Thursday, April 29, 2010

Recall for undeclared Milk & Wheat Murphy House Brunswick Stew

This was just released...

North Carolina Firm Recalls Brunswick Stew Products due to Undeclared Allergens
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 18:06:43 -0500

The Murphy House, a Louisburg, N.C., establishment, is recalling 414 lbs. of Brunswick stew products because they contain cracker meal with undeclared allergens, wheat and milk, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.       

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Yes, we still have sweet potatoes so this week I made for the very first time Sweet Potato Gnocchi. Doesn't it sound intersting? Well, let me tell you they don't only sound interesting but also taste delicious. Plus they are gorgeous looking :) The only thing was that I thought they were a little dense. I think the reason for that was that the sweet potatoes were not cooked all the way through and therefore still a little chunky. So note to self - cook and not bake the potatoes the next time :)

I actually found several recipes online - several of them using ricotta and since I have not yet found a viable substitute for it I used this one.

- 8 oz Sweet Potato (I used more)
- 2 cups of flower (next time I will use a little less - or maybe even more sweet potato)
- 1 Egg
- 1 clove of garlic
- salt
- pepper
- nutmeg

* Cook sweet potato until soft
* Mix sweet potato (w/o skin) with the flower
* Add the egg
* Crushed Garlic
* Salt
* Pepper
* Pinch of Nutmeg (I used 1/8 Teaspoon)
* Mix together into a dough

* Bring a large pot of water to a boil
* Divide the dough into three rolls
* Cut gnocchi about 1/2 inch or less
* Drop all of the gnocchi into the boiling water at once
* Skim the ones that are done (when they float on the surface) and put in a bowl

Serve with
* Melted Earth Balance spiced with Cinanon and Sage leaves

* Ron and I also had some Dolce Gorgonzola pieces in ours...

Please let me know if you try it out, and what you thought about it.

The credit for the recipe goes to -->

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Our little Miracle - a father's letter

Our oldest will be entering 1st grade this coming school year. We applied for a school other than our neighborhood school and it included an application process. Parent's letter of interest, self portrait by the child, recommendation from current school, etc. Ron took the job to write the parent letter of interest. In his letter he - who generally does not want to be reminded of that time - writes about Alena's first few weeks of life. Her fight and her zest for life. It brings me back to that time and yes, Alena is our little miracle I am amazed and so proud that Ron allowed himself to go back to that time. So here is a part of the letter...

"...Our little Miracle - As our new born child, Alena had a pretty rough time. One week after her birth she developed bacterial meningitis and for three weeks afterwards she was in intensive care at Emmanuel Hospital. The doctors were very clear of what she was up against and the odds of survival was not good. As parents, it was very hard to accept the fact that it was not our fight to make, it was her's alone. She survived and she became our little miracle.

It soon became apparent that she was no worse for wear from her ordeal and began to thrive. As the months passed, we found out very soon that we had a very special little girl..."

Isn't it beautiful. And yes, I am crying right now because it takes me right back to the time when I was on my knees in the chapel at the hospital not knowing whether she would survive. Ron, thank you so much for using such beautiful language...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Empowerment works :)

Mia Rose attends school two full days each week. Her school is a little different than Alena's as there is cook who makes daily meals from scratch. I previously talked about how impressed we are with the foods she eats. Fruits, veggies, seeds, beans...she loves Swiss Chard really amazing. In any case, when we picked her up yesterday the cook shared with me that they had scrambled eggs for lunch. And let me tell you Mia Rosie loves scrambled eggs ;) Anyway, but before she put one morsel of food in her mouth she asked the cook " there any cows milk in this...". Remember she just turned 4 - I am so proud, excited and just feel validated that our approach works. Both children are aware of the fact that they cannot eat anything containing milk. We keep "non-safe" items in the house, trust them and even our little one now makes sure foods are safe before she eats it.

