Safe Commercially Made Treats For Allergies

This post was originally on my other blog, TrailCooking:

Safe Commercially Made Treats For Allergies.

That can be a very intimidating subject if suddenly you are in charge of meals/snacks for others – and have no experience with allergy safe foods. I saw this question this morning on a hiker’s forum and while I go by the theory of “Ask the parents to provide!!”, it is possible to ensure everyone has a safe outing by providing safe AND tasty treats! Just remember, it is NEVER safe to provide safe treats for some and then give standard treats to the other people. If you have a party member who has a severe allergy, just being near peanuts or tree nuts can cause a reaction, even as simple as touching an item that a peanut eater touched (such as trekking poles, a bag and so on). It is also best to bring single serving portions or new containers, sealed, rather than anything homemade. (And boy, I used to be that mom who didn’t get it at my oldest son’s school….sure learned why fast with my youngest son!) It is very important to explain to other parents or party members why it must be taken so seriously. If hiking with younger ones, be sure to do pack shakedowns, just in case they have treats that were packed with good intentions. Also, be sure to read the nutritional labels of everything. They have to list potential allergens they contain and good companies will let you know if it was made on shared lines.

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As many of our readers know, our youngest son, Alistaire, has severe allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and eggs. As he gets older and I learn more…well it has become a LOT easier! I try to keep items in the van so we are always ready to go.

Enjoy Life Foods has an amazing wide range of products that are free of the top 8 allergens. Crunchy cookies, soft cookies, chewy bars, trail mix, they have it. Some of their items also come in single serving packs, perfect for trail use. Examples?

Enjoy Life Not Nuts Beach Bash

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Enjoy Life Crunchy Cookies Grab and Go Variety Pack, Vanilla Honey Graham, Sugar Crisp

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They are also behind Plentils:

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Don’t Go Nuts is a great company with 6 flavors of trail ready bars and 5 innovative flavors of soy butter.

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Their Soy Butter gives so many new choices to wraps and sammies – or for even dipping baby carrots into!

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Sunbutter is a classic in our house. I actually prefer the naturally sweet and mellow flavor of roasted sunflowers over peanuts. I do not miss peanut butter overall! These are handy to have around: Sunflower Seed Spread On-The-Go No-Stir 10 Pkts.

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Sunbutter is featured in GoPicnics fun lunch kit, GoPicnic Ready-to-Eat Meals Sunbutter & Crackers. We always have these in our van!

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Lucy’s snacks are also a go-to in backpacks and in the van. They also come in bigger single serving packs: Lucy’s Grab and Go Combo, 7 Flavors. And in Snack ‘n Go Packs:

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GoGoSqueeZ is also always with us. When all else fails, I can give Alistaire a quick boost of energy. I source these at Costco on the cheap!

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I also will carry things like single serving bags of baby carrots, and fresh fruit, such as grapes, berries and blueberries, string cheese sticks, tortilla chips, potato chips and other treats – one the boys love is giant Smarties candy rolls (made in a P/TN free line).

There are options out there – and it is getting crazy easy now to find them! And if all else fails, there is Amazon – which is where we stock up :-)

Lower-Sugar Banana Oat Muffins

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I was looking to make a lower-sugar banana muffin, because many recipes have a cup of sugar for just 12 muffins – which makes that more a cupcake than a muffin….

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Just sweet enough to feel like a treat, yet full of fiber from the oats and flaxseed, these also make a great breakfast on the go, and they freeze well. As part of All Good April with Carrington Farms, I came up with these muffins that will be snatched up quickly!

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All Good April? Many stores throughout the US have specials on Carrington Farms products, so keep an eye out, or visit them online.

Carrington Farms milled flax seeds are sliced, rather than pulverized, leaving a course flaxseed meal, that works wonderfully in baked goods as an egg replacer. The bonus is that not only do I often replace eggs with flaxseed, but it is also a great addition for fiber and Omega 3.

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Lower-Sugar Banana Oat Muffins

Ingredients:

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  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°, liberally spray a 12 count non-stick muffin pan.

Whisk flaxeed and water in a small bowl, let sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk flour through sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk coconut milk, Sunbutter, banana, oil, vanilla and flaxseed mixture till smooth. Add to dry, stir until mixed. Divide between muffin tins.

Mix flour, oil and sugar in a small bowl, till crumbled. Sprinkle over top of muffins.

Bake for about 18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins.

FTC Disclaimer: We received product used in this recipe.

