Travel, Weeknight Dinners

Perfect Corn on the Cob

A few days ago, the kids really wanted some corn on the cob. It is not corn season, but who am I to say “no” to kids wanting to eat healthy food?! So corn it is!

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Since I’m not a griller, I needed to find a quick, weeknight friendly recipe to whip up this corn on the cob.

Simple Genius had the perfect recipe. Typically we grill corn on the cob, but roasting it in the oven provided to be even tastier and juicier than usual.

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Ingredients:

  • Aluminum foil
  • rimmed baking sheet
  • 4 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
  • butter
  • sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450*
  2.  Prepare corn by taking off the husks, rinse them and dry them off.
  3. Tear off a sheet of foil that will allow you to wrap the corn into a cute little house. Put 1 tbsp of butter and sprinkle of salt into the foil wrap and crimp shut.
  4. Repeat this for all of your corn cobs
  5. Put the onto the lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

This is our new favorite way to make corn! Just in time for the long holiday weekend. Enjoy your time with family and friends. If you’re out and about + need a sweet treat, don’t forget that Dairy Queen will try very hard to accommodate your nut allergies. Our local DQ takes proper precautions when Chloe orders her ice ceam cone “and I also have nut allergies” and we’re good to go each time. Cheers!

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Mom Things, Travel

The New Ikea – Oak Creek, WI

If you’re looking for an impressive Ikea experience, the new Ikea in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, is well worth your drive. Not only was this store extremely well organized (traffic + parking wise), the customer service and assistance in almost every aisle was very much appreciated. We didn’t know the layout of this new store, so having help available was key to making our shopping trip effective and timely (we live 2 hours away). Somehow, my list grew while I was shopping and I needed help getting a few heavy items off the shelves + into my car.  The employees at this specific store were over the top amazing when it came to helping me with exactly I was looking for. The store has a special place in my heart since it’s located in my hometown!

Willow Heights subdivision is where I grew up, it’s located off of Puetz and 13th street in Oak Creek. It is conveniently located just 15 minutes from downtown Milwaukee.  The new Ikea is now within biking distance from my childhood home. How cool is that?! Perfect for Ikea lovers!

My love for Ikea really began when I was in High School and preparing for college.  Having the coolest dorm was our goal, so my best friend and I shopped until we dropped at Ikea in Schaumburg, Illinois (the closest Ikea to us at the time).  Keep in mind, this is before high speed internet, smart phones, shopping apps, and the ability to view store inventory / order online quickly.  So shopping in person was basically the ONLY way to shop in 2001. This took a lot of TIME.  My best friend and I spent an entire day shopping and all of $50 each to get our dorm set up. We felt so cool. Such a good deal on cool things to make our dorm perfect.

This week, as I prepare for the annual Rhapsody in Bloom fundraiser at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Ikea seemed to be the perfect place to shop for the silent auction baskets that I’m working on.  And it was. I took my little guy, Carter (4), with me to scope out the new Ikea Oak Creek store, to visit my old neighborhood and build out some gorgeous baskets for a good cause.

Check out my first silent auction item, Two for Tea. It features:

You can bid on this item online from Olbrich’s website + online bidding system, Gesture.

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My needs from Ikea have changed over the last 20 years. From dorm room decor to fundraising swag and I’m happy that Ikea has always been my number one low-cost option since it’s classic and cool.

Stay tuned – this week I’m working on building out silent auction baskets and I’ll be posting some more photos here on nutfreemomblog.

For the nut-free component of my Ikea visit, PLEASE try the Swedish Meatballs! You can purchase them in the store at the restaurant or in the freezer section at the check-out. They are nut free and have a great allergy statement. The sauce is sold separately and is also nut free. I’ll make a separate post when I prepare them. Because you KNOW I bought some to bring home 🙂

 

 

 

 

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 🙂

Travel

Noodles & Co. Lunch

Today we were bumming around The Corners of Brookfield scoping out the new Von Maur when we decided to have lunch out.

Lately, Chloe has had a little more food anxiety than normal. I am not sure why, so we decided to just let her choose where to eat rather than trying to convince her that it’s safe to eat her food. Surely this is a phase and will pass soon. After giving her some options, she settled on Jamba Juice and Noodles & Co.

The entire kids menu at Noodles is 100% nutfree, however we still had thr server indicate “nut free” on our entire order to ensure no cross contact would occur.

Chloe chose the macaroni and cheese with broccoli and apple sauce. Carter had chicken and marinara with broccoli and apple sauce.

Our meals were served quickly and accurately & we had no allergy issues.

Jamba Juice is also amazing with food allergies, just let them know when you order. They make the allergy free drink in a triple washed blender before preparing. Thanks Jamba for the safe and healthy smoothie!

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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!

 

 

 

Mom Things, Travel, Weeknight Dinners

Menu Planner

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If you’re trying to minimize your trips to the grocery store, perhaps a menu planning list is for you.

Most families do not have a chalkboard refrigerator like we do. And even if you do, you’re not always around the fridge to write down what you’re thinking about for dinner / snacks.

Most of the time, families are on the go.

I’ve been asked several times by friends if there is a paper method for planning meals that I prefer. Actually, Cara Clark Nutrition has a wonderful meal planner included in her food challenges if you want one from a real nutritionist. However, when I was shopping around at World Market the other day, I found this one. For $6.99, you get a small note pad with 60 sheets, enough for a year, and then some if you mess up or your kid spills something on it. The latter is most likely.

This notepad is also available on Amazon in case you find this Wisconsin Winter Weather (WWW for short, a.k.a. January 96th) extremely depressing and want to stay at home and do nothing. Like I want to do. And eat carbs. YUM. Carbs. If you do the Amazon route, you get to choose from an ARRAY of colors. I wish I would have known this because my favorite color is green. Although if I went with pink, I’m sure Chloe would have written all the menu plans for me then 🙂

This paper pad is a good substitute for “on the go” menu planning. We can tear out one of these sheets and binder clip it to my weekly “to-do” notebook or insert it into m y weekly paper planner. Either way, it’s a food list to help organize meals and snacks for a well-balanced lifestyle….or so we like to think 🙂

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