Monday, April 6, 2015

Towering Taco Burgers

When I sit down to make the grocery list and meal plan for the week, I often ask my children if there's anything they would like to request.  The two most frequent responses are tacos, and turkey burgers.  And now...behold the meal that wins everyone's hearts, the meal that combines the two most frequently requested meals in The Allergy Safe Kitchen...The Towering Taco Burger!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter and Food Allergies - How to stay a Safe Bunny!

As Easter approaches, and family gatherings are imminent, I just wanted to share my encouragement to food allergy families.  This can be a difficult much candy, eggs everywhere, and nearly every popular side dish for that traditional Easter ham is loaded with dairy.  Attending family parties can be like navigating a field of land mines. Take a deep breath, and read over these Easter tips!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Quickly Cool Soup

With lots of little mouths in our household, we've tried many ways of quickly cooling down hot soup. Stick the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes, pile in a few (or many) ice cubes, dish out those bowls 10 minutes before it's time to sit for dinner...there are a lot of ways to get to the goal of perfectly warm-but-not-scalding soup.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Gel dessert Product Review

In our family, we have committed to avoiding artificial food coloring as much as is possible.  But, I'll be honest, I miss Jello, and so do a few of my children. It's such an easy treat to whip up, and perfect for sore throats.  One day, in the "natural" section of our grocery store, I saw "Jel Dessert" calling to me from the shelf! I purchased a box of strawberry flavor, and we tested it at home. 

Pros:  No artificial food coloring, gluten free, GMO free, kosher parve, and vegan!  (The vegan label is important to us simply because we know the product will be free from dairy and eggs!) The Strawberry Jel actually tasted like real strawberries!  There wasn't a chemical "fake" aftertaste. What an awesome bonus to give children fruit flavored dessert that actually tastes the fruit! There are only two steps to making the Jel, heat the water, stir in the powder. You can't get any simpler than that! The Jel also set very quickly, which is a plus when there are children anxiously waiting for it to be ready. 

Cons: No company phone number to contact, no website, no way to ask specific questions regarding allergens or manufacturing processes. There is an email for the distributor on the box, but no other contact information to be found on packaging or online.
Really, in this technological era, I can't imagine why this is! (If anyone can provided contact information, please share in the comments!) The only other con, which was a split vote in our house, is that the Jel dessert didn't set as firmly as it's artificial counterpart. Some preferred the softer texture and others wanted a firmer set. I am curious as to what would happen if I reduced the water, and I'll probably try that next time. 

Bottom Line: My 11 year old son, who is not usually a fan of gelatin desserts declared that this was "way better than regular Jello." The rest of the jury gave their thumbs up, and asked when we could have it again. We're all looking forward to trying the other flavors! I'll be stocking a few boxes in the pantry for special occasions and sore throats.

Don't forget to check out my cookbooks on Amazon!

 As always, from The Allergy Safe Kitchen, I wish you "Good Cooking, and Safe Eating"!
Monday, March 23, 2015

Breakfast Sushi

We have become slightly obsessed (I like to think endearingly so), with a new kitchen gadget, the Sushi Quik!. You can read my official review HERE.  We have been making sushi for lunch, sushi for snack, sushi for dinner...but what  about sushi for breakfast?

Neither my 11 year old nor I are huge "breakfast food" fans.  We're not into cereal, toast, etc. We are an egg free home, so omelets are also a no-go. He and I are most likely to be eating reheated dinner for breakfast, so the two of us put our heads together to come up with a way to use our Sushi Quik for breakfast!  

Friday, March 20, 2015

"Sushi Quik" Product Review

I first found a Youtube video about Sushi Quik when I did a Google search for "how to make sushi."  My 11 year old, son has been begging me to teach him how to make sushi.  He has multiple food allergies, and anytime he wants to learn a specific skill in the kitchen, I make sure to teach him.  (Click here to learn more about my philosophy on why children with food allergies should learn to cook.) I received the product for review, and we have had a blast using it! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

SunButter "Tagalongs"

Sometimes, I get a wee bit nostalgic when I see families all around us reveling in the delivery of their Girl Scout Cookies.  My two childhood favorites were Thin Mints (click HERE for my version), and Tagalongs.  Shortbread and peanut butter, all covered in chocolate....when I close my eyes and think about it, I'm back in my mom's kitchen, climbing on the counter to reach that box of creamy deliciousness. Food memories are powerful, aren't they?

