Holiday Favorites, Snacking

Nut Free Advent Calendar

Since it’s challenging to find a nut-free advent calendar, I’ve purchased a Pottery Barn “fill-it-yourself” type and have stuffed a bunch of nut-free candy of my own in. It’s the same thing. Just a count down. Nothing fancy. Ok probably the fanciest advent calendar, but at least it’s 100% nut free and I know what’s in it!
Other options I saw this year include the Target countdowns with Lego. Love that they are non-food based.  Check the link to order online and pick-up in stores.

Target Lego Advent Calendars\

A few ideas for a fill-it-yourself calendar….we raided our local Target tonight. Somehow I’ve missed the boat here for advent calendars. It starts Friday, and a lot of stuff is really picked over. 

Don’t forget St.Nick comes next week, too 🙂 Toys R Us has some great $1 bin items. I haven’t been impressed with the Target $1-$5 bins, we have enough erasers and pencils.

 Happy Holiday Season! Whatever you are celebrating, I hope it’s joyful.

Snacking

Dreamsicle Jello

Do you LOVE Dreamsicle? We do. And this recipe is safe, so I love it even more. During our Thanksgiving prep we found this recipe and decided to try it. Actually, the kids decided we were going to try it. WE all have our favorite things, and they chose this, and there were zero leftovers.

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Ingredients

  • 1 large package (6oz) orange Jell-0
  • 3 Cups water
  • 1 large package (5.1oz) Cook and Serve Vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 small cans or one large can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 pint whipping cream, or 1 (8oz) cool whip

Directions

  1. Stir together in a sauce pan the pudding mix (cook and serve vanilla) and water.
  2. Stir in the orange Jell-0 and cook until slightly thick, about 5-8 minutes, medium low heat and whisk.
  3. Place in a large bowl (probably pyrex since you do not want it to crack, the liquid is over 100* and could cause thermal shock to your dish otherwise), refrigerate until thick, but not set. This took me about 1 hour. If you shake the dish, it should still jiggle around the edge, and slosh in the middle, if that makes any sense 😉
  4. Add the 1 cup of cool whip, 8oz. I took a whisk and whipped it into the partially set jello.
  5. Fold in mandarin oranges
  6. Refrigerate until fully set, approx 4 hours.
  7. Top with any remaining cool whip.

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Holiday Favorites, Snacking

Nut Free Starbucks Gingerbread House

We had a little Gigi time today at Mayfair Mall where we visited Santa and had some chocolate milk and cookies. As we waited for our Starbucks chai tea lattes, we saw this adorable nut-free gingerbread house. Make sure you check the label, Starbucks notoriously has items made in a facility with nuts. But these are too cute! 

Birthday Parties, School Safe List, Snacking

Dunkin’ Donuts and Nut Allergies

Dunkin’ Donuts is a relatively new treat for our family. We started treating Carter to Dunkin’ after his hemoglobin levels improved in September following his HUS infection, and it just became our thing. After the doctor, we’d head over to Dunkin’ to celebrate good health. Kind of ironic since Donuts are in no way healthy for you.
Fast forward, I was talking to my best nut free mom friend, and she threw out the idea of Dunkin’ for my nut allergic kiddo. She said that she had tried a Dunkin’ location with her nut allergic son, talked allergies, and gave it the OK. So I thought what the heck, it’s Friyay, it’s been a week, and we could ALL use a donut from Dunkin’. There are two on our way home, so why not?

We went in to Dunkin’ talk to someone about our food allergies. It was our lucky day. The nice young man behind the counter also had peanut and tree nut allergies. He informed us all about the strict guidelines Dunkin’ follows, including the special carts the donuts are wheeled over to the pretty case on, labeled, and carefully transported around the kitchen with the “allergy donuts” always in the same place, clearly marked. Dunkin’ is clearly passionate about protecting its guests and we felt that today. We talked for about 20 minutes, then chose our donuts.

