Allergy-Friendly Advent Calendar For Christmas

As a child, I always looked forward to counting down the days to Christmas with an advent calendar.  Heck, I’m a full-grown adult, and the idea still holds appeal.

Most of the advent calendars you find in the stores are of the chocolate variety.  You know the kind, you peel back a square for that day and just inside waits a delicious mouth-watering chocolate.  The best part is that you get a little piece of chocolate every single day from December 1st to the 25th.  The sad part is that the ingredient labels and allergy warnings on the back of most of those packages are ridiculously long and complex stating that it does or may contain just about every allergen there is.

So what is a mom to do?  Get creative, that’s what!  :)

Once my son was old enough to enjoy an advent calendar he still couldn’t have the average chocolate variety because of multiple food allergies.  So back to the drawing board we went looking for something a little different, but just as fun.  We were visiting a friend’s house and she had a board she had by the calendar full of fun Christmas things to do as a family before Christmas arrived.  What a fabulous idea for an advent calendar!  She let me steal her idea and now every year as the holidays approach, we usually send an email back and forth trying to decide if either of us has an activity or two we want to steal for our own calendar.

The best part of this idea is that it can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.  On a budget?  No problem…my idea shouldn’t cost more than $10 and is reusable from year to year.  Want to get crafty?  Go for it!  Would love to see what you come up with here and hope you will share!

Here is how to make your own advent calendar:

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Supplies:

  • 2 poster boards
  • Wrapping paper (scraps or a roll)
  • Miniature gift bows (the kind that peel and stick)
  • Sticky notes

Instructions:

  • Turn your poster board vertically and write a title at the top.  Ex:  Smith Family Advent Calendar
  • Take second piece of poster board and cut out twenty-five 2.5 inch by 2.5 inch squares (or whatever size you desire)
  • Wrap each of the 25 squares in wrapping paper.  Place a miniature bow on each so that it resembles a present.
  • Arrange squares on the titled poster board in desired design and tape down only the top border.  Now go back and put a small number above each square 1-25 to aid in counting down to Christmas.
  • Take 13 sticky notes and cut them in half.  Hide one sticky under every “present.”
  • Almost done.  Now write a fun family activity on each sticky note.  (I usually throw in a Christmas Bible verse too.)
  • You’re done.  Now, when December 1st rolls around, you simply lift up the “present” marked with a 1, and do that activity as a family!

I love this idea because it is food allergy-friendly and because it allows you to come together as a family during the holidays.

Need some ideas to get you started?  Here are some of the activities I like to list on my family’s advent calendar:

  • Go caroling.
  • Take Christmas cookies to a friend in need.
  • Visit a live nativity.
  • Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
  • Drink hot chocolate and stir it with a candy cane.
  • Watch The Grinch.
  • Have PJs and Polar Express movie night.
  • Build a gingerbread house (Check out Izzi B’s).
  • Visit Santa.
  • Buy a Christmas present for a child in need.
  • Make and red and green Christmas train.
  • Go ice skating.
  • Make a snowman (in Texas we have to get creative).
  • Camp out in your sleeping bags by the Christmas tree.
  • Make reindeer food (oatmeal and glitter in a ziploc).
  • Go to a local nursing home and bring cookies and board games and spend an hour or two.

This should be enough to get you started, and leave plenty of blanks to help you tailor it to your family’s annual activities and preferences.

What activities will you put on your advent calendar?  I’d love for you to comment and share!

Skeeters Snacks A Treat For Kids With Peanut and Nut Allergies

Have you heard about Skeeter Snacks?  If you have nut or peanut allergies, you should definitely get to know this company.  They reached out to me a few weeks ago to ask if I would review a few of their products and share my honest thoughts with you.

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First of all, the founders of this company both of have children with tree nut and peanut allergies (TPAs)…so they really GET what it’s like to live the food allergy life.  Their families were tired of forking over big bucks for nut-free products that didn’t even taste good.  They figured there had to be a better way…and a business was born!

