Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

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Ingredients:

1 large (or 2 small) roasted red peppers*

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained

3 tbsp. sesame seeds (ground or whole)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

2-3 cloves garlic (or 1 tsp. garlic powder)

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cumin

3/4 tsp. paprika

3/4 tsp. ground coriander

3/4 tsp. onion powder

2 dashes of cayenne pepper

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Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and puree until smooth.  I use the tamber to move all ingredients toward the blade while pureeing with the Vitamix.  If you need to, stop and stir during processing to make sure everything gets incorporated and your hummus is smooth.

Mmmmmmmmmmm-licious

I mixed my spice blend and just tossed it in when I was ready to make the hummus.  I like to do little things in advance to make life easier when the littles are begging for lunch.  Also, the lemon pictured was a dry as it looks.  I supplemented the juice from it with some bottled lemon juice from the fridge.

*You can roast your own red peppers or buy them already roasted.  These that I used are from Costco and the peppers are whole.  I have also roasted my own and it works well.  Just cut your pepper in half and remove seeds.  Place halves with the opening face down and place under the broiler on low.  Keep a close eye on them so you don’t burn them.  When they start to char, flip them over.  When the underside starts turning brown, remove the pepper halves and cover them in foil.  Let them cool for about 15 minutes.  The foil will keep moisture in so they will continue to steam and soften.  They will be ready to use when cooled.

Coconut Crunch Granola Bars: GF, Vegan, Peanut and Tree Nut Free

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My girls have pretty active sweet tooths (sweet teeth?) just like their Mommy.  One of their favorite treats is a granola bar.  Cascadian Farms makes two granola bars we have found that are egg, dairy, peanut, tree nut free.  They are Harvest Berry and Oatmeal Raisin.  The girls love them, but they can be difficult to find.  Stores around us are inconsistent carrying these and the other Cascadian Farms flavors are not safe for us.  It can be quite frustrating to search for a product in two or three stores where you have seen them before and come up empty handed.

This seems to be happening more and more, which is driving me to find or create more recipes for the foods we love.  There is nothing more safe or guaranteed healthy than a homemade version because I can control the ingredients and the process.  I know these are made in an allergen free facility because I’m the kitchen manager.  (Self proclaimed, of course.)

I started by searching for yummy looking granola bar recipes that I could modify.  I found these on the Bless This Mess blog, which I love, and they looked so good to me… Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars.  Of course, for us, there are at least three reds flags in the name alone (chocolate=dairy, PB=nuts, pretzel=gluten), so I knew I would be in for some big changes.

My version does have coconut, so if you can’t have that, all you have to do is replace the coconut oil with safe “butter” alternative of your choice and omit the coconut flakes.

These are going to be a new staple at our house.  The best part is, I will never have to go on a hunt for safe granola bars again.

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Coconut Crunch Granola Bars

Ingredients:

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1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup honey (substitute molasses or agave for vegan version)

1/2 cup WowButter

2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

3 1/2 cup gluten free oats

1 cup brown rice cereal (I use Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal)

2 cups Glutino pretzels

2/3 cups Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

4 tbsp. Unsweetened shredded coconut

2 Tbsp. Chia seeds

First, the fun part.  You need to schmoosh your pretzels.  The girls helped with this task, as they are professional food schmooshers.  We do it with ziplock bags and toy hammers, but any way you want to crumble them up will be acceptable.

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Combine your pretzel pieces, oats, rice cereal, coconut flakes, and chia seeds in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan, heat the coconut oil, brown sugar, honey, Wowbutter, and vanilla over med heat, stirring constantly.  It will bubble slightly as you stir.  Keep stirring until it looks smooth and the sugar looks dissolved, then remove from heat and pour immediately over the oat mixture.  Stir together until well combined.

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Press the mixture into two square 8×8 pans or one 9×13 rectangular pan, which has been lined with parchment paper.  If you have two helpers, like I did, I recommend using two pans.  Then sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and press them into the bars.  They will begin melting, so be quick or your hands will be covered in melted chocolate.  Resist the urge to cut them right away.  I tried and they fell apart.  Place them in the fridge until they are cool and solid (about 15-20 minutes should do it).

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Then lift them out of the pans, paper and all, cut them into your desired shape and enjoy!

A good sharp knife works best.  I thought a pizza cutter would be clever, but it didn’t work too well.  A good sharp knife.

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“Mommies Mean Business” Monday: Nicole Demick

by guest author Nicole Demick

Nicole MMB Photo

Nicole Demick Photography – Capturing Life’s Moments

Wow, it’s difficult trying to write about myself and my business. To start, my name is Nicole, and I am a full time mother, full time speech language pathologist at a skilled nursing facility, and I run a business on the side, Nicole Demick Photography. I also have an obsession with Robert Downey Jr, shamelessly am a Harry Potter freak, and am addicted to chocolate.

It all started with me getting frustrated with trying to find a photographer to do my newborn daughter’s pictures. I just couldn’t see paying someone $500 after paying the hospital $4000 for the birth. I eventually found someone reasonable, however she was 45 minutes away, and after our newborn sessions, rates went up to $400 a session.

Frustrated, I paid for her first birthday pictures with a different photographer and was disappointed in what I received, so realizing I had spent as much on my dear daughter’s first year pictures (from newborn to 1) as a camera would have cost me (hindsight is 20/20), I went out and got a new camera.

It started off with a lot of frustration on how to work this camera with lots of buttons and modes, so I went to a couple of workshops, learned how to put my camera in manual mode, and a new passion (other than working with stroke patients) was born. A couple of friends asked for me to take their pictures, then by word of mouth my business, Nicole Demick Photography was born.

I offer maternity, newborn, family, child, couple, lifestyle, engagement, and wedding session. I fell into wedding photography, long drawn out story and probably a whole other blog session on its own, but I

Please check out www.facebook.com/nicoledemickphotography and like my page.

I also have a blog, www.nicoledemickphotography.wordpress.com, I am currently catching up on sessions, and working on the blog.

I am just an average working mother, running a business and working a full time job. My biggest challenge in life is trying to get my toddler to sleep in her own bed, but by my own admission, I don’t try that hard. I juggle as well as I think I can juggle, and just try to live life to the fullest.

Thanks for reading a little blurb about me and my life!

*Any opinions expressed within this blog post are those of the author. For the most up to date information, prices, offers and more regarding this Mommy’s business and/or products, please contact the featured mommy directly. Supportive comments are also welcome!!!  Thank you for reading and sharing.
 -Allergenmenumom

Recipe: Black Bean Hummus

All I can say is, after eating this hummus, you will never again be satisfied by store bought.  You have been warned.

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Black Bean Hummus

Ingredients:

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained

1 can black beans, drained

3 tbsp. sesame seeds

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. salt

2-3 cloves garlic or 1 tsp. garlic powder

3/4 tsp. coriander

3/4 tsp. onion powder

2 dashes cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor.  You can grind the sesame seeds first in the food processor, or just leave them whole.  I do it both ways and I am not bothered by whole seeds, so choose your preference.  Blend to a smooth texture.  With the Vitamix, I use the tamper to move everything down toward the blades, but if you need to stop your food processor and stir it around for this purpose, do what you need to do to get it all smooth.

That’s it.  It’s too easy not to try.  Play around with the spices and customize it to your own tastes.  Don’t be afraid to add extra flavors or reduce others.  It can be really fun to experiment with the flavors.

A word to the wise…If you’re trying to get a photo of this stuff, you had better work quickly.  I turned my back for a split second and little sister had already swooped in.

