Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Food Allergy T-Shirt

Here's a good reminder to keep food away from a food allergic individual-especially for a child who can't speak up for themselves.  It might be a nice break for the parent who has to share the food allergy info every. single. time. 

Since food is at every function, this might make you breathe easier if you're brave enough to actually go.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Allergy Free Chocolate Cake

Here is a recipe for a Texas Sheet Cake that is so moist and yummy!  It is rich chocolate with a hint of cinnamon.  I love it without icing but chocolate icing on top makes it a chocolate lover's dream.  It's even better with vanilla hemp milk ice cream.

Texas Sheet Cake

2 cups flour blend (4 cups rice flour, 1 1/3 cup potato starch, 2/3 cup tapioca flour)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery spread
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup rice milk mixed with 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons egg replacer mixed with 4 Tablespoons rice milk

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.

Combine water, Earth Balance, and cocoa in small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and pour into flour mixture.  Beat at medium speed with mixer until well-blended.  Add the rice milk/lemon juice mixture, vanilla, and egg replacer/milk mixture.  Beat well.

Pour into greased 15x10 jelly roll pan (or 9x13 sheet cake pan-bake longer if using this pan) and bake at 375 for 17-18 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. 

For icing:
6 Tablespoons Earth Balance
1/3 cup rice milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine Earth Balance, milk, and cocoa in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar and vanilla.  Pour over warm cake. 


Here is the cake before icing......as you can see I had to sneak a taste!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gluten free and vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been trying to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  I've found that many of them crumble into nothingness, bake into one giant pancake, or are more like cookie cake.  Well, these cookies are not perfect but they are the closest I have come to buttery, crunchy-on-the-outside but chewy-on-the-inside cookies.



Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup Earth balance spread
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup rice milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup flour blend
3/4 tsp xanthan
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
12 oz chocolate chips

Mix flour blend, xanthan, salt, and baking soda together.  Cream Earth Balance and sugars in a separate bowl.  Add in vanilla extract.  Add in the flour mixture, alternating with the rice milk.
Gently stir in chocolate chips.  Place dough in fridge for 30 minutes.  Then place rounded spoonfuls of dough on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 11 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheets and then remove to cooling rack.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Allergy Free Crockpot Sweet and Sour Chicken

I have been on a quest to find some easy crockpot recipes for this winter.  Our first successful recipe was sweet and sour chicken which we served over rice.  The kids loved this simple Asian inspired recipe.



Sweet and Sour Chicken

2 T ketchup
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 T Coconut aminos (soy-free "soy" sauce)
1 cup brown sugar packed
1 cup water
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut into cubes or strips
2 T cornstarch and 2 T water


Combine first 4 ingredients in crock pot and mix well.  Add chicken and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.  When done, whisk together cornstarch and water in small bowl.  Stir into slow cooker and cook an additional 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until thickened.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Curly!



And to round out our birthday weekend, Happy Birthday to Curly!  Curly girl is 6!  That just can't be possible!

Here's to the "other mother" at our house-the drama queen, chatter box, girly-girl, lover of pink and purple, bookworm, princess, ballerina, sparkle and glitter wearer, violinists, dress up darling, pianist, story-teller, baking buddy, and always my helper.

Happy Birthday Curly!! 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Tiger!



Happy Birthday to my Tiger!  He is 4-years-old today!!  He is the rugged adventurer, the brave man in a house full of girls, the sharp-shooting protector, the knight in shining armor, and the one full of imagination. 

Tonight is his party-in combination with Curly's party.  (Her birthday is tomorrow!!)  We are having a Candy Land party at our house with candy, games, gingerbread cookies, and a cardboard castle. 

His birthday breakfast request is cinnamon rolls!  No surprise there!  It's hard to believe that my once-tiny little NICU guy is now 4!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Temper Tantrums



Baby Bee is 2 1/2 which is sometimes a terrible age!  At this age, Tiger and Curly were both so difficult!  The tempers!  The tantrums!  The screaming!  The stubbornness! 

Bee has hit this magical age where she has become contrary, disobedient, stubborn and an expert tantrum-thrower.

It's a phase.  We'll get through it.  She'll one day grow out of it.  But it doesn't make it any less frustrating!

And with Bee there's an added element---her temper tantrums can make her break out in a rash.  That's right!  When she's all worked up, she gets overheated which can make her break out.  It would be so easy to just give in to make the fits stop, but I know that's not the answer.  We might go back to some cool tub soaks and lots of bendaryl cream in the meantime.  Thank goodness the weather is cooler right now.  Is it too much to hope that Bee's tantrums will slow down for springtime??

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Allergy Free Baking Disasters

I love posting new recipes that we have discovered in hopes that it helps someone else who is allergy free and hungry.  However, I haven't yet talked about the many baking and cooking failures. 

When we first began our allergy free cooking endeavors, most things did not turn out well.  We had a few recipes that were already allergy-free without any modifications.  So, we stuck to those recipes and had the same things every. single. week.

