A Simple Plan to Make the Most of Your Pantry

My favorite part of our home is the kitchen - it’s always where the action is – whether I’m making a meal or we’re gathered around the table catching up on the day. As a busy mom-on-the-go, a well-stocked, organized pantry prevents both the hangries and insanity. As a food-allergy mom, having a well-stocked, organized pantry is even more important, because we often don’t have the luxury of a quick takeout meal – most of Vivienne’s food is made at home, from scratch. I’ve spent endless hours in the grocery store finding yummy, safe essentials to keep stocked in our pantry.  

What does a family with food allergies keep on hand? Here’s a snapshot of our home pantry:

 
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A few of our staples and faves:

  • The Neat Egg - An all-natural egg replacement that is derived from chia seeds and garbanzo beans. It’s great to use in place of eggs when baking brownies, cakes, and of course, cookies! We also love to use flax eggs, made with just 2 simple ingredients – warm water and flaxseed – in pancakes and waffles.

  • Banza - Pasta made entirely from chickpeas! These protein-packed, gluten-free noodles come in all different shapes and sizes to fit whatever mood Vivi’s in – we rotate between the shells, spaghetti, and rotini.

  • Coconut Oil - A staple in our household. We typically use unrefined, virgin coconut oil, which can be used in just about anything – Vivi’s favorite use for coconut oil is this yummy, vegan cupcake recipe! #MomHack: a little dab on skin and hair is a great moisturizer!

  • Siete Foods Grain-Free Tortilla Chips - Perfect for when you’re craving a salty treat! They’re also made with avocado oil for a dose of healthy fat.

  • Dandies Marshmallows - A healthier twist on the classic sweet treat. These marshmallows contain no high fructose corn syrup or gelatin! And they’re so delicious paired with our cookies to make better for you s’mores.

  • Partake Foods Cookies - You know you genuinely love your product when you can proudly say they are still a staple in your household after having thousands (literally) of tastings. It makes me proud to have come up with a product that is not only tasty, but safe for nearly everyone to eat. We make sure to keep all the flavors stocked up!

I am always on the lookout for delicious, safe foods to add to our pantry, so let me know your pantry must-haves! Drop us a comment on Instagram or Facebook - would love to chat!

Self-Care Sunday

Moms are always on the go and taking care of everything – some even say moms run the world! I mean, without them, there would be no packed lunches with handwritten notes, no kissed boo-boos, no shoulders to cry on when things get tough, and most importantly - without moms, there would be no cookies! We mamas put everyone else before ourselves and will do anything to make sure our little ones are taken care of, so self-care doesn’t tend to be a term in our vocabulary – unless we are telling someone else to make sure they are taking care of themselves. What most people tend to not realize is that being a mom is stressful, especially in today’s world where there is so much happening so quickly and all at once. Stress and anxiety seem to be at an all-time high. I know I am 100% guilty of this and being a mompreneuer makes it that much more difficult to look after myself.

One of the most anxiety-inducing days of the week tends to be Sunday as the reality of the upcoming week’s to-do’s hit hard and I have a plethora of errands to run… the name “Sunday Scaries” exists for a reason! But being a part of a brand that emphasizes health, I sometimes feel like a hypocrite and that’s when I realize I need to practice what I preach – I can no longer just talk the talk, but also walk the walk. This is why we recently introduced a “Self-Care Sunday” series on Instagram stories that has forced me to carve out some time for pampering myself and make Sunday a little less scary. Initially, Sunday was the only day I dedicated to any self-care, but I’m working hard to incorporate a little self-care into every day. I want to pass on healthy habits to Vivi, so that she knows how important it is to take care of yourself and carve out some “me time”. Below are my favorite self-care activities that all supermoms can find time to do:

Go on a Date... With Yourself

Alone time is rare to come by as a mom, but it’s so important for your sanity! We tend to be so hard on ourselves, but it’s important to treat yourself like how you would treat someone you’re wooing! Go get ice cream, go to the spa, or take a yoga class – whatever it is, get out of the house and do something you enjoy for yourself!

Spend Time With Friends

While alone time is great, it is just as important to spend time with friends -without the kids and not at a PTA meeting! Preferably with a bottle of wine! It’s nice to let loose with your friends, and just laugh. I think laughter is one of the most valuable self-care strategies – and easiest to incorporate!

Exercise

Exercise is one of those things we all love to hate! If I had it my way, carrying groceries all in one trip would be my workout! But as Elle Woods said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” So as moms, and wives, we need exercise - whether it be a walk in the park, or my favorite: a ride on the Peloton!

