Friday, April 20, 2012

Living With The Lactose Intolerant

After reading all about my woes as a lactose intolerant person, you must feel tremendous pity for my husband.  After all, his house is completely devoid of ice cream, he can't go into bakeries, his wife is a pain in the neck at dinner parties, she brings home strange tofu-based, "dairy-free" products to fill his refrigerator..... sounds like a real drag, huh?

Well, you're wrong.  It just so happens that my husband is allergic to dairy.

I know!  What are the odds?

What's even more amazing is that he's also allergic to all seafood and I HATE fish!  We are the perfect pair.

Having a husband with actual allergic reactions to foods that I can't - or won't - eat, lifts an enormous burden off my shoulders.  When we are planning to eat out with friends, I can always use My Wonderful Allergic Husband as an excuse to stay away from ice cream places or seafood restaurants.  When we are dining at a friend's home, I have the perfect reason to request that dairy and fish be avoided when my host is preparing the meal.

Now, of course, as a lactose intolerant person, I know that I have the right to ask that dairy be avoided anyway, and that my friends should understand why I'm asking, but as I've mentioned here, there are more than a few people out there who do not understand lactose intolerance or could really care less about it's effects on my stomach.

Allergic reactions, on the other hand, are taken much more seriously in this world.  I do think things are changing, however.  Just look at how many lactose-free items can be found in grocery stores now and other specialty foods like gluten-free and nut-free items are becoming more common place.

I may be the only lactose intolerant person in my circle of friends, but there are more people like me out there.... somewhere!  Right?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Butter Cream Dreams

There is very little that pleases me as much as a bakery.  I love all cakes and pastries.  When I was growing up in suburban New Jersey, we had a bakery right in my town that I would visit each week on my way to choir practice.  Once inside it's fragrant room, I would slowly peruse the racks, admiring the chocolate boxes, the eclairs, the tollhouse cookies, the crumb buns.... whatever delicacy that caught my eye that day, I was able to purchase and eat.

Um, Martha,  you ask?   Where was all this money coming from?  I have really no idea.  Allowance?  Birthday savings?  And where were my parents while I was making these face-stuffing, fatty purchases?  I haven't any clue because I've blocked out all the details except the pastries.  (okay, I can answer that last question - it was the 1980's and kids walked places by themselves and my parents have a healthy appreciation for a bakery, themselves.)

Oh, how I love a bakery!

Oh, how I love a pastry!

Oh, how I miss them both!

It's a completely different experience going into a Bakery, now that I am lactose intolerant.  Bakeries - once a source of such joy and pleasure - are now evil torture chambers from Hell.  I'm okay with small amounts of butter, so I can have a puff pastry item or a pie, but my beloved butter cream frosted cakes, chocolate boxes, napoleons and eclairs are completely out of the picture.

There is nothing so depressing as a fruit pie when there are chocolate mousse cakes being offered.  Especially once you realize that you can't eat said fruit pie with a generous dollop of whipped cream on top.

Lactose Intolerance - you really take all the fun out of eating!

I have learned to compensate for my body's bakery ban.  I make cakes at home and I choose recipes without milk or heavy cream.  I make my own butter cream frosting using Lactaid milk, but it's not the same as buying a beautiful cake from the bakery and eating a thick wedge for dessert (or dinner, if we are really being honest).

So I ask you, if you live in Massachusetts and are looking to start a business.... would you consider opening a lactose-free bakery?  You would be guaranteed at least one, very loyal customer!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Marry Me Bars: My Constant Obsession

I am not a huge fan of ice cream.  Even before my lactose intolerance reared it's ugly head, I never craved ice cream or ordered a dish of vanilla for dessert at a restaurant.  I did enjoy walking into town, as a youngster, and getting a clown cone at Baskin Robbins, but  I suspect that it really was the icing clown buttons I was actually after.

Of all the foods I had to give up when I became lactose intolerant, ice cream was the least difficult to say good-bye to.   Bakery-made butter cream frosting, on the other hand?  I'm still broken hearted about that one.

I do love desserts, though, and I always scan the freezer aisles of my local grocery store in search of lactose-free products.   I feel it is my lactose intolerant duty to support as many lactose-free businesses as I can.  When I discovered Tofutti Marry Me bars and their cousins the Tofutti Cutie, I had to give them a try.  It's a tough job to sample desserts all the time, but it's mine and I take my jobs very seriously.

That first exposure to Tofutti products was years ago, and yet I remain a faithful Toffuti customer.  The Marry Me bars are probably my favorite.  They are simply amazing.  The chocolate is dark and smooth and the "ice cream" is vanilla-y and creamy.  It's the lactose-free answer to the Dove Bar and it pleases me to no end to be able to enjoy a frozen novelty from time to time, without fear of debilitating pain.

Tofutti Cuties (ice cream sandwiches) are delicious as well.  I particularly like their small size which is perfect for small children who need very little additional sugar.  If you were to open my freezer, you would be certain to find a box or two of the Cuties waiting to be eaten.  

But my latest Tofutti obsession?  The New Yours Truly cones.  Lord a mercy!  An ice cream cone filled with solid chocolate?  A lump of dairy-free ice "cream" on the top?  Covered in chocolate and crunchies?  What's not to love about that!

So good job, Tofutti company!  The lactose intolerant solute you!

(and thank you, too)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lactose-Free Yogurts: A Joyous Discovery

I was walking down the dairy aisle of my local Whole Foods Market when I stumbled across the most amazing thing:

Lactose-free yogurts!!!  And they are even organic!  

I can not tell you the last time I had yogurt.... but I would put money on the fact that while I spooned it into my mouth,  I was wearing an Ally McBeal short skirt and a large blazer with shoulder pads.  Lactose-free items are starting to mainstream and I couldn't be happier or any more relieved.  One of my favorite recipes calls for a tub of plain yogurt and because of my lactose intolerance, I haven't been able to make it in years.  

I went to the Green Valley Organics website (click here to visit their site yourself) and found out that they also make Kefir drinks and lactose-free sour cream.  Their motto is No Lactose, No Worries.  

How marvelous is that!?!

But how did Green Valley Organics Lactose-Free Yogurt taste?  Like yogurt! 

And I am truly in yogurt heaven!

Zucchini with Yogurt and Fettuccine

One box of dried fettuccine 
1 small container of plain Green Valley Organics Lactose-Free yogurt
4 large zucchinis 
small amount of olive oil
1 tsp of chopped garlic
1 tsp of dried basil
1/2 block of grated cheddar cheese

Cook fettuccine according to package
Using a vegetable peeler, peel zucchini into long strips and place into skillet, along with olive oil, garlic & basil
heat skillet and cook zucchini until warm and slightly limp (4-5 minutes)
drain pasta but return to pot
coat pasta with entire yogurt container
plate servings of pasta and sprinkle with grated cheese and healthy amount of zucchini mixture

Eat & Enjoy!

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