What’s for Lunch? Allergen Free Lunches For Home Or On The Go

Sometimes I get in a huge food rut.  Let’s face it, we are avoiding 10 foods that my son is allergic to and it’s just plain difficult to be creative sometimes.  N is allergic to dairy, oat, egg, peanut, carrot, pumpkin, celery,  and strawberry.  We also avoid tree nuts because of cross contamination and have to skip raw tomato.  We recently went on a semi-spontaneous road trip and I had to pack all of my little man’s meals in advance.  I was agonizing over what to pack for him, and I was given a bit of inspiration while perusing Facebook one day.  A friend of mine posted Chicken Nugget Kabobs.  Brilliant!  A lot of the time, it’s all in the presentation or an Oldie But Goodie with a twist.  Now, I couldn’t do this exact lunch idea for on the road, but it did give me some inspiration for these mini-kabobs made with ham, Daiya cheese cubes, and fruit all stuck onto toothpicks.  I even got a little help assembling them and they were a hit!  I served them up with sugar snap peas with hummus for dipping, and 2 mini muffins.  For an at home lunch, this would even be a great fine motor activity for the little ones, and we all know kids will eat better if they help create their meal.

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The next meal I packed for him was similar, but involved him “building” little sandwich crackers.  I used a pizza cutter to slice some ham into squares, cut some Daiya cheese into small, thin squares, and added a bag of Wheat Thin crackers.  Basically, it’s a homemade Lunchable…but much more healthy!  I paired it with fresh watermelon (a favorite!) and another mini muffin.  This is another fun lunch for at home.


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We recently were able to welcome some new foods in our lives!  Finally, we can now make our allergen free version of PB & J sandwiches….with SunButter!  I am sooooo excited for SunButter.  It’s so creamy, and has a wonderful, satisfying flavor.  The flavor is oddly close to peanut butter but without a side of anaphylaxis.  Score!  I made the sandwich the morning he would be eating it for lunch so it wouldn’t get soggy, so that’s why it’s missing in the picture below, not because I ate it 😉  N loves berries and cucumbers, and of course the Golden Oreos I put in his lunch for a treat.

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One of my favorite ideas that I found on the internet a year ago or so (but can’t remember the source), was the following idea of serving lunch in an ice cube tray.  N loves it when I serve his lunch this way, and it’s a great way to get a variety of fruits and veggies in the kids.  Like I said before, sometimes it’s all in the presentation.  This tray has cantaloupe, watermelon, and broccoli.

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I wish I had time for cute little cut outs and such, but I just don’t.  I’ll leave that to those Super Moms that don’t have kids that follow them around all day wanting to be held.  If you are one of those moms, more power to ya!  I’m happy if the kids get a mostly whole foods diet and they actually eat it before I have to mop it up off of the floor!

What’s your favorite allergen friendly lunch at your house?  

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Green Monster Smoothie

Bedtime snack in our house is one of those things I wish we could just skip, but we can’t.  If we skip it, then the kids wake up soooo hungry in the morning and it’s just not worth the extra grouchiness.  I love it when the kids want smoothies, because they are easy to make, quick, and the clean up is almost non-existent-a mother’s dream!  Last week we made what I named Green Monster Smoothies, which in Mom Talk translates to “Sneaky Veggie Smoothie”.  After making them, they both drank two smoothies.  I made them again tonight, and, again, they both wanted a second smoothie.  This is a keeper!

Here’s the recipe :

Ingredients

1 banana (peeled, sliced and frozen if you like them extra cold)

1 cup cold rice milk like Rice Dream (or other dairy free milk alternative)

1 cup raw, organic spinach with the stems torn off

Dump it all in a blender like this….and notice his stellar, backward dumping technique.  And notice the time on the clock-that’s 9:02 PM, not AM.   Now you know why I wanted a QUICK bed time snack!

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Blend on high for a minute or two, then pour and serve.

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N, like a lot of food allergic kids, is a tiny guy.  We try our best to pump as much healthy fat, high protein and low sugar nutrition in him as possible, but he’s still skinny as a rail.  He is often times kinda picky depending on his mood, so getting things like spinach in him is hit or miss.  Smoothies are a great way to get healthy calories and high nutrient veggies & fruits into your FA kids.

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I bet you or your kids will like this smoothie as much as N & J do, and with a name like “Green Monster Smoothie”, what kid won’t love it?

Here’s my favorite part…..cleaning the blender.  No, really, I love cleaning the blender after smoothies.  Just add a tiny squeeze of dish soap, fill up halfway with water….and give it good blend on high for about 20 seconds.  Rinse.  Put in the dish drainer and you’re done!  Anybody else do this?

What’s your favorite smoothie recipe?  Share with us by leaving it in the comments!

It’s Cobbler-tastic! Summer Blueberry & Peach Cobbler (Dairy, Egg, & Nut Free)

“It’s Cobbler-tastic!”. That was what N said after he was finishing his first of two bowls this evening.  I have to admit it was pretty tasty.

