Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Indian Spiced Roasted Chicken with Steamed Broccoli

           It's the middle of the week and if you are like me, you too, are already struggling to cope with a  hungry gang.  Since deliveries aren't in my speed dial anymore, I have to come up with easy to make, tasty, healthy and of course food allergy friendly dishes from the remaining ingredients in the fridge.  Just so you know, I do most of my grocery shopping Friday nights. 
             One of the easiest dishes I like to prepare is roasted chicken and steamed frozen veggies.  The trick I use to make my "eaters" always excited is to vary the seasonings for the chicken.  Inspired by the flavors of the kid friendly Chicken Curry dish the children like so much, I decided to formulate a new rub for the chicken.   The result was a big hit.  Accompanied by the super easy Lemon Infused Steamed Broccoli, this combo became a real life saver on busy days.   
             Just a quick note, the cayenne pepper is optional.  That is, if you or the people who will eat prefer to have some kick.  For my children, I only use a pinch because Child#3 is not a fan of hot/spicy food.  Feel free to omit it if you know your child is sensitive. 
            Sun is still out so I'm running to the pool.  How do you relax on a busy summer day?
1 whole chicken (around 5 lbs. or 7 pcs. chicken thigh-leg combo)
3 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
3 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
1 Tbs. olive oil
1. Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. If using a whole chicken, line a roasting pan with aluminum foil.  Otherwise, line a 9x13 dish with foil. This is for easy clean up later.
2. Prepare the chicken or chicken pieces by patting it dry with a paper towel.
3. In a small bowl, combine the spices and oil to make a paste.
4. Rub the chicken with the spice rub.  Make sure you put some of the spice mix between the meat and skin of the chicken. 
5. Roast uncovered for about 2 hours (whole chicken) or 1 1/2  hours for chicken thigh and leg.  Check with a meat thermometer or cut on the thickest part to make sure that it is cooked all the way through.  Depending on the oven  and the weight of the chicken, you may need to cook it a little bit longer.
6. Once cooked, let it rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting.
Steamed Lemon Infused Broccoli
1 lb. frozen broccoli (you can also use fresh but it will take longer)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. lemon juice
1. Steam the broccoli until it reached your desired tenderness. If using frozen ones, you can microwave it for 4 minutes on high.
2. Drain the broccoli.
3. In a big bowl, combine all the seasonings.  Toss the cooked broccoli until well coated.
4. Serve warm.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

