Friday, December 28, 2012

Pumpkin Seed Cream Cheese

Yes. I did.  I made cream cheese from pumpkin seeds.

I'm embarrassed to say that it was not nearly as hard as I imagined it would be.  Being dairy free means that traditional cream cheese is not an option.  Our house is also soy free, which means that all of the substitute cream cheese products on the market are also out of the question.  I had been toying with the idea of making my own from coconut milk, and even stumbled across a recipe that sounded intriguing, but then my daughter developed a coconut allergy.  *sigh*  I have often seen vegan recipes that use cashews to make cheese, but of course we are also nut free.

And then it hit me. Why not substitute seeds for the nuts, and make a faux cream cheese from pumpkin seeds?!  Why did this realization take so long?

I have given it a few test runs, and this is my final draft.  If you taste it immediately after blending the tang is a bit intense, but trust me.  Let this chill overnight and you have a spreadable delicious alternative to cream cheese.  The flavor will mellow.  A beautiful creamy spread with a hint of sweetness and a slightly nutty flavor will tantalize your taste buds.  Spread it on your favorite bagel, or use it in recipes that call for cream cheese frosting.

Me? I couldn't wait to put it into my vegan gluten-free pumpkin roll. Oh. My. Yes.

Pumpkin Seed Cream Cheese

1 c pumpkin seeds, soaked 2-12 hours at room temperature*
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 water
1/4 c + 2 Tbsp irish moss gel
1 single serve envelope DariFree, or your favorite powdered dairy replacement (about 3 tsp)

Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes.  You may need to use the tamper to help get this started blending.  I began with 1/4 cup water and drizzled the rest in until the desired consistency was reached.  Remember that this is a cream cheese, it should not be fully liquified in the blender.  (I use a Vitamix, so I was able to get a very creamy finished product.  In some blenders you may need to blend longer, or you may have a less smooth end product.)

*Soaking seeds: I put 1 cup of pumpkin seeds into a glass bowl and cover with cold water.  No need to measure, just add enough that they are covered by about 1/4 inch.  Allow them to sit out at room temperature until they sprout, about 2 hours.  It won't hurt them to sit out all day.  I then drain and rinse the seeds before using them.  I have been known to drain and rinse, then put into an airtight storage container and toss them into the fridge until the morning. Don't skip this step though!  It helps to make the seeds more easily digested and makes them blend more smoothly as well.

This recipe is vegan, gluten free, soy free, peanut and tree nut free, dairy free, coconut free, top 8 free, and delicious.  Enjoy.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Impossible Pumpkin Roll

The reason I call this impossible is because making a pumpkin roll that is gluten free AND vegan was so daunting that I put it off for years.  Literally.

This year I finally felt up to the challenge, and you know what? I nailed it.  First try was a gorgeous pumpkin roll that did not crack, even a little bit, and had wonderful flavor.  I'll be honest, the roll part itself is pretty traditional in flavor.  The filling is anything but familiar to the average taster.

I made my own cream cheese from pumpkin seeds.  Yes.  I did. But I'm still tweaking that, so I'll save it for another day.

Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Roll

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c Bob's All Purpose Gluten Free Flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum- generous
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt- scant
  • dash nutmeg

Whisk together the above dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  Prepare your pan:  I used a 13x17 cookie sheet with sides, and it was perfect.  Grease the bottom and sides of the pan with the shortening or oil of your choice.  (I used Spectrum shortening.)  Line with parchment paper.  You may grease the parchment paper as well for easier release, but I skipped that step!  Preheat the oven to 375.

Wet Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer
  • 1 tsp golden flax meal
  • 1/2 c warm water
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2/3 c canned pumpkin puree (Not pie filling!)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Mix the egg replacer, flax meal, and warm water in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium-high or high until very foamy and thick, about 2 minutes.  Make sure you are patient and wait for this to thicken!  Add the sugar and mix to fully incorporate.  Add each remaining ingredient, one at a time, mixing to fully incorporate after each addition.

Now add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.  This will be thicker than pancake batter, but not quite as thick as muffin batter.  Pour it into your prepared pan and use a silicone spatula to spread it evenly out.  It will take a little coaxing to get full coverage, and it will be a thin layer.  Now, thwack that pan on the counter a few times to release any trapped air bubbles.  Trust me on this.  Place into the oven for 15-18 minutes.  You want it to be dry to the touch before you take it out, so if you see any little wet spots give it another minute!

Set it on the counter or cooling rack and set a timer for 10 minutes.  Remember that delicate stage when you pull things out of the oven and they are too hot to handle and still very fragile, we want to wait that out and allow it to cool down enough to be more stable, but not cool all the way!  While it is cooling in the pan, get out a dish towel, pick the one with the least pile (or fluff).  Lay it out on your clean counter and liberally dust with powdered sugar.  Liberally.  At the end of the 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the pan to release any edges that may have baked onto the pan. Now turn the pan over on the towel, releasing the pumpkin roll directly onto the dusted towel.  Lift the pan away.  The next part is an art.  Peel the parchment paper off of your roll slowly and carefully, like wallpaper, keeping the paper at a 90 degree angle to the roll.  If you did not grease the paper there will be a super thin film of cake stuck to the paper, and this is OK.  Take your time here, it will be worth it!

When you have released the parchment paper it is time to roll!  Starting on the short side of your rectangle loosely roll like a pinwheel, towel and all!  Don't force it too tight, or it will crack.  We are training this roll while it is still warm, so it will remember how to bend once we fill it.  Once it is rolled up place it seam side down on a cooling rack and set a timer.  Give it 10-12 minutes.  You want it cool enough that you can put your hand around the roll and not feel heat radiating from it, but you don't want it completely cool.  It should remember that it's warm, but not be too persistant about it.  That little bit of trace warmth gives it a bit of continued flexibility.  Unroll carefully.

Now spread with filling.  I used my pumpkin seed cream cheese filling, which is another post.  You could use buttercream or whipped frosting, or the sweetened cream cheese replacement of your choice.  It should be at room temperature when you spread it, so as not to shock your poor bendy roll.  I spread it on the thin side, about 1/4" thick.  Get all the way out to the edges.  Then, again starting at the short side of your rectangle, roll back up the SAME way you rolled the first time, but leaving the towel out.  You may want to lift the edge of the towel to gently help roll the cake into place.  It should remember where to go, and this process should go smoothly.  Should.  If you get a little crack, don't sweat it.  It'll still taste good.

