MarocMama

eat well, travel often, dream big!

Eating in Morocco with Food Allergies

One of the most frequent questions I get in my inbox relates to food allergies and visiting Morocco. This is something we were very worried about before our move. Our youngest son has an allergy to cucumbers and MarocBaba was diagnosed with celiac disease a few years ago. If you’re visiting or moving it’s important to know what you’ll be up against.

Education

In large cities, tourism is a major industry. People are aware of the needs of travelers and varied diets. While 10 years ago someone who said they were a vegetarian would be met with glazed over eyes, today this is very normal and many menus point out options that are vegetarian friendly. I’ve seen several menus that are now listing gluten free options but I’ll be realistic when I tell you the large majority of people do not understand gluten allergies. Bread is an integral part of the Moroccan diet and many can not fathom not eating it. Don’t ever feel pressured to eat it!Allergy Friendly Menus

Some words that you might want to know;

hassasiya…. — this means “allergy or allergic to” 

luz — nuts

d’geg — flour (I use this word for gluten) 

hleb — milk/dairy

Flexibility

If you’re used to eating, or not eating certain things you may want to prepare yourself ahead of time. Even some things that are very easy to purchase in the US or Europe are not as easy to find in Morocco. Again, you’ll have more luck in big cities. If you’re used to for example, using coconut oil or drinking coconut milk instead of regular milk be prepared to not find these items in Morocco. You’ll need to work with what you can find, unless there’s something you absolutely can not substitute. In that case, you should bring it with you, if possible. If you find yourself eating in someone’s home, you can let them know ahead of time if you have allergies, they will appreciate it and it will make everything more comfortable for everyone. For example if you don’t eat bread you can ask for a fork to eat tajine with, or ask for the couscous to be served separately from the meat and vegetables.

Understanding

For many people in Morocco having food allergies are a luxury not a way of life. Even if people don’t have an allergy they can’t really understand the idea that one would choose not to eat meat, or only eat vegetables. Because life here for many is one of survival they eat what is available. While some do know what gluten-free is, don’t expect people to know what a paleo diet is, for example the phrase “I only eat paleo” will mean absolutely nothing to 99% of people you meet. Be clear about the things you can eat or specifically state the things you can not eat. If you have several allergies consider printing a list that has the name of the item and the translation into French. Better yet – you can print this picture right here, where I’ve translated common allergies for you!

English/French Food Allergy Translations for a Morocco visit

Options

If you’re ready to find some great food that will fit int your diet here are some options that you can order. You should check with the restaurant before ordering as they may have slightly different ways of cooking things.

Vegetarian

This is the easiest. Many things are already made without meat and won’t require much extra effort. Some menu items;

  • salads
  • vegetarian couscous
  • fish tajine with vegetables (if you eat fish)
  • vegetable tajine
  • maakouda
  • bean or lentil dishes (unlike in Europe or US they aren’t made with a meat base flavor)
  • eggs

Allergen Friendly Foods

Gluten Free/Dairy Free

Many Moroccan foods are gluten free to begin with and dairy is rarely used in Moroccan cooking. It’s the addition of bread as an eating tool that makes things difficult. Avoid all breads as there are no breads made only with gluten free flour unless you’re buying at a specialty shop. Some foods that you can enjoy;

  • raib – a Moroccan yogurt that’s great for breakfast (this is not dairy free)
  • Couscous can be enjoyed, simply ask for rice instead of semolina couscous – many places can accomodate
  • All tajines are gluten-free
  • Moroccan salads are also gluten free naturally
  • Many markets like Carrefour or Marjane carry yogurts that are made with soymilk instead of cow milk)

Watch out for soups like harira that are often thickened using flour.

Nut Allergies

Nuts are a Moroccan favorite but are used sparingly as they are expensive. You will want to avoid nearly all Moroccan cookies as they are found in many, many pastries. Sometimes tajines like the famous beef and prune tajine are decorated with fried almonds. Just alert anyone that you have a nut allergy and they will avoid them.