When Something as Simple as Peanuts Becomes Deadly

       Today, as I was going thru the news, I was deeply saddened to read about Natalie Giorgi.  She was a 13 year old teenager with peanut allergy who recently passed away due to her body's reaction to the allergen. Coincidentally, this story came out just 4 days after my friend's son (who also have peanut allergy) was rushed to the hospital for breathing difficulties after tasting a pork BBQ in a restaurant.  They later found out that marinade used had some traces of peanut in it.  Thank God the later was fine after an epinephrine shot.
        When I first read the story at Yahoo, I was extremely bothered by some of the comments.  So instead of typing anything,   I decided to look for a more detailed article online.  Finally, I was able to see this from the Sacramento Bee. 
Photo courtesy of
            As I am writing this, my body is still filled with goose bumps.  Okay, here's a quick disclaimer.  I am not a medical professional, allergist or a declared expert when it comes to food allergies.   I am just a mom who happens to have children with multiple food allergies.  One of them has anaphylactic tendencies.  Whatever I'll write from here onwards are just my opinions most of which are based from my experiences. If you have issues on how to cook or bake gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut and peanut free food though, ask away and I'll share my countless tips and recipes.  Are we clear with that?
         Anyway, after reading the article which pointed out that the parents followed everything by the book.  Just like my allergist has reminded me a hundred times.  First sign of itching or a reaction --- Benadryl.  Within the 2 hours after consumption, if there's tightness around the throat or trouble breathing - 1st Epipen shot and call 911 for an ambulance.  If there's no relief after the first shot, use the second Epipen.  Still, they weren't successful in reviving their daughter.
          I am so thankful and blessed that I haven't reached a point where I needed to  use that Epi-pen.  I can't imagine how scared and powerless the parents had felt seeing their child struggled to stay alive.  Holding the body of a supposed to be perfectly healthy child is incomprehensible.  
          The two incidents about the accidental ingestion of peanuts and their outcome made me realize that:
        1. One can never be too prepared.  It is necessary to have the required medications at all times.
        2. Epi-pen or Epinephrine is a tool that helps treat the symptoms or signs of an allergic reaction.  Take note, I emphasized the word help.  As what I've discussed with my children's allergist, Epi-pen is not a cure.  As with all medications, it also has side effects that can be severe or fatal to some people.
        3. Avoidance is always the best way to prevent a reaction.  As pointed out to me by our allergist, "One can never tell how the body will react when exposed to the allergen at a particular time.  It can be a simple bump, upset stomach, eczema after 2 days or even no reaction at all.  However, the possibility of a fatal reaction is always there."
            With that being said, education is a must in order to have an allergy friendly environment for everyone.  The exact cause of food allergies is still unknown.  Yet the rate of people with food allergies is growing significantly.  According to the recent statistics by the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). 1 in every 13 children  (under the age of 18) has a food allergy.  That doesn't include undiagnosed children and even adults.
            I may not know Natalie or her family personally but we do have something in common which is Food Allergy.  May stories such as hers enable other people to understand the severity of allergies.  That to some, simple things such as peanuts are indeed fatal.  It is not a fad diet or an act to look special.   It is a matter of survival. 
           Can I ask you a favor? Will you join me in prayer for Natalie and those who have  food allergies?  Also, will you help me spread awareness about it? 
            Thanks a bunch.
- Roz 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Surprisingly Good and Healthy Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

          Do you have a foodie buddy? You know that friend who always enjoys talking about food, eating and even shares recipes with you.  I do!  In fact my list of food loving friends exponentially grew when I started my food allergy journey.  If you don't have at least one yet, don't worry, yours truly is always here.  Also, you are most welcome to join me and the gang on Facebook thru the page Allergy Friendly Home.   
            One of my favorite foodie buddies is Fit Chef Trina of Fit Chef for Life. I have known this wonderful person for years.  We were college block mates to be exact.  Okay people, I'm not revealing any age here so don't ask how long that has been.  Anyway,  Trina is a living testimony that one doesn't have to sacrifice good food to be able to be healthy.  Check out her amazing story and I'm pretty sure you will be inspired too.
            When I first learned about the restrictions in my children's diet, Fit Chef Trina was one of the firsts who came to my rescue.  She gave me ideas on what other food I can use as substitute for dairy and eggs.  She even shared her easy to prepare gluten free dishes.  Most importantly, she empowered me to tackle this cooking for food allergies challenge in a very positive manner.
           Earlier this month, she surprised me with a recipe for a healthier gluten and egg free Chocolate Chip Cookies.  My children were so excited when I showed them the picture.  With just some minor substitutions, we were able to make the cookies and the response was priceless.  We are even making another batch right after I finish this post. 
        I love that I can make these cookies right in the food processor.  That means less things to clean up for me.  The original recipe calls for Almond Butter and Almond Milk.  Since we are nut free at home, I used Vanilla flavored Flax Milk and No Nuts Pea Butter.   Also, instead of the sweeteners mentioned, I made the cookies with what I have on hand which is Organic raw cane sugar (about 2/3 cup).  I also used Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips in place of the Ghirardelli ones.
            To make the cookies even in size, I used a small ice cream scoop that holds about two tablespoons of batter.  Then I dipped a fork in some sugar to flatten it before putting the chocolate chips on top.  I was able to get a total of 24 cookies from the recipe.
             I urge you to give this recipe a try. You, your mom, friends and even children will surely love these delicious treat.  Not to mention, your body will love you back too.
           Enjoy your week Frugalista Foodies!
- Roz      

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Freebies: Easy Paleo Diet Recipes Ebooks

