Archive for September, 2019

September 30, 2019

Gluten-Free Halloween Treats for 2019

We’re only a hop, skip, and jump away from Halloween, and it’s a great time for us to bring you a list of fun, gluten-free Halloween treats for 2019. My kids always loved Halloween. I have great photos of them as cowboys, rodeo clowns, Rambo, and Pee Wee Herman. But it wasn’t all about the costumes; it was also about the treats!
halloween
Of course it’s important to have treats that are good to your tummy. Since we have to be gluten-free, we compiled a list of gluten-free treats for this Halloween and now we want to share…

Zombie SKITTLES®
Zombies are on the march and will soon arrive in your town. Flavors include Petrifying Citrus Punch, Mummified Melon, Boogeyman Blackberry, Chilling Black Cherry, and Blood Red Berry. There’s a rotten Zombie hidden in each pack ready to attack your palate with grossness so watch out!
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated palm kernel oil; less than 2% of: citric acid, tapioca dextrin, modified corn starch, natural and artificial flavors, colors (red 40 lake, blue 2 lake, yellow 6 lake, yellow 5 lake, blue 1 lake, titanium dioxide, yellow 6, yellow 5, red 40, blue 1), sodium citrate, carnauba wax.

SweeTARTS® Skulls and Bones
This Halloween, SweeTARTS will come in the shape of skulls & bones in 5 colors and flavors: Blue Punch (blue), Cherry (red), Grape (purple), Lemon (yellow), and Green Apple (green).
Ingredients: Dextrose, maltodextrin, malic acid, and less than 2% calcium stearate, natural flavors, blue 2 lake, red 40 lake, yellow 5 lake.

Hershey’s Miniatures
Always a favorite, these tiny chocolates will appear in glow-in-the-dark wrappers in time for trick-or-treating. Please note these contain milk.
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, milk, chocolate, cocoa butter, lactose, milk fat, soy lecithin, polyglycerol polyricinoleat (PGPR), emulsifier, vanillin, artificial flavor).

Reese’s Stuffed With Pieces in the Shape of a Pumpkin
Take a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, stuff it with Reese’s Pieces and smash it into a pumpkin, ta-da! There you have Reese’s Halloween feature. While these are gluten-free, they contain both peanuts and milk.
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, lactose, lecithin (soy), PBPR, emulsifier), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, partially defatted peanuts, hydrogenated vegetable oil (palm kernel oil, soybean oil), contains 2% or less of: corn syrup, salt, palm kernel oil, artificial color (yellow 5 lake, yellow 6 lake, red 40 lake, blue 1 lake), confectioner’s glaze, lecithin (soy), modified cornstarch, TBHQ and citric acid to maintain freshness, carnuaba wax, vanillin, artificial flavor.

Frankford® Gummy Body Parts
Gruesome gummy eyeballs, brains and severed fingers, feet, and ears. Truly a haunting sight!
Ingredients: Glucose syrup, sugar, gelatin (beef), sorbitol, citric acid, malic acid, pectin, artificial flavors, carnauba wax, palm kernel oil, sodium citrate, artificial colors (yellow 6, blue 1, yellow 5, red 40, titanium dioxide).

Tootsie Caramel Apple Orchard Pops
Want the flavor of a caramel apple without having to make one? Try these suckers from Tootsie. They’re available in green apple, golden delicious, and macintosh flavors. Each flavor includes chewy caramel which means they include milk.
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, skim milk, heavy cream, malic acid, whey, salt, artificial flavors, sodium caseinate, soy lecithin, artificial colors (including FD&C Blue1, FD&C Red 40), turmeric coloring.

Charms® Candy Corn Pops
Think of these as candy corn that you eat from a stick.
Ingredients: Sugar, corn syrup, salt, artificial flavor, artificial colors (including FD&C red 40 blue 1), turmeric coloring, titanium dioxide. Milk and soy may be present.

Blood Bites Oozing Candy Blood Bags with Glow-in-the-Dark Fangs
All fangs look better when covered in blood! These fangs come with blood bags of oozing watermelon flavored candy. Yum!
Ingredients: Corn syrup, sugar, water, pectin, xanthan gum, citric acid, artificial flavor, red 40, sodium citrate.

