Daiya Pizza With Natural Selections Sliced Pepperoni, Ham, Bacon, Mushrooms and Onions

Out grocery shopping one day I happened to notice a new product…

A bag of Natural Selections Sliced Pepperoni

Natural Selections Sliced Pepperoni by Maple Leaf.

As my son, Michael, has yet to try Pepperoni (due to cross-contamination issues at the deli and products that may or may not include his allergens) I thought he might like to try this new, allergen free (for him) Pepperoni. It would be the perfect compliment on his Friday Night Pizza Night ‘Daiya Pizza’ along with all his other toppings…ham, bacon, mushrooms and onions.

Michael's Dairy Pizza with bacon, ham, mushrooms and Natural Selections Sliced Pepperoni

It was a hit…boy did it look and smell good!

A slice of Michael's Daiya Pizza with bacon, ham, mushrooms, onions and Natural Selections Sliced Pepperoni

Enjoy!

How do you top your Daiya Pizza?

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A Belated Father’s Day Family Barbecue: The Boys Help Make Dairy and Egg Free Pierogis

Andy was away on his annual fishing trip with ‘the boys’ Father’s Day weekend so our Father’s Day celebration was detained a week.

Andy’s sister hosted a Father’s Day Family Barbecue this past Sunday, inviting their parents, her three children, their ‘friends’ and our family…for a total of 12.

My sister-in-law called me this past week to confirm the menu:

Pork Ribs baked in the oven then barbecued…I brought a mustard free barbecue sauce for Michael’s ribs.
Pierogis…I brought Dairy and Egg Free Pierogis for Michael as her Pierogis contain dairy and eggs…click here for the post.
-plain carrots
-Andy’s mom baked a Blueberry and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie…as her pastry contains egg…Michael chose Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Dairy Free Vanilla Icing.
-I also brought Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick for all to enjoy.

Packaged allergy friendly food to take to our Father's Day Family Dinner hosted by my sister-in-law

Here are all the goodies that I brought:

-a cutting board and knife in a shield for the bread
-a pot to boil the pierogis in and a bowl to contain them
-a large spoon to scoop out the pierogis
-the frozen pierogis travelled in the cooler with freezer packs
-missing is my Bodum Bistro Sauce Pot for transporting Michael’s mustard free barbecue sauce. I like it because the lid holds a silicone brush which goes right back into the container so there is less risk of cross-contamination by putting it down somewhere.

The boys have been at me to make their favourite Dairy and Egg Free Pierogis for some time now…I thought this would be the perfect time for them to learn how to make them.

A bowl of Dairy and Egg Free Pierogi made by Michael and his friends

Pierogis are not difficult to make…but they are time-consuming. I like to split the steps into two days:

Day 1:

Michael peeled and boiled the potatoes.
Refrigerated potato water for pierogi dough the next day.
Michael mashed the potatoes and added the Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds, Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks and pepper to create the filling.
Covered and refrigerated potato filling for the next day.

Day 2:

I heated the reserved potato water while the boys measured the ingredients for the pierogi dough.
After the dough had time to rest for 30 minutes…the boys started to roll out pieces of dough to fill with the potato filling.
Pierogis were frozen on cookie sheets and transferred into freezer bags…setting aside enough to be boiled up for dinner.

Tale of Events

Michael ended up taking control of the pierogi making after his father showed him how he remembered watching his father make pierogis…rolling out the dough and cutting out circles.

Matthew and Michael rolling, cutting and filling Dairy and Egg Free PierogisMatthew didn’t like getting his hands all floury so Michael convinced him to be in charge of rolling out the dough and cutting the circles while Michael filled and sealed the pierogis.

I left them to sort it all out. From the other room, I could hear Michael’s encouraging words…”You’ve got the fun part…cutting out the circles.” Adding in,  “Whatever you do…do not start in the middle…start out here at the edge.” 

Dairy and Egg Free Pierogid made by Michael and Matthew

With admiration in his voice, I heard Michael state to Matthew…“We’re making pierogis!”