Unplug

Technology is a double-edged sword. It makes our lives so much easier and allows us all to stay connected to one another, however, it also distracts from the present. Vivi and I are currently doing a 30-day technology timeout where we have to be electronic-free any time we’re together for the next month – more to come on that! I’m not saying you have to completely unplug, but even 20 minutes a day really allows time for the mind to slow down and to focus on the present.

Get Sleep

It is hard to get enough sleep when you’re a mom. It wasn’t until after I became a mother that I truly regretted all the naps I skipped out on as a child! Getting a good night’s sleep helps one feel refreshed, think clearly, and be in a better place mentally throughout the day. Whatever is on the to-do list will still be there tomorrow, so it’s important to get rest before tackling that never-ending list. My trick is to set an alarm to go off an hour before bedtime, so I know when to start wrapping things up.

Drink Water

This seems like the easiest thing to remember to do, but it’s not! When I’m running non-stop, sometimes the whole day will go by without a sip and before I know it, my head is throbbing! Drinking water helps keep you energized, focused, controls cravings, and keeps your skin looking fresh. I’ve been carrying a 32oz reusable water bottle with me everywhere I go and it’s been a game changer!

I hope these tips inspire you to prioritize a little more self-care into your weekly routines! Take care mamas! 

Food Allergies vs. Food Intolerances

Recently, we experienced an encounter at a restaurant where I informed the waitress that Vivi had an allergy to corn & the waitress responded with “Oh, I’m intolerant to gluten. If I have too much, I get a foggy brain.” The protective food allergy mom inside of me wanted to scream & say “NO! If Vivi eats corn, she could end up in the hospital, not with a foggy brain for a few hours!” 

That led me to realize that there is a lot of confusion surrounding food allergies & food intolerances & most people tend to use them interchangeably in today’s world. What is a food allergy? What is a food intolerance? How are they different? Are they life-threatening or not? Here, we breakdown what a food allergy is, what a food intolerance is, & how to navigate in a society that is muddled with both!

What is a Food Allergy?

Allergies to food have often been portrayed in the entertainment industry in comedic light, anyone remember Hitch where Will Smith’s face ballooned after a reaction to seafood & he & Eva Mendes’ character ran to the pharmacy for an antihistamine medication? However, most portrayals of food allergies in movies & pop culture are highly downplayed & are not as easy to fix as a quick run to the local pharmacy- in fact, they are much more serious than that. According to Food Allergy Research & Education, a food allergy is a potentially-life threatening medical condition that affects up to 15 million Americans. Food allergies in children have increased 50% since 1992, and today, 2 children in every U.S. classroom has a food allergy!

A food allergy happens when the body’s immune system misinterprets a seemingly harmless food as an invader & proceeds to release chemicals like histamine in an attempt to fight off the “intruder.” So an allergic reaction is your body trying to save you?!

Food allergic reactions happen quick & within minutes, the victim experiences:

  • hives & itching on the skin and throat
  • swelling of the lips, face, tongue, and throat
  • abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomitting
  • lightheadedness or fainting

In many cases, the reaction can be so severe that the body goes into what is called anaphylaxis. This means that the airways of the throat tighten making it difficult to breath, followed by a drop in blood pressure, & possibly loss of consciousness – scary, right?

The 8 foods below account for about 90% of all food allergies (but I know, firsthand, that it’s quite possible to have allergies to foods outside of these 8): 

  • wheat
  • milk
  • eggs
  • peanuts
  • tree nuts
  • soy
  • fish
  • shellfish

Remember that statistic above? That means that it is very likely that either you will be the parent of a child with a food allergy, or your kiddo will be in the vicinity of a peer that has an allergy. As a parent, you may not even think twice about the cupcakes you bake for a school potluck, or even the lunch you pack for your little one, & how that might get into the hands of someone with an allergy (in severe cases, these symptoms could be caused simply by coming into contact with a surface that the allergen was on!). While there are now treatments known as oral immunotherapy (OIT) that involve multiple weekly doctor visits to inject tiny doses of the allergen until a tolerance is built, the only surefire way to prevent food allergy reactions is to avoid the triggering foods entirely.

What is a Food Intolerance?

A food intolerance, sometimes called a food sensitivity, happens when the GI tract cannot properly digest the food consumed. Symptoms are more delayed as it takes time for the food to reach the GI tract & can last from several hours to several days. Symptoms include:

  • nausea
  • bloating and gas
  • cramping
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • headaches

Common causes of food intolerances are:

  • lactose
  • wheat
  • gluten
  • caffeine
  • additives in artificial sweeteners and colorings

Someone that is lactose intolerant has a food intolerance. They do not possess the enzyme that breaks down lactose & they could experience stomach pain, diarrhea, & gas, after ingesting it. They will not experience the anaphylactic response that someone with a food allergy might experience if they simply came into contact with a surface that had the trigger food on it. If you suspect you or your kiddo has a food intolerance, it is important to keep a food diary to write down foods eaten & when symptoms appear.

Food allergies & food intolerances both cause negative reactions & discomfort & can lead to anxious feelings surrounding food. However, it is important to note that they are two very different things. Food allergies are life-threatening, whereas, people with food intolerances maybe able to tolerate small amounts of triggering food without experiencing any issues.

You may be thinking that if your child has a food allergy, they will be set up for a life of exclusion & ridicule – I know I had that thought when I first found out of Vivi’s food allergies.However, with a little research, it is perfectly safe to assume that people can lead normal lives -with food allergies orfood intolerances.

Whether or not your child has a food allergy, food intolerance, or neither, it is important to note that it is our duty as parents to make schools, daycares, and summer camps safe for everyone. Now, we completely understand that parents have a lot to think about as it is without losing their sanity (or what is left of it), which is why we believe in the importance of finding good, quality products that can be eaten on the go and shared with confidence without having to think twice about the ingredients in them. And that’s why we’ve worked so hard to make Partake Foods the go-to choice for everyone.

Learn More

To read more about food allergies & food intolerances, check out these helpful articles:

SUMMER ESSENTIALS 2018 (for moms by moms)

It's summer, which means the kids are on vacation and us moms have activated survival mode! We love our kids, but it's no walk in the park to keep them entertained for weeks on end! Thankfully, there's a light at the end of the tunnel and tips + treats that help us sail smoothly through the season! We chatted with a few of our favorite HeyMama-prenuers and got the inside scoop on their summer essentials! 

NICOLE'S FAVORITES

Nicole Centeno is the mama behind Splendid Spoon, a wellness meal plan program serving up spoonfuls of healthy, plant based food!

 
 
  • Mom Approved Bikini - Cynthia Rowley's Betty Bikini is my favorite bikini ever - the only suit I've met that can keep up with me and my incredibly rambunctious little boys!

  • Hydrating Body Oils - When you're pretty much living in salty or chlorinated water during the summer, Palermo's luscious body oils are a must for restoring moisture - plus they feel and smell divine. Don't forget to practice self care mamas!

  • Fresh Berries - They seem to grow everywhere! We have found tiny wild strawberries in the Catskill Mountains, blueberries in my mom's garden, and warm sun-ripened raspberries at Brooklyn Bridge Park!

SOPHIE'S FAVORITES

Sophie Jaffe is the mama behind Philosophie, a raw, organic line of superfoods protein blends, coconuts butters, and honeys!

 
 
  • Morning Pick Me Up - Can't survive the long summer days without my morning caffeine fix - I'm normally craving an Iced Dirty Chai or Buttery Matcha Latte!

  • Local Finds - We take a trip to the local farmer's market every week to stock up on fresh veggies, dried fruits, and tamales - so much yum!

  • Me Time - We usually end our days at home cooking as a family, which is pure bliss to me! And if I'm lucky, I sneak in a sweaty evening yoga flow at my local studio

MICHELLE'S FAVORITES

Michelle Muller is the mama behind Little Spoon, a delivery service for homemade, organic baby food for your little ones!

 
 
  • Watermelon Obsessed - It's not summer until I've overdosed on watermelon! You'll find me sipping on Watermelon Mint Agua Fresca all summer long. Just blend 4 cups of watermelon, 1/2 cup cold water, and the juice of 1 lime, then stir in 24 mint leaves and lime slices for the most refreshing drink to beat the heat!

  • Skin Protection - Skin really takes a beating in the summer, so don't skip on quality skincare! Vintner's Daughter botanical serum is absolutely life-changing - random strangers will stop me on the street because my skin literally glows!  And of course, SPF is a must all summer long! 