I said it many times before, that there was a time where only "safe" foods could be found in our home. I am so thankful to our friends in Italy for showing us just how important the empowerment of our kids is. Otherwise, I am not sure if they would ask if the food is OK as they probably would just assume that everything they get is "safe" thoughts for the day :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dinner with sweet potatoes...Sweet Potato Black Bean Burrito's

The last few weeks we have received sweet potatoes with every single veggie box. This is the first week that we have not received any, therefore we have been almost "swimming" in sweet potatoes. I have used a couple and served them with our Easter ham; mashed with a little bit of OJ, then baked topped with brown sugar and Earth Balance. Yummy :) But we still have so many, many left...that was until tonight. I had thought about cooking a few with black beans, ginger, and coconut milk like a curry of sorts. Today I looked again, and searched...I came up with a couple of different options that looked good to me. Sweet Potato Gnocci, and/or Sweet Potato Black Bean Burrito's. I let Ron choose and it was burritos...So a first time for me. I have never made burrito's before, but they turned out delicious. Both Alena and Mia Rose loved the filling. I served it with sliced Avocado, Tomato's (curtesy of our veggie box), Toffuti Sour Cream, rice, and a side of browned Chorizo....below is the adopted recipe (my changes are in italic) along with a link to its source. And by the way, we still have more sweet potatoes left, but unfortunately not enough to make the Gnocci. Maybe we will get some more next week ;)

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burrito
  • 5 cups peeled cubed sweet potatoes
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons canola or other vegetable oil
    1 large onion
    3 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
    1 teaspoon mild chili powder (change by me)
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3 cans of black beans (drained)
    3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 teaspoon salt
    8 eight-inch flour tortillas

  • Cook sweet potatoes with a little salt and water to cover until they are soft. This takes about 10 minutes.
  • Warm up some oil in a pan and add onions, garlic, chili powder if using and a little bit of salt. Bring heat to no higher than medium and cover pan. Sautee until onions are soft and translucent --> takes about 10 minutes. Then add cumin and coriander and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Mash the sweet potatoes, black beans, lemon juice, and salt. (The recipe also calls for cilantro but I omitted it). You can mash with a potato masher, food processor, or hand blender.
  • Add onion/garlic/spice mix to the sweet potato mash and mix it all up
  • Fill each tortilla with about 1/2 - 3/4 cup, roll it up, and place it - seam down - in a lightly oiled baking dish.
  • Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes.

Recipe Source: Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites (Clarkson Potter Publishers) found on

One last thing...we had so many that I ended up freezing 5 of the burriots for lunches :) Yay for left overs....

Sometimes I worry...

No worries, I am not changing my mantra with "the glass is always half full" but sometimes I do worry. I just have it in me. I am a worrier - yes and sometimes also a warrior :) - and always, always find something to worry about. House, car, family, friends, and yes also about the girlie's. Currently I am not at the top of my game - so this is also my disclaimer for this post :). In any case, the one thing I worry about is premature ovarian failure. Really it is a small thing, but never-the-less it's there. The physicians at OHSU tested FSH levels for both girls and it seems to be within range. They also participate in a research study where other levels are tested and that is another story. So I worry, and worry but in the end there is nothing that can be done about it at this time. Only time will tell and hopefully all we be a-OK. We got years ahead of us...which is good but until then I will keep worrying about it even so I cannot change anything. But I will give it my best effort to keep the worrying about this in the future just to my little old self ;)

Remember the glass is always, always half-full. When life throws you lemons make lemonade ;)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Recall McCormick & Co Fajitas Seasoning Mix Undeclared MILK and WHEAT

This recall was just released. Please click on Link for details.

Mccormick & Company Recalls Mccormick Fajitas Seasoning Mix Due To Unlabeled Wheat And Milk Ingredients
Thu, 08 Apr 2010 10:22:00 -0500

McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC) has announced a voluntary recall of McCormick Fajitas Seasoning Mix, with UPC Code 5210002121 and "BEST BY" dates of JAN 16 12 AH and JAN 16 12 CH. McCormick Fajitas Seasoning Mix packages with these date codes contain undeclared wheat and milk ingredients.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Alena & Mia Rose having fun with face paint at the Children's Museum :)

Mia Rose having fun painting her face & dressing up :)

Recall due to undeclared MILK & Soy Marco Polo Shrimp Snack's

This recall for Shrimp Snacks was released late last night. Please click on link for details.

Golden Pacific Foods, Inc. Issues Allergy Alert for Undeclared Milk and Soy in Marco Polo Brand Shrimp Snacks
Sun, 04 Apr 2010 09:40:00 -0500

Chino, California (April 2, 2010) -- Golden Pacific Foods, Inc. is recalling Marco Polo Brand Shrimp Snacks sold as Original, Onion & Garlic Flavored and Bar-B-Que Flavored, because they may contain undeclared milk and soy. People who have allergies to milk and soy run the risk of serious or life-threatening reaction if they consume these product.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Leek "Quiche" (Lauchkuchen)

I love leek and so does the rest of the family. This quiche (for lack of better words it really is not a quiche more like a savory pie) is easy, and delicious.

