In case I never said Thank You…

As school started this year, as did the flood of peanut related posts on facebook and the sort. Bloggers gathered defenses and armed themselves with angry parents to defend their rights to peanuts anytime anywhere! I read post upon post, article upon article of people claiming they have been violated in the rights department because PB&J can’t tag along to school. I have sat jaw-dropped at some comments like, “Why do the rest of the kids have to suffer due to a small percentage of peanut allergic kids.” and “No normal, healthy child should ever have to lower their bar of standards to accommodate another child’s inability to meet a ‘basic set bar of expectation.”

So basically, some of these people are saying Peanut allergic children are weaker humans and should be locked away from society if it causes even the slightest inconvenience for a small portion of the day to other “normal” children. And some aren’t quite as angry, but still annoyed at little. I get it. Just getting homework done for school is a feat in itself. Now you have to alter your lunch life as well.

Let’s throw it out there. I had no idea about food allergies before my daughter was diagnosed. I was so overwhelmed and anxious when I found out that I was up all hours of the night researching for months and months. What does this mean? What did I do wrong when I was pregnant? How did this happen!? What do I do now? But I’m not here to get into that now.

I was also very tempted to post my rebuttal list to all these maddening articles I’ve been reading. But I decided that was already taken care of by a lot of other allergy kid parents. I decided that what needed to be done at this time was to point out all the people in my life that have not shunned us for the annoyance of having us around. To all the people who have no problem going out of their way to keep our daughter safe. I may not thank them enough because it really truly means so much!

To my family! THANK YOU! Every family party I go to, my mom or my sister check with me so they can make something special for my daughter to eat. My father-in-law (Poppy) buys ingredients she can have so that he can make her a special batch of rice krispie treats. My sister always has a safe brand of ice cream handy when we have parties so she won’t feel left out. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law buy her a GIANT bag of Yummy organic lolli’s every year so she always has travel snacks. Thank you to my Aunts and Uncles who avoid putting out bowls of nuts on holidays! Thank you for all the seperate bags! For all the questions! They don’t have to, but they do.

To my friends! THANK YOU! When they have birthday parties for their own kids, they make sure nothing is made with peanuts and they make sure her goodie bag is filled with treats she can actually have. It’s enough to plan a party, but to have to take time to account for my daughter on top of all of it. It’s a lot to just even remember to do that. And they invite us again, instead of telling us to stay home because it’s too much of an inconvenience to the other kids to have my daughter there. Thank you to friends in different states who’ve invited us for weekends and made sure their homes were safe. Thank you to those who even went as far as to whip up a special batch of dairy, egg, and nut free brownies! And again, I don’t expect it, but they do it.

Even at church and small group, THANK YOU! They always check with me when they aren’t sure of something. I have a dear friend who always has something safe for my daughter to eat when we go to her house. THANK YOU!

To every restaurant that ever made her a special meal that required pots and pans to be washed or fries made seperate… or grills to be cleaned in order to prevent cross-contamination. THANK YOU! To all the pizza places that make her special pizzas! To every chef that comes to the table to make sure he knows just what foods can’t come in contact with hers. To every waitor or waitress that takes the time to make sure everything is safe or is just honest that it’s probably better she eat the food in her lunch box instead. Even to the people who take my phone calls ahead of time checking if there are is a peanut free cooking area because peanut and peanut oil is not as containable as the other allergens. THANK YOU! Nobody likes to be that person at a restaurant… that person that asks a million questions when the place is hopping. So sincerely, THANK YOU!

THANK YOU to her former pre-school for checking with me on everything from facepaint to detergent!

And there are many more people that I’m probably leaving out..

But at the end of the day, this is my problem. It’s my husband’s problem. It’s my daughter’s problem. It doesn’t have to be my family or friends problem. But they make it theirs because they love us. They wait till we leave to bust out the Reese’s on Halloween. They wash their hands and faces frequently just in case. Just like we would accommodate them if it meant keeping them in our lives. They understand what community is and what it’s like to look out for one another.

