12 Days of Allergy-Free Christmas Recipes— Everything you Need to Know, and How to Sign Up

I have just been amazed at the response I’ve received on my idea that I shared on Friday. You all are truly wonderful and I’m so lucky to have you as both fellow bloggers, and friends. I asked for help and you certainly delivered.

I have no doubt in my mind now that we will be able to do this 12 Days of Allergy-Free Christmas Recipes with great success. In this post today I am going to give you all of the fine details and hopefully better explain what the round-up is all about, and more importantly- how you can participate.

Don’t be worried by the enormous amount of text that is about to come. I have already written up a draft of my contribution post, and it took me less than an hour (which if you know me, is quite quick 😉 ). Most of the information below is just me trying to be a thorough as I can so there is no confusion. Still, if there are any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask!

To get started, here is the “button” that I have created for the round-up event:

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Feel free to scale down to size (I just wanted provide the largest amount of pixels possible to prevent blurry images).

Now onto all of the details…

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What are the who/what/where/when/whys of the 12 Days of Allergy-Free Christmas Recipes?

  • Who: Any blogger that wants to join in, can. If we surpass the 12 bloggers, you can still participate by submitting a recipe link directly to the blogger in charge of a particular theme. In addition you could also still use the round-up button for any Christmas or holiday posts that involve allergy-friendly recipes that you post throughout the season.
  • What: We are gathering up Christmas allergy-free recipes into one large collection. The recipes don’t need to be “free” of everything, just at least one common allergen like wheat, dairy, gluten, peanuts, eggs, etc. One post doesn’t need to be all gluten-free or all peanut-free. Mix it up and provide options for everyone!
  • When: The round-up will be starting this Friday, December 13 as “Day One” and will end the day before Christmas on Tuesday, December 24 as “Day Twelve.”
  • Where: You will post your themed post as you would a regular post on your blog, and I will have a page on my blog dedicated especially for this event, with a link for each day.
  • Why: This round-up is so that at the conclusion of the 12 Days we will have a full list of Christmas recipes that can help those with any dietary needs or restrictions. The holidays are supposed to be about sharing smiles, spending time with family, and getting to make amazing memories. Having to be concerned with finding safe food to eat is often stressful, time-consuming, and not very fun. This collection of recipes will be an invaluable resource to lessen that burden and help people enjoy the holidays!

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How to participate in the 12 Days:

1. Leave a comment below with what days you are available to host, and what theme you would like to showcase (if you can give a couple of each that would be great for scheduling purposes). This is open to absolutely any blogger that would like to join up to 12 (but like I said previously, if we go over 12, you can still submit a recipe to the the other co-hosts for their specific themed round-up).

2. I will contact you as soon as possible to let you know what day and theme is yours. I will also update the lists below on this blog post as days and themes are taken so you not which are still available.

3. A few days before it is is your posting day, start to gather your recipes. Make a call out to your readers for links to their favorite allergy-free recipes, and gather some of those from your favorite bloggers. Also, work on the recipe that you are contributing and get all of those delicious photos taken!

4. Write and publish the round-up on your assigned day. No need to send me the link. I will grab it when reading your blog along with everyone else, and I will come back here to add a hyperlink to the round-up home base.

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When it comes to making your post, just a few things to remember:

  • Explain what this round-up is for and why you are participating. Maybe you are doing it because you have dietary restrictions and know how hard it can be to find good holiday recipes, or perhaps you are doing it just out of the generosity of your heart!
  • Include the provided round-up button and link back to the home page located on my blog. I will be listing and sharing a link for each host’s themed post so that they are easily accessible all in one place.
  • Share the collection of recipes that you found within your food theme. You can include a link, optional photo, and most conveniently, a quick breakdown of who the recipe would be good for. As an example- Easy Apple Cinnamon Pancakes from Eating 4 Balance (Grain-Free, Paleo).
  • Then include the recipe that you made specifically for the event! If you don’t have time to make a recipe, no worries. You can just repost an old one, making sure to give a breakdown of what food allergies/diet it would be good for.
  • And finally, make sure to remind your readers to check out the other bloggers who will be sharing their round-ups and recipes!

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Here is the current list of available days (which I will update as bloggers confirm when they can host):

Click here for an icon that you can include for your specific day. Example of Day 1 below.

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Here are the available themes (again, which I will update as they are taken):

***I would like to try and have the 12 days of food themes run in at least some sort of chronological order with breakfast starting first, then followed in some combination of drinks, appetizers, the main meals, side dishes, bread, dessert, leftovers, etc. Here are the 12 themes that I think would be best to include, but feel free to suggest/replace one with your own idea!

