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!

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“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!

Always Time for Comfort Food…Dairy and Egg Free Chicken Pot Pie

I am so thankful that winter is behind us.  Now that it’s warming up a bit and it doesn’t take two parents and 3 hours to suit up to go outside, we are enjoying fresh air, sunshine, and even breaking out some fresh recipes.  This recipe I’m sharing today, goes with us pretty much year round.   I use it less during the warmer months, but Nathan still asks for it even on the hottest of days.  He loves it so much that he had leftovers for breakfast this past Sunday.  Whatever, he was a happy kid with a full belly…and hey, it wasn’t unhealthy Pop Tarts!

Let’s make some chicken pot pie!  Here’s what you’ll need….

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I use frozen veggies, because that’s about all I can manage with an almost-four-year-old and a 14-month old running around the house.  I put in broccoli, peas, and corn, but you could do carrots (Nathan is allergic), lima beans, or green beans.  Come up wit your own unique blend of veggies that you love.  If you want to get really easy, pick up the frozen vegetable soup mix and use 1 1/2 cups of it.  I would advise picking out the okra if there is any, because it gets slimy when cooked too long and it’s just gross!

We use Pillsbury Pie Crusts, but I’d eventually like to start making my own.  Beware that Kroger brand refrigerated pie crusts contain dairy!  Read your labels every time!  For the butter we use Dairy and Soy Free Earth Balance margarine, and it’s great.  Rice milk does the trick for the milk, too.  You’ll also need some 2 cups of chicken broth, which is not pictured here (totally forgot!).  If you don’t have a dairy allergy, just use your regular butter/margarine and milk.

In the measuring cup is flour, and the cubed chicken (leftover from a roasted chicken earlier in the week) is already in the pan with the gravy and veggies.

Here’s what you do…

Melt the butter in the skillet on medium heat.  Once melted, mix in 1/2 cup of flour, salt & pepper.   Once the butter & flour mixture have made a paste, pour the chicken broth (2 cups total) & rice milk (1/4 cup) in a little at a time, stirring constantly to maintain a smooth consistency.  Once smooth and thickened, add a little more.  Repeat this process until all the 2 cups of broth & 1/4 cup of rice milk is gone.

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After the gravy is made, add veggies and 1 cup cubed chicken, plus 1/3 cup rice milk.  Mix thoroughly.  Pour mixture into bottom pie crust, then top with remaining pie crust.  Flute the edges and pierce the top, like this:

IMG_4172Place pot pie on a cookie sheet to prevent any drippings from making it to the bottom of your oven.  Trust me on this one!  Bake at 450 degrees F for about 45 minutes.  Let cool about 5 minutes before serving.

IMG_4173Crust should be golden brown on top when done.  This will be VERY hot, so be careful when serving it up.  We usually pair this meal with a salad, or sometimes fruit.  Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

I really hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family does….which is quite a bit!  If you try it, let me know what you think.  Now, what’s your favorite allergen free comfort food to make?

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients:

1/2 cup dairy free margarine

1/2 cup flour

2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup rice milk, separated

1/2 cup peas

1/2 cup corn

1/2 cup broccoli florets

pie crust (We currently use Pillsbury, homemade is preferable)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F

Melt the butter in the skillet on medium heat.  Once melted, mix in 1/2 cup of flour, salt & pepper.   Once the butter & flour mixture have made a paste, pour the chicken broth (2 cups total) & rice milk (1/4 cup) in a little at a time, stirring constantly to maintain a smooth consistency.  Once smooth and thickened, add a little more.  Repeat this process until all the 2 cups of broth & 1/4 cup of rice milk is gone.

After the gravy is made, add veggies and 1 cup cubed chicken, plus 1/3 cup rice milk.  Mix thoroughly.  Pour mixture into bottom pie crust, then top with remaining pie crust.  Place pot pie on a cookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool for 5 minutes before serving.