Espeez Old Fashioned Rock Candy on a Stick
The novelty will please your kids and the nostalgia will please your parents. These bright colored sticks are made in a gluten-free, nut-free facility and are both Kosher Parve and Halal certified.
Ingredients: Pure cane sugar, less than 2% of the following–natural and artificial flavors, FD&C (Red 3, Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6) caramel color, titanium dioxide.

PEZ® Party Halloween Bag
PEZ candy is peanut, tree nut, and gluten-free. Party bag includes 12 mini dispensers, each individually wrapped with one assorted fruit PEZ Candy roll. There are two of each design in the bag: Black Cat, Ghost, Spider in Spiderweb, Pumpkin, Owl with Witch Hat and Bats.
Ingredients: Corn syrup, adipic acid, hydrogenated palm kernel & palm oils, mono & diglycerides, natural & artificial flavors, artificial colors FD&C red 3, yellow 5, yellow 6, blue 2.

If your friends and family have varied allergies and sensitivities, you may want to order treats from No Whey! Foods. Everything they make is 100% milk-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, vegan and kosher. They also do not use artificial colors and flavors.

No Whey’s Halloween selections include Skull Pops, Spook Free Chocolatey Bars, Spook Free PeaNot Cups, Spook Free milkless caramel & nougat in a chocolatey coating, Spider Pops, and more.

With fun costumes and tummy-friendly treats Halloween can be the best holiday of the year for your gluten-free child!

https://www.nowheychocolate.com/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/allergen-free-halloween-treats-you-can-share-with-the-class/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/halloween-treats-dont-candy/

Portions of this list were compiled from advance information. Please read labels in the store or online before purchasing.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

September 23, 2019

Bugs are Biting. It’s Time for Payback!

Bugs are biting. It’s time for payback! For the past three weeks, my yard has been full of diggers and dump trucks. Nature has been disturbed and it is lashing out. I cannot go outside without encountering a whole new crop of bugs. This does not make me happy. I know the city will be done with their project in a few days and things will settle down, but right now I’m looking for payback.
grasshopper
That’s where you come in. I’m going to encourage you to get out there and consume some bugs! Take them out of commission. Put them to good use, but get them out of circulation and away from me!

Eating bugs may sound like a far fetched idea around here, but it’s common in many places around the world. And why not? Insects are the most abundant protein source on the planet.

Before you get started on our bug elimination mission, you’ll need to know which bugs are edible. I’m happy to identify a few for you.

Edible Insects

Most grasshoppers and crickets can be eaten and all you need to catch them is your hands. Make sure to cook them so any parasites will be destroyed. Well, stay away from any that are brightly colored. They will make you sick.

Ants can be collected on a stick and then immersed in water and boiled for six minutes to neutralize the acid in their bodies. Having recently been bitten by some ants, I’d say choose your anthill carefully.

Save your fence; eat termites for dinner! Termites can be found in wood, captured, and roasted in a dry pan until crispy. I like crispy crunchy things, but I’m having a problem envisioning this particular crunch.

Stinkbugs are also edible—whouda thunk? You’d think that odor would mean danger, but all you have to do to remove it is soak the bugs in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes. After that, you can cook them by roasting in a dry pan.

I draw the line at scorpions and maggots, but I might consider a dragonfly. The larvae and adults are both edible. They need to be cooked for a few seconds to kill germs, but pulling off legs and wings is optional.

That should get you started. This is not a complete list by any means. I’m not really an expert in this area. That’s why I’m delegating this clean-up task to you. I just want the bugs to go away!

https://hotlix.com/
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September 16, 2019

Watching Football Makes Us Hungry for Tailgate Food!

Watching football makes us hungry for tailgate food even though we’re at home! As the teams settle into conference play, we can easily spend a whole day in front of the TV. No one wants to cook, but we all want to eat. Taking the tailgate approach not only makes us feel more like we’re at the game in person, it means we have food ready so that all we have to do is watch and yell…a lot!
football
When we actually tailgate, we coordinate with our friends to decide who will bring what and then we do the prep in advance. This approach works well when friends or family gather in front of a big screen. Instead of the burden falling on whoever has the biggest screen, food prep can be treated the same way it would be if you were meeting at your favorite tailgate spot.

Sometimes, we ask that the contributions follow a certain theme. Other times, it’s a free for all. Next week, the theme is peanuts. Don’t worry. There are no peanut allergies within the circle of invitees.

