Category Archives: Chex

In My Pantry… what the bleep CAN your kid eat?!

The following is a list of Top-8 and Gluten Free foods that we keep at our house. Please be sure to always read the ingredients before feeding these foods to your child. Some of the foods listed below may have soy oil/lecithin in them.*

Bars:

  • glutino-gluten-free-breakfast-126176Glutino makes several “Nutragrain”- type beakfast bars that my boys love – a little too much. They will eat an entire box in one sitting if I let them, and they are kind of pricey; however, they are great if you are on the road and need an easy or quick breakfast.
  • Enjoy Life has several bars that are all Top-8 and Gluten Free. I love everything I have ever had from Enjoy Life – except for their bars. They are very heavy and dense. I hate saying that because I LOVE the products made by this company.
  • Peso BarsNature’s Path Enviro Kids has a few bars that are Top 8 and Gluten free. I think they are good, but Z hates them. When I bring home the ones with the penguin on the front, he screams, “Peso bars?! I hate Peso bars!” which is a reference to the Penguin in Octonauts). If it’s any consolation, Manimal thinks they rock. But, Manimal will eat anything. He ate a vintage Barbie shoe just this evening. No, in all seriousness, they taste like fruity rice crispy treats and aren’t that bad…

Bread:

  • All of Ener-G breads should be safe, but are like eating cardboard. If you can tolerate eggs, I would recommend Udi’s and Rudi’s Gluten-free breads.

Butter Replacement:

  • When baking, use spectrum shortening or coconut oil (you should be able to use it just as you would butter).
  • To flavor things like potatoes or popcorn, simply use canola oil and salt. It tastes VERY similar to butter. In fact, I am often so lazy, I don’t even waste time getting butter out of the fridge, I just use canola oil – I don’t have to wait for it to melt.

Candy

There are several Top-8 free candy’s on the market (the below list is not comprehensive. Feel free to add any that you may know of in the comments below). Unfortunately, most of them are chocked full of food colorings (namely red food dye).

  • Peeps (most of them are top-8 and GF)
  • Smarties products, including candy necklaces
  • Star burst Original Fruit chews
  • Starburst jelly beans, GummiBurst
  • Mike and Ikes
  • Hot Tomales
  • Swedish fish – Red, Assorted and Aqua life
  • Life Savers hard and soft candies
  • Sweet tarts
  • Heide Gummi Bears and several other Hiede products
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Dum Dums Spangler Candy Co. said the following about Dum Dum Lolli pops: There is a trace amount of soy oil in the lubricant that we use in our cooking kettles. This soy oil has been refined, bleached, and deodorized and all of the proteins have been removed.

Cereal:

  • Chex (all the GF versions of Chex are safe for my kids). The Hy-Vee and ALDI knock-offs are also safe, but the Walmart brand “may contain gluten” so avoid it.
  • Kix Cereal. My kids go crazy when they eat the Berry ones because of the food coloring.
  • Trix Cereal: We use caution with this cereal. This is the most tantrum-triggering food I have found for my boys (other than gluten). On the rare occation we buy this ceareal, it is only as a small treat right before bed.
  • Cereal Gorilla munchNatures Path Enviro Kids Cereals – Many cereals of this brand are gluten and top-8 free, and my kids really like them. Unfortunately, they are sort of pricey, so we only buy them when they are on sale.

 

Chips/Crunchy Snacks:

  • Freetos (we also buy the ALDI brand for $.99 per bag, but they have soy lecithin. Soy lecithin doesn’t seem to bother my boys anymore). I believe the flavored Freetos are not Top-8 free, so read the ingredients!
  • Corn Tortilla Chips: Most corn chips are safe, but always read the ingredients. Sometimes they squeeze things like soy or oats in them. In fact, some of ALDI’s corn chips say “naturally gluten free” but have oats in them. I doubt these chips are made with specially-grown oats, so I have never given them to my boys.
  • Pretzels: Glutino and Snyders of Hanover (both contain soy oil/lecithin). Glutino’s pretzels glutinoare the best hard pretzels in my opinion, even over gluten ones, which makes sense since they are around $8 a bag!!! Energ-G makes some as well, but these are for highly allergic people and thus have very little flavor.
  • Popcorn: unfortunately, I don’t know of any microwave popcorn that is dairy-free. When my boys want popcorn I make it on the stove top (an air popper would work too) in canola or corn oil. Instead of using butter, drizzle canola over it before salting. I can barely taste a difference between that and buttered popcorn. Sooo good.
  • Kettle corn – several bagged kettle corns are safe. Orville Redenbacher makes a really good one that my kids plow through.Kettle corn
  • Potato Chips – Most potato chips should be safe; however, beware of Pringles, which has gluten. Original Stax are safe for my kids but contain soy oil.

Convenience Main dishes:

  • Hot Dogs – many hot dog brands are gluten and top-8 free. Oscar Meyer even makes ones that are nitrate free, so if you or little ones can’t have nitrates, these are a great solution.
  • Ian’s chicken nuggets – These are really tasty!ians chick nug
  • Mission corn tortillas and tostadas are also top-8 and Gluten Free. We also buy the ALDI tostadas, but they have soy oil/lecithin.

Cookies:

  • We trust anything by Enjoy Life. My favorite are the crispy cookies, but the hubs prefers the soft-baked cookies. They are all pretty good (except their bars – avoid their bars).
  • Hodgson Mills has a great mix, but other companies make them too. See my recipes for egg and butter replacers.

Egg Replacer:

  • Make your own egg replacer by mixing a tablespoon of ground/milled flax seed and 2 table spoons of water (stir them together and let them sit for several minutes until they are goopy like an egg-Do you like my scientific lingo?).
  • Ener-G makes an egg -replacer you can buy at any health food store.

Frozen Treats

  • Most popsicles are gluten and top-8 free – yay!
    Sorbet is a great replacement for ice cream. Don’t confuse it with Sherbet, which has dairy.
  • Coconut Ice Cream – I’ve never tried it, but I hear it really good.

Fruit Snacks:

  • Many fruit snacks and candies made by Betty Crocker (a General Mills company) are gluten and top-8 free, and are safe for my boys; however, they go nutso when they eat certain food colorings (i.e. they have trouble falling asleep and they throw lots-o-tantrums).
  • fruit snacksLunch Buddies All Natural Assorted Fruit Snacks (ALDI)– These are soooo good, and they are made with fruit juices and natural vegetable dyes (like red cabbage), so you are not dealing with crazy children when the food coloring hits their systems. I think they taste better because they don’t taste artificial like other fruit snacks. We buy these by the truckload!

 

Milk

  • Rice Dream – I have not found any other rice milk brands out there that are soy free. I am sure some exist, so if you know of any, please feel free to post comments! The people who run Rice Dream are great, and if you write them telling them how much you appreciate their product they will send you kick-butt coupons to use on their products.
  • Almond milk – I know almonds are a top-8 allergen, but if you can tolerate tree nuts, almond milk is better tasting in my opinion than rice milk, and it tastes more like cows milk. It also makes me feel more full than cows milk or rice milk. I often find it cheaper than Rice Dream if I use coupons or buy it at ALDI. Unlike rice milk, every almond milk I have found is free of soy and other top allergens. But please, always read the label!

Pancakes/Waffles:

  • Be sure to check out my egg replacer/butter replacers when making mixes!
  • Hodson Mills makes a really good pancake mix I buy at Walmart for about $3.50 a box
  • Bob’s Red Mill has a good pancake mix; although it’s good, I still perfer the flavor and texture of the Hodson Mills mix better.

Peanut Butter Replacement:

Sunflower Seed Butter is the BEST replacement for peanut butter around. It is very similar in flavor and texture to peanut butter. In fact, when it’s in a “PB&J,” I forget I am not eating peanut butter.

  • Trader Joe’s Sunflower Seed butter is soy-free and costs around $5.
  • Sunbutter makes some, but it has soy oil in it. You can find it at Target (and probably Walmart) for around $6.50).

*some of these foods may have soy lecithin/oil, so always read the ingredients! Usually, soy oil/lecithin is refined and the proteins are removed. Because of this, it is usually not an issue for those who are intolerant/allergic to soy. However, my boys could not handle any soy oil until they were about a year and a half or older.

Puppy Snack – Puppy Chow minus the dairy and soy

As a child, I loved it when kids would bring Puppy Chow to school for our Holiday Parties (The original Puppy chow is made with chocolate chips and peanut butter melted over Chex and covered in powdered sugar).

A few weeks ago I made Puppy Chow for myself, and I was trying to figure out ways to make it without chocolate chips and peanut butter (you can buy allergy-friendly chocolate chips, but I have never introduced them to Little Z, and probably won’t until he is a bit older). This is what I came up with. It is easier to make than regular Puppy Chow; Although it is not quite as delicious as the original, it is a nice second, and Little Z loved it. He scarfed it down, getting powdered sugar and cocoa powder all over himself in the process.

I don’t really provide great measurements because I just “eye ball” it.

Ingredients:

Rice or Corn Chex Cereal

Canola Oil (a few Tbl Sp – just enough to lightly coat the cereal when drizzled over it)

cocoa powder

powdered sugar (contains corn; see here for a corn-free recipe)

Directions:

With a spoon, drizzle canola over the cereal, while mixing to lightly coat all the cereal. Once cereal is coated, sprinkle cocoa powder over the cereal using a sifter. Once the cereal is coated with the cocoa powder, sift powdered sugar over the cereal and mix until coated. Seal in an airtight container.

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Rice Crunchy Treats

If you have been following my blog, you know that I wondered if my son was intolerant to corn. I recently re-introduced corn into his diet, and he seems to be tolerating it well. This is wonderful, because it opens up so many new opportunities for meals and snacks since corn and corn derivatives are in just about everything (including most brands of marshmallows).

Rice Crunchy Treats are simply a new version of Rice Crispy Treats, and in my opinion, are easier to make than the original version because you don’t have to waste your time melting butter. When I was breast feeding (and before I knew my son had gluten issues) I made these with Rice Crispies, and even though the oil element in this recipe is canola oil, everyone who has eaten them says they cannot tell they are made without butter. Since finding out Little Z is intolerant to gluten, I make them with Rice Chex. I can’t really taste a difference between the original loved standard, except for an almost imperceptible texture difference due to the difference between Rice Crispies and Rice Chex. I have been using the Walmart brand of Marshmallows because it says on the package “naturally gluten free.”

Ingredients:

¼ cup canola oil

10½ oz safe marshmallows (about 36 large marshmallows)

7 to 8½ cups Rice Chex Cereal (depending on how gooey you want your treats)

Directions:

In a large pot, combine oil and marshmallows and turn the heat setting to medium-high. Stir with a wooden spoon continuously until the marshmallows are melted. Add the Rice Chex Cereal and stir until well mixed and thoroughly coated with marshmallow. Place in a greased 11×13 pan and press and smooth out bars with a plastic zipper bag on your hand. Let cool and cut. Makes about 24 bars.

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Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders – 3 ways

I am getting sick of eating the same old boring chicken, so I decided to jazz it up a bit by making honey mustard chicken tenders. I made them three different ways, and all tasted delicious. The Chex tenders had the best crunch, but my husband and I both agree that the best tasting were the honey mustard tenders.

Ingredients:
½ cup honey
¼ cup yellow mustard (if you have a corn allergy, beware that mustard has vinegar, which is often made from corn)
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Canola oil
salt to taste (use less if doing the potato chip tenders)
crushed safe potato chips (around 3-5 cups)
crushed Chex (around 3-5 cups)
Preparation: Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Mix honey, mustard, salt, black and crushed peppers and blend until smooth to make marinade.
Cut chicken breasts into tender-sized pieces and place in a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over it, mixing it to make sure all tenders are well covered. Cover and refrigerate 15-30 minutes.
Coat the bottom of a large casserole dish with Canola oil and put marinaded chicken tenders inside.
Drizzle with Canola oil and sprinkle with salt. Cover and bake 20 – 30 minutes. Uncover for the last 5-10 minutes until chicken is golden.
Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Preparation: Crunchy Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix honey, mustard, salt, black and crushed peppers and blend until smooth to make marinade.
Cut chicken breasts into tender-sized pieces and place in a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over them, mixing it to make sure tenders are well covered. Cover and refrigerate 15-30 minutes.
Cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil and grease with Canola oil.

Crush potato chips/gluten-free Chex in large bowl and coat chicken tenders in the crushed chips/Chex. Place on cookie sheets and bake uncovered for 15-25 minutes. After 10 to 15 minutes, check to make sure the chicken is not getting too brown. If they are, reduce the temperature to 400. Bake until tenders are golden and cooked through.

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