Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Somersaults- The Cutest Snack Ever

When you think of somersaults, I bet you are picturing yourself rolling down grassy, green hills or just learning in your gym glass (yes, it used to be called gym, not P.E.). But did you know that Somersaults are a snack?!

I found this healthy, protein-packed convenient snack and Somersault Snack Co. sent me five varieties, FIVE! And they even challenged me to a new type of product review.... a video! (Nutrimom likes challenges!) You ready to see what I thought about these cute little crunchy guys?

Simply click
and you will be magically whisked straight to the video

I don't want to forget to say thank you to Somersault Snack Co. for sending me such a great variety as well. For more information, please make sure you check out their website at as well as their Facebook and Twitter page. Please let them know that Nutrimom sent you over (not because I get anything but just because it's nice).

Photos courtesy of Somersault Snack Co.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

GFAF Wellness Event Coming to Raleigh- Join Us August 9th!

Do you have gluten allergies? Have you ever had visions of walking through a large room and being able to sample handfuls of foods, bringing home oodles of samples and meeting experts that can relate to your allergy needs? I have great news for you- now you can!

For those of you who have not heard, the Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event is coming to Raleigh, NC on August 9, 2014! Are you wondering why you should go and what you get? Not only do you get to see some of your favorite allergy-friendly brands but you will get to learn about new products and find out about the local area restaurants that can offer you gluten free meal options. Excited? Here's the what, where & when:

Saturday, August 9th 2014
10 AM - 4 PM
DoubleTree Hilton Raleigh Brownstone University
1707 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27605

I am honored to announce that I am on their Blogger Team! I will be partnering up with A Special Needs Plan to interview all of the great sponsors, speakers and attendees. Make sure you come find me to say hello! 

There will also be a great lineup of speakers such as Dr. Stefano Guandalini, Carol Kicinski, Jennifer Fugo, Chandice Probst, Jen Johnson, Ryanna Battiste, Amy Fothergill, Chef Andres, Tiffany Hinton and Pam Jordan.

Tickets are just $10 per adult, children 13 and under are FREE  and college students get $3 off with a valid college I.D. Check out what your admission fee includes:

  • FREE Product sampling and sales from many gluten & allergen free vendors
  • FREE lectures from well known members of the gluten-free community about gluten and allergen-free living
  • FREE cooking demonstrations that invite you to explore the world of gluten-free cooking
  • FREE gift bag to tote around samples and purchases


    I am giving away 4 Tickets to this event. The winner will be able to pick up their tickets at the Will Call table on August 9th.
    To enter for a chance to win, please click

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

    Freedom Never Tasted So Good

    Edible letters- who knew pancake mix could be so much fun?!
    NutriFamily has found some great products recently from Freedom Foods (as seen in my previous review). As happy as I was, I was flattered and excited when Freedom Foods contacted me again and asked if I would like to try out some new items to see what my thoughts were on those as well. And not just any old products but new, never before seen products!! Woo hoo (kicking heels up into the air, mini happy dance). What can I say, food makes me happy but the fact that these were allergy-friendly made me down right eager to give them a try.

    This time around, I received a package that contained a box of their Free Oats Quick Oats Berry Delight, Smudge Cocoa Spread, Pancake Mix and Pancake Mix with Quinoa. Why was I so excited? Because Freedom Foods products are free from (ready for all of this?!) Gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, sesame and GMO's...need I say more? A Food Allergy Consultant/Blogger/Author/Mother's dream come true wrapped up into neat little packages if I do say so myself.

    Now, looking at this picture of wonderful products and knowing my habits, I will give you one guess which item we tried first. I'll give you a hint-

    Don't ask me how or why but when I saw the word Smudge, I immediately thought of Smudgestashes. The purpose? Not only can you have silly fun but you also get to try and lick it off and not make a weird face. Besides, doesn't everyone want a Smudgestash?

