Sunday, October 29, 2017

Halloween can always be a little tricky with food allergies (no pun intended), but it can be done! I am so excited about the Teal Pumpkin Project that people are starting to do. Its a great new tradition that those with and without food allergies can participate that can make Halloween a little less scary for kids with food allergies!I love that it promotes awareness, safety and respect for children that cannot eat many or ANY candies.

Collins can eat SOME candies, but Wynn is not supposed to have ANY candy. Can you imagine a child dressing up, going door to door, and being so excited..and then getting candy and not being able to have anything? I wouldn't want that for any child. Buying one bag of non food treats could make a huge difference to a child this year that is either limited in what they can eat or can't eat candy at all.
Does the Teal Pumpkin Project promote NOT buying candy? NOT at all! Still buy candy, but also have a little something non candy too.
Participating is simple! All you do is paint a pumpkin teal, place it on your porch and provide some allergy safe options for kids with allergies. You can also print out a sign from FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) to place on your door to alert parents and kids that you have this option for them.

Here is the link for The Teal Pumpkin Project to find out more, print out free flyers, and to get great ideas on non food treats!

Don't have time to get a teal pumpkin? No problem! just ask children when they trick or treat if they have food allergies and if so offer them a non food treat. Or just give all children the option of a food or non food treat. 

Need some ideas for non candy treats? I found many at the Dollar Tree, Michaels, Target, Oriental trading and Walmart.
  • small bubbles
  • glow sticks, wands, necklaces
  • Halloween pencils and erasers
  • spider rings
  • bouncy balls
  • plastic princess jewelry
  • whistles
  • small crayon packs
  • little slinkies
  • bookmarks
  • playing cards 
  • notepads
  • halloween cups
  • allergy friendly play dough
  • Stickers
  • Chalk
  • tattoos
  • Balloons and punch balls
  • cute bandaids (sounds weird, but my little one loves fun bandaids!)
  • stamps
  • pencils and erasers
  • Oriental trading has some really fun things- lips with fang whistles, halloween mini rubber duckies, sticky toys, mini blow up balls, mini plastic pumpkins (idea of easter egg- they come filled with candy but you can remove candy and put a non food prize inside!, mini flash lights, and more! 
Here are some food ideas that are safe for many (not all)
  • Yum Earth candy (suckers, gummy bears, gummy worms etc)
  • clementines (you can draw a pumpkin face on them!)
  • Enjoy life products (cookie packs, chocolate bars, snack mix)
  • allergy friendly pretzels (gluten free if needed)
  • dum dum suckers
  • plain popcorn bags- we use orville red. simply salted
  • Back to Nature juice pouches or other of choice
  • raisin packs
  • dried fruits 
  • GoGo squeezes

Now this post wouldn't be complete without a recipe, would it?! I am a huge fan of Caramel Apples, but Collins has never been able to eat them because caramel is basically butter, cream or milk and sugar. After a lot of experimenting (and failing), I am excited that I have finally created a very tasty and dairy free caramel sauce that is perfect for making Caramel Apples! Eeek!

Here is what  you will need:
  • Candy thermometer
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup cane sugar (white sugar is okay)
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup of Earth Balance buttery spread (we use soy free variety)
  • 2 cups of Almond Milk (regular-not vanilla. I prefer Silk original)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (found in spices and seasonings)*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 Popsicle or cookie sticks
  • 10 apples of choice
Line a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper to prevent sticking. Wash and dry apples, remove stems and insert stick into the top of each apple.
Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a medium to Large non stick saucepan (you can use a regular sauce pan, this just makes it easier) over medium heat. Clip the candy thermometer on the side of the saucepan so that it is constantly reading the temperature of the sauce.Turn heat up to medium high and allow mixture to come to a boil. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to medium or medium low (caramel will still boil once heat is reduced). Stir your caramel every couple of minutes or so and keep on medium  (or med low heat) until thermometer reads 245 degrees farenheit. This will take around 30 min or so. Let caramel cool for about 2 minutes and begin dipping them! I also use a spoon to help the process. You will want to work fairly quick so that the caramel does get too cool and thick. 
Put each apple on the baking sheet, allow to cool for a few minutes and voila! Your apples are done! I like mine cold, so I usually wait a few min, pop them in the fridge for about 30 min and then eat them..but they are delicious either way!
Store any leftover caramel sauce in a container and use for other treats.
These will stay fresh and yummy for about a week  in the fridge.

