Holiday Favorites, Snacking

Dove Valentine’s Chocolate

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Chocoholics REJOICE! If you have peanut / treenut allergies, I have such good news to share. Today we called Mars Candy Company, the manufacturer of Dove Chocolates. We asked spcifically about the Pink Champagne and Milk Chocolate Swirl hearts. The customer service rep assured us that they are made in a dedicated peanut and treenut free facility. 

Whats even more exciting is that on EVERY DOVE CHOCOLATE PACKAGE, it will say “Allergies” and a “may contain” statement. The may contain statement may not always be present. If it’s NOT present, then your specific allergen is not present in the manufacturing facility. If the allergen is in the manufacturing facility, it WILL BE STATED on the package in the “may contain” statement under “allergies.”

Wait, there is more! When you’re looking for allergy info, look for this code. ELZ. ELZ is a code that means the chocolate is made in a dedicated nutfree facility. No peanuts or tree nuts.  This code is located on the back of the bag in the “best by” date white box. It’s directy below the date.

Lastly, I just have to say KUDOS to Mars/Dove for having such EXCELLENT and KNOWLEDGABLE customer service representatives answering these allergy phone calls. Our rep today called me back very quickly and she was able to answer my questions and then offer more information for future purchases. I was impressed!

Thank you, Dove!

Holiday Favorites, Snacking

Cocoa White Chocolate Chip Cookies

For Valentine’s Day, we wanted to flip the traditional chocolate chip cookie around and make it a cocoa cookie with white chocolate chips. The flavor is amazing! Artisan Kettle White Chocolate does NOT disappoint. White chocolate is not always our favorite, but Artisan Kettle’s recipe for their white chocolate chips is incredible. It makes these cookies 100%. We made a batch to test, then another to deliver in some sweet Valentine treat bags for teachers at our school. We LOVE our teachers 🙂

White Chip Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F and prepare your cookie sheets.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by well-rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets using a 1″ ice cream scooper.
  3. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until centers are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. Enjoy! Yield is about 40 cookies

 

Snacking, Travel

No-Bake Granola Bars

Car breakfast is all the rage in our house right now – and I love it because it takes a step out of our morning. Eating in the car is multi-tasking, right? We made these on Sunday night to prep for the week and they literally took 5 minutes to put together. When you’re done mushing them into your pan, pop them into the fridge and they will set up over night for you to use all week long.

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal (like Rice Krispies or plain Chex)
  • 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed (optional)
  • 6 Tablespoons butter (*see note)
  • 4 Tablespoons Sunbutter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar , packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips , or other favorite add-in’s

Directions

  1. Line a square pan with parchment paper, 8×8 or 9×9 work fine. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, cereal, flax and set aside.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the butter, sunbutter, sugar, vanilla and honey. Microwave for about a minute until butter is melted. Stir well.
  4. Combine the melted ingredients into the dry ingredients. Combine.
  5. Pour the mixture into your prepped pan and press down evenly. I like to use a metal scraper to help push the granola down evenly.
  6. Sprinkle the granola with mini chocolate chips.
  7. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
  8. Once it’s set, use a chef knife to cut into bars. Store in air-tight container.
  9. Enjoy!
  10. Yield is about 8 to 10

 

 

Holiday Favorites, School Safe List, Snacking

The Week of Love

Happy Valentine’s Week! Many people think you should show love all the time, not just on a Hallmark Holiday, so they decide NOT to celebrate 2/14.  I have to agree 100% about showing love all the time; but expressing love & gratitiude on Valentine’s Day is equally as important. This goes for friends, co-workers, family, teachers; really anyone that makes your life lovelier! And this does NOT have to be a grand gesture. It could be as simple as an extra hug to say “happy valentine’s day,” a note on a car door/lunch box, free lunch, a free latte, anything to let that person know you have love/gratitude for them.

heart shaped pink and purple flower garden
Photo by shahbaz Akram on Pexels.com

Love is so important, and showing it can sometimes be hard if you have food allergies. I’ve had a lot of questions this week about Valentine’s Day and safe snacking. Here are some quick ideas incase you are still out and about – although by gaguing social media, many of us celebrated Valentine’s this past weekend already 🙂 Hope these tips help you have some fun this week.

Tonight we’re working on Valentine classroom cards and mailboxes 🙂 HOW FUN!

Target has some great finds:

  1. Valentine Oreos
  2. Mini Fruit Roll-Up (these were in the entry way at all targets i have been to)
  3. Welch’s Fruit Snacks
  4. Annies Fruit Snacks
  5. Fruit By the Foot
  6. Goldfish Valentine’s Packs
  7. YumEarth Fruitsnacks and Suckers
  8. Mini Bubbles (non-candy)
  9. Pencils (non-candy
  10. Hershey Kiss – Classic Bag
  11. Heart-shaped York Peppermint Patties

For the Chocolate lovers in your life, we ALWAYS recommend Vermont Nutfree. Watch our IG Live Stories this week, we’ll be unwrapping our first truffle box from them 🙂 If you’re baking in a nut-free kitchen, keep in mind the Enjoy Life chocolate!

With love and light,

Nutfreemom

Weeknight Dinners

Seared Sea Scallops in Vermouth Cream Sauce

If you live in the Midwest, you might have been rejoicing yesterday as your kids went off to school as the week has started in a “back to normal” routine – unlike last week, and the record number of consecutive days off! Below is a photo of the HIGH temperature last week Thursday.

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Our weekly grocery shop happened yesterday morning (Monday Morning Metcalfes Run) and I decided NOT to take a list. This was not a mistake, I wanted to grocery shop with an open mind, letting the creativity flow (lets be honest, this is not how I normally shop, but I was in a cooking rut, so new ideas needed to start popping in!). Metcalfes had some great looking seafood, and I decided to make some seared sea scallops at the last minute. We have not had them in a long time, and now that we have a gas cooktop, why not?

Luckily both kids LOVE seafood, and we are not allergic! And while scallops are very pricey, they were super buttery and delicious. For sure worth the $30 / pound price tag. It was a treat meal for sure, back to the norm today.

This recipe is easy to make during the week; however, if it’s your first time, I’d recommend tyring them over the weekend so you can get a feel for the recipe, how to prepare the scallops and your smoke detectors (it will get smoky, have that vent fan on and perhaps a window cracked!

Our IG LIVE stories still has the recipe live, if you want to see it first hand, otherwise, here is the recipe.

Pan Seared Sea Scallops in Creamy Vermouth Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 pound jumbo sea scallops
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup vermouth
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/8 tsp salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Clean scallops (see instructions in the link above, don’t forget to remove the side muscle).
  2. Heat butter in large skillet on high heat.
  3. When melted, add well dried scallops into butter. Sear on high for 2 to 2.5 minutes, then flip.
  4. Sear for another 2 minutes until a golden crust is formed.
  5. Remove to a plate, turn skillet to low.
  6. Add vermouth to skillet, and simmer for 1-2 minutes to reduce the vermouth, stirring. Scrape up any butter or scallop remains in the pan.
  7. Add cream, salt and pepper. Stir, simmering for another 1-2 minutes to combine.
  8. Serve sauce over scallops.

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Since they can be made very quickly, I recommend making your other sides first. We served ours over pasta and had  a side of broccoli. We estimate about 3 scallops per child and 5 per adult. In total we had 30 scallops in approximately 1 pound. Our scallops were fresh from Metcalfes, not frozen.