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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.[1] It is an annual herbaceous plant growing 30 to 50 cm (1.0 to 1.6 ft) tall. The leaves are oppositepinnate 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.[2]

Peanuts are known by many other local names such as earthnutsground nutsgoober peasmonkey nutspygmy nuts and pig nuts.[3] 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.[6] Cultivation spread as far as Mesoamerica, where the Spanish conquistadors found the tlalcacahuatl (Nahuatl = “peanut”, whence Mexican Spanishcacahuate 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.[7] 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.


Book Review: The Princess and the Peanut Allergy

The Princess and the Peanut Allergy is a book written by Wendy McClure.  It is a wonderful story of a little girl named Paula who has a peanut allergy.  Her best friend, Regina, is having a princess birthday party with a beautiful birthday cake… that contains peanuts.  Regina and Paula both get upset and have some hurt feelings at first, but the ending is very sweet and heart warming.


The Princess and the Peanut Allergy  is a very cute book with a fairy-tale, birthday party, and princess story line – all a young girls favorite.  It has a realistic situation, that any little girl with a peanut allergy could run into.

My daughter, Bean, loved this book!


I asked her for her what she thought about it, and she said, “I like it because I am just like Paula.  I couldn’t eat the cake either, and would feel sad too.”  She identified with the character and the situation.  She liked it so much that she wrote about it in her journal on Friday at school, and her teacher suggested that she read it in front of the entire class on Monday.  Friday night my parents kept my girls overnight, so we could go out for our 11th anniversary.  She took the book with her and read it to her grandparents too.  Then, on Monday she read it to her class.  She said she was nervous at first, but then “took a deep breath” and read it.  She said everyone clapped, and the teacher allowed the children to ask her some questions about her peanut allergy.  A few children did ask questions.  I love how this allowed the other children to get a little better understanding about peanut allergies and how very serious they are.

It has colorful, and cute illustrations, and a good story line. The Princess and the Peanut Allergy effectively addresses some of the social issues that children with food allergies face. “You’re not invited to my birthday party,” is the most painful words a young child can hear from a friend. These two girls figure out a way to get past this though.  I did find it odd that Paula’s best friend, didn’t know she had a peanut allergy.  However, it didn’t seem to make any difference to my daughter.  She didn’t question it at all.  She liked the book so much that she made a The Princess and the Peanut Allergy book mark!


It can be purchased here online at

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own and my daughters, and were in no way influenced by anyone else.

Saturday – Wowbutter & Fudge Lactose Free Milk Shakes

These are the best shakes EVER and they are lactose free!  Both my daughter, Bubbles, and I are lactose intolerant.  They are also peanut and nut free!

Wowbutter & Fudge Lactose Free Milk Shake




  • 1/4 cup of Chunky Wowbutter – can use creamy if you don’t like the little chunks




In blender, combine all ingredients.  Mix until smooth!  Super easy and SUPER yummy!  My girls LOVE these!


Hope you have enjoyed my Week of Wowbutter and all the peanut free recipes!  Wowbutter really is a fantastic peanut butter alternative, because it can be used in place of peanut butter in pretty much any recipe!

Ingredients meaning “Contains Peanuts”

Contains Peanuts

The following ingredients means “CONTAINS PEANUTS”

  • Arachic oil – peanut oil
  • Arachis
  • Arachis hypogaea – scientific name for peanuts
  • Artificial nuts – can be peanuts that have been de-flavored and re-flavored with a nut, such as pecan or walnut
  • Beer nuts
  • Boiled Peanuts
  • Cold pressed, extruded, or expelled peanut oil
  • Goobers or Goober peas – pod of the peanut vine containing usually 2 nuts or seeds
  • Ground or Crushed nuts/peanuts
  • Groundnut & Monkey Nuts – British term for peanuts
  • Earth nuts – name for several unrelated plants which produce a subterranean edible seed, fruit or root  (a peanut is considered an earthnut)
  • Hypogaeic Acid – an acid in the oil of the peanut, in which it exists as glyceride
  • Mandelonas – peanuts soaked in almond flavoring.
  • Mixed Nuts
  • Nut peices
  • Nutmeat
  • Peanut butter chips or morsels
  • Peanut flour
  • Peanut paste
  • Peanut sauce/syrup
  • Spanish peanuts – have the highest oil content in all peanuts or nuts
  • Virginia peanuts – Type of peanut