When we were all so very tired of those recipes, we began to branch out and experiment.  On occasion we would find a great new recipe or find a perfect substitution.  But, it was so time consuming!  I spent hours scouring the internet for ideas and help with possible allergy free substitutes.  We had so many expensive failures!  We always had a backup plan to run to Chick-Fil-A for grilled chicken.  We had to use that plan many times!

Then my hubby bought me this cookbook and this baking book.  Suddenly, I was able to cook a few new meals.  The book clearly outlined the substitutions that were possible for our allergy free life and the recipes were edible!  Actually, they were more than edible; they were good!

I stuck to the recipes in these cookbooks for months.  Then I slowly had the confidence to branch out and modify other recipes and come up with new ones.  The recipes on my site are ones that we have discovered or are recipes that are loosely based on some of our old favorites.  And I do mean "loosely!"

However, I still have expensive baking and cooking disasters.  Bread is like the Holy Grail of GF baking.  It is sooooo sooooo very difficult!

I tried a type of French bread that other week.  It was very dense and very heavy, nothing like the airy, fluffy, crusty French bread.  So much for all that expensive bread flour and xanthan gum!

My next experiment was pumpkin roll.  Tastewise it was good.  Other than that it was a mess!  The pumpkin roll did not "roll," it crumbled, it fell, it tore, and it stuck.  And the frosting for the inside was all smooshed out as I rolled it up.  That was fun to clean up!

I gave up on the pumpkin roll and went for something simpler-pumpkin bread.  It looked and smelled wonderful while baking.  But once I cut into it I discovered that it didn't bake all the way through.  It was dense and mushy and gooey.  I even baked it for almost 45 minutes longer than the recipe said.  Fail!

And those failures were all in one week!  Yes.  At the end of that week I had vowed to never cook again.  And I cried.  That was when Prince Charming stepped in and cooked dinner the next night to get me out of the kitchen; since then I'm back at my cooking and baking.

So, no matter how long you've been cooking the allergy-free way, you will have many failures.  However, each success makes it so very worth it to try new things.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chicken Corn Chili

Now that we can have corn, we tried this recipe which was suggested by a friend.  My kids loved the chili and it was perfect with some cornbread crumbled in it.

Chicken Corn Chili

1 T olive oil
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 jalapeno chopped
1 4-oz can diced green chiles
1 t cumin
2 cans chicken broth
2 cups shredded chicken
2 15-oz cans of white beans (one rinsed and drained, the other undrained)
1 cup frozen corn unthawed
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro to garnish

Head the olive oil in large pot and saute the onion.  Add garlic, jalapeno, green chiles, and cumin and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add  the chicken broth, chicken, and beans.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer until thickened (about 15 minutes).  Mash the chili until about half of the beans are broken up.  Stir in corn and salt and pepper.  Add cilantro and serve with corn bread.

So quick and so easy for a winter dinner!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sickness

Usually our concern with Bee is the allergies and her reactions.  Every once in a while she gets sick with something else.  It's so strange!  We forget that she is normal and can actually get sick with things other than allergic reactions.  However, Bee has a monster immune system and is rarely sick.  Tiger and Curly might be down and out but Bee is usually still going.  The other week all the kids were down and out with a virus and things were not fun at our house.  Here's our poor sick crew............who were all well in time Thanksgiving celebrations.  Another thing to be thankful for!!




Monday, November 28, 2011

Allergy Free Cornbread Dressing

For Thanksgiving I made cornbread dressing, just like my grandma makes.  Well.......almost like my grandma makes.  I didn't want to post the recipe before Thanksgiving because I wanted to make sure everything would turn out.  Thankfully, it did!  Yet another thing to be thankful for! 

Cornbread dressing
14 slices of gluten free bread (I used the entire loaf of this bread recipe)
2 recipes of your favorite cornbread-minus any sugar that the recipe calls for  (I use the recipe found in this cookbook)
1 onion, diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
3 cans chicken broth
sage
1 1/2 teaspoons egg replacer mixed with 2 T rice milk

Slice your GF bread and lay out on a baking sheet the night before in order to let the bread dry out.

Put a small amount of water in a sauce pan-just enough to fully cover the bottom of the pan with 1/2 of water.  Put diced onion and celery in pan and simmer for 15 minutes.

Crumble your bread and your cornbread and mix together. 

Stir in the onion, celery, and water mixture.  Add 3 cans chicken broth.  (Now, you might need to add a little more or a little less, depending on the bread and cornbread recipe that you use.)  The mixture should be very moist without becoming too soupy.  Then add sage.  I used almost 1/2 a small bottle of rubbed sage.  You will need to add and taste.  We like a lot of sage in ours!  Once the dressing has the right amount of sage and is a good consistency, add in the egg replacer.

Pour dressing into a greased 9x13 baking dish and bake covered at 325 for an hour. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Now to Apologize

Thank you so much for inviting us!  In order for us to be able to participate we must wipe down the tables, clean the chairs, wipe the other children's hands, allow no food or drink, bring our own snacks, and ask that no pets be allowed near us.  

I realize that it's more trouble than it's worth to invite us to participate in anything-whether it be a birthday party or a Sunday school class or a simple playdate.  If we want to go, I have to lay the ground rules for our participation.  If our parameters aren't met, then we can't participate.  Everyone has to bend over backward to be able to include us.  I step on toes.  I offend people (usually unintentionally....).  I come with lists, medicines, requirements, and with a lot of worry and fear.

