How to be Nutfree, School Safe List

Thank You, Sun Butter!


Today we received our Sun Butter box with lots of samples for our upcoming school event, the Spring Fling. We’re so excited to be able to share our favorite snack with all of our friends while also playing some fun Olympic style games! Tomorrow we’re practicing our Olympic games and I’ll post a YouTube video link here so you can see the fun stuff we are up to!

Thank you, Sun Butter, for supporting our school!

Weeknight Dinners

Chicken Taco Soup

Tacos are so hot right now.

If you’re a taco, you’re hash-tagged every Tuesday, you’re the go-to for weeknight cooking, you are a pantry staple, and you’re devoured within seconds of being served.

If you’re a taco, you’re trending + extremely popular + accessorize well with others. You may even be on a cool t-shirt.

Basically, Tacos are the new black.



So what’s taco soup?

Tonight, Carter decided to re-name this soup to Chicken Taco rather than Chicken Tortilla because, “Mamma, this is just like a taco in my soup bowl.” And he’s right! We poured a little soup in the bowl, topped with crushed tortilla chips, cheese and avocado. Essentially, a taco!

I took a few recipes and mashed them together to create this one. I’m sure you’ll have everything in your pantry already – and if you don’t, it’s not a big deal…..


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cups of crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • lots of fresh ground pepper


  • cheese
  • avocado
  • chips (Tostitos are nut-free. Trader Joe’s are NOT nut-free)
  • tortilla slices
  • jalapeno
  • cilantro
  • lime slices
  • sour cream if it’s too spicy for your liking


  1. In a dutch oven over medium-hi heat, add your onion, garlic and bell pepper. Saute until soft, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken stock, black beans, corn, tomato, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. While it’s simmering, prepare your chicken. I like to cut the chicken into small cubes, about the same size as the rest of the ingredients in the soup. It’s easier to eat that way πŸ™‚
  4. Cube the chicken and add it to the soup.
  5. Simmer for 20-30 minutes and let it thicken.
  6. Sample your soup and adjust the seasonings as needed. Usually, you’ll need more salt, especially if you use unsalted chicken stock, like I do πŸ™‚
  7. Serve with desired garnishes.

The yield on this is about 8. To change it up for left over night, try serving this over jasmine rice, couscous or quinoa. You could also omit some liquid and serve in bibb lettuce wraps for a super healthy crunchy taco.

I love this soup. It’s super hearty, healthy and comes together very quick. It’s a good way to clean out your fridge. Weekly, we have sliced bell pepper in snack size bags, and I did have some left over this week that I threw in here, so no waste! Our fridge is pretty empty now and it’s time to start planning what we’ll be eating for next week πŸ™‚ I hope you are enjoying this weekend with the ones you love the most πŸ™‚




Omni Hotel Chicago Review


Two weeks ago we had the privilege of staying at the Omni Hotel Chicago for Chloe’s 7th Birthday celebration! It was wonderful and I wanted to share with you why we selected this property.

  1. It offered an American Girl Package: including an American Girl Doll travel bed, slippers, bath robe, PJ’s, welcome note, special treats and free breakfast.
  2. Since it’s winter and we were walking, we wanted something close to the actual store/cafe. This hotel was two blocks from the American Girl Doll store. Easy for the kids to walk.
  3. The price point was nice. Literally, the amount of American Girl Doll items probably added up to be at least $100. The hotel room itself was pretty inexpensive for Chicago standards on the weekend.
  4. All the rooms are suites, so everyone had a bed to sleep in comfortably and there was a separate TV area so the grownups didn’t have to go to bed at 8, too.
  5. Swimming Pool!
  6. Understood food allergies!
  7. Valet was included with American Girl package
  8. On-site dining
  9. Kid-friendly turn down service
  10. Easy on/off I-90

We love how 1-90 just plops you out on to Ohio Street in the middle of the city. It was just a few blocks to our hotel on Michigan + Huron.Β  When we pulled up to Omni, everyone was super helpful and great with the kids making sure they were safely tucked inside the hotel so we could unload the car.

