Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My Daughter Has Food Allergies Just to Annoy Me

My daughter was born with life-threatening food allergies.

Really, she did this just so she could bother me. She wanted grocery shopping to me a nightmare. She hoped that I would have a nervous breakdown every time I tried to cook a safe dinner. She is just one of those kids who does everything in her power to be annoying. And with food allergies, she's definitely winning!


A little selfish?

A lot wrong?

Food allergies is a medical diagnosis of a life threatening condition. No one can control it. No one can cure it. No one can even treat it.

You get to live your entire life in total fear of your allergens as you carefully avoid them so that you don't die.

But clearly my daughter just does all this to make her parents crazy.

At least that's what Healthline thinks in their article.

Food allergies are just something that kids do to slowly kill their parents on the inside. It's just a huge inconvenience and a total pain to have to deal with. And it's all your child's fault!

Why is it socially acceptable to make fun of food allergies?

What if the article were slightly different and mentioned other health issues?

For example, "Your child has cancer just to bother you."
"Your child was born with that medical condition just to get attention."
"Your child was born with special needs in order to break the bank with the cost of the special medical equipment that they require."

Don't kids do these things on purpose just to annoy their parents? According to Healthline, having food allergies ranks in annoyance next to your child waking up extra early on weekends and falling asleep in the car right before you reach your destination.

No. It's absolutely inappropriate to equate any type of medical issue to the silly and immature things that kids do like leave a trail of food all over the house or refuse to take a family picture.

It would never be socially acceptable to state that your child's cancer diagnosis or diagnosis of special medical needs was orchestrated by the child just to annoy you. You would never, ever think of blaming the child for their medical problems.

That is utterly heartless.

Any parent with a child who has received a type of medical diagnosis knows that the diagnosis feels very unfair but cannot be blamed on anyone, least of all that child.

When will food allergies be considered a serious diagnosis that is unacceptable as the brunt of jokes?

Monday, November 9, 2015

{Allergy Free} Chicken Potato Chowder

I'm back with another fall soup recipe. My kids loved this soup! It is creamy comfort food with lots of potatoes.

Chicken Potato Chowder

1/3 cup Earth Balance Soy Free
1 onion, diced
6-8 carrots, peeled and diced
5 stalks celery, diced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup rice flour
4 cups chicken broth (or more as needed)
3 cups rice milk
8 yukon gold potatoes, diced
2 cups diced cooked chicken breast
salt and pepper to taste

Melt Earth Balance in large pot over medium heat.
Add onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until soft.
Add thyme and cook for a couple of minutes.
Stir in the rice flour and keep stirring for about a minute.
Then stir in chicken broth and milk.
Continue stirring until soup is slightly thickened.
Add potatoes and chicken.
Simmer on low until potatoes are tender.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with parsley on top.

I will admit that I didn't measure all of my ingredients well as I was cooking, so you may need to use more liquid to make sure the potatoes are covered.
This makes one giant pot of soup so I had leftovers for another day!

This recipe is adapted from the one posted at Damn Delicious

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How Food Allergies Taught Me to Cook

When we first got married I wasn't much of a cook. Actually, I couldn't cook at all. I could pour a great bowl of cereal and turn on the oven for a frozen pizza. However, I didn't do much actual cooking.

During our first year of marriage I started attempting to cook a few things. I collected recipes and read through some cookbooks and began to experiment. I usually spent much of my cooking time on the phone with my grandma to ask her questions like, "What does it mean to cream butter and sugar together? What does it mean to fold the ingredients together? How do I broil this? What does 'al dente' mean?"

As you can see, I had a lot of questions. I even watched YouTube videos about how to chop and prepare certain foods. Over time I did learn to cook a few meals and I could successfully put homemade dinners on the table.

Then we had our little allergy baby. Now I had to cook without eggs, gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, coconut, avocado, banana, melons, pineapple, and any type of seed. Basically, I had to start over from the beginning with an entirely new set of cookbooks. But this time I had no one to ask for help.

