Allergy-friendly Chocolate Dipped Frozen Bananas

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Since we successfully passed our very first food challenge test with bananas last week, I have been dreaming everything banana. It seems like something so little, but it’s a major victory that really opens up some fun possibilities. For instance, there’s banana bread, banana cupcakes, banana pancakes, banana smoothies, and these chocolate dipped frozen bananas.

Here in Orange County, we have a historic little place on Balboa Island famous for their frozen bananas, dipped in chocolate and then an array of toppings to choose from. Too bad there it is a nightmare for cross contamination for Sadie and Jonah with those pesky peanuts. Jonah can’t have their chocolate either since it has dairy as a main ingredient. So our old favorite spot is now avoided like the plague and delegated to date nights.

That’s why these make my heart leap. If we can’t do it there, we will do it here in our home! Maybe one of these days we’ll take a stroll on the Island with these in hand too.

They’re quick, a blast to do with the kids if you don’t mind messy chocolate fingers or faces, and a fun way to spruce up a fruit into a fabulous dessert or snack.

Ingredients:

  • Bananas
  • 2 c. Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
  • 2-3 TBSP Canola Oil
  • Craft or Popsicle sticks
  • Sprinkles

Method:

  • Peel bananas
  • Insert stick from the bottom of the banana (don’t worry if the banana breaks. It will be covered in chocolate and still look like perfection)
  • Place bananas flatly in the freezer until completely frozen
  • After bananas are frozen, melt chocolate chips in a glass bowl for approximately two minutes, stirring every 20 seconds or until completely melted.
  • Add canola oil to melted chocolate, stirring to incorporate.
  • Cover bananas in chocolate
  • Top with sprinkles
  • Place bananas into the freezer again until they are completely set and ready to devour!

Crockpot Butternut & Fig Chicken

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I love this meal for the fall with our family. It’s healthy, comforting, and smells amazing in the house when you walk in after a long day.

Using fresh herbs bring the dish a lively freshness, but feel free to sub with dried herbs if that’s what you have on hand. Simply reduce the amount called for in the recipe.

Don’t be afraid to throw in some of those fresh-picked apples from a great apple-picking day with the family if you’re feeling crazy too…figs and apples?! Ummm…yes, please.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups butternut squash, diced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1 red onion, quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt, pepper
  • 12 dried dark figs, quartered
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped

Method:

1. Brush chicken with olive oil and season chicken with salt and pepper.

2. Add chicken to the crock pot. Top with onion, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, garlic and figs. Add chicken, fresh herbs, and chicken stock.

3. Cook on high for 4-6 hours. Serve warm.

Recipe: Oatmeal Fudge Bars

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There a few things that make me heart leap as much as it does when I can make something that not only my whole family can enjoy together, but that everyone raves over. Especially with Jonah being able to experience flavors he doesn’t get much of, I could cry.

Maybe it’s pregnancy hormones, but watching that little boy double-fist this Oatmeal Fudge Bar on his belly with the cold kitchen floor underneath him made a lasting impression on me as a sweet reminder of why I do what I do, how important my job as Mama is, and why cooking is so much of my passion.

It feeds my family, it binds us together, and it allows us to just be.

Bring yours together with this dairy-free, gluten-free,  & nut-free winner:

OATMEAL LAYER

1/2 c. dairy free shortening

1 c. brown sugar, firmly packed

1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. gluten-free all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 c. old fashioned or quick cooking oats (I prefer old fashioned but use whatever you have)

FUDGE LAYER

1/2 c. gluten-free all purpose flour

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1 1/2 dairy free chocolate chips (Enjoy Life or Divvies)

4 T. dairy free margarine (I use Organic Earth Balance)

1 T. water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8 inch glass Pyrex baking dish with dairy free baking spray. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a medium bowl with a wooden spoon) combine the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add applesauce and vanilla and thoroughly combine. In a small separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk. Add to shortening mixture and stir well. Stir in oats. Reserve 1 cup of oatmeal mixture for topping. Spread the rest into the prepared glass dish using the back of a spoon or your fingers. Set aside.

Make Fudge Layer: In a microwave safe bowl combine the chocolate chips and dairy free margarine. Heat in the microwave 20 seconds at a time until the chips are just melted. Add 1 T. water and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. In a small bowl combine the 1/2 c. flour and 1/4 c. sugar with a wire whisk. Add the chocolate mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Spread the fudge layer over the oatmeal layer. Sprinkle top with the reserved oatmeal mixture and spread with the back of a spoon or your fingers. Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Source

Menu Plan

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Add a dollop of toddler pickiness to multiple severe food allergies plus texture aversions and it’s a recipe for a burnt out, frustrated Mama. There is a lot of work that goes into meal time. I have to meal plan, shop at multiple stores while staying within a reasonable budget (with both kids and my ever growing belly), prep, cook, store and serve the food. Sometimes this tedious process is done and it’s worth the time and effort to make sure Jonah is safe and we are all eating something healthy that we can enjoy as a family.

