Holiday Favorites, Uncategorized

Carrot Cake Cupcakes & Cream Cheese Frosting

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I cheated tonight. On my cupcakes. Usually for Easter I make homemade carrot cake batter with shredded carrot – and tonight, I’m just tired. I picked up a few Betty Crocker Carrot Cake mixes for “stand by” in case I did not have time to do the whole big thing. Turns out my plan B saved me today! Honestly though, I’ve had a lot of carrot cake, and this mix is a very good stand by. Tastes homemade! So there’s the scoop on the mix – a picture of the box is in my previous Easter blog post if you’re interested.

The packaging is kind of deceiving since I’m a nut-free blogger and the box has a picture of carrot cake with pecans in the background of the cake. I’ve checked a million times, and there are no nuts inside this box mix. I even had Chloe do a skin test, then a sample by mouth with stand-by benadryl and epi-pen, and she was totally fine. There are no nuts in this mix. The pecans on the box, I’m guessing, are just because carrot cake usually does have some type of nut in it. Just not this one. I actually prefer it this way, no nuts. I don’t like being interrupted by crunchy nuts while I’m eating a delicious cake by a nut. the texture is wrong to me. But some people love them. Thus is true about life. Not being interrupted by nuts. But nuts do keep things interesting.

The frosting is super simple.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup of butter at room temp.
  • 8oz room temp cream cheese
  • 4.5 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Beat on medium high speed in electric mixer the butter and cream cheese. Slowly add the remaining ingredients. This recipe usually only calls for 4 cups confectioners sugar, but I wanted to pipe and the frosting needed to be thicker.

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Some more amazon treats came today! Nut-free suckers and my pinata! Shaping up to be a super fun week with the kiddos.

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Uncategorized, Weeknight Dinners

Chickpea Curry with Rice

Tonight’s meal is a no-brainer.  Curried chickpeas and rice is fast, easy and packed full of flavor (and it’s NUT-FREE!).  A friend of mine on facebook mentioned this recipe once and I have never forgotten about it!

Plus, it’s meatless Monday, so this recipe fits perfectly into the plan. I found this particular recipe from my new favorite Foodnetwork Foodie, Ree Drummond, she’s also known as Pioneer Woman. Kinda like her stuff right now.

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Today was our busy day (aren’t they all?!). We had:

  • morning school drop off at both schools
  • grocery shopping + unpacking + organizing
  • birthday + Easter meal prep + packaging
  • cleaning out the fridge
  • dish washer
  • cleaning out the van and backpacks
  • lunch for ME (a microwaved burrito that I inhaled in 10 minutes….these burritos are amaze!)
  • picking up little man from school
  • driving home again
  • putting him down for nap
  • binge eating dove mint chocolates (in my pantry because you’re supposed to hide when you eat naughty) to make my work-out “worth it” (I’m crazy, I know, right?!)
  • 30 minutes of cardio
  • packing little man up to get sister
  • picking up sister at her school
  • visiting her school’s scholastic book fair
  • packing up new books and school stuff
  • heading home for a potty break and snacks
  • packing up again
  • drive to little lady’s PT appointment
  • PT
  • packing the kids up again to go home + making more appointments
  • hitting rush hour traffic
  • driving home to make THIS DINNER!

I feel like a zombie right now. Luckily, I had the recipe saved to my desktop and all the ingredients and pans were already on the kitchen counter. Just mix all this stuff together and make some rice! So easy. Here it is. Sorry for the ramble…it is SUCH A MONDAY today!

For some color – I microwaved a bag of edamame and sprinkled with sea salt and pepper. Kids love edamame.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basmati rice/jasmine rice
  • 2 tbsp evoo
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 (15oz) cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (13.5oz) can of coconut milk
  • 1-2 tbsp honey
  • 1-2 tbsp sriracha (the “rooster” as my dad calls it!)
  • nann bread
  • cilantro for garnish

Directions

Cook the basmati rice according to the package instructions.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook until the onions are dark brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in the vegetable stock and stir to scrape up all the brown bits in the pan. Add the chickpeas, coconut milk, honey and a squirt of sriracha. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Warm the naan in the microwave. Serve the curry over the rice with the warmed naan. Garnish with the cilantro.