Dunkin Donuts staff also showed us how safe the donuts actually are (nut free) by eating a donut himself that was located next to a donut with peanut topping. He was fine and we talked about anaphylaxis for a while before heading out. 

His confidence gave us confidence and my daughter demolished her donut once we got home. Of course, I had my Epi ready, but I knew she’d be fine.

This was her FIRST DONUT! Chocolate with sprinkles!

She was over the moon happy. Around 200ish calories, this is something that I don’t mind as an occasional treat!

Thank you, Dunkin’ for making allergies a priority. We are grateful for small treats like this that are close to home, and special.

Holiday Favorites, Snacking

Chocolate Chip Ghost Muffins

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Tonight we baked pumpkin muffins for school tomorrow to celebrate Halloween! We also finally carved our pumpkins, and holy cow, carving an owl was harder than I thought! But we did it, all of us (as in all four of us carved one pumpkin because it was huge and we ran out of time!), and the pumpkins are on the front porch ready for tomorrows trick-or-treating!

The kids are excited for “The Great Pumpkin” to arrive, since we do not keep our candy, the Great Pumpkin leaves a small little something in exchange for the kids candy (that is always donated). This year I found glow in the dark Thomas the Train for my little guy and a small bead bracelet kit with stickers for my little lady. I just got done hiding them – can’t wait for them to search for their surprises tomorrow night!

We found nut-free mummies for these muffins at Michael’s craft store in early September. That’s some solid advice right there. If you’re going to be baking something special for a holiday – shop early. The best selection of nut-free items always goes first.

Mini Pumpkin Muffins – You’ll need a mini-muffin pan. Kohl’s has a great one, it’s the Food Network brand and the non-stick is amazing!

Ingredients

  • 2 C flour (can subs. for whole wheat flour / GF flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 (15oz) can of pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 C vegetable oil
  • 1/2 C mini chocolate chips (Enjoy Life / Artisan Kettle)

Directions

  1. Line your baking pan + preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl + combine ( this is all of the dry ingredients)
  3. In your electric mixer bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except chocolate chips. This includes: pumpkin, sugar, sugar, eggs, and oil.
  4. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet and mix together.
  5. Gently fold in the 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips
  6. Fill the lined muffin pan 2/3 full of batter
  7. Bake for approximately 14 minutes, depending on your oven.
  8. Top with cream cheese frosting mixed with 1 tbsp maple syrup and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes + add your decorations.
  9. Enjoy! The yield on this was quite high,  about 58 mini muffins.


     

    Happy Halloween!

    Snacking

    Chloe’s Chocolate Costco Find

    Up until this week, we were Costco virgins. We’ve been to Costco with friends, but never actually had a membership. At 5’2, this store consumed me! It’s definitely overwhelming for someone who is not familiar with the layout – bathrooms are important when shopping with kids! We found those first.

    On the opposite side of the store.

    Of course.

    But, overall, it was OK – we found some good stuff and a few new nut-free finds. My biggest complaint is that everything is SO BIG! Sometimes I just want to try a sample size before spending the $$ on it. That was the other thing, prices are not always listed on things – or near things. Kind of frustrating.

    Here’s what we found today – a bigger package than I wanted, but here it is!

    Lucy’s Brownie Crisps. 

    Nut free, milk free, egg free, vegan. Made with 72% organic dark chocolate!

    After a few samples, we ALL agree, these are a winner!

    Holiday Favorites, Snacking

    Fall Colored Sprinkles

    This is SO incredibly rare, I had to buy them and post them here:


    Made in a nut free facility! We can use these on cupcakes for Halloween and Thanksgiving! Or ice cream sundaes. Plus they were 50% off. We purchased these at Hobby Lobby. This is NOT my usual store for craft and baking, it just happened to be near our errands today. 

    Don’t forget Betty Crocker is a safe brand for baking if you’re in a pinch, just make sure you double check the label.

    Happy Monday!!