Learning how to cook/bake in general, let alone with food allergies is a life skill…basic cooking skills seem to be getting lost in this ‘fast food’ world.

I aim to take a stab at sharing the basic cooking skills my mother taught me with my boys…expanding upon them with the basic allergy cooking skills that I have learned along the way. 

My starting point…teaching my boys how to make some of their favourite allergy friendly dishes.

Wish me luck!

P.S. You’ll never believe what happened as I sat writing this post…I looked out the window to see two of my boys’ neighbourhood friends walking to our front door. I called out to Michael, “William and Victoria are here.” Michael’s response, “I know. They are here to help make the pierogis.”

William, Victoria and Michael making Dairy and Egg Free PIerogis

How awesome is that!

P.S.  Michael shared some of his Dairy and Egg Free Pierogis at the family dinner…all were impressed. Even Grandpa…’King of the Pierogis’…was curious to know what was in the potato filling and how we could make the dough without any egg!

I am curious to know:

Are allergic youth learning to cook for themselves at home or are they relying on parents or ‘processed allergy friendly food’?
Are allergic youth interested in learning basic allergy cooking skills? Would they sign up for a course if it were offered?

Asparagus With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Spring is in the air…that means asparagus season in Ontario is just around the corner.

Asparagus growing in my vegetable garden

I planted a line of asparagus crowns in our vegetable garden last season…so exciting to see some of it survived!

Here is a recipe to have on hand when your local asparagus arrives.

Asparagus With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Asparagus with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce on an asparagus platter

Beautiful in colour, texture and taste.

My mother reminded me of this recipe when I was visiting her this past weekend. She was invited to her friends for Sunday dinner…the vegetable and dessert were her contribution.

Saturday, she made the roasted red pepper sauce…Sunday she simply needed to cook the asparagus and serve with the re-heated roasted red pepper sauce. A simple fresh fruit salad marinated in 2 capfuls of Cointreau was easy to assemble, transport and enjoy at the end of the meal. How decadent!

This recipe comes from Canadian Cookbook Author, Anne Lindsay’s Smart Cooking Cookbook. I have Anne Lindsay’s cookbook, Anne Lindsay’s Light Kitchen.

On the back cover it states, “Anne Lindsay’s first cookbook, Smart Cooking, changed the way we thought about eating:  suddenly, healthy food was fun to make, delicious to eat and easy on the budget! Canadian families have never looked back.”

I have to agree…I have enjoyed many a recipe from Anne Lindsay’s cookbooks…this recipe being one of them.

Asparagus With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Asparagus with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce on an asparagus platter

2 large red peppers
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp crushed dried thyme leaves
Freshly ground pepper
2 lb asparagus (I used one bunch)

Roast red peppers on a baking sheet at 375 F for 18 minutes.
Turn over and roast a further 18-20 minutes…or until the peppers are blistered and soft. Let cool.
Peel outer skin…it should slip off easily…discarding seeds and any liquid.
Combine roasted peppers, oil, thyme and pepper in a food processor and puree.
Set aside. (may be stored in the refrigerator and re-heated at a later time)
Wash asparagus and break off the tough ends.
Bring a pot of water to the boil…add asparagus and simmer 5-8 minutes or until asparagus is tender/crisp…drain. (I steamed mine)
Arrange asparagus on a plate and drizzle with heated Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Tip: Any leftover Roasted Red Pepper Sauce may be stored in the refrigerator.

Reserved Roasted Red Pepper Sauce served over green beans

I enjoyed some of the reserved sauce over my steamed green beans tonight with my rainbow trout and quinoa.

The Food Allergy Chronicles Visits Lone Star Texas Grill

Dairy-Egg-Nut has inspired our family to ‘step outside the box’ this March Break. After much deliberation over restaurant ‘Allergy Guides’…one restaurant was chosen…The Lone Star Texas Grill.

Our family's trip to Lone Star Texas Grill

Quite surprisingly, Lone Star Texa Grill does not officially have a breakdown of food allergens for their menu listed in their ‘Allergen Guide’. However, what they do have is a very inviting message to those with food allergies who would like to eat at the Lone Star Texas Grill.

The Lone Star Texas Grill ‘s ‘Allergy Guide’ states, “At Lone Star, Guest food safety is number one. If you have any special food allergies, sensitivities or dietary needs, please speak to your server before you order. All our servers are well versed in the ingredients of our menu items.”

“While we cannot guarantee the absence of any allergen, due to the potential for cross-contaminationand potential traces of allergens in sauces, marinades, cooking processes and menu adaptations we will do our best to accomodate your requests.”

Click here to view Lone Star Texas Grill’s Allergy Guide.

Right away, after reading the above ‘Allergy Guide’, I felt inclined to call the restaurant to speak with the manager about Michael’s food allergies…dairy, egg, beef, lamb, sesame, fish, shellfish, peanut/tree nuts, mustard and raspberry…and Matthew’s food allergies…peanut/tree nuts.

The manager was very helpful and understanding of my boys’ combined food allergies…he assured us that the Lone Star Texas Grill would be able to meet our food allergy requirements. Adding, that many of their food allergy customers are repeat customers…very reassuring indeed!

Questions for Michael’s meal:

Is there a separate fryer for the french fries? Apparantly, there is a separate fryer that just fries the corn chips that are served complimentary. Michael’s fries would be fried in that oil. (corn chips were free of his allergens)

Is there mustard in their Original Texas Barbecue Sauce?   Yes…ribs are not allergen free.

Is there mustard in the seasoning of their chicken fingers? No, they would toss real chicken in a flour, salt and pepper mixture and would fry them in the same oil as his french fries.

Perfect…just what Micheal was hoping for…Chicken Fingers with fries…done.

Questions for Matthew’s meal:

Are the buns free of peanut/tree nuts?  Yes.

Perfect…Matthew would order “Bubba’s” Smoked Brisket.

Overall questions:

The manager reassured me that the manager would oversee the cooking of the boys’s meals, the hostess and waitress would be made aware of the boys’ food allergies, all cutting boards and utensils used in the making of the meals would be separate from the other food…I was sold!

Overall evening:

From the moment we stepped in to the Lone Star Texas Grill, our family was made to feel very welcome indeed.

Our hostess greeted us at the entrance…after a quick introduction, she smiled and reassured us the restaurant was ready for us and seated us near the back of the restaurant, by the kitchen.

The manager then greeted us at the table…he was very patient as I re-relayed the conversation I had had with the manager on duty at the time I had called. I had forgotten to ask about the salsa that is served with the corn chips and the plum sauce for the chicken fingers while on the phone with the other manager…the salsa and plum sauce were free of his food allergens.

The manager then re-reassured me that the kitchen was well experienced in cooking for anyone with food allergies. Relaying that our waitress was also aware of our food allergies.

Next, our smiling waitress arrived…she was equally patient as I re-relayed the specifics of our food allergy requirements. Drinks and our meal were ordered.

The first to arrive were the still warm from the fryer, corn chips and salsa.

Complimentary corn chips and salsa at Lone Star Texas Grill

Michael tried one, smiled and happily dug in to the pile…soon a second order arrived…where were the drinks?

Finely, the drinks arrived to quench the thirst of the ‘corn chip munchers’…soon to be followed by our dinner.

Michael’s Chicken Fingers and Fries with a side order of carrot and celery sticks…which, I might add, he did actually eat!

http://www.michaelpenneystyle.com/2013/03/15/join-us-for-a-floral-class-at-penney-company/

Michael inhaled his meal…happy to report it was delish…although he could have done with a few more of the french fries. (Note: Michael’s fries just had salt on them, whereas, Matthew noted that his fries had a sort of spice on them)

Over the course of the meal…Michael ‘absorbed’ his fair share of Iced Tea!

Michael's trail of Iced Tea drinks at the Lone Star Texas Grill

I imagine the sodium content of his entire meal was the culprit!

Overall…I would rate this meal a huge success!

At the end of the meal…the manager recommended that Michael try the Chicken Fajitas on his next visit. The tortillas, which they bake in house, were safe…the chicken would not be brushed with a garlic butter and would be grilled on a separate grill…the Saddle Beans and Mexican Rice would be safe as would the Salsa.

If Matthew had had room for dessert…he would have been able to have had the ice cream…

For anyone that does not live with multiple food allergies…the notion of going our for dinner may not seem like such a ‘big deal’. But for our family…it will be a moment we will remember for always because it was a ‘big deal’!

The fear is real…the consequences of eating something that one is allergic to is real…the need to be specific and careful about ingredient lists and how food is prepared, cooked and served is real.

Not everyone ‘gets it’…all I know is I’m sure glad the managers, hostess, waitress and cooks at Lone Star Texas Grill did!

Know, that on our next visit to Lone Star Texas Grill…I would still be calling ahead to go through the same food allergen questions to assure myself that the restaurant is prepared for our every visit…never assume!

I would love to hear about your experiences eating out at restaurants with food allergies.

P.S. At ‘The Allergy Eats! Blog Your Allergy Friendly Restaurant Blog“, they have specifically written a post titled, ‘The Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Chains in America’. Click here to check out their top 5 restaurant chains in the categories of large, medium and small chains.

P.P.S. I was very saddened by an article in Sunday’s edition of the Toronto Star.

Twelve year old Maia Santarelli-Gallo, died a ‘mysterious death’ this March Break while out shopping at Mapleview Centre in Burlington, Ontario. Her parents believe she died from an unknown food allergy…her body may have gone into anaphylactic shock. Maia had some food intolerances…but was never prescribed an Epipen by a doctor.

A sad reminder of how dangerous food allergies can be if not fully investigated.

My thoughts and prayers are with Maia’s family. Click here for the full story.

My Favourite Winter Soup…Roasted Vegetable Soup

I have to say…one of my favourite winter-time soups has to be a bowl of this thick’n rich, delicious soup.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

A bowl of Roasted Vegetable Soup

Full of the rich flavour of roasted carrots, sweet potatoes and onions…all I can say is ..”Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!”

Roasted Vegetable Soup paired with Hearty Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Irish Soda Bread is the perfect meal to bring when you have been invited away for the weekend.

A bowl of Roasted Vegetable Soup with a slice of Hearty Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Irish Soda Bread

The soup can easily be made ahead and frozen…only to be reheated upon arrival or when ready to feed a hungry crowd.

I like to prep the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Irish Soda Bread ahead of time too…just package up all the dry ingredients and bring along the Natur-a Soy Beverage or Natur-a Rice Beverage, canola oil and white vinegar (hosts may have them on hand, but if concerned about any cross-contamination it is always safer to bring your own)…combine together, knead and bake.

So easy to put together…you will delight your hosts…surprise any other guests and amaze everyone with your delicious, nutritious, homecooked meal.

The original recipe comes from the February 2004 issue of Canadian Living Magazine. Click here for the original recipe.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

I have made a few adaptions for my own personal tastes…I replaced the baking potatoes with sweet potatoes, the shallots with white onions and I used vegetable broth.

I just recently enjoyed the above picutured bowl of Roasted Vegetable Soup and Hearty Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Irish Soda Bread in my rush to get out the door for 5:45 p.m.
 
I was in a hurry to pick up my two friends, Linda and Leslie, enroute to PENNY & CO.’s ‘meet and greet’ with Cobi Ladner. Click here to view Michael Penney’s post on the event.
 
I was soooo excited to attend the event! I have always loved perusing through my mother’s Canadian decorating magazinesHouse and HomeStyle At Home…just as much as I have loved pouring over my mother’s Canadian cooking magazinesCanadian LivingChatelaine. Like mother, like daughter…I come by my love of magazines quite honestly.  It was just too bad that my mother was unable to attend herself.
 