Sometimes I think people cringe when they see us coming or know that we're also invited.

I walk around with the stigma of the allergy mom.  We have allergies and everyone knows it.  I find myself having at least one allergy discussion every. single. day.  I'm either explaining our allergies, talking about resources, or answering someone else's questions about their symptoms.  I absolutely cannot escape from it.  And if you're anywhere near me, you can't escape from it either.

So, this is to apologize.  I'm sorry for being the never-ending food allergy network.  I'm sorry for all the seemingly ridiculous precautions and safety measures.  I'm sorry for all the hoops you must jump through if you are crazy enough to invite us to something.  I'm sorry that we make things that much more complicated.

But I so appreciate those that take the time to understand and to help.  We appreciate being included and we try to make it as simple as possible.  I hope you're able to put yourself in our shoes and ask yourself how you would cope in our situation.  And, I'll try to put myself in your shoes and know that it is really difficult and frustrating.

I get tired of the allergy life.  You get tired of hearing about it.  But I hope that our story and what we've learned along the way can help others.  Now, that's something I don't have to apologize for!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Divvies and Allergy Free



Here's a new brand to try........I've heard their chocolate chips are really yummy! 

The cookies look awesome too.  If only they were gluten free!  But they are dairy and nut free for those who can't have those two allergens.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Allergen Free Cookies in the Fridge!



Hello!  These are yummy!  What a fun treat when I don't feel like baking!  Keep them in the fridge, warm slightly right before eating, and enjoy.  We sampled a few of the flavors.  The kids all approved!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Allergies and the Grocery Store

Baby Bee cannot go to the grocery store.

Hmmmm.....I'm trying to decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  On one hand, I can sweet talk my hubby into going by himself or letting me go by myself.  Shopping without all 4 kids in tow is much much easier.  On the other hand, our avoidance of the grocery store is really inconvenient, especially when I only need a few things or when they kids actually want to go too.  (Yes, my kids think the grocery store is fun.  It must be the shopping carts with the steering wheels).

No matter how well I wipe down the carts, Bee breaks out each time we grocery shop.  I really shouldn't be surprised since she can't eat half of what's in that stupid store.

But, can our life not be normal in just one way?  Please??

So, for now I'm going to avoid all grocery stores if Bee is along.  You would think this would be a great excuse to get out of cooking and eat out.  No, not so much for us.  Restaurants are just as scary as grocery stores.  Some days I just don't want to even leave the house.....

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Field Trip and Hives

We took a fun family field trip to the King Tut exhibit at a nearby museum.  We recently studied Egypt in our homeschool, so it was the perfect exhibit.  Daddy even came along.

We took 4 small children-5 years old and under-to the museum of fine art to walk through an exhibit.  Are we nuts or what???

Well, the kids did wonderfully.  Ladybug hung out on my hip in a sling.  Baby Bee was carried around by Daddy.  Tiger and Curly enjoyed wandering through the exhibit-for an hour and a half!  I was so thankful that we had no melt downs and no touching or climbing.  I could see the security guards tense as we walked into the room.  But not to fear!  My kids behaved.  Hooray!

Our only field trip problem had to do with Harrison Ford.  Yes, Indiana Jones.  He always looks so grungy and grimy in the movies.  Well, he's a potential allergen.  Bee is allergic to Harrison Ford.

He was the lovely narrator on the audio tour.  We ended up with 3 little speakers and the kids had more fun pushing buttons and listening to Indiana Jones take them through the exhibit.  He talked about pyramids, statues, and coffins.  And he made Bee break out in hives along one side of her face.

Something on that dumb little audio guide gave Bee hives.  Was it the cleaning solution?  Was it the dairy-breath of the person who used the guide before us?  I'm blaming Harrison Ford.  Maybe he should stop hunting for Holy Grails, or put down the gun, or get off the airplane, and just take a bath.

Thankfully, a little Cortizone cleared up Bee before things got out of hand.  But I did have to wrestle the audio guide away from her.  No more Harrison Ford!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dairy Free Peppermint Frosting

Peppermint Frosting
This is my favorite frosting for the Christmas season.  I love peppermint and this icing has just enough mint flavor.  It is wonderful on chocolate cupcakes!



2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/8 teaspoon mint extract
2 Tablespoons rice milk
12-16 hard peppermint candies crushed

Blend the shortening.  Add the powdered sugar and mint extract and mix well.  Slowly add in the rice milk until the frosting is the desired consistency.  Fold in the crushed candies.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Allergy Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes
How can you argue with a chocolate cupcake?  These are wonderful with any frosting but we love them with peppermint frosting (recipe to follow tomorrow)!




1 cup packed brown sugar
6 Tablespoons Earth Balance Spread
3 teaspoons egg replacer mixed with 2 Tablespoons rice milk
1 1/4 cup GF flour blend
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup rice milk with 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice stirred in
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Earth Balance Spread and brown sugar.  Add egg replacer.  Whisk together flour blend through salt in a separate bowl.  Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, alternating with rice milk.  Then add vanilla.

