Food Allergy Bloggers Conference

In a few weeks I’ll be traveling to Las Vegas for the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference. I cannot tell you how excited I am!

I'm going to the  Food Allergy Bloggers Conference! #FABLOGCON

I wanted to mention it to you in case you haven’t heard about it yet. It’s not just for bloggers, anyone interested in food allergies will benefit greatly from this conference.

The Food Allergy Bloggers Conference takes place September 26-28, 2014 at the Southpoint Hotel and Casino. If you have food restrictions and have to attend events you know how difficult it can be to eat; that is not the case at FABCon. ALL meals are included and customized to your dietary needs. I was blown away.

The Agenda is very impressive, as is the Speaker List. I would feel awful leaving even one name off so click over to check it out for yourself. If you follow me on Pinterest or Twitter then you’ve seen many of the names. The top doctors and medical professionals who are working tirelessly to bring awareness and advocacy to the food allergy community will also be there. I’m also excited to connect with the Sponsors! I met many of them at the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo last February.

If you have some vacation days coming up be sure to grab your ticket to the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference and let me know you are coming so I can meet you!

I’ll be sure to write up a recap in case you can’t attend. I’ll also tweet throughout the event using #FABlogCon.

Did you attend the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference last year? I’d love to hear about it! Are you coming in September?

Meal Plan Monday: Some Plant-Based Fall Favorites

September is finally here and I’m wondering if it’s Fall in your neck of the woods. We are still hanging out over 100 degrees everyday but I’m still making hearty soups, Banana Bread and other fall favorites.

We are also juggling school, sports, church and other commitments while trying to eat healthy.

Plant-Based Meal Plan Monday

Plant-Based Fall Favorites Meal Plan

Breakfast

After a long break from oats I’m ready to reintroduce oatmeal this week. I’ve really been missing them and plan to make a few fun variations. I usually buy gluten-free oats.

Lunch

I pack a lunch for my kindergartener (did you see my new Lunch Box Guide?) but my preschooler still eats at home. We usually eat dinner leftovers, veggie soup or baked potatoes.

  • Baked Potatoes topped with steamed veggies and/or beans
  • Leftover Burrito Bowls
  • Tortillas Rollups with SunButter and apples
  • Leftover Soup with a baked potato
  • Sandwiches using Sunbutter or hummus and veggies

Dinner

I like to keep it quick when possible but I don’t mind doing a little prep on the weekends or earlier in the day if needed. This week I’ll cook beans and Brown Rice to be used in the burrito bowls and with the Red Lentil Curry ahead of time. I’ve considered getting a Rice Cooker but haven’t bought one yet. I’m not sure if I’d use it enough.

  • Stir Fry using carrots, peas, broccoli, yellow bell pepper and brown rice.
  • Gluten-Free Mac and Cheeze I’m working on a new recipe.
  • Burrito Bowl with Rice, Beans, and Homemade Pico de Gallo.
  • Chickpea Noodle Soup or Chickpea and Rice Soup using the same recipe except using 1 cup rice instead of noodles.
  • Red Lentil Curry this recipe is used exclusively in the Custom Meal Plans.

What are you eating this week? Have you made the shift to Fall yet?

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5 Tips to Simplify your Lunch Box Routine and Printable

Last year I created a fun printable to give you ideas of what to pack in your (or your kids) lunch box. You can find it along with 10 Tips to De-Stress your Lunch Box. It is a great list but it’s a big list. If you found yourself overwhelmed at all of the choices I’ve got a great solution for you.

Simplify

This year my mission is to simplify. I’ve created a NEW printable that gives fewer choices but makes lunch packing even easier.

I was inspired by the EasyLunchboxes I’ve been using. Rest assured, even if you aren’t using bento-style containers you can still benefit by simplifying your lunch packing routine. Get your Free Printable of the 2014 Lunch Box Guide!

The Plant-Based Lunch Box Guide for 2014

5 Tips to Simplify your Lunch Box Routine

1. Pack your Lunch the Night Before.

Why spend 15 minutes in the morning packing a lunch when you can pack it the night before. Even better, pack several days worth of lunches on Sunday night.

