends to join. It could be even more fun after dark with glowstick-bracelets (available at most dollar stores)! (Or it could be “Zombies vs. Humans,” “Princesses vs Superheros” or any other combination your kids like.)

9. Attend the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center in West Valley City. It’s not to be confused with Halloween at all, but this Mexican celebration honors and remembers loved ones who have passed. The Cultural Center is hosting this annual family-oriented community gathering featuring altar displays, folk art exhibit, and more. You don’t have to be Catholic or of Mexican descent to attend – what a great way to expand your kids’ horizons and bring new meaning to “remembering our lost ones.” (Note that skulls made of sugar and bread shaped like human bodies or bones is a traditional part of Día de los Muertos, so be aware that there will be allergens present.) The celebration istelf will be on Nov. 2, 2011, from 6pm - 9pm, but he altars will be on display from Oct 17 - Nov 3.

10. And finally, don’t forget UFAN’s FOOD-FREE Halloween Trunk-or-Treat on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011, at the Intermountain Medical Center (southwest parking lot), 5121 Cottonwood St., Murray, UT. Decorate the trunk of your car, and bring plenty of non-edible goodies (small toys and novelties – no candy or food!) to pass out. There will be decorated trunk prizes and festive music, so don’t miss it! See UFAN’s website,, for more info. This year’s Trunk-or-Treat is presented by UFAN, the Utah Eosinophilic Disorders Support Group, and the Intermountain PKU and Allied Disorders Association.

There’s plenty to do this Halloween where you can control the food your child comes into contact with. So have fun, and don't get spooked by Halloween!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Allergy-Safe Halloween Candy 2011, Part 2

by Kelley Lindberg

Last week, I told you about some places online to order your allergen-free Halloween candy. This week, I’ll tell you about the candy I found in stores locally.

But first… an update on the Great 2011 Candy Corn Hunt. If you’re looking for nut-free candy corn, I found the Sunrise candy corn this week at the Dollar Tree – a huge bin of it, and each bag is only $1. I had my husband and son join me in an entirely non-scientific survey to compare the Sunrise candy corn with Smith’s Kroger brand candy corn, and we all agreed that the Sunrise candy corn has a better flavor (more honey flavor).

Also, many thanks to Daniella for tracking down the Jelly Belly Candy Corn. She contacted the Jelly Belly company to find out about the ingredients and manufacturing processes. If I understand all of her correspondence correctly, their candy corn contains soy protein, and it’s manufactured on shared equipment with milk, wheat, tree nuts, and coconut, but they say their manufacturing and cleaning processes are very stringent. If you’re allergic to soy, avoid them. If you’re allergic to milk, wheat, tree nuts, or coconut, whether or not you want to eat them depends upon your comfort level with possible cross-contamination, taking into account their assurances that their manufacturing processes are allergy-aware and stringent. For the complete information that Daniella received from the company, see Daniella’s blog post on her Smart Allergy blog.

As an alternative to candy corn, the Dollar Tree also has gumdrops shaped like pumpkins, called Gummy Candy Pumpkins. They’re not individually wrapped, but would be fun on safe cupcakes, etc. They contain corn, but are free from the other Big 8. They come 25 gumdrops to a bag, for $1.

Now, on to the Halloween candy I found in local stores. This year, I hit Sam’s Club, Smith’s, Target, and Dollar Tree. The biggest disappointment this year is that Wonka candy is increasingly unsafe – old standbys like Nerds now have egg warnings. Wonka is very good about labeling their candy individually, so be sure you read the labels before your kids consume it.

Remember, this is just a sampling of what’s out there. Double-check every label before you buy anything (I may have missed something or made mistakes as I scribbled my notes while standing in the aisles). If you find a mistake, let me know! Also, if you find a great source for safe candy, let me know that, too.

Remember that many manufacturers have multiple factories, so different sizes or packaging may have different factory warnings. Read every label every time.

First I’ll list candies that don’t list corn as an ingredient (because there aren’t very many of them). Then I’ll list the candies and treats that do contain corn, but are free from some or all of the Top 8 allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish). I've also thrown in a few non-candy ideas, like cookies or Slim Jims.

By the way, EVERYTHING on this entire list is nut-free and peanut-free. That's where I started, then I broke them down by the other allergens. I hope it helps simplify your Halloween season!

