Wednesday, November 26, 2014

so this happened....

A school board member in a school district near my house recently said, in a videotaped meeting, that the more than 20 kids with food allergies in her school should be shot.  She meant it as a joke, because obviously, kids who can die from eating a food they are allergic to is funny.  So is shooting a bunch of disabled kids, I guess.  The whole thing is mind blowing.  I honestly have no words.

Fortunately for us, Caroline over at is way more eloquent.  Please give this a read.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Child dies after trick or treating

This is just devastating.  When I read this article this morning, I burst into tears and cried so hard I couldn't stop shaking.  This is our nightmare, all of us living with food allergies, every single day.  The more I read about this boy, the more grief stricken I become, not only for the loss of this little boy and the absolute horror his family is going through, but grief stricken because it so easily could have been mine.  

This is yet another tragic reminder that no matter how vigilant we are, we can't control everything.  And that is terrifying.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Open Sesame!

The top 8 list of allergens is outdated. Sesame is internationally increasing, reaching #3 in Israel, and being recognized on labeling lists throughout Europe, Canada, and Australia. The US needs to follow suit. Sesame is one of the trickiest and most dangerous allergens because it only takes one seed to trigger a life threatening reaction. Because sesame is not labeled in the US, errant seeds can accidentally make their way into hamburger buns, crackers, and bagels that do not normally have seeds. The quality of life for the sesame allergic would increase DRAMATICALLY if sesame was included on the allergen list. Please take a moment to sign. 


Friday, June 6, 2014

Social Studies 101

Thank you, Chairman and members of the committee.  It is such an overwhelming honor to be able to sit here, as a private citizen, in front of you to present this bill.  Senate Bill 730 is an education bill that would simply educate restaurant staff about food allergies and how to accommodate a very loyal customer base.  In my experience with eating out, the servers and chefs want to know what to do and how to serve us correctly and safely, but without the training, they just don’t know how.  The education this bill would bring would help tremendously.  A little educaion really does go a long way. 

There is a website called allergyeats that I consult every time we have to eat out.  It is a national list of restaurants that are reviewed by families and individuals with food allergies.   My family has been traveling up north quite a bit over these last several months and because of this list, we only eat at restaurants with high reviews.  But, we have eaten at the same two restaurants every time we go up.  Individuals and families with food allergies are extraordinarily loyal.  We have to be.  For us, eating out is a matter of life and death.  There is a real need for us to eat in a restaurant where there is training so that we can feel safe.  And if we feel safe, we will frequent that restaurant over and over.   And there are a lot of us out there.

It sounds kind of strange to say “every time we HAVE to eat out.”   I would love to be able to say, “every time we WANT to eat out.”  This bill would make that possible.

This was the little mini speech I gave yesterday afternoon in front of the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee in the state capitol.   In March I had given a longer speech, MUCH longer actually, about how helpful this bill would be for everyone living with food allergies.  The bill requires training for restaurant staff, a poster in the kitchen, and a notice asking customers to notify their server if they have food allergies.  

The first step in this process of making the bill into a law is getting it out of committee, where so many other bills are lost.  Once it passes through the committee, it moves onto the Senate floor.  If it passes off the floor, then it goes to the House of Representatives.  I know that there is still a journey ahead of us, but this first hurdle, I think, may be the most difficult.

And it passed.  Unanimously.

I did not expect that.  At all.  I knew there were at least two members of the committee who objected to the bill.  

Unanimous.  Unbelievable.

I cried.  

And then I snorted.

Really loud.

But it passed!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

chicken n biscuits

Wow have I been a bad blogger.  I have just been completely blog lazy.

I've been blazy.

It's a real word.  Look it up.

Well it should be a real word....

I have had several people ask if I had a good recipe for leftover chicken.  This is my absolute favorite recipe for leftover chicken.  And now I will share it with you.  How lucky you are.

I usually will make a chicken soup and reserve half of the cooked chicken, tear it to bits with my hands which is really very therapeutic, and make this.  I love it because you can use whatever veg you have on hand.  If you have leftover chicken, the whole thing comes together so quickly it always surprises me.  But even if you don't have leftover chicken, it doesn't change the timing. You can sauté the chicken while the gravy thickens.  Sauté the chicken while the gravy thickens.  Say that ten times fast and you've got yourself a song!  Or does that only happen in my head?

Chicken and biscuits

4 tbs butter
1/4 c. flour
4 c. chicken stock, plus more if it looks too thick
3 c. chopped, cubed, or torn to bits chicken 
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
peas, corn, and parsnip also are wonderful in here
1 leek (white part only) or onion or 2 shallots or a few green onions...  chopped


2 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs herbs- flat leaf parsley, chives, dill chopped
6 tbs chilled, cubed earth balance butter
3/4 c. soy milk, almond milk....  whatever milk you like

The first thing I do when I make this is cube the butter for the biscuits and pop them into the freezer.  You want them to be cold cold cold.

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

If you do not have leftover chicken, just use about a pound of chicken, boneless and skinless, cut into chunks, and sauté with some olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat until cooked through, about 5-10 minutes.

