Reindeer Poop (or yummy fried dough)

Pardon the name.  I won’t admit to taking part in the naming of this yummy treat, but when you have boys in your home, well, potty humor happens.  Last year, we decided to do a family activity every evening of Advent.  This activity, making fried dough, is an easy crowd pleaser.  The kids even get to help with the dough unrolling, careful slicing, and sugar shakin’.

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You will need:

1 can of Pillsbury French Loaf.

1 large bottle of vegetable oil.

1& 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 tbsp of cinnamon, mixed well

cutting board, pizza cutter, plastic container with tight lid

I start by pouring the whole bottle of oil into a large corning-type crock or other safe for frying (high walled, appropriate material) pot.   Heat the oil over medium heat for about five minutes.  Open the can of french bread and unroll it lengthwise onto a clean cutting board.  It’s sometimes tough to get started, but don’t give up, it will unroll.  You should end up with a flat, rectangle of dough.  After that, I use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into several small 1-2 inch rectangles.  You can roll it into whatever… um… shape you want, but I like easy so I just leave it as is.  Gently place 5-6 pieces at a time into the hot oil.  Careful to avoid splashes because they hurt!  You will know your oil is hot enough when they float right up after you drop them in.  It takes just a minute or two on each side and I flip them with a metal, slotted spatula.  Once they are golden brown on both sides, remove from pot and place on a paper towel-lined plate.  Then, I use tongs to move them from the plate to a lidded plastic storage container holding the cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Put the fried dough into the container, place the lid on tight, and shake!  Remove the “Poo” carefully and voila, delish!

Back to School “Safe Snack List” for Teachers

Every year, I update this list of snacks that are safe for us and provide a copy to my kiddo’s teachers.  This year, I’m sharing it here too.  ***Remember, always be sure to do your own homework and ***always read every label to make sure these snacks are safe for you.

OK Candy
Smarties
Starburst
Skittles
Gimbal’s brand jelly beans
Dum-dums lollipops
Lifesavers, hard candy, gummies
Laffy Taffy (certain sizes only, read label)
Twizzlers (original strawberry)
Sour Patch Kids
Surf Sweets
Trolli gummy worms
Swedish Fish
Airheads
Saf-T-Pops
Peeps  (certain varieties only, read label)

OK Snacks/Treats
Any fruit or vegetable
Tostitos tortilla chips (plain)
Lays potato chips (plain or barbecue; if barbecue check for milk on label)
Pringles Original (plain)
Orville Redenbachers Naturals, “Simply Salted” microwave popcorn
Skinny Pop popcorn, original
Fritos (plain)
Rold Gold brand pretzels (plain)
Betty Crocker or Keebler Fruit Snacks or fruit rollups, Gushers
Keebler Graham Crackers
Teddy Grahams: chocolate, honey, or cinnamon
Oreo’s- original and double stuffed only
Marshmallows-Kraft or Publix brand
Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips, snack bars, or anything else (whole line is top 8 free)
Ice Pops (read label)
Tofutti vanilla or chocolate ice cream
Tofutti Cuties ice cream sandwiches
So Delicious vanilla, chocolate, chocolate obsession, cookie avalanche *soy* ice cream
So Delicious Minis *soy* (ice cream sandwiches)

Drinks
Juice, Gatorade, Powerade, soda, soymilk

OK Breakfast Foods
Cheerios (plain)
Chex (wheat, corn, or rice)
Cocoa Puffs
Rice Crispies, Cocoa Crispies
Pebbles (cocoa or fruity)
Apple Jacks
Fruit Loops
Cookie Crisp
Lucky Charms
Corn Pops
Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Frosted Mini Wheats
Pop Tarts (frosted strawberry or frosted brown sugar & cinnamon)

Ice Cream Dreams

cherry ice cream

Currently available dairy free ice creams are hard to find and a tad pricey. I was thrilled to discover the blog speedbumpkitchen.com.  I was even more thrilled to discover that they have recipes that avoid similar allergens to ours *aaaannd* they have ice cream recipes!!!  Be sure to stop by and check out her amazing creations.

