Allergy Friendly Winter Drinks to Warm You Up and Wow Your Friends

Allergy Friendly Winter Drinks to Warm You Up and Wow Your Friends

Cold weather and holidays mean hot drinks! The only problem is, the eggnog and hot chocolate that most people are drinking aren’t really allergy friendly. So we decided to use our bar flavors as inspiration to make a twist on the classics and give you some amazing flavors that the whole family can enjoy.

We went back to the test kitchen to create four different drinks: Spiced Hot Apple Cider, Mulled Fruit, Ginger Lemon Tea, and allergy friendly Hot Cocoa (with a fun find to go with it!).

Enjoy!

Spiced Hot Apple Cider

During these chilly, winter months, one of our favorite things to do is curl up with a soft blanket, a good book, and a cup of spiced cider.  We wanted to take the traditional cider up a notch, so we looked to our Seed+Fruit Apple Cinnamon bars to come up with a fun, delicious take on Hot Apple Cider.

Allergy friendly hot apple cider

If you are entertaining this year, this recipe is perfect, because it is simple, easy, delicious, and it will make your house smell amazing!

allergy friendly hot drinks

Ingredients:

6 cups of Organic Apple Cider
1 Organic Orange (sliced)
1 Organic Apple (sliced)
3 Cinnamon Sticks
2 tsp Cloves
1/2 Tsp Peppercorn
1 inch of Fresh Ginger
1/4 tsp of Chinese Five Spice (optional)
Directions:
Combine above ingredients in a saucepan, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the house is filled with the aroma of spiced cider. Want the no-fuss version? Put it all in a slow cooker on low until it is hot.

allergy friendly ZEGO bars inspired drink

ENOY!

allergy friendly special occasion drink

Mulled Fruit (Wine Optional)

Mulled wine is one of those traditional drinks that is starting to be left out. But as we know from our Just Fruit bars, there is nothing quite like the taste of fresh fruit. Blending this drink makes it frothy and delicious, not to mention very pretty to serve! It is easy to create this virgin drink, but if you want to add an adult kick, we included those instructions as well. Another great thing about this drink is that there is enough sweetness from the juice, that you don’t have to add any additional sweetener!

Ingredients:

8 cups of Organic Cranberry-Raspberry Juice (100% Juice)
1 lb Strawberries washed and hulled
1 tsp Organic Cloves (or to taste)
Extra Strawberries for garnish
Optional: Replace half the juice for shiraz wine

Directions: 

Blend strawberries, juice, and cloves on high. This will make it nice and frothy. They pour into individual cups and microwave for 60 seconds, or simmer on low in a pot until warm, being careful not to overstir so that it stays frothy. Slice a whole strawberry halfway through the middle to slide over the edge of the cup to decorate.

allergy friendly 3 Ingredient hot winter drink

Dairy Free (Allergy Friendly) Hot Chocolate:

Hot Chocolate is an all-time favorite winter drink of ours, but its nearly impossible to find a true allergy-friendly hot chocolate at a restaurant.  Even if you sub in a milk alternative, chances are the chocolate will contain dairy, so we looked to our Seed+Fruit Fudgy Chocolate bar to make the most delicious and velvety recipe you’ve ever tried.

allergy friendly hot cocoa

This recipe makes enough for the entire season (honestly, it makes a lot!), so just put the finished mixture into a cute jar, and you won’t need to make this again all winter.  Next time you’re having a craving, just put 2-4 Tbs of the premed mix into a cup with your favorite milk alternative, and you’re ready to go!

allergy friendly ZEGO bars inspired hot chocolate

It also makes a cute gift! We keep some of these around to hand out to house guests, so everyone can leave with a tasty little treat.  Our friends and family love getting this every year!