This theme is a throwback to Sunday nights from my childhood. My parents had a group of friends who met after church every Sunday for snacks and conversation. At some point, multiple people brought desserts containing peanut butter for several weeks in a row. From then on, the group was known as the Peanut Butter Club.

As host, I like to provide a substantial central dish. To keep with the peanut theme, I’m considering chicken satay with peanut sauce or African peanut soup. I like the idea of chicken on a skewer, but I also like the idea of a soup I can cook in and serve from a slow cooker.

We’ll want to include some lighter foods. A Thai chopped salad filled with veggies and topped with a peanut drizzle fills the bill. This can be easily served build-your-own style. A fruit tray with peanut butter dip is also a great choice.

This theme makes it easy for those who don’t want to cook. Mixed nuts, trail mix, Reese’s Pieces, or peanut butter cups can all be grabbed on the way to a party. Peanut butter stuffed pretzels are also relatively easy to find. Jif® offers Chocolate Poppers-a bag filled with peanut butter-coated popcorn and chocolate flavored covered pretzels-for a crunchy, sweet variation.
cookies
Classic peanut butter cookies can be an easy gluten-free dessert. Our Cooking2Thrive recipe adds some jelly to become PB & J cookies. Here’s the recipe:
Cooking2Thrive PB&J Cookies
About 25 cookies

Ingredients
Baking parchment
1 cup sugar
1 cup natural crunchy peanut butter (peanuts & salt)
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/2 tbsp Concord grape jelly + 2 tbsp additional for topping
Water

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350º. Line cookie sheet with baking parchment.

In medium bowl, combine sugar, peanut butter, salt, and egg. Mix well, then stir in 1 1/2 tbsp jelly. Form dough into small balls approximately 1 inch in diameter. Place balls on cookie sheet about 2 1/2 inches apart.

Put water in a small cup. Dip a fork in the water and use it to press each ball flat, then press each ball with the fork a second time at a 90º angle to the first pressing.

Bake in 350º for 10-12 minutes. Remove parchment to cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes, then remove cookies from parchment directly onto rack. Once completely cool, top each cookie with 1/4 tsp grape jelly.

While I know we’ll enjoy this peanut theme, we’re not the Peanut Butter Tailgate Club. We like variety too much. The rest of the season may include burgers and brats, mac & cheese, pulled pork with vinegar coleslaw, nachos & cheese dip or enchiladas and guacamole. Whatever the theme, the food will be delicious.

Watching football makes us hungry for tailgate food, but the real focus this fall is on the game itself! Roll Tide, go Hogs, Tigers x 3, Gamecocks, Volunteers, Rebels, Bulldogs x 2, Wildcats, Commodores, Aggies, and Gators! Yes, I favor the SEC. I can’t help it. Those roots go deeper than the Peanut Butter Club!
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September 9, 2019

Please Don’t Kiss the Chickens!

Please don’t kiss the chickens! Not only do we have a new rooster in the neighborhood, the CDC has warned me not to kiss it. As if I would. I know better. I grew up on a farm. I do not kiss chickens or play with piglets when the mother is around. An angry sow targeted me for death when I was three. I barely escaped and I still remember it. That was enough piglet playing for me.

Most of us are aware we should be careful when cooking eggs or chicken, but we may not think twice before taking a cute photo of the kids kissing a baby chick. It is time to think twice.
chicken
On August 30th, the CDC issued an investigation notice regarding several multi-state outbreaks of salmonella infections linked to backyard poultry. At the time there were 1003 infections across 49 states resulting in 175 hospitalizations and 2 deaths. By now, there may be more.

Salmonella can cause mild, severe, or life threatening diarrhea depending on the person infected. Chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys can contaminate their feathers, feet, beaks, and environment with salmonella even when they appear healthy and clean. People can get sick from touching coops, cages, hay, soil, feed, water dishes, and anything else in the bird’s environment even if they don’t touch the birds.

What I learned on the farm is that animals are carriers of disease so certain rules must be followed. The boots we wore in the barn came off in the utility room so we didn’t track contaminated soil into the house. Even if we had worn gloves, hands were washed thoroughly when we came in and always before cooking or eating. We wore shoes in the yard if we had dogs.

