Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Allergy Strategy & My Recipe Binders

Yesterday woke up and thought about going to the grocery store later these week. We are not a self sustaining family and I don't miss canning from my childhood. I am impressed with the mama's out there in the blogs that do self sustain and can. A couple of times I have even thought about canning myself but I'm just not ready yet. I'm more of a freezer fan if that saves me at all. I like to pick fresh fruits off the tree or vine when they are in season and bring them home get them stored in the freeze for months to come. As for the rest off to the grocery store I go.
But how do I do it with multiple food allergies? One child is allergic to nuts, dairy, eggs and some fruits, another child is allergic to legumes and outgrowing eggs, and another child is allergic to eggs and white fish. I myself am allergic to canned tuna fish, scallops and possibly mushrooms in case anyone around here is interested lol. Well with that being said you can see how cooking could be a daily struggle. Oh and did I forget to mention a couple of years ago one of the kids had to be on a high calorie intake diet. So the foods for the kid who need more calories consisted of lots of dairy which was a danger to the kid with the dairy allergy. It would have been easier if the doctor said "Hey Luisa can you pick up the sun and the moon and make them collide?" My response would have been "Why sure it would be easier than trying to figure out these daily meals ."
Well since then things are much much better. It took a couple of years to figure out the food allergy situation and learn a few tricks. I adapted them to suit my family. Once I had a handle on that I was thrown the challenge of incorporating a high calorie diet. So that took at least one whole year to figure it in and deal with the daily stress of cooking and snacks. What came out of it was a whole new strategy of what I call the main meal and the add ons. Cook a main item with sides and add the high calorie piece so it does not contaminate the rest of the meal.
Example #1 Hamburgers, french fries, corn and salad. Cook the hamburgers plain add the cheese kids plates who are not allergic to cheese. Increase caloric intake add oil or dairy free margarine to corn and ranch dressing to the salad.
Example #2 Pasta with all the toppings. Cook pasta without sauce just add olive oil. For the topping I have cooked a side of spinach, sausage, shrimp or just have cheese at the table. Each person can have a plate of pasta with what they like and minimize cross contamination.
These are just examples but the idea is to find out a couple of main things that work for your family and see how to adjust and add items. We are not vegan or vegetarian and I don't make the whole family give up things because one person may be allergic. I'm not a fan of coconut oil or products that claim they are substitutes. Because usually the substitutes are expensive and I wonder what are they made from anyway? Sounds like more processed foods.
Although in recent years things have gotten better there is way more awareness out there. Way more recipe sources. Also people are trying to eat healthier so even snacks can be home made. Recently I have been finding more blogs with families living with food allergies and tasty recipes. I now enjoy again trying new recipes and have grown comfortable with just working with recipes and changing an ingredient or two to make it allergy friendly.
Going back to yesterday I knew we need some grocery items so I sat down with my breakfast pulled out my clipboard , blue recipe binder, and this months Real Simple magazine. I jot down what I need and what meals I would like to make. I also look through the blue recipe binder to check on any new recipes I would like to try and add any ingredients to the grocery list. I'm also eyeing a strawberry-rhubarb pie from this months Real Simple. The recipe says to use 2 eggs I'm thinking soy milk for the substitute.
My blue recipe binder is to organize all the tear outs and print outs of things I would like to try. Once they have been made allergy friendly (if needed), tested and approved they go into my permanent binders.
The left one is for meals and the right one is for baking.
So that's how I do it. Most recipes can be be made allergy friendly and put into pretty binders. I hope that this was helpful to other families out there.
I would love to hear from other families to see how they do it?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Great Outdoor Challenge Day 10

Our cloudy Sunday was spent outside picking dandelions and mint leaves then jumping and sitting on tree logs. But most of the day consisted of wood working with uncle.

Hammering away and screwing nails. (I think that covers cognition & fine motor.)

Sanding the bench with uncle.


