Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Creepy-Eyed Monsters & Ghoulish Cupcakes



I am a Food Allergy Consultant but I am also a blogger, a recipe writer, a mom and a wife. What does this mean? Basically,  I like to keep most of my recipes easy with short prep time to fit into my busy routine. Keep it simple- I cannot stress this enough for so many of my clients. Do I cook extravagant meals? Of course, we all do once in awhile but not every day, every meal.

I wanted to have some special goodies for the kids since I was ultra lazy and never even decorated for Halloween this year. (Bad mommy!) These are just a few treats that I wanted to share in hopes that someone, somewhere would say "I can do that!". I will warn you- these are not high in protein and they don't have any hidden fruits or vegetables but they were fun to make and they would be a great thing to try with your kids as well. I do apologize for the pictures on these...sometimes I can take great pictures and other times, I just can't do it. I hope you can overlook them once in awhile.

I made a few Creepy-Eyed Monsters and a few different types of cupcakes this year. There were two types of Creepy Eyed Monsters- one with marshmallow and one with gluten free cereal. You will notice that I use a lot of chocolate but it "glues" so well that it's an easy tool to use. I also did not measure any of the ingredients out because I split up the melted chocolate and decorated as I went. I suggest you lay out all of the ingredients and supplies first because the chocolate gets everywhere!

Creepy-Eyed Marshmallow Monsters
Large Marshmallows
Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
Dash of Cinnamon
Your Choice of a Bright Candy (I used Skittles but you can use Tic Tacs, Gummy Bears, Licorice, anything)
Waxed Paper
A Toothpick

In a small pot, melt of the chocolate chips, stirring constantly so as not to burn or cook the chocolate. Holding the top and bottom of the marshmallow, roll the sides in the chocolate to cover completely. Place onto the waxed paper and place a dollop of melted chocolate on top of the marshmallow. Gently place 2 pieces of candy on top.

Using a toothpick, dip it into the melted chocolate and "draw" two dots for eyes on the monsters. Let cool completely or place in the fridge to cool faster. Store in an airtight container.

Numbers will vary depending on how many marshmallows you use.

Blobby Monsters
1/2 Cup Enjoy Life Foods Chocolate Chips
Dash of Cinnamon
1/4 Cup Gluten Free Cereal of your Choice (I used Erewhorn Rice Twice)
Your Choice of a Bright Candy (I used Skittles but you can use Tic Tacs, Gummy Bears, Licorice, anything)
Waxed Paper
A Toothpick

In a small pot, melt the chocolate chips, stirring constantly so as not to burn or cook the chocolate.
Add in the cereal and gently stir, making sure the cereal is coated well. Scoop a spoonful onto waxed paper and place two pieces of candy on top for the eyes (you can also do one for the mouth).

Using a toothpick, dip it into the melted chocolate and "draw" two dots for eyes on the monsters. Let cool completely or place in the fridge to cool faster. Store in an airtight container.

Numbers will vary depending on how many marshmallows you use.


For the cupcakes, I used my favorite brand Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Free Chocolate Cake. I used half of the oil and added one 4-ounce applesauce as well as adding Ener-G Powdered Egg Replacer just as an extra to ensure the cupcakes stayed together. I had a total of 12 cupcakes from this batch so I made 3 different variations.

Tombstone Cupcake
Josef's Gluten Free Cinnamon Squares
Enjoy Life Foods Chocolate Chips
Waxed Paper
A Toothpick
Cherrybrook Kitchen Vanilla Frosting
Green Sprinkles

Gently break the Cinnamon Squares in half, trying to leave it intact as a rectangle.

In a small pot, melt the chocolate chips, stirring constantly so as not to burn or cook the chocolate. Gently dip the top of the cracker and then the sides to leave an outline of the sides as chocolate. Place onto the waxed paper flat with the words side facing down. Using a toothpick, dip it into the chocolate and write "RIP" on the top of the cracker. Let cool completely or place in the fridge to cool faster.

Ice the cupcakes with the frosting, then sprinkle with green sprinkles. Insert the cracker into the cupcake, gently pushing some of the cracker into the cake to keep it from tipping.

Spiderweb Cupcake
SurfSweets Gummy Spiders
Vanilla Frosting of Your Choice
Enjoy Life Foods Chocolate Chips
Optional- add food coloring to the frosting for a more festive look

Frost your cupcake with the frosting.

