Thursday, November 19, 2015

Egg Free Sugar Cookies with Egg Free Icing

SHH!  It's not too early for Christmas. Usually I am a stickler to my "no-christmas-until-after-thanksgiving" rule, but for the first time, like ever, I cheated.  I've been listening to Christmas music now and then (my kids made me do it!) and I maybe already have my Christmas shopping done and if I thought my hubs would be down for it, I probably would have the tree set up by now.  But alas, that will wait until the day after Thanksgiving, but have I ever been in the Christmas mood!  Bring it on!

My goal this year was to have all my shopping done before Thanksgiving so that I would actually be able to ENJOY the season instead of rushing around everywhere. (And I did it!  Whoop!) So I fully intend to soak up every minute and memory this holiday. Decorating our tree, watching classic Christmas music, viewing nativities, attending school holiday programs and parties, drinking hot cocoa and looking at lights. It's going to be great! Plus this may be my last year before my oldest catches on to the whole Santa thing... (*tears*)  He's figured out the tooth fairy.  He seemed to think he was pretty clever that he figured out the Easter Bunny too, but he said "Santa is real though right mom?"  

mmm-hmm yep.  It's only a matter of time.  Sad day.


What's Christmas without sugar cookies?  They are a holiday must have!  This sugar cookie recipe differs from my other recipe (which is my fave!).  These are buttery, melt-in-your mouth sugar cookies with a thin glaze of icing that hardens as it dries making these ideal for stacking and ideal for gift giving.


Egg Free Sugar Cookies with Egg Free Icing
Adapted Egg Free by Egg Free Bakery, other sources include Our Best Bites & In Katrina's Kitchen 

1 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup granulated white sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until smooth.  Add vanilla and milk.  Gradually add flour and baking powder. You may need to remove dough from stand mixer and mix by hand if the dough gets too stiff.  Form the dough into a smooth ball.  (No need to chill the dough) On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut into shapes using floured cookies cutters.  Transfer to ungreased baking sheet.  Bake about 8 minutes, give or take a couple of minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before removing from a wire rack to cool completely.

1 lb powdered sugar
6 Tbsp milk 
6 Tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk together powdered sugar and milk until it is completely smooth.  Then stir in the corn syrup and the vanilla extract. It should be smooth and thin and run off your whisk in a thin drizzle.  This is the right consistency for just spreading it on your cookies.  If you want to add a border and then fill it, like I did in my Christmas cookies pictured above, you'll need to add more powdered sugar to thicken it a bit.  This is just the base recipe.  Check out the link to Our Best Bites.  They provide a fantastic tutorial using this icing and how to decorate sugar cookies.  (Way better than I could try to re-explain!)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Staying on Track + A Food Allergy App!

Remember the movie Shrek 2?  The fairy Godmother gets so stressed out that she warns the king she going to do something she REALLY doesn't want to do....

...and she orders fast food.  Her DIET is ruined!

 Oh that is SO me! Especially lately.  When I get feeling stressed out the first thing I do is head for the pantry (and for the chocolate).  Not the best coping mechanism. But wow has it been busy!  I used to pride myself on being on top of things and lately with taking care of the kids and running them to and from school and keeping up on the housework and all of us getting over our first "colds" of the season-- plus two birthday and halloween-- it's been busy! Now with the holidays coming up (holidays + stress) it's not a good combination for trying to stay on track and eat healthy.  

But good news!  There's an app for that!  ;) Hundreds, I'm sure, but this one is actually a food database geared toward people with food allergies.  You can log what you eat each day, search for foods that are specific to your dietary needs, create grocery shopping lists, share recipes with others AND you can link up to my blog so you can stay updated on posts and recipes.  Pretty cool huh!  Right now it is only available for Android but I've heard they are working on one for iphone too.  To download the app, click on the link below while on your phone

And since I am in no way "Techie" if you need help downloading the app, email

Now I just need to find an app that will do my laundry for me....



Friday, October 23, 2015

Spooky Eats!

Are you going to any Halloween parties, carnivals or fall festivals?  They are such a fun tradition!  We usually go to one at our church and sometimes the school will host one as well.  But do you ever feel like all the goodies and sweets is a little too much?  The caramel apples, the candy corn, the glazed donuts on a string, the cotton candy and kettle corn, the homemade root beer and hot apple cider, decorating sugar cookies and on top of all that the HALLOWEEN CANDY.  It seems like at every turn there are sweet treats and goodies, especially for the kids.  Don't get me wrong, I love all that-- in moderation, and I'm trying to teach my kids this too.  As such, I have been loving all of the creative and healthy Halloween snack ideas out there!  I've got a running mental list of ones I'd like to try.  I thought I'd share a few with you that might be especially good for kid Halloween parties-- all egg and nut free, of course.  :)

1. Halloween Spider Snack Crackers @ La Jolla Mom
An oldie, but a goodie.  These are a great alternative to other sweet food crafts at Halloween parties. Use cream cheese or sunbutter for the filling.
Halloween Spider Cracker Snacks

Another good alternative for the sweet food crafts.  Use Sunbutter for the filling to make it nut free.  Use either marshmallows for the teeth or try sunflower seeds for a different look.

