Homemade Sunbutter

Tastes better AND costs less? Sign me up!Homemade SunButter2

I recently saw one of those inspirational quotes online that perfectly describes what today was like.  You know the ones with the beautiful picture in the background that has nothing to do with the actual quote?  This particular one said, “Are you really having a bad day, or just a bad five minutes that you are letting ruin the rest?”  THAT, my friends, was today.  Overall, pretty good.  But man, the way it started left me sour for a good while.  I was supposed to work an event that got canceled, but no one told me it was canceled. After that, everything seemed to go wrong.  Quick stop at Burger King?  Nope, their credit card machines are down.  Run to Taco Bell?  Nope, Reese can’t eat there. Go to the store to buy sunflower seeds.  They contain peanuts.  Um… what?  Start trying to make a new recipe, then get interrupted by a 4-year-old potty emergency, then by not making it to the potty in time…. Seriously, all things considered, it was a good day and it’s a good life.  But man, this post didn’t want to happen today!

Enough complaining, though.  On with the Homemade SunButter! Continue reading

The Most Perfect Snack Food

When it comes to snacks, it is my humble (and 100% correct) opinion that popcorn is king. In fact, I’m eating some right now as I type this. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I eat popcorn about 4 nights a week on average. It’s an easy and delicious way to get more whole grain into your diet. Although, my preferred way of eating it probably cancels out those health benefits, as it involves a good amount of browned butter drizzled over the top.

Popcorn is also extremely easy to make safe for my little EOE dude. He can’t have butter, but there are so many more things you can do to popcorn. When I make homemade popcorn, I simply use popcorn, sunflower oil, and fine salt. As simple (and almost boring) as it sounds, if you use good quality ingredients, it beats out a big tub of the buttery movie theater stuff every time. Sometimes, though, I just can’t be bothered to make my own popcorn.  There are countless store-bought popcorn brands out there, but Reese’s current favorites are these: Continue reading

Kitchen Failures (or The Curious Case of the Disintegrating Churros)

The other day I had an idea. It was a brilliant idea. An idea I couldn’t get out of my head, one that I had to try as soon as possible. Someone in our EOE support group shared a picture of donuts she had made using nothing but a gluten-free cake mix, a bottle of Sprite, and some Enjoy Life chocolate chips (which you already know I am a big fan of). Mix the ingredients together, pop them in a donut maker, and bish bash bosh, you’ve got safe donuts. I don’t have a donut maker, but this was my thought: what if I put the batter into a piping bag, squirt it into some hot oil, and have some safe churros (or at least a churro-like product)? This would have to be put to the test. So this morning, I got to work.

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I know that’s not gluten-free mix, but gluten isn’t a problem for us, and the all GF mixes I could find at the store had milk and soy, which ARE problems for us!

I gathered the ingredients (which didn’t take long) and heated up the oil. I know churros for breakfast is a bit of a stretch, but we eat donuts for breakfast, so is it really that much different? I’m going to go with no. Continue reading

No eggs? No problem!

Before we knew that Reese had EOE, we found out that he had an allergy to eggs.  Unlike his EOE reaction, eggs cause a skin reaction (and once his lips swelled up like a poorly done Kylie Jenner challenge).  So we have been on a quest to find effective replacements for eggs.

The problem is that eggs have so many different functions in recipes.  They can bind, add moisture, improve color, serve as leavening or structure… the challenge is knowing how what the eggs do in your recipe so you can effectively replace them.  THAT particular challenge is something I’m still learning how to deal with.  I have a tried a few things, but I’m always afraid that I’ll try something and it will turn to trash and I will have wasted all that time (and more importantly, all those ingredients!)

But that’s why I’m here: to explore, to learn, and to share.  So without much further ado, here are some things that have proven to be effective egg replacers, all safe for my EOE/allergy kiddo. Continue reading

Fire-roasted Salsa

The ultimate party snack, leveled up.

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I love Mexican food. Like a lot. Authentic Mexican, Tex-Mex, shoot I even love stuff like Taco Bell and Taco John’s. And one of the best parts of going to any Mexican restaurant is the free-flowing chips and salsa. Hot or mild, red or green, I love it. My wife likes it, too, but can’t handle too much spice, so I usually end up getting to eat the majority of the salsa at the table. Totally fine with me. Plus, salsa is SUPER healthy. It’s an excellent way to deliver all the goodness of veggies without feeling like you’re just eating a load of veggies.

But why do I bother making my own? Jarred salsa, even the expensive, good quality stuff, isn’t that expensive, and it’s rare to find one that is bad.  To be honest, I don’t usually bother making my own. But why do I go back and watch all the Marvel Studios movies at least once a year? Because sometimes you just want to do something. Continue reading

My Inspiration

Why am I doing this?  Why am I writing this blog?  I mean, here’s the deal:  I tend to be a “dream big with no plan” kind of person.  I think of things that would be cool and then never follow through.  I once decided I should try to organize a Skype conversation with the former president of Costa Rica.  Do you want to guess whether or not that actually happened?

So why this blog?  Let me introduce you to Reese.16640925_10212294226612059_4590186972025651673_n

Reese is my son.  At the time of this writing, he is two years old.  He is the one who introduced us to the twisted world of eosinophilic esophagitis. Continue reading

Smoke-Roasted Potatoes

Baked potatoes are boring, you say? Well, I say you must be doing it wrong.

Smoke-Roasted Potatoes

Ok, so the picture is a little blurry. But they taste so good…….

First of all, let me give credit where credit is due. Steve Raichlen is some sort of genius. Mr. Raichlen is a guru of all things live-fire cooking: grill, barbecue, pit/spit roasting… you name it, and he has a book/show/class about it. He has written several books about live-fire cooking and is a big reason I love cooking over live-fire whenever I get the chance. This recipe is from his book How to Grill, modified to fit my family.

I was never really one to eat baked potatoes as a meal. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good baked potato. It just never seems enough. I need something more when I eat. Not necessarily portion-wise, but more substantial than just a hunk of potato. But when I learned to introduce the sublime flavor and aroma of wood smoke, I saw that the humble potato can be elevated to a whole new level.

Continue reading

Enjoy Life!

Have you ever just been sitting around and suddenly you think, “I need some chocolate…”?  No?  Just me?   Hm….. weird.

Anyway, I grew up in a house with chocolate.  I don’t mean sometimes we had S’mores, or that we have ice cream and with Hershey’s syrup in the summer times.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, we did.  But I mean we always had a tub of chocolate chip in the pantry.  At. All. Times.  The primary use of those had nothing to do with cookies.  They were there so we could eat them.  I would melt them down and spread it on graham crackers.  I would dip up  a spoonful of peanut butter and stud it with chocolate morsels.  But more than anything, we would just grab a handful and eat them in pure, unadulterated chocolatey goodness.

Fast forward to now.  Reese, our little EOE dude, can’t have dairy.  And therefore, can’t have most chocolate.  He can’t have peanuts, so he can’t have peanut butter.  Those two things mean he can’t have my favorite candy of all time: Reese’s peanut butter cups.  *tears* Continue reading