Sunday, March 29, 2009
Our dryer has been dying for weeks now and it just keeps getting worse. The boys spent the day (and night) with my parents so Hubs and I decided that this would be a good time to rip the Band Aid off and finally make the big purchase. And a big purchase it was! I really wanted to patronize some local shops so we started out at a local dealer that everyone tells me "really will give you the best price" and "is worried about the economy and worried about going out of business". REALLY?? Because that's not how they acted when we went in there. This is the same place we bought the fridge this past summer (I know. Why would we go back there?). They kept trying to sell me something I had never heard of. They didn't seem to want to talk about the washer and dryer I did research on and wanted. And they said the price is the price. Not coming down at.all. (and this was on the washer and dryer I never heard of but that they wanted to sell me). So we moved on to the next local dealer where I bought our new microwave at Christmas time. They only wanted to talk about Maytag. We have Maytag now, and from everything I've read, Maytag is currently not the way to go. I may be wrong, but that's what I've read (and I've done extensive research and joined Consumer Reports) and that's what I feel. So stop trying to sell me something I don't want. His prices were better, but again, he wouldn't show me what I wanted to see (What's up with that?). I may have bought the Maytag (he had a hard sell) but there was a question on if it would actually fit or not. Our laundry room is Very small. And we measured width, but we didn't measure depth. So before we went any further we needed to head on home and remeasure. As we were leaving the store, I suggested to Hubs that since I really wanted to check out the washer and dryer that I did research on and the ones that got a "Best Buy" from Consumer Reports, we should try Home Depot.
We now own this:
And the matching dryer. And yes, in red. They didn't have the white so we took the red at the same price of the white. Never thought I'd own a red washer and dryer but no one is going to see them anyway. The man at Home Depot, Dale, was very nice. He tried to sell me the LG which was fine, but I really had my heart set on the GE and once he could tell I wasn't into the LG he backed off and let me do my own thing. He was more than helpful and went totally above and beyond for us. I felt badly that we bought them at a chain vs. a locally owned appliance store, but we tried and the local guys made it difficult. If there is one bright spot in that part of it all, it's that at least we are keeping Home Depot in business for Dale. Dale was let go from his job in Engineering after 27 years and now has to work at Home Depot. Just another story about how the economy is taking it's toll. I really hated to pay that much money for a washer and dryer. But the amount of energy and water (and subsequent usage of our pump and water softening system due to the fact that we have well water) saved by the front loading washer in the long run should more than make up for the initial up front cost. But spending that much money makes me break out into a cold sweat every time.
After that Hubs and I went to church and then out for an early dinner. I had a plan on how to make my first "gluten free" restaurant experience as easy as possible and of course it worked. When in doubt, eat at a place with a gluten free menu. It left no room for error and basically I had to do no thinking. The place we went to specializes in special dietary needs. I had:
Classic Double* …8.99
Naturally raised all beef patties on a bakery fresh sandwich bun with melted mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, shredded leaf lettuce, sliced tomato, red onion, and Dijon mustard.
This is off of the regular menu as the gluten free menu isn't on line. Mine came on a gluten free french roll with gluten free ketchup, gluten free corn chips and a pickle. I also left off the cheese because I didn't need the extra fat and calories.
I added a glass of organic red wine and had a wonderful, SAFE meal!! It was fantastic!
My son could eat here too, but there would be more involved for him. My roll contained egg and there are numerous entrees on the menu that contain nuts. I know his food could be made safely, but we would need to bring out the chef for him. I couldn't just order off the "gluten free menu" and expect every other allergen to be accommodated. I think we'll probably go back soon. Both Hubs and I had an excellent dining experience. There is a natural foods store attached, so after we ate I went and bought the gluten free hamburger buns that I was served. They were totally delish. They do contain egg, so my son can't eat them, so I picked him up a pack of Ener-G tapioca hamburger buns. We've tried to get him to eat hamburger buns before, but he doesn't like them. We thought we'd try again.
After that, we just spent a quiet (no children-quiet) evening at home watching March Madness (clearly not my choice).
Today I have plans to do some organizing around the house and maybe a little relaxing.
Friday, March 27, 2009
The possible reasons for this are interesting. You can read the MSN article "Is Your Lunch a Loaded Gun?" here.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The other good news is that I appear to be healthy in all other respects. She's running a blood panel for a bunch of things (just to check out all my numbers) and we are going to try a few things to see if we can't get me sleeping again (darn insomnia!), but otherwise I check out OK.