Going out to eat was never an option for our family anymore. This meant that I had to shop for some crazy-strange ingredients like xanthan gum and stay in the kitchen until I made something a little bit edible.

The first year of learning to cook for Bee I had many more failures than successes. I spent lots of time crying in the kitchen over ruined meals. I slowly found a few recipes that were not only edible but actually fairly tasty. Once we had a few favorites, I made those same meals over and over again until we were all so tired of them that I was forced to try something new. Then the cycle began again with lots of failures before eventual success.

I loathed cooking and dreamed of going out to a restaurant to eat. I hated the pile of dishes in the sink every single night. Grocery shopping was a tearful adventure to find something, anything, safe for Bee to eat.

After several years we have built our own recipe book that is filled with some family favorites that are safe for everyone to eat. Cooking is no longer a nightmare and I've started to enjoy the challenge of making delicious and healthy food for our family.

Food allergies taught me how to cook. Before our diagnosis, I could cook a few simple meals but now I can step far outside of that box and make meals from scratch. I have confidence in the kitchen. And best of all, our family eats healthy, fresh, unprocessed foods. We don't have the option to use nearly any processed food as they all contain at least one of Bee's allergens. So we spend most of our time in the produce section finding fruits and veggies to combine with a protein in order to make a complete meal.

Food allergies have been a little bit of a blessing in disguise for our family. They've brought us together in the kitchen in order to overcome the challenge of finding food that we can all enjoy. Now my husband helps me cook dinner on most nights and even my older children step into the kitchen and assist with cooking. We try new foods and eat only fresh foods.

I can bake bread, make rolls, whip homemade icing, whisk a roux, pan sear meats, and saute veggies. I've learned some basic cooking skills thanks to our food allergy diagnosis. Now my family eats homemade meals every night and we bond together while creating and trying new recipes.

Monday, November 2, 2015

{Allergy Free} Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

My kids love baked oatmeal. I think they would eat it every day. This recipe is definitely their new favorite! It probably helps that I call it "oatmeal cake" so they think they are eating cake for breakfast. I do what works!
This is a yummy fall breakfast that can be made the night before and simply baked the next morning. It's so easy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

4 cups rolled oats
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 and 2/3 cup pureed pumpkin
2/3 cup vanilla hemp milk
4 T olive oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips

Stir dry ingredients together in large bowl.
Add wet ingredients (including chocolate chips) and mix well.
Smooth into a greased 11x13 baking dish.
Bake at 350 for 24 minutes.
Turn off heat in oven and let oatmeal sit in closed oven for 20 minutes.

*I make the oatmeal the night before and keep it covered in the fridge.

Recipe adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Published Book and a Funny Story

So, I have some exciting news to share with you! I have a published book about our food allergy journey with Bee. You can find the book, Hives in the Kitchen, on Amazon. Within a few weeks you can purchase the book to read on Kindle.

But before I tell you more about the book I have to tell you the story behind the book.

Did you know I was writing a book?

Neither did I.

Feel free to be as surprised as I was when I found out.

Last week, my hubby quietly slipped a cute book into my hand. It looked quite a bit like my blog design and even had the same title. Just before I angrily asked him who was stealing my ideas, my eyes glanced at the bottom of the cover. My name was printed across the bottom. I quickly flipped through the book and recognized the typed words from my journal. This was my book.

You see, my blog, Hives in the Kitchen, had an unpublished side of it. I had written about our journey when Bee was a baby, yet I never published it for anyone to read. It was personal and written mainly so I would never forget about the challenges we had overcome. One day I wanted to be able to read through it with Bee so she could know her own story. I hoped it would help her take her food allergies seriously and also take ownership of her diagnosis as she learns to advocate for herself. But mostly I prayed it would provide hope for her as she faced the future. I wanted to communicate how we had advocated for her as an infant with the hope that she would tirelessly advocate for herself and others with allergies.