Finally the completed bench. My brother is into construction and woodworking and yesterday seemed like a good day to be outside and work on a wood working project. Out came the wood, nails, hammers, drills and sanding machine. It was a lot of fun to watch. What is a shame today is that schools focus so much on testing and job preparation for the global market that life skills are tossed aside. What happened to life skills aren't they important too? Well I guess between the craft & cookbooks, hardware stores and thrift stores we'll start our own wood working, metals, shop, cooking and sewing sessions in the yard. There is never a shortage of ideas here and I guess you are never too young to pick up a hammer and nails and hit them into a log or some wood.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Hope Chest

"...my hope chest differs from the traditional version. Instead I use a wicker picnic hamper filled with projects that I hope to do in the future. ...Until I can set aside time to sew them, I'm storing the material in my hope chest."
Sarah Ban Breathnach
After reading this daily passage I thought to myself hey that sounds like me I have a hope chest. In the past month while cleaning up I decided to put together a basket of upcoming projects I would like to work on next. At one point it was filled with paper printouts of recipes and articles. Filed those away but added a binder. It's a place to add or take things that I have on my mind right now that I could get to some time soon. I didn't want it to be for future long term projects just something to keep me going. Right now it looks like this:
In there right now a recipe binder, cotton yarn to be made into wash clothes or dish clothes and the latest Stitch magazine.

The project I'm eyeing is a potholder made from felted wool. Those sweaters I shrunk a few months are going to come in handy for this future project.

The recipe binder well this I finally put together and tabbed for new recipes that I have not tried yet. All those recipe printouts go in here once they have been finagled (to be allergy friendly) and family tested and approved they go into my cooking or baking binders.

Well that's what's in my hope chest. What I love about this concept anyone can have one. Big or small, wicker or not it's for you to work on in the near future or much later in the future. A typically traditional idea but with a modern twist that hopefully will carry on for generations around here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Great Outdoor Challenge: Day 7 & Day 8

Day 7: What is there to do on a day when the weather is cool and questionable in New England ?

Put a sweatshirt and jacket on and head to the beach with Dad.

Day 8: One thing we love about the clocks changing in the spring is getting out later on in the day before dinner when it's still light out.
Snacking and watching a little ball playing.
Comfortable picnic on the grass.
Skipping along.
Join in on the outdoor fun!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Great Outdoor Challenge: Day 6

On a nature walk with Dad.



Trying to follow what Lise's does with her kids in her program. Go out no matter what the the weather is like just have the right gear. It's spring and the kids are in snow boots and jackets so that it's ok to get muddy on a light rainy day. A couple of handy items for science and discovery magnifying glasses and binoculars! I wonder what they discovered.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Oatmeal Cookie Time

Ok I have a confession today we didn't get outside not even for the short morning walk. Just a little out of sorts. This afternoon Sophia showed me a picture and asked "Mom can make brown cookies?" I said sure we can make oatmeal cookies. Because hey if one thing doesn't work out today at least warm cookies for snack will be fun to smell in the kitchen.

Dairy-free & Egg Free Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Mix 3 tablespoons canola oil, 3 tablespoons water and 2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup water
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups of Quick oats
handful of dairy free chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine oil, sugar and baking powder mixture and beat well. Add dry ingredients. Beat well then stir in oats and water. Drop by the teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until light brown. Yield 4 dozen.

Notes: The baking powder mixture replaces 2 eggs. I use canola oil for my baking. Next time maybe I'll substitute half the flour with whole wheat pastry flour I forgot this time.
Happy baking!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fennel Salad

Trying to get some crunch back into my day.

Fennel Salad
1/2 fennel bulb chopped
olive oil
salt
squeeze lemon to taste
Toss in a bowl together. Makes a great side salad.
This salad is next to a mortadella & provolone sandwich with Italian bread.
A little light lunch.

Sleepy Blogger

Well friends it's been a few days since I've posted anything besides the outdoor challenge but it actually feels longer. I'm also missing reading everyone else's blogs this week because I might go into inspiration overload, so I have had to take a break for a few days.
I'm suffering from TMS Tired Mama Syndrome. I'm sure many of you out there suffer from this. It hits anytime and whenever it wants and the symptoms are making moms just plain pooped out. Fluctuations in weather from 90 degrees to 60 degrees, kids with loads of creative energy all at the same time and endless questions that I don't have answers to are main the culprits. Possible cures lots of tea or coffee, limited sunshine, sleep and taking it slow by breaking up the day into chunks. The main cure I do believe that has been helping is keeping in mind if today was my last day did I do what fulfilled me and did I inspire and convey that to my family?
May you to have an inspiring day!