Ingredients:
2 1/2 Cups of Organic Sugar
1 Cup of Allergy Friendly Chocolate Chips (Pascha is our favorite brand)
2 1/2 Cups of Organic Cocoa Powder
1 Tbs Salt
1/2 Cup of Macha Powder (optional)
1 Cup of your Favorite Milk Alternative when ready to drink
Candy Canes
Directions:
Combine all dry ingredients together and mix well.  Store in an airtight container.
When ready to serve, add 2-4Tbs of the mixture to 1 cup of your favorite milk alternative.  Top with candy canes.

allergy friendly holiday drink

 Do you like marshmallows in your hot chocolate? It can be hard to find ones that are allergy friendly, and even harder to find ones that are vegan and taste good! That is why we were so excited to find these brand – Dandies. They are a peanut and tree nut free facility, gluten free, dairy free, and vegan! And they were the softest, fluffiest, yummiest marshmallows we had ever tasted. It was hard to keep the kids out of them long enough to take this photo. Extra fun? They come in both traditional vanilla flavor, as well as a Peppermint flavor that is colored pink with beets (no artificial colors!) so that you can have mint hot cocoa if you would like as well. They are also Non-GMO certified, so we consider this an all-around win.

Lemon Ginger Spiced Tea

Why have regular hot tea, when you can spice it up? This is a super simple way to take a common drink to the next level and add something that will make it memorable.
Ingredients:
8 Cups Hot Water
4-6 Tea bags or 3 Tablespoons whole leaf tea (green tea works great)
1 Whole lemon, sliced
8 pieces of Crystallized Ginger
Directions: 
Brew the tea as usual, and then put a slice of fresh lemon and a piece of ginger into each cup. The longer you let it sit, the stronger the ginger flavor will be. You may want to add an extra pinch of sugar to taste, depending on how sweet you want this drink to be.
allergy friendly hot drink
Allergy Friendly Pumpkin Muffins

Allergy Friendly Pumpkin Muffins

Does fall having you craving all things pumpkin?  Well, we have you covered with this incredibly easy and delicious recipe for allergy friendly pumpkin muffins (that’s right, they are free of gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and dairy)!  We made these the other day, and the office filled with the aroma of pumpkin spice, it was just perfect for fall.

allergy friendly pumpkin muffins

These muffins disappeared quickly, so be prepared to make a second batch 😉  But don’t worry too much, because not only do they taste delectable, they also have some surprising health benefits hidden inside!

First, the pumpkin provides beta-carotene, which helps your eyes and skin stay healthy. Second, the ZEGO Bar crust adds extra protein and fiber helping you stay full longer. And of course, we never use any artificial sweeteners, flavorings, or colors that you find in most of the pumpkin spice things you can buy right now.

allergy friendly pumpkin muffins

Chocolatey ZEGO Allergy Friendly Pumpkin Muffins:

Recipe (makes 12-15 muffins):

  • 1 2/3 cups of gluten-free flour
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon (we like to use Spicely organic)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1 cup of pumpkin (roasted yourself has more pumpkin flavor, but canned works too!)
  • 1 cup of melted coconut oil (you can also use butter or ghee)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of dairy-free chocolate chips (we like Pascha)
  • 2 eggs (can sub flax eggs to make it vegan)
  • 2 Seed+Fruit Chocolate ZEGO bars

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients together and stir well
  3. In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, coconut oil, and vanilla extract
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, incorporating well
  5. Fold in chocolate chips
  6. Grease muffin pan
  7. Add in the ZEGO bars
    1. Either dice the bars and fold into the batter (like chocolate chips),
    2. Or Press the bars out until thin, and place on the bottom of the greased muffin pan for a chocolate muffin crust (like we did below).
  8. Pour batter into muffin pan
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  10. Enjoy!

 

allergy friendly pumpkin muffins

Nut Free School Wins ZEGO Bars for Kids!

Nut Free School Wins ZEGO Bars for Kids!

One of the daily challenges that almost every parent who has a child with food allergies deals with is food safety at school. It is a multi-layered issue that includes educating non-food allergy parents, teaching your child to self-advocate, and understanding the school policies and procedures for food allergies. As the problem grows, more and more schools are becoming nut free.

Another challenge can be simply finding snacks that are allergy safe and the kids will want to eat! Whether your own child has nut allergies, or you need nut-free snacks for your non-allergic child to take to school. That is why we decided to do our biggest giveaway ever – 132 bars to one school (a master case, if you were wondering). Our goal was to help promote discussion of allergy safe snacks, provide a conversation starter for allergy parents as they encouraged other parents to nominate their school, and reward a school with some great snacks!

Our Nut Free Allergy Friendly Giveaway Winner

So many people nominated their schools and helped to promote the giveaway. Thank you! We are excited to officially announce the winner – Temple Beth Ami in Rockville, MD! And, thank you to the teachers at the school for sending these adorable photos — we are so glad the kids loved their nut-free ZEGO snacks.

nut free Allergy Free School Snacks

Children at Temple Beth Ami School their ZEGO Fruit+Chia bars

We were even more excited that the winning school is a peanut and tree nut free school! Partnerships with schools like this can do a lot to help keep kids safe. So we wondered, what was the story behind going nut free?

Paula Sayag, director at the school, says “I have worked here for 9 years, and the school was nut-free when I came. Teachers who have worked here longer don’t even remember when they made that move. It’s been a long time! It was made when allergies seemed to be more common, and there was increased sensitivity to including children with food restrictions.” It is a part of their bigger focus on inclusion of all children. They pride themselves on being inclusive, welcoming children and families from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of unique challenges, including allergies and other food restrictions. Jill, one of the staff at the school said, “We want everyone to feel safe and comfortable in our school, so they can make friends, learn, and gain confidence. Every child leaves our school with a “can-do” attitude and enters kindergarten primed for success.”

As stated in their official food policy: “Our policy regarding foods allowed in school is designed for the sole purpose of keeping children safe. Temple Beth Ami has students with food allergies, some of which may be life-threatening. For some children, mere physical contact with an allergen and/or the environmental presence of the allergen can evoke an anaphylactic response. We share a collective responsibility to ensure the safety of every child.”

So why don’t all schools follow a policy like this? Could more schools be nut free? One of the biggest challenges is the education of the other parents, as well as faculty and staff who may not be familiar with food allergies. As we in the allergy community start these conversations, let your school know about other schools that are being successful. Doing this can really help!

Paula said: “The biggest hurdle for schools just starting is helping parents find alternatives to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. And helping parents appreciate their role in being compassionate to other’s with allergies.” They work through this by providing the school food policy to all parents to help them understand the reasons why this is important, as well as discussing it in parent committee meetings, including it in their newsletters, and sending a mid-year reminder. 

While the ZEGO school giveaway was open to any school, we are excited that we had a chance to give it to a school that is doing such a great job of valuing their food allergy kids and families!

Did you miss getting your school nominated? We’ll be doing school giveaways throughout the year. Just enter your email address and we’ll let you know about future giveaways and sales. And, be sure to let us know in the comments section of this blog about how your school handles food allergies!

The Biggest Food Trends of 2017 and Our 11 Favorite Expo West Products

The Biggest Food Trends of 2017 and Our 11 Favorite Expo West Products

If you want to understand food trends, then Expo West 2017 was the place to be. My feet are bruised from walking on concrete floors and holding meetings in hallways for 3 days. I saw every one of a dizzying array of over 3,000 local, national and international companies showing their wares in Anaheim at the Natural Products Expo West show last weekend. It was amazing to see so many products all in one place! 

Overall, the message of the show was clear – our bellies hurt, and our kids (and some of us) have serious food allergies. Those two things kept showing up again and again in the products we saw and tried. 

Trend 1: Probiotics

To help our digestion and improve our gut flora, probiotics and fermentation were suddenly the #1 marketing angle of new companies – replacing last year’s coconut waters (the most clever put probiotics in their coconut water). And it wasn’t just naturally fermented and cultured beverages, yogurts and cheeses, it was everything from jelly beans to cookies to tortilla chips, drinking vinegar to pickle juice! I’ll cover the nutrition issues with the added probiotics in another blog, because today I want to tell you about the trends and our favorite new products.There are questions to explore about whether added probiotics more marketing than health.So, let’s move on to the other trend—allergy friendly food.

Trend 2: Allergy Friendly

Now, just like with gluten free, this will take some navigating for the allergen community – not every company could tell me how often they test for cross contact and some seemed puzzled by the question. We hope to convince them of the value of batch testing and reporting the results to consumers through the QR code on the product package like we do at ZEGO in the long run.But the fact that there were a lot more companies marketing they are free from problematic ingredients and allergens is good news nonetheless!

After all, now that buyers for grocery store see this trend growing, they are more likely to buy more free-from products for their stores. This will make it easier for all of us to meet the needs of our special diet friends and family. Maybe allergy friendly will follow a similar path to gluten free, with the next step being an “allergy friendly” section in the store.

Our Top Product Picks

Enough about the trends, let’s move the really fun part – the companies and foods we loved! We are picky at our house, despite our many food intolerances and allergies, so when we say it’s good, we really mean it. Here is what Kelsey, my teenage daughter, and I want you to know in new products. (Note: please call these companies to confirm their allergy situation in the facility, salespeople at food shows don’t always have the correct facts!)

Artisan Tropic

Artisan Tropic Cassava and Plaintain Chips

Cassava and Plantain Chips. Free of virtually everything! The only other ingredients in their facility are Palm Oil, Salt, Cinnamon. This was the first one I ordered when I got home. You have to buy in bulk, but they are worth it! You can order on their website: http://artisantropic.com/

Artisan Tropic Product Sample

Hu Chocolate

Allergy friendly chocolagePaleo Chocolate? Yes! And it is the best we’ve ever had and no soy/dairy/refined sugars!

They are in distribution so ask you favorite store to start carrying them if they don’t already. And, check out their restaurant next time you are in NYC. https://hukitchen.com

 

Happy Camper

Happy Camper Gluten Free Bread

Fluffy, true sandwich bread. Seriously. You don’t even need to toast it and it is delicious! Some versions have added pea protein so be aware of that if you have a peanut allergy or a sensitive stomach. Free from most everything else. (www.happycampersgf.com)

Also in stores in Washington Oregon, Nor Cal, So Cal and on-line.

WholeMe

Snack Clusters – seriously good baked soft cookie clusters. Very clean ingredients, grain/gluten/soy/dairy free, contains peanuts and tree nuts. Lower in sugars than most similar products. We ordered these last night on-line.  www.wholeme.com

Nu Life 

Gluten Free FlourAll purpose flour and sorghum grain you can pop stovetop.

The popped sorghum is PERFECT for people allergic to corn, delicious and fun.

We had a warm muffin made from the flour and it was fantastic, but it does have tapioca and potato starch which can irritate tummies.

Free from milk/soy/peanut/gluten. Check on treenuts if you are allergic, they aren’t listed on the packaging, but I think they are free of these as well. http://www.nulifemarket.com

Veggie Noodle Co 

Allergy Friendly Veggie Noodles

No time to spirulize your veggies for your paleo meal? No worries, Veggie Noodle has a beautiful array of pre-spiraled options for you. Find them virtually everywhere east of the Rocky Mountains but not out West yet (sniff sniff).  http://veggienoodleco.com/

Froozer 

froozer fruit pouchesVegan frozen pops made from fruit and veggies. I ordered these in bulk already! Seriously, I just ordered $125 worth (bulk sales only on-line) – they are that good and my food allergy daughter is waiting by the door for them to arrive.  Colorado, So Cal, PNW, Louisiana and some in the NE states. www.froozer.com

Millies

Millies Vegan Ice Cream

Organic Vegan Gelato – most delicious ever of all the companies we tried. Egg/milk/soy/wheat but free some flavors contain tree or peanut and equipment is shared. Find them in San Diego and LA County but not on-line. Hopefully, they expand to your hood soon or you can pick them up on your next visit!

Noka

noka fruit and veggie pouchesSuperfood smoothie from fruit and veggies—better than juice because they retain their natural fiber.

Shelf stable! Use coconut but appear otherwise free of the top 8 allergens. https://www.nokaorganics.com/

Nurture Me

“Tummy Friendly” brand of hot cereal and cookies with added probiotics, gluten/dairy/soy/egg free. National distribution. https://nurturme.com/

Because

Whole Me Allergy Friendly Food

Best cookie and brownie dough we’ve tasted. Soy/gluten free, contains nuts. LA only and on-line. www.becausecookiedough.com

Do You Want to Try These? Enter to Win!

If you didn’t get to go to Expo West, don’t worry, we will bring the show to you! We are doing a giveaway Friday March 23 at 7pm ET, 4pm PT on Facebook Live. Turn in a leave a comment about which of these new products you are most excited about and we will randomly choose a winner to receive a gift bag with a selection of these amazing products for you to try!