Sunbutter Cinnamon Rolls

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I was inspired by a recipe I saw on Mom Vs. Food Allergy, but adapted it to something I had on hand: a 1 pound section of pizza dough. And the pizza dough has a better ingredient list than canned crescent rolls do (especially if you use homemade dough!). Alistaire can have a small gluten cheat here and there, and this was just perfect!

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As they were cooling on the counter, Ford kept going by them and asking what they were. I said “Just try them!” and I went outside to weed/play with the younger boys. A few minutes later I hear from the kitchen “MOM!!!! These are the BEST! Can I have more?”. Praise from the 16 year old means I got it right. Sweet but not just all about butter and sugar, the sunflower butter takes it to a new level. Could you add in finely chopped sunflower seeds and raisins? I am sure you could. I went for simple, because I knew the three hungry boys would like it that way.

Sunbutter Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

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Directions:

If pizza dough is frozen, allow to thaw overnight in refrigerator. If chilled, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.

Preheat oven to 200°, turn off.

Roll out to about 15 x 8″.

Heat Sunbutter and buttery stick in microwave for 30 seconds at 70% power, stir till smooth. Add in brown sugar and cinnamon, stir well. Spread on dough, leaving an edge around.

Starting with the long edge, roll up gently. wipe a little water on final edge, gently seal. Cut into 8 pieces.

Liberally spray a 8 x 8″ glass baking dish or pie pan, place pieces in it loosely. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, leave in warm oven, with oven door open a bit, for 45 minutes. Take out dish, preheat oven to 400°. Put rolls back in and bake for about 20 minutes, or until just turning golden. Let cool for 10 minutes, run a narrow knife to split up rolls.

Mix up powdered sugar, coconut milk and salt in a small bowl, drizzle over warm rolls.

Makes 8 rolls.

Gluten-Free & Vegan Sunflower Cookies

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5 days and now into the 6th day of a really painful slowdown of our internet. Many calls, a tech at the street and yet no answers. So last week I ended up not posting a few days because it was slower than 1999-era dial up. Comcast is sending out yet another tech today. I really hope it gets fixed. I can deal with slow internet to a point, Kirk cannot – he works from home in the tech field. So it pretty much sucks, especially since we pay for “Business Class” and currently have “Amish-Speed”. For me, I had to shelve writing/posting anything that was picture heavy (especially since I can’t edit photos online!), so I figured I’d share this now favorite recipe of Alistaire’s for an allergy-friendly version of the standard peanut butter cookie!

BETTY CROCKER GLUTEN FREE RICE FLOUR

As I have mentioned before, I am a huge fan of this gluten-free flour mix!

Gluten-Free & Vegan Sunflower Cookies

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk Ener-G with warm water, set aside for 5 minutes.

In a stand mixer bowl, add sugars, Sunbutter and shortening, blend together. Beat in vanilla and Ener-G mixture, until smooth.

Add in flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt, beat in. If mixture is dry, add in up to 1 more Tablespoon warm water, till a cookie dough forms.

Make balls with a 1 Tablespoon Disher, drop on baking sheets. Gently make hash tags with a fork on top. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, checking at 8, until lightly golden brown. Let rest for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack (they are fragile when warm).

Makes about 2½ dozen.

Walker helping me make the cookies ;-)

SunCookies

Spicy Sunflower Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Choccookies

Mildly spicy (the kids didn’t appreciate it!) and both gluten-free and vegan. Frozen, they taste even better!

Spicy Sunflower Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Add warm water to Ener-G, stir till mixed.

Add sunflower butter, brown sugar, chili powder, baking soda and salt into a food processor bowl, pulse to mix. Add in Ener-G mix, process until smooth. Add in chocolate, pulse till mixed in.

Scoop heaping Tablespoon balls, roll with hands to smooth, lay on baking sheets. Press gently with fork tines, making a hash tag. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool fully on tray before moving, the cookies are fragile when warm.

Store in freezer or refrigerator.

Makes about 20 cookies.

Allergy Friendly Cookies: Chickpeas & Chocolate

Chickpeacookies

Grain-free, gluten-free and allergy friendly – and quick to make. Kids will love them, and no, you don’t taste the chickpeas at all! We go through a lot of SunButter Natural Sunflower Seed Spread in our house, and the kids loved these cookies – all 3 of them. Bonus is I got protein and fiber into the youngest, without him knowing ;-)

Chickpeacookies

Chickpeas & Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp Sunbutter
  • ¼ cup raw honey or raw agave nectar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • ½ cup dark or semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Spread the chickpeas out on paper towels, pat dry. Add them, Sunbutter, honey, vanilla, baking powder, and salt to food processor, process until smooth, scraping often. Add in chocolate chips, pulse to mix in.