We checked in, found our room, checked out the pool area + decided to shop a bit. Everything we needed was within about a 5 block radius of the hotel. After shopping + coffee we headed to the American Girl Cafe. The food was OK but the service and attention to allergies was incredible.


When we got back to the hotel later in the evening, the hotel staff greeted my daughter by her first name and remembered it was her Birthday. She was feeling extra, extra special!

Turn down service came and brought mini milks and cookies for the kids. The cookies weren’t safe, but we were prepared for that part. Chloe did enjoy the boxed milk, though. A TV in the kids room + in the living room, we all settled in and watched a movie before going to bed.


The next day we took advantage of their in-house restaurant 676. They had a great buffet and nut-free pancakes. It was a beautiful snowy morning and the huge restaurant windows made it fun to watch the city become blanketed in white fluffy snow.


We would stay here again. The location is wonderful and the renovations they have made are beautiful!

Thank you, Omni, for making our little girls birthday so special!


Skiing & Nut Allergies

The kids have been asking to ski for quite a while and now that they are a little older, 7 and 4.5, we decided to invest in youth ski helmets, goggles, and gear. There is a ski hill about 45 minutes from where we live, Cascade Mountain and their ski school had amazing reviews online, so we tried it.


Cascade Mountain is a ski area that I grew up loving in my teens and early twenties and it holds many great family memories. Showing my littles how to ski and enjoy this outdoor sport has filled me with utter joy.

We chose to register online for Cascade Kids Ski School since their website is easy to use. Just make sure you click all the boxes to “check out” once your cart is filled. Each lesson is about 3 hours long with one 30 minutes snack break, snack provided.

Of course, it’s winter, SOMEBODY was sick, my little buddy Carter woke up not feeling well. The hubs and I decided who would say + go. It was deemed “Girls Day” and Chloe and I headed out with the truck (fresh snow!) to Cascade.

When we arrived, I was pleasantly surprised with how ORGANIZED ski school was for my daughter. There was a separate entrance for Cascade Kids Ski School, which we did not know about, so we stood in a line and wasted a little time, but we figured it out πŸ˜‰ After we checked into school, we headed over to the rentals building. We grabbed our size ski boots and checked out her skis. Chloe snapped into her bindings like a pro and met up with her ski instructors outside the Cascade Kids Ski School door. This took about 15 minutes to do, so plan ahead πŸ™‚

There were about 7 kids in her class with many instructors present. They used a small “magic carpet” bunny hill with an escalator rather than rope tow for easier access on the hill. I remember using the rope tow as a kid, and barely had enough upper body strength to get myself up. So I’m glad Cascade makes it easy for kids to learn.

Chloe got a special vest to wear to identify her rental ski number, name, and age. It helped her stand out on a busy ski day. Her instructors asked if there was anything special they needed to know about Chloe and of course SHE HAS NUT ALLERGIES came gushing out of my mouth. The instructors were cool and immediately gave me the name and brand of the snack they were about to offer for snack time. Unfortunately Goldfish Graham Crackers are the only Goldfish product not safe for Chloe. They are made in a facility with tree-nuts, so we passed on the Cascade snack and gave our Lemon Zest Luna Bar to the Cascade instructor. She kept it in a special place until snack time.


Chloe learned a lot at ski school.

  • handling your equipment
  • pizza (snow plowing)
  • using the escalator
  • walking/skiing somewhere
  • slaloming.

She was laughing and smiling every time I checked in on her + I could see her from the chairlift I was using. Very cute.

