Smoky Pork Carnitas

Crockpot meals are handy any time of year, but the trick in the summer is to choose a meal that fits with the season.  Soups and stews are just not appealing when the weather is hot. Pulled pork fits the bill perfectly.  It's a versatile meal that can be served lots of different ways.  It can be served with sauerkraut, with pickles/onions and chipotle mayo, or in a tortilla with some yummy toppings like shredded cabbage, cilantro, and avocado.

Grandma's Paleo Spaghetti Soup

Well, apparently the entire country except for New Mexico is crippled by winter weather.  Don't get me wrong, it's chilly here but we'd like to get a good dose of the snow that seems to be falling everywhere else.  Snow or not, chilly weather is soup weather!  I thought I would share with you a yummy, hearty, satisfying soup I created the other day.  It was a big hit with the whole family.  My kids thought it reminded them of their grandma's spaghetti, so I'm calling it 'Grandma's Paleo Spaghetti Soup.' It's full of vegetables and delicious protein.

Best of 2013

First of all, let me say thank you to my readers and supporters of my blog.  I truly enjoy creating and sharing allergy-free recipes with you!  After looking back over the year, I thought I would share with you my 'Top 5' recipes from 2013.

Vegan Salted Caramel Corn

Do you have lots of people at your house during the Holidays?  How about anyone with a dairy or nut allergy?  Here is a delicious recipe for a dairy-free, nut-free caramel popcorn that will keep everyone happy.

Allergy-free Candy Cane Cookies

Recently, I came across a yummy-looking recipe for peppermint cookies on a friend's blog, and they looked like a perfect recipe to adapt to be allergy-free.  My husband is particularly fond of cookies with crushed candy canes on top.  This simple recipe can be a fun one to make with the kids, who can enjoy smashing candy canes, rolling cookie dough balls, and sprinkling crushed candy canes on top of the cookies.

Sweet Debbie's 'Fudgy Fig-A-Mama-Jig Bars', Cookbook Review and Giveaway

Recipe Reprinted from SWEET DEBBIE’S ORGANIC TREATS by Debbie Adler. Published by Harlequin. Copyright Debbie Adler 2013

Recently, I got my hands on a new cookbook for allergy-free and vegan baking, 'Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats: Allergy-Free and Vegan Recipes from the Famous Los Angeles Bakery' created by Debbie Adler, owner of Sweet Debbie's Organic Cupcakes in Los Angeles.  Not only is it a beautiful cookbook, but it is full of unique,  allergen-free, refined sugar-free treats that look delicious!

Debbie even manages to include nutrition-packed ingredients like turmeric powder,  mesquite powder, and even parsnips in some of her creations! As I started eagerly exploring all of the creative, recipes such as 'Blondies with Roots,' 'Quinoa Cranberry Cookies,' and 'Saffron and Cardamom Donut Holes,' one recipe caught my eye: her Fudgy Fig-A-Mama-Jig Bars. I thought I would give them a try.

Allergen-free Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving can be challenging for those with food allergies. Of course, the main dish is typically allergen-free, but the appetizers, sides and treats usually are not. As you plan your family gathering this week, I thought I would share with you some of my recipes to help make your feast a food allergy-friendly one.

Gimbal's Fine Candies Review and Giveaway

Move over, Jelly Belly - there's a new allergen-free jellybean in town: Gimbal's Fine Candies!  Actually, Gimbal's has been around since 1898, but what makes them stand apart is the fact that they are allergen-free: their candy is peanut-free, tree nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and egg-free! All of their packages contain the following label:

 Not only does Gimbal's make amazing jellybeans, but they also make gourmet sour, cherry, cinnamon, and licorice candies. All of them are made with real fruit juice or natural extracts. Their gourmet jellybeans include 41 individual flavors. Recently, I got my hands on a package of their jellybean Harvest Mix, which is a seasonal combination of 7 of the Fall flavors.

The Harvest Mix flavors include Roasted Marshmallow, Harvest Spice, Peach Cobbler, Goblin Punch, Red Delicious, Harvest Berry, and Pumpkin Pie.  

My daughter and I sampled all of the flavors, and I have to say they are all bursting with it!  Her favorite is the Harvest Berry (pink one) because it is, as she describes, 'very fruity.'  My favorite is the Red Delicious (red one).  I think it tastes just like biting into red delicious apple.  The only flavor we were not crazy about was the Pumpkin Pie, but that may be due to the fact that we prefer fruity rather than spicy flavors.  

I thought I would share a cute idea you could make with candies like these - Indian Corn decor!  These could be used for place cards or just for Fall/Thanksgiving decor.  I found the idea on Pinterest.  Check out how cute they turned out:

Now it's your turn to try some of Gimbal's Fine Candies! Enter the raffle below for your chance to win a full-size bag!  

**Update: 11/29: The winner of the Gimbal's candy is April Paik.  Congratulations, April!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Allergy-free Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

'Tis the season for all things pumpkin.  This goes for Snickerdoodles, many people's favorite cookie. These pumpkin Snickerdoodles are completely allergy-free, free of all top 8 food allergens.  They are wonderfully soft and dangerously addictive and would be a perfect allergy-free Thanksgiving treat!

Enjoy Life Decadent Soft-Baked Bars Review

Enjoy Life Foods is a wonderful company that specializes in making delicious foods, free of all top 8 food allergens. Recently, they gave their followers on Facebook an opportunity to sample some of their new Decadent Soft-Baked bars, so I jumped at the chance! With a child who is allergic to 4 of the top 8 allergens, I rarely can find a granola or dessert bar that she can eat, let alone enjoy! Imagine my delight when I opened this:

Four full-sized boxes - how generous! All of the bars were nice and moist, with a lovely icing drizzle on top.  In my opinion, they are not too small or too large - just the right size for a treat.

Here are our thoughts on the 4 flavors:

Chocolate SunButter

This bar could not be sampled by my daughter because she is severely allergic to sunflower seeds.  So, I gave some to a friend whose son has several food allergies, not including sunflower seeds.   He really liked them, but he thought they would be better with chocolate chips.  He preferred to eat them with extra melted chocolate chips on top (Enjoy Life, of course). In my opinion, the SunButter does give the bars a nice peanut butter-like flavor.

Chocolate SunButter 

Cinnamon Bun

This one was my daughter's favorite.  It was very moist and had a wonderful cinnamon flavor.  It really did taste like a cinnamon bun. She went through this box the fastest.  If I were to buy some of these Decadent Bars for her, this is the flavor I would choose.

Cinnamon Bun

Cherry Cobbler

My daughter did not like these at all - not because they were bad, but because they actually tasted like cherry cobbler.  She is not a fan of fruit in her desserts, especially cherries.  Actually, she probably gets it from me. I have never liked any cherry desserts myself.  I tasted them as well, and I thought they really tasted like cherry cobbler.  Again, not my favorite, but if you're a fan of cherry desserts you will enjoy these.  

Cherry Cobbler


This bar was the driest of the four, albeit still soft. You can even see the difference in the picture, compared to the other three. They do contain some Enjoy Life graham crackers, so perhaps that contributes to the dryness. It did have a nice mild chocolate flavor.  I kind of wish they had some actual little marshmallows in them.  


Here's an example 'Nutrition Facts' from the Cherry Cobbler bar.  As you can see, the bars do have a modest amount of sugar and very little vitamins or minerals, but they are full of real ingredients, including dried fruit and quinoa flakes.  I certainly would not consider them nutritional bars, but they sure are a nice treat, especially for those with allergies who rarely have the opportunity to indulge in such a thing.

These bars would be a great option for a party, and they could be cut into smaller pieces and served on a cookie tray.  You can purchase them at your local grocery or natural foods store or online.