2. Make a Lunch Menu for the week.

Do your kids debate about what they are taking in the lunch. Sit down on Friday night and talk about what they want to eat the next week in their lunch boxes. You will have plenty of time on Saturday to buy any necessary ingredients. Use the New Lunch Box Guide to help with options.

3. Pick your Battles.

Let your child make some of the choices but it’s best if you give them guidelines. For example, tell them they can take a cookie in their lunch but only for two days, the other days they have to choose something else like pretzels or dried fruit.

4. Keep it Cool.

Consider when your child will be eating. Most schools begin lunch near 11:00 with kindergartners. Lunch progresses until the oldest kids get to have lunch. This has been as late at 12:30 for some of my kids. Make sure you pack foods that will taste good at room temperature or slightly cool if you are using an ice pack.

5. Label Everything.

My son has already lost his lunch box(es) multiple times this year. We have his main lunch box and two back ups. He is getting better now that we are a few weeks into school but having his first and last name on his lunch box is really important. Also, remember to label any water bottles or other items that may be separated during lunch time. I’m very familiar with our schools “Lost and Found” cabinet.

Don’t forget to print of the 2014 Lunch Box Guide! We like to hang it on the inside of our cupboard but you could also put it on the refrigerator or in your pantry. If you need more options check out last years guide.

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Intro to Canning and Sweet Canned Blackberries

I’m excited today to present a very special guest post from Sarah at Gazing In and Trail Cooking. As you can see she is multi-talented. She also has a ton of delicious allergy-friendly recipes.

Sarah and I became blog buddies years ago. We both strive for a mostly plant-based diet and generally cook the same kids of foods. One of our differences is that Sarah is great at preserving food. If you have questions about canning or dehydrating you’ll need to ask her because I know nothing.

I am thrilled she agreed to share today and give us an intro to canning along with a recipe for Canned Blackberries. Please welcome Sarah!


Tucked away into a low shelf in many grocery stores are cans of berries. Many people never notice them, and even if they did, would they buy them? They are usually very expensive for a small can, that only has a few berries in it. And are packed in a heavy syrup, which simply means a heavier amount of sugar. The berries become too sweet.
Have a bumper crop of berries given to you by Mother Nature? Ever thought of preserving them for winter? By canning them in a simple syrup, you can drain them later and make pies, cobblers and even mixed into yogurt. And you can control the amount of sugar used. PS: Once you get confident in canning, you can pack these berries in hot apple juice even!
Canning need not be time consuming, nor scary. A few simple tools and you can be making small batches of goodies in your kitchen – that you can enjoy ALL year long. Canning is renewable, resourceful and after a few visits to the water bath, more than pays for itself. A simple kit, such as the Ball® Home Canning Discovery Kit, will get you going:
Home Canning Kit
Canning Utensil Kit
And a few kitchen towels and canning jars, and you are all set. You don’t even need a dedicated water bath canning pot – and large pot will work. If you do decided you love canning, you needn’t spend a lot. A Granite Ware Covered Preserving Canner is all you will need. (Made in the USA as well!)
Canner
Just buy quality upfront. Don’t try to save money with off brand jar – buy Ball or Kerr, they are made in the USA. Same with the lids – only buy them. They are BPA free, made in the USA. Off brands are made in China, so you get what you pay for. I see mason jars as an investment. I often give jars away, but mention this “What is the first rule of the Mason Jar Club? You return the jar and band, and you might get refills” ;-) Funny is, I said that to a guy recently and he was “Oh…that is why people quit giving me stuff”. Hahaha!
Canned Blackberries
Cold Pack Sweet Canned Blackberries
Ingredients:
  •  Blackberries, washed and drained (see below for how many)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 5¼ cups water
Directions:
Wash canning jars, with bands and new lids, in hot, soapy water. Rinse well, and drain on a clean kitchen towel. Bring a large pot of water to boil, take off stove, add in clean jars and bands, and keep covered.
Fill canning pot or large stockpot halfway with water, bring to a near boil, then let simmer.
Make syrup by combining sugars and water, bring to a boil, either use immediately or keep warm.
Drain jars using tongs, place on a clean kitchen towel. Ladle ¼ cup hot syrup into the bars, using a sterilized canning funnel. Pack in 1 cup blackberries, gently tap on counter. Add more berries. Pour hot syrup over the top, then run a sterilized chopstick (or a plastic air bubble remover) around the inside of the jar. Top off with more syrup if needed. Leave a ¼” headspace.
Dip a clean paper towel in hot water, then run around the top of each jar. Place a lid on each jar, then a band, screw on finger tight.
Turn canner up to high, place jars in water bath rack, lower rack into water. Water should cover by 1 – 2″, if not add a bit more from the other pot that held the jars. Bring to a rolling boil, covered, process pint jars for 15 minutes, quart jars for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, carefully remove jars, placing on a clean dry kitchen towel to cool.
Once cooled, check again that seals are down (you should hear the Ping! as each one seals). Gently remove bands (wash, dry and store for your next project. While they look nicer on, if they have water inside from processing, they can rust. If you are giving away your canned items, you can always slip one back on), note on jar or lid what is in jar with a date. Store in a dry/cool/dark area and use within a year.
As always, if you ever go to use a canned item and the lid is not sealed anymore, or bulging, discard the contents immediately!!!!!! (I have only ever lost one jar in all my canning, so don’t fret!) As long as you sterilize the jar, it is fine to reuse later.
Notes:
The syrup makes about 6½ cups, and is considered a “light syrup”. When canning fruit and berries, you will need 1 to 1½ cups of syrup per quart jar, or ½ to ¾ cup per pint jar. Always hedge on the higher amount being needed, and keep an extra jar or two ready to be used “just in case”. That said, you can expect 4 to 6 quart jars or 8 to 10 pint jars total. Now for the berries, I can fit 1 to 2 cups blackberries per pint, so aim to have 15 cups of berries at minimun. If you have extra berries, no loss, just toss them on a baking sheet and freeze, then transfer to a zip-top freezer bag. You can use frozen blackberries later on for eating, baking and even making jams & jellies.
Disclaimer:
While I can on a glass top stove, I cannot tell you that is a good choice. Many glass top stoves forbid canning in their warranties. This video from Fresh Preserving is helpful, and if you are out of warranty, well…you can be like me ;-)