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“Mommies Mean Business” Monday: Randi Eccleston

Today’s Mommy has been a huge blessing to my family and to many many other families in the Charlotte area with food allergies.  She has chaired our local FARE Walk and has put in countless hours of hard work for these events.  As a food allergy parent, I can say without a doubt that the absolute most important resource is other food allergy parents.  Thank you, Randi!  Now, get to know this wonderful Mommy and her business…

by guest author Randi Eccleston

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Randi Eccleston began teaching in the late 90’s as a substitute teacher at a Montessori school and she fell in love with the philosophy. It just spoke to her! She went from substitute to assistant to lead teacher.  After about 15 years in the classroom she decided to leave teaching to stay home with her children. After she was home for a year she learned that her youngest daughter has a life threatening food allergy to tree nuts. This eventually led Randi to become involved with the local food allergy walk. She was chair of the walk for three years. Randi still felt the urge to teach so she recently started a small Montessori playgroup. It meets at the Indian Trail Cultural Arts Center. Her classes meet every Tuesday. The toddler class meets from 10-11 and the three year old and up class meets from 1-2. Each class is $10 or $35 for 4 sessions. Randi runs two blogs, one about Montessori and one about food allergies. She has been happily married for 16 years and she has two amazing daughters.

*Any opinions expressed within this blog post are those of the author. For the most up to date information, prices, offers and more regarding this Mommy’s business and/or products, please contact the featured mommy directly.  Supportive comments are also welcome!!!  Thank you for reading and sharing.  -Allergenmenumom

“Mommies Mean Business” Monday: Tracy Bush

by guest author Tracy Bush
Nutrimom | Allergy Phoods

Tracy Bush
Nutrimom – Food Allergy Liason

Pfafftown, NC USA 

Tracy Bush is the founder and President of Nutrimom, Inc., a consulting business that specializes in food allergies and helps to provide guidance and support for anyone that has been diagnosed with food allergies. She consults with a variety of people of all ages and has previous work experience with a Medical Doctor in New Jersey. Her experience began prior to starting her business when her own son was diagnosed with multiple food allergies that were life-threatening. Tracy now resides in North Carolina with her husband and two children.

In 2011, her blog was nominated on The Babble List for Top 100 Food Blogs of 2011, of which it maintained her nomination within the top two ranking. She was also recognized in several issues of Bon Appetite, People and Southern Living Magazine during 2011 for her personal quote that was used as part of Alexia Foods marketing.

In 2012, Tracy welcomed several honors, such as joining the Advisory Panel for The Allergy Menu, a winner in the 2012 Startup Nation Leading Moms in Business Competition as well as the Circle of Moms Top 25 Food Allergy Bloggers of 2012.

In 2013, Tracy was one of 16 food allergy bloggers that were invited to attend the first and second Blogger Summit hosted by Mylan Specialty (makers of Epipen). One of Tracy’s recipes appeared in Enjoy Life Foods 2013 e-cookbook, wrote multiple blog posts for with Surf Sweets Organic Candies & Gummies and had a featured interview on PeanutAllergy.com. Tracy made an appearance on MTN18 television, promoting what she offers to people as well as showcasing Wholly Wholesome Gluten Free Pie Crusts. Tracy also helped to promote the Freeling Friday Fundraiser for (FWFA) Kids with Food Allergies in August. In September, She spearheaded and single-handedly had the first FARE Walk for Food Allergies in Winston-Salem, North Carolina as well as having the honor of being invited to attend the first US Anaphylaxis Summit hosted by (AANMA) Allergy Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics and sponsored by Mylan Specialty in Washington, D.C.

Tracy has written several product reviews for Enjoy Life Foods, Home Free, Wink Desserts, Sun Butter and many others as well as having a guest blog for the “It’s an Itchy Little World” blog.
Tracy plans to continue do more work for the community. Tracy has also published her book titled “The Stepping Stones to Food Allergies”, a resource guide for the initial phase of food allergies which can be ordered from her website at http://www.AllergyPhoods.com .Tracy currently helps the community by working with many Doctors in her area, attending company health events and donating her time when it’s needed.

Tracy’s website can be found at http://www.AllergyPhoods.com, her blog at http://allergyphoods.blogspot.com/ and she is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TracyBNutrimom.

*Any opinions expressed within this blog post are those of the author. For the most up to date information, prices, offers and more regarding this Mommy’s business and/or products, please contact the featured mommy directly.  Supportive comments are also welcome!!!  Thank you for reading and sharing.  -Allergenmenumom