Getting Creative With Sun Butter!

As a mom to four children with many activities and food allergies, I have to be creative with meals since most of them are eaten on the go.  Sandwiches seem to be the go-to option in our house.

With the new year right around the corner, I am trying to come up with some new sandwich recipes to spice things up a bit.  We have been in a super boring food slump.

We have peanut and tree nut allergies in our family so nuts of any kind are not allowed.  (Except for the nut writing this 🙂 )  Sun butter is a staple in our home.

Last night, I decided to try and be creative with sun butter sandwich recipes. It is safe for my kids, they like it, and it is high in protein. I dug out an old peanut butter recipe book I have had for years.  I substituted sun butter for peanut butter and  had a “tasting party” and got valuable feedback from the kids.

First we tried “The Elvis” sandwich. This was Elvis Presley’s favorite sandwich, the book said. My version was sun butter spread on both sides of the bread, bacon, thinly sliced bananas and honey, on toasted bread. Sounds strange but was SO GOOD! This sandwich got the highest ratings from the “tasters”.

The "Elvis" sandwich :-)

The “Elvis” sandwich 🙂

Next up on the strange sandwich list was a grilled cheese with sun butter! Yes, it sounds nasty but honestly it was really good! It was a little sweet and salty. You know those little orange cheese crackers with peanut butter in the center? Kind of like that but much better, because I added butter and toasted the bread. The “tasters” liked the sandwich but couldn’t commit to actually eating it on a regular basis.

Grilled cheese with sun butter!

Grilled cheese with sun butter!

Last, but not least, for our sandwich tasting party was a BLT with sun butter.  That too, was strange and delicious at the same time. Unfortunately my tasters were not on board. 😞

BLT with sun butter

BLT with sun butter

 

Only one of these sandwiches made the cut, but at least we came up with something a little bit different.

 

We also like to dip just about anything in sun butter, veggies, cookies, crackers or just eating it plain.  My current fav is the traditional ants on a log, a little sun butter smeared in celery topped with raisins. 🙂

YUM!

YUM!

There are so many things we can do with sun butter.  I am just grateful that within my house full of food allergy kids, they actually enjoy the taste.

It is one of my secret pleasures as well.

Feel free to send me some of your favorite sun butter recipes (or post on fb of course)!  We would love some suggestions :-).

Jenn@mommybusiness.net

Happy New year!

-J

 

 

 

 

Photo credit Shutterstock.com for ants on a log

This Recipe Is SO Good, I Had To Share!

While scrolling through Facebook the other night, I stumbled upon a healthy recipes website that I really liked, so I took screenshots of the recipes I wanted to mess around with, got inspired and tried a bunch of new things.

This recipe really caught my attention because it was a homemade Nutrigrain bar.  My kids LOVE real Nutrigrain bars, but I don’t buy them because they have GMOs and we avoid GMOs as much as possible.

We have allergies to peanuts, tree-nuts and gluten, so I modified the recipe to work for my family.

OMG- it is so good.  We are all loving it.  Had to share.

 

Not pretty or perfect but delicious and relatively healthy!

Not pretty or perfect but delicious and relatively healthy!

Dough:

2 cups of Gluten Free King Arthur flour

1 cup of coconut oil

1/2 cup of agave

1 egg

1 cup of gluten free oats

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 teaspoon of salt (you can do a half if you like)

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of cinnamon (or to taste, I did a bit more)

 

Strawberry Purée:

Quart of strawberries (1 of the dirty dozen, so I chose organic)

Sugar to taste.  I used a tablespoon

Little bit of (non-GMO) corn starch to thicken it up

Thickened strawberry puree

Thickened strawberry puree

Put the liquid dough ingredients together and mix with an electric mixer until it looks like it is almost creamed.  Slowly add in dry ingredients, continue to mix.  When all ingredients are mixed well, move to the fridge to chill.

Agave, vanilla, coconut oil and one egg.

