Monday, March 22, 2010

Crazy Idea

So tonight I was thinking a lot as I was washing the dishes and got a crazy idea. After running it past Jason, I think it actually might be a crazy idea that's a good idea, but wanted to get more input. After Halloween I realized how incredibly difficult holidays are having kids with food allergies. Christmas and Easter are just confirming this. I had already decided that next year I would throw my kids a Halloween party that was allergy friendly where they could invite some friends, but now I'm wondering if I should rethink my plans.

What if I threw an allergy friendly Halloween Party for the community? If I combined my kids' food allergy lists together, it would be quite friendly for a lot of kids, who otherwise may not be able to enjoy the holiday. I could advertise through doctor's offices, schools, the paper, and many more places, asking for a donation to help cover the costs of foods, prizes, games, decorations, etc.. It would be a party where parents and children alike could really relax and enjoy themselves. If it was successful for Halloween, why not do one at Christmas and Easter too? I'm sure I could get help from other parents I know.

I'm really liking this idea and am definitely up for the work that would be involved. Knowing myself and just how much our lives have changed because of the allergies, if I saw something advertised like this, I would definitely look into it. The first party may be small, but I'm guessing the attendance would grow at every event, as long as they were fun enough.

So what do you think? Is this idea too crazy?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sane Woman Turned Wolverine

My pediatrician has challenged me to write a book about my personal journey with Adam, discovering his food allergies and how we live with them. He's requested that I include a section of recipes as well. At first when the idea was mentioned, I thought he was joking. But each time I enter his office he asks how the book is coming and if it is finished. So I've decided to take the challenge. I'm not quite sure what the final product will look like, but my audience will be parents, relatives, and friends of those with food allergies. There are a lot of books about food allergies, but this one I'm guessing will be very different than others we've read. I want to focus on how we cope with food allergies. There's the information portion, but then there's life. That's the hard part. I'm hoping to combine my diet expertise with my husband's counseling expertise (he's a mental health counselor), along with entertaining descriptions of my feelings and thought processes. Please feel free to contribute and/or suggest different aspects of your journey you'd like mentioned or discussed.

This weekend I received my first real inspiration for the book. Tonight I wrote a page and wanted to share. Hopefully you find it entertaining. The feelings are definitely real, but as I was processing these feelings before another dreaded event this weekend, I started noticed my son's super heroes on the floor. It triggered an image of myself as a super hero. Quickly I ran down the list of familiar super heroes, their powers, weaknesses, transformations, etc. It was then I realized, imagining myself as Wolverine, really helped me feel better and cope with the anxieties and frustrations I was feeling inside. When I shared this imagery process with my husband and best friend, they both laughed, but also expressed that the explanation of the imagery helped them to understand me so much more! Enjoy!

Sane Woman Turned Wolverine
My jaw begins to tighten up. Breaths shorten and become shallow. Muscles throughout my entire being feel the familiar surge of energy. Tension shows in ripples across my forehead. Adrenaline has kicked in. It’s time to leave. Safety is gone. The life guard is on duty.
Our destination is supposedly “safe.” Deem it what you may, but no place is ever “safe.” There is always a threat. I plead mercy for the inflicted and for myself. We’re almost there.
“Deep breaths,” I remind myself. “Stay calm.”
And then it happens. We enter. I am provoked.
There is a delicately decorated candy dish filled with luscious chocolate covered nuts of every kind beautifully presented on the coffee table for all to enjoy.
Teeth clench. Fists tighten. It’s as if my heart stops beating. Claws emerge ready to kill.
With all of the muster in my being I try to contain myself.
“Would you mind removing the candy from the room please? My son is allergic. It is very dangerous to have it around while he is here.”
“Oh, he’ll be fine. We’ll keep an eye on the little guy. Besides, the candy is wrapped. He won’t get into it.”
“No, really. It is too dangerous. We will not be able to stay if it is here.”
“Stop being so paranoid! He’ll be fine. Sit down and make yourself comfortable.”
I can’t reign in the urge to kill any longer. I bite my tongue to prevent the words from being heard.
“Why can’t you understand this? I have spoken with you about this before! Are you trying to kill my kid! If you are going to have this stuff around, we will not be coming here again!”
After the brief pause to contain my urges, I am quick to respond, “I’m sorry, we can’t stay.”
Quickly, I scoop up my son and head out the door. One more place we are not welcome. There are so many.
How long did it take extended family members to take me seriously? Friends? Acquaintances?
When did I turn from being a sane woman into Wolverine?
The answer comes too quickly-when my son was diagnosed with severe food allergies.

