Thursday, April 27, 2017

Safe Food in Minutes

I admit, even though I do a lot with social media, I have never really been a huge app person. I know, I know- many of you are gasping in disbelief or shaking your head but I'm just not. The few apps that I do utilize are the apps that made enough of a positive influence on me to use them. The one I am most interested in sharing is a food app called DineSafeApp.

Why DineSafeApp? This app is two-fold; it is for both those looking to dine and for restaurants/resorts/eateries as well. The app goes hand-in-hand to give consumers the ability to know what's in their foods as well as giving the dining spots the step-up in the food world, giving instant access to show their customers what they are eating just with a single swipe of the finger. I can write about all of the functions but honestly, I thought showing you would be more helpful. Especially if you are new to the app world, I am sharing what will pop up on each screen during your download process. Let's do this!

You will notice that DineSafeApp includes much more than just the top 8 allergens

Got a safe, allergy-friendly eatery? Tell them to join now!

 (Chipotle was chosen for this article solely because NutriFamily loves them. It was not a sponsored placement on their part.)

Super easy and super simple (which, I think I can safely say, is what we are all looking for). Install it once and begin choosing where your next dining experience will be.

What Next? There are a few options, choose one or choose them all.

  • You can visit 
  • Download the DineSafeApp onto your device
  • Share the DineSafeApp information with anyone who you think needs it
  • Recommend your favorite, safe dining spots to join DineSafeApp- they should be telling everyone how much they do to keep their customers safe

Food is everywhere, always and we need to eat safely. Why not use the tools available to know what's in your food before you even get there.

Share your thoughts on this in the comments, 
I want to hear from you!

*this is a Sponsored post by DineSafeApp

Friday, April 21, 2017

Can Jelly Beans Predict Your Future?

I totally believe that everything happens for a reason, as it should. I believe that when negative events happen, positive things follow and that we must go through a journey before we reach the destination. I have always thought this. My beliefs are based on various aspects of religions, spirituality, astrology and a mother who taught me to listen to what everyone has to say without judgment, then decide what I would like to use from those conversations. A large part of this (for me) has always included astrology.

Photo Courtesy Days of the Year
Yes, I am that person that checks my horoscope every day. Yes, I check monthly updates to see what is predicted for my sign for each month. Does it mean I live my life according to that? No. I use it as a tool, just like I use food as a tool. So I kind of (admittedly) geeked out just a bit when Gimbals Fine Candies shared this adorable horoscope pairing for National Jelly Bean Day. I mean, how genius?! I love allergy-friendly goodies so why not snack for a day and see if specific jellybeans were meant just for your astrological sign?! ....even if it's just a reason to eat jellybeans, Gimbals has caught my attention and my taste buds. So here we go....

Gimbal's Fine Candies Jelly Bean Horoscope Pairing

Aries: March 21st - April 19th
Aries Personality Description:  Adventurous and bold. Driven, strong-willed and spontaneous
Aries Jelly Bean Pairings: 
Pina Colada- Spontaneous and always ready for the next big adventure
Wild Cherry- Bold and ambitious- not afraid to do something a little weird

Taurus: April 20th - May 20th
Taurus Personality Description: Loving and sympathetic. Boundless energy
Taurus Jelly Bean Pairings: 
Honey- Sweet, loving and generous with their time
Superfruit Fusion- Possesses great super human strength

Gemini: May 21st - June 20th
Gemini Personality Description: Versatile and adaptable. Social and able to see the "big picture"
Gemini Jelly Bean Pairings:
Sour Cherry-Multi-faceted personality; sweet, sour and delicious
Kiwi Strawberry Smoothie- Like to "mix it up", like a perfectly blended smoothie

Cancer: June 21st - July 22nd
Cancer Personality Description: Loyal & sympathetic friends. Traditionalists that value their family
Cancer Jelly Bean Pairings:
Peach- Appreciate home with an enduring love for friends and family
Buttered Popcorn- A classic favorite that's enjoyed by many

Leo: July 23rd - August 22nd
Leo Personality Description: Bold, courageous and daring- likes to be in the spotlight. Offers great judgment and are strong leaders
Leo Jelly Bean Pairings:
Wow! Chocolate- Makes an impression and quick to stand out in the crowd
Fruit Punch- Brings a positive impact at work and at home

Virgo: August 23rd - September 22nd
Virgo Personality Description: Analytical and focused on the task at hand. Excellent teammates in work and social activities
Virgo Jelly Bean Pairings:
Ice Cream Cake- Appreciates excellence, like the unbeatable combination of ice cream and cake
Perfectly Pear- Perfectionists at heart, with a love of fresh goodness

Libra: September 23rd - October 22nd
Libra Personality Description: Tend to surround themselves with beauty & art. Fond of music & nature
Libra Jelly Bean Pairings:
Verry Blue- A lover of the environment and appreciation of the outdoors
TuttiFrutti- Colorful, fun and never too formal

