How to be Nutfree, Uncategorized, Weeknight Dinners

Happy New Year!

At the end of December, we put our planner away and the to-do lists aside and just focused on enjoying time with family and friends. The past 2 weeks have been wonderful; we had a chance to reconnect and recharge. However, we are ready to get back into a routine! Thank you for hanging in there while we took a short break. This next year will be full of new experiences and new recipes that we are so excited to share with you here!

Before we dive back into recipes – and food allergy friendly finds – we want to talk about some kitchen basics. Food safety is a priority for us ALL the time since cross contact can happen so easily; especially if you do allow your allergen in your kitchen.

person washing his hand
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  1. Wash your hands – Washing your hands is the easiest way to stop the spread of food borne pathogens that could make you sick. The US FDA recommends washing your hands for 20 seconds with hot, soapy water, or just sing the ABC Song! Get scrubbing!
  2. Sanitize your kitchen – I know we all love to use Mrs.Meyers smell good kitchen sprays, but they offer no actual sinitzation! We like to use spray bleach in the sink and around the counter tops, then I like to rinse with hot soapy water. The kitchen sink is known for having more bacteria than a garbage can!
  3. Clean your gear – Sponges are prime breeding grounds for lots of bacteria, so we tend to never use them, unless its a one-time use for a cleaning project. We use disposable dish cloths and throw them out after a week. Cutting boards, especially wooden, are also succeptable to bacteria, so make sure to use a plastic mat board for bacteria prone items that you’re prepping, like meats. In our home, we have color coded plastic cutting mats for raw meat items and then hard plastic / bamboo cutting boards for all other items; breads, fruits, veggies, etc.
  4. Season Safely – Most bacteria can’t live for more than a few minutes in direct contact with salt, it can live on the edges of a box or shaker. To avoid contamination with salt well or pepper mill, mix your seasonings in a small bowl prior to making your meal. This allows you to reach into the bowl to season your meats as needed without the risk of cross contact to the box / container that will go back in your pantry.
  5. Separate raw and cooked foods – Keep raw and cooked foods separately to prevent the spread of bacteria. Dont place cooked food on a plate or cutting board that came into contact with raw food and wash utensils that come in contact with raw food before reusing them, like meat thermometers and wooden spoons.
  6. Don’t rinse raw meat – Avoid rinsing raw meat and poultry. Contrary to what we have learned in other cookbooks, rinsing is more likely to spread bacteria in and around your sink. Cooking food to a safe temperature will kill surface bacteria no problem.
  7.  Defrost in the fridge – On the counter, the temperature is higher and bacteria multiply quickly. Place food on a plate or in a bowl to catch any liquid. Most food will take 24 hours to thaw.
  8. Reheat Rapidly – when food is reheated, it should be brought thru the danger zone (tempterature ranges from 40 to 140 degrees where bacteria thrive) as rapidly as possible . Dont let it slowly come to a simmer. Bring leftover sauces, soups and gravies to a boil and make sure casseroles reach 165.
  9. When in doubt, throw it out – No explanation needed. If it doesnt smell right or look right, just toss it. It’s not worth it.
  10. Allergy Spot – if you have food allergies in your home, you may want to consider having an allergy action plan where the food is only allowed in a specific area. For nut allergies, many families allow the peanut butter, cashew butter, etc. in a separate cupboard, then they eat it over the sink, then wash the sink out when they are done so there is no chance for cross contact. I’ve done this in our house with peanut butter and I usually end up washing the sink about 4 or 5 times before I move on. It’s a little much, but it works.