Once you have completely rolled the cake up into a beautiful pinwheel, wrap in plastic wrap and/or foil, and put it in the fridge.  Time to chill it completely before enjoying.  Give it 2 or more hours.

Slice and enjoy.

This taste bud treat is dairy free, egg free, soy free, gluten free, nut free, rice free, and vegan.  Depending on the filling of choice, of course.  Watch for the pumpkin seed cream cheese, coming soon!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sinful Sunbutter Mousse

I would love to give you a description of the mind blowing perfection that this delectable treat is, but my vocabulary is sadly lacking in adjectives that properly paint the picture of decadence that this mousse embodies.  Really.  Perfectly light, amazingly creamy and smooth... mmmmm. I've just finished my portion and am already plotting to make it again. Soon.

I tweaked the original recipe from a blog that I am quickly falling in love with, Sweetly Raw.  Please stop by and check out the luscious desserts she concocts.  You won't be disappointed.

In the meantime, I suggest putting this amazing mousse into a light cookie crumb crust or drizzling some allergy friendly chocolate sauce over the top.  Or both.  It was rich and truly begging for a partner to join in its decadence.

Sinful Sunbutter Mousse

1/3 c irish moss gel* (no- you can not skip this)
2/3 c unsweetened hemp milk
1/2 c sunbutter natural
1/2 c maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp himalayan salt (or kosher salt)
1 1/2 tsp golden flax meal
2 1/2 tbsp melted spectrum shortening

Blend all but the shortening on high speed in your blender until smooth and creamy. Then add the shortening and blend to incorporate.
Chill the mousse in small bowls or glasses for at least 4 hours.

*Irish Moss Gel- as instructed at

3/4 cup water
2 oz soaked irish  moss

1. Rinse a handful of irish moss in cold water until any bits of debris have been removed. Rinse until the water runs clear.
2. Allow the moss to soak in cold water for 6-12 hours. It will greatly expand in size, so make sure to use a bowl with plenty of extra room.
3. Remove the moss from the soak water.  (Original directions say not to rinse, but I rinsed again.)
4. Chop the moss and blend it with the water until it warms up and turns into a gel (you may have to scrap the sides of the blender down a few times).  I added a bit at a time, and stopped when the blender got just enough liquid to run smoothly.
5. Chill the gel in the fridge for 6-7 days, or use immediately. When using in recipes where it's already chilled and firm, make sure to pack it into the cup to get a proper measurement.

This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, nut free, egg free, soy free, refined sugar free, and vegan.  It is also hassle free and huge on flavor.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pumpkin Muffins

I love fall.  The trees that flame in warm reds, light up with sunny yellows, and surprise me with their many hues of happiness. The comfort of snuggling into a favorite sweater and sipping something warm.  And pumpkin.  All things pumpkin.

I'll be honest, I do not relegate pumpkin to it's rightful place as a harvest time delight.  I enjoy it sprinkled into my diet throughout the year.  But in fall, oh fall, I indulge in sinful amounts of pumpkin-y goodness.  It's a wonder the children don't turn orange.

No mediocrity allowed when pumpkin is involved.  Those cute recipes boasting that you can add a can of pumpkin to a box of cake mix and have super easy muffins? They somehow neglect to mention that the result is also super dense, and chewy in an unsatisfactory way.  None of that here.

I would like to share with you the perfect pumpkin muffin.  Moist, tender, and packed with enough nutrition to -almost- make it guilt free. The real bonus? It's allergy friendly.  Inspired by this recipe, but tweaked to meet the tastes of my family.

Pumpkin Muffins

1 1/2 c Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose flour
1/2 c quinoa flakes
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 c organic sugar
1 Tbsp flax meal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 15oz can pumpkin puree (I like Libby's)
1/2 c hemp milk (or milk of your choice)
1/2 tsp cider vinegar
safflower oil (or light tasting oil of your choice)

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, quinoa, xanthan gum, sugar, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Set aside. (You can mix this the night before! Cover with saran wrap and leave the bowl on the counter.)

Scoop about 1/3 cup of pumpkin out of the can and put into a separate container for another day.  Estimate.  Now, fill the empty space left in the can with oil. Really.  Don't dirty a measuring cup for this part.

Add the pumpkin/oil mixture, hemp milk, and vinegar to a small bowl and whisk to combine.  (You can do this the night before too!  Put it all in a small container, put the lid on and shake well.  Place in the fridge overnight.)

Combine wet and dry ingredients.  (If you woke up to find them waiting for you, just preheat the oven while your coffee brews.  Dump the already mixed wet into the already mixed dry. Super easy morning cooking!)  Spoon into greased or lined muffin tins and bake 27-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free, rice-free, wheat-free, vegan, and scrumptious.  It has lots of protein, a bit of healthy fat, and just the right amount of pumpkin.  Yum!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

To Serve or Not to Serve

It is a topic that brings on emotionally charged debate across the nation, the world even, and often ends in gridlock and hard feelings.  The best presidential candidate?  The solution to rising healthcare costs? The employment crisis in America?  Nope.

The decision schools are making about whether to serve peanut products in their cafeteria.  And in rare instances, the decision to make the entire school peanut free.

I recently sat in a school board committee meeting dedicated to determining their stance on this hot topic.  I had the opportunity to witness the emotion behind both sides of the argument, and to acknowledge the validity within each argument.  I know these conversations are becoming increasingly common across the country as the incidence of food allergy among children is on the rise.

Let me share with you some of the conversations that took place, my take on them as an allergy parent, and some words of wisdom to anyone who must engage in either side of this conversation.  Or at least my version of wisdom.

Diving right into the frenzy of emotion, I'll start by trying to capture the vantage point of the cafeteria workers and school nutrition staff who were present.  Their first observation was that children rejected the taste of the soybutter product, and that allergic parents complained because it was not dairy free (the prepackaged sandwich version).  They further expressed concern that children who were on a free lunch program counted on lunch being provided for them, and often would chose not to eat if peanut butter was not present as an option.  There was genuine concern for the children choosing to be hungry rather than chose an alternative.

My take: It's true, there are students who will chose to be hungry.  As a child on free lunch I regularly drank the milk, ate the canned fruit of the day, and threw the rest out.  Think about the battles you have over dinner at home.  Kids are picky.  They can and will find something to put in their tummy to keep them from starving.  Choosing to be hungry? It happens.  

