Thursday, December 15, 2011

rejected again

Rejected again!!!
My cookbook was again rejected from a publisher--with what I can say is the funniest reason I've ever heard-- and one that belies the publisher's understanding of food allergies:

The press is moving toward less meat in recipes and my cookbook had too many meat oriented recipes.....

Well-- if one can't eat eggs, dairy or nuts, then how does one get proteins but from meats?
Man (woman and child) does not live on kidney beans alone!

On to self-publish in some form. Maybe a partnership with a food allergy organization-- tune in for more....
and Merry Season to all!

Friday, November 4, 2011


been thinking about new recipes-- in the never ending pursuit of what to cook for dinner. And I have a few new ideas-- not exactly recipes yet, but ideas: potato soup-- no cream of potato soup-- just potato soup. With a chicken base and lots of potatoes and green onions and a slice or two of carrots and pepper.

Or Borscht-- now that it's beet season again on my coast. By the way, there's been a frost--heck there's been a blizzard-- so the kale should be tasty now.

A note about college: in our experience, need some supplemental foods-- granted my kid is allergic to all Big Eight foods, but not enough starches and not a strong variety of proteins. But I'm hands off, and he's hands on, so it's working-- with some trips to Treasure Island (the grand supermarket there) and some treats from home (like all moms send).
more later-- and a real recipe for those soups when I get the mix right.

Monday, October 17, 2011

college part II/ cross contamination

I've been thinking lately about how much is too much: cross contamination-- how can we measure the degree to which some individuals will react? Will one child get hives, another go into anaphylaxis if there the hamburgers and cheeseburgers touch each other in the serving tray? And how does one negotiate life like that? Not knowing, and responsibly not touching. It's hard, and it would improve the quality of life for many if the cross contamination issue would be re-examined. When kids are little, then the strictness needs to be enforced to make checking a habit-- but as these kids get older, is there a way to safely and responsibly NOT worry as much about cross contam? Can the hamburger touch the cheeseburger for some young adults and not cause a problem? Can the fryer work both French fries and onion rings, and not cause a wheat reaction?
don't know but would like some opinions, especially as our kids go out into the world themselves.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

off to college

Off to college-- drop off was good, pouring rain but happy and excited. The first day of orientation brought the "crowbar" ceremony-- you guessed it where the kids and parents separate! and for our family, brought the food services powwow. My kid and the head of food services sat down to make a plan. The food services head also has a daughter with food allergies--so she gets it, which warms my heart.
The plan-- first couple of days not all food stations are up and running, so limited options of burger, salads, grilled chicken and brown rice. not too bad. When all up and running-- there's steamed vegetables, soups, rotisserie chicken a kosher station with options and a gluten free area which may offer some things my kid can eat.
I did not participate-- my son did it all himself. and later in the week, learned that some packaged foods at the mini=mart ten steps from the dorm will work out fine for those snack times and days away from campus.
I think the food is working... but really a bit empty at home!
More on the reality of not cooking ALL THE TIME-- later, when it sinks in.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

some new food sources

Tried "Viva Mais" a corn cous cous-- actually I thought it was like a coarse polenta--which admittedly I'm not very good at making, but still it wasn't cous cous. I will try it again--possibly as the shell for a pot pie-- which I think could be good, or even an apple and savory dish.
I got this from an online site called Olive Nation which specializes in Italian foods with some gluten free.

Also got some candied orange peel from This confection was delicious and popped right into the fridge for a cool little tart treat. (As I mentioned had tried in London and liked, so found some closer to home),. Again a good site for many food specialty items--especially candies and candy makings-- but not geared to allergic families.

more soon!

new foods--or rather new ways to cook old foods

our house isn't about new foods-- new preparations is what I meant. Tonight : Pork Chops-- I've been watching a lot of Food Network (OK I;m a masochist since we can't eat anything any chef makes) when I was home recuping from flu.
But back to the Pork Chops: So Bobby Flay or someone dredged their chops in flour and spices before sauteeing.
Well-- I liked that sound of that, so I mixed up a batch of rice flour (bread mix actually from Orgran Quick Bread Mix) and chile powder, and salt and pepper and dredged my chops in that.
In a frying pan I heated olive oil with whole garlic cloves to a nice noisy heat-- and threw the chops in. Quickly they got color and sear on one side and then I turned them. Other side seared, I turned the heat down a little bit and kept an eye on them --turning as necessary for about 20 minutes. and viola, yummy pork chops cooked a little differently from usual. (BTW-- chops were only 1/2 inch thick--so thinnish --that's why only took a short time)
I guess my point here is-- change is good. A little innovation goes a long way when it's hard to really try something new.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Travel and other related stuff

