Snacking, Travel

Chocolate Suncup Snacks

“Mom, we HAVE to blog about this new recipe I made up this weekend.” — Chloe.

Chloe made up a quazi new recipe this past weekend and is stoked to tell you all about it. We had some left over suncups in our pantry from last years Spring Fling at school, so Chloe made them into snack items for after school.

Sun cups are pretty verstaile, and she likes to use them as dips for various fruits and veggies. This recipe is her sun cup, plus chopped banana and chocolate syrup. Her instructions are as follows:

  1. Obtain a sun cup, either sample size or store bought size
  2. Open the sun cup and fill it with liquid chocolate syrup that is nut free
  3. Chop up your favorite fruit, here we are using banana.
  4. Get a spoon and eat the sun cup like ice cream with the fruit on top.
  5. Enjoy!

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Mom Things, School Safe List, Snacking

Safe Snacking Box

Can you believe it?! In just 24 hours the kids will begin their FIRST DAY of the 2018-19 school year. This year we will have a 2nd grader and Kindergartener. They are both so excited. Backpacks are packed, lunch boxes are out – and with all of the excitement comes the hyper organization mode that I go into! It’s meal prep, list making, planner highlighting time!

But first, yesterday we took to our nutfreemomblog insta for some quick pics that that I will share here of us building out the annual nut-free box for Chloe’s classroom. This box ensures that she ALWAYS has a safe snack at school. Our #1 rule is NO EATING SHARED TREATS, unless they have been pre-approved by Mom or Dad. We have been doing this since the end of 4K when a treat was shared (chocolate based) and Chloe had an anaphylactic reaction at school and had to be rushed to the ER in an ambulance.

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We chose an array of safe snacking for her box this year. Treats include:

  • Made Good Mini granola packs – Costco
  • Hostess Ding Dongs – HyVee
  • YumEarth Organic Fruit Snacks – Amazon
  • FreeToBe SunCups – HyVee
  • Annie’s Rice Krispie Treats – HyVee
  • Enjoy Life Chocolate Bar – HyVee

We label the box clearly, talk with the teacher about where to store it, and use it as often as needed. There are pleny of treats, so she enjoys sharing with classmates as needed.

Have a great start to the school year – we are all currently battling head colds, fingers crossed a day of rest and lots of fluids helps us kick this bug!

Target find of the week – $5 for those first + last day pics! It’s chalk so I can use it for both kids tomorrow 🙂

Mom Things, Snacking

Nut Free Ice Cream

Today I contacted Breyers, my go-to safe ice cream, regarding the only flavor we allow at our house, Natural Vanilla & Gluten Free flavor.  I called 1-800-931-2826 and spoke with Peter to confirm there was no cross contact risk.

Breyers  Ice Cream Natural Vanilla 48 oz

To summarize, Breyers has strict processes in place to keep common allergens away from non-allergen flavors. There are dedicated, separate lines. If the manufacturing lines are shared at any time, a stringent cleaning process (with sampling) will happen before any new products are created. It will be noted on the carton with “may contain” if the lines are ever shared in the flavor you choose.

If there is no “may contain” statement, then no cross contact is happening on that line of ice cream.

It is true that multiple flavors of ice cream are all made in the same facility. They are on different lines, however.

Gluten Free flavors under-go a specialty cleaning process to certify gluten free status. There is segregation in the facility so these flavors are made on different days (which I LOVE because technically the gluten free flavors, which are all nut free, have the entire building to themselves), with an even deeper cleaning procedure. No information is available about whether or not this is a separate building or shared, or if they can 100% confirm that absolutely no other flavors are being made on another side of the facility. If I could tour this facility, I WOULD! Actually, I’d love that. Since my Dad works in food production, I can sort of picture how this would look, and I’m OK with it.

I hope this helps. Breyers has been the most cooperative and open about sharing this type of information. I’m obsessed with the cleaning process and that is why we only buy the gluten free vanilla. There are other nut-free ice creams for sale, and they are available on the SPOKIN website for you to find where they are.

Snacking, Travel

2018 Wisconsin State Fair Update

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s that time ALREADY!!!! The end of summer is winding down quickly. We had a nice summer vacation, and we’re hitting the ground hard with planning our back to school functions and events. A few more fun activities before we hit the books.

