Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Meat Pie


This recipe was inspired by the previous Jam Tart recipe, but instigated by my husband who wanted our son to enjoy good 'ol Aussie Meat Pies. I used muffin trays to bake the individual pies.

Canola Puff Pastry (dairy free, from Coles, if you live in Australia) - cut one sheet into four square quarters. Each square can be placed into a muffin mold. Place the cooled meat mixture into the center of the pastry and fold the corners into the center, to cover the meat. Place a cut-out shape on top of everything to seal off the pie. The pastry doesn't need to be completely sealed or perfectly shaped - I personally like the dribbled effect. If you want it to be more browned on top, you could brush some soy milk over the top, but I don't think it's necessary. Bake at 220deg C, for 20 - 25 mins or till nicely browned. Serve with chips, mash or other vegetables.

Meat filling recipe
Our son is still on a very restricted diet so the ingredients we use are very limited compared to most recipes. If you are able to use more spices and herbs, then I'm sure it will taste even better, but in the meantime, this recipe uses very basic ingredients to make something still quite tasty. For example, we still haven't found a stock cube we can safely use, nor is there any chilli, mustard, or fancy sauces in it. If you miss these flavours, then perhaps topping the pies with a bit of spice will make up for it.

1 onion, chopped finely
500g beef mince
1T tomato paste
1C red grapes, chopped in half or perhaps 1 plum, chopped into pieces (this is what I use instead of stock cubes believe it or not!)
1C chopped veggies like peas, corn or carrot
salt to taste

Gently fry the onion in some sunflower or other acceptable oil. Add mince and brown it fully. Add the remaining ingredients and enough water to simmer for about 20 mins. Add salt to taste, then cool before placing into the pastry.

Hope you enjoy these little treasures too!

From PANIC to Peace with our pregnancy planning

What a difference a couple of weeks makes. After my middle-of-the-night panic attack, thinking about what to do with our severely allergic toddler I've just come back from my baby-shower with such a peace in my heart - who can believe it?!

Let me guide you through the steps - just in case you need to do this one day...
Step 1: I put together a folder with all our son's allergic information. This includes his Anaphylaxis plan, a list of approved foods, a rough schedule for eating and sleeping, some recipes printed from this blog, and a list of other medications and instructions for cases of rash/asthma/fever and also medical details like doctor's details, insurance and medicare details in case a trip to the hospital is required.

Step 2: I've packed a cooler bag with all sorts of food including snacks, tinned food, pasta etc. I've also packed a bag with sauces to be used - this includes honey, jam, soy sauce, oil

Step 3: I've made a list of last minute things to add to the bags - this includes things from the fridge like Nuttelex, frozen bread, frozen bolognese sauce.

Step 4: I've made another list of other things to bring, like clothes, medication, toiletries, spare pan and chopping board.

This is all the stuff we need to bring with us to drop our son off at a friend's house when the time for labour comes and we need to head to the hospital. Our hope is that our son can be cared for by our friends during labour, so that my husband can be there for the birth of our second child. We have also agreed that if worse comes to worse, our husband may miss the birth, but that it will most certainly not be the end of the world.

Step 5: I decided to use the baby shower as a chance to go through all of our son's information with our close friends in one go. Before I left home, I was wondering whether they would still be my friends after this information download. Would they ever see me the same? Would they think I am totally neurotic? Would they withdraw their offer of emergency care once they realised how complicated it can be?

Well, what a blessing it is to have such wonderful friends. They listened carefully, asked very good questions, and also made some really good suggestions, like including a spare house key should they need to grab something from the house. Overwhelmingly they agreed that coming over to our house was the safest option if it was practical to leave their kids at home. This was something my husband and I had also thought, but I was too afraid to ask. Afterall, all these ladies have kids of their own, households to run, as well as jobs to go to.

So there you have it, in a few simple steps - a total transformation from total panic in the middle of the night, to complete peace about who would look after our most gorgeous but highly allergic son. After that, the ladies sat back, relaxed, ate some most delicious afternoon tea and just shared the joys of motherhood together.

Ok, bring on labour... (I hear you laugh?)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pregnancy, planning, PANIC!

It's 5am in the morning and I wake up thinking what a good sleep I've had considering that I'm heavily pregnant. A quick toilet break and I can still catch another couple of hours sleep.

But, when I hop back into bed, my mind starts to wander... We've been told lately by a health professional that I trust (not just some random know-it-all), that a natural birth could greatly reduce the chance of our next child having allergies. I had been leaning towards an elective c-section since our first boy had to have an emergency c-section. However, if there is a chance we could somehow assist our next child not to have allergies, then surely it's worth a try??

I know, these are not the thoughts you should entertain in the middle of the night... big big mistake!

We don't have family living anywhere nearby, so we've had some lovely friends offer to help us look after our 3 year old when labour comes. I've already prepared a large bag of foods that our son can eat so that we can grab it and go when the time goes. Although a few of my friends are familiar with the epipen, I start to remember that actually, there are a lot of steps before an epipen is required, or rather there are a lot of steps to avoid having to use an epipen. Actually, I need to schedule an hour of adult only time when I can explain all the complexities: cross-contamination (since all our friends have other kids); maybe I should include a frypan and cooking utensils in another bag; when to give the antihistimine medication; the dosage and usage of the asthma medication; another bag for his bedding and sleeping things...

 Then I start to think how ridiculous and unfair it is that I have to plan all this stuff just to try and reduce the likelihood of having a child with severe food allergies. Plus, the only reason I have to prepare all this stuff is because our first born has so many darned food allergies! Actually, I just hate food allergies all round! Yup, I hate hate hate them. Is there any good that comes from it???!

Hmmm, I've tried to convince myself that having food anaphylaxis in our family has helped us to be more understanding to others and perhaps provide assistance to others who have to go through the same thing. Sometimes this works... other times... not so much. So maybe having to do all this planning is a good chance for us to share with others around the complexities of living with multiple food anaphylaxis. Perhaps it's a good chance to truly educate others in our community? Or perhaps it's just a FRICKIN' BIG PAIN IN THE BUTT!!!!!

So two hours later, I give up trying to sleep. The rare occasion that our son decides to sleep properly till 7am, and I've worked myself into a frenzy of crazy thoughts, a heart rate of about 120 while lying down and shortness of breath. Nice work! Grrrrr!

It's not until I get out of bed and am in the kitchen on my own that I can finally let the tension out and the tears finally come. Ah, you have to love pregnancy hormones.

And so begins another day... with just a few more things on my To-Do list. At least once my husband and son wake up I can get some lovely cuddles and remember why it is we do these things, and that in the end, it is worth it.