Whether you have food allergies or not, these are sure to please! They are also much lower in fat and calories than typical caramel sauce because you aren't using cream and real butter! Another score!
* Why use Cream of Tartar? it acts as a thickener for your sauce and keeps the sugars from crystallizing!

I hope you and your families have a very Happy Healthy Halloween!


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Its beginning to taste a lot like Christmas!

I love holiday food..especially the desserts! Gingerbread cookies are one of my favorite holiday treats, but if you are on a special diet these can be impossible to buy at most bakeries. But! I have a gingerbread cookie recipe that is fantastic- even if you are not on a restricted diet! I do not like crunchy gingerbread men, so if you do, simply bake a couple minutes longer :)
Happy Holidays!

Gingerbread Cookies
(dairy free, egg free, soy free, nut free)

  • Four cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup of butter or Earth Balance buttery spread (dairy free) cut in medium pieces
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cloves
  • plastic wrap
Put butter in a large bowl. Mix sugar, water, molasses and spices in a medium saucepan. Bring saucepan ingredients to a low boil over medium heat, stirring often.Remove from heat. Pour mixture over the butter and stir until butter melts. Let stand about 20-30 minutes until cooled to room temperature or slightly warm.
Mix flour and baking soda in a separate large bowl. Slowly pour and stir it into the molasses mixture until well blended. Do not over stir. Dough will be soft. Divide dough into fourths. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap and chill at least 6 hours (or if you are short on time, you can do 2 hrs in freezer). 
Preheat oven to 350.
I highly encourage using a baking sheet and a silpat type baking liner or parchment paper. Flour your working surface. Work quickly with one portion of dough at the time. it is very important for it to stay cold and not get warm or overworked. Roll dough out and cut into shapes, and put in the oven immediately. Bake about 7-9 minutes depending on the size of your cookies. 
(I usually cut my cookies fairly thick and i like them to be chewy, so a smaller cookie for me takes about 7 minutes.)
Remove from baking sheet about a minute after you take them out of the oven and place on a cooling rack.. and enjoy!!

water, molasses, spices, sugar in saucepan
 bringing to a boil
 Pour over butter and stir
 Dough divided into 4 sections and wrapped with plastic wrap

 Cut shapes of choice
 Place on your baking sheet and bake immediately
 Perfect Gingerbread men..
Or Angels..or whatever shape you choose!

Merry Christmas!!


Thursday, September 22, 2016

{Slighlty} Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Today is the first day of fall! I LOVE chicken pot pie- especially in Fall. It's warm and hearty filling with that flaky crust..what could be better?! I can no longer have chicken..or wheat due to nursing Wynn, but if you are dairy free, soy free, egg free...or even on no dietary restrictions, this recipe is to die for!
This recipe is for 2 pot pies. Why? Lets be honest. This recipe is so good it will only last a family one meal, so if I am going to chop those veggies and make the sauce I might as well just make a little more and have enough for another meal! If you would like to 1/2 the recipe, feel free to do so.

Chicken Pot Pie

2 lbs baked and seasoned (salt and pepper) chicken, shredded or diced- you could also use a rotisserie chicken if you are short on time
1 1/3 cups diced carrot (or frozen if short on time)
1 1/3 cups frozen round green peas
3/4 cup diced celery
3/4 cup finely diced onion ( i prefer yellow onion)
2 tsp salt
olive oil
1 teaspoon pepper
3 1/2 cups of Rice Milk or regular milk
3/4 cups Earth Balance buttery spread or butter
3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 packages of pilsbury brand refrigerated pie crusts ( they are accidentally dairy free!)

