Monday, August 29, 2016

Safe Snacking

I love to help others dealing with food allergies to find safe foods to eat. As we send our children back to school, it is so important to send our kids with foods that are safe for them and the other children. 1 in 13 children have food allergies! Peanut allergies are the most common food allergy and can be so dangerous. Trace amounts of peanuts can cause a reaction- and some can be deadly. I have compiled a list of some ideas for peanut free snacks to send with your little ones to school that will keep them safe and taste great!

Peanut Free Snack Ideas
Fruits and Veggies

·         All Fruit and Vegetables
·         Raisins, Craisins and Dried fruit
·         Go go squeezes and fruit cups
·         Fruit Snacks (Betty Crocker Brand, Target , Annies Organic, etc) check label on others
·         Fruit Leather
·         Hummus w pita chips or veggies
·         Guacamole w tortilla chips
Dairy and Meat
·         DanimalsGo-gurts,
·         Trix yogurt
·         String Cheese (Sargento or Meijer Brand)
·         Kraft Cubes or sliced cheese
·         Cheese and crackers, cheese and pretzels
·         Build your own nachos w tortillas, shredded cheese and salsa
·         Jell-O Pudding Cups and Gelatin
·         Hunts Pudding
·         Kraft Handi Snacks Pudding Cups
·         Turkey or Ham rollups made w or without cheese, could do with tortillas or without
·         Pepperoni, cheese and crackers
·         Cottage cheese, cottage cheese and fruit
·         Quesadillas
·         bagels (Lenders or Thomas brand) with cream cheese (no nut type)

Cereal and Bars

·         Nutra-Grain Bars (apple, cherry, raspberry, blueberry)
·         Pop Tarts
·         Apple Jacks
·         Rice Crispy Treats (pre packaged)
·         Corn Flakes
·         Corn Pops
·         Alpha Bits
·         Frosted Flakes 
                General Mills

·         Cinnamon Toast Crunch
·         Cheerios (regular, Fruity, Apple Cinnamon, frosted only)
·         Kix (plain)
·         Lucky Charms
·         Trix
·         Cocoa Puffs
·         Cookie Crisp
·         QUAKER OATS: Life Cereal
Crackers and Chips
·         Graham Crackers- plain or with almond butter
·         Cheese Nips
·         Teddy Grahams (Cinnamon, Chocolate Chip, Honey, Chocolate)
·         Nilla Wafers
·         Barnum Animal Cracker
·         Triscuts (plain)
·         Wheat Thins
·         Premium Saltines (original)
·         Ritz Chips
·         Ritz Crackers
·         Cheez-its
·         Vanilla Wafers (golden, mini)
·         Elf Grahams (honey, cinnamon)
·         Scooby Doo Graham Crackers
·         Wheatables (original, honey wheat)
·         Club Crackers 5 pack cheese and pretzel dip
·         Town House Classic Crackers Toasted (Wheat, Butter crisp)
·         Wheat Thins
·         Goldfish
·         Make your own trail mix with marshmallows, cereal, pretzels, craisins, etc
·         Handi Snacks
·         Annies-Organic Bunny Cheddar Crackers, Organic Traditional Snack Mix Bunnies, Organic Whole Wheat Bunny Crackers, Organic Sour Cream and Onion Bunnies, Organic Bunny Grahams
·         Rold Gold Pretzels-NOT snyders. My daughter loves the honey mustard pretzels rold gold makes!
·         Doritos (any flavor)
·         Cheetos
·         LAYS regular and baked chips
·         Tostitos
·         Sun Chips (Original, Sour Cream, Cheddar, Flavored)
·         Fritos
·         Popcorn
·         Thomas Brand Bagels, English Muffins, Pita Bread