Lately though, meal time has been finished before I can even get it on the table. All of a sudden the little man has major preferences. What he loves one day, he detests the next and honestly, there isn’t a whole lot of room for variance.

While I would love to just call in a pizza and call it a night, that’s not an option. So I girded myself with more ammunition…after all, you give me a challenge, I will rise up and defeat it.

Buah haha.

I bought a couple of new cookbooks from individuals in the world of allergies I have grown to admire in my own journey and reveled in the pages that reminded me to just get back to basics and keep things safe, short and simple.

The biggest reminder to me was that anything we loved pre-allergy, I can tweak and with enough creativity make a safe version of that same meal.

So I guess the boy will somehow learn to not merely survive on green smoothies everyday if I have anything to do with it.

Here’s our plan:

1. Chili

2. Balsamic Seared Salmon Salad & Roasted Broccoli (Jonah will have Turkey since we haven’t tested fish yet. Mama is pregnant and Sadie wants hair as long as Rapunzel so we need those Omega-3’s. We compromise on this one)

3. Leftover Chili Stuffed Baked Potatoes

4. Soup & Grilled Cheese (GF bread and Daiya cheese)

5. Baked Calzones & Peas

Extras:

Trail Mix

Morning Glory Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pic credit

Menu Plan

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Yea, so life gets in the way. Sometimes climbing the hills of parenting toddlers takes priority over any sort of organizational sanity that I so enjoy. Despite it all, I do in fact have a menu plan! It’s a good thing too, because starting this week I’m a Mama to three, three and under during the week. A friend of mine starts back at work and I’ll be in charge of smothering her baby boy with affection. It definitely calls for a plan since there is one of me and the little army will take over!

We are definitely hitting some eating challenges with Jonah. Getting in enough protein is a constant concern with 14 food allergies. On top of that, he has some unresolved sensory issues from past trauma that are causing him to hoard his food in his mouth where he chews, but never swallows. And yes, he is a picky eater on top of it all so weight loss is a real scary thing for us to deal with. That’s why we are keeping it kid-friendly, simple, and prepped for the week.

Monday:

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast: Steel Cut Oatmeal
  • Lunch: Marinara Turkey Meatballs & Pears
  • Dinner: Chicken Tenders, Garlic Roasted Broccoli & Sweet Potato Fries

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal Date Bars & Green Smoothie
  • Lunch: Grilled Cheese (Daiya & GF Bread) with Peas
  • Dinner: Shabbat with extended family

 

Allergy Friendly Falafel

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Growing up I dreaded the days my Mom made falafel for dinner. Something about the smell didn’t jive with my adolescent Jewish schnoz.

I remember my Dad saying, “What kind of Jewish girl doesn’t like falafel, or gefilte fish, or locks on her bagels?!”

It’s true I can be a little picky about my beloved Jewish delectables, but falafel has become one of my all-time favorite foods as an adult. Once Jonah’s food allergies unfolded, I thought there wouldn’t be a way to eat them together as a family any time soon until I decided to do my research. Now it’s a family favorite once again!

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. garbanzo beans
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. parsley, chopped
  • 4 tbsp. Ener-G egg replacer
  • 2-2 1/2 c. gluten-free bread crumbs (I use Glutino)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • vegetable oil

Method:

Combine chick-peas with onion. Add parsley, Ener-G eeg replacer and spices. Mix in a food processor or blender. Add breadcrumbs until mixture forms a small ball without sticking to your hands. Form chick-pea mixture in small balls about the size of a quarter (one inch in diameter). Fry until golden brown. (If frying in a pan, flatten them slightly before frying and flip to brown both sides.) Drain on paper towels. Serve with chopped tomato, cucumber, lettuce, onion, hummus, and tehina inside pita.

Adapted from Food Eaters

*If you have a peanut allergy and can’t do conventional hummus, try out my sesame-free Hummus recipe from this post.

 

Black Bean Soup with Cilantro-Lime Rice

Sometimes I really fall in love with a meal. It’s like every important aspect of food falls into perfect alignment and I have something truly delicious. This is that meal for me.

If you’ve never had black bean soup before, this is your recipe. TJ was not at all excited about this dinner until he took a bite, finished the bowl in record time and then asked if we could make it again this week so we could have more.

This is a comfort food that is allergy-friendly, healthy, cheap, quick and flavorful. Ah, sweet perfection!

I suggest you do what I didn’t do and double, eh, triple the recipe so you can go back for seconds or eat off the leftovers during the week.

Soup:

  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 cans black beans (I used Trader Joe’s Cuban Black Beans)
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 1 c. organic chicken stock
  • dash of hot sauce
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Cilantro-Lime Rice:

  • 1 c. short grain brown rice
  • 2 c. water
  • 1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

Toppings:

  • avocado
  • sour cream
  • tortilla chips
  • hot sauce

Method:

Heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add spices and saute until fragrant, about 30 more seconds. Add beans, water and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Ladle two spoonfuls of beans into a blender and pulse until almost smooth and use an immersion blender for creamy consistency. Meanwhile, cook rice in rice cooker until all liquid is absorbed. Add cilantro and juiced lime and fluff with fork to combine.

