Sunday, July 18, 2010


Before I post anything on this blog, I like to try it out first.

I found a recipe online for a cooked salad, and thought I would like it. Asian dressing, marinated chicken, pork or shrimp. Cabbage, kale, bok choy, onion, carrots, leeks. I thought it would be a great way to get a whole lot of vegetables at once.

I couldn't wait to try it. Unfortunately due to some unforeseen events, including me forgetting for several days to marinate the shrimp in time, I didn't get to make this salad for five days after my husband went out to buy the ingredients for me. Also unfortunate was that he went to Costco to buy all these vegetables, meaning that for almost a week, a gigantic pile of kale was taking up a ridiculous amount of space in the refrigerator. It still is, as I was only making salad for myself, and I am a smallish girl, so the kale may be taking over the fridge for a while. But finally, one morning I remembered about the shrimp and marinated it for a couple of hours in a Japanese sauce.

I was very excited about making this. I haven't had a salad in many years. I had a good time chopping up all these vegetables and throwing them in the frying pan. The shrimp made a delightful whooshing noise when it hit the pan. Fabulous, right?

My brother phoned me during this whole process. He quickly became engaged in chit chat while I finished cooking. I informed him that I would be eating my lunch in his ear, because there was no way I was letting this get cold. He said it was fine...we had nothing important to talk about, it was just an "I'm bored in traffic and need someone to keep me company" kind of phone call.

So, I get all comfortable at the table, holding the phone in one hand and my fork in the other. I take a bite, and...well it is just lucky I didn't drop the phone right into the salad! It was truly of the worst things I have ever eaten, and definitely the worst thing I have ever made, and that includes the applesauce cake with the blobs of salt added after the fact (that is another story). It was excessively salty, just a dripping, gooey, soggy mess. After two bites I decided that all I could possibly eat of it was the shrimp. Of course I had to explain to my poor brother what was happening on the other end of his phone call...he offered the appropriate amount of sympathy and then quickly got off the phone. :)

Ugh. It was disappointing, to say the least. The kale is still there, along with the 12 bunches of bok choy, and two massive leeks. I have no idea what I am going to do with any of it!


Once upon a time, I had a little boy who ate nothing. He was the ultimate toddler fussy eater. This kid would not eat anything, not even junk food. This is a story in itself, so I will not dwell on it, but the point is, the day I got him to eat a piece of toast with peanut butter on it was, in my mind, cause for a national holiday, complete with fireworks and dancing in the streets.

Of course, his progress did not happen quickly. He went from eating peanut butter toast to bananas. One bite of a banana. The rest? No. One bite was enough for him. Now, I know a million recipes for slightly mangled bananas, it was easy to make muffins or banana bread or something. But then, he started in on peaches, and one bite was enough for that too. I suppose warped peaches could have gone into muffins as well, but I decided to send out a mass email asking my friends and family for peach recipes. This is what I got in response, it was actually the ONLY response I got from an old high school friend.


2 slices of whole wheat bread (currently I am using a 5-grain loaf from the Village Grocer, I know that means nothing to everyone not from U'Ville, but it is really good, I will get the name and edit this the next time I have a loaf in the house)
light cream cheese
1 slightly mangled peach (or a perfect intact, beautiful peach will work also ;) ), sliced

I like to grill the peach slices first just to be on the safe side. Just a little bit in a small frying pan does it.
Spread cream cheese on bread
Arrange grilled peach slices on top
If you have a panini press, use it. If not, you can grill this sandwich in the same little frying pan you did the peach slices in.

Words really cannot describe how yummy this is. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


My friend Julie is a wonderful cook. She really should be making money from her skill instead of letting people like me blog about it. She is the annoying type who makes all these beautiful meals, and while you're watching her do it, it looks like the easiest thing in the world. Then when you try to do it yourself, it is an impossible, arduous task. With one exception. She showed up at a party last year with this pizza. This amazing pizza that is so easy to make.

Now why, you might be asking, am I including a pizza on this blog? That is not a meal that would generally be considered a problem, since all the toppings are cooked. The answer is, because this one is loaded with vegetables, and let's face it, that is something that is sometimes difficult to get for an OAS sufferer, and the result is sometimes just plain boring. This one is just a little different that your typical Pizza Hut fare. It is much more healthy, I would make it for anyone, including heart patients or anyone wanting to lower their cholesteral levels.


