Monday, July 21, 2014

Nut Free Spreads- Nutritional Comparison

There are quite a few peanut free spreads on the market now to smear on a sandwich and send in your kiddo's lunchbox.  Most have an appearance that is very similar to the traditional lunchbox favorite, but how do they stack up nutritionally?  Let's take a peek, starting with the nutrition label for the good ol' standard- peanut butter.  (So you know what you are measuring against.)

Peanut butter.  This is the standard everyone holds replacement against.  Note the protein content.

Barney Butter- made from peanut-free almonds.  This is a great option if you can have tree nuts.

Biscoff Spread- NOT a peanut butter replacement. This is made from ground up cookies, people.  I don't care if it is nut free, it is still a dessert spread!  All sugar, no protein.

I M Healthy Soybutter- There are several soybutter products on the market, this is the label I grabbed.

Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter made from golden peas.  This was surprisingly delicious, but awfully low in protein.

Sunbutter made from ground sunflower seeds.  This is the favorite in our house! Great protein, free of the top 8.

I made sure to get the original spread with each of these, not a flavored version.  I have seen chocolate soybutter often ( I adore the Don't Go Nutz brand version. Yum.), but make sure to watch the sugar content on those labels! Some of them are more of a dessert spread with more sugar than is really needed.  I know that the flavor of the soybutter spreads varies from product to product, so feel free to try several to find the one that hits your palette right.

The above labels are as complete as their original packaging would allow.  I did not research to see what nutritional perks may have been left off of the label.  This is just so you can see how your spread compares!

Now. Who's hungry for a sandwich?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

It's time to post the weekly plan!  This process really does keep me sane, removing the impromptu dinner planning and making sure I have all ingredients I need on hand.

Monday (vegan)
Breakfast: apple cinnamon muffins
Lunch: beef sloppy joe, onion rings, mixed veggies
Dinner: vegan pizza

Tuesday (turkey)
Breakfast: pancakes with berry reduction
Lunch: sunbutter and jelly
Dinner: bbq turkey thighs, cauliflower rice, green beans with shallots

Wednesday (fish)
Breakfast: turkey sausage, herb roasted potatoes, green smoothie
Lunch: turkey dogs
Dinner: crispy lemon cod, roasted beets, honeydew

Thursday (beef)
Breakfast: cranberry apple breakfast bake
Lunch: salmon salad
Dinner: crock pot beef stew, peas, quinoa

Friday (pork)
Breakfast: cream of buckwheat
Lunch: beef sliders
Dinner: eggplant lasagna with italian sausage, spinach salad with balsamic berries

Saturday (vegan)
Breakfast: pork sausage and biscuit sandwich, green smoothie
Lunch: ham wraps
Dinner: southwest black bean burgers, roasted sweet potato wedges, stovetop apples

Sunday (turkey)
Breakfast: lemon poppy muffins
Lunch: veggies and hummus
Dinner: turkey meatballs with quinoa pasta and marinara

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sesame Free Hummus

My daughter adores hummus, even though she can not have sesame.

 I love that it is so cheap and easy to make.  It's an ideal summer lunch or afternoon snack when paired with veggies for dipping, and it goes together faster than your kids can have a hungry tummy meltdown. Win-win.

I use this recipe, and two of my three kids love it. Give it a whirl and see how it goes over at your house.

Sesame free Hummus

1 15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
juice from 1/2 of one lemon
1-2 Tbsp Sunbutter (or nut/seed butter of choice- optional)
1 small clove garlic
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2-1 tsp kosher sea salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
dash paprika- for serving (also optional)

Add everything to the food processor and turn on.  Let it whirl away for a few minutes.  Really, give it 2-3 minutes to get smooth and creamy, don't be tempted to turn it off early!  Whirl past that initial impression of it being blended, the extra time creates luscious creamy texture.

For this recipe, you can use any white bean your kids like, mine especially like cannellini beans.  I like to use beans that have kombu included as an ingredient, as it makes the bean slightly softer and easier to digest.  If your house avoids garlic, leave it out!  Toss in the flavor element enjoyed in your home.  Leeks? Chives? Basil? Tweak the spices to match your tastes, there is no wrong way to do it.  Use a bit of water in place of the lemon juice, or pickle juice if you want.  Again, it's your tongue, make it happy with flavors you like!

Happy snacking!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

What DO you eat?

The question I am most often asked when people learn my daughter has 15 food allergies is: "What DO you eat?!"

I used to smile and answer "We're living on love." Or, "There's a lot of creative cooking happening at my house."  These were my answers.  They were true.  And they effectively stopped the line of questioning.  Truth be told, I often felt overwhelmed by our restrictions when I was learning how to work with them.  It was hard to answer because many days I struggled to figure out what to eat.

Over time, I began to acclimate to our challenges.  It got easier.  (Most days.)  It has become clear to me that these answers ARE true, to this day.

