Trying new ingredients is hard enough as it is, but with food allergies it can be even more difficult. We may feel scared or nervous, but taking it slow with methods like OIT (oral immunotherapy) can be very rewarding. You win some and you lose some, but you cannot give up! 

Trying cassava through OIT has been fun, exciting, and joyous for our family. Seeing my 5 year old enjoying the same foods from our culture has been worth the entire OIT journey many times over. Moreover, I am so thankful to have people in the food allergy community that support and encourage my family to keep trying new and safe recipes. I promise to always be an advocate for others through their OIT and food allergy journey.

I am so happy to share these cassava recipes with all of you!

S’mores

Every child (and adult!) loves s’mores, and our 5 year old daughter is no exception. I felt so sad for her when we would see s’mores on TV or during family outings, knowing that she could not partake. So, I did what every food allergy parent would do: I started researching all of the companies that made allergy-friendly marshmallows. 

After calling several manufacturing companies to check that their products were safe, we finally got a response from Dandie’s Marshmallow Company. I wrote to them about the concerns I had with our 5 year old’s allergies, and they assured me that their marshmallows were free from her allergens (egg, dairy, and seafood) and also free from cross-contact with those allergens. It is such a huge relief when a company understands our concerns and answers all of our questions with assurance and friendly customer service. 

Since this was our daughter’s first marshmallow experience ever, I gave her a small piece to start off with, just like we do with her Oral Immunotherapy (OIT). Let me tell you, her eyes lit up with excitement and so did ours! It is such a big win when our food allergy kids are able to try something new. 

I liked that one of the ingredients in the Dandie’s marshmallows is tapioca, derived from cassava, which I grew up eating in Filipino desserts my mom made during the holidays. It is so wonderful to see our children eat similar foods and desserts that we had growing up. Cassava is a root vegetable (like a potato) native to South America. According to Conagra Nutrition, tapioca is made from cassava starch and is commonly used in puddings and as a thickener; flour can also be made from the entire cassava root.

After trying (and loving) the vanilla flavored marshmallows, we decided to test out the other flavors: pumpkin and peppermint.

Here are the flavor combinations we used for our s’mores: 

Dandie’s Vanilla Marshmallows + Enjoy Life Foods Chocolate Bar + Wheat Thins Multigrain *Wheat is part of our daughter’s OIT; you can substitute the Wheat Thins for any other kind of allergy friendly crackers or cookies. 

Dandie’s Pumpkin Marshmallows + Enjoy Life Foods Chocolate Bar + Enjoy Life Soft Snickerdoodle Cookies 

Dandie’s Peppermint Marshmallows + Enjoy Life Foods Chocolate Bar + Enjoy Life Crispy Chocolate Cookie Crisps 

Since we don’t have a fireplace, we make our allergy-friendly s’mores in the oven. We wrap them up in aluminum foil and broil them in the oven for 5 minutes; it comes out perfect each time! You can also put the s’mores in the microwave for about 20 seconds. I cannot wait to try these s’mores at a bonfire once we go camping later this year. 

Sugared Cassava

Both my mother and my brother-in-law, Alvin, grew up in the Philippines, and having candy and chocolate wasn’t always easily accessible to everyone, sweets were very expensive. So, they had to get creative with ingredients they had at home, like the cassava. They would boil cassavas to soften them, then sprinkle sugar or brown sugar on top of them. I got this simple and easy recipe from my mom and Alvin; I am so excited to be able to share traditional Filipino treats with my daughter. 

Here are the instructions:

4 to 6 cassavas, peeled 
Sugar to sprinkle on top*

*You can also substitute sugar with maple syrup; a healthier option my sister Cheryl suggested (Thanks, Sis!) 

Put cassavas in boiling water and boil until soft (usually takes about 20 minutes). Take cassavas out of the water and let cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle sugar, brown sugar, or drizzle maple syrup on top. 

Enjoy! 

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