Marrakech Restaurants for Safe Eating

As mentioned, many places can make alterations or let you know what is safe for you to eat or not based on your allergy. You may want to double and even triple check. If you are staying in a riad, the majority are aware and able to help by creating meals that fit your needs. They also offer some of the best meals in the city! These restaurants are some that I know and trust to understand what food allergies are and the proper way to handle foods for those with allergies. You’ll notice these are all mid to low-priced restaurants. The majority of upmarket restaurants will be able to meet any allergy needs you have.

Amal Moroccan Restaurant and Women’s Training Center  Angle rues Allal ben Ahmad et Ibn Sina, Gueliz, Marrakesh

Amal is only open for lunch but the staff is always willing to help you find things that are safe to eat on the menu and make adjustments as needed. All of the food is made onsite, fresh daily and as ordered. Staff speak Arabic, English, French, and Spanish.

Cafe Clock  Derb Chtouka, Kasbah, Marrakesh

This cross cultural cafe is in an area of Marrakech that’s often less frequently visited. The residential quarter of the Kasbah is the heart of old Marrakech. You can trust their food offerings 100%.  Vegan items are clearly notated on the menu. There are also gluten-free options. Simply let the all English speaking staff know what allergies you have and they can help!

The Henna Cafe Arset Aouzal Rd, Souikat, Marrakesh

This restaurant offers a mix of traditional and fusion Moroccan cuisine with a hint to Levant favorites like hummus and falafel. They offer many vegetarian options and can adjust your meal for nut allergies. If you’re wanting to receive a henna application while you’re in Morocco this is the place to go for beautiful designs, safe henna, and a fair price without the hassle.

The Earth Cafe Derb Zawak, Riad Zitoun Kedim 2, Medina, Marrakesh

This is one of the only exclusively vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Marrakech. It gets mixed reviews, while some are thrilled to find a menu full of choices while others say the flavors and menu items aren’t up to par.

La Creperie du Marrakech 14 Petit Marche de Gueliz | Route de Targa, Marrakesh

This small cafe serves Brittany style crepes that are really great. The savory crepes are gluten-free. They are made with a special buckwheat that the owners bring from France. Order either sweet or savory with the buckwheat flour! This place is a favorite for us!

Le Pain Quotidien Marrakech Unité 5 Boulevard Allal Al Fassi, Daoudiate, Marrakesh

In a darija class I was talking I discovered the husband of one of my classmates owns/manages this bakery and they had a line of gluten free products. If you have a severe allergy to gluten this will not work for you. But if you have an intolerance you can find some great cakes, breads, and cookies offered. They also have sugar free baked goods as well for those that need or want a low sugar diet.

Have other favorite Marrakesh restaurants that serve allergen friendly menus?

Leave them in the comments!

Disclaimer: These are suggestions only. Please be sure to double check with any establishments as their menus may have changed from the time I visited and published this.

 

I’m linking this post up with Sunday Travelers. Join Chasing the Donkey and several other of my favorite bloggers weekly as great travel posts from around the world are shared.

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Chipotle Chickpea Trail Mix

I haven’t been posting many recipes lately. Blame it on the perpetual travel cycle that we’ve been going through coupled with a lack of creativity on my part. We’ve been back in Morocco for only a few days now and have less than a week until the kids will be going back to school. Last year I was barely treading water as we adjusted to a new system and way of life. This year I feel more prepared and better able to tackle the year.

I shared last year that we have to send two snacks a day with our kids. Last year I relied on quick purchases of croissants from the bakery, cookies, or sometimes fruit if I was really with it. This year, that won’t be happening. I know I won’t be able to send something fresh and homemade everyday but, I will do the best I can! This is a fun and simple trail mix that my kids really loved. I’d say it’s boy inspired though any kid will love it!