In a small pot, melt the chocolate chips, stirring constantly so as not to burn or cook the chocolate. Gently dip the top of the cracker and then the sides to leave an outline of the sides as chocolate.

Using a butter knife, gently dip it into the chocolate and then gently draw circles on top of the frosting. Once done, take a clean butter knife and make the web lines by starting at the top and just sliding down in a straight line from the top of the cupcake to just below the last circle line. Repeat all the way around the circle to make the web. Top with a gummy spider.

Mummy Face Cupakes
Vanilla Frosting of Your Choice
Enjoy Life Foods Chocolate Chips
Your Choice of a Bright Candy (I used Skittles but you can use Tic Tacs, Gummy Bears, Licorice, anything)
A Toothpick

Frost the cupcake with the frosting, making sure all of the chocolate cupcake is covered. Place two candies on it as the eyes. Frost again just above and just below the eyes, making horizontal lines with the frosting to make it look like bandages. Using a toothpick, dip it into the melted chocolate and "draw" two dots for eyes.


Worms in the Dirt Cupcakes
Vanilla Frosting of Your Choice
Enjoy Life Foods Chocolate Chips
SurfSweets Gummy Worms

In a small pot, melt the chocolate chips, stirring constantly so as not to burn or cook the chocolate. Add a bit of the vanilla frosting to the melted chocolate, stirring completely to make a fudgy "dirt" frosting.

Frost the cupcake. Using a knife, insert a small slit into the cupcake. Gently push some of the gummy worm into the slit and cover with a bit more of the dirt frosting. Top with additional gummy worms.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween!

Quinoa Rice & Shine Chocolate Chip Cookies


Every once in a great while, I am able to update a recipe and it proves to be a big hit in my household of picky eaters. Yesterday, during the cold, rain and wind, I turned on my oven and searched to see what I could use up as a treat for the kids. I had a ton of Arrowhead Mills Quinoa and Rice & Shine Hot Cereal, I had chocolate chips and I had a bunch of bananas that were leaning on the side of "eww, gross". As I always say- moms, especially food allergy moms NEVER waste food because it makes a dent in our budget.

I pulled out the recipe that I have made a few times for cookies and they were good but they weren't great. I want great! I want foods that people who don't have food allergies will eat and not make a face. Low and behold, the revised Quinoa Chocolate Chip cookie was born. I will say that the recipe is for one batch but I strongly suggest making a double batch. These babies were eaten just as fast as I was putting them onto the cooling wracks minus the few that I put onto a plate, yelling "I need to take pictures first!" They are softer on the inside but the quinoa gives them a slight crunch.


Quinoa Rice & Shine Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 Cups Arrowhead Mills Quinoa Rice & Shine Hot Cereal (uncooked)
1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Butter, softened (can use oil or dairy-free butter alternative)
4 Ounces Applesauce
1 Cup Brown Sugar
Egg Replacer = 2 Eggs (I used Ener-G)
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
2 Very Ripe Bananas
1/2 - 1 Cup Enjoy Life Foods Chocolate Chips
Optional Add-ins: dried fruits, nuts (if not allergic), seeds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a large bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. Stir to combine well. Add the butter and applesauce, stirring to combine. Next, add the sugar, egg replacer and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, mash the banana well until no chunks. Add the bananas to the large bowl and mix well, adding the chocolate chips. The mixture will be slightly less thick than normal cookie dough.

Spoon a large spoonful onto an ungreased baking sheet, making slightly flat with the spoon. Bake until golden brown on the bottom of the cookies (approximately 8-10 minutes). Using a flexible plastic spatula, gently lift the cookies off and let  them cool on a baking rack. They will not be very firm upon taking them out of the oven but they will firm up slightly  after cooling.

Makes approximately 12 cookies.

Below are the packaged items that I used. I have found that a visual picture helps when you go to find products at the store:




Thursday, October 25, 2012

Meet Me in Person!