Perfectly Spiced Chocolate-Pumpkin Pie

Perfectly Spiced Chocolate-Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is definitely a fall favorite, whether forimg_1107 Thanksgiving, Christmas, or just to enjoy some pumpkin fun. If you have food allergies though, it can be hard to find something that fills your craving for pumpkin pie without wheat, gluten, dairy, or a number of other ingredients. Even if you don’t need to avoid these foods for allergy reasons, you might be looking for a way to satisfy the craving without so much sugar, and with some added protein and fiber.

With the leaves changing and crisp morning air, we felt inspired this weekend to step in the test kitchen – and I’m so glad we did because we created this mouthwatering, allergy-friendly pumpkin pie.  It is incredibly delicious – and the crust does not get any easier than this.  We guarantee everyone will be asking for your recipe over the holidays. This will be a guilty pleasure no longer, but one of your new family favorites. All the goodness of pumpkin pie, with the added layer of chocolatey flavor!

Perfectly Spiced Chocolate-Pumpkin Pie
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 Pie 15 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 Pie 15 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Perfectly Spiced Chocolate-Pumpkin Pie
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 Pie 15 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 Pie 15 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Ingredients
ZEGO's 2 Ingredient Coconut Crust
Perfectly Spiced Pumpkin Pie Filling
Servings: Pie
Instructions
ZEGO's 2 Ingredient Coconut Crust
  1. Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan with coconut oil.
  2. Unwrap 4 coconut ZEGO bars and press them into the pie pan until the bottom and edges are evenly covered.
  3. Scatter chocolate chips over the bottom of the crust. You can use as few or as many chocolate chips as you'd like - trust us, this step makes the pie truly divine!
Perfectly Spiced Pumpkin Pie Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Combine sugar, salt, arrowroot powder, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice*
  3. Using a mixer, gently add the coconut cream, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin puree** to the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined.
  4. Pour mixture over the chocolate chip covered crust. Allow pie to rest for a couple minutes - then firmly and evenly set pie down on the counter several times to get rid of any air bubbles.
  5. Bake for 60 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the center of the pie is set.
Recipe Notes

Top your pie with freshly whipped coconut cream - and enjoy!


Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend*

We are all about making things easier, but most of the time, store bought pumpkin pie spice just falls short, which is why we like to make our own! This recipe makes a lot, so you can save it and use it over and over again.

All of these spices are pre ground, but you of course can grind them yourself to make it even fresher.

What you'll need:

  • 2 Tbs cinnamon
  • 3 tsp ginger (dried)
  • 1.5 tsp allspice
  • 3/4 tsp cloves

Stir all the above spices together until very well combined.

You will only use 1 tablespoon of this mixture in this recipe, so you will have plenty leftover. You could even double the recipe and make some cute DIY holiday gifts too - who wouldn't like getting homemade pumpkin pie spice!


Roasted Pumpkin Puree**

As we mentioned with the pumpkin pie spice, some things are just better you make them yourself. But we get that everyone is busy, so you can use canned pumpkin, but trust me when I say this will take your pie to the next level!

What you'll need:

  • 2 sweet pumpkin pie pumpkins* (they are usually small, so you'll probably need 2)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Slice pumpkins in half, scrape out all the gooey insides, and place on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast until pumpkins are golden brown and fragrant.

Let the pumpkins cool completely before removing the skin.

* Even though this is called pumpkin pie, I actually prefer sweet meet squash over the pumpkins.  It can be hard to find at the grocery store, but if you're lucky and can find it, give it a try.

Enjoy! And once you try the recipe, be sure to share a photo with us on Facebook or Instagram!

Gingerbread Brownies

Gingerbread Brownies

This delicious brownie recipe an amazing thing to enjoy during the holidays. Serve it warm with vanilla ice cream or eat it plain.

Gingerbread brownies
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
9-12 brownies 10 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
9-12 brownies 10 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Gingerbread brownies
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
9-12 brownies 10 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
9-12 brownies 10 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: brownies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Place 13 pitted dates in a food processor and pulse until the dates begin to bind and clump together
  3. Add coconut oil, eggs, molasses, and vanilla extract to the food process and puree until smooth
  4. Add cocoa powder, coconut flour, powder ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, baking soda and baking powder along with a pinch of salt and puree until completely combined and smooth
  5. Grease an 8x8 glass baking dish with extra coconut oil and then pour the brownie mixture into the baking dish and smooth out
  6. Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
Recipe Notes

From the amazing paleo website phlegm.com