Hope's Kitchen

http://www.hopeskitchen.info/

Hope's Kitchen seeks to bring hope back to your kitchen through allergy friendly and gluten free recipes and tips. The author is a mother of 3, and on the journey of living with multiple food allergies and asthma in her family.

Melanie is a winner of Top 25 Food Allergy Moms - 2012

What's your best advice for a mom struggling with cooking for children with food allergies?

Make sure you have a very clear discussion with your allergist about what food is safe. You need to know if it is safe for you to be able to eat food that is made in a facility with your allergens. Your doctor should be able to give you a list of safe foods while you are working on finding new recipes and products. Start with one or two recipes to try each week. Don't give up, keep pressing on. The learning curve can feel long but you will get through it and learn so much along the way.

What's your favorite allergy friendly product?

My favorite allergy friendly product is Enjoy Life's Crunchy Vanilla Honey Graham Cookies! The cookies are delicious. My family also use them for S'mores around the bonfire and for making Graham Cracker Pie Crusts (just decrease the amount of sugar in your recipe).

What's the biggest challenge raising a child with food allergies?

My biggest challenge is planning ahead. With food allergies, I like my daughter to enjoy what everyone else does at parties and holiday dinners. So that involves making her "safe" food to bring along like cupcakes and pizza for birthday parties, rolls, stuffing and pies for Thanksgiving, and so on. I just have to plan ahead and then we are fine. Sometimes, I make extra cupcakes, muffins, cookie dough and keep it in the freezer for when I don't have time.

What's your favorite pie recipe for fall? Please share a link to a photo!

Melanie Pitts

Traditional Apple Pie hands down! My Mother-in-law makes the most amazing apple pies. They are so good that I couldn't order them in restaurants anymore. Nothing ever compared with hers. Since food allergies came into the picture, I adapted her recipe and the result is still amazing. Your family and friends will never taste the difference of this allergy friendly version. It is Gluten, Egg and Nut Free. You could even make it dairy free by omitting the butter.
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Nothing says fall like the flavor of cinnamon! What's one of your favoritie recipes that has cinnamon in it? Please share a link with a photo.

Melanie Pitts

Apple Pie is my favorite! I love it warm and fresh out of the oven with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel drizzled on top. I also love to sneak a bite of leftover Apple Pie the next morning. Apples make a good breakfast, right?!
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Can you recommend a great hot lunchbox meal for kids for the cold weather months? Please include a link to your recipe.

Melanie Pitts

Our family's favorite hot lunchbox meal is Southwestern Rice & Bean Casserole. When I make it for dinner, the next morning it just needs a quick reheat and then put into a thermos for my kid's lunches. They love it with tortilla chips too!
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What are your favorite kid-friendly picnic eats? Please share a link to your recipe and picture if you have one.

Melanie Pitts

My favorite little kid-friendly picnic treat is good ol' fashioned S'mores Bars. These bars are reminiscent of the Golden Graham version I grew up enjoying at picnics and potlucks. The combination of chocolate, marshmallow and crunch are a sure hit with kids (and adults), just watch them disappear!
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What's your family's favorite Mexican or (Mexican-inspired) dish? Please share a link to your recipe!

Melanie Pitts

We LOVE mexican food! My family's favorite is either Southwestern Rice and Bean Casserole served with Chicken Taquitos or Chicken Chilaquiles which are a traditional mexican dish often served for breakfast or brunch. We love them for dinner with some cornbread and chips and salsa. Both are really easy to make and always a hit with guests. They are even gluten free!
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