       I am not a big fan of diets.  However, when I first learned about my children's food allergies and the fact that our family has to eliminate specific foods such as wheat, I turned to diet recipe books for ideas.  As you may have noticed by now, I considered our family as foodies.  What I mean with that is as a family we all enjoy good and healthy food.    We are not even afraid to try something new as long as it will taste delicious. 
       One of my favorite source of recipe inspirations is the Paleo Diet.  Basically, this type of diet avoids grains, legumes and certain vegetables. It also enforces the use of healthy fats which I love. 
        For those of you who are also in a gluten free diet or just plain curious about the growing Paleo trend, I have found some interesting e cookbooks that you can download for free right now.  Though I haven't personally tried the recipes from these, I'm pretty sure, you'll find one, two  or more that you will enjoy. 
       What are you waiting for?  Click and download one or all of them now. 
         Have a fun filled weekend!
- Roz

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Kid Approved Roasted Chicken Alphabet Soup - No dairy, egg, gluten, soy, nuts and peanuts

       It's just the 25th of July and we've experienced a sudden drop of temperature here in New Jersey.  Can you believe the highest my place reached is 72F?  Call me crazy but we still managed to attend the 45 minute swim lessons this morning. Talk about dedicated students!

      Anyway, to reward my enthusiastic swimmers, I decided to make this very easy, delicious and hearty soup.  All it took was just 30 minutes yet it tasted like it has been cooking for hours.  The secret to this flavorful soup is the combination of:

      1. Leftover homemade roasted chicken or even a store bought rotisserie chicken. If you are not making your own, just make sure that  it is gluten free or is food allergy friendly as it may contain seasonings that can be allergen to some.
      2.  Chicken stock adds plenty of flavor even if it is diluted in water.  By having more water, I was able to keep the recipe as budget friendly as possible. Isn't that great?

      3.  The chicken bones that were added to the soup during simmering also gives an extra boost of chicken flavor.  So please, do put it in.  Just don't forget to remove it before serving. 

        You will also notice that I didn't pre-cook the pasta. Since I was using a gluten free version that tends to easily deteriorate, I decided to just let it cook in the soup.  The starch that the pasta release during cooking, also thickens it.  Thus, there is a silky texture. 

       So, if you are craving for some homemade soup and is short in time, keep this recipe handy.  The ingredients are simple and readily available.  Even the pickiest kid will give this a thumbs up.
        Happy Cooking!

- Roz                                   

1/2 of a rotisserie chicken, skin removed (I used the breast portion including the bones)
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
1 cup white onions, chopped
1 1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1 32 oz. box of chicken stock (I used a low sodium, gluten free brand)
5 cups water
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. black pepper, ground
4 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 cup dried alphabet pasta (I used Sam Mills Pasta for Kids, Alphabets, Gluten Free, 12-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12))
1 Tbs. fresh parsley chopped

1. Prepare the chicken by removing the skin and meat from the bones.  Discard the skin but keep the big bones and shredded meat.
2. In a big soup pan, heat the oil and sauté the garlic, onions, carrots and celery for about 5 minutes. 
3. Pour in the chicken stock and water.
4. Add the chicken meat and bones.  Make sure the bones the big enough to be easily removed later.
5. Bring to a boil. 
6. Once the soup is boiling, season with the rosemary, ground black pepper and 2 tsp. sea salt. 
7. Simmer for at least 10 minutes. 
8. Taste.  Depending on the chicken stock you used, you may not need to use all of the remaining 2 tsp. of salt.  Since the brand I used is low sodium, I have to use all of the salt.
9. Bring to a boil again. 
10. When it starts to boil, add the pasta and let it cook for about 8 minutes or until the pasta reached your preferred texture. Keep stirring so that the pasta doesn't stick to each other.  Make sure not to over cook the pasta.  The hot soup will continually cook the pasta even if the heat is already off.
11. Turn off heat and then add the parsley. Mix
12. Remove the bones before serving.
13. Enjoy hot!   

