Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Common Thread

One of the best job titles on the planet is “Mom.”  It is such a treat to evolve in my role from watchdog, scold and protector to a normal person as the kids grow up.  I am still Mom, but as the kids grow up they are becoming the most fascinating people and I want to spend more time with them at the same time they are seeking their independence.
Watching my son grow taller than me and go from boy to young man has been a different experience than my daughters…what an insight into men!  I think about the old adage, “We’ll always have baseball” as that common thread holding fathers and sons together during those awkward years.

In my case the saying would be, “We’ll always have gluten-free food.”  Last Friday was a perfect example.  My husband and I took advantage of the school vacation and surprisingly warm weather and took the kids into New York City for a day of exploration on and around the neighborhoods of the High Line Park.  We hopped off the High Line so three of them could get donuts from The Donut Plant at the Chelsea Hotel.

I don’t need to tell anyone reading this blog what a bummer it is to watch other people eating and enjoying sugary confections that are off limits due to celiac disease.

I took us back to the High Line and then hopped off again at Chelsea Market where my son could get gluten-free banana and Nutella crepe at Bar Suzette.  I had a crepe as well…ham and Swiss…and everyone wanted a taste of both crepes!

We ended up splitting up in Greenwich Village for lunch, celiacs to Risoteria and non-celiacs to John’s Pizza.  Seating five during a crowded lunch hour is tough in small restaurants so it was just as well.  My son and I were able to chat and people watch, which is something you don’t get to do every day with a thirteen year old.

I have a feeling it won’t be the last time he goes for a gluten-free lunch with his mom…I purchased a bunch of gluten-free desserts and ciabatta bread for later.  I know he appreciates it when I bake things or go out of my way to be sure he has the gluten-free version of whatever the other kids have to eat.  Our common thread will continue as long as gluten-free food is the ticket to good health with celiac disease.  Even if there is a cure someday, I hope he will still have lunch with his mom!

 Kendall Egan

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Strawberry Valentine Treat

Last week I put together our “Be My GF Valentine” Pinterest board.  In the process of doing so, I stumbled across this “Strawberry Roses” idea and decided to make them for a dinner party dessert last weekend.

The hostess went out of her way to make sure the menu was gluten-free.  She even served up Glutino pretzels on the bar with a savory dip as part of the pre-dinner appetizers!  Just to help out, I had volunteered to bring dessert.
I had visions of a showstopper dessert, an array of “Strawberry Roses.”   These are easy to make.  Wash strawberries early and lay them out to dry.  Put the strawberries on cake pop sticks right by the stem.  Melt candy in microwave and dip in the strawberries, using the stem leaves as rose bud leaves.

The hard part comes when you have to do the swirl with the red candy to make it look like a rose.  I tried really hard, with my youngest son watching, and we both were a puddle of giggles at how ugly my rose swirls were looking.  Finally, I just gave up and went hog wild with red splatter lines instead.

The other dessert volunteer, the hostess and I had a quick email exchange and I indicated that I was bringing candy dipped strawberries that were supposed to look like roses but instead looked like Jackson Pollock rejects on a stick.

However, it was still fun arranging the dessert!  I had a nice basket with a Styrofoam base and I put the strawberries into the Styrofoam and then used green cellophane to make grass in the base of the basket. 
But, the best news of all is that they were delicious and so much fun to pass around the table!  Everyone insisted they looked like roses; my friends are very sweet liars.  My youngest son was invited to come along to hang out with the hostess’ children and they wandered by the table during dessert.  He spotted the last strawberry in the basket, came over and plucked it!  I got the sly thumbs up as he quickly devoured it.  On the car ride home he asked if I would make them again.

For dessert tonight my kids are getting mom’s strawberry roses.  They may be ugly, but they are made with love!

Kendall Egan