Sunday, February 28, 2010

Allergy Free Olympic Hockey Game Menu

Allergy free cooking for this afternoon has begun with Adobo Marinade. As I've said before, Mexican cooking (without seeds, peanuts and tree nuts) lends itself brilliantly to the allergy-free lifestyle. With its emphasis on big flavor, simple ingredients and fresh vegetables, it is not only delicious, but has tons of antioxidants.  (I'm sounding like an advertisement now...I'll stop!)  I made enough of the marinade so that I'll have some leftover to put in the fridge for next time - or perhaps our daughter would like to try some on her chicken this evening. I know you'd think she'd love it, but just remember, because one has allergies doesn't mean they're not picky!  This is a child whose food cannot touch and who likes to eat in courses.  More on that later.

Today's Olympic Hockey viewing menu:

Marinated Flank Steak (child allergic to beef - note: make chicken first)
Chicken Adobo (using the same marinade for the flank steak)
Chipotle Salsa
Roasted Tomato Salsa
Mango Salad
Tortillas (corn of course)
Roasted Vidalia Onions
Jalapeno pickles (made last weekend without mustard!)

All recipes are free of wheat, milk, eggs, gluten, soy, nuts, tree nuts, seeds, and more.  Our most difficult allergy is now Mustard as it means I must make my own pickled Jalapenos.  But it's worth it - they're delicious!  The only thing on this "allergy free" menu that our allergic kid can't have is the steak - so I'll make that up separately and most probably after I make up the chicken.  And the other good news is that with the exception of the salsa (already made by my husband) almost everything else only requires either roasting, chopping or tossing.

Friday, February 26, 2010

26 February 2010: Snow Day!

Photo credit ©2010 by Heidi Bayer All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

23 February 2010: Photo of the Day

  Photo credit ©2010 by Heidi Bayer All Rights Reserved

Saturday, February 20, 2010

How I Unlearned How To Cook

@Ruhlman posted on Twitter yesterday a request that people (I guess this means bloggers) write about why they like to cook.

I thought I would take that a step further and write about how I unlearned how to cook.

One Christmas, before our daughter was born, my mother sent me My Aunt's self-published cookbook with her families favorite recipes.  A number of them were quite good.  All of them called for either butter, cream of mushroom soup, milk, eggs, and nuts.  It was a functional cookbook, and I, for the most part, was a functional cook.

I always enjoyed cooking and one Christmas tackled roasted chestnut stuffing, and home made egg nog.  I drank the egg nog while making the stuffing, and nine months later, our first (and so far only) child was born.

The food allergies that we discovered in her first year went the usual food allergy route. As one would expect the full body eczema and anaphylactic reactions were caused by wheat, eggs, milk, rye, millet, nuts, tree nuts and soy.  Yes, I say the usual and expected, because the unusual and unexpected food allergies were yet to come when she was around three.

Faced with the challenge of over 30 food allergies when our daughter was three I was forced to unlearn everything I knew about food and cooking.

Eleven years ago, I realized I had to learn about organic farming and how it differed.  I was forced to research high fructose corn syrup (corn allergy).  It was a requirement that I know just how and why hydrogenated oils came into our food supply. What was the reason why sugar was so white while raw sugar was not?  I discovered which manufacturers added Dextrose (corn) to salt. I researched how many chemicals were being added to our tap water. I had to find out what those scientific words in the ingredients list really meant.  I learned about mercury in the fish supply.  I learned what animals were being fed antibiotics, and why buy local.  I learned about pesticide use all over the world and how they differed from country to country.  I stumbled upon the early raw vegan movement.  I called food manufacturer after food manufacturer making sure that packaged foods were going to be alright to feed to my toddler. I learned how to make sure my child was getting all her nutrients without being able to eat the normal American diet and without being able to tolerate supplements.

Which leads me back to cooking.

I had to learn how to make cookies out of four ingredients - yes, four ingredients only.  And I had to learn how to make a birthday cake using only rice flour, water, olive oil and pears.  And so it began.  My love for cooking and experimenting in the kitchen.  My own recipes for gluten free, egg free, milk free food  - ALL FREE - are proof.

Life is much different now - with the plethora of amazing cookbooks on the market, and the awareness of food allergies in the medical community, restaurant community and general population - our lives have changed for the better.  Although I now have reading glasses, being able to read ingredients list on a package that doesn't read like a science experiment is a godsend.  Manufacturers printing "may contain" and information on how their product is stored and whether or not they use shared equipment has increased our quality of life ten fold.

But the best result from all this unlearning how to cook?  Our daughter.  Tall, beautiful, healthy...and always hungry... ;)