Izzi B’s Allergy-Friendly Gingerbread House Kits A MUST For The Holidays

Friends, I’m not sure if I’m in denial or if time has just gotten away from me, but I can scarcely believe it is already December.  Between the slow start due to Hurricane Harvey in August, fall has seemed to pass by in the blink of an eye!

But I have been working on a couple of my favorite Christmas activities this week to get me in a more holly jolly mood and I want to share them with you!

One of our favorite family traditions is to create a family advent calendar.  This is an easy-peasy calendar I make for under $10.  It’s filled with Christmas activities that help us slow down and focus on the really important things for the season.  It’s not too late to make your own!  Find directions here.

One of the activities that goes on our advent calendar every year is making a gingerbread house.  Some of my fondest memories of Christmases past are of making gingerbread houses with three generations of the women in my family.  We always made quite a masterpiece and enjoyed plenty of laughter and sugar along the way!

This is a tradition I dearly wanted to continue with my own children.  But with the introduction of food allergies to my family, I felt like this would no longer be possible.  It broke my heart.

Then I found Izzi B’s!!!!!!  Y’all…these folks are AWESOME! They made my gingerbread house dreams possible again and now it’s a tradition I am blessed to share again each year with new generations of family.

Izzi B’s is kind enough to provide me with a gingerbread house each year (you can read about my past experiences here).  And I can tell you, I don’t blog about this company because of their kindness (although they absolutely ARE the kindest folks)…I blog about it because I want to let as many people as I can know that they made it possible for me to take back gingerbread house building in a more allergy aware way!

So, who is Izzi B’s?  They are a self-proclaimed allergen-free wholesale bakery in Connecticut.  While the do not have a storefront, they do fill individual pre-orders with pick up and some items are available for shipping (like gingerbread house kits).  Izzi B’s proudly states their products are free of gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, all nuts, and casein.  They have no preservatives, no trans-fats, no refined sugar and are cholesterol free.  Their products are also vegan & kosher certified as well as celiac friendly.  All ingredients are either all-natural, organic or Fair Trade and all food colorings are made of natural derivatives of plants.

Back to the gingerbread house kit!  Here is what this little box of joy looks like!  Happy dance!

Here is a picture of most of the pieces you receive to create your house with although they may vary slightly from year to year.

Here is a picture of our 2017 gingerbread creation.

Note that I said creation because we decided to shake things up a bit this year and try to create something unique instead of our usual house.  So, we made a gingerbread church this year.  Oh, and the landing strip made of chocolate chips and gummy lane dividers were my son’s creation…a landing strip for Santa’s sleigh!  And we thought the gummies made fantastic stained glass windows!

One of the very best things about Izzi B’s gingerbread kits are that they allow you to truly use your imagination to create your very own one-of-a-kind masterpiece.  What might you create?

Thinking this sounds like the perfect addition to your family holiday traditions?  Be sure to order soon to allow sufficient time for delivery before the holidays.

Thank you, Izzi B’s, for all that you do to spread delicious allergy-friendly happiness and smiles!

Merry Christmas, sweet friends!

P.S.  I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention Izzi B’s ginger sammies cookies.  Do yourself a major favor and be sure to order a couple of these to put a fantastic smile on your face.  Then hide them when they come in…or they have a way of disappearing the same day they arrive!

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Schar Debuts New GF Bread Featuring 10 Grains & Seeds

I had a red-letter day Wednesday when I opened my mailbox to find Schar had mailed me a two-piece bread sampler of their new gluten-free bread featuring 10 grains and seeds!  What can I say?  It’s the little things that bring me happiness!

Disclaimer:  Schar is already one of my favorites as far as bread for everyday sandwiches and such goes.  The bread is gluten, wheat, dairy, and preservative free and is also non-GMO.  The individual pieces of their loaves are as close to the real size of a regular piece of bread as I’ve seen.  But even better than that, the bread still has a bit of that spongy texture that makes you feel like you’re indulging in bread that isn’t gluten-free.  It’s light, delicious, and very sandwich friendly.

The new 10 grain and seed bread features the following:

  • Rice flour
  • Quinoa seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Millet flour
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Quinoa flour
  • Amaranth flour
  • Chia seeds

To be honest, I didn’t tell a huge difference from the taste of their regular gluten-free bread.  They are both delicious.  And while I would imagine the grains and seeds in this new loaf only add to the nutrition of the bread, as one who tries to watch her waistline I am a little dismayed at the total amount of carbs.  That is my only reservation and it’s one that seems to apply to gluten-free bread in general.

Bottom Line:  I liked this new gluten-free bread from Schar and will hopefully be buying it soon at a H-E-B (our local H-E-B was affected by Hurricane Harvey and won’t reopen until January).

Thank you Schar for your dedication to making a quality product that is gluten-free and tastes delicious!

Oriental Trading Novelties: A Fun Allergy-Friendly Trick-Or-Treat Option

Even though many annual holidays filled with food-based traditions are distressing for most food allergy families, Halloween often tops the list.  Not only does the frightful holiday involve a great deal of food…tradition has trick-or-treaters collecting virtually every type of candy available- and from people we don’t often know and that don’t know about food allergies!  For me, it’s not only the costumes and mischief that make this one of the scariest days of the year.

Thanks to the Teal Pumpkin Project, Halloween can now be a little less scary for families with food allergies.  Whether you are familiar with this movement or not, I highly encourage you to check it out so and share it with others!  There are so many ways to participate and to get the entire community involved!

My kiddos are mostly grown up now, but when they were younger Halloween was a very difficult holiday to navigate.  Now that they are outgrowing trick-or-treating, we look forward to the opportunity to pay it forward each year.  Our church holds an annual Trunk-Or-Treat event where church members meet at the church parking lot, festively decorate the trunks of their cars, and then offer treats and games to trick-or-treaters of almost every size.

Last year we participated, my husband designed this fabulous Harry Potter theme for the trunk of our car.

This year we are Continue reading

Oriental Trading Great For Allergy Aware Classrooms

So you already know I’m a blogger and freelance writer.  But did you know I’m also a Transitional Kindergarten teacher?

It’s true.  In fact, I’m starting my 9th year of teaching at a local preschool and it’s no exaggeration to say that every single day is an adventure all of its own!

When my son started at mother’s day out/preschool almost 13 years ago, he was one of the few if not the ONLY child with food allergies on the roster.  During my 9 years of teaching, I’ve seen the number of children with food allergies at our school increase. This school year is no different.

So as I began back to school preparations, Oriental Trading reached out to see if I needed any classroom supplies and if I’d be willing to blog about them.  Honestly, their timing couldn’t have been better.  Oriental Trading can be a go-to for me because it mostly takes food allergies out of the equation.  But they were an even bigger blessing this year, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey where so many families in our neighborhood lost their homes in flood waters.  Many of these little ones have been through so much and a special back to school pick-me-up is just what the doctor ordered for my class.

Courtesy of Oriental Trading’s Learn 365, I was able to give my students this special back to school treat.

Continue reading