So now the Little Man has to share his gluten free foods with his mom.
And I just saw this come in, so I'm adding it to this post:
**THE FOOD ALLERGY & ANAPHYLAXIS NETWORK SPECIAL FOOD ALLERGY ALERT
MILK ALLERGY ALERT
March 26, 2009
Sara Lee North American Retail is recalling "Ball Park Brand Beef Franks"
due to undeclared milk.
The product was shipped to distribution centers nationwide.
The 1-lb. packages are marked with a "use by" date of May 07 09 P8740A and
Consumers with questions may call (888) 891-6100.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Thursday:Firecracker Chili - I didn't make this last week, so I pulled it into this week.
Friday: Mac and Cheese (and gluten free Mac and Chreese)
Saturday: Left over chili and sandwiches
Sunday: Hamburgers (and veggie burgers) on the grill, Oven potataoes
Monday: Brats and Sauerkraut
Tuesday: Coriander dusted roast beef, steamed veggies
Wednesday: left over and clean up day
Visit Laura for more menu planning.
Have a great week!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Allergy Friendly Foods, LLC Launches Allergy-Friendly,
Gluten-Free, Ready-Made Dishes -- Allergaroo®
ST. LOUIS (March 16, 2009) – St. Louis-based Allergy Friendly Foods, LLC announced today the national launch of Allergaroo®, the country’s only allergy-friendly, gluten-free brand of delicious, convenient, ready-made dishes.
All three of the great-tasting Allergaroo all-natural, ready-made dishes, including Spaghetti, Chili Mac and Spyglass Noodles, can now be found in more than 1,000 select grocery stores throughout the U.S. in addition to natural foods stores and specialty online retailers.
· Allergaroo Spaghetti is made with rice spaghetti noodles and a savory tomato sauce that appeals to parents and kids alike.
· Allergaroo Chili Mac is made with elbow rice pasta, a mild chili sauce and pinto beans for anyone who loves the taste of chili.
· Allergaroo Spyglass Noodles is made with penne rice pasta and a sweet and delicious tomato sauce that kids love.
“Allergaroo is redefining everyday eating for people with food allergies, food intolerances, celiac disease, autism and other health concerns with great-tasting, all-natural, convenient dishes,” says Tabor Burke, Founder, CEO and President of Allergy Friendly Foods.
Burke, the mother of two children with multiple food allergies, knows from her own personal experience how parents of children with food allergies struggle to ensure each and every meal not only tastes great, but is safe.
“Allergaroo is allergy-friendly AND gluten free; it tastes great and it’s simple to prepare. For parents, Allergaroo means freedom and peace of mind. For kids, it means more options for yummy foods like everyone else can eat,” Burke says.
All Allergaroo dishes are free of the eight most common allergens, are gluten-free and are made without casein, potato, sesame and sulfites. And, most importantly, all Allergaroo dishes are now made on dedicated equipment in an allergen-free dedicated space.
Allergaroo dishes contain only high quality, all-natural, GMO-free ingredients. Each is low in calories (240 or less); low in fat (3g), high in protein (between 3 and 4g); high in dietary fiber (3g); and are cholesterol-free, saturated fat-free and trans fat-free.
Because it’s packaged in shelf-stable, microwaveable pouches, Allergaroo is a convenient solution for busy people seeking safe and delicious allergy-friendly and gluten-free foods. Allergaroo makes the perfect dish for home, school, daycare, play dates, work and travel.
Allergaroo’s shelf-stable, 8-ounce microwaveable pouches make it easy to prepare. Simply open the pouch, heat and eat.
Allergaroo dishes can be found in the gluten-free aisle with other gluten-free and allergy-friendly foods, in the natural prepared foods aisle, or in the mainstream prepared foods aisle. Look for Allergaroo at mainstream grocery stores, independent grocery stores, super-natural and natural foods stores, and specialty online retailers including Gluten-free.com, GlutenFreeMall.com, Food4Celiacs.com and PeanutFreePlanet.com. For store locations by geographic area, visit our website at http://www.allergaroo.com/ .
Allergaroo prices range from $3.99 to $4.29 for an 8-ounce pouch, depending on where they are purchased.