1 pizza crust (Julie would make her own, but I cannot possibly do this, so to recommend that you do it would be laughable. If you can manage whole wheat, go for it, otherwise a regular one will do, but trust me the whole wheat one tastes so much better in this case)
1 jar of red pepper pesto
1 jar of roasted red peppers
1 jar of sliced olives
1 red onion, sliced and broken up into pretty little pieces
small broccoli florets
sliced mushrooms
feta cheese

Spread pesto on pizza crust
Top with red peppers, olives, onion, broccoli, mushrooms, and cheese.
Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes, or if you are using a store bought crust, do whatever they say on the package.

Another nice thing about this pizza is that is looks really fabulous, so when you make it, everyone thinks you bought it at one of those overpriced gourmet grocery stores. It is also good for cutting up into small pieces and taking to a party. I took it to curling once for the snack after the game and everyone was really impressed that I had made it myself. Thank you Julie!


Who has been to a get-together and had their stomach drop the minute you walk into the room and check out the snacks? Crudite and salsa with tortilla chips, right? A night of munching away on plain, dry tortilla chips in store, right? A night of every well-meaning soul offering you raw veggies and passing you the salsa, a giving you quizzical looks every time you decline. Sometimes you feel like explaining the whole OAS thing, sometimes not.


4 Kiwis, peeled and sliced
2 medium tomatoes, cored and randomly cut
1 jalapeno, halved and seeded (optional)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tsp dried cilantro
1 tbsp stevia

Take all the vegetables and throw them in a frying pan. Grill until softened, about five minutes or until you are satisfied with the amount of cooking.
Place everything in a blender, add cilantro and sugar, blend well.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and blend well.
Serve with tortilla chips

Enjoy being able to have at least one of the party snacks! But keep avoiding the dreaded crudite tray.


Ever been to Europe and had that beautiful salad with the sliced tomatoes and the cheese on top, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs? Oh sure, you can get it here, but it is just not the same as in a tiny hole-in-the-wall cafe somewhere in rural France. The North American tomato is a pale version of the European one, and let's not even start talking about the cheese...that would be a whole post on its own.

Not that it matters to someone with OAS. You can't have it anyway. If the tomatoes aren't burning your insides, the delicate little herbs will. Here's a fascimile, don't know if it is reasonable or not...but it is pretty good.


4 plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup olive oil or Italian dressing
1/2 shredded mozzerella cheese
2 tbsp fresh grated parmesan (please do not use the pre-shredded crap in a can!)
dried herbs - basil, chives, parsley, oregano, or there is an Italian blend one that will work well

This should be done on the barbeque, but you could bake them in the oven if it is January and you are having a craving for summer.

Place tomatoes on the grill, face side down, brown and turn once. This should be adequate, but if you are not sure, keep turning a few times.

Get a foil covered pan and put the tomatoes on it, the insides facing up.

Drizzle with olive oil or dressing.

Sprinkle with cheeses.

Close the barbeque and grill for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Dress with herbs immediately before serving.

I have made these for parties and they are always a huge hit...I never make enough of them, so they become sought after commodities. I apologise to the city of Avignon for using their name, I'm sure every last one of the people there would be appalled, but that is the last place I had the original salad. Sur le pont d'Avignon and all that. :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010


GOOD MORNING! This is what I am eating for breakfast these days. Not only is it providing some fruit, but it is causing me to drop pounds...a nice little bonus! :) Oatmeal is also excellent for anyone who needs to lower their cholesterol levels.

Summer Oatmeal

2/3 cup water
1/3 cup quick cooking oatmeal ( I am using Quaker 1 minute)
strawberries, many, many strawberries, cut up
1 scoop of vanilla whey powder
2 tbsp of ground flax seeds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
two little coffee sized packages of stevia

Cook oatmeal according to package directions
When oatmeal is boiling, throw in the strawberries, stir, and let them boil. They will actually maintain their shape quite well
Turn the heat down a bit and add the whey powder and ground flax seeds, stir well
Add vanilla extract and stir well.
After the oatmeal is in the bowl, sprinkle with stevia and cinnamon.