In a dutch oven or other large saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat.  Add the flour, and whisk until smooth.  Pour in the stock, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil.  Cook, whisking every couple of minutes, until the mixture smooths out and thickens a bit, about 5 minutes.  Add chicken and vegetables.  Reduce heat to medium, and keep at an active simmer.

In a medium bowl, add the first biscuit ingredients: the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix well, and then add the herbs if using and then the butter.  Using a pastry blender or your hands, mix to combine, leaving it crumbly.  If you use your hands, don't handle it too much- you don't want the butter to soften.   Pour the milk in all at once and stir it together with a fork.  

Knead the dough against the bowl several times until the bowl is clean.  On a floured surface, dump the dough out, pat it down to about 1/2" thick, and using a biscuit cutter (if you're well stocked or organized or fancy or all of the above) or a plain ol' drinking glass (if you're not well stocked or organized or fancy or all of the above, i.e. me), cut out circles and gently place them on top of the stew.  Pop the whole thing into the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the biscuits are all puffed up and nicely browned on top.  I will sometimes put it on broil to get the tops really toasty.  

Voila!  C'est tout!  Bon appétit!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

there are liars out there....

This makes me sick.  Grow some balls and stand up for your child.  What is that child going to think when he finds out that his parents lied about his having allergies?  That lying is ok?  She doesn't think that a 6 year old knows the difference?  My child, AT THREE, knew how to ask about what was in the food he was going to eat.  ANY parent of a child with food allergies would give ANYTHING to have a choice of what their child eats.  This person right here is the reason why food allergies AREN'T taken seriously.  I know plenty of people who choose not to give their kids processed foods.  Sure it's difficult.  But they are good parents with a healthy moral compass, who *gasp* actually voice their opinions to achieve their goal.  What a concept.

The reason why the web page is not linked in here is because the enormity of the negative comments caused the blogger to pull the post.  At least that's why I assume it was pulled.  What was so troubling, though, was how many aggressively supportive comments there were.  The absolute douchebaggery of that mom is just mind boggling.  I understand that I probably could have voiced my opinion in a more..... dignified manner.  I can't help it.  This just pisses me off.

*ETA* *ETA again* I lie about my kid's "food allergy"
by Anonymous
Today at 8:11 AM
My confession today: my son doesn't have any food allergies but I don't like him eating processed foods when he's at school or a friend's house, etc. so I tell people he has a food allergy to eggs and gluten. That eliminates a lot of the processed junk that people will allow their kids to eat and keeps him eating fresh foods. Plus, I don't have to worry that he is getting food from people's homes that might be unsanitary. You can't know what someone's house is like.
That's my confession. I don't feel bad at all and my son doesn't know the difference. He is 6.
ETA: At the school he attends you do not need a doctor's note to document allergies or to be dosed with OTC medication. If we were asking for him to have a larger than recommended dose if he had an allergic reaction, that is when the school needs a doctor's note. There are so many kids at the school with allergies and intolerances that they take them at face value unless they are considered so severe that they would require an epipen. He has never been picked on for having an allergy.
When I refer to people being unsanitary, I don't mean the homes that he may visit. I know the parents of the children he spends time with outside of school and have been in their homes. I am mostly referring to parents sending snacks in to school for birthdays, etc. Our school allows homemade treats and I have no idea how clean of a home they may have come from.
I do *NOT* expect other parents to provide food for him. I am happy to send in alternate snacks to school, to soccer practice, friends' houses, and anywhere else he might be getting food. I just don't want people to give him food. I have never expected anyone to accomodate him other than *NOT FEEDING* him.
I know that what I am doing is not the best moral decision, but I am doing what I think is best for my child. There are plenty of women on here that make decisions about child-rearing that I find horrifying, but those aren't my kids so I don't honestly care.
 ETA again: So, many people have been saying "he should get treats". He does get treats....treats I make and that are not processed. So he isn't totally deprived.
Also, for those that are saying "One little treat isn't going to hurt him". I am well aware of that. However, you are literally making my point for me. That is the exact attitude that forced me into lying about it in the first place.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

an emerging epidemic...

If anyone has been wondering what this legislation is that I've been working for the last year, PLEASE watch this. The Discovery Channel and FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) made a documentary called An Emerging Epidemic: Food Allergies in America.  It is on the Discovery Channel on Saturday, September 21 at 8am ET/PT. You can also watch it on the link I have provided.

When Ian was 2, he had a reaction in a restaurant and we stopped eating out. Three months later at a family wedding, however, we found that sometimes we couldn't avoid eating out. After a series of dealings with a caterer who had no idea how to handle allergies, I realized that something had to be done. I learned about the Massachusetts legislation, and I had heard that the Rhode Island legislation had been introduced, but it hadn't yet passed. I drafted a letter and my quest for legislation had begun.

One year later, I have a bill and a sponsor. We plan to introduce our bill in the next couple of weeks. To me, this bill is common sense and simply a means of education. Hopefully Michigan will feel that way too, and it will pass.

Again, please watch this. I guarantee that you have or will have someone important in your life with food allergies. A little education really does go a long way.