Food allergies and fear
Over the years, I have joined several groups on social media sites regarding food allergies. My daughter’s peanut allergy is off the charts – the highest level on 2 blood tests, and a skin test. My daughter will be 12 this week. I have done a ton of research about her allergy and my husband and I are on the same page about how to handle her allergy. However, over the years, I have read so much and seen so many posts from others about their child’s food allergy and the precautions they take. I love that I have learned so much over the years, but also along the way there were several times that I felt paranoid about her food allergy. I had to take a step back and ask myself if I was truly acting rationally. There were times, I freaked out a bit too much – definitely more than I should have – because of something I read. At the time, I did what I felt was the right thing to do, but in hindsight maybe it was a little over the top.
How much information is too much information? Parents will do anything and everything to protect their child, especially from something that is life threatening. Therefore, I believe that every family has to do what they are comfortable doing in regards to their child’s food allergy. I have read that some people bring their own plastic silverware and paper plates to other’s homes, so there was no possibility of cross contamination. I have read that some people refuse to eat out at restaurants, ever. I have read that people bring their own food to anyone and everyone’s home for their allergic child to eat, to avoid any possibility of cross contamination. I have read that people will skip weddings, and family functions, because of fear of cross contamination with their child’s food allergies.
My question is, how much is too much? Is there too much, when it come to protecting our children? I don’t know. Is all the information too much information – enough to make us terrified and paranoid? Where do we draw the line?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
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The new site is currently under construction, so please bare with us as we get new features and fun things set up. The look will probably change a few more times also. We are tweaking it to make it perfect. We have a new recipe card program, and will be adding tabs for recipes, amazing products, and other great things. The new recipe card allows you to save or print (in various sizes) right from the site. We are excited to bring you lots more great things as we work on the new site and add lots more great features!
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Allergy Warrior Annie & Gluten Free Gal Lizzie
Wordless Wednesday: No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks
Today is Bean’s last day of school! Welcome summer!
This year Bean has had the best teachers and such a great, happy bus driver. They have all been so accomodating and so on top of things when it comes to her peanut allergy. I will actually miss them, but am so excited for her to be home for the summer.
Store Eggs vs. Farm Raised Eggs
For those of you who can eat eggs, and have never tried cage free eggs, this is a must read! We went to Wallace Farms to pick up some grass-fed brisket. My hubby loves using his grandfather’s Texas recipe for making brisket in our smoker. They had a cooler with some cage free eggs. I have heard from so many people that farm raised eggs are so much better than grocery store eggs. I thought I give would a carton a try, and see what all the fuss was about. Here is the sign that was on the cooler door.
I loved the varying colors, and speckles on the eggs.
So we decided to just take a store-bought egg and a Wallace Farms egg and scrambled them for a taste test. I added 1 tsp of milk, scrambled it up, put it in a coffee cup, and nuked it for 1 minute in the microwave. Immediatedly, the first thing I noticed was the yellow color of the cooked Wallace Farm’s egg versus the store-bought egg. It looked smoother and much more yellow.
So I tried a bite of each one, and it really did taste so much better! I was happily surprised. Not only was the consistency of the egg better, but the taste was so good! I am looking forward to trying them in recipes! I bet it would make the finished product taste much better too. I’m sold and will probably never buy store-bought eggs again. Not only do they seem healthier, but they just taste so much better. I had to share this discovery with all of you.
Disclaimer: I purchased these eggs and was not compensated in any way. This review is my own personal experience and my opinions are all my own, and not influenced in any way.
Origins of Peanuts
So it seems that there is some confusion between peanuts and tree nuts. When I tell people my daughter has a severe peanut allergy they will usually ask if she can have other nuts like almonds or pecans. I have a whole speech saved in my head for just that occasion. I explain that peanuts are a legume. Legumes are in the bean family and grow in the ground, while tree nuts (hence the name) grow on trees. I find it interesting that people are so used to shopping at the stores and finding things on shelves, that they don’t really know the origin of their food. So let’s talk about peanuts…
According to Wilkipedia – The peanut, or groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), is a species in the legume or “bean” family (Fabaceae). The peanut was probably first domesticated and cultivated in the valleys of Paraguay. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing 30 to 50 cm (1.0 to 1.6 ft) tall. The leaves are opposite, pinnate with four leaflets (two opposite pairs; no terminal leaflet), leaflet is 1 to 7 cm (⅜ to 2¾ in) long and 1 to 3 cm (⅜ to 1 inch) broad.