I’m not thanking them because this all makes my life easier (it does), I’m thanking them because they care enough to do it without being asked. And I don’t have all the answers. Because you can’t find them. There are so many theories to why the percentage of kids with food allergies has grown so much. You don’t know what kind of reaction your kid will have. This time it could be a rash, next time a swollen throat. Kids have died from allergies that were thought to be “mild.” So the only way to be 100% safe is total avoidance. And there’s no way to do that completely. And I’m sure if there was even a .01% chance something could kill your kid, you’d sure as heck avoid it!

So again, THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who was even thought to look out for my daughter’s well being. To everyone who makes her feel included and cared for! You can’t know how much it means to us! We love you!!!

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x-posted to The nut free home school

Oaty Applesauce (Vegan) Waffles

 

Breakfast- YUM

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cup Non-Dairy Milk ( I used organic soy)

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar ( white is fine too)

1/4 Cup Oil ( I used Safflower)

1 Cup Rolled Oats

1/2 Cup Applesauce

2 Cups Flour – (I used a mixture of wheat, white, and rice… your preferance. Whatever you have on hand should work.)

1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 tsp. Cinnamon

OPTIONS!

add dairy free choc chips

add fresh fruit

add…. love and hugs! ( Actually I should put that one in the must-have ingredients!)

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Eleanor was trying to give the Applesauce bunny ears in this photo… but I cut if off a bit…

ingreeeeds!

Directions:

THROW ALL THE INGREDIENTS IN A BOWL, WHISK, AND POUR INTO YOUR WAFFLE MAKER! ok, no, but seriously… that’s for the lazies. Which sometimes we are, and ya know what… this method works. But if you have extra time and wanna add a little loving care, do this:

Add your wet ingredients together in one bowl, First the substitute milk, then the vinegar. Let that sit a minute. Then add the applesauce, oil, and vanilla.

In a seperate bowl, mix all your dry ingredients: flour, oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon.

Then add your wet ingredients to your dry and whisk together. If mixture feels too thick, you can always add more soy milk or water even.

After that, follow your waffle maker directions. Some may need a spritz of baking spray to keep the waffle from sticking, some may not… some flip, some do not… Mine needs spray and does not flip. It takes mine roughly 5-6 mintues to cook a waffle.

 

DONE!

ENJOY!

GOD BLESS YOUR BELLIES!

APPLE CHIPS: The easiest Healthy Snack you’re not making!

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Can you tell we like apples around here? Simplist snack ever! INGREDIENTS: APPLES. That’s it. just…. apples… even if you just have one apple, you can make a whole tray of chips! But if you have two, go for it! Unless you wanna practice on one first. That might be a good idea.

You’ll need parchment paper, a couple baking trays, and a mandolin for best results. Actually, for any results, you’ll need these things. haha heh…. well, only because they will burn without the parchment, and you really need to get the thin slice a mandolin can offer to achieve the proper chiplikeness. And I’m sure you have a baking tray or cookie sheet lyin’ around somewhere!

If you don’t know what a mandolin is:

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You don’t have to get the biggest and baddest, mine is a fairly cheap one from walmart and it does the job like a champ! So bottom line, you need to make super thin slices. You don’t want apple chunks! You want chips! Even though my friend Amanda’s mom always told me via Amanda “Chips make chunks.” That’s advice for a different sort of life lesson. not for making snacks.

Anyway, back to making these instead of just letting your kids consume the 5lb bag of sour patch kids. I find about one medium size apple fills up a tray. So I usually do two apples and two trays at a time.