Agave, vanilla, coconut oil and one egg.

While the dough is chilling, put the strawberries in a pot with a little bit of water. Heat it up and stir. Let it cool and put it in a blender or food processor and blend until puréed. Put it back in the pot and add the sugar, heat up and stir. Add cornstarch, the hotter it gets the more the cornstarch will work, so only add small amounts until reaching the desired thickness. Allow to cool before adding to dough.

Clean organic strawberries!

Clean organic strawberries!

When the dough has a nice chill, roll it out.  This is where somebody who has some baking talent can make these bars look pretty-unlike mine 😀

This dough could use some help but it sure tastes yummy!

This dough could use some help, but it sure tastes yummy!

Roll the dough flat. Then, using a pizza cutter cut out rectangles.   Scoop out purée onto one side of the rectangle.  Fold the dough to cover the purée and pinch the edges of the dough together to keep the purée enclosed.

Strawberry puree on the dough before folding

Strawberry puree on the dough before folding

Bake at 350 for approximately 8-12 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before eating.

Icing could be added to the top to make it look and taste more like a pop tart too!  Each one of my kids mentioned that would be cool to do.

Home made gluten free, nut allergy safe nutrigrain bars!

Homemade gluten free, nut allergy safe nutrigrain bars!

Enjoy!

image

 

 


Jenns Bio Pic 2Jennifer Ormond is a Boston-based entrepreneur, author, radio personality,    blogger, mom to 4 amazing kids, and wife. Lover of business, coffee, writing, children and parenting. Queen of sarcasm and eternal optimist!

Connect with Jenn at mommybusiness.net, coffeebreakcafe.net, or jenniferormond.com. On Twitter- @jennormond & @mommybiz7

 

Review: Enjoy Life Muffin Mix

Enjoy Life sent us a beautiful package with lots of their mixes to try out. It was so exciting to open the box and see all of the yummy options, along with a fancy new oven mitt, pizza cutter, spatula and wooden spoon. Such great packaging and presentation. Enjoy Life knows what they’re doing!

Such great packaging and so many goodies!

Such great packaging and so many goodies!

We have lots of food allergies in our families. Jenn’s kids are allergic to mango, peanuts, tree nuts, pistachio, cashew, and sesame.

At my house, we’ve got Little A with gluten, oats, soy, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, all legumes, cinnamon, sesame and sunflower seed. We keep things very simple and cook & bake with as few ingredients as possible. I’m allergic to clams, gluten, and dairy, and my husband, Andy, is lobster, egg, banana. The great news is that even Andy can have these mixes. ALL OF THEM!! It’s so hard to find safe mixes that don’t include egg, but Enjoy Life has solved that problem! Every box is free of the top 8 allergens. The only ingredients you need to add are: water and the oil of your choice! (I use Kirkland brand organic olive oil from Costco.)

This sweet new wooden spoon is perfect to use with my favorite mixing bowl!

This sweet new wooden spoon is perfect to use with my favorite mixing bowl!

It was rainy and chilly in Boston today, so I spent the afternoon baking! I started with some muffins. I’m sure they would have been good just plain, but I added blueberries and a crumb topping, because Andy likes berries!

Fresh Maine Wild Blueberries- YUM!

Fresh Maine Wild Blueberries- YUM!

The muffins came out great! The flavor and feel is as good as my from-scratch muffins. To make them even more perfect, I would add 1/2-1 teaspoon of vanilla extract next time. And chocolate chips. I love blueberries, but Enjoy Life chocolate chips are my weakness!!!!!

I ate two immediately after taking this photo!

I ate two immediately after taking this photo!

 

A couple of notes:

If you’re going to add blueberries, be sure to toss them in a little gluten-free flour first. This will help them hang out in the muffin without sinking to the bottom.

They’re yummy warm, with a little butter (or Earth Balance soy-free spread) but I think the taste and texture are best after they cool for a bit.

