Apple Crisp and Pumpkin Bread plus my review of FAACT’s Teen Retreat

I love fall.  It is my favorite time of year.  So far it has been busy and cold!

I participated in FAACT’s Teen Retreat with my daughter.  What an amazing time for teens with food allergies and their parents.  As an adult with food allergies I often feel the odd man out, and am thankful that most of my friends, family, and coworkers ask questions and are understanding to my food needs.  This weekend was the support that my teen needed to feel NORMAL.

Many of us lunched at Maggiano’s Oak Brook. With well over 20 teens and adults needing to special order, Chef Tito did an amazing job.  I love seafood, but often it is pre-seasoned in the morning or the night before.  I knew they could do the pasta for me (gluten-free pasta with just oil and garlic) but I really wanted some shrimp. Chef Tito said yes, they pre-season their shrimp but would try to find some plain shrimp for me and he did! It was great to see all the kids order and eat with no problems. Every child at the table had to list their allergies and ask extra questions making it normal for the next child to do the same.

The rest of the weekend was full of new friends, speakers who were informative and personable, and teens and parents who get what it’s like living with food allergies.  We can’t wait till next years and are trying to figure out how to fit Camp TAG into our summer schedule and hopefully a visit with our new friends before the 2020 Teen Retreat.

Now that we are home and getting back in the swing of things, I am again attempting to make pumpkin bread from scratch that tastes as good as the GF box mix from Trader Joes. With all of it’s cross contamination warnings I would like to find something safer.

My attempt looked good but wasn’t quite done and was dense on the bottom. My kids had all kinds of Great British Bake Off lines to describe the failure, which made me happy. It was an improvement on my last attempt at pumpkin bread, yeah me.

 

I guess I will stick to my Apple Crisp for today.  And try pumpkin bread again next week.

Aloha Poke Restaurant Review

I have shared before that our safe food when traveling is sushi. I was excited to learn that there was an Aloha Poke in the Ogilvie Station in Chicago.

Their website was clearly marked with the allergen information. I think it is the first time where the menu board had the items with gluten marked.

When ordering there is a sign on the register that says “tell us about any allergies”. I always like seeing signs like this. Thank you for asking!

My bowl of rice, tuna, avocado, cucumbers and onions with sesame oil was fantastic and just what I needed before seeing Cats at the Nederlander Theater.

Train trips to Chicago will be even better now that there is a safe place in the train station to eat.

Root Down Denver Restaurant Review

My recent trip to Denver concluded with the best meal we had while visiting.

A friend who is local and a foodie (and aware of our food allergy needs) had recommended a few restaurants and we were able to get into Root Down.

I was so impressed with the knowledge of the staff. When my daughter listed her allergies (Dairy (ANA), Soy Protein, Tree Nuts, Peanuts, and Celiac) the waitress said that’s not too bad! My daughter was relieved as the waitress pointed out the entrees on the menu my daughter could enjoy.  Then when I listed my allergies (Dairy, Celiac, and Nightshades) I asked about a certain dish and she said “that usually has Goji Berries on it but we are using something else right now instead.  I was amazed she knew that Goji Berries were a nightshade.

I ordered the beet salad minus the cheese and the risotto.  Both were wonderful! My daughter order the crab taco’s and although she wasn’t too sure if she liked them, she was able to try something new.

Crab Taco's

The best part of Root Down was that we were able to order dessert! We ordered both the tiramisu rice pudding and the truffles.  Dessert!  We never get to order dessert! Now I need to learn how to make truffles because that’s all my daughter can talk about.  The desserts tasted heavenly.

I definitely would put Root Down on your itinerary when traveling to Denver with food allergies.  They made us feel both special and normal!  Thank you for making our trip safe and delicious.

 

 

Denver Sushi Review (Okinawa and Motomaki)

When traveling our safe food is Sushi.  It can easily accommodate for our Celiac needs and food allergy avoidances.  Following are the two restaurants we visited while in the Denver area.

After hiking Dinosaur Trail we headed to the city of Golden.  The town is cute and has lots of shops and restaurants.  We ate at the new Okinawa.  It had some great options and I was excited there was a roll with fruit and greens I could have.

Our waitress was knowledgable and helpful and we had a wonderful lunch.

The next day after hiking around Red Rock we ate at Motomaki in Lakewood.  Motomaki is Sushi Burrito’s and Bowls.  It is much like a Chipotle where you choose what goes in your Burrito or Bowl.  There menu is clearly marked with the gluten-free ingredients and the employees were happy to answer questions we had about any ingredients.   The sushi burrito was good and the bowl looked tasty.

I would return to either of these places to eat.  Thank you to both these Sushi restaurants for making our allergy travels safe.

 

Sometimes to use less you need to have more.

I’ve been working really hard at remembering to bring my own cup when I go to Starbucks.

We have a big cabinet at home full of reusable tumblers and insulated mugs.  When I leave in the morning I make sure I have a empty reusable and one full of water.

More and more public spaces have water bottle fillers available. Yay! Since I am still trying to “Drink more water”! And many coffee places will give you a small discount for bringing in your own cup.

I know, as an organizer am I not suppose to want you to own less stuff?  Yes, but this is one of those cases where I say “Buy a reusable mug (or two) that you really like” and wash it at home.  I really like this life factory insulated mug and the other is a cup we bought at Five Below.

Enjoy! -SB

Hippeas!

Starbucks is one of our favorite places.  It is always a bummer standing in line looking at all the pretty pastries in the case.  We have shed many tears and had more than one argument about can we have it-NO!

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So it is always exciting when there is something new in the packaged products that maybe we can eat.  This fall it has been the Hippeas.  The Fajita flavored ones are the preferred flavor.  I can even eat the regular flavored ones. (No Nightshades!) And who doesn’t like a product with a pun for it’s name.

We give Hippies two thumbs up! – SB

 

Jeni’s Poached Pear Sorbet

Earlier this summer I spent a week in Columbus, Ohio.  The convention center there is nice and right near North Market, with all it’s yummy food.  Even though there was not a plethora of food there for me to eat, there was a Jeni’s.  Over the week I tried the Whole Lemon Sorbet, and the Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet.  The lemon was really lemony! I love lemon, but this was too much.  At least a whole bowl was too much, a few spoonfuls was all you needed. The pear was wonderful.  I don’t eat pears too often since I’m the only one in my household that enjoys them, so it was quite a treat.

I’ve had an ice cream maker for almost 20 years, and have not used it since we embarked on our food allergy lifestyle.  So I though the poached pear sorbet would be a great way to try it out again. The recipe is very simple, only a few ingredients.  I used 3 Bosc pears and 3 Bartlett.  Pealed, cut into chunks and boiled them with the other ingredients until they were soft.

poached pear sorbet

Waiting for it to cool is the hardest part.  I blitzed it in a food processor, but will try it in my Ninja next time.  Then popped it in the freezer.

It’s so refreshing! This summer has been so hot and this is a welcome dairy free treat.  Enjoy – Susan