Snacking, Travel

Top 5 Summer Snacks

Can you believe it? Summer! YES! It’s right around the corner.

Well, if you live in Wisconsin, you really do not believe it yet – we literally had winter coats out last week when it dipped back down into the low 40s. Seriously. However, SUMMER MUST come eventually and school lets out in just under 3 weeks. The excitement is palpable.

I thought I’d share some of our favorite summer staples, along with links for the giant containers we use for sharing our snacks. Because I know one thing about summer + kids = WE EAT A LOT OF FOOD!

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  1.  Balled Watermelon Sprinkled with Sea Salt: check out my piece on this tasty treat.  We use this Rubbermaid container for sharing. It holds approximately one whole watermelon, depending on the size, you might have some extra watermelon to put in an additional bowl, or snack on immediately.
  2. Edamame: Fancy for “soy beans with sea salt.” We eat Birds Eye Steamfresh edamame frequently as a side with dinner, but it’s also a great snack and can be served warm or cold.  Zip top bags work great for this one – super fast. Just make sure you can compost the pods, or have a place to put them when you’re done.pexels-photo-39803.jpeg
  3. Apples + Smoked Gouda + Rold Gold Pretzel Twists: We like to buy apples in bulk at Target – honeycrisp are tasty and Target’s apples are sweet and small, like my kids. Smoked Gouda can be found anywhere. This treat is easy to take on the go if you slice your apples ahead, squeeze one lemon on to prevent browning too quickly. We like this container for small cheese, pretzels + apple slices to go.
  4. Sunbutter Suncup Sundaes: We have a small stockpile of sunbutter suncups for snacking. Just sprinkle a little Enjoy Life chocolate chips on top and it’s a great snack for in the car or at a friends house. Snack size zip top bags work great – I also like biodegradable spoons for easy travel.sun-flower-blossom-bloom-pollen-541484.jpeg
  5. Summer Snack Plates: Just head to Target (ok, twist my arm, right!?) and find a divided, but melamine or heavy duty plastic (you want to be able to take this outside, too) and load it up with your favorites. Fruits, vegetables, whatever floats your boat. This snack tray usually lasts us a day or two and is nice and easy.  If you’re heading to a BBQ, just wrap it up. Some of these containers come with lids.

As always, these are also nut-free. Just make sure your pretzels are Rold Gold, or confirm the manufacturing facility of the brand you buy. Processed items almost ALWAYS have an allergy statement under the nutritional facts.

We’ll have our favorite summer baked items on here too, like oatmeal banana cookies and blueberry flax muffins. First, we must finalize our summer bucket list!

I hope you have a great start to your week. Our menu board fell off the map this week, we’re working on some major Mother’s Day left overs…..

Have a great day 🙂

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Snacking

Watermelon & Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

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A friend of mine, @healthy.madeinmadison, posted this picture on Instagram about watermelon sprinkled with pink himalayan sea salt. I’ve heard about adding salt to watermelon, but I never actually knew why. Until today. And it has a lot to do with modernization of farming. If you want to learn more, click here.

Basically, ADD SALT TO YOUR WATERMELON. Not nasty, bleached white salt, GOOD SALT. Like Himalayan pink sea salt, or just sea salt. Natural stuff. It really does wonders for the flavor (Thanks, Chemistry!) and aids with digestion.

We took 1/2 watermelon and balled it, then sliced a lime, zested some of it over the watermelon, and sprinkled with the special salt. It was AMAZING. The best watermelon I have ever had. Thanks to our new pink salt.

We found our salt at Metcalfes today, bottom shelf of the spice aisle.

 

 

Snacking, Weeknight Dinners

Meal Inspo 4/16/18

Looking for some quick meal inspiration? We’ve had a ton of extra activities at school, and outside of school, that has required us to think super ninja fast for meal times.

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Actually, now that I think of it, making meals at home is REALLY hard. It requires some serious dedication to plan, purchase, cook, serve, and clean up!

Our grocery bill this week was only $98 since we’re trying really hard to eat leftovers, only buy what we eat, and make the most out of what we have. Week after week, I throw away so much away because we just do not eat them or have the time to make all the glorious things I dream up each week.

Today, my list was super small. What is great is that the meal we made today will last us all week. Planning to eat the leftovers is my new goal. If we run low on something, guess what?! Just pick something up – there are grocery stores all over the place. Trying not to over purchase at the grocery store is hard. Super hard. The displays get me EVERY time. Especially if there is a healthy element to it. Hard to resist.