Easy Gluten Free Nut Free Trail Mix

 

I decided to make this gluten free and nut free. I think it would be a lot of fun to put out different ingredients like dried fruits, roasted chickpeas or roasted edamame, plus some sweet ingredients like chocolate nibs or coconut. Let your kids make their own mixes!

I’ve used in this mix;

Ingredients for Chipotle Trail Mix

 

Simply mix everything together and keep in an airtight container! It will last you at least a week if not more. You also can portion out the mix into individual containers so all you need to do in the morning is grab and go. I like this mix because it’s sweet and savory, it’s also has good protein in it without worrying about nut allergies.

Even if you don’t have kids heading off to school this is a good mix for adults and a great snack to carry on your next flight or road trip!

Have you tried any of the other Saffron Road Chickpea flavors? My favorite is Falafel but there’s also Bombay Spice, Wasabi, and Korean BBQ. They’re all delicious!

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Afghani Chicken Pulao

Earlier this week I made an Afghani inspired chicken pulao dish that was a delicious hit.  Truth be told, before we moved to Washington DC in 2007, I had never eaten Afghani food. I had never met a person from Afghanistan. Like many people our only connection to the country was the on-going war. I have a brother in law who was stationed there several times and friends of course but that was as close as it got. My first brush with Islam, was through the sordid tales emerging from Taliban Afghanistan (not a pretty picture). Then in Washington DC we found there was a halal kebab shop around the corner from our apartment. Naturally we checked it out and were surprised to find out the owners were from Afghanistan. I can remember meeting the wife of the owner and having this realization that all I knew was so wrong.

We ate at the restaurant regularly. I feel in love with the soft tandoori breads, spicy chickpeas, and savory meat buried in flavorful rice. We drank pots full of tea and enjoyed Indian films dubbed in Pashto or Farsi. When we left DC we sought out Afghani food wherever we traveled – yes we loved it that much! I began cooking things at home and we’d always find our memory wandering back to that tiny kebab shop in Alexandria. My kids have grown up eating food from around the world, somehow the troubles of war and the world haven’t reached deep into our little cocoon yet. They know their uncle went to war in Afghanistan, they also know the kind men and women who fed us and became our friends. I like to think, actually I pray that my children will know a person is a person no matter where in the world they are. That bad things happen not because of a dot on a map, or a religion – but simply because bad things happen because of people who have bad ideas.

I’ve always believed once you eat a meal with someone, you’ve shared a part of life that will always be remembered. Food is what brings us all together – it makes us human!

This is my favorite Afghani meal, chicken pulao. I always imagine eating it on a colorful Tajik carpet surrounded by chattering women and steaming cups of chai, and of course a few handfuls of tandoori bread.

Afghani Style Chicken Pulao

 Ingredients

2 lbs chicken breast
1 cup chicken broth
2 small potatoes
2 tomatoes
2 cups long grain rice
2 large onions
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp salt and pepper
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp crushed garlic
Pinch of saffron
2 large carrots
½ cup yellow raisins
1 cup green peas
4 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Pistachios and/or almonds (optional)

Directions

Chicken
Wash chicken and trim excess fat.
Cut into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl.
Toss with the following spices; salt and pepper, ginger, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom. Crush saffron between your fingers and add to the chicken.
Mix together to coat all of the chicken.
Wash and peel potatoes and cut into bite-size cubes.
Cut tomatoes in half and grate to remove pulp.
In a large pot (or pressure cooker), add 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp vegetable oil and turn heat to medium.
Add chicken and brown.
When chicken has been browned, add tomato pulp, potatoes and 1 cup of chicken broth, as well as 2 cups of water.
Cover the pot and cook for about 45 minutes until potatoes are soft and chicken is tender.

Rice
Rinse rice very well until water runs clear.
Use your favorite cooking technique (stovetop or rice cooker) to prepare. If you’re unsure, add rice to a pot, and add 3 cups of water. Cook on low until the water is almost gone.
Turn off the heat and place a towel between the pot and the lid. Leave the pot alone to steam.

Onions
Remove the outer skin and cut onions in half. Cut as thin as possible.
In a frying pan add 2 Tbsp butter and 1 tsp vegetable oil.
Cook the onions on low heat until they are caramelized.
Vegetables: While the onions are cooking you can prepare the vegetable topping.
Peel the carrots and use your vegetable peeler to create strips of carrots. Set aside.
Shell peas and set aside.
Once the onions are cooked, remove them from the pan with a fork or slotted spoon, leaving any liquid in the pan there.
Add 1 Tbsp butter to the pan as well as the carrots, peas, and raisins.
Cook on low heat until tender (8-10 minutes). If dry, add 1-2 spoons of the liquid from the chicken.

Assembling the Dish
Spread rice out on a large plate and top with chicken and potatoes as well as ½ of the liquid remaining.
Next add the cooked vegetables and raisins, and finally the caramelized onions.
Drizzle with the remaining liquid.
Sprinkle nuts on top if desired.

Some tips to lighten it up the dish – opt for a brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice. But whatever you do, don’t omit the butter. This recipe will easily serve at least 6 people and is mostly good for you. You could swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes or leave them off. Any combination of vegetables work so use what you have on hand!

 

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Crunchy Cauliflower Goat Cheese Hummus

Have you ever loved a food so much but your partner/child/parent/special someone didn’t share that same love? It stinks! We share so much of ourselves and our lives through the food we make and share. Sure you can always avoid it and look for a mutually favorite food or you can be like me and repeatedly beat your head against the wall trying to come up with a way to make the ingredient enjoyable. That’s my cauliflower story. MarocBaba hates cauliflower. I tried making it the way my mom always got us to eat it, with cheese melted all over the top. No. Then I tried making cauliflower pizza crust. No. Then I made this.

Cauliflower Goat Cheese Hummus

He insisted he didn’t want to try it (before he knew it had cauliflower). I shoved a loaded cracker in his mouth. And he liked it! He even recognized it had cauliflower and still liked it! I could hardly believe it. Really this was a breakthrough. The best part is this hummus dip is pretty good for you. It doesn’t have the traditional chickpea puree, or tahini but it does have chickpeas. My mom brought me bags of Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas to restock my dwindling supply. I’ve had to hide them so that they don’t all get eaten before I can use them in recipes. This recipe uses the falafel flavor but I think it would be just as yummy with one of the new flavors; Chipotle and Korean BBQ.

Crunchy Cauliflower Goat Cheese Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 2-3 oz goat cheese (add more if you like!)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Saffron Road Falafel Chickpeas
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Wash and clean cauliflower, trimming any long ends.
  • Steam cauliflower until it's almost falling apart.
  • Trim stems to remove any woody parts, the top florets are best for this.
  • Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  • In the bowl of a food processor or blender add the cauliflower, goat cheese, garlic powder, salt, lemon juice, and half of the chickpeas.
  • Pulse until everything is combined and broken up. You do not want to blend completely.
  • Add hummus to a bowl and top with the remaining chickpeas.
  • Serve with crackers for dipping.
3.1
http://marocmama.com/2014/03/crunchy-cauliflower-goat-cheese-hummus.html

Cauliflower Hummus

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Gluten Free Caramel Cashew Brownies

Gluten Free Caramel Cashew Brownies

One of the steps we had to take to complete my registration for a national ID card was a trip to Rabat for a background check. The appointment itself was less than thrilling but we also were able to meet up with my friend Allison and her family.  Allison and I have known each other online for many years, when we were going through the immigration process of bringing our spouses to the US. Then within a few weeks of each other we announced our plans to relocate back to Morocco! She and I had never met in real life until we moved to Morocco but now any opportunity to visit each other’s cities is welcome.