  • Pop the Rosé - Crisp, clean, and refreshing - the perfect way to end a hot summer day! 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Milkshake (Gluten Free + Vegan)

We may be riding a heat wave, but this treat is chilly with a chance of brain freeze! Natalya Hardan shakin' up the classic cookies and cream shake with a 4-ingredient recipe you won't be able to stop slurping! Some things are worth getting a brain freeze for and this gluten-free, guilt-free cookie milkshake is definitely one of those things!

 
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Chocolate Chip Cookie Milkshake

Yields 2 cups

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 box Partake Foods mini cookies (we recommend Sprouted Grain Chocolate Chip, but any flavor works)

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk

  • 1/4 cup agave

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Add coconut milk, agave, and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl and gently whisk or stir until mixed together.
  2. Pour mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight.
  3. When ready, add the coconut milk ice cubes to a blender and blend until creamy. Stop and scrape down sides as necessary.
  4. Crumble 6-8 cookies - or as many as you want!
  5. Alternate layers of the milkshake and cookies in to a glass. Stir and sip!

The Best S'mores Ever - and it's #glutenfree!

Move over graham crackers, our Carrot Oat cookies are changing the s'mores game! They have all the cinnamon goodness of graham crackers minus the wheat (#glutenfree) and packed with real fruits and veggies! With summer just around the corner, we're keeping our pantry stocked with SpinachDaddy's essentials for the BEST s'mores ever!

 
 

Here's What You Need:

  • Partake Foods - Carrot Oat cookies

  • Dandies - Vegan Vanilla Marshmallows (+ skewers / sticks for roasting)

  • Justin's - Nut Butter Cups (or sub your fav nut-free cups)

Make a campfire, roast marshmallows, stack everything together, and enjoy!

Mini Vegan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

Ice cream is always a good idea and even better sandwiched between our Sprouted Grain Chocolate Chip cookies! Taking ice cream sandwiches to the next level, LunchesAndLittles created a dairy-free vanilla bean ice cream recipe that's super smooth, creamy, and oh so delicious! These allergy-friendly mini treats are sure to be a hit with your littles - perfect for afternoon playdates and summer nights!

 
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Mini Vegan Vanilla Bean Cookie Sandwiches

Yields 7-8 mini sandwiches

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 box Partake Foods - Sprouted Grain Chocolate Chip cookies

  • 1 can unsweetened coconut cream

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk

  • 1/2 cup raw turbinado sugar

  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup 

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1 vanilla bean

  • 1 pinch of Himalayan pink salt

  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm up coconut cream, milk, sugar, syrup, coconut oil, vanilla bean seeds (scraped from pod) and the remaining pod.
  2. Once mixture simmers, remove pot from heat and cover. Allow mixture to steep for about 25 minutes.
  3. Remove vanilla bean pod and scrape out any remaining vanilla beans. Set pod aside or discard. 
  4. Refrigerate milk mixture for 2-3 hours until chilled.
  5. Transfer to prepared ice cream maker. Churn according to the manufacturer's instructions until it's well-churned to the consistency of a soft-serve.
  6. Transfer ice cream mix into a freezer-safe container and smooth the top with the back of a spoon or spatula. Freeze overnight.
  7. Smooth a dollop of ice cream on the back of a mini cookie. Top with another cookie and press firmly together to create a sandwich. Roll sides in vegan chocolate chips if desired!

Vegan Cookie Crust Cheesecake

Who doesn't love cheesecake?! PlantBasedJane whipped up an allergy-friendly, sweet tooth satisfying Vegan Cookie Crust Cheesecake that will indulge any dessert craving. It's the perfect blend of creamy and crispy with a kick of cinnamon from our Carrot Oat mini cookies! It's easy and delicious, so it's the perfect treat to whip up anytime! 

 
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Vegan Cookie Crust Cheesecake

Yields 4 mini pies

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Partake Foods - Carrot Oat cookies

  • 1/4 cup vegan butter

  • 8 oz vegan cream cheese

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup 

  • 1 tbsp agar agar

  • 3 tbsp warm plant milk

  • 4 mini pie tins

Directions:

  1. Use a rolling pin to crush the Carrot Oat cookies in its bag.
  2. Add crumbled cookies to a bowl of 1/4 cup melted vegan butter and mix to combine. Disperse crumbs evenly into the mini pie tins and press down all sides. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Add vegan cream cheese to a bowl and mix in maple syrup and vanilla extract.
  4. Warm the plant milk and slowly mix into agar agar. Add to cream cheese mix and stir. 
  5. Take crusts out of the fridge and evenly distribute the filling. Place in fridge for up to 3 hours.

Enjoy!