So, to sort through my thoughts and my emotions on days when I felt especially discouraged about the allergies, I wrote about the past. I cried out tears of frustration as I typed every word and somehow my heart felt more settled and I was once again ready to step into my role as advocate and care taker.

My husband had seen these pages detailing our journey and we often read them together to rekindle our hope and to encourage us in our prayers for a cure and for healing.

I never planned to do anything with those pages, really. They were so close to my heart and I couldn't imagine anyone else wanting to read the details of our journey to find a diagnosis for Bee.

My husband always felt differently. He wanted me to publish the little journal as a book for others who were also dealing with food allergies, believing that others could benefit from reading about the misdiagnoses, challenges, and emotions that filled the first years of Bee's life. I never believed the writings to be good enough for anyone to care to read. Whenever he mentioned publication I just nodded and said, "Maybe someday..." However, I never thought that "someday" would ever arrive.

Well it is that "someday" now. As an early Christmas present my husband had the story about Bee published into a small book that we can share with our friends and family and with others who are walking their own food allergy journey. I will always believe that the story is not "good enough." However, despite any imperfections I pray that it will be an encouragement to others who face the same diagnosis.

The book details Bee's early symptoms as a baby as well as the multiple misdiagnoses given us by the various doctors that we visited. It includes the stories of Bee's first allergic reactions and our quest to find a doctor to support us as we worked toward healing her little body. The book is also filled with my thoughts and how the allergies impacted me as a mother - the fear, frustration, anger, discouragement, and loneliness that followed me through those early years. However, the book ends with hope in finding support through friends, family, and doctors as well as peace in discovering a new normal in our family - a normal that is now our life while managing the multiple life-threatening food allergies of our daughter Bee.

Linked up with Hip Homeschool Moms

Monday, October 26, 2015

{Allergy Free} Sausage and Potato Soup

This is a yummy and easy fall soup. My kids love anything with potatoes or sausage so I really couldn't go wrong. The original recipe called for wilting some spinach into the soup (which would definitely add some much-needed color to the soup). If I'm brave I might try that, but my kids will probably complain about the slimy green things in their food. Oh well! They did give the soup high marks and my big kids even had second helpings.

Sausage and Potato Soup

1 pound ground sausage
1 pound ground bison
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or less to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chicken Broth - enough to cover (probably at least 5 cups)
2 pounds diced yukon gold potatoes
Spinach 2-3 cups (optional)

1/4 cup Earth Balance Soy Free
1/4 cup rice flour
2 cups rice milk

Brown the sausage and bison until no longer pink.
Drain the meat and put back in pot.
Add garlic, onion, and spices and cook until onion is translucent.
Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Add diced potatoes and cook until tender.

While potatoes are cooking make the roux in a separate pot.

Melt Earth Balance.
Stir in the flour and whisk for 1-2 minutes.
Slowly add in the rice milk while still whisking constantly.
Continue whisking until the sauce has thickened.

Once the potatoes are tender, pour the creamy roux mixture into the soup.
Simmer on low heat until the soup is slightly thickened.

*At this point you could toss in a few cups of spinach and let it wilt while the soup simmers.
One day I will do this. Maybe when I do not have toddlers. For now I'll just be happy to serve them a spinach salad on the side.

This recipe is adapted from the one found here at Damn Delicious

Friday, October 23, 2015

{Allergy Free} Cocoa Waffles

This is our new Saturday morning favorite waffle. The kids call them "hot cocoa waffles with snow." They are a perfect winter time breakfast!

Cocoa Waffles

2 1/2 cups flour blend
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. xanthan gum
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cups rice milk mixed with 2 T lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chocolate chips

Combine flour blend through brown sugar in one bowl and whisk well.
Add rice milk mixture and olive oil to dry ingredients and blend well.
Fold in chocolate chips.

Spray waffle maker well and follow directions for your waffle maker.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar when done.
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