Creating beautiful food and surrounding myself with the things I love are ‘two of my most favourite things’. After listening to Cobi speak about decorating one’s home…I think I am on the right track! Click here for more cobistyle.
 
I was ‘super excited’ to actually get to ‘meet and greet’ Cobi!
 
Cobi Ladner and me at  Penney & Co.
Very exciting!
 
I was thrilled to be able to ask Cobi about some of my family’s tartan wool…Ancient MacBeth…leftover from my wedding…my father brought it back from Scotland so it is very special to me.
 
Ancient MacBeth tartan
Pillows for my living room…tartan on the front with a soft velvet on the back surrounded with black trim. I just need to pick a colour for the velvet…Black? Cream/White? Emerald Green? Orange? Any suggestions?
 
How do you express your creative side?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Hearty Irish Soda Bread And Sweet Potato Leek Soup

I couldn’t resist baking up a loaf of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Hearty Irish Soda Bread.

A bowl of Sweet Potato and Leek Soup with a slice of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread

A favourite of mine to accompany a hot bowl of soup on a cold and blustery day.

The Irish Soda Bread recipe originates from the Canadian Living Step By Step Cookbookspying this recipe had me craving a slice…now I just needed a bowl of soup!

I came across a very simple recipe for Potato Leek Soup over at lucys friendly foods. Click here for the original recipe.

I just so happened to have most of the ingredients…a partly used carton of vegetable stock and leeks were already in my refrigerator, however, I switched up the potato with sweet potato.

Three simple ingredients = a quick, easy, nutritious soup!

With a soup recipe to try…I had the perfect excuse to bake a loaf of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Hearty Irish Soda Bread! Click here for Canadian Living’s original recipe.

Click here for the post I did on a plain version of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread.

Of course, I made a few adaptions:

Buttermilk replacement: 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk with Natur-a Soy Beverage (for a soy free version use Natur-a Rice Beverage) mixed with 1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar.
Flour replacement: I used 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour.
Flaxseed replacement:  I used and equal amount of flaxmeal and I sprinkled the top with flaxmeal instead of the unbleached all-purpose flour.

Tip: The dough is very sticky when you mix the wet with the dry ingredients…I mean very sticky

Kneading the very sticky Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Hearty Irish Soda Bread with lots of extra flour

I encourage you to make sure you really dust with flour the area that you will be kneading the dough, as well as, have a pile of flour at your finger tips to dust the top of the dough in between kneading to reduce the amount of stickiness. The picture above shows my completed kneading of the dough with the extra flour to the side.

Enjoy!

Toasted Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Hearty Irish Soda Bread spread with homemade strawberry jam

Delicious toasted with jam, honey or a spread of Vegan Becel Margarine.

P.S. Posting my favourite winter soup soon.

P.P.S. Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily is having another giveaway of one of her beautiful handmade items. Click here to check it out!

What is your favourite winter soup…what do you like to accompany it?

Pulled Pork Sandwiches On Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Buns

This weekend was all about hockey, hockey, hockey!

International Silver Stick Tournament 2012

My boys were super excited that their cousin, Lukas’s hockey team was in town for the Silver Stick Tournament. My brother and nephew arrived Thursday night to be well rested for the first game on Friday.

As it is not every day that their cousin is in town for a hockey tournament…first one ever…the boys were picked up at school after their third period. They both scarfed down a quick-lunch before we headed over for the first game…Nana arrived just in time to head over along with us all.

Matthew, Andy, Michael and Nana at Lukas's hockey tournament

What a game…they won!

With two games per day…revolving around lunch and dinner…a little bit of planning out our allergy friendly meals was in order.

Friday night’s dinner was Spaghetti With Ground Turkey Sauce with Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick…crowd favourites! Both were made Friday morning to leave me free to head to the first game. (The other half of the dough was made into 4 sub buns… Michael made a quick ham and lettuce sub to bring along to the game.)