Are you local and would like to stop and say hello?
This Saturday, October 27th from 10 AM - 2 PM, I will be one of the vendors at the Lewisville Health Fair to be held at the Lewisville Elementary School. I am being told there will be some really great people there as well as a Halloween costume contest with prizes!
Bring the kids and have a great family day, get some information and do it all before the "Monster Storm" leaves us all stranded inside.
I look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Guest Post- Avoiding Allergy Symptoms During Fall Yard Work

I am pleased to host my very first guest post on my blog written by Jennifer Roberge. I asked Jennifer to write up a post for the Fall because many times, food allergies are often (unknowingly) triggered by other cross- reactive environmental allergens and I knew she would be the one to give us expert advice.

Jennifer is a work-at-home mother of two. One with eczema, allergies (food and environmental) and asthma and one with mild eczema. She blogs about her family's battles with allergies, eczema and asthma at It's an Itchy Little World. Jennifer is the founder of The Eczema Company, which offers specialty clothing and natural skin care for children with eczema.


It’s fall and the leaves are changing color and falling to the ground. Sure the colorful leaves are beautiful, but beware, they can be a source of one of fall’s most prevalent allergens- mold. When leaves collect on the ground and become damp from recent rain or morning dew, they become a haven for mold spores.  But mold is not the only allergen that spikes in the fall, ragweed is the worst of the fall allergens and it tends to be inescapable this time of year.

If you suffer from fall allergies, they can manifest themselves in many ways. Common symptoms are a runny nose or congestion and flu-like symptoms, including a sore throat.  Also common are headaches, eczema or other skin conditions, and asthma. This time of year my son’s asthma really bothers him, especially at night with the infamous asthma cough. His eczema also tends to flare up on his face and hands.

Surely everyone wants to avoid these unpleasant symptoms. Naturally, limiting time outdoors will help prevent exposure to these allergens, but the leaves need raking and mums need re potting, so just what can be done?

Grab your rake, potting soil, and read on to reduce your exposure to ragweed, mold spores, and any other fall allergen lurking just outside your front door.

BEFORE heading outside:

·         Wear a mask (hospital, construction, etc.) to limit the amount of allergens you inhale.

·         Wear a hat and clothing that can easily be removed once the outdoor work is done and you’re ready to come back indoors.
 

DURING yard work:

·         Remove the leaves from the yard and gutters.

·         Remove any debris and damp items from the yard.

·         Move compost and wood piles away from home.

·         Trim trees and hedges allowing a space between the home and the landscaping.

AFTER time outside:

·         Toss the mask, clothing, and hat in the wash on a hot cycle, if possible. Take a quick shower and wash your hair OR wipe down your hair, face, and hands, which were exposed to the allergens.

Give these tips a try this fall and you should greatly reduce your sneezy, wheezy allergy symptoms. If your allergies remain relentless, rest assured knowing the first freeze isn’t too far away and with it, the ragweed should die off and the mold will go dormant until spring.
Thanks for the great tips, Jennifer. I'm sure you have helped out a lot of families during this season!  For more information and support regarding seasonal allergies, you can view Jennifer's blog at http://itchylittleworld.wordpress.com/ as well as her great line of products at http://www.eczemacompany.com/.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Favorite New Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets

For those of you who are both new to the wonderful world of food allergies and those that are well established, I think it's safe to say that when we find a product that is safe for us and easy to make, it's  a blessing. I will be the first to admit that although I cook 95% of our meals from scratch, there are a few select foods that I still have to purchase due to time restraints, my picky children and my schedule. And I am ok with this- you do your very best when you can. If this means that the food allergy consultant and blogger does not always make some of her foods, so be it. It's the truth and a fact of life. The important thing to focus on is which products you are choosing to purchase.

My son has always been the one who has an aversion to chewing meat. He won't eat steak, but he will eat a hamburger, he won't eat chicken breast but he can wolf down a ton of chicken nuggets. As a dedicated mom, I always encourage him to at least try foods in case his taste has miraculously changed overnight. I don't force foods on him but I do expect him to try them. My daughter- I think if I gave her fried rocks, she would eat them. Just goes to show you that everyone is different and either they will grow up and eat all types of food textures or they won't. My concern does not lie with what form the foods are eaten- my concern is getting the foods into them.

My most recent find was a double "Yay!". Not only did I try a new product but I found it in my local Lowes Foods store. Don't get me wrong, Whole Foods is a second home to me but sometimes it's nice to make one trip instead of two (or three, or four) and even get the occasional store discount or a coupon...OR, Double Coupons...imagine that!

