Allergen Free Krispy Treats: perfect for parties and sports teams!

I’m totally a soccer mom.  The season started a few weeks ago and we have the best team ever.  We may not win games (we aren’t supposed to be keeping score anyway – so there) but the families of the players are awesome.  We have the most amazing team mom, Chris W.  She has kept all of us organized and set up a cool Shutterfly account to post info and photos from the games.  We have two kids with severe food allergies on the team which can make treat time pretty hard.  Seeing as she has a gluten allergy herself, Chris set out to find a snack that all the kids could eat.  What she found was this recipe for allergen free krispy treats.  My son (allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts) has been able to eat these but that is only due in part to his ability to eat soy.  For those kids with even more allergies, this recipe uses oil instead of margarine!  And what kid doesn’t love a krispy treat?!  This is the perfect snack recipe to keep on hand for your kid’s parties (chances are there are going to be kids with food allergies – there are 4 the kinder classes at our school alone) and for after sport snacks.  They tasted exactly the same as “normal” krispy treat.  
And to jazz them up a little more, check out what Kim of Celebration Shoppe did to her krispy treats!
Thank you, Chris, for being the best team mom ever!!!!! 
Ingredients:
10 oz. (40 lg. or 4 cups miniature) marshmallows
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
vegetable cooking spray 

Instructions:
Spray microwave safe dish with vegetable spray.  Add oil and marshmallows and heat on high for 2 minutes.  Add vanilla; stir to combine.  Microwave on high for 1 minute longer.  Stir until smooth.  Add cereal and stir until well coated.  Press mixture evenly in 13″ x 9″ x 2″ pan coated with cooking spray using wax paper or spatula coated with cooking spray.  Cut into 2″ x 2″ squares when cool.

I generally don’t let my son eat something that someone else made.  But I felt confident that Chris had the cross contamination thing under control.  And held my breath for good measure.  And he was fine.  And all the kids loved them!  So when in doubt of if there are food allergies present, make these!  I am so grateful that the rest of the mom’s on the team have also tried to accommodate the boys with allergies.  I know that they may not outwardly show you their gratitude, but I can tell you it has rocked O’s world to be able to eat what everyone else is eating.  HUGE!

Sharon
photos are mine.  recipe found here.




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Easy Cinnamon Honey Apple Dip – Perfect for Back to School!

I didn’t start liking honey until this year.  But my kids, I’m sure most kids, love it.  It wasn’t until I had a bowl of Greek yogurt with honey swirled through at King’s Highway that put me totally on board.  And lately I have been absolutely craving it.  I found this recipe in my recipe file and decided to give it a shot.  DELICIOUS!!! And like most things that I make, super easy!  I think this is best when eaten with green apples, but I’m sure any color would work.  
This recipe was from a Woman’s World Magazine dated 5/3/10.  Yes, I realize this may not seem like a magazine that I would normally read but sometimes I am privy to my husband’s 90 year old grandmother’s discards.  And remember I am really 80 years old on the inside…
Here are the ingredientses.  Sorry, I’m totally into Real Housewives of New Jersey right now.  Does anyone else freaking love that show like I do?  I pray that Teresa will say ingredientses every episode.  It makes me so happy.  My youngest son was all up in my program.  He loves lemons and was trying to slow my roll by stealing it.  Aside from the lemon, the recipe is made up of pantry items that you should pretty much always be able to have on hand.  This would be a great dip for drop in visitors, providing you have the apples (you could probably even get away with not having the lemon).  And it takes about a minute to make. 
Recipe:
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cardamom
pinch of ground sugar
apple slices
Combine honey, zest, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger.  Serve with apple slices.  Boom. Done. 
The first time I made this I used the full amount of cardamom.  The boys weren’t thrilled.  It was a little too “spicey” so this time I used about 1/2 that amount.  Much better.  The boys LOVE it now!  We may or may not have had this twice today.  It’s got to be better for you than caramel, right? {note to caramel:  Please don’t be afraid that I will no longer enjoy your sugary goodness on my green apples, I just need a break for a little bit.  It’s not you, it’s me.  And my thighs.}
Go make it.  Right now.  So yummy!  I think this would also be awesome over some homemade vanilla bean ice cream.  Or maybe even used to sweeten tea or apple cider.  Hmmm, kind of seems like it might be the perfect treat for fall.  
Sharon
all photos are mine, yo

