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...