Allergaroo is owned and marketed by St. Louis-based Allergy Friendly Foods, LLC, which was founded in 2005 with the mission of making great-tasting and convenient, all-natural, allergy-friendly and gluten-free dishes. The company launched the Allergaroo brand in 2008 with three all-natural, gluten-free and allergy-friendly varieties. Allergy Friendly Foods, LLC was founded by Tabor Burke, a mother of two children with multiple food allergies who longed for a convenient and delicious meal alternative that her kids could safety eat without worries. Allergaroo was named an Editor’s Pick for Best New Products of 2008 by Progressive Grocer (Sep 2008). For more information, visit http://www.allergaroo.com/
Friday, March 20, 2009
Well, apparently there is! With the weather getting warmer, it got me to thinking about our own garden and plants for the growing season. Edible gardens are in demand this year due to the economy and more and more people wanting to eat organic, local veggies. But flower gardens are also a lovely addition to the season. Most of the plants, trees and shrubs we've planted are there because we liked the look of them or because they serve a utilitarian purpose. But I never thought about allergy proofing our own landscaping. You can't control your entire environment, but you can control your immediate surrounding to a certain degree.
This article called asthma friendly gardening gives several excellent tips on what you can do to make your garden and landscaping more asthma and allergy friendly. The one tip that I think we can definitely start using at our house is to use plants that are well adapted to our area. I never heard of this until last summer, but it makes perfect sense. Plants that are native to the area will also survive and grow better than those from a different climate. The tip that surprised me the most was "To further eliminate mold spores, encourage wild birds in the garden. Birds eat insects and insect damage triggers outbreaks of mold". I've always tried to keep birds out of my garden (silly me!).
The author of the above article, Tom Ogren, has an entire website dedicated to Allergy Free Gardening. If you suffer from asthma and allergies this is a great place to get some tips on how to help make your environment more friendly for you.
There are many excellent articles to be found on the site too including:
CO2, Global Warming and Pollen Allergies
Selecting Landscaping Trees with Asthmatics and Allergy Sufferers In Mind
Trees, Shrubs and Urban Allergies
Other great links with excellent information include:
Planting an allergy free garden by the diy Network
Safe Allergy Friendly Flowers
Allergy Friendly Gardens-Video
Allergy free gardening from Gardening Matters
And if you still can't alleviate those allergies then visit WEGO Health's Nasal Allergy Page or Seasonal Allergy Page for advice on what you can do to feel better and enjoy the season.
(originally posted at WEGO Health. What type of health activist are you? Take the survey to find out)
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
You can read the press release for Best Allergy Sites here. Both Best Allergy Sites and Fab Snacks are contestants in the "Leading Moms in Business Competition". You can go here to vote for Best Allergy Sites and here to vote for Fab Snacks and help promote food allergy awareness. Voting ends March 31st and you can vote for each site once a day.
1. I haven't been feeling well the last few days. Allergies? Migraine? Both? Don't know, doesn't matter. I still don't feel well.
2. I took CVS brand allergy meds yesterday to see if it would help. It did not. It made it worse as apparently my body doesn't like that brand of allergy meds. Note to self: Throw those out!
3. I've been up since before 3 AM and could not fall back to sleep. But this is nothing new since I haven't been sleeping well for weeks now. Maybe part of the reason I don't feel well? Could be....
4. The weather here gave us a taste of spring. It was around 60 degrees the last few days and even though it's supposed to get cold again, it gave us hope.
5. I met with the Little Man's preschool teacher on Monday and the Kindergarten teacher yesterday to try and decide once and for all what we should do about school next year.
6. The preschool teacher said "We could go either way". I wish she would have just said "Do pre-K" or "Do Kindergarten" but being a good teacher, she's leaving it up to us. She did say that academically and socially he's ready for Kindergarten. It's his motor skills that may be an issue.
7. I asked his O/T specialist what she thought and she said he's ready for Kindergarten. She said that she'll put him on a pre-K writing program for the summer and we'll try and get him up to speed as much as possible.
8. I took some of his work and showed it to the Kindergarten teacher and she said he's not off track from where he should be for his age. He's certainly not on the high end, but he's not on the lowest end either. She said that from what she saw and from what I've said, she thinks he'll be ready.
9. Sending him to Kindergarten opens up a whole new set of problems since it would be a new school that has not dealt with his food allegies before (SHUDDER....HORROR....COLD SWEATS....).
10. But I did explain to them the situation, and all of his allergies and I got a good feeling from them. An entire action plan would have to be hammered out (and hammered into them) but we lightly covered the basics and they seem like they would do whatever I asked (put an EPI pen in every room he's in, no play dough in the class room, let me pick the art supplies, etc.) so at least we ended on a positive there.
