Tag Archives: online shopping

Lasagne – an unusual last supper!

I’ve been fascinated looking back over the last 4 awareness weeks and seeing how our approach to “Eating like M” has developed over time. When we first started in 2013, we chose to eat the foods that M could eat at the time, even if they were things he wouldn’t have touched with the proverbial barge pole such as mushrooms, tomatoes or courgettes and followed the lead of other EGID families by eating exactly the same as him on the Friday, including the much-dreaded Neocate Active. Year 2 followed a similar approach, though Mike matched M mouthful for mouthful on the Friday to truly understand what it felt like to be on his diet and again drank the obligatory pint of Neocate for full effect. By 2015, M’s diet had changed dramatically and when we hit NEAW15, he had only 3 safe foods he could eat. Despite initially rejecting the idea of eating like M, IMG_0496[1] Mike and I decided we would once again support him through what was proving to be an extremely challenging time and agreed to spend the week with just 3 foods making up our 3 meals with a litre of E028 to wash it all down for Mike.

2016 has taken us another step forward in our “Eating like M” adventures and this year saw G choosing to stand in solidarity with her brother and join in our week with just 5 safe foods. I am so proud that she decided to take part in this challenge with us and stoically managed the week without complaint. Once again, our week led to opportunities to share our family’s EGID story with others, including Mike’s discussions with fellow attendees at a fully catered RICS training course in London. He had expected the standard buffet lunch to be provided and had armed himself with rice-cakes and apples to get him through his day, so the hot meal that was prepared on request to meet these strict dietary requirements was a more than pleasant surprise.

One of the highlights of the week for me was our final meal on the Saturday night. I had been looking for the perfect opportunity to try out what was, to me, a completely new product and our last M-inspired dinner gave me that chance. I first heard about this product back in February at the #FFFA16, when fellow judge, Stanley Montwedi, founder of online shopping website FreeFromMarket recommended it to me and couldn’t stop raving about how amazing it was. IMG_0469[1]With NEAW16 in mind, I had ordered a couple of boxes from him and knew exactly what masterpiece I’d be whipping up next.

As a family we have always enjoyed eating pasta, but M’s food restrictions have made enjoying a variety of different pasta dishes almost impossible. Thanks to this new-to-me range of products, that is no longer the case. Rizopia Organic Brown Rice Lasagne was actually the winner of the 2015 Free From Food Awards Pasta & Pizza category and I must say that it was definitely a worthy winner. I used it to make a M-friendly chicken lasagne, layering strips of chicken with the pasta sheets and lashings of white sauce flavoured with basil and oregano. I didn’t pre-soak the sheets as per the cooking instructions, but given the limited sauce that could be added to my lasagne, we all found them quite chewy, so I think I will try soaking them beforehand the next time I cook it. And believe me, there will be a next time because the whole family was impressed with this dish. M enjoyed it so much that he asked for it for lunch and dinner 3 days in a row and was most disappointed to discover that it did eventually run out! The Rizopia rice pasta range includes lots of different shapes of pasta which are all safe for M and will add some much-needed variety to his meal-times.

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Last minute checks

Courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Courtesy of bbc.co.uk

With the countdown started and just days to go, it’s all come down to those last minute checks and the final packing for our holidays.  I am the queen of lists when it comes to going on holiday, especially when travelling with M and G and this year was no exception, though I have to confess that four pages of lists is a whole new record! The clothes were quickly sorted and I got to my main challenge: the suitcase of M-friendly foods and all his medicines.

My biggest concern was ensuring we have enough safe snacks with us for at least a few days as I’m not certain about what will be easily available once we get to the “House of the Mouse”.  I don’t want to over-cater as I have no intention of bringing a suitcase of food back home with us, but I did need to be reassured that M would have enough to eat.  I spoke to our lovely GOSH dietitian to seek her advice about the availability of free-from foods in the USA and she advised consulting the UK Coeliac Society website as a starting point as to where we might be able to buy them.

onlineshopI also did some on-line research and discovered that an option I hadn’t even considered might be a great place to start – an on-line grocery shop.  This is still a fairly new phenomenon in North America as I know from our Canadian family and friends, but I found that I could arrange for a food order to be delivered directly to our hotel on the day of our arrival,  which would instantly reduce the need for Mike and me to find a supermarket straight away.  I investigated a couple of options and settled on the Garden Grocer delivery service. This is not affiliated to one particular supermarket chain and for a little extra cost, they will visit more than one shop to find everything you need.

The website is not as slick as the ones I’m used to using at home – I am a big advocate of on-line grocery shopping as it saves so much time – but I have been able to find most things I think we’ll need whilst away.  There was a much better selection of M-friendly cookies and cereal bars than in the UK and at a much better price too.  As I’ve said before,  it’s hard to be both frugal and allergy-friendly in the UK.  Shop done and delivery slot booked, all I can do now is sit back and wait with my fingers tightly crossed.