Scorpio: October 23rd - November 21st
Scorpio Personality Description: Enjoys a big, passionate and bold lifestyle. Entrepreneurs by nature with the ability to overcome challenges
Scorpio Jelly Bean Pairings:
Spicy Cinnamon- Larger than life lifestyle and not afraid of the heat
Watermelon: Passionate and can easily tackle large obstacles

Sagittarius: November 22nd - December 21st
Sagittarius Personality Description: High energy with the ability to constantly be on the go. A true explorer that enjoys mental challenges
Sagittarius Jelly Bean Pairings:
Baja Margarita- Loves to roam free and explore beyond boundaries
Java- Quickly recharges and keeps on going with high amounts of energy

Capricorn: December 22nd - January 19th
Capricorn Personality Description: Practical problem-solvers, good organizers- able to achieve goals by purposeful, systematic means
Capricorn Jelly Bean Pairings:
Tiramisu- Multi-layered complexity brings excellence
Roasted Marshmallow- Slow and steady, with patience to accomplish almost anything

Aquarius: January 20th - February 18th
Aquarius Personality Description: Very sociable, intelligent and quick to make friends. Humanitarian and will take up just causes
Aquarius Jelly Bean Pairings:
Bubble Gum- Popular and easily builds new friendships
Mango- Widely loved, yet a bit eccentric

Pisces: February 19th - March 20th
Pisces Personality Description: Honest, unselfish, trustworthy and often have quiet dispositions. Beautifully gentle, yet courageous character
Pisces Jelly Bean Pairings:
French Vanilla- Deeply satisfying, yet unassuming in appearance
Pink Grapefruit- Generous nature, with great intensity on the inside

What is your sign (the cheesiest pick up line ever!) and do you think the Gimbals Fine Candies predicted your astrological jellybean aura correctly?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Peanut Free, Silky-Smooth, Sign Me Up!

Photo courtesy of Barney Butter
NutriSon is peanut allergic (among other things) so obviously, we utilize products that are peanut-free. He is NOT allergic to almonds (which, I admit, was confusing even for me in the beginning but don't knock it if it's another food that can be eaten). For many years, I tried several different brands of almond butters. I was not impressed by 99% of them at all. I remember looking into the jars thinking "Why is it all so crunchy and gritty and why is there so much oil in there?!" OR there was also the opposite- "Why is this so dry?! I can't even stir it!"

Another difficulty I had was finding an almond butter that was almond-only. If you read nut butter labels, most often they are processed in a facility with one or more other nuts or may contain one or more other nuts. Warning labels means off-limits for NutriSon.  It was one of those battles that I chalked up as this is just how almond butter is supposed to be. Right? WRONG! Somewhere along the journey, I came across Barney Butter. No, this was not related in any way, shape or form to that annoying purple dinosaur (sorry Barney fans...we aren't one of you) but it is the number one almond-only product that we have used for many, many years. Not only do they have a bunch of varieties, they also carry almonds and almond flour - BOTH almond only as well.

During my mission to share products that I love, I thought it would be fun to make a video to show everyone why Barney Butter is our #1. Many people simply accept that their gritty almond butter is ok but I am taking a stand and saying you don't have to eat gritty, oily almond butter anymore. You CAN have smooth, delicious almond butter and Barney Butter is the one to show you why. Watch and see why I am being so insistent-

(is your technology fussy? Click here to view it now!)

New Products Can Be Scary but if you are still unsure, I have a promo code so that you can give it a try for less money... I am good like that. Visit, choose your items and use code Tracy20 to save 20%. Besides being peanut-free, Barney Butter is also gluten free, Kosher, Vegan, Non GMO* and they have eco-friendly missions that they adhere to so that what they are feeding all of us is not only healthy but is helping the environment at the same time. 

Barney Butter can be stirred, spread, mixed into, baked into, heated or just plain taken right off the spoon. Give them a visit and see why you will never eat another almond butter except for Barney Butter again. Don't forget to share the video and the coupon so others can learn and save too!

*All but Honey + Flax are Non GMO Verified

Friday, April 14, 2017

Peanut Free Dessert Eggs

Growing up, most of us looked forward to those chocolate-covered peanut butter eggs. The creamy filling and the chocolaty goodness....but that was then and this is now. Flash forward to the year 2017 when I have a fifteen year old with multiple food allergies, one of which is peanuts. And although I know he isn't really missing out on the commercially-processed, sugar-filled candy that I grew up on, I still want him to feel like his food allergies don't make him miss out on anything. Over the years, I have adapted many recipes so that he could taste new things and not be the allergic kid at the party who always has weird food. The way I see it, my ingredients are healthier so regardless of his allergies, he's actually enjoying his treats on a healthier level compared to his friends and school mates that live on packaged items. Plus, mine are made with love :)

This year, Pascha Chocolate announced they have a dairy free white chocolate chips. Yup. My mouth dropped too. NutriSon has asked about white chocolate for years and now, it's here and he can eat it. There are just a few ingredients: organic cocoa butter, organic rice milk powder (rice syrup powder, rice starch, rice flour), organic cane sugar and organic vanilla. They are peanut free, nut free, wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, egg free and soy free. So with Easter arriving, I turned to NutriDaughter and said "We have to try these. BUT I want to make them a little different...I want them to be chocolate on the inside and white chocolate on the outside."