Corn-free as well as free from Top 8 (These candies don’t list corn syrup in their ingredients, so they may be safe for corn-allergic kids – please double-check ingredients):
  • Smarties (Target, 67 pcs per bag, $2.49 I think; or Smith’s has a 71-pc bag for $2.79 or a 180-pc bag for $6.99) [Note: Dollar Tree sells “Smarties in a Pouch” that contain corn]
  • Pixie Stix (Target, 120 per bag, $2.49 I think; or Smith’s has a 150 bag for $2.50 and a 250 bag for $4.99)
  • Giant Pixy Stix (Sam’s Club, 50 giant stix for $11.78)
  • Bob’s Sweet Stripes Soft Mint Candies (red & white peppermints) (Sam’s Club (290 per bag, $6.64)
  • Whistle Pop candy (doesn’t list corn, but does list “glucose syrup”) (Dollar Tree, 25 pops for $1)
  • Candy Jewelry (doesn’t list corn, but does list “glucose syrup”), (Dollar Tree, 15 pcs for $1)
  • Spongebob Gummy Krabby Patties (doesn’t list corn, but has “glucose syrup” and beef gelatin) (Dollar Tree, 10 for $1)

Corn-free, but contains Soy warning:
  • Marvel Superhero Halloween Candy (Walmart, 35 boxes per bag, $4.98; or Target, 52 pcs per bag for $2.49) [Note that I found Marvel Heroes candy sticks at Dollar Tree that contain corn, so read labels carefully]
  • Bakers & Chefs Starlight Mints (contains “glucose syrup” and traces of soy); (Sam’s Club has 620 for $6.78

Corn-free, but contains Wheat and Egg warning:
  • Wonka Nerds (Sam’s Club, $13.18)

Everything from here on down contains corn ingredients:

Free from Top 8 (Wheat, Peanut, Tree Nut, Milk, Egg, Soy, Fish, Shellfish):
  • Betty Crocker Halloween Fruit Snacks; (Sam’s Club has 48 pouches for $7.48; Walmart has 25 pouches for $4.96)
  • Kellogg’s Fruity Snacks (contains coconut oil) (Sam’s Club, 24 per box, $6.98)
  • Great Value Fruit Smiles (Walmart has 42 pouches for $5.28)
  • 24 Halloween Candy Sticks (Sam’s Club has 24 for $8.98)
  • 24 Halloween Lollipops (Sam’s Club has 24 for $8.98)
  • Skittles (Walmart has bag of 20 for $1.98; Target has bag of 21 for about $2.49, Smith’s has bag of 21 for 2/$6)
  • Starbursts (Walmart has bag of 32 for $198; Target has bag of 32 for about $2.49, Smith’s has bag for 48 for 2/$6)
  • Skittles and Starbursts Assortment (Sam’s Club has 172 per bag, $9.88, or Walmart has a bag of 45 for $4.48)
  • Skittles, Starbursts, and LifeSaver Gummies assortment (Target has 180 for $13.99)
  • Dum-Dums (Sam’s Club has 360 per bag, $8.08, or Smiths has 300 for $6.99, or Target has 350 for 9.99 or bags of 48 for about $2.49, or Dollar Tree has 26 for $1)
  • Marvel Heroes Candy Sticks (Dollar Tree, 22 for $1)
  • Jolly Rancher (Sam’s Club has 5 lb bag of 378 pcs for $10.48) [Note: in an assortment bag at Walmart, the Jolly Ranchers were listed has containing corn and soy]
  • Jolly Rancher Lollipops (Target has 18 per bag for about $2.49)
  • LifeSavers (Sam’s Club, 24 rolls for $8.74)
  • Baby Bottle Pops (Sam’s Club, 20 for $10.78)
  • Laffy Taffy (Sam’s Club has 145-pc tub for $5.72, Target has a bag of 32 for about $2.49; Smith’s has bag of 32 for $2.50)
  • Hot Tamales (Sam’s Club has 24 vending-sized packs for $14.17)
  • Mike & Ike (Sam’s Club has 24 vending-sized packs for $14.17, Target has bag of 21 small pouches for about $2.49)
  • Sour Patch Soft & Chewy (Target has bag of 16 for about $2.49)
  • Sour Patch Kids (Sam’s Club has 24 vending-sized packs for $13.32)
  • Swedish Fish (Sam’s Club has 24 vending-sized packs for $13.05, Target has bag of 16 small pouches for about $2.49)
  • Swedish Fish & Sour Patch Kids Assortment (Target has bag of 115 for $9.99)
  • Dots (Smiths has bag of 17 mini-boxes for $2.50; Dollar Tree has bag of 6 mini-boxes for $1)
  • Haribo Gummy Bears (contains coconut) (Smiths has a bag of 44 for $4.99)
  • Life Savers Spooky Shapes Gummies (Target has bag of 12 for about $2.49)
  • Bubble Babies Sour Gum Balls (contains coconut), (Dollar Tree has bag of 62 for $1)
  • Mini Sour Dudes Straws (Dollar Tree has bag of 10 for $1)
  • Gummy Candy Insects (Dollar Tree has bag of 15 for $1)
  • Gummy Body Parts (Dollar Tree has bag of 15 for $1)
  • Gummy Pirate Choppers (Dollar Tree has bag of 12 for $1)
  • Grave Gummies (contains coconut) (Dollar Tree has pkg of 12 for $1)
  • Smarties in a Pouch (Dollar Tree has bag of 35 pouches for $1)
  • Comix Mix Candy Sticks (Dollar Tree has bag of 22 for $1)
  • Push Pops (Sam’s Club has 24 for $10.62)

