Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs

The  taste of  summer, bite-sized.Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs (small)

Any parent knows that coming up with dinners can be a challenge.  If that parent has a kid with food restrictions (whether due to allergies, EOE, or any other of a host of things), it is that much more difficult.  In the midst of the “I don’t want to do spaghetti again” conversation, Michelle had an idea.  It was a brilliant idea.  KEBABS.

Here’s the thing with a kebab “recipe.”  It’s basically just a suggestion.  The suggestion we started with came from Holly at www.spendwithpennies.com (modified to fit our tastes and dietary needs, of course). As suggested by Holly, we started with KC Masterpiece BBQ rub and sauce mix.  This would be very easily done with whatever barbecue sauce you like (or any other marinade and seasoning mix, for that matter).

The ‘Hawaiian’ part is not really authentic Hawaiian, but more of a “Taco Bell is real Mexican food” type of thing.  We “mainlanders” have a tendency to think pineapple makes everything Hawaiian.  Not necessarily enlightened, but it is delicious. Mix the sauce mix (or whatever sauce you use) with pineapple juice.  Cut chicken up into kebab-sized pieces (1″ square or so) and marinate the chicken for about 4 hours. Normally I would marinate over night, but I didn’t want the chicken to get so tender that it would fall apart on the skewer.  (Side note: I see this all over the food blog world, so let’s straighten this out – “marinate” is a verb, “marinade” is a noun.  Two different things. That is all.)  While chicken is marinating, cut veggies into kebab-sized bites (about 1″ square). We went with green, red, and yellow bell peppers and red onion. To make it “Hawaiian,” add in some pineapple.  And please use fresh pineapple. There is no point to canned pineapple (unless you like the taste of the inside of a can).

Carefully thread the piece of chicken and veg onto the skewers. Be sure to be careful, or you might skewer your finger.  I only did that about 4 times before I figured out how not to. I made sure to have the onion and pineapple next to the chicken because I wanted those to flavor the chicken.  It probably doesn’t matter, though. You can see from the pictures that I basted the kebabs with sauce.  You may want to consider doing that near the end of the cooking.  The sugar content made it char around the edges a little faster than I would have liked. You want it to sizzle, not burn.

Grill these kebabs however you see fit.  For me and my house, that means charcoal grill. Watch them carefully – small pieces cook quickly.

I can’t eat kebabs off the skewer.  I have poked myself enough times I’m afraid I’ll start looking like Heath Ledger’s Joker before long. So I slide it off onto a plate and enjoy without having to ask “Do you want to know how I got these scars?”

Now, like I said, kebab recipes are just suggestions. In fact, sometimes, all it takes is the suggestion of “kebab” to make you come up with your own way to doing it.  Can’t eat onions?  Don’t!  Hate pineapple? Leave it out (I’m looking at you, Aunt Malinda.) This would be great marinaded with oil, sriracha, and lime juice.  It would be awesome with brown sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper.  It would be wonderful with coconut aminos and minced ginger.  Do it however you want, and let me know all about it. It would make my day to hear how your kebabs turn out.  Thanks for liking, commenting, and sharing!

Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs (large)

 

 

Chocolate Haystacks

Nostalgia, now dairy-free!

Chocolate Haystacks (small)

When I was a kid it seemed like there were things we always had in the pantry.  We always had chocolate chips.  We didn’t make cookies often, but we always had chocolate chips.  We also always had crispy chow mein noodles.  I have absolutely no recollection of ever having Chinese food at home, but we always had chow mein noodles. We also always had a flashlight and D batteries in the pantry, but that wasn’t quite the same (flashlights take a notoriously long time to cook, and they just aren’t worth the trouble). Continue reading

Consider the Coconut (Aminos)

My kids love the movie Moana. On any given day, our 4-year-old can probably be found somewhere singing the big movie anthem, “How Far I’ll Go.”Over and over and over. Admittedly, I love the music from the movie, too. It’s moving, it tells a story, and I love how they had people from the pacific island cultures involved in the song writing. It made things, while still very Disney, very genuine as well.  One song in particular has been running through my head today.  It’s called “Where You Are,” but the line in particular that keeps running through my head says “Consider the coconut; consider its tree; we use each part of the coconut; that’s all we need.”

I love coconut.  I like the water (best when you drink it straight from a green coconut right off the tree), I like the meat, I like coconut milk, and there are few things more satisfying that knocking down a coconut, sharp machete in hand, and opening it up to find the goodness yourself. But there is something a coconut can give that I never even knew about until recently: coconut aminos. Continue reading

Super Easy Vegan (aquafaba) Mayonnaise

A great man once said, “We never buy what we can make.”  That great man was Alton Brown.

