Five Peanut Free Recipes For Lent - Peanut-Free Zone with Wanda

With the challenges that we have in our home regarding food, the season of Lent adds one more challenge. Now we avoid meat on Ash Wednesday and the six Fridays that follow. Really, this just requires more planning and juggling. We typically don’t go out to very many of the wonderful fish fry events put on by restaurants, churches and VFW/Legions. While they are great feasts, to us there is a potential risk we are unwilling to take.

My son recently fell in love with fish and shrimp, so that helps to keep things new. It also opens up more foods options for us. Before Lent, typically we pick out seven recipes to make over the season of Lent. Here are five of them. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!


The first my kids refer to as Grandpa’s Fish. It is the easiest recipe I have ever made and it is by far the children’s favorite.

Peanut-Free Grandpa's Fish Recipe -

Grandpa's Fish
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Seafood
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 6-8 Tilapia Filets, thawed and rinsed
  • 2 Tbls Smude’s Sunflower seed Oil
  • to taste - Lawry’s Season Salt
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Coat a 13 x 9 Pyrex pan with oil.
  3. Arrange fillets side by side in pan.
  4. Sprinkle Lawry’s Season salt on (don’t over do it).
  5. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and flip filets.
  7. Sprinkle Lawry’s Season salt on (don’t over do it).
  8. Return to oven and continue baking until fillets flake apart easily (approximately 8 more minutes).

Serve with salad and vegetable of choice.

The second is one my 6 year old son really enjoys. I just chop the veggies very small and he doesn’t even notice them!Peanut-Free Macaroni Salad with Tuna Twist Recipe -
Macaroni Salad with a Tuna Twist
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
  • 1 (16 ounce) package Elbow Macaroni
  • ½ large Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 Green Bell, chopped
  • ½ cup Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks Celery, chopped
  • ¼ cup Carrots, grated
  • 3 (6oz.) cans Tuna, drained
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Distilled White Vinegar
  • ⅔ cup Sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons Yellow Mustard prepared
  • 1½ teaspoons Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Black Pepper, ground
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
  2. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Drain pasta, but do not rinse.
  4. Let stand 5 minutes.
  5. While pasta is cooking, combine the onion, bell pepper, parsley, celery, carrots, and tuna in a large bowl.
  6. To make the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  7. Add dressing to the tuna and vegetable mixture.
  8. Add the pasta and toss gently to blend all ingredients.
Chill at least 4 hours before serving.

The third is one of the adult favorites. Salmon is high in omega 3s and has a very rich flavor. The Cream Cheese Sauce just adds a nice smoothness to the salmon. Sometimes we add a little Sriracha sauce to the sauce for added spice.Skillet Salmon with Cream Cheese Sauce -
Skillet Salmon with Cream Cheese Sauce
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Seafood
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 4 (4 ounce) Salmon Fillets
  • to taste, Pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 cup Fat-Free Milk
  • ½ cup Cream Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Dill, chopped
  • 4 Sprigs of Parsley
  1. Heat large skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat.
  2. Add fish; cook 7 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with fork.
  3. Season with ground pepper to taste.
  4. Remove from skillet; cover to keep warm.
  5. In a small skillet, add milk and reduced-fat cream cheese to skillet; cook and stir until cream cheese is completely melted and mixture is well blended.
  6. Stir in dill.
  7. Return fish to skillet.
  8. Cook 2 min. or until heated through.
  9. Top with cream cheese sauce.
  10. Garnish with parsley.
Serve over balanced spinach.

The fourth is my middle child’s favorite (I think she likes tater tots). This is a take on the typical tator tot casserole. Instead of beef we use tuna. It has a creamy taste and reminds me of tuna noodle casserole a little. Very tasty and very easy to put together.Peanut-Free Tuna Tater Tot Casserole -
Tuna Tater Tot Caserole
Recipe type: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
  • 4 (6oz.) cans Tuna, drained
  • ½ Onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Frozen Peas (or vegetables of your choice)
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 (32 ounce) bag Frozen Tater Tots
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Spray 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Spread tuna into bottom of pan, covering entire bottom, gently tamping tuna down. Sprinkle with chopped onions.
  4. Layer frozen peas (or vegetables of your choice) as next layer.
  5. Cover with the soup, straight from the can, carefully spreading with spatula to cover entirely.
  6. Layer tater tots on top, covering entire top with tots.
  7. Bake at 375ºF for 1 hour, or until tater tots are crisp and browned.