The difference here is that allergic children can not chose whether to have an allergic reaction or not. Choosing to be hungry will not kill a child, but an allergic reaction could.  Also? Children don't learn to eat outside of their comfort zone by serving only foods within their comfort zone.  The adapt only after repeated exposure and lack of ability to make the familiar choice.

Truthfully, I think the prepackaged Uncrustable is a perfect compromise.  The school is already providing this.  It takes preparation out of the school's kitchen, each sandwich is individually sealed and wrapped so the peanut butter within will not contaminate any other surface in the kitchen during food preparation or storage. Run with it, I say.

The administrator present did not understand how serving peanut butter or not would make a significant impact, as students were still free to bring in their own peanut butter sandwich.  Thus, peanut butter is still present and still a risk factor.

My take:  Peanut butter in the food preparation area can lead to cross contamination of other foods as well as preparation areas, leading to unintentional allergen exposure and hard to trace reactions.  Children who bring in their own lunch do not contaminate the food preparation, only their area of the table.  There is still risk for allergic children, but it is not as great and is more easily managed.

One allergy parent brought up that the district had eliminated pork from it's menu in an effort to simplify the lunch process for those students who avoid pork due to religious preference.  Cafeteria personnel were quick to point out this was a practical decision, as going through the ingredients present in each dish with each of the pork avoiding students was dramatically slowing progress through the lunch time, costing valuable eating time to be lost for many students.

My take:  Eliminating food in order to save time seems like an illogical argument to me.  It seems like an easy task to put a sign up by each food declaring it to be pork-free, so the children can identify on sight and not need to ask.  In addition, no physical harm comes from accidental ingestion that is against a religious belief.  Accidental ingestion of an allergen can stop the entire school while the EMS responds to a potentially serious allergic reaction.  No disrespect intended, but these repercussions do not carry the same weight. 

My final thoughts: I would never ask a school to ban an allergen. Ever.  My daughter has multiple allergens, at varying degrees of severity.  I know hundreds of allergy parents with so many different allergens.  Tell me which school would ban dairy products to protect a child with a contact sensitive anaphylactic reaction. It really is a slippery slope, if you ban one child's allergen how can you say no to the parents of a child with a different allergen?  It also harbors a false sense of security among staff when they feel the threat is not present, and they do not feel the need to be as vigilant in watching for reactions.  

Instead, I prefer to work with each school to find safe accommodations for each child as an individual.  Educate the staff about how to keep each student safe, put safety protocols in place to make it achievable.

If you have to enter into this conversation some things to remember: everyone has the same goal.  Safe and healthy children.  Try to take the emotion out of the conversation and discuss the facts, as the more emotion you bring to the conversation the less people are able to hear your message.  Also, approach any meeting with an attitude of teamwork.  Striving to find a win-win solution helps everyone benefit, and makes it more pleasant to work with you!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Classroom Celebration, without food

As a parent of a child with multiple food allergies, I am intensely aware of how often schools use food as an incentive for positive behavior with students.  I know I'm not the only one baking cupcakes at midnight, scrambling to come up with a last minute allergy-safe pizza, or dropping ice cream off at school so that my allergic child can participate with the other students in their food based celebrations!

Unfortunately, those are just the events we are notified about.  Many times there are food events at school that we don't know about until after our children get home.  Unplanned birthday treats that surprise the teacher, and little rewards from other teachers that slip through the notification system.  Yes, I have a box of safe treats stashed in the classroom for just such events, but I'd rather not.

The number of food based incentives really adds up when you look at the number of adults each week that our children interact with: the teachers, principal, cafeteria workers, coaches, tutors, music lessons, etcetera.  I'd rather be teaching my kids how to reward themselves for good behavior in ways that don't involve food.  How to celebrate in a way that encourages good health.  Too many of us as adults still struggle with this concept, and reach for indulgent foods when we want to reward ourself.  Wouldn't it be nice if we could lessen this struggle for our kids, regardless of allergies?

With this in mind, I sent a letter to my daughter's school, asking them to consider more non-food rewards.  These ideas can be used for birthdays, to celebrate classroom victory in school wide competitions, and many other times.  Feel free to borrow my letter.  Tweak it to match the culture of your school, add some of your own ideas, or use it just as it is.  Send it to the school board and superintendent and encourage the district to move toward food free celebration as a whole!

Dear ________________________,

I applaud all you do to build enthusiasm in your building, both among students and staff.  I am always impressed with how positive the attitudes are no matter who I interact with while I am there.   Thank you for working so hard to maintain such a positive environment.

That being said, I would like to make some suggestions for your consideration regarding classroom rewards and celebrations.  It seems that the most frequent way to reward a classroom for achievement is with a food of some sort.  I feel that foods are not easily adapted to the many possible dietary restrictions you may have in your building.  (Including diabetes, allergies, and religious preference among others.)  Many students also enjoy pizza, ice cream, and other treats at home with their families, which makes the treat somewhat less exciting at school. 

In addition, when you stop to consider the number of adults providing food rewards to our children over the week, it adds up to an alarming volume.  This is in direct conflict with the nutrition teaching we are doing: it teaches children to eat when they are not hungry, and to indulge in low nutrition treats.  It also excludes children who are not able to enjoy the same treat.  That is a lot of negative impact for what is intended to be a positive reward!

