Lately, I feel like I am on a fast moving holiday train. A bullet, that is rushing toward the new year. So much to do as the days fly rapidly outside my window. I have been buzzing around my kitchen, nonstop since Halloween. The picture above says it all. It is not even Thanksgiving yet and I am already prepping for Hanukkah and Christmas. My daughter's school has had two bake sales in the past month. The first of which, I cooked SEVEN different items for. The school set a record in sales, earning over $800. There was another one this weekend and I decided to only make two items. (Slacker, I know.)
My house has turned into a round the clock bakery. I asked my Dad what my Step Mother wants for her birthday and he said, "Oh, just make her one of your chocolate goodies." Then the school asked for volunteers to make goodies for the all school Thanksgiving feast. I am a sucker, I volunteered. Naturally, my mom is also depending on me to help her prepare my family's Thanksgiving dinner. We have a large family and my Mom's house is the center of our universe on what has become my very favorite holiday. So I grab some comfortable shoes, a Cafe Mexicano from my favorite cafe and a good bottle of wine as I roll my sleeves up and get busy.
It is not all baking, too. My daughter attends a Jewish school and they are putting on their annual Hanukkah pageant. An e-mail went out asking for parents to help making costumes and decorating the sets. So naturally, I volunteered. (One day, very soon my husband will surely have me committed.)
Oh, and did I mention our holiday party, my daughter's performance in "Where the Wild Thing's Are", and the biggest of all celebrations... Christmas? This is the point where I should ask Calgon to take me away.
This all brings me endless amounts of joy and yes, there may be dark puffy bags under my eyes but gosh darn it... it is worth it. The funny thing is that I know that there are so many other people out there, just like me. Trying to do all that they can to make their holidays spectacular. To me, it means so much when people give their time and make things themselves. It is what the holidays are all about. And I feel quite blessed to have a home over my head, healthy children and an abundance of love in my life. Lots to celebrate!
This is the time of year that I find myself thinking a lot about my Grandmother, Mary. She was an absolute inspiration. She literally prepared for Christmas, year round. She made doll ornaments from clothespins and crocheted snowflakes, as she sat in her chair each night. (This, after raising four kids, maintaining a spotless household and making some of the best food anyone has ever tasted). When Christmas arrived I was thrilled to run into their warm home in the mountains where stacks of delicious goodies awaited me. It was a child's dream come true. Everything was perfect, scrumptious and seemingly effortless. It all came from her heart. If there is anything that I wish to give to my family, it is that. Lord, how I miss that beautiful woman.
I also miss my strong, warm Grandfather who was the ultimate host. He lived for these types of celebrations. If we had ham, he'd make sure that there were at least 4 different types of mustards. It was also his job to make sure everyone had a drink in hand, at all times. He always had a great story to tell; I hung on his every word.
I am the epitome of a holiday softy. A total sap. But something tells me that by the time New Year's rolls around this year, I will be ready for it.
Oh, and I almost forgot... I just got called back to work. I start prepping the sets for Hell's Kitchen AND MasterChef in a week. Better drink more of that coffee!
Our daughter used to have dreadful eczema. In fact, it was an early indication that she was having bad reactions to foods. After we cleaned up her diet (wheat and soy being the biggest culprits) her eczema left and we have not seen it since.
My son has always had very sensitive skin. A few months ago, our allergist suggested that we stop using dryer sheets and encouraged us to use a non-comedogenic lotion all over his body after bathing. He does not appear to have any of the food allergies that his sister has. We skin tested him and he only reacted to pecans, and mildly. After following the doctors instructions, we have seen his skin clear up. But over the past week, he has developed an angry red rash around his chin and cheeks. He has been taking antibiotics to cure a sinus infection, and I wonder if his rash is a reaction to that. Or maybe he could be experiencing dry skin from the oddly dry weather we have been having. But his doctor thinks he might be reacting to the wipes we use to clean him. He also has the rash on his tush. She told us to use only Lanisnoh wipes (the kind made of gold... only kidding, they aren't cheap!) And she prescribed a topical cream, to be used until the rash clears up. On top of this, she wants us to avoid foods like tomatoes that are acidic and might further aggravate the situation, for the time being. Sorry kid, your beloved pizza and spaghetti with marinara are off the table!
All of this is a guessing game and none of it makes me happy. I despise seeing my little guy uncomfortable and I do not like the looks I get when I drop him off at preschool. (Doctor says that it is NOT Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease, nor is it Slapped Cheek Syndrome). But it is a bit of a game; one of elimination. Hopefully we will find the source before we all lose our mind.
Kind of praying that it is the wipes, actually. I would much rather pay for those little purple packages than find out that he has some other kind of crazy allergy. Fingers are crossed...
I found this little article from Medicine Journal Feeds, very interesting. It certainly applies to our family. Our daughter is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts and is just as allergic to sesame. But she has no issue with coconut, thankfully. I know that this is not the case with everyone but I wonder if there is a connection. I am terrified of her having any contact with sesame, especially after I saw her reaction following her most recent skin test.
Just as a side note, a few years ago I had to have an emergency appendectomy. My appendix had cracked and was reacting to a small seed that had gotten stuck. Can you guess what that seed was? Yep, it was a sesame seed! Ggrrrrrrr!
Thanksgiving is right around the corner. There is no question, it is my favorite holiday. My Mom and I cook like lunatics, all day. And then we feast! Having a child that is allergic to so many things can really complicate things. In years past, I have prepared a special wheat free pumpkin pie, just for my daughter. And then last year I bought a mini pre-made version at Whole Foods and she loved that, too. But that is just dessert.
To add to the insanity, I have a kid who hates mashed potatoes. So her meal is usually turkey, cranberry sauce, raw veggies from the appetizer plate and some of my Mom's stellar Jello salad. That is a pretty decent meal by most standards, but this year I am going to try and make something else.
What are your favorite Thanksgiving dishes? And how do you handle the stress associated with food allergies on this holiday that is all about eating? Please let me know by leaving a comment or on my Facebook page!
There has been a lot of research indicating that eating peanuts during pregnancy can possibly contribute to a child developing a peanut allergy. There is a new report out today from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, that suggests that there may, indeed, be a connection. Everyone on the web has been talking about it. Here is a link to an article that discusses the findings...
This is a blog for people who are limited in what they can eat. The focus of this blog is primarily wheat/gluten and nut free. Many of the recipes include dairy ingredients which can easily be substituted with a soy or non-dairy alternative. No recipes include shellfish or sesame. Another focus is healthy living through the use of organic foods and enriching activities like exercise and hobbies. I try to keep current on articles that are published about food allergies and their possible causes. If you know anyone with food allergies or happen to have them yourself, this blog is for you!
I hold a BS in Home Economics and Interior Design from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I have been a Set Decorator and Interior Designer for over 15 years, having worked on many films and television shows. Most recently, I won a Primetime Emmy for Best Art Direction for a Multi-camera Series for my work on Fox's MasterChef.
We have two young children... Milo, 6, and Ella, 8. My Husband is a comedy writer, whose Tweets are MUCH more entertaining than mine could ever be!
When I was 34 I found out that I am allergic to shellfish, after having eaten it my entire life.
My daughter has severe food allergies, including peanuts, sesame, and all nuts. She is especially allergic to pistachios. She had previously been allergic to wheat, eggs and soy... thankfully, she has seemingly outgrown those allergies.
Cooking for a child is usually a challenge, but finding things for an allergic kid to eat is next to impossible.
I started this blog because I have been learning so much and am eager to share information. Because I love to cook, recipes are a huge part of what I am posting.
It IS possible to live well with food allergies. Thanks for reading...