Pour into 18 greased muffin cups.  Bake at 350 for 18 minutes or until cupcakes spring back slightly when touched.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out on a wire rack.  Frost when cool.

Here they are with some peppermint frosting........so yummy!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Food Allergies and Church

We have recently been attending a new church and have discovered something very refreshing-a group of people who are very accommodating of our food allergies and have been so gracious to make changes to allow us to attend safely.

Baby Bee is attending AWANA and this is the first time she has been in activity without mom or dad.  Of course, we're still in the building and not far away, but she is able to do an independent activity.

The children's minister in this church approached us one evening when we brought Tiger and Curly for AWANA.  She recognized us from my blog which another mom had forwarded her.  She had read about Bee and felt sure that the church could make some adjustments so that Bee could attend as well.  She was very proactive in talking with me and implemented some immediate changes.  Snack was eliminated from Bee's class and notes were sent home to the parents to ask them to refrain from bringing food into the classroom.

We met with Bee's teachers and explained about her allergies and our action plan.  The lead teacher took notes and posted a sheet with Bee's information in the classroom.  The church also updated their pager system so that Bee could be listed with a pager number.  When she's in her classroom, we carry a pager with us in case we need to be notified of a problem.  

Bee started AWANA the next week.  She hasn't had any problems and she's loving her class.  We feel comfortable leaving her because the staff is informed about her allergies and they are proactive in protecting her.  It is possible to make this work!  All it takes is some proactive people who are understanding, sympathetic, and dedicated to educating themselves about Bee and about food allergies.

However, let's be honest.....each week I'm a little nervous during the entire class time.  Will I never get over the worry?  Probably not.........But Bee sure isn't worried.  She heads into class and waves bye to us.  I don't think she even misses me.  Little independent one!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Allergen-Free Raspberry Swirl Bread

Raspberry Swirl Bread
Here's another breakfast or snack option.  A quick bread with a hint of lemon and raspberry that was a hit with my kiddos.  



1 1/2 cups GF Flour Blend
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Earth Balance Spread
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons egg replacer mixed with 4 Tablespoons rice milk
1 container plain coconut yogurt
raspberry jam

Cream Earth Balance Spread and sugar.  Add lemon zest, vanilla, and egg replacer.  Mix well.  Combine flour through salt in separate bowl.  Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, alternating with yogurt.
Pour half of batter into greased loaf pan.  (I used mini loaves for mine.)  Use about 12 teaspoons of jam (or 3 teaspoons per small loaf pan).  Then spread the other half of the batter on the top.
Bake at 350 for 55 minutes (or 20 minutes for small loaves).  Cool for 10 minutes in pan and then turn out onto wire rack.



You could also add a glaze on the top.

Glaze
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons rice milk

Whisk together and drizzle over top of loaves.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Baby Bee Update

It's time for a Baby Bee Update!
Bee is 2 1/2!  Well, she was on October 11.  And the girl is growing!  We're on the growth chart and tracking up it steadily.  She's even wearing 3T (and some 4T) clothes!

She can almost count to 20.
She knows several of her letters.
She loves to paint.
She speaks in complex sentences.
She has a quirky sense of humor.
She is stubborn......oh so stubborn!
She can throw a mean little tantrum.
She can also throw a mean punch-directed toward her siblings.
She follows her big sister and brother wherever they go.
She loves her big girl bed.
She loves taking care of her babies.
She is a great caretaker and is so compassionate.
She is quick to apologize and give hugs.
I think she might be part monkey-she climbs everything!
She loves to play hide and seek.
She loves to play on the big piano.
She loves to spin and twirl and dance.
She sings everywhere she goes.
She lives up to her middle name..........Joy.


Sweet Baby Bee!  She is growing up!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dairy Free Cream of Chicken Soup

How many recipes call for condensed soup?  We can't have it and it's not a healthy option.  So, we make our own.  This soup recipe would make enough to replace about 2 cans of cream of chicken soup in a recipe.  Or, you could add rice milk or additional chicken broth and eat it as a creamy simple soup-especially if you add some diced chicken.

Cream of Chicken
2 cups chicken broth
2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup celery leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients and bring to boil.  Turn down and cover.  Let simmer for 25-30 minutes.  Pour in blender and liquify.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wild Rice

We can have rice here.  But rice can get old.  Then I thought of wild rice!  Something new, some variety!  We can't have any of the boxed stuff....and really who wants that stuff?  It has some strange ingredients.  So, we made our own!  Yummy!

We used Lundberg Wild Blend Rice.

Wild Rice

1 teaspoon minced onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup rice blend
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance Spread

Cook rice in chicken broth with Earth Balance Spread.  Cover pot and simmer on low for 30 minutes.  Add spices and cook an additional 15 minutes or until rice is soft and fluffy.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bee's New Pastime



Bee has a new favorite pastime...climbing counters to see what everyone is doing.  She has to be in the middle of the action.  She totes around the bathroom step stools to each room so she can get a better view.  The room where I find her the most?  The kitchen!  She has broken several dishes with her new step stool tricks but she is enjoying helping out in meal prep.  And it's a great feeling that she can help with all the meals since they are all safe for her.  The girl's going to have to learn to cook if she wants to eat, so I guess it's never too early to begin!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Compassion

My kids get daily lessons in compassion.  They often have to put Bee's needs before their own, even though I work hard to make life as normal and stress-free as possible for them.  The kids are wonderful at stepping up when Bee is having a reaction and I need their help.  They pitch in and obey without complaint.  They are her best comforts when she doesn't feel well.  Even though I hate that their activities are sometimes interrupted, I know that the compassion they are learning will take them far.

Here's Curly taking care of Bee on a day when Bee isn't feeling well. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing

Here's a recipe from the Gluten Free Goddess.  If you haven't check out her site, you should.  Many of her recipes are easily adaptable for special diets.  This one was perfect for a crisp fall morning.  We don't really get much "crispness" in our fall air down here in Texas, but when I bake with pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg, I can pretend.



Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
7 Tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons egg replacer mixed with 2 Tablespoons milk
3 teaspoons maple syrup
3 Tablespoons rice milk whisked with 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix dry ingredients in blender with wire whisk.  Add shortening and whisk again until mixture is fine and crumbly.  Add in wet ingredients and blend with standard beater briefly until just combined.  Form into a disk about the size of a pie pan.  Cut into 6 slices.  Place on parchment covered cookie sheet.  Brush with rice milk.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  (Or divide batter into 2 smaller disks and cut each into 6 pieces for a total of 12 small scones)
Remove and let cool slightly.

Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon rice milk
pinch of nutmeg

Whisk ingredients together and drizzle over warm scones.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Family Pics

We had some new family pictures done!  Finally!  How Bee has grown.........






Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Potty Train



After several weeks of having a small potty and a roll of toilet paper in my kitchen, we did it!  Bee is potty trained.  Our little stubborn girl finally decided she was done with diapers, and once her mind was made up, she did the rest herself.  Curly and Tiger were great helpers and so were the sticker charts and stuffed animals used for bribery.  We're back to only one in diapers!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Allergy Free Soft Ginger Cookies

Ginger Cookies
And I'm back with more gingerbread things.  I love ginger snaps but my kids hate the crunch.  So these are my chewy ginger snaps.......is there such a thing?
And I usually double this recipe because there are never enough for my crew.
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons molasses
1 1/2 Tablespoons plain applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup gluten free flour mix (4 cups rice flour, 1 1/3 cup potato starch, 2/3 cup tapioca flour)
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Cream shortening and sugar until smooth.  Add brown sugar through vanilla.  Mix well.  
In separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients.  Slowly add flour mixture to wet mixture.  Blend until well combined.
Place dough in fridge for 30 minutes.  Remove and roll dough into small balls.  Roll in sugar and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.  
Bake at 350 for 14 minutes until cookies crack.  Cool on cookie sheets for 10 minutes and then remove to wire racks.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Food Allergies and Forgetfulness

Sometimes I realize that I'm insensitive to others' forgetfulness where food allergies are concerned.  It can rub me the wrong way when someone offers my kids a treat-just after we've had a discussion about the allergies.  Sometimes they catch themselves and sometimes I have to gently remind them that my kids can't have any.  Either way, I'm the bad guy each time.

I never forget about the food allergies.  I can smell goldfish crackers or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from a mile away.  And getting a little off-topic, someone even noticed my abilities at a library story time last month.  My friend mentioned that one of her friends had been to the local story time.  She was feeding her son a PB&J sandwich in the library.  She had overheard another mom asking a friend if that friend also smelled a peanut butter sandwich.  That mom was me.  I began hunting for the child who was eating so I could make sure we stayed far away from his snack.  The mom even heard us leave.  I felt terrible but I can't take chances.  Maybe she'll be more aware about snacks in the future, especially eating in the library, which I thought would be a safe place for us.

The allergies are always at the forefront of my thoughts.  But I'm going to have to be understanding that most of the world lives in the blissdom of not having to worry about every snack food.  Maybe I can learn to be compassionate of their misunderstandings and their forgetfulness.  But talking about the allergies, the constant reminders, does get so tiresome.  Bee is worth it though.

The Little Pixie

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fries in a Bag

Here are some little snacks the kids enjoy.  Allergy-free for Bee and good for when Prince Charming doesn't feel like making homemade fries.  This flavor (Sea Salt) is the only one that is safe for us. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread

I have found a new favorite bread recipe!  My mom emailed me the link from WebMD of a gluten free bread which was originally posted on Foodily.  I finally had the chance to try it out and it is perfect for sandwiches.  The texture is light and chewy which is perfect for my young crew.  The kids gave it a two thumbs up and asked me to make it again.  It made for some awesome cinnamon toast!

