Monday, April 25, 2011

Peanuts on Planes



Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

Over the past five or so years, I started to become a little more 'green'. I began hearing staggering statistics about recycling (or lack thereof), and reports that that our current consumption, and habits will directly impact our own future, own children’s future, our future grandchildren and hopefully great-grandchildren.

Everything from eco-fashion to organic food has helped the world become a little greener. Since the day the first blue box was dropped off at my childhood home my family recycled. The old style blue boxes were comparable in size to a cardboard box. Now, most neighborhoods near my house have giant boxes that are about 10x the size of the old ones. At our house, the box is full every week.

These are the small steps I have taken over the past few years at being more green.

1- A re-usable water bottle. Anyone who knows me is aware that I always walk around with mine. I feel guilty whenever I drink from a plastic one as millions of plastic water bottles find their way into landfills each year.

2-Bring reusable bags to the grocery store. In Montreal they charge 5 Cents for each plastic bag as a way to encourage people to use the reusable ones. Personally, I find the reusable bags handle the groceries much better, and are easier to carry (FYI-after testing each stores bags, I like the IGA and Costco bags the best).

3-Think before you print.

4-Compost-O.K not for everyone, but where I live, we have these giant compost containers the size of the recycling ones. I don't compost everyday but when I am cooking and have a lot of scraps, or vegi peels I will throw it all into a compostable bag that goes into the bin. Leaves, branches, and even Pizza Boxes can be composted. In some places so can diapers.

5-Do you really need all those napkins?

6- A Re-Usable coffee cup. This should be on my favorites list. I love mine. Not only does it keep my coffee hot longer, it saves money! Most coffee shops give a discount when you take your coffee in your own cup. And for those who are not into the idea, ditch the cardboard cup sleeve. Unless of course it is actually way too hot to drink without it!

7-Change your light bulbs. The next time your bulb burns out, use an eco-friendly bulb to save energy. On this note, turn the lights off when possible. Save energy.

8-Energystar appliances. When we were appliance shopping, we made it a point to buy appliances with the Energy Star rating. FYI, the cost of maintaining an ancient fridge is so high that it can be recouped in just a few years of using an Energy Star rated one.

Let’s do our best to protect our earth, there are dozens of other tips for going green. For more info,

Happy Earth Day!



Thursday, April 14, 2011


I am looking to buy the boy a few kids books that are about food allergies. Any suggestions before I order?



Saturday, April 9, 2011

BBQ Season

The weather is finally warm enough to break out the BBQ. Last night, we had a family dinner at my mother's and the plan was to BBQ. While walking there, I could smell BBQ everywhere, and I was looking forward to the first batch of real grilled veggies and steak. Unfortunately the BBQ died over the winter and didn’t start. Three people tried to get it working and it was finished. We decided to use an indoor grill pan, sear the steaks and finish them in the oven, which is what I do all winter long for steak and veggies anyways. My mother has never used that technique before, and was not very excited about the prospect of 8 steaks going to waste. I promised her they would be good, and they were. I must admit that the smoke alarm did go off because a lot of smoke developed while they were in the oven, but we managed to save dinner.

Someone half joked that we should ask one of the neighbors to borrow theirs. The whole ordeal reminded me of those public BBQ’s in parks, large picnic areas and even some apartment buildings. For so many reasons those public BBQ’s gross me out, but there is an allergy concern as well. The cross contamination is very risky on any shared kitchen equipment. A BBQ is no exception.

I thought I’d share this recipe. During the summer I make these at least twice a week if not more. The leftovers find themselves in my salad the following day for lunch, or as a topping for pizza on pita.

My favorite grilled vegetables

1 red pepper cut in 4
1 yellow pepper cut in 4
1 zucchini cut on the diagonal
1 box Portabella mushroom slices (the large slices)
1 onion cut in 4 (make sure you keep the root intact otherwise it will fall into many pieces) note- after grilling cut the root off each piece
(you can also use eggplant, asparagus or any other vegetable of your choice)

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 Handful of chopped fresh oregano (or your favorite herb)

Combine all the vegetables in a large freezer bag, mix the marinade and pour into the bag. Let it sit for minimum 1 hour max 24.



Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Wedding

I’ve been married for 5 and a half years. When we were planning our wedding it was very important for me to be able to actually eat at it. Since we had a Kosher wedding, our selection of caterers was small to begin with. We chose to hire the caterer that did my sister’s wedding 3 years earlier. At the time of my sisters wedding he seemed to be very well versed on peanut/nut allergies. I was aware that he had 2 kitchens, one for cooking, the other for pastries. When we met to discuss my wedding, he told us in advance that the main kitchen was peanut/nut free but that the dessert kitchen did have risk of tree nuts, though he guaranteed he would not use any for our desserts. A wedding cake was something that was not of tremendous importance to me, so it was no big deal that dessert was off limits. We signed a contract that stated no nuts/peanuts in several places, gave a hefty deposit and I crossed caterer off my list.

2 ½ months before the wedding I personally went to the caterers store front to book a tasting, and reminded him of the allergies. When we went for the tasting with my now husband, mother in law and mother we sat down and before touching anything I half-jokingly, half-seriously said ‘no nuts in anything right’. The caterers response was, ‘Oh don’t eat those’ while pointing to one of the Hors Doeuves samples. I said “what”, he said “there are almonds in that”… I nearly lost it.

That night we made a unanimous decision that we were not going to use this caterer for the wedding. Despite his excellent reputation in the community, he could have killed me. The next morning, my husband went to the store front with the unopened bottles of wine we were given to sample and gave them back. He told him that we cannot trust him, nor his food, and that we were not going to be using his services for the wedding. My husband asked him to send us the deposit back at his earliest convenience and even offered to pay for the cost of the sample meal. The caterer minimized the nut/peanut issue, and refused to give the deposit back.

At this point my wedding was 2 ½ months away and I did not have a caterer. The venue was a synagogue so it had to be kosher. I was freaking out! We called around and discovered that one of the other caterers in the community suffers from personal allergies of his own and guarantees the food would be nut/peanut free. He explained that he has used nuts/peanuts in his kitchen in the past but that he sterilizes everything before starting. Given he has allergies of his own, and he appeared to understand the gravity of the situation, we chose to go ahead and hire him.

As far as the other guy was concerned, we sued him in small claims court for the amount of our deposit and won! He even had to pay the court fees.

I am sharing this story because it is so important for people to be comfortable at their own events. This was a close call for me. I can’t even imagine what may have happened.