After filling our bellies full of spaghetti, we all headed to the evening game. Another great game and a win…although Nana felt there were again, too many penalties.

Saturday morning had me walking in our first snow of the season to the grocery store. I had pre-ordered a boneless pork shoulder for Pulled-Pork Sandwiches on Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Buns I had planned for Saturday night’s feast…another one of my boys’ favourites and a crowd pleaser!

I found the Slow-Cooker Pulled-Pork recipe from the December 2006 issue of Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazine. Click here for the original recipe.

For this meal, I used a 5 lb boneless pork shoulder and doubled the rest of the recipe. When the meat was finished, I removed all the excess fat, as well as any fat from the cooking liquid. Sometimes I add the extra ketchup at the end…this time I only added 1/2 of the recommended amount…perfect!

I adapted the recipe for Dinner Rolls from my original Black and Decker All-In-One Deluxe Breadmaker recipe booklet. Matthew’s favourite for the Pulled Pork. Michael prefers his Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sub Buns.

Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Dinner Rolls

Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Dinner Rolls

1 2/3 cups Natura Enriched Rice Beverage
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp fine sea salt
4 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast

Measure ingredients and add to bread maker in the order listed above.
Press for dough setting.
When complete, divide dough in to 12 balls.
Place in a 9 by 13 inch casserole dish which has been sprayed with canola oil.
Cover and let rise for at least 30 minutes.
Uncover and spray with canola oil.
Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
Cool on cooling rack until ready to split open and fill with the Pulled Pork.

Enjoy!

Pulled Pork on a Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Dinner Roll

There was enough left over for sandwiches the next day for lunch!

Lukas’ team went on to win both games on Saturday! Semi-Finals here we come!

Everyone was up early Sunday morning for the big game…they won! Lukas’s Minor Atom Team made history…this is the first time since 1988 that their division had made it to the finals!

Team parents had hit the dollar store for all kinds of noise makers…the crowd was wild for this final game!

We were not disappointed…the team went on to win 6-1! Way to go Silver 7!

Lukas a Silver Stick champion

Congratulations Lukas! Bell Cup here we come!

Fish, Shellfish, Egg, Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pad Thai

The opportunity for my eldest son to try tofu finally arrived!

Fish, Shellfish, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pad Thai with broccoli

Fish, Shellfish, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pad Thai!

Here is the background story:

For many years, I avoided soy in Michael’s diet…it was an allergy that he eventually outgrew. Michael’s remaining multiple food allergies, dairy, eggs, beef, fish, shellfish, peanut/tree nuts, sesame, mustard and raspberry, left him limited in his protein intake.

It has been quite the challenge to increase the protein in his diet. When beans were given the okay he just looked at me and said, in his sarcastic teenage voice, “Oh yeeeeah! Beans are not what I want to be able to eat.”

I get it, beans are not on the top 10 most desirable foods to eat as a teen!

Tofu has also, never appealed to Michael. I have to admit, my lack of experience with tofu was also a bit of a barrier. So you can imagine my shock when he announced that he would like me to add tofu into his diet!

To understand this transformation, I need to go back a few weeks to our Church Christmas Bazaar.

At our Church Christmas Bazaar,  Michael bid on and won a 6 month VIP membership to Extreme Fitness. Part of the membership included a fitness test. It came as no surprise when Michael came home after his fitness test and announced that the person who evaluated him concluded that Michael needed to up his protein intake…he came home that day wanting to have, of all things, quinoa.

I love quinoa…I prefer it to rice. Quinoa is a gluten-free seed very high in protein. Click here to read Allergic Living Magazine’s Shelley Case RD’s ideas of how to use and prepare the different forms of quinoa.

Michael enjoyed his rice topped with quinoa that night at dinner.

Last week, Michael mentioned he would now like to try tofu. As the only dish I have every made with tofu was Pad Thai…I decided to adapt my favourite recipe.