Contains Soy or Soy Warning (but free from other 7 top allergens):
  • Wrigley’s Gum (Doublemint, Big Red, Juicy Fruit, Spearmint); Sam’s Club (40 5-stick packs for $7.14)
  • Marvel Superhero Halloween Candy (Walmart, 35 boxes per bag, $4.98; or Target, 52 pcs per bag for $2.49)
  • Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape (Sam’s Club, $8.88)
  • Laffy Taffy Ropes (Sam’s Club, 48 ropes, $9.52)
  • Jolly Rancher Fruit Chews (Sam’s Club has 12 for $6.72)
  • Marvel Superheroes Halloween Lollipops (Walmart has bag of 65 for $4.98)
  • Jolly Rancher Snack-Size Fruit Chews (Walmart has bag of 40 for $1.98)
  • Kool-Aid Bursts drinks (Walmart has 6-pack for $1)
  • Star Wars Lollipops (Target has bag of 26 for about $2.49)
  • Big Chew Fruit Flavored Bubble Gum (Dollar Tree has bag of 88 pcs for $1)
  • Double Bubble Bubble Gum (Dollar Tree has bag of 30 for $1) [Note: The bag of 380 from Sam’s Club also has a milk warning]

Contains Wheat or Wheat warning (but free from other 7 top allergens):
  • Super Ropes (Sam’s Club has 30 for $10.98)
  • Wonka Super Shockers (Sam’s Club has 24 vending-sized pkgs for $13.18)
  • Sour Punch Straws (Sam’s Club has 24 for $10.46)
  • Red Vines (Sam’s Club, 15 bags for $6.88)
  • Twizzler Rainbow Snack Size (Walmart has bags of 33 for $1.98)
  • Airheads Chewier Mini Bars (Target has bags of 30 for about $2.49)

Contains Milk or Milk warning (but free from other 7 top allergens):
  • Ring Pops (Sam’s Club has 40 for $11.43)
  • Sixlets (tiny cellophane tubes of 6 round candy-coated chocolate flavored balls): (Dollar Tree has bags of 20 for $1)
  • Exploding Candy (Dollar Tree has bags of 25 pouches for $1)

Contains Egg or Egg warning (but free from other 7 top allergens):
  • Wonka Stretchy & Tangy Laffy Taffy in 3 Flavors (Sam’s Club has 24 for $13.18)
  • Now & Later (Target has bags of 36 for about $2.49)