·         Skittles
·         Starburst
·         Tootsie Rolls Tootsie Pops
·         Smarties
·         Mike and Ike
·         Twizzlers
·         Laffy Taffy
·         Life Saver Gummies
·         Dum Dum sucker
·         Air Heads
·         Hershey Kisses (milk chocolate only)
·         DOVE Silky Smooth Promises (milk chocolate kind only)
·         Junior Mints
·         Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops, gummies, candy
·         Kraft  and Publix brand Marshmallow
·         Surf Sweets gummies and candy
Cookies and cake
·         Oreos- regular blue package and Golden ones in yellow package
·         Enjoy Life (all flavors) **known for their allergen free cookies!
·         Honey Maid and Nabisco graham crackers
·         Loora Doones
·         Keebler Vanilla or Rainbow wafer
·         Pre packaged Rice Krispie treats or make your own!
·         Annie’s brand cookies-pre packaged or mix
·         Betty Crocker SuperMoist Box Cake Mixes (Butter Recipe Chocolate, Butter Recipe Yellow,
·         Carrot, Cherry Chip, Devils Food, Double Chocolate Swirl, Lemon, Natural Vanilla,
·         Party Rainbow, Triple Chocolate Fudge, Yellow, White)
·         Betty Crocker Rich Creamy (Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Cream Cheese, Milk Chocolate,
Mint Chocolate Chip, Rainbow Chip, Triple Chocolate Fudge, Vanilla) Frosting
·         Betty Crocker Whipped (ButterCream, Chocolate Cream Cheese, FluffAy White,
Milk Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla)
·         Betty Crocker Decorating Gel. Icing, or spray in all colors
·         Betty Crocker Sprinkles (Decorating stars, Nonpareils, Rainbow Mix, Chocolate flavored)
·         Betty Crocker Sugars, all colors

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Not all Turkey is Created Equal..

Two misconceptions about turkey burger: 1. they are dry 2. They are boring. Neither is the case if you use the right meat and cook them right! One reason people get dry turkey burgers is that they cook them like beef. Turkey burgers need to be cooked low and slow. Also, another tip to preventing dry meat is to fill them with a wet vegetable- in this case I am using finely diced onion. Next issue? choice of meat. Many people that have tried a turkey burger at a restaurant didn't like it. why? it is usually frozen (yuck) and not a good quality meat. Not all turkey is created equal! Jennie O Lean is my go to and have tried many others that fail in comparison, but each person's tastes are different. Just promise me you will not try one brand, cooked one way and decide you don't like ground turkey! I have in fact cooked meals using ground turkey for many other people who actually never knew it was turkey. Why? because of the kind I used and the way i season and prepare it. Case in point? My sun dried tomato turkey burger..It is easy, healthy and so delicious!

Sun Dried Tomato Turkey Burgers 

  • 1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey ( I prefer Jennie O)
  • 1/4 cup diced Sun Dried Tomatoes in sauce - I use California Sun Dry Tomatoes julienne cut with herbs then run my knife through them quickly to chop. 
  • 2 Tablespoon of oil from the jar of Sun Dried tomatoes- (If you use a dry sun dried tomatoes add 2.5 tablespoons of oil instead of 2 )
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350. 
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, making sure to evenly distribute each ingredient. I use my hands! Do not over mix.
Heat a large skillet on medium high heat with olive oil (I don't measure but about 1.5-2 tablespoons). Score your meat in the bowl to make a "+" to ensure all burgers are equal in size. Form four patties. Place in skillet and heat first side 2 minutes and flip (they should be slightly brown). Heat other side 1 minute, then put skillet in the oven for about 7 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Do not overcook or they will be dry!

I find these in the produce section on an end cap at Publix

Side Suggestions:
I love to serve these burgers over cous-cous, but we can no longer have today we tried them with quinoa and it was good! I suggest cooking your quinoa or cous cous with some olive oil or butter, salt and maybe some sun dried tomatoes if you really like them! If you are making quinoa you will need extra seasoning-it takes a lot! 
Roasted broccoli- seasoned w olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper
Green Beans
Buns toasted w garlic butter (can also be dairy free w earth balance spread) and a pinch of garlic, mayo mixed w a little oil from the sun dried tomatoes and a few diced tomatoes mixed together to make an aioli. You could also add romaine and a sprinkle of fresh basil if you want to go all out!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Turkey Hamming it up!