Rewards can be a tremendously effective way to motivate positive behavior in children.  My preference is to shift the celebration away from food.  With all of the dietary restrictions in the building, as well as the growing obesity epidemic in our society, I would love to teach the children how to reward themselves with treats that are not food based.  I have many suggestions for this, ranging in price from free (yeah!) to budget friendly. If you factor in time to serve, eat and clean up for each celebration, I estimate that each celebration is about 30 minutes of time.  Many activities can be done in that time.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Watch an age appropriate short cartoon or movie.  
  • Have extra recess time outdoors.
  • Play teacher directed games in the classroom or the gym, or chose a special host to direct games. If a guest hosts, the teacher gets the reward of extra planning time!
  • Have the winning class do a “victory lap” around the school (through the hallways), singing the school song or other parade appropriate chant. (Focusing on celebration, not teasing.)
  • Have a parent come in for a guest appearance reading, doing a magic act, or showcasing another talent.  (We have many parents that could entertain with stories, music, or crafts.)
  • Eat (their own) lunch as a class in a unique location, such as the teacher's lounge, outside, or in the library.
  • Chose a favor from the treasure box.  This can include bouncy balls, erasers, novelty pencils or pens, party whistles, etc.  If you watch clearance items it is amazing what you can find for under $2!
  • Decorate a box or blank journal and send it to the classroom.  Have each member of the class write a sentence about what helped them to succeed in this victory, an experience with the person being celebrated, or other thought relevant to the celebration.  Display this in the hallway where other children can view it, then send it home with the person of honor or allow it to live on a ‘victory shelf’ in the office or classroom.
  • Provide supplies for a craft that is related to the reason for celebration.
  • Host a dance party in the classroom or gym, and teach the class a new line dance or dance move.
  • Time to play board games in the classroom: scrabble, banana grams, etc.  Make a traveling game box full of games reserved especially for victory celebrations.
  • An opportunity to chose a unique location for a ‘read in’, where the class has their silent reading time outdoors, in the gym, or another location they chose.
  • A phone call home from the principal to brag about the student’s accomplishments
  • A certificate of recognition
  • An easel by the office displaying a picture of the victor and a caption explaining their victory.  They can take the picture home or add it to a book of school victors that is on display in the office.

Thank you for your time and consideration in reviewing these ideas.  If none of these ideas seem to fit with your ideal celebration, I would like to request that a minimum of 1 day advance notice be given to all recipients of the food based party.  Sending a note home with students not only allows the parents to plan appropriately for alternate accommodations, but it also allows the students to build anticipation, heightening their enjoyment of the event.  

Thanks again,

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

504 Follow up

A week ago I shared my anxiety about starting a new school.  Anxiety driven by the lack of communication with the school and how they would prepare for my allergic kiddo.

I am happy to be able to report that my last minute 504 meeting went much more smoothly than I expected.

I walked into the meeting full of uncertainty.  I went with a copy of our 504, and plenty of training materials to share should it become obvious that the staff needed additional training.  I had notes to remind me what additional points of clarification may be needed.

Arriving at the building for a meeting scheduled just 30 minutes before the school wide open house only enhanced my anxiety.  How could a 504 meeting be planned to overlap with the open house, when the teachers should be in their rooms greeting their new students? Hmm.

Then, when the teacher greeted me in the office and took me to her classroom for the meeting, my heart sank.  It was obvious that the staff had time boxed our meeting to a mere 30 minutes.  How could I address misunderstandings and promote an open two way conversation in such a short period of time? I was feeling defensive and uncertain.

The meeting opened, and it quickly became obvious that the staff was incredibly willing to work with me.  They were open to each of the items on the existing 504.  They showed no resistance.  None.  Everyone seemed willing to accomodate my allergic kiddo, and seemed amused that I needed to verify their level of awareness and willingness to make accommodations.

My only point of contention is one that is not of the school's doing, and does not reflect negatively upon them.  In our current 504 the responsibility of each partner is outlined: how the parent, the child, the teacher, the staff will all work together to form a team designed to ensure the safety of the allergic kiddo.  The principal informed me that when the plan is re-written at the one year mark, it will no longer include any verbiage about the parental role in helping to keep the child safe.  I find it reprehensible that they are no longer allowed to state what they expect (and need) from the parent in order to safely accomodate the child.

Managing food allergies in the classroom is not the sole responsibility of the school!  Parents need to be actively involved in communicating needs, staying informed and providing updated information as it becomes available.  Schools should have the continued ability to not only request, but require parental involvement.

*ahem* I digress.  Since the 504 meeting, the teachers and the staff have shown on more than one occasion that they are taking the presence of allergies quite seriously.  I am very pleased with their responsiveness to our requests, their actions to keep the classroom a safe environment, and their willingness to keep the lines of communication open.

As an allergy parent, my biggest fear is being perceived as adversarial.  I worry constantly that that I will come across in a manner that seems demanding, contrary, or unreasonable.  Especially now, in a building full of people that do not yet know me!  My goal is simple: to keep my daughter safe in the way that causes the least inconvenience to the building.  Really.  Safe is the priority, but with the least hassle is important.  I don't want to be the high maintenance family that inspires eye rolling and muttered grumbling.  I strive to find the middle ground where the win-win solutions live, so that everyone can move forward with a good attitude and a sense of satisfaction.  I encourage other allergy parents to do the same.  (I'm not saying to compromise safety.  Never.  Just to be pleasant and honestly striving for teamwork rather than focusing solely on fulfilling a list of your expectations.)

How did your 504 meetings go?  Any stories of inspiration, unexpected and creative solutions, or lingering frustrations YOU would like to share?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Innocence and Irritability

I have finally crossed over.  I AM that mom, the one that takes offense at innocent comments. *sigh*

Not really.  I usually take them in stride and accept them for what they are, comments made from a vantage of inexperienced lack of understanding.  Except for this morning.  An innocent comment made on twitter keeps rubbing at me, like that annoying pebble in your shoe when you don't have the luxury of immediately removing it.

"Kids were told they can't bring PB&J to school. Sad for their loss."  That is the extent of the innocent comment that has me agitated.  I understand that this is a parent quietly lamenting that the students at that school will not experience the same lunchtime simplicity he grew up with.  He is certainly entitled to feel a sense of sadness that his children, and the peer population, will miss this simple lunchtime tradition. Absolutely sincere here.

Personally, I'm not a supporter of peanut bans.  I think they create a false sense of security and lower the vigilance of the staff and the students by lulling them into thinking that the threat of accidental exposure has been removed.

Also?  How colossally unfair to ban peanuts and not other foods that may cause life threatening allergic reactions?  I know more than one child with atypical life threatening allergies.  One is contact sensitive to milk. He reacts ON CONTACT.  Tell me you will find a school that will ban milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products in order to spare this child.  I also know of life threatening allergies to eggs, chicken, garlic, wheat, and banana.  Can you imagine a school where all of these things are banned?

I know, I know. But peanuts have a sticky residue and their oils spread easily.  I've heard that.  Have you seen the way children eat?  Bananas are gooey and leave an easily transferred slime on little hands, as does yogurt.  Milk is more likely to be spilled and flood an allergic child's lap, possibly their lunchbox as well.  How can you possibly rank which life threatening allergen should take precedence over the others?  How does a school look a mother in the face and explain why they will ban the other child's allergen but not the one that will kill her child? Ugh. Not an easy place for the school, the staff, the parent or the child to find themselves.