3.Pretzel & Cheese Witch Brooms via
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!  So clever!

4. Jack-o-Lantern Fruit Cups @ becoming a bentoholic
Talk about easy, right?  That's for me!

5. How about the scary carrot hand popping out of the party dip?  (I still love this one)  Use a pumpkin seed instead of the almond or a slice of yellow onion for the finger nail.  And check out my egg free ranch veggie dip too!

64 Non-Candy Halloween Snack Ideas

Been there, done that?  Maybe you've seen these ideas already? I was trying to think of something different as a healthier Halloween snack and came up with these:

pepperoni eyeball bites

What you will need:

circle shaped crackers, like Ritz
Slices of Mozzarella cheese
Mini pepperoni
sliced olives

Simply use a circle cookie cutter to cute circle shapes out of the cheese slices.  Layer the cheese circles on top of each round cracker.  Top cheese slice with a mini pepperoni and a sliced olive.  DONE!

Now for the variations:
if you prefer, you could dollop some pizza sauce instead of the pepperoni.  (Or both, whatever works)

Another option would be to use a zucchini round in place of the cracker, assembling as before and baking at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes.

Consider some of these for your next halloween get together for a refreshing change that guests (and moms!) will appreciate.  For some more ideas, check out snacking page for some "spooktacular snacks that won't frighten your waistline!"

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Teal Pumpkin: Are you in?

In my last post I mentioned the teal pumpkin project (and I actually have a link for you this time! Ha!)  I think it's such a wonderful project to be more inclusive of those with food allergies on Halloween by providing non-food treats to our little trick or treaters.  We've got our teal pumpkin out on our porch and we will be offering nut free treats (I found a great list here of nut free candies) as well as vampire teeth (a favorite with my kids) and bat rings.  

I found both at Walmart for an affordable price.  The other place I was looking was Oriental Trading Co. which also has affordable prices. There are so many fun things to hand out instead of the traditional candy:

  • glow-sticks
  • spider rings
  • vampire teeth
  • Halloween pencils
  • Halloween erasers
  • Halloween stickers
  • sticky hands
  • whistles
  • bubbles
  • bouncy balls
  • balloons
  • bracelets

and on and on (seriously click on the link for oriental trading co for more ideas).  That makes food allergy and non food allergy moms alike happy.  Setting aside food allergies, I would prefer my kids coming home with non food treats than all that candy.

To participate, paint a teal pumpkin or print out a cute printable (like these below) and hang it in your window to let trick or treaters know you have non food treats! 

Download at The Artful Nest

Download at LeroyLime

Here is one that I had fun Creating using Picmonkey:
Are you participating in the teal pumpkin project?  What will you be handing out?

Monday, October 5, 2015

That's refreshing!

Hey all! Just popping in to share what I saw today. It was actually in just a Fred Meyer mailer. They worked with Wrigley to come up with some fun Halloween treats and ideas. 

They had these cute jack o lantern sugar cookies decorated with Skittles.

And these zombie hands filled with candy (I totally remember getting these only they were filled with popcorn and jelly beans for the fingertips!)

Check out these cute mason jars with stick on vinyl faces resembling Frankenstein, Jack-o-lanterns etc.

But best of all was the plug for those with food allergies. Skittles and starburst are a go to treats in our house for being egg and nut free. They are also free of wheat and dairy for all our allergy friends. Chewing gum would be a nice change to give out at Halloween too. 

It was really refreshing to see an ad with those with food allergies mind!

Other treats we go to at Halloween time are dum-dum suckers, smarties and tootsie rolls (though those have wheat and milk I believe).

Another option is the teal pumpkin project. Heard of it? If not, google it. Place a real painted pumpkin on your porch to indicate to trick or treaters that you have allergy-free and non candy items to hand out. Ideas include little stickers and pencils, spider rings and tattoos. Great idea! (Also helps reduce all the sugar which I'm sure all moms would appreciate!)