The Food Allergy Cookbook – Entertaining your Special Guests

Food allergies are totally on my mind right now.  My oldest son, the one with multiple food allergies, is about to start Kindergarten.  I have high anxiety for how the teacher and school will handle them.  I’ve been emailing with the school nurse and she was able to calm my nerves a bit, but until we actually get started and get in the swing of things, I don’t think I will really be able to ease up.  Finding out about my son’s allergies at age 1 was a life changer.  When I was asked if I wanted to review the cookbook, The Food Allergy Cookbook:  A Guide to Living with Allergies and Entertaining with Healthy, Delicious Meals by Carmel Nelson and Amra Ibrisimovic I said absolutely.  I am always looking for recipes my son (and the rest of my family) might enjoy.
These ladies learned of their food allergies a lot later in life and had to relearn how to cook for themselves with little help from doctors.  Although a lot of the recipes in this book are off limits for my son due to his egg allergy, I have learned how to adapt recipes to make them work – often with great results.  Most of the recipes featured are free from the top allergens so if you are comfortable with your own allergies and how to modify a recipe when necessary, this would be a great book for you.  This book is also perfect for the sympathetic hostess who is looking to be able to readily accommodate guests with food allergies.     

Not only does this book share individual recipes for main courses, side dishes, desserts, etc., but also includes full menu suggestions for holiday cooking and entertaining.  The only downside to this book is the food photography.  Not all of the photos are as appetizing as they could be.  But I certainly might just be spoiled by reading With Style and Grace daily.  

My favorite part of this book is that it is not dumbed down or simplified.  There is a variety of gourmet or ethnic themed recipes just without the usual allergens.  Aside from the recipes, the book also contains kitchen tips, suggestions for traveling with food allergies and also dealing with the medical community who may or may not be well versed in living with allergies.  This book was a labor of love for the two authors and I am grateful they took the time to do it.
Buy the book from Amazon.
Sharon
All photos are mine
I was sent a copy of the book for review.  All opinions are mine.

Ziggy Stardust Inspired Space 5th Birthday Party – Part 4

Often my parties have a unique theme which the guests may or may not know about.  I usually try to put info around for guests to find throughout the party.

The only thing O wanted for his party was a bounce house.  But our backyard isn’t big enough for one and so I thought it wasn’t going to work out.  Then our friends, Jimmy and Vanessa, offered their small bounce to use!  O was SO happy.  A HUGE thank you to them!  
Since my son is really in to music and because Ziggy Stardust is a rock star, I decided to set out all the toy musical instruments we had for the kids to play with.

This is sweet K.  If you look behind her you can see my fabric backdrop that I put up for the kids to jam in front of.  You can just barely make out the other feather garland made by Jenny.  How rad are K’s nails? 
photo by me
Here is a picture of Jenny’s garland I took after the party.  How gorgeous and fun are all those feathers?  These garlands must have taken her forever and I am so grateful that she made them for me!!!

I saw these masks in random blog posts around the web after I started planning the party.  I knew I had to have them.  Here is the link.  They print out small, pretty much kid sized, so if you want them for adults you need to blow them up a little. 
I decided that we needed to do another smash cake like the one we did for my other son’s party.  I asked Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop to make it this time because I wanted it to be way cuter than the other. :) It turned out super cute.
So you make a small cake, cut a hole out of the center then fill it with candy.  Then you cover the cake with a dome made of chocolate.  Then you give the kid a hammer and…
And the kids go wild!  I then cut the cake and let the kids go to town.  I don’t provide plates or silverware.  Its a free for all. 
It is one of my favorite party surprises.  This cake was vegan and the candy was friendly to O’s allergies.  
I’m going to wrap up the party tomorrow with a collage that will hopefully share the feeling of the whole party and since I know that some people don’t enjoy such long posts as all of them from this week, then they will have a quick post too.  Probably should have posted that first…whatevs.
Sharon
All photos by Dez and Tam

