Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Easy Christmas goodies

Have you noticed that I still haven't gotten around to posting about our Disney vacation? I have been lazy the past few weeks, just enjoying the holiday season, baking up some yummy things, and spending time with our family. But I had to post about a couple of things I did lately that are so incredibly easy to make, and are safe for kiddos with Ainsley's allergies.

First, I made peppermint bark for the first time, and it was a hit. The directions are as follows:

Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free Peppermint Bark


2 bags safe chocolate chips

About 5 mini-candy canes or 2-3 full-sized ones (I used Spangler brand because the box said the candy canes do not contain any of Ainsley's allergens and are made on dedicated equipment)


-Put candy canes in a gallon-sized plastic ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin until they are in very small pieces.

-Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper.

-Pour the two bags of safe chocolate chips into the pan, making sure to spread them out pretty evenly.

-Put pan in the oven at 375 degrees for about 5 minutes. Check after five minutes - if the chips appear to be melting, take pan out and tap on the counter to spread out the chocolate so that it gets (relatively) flat and smooth. If the chocolate chips haven't melted enough to do this, put in the oven for a minute or two more. Be sure not to overcook the chocolate chips, as they will eventually dry out in the oven and not be spreadable.

-If the tapping doesn't completely smooth out the melted chocolate, you can use a spatula to smooth the top of it.

-Sprinkle crushed candy canes on top of chocolate. Cool pan in refrigerator until chocolate is solid. Then break into pieces.

Here is a pic of the LAST piece of ours!

I also took a reader's suggestion and, for the first time, made chocolate pudding using Jell-O instant pudding mix and coconut milk (we are loving being able to use coconut!). We were completely enamored with the result.

Dairy-free Instant Chocolate Pudding


1 can (about 13.5 oz) regular coconut milk

1 box Jell-O chocolate instant pudding mix


-In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the 1 can of coconut milk and 1 cup of water.

-Refrigerate bowl for about 20 minutes or stick in the freezer for about 10 minutes to make sure mixture is cool (you could also chill can of coconut milk before opening it and mixing it with the water).

-Take bowl out of refrigerator and add the Jell-O instant pudding mix. Whisk for ~2 minutes. If you can wait, refrigerate for 15-30 minutes before eating. If not, eat right away!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I don't feel so bad about Ainsley not being able to eat school lunches ...

I know it's been a long time since I've posted. I was busy at work, then with Thanksgiving, and most importantly, with planning and going on our huge Disney trip, which we took last week. It was WONDERFUL, and I am currently working on a long post that describes our adventure, complete with pictures.

But for now, I wanted to post this disturbing news blip that I read this morning. It is an article that says the meat served at fast-food chains is from better-quality animals, and is the result of far higher testing standards, than the meat served in public schools. This makes me feel a little better about the fact that Ainsley won't be able to eat school lunches next year in kindergarten, and relieves some of my parental guilt about allowing her to eat about once a week at McDonald's and Wendy's (pretty much the only two restaurants I allow her to eat at, because their limited selection and use of dairy-free buns means it's a safe alternative to my cooking).