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Sidenote: Apples are on the dirty dozen list of produce that gets megadoses of pesticides and the sort, so if you can splurge for organic, please do. Either way, wash em real good. I sliced mine from bottom to top, seeds and all! It makes for a pretty star shape in the middle and the seeds just kinda fall out on thier own. And no apple tree has ever grown in the stomachs of those who’ve swalled apple seeds so no worries there. Spread out your slices on your trays and try not to overlap. They do stick together so some slight edge overlap is ok, just don’t pile em up on top of each other. Set the oven to 200° Bake on one side for 40 mins or so. Then flip em’ and bake another 40 mins. I have noticed a difference in baking time with different apples. The first time we made these, I used fuji apples. They needed about 45 mins on each side. Last time I used Braburn and they only needed 35 mins each side. They were also not as sweet so we added some cinnamon. So use your judgement, when they start turning light brown, it’s time to take them out. They may be still a little soft, but they harden up as they cool. So far, the fiji apple chips were the sweetest and definitely our favorite. With absolutely nothing added to them. Plain apples, no sugar, no cinnamon… I couldn’t believe how sweet they tasted on thier own after baking them. This is that kinda snack that people try at your house and then go home and immediately try to make for themselves.

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If your end result looks like potpourri, you probably did it right. If your end result looks like potpourri, you probably did it right. And maybe you’ve been making these for years and I’ve just arrived in the “now” Either way, Cheers! God Bless!

Baked Apples

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An old fashioned fav in our house that can be tweaked as you like. You can get as simple as brown sugar and butter, or get crazy and throw dates or raisins, apple pie spices, and some vanilla ice cream. Ok, I didn’t think I’d be mentioning vanilla ice cream so soon.

But anyway, here goes:

Ingredients:

1. Some Apples! – Granny smith or Golden would probably be my first pick, but this time we used Gala because we already had them. I don’t think you can really go wrong, though for some reason a honey crisp doesn’t seem like the best choice. I have no idea why, but I just feel like they are the watermelon of apples… and baked watermelon just doesn’t sound good. Hey, if you try it and it’s good, let me know!

2. Brown SUGAR! – A staple in a lot of my meals and desserts.

3. Cinnamon!

4. faux Butter! – I use Earth Balance – (click for website and nutrition information) So far this is the only company I have found that I trust to be totally free of animal products. So I can be sure there are no eggs or dairy in the mix. They do make nut spreads, but there are no traces of peanuts or tree nuts in thier buttery spreads according to them so I can feel safe in feeding these to my daughter. And it’s also non-GMO and gluten free. The two spreads I use most often are the Earth Balance original and the Soy-free spread. The soy-free spread in my opinion has a slightly better taste and is great for baking pie crusts and breads! But the original gets the job done just as well.

The rest of these ingredients are optional:

Maple Syrup

Raisins or dates

nutmeg

clove

stickers

Wait, except for stickers… they are not easily chewed..

STEP 1

Preheat the oven to 375°

STEP 2

Cut the core out of your apples from stem to about a 1/2 inch from bottom. Remove any seeds.

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You don’t have to be neat about this… just go crazy.

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STEP 3

Fill your apples all the way to the top with the brown sugar. Then sprinkle on your spices.

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STEP 4

If you want to add syrup or other ingredients, do that now…

Then throw a pat of Earth Balance on top of each apple. You can sprinkle more cinnamon and spices on top of the butter also if you like.

So really, this is a “to your taste” recipe. There’s no set measurements because every apple is different! I just go by filling it up with as much of the stuff I like as I want! Remember to overdo it on the brown sugar, because most of it melts in the oven.

STEP 5

Fill a baking dish about a 1/2 inch with boiling water and stand up your apples in it.

Bake for 40-50 minutes depending on size of apples and that’s it!

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Top with “So-Delicious” Creamy vanilla frozen dessert and you’ve got an awesome after dinner sweet tooth tamer.

So-Delicious is again another company that makes dairy and nut free ice cream that uses special equipment to ensure that there is no cross contamination of nuts. A lot of the time, people with nut allergies can’t even have regular ice cream because of the nut traces that may be in the product. So so far, this is the only ice cream I’ve allowed my daughter to have.