White Chocolate vs. Chocolate Chocolate I want to make sure that everyone understands that Pascha's white chocolate chips are super easy to use. They melt easily BUT there are a few things that I noticed as I played around with this recipe. The first batch, I added palm oil shortening to the white chocolate chips as they melted- nope, not a good idea. The palm oil shortening was too oily and it thins the white chocolate chips out, making it more difficult to form a solid white chocolate coverage over a chocolate chocolate form. The easiest way to describe it is to show you-

Apologies for the bad lighting, my house lights are just plain sucky.

Our initial batch looked something like mini hamburgers that had melted cheese on them. This was easily fixed by allowing the first layer of white chocolate to cool,then dipping them a second time. Another key melting tip is NOT to use shortening while melting- just use 2-3 teaspoons of oil (less is more). The white chocolate was not as thin and looked more like butterscotch.

You may also notice that the Pascha white chocolate spreads out a lot more easily than chocolate chocolate. If you are like me, you want an egg to look like an egg. This was easily fixed as well- gently break off the sides once they are firm and keep them to top anything and everything you can think of or just eat them plain. Waste nothing! Especially with food allergies- the budget gets a little tight and with the holiday here, there's more treats to be made, more allergy-friendly items to fill baskets and eggs so yeah, budget and save, save, save. Maybe the Easter bunny will enjoy a small baggie of white chocolate pieces.

What began as one recipe turned into two recipes (I love when that happens).

(White Chocolate)
¼ Cup dairy free butter
¼ Cup brown sugar
1 Cup confectioners’ sugar
½ Jar peanut-free spread of your choice (I recommend SunButter)
1 ½ Teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ Cup allergy-friendly chocolate chips (I recommend Enjoy Life Foods)
½ Bag dairy free white chocolate chips (such as Pascha)
2-3 Teaspoons spray oil (I recommend Winona Pure Oil)
*Optional cover with sprinkles or drizzle with chocolate

Prep Time:        15 Minutes
No Bake Time:  45 Minutes

1.       Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside
2.       In a medium pot on low heat, combine the dairy free butter and brown sugar
3.       Stir continuously to avoid clumping or burning
4.       Once melted, add the confectioners’ sugar, peanut-free spread and vanilla
5.       Remove from heat
6.       Mix in the chocolate chips (this must be done AFTER heating to avoid the inside becoming to firm)
7.       Form into small, egg-shapes
8.       Place on the prepared baking sheet and cool in the refrigerator or freezer until firm
9.       Once firm, melt the white chocolate chips and oil in a small pot
10.   Place the formed eggs into the melted chocolate
11.   Place them back onto the lined baking sheet to cool completely in the refrigerator or freezer until firm
12.   Repeat with an additional layer of melted white chocolate for best results

AAANNNDDD, for those of you who love white chocolate AND chocolate chocolate, you can have BOTH! 
(Double Chocolate)
Simply follow the recipe above, adding an additional coat of allergy-friendly chocolate on the outside

Serving sizes will vary

Wishing everyone a safe, happy holiday weekend. If you're going to cook and eat, do it with fun, flavor and flare. 

Disclaimer- I was not compensated by Pascha Chocolate to write this post or create these recipes. I simply wanted to share with everyone ~

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Who Else Kneads a Bagel?

In 2015, I was introduced to a new product that was on the market- gluten free, allergy-friendly bagels. Honestly, I didn't have high hopes because I had tried a few and we all know that (usually) an allergy-friendly bagel is just disappointing. They tend to be dry or too chewy or get so hard when they are toasted that you break your teeth on them. But these bagels were different! These bagels were like the bagels that I used to be able to eat. You know- drive to work, stop to get your morning bagel and coffee...Gosh, I miss that! Well, I MISSED that until I found The Greater Knead. Now, my morning commute is just a walk to my fridge and it saves me on gas money too ;)

(No bagels were harmed in this process, just devoured)

Knead Some Facts? Just in case some of you weren't sure, The Greater Knead used to be called Sweet Note Bakery. Nothing has changed except for the name and a larger variety of products. Still a women-owned business, these gluten free bagels are the tastiest bagels I have tried yet and they are also free of egg, dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and sesame. My first encounter with them (read it!) was just as sweet as this newest go round. I will say that they seemed to have perfected the texture even more. I didn't know that could be possible but they did it! I also want everyone to know that proper heating is key to enjoying The Greater Knead bagels so please follow the cooking instructions as directed on the package. They took the time to pinpoint exactly how to heat and eat so let's trust that they know what they are doing. They did create the bagels.