Preheat oven to 425. Get pie crusts out of the refrigerator and remove the plastic packages containing the crusts and allow to sit out while you prep other items (they have to sit out for 15 min before cooking).Drizzle bottom of a large skillet with olive oil. Saute carrot, celery and peas on medium heat for about 7 minutes or until carrots begin to slightly soften. Add your onion, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon salt and continue to saute until onions are translucent. (The reason you add the onions last is bc they will cook much quicker than the carrots, celery and peas and you don't want burnt onions!) Pour the cooked mixture onto a large plate or in a bowl and set aside.
Wipe your skillet  with a clean paper towel to be sure there isn't any veggies left in the pan, and return to the stove top. Time for your Roux!
 Keeping the heat to medium, add your butter into your skillet and allow to melt. As soon as your butter has melted, start to slowly add in your flour while constantly stirring it around with a wire whisk until all flour is combined. It will be thick and slightly yellow. As soon as you have added all of the flour, begin to slowly add in your milk and whisk continuously to combine. Add in remaining salt. Note- the 1 tsp salt remaining seasons perfectly with the rice milk. However, if you are using dairy milk you may only need about 1/2-3/4 tsp salt. Reduce heat to low. You can always add seasoning but you can't take it away, so start out with 1/2 tsp and go from there :)
Now add your cooked chicken and cooked veggie mix to your sauce. Stir and taste your seasoning. Turn heat off.
Place one crust in the bottom of 2 ungreased glass pie pans, pressing it against bottom and sides (dark pan will work too, you just may need to watch the crust at the end of baking to ensure it doesn't get too brown. If this starts to happen simply cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil around the edges during the last 10 min of baking). Pour filling on top of the crusts. Take the other two crusts, unroll and place on top of your filling and press and pinch around the sides of the pan. If it isn't secured well the filling will seep out. It doesn't have to look perfect!
Use a sharp knife and make a few slits in the middle of the pie.. I usually have some fun and do a heart or another design. Place in the oven and bake for 35-37 minutes, or until crust is starting to slightly brown. Let pie cool at least 15 minutes before devouring..umm.. I mean eating it to allow the sauce to thicken.

Happy Fall!!

Dairy Free, Soy Free, Egg Free, Corn Free, Oat Free

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Quinoa (KEEN-Wah) 101..and a Meatloaf I give a perfect 10!

Quinoa has become a new necessity since my son can no longer have gluten or rice! Not familiar with quinoa ( pronounced KEEN-Wah)? Quinoa is a gluten free grain native to Bolivia and is a relative to Swiss chard, beets and spinach. It has a mild earthy flavor (that can be a little too earthy in my opinion without adding seasoning). Its nutrition value is quite impressive! It has 8g Protein, 5g Fiber, 30% Daily Value of Magnesium, 15% DV Iron, 19% DV Folate and heart healthy Omega-3s. 

There are many ways to incorporate quinoa into your diet. You can eat it seasoned as a side. You can also add it to many recipes. Here are some ideas: add cooked quinoa to smoothies, quiche, chili or stews, swap it for rice in recipes, add it to a salad, swap it for oatmeal in your morning breakfast using normal oatmeal flavors and toppings, add it into your burger meat, add to muffins, use it in breakfast cookies, aaaand use it as a binder for your meatloaf!

I was craving meatloaf this week, but I wasn't sure what to do about not being able to use breadcrumbs. Usually you add milk to breadcrumbs in meatloafs. So, I thought i would try to substitute some cooked leftover quinoa to it and voila! It works perfectly, it adds a TON of nutrition AND you don't even notice a difference in the taste. Not ready to try it? you can easily make this recipe with breadcrumbs ( I will note the change below).

Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf
  • 1 lb Jennie O Lean (not extra lean) ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup very finely diced carrot
  • 3/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 tsp Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp died thyme
  • 1 tsp of tomato paste- tip! I buy a tube of this and keep in the fridge so i don't waste part of a can and can add a little here and there in recipes.
  • 1/4 cup cooked and cooled quinoa OR 1/2 cup breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg or ener-g egg replacer (1 1/2 tsp replacer mixed in a small seperate bowl with 2 Tablespoons warm water until combined)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350.
saute onion, 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil and carrot on medium high heat in a skillet until carrot softens slightly and onion is translucent. Set aside to cool (you do not want to ever incorporate hot ingredients into uncooked meat because it will start to cook your meat!).
Put all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix together with your hands. 
Spray a loaf pan with non stick spray ( i use pam grilling).
I HIGHLY recommend getting a meatloaf pan with a removable tray that has perforations to drain fat! I love mine. It drains fat and allows you to lift the entire meatloaf out after it is cooked which is great for presentation and it is much easier to slice! ( i purchased mine at bed bath and beyond)
Place mixture into pan. In a small separate bowl, mix all ingredients for your glaze. Make sure there are no large sugar lumps. If you prefer a sweeter less tangy topping, just leave the mustard out, add 2 more tablespoons of ketchup and one more tablespoon of brown sugar.
Spoon glaze over meatloaf and place in the oven for 50 minutes or until meat is cooked through.

Sides: roasted veggies, brown sugar glazed carrots, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, grilled asparagus, butter beans, green beans, peas.
before it goes in the oven..

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.