September 13, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Pudding Parfait {Gluten-free & Vegan}

Yes, I am aware that it is only mid-September and I've gone a little overboard with the pumpkin lately. But we've gone from 90-degree, humid temperatures to 70s or lower temps with a cool breeze and I just cannot WAIT for fall to get here. So here is another ode to all things fall with a fun pumpkin dessert!

Linking up with Allergy Free Alaska for Gluten Free & DIY Tuesdays
#vegan #dairyfree #glutenfree #pumpkinspice #desserts

So Delicious Dairy Free is one of our absolute favorite brands. I always know that I can find delicious, safe products that my family will love. By the way, have you seen their new CocoWhip Coconut Milk Whipped Dessert Topping? I received the opportunity to try out this new product and I am hooked! The texture is just like another brand of whipped topping that is most definitely not free of milk products, so it has been off limits for most of our family. I've tried to make my own coconut milk whipped cream on occasion but it doesn't always work and can be frustrating when it's a flop. You can believe that I will be stocking up on CocoWhip to store in the freezer for an easy, delicious addition to our holiday desserts!

#cocowhip #vegan #coconut #whippedcream

So Delicious Dairy Free also has a tasty Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk that I became addicted to last fall. I love to add it to my morning coffee and it is much healthier than the Pumpkin Spice Lattes you can purchase at various retailers. Their shelf-stable packaging available this year is perfect since I can purchase a few ahead of time and have them all through the fall and holiday season. We love the Nog and Mint Chocolate Coconut Milks too!

#pumpkinspice #coconutmilk

This recipe uses these two decadent products, but if you have trouble finding them at stores near you, you can definitely substitute other items with a little bit of work. I love that I was able to throw this dessert together in no time at all starting with my gluten-free and vegan pudding recipe as a base. It was a perfect finish to this beautiful fall day with chili dogs for dinner, football and a fire in the backyard!

#glutenfree #dairyfree #pumpkinspice #desserts

Pumpkin Spice Pudding Parfait

Makes 4 servings                                          Printable Recipe

1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups So Delicious Dairy Free Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup gluten-free graham cracker crumbs (I used Schar brand)
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
So Delicious Dairy Free CocoWhip Coconut Milk Whipped Dessert Topping (optional)

Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and gradually pour Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk in while whisking until any lumps have dissolved.

Stir frequently until the mixture begins to thicken, keeping the temperature at medium. (You don't want it to boil or it could scorch.) Once the mixture thickens, remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into a bowl and top with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to cool.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend together the graham crackers and pumpkin pie spice until you have fine crumbs. Set aside.

Once the pudding has cooled, assemble the desserts just before serving. Place a scant tablespoon of graham cracker crumbs into small dishes or short glasses. Top each with 1/4 cup of the pudding, then a tablespoon of whipped topping. Add another layer of pudding and more whipped topping. Sprinkle a dash of pumpkin pie spice and any remaining graham cracker crumbs on top. 

#glutenfree #dairyfree #vegan #pumpkinspice #desserts

#glutenfree #vegan #dairyfree #pumpkinspice #desserts

#glutenfree #dairyfree #vegan #pumpkinspice #desserts

#glutenfree #vegan #pumpkinspice #dairyfree

September 7, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes {Gluten Free & Vegan}

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. I love to snuggle up in jeans and a sweater with a hot cup of coffee and enjoy the crisp, cooler weather, the beautiful, brightly colored leaves, football games, and of course, anything pumpkin.

I know it is still early September and we still have a few weeks left of summer, but we have been blessed with incredible weather the past few days. It has been a much needed change from the scorching, humid 90+ degree days lately. We started fall soccer this weekend and woke up this morning to a chill in the air. If you couldn't tell, I am beyond ready for fall!

This morning I decided to whip up a favorite breakfast for my boys. They devoured these Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes. They're simple to make and you can tailor them to your preferences (more or less pumpkin flavor and spice; powdered sugar coating or glazed; served warm or cold).

Using products from two of my beloved, go-to brands, Namaste (Muffin Mix) and So Delicious Dairy Free (Pumpkin Spice Creamer), also makes this recipe suitable for many since they are gluten-, dairy-, egg-, soy-, and peanut-free! If you want a little less pumpkin flavor or need to avoid coconut, just use the dairy-free milk of your choice in place of the creamer.

I'm linking up with Allergy Free Alaska and The Baking Beauties for Gluten Free & DIY Tuesdays!

#glutenfree #vegan #pumpkin #donuts

Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes {Gluten Free & Vegan}

1 bag Namaste Muffin Mix (I used the No Sugar Added version; either will work)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/8 tsp salt
Oil for frying

Heat oil in a fryer or a pot on the stove. (I filled a large pot with oil about 2" deep and heated it over medium-high heat on the stove.)

In a medium bowl, combine the muffin mix, water, applesauce, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt until a thick batter forms.

Place a wire cooling rack over paper towels nearby to drain the donuts once you remove them from the oil.
#glutenfree #vegan #pumpkin #donuts

Once the oil is hot, reduce heat to medium. Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, carefully drop the batter into the hot oil. (Do this in batches of 5-6 at a time.) Allow donuts to cook for a minute or two until they start to brown. Be sure to turn them so they brown evenly on all sides.