Have a great week!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Healthy Egg Free Applesauce Carrot Muffins

I've been on a health kick recently (Again.)  It kind of comes and goes depending on how much motivation I have.  It seems I am always seeking to find that balance of healthy eating for our family.  I've sifted through articles and recipes to try to figure out what will work for us with our family's allergies, budget, lifestyle and food preferences.  Honestly most of me enjoys it but it gives another part of me a headache!  I remember seeing a funny blog post awhile back about all the conflicting and contradicting parenting advice out there. You know, I've got to say, the same could be said with all the conflicting nutrition advice out there.  I'm not even going to attempt to source any of this but of the things I've read here's the conclusion that one may be left with:

Carbs are bad.  Especially gluten.  Nobody should eat gluten.  You should eat a lot of protein from meat and vegetables.  But make sure the meat is from grass fed beef and cage free chickens.  Actually you shouldn't eat meat or any animal products at all because it is cruel and you realistically can get all the protein you need from plant based sources.  So stick to whole grains and fruits and veggies (as long as it's not wheat, remember?  Gluten = Bad) Avoid processed foods.  No one has figured out yet if butter or canola oil is better for you.  Not all sugars are created equal, honey and pure maple syrup are the best, unless you are vegan then you can't have honey.  But even though not all sugars are created equal your body processes them all the same way.  Sugar is sugar right?  Eggs were bad.  Now they are good.  Avocados were bad.  Now they are good.  I think the only thing most people can agree on is that fruits and vegetables are good, at least most of them, as long as they are non-GMO and organic. 
But riddle me this:  a person buys organic lettuce because we don't want to be eating any of those pesticides and find little bugs in the small organic head of lettuce.  Which is worse:  residue of pesticides or residue of bug guts?  

See what I mean?  I may be being facetious because I do realize, from personal experience, that one's choice in diet can be very personal.  Obviously if you have food allergies or certain medical conditions, those things will dictate your diet.  But for all us regular folks? It can all be overwhelming and confusing.  So much so that it's tempting to just give up all together.

I've often thought to myself "Why do I care so much?"  

I care so much because I want to be healthy and avoid diseases if I can help it, BUT at the same time I don't want to be getting fanatical about it either.  Everybody has to make those choices for themselves.  Personally, if you must know, I have been enjoying the real food approach, BUT (here's where the balance side is going to come in) I've decided that the occasional treat-- like once a week-- deserves all the GOOD STUFF! (butter, white granulated sugar and enriched all-purpose flour!)  As long as I'm trying and eating healthy most of the time, I think it's ok to have that splurge.  Moderation folks, that's where it's at.  That's the conclusion that I've come to anyway.  

I'm sure you heard of "100 Days of Real Food".  If you haven't, it's really worth a look.  It really works for our family because by eliminating processed foods and cooking from scratch we don't have to worry about all the cross contamination with my boy's food allergies. One of the first recipes I tried were these healthy carrot apple sauce muffins.  They were a hit!  All I did to adapt them egg free was replaced the egg with water.  

And congratulations if you actually made it through all that.  It's not very often that I rant and blab so much.  :)

Healthy Egg Free Applesauce Carrot Muffins
From 100 Days of Real Food, and Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Adapted Egg Free by Egg Free Bakery

1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1 cup applesauce
3/4 cup shredded carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.  Set aside.  In another bowl, melt butter.  Add honey, vanilla, water and applesauce.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix just until combined.  Fold in the shredded carrots.  Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, about 1/4 cup of batter per muffin.  Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.  Store, covered for 2-3 days.  May also be frozen for up to one month.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Egg Free Whole Wheat Zucchini Muffins

I've been in the mood for baking.  I've had a good summer.  It's been hot and now I'm ready for it to cool down.  I'm ready for soups.  Sweaters.  Fall.  Baking.  So I jumped on the first chance I got to do some baking when we had a break in the weather.  I whipped up two batches of zucchini muffins to see which I liked best.  

These ones from gimme some oven were a winner! Her pictures are so much prettier than mine (I always have these grand intentions of using my fancy camera for the food photography on my blog-- but these days I'm just lucky if I can find a spare minute to even post a recipe!)  but I think you can get the feeling from the quick picture I snapped that these turn out looking as great as they taste.

I've just recently starting baking with white whole wheat flour and have been loving it!  I like being able to bake a healtheir version of some things-- like muffins.  These are pretty simple and straightforward.  To replace the egg, I just used water.  They turned out fluffy and moist and I loved the flavor.  The original recipe yields 12 muffins, but I like to kind of overfill my muffins tins to get a bigger muffin instead of a hockey puck muffin.  So I only got 10 muffins out of this recipe.  Hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

See?  What did I tell you?  Her picture:

Healthy Zucchini Muffins | 

Mine:  :)

Egg Free Whole Wheat Zucchini Muffins
from gimme some oven, adapted egg free by egg free bakery

1-2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1/3 cup old fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling on top if desired 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.  In a bowl whisk together dry ingredients.  Set aside.  In another bowl, microwave butter until it is melted.  Whisk in syrup, milk and water and vanilla.  Add this butter mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined.  Fold in shredded zucchini and oats.  Measure out 1/4 cupfuls of batter into each paper lined muffin cup.  Sprinkle tops of batter with additional oats if desired.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let the muffins hang out for a minute in the pan.  Then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Yield about 10 muffins