Fish Lunch

After we finished the paperwork we were picked up by them and went to their home for a really delicious fish lunch prepared by their housekeeper. (Yes, we have these, and I plan to post about it later, but please don’t think we’re incredibly wealthy or lazy – it’s just possible here). This was an incredible meal and we were happy to have great conversation in a super relaxed atmosphere -plus get to play with Allison’s kids!  

We were taking the last train back to Marrakech so we didn’t have a lot of flexible time, but decided to take a drive to see the Hassan II Mosoleum (which neither of us had seen). Within minutes of walking in we were told that they were closing and we weren’t able to go inside the actual mosoleum.  Bummer. Next time.

IMG_1272

But what does all this have to do with brownies? After we were kicked out we headed back to the train station and sat in a cafe (Venezia Ice) to wait until our train arrived. A quick browse through the menu and I spotted brownies and ice cream. Could it be?? Allison and I both enthusiastically ordered this and crossed our fingers not to be disappointed. I’m happy to say we weren’t!

Since then I had been craving brownies.  I knew they weren’t hard to make, but hadn’t ever experimented with gluten free brownies. I also have had serious cravings for nuts and caramel so I topped the brownies with this.

I cheated with the caramel and bought some here.  You can use this recipe I posted last month for slow cooker caramel, or try this salted caramel from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Gluten Free Caramel Cashew Brownies

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cream of rice
  • 2/3 cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
  • Cashews
  • Caramel

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, and butter.
  • Slowly add cocoa powder stirring well to combine evenly.
  • Add in vanilla extract and salt.
  • Then, whisk in 1/4 cup cream of rice powder.
  • Finally stir in chopped chocolate.
  • Pour into a a parchment lined, or greased 8x8 pan.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until the center has set.
  • Allow to cool completely and remove from pan.
  • Cover brownies with caramel.
  • Toast cashews in a pan on the stovetop until they start to slightly brown and release oils, you should be able to smell this.
  • Roughly chop and cover the top of the caramel with the cashews.
  • Eat!
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http://marocmama.com/2014/01/gluten-free-caramel-cashew-brownies.html
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Gluten-Free Moroccan Style Round Bread

In Morocco, bread is cheap – really cheap. Just today I got 2 big loaves of French bread for about 15 cents. Granted, the average income here is much lower this is still a very affordable staple. Bread is on the table for every meal and every snack. Try telling someone in Morocco you don’t eat bread – they’ll look at you like a six-headed alien. This has created a big problem for us. Gluten allergies are largely unheard of here, and MarocBaba’s family is still struggling with understanding all of the things that have gluten in them. I haven’t been able to find all of the flours I usually use so the bread I’ve made didn’t work out too good. Before we left I worked on this recipe to create a round, gluten-free bread similar to the traditional Moroccan loaves.

Gluten Free Moroccan Bread

We were really happy with how these turned out. Now if I can just procure the right ingredients here…or else it’s back to the drawing board to figure out a new recipe with the things we have. A note of interest – if you’re in Morocco, we’ve found that going to the dry good store, you can ask to have things ground for you.  We had rice ground into flour. They might look at you odd because it’s largely unheard of, but it is possible.

Gluten Free Moroccan Style Round Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 3/4 cup gluten free oat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • olive oil

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer, add white rice flour, cornstarch, oat flour, xanthan gum, and salt. Mix well.
  • In a smaller bowl, mix together yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup warm water. Leave yeast to activate 5-10 minutes (will have a frothy appearance).
  • Once yeast has activated, add to the dry ingredients along with 1 egg, milk, and the remaining warm water.
  • Mix well to combine everything. The dough will remain wet and sticky.
  • Pour enough olive oil into your hands to make them slick.
  • Coat the dough with olive oil, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and leave to rise 30-45 minutes (note if your kitchen is cold, it may take longer).
  • When the dough has doubled (or almost) in size, divide into 2-3 equal sized balls.
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Coat your hands again in olive oil, and place the rounds one by one onto a peel floured with white rice flour or oat flour.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes.
  • The bread is ready when it makes a hollow sound when tapped.
  • Flatten each round and transfer to a pizza stone or floured cookie sheet.
3.1
http://marocmama.com/2013/12/gluten-free-moroccan-style-round-bread.html
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#WeekdaySupper Coke Chicken and Twice Baked Potatoes #FamilyDinnerTable

