Friday, August 26, 2011

No Recipes.... But Plenty To Say!

I am without any new recipes this post as we continue to thrive on salads, sandwiches, and baked pasta freezer meals in this continuing HEAT!  With the new school year going full speed ahead we have the added thrill of sports, class parties, birthday parties, and family reunions.  I have to say that I am truly blessed with a phenomenal teacher for our food allergy child, she is fully aware and on-top of it!  We had the common issue of a "friend" being very hands-on my daughter at the lunch table, and of course left her mark in the form of a rash from her wheat-y hands.  I called the teacher to explain the situation and it was handled quickly.  She is ready in her classroom with the Enjoy Life cookies we provided as well as some "reward" candy that is allergy-friendly that she happily provided.  Our daughter continues to have her own microwave in the classroom to heat her lunch she brings daily.  I am currently in correspondence with the nutritional director of our public school system as to the possibility of providing an allergy-friendly meal option once a week, fingers crossed!  I feel confident that we are going to have a great school year, I truly feel that our school is much more open and tolerant of food allergies.  Don't get me wrong, no one's perfect.  I continually stay optimistic.  My super-competitive daughter also tried out and made the competitive soccer team to represent our area.  How excited are we?!  We will begin a bit of traveling to play some different games/tournaments.  I hosted a "class" for her coaches with directions of epi-pen use.  They were ready to learn, which makes for a happy mommy.  The other parents have been great about asking questions regarding snack options.  I did tell them not to worry about bringing her anything, but they still want to do for the team as a whole.  I cried on the way home from that practice.  How great is it that more and more people are empathizing with the food allergy community.  Maybe I'm just in my own little world and it's just me and our area that is becoming a little more open every day, but I doubt it.  I read great articles and posts from so many in our food allergy community full of great information some happy/some sad.  It's unfortunate and completely terrifying of the amount of food allergy deaths and the number is steadily rising.  I encourage all of you to step out of your comfort zone and get involved in some way to promote food allergy advocacy in your area.  A year ago this month I hosted my first food allergy support group with 3 people.  Our group isn't Huge, but it is hosted by myself on a monthly basis with anywhere from 4 to 9 people that are constantly changing.  One member stated that if everyone came to the same meeting, there wouldn't be enough chairs.  I also turned that support group into a Facebook group called "Gluten & Allergy Free KY", we are currently 61 members strong and hoping to continue to grow.  Talk to your friends and their friends....word of mouth is the best advertising and I have been introduced to so many people in the food allergy community through friends of friends.  I also decided to start my own facebook page based on my blog with the option of having some of my homemade goodies shipped to your home, 1 and 2 day shipping available.  Getting involved in these small ways of introducing food allergies make a huge difference.  My family and I are members of a large church in our area and I can't express to you the gratitude towards them for being open to considering the small changes to the youth organization.  I have met so many people who face the same challenges that I face.  Some are more willing than others to talk about it and that's okay.  I look forward to doing even more in the future.  I am currently building a cookbook with a great story-line and yummy recipes (67 so far).  I hope to share it with you soon!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Staying on Schedule.

We are definitely getting back into the groove of things.  One week into the new school year and we are back to being the average busy family.  Our oldest started middle school with lots of tears (mine), and with that we have gained an ever-increasing social calendar.  Our youngest is in 4th grade (the grade of homework), and is going full-force with her travel soccer team (Go Revolution!).  These in addition to Work, Homework, Our Farm, Extended Family (my new nephew), Church, and not to mention my husband and I; yep, it's busy.  I am now the proud owner of a Mom-Friendly Master Calendar that I have placed front and center on our refrigerator.  It is wonderful with stickers and enough space to put all of our schedules.  My husband no longer has any excuse of "not remembering".  What is even better about the calendar is that I can see in plenty of time, the days that I need to have dinner practically ready when we get home.  Often, we only have an hour or so before we have to leave again for activities.  For the average american family it calls for a night of fast food, for the food allergy family it calls for planning.  I am loving the make-ahead pasta dinners I blogged about before as well as my crock-pot.  My family only eats free-range, organic chicken either from our farm or the grocery.  It is a lot more expensive than the cheap stuff but it is so not worth the health risks.  A way of cutting the costs of chicken is by buying a whole chicken, it is cheaper because you gotta do the work.  An easy way for me is to cook the whole chicken, shred it, and use what I want when I want it.  I've included my recipe for an asian-style chicken.  I'll let it cook overnight, on a weekend, or whenever; the most tedious part is pulling all of the meat off (tip: let that baby cool down, don't burn those fingers).

Crock-Pot Asian Chicken

1 whole chicken; thawed and patted dry
8 cloves of garlic; crushed.
1 ½ - 2 inch fresh ginger crushed..
1 lemon
½ cup soy-free soy sauce
1 tbs crushed red pepper
1 ½ tbs sesame oil
½ cup water

Place chicken in crock-pot.  To bowl combine lemon juice, soy-free soy sauce, crushed red pepper, sesame oil, and water.  To crock pot add garlic, ginger, and lemon halves.  Pour bowl mixture over the top of chicken.  Turn on low and walk away.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Getting Ready for Back-to-School in the Kitchen

What a summer it has been!  I fell into a routine with my daughters' food allergies and started a catering business on the side.  I, unfortunately, have to now begin the routine of back to school within the next week.  But I am doing so with a well-prepared freezer.  I have been making a number of make-ahead meals, snacks, and goodies to help make our days easier.  We, like so many, have school, work, sports, homework, and family time on a daily basis.  To assist our days I prepared a few freezer meals in the form of baked pastas.  I prepare my pasta according to package instructions and set aside.  I then can open an allergy-friendly bottle of marinara bought or homemade, add sliced pepperoni, and toss with pasta. Place in aluminum pan, top with cheese, and place in freezer for a quick dinner.  Another version is that I combine leftover Sloppy Joe mixture from a different dinner and toss with pasta.  Place in another aluminum pan and top with monterey jack cheese and freeze for the future.  The sloppy joe pasta bake is my son's fave.  For those fast-upon us breakfasts; make a ton of waffles and freeze, toss in toaster and you're set.  I also buy and prepare a huge box of sausage links and place in freezer bag, microwave for 15 seconds and you've got a great, healthy side for your waffles.  Something new for me are my mini-omelets.  They are so cute and were super easy to make.  I save my egg whites from all the ice cream I've been making.  To my mini muffin tin; I butter the bottom of my tin and add whatever fillings I want such as cheese, veggies, ham, etc.  I whip the egg whites with a little bit of milk and seasoning, fill my muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees until done (usually 20-25 minutes).  I throw these into freezer bags as well; they go great as a side, on a sandwich, or as a snack. I never look forward to my kiddos starting back to school because I miss them so much, but I am blessed that they love school as much as they do.  It makes it a little easier knowing that they look forward to their new routine, and I know I'm doing myself a favor getting all their goodies ready ahead of time.  This way, I have more time to hang out with them.  If you're new to all of these ideas, don't get overwhelmed.  Pick something and just spend a morning preparing it for your freezer.  As you get more acclimated you will be able to handle more meals, desserts, whatever.  Good luck to you all!