Friday, January 29, 2010

7 Layer Dip

With the Superbowl coming up, we are starting to plan our menu for the big day. I could care less about the game, I just love the food and watching the commercials. I am excited that there is going to be yummy, safe food for Brody. We are doing a lot of finger foods. It makes me so happy when food that we usually enjoy can be easily adjusted for him. This appetizer is hearty and full of flavor any time of the year! And no one will even think of it being "Allergen Free"

7 Layer Dip

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


1 can of refried beans (or enough homemade refried beans to fill the bottom of an 8x8 pan)

2 avocados, mashed

1 lime, juiced

coarse salt, to taste

salsa (I prefer the fresh, refrigerated kind), enough to use as a layer

1 can black olives

1 tomato, diced

1 small onion, diced

cilantro, chopped

*any other toppings that you like (fresh jalapeno, lettuce chopped, etc.)

*Tabasco on the side, optional

Serve with tortilla chips and/or Frito's

When we have this with my family or take this somewhere, I have a bowl of shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream on the side for whoever wants to add it :) A small bowl of fresh jalapeno chopped is also fun for those who want to add a little kick.


Spread 1 can of refried beans (or enough homemade refried beans...I make a huge batch and freeze it in small servings) on the bottom of an 8x8 pan. In a small bowl, mash the avocados with a fork until smooth and stir in lime juice and add coarse salt to taste. Spread the avocado mixture over top of the refried beans. Spread the salsa over the avocado mixture. Add the toppings. Enjoy!

I usually make this in advance in pull it out of the frig about 25 minutes before I serve it.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Allergen Free Cupcake...Ready to go!

1 previously frozen allergen free cupcake

+ previously frozen homemade frosting

= ready to go to a birthday party!

We were invited to go to a birthday party and I had everything ready in my freezer to pull out a safe dessert for Brody. Quick and Easy....
  • I had a batch of previously frozen chocolate cupcakes made with pumpkin (allergen free)

Allergen Free Cupcake

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


Any cake mix you like and that is safe for your family

1 can of 100% pure pumpkin


Mix ingredients and bake at 350 for approximately 15 minutes

  • I had a batch of homemade frosting that I had made and froze in a freezer bag. I just defrosted it a few hours before the party and took out what I needed to frost the cupcake and threw it back in the freezer. Ready to go for next time!

Buttercream Icing (recipe from Sophie-Safe Cooking)

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


1/4 cup Earth Balance
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.

  • Throw some sprinkles on that allergen free cupcake and you are good to go! I put it in a small Tupperware container so it didn't get messed up and Brody was able to eat along with the other kids, and I wasn't in the kitchen making ONE cupcake for him to have at a party.

*Did you know that Whole Foods has sprinkles that do not have dyes in them but are colored with natural colorings (example: beet juice for red/pink sprinkles)? These are found in the bakery. They make them right there. I was told not to apply the sprinkles liberally because if there are too many you can taste the natural coloring. I think this is AWESOME!

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dr. Oz Talks About Food Allergies

This video is GREAT! Share it with those you love...

Food allergies are not only bothersome, they can be downright deadly.

Three Warning Signs of Food Allergies:

  • Skin irritation

  • Tingling in your mouth

  • Swelling in the throat and difficulty breathing

Give it a second and the video will come on...if not, go HERE to see it from the Dr. Oz website
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Oven Fries

I don't feel as bad serving these homemade fries that are baked and still have the skin on them :)

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


Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for drizzling)

4-5 medium potatoes (I used Russet potatoes), cleaned and cut into french fry size pieces

coarse salt and pepper

*Optional: other seasonings, I like Weber Grill Creations Roasted Garlic and Herb


Cut potato into french fry size pieces

drizzle with olive oil

Bake on 400 degrees until cooked through and crispy. Approximately 25-30 minutes.

These are great with Super Sloppy Joes! In my opinion, this is perfect "American Idol watching" food :) My 3 year old really looks forward to watching it.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Minestrone Soup

A week or so ago, we were supposed to get a few inches of snow (ha!), we got a light dusting. I thought this soup would be perfect to having simmering on the stove on a day that we might be stuck inside. This is one of my favorite soups that my grandmother made. I would request it for my birthday dinner quite often. Now, I love that it is packed with lots of veggies and is a healthful, delicious dinner option for my family.

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


extra virgin olive oil (for sauteing veggies)

1-2 lbs of stew meat cut into small pieces

4 cloves of garlic, pressed

3-4 large carrots, sliced (or you could use a small bag of matchsticks or baby carrots)

2-3 celery stalks, diced

3-4 large potatoes, cut into chucks

1 large onion, diced

1 9 oz box of frozen green beans

1 9 oz box chopped frozen spinach (no sauce), defrost and squeeze as much water as you can out of it

1/2 small head cabbage, coarsely chopped

32 oz. safe beef broth (I used is gluten free). Vegetable broth would work if you do not want to use beef broth.

2 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes (undrained) or 28 oz can (whatever you have on hand)

1 tsp. oregano (I threw in some fresh oregano from my garden)

coarse ground salt and pepper to taste


If you are using a crockpot (mine is not big enough for all of these veggies, etc.) Throw all of the ingredients in and let look for 8-10 hours. The longer it cooks, the more the flavors come together.


Large Pot
In a large pot, saute garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, onion and green beans in a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add cabbage, beef broth, tomatoes and oregano. Heat until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until veggies are tender. I let mine cook on low for about 4 hours.

It is going to look like there is not enough liquid, but you will get liquid from the vegetables as the soup cooks. At the end before you serve, you can either add more beef broth or some water to make it the consistency that you like if it is too thick.

To make this meal stretch further, you could serve it with small pasta. I do not mix it directly into the soup pot because it soaks up the liquid and it is not good frozen. If you put your pasta directly into the bowls when serving you will be able to freeze the rest of your minestrone for another time.

*You could also substitute other veggies like zucchini or squash...whatever your family likes! This is a great soup to make when you have stray veggies in your frig that you need to do something with :)

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Allergen Free Treats

At our FACTS meeting last week, we were able to sample delicious cookies and cupcakes from Kateelayne Carefree Treats. The cookies were shaped like hearts (perfect for Valentine's day) and were beautifully decorated (made me feel like a kid again...who doesn't want to eat a heart shaped cookie?) Not only are the treats absolutely adorable to look at, but they taste delicious.

I PROMISE you would not be able to tell the difference if you had a regular treat or this allergen free treat next to one another (except Kateelayne's treats are much healthier since they do not have trans fat).

These treats are perfect to purchase for birthday parties, school parties or just to have in the freezer if you are invited somewhere where unsafe treats will be served. You or your child will not feel left out with these beautifully decorated, delicious treats (and they are so moist)!
All of the treats are made in a dedicated facility that is always peanut, dairy, egg, and nut free (there are also GLUTEN FREE cookies). Brody and I sampled they Gluten Free cookies and they are wonderful! My non-allergic three year old had one also and LOVED it!

It is so nice that we have a local business like Kateelayne Carefree Treats that is so forward thinking in the treats that they make.

Valentine's day is will be here before you know it!
Go over HERE and check out the website
Kateelayne Carefree Treats
998 B Davidson Road
Nashville TN 37205

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Update for Safe Food at Cracker Barrel

From the previous post on Cracker Barrel, I have also added Wheat (gluten) options and information on peanuts CLICK HERE

If you would like to have a hard copy of this information, ask the manager to print it out for you. It is called Core Menu Item Recommendations For the 8 Major Food Allergens. I only listed milk, eggs, peanuts and wheat.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cracker Barrel

Recently, my parents asked if we wanted to go to Cracker Barrel and they would treat us. Obviously, I wanted to go for a free meal, but I was hesitant because I thought there would be nothing for Brody to eat and he is at the point now that he sees us eating and wants what we have, so I didn't think that would be fair.

I decided to call and ask to speak to the manager. I figured at least bacon or sausage could be safe and I could bring him other food to supplement (This way, he could have something that we were eating). I explained the food allergy situation to the manger and he was extremely helpful. He told me that the meat is cooked on a separate grill from the eggs, etc. That sounded good to me, but then I thought, "What if someone ordered a cheeseburger and some of the cheese dripped onto the grill, etc.?" I know, I am thinking in extremes, but I want to be cautious. I expressed my concern to him about this remote possibility and he told me that they could clean the grill off before cooking Brody's food. He told me to ask for him when we arrived and he would take it from there (SO NICE!).

Not only did the manger take care of us when we were there, he brought me out a list of safe options. I am such a visual person...I love hard copies of information. This is probably another reason I started this blog to cut down on all of the papers I accumulate and to be able to have them accessible in one place.

This information was updated by Cracker Barrel on 1/03/10 and it must be from a handbook and on the bottom of the page, it says Quality Assurance.

Milk Allergen

The following food can be recommended for guests who are allergic to milk

  • Breads: Sourdough Bread (regular and wheat), Westminster Crackers

  • Apple Bran Muffins

  • Eggs (fresh shell eggs only); Egg Beaters and Eggstrod'naire contain milk

  • Grilled Meats: Bacon, Ham, Sausage, Grilled Chicken Tenders, Hamburger Steak-be careful to prevent cross-contamination from pancakes and breads other than sourdough, from cheese or from butter and margarine used to grill other foods.

  • Dip Items: Meatloaf

  • Side Items: Apple Sauce, Green Beans, Pinto Beans, Turnip Greens

  • Tossed Salad, Grilled Chicken Tender Salad or Country Chef Salad (without Cheese, Egg and Croutons)

  • The Following Salad Dressings do not contain Milk: Honey French (regular & fat free), Honey Mustard (regular & fat free), Thousand Island (regular & fat free), Reduced Calorie Italian

*All fried items should be avoided due to cross-contamination from the cooking oil.

Egg Allergen

The following foods can be recommended for guests who are allergic to eggs

  • Breads: Biscuits, Sourdough Bread (regular and wheat), Westminster Crackers

  • Grilled Meats: Bacon, Ham, Sausage, Grilled Chicken Tenders, Hamburger Steak, Ribeye and Sirloin Steaks-be careful to prevent cross contamination from Pancakes and French Toast

  • Dip Items: Roast Beef and Gravy, Chicken and Dumplings, Turkey and Gravy

  • Side Items: Apple Sauce, Green Beans, Pinto Beans, Turnip Greens

  • Tossed Salad, Grilled Chicken Tender Salad or Country Chef Salad (without Egg, Cheese and Croutons)

  • The following Salad Dressings do not contain Egg: Honey French (regular & fat free), Fat Free & Reduced Calorie Italian, Fat Free Ranch, Fat Free Thousand Island

*All fried items should be avoided due to cross contamination from the cooking oil

Wheat (Glutens) Allergens
The following can be recommended for guests who are allergic to wheat
  • Eggs and Grilled Meats: Bacon, Sausage, Grilled Catfish, Grilled Chicken Tenders, Hamburger Steak, Ribeye and Sirloin Steaks-be careful to prevent cross contamination from Pancakes and French Toast
  • Side Items: Apple Sauce, Carrots, Corn, Green Beans, Pinto Beans, Turnip Greens

*All fried items should be avoided due to cross-contamination from the cooking oil.

Peanut Allergies

Cracker Barrel does not cook with peanut oil and does not add peanuts to any of our menu items. The core menu items are peanut free. Please carefully check all labels for any promotional items, weekly specials, and regional menu items.

The items that are in bold are safe for Brody (milk, eggs, peanuts and wheat) as long as there is no cross contamination.

Many of the mothers at the FAAN meeting this week also expressed that they have had a good experience at Cracker Barrel and managers have went as far as to bring out labels on items for the parents to read to ensure that it was safe for their child. It is nice to know Cracker Barrel has some safe options, especially when you are traveling. You know you are going to drive by a ton of Cracker Barrel's on your way to your destination. Just hope that you get a manager who goes out of his/her way to accommodate and make you feel comfortable about how the food is being prepared.

One more thing I will add: on the back of my paper the manager put the label for the White Sourdough Bread. I figured I would just add this information since I had it.
White Sourdough Bread: ingredients: flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, potassium bromate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin), water, sugar, corn oil, potato flakes (dehydrated potatoes, mono and diglycerides, sodium acide pyrophosphate, citric acid., A natural mixed tocopherols [a natural source of vitamin E] added to protect freshness), salt.

One more safe eating out option to add to the list!

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Read Your Labels..Again and Again...

I made a mistake tonight that if I hadn't had caught in time, would have cost us a night in the Emergency Room.

I ran to Kroger before making dinner. I was making sloppy joes and needed tomato paste. I buy tomato paste all of the time and know that it is safe. I was in a hurry, grabbed the tomato paste and came home to prepare dinner. As I was dumping the tomato paste into the sloppy joes, I saw what looked like black flakes. I began searching for the expiration date because I thought it might be expired because it looked weird to me...not my usual tomato paste. The expiration was fine, 2011. I then started to put it together and looked at the front label...ITALIAN TOMATO PASTE. Ok, so that weired stuff I realized was I flipped to look at the ingredients on the back and I read that it contained MILK. Oh yes, there was CHEESE in the Italian tomato paste. Are you kidding me??? (FYI: It was Kroger Italian Tomato Paste...stay away, I repeat...stay away if you have milk allergies).

I was thankful that I realized the mistake before I serving it to Brody, but was disappointed that my safe sloppy joes were no longer safe. This just made me can never be too careful and always read labels before you dump your ingredients in...even if you think it is safe, or it has been safe in the past. Manufacturers change ingredients all of the time OR like me, you can buy the wrong type.

Milk hides in a lot of ingredients that you would never think of....boullion cubes and some seasonings just to name a is crazy!

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Some Allergy Friendly Restaurants

We had a FACTS (Food Allergy Community of Tennessee) meeting tonight and we discussed traveling with food allergies and shared some restaurants that are more than willing to accommodate those with food allergies. If you were not able to make it, here is the handout that was passed out...

Sit Down Restaurants

  • Bonefish Grill-(Cool Springs)-cook to order/aware of food allergies
  • Carrabba’s Italian Grill-cooked to order/aware of food allergies
  • Outback-cooked to order/aware of food allergies
  • P.F. Changs-cooked to order/aware of food allergies
  • J. Alexander’s-Layne has had a good experience with them
  • Cantina Laredo-Ginger recommends
  • Bahama Breeze (Memphis, Atlanta)-while traveling we dined here and had a wonderful experience
  • Cracker Barrel-the manager gave me a list of options that would work with my son’s allergies
  • Corky’s
  • O Charley’s

Tips for Dining Out

  • Call the manager in advance and ask if they can accommodate with the food allergies and let them know when you are coming in to dine. Get their name and ask if they will still be on shift. If not, ask what manager to speak with when you arrive.
  • Try to go at a time when it is not too busy (when the restaurant first opens or at an odd time is great since the manager will have more time to spend with you and the kitchen will not be slammed…this means less chance of a mistake/cross-contamination).
  • Tell your server about the food allergies
  • Ask to speak with manager (if you have the name of the manager, that is even better) once you are seated at your table.
  • Hand a Chef Card (there is one on FAAN, HERE) to the manger so he can give to the chef so he/she has a hard copy of the allergies that they avoiding while cooking
  • Thank them…Thank them…Thank them (make sure to give your server a good tip)
  • Grab (or ask for) the manager’s card and follow up with an email thanking them or even email corporate to “brag” on the manager/restaurant if they have done a great job (mostly likely, they will remember you when you go in to dine again)

A quick Bite to eat

  • Honeybaked Ham-ham and turkey are free of the common allergens: dairy, soy, gluten and nuts. They are also open for lunch (coupon HERE). There are also coupons in the inserts in the paper sometimes.
  • Tossed (Cool Springs)-dairy free/gluten free tomato basil soup and salad options.
  • Garlic Jim's (Cool Springs)-gluten free pizza/have non-dairy cheese available if you pay extra
  • Red Robin-Layne has had a good experience

I am certain there are many more restaurants that are safe and/or accommodating in our area. The most important thing to do is get online, look up the menu, find out if there is something that looks like it could be safe and give them a call to make sure. It would be disappointing to get to the restaurant only to find out that nothing is safe to eat or the staff is not accommodating. You will get a feel for it on the phone if they want to take care of you and make sure the food is safe.

I have some of these restaurants and others under Safe Options for Eating Out

*Bonefish Grill, Outback and Carrabba’s Italian Grill are affiliated and more than willing to take care of those who have food allergies. Again, just mention to your server and the manager when you arrive.

Enjoy an Allergen Free Night Out!
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Spice Muffins

These are great to have as a treat. I like making them in mini muffins for Brody because they are bite size and don't break apart (and make a mess) like regular muffins. You only need two ingredients, which makes this such an easy recipe to whip together in a moments notice.

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

*Could be soy and wheat free if right mix is used

1 box Spice Cake Mix
1 can of 100% pure pumpkin

Mix ingredients together in a large bowl. Put in a mini muffin pan and bake at 350 for approximately 10-12 minutes.

I like to freeze the leftovers in a freezer bag to have treats that are ready to eat!

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Friday, January 8, 2010

HoneyBaked for Lunch

If you are like me, I usually think of Honeybaked for around the holidays; but what about for lunch?

We now know that the ham and turkey are safe, so I thought this was a great deal for $4.99. The lunch deal includes your choice of a whole sandwich, chips and a drink. If you are gluten free, I think just eating the ham or turkey by itself would be great!

Click here for the coupon. It expires on 3/6/2010 so you have a little while to use it.

The hardest thing that I have found is to have a safe place for lunch that won't break the bank...this is a great option!

The ham and turkey (smoked or roasted) are free of dairy, milk, eggs, glutens or wheat products, nuts or nut products, and soy products (soy flour, soy oil, etc.)
If you want the ingredient list for either the ham or the turkey, just email me at allergenfreeplease (at) gmail (dot) com and I will send it to you. It is the list from the company.

*If you go, I would speak with the person preparing your lunch and tell them about the food allergies.

I was told at the Honeybaked Ham that I go to, that the meat is sliced on a different slicer than the cheese (which is awesome!); but just make sure, you can never be too careful.
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bonefish Grill

There is another safe restaurant for you to eat at...Bonefish Grill. A few months ago, my in-laws took my husband and I out to dinner without the kids, and while we were there I asked the server if they would be able accommodate Brody with his food allergies. I was told to bring him in and they will make safe food, since they make everything cooked to order. I was excited to have another restaurant that was not annoyed or who didn't have a clue about cooking for someone with food allergies.

My husband and I were planning on going to Bonefish for a date night in the near future because they have $5 Bang Bang Shrimp (full of allergens) on Wednesday nights (this is one of our favorite appetizers). This is a great deal for this appetizer...and there is no limit on how many you can purchase :)

Well, we decided to bring the kids with us since it was a last minute decision to go. I got on the Internet, looked at the kids menu and saw that grilled chicken and fresh vegetables is one of the options (I figured this could definitely be safe). I called and spoke with one of the staff and asked again if they could accommodate Brody. I was told to come in and that they would take care of us.

When we arrived at Bonefish, I spoke with our server and she immediately brought the manager to our table. We spoke to him about the allergens that we are having to avoid. He said the grilled chicken with no seasonings and freshly steamed broccoli with no seasonings would be safe for Brody. He spoke with the chef and made sure that there would not be any possibility of cross-contamination. The manager personally brought Brody out a little plate of fruit so that he had something to snack on while his dinner was being prepared (I thought this was going over and beyond). Brody nearly cleaned his plate when his dinner was brought out. My parents joke that we are not going to be able to afford to feed my two boys as they get older :)

The manager came back to our table during dinner to make sure that everything was alright and I thanked him and told him it is so nice to be able to dine somewhere that the staff completely understands the food allergies and the severity of it. We had a wonderful, safe experience at Bonefish!

We ordered off the kids menu for Brody, but they have many adult options (not just seafood). Check out their menu online. They also have a Gluten Free menu.

The manager gave me his card and told me to give him a call before we come in and he would take care of us...

Nathan Miller
3010 A Mallory Lane
Franklin, TN 37067

To find a Bonefish Grill near you, click here. Also, you can call and make reservations, which is so nice!
Hope you are able to have an allergen free night out :)
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Spaghetti with Meatballs and Sausage

My mother-in-law has a great spaghetti recipe that makes enough to feed an army. The reason I love that it makes so much? Well, you dirty your pots and kitchen ONCE and get to eat homemade spaghetti three to four times (at a later date, of course) nice is that? I am learning to cook more at one time and freeze the rest for other meals. It really makes it convenient when evenings are busy (or things come up); you can pull a healthy meal out of the freezer and put it together in minutes. This concept has been saving my family time and money.

Spaghetti with Meatballs and Sausage

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

olive oil (enough in the pot to saute onions and garlic)
2 large onions, diced
10 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 lbs fresh mushrooms (optional)
5 28 oz cans of petite diced tomatoes
5 8 oz can of tomato sauce
2 12 oz can of tomato paste
3 bay leaves
3 tbsp Italian seasoning (I used fresh oregano and rosemary from my herb garden)
1 tbsp parsley
sugar to taste
optional: a couple splashes of red wine
2 pounds of cooked Italian Sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces (this can be cooked in a pan, or baked the same way as the meatballs...directions below)
meatballs (recipe below)
1 lb of spaghetti noodles (We love Quinoa and it is Gluten Free)
*if you want your sauce Vegetarian...leave out the meat :)

Heat olive oil in a large pot, saute onion, garlic and mushrooms (if using). Once soft, add petite diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, bay leaves, seasonings, and sugar. Add meatballs (directions below) and sausage. Let sauce simmer for approximately 8 hours (the longer it cooks, the more the flavors combine). Serve with your favorite spaghetti noodles.
*I have also made this recipe in two large crockpots and it turned out great.

2-3 pounds of ground sirloin
3 slices of safe bread ground up in blender to make breadcrumbs (or you can use prepared safe breadcrumbs)
3 garlic cloves, pressed
Italian herbs (I use fresh oregano and rosemary from my herb garden)
Enough rice (or soy milk) to help bind together

Mix all ingredients with your hands in a large bowl and make into little balls. Place on a baking sheet (with a lip to catch any liquids...I use a pampered chef baking pan) and bake at 400 for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until browned. Once cooked through, put the meatballs in the sauce pot.

Once you eat your meal the day you prepare it, divide the rest of the cooled spaghetti sauce into gallon freezer bags (this would feed 3-4). Label the bags of sauce and put them in the freezer for later use. If we are having guests over to eat, I take out at least 2 freezer bags of sauce.

More uses for your leftover sauce?

  • meatball/sausage hot subs
  • baked ziti
  • use as pizza sauce for a homemade pizza

I got my huge 16 quart pot (it is from The Food Network) at Kohls on sale and I love it. I use it to cook tons of beans, soups, spaghetti sauce, etc. I figure it will come in handy when I am making lots of food as my two boys get older :)

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Saving Money in the New Year!

I have been couponing now for about 2 1/2 years. It is amazing how much money I save and how well I am able to feed my family. Not only am I able to save on food, I am able to save on toiletries, paper products, etc.

When I found out Brody had food allergies, I thought, "That's it, I am not going to be able to save money when food shopping; I am going to have to shop at Whole Foods." I returned most of my unsafe, unopened, non-perishable food to Publix (they were so great about it). I went to Whole Foods looking for safe food for myself (since I was nursing at the time) and for Brody. I was SO overwhelmed by having to shop milk, egg, wheat and peanut free. The first time I went to Whole Foods, I don't think I bought anything. I just walked around writing down prices and feeling sick to my stomach. I ran into another mom who pointed out safe butter (Earth's Balance) and we exchanged information (We now keep in touch. It is funny the instant connection you make with others who have to deal with food allergies). Once I started processing the whole food allergy thing, I started finding products (this is how Allergen Free Please started) and realized that if I cooked mostly from scratch, I could control exactly what was going into the food (obviously this cannot be done for everything...and that is why I found go-to products, but try to use coupons when I buy them).

The Sophie Safe Cookbook (free of the top 8 allergens) got me thinking about the family recipes that I had that I could change ingredients and cook for my family. She has great recipes in her book.

Back to can buy good, allergy safe food (Muir Glen, which has organic tomatoes, paste, and sauce has coupons out all of the time...I am able to get some of these products for almost free when the company puts out their $1 off a Muir Glen Product coupon). My favorite site that has a bit of everything is Southern Savers. Jenny matches up coupons/products and stores for you. You can even print your list right from her site. IT IS AWESOME!

I buy two newspapers a week for my family. I try to find out which place is selling them for $1 (or I buy them on Monday at the Kroger near my house because they are $1). The "rule" of couponing is to buy a paper for each person in your family, but for right now, two works for us.
I cut out the coupons that I KNOW my family will use. We try to avoid high fructose corn syrup, MSG, trans fat, dyes and of course egg, milk, wheat (we do give Brody some wheat now and he is doing great with it) and peanuts. I save tons of money each week and buy healthy food for my are not just for junk food...PROMISE! I get Soy milk coupons, frozen vegetable coupons (great for soups), salad coupons, orange juice coupons, etc, not to mention paper products and toiletries. Now wouldn't you use these? By time grocery stores double the coupons (most up to .50) have paid for your paper and much MORE!

Another frugal tip...I have found that Kroger has a great selection of safe food in the organic section for my family. They double coupons up to .50, which makes the price come down quickly. I find safe food for Brody all of that time that has been marked down as "manager's special" and I am even able to find organic meat marked down (getting ready to expire), put it in freezer bags and freeze it for later use.

The Thrifty Momma matches up Whole Food Deals if you shop there (click on categories at the top of the page and then scroll down to Whole Foods). I will run into Whole Foods for my Kid's Fish Oil, Earth Balance Buttery Sticks for baking and any other deal I can score. Don't forget that Whole Foods has the Whole Deal book of coupons that you can combine with a manufacturer's coupon if you have one.

Buy the newspaper this Sunday...there is going to be a ton of coupon inserts. Clip your coupons, head over to Southern Savers for all the details on how to get started and start saving money in 2010!

My favorite (not all grocery deals) site that I love for all kinds of deals is Hip 2 Save!

Saving Money in the New Year!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2010! Does the New Year put anyone else in the organizing mood? One of my short term goals, is to get an emergency plan ready for Brody (laminated and concise) to have with him at all times. I will share that with you when it is complete. After his severe reaction on Thanksgiving, I see how important an emergency plan is; especially if he is under the care of someone else at the time of an accidental ingestion.

Also, head over to Be Free For Me and leave a comment to win a Sweet Alexis Gift Pack, full of a variety of egg-free, dairy-free and nut-free cookies, muffins, breads and cake (A $50 value!). Two readers will win, so you have an even better chance! You have until Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 by 12:00 midnight to put in your entry.

Take a minute to read the story behind Sweet made me misty-eyed while reading. Again, I am always so encouraged by moms who don't wallow in their children's food allergies, but get out there and make a change...SO AWESOME!

Happy New Year!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
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