Tag Archive: allergy

Allergy friendly snack bites

More substantial than fruit and veggies, I need (quick) snack ideas that have both nutritional and caloric oomph.  Preferably ones with protein and fat (since carbs are easy to come by in my experience).

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Balls for the win.

These look so hideous it’s almost embarrassing to post.  It’s not a wonky camera mode, they are really that green color.  It’s because there’s green stuff in them.

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Frozen Green Chai Vanilla Bites [vegan, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, nut free]

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp protein powder of choice (I used Amazing Grass chai vanilla infusion)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds + 4 tbsp water
  • [optional] 1 tbsp liquid sweetener (maple syrup, honey, agave)
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

Add everything to a food processor and pulse until it all comes together and forms a large ball.

Roll into smaller bites sized balls and store in the fridge or freezer. 

Notes: the amount of sweetener is up to you and will vary based on what protein powder you use (i.e. if it is sweetened or not).

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The pairing of chai and vanilla and coconut in these is awesome.  I totally recommend Amazing Grass’ vanilla chai infusion.  It’s got that characteristic "green" taste (and color), but has a delicious unique chai flavor.  I love love love chai.

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Chia gel on the left, ready to roll on the right.

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Depending on the size, you should get ~12 balls. 

These are nutrient dense like whoa.  Thanks to the Amazing Grass powder, they have (rice and hemp) protein, plus the sunflower seeds, chia, and coconut offer fat (and a million other fantastic nutrients) as well.

More allergy friendly snack ideas:

  • dried coconut / dried fruit
  • banana chips
  • glutino pretzels with sunbutter
  • home-made bean dip
  • tortilla chips with salsa/guacamole
  • avocado on wheat free crackers*
  • pepitas / sunflower seeds
  • hard boiled eggs

As you’ll notice, several of these require you to make them yourself.  In the safety of your own kitchen, you have 100% control over what goes into your food.  Time consuming, for sure; but at least you’ll be less stressed because you will be sure of the exact ingredients. 

Other ideas??  Feel free to chime in! 

*If you are eating something pre-packaged, be sure to check ingredients lists carefully.  If it’s a gluten free product, it may still have some other source of allergen (case in point Mary’s Gone crackers, which are wheat/gluten free but do have sesame seeds).  Unless something is made in a certified peanut/tree nut-free facility, there’s always a risk of contamination.  I’ve called a few companies and so far everyone has been really helpful in making sure their customers are informed.  Be a responsible consumer – don’t be afraid to get in touch with customer service and ask questions!

Amazing snack smoothie

It’s raining and I’m showing a cold smoothie.   Hmmm…

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Sometimes you just crave them.  Actually that’s not true with me.  I always think they look good when others make them, but I never think to make them on my own.  Whenever I’m searching for some sort of afternoon pick-me-up snack, I forget about smoothies.

But lately I’ve been at a loss when it comes to allergy friendly snacks.  Hence the smoothie. 

Without nuts, sesame, soy, and wheat I feel…constricted.  I used to grab bars or trail mix when I needed something on the go; and if I had time to sit and snack it was always hummus with veggies or nut butter with crackers. 

So now I’m going to have to be better about planning in advance.  I’ll have to make my own hummus (with avocado or olive oil instead of tahini) and my own trail mix and bars (with oats and seeds).  This is all a learning process.  I hope I’m not sounding whiny because I don’t mean to complain, I’m just pointing out things as I process them.  And of course, if any of you have suggestions, I’m all ears!!

I have lots of seedy protein powder ball ideas in my head, but in the meantime, smoothies are filling the gap.

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This is kinda like a chocolate milkshake with greens.  You can definitely taste the greens, but it’s one of those things that you get used to…and after a certain amount of time, you stop tasting it altogether.  Personally, I love that grassy, earthy flavor.  If that’s not your thing, add more banana or some nut butter. 

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Look at all those nutrients!  Can you believe it’s not only delicious but healthy too?!?!

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Basic Chocolate Green Smoothie [vegan, nut free, dairy free, gluten free, soy free]

  • 1 packet chocolate amazing meal
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • [optional] liquid stevia (to taste)

Blend in a high speed blender until smooth.

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Enjoy!

Allergy friendly chocolate cake

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This past weekend’s mission was to test run a chocolate cake for P’s first birthday.

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Mission: accomplished.  🙂

Like, SO accomplished.  I was beside myself with pride when it turned out.  Now I can serve a cake for everyone to enjoy that will make my son feel normal!!!  Hooray!

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It is chocolaty and rich and tastes indulgent, despite having no added sugar.  It’s also free of grains.  And nuts, seeds, soy, wheat, and dairy.  And it actually tastes good.  Scratch that.  It tastes great. 

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Grain free, allergy-friendly chocolate cake [wheat/gluten free, grain free, nut free, dairy free, soy free*]

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup enjoy life chocolate chips*
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 banana
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil together until smooth.  Add vanilla.

Combine eggs and banana and blend with an immersion blender or in a standing blender until frothy.