11. I contacted R.W. Knudsen to see if their Sensible Sippers were safe for the Little Man and they called me back right away. I wasn't home so they left a message saying that they contain wheat grass and barely grass for extra nutrients. Hmmm.... I never thought about "grasses". Everything I read on line says that the "grass" should be safe because it's the "berry" that contains the allergen, but I think we will be staying away from those.....just in case.
12. I have a hundred things to do today, but still don't feel well. I hope I can at least accomplish 10.
Happy Hump Day! Hope everyone has recovered from St. Patrick's Day (whether it was too much green beer or too much corned beef).
Monday, March 16, 2009
Life has a way of getting in the way of blogging and I haven't been posting much lately. I've just been so busy and this week probably won't be much different. But I do have a menu plan to share.
Thursday: BBQ chicken thighs and corn ( The Daddy Sams Ginger Jalapeno Bar-B-Que Sawce was awesome!).
Friday: Homemade Pizza - conventional and gluten free
Saturday: Clean up and fend for yourself
Sunday: Brats and hot dogs on the grill (yes, it was actually semi warm enough)
Monday: Taco night
Tuesday: Corned Beef and cabbage
Wednesday: Firecracker Turkey Chili
Visit Laura for more MPM! (And Happy Early St. Patrick's Day!!!)
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Good morning, blog land. Greetings from the great master. I hope, an enlightening saturday, you have. Herh herh herh.
What is this? Why it's Yoda Speak, of course. It translates what you say into how Yoda would say it.
Now the boys will think Mom is really cool! I saw this on another blog I read (obviously she is much cooler than I am if she found it first - lol) and I had to put it on the blog. The boys are into "everything Star Wars" at the moment. I'm surprised they haven't asked me to change their names to Luke and Anaken (or maybe they have and I just wasn't listening. Sometimes I tune them out. No, really!). I've been up with insomnia since 3 AM and this is what happens with lack of sleep. Just wait until later today. I may dress up as Princess Leia with gluten free muffins on the side of my head and post pictures (or maybe not...)
I hope you all have a wonderful day and I hope I can make it through the day without losing the one brain cell, left, have I.
A mind (and a blog) is a terrible thing to waste.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
You can go here to get all the recipes
A list of what fruits and veggies are in season (I always wondered about this!)
Some of my favorite recipes from the show:
Tyler Florence's Crispy Chicken Drumsticks (I'll make my own safe Ranch Dressing)
Yogurt Popsicles I'm not sure the boys will eat these, but they sound good. You can sub soy yogurt for the cows milk yogurt too and it will also work.
Tyler Florence's Tropical Smoothie Again, not sure the boys will partake, but I will. And soy yogurt can be subbed for dairy allergies.
Cat Cora's Garlic Mashed Potato Pancakes These sound really yummy. For a dairy free version just sub dairy free margarine and soy/rice milk and you should be good to go.
My goal this week is to find more breakfast items that I can make at home (my son is allergic to eggs so that doesn't work for us or I'd be home free). My older son eats frozen junk for breakfast and I'd like to find healthy options that I can make at home and freeze for quick breakfast options. My boys are P.I.C.K.Y. so I really have to go outside the box. If I find something they like I will post the recipe.
Wish me luck!!!
Monday, March 09, 2009
I did an experiment for this Menu Plan. I went to Taste Of Home, signed up, picked out 4-5 recipes, saved them to my "grocery list", printed that off and used that at the store this week. I added spaghetti for Sunday and Monday to round out my menu. It made things a lot easier and if I had actually stuck to the list without adding in anything extra it would have saved quite a bit of money (I went to Marc's to shop this week and some of the really great close outs got me shopping a bit more than I planned to).
Thursday - Tortilla Soup - moved from Wednesday due to left overs
Friday - Southwest Cornbread Bake - subbed brown rice flour for the all purpose flour and soy milk for the cows milk and it worked just fine
Saturday - Went to a birthday party
Sunday - Brown rice pasta, tomato sauce, Italian sausage and meatballs
Monday - left over pasta and sauce
Tuesday - Bavarian Pot Roast
Wednesday - Asian Chicken Thighs
Thanks to the close out store, I got packs of ground turkey for $1.89 each and my corned beef brisket for St. Patrick's Day (and it says Gluten Free - Hooray!), so I feel like I'm ahead of the curve. I did save money there!! But when I had to go to the conventional grocery store for safe lunch meat, yogurt, pretzels, brown rice pasta, Enjoy Life Cocoa Loco Bars and Quinoa Flour it raised the grocery bill a bit. But that's the price you pay for food allergies. I just can't make my own pretzels (I tried. It didn't turn out so well).
