Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Toddler Mum-Mums

I am so excited my mom and I found Toddler Mum-Mums at Toys R Us (of all places). Toys R Us (at least the one by us, in Franklin) has a great selection of organic and speciality infant/toddler foods. The box was $3.49 at Toys R Us, but you can order a box of 6 on Amazon for $15.69 plus get FREE 2 day shipping. It comes out to approximately $2.60 a box (before tax). Brody has almost gone through his box, so we need to get some more.

Toddler Mum-Mum's are AWESOME! They come individually packaged (2 in a package...24 total biscuits in the box) and they are ALLERGEN FREE! They are so convenient because I can pop them in my purse and have a safe treat while we are on the go. Plus, just think...there are not 50 cheerios (or Triple Berry O's in our case) marking your path :)
Oh..and by the way...they taste good.

Product Ingredients: Japonica Rice*, Sugar*, Potato Starch*, Sea Salt, Gelatine. *USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC

Parent's Checklist:
Organic, NOP Certified
Great Taste
Less Than 1g of Sugar per 5g Serving
No Artificial Colors or Flavors
No Preservatives
Wheat, Lactose, Egg & Peanut Free
Baked, Low in Fat & No Trans Fat
No Added Fats or Oils
Each Serving Individually Wrapped For Convenience

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Word World Cupcakes

Word World Friends




It's challenging to make everyone happy when you have a child that has food allergies and everyone else at the party can eat "regular" dessert. My non-food allergic 3 year old loves the PBS show Word World, so I made him some cupcakes for his birthday that represented some of the characters (frog, pig and monkey).

After my serving the Safe Nemo Cake to my non-food allergic family at the family birthday party, and everyone thought that it looked better than it tasted; I decided to make two safe cupcakes for Brody and I and make regular cupcakes for everyone else. I am officially baked out! AND I am gearing up for Brody's first birthday at the beginning of November...that means more cupcakes...regular and safe :)

The monkey and the pig are not allergen free because of ingredients used to decorate them, but the frog can be allergen free (and it was for Brody and I)

My biggest problem with the Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Dream Chocolate Cake Mix (it is egg, milk, wheat and peanut free) when I made the Safe Nemo Cake, was that it was not as moist (in my opinion) as regular, with this batch of cupcakes (the box makes 12), I used applesauce instead of the oil that it says to use on the box. I would have to make a cake using this substitute to really compare, but I thought the cupcakes were more moist.

Everyone enjoyed their regular cupcakes and Brody and I were content with our allergy free, they were just as cute :)

What you need to get started making these cupcakes:
-1 container of pastel baking cups
-I made 24 cupcakes from 1 box of yellow cake mix (follow directions on box)
(This made 8 frogs, 8 monkeys and 8 pigs)-these were not allergen free
-I made 12 cupcakes using the CherryBrook Kitchen Gluten Free Dream Chocolate Cake Mix, decorated two frogs for Brody and I and froze the rest for later use
-I made 2 batches of Safe Buttercream Icing so that I would be able to use some of the icing on the safe cupcakes that I made for Brody and I (I split the icing up into four bowls and colored some pink (for the pigs), green (for the frogs), brown (for animals faces) and red (accent on the animals faces). You will need more pink and green icing. The brown and the red are just for accenting the faces, so you will not need as much.
-I bought one container of store bought chocolate frosting (bought for .50 on sale and had a coupon)-they DO have frosting that does not contain milk ingredients.
-I bought the Wilton 8 Icing Color Concentrated Gel (used pink, green, brown, and red)
-I bought the Wilton 12 Piece Cupcake Decorating Kit to be able to decorate the eyes, mouths, tongue etc. on the animals
-I bought a Wilton Cupcakes' N More 13 Count Small Dessert Stand. It was the perfect way to display the Word World Cupcakes.
*The stuff I bought at Michael's and JoAnn's was bought with 40 or 50% off coupons. You can sign up at both stores online and they will e-mail you coupons OR you can find coupons in your Sunday paper. NEVER pay full price at these stores :)

8 pink pastel baking cups
8 cupcakes (from the box of yellow cake mix)
Safe Buttercream Icing colored pink using Wilton gel Colors
Wilton Candy Melts in Pink (buy at Michael's or JoAnn's)-for the nose: use one whole one candy melt. For the ears: cut one candy melt in half
Brown frosting for the lines on the nose and the eyes (you need a tip and a decorator bag)