I was browsing and I saw a package of Applegate Naturals Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets. I shook my head, thinking "They probably have egg in them". I flipped over the box and to my surprise- no egg! No egg, no dairy, no nuts and no yeast (no yeast means mom can eat them too). How awesome was that?! I did want to double check about the egg so I perused their website. This is what I found regarding egg and their products:


Consumer Question Posted:  "Are there an egg products in the gluten free chicken nuggets or any other gluten free products? You list gluten, casein, and dairy free but not egg free. I do not see it on the box but need to know before I feed them to my son. He loves your organic chicken and natural turkey slices"

Applegate Naturals Response via Gerry Clarkson: "Thank you for reaching out to us. You will be pleased to know that our gluten free nuggets are free of eggs. The only products that we have that include eggs as an ingredient are our, Natural Chicken Pot Pie and Natural Wheat Free Corn Dogs"

As always, we tried out one nugget to see if anything happened. We never, ever try a lot of anything new all at once. After all, the smaller the amount the smaller the possible reaction would be. Better safe than sorry- always. I am happy to report that all was fine and the entire box was gone within the same day (mostly by me!). The texture is perfect- these nuggets are like an allergy-friendly version of the perfect, crunchy fried chicken that you have always wanted to try. They cook up fast and they are a good size for meals or as a snack. I am actually drooling thinking about them.... umm, chicken nuggets! My apologies- food gets me excited.

Are you wondering what they are made of? The ingredients are: Chicken, Water, Corn Starch, Salt, Extract Of Oregano, Battered And Breaded With, Water, Rice Flour, Tapioca Dextrin, Corn Starch, Salt, Spices, Spice Extractives, Extract Of Paprika, Extractive Of Turmeric, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Ground Celery, Breading Set In Vegetable Oil. I also noticed online that Applegate also has chicken tenders....can't wait to find those! Thie products can be found at http://www.applegate.com/


Thanks Applegate Naturals for this really delicious product. Our family appreciates your family and I hope you continue to keep up the good work for all of us out here that really need you.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thank You For the Support

The voting has officially ended for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Food Allergy Blogs of 2012. My blog came in at #8 and I am proud to have been included with so many other great bloggers! To see the complete list, please visit by clicking on the link below:

http://www.circleofmoms.com/top25/Top-25-Food-Allergy-Moms-2012?trk=t25_Top-25-Food-Allergy-Moms-2012

I wanted to say thank you to everyone for putting up with the constant voting propaganda and for helping me get as far as I did. I appreciate everyone for hanging in there with me through this!



Congratulations to the other great bloggers for their accomplishments as well.

Sincerest Thanks-

Tracy

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Last Day To Vote- Can You Help Me Out?

As you know, my blog is in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Food Allergy Moms contest.
Tomorrow at 4PM is the last day to vote and I would love to stay in the top ranking. If you like my blog and what I do, please take a moment to click and vote for me. Every last vote counts now. Please feel free to share this with anyone that you think can benefit from what I do.


To all of you that have been so patient through these past few weeks, I am so grateful to have all of you helping me out. Thank you for allowing me to intrude on your peace every day!
To vote, simple click on the link:
Much love and appreciation-
Tracy

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ezcema and Food Allergies Can Go Hand in Hand


You know the drill as a food allergy parent- your baby has dry, flaky skin or red, irritated skin and you use all sorts of goop to try to make it go away. You call the Doctor and they simply brush it off as nothing. You visit a top rated dermatologist who suspects you need to change your laundry detergent. Family members are commenting on how stiff the sheets in the crib feel and probably cause the breakouts. But you, as a mom, know that it's more- that's its something else. Then, one day, you notice that it's gone or cleared up or getting better. Until you make a food that your child hasn't had in awhile and it returns with avengence. Then you see it, as clear as day- your child's eczema is being caused from a food. So why was it simple for you to figure out and not all of these professionals that go through specific training to see it? Sadly, many Doctors misdiagnose eczema and don't even consider the possibility of a food being the culprit.

The good news is that you have found out what and why. You can deal with it and move forward. Moms tend to blame themselves about so much when it comes to what is right and wrong with their child. Don't- you will not know anything and everything about how to care for your child until you have done it yourself. And even then, you will not know. All you can do is listen to your mommy voice when it's telling you that something is still not right. No Doctor, family member or friend can ever drown out that voice yelling inside of your head and pounding in your heart as you hold your child. Be true to yourself and to your family. As stated by Miguel Angel Ruiz - "Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret."