Drop 8 balls of dough on each sheet, gently flatten with dampened fingers.

Bake each sheet for 10 minutes, or until turning golden on top. Let cool fully.

For a “fudgy” treat, stash cookies in refrigerator, enjoy while cold.

16 cookies.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Sunflower & Peach Jam Quinoa Donuts

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I was excited to have an idea for a treat that Alistaire could enjoy: gluten-free, nut and peanut free, egg free – well you know the spiel. Quinoa flour is one I work with only here and there, it has a pretty strong flavor so I usually avoid it when baking, unless it is a small amount. With the level of sugar, I figured the taste wouldn’t be too prominent. I was right on that. And guess who really liked them? Well, one would be Alistaire….the other was a certain older brother in a blue shirt. Turns out…..

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I didn’t leave them far back enough on the counter. And someone ate nearly THREE of the six donuts. Oh well, at least someone appreciated them. As in a 3½ year older. At least baby got one to himself.

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I do add a disclaimer: if you are not used to baking with quinoa, it has a very dominant smell while baking. Very earthy. I find it dissipates as it cools. But these donuts will not be light or fluffy. They are whole-grain (well, actually whole-seed) and are rich with the sunflower butter. I found the texture pleasing, xantham gum might be a good addition to lighten the batter when baking (and firming it up to be more cake-like).

Sunflower & Peach Jam Quinoa Donuts

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup Quinoa Flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup SunButter Natural
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal + 3 Tbsp water
  • ½ cup unsweetened rice milk
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp peach jam

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°, liberally spray a 6-Cavity Donut Pan. Whisk flaxseed meal and water together, let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, beat until thick. Divide jam between the cups, spreading evenly around, about 1½ teaspoons each.

Whisk the quinoa flour through sea salt together in a medium bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk Sunbutter and flax mixture till smooth, whisk in remaining wet ingredients through vanilla, until smooth. Add to dry ingredients, stir until mixed. Scrape batter into a new gallon zip top bag, seal out air while zipping closed. Cut off a corner of bag, pipe equally on top of the jam.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden. Let rest on a cooling rack for a few minutes, flip over and remove pan. Let cool before enjoying.

Best eaten day of baking.

Makes 6 donuts.

~Sarah

Zucchini Oat Brownies (GF/Allergy Friendly)

Ooh, guess what today is? Besides my littlest one turning 18 months old?

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It is National Zucchini Day!

Well, I’d probably celebrate more, but this week I had to tear out all of my squash and cucumber plants. The white fungus got to them all :-( Ah well. At least I got to enjoy some tasty zucchini and yellow summer squash before they were infected. Apparently this year I don’t get to participate in the other part of today’s holiday “sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch and run day“. Hehheh! Oh well – there is always next year, and I now know to not buy any veggie starts (lesson learned – I bought a yellow patty pan set of plants that got it first a few weeks back, then it travels via insects landing on other plants). If anything, this year has been a great lesson in how things grow organically :)
Brownies

So…the other day, for National Night Out in our neighborhood, I made up these brownies. Partially I wanted to see if anyone noticed. Apparently not, because the platter was empty within minutes. And I didn’t hear any kids going “OMG, this is so gross”. Mission accomplished ;-) The boys loved them and hey, even the Teenager didn’t question what was in it. With all the chocolate the zucchini melts into it. If you are worried your kids might question it, use the fine grating side of your box grater.

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Zucchini Oat Brownies

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Sunbutter
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup Gluten Free Rolled Oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1½ cups shredded zucchini (see below)
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (GF/Vegan/Nut Free)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°, lightly oil or spray a 9×13″ baking dish.

Shred zucchini on a couple of paper towels (layered). When done grating, roll up and let sit for a few minutes to help remove excess moisture.

Whirl oats in a mini food chopped until mostly ground.

Add Sunbutter, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla to a stand mixer bowl, beat on medium till smooth. Add in zucchini, cocoa powder, ground oats, baking soda and salt, beat until combined. Add in ¼ cup of chocolate chips.

Spread in prepared dish, sprinkle remaining chips over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean from the center.

Let cool, then cut into 20 pieces. Store tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator.

~Sarah

Sunbutter Cupcakes for Alistaire

For my little buddy, I would try anything, just so he can have a treat like the rest of us.