Mmmmmm... warm with butter!

Mmmmmm… warm with butter!

 

My recipe for crumb topping:

3 Tablespoons butter, or butter substitute, very cold and chopped into little pieces

1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 Tablespoons sugar

1/2 Cup gluten-free flour

 

Mix with a fork or your fingers until it is blended and crumbly.

Sprinkle on top of muffins, bake, and enjoy!

*As mentioned above, the mixes were sent to us by Enjoy Life, so that Jenn & I could try them and write an honest review. As always, opinions on MommyBusiness.net are our own. You know we always tell truth! -M

PMU Box, where have you been all my life?

This is not an advertisement.  I don’t get paid to write reviews. I will, however, gush over your company if I like it and will spread the word as much as I can!  I  am a customer of PMU box (pick-me-up). It is a monthly subscription service where they deliver all natural sweet treats to my door step once a month.  According to their website :”Pick-Me-Up is a convenient subscription service that delivers all-natural sweets right to your door. Discover new delicious goodies in a simple, effortless way!”

 

This box bring such happiness :-)

This box bring such happiness 🙂

Full disclosure: I do know the owner.  I know that she works her butt off.  She runs this company by herself and does a phenomenal job.

It all started back when the owner was a college student. She was extremely health conscious and found herself hitting the wall of exhaustion around 3pm everyday and needed a quick sugar pick-me-up (as she would call it).  She didn’t want the conventional candy bar from a machine.  She wanted something that was sweet, yet all natural and not so bad for her body.

She quickly became the expert among friends who always wanted to know what she was eating, so PMU Box began.

I have been getting PMU Box for about 6 months.  I love it.  I am a pain in the butt customer, too, because I am gluten-free and my family is nut-free.  I have definitely had to give up some of my goodies to friends, who then gloat about how much I am missing out.  I have also found some amazingly perfect new sweet treats to add to either my life or my businesses.  I own a small chain of coffee shops and having PMU Box delivered to my home is like having a personal shopper go out and find unique treats that I never would have discovered!  Win/win!

 

May 2015 pmubox.com YUM!

May 2015 pmubox.com YUM!

I realize I am not the average customer because I have a dual purpose. I have found some killer products that I now sell at Coffee Break Cafe and I can’t keep them on my shelves!  Liz Lovely is one brand.  She makes Vegan, GMO free, gluten free, cookies that are seriously better than most products out there, gluten or not.  LOVE them.  (Not in love with the 400 plus calorie per cookie, but OMG!! And my customers love them!)

I dream about these Liz Lovely cookies!

I dream about these Liz Lovely cookies!

 

Okay, so back to the PMU box.  It is $19.99 and the box is different every month.  Did I mention how much I look forward to my delivery every month?

Not sure which month this was but am sure it was heavenly....

Not sure which month this was but am sure it was heavenly….

Mommy Business loves hearing stories about women-owned businesses, mommy-owned businesses, businesses with passion, businesses born from seeing a need that needs to be filled. Pmubox.com is a relatively new business, woman-owned and run. She hand picks each product that goes in the box and it shows.

Feb 2015 :-)

Feb 2015 🙂

Pmubox.com also offers seasonal boxes and short term subscriptions so you can give it a try before you commit.  They are also a fabulous gift! Melissa and I have both gifted PMU subscriptions to family members and everyone has been thrilled.

As always, thanks for including Mommy Business in your life!

