Holiday Favorites, How to be Nutfree

Nut-Free Easter Candy at Target

Here’s a little sneak peepster into Easter! Last week, I stopped at our local Target in Madison/Fitchburg. Here’s what they have in the seasonal section that is nut-free:


  • Fun Dip
  • Nerds Ropes
  • Skittles
  • Cheese-Its
  • Trolli
  • War Heads
  • Pez
  • Peeps in original packaging
  • Whoppers / Robbins Eggs
  • Smarties
  • Charms cotton candy / bunny tails
  • Hershey Kisses in the classic bag, not bulk bag (this is located in the non-seasonal section, near the regular candy / junk food aisle)

Be careful with the peeps. Easter Bunny majorly missed the labels last year and brought us the Peeps on the stick, those are not safe. They are made in a facility with tree nuts and peanuts. But some of the other Peeps ARE safe. I thought the cute stuffed animal peep with the marshmallow peeps below was super cute. But honestly, if we get one more stuffed animal…….

Easter Bunny tries not to give too much candy. Peeps are a big thing in our house though because Grandpa Joe REALLY likes them, and everyone knows it. So we have to have peeps. The kids LOVE peeps. Who doesn’t love a good stale marshmallow?! We may save some of our extra peeps this year for campfire season – how funny would that be?! Peep S’mores?! Delish.

Lastly, Easter Bunny typically stops at Vermont Nut Free since they have the most adorable chocolates for Easter. How good does this assorted chocolate egg look?! All of their chocolates are so amazing. We typically order from Vermont Nut Free for almost every holiday. Their shipping is very quick and the quality of their product is above and beyond. Their chocolate is very, very good.

Easter Egg Grand Assortment

Jelly beans can be challenging this time of year, we are just going to go with Vermont Nut Free on this one, too, since many are made in a facility with nuts. And after talking with the Jelly Belly Factory, Jelly Belly is peanut free, but not tree nut free. Their facility in Pleasant Prairie processes pistachios.


Dot Box Jelly Beans

Once we have a sample basket put together, I’ll post it to my Instagram for you to see 🙂 Happy Hunting!

Holiday Favorites, School Safe List

A Very Target Valentine’s Day


Both of my kids have the flu, but yesterday we were totally fine, doing our Target stock up, and I’m so glad we did. We are using everything we bought yesterday to help alleviate these symptoms.

  • water with electrolytes
  • zinc
  • OJ
  • tissue
  • Honest juice boxes
  • bleach wipes
  • chicken noodle soup
  • detergent for all those blankets!!!

While we were stocking up for the “off chance we get sick with the flu” we saw this amazing display of nut-free items and had to snap a pic.

Valentine’s Day is approaching and Target is rocking the nut-free options this year, which hasn’t always been the case!


This is the back, seasonal section of your local Target Boutique. Not all of these items shown are nut-free, but these are the school safe items shown:

  1. Tootsie Pops
  2. Fun Dip
  3. Starbursts
  4. Skittles
  5. Trolli
  6. Air Heads
  7. Sweedish Fish
  8. Nerds
  9. Sweet Tarts
  10. Spider Man Gummy Bracelets
  11. **Jelly Belly is ONLY PEANUT FREE, NOT TREE NUT FREE***
  12. Hard Candy + Gummy Candy Life Savers
  13. Dum Dum Pops
  14. Valentine Theme Junior Mint Hearts
  15. Andes Candes
  16. Twizzlers
  17. Sour Patch Kids
  18. Push Pop
  19. Rolo
  20. Red Vines
  21. Whoppers


And a few more options for sharing at school!

  1. Pirates Booty
  2. Veggie Sticks
  3. Goldfish
  4. Utz
  5. Fruit Roll ups
  6. Annies Fruit snacks
  7. Welchs Fruit Snacks
  8. Gogo Applesauce Pouches
  9. Pez

This year, Target is carrying Dylan’s Candy Bar products. They are NOT nut-free, but if you’re looking for an extra special treat for someone like a teacher or friend, Dylan’s is sure to put a smile on their face. Plus they have these adorable Dylan’s Candy gift bags to hold their special snacks.

And of course, I topped off my Target run with a treat for me, a bottle of Kim Crawford. Of course it’s nut-free, but it’s all for me. Keep Calm and Kim On.

Holiday Favorites, Snacking

Grandpa Joe’s Peach Pie

Have you ever had a bad “technology” day?!

Eat pie, that’s the answer for everything!