I love Jennie O products, and I'm especially grateful they have created so many turkey products since the only meat Wynn can have is turkey. I've seen Jennie O's Turkey Ham many times at the grocery store but I've never purchased it, because honestly I just didn't know what i would do with it sounded a little odd. A ham made of turkey? It seemed a little weird, but I finally decided to try it..and I'm glad I did! This is SO simple and only 3 ingredients. Try it- you won't be sorry!
This recipe works perfectly with a "turkey ham"but will also work very well with a boneless ham!

Brown Suagr and Pineapple cured Turkey Ham
Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free, Rice Free, Egg Free

2 lb Jennie O Turkey Ham or boneless ham
1 1/3 cup pineapple juice
1 1/3 cup light brown sugar

1. Grease the bottom of your crockpot with Pam Grilling spray (doesn't contain soy) or spray of choice.
2. Pierce the top and bottom of your "ham" with a knife several times ( to allow juices and brown sugar to seep in your meat).
3. Divide your brown sugar in half. pack 1/2 of your brown sugar on the flat side of your meat. hold it onto the meat with your hand, and  flip it, placing it flat side down in the crockpot. Its okay if some of it falls out to the side.
4. Pack the rest of your brown sugar on the top of the ham. 
5. Pour the pineapple juice all around the sides of your crockpot (not on top of the ham). 
6. Cook on high for 4 hrs. Remove ham and slice it, then place it back in the crock pot.
7. Cook an additional 30 min-1 hour to allow juices to soak in every slice!

This sauce will thicken as it cools. For a thicker serving sauce, just turn off cooker and allow it to sit for about 30 min. 

This tastes great on rolls smothered in sauce or on its own with a side of sauteed green beans. You can also use leftovers for a salad, casserole, omelet or sandwich the next day.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Gluten Lovers Gluten Free Waffles

My son has recently been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Eosinophilic Esophagitis (called Eoe for short). I will write more about his diagnosis in another post. It has been tough, and it has drastically changed his diet and mine (due to nursing). When i first got the list of what he cannot eat, my first thought was "Well, what CAN he eat?!" We have not done further testing to see if he has even more triggers, but for now we are avoiding:

So! As you can see, this is pretty overwhelming. Wynn is in feeding therapy with a feeding aversion, so he already wouldn't eat many foods..but what he DID like was foods with wheat and corn. Yikes! Therefore, my first priority in making new recipes for him was to find a bread product that actually tasted good. Almost all Gluten Free products I have found use rice and/or corn flour which he can't do. ugh. so! I had a lot of trial and error cooking, and i finally created the PERFECT waffle recipe that tastes amazing!! Whether you are gluten free or not, you will love these!

Gluten Lovers Gluten Free Waffles
1 Cup Bettes Four Flour Blend
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance Soy Free Butter (or regular butter, softened)
1 Tablespoon Safflower Oil
1 Egg or 1 Egg Replacer Egg (ener-g brand- 1 1/2 tsp powder mixed with 2 warm tablespoons water and set aside)
1 1/2 tsp Hain pure foods baking powder (gluten free)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp sugar
3/4 cups of Silk original (not vanilla or unsweetened) Almond Milk or regular milk if diet allows

Preheat Waffle Iron.
If using egg replacer, pour mixed replacer in a medium bowl and beat with a mixer on low for 30 seconds (if using a regular egg, omit this step and add with other ingredients). Add all other ingredients except for milk. Mix on low for about 10 seconds until combined. Add Milk and mix on low for one minute, making sure all ingredients are fully combined and mixture thickens a little.
Pour desired amount into greased waffle iron. cook until waffle iron says they are done (mine shows a green light). These waffles will not turn dark brown, however, if you cook them too long they will become hard. They should be golden and crispy on the outside and slightly soft on the inside. These are so so good, and they even freeze very well! After they have cooled, simply place them in a freezer bag and put in the freezer. When you are ready to eat them, just take them out and reheat in the toaster oven or microwave. Success!! My daughter even likes them better that Bisquick waffles. Yay!