State Fair is a favorite of ours and we just called the cream puff hotline to confirm that the cream puffs are still made in a 100% nut free facility and safe for our nut allergic kiddo. So YES, they are SAFE for your PN / TN allergies at the Wisconsin State Fair. This is not for all fairs, so please check in with your own fair.

Just a warning though. They are generally sold int he same building as the candied pecans + walnuts, so make sure you take your cream puff to go and eat outside (After you wash your hands really good!). We found a picnic table last year and set up our cream puff camp there.

Other treats we love include the pork on a stick, corn on the cob and poutine.

One item we haven’t been able to confirm, ever, is the cotton candy. The cotton candy trucks are 100% unreliable when I start talking allergy talk, and I get frustrated and walk away. If you have an experience regarding cotton candy, please share. My daughter really wants to try it!

Enjoy the fair + the last 20 days of SUMMER!!!!

Snacking

Panera Cookie Remake

Dining out is difficult when you have food allergies. Especially at Panera. Panera is a big no-no in our nut-free house. Which is hard because I LOVE it. Panera’s fast, healthy options are so tasty, they are perfect for busy Moms on the go.

However, for my daughter, this place is very risky. The chance for cross-contact in their kitchen is high. They use all sorts of nuts in their salads and the make-line area is very open, offering little to no menu options to be deemed as “safe” here.  Their bakery items have a warning, “Many of our products contain or may come into contact with common allergens, including wheat, peanuts, soy, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish and shellfish.” And even more details here.

However, when we are in a pinch, and this is the ONLY option, I have allowed two things from Panera.

  1. Kids macaroni and cheese
  2. Tomato Soup or Chicken Noodle Soup

I’ve always done this in PERSON and have watched the prep area make the food. If I ever feel like this is not a good idea, Chloe eats an Enjoy Life (Always in my purse, always) granola bar until we can find something else. Not every restaurant is great at handling food allergies. So why risk it.

Last week I had a chance to eat lunch with a good friend at Panera and ordered something new for the first time in a long time. Usually when I Panera, it’s a UPICK2, greek salad and panini or black bean soup.

This time, I tried a pasta dish called Baja Mac N Cheese. Basically it’s the kids mac n cheese with pico de gallo over the top with avocado. For 530 calories I was full for 5 hours, and I only had the kid size portion. This dish was so good I wanted to remake it. But I did not. YET.

Instead, I was super naughty and ate a giant cookie that I usually never order since I don’t want to make my daughter feel bad. But since she wasn’t with me, I splurged on the cookie. Which was AMAZING.

Lets make sure the cookie gets the attention it deserves.

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

The Kitchen Sink Cookie is my new favorite cookie. I’m not even sure I like a plain old chocolate chip cookie as much as I LOVE this cookie.

Kitchen Sink Cookie

Kitchen Sink Cookie Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, browned
  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (King Arthur is nut-free)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. sea sat, and more for sprinkling
  • ¾ cup broken pretzels, and more for on top (Rold Gold)
  • 1 and ½ cups caramel bits, and more for top (I used Kraft brand)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, and more for on top (Enjoy Life Brand)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees and prepare your baking sheets
  2. To brown the butter: In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, whisking as it melts, foams, bubbles, and eventually little brown bits form and it turns amber. Immediately pour into your mixing bowl, be sure to use a spatula to scrape all the little brown bits into the bowl (they are full of wonderful flavor).
  3. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together for a couple minutes, then add the vanilla.
  4. Next add the eggs and beat until the are well incorporated.
  5. Add the baking powder, baking soda, ½ tsp. salt, and about a third of the flour. Mix slowly, add another third of flour, mix, and add the last of the flour until just combined. Do not over mix the dough.
  6. Fold in the pretzels, caramel bits, and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
Large Cookies
  1. Scoop out very large balls of dough (¼ cup size) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving plenty of space in between (plan on doing multiple batches.) Add more broken pretzel pieces, caramel bits, and chocolate chips to the tops of the dough balls to preference. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  2. Bake 13-15 minutes (this will vary, according to the size of your cookies), until golden around the edges. Do not over cook! Remove and allow to set up and cool on the sheet for 5-10 minutes. Then, transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Side note: I do not like huge cookies, so we use a small ball scooper, looks like an ice cream scooper.

Special thanks to Mel & Boys Kitchen Blog for this recipe. I am so grateful + happy to have this amazing recipe in my book now!