Thursday, October 30, 2014

Nut-free, gluten-free, homemade-free? Options for School Parties

Gluten-free, Nut-free, Homemade-free? Options for Halloween Parties at School
The e-mail request on the surface seemed simple enough. The room mother still needed treats for the goodie bag for the class Halloween party.

And then I got to the end of the message.
Also, please make sure none of the treats include peanuts (SEVERE peanut allergy) and 2 kids are gluten free!
Wow. That moment gave me pause. Because while I've learned to adjust to my child's friends' food allergies in real life (play dates, parties, etc.), I had no idea what to do in a classroom setting. And it was even made worse by a school rule that said no homemade treats.

At one of our local stores, I scoured product after product for ideas that might satisfy both requirements. I learned quickly that there is no labeling standard for nut-free or gluten-free products. I even asked a store employee, who asked two other employees for ideas. They just looked at me sadly.

If you're in the position of searching for last-minute party bag treats as I was, here are some ideas to get you started:



  • Gluten-free candiesA list of many gluten-free and gluten-friendly candies. So apparently not all candy is off the list.
  • Non-food items: Personally, I'm opposed to spider rings, stickers, plastic toys and any other item that can clutter up my home. But think about pencils, glow sticks for trick or treating, Play Dough or other ideas.
  • Carmel apples
  • Mandarin orange fruit cups decorated with a jack-o-lantern face on the top.
  • Rice Krispy Treats
  • Popcorn balls
  • Clementines decorated as a jack-o-lantern
  • Grape "Eyeballs"

Have other ideas for gluten-free, nut-free celebrations? Please share them below!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Skinnygirl Cocktails: Mix Up Your Celebrations

Drinking beverages of any caloric kind tend to leave me with guilt the moment they hit my lips. The caloric count. The carbohydrate count. Not to mention alcohol and what it might do to lower my guard against other foods going in my mouth.

That's why I was excited to check out Bethenny Frankel's latest book, Skinnygirl Cocktails: 100 Fun & Flirty Guilt-Free Recipes.

I'm loving the everyday and not so everyday ideas for celebrating with your friends.

Here are a couple of ideas for toasting with your friends, particularly as we celebrate the upcoming holidays:

For Halloween parties

white cranberry martini | Skinnygirl cocktails
White Crampire Blood Martini

Serves 2-3
16 ounces Skinnygirl White Cranberry Cosmo
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 cup frozen backberries
black licorice twists for garnish

Combine the Cosmo, vodka and blackberries in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain into chilled martini glasses. Garnish with black licorice.

For Christmas parties

holiday peppermint martini | Skinnygirl Cocktails Peppermint Martini

5 ounces Skinnygirl Bare Naked Vodka or other vodka
splash of peppermint schnapps
splash of club soda
Mini candy cane, finely crushed, plus 1 short peppermint stick for garnish

Combine the vodka and peppermint schnapps with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake well. Rim a martini glass with water and the crushed candy. Strain the drink into the glass and garnish with the peppermint stick.

Recipes copyright © 2014 by Bethenny Frankel.  From the book SKINNYGIRL COCKTAILS by Bethenny Frankel, published by Touchstone, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Photos © 2014 by Lucy Schaeffer. Printed by permission. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Seed sale - Seed Savers Exchange

Need an excuse to stock up for next spring? Seed Savers Exchange has a number of 2014 season heirloom seeds and organic seeds at 50 percent off. While it's a somewhat small selection, it's a way to stock up on tomato, cucumber, flower and other seeds at a reasonable price. Seed starting is just around the corner!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

20 Free E-books to Try: Slow Cooking, Paleo, Clean Eating and More

Free E-books available on Amazon today. Check them out and post what you think!

  1. 50 Christmas Slow Cooker Recipes: Delicious and delectable Dishes for this holiday season
  2. 35 Recipes For Slow Cooker Soup, Slow Cooker Stew and Slow Cooker Chili (The Slow Cooker Meals And Slow Cooker Recipes Collection Book 2)
  3. Your Favorite Foods - Paleo Style Part 1 and Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes: 2 Book Combo (Caveman Cookbooks)
  4. Slow Cooking Heaven: Farmhouse Kitchen Recipes - Top Recipes From The Slow Cooking, Healthy Eating Cookbook 
  5. Slow Cooker Comfort Foods 
  6. Clean Food Diet: Avoid processed foods and eat clean with few simple lifestyle changes(free nutrition recipes)(natural food recipes) (Special Diet Cookbooks & Vegetarian Recipes Collection Book 4) 
  7. 40 Top Paleo Recipes - Quick and Easy Paleo Diet Recipes For Weight Loss & Optimum Health (Paleolithic Diet Cookbook) 
  8. Clean Eating: The Clean Eating Ultimate Cookbook And Diet Guide! - Low Fat, Paleo, And Low Carb Recipes For Maximum Weight Loss And To Boost Your Metabolism ... Diet, Flexible Diet, IIFYM, Get In Shape)
  9. Organic Eating On A Budget: How To Buy Affordable Organic Foods To Achieve A Healthier Diet And Lifestyle 
  10. Clean Meals For Kids and Slow Cooker Recipes: 2 Book Combo (Clean Eats) 
  11. Indian Food Recipes and On-The-Go Recipes: 2 Book Combo (Clean Eats) 
  12. The Art of Paleo Breakfast: How to Make Delicious Paleo Breakfasts in your own Home
  13. Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss - 30 Delicious Detox, Cleanse and Green Smoothie Diet Book 
  14. Healthy Diet: Detox as a Way of Life (Healthy Food Cookbook Book 4)
  15. Superfood Smoothie Recipes: Delicious and Healthy Superfood Smoothie Recipes (Superfoods, Superfood Smoothies, Superfood Smoothie Recipe Book, Superfood Smoothie,Superfood Smoothie Recipes Book 2) 
  16. 43 Paleo Smoothie Recipes - Simple & Easy Paleo Smoothie Recipes (Paleo Recipes Book 17)
  17. Healthy Smoothie Recipes: Green Smoothie Recipes, made with Antioxidant Foods including Complete Nutritional Information 
  18. Ultimate Healthy Snack List including Healthy Snacks for Adults & Healthy Snacks for Kids: Discover over 130 Healthy Snacks Recipes 
  19. 31 Perfect Fitness Smoothies 
  20. Natural Beauty: Ancient Natural Beauty Secrets! - Organic Superfoods, Essential Oils, Natural Remedies, Homeade Beauty Recipes, Skin Care Secrets, And ... Alkaline Foods, Ten Years Younger)