Saturday, February 28, 2015

SunButter Donuts (Gluten and Top 8 Free)


I am the first to admit that I am not a baker worthy of a writing cookbook.  Making meals is like putting together a puzzle.  I look in my pantry and figure out what I have that will constitute a meal.  Baking is a little more delicate.  You must find just the right combination of ingredients to make a delicious product.  This tender balance is enhanced when using allergy-friendly substitutes making baking a little more intimidating. 

 

I'm not someone who is trying to become cookbook worthy. I'm simply trying find easy and yummy foods that my kids can enjoy.  With the emphasis on easy.  On this snowy, winter day, I decided to see what I could whip up.  I spotted a jar of SunButter in my pantry along with just enough gluten-free flour to make something.  So donuts it was.  I wasn't sure how they would turn out since I was basically just throwing things in a bowl, but they actually turned out really good!  On the first try!  I was happily surprised.


Ingredients:

2 c gluten-free flour
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c SunButter
1/2 c applesauce
1/4 c apple butter
3/4 c dairy-free milk
1 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

Simply mix together and pour into a donut pan that has been pre-sprayed.  Bake at 425º for 7-9 minutes. 

I drizzled a powdered sugar and rice milk icing over the tops for a little added sweetness, but these are delicious on their own.  They made really good muffins too.  You may even try baking it in a loaf pan.

Look at this!  Can you believe this es gluten and egg free?
Here is my biggest critic.  And he gave his seal of approval.
GirlyGirl loves them too!
Don't have a donut pan?  Try making muffins!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Blue Bear Aware

 

Last fall I attended the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference (FABlogCon) in Las Vegas.  I got to meet many wonderful people there.  It was an experience like no other.

Exploring Las Vegas with Heather, owner of Blue Bear Aware, Brynn, (me) and Tiffany (left to right)

One of the perks of attending this conference is the fabulous swag bags we got at check-in.  They were filled with all kinds of goodies, both edible and otherwise, coupons, and special offers.  One of the special offers was a sandwich contest to win $100 to spend at Blue Bear Aware.  Entry for the contest was to post several pictures of your allergy-friendly sandwiches on social media, and a random winner would be chosen.  And guess what!  I won!  As someone who rarely wins at random drawings, etc, I was ecstatic.  Not only did I win something, but it was ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS to spend on anything from Blue Bear Aware!

While I posted several pictures of sandwiches for this contest, this was my favorite. A s'more counts as a sandwich, right?

Blue Bear Aware is a small online business run by a food allergy mom like myself.  There are products such as autoinjector cases, clothing, labels, bracelets, stickers, books, etc.  Anything a food allergy mom would want!  I thought that spending $100 would be easy, but there was so much to chose from.  I finally narrowed it down to four autoinjector cases and a couple of packages of Zipcicles.

I chose to get four cases since I have two kids with food allergies.  The SPI belt will hold either the EpiPen or Auvi-Q.  It stretches to fit several small items.  In fact, I seem to remember Heather, the owner, say that this is a product that was created for runners to carry their personal items while running, such as a bottle of water, cell phone, keys, etc.  I got this product in black and pink (one for the boy and one for the girl).

 

I also wanted a more compact carrying case just for the Auvi-Q, so I got a black and a pink pouch that can either be worn around the waist with an included belt or just thrown in a jacket pocket with the belt removed.
    

I have seen so many fun tings to make in these tall, skinny ziplock baggies, I just had to get some for myself.  But I haven't seen them in the stores.  When I found them on the Blue Bear Aware website, I knew I would be getting a few packages.  What a simple and healthy way to make popsicles or freeze sticks!  These have been stashed in my drawer, waiting for summer to make some frozen treats for the kids.


