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Chili Loaded Sliders

Can you believe Packer Football is on TV tonight?! Whenever we plan to watch a game at home, we prepare game-time food and snacks. Go pack go! The kids and I had a low-key day; 3 hours outside riding bikes this morning (think Chloe has a cold), then naps, and an afternoon of play time inside while I cleaned out their closests and dresser drawers. We have a few back to school items that need to be put away, but for every new item we bring in, an old item must go. Here’s what we decided on for dinner with the Pack. Chili stuffed baked potato sliders with a slide…
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Nut-free Dried Fruit, Finally!

For months we have been searching for safe, dried fruit options. Our usual stores do not have many options in the dried fruit area. Usually it’s bulk, the big bins that you self serve nuts, fruit, oats, etc from, which are not safe. The spoon to scoop poses huge cross-contamination risks! The other option is the big brand names, which all produce nuts, so those are not safe either. For the past few years, we have stuck with Raisins (not the yogurt coated, or chocolate coated, those are NOT safe) just plain old raisins. While bopping around on Downer Avenue today in Milwaukee, we stopped at Sendiks. I love this…
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Sweet + Sour Tomatoes with Marinated Chicken

This week’s meal planning has been completely last minute stuff, just becuase of the virus Chloe had this past week. It’s OK, we are going with the flow. Yesterday at about 3pm, I was talking to Doug at work, and we decided to quickly marinate some chicken and slice up tomatoes for dinner. Easy. Fast. Under 20 minutes. He likes fire, so grilling is fun for him . I like using every measuring utensil in the kitchen, so marinades and salads are great for me to make. Team work. It’s a win win. The kids and I picked about 10 fresh tomatoes yesterday in the sweltering heat. Here’s the recipe.…
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Wisconsin State Fair – Updated 8/5/16

Are you done hearing about our nutty life? Lol. I am. So this post will be more about how fun State Fair is, sprinkled in with “how to” with allergies. Growing up on the south side of Milwaukee, the state Fair was ALWAYS part of our summer. We used to make an entire day of it, meeting many family members at the fair for our annual cream puff fight. We enjoyed seeing the animals, going on rides and eating as much food as we could shove into our tummies. Most importantly, we would celebrate my brothers Birthday, which is August 5. Love you, brother! Fast forward a few years (ok,…
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Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan

Today we had our annual check-ups before school starts at the end of the month and the kids are doing well and are on great growth curves! I thought I would share a sample of what our emergency action plan looks like for our food allergies. Hopefully there are some helpful ideas here, even for people with non-food allergic kids/grandkids/etc. This could be helpful in everyday situations like dining out, air travel, school, etc. If you don’t know how to use an epi-pen auto injector, I highly recommend googling a video of it, or practice with a friend’s epi “trainer” – the trainer’s come with every twin pack of auto…
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Comfort Foods during a Cold/Flu

The other day I was just thinking, “Boy, have we been lucky this summer. We haven’t been sick in so long. I actually can’t remember the last time we were not feeling well.” And just like that, Chloe was down for the count.  We usually get a little something after visiting the zoo or children’s museum, never fails. Sure enough, we were at the museum last Friday, it was PACKED full of kids and Chloe got sick Sunday morning. Just thought I would share what some of her favorite things are: Gatorade – it has some calories, which is nice if youre worried about dehydration. Mini Saltine Crackers Mini Nilla…
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BTS Nut-Free Check List

Now that it’s August 1, our back to school countdown has officially begun. We have 24 days to get ready. Going back to school is exciting, even more so with food allergies. This school year we are promoting a more positive and proactive nut-free lifestyle. We have done this by empowering Chloe to make smart, independent decisions for meals and activities. This will help her when she is faced with different choices at school. Is it OK for me to share a lunch with my friend? Is it OK to just sample this cookie? Is it OK for me not to wash my hands this ONE time before lunch? Is…
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Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Not sure why I haven’t made this before, but we could literally eat ALL of this frosting, sans the cupcake part. We celebrated a VERY dear friend’s birthday yesterday, and here is the safe dessert we made. Chocolate on Chocolate Cupcakes 3 sticks unsalted butter 5 cups powdered sugar 1 cup safe powdered unsweetened cocoa (Vermont nut-free or Hershey’s) Splash milk (optional) Splash vanilla extract  Directions Make a devils food Betty crocker cake mix as directed, we did cup cakes Bake and cool completely In electric mixer bowl, cream together the room temperature butter and one cup of sugar at a time until creamy smooth.  Add remaining ingredients. Mix slow…
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Orecchiette and Broccoli Rabe