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread
2/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup millet flour
1 cup potato starch
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons egg replacer
1 packet of rapid yeast
1 1/4 cups water + plain hemp milk or plain rice milk (I used rice and used 1 cup water with 1/4 cup rice milk)
pinch of sugar
4 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons honey or agave
1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

Proof the yeast and sugar in the warm water/milk.  Add the dry ingredients to the yeast and mix well.  Add olive oil, honey/agave, and lemon juice.  Beat until a smooth batter forms.
Pour into greased bread pan and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.  Bread will sound hollow when done.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto cooling rack.  Slice when cool.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Allergy Free Halloween

So, how do we handle Halloween?  We have to be SO careful, and we provide our own treats.  We decided to go to our church's trunk-or-treat this year.  I contacted the children's minister and we talked about our options.  We decided that I would make a treat bag for each trunk.  That way, the individuals working at each trunk could hand us our own treat bag and know that it was safe and had not been mixed with the other candy.  So, we can dress up, play games, and get candy that I provided.  Yes, we rig Halloween.  We're parents.  Not only are we Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.  We are what?  The ghosts of Halloween candy?  Oh well, it works for us.  The hour I spent making 30 treat bags will pay off!

UNLESS...........we get sick and can't go.  But we did have a great plan! 

Instead, Daddy hid in the house with candy and the kids took glow sticks and searched through the dark to find him.  He scared them good a few times, and they enjoyed their hunt.  Then they sat down and ate a few sweet tarts and went to bed. 

At least we have some good ideas for next year!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dairy Free Pumpkin Buttercream

Dairy Free Pumpkin Buttercream


This icing is perfect for autumn and is wonderful on chocolate or gingerbread cakes or cookies.  This recipe makes enough for 12 cupcakes so be sure to double if you're making a large layer cake or a bigger batch of cupcakes.

1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Cream shortening, pumpkin, and spices.  Slowly add powdered sugar until well blended. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Allergy Free Gingerbread Cupcakes


Gingerbread Cupcakes

Gingerbread is a favorite of mine and I want gingerbread everything in the fall.  So, how about some cupcakes?

1 1/4 cup flour blend (4 cups rice flour, 1 1/3 cup potato starch, 2/3 cup tapioca flour)
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Earth Balance Spread
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molassses
1 1/2 teaspoon egg replacer mixed with 2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup boiling water

Mix dry ingredients well.  In separate bowl, cream the Earth Balance Spread with the sugar and beat until smooth.  Beat in molasses and egg replacer.  In a measuring cup, combine the boiling water and baking soda and mix well.  Add the baking soda/water mixture to the wet ingredients and blend.  Add the flour mixture and blend well.  Pour into 12 greased muffin tins.  Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.

 Curly helped drizzle in the molasses
 Tiger thought the fizzing of the baking soda when combined with the water was better than a science experiment

Ice with your favorite frosting or my Pumpkin Buttercream frosting.......recipe coming soon!

Or, eat them without frosting-they don't even really need it!

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Food Allergy Life

It's nice to know you're not the only one out there and it's so encouraging to read others' creative ideas regarding food allergies and how they cope.  Food allergies is a growing problem, an expensive lifestyle, and can be so isolating for the child or individual with the allergies.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Band Aid Adhesive and Allergy

Note to self:  Band Aid Adhesive isn't always a good thing..........

See the forehead in the picture?  That was from a Band Aid.  It was actually much worse than it looks in the picture.

Apparently, it's not uncommon to be allergic to Band Aids because Band Aids often contain latex.  We've suspected that Bee had a latex allergy and now we're pretty sure that latex causes a problem.  Yet one more thing to add to the list.

So is it the latex or the adhesive?  Either way, no more Band Aids on the face.

It's just too bad that Bee thinks Band Aids are a fashion accessory.  We're going to have to find an alternative...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Allergy Free Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls


 Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
1 package rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup warm water + 1 teaspoon sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup rice milk
1/4 cup Earth Balance Spread melted
1 T sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Filling:
3 T sugar
3 T brown sugar
2 T flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 T Earth Balance Spread

Dissolve yeast in warm water and sugar and let stand 5 minutes.  Add 2 cups flour and next 7 ingredients.  Beat with mixer.  Knead for 10 minutes, adding more flour if necessary.  Place in bowl coated with cooking spray and let rise for 1 hour.  Punch dough down and let rest for 5 minutes.
Make the filling by cutting in the Earth Balance Spread to the other ingredients.
Roll out dough to a 12x10 rectangle.  Sprinkle with filling and roll up starting with long edge.  Pinch seams.  Cut into 12 1-inch slices.



Place in a 9 inch square pan coated with cooking spray.  Let rise for 30 minutes.  Bake at 375 for 18 minutes.  Glaze and then let cool.

Glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 T hot water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Allergy Free Recipes

Here's a site for some quick searches for allergy-free recipes.  It never hurts to have some new ideas!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Our Allergy Kit



We don't leave the house unless we are armed and dangerous-armed with an Epi-pen and, well, dangerous because we might go into anaphylactic shock any second.  Can life be more exciting?!

To stay safe, we bring along our entire kit attached to the diaper bag with a giant carabiner.  It's hot pink and monogrammed so you can't miss it or mistake it's contents.  This pouch goes wherever Bee might go.  Here's what we carry with us:

2 Epi-pens
1 pack of Benadryl Fastmelt Tablets-these are the tablets that dissolve in your mouth-no water needed
Benadryl Cream
Benadryl Gel
Cortizone 10 Cream
Neosporin
List of all allergens
List of emergency contacts-including doctors

Monday, October 24, 2011

Loving your Neighbors

Sometimes it can be so difficult to communicate the challenges of food allergies.  Some people don't understand, a few do understand, and others extend sympathy.  This is a blog post which demonstrates understanding and compassion.  It's well-written and worth a quick read. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

So, I make my own laundry detergent.  Every doctor suggested we "change laundry detergent" to help Bee.  I got so sick of that.  Therefore, I started making my own.  That way I know exactly what is in it.  Plus, it's ridiculously cheaper when compared to the "special" organic detergent we were buying.  This is my favorite recipe so far...........