Today I made a basic vanilla ice cream base using her recipes as inspiration. I have high hopes of using this vanilla base as a springboard to the wide world of ice cream flavor possibilities!

Note: If you want to make chocolate flavored any other way than adding Hershey’s syrup, you have to add the cocoa powder to a hot mixture, before chilling and before putting it in the machine.  See more details on my chocolate ice cream process below.

Ingredients:
40 large marshmallows (the whole bag was too much!)
6 cups of Silk brand Vanilla Soy Creamer
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup of sugar

Place the marshmallows in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about 1 minute, or until soft throughout. Whisk in 1/2 cup of soy creamer. Add sugar, oil, vanilla, and remaining creamer and stir well.

For chocolate: Warm all ingredients except marshmallows over medium heat. Bring to boil then immediately remove from heat. Whisk in 1& 1/3 cup of cocoa powder until cool. I use Hershey’s brand. Now incorporate the melted marshmallows.

Here is another recipe for a creamier, chocolate pudding based variety:

1 Qt container of Silk French Vanilla Soy Creamer
2- 3.9 oz boxes of Jello instant pudding mix, chocolate flavor
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

I know how bad you want this ice cream, but it’s important to pause here and place in refrigerator or freezer for a bit to chill the mixture.

Place mixture into ice cream maker. I use the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment and run it for about 30 minutes.  The mixture will come out with a soft serve consistency.  Freeze for an additional 2-3 hours to harden to ice cream consistency.

Next, add mix-ins! Here are some of our ideas:
Crushed Oreo cookies
Safe candies
Graham crackers. We use HoneyMaid brand Honey Grahams.
Safe homemade brownies.  We use Cherrybrook Kitchen mixes.
Chocolate or strawberry syrup. We use Hershey’s brand.
Maple Syrup. We use Cary’s brand.
Honey
Cinnamon
Raisins
Maraschino cherries.
Safe chocolate chips. We use Enjoy Life or Divvies brand.
Sprinkles. Be sure to check for allergens. (Like you always do, right?).
Pretzels. We use Rold Gold brand.
Mini marshmallows (We use Publix or Kraft) or marshmallow topping (we use Smucker’s Toppings Marshmallow flavored)
Biscoff spread, Sunbutter, Wow butter, etc.
Fresh fruit
Storebought or homemade fruit preserves like blueberry or strawberry.
Peppermint extract.
Fun colors with food coloring.

After adding mix-ins, freeze for an additional 2 hours, or until desired consistency. You may need to stir once more after about an hour or so in the freezer if you have mix-ins that may have fallen to the bottom before the mixture fully solidifies.

Summer Vacation Grocery List

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The only way I can actually relax on vacation, is if I do the cooking myself.  For that reason, we try to stay somewhere with a kitchen.  We have made do with just a minifridge and microwave, but let’s just say it was no gourmet affair.   Every year, I try to make a grocery list ahead of time that will allow us to be in and out quickly once we arrive at the store near our location.  This year, I’ve decided to blog it so I don’t have to rewrite the darn thing next year- and also to share with you of course!  Some items we prefer Publix brand for, but if you know of another brand substitution that is milk, egg, and peanut free- please share!

This is my list for out of town groceries for 5 days for a family of four, with two children allergic to milk, egg, and peanut.  We try to stick to simple recipes that hopefully our kitchen-away-from-home will have the tools to execute and just focus on hitting the basic food groups:  protein, produce, carb.