Here is what you need

2 Cups Flour
2 Tbls Olive Oil
3/4 Cup of lukewarm water
1/4 Teaspoon Yeast

Mix all ingredients together until you have a smooth dough.
Cover dough with plastic wrap and let raise at a warm spot (I usually make the dough in the morning)

4 or more thick stalks of leek cut into chunks (I use the entire leek)
1/2 Bouillon cube (I like Rapunzel brand Vegetable Broth)
3/4 Cup of Tofutti Sour Cream
2 Eggs
Salt, pepper, paprika
Optional add-ons
- Speck cut up in small cubes, and/or
- Emmenthaler Cheese

  • Put a little oil in a pan and heat it up.
  • Add leek and cover until soft
  • Dissolve bouillon cube in a little bit of water and add to leek
  • Uncover pan with leek, put heat on low, and let water evaporate. This should take about 1o minutes
  • Put leek in a bowl, let it cool off a little and mix with Tofutti Sour Cream
  • Add the two eggs
  • If using add Emmenthaler and/or Speck
  • Season with pepper, paprika and salt
Preheat oven to about 400 F (200 C)
  • Roll out the dough on put it firmly into a Springform Baking Pan
  • Pour the leek mixture on top of the dough and fold excess dough over the leek mixture (or you can also roll it up, etc.)
  • Bake Quiche/Pie/Kuchen for 30 - 40 Minutes
I usually serve it with either a salad, or sauteed greens. Let me know if you try this :)

What's for dinner?

Tuesday is always an exciting day for me as it is the day we receive our box of produce. With the addition of the weekly produce box, I have changed my prior old habit of writing a meal plan the beginning of the week. The produce box opens a whole new world of options :)

This past delivery we got mushrooms, leek, rhubarb, salad greens, chard, fruit, cabbage, and a ton more. So usually when there are mushrooms my first thought is to make Risotto. I love Risotto - so easy, yet satisfying and delicious :) But you know what? My lovely husband actually balked at Risotto "...risotto again..." he said - and that even so we only eat it about once a month, OK I admit sometimes twice but it is just so, so good. So I was in pickle (isn't that what you say?) but I am the proud owner of a Joy of Cooking and quickly found a recipe for Mushroom Ragout to be served with Polenta. I added a salad and it was very good. The recepie of course had a lot of dairy but I just swapped it out with Earth Balance and Tofutti Sour Cream. Worked out well...

The other day we had Leek Quiche, the cabbage became "Cabbage with Pork and Potatoes" and the rhubarb pie became a "Rhubarb Meringue Pie" which we just ate :) I posted the recipe for the "Rhubarb Meringue Pie". Here is the link -->

Birthday Party at Chuck E Cheese's & St. Cupcake

Mia Rose along with the entire family was invited to a Birthday Party at Chuck E Cheese's. I have never been to a Chuck E Cheese's and was not very optimistic that the girls would be able to eat there. The good news is that I quickly received an e-mail response back from "Chuck E. Cares" which included a breakdown of all the foods and the allergens. I have to say that I found the quick and detailed response very impressive. The kids can eat the usual things i.e. Pizza without cheese, pepperoni and sausage are both OK. Original Chicken Wings are OK, but not the Boneless Wings (?!), etc. Turned out that neither girl ate anything at the party, but each ate a slice on the way home.

We - as we often do - brought along cup cakes for the girls. This time I stopped at St. Cupcake in Northwest Portland. Such a fantastic place...all they have are cup cakes and they surely are delicious. There are - of course - vegan cupcakes and we were lucky that at 5 PM there were 6 left :) Ron along with a snoring Mia Rosie waited in the car while Alena and I got the cupcakes. What do you think Alena chose??? Chocolate with Chocolate Frosting and while we were waiting she watched them bake the dot sized cupcakes. Yummy!!! Check out their web-site
--> the cupcakes are really as good as they look and they also deliver throughout the United States. I was quite impressed when I just saw that...

As for Chuck E. Cheese's well, I will be honest and hope that nobody will take offense but I will never voluntarily be back there. St. Cupcakes however is another story...and yes, the girls had fun but I think that they were overstimulated with the different sounds, noise, lights, etc. well, at least I was...


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