Play Dough

Owen used to LOVE playing with Play-Do. We have lots of fun toys we use as we mold it and shape it. But once Adam came along all of that fun ended. I've been petrified to even pull it out. One wouldn't think the ingredients of Play-Do would be dangerous BUT they are. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a recipe for allergy friendly Play Dough made with rice flour. I was so excited and just had to try it. Yesterday was the big day. It was definitely a success!

Click HERE for recipe.

Have fun!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

I had been craving cinnamon rolls for quite some time. It was a quest of mine to find a recipe that both of my boys could enjoy. The thought of spending hours making delicious cinnamon rolls when they weren't around or awake did not appeal to me in the least. A couple weeks ago I finally found a recipe that would work. On Tuesday, I tried the recipe out. I was NOT disappointed in the least! Not only were these the easiest cinnamon rolls I have EVER made, (no need for them to rise or anything), they were amazing. My parents made an unexpected visit Tuesday night. I let them each try a piece. Both of them said they were absolutely delicious. The boys devoured them. My husband said they were too good to save for the boys. (We try to not eat their allergy friendly treats so there are more for them to enjoy.) And the most amazing thing was that I thought they tasted better the second day, cold, taken out of the refrigerator. What cinnamon roll tastes just as good if not better the second day? I can not rave enough about this recipe. The boys both LOVED them too.

I've posted the recipe the way I read it but did mention I substituted water for milk and egg replacer for egg. The notes on the bottom are not mine, but came with the recipe. I agree that the rolls were REALLY sweet and I only used 2/3 cup as recommended. The dough is REALLY soft, but you're not making a mistake. Enjoy! Cinnamon Rolls

Serves 8 or 9

2 tablespoons shortening or butter (I used our dairy free margarine.)
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup of milk, room temperature (I used water.)
1 packet yeast
1 egg (I used egg replacer)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup potato starch
1 cup corn starch
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons xantham gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 - 2 tablespoons sugar

FILLING (*see Ellen's note at end of post)
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped nuts - optional

GLAZE¾ cup powdered or confectionery sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
milk to thicken (I used water)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In medium bowl, combine shortening (or margarine) and sugar. Mix well. Measure warm milk (or water) and add yeast to milk (or water). Whisk well to fully dissolve (**see Ellen’s note). Add milk/yeast to sugar mixture. Add remaining ingredients. Mix very well, being sure to remove all lumps. Dough will be quite soft (***see Ellen’s note).Take a piece of plastic wrap and lay it out so it covers a 13 1/2" x 13 1/2" square. Sprinkle sugar on the wrap. Lay ball of dough on top of that. Then pull out another sheet of wrap and gently lay over the dough. Pat the dough down into a roughly squarish pancake. Lift the top wrap up and then reposition it. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough in between the two layers of wrap. Occasionally you'll have to lift and reposition the wrap because it gets "stuck" under the edges. You might have to occasionally flip the whole thing over. Make sure that when you're done you've got ABOUT a 13 1/2" x 13 1/2" square of dough.Remove top piece of wrap. Combine filling ingredients. Spread evenly across dough's surface. (Original recipe poster suggested leaving about a 1 1/2" sugar free edge because when you roll the dough all the sugar shifts and fills this in; otherwise all the sugar spills out).Use the bottom piece of wrap to lift the edge of the dough and start to roll it up forming a long cylinder. Start with the sugary edge, which will be the center of your roll and roll toward the sugarless edge. Cut off or trim up the irregular ends of your "log". Then cut into 8 or 9 slices of similar size, about 1 1/2" wide. Place rolls into a greased round glass pie pan.Bake approximately 20 minutes, until tops are lightly browned.Combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk to make glaze. The amount of milk you use will depend on how thick you want the glaze to be. Stir until all lumps are dissolved. Drizzle over warm rolls if desired.

Notes:*I thought the rolls were a bit too sweet, so the next time I make them I will cut the amount of filling ingredients to about 2/3 of what the recipe calls for.**It seems odd that the recipe doesn't call for proofing the yeast. I decided to cover the milk and yeast mixture with plastic wrap and allow it to at least begin proofing.***The mixture is very, very soft - I was convinced that I'd made a mistake, but it ended up being fine.