Not only did I get to participate in a very cheesy #SundaySupper yesterday, but I’m also joining #WeekdaySupper this week! The theme we’re tackling this week is SUPER quick meals.  When we lived in the US I was the queen of quick lunches and dinners, but here in Morocco it takes a little more time and planning to make a meal. There aren’t the numbers of canned or boxed convenience items (let alone full meals) to shortcut steps.  I’ve managed to “speed prep” by doing a few things.  I like to cut and chop my produce as much as possible ahead of time. This saves a lot of time. Also when recipes call for baking, I convert them to the stove-top. Part of this is out of necessity as our oven isn’t really made for baking things a real long time. The third tip, is to use a slow cooker.  That’s what I did with this recipe.

Coke Chicken Prep

This recipe was submitted to American Family’s e-cookbook compilation and as someone whose sole vice in life is Diet Coke, this had to be the one I made.  Not to mention, any corner of the world you’re in (and I mean any – we once found Coca-Cola at a Bedouin camp on the Algerian/Moroccan border in the middle of the Sahara Desert) you have access to this convenience item.  The original recipe called for making the chicken and then baking it – which you could do but if you’re in a hurry that’s not going to work. The ingredients are simple; a can of regular Coke, a 1/2 bottle of BBQ Sauce, and Chicken.  The potatoes are baked, the flesh scooped out and mixed with cheese, butter, some cream, and bacon bits then the potato shells filled and popped into an oven until the cheese has been melted. But, I made it even easier for those crazy weeknights when all you have is 15 minutes to get dinner on the table.

15 Minute Coke Chicken

Here’s your play-by-play to get this meal from the stove to your table in under 15 minutes.

Prepare the meat

This can be done the morning of, night before, or much further ahead of time and frozen.  Whichever you choose, slice chicken breast into small, thin pieces and add to a Ziploc bag, along with 1 can of Coca Cola (you could use cherry Coke or lime Coke for a different flavor) and 10-12oz of a tangy BBQ sauce.  Seal and place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook.

Potatoes

Did you know you can bake potatoes in your slow cooker? Just wash and wrap them up in aluminum foil and pack into your slow cooker set to low.  Then let them be for 8-10 hours and they will steam to baked perfection.

Assembling Dinner

You’re home and the 15 minute countdown has started. Begin by adding the chicken and all of the liquid in the bag to a large skillet and turn to medium high heat. Flip your oven to broil.  While this heats up, remove the potatoes. Split them in half, scoop out the flesh into a big bowl and mix in butter (about 1-2 Tbsp per potato), shredded cheese, salt and pepper to flavor, and 1 Tbsp 2% milk or heavy cream per potato.   Mix together, eat a spoonful to check for taste, adjust salt and pepper if needed, and then distribute the potato mixture among the shells.  Place on an oven safe pan and sprinkle cheese and bacon bits on top for good measure. Place under the broiler.  Check on the chicken, stirring as needed and lowering heat if the liquid is reducing before the meat is cooked through.

Keep an eye on the broiler! Once the cheese is melted remove immediately!

Then it’s onto the side dish.  Any green vegetable works – I opted for steamed broccoli. Steam as normal, toss with some butter and lemon juice.  I also mixed in some nuts for a little added texture.

Finish up the chicken.  At this point you should be 12-13 minutes in and the meat cooked through, liquid reduced to a sauce. Dish up those plates as the last few seconds tick away!

That wasn’t bad was it?!  The best news – my family LOVED this! I think yours will too.