The amount of creative cooking at my house would intimidate many people.  By the time I've studied a recipe and altered it to fit our needs, it has undergone a major metamorphosis.  Every single creative concoction, of my own invention or alteration, was cooked from a place of love.  Love that fuels determination to allow my children to taste things they see others eat, or see in the bakery window.  Love that drives me to make sure their nutritional needs are being met while their taste buds are being satisfied.  There is creative cooking, and it's become a good thing.  I enjoy the challenge of crafting foods that are tasty and safe, and that we could serve to guests without feeling bashful about the difference.

Some day I hope my children realize that there is more than dinner on their plate, more than balanced nutrition.  There is heart and soul and the profound love of a mama who wants more for them than a view of restrictions and limitations, but is gently steering them to a focus on what CAN be, with just a bit of creativity combined with love.

Now I understand that there are so many foods that we can still eat.  They are delicious.  It used to be easier to avoid the question because I felt burdened by how differently we eat.  Now When I say "We're living on love." it has a totally different meaning.  My kids are living on food made with love, and we have so many options open to us that I find it easier to list what we don't eat.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

2014 Allergy Awareness Week

To kick off the week I'd like to post my agenda for Food Allergy Awareness Week.  This week my goal is to do something to grow awareness each day.  My focus is on growing awareness at the school level, as many more children currently have food allergies than adults.

Monday:  Hang allergy awareness posters.  I plan to hang one in the stall for each teacher bathroom. Captive audience+education= WIN.  This year I chose an infographic from FARE.

Tuesday: Put a food allergy bookmark in each teacher's mailbox.  Thanks to FAACT for providing them!

Wednesday: Put up a trifold display in the teacher's lounge with a 10 question allergy awareness quiz. (self check, of course.)

Thursday: Put a copy of 10 Things Every Allergic Kid Wishes You Knew in each teacher mailbox.

Friday: Provide allergy friendly cupcakes (free of 7 of the top 8).  A demonstration that allergy friendly can be tasty is always a good thing! It's also my way of saying thanks for letting me bombard the teachers with allergy information during the week.

One simple, quick thing for each day.  Lots of wonderful activities to pick from being posted around the web!  What are YOU doing to grow awareness this week?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

Somehow I have been so productive today, that it feels like Wednesday already!  Here is my menu plan for the week, and then back to the productivity streak I was on!

Monday (beef)
Breakfast: cranberry orange muffins
Lunch: turkey slices
Dinner: beef burgers, asparagus, strawberries

Tuesday (vegan)
Breakfast: bean and veggie saute
Lunch: beef burgers
Dinner: quinoa pasta with squash sauce and peas

Wednesday (pork)
Breakfast: lemon poppyseed muffins and green smoothie
Lunch: sunbutter and apples
Dinner: crockpot pork roast, roasted beets, peaches

Thursday (fish)
Breakfast: pork sausage and cinnamon roasted butternut squash
Lunch: pork
Dinner: shrimp skewers, buckwheat ramen noodles, green beans, cherries

Friday (turkey)
Breakfast: sweet potato black bean saute
Lunch: veggies and hummus
Dinner: white bean turkey chili, spinach salad with oranges

Saturday (beef)
Breakfast: turkey sausage and potatoes O'Brien
Lunch: turkey corn dogs
Dinner: beef stir fry over quinoa, grilled pineapple

Sunday (vegan)
Breakfast: pancakes with berry reduction
Lunch: sloppy joe
Dinner: lentil soup

Monday, April 21, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

Monday again.  This week brings delightful spring weather and a bouquet of activities to keep us busy.  Lots of easy meals this week!

Monday (fish)
Breakfast: pork sausage, pancakes
Lunch: ham
Dinner: salmon, grilled asparagus, mandarin oranges

Tuesday (turkey)
Breakfast: bean and veggie saute
Lunch: salmon salad
Dinner: turkey meatloaf, peas, roasted sweet potatoes

Wednesday (beef)
Breakfast: turkey sausage and biscuit sandwich, green smoothie
Lunch: meatloaf
Dinner: irish cottage pie, peaches

Thursday (vegan)
Breakfast: cream of buckwheat cereal
Lunch: beef dogs
Dinner: pizza, spinach salad with balsamic berries

Friday (pork)
Breakfast: baked apples and quinoa granola, smoothie
Lunch: sunbutter and jelly sandwiches
Dinner: pork basil burgers, carrot salad, green beans with caramelized shallots

Saturday (fish)
Breakfast: bacon, herb roasted potatoes with onion and peppers
Lunch: pepperoni rolls
Dinner: crispy baked lemon cod, coleslaw, berries

Sunday (turkey)
Breakfast: apple carrot muffins
Lunch: on your own
Dinner: turkey enchiladas, corn cake, broccoli, applesauce