Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Year!

Wow!  It's been a year since I started this blog.  And the last few months I have been a serious slacker on posting!  Wanna hear my excuses?  No?  Okay, but here's one really good one.... I have a full time job now.  I've always worked --part time since having my kiddos but this is the first time I've worked full time since Noah was born (he's 9).  I'm grateful to have a good job in a bad economy-- but let me tell you-- I'm T.I.R.E.D.  I'm a teacher.  And I had forgotten how much energy being in the classroom all day takes out of you.  And now, when I go home I have my 3 little lovies to attend to.  There, that's my excuse for not posting in a very long time.  It's the very last day of my school vacation and I feel pretty refreshed and ready to take on the next 6 weeks before the next vacation.

I've really enjoyed being home again and having the time to cook meals that are more than throw together meals.  I recently made a beef stew.  Here's my recipe:

veggies of your choice but I like:
1 medium onion chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
2 carrots peeled and sliced
1 whole sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 cup butternut squash cubed (I often use frozen)
1/4 cup green beans

oh and the meat (beef) of course--  I grabbed what was on sale (can't remember the cut...but sometimes I get the precut stew meat to save time)

2 table spoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon basil
salt & pepper to taste
2 dry bay leaves

3 tablespoons flour & 1/2 cup water mixed to thicken at the end

1 big box of beef stock (you know, not the can)--which ever has the lowest sodium count I can find....salt and I aren't always friends.

In a large sauce pan, heat a little olive oil.  Season cubed meat with salt & pepper.  Add meat to the pan to sear and brown on all sides--but not to cook through.  Once the meat is seared remove from pan.  Add onion, garlic and celery.  You might need to add a little beef stock to deglaze the pan at this point.  Let the onions and celery simmer for a few minutes.  Then add veggies one at a time, adding a pinch of salt and pepper at each layer and letting each new veggie get acquainted with the pan and all become friends.  Add spices. Once all the veggies & spices are added and simmering for about 5 minutes add the stock to the pot and possibly some water to create the broth.  Bring to boil.  Add beef and bay leaves.  Bring back to boil.  Let it all boil for a few minutes then reduce heat to a simmer.  I usually let mine simmer for about an hour or so stirring occasionally.  If I need to add more liquid I pour water into the emptied beef broth box and shake to add some of the flavor that's left in there.

Add flour and water mixture to thicken.

You could also throw all the above ingredients into the crock pot and set it on low for 8 hours.  :-)


~ Pam

Monday, June 4, 2012

I feel like chicken tonight!

Do you cook a lot of chicken?  Sometimes I feel like that is all we eat: chicken wings, thighs and don't forget the breast... chicken nuggets, chicken oven roasters... it goes on and on... do you ever get "chickened out?"

Sometimes I dream of being a vegetarian, but truth be told, I don't like enough vegetables to survive and I do like a good juicy steak once in a while... and of course, chicken!  HA!  We actually had been eating burgers and dogs lately so tonight's meal is going to be .... come on... can't you guess?  CHICKEN!  We are having thighs and breast today, because that is what I had on hand.

When I have to work at night (which is Mon-Thurs) I usually put meals in my crock pot so I can just forget about it... don't have to worry about heating up the kitchen.  But today it's raining and cool and raw-- nice June weather in New England (can you feel the sarcasm oozing out here?)-- so I decided to just bake it.  I used some left over Newman's marinade (about half a bottle) and didn't actually marinade it because I'm not that organized.

Here is my "recipe"

1 package of chicken thighs
2 chicken breast
1/2 bottle of Newmans Sesame Ginger marinade

preheat oven to 350
place the thighs and breast in a baking dish
pour marinade over the chicken, cover and bake for about 45 minutes or so

I will have hubby serve with brown rice (from the pouch)

My computer is not behaving nicely or I would add a couple of pictures here of the marinade and the ingredients.

~ Pam

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Shake it up! Tofutti Style!

It's been a while since I have posted a product or recipe.  So today I'll post both :-)

We LOVE Tofutti products in this house!  Their ice cream is reasonable in price and both kids really love it!  I can also find it easily at my local Market Basket Grocery Store--always a plus for this busy, working Mom-- one stop grocery shopping is huge!  Recently, I discovered a new Tofutti product-- these pre-made ice-cream cones!  Here's a pic of the box...
 Close up of the ingredients...
And 2 very happy kiddos enjoying them:

So why is this post named "Shake it up" you ask...well, because last week, I made shakes or frappes, or whatever you choose to call them.  Icecream + milk blended = 2 VERY happy children!  So Noah is 9 years old.  We have known about his allergies for almost 9 years and for some reason, JUST this past month I made shakes for the first time!  Not quite sure what took me so long!  But here is the "recipe" I used.  I really just eye-balled the ingredients so I'm guess here...

