Monday, August 29, 2011

Is it a cake safe for L?

This was a question I heard often at my husband's birthday party Saturday.  Can L eat it?  Well of course she can, do they really think I would bake a cake and tell her, "sorry honey, but it has stuff your allergic to in it."????  Over the years, my family has graciously eaten a few not so stellar cakes. 

I think the comment has more to do with the fact that it has taken me SIX years to master a cake that actually tastes good.  Admittedly the hardest part was frosting.  Recently I discovered Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Chocolate Cake mix.  Love it, it bakes up nice and moist.  For eggs we use applesauce and baking powder, milk=rice milk.  It turns out great.  For the frosting, I have begun using earth balance soy free.  I am so grateful for finding this product.  There is no margarine out there without soy or dairy, except this one.  I have to drive to Scottsdale to buy it, but I don't mind! 

The whole party (minus the ranch veggie dip) was L friendly, and I spent the day worrying about guests and not worrying about my daughter's exposure to inappropriate foods.  The big plus was that no one seemed to notice the differences, and didn't complain at all the healthy choices they had.  Either that or my family and friends are finally growing accustomed to my food eccentricities. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Trying to Broaden Food Horizons

I consider myself lucky.  My food allergy child, likes food such as broccoli, spinach, and frozen peas.  However, I have a hard time getting her to try new foods.  You know, squash, potatoes, and cooked varieties of the stuff she likes raw.

I am hoping that watching her baby sister eat these items will make her more willing to try new things.  However, when I think about it, we tend to eat the same items every week as well.  So, in order to broaden our horizons I have decided to subscribe to a weekly food delivery.  Every week we have yummy organic fruits and vegetables delivered right to our door.  This way I can avoid the junk at the grocery store, and I can make myself try new things as well.  The bigger plus to this delivery is that we will be eating foods that are in season, have more flavor and aren't raised to simply be in the store year round.

This weeks new item....Kabocha squash.  Honestly, I love squash, but some of them scare me in the store.  They are odd shapes and colors.  I have this pretty squash sitting on my counter, I have perused the internet for a recipe, and sometime in the next few days we will be eating a new kind of squash.  Now I just hope that I can get the oldest L to try it.   

Friday, August 12, 2011

Food Allergies: Deadly Classrooms?

My daughter's school informed me the other day, prior to sending home a note, that the classrooms on her side of the school will be peanut free this year.  While I am pleased about this, I am a little leery that maybe they don't quite get it even now.  Peanut allergies have to be the most advertised, talked about food allergy out there.

Guess what people, kids and adults can have severe deadly allergies to ANYTHING!  Yes, I said it, anything.  Last year they gave my daughter milk, she is VERY allergic to milk.  She vomited immediately (good sign you are allergic to what you just ingested), then spent two days wiping her nose and wondering why mom was monitoring her breathing.  So please, just because you are taking a peanut allergy seriously don't forget the facts. People can be deadly allergic to anything.

My daughter's one and only anaphylactic reaction was to GOAT'S MILK.  Yes, the most hypo-allergenic dairy product out there sent her to the ER, and me into a panic.  She was only nine months old at the time, and was tested for food allergies after the incident.  This of course means we have not had a severe reaction (until last years school incident) since that time.  Avoidance is the name of the game and we are very good at avoiding the items she is allergic to.

While I applaud her school's attempt to take all of this very seriously, I am concerned that everyone still doesn't get it.  Anything can be deadly to a kid with food allergies, we test and avoid, and prepare for the worst.  Thankfully, the worst has not happened, and yet that is thanks mostly to my diligence, training my daughter, and always being prepared.

So please, if you know a kid with food allergies, listen and be careful. Don't assume you know how to deal with something based on the latest news report. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

OMG I am a grown up

Growing older is a fact of life that has never particularly bothered me.  I have never thought about it. Truly.  I was happy about sixteen because I could drive, 18 because I could vote, and 21 because I could drink (though I decided quickly that wasn't really for me).  I work with people in their 80s and 90s, I am not old.  I have never thought of myself as older, or an adult.  Until recently.  I recently purchased a mini-van.  Yes, the bastion of motherhood.  The beast that guzzles gas, but can hold six kids and all the junk required to keep them happy.  I finally did it. 