J

 

Why I Take Ticks Very Seriously

One spring evening, when my youngest daughter was 2, my husband came home from work and asked if Little A had a sunburn on her face. I thought we must have missed a spot during her squirmy sun-blocking session, and I didn’t think much of it until the next day. It looked almost like she had been whipped in the face with something, but I knew that hadn’t happened. We gave it a couple of days, but the blotchy, rashy patches on her face didn’t go away, they seemed to fade and brighten, and they became more pronounced. And she was a little cranky and warm. When I finally brought her to the pediatrician, several days after her “sunburn” appeared, her doctor walked into the room and knew immediately that it was Lyme disease. Wow. Holy shit, right? 2 years old with Lyme disease and we had only been playing in our own back yard! She started antibiotics, and we avoided the outdoors while I hunted for a solution to our tick problem. I was obviously afraid of more tick bites and more Lyme disease for the rest of the family, but I was also concerned about chemicals being sprayed where my kids play (or anywhere for that matter!) Luckily, I found a non-toxic company to help. Pure Solutions sprays an organic, non-toxic solution all around our yard and our property stays tick free! (BONUS- it also kills mosquitoes!)

MB PS Lyme info pic final

Since Little A’s diagnosis of Lyme disease in 2011, I have learned more than I ever cared to know about ticks and tick borne illness. Even the coldest New England winter won’t kill off all the ticks, and deer aren’t the only carriers of “deer ticks.” Mice, chipmunks, squirrels and other small animals carry them around- so even if you have a fenced-in yard, you aren’t in the clear!

We’ve partnered with Pure Solutions this month to bring you important information about ticks and keeping your family safe from tick-borne illness. Watch our FaceBook for more tips and stay tuned for a podcast in the coming weeks! Please like, share and comment with any questions you might have!

Happy (and safe) spring!

M

 

Mind Body Green Published My Post – 6 Common Myths About The Vagina!

Thank you Mind Body Green for sharing my newest post!

For some reason we just don’t talk about the vagina in a positive manner as much as we should.  I have heard some disappointing remarks about vaginas from both men and women recently, which is what inspired me to write this.

Read it here, share and enjoy!

J

Isn’t it Time to Put Pre-Prom Tanning to Bed?

I don’t know a mom or dad who doesn’t remember tanning before prom- or even just to feel some “sunshine” during a long New England winter. When I was a teen, I signed up for tanning in packages of 10 or 12 sessions at a local fitness center, at a price easily afforded on a teen’s meager budget, and I enjoyed baking in the bed or dancing in the heat to the too-loud music in a booth for 8-12 minutes.  Having never sunburned in my life, I didn’t give a thought to the dangers of the concentrated UV rays penetrating my young skin. No parental permission was required and, although that has changed in some states, it’s not enough.

At the Massachusetts Conference for Women in December, I met Meghan Rothschild, a vibrant and beautiful Marketing & PR Manager and Melanoma survivor. Meg told me the frightening story of her diagnosis and treatment. At age 19, she mentioned to her doctor that a mole on her abdomen was itchy. The doctor thought it looked “a little funny,” so it was removed and biopsied. Two weeks later, Meghan was told that she had Stage 2 Malignant Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Her head reeling from the news, she headed in for surgery to remove eight lymph nodes, which left her with four disfiguring scars. Luckily for Meghan, her cancer was caught early and she was declared cancer-free after her surgery. She was now a survivor, but also a 20 year old covered in disfiguring scars, knowing that her own choices- her own pursuit of beauty through tanning- had led to her nightmare. Meghan is as tough as she is beautiful, so it’s no surprise that her next step was to share her experience to help spare others. Eleven years cancer-free, she is an outspoken advocate for Melanoma education and prevention and is the spokesperson and marketing & PR manager for Melanoma Foundation New England.

According to a 2014 study by Wehner and colleagues, more than 400,000 cases of skin cancer may be related to indoor tanning in the United States each year.

On July 29, 2014 the Surgeon General issued a Call to Action to address skin cancer as a major public health concern. Lawmakers are taking notice- at least 41 states have already passed some type of legislation that regulates minors using tanning beds. Just last Wednesday, New Hampshire’s House of Representatives passed a bill that will ban tanning beds and booths for minors, but leaving it up to states creates too much gray area. National legislation, like the laws that regulate alcohol and tobacco, would be the best way to reduce teens’ exposure to the dangerous UV rays in tanning beds. Today, Meghan is in Washington DC, with over 100 other survivors, working with MFNE, Melanoma Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society to push for national tanning legislation to protect others from Melanoma and other skin cancers.