My words don’t do their commitment to a peanut and nut-free company justice, so I’m going to share with you their exact words.

“How complete is our commitment to making nut-free snacks? Our facilities don’t even have nut products in the vending machines in the employee lounges! Whenever you see Skeeter, the squirrel who is allergic to nuts, holding his placard, you know that the product inside is delicious and nut-safe.

While there are other products available in the broadly-defined allergen and intolerance markets, we have focused exclusively TPAs. There are three reasons for this. First, nut allergies are the most lethal, most prevalent and fastest growing food allergies. Second, schools and institutions catering to kids are already way ahead of most consumer packaged goods companies in recognizing the importance of creating nut free zones. Finally, by focusing exclusively on TPAs we can produce products that taste great and are priced in line with main-aisle brands. We don’t want to have to buy separate snacks for our other kids who don’t have allergies, and we figure our customers feel the same way. It’s very important to us that we create products that non-allergic kids will love too because we want our snacks to be an inclusive experience.”     -Courtesy of Skeeter Snacks

For the purposes of this review, the nice folks at Skeeter Snacks sent us some of their Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon Graham Minis.  From a mom’s perspective, they are the perfect portable snack for when you’re on the road or away from home.

However, as many of you know, I’m gluten-free and Skeeter Snacks are not, so you will hear the rest of this product review straight from the lips of my 9-year-old son who has peanut and nut allergies.  :)

“For the chocolate chip cookies, you can really taste the chocolate mixed in with the sugar.  They are crunchy on the bottom and soft on top.  I like them because in most cookies the sugar doesn’t pop out, but it really tastes good in this cookie.  For the cinnamon graham cookies, they have a crunchy texture like a granola bar and you can taste the cinnamon.  My favorite are the chocolate chip cookies because I love chocolate.” -The Food Allergy Son

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Skeeters Snacks are always a sponsor for our local FARE walk in Houston and actively participate in the food allergy community.  My son and daughter even had the good fortune of trying their Skeeter Doodle cookie at the walk, and simply fell in love with the flavor.

Thank you, Skeeter Snacks, for such a delicious product that is 9-year-old approved!

 

Guest Post from H-E-B Houston President, Scott McClelland

A couple of weeks ago in the middle of my weekly grocery shopping at H-E-B, I had the good fortune of running into (literally) H-E-B Houston President, Scott McClelland.   I approached Scott and introduced myself as The Food Allergy Mom.  I must say, he was absolutely charming and every bit as warm and friendly as he appears in those tv ads.  I told him what a fan I am of H-E-B stores and products because of the tasty and affordable variety of gluten-free and allergen-friendly foods that they carry.  (Read more about our conversation here.)  We exchanged business cards and I asked him to check out my blog sometime.

Would you believe he emailed me by the day’s end to confirm that he had done so?  Not only that, but I asked Scott to consider doing a guest post for us here so others would know about all of the fabulous gluten-free and allergy-friendly options H-E-B offers every day and those that will be especially handy this holiday season.  He graciously accepted and his post is below.

If you haven’t already, I really do encourage you to stop by your local H-E-B grocery store and see the gluten-free and allergy-friendly glory for yourself!

A special thanks to Scott McClelland for taking the time to pen this post and for all that you and H-E-B do for the celiac and food allergy community!

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Gluten-Free and Allergy-Free at H-E-B

By Scott McClelland

H-E-B Logo

Every week I visit H-E-B stores throughout the state and more and more I’m asked by customers about the need for H-E-B to carry more gluten-free alternatives.

It’s clear that like all our customers, those who suffer from Celiac disease or have sensitivities to products with wheat, everyone likes having more choices available to them. With this as a backdrop, we have diligently been working to add gluten free variety into our stores. Here’s what H-E-B has been working on:

  • Expanded gluten-free sets in over 90 stores across H-E-B’s trade area. In three of our largest stores, we carry over 2,600 different SKU’s in 60 feet of dry, refrigerated and frozen gluten-free items. These stores are located at:

 -          I-10/Bunker Hill

-          Grand Parkway/Fry Road

-          Hwy 249/Louetta

  •  Added hundreds of gluten-free items in our H-E-B brands such as H-E-B®, Hill Country Fare®, H-E-Buddy® and Central Market® available at most stores.

This past January we launched our nutritional shelf tag program that highlights specific nutritional or lifestyle attributes that many of our customers are looking for. We started with seven different tags, and this month we expanded to eleven. Gluten-free was in the original lineup, and now vegan and vegetarian tags can be found throughout our stores. (Please note that the absence of this icon does not necessarily mean that the item contains gluten. We continuously update our database monthly and are adding more products to our shelf tag program.)

H-E-B Gluten Free Icon

As you may know, the FDA defined “gluten-free” this past August which standardizes the meaning of “gluten-free” claims across the food industry. Prior to this, the definition of gluten free for the items in our H-E-B family of brands has been: contains no wheat, barley, rye, triticale or any triticum species such as spelt or kamut. Residual gluten level is below 20 parts per million (PPM). Our definition was developed in conjunction with our local celiac support group.

Many of our stores have gluten-free items in specific aisles, and spread out among our various departments. Favorite items include:

  • H-E-B GF Pasta—penne, fusilli and spaghetti ($1.99 each-great taste at a great price!)
  • H-E-B Pasta Sauce—Tomato Basil, Vegetable Primavera
  • H-E-B GF Cornbread Mix
  • H-E-B That Green Sauce, That Red Sauce, Relish That Corn
  • H-E-B Plain Rice Crackers
  • H-E-B Hummus
  • CM Hummus
  • H-E-B Fresh Mozzarella
  • H-E-B Fully Cooked Sliced Smoked Turkey Breast or Pork Loin
  • CM GF Pasta—linguini, penne and spaghetti
  • CM Organics Low Sodium Chicken Broth, Vegetable Broth
  • PB2—use to replace flour in peanut-butter cookies, sprinkle on apple slices or add to smoothies
  • Chia seed—when mixed with water works as a great egg-replacer in baked goods (great source of fiber, omega-3’s)
  • Gluten Free Nation (Houston based)—sandwich bread and ready to bake pie crust
  • King Arthur Flour—GF pancake mix, multi-purpose flour
  • Southern Homestyle Corn Flake Crumbs, Tortilla Crumbs
  • Tate’s GF Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • NEWCentral Market GF Cake Mix

Although not store specific just yet, a list of gluten-free items can be found at http://www.heb.com/sectionpage/whats-in-store/departments/gluten-free/gluten-free-landing/products/sd30210057 (**note that this list is dated Jan 2013)

Some of the biggest hits with our customers are our selection of gluten-free breads, flours, lentil chips, and rice and nut based crackers. In our Healthy Living departments (located in most of our larger stores), you can also find many of our Central Market vitamin and mineral supplements that are free from wheat, gluten, milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

Although our stores are not allergy-free zones, we will make every accommodation to help you. Please let us know of any special requests.  For more information on Healthy at H-E-B, please visit  www.heb.com/healthy

 

My H-E-B: A Friend To The Gluten-Free and Food Allergy Community

A couple of weeks ago in the middle of my weekly grocery shopping at H-E-B, I had the good fortune of running into (literally) H-E-B Houston President, Scott McClelland.  I’ll admit to being a little starstruck from seeing him on multiple tv commercials and then right in the middle of my little community store’s produce department.  (Apparently I really was starstruck as it completely slipped my mind to snap a picture, so you’ll have to take my word for it.)

In a move very unlike me (I’m a little on the introverted side), I approached Scott and introduced myself as The Food Allergy Mom.  I must say, he was absolutely charming and every bit as warm and friendly as he appears in those tv ads.  I told him what a fan I am of H-E-B stores and products because of the tasty and affordable variety of gluten-free and allergen-friendly foods that they carry.  Sure, there are other stores that sell some gluten-free and allergy-friendly groceries, but none of them are just down the street from me and at a price that can’t be beat!

During our conversation, Scott asked me if I’d ever tried Tate’s All Natural Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie.

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He said they were not to be missed and were quite possibly one of the best cookies on the market.  Then he said the great part.  Tate’s makes a regular and gluten-free version, but Scott thought the GF version was just as fabulous as the original.  That means he tried both.  A grocery store president that actually eats what he sells and is knowledgeable about it with customers.  I vowed then and there to find those cookies and give them a whirl (such a hardship you know!).  By the way, the cookies are deliciously sinful…so much so that I probably shouldn’t keep these readily available in the pantry, if you know what I mean.

I was incredibly impressed when I thanked him for H-E-B’s participation in the Houston food allergy community and he instantly referenced the stores’ support of the Houston Walk for Food Allergy.  Again, he knew exactly what activities the popular grocery chain supports without even a hint from me!

In my experience, Scott McClelland and H-E-B are the exception and not the rule.  Think of how amazing it would be if every grocery store had this kind of dedication to stocking safe, quality products and commitment to actively supporting the food allergy community!

An hour later I stacked my purchases on the conveyor belt for checkout and felt a tap on my shoulder.  Turns out Scott found the gluten-free Tate’s chocolate chip cookies he mentioned earlier and hunted me down to make sure I received them AND he gave me a coupon to cover the expense of the cookies.  Like I said…A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

I’m more grateful to Mr. McClelland and H-E-B than I can ever put in to words…but I’ll try anyway.  Money (or lack thereof) is a burden for many families with food allergies, so thank you for helping us pinch pennies by offering affordable and safe selections.  Community support for a sometimes touchy subject isn’t always as easy to come by as one would hope, so thank you for continued support of our local FARE food allergy walk.  Normalcy can be a rare thing for those living with food allergies, and I am beyond grateful to you for the privilege of shopping at a regular grocery store from which I can buy affordable, safe groceries to feed my family’s hearts and stomachs.  God bless you!

Holiday Pie a No-Go With Pillsbury Gluten-Free Pie Crust: A Product Review

Most of you know I’m gluten-free due to celiac disease and my son has multiple food allergies including peanuts and nuts.  Those of you who have multiple different food allergies in your family can appreciate the challenges that statement brings.

The only really bad part about being the only one gluten-free in my family is that when I make a gluten-free goodie, it usually beckons for me to eat it…all of it…by myself…as it’s not always safe for my son to eat and not always what the rest of my family would consider as delicious as gluten-filled things.

I’ve heard a lot about the new gluten-free line from Pillsbury and it got my curiosity up.  There are so many supposedly allergy-friendly products out there on the market, and let’s be honest…some of them are as delicious as their claims and some of them taste like, well, feet.  That’s right…I said it.  I’m being honest.

So, when I found the Pillsbury tubs of gluten-free goodness at my local H-E-B, I got one of each:  chocolate chip cookie dough, pizza crust, and pie crust.  (Each tub was a little under $5, cheap compared to some gluten-free products.)  Every time I opened my fridge they sat there staring at me and finally this past week I got a bee in my bonnet and finally made them.

If you take a glance at my other Pillsbury posts, you will know that I LOVED the gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough.  It was fantastic.  The gluten-free pizza crust on the other hand, was a total bust.

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Unfortunately, my review of the gluten-free Pillsbury pie crust isn’t much better than that of their pizza dough.  Full disclosure here…my husband actually made the pie, but I stood by and watched to see how the pie dough rolled out and how manageable it was.

The pie crust was not easy to roll out into a workable pie shaped circle and even then, it took more than the half of the dough that the product claimed it would.  The dough was also difficult to make a standard consistency with some spots being much thinner than others.   Once the dough was in the pie plate and ready to go, we added pumpkin pie filling and put it in the oven to cook (followed the directions on a can of Libby’s pumpkin).

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The edges of the pie crust were burnt, despite following directions to keep that exact thing from happening.  The pie crust tasted more than a little bitter and extremely dense and crunchy.  It was far from the light and fluffy texture I’m used to when I make my own gluten-free pie crust from scratch from a King Arthur recipe.

Bottom Line:  The only Pillsbury product I will buy from their gluten-free line is their chocolate chip cookie dough.  As for the pizza dough and pie crust, I would steer clear of both this holiday season and all year long and instead make your own.

 

Halloween Tips from Professional Family Expert Jo Frost

A special thanks to my friends at 25YearsofEpiPen.com and Mylan for allowing me to share these fabulous Halloween tips from Professional Family Expert, Jo Frost.  Wishing you all a safe and happy Halloween!

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Getting spooked by ghosts and goblins can be part of the fun of getting into the Halloween spirit. But for families managing potentially life-threatening (severe) allergies, being scared of trick-or-treating is no laughing matter. 

Food allergies are on the rise, with today’s figures showing that an estimated one in 13 children are affected. Many Halloween treats contain common food allergens, like peanuts, tree nuts and dairy.  

Professional Family Expert Jo Frost has some great tips to help families with food allergies celebrate Halloween. Jo has been managing her own severe allergies to all nuts and shellfish since she was a child, and uses her own experiences to educate others.

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 Jo’s Halloween tips include:

  • Pull together a bag of treats that you know your child can eat, and when your child arrives home with their “bounty,” do a swap for the “approved” treats
  • Move the focus beyond candy-land, and hand out food alternatives to trick-or-treaters. Kids love stickers, temporary tattoos, Halloween-inspired jewelry, bouncy balls, game cards and other fun toys
  • If your child with food allergies is attending a Halloween event, let the host or school know in advance
  • Educate your child and their friends before the big day – head to AnaphylaxisRevealed.com to learn about different anaphylaxis misperceptions, and the importance of having two epinephrine auto-injectors available at all times

Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Cookbook: A Book Review

A month or so ago, Debbie Adler from Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats (and the famous Los Angeles Bakery) contacted me to see if I would be open to reviewing her new allergy-free and vegan cookbook due to hit the shelves in November 2013.  In the food allergy community we all have so much to learn from each other, and I am honored she chose to share all the lessons she has learned with me!  I couldn’t wait to hear more about her story and check out her book!

I was thrilled to find a perfect little package waiting on my front porch full of allergy-free goodness!  In addition to her book, Debbie was kind enough to send a few samples of recipes from her new cookbook.  So I actually have baked goods and a book to review!

The cookbook, Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes, focuses on gluten, egg, dairy, soy, sugar, and nut-free baked goods.  I love that Debbie caters to the food allergy community by creating her recipes to be free of several of the top eight most common food allergens.  Even better is the fact that she makes over some of the most allergy-laden desserts and breads in the world of baking to be “safe” foods.  And while all of her recipes in the book are vegan as well, I’ll admit upfront that currently a vegan lifestyle isn’t part of my family’s day to day routine.

Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats Cookbook

For me, what sets Debbie’s cookbook apart is her candidness and dedication about her baking journey.  She was simply a woman who ate “frozen yogurt for lunch and cookie dough ice cream” for after dinner before deciding enough was enough.  Debbie began experimenting with baking and after a lot of self-professed trial and error opened her own Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes bakery.

Several years later, her son was diagnosed with “life-threatening allergies to almost every food in the USDA pyramid, except salt,” and Debbie went back to the drawing board to remake all of her bakery treats free of dairy, eggs, soy, wheat, gluten, nuts, and sugar.

That last little paragraph just wraps it up all nice and neat with a little bow, doesn’t it?  Sounds so simple to do…just remake every recipe you’ve ever created to be allergy friendly.  Now come clean…how many of you know the allergy-free baking process to be that simple?  What?  No takers?  Glad I’m not the only one.

Allergy friendly and vegan baking isn’t a success story that comes easy when you are tinkering in your own kitchen.  Luckily, Debbie’s hours and hours in the kitchen of doing exactly that make the road ahead downright smooth for the rest of us!  For that alone, I am extremely grateful!

Coming from a non-vegan background, I love the way Debbie uses the chapter one to educate her reader about the origin and purpose of each of her go-to ingredients.  In addition to creating a detailed tool kit listing for her recipes, chapter two lays out frosting, mixing, wrapping, and sweetening techniques.

Because of Debbie’s dedication to the vegan lifestyle, I’ll admit to not having some of these ingredients in my pantry or even know exactly where to find them when shopping.  With that said, Debbie was kind enough to send me several samples to taste that have me convinced a trip to the grocery store might be in order:

  • Dark Chocolate Drizzle Cranberry Macaroon:  This decadent cookie was a little piece of heaven.  It was deliciously moist and sweet, and unbelievably sugar-free and allergy-friendly.  This was my favorite!  :)
  • Sweet Cranberry Hemp Bar:  I could almost taste the golden goodness in each bite.  It had a nutty flavor mixed with sweet cranberries.  This would be a great alternative to a regular granola bar.
  • Sunflower Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie:  I’ll be honest here, I’m a sucker for anything with sunflower seed butter, so I think this one speaks for itself.  :)

Bottom Line:  I think Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes is a fabulous resource for allergy-free and vegan bakers.   As a fellow food allergy mom, Debbie’s story fills me with hope and confidence that decadent allergy friendly and healthy baked treats exist and can find their beginnings in each one of us!

Kinnikinnick Pumpkin Spice Donuts A Special Fall Treat

I received an email a few weeks ago from the folks at Kinnikinnick a week or two ago showing off their seasonal Pumpkin Spice Donuts and I’ve been salivating ever since!

We are HUGE fans of the Kinnikinnick donuts at my house because they are gluten-free, peanut and nut-free since 2009, and sesame-free since July 2013.  This sweet product (pun intended) is safe for everyone in my household and is always a special treat!

The donuts come in several varieties:  chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, maple glazed, and pumpkin spice.  The first three flavors I mentioned are usually available at our local Kroger, H-E-B, and specialty food store.  I only say “usually” because these breakfast treats are so popular they are gone within hours of hitting the shelves.

I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for the cinnamon spice variety with no luck.  I emailed the folks at Kinnikinnick and they told me this particular variety is a seasonal flavor and is only available by ordering online.  I’ll admit to being more than a little sad I couldn’t just cruise down the aisle at the grocery store to find it.

As luck would have it, the company approached me a few days later and asked if I would be willing to review the Pumpkin Spice  Donuts for my blog.

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I mean…it’s a tough job, but I guess somebody has to do it!  :)

Before I go on, you should know that I’m almost always open to reviewing a product…with the stipulation that I am able to share my true thoughts on the product with my readers.  When you read my review on a product…less than satisfactory or over the top amazing…you can count on it’s authenticity.

I’ll admit the deck was already stacked in Kinnikinnick’s favor because I’m such a big fan of their other products.  Still, I was curious if the Pumpkin Spice variety could hold its own against the others.

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I’m happy to say the donuts were a HIT at our house!  In Texas, we have been blessed to receive some cool mornings this week and a Pumpkin Spice Donut with a steaming cup of hot chocolate was the perfect way to start this morning!  I found the donut to be very moist and really loved the fact that it was drizzled with icing instead of entirely glazed.  My son said the icing drizzle was his favorite part of the breakfast treat!

There are a limited number of things I will order online for my family because of the expense and freshness-issues associated with shipping, but these donuts were tasty enough that I would consider ordering a package or two every year for the holidays.

Bottom Line:  I give this product an A and will most likely purchase in the future for a special holiday treat!

King Arthur Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Mix: Is It In Your Pantry?

King Arthur gluten-free products are a staple for me and my family.  They spend their time making quality products that greatly enhance the world of gluten-free baking.