We traveled for a graduation present-- on a Baltic cruise which was fabulous.
As I've mentioned before, I like cruises because the dining managers prepare food specially for my son, off the regular menu, but with crudite to start and plain salads etc.
As always we got a menu the night before and made his choices, and invariably it was correct and delicious. Lamb chops, steak, quail! and steamed veggies and lots of various potatos- baked, fried, boiled, etc. plus rice .
Also on cruises there is a carving station at lunch or burgers all day. The salad bars are clean and neat with offerings like lettuces, carrots, beets, olives, peppers etc. so really great since my son can get food as he needs for his growing active life.

On full day tours we arranged food at restaurants or made do with bars I had brought and veggies. Usually, we found that we could find simple things --not as many fillers or use of dairy or sauces in the countries we visited.

AND there were great opportunities to try foods-- yup he tried hot borscht (yummy beets, onions, broth and some pork strips) --we had inquired about the ingredients which as tourists they were only to happy to share with us.
or potato soup in Germany-- potatoes and veggies in a clear broth-- delicious on a chilly rainy day in Berlin.
Or candied orange peel in London where a savvy waitress noted his asking for his food plain, asked about allergies, and brought the orange peel when she brought the complementary mini cookies after dinner. separate plate just for him. VERRRY nice and classy too.
So we enjoyed, saw lots of amazing places and met lots of great people, who were helpful and kind and interested in understanding the issues we faced.
more soon,

Friday, June 3, 2011

summer's here

Summer is here!
Graduation, with its attendant food events, is over. The BBQ for seniors, the Prom, the post grad reception-- all the things that are wonderful and bond the seniors together are also all the things that are hard for my kid to negotiate.
But-- eat beforehand--as I found out that not eating is easier--and more "normal" --than bringing own meal.
Drink something-- but don't eat
Plan ahead with the catering manager or teacher and see what happens...
All of these strategies were employed-- and each situation brought its own spin to the plan.
Overall, I tried to stay out of the way.
Nothing new in our strategies--although perhaps they were new to us.

This summer I will impart cooking basics to my child. not exactly sure what that means yet, but it involves how to roast a chicken and why olive oil is the best.
More soon, when all the graduation momentum and emotion simmers down.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

letting go

OK I am not good at letting go.
is it the mother in me, is it the me in me?
don't know, but I am not good at letting go.
I still want to have control of the food situations, and while sometimes that works, more often-- now that my child is old enough to "do it myself" -- it does not and I am caught in the hailstorm of "why didn't you leave it to me."
So I try to be hands off, and let my supremely capable child take care of it.
Maybe it's that I want to continue to protect him; maybe it's because I want to shield my child from the harsh world out there and the hard realities of the limitations of his diet.
Or maybe it's just a habit.
Or maybe it's that I am trying to prove I'm perfect and not listening to anyone else... gee I really hope it's not that because that makes me seem very limited myself.
So I struggle on, not quite winning the battle of doing it all, not quite not doing it all.

reflections from a very rainy afternoon in NY

Monday, May 9, 2011


Apologies-- some of my blogs over last months have been in a glitch-- so am reprinting one here--about college choice.

College has been picked__ it's one where we were lucky enough to have eaten lunch. Lucky in that we know it and saw with our own six eyes that there is kosher and gluten-free and plain burgers and steamed veggie separate from other things and lots of people getting special meals.
Plus website is terrific about it--so people must be too.
and anyway--it's a great place even if he has to keep a fridge with his own stuff --he'll be getting a phenomenal education with what looks like a bunch of bright engaged kids!