Want to find some other great dinner ideas? Follow AmFam’s Back To the Family Dinner Table Pinterest board. Also be sure to follow their Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts for more great ways to get your family back to the table.

Know where else you’ll find great recipes?  By visiting the other #WeekdaySupper contributors this week!  Let’s face it, we can all use tips for 15 minute meals!

AmFam Back To The Family Dinnertable Logo   Disclosure: This post is sponsored by American Family Insurance. All opinions are my own.

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29 Birthday Cakes for My 29th Birthday

Specialty Birthday Cakes

Some years I’m counting down the days until my birthday, it can’t come soon enough. Other years the day creeps up from behind me and then it’s here. My mom always made a big deal out of our birthdays.  She had a different theme every year, making food and snacks that matched. We got plenty of gifts and always had two parties; one for our friends and one for our family. Having these memories has really been a very treasured part of my childhood and always made me feel special and loved.

This year, I’m away from my husband and kids so there’s something a little bittersweet about my big day (it’s on Sunday).  I’m also entering the last year of my 20’s. Wow. I just need to sit on that for a little while.  There are so many days I feel like I’m still just a child.  There’s something about leaving this decade of life that I know I can’t escape the adult label. This year to celebrate I decided to post 29 special birthday cakes, one for every year of my age.  These cakes are for those of us who have special diet needs, the ones that can’t pick up something at the bakery but want something delicious for the special day. Some are gluten free, or vegan, or paleo, or sugar free, or well there is something for everyone!  If you’re celebrating a special day soon I hope you find a delicious dessert here.

Specialty Cakes 1

  1. Naturally Red Velvet Cupcakes by Guts by Nature
  2. Grain free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting by The Skinny Pear
  3. Mini Raw Vegan Carrot Cakes by Good Girl Gone Green
  4. Sweet Potato Cake with Paleo White Chocolate Frosting by Paleo Fondue
  5. Lemon Potato Cake by Strands of My Life
  6. Carrot Cake Bites with Cinnamon Kefir Cheese Frosting by Loula Natural Specialty Cakes 2
  7. Chocolate Muffin in a Minute by DJ Foodie
  8. Pumpkin Carrot Harvest Cake by Soundness of Body & Mind
  9. Banana Brownie Cupcakes by Popular Paleo
  10. Double Chocolate Muffins by Butter Nutrition-
  11. Grain-Free Individual Cheesecake Swirl Brownies by Girl Meets Nourishment
  12. Paleo Yellow Cupcakes by A Girl Worth SavingSpecialty Cake 3
  13. Chamomile Honey Cakes with Orange Cashew Cream by The Dabblist
  14. Double Mocha Layer Cake by Healthy Living How To
  15. Ooey Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Cake (with Peanut Butter Frosting) by Scratch Mommy
  16. Plantain Skillet Brownies with Salted Caramel Sauce by So Let’s Hang Out
  17. Orange Cloud Cake by The Sour Path is the Sweetest
  18. Coconut Cloud Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle by Real Food Outlaws Specialty Cake 4
  19. Chocolate Ganache Cake by Just Enjoy Food
  20. Spice Cupcakes with Maple Marshmallow Frosting by The Gluten Free Doctor
  21. Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes for Two by An Edible Mosaic
  22. Strawberries and Cream Layer Cake by Ricki Heller
  23. Mini Vegan Chocolate Chip Berry Pies + Coconut Milk Whipped Cream by Jew Hungry
  24. Meyer Lemon Loaf Cake with Olive Oil by Cooking on the WeekendsSpecialty Cake 5
  25. Gluten-free Golden Fudge Cake by Cupcakes and Kale Chips -
  26. Vegan Peach Cobbler Cupcakes by Hezzi D’s Cooks and Books -
  27. Gingerbread Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting by Keeping Busy in Brooklyn -
  28. Gluten Free Smores Cupcakes by Beyond Frosting -
  29. GAPS Banana Cake by Gutsy
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