May Not Be Safe:

Lupine is a legume that cross-reacts with peanut at a high rate and should be avoided by peanut allergic patients. It does not fall under the labeling requirements of the FALCP (Food Allergen Labeling Protection Act). Lupine is also known as lupinus albus and can be found in seed or flour form.

Sunday – Creamy Caramel Wowbutter Dip

This dip is to die for.  We love dipping apples and anything else we can find in it – have used marshmallows, pears, graham crackers, celery, and sugar cookies

Here is the recipe…

25 Caramels

1/4 cup of milk

2 tbsp Wowbutter (creamy)

Red and green apples cut into slices or anything else you want to dip!

Directions: Place caramels, milk, and Wowbutter in a microwaveable bowl.  Microwave on high 2.5-3 minutes or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after at every minute interval

For top of the stove preparation: Place caramels, milk, and Wowbutter in a large heavy saucepan, cook on low heat until caramels are completely melted, stirring frequently



Week of Wowbutter and GIVEAWAY!


This week is dedicated to Wowbutter!  My family loves this stuff, especially my severely peanut allergic daughter, Bean.  Since finding out my daughter was allergic to peanuts we have kept a peanut free home.  I really love peanut butter and miss having cookies, PB&J, and other yummy snacks made with peanut butter.  We have tried other peanut alternative spreads like sunflower butter and almond butter.  I really didn’t like how they would separate, spread, or the consistency of them.

I just happened to be shopping at Whole Foods about a year and a half ago, and saw Wowbutter on the shelf.  It looked like peanut butter in the jar.  I thought, why not?   When I got it home, I showed Bean what I got for her.  She wasn’t very enthused, because she really never liked the alternative ones that I bought in the past.  So I opened it and it smelled just like peanut butter!  So I got out a spoon, and tried some.  It tasted like peanut butter and even stuck to the roof of my mouth.  I instantly fell in love.  Bean agreed to try it and she loved it too!  My younger daughter tried some too and also loved it.  It has become a staple in our house.  All of the things I couldn’t eat before, I can have again, and my daughter can have too!  So many things she was missing out on, she can have now.  Any recipe that calls for peanut butter, I have used Wowbutter as a substitute.  They have all come out fantastic!


Wowbutter is doing a giveaway to TWO lucky winners!!

The first winner will be chosen randomly from Facebook likes using Rafflecopter to win a case of Wowbutter (6 jars 500g)!!

The second winner will be chosen by entering a recipe that includes Wowbutter as the ingredient.  It cannot be the same as any that have been posted already on their website.  This winner will be chosen using  To enter, post a Wowbutter recipe in the comment section of this post.  The random winner will have their recipe posted on the Wowbutter website, and the person who submitted the recipe will get honorable mentioned on their site for submitting the recipe!    PLUS they will also win a case (6 jars 500g) of Wowbutter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for the disclaimer… I was not compensated for this post or any other Week of Wowbutter post in any way.  The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced in any way. All items reviewed and used for the Week of Wowbutter recipes were purchased by me.


The other day at work, I was putting on some lotion and my coworker asked me what I was using.  She said she liked how it smelled.  I told her it was lotion by Avon, called Almond and Milk.  I offered her some, but she explained that she could not use it because her son, Tyler, has a tree nut allergy.  She then told me there are lots of things that she cannot use because of Tyler’s allergy, including lotions, body washes, shampoos, and even laundry detergent.  Yep you heard right, laundry detergent.  Specifically she referred to Seventh Generation laundry detergent.  She said that several contain almond oil as in ingredient, and Tyler reacts to it.  So, before I blogged about this to all of you, I checked it out for myself.  I went to Seventh Generation’s website, and randomly clicked on Natural 4X Laundry Detergent Geranium Blossoms and Vanilla.  I really didn’t expect to find any almond oil.  However, there it was in the ingredients!  Listed in the ingredients it says, “(prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil”.  Here is the link to check it out yourself.