Add chocolate to whipped egg/banana mixture (starting with a little bit at first so the warm chocolate doesn’t cook the eggs).  Stir until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones.  Again, stir until combined.

Let sit for a few minutes to thicken.

Meanwhile grease a cake pan with coconut oil.

Pour batter into cake pan.  Bake for 20 minutes (or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean).

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[optional] Chocolate frosting [vegan, dairy free, nut free, soy free, wheat/gluten free]

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips*
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • [optional] pinch of salt

Directions:

Chill your can of coconut milk overnight and upon opening it, scoop the solid layer on top into a mixing bowl.  This (cream) is the portion you will use (but feel free to save the liquid portion for another use).

Combine coconut cream and melted chocolate chips and whip until smooth and thick and delicious.

Let both the cake and the frosting cool to room temperature before icing.

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*Make sure you check the ingredients of the chocolate chips you use.  Enjoy Life brand is definitely allergy friendly (as noted by the dairy, nut & soy free label), but various brands of dark chocolate chips may be suitable as well.  Soy lecithin is often safe for those with a soy allergy, but please check with your MD or allergist first.

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YUM!

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Happy 1st birthday little boy.  I am so happy to be your mama.

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Adding meat back

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Tofu lover that I am, it was hard to stop eating it.  But – plain and simple – it wasn’t a choice.

My son is my #1 priority.

So if he cannot tolerate soy, and he has eczema when I eat it (through my breast milk), then the choice is clear.  I stop eating soy.

And gluten.  And nuts.  And seeds.  [Cow dairy was already out of my diet, but goat dairy is now too.]*

So what does that leave a (vegetarian) to eat??  Fruits and vegetables of course.  And non-wheat grains.  And legumes.  And…[crickets].

Not only was that getting boring, but my little guy refuses to eat beans, which makes his protein situation on the low end of the spectrum.  Rather than feed him eggs and quinoa all the live long day, I made a decision.  I decided to try feeding him meat.  And guess what?  He LOVED it.

And since I’m not a short order cook, I decided it was time for us all to adopt the same diet.  So we are all eating lots of fruit, lots of veggies, lots of eggs…and some meat.

At first it was weeeeeeird.  But you know me.  I love food.  I love cooking and baking and learning about all things culinary.  So I dove in head first and started educating myself like a student chef.  It took a couple of months for me to get up the nerve to do it, but like the band-aid scenario, I realized it wasn’t going to get any easier, regardless of how much research I did.  So I bought 100% grass fed and finished organic ground beef and made it for P and he took to it immediately.  A few days later, Kyle and I joined him (we all ate the same dinner!).  It was bizarre, but wonderful (bizarre to be eating meat, wonderful to be cooking the same thing for us all).

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t enjoyed certain aspects of it.  The learning part mostly.  It’s been a blast reading various culinary sources that I previously skimmed or glossed over altogether.  I am trying to be as responsible with our consumption of animals as possible – doing research on the source of all the meat we buy and using it in it’s entirety.  [Side note: yay for living in Davis where we have access to so many organic farms!]  I’m still trying to make plants be the focal point of our food (with meat as the accent), so that our fam gets all our nutrients covered.

We are now a few weeks into this new diet, and while some things still weird me out, I’m getting the hang of it.  More importantly, though, my gut seems to be doing fine with it so far**.  As are my taste buds.  Since my mom was a vegetarian and I was raised without cow/pig, I don’t know much about preparing it.  Thank goodness for the crock pot.  And Bon Appétit.  And the internet.  And meat thermometers.  🙂

But like I mentioned before, the biggest selling point of all is how much simpler it has made meal times for the family.  We all eat the same thing.  I don’t make special meals adapted to each person’s tolerances because now we all share the same tolerances.  Sure, we each had to cede a bit – Kyle likes wheat and dairy, I like nuts and tempeh – but now that meat is on the menu, the center point of our Venn Diagram is much larger than it once was.

If you’re a vegan/vegetarian or someone who will be offended to see meat on the blog, I don’t know how much I’ll be posting about it.  I don’t have the skills to make up my own recipes yet, so I’m only making others’ creations at this point.  Moreover, I’m pretty sure meat is one of the more ugly foods to photograph (although pinterest could prove me wrong there…).

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to share.

I started this blog over 5 years ago and my life has changed in so many ways since then, so it’s only natural that my diet would evolve as well.  I know that not eating meat was a big part of my identity on this blog…and in real life it was for a while, too…but I’m not the same person I was back then.  I know that you guys appreciate my openness and honesty here (which is how I want it to be), so hopefully you’ll respect this decision.  I will still be eating yummy vegan food, too.

*I am still working out the kinks, but I occasionally have some nuts and goat dairy after nursing P to sleep at night because it will be >12 hours until I breast feed next, thus allowing the allergens to clear out of my milk.   I think it’s okay, but I am still experimenting. 

**Not to drag this out and make eating meat into a huge saga, but I do plan to write one more post that addresses the impact on my GI tract (since my decision to ditch animal protein stemmed from my IBS, I think a follow up on how my gut is doing is warranted).