Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Allergy-Friendly Granola Bars

I have been wanting to try granola bars for a long time. I finally got around to it and don't know why I waited so long! These are really easy and really good.

You can use any fruit you want. I used dried cranberries and blueberries in these. I'm going to try apples and cinnamon next time.


This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Granola bars

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup oat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup sunflower butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1cup fruit of your choice, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Oil, or place parchment paper in a large baking dish.
Press the mixture into the baking dish.
Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.
Let cool completely and cut into squares.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easy, Allergy-Friendly Drop Biscuits

Making bread has been my biggest challenge for Cody. There are hardly any store bought nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free and gluten-free options and most of them don't taste very good.

For a long time I was trying to make bread with yeast and then I figured out that Cody doesn't like yeast at all. That made bread making a lot easier!
Yeast adds a nice flavor, but breads made with it take a lot more time and care. These biscuits are so fast and easy to make. I made them for Easter and we all loved them!


This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Easy Drop Biscuits

2 cups oat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dairy-free and soy-free margarine, cold (I use Earth Balance spread)
1 cup oat or rice milk, cold
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Cut the margarine into the flour mixture with a knife (or use your hands) until you have medium size crumbs. 
Mix in the oat or rice milk until you have a sticky dough. 
Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a prepared baking sheet.
Bake 10 - 12 minutes, until golden brown.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Allergy-Friendly Strawberry Cupcakes With Lemon Icing

I had to make the cupcakes to go with the colorful Easter icing I made yesterday! I decided to try strawberry with lemon icing this time since Cody likes just about anything with strawberry in it and I like anything with lemon. He liked these so much he kept taking bites out of the ones he was helping me decorate!

Cody has become a very good little helper and loves helping me measure, pour and stir. He even has a stirring song that we sing. Below is a picture of him helping me with the icing. He got powdered sugar everywhere! :)

Enjoy and have a happy and safe Easter!

This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Strawberry Cupcakes 
1 3/4 cups oat flour 
1 cup sugar
1 cup puréed fresh strawberries
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.
Place paper baking cups in the cups of a muffin pan.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl combine the strawberry purée, oil, vinegar and vanilla.
Gradually combine the wet and dry inngredients. 
Be sure to mix well.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Lemon Icing
I my favorite recipe for best white icing ever.
I use Spectrum Organics vegetable shortening and, instead of water, I used lemon juice to make a lemon flavored icing.
I used Color Garden natural colors to dye the icing and Surf Sweets jellybeans to decorate.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Natural Food Dyes

I recently found out about Color Garden. This company makes natural, plant based, non-GMO food dyes. They are also free of the top allergens. The timing was perfect since I wanted to make some colorful Easter cupcakes, so I placed an order.

I am very happy with the results. While the colors may not be quite as vibrant as artificial food colors, they still come out nice and colorful and I can feel good about what I'm putting in our food.

I look forward to experimenting more and mixing colors. I tried to make green icing this time, but it came out brown, so I need to work on that a bit more.

Tomorrow I will post the strawberry Easter cupcakes I made!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Allergy-Friendly Easter Candy

One thing I am not willing to take on is candy making. Lucky for me others have already done that. I just discovered a place that makes allergy-friendly chocolates. And not just any chocolates, they make special chocolates like cute chocolate bunnies and other holiday treats!

It's called Amanda's Own Confections. All of their candy is tree nut-free, peanut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free and soy-free (except for the sunflower cups). I ordered the baby bunny and the bunny with carrot lollipop for Cody's Easter basket and some of the marshmallow clusters for us to try. They are delicious! The chocolate is smooth and creamy. I can't wait to try some of their other treats.

Another one of my favorites for allergy friendly candy is Surf Sweets. They have great jellybeans and the best gummy bears I've ever tasted. I also just tried their watermelon rings for the first time. They are so, so good! All of their candy is also tree nut-free, peanut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free and soy-free and organic. They don't use artificial colors or preservatives.

Thank you Amanda's Own and Surf Sweets for making delicious treats that I can safely include in Cody's Easter basket this year!
You can also buy both at Peanut Free Planet.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Allergy-Friendly Quinoa White Bean Salad

Here's another spring or summertime dish. It makes a great side dish or meal and it's packed with protein.
I love this easy, delicious salad!


This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Quinoa white bean salad

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
3 green onions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
1/4 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Prepare the quinoa according to package directions.
Drain and let cool, or rinse with cold water.
Stir the remaining ingredients into the quinoa until well combined.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Adjust oil, vinegar and lemon juice as desired. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Allergy-Friendly Disney Restaurants

We just got back from a wonderful long weekend vacation in Orlando, FL. We didn't do the Disney parks because I think Cody is still a little too young to really enjoy them for the cost, and it's just a short car ride for us to get there.

We did; however, spend some time in Downtown Disney that has restaurants, shopping and entertainment. Parking and admission are free.

I heard that Disney was among, and possibly the best for food allergy awareness and accommodations in their parks and restaurants, so I was curious to find out about that. I was not disappointed. 

Cody is not eating in restaurants yet and we're not in a place where I'm comfortable to even try. Plus being the picky toddler that he is, he probably wouldn't even eat the food anyway. We take his food with us. As I've mentioned though, I am severely allergic to fish, so I am always able to find out how food allergy friendly a restaurant is based on my allergy.

We went to two restaurants while we were there. T-Rex Cafe and Splitsville. T-Rex Cafe is a dinosaur themed restaurant that Cody loved. He couldn't stop talking about all of the dinosaurs! And Splitsville is a restaurant and bowling alley.

I told the servers in both restaurants that I am allergic to fish. Both said they take allergies very seriously and would send someone over to talk to us. 

At T-Rex the chef came out to talk to us, asked about the severity of my allergy, went over our order, said that he would personally oversee our food from start to finish and to let him know if we had any questions. Wow! Keep in mind this is a very large and busy restaurant. 

At Splitsville the manager came to talk to us, asked about the severity of the allergy, went over out order, said he would oversee and discuss with everyone handling our food. After our food came out I asked for salad dressing. The person who brought it to me apologized that it took a while and said that they double checked the ingredients (salad dressings sometimes have anchovy) and she wanted to wash her hands after delivering food to another table. Again, wow!

I was so impressed and appreciative of the knowledge, training and effort.

Based on our experience, Cody's first restaurant will probably be a Disney restaurant when we are ready!