Contains Soy and Wheat or warnings (but free from other 6 top allergens):
  • Twizzlers (Sam’s Club has a tub of 180 ind. wrapped for $7.24)
  • Twizzler Nibs (Sam’s Club has 36 vending-sized pkgs for $19.88)
  • Twizzler Snack Size Twists (Target has bags of 60 for about $2.49, Smith’s has bags of 60 for 2/$4; Walmart has bags of 60 for $1.88))
  • Twizzler & Jolly Rancher Assortment (Sam’s Club, 225 for $9.98)
  • Airheads (Sam’s Club: 90 for $8.98)
  • Airhead Extremes (Sam’s Club has 18 for $8.62
  • Utz Pretzel Treats (Sam’s Club, 70 bags of Halloween-shaped pretzels, contains wheat and barley, made on equipment that processes soy and sesame seeds, $6.98)
  • Keebler Crème-Filled Sugar Wafers (cookies, contain barley, too) (Sam’s Club has 24 pkgs for $8.48)
  • Oreo cookies (Sam’s Club has 30 pkgs for $9.56)
  • Austin Zoo Animal Crackers (Sam’s Club has 36 bags for $7.78)
  • Chex Mix (Sam’s Club has 36 bags for $9.78)
  • Slim Jim Meat Sticks (also contains beef and chicken), (Sam’s Club has box of 100 individually wrapped sticks for $14.82)

Contains Wheat and Milk or warnings (but free from other 6 top allergens):
  • Charms Blow Pops (Sam’s Club has bags of 100 for $8.86, Walmart has bags of 50 for $4.48, Target has bags of 23 for about $2.49)
  • Charms Mini Pops (Dollar Tree has bags of 26 for $1)

Contains Milk and Soy or warnings (but free from other 6 top allergens):
  • Double Bubble gum (Sam’s Club has 380 for $6.88) [Note: the Double Bubble Gum from Dollar Tree and from Target doesn’t have a milk warning, so they may use multiple factories. Check labels carefully before eating]
  • Kraft Caramels (Walmart has bags of 50 for $1.98)

Contains Wheat and Egg or warnings (but free from other 6 top allergens):
  • Wonka Nerds Ropes (Sam’s Club has 24 for $13.18)
  • Wonka Nerds (doesn’t appear to contain corn) (Sam’s Club has them for $13.18, Target has bags of 27 for about $2.49, Smith’s has bags of 27 for 2/$4)

The following candies come in big assortment bags, which you might find in your child’s trick-or-treat bags:
  • Columbina candies – Dollar Tree sells many varieties of candy from this company, and all have a factory warning for Peanuts, Egg, Tree Nuts, Soy, Milk, and Wheat
  • Wonka Nerds from the Wonka Mix-Ups bag (Sam’s Club) contain corn, wheat, and egg
  • Wonka BottleCaps from the Wonka Mix-Ups bag (Sam’s Club) contain wheat and egg
  • Wonka SweeTarts from the Wonka Mix-Ups bag (Sam’s Club) contain wheat and egg
  • Wonka Spooky Nerds from the Wonka Monster Treats bag (Walmart) contain corn, wheat, and egg
  • SweeTarts Skulls and Bones from the Wonka Monster Treats bag (Walmart) contain wheat and egg (no corn)
  • SweeTart Chews – contain corn and soy
  • Howlin’ Laffy Taffy from the Wonka Monster Treats bag (Walmart) contain corn and soy
  • Twizzler Pull N Peel from various assortments bags contain corn and wheat (no soy)
  • Apple Stix from the Jolly Rancher & Twizzler assortment (Walmart) contain corn and soy
  • Tiger Pops – packaging lists all allergens
  • Lemonheads contain only corn, but are usually found in assortment bags that include warnings for all the allergens on the overall packaging
  • Jawbreakers contain only sucrose (doesn’t list corn), but packaged in an assortment that lists all the allergens in a factory warning
  • Warheads – contains corn, but comes in an assortment listing all allergens in a factory warning
  • Bazooka Gum-Filled Pops – lists only corn, but comes in an assortment listing all allergens in a factory warning
  • Cry Baby Sour Gumballs – contains corn
  • Double Bubble twist-wrap gum and gumballs – both contain corn with a soy warning
  • Jolly Rancher Candy Stix – contain corn and soy

Non-Food Treats:
Don’t forget, you don’t have to hand out candy to your trick-or-treaters. You can also hand out non-food treats like:
  • Bat or Spider Rings (Walmart has 100 for $1.94)
  • Halloween bouncy balls (Walmart has 12 for $2.44, or has lots of varieties)
  • Vampire teeth (Walmart has 16 for $1.44)
  • Halloween-colored bracelets (Walmart has 30 for $1.94, has tons, or party stores have these, too)
  • Halloween pencils or erasers(Walmart has 12 for 94 cents)
  • Glow Sticks (Dollar Tree, 12 for $1)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Allergy-Friendly Halloween Candy & Nut-Free Candy Corn Hunt 2011

by Kelley Lindberg

Yep, it’s that time again… my annual candy corn hunt! Everyone seems to either love or hate candy corn – there’s no in-between – but for those of us who love it, it’s hard to live without it every year because of nut allergies. So every year, people ask me if I’ve found any nut-free candy corn.