Don't get me wrong.  I understand the why behind asking for a peanut ban.  I don't want anyone's child to be exposed to a toxic substance.  I don't want a cafeteria full of students to be forced to watch another child experience an anaphylactic reaction.  It is terrifying.  I don't want any school to lose a week of instructional time to grief counseling, trauma counseling, and funeral services.  Most of all, I don't want a child to die because of a 100% preventable exposure.

I digress. Greatly.

A parent is sad because his children can not bring PB&J to school.

Take just a minute and think about the other 16 hours in the day your child will get to enjoy their childhood favorite.  As an  after school snack, a Saturday picnic, a lazy dinner on a busy evening, on toast at breakfast.  Any day.  You pick.  Lots of time to eat PB&J outside of school.  Promise.

Now think about that other kid.  The one that caused the ban.  Who will never know PB&J.  Never.  Or Reece cups, eggs, or pumpkins.  Or Snickers bars.  Or about 95% of the ice creams on the market.  Anything from a bakery counter at the grocery store is off limits.  Donuts are almost never allowed. So many of the foods you take for granted and that embody your childhood memories? Not an option for the peanut allergic kid.

In addition this child will face ridicule and hard feelings directed at him because he is the reason the student population can not have their favorite lunch treat.  The kids know who it is.  They know why the holiday parties and birthday treats are restricted.

It does not foster feelings of pride and self confidence in the allergic kids to be the driving force behind dietary mandates at school.

And the bigger issue?  Your child will never know the fear of eating. That peanut allergic kid has sincere fear that he will die one day because he had a bite of a cookie.  Every day they are fearful.  Every. Day.  They are surrounded by a substance that is toxic to them.  They know that one moment of carelessness by another student, by a staff member, or even their self could easily endanger their life. Just one bite could change the future.

Imagine for just one moment that each classroom has an envelope of anthrax in it, and the children were told to "Just avoid it."  I don't know a single parent that would not protest.  For food allergic kids they face this everyday.  Their anthrax is all around them, and they have to "just avoid it."

Your sadness at the loss of PB&J at school?  I know, it is real.  But please, for the sake of that allergic child, try to keep it short lived and quiet.  Don't grumble about it at home, or quietly with other parents.  Help foster a sense of tolerance and understanding.  Make sure your children know it is a small inconvenience that is totally worthwhile.  After all, would you really pay for your sandwich with another child's life?

For a very recent real-life story, if you need one of the many out there, click here.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Starting school...again.

Just a little over a week until the new school year starts for my kiddos.  This year we will be starting not only a fresh year, but a new school as well.

For those of you who follow me on twitter, you know that I recently moved.  From the neighborhood where my car was stolen- twice- to a neighborhood where I'm sure my car would only have been taken if I had actually paid someone to haul it off.  It's nice to sleep at night without worrying about whether I will have a car in the morning.  (My daughter actually asked me once: "Mom, when they steal this car can we get a red one?" You know it's time to move on when your car being stolen is seen as a given rather than a chance.)

I digress.  New home. New school.  The girls finished out their year in the previous school, so that they could start fresh with the incoming class.  And so I could start to work with the school in advance, make sure they were ready for us.

Step one was to stop in and introduce myself to the school nurse.  Ask a few friendly questions and get a feeling for the policy and her role in allergy management, as well as her approach to it.  I was truly not prepared for the interaction that took place.  I left feeling discouraged that the nurse was not quite hostile toward food allergies, but was certainly not welcoming or flexible.  No, there are not peanut free classrooms.  No, children can not invite a friend to join them at the peanut free table.  Yes, if a child brings a peanut based treat to share during class it will be enjoyed. There's more, but those were the highlights. The nurse however, is only there one day a week.  This is both horrifying (I'm used to not one, but three nurses on staff at all times!) and wonderful (only one day of her influence to overcome).  The next step for me was to meet with the principal.

What a meeting.  She was kind, and receptive, and made all the right assurances.  Certainly we could have a peanut free classroom, certainly friends could be invited to the peanut free lunch table.  Hmmm. While I was relieved that she had the right answers, it was also problematic.  Did this mean the principal was out of touch with how allergy management actually happened at our new school, or did this mean the nurse was uncooperative and was putting up unnecessary roadblocks? I asked the principal to chat with the nurse in order to clarify the message and make sure we were all on the same page.  I then asked to have a meeting with the teachers so that they would be able to prepare over the summer for a very allergic student joining their classroom.

That was the last I heard.  No follow up, no meeting.

I consulted with the staff at the awesome school we have been attending, and we got a 504 in place stating all of the precautions that they had always taken willingly and proactively. (Really, I am so sad to leave such an amazing school.)  Because it looks like my daughter will need a 504 to make sure the staff of the new school are all on the same page in regards to my daughter's safely.  I want no mixed messages or grey areas here.

I then sent an email to request a 504 meeting with the new staff.  Let's get the ball rolling so this plan is in place and understood before the new year begins.  I remember being a teacher, and I know I would have appreciated having an entire summer to learn and prepare for such a change in the classroom. I also know that once the request is received in writing they have only 30 days to respond.

The response?  We'd be happy to meet after the summer is over, when the teachers return to school. *sigh*  So, yes.  The meeting to establish a 504 plan for my daughter is scheduled to be THE DAY BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS.  That should be helpful for the teachers.  At least it will be fresh in their minds.

It has made me a nervous wreck.  All summer long I have been trying to build the kids up for a great experience at an awesome new school, but I wonder if they can tell it's not heartfelt.  An awesome school would not put student safety off until the last minute. Eeek.  I'm feeling that I am likely to be THAT mom.  The one that causes the staff to roll their eyes and grumble, "Here comes Mrs. Mentor again.  What does she want this time?"

Hopefully I am awed and amazed by the meeting next week, and the level of awareness and receptiveness the teachers have.  Hopefully I walk away feeling relieved and a bit embarrassed to have been so stressed.


Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Simple Salmon Salad

I adore meals that are easy to fix.  Along with 98% of the population.  (The other 2% are unusuals that either love cooking intricate and complicated meals or who plan on eating out, and thus are not concerned with the effort that went into preparation.)