My favourite recipe for Pad Thai comes from the May 1993 issue of Canadian Living Magazine. Unfortunately, I could not find the original recipe online. The following, Fish, Shellfish, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pad Thai recipe, is an adapted version to suit our families tastes and allergens.

Fish, Shellfish, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pad Thai

1 pkg (454 g) Rice Stick Noodles (blue package)
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
6 tbsp lime juice
4 tbsp ketchup
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes (I omitted as the boys do not like the spice)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 pkg (350 g) extra firm tofu, cut into small squares
1 red pepper, diced
6 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
2 cups bean sprouts, rinsed (unfortunately, the ones at the store did not look fresh so I omitted them in this version)

Bring a large pot of water to boil.
Add the package of rice noodles.
Boil for 3 minutes…or until the noodles are completely cooked.
Drain, rinse and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a liquid measure, stir together the chicken stock, sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, ketchup and hot pepper flakes (if using).
On medium-high,  heat 1 tbsp of the canola in a large skillet.
Add the garlic and chicken cubes. Stir fry until no longer pink inside. Transfer to a bowl.
Heat remaining oil in the pan. Add red pepper and tofu, stirring occasionally until lovely and brown.

Browned tofu and red pepper

Re-rinse the rice noodles (they will have stuck together) and add to the pan.
Stir in the sauce and cooked garlic chicken.

Pouring the sauce in Fish, Shellfish, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pad Thai

Sprinkle in the chopped coriander and green onions and stir-fry until heated through.

Fish, Shellfish, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pad Thai

Enjoy!

Fish, Shellfish, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pad Thai

Lovely with some steamed broccoli.

Overall opinion: Andy and I loved it! The boys did not hate it nor did they love it…it was okay…I’ll take that.

Tip 1: Andy and I sprinkled hot pepper flakes over our dishes…we like our dish hot, hot, hot!

Tip 2: Michael thought it was a bit sweet…perhaps next time I would reduce the sugar.

Tip 3: Even better the next day re-heated…looking forward to leftovers for dinner tonight!

Tuscan Chicken With Parsley Orzo…one of my husband’s favourite meals

Tuscan Chicken with Parsley Orzo has been one of my husband’s favourites meals since the first time I made it back in March 2001.

Andy's plate of Tuscan Chicken with Parsley Orzo

Easy to prepare, great for entertaining and any leftovers can be frozen for a later date.

Saturday night is the one night of the week that Andy and I set aside the time to prepare something special for dinner. Even in the midst of the boys’ crazy hockey schedules…we work hard at trying to come up with a ‘tasty solution’ for dinner. (The boys still enjoy their barbecued ribs, rice and corn night)

Unfortunately, this past week, has been a difficult one for me health-wise…the bit of running I added to my power walks has backfired…it aggravated my pinched nerve.

As a result, Andy took charge of Saturday night’s dinner…of course, he chose one of his all-time favourite dishes…Tuscan Chicken with Parsley Orzo…yeah!

This recipe originates from a Canadian Living magazine…Diane Clement’s Tuscan Baked Chicken with Orzo recipe was highlighted. Click here for an adapted version of Canadian Living’s recipe printed in the Vancouver Sun newspaper.

Andy and I like to make this meal together…as he barbecues the chicken breasts, I prepare the sun-dried tomato topping and prep the orzo. Once the chicken is in the oven, the fresh vegetable (usually broccoli) is put on to steam and the orzo dish is assembled. (Andy did a great job of prepping and preparing the entire meal as I sat on the sidelines…thank you, thank you!)

I have taken the liberty of adapting the original Canadian Living version to suit our personal tastes and dairy allergy…omitting the parmesan cheese in the orzo, allows Michael to enjoy a sample.

