Saturday, August 8, 2015

Enjoy Life S'mores Brownies...

Next up on our Enjoy Life baking mixes cooking trials... the brownie!  Who doesn't love a brownie?!?  

Introducing our new favorite brownie baking mix...

As I was getting ready to whip up a batch of brownies this afternoon, I started debating some mix-in options and decided to go with our family favorite.... s'mores!

First step, I added in the 2 tbsp of oil and the 3/4 cup of water that the back of the box recommended.  HOWEVER, I removed 2 tsp of water from my measuring cup and instead mixed in 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 1 tsp of almond extract to the batter.

I also grabbed a few extras from the pantry to help with our s'mores theme...

And then I got mixing...

As always, these mixes come together so quickly, which is a great bonus.  Of course, my favorite feature is that they are Georgia safe - no nuts and no dairy!

Next, I greased up an 8 x 8 glass baking dish and placed half of the batter in the bottom. 

Then, the real fun began... I added some crushed up graham crackers and mini-marshmallows!  I then layered on the remaining batter and topped everything with more grahams, marshmallows and some Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate mini chips!  Measurements?!?!  None... I just sprinkled and layered GENEROUSLY!

Even before I put it in the oven, I wanted to dive in! 

Luckily, we didn't have to wait long - 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven and we were good to go!

The house smelled amazing and Georgia was dying to get a forkful of these, so I cut her up a chunk and waited for her expert opinion.

The verdict????

Thumbs up!  

I then remembered that I had bought some safe dairy-free "cool whip" for Georgia, so I dug that out of the freezer and plopped a scoop of that on top.  The brownies are beyond rich and have a major chocolate factor.  I knew our little Cocoa Loco-aholic was going to love them.

Our final thoughts - these s'mores brownies were crazy good!!

Disclosure: We were provided the new Enjoy Life baking mixes in order to try the new products.  Our family's thoughts and opinions are always our own!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Going Nuts!

Two weeks ago, we had our yearly appointment at the allergist's office.  We're there a lot more than that when we add in bloodwork, food challenges, etc., but this is our yearly pow-wow meeting. 

At the appointment, we confirmed that Georgia had no shellfish concerns.  As I mentioned in another post, I was still a tad nervous about just giving her shrimp or lobster, so the doctor let us do a skin test while we were there.  After 20 minutes, no reactions.  So, we've been totally cleared of shellfish.

While we were there, the doctor encouraged us to start giving Georgia tree nuts since her bloodwork does not show any issues and her skin tests have been cleared.  We already did a formal almond food challenge and a pistachio food challenge in the past year at the doctor's office and Georgia passed both.  The doctor encouraged us to try cashew, hazelnut, pecan and walnut at home. 

Cue the anxiety meds for Mommy!

My first issue became finding tree nuts without a cross contamination warning for peanuts.  Nearly impossible!  I hit up three grocery stores before I headed off to Whole Foods.  I still couldn't find any regular nuts without a warning.  Luckily, I discovered a cashew butter and hazelnut butter that were clearly marked safe for peanuts. 

Oooops - only took a picture of the cashew butter

First up... we tried cashew butter cookies!  I searched for an online recipe and ended up using this one HERE with a few modifications - regular sugar and regular flour.  The recipe was super quick and the dough came together very fast. 

First off... hello, cashew butter!  Where have you been my whole life?!?!  This stuff smelled and tasted delicious.  The whole house smelled amazing as these cookies baked.

Second... they tasted even better.  Nevermind peanut butter - I am officially a cashew butter gal now.  These cookies were delish!

We've done enough oral food challenges that I knew "what to do" in terms of how our allergist's office handles new food and introductions.  I know that every hospital and doctor does things a little differently, but this is what we are used to, so I followed her protocol.

I gave Georgia a teeny tiny crumb from one cookie, which she promptly inhaled and declared her undying love for these cookies (me too, G!).  Then we waited 10 minutes.  That first 10 minutes is always the hardest for me.  After, I kept giving her slightly larger chunks and waiting 10 minutes after each bite until she ate 3 whole cookies over the course of a few hours.  Yippee!! 

Over the subsequent days, she ate a cookie (or two) each day for about 5-7 days and we considered cashews a success! 

Next up... Hazelnut!

I didn't take a picture of the jar, but I found this image online:

Same company - Maisie Jane's

For some reason, when I first picked up the jar, I totally missed that it was CHOCOLATE flavored hazelnut butter.  So, basically, a dairy-free Nutella????  Yes, please!

Again, I searched the web for a cookie recipe and found one HERE.  It was for just a regular hazelnut butter, but chocolate never hurt anyone, so I went with it.

We repeated the exact same process that we did with the cashew butter cookies - small bites, long waits.  By the time she inhaled 3 full cookies over the course of a few hours, I felt pretty good about hazelnuts too.  She's been eating the cookies all week long, so it looks good.

Onto pecans and walnuts next.  Unfortunately, I still haven't found any without a peanut cross-contamination warning!  If anyone finds any or knows where I can order some, please let me know!!!  I'd love to hammer all these out before we head back to school in a few weeks.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday Fun-day Pancakes...

Sunday morning = pancakes in our house.  Nick is the official pancake and waffle master chef in our house, but Georgia and I assisted this morning on a very special project.

Since Enjoy Life was gracious enough to send us a box of their new pancake and waffle mix, we decided to experiment with a new recipe.  Georgia's only request... that the pancakes be pink and purple (Oh to be 4 years old again!).  Since we had enough batter for a third color, Nick's vote was blue.  Luckily, we discovered a box of food coloring leftover in the cabinet from Easter egg dying in the spring.

First, we mixed up our pancakes with a few changes to the box recipe. 
  • 2 cups of the pancake mix (see note below about adding 3tbsp of mix)
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. of confectioners sugar
  • 3 tbsp. of oil
  • 2 cups of vanilla rice milk (in place of the water)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp of almond extract
As always, Georgia was the perfect sous chef when adding ingredients to the mixer.

Next, we split the batter into three equal portions so we could mix in the food coloring.

Nick got the first batch going when we realized our mistake.... we added too many liquid ingredients to the baking mix.  The pancakes were very thin and too hard to flip.  Luckily, the easy solution was to just mix in an additional 1tbsp of the baking mix to each of the cups (for a total 3tbsp).  Instantly, the batter thickened to a better and thicker consistency and the pancakes fluffed up perfectly.

Patiently waiting for her pancakes

Nick whipped up batch after batch of colorful fun mini-pancakes...

Georgia inhaled pancake after pancake while double fisting (who needs a fork!?!?).  So I'd say these were a huge hit in our house!

 Disclosure: We were provided the new Enjoy Life baking mixes in order to try the new products.  Our family's thoughts and opinions are always our own!