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!
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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

New Allergy Update & Menu Plan

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There is a fire lit inside of me and I am blazing the trials making Jonah’s life as normal as possible when it comes to food. I realized two crucial things this week through his Evaluation for Occupational Therapy and Allergy appointments…no, make that three things: 1) My little boy is seriously a champ, 2) He has some real food aversions from bad experiences and associations with food thanks to all of the allergies, reflux, and anaphylactic responses, and 3) he has a lot stacked against him with his new, updated, and revised list of food allergies diagnosed today.

What’s the updated list you ask?! I am writing them here, posting them on the fridge, and handing them out to family because, frankly I can’t remember them all of the top of my head:

  1. Dairy*
  2. Wheat
  3. Egg*
  4. Peanut*
  5. Cashew*
  6. Soy*
  7. Strawberries
  8. Pork
  9. Stone Fruits (mango, peach, plum, etc.)
  10. Avocado*
  11. Banana*
  12. Kiwi

* indicates a strong enough reaction to elicit an anaphylactic response (banana is one we experienced first hand last week)

We’re hopeful he will grow out of many of these, although the strong allergens may end up being lifelong issues. Only time will tell as he is old enough to do challenge tests to see at a later time.

As his Mama, I want him to have as many choices as he can. I desire for him to begin to have a fun, explorative, and healthy relationship with food despite his rough start. I want him to thrive, grow, and find joy in the things that he can eat without growing up feeling like he is missing out.

I am coming to a point more and more in my moments of desperation figuring out all the puzzle pieces to this little man that my children belong to the Lord and I truly have no choice but to surrender it all. My kids have been given to us to care for and God has chosen us to be the ones to tend to their needs. Whatever they are, or how complicated they are, they are ours for a reason. Even if I don’t see the end.

I am so thankful for so many reminding me this past week since his scary trip to the ER that we are enough for our Jonah. I feel completely inadequate at some point every day.

It feels like swimming in the middle of the ocean at night time knowing there are sharks wading the waters as you swim. But…

Like I said, he is a champ. And Sadie is an amazing cheerleader for her brother. TJ is a great encourager.We’ve got this.

Here’s what we’re eating this week:

Snacks:

Juicing Project:

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.

 

 

 

Menu Plan

I’m beginning to think that Risotto is this family’s new best friend. I can make a large quantity of it for cheap and pack it full of vegetables to give a great variance of nutrients to the little people without them even knowing what hit them. The biggest plus is the fact that this is always a meal I can make that we can all eat together as a family if I substitute whatever cheese is called for in the recipe for Nutritional Yeast Flakes.

Wait, you mean I don’t have to make four different meals for four people who all have four different dietary needs and restrictions?!

Why, yes.

Risotto is my manna from heaven.

Oh, and let’s not forget that I was going to buy it for $2.99 a pound at my local health food store when I stumbled upon the clearance cart that had 2 pounds for $1.99. Score. Or so I thought. As I stood in line, I looked at the clearance cart again and saw packed on the bottom a beautiful looking package with 6 ounces more of Organic Arborio rice for the same $1.99.  You can betcha I was digging to the bottom of that cart, while holding my squirmy Jonah who thinks sitting in a shopping cart really is a challenge to dive head first to the ground and see if he can bounce back.

Anything for a good deal.

Here is what the plan looks like for this week:

1. Tomato, Chicken Sausage & Spinach Risotto

2. GF Pizza Bites with Vegan Pesto, Arugula & Goat Cheese

3. GF Baked Black Bean & Turkey Taquitos with Refried Beans & Salad

4. Vegan Pesto & Garlic Wilted Spinach

5. Roasted Acorn Squash & Sweet Potatoes with Salad

 

Snacks:

Homemade Granola Bars

Breakfast Cookies

Fresh Juice

Recipe: Breakfast Cookies

 

These are a quick, no mess, easy way to have something fun for breakfast with things I always have on hand in the kitchen. They are versatile so you can change up the ingredients to suit your own tastes or dietary needs. Simply keep ratios the same and add what fits for you.

Tip: Make a double or triple batch just as easily as a single batch and freeze the rest.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/3 c. apple sauce
  • 2 c. rolled oats
  • 1/4 c. rice milk
  • 3/4 c. craisins
  • 1/3 c. flax seeds
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. turbinado sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients together. Lay a spoonful at a time onto a greased baking sheet or sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool and serve or freeze in airtight container.

 Pic Credit