Sunday, September 25, 2011

KY mom cooking allergy free: Soup's On....

KY mom cooking allergy free: Soup's On....: Recently, our family had a scare as our daughter had an emergency appendectomy. It definitely was not planned as she came home from schoo...

Soup's On....

  Recently, our family had a scare as our daughter had an emergency appendectomy.  It definitely was not planned as she came home from school with a tummy ache that only got worse through the night with us in the ER at dawn.  What made it worse was her liquid diet.  I was super nervous and made sure I checked and rechecked with all of her nurses in regards to her food allergies possibly being in medications and her food tray.  All of the nurses were awesome and very helpful; they made a neurotic mother feel at ease.  However, the dietary services dropped the ball BIG TIME!  Once she received her food tray the following morning after her surgery, she started getting itchy with more stomach pain.  I called dietary services to check on her food and low and behold wheat and soy were on her tray.  I am not gonna lie, I had a moment.  It was not pretty and I did not handle it well, however in my defense I was nearly 48 hours without sleep and the coffee was horrid.  I did apologize to the nursing staff repeatedly because it was not their fault and they truly felt sorry for our situation.  However, it is a scary situation when a person cannot even rely on their healthcare system, their local hospital, to provide the proper care.  The Doctor was called and they decided to hurry up and get us out of there before the hospital tried to feed her again.  My husband had to actually leave and go to the grocery store to get her something to eat.  I was so proud of the emergency care and the nursing care that she received, but that is the end of it.  I cannot imagine what would have happened to the uneducated individual or the single parent trying to do it all.  However, with all of that being said the important thing is that she is home, healthy, and appendix free.  When we got home she requested a bowl of soup for her dinner that evening, and I got started asap as her meds took her to dreamland.  Her request?  French Onion Soup!  Okay, kinda sweet and easy to eat, so I got started.  Luckily, our onion crop was fantastic this year and I have a ton of red and white onions to choose from with her favorite being the red.  I'm not just saying this, that girl loves her onions.  She loves to go through the gardens in the summer and pull up onions to wash off and eat like apples.  I thought I would share my French Onion Soup recipe with all of you.....

French Onion Soup

4 tbs butter
2 tbs canola oil
5 medium onions sliced thinly
1 box of Kitchen Basics Beef Broth
2 tsp tarragon
salt and pepper to taste.
Your favorite Allergy-friendly bread
Gruyere Cheese

To saucepan add butter and oil.  When melted add onions and tarragon.  Stir often until onions reach that beautiful carmelized appearance (about 40 minutes or so).  Add beef broth and cover until heated through.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  Ladle soup in crocks or mugs.  I made garlic toast out of our Rudi's Multi-Grain bread and place on top, shred gruyere cheese to cover toast and place under broiler until melted and bubbly.  If that's not a post-surgical treat, I don't know what is.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Food Allergy Family

I was pleasantly surprised the other day when grocery shopping at the amount of allergy-friendly salad dressings I saw.  They even had pretty green "gluten free" tags as aisle markers, making it easier to recognize.  Of course, not all were soy-free, but plenty were.  As soccer season is in full-swing, I am relying plenty on my crock-pot for those go-to meals.  I found some Maple Grove Farm Aged Asiago and peppercorn salad dressing the other day and thought they would go fantastically poured over some country-style ribs in my crock-pot.  Boy was I right and happy to say so.  Us food allergy families can sometimes find a hard time coming up with ideas for a crock-pot meal that doesn't involve chili, soup, or barbecue.  I love the idea of trying something a little outside the box, this dressing allowed the ribs to be super-tender but not stringy with a tangy kick to them, partly due to the dressing and partly due to the 5 cloves of garlic I chopped and added.  You can't go wrong with garlic, that's for sure.  It's like cheese, bacon, or butter- adding it just makes your food better (or at least it does in the south). I do enjoy the idea of using salad dressings as marinades and/or sauces.  After it's prepared you have a meal for the night or you can be like me and freeze it for later.  I'm extremely blessed to be able to be home for my family as my full-time job, therefore I'm always cooking.  I used to work as a nurse part-time until my daughter was diagnosed with food allergies.  I remember being so depressed and not even getting out of bed except to cook meals or go to work, and that was it.  I would go to work crying and come home from work crying.  People started realizing something was definitely going on and I was not one for publicizing anything in my life; that's when I knew something had to change.  I'm a pretty strong chica and when I sat down with my husband to discuss everything we knew what had to be done.  I couldn't nor wouldn't change my family, but I could most definitely change our circumstances; I quit my job to stay home until normalcy could be obtained.  I made my mind up and so began mine and my family's journey of re-invention.  It's nice to change it up a bit sometimes.  Whether you paint a room, try an ethnic food, or decide to change your lifestyle to accomodate your present circumstances.  We chose to change as a family as we choose to do everything.  I didn't have the luxury to grow up in a stable family and continue to bear those scars, but I am truly blessed to have married a man who truly is my strength when I am weak.  "The Evolution of a Food Allergy Family" is the title of a book I'm currently working on for food allergy families.  It's getting closer and closer to being done.  I can't wait to share it with all of you...