Spoon rice to the bottom of a bowl and ladle soup on top and garnish.

  Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Recipe: Blender Tortilla Soup

We haven’t even had our Blendtec (Happy Birthday to me) for two weeks yet, but we’ve used it 37 times! I think it’s quite safe to say we are a wee bit obsessed with the gadget. Honestly, I don’t know how I lived life without it for so long.

Want a green smoothie for a snack? Check.

Want a chocolate frostie made with avocado and dates? No prob.

Smooth Shakeology for uber nutrition? Amazing.

Make a batch of gluten-free flour? Easy.

It’s kind of like finally falling into your bed after the sheets have been washed and it’s just so cozy and perfect you kick yourself for waiting so long to jump in after such a long day.

I’m so glad I pinched my pennies and saved up for it. Not only do I seriously love it, but it benefits the entire family in so many ways and will certainly make life with food allergies a little less complicated.

A little, I said.

One of our favorites that TJ and I have split a couple times so far has been making soup in the rainy weather. Did I mention that this thing can actually heat up a soup in 90 seconds?! I took the Tortilla Soup recipe and have tweaked it a couple of times to our liking, and I think this one is a winner in my book.

Heck, anything that uses fresh ingredients, takes literally 90 seconds to whip up, costs pennies to make, and requires literally seconds to clean is a winner. I bet Blendtec was invented by a Mom. I should check.

I imagine if you don’t own a Blendtec, you could always replicate the recipe and simply heat up the soup on the stove before serving.

Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 1 ounce Pepper Jack Cheese
  • 1 inch slice red bell pepper
  • 1/2 large carrot
  • 2 tbsp. onion
  • 3 sprigs cilantro
  • 3/4 tsp. pink Himalayan salt
  • 3/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp. cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 c. warm chicken stock

Add-ins:

  • 1/2 c. sweet corn
  • 1/2 c. black beans

Directions:

Place ingredients in the order listed in Blender and select Soup. Add in corn and black beans and pulse for 5 sec. Serve immediately.

*I was not compensated by Blentec and all opinions are my own. They really should pay me though. I’m a fan.

Art Party & Allergy Friendly Chocolate Doughnut Recipe

We had such a great time at Sadie’s birthday party this past weekend. I love that our little “Blue Barn” has been the epicenter for so many milestones and celebrations for our family.

Sadie loves drawing and coloring with a passion, so I thought an Art Party theme would be fun at this stage of the game.

We had a coloring station, a pumpkin painting station, a play dough station, and a spray painting station and the kiddos went wild with their own creations.

When I asked Sadie what she would like to have for her birthday dinner and desert with all of her family and friends, she answered without hesitation, “Pepperoni pizza and chocolate doughnuts with rainbow sprinkles.” Not exactly organic or healthy, but hey, it’s the girl’s birthday and she’s a little woman with a vision.

The more I research and the older both of my kids get, the more integrated I am wanting to make our food for Jonah. So I set out to make Sadie’s chocolate doughnuts that Jonah could eat with us. They passed the test with the allergic and non-allergic alike with flying colors and will be a celebratory staple in our home for years to come.

This recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free, adapted from Cooking for Isaiah. It is by far my favorite allergy-friendly cookbook and resource. Although Jonah is quite allergic to eggs, we are finding he can tolerate a small amount of egg if it’s baked at at least 350 degrees, like some other allergic children seem to be able to do. This is a huge privilege since it opens up many more options for him, in moderation.

Ingredients:

DOUGHNUTS

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. instant espresso coffee
  • 3/4 c. boiling water
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 6 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c. Silvana’s All-Purpose Flour*
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar

GLAZE

  • 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (about 1 c.)
  • 2 1/4 c. confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • rainbow sprinkles, for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease two nonstick 6 doughnut baking pans with nonstick cooking spray. To make doughnuts, in a medium bowl, whisk together the coffee and boiling water; let cool completely. Whisk in the eggs, oil and vanilla.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar  and granulated sugar. Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined; fill each doughnut cup about three-quarters full. Bake until springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted comes out clean; about 18 minutes. Let cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack.

3. To make the glaze, in a medium bowl, stir together the boiling water and chocolate until melted. Stir in the confectioners’ sugar, and add the corn syrup and vanilla; stir until smooth.

4. Set a rack over baking sheet. Dip the doughnuts in the glaze and set on the prepared rack; top with sprinkles.

*All-Purpose Flour Blend Recipe:

  • 6 c. white rice flour
  • 3 c. tapioca flour
  • 1 1/2 c. potato starch
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. xanthum gum

In a large bowl, whisk together. Transfer to air-tight container and store in a cool, dry place.