It always amazes me where allergies can lurk.  I previously posted about where peanuts can be hidden.  For those of you who have peanut allergies, there is a great list of common things that may contain.  You can see my previous post here.  I had no idea that Arachis Hypogaea was the scientific name for peanuts and Arachis Oil is actually peanut oil!

Always be sure to read ingredients, whether it is in food or other products.  You never know where hidden dangers may be lurking.

Always Carry Your Epipen


When my daughter was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy 6 1/2 years ago, I started noticing anything and everything having to do with peanut allergies.  I read news articles, blogs, medical reports, and caught as many newscasts as I could.  However, I also read the very sad stories of children who have died from accidental peanut ingestion.  It reminds me of how very serious and deadly Bean’s peanut allergy truly is.  While reading these somber articles, I always look for the cause.  What caused the child to eat something with peanuts? I make mental notes and add them to my list of do’s and don’ts that I need to teach my daughter.  I know there is no way of keeping her 100% safe, other than putting her in a peanut free bubble.  Yes, I have actually considered it a time or two.  However, her peanut allergy is something she is going to have to live with the rest of her life (or until they find a cure).  In the meantime, I have to let her experience school, and friends, and life in general.  I just hope and pray every day that if a situation does arise, that she remembers what I have taught her and will make wise choices.

It is estimated that 50 – 62 percent of fatal cases of anaphylaxis were caused by peanut allergies.  This terrifies me, because all it takes is one accidental ingestion.  One mistake.  This is why carrying an Epipen is a MUST.  In many of the stories where someone lost their life to a food allergy, an Epipen was not easily accessible, or the allergic person did not have one with them at all.  One girl was at camp and left hers in her cabin.  In another story, he was moving and it was packed in a box.  And in another the mom left it in the car while grocery shopping.  The reality of it is that anaphylactic reactions happen when you least expect them to.  No one ever says, “oh what the heck, give me that peanut butter cookie.  I have my Epipen handy.”  So the time you will need your Epipen the most is when you expect to need it the least.  I realize it may not be convenient to do, but find a way to keep it with you everywhere you go.  All it takes is one slip up, and it could cost a life.

Also, invest in a medic alert bracelet.  Reactions come on quickly and close off airways, making it impossible to talk.  At least pointing at the bracelet will alert people about what is happening if you do have a reaction.

This just makes me angry and sad!!

I cannot believe how cruel and uncaring people can be!  People are protesting school procedures and accommodations for a 6 year old little girl who has a severe peanut allergy.  They are protesting and saying that their children’s rights are being taken away all for one little girl!

This newscast left me heartbroken and angry!  The arguments presented by the parents who are complaining about accommodations being made for this peanut allergic child are insane!  Oh no, their kids have to actually wash their hands… but taking time to wash hands twice a day cuts into their daily learning time.  Really?  Shouldn’t the kids be washing their hands ANYWAY??  The interviewer asks the one complaining mom, “what happens if you push too hard for the rights of many and the little girl gets exposed?”  She responds, “I really can’t answer that.”  How can she? I am willing to bet that those same parents who are protesting, would be the first to want changes made if their child had a food allergy!  One of my favorite arguments they are making is that classic childhood traditions are being taken away.  The problem is, with so many children having food allergies, classic childhood traditions do not apply anymore!

