Top 10 Allergy Free Valentines

Are you looking for a crafty, creative valentine to make with your kiddo?  A non-food valentine or at least a valentine that if free of the Top 8 Allergens? 

Well, hopefully you will find an idea or two here or get inspired to create your own.  These are my Top 10 Allergy Friendly Valentines and I’m glad I didn’t have to choose which one to do.  My kids got that job and now they can’t wait to share them with their classmates. 

 1.  Rainbow Loom Valentine – found at Stitch Craft Creations.  There is also a really cute Olympic Valentine on this site.

2.  Bubbles Valentine – found at Made To Be a Momma

3.  Mustache Valentine – found at I Can Teach My Child

4.  Magnifying Glass Valentine – found at Dandee Designs

5.  Valentine Pencil – found at Raising Up Rubies…which by the way I cannot wait to spend my night looking at her blog…super cuteness!!!!

6.  Finger Light Valentine – found at Haley’s Daily Blog

7.  Glow Stick Valentine – at The Teacher Wife

 8.  Star Wars Valentine – found at Stitch-Craft

9.  Bouncey Ball Valentine – found at The Crafting Chicks

10.  Freezie Pop Valentine – Josie has fallen in love with penquins recently, it may be all of the cold weather getting to her.  She wanted to find a penguin valentine.  We found this cute little penguin valentine that says “Let’s Chill” and made them into a freezie pop holder.  They are free of the Top 8 Allergens but do contain food dyes.  Health food stores often carry freezie pops without artificial coloring (however, they may be seasonal).  My little girl was so excited to make these and the freezie pops were not easy to find since we live in the middle of a winter wonderland, but I was on the hunt.  After a several stops, one of our grocery stores had the big box of 100 in the back of the store…whew! 

Ok…so I have a couple more valentine’s to share with you…

11.  Olaf Valentine – we found this adorable idea/printable at One Creative Mommy.  To make them allergy friendly…we used gluten free pretzels and Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips.  The candy corn did contain egg whites so Mom put those in after my daughter did the rest of the assembling.  Another nose option without eggs is using an orange gummy candy and cut it in the shape needed. 

Confession time:  Anna was extremely excited about passing these out.  We sat together and assembled them all and then while speaking to our school nurse, she very kindly reminded me we can’t pass out homemade treats.  DUH!  Oh my word, I felt just horrible.  I felt bad that Anna couldn’t pass them out to her class but felt even worse, that I, the mother of a severely food allergic child and food allergy advocate who knows better, almost brought these in, which would have been against the rules.  Rules they have established to try to help protect kids with food allergies during class parties.  I guess we all make mistakes from time to time.  I’m so thankful she reminded me before we brought them into school.  This almost-oops has given me more compassion for families without food allergies and the efforts they make to help protect kids with food allergies.  And on the bright side, we had a whole bunch assembled that we could share with the school office staff and they were tinkled pink about them. 

So what did Anna do?  Thankfully, we had a ton of freezie pops leftover, so we used those with her valentines.  It was a great learning experience for myself and my daughter.

Grandparents Day & Chocolate Donuts

Anna and Josie have been anxiously awaiting Grandparents Day at school.  All the kids in their grade spend weeks practicing songs and speaking parts, getting ready for this special day to honor their grandparents. 

The big day is finally upon us.  After their little concert, they get to have donuts and do some activities together in their classroom. 

The girls brought their own gluten free, egg free, nut free, soy free homemade chocolate donuts with chocolate glaze topped with, who could forget, pretty sprinkles!

The girls had their outfits picked out a couple days in advance and both wanted their hair done special for the big day.  I just love that!

So off they went for a big fun day!

Since we have to keep things real between us…

I have only one donut pan, so I baked the first six donuts and could hardly get them out of the pan.  I was so disappointed.  They just crumbled apart.  So for the rest of the batch, I added a few things to the remaining batter and thankfully, they turned out.  I am working on the recipe, but will post it when I get it just right.  At least the broken up, first round still tastes amazing!  Just need to grab a fork and dig in! 

