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.

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Recipe: Mexican Chicken Stew

This recipe has been a long time staple since the beginning of our marriage. You know it’s a good one when your husband says he burns his tongue on the first bowl from being impatient and eating too fast. Then he goes back for seconds and feels like there’s a brick in his stomach because he inhaled the first bowl so quickly he didn’t realize until it was too late that he was already full.

Like they all say, a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

I am so thankful that this is still a recipe I can use despite all of the food allergies for the entire family and that it’s a frugal, healthy and quick meal to pull together.

Tips:

  • Don’t rush the foundation of the stew to really seal in those great flavors. It’s worth being patient.
  • Make a double batch and freeze it for a busy night.
  • Garnish with cilantro, sour cream, cheese and/or chips.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • Few dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice

Directions:

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno and sweat until soft and translucent. Add spices and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant and aromatic. Add tomatoes, chicken, Worcestershire, and stock.

Bring to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.

Cut the lime in half, squeeze juice into the pot, and then add the juiced halves as well.

Add white rice and cook 5 minutes longer to warm rice through.

Adapted from Dave Lieberman