Monday, July 22, 2013

Easy and Healthy Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms & Grape Tomatoes

         Can you believe that the end of July is almost here?  That means we only have a month and a few days left to enjoy the summer.  Where did the days go?  Hmmm... let's see... vacation, get together, play dates, cold drinks, BBQ, no wonder that swimsuit is slowly getting smaller!
          Anyway, one of the best things I enjoy every summer aside from the pool and staying outside is the availability of fresh produce. Local farmer's markets are popping everywhere.  Thus making organically grown fruits and vegetables affordably accessible. 
           Since most of us don't want to be locked in the kitchen, I'm sharing with you my favorite recipe for fresh vegetables.   It's simple, delicious and very healthy too.  If you are scared to use that hot oven, don't worry, this dish can also be prepared on the grill.  Just make sure to roast them on top of an aluminum foil with the sides folded a bit so that you will not lose the fresh and sweet juices. 
           Give this waist friendly veggies a try.  I'm sure your palate and wallet will love it too.
           Have a great week everyone!
 - Roz                

2 lbs. fresh asparagus (washed and trimmed)
1 pint grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
8 oz. sliced mushrooms (I like baby Bella for it's meatier taste)
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a 9 x 13 baking pan, arrange the asparagus and mushrooms.
3. Add the olive oil and lemon juice. 
4. Season with salt and black pepper.
5. Toss lightly to make sure the vegetables are evenly coated with the seasonings.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 - 25 minutes or just until the asparagus is tender.  Do not overcook.
7. Once the asparagus reached the tenderness that you prefer, remove the pan from the oven and add the tomatoes.  Mix well.
8. Let the dish stand for at least 3 minutes before serving. The heat of the mushrooms and asparagus will slightly cook the tomatoes adding another level of flavor.
9. Serve warm.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Make it Special with a Budget Friendly Coq Au Vin Blanc

      My friends! Don't let the name scare you.  It is just a French phrase for Chicken in White wine.  If you have been following me (I hope so.), you already realize that I love braising meat and vegetables. I found that this method of cooking easier to manage even it entails a long cooking.  Once it's on the simmering step,  I just set the timer and it allows me to do other things in the house. Cool right?
      You might be asking how I can call this fancy sounding dish budget friendly.  Well, when I created this recipe, I made sure I'll only use ingredients that are found in most people's panty.  Also, I cut back on the wine.  Most traditional recipes I know use at least a full bottle.  By just using 2 cups and adding chicken broth, I still get the exquisite aged flavor of the wine in the dish and still have some for drinking later.  In fact, when I first made this, I took the leftover wine in the fridge.  
     Just a little reminder though when cooking with wine.  Pick the one that you can drink and actually like.  It doesn't have to be expensive.  There are white wines under $10 a bottle that are good.  One of my favorites is Jersey Fresh wines.  Search for local wines, you'll be surprised that some are really good.
        Best thing about this dish is that it tastes better the next day.  This batch produces enough for another day's meal saving you precious time.  Bring it to your next pot luck.  I'm pretty sure your friends and extended family will be impressed.
 - Roz


3 pcs. chicken breast (boneless, skinless and sliced in about 1/2 inch thick)
5 pcs. chicken thigh (bone in and with skin)
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. chili powder
2 cups white wine
2 cups chicken broth (I used low sodium)
1 cup carrots, diced
3 cups potatoes quartered (about 2 inch cubes)
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. chili flakes
2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup baby spinach (thinly sliced or chiffonade)
1/2 cup white onions, chopped

1. In the medium setting of the stove, heat the oil in a Dutch oven or a heavy soup pot.
2. While the oil is heat, coat the chicken pieces with the chili powder.
3. Brown the chicken in batches, starting with the dark meat.  Set the browned meat aside.
4. After all the meat has browned, sauté the onions and sundried tomatoes in the same pot for 3 minutes or until fragrant.
5. Deglaze the pan with wine and let the alcohol evaporate for about 4 minutes.
6. Pour the stock and bring to a boil.
7. Put back the chicken pieces in the boiling liquid.
8. Season with pepper, thyme and 2 tsp. salt. Bring it back to a boil.
9. Once it starts to boil, add the carrots and potatoes.
10. Lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours.  You can also put the whole pot in a preheated oven at 325F for 2 hours.  If using the stovetop method, stir the mixture every 25 minutes to make sure nothing sticks at the bottom of the pan.  You can forgo stirring if you are using the oven method.
11. After 2 hours, check for seasoning.  Depending on the chicken stock you used, you may need to add the remaining 1 tsp. of salt.
12. Stir in the spinach and chili flakes. 
13. Serve hot with rice, pasta or bread. Enjoy!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Snickerdoodle Mini Donuts - Vegan, Gluten and Soy Free too