I never thought I would like a breakfast such as this, but now I am lying in bed waiting for it. I also tried it with blueberries, and it worked fine, but made the overall dish look grey, which was not appetizing. Would also be really good with apples in the fall.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What is Oral Allergy Syndrome?

I love the season of fall. After the godforsaken sweltering heat of the summer, I love the cool clean air in the morning. The smell of the leaves piled on the ground, Halloween, and my favourite holiday, Thanksgiving. And of course, apples are in season. What could be better than a crisp red apple, fresh from the tree? I love to take a juicy bite...but I guess not. I have oral allergy syndrome, and thus, fresh apples + me are a recipe for hours of coughing and abdominal pain.

What is Oral Allergy Syndrome? To me, the answer to that question is a long one. The short version is this: for years, every time I have eaten certain foods, I have developed a terrible stomachache, coughing, chest pain, and general misery.

It started about 12 years ago with bananas. I remember the day before my wedding, I ate a banana at lunch. About an hour later I could barely move due to an excruciating stomachache. Everyone said to me, "Oh, you're just nervous about tomorrow." Actually, I wasn't nervous in the slightest. I just had a stomachache!

After my son was born, I was trying to be healthy with my diet, in an effort to pass on the good stuff to the baby. I had a salad for lunch almost every day. And without fail, almost every afternoon I suffered severe abdominal pain. The general armchair diagnosis from people around me said it was stress. I was supposedly stressed from the demands of my newborn baby. It was not stress, I wasn't stressed out at all, Jamie was a delightful baby and I was very happy to have him to take care of. After several trips to the doctor and even a laparoscopy (a surgery that took me a week to recover from, and found nothing) I gave up and just suffered. One time I ate an orange, and was convinced a few minutes later that I was having a heart attack. Jamie, the then two-year-old, actually brought me the phone. It was terrible. The pain went away in a little while but I was pretty scared.

Of course, there were the persnickety bunch of people who thought I was just trying to get out of eating my vegetables. Hmm. Somehow I think getting out of eating an entire food group could be expected from someone attending preschool, but not a grown woman who just wants to be healthy and not in pain!

Last summer I went to a new GP who sent me to an allergist. He had the answer in two minutes: Oral Allergy Syndrome. What the hell is that? Here is an edited description courtesy of Wikipedia:

"Oral Allergy Syndrome or OAS is a type of food allergy typified by a cluster of allergic reactions in the mouth in response to eating certain (usually fresh) fruits, vegetables, and nuts that typically develops in adult hay fever sufferers. In adults, up to 60% of all food allergic reactions are due to cross-reactions between foods and inhalative allergens. However, unlike other food allergies, the reaction is limited to the mouth, lips, tongue and throat."

In other words, I am allergic to almost every fruit and vegetable on the planet. Some nuts and fresh herbs too. The doctor also found me interesting because my case is more severe than is typical, the allergic response I experience goes all the way to my stomach as opposed to being limited to the mouth and throat. Lucky me. It makes getting that 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables difficult. The good news is, if the food is cooked I can usually eat it without incident. Some exceptions occur, but usually it is fine. This is because the heat alters the proteins in the food sufficiently that the allergens are not effective.

At first, I was in denial. Really, no raw fruit or vegetables for the rest of my life? Come on. No sweet berries in the summer, no more crisp spinach salads, no more yummy protein smoothies? But it is true, and there is no treatment, other than avoiding the offending food or cooking it to death. This is pretty much okay for vegetables, not so okay for fruit. Having apple pie every day would be great for the fruit, but my waistline would not thank me. And I refuse to microwave a banana, that is just disgusting!

So that's where this blog comes in...I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, and have zero qualifications except being a sufferer of this relatively unknown condition. This will be a resource for reasonable recipes that someone can actually do, as opposed to using cookbooks which tend to be for people who have a lot of time on their hands for cooking. My goal is to eventually have a simple recipe for every fruit and vegetable that is readily available in North America. So fresh apple, sorry, I will be cooking the devil out of you. And liking it, whether I like it or not!