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Giving him a cupcake that can give wheat ones a run for their money? Yeah, that felt awesome! Moist, light with that cupcake texture and yes, allergy friendly. No gluten, peanuts, nuts, eggs, dairy….just a lot of flavor! I was proud of these cakes, I took them to our neighborhood National Night Out this week. And they were all gone in minutes. Woot!

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Sunbutter Cupcakes

Ingredients:

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°, line a 12 count muffin tin with papers (preferably Reynolds or Wilton).

Stir cider vinegar into milk, set aside.

Add Sunbutter to a stand mixer bowl (paddle attachment in place), beat for 2 minutes on medium.

Add oil, brown sugar, and vanilla, beat on medium for 3 minutes. Add in flax mixture, beat until combined.

Whisk flour, xantham gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add the flour in slowly, in 3 batches, alternating with the milk, beat on medium until smooth.

Divide batter between the liners. Bake for about 22 minutes, until golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean in the center.

Let rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

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Sunbutter Frosting

Ingredients:

6 Tbsp vegetable shortening (Spectrum Organic)

1/3 cup Sunbutter

1½ tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups powdered sugar

¼ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (used So Delicious)

Directions:

Add shortening and Sunbutter into a stand mixer bowl, beat on low until combined, add in vanilla. Add sugar, beat in on low, then on medium until crumbly. Add milk in, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until smooth.

Pipe or spread on cooled cupcakes. Decorate with decorating sugars, if desired.

~Sarah

Allergy Friendly Chocolate Covered Cherry Granola Bars

I am slowly finding more ways to adapt and make treats for my boys, that work for Alistaire’s allergies and yet have everyone else happy. And this brings me to something. I have to remember every day to not judge others though, which is never easy – no matter your background.
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I follow a few allergy support groups for moms online and found myself feeling way out. I think what it is, is that in blogging I am surrounded by others who see the world in a similar view. And being an avoid cook, I am willing to make whatever I can from scratch to avoid potential issues with my family’s diet. Suddenly, I was reading threads on how moms could still buy highly processed foods and what was potential cross contamination or contained peanuts/nuts. And I found myself feeling overly pious/nose in the air “Why can’t you people just BAKE YOUR OWN bread! Arguing if Sarah Lee bread is OK? That Hostess products from certain plants are nut-free?. Make them donuts from scratch!” Oh wait, not everyone cooks, creates or even knows where to start. Before I spout off…I have to back up and think it out. When all you (my readers) ask something, you expect hand-crafted answers. They are just trying to get through the store. And so…I suddenly felt like a natural food freak from the town of Hippyville, Crunchtown, where these ladies are from Anytown, Middle America. I have some advantges in a way – I like cooking/baking, I know how to shop for special needs diet already and have local access to natural food stores. But more…with his having 5 food allergies, it is past the point of finding processed foods he can have. He is in a niche of a niche. There are only a handful of companies that make safe foods – no gluten, eggs, dairy, peanuts or tree nuts. So I guess I don’t have to worry if boy can eat Hostess Ding Dongs safely. He will never have one!

I go buy the theory of “If in doubt, go without” – which means I bring B’s food along (that is safe) or I make it. Which I might add, I read that one in the newest issue of Living Without Magazine.

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In the end….I am responsible for him. And I want him to enjoy the foods he can! It encourages me to keep making more, trying new ideas. In this one I adapted a peanut and nut filled recipe and made it for him. Delicious!

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Allergy Friendly Chocolate Covered Cherry Granola Bars

Ingredients:

Directions:

Spray or lightly oil a 9×13″ pan. Line with parchment paper cut to fit bottom of pan, and up the end sides. Spray or oil the paper.

Mix the cereal, oats, cherries and chocolate chips together in a large bowl.

Add the Sunbutter, honey, maple syrup and brown sugar to a medium mixing bowl, heat in microwave for 1 minute on high. Remove and stir until smooth.

Add to dry mix, stir till thoroughly combined with a silicone spatula. Pack into prepared pan, pressing down evenly.

Let cool for an hour, cut with a sharp knife into bars. Wrap each bar individually. For best storage, keep in refrigerator or freezer until snack time.

Notes:

On crisp rice cereal, I have found the store brands to be safer than the name brand – mostly due to the ingredient list. Does one need high fructose corn syrup in it? No. So read the labels, you might find the generic looks better as well.

I don’t often keep quick oats in the house, so I take regular old-fashioned oats and run them through my mini-food chopper to blitz up a bit. This works just fine!

~Sarah

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