Monday, February 26, 2007

We would willingly wait 40 minutes again...

What a fantastic evening the non-allergic husband and I had on Saturday night. We traveled to Red Lobster, a restaurant we both like, to have dinner and then see a movie (an actual date!). Though we waited close to 40 minutes to be seated, the meal far exceeded our expectations.
Our waiter was a young man with plenty of pluck and personality. He responded politely to my requests of no butter and no seasoning on anything, and even agreed to rustle me up a plain roll somewhere in the back (your allergic diner cannot eat the cheddar bay biscuits, delicious as they may be). Everything came out quickly (we had our entrees within 15 minutes of ordering!)and correctly. There was no butter anywhere on my plate, nor did the plate look as if it had been hosed down because butter had accidentally been placed on it (don't laugh, this has happened many times at many different restaurants). We even enjoyed one of their specials, a lobsterita (a margarita in a glass big enough for two). We had so much fun, we missed our movie! Thank you Red Lobster, for a wonderful Saturday night. We'll be back.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Whole Foods is an allergic cook's dream...

Yesterday evening both the non-allergic husband and I worked very late. As such, I stopped to pick us up something to eat on the way home, and decided to try the WholeFoods supermarket. That place is to a cook what a candy store is to a child. Simply put, I went in for 2 items, and walked out with *ahem* a few more (including a beautiful piece of salmon to make for dinner tonight). I was able to pick up a work-friendly dessert in their bakery for today's work party, purchase dinner for myself (made-to-order sushi and a prepared-by-the-allergic-diner-salad, which by the way, when combined, cost less than the cost of a single saladworks salad).
More importantly, I was able to look around at what I would consider a haven for the allergic consumer. Dairy-free fudge cake? Gluten-free waffles? More than 10 varieties of dairy-free ice cream? Vegan meals for those who would like, or meat meals for those who'd prefer?In addition, everything prepared by their kitchen comes with FULL ingredient listings (as does everything on their salad bar, soup bar, and hot foods bar). I was more than impressed by the listing of the specific type of oil used in a pasta dish (as opposed to some places who simply list "oil).
The Allergic Diner happily recommends Whole Foods to all of my readers!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Recipe for a quick dinner...

As we continue on with this ever-so-stressful week (having Monday off seems to make people unable to budget their time and complete their work, enter yours truly), I am going to make an allergy-friendly, quick & easy meal this evening. I thought the readers of TAD might like the recipe. It's quite good!

Sesame Ginger Chicken

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, rinsed off
8 oz. fresh mushrooms
1 medium yellow onion, chopped into wedges
1 red pepper, cored and sliced
1 broccoli crown, stems cut off, cut into small sections
1 bottle of sesame-ginger marinade (I used to make my own, but this tastes just as good, still has no dairy, no tomato, and no bad oils/spices--Lawry's is delicious)!

Here's how it works: In a 9x13 pan, place the chicken breasts, then surround with cut & washed vegetables. Only place the onion on top of the chicken (not the other vegetables, they aren't thin enough to cook properly). Then, pour the bottle of marinade on top of the chicken and vegetables. Fill the marinade bottle at least 3/4 of the way with water and pour that over the already-poured marinade. Use a spoon to mildly mix the two and ensure that the sauce is spread evenly. Cover with tinfoil. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is not pink when cut into. Enjoy!


Quizno's: The final frontier.
I would like to happily report that I dropped in on my local Quizno's last night to pick myself up some supper and the woman working was more than happy to change her (non-latex!) gloves to help me. I was able to get a tomato-free, spice-free, oil free hoagie, just the way I like.
The added bonus to a place such as Quizno's is that you can watch them prepare the hoagie (hoagie folks, not sub, not grinder, not hero!). Thank you Quizno's, as always you are allergic-consumer friendly!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It's a Disney World and I'm loving it, Hail to the mouse

To all readers of the Allergic Diner, to make up for 19 days of not posting I will be posting at least once a day for the next several days. Thank you for your patience!~RL