It was just the two of us. A girls day. And I still needed to figure out what to do with myself while Chloe was enjoying ski school. I found a locker inside the main building to store my things and decided to ski as well since I brought my equipment, “just in case.” The last time I skied was March of 2007 at Breckenridge & Keystone, two of my favorites. That’s a long time to go without skiing. Admittedly, I was nervous. What if I suck? What if I couldn’t do the ski lift? What if I fell? What if I got hurt and couldn’t drive us home?

That’s silly thinking right? Chloe needs a confident Mommy who leads by example. Mental pep talk, and I was out there with here in 15 minutes. Anything that you love and spend a significant amount of time on usually comes RIGHT back the next time you pick it up. And I did.Β  It went great. Actually, it was fun. More fun than I remember. Usually I ski with a group and the lift is never an issue. This time I rode with several strangers and made small talk up the hill. It was different and not my usual style (I’m shy on the ski hill, usually just listen to music) but all of the people I met, mostly moms, were in the same boat as me….hadn’t skied in a long time, kids were on the hill and they were also a little nervous to try this winter sport again. We had a lot of laughs and high fives, it was great.

Overall, we’ll be back, on February 24. Cascade was kind enough to just reschedule Carter without a fee due to his illness. He’s fine and he’s VERY excited to try ski school. I just hope the weather is as beautiful as it was this past weekend πŸ™‚

Nothing at Cascade is “nut-free” so friends, pack a lunch. Most people that we saw did have their own lunches, so it’s easy to bring things. The coffee shop is very cute, so if you’re not a skiier yourself, you can snuggle in with a cute view, a fireplace, cozy chair and Starbucks!

Thanks Cascade Kids!





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. Β Sun Butter AppleΒ 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. Β 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.


Dunkin Donuts, Not So Safe!

Stop! Before you eat that donut at Dunkin with PN/TN allergies!!!!

It turns out, EVERY Dunkin LOCATION IS DIFFERENT. when it comes to dining out, no matter where you go always check on the policies in place, just like you would a label on packaging.

I posted a few months ago about Dunkin Donuts and how SAFE I thought they were. A friend of mine visited a Dunkin in our area (not my usual Dunkin) and said that they did not have a handle on allergies, nor would confirm that the items she was purchasing were free from trace amounts of peanut or tree nuts.

Today I called the Dunkin Donuts that my friend visited and they stated that they cannot guarantee 100% free from peanuts or tree nuts due to the facility that they are manufactured in.

This statement is 100% contradictory to the statement I received from Dunkin Donuts a few weeks ago at another location.

Basically, the risk is up to you. I don’t know if I will ever take my daughter back. I have an insane amount of guilt now 😦

To make your own donuts, check this out.

Mom Things

Online Grocery Shopping & Tipping


With Amazon Prime Now, Metcalfes grocery delivery, Hy-Vee grocery delivery and Peapod so graciously bringing us our goods, we have to be mindful of tipping! Tipping is still expected, even as new services like these become mainstream and already include a service fee.

That Panera you just had delivered? Yep. Tip.

Groceries delivered with a fee? Yes, you still tip.

What if you order groceries online, but choose to do in-store pick up? Yes. Someone else did the work for you, still tip them $1 per bag.

This kind of tipping is different though. It reminds me of the European tip of, “a few dollars to show you’re grateful for a good service, not exact percentage.”

This kind tip isn’t a percentage of a bill like you would normally calculate when dining out. I like to think of the etiquette I’d use to tip at a hotel. So, about $1.00 per bag of groceries, and about $1.00 per entree delivered by carry-out. For example, I usually have 5 bags of groceries delivered one time per week, I’d use a $5 for the tip, even if I have 4 bags or 3 bags, $5 is easy, unless I have singles on hand.

A few times I’ve been in a jam since I am not usually a cash carrying kind of lady. In these instances, I’ve given Starbucks gift cards for $5 that I have in my wallet or a handmade card from my kids to say Thank you, we appreciate what you do. But usually, I try to have the tip cash on hand so I can easily say Thanks! And don’t sweat it if it’s not exact. It’s the thought that counts.