Category Archives: Peanut Free
Origins of Peanuts
So it seems that there is some confusion between peanuts and tree nuts. When I tell people my daughter has a severe peanut allergy they will usually ask if she can have other nuts like almonds or pecans. I have a whole speech saved in my head for just that occasion. I explain that peanuts are a legume. Legumes are in the bean family and grow in the ground, while tree nuts (hence the name) grow on trees. I find it interesting that people are so used to shopping at the stores and finding things on shelves, that they don’t really know the origin of their food. So let’s talk about peanuts…
According to Wilkipedia – The peanut, or groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), is a species in the legume or “bean” family (Fabaceae). The peanut was probably first domesticated and cultivated in the valleys of Paraguay. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing 30 to 50 cm (1.0 to 1.6 ft) tall. The leaves are opposite, pinnate with four leaflets (two opposite pairs; no terminal leaflet), leaflet is 1 to 7 cm (⅜ to 2¾ in) long and 1 to 3 cm (⅜ to 1 inch) broad.
The flowers are a typical peaflower in shape, 2 to 4 cm (0.8 to 1.6 in) (¾ to 1½ in) across, yellow with reddish veining. each Hypogaea means “under the earth”; after pollination, the flower stalk elongates causing it to bend until the ovary touches the ground. Continued stalk growth then pushes the ovary underground where the mature fruit develops into a legume pod, the peanut – a classical example of geocarpy. Pods are 3 to 7 cm (1.2 to 2.8 in) long, containing 1 to 4 seeds.
Peanuts are known by many other local names such as earthnuts, ground nuts, goober peas, monkey nuts, pygmy nuts and pig nuts. Despite its name and appearance, the peanut is not a nut, but rather a legume.
Archeologists have dated the oldest specimens to about 7,600 years, found in Peru. Cultivation spread as far as Mesoamerica, where the Spanish conquistadors found the tlalcacahuatl (Nahuatl = “peanut”, whence Mexican Spanish, cacahuate and French, cacahuète) being offered for sale in the marketplace of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City). The plant was later spread worldwide by European traders.
Although the peanut was mainly a garden crop for much of the colonial period of North America, it was mostly used as animal feed stock until the 1930s. In the United States, a US Department of Agriculture program (see below) to encourage agricultural production and human consumption of peanuts was instituted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. George Washington Carver is well known for his participation in that program in which he developed hundreds of recipes for peanuts.
Making the Switch to Paleo!!
As you know, we are gluten free. We have been for awhile now, due to necessity. However, we still have not seen the health improvements that we were hoping. Bear still had an enlarged lymph node in his neck that he has had for years, and Bee was still very moody and bloated. No matter what we did, we could not get the weight off of Bee and onto Bear.
So, I started doing more research. About health, about nutrition, about our history as humans, and about how our eating practices have evolved over time. All of this information, lead me to the Paleo diet.
For those of you that do not know, the Paleo diet mimics the way our ancestors ate thousands of years ago. The diet is simple really. Its all whole foods, fresh, not processed. There are no grains, no corn ( its actually a grain!), no peanuts or other legumes, no processed sugars or added sugars, no dairy ( with the exception of the grass fed butter). Its a diet high in proteins and good fats. For those of you that would like to know more, please let me know. I can get you pointed in the right direction
While it is not hard to follow, as far as knowing what is okay to eat and not okay to eat, there are some more challenging aspects of this type of lifestyle. There is a lot more time put into meal planning and preparation. This is because everything we eat is fresh. Nothing comes out of a package. So, this means making sure that we have enough veggies, seeds, and nuts. This means taking the time to make extra portions at dinner so that we can use them as a base for our lunches the next day. And, because our local farmers market does not open until June, this means lots of regular trips to the grocery store.
However, all of the new challenges that we have faced have been nothing compared to all of the benefits we are already seeing, and it has not even been a full 30 days yet! Bear’s lymph node has almost completely gone back down to normal. None of us are bloated anymore. Bee is visibly thinner. Our skin and hair is noticeably healthier. The kids both have much better moods and sleep much better. I’ve lost 6 pounds. Not to mention all of the fun we have preparing the food we eat. For me, cooking had previously become a chore, and we were stuck in so many ruts, eating the same types of things over and over and over. But with Paleo, we all get involved. We chose foods together at the store, and have a great time discovering new foods at small local stores. We have had a great time experimenting with new flavors and textures ( one of the latest was masked sweet potatoes with toasted coconut…try them, you will NOT be disappointed!). We do not have to fight as much to get Bear to eat. We all just FEEL better. Not to mention that it has really helped my husband and I become even closer.