Did you know that orecchiette ( O-REE-KEY-ETT-AY) means little ears in Italian? This famous pasta is still hand made in Italy today, and it is a favorite of ours becuase the little shells hold sauce very well. I know. The word broccoli is usually an automatic turn-off. But, hear me out. Broccoli rabe is a little longer, and easier to eat for some picky eaters. The taste is much better, too! This meal is 30 minutes from start to finish, and everyone seems to enjoy it!  Orecchiette and Broccoli Rabe 1 pound box orecchiette pasta 1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage 1 pound broccoli rabe 3 tbsp unsalted butter 1/4…
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Pickled Red Onion + Ginger

Canning has been a big part of our family for many generations. It used to be done for necessity, and now it’s more of a hobby and path to healthy, more natural eating. We can mostly at the end of summer; salsa, pickles, tomatoes, tomato juice, spicy vegetables, and whatever else needs canning from our garden. For fun, we made this recipe, and it turned out amazing. The kids eat it like candy, and I’ve used it all week on top of my salads. Pickled Red Onion + Ginger 1 wide mouth pint size Mason jar + lid 1 cup water 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar 1 tbsp sugar 1+1/2…
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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Corn season has started a little early this year. It’s been a great growing season for many vegetables since it has been warm, humid, and fairly wet this summer. My husband drives past a corn stand on his way home from Fort Atkinson each week and decided to pick up a dozen ears of fresh corn on the cob. What a treat. The kids LOVE corn!! Here is one way to use up some of the extra corn we have on hand. Trisha’s Chicken Tortilla Soup 3 tbsp butter (unsalted) 1-2 Clove’s garlic 1 yellow onion, chopped 2 tbsp flour 3 (14oz ) cans of chicken stock 4 cups of…
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A New Way to PB+J 

With school starting at the end of August, we are already making preparations for the upcoming year. There are a few ways to make a school safe lunch if your school has a “no-nuts” policy. When you see “no-nuts” it includes: Pine nuts Peanuts Pistachios Walnuts Cashews Hazelnuts Macadamia Almonds Brazil All other nuts I may have missed And anything manufactured in a facility with nuts, most commonly in: oats, chocolate, dried fruits, all desserts made in a professional bakery, processed food from restaurants, breads, some cereals, granola bars, crackers, cookies, chia seeds, flax seeds, baking ingredients. If you’re looking to ensure safety, check the ingredient label on the package.…
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New Fast Snack Finds

Today we were in the Hilldale area and decided to shop at Metcalfes. I enjoy this store because of the classical music, fine cheese and produce departments (It’s true. I love the classical music. It’s relaxing while shopping with two whirling kiddos.), cleanliness, and their desire to reduce waste, reuse bags, and recycle materials and old food. Here are two items we found today in the deli area. Although they are processed (boo) they are nice to have in a pinch, for school, car rides, snack between meals. The nutrition information is not bad, and most importantly, they are nut-free. 1. Garden Veggie Straws – made with real vegetable puree.…
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Summer Snack Plates

It’s Sunday and we are preparing for the week. This means menu planning, grocery lists, and snack ideas. If I don’t have these things organized,my week feels disjointed. Planning around our food allergies reduces stress dramatically. It’s anxiety provoking enough to get the last minute “hey let’s go out for dinner” (Which we LOVE to do), so planning regular meals helps incase we do decide to go out, we can always take our bento box!!  But, 9 times out of ten, I don’t even consider what I will enjoy because I’m too busy thinking about what will be safe for Chloe to eat, and if I trust the kitchen enough…
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