The flowers are a typical peaflower in shape, 2 to 4 cm (0.8 to 1.6 in) (¾ to 1½ in) across, yellow with reddish veining. each Hypogaea means “under the earth”; after pollination, the flower stalk elongates causing it to bend until the ovary touches the ground. Continued stalk growth then pushes the ovary underground where the mature fruit develops into a legume pod, the peanut – a classical example of geocarpy. Pods are 3 to 7 cm (1.2 to 2.8 in) long, containing 1 to 4 seeds.
Peanuts are known by many other local names such as earthnuts, ground nuts, goober peas, monkey nuts, pygmy nuts and pig nuts. Despite its name and appearance, the peanut is not a nut, but rather a legume.
Archeologists have dated the oldest specimens to about 7,600 years, found in Peru. Cultivation spread as far as Mesoamerica, where the Spanish conquistadors found the tlalcacahuatl (Nahuatl = “peanut”, whence Mexican Spanish, cacahuate and French, cacahuète) being offered for sale in the marketplace of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City). The plant was later spread worldwide by European traders.
Although the peanut was mainly a garden crop for much of the colonial period of North America, it was mostly used as animal feed stock until the 1930s. In the United States, a US Department of Agriculture program (see below) to encourage agricultural production and human consumption of peanuts was instituted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. George Washington Carver is well known for his participation in that program in which he developed hundreds of recipes for peanuts.
So excited to be going to the WholeLife Expo 2013
Tomorrow is going to be a very exciting day. Lizzie and I are going the the WholeLife Expo in Schaumburg tomorrow as official bloggers. The WholeLife Expo is one of the largest natural health and holistic expos . They have 240 exhibit booths, health products, 10 stages of classes, music, and demos, and over 200 hours of live sessions! Plus at the end of the night, you won’t want to miss the Sephira Cirque of the Soul show Tree of Life! The expo started on Friday, but due to Bean’s doc appointment and my hubbies doc appointment, I was unable to attend. It is being held at the Schaumburg Convention Center all weekend, so don’t miss out!! The show is Saturday 10am-9pm, and Sunday 11am-7pm. Daily admission is only $20, and you can purchase passes to certain workshops too. They have lots of workshops on all different subjects. You can buy tickets here.
Hope to see you there!
We Love When Food Makers Reply! This Time its Gluten
A quick online search will lead you to about a million and a half different ways of toasting coconut. Since we often want to incorporate this into our meals, I really wanted to learn how to do it properly. Well, I tried quite a few of the methods I found online and found that none of them worked to my satisfaction. So, through some trial and error, I was able to come up with my own way of doing it and it works great. I wanted to share this with you guys so you don’t have to go through all the mistakes and mess that I did.
First, you are going to make sure you prep your coconut. Once you have cracked the coconut and have pulled away the meat, get out your old fashioned kitchen grater. You know, that bulky metal thing that always happened to just be in the kitchen? It always looked so scary to me as a kid, but I love how many things I can use it for now! But, back to business… Take your chunks of coconut and start grating them on the grater. Tip: Only grate as much as you’ll need for your recipe and maybe a bit extra for snacking later… coconut keeps longer in larger chunks than after it has been grated.
Once you have your small pieces of grated coconut, you’ll have to decide how toasted you want it. It really depends on your preferences and what kind of crunch you want it to have. If you are mixing in the coconut, or prefer slightly less crunchy toasted coconut, then use the frying pan method.
To do this, take a medium sized frying pan and spread your coconut out in a single layer. Turn your heat to high. As soon as you see the coconut begin to tan (about a minute), turn your heat down to medium low and stir the coconut around while continuing to toast until it reaches desired color/texture. Note: this method does not toast coconut evenly, so I would not recommend this method where the presentation of the toasted coconut will be visible. The advantage to this method, is you get the great coconut flavor without tons of crunch as soon of the coconut stays a bit on the softer side. This is great for those who have issues with texture differences.
However, if you are looking for either more crunchy or more uniformly toasted coconut, use the oven method.
To do this, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread your coconut in an even layer on a cookie sheet and place into the oven. Let it roast for about 5-7 minutes and give it a good shake and stir to ensure even toasting. Continue toasting until desired level of color and crunch is achieved.
Store your toasted coconut in an air tight container. If you happen to have any left that is! I hope this helps out those who are looking for a better way to toast their own.
If you haven’t tried toasted coconut, I highly recommend it! Its a great addition to salads, main dishes, and desserts. Its also great to have on hand as a quick snack!