       Last Saturday, my girls celebrated their birthdays with a joint pool party.  It was their first time to have a party after the food allergy diagnosis.  I tried to make it as simple as possible by ordering Gluten free Dominos Pizza for my kiddos and regular pizza for guests.  Sneaky right? Then I made Double Chocolate S'mores Cupcakes (Sorry everything just flew like crazy before I got to take some pictures.), allergy safe chips, limeade and these Snickerdoodle Mini Donuts. 
         I always love to entertain.  Not only for the company but to test my recipes.  I'm lucky I have awesome people who are willing to try anything that comes out of my kitchen.  Anyway, I'm a little nervous this time because the young guests ages 8 - 10 aren't familiar or have never even tried any gluten free and vegan baked good.  Knowing them, it is a matter of either they eat or doesn't touch the food at all. 
         To my surprise, these donuts were a big hit.  I brought 4 dozen (2 batches of this recipe) for the 15 guests including a couple of moms.  Everyone enjoyed it and were even asking for more.  The moms couldn't believe that the donuts are indeed vegan and gluten, nut, peanut, soy free.   With so much rave, I'm not confident to share with your the recipe. 
         Without further intro, here's the recipe you have been waiting for. Warning! These are highly addictive so count as you pop.  :)
- Roz


1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup rice flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt (finely ground)
2/3 cup organic cane sugar (regular white sugar will also work)
1/4 cup coconut oil (sunflower oil will also do)
1/2 cup flax milk (rice, almond or refrigerated coconut milk)
1 Tbs. flax meal
3 Tbs. lukewarm water
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 Tbs. cane sugar (Turbinado sugar has bigger grains for more texture)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder

1. Preheat your mini donut maker.
2. Make a flax goo by combining flax meal and water in a small bowl.  Set aside for at least 5 minutes before using.
3. In a big bowl, whisk the potato and tapioca starch, rice flour, sorghum flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
4. With an electric mixer or hand mixer, cream the oil, sugar, apple sauce and flax goo.
5. Once it's well incorporated, add the milk and vanilla.
6. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the dry ingredients. 
7. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the batter in the donut crevices. 
8. Bake for 5-6 minutes.
9. Combine the sugar and cinnamon topping.
10. Once the donuts are done, immediately dip in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  If most topping does not stick, let the donuts cool for about 2 minutes and lightly brush with non dairy milk before dipping in the topping mixture.
11. Enjoy!      

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Friday Finds: Jamba Juice Smoothies

       Summer is in full swing.  That means nothing can beat a nice ice cold sweetened treat on a hot sunny day.  Since most of us are spending more time outdoors, a quite a challenging task for us with food allergies and special food requirements,  I decided to search ahead of time online for ice cream shops and frozen yogurt places which carry dairy free and healthier versions of cold treats.

       Lucky me, last month, I was contacted by the people of Moms Meet Program of May Media Group, LLC to review two products from their sponsor, Jamba Juice. Take note,  as a Mom's Meet blogger, I have received the smoothies for free in return for posting a review of it.  All the opinions I'm posting are my own and I call everything as it is.  No special treatments.