Vegan Mayo (small)

I love mayonnaise.  I know there are a lot of people out there (eg. my sister) who do not agree with me, but I can always find a use for mayo.  It’s great on a sandwich, ideal in the bun with a smoked sausage, perfect for mixing into veggie/chip dips… and my little MegaMan can’t have it.  He’s two, so he doesn’t really know what he’s missing, but come on, man… no chip dip?  I mean, what’s the point of eating potato chips if you can’t dip them in something? Continue reading

Moving house (plus a “guest” recipe!)

So we are moving!  Moving is at the same time stressful and exciting.  There is something about a new place that bring a feeling a freshness.  Don’t worry, though.  The kids will find a way to make it un-fresh really quickly!

Because we are moving, I’m taking a short break from posting recipes.  I just can’t put it all together while moving house.  So in the meantime, I wanted to share a recipe I found on Garnished.  Completely allergy-safe, and so easy!

Check it out here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySuSFNRmkCU

If you make this, let me know how it turns out for you!

Food Detective: A game changing app?

I can feel it.  Every time.  It starts as a slight discomfort, a minor pressure. It’s as if someone is taking their thumb and lightly pressing it on the back of my head. If allowed to continue, though, the intensity of the feeling increases. A creeping feeling of tension on the neck, an uneasiness in the air, the knowledge that someone else is there.

It’s not the beginning of a young writer’s first attempt at a thriller; it’s what every food allergy parent (or anyone with food allergies themselves) experiences every time they go to the grocery store.  Because every time you stop to read an ingredient list, someone comes up behind you, trying to get to the thing that you are standing in front of.  You do everything you can to be as out-of-the-way as possible, but no matter where you are, you are going to block someone from something.  Reading food labels gets really old really fast. So someone has set out to change that.

 

my food detective

My Food Detective is a **free** app that is designed to help navigate the aisles of the grocery store. No more reading ingredient lists; just scan the bar code, and bish-bash-bosh, you know if it’s safe or not!

It starts out with several allergens already in place.  You can set your own specific allergens, deleting those you don’t need, adding those you do.  In our case, the list includes peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs, dairy, strawberries, and pineapple.

After all your allergens are set, just click “scan” and position the bar code in the scanning area.  Based on your selected allergens, the app will let you know if it is safe or not.

This app has the potential to be a game changer for those of us dealing with food allergies.  However, there are certain things to watch for.  First of all, it’s only available for iOS right now (no problem for me, but for you Android people, you’re out of luck for now). The allergens are incredibly specific.  “Peanuts,” “peanut,” and “roasted peanut” are all different.  Or rather, they all have to be entered differently, because the app will look specifically for what’s in the list and doesn’t know how to look for other things. “Tree nuts” needs to have all tree nuts listed. However, and seemingly a contradiction of what I just said, we got a few “false fails.”  Our little MegaMan can’t have soy protein, but he can have soy lecithin and soybean oil.  Despite going through the allergens as thoroughly as I could, I couldn’t find a way to delete soy oil and lecithin while retaining soy protein and soy flour. A few things that I know are safe came out as a fail.  Enjoy Life chocolate chips didn’t pass, and I can’t figure out why.  The best I can figure is that the app got confused by “chocolate,” but that doesn’t seem to make sense.  Now, it is very possible that I just need to explore it more, but I was disappointed to see something I know to be safe get a big ol’ fat frowning face.

BOTTOM LINE: Check out www.myfooddetectiveapp.com to find out more. If you have an iOS device, get the app. It is brand new (as in just came out in the past two weeks at the time of this writing). If more people get it and give suggestions for improvement, the developer may be able to tweak it to make it even better. Explore the app thoroughly and try it out.  I’m excited to use this app more to see if it really can make grocery shopping easier.

Once you try this app out, comment below and let me know how it goes!  I would love to hear what you think of it. And if you figure out how to deal with the issues I had, let me know that too!

Dairy-free, Egg-free Chicken Nuggets

I’ve made chicken nuggets before.  Never like this!Chicken Nuggets (small)

You know, ostensibly this is a blog about the food I make for my kids. Truth be told, though, I love “kid food.”  Corn dogs and pigs-in-a-blanket are my top favorite foods. Chicken nuggets (good chicken nuggets) are pretty high on that list. I’m that guy who, despite being a grown man, will go to a restaurant and order chicken tenders.  So when my wife Michelle suggested trying to come up with a chicken nugget recipe that would be Reese-safe, I jumped at it.  I had to start things the night before, though.  I mean, after all, today was Free Comic Book Day!  I couldn’t miss out on that! Continue reading

Aquafaba

So, maybe I’m late to this party, but I have recently been introduced to something called “aquafaba.”  Have you guys heard of this? Apparently it’s taking the vegan/food allergy world by storm.

Why is it called aquafaba? Well, because “bean water” just sounds gross.
But that’s literally what it is.  Bean water.  In fact, that’s what the name means – aqua is Latin for water and faba is Latin for bean. aquafaba Continue reading

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