A Food Holiday Idea— I Need Your Help!

Howdy Ho Ranger Joes!

I have this very strong feeling that I’ve used that as an introduction on this blog before. But even if I have that’s okay because it’s a fantastic one at that. Doesn’t it just bring back great childhood memories and make you all warm fuzzy inside?

I sure wish I was all warm and fuzzy inside. Instead as you read this I will be shivering my butt off stargazing.

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Yes. Stargazing. In the middle of Winter (okay, so it’s not technically Winter yet but it’s snowed, it’s cold, and I’m counting it).

But yes, tonight I am going to my school’s planetarium to look at stars for my Astronomy class. I could have done this months ago when it was summer and warm, but I love venturing out by myself at 9:00 at night during the Winter where I am so bundled up in my coat/scarf/gloves that even if someone did attack me and try to steal my non-operating cellphone, their fist would basically just bounce off my mountain of puffy layers.

Or perhaps if I showed them my bubbly, burnt foot they would feel sorry for me and go bother someone else.*

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Don’t worry. I will keep you updated with ALL of the photos of my lovely foot through its recovery stages. This is only Day 2. If my phone was functioning properly you could see how awful it looks today.

*Nothing’s really concrete yet and it’s basically a toss-up if they would actually believe my pitiful story.

As it is though, I have t-minus 40 minutes before I should leave and thus only 40 minutes to write this post. While that may be a lot of time for some people, it doesn’t seem to be nearly enough for me. Actually I’m kind of just panicking thinking about it.

39 minutes to go.

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Moooving on…

Lately I have been seeing some pretty incredible holiday recipes all around and they are just getting me more and more excited for Christmas! One thing my Pinterest feed is lacking though is some good, quality holiday recipes that us allergic folks can make and eat. Every time I click on a recipe I cross my fingers and hold my breath… then I scan the ingredients list and sigh.

For clarification purposes, I am NOT anaphylactic to any foods, I just think these comics are hilarious.

Really, it’s no one’s fault that I can’t eat 99% of the recipes they post. Actually, it’s kind of MY fault for following people that post nothing but recipes I can’t eat. Their pictures are just SO BEAUTIFUL though!

Instead of complaining any further though, here is what I propose:

I would like to plan a 12 Days of Allergy-Free Christmas Recipes

(Title pending).

This would all depend you guys though, because I would like some of you to co-host with me! 🙂 Twelve days would be way too many recipe round-ups and I’m pretty sure that you would get tired of it fast. Instead we could divide and conquer, each taking up responsibility for one of the twelve days. Each day would have a different theme. For example- appetizers, beverages, main dishes, side dishes, cookies (maybe even split cookies into types- gingerbread, sugar, chocolate), pudding, cake, muffins, casseroles, soup, salad, lunch, breakfast, candy… That way there wouldn’t be an overlap, and we would increase the chances of someone finding at least ONE recipe in each of the categories that would fit their dietary needs.

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We could start whenever, counting down literally to Christmas, or even perhaps end a few days before. You could announce what theme you will be hosting in the next few days, make a call out for recipes that fit the bill, and then post a recipe round-up (along with a new recipe of your own) on the specified day.

Sort of like some of these recipe round-ups: Fall Favorites, WITHOUT the Pumpkin, or 20 Apple Dessert Recipes.

At the end what we would have is an incredible collection of recipes that would be a wonderful resource for those with food allergies or dietary restrictions. (Now, this wouldn’t mean that everything has to be egg/wheat/dairy/peanut/etc-free. I’m just suggesting that it be free of a few things. Maybe vegan or vegetarian, maybe Paleo or primal, or maybe even just simply or simply dairy-free or egg-free!)

So… Do I have any volunteers? It would be wonderful to get up to 12 bloggers to participate (or even more!), but whatever we get will be perfect. If enough are interested I will post a more concise and detailed post in the next few days with what you need to do, a button to include in your post, etc. I will probably also create a page on my blog where I will link all of the posts together at the end so that anyone who comes here will be able to find you as well!

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Who would like to participate?

You don’t need to have a food allergy blog to join in … Just be a blogger with a willingness to devote one day/post to this “extravaganza!”

If you do want to join, you can also pick what day you’d like to post, and what theme you want to do (it can be whatever you want, just specific enough that there won’t be tons of overlap!).

