DIY Allergy-Friendly Gingerbread House

The holiday season isn't complete without building your own gingerbread house masterpiece! So we created our own and of course, it's allergy-friendly! The best part about gingerbread decorating is snacking on all the delicious goodies, so we put together this cookie house using our Carrot Oat cookies and a few of our favorite allergy-friendly products (all available on Amazon Prime). Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, and WORRY-FREE for some safe and sweet holiday fun everyone can partake in!

 
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DIY Holiday Cookie House

Yields one house

Materials:

 
 

Directions:

  1. Use a frosting spatula or knife to spread a thin layer of sunflower seed butter on all sides of the house-shaped tissue box cover, including the roof and chimney. It might be easier to work on one side at a time.
  2. Line cookies from the bottom up, leaving no gaps and trimming cookies as needed to fit along the side and top edges. A sharp knife works best for cutting the cookies, or you can bite them to desired size - yum!
  3. Break (or bite!) pretzels to fit the chimney sides, and line them vertically.
  4. Line pretzels along the top pointed part of the roof until it touches the chimney - about 5 pretzels on each side.
  5. Add sunflower seed butter to the edges of the cookies along the roof. Cover the remainder of the roof, lining these pretzels perpendicular to the pretzels in step 4 and letting them hang off the sides of the house.
  6. Decorate! Feel free to create your own work of art or recreate our decor following the steps below.
  7. To make the door and windows, add white frosting to a piping bag with frosting tip attached and spread on house where desired. You can use a frosting spatula or knife to smooth out. Use another piping bag with frosting tip attached to pipe lines on the windows using the green pumpkin seed butter. Frame door and windows with pretzels.
  8. To add colorful decor, use seed butter to stick on candies and fresh herbs. We used thyme to line the roof and placed rosemary upside down to make trees!
  9. Lastly, make it snow with maple kettle corn! Just pulse it a few times in a food processor to make finer crumbs and spread around the house.

HAVE FUN, AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

5 Wellness Influencers on Their Favorite Fall Snacks

 

Getting bored of your go-to fall treats like pumpkin pie and warm apple cider? Don't worry, we got you covered! We talked to 5 wellness influencers to find out what their favorite fall snacks are. Check them out below for some healthy takes on seasonal favorites!

 

1. Veggie Kins

 

Fall Inspired Cookie Lasagna

It's the most wonderful time of the year, which means sweet treats are plentiful and irresistible! Just because we're living with food allergies, doesn't mean we can't partake in scrumptious desserts - it just takes a little bit of creativity. 

We're currently swooning over this HealthyLittleVittles Cookie Lasagna beautifully layered with a Sweet Potato Millet cookie crust, chocolate sweet potato pudding, pumpkin spice tahini caramel, and topped with fluffy coco whip - are you drooling yet?! And yes, it's completely gluten free and vegan! It's also super simple (no baking required), so whip up one for that upcoming holiday party or make it for yourself because you deserve to treat yourself and enjoy a little indulgence!

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Fall-Inspired Cookie Lasagna

Yields one 6-cup rectangular baking dish

Ingredients:

  • 2 boxes of Partake Foods - Sweet Potato Millet Cookies

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil / vegan butter (for crust) + 1 tbsp (for pudding) + 1/4 cup (for caramel)

  • 2 small sweet potatoes

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or other alternative milk)

  • 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (for pudding) + 1/2 cup (for caramel) 

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 cup tahini

  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 tub coconut whipped topping

Directions:

FOR THE CRUST:

  1. Blend cookies to make crumbs.
  2. Place cookie crumbs in medium bowl. Add melted coconut oil or vegan butter. Mix until well combined.
  3. Line an 8x6x2in baking dish with parchment paper. Press half of the crust mixture into the bottom and save the other half for another layer.

FOR THE CHOCOLATE SWEET POTATO PUDDING:

  1. Microwave sweet potatoes for 5 minutes. Turn sweet potatoes over and microwave for an additional 5 minutes. 
  2. Remove sweet potatoes from the microwave and let cool.
  3. When completely cool, peel off the skin and cut into rough chunks.
  4. Blend sweet potato chunks, milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut oil and salt until smooth.

FOR THE PUMPKIN SPICE TAHINI CARAMEL:

  1. In a small saucepan, melt tahini, maple syrup, coconut oil, and pumpkin pie spice over medium heat and whisk constantly.
  2. As the mixture heats up, it will thicken up. Heat until consistency resembles caramel.