One of the quickest and easiest meals at my house is salmon.  I love the no fuss nature of both prep and execution.  I admit that the fishy odor that lingers in the house the next day is NOT my favorite part, and if anyone has a chemical free remedy for that I'd be happy to listen.

Wait!  It's summer!  My wonderful husband realized that salmon the the grill is the perfect way to avoid perfuming the house with essence de salmon.  What a good man.  In fact, he went a step farther and skewered the salmon before grilling it.  Oooo la la!  Why is this genius?  Because in my house the children will eat twice a much of anything that is on a skewer.  It magnifies the fun factor exponentially, so that even my pickiest eater will actually put a serving of skewered food in her belly before realizing that she does not, in fact, actually like it.  Yes, there are prizes for presentation.

Given that they ate wonderfully, I was lucky to have a bit of leftover salmon that I tucked into the fridge.  Perfect for lunch the next day.  Almost.  There were two small servings of salmon left, and I needed to feed four people.  How to stretch it?  Salmon salad.

This is a perfect summer recipe, bursting with fresh flavors inspired by a recent Pampered Chef party I attended.  You know the type, where they make homemade salsa and everyone is excessively impressed at how delightful salsa tastes when it is made fresh rather than from a jar, and how insanely easy it actually is to whip up a batch.  Yep.  That inspired this dish.  Mango salsa.

Perfect for summer I say.  Light, cool, easy.  Only two of the three kids ate it, but that's only because it can't be served on a skewer.

Salmon Salad

6 oz cooked salmon (I use leftover, when we have it.)
1/4 c finely chopped mango
1/4 c finely chopped red pepper
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
juice of one small lime
juice of 1/2 small lemon
1/2 tsp kosher salt- to taste
dash of pepper- to taste
dash of garlic- to taste

Flake salmon into a medium bowl with a fork.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Let stand 10 minutes for flavors to blend, and serve with Way Better Sweet Potato or Black Bean chips for scooping.  Or serve in a lettuce wrap to enhance the summer feel.

All amounts in this recipe can be adjusted to suit your personal tastes.  The above represent an estimate of what I actually threw in, because I rarely measure.  It is very much like making mango salsa and adding salmon.  You could use fresh pineapple in place of the mango, or tuna in place of the salmon, and still get tasty results.

This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, egg free, peanut free, corn free, soy free, and hassle free.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cookbook Endorsement

Often people are surprised when I tell them that my greatest support network was on Twitter for a very long period of time.  (Then life got crazy and I got out of the twitter habit.  My friends and support network are still there, I just don't check in as often.  I miss that.)  Many food allergy people and parents are on twitter, and are happy to share ideas and advice for those daily allergy dilemmas.  Love it.

It was there that I first met Colette Martin (@colettefmartin).  Later I had the pleasure of meeting her in person at allergy conferences.  She is just as wonderful in person as she is online!  Colette is a fellow allergy mom, and has released a cookbook based on her home cooking. She also is blogging about cooking allergy free.  I feel very honored that she sent me a preview to check out!  Today's breakfast came from that book.

Let me tell you a bit about the book.  It is the book I wish I had four years ago when I began my adventures into gluten free baking.  In fact, much of it would have been helpful 9 years ago when I was beginning my life as an allergy free household without dairy and eggs.  Why?  Because this book has so much more than recipes.

It is not an exaggeration to say that when this cookbook arrived in the mail, I sat down and read the first half like most people would read a novel.  Not a single recipe comes up in the first half of the book! It is a tutorial in replacing wheat, eggs, and dairy in your baking.  Colette includes wisdom gained through experience on what substitutes can be used in your recipe, how to determine which is best suited to your recipe, and even occasional product suggestions.  I adore the fact that not only does it sound much like she is standing in the room talking to you, it is such down to earth advice.  No complex recipes that take hours to prepare.  No fussy recipes that require intimidating precision.  This is all stuff that every mama can do, and presented with simple explanations that help you understand WHY you are doing it in such a way.  If you don't try a single recipe in the book, the tutorial at the beginning is valuable enough to justify the purchase.

Each recipe is followed by tips and bits of wisdom specific to that recipe, and often by a "crash course", or brief tutorial on a baking principle that relates to the recipe.  For example after a recipe that called for creaming together the sugar and shortening, a page on the role of creaming in a recipe was included.  So great.

I could go on and on.  There are, of course, several things that I do differently than Colette.  Every baker has her own style. They are relatively minor differences.  Given that, I would still have purchased this book.  Coming from me, that is huge.  I don't often endorse a cookbook because I have SO many restrictions that no cookbook has enough recipes I can use to justify the purchase.  I live in the world of food bloggers, where I can pick and chose recipes as I need, and adapt them when necessary.  Colette has written a cookbook that is wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, and nut-free.  And? Rice-free if you use the right baking mix.  The changes I need to make are minor.  The advise and suggestions are priceless.

In a world where multiple allergies are becoming more common, this cookbook is a gem.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lemon Cupcakes

I don't know what it is about summer and warm weather that makes lemon desserts seem so much more appealing.  Perhaps the light nature of the citrus tang and energizing fragrance.  Nonetheless, with warm weather here and a lemon in the fridge, I pondered what to make.

Then I remembered a recipe a fellow allergy mom had blogged, a luscious lemon bread.  Of course, I rarely have the patience to wait long enough for a bread to bake, so I often opt to make muffins instead.  Perfectly portioned, and less patience required.  It's also helpful when baking gluten free and vegan, as most recipes cook well in a muffin tin.  A bread pan allows for a soggy center, and no one likes that.

Honestly, though, I have not mastered cupcakes in my new gluten free life.  I can do muffins.  Cupcakes? Not so much.  This bread though... it's cupcake fodder.  Nothing muffin like here. And THIS is the first truly tasty cupcake I have crafted.  The kids begged for another, and even I wanted one more.  Good stuff.  Below is the recipe with my adaptations.  Enjoy!