And if you don’t want to join, that’s okay too.

You can just follow along. In the comments share any ideas/thoughts/suggestions that you have for this big round-up!

You can also email me at allehays[at]gmail[dot]com if you want to participate or have any questions/suggestions.

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Chili, Chips, and Cheeze

Hola mis amigas (o amigos)!

I’ve still not gotten fully adjusted to this whole working around the clock thing, so today’s post isn’t going to be very long. My eyelids are drooping again way before I should be going to bed…

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Here is a recipe that I made a few weeks ago for my mom and dad before I headed off to my internship. In the words of my dad to my mom: “She really made this?”

Yes. It’s that good. 🙂 So gather up the ingredients and make some Mexican-inspired…

Chili, Chips and Cheeze

Makes Two Servings 

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Nut/Dairy/Egg-Free Options, Vegan Options, GAPS/Paleo-Friendly 

Chips Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour (or other nut/seed flour)
  • 1 egg white (see below for vegan substitution ideas)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt plus more for sprinkling
  • garlic and onion powder

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Cheeze Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp oil (I used ghee, but coconut oil, butter or a dairy-free substitute would work as well)
  • 1 cup butternut squash, pureed (cooked using this method)
  • 3/4-1 cup homemade almond milk (any type of milk would work here)
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 6 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp each ground mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp black pepper

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Chili Ingredients:

  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef (ground turkey, chicken, pork, would also work— see below for vegan substitution ideas)
  • 1/2-1 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2-1 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup tomato puree (or sauce)
  • 1 tbsp honey (maple syrup or stevia for vegans would be fine too)
  • 1 tsp each of ground mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp each black pepper, chili powder

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Chips Directions:

Based on my Grain-Free Crispy Cracker Thins

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine the flour, egg white and sea salt to form a dough.
  3. Put a piece of parchment paper down on a cookie sheet. Place the dough in the middle. Place another piece of parchment paper on top. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough very very thin. When you think it’s thin enough, roll it out some more (you want it super thin for a crispy cracker. I also had to use my hands to spread out the dough).
  4. Remove the top parchment paper carefully.
  5. Use a knife to score the chips into triangle, chip-size pieces. Sprinkle with additional sea salt and other toppings to your liking.
  6. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. You may want to check at intervals thereafter; however, to make sure that they don’t burn (oven temps differ greatly). I then flipped the chips and baked for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Let cool for a few minutes and then carefully break off the chips.

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Cheeze Directions:

Adapted from Oh She Glows

  1. In a medium-sized pan, heat the 1 tbsp ghee/oil over medium-low heat.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the coconut flour and almond milk well. Add to the heated oil.
  3. Combine well and then stir in the remaining ingredients mixing with each addition.
  4. Stir frequently until the cheeze sauce has thickened (add more almond milk if you like your cheeze thinner).
  5. Remove from heat.

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Chili Directions:

  1. Over medium-high heat cook your ground beef (or substitute). Add the onions and peppers when almost through cooking and sautee until well-cooked.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and combine. Cook until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat.

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To make the dish:

1. Take about half of the chips and place them in a bowl/on a plate.

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2. Scoop on about half of the chili mixture.

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3. Top with desired amount of cheeze sauce.

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Substitution notes:

Nut-free: To make this recipe nut-free you can use sun flour in place of the almond flour, and any type of milk you desire in place of the almond milk (homemade sunflower seed milk, rice milk, cow’s milk, etc).

Dairy-free: To make this recipe dairy-free use coconut oil instead of ghee, and make sure to use a dairy-free milk option.

Egg-free: To make this recipe egg-free, I would recommend using a cracker recipe that you know and love. I think that making a chia/flax egg and substituting it in for the egg white in this recipe might also work, but I can’t guarantee the results.

Vegan: To make this recipe vegan, use all of the vegan substitution options above for dairy and egg-free as well as a sweetener in place of the honey. In addition, you can substitute the beef in the chili recipe with a number of different ingredients. A combination of diced mushrooms, cauliflower and extra onions/peppers would be a great way to keep this recipe paleo as well as vegan. Otherwise, cooked tvp, a meat substitute, lentils, and/or a combination of mashed beans would also be delicious. My recommendation is about 2 cups cooked (1 cup mushrooms, 1 cup lentils, and 1 cup beans sauteed and cooked would be my top pick).