    Smudge- What is it? Smudge is a nut and dairy free cocoa spread (kind of like Freedom Foods version of a nut-like spreadable chocolate product that we don't need to name). Upon the initial smell test, the cocoa didn't seem, well, very chocolaty and even my initial first ten seconds of tasting it left me waiting for it. But then there was a delayed chocolate catch-up and in came the taste. The Smudge is not as thick as fudgy topping but it is thicker than your usual chocolate syrup. I also recommend giving it a tiny stir prior to use for best consistency. I also tested it out by covering some gluten free pretzels and freezing it to see how it held up. Freezing was fine- it did not alter the taste but if you are going to use it as a fast way to make chocolate covered treats, it must be kept frozen as placing it back into the fridge or on the counter top will return it to it's usual, smudgy self.

    And What Did Nutrimom Do With Smudge? What do I always stress to people? Utilize the items that you can use and rethink how you are using them. Chocolate treats are nice but what about using it to make an even better, healthier treat that will not only capture the chocolate flavor but add some protein as well? I'm talking about a Chocolate Hummus! Sound good?

    Chocolate Hummus
    1/4 Cup SunButter Sunflower Seed Spread
    3 Pitted dates
    2 Cups of prepared chick peas
    5 Tablespoons of Freedom Foods Smudge
    2 Teaspoons raw honey
    1 Teaspoon vanilla
    1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 Cup of non-dairy milk of your choice

    Using a food processor, add all of the ingredients and process until completely smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

    Makes 6 oz.

    I did some more investigating. Did you know that chocolate brings out a kind of deep, hearty flavor when paired with tomatoes? When I saw this, I saw a challenge! Dinner time, meet Smudge. Smudge, meet dinner.

    SmudgeTastic Pasta Sauce
    1/4 Tablespoon olive oil
    1 Teaspoon garlic powder
    4 Tomatoes (cleaned and chopped)
    1/2 Teaspoon basil
    1 1/2 Teaspoons Freedom Foods Smudge
    1/4 Teaspoon EACH ground coriander, oregano and sea salt
    3-4 spinach leaves, sauteed
    4 Ounces cooked pasta of your choice

    In a medium saucepan on medium heat, add the oil and the other ingredients. Stir until combined, then top over your choice of pasta.

    Makes 1 hearty serving

    Pancakes, We Love Pancakes So does my family so I tried out the Pancake Mix that Freedom Foods sent over. Now, I do have to say that it's quite possible I did not mix it well or maybe I am so used to making my pancakes with added ingredients but I did find the pancake mix to come out a bit on the loose side. This being said, I still recommend the mix for a few reasons. A- The flavor is outstanding! The pancakes tasted like vanilla cake (well, at least to me and to NutriDaughter) B- having smaller pancakes is not necessarily a bad thing as younger children and even some adults prefer to have a smaller item to grab and go and C- if you don't succeed, try try again! I would definitely welcome another chance to use this mix as my go-to pancake flour to add my usual ingredients to and see if they perk up just a bit more. But come on, don't they look like yummy pieces of dessert breakfast?

    Then, There Was Quinoa Yes, there was Pancake Mix with Quinoa...did I make more pancakes? No! But I did use it to make some really good breakfast potatoes. What? Yes- why not? Get that protein into whatever you are eating! Simply clean and slice a potato, mix it well with 1/2 teaspoon EACH onion powder, garlic powder, ground coriander, sea salt, paprika and 1 teaspoon Freedom Pancake Mix with Quinoa and you have yourself some potatoes with protein. (Did I mention that I like protein?!)

    But I still had a bunch of mix leftover so how else did I use it? Well, lets just say that we had some of the best oven-fried chicken ever! The pancake mix made it taste a bit on the sweeter side but it also gave the chicken somewhat of a milky flavor. Yum!

    Pancake Protein Chicken
    1 Cup Freedom Foods Pancake Mix with Quinoa
    1/2 Teaspoon EACH paprika, dill and rosemary
    3 Pieces chicken (cleaned)
    Spray oil (I use Winona Pure)
    Sea Salt

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

    In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add the chicken, one piece at a time and coat it evenly with the mixture. Place into a casserole dish and spray with baking spray. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake until juices run clear.