Here is a link to an allergen and certification chart for thier dessert products.

S0-Delicious chart

You can also get coupons and recipes on thier site!

So, if you take them out of the oven, and they look like they’ve just aged 68 years, then you’re good! They will taste much better then they look. heh

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ENJOY!!!

The Chocolate Cake recipe I use

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We are not Vegan, but I have a stack of vegan cook books just because it makes life easier when it comes to Roo’s food allergies. It already cuts out the dairy and eggs, and nuts are an easy thing to leave out or replace. They don’t usually have any real “job” as far as making a cake or baked item perform as it should.
So after trying out a bunch of different recipes (mostly from vegan cook books or online), I think I’ve come to the conclusion that this is my most used line up of ingredients.

This makes 24 cupcakes or two 8-9′ rounds for a layer cake… or cut it in half for a quick small cake or 12 cupcakes… ( I probably didn’t need to add that… but whatevs…) I like to make a big batch of cupcakes and freeze some in case something comes up and I need a “birthday” cake type dessert in a jif to bring to a party.

A little side note here is that I also find a big difference when I only use a fork to mix this recipe. You can mix it with a spoon, but it’s just as easy and doable with a fork. Takes a bit more patience, but it comes out more fluffy and moist. One of the biggest problems I always had baking without eggs was trying to get the cake less dense… and I could be crazy, but I feel like substituting the fork for the spoon is the key.

Dry ingreds:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Mix all dry ingredients together. You can throw em’ in a big bowl, or you can throw em’ right in the pan you’re going to bake them in. If you’re using a square or rectangular pan, you can pretend it’s your zen garden and run the fork through in pleasing patterns whilst crushing any flour, sugar, or cocoa power rocks that may have formed.
And if you are just mixing this in the pan you’re going to bake it in, you won’t need any kind of baking spray. This is the “less stuff to wash later” method. Not suggested if you’re making a layer cake… but if you’re just going to leave it in there to frost and cut up, it’s the quickest and easiest way.

Wet ingreds:
2 cup warm water
2/3 cup Canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 apple cider vinegar

Once all your dry ingreds looks uniform, start adding the wet ones one at a time until completely blended with the fork. The oil is the toughest to incorporate, but just keep running the fork around the edge and kinda fold the oil in until blended. I always leave the vinegar till last, it’s doing the job the eggs got fired for and it can’t sit around like that too long so try to have your oven ready as soon as it’s mixed.

I used to worry about over-mixing with a spoon, but again, I don’t think I’ve ever over-mixed with the fork so don’t be afraid to keep blending until you’ve got a good consistent texture.

Bake for 30 mins at 350 if you’ve got two 8′ round pans or a half batch square.
Bake for 20 mins at 350 for cupcakes

Bake longer if you’re using a bigger or deeper pan. I would start with 30 mins and just keep testing after. I’ve never actually made a batch this size in one big pan so … use your judgement. 🙂

And the great thing about this cake batter is that I have no problem letting my daughter lick the bowl (shown above) since there are no raw eggs or dairy in there, it’s basically liquid chocolate sugar… how could that taste bad?

As far as frosting, you can throw a quick glaze on top with confectioners sugar, water, (soy milk or a safe butter alternative), add an extract for flavoring… etc. This is perfect if you’re making a chocolate bundt cake.

If it’s for a birthday party or something where I want to decorate it, I usually just use the Pillsbury frostings. (Ya know… coz you want your kid to bounce off the walls a little after consuming your confections… hey, it’s a party right?) But they generally don’t have any dairy and are just a pile of sugar and soy ingredients in attractive colors topped with coordinating sprinkle type decorations.

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And the above picture is proof that this cake can stand on it’s own…  if your child steals a cupcake pre-frost… you know you’ve got a keeper.

Enjoy!

xo Fitty