Nightshade-free: To make this free of nightshade vegetables for those who have food allergies, try replacing the tomato puree with butternut squash puree and the diced peppers with celery, more onions, mushrooms, or carrots.

Shared at Fat Tuesday.

Thanks to Jenn for hosting the never-ending party that is What I Ate Wednesday!

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Tomorrow is of course going to be packed full of more work, but I’m going to try my hardest to reply to all of your comments on my last two posts, as well as comment on as many wonderful WIAW as I possibly can! Thanks for being patient with me!

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What is your favorite Mexican-inspired dish?

Do you like having a lot of subsidization options with recipes? Or would you rather just come up with substitution options on your own?

What is your favorite food that you shared for today’s WIAW post?

Two is Better than One (WIAW)

“So maybe it’s true, that I can’t live without you

And maybe two is better than one

But there’s so much time, to figure out the rest of my life

And you’ve already got me coming undone

And I’m thinking two, is better than one.”

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What better way to start off a Wednesday than with lyrics from an amazing song? At least for me hearing a great song can make my day, especially a bad one, much better. For instance, on the way home from school a few weeks ago I was feeling pretty dreary. There was still snow on the ground and spring seemed a far off dream. I of course had on my favorite country music station, and when I was about 10 miles away from my house the song Honky Tonk Badonkadonk by Trace Adkins came on. Not exactly my favorite song mind you as in the presence of any other human being the lyrics make me slightly really uncomfortable.

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Still, the phrase “slap your grandma” is so ridiculous that it makes me giggle every single time (Note: in no way am I recommending that you go out and injure an elderly person). Almost instantly that song brought me out of my funk and I was singing along in my car. There isn’t a better way to start the weekend than with a smile. 🙂

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Let’s come back to the first song though. Now, obviously I can’t really relate to the whole love story part (aka- no significant other); however, I was still able to relate the song to something pretty important…

Yes. You guessed it. Food.

I truly believe that anything can be related back to food. Especially in this particular case, I’ve come to realize that when you only post one recipe, it’s impossible to cover all of your audience base. You post a recipe full of almonds and a nut-allergic person is immediately turned off. A meatza? Yep, you basically just wiped out over half of your audience of fellow bloggers who don’t consume beef on a regular basis.

For this What I Ate Wednesday post I have decided to take this factor into consideration and listen to the wise words of Boys Like Girls. Two is better than one. Or, two recipes are better than one. 😉

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In fifth grade my homeroom teacher had class try a sugar-free challenge where we had to try and be healthy for a month and give up all forms of sugar. I commend her for intentions, but there is no possible way that my fifth grade self would have been able to do it. I tried! I tried very very hard. I even had my mom go out and buy me a package of sugar-free Pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough. They were made with Splenda (not good, I know), and they were horrendous. Of course I ate them all, but that doesn’t mean they were good.

Later that year my teacher made up for her sugar challenge by sharing with us her recipe for candy pizza. Yes, a complete 180 from sugar-free, but that’s okay because this recipe was not horrendous. It was absolutely delicious. I no longer have the recipe, but it’s a pretty simple concept and I have been making it probably a few times a year since fifth grade (and that would be… 8 years ago?).

This last weekend I made one for my brother and actually remembered to take pictures. The recipe is not a full out recipe, nor is it healthy in the slightest. However, I have included dozens of substitution ideas to make the recipe fit any diet (from Paleo to Vegan, from Gluten-free to Sugar-Free).

Candy Pizza (with options to make allergy-free)

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Ingredients:

  • large baked chocolate chip cookie*
  • peanut butter*
  • chocolate chips*
  • candy toppings (I used Twix, Kit-Kats, and Reese’s Cups)*

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Directions:

  1. Bake a large chocolate chip cookie using your favorite recipe.
  2. Once it is completely bake remove it from the oven and top with a few big globs of peanut butter and a very generous sprinkling of chocolate chips (so scientific, right?).
  3. Place the cookie back in the oven and leave it in there until the chocolate begins to melt and look glossy.
  4. Remove the cookie from the oven and using a spoon or knife spread out the peanut butter and chocolate to top the entire thing. Even if the chocolate chips aren’t completely melted, keep on swirling as they soon will be!
  5. Then, add your choice of candy toppings.
  6. Place in the freezer until the chocolate-peanut butter sauce solidifies. Cut and enjoy!