8 pastel baking cups (whatever color you want)
8 cupcakes (from the box of yellow cake mix)
1 container of store bought chocolate frosting (they do have ones without milk ingredients)
1 box of vanilla wafers (you will use 2 vanilla wafers per cupcake, so you will need 16 total. Use a whole vanilla wafer for the nose and use a serrated knife to cut a vanilla wafer in half to make the ears)
16 cheerios to make the eyes
Brown icing to decorate the nose (use a tip and bag)
Red icing to make the mouth (use a tip and bag)

8 green pastel baking cups
8 cupcakes (from the box of yellow cake mix)
Safe Buttercream Icing colored green using Wilton gel colors
Large Marshmallows, you will need 8 marshmallows. Cut them in 1/2 to make the eyes
Brown icing for the eyes and the mouth (need a tip and bag)
Red icing for the tongue (need a tip and bag)

I couldn't watch everyone eat these cute cupcakes without having one myself and watching Brody enjoy one, so I baked a box of 12 cupcakes from the CherryBrook Kitchen Gluten Free Dream Chocolate Cake Mix. I iced and decorated two Frogs and put the rest of the cupcakes (not iced) in a freezer bag, and put them in the freezer for the next time there is a celebration. There was even safe green and pink icing left over, which I also froze. I read that if you let it thaw, it will taste just as good as when you made it. SCORE! I already have allergen free cupcakes essentially ready to go!

Allergen Free Frogs
1 box of CherryBrook Kitchen Gluten Free Dream Chocolate Cake Mix (made 12 chocolate cupcakes, decorated two and froze the rest for next celebration or craving)
Safe Buttercream Icing colored green using Wilton Gel Colors
Marshmallows cut in half to make the eyes
Brown icing for the eyes and the mouth
Red icing for the tongue

These were time consuming to make, but I was pleased with the outcome and honestly, it was all worth it to see my 3 year old smiling when he saw them and see Brody making a mess eating his allergen free frog cupcake.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

CherryBrook Kitchen Cake Mix Review

Brody's first time having cake...practicing for his birthday!

Last week, I made a Safe Nemo Cake using CherryBrook Kitchen Gluten Free Dream Chocolate Cake Mix and Safe Buttercream icing. I served this cake at our family party and everyone was impressed with how nice the cake looked. I was hoping the same would hold true for how it tasted (I was keeping my fingers crossed). The consensus from the adults (who do not have any food allergies) was that it had a distinct taste (different they said) and they thought it was not as moist as regular cake (ok...I will give them that).

I, on the other hand, was just SO thrilled to eat some type of dessert and to watch Brody eat safe cake that maybe I was not as critical. I have to agree that it was not as moist as I would prefer, but I didn't think the flavor was bad. I have been eating products that are made with different ingredients due to having to eliminate milk, eggs, peanuts and wheat, so maybe I am used to that "distinct" taste now?

My husband said it is his favorite cake...but I think he must have been hungry or trying to make me feel good since he knew how expensive the cake mix was ($4.99 a box and I had to use two boxes) and how hard we worked to plan, bake and decorate a safe cake :)

In regards to the frosting, it was great! Honestly....REALLY GOOD! My mother-in-law doesn't like really sweet buttercream frosting and she said if she ever wants to make cake with buttercream frosting, she will use this recipe because she didn't think it was as sweet (maybe because of the Earth Balance Buttery Spread used? I am not sure?). It did take a little more Wilton Color Concentrated Gel than usual (in my opinion), because the Earth Balance Buttery Spread seems to be a little more yellow than regular butter.

I think next time, the family would prefer that I make a regular cake and also make cupcakes that are safe for Brody and I. I had high hopes for the cake, wasn't horrible, but obviously people weren't as excited about it as I was (half of the cake was left over, and this is not normal for my family of 9 adults and 2 children). If you have to have an allergen free cake, it will do and I am sure you or your child will be happy since there are not many options.

I made cupcakes using the same CherryBrook Kitchen Gluten Free Dream Chocolate Cake Mix the next day and varied the recipe a little and thought it turned out a little bit more moist than this one....will post it with pics...
I need to get this cake issue figured out since we will be celebrating Brody's birthday in a little over a month :)

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

P.F. Chang's China Bistro Cooks Allergen Free!