There is nothing like the comfort of going on vacation. There is nothing like the stress of going on vacation, either. On a good vacation, the stress stops the moment you step foot on the plane and does not return until you return to normal life. This, dear readers, was a good vacation.
I say a vacation is stressful because if you share my personality type you worry about packing, about making the flight, about remembering your tickets, etc., up until the very moment you step foot on the plane. For some reason then I quit worrying about whether or not I packed my toothbrush, or remembered the book I've been reading, and just try and relax.
The non-allergic husband and I have just returned from a wonderful trip to Disney World. And no, though this seems to shock my co-workers, we do not have children. What we do have is a desire to enjoy warm weather, gourmet food, exercise, culture (EPCOT, for those of you scoffing, is filled with culture) and fun all in one place. The fact that we manage to do so for an affordable price is even better.
But Disney holds something specific that most other vacation destinations do not for the allergic consumer, a respite from being on allergy-alert. Allergy alert is a little something I've named for the following: "Did I pack my spare epi-pen? Remember the emergency benadryl? Prepare my list of food allergies? Pack allergy-friendly snacks?" These questions tend to start at the beginning of the vacation and continue in the form of: "Did he take me seriously when I explained the tomato allergy? This is a pizza place, what happens if he doesn't listen and touches something with a tomato before touching my food? What if they're all in the kitchen dreaming of ways to put a tomato in the food somewhere that I can't see it? Did I pack my insurance card? I wonder where the closest hospital is...." etc.
Unfortunately, while this sounds like the rant of a paranoid and semi-delusional woman, most severe allergy sufferers have been there. We have been scoffed at or laughed at by wait staff who don't believe or deem it important to care about. We have been told "Oh, I just didn't think it was that big of a deal (??)" by a server who's neck we'd like to ring.
But Disney is a fairy tale land, and not just for the young. Disney provides allergy sufferers with a respite from food worries. Every restaurant, counter-service, sit down, grab-n-go or otherwise has a list of the ingredients of the prepared foods. I kid you not, I once asked the lady at the "all-beef hot dog" stand to prove the hot dogs were all beef. Out came the book. They were obviously telling the truth, but polite about my pain-in-the-behind tendencies all the same. At ANY place in Disney (even the buffets) you can have something made fresh and allergy-free. Every sit down restaurant asked us about my allergies, and every time the meal was perfect. I did not worry about food the entire time we were there (and you can't get much more relaxed as an allergy sufferer). The Disney resort we stayed in had the same Disney policy, and as such, the non-allergic husband and I did a lot of walking to burn off all the eating we did there. It is comical to think that a theme park can be relaxing, but a lake-front resort, countless activities, delicious food, fun rides, and a lack of contact with the outside world was phenomenal :)
Thank you Disney, on behalf of Allergy-sufferers everywhere :)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Warning: this post is potentially hazardous to anyone with an allergy...

I know, I know. This was supposed to be a blog for the allergic consumer. I am supposed to advocate things that everyone can eat (lactose free, gluten free, etc). I am failing miserably today. Ah, well...
Last night, after watching the non-allergic husband eat his THIRD bowl of another one of my quick & easy meal creations (long week), I decided that although it is not something I can eat, I would post this recipe in the hopes that some non-allergic person reading this blog would enjoy it.

Quick & Easy Mexican Pasta Salad (compliments of Campbells cookbook)

1 lb ground beef
1 can beef broth
1 can Campbells condensed cheddar cheese soup
3/4 small jar salsa
2-2 and 1/2 cups of macaroni (your choice)
shredded cheddar cheese

Prep time: none
Start to finish: 20 minutes

Brown the ground beef in a large non-stick skillet. Add beef broth and macaroni, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 8-10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Remove lid. Add salsa and cheddar cheese soup, mix and heat through. Serve immediately, sprinkling with cheddar cheese.

As for me? Well, I just enjoy the smell!