It was about the six month of my pregnancy when I took a good look in the mirror.  I noticed that my cute "freckles" aren't so cute anymore and they have multiplied.  Then I looked at my hands and just about passed out.  I have AGE SPOTS!  Am I old enough for this stuff?  Didn't I just graduate from college?   Oh yeah, I graduated over ten years ago!  Then I thought about motherhood.  I just had my first baby right?  Wait, that was SIX years ago (what happened?).   I guess I have been a grown up for awhile, except for that cute car...

I have always had fun cars.  A jetta, a bmw 5 series, and my latest a Beetle (new version).  I LOVE my beetle.  It is me.  I get to have a flower in a vase, and dangle wind chimes from my rear view mirror.  My daughter and I fit perfectly in it.  That would be the older L.  Then we found my husband, and we still fit.  Finally, the little L came along.  The only way I could possibly comfortably fit a rear facing car seat in that car would be to shrink about six inches (maybe I exaggerate, but only a little).  Quite the quandry since in the summer, my car stays cool and my husband's station wagon never cools off where the kids sit.  Trust me when I say I tried to fit that car seat in the car.  I forced the driver's seat down, and in the jetta wagon, I rode with my knees pushed against the glove box. 

So I woke up, realized I have to start acting like a grown up when it comes to vehicles and bought the mini-van.  I am sad to say I love it.  I should have done it sooner.  Who wouldn't love automatic doors for the kids, rear a/c, a back end that will hold the stroller without having to arrange and move everything carefully, utilizing every inch to fit all of the "stuff"?  But still....I finally feel like a real grown up, you know, the kind that says, "oh, kids today......".   By the way, have you noticed that kids today just seem so....young?

Now to deal with the consequences of years of sun worship as a youngster...

Monday, August 8, 2011

A beginning

I always feel I have something to say, and no one to say it to.  My husband hears most of it, but honestly, baby brain has set in and I think all day, but by the time he gets home I don't remember a thing I wanted to talk to him about!

I don't know yet exactly where this blog will go, there are so many paths it could travel, but I will start it out and see what happens.

I have two daughters.  One has life threatening food allergies.  So far the baby does not.  My oldest started first grade today, and despite some trepidation on my part, is returning to the school that gave her food she was allergic to.  Silly to worry, and part of me hopes and feels that they won't screw up again because they felt so bad the first time.  Alas, I don't know, and anytime she eats outside of my own kitchen I cringe with the lack of control I have over cross-contamination and just plain outright consumption.

I love to cook, but cooking for my family has its challenges.  I was also recently diagnosed with food allergies (you would think with all I do for big L that this would have been obvious to me, but I ignored my own symptoms), and big L has her own allergies.  I am a vegetarian, my family is not.  So meals generally make me feel like a short order cook, despite my planning.  I am fortunate in that my husband and oldest daughter love fruit and vegetables.  I am frustrated that I prefer it cooked in yummy recipes and they would rather eat it raw (or frozen).  We put up with each other and muddle through.

Lately, I have fallen in love with an awesome cookbook, Skinny Bitch:  Ultimate Everday Cookbook,  The book provides great recipes, some of which take little time, and they all taste great.  It is one of the few vegan books I have found that doesn't include soy products in the majority of the recipes.  Since big L is allergic to soy this is a big deal in our home.  Slowly but surely my oldest is learning to eat more foods, and as long as she is only adventurous at home where I can control it, I am okay with that!

I recently read an article that stated France has an increased obesity rate, and they are looking at how the latest generation views meals for a solution.  Apparently, they are becoming to "American" in their eating habits.  They normally value meal time for its peace and togetherness.  Meals aren't eaten in the car on the run.  After reading this, I realize that I find myself eating on the go and not making time for meals, especially lunch.  There is so much to do in our lives, but I am learning the hard way that if I don't make time for a healthy meal, junk sneaks into my diet and I suffer for it.

So the goal for August is to cut down on eating out/fast on the go foods, and sit down and savor the mealtime and the company I have (even if that company is a sleeping baby).