Sometimes, You Just Knead Plain After having a two week long stomach bug, I was grateful to have Plain bagels to try out from The Greater Knead. Although I also had Blueberry and Cinnamon Raisin, my eyes were like "Heck yeah!" but my stomach was like "Uhhh, yeah...about" It was somewhat like a form of torture. I could see the bagels, I could touch the bagels, I could even smell the bagels but my stomach definitely didn't want me eating them just yet. I guess you could say my stomach had "bagel blocked" me. But me feeling ok with the Plain variety was definitely acceptable. They (sort of) remind me of a soft pretzel and who can beat a good bagel that takes like 2 minutes to make?! You can top them with just about anything but you can also eat them plain and they are still good. The stomach is nodding in agreement.

Want to try my recipe? Just click
I Knead to Research More When I finally got off the couch and back into my kitchen, I had (what I thought) was a great recipe idea using The Greater Knead's Blueberry bagels. I was excited, I roped areas off in the kitchen and tagged bagel bags with warning signs so nobody would touch them or eat them until I was done with the recipe. My recipe even included soaking the Blueberry bagel in melty Vanilla So Delicous frozen dessert... because sometimes it melts and why waste anything?! Plus, melty dessert and blueberry bagels....yummm! (are you picturing Homer Simpson too right now or am I just weird?). The outcome- I had made  Monkey Bagels! AWESOME, right? Nope. Alas, someone else had already shared a recipe similar on the Greater Knead site...(me, screaming at the computer, CRAP!! No!) but her recipe is tantalizing and I am the only one to blame for not checking beforehand. We still ate it so it wasn't a waste of anything. Plus, the Blueberry bagels were delish! They remind me of cinnamon raisin toast (which is weird because they are Blueberry and they contain no cinnamon).

Make this NOW!
When You Knead Chocolate Did you know that The Greater Knead also makes Chocolate Swirl bagels?! They had me at the flavor alone but when you want a bagel but you want chocolate and then suddenly there's just both right there waiting for you- perfection! As scrumptious as these are, I felt I had a mission to create a new recipe (and I checked first this time). The thought that came to my mind immediately is How can I make fried ice cream with these? Fried ice cream...with a bagel? Yes, I did it. And it's super easy and still allergy-friendly. And a lot less fattening because it's not even fried. Within minutes, you can have a crunchy, chocolatey dessert that is gluten free and allergy-friendly. Even though I encourage everyone to click on the title to share the recipe, sharing the finished recipe is totally optional and I won't judge you either way.

"Unfried" Bagel Topping
1 Chocolate bagel from The Greater Knead (thawed and cut into chunks)
Spray oil (I recommend Winona Pure Oil)
Raw honey

Prep Time:    5 Minutes
Bake Time:   16 Minutes
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees
  2. Layer a baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Spray lightly with oil (I used coconut but any variety will do)
  4. Place the thawed bagel into a mini chopper
  5. Pulse until no larger chunks appear
  6. Place on the prepared baking sheet
  7. Sprinkle with cinnamon
  8. Spray with additional oil
  9. Bake until lightly browned but do not over bake or they will be too crunchy
  10. Top your favorite frozen dessert and drizzle with honey
  11. Best served the same day but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to two days
Makes approximately 1 Cup

The Knead to Feed I want to thank all of the hard working employees at The Greater Knead for what they do to feed so many of us safely. I attest that NutriSon is a super picky eater (which makes it doubly difficult to find foods that he likes due to his multiple food allergies) and for him to get excited when he sees these bagels in our freezer is wonderful. The Greater Knead was started by a woman whose family members were diagnosed with Celiac Disease and their bagels are Kosher/Parve, Non-GMO and made in a dedicated gluten free facility so you know that this entire company began because they also have a knead to feed others. So what is missing? APRONS! Come on, you all know I am an apron collector- why aren't you selling those adorable bagel aprons to people like me who want them??

Ready to feed your face with the most delicious, gluten-free bagels ever? Visit them on their website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Because first you check them out there and then you'll check them out here~

Have YOU tried The Greater Knead? 
Tell me your favorites or where you would like to see them carried near you!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Allergy Talk- Time to Listen

For those of you who don't mind taking a break from reading about allergies, I am sharing not one but two allergy podcasts that I was on recently. Sit back, grab your favorite allergy-friendly beverage or snack and see what was discussed. Or, use these as your new angle for car riding education and food allergy facts. Either way, I was happy these folks reached out to me to share.

Click HERE

Listen Now