         The flavor I was asked to try is Tropical Harvest which is made with mangoes, peaches, passion fruit, yellow veggies (sweet potato, carrot and butternut squash) and ice.  Aside from being refreshing delicious, I love that this smoothie does not contain added sweeteners like refined sugar and even organic syrups.  Thus saving me lots of unwanted calories.  Would you believe that a small size (Sixteen) is just 230 calories and it does taste sweet and not watery. Also, don't let the added vegetables scare you.  All six of us (including my husband and 4 kids) tried the smoothie and none can't tell that there are veggies at all.  When I asked them what it tasted like, they just replied mango.  In fact, both of my girls liked it more than the ones for the kids.
 Tropical Harvest Smoothie
           As for my children, each pair get to share a cup of the Jamba Kids Berry Beet It Smoothie.  This yummy treat is made with strawberries, banana, mango, mixed berry juice and even veggies most are scared to eat like beets, broccoli, kale, carrot, lettuce and spinach.  Texture wise, it was really thick and creamy. Almost like a milkshake. What surprised me the most is how the leafy greens where nicely incorporated in it.  It was really smooth and no tiny specks at all.  We do lots of smoothies at home and there are always noticeable small pieces of leaves.  Taste wise, all we can tell is banana with a hint of strawberry.
          Honestly, I have never been Jamba Juice before this review.  Why? Because I have this pre conception that most Smoothie shops are dairy based and offers only things that are yummy yet loaded with unwanted sugars.  Then there are those specialty shops that change a fortune for a cup of  healthy yet most of the time questionable when it comes to taste.
         I am very happy to have been selected to review Jamba Juice Fruit and Veggie Smoothie as well as the Jamba Kids Meal.  Not only was I able to find a place to take my food allergy children, I was also introduced to a establishment that cares about delicious, affordable, healthy and natural food for everyone.   As you all can see, all four of my kiddos gave both smoothies a thumbs up.  They even ask for a Jamba when we go to the mall.       

             Shhh....  here's a quick tip.  Be a Jamba insider thru their Facebook page to get updates for deals and special offers.   I know you all like that. 
         Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Stack of Gluten Free and Vegan Mint Chocolate Mini Donuts

          Summer is in full swing and I'm pretty sure if you have young children in the house, your grocery bill is competing with your electric bill. In our case, the more outdoor activities the kids have, the more they asked for food.  I barely can keep up with the demand.  Since it's too hot to turn on my trusted oven, I used my beloved donut maker to stock up on quick snacks.

        Thin Mints are my children's favorite Girl Scout cookie.   Before the food allergy diagnosis nine months ago, our family would have boxes after boxes of this highly addictive treat.  We do have 2 Girl Scouts trying to get the much coveted patch after all. 

          Though my girls still sold GS cookies this year, we didn't purchase much for ourselves.  Aside from yours truly, there's no one else fit to eat those delectable yet non food allergy friendly delights.  Then one day, while I was preparing to make some mini donuts, child #3 asked why we can't make some Thin Mint donuts.  Light bulb moment! I decided to play around in the kitchen and after a few trial and error, I was able to create a recipe that my toughest critics approved. 

          Whether you are having a big case of GS cookie craving, wanting a food allergy friendly treat or simply wanting to try something new, give this one a go.   I'm sure you'll love them too. If you need any help just let me know.

- Roz

1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 Tbs. flax meal
3 Tbs. lukewarm water
3/4 cup flax milk (or other non dairy milk)
2 tsp. rice vinegar (you can also use apple cider vinegar)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. mint extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp. mint extract
1. In a small bowl, make a flax goo by mixing the flax meal and water. Set aside for at least 5 minutes before using.
2. Prepare the non dairy "buttermilk" by combining the flax milk or any non dairy milk and rice vinegar. Set aside.
3. In a big bowl, whisk the cocoa powder, oat flour, rice flour, baking powder and potato starch.
4. With the help of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, cream the coconut oil and sugar until light in color.
5. Add the flax meal goo and mix until well combined.
6. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture. Remember to start and end with the flour mixture. 
7. Add the vanilla and mint extract.  Mix just until combined.  Be careful not to over mix.
8. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the batter on each slot of a preheated donut maker and bake for 5-6 minutes. 
9. Once baked, cool in a wire rack for a about 10 minutes before frosting.
10. To prepare the frosting, transfer the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and melt it on high for about 40 seconds in 15 second intervals.  Make sure not to overheat the chocolate. 
11. Once melted, add the mint extract and mix until well combined.
12. Dip the cooled mini donuts in the chocolate mixture and transfer to a cooling rack until the chocolate coating sets.
13. Enjoy! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday Finds: Go Organic Natural Remedies Ebook