P.F. Chang's China Bistro Cool Springs

Fried Rice with Gluten Free Soy Sauce and No Eggs

Grilled Chicken with Chang's Spicy Chicken Sauce

Brody and I enjoying our dinner out! Brody ate the fried rice with veggies

My in-laws have been in town and wanted to take us out for dinner. Since we have only a few options for going out to eat (none of which are sit down, tip your waiter type restaurants) I tried to think if there was any other place we could go. I remembered a lady from the Allergy Support Group in Nashville telling me about her great experience with P.F. Chang's China Bistro. I was a little hesitant at first, because the first thing that came to my mind was PEANUTS. I decided to give the manager a call during the day, before things got too crazy and see what he had to say. I told him about the food allergies that we are dealing with (milk, eggs, peanuts and wheat) and asked if he could accommodate us for dinner that evening. He started to think about dinner items that would be safe and told me to come dine with them and they would make something from scratch if they had to (wow! I was SO excited!). He also told me that they prepare meals for people with food allergies all of the time and the chef is very careful and knows what he is doing. He asked what time we would be there, how many people were coming, wrote down the allergies and said he would have a list of "safe" items once we got there. He said he would be off shift be time we arrived for dinner but the other manager would take care of us.

When we arrived, our table was set up and ready (even with a highchair). The manager came over to greet us with a list of safe foods that I could choose from. She went over everything with me. She told me that the meal would be prepared in a clean wok, new oil would be used and I didn't need to worry about cross contamination. I wasn't sure if I was going to let Brody eat there (if the restaurant messes up and I get a little of the allergen, I am not too worried since I am nursing and it is not as dangerous for Brody) but once I heard how much they knew about the allergies, I felt it would be alright for him to eat what I ordered.

At the table, they made the special sauce to put on the rice (soy sauce, hot mustard and chili paste). The waiter made a "normal" sauce for everyone else at the table and then prepared my gluten free sauce. He also brought out dried rice noodles for Brody to snack on while we waited for our food. When the food arrived, my food was brought out on plates that were different than everyone else's so the wait staff would know it was "allergy free."

The food was great (as always), the waiter and the manager were attentive to our table and went out of their way to make our experience safe and enjoyable. This was the first place that Brody has eaten at outside of our home. I was so excited about having a place that I didn't have to explain what gluten is, etc. They knew what I was talking about and took the necessary steps to ensure that our food would be free of the allergens. They made me feel so comfortable.

If you have food allergies, dietary restrictions, etc. and want to have a nice dinner out, I recommend P.F. Changs. It was so nice to go somewhere where you didn't feel that you were bothering them with your food allergies. They did an impressive job taking care of us!

*They even have a Gluten Free Menu
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Safe Nemo Birthday Cake

My non-allergic son is celebrating his 3rd birthday tomorrow and I wanted to make a cake that Brody and I could enjoy too. This is my first attempt at making something "important" that is safe. I am excited about how it turned out (visually). I will let you know what it tastes like...


-vegetable oil


-vanilla extract

(follow the directions on box)

*2 boxes made a 2 layer cake
*I found this was cheapest at Target for $4.99 a box

1/4 cup Earth Balance Buttery Stick

2 cups powdered sugar

2 Tbsp rice milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat margarine with a mixer. Add 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and mix well. Add rice milk and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add enough of the remaining powdered sugar to make the frosting a good consistency for spreading.

*recipe was doubled to frost both layers

To color the frosting I used Wilton 8 Icing Color Concentrated gel-won't thin icing (bought at Michaels with a 50% off coupon)
-used blue to make the ocean color.


Dori and Nemo are cake toppers that double as bath squirt toys

Ocean plants are made out of fruit leather that we cut into the shapes we wanted
Yellow sugar sprinkles to make the "sand"

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Boar's Head Lunch Meats

I contacted Boar's Head the other day and found out some great information about their lunch meats.

*If you want to make sure that your deli meat has not come into contact with other allergens (example: cheese, etc.) ask them to please clean off the slicer before slicing your meat. My Publix uses one slicer for cheese and one for the meats, but I will ask them to clean it beforehand just to make sure, when buying lunch meat for Brody.

All Board's Head products are Gluten Free and Peanut Free!!!