I’ve tried all of their baking products and loved every single one (with the exception of the brownies…which I may or may not have been user error).  Currently, King Arthur offers the following gluten-free boxed mixes:  multi-purpose flour, brownie mix, muffin mix, yellow cake mix, chocolate cake mix, and the new all-purpose baking mix.

Whenever a baking recipe calls for flour and I am making a gluten-free version, my go to is ALWAYS King Arthur’s GF Multi-Purpose Flour.  So, I was intrigued, to say the least, with the release of their GF All-Purpose Baking Mix.  Specifically, the back of the baking mix package offers recipes for chocolate cupcakes, savory biscuits, pancakes, and roll out sugar cookies.

King Arthur GF All Purpose Baking Mix

A week or so ago, I used the new baking mix to make the chocolate cupcake recipe on the back of the box.  And I loved it…maybe even a little more so than the King Arthur GF Chocolate Cake Mix.  This recipe was rich and chocolatey without being over-the-top sweet.  The cupcakes had a perfect balance of rich chocolate that is beautifully balanced by sweet frosting of any flavor.

“So where is the picture of the cupcake?” you say.  Gosh, I’d love to show you one.  Really, I would.  But these cupcakes went ridiculously fast.  And although I did take some of these delicious goodies to share with friends, a few more than necessary ended up being taste tested by yours truly.  I mean…what kind of taste tester would I be if I didn’t taste several of the cupcakes?  It’s my duty to make sure they all taste equally scrumptious…right?  :)   That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Bottom Line:  This product gets an A+ and will be a staple in my pantry just like everything else in King Arthur’s gluten-free line!

Sun Cups: Peanut/Nut/Gluten-Free Chocolate Delight

I’m a card carrying member of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups fan club…or at least I used to be before my son was diagnosed with a peanut allergy.  There’s just something decadently rich and delicious about the mixture of chocolate and peanut butter.  Oh, if only there were a peanut/nut-free version for those with allergies…especially for the holiday, I mean…ahem..candy, season.

Call me Santa and let me introduce you to Sun Cups!  I received an email from this company a week or so ago with some interesting stats about the 6 million children in the U.S. diagnosed with potentially life-threatening food allergies.   Sun Cups developed their own peanut/nut/gluten/corn/soy-free chocolate cups made with creamy all-natural chocolate with roasted sunflower butter.

I know…I’ve seen the Pinterest pins online where people make their own allergy-friendly version of the peanut butter cup, but wouldn’t it be nice to share this product with others as a safe candy they can order to hand out at Halloween or use as a safe holiday treat?  Yes!!!

I received a box of goodies from Sun Cups today containing:  Milk Chocolate Sun Cups, Dark Chocolate Sun Cups, Milk Chocolate Caramel Cups, and Dark Chocolate Mint Cups.  All those delicious sounding flavors…but would they have the same sweet taste to back it up?

Sun Cups Product

Normally I don’t comment on the shipping status of products I receive to review, but I couldn’t let this one go without commenting.  My Sun Cups arrived in a cooler bag with an ice pack packaged inside another cooler bag.  This company went above and beyond to make sure I received their product in pristine condition…a huge plus for me if I am spending money to have something shipped.

Once I sifted through the cooler bags, I uncovered the candy samples.  Each package is a very similar version to that of a Reese’s peanut butter cup package and contains two Sun Cups.  Upon closer inspection, even the individual Sun Cups themselves are wrapped in that same black crinkled wrapper and have the same fluted edges as their competitor.  My son was almost giddy with anticipation that he would get to try a safe product that looked so much like the real thing!  Still, I doubted it could taste as good as my memories of a Reese’s.

But it was…   In fact, it was fantastic!  We enjoyed all of the flavors, but Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Mint were the top two favorites.

Bottom Line:  I would highly recommend this product.  Sun Cups are delicious, free of several allergens, and the company has impeccable customer service.  What’s not to like?

On a personal note:  Thank you, Sun Cups, for making a safe Halloween treat for my son to safely enjoy and feel like part of the group!