Navigating Easter with food and/or environmental allergies can be difficult if you are not prepared. The holiday is a potential land-mine of problems ranging from Easter baskets filled with allergen-laden treats to the arrival of seasonal allergies. Here are some useful strategies to help you survive the holiday, as well as a recipe for a “safe” treat.
Tip No. 1: Modify your idea of a picture-perfect Easter
Begin by approaching the holiday with an open mind and willingness to change. Find new traditions to replace the ones that no longer fit your needs. Food allergy sufferers can have an enjoyable holiday without eating chocolate treats and decorating eggs. For instance, consider decorating wooden or ceramic eggs instead of chicken eggs if you have a child with egg allergy.
Tip No. 2: Be prepared
There’s a good possibility that Easter will coincide with the arrival of allergy season in your area. Many Easter activities are set in the great outdoors where allergies can be triggered. Prevent an allergy attack by taking your medication about two weeks ahead or at least having your medication on hand.
Don’t wait until the last minute to find or make allergy-friendly treats, or plan a holiday menu if you or family members have food allergies. Inform family members or friends, who are hosting gatherings, of your allergies to prevent them from unwittingly sabotaging your efforts to stay “safe.”
Traditional Easter foods and treats can be modified to eliminate allergens with a little planning. Try filling an Easter basket with allergy-safe rice crispy treats. Follow the recipe and directions below.
Recipe for Easter Rice Crispy Treats
•5 cups gluten-free rice crispy cereal (e.g. Barbara’s Rice Crisps)
•One package (10-ounces) large gluten-free marshmallows
Note: Kraft marshmallows are gluten-free but not corn-free. Kraft marshmallow crème contains eggs and corn. Ricemellow, available at allergygrocer.com, is egg and dairy-free.
•½ cup allergy-free margarine (e.g. Spectrum Naturals Spread)
•Optional: Chocolate chips (e.g. Enjoy Life chocolate chips are allergen-free)
•Melt margarine in a 3-quart casserole dish in the microwave.
•Add marshmallows and melt.
•Remove from microwave and stir until margarine and marshmallows are well blended.
•Add the cereal and stir until well coated.
•Press the mixture into a lightly greased 8X12-inch plan. Cut into squares when cooled.
•Chocolate-covered rice crispy bars: Melt 12-ounces of chocolate chips in the microwave. Spread over the cereal mixture.
•Chocolate-chip rice crispy bars: After the cereal mixture has been stirred into the marshmallow mixture, quickly stir in one six-ounce bag of chocolate chips.
•Egg-shaped rice crispy treats: With hands buttered with margarine, shape globs of the warm cereal mixture into egg shapes.
•Chocolate rice crispy bars: Add and melt a 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips in with the marshmallow/margarine mixture. Stir in the cereal for chocolate rice crispy treats.
•No marshmallow or margarine rice crispy treats: Instead of margarine and marshmallows, use 2 ½ T. safflower or other oil, ½ cup brown rice syrup and 4 T. maple syrup. Cook the mixture until it turns a deep, golden brown. Pour the syrup mixture into a large, oiled bowl. Mix in the cereal mixture until it’s well coated with syrup.