There are so many useful and fun products on this website.  And each order is packaged so beautifully, it's like you're getting a gift in the mail.  Also, each order comes with a coloring sheet and crayons.  What a personal and thoughtful touch.  Check it out for yourself, and let me know what you get at www.bluebearaware.com

Heather (owner of Blue Bear Aware) and I at FABlogCon 2014

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fluffer Nutter Sandwich (Peanut and Egg Free)

Ever since my kids were diagnosed with food allergies, I have come to terms with the foods they will never get to enjoy.  Things like Peanut Butter M&M's, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, etc.  A fluffer nutter sandwich was also on that list.


Since Bubs is allergic to milk, eggs, and peanuts, I figured a fluffer nutter sandwich was out of the question.  While there are several peanut butter alternatives out there, finding an egg-free marshmallow creme was another story.  Last fall I stumbled across this Ricemellow creme at Whole Foods.  I used it to make some delicious fudge at Christmas, and now to make a yummy school lunch for my kids.

It's simple, really.  Mix together SunButter and Ricemellow creme to desired consistency, then spread on your bread of choice.  (We use Enrg-G Brown Rice Bread.)  The results are amazing!  You could even add bananas or apples to your sandwich for a healthy variation.  I'll be making this again soon!

Cutie got a taste, and I'd say she likes it!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Healthy Mornings

Mornings can be a chaotic time for any family.  Especially if you have young children.  We have four kids, ages (almost) 4, (almost) 5, 8, and 9.  So how do we get through our mornings?

I must say that routine and structure play an important role in our day, and it helps make our mornings run smoothly too.  Most of the time.      

Here's a look inside a typical morning at our house.


My husband and I wake up early, hopefully before the kids.  We put in our exercise DVD and workout for 30-60 minutes.  Personally, I find it easier to workout without the kids around.  If they do happen to get up while we are exercising, they usually end up needing us to be parents to them rather than allowing us to be adults taking care of ourselves.  Meaning that we have to tend to their needs rather than our own.  However, the flip side of them watching us exercise is that they see us working on healthy habits for ourselves.  They see our dedication to exercise each and every morning.  They see that it is part of our routine.  I love catching them imitate exercising through play during the day.  What a compliment to our lifestyle.


After our exercise routine, we shower and get ready for work.  The kids are in the routine of getting themselves dressed.  The older kids help themselves to a selection of healthy breakfast items (GirlyGirl almost always has oatmeal, and Bubs usually has cold cereal).  The little girls still need some help with brushing teeth and hair, and maybe a little encouragement to get dressed rather than play.  :)  The littles eat their breakfast at daycare, so that is one less thing for us to worry about each morning.

We don't do big, fancy breakfasts, but if you are interested in some delicious healthy ideas, check out Aloha for tons of great ideas.  You could easily modify them to meet your special diet needs.  

In order to decrease the feeling of being rushed in the morning, I try to make the older kids' school lunches (and my salad for lunch at work) the night before.  That way I can just throw everything into lunch boxes in the morning on our way out the door.  Preparation is key to reducing stress.  Especially in the morning.   

To sum it up, we begin with exercise, get dressed and ready for the day, and pack lunches and school folders before heading out the door for the day.  The kids know exactly what is expected from them each morning, and things usually run smoothly.  Now, we do have the occasional meltdown from who-knows-what or tears from tangly hair, but overall, our mornings run pretty smooth and easy.

My hope is that this type of routine will carry into the middle school and high school years.  Right now my kids are young enough that they wake up on the own (usually) before 7:00 am.  But once those teenage years hit, I'm dreading having to drag them out of bed.  I'm hopeful that with the firm foundation of a morning routine, things will transition much more easily.

Tell me about your healthy morning habits.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

SunButter Marshmallow Brownies (Gluten and Top 8 Free)

 

Last week I was at a party where there were these amazing brownies.  The only problem was that they were not allergy-friendly.  Brownies topped with marshmallows and a chocolate/peanut butter mixture.  They were divine (I still love peanut butter even though my kids are allergic), but I had to find a way to modify it to make it safe for my kids.  I asked the gal who brought them to the party for her recipe, and I tweaked it as needed to make them suitable for my family.  And what can I say other than "YUM!"  You will not regret making these!
 