Tonight’s meal is my favorite staple, pulled pork! It’s not fancy, everyone loves it and best of all, I DON’T HAVE TO COOK. My slow cooker does all the work and makes the house smell good. Clean up is a breeze, put the cover on the slow cooker pot and put it back in the fridge. I’ve posted on here before about a few different versions of pulled pork, so pick whichever floats your boat:

  1. Lighter Pulled Pork with McCormick pre-mix
  2. Campbell’s Soup Apple Bourbon Pulled Pork Mix

Our grocery store had a huge sale on Pretzilla Pretzel rolls today, 2 for $5, so we purchased one hamburger size and one hot dog size. We used the hamburger size tonight to make our BBQ Pork Sandwiches. The hot dog size are for later in the week when we use applegate organic nitrate free hot dogs from Whole Foods. Most grocery stores carry Pretzilla – they have a dedicated nut-free facility that we LOVE. And they taste AMAZING!

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When in doubt, just whip up some avocado toast + sesame seeds. Eat to survive. Not the other way around.

Enjoy your week! It is finally nice enough to be outside without winter coats on!!!

How to be Nutfree, Snacking, Travel

Dunkin’ Donuts & Nut Allergies Part III

20180419_094022.jpgAre Dunkin’ Donuts safe for people with peanut and tree nut allergies? Well, we went again, and we have PN and TN allergies and we were totally OK. I did do a little more research though and I wanted to share that here:

  1.  Dunkin Donuts only bakes SOME of their donuts in-house. The rest are shipped in from central bakeries. They started doing this in the 90’s to save money.
  2. Not all Dunkin Donuts are nut free, like the location I have been going to. For some reason, the past few months that we have gone, there are NO NUTS in this store. And they understand nut allergies 100% at this location. With the exception of hazelnut flavor for coffee, the entire location is nut free. At this location, the safest donut to get would be one that is made fresh at this nut free location.
  3. Dunkin’ Donuts has an allergy blanket statement that I found on their website. It’s just like every other statement we read on the back of food labels. They can’t guarantee, but if you let them know ahead of your order, they will try really hard to accommodate you.Screenshot_20180419-125248.png

Today we stopped at our nut free location in Madison, WI, off of Fish Hatchery Road and the Beltline Highway. I trust this location, and each time they tell me that the item we are eating has not been around nuts or has a risk of cross contact. So I feel OK with that.

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We are having a meeting at my daughters school coming up, and I thought what better way to thank parents for their time and generosity this school year than by having a donut wall from Dunkin to enjoy a cup of coffee and sweet treats?! Dunkin supplied extra boxes for us to make promotional signs for our upcoming meeting – and they’ll be supplying the donuts for us too.

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P.S. if you love Dunkin as much as we do, this donut pool toy is at the dollar store right now. $1 for some fun in the sun! I’ll take it.

Enjoy your week 🙂

How to be Nutfree, Mom Things, Snacking, Travel

Starbucks and Nut Allergies

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Starbucks is a common stop for us.  Grownups love it, kids love it and what is a better way to deal with YET MORE SNOW IN WISCONSIN than a nice warm cup of coffee or tea?! Literally, I have no words for April snow. I mean, COME ON!

When we were first diagnosed with nut allergies, we avoided Starbucks completely. However, that’s no way to live life {coffee deprived, are you KIDDING me?! Also known as Mean Mommy!}.

Once we figured out how to navigate the Starbucks menu a bit, we learned that our favorite treat was no longer completely off limits.

If you follow me in Instagram @nutfreemomblog, you’ve seen my posts about “how to Starbucks” – well today, I thought it deserved a blog post of its own since we just drove through.

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How to Starbucks {with a nut allergy}

  1. Choose a Starbucks that you can walk into
  2. Make sure you have your epi pen / benadryl JUST IN CASE {these should be with you already anyway}
  3. Have a conversation with the barista at non-peak hours regarding food allergies.
  4. Order a drink that is recommended safe by the barista.
  5. If you have almond allergies, this might be a little riskier for you, but soy milk is always an option. Cross contact can’t be 100% avoided, so just make sure you’re talking with the barista.
  6. For many peanut and tree nut allergy sufferers, almonds can be safe to eat. So anything made with or around almond milk, will not affect your nut allergies, which is the case for us. THANKFULLY!
  7. Many Starbucks locations have dedicated steam arms / handles for specific milks. This is the case for SOY MILK {most of the time} + again, talk with your barista.
  8. Our “go – to” safe drink for my daughter is the  kids size steamed vanilla soy milk.
  9. If you tell them it’s for a child, they will not steam the milk as hot as for an adult, the portion is also a lot smaller.
  10. Using the soy milk handle ensures that we probably wont come in contact with any nut based milk or coffee (hazelnut coffee does have trace amounts of actual hazelnuts, but the affect on allergies varies, obviously).
  11. Note that coconut is not a tree nut, but restaurants many times consider them to be.
  12. Our back up drink is always a milk box or juice box.
  13. Most of the food at Starbucks is NOT safe, especially the bakery items, and hot food items. However, if you are in a pinch and need a snack, they do offer some to-go items in the cafe, just check the labels as these snacks rotate frequently and we dont have  a go-to snack item there currently.
  14. If you have the SLIGHTEST doubt that your Starbucks just might not be fully understanding your food allergy or requests, DO NOT RISK IT and go with the 100% safe option, bottled water, milk box or juice. It’s not worth it.
  15. The bottled water and banana are also 100% safe and we’ve never {knock on wood} had an issue with the drinks or service at Starbucks after we tell them we need a nut-free drink 🙂