October is Eczema Awareness Month! Please provide whatever information and support that you feel is necessary to anyone who needs it. In honor of this month, I would like to tell you about a great company called Ad RescueWear. This company provides wet wrap therapy which is an effective treatment for the skin disease. Their products can be viewed at www.AdRescueWear.com and can also be found at The Eczema Company at www.eczemacompany.com. Ad RescueWear will also donate $1 from each sale to the NEA (National Eczema Association) during the month of October (big thumbs up).

So what are wet wraps?

AD RescueWear, LLC will be the first U.S. Company to manufacture and sell ready-made, wet wrap therapy products for the treatment of childhood eczema. The product line includes the WrapESoothe Suit for full body treatment and WrapESoothe Sleeves for treating arms and legs. The WrapESoothe products were developed by AD RescueWear in consultation with leading allergists.

These new garments are a breakthrough for parents, doctors and nurses who struggle with wet wrapping children with eczema. The revolutionary design simplifies the full body and spot treatment of eczema. The WrapESoothe Suit and Sleeves replaces the traditional treatment of using wet gauze, shirts, pants, multiple pairs of socks and duct tape for fastening. Instead of the traditional time consuming and sometimes confusing process, the caregiver just wets the suit or sleeves and slips them onto the child. These products are reusable and machine washable.

The WrapESoothe products stay wet and close to the child’s skin for easy, successful wet wrap therapy. The WrapESoothe products are made with extra soft and smooth TENCEL ® fabric that has excellent water retention qualities and maintains its stretch and shape when wet. Ordinary cotton pajamas become baggy, loose and uncomfortable when wet. TENCEL ® fiber greatly reduces the rate of bacterial growth and has thermo regulating properties, making it a superior fabric for children with eczema. The WrapESoothe Suit with enclosed feet and fold over hand covers and body hugging fit is the only one of its’ kind in the world. This full body suit with one zip entry, allows caregivers to quickly and easily wet wrap a child or baby. Fully enclosed legs, free of snaps or zippers, provide complete treatment contact and prevent children from scratching their legs and behind their knees, which are common places for eczema.

The WrapESoothe Sleeves roll onto arms and legs for easy application. Both products may also be worn dry to prevent scratching and protect skin. The WrapESoothe products are designed similar to high performance athletic wear, utilizing flat seam technology throughout, which minimizes irritation from seams. Tags and labels are located on the outside of the garment to prevent irritation. The WrapeESoothe Suit and Sleeves are registered as Class I Medical Devices with the FDA and the Suit has a Patent Pending. The Suit is available for infants and children ages 6 months – 3T, the Sleeves fit children ages 18 months – 7 years.

If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Beth Scott, Founder of AD RescueWear, please call 303-953-4137.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tagalong Treats

Are you peanut allergic and have always wondered what a Tagalong Girl Scout Cookie tastes like? I have an easy treat that will give you that answer!


Three easy ingredients:
1) Glutino Gluten Free Pretzel Twists
2) Sunbutter Sunflower Butter
3) Enjoy Life Mini Chips

I do not have any specific amounts of what to use because this was honestly a fast recipe that I tried out and if you want to make more, it's easy enough to just add more ingredients. (I also apologize for the not-so-great pics).

In a medium bowl, gently mix Sunbutter with the pretzel twists until evenly coated.



In a medium pot, melt the mini chips stirring constantly so as not to burn. Add the coated pretzels.


Using a slotted spoon, remove them and place on a heat resistant surface lined with waxed paper.


Put in the fridge to cool completely as the Sunbutter keeps them a little gooey. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy!

Announcing the October Giveaway Winner

I would like to thank everyone who participated in my October Giveaway as well as the companies that offered to send some great items. I love to host giveaways and to be able to spread the word about some amazing allergy-friendly products!
Drum roll please........the winner is

JESSICA STEWART!!!
Jessica, please email me with your mailing address so that I can get this box of goodies out to you and your family. There are some awesome products from Colic-Ease, SurfSweets, Enjoy Life Foods and Lundberg Family Farms (plus some other items for you as well).
Happy October!