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Originally published Saturday, September 19, 2009 at 12:01 AM

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Cookbook gives allergic kids help in the kitchen

Brianna Rose Monson wasn't known for being an expert cook. When the Kennewick woman got married several years ago, some of her cousins jokingly gave her recipes for Jell-O.

The News Tribune

KENNEWICK, Wash. —

Brianna Rose Monson wasn't known for being an expert cook. When the Kennewick woman got married several years ago, some of her cousins jokingly gave her recipes for Jell-O.

But she's since mastered everything from meatloaf to snickerdoodles - and she's done it without relying on staples such as eggs, milk, wheat and nuts.

Monson's two children have food allergies, and she's had to figure out how to make meals that work with their dietary restrictions and also taste good.

It was no simple task. Monson now has published a cookbook, "Allergy Free for the Family Cookbook," to help others in the same situation.

"If it helps just a few people, it will be worth it," Monson said.

The cookbook is available at Amazon.com and at bookstores in the Tri-Cities. It features more than 100 recipes.

Monson had never planned to write a cookbook. But then her oldest child, Michael, 6, was diagnosed with food allergies when he was a toddler. He can't have milk, eggs, wheat and peanuts; even being in the same room while they're being prepared makes him sick.

Monson began looking for dishes to serve her family. But the ones she found didn't always pass their taste test.

So she started tweaking family recipes and finding ways to make bread, stuffing, casseroles and cookies that Michael could safely eat and that the whole family could enjoy. Monson's daughter, Arianna, 4, also has food allergies, including soy.

Monson kept her recipes in a binder in the kitchen. She'd test them out on nieces and nephews without allergies, making note of the ones that drew raves.

"I kept saying, 'You need to do a book to help people,'" said her mom, Carol Rose.

The cookbook was published in July through BookSurge, a print-on-demand company that offers self-publishing. It includes recipes for everything from banana muffins and pancake syrup to cornbread bake and shepherd's pie.

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Monson's husband, Lance, said he especially loves the meatloaf and salsa recipes.

Michael and Arianna said their favorites are the cookies. They even sometimes volunteer to help their mom bake.

That's part of why Monson published the book - so that her kids and others like them could be included in fun activities that involve food.

When Michael is invited to birthday parties, Monson pulls out her cake and ice cream recipes so he's not left out.

She said it feels good to see the book in print after so much hard work. It might not be her last.

"She's always coming up with more recipes," her mother said. "I keep telling her, 'You need to write them down for the next book.' "

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Information from: The News Tribune, http://www.thenewstribune.com

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