Category Archives: Kid Friendly Food

Sweet Cupcake Beauties

Sweet Cupcake Beauties

I visited my sis, Sara, over the weekend and she’s been showing me some of the adorable cupcakes she’s been making. They’re so clever I thought I just had to share them with you. She’s been baking them following this cupcake cookbook called What’s New Cupcake? by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. It has some really cute ideas for the most adorable cupcakes for any occasion. And these are definitely Kid Friendly, as the book has some wonderful ideas for cupcakes for kids’ birthday parties.

(Above Photo) Sara made these cupcakes for her boyfriend, as a special treat as they love to eat Chinese food together. These 6 cupcakes are put together in a pan to look like fried rice. The cupackes are topped with rice crispy treats and the veggies in the fried rice are mutlicolor Tootsie Rolls cut up. These would make a great gift for your Chinese-food-loving friends and would be adorable given in a Chinese food box.

(Above Photo) What a great way to welcome Spring with these colorful flower cupcakes. These beautiful flower cupcakes’ petals are made with miniature marshmallows cut in half and dipped in various color sprinkles with icing and jelly beans at the center. These little flowers would be a great Spring hostess gift, given in a basket with a layer of colorful cloth napkins underneath.

Try making these cupcakes allergen free. It will require quite a bit of replacement, but…hello…even those of us who can’t eat gluten, eggs, and dairy crave cupcakes.

Here’s how to make these tasty cupcakes allergen free:
Cupcake- I suggest just buying a mix like Hodgson Mills gluten free yellow cake mix
Eggs- Ener-G Egg Replacer
Dairy- Use whatever dairy substitute you can use (almond milk, rice milk, etc.)
Icing- Try Pamela’s Products gluten free icing mix

Thanks, sis, for the beautiful inspiration! Keep up the creative baking!

Kid Friendly: Loaded Hashbrowns

Kid Friendly: Loaded Hashbrowns

Breakfast food isn’t just for breakfast anymore; I make this recipe for dinners as well.
One of the hard parts about my restricted diet is eating breakfast/ brunch foods out at restaurants…no eggs, dairy, or wheat makes brunch at a diner almost impossible.

These Loaded Hashbrowns not only satisfy my craving for hearty breakfast foods, but are so simple. They make a quick tasty dinner on the go that’s really inexpensive. On a night you need a quick meal, give this one a try. And as I’ve learned, it’ll always take longer the first time you make a recipe. The second time, its always quicker.

This one’s definitely kid friendly. The apples and onions both caramelize creating a sweet flavor that blends with the saltier meats to beautifully complement the hashbrowns. Served with ketchup, what kid wouldn’t eat em’?

2 tablespoons olive oil (may need to add a little more if ingredients stick to pan)
5 cups frozen shredded potatoes (about half a 26 oz. package)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 oz. breakfast sausage/ italian sausage/ left over ham (whatever you have)
1 medium apple, diced
1 small onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add frozen potatoes and sautee, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes.
2. Meanwhile in a separate frying pan heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add apples, onions, and meat. Sautee until sausage is cooked and onion is transparent. Then add 1/2 teaspoon thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add 1/2 teaspoon thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until potatoes are golden brown, approximately 5 minutes.
4. Serve hashbrowns with apple, onion, sausage mixture on top and ketchup on the side. Enjoy!

If you’re really hungry this dish will serve 2 people. If you like a smaller portion it’ll serve 4 people.

This Loaded Hashbrowns recipe is based off of Better Homes & Gardens Anyone Can Cook, Shredded Potatoes with Sausage and Apple Recipe.

These Loaded Hashbrowns are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Hope you enjoy!

Kid Friendly Food: Grandma Jo’s Sloppy Joes

Kid Friendly Food: Grandma Jo’s Sloppy Joes

Every kid loves to dig into a tasty Sloppy Joe and what parent doesn’t laugh at the sight of a kid with a Sloppy Joe mustache?

Well here’s a tasty homemade Sloppy Joe recipe from my adopted Grandma Jo. Grandma Jo, at 89 years old, still loves to share her delicious homemade food with all of us who love to eat! You know every time you eat a grandma’s food its going to be good because its made with love.

Grandma Jo just shared her delicious recipes with me and I’m now learning to cook them. I have to say, as exact as I follow a recipe, it just always tastes better when its made by a grandma…so here’s to all the grandma’s out there whose tasty food made with love is enjoyed by their grandkids every day! And this one is kid approved and allergen-free friendly!

2 lbs ground beef
2 small onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 bottle ketchup, medium sized bottle (not the large, not the small, see photo below)
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

1. Brown meat in frying pan. Drain grease and put meat into saucepan.
2. Brown green pepper and onion then add to beef.
3. Then add remaining ingredients into saucepan. Stir and simmer for up to 1 1/2 hours ( I did it for a less time and it was still tasty). Serve and enjoy!

