Debbie Adler’s Sweet, Savory & Free: A Cookbook Review

Friends!  I cannot wait to introduce you to a sweet friend of mine, Debbie Adler!  She is a wonderful advocate for those seeking to live a healthy and allergy-friendly lifestyle and a chef extraordinaire to boot.

This is Debbie and I at an Austin Gluten-Free Fest a couple of years ago.

One of the things that makes Debbie so charming is that she is simply a down-to-earth mom of a child with food allergies.  She saw a need and she decided to meet it head on.  I think so many parents of children with food allergies can relate to that statement, but Debbie took it to a whole new level.  The difference for me is that I don’t have Debbie’s mad cooking and baking skills, so I am doubly thankful she authored Sweet, Savory & Free and Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes.

If you are new to my blog, be sure to check out my previous review of Debbie’s cookbook, Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes.  This cookbook is a treasure for those with a sweet tooth that still want to keep things healthy and allergy-friendly.  And if you are close to the Los Angeles area, you can visit Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes in person.

But for today, I am reviewing Debbie’s latest cookbook, Sweet, Savory & Free.  The book includes dozens of delicious plant-based recipes that are free of wheat/gluten, eggs, dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, added sugars, and oil.  Her recipes include breakfast dishes, soups, muffin tin meals, main dishes, breads, and even a few sweets.

used with permission from Debbie Adler

Her new cookbook was born of a desire to share healthy, plant-based recipes after doing some in-depth research about what goes into the food we eat and the effect it has on our quality of life.  By simply reading the introduction to the book, the reader can feel her passion for this healthy lifestyle bleed through every word on the page. Continue reading

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Making Valentine’s Safe and How Oriental Trading Can Help

Valentine’s Day is two weeks away and homeroom moms everywhere are gearing up to plan friendship parties.  For many parents of children with food allergies, this can cause high levels of anxiety.

I’ll be honest, my son has outgrown the age where they celebrate Valentine’s at school, but I have a few tried and true tips that might help you if your child will be celebrating at school:

  • Volunteer to be homeroom mom for the party.  If that job is already taken, volunteer to be a helper and offer to purchase all the food so you can choose safe options for your child’s classroom.
  • Volunteer for party set up so you can see how food is distributed and avoid harmful cross contamination of party treats.
  • Make your child similar foods.  If I spoke with the teacher ahead of time and deemed the food at the party to be unsafe, I simply made a like item at home and brought it to my son on a clean Valentine paper plate from home.  Most kids were never the wiser and my son didn’t have to make his food allergies the center of attention and could just enjoy the party.
  • Go through your child’s Valentine’s bags or mailboxes before he/she opens them up.  In my experience, most teachers have an “open your Valentine’s at home” policy that will allow you to do so.
  • Create a trade-in program for your child.  I let my son trade in potentially unsafe treats to me and I would give him some safe candy or holiday trinkets that I bought for him.

That last bullet point used to be difficult for us…there are only so many pencils and stickers a child can get before they become tiresome.  Luckily, we have more options today when it comes to non-food holiday treats.  In my opinion, Oriental Trading Company makes finding such items a cinch…and all from the comfort of your home computer while you shop in your pajamas!  And, of course, be sure to visit their coupon page to look for some awesome deals!

*Disclaimer:  Oriental Trading did not pay me to write this post and the opinions expressed within are my own.  They did, however, send me some free Valentine’s Day promotional items to test out myself.  My family and I plan to donate these items to a local Houston hospital for children with health and dietary restrictions.  My thanks to Oriental Trading for this opportunity to brighten the lives of others!*

Here are just a few of the adorable Oriental Trading goodies I am blessed to review:

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Izzi B’s Gingerbread Houses And Treats Are a Holiday Must-Have

Years ago, when my family was just beginning our food allergy journey, one of the traditions I missed the most was decorating our annual gingerbread house.

With Christmas carols playing in the background, my mom, sister, and grandmother and I would gather around the counter in my grandmother’s kitchen to decorate our annual gingerbread house.  Honestly, I think there was more horseplay and laughter than there was actual work…as it should be for such a family tradition.  A couple of hours and a change of clothes later, it was a joy to admire our creation.  These are some of the sweetest memories I have of spending time with my grandmother and I cherish them to this day.

Because of that, building and decorating a gingerbread house became a time-honored tradition in our family…a tradition I would not be able to carry on with my own family because it would be an allergen minefield.

Or so I thought.

Thanks to an incredibly awesome company called Izzi B’s, my family and I ARE able to carry on this tradition every year.  More importantly, it is a way to carry on the love and laughter of family as we crowd around and create a masterpiece in between giggles and some really off-tune Christmas caroling!

Here is my gingerbread house kit from a previous year when the kids were still too little to help me do much other than eat it.

Izzi B's Allergen-Free Bakery (7)

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Oriental Trading Halloween Goody Giveaways (And Hurricane Matthew Donation Opportunity)

Have you heard about the Teal Pumpkin Project?  It is a nation-wide effort to provide all children with a safe, special treat when they go trick-or-treating on Halloween night.

Teal Pumpkin

The best part is that ANYONE can participate and other than purchasing safe, non-food treats for trick-or-treaters in place of candy…it’s FREE!!!

Since Halloween candy has been out since the second week of September here, there’s definitely no shortage of that.

But what about reasonably priced non-food Halloween treats?  Those aren’t quite as readily available at your local grocery or drug store.  And who has time to go racing from store to store looking for a budget-friendly options that will be enough for the hoards of trick-or-treaters you’re expecting.

No time.  Small budget.  No options.  It’s October 11th…Halloween is in 20 days.

What to do?

May I suggest you consider Oriental TradingContinue reading