  • Breakfast:
  • Frosted brown sugar and cinnamon pop tarts
  • +/- a box of cereal: Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, Cookie Crisp
  • Vanilla soy milk.  We prefer Publix Greenwise brand but will use Silk in a pinch.
  • Lunch:
  • 1 loaf of bread.  We use Publix honey wheat.
  • 1-2 pounds of deli meat.  We do not use fresh sliced meat from the store’s deli due to the concern of cross contamination with cheese and meats containing nuts.  We use prepackaged Oscar Meyer delifresh honey ham.
  • Pepperoni.  We use Hormel original.
  • 1-2 bags of chips.  We like Tostitos original, Rold Gold pretzels, and Lays original or BBQ.  We have found milk in some BBQ brands, milk in some Tostitos flavors, and the potential for peanuts with other pretzel brands.  Always read the label.  The whole label, not just the “Contains” statement.
  • Produce:  Carrots, baking potatoes, bananas, watermelon, apples, strawberries, blueberries…mmmm.
  • Snacks:
  • Microwave popcorn.  At least a 6 pack.  We use Orville Redenbacher’s Naturals, Simply Salted variety.
  • If we’re lucky: ice cream!  We like Tofutti Cuties vanilla ice cream sandwiches, So Delicious brand vanilla or chocolate ice cream, and Purely Decadent’s Cookie Avalanche flavor of dairy free ice cream.
  • If not ice cream: popsicles!  We like So Delicious brand creamy fudge bars, Popsicle brand plain flavors (although they have recently had a recall where these contained milk so I may be revising my opinion of this brand), PhillySwirlz, and FunPops- the kind grandma always had in her freezer- the all-American brightly colored sugar-in-a-plastic-sleeve type.
  • Cookies!  We like Oreos.  Oreos have recently updated their labeling so that now ONLY the original and double stuffed are safe for us.  No more minis or vanilla kind. 😦  We also like Chips Ahoy original chocolate chip cookies.  I know the package says contains whey, but for some reason, these have never been a problem for us.
  • Dinner:
  • 1 pound of chicken breast cutlets.  1 pound of lean ground beef. 2 pounds of salmon.
  • 1 small box of Bisquick original baking mix (for “breading” oven-baked chicken).
  • 1 bottle of Morton Season All, salt and pepper.  Or *pack ahead*.
  • Canned veggies.  We like Green Giant brand green beans and corn.
  • Pasta sauce.  We use Prego Traditional variety.
  • Spaghetti.  We use Publix brand.
  • Dairy free margarine.  We use Earth Balance brand.
  • Cooking oil for greasing pans.  We use Publix brand vegetable oil, EVOO or canola spray.
  • Canned bread.  We use Pillsbury brand french loaf or original crescent rolls.
  • Tyson brand dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets.
  • Oreida brand crispy crowns, waffle fries, or crispers.
  • Ketchup
  • Maybe a frozen pizza for Mom and Dad on nugget night.  Yes, we sometimes eat what they can’t.  We feel the world will be this way for them, and they will have to learn to adjust and take caution for cross contamination in every circumstance.  But that’s a whole other blog topic!
  • Hmmm.  One night left.  What to fix?  I think I will *pack ahead* (**= reminding myself) a baggy of Ener-G egg replacer and use the rest of my Bisquick box for pancakes.  So you will also need:
  • 1 package of Oscar Meyer bacon.
  • Oreida brand crispy crowns or hash browns.
  • 1 bottle of maple syrup.  We use Hungry Jack Lite.
  • Bottled water, soda
  • Plastic baggies to make snacks portable
  • Sunblock!!!

I know, this is not the absolute healthiest list, but it’s simple and I’ll rest easy knowing it’s safe and they at least got a few more nutrients than a week of fast food would provide.

Also, when we get to our kitchen-away-from home, I always run the dishwasher first to rewash the dishes.  That’s just me.  I want to know for sure that they have been cleaned properly and are free of cross-contaminants.

Happy trails!

Wacky Cake

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This cake is quick, easy, delicious, and requires very few ingredients.  I’ve run across the term “wacky cake” on a few different allergy boards and have been meaning to try it.  I found the recipe I used at: http://southernfood.about.com/od/chocolatecakes/r/bl01018c.htm.