  • Breakfast- Pastries and dessert-like items. (Me from Eating 4 Balance)
  • Breakfast- Casseroles, Porridge, Eggs/Quiches, etc. (Jan from Sprouts N Squats)
  • Snacks- What you could snack on throughout the day while cooking up the big Christmas feast! 😀 (Sarah from Slices of Sarah Pie)
  • Drinks- Hot cocoa, juice, smoothies, flavored water, cider, fruit punch, coffee… (Rosie from Facing Your Storm)
  • Appetizers- Easy-to-pick-up foods to eat before the main meal. (Andrea from Pencils and Pancakes)
  • Main dishes- Self explanatory. (Kendra from Veggie Dancer)
  • Side dishes- This can be anything from vegetables to stuffing to a traditional family favorite. (Olivia from Liv Lives Life)
  • Bread- Sweet breads, savory breads, muffins, fruit cake, etc. (Juli from 1000 Lovely Things)
  • Cookies- One of the essentials for Santa on Christmas Eve! 😉 (GiGi from Gigi Eats Celebrities)
  • Pie/Cake/Cheesecake/Pudding- Almost every celebration has them. (Cat from Cat Food is Good for You)
  • Candy/Fudge- This can be simple homemade candy and/or seasonal twists on delicious fudge.
  • Nut butters and spreads- Come on, you nut butter lovers out there know that this is a holiday must! (Kathleen from Kat’s Health Corner
  • Leftovers- An inevitable part. Some creative, allergy-friendly suggestions for what to do with them would be so helpful!

**If you are listed as “tentative” above that means that we have discussed a theme but I haven’t 100% verified that you can do it. Let me know if you’re still able to or would like to change, and what day you want!**

Thanks in advance to everyone who participates!

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Please comment below with what days you are available, and what themes you would like to host. List them in order of preference so that I can work our the schedule and find the best fit for everyone!

Are there any themes that you would rather see, or do you have any questions about the round-up details? Nothing is set in stone and if you have a good suggestion for improvement, I’m all ears! 🙂

As always, if you don’t want to leave a comment here, you can also e-mail me at alleyhays[at]gmail[dot]com (<<< I promise I will get a better one soon with my actual name! 😉 ).

And if for any reason you end up being not able to post, please e-mail me immediately. If you could find a blogger that would be willing to replace you in that event, I would thoroughly appreciate it, but if not, the sooner I know, the sooner I can find someone!

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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.

{Belated} Halloween Favorites

Happy Belated Halloween!

Technically I am typing this post up on Halloween so that “belated” shouldn’t be in there, but I figured that most of you wouldn’t be reading this until November 1 so… Technicalities.

As a wrap up to the Halloween extravaganza I thought it would be fun to do a short Halloween Favorites survey!

Ready? Too bad. You don’t have a choice 😉

What is your favorite Halloween movie?

Halloweentown from Disney Channel.

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Fun fact: The girl who played Marnie is also the voice on the Trix commercials that said, “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!”

Pick your favorite chocolate AND non-chocolate candy.

Dark Chocolate Kit-Kats and Black Licorice Jelly Beans.

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Do they even sell dark chocolate Kit-Kats anymore? No judgement on the black jelly beans. You haters are crazy.

What is your favorite seasonal candy?

The mixed bags of candy corn with the regular, pumpkins and chocolate.

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The pumpkin shapes just made these 10 times more fun.

Which Halloween costume from your childhood was your favorite?

I went as a waitress one year with my best friend and we served “eyeballs” on plates.

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We got the waitress idea from some super ugly blouses that I acquired from my mother and were hanging in my closet at the time… And this book that my friend was reading. She was Hope. And I was Faith. Super original, I know.

If you could go as anything for Halloween, what would it be?

A witch!

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E-cards= I ❤ you.

How did you collect your candy when trick or treating?

We had the classic plastic orange pumpkins every single year. Nothing fancy.

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I think we still have these downstairs in our basement actually!

What is the funniest trick that you’ve ever seen played on someone for Halloween?

I really haven’t seen anything that fantastic. The look on someone’s face after being “spooked” though is pretty hilarious.

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Buzzfeed has 40 more of these pictures from a Haunted House if you are curious: http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/best-pictures-of-scared-bros-at-a-haunted-house-of-20 DO IT. They are so funny.

What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Dressing up and getting to be someone else for the night. When I was younger it was getting to have Halloween parties at school with all of the wonderful candy and cookies that parents brought in.

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Does anyone remember when these required a little more manual labor before baking? They used to come in tubes and you would have to slice all of the cookies before popping them into the oven.

Oh, and I just realized that I did a similar post last year for Halloween listing my top 5 “scary” Halloween movies.

Also, if you have any leftover candy that you don’t know what to do with, you can always use the candy corn to make candy corn popcorn and the chocolate pieces in my candy pizza!