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Allergy-free substitutions:

Chocolate chip cookie: You can use an allergy-free chocolate chip cookie that you like for the base of this recipe. A few good replacements would be Chocolate Chip Blondies (Grain-free, vegan, nut-free),  Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (Grain-free, refined sugar-free), Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free), and Chocolate Chippers (gluten-free, vegan). For those with corn allergies, there is an awesome sodium-free, corn-free baking powder available from Hain that I would recommend.

Peanut butter: For this you can use any type of nut butter like almond butter, pecan butter, cashew butter, etc. For those with both peanut and nut allergies, you can use sunbutter, pumpkin seed butter, or another seed butter. For those who can’t have any of aforementioned “butters” you could use soy butter as long as you don’t have problems with soy.

Chocolate chips: For both the chocolate chips in the cookie recipe itself, and for the chips that go on top, you could use Sunspire’s vegan carob chips (contains corn and soy), Enjoy Life’s chocolate chips (free of the top eight allergens), or the chocolate sauce recipe that I posted about previously (you can just use the sauce for the topping, and to replace the chips freeze and chop into pieces).

Candy topping: This is a pretty relaxed category as any topping you see fit should work. Any allergy-free candy would be great. Enjoy Life’s candy bars, nuts, seeds, gluten-free pretzels, leftover crumbly baked goods (like cookies, cakes, marshmallows, crackers or candies), marshmallows (store-bought, paleo, or vegan), granola or any other candy that you can have (like M&M’s, nut butter cups, etc. that fit your special diet).

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The second recipe that I have to share needs no introduction really as I have been mentioning it off and on for the past few weeks.

Grain-Free Pear Crisp

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Option, Peanut-Free, Nut-Free Option, GAPS/Paleo-Friendly

Pearcrisp6-baked[1]

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup nut flour (you can replace both nut flours with sunflour— I used 1 cup almond and 1/2 cup sunflour)
  • 1/2 cup coarse nut flour (just grind 1/2 cup nuts or seeds until coarse, but not fine)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup ghee (butter or coconut oil would work here too)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp + 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 pears (or apples)

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Grease a 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish with ghee or coconut oil (not included in 1/4 cup).
  3. Peel and slice the pears. Layer them in the baking dish and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cinnamon over top.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients together (using the remaining 2 teaspoons of cinnamon).
  5. Add the wet ingredients and combine well.
  6. Crumble the topping over the pear slices and bake the crisp in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: If you don’t eat this immediately and refrigerate the crisp overnight the fruit may get a little watery. To prevent this my mom added an additional step when making the pear crisp. Before placing the slices of fruit in the baking dish she baked them for 20-30 minutes on a baking sheet in the preheated oven to get rid of some of the moisture. Thanks for the tip Mom 😉

Shared at Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Thank Goodness It’s Monday.

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What song has been stuck on your mind lately?

Name two things that go better in pairs than alone.

Have you ever made Candy Pizza before?

What do you think of my new blog layout? Can you see the font alright?

Three’s a Party

Two (Link-Ups) + One (Recipe) = Three.

And three’s a party, right Andy? 😉

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Yep. That’s what I thought.

For the first part of this wonderful Friday equation, I have two link-ups to do today.

First up is Meghan’s Week in Review. I’m going to alter this slightly and make it Birthday Presents in Review.

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  • I’ve already shared part of what my parents got me for my birthday last week:

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  • As per tradition though I also got a little money to spend- half on clothes and half on “other stuff.” Well, I haven’t purchased any “other stuff” yet, but I did go shopping this past weekend with my mom for some things to wear during my summer internship (which is completely casual dress by the way— no ties {or skirts!!!!} required 🙂

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  • Don’t you just love the name brand of those shoes?! X-Appeal. We got some awesome deals on a pair of black flats and silver sandals:

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  • I also got a pair of pink skinny jeans and a white top at DEBS on clearance. Then at an Aerospostale outlet store I found a striped blue and white flowy shirt for only $3.99!

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  • On Easter Sunday when I saw my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, I also received a few cards full of money which I… still need to deposit in the bank. Whoops!

