Easy Homemade Sunflower Butter & Nut-free Muddy Buddies

If you have a child with food allergies, or have them yourself, you know it can be tough. You have to monitor everything that goes into your or your child’s mouth. Reading labels becomes second nature, as does inquiring about ingredients at potlucks, family gatherings, parties, etc. It’s a full time job.

You read food labels like others read trashy novels. | 14 Things That Prove You Are A Peanut Allergy Mom

Now that my son is older (he will be seven soon!) *Side note: I started this blog when he was TWO! I can’t believe I’ve been doing it this long! He is very good about asking people “does it have nuts?” or asking me or his teacher if he can eat something. However, also now that he’s older, he realizes that he is different and that he can not participate in everything that goes on at school or eat everything the other kids eat. When a situation like that arises, he says “I wish I wasn’t allergic, and was like everyone else.” *Cue breaking heart* No mom wants her child to feel that way.

I hadn’t planned on getting into all that, I was just going to post these recipes! I’ve had this stewing in the back of my mind since his class did an activity that involved smearing peanut butter all over a pine cone and sticking birdseed to it, and my son had to leave the room! He felt so left out, but of course, I would rather he be out of harms way, but he was so sad about it. It was a parent who came in and did it, not the teachers, and I know the other parent was just trying to do something fun with the kids, but I really wanted to punch her in the face. (Just kidding. sorta.) If I had been made aware ahead of time, I could have made this quick and easy Sunflower Butter so that everyone could participate! Making it yourself is much cheaper than buying the SunButter Brand in the store.

We used the sunflower seed butter to make traditional Muddy Buddies, just subbing out peanut butter with the sunflower butter. It worked great, and tasted like “regular” Muddy Buddies…my oldest daughter thought I made them using less peanut butter, but didn’t realize they were peanut free. The sunflower seed butter has a milder flavor than peanut, but when used in recipes, it’s hard to tell the difference.
Homemade Sunflower Butter
 
2-4 cups roasted sunflower seeds (recipe will yield about half this amount once processed)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt (only if seeds are unsalted; add to taste. Start with a small amount, grind seeds, then add more as needed)
oil – as needed to thin to desired consistency, we used coconut oil, but you can use any you like. I didn’t add quite enough, so my butter is a little thicker than I would like. If spreading on bread, it would need to be a little thinner.
(optional) sweetener: this can be sugar, honey, agave, whatever you choose. We used about a teaspoon of honey.
  • Add ingredients to bowl of food processor and blend until smooth!

 

Nut-Free Muddy Buddies
9 cups Chex Cereal (we used a combo of Rice, Corn and Wheat Chex)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup Sunflower Butter (*see above; can also use peanut butter or any other peanut butter replacement.)
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Place cereal in a large bowl
  • In a 1-quart microwavable bowl, heat chocolate chips, sunflower butter, and butter in microwave on High for 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds more or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Add vanilla, stir to incorporate.
  • Pour chocolate mixture over cereal, and stir until cereal is coated.
  • Add 1/2 the powdered sugar to a gallon size baggie, and add to it half the cereal mixture. Shake until cereal is coated in powdered sugar. Pour contents of baggie onto a waxed line cookie sheet to completely cool. Repeat step with remaining sugar and cereal.
  • You can also add in sprinkles, candy, etc if desired. We made this for Valentine’s so we used some Red Velvet MM’s, leftover from these cookies!
(recipe from back of Chex Party Mix Variety Pack box)
If you like Muddy Buddies, you may also like this Brownie Biscoff version!
Any allergy moms out there? My son is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. He outgrew his egg allergy when he was four…that was a happy day!

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouI Should Be MoMypping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Mandy’s Recipe BoxSowdering About in SeattleNaptime Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206Anyonita Nibbles (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily Dish, The Diary of a Real Housewife

Egg & Nut Free Holiday Treats – Round Up

The holidays are a little tough when you or someone in your family has food allergies. My son was diagnosed with egg, peanut and tree nut allergies at a very young age. He is now 5 and has outgrown the egg allergy, so things have gotten easier. However, this time of year, with food pretty much everywhere, I have to be diligent in monitoring what my son eats.

Here is a collection of things I have made in the past that are egg and nut free, and make tasty treats for everyone, food allergic or not! (Just click on the title and it will take you to the recipe) First up –

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
These were really good, and I don’t think anyone would realize they are egg free. You could also add some colorful sprinkles or candies on top to make them more festive.


Reindeer Mix, affectionately known by some as ‘White Trash’ Mix, is a sweet and salty combo that is always a hit. Whatever you call it, I call it good!


