Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wonderful, Challenging Food

This week we've learned what we suspected for some time...It's almost certain that one of our children has a dairy allergy, as well as a sensitivity to high fructose corn syrup. We had two bad, bad weeks, and after we removed the dairy, we had the best week we've had in...I don't even remember how long. So this discovery, while not what we'd prefer for our little one, is a relief. Having a good week has been awesome.

Nevertheless, dealing with a food allergy (or sensitivity of any kind) is really overwhelming. Cooking is already--bar none--the most stressful part of my homemaking job. Cooking food that my family likes, that doesn't contain ingredients we already try to avoid, that doesn't keep me in the kitchen all day long, on a budget, is daunting. Add no dairy whatsoever to the mix, and it gets really challenging. Well, I'll just be honest, I'm stressed out about food already, and when this came up I was so overwhelmed I had a good cry.

But this is a time when I'm so thankful to live in the information age. I was expressing my frustration to God the thought popped into my mind to check food blogs. A quick google for "dairy free blogs" turned up treasure troves of information. Twenty minutes reading the wisdom of people who have been there put me in a much more cheerful frame of mind.

Here are a few:

Kids Food Allergies Blog

Sakura's Baking Blog

Go Dairy Free

Friday, October 24, 2008

Stuffed Chicken Breast

Yesterday I was able to spend a little more time on supper and make something that was actually different and good, as opposed to the frantic meals I usually prepare. (Feels like everything is frantic and half-done these days...)

It was easy though--stuffed chicken breast. Here's what I did, so I have it for future reference. Maybe you'll enjoy it too!

8 chicken breasts

1 batch cornbread (The recipe took 2 cups--that size of a batch.)
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1 small onion
poultry seasoning (about 1 T)
sage (about 1 t)
salt and pepper
chicken broth to moisten
1 egg

I sauteed the veggies in a bit of olive oil till soft. (some celery, mushrooms, or pimiento would be good too, I think...)

Then crumbled the cornbread in.

Added dry ingredients.

Stirred in enough broth to make it moist.

Then I tasted it--before I put the egg in. (I'm weird that way. I don't eat raw cookie dough either.)

Added the egg and mixed really well.

Slit and stuffed the chicken breasts. Put them on a big cookie sheet.

Put the leftover dressing around them. Put a bit of water in the pan so they wouldn't stick and dry out.

Covered and baked at 350 for about 1 hour.


Would have been even better with gravy. But it was fine this way too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak.

Isaiah 40:29

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Finding My Way

It's amazing how quickly things return to "normal." On the other hand, it's amazing how long it takes to find one's rhythm again after a natural disaster like a hurricane.

The area is being cleaned up and repaired as quickly as can be expected, thanks to a well-planned infrastructure and the dedicated work of many volunteers bringing help and relief supplies. Electricity is back (except for some of those whose homes were flooded or destroyed with the water from Ike...a double whammy), and most of the stores are open that will be re-opening--which is nearly all. The mountains of fallen trees that lined both sides of our street have been picked up. People go about their daily lives as normal, for the most part. This was our first rodeo, so it's amazing to see recovery happen. People who have lived here all their lives have stories to tell of many storms they've weathered. I told Billy, it's no wonder some of them begin to feel that they're bulletproof.

We're finally establishing a groove after our homeschool year got off to a rocky start. We had school even while we were evacuated, but it's hard to give it 100% when things aren't normal. I feel fortunate though--local schools were closed for weeks.

I've worked out something of a routine...a flexible schedule of sorts. We hurry with morning chores and start school shortly after Billy leaves for work. I get Elizabeth started and when she's able to work alone I work with the middle ones on phonics, math, and other pre-K and Kindergarten skills. We work hard and try to finish the most intensive part of our work by noon. That (theoretically) frees the afternoon for housework, as well as tea parties and other such fun. Fall is here! Time for tea!

I find that Elizabeth, especially, thrives on routine. It feels good to know what to expect, what's going to happen next. I think it's particularly helpful after a month of limbo.

This has been far more boring than I intended. Now that we're functioning at something more like normal, I hope to resurrect this blog and write lots more often. I love to write here...It's the only real hobby I indulge right now, except for the every-so-often crafting. See you around!