 

Uncategorized, Weeknight Dinners

Weeknight Chicken Wraps

My Instagram has this weeks menu posted if you need some weeknight meal inspiration! Quick and easy stuff! The Chicken Wraps are a new favorite – we recently had them at a St.Patrick’s Day party and they were a (surprise to me!) huge hit with the kids, too.

I’m so grateful for these two mamma friends in my life – the three of us have been friends since our girls were born 6 years ago. They know our nut allergies so well, and always do such a wonderful job of talking about food and labels in advance of our get-togethers. Sometimes, it is almost like they are reading my mind about this stuff, then beep beep boop bop, I get a text message with menu items and ingredient labels. I absolutely love it, and it’s so nice for all the kids to be included at meal time and it’s never a “thing” – we just all have a great time and there are no worries. I’m so grateful for these get-togethers because they are not full of stress and anxiety around meal times, it’s easy, and lovely and good. Just a little shout out to my ladies on this one, THANK YOU, Jill and Christen, for being amazing, caring, loving and inclusive. It truly means the world.

The recipe is easy and very weeknight friendly. But first, have you seen this weeks episode of Big Little Lies?! My new favorite show. It’s SO good – I can’t get enough of this show! Ok, focus focus focus. Here it is….

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Chicken Wraps

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups broccoli slaw
  • ½ carrot, shredded
  • ¼ cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  • ½  teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 18 ounces meat from a rotisserie chicken
  • 6 whole wheat tortillas
  • Spinach

Directions

1. Mix broccoli slaw and carrots together in large bowl.
2. Whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, olive oil, sugar and pepper in a separate medium bowl.
3. Pour this mixture over the broccoli slaw and carrots and toss to coat thoroughly.
4. Refrigerate until you are ready to make your flatbread fold.
5. Add ½ cup of the broccoli slaw mixture to center of the flatbread when ready.
6. Top with 3 ounces of rotisserie chicken and finish by adding baby spinach leaves.

You can also serve with your choice of salad dressing!

Yum yum! Yield is 6. Have a great week!

Holiday Favorites, Uncategorized

Mint Chocolate St. Pats Cupcakes!

Usually for St. Patrick’s Day, I make my all-time favorite recipe, Guinness chocolate chip cupcakes with a chocolate ganashe. The only problem is that I don’t like to serve these to the kids, for the obvious reason (even though the alcohol is baked off, it just sounds bad, right!?)

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On St.Pats this year, I did the traditional big dinner; braised corned beef, cabbage with balsamic reduction, roasted carrots and potatoes. For dessert, I waited 3 days before FINALLY getting to it, (hey, I was busy with my daughters fundraiser) chocolate cupcakes with buttercream mint frosting.

The dinner turned out great, and I used Pioneer Woman’s recipe from FoodNetwork. It was pretty easy and the oven did most of the work. The cupcakes were delish and simple, and definitely will keep them on the menu for next year. I’m so grateful for tradition and our friends that we celebrate St.Pats with each and every year. The kids LOVE tradition and look forward to it. It’s always a fun time and watching the kids grow together over the years brings me so much joy.

For the cupcakes, prepare a box mix of Betty Crocker Devils Food Chocolate cake mix as directed.

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Frosting Ingredients:

  • Two sticks of butter, room temp
  • 6 cups of  powdered sugar
  • 4 TBSP milk
  • 1 tsp mint extract
  • 6 drops green food coloring
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, mix the two sticks of butter very well on medium speed.
  2. Once the butter is smooth, add the powdered sugar, mix slowly then turn up the speed.
  3. Add the milk, mint, food coloring and salt.
  4. Do check the labels of your food coloring – I know it sounds silly, but WILTON brand is NOT safe food coloring for nut-allergic people. It’s made in a facility with tree-nuts and peanuts. We use McCormick brand
  5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix some more until everything is combined very well.
  6. Sample it and adjust as needed.

I promised I would talk about piping here, too. So this is for you Jill 🙂

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How to Pipe your frosting:

  1. Find a large plastic cup and put your piping bag inside the cup, with the piping tip already in.
  2. Fold the sides of the piping bag over the outside of the cup.
  3. Add your frosting to the piping bag
  4. Once the piping bag is full, take the bag out of the cup and twist the top
  5. on a plate, test out your piping, get the air bubbles out.
  6. Now you’re ready to pipe your frosting!

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Uncategorized, Weeknight Dinners

20 Minute Quesadillas

My internet connection is slower than 14.4kbps right now. If you’re a 90s chic, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Followed by the “You’ve Got Mail” chime. Slower than slow – hoping to at least get this recipe down to share with you!

I’ve been thinking about these tasty quesadillas all day long. Yes, they were THAT good – and I also had some left over for lunch today. So here goes.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • McCormick Quesadilla season packet
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, organic if possible (you don’t want a giant, hormone induced chicken breast. If you get that kind, you’ll need to pound it down to flatten it out or it wont cook at the same rate as the rest of your meat)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow onion (or any onion will work, even onion powder.)
  • 1 handful of small diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp evoo (extra virgin olive oil, or vegetable/avocado oil is fine too)
  • 4 large flour tortillas

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and pull out a cookie sheet.  Set aside.
  2. Chop all of your produce in similar sizes to cook at the same rate: dice the onion, tomato, bell pepper and set to the side.
  3. Prepare the chicken, cut into small chunks
  4. In a large frying pan with high sides, place 2 tbsp evoo over med-hi heat
  5. Add the onion to the fry pan for about 5 minutes, until translucent.
  6. Add the chicken, 4 minutes on each side.
  7. Add the remainder of the produce.
  8. Cook for 5 minutes
  9. Once the vegetables and chicken are cooked, add the season packet + 1/4 cup milk.
  10. Reduce the heat to low.
  11. Scrape the bottom of the pan and let the milk reduce.
  12. Once the sauce thickens, add the cheese and turn off the heat.
  13. Place one large tortilla on a baking sheet.
  14. Add 1/2 of the chicken mixture to the tortilla
  15. Place a few more sprinkles of cheese on chicken mixture, if desired
  16. Put the second tortilla over the top of the mixture
  17. Place into the oven for 5 minutes, flip, bake for 5 more minutes
  18. Repeat this process for the second quesadilla
  19. Let cool
  20. Cut each quesadilla like a pizza
  21. Serve with avocado + tomato

Enjoy! Yield = 6

Have a great week! Hope this quick dinner idea helps you out!

How to be Nutfree, Travel, Uncategorized

Nut-free Vacation Planning

Pre-kids, my husband and I had grand expectations of worldly travels with kids in tow eating baby crêpes in Paris and schnitzel in Stuttgart, and Bangers and Mash with a few pints in the UK. Then, reality set in.

Colicy baby, an entire vacation cancelled last minute due to whooping cough. Eventually a nut allergy diagnosis. Bad colds, never ending sick kids. Ear infections on top of ear infections and exhausted parents. We quickly learned that our dreams of extravagant travel were pretty far off in the distance. If we wanted to actually enjoy it, anyway.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade, or something.

We have adapted over the past 6 years and have found things that work for us that we consider”fun” travel.

  1. Low key trips “up north” Wisconsin
  2. Visit family 
  3. Kid friendly states; Tennessee + Colorado
  4. Museums and aquariums
  5. State parks
  6. And Disney, for when you’re missing the world and want to feel “fancy”

So that brings me to #6. This year marks our third time to Disney in 6 years. Partly, we love Disney. Mostly, we have severe food allergies, and Disney has it handled, like a boss. 

Today, we logged on to My Disney Experience and selected a few activities, and meal reservations. After choosing the time, restaurant and guests, we were prompted to add food allergy information. We can also view all food menus and allergy information way before we get into the park. Disney also has first aide stations clearly marked incase we come in contact with our allergy. Not to worry, we generally pack 3 twin packs and loads of benadryl.

Today’s post is me tooting Disney’s horn for being over the top excellent about handling our precious children and their various dietary needs. Thank you, Disney, for making this trip the most stress free trip we will take all year. From the Magical Express airport pick up, luggage handling, kid camps, spas and delicious dining, it’s all covered so we can enjoy 100% family time.