White bean and bacon soup

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a recipe! I guess nothing new that I’ve tried was really inspiring. Until this soup that is. This is by far the most delicious soup I’ve ever made. It’s perfect for chilly¬†fall nights or football Sundays. I was worried because I forgot to pick up some good, crusty bread to serve with it and didn’t think it would be enough for my husband and I, but I was wrong, it was very hearty and filled us right up. If I’m being completely honest, the kids wouldn’t even try it ūüė¶ Their idea of soup includes clear chicken broth and this broth “looked like mud”. You win some, you lose some…more soup for me!

The original recipe is from¬†Table for Two.¬†As is, I’m sure the soup is absolutely delicious and is still allergy safe for my family. But, because of what I had on hand I had to make some very minor changes. First, I made this in the¬†slow cooker (on low for about 6 hours)¬†I used 2 cans of cannellini¬†beans rather than dried, I used dried thyme¬†rather than fresh rosemary and during the last 30 minutes or so of cooking (after blending¬†about half of the soup in the food¬†processor)¬†I added some ditalini pasta. It really was delicious and I can’t wait to make it again! Head over to Table for Two and make this soup!

 

White Bean and Bacon Soup!

White Bean and Bacon Soup!

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Pancakes with Molly

Molly is such a great little sister. She adores her big brother, she wants to do everything JT does and be with him all the time. She misses him like crazy while he is at school. At 3 years old, Molly doesn’t fully understand JT’s allergies, but she knows on some level that certain foods will make him sick and she is very careful about it. She knows that she has to be thoroughly cleaned up after meals and that it’s not OK to share food with JT. What I don’t think she realizes is how much she is missing out on because of JT’s allergies, although I’m sure that won’t last forever. We all have to make some sacrifices to keep JT safe. I realized recently that Molly has never been out for breakfast. With JT’s egg allergy being his most severe, we don’t go to any restaurants that serve breakfast, even for lunch. So after JT went off to school today my Mom and I took Molly out for her first restaurant breakfast and she loved it. She got pancakes shaped like Mickey Mouse with whipped cream and syrup and chocolate milk. I also order her a scrambled egg with hopes that she would give it a try (our house is egg free) but she wasn’t interested, and since today was about doing something special for a special little girl that was just fine with me.

Forgot to snap a picture this morning, but here is the best little sister around!!

Forgot to snap a picture this morning, but here is the best little sister around!!

Time for school

This summer has absolutely flown by! And while a week ago I was hanging onto the sunshine and warmth for dear life, this week I suddenly feel ready for crisper air, sweaters and soup in the crock-pot. I think it may have a lot to do with the fact that JT had a very succesful first week in first grade and so my fears of him starting in a new school with a new teacher have been relieved and I’m starting to relax…a little bit anyway.

Ready for first grade!

Ready for first grade!

Our school system has been wonderful, but I know that I still have to work hard to advocate for JT. It’s really important for me to start making sure all of our medication and forms are up to date and that the staff is fully aware of any updates or changes to his medical history well before that first day of school. I also have to be sure to educate myself on any changes in school and classroom policies. Being prepared helps me to be able to enjoy sending JT off to start the new year.

Over the summer I was able to get in touch with JT’s new teacher and we chatted about his allergies. I immediately felt like he was in good hands. The first thing that helped was that his teacher taught at his old school last year and so she already knew of JT and his allergies. Second, she is good friends with his teacher from last year and so they were able to discuss, at length, what worked in her classroom and what didn’t work (I’m confident that this info would have been relayed regardless of friendship, but still, I think it was helpful). Third, his new teacher has severe food allergies. Knowing she has food allergies means that she “gets it” on a level that many people do not, it also means she can be a role model to JT as a succesful adult who lives with severe food allergies and that is really important for him (and me) to see. Now, this doesn’t mean that a teacher who does not have food allergies won’t “get it”. JT’s teacher last year was nothing short of amazing and didn’t have food allergies. It just means that I have to do less explaining and quite honestly, less hoping that she understands.

Aside from JT’s teacher, there are other factors that have made me feel confident in this new group of people who are responsible for JT on a daily basis. The first is that his classroom (which includes several children with food allergies) is the closest to the nurses office (where his epi-pen is kept). Also, they will continue to have a peanut free table in the cafeteria. Even though peanut is not JT’s worst allergy, I continue to have him sit at the peanut free table because I feel like that way the lunch room monitors always know where he is. After speaking with the nurse we were reassured that the school would continue to follow JT’s individualized health plan from last year. Some of the accommodations stated in his plan are that children will wash hands after lunch and snack, that JT has his own trash barrel in the cafeteria so that he doesn’t have to touch a barrel that has been contaminated with his allergens and that the we can provide extra snacks to be kept in the classroom just in case something were to come in to contact with JT’s food (for example, a milk spill). In addition, classroom celebrations continue to be non-food based – yay!

I feel like our school system has some great policies in place and they have been willing to work with us to make modifications that will keep JT safe. I wish that every child and family with food allergies had a similar experience but I know that is not the case. If you feel like your school system is not doing all it can for your child’s safety, I would strongly suggest having your child put on a 504 plan. Every child deserves the right to learn in an environment that is safe for them!