A couple of weeks ago my mom mentioned that you could make cobbler by using a cake mix.  I immediately thought of our favorite allergen-free Cherrybrook Kitchen Yellow Cake mix that was in the cabinet, and almost expired.  An almost expired cake mix is the only excuse I need to make a cobbler!  So, I searched on Pinterest for a few minutes and found a cake mix cobbler recipe and pulled out my ingredients.  It ended up just being a guide and I didn’t follow that recipe at all, really.  Here’s my version:

Ingredients:

1 dry yellow cake mix (I used Cherrybrook Kitchen Yellow Cake)

1/2 cup dairy free margarine, melted (I use Earth Balance Dairy and Soy Free)

a can of peaches in light syrup (next time I’m using two cans)

1 tsp. cinnamon (I actually didn’t put this in once I added blueberries on a whim.  Add cinnamon if you’re just doing peaches)

one cup of fresh blueberries

**Remember to read all labels carefully, making sure this recipe fits your allergy needs.

This really is so simple to make!
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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the bottom of an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish.  Pour in 2 cans of peaches, juice and all.  Put the blueberries on top of the peaches and mix them a little to incorporate it all.  Now is the time to add the cinnamon if you’re going to.  I actually forgot it, and it was for the best since I added the blueberries.

Next, add the cake mix by sprinkling it evening over the peaches and blueberries.  Smooth it out a little better than I did here in the picture.

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The next step is to pour the melted margarine over the cake mix.  Below is what mine looked like before I stuck it in the oven.  I would have mixed up the margarine and the cake mix a little more because I had a couple of dry patches once I brought it out of the oven.  No biggie, though, and definitely didn’t affect the yum factor 🙂

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Bake at 350 degree F for 30-40 minutes, or until done.  It’ll look like this, but without the dry patches, hopefully.

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And now you’re ready to scoop some up for a summer treat.  I think it’d look prettier if it had a dollop of Rice Dream on top 🙂

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I’m thinking that next time I’m going to make a mixed berry cobbler with raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries….what do you think, sound good?

“Read My Lips: Restaurant!” Eating Out With Food Allergies & How We Do It

It’s no secret, I love to eat out.  In fact, the title is one of my infamous quotes from my preschool years.  My mom had asked me what I wanted for dinner and that was my response.  I’m sure that gave her and my dad a good chuckle as they pulled out some leftovers from the fridge.

Now, we only eat out after church on Sunday, rare occasions, date night (three cheers for eating with two hands!) and for celebrations.  This past Friday night we were celebrating Nathan finishing his first year of homeschool preschool.  We followed a real curriculum that I bought from one of my favorite homeschool blogs.  Nathan did really well, and I was so happy at his progress when I filled out his end of year assessment.  To celebrate, we decided to ask Nathan what he’d like to do.  He replied with, “The Cow House!” , which is our local dairy farm.  Go figure.  My kid with a life threatening dairy allergy wants to go to a dairy farm for ice cream.  Rice Dream “ice cream”, that is!  He also wanted to go to their barn and look at the animals, which is always fun.

So, how do we take an anaphylactic-to-dairy-kid to a dairy farm?  Here’s how we roll…

We take this:  a silicone baking sheet as a placemat.  I give my sister-in-law, Jenny, credit for this idea.  You can roll them up or fold them into a square to fit in lunch boxes and they work perfectly!  The link for the silicone baking sheet is not the actual one we use.  Ours were purchased at Target in the Kitchen/Baking Department.  We put it down after wiping the table and chairs REALLY well with baby wipes.  Nathan knows not to touch anything until it has been wiped.

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Next, we pack his food.  I always take similar foods to what we are having.  The restaurant workers were gracious enough to heat his chicken nuggets (or we do it at home right before we leave), and they generally are, you just have to ask and explain the allergy.  Here is Nathan’s lunch box that we love!  It’s the Bento Insulated Laptop Lunchbox, with the Bento Buddies containers.

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Then we wipe his hands really well with baby wipes, or head to the bathroom for soap and water.  This is crucial, in case your little one has touched something that you don’t want in their mouth.  Once he is eating, I make sure to wipe my hands before touching him or his meal if he asks for help.  We use A LOT of baby wipes when we go to restaurants.

IMG_4363I just love that smile of him enjoying his Rice Dream “ice cream”.  Sometimes we take our own safe ice cream cones and “build” our cone there with ice cream and safe sprinkles.

We used to order food for Nathan in select restaurants like Red Robin, Qdoba, and Chipotle.  After a mysterious reaction at Chipotle a year ago we decided to stop eating out with him.  At that time he was still young enough to not care about taking his own meal, and for now still seems to be OK with it.  I do watch his emotions closely to make sure he’s not getting bummed out.  We buy him juice boxes or potato chips where we can-he loves that!  Our goal is to get him eating in at least Red Robin again since they have such a great allergy rating on Allergy Eats.  We actually had really good luck with our local Red Robin and would love to let him enjoy safe meals.

I’d love to hear from you…..Do your food allergic kiddos eat safe restaurant meals or do you pack meals for restaurants?

Also, if you haven’t headed over to the Mom Vs. Food Allergy Facebook Page, head on over and give it a “Like” so you can get more food allergy tips!  Thanks!