Using a slotted spoon, remove from oil and place on wire cooling rack to drain off any excess oil.

Once all of the donuts are cooked and while they are still warm, you can toss them in a mixture of 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or coat them with Pumpkin Spice Glaze (recipe follows) and allow them to set up before serving.

#glutenfree #vegan #pumpkin #donuts

#glutenfree #vegan #pumpkin #donuts

Pumpkin Spice Glaze {Gluten Free & Vegan} 

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp pumpkin purée
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
1-2 Tbsp So Delicious Dairy-free Pumpkin Spice Creamer (or coconut milk)

Combine all ingredients except dairy-free milk in a small bowl. Gradually stir in milk until a thin glaze forms. Dip donuts into the glaze and place back on cooling rack to set.

#glutenfree #vegan #pumpkin #donuts

#glutenfree #vegan #pumpkin #donuts

August 21, 2014

First Day of... (gulp)...Kindergarten!

It still hasn't completely sunk in. My Kindergarten?! It is crazy how fast time flies. It seems like only yesterday when I was snuggling my sweet, cuddly babe in my arms. I knew this day would come but I wasn't really prepared for all of the emotions it would bring.

Kindergarten Round-up and buying school supplies did a number on my heart strings. Then we had enrollment and "Meet your Teacher" night. Seeing my little one walking the big halls of his new school made me cry (more than a little). 

But I was also very excited for him, of course! Mason has been so excited about attending the "big school" with his brother for quite awhile now, so he was more than ready on that first day. 

I had met with and was in close contact with the school nurse from early on this past spring to discuss handling his severe dairy allergy and what accommodations would be provided/needed. (More on this later!) Thankfully, I was feeling really good about our plan that was in place and have complete confidence that Mason would be in good hands!
#backtoschool #kindergarten
We took a little family vacation for a few days before the "Big Day," and we're refreshed and ready to go. I took the obligatory first day photos, even throwing in some silly selfies with my Little Man (because that's what we do). 

#backtoschool #kindergarten

I had purchased these Kinnikinnick gluten-free and dairy-free Vanilla Glaze Donuts for a special treat on our vacation, but forgot them at home. But they were perfect for a special breakfast on this day. (Although, now I've created a monster who thinks he needs "something special" for breakfast every day!)

#glutenfree #dairyfree #nutfree #donuts

#backtoschool #kindergarten #momandson

#backtoschool #kindergarten #dadandson

We will be providing Mason's lunch every day, which helps to ease my mind from the anxiety of not knowing the ingredients in the food on the regular menu. (I've always followed our daycare's menu to provide something similar to what the kids are having each day too.) 

#schoollunch #backtoschool #healthylunch #sacklunch #dairyfree #allergyfriendly

During lunch time, Mason was interviewed by the high school yearbook staff. When asked what his favorite part of school was so far, he replied, "Lunch!" When I asked he said,"it was so yummy!" :)

The school nurse, who I am extremely grateful for, checked in on him during lunch and made sure everything was going smoothly. She even called afterward to give me an update. (Seriously, so thankful!)

#schoollunch #backtoschool #healthylunch #sacklunch #dairyfree #allergyfriendly

After school that first day, he told me about everything he did. I can tell he loves his new routine and environment because he hardly ever remembered anything significant about his preschool days that he just HAD to tell me.

Mason was just as excited for Day Two and couldn't wait to see his friends again. He was really excited about the day's lunch too (zucchini muffin and turkey & Tofutti cheese roll-ups!).

#schoollunch #backtoschool #healthylunch #sacklunch #dairyfree #allergyfriendly

I sent a drink on Day One because I wasn't sure if the school was prepared (they are supposed to provide him with almond milk). He is also not supposed to throw his trash away in an effort to avoid touching allergens. So his half-full drink ended up leaking all over the hallway and classroom from his AllerMates lunch bag. (Oops!) I won't regularly send drinks with him so hopefully we avoid this happening again!

However, on Day Two, we received a call asking if Mason could have soy milk. My husband told them it was fine as long as the ingredient list didn't include any milk products. Later that evening I asked Mason how lunch went and he said, "I decided not to have a drink because I wasn't sure it was safe and I didn't want to get sick." 

I was SO proud of him! I don't want him to ever feel like he has to eat or drink something if he is uncomfortable. I hope he always remembers to not take risks when it comes to this! He has always been super aware of his allergy and knows to ask if things are safe. Most of the time, even if someone tells him it is safe, he will wait and get assurance from myself or my husband before he truly believes it. 

Teaching your child to be aware of their life-threatening allergy is kind of like teaching kids about strangers. You want them to be polite, but also stay far away. You also have to teach them in a way that makes them aware but isn't scary. I've always tried to find an age-appropriate way to talk to Mason about his allergy, and I have to say, after five years it finally feels like it's getting easier! 

I was feeling really good about our experience so far, and after the first two days, I can say that it is definitely looking like it will be a positive experience for us all. I have confidence that my baby boy is safe, and that he is constantly learning to be an advocate for himself. 

While I do miss our early morning drives together (we live a block from the school now), I am loving seeing my little angel-boy blossom during this major transition in our life! 

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