    Makes 3 servings

    Don't Forget the Oats! Of course not, don't be silly! I was just having so much fun testing the other products that I couldn't help myself. The Free Oats are fast cooking oats and super easy to make. They cook quickly, have a great consistency (not too thick, not lumpy) and they actually taste..clean or pure, if that makes sense. They are plain, with the exception of the freeze-dried berries added into the oats but all I had to add was a bit of fresh fruit and some raw honey to make me want another helping. I even tried using them for soaked oatmeal and they were amazing!

    FYI- soaked oatmeal is when you simply mix the uncooked oats with dairy free milk, cinnamon and allspice and soak overnight. Then you can just heat quickly and go. By soaking the oats, it also makes them more easily digestible for some people.

    I have to say thank you again to Freedom Foods. Not only for giving me the honor of trying out their products but also for realizing how important allergy-friendly, healthy foods are much needed. Even their labeling goes above and beyond what is usually found on your typical label. Not only are they nut free but additionally, they test for peanut, almond, hazelnut, Brazil nut, cashew, macadamia, walnut, pecan and pistachio. They have been committed to keeping a high standard of their products for over twenty years and maintain a dedicated facility to ensure that promise. For more information or to see what other products they have to offer, visit them at

    The only thing that they may need to worry about are those Smudgestash copycats!

    *I did not receive any compensation for this product review nor do I accept any compensation for product reviews. All product reviews are always written with my honest opinions, good or bad.

    Monday, July 14, 2014

    Fruit Clusters & The Stepping Stones to Food Allergies Winner

    I recently announced a giveaway where Brothers-All-Natural and I partnered up to give one lucky person an 8-pack of their yummy Fruit Clusters and a copy of my ebook "The Stepping Stones to Food Allergies" (original post). After taste-testing them, I could not wait to share with someone else- they are simply delicious and they passed all of the picky-kid tests too.

    I love hosting giveaways because I love to share. When I find a good product that is healthy, allergy-friendly, easy to use in every day life and makes my children fight over them, I want to shout from the rooftops to make other allergy parents' live easier too.

    And who was my lucky winner for this giveaway? 


    Congratulations Elyse! Please email me your shipping information at so that I can get you your prizes. Please specify which flavor of Fruit Cluster you would like to try (Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry Apple or Raspberry Apple). Please allow 7-10 business days for shipment.

    Thank you to all who entered - I appreciate each and every one of you, always. I know you may be disappointed that you did not win this time around but I always have giveaways and you are always welcome to enter.

    I also wanted to share a great giveaway just posted by Brothers-All-Natural- you can enter to win a $1,000 BJ's Wholesale gift card!!! The Brothers-All-Natural Back-to-School Giveaway is live and waiting for you to enter!

    • No purchase is necessary
    • Entries will be accepted from July 14th - September 20, 2014
    • 1 winner will receive a $1,000 gift card for BJ's Wholesale Club*
    For more details, please visit HERE

    *Please note that this giveaway is sponsored solely by Brothers-All-Natural (not BJ's Wholesale Club). Should you need additional information, please contact Brothers-All-Natural directly.

    Thursday, July 10, 2014

    The Worst Songs to Play at a Food Allergic Child's Party

    I have been posting many, many product reviews lately. This is not at all a complaint- I am a product review junkie! But to break up the repetition a bit and to send everyone a summertime giggle, I would like to share a list with all of you. PLEASE keep in mind that as always, I take food allergies very seriously but I also know that laughing is an essential part of what keeps us going through the tough times.

    This post is not meant to make fun, belittle or make light of the seriousness of food allergies whatsoever. These are songs that just made me think "This would not be something that I would play at my child's party." Just as in an earlier post I wrote "Food Allergies - The Upside" food allergies can be a tricky thing to deal with and keeping on the lighter side of things can help release some of that stress.

    With that in mind, I present to you...