It feels so good to know that we our nourishing ourselves and our children with healthy, whole, fresh foods. We are also much more adept at handling our stress. We now participate in exercise as a family, and have the ability to give ourselves alone time without feeling guilty. This has been the most positive lifestyle change that we have ever made, and my only regret is that we did not do it sooner.
I am going to be starting to experiment with some new Paleo recipes soon. Look for new ideas coming soon. And please, if there is something that you would like to see Paleofied, let me know and I will do my best to make it happen!
Bonus: The right kind of bacon (uncured, minimally processed, nitrate free, etc) is totally okay with this lifestyle!! Now, what can be better than that??
Review & Giveaway – Two Fat Guys Gourmet Barbecue Sauce!
While at the GFAF Expo, we tried Two Fat Guys Gourmet Barbecue Sauce. Lizzie and I agreed that it was so delicious! We were thrilled about doing this review. Two Fat Guys Gourmet Barbecue Sauce is made with all natural products like tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar, honey, and other good ingredients that I know and can pronounce! There is nothing artificial, and is free of nuts, eggs, and dairy. It is also gluten-free and contains no high fructose corn syrup! We avoid high fructose corn syrup, so I was really happy about that. Two Fat Guys Gourmet Barbecue Sauce comes in four varieties – Mild, Smoky, Spicy, and Lava Hot. It is also made right here in our home state of Illinois!
So Lizzie and I planned a date, and we sure did have perfect weather for a barbecue! We decided to make chicken breasts, shish kabobs, pulled pork, and corn on the cob. Everyone wanted to try different flavors of the sauce, so we decided to grill everything and then put the sauce on ourselves afterward.
I am not a big fan of spicy food, but I loved the Mild and Smoky flavored sauce. The kids preferred them also, with the Mild being their favorite.
However some like it hot, and Lizzie, her hubby, and my hubby preferred the Spicy and especially the Lava Hot! All of it was so very tasty on the kabobs, and the shredded pork. It has to be some of the best barbecue sauce we have tried. We were all so full after the kabobs and pulled pork, that we only tried a small piece of chicken in the sauce, but that was delicious too!
Two Fat Guys Gourmet Barbecue Sauce is available at many stores. You can find out if it’s available at one near you by clicking here and selecting your state or clicking purchasing it online!
HOWEVER, we just can’t keep Two Fat Guys Gourmet Barbecue Sauce to ourselves though, so we are doing a giveaway, so you can try it too! With Father’s Day right around the corner, this is the perfect gift for the man who loves to grill! The giveaway includes the following items:
You can enter the giveaway by clicking on this link a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: We were provided with the sauces and mugs shown in the first picture of this review, in exchange for our honest opinion of their barbecue sauces. We were not compensated in any way, and all opinions are our own.
Need A Quick Breakfast?? Look to these awesome muffins from Udi’s!
**Disclaimer: Udi’s provided me with these muffins free of charge in exchange for providing you with ideas on how to use their products. All ideas are my own and I have not been financially compensated**
So I know I’m not the only one with kids. And I also know I’m not the only one who has hectic mornings with those kids. Half the time we are lucky to get out the door on time with a quick snack, let alone have a decent breakfast. So I’m always on the lookout for something that will help us out in the morning.
That’s where these great muffins from Udi’s come in.
Now, they are pretty awesome on their own but…
I always need to feel like I participated in putting meals together so I do this…
Take that can of cranberries and toss it in a saucepan over low heat and stir. Let it break down and cook down a bit until it becomes warm and thick. I promise this doesn’t take long! Right before its ready, wrap those muffins in a damp paper towel and pop in the microwave for a few seconds. Definitely helps you get that fresh homemade feel. Then break the muffin in half if you have littles like I do (or keep it whole for yourself!). Drizzle a bit of that warm cranberry amazingness over those nice warm muffins and watch everyone happily dig in.
There’s one morning crisis solved! Now on to the next….getting them to dress in clothes that match! Wish me luck!