As you can see from this great guest post canning isn’t nearly as difficult as I though. It is also a lot less expensive than I thought it would be to get started. Don’t forget to stop by Gazing In and Trail Cooking for more great recipe ideas.

This page contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using links on this page I may make a small percentage at no additional cost to you. 

Allergy-Friendly SunButter Cookies

It’s been a really long time since I’ve shared a dessert with you. I don’t make dessert often. With my little guys food allergies I have to use specialty ingredients. Thankfully they are becoming more mainstream and I can find SunButter at most grocery stores.

I first made these allergy-friendly SunButter Cookies last year. It’s taken me a long time to share them but I hope the wait is worth it.

SunButter Cookies that are Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, nut-free

I still prefer to buy most of my “special” items on Amazon. I have an Amazon Prime membership so they are delivered to my door so I don’t have to take the kids in the store. Win-Win. I’ll share links to the products I buy if you are curious. I buy them in bulk but you can purchase smaller amounts.

SunButter Cookies that are Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, nut-free

Sunbutter Cookies

Ingredients

Do

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat.
  2. “Cream” first four ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl (I use my measuring cup) mix warm water and chia seeds together. Allow them to sit for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  4. In a large bowl mix the remaining dry ingredients together.
  5. Dump all of the wet ingredients into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well.
  6. Use your hands to scoop out ping-pong sized cookies and roll them into balls. Roll them in sugar. Use wet hands to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
  7. Flatten them onto the prepared cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool before eating.

Serve

This recipe makes about 12 cookies. They will be soft in the middle but firm on the edges, the best of both worlds. They are great for lunch boxes too!

For a little change try adding a 1/2 cup Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.

SunButter Cookies that are Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, nut-free

Substitutions:

I haven’t made this with peanut butter or other nut butters but if you do please let me know how they turn out. You could use a Gluten and Wheat Free Baking Mix instead of using the flours mentioned above. Be sure to read the labels to check for allergens.

If you like these allergy-friendly SunButter Cookies you should try my Brownies!

This page contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase I may earn a small percent at no extra cost to you.
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