Laundry Detergent
1/2 bar Ivory Soap finely grated-I use my cheese grater because it's not like I'm going to be grating cheese anytime soon (You could also use 1/3 bar Fels Naptha.  If I ever find that elusive brand I'm going to try it.)
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda - NOT the baking soda  Buy the yellow box, not the orange!

Put the grated soap in with 6 cups of water and melt on low heat.  Do not let this boil!  Why?  Because it will be clumpy and lumpy.  Watch and stir, watch and stir.
Pour 4 cups of hot water in a large bucket (I use a 5 gallon bucket) and then add the soap mixture.  Stir!
Then add 1 gallon of water plus 6 more cups of hot water and stir some more.
Let sit overnight.  Then stir again and pour into containers.  Or you could blend it or mix it.  Whatever works for you.  Have a big funnel ready.
I was impatient and poured mine right into my containers, let it sit overnight, and then shook the containers the next day to mix up the soap.
Now I have perfectly smooth liquid soap and a Baby Bee with some clean clothes.

Actually, I have a huge pile of dirty clothes that I must now go wash.  With as much money as I save on organic detergent, you'd think Prince Charming would hire me a maid.......

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hives

It might not be a good day if the 5-year-old is in charge of the baby and is the one feeding her baby food.

It might not be a good day if the 3-year-old is in charge of the 2-year-old and is putting her in pj's for naptime.

It might not be a good day if I'm sitting down to a bowl of cereal at 1:30 pm.

No, not a good day at all.

What happened, you say?  Well, let me tell you....

We are part of a homeschoool co-op in another town.  Yes, we are weird homeschoolers and we love every minute of it!  Bee is in the nursery with Ladybug because if you're not already 3, you're in the nursery.  This might be ok if there weren't 15 kids in there all under the age of 3, or if every child didn't come with a sippie cup full of milk and a backpack with snacks.  Actually, this very well could be my worst nightmare.

I did notify everyone of the allergies, and I thought most everyone was aware of the serious nature of the allergies.  I was going to bring the snack every week.  I was going to be in the room with Bee.  We would be safe.

Wrong!

The chaos of caring for so many little children all with their own sippie cups and some even eating their own snacks nearly proved disastrous for us that day.  (Not to mention that I was the only nursery worker who showed up that day-tripling the usual chaos as volunteers were found).  Toward the end of class, Bee had a hive on her face.  This quickly turned in to a red ring around her mouth.  Soon her arms were swelling and breaking out in hives.  I gave her the Benadryl and I applied Cortizone.  But it was time for me to leave.  I absolutely had to get home.

There is nothing like rounding up 4 kids from separate rooms with their craft projects and trying to get them to the car.  Thankfully, the kids know the drill for when there's an emergency and they are usually unbelievably cooperative and helpful.  Another mom even helped us load.  I was shaking so hard I could barely drive out of the parking lot toward home.  I really didn't know if I would be able to make it.  I was two towns away from "home" and Prince Charming was in another state.

On our drive Bee started to cough and gag.  Anaphylaxis.  Not good.  I knew there was a fire station in the next town and I called 911 to get directions.  I made it to the fire station and was greeted by paramedics who monitored Bee.  Her oxygen levels were good but she was wheezing.

The paramedics left it up to me to decide if we should transport.  We waited at the station for a little while but I could tell that the swelling was going down and most of the hives had disappeared.  She had also stopped coughing and was acting more like herself.  One of the other moms had actually followed me to make sure we would make it.  There was nothing like having another set of hands to keep track of everyone at the fire station.

The paramedics were waiting to see what I would decide about Bee.  I felt that I could make it safely to the next town, which was home.  We loaded up for the second time and home has never looked so good.

Bee took a bath, ate a snack, and went to bed.  Her rash is gone and her breathing sounds normal once again. 

Ladybug is in bed napping.  I was finally able to enjoy my bowl of cereal.  And Tiger and Curly are in the living room playing.  Tiger is a fireman and Curly is the paramedic.  She is carting baby dolls to the "hospital" with her shopping cart.  Tiger is using his sword as an ax to break in to houses.

I'll cut down the door!  Then I'll use my ladder!  I have my ax!

We're going to the hospital!  We need more oxygen!

Ohhh, goodness.  My children will be scarred for life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Food Allergy Treatment

If there was a potential treatment for food allergies, would you be in a clinical trial?

According to a journal article, some research is being done with white blood cells and peanut protein.  By attaching the protein to white blood cells and putting those cells back in the body, researchers were able to deactivate the allergic reaction because the body recognized the peanut protein as harmless rather than an allergen. 