Great Outdoor Challenge Days 3-5

Day 3: Walking together to do errands in the rain.

Day 4: The camera was at home while all the kids were outside late in the day throwing a ball, reading on a blanket and picking dandelions.

Day 5: Continuing those morning walks and doing some rock climbing.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Great Outdoor Challenge:Day 1 Morning Walk

I'm sure by now everyone is getting word from 5 Orange Potatoes about the Get outdoors challenge. Now this is a challenge I don't mind joining because it benefits everyone. I'm more of a home body and it's hard to get out for long periods of time when I'm juggling a few things but this is important. I always rely on one of my favorite books I Love Dirt by Jennifer Ward when the season changes to get me going to go outside. So I figure to start out the day on the right foot after dropping off the kids at school why not take a walk every morning. It could be as little as 5 minutes or hopefully way longer. This is an addition to going out later on in the day. It's always interesting to experience the world with a child.
I'll probably post when I can a couple of pictures with a few words separate from my regular posts. I look forward to seeing your outdoor challenge fun.

This mornings walk learned to respect the buds so they can turn into flowers. Pick only ones on the ground.


Join in on the outdoor fun!

lisa, sanders, angelina, phyllis, sarah, christie, jennifer, debbie, dong dong, denise, luisa, joy, stephanie, cori, alex, dawn, kristen, catherine, tricia, becky, christy, ruth, kari, courtney, branflakes, jessica, renee, haiku, brynn, amy, clemencia, sherry, leslie, lise, renee, anet, jenn, marina, amy, ella, marcia, karen, beth, julie, kyndale, kelly, lizzie, eileen, ag, mari-ann, cindy, robin, nicole, debbie, julia, renee, anita, lisa, jenn, montessori, marita, jeannie, hallie, mandy, kangaroo, andrea, lisa, carmen, teena, joey, stephinie, rosina, saminda, emma, elizabeth, gidget, melissa, katie, becca, barbara, atouria, missy, ariella, elizabeth, sarah, eileen, stacy, lisa, jennifer, tulsileaf, lisa c, morticia, angela, rana, jamie

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Cake & Cookies

Lemon cake decorated with starburst candy. The starburst can softened in the microwave for about 8 seconds. Then roll it out and cut with favorite cookie cutters. For the center we use skittles.

Bold Tried something new with our favorite sugar cookie recipe. Instead of refridgerating the dough for an hour and then cutting them out with cookie cutters I just mixed the dough and dropped it by the teaspoonful onto a cookie sheet. To decorate add a little food coloring to the icing and add sprinkles.

Sugar Cookie Recipe

2/3 cup of dairy free margarine

3/4 cup sugar

Mix: 1 1/2 tablespoons water, 1 1/2tablespoons oil and 1 teaspoon water

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups flour

Beat the dairy free margarine , sugar, vanilla and baking powder mixture till creamy. Then add in salt and baking powder. Slowly add in flour. This batter can be mixed by hand or with an electric mixer. Cove and chill in the refridgerator for at least one hour. When ready to bake preheat oven 350 degrees. Split the dough in half, roll it out and cut out with cookie cutters. Place cut out dough on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly brown. They may look undercooked but are not. Do not over bake. Remove cookies from cookie sheet, let cool and decorate.


The dough can be chilled overnight. These are great of for any occasion.


Random ::
Since we are on subject of baking a couple of nights a friend and I got to meet Molly the author of A Home Life at a book signing. It was great to hear her speak on how she came up with idea of the book, her philosphy on food and about Delancey. If she is in your area definitely worth seeing her but if not enjoy the book it's a memoir with lots of delicous recipes. Just like the book I left the book signing hungry for good food.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Skirts

What I worked on a little bit every night last week.






They had a lot of fun running around in these on Easter Sunday. I didn't follow a pattern just hoped for the best. Once I was done I made some matching headbands.

Tomorrow Easter cookies.
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