I have a hand blender, but you can use a regular blender if you have one:

1.5 cups milk free ice cream (whatever flavor you choose) I used tofutti vanilla
about 3/4 cup of soy milk (I used sunrich vanilla)

blend the 2 ingredients until you get the consistency you desire-- thick enough to still resemble ice cream, but  thin enough to suck through a straw...we like ours a little lumpy :-)  Add soy milk and/or ice cream as needed.
pour into cups, add straws and serve immediately

variations I want to try:
chocolate ice cream and vanilla soy milk
vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce and soy milk
frozen berries with vanilla ice cream and soy milk
...the possibilities are endless and summer is just beginning! :-)


~ Pam

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A taste of peanut butter... a first and hopefully last...

I haven't blogged in some time-- and no that doesn't mean we've been eating take out for the last couple of months!  HA!  We don't "do" take out for a lot of reasons.  I've just been so caught up in every day life... work, kids, cloth diapering (yup, cloth diapering), home-made baby food making, and the hustle and bustle of every day life.  But yesterday we had  a scare.  A pretty good scare and it has made me hit the pause button and reflect.  I wasn't sure if I was going to post this at first, but since it's a blog for food allergy recipes, I think it is appropriate.

Here is what happened from my point of view:
7:45am  morning rush after April Vacation-- (it was raining cats n dogs and we all just wanted to stay in bed)
I was getting the kids lunches ready while they ate breakfast (a usual routine for us).  I hadn't had the chance to hit the grocery store and didn't have any lunch meat in the house.  Hannah doesn't really like just jelly sandwiches, so I decided to make her pbj and made a mental note to really not do that any more because I know the school is trying to go peanut free-- and I of all people should be honoring that!  Pushing my guilty thoughts aside, I told Hannah to sit away from the peanut free area b/c she has a pbj for lunch.  I packed up their lunches, finished off the morning routine stuff and headed out the door for drop off.  I grabbed my grocery bags to grab groceries right after drop off.

I got home from the grocery store, put them away and fed Sarah.  About a half hour later I put her down for a nap and busied myself making banana bread and put a roast in the crockpot for dinner.  I started cleaning, organizing and doing some laundry.  Sarah woke up about 11ish and I fed her a bottle.

About 12noon
The phone rang and I saw that it was from the town.  When I see this on caller ID it always makes me nervous that the school nurse is calling about Noah.  Tensely, I answered the phone and sure enough it was her asking if I gave Noah a peanut butter sandwich?  WHAT? NO!  She then clarified to make sure that I hadn't given him soynut butter (he doesn't like soynut butter).  I immediately knew what had happened.  I must have switched their sandwiches and put them in the wrong lunch boxes!  Damn it!  She said he said his mouth and throat felt funny and she was probably going to give him his epipen.  I told her I was on my way there.  I collected Sarah, grabbed her diaper bag, strapped her in the car and raced off toward the school.  Along the way I called hubby and told him what had happened and the nurse might give him his epi and I would keep him posted.  I hit a red light along the way.  It really must have been the longest red light in the history of traffic lights, I almost blew it.

About 12:15ish
I pulled into the school parking lot.  For an instant I considered parking in the firelane and just running in the school, but then dismissed that as a bad idea because if the ambulance came, I'd be in the way and would have to move my car.  I found a close parking spot; as I was pulling in, I saw the principal of the school waiting at the door.  When I got out of the car I could hear the sirens.  It put a sick, twisted feeling in the pit of my stomach, knowing those sirens were heading for us, knowing they were for my son.  I grabbed Sarah and ran to the entrance of the school.  The principal held the door open and assured me Noah was okay and that she had given him his epipen.  I absolutely HATE crying in front of people, but when something happens to your child, there is no way to control those emotions and I started to cry.  I walked into the nurses office and there he was, just sitting there.  He looked a little pale, but okay.  He saw me crying and he started to cry.  I willed myself to stop so that he wouldn't feel more upset and scared than he already felt.  I called hubby and told him they gave him epi, EMT's are on their way and we were going to the hospital.  The nurse said she gave him his epi and then a dose of benedryl because she saw some hives around his neck.  I hugged him as best as I could with Sarah on my hip and told him what a good job he did getting himself to the nurse!

Not sure about time frames from this point on...
When the EMT's got there, I had calmed down a bit.  Seeing him helped.  He seemed okay and said he was feeling okay.   They put him on the stretcher and wheeled him outside and into the ambulance.  I was so thankful they let both Sarah and I ride in the ambulance with Noah.  Just before we pulled away, hubby showed up and he followed us to the hospital.  Along the way the EMT's kept asking to make sure he still felt okay and checked his vitals.  On a side note, they had a built in car seat for Sarah-- something they didn't have when Noah was about her age and had his first ambulance trip-- a welcomed upgrade!

