Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fun Toddler Toast (GF, DF, Peanut free)

With a very picky little one, I have to get creative sometimes.  Sure, he doesn't want toast with nut butter.  But turn it into a fun, silly looking critter and he will devour it.

We created this little piggy snack using Aldi's G-Free bread, Sunbutter, Enjoy Life chocolate chips, and bananas. 

Under 5 minutes from start to finish and a winner with the 3 year old.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Homemade Sunbutter Eggs (Dairy Free, Peanut Free)

Over the last few years, I have really missed peanut butter eggs at Easter time.  They are by far my favorite candy!  With a kiddo with allergies to peanuts, dairy, and gluten, they were definitely banned from our house.  After three years of missing out, I finally decided to make my own version.

Sunbutter Eggs

3/4 cup sunbutter
1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

In a small bowl, mix Sunbutter and powdered sugar until the dough can be formed into a ball. Shape dough into egg shapes and place on parchment paper and freeze for an hour.  Melt Enjoy Life chips and stir in 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil.  Dip eggs into chocolate and place into freezer until firm.

Make 12-14 eggs.

Store in fridge to keep fresh longer.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Chalk Paint Table: DIY

We've had a little table in our basement forever.  Hubby picked it up along the side of the road almost 10 years ago, and it's been used as a storage spot since.

Recently, I decided I wanted to change up our tiny dining nook, which is the first thing you see coming in our back door.  So I pulled the table out of the basement, bought a $2.50 can of paint from Walmart (Krylon Blue Ocean Breeze), and went to work.

To create the chalk paint effect, I mixed the 8oz container of paint with 2oz of Sheetrock Patch & Repair Compound that we already had at home.  I painted two layers all over the table and sealed it with Minwax Paste Finishing Wax (from Lowes for around $9).

So for under $15, we have a fresh, bright table in our little nook.  I also added these cute yellow place mats from Target (on clearance for under $2).

Friday, March 20, 2015

Food Allergies: On a Budget

One of the toughest parts of having food allergies is fitting special foods into our (tight) budget. My 3 year old and I both eat dairy and gluten free, and he is peanut free too. So shopping and meal planning involves lots of label reading and creativity. Life would be so much easier if he wasn't so picky too.

So how do we afford our allergies?

Meal Plan: We go to the store with a list and try to stick to it. Our dinners are pretty basic, meat, starch, veggies. Meals like tacos, pot roast, salads, and chicken with rice require little substitution to fit our restrictions, so we rotate them in a lot.
Discount Stores: Aldi's carries fresh fruit and veggies priced at a fraction of the regular stores. Plus they have the G-Free line that has amazing gluten free bread. (No toasting required!) If you're lucky enough to have a "seconds," salvage, or bent and dent store nearby, utilize it. We find great deals at our local bent and dent store every week, things like gluten free baking mixes for $1 or dairy free ice cream pints for 50 cents.
(Recent discount store buys.  Spent $4 on what's shown)

Coupons: It's rare to find coupons for specialty foods in the weekend paper, but ones for products like Chex or Prego are often offered. Plus, if you write to companies or join their mailing lists, they will occasionally send coupons out.

Buy Straight from the Source: Look for a CSA in your area or farmers willing to sell directly to you. We buy a quarter of beef once and year, and the price works out cheaper per pound than buying at the store.

What are your best tips for handling allergies on a budget?