TO LAYER THE LASAGNA:

  1. Spread half of the chocolate sweet potato pudding over cookie crust.
  2. Use half of the whipped topping for the next layer.
  3. Add a layer of pumpkin spice tahini caramel.
  4. Use the remaining cookie crust to create another layer.
  5. Create additional layers with the rest of the pudding, caramel, and whip.
  6. Place in freezer for at least a couple hours to set. 
  7. Let frozen lasagna thaw for 5-10 minutes before serving, then dig in!
 
 

Connecting the Dots with Food Certifications

Once we'd decided on a name and formulated our first products, I thought things would be easier from there, but boy, was I wrong. Slowly but surely, we were connecting the dots and building Partake day by day, but it was definitely a road filled with curves, speed bumps, and even some mountains that seemed insurmountable.  

One of the speed bumps we hit along the way was obtaining various 3rd party certifications. As an allergy-friendly product, it was a non-negotiable for me that we "made it official" through Gluten-Free and Vegan certifications.  In addition, I wanted to demonstrate our commitment to quality ingredients through Non GMO Project Verification.  

A task as simple as grocery shopping can be made so much more confusing when trying to decipher all of the claims and certifications out there. We wanted to share a bit more on the certifications that our products have:

  • Certified Gluten-Free - Our products are certified through the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), the largest and most-recognized gluten-free certification organization in the country. The FDA requires that foods labeled gluten-free have a gluten limit of less than 20 parts per million (ppm). We take this a step further by conducting gluten testing on our finished products at the 10ppm level.
  • Certified Vegan - The Vegan Awareness Foundation administers the Certified Vegan label, which certifies that products do not contain animal products or byproducts - and for our products, this means no dairy or eggs - or even honey.
  • Non GMO Project Verified - Non-GMO Project certification tells you that a product was made without genetically engineered ingredients. Non-GMO Project Verified products go through extensive vetting to ensure that no GMOs are included in the ingredients (or sub-ingredients) of certified products.
  • Orthodox Union Kosher - Kosher is defined by the Jewish dietary laws, and basic rules include not mixing any dairy and meat products, only consuming properly processed meat, and not consuming shellfish. For our products, this means they contain neither dairy nor meat, nor any dairy or meat derivatives. It also verifies that the product was not made on equipment that is also used for making dairy products. 

There's certainly other certifications that exist - such as USDA Organic and Fair Trade. We currently use several USDA Certified organic ingredients, such as organic cane sugar, organic sprouted buckwheat flour, and organic veggies in our products and we are committed to continuing to grow the number of organic ingredients we use in our products. 

Outside of certifications pertaining to ingredients, Partake Foods is also a Certified B Corp (Pending), which asserts our commitment to being a socially responsible company. Obtaining these certifications was no easy feat, but it is at the core of our brand to be fully transparent about our ingredients and practices, and create a truly safe snack line for all to enjoy!

 

Sweet Potato Cookie Pie (Top 8 Free)

Break out the mixing bowls, and dust off the pie dish! Holiday baking season is here in full force, and we know all too well the struggle of finding desserts that accommodate food allergies, while appealing to everyone’s tastes. So we whipped up this gluten-free and vegan sweet potato pie using our Sweet Potato Millet cookies in the crust - it has all the warm flavors of fall without sacrificing taste or safety. We hope you love it as much as we do!

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Sweet Potato Cookie Pie Recipe

Yields one 9-inch pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of Partake Foods - Sweet Potato Millet Cookies

  • 1/4 cup sugar (we recommend coconut or brown)

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or vegan butter

  • 2 cups of sweet potato puree

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (or other alternative milk)

  • 2 tbsp oil of choice

  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

  • 1 1/2 tbsp oat flour (you can blend your own rolled oats)

  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground flaxseed

  • 1/4 cup sugar (we recommend coconut or brown)

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

  • 1/8 tsp salt

 
 

Directions:

FOR THE CRUST:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Pour cookies into a zip-loc bag and crush with wooden spoon or rolling pin to make fine crumbs.
  3. Place cookie crumbs in large bowl. Add sugar and coconut oil. Stir well to combine.
  4. Pour crust mixture into pie pan and pat down bottom and sides to form crust. 
  5. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

FOR THE FILLING:

  1. In a large bowl, add sweet potato puree, coconut milk, oil, maple syrup, oat flour, ground flaxseed, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir mixture until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into cookie pie crust.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes on center rack. After 30 minutes, turn off heat and leave pie to rest in oven.
  4. Let cool for 2 hours (or refrigerate for firmer texture), then serve and enjoy! 