    The Worst Songs to Play at a Food Allergic Child's Party
    (not in any necessary order. To listen, simply click on the song titles and you will be redirected)

    Peanut Butter Jelly Time (well, duh!)  

    Wednesday, July 2, 2014

    Clusters of Tastiness

    When you see the word "cluster", what do you picture? I am willing to bet that food does not come to mind. I am here to tell you that there is something that could just change your views on healthy snacking. Curious? What if I told you that fruit could be transformed into bite-sized, crunchy delicious on-the-go snacks? Brothers-All-Natural has done just that with their newest product Fruit Clusters.

    Do you want to try it too? (Details coming up but keep reading!)

    Now, we all know that their freeze-dried fruit crisps are awesome but believe it or not, I think the ultra fruitiness of these little guys has overwhelmed my family's taste buds so much so that we are now unsure of which item is our favorite. Even the pickiest of picky (aka NutriSon) has been nagging me day in and day out to finish my review so that he can eat more of the Fruit Clusters. I am amazed- he even knows they are fruit and he's sneaking them, thinking I do not notice. Sometimes as a parent, you just need to look the other way and smile. Hey, fruit is fruit and I'm not arguing!

    What's in a Fruit Cluster? I thought you would never ask. I think Brothers-All-Natural deserves the credit on this one so as per their description "Fruit Clusters™ are 100% fruit, nothing else. They are gluten free, soy free, peanut/tree nut free, non GMO, vegan, and OU Kosher certified with absolutely no added sugars, additives, or preservatives." In other words, not only are they healthy but it's yet another easy way to sneak some healthy goodies into your child's diet without having them put up a fight. Unless it's because you are trying to eat the last one and they want it. (Been there, done that!) And although their shape and size are somewhat like a tater tot, they are like crunchy pieces of nature's candy. Random mom thought- perhaps the tater tot image is more enticing- Do I care? No, just want my family to be healthy and enjoy what they are eating.

    What? You Can Use Them as Meal Items?! Of course you can, silly! You know me and you know that I emphasize retraining yourself to use the products that you have available. To me, this is not only fun but it gives you an entirely new outlook on how you can expand your meal options as well as (again) sneaking in some of the healthy ingredients while still nourishing your family. So let's go through what I came up with using Brothers-All-Natural Fruit Clusters for the entire day:
    Breakfast ~ Simply grind up a handful of Fruit Clusters and add it to your usual pancake mix. The Fruit Clusters will give them a subtle hint of fruit flavor. You can also leave them a bit less ground which will allow you an occasional extra fruity crunch hidden within your pancakes. May I also add that with a touch of some chocolate chips, the pairing of fruit and chocolate is a breakfast treat rather than a meal. So when you feel as if you are having something a bit too decadent, how do you balance it out? How about finding another healthy option? 

    I put together the cute breakfast bouquets as seen above for NutriDaughter (aka as the Princess who loves breakfast in bed, but who doesn't ?!) Just add one of the Fruit Clusters as the flower's bud and it gives you a cute edible arrangement with a crunch. Nothing makes a person smile more than something special and cheery and I have to admit, I was smiling making them. 

    Lunch ~ Next came lunch because in our household with two growing children they are constantly eating (gosh, do they really have to eat so much, every day?!). God forbid if the schedule gets tampered with because my children are very schedule-oriented and when they want lunch, they mean it. My children are cheese lovers although we do limit dairy and due to sensitivities, it must be cooked and not raw. So what does one do when you have hungry children, cheese and need to whip up something fast? Quesadillas! But not just any quesadillas- how about Sweet & Spicy Quesadillas! I paired up a combination of the Raspberry & Fuji Apple and the Blueberry & Fuji Apple Fruit Clusters with some jalapeno cheese and pan-fried lunch in a matter of minutes. Again, to my surprise, both children gobbled them down. Who knew? Where have these Fruit Clusters been all of my life?


    Snack ~ I think the kids are stuck on school time, even though it's summer because 3:00 PM is snack time. I can set my watch by it..if I had one. When a mom has two children and they are fighting over if they should have a sweet snack or a salty snack, why not combine them? Air-popped popcorn plus a variety of Fruit Clusters equals happy kids (which also means happy mom). And when there are leftovers or extras, a mom's got to do what a mom's got to do (chomp, chomp, chomp). When you combine the popcorn with the Fruit Clusters, the Fruit Clusters get all warm and sort of soften so it's like you are eating a piece of warm fruit pie.

    Dinner ~ How can you incorporate your everyday dinner with the use of Fruit Clusters? I made a rice stuffing using the Fuji Apple & Cinnamon flavored Fruit Clusters for our pork cutlets. Prep time was 20 minutes and we had leftover for lunch the next day.

    Pork Cutlets with Fruit Cluster Stuffing
    Winona Pure Oils Olive Oil Baking spray
    1/2 Cup broth
    1 Tablespoon minced onion
    1 Stalk celery (cleaned and chopped finely)
    1/2 Teaspoon ground coriander
    2 Teaspoons parsley
    3 Teaspoons rosemary
    1/4 Teaspoon sea salt
    1 Cup cooked rice of your choice
    17 Fuji Apple & Cinnamon Fruit Clusters (ground)
    4 Pork cutlets, pounded thin

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a shallow casserole dish with spray oil and set aside.

    In a medium frying pan, add the broth and saute' the onion and celery until the celery is tender. Add the remaining spices and rice. Combine well.

    Remove from heat and add the Fruit Clusters. Scoop into the middle of the pork cutlets and fold over, keeping the cutlet closed with two toothpicks. Bake until the pork is not pink.

    Makes 4 servings

    Dessert ~ Come on, we all have a sweet tooth and sometimes, you just need a little something sweet to have at the end of the day. Our family loves chocolate and when I make gluten free brownies, my kids can be heard trying to mooch them left and right. They can mooch all that they want to because the entire time that they think they are eating brownies with crumb topping, it is really crushed Fruit Clusters in disguise! I will advise that if you don't care for a darker "crumb" topping, you should cook your favorite brownies half way and then powder the top with crumbs before putting them back into the oven. Nothing beats the combination of chocolate and raspberry!

    A Stuffed What?! An extra surprise and since it is barbecue season, what is a barbecue without roasted marshmallows? And what are roasted marshmallows without a fruity surprise inside? You know all of those brightly artificially-colored marshmallows that your kids always beg you to buy? Now you can get allergy-friendly marshmallows, roast them and simply hide a Fruit Cluster in the middle to have an even better tasting fruity marshmallow. Easy, healthier, real fruit & no chemicals- done!

    Can I Have Some? Can I Have Some? Why yes, you can! Brothers-All-Natural and I have decided that we have to share. And sharing means ........


    • What do you get? One lucky person will win an 8-pack of Fruit Clusters of their choice and one copy of my ebook "The Stepping Stones to Food Allergies".  
    • How do you get it? I am going to post the giveaway event on my Facebook page on July 3rd. Entry will be as simple as commenting each day when the event reminder is posted. You can comment as many times as you wish- the more that you comment, the more chances you have to win! Entries will be taken until midnight July 11th.
    • Who can win? Anybody! So enter, share and wait to see if you've won. 
    • When will we know?  One winner will be chosen and announced on Monday, July 14th. If the winner does not respond within 7 business days, a second winner will be chosen. 
    • Wait, What about Brothers-All-Natural? Since they have been so kind to pair up with me for a giveaway and for making such wonderful, healthy products, please make sure that you visit their Facebook page, give them a "Like" and comment about why you love their products too. It's always nice to hear from their customers.
    Thank you to Brothers-All-Natural for asking if I was interested in tasting these yummy, crunchy little morsels! I appreciate you thinking of me and trusting me for my thoughts and ideas. 

    *I did not receive any compensation for this product review nor do I accept any compensation for product reviews. All product reviews are always written with my honest opinions of the products, good or bad.