Michael's ribs, rice and corn with a sample of Parsley Orzo

Tuscan Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 package of sun-dried tomatoes, not packaged in oil, thinly sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
cracked pepper to taste
fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced, for garnish

Barbecue chicken breasts, 5-6 minutes a side..place in a 9 by 13 casserole dish.
While chicken is barbecuing…in a saucepan, saute onion in olive oil until softened.
Add white wine, balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes and a few grinds of black pepper.

Sun-dried tomato topping for chickenPour over chicken breasts, arranging sun-dried tomatoes and onion mixture evenly over the chicken breasts.

Barbecued chicken breasts with sun-dried tomato topping ready for the ovenCover with foil.
Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.

Baked chicken with sun-dried tomato toppingGarnish with slivers of sliced fresh basil.

Parsley Orzo

Parsley Orzo in a saucepan

1 cup orzo (I use Seme di melone by De Cecco)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
half a bunch of parsley, rinsed, dried and chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a pot of boiling salted water, cook orzo according to package instructions.
In a large pan, heat olive oil on medium heat.
Add drained orzo, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Tuscan Chicken and Parsley Orzo ready to be served

Enjoy!

Tuscan Chicken, Parsley Orzo and steamed brocolli

Delish!

Tip 1: By not adding the parmesan cheese to the Parsley Orzo, as in the original recipe…Michael is able to enjoy this meal with us.

Tip 2: This dish can easily be made ahead of time…just pop it in the oven for easy entertaining!

P.S. Andy loves to grind fresh parmesan over his Parsley Orzo, as seen in the first picture at top.

Do you have a favourite meal you enjoy as a couple?

Family Favourite Pork Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon

One of my family’s favourite go-to very easy recipes that everyone in the family loves is…

Pork Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon.

Michael's plate of Pork Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon with rice, roasted brocolli and corn on the cob

This is a recipe my mother used to make when I was growing up. So fun to be serving it to my family.

I know, it seems silly, in a way, to be posting such a simple recipe, however, my blog,  The Food Allergy Chronicles is about chronicling our life…Pork Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon is a big part of our allergy friendly meal repertoire! 

I repeat…everyone in the family likes this…hence, no grumbling at the table.

Okay, I confess…Matthew did mention the last time I served Pork Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon, if I could somehow incorporate barbecue sauce in the dish. This coming from the boy who wears a T-shirt that says, “I put ketchup on my ketchup!”

I tend to always have pork tenderloin frozen individually in the freezer, onions and a package of Schneider’s Country Naturals Bacon in the fridge…three simple ingredients for this dish. No need to salt…just add a little cracked pepper and possibly a sprinkle of dried sage. Easily put together ahead of time to just pop in the oven…served with a side of rice or potatoes and a vegetable…the perfect meal is ready in 45 minutes.

Pork Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon

1 pork tenderloin
1 onion, sliced
2 slices of Schneider’s Country Naturals Bacon
a sprinkling of dried sage and cracked black pepper (optional)

In a baking dish, arrange the sliced onions, place the pork tenderloin on top, sprinkle with sage and cracked pepper (if using), and arrange bacon slices to cover pork tenderloin.

Two pork tenderloins wrapped in bacon in a baking dish ready for the ovenBake, uncovered, at 350 F for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature is 71 C.

Two baked pork tenderloins wrapped in bacon in baking dish Remove pork tenderloin from baking dish to a cutting board and tent with foil.
Let rest for 5-10 minutes while the juices settle.
Slice and serve with onion and bacon slices.

Two pork tenderloins wrapped in bacon being sliced on a cutting board

Enjoy!

Matthew's plate of pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon, rice and corn on the cob

The boys love their Pork Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon with rice. This particular evening, the vegetable was the last of the corn…Matthew passed on the roasted brocolli…and of course, a side of ketchup.

Tip 1:   I sometimes cook a couple extra pieces of bacon on the bottom of the baking dish…boys like extra bacon.
Tip 2:  As the boys appetites are growing, I baked 2 pork tenderloins…any leftovers are perfect for another meal or lunch. 

Do you have a favourite family go-to meal that everyone enjoys?