Simple and easy chicken and rice

This recipe is so simple. Not a lot of ingredients, and not a lot of work. It’s healthy and wholesome. And…my daughter (who won’t eat anything but pasta) actually asked for seconds!!! It is also a really great basic recipe that can be modified to suit your tastes. You could easily make this using bone-in chicken pieces, I just prefer tenders (just keep in mind you may need to brown them first to ensure that they will cook through). You can also add any herbs you like, sometimes I add parsley. I also sometimes substitute 1/2  Cup of the stock for 1/2 Cup of white wine.

Chicken and Rice

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

1/2 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Cup white rice

2 Cups chicken stock (a flavorful stock will keep this recipe from being bland)

1 lb. chicken tenders, seasoned with salt and pepper

salt and pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add uncooked rice and cook until coated with oil, about 2-3 minutes. Add 2 Cups of chicken stock and bring to boil. Turn heat down to low, add chicken pieces to pan and cover. Cook about 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice and chicken are cooked. If the liquid absorbs before the rice is cooked add about another 1/4-1/2 Cup of stock. Season with salt and pepper and fluff rice with a fork before serving.

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Trick or Treat!

Isn’t this such an amazing time of year? I love the fall….the colors, the apples, the crispness. It marks the beginning of a stretch of holidays that are filled with fun, family and food. But, for food allergy families, events that revolve around food can be very stressful. In order to not take any of the fun out of the holiday season I find that the best thing a parent can do for their child is be prepared. When we travel for Thanksgiving, we bring JT’s entire meal. At Christmas time, we always have JT safe Christmas cookies and treats so he isn’t left out.

Halloween can be tougher though. It’s much more difficult to be in control of the foods that your child will be exposed to. Chris and I don’t want JT to miss out on any of the fun of Halloween so we do go Trick or Treating with him. When he was just a baby we only brought him to a few houses and didn’t even collect candy. When he was a toddler, we stashed our pockets with raisins and pretended to collect them from each family. We wondered what he would think of this strange holiday when you have to get dressed up and everyone gives you raisins 🙂 As he got older we would check out the candy supply at each house, (very briefly) explain JT’s allergies, and then take candy that was safe or pass on candy that wasn’t (although sometimes Chris will grab some chocolate for us to eat after the kids are asleep!). We always have a back up supply of candy at home so that if he were ever to come home empty-handed we would have a big stash of goodies waiting for him. I’m sure this will become even more difficult for us as he gets a little older and how much candy he collects becomes a bigger deal. I remember filling pillow cases to the brim as a kid. For now though, we are happy with a small haul. Who needs all that candy anyway?

If collecting candy from others is out of the question for you, consider these options:

  • Give pre-packed and sealed bags of treats to neighbors beforehand and collect only from those houses on Halloween
  • Give neighbors non-food treats beforehand (play-dough, squinkies, glow sticks, etc.)
  • Stash your pockets with safe treats and pretend, if your child is young enough!
  • Trick or Treat for FAAN

If you need ideas for “safe” candy check out this great list from AllergyMoms newsletter! And if you are NOT the parent of an allergic child you can help too. It’s certainly not your responsibility to know what children in your neighborhood can or can not eat, but it might be nice to keep a few things aside that are chocolate and peanut free…just in case. You could make some kids (Moms!) night!

Sunbutter cookies

The cutest helpers around!

I LOVE sunbutter!

This is a fairly recent discovery. I was reluctant to try sunbutter (made from sunflower seeds) with JT because I had heard that its color and texture were very similar to peanut butter. I was worried that if he got used to something so similar to peanut butter that he could get confused easily and mistake one for the other. Now he is old enough to understand the difference, so we decided to try some.

I was really hoping “SB + J’s” would become a fast favorite, but my kids are SUPER picky and so JT has decided he doesn’t like it, which means Molly won’t even try it 😦 But don’t let this dissuade you…I LOVE it!!! And I think if my kids weren’t so darn picky they would love it too.  I love sunbutter and jelly sandwiches (I had SO missed PB+J’s), and I love it on toast and as a snack on crackers. It’s texture, color and smell are very close to peanut butter and it’s delicious. It has a deeper and richer flavor than peanut butter. I actually think I prefer it.

I found a sunbutter cookie recipe on pinterest and was over-joyed! Peanut butter cookies were one of my favorite treats and after falling for sunbutter I knew it would make a good alternative. I used this recipe from baking bites, using JT safe butter and replacing the egg with 3/4 of a jar of stage 2 banana baby food. Just making that criss-cross pattern on the top of the cookie made me happy! The kids had a great time helping me make them too! And they came out great, they are DELICIOUS! I find them to be slightly saltier than a peanut butter cookie. I’m so excited to have another cookie recipe to add to my pretty small cookie repertoire. (Don’t be alarmed if the inside of the cookie turns a greenish color, it’s due to “cholorgenic acid” which is found in the sunflower plant and is totally normal)

Yummy sunbutter cookies!

allergen free slow cooker meatballs

Allergen free slow cooker meatballs.

1 lb. ground turkey

1/2 Cup panko breadcrumbs (You can also use crushed rice krispies for wheat free. Or if you are able to have italian breadcrumbs use them and omit the next 6 ingredients.)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1-2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 large (or 1 small) onion, chopped

1 jar pasta sauce ( I used Classico fire roasted tomato and garlic)

1 can crushed tomatoes

1/2 can tomato paste

1 green pepper sliced thin (optional)

In a bowl mix ground turkey, breadcrumbs, salt, parsley, pepper, onion powder, oregano, basil, garlic and onion. Shape the mixture into 16 meatballs. In the slow cooker mix the jar of pasta sauce, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and pepper (if desired). Place the meatballs into the sauce and cook on low for about 6 hours.

I’m no photographer…but here they are in the crock pot.

JT’s first wedding

My very nearest and dearest friend got married this past weekend. The whole weekend was amazing, from the rehearsal dinner to the post wedding brunch. Every detail was perfect. I was a bridesmaid, my husband did a reading and JT was “Ring Security”. I opted to keep Molly at home with Grammy and Grampy for the weekend, which was the right decision, but I felt horribly guilty about it the entire time.

I was really nervous about feeding JT at both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding. I really just don’t trust anyone else to be as careful as I am with his food.  Luckily all of the events were held at the beautiful Hyatt Harborside which made everything much, much easier for us.  Prior to the wedding, I spoke to the wonderful wedding coordinator and she said we could bring anything we needed for JT and they would do whatever we requested to prepare it.  We opted to keep things as simple as possible and brought pasta that only needed to be popped into the microwave for both nights.  When we first arrived at our hotel room we realized that there was no refrigerator. Once I explained JT’s allergies to the concierge he had a refrigerator to us within a few minutes. I can’t say enough about how great the staff was.

Look at these 2 handsome guys!!

JT was amazing all weekend. He danced like crazy (until it was time for Grampy to come pick him up and bring him home for the night) and was his usual polite and personable self. And most importantly, we didn’t have any allergy issues! Sometimes when we have a succesful weekend like that I wonder if I’m too careful with JT.  I wondered the same thing after our trip to Disney World last year.  I’ve heard they are so great at handling food allergies, but I still brought all of JT’s food to the restaurants. Then last night Chris and I got some take-out from a local restaurant and there was a walnut in my french onion soup. Luckily I don’t have any allergies, but it did confirm that I am not too careful with JT. I think for right now, I can’t be “too careful”.

Mom and JT