 

What’s your favorite drink at Starbucks? I have a few…

  1. Tall, non-fat chai tea latte
  2. Tall, skinny mocha latte
  3. Tall, cafe latte
  4. Tall, non-fat dirty chai tea latte (two shots of espresso)
  5. Cafe americano
  6. Passion fruit ice tea, light ice

 

Make sure you sign up for Starbucks rewards app on your phone to snag some free drinks! It’s worth it + kind of fun, too!

Is this the Mondayest Monday or what?! Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

Snacking

Organic Goldfish

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Organic Fish are chasing after Organic Bunnies. No, this is not part of a riddle about the movie Peter Rabbit, although it could be…..

Do you know what I’m talking about? Both of these items are nut-free and a very popular snack in our household, at school and in lunch boxes. They are also littered all over the back of my Honda Odyssey!

Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish and Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies! These two items are in FIERCE competition at the grocery store and I had no idea until I read this New York Time’s article titled, “Why These Goldfish are 70 Percent Organic.”

Danny Hakim wrote a wonderful piece this past weekend on his trip to the grocery store to buy some Goldfish when he discovered over 30 different Goldfish varieties!

***Most goldfish are safe, but do know that the graham goldfish are made in a facility with nuts. Always check your labels***

This blew my mind. Thirty varieties?! Did you know there were so many to choose from?!

In short, the organic movement is strong. Goldfish brand is trying to stay competitive by not using artificial flavors or preservatives. They use 100% real cheese and source their products from real plants. Pepperidge Farm’s  goal was to create a MOSTLY organic product while not sacrificing flavor.  Goldfish come up a little short in the organic race however, since they are only 70% organic compared to Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies at 100%.

Research has shown that when we eat organically, we reduce our pesticide exposure. When we reduce pesticide exposure, we benefit, particularly pregnant women.

Will you be buying the new 70% organic goldfish?

I’m going to give them a try.

Snacking

Chloe’s Top 5 Sun Butter Snacks

If you had a chance to check us out on IG live today @nutfreemomblog, Chloe gave a little demo on her “made-up” recipe for after school snacking with Sun Butter. It was pretty cute, and included her favorite……MARSHMALLOWS! Yum.

Chloe’s top 5 favorite after school Sun Butter snacks:

  1.  Sun Butter Apple Donuts
    1. Slice one honey crisp apple on it’s side, core facing the wall, into thin slices. With a small round cookie cutter, or paring knife, cut out the middle where the seeds would be. Do this to all of the slices. Spread Sun Butter on the apple slices + top with your favorite sprinkles / Enjoy Life chocolate chips.
  2.  Sun Butter to-go cup + Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
    1. Chloe is a huge fan of the to-go cups of Sun Butter, we take them everywhere. her typical after school snack is Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips with a to-go cup! These are also great for lunches.
  3. Ants on a Log
    1. A few slices of celery smeared with Sun Butter and topped with raisins or chocolate chips! My little guy LOVES celery, so this is his favorite.
  4. Sun Butter & Honey Toast
    1. We use Country Hearth Split Top Wheat bread and top it with sun butter while the bread is still warm. It melts the sun butter and then we drizzle organic honey over the top. SO GOOD!
  5. Sun Butter & Pretzels
    1. We use Rold Gold pretzels and dunk them into our favorite sun butter. Easy snacking.

When we attended FaBlogCon in November, we learned about the Sun Butter partnership with free2b sun cups pictured below, and they are so delish. If you love Reeses Peanut butter cups, but can’t keep them in your home, THIS IS FOR YOU!

free 2b is free of the top 12 allergens! Better than top 8! free2b also has other flavors, you can’t go wrong. They are ALL good. The only place I have seen them for sale locally in Madison is at HyVee in Fitchburg in the Health Market. You can find these on Amazon as well.