As parents, it’s our job, not only to apply sunblock to our babies, but to educate our teens and ourselves about sun safety. As my 16 year-old excitedly plans for her prom- she already has her gorgeous dress!!- I’m happy to say that tanning will never be on her to-do list!

Check out your state’s tanning laws here. To learn more about preventing Melanoma, visit MFNE or Melanoma Research Foundation.

Meghan Rothschild, in DC to speak about Melanoma and push for tanning legislation.

Meghan Rothschild, in DC to speak about Melanoma and push for tanning legislation.

Yummy oooey gooey black bean brownie recipe!

I am on a mission to get more protein in my children’s (especially my daughter’s) diet.  They won’t eat very many green things and are super picky.  I think most kids with food allergies tend to be picky, and mine are no different.

I have been trying to master this black bean brownie recipe for weeks but up until today they tasted like….  well… beans!!

I adjusted a few things this morning and it was a hit!!  They are SO GOOD!!!

 

black bean brownie 3

 

Here is my super easy recipe!!

 

Ingredients:

1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
3 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder  ( I use Vermont Nut Free cocoa powder)
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I also broke up a nut free chocolate bar for the topping and added nut free butterscotch chips)

Throw all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender to puree, except the toppings.  I added a touch of water to the blender to help it along.

Black bean brownie

Grease a pan (I used a glass pie plate) and pour in.  Place your toppings on top.   Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.  Let cool.

Dig in and enjoy!!!

-J

black bean brownie 2

You Asked; I’m Answering! My Recommendations to Replace the Plastic Items You’re Afraid You Can’t Live Without.

I am asked everyday for product recommendations. What do I use for cleaning products, which deodorants and lotions are safe, which brands of shampoos are safe, what do I send to school for lunch- and what do I pack it in? I am always happy to be asked these questions because it means that people are paying attention and wanting to make safe choices- for themselves, their children, their pets, and the planet. Since this article hit our Facebook newsfeeds, lots of people are wanting to ditch plastic- YAY!! (Please don’t rush to throw away in the trash though- recycle, reuse, or donate!)

Let’s tackle things in order of importance- For parents, that means:

Baby Bottles & Milk Storage
There are “safe” plastics but I really don’t trust that any plastic is safe, so I chose glass Evenflo bottles. I pumped and stored milk in Evenflow 4oz glass bottles- but you could also use Ball jars! They would stack really well, but you might lose some of the ease of pouring or just popping a nipple on a bottle. Cap rings and sealing disks are made of plastic, but I don’t worry because they won’t really have any contact with the milk. These bottles also pack well with the Medela ice pack (which I still use to pack drinks and snacks for long trips or outings!) For baby and kid food storage, glass is an obviously great choice- tiny Ball jars and plastic lids (for easy use and washing!) are more budget friendly than these adorable Wean Green sets, but sometimes cute is called for! Stainless steel is another great option. If you have a severe nickel allergy, or if you just want to add some color to your tot’s lunch, use silicone baking cups to hold the food in place. I love LunchBots Trio and LunchBots Cinco for packing lunches and snacks. My kiddos have food allergies, so we bring food pretty much everywhere we go (except Chipotle, Blue Dragon, and Lime Leaf, where they can easily accommodate our allergies!) If I’m sending food that needs to be kept cool, I sit the LunchBot container on top of a slim ice pack. To send hot/warms foods, Thermos’s Foogo Line is great. They come in basic blue and pink!

Sippy cups & water bottles
These are a big source of leaching chemicals because the drink inside sits, exposed to the plastic, for long periods of time over varied temps. I’m a big fan of letting kids drink from real sturdy glasses at home. When your out and about, you can use glass with a Lifefactory silicone covered bottle. I have dropped mine from above my head, onto the pavement and not had a break, but if you prefer another option- I also love the thermos line of water bottles- they have sleek 16oz and 24oz bottles for grownups and cute Phases and FUNtainer bottles for the kids. The grown-up versions are great for water or coffee or tea! These are all super easy to clean with the OXO water bottle cleaning set or a soapy pipe cleaner if your feeling crafty!

Meal Time
Being a believer in trusting kids to learn to use real glasses, I also think stainless steel child size utensils are the best way to go- nobody needs to be chewing on plastic utensils! (If your kiddo has a nickel allergy and will be chewing on them, you can opt for this great wood set.) If you feel strongly about not risking your dinner plates, or if your little one insists you “keep it separated” try this cool divided dish. It’s sturdy and can go right in your fabulous dishwasher!

Food Storage
Plastic wraps is something I hear so many people say they can’t give up-but it’s not healthy and it’s terribly wasteful. I love covered glass dishes for food storage. My favorite is Snapware by Pyrex. You can see what’s inside, they’re stackable, and they just pop in the dishwasher to wash. If you must wrap something, opt for aluminum foil (it’s recyclable,) parchment paper or this nifty bee’s wax wrap. (*contains jojoba)  Instead of plastic snack bags, opt for unbleached paper snack and sandwich bags by If You Care or this really cool silicone sandwich bag!

Other Things to Consider

  • Choose restaurants whose take-out containers aren’t styrofoam. If they use solid plastic, transfer the leftover food to glass as soon as you get home. Opt for compostable take-out containers whenever possible. Read more, interesting info about chemicals used in take-out and food storage containers here.
  • Skip canned food and opt for jarred or frozen. It tastes better and won’t be soaked in the chemicals that line the cans.
  • If you’re a smoothie or juice fanatic, consider a glass vessel instead of plastic for your blender. Even if you’re ok with the plastic while you’re making your drink, store extra in glass in the fridge or freezer. I like the tall Ball jars. I also love to freeze smoothies in silicone popsicle molds like these.
  • Use stainless steel or cast iron cookware. I love the stainless steel pan the lives on my stovetop and my Le Creuset enameled cast-iron!. The less expensive Lodge skillet gets good reviews, too.

If I left out what you were hoping I’d answer for you, let me know. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have or recommend my favorite products in the comments below.

 

This is not a sponsored post, but Amazon Affiliate links are included in the text. All opinions and recommendations are my own. If you choose to purchase any of the products I recommend, Mommy Business will receive a tiny portion of the sale price at no additional cost to you.

Yummy New Frosting!

A friend pinned this delicious looking frosting recipe , but it was all dairy- a no-go for my allergic kids. So, I pinned it and decided to make it dairy-free. Here’s how it went.

The original recipe starts with 1 cup of milk and 4 tablespoons of cornstarch. I used 1 cup of organic rice milk and 4 Tbsp of tapioca starch, heated to a low boil for 1 minute, while stirring and then cooled to room temp.

Rice milk worked well for the custard.

Rice milk worked well for the custard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my Kitchenaid, I whipped 1 cup of organic palm oil shortening with 1 cup organic sugar and a tsp of vanilla extract (GF.) When the rice milk custard cooled to room temp, I added it to the sugar mixture and whipped for 8 minutes as in the original recipe.

8 minutes was a long time to wait, but it looks delicious!

8 minutes was a long time to wait, but it looks yummy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have no doubt that the full dairy version would be even more amazing, but this frosting is fluffy and smooth and delicious- and I love that it only uses 1 cup of sugar, instead of an entire bag of confectioner’s sugar!

Simple and delicious!

Simple and delicious

I didn’t have the energy to make the pretty roses that Leslie did, so I just spread on a nice, thick layer of the fluffy stuff and served it to the kiddos. Of course I had a piece, too.

Let us know if you try it- and share photos of your delicious creations!

 

Enjoy!

-M 🙂