You’ll be happy to hear I’ve found two sources for nut-free candy corn again this year, but they both contain egg, soy, and corn syrup.

The first is the Kroger brand – sold in Smith’s here in Utah, and possibly in other Kroger stores elsewhere. They sell nut-free candy corn, mellowcreme pumpkins, and Autumn Mix. Yummy!

The other is made by Sunrise Confections. You can order the Sunrise candy corn (as well as their Autumn Mix and Blueberry Hill Indian Corn) from Peanut Free Planet.

I heard there was a safe candy corn brand at Target, but when I went there today, I couldn’t find any. If I locate any more, I’ll let you know!

I’ve also been shopping locally for candy to see what types of allergen-free candy we can find in stores. Next week, I’ll post a list of what I found and where I found it. Most of it contains corn syrup and food colorings, of course. So if those are your issues, you’ll probably want to order candy online, and you’ll want to do it this week so it arrives in time for Halloween. There are also some good online resources for Halloween chocolates and gluten-free candy, so this week I’ll focus on online candy sources.
  • Indie Candy:  This site is the place to go for all-natural candy with no dyes or any of the Big 8 allergens at all! Most of their candy also appears to be corn-free, too. They have a large selection of confections including gorgeous crystal lollipops, chocolate, and gummis, and you can search by your specific allergy needs.
  • Yummy Earth:  Yummy Earth candies (lollipops, drops, gummy bears, and gummy worms) are corn-free, as well as being free from the big 8, and they use natural colorings and flavorings. You can buy them online at {} and on
  • Peanut Free Planet:  This allergy-friendly grocery site sells a ton of different candy from lots of different manufacturers, including Vermont Nut Free, Enjoy Life Foods, and Amanda’s Own. You’ll find chocolate, jelly beans, and all sorts of allergen-friendly groceries. They also sell KitKats, Mars bars, and Nestle Aero Milk chocolate bars that are made in a Canadian factory, and therefore nut-free (unlike their American factories). And most importantly, THEY HAVE NUT-FREE CANDY CORN!
  • Amanda’s Own Confections:  They offer chocolate in some fun Halloween shapes, as well as jelly beans and other candies, all dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, and gluten-free!
  • Divvies:  Nut-free, dairy-free, and egg-free chocolate ghosts, jelly beans, gummy stars, and chocolate chips! Oh my!
  • Vermont Nut Free:  Their chocolates are peanut-free and nut-free, but they do have milk and egg warnings on them. Their huge selection of nut-free chocolates includes caramel and chocolate pumpkins, chocolate-covered marshmallows on a stick, and foil-wrapped chocolate shapes (like bats, witches, and ghosts). They also sell skippers, which are similar to M&Ms, but nut-free, of course.
  • Chocolate Emporium:  Read the ingredients carefully on this website, but they do offer a lot of allergen-friendly goodies. Call before you order to ensure you get what you need.
  • Oriental Trading Co.:  Remember, trick-or-treats bags don’t have to be filled with candy. Oriental Trading Company offers a bazillion (I counted them) super-cheap novelty toys, many that you can buy in quantities of 50, 144, or more.
Updates: I found Sunrise candy corn at the Dollar Tree! And I think it tastes better than the Kroger brand. In addition, Jelly Belly Candy Corn contains soy, and it's manufactured on shared equipment with milk, wheat, tree nuts, and coconuts, but they say their manufacturing and cleaning processes are very stringent. For more detailed info, read Daniella's Smart Allergy blog for her correspondence with the company. And finally, A&J Bakery Candy Corn is now available at, but they contain soy, egg, and corn (but they're nut-free, peanut-free and gluten-free).