Oreo Truffles  Oreos, cream cheese and chocolate are all that makes up these delicious little treats.


Egg free gingerbread men Fun to decorate and have a good flavor too!


Faux Toffee‘ Sorry for the blurry pic, I will try to update this one very soon. The treat however…there is a reason it’s called Christmas Crack. So good, so addictive!


DIY Twix Bars with Biscoff  Ohmigosh…I absolutely love these tihings!


Egg free Sugar Cookies  This is a good egg free cookie recipe for cut out cookies. They are great for decorating with the kids and hold up well to cutting out and frosting.

Pretzel Turtles Super easy and yummy treat. You can tell we like the sweet and salty thing.


Old Fashioned Fudge  Fudge is my all time favorite Christmas treat. I only make it at Christmas, and you do need a candy thermometer for this one, but it is ohhhh so worth it! This one has nuts, but it is delicious without. I usually make a batch of both. This is the only “real” fudge in my book!


Rolo Brownies  An easy brownie recipe starting with a mix and using yogurt instead of eggs.


Monster Magic Bars  These are another holiday favorite, and no eggs or nuts needed to have one fabulous treat. OR this version –

Not Your Mama’s Magic Bars (just leave off the nuts)


No Peanut Butter Blossoms These are a delicious version of a Christmas classic using a peanut butter substitute. SunButter is my favorite, but SoyNut Butter is cheaper and easier to find around here. I’d like to try these using Biscoff one day too. Hmmm, sounds like a plan for later in the week!

NOTE: It is very important to always check your labels on all ingredients used when baking for someone with food allergies (even if you have checked them before, b/c sometimes manufacturers change things without warning!) You would be surprised how many “hidden” allergens can be in foods. Also, my advice is that if you are baking for someone else, and trying to be allergy friendly, it is still best to let that person or parent look at the labels of the products used. I have been really touched by the extra efforts some people have made to accommodate my son’s allergies, even though I always say – do whatever you have planned and I will make accommodations for him. Of course, I’ve also gotten pretty pissed off irritated at some people’s insensitivity or deliberate ignorance. But that’s a story for another day. Right now, let’s go
EAT DRINK AND BE MERRY 🙂 Safely!

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorThis Gal CooksWatch Out, Martha!Huckleberry LoveThe Newlyweds PilgrimageSowdering About in SeattleCraft and Repeat (Tuesday) Naptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe BoxLove in the Kitchen, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeSarah Lynn’s SweetsBeBetsy and VMG206Twinkling Trees , Anyonita Nibbles (Wednesday) Fluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the CurtainGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeThe Real Thing with The Coake FamilyTessa the Domestic Diva  (Thursday) Project Inspire ,Joyful HomemakingDesigned DecorMiz Helen’s Country CottageThe Mandatory Mooch,   Lamberts Lately (Friday) Not Your Ordinary Recipes,  Simple Living and EatingJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,CraftionaryOne Artsy MamaThe Best Blog RecipesOne Creative Mommy, Michelle’s Tasty CreationsClose to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday)  Or So She Says…Six Sisters’ StuffIt’s Overflowing, (Sunday) Made from Pinterest

Peanut Butter Cookies {4 ingredients; GF; low carb option}

When I discover a recipe that allows me to make cookies by only messing up 1 bowl, 1 spoon and uses 4 ingredients…I’m so in. This is a great recipe for the kids to make for the same reasons – super easy, and not so messy! In fact, my kids made at least 3 batches of these cookies in one week! (One batch was included in the end of the year teacher gifts.)

