Monday, June 20, 2011

Food Allergies More Common, More Severe Among Children

This was on CNN today. Not much of a surprise to those of us who have a child who is severely allergic to some type of food. The numbers are increasing and this is downright, disturbing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fun things you can make with a box of GF cake mix...

I have been busy, VERY busy. In my arsenal of allergy friendly cookbooks, I have several great recipes that I could not live without. But there are days when I don't even have time for those. So I have been keeping boxes of GF cake mix on hand for anything that might come up. There are several companies that make these mixes and most seem to be quite good. But if you add a few extra ingredients like chopped fruit or orange juice, you will be thrilled at what can be created. And if you use the cake in unusual ways, like in a trifle or dipped in chocolate you would be hard pressed to find someone who would turn their nose up at the end result. Here are a few things that I have made in the past few months for a wide variety of Ella's activities. Tea parties, play dates and even a dessert for a grandparent visit. Everyone was clamouring to get to these bad boys. Hopefully you will be inspired to stock up on a GF mix, or two...

Impromptu play date activity... Cherry Chip Cupcakes

Ice Cream Cake, GF Cake layered with mint chip ice cream

Trifles! Sweet, glorious trifles!

Petit Fours, for taking to a little girl's birthday party

Miniature Cupcakes with Strawberry Whipped Cream Frosting

Where, oh where have I been?

MasterChef 2, FOX... Main Cooking Competition Area

My blogging, as of late, has been minimal. This is not because I have stopped Living WELL with Food Allergies. Rather, I have been insanely busy with my day job... working as a set decorator for two Television shows. As you may know, those shows are both on FOX... Hell's Kitchen and MasterChef. We did two back to back seasons of HK and one season of MC. I LOVE my job and am quite proud of my amazing art department. There are often quite a few challenges that we overcome, by what often seems like a miracle.

My sets are like my children; I love them all. But MasterChef holds a special place in my heart. It is a fun show to watch and like anyone who watches the show, I enjoy rooting for the underdogs. Part of my job is to work closely with the Culinary Department to really create a setting that is different than any other cooking show on TV. This year, I was blessed to work with a team that was led by the fabulous, Sandee Birdsong (a former Top Chef contestant and producer). Jane, Joplin, Brad and Jeff were a dream to work with. Together, we created pantry and equipment rooms that exceed anything that has ever been seem on TV before. In fact, MasterChef International liked what we did so much that they are now going to try and recreate these environments on the other MasterChef version that air around the world. They took extensive photographs of our sets, which was really exciting for us. If you have not seen
the show, I would encourage you to check it out. Season 2 just started airing. You may also see full episodes here.

Our Pantry. A true feast for the senses!

The kids visited me on set a couple of times and Ella was quite taken with the pantry. She grabbed a few of her favorite types of fruit, as well as some chocolate. Milo, ever the boy, was fond of the fork lift. Lucky for him, we seem to have one of those on every set!

Hell's Kitchen 9 and 10 were also a lot of fun to create. Season 10 is still shooting, currently, but Season 9 is set to begin airing alongside MasterChef, Mid July. I would show you photos, but unfortunately, I am not allowed to until the show airs. Our show and my sets will be featured in Design Trade Magazine at the beginning of next month, I believe. Really exciting stuff!

Our family has also been quite busy. Ella finished kindergarten and is excited to move into first grade in the Fall (sob!) Milo has been dancing his way through his first year of preschool. In true California style, both kids are enrolled in a children's yoga class which they LOVE. My husband's show, "The Cleveland Show" also on Fox, has been renewed for a fourth season and we are very excited about that.

Things on the allergy front seem to be okay, thankfully. Ella's wheat allergy seems to be diminishing, at least a tiny bit. We have been letting her eat very small amounts and have not seen a rise in her allergy symptoms. By small, I mean, a bite of bread or a battered chicken tender. We will have her tested again in the next couple of months just to further monitor the situation. We visited Disney's California Adventure last week and had lunch at Arielle's Grotto. I told our waiter about Ella's allergies and he was very helpful in finding things for her to eat. (There were many options). And for dessert, they even brought her a special cup of sorbet. A fabulous experience, all the way.

The summer is looking to be very exciting with Art Camp just around the corner and trips to places like Yosemite and Northern California. We are also considering a trip to Hawaii, in September. Hopefully, I will have time to blog more often. I have missed being able to connect with all of you. I send kind wishes for your summer plans, as well. Hopefully, everyone will have nothing but great stories to report!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

European E. Coli Outbreak

This is pretty scary. I hope they find out how this happened and quick...