Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Egg & Dairy-free Thanksgiving & Holiday Dinners

Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner are two dinners that most people look forward to once the leaves begin to change and the cool air blows in to refresh all of us after a hot summer. I can't help myself, the first time I get to break out one of my cute sweaters or colorful scarves I get all giddy inside. Before the first pumpkin is carved I have already had several conversations with my mom about the Thanksgiving menu. I love the holidays.

For those of you who have food allergies or for those of you who are cooking for your little ones who were just diagnosed with severe food allergies you may be a little less excited about the thought of planning Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. You may even have a twinge of nervousness running through your body, thinking to yourself, what am I going to feed my little boy? How do I make my little girl feel like she's not getting left out this year? Should I just steam some vegetables, make a roast and scoop out a bit of non-dairy frozen dessert? Well, this is one way and still a very good way to enjoy the holidays, but there is so much more you can do. In fact, you can make a beautiful feast for the entire family and your friends that is all egg and dairy-free and no one will even know that you have left something out. I promise.

Every year my mom has created amazing holiday menus that were entirely egg and dairy-free. This year my mom and I are going to put together a complete Thanksgiving and Christmas menu for our fans and readers to use and enjoy. We are also going to create an egg and dairy-free cookie tray to share with you. We will post the recipes and the instructional videos in a few weeks. We are so excited about sharing these recipes with all of you.

If you have any questions, please write in to us. And if you have any suggestions, we would love to hear them.

Enjoy! Have Fun! Eat well always!

Nicolle Avery

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Planning a Dinner Party for Severe Food Allergies, Celiac Disease, Vegetarians & Vegans

Nowadays when setting out to plan a dinner party it seems that we need to be somewhat familiar with our guests and their medical history before we can put pen to paper to plan our menu and make our grocery list. There are so many issues to be aware of when creating the menu for the guest list. It is a good idea to be aware of any food sensitivities, allergies, Celiac disease or food lifestyles like vegetarianism and veganism before planning the big event.

It's a lot, but it can be done with just a bit of extra thought and planning. My friend Karen is vegan and she plans dinner parties all of the time and is able to accommodate many food and health issues with ease. Her guests always walk away full and happy; even meat lovers. She serves vegan and vegetarian entrees and appetizers that could fool any omnivore into thinking they just ate something with meat in it. She knows her guests and is able to serve all of them.

This year I am planning a holiday party for December. I want it to be a feast where no matter what your food preference or health issue might be, you will be able to eat and drink and be merry! I am already planning the menu, taking into account all the dietary needs of each guest.

There are many ways to approach menu planning for parties with multiple food issues and lifestyles. You could cater the dinner towards the food lifestyle you have chosen and introduce your friends and family to new foods. And If you know there are people coming who have severe food allergies prepare a hearty appetizer that accommodates their needs so that there is something for them to eat. Also, a fun way to get conversations started about food and health is to make pretty cards to be placed in or next to each dish that lists all ingredients used and where the recipe comes from. This will allow your guests to choose what is right for them based on their dietary needs and without having to ask the host a million questions.

Another great way to plan a large dinner party is to ask a few of the vegetarians, vegans, meat lovers, specific food allergy sufferers from the guest list to prepare an appetizer and main dish to share at the party and ask them to make a card listing the ingredients and recipe they used.

I love all of my friends and family and I want them to know that I can take care of them as much as they have taken care of me all of these years.

If you have any great dinner party ideas or questions that you think I might be able to answer, please send them to us.

Enjoy! Have fun! Eat well aways!

Nicolle Avery