These Boar's Head Products contain Milk

  • Chorizo-contains lactose

  • Mortadella Bologna-casein

  • Itailain Style Roast Beef-Parmesan cheese in coating

  • Pesto Parmesan Ham-Parmesan cheese

These Boar's Head Products contain Eggs

  • Pub Style Horseradish

  • All Mayo

These Boar's Head Products contain Tree Nuts

  • Mortadella Bologna-pistachios
No Preservatives and without added Nitrites
Seasoned Fresh Ham
Fresh Ham (Caramel Glazed)
Prosciutto – Traditional Riserva Stradolce
Skinless / Shankless
Bar B Q Sauce Basted® Chicken Breast
Golden Classic® 42% Lower Sodium Chicken Breast
Hickory Smoked Chicken Breast
Maple Glazed Roasted Chicken Breast
Ovengold® Roast Breast of Turkey
Deli Dinners® Ovengold® Roast Breast of Turkey
Golden Catering Style Turkey Breast
Our Premium Lower Sodium Turkey Breast
Ready To Cook Turkey Breast
Hickory Smoked Black Forest Turkey Breast
Mesquite Wood Smoked® Roasted Breast of Turkey
Deluxe Roast Beef – All Cuts
Cajun Style Seasoned Eye Round
No Salt Added Roast Beef – All Cuts
Italian Style Seasoned Roast Beef
With Classic Braciole Seasoning
Italian Sausage – Sweet & Hot
Breakfast Sausage
All Cheeses*
*except the Naturally Smoked Gouda and the Sliced White and
Yellow American Cheeses (120 and 160 count)
Delicatessen Style Mustard
Sweet Vidalia® Onions in Sauce
Brown Sugar & Spice Ham Glaze / Cooking Sauce
Pub Style Horseradish Sauce – Squeeze & Mini
All Natural (contains a natural preservative)
Italian Items:
Prosciutto Panino
Prosciutto di Parma®
All Natural Salame with White Wine
All Natural Salame coated with Herbs
All Natural Salame coated with Coarse Black Pepper
All Natural Smoked Uncured Ham
All Natural Uncured Ham
Rotisserie Seasoned Chicken Breast
Blazing Buffalo® Style Chicken Breast
Lemon Pepper® Chicken Breast
All American BBQ Seasoned Roasted Chicken Breast
Cajun Style Oven Roasted Smoked Breast of Turkey
Roasted Breast of Turkey
All Natural Roasted Turkey Breast
All Natural Smoked Turkey Breast
All Natural French Country Style Turkey Breast
All Natural Tuscan Style Turkey Breast
Seasoned Filet of Roast Beef
Pepper Seasoned Eye Round
All Natural Cap-off Top Round Oven Roasted Beef
Honey Mustard
Horseradish and Horseradish with Beets
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Chicken, Black Beans & Rice and Plantains

I grew up in South Florida, so I love Cuban food. This meal always takes me back! Let me tell you, Brody can eat some black beans and rice! I LOVE it!

This recipe is free of milk, eggs, wheat, soy (if you do not serve the Publix brand platanos maduros), peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish

Chicken with Onions
4 Chicken breasts flattened (you can do this by putting your chicken in between two pieces of wax paper and then pounding it with a large can from your pantry).
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Coarse ground pepper
1/2 large onion (save other half to put into the beans) cut into thin slices
1 lime (save some lime juice to squeeze over top of the Platanos Maduros)

Rub olive oil on your chicken breasts and then grind your course ground pepper onto both sides. In a large skillet, cook your chicken breasts until cooked through and browned.

When you are done cooking your chicken, set aside. Put some olive oil in the pan and cook your onions until tender (I keep them covered while cooking...goes faster). Put onions in a bowl to serve on top of your chicken. Squeeze lime juice over top of chicken and onions when serving.

Black Beans and Rice
2 cans of black beans (frijoles negros) undrained
1/2 large onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Oregano (to taste) I throw some in from my garden, but dried will work just as well
Rice (4 servings)

Put a little bit of olive oil in the pot. Saute onions and garlic. Add beans, vinegar and oregano. Let simmer until thickened (approximately 20 minutes). Cook rice according to package. Put some rice on the plate and top with beans.

Platanos Maduros (Ripe Plantains)
*There is soy in the frozen Publix brand if you are allergic, but you could find a recipe and make from scratch if you are adventurous*
I buy these frozen from Publix, they are about $1.39 and go perfectly with this meal. Cook according to package and squeeze fresh lime juice over top when done. YUM! It's like having dessert with dinner...I promise! My boys eat these up!