The wacky part is that my daughter, who normally dislikes anything chocolate- LOVES it.  Her non-allergic friends do too.  In fact, I got three requests for this to be someone’s birthday cake the first time I made it!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I use Publix brand)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (I use Hershey’s brand)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cold water

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. Then, make three wells in the dry mixture.  Put the vanilla in one of the wells, the vinegar in one, and the oil in the third.  Pour the water into the bowl, then stir until everything is incorporated.  I used a greased 9 inch round pan to bake in at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until center springs back when touched.

For icing, I made a powdered sugar and water mixture to use as a drizzle/glaze.  Fill a small cup with powdered sugar and slowly add small amounts of water until desired thickness.  Then pour or drizzle over the cooled cake.

Quick Blondie Cookie Cake

I am so happy that another blogger shared this recipe!  The original blondie recipe can be found here: http://ellasurreau.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/our-favorite-blonde-brownie-recipe/

Friends of ours were having an impromptu birthday gathering and wanted to get a cookie cake.  On the inside, I was hoping they wouldn’t because the only thing I had ready was the standard frozen cupcake.  Then I thought of the perfect recipe I’d been meaning to try and accepted the challenge!

I made a few substitutions, to use what I had on hand and to make a half batch.  I also added about 1/2 cup of Enjoy Life brand Mega Chunks of chocolate and piped chocolate frosting (Pillsbury brand) along the edge to make it look just like a store bought cookie cake.  I only have the picture from my cell phone, but it was so yummy.  Full disclosure- my children did not like it.  But the other, non-allergy kids and parents at the party loved it and said it was reminiscent of the blondies that Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant use to serve.

cookie cake

In a small bowl, mix together 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp baking soda, and a dash of salt.

In a large bowl, mix together 1/3 cup of melted dairy free butter (I use Earth Balance), 1 cup packed of dark brown sugar, 1/4 cup of soy sour cream (I use Toffutti brand), and 1 tsp of vanilla.

Mix wet and dry ingredients together until well combined, then spread into greased 8×8 inch pan or similar small sized baking pan or dish.

Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes, until center sets up and toothpick comes out clean.

Safe Valentine’s Day Treats

Today I’m making Valentine’s Day treats to send with the kids to school tomorrow.  Their classes are having parties involving foods they can’t have and I want them to be able to have something special also.  While Oreos or a quick-thawed homemade cupcake will do in a pinch, if I have the time, I like to surprise them with extra special goodies.

My go-to sugar cookie recipe is really Grandma’s recipe.  (Thank you Grandma!)  We use this recipe for Christmas cookies, but I will sometimes do a half batch for small holiday treats.

  • 1 cup dairy free margarine.  We use Earth Balance.
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp Ener-G egg replacer plus 6 tbsp warm water (=3 eggs)
  • 3 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour.  I use Publix brand.  I have found cake flour that may contain peanuts!
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1& 1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream butter well.  Gradually add the sugar and continue creaming.  Add egg replacer and incorporate.  Blend in dry ingredients and vanilla.  Chill dough until firm, then roll onto floured work surface until about 1/4 inch thick.   Cut out patterns with cookie cutters then bake at 400F for 7-8  minutes.  Makes about 2 dozen cookies.   Note: They do not brown on top, but they will be light brown on the bottom when done.

For icing:

Mix 2-3 tbsp of water with 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar.  Use food coloring if you want to color it.  We also add sprinkles after icing, because everything is better with sprinkles, right?!  Some brands of sprinkles I have found may contain allergens.  We used Betty Crocker Decor sprinkles for today’s cookies.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

  • 1/2 cup milk, egg, and peanut free chocolate chips.  We use Enjoy Life Mega Chunks.
  • 1/2 cup milk, egg, and peanut free white chocolate.  We used Premium Chocolatiers’ Milkless Polar Dream White bar broken up into pieces.
  • Safe pretzels.  We use Rold Gold Tiny Twists.

Melt both the white and dark chocolate in separate microwave-safe dishes.   Cook for 30 seconds, stir, repeat until melted.  Dip pretzels in chocolate then lay on parchment or wax paper.  Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles or decorative sprinkles if desired and allow to dry about 1-2 hours at room temperature.

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