Ziggy Stardust Inspired Space 5th Birthday Party – Part 1

Kid's space party inspired by Ziggy Stardust. This invitation is my favorite.
Ok.  This post has been a LONG time coming.  My issue, when posting my parties, is always how do I organize it?  I totally over think it and try to make sure that there aren’t too many photos etc.  I get too wordy and I am burnt out writing the posts before I’ve even started.  So here is how this party is going to go:  I’m posting full photos, not collages.  The photos that Dez and Tam took blew my mind and I want to show you as many of them as I can.  I’ll point out things here and there but for the most part, the photos will do the talking.
To remind you all, this party was a Ziggy Stardust inspired space theme for my son’s 5th birthday party.  While most of the kids and parents wouldn’t know much about the story of Ziggy Stardust, I wanted to do a sort of glam rock inspired space party.  Above is the invitation that we created.  We had our friend Casey add the lightening bolt to O’s face.  It turned out awesome!
Space themed kid's birthday party decor.
DIY snack station for kid's space birthday party. Astronaut Fuel Station.
A DIY snack mix station is the perfect party food for kids.
Push Cakes for kid's birthday party.
Space themed smash cake for kid's birthday party.
The cupcakes, smash cake and Push Cakes (all vegan) were by Meringue Bake Shop and everyone LOVED them.
Smash cake idea for kid's birthday party fun. Bake a small cake, cut out a hole and fill with candy. Create a chocolate dome for over the top. Have the birthday boy break the chocolate and surprise the kid's with all the candy inside!
Smash cake idea for kid's birthday party fun. Bake a small cake, cut out a hole and fill with candy. Create a chocolate dome for over the top. Have the birthday boy break the chocolate and surprise the kid's with all the candy inside!
If you haven’t done one of these smash cakes yet you HAVE to! The kids totally freak out and love every minute of it! They are super messy, but you have to do it at least once!
And for the adults...champagne punch.Kid’s get juice. They like juice. But the adults LOVE champagne punch.
I used a ton of fabric accents throughout to add color.  For these lollies, I just cut small rectangles of fabric, wrapped the sticks and used a Glue Dot to secure them.  Super simple but extra special.
I have tried to group photos together in sections and I will be posting them over the next few days to spread them out.  I hope you all enjoy the party.  It was super fun and the kids and parents really enjoyed themselves.  And how ridiculous are these photos?  I am so beyond thrilled with the shots that Dez and Tam got.  Truly amazing talent and there couldn’t be a sweeter family.  For real!
Sharon
The photo of the lollipops is by me, all others by Dez and Tam.
Push Cakes and Cupcakes by Meringue Bake Shop
Party Photography by Dez and Tam
Invitation printing by Direct Edge Media
Vegan Caramel Corn made with love by Grandma Marilyn
Wood Cake Rounds made with love by Grandpa John
See the rest of this party here:
Part 2 – Party Activities
Part 3 – Space store for favors
Part 4 – Details

Tiny Prints – Review

I was contacted recently by Tiny Prints to see if I would be interested in reviewing their cards.  I’ve known about them for years, but never had the right opportunity to use them before.  Until now.  My mother-in-law asked me to help her with a 90th birthday party for my husband’s grandmother.  While I knew that Tiny Prints made adorable children’s party invites and cool, modern Christmas cards, I wasn’t sure what I would find in the way of adult invitations. 
I left the final decision making up to my mother-in-law (see the above) but found that they have a bunch of great options for adult invitations.  
Image via Tiny Prints – Painted Trunks in Cabernet

Although they have this sampled as a holiday party, it was easily found under a heading for birthday party invitations for adults.

Image via Tiny Prints – Festive Fanfare Bright Green

Love how modern the green and grey is and love the offset detail box.

Image via Tiny Prints – Inspired Garden: Begonia

And how fantastical is this chic floral invite?! I love everything about it.

Image via Tiny Prints – Allergy Alert Cards, Bright Boxes: Sky

But I was pleasantly surprised when I came across these Allergy Alert cards.  As some of you may know, my oldest son has multiple food allergies.  And with him about to start kindergarten and us contemplating taking him on a trip back east this summer, these cards could really come in handy.  And there are 4 different styles to choose from.  RAD.IC.LE.  

And I had no idea that they also had greeting cards.  I can’t tell you how many times I have fretted over having to run out to buy a greeting card to get it in the mail on time.  Sometimes you just don’t want to drag two kids over to Target, where there is a Lego section and where you could quite literally have two separate tantrums happening at once causing you to shed tears and sweat like a fat man.  Not saying that has happened…There are several ways they can help with the cards.  They can send them out for you and allow the card to arrive to the recipient faster and possibly on time for once in your life.  Or they can send the card to you, so you can personally sign it and then send it out from home.  Awesome.  And they also have business products, wedding invites and photo gifts.  Sheesh.  If Tiny Prints ran for prom queen she would probably win.  She’s got it all. 
I had a little hiccup with my ordering.  I had saved a draft in a folder but then couldn’t access it to put in my cart when I was ready to order.  I used the instant chat capability and within a minute I was chatting with a customer service rep and figured out the problem without having to grab the phone or wait to get an email back which may or may not have had the right answer.  I LOVE this option.  And once the order was placed, I received an email from a customer service rep.  She said that she had personally checked my order and sent it on to the printers.  There was a name and a phone number with an extension in case I had any questions or concerns.  What the what?!  That’s customer service, people! 
I had an awesome experience with Tiny Prints and would certainly use them again.  I’m not sure why I continually fret over my novice graphic design capabilities and try to design all my own invites when there are professionals and designers who do it so much better and can be obtained with the click of the mouse.  
If you haven’t used them yet, you should try them.  Don’t get me started about the envelope options…
Sharon
top 2 photos are mine