Monday, September 20, 2010 adventure in sewing

K starts full-day kindergarten today...she's been at school since just after Labor Day but it was transitional, so just 1/2 days.  Today she gets to eat lunch at school.  Because of her allergies she is going to sit at the "nut-free" table.  I hope she doesn't have to sit alone, the principal, nurse and her teacher assured me that they would put at least one child with a nut-free lunch with her.  Let's hope not everyone packed PB&J today!

So I decided to sew her some keep her food items and containers off of the table.  The school says the tables are washed after each group eats, but I figured the placemat would help. 

K picked out several fabrics at Joanne's Fabrics.

I dragged out my cute blue portable sewing machine and went to work.  Mind you, I sew maybe 2 times a year and generally it has to be a straight know I can hem a curtain, make a pillowcase, and yes, make a placemat!

Oh and this project involved another "appliance" that I rarely iron!  I use the iron for two things really...adhering those Perler bead projects that K makes and maybe an iron-on transfer.  No real ironing going on here!

I think they came out cute, the one on the right is folded and K picked the Princess one to take today.  I made 5 so I can wash them at the end of the week.  I hope it doesn't make K feel to "weird" or make her stick out too much.  Hey who knows, maybe she'll start a trend.

By the way I also LOVE gadgets and cool products...In my attempt to save the earth and be a little green and also why I thought the placemat was better than using a paper napkin...K has these items for packing lunch.

We love the LapTop Lunch Box (bento box), although K has a hard time opening the top at the moment.  And the Thermos Funtainer drink and food containers (stainless steel so they are BPA free).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Rib-Off

Some friends of ours had their Annual "Rib-Off" party last night.  Attendees bring a rack or two of their homemade ribs.  B has made ribs from scratch before, but they are VERY time consuming so we decided to just go check it out and bring some side dishes.  There were over 12 entries...two of which were pulled pork.  Had I known that pulled-pork was an acceptable entry, I could have made that...well maybe next year.  I tried about 3 different kind and was VERY full!

I made fresh tomato salsa, orzo salad and brownies (from a box and because of K's she would have something nut free to eat).  Since I have 30-something tomato plants in my garden I am clearly overrun by tomatoes! 

I'm going to warn you guys, I tend to wing-it with recipes...I don't really measure unless I'm followng a strict recipe or if I'm baking.

Fresh Tomato Salsa:
lots of tomatoes - I used several varieties - green zebra, beef steak, tiger-like and plum...I didn't measure I just filled this bowl...probably about 5 cups?
1/2 red onion chopped
2 jalapenos, ribs and seeds removed and diced
juice of 1 to 1.5  limes
good size bunch of cilantro - stems removed and chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the above together....refridgerate and enjoy with tortilla chips.

Orzo Salad (I did get a recipe from a friend, but I wing it):
THIS RECIPE MAKES A can cut it in 1/2 if you aren't going to a party or don't enjoy eating the same thing for multiple meals.

1 lb package of Barilla or Prince Orzo - cooked al dente and drained
1 - 2 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 cup crumbed feta cheese
cherry tomatoes, halved (about a cup and a half)
cucumbers (if they are the English variety, I leave the skins on, I had a cucumber from my garden so I removed the skins) - sliced and quartered
kalamata olives - chopped or quartered (I used Trader Joes) - about 12 olives
2/3 cup of greek dressing - I like Newman's Beta Feta
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
optional: 2 tbs drained capers, you can use bell peppers (any color) in place of cucumbers.  I just use what I have on hand.

Boil pasta per directions.  Toss with 1 - 2 tbs of olive oil to prevent sticking.  Toss in feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives.  Mix dressing and lemon juice.  Pour over and toss well to combine.  Refrigerate and serve as a side dish.  Keeps for about 4-5 days in the fridge and tastes better the next day.  I do make the night before and it's been good, just put the olives/capers in the same day or the whole thing tastes like olive.  I personally don't like olives so I've even left it out and it tastes great.

Why am I a "not-so-nutty" mama?

I had a hard time deciding on a blog name.  Since I'm not enough of an expert on any one thing to just have a blog on cooking, crafting, bargain shopping, gardening, or even food allergies, so this blog will include a little bit of everything!  But I'm not-so-nutty because of my 5-year old daughter.

Back when my daughter almost 2.5 years old, she was given a cashew nut at a family get together.  She broke out in hives all over her body.  I had not given her any nuts because the pediatrician mentioned to wait to 3, and they are a choking hazard.  But in a way it was good to get this out of the way.  In hindsight, I always suspected food allergies.  K was a very rashy baby...she had pretty bad eczema as a newborn/infant.  The pediatrician never said it could be food allergies and I didn't know enough about it to question it (being a first time mother, there was very little that I did know about being a mom!).  She also had a reaction to eggs back at a year.  I gave her some scrambled eggs and she spit it out, but when she woke up from her nap her eye was swollen shut and her ear was puffy....she looked pretty scary.  We took her to the pediatrician but our regular doctor wasn't there, again we were told it was probably NOT food allergies.

K had blood work done at the pediatrician's office and she tested positive for peanuts and cashews.  Strangely she tested negative for egg.  I was given a prescription for an Epi-Pen Jr. and went to the pediatrician's office to get trained on how to use it.   I felt my world was turned upside down.  I spent a lot of time blaming myself.  I ate a lot of cashews, pistachios, peanuts while I was pregnant and while I breastfed K.  I know now that I'm not to blame, but I still wonder at times if it is my fault somehow.

I did a lot of on-line research (which can be good and bad).  I read "The Peanut Allergy Answer Book" by Dr. Michael Young from front to back.  I started formulating a plan on how to keep K "safe" and away from nuts.  I told B that I wanted to have a nut-free household.  We had tons of cashews, pistachios and peanut items around the house.  We agreed to keep nuts in one cabinet, up high and only eat them when K was asleep and then clean up/wash up afterwards.

I started reading labels like a maniac.  I worked on educating friends and family members on how to read labels, bake safe treats for K and how to use an Epi Pen.

When K was about 3, I took her to see a pediatric allergist.  It took me a while to finally accept the fact that she was allergic and months to get an appointment.  The appointment confirmed that she was allergic to peanut, cashew, pistachio, AND egg.   See I wasn't crazy about the egg thing.  For what it's worth, K always refused scrambled eggs, I think she somehow knew that she was allergic.  The GOOD thing was that K could eat egg in baked goods.  The egg protein actually "becomes less allergic" when cooked at high temperatures, like baking.

Anyway now she is almost's been 3 years since her first (and last) reaction - knock on wood.  I am SUPER careful and also grateful that I have friends and family that understand her allergies and the potential consequences.

At her last appointment at 5 years old, she tested negative for egg.  She had a food challenge back in July and passed.  The allergist said she has outgrown her egg if she only wanted to eat eggs...

We still keep a mostly nut-free household.  I do crave the occasional peanut M&M or Snickers Bar.  I will admit that I do get one or two a year and eat it while she sleeps...and it's a little sad to me that she can't experience those part of this blog will be how we navagate a very "nutty" world.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Thanks for stopping by, I'm AT (or A)!  I'm a stay-at-home mom with a little girl (K or KitKat) who has nut allergies.  The not-so-nutty mama title seemed appropriate, even though most days I do feel like I'm a little nutty!  I have also have a husband (B) who can make me nuts too.  This blog will probably be very "all over the place".  I enjoy gardening, crafts of all kids, cooking, photography, and bargain shopping.  So I might post about a new restaurant experience with K, a recipe or a new completed craft project.  I also really enjoy throwing parties - both the grown-up and kid variety.  You never know what you might find!