Monday, October 24, 2011

Having a Milk-Free, Safe and Fun Halloween

Since this was one of my first posts when I started this blog a year ago, I thought it would be a good idea to re post for my new readers.  Halloween is an exciting time and should be a holiday that every child can enjoy regardless of food allergies.  Below are a few of my tips on staying safe and having fun this Halloween.

Most holidays can cause a lot of anxiety for a family dealing with severe food allergies, especially, since the holidays seem to always revolve around food.  At first, I was saddened that our child would not be able to dive into his Halloween bag and eat anything he wanted like all the other kids.  Over the years, we have learned to make sure that milk chocolate candy is not what makes Halloween great. Below, I have listed a few ideas that our family has done to make sure Halloween is a fun and allergy safe holiday.
  • Ask a few neighbors and friends ahead to have some "safe" candy available so your child can trick-or-treat at their homes.
  • Have a Halloween party at your home and ask everyone to wear their costumes.  Give parents suggestions for safe treats to bring to the party.  However, make the focus on costumes not candy.  Offer prizes to the most creative, scariest, prettiest and funniest costumes.  Play age appropriate games.  For instance, one year friends brought their own small pumpkin to decorate.  We didn't carve them.  We decorated the pumpkins instead.  Family Fun Magazine has great ideas for no-carve pumpkins.
  • If your child's teacher is having a party in the classroom, offer to volunteer and bring a safe snack that the whole class can have.  This way your child doesn't feel singled out by eating his own "different" treat.  My favorite holiday treat to bring to the classroom is cupcakes and whoopie pies.  Both recipes are listed on the Milk-Free Recipes page of this blog.  It's easy to change the color of the frosting to fit the holiday.
  • A neighborhood we once lived in organized a Halloween parade for the kids to show off their costumes in the neighborhood.  Since it is usually dark when the kids go trick-or-treating and it goes by so fast, the parade gave everyone a chance to enjoy each other's costumes that some of us spend so much time making and getting ready.  At the end of the parade, everyone gathered in one yard to play games and decorate pumpkins.  Again, this was all about the costumes not the candy.
  • Now that my son is getting older, we are much more comfortable letting him go door to door with his friends without Mom and Dad hovering over him.  We let him make the choice to take the milk-chocolate candy or not.  He  knows not to eat anything until he comes home and we check the bag together.  If he comes home with milk-chocolate, then he gets to trade with his brother or we have milk-free candy saved for him to trade for.  In the end, he always has plenty.  Most importantly, he has a blast putting his costume together and walking around the neighborhood with his friends.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lemon Chicken with Broccoli and Peppers

My boys absolutely love this recipe and I usually double the ingredients because everyone asks for seconds.  It is simple to make and you can easily omit the broccoli and peppers and add different vegetables.  In the summer, I like to use cherry tomatoes from the garden.   I have had a hard time finding broths that don't contain milk, so make sure to check ingredients carefully when buying the chicken broth.  Usually the organic brands are the way to go.  Of course, double check the ingredients first.  This recipe has so much flavor with the fresh lemon juice and zest.  Hope you like it as much as we do.  Enjoy~

4-6 thinly sliced chicken breast or chicken cutlets
1-2 tablespoons olive oil or milk-free margarine
kosher salt and pepper
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup (milk-free) chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 chopped red pepper
1 cup fresh broccoli, rinsed and chopped
8 oz. farfalle pasta, cooked according to directions on box

In a skillet melt 1 tablespoon milk-free margarine or olive oil over medium heat in.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Add chicken to skillet and cook on each side until done, approximately 15 minutes.  Remove chicken.  Add white wine, chicken broth and lemon juice to skillet and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat.  Add peppers, broccoli and parsley to skillet and heat for about 5 minutes.  Combine chicken and broth and veggie mixture to farfalle pasta.  Add lemon zest, toss and serve.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Snickerdoodle Muffins

This Saturday we started the month of October off at the soccer field at 8:00 AM.  We actually had to pull out the fleece jackets.  Could it be,  is fall finally here?  My Maryland friends just can't understand why I long for the crisp mornings of fall and have no problem saying goodbye to the steamy weather that seems to linger just a little too long here for this girl from Maine.

This cool morning seemed like the perfect time to pull out my recipe for snickerdoodle muffins.  These muffins are so delicious warm out of the oven with a cup of coffee.  They are covered in melted margarine and cinnamon and sugar and just melt in your mouth.  I knew if I only made one batch, the muffins would quickly be devoured.  I decided to double the recipe so we could share the muffins with the other soccer parents as we watched the game.

I started making these muffins years ago for my husband and I, before children and allergies.  Now, I only have to replace the butter with soy margarine and the milk with soy or rice milk.  You won't need much time at all to throw these snickerdoodle muffins together.  Here is the recipe, below.  Get yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy.

1/3 cup Crisco
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup soy or rice milk (I used Silk Vanilla Soy Milk)

Topping Ingredients:
6 Tablespoons melted soy margarine (I used Earth Balance Vegan Sticks)
1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon

With electric mixer, mix Crisco, egg and sugar.
Using a whisk, sift flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg in a separate bowl.
Next, alternate mixing sifted ingredients and soy milk with Crisco, egg and sugar mixture.
Drop batter into greased muffin cups.  Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.
Cool slightly.  Remove from pan.  Then dip the tops of the muffins in the melted margarine and then top with the cinnamon sugar.