I think we-- and by that I mean the collective we-- have always tried to show our kids that the world is a wide open place where life is good and is not all about limits. Limits exist for everyone, and we shouldn't put them on ourselves, nor should we ignore their realities. But overall, we can choose many many options--even if one of them is always eating steak and potatoes because the company is good. As my son says "it's all good."
And, it is.

graduation up and coming

Unbelievably high school graduation is around the corner-- and who knew that every single solitary event is centered on food-- and who knew there were so many events...
Senior lunch, BBQ day, headmaster dinner, prom, pre-prom, post prom....graudation luncheon-- throw in an outside event or two and it's over the top asking about menus and making calls about safety.
And then there's the discussion of: when shall we talk to the food services folks at college, and how does one go about that-- there's the crowd who feels that single rooms make one safer and are a must; then there;s the group who feel that the in the real world there are no single rooms--so get used to it.
I just want to know that my child is safe, and can be safe and will be safe-- and then there's all that stuff about food-- just kidding, I mean I want my child safe from all harmful things, and in the big scheme of things, I think food can be pretty controllable even if it's hard to do and takes a serious lot of planning.
more late,
and Happy Mother's Day everyone out there.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fried Chicken

it's 7:00 . Your teen walks in after tennis practice, saying "I don;'t know why but I'm craving fried chicken."
Well so much for hamburgers and roasted acorn squash.
I get out a 2 quart pot, start pouring the oil (OK so it's olive oil, I'm Italian it's all I had enough of)
and get it going on low. (that way it won't burn)
Then I grab my Orgran gluten-free sandwich bread mix-- pour that in a bowl with lots and lots of salt and pepper. I'm ready to go.
I coat the chicken pieces (I used thighs and wings)
and into the "fryer" --via tongs--they go. BTW--the oil is hot enough if a drop of water sizzles and "boils"
One thigh at a time, but two wings-- give 'em room. and turn up the heat a bit.
6-7 minutes a "side" I tong them out-- and put on a plate with paper towels... it's hot so let it sit a bit.
They look super crispy and smell heavenly (my whole building will smell heavenly!)
Yummy-- the recipe for a happy kid (and, if tired, mom)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Birthday Parties

+it's been ages I know-- and finally the recipes work again, sorry for the delay and I'll be loading new ones soon-- made a great gumbo (no tomatoes)-- andyes, okra, why is it that men don't like okra?
Well we've had two b-day's for my son this week-- one his friends did, but asked me to make the cake(and get him to the restaurant--hairraising) and tonight the family party. It was great and the layers totally were terrific. I use Duncan Hines dark chocolate frosting-- no nuthing in it and they have removed the
"made in a factory with milk and nut product" from the label... so i guess it's safe now. we have NEVER had an issue.
Also, as many of you have done as well, I was shopping and chatting with other people in the cramped Gluten Free aisle at my specialty market-- and one woman recommended "The Cravings Place" mixes. Only on Amazon on the east coast-- company from Seattle.
Well-- the coffe cake crumble was delicious-- I made coffee cake muffins that are yummy. Bravo to the Cravings Place-- and only need to add water and margarine. (vegan too I think) I will now try some of their other mixes.
Still prefer Gluten Free Pantry to Cherrybrook Farms for yellow cake mix-- but can't beat the Cherrybrook chocolate chip mix (gluten free) .
Yikes enough about dessert-- what about a kid who;s turning 18-- how DID that happen. oh my! Till next time.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Get Over It" or how to grow a great kid

Did anyone read the Vogelstein article in NYTimes magazine about three weeks ago-- about FAT DIET- and epilepsy. Quite interesting about disease and how food is helping very measured and very restricted diet. But kid is stabilized. I had to write him-- partially to let him know that he should not whine so much: his wife quit her job to cook for kid, can't eat birthday cake, planning for events, playdates, sleepovers difficult-- join the club. I told him I fell somewhere between compassion and "get over it." Life is different from what we thought-- well, yeah. And it hurts when your kid can't eat birthday cake-- sure does, and it's your job to puton the brave face and say-- builds character, that's life and you'll be OK and the alternative _-eating the forbidden food-- can really be dangerous and hug and hug and hug.
Sure it stinks, but better than the ER or worse. And, as I did tell him too, the adversity makes our kids stronger, mature, responsible and ready for anything-- not necessarily all great at a young age, but if you've got to deal, at least there's a good outcome...
We're building the leaders and doers of tomorrow (for some of us tomorrow is moving ever closer!)
So cheer up i told him-- our world can inform your world with Bento boxes, nutritionist, support groups and just knowing you're not alone...
Hope I came across as, ultimately, helpful and not snarky-- but really, a lot of us have been dealing for a long time, and one can; one has to!
and now...Guess what I'm doing-- you're right-- thinking what to make for lunch. I've gotten tres boring-- and luckily my kid doesn't have a lot of time for lunch so doesn't notice. soon.