Fast forward to today, when Girl Scout cookies do not fit in with our food allergy lifestyle, and of course, I have taken on the challenge to create an allergy friendly edition of my favorites. After several versions, and many willing taste-testers, I am happy to share my recipe for SunButter Tagalongs! 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Pork "Ropa Vieja"

Picture this: It was a chilly morning, I had defrosted 2 pork loins and had no meal plan for them. I was casually scrolling down my Instagram feed, (Whaaat?!  You don't follow me on Instagram yet? Click here and follow!) and lo and behold, there appeared Clinton Kelly's Ropa Vieja slow cooker recipe. Jackpot. My little guy is allergic to beef, which the recipe calls for, but I was pretty sure I could achieve familial culinary satisfaction by using pork. I was right! As it bubbled away in the slow cooker, children would wander in, drooling, and ask hopefully "Is that dinner?" 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Kitchen Tip Tuesday! How to Ripen Avocados

Stuck with a rock hard avocado, but really want to make guacamole for your weekend get-together?  (gasp) Will they ripen in time?! Never fear! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Creamy Spicy Chickpea and Tomato Soup

Soup can be such a hearty meal, full of veggies and nutrition.  It feeds the belly and warms the soul. Perfect for lunch, dinner, and in a mug for a mid-afternoon snack. I love soup. I love soup in all four seasons. I love the love that homemade soup connotes. But enough about my deep affection for soup! 

The original "inspiration" recipe for this allergy friendly version morphed into a four-version-tasting-supper for my family. The recipe in this post is the winning version, which my children have dubbed "Creamy Spicy." (There was also "Creamy Mild," "Broth-y Mild," and "Broth-y Spicy.") My mother wanted me to call it "Chickpea Surprise," because she (as a passionate chickpea hater) was shocked that she loved this soup! The chickpeas simply give the soup a creamy texture without dairy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Kitchen Tip Tuesday! Reduce waste: Parsley Stems

The grocery budget in a food allergy home can often be a bit overwhelming, so I love making use of every possible part of a food item!  Most people just toss out their parsley stems, but I have news for you: they have flavor! Don't waste them!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tangy Black-eyed Pea Salad

This side dish is tangy, bright, and cheerful.'s so simple! I got the original recipe from Food Network Magazine, and made just a couple changes based on personal preference! (I'm definitely adding this one to my list of Spring/Summer potluck offerings.) It is delicious alone, and also great as a topping for burgers. We paired this side dish with turkey burgers and a green salad! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Kitchen Tip Tuesday! Mushroom Stock

I love to use Cremini mushrooms in dishes, but I'm always left with a pile of fragrant, woody stems. So, what to do with all this rich smelling bounty?  Make Mushroom Stock of course!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Turkey Cutlets with Marsala Gravy

This twist on "Turkey Marsala" is a great weeknight dinner.  It cooks up quickly by using thin sliced turkey cutlets, and pre-made turkey gravy. I always have a stash of homemade turkey gravy in my freezer, but you could substitute your favorite can/jar turkey gravy. (Click HERE for my turkey gravy recipe.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Enjoy Life Fruit and Seed Mix - Review

Enjoy Life Not Nuts! Seed and Fruit Mix is available in Mountain Mambo, and Beach Bash.  Both are available at our local grocery store, which is where I purchased the Mountain Mambo variety to review. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Kitchen Tip Tuesday! Recipe Organization

Part of living with food allergies, is the ever present challenge of learning to translate allergen laden recipes into something safe to eat.  I am a recipe junkie. (And I strongly encourage you to become one too!) I LOVE food magazines, other blogs, the Food Network, the Cooking Channel...need I go on?  I find a great many recipes that I want to "makeover," and so as I rip them out of magazines, or print them out, the issue becomes: What do I do with all this paper and all these ideas?!  

Monday, February 9, 2015

Chocolate Mint Cookies

I love those thin, crispy, chocolate coated, mint chocolate cookies that are sold at certain times of the moms selling them for their daughters (ahem...I think you know the cookies of which I speak.)  I have created a wonderful homemade, allergy friendly version that is delicious, anytime of the year, and perfect straight out of the freezer or refrigerator!  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Taco Seasoning

I am always in favor of making homemade spice mixes.  You can control the ingredients, and adjust the flavoring to suit your family's preferences.  I am especially in favor of blending homemade mixes when there happens to be a wide reaching recall underway of a certain ground spice!  So I'm sharing my recipe for Taco Seasoning.  

How to Grind Your Own Cumin

With the current "ground cumin recall" still stretching far and wide, with no discernible end in sight, I thought I'd share a secret with you: I grind my own cumin.  I have for years, and it is SO easy!  

This post contains an affiliate link.  By purchasing these products through the links, I make a few cents at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for supporting The Allergy Safe Kitchen by purchasing through affiliate links!  

I did write a Kitchen Tip post about grinding spices in general, click here to read it, but I thought that perhaps a picture tutorial would be helpful for parents and children who have never had the joy of grinding a spice! This is definitely a child-friendly kitchen activity.  I recommend having a dedicated coffee bean grinder, just for spices.  I specifically recommend one that doesn't turn on unless the cap is in place. Click here for an inexpensive option!

After the cumin is ground and fragrant, and you just can't wait to make something with it, CLICK HERE to use it in my family's favorite homemade Taco Seasoning

Don't forget to check out my cookbooks on Amazon! 
 As always, from The Allergy Safe Kitchen, I wish you "Good Cooking, and Safe Eating"!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Supreme Peeled Tiger Nuts - Review

Tiger Nuts.  That's right, I said "Tiger. Nuts." Before this review gets started, let's just all agree that the inner middle-schooler in all of us, thinks that this might be the most hilarious and awesome name for a health food.  Go ahead and giggle, I won't tell, you can maintain your sophisticated facade and no one will ever know that you laughed at "Tiger Nuts." Okay, ready? Now, on to the review!

