Sexy Vegan Mama

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Egg-free, dairy-free, almost completely free of Red Dye... These easy, vegan recipes will help you find your groove for Meatless Mondays -- and beyond!

Christina-Marie 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?

I want moms to know that cooking "without" can be as delicious and kid-pleasing as cooking "with." No matter the ingredient, there is almost always a way around its inclusion -- or a specialty product somewhere that's a viable substitute. My two youngest, Curlytop and Snugglebug, are both allergic to Red Dye, and I'm allergic to seafood, dairy and eggs. We've had great success with using natural food dyes and cooking within a vegan diet, which omits the seafood, dairy and eggs. Still, guests to our table will tell you they never knew what was missing!

What's your favorite allergy friendly product?

For food coloring and decorating without dyes that are dangerous for my kiddos, I use India Tree's Nature's Colors food colors and Nature's Colors decorating sugars, which are all dyed with plant-derived colorants. Find the details, and locate a distributor, at http://www.indiatree.com.

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

Holidays at school are definitely tough for my Red Dye-allergic kids. It seems every holiday comes with its own variation of "red." There's Halloween, with all its oranges and random candy and sweets galore; Christmas, filled with candy canes; Valentine's Day and all the pink and red a kid can stand... Even the pastel pinks and lavenders of Easter aren't safe for my little ones. I make sure our classroom teachers have a big Ziploc bag full of alternative treats my kids can "trade" their Red Dye-tainted goodies for, and refill as necessary.

Even the most well-meaning teachers and fellow parents rarely realize many store-bought "white" frostings in a can contain Red Dye (to make it a "warm white," as opposed to a "stark white"), so our rule on classroom treats is "Only those we provide can be guaranteed safe."

What are some fun alternatives to candy for passing out on Halloween? Please provide a short description and a link to an image or recipe.

Sexy Vegan Mama

I'm a big fan of grabbing multi-packs of toothbrushes at the dollar store, where I often find them eight-for-a-dollar, and stuffing goody bags with a toothbrush and stickers or other inexpensive party favors like spider rings. Also, I give mad props to parents who choose not to give out candy. With two little ones allergic to Red Dye, those non-candy items are a treasure because they don't have to be culled!
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What's your favorite pie recipe for fall? Please share a link to a photo!

Sexy Vegan Mama

My all-time favorite fall pie is a pecan pie! We have food allergies in our house, so I crafted this dairy-free, egg-free version, which is absolutely as delicious as the "original," but completely free of cholesterol, so it's healthier, as an added bonus.
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What's a healthy lunchbox menu your child loves?

Sexy Vegan Mama

My girls love sandwiches cut into shapes, nuts and seeds mixed with raisins (for the one who can have raisins) and dairy-free chocolate chips, fresh baby carrots or peas, and just about any kind of fruit. Making their lunchbox look fun has been a key in getting them to enjoy the nutrition packed inside it. In the post I'm linking, I made a very simple, but cute, bento box for my 6yo and 7yo, and they both came home saying how awesome their lunch was, and asking for the same thing all week!
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What's your favorite muffin, scone, or bread recipe? Please share a link to the recipe and a photo if you have one.

Sexy Vegan Mama

While muffins and scones are delightful, my kids think nothing in the world is better than fresh-baked bread, and with the allergies in our house, I find myself baking bread frequently. One request I get time and again is, "Mom, make that tomato bread!" The recipe is one I developed with tomatoes, sesame seeds and pepper, making it a savory addition to the dinner table, and perfect for sandwiches piled high with fresh veggies and avocado. We typically enjoy dinner rolls created from this easy recipe.
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Do you have a meatloaf recipe (or, for vegetarians, something similar that's meat-free) your family loves? Please share a picture and a link.

Sexy Vegan Mama

My Oat-Seed-Vegetable Loaf is delicious, and packed with protein, vitamins and minerals! The kids love it, and the recipe can be shaped into burgers for frying or grilling, as well.
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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.

Sexy Vegan Mama

My family loves my Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting! They're dairy-free, egg-free, dye-free and cholesterol-free, but FULL of flavor!
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What's a great recipe that uses cranberries?

Sexy Vegan Mama

I can't resist a delicious cake, so I crafted this spice cake, which uses cranberries instead of raisins. It's perfectly sweet, with the cranberries serving to keep it from being TOO sweet. This cake needs no frosting, but may be topped with powdered sugar or a simple glaze, if desired.
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What's your family's favorite way to eat cranberries? Please share a link to your recipe!

Sexy Vegan Mama

We love this spice cake, created with cranberries instead of raisins! The gentle tartness of the cranberries compliments the sweet, spiced cake perfectly.
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What's your family's favorite Thanksgiving treat? Please link to your recipe.

Sexy Vegan Mama

Our family -- a mixed troupe of vegans, vegetarians and different stages of omnivores -- looks forward to traditional side dishes with a twist, no matter what the main course of choice may be. We love these Roasted Garlic and Basil Mashed Yams... oven-roasting the garlic makes all the difference! http://www.sexyveganmama.com/2010/11/it-vegan-thanksgiving-sexy-mama-recipe_1600.html We also love our family's recipe for Apple Almond Stuffing (or Dressing). The apples add a tangy sweetness, and the almonds provide not only protein, but a fantastic crunch and nutty flavor. http://www.sexyveganmama.com/2010/11/it-vegan-thanksgiving-sexy-mama-recipe_22.html
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What's a delicious meal you can serve to your family when you're trying to lose weight?

Sexy Vegan Mama

This is an awesome, low-fat meal, packed with tons of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and potassium. The sweet flavor of the mango, carrot and banana help to curb sugar cravings, as well!
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Please share a favorite recipes for a yummy smoothie your kids love and may not realize is good for them.

Sexy Vegan Mama

I get even sneakier with mine... Instead of making smoothies, I make smoothie popsicles! These contain carrots, bananas, apples and vegan yogurt. The kids love them!
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What's your go-to family meal made entirely with pantry staples? Please share a link to the recipe and photo if you have one.

Sexy Vegan Mama

I love making this "Cheesy" Chili Pasta Casserole for my kiddos! It's super-simple, and even simpler when you use canned chili. My recipe is vegan, and can be modified to suit omnivores, as well.
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What's your family's favorite, healthy homemade summer treat that's NOT a popsicle? Please share a link to a recipe and picture if you have one.

Sexy Vegan Mama

This Pineapple Creamsicle Vegan Sherbet is a sure-fire hit! It's the perfect blend of creamy and sweet, and so easy to create!
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