My all time favorite is Broiled Tilapia Parmesan. I cannot get enough of it. It is super fast and easy. I usually have frozen tilapia in my freezer and the longest part of this dish is thawing the fillets and making the side dishes. The cooking time is around 10 minutes!Peanut-Free Broiled Tilapia Parmesan -
Broiled Tilapia Parmesan
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Seafood
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ⅛ cup Butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¼ teaspoon Dried Basil
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper, ground
  • ⅛ teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 2 pounds Tilapia Fillets, thawed
  1. Preheat your oven's broiler.
  2. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice.
  4. Season with dried basil, pepper and onion powder.
  5. Mix well and set aside.
  6. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan.
  7. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes.
  9. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side.
  10. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.


Graphic Designer
Coborn’s, Inc

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Allergen Friendly Cranberry Oat Shortbread - Allergen Friendly Cranberry Oat Shortbread - Peanut-Free Zone with Wanda

‘Tis the season to get together and bond around family, friends and food, many different kinds of food. It is a time to be joyous and attempt to be worry-free. We were once that family. We went from one family function to another; only worrying about how many notches we would have to extend our belts. I remember clearly our first set of holidays living with food allergies. It changed our carefree holiday times into the most stressful time of the year. I would get very panicky.  I was worried about what could happen.

Our first year of holiday festivities, I decided to call all the homes we would be going to and ask them what they were serving and if anything contained any kind of nuts. I then told them about my son’s nut allergy and explained it was life threatening. Everyone I spoke with said they would do their best to not include nuts at their holiday event. Everything went very well and everyone was very cautious. I was grateful and relieved! Now, after several holidays have come and gone, holidays are once again pretty carefree. Granted I still get a little nervous but each year gets better and everyone is SO understanding. I really think explaining how incredibly allergic he is and sharing with them the things I learned from the allergist and the food allergy websites helped a lot.

I have several tips I would to share regarding label reading. Even though food labeling has gotten so much better, it is still good to know how to read a label for peanuts. The following is a list of ingredients to avoid:
Artificial nuts, beer nuts, cold presses, expelled or extruded peanut oil, goobers, ground nuts, mixed nuts, monkey nuts, nutmeat, nut pieces, peanut, peanut butter, peanut flour.
The following types of food and/or ingredients may indicate the presence of a peanut protein:
African, Asian (especially Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese), and Mexican dishes, baked goods (pastries, cookies, etc.), candy (including chocolate candy), chili, egg rolls, enchilada sauce, flavoring (natural and artificial), marzipan, mole sauce, nougat.


  • Mandelonas are peanuts soaked in almond flavoring.
  • Arachis oil is peanut oil.
  • Experts advise patients allergic to peanuts to avoid tree nuts as well.
  • A study showed that there’s a strong possibility of cross reaction between peanuts and lupine.
  • Sunflower seeds are often produced on equipment shared with peanuts.
    These lists are from The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network.

As always, I have a recipe to share. While trying to decide what to share, I was trying to think of favorite family recipes that we have changed to exclude nuts. Honestly, I couldn’t think of any. However, we did switch over to making several baked goods from scratch instead of buying them already manufactured.

One of our favorites is a peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, milk-free, egg-free, wheat-free shortbread. (Note: This recipe is not gluten-free unless you use gluten-free oats). - Allergen Friendly Cranberry Oat Shortbread

Allergen Friendly Cranberry Short Bread
  • 1 Cup Cranberries, chopped
  • 3 Cups Oat Flour
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 Tbsp. Oil
  • ¾ Cup Orange Juice
  • 1 ½ tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Mix oat flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add juice, oil and vinegar. Mix well. Stir in cranberries. Pour into a greased loaf pan.
  • Bake at 350°F for 60 minutes.
  • You can make this recipe as a muffin recipe as well. Just spoon batter into lined muffin tins and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Makes 18-20 small muffins.
  1. Mix oat flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  2. Add juice, oil and vinegar.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Stir in cranberries.
  5. Pour into a greased loaf pan.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 60 minutes.
You can replace chopped cranberries with Craisins.
Make your own oat flour by putting uncooked oats in the food processor until they are a powder.
This recipe freezes well, too.
You can make this recipe as a muffin recipe as well. Just spoon batter into lined muffin tins and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Makes 18-20 small muffins

During these weeks of thankfulness, kindness and giving, please share this information with family and friends. The more we educate ourselves about food allergies, the safer the world becomes for people who live with life-threatening food allergies.  If your child has food allergies, remember that you are their advocate, make sure you let people know about their allergies and what they need to avoid.