       It's Friday again Frugalista friends.  If you are one of those fortunate to  have an extended long weekend, I hope you are enjoying every minute of it.  As for those who aren't as lucky, let's count the minutes together.  While you are at it, check out what I have found today.
        This Go Organic handbook is a great reference to have on hand.  It is loaded with 201 remedies for common dilemma such as headaches, diarrhea, eczema, mosquito bites and so much more.  The best part, the concoctions only uses organic materials such as food and natural oils.  Most of which are already available in our pantries and medicine cabinets. 
         So if you are like me who tries to stay away from synthetic drugs or you are just looking for better and cheaper alternatives to treat certain conditions, click on the photo and download this very useful E book while it's Free.  What are you waiting for?
         Have a great weekend!
- Roz 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Have a Food Allergy Safe July 4th Celebration

       Happy July 4th America!  As we celebrate the Independence day with BBQ's, parties and lots of  food, let's not forget some basic food allergy safety such as:

        1. Keep safe foods on separate platters to avoid cross contamination.
        2. Don't be shy to ask the ingredients of the dishes prepared by your friends.
        3. Epi-pens should be away from direct sunlight or heat.
        4. Fresh fruit salads can be your best option so load up on these colorful treats.
        5. If not sure what's on the dish, just say No!

         Whether you are here in the US or not I hope everyone is having a relaxing day!
- Roz

Monday, July 1, 2013

Best Chili and Beans Recipe

      Hello July!  Today is officially the first day of summer in our home.  With a new schedule that includes swimming lessons, library educational programs, reading logs, play dates, parties and school homework, (Oh yes! Each of my kids have a thick packet of assigned work and even website activities to be graded once school starts.) cooking will be quite a challenge. Can you relate?  For sure, nobody wants to be stuck in the kitchen especially when the weather is beautiful right? I don't know about your kids but mine seem to have bottomless pits when they are home.  As in every 30 minutes they are looking for something to eat! No wonder I barely can keep up with the demand.

        In times like this, I rely on recipes that can be cooked once and have versatile uses.  One of my lifesavers is this delicious Chili and Beans.  If you don't feel like watching it on the stove for an hour or so, definitely use that Crock Pot you've been hiding in your closet.  To use this method, simply sauté the garlic and onions and let the meat brown first on the stove before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients in the slow cooker. Then let it do its thing for 6 hours on the low setting.  It's that easy.

        You may also notice that this recipe is quite a big batch. Don't be afraid to make the whole thing.  I often transfer this chili in small containers and keep it handy in the freezer.  So versatile, you can also serve this chili over pasta, on top of nachos, as a dip for  chips and sliced veggies and of course, as an  excellent topper to hotdogs and burgers. Whether you have a big family such as mine, love to entertain or just too busy to cook everyday, give this one a try.  I'm sure you'll love this as much as I love it.

        Happy cooking and have a great summer!

- Roz


5 lbs. ground beef (you can also use pork and turkey combination)
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. garlic minced
1 1/2 cups onion chopped
3 pcs. bay leaf
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 1/2 Tbs. chili powder
1 Tbs. garlic powder
2 Tbs. sea salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbs. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup cognac
2 15 oz. cans beans (I used cannellini)
1 Tbs. sriracha or hot sauce (this amount is for a kid friendly version, you can definitely add more if you like)
2 Tbs. mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy life) *

1. In a big Dutch oven or pot, heat the oil and sauté the minced garlic and onions for about 2 minutes or until the onions become translucent.
2. Add the ground meat and cook until brown.  Stir occasionally to make sure the meat is cooked evenly.
3. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and cognac. Mix and let the alcohol evaporate for about 5 minutes.
4. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder and oregano. 
5. Add the beans and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. 
6. Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the chocolate and mix until melted.
7. Let the chili simmer for at least 40 minutes.  The longer you simmer it, the better (about 2 hours).
8. Just before serving, mix the Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce.
9. Enjoy!

* If you are not dairy free, you can use 3 pcs. of Hershey's kisses.
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