The finished product :)

Products you will need:

This flour does Not contain Rice flour or Corn Flour either! Almost all GF Flour blends contain Rice Flour. I finally found this one that doesn't and tastes awesome!! Yay!
I find this at Walmart, Whole Foods, Publix

Now THIS is how you make amazing gluten free waffles!!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken with Pineapple- Soy Free!!

Living without soy can be tough. It is in 65 percent of all processed foods (wow), and can be tough to avoid. When eating out, many restaurants actually buy their meat pre-marinaded..and the marinade usually contains soy. Ugh. But! There are restaurants that buy plain chicken, you just have to check! Speaking of eating out..I miss Japanese and Chinese food. Soy sauce is pretty awesome if you ask me! Recently I started experimenting cooking with a SOY FREE SOY SAUCE..yes, a soy free soy sauce..and its awesome! I wouldn't say it substitutes plain, but is fantastic when you cook with it!
I just made this Teriyaki Grilled Chicken with Pineapple, and I promise you wont miss the regular soy sauce. Now, if you CAN have soy sauce you may use soy sauce instead (i will list the amount in the recipe below).
I find this sauce at Publix, but also can be found at Whole Foods or be ordered from several distributors online.

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken with Pineapple (dairy free/egg free/soy free/nut free)

1 cup coconut aminos (or 3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce if you can have soy)
1 20 oz can of Pineapple Slices in 100% pineapple juice
2 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar (reduce to 2 if you dont want as sweet)
1 teaspoon ground ginger powder 
1/2 cup light tasting olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 1lbs chicken breasts (i usually cut in half or you can pound out to uniform thickness for even cooking)
1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons chicken broth (i use swanson)

Open your can of pineapple. Pour all of the juice from the can directly into a medium sauce pan. Place pineapple rings aside in a container with lid. Add aminos or soy sauce, olive oil, brown sugar, ginger, mustard, pepper and garlic powder to your sauce pan. In a small bowl mix together your slurry of corn starch and chicken broth with a spoon (if you were to add your corn starch without this step you will get a lumpy sauce!) Set aside. Turn heat on to medium/medium high and allow sauce to come to a slight boil. Let mixture bubble slightly for about 3 minutes, add your corn starch slurry, then reduce to low/medium for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove pan from heat and allow to cool about 20-30 min.
Reserve 1 cup of your sauce in a container.
Place your chicken in a large plastic bag or shallow container that has a lid, pour the remainder of your sauce over it and store in the fridge.
Pour 1/4 cup of your reserved sauce over your pineapple rings and shake to evenly distribute.
Allow chicken to marinade at least 6 hours. Overnight is best!

Grill Chicken on medium, turning once. Brush with 1/3 cup of your reserved sauce last few minutes of grilling and add pineapple to your grill (not on top of chicken) last few minutes of grilling.
Serve over rice or cous cous and goes great with roasted or steamed broccoli. Pour your remaining reserved sauce over chicken and rice as you serve or use for dipping.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Chicken Salad, Chick!

Like many Southerners, I love chicken salad..especially in the Summer! 95 degree days and warm nights make chicken salad perfect for lunch, dinner or a snack! The problem for our household is that we can't have regular mayo (because we can't have eggs), and what is chicken salad without the mayo?! Well, I have found two mayos that do not have eggs that are actually great!

The first I tried was made by Follow Your Heart- Soy Free Vegenaise . It comes in different varieties, but we also cannot have soy so we use the Soy Free version. It is found at health food stores and Whole Foods in the refrigerated section.

The second egg free mayo that i recommend (definitely my go to and favorite) is made by Hampton Creek. It is called Just Mayo. It is thick, creamy, very affordable, and tastes fantastic. It is found in the non refrigerated condiment section at many stores- Walmart (yes, i know!), Target, Publix, and Whole Foods. It comes in a few varieties, but I just use the regular (although all are good). They are all soy free too!

