Thursday, May 26, 2011

Strawberry Pancakes

Pancakes are tricky!  They are either too gummy, too dense, too crumbly, too moist, or too dry.  I have never achieved the perfect pancake.  However, these strawberry pancakes were pretty good and the best batch of pancakes we've made so far.

Strawberry Pancakes
2 cups GF flour mix (4 cups brown rice flour, 1 1/3 cup potato starch, 2/3 cup tapioca flour combined)
1/2 cup millet flour
1/4 cup rice flour
3 tsp double acting baking powder 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 T honey
2 1/2 T strawberry applesauce
3 T strawberry puree
3 tsp egg replacer mixed with 4 T rice milk
rice milk

Dice or chop strawberries (fresh or unthawed frozen berries).  Sprinkle with sugar and let sit while you prepare the pancakes.

Heat skillet and spray with cooking spray.  Combine dry ingredients and add wet ingredients.  You will need to adjust the amount of rice milk according to the pancake thickness you are wanting.  Cook pancakes and top with strawberry topping and maple syrup.

Curly commented that these were "just like IHOP" which is pretty high praise since my kids love pancakes and miss the normal pancakes that we used to make on weekends.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

ER Visit

We celebrated our wedding anniversary in April with..............wait for it..............a trip to the ER with Bee!  It is an anniversary we will never forget, and for all the wrong reasons.

This anniversary was reminiscent of Mother's Day last year.  Pineapple in her smoothie gave Bee an all-over rash and she began to have difficulty breathing.  The fire truck and ambulance arrived, and Bee and I headed to the hospital.  The paramedics were wonderful and actually listened to me; the ER doctor did not.  I'm not his biggest fan...........he refused to believe that pineapple caused her reaction and he probably still thinks I'm crazy!  However, allergy tests from our allergist have shown that there is a pineapple allergy going on.  Take that!

So, I guess the ER visits are going to be a holiday tradition; although, I hope this was our last one that we will ever have but that's probably not realistic...........

Here's our story:
Prince Charming bought some dairy alternative rice cheese that actually, unbeknownst to him, contained milk.  If you read through the ingredients, this cheese listed casein as one of them.  However, there was no warning on the back that the cheese contained milk.  It's "dairy alternative" rice cheese right?  Safe!  No!  (more on that later in another post....)

Bee ate a little bit with her lunch on the day of our anniversary.  Daddy came home for lunch and made lunch for everyone while I fed Ladybug.  After she was done, Bee came in to the bedroom and crawled on the bed.  I noticed her face seemed red.  Her face kept getting more rashy so I asked Prince Charming what she was eating.  He told me and I took the bag and read the ingredients.  I immediately realized that the cheese contained casein which is a milk protein.

We quickly gave Bee some medicine and decided to watch her for a while.  She seemed a little better and the rash looked like it had stopped spreading.  Prince Charming went back to work and I decided to keep her with us for the afternoon while we did school.  I was not comfortable putting her down for a nap in her room.  I settled her in a bean bag chair with her blankies and animals so I could keep an eye on her.  As we were reading some books, Bee started coughing.  She coughed several times and then I knew.  She wasn't going to be ok.  Coughing is one of her signs that her airways are starting to constrict.  We had to leave now.

I called Prince Charming and told him the plan.  I was going to head to the fire station to have her oxygen checked and have them listen to her breathing.  Tiger and Curly grabbed their shoes and Bee's shoes while I grabbed the diaper bag and Ladybug.  We were out the door in record time.  In two minutes we were at our fire station.  We rang the bell and the firemen opened the door.  They immediately recognized us as the "allergy family" and let us in while one grabbed his kit.  All the firemen crowded around Bee while they checked her oxygen levels and listened to her breathing.  Her oxygen levels were fine but my fears were confirmed, she was beginning to wheeze.  They recommended that we take her to the ER and offered to call an ambulance.  I decided against the ambulance and chose to take her in myself.

We walked outside to find Prince Charming who loaded us in the van and we followed him to the hospital.  We made the decision to take her to the other hospital in town after our less than satisfactory experience at the hospital the year before.  Bee did well during the ride to the hospital but her breathing was becoming more labored and she was incredibly itchy and her rash began to spread again.

Once we reached the ER I rushed Bee inside and signed her in.  Our allergist told us to always use the words "anaphylactic shock" when we arrive at the ER.  Those are the magic words to get us back right away.  Two seconds later we were called back to triage.  After just a couple minutes in triage, we were taken to a room.  By this time Daddy and the rest of the crew came in.  As soon as we were all in the room we were surrounded by four nurses and one doctor.  They quickly put in an IV line in Bee's arm and started some benadryl and steroids.  Bee did very well with the IV and didn't even cry, and I have to admit the nurse was great and got everything working on the first try.  After Bee's arm was placed in a little splint to keep it straight for the IV line, she began to fuss and her itching was uncontrollable.  I wrapped her in a gown and held her.  We climbed into the hospital bed together and we spent the next several hours like this, watching Kipper on my IPhone and holding her as she would doze intermittently.

As soon as the doctor had decided an IV would be necessary, I sent Daddy home with the little crew so they would not have to watch.  His instructions were to pack a bag for Bee with new jammies, blankies, animals, water bottle, and snacks.  He drove everyone home, found a friend to come stay with the kids, and brought Ladybug back to the hospital with a bag packed for Bee.  We took turns holding Bee and Ladybug until he went home to feed everyone dinner.

After two rounds of Benadryl, two rounds of steroids, and one injection of epinephrine, Bee was beginning to look and act like her normal self.  Her swelling was down, she was no longer wheezing, and she wasn't trying to itch anymore.  Four and a half hours after we were admitted, we were able to take Bee home.  We spent the next week watching her for any signs of a rebound reaction but thankfully there was none.

When you look at Bee you would never think there was anything wrong.  She looks and acts normal, and of course, she is normal-except for those allergies.  We have to always remember that things at our house will be different and we can never be too careful.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Please don't bring food

Some of the difficult things about allergic kids are keeping food away from them-not allowing it in your house and stopping others from feeding it to them.

When Ladybug was born, offers for meals kept on coming.  How do you kindly tell people "No thanks"?  It's so hard to politely refuse the sincere offers to help.  Plus, the help really would be appreciated, especially by tired parents.

We had some options:  We could let them cook for us and bring food by.  Then I would cook a separate meal for Bee.  But I don't feel safe having the food in the house.  And I don't feel right eating "banned" food in front of Bee and not allowing her to have it.

We could let them pick up food from one of the few restaurants where we can eat.  But how do you explain the detailed and ridiculously picky order to them?  That would get lost in translation!

Or we could politely decline.  I hated having to do that!

Then there were a few who were insistent.  They asked for a list of Bee's allergