Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mayor of Crazy Town

Tap, Tap, Tap. . . . . Hello? Is this thing on? 

Hi friends, remember me? 

I've been taking up residency for the last few weeks, as the mayor of Crazytown! 

For some reason, I thought I would be able to balance a new blog/Instagram account, opening a new vendor booth in a local shop, hosting student teachers from Finland, and being a teacher, wife and mom all at the same time. 

Every now and then, I have this burst of complete insanity where I think I can do it all. . . . and do it all well. The truth is, I can't. I can do one or two things well, but the rest falls apart. I think we tend to do that as Moms, and then we beat ourselves up when the 75 hats that we're wearing fall to the ground. 

So, long story short, I took a breather from blogging and Instagram. Gave myself some Grace, and I'm happy to say that I'm ready to move out of Crazytown and back into the real world :) 

My little booth is up and running, my student teachers are finishing up their stay, and summer is right around the corner!! I'm ready to start snapping pics, and blogging again. 

I'll be back tomorrow with one of my new favorite recipes for Good Morning Coffee Cake! 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Super Simple Summer Salad

Nothing says warmer days are on their way, like a good ol' BTL!! 

This salad takes all of the best parts of the BLT and combines them together to give you that summery flavor, with out the grains and added allergens. It's so yummy, you won't even miss the bread!! 

This salad is prefect for those days when you've been playing outside or at the pool and need a quick meal! 

Cook bacon until crispy. (I prefer to cook mine in the oven 400 degree oven for 18 minutes. Way less mess, plus I can get other things done while it cooks.) Cook until crispy, and then set aside to cool slightly. 

In a large bowl mix together Soy- Free Vegenaise  and mustard. Add in a tablespoon of the bacon grease. This amps up the bacon floor and helps the dressing to coat the salad. 

Once the dressing is mixed, add in your chopped lettuce. (I like the way the iceberg lettuce holds up to the heat of the bacon and thickness of the dressing.) Cut the grape tomatoes in half and add those in as well. 

Finally, crumble up the bacon and add it in. Give it all a good mix to coat it with the dressing, and voila! Just like that, a dinner filled with all of those classic BLT flavors is ready to serve!!  

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Allergy-Friendly Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I first started creating allergy-friendly recipes my main goal was to create food that tasted just like the original. I wanted to be able to serve what I was making to everyone. 

Steve and the girls are always my first taste-testers. If they give me recipe the thumbs up, I'll often bring in samples for my coworkers to taste and critique as well. 

When I brought in these cookies, they all agreed they were dead on!! Several of them asked for the recipe too. That to me, is always a sign that the recipe is a winner. 

This recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies. I've also doubled this recipe and frozen the dough, so I have it on hand if I need a last minute dessert or treat. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I always line my cookie sheets with parchment paper for easy clean-up. 

In a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 

In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, cream together granulated sugar, brown sugar, and room temperature soy-free vegan butter. Add in coconut milk (I like Silk Original Coconut Milk), and pure vanilla extract. Mix until blended. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mini chocolate chips and stir until combined. 

I like to use my tablespoon to measure out my dough and help make each cookie the same size so they cook evenly. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until the edges start to brown, but the center is still soft to the touch. * The flour blend will not brown like a traditional cookie, but the edges will. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Beautiful Bone Broth

We have the most amazing family doctor, who specializes in Holistic medicine and gut-functions. She's the perfect blend of western medicine and natural approaches. . . . and I could go on and on about all of the wonderful things she has done for my little family, but I'll spare ya that list for another day. 

She has been particularly helpful with Elli's allergies and helping to regulate and maintain a healthy gut-function. After looking through the results of one of Elli's tests she mentioned using bone broth.  She suggested that we could all benefit from drinking a cup of it a day, talked briefly about the benefits it offers, and sent us on our way with a list of other sources to check for more information. 

Well, let me tell you, I never knew that one little cup of bone broth could do SO much! Not to mention, be so easy to make!! 

This is a two step process. Easy steps. . . I'm talking, taking the bones from the oven and shoving them into a crock-pot. . . . I mean. . . could it get any easier!! 

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Take your soup bones and place them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, salt each of the bones. Roast them in the oven for about 45 minutes, turning them half way through. 

As the bones are roasting, give all of your veggies a rough chop and add them into your slow-cooker. 

With the slow-cooker on high, add in the veggies, salt, pepper corns, Italian Seasoning. Once the bones have roasted and browned, transfer them to the slow-cooker and cover with water and apple cider vinegar.  

Cook on high for 2 hours and then turn to low and let it cook for an additional 12 hours. Once the broth is finished, discard all of the solids and strain the remaining liquid into jars. This will make about 6-8 cups of broth. 

Store in the fridge or freeze to use later. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Allergy-Friendly Pantry Must Haves

Since starting my journey into allergy-friendly cooking and baking, I've learned that there are a few "must have" items that I always try to keep on hand. 

1. Rice Milk-  One of the things I like the most about rice milk is that it is shelf-sustainable, so it is easy to keep on hand. Rice milk has a very mild flavor, so I often use it in recipes where I don't want the flavor to be altered. This is also Elli's milk of choice :) 

2. Soy Free Vegenaise - I use this just like regular mayo.  (I've tried both the regular Veganaise and the Soy Free and think they are equally as good.) It's great on sandwiches, in tuna, and for dips and dressings.

3. A good quality bottle of pure vanilla extract- Especially when baking with allergy-friendly flours, a good quality vanilla extract can make a big impact. Buying pure, organic vanilla instead of imitation,  can be pricey, but it's a worthwhile investment. 

4. Silk Coconut Milk-  This milk also comes in original, vanilla or an unsweetened version. We prefer the original which is sweetened. I love to use this in my baking, and Steve and Edy love it on their cereal.  

5. Organic Coconut Oil- This little jar can do so many things! I use coconut oil to cook with, in place of butter in some recipes, to grease my cooking pans and I have also rubbed it on my chicken and then topped it with spices. That doesn't even begin to much all of the other non-cooking uses it has as well!

6. Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips-  I really can't say enough great things about this company and their products! These little chips are always in stock in our pantry. I melt them, bake with them, snack on them and use them All. The. Time!

7. Earth Balance Soy Free Spread-   The best "buttery" spread around! Anywhere I would use butter, I use this. Let me tell you, it makes a killer frosting!! 

8. Coconut Milk-  I like to use canned coconut milk in my cooking. The other type works great for baking, but the thick creaminess of the canned kind is perfect in soups and sauces. Any recipe that calls for cream, I sub this in its place. It does have a sweet flavor, but I've found if I up the spices a bit more you can't taste the difference. 

9. Allergy-Friendly Flour Blend-  This gluten free, potato free, soy free, nut free mix is something you will always find in my pantry. I use this in all of my baking! 

10. Palm Oil Shortning-  My I love to mix this with my Earth Balance Spread for the creamiest frosting ever!! Yum!! I also love to keep this on hand because every now and then I run into a recipe where I need it. I also use this to grease my pans. 

11. Tapioca Flour-  All of the items on this list are "must haves", but this one is a "HAVE to HAVE"! This little bag of magic will serve so many purposes in your kitchen. I use Tapioca as a thickener, in breading, and if you add a tablespoon of this to your butternut squash or potato fries, it gives them the perfect crunchy crust!! 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Allergy-Friendly Zippy Ranch Dip

"When some veggies come along, you must dip it!!" . . . . Ok that's not how the song goes, but that's always the tune I'm singing in my head as I make this dip. 

A zippy, allergy-friendly version of traditional Ranch, this dip is way to whip up! 

In a bowl, mix together vegan mayo (I use the soy free kind), garlic powder, onion, powder, dill, salt, and pepper. Add in a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce and a splash of rice milk. (Any kind of milk will do to help thin out the mayo, I just prefer rice milk because it doesn't alter the taste of the dip.) 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Chex Mix Chicken Tenders

Chex mix. . . . Yes, please! 

Chicken tenders. . . . You betcha!! 

Both are favorites for my little crew, so when I decided to use the left over Chex mix crumbs as breading. . . I was pretty sure I'd have a home run! 

These babies didn't disappoint!! 
This recipe will make about 12 or so tenders depending on how thick you cut your strips. 

In a microwaveable bowl, melt vegan butter (I use Earth Balance Soy Free), seasoned salt, garlic powder and onion powder. Mix in Chex and microwave 2 minutes at a time, for 6 minutes total. Stir the mix in between each round. Spread the mix out on a paper towel to cool and dry. 

Cut chicken breast lengthwise into strips. I get 4-5 strips per breast. 

Once the mix has cooled crush it up and mix it with the tapioca flour. 

Fill an additional bowl with water, dunk each strip into the water and then into the dry mix. Press the mix firmly on to the strips.

I switch back a forth between baking these and frying them. If you bake them, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake at 400 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. 

To fry them coat the bottom on a skillet with veggie oil and heat on medium heat. Once the oil has heated add in the strips (about 4 at a time) and cook for about 3 minutes per side.