Nut-Free & Vegan Mexican Wedding Cookies

This is a totally impromptu post. This was the first time I have ever made these cookies. I did not plan on posting this recipe or taking photos. In fact, my camera was not even charged and at the last minute before we started chowing down, I took these photos on my phone! Yes, ladies and gentleman, these cookies are so good, I couldn't wait to post this recipe! 

Mexican wedding cookies are typically made with lots of butter and lots of pecans so the fact that these are deliciously vegan and nut-free is pretty awesome! I LOVE finding recipes that call for nuts, dairy and eggs and substituting until they are perfectly allergen free! It makes me feel like I can provide a safe version of anything for my daughter which is really empowering. After putting an awesome and safe dish on the table, I kind of feel like super woman! :-)

So here is the recipe that just couldn't wait- 

~Love and hugs

NUT-FREE & VEGAN MEXICAN WEDDING COOKIES 

Slightly adapted from the Mexican Wedding Cookie Recipe in Roberto Martin's "Vegan Cooking for Carnivores"  

  • 1/2 cup Go Raw Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds 
  • 1/2 cup Go Raw Sprouted Sunflower Seeds
  • 16 tablespoons (1 cup) vegan butter, cut into cubes and chilled
  • 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar, plus one cup for dusting 
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a large cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper.

Pulse the seeds in a food processor until they are a coarse meal.

Add the butter, sugar, agave nectar, vanilla, and salt and pulse until a dough forms. Add 1 cup of flour and pulse until combined. Add the second cup of flour and pulse until combined. Scoup out 2 tablespoon size portions of the dough, roll between your palms to create a ball and place on the baking sheet 1 inch apart. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for 7 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Roll, cover, and coat in confectioner's sugar completely and enjoy! My favorite way to enjoys these is with a super hot cup of black coffee! Yum!

Posted on June 30, 2014 and filed under Recipes.

The Importance of Calling Ahead

When you have a child with food allergies, you can't really just stop by a party or an event without planning on it and for it. Every event, whether it is something as big as a wedding or as small as a play date, takes planning on our part. I used to think that throwing a safe meal in my diaper bag was enough until we attended a baby shower last year that was candy themed. Yes, candy themed, and I had no idea because I didn't call ahead. There was a huge candy bar that attendees could fill favor bags with and snack on during the shower. Of course all of the little girls at the shower were stuffing their faces with candy and my 2 and a half year old (at the time) kept asking me if she could have some. I repeatedly had to tell her no because I wasn't sure if it was safe. Yes, I packed a safe meal but had I known it was a candy themed shower, I would have made and brought her a favor bag full of safe treats that she could have eaten with the other little girls there. She kept walking over to the bar, watching the girls eating their candy, wanting to share with them and be included, and she kept coming up to me and saying softly with hope in her eyes, "It's ok mom, I don't think it has nuts in it." Tear. It broke my heart. That may sound silly to some but any allergy mom knows how heartbreaking it is to hear your child say that and then watch their whole posture droop when you say no, defeated once again. Lesson learned.

Now, before any event, no matter how big or small, I call the host, organizer or manager and and get the scoop on the food. I love being able to confidently walk into a party or event knowing that I have prepared well and that my daughter will have a good meal that will make her feel included and part of the theme, if there is one. I like being able to give her safe versions of treats that will be at the party because I know the following question is inevitable as soon as she sees the food: "Mom, does that have nuts in it?"

So a couple of weeks ago, we went to the Dine with Princesses event at Olmstead Performing Arts. I must say, I was incredibly impressed with their level of knowledge on food allergies and their willingness and true, heartfelt desire to keep my daughter included and safe. In my opinion, the following is a wonderful example of inclusion! 

I called to inquire about the event before I even purchased tickets to make sure they would be willing to work with us. There was no hesitation whatsoever. They said that they would absolutely accommodate her and that they are actually in the process of considering making all of their events 100% nut free. They also mentioned that one of their employees has children with food allergies and that they know that they are life threatening and they treat them very seriously. I purchased tickets that day with the plan that I would call back the week of the event to iron out the details with them. 

The event week arrived and they actually called me to follow up! Talk about being on the ball! They decided to serve a nut-free brunch including scrambled eggs, waffles and potatoes but when the issue of cross contamination came up, the catering company they work with said they could not guarantee against cross contamination because they do have nuts in their kitchens. OPA immediately asked me what they could do to make it work. They offered to make my girl her own breakfast in OPA's own kitchen. They even offered to go grocery shopping for us to get her a safe meal by purchasing the brands I am comfortable with. They were more than willing to do whatever I felt comfortable with. I told them that I would just bring a waffle and potatoes from home (I actually had both in my kitchen ready to cook up so that worked out great), and they would scramble a fresh egg up for us in the back when it was time to eat. The transition was seamless. As soon as we arrived, I gave them our food which they took in the back to plate, separate from the catering dishes. When we were all ready to eat, my daughter's plate, which looked like everyone else's was delivered right to her when everyone else was served. It was awesome. This might sound like a small detail but food allergy kids often eat at different from everyone else at events. They have to wait for their safe food to be heated up, or plated, or prepared and there have been many times that my little one is still waiting while everyone else is eating. 

When you are able to relieve some of the pressure off of the food at an event by planning ahead, it truly enables both you and your child to enjoy the event more and spend more time on the celebration at hand. To top our day off, the mother who works there with the food allergic kiddos made allergen-free cookies in her allergen-free kitchen and my daughter literally got to walk up to a table, grab a cookie from a platter, and safely devour it. Awesome, and just the icing on the cake, if you will! ;-)

Kuddos to OPA for working to safely include my daughter and ensure that she had a great time. We will be attending this event for years to come! 

And now for the really fun stuff - pictures of course!!!

Food Allergy Awareness Week 2014

Image courtesy of FARE

Image courtesy of FARE

Food Allergy Awareness Week (FAAW) is next week, May 11th through the 17th! Mark your calendars and make a plan to engage, educate, support, and share just a little bit more. I just wanted to get a quick and straightforward post out there to help give you ideas and resources on ways you can participate next week. You can spend as much or as little time getting involved as you want, but everyone can do something. Push yourself to see how far your efforts can reach! 

You can read about what my plans are in my guest blog post for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT) and check out how I participated last year for even more ideas. 

You should also absolutely visit FAACT's and FARE's websites for more information on FAAW. Both organizations have put together incredible ideas and resources to help you raise awareness. FARE also recently declared May as Food Allergy Action Month and has even provided an awesome Action Month Calendar to help you get involved. You can also check out their newly released infographic below to learn more about food allergies.

Infographic courtesy of FARE

Infographic courtesy of FARE

I would love to hear what your plans are for FAAW! Please share them in the comment section below!