Living Free Expo Jacksonville Florida

Are you someone or do you have someone in your life that is touched with food allergies? Have you ever wanted to sample different allergen friendly snacks to see how are before you buy them? Have you ever wanted to get more information, advice, and tips on living with food allergies? Well then listen up! I have some news…

The Living Free Expo will be arriving in Jacksonville, Florida on May 18th, and you will not want to miss this. This will be an amazing show full of information, samples, and so much more. Make plans to be there!!! I know my family will be there and I hope to see you all there too! #LivingFreeExpo

Easy Sensible Carrot Cake

If you were to ask me what my favorite cake memories involved growing up, I would have to say without a doubt carrot cake. My mom absolutely loved carrot cake and everything that came with it. I remember her treating herself every once in awhile to a carrot cake bar or getting a small carrot cake for dessert. Thinking about it, what is not to love about carrot cake? It has fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, dairy, and amazing flavor. But, is there a way to make a version of carrot cake easily accessible for people with allergens? You better believe it!

First, we got to gather up some supplies.

Easy Sensible Carrot Cake

  • 1 box King Arthur Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 2/3 cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 cup Vegan Butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 2 cups Shredded Carrot
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • Pinch Ground Nutmeg
  • Pinch Ground Cloves
  • Frosting: Pamela’s Gluten-Free Vanilla Frosting
  • 4 oz Kite Hill Almond Milk Cream Cheese
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar

Notes:

  • You can also add these optional ingredients to enhance the flavor of your cake: 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, 1/4 cup raisins, 1/2 cup chopped pecans or chopped walnuts
  • Feel free to finish off this cake with a Cream Cheese Icing. I have included the Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, and Gluten-Free Version that I used.
  • This mix can be made into a sheet cake, round cake, or even muffins. The options are limited only to your imagination.
  • Although I used King Arthur Gluten-Free Cake Mix, you can use whatever brand you prefer. Just understand the results may be different.

Alright, now that we have everything together. Let’s get started!

1)Prepare the Yellow Cake Mix per the manufacturers directions on the box.

2) Finely grate the carrots. (I like to use a microplane to zest and grate vegetables, it is my favorite kitchen tool)

3) Gather together the Grated Carrots, Ground Cinnamon, Ground Nutmeg, and Ground Cloves. Add these ingredients to the prepared cake mix.

4) Mix together until well combined.

5) Pour the cake mix into prepared cake pans.

6) Bake at 350F until lightly browned and completely baked in the middle. The cake will bounce back or a toothpick will come out clean when done. Bake times will vary due to the difference in sizing of pans.

7) Once the cake is completely baked, allow to cool completely. Once cooled completely, you can overturn one layer onto a large plate to make a layered cake.

8) Now it is time to make the frosting. I used Pamela’s Gluten-Free Vanilla Frosting and adapted the recipe.

9) Prepare the frosting per the manufacturers directions.

10) Add the Cream Cheese and Powdered Sugar and Blend Well.

11) Spread some of the icing on the one layer evenly. Turn out the second layer on top of the first layer. Now spread more icing over the cake and completely cover the cake as desired. (You can decorate the cake however you would like at this point)

12) Now just sit back and Enjoy!

Savory Stuffing

Alright, so my favorite side dish at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner is hands down, the stuffing. I have very fond memories of growing up and helping my mom make the stuffing and getting the turkey ready for the big feast. You better believe that no Color Me Sensible diet was going to stop me from having my stuffing this year. So after looking around, I discovered that they actually make Gluten-Free stuffing mixes. I was amazed and so happy. Here is how I went about my very savory stuffing this year.

Savory Stuffing

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup Raw Turkey Sausage
  • 1/4 cup dried Sweetened Cranberries
  • 1/8 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 cups Gluten-Free Chicken Broth
  • 5 tbsp Vegan Butter

Alright, so now that we have all the ingredients together, let’s get started!

1.Take the Chicken Broth and Heat up till it is steaming.

2. Add the Vegan Butter to the Chicken Broth and allow to melt completely.

3. This is the brand of stuffing mix that I used. Place the stuffing cubes into a mixing bowl.

4. Take your Celery and Onion and diced into small dices.

5. Gather up the Onions, Celery,Cranberries, Almonds, Turkey Sausage, and Seasonings.

5. Add all the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl and mix until they are combined completely. Make sure that the sausage is crumbled up into small pieces throughout.

5. Add your Chicken Broth mixture to the bread mixture and allow to soak in for a moment.

6. Once the bread mixture has soaked up the chicken broth, Place into prepared pan. I used muffin tins for this, but you could also use another casserole dish or prepare and stuff into a turkey.

7. Bake at 350F until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165F.

8. Enjoy!


Color Me Sensible Cheesecake

If someone would have asked me the one dessert that I missed the most since having to switch to my new Color Me Sensible diets, I would have to say hands down it is cheesecake. I have such fond memories of my mom making my dad cheesecake for every one of his birthdays. Unfortunately, the recipe for her cheesecake has remained a secret since she passed away 4 years ago. We are still looking for it to this day, hoping we will find it to rekindle the perfect cheesecake. That being said, since my change of diets, I have eagerly looked for a cheesecake that I could enjoy. I have tried several store dairy-free and gluten-free items, but I did not enjoy their texture. Upon doing research, most of the recipes online included cashews, which I cannot have either. So the mission was set forth to create a cheesecake that I could eat, that would satisfy my love and fond memories of this epic dessert.

After much finagling, I finally came upon a recipe that satisfied both my flavor needs and my Color Me Sensible restrictions. This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free, but full of great flavor.  So, fasten your seatbelts, let’s gather up these ingredients.

Color Me Sensible Cheesecake

  • 2 cups Gluten-Free Graham Crackers
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup Vegan Butter (melted)
  • 3- (8 oz) Kite Hill Almond Milk Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Lemon Zest
  • 2/3 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1/3 cup Vegan Butter (melted)

Notes:

  • You can also use any other milk substitute in replace for the Coconut Milk
  • Feel free to play with the flavor profiles and change it up to showcase your cravings.
  • The almond milk cream cheese can also be replaced with another dairy free cream cheese substitute

So now that we are ready, let’s get started!

1.Preheat your oven to 350F.

2. Take a 9″ Springform pan or 9″ Cake Pan and grease the insides. (If using a springform pan, wrap the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil to prevent seepage of water into it pan)

3. Get another pan that is larger than the pan you are using, this will be used to create a water bath.

4. Take your graham crackers and place them in food processor to chop them up into crumbs.

5. In a microwave safe container, melt the butter for the crust.

6. In a bowl, combine the Graham Cracker crumbs, 2 tbsp Sugar, lemon zest, and the Melted Butter.

7. Place the mixture into the bottom of the pan you are using and press down to cover the bottom completely.

8. In a mixing bowl, beat the Cream Cheese until light and fluffy.

9. Add the remaining Sugar and continue to mix until it is light and fluffy.

10.  While the mixer is mixing, add eggs one at a time, making sure to encorporate fully after each addition.

11. Make the dairy-free heavy cream as follows. Melt the 1/3 cup Vegan Butter and whisk into the 2/3 cup Coconut Milk. Once it is smooth, the Heavy Cream is done.

12. Add the Heavy Cream to the mixing bowl and continue to beat until incorporated.

13. Increase the mixing bowl speed to high and then add the Lemon Juice and Vanilla Extract.

14. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

15. Place the prepared pan inside the bigger pan and add water to the bigger pan to about half-way up the prepared pan.

16. Bake at 350F for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

17. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before refrigerating to set completely.

18. Top as you desire and Enjoy!


Sensible Pumpkin Bread

Halloween ushers in a wonderful time of the year for me, FALL BAKING!!

Okay, I know I live in Florida and our fall is at best summer 2, but I love holiday baking season kicking in right after the Halloween pumpkins get carved up. In our family, Pumpkin Bread and Pumpkin Muffins are a staple after Halloween. They have such a warmth and comfort to them that really makes us feel at home. As soon as we carve up our pumpkin I begin the process of making ALOT of Pumpkin Bread to hopefully get us through the week..lol.

I want to share with you guys the recipe that has been tried and true in our household for years. Of course, make sure to make any dietary substitutions that you need. Let’ gather up the ingredients!

Sensible Pumpkin Bread

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Vegan Butter, melted
  • 15 oz Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/3 cup Almond Milk
  • 2 cups Gluten-Free Flour
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil

Notes:

  • You can add any additional toppings or flavor elements you like. We added Dark Chocolate Chips and Dried Cranberries
  • This recipe works well as Loaves, Muffins, and even Little Muffin Tops.
  • Make batches ahead of time and freeze loaves in the freezer to use as desired
  • You can always substitute out the eggs as well to make this a Vegan Friendly recipe

Now that we have gathered all of our ingredients. Let’s get Started!

1)Preheat oven to 350F.

2)Gather up all ingredients.

3)Place butter in microwave safe bowl and heat until melted.

4)Bring together Melted Butter, Brown Sugar, Sugar, and Vegetable Oil.

5)Place into mixing bowl and mix on low speed until thoroughly incorporated.

6)Add Eggs, Pumpkin Puree, and Almond Milk to the mixer. Mix until thoroughly incorporated and smooth.

7)Add Ground Cloves, Ground Cinnamon, Ground Nutmeg, Salt, and Baking Powder into mixing bowl. Mix until incorporated.

8)Add the Gluten Free Flour into mixing bowl. Mix until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Make sure to scrape down the mixing bowl sides to ensure the mixture is mixed thoroughly.

9)Prepare Baking pans by greasing them thoroughly. Add mix into pans spreading evenly. Add any desired toppings at this time.

10)Bake in the oven at 350F for 50 minutes. Make sure that you test the center for doneness by using a toothpick and inserting into middle. When it comes out clean, the bread is done.

11)Allow to cool thoroughly on a cooling rack.

12)Enjoy!


Spooky Chocolate Cookie Cutouts

Who says that Cutout cookies are just for the Winter Holidays? I absolutely love making character and shape cutout cookies with the kids during the various seasons of the year. Halloween is no exception. What I love most about this recipe is the rich cocoa flavoring that just seems to encapsulate Halloween to me. With a flavor profile that crosses somewhere between a brownie and a shortbread cookie, this recipe is soon to be one of your family’s favorites.

Let’s get together our ingredients.

Spooky Chocolate Cookie Cutouts

2 cups Gluten-Free Cup for Cup Flour

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 cup  Vegan Butter, Softened

1 cup raw sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

For the Icing

1 cup Powdered Sugar

1/4 cup Almond Milk

1/4 cup Cocoa Powder

1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract

Sprinkles

 

Also need cookie cutters in any shape you want to use.

Now that we have everything together, Let’s get started!!

 

1)Gather together all the ingredients for the cookies

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2)In a mixing bowl, add your vegan butter, raw sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat until it is smooth and creamy.

3)Crack the egg into a small bowl and then add to the ingredients in the mixer. Mix until smooth.

4)Add the Gluten-Free Flour, Cocoa Powder, Salt, and Baking Powder into the mixer. Mix until a soft dough forms

5)Once the dough has come together, place the finished dough into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

6)Preheat your oven to 375F.

7)Remove dough from refrigerator and lightly dust the workspace with some additional Gluten-Free Flour. Roll out the dough to approximately 1/8″thick

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8)Use your desired cookie cutters to cut out the shapes and place gently onto a cookie sheet

9)Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, making sure that they are slightly browned on edges.

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10)Once cookies are done baking, place on a cooling rack to ensure that they cool completely.

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11) Gather together the ingredients for the Icing.

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12)In a mixing bowl, place the Powdered Sugar, Almond Milk, Cocoa Powder, and Vanilla Extract and whisk together until smooth.

13)Using a spoon, spread the icing across the cookie shapes. Finish off with sprinkles.

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14)Share and Enjoy!!

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Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event

Imagine being able to go to an event where you don’t have to worry about finding something that will fit in to your Color Me Sensible Diet. Imagine going into a convention center and just knowing that no matter where you go, you can enjoy what is being offered. Sounds like a dream right?

On Saturday November 3, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fl, vendors, experts, and the like will get together to help bring awareness and information to all those that are affected or just interested in learning more about gluten and allergen issues with food. Companies will be offering samples of food for attendees to taste and discover new possibilities with their Color Me Sensible diets. There will be experts on hand to answer questions and give advice to all those in need. I am super excited to be able to meet with these leading professionals in the field and learn more that will not only help myself, but I will be able to help share with you all.

Are you as excited about this opportunity as I am?

Well you should be!! You can get your tickets now at the site listed above to ensure your spot in this amazing event.

Want to know how you can also get tickets?

Comment on this post and tell me why YOU want to attend the Gluten & Allergen Wellness Event in Jacksonville, Fl. Four(4) lucky followers will win tickets to attend the event.

Ticket Giveaway

So join me and lets embark on this journey and learn more about our Color Me Sensible diets!!

My Unexpected Trip to the ER

So yesterday afternoon started off as just another day of me attempting to try new options for foods, and ended with me being rushed to the ER. I would normally not post about what happened to me yesterday, but i truly feel like my experience and what I have learned from it, could save a life.

Since my gallbladder surgery, my diet has been somewhat limited in order to keep up with my new intolerance’s and make sure that I don’t cause myself unneeded pain and discomfort. My biggest struggle that I have found right now has been varying my options for meats. Let’s be honest, chicken and fish just get boring sometimes. I have heard so much raving about a tree fruit that is being used in Vegan recipes because it mimics pulled pork, it’s called Jackfruit. I have talked about it to my daughter and dad several times, and he happened to pick up a package of “BBQ Jackfruit” that you heat up and put on a slider. So…. yesterday I figure why not. Let’s try this!

After heating up the mixture on the stove, I placed some of it on top of a Gluten-Free Bread slice. I know what you are thinking….. She is sooooo fancy. Right? But seriously, this stuff smelt so good and was begging for me to try it. So I tried a bite and you know what? It tasted fantastic!! So I had a few more bites. Then I noticed my tongue was starting to tingle and I was feeling tight in my throat like something was stuck in it. I immediately decided to stop eating it. Then my original concern turned into panic, because I was having a hard time breathing and was feeling very not normal.

My dad rushes me to the ER, because it is obvious I am having a severe allergic reaction. I take the box of the mix with me to the ER, because I needed to see what happened. On the way to the ER I begin reading the ingredients. I am trying to keep calm doing a preliminary check of what I have and haven’t eaten before to figure out what was trying to kill me. Going through all the ingredients and they all seem like stuff I use daily except for 2: tamarind paste and Jackfruit. I sit here in the car wondering what exactly is tamarind paste and have I possibly ever eaten it. After questioning several chefs and looking up ingredients to items on line, I have determined that I have successfully eaten tamarind paste a lot. So the culprit is down to Jackfruit, as I have never had it before this time.

We get to the ER and they can now visibly see on my face that I am definitely having an allergic reaction, so they get an IV in me and push Benadryl, steroids, and some other stuff I can’t remember because I was trying to concentrate on not rubbing my nose off with steel wool to make it stop itching. Honestly, I was so happy once the drugs started to kick in, because I thought I was going to just stop breathing. Once I am more stable, the doctors ask me more questions and determine that it really had to be the Jackfruit that caused all this and that I should never ever ever eat it again. I wholeheartedly agreed.

Now I am sent home, and really still trying to figure out what caused it and why such a severe reaction. So I start doing all this research online into Jackfruit and what it is. From my research it says that there are like really barely any person ever who has had a reaction to this stuff. So of course my first instinct is to immediately play the lemon card, because my body just seems to want to give in on me sometimes. Yet, after more research I find out that Jackfruit has the same allergen in it as Birch trees, and that people who are highly allergic to birch trees can be highly allergic to Jackfruit. Well that solves the  mystery! I am severely allergic to birch trees, but why on earth would I ever think a food would give me a problem because of this? Then it dawned on me…

There are severe allergens that people have that are environmental or contact based that people suffer from all the time. A lot of these allergens can be found in trace amounts in food items around the world. Latex sufferers have to be mindful that they can be allergic to several fruits because of their latex allergy. With my new found severe allergy I realized that I needed to make sure that people were aware of this situation.

It is so important that when you are trying a new food item for yourself, your family, and especially small children, that it is done in small amounts. You need to give the person time to see if they are going to have an allergic reaction to the ingredient. Especially in children who are young, these severe reactions can be fatal. Pediatricians have guidelines on when to try the major allergens with kids as they develop. It is important that these guidelines are followed. Those guidelines are making sure that children’s immune systems have had the chance to develop to the point that they can accept those possible allergens into their system. Women who are breastfeeding must also be aware that everything you eat, your baby drinks in trace amounts. So if you are eating the major allergens, they can have a reaction to it.

I am going to add a page to the Blog that will list major allergens and their relatives. This will also include allergens such as latex, certain woods, and more. Please feel free to check the page, once it is up, and share with your loved ones. It is shocking how many people do not know the relatives of their allergens, and they could be doing their body harm each day.

Please be safe and stay knowledgeable about your allergies and what they are related to! Remember when trying new food items, do it one at a time, and small bites and wait to see if it is ok.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. I will answer what I can , and find out the answers to what I don’t already know..

Thanks.

Sensible Scones

This recipe is designed to allow you to create your own variety of scones that will entice your tastebuds. This recipe is one that my son loves to help come up with new flavor profiles and varieties and really get in there and get his hands dirty.  For this go around we created Lemon Poppyseed and Double Chocolate Chip Scones. With the Double Chocolate Scones I substituted applesauce for eggs. This recipe is a huge hit with all my kids, sensory friendly for them as well. They like how fluffy it is and that it does not seem gritty with the Gluten-Free Flour Blend I use, as this is an issue we have with gluten-free sometimes.  I encourage you to really have fun and play with this recipe, you never know what you can create. Let’s start with the base recipe:

Sensible Scones

2 cups Gluten-Free Flour Blend

2 tablespoons Sugar

1 tablespoon Baking Powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1 egg

1/2 cup almond milk

almond milk (to brush the tops of the scones with)

turbinado sugar (to sprinkle on tops of scones)

Powdered sugar(optional if glaze desired)

Any desired flavoring options (see below for ideas)

 

Some notes on possible substitutions:

– if you need to make this an egg-free recipe you can substitute the following for the 1 egg

– 1/4 cup applesauce with 1/2 tsp baking powder

– 1/4 cup mashed banana (this will cause the scones to have a slightly noticeable banana flavor)

 

Now let’s start making them

  1. Mix together in a bowl the following ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt.

DSC_01212. Using your fingers, gently cut the shortening into the flour mixture by rubbing your fingers together into the mixture. This will cause the shortening pieces to break up into little fragments. This is essential in helping to create fluffy layers.

3. Add any flavor components that you will be using for your scones. (See recommended listings on chart below)

Flavor Ingredients
Chocolate Chip 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Double Chocolate 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder  1 tbsp almond milk
Lemon Poppyseed 1 tbsp Poppyseed Zest of 1 Lemon 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
Cranberry Orange 1/2 cup dried cranberries Zest of 1 Orange
Blueberry Lemon 1/2 cup blueberries Zest of 1 Lemon 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
Snickerdoodle 1 tbsp Cinnamon 1 tsp Vanilla extract

 

4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the egg and milk

 

5. Mix together with a spoon until a dough forms.

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6. Gently form a ball and place onto a floured surface.

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7. Lightly kneed the dough with your finger tips until it comes together.

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8. Roll out into a ball about a 1/2 inch thick.

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9. Cut into 8 wedges.

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10. Place onto cookie sheet and brush the tops with almond milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake at 425F for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

 

11. Once cooled down you can make a glaze to top them with. All you need to do is take some powdered sugar and just enough almond milk to make the consistency you want. You can flavor them however you like.

 

12. ENJOY!!!

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