Gluten Free Lemon Cupcakes

6 Tbsp butter flavored Spectrum
1c sugar
zest of one lemon
1 1/2 c Bob’s Red Mill GF all purpose flour
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c hemp milk
5 Tbsp very hot water + 2 Tbsp golden flaxmeal, combined and set aside
1/4 c water- as needed

Glaze Topping:
juice of one lemon
1/3 c sugar

Put shortening in a large mixing bowl and allow to come to room temperature (if is not already).  Add sugar and cut together using wire whisk.  Add flour and again cut in with wire whisk until mixture has uniform sandy texture.  Add lemon zest and incorporate.  (If possible do this part ahead of time and allow to sit at room temperature up to 24 hours.  This lets the flavor of the lemon peel permeate the batter for better flavor.  This can be skipped, the lemon flavor will just be less developed.)  Now add xanthan gum, baking powder, hemp milk, and flax egg.  Use a mixer to blend well.  Add up to 1/4 c water if needed to get batter consistency right.  It will be a very stiky batter that will climb the beaters, so mix with care!  Divide into 12 lined muffin tins and bake 25 minutes.  Mix lemon juice and sugar and spoon onto cupcakes right out of oven.  Serve warm or after cooled.

This recipe is gluten free, soy free, dairy free, egg free, nut free, and vegan friendly.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Apple Crisp, gluten free

Apple Crisp, Gluten Free

I have to be honest, this is not my recipe.  I am sharing it on my page because I am in love with the simplicity of making this wholesome and amazingly delicious dessert.  Well, sometimes dessert.  Being the rebel that I am, I have absolutely served it for breakfast more than once.  It's all healthy stuff.  Why not serve it up to start your day?

Enough teasing, I'm going to share the recipe with the (very few) changes I made, but you should check out the original.  There are even luscious pictures to lure you in further on the original post.

Know what else? Tonight I tried it with fresh cherries.  It worked beautifully.

Gluten Free Apple Crisp

7ish apples, unpeeled, cored and chopped (or enough cherries to adequately fill the bottom of your baking dish- you judge how high they should pile for a healthy serving!)
4ish tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c fresh cranberries (if you are using apples- but optional still)
1/2 c maple syrup- use the real thing
1/4 c chopped raw pumpkin seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon (only 1/2 tsp for cherry crisp)
1 c quinoa flakes
1/2 c butter flavored Spectrum shortening or Soy Free Earth Balance margarine

Preheat the oven to 375.
Put the apples in a 9x13 glass baking dish if you like a light layer, or a 9x9 if you like a thick apple/cherry crisp.  Sprinkle the lemon juice and the vanilla over the fruit and stir around a bit. (No added sugar is needed, it'll be sweet enough. Really.)
Combine the quinoa flakes, cinnamon, and chopped pumpkin seeds in a bowl and stir to distribute the cinnamon evenly.  Stir in maple syrup and mix thoroughly.  Cut in the Spectrum or Earth Balance.  Sprinkle over fruit.  (again, if you used a 9x9 you'll get a thicker more generous crisp topping).
Bake 40-45 minutes until fruit is bubbly and crisp topping is lightly browned and looking, well, crisp.
Serve hot or cold, and adding a bit of whipped coconut cream or non-dairy ice cream just adds to the yum factor. 

The additional beauty here? If made carefully this is gluten free, soy free, corn free, egg free, dairy free, nut free, refined sugar free, but still HUGE on delicious.  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Compassion for All

As an allergy mama, I constantly read blogs of other parents and allergy sufferers that write about their experience, their knowledge, and especially their recipes!  I gain valuable insight and perspective by sharing a moment in their life.  I learn vicariously from the both the failures and triumphs of navigating this food centric world with multiple allergies.

The message of one particular blog has burrowed its way into the corner of my brain, where it quietly taunts me at odd moments.  I vividly remember reading the frustrated voice of this gluten free blogger exasperated by the people around her that continually lament about the difficulties of gluten free living. Her message was, essentially, that we should all stop complaining because this lifestyle change is not truly so difficult.  Just eat whole foods and everything is wonderful.

What complete and utter ridiculousness.  I fully understand that in her world gluten free eating was not a daily battle that left her feeling weary and defeated at the end of each day.  She was able to embrace this change to her relationship with food, and seize the opportunity to eat healthier foods as a result. Bully for her.

Do I sound bitter? Maybe just a smidgen irritated.  Gluten free eating can help lead to a healthier eating pattern, and it can be done with relative ease if gluten is the only food being avoided.  For people with multiple allergies, who already have a list of foods to avoid that is extensive, gluten free living is anything but easy.  If you are new to gluten free living, it is certainly not easy.  Gluten free is an operating system outside the cultural norm, far from what most people are accustomed to, and parting with a dietary staple takes serious adjusting.

Everyone adjusts at their own pace.  Some days are harder to get through than others, the changes seem magnified and more difficult to manage.  Those are the times I tend to focus on when I blog, because those are the moments when people most need support.  They need to know that others have lived through the same emotions and challenges, and come out victorious on the other side.  I focus on the negative becuase it is hard, and people need to know that they are not alone, and that it is ok to struggle.

Really, not many people seek support on the days when they feel positive and in control.

I am not unaware of the positive aspects of allergy and gluten free eating, I know we eat healthier as a whole. We are sick much less often because our diet is so healthy.  I have learned how to prepare a few quick meals, and lazy meals, and the slow cooking comfort foods.  I have come to enjoy the challenge of creating tasty food that is safe for the entire family.  I even have a handful of recipes I can serve to company without apology for serving food outside of the average comfort zone.

There are days when people ask "What do you eat?!?" Often I want to respond "Um. Food. Duh." because while the list of what we avoid is long, the list of foods available at the store is so much longer.  There are hundreds of options, and we enjoy eating so many foods that are normal.  Most days gluten free, allergen free living is just, well, life.  I manage it.

But some days are hard.  And I challenge anyone who can not see that to cook a day in our diet.  Don't discount the struggles of another merely because you have mastered their challenge.  Respect that they have not achieved mastery and seek to support them.

I understand, also, that many parents struggle with burdens far greater than my own.  They inspire me to focus on the positives in my own household.  I am blessed in so many ways every day, even if I occasionally kvetch more than I should.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

This week is crazy busy for us, with lots on the schedule including a small trip out of town.  That means picking simple meals that are fast, and ones that I can cook away from home without taking the entire kitchen with me.  Her goes.