Nut - Free Trail Mix

I often have a big batch of Nut - Free Trail Mix in the pantry.  It's a great 3 o'clock snack for me and for the kids, it's handy to take to the playground, on field trips, hiking, or to the beach.  It's so simple to make, that even my two year olds are able to help.  No stove, no oven, not even a microwave is needed!  Just a big bowl, safe ingredients, and a large spoon!
Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Kitchen Tip Tuesday! - Stainless Steel Kitchen Odor Eater

I looooooove garlic.  Really. Love. It.  I cook with it nearly every day.  Luckily, my family loves garlic too.  I have found, however, that I do not love the smell of garlic on my fingers, hours after scrubbing them.  Enter: Stainless Steel Soap! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Simple Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash, nature's answer to low calorie (and gluten free) pasta.  I have long wanted to try Spaghetti Squash, but because I'm not a huge fan of acorn squash or butternut squash, I keep hesitating to make this allergy (and figure) friendly pasta replacement.  To be honest, I purchased a lovely looking Spaghetti Squash and procrastinated so long it went rotten!  After several requests for more GF recipes, and a deep desire to reclaim a healthy body after bearing 7 children, I bought another Spaghetti Squash and gave it a try.  I really should have done it sooner!
Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Humble Jalepeno - Pico de Gallo and Guacamole

I love pico de gallo and guacamole.  I love to toss some chopped jalapenos into my chili.  I roast them on the grill and add them to roasted corn salsa, my husband's personal favorite. I've even been known to add one into my Kicked Up Sloppy Joe's.  The Humble Jalapeno, so small, so many uses, so delicious. Here are my recipes for pico de gallo and guacamole (or pico and guac, if you're super cool like that...and I know you are.) 

By ingredients, both the pico and guac are peanut-free, tree nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, fish-free, wheat free, gluten free, soy free, and shellfish-free. Top 8 Allergen Free! As always, check this ingredient list and your local products to make sure that this recipe is allergy safe for your family and/or friends!

Steps marked with an asterisk (*) are child friendly!  
Click HERE for more information! 

Roma tomatoes, limes, jalapenos cilantro, and onions, with a little kosher salt, are all you need for a delicious pico de gallo. Just remember, it's all about the ratio!  A great pico is more than just chopped tomatoes with a little bit of everything else.  The best pico has an equal amount of tomatoes, onion, and cilantro. No matter if you are making a lot or a little, remember: equal parts! Then, add finely diced jalapeno.  For more heat, leave the ribs/seeds in, for a little less heat, remove the ribs and the seeds. Sprinkle with kosher salt, and squeeze a generous amount of lime juice (to taste) over top of everything. 

*Mix until ingredients are evenly distributed, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours.  All the flavors with meld together and you'll be left with a perfect pico! 

What about the guacamole?!

You'll only need two additional ingredients, garlic and avocados, to make my "Auntie B's Guacamole!" (And an extra lime.) Even my mom, who does not usually love (or even like) avocados, has requested that I make this guacamole for parties. 

*Scoop the beautiful goodness out of your avocados and mash with a little extra lime zest and juice. (Zest for a flavor boost, juice to keep the green creamy goodness from browning.) Add minced garlic and *stir together. I usually add 2-3 cloves per 4 avacadoes. Then, *mix in a generous portion of your pico for a perfect guacamole!  

Now, you're ready to party!  Serve with tortilla chips, make sure they're gluten free, and you'll have gorgeous, flavor packed, Top 8 Allergen Free snacks for your family and guests!

Don't forget to check out my cookbooks on Amazon! 

 As always, from The Allergy Safe Kitchen, I wish you "Good Cooking, and Safe Eating"!
Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Kitchen Tip Tuesday - Chopping Herbs

Chopping fresh herbs can be a frustrating experience.  Herbs go everywhere, don't get cut all the way through, half end up on the floor or at least off your cutting board...what a mess. Don't despair, and don't give up on adding fresh herbs to your meals!  There's a simple trick that will have you chopping like a pro! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Foolproof Juicy Chicken Thighs

"If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day.  If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime." If I share one single recipe, it will teach you one meal.  If I teach you a technique, you can create many meals for your family.  Today, I will share a technique for one of my favorite, budget friendly, juicy cuts of meat: chicken thighs!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Ian's Sriracha Fire Sticks and Fish Sticks - Product Review

I became aware of Ian's Natural Foods when I attended The Food Allergy Bloggers Conference. What impressed me most about this brand was the variety of MEAL offerings.  There are a lot of food allergy focused companies specializing in snacks, desserts, safe baking items, etc.  But, few focus on providing a kid friendly, busy-mom-friendly, simple meal. Our family received a box of products from Ian's for review.

This review will focus on Ian's Fish Sticks and Sriracha Fire Sticks