First, I have not posted since our last trip to Little Rock and now we are leaving tomorrow to return. The last couple of weeks were hectic - shocker I know;). Lana's appointment at clinic went fine with some minor med changes (again) and the start of a conversation about possibly coming to Florida during the summer. The next day we had Isabelle's dental surgery. There are many different things that went into that but basically we found a great doctor down in Little Rock while we were waiting for Lana's heart and we decided we really wanted to keep that doctor for her surgery. With celiac's there is a known issue with dental health since the body cannot absorb nutrients properly the teeth tend to have enamel and other issues. Isabelle also had issues at birth that could have possibly contributed to her enamel and other dental issues....the dentist couldn't be sure but it doesn't matter now. We went into the hospital due to the extensive amount of work needed to be done. She had 3 baby root canals and crowns and 6 more caps put on. Poor thing! During her surgery she went into respiratory distress and started wheezing and had to have some intervention by the anesthesiologist...again - Poor thing! So we got our butts in the car and headed back home after loading some more stuff from the apartment. I know I've said this before but I have NO IDEA how we accumulated so much stuff in 3 or 4 months! The weekend was a little rough and we were tired but things got back to normal fairly quickly.
The last 5 days here in Arkansas went from spring to I don't know what. Started Thursday afternoon after a nice outside lunch at Petit Bistro with friends to celebrate Lana being able to get out some to picking Noah up from preschool and needing 3 things from the grocery store and leaving the store in a HAIL storm....all I have to say is OUCH! That started an onslaught of rain that has just now begun to stop yet there will be more tonight and tomorrow. We had to hunt Easter eggs inside the house to have some fun on Sunday and it was such a weird storm...it was some system that just came and "parked" right over us for 5 days! It was thunder and lightening then hail and tornados then all over again...I think we've had for than 30 inches of rain! We live in the moutainous area so the flooding here has been mild compared to what it is in the rest of the state....like the areas we will have to drive through tomorrow and Thursday to get to and from Little Rock. There was an entire town almost wiped out by a tornado with at least 8 deaths and possibly more. Hopefully after this week things will get to a more "normal" weather pattern, whatever that is...less rain is preferable!
As a cook, mother and food lover we always strive to create the best, most perfect "glorious food" ever imagined. I fell in love with food and cooking the perfect meal fairly young and watched and learned as my grandmothers both cooked their little hearts out and my mother began to expirament with recipes. Having a celiac child or even a celiac in the family changes everything. Suddenly your "go-to" recipes have to be reworked, your inspiration for menus has to be rethought out, there are trials and ALOT of errors! The normal hour trip to the grocery store ends up becoming a 3 hour trip, whether you have kids with you or not, just by having to read every label and ingredient (even on the gluten free items since it's not regulated). Making a fluffy biscuit or an decadent cupcake becomes a sort of obsession and an expirament in chemistry. There are nights I want to throw my hands up and say lets just eat out after I've ruined something or what I have attempted to make -this beautiful, souful meal for EVERYONE to enjoy (not just my sweet 2 year old celiac) turns to utter dispair and disappointment...only to say that eating out would be worse than trying to salvage what is already there....
But don't tell me she can't eat! There will be NO stone unturned for this child and for my family to come up with amazing recipes that everyone can enjoy even if it's gluten free. I will arm this beautiful, curly headed child with more personality than I have in my pinky with the right tools of armor for not only what is needed in life, love and all I can give as a mother but also so she can eat! One of my best friends, Henrietta, I have mentioned before found out she had celiacs as an adult and after so many years of living with gluten and being sick she and I ended up living in the same small town after several years apart. Her with celiacs, Izzy with celiacs.....there are many collective thoughts I share on here that she and I have discovered together or she has researched and made and tried and then brought things to me to see if Isabelle likes. Celiac's is not just a gender or age thing...it's real for everyone. It affects everyone that knows someone. And when the need to "just fit in" overtakes it can be dibilitating for them and for their families. SO - Easter: the rain wouldn't let up which meant we couldn't have many people over due to Lana's immune system and we had to hide eggs inside so everyone had some sense of Easter normal away from family and we needed a menu. I struggled with what we would do to make things both delicious and gluten free.
My families biggest major Easter menu tradition is lamb. We ALWAYS have lamb for Easter. No issue there with making that Gluten free...my recipe already is...but sides...lordy what to do.....and here is what we did:
I had a 7 pound bone in leg of lamb from a local farm (Van Buren, AR) that I knew was antibiotic free and raised humanely. Normally we get boneless but this time that is all we had to choose from. I trim most of the fat, leaving some marbelization and make little pockets throughout the lamb. I stuff each pocket, alternating with garlic and then rosemary and then rub olive oil, salt and pepper over the entire thing, place on a roasting rack and cover with foil. Place in the oven at 375 or 400 for 1 hour and then check. We prefer medium rare lamb so depending on the size, that could be long enough. I baste with pan drippings and then uncover for 20 minutes or so to make a nice crust. Then rest and sloce right before guests arrive.
We had roasted potatoes (halve a pound of new potatoes, season with olice oil and salt/pepper and lemon zest if you'd like and you can even slice some fennel bulb too for some added yumminess), my grandmother's mustard greens for Lana ( clean the greens, take the tough stem off. Put a hamhock or hambone in a large pot and fill with water and some salt, bring to boil and add greens, reduce heat to simmer and I simmer ours all day or two to three hours usually til tender and salty), Bobby Flay's corn salad with lime, chili powder and cojita cheese (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/grilled-corn-salad-with-lime-red-chili-and-cotija-recipe/index.html), a Fresh Medditerranean Salad with homemade greek dressing to ensure it was Gluten free (romaine lettuce, red pepper slices, cherry tomatoes halved, hothouse cucumber slices, red onion, feta cheese and kalamata olives - dressing - red wine vinegar, dash of lemon juice, minced shallots, g-free dijon mustard and olive oil with some salt/pepper to taste). We had a neighbor bring a Honeybaked Ham and Henrietta made the MOST AMAZING mini corn bread muffins and buttermilk bisuits (all g-free of course) and I had a veggie and fruit tray as well as making some Kale chips with a lemon dipping sauce ( take tough stems off the kale, chop into bite sized pieces and toss in olive oil and salt/pepper and bake at 350 for 7-10 min - lemon dipping sauce 1/2 C light mayo, 1/2 C light sour cream, zest and juice of one lemon and salt and pepper to taste....mix well) and then DESERT..........while on our last trip to Little Rock I got the Gluten Free Living magazine 1/2011 that had a whole section devoted to "Cupcake Craze" and in that section/article was an amazing Gluten free baker named, Krya Bussanich, who had a recipe for Creamsicle Cupcakes (http://www.elanaspantry.com/gluten-free-living-2011.pdf article) that turned out as the most amazing desert I have EVER made and the fact that they were Gluten free only sweetened the deal! SO YUMMY as voted by everyone at the house! WOOHOOO!
Will update more after our trip to Little Rock!