Breakfast: Cereal
Lunchbox: ham roll up, red pepper strips, peas, strawberries, v8 fusion
Dinner: pulled pork, fries, watermelon, applesauce

Breakfast: zuchinni muffins
Lunchbox: apples with sunbutter, carrots, beetbox berry smoothie, terra chips, v8
Dinner: sloppy joe, broccoli, peaches w/raspberry sauce, baked potato

Breakfast: grits with cranberry sauce
Lunchbox: sloppy joe, tortilla chips, fruit snacks, carrots
Dinner: Qdoba (road food)

Breakfast: Buckwheat pancakes
Lunch: three bean salad, corn w/red pepper, canteloupe
Dinner: squash pasta, oven roasted brussel sprouts, blueberries

Breakfast: bacon and fruit salad
Lunch: lettuce and ham wraps
Dinner: turkey burgers, baked sweet potatoes, cauliflower

Breakfast: Pumpkin muffins
Lunch: salmon, asparagus, berries
Dinner: Qdoba (road food)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Night Off

Reality: Moms are busy people. (Dads too.) Whether you are a stay at home parent, or a working parent matters not, life has a way of filling up with events that require your attention. Every parent has had that day full of productive errand running, successful playdates for the kids, school, dance class, whatever filled up your day. Maybe you yourself had a quiet day because *gasp* you were sick. No sick days allowed here! Walking into the kitchen knowing you need to get a meal on the table QUICKLY to prevent the overtired overhungry little people from coming completely unglued is not unheard of in the parenting world.

As a parent of a child with multiple allergies we do not have a "safe" fast food option. No drive-though solutions for us. No matter how long and exhausting my day has been, there will be cooking in it. No matter how much effort it takes to stand up there will be cooking involved. That is my reality. I know many of you share it.

Yes, I have had days when I walk into the kitchen, open the cabinets, then sit in the floor and cry. Why? Because I'm too tired, too sick, too (insert adjective here) to face cooking again. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, sometimes another snack. All day. Every day. Food. Some days I JUST WANT TO ORDER PIZZA. I want easy. I want a Night. Off. Cooking.

If you can relate to this, if you need a night off now and then, some relief from the never-ending parade of meal preparation... start planning now. Because yes, you can have a night off. You just can't decide to take the night off with no advance preparation. Spontaneity is a thing of the past.

I can almost see heads nodding in agreement. YES! I do get tired of cooking. Yes! I'd love a night off. Yes! How do I sign up?

Step one: Leftovers are not for lunch. Or at least not all the time.  I know! I love the ease of serving reruns too.  And I promise that you can still do that, just in moderation.  When you have taken the time to cook a meal that a) your allergic person loves, or b) takes more time than you usually have, freeze any leftovers.  This can mean the one serving that escaped being devoured, or the three servings left because snacks were served too late.

I like to use quart size zipper bags.  I put a single serving of sauces, soups, or entrees in each bag, and gently press it flat while using the contents of the bag to press all of the air out.  I'm left with a vacuum sealed individual portion that stacks wonderfully in the freezer.  Label it with the contents and date and lay it in there to wait for you.

The reason for freezing in individual portions? Two.  First, if you throw the bag into a lunchbox, it is defrosted in time to warm gently and enjoy at lunchtime (for the older crowd).  Second? If you run screaming into the kitchen at just after meltdown o'clock and need to put a meal on the table for your allergic person you simply cut the baggie open and dump the contents into a large skillet and it heats before Barney even sings his first song.  You can do the same with multiple portions.  Because you freeze them in such thin layers, they heat/defrost quickly.  You can serve just as much as you need.  One portion for the kiddo while you have cereal, or two portions to share because Daddy is working late. Whatever.  You are not committed to a family sized meal.

Sometimes I actually plan to cook extra, so I can have enough to freeze.  Isn't that a crazy idea?  Rather than gamble with the chance of leftovers I just double the recipe.  If I'm already cooking it, it really isn't much extra work to just cook more of it. (Although, some days the kids foil that plan by just eating more of it!)

That, my dear, is the easy way to get a night where you don't have too cook. Just heat and eat.

For those of you with fabulous family and friends, that you love and trust... you can teach them to cook a safe meal or two.  Give them the recipe, specify which brands you use for the ingredients.  Teach them about cross contamination.  Decide whether they should cook in your kitchen or their own.  It's a lot of up front work, training someone to meet your comfort level.

But then? You can call at lunchtime and let them know how very sick you are and ask if they could cover dinner for you.  Or plan in advance one night a month where they will cook for you just because.  (Don't forget to offer to do the same for them! All parents like to skip cooking sometimes.)

One more option for you.  Restaurant.  Ask your support network for ideas on where you could eat.  Which places are known for working well with allergic customers?  Check out or  for reviews from other allergic families.

And I think my next post will need to be tips on how to eat out successfully.  Because there are ways to increase your success and your comfort level when eating out.  After all, a night out of the kitchen doesn't count if it creates more stress than it saves.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Monday Menu Planning

Here it is Monday again. Already.  Somehow the weeks are flying by at a blinding pace, and right now I'm going to blame it on the hectic holiday season.  Because I am not getting older, and my perception has not been colored by viewing time through aged glasses.
Eventually I will again wow you with my witty remarks on allergy free living, and stun you with my amazing insight on current allergy wisdom.  Right now that's not happening.  Strictly stripped down post on what's on our plate this week.  Once I come up for some post-holiday, post-move air, then.... well. Then I'll likely have some other time stealing project to manage. Because that's how life works.  And I will find time to share my thoughts on it with you. Really.

Breakfast: carrot muffins, green tea
Lunch: cantaloupe, harvest potato saute with veggies, salad with pumpkin seeds and pomegranate
Dinner: turkey fajitas, corn cake, mandarin oranges

Breakfast: black bean and sweet potato saute, hot cider
Lunchbox: apples with sunbutter, carrots, smoothie, v8 fusion
Dinner: quinoa pasta with squash sauce and roasted fennel, broccoli, berries

Breakfast: cereal and oj
Lunchbox: ham and lettuce wrap, red pepper strips, smoothie, v8 fusion, terra chips
Dinner: crock pot ham and bean soup, cornbread, applesauce

Breakfast: apple cranberry coffee cake
Lunchbox: leftover soup
Dinner: tomato basil shrimp over curried quinoa, corn salad, honeydew

Breakfast: zucchini muffins, berries
Lunchbox: apples with sunbutter
Dinner: turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes, roasted beets with honey balsamic glaze, spiced peaches

Breakfast: donuts (because I skipped them last week)
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: lentil dahl, rice, peas

Breakfast: sausage and super smoothies
Lunch: dunno
Dinner: Pizza night!