We washed our vegetables and fruits as a matter of routine. I never saw my grandmother sample a tomato or a piece of lettuce without washing it first. When we picked apples, we weren’t allowed to eat them until we got home. Huckleberries, blackberries, and strawberries had the same rule. We never placed raw meat on the same surface as the vegetables we were prepping.

As a child, I did not pick up wild animals that were sick even if they were teeny tiny and cute. If I saw a bat or possum during the day, I stayed away out of caution. That doesn’t mean I was taught to be fearful. I walked through a line of honeybees every time I went down the driveway. I didn’t run if I saw a spider or a snake as long as I determined it wasn’t poisonous.

Today, there seems to be a disconnect from these common sense rules. I now live in the city where if it’s cute most folks I know will let their kids pick it up and kiss it with no thought whatsoever. They’ll eat berries out of the farmer’s market crate without cleaning hands or fruit. But if they see a snake, bee, spider, or wasp of any kind, they run without ever looking to see whether it’s dangerous.

And there are other disconnects. Some friends who will only buy organic vegetables are quick to use wasp spray on their houses, insect spray on their skin, and Roundup® on their yards.
chickens
Perhaps a few common sense rules for disease prevention bear repeating:

Always wash your hands thoroughly using soap and water:
(Adults should supervise the hand washing of young children.)
Before eating and after using the bathroom.
After changing diapers or cleaning your toddler’s bottom.
Before preparing food, during food preparation after handling meat, eggs, poultry, fish, and seafood and again when food prep is done.
Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
Before and after visiting a hospital room.
After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing or cleaning a child’s nose.
After touching animals, animal food, animal waste, animal blankets, saddles, leashes, bedding, or hay.
After handling pet food or pet treats.
After touching trash.

To prevent spread of colds, flu, stomach viruses, hand foot & mouth disease and other illness spread through close contact:
Do not share cups and eating utensils.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your home (including toys), at work, and at school.
Follow hand washing recommendations and/or use hand sanitizer after contact with public handrails, door knobs, touchscreens, pens, shopping carts, elevators, remotes, vending machines, and shared keyboards and phones.
Stay home when you are sick.
Keep your child home when he is sick.
As often as possible, avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth especially when you are around someone who has a cold or flu.

To lessen the risk of giardia, cryptosporidium, campylobacter jejuni, E. coli, legionella pneumophila, hepatitis A, and salmonella:
Do not drink water from standing bodies of water or any water that may be contaminated with feces.
Try not to swallow water when swimming even in chlorinated pools.
Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
Follow hand washing recommendations.
Follow USDA recommendations for safe food handling.
Cook meat to the recommended temperature.
Pay attention to food recalls.
Keep farm animals out of the house.
Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of poultry and keep those shoes outside of the house.
Don’t eat or drink where poultry live or roam.
Stay outdoors when cleaning any equipment or materials used to raise or care for animals such as cages and feed or water containers.
Don’t eat after your pets.

Avoid hookworms by:
Wearing shoes when walking outdoors, especially in places that may have feces in the soil.

To avoid hepatitis B, rotavirus, diphtheria, whooping cough, pneumococcal infections, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, polio, chickenpox, meningitis, and HPV:
Stay up-to-date on long-lasting vaccinations and consider seasonal flu shots.

To lessen the risk of rabies:
Vaccinate your pets.
Leave stray cats and dogs alone.
Leave wild animals alone. Don’t keep them as pets.
Wash animal bites and scratches immediately with soap and water.
Consult a healthcare professional if you are bitten or scratched by an unvaccinated animal.

To lessen the risk of any illness:
Keep your body healthy, robust, and ready to fight disease by getting plenty of sleep, drinking plenty of fluids, eating nutritious food, being physically active, and managing stress levels.

And finally, it’s worth taking a moment to learn about the organisms with whom we share the planet. All spiders and bees are not to be feared and all furry creatures are not safe to embrace. If you’re determined to kill all insects anyway, please remember that poison is poison whether it goes on your skin, your yard, or your food.

If you want to choose a single piece of advice to help prevent disease, take it from the CDC and please don’t kiss the chickens!

https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/backyardpoultry-05-19/index.html

https://www.cdc.gov/media/dpk/food-safety/live-poultry-salmonella/live-poultry-salmonella.html

https://www.cdc.gov/features/handwashing/index.html

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/basics-for-handling-food-safely/ct_index

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/?s=safety/

Holiday Baking – Keep it Safe!