If you’re gluten free, you can still enjoy this recipe plain, eating it with a fork. Or try it on a gluten free bun (buy from Whole Foods or make it from scratch). I normally just devour it with a fork and still love it.

I served this one with a tasty homemade cole slaw, recipe to come in a later post.

Thanks to Grandma Jo for sharing her tasty recipe!

The Sweet Stuff and Your Weight

The Sweet Stuff and Your Weight

I’m wordy again today, but I’m hitting a topic that you’ve got to know the facts about! Did you ever wonder why people who continually drink diet sodas often seem to be overweight?…then read on. I noticed this through pure observation when I was really young, which is why I’m fascinated by this research.
Let’s get the facts and stop letting advertising campaigns educate us about what’s good for us.

Sugar has become the villain in today’s diets and artificial sweeteners have become a hero to dieters everywhere.
More and more research and studies are exposing the truth about artificial sweeteners, showing they not only contribute to weight gain, but can cause a whole world of health issues.

The Problem We’re Trying to Solve:
We as a society (I’m definitely included) love sweet foods, juices, sodas, yogurts, desserts, cereals, etc. But, we don’t like the negative side effects that consuming excess sugar has on our bodies. Side effects such as weight gain, diabetes, elevated triglycerides (leading to heart disease), suppressed immune system, etc. So, we look for ways to still indulge in the sweet taste, without these terrible side effects…thinking that we can have our cake and eat it too.

Real Sugar:
According to a series of experiments done at Purdue University and published in Behavioral Neuroscience, when you consume real sugar (from foods such as fruit, table sugar, honey, real maple syrup, etc.) your body connects and anticipates the caloric load that comes from eating these real sugars and it revvs up your metabolism.

According to various research studies and written about by Andreas Moritz ( ),

“The body has a self-regulating mechanism, a kind of thermostat that measures the amount of energy (or calories) it can obtain from a particular meal. When your body has received enough energy from the food you have eaten, then your mouth, stomach, intestines, and liver send messages to the brain that all energy requirements have been met. Subsequently, your nervous system secretes hormones that stop your desire for more food. This point of saturation is essential for your wellbeing, for without it you would continuously want to eat and never feel satisfied.”

The problem is we eat too much sugar and require our foods to be sweeter than our ancestors ever did. According to Dr. Hubber,, if you look back to 1910 the sweet foods that people consumed were mostly from natural sources like fruits. Even table sugar was not highly used. Our problem today is that we eat far too much sugar. Our tolerance for sugar has risen; we need/expect our food to be sweeter.

Artificial Sweeteners:
To solve this dilemma (wanting the sweet taste without the negative side effects) many people have turned to artificial sweeteners. This includes anything that’s labeled diet, sugar free, or products that contain sucrolose, aspartame, saccahrine, NutraSweet, Sweet ‘N Low, Neotame, Splenda, Equal, etc.

The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners
Why Artificial Sweeteners Make you Fat:
Dr. Huber ( summarizes all the research and science stating,

“Translation: fooling the body with excessive sweeteners resulted in increased calorie intake at subsequent meals as their appetite was stimulated, increased weight gain and fat deposits, lowering of metabolism so fat burned less efficiently.”

Basically, artificial sweeteners never satisfy your body’s craving for calories and cause you to just crave more. That’s not so good for those trying to loose weight by eating these substitutes, but is really good for the companies making these “diet” foods and drinks because you’ll eat more and more of them.
other sources:,8599,1711763,00.html

The Other Side Effects of Artificial Sweeteners:
You can look through all these sources to see the details including how these items scooted their way past the FDA, but here are the basic facts.
Aspartame (and the sweeteners made from it, phenylalanine) are especially dangerous as they damage the central nervous system. Some of the health issues they cause include migraines, fuzzy thinking, changes in behavior, depression, seizures, visual disturbances, gastrointestinal reactions, joint pain, fatigue, etc. Aspartame is the cause of over 75% of adverse food reactions reported to the FDA.

Other artificial sweeteners can cause cancers, testicular damage, negative effects on baby of a pregnant woman, and much more.


What to do?
So, you feel like you’re between a rock and a hard place? You don’t want to eat sugar because you’re watching your weight, are prone to diabetes or candida overgrowth, but obviously these artificial substitutes are not a better option.

I’ve personally noticed that when you eat sugar, your body craves more. One thing to do is to fight the cravings and just not give in. I crave sweets, but for me its especially chocolate. With my restricted diet, unless I make sweets from scratch I often cannot eat them. I satisfy my craving, by keeping a bar of high quality dark chocolate on hand. When I crave sweets, I’m shocked that a small piece of this high cocoa content (less sugar than lower cocoa content chocolate bars) bar often satisfies my craving.