I am going to go on a little rant right now, and I am going to apologize in advance if this makes anyone angry or if it hurts anyone’s feelings.  This is not our generation or what we grew up with as children!  This is a new generation of children with food allergies – lots of food allergies, some so severe it can cause a child to die in less than 15 minutes.  People will ask, “but isn’t that what Epipen’s are for?”  Epipen’s are in case of emergency and should only be used to save a life.  The adrenaline in them alone can cause complications, including heart attacks.  Hence the “use Epipen and call 911” labeling.  How many children do you know that would want  to be stabbed in the leg with a needle that will inject them with adrenaline to keep their body from shutting down completely?  Do you think they enjoy the sheer terror of feeling their throats closing up and not being able to breath?  Every new parent should be required to watch a video of a child going into anaphylactic shock as part of first aid training.  It would be taught right along side the Heimlich and CPR, because it can be just as deadly.  Everyone should know the signs of anaphylactic shock, because children AND adults, can develop a life threatening food allergy at any time in their life.

Going back to the subject of classic childhood traditions, bringing home made treats to school is a thing of the past, making treat bags with edible goodies is frowned upon, and class parties are becoming more and more food free.  Parents actually get upset by this.  People don’t realize that the home made treats they brought in for little Jimmy’s birthday, if not prepared correctly can kill a child. Cross contamination, and not reading labels carefully is a very real threat when it comes to homemade treats.  People then argue, well then just don’t allow the allergic child to eat the treat.  Come one people, you tell your child that all of their friends can have something, but your child cannot.  Your little Jimmy wants PB&J for lunch every day, and you are FIGHTING for that right… because he will die if he doesn’t have it?  Nope!  You are fighting and protesting, just because little Jimmy wants it.  No life or death situation.  No anaphylactic shock.  No 911.  So if parents are fighting and protesting that much just for something their child wants, then why wouldn’t you think that parents who have a child with a severe allergy, that can kill them, wouldn’t fight equally as hard and harder for their child’s rights too of a safe school environment?

In my opinion, your child’s right to have a PB&J at school is over ruled by a peanut allergic child’s right to not to die because or your child’s PB&J.  I view this as a want vs. need.  Your child may want peanut butter or things containing peanuts, but allergic children need to stay away from allergens to keep them alive.  And the thing is, no one is asking you to change your home life for this.  You can eat as much of whatever you want in your home.  At home, little Jimmy can have PB&J for breakfast and dinner, and for every meal on the weekends plus snack time.  He can eat it right out of the jar or smear it all over his hands and lick it off.  He is just being asked to wash his hands when he gets to school, and refrain from bringing anything with peanuts into his classroom.

So, I apologize if people feel that making accommodations at school for children with allergies is infringing on their rights.  I am also sorry it is necessary for schools to make accommodations for children with allergies.  It just means they are becoming more and more prevalent.  And I am sorry if your child has a food allergy, because it is not easy.

Just remember people don’t choose allergies.  Allergies choose people.

Airborne Peanut Allergies?


I have been asked this question so many times, “Does your daughter react if the allergen is airborne?”  The first time I was asked, was by my daughter’s preschool teacher.  Honestly, I didn’t know.  I explained we keep a peanut free home, and I have never eaten anything with peanuts around her.  I had to call my daughter’s allergist and ask.  Her allergist explained that all children with peanut allergies can have an airborne allergic reaction, but typically it is uncommon.

Research has shown that cooking or heating peanuts can release allergens into the air and can cause reactions. However, researchers simulated different settings including a school cafeteria, an airplane, and a sporting event. Study participants wore personal air monitors while sitting next to open jars of peanut butter, while sitting next to someone who ate a peanut-butter sandwich, and while sitting next to someone as they opened multiple packages of peanuts.  All were in an enclosed area. In the last study people shelled and ate peanuts, then threw the shells on the floor and walked around on them. In none of these cases were the researchers able to detect any airborne peanut protein.  Finally, the last study was of 30 children with documented allergies to peanuts did not have any reaction after breathing with a cup of peanut butter held one foot from their nose over a 10-minute period.

Yet another study found three cases of children who had allergic reactions to peanuts in the classroom in which a teacher or other adult was watching the child and knew that the child did not touch or eat the peanuts. In all of these cases, peanut butter was being heated up in the classroom.

I still would rather not chance it, but it’s good to know that in case we ever do end up in any of those situations, the likelihood of my daughter having a reaction is slim.

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