If you do not have food allergies, serve with Guava Pastries (Publix has these in the bakery department)....oh my...if you are eating these...I am jealous! :) Serve with Cafe con Leche (Coffee and Milk) and you are good to go!
Chicken, Black Beans & Rice and PlantainsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, September 6, 2009

HEINZ Distilled White Vinegar

I looked at the ingredients on my HEINZ Distilled White Vinegar the other day because one of my readers mentioned that distilled vinegar could possibly have wheat in it. This is what it said:
Ingredients: Made from select sun-ripened grain, diluted with water to a uniform pickling and table strength of 5%(50 grains) acidity.

My heart dropped, I thought...oh no, I have been so strict about no milk, eggs, peanuts and wheat and here I am making BBQ pork and pouring distilled white vinegar in the recipe.

I got on the phone with HEINZ and they told me that the "sun-ripened grain" that they use is CORN...I was relieved (I should have looked at the picture from the website, that would have answered my question :). The representative was very helpful and said they have strict standards and that any potential allergen would be listed under the ingredient list (he even mailed me a huge list of their products that are free of gluten).
Our rule around our house is, if it doesn't have a label...we don't eat it; especially now that Brody is eating what we are...we now have the Epi-Pen Jr. just in case...

If you have any questions, contact HEINZ at

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Straight from the Kid's Mouths....

Take a few minutes to watch this video...really puts things into perspective! I loved hearing from the kids what it is like to live with food allergies. So informative! I am not going to lie....some of their comments made me tear up.

Thanks Support for those with Food Allergies for sharing!

Straight from the Kid's Mouths....SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, September 4, 2009

O's for Brody

One of the first finger foods that I enjoyed giving to my older, non-allergic son was Gerber Puffs and Cheerios. The Cheerios were my favorite because I didn't care if some of them (or most of them) fell on the floor because they were so inexpensive (I always bought them on sale and there are always coupons available). Well, I had a problem when it came time to feeding Brody easy finger foods because Puffs are made with wheat starch and wheat flour and Cheerios contain wheat starch. And so began the search...

I have found an awesome substitute for the Cheerios and Brody loves them. They are called Trader Joe's Triple Berry-O's (Honey Oat O's with Dried Blueberries, Strawberries & Raspberries). They are $2.99...not a bad price in my opinion.

This cereal is great is even if you don't have food allergies!

If you have found any other inexpensive finger foods that are free of milk, eggs, peanuts and wheat...please let me know. I am going to make this even harder by saying that I would prefer not to use a product that has the disclaimer "may contain traces of." We are going to see an allergist (Dr. Brothers for those of you around Nashville) in a few weeks and I can't wait to hear what he has to say! Maybe my food journey will get easier...who's to hoping :)

CLICK HERE to see if there is a Trader Joe's near you

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Apple Oatmeal

One of the breakfast foods that Brody has been enjoying lately has been Earth's Best Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. It had been on sale and I had coupons, so I bought some for convenience sake (especially if we were going to be having breakfast somewhere). The other day, I ran out of it, so I decided to make my own. Here's my go at it...

This recipe is free of milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish


1 cup Old Fashioned Oats

2 cup of water (or milk substitute such as rice milk)

1 apple chopped into small pieces (or other fruit such as peaches, pears, bananas, creative!)

a dash of cinnamon


Boil water, stir in oats and fruit of choice if it needs to be softened (a banana could be stirred in at the end), cook about 5 minutes over medium heat. Stir occasionally. Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon into oatmeal and serve.

*You could cut this recipe in half, but I wanted to make more so that I could keep it in a Tupperware container in my refrigerator and have breakfast ready in about 30 seconds. I put the amount of oatmeal that I want to use in a microwavable bowl, add some rice milk and heat for 30 seconds. Stir well. Adding the rice milk brings the consistency back to what you need (it will be hard and clumped together in the refrigerator). If the oatmeal is too warm, add some cold rice milk. I sprinkle with additional cinnamon and serve. So quick and easy...AND affordable!

Concerned about using oats if you are allergic to wheat? Read what Emily Harris who wrote Sophie-Safe Cooking has to say about oats for the wheat allergic individual
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