Now, let's get to the Chicken Salad! Either of these egg free mayos OR regular mayo will taste great with this recipe. If you can have egg based mayonnaise, I recommend Dukes or Blue Plate brands..but whatever you like will work :)

Chicken Salad
2 1/2 cups of diced baked chicken (about 1.5 lbs) (I bake chicken breasts with olive oil and heavily season with salt and pepper, let it cool and chop or shred). A rotisserie chicken would also work if you are short on time 
1 1/2 stalks celery finely diced
1 1/2 cups of seedless red grapes cut in half (reduce if you want less fruit)
3/4 cup of mayo
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper (sometimes I use more). Start with this amount and add s & p to taste after tasting

Place chicken, celery and grapes in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, add salt and pepper to your mayo and stir- this will ensure that your salt and pepper is evenly distributed throughout your chicken salad! Add mayo and seasoning mixture to your chicken bowl, and that's it!

Some other variations would be to reduce your grapes to 1 cup, and add 1/2 cup craisins. You can also add crushed almonds to either variety for nice crunch and added protein. If you prefer a smoother chicken mix, simply puree your chicken in a food processor then add the other ingredients. If you don't like a peppery chicken salad, simply leave it out.

I may or may not have just eaten some of this while writing this post. Its so good! I eat it plain, but is also great on toasted bread, croissant, or crackers. 

Happy Summer!


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Happy Easter!

I love holidays. All holidays. But Easter and Christmas are my favorites. I'm a huge fan of "The Bunny", egg hunts, the arrival of spring, time with family..but above all, I love the spirit Easter brings. It is always such a powerful holiday for me and my faith. Hearing the story of Christ's death and resurrection is just so moving. It is always such a powerful reminder that he died for each of us and to take our sins. By His wounds we are healed. I don't know that my human mind will ever be able to wrap my mind around this. He died for us as we are, not who we will become, not who we should be, but who we are right now. He loved us so much that he allowed himself to be beaten, spat on, tortured and nailed to a cross in agony. It is also such a needed reminder to me that he understands pain, doubt, fear.. and can always understand anything we ever feel.
Now that Collins is 5, she is starting to understand more about the true meaning of Easter. Sure, we still have tons of fun with all the Easter Bunny stuff, but I love that now she can also understand the true reason we celebrate!
Today after visiting The Easter Bunny, we came home and made Resurrection Rolls together (the Collins friendly version, of course). They were really simple and SO tasty (I may or may not have eaten 3). Making these rolls together is a great way to go through the story of the resurrection with your kiddos! This is what we did..

Resurrection Rolls 
1 can of original Pilsbury Crescent Rolls
8 large marshmallows
1/4 cup of Earth Balance butter (or butter of choice)
2 Tablespoons of Sugar
1 Teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350.
Separate crescent rolls into individual triangles, and lay out on counter or wax paper. Melt butter in a small bowl. mix sugar and cinnamon in a separate small bowl. Dip a large marshmallow into melted butter, then roll in sugar mixture. Place marshmallow into the center of a dough triangle. Carefully wrap the dough around the marshmallow. Pinch the seams together tightly to seal in marshmallow as it melts ( I recommend you wrapping them for your children if they are younger to make sure they are sealed).Place on a silpat or parchment paper on a baking sheet.
Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool about 5 minutes before opening.

While you make the rolls, make sure you walk through the story with your kids!

1. the Marshmallow is Jesus' body (and it is white because Jesus was pure and without sin)
2. Dip Jesus' body in the butter, which represents the oils that he was embalmed with
3. Next dip the marshmallow into the cinnamon and sugar, which symbolizes the spices placed on his body to prepare him for burial
4. Place the marshmallow in the center of a crescent roll triangle, which is the tomb. Wrap the dough tightly around the marshmallow, sealing all edges, so that Jesus will be trapped inside (and you don't have a marshmallowy mess lol).
5. Place them in the oven for 3 Days (or 10 minutes ;0) and allow to cool a few min.
6. Now let your child open the tomb to see what is inside..The marshmallow is gone! (melted) And Jesus has risen!

Happy Easter everyone!!