You can make them with the traditional criss cross markings on top, which for whatever reason is my favorite.
You can make them as drop cookies or roll them into balls, AND you can add chocolate chips – if you want to make it 5 ingredients. Chocolate makes everything mo’betta.
You can also make these with regular peanut butter, natural peanut butter, or peanut butter replacements (WowButter, Sunflower butter). You can also make them with sugar substitutes, like Splenda, for a low carb, low sugar version. {and yes, I’m aware that some people are totally against Splenda. I personally prefer Stevia as a sugar sub, but Splenda seems to work better in baking. When you have a diabetic in your family, sugar substitutes are going to be a part of your life.}
We tried different versions, and the best texture comes from regular peanut butter and powdered sugar. The ones with Splenda were a little crumbly, with a slight artificial sweetener aftertaste, but were still good and a treat when you need something low in sugar and carbs. The ones with the natural peanut butter were also good, they are just a little greasier than when using regular peanut butter, but I always buy natural peanut butter (the no-stir kind with no hydrogenated oils), so this is how we will usually make them. When made with peanut butter replacements, they are going to taste like the replacement used, and depending on which one is used, they may be a little greasy or crumbly. I like the flavor of Sunbutter best (I have an easy homemade version here), but WowButter is cheaper and easier to find around here. *There are a couple of other cookies on the blog using PB replacements here and here*  These cookies are flourless, so they make a great snack for anyone who is following a gluten-free diet too! (Just make sure other ingredients used are gluten free.)
Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar (or Splenda for sugar free)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone liner.
Add all of the ingredients to a medium size mixing bowl, and stir until combined and smooth.
Take about a tablespoon of dough and (1) roll in a ball, then use a fork to press down in one direction, then the opposite direction to make your criss cross markings on top OR (2) drop onto cookie sheet 2 inches apart and bake for 8-10 minutes. *The original recipe said 10, ours only needed 8-9 minutes*
Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Have any low carb dessert recipes? I’d love to hear about them!
 

{egg free} Lemon Curd

I L-O-V-E me some lemon curd.  Creamy, sweet, tart, lemon-y deliciousness. Of course, as with most things I adore, it isn’t all that good for you. I have wanted to try an egg free version for a while, and I have to say, I was quite pleased with my first attempt at homemade lemon curd! I guess I should point out, this version isn’t healthy either, it’s just eggless. Oh well..can’t win them all.

Egg Free Lemon Curd

adapted from Expendablepolo
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup heavy cream (can also use Half and Half creamer)
3/4 cup lemon juice (I used meyer lemons)
4 tablespoons cornstarch (Update: I now make this with 3 Tablespoons)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
lemon zest (from squeezed lemons *optional)

Zest lemons (about 3 large or 5 Meyers – depending on size), then juice.
Whisk together lemon juice, almond milk, cream, cornstarch, and sugar in a medium saucepan.
Continue to whisk while heating on high heat until mixture is hot, but not boiling.
Reduce heat to medium, and whisk until mixture thickens.
Once it has thickened, remove from heat and add vanilla and lemon zest.
Remove from saucepan immediately and allow to cool. Once cool, store in refrigerator in a sealed container.
I used some of mine to make these…Blueberry Muffins with Lemon Curd, which I have deemed the best muffins ever. I love, love, love them. 
The muffins pictured above were made with store bought lemon curd (with eggs)…you can see how it is much more yellow, but other than that, the flavor was very close.  The only thing about my homemade version, is once it was refrigerated, it got thick and pasty/lumpy looking. I am guessing due to all the cornstarch? But it still tasted delicious and when heated in the muffins, it was nice and smooth.  I will definitely be making my own lemon curd again!

Brownie Graduation Hats

For Mr. Three’s pre-school graduation party last week, I made little graduation hats. (I can’t believe my baby is going to Kindergarten in the Fall!)
 (You may have seen this pic on Instagram already.)  I got the idea from Pinterest (of course), but most used a Reese Cup as the base.  Mine needed to be peanut free, since my son and another classmate are allergic.  So, I decided on brownies, baked in a mini muffin pan. (You could buy pre-made brownie bites making these a quick, no-bake treat!)
 I thought they turned out pretty cute for my first attempt, and the kids & parents alike enjoyed them. {Yes, I was *that* mom who brought in something cutesy off Pinterest. But hey, sometimes I’m that “crap! I forgot to buy something for the party, let me grab some Little Debbie snacks” mom too. It’s called balance. Can’t be on top of my game all the time. lol}
Since these were for preschoolers, the mini brownies made the perfect size snack!
Brownie Graduation Hats
 
1 box brownie mix, plus ingredients on box
1 package chocolate covered graham cookies
candy for ‘tassels’*
mini M and M candies
melted chocolate for ‘gluing’ everything together
  • Mix brownies according to directions on package (or try this egg free, lower fat version!).
  • Bake brownies in a mini muffin pan until done (they will not take as long to bake as directed on package since they are minis. Do I really need to point that out? probably not)
  • Once cool, carefully cut rounded tops off brownies so they will sit flat (if needed)
  • Flip brownies over, so the widest side is down.
  • Use some melted chocolate to attach a graham cookie to the now upside down brownie.
  • Use more melted chocolate to attach candy tassels to top of cookie, and the mini M candy on top of tassel.
*The candy that I used for the tassels was some rope candy I had never seen before (and don’t remember the name of). It is similar to the pull-apart Twizzlers in shape. The problem I had with this candy is that it was kind of hard and round, and it was a little difficult to get the round rope pieces to sit on top of the cookie, and they were a little too big. I ended up cutting each rope piece in half (vertically), and then cut them to the desired length.  My recommendation, and what I will do in the future, is use something that is flat…like a fruit roll up, or maybe a flattened Tootsie roll? And cut it into strips. I think that would be much easier to work with.
Other tips: You could use cookie icing to “glue” your pieces together, b/c it hardens pretty quickly and comes in a handy little squeezable pouch. The only color I had on hand was red…so I ended up using melted chocolate. You don’t need that much…I might have used 1/4 cup?
I may be linking up at any of these places – 

(Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaHolly’s Stamping AddictionThe Dedicated HouseHomemaker on a DimeSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorThis Gal CooksWatch Out, Martha!Huckleberry Love, The Newlyweds Pilgrimage (Tuesday) Naptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe BoxBlessed with GraceLove in the Kitchen, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew Life, Sarah Lynn’s Sweets, VMG206, The Real Thing with The Coake Family (Wednesday) Fluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the CurtainGinger Snap CraftsHungry Little GirlNaptime is My Time, Cherished Handmade Treasures, The Wilderness Wife  (Thursday) Project Inspire ,Joyful HomemakingDesigned DecorMiz Helen’s Country CottageThe Mandatory Mooch,  The Busy Bee’s, Lamberts Lately (Friday) Not Your Ordinary Recipes,  Simple Living and EatingJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,CraftionaryOne Artsy MamaThe Best Blog RecipesOne Creative Mommy, Michelle’s Tasty CreationsClose to Home, 30 Handmade Days, A Peek Into My Paradise, The Jenny Evolution , Walking on Sunshine(Saturday) Lemons for Lulu,  Or So She Says…Six Sisters’ Stuff (Sunday) Mommy’s Sweet Confessions 

Memories by the Mile   HungryLittleGirl

saving4six
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Time to make the (healthier, egg free) donuts!

You know those cute little powdered donuts that come in a bag in the grocery store? Kids love those things. Have you read the nutritional label?! Scary. Very scary. Donuts are a popular treat at school now b/c they are prepackaged and can easily be served at school (a lot of schools do not allow home baked goods anymore). Well, not only are they a nutritional disaster, they contain eggs…so my son has never had a commercially prepared donut! (yep, no Krispy Kremes or Dunkin’ Donuts either. Ever.)

However, I could never deprive my kids of donuts! They are fun to eat, they have a fun shape, they come in all kinds of yummy flavors…so, I make homemade donuts. They are baked, with much more wholesome ingredients, AND they are allergy friendly.  Boo-yah!  (Oh yeah, and most importantly….they’re easy!) You wouldn’t feel deprived eating these would you?

(Ok, I won’t lie…they are not as good as a chocolate cake donut from DD. Or the blueberry cake donut, which is my all time fave, but pleezzee, if I ate those things, I would need bigger doorways to fit through. And cholesterol medication.)
They made this little guy happy 🙂
and my girls help make them!
So, the recipe already….

Almost Healthy Chocolate Doughnuts 

slightly adapted from 52 Kitchen Adventures (my changes are in italics)
 
Makes 12-15 small doughnuts
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour  (slightly rounded cup)
  • 2 tablespoons Hershey’s Dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar or Stevia for baking 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (I used 1/4 cup skim milk mixed with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice)
  • 1/4 cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg or egg replacer (I used Ener-G)
  • Optional: glaze, powdered sugar or your favorite frosting, sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350℉. Lightly spray a mini donut pan with non-stick cooking spray. 
In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda. Whisk in sugar, nutmeg and salt. Add in the coconut oil and use your fingers to rub it into the dry ingredients until it becomes coarse crumbs.
In a separate bowl, mix together buttermilk, yogurt, vanilla and egg/egg replacer. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and mix until just combined (do not overmix).  Fill prepared pan 1/2-3/4 full (my batter was pretty thick).
Bake until donuts spring back when touched (between 6-10 minutes, depending on the size of your doughnut pan). Let cool before frosting.

**If you do not have a cute little donut pan, just make these as mini muffins.**

Chocolate Glaze – 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 t. dark cocoa (or more, to taste) and milk. Mix powdered sugar and cocoa together, then add milk by the teaspoons until you get desired consistency.
I have several recipes coming up using Coconut Oil (and a giveaway!). I had to see what all the hype was about! However, you can use butter, olive oil, canola oil or applesauce in its place if you do not have any.