Find a way to satisfy those intense cravings, that works for you. Such as:
-Fruit, its sweet and natural
-Indulge in what you crave in smaller amounts
-Real soda but a small amount

Another option is the natural sweetener that’s been used for centuries called Stevia. You can find it in the health food section of your grocery. Its made from a leaf and contains no sugar and its natural (not man made, but found in nature).

Another option is Agave Nectar. Made from the agave plant, its also a natural product. It contains sugar but has a lower glycemic index (good for those watching weight or those with diabetes).

I hope this will encourage you to know what you’re eating before you eat it. The sources I’m linking to in this article are just some of many that are out there supporting these facts.
Still confused about what to eat and not eat? My general rule of thumb is, eat real stuff…ingredients made by God, not a scientist. Eat what you love but in moderation.

Have a good weekend!

Other sources:

Kid Friendly Food: Breakfast Sausage and Pancakes

Kid Friendly Food: Breakfast Sausage and Pancakes

Maybe your typical breakfast is full of fresh fruit and light on the stomach, contributing to a healthy weight. Let’s be honest though, every now and then you know you want a hearty old fashioned breakfast. You know, breakfast sausage and pancakes!

When I was a kid visiting my family down south, my grandparents would often make biscuits and gravy, bacon and eggs, pancakes and breakfast sausage…there is nothing like waking up to a house full of those tasty scents! Since my restricted diet doesn’t allow me to eat gluten, eggs, or dairy (the staples of breakfast foods) breakfast is always a challenge. And I’ll be the first to admit that I miss eating those big old fashioned southern breakfasts.

So, here is my recreation of a big, hearty breakfast that follows my restricted diet. Every now and then on Saturday mornings Matt and I spend the time making this tasty breakfast. I hope this will bring a real breakfast back into your restricted diet!
And the best part, I definitely consider this one very kid friendly!

Most of the time premade Breakfast Sausage is not gluten free, so here is how to make your own that you can be sure is free of the stuff you can’t eat. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but its mostly spices, so you probably have most in your spice rack.

1 pound ground pork, turkey, or beef
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried savory leaves (I couldn’t find this one in the store, so I skipped it)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Blend all ingredients together in large bowl with your hands or spatula. Form into 12 balls and flatten into patties (May want to put a little cooking oil on hands first)
2. Preheat nonstick skillet. Fry sausages over medium heat until cooked through. Or you can crumble sausage in pan and and simply brown. Enjoy!

*Recipe Source: Cooking Free: 200 Flavorful Recipes for People with Food Allergies and Multiple Food Sensitivities (Includes alternatives to gluten, dairy, eggs, and sugar), by Carol Fenster, Ph. D.

For my pancakes I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix. Simply follow the instructions on the package. I use rice milk and Egg Replacer to make these pancakes in order to follow my restricted diet. I serve my pancakes with butter and real maple syrup.

I hope this will bring hearty breakfasts back into your restricted diet life and give you another opportunity to say “yes you can have that” to your child with a restricted diet! Enjoy!

Kid Friendly Tacos

Kid Friendly Tacos

As an adult who has a fairly restricted diet, I can’t imagine being a kid or having a child that has food restriction…having to always tell your child “no” or “you can’t eat that.”
That’s why I’m launching this new segment called Kid Friendly Food, where I’ll post recipes that’ll give you more opportunities to tell your child on a restricted diet “Yes, you can have that.”

Although Matt and I eat pretty healthy, that doesn’t mean we both don’t crave junk food. In fact we passed a Taco Bell the other day and both missed those tasty tacos we once ate. So, I thought we can make those tasty tacos at home and I’ll be able to eat them. So, here are our tacos!

The taco seasoning packets you buy at the supermarket most of the time contain wheat, so Matt and I make our own seasoning in this large batch and keep it on hand, so its ready whenever we want to make tacos.
Here’s the Taco Seasoning we make:
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

My Taco Ingredients:
Ground Beef
Vegetarian Re-fried beans (I like them because they add a heartiness to the tacos since I can’t eat cheese. Add them first without telling your child and see if they’ll eat them. They may not even notice.)
Chopped Tomatoes
Chopped Lettuce
Chopped Cilantro
Premade salsa
Corn Tortillas
Corn chips (to eat with tacos)

Kid Friendly Taco Directions:
1. Sautee ground beef, turkey, or chicken in a pan over medium heat, sprinkling with a little taco seasoning. Drain meat.
2. Heat corn tortillas in microwave or in a pan on stove.
3. Heat re-fried beans in pot on stove.
4. Spread a little re-fried beans on tortilla. Add meat, then tomatoes, lettuce, and chopped cilantro.
5. Serve with salsa and corn chips and enjoy!

Next time your child on a restricted diet sees a Taco Bell and like me and Matt says “that looks good” and wants tacos, you can tell them “Yes, you can have that!”
*Note: if corn is not in your diet, you can use large lettuce leaves for the tortilla. Try Boston Lettuce or Iceberg Lettuce. It may be weird at first, but you’ll get used to it.