This could be exciting new research.  But would I ever feel comfortable if my child was one of the "test subjects."  I don't know...........If she could be allergy-free, imagine the possibilities.  But also the risks.........
Praying for a cure!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Daddy's in Charge

Daddy took the kids out the other night and he let Curly dress everyone.  Bee was a willing victim.


Sister Love

Monday, October 17, 2011

Allergy Free French Toast Souffle

French Toast Souffle
A make-ahead breakfast idea.  Genius!  
Bet you didn't know an allergen-free option existed for a breakfast casserole, did you?  And French Toast......yes, you can have some "fake" French Toast even on a restricted diet.  I have been on a mission to find some breakfast options and have discovered a French Toast casserole.  The older kids, who remember French Toast well, were in heaven!

1 loaf of your favorite GF bread cubed - Something light (the beer bread is out for this recipe...)
1 small container plain coconut yogurt (or vanilla rice yogurt-if using this use less vanilla in recipe)
4 T egg replacer mixed with 1/2 cup rice milk and 1/2 cup vanilla hemp milk
1 1/2 cups rice milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Place cubed bread in greased 9 x 13 baking dish.  Mix remaining ingredients together well and pour over cubed bread.  Cover and place in fridge overnight.  (Gluten free bread is a fickle and often crumbly thing, and some soak up moisture more than others.  So, if your dish looks a little dry in the morning, you can add a splash of rice milk poured evenly over the top.  It should look spongy and moist, not soupy.  Got it?)

In morning, set dish out for 30 minutes.  Then bake at 375 for 50 minutes or until set.  I bake mine covered and remove the cover for the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking.  I also sprinkle mine with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon with a dash of nutmeg for that last 10 to 15 minutes of baking time.  Serve with powdered sugar on top. 

Gluten Free Cookbook

Amazon is offering the e-reader version of this gluten free cookbook right now-for free.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Food Allergies and Diet

The food allergy lifestyle is not a diet.  Now don't get me wrong, eating this way can cause you to lose some weight........sometimes we even have to find creative ways to add some fat sources back into our diets.  But what is true with diets-most diets are a choice.  If you choose to follow them, you will see results.  If you choose not to follow your diet, you will see results all right-just not the right kind of results!

This is how the food allergy lifestyle and a diet differ.  The way we eat is not a choice.

There are no cheat days.

Eating everything "in moderation" to satisfy cravings is not an option.

The diet is not short-term until desired results have been achieved.

The lifestyle is usually for life.  It's all day, every day.

Sometimes I feel like others view our lifestyle as a fad diet.  They wonder when we'll fall off the bandwagon and go back to eating "regular" food.  It can be so discouraging when our diet is not taken seriously or when others predict our failure.

I've had doctors tell me that there was no way I could maintain this lifestyle.  They believed avoiding all of Bee's allergens was impossible, not only for her, but for our entire family.  These doctors tried to discourage me from transitioning our entire family to the allergy-free diet.

I've known other families who decided to go gluten free, casein free, or allergy free for reasons such as behavior problems in their children.  For all of these families, the diet change was a "want to" because they believed the diet was healthier or would produce positive behavior or health results for their families.  None of the families that I've met who attempted the diet for reasons other than allergies are still maintaining the diet.  And for families of children who only exhibited small reactions, many of those families don't practice strict avoidance.

So, we're really going this alone sometimes.  Our diet is not a fad for us; we don't get the option of falling off the bandwagon.  And despite what the doctors believed and told me, the diet is possible-not only for Bee but for our entire family.  We have made the change and we have been able to adjust.  We're also reaping the health benefits in that we are rarely sick.  The kids are growing and thriving.

But what matters to me is that Bee is safe.  I don't have to live with constant fear and worry when we're at home.  We can all sit at the table and share meals as a family, and if she reaches over and grabs food off my plate, it doesn't matter.  This is more than a diet; it's my family and it's our life.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Gluten Free Toothpaste

Gluten is a sneaky thing.  It is in everything, from foods to shampoo, to playdoh, to lotion, to makeup, to toothpaste.  You just can't get away from it.

Just another reminder to read the labels for everything! 

We have found 2 types of toothpaste that the kids use without complaint- Animal Parade and Jason.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Allergy Free Applesauce Muffins



Applesauce Muffins
These are so simple and make me think of fall.  The texture is amazing-which for gluten free is sayin' something!  Prince Charming and I both had to take a quick bite before I snapped the picture.  We just couldn't help ourselves!

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp xanthan
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup flour blend (4 cups rice flour, 1 1/3 cup potato starch, 2/3 cup tapioca flour)
2 T millet flour (GF quick oats would be even better, but when you're allergic to oats, you do what you can)
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer mixed with 2 T rice milk
1/2 cup shortening melted (Spectrum shortening)
1 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  Mix wet ingredients well.  Add dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Pour in greased muffin tin.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 375 for 18 minutes.

You could add some grated apple to the recipe but that might make my kids rebel so I'll let you experiment with that.

Makes 12 muffins.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dinner Time

Ladybug recently started solids.  The girl clearly enjoys her food!

We're always watching for a potential reaction, but so far so good.

I think she eats more than the other 3 combined.

 
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