Graphic Designer
Coborn’s, Inc

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Tips to stay Peanut Safe at the State Fair - Tips to stay Peanut Safe at the State Fair - Peanut-Free Zone with Wanda

Hi again, it’s me, Wanda. Today’s “PEANUT FREE ZONE” blog is geared towards going to the Minnesota State Fair (or some place similar).

It can be really scary to take a child with nut allergies to the State Fair. We shied away from it at first because we were overwhelmed. It felt like there was danger around each and every corner, and every hand could be contaminated, and every inch of the ground could have a peanut shells. At the same time I felt like we were keeping him from activities that kids would remember their entire life. One summer we decided to pack up our fears and make the trek to the “Minnesota State Fair”. It set a lot of our fears at ease even though we were definitely tense at first. Now, our family really enjoys going to fairs and theme parks. We know we have to be EXTRA careful and think about so many things that most people take for granted. Even though the Minnesota State Fair is an outdoor extravaganza for the most part, we still take a lot of precautions. - Tips to stay Peanut Safe at the State FairThe first thing we do is research. For our upcoming trip I went online and used the word “nut” in the search bar and a list came up with all the vendors that sell nut products. The next thing we do is we map out where those places are so we can avoid them easier and be more aware when we are in that area.

Knowing how much emphasis is on food at the State Fair, we like to get our son special snacks and make some of his favorite things for him to eat while we are there. Some of the things we make are the energy bars from the last blog, corn dog muffins, vegan cheese chunks, and of course we pack fruit and a couple sandwiches (that we cut into fun shapes). We also make sure we bring a couple beverages for him along with the couple we buy there for him.

Once all that is done, we pack the medicine bag. We make sure we have insurance cards, Epi-Pens, Benadryl Fast Melts, Benadryl Cream, Inhaler, Expansion chamber, and Ibuprophen or Tylenol. So far, we have never had to use any of the medicine while at the State Fair.

Finally, we have used a stroller in the past but the kids are a little older now so this year we may try a wagon so they can rest if they need to (and we don’t have to have backpacks on constantly). We also pay to park by the Grand Stand so it is easier if we have to leave in a hurry or if we need something else from the car.

Remember, when it comes to food and food allergies, if you don’t know where it is made or what is processed in that facility, don’t risk it. It could be a dangerous combination. This is why we choose to make our own Corn Dog Muffins (on a stick).

As I promised before, I would provide a tip and a recipe.

TIP: Most oils are nut free, but some make your food taste even better. My old go to oil was Extra Virgin Olive Oil…that was until I found Smude’s Sunflower Seed Oil! It has a buttery taste without the butter and it has a lot of the good fats and 0 trans fat. It is a high-oleic oil. - You can never be too safe at the State Fair when you have a child with food allergies. Here is a recipe for a homemade peanut-free corn dog to take with you to the fair.

State Fair Worthy Corn Dog Muffin On A Stick
Serves: 6
  • ½ Cup Cornmeal
  • ½ Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • ½ Cup Soy Milk
  • 2 T. Smude’s Sunflower Seed Oil
  • ¼ Cup Agave Nectar
  • 2 Hot Dogs, cut into thirds
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F
  2. Add paper cups to muffin pan.
  3. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Add Applesauce, Milk and Agave Nectar and stir.
  5. Slowly add Smude’s Sunflower Seed Oil to mixture and stir.
  6. Pour into muffin cups about ½-3/4 full.
  7. Place cut Hot Dog in the center standing up.
  8. Insert stick into center.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  10. Set aside to cool.
  11. Then take off paper cups and wrap in cling wrap when completely cool.
You can also cut the hot dogs up smaller and mix them in the corn bread mix, then you get hot dog in every bite!


