Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lick the Bowl Roots-Holiday Cooking

I have decided to get back to my Lick the Bowl roots.  While this blog was originally intended to discuss food allergy related material including recipes and news items, I realized that my life was not just about food allergies.  Don’t get me wrong, they take up a big chunk of my energy, but the blog seemed to take on a persona of it’s own and I liked the direction it took.  Nevertheless, it’s holiday time and the one thing I love to do is experiment in the kitchen. 

A few weeks ago, I received a fabulous new cookbook from my Facebook friend, Nava Atlas.   It’s funny how people find each other in this big, wide world because prior to Facebook, Nava and I never knew each other.  Nava is an author and illustrator of many well-known vegetarian and vegan cookbooks.  She also has her own website Vegkitchen.com.  Some of her books include Vegan Express, Vegan Soups and The Vegetarian Family Cookbook, amongst many others.  

Nava found an anecdotal article I wrote for the Baltimore Jewish Times a few years ago (see below) http://www.jewishtimes.com/index.php/jewishtimes/news/jt/national_news/in_pursuit_of_the_vegan_matzo_ball/  and decided to contact me on Facebook.  From that moment on we became Facebook acquaintances and she recently featured my challah recipe on her website Vegkitchen.com   http://www.vegkitchen.com/recipes/special-occasions-and-entertaining/jewish-new-year/egg-free-challah/#more-5695.

She has been very supportive of my newbie attempts at writing about recipes/food allergies and has been a source of guidance especially when I needed to make a vanilla allergy-free birthday cake a few years back and didn’t even know where to start.  Nava graciously sent me a complimentary copy of her new cookbook Vegan Holiday Kitchen (on shelves now) and I just had to blog about it because I think it’s fabulous.

I am the first to admit that I am an okay cook…not great…serviceable.  I have many food challenges in our home.  I have a carnivore-lovin’ husband, an egg and nut allergy son, along with a self -proclaimed, vegetarian who is also lactose intolerant.  It’s hard to find something that everyone can agree on especially at dinnertime.  Holidays are an extra source of stress, because when we travel or go to someone else’s house, I always have to worry about what the allergy child can eat.

Nava’s new book Vegan Holiday Kitchen has so many recipes that I am itching to try.  The beauty of the book is that everything is vegan, a.k.a egg and dairy free and many of the recipes are gluten free for those of you who suffer with gluten allergies.  I love this book because it is unpretentious and makes me feel like I can cook great meals without necessarily being a great cook.  Nava understands that we lead busy lives and can’t take a lot of time looking for exotic ingredients. She is a firm believer in good quality shortcuts and doesn’t sniff if you want to use store bought vegetable stock as opposed to making it yourself, pre-made pie crusts, etc..in order to “free up your time for all  the other dishes you’ll need to prepare from scratch.”  I love that.  

The recipes are clear, concise, and there are beautiful photographs of many of the finished products and both Jewish and secular holidays are included.  There is something for everyone.  I have my eye on the gluten-egg- free potato latkes and the gluten-egg-nut free kugel.   Both look fabulous, easy, and very tasty.  The latkes can either be made with (believe it or not) oatmeal, or quinoa flakes.  Nava insists they are the best and that no one can tell there’s oatmeal.  I will definitely try them and let you all know!

If you are looking for a great cookbook, I highly suggest this one.  I am so touched that she sent it to me and I plan to make very good use out of it in the near future. 

Happy Thanksgiving!
P.S. Cookie Season is Upon Us
Get ready for some awesome cookie recipes that are egg-dairy and nut free…created by moi just in time for cookie season!! The bonus of these recipes is that they use all natural ingredients, whole wheat pastry flour, no butter, cholesterol free, and even have reduced sugar.  I just made a batch of Oatmeal Raisin and my kids (who normally don’t even like oatmeal cookies went crazy over them)!

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Tigger" on Steroids

Ah…finally, we have survived the six-year old on steroids.  It was a long, frustrating trip fraught with “increased” (and that’s an understatement) energy and major meltdowns.  He went to one of those bouncy places for a birthday party yesterday, so I timed the predinisone exactly 1 hour before he left.  Let’s just re-name the kid “Tigger” because he bounced every steroid laden cell out of his body and fell into a coma-like induced sleep afterward…sigh…the worst is over.  Now we move onto the inhaled steroid. 

It’s pretty pathetic that my son calls us…”puff” buddies.  We stand together by the sink with a cup of water and we each inhale from our Flo-Vent (an inhaled steroid), then we both swish water in our mouths and rinse the residue out.   It’s like doing drugs with your kid.  Actually, it is doing drugs with your kid.  It’s a bit surreal and frankly a bit disturbing on so many different levels.  Bottom line, if you can get through the worst, the drugs work, because we no longer struggle for every breath we take, and like I said in a previous post….breathing is definitely not overrated.

Now that the worst is over, I can finally focus on more pleasant topics.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on a great new cookbook I received recently….You are going to love it!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

OW, OW ,OW…ow, ow, ow, ow….

Yes, these are the cries of pain.  These are my muscles screaming out in agony…”why are you doing this to us? We want to go back to the way it used to be?”  Believe it or not, I have not worked out in almost two months since this nasty little chest infection took my lungs hostage.  It’s been a long trip, filled with steroids, inhalers, antibiotics, and other assorted medications, but alas, I have been released from my arrested breathing and have begun to cautiously join the world of the living again.  Of course, nothing is as easy as it seems, because now my itchy, sneezy, wheezy, coughing, allergy afflicted six-year old suffers the same fate as his mama and is on the same course of drugs.  Let’s just say that steroids on a six-year old can turn a seemingly sweet, even-tempered child into the incredible hulk on speed.

I specifically switched his dosage time from morning to late afternoon, because I really like his teacher and didn’t want her to have to bear the full brunt of his manic, off- the-wall behavior.  Yep, I took a hit for the teacher.

Back to my muscles, they hurt.  Walking up and down the stairs is brutal and yet I am going back for more punishment today because my screaming muscles have atrophied. They have become lazy, mushy, and very unattractive.  Did I mention that I modified my workout…that’s right, I took it easy so the instructor wouldn’t have to pick me up off the floor and force Albuterol down the throat.   Instead of squatting with a 40 lb. punching bag, I used baby weights and in lieu of a 10lb ball for ab work, I used a 4lb. ball and still my muscles hurt so badly, it’s beyond the sweet pain of a job well done.  Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow and ….OW! 

Yes, I am in pain, but eventually it will pass with every subsequent workout and slowly, I will return to my advanced level once again.  Until then, I suppose a little patience is in order.  I’m really bad at patience, but my muscles are a constant reminder that patience is definitely a virtue.  OW!