• Gayle Rigione, Allergy Force

Ideas for Allergy-friendly Valentine Surprises

As a parent, you can never hug and hold your kids enough. You can never tell them "I love you" enough, whether through word or deed.


Speaking of 'deeds', small acts kindness — like making a homemade card with lots of hearts & sparkles, or tracking down non-food surprises, or baking allergy-friendly cookies & other sweet treats — quietly shout, 'I LOVE YOU' on Valentine's Day.


I've been seeing some GREAT Valentine ideas popping up in my inbox and scattered across social media. They inspired me to go on an internet scavenger hunt for more heart-full ideas to share with you. Here's what I found in my internet wanderings* that I think is share-worthy.


 
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Valentine's Day Kitchen Inspiration


When it comes to kitchen creativity, in my mind, not all recipes are equal. When I read a recipe I consider:

  1. Its simplicity (not too many ingredients, clearly outlined steps, not too many steps)

  2. How adaptable the recipe is if I need to make substitutions for our food restrictions

  3. Whether most ingredients are either already in my pantry or easy to find at the store

  4. The total prep time (less is definitely more for me)

These recipe finds* checked all my boxes:


Drizzle Kitchen: Texas Sheetcake Cookies

I recently discovered @drizzlekitchen on Instagram and love the recipes by a foodie for foodies. @drizzlekitchen's recipes are readily adaptable for people's food restrictions with some flexible thinking and creative substituting. Being from California originally, I never knew that Texas Sheetcake was a 'thing', but now I do! 😊 I don't think these mouthwatering chocolate-iced cookies will last long in my house.


Everyday Allergen Free: Sunbutter-stuffed Chocolate Strawberries

Amanda Orlando is the Founder of Everyday Allergen-Free. Amanda — recipe innovator, food stylist, photographer, cookbook author and lifestyle blogger — creates adaptable & easy-to-follow recipes that are not only feasts for the tastebuds and eyes, but do-able for tentative bakers like me. For me, it's not Valentine's Day without a chocolate dipped strawberry. I think the Sunbutter filling adds an element of surprise and fun. Try these.


Eating With Food Allergies: Strawberry Sorbet

I must have strawberries on the brain (even though summer is far far away) so another strawberry-based recipe caught my eye in my internet wanderings. Eating With Food Allergies offers a sorbet recipe, made from fresh strawberries, with only a few ingredients and a few steps. {LOVE that👍) This sorbet will pair well with the cookie recipes in this post.


The Pretty Bee: Chocolate Sugar Cookie Hearts

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Bring it on! The Pretty Bee offers a chocolate sugar cookie recipe that looks simple and delicious. The chocolate drizzle that finishes these cookies will make them irresistible.


The below recipe finds seem a little bit more complicated to me (but maybe that's just ME...) That being said, I'm game to try them and think the result will be well worth a run to the store for missing ingredients and any extra steps.


Allergic Living: Heart Sandwich Cookies

Allergic Living never disappoints when it comes to clearly written recipes that yield both beautiful and tasty results. Even though this recipe has a few stages — from baking the cookies, to making the frosting & frosting them, to finally dipping them in chocolate — I think the end result will be so worth it when I see my kids' smiles. I don't know about you, but the challenge for me will be avoiding cookie attrition so I actually have enough cookies left to make the heart sandwiches. {Cookie monsters who love to sample baking-in-progress haunt my kitchen!}


The Zestfull: Crunchy Raspberry White Chocolate Bites

This recipe was created by Kortney Kwong Hing, Co-founder of The Zestfull. This refined-sugar-free, allergy-friendly recipe for crunchy raspberry white chocolate bites tempts my tastebuds. They look almost too pretty to eat, but I am a HUGE white chocolate fan and won't be able to resist a nibble (or two, or three...) Am thinking I will probably double this recipe when I make it.


Valentine's Day Chocolates & Other Delights


Allergy Awesomeness: Off-the-Shelf Top 8 Free Valentine Candies

Allergy Awesomeness compiled an awesome list of off-the-shelf, allergy-friendly candies. When my son was little, Skittles (the Wrigley Company/a division of Mars Inc.) were a particular favorite. And I was always confident giving him Mike and Ikes (Just Born) and Dots (Tootsie Roll Industries) after I spoke to the manufacturers. Swedish Fish (Mondelez), too! Take a look.


Amanda's Own Confections: Specialty Chocolates

I met Beth Cherico, Founder of Amanda's Own Confections at a conference in 2018 and fell in love with her products and her WHY. She didn't want her daughter with severe food allergies to miss out on the fun holiday chocolates (think chocolate hearts, bunnies, Santa's, coins) that we all know and love, so she started making them. Amanda's Own Confections has an impressive selection of chocolates for Valentine's Day, from roses, to hearts, to chocolate cherry clusters to name a few.


Spokin: Allergy-friendly Heart-shaped Chocolate Assortments

You know those beautiful heart-shaped boxes filled with beautiful chocolates, often nestled in crinkly paper wrappers? You see them everywhere in the run-up to Valentine's Day. I'm always scanning the labels to see if maybe, just maybe, one will work for my son who's ANA allergic to eggs & peanuts (plus chickpeas, lentils and peas). Beyond the ingredients list, we're also particular about the PAL disclosures. It's a rare day when the chocolates in the heart-shaped boxes work. {Like almost never?} Spokin has researched allergy-friendly chocolate assortments and has created an outstanding list of possibilities that give me hope. Woohoo! (I am so excited about this! Can you tell?)


Other Cool Ideas For Valentine's Day


Allergic Living: Ideas for NON-FOOD Treats

Allergic Living has compiled a fun list of non-food Valentine's Day surprises. From a decorate-it-yourself 'chalkboard' t-shirt that can be designed & re-designed (wash-rinse-repeat), to allergy-friendly lip glosses, you'll find out-of-the-box inspiration on this list.


FAACT: Ideas for Celebrating by Doing

Even though this post for FAACT by Caroline Moassessi (FAACT's Vice President of Community Relations) was written in 2021, it's as true today as it was a year ago. Caroline shares some creative, easy-to-implement ideas for putting the special into Valentine’s Day. Often, it's not what you say, but what you DO, that expresses your deep love for family, friends and our food allergy community. Don't miss Caroline's 2022 post in honor of Valentine's Day that counts the ways FAACT shares the love for our food allergy community.



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I love Valentine's Day and how it reminds us of the people in our lives we love — who fill our hearts, our thoughts, our days and our nights.


Wishing you & yours a happy (& sweet) Valentine's Day


 

*Note:

Allergy Force is not an affiliate of any companies or websites or creators highlighted in this article. We believe in their work and their commitment to making the food allergy space safer and easier for families. We're proud to recognize their work.

 
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About the Author: Gayle Rigione is CEO and Co-founder of Allergy Force, the food allergy app. She’s also an allergy mom. She’s lived the heart stopping moments when her son ate the wrong thing, second guessed reactions and spent the night in the ER. These experiences inspire her to create tools for people with food allergies that make life safer, easier. Whatever you do, do it with a full heart. Audentes Fortuna Iuvat


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Credits: Thank you Engin Akyurt and Rod Long on Unsplash for use of the images







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