Category Archives: Vegan
BD’s Mongolian Grill – The SAFE Restaurant
I had the pleasure of talking to Ken Leetch, the General Manager, at BD’s Mongolian Grill in Bolingbrook. He was nice enough to take the time out of his busy schedule to discuss their safety practices with me. This restaurant can be allergen free, gluten-free, Paleo, or Vegan. You pick, and they will try to accommodate. First off, BD’s Mongolian Grill is one of my favorite buffet type restaurant. Most buffet type restaurants are not very safe for Bean with her peanut allergy, due to cross contamination issues. I was comfortable taking her to BD’s before, but now that I know more about their safety practices I am confident that BD’s would be a safe place for her to eat.
If you have never been to BD’s Mongolian Grill, it is essentially a place where you pick the ingredients and then take it up to the grill. It’s amazing stir fry. You can purchase one bowl or unlimited bowls. With your bowl, you also get their soup and salad bar. Their soups recently changed to being 100% home-made in-house by BD’s. After you start off with the soup and salad, then you take your bowl and go up to the buffet and choose your ingredients. You have several choices of meat, vegetables, noodles, sauces, and spices. Once you have all your ingredients picked out, you can take your food up to a grill to be cooked.
Some of the safety practices they follow are:
- Temperatures are checked on the food lines every few hours to make sure everything stays cold and fresh
- The tongs are constantly changed to avoid any cross contamination
- If you are concerned about possible cross contamination due to a food restriction or allergy, they will make your bowl from fresh ingredients in the back that are kept segregated
- Also, they have an Allergy Friendly cooking station. It is a separate place to have your food cooked to avoid allergens in your food. The pans are used one time before being washed, and then they are heated up to 200 degrees to burn off any remaining allergens
- There is a MAC or MAM (Market Area Manager or Market Area Coordinator) walking around the food area, in a black chef coat. They can help create meals, give ideas, and also can provide you with a nutritional brochure.
They also have a .pdf file on their website that lists every single ingredient used in all of their items. If you are on the go, there is an Android and Iphone app called BD’s Go Mongo. The app lets you create-a-bowl, choose all your ingredients, and view all the ingredients in the bowl you made!
Disclaimer: I did this review, because this is one of my favorite restaurants. I was not given anything and did not receive any compensation in any way, in order to do this review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.
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: 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.