Monday, September 29, 2008

The Princess and the Pea

As I've already mentioned, my one year old daughter (who will be 2 in two weeks), Leila, has food allergies. Her blood tests have shown her to be allergic to milk, eggs, and peanuts. But technically, she is only sensitive to eggs and milk and can tolerate them in small amounts. Her peanut allergy on the other hand is not to be toyed with. An episode of anaphalaxis and a trip to the ER proved that to us. But I've also found that she has bad reactions to oatmeal and peas. . . which may not be surprising to those who are up to date on their botany because a peanut is not technically a nut. It's a legume like peas and beans. So peanuts are more closely related to peas than to walnuts. Anway, when you put it all together, the list of foods that Leila has to avoid is peanuts, milk, eggs, oatmeal, tree nuts (which sadly includes coconuts), shellfish (because her allergist told us to avoid them until she is older), and of course anything processed in a facility that also processes treenuts and peanuts (making the list exponentially long).

All this is to say that tonight for dinner I made shepard's pie. I like to put peas in my shepard's pie, so for our family, half of the pie had peas in it and half of it didn't, for Leila. This has always worked out well for us. Well, today while I was at ballet class and my family was eating dinner, I get a call on my cell phone from my husband. "Leila ate a pea," he says. It turns out that Leila had eaten all of her food, and while Robert was getting her some more to eat, Gabrielle decided to share her dinner with Leila and offered her a pea. Leila's reply: yummy! (Leila eats everything she can get her hands on. . . she's our human garbage disposal.) Well long story short, Robert made her spit the pea out and she seems to be just fine. But this just goes to remind me that I can never lose vigilance when it comes to feeding Leila, because let's face it, I have no desire to stick that epi-pen into her thigh.

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

Whenever I make something new that my daughters will not only eat, but enjoy, I tend to think of as a major achievement or a minor miracle. While I like to think of myself as culinarily adventurous, I would describe my daughter as finicky, skeptical, and a little bit picky of most new (and familiar) food. My neighbor/friend, Jessica (who is lounging at a beach in sunny Florida at this very moment), peaked my interest a couple of weeks ago by saying that she was going to make a broccoli cauliflower salad. Now I could've taken the easy route and just asked her for the recipe. . . but I decided to do things like I normally do. . . intensive recipe scouring research on the internet, followed by a recipe that includes all the things I like, omits all the things that my kids don't like, and replaces all the things that Leila is allergic too. In this case, I created a broccoli cauliflower salad that included broccoli and cauliflower (duh!), bacon, shredded cheddar, craisins, and a dressing made up of mayo, sugar, and red wine vinegar. Now usually, Gabrielle (my older) tries to tell me that she doesn't like broccoli. And to top it off, we eat cauliflower so rarely that when I put her bowl in front of her, she asked why some of her broccoli was white. Nonetheless, they she took a bite. And she actually liked it. It wasn't until she'd eaten half of it that she even asked me what all the stuff was in it. Now, I know what you're thinking. .. who wouldn't like a salad laden down with a creamy dressing of mayo and sugar. . . and you can never go wrong with bacon. Well, I tend to agree, but I don't think Robert will be eating any of it anytime soon. He refuses to touch anything with broccoli in it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Taro Pancakes

So my husband Robert has had a taste for coconut syrup, which we can't get around here. So he ordered a jug of coconut syrup and some taro pancake mix from this hawaiin website. Well we finally got it, and today was the perfect day for trying out taro pancakes. They were purple, which was a bonus for Gabrielle, who's 3 and hates trying new foods. . . but her favorite color's purple. So how could she resist. And when we topped it off with some coconut syrup, she really couldn't resist! They were very tasty. Leila, who's 1 and has to avoid coconut because of her food allergies, had her pancakes with blueberry syrup. . . and she still devoured 3 of them! We may have to order more mix!

On another note, Leila finally figured out how to ride her tricycle! I say finally, but she's still young really. I'm just glad that I don't have to listen to her complain about how she wants to keep up with her big sister who's zooming by on her bike. She was so happy today riding her bike down the street. . . she almost ran into a parked car, but that's another story. Another step closer to freedom for her, another little bit of heartbreak for me. Every mommy hates to see her baby grow up.