Graphic Designer
Coborn’s, Inc

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Help! My child has food allergies - Wanda is the mother of a son with severe peanut allergies. Check out her blog and see how she copes with living in a "Peanut-Free Zone" Peanut-Free Zone with Wanda

Hi, my name is Wanda and I have been working for Coborn’s for nearly 3 years. I am a mother of three, wife of one and I live in a self-proclaimed “Peanut-Free Zone”. I am happy to share with you my experiences regarding having a child who has many food allergies. I know it can be difficult to start, but I hope that I can be a good resource for you if you ever have to deal with food allergies in your home, or have friends or family that have food allergies. There are some things that we can’t do, such as going to baseball games or flying on most airlines. We have learned how to work through things like school, sleepovers, parades, weddings and other events. At the end of the summer I’ll write about going to the State Fair. We live in the “PEANUT-FREE ZONE”.

In the beginning

Once upon a time, long, long ago, my family and I lived a normal life with no food restrictions. During that time in our lives, a note came home from my oldest daughter’s school. It read something to the effect of “We have a student in our classroom with a peanut allergy and we ask that you do not send your child with any of the following foods…” I remember asking my husband, “Why can’t that kid sit somewhere else. Why do they have to sit at the same table as our daughter?” I felt it was a nuisance to our routine of the occasional PB&J’s, and some of the snack foods that we ate and packed in the lunch bag.

Looking back I realize that I was not educated on food allergies and how severe and dangerous they could be. Several years later, we found ourselves at an allergy clinic having our youngest child tested for food allergies after he had massive out breaks of hives on his face, neck and chest after having regular milk for the first time. I asked the allergist to test for the foods I thought he may have reacted to in the recent past, and I also asked that he be tested for a peanut allergy. He had just turned one year of age. They said the test would take about 20 minutes and they would come and check on us every few minutes. The first knock on the door was at the 5-minute mark. The nurse took one look at my son and his eyes widened and he said in startled voice “I will be right back with the doctor. We have to end the test”. Even though they did the skin test on his back, the reaction to the peanut caused hives up his back, neck and his face. We had a lot to learn.

Becoming Peanut-Free

We became a peanut-free family in September of 2008. Our son had other food allergies as well (milk, dairy, tomatoes, spinach and brussel sprouts). While our journey avoiding foods began, we sought out knowledge. We learned so much. One of the most important things that we learned is that oil from a peanut can only breakdown by time. While washing may help to take some of it away, it can take up to 48 hours for the oils from a peanut to breakdown. Peanuts (and other nuts) are so dangerous because you can’t always see your allergen. Another VERY important thing we learned is that someone who is allergic (to any food) may have a very minimal reaction to their allergen one time but a different time it could be so severe that it could be deadly. - Sending a child with peanut allergies to school and daycareSchool & Daycare

Our two youngest children were in a home-based daycare at the time. We decided we should look into a Montessori School. We found one in our town. When I went to take a tour and interview the director, I asked if they were peanut/tree-nut free. They were not. I explained the severity of my son’s reaction to nuts and they decided right then and there to become a peanut/tree-nut free school. They gained our family as clients. We helped educate them on how to handle an allergic reaction and the steps to take. It was a good move for all. I have just recently had to sign him up for Kindergarten. My husband and I decided to put him in a private school that is also peanut/tree-nut free. My son is far too sensitive to go to a school that allows nuts of any kind through their doors. Even though we have to pay for his education, it is worth it for him to be safe and not secluded away from other kids.

I have so much that I want to share about being a peanut-free family. You’ll have to follow my blog posts to learn more. I will include a tip with each post along with a recipe. As much as I want to share everything I have learned and experienced, I know if I don’t pace myself I could find myself writing a book.


Finding a substitute for peanut butter was interesting to say the least. Our family decided we REALLY like “SunButter” It is made with sunflower seeds (which is not a nut). All SunButter products are peanut-free, tree-nut free and gluten free. - Peanut-Free No-Bake Energy Bites. Easy & Delicious!

No-Bake Energy Bites
  • 1 Cup Dry Oatmeal
  • ⅔ Cup Toasted Coconut Flakes
  • ½ Cup SunButter
  • ½ Cup Ground Flaxseed
  • ½ Cup Chocolate Chips
  • ⅓ Cup Honey
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Let chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
  3. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1" in diameter.)
  4. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
My Preferred Ingredients Old-Fashioned Oats & Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips, to avoid dairy. Make sure to check with your allergist before using the toasted coconut flakes. Even though it is not a nut, some people that are allergic to tree nuts may react to coconut while others do not.


Graphic Designer
Coborn’s, Inc

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