 

We have been talking about fast and healthy breakfast items to go – the kids have enjoyed sleeping in and this next week back at school is going to be a little adjustmet. We’re making banana bread, breakfast bars and scones to stock up our pantry. The new banana bread recipe has DOUBLE the bananas! Now that’s B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Have a great week – and keep your kitchen clean 🙂

 

Uncategorized

Zucchini Squash & Chicken Noodle Soup

Since we have a bug going through our home, soup is in order! I am just upcycling a recipe from a prior post here and adding some garden yellow squash.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 handful baby carrots chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 yellow Zucchini squash, green work too!
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Chicken or 1 can cannellini beans
  • 2 handfuls of egg noodles

Directions:

  1. In a medium Dutch oven swirl to coat your pan with olive oil.
  2. Add onion and garlic, over medium heat, saute until translucent.
  3. Add other veggies, soften.
  4. Add stock
  5. Bring to boil
  6. Warm through precooked chicken or beans
  7. Add noodles and cook until al dente.

Enjoy! Not what I thought we would make on this 90 degree, 70 percent humidity day, but here we are.

Welcome back to school!

Uncategorized

Back to School Snacking

We recently stopped at our local HyVee Fitchburg to check out the back to school snacks. We consider HyVee to be a leader in new snack offerings. If there is a cool, new snack on the market, our HyVee is the first to stock it. And that holds true for these amazing nut free finds by Hostess and Entenmanns.

Check out the photos below for some fast BTS snacks that are nut free for your classroom. We will share some gluten free snacks later this week as we build out our BTS safe snacking box.

Uncategorized

Nut free on Delta

Just a quick shout out to Delta Airlines today for their expert service and their professionalism in handling today’s in-flight allergies.

There is a family with allergies and the announcement was made at the gate prior to boarding to refrain from eating all nuts. There were also 2 announcements when we boarded about the nut policy and that they wouldn’t be serving any nuts.

Nut free items would be available for snacks. Some snacks do say they are made in a facility with nuts, so still check those labels!!

Have a great Thursday. I’ll be blogging about Girlfriends Guide to Seattle this weekend as I help my good friend celebrate her 40th in style, as well as my brothers 33rd birthday on Sunday!

What is your favorite Seattle activity?

🤗🤗🤗

Uncategorized

Back to School Allergy Check List

It’s hard to believe that it is August and school is starting in just 26 days! As a food allergy family, we have a lot to get ready:

  1. Epi Pen renewals; keeping one on Chloe + in the nurses office at all times.
  2. New rescue inhaler for asthma
  3. Packing a new allergy friendly snack box for treats in the classroom (our policy is always no sharing, unless we have discussed it prior to the event and have approved the snack.)
  4. Talking with the teachers about classroom snacks and food allergies.
  5. Confirming lunch time routine
  6. And new for this year, talking with our new lunch program coordinator

After stopping by the FARE website to get some helpful tips, I came across this check sheet for classrooms that I thought was helpful. Even though I am not a teacher, this gave me some good ideas for every day use + reminders.  Have fun gearing up for school this year!

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The checklist below provides a list of 10 measures teachers can implement to help keep students with food allergies safe and included in their classrooms.

✓ Work with parents, the school nurse, and other appropriate school personnel to determine if any classroom modifications are needed to make sure that students with food allergies can participate fully in class activities.

✓ Avoid the use of identified allergens in class projects, parties, holidays and celebrations, arts, crafts, science experiments, cooking, snacks, or rewards. Modify class materials as needed.

✓ Use non-food incentives for prizes, gifts, and awards.

✓ Consider designated allergy-friendly seating arrangements in the cafeteria.

✓ Include information about children with special needs, including those with known food allergies, in instructions to substitute teachers.

✓ Encourage children to wash hands before and after handling or consuming food.

✓ Determine if the intended location for a field trip is safe for students with food allergies. If it is not safe, the trip might have to be changed or cancelled if accommodations cannot be made. Students cannot be excluded from field trips because of food allergies.

✓ Avoid ordering food from restaurants because food allergens may be present, but unrecognized.

✓ Have rapid access to epinephrine auto-injectors. If you suspect a severe food allergy reaction or anaphylaxis, take immediate action, consistent with your school’s food allergy management emergency response protocol.

✓ Be a role model by respecting the needs of students with food allergies and reinforcing the school’s rules against discrimination and bullying.

Download the checklist as a printable one-page PDF

For more helpful resources like this one, visit FARE’s Back to School Headquarters.