Ingredients:
1 package of Namaste Brownie Mix
2 egg equivalent (I used EnerG Egg Replacer)
1/2 c applesauce
1/2 c water
1/4 c oil

5 c mini marshmallows

2 c safe chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life chocolate chips)
1/2 c SunButter
1/2 c milk-free butter (I used Earth Balance Soy Free)
2 c gluten-free Rice Krispies

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350º.  Prepare brownies by mixing together first 5 ingredients.  Pour into 9x13 pre-sprayed baking dish.  Bake for 38-42 minutes.  While brownies are baking, melt over low heat the chocolate chips, SunButter, and butter until smooth.  Add Rice Krispies.  Once brownies are done baking, immediately sprinkle marshmallows evenly over hot brownies.  Then top with chocolate mixture.  Allow to cool, then chill in refrigerator.  Cut into squares and enjoy!

The Namaste brownies are my favorite allergy-friendly brownies.  I don't prepare them exactly as instructed on the package.  I use the ingredients listed above.  Sometimes I will add in 1 cup of Enjoy Life chocolate chips to make them extra chocolatey. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Energy Muffins (Gluten and Top 8 Free)

My kids love the Namaste Spice Cake Muffins, but I was looking for a way to make them a little more nutritious so I could put them in my kids' lunches without feeling like I was just giving them "cake" for lunch.  With a few tweaks to the instructions on the package, we have a new favorite in our house.


Recipe:

1 pkg Namaste Spice Cake Mix
2 eggs equivalent (I used EnerG Egg Replacer)
1 c unsweetened applesauce
3/4 c water
1/3 c oil
1/4 c apple butter
1 scoop protein powder (about 2 Tbsp)
1 c shredded carrots

I used 1/4 c apple butter because that's all I had left.  If you want a stronger flavor, you could easily add 1/2 c instead.

I also used store-bought shredded carrots, but you could shred your own if you like a finer consistency.

Mix all the ingredients together and bake for 21 minutes at 350º.

 
 

I put two in each kid's lunch and froze the rest for another time.   These were an absolute hit!  They were begging to have them for dinner the same day I sent them for lunch.  I guess I'll be making these again soon!

  


Friday, December 26, 2014

Cinnamon Bread (Gluten and Top 8 Free)

We love to have a delicious breakfast on special mornings like Christmas or Easter, but I don't want to be stuck in the kitchen on those mornings whipping up all the fixins.  So I try to find something that can be made ahead of time that still tastes delicious when it comes time to eat.

In that past I have made Monkey Bread which has been a big hit.  This year I adapted a recipe I had for cinnamon bread to make it safe for my kiddos with food allergies.


Cinnamon Bread

Batter
1 1/2 c gluten free flour
1/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 envelopes of Rapid Rise yeast
2/3 c warm rice milk (I microwave it for 1 min)
2 Tbsp milk-free butter, melted (I used Earth Balance Soy Free)
2 Tbsp oil
1 egg replacer (I used Ener-G)

Cinnamon Mixture

3/4 c light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp milk-free butter, softened

Icing
1 c powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp rice milk
1 Tbsp milk-free butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla

Spray an 8x8 baking dish with oil.  Mix batter ingredients together and pour into baking dish.  Let sit for 10 minutes while you make the cinnamon mixture.  Combine cinnamon mixture ingredients using a fork.  Top batter evenly with cinnamon mixture.  Using your finger or a utensil, poke the topping into the batter.  Place the dish into a COLD oven.  Set oven for 350º and bake 25-30 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes.  Combine icing ingredients and drizzle over warm bread.

I made the bread the night before and just warmed it up on Christmas morning.  I made the icing fresh in the morning to drizzle over the warm bread.   It was ah-maz-ing!  And so simple!

Christmas morning breakfast includes OJ as a treat!