For more Menu Plan Monday or to join in on the fun visit: Laura and have a wonderful week!!
I need to post some of these recipe on the recipe blog. If we tried them and they worked and we enjoyed them, I like to post them so A. I don't forget them/lose them and B. So you know they are worth trying. There is no point spending money to make a recipe that was just so/so. Hopefully later this week I'll get to that.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Apparently I have eczema. I've never had eczema before, but there's a first time for everything. I went to the Dermatologist this week for something else and showed her my itchy spots (which are pretty much all over and have been randomly popping in and out for a year now). She said "Oh that's eczema". OK, possible. My son has eczema, and I guess this resembles the kind he gets once in a while (more like red bumps vs. dry, scaly skin). Since I've been complaining about the "itchies" for over a year and nothing else has worked, I'll go with eczema (for now). The Doctor said "I'll prescribe this great new eczema oil for you. It's medicated and a pretty cheap". OK, as long as it works I'll try anything.
The pharmacy didn't have any in stock and had to order it and Hubs picked it up for me on his way home from work tonight. Once the kids settled down and dinner was cleaned up, I couldn't wait to get into the shower so I could use this stuff (the skin needs to be damp).
Just as I get ready to put it on, I flip it over and read the ingredients. What's in it? REFINED PEANUT OIL. Nice one! Now I've read that most peanut allergic people can tolerate highly refined peanut oil. Is this highly refined? Yea, I don't know. It doesn't smell peanut-y. Even though peanut allergic people are supposed to be able to handle refined peanut oil, we've not tested that out on my son. I realize that he isn't wearing it, and that it's me, but it really creeps me out. I used it tonight and put on heavy jammies and a big robe and didn't touch my son, but I don't how long I can do that. It's a bit stressful. I hope this stuff works and quickly.
Oh and as for it being cheap.... It cost $30.00. I don't think that is very cheap. Wonder what her idea of expensive is?
Pharmaceuticals: Just another place for food allergens to hide.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Pretty much everyone is feeling the squeeze from this economy. And one area that is tough to navigate is the grocery store. Food prices have definitely gone up over the last 2 years and it makes staying on a budget, especially a down sized budget, difficult.
This article from the NYTimes gives some great suggestions on how you can eat healthy on a small budget and get more bang for you buck.
Other suggestions that I have are:
1. Plan ahead! Go through your stores fliers to see what is on sale. Sit down a few days before you go shopping and put together a menu for the coming week. See what you already have on hand, then make a grocery list for the items you need to make your meals.
2. Stick to the list! Even a few extra items can increase your grocery bill significantly.
3. Clip coupons and don't forget to use them (and if you have a store that doubles coupons, even better!).
4. Don't know what to make or don't know what to make with what you already have on hand? Visit some recipe sites. This week I used the Taste of Home recipe site and pulled off several recipes, saved them to my virtual grocery list and then printed off my grocery list when done. The list has everything on it that I'll need to make the meals. Before I go shopping I can cross off the items that I already have on hand, making the list even smaller. Other great recipe sites are: EatingWell.com, Recipezaar, Recipezaar for special dietary needs, Fitness and Freebies recipes for special diets, this is list of gluten free/allergy free recipe sites, 101 Cookbooks recipes, Food Allergy Kitchen recipes, and the Pioneer Woman Cooks.
Eating less processed or convenience items or cutting down on eating out and doing more home cooking can really help keep that budget in check. And for anyone that doesn't cook right now, once you start you'll get used to it and it will become a part of your routine.
Just because your budget shrank doesn't mean you have to give up your healthy eating habits. You just need to be more creative~
Monday, March 02, 2009
Is it Monday again? The weeks seem to be flying by. I really stuck to the menu this week and managed to shave about $70.00 off my grocery bill. It's a nice start, but I still need to do better. I'll have to implement a few more techniques next week and see what else I can do.
Thursday: Cider Vinegar and Molasses Glazed Pork Chops from Eatingwell.com
Friday: Alpine Mushroom Pasta from Eatingwell.com
Saturday: Mom and Dad - Out; Pizza for the kids
Sunday: Old Time Beef Stew
Monday: Chinese Chicken Legs
Tuesday: Cajun BBQ Pork Tenderloin
Wednesday: Top Secret Chicken Tortilla Soup
For more Menu Plan Monday, visit Laura! Happy 1st week of March :)