Just kidding…

For some reason, every device in our house needs an update today, or to reconnect to the wireless network, or it doesn’t want to work properly, or it’s just down right slow. Maybe our devices dislike this arctic blast of cold Wisconsin air as much as we do.

Alas, I’ve decided to give our wireless printer the benefit of the doubt. I NEED this printer to work. It’s been with me since I started my masters in 2009.  We decided to crank the furnace and say many, many nice things to dear old printer. We’ve changed all of the ink, unplugged it, re plugged it, uninstalled it, reinstalled it, downloaded something called “drivers” and still…..nothing. It makes happy noises, and deep down I know it’s OK. It’s just one of those days. We all have them. Maybe printer will be happier in 2018.

I have not amazon primed a new one, YET.

Anyway, I thought I would jump on here and tell you about another, yes, ANOTHER baked item. Really, so sorry about the junk food this month. Promise to get back to healthy, nutfreemomblog stuff.

Peach Pie is so good – I wouldn’t tell you about it if it wasn’t. My Dad has a random peach tree in his yard. He doesn’t do much to it, no fertilizer, nothing. And it produces a crazy amount of peaches, which is awesome. My Dad brings me preaches when he visits, and I store them carefully in my freezer for smoothies or recipes. This time, he brought a lot, about 3 cups worth, and I decided to try peach pie to use up the last of my pie crusts from Thanksgiving (or so I tell myself).

Grandpa Joe’s Peach Pie

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 cups sliced peeled peaches
  • Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches) – I use Pillsbury, they are safe
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract – I prefer Penzeys
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted room temperature butter


  1. In a large bowl, combine sugars; add peaches and toss gently.
  2. Cover and let stand for 1 hour (or 15 minutes like me!!!)
  3. Line a 9-in. pie plate with bottom pastry. Set aside.
  4. Drain peaches, reserving juice.
  5. In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt; gradually stir in reserved juice and vanilla. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  6. Remove from the heat; stir in lemon juice and butter. Gently fold in peaches.
  7. Pour into crust.
  8. Roll out remaining pastry.
  9. Make a lattice crust.
  10. Cover edges loosely with foil. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes.
  11. Remove foil. Reduce temperature to 350°; bake 20-25 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.
  12. Cool on a wire rack.



Holiday Favorites

Christmas Day Eats

We’re in the process of getting Christmas Eve dinner ready (yes, early so that we can enjoy time with the kiddos!). But we’re already thinking of tomorrows dinner. Here’s what we have planned, maybe it will be an easy idea for you, too.

Christmas Day 


  1. Mimosas
  2. Strawberry, watermelon and blueberry fruit salad
  3. French Toast – shortcut, our recipe calls for day-old french bread. We know that Subway is safe bread, so we picked up 4 large loaves and they are in the process of chilling out on our countertop for tomorrow.
  4. Organic breakfast sausages from Conscious Carnivore

Lunch / Snack:

  1. Frozen Chicken Tenders – Brand: Tyson
  2. Frozen Onion Rings – Brand: Alexia, nutfree
  3. Frozen French Fries – Brand: Alexia, nutfree
  4. Vegetable Tray – pre-made from Metcalfes
  5. Cookie Tray
  6. Chips and Salsa


  1. Sous Vide Steaks:::Click Here for Recipe
  2. Roasted brussel sprouts
  3. Roasted Parsnips
  4. Double baked potatoes with all the fixins!
  5. Christmas cookie tray
Holiday Favorites

Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes


It wasn’t our plan to make Christmas cupcakes this year, but when we found these adorable nut-free Wilton gingerbread people, we couldn’t resist. The recipe we found online had over 240 positive reviews for “decadent chocolate cupcakes” and we decided to give it a try….after two cups of coffee!



  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Line that cupcake holder with 12 festive liners or a whole lot of Pam spray if you’re not lining (totally fine, too!).
  3. Make sure your EGGS and BUTTERMILK are at room temp.
  4. If you don’t have buttermilk, which I never do, just google a substitute


Decadent Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes


  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa – like Vermont Nut Free
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk


  1. Fill the lined cupcake tin half way full with the batter.
  2. Batter will be runny. Use a spoon to carefully scoop in, I only ended up making 12 cupcakes and the yield was 14.
  3. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. CHECK them! Use a toothpick. Bake up to 20 minutes.
  4. Cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.
  5. Top with festive decor and chocolate butter cream frosting.


Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, mix well until smooth:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder – like vermont nutfree, Hersheys coca powder is also safe, just check the labels
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla



^^^ Here they are cooling – our home smells like a chocolate wonderland! And it’s SNOWING! It’s a white Christmas. I hope you enjoy your holiday.

Sending love and hugs to you and yours! Thanks for stopping by.

Holiday Favorites

Christmas Morning Biscotti

You didn’t think cookies were just for the kids, did you?

Of course not!

Grown up cookies just have fancy names, like biscotti, or macaroon or petit fours.  All go great with coffee or hot cocoa or tea!

Biscotti is notoriously made with nuts, and completely unsafe in our house, so we make our own. Like everything else. This recipe is probably the easiest baking recipe I have. Literally can make it with my eyes closed. Just double the batch, you know the kids will also be into this since YOU’RE eating it (and your kids always want what you have, of course), and it keeps for a LONG time. Biscotti is just a giant stale cookie after all.


If you add the cranberry, it really gives it a festive look! The lemon is a must, it adds a brightness that is very nice! This recipe was adapted from Giada De Laurentiis.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 12 ounces white chocolate, Artisan Kettle White Chocolate is NUTFREE
  • Red and green sugar 


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the cranberries if you like.
  4. Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes (I bake mine for 30 minutes rather than 40). Cool for 30 minutes.
  5. Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.
  6. Stir the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the chocolate melts. Dip half of the biscotti into the melted chocolate. Gently shake off the excess chocolate. Place the biscotti on the baking sheet for the chocolate to set. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 35 minutes.
  7. The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.

    Check out these nut-free marshmallows we found at Fablogcon! 


    Holiday Favorites

    Christmas Eve Dinner ::: Nut-Free & Vegetarian

    Christmas Eve is quickly approaching and I like to keep things super simple, especially when family is visiting. I’d rather be spending time WITH them, not doing tasks in the kitchen. That’s why we choose to make classic Spaghetti and Meatballs for Christmas Eve.

    We started this tradition a few years ago, and it works perfectly. It’s a meal everyone likes (even littles) and it takes little to no time at all. The meatballs can be made in advance, just warm through in the oven for a few minutes during your party.

    We’re having 7 for dinner on Christmas Eve, the yield on this menu is about 8. You can easily double this recipe for a larger group.

    Christmas Eve Menu

    1. White Christmas Sangria, adapted from She Knows blog
      • 3 tart Granny Smith apples
      • 1 large orange
      • 1-1/2 cups fresh cranberries
      • 1 cup fresh raspberries
      • 2 bottles dry white wine (I used an unoaked chardonnay)
      • 1 cup white cranberry juice
      • 1/4 cup sugar
      • 16 ounces ginger ale or club soda
      • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
      • Chop fruit small, mix together in large glass pitcher. Let it “Merry” together before serving.
    2. Lynnie Salad
      • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
      • 2 pinches kosher salt
      • 6 tablespoons olive oil
      • 8 cups salad greens
      • ¼ cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
      • ¼ cup cheese crumbles (feta, goat, or gorgonzola)
    3. Handmade Meatballs
      • 2 pounds organic ground beef
      • 1/2 cup parmesan
      • 1 cup breadcrumbs
      • 2/3 cup fresh parsley
      • 1/2 cup tomato paste or ketchup
      • 2 tsp Italian herbs / dry blend
      • 1/2 chopped onion or 1 tbsp onion powder
      • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
      • roll out, bake at 400* for 20 minutes or until browning around the outside. Max 30 minutes.
    4. Meatless Meatballs
    5. Spaghetti
      • 2 pounds of Barilla spaghetti pasta
    6. Homemade Tomato Sauce with canned garden tomatoes
      • This is top secret, but here’s something similar that can all be dumped into slow cooker and sit for quite a while, minimum 2 hours.
      • 2 tablespoons olive oil
      • 1 large white onion, minced
      • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
      • ½ cup chicken broth
      • 1 (28 ounce can) crushed tomatoes
      • 1 (15 oz can) tomato sauce
      • 1 (6 ounce can) tomato paste
      • 1 tablespoon white sugar
      • 1 tablespoon ground oregano
      • ½ teaspoon salt
      • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
      • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
      • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
    7. Garlic bread
    8. Dessert
      • Making some decadent homemade cupcakes (on Friday) since I found some adorable nut-free wilton reindeer and santa cupcake decorations at Michaels Craft Store last month.
      • Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes