Mardi Gras 2023 – King Cake Recipe Edition

For my earlier graduate studies, I lived in New Orleans, LA, (NOLA) and attended @Tulane_SPHTM for 15 months to complete my MSPH degree. I enjoyed soaking up the NOLA culture while I was there. It was amazing to me how unique the city of New Orleans is with so much beautiful culture and traditions. I truly enjoyed living there! And currently, I am attending Tulane again for my terminal public health degree in a more virtual learning setting. 
One of the special times I enjoyed while in New Orleans was the Carnival season, which always begins on January 6, and is known as “King’s Day” (Feast of the Epiphany). Carnival season is a time to “eat, drink and be merry” before the fasting and sacrifice during Lent. The Carnival season consists of parades, balls, and other celebrations leading up to Mardi Gras day, aka “Fat Tuesday”. Some people do not know that Mardi Gras is really a Christian holiday and it falls on a different day each year because Easter Sunday is never celebrated on the same Sunday. This year, Mardi Gras Day is on Tuesday, February 21, 2023. Carnival officially ends at midnight on Fat Tuesday and Lent begins. You can read more Mardi Gras and New Orleans history here.
One of my favorite local NOLA sweets during the Carnival season is King Cake. You can pretty much eat King Cake any time, like for breakfast, snack, and/or dessert.
Traditionally, King Cakes are cinnamon-flavored and can be stuffed with cream cheese, more cinnamon, fruit (like strawberry), and/or nuts.

Since I wanted my daughter to enjoy this New Orleans treat, I have adapted an easy and allergy friendly recipe that was included in my grad school’s weekly newsletter. 

Here is my adaptation of the easy, allergy-friend recipe for a Mardi Gras King Cake:

  1. Use 2 cans of cinnamon rolls, unroll the cinnamon rolls, and then twist or braid the strips into a huge bread circle.  Even though there are 3 cans pictured here, I actually used two cans of allergy-friendly and organic cinnamon rolls from @TraderJoes. This is our favorite brand for homemade cinnamon rolls!

 

It seems like a huge mess while getting all the cinnamon rolls strips unraveled and then twisting them all together onto a baking sheet to make a large bread circle! BUT, you will get there eventually!

2. Bake the cinnamon bread circle for the temperature that is printed on the cinnamon roll can for about 15-25 minutes (varies by oven). Make sure the dough is cooked thoroughly and it does not burn on the bottom or top (I tented a piece of foil when I had to put it back in the oven for five more minutes).

3. Take the cinnamon bread circle off the baking sheet and onto the presentation plate. Let the bread cool completely.

4. Using the vanilla icing that came with the cinnamon rolls, pour it over the cinnamon bread.

5. Then, sprinkle and alternate the colored sugars using Mardi Gras colors: purple, green, and yellow/gold. I used these purple, green, and yellow/gold sanding sugar and crystals from Hobbyland (via Amazon). These sugars are made of natural ingredients and are allergy-friendly.

6. Serve immediately or store the King Cake covered for up to 24 hours at room temperature.

Overall, my family enjoyed the allergy friendly King Cake. We actually finished it in two days! And usually each year, my grad school best friend sends my family a King Cake from a local New Orleans bakery. However, this year I told her not to worry about it since I made a King Cake that my daughter can help me make and she can eat safely. I am so happy my daughter was able to enjoy this Mardi Gras tradition and we were able to celebrate the colorful festivities at home! 

“Laissez les bons temps rouler!” (Let the good time roll!)

Little Miss Is 5 years old!

This weekend we celebrated our daughter’s 👋🏼 birthday! And at school, she had a mini bday party during snack time with her PreK friends!
Since we were in CA in the prior week, Little Miss opted to stay home for her birthday over the weekend. We honored her requests for a homemade taco bar for lunch and @make_it_ranis ‘s yummy spaghetti for dinner. I also made her favorite strawberry cupcakes with “cream cheese” frosting. Everything was allergy friendly for her, too! I also bought a vegan chocolate cake with a candle since Little Miss has been asking for a store-bought cake…I want to say that she does not want me to make her a cake, but I really know that she wanted her own store bought birthday cake like her friends get for their bdays. 🥹 I am relieved to know that @rubiconbakers cakes are vegan and safe for Little Miss, so I got the cake from @sprouts 🎂
For Little Miss’ school party, I packed her allergy friendly strawberry cupcake, while I brought mini cupcakes for the class. We also provided organic @sunberryfarms juice boxes and veggie straws from @traderjoes  We packed Minnie Mouse goodie bags for her preK friends, which each bag contained Disney character twist straws, pop-it keychains, bendable straws, and strawberry @madegoodfoods crispy squares. 😋

Check out the reel for this post!
Overall, Little Miss enjoyed all of her birthday celebrations this year! Stay tuned for a reel from her early party at Disneyland last week.
Time is definitely flying and Little Miss is growing up so fast!

Easter Treats

Happy Easter!

This year’s Easter celebration seemed to come fast this year (or we have just been so busy with life). Thankfully when I was doing our weekly grocery run at our local Trader Joe’s yesterday there were plenty of vegan, dairy-free, nuts-free, seafood-free, and egg-free goodies to purchase for my daughter.

For my daughter’s Easter basket, I bought the Oat Chocolate Bars and the Spring Gummies. When I was at the Trader Joe’s checkout, the cashier asked me if I ever had the Spring Gummies because they were her favorite and reminded her of the Mott’s flavored fruit gummies. I replied that I have not had these Trader joe’s gummies, but my daughter enjoys the Mott’s gummies so I was happy that she will like these too. Also, my daughter rotates her plant-based milks with oat milk, so I was excited when I saw these oat chocolate bars!

Here are the ingredients for the Spring Gummies and Oat Chocolate bars:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, this year’s Easter basket was a hit with the allergy-friendly treats! I also added a kid-friendly, non-toxic Disney Princess nail polishes set…..I cannot believe how my 4 year old princess is growing up so fast!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Valentine’s Day treats

Who else spent some of their weekend doing Valentine’s Day preparation for the Monday holiday? 

For Little Miss’ classmate, we put the yummy @YumEarth organic Vitamin C pops in super cute @Disney Valentine’s Day cards.

Then, we constructed her Valentines box, repurposing my husband’s Nike sneaker box and cutting out different sizes of heart to place on the box with heart stickers.

On Sunday, we baked delicious heart-shaped sugar cookies by @SweetLorens and topped them with my daughter’s favorite @RealDuncanHines cream cheese frosting  (It’s dairy-free, vegan, and allergy-friendly) and red sugar sprinkles.

Overall, it was a very productive weekend in preparation for Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! <3

I won! YumEarth x Abe’s Giveaway

Last month I entered the YumEarth x Abe’s Giveaway on the @YumEarth and @abesmuffins Instagram pages.

When I received a DM a few days later following my entry, I was so excited to learn that I won! @YumEarth and @abesmuffins are a few of my favorite vegan and allergy-friendly companies. I absolutely love their products and share them with my daughter who enjoys the muffins, new brownies, lollipops, and Giggles.

The giveaway package arrived right before Christmas; however, I physically received them early in the New Year since we were traveling for the Christmas and New Year holidays

. The two boxes were full of yummy goodies:


It was a lot more of goodies I expected in the giveaway, so a BIG THANK YOU to YumEarth and Abe’s Muffins. My daughter and I are enjoying all the goodies!

 

 

 

Yummy Christmas Candy

What is your favorite Christmas candy?

Mine is the classic candy cane. And when I found these @YumEarth candy canes, I was so excited to share my favorite holiday candy with my daughter.

She is still getting used to hard candy, but I do not have to worry about any food allergy reactions with these candy canes.

Have you tried the YumEarth candy canes?

Halloween Goodies 2021

   It’s almost Halloween and we are ready with the allergy-friendly candy: @YumEarth lollipops and candy corn & @EnjoyLifeFoods  assorted chocolate!

The Halloween @YumEarth lollipops will be distributed to my daughter’s PreK class for their “Fall Party”. And, I am so excited about the candy corns since they usually have egg whites, but now these allergy-friendly ones do not! Candy corns are my favorite Halloween candies, so now I can share them with my daughter! I bought these @YumEarth goodies from Whole Foods. Make sure to scan your QR code if you are shopping there in person and a Prime member!

I also ordered these @EnjoyLifeFoods assorted chocolates from Amazon! Mine and my daughter’s fave is the Rice Milk Crunch bar! 

What goodies will you be passing out this Halloween?

Oat Frozen Dessert

Another product I was excited to see at our local Whole Foods Market is Oatly frozen dessert.

I selected the strawberry flavor since my daughter enjoys eating fresh strawberries.

She liked it!

Even more with an allergy-friendly cone!

I tried the “ice cream” too and it was creamy and full of strawberry flavor! I usually buy the chocolate coconut ice cream and mango sorbet, both from Trader Joe’s. But I will definitely buy this oatmilk ice cream too!

Have you tried this oatmilk frozen dessert?