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

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

The Allergy Table

I don’t get it: A kid has an allergy. He/she has to sit at a separate table with other kids who have food allergies and eat allergy safe foods. The rest of the kids will sit wherever they darn well please and eat non allergy safe foods, (greasy, oily, hard to clean, poisonous foods like peanut butter.)

PBJ

PBJ

So, the kids with the poison (the sticky, slimy, oily poison) can drip, leak, and smudge it all over every other table, seat, and floor in the cafeteria.  While the kids with the safe foods are banished to an outcast table.

Has anybody ever watched a kid eat?  Kids can walk around with red kool-aid ‘staches for days and not notice.  They can have chunks of food on their faces, shirt, hands, hair…  all over their body, really.  These are the kids who get to sit wherever they want, eating potentially deadly poison and spreading it all over the cafeteria.

Messy pbj

Messy PBJ

Then they go back to class, touching pens, pencils, books, folders, and everything else in the classroom with their poisonous, oily, chunky, peanut butter hands for everyone to come in contact with, food allergy or not.

PB gets all over the classroom

PB gets all over the classroom

I will never forget the first day I sent my adorable 3 year-old, peanut/tree nut allergic daughter to pre-school.  It was 8:30-11:30, but since it was the first day in 3 years she had been away from me for a few hours, I decided to get to school early and take a peek at her on the playground.  I spotted her instantly. She was holding hands and skipping with the most adorable little 3 year-old boy.  My happiness turned to terror when I realized he could have had peanut butter toast for breakfast and a peanut butter cracker for snack and he was now holding my daughter’s hand!!!  Her hand!!  Her hand that goes in her mouth.  Her hand that she uses to feed herself.  Her hand that could rub her eye and get that poison in her body and cause her body to swell and her throat to close.

poison on hand

Poison on hand

I knew that day would be the last day for her to attend a school that allowed nuts.  It wasn’t worth the risk. The reality is that, even in a nut-free school, kids could still have peanut butter for breakfast and then walk into school with clumps of poison dangling from their bodies and touch my precious daughter, but getting rid of nuts during school is lowering the odds of her coming in contact with them, and that is what mattered.

I will also never forget the day my oldest son told me about the allergy table at his school. It took a few minutes to register what he was saying. There is a kid in his grade who has a nut allergy. This kid has a bunch of friends who don’t have allergies but sit with him at the allergy table for support. Sweet, right? It took another couple of minutes for me to process that he was saying these friends bring in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school everyday and eat them at the allergy table!  Does this make sense? From an allergy parent’s perspective, this is terrifying. I have a sneaking suspicion it happens more frequently than we think.

pbj

PBJ

I have four kids, three with food allergies. I would love to just make the world nut-free, but obviously that isn’t going to happen so, I have another idea.

Why not create a new allergy table?  A table where kids can sit if they bring in the sticky, oily poison. A table where kids can sit down, eat their greasy peanut butter and then get up and wash their hands after. The table itself can be washed properly, the chairs and floor can also be scrubbed. It is so much less overwhelming and so much more manageable if all the nuts are kept to one area.

Soap and water go a long way!

Soap and water go a long way!         **shutter stock image

I know this article will anger a lot of people. How dare I call peanut butter poison?  I know it is the only thing that some kids will eat.  If they can’t have peanut butter for lunch the child won’t eat anything else!  Yes, peanut butter is considered “healthy.” But for me, in my world, it is poison.  It is a poison that could make my children unable to breathe and, therefore, I have no choice but to do everything in my power to keep it away.

I have never understood the allergy table.  Don’t you think it’s time to try something new?

 

 

 

A good habit that has stuck! NaBloPoMo challenge day 5

Today’s challenge question…. Do you have any good habits that were hard to start but you’re happy you worked to build them?

My family went GMO free about a year and a half ago. Reading about what this country does to our food system makes my blood boil. For a few years, I would read about GMO’s and get mad. Read and get mad, read and get mad. I was walking around mad which wasn’t helping anybody, especially myself.

I had been searching for a solution to the GMO problem but it just seemed so overwhelming that I would just kind of give up. Three out of four of my children have food allergies so I felt like I had to make a choice, purchase products from the big companies who are excellent at labeling ingredients but use all GMO’s, or go with the smaller companies that are organic/GMO free and risk cross contamination and not so great labeling. (Legally companies only need to list ingredients that are IN the food you are eating. They do NOT have to label what else is made in the facility or on the equipment. When dealing with nut allergies and anaphylaxis, this is not optional.) I felt I had to make my purchases through the big companies and just eat the GMO’s. I did this for a long time.

About a year and a half ago I decided that I would choose one product at a time and do my research on it. I chose products that we use the most of first, like cereal and bread, figuring I could make the biggest impact there.

anti gmo

I spent a lot of time on the phone and on the internet and found out that eliminating GMO’s wasn’t going to be as difficult as I originally thought. I started with Kashi’s “non Gmo certified project verified cereals”. More info on that here. There are a few that are nut safe and non GMO that we use.

Bread was trickier. There aren’t a lot of bakeries that are nut safe. I did manage to find two that are organic (GMO free), nut safe, and most importantly, that my kids like.

Organic and GMO free is more expensive for sure! I have had to cut other expenses to make sure we can afford non GMO food and it is worth it.

Instead of walking around angry, I know that each and every purchase I make is making a statement. I am creating a demand for non GMO products and not providing funding towards the companies that use GMO’s and don’t label them. I have also dug a little deeper and have created a list (in my head) of companies that not only use GMO’s but also fund the campaign against GMO’s being listed on products. I will not buy anything from them either. You can find a good list here.

I am so happy I turned my anger into something positive. My youngest son who just turned 7 had the most positive allergy appointment he has ever had, just last month. I think there is a direct link to the choices we have made these past two years and his allergies. That is a different story for another day but I am so very grateful for working hard to build this good habit of ours :-).

We are far from perfect, nor are we 100% GMO free.  My kids still eat pizza and they have snacks that are not all GMO free.  I would say we are closer to 85% GMO free and that is SO much better than we were two years ago.  I hope more people will consider joining us with building this good habit and really cut out GMO’s and having your dollar matter.  🙂

 

*Image from shutterstock.com

Tidbits from our Travels…

Allergy-Safe Sushi

Allergy-Safe Sushi

Sushi- and the ability to have it made safely without wheat and soy- was one of our many options last week aboard the Norwegian Breakaway out of NYC. I can’t stress enough how grateful I was to have safe options, and a staff that truly understood food allergies. The restaurant staff, from chef to waiter, had obviously been trained in food allergy safety and there were policies and procedures in place to prevent cross-contamination. Even our cabin steward was aware of our food allergies. Talk about a week where I could actually relax! I can’t wait to go back!

-M 🙂