DIY Edible Fall Spice Paints

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We're always on the look out for fun indoor activities and these edible spice paints were perfect for some festive seasonal fun! We loved that it was super easy to prepare and most importantly, allergy friendly and toxin free (unlike traditional paints), so we didn't have to worry about our little one sneaking a taste. Vivi had a blast stamping with apples and making hand prints, creating some awesome autumn masterpieces for our refrigerator! 

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Fall Spice Paints Recipe

Yields 4 half cups of paint

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp sugar

  • 1/3 cup gluten free flour (regular flour works as well)

  • 2 cups water

  • 1/2 tsp of each Fall spice (ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, and nutmeg)

  • Food Coloring (red, yellow, green)

  • 4 ramekins or small cups

Directions:

  1. Add sugar and flour into small saucepan.
  2. Add water and stir together until smooth. Turn on the heat to medium and continue stirring until mixture thickens.
  3. Distribute mixture into cups.
  4. Add spices and food coloring (about 20 drops each) to create paint colors.
    • For yellow paint, mix ginger and yellow food coloring. 
    • For red paint, mix cinnamon and red food coloring.
    • For orange paint, mix turmeric and a couple drops of red.
    • For brown paint, mix nutmeg, red, yellow, and a couple drops of green.
  5. Let paints cool completely before letting your little ones dip their fingers in!

3 Things I Learned as a Food Allergy Mom

They always say you’re never fully prepared to be a mom. Even after religiously reading every possible book, taking prenatal classes, and scouring all of Google - you still won’t know it all! Throw in food allergies and it’s a whole 'nother ball game. But despite the tough challenges, there has definitely been glimpses of light, and along the way I’ve learned a few a delightful things.

They Can be a Blessing in Disguise

I'd always thought of myself as fairly healthy, but since Vivienne's food allergy diagnoses, I am forced to read every single label of every single product she eats, and because of that, I've learned that many of the "clean-label", "healthy" snacks I previously enjoyed contain lots of hard to pronounce ingredients and aren't as healthy as I'd previously thought. Because Vivienne cannot eat wheat or eggs, our meals typically consist of a lean protein/seafood, fruits/vegetables, and quinoa/brown rice. 

In addition, we've become a lot more aware of how our bodies feel when we are eating simple, whole foods - to the point that my husband realized some of his lifelong GI issues weren't "normal" and has been since diagnosed with Crohn's. While we weren't happy to hear that news, I think it's so much better that we found out early and can be proactive in making sure he follows a low-residue, anti-inflammatory diet.  We've discovered so many delicious, allergy-friendly alternatives that are tasty, safe for Vivienne, and healthier alternatives to our classic favorites.

They Turn You (& Your Child) Into an Advocate

Before Vivienne, I was always the person who didn't want to rock the boat and said yes, even if I didn't want to. But since her food allergy diagnoses, I've become an advocate for her, which in turn, has made me much better about taking a stand for myself. When your child's life is potentially at stake, you stop worrying about being a bother and make sure your voice is heard.

In turn, I think Vivienne is also learning to advocate for herself. Even at 2 1/2, she clearly tells adults, "No, I'm allergic to that and I can't eat it", which I'm hoping will translate to her standing up for herself in other facets of her life. 

Most People Really Are Compassionate

Prior to personally having to deal with food allergies in our family, I didn't think much about food allergies, so I wasn't always conscious about where I ate certain foods - i.e. I would eat peanuts in the airport and not think twice about it. I meant no harm, but I was just oblivious to how many people were affected by food allergies and how severe they could be.  But I've found that when I'm vocal about Vivienne's allergies, people are willing to make a quick accommodation to make situations safe for her. We've found this on planes, at school, and in social settings, like birthday parties. 

It can be quite confusing and difficult as a food allergy mom, but it's comforting to know that there is a bigger support group than we think. We just need to speak a little louder and show those outside of our community the positives of food allergies, like improving overall health, because it's not all negative. 

-Denise

Vegan Pumpkin Butter Dip

This vegan pumpkin butter dip by Lindsey Lee is the perfect fall accompaniment to our cookies! It's simple to prepare, yet finger-licking good and makes the perfect back to school snack or afternoon treat! 

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Pumpkin Butter Dip Recipe

Yields 3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

  • 1/2 cup vegan coconut whip (So Delicious CoCo Whip recommended)

  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp all spice

Directions:

  • Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Once smooth, it's ready to serve - enjoy!