Review: GoPicnic Ready-to-eat Meal (peanut free, gluten free, vegan, tree nut free, Kosher)
While at the GFAF (Gluten & Allergen Free) Expo, one of the companies that caught my eye was GoPicnic. They have several gluten-free ready-to-eat meals, but I specifically asked if they had any peanut free ones. Jamie was happy to show me the two varieties that were peanut free. The first was GoPicnic Turkey Stick & Crunch and the other is Sunbutter & Crackers. GoPicnic is a healthy, wholesome, good for you version of a Lunchable. It comes in a package about the same size as a Lunchable, and fits perfect in any lunch bag, and is a shelf stable ready-to-eat meal. No freezy packs required! Packing a lunch daily is not only time-consuming, but there are days I run out of ideas, so I tend to fall back on the same foods over and over. I am sure eating the same thing has to get old for Bean. If you pack your child’s lunches daily, GoPicnic is a wonderful convenience! Just pack a drink and lunch is served!
Bean picked the Turkey Stick & Crunch meal for the first one I packed in her lunch. It is a balanced meal featuring an Old Wisconsin Turkey Snack Stick, Popchips Barbecue Potato Chips, Sweet Perry Orchards Tropical 100% Peel-A-Part Fruit, Enjoy Life Mountain Mambo Seed and Fuit Mix, and a Professor Zim Zam’s Extraordinary Sweets Dark Chocolate with Rice Crisps. It contains no artificial flavors or colors, and is gluten-free, peanut free, egg free, and tree nut free! The Popchips contain milk, and the dark chocolate contain soy, but that’s the only allergens! I always strive to pack healthy options for my daughter’s lunch, and I was proud to pack this wholesome lunch for her! All GoPicnic’s ready-to-eat meals are free of trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, added MSG, and artificial flavors and colors. Bean LOVED her lunch! She especially liked the Enjoy Life Mountain Mambo Seed & Fruit Mix. I am pretty sure it is the closest thing she has ever had to a trail mix!
The next day we packed the Sunbutter & Crackers meal. Again super easy, super quick, and a nice healthy, wholesome lunch! Another balanced meal featuring Sunbutter® Creamy Sunflower seed Spread, Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Sea Salt Crackers, Enjoy Life Seed & Fruit Trail Mix, Sweet Perry Orchards Tropical 100% Fruit Peel-a-Part and an Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Cookie. This meal is all- natural, Kosher, gluten-free, vegan, and free of 7 common allergens, including wheat, dairy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, and egg! The only allergen is that the Sunbutter is made on equipment that also processes soy. My daughter also loved this meal! She has asked for me to begin packing these in her lunch on a regular basis.
These are healthy meal options that can be taken anywhere, anytime! No refrigeration required! These would be great to take on outings to the zoo, museums, parks, picnics, or even camping. I was even thinking these would be great to take on road trips. No worrying about where to stop for food, and if the food will be safe once we do find a place. These alleviate having to purchase those overpriced foods sold at public places, and you can be confident that what you are feeding your child (or yourself) is nutritionally balanced and safe! They have several varieties for people living allergen free, vegan, and gluten-free. Just throw them in a bag and go! I found these available in the gluten-free section at my local Meijer. They are also available at Target, Walgreens, Mariano’s Fresh Market, Whole Foods, Regal Cinemas, or they can also be purchased online at http://www.gopicnic.com. They offer several varieties for specialized diets, plus they have specials and discounts online.
Disclaimer: I was given both boxes of GoPicnic meals reviewed above, in exchange for my honest opinions of their products. I was not financially compensated in any way. The meals were eaten exclusively by my daughter, Bean. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
Review: Amanda’s Own REAL chocolate (dairy free, nut free, egg free, gluten free, sesame free, fish/shellfish free)
Amanda’s Own Confections makes dairy-free, nut-free, sesame-free, egg-free, fish/shellfish free, and gluten-free chocolate. This candy is made by someone who knows what it’s like to have a child with a food allergy. Their daughter, Amanda, has a life-threatening food allergy to milk, so they developed this natural chocolate especially for her! At first sight, their packaging is pretty and decorative. I was sent a chocolate bar and a Fancy Squares Box. The Fancy Squares Box was so pretty I didn’t want to open it, however I gave in to my overwhelming love of chocolate.