At the hospital they monitored his vitals and kept a good watch on him.  We were there about 3 1/2 hours total before discharged.  The doctor gave him a steroid to take for a few days to keep swelling at bay.  Thankfully, he didn't have any relapse reactions!
My dad came to get Sarah and then later picked up Hannah from school (who had seen the stretcher at school and worried it was for Noah, but never knew for sure until dismissal).

We gave him another dose of benedryl and the steroid last night before bed.  He woke up feeling good and I sent him off to school in good spirits.  I did make sure to open his sandwich and show him just jelly before packing it in his lunchbox this morning.  I feel like I owe him that much.  It puts a knot in my stomach thinking that he relies on me to provide him safe food and yesterday I probably put a long lasting doubt in him.  I hope that I haven't made him question every single piece of food that goes in his mouth-- but think that I probably have done, just that.

I am so incredibly proud of him for doing the exact right thing!!  I am so relieved that even though he is very shy, he didn't hesitate to tell a teacher what he needed.  I am so grateful to our school nurse and the school staff who understand the severity of food allergies and didn't hesitate to help him.

I know that, as much as we would like to, we can't keep him in a bubble!  I am so glad that when an emergency arose, everyone did what they should have done and that because of those actions, Noah was able to off to school happy today.

~ Pam

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Banana Bread

I never used to be a fan of banana bread...until... I started adding chocolate chips to it.  Everything is better with chocolate!

Here is a recipe I use often

2cup flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup apple sauce (to replace 2 beaten eggs)
1/2 cup softened dairy butter or margarine --I interchange the terms butter and margarine all the time(fleishman's unsalted)
1 or 2 very ripe bananas mashed --I've made this both ways and each time it comes out delish!
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup dairy free choc chips (optional) I always use "Enjoy Life"

Preheat oven 350
grease bread pan (I use baking Pam)
In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon

In a separate medium bowl cream together brown sugar and butter (if your butter is in the fridge right before you decide to make this like mine always is, soften in the microwave for a couple of seconds and don't tell Martha Stewart)
Add applesauce and bananas

Add wet ingredients to dry until just moistened and fold in chocolate chips
Pour into bread pan and bake for about an hour.

~ Pam

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ode to my crock pot

There she is... isn't she a beauty?!  We got her as a shower gift-- going on 11 years.  Her knob came off last year, but I think it adds character to her look.  I think I should name her -- since she and I have such a trusting relationship!  Any thoughts on what her name should be?

This past week I made at least 2 crock pot meals-- that I can remember, since the days are kind of a blur lately.

I know I made this first one because I took pictures to prove it!
Ever get those pre-marinaded pork loins?  YUM!  Usually I make them in the oven, but this week I decided to throw it in the crock pot instead.
Here is the one I bought...

I put it in the crock pot with about 1/4 cup of water.  I put my crock pot on "auto" (which is the same as a low setting on other crock pots) for about 6 hours.  Took it out and made some brown rice to go with it.  I'd like to say there was a delicious and healthy vegetable too, but my kids don't like most veggies and sometimes it's easier to not fight at the table.  ;-/    Anyway-- another easy dinner for mid-week craziness! 

The 2nd crock pot meal was chicken drumsticks with Lawyers Balsamic marinade.  I threw them in and let them cook on high for about 4.5 hours.  They were also coupled with brown rice.  :-)

See, the convenience of my crock pot (Shelby, for her name keeps popping in my head) has made me post 2 meals in 1 post!  :-)


~ Pam

Saturday, February 4, 2012

French Toast-- without the eggs :-)

Who doesn't love french toast?  I loooove french toast, and was really sad when I thought it would be impossible to make for my son--since one of the main ingredients is egg and he's allergic to egg.  I experimented a few times with using only soy milk.  I tried dipping the bread in just milk.  It didn't matter how quickly I dipped, it was always too soggy --which caused it to burn the outside and not cook the inside--yuck.  Then I tried using a pastry brush to brush on the soy milk and that is what worked!  So here you go-- it's pretty easy, but here are some pics for your viewing pleasure.

Dairy free butter, MB french toast bread, soy milk and a pastry brush

Here are a couple of close ups of the bread and ingredients.  I am always psyched when I find a new option for Noah.  We use this bread for french toast and also regular toast.  It's YUMMY!

Here it is cooking :-)
Can't you just smell it?  hmmmmmmmmmm

And side by side can you tell which was made with egg (I made another batch of "regular" french toast for my daughter and hubby) and which was not?

A little powdered sugar for presentation. :-)
~ Pam