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What did you do to celebrate Halloween this year?

Answer some of the survey questions above!

The One Where I Eat Radioactive Food and Turn Into a Superhero (WIR)

Happy Fourth of July to you all!

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(Source)

First, I want to start this post off by thanking everyone for the super sweet comments on my past few posts, especially on those from this week with my brother’s birthday cookie dough cake.

I actually forgot to include a picture on my WIAW to prove that it was actually I who made cake so here is that… 😉

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So proud!

Random factoid: Another thing that I forgot to mention was that my mom also helped out with making some pieces of the cake. In particular, this is her hand helping me put on the chocolate chips. One by one. As I freaked out because the frosting was melting. The original recipe poster mentioned that she had to throw the chocolate chips on the cake to get them to stick. I thought she was kidding at first but then when I reached that step I realized there is no easy way to attach mini chocolate chips to a vertical surface…

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Now with that out of the way I can get on to the bulk of today’s post: a short Week in Review via Meghan!

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My weekend officially started when I made some waffles for my parents.

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I found the recipe on Paleo Parents, and they were extremely simple to make. I made a total of three Belgian waffles in all.

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The recipe is much different than the usual grain-free recipe in that it doesn’t involve any almond flour, but a combination of an apple, banana, nut butter, eggs and coconut flour (I used coconut flour, but the original recipe called for arrowroot powder).

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I realize that these waffles look like they are chocolate-flavored; however, I guarantee that they are cocoa-free! It’s just the nut butter combined with fruit/eggs that caused the darker, golden color.

While waiting for the waffles to cook I hung out on the floor with Lilly. I miss her so much during the week so it’s nice when I get to come home and just relax with her on my lap. Or in this case convince her to look at the camera.

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Aren’t her expressions hilarious? I swear she only looks like that when she notices that I have my camera out and am taking pictures of her…

Later on that weekend after my brother’s party was over I experimented in making some “chocolate” chip cookies with homemade carob chips and grain-free flours. I also tried out a vegan version, which my mom said had a better taste, but unfortunately with the lack of egg didn’t stay together well enough.

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The dough on the left contains ghee and eggs, and the dough on the left is vegan with coconut oil and banana.

Here is a picture of the finished cookies with eggs:

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I still want to work on the recipe a little more before actually posting. Only the best for you guys!

And I visited my other dog Riley while I was outside taking cookie pictures. He started barking when he saw me and I couldn’t stay away. He is such a good boy!

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He even gave me a “handshake” when he starting pawing my arm as I was petting him… 😉

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Skip forward a bit to the middle of this week, I went shopping at Big Lots again. Last time I bought some birthday presents and scoped out the foreign foods aisle. This time I bought up 9 packages of Fourre biscuits in chocolate and strawberry (for some reason the product’s website only lists the lemon version…?) for my mom’s Reading Program snack on the first day.

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Random factoid #2: I just woke up after falling asleep around 10:00PM (It is now 12:41PM) and am working quickly to finish up this post so I can shut my eyes for real this time. It’s especially important because I have to get up at 5:30AM tomorrow to go the hospital for a gastric emptying study.

Yep. Another test. I’ll share more about the procedure once it’s done and I have the results, but basically I have to eat a bowl of instant oatmeal that they’ve injected with radioactive markers (not dangerous). During the study then they use an x-ray machine to trace the meal as I digest the food and measure how quickly my stomach is working on it. You can either have slow, normal or rapid emptying. I really am not looking forward to the test because my stomach does not like oatmeal. I haven’t had oatmeal in over a year because I always get bloated after eating it… Yay! 😛

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Today being a holiday my family gathered together to celebrate at Pizza Hut. We used to always go to my grandma and grandpa’s house and have big, fancy meals, but since they are getting older we try to make it easy on them.

Random factoid #3: I forgot to mention this, but a few weeks ago my grandma fell and broke her hip, so I slowed down a lot on commenting for a few days as I was just overwhelmed with that as she had to go in for a hip replacement surgery. She’s doing pretty well now though. I’d be really grateful if you kept her in your prayers for a speedy recovery!

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After getting back from lunch the four of us (my dad, mom, brother and I) all settle in and watched two movies: Warm Bodies from Redbox and Charlie Bartlett from Netflix.

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I really recommend watching both as they were quite good. Both were quirky, hilarious, and had really great casts.

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That’s basically all I have for today. Just know that while you are all still sleeping tomorrow morning, I will be eating radioactive food and possibly turn into a superhero. Or perhaps a zombie, which I realize is more likely, but I’m all about the positive today.

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What is your random factoid for the day?

How did you celebrate July 4th (or Canada on Monday for some of you)?

If you could be any superhero, which one would you pick?