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  • My aunt gave me a big wrapped box too when we were leaving the Chinese restaurant. Of course I immediately pulled it into the backseat where I was sitting and proceeded to open it on the drive home. 

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  • A crock-pot is the perfect present for me as I will most likely be continuing my soupy ways this summer and being far from home in a foreign kitchen I’ll need some appliance to make broth in!

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  • And last, but certainly not least I got a card from one of my close friends in the mail on Monday this week wishing me a Happy Belated Birthday. The present? An awesome drawing that made me smile 🙂

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Now for part two of the link-ups I am going to be joining Jessie in her Together Tuesdays/ having my own little Friday Food Finds party. Here are just a few great food ideas that I’ve seen floating around the blog world and Pinterest lately that I thought were pretty great:

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The first pin that I want to share is this Pineapple Ginger Smoothie from Gimme Some Oven. Someone in the comments called it an “orange julius on steroids” which immediately grabbed my attention. For those with dairy allergies or for those who are vegan, the Greek yogurt could probably be subbed for another frozen banana or some coconut milk/yogurt.

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Next are these delicious-looking Healthy Ice Cream Sandwiches from The Lean Green Bean. The “bread” is made from figs and a combination of pistachios/peanut butter. The “ice cream” is made from frozen bananas. Again, for those with allergies, in particular pistachios or peanuts, you could sub them out for equal amounts in seeds and sun butter.

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For a quick and easy meal, I also spotted this recipe for Healthy Wraps from Purely Twins. Unfortunately these contain eggs so they aren’t an option for those with egg allergies or who are vegan, but other than that they would be perfect to make when you need a tasty lunch but are out of store-bought bread.

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It seems that I am just fascinated with Girl Scout cookies these days as I pinned another Girl Scout cookie remake, this time Do-Si-Do Cookies from Sit, Stir & Savour. These are vegan, grain-free, refined sugar-free and oil-free, so basically perfect for almost any diet!

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The last recipe that I have to share is probably one that many of you have already seen. It’s the Healthy Homemade Goldfish Crackers from Chocolate-Covered Katie. Vegan of course with a gluten-free option, and nutritional yeast for the “cheesy” flavor.

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With two out of three done, I only have one part left to wrap up this party! A recipe.

Probably much to the annoyance of some, this recipe is not for the pear crisp that I’ve been promising for oh… a couple of weeks. But I’ve already started on the post for that and it will be coming at you all soon.

This recipe is no where near vegan however, so those of you who shed a bashful eye to all things meat, scroll down and answer my question for today! (Although the beef is grass-fed and pasture-raised, so there is that 😉 ).

Mama Mia, It’s a Meatza!

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy/Nut-Free Option, GAPS/Paleo-Friendly

Makes 4 servings/squares

Meatza-sliced[1]

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 egg (optional for egg-free)
  • 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, dash of pepper
  • 1 cup pizza sauce (I made my own with tomato puree + Italian seasoning/salt/onion and garlic powder to taste)
  • chopped onions, peppers and mushrooms (approximately 1/2-1 cup each)
  • Ghee (Or coconut oil for dairy-free)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9×9 glass pan with ghee (or coconut oil).

2. In a medium-sized bowl combine the beef, egg and seasonings.

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3. Press the beef mixture into the pan and spread evenly.

4. Bake for 10 minutes.Top with the pizza sauce and the chopped vegetables.

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5. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables begin to brown and the meat is thoroughly cooked. (Broil if desired to make it extra crispy).

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If you couldn’t tell from its name, a meatza is basically a Paleo/grain-free version of pizza! Some meatzas also have cheese on top, so that would make a great add-on for those of you who can have dairy. I made this on Saturday for my parents and they each had two slices for supper.

Shared at Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Naturally Living Monday, Make Your Own Monday

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And now that you have finished this incredibly long post you are officially free to have a fantastic Friday. Check out some of the recipes above and let me know what you think.

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Question for you all: Other than obviously laughing at the Pin above with Chef Ramsey, how do you feel about the healthy precautions that one needs to take when cooking food? This goes out to both vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike. Are you really careful about  washing your hands and utensils before you begin to make a meal? Have you ever gotten food poisoning from food being mishandled at a restaurant?