The next thing I noticed is the ingredients list. The chocolate is made with real, pronounceable, natural ingredients! You cannot get more simple than that! This is REAL chocolate! No artificial preservatives, additives, or ingredients!
I have never had real chocolate before, so when I bit into a piece of the candy bar, it tasted like dark chocolate, and I actually looked at the packaging to make sure it wasn’t dark chocolate. If you are expecting a milk chocolate taste, REAL chocolate does not taste like that. I love dark chocolate though, and really liked the taste of this chocolate. I remember thinking, this is the first time I have tried REAL chocolate! My daughter’s both tried some of the candy bar and they both really loved the taste too!
The Fancy Squares were also super yummy. As you can see the chocolate has a much darker color, and also the consistency is harder than milk chocolate. These are very yummy, but I would not recommend them for small children. My five-year old had a hard time eating this. Her little jaw was not strong enough to bite through it. I cut it up for her, and she ate it just fine, and loved it, but I do not recommend giving this to a child whole. A decadent chocolate treat, exclusively just for Mom or Dad? Sign me up!
Also the prices on the site are extremely reasonable! The Fancy Squares Box is on sale for only $5! The bars are only $2.35 every day! Not much more than the price of a chocolate bar at the grocery store, and MUCH cheaper than a bar at other specialty sites or stores! They also make chocolate chips, bark, jellybeans, gummies, lolly pops, and special occasion candy!
Mother’s Day is just around the corner, so why not give Mom a special decadent Mother’s Day Lolly? Only $2.20! Let mom know how sweet she is!
You can also like their Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amandas-Own-Confections-Dairy-Free-Chocolates-Candies/173118496057846
Disclaimer: I was sent a candy bar, and a Fancy Squares Box of chocolate to sample in exchange for my honest opinions of their products. I was not financially compensated in any way. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
Review: Premium Chocolatiers Peanot Butter Cups (nut free, dairy free, egg free, gluten free,vegan)
I received a package Peanot Butter Cups from Premium Chocolatiers Gourmet Chocolates to review. Premium Chocolatiers makes peanut free, tree nut free, gluten free, egg free, dairy free, vegan chocolate! The Peanot Butter Cup is a new product that will be available online in 2-3 weeks. In the meantime, they do carry Rabbit Peanot Cups (on sale!).
I told my daughter, Bean, I had a candy surprise for her. I told her it was one she had never had before. She got so excited!
I handed her a Peanot Butter Cup, and as she unwrapped the foil, she asked what it was.
I explained that it was a Peanot Butter Cup made with Wowbutter, and told her to try it. Just like any child, she loves candy. However, this is one candy, until now, that she has never had before, so this was a special occasion! Her first EVER peaNOT butter cup! I love the name by way!
She took a bite of one and proclaimed that it was SOOOO good! I told her that unlike Reese’s these were safe for her to eat! She looked at me with an odd look, and said, “is that was Reese’s are? Peanut butter and chocolate?” I admit it, I teared up. The realization hit me that she didn’t even know what a peanut butter cup was. My almost 8-year-old daughter had never seen, held, or tasted a peanut butter cup. She has been allergic to peanuts since she was so little, that it just became a normal fact of life, that she would never be able to have one. Well now she CAN and she loves them!
The Wowbutter center is soft and creamy. The combination of chocolate and Wowbutter is perfect. It tastes just like a true peanut butter cup! It was delicious! Bean had only one bite and proclaimed that she loved it. She is holding the rest of it in one hand while giving the thumbs up with the other!
I put one in her lunch yesterday as a surprise. When she came home, I asked her if she liked her surprise. She said she really, really likes them, and she told everyone at her “peanut-free” lunch table all about them. She made them guess what was in it. She said that her one friend Zoe guessed Wowbutter right away, and then Zoe said she really wished she could try one too. It made me wonder, how many peanut allergic children have never been able to eat a peanut butter cup? I am thrilled to share this product with all of you, so that now your peanut allergic child can have their first Peanot Butter Cup too!
Premium Chocolatiers makes gourmet chocolates, so check out their special Mother’s Day chocolates including long stem chocolate roses!
They have so many more yummy options too… truffles, and Chocolate Cheesecakes. How yummy does that sound? Check out their site for lots more delectable choices!
Disclaimer: I was sent a sample of Peanot Butter Cups from Premium Chocolatier in exchange for my honest opinions of their products. I was not financially compensated in any way. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.