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate and cream cheese?!  Yes, please!

Try these moist chocolate cupcakes ASAP!

Thanks to the old, familiar crazy cake recipe,
these gluten free, egg free cupcakes are a breeze.

Bring these to your next celebration and everyone will be pleased.

Cupcakes

3 c Natalie’s Gluten Free Flour Mix (recipe here)
2 c sugar
1/3 c cocoa powder
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 t vanilla extract
2 T white vinegar
3/4 c coconut oil, melt before measuring (or canola oil)
2 c cold water
1 1/2 c Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tin with cupcake liners, then spray with cooking spray.
2.  In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Whisk together well.
3.  Make 3 holes in dry ingredients.  In one hole, pour vanilla.  In another hole, pour vinegar.  In the third hole, pour oil.  Pour cold water over the whole bowl.   With a whisk, mix just until completely blended.  Gently stir in chocolate chips.  Pour into prepared muffin tin, about 3/4 full.
4.  Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees, in a convection oven.  (Or 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees, in a regular oven).
5.  Remove from oven, remove cupcakes onto wire rack to cool.
6.  Frost when completely cool.

Frosting

1 package 1/3 less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 stick butter, at room temperature
4 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/4 c milk
1 t vanilla

1.  In mixer bowl, add cream cheese and butter.  With paddle attachment, mix on high for approximately 5 minutes until the mixture becomes fluffy.
2.  Mix in milk and vanilla.
3.  Mix in powdered sugar, half at a time.

* If not set firm enough to your liking, you can add more powdered sugar or you can try refrigerating the frosting.

Frost your cupcakes!

This recipe has been shared on Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays & Gluten Free Fridays.

Pumpkin Dessert

Pumpkin Pie’s closest relative is this gluten free, egg free Pumpkin Dessert.  It is a fun little fresh take on pumpkin pie.  You can make this a day in advance and just refrigerate until ready to serve.  Prepare it in a 9 X 13 pan or into little punch cups for portable individual servings.

This hard-to-wait-for delicious dessert, will be on our family’s Thanksgiving Day menu.

Pumpkin Dessert was a huge hit in our house when my mom made it growing up and now it is a big hit again while we make it gluten free.

Thanks to Enjoy Life’s Crunchy Vanilla Honey Graham Cookies, the graham cracker crust is a snap to make.  This is actually how I always make “graham cracker crusts.”  So anytime you need to make a gluten free graham cracker crust, remember this simple and flavorful one. 

Crust:

1 1/2 c crushed Enjoy Life’s Crunchy Vanilla Honey Graham Cookies
1/3 c butter, melted

1.  In a ziploc bag, crush the cookies with a rolling pin.  Or you could pulse the cookies in a food processor.
2.  In a medium bowl, pour out the crushed cookies.  Add the melted butter.  Toss with a fork until all the crumbs are moist from the butter.
3.  For 8 X 8 pan:  Place buttered crumbs into bottom of the pan and gently pat down.
For individual servings, place a spoonful of crumbs into the bottom of a punch cup and gently pat down with a fork. (This whole recipe will make approximately 18 individual cups)
4.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Filling:

30 large marshmallows
1 c pumpkin
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t salt
1 c whipping cream

8 oz tub Cool Whip

1.  In a large pan, add marshmallow, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger and salt.  Over low heat, stir constantly until all the marshmallows have melted.  Turn off heat and cool for 1 hour.
2.  Gently fold in whipping cream.  Then, pour over completely cool crust.  Refrigerate.
3.  Top with Cool Whip just prior to serving.

If you’d like to make a 9 x13 pan, then double the crust, filling and cool whip.

Enjoy!

This recipe has been shared on Gluten Free Fridays, Allergy Free Wednesdays and Gluten Free Wednesdays.

Easy CrockPot Applesauce

This recipe is so simple, I cannot complicate it by adding words. 

So in honor of the simplicity of this CrockPot Applesauce, here is the delicious, hard-to-stop-eating, recipe.

Homemade Applesauce

approximately 20-25 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 8 slices
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 t cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and stir.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Serve warm or cold.

Simple.

Delicious.

Apple Fritters

 One of my favorite memories as a little girl was getting some one on one time with my Daddy.  I was the youngest of four.  When my older siblings went off to school and I was still too young to go myself, my Dad occasionally brought me with him to the donut shop in our small town.  We would find a spot at the counter and sit on swivel stools.  Dad usually ordered an apple fritter and coffee.  I would get my donut and while Dad read the paper, I would spin on my really fun swivel stool.  He would introduce me to his friends as his, “Baby Girl.”  Apple Fritters to this day evoke that memory of Dad taking me out for donuts.  As we try to create special moments with our children today, I wonder what moments will forever hold a special place in their hearts.

My Mother-in-law often shares one of her special memories of her mother.  Her mom would use left over bread dough to make what they called “flapjacks.”  Not pancakes but somewhere between a donut and a fritter.  They are very similar to the delicious New Orleans Beignets.  She would drop the extra dough in hot oil, fry them, then toss them in cinnamon sugar.

One day when my mother-in-law was visiting, we decided to see if we could make them, using my bread dough recipe (for The Best Gluten Free Vegan Bread).  Since I had some of the dry bread mix already prepared (I like to make several dry mixes ahead of time and store in baggies to make bread making super simple and fast when I need some), it literally took just a few minutes to make.  The expression on her face was sweet and rewarding as I watched her become flooded with memories with a simple taste.  We had done it!  It brought such joy and satisfaction to watch her enjoy each bite, filled with memories, especially because we had pulled it off with gluten free dough!  And I have to say these are AMAZING!  When I put the plate full in front of our kids, Noah took a bit and said, “Mmmmm!  Delightful!  These are great!”  And that is music to any momma’s ears.

I cannot wait to add these as a new family tradition on holiday mornings.  They are so quick and easy, even quicker than muffins.  A real special treat!

Prepare The Best Gluten Free Vegan Bread dough in mixer with 1 t cinnamon.  Stir in one large (or  two small) apple, chopped into small pieces.  Cover the bottom of your pan with about half an inch of coconut oil (or cottonseed oil).  Heat oil tip when you drop a drop of water in it, it really dances.  Using a two spoons, drop about 1/4 c dough into oil and spread it out as you drop it.  Allow to fry just until the edges start to turn light brown as above, then using a fork, flip them over.  It will only take a few seconds, ok, maybe closer to 15-20 seconds, so don’t walk away or get distracted or they may burn.

After they flip, allow them to fry for just a few more seconds until the other side is light brown.

When both sides are lightly brown, remove from oil and place on a plate covered in paper towel so some of the oil can absorb into the towel.

Then transfer the warm fritters into a cinnamon sugar mixture to toss and cover (if using cinnamon sugar).

Or if you prefer, place them on a wire rack, with wax paper underneath, to drizzle with glaze and let them rest until you finish frying up the rest of the fritters.

Call everyone to the table and serve them warm.

Apple Fritters 

*Make sure dry ingredients are at room temperature before starting

3 c Paula’s GF Flour Mix see below for her recipe
2 t xanthan gum
1/2  t sea salt
3 T sugar
1 t dry yeast
1 t cinnamon
 2 t coconut oil (melt before measuring)
1 1/2 c + 2 T warm water

1 large apple, finely chopped (or 2 small apples)
1 c coconut oil (or cottonseed oil) – approximate measurement

Cinnamon Sugar mixture:
This can be very flexible depending on how much cinnamon flavor you like.  I usually mix together about one cup of sugar with 1 1/2 t cinnamon.

Glaze:
1 c powdered sugar
1 1/2 T milk (or rice milk)
Add more milk 1/2 t at a time if you like your glaze thinner.

1. Combine Paula’s GF Flour Mix, xanthan gum, salt, sugar, dry yeast and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
2.  In mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil and warm water together and then add the dry ingredients. Mix on high for 2 minutes, this activates the yeast. It should resemble a thicker cake batter.  Gently stir in chopped apples.  Set dough aside.
3.  Cover a plate with paper towel to transfer cooked fritters onto.  Also, place wire racks on top of wax paper.
4.  In dutch oven, heat oil to cover bottom of pan about half an inch deep.  Heat oil til it is hot enough to make a drop of water really dance and snap.
5.  Using two spoons, spread roughly 1/4 c dough into oil.  Allow to cook until the edges are lightly brown, which will take less than a minute so don’t walk away.  Flip over with a fork and allow to cook on the other side until lightly brown.
6.  Remove from oil and place on paper towel to allow oil to absorb into the paper towel.  Then, toss in cinnamon sugar and place on wire rack (or place on wire rack to drizzle in glaze).
7.  Serve warm and fresh!

Paula’s Gluten Free Flour Mix (this makes enough for 2 loaves of bread plus 1 extra cup)

1 1/2 c. millet flour
1 1/2 c. sorghum flour
1 c. tapioca flour
1 c. potato starch
1 c. arrowroot powder 

If you are wondering what else to use this flour mixture for, check out these other great recipes and related posts…
 
The Best Gluten Free Vegan Bread
 
Pepperoni Pizza Rolls

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Dinner Rolls

The Cost of Making one loaf of The Best Gluten Free Vegan Bread

I have shared this recipe on Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays and Gluten Free Fridays.

Apple Pie Baking Day & Stocking The Freezer!


 

Apple season is a highlight for our family each fall.  Apple orchards with mazes, petting zoos and hayrides are becoming more and more popular in our area.  But my favorite orchards are ones that are small, family owned, without all the hoopla.  Where apple picking IS the attraction.


This year was an extra special, apple picking day.  My cousin invited us come over to pick apples at her house out in the country, where they have 11 organic apple trees in the corner of their land… a mini orchard!  My kids and I packed lunches and drove out to her home for the day.  We picked bags of apples and had a great time with her and her family, making for a special, memorable day!  Thank you Angela and Steve!


Even their dog had fun with the apples.

Now, what to do with all these wonderful apples?!  We are eating the Honeycrisp and HoneyGolds fresh.  The Prairie Spy apples are being used for Homemade Applesauce, Apple Fritters (that’s right, warm, sweet Apple Fritters…these recipes are coming soon), Baked Apple Brie, and Apple Pies.  You can find my favorite Apple Pie recipe here.


The kids had the day off school so we invited Grandma and Grandpa over for a Apple Pie making day.   Everyone helped and we ended up making 14 gluten free apple pies!!!
Our freezers are stocked for the winter, ready for holidays and guests…hooray!


Freeze your apple pie?!  You bet!  Bake them as usual.  Allow to cool completely. Then, place in freezer bags, squeeze out all the air you can and seal.  Freeze for the winter.  When you are ready to serve one, simply remove from the freezer and let “thaw” on the counter for 30 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes and you will have warm, Apple Pie to serve to your family and friends.

Looking for other apple recipes, try this Buttery Apple Crumble or Apple Cinnamon Bread.

Cost to make The Best Gluten Free Vegan Bread

Have you ever wondered how much the Best Gluten Free Vegan Bread recipe costs to make?

While my kids were at school, I did a little math of my own to figure it out.  The exact cost will vary depending upon how much you pay for each ingredient but I will break down the cost according to prices I have found this fall, 2013.  Online prices tend to fluctuate often so like I said, this cost will vary.

NetGrocer.com has a sale right now of $20 off $50 with the code NETGROCER (which basically pays for shipping) and Bob’s Red Mill is on sale for 50% off. (Please note these ingredients may be made in a facility with one of your allergens.  Please contact the manufacturer as always to make sure the products you use are safe for your needs!)

Millet flour (Netgrocer) $1.93/651g =$0.55 for amount used in recipe
Sorghum flour (Netgrocer) $2.25/623g = $0.62 for recipe
Potato Starch (Netgrocer) $2.43/680g = $0.51 for recipe
Tapioca Flour (Netgrocer) $2.13/567g = $0.45 for recipe
Arrowroot Flour (Vitacost) $6.55/567g = $1.35 for recipe
Xanthan Gum (Netgrocer) $6.40/226g = $0.20 for recipe
Salt (Amazon) $6.92/737g = $0.03 for recipe
Sugar (local store) $2.99/1814g = $0.07 for recipe
Red Star Yeast (Costco approx cost) $5/908g = $0.02 for recipe
Coconut Oil (Costco approx cost $16/1531g = $0.08 for recipe

$3.88 per loaf
Vitacost.com is the other place online that I tend to shop.  Both of these online stores tend to be a better price than my local natural foods store so I try to shop ahead and have these on hand.  If you go through my link, I will get $10 off my next purchase through their refer a friend program.  The same will apply to you if you refer friends, you can get $10 off your following purchases as well.  (Please note, other than the refer a friend Vitacost program, I am NOT being paid by either of these companies to write this post, it is strictly for your benefit to know where I like to shop and the prices I found there.)
Millet flour (Vitacost) $2.97/651g = $0.84 for recipe
Sorghum flour (Vitacost) $2.63/623g = $0.73 for recipe
Potato starch (Vitacost) $2.88/680g = $0.61 for recipe
Tapioca flour (Vitacost) $2.97/567g = $0.63 for recipe
Arrowroot flour (Vitacost) $6.55/567g = $1.35 for recipe
Xanthan Gum (Vitacost) $12.99/226g = $0.40 for recipe
Salt (Amazon) $6.92/737g = $0.03 for recipe
Sugar (my local store) $2.99/1814g = $0.07 for recipe
Red Star Yeast (Costco approx cost) $5/908g = $0.02 for recipe
Coconut Oil (Costco approx cost) $16/1531g = $0.08 for recipe
$4.76 per loaf

Maple Leaf Cream Cookies

The air is crisp, the leaves on the trees are starting to turn bright orange, red and yellow.  Leaves are just beginning to cover the ground.  I love fall!  It felt like a perfect day to make these flavorful gluten free cookies.  So I set the mood inside as well with some pumpkin candles burning and a little James Taylor on Spotify.

It’s no secret, I love maple!  Pure maple syrup, maple flavored ice cream, maple scones, maple caramel corn.

Before I went gluten free, I use to LOVE Trader Joes Maple Leaf Cream Sandwich Cookies and I was determined to make a tasty gluten free version that we could all enjoy.  And these egg free, nut free, gluten free cookies hit the spot.  I hope you enjoy them as well.

1/2 c shortening
1/2 c butter, softened
1 c sugar

1 flax gel “egg” (1 T ground flax seed whisked together in small bowl with 3 T warm water, allow to set a few minutes- it will become tacky like a egg)
3/4 t vanilla
2 1/3 c Natalie’s Gluten Free Flour Mix (includes xanthan gum)
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt

Cream Frosting:
1/2 c butter, softened
2 T maple syrup
1/2 t maple extract (or vanilla extract)
1 1/2 c powdered sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2.  In mixer bowl, combine shortening, butter and sugar.  Mix on high until creamy (scraping the side of the bowl a few times).
3.  Add the flax gel “egg” and vanilla, mix well.
4.  In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk together, then add flour mixture to butter mixture.  Mix on low, just until blended well.
5.  Divide dough in half.  Roll out dough to about 1/8″ and cut out.  Carefully transfer cut cookies to prepared cookie sheet.
6.  Bake at 375 degrees for 9-10 minutes or until lightly golden.  Remove from oven and allow to cool a couple of minutes before transferring to wire rack to finish cooling.
7.  To prepare the cream frosting, mix together butter, maple syrup and maple extract.  Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth and mixed well.
8.  Spread about 1 T of cream onto the back of a cookie and top with another cookie.

Makes around 36 cookie sandwiches, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.

Happy fall!

This recipe is adapted from the Maple Leaf Sandwich Cookie

I have shared this recipe on Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

No-Nut Blossom Cookies (Gluten Free & Egg Free)

Get ready for the holidays and cookie exchanges with these amazing little No-Nut Butter Blossom Cookies that are nut free, egg free and gluten free!  These are a fresh little take on the old familiar Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies.  But be prepared, they do not taste like peanut butter or sunflower seed butter, rather they taste more like a sweet, soft sugar cookie topped with chocolate.  This allergy friendly, gluten free cookie is lightly flavored and highly addictive. 

One might even say that your eating your vegetables by eating these cookies…What?!!!

No-Nut Butter by The Sneaky Chef is what replaces the peanut butter.  No-Nut Butter is made with golden peas (legumes)!  Who can feel guilty about eating your veggies?!  Do NOT tell my son that these cookies have veggies in them.  Right now he LOVES them but I’m afraid if he knew the little secret, he might change his mind.  So mums the word!

We eat a lot of sunflower seed butter in our home (prior to ordering the No-Nut Butter) and whenever I’ve tried to make cookies with sunflower seed butter, they turn green a couple days later.  I am happy to report that these cookies made with No-Nut Butter do NOT change color.  It works great in baking!  No-Nut Butter is available online on NetGrocer.com and a few Whole Foods stores on the east coast (they are hoping to expand to more Whole Foods stores soon).

This past weekend I was honored to be invited to do cooking demos at the Annual Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Association of MN (AFAA) Conference & Expo.  I made Pepperoni Pizza Rolls, showing how the bread dough also makes the Best Gluten Free Vegan Bread and Cinnamon Raisin Bread and also these cookies.  Doing the demo is so much fun, I feel like a little girl playing in a play kitchen and I love sharing what I’ve learned over the years with attendees.  The conference speakers were top-notch and it was great connecting with others in the food allergy community.  If you were at the conference this past weekend and are new to my blog, WELCOME!  I’m so glad you came by to visit.  If you would like to stay up to date, “like” my facebook page and we will stay connected.  If you got one of the No-Nut Butter samples, I’d love to have you comment below and let us all know what you think of it.

1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c butter, softened (or you could try shortening to make it dairy free)
1/2 c No Nut Butter

1 T flax meal whisked with 3 T warm water and allow to sit for a couple of minutes to make flax gel
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla

1 3/4 c Natalie’s Gluten Free Flour Mix (includes xanthan gum)
1 t baking soda

1/3 c sugar
35-40 Hershey Kisses (or to make this dairy free and soy free, use Enjoy Life Rice Milk Boom Choco Boom Bar or Enjoy Life Semi Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare flax meal whisked with warm water in small bowl and set aside.
2.  In mixing bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, butter and No-Nut Butter.  Mix until creamy.
3.  Add flax gel, salt and vanilla to mixing bowl.  Mix until creamy.
4.  In a medium bowl, combine gluten free flour mix and baking soda.  Whisk them together, then add the mixture to the mixing bowl.  Mix on low until fully combined.
5.  Roll dough into 1 inch balls.  Roll dough balls in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
6.  Bake 9-10 minutes or until lightly golden.  Remove from oven and place one unwrapped kiss in the center of each warm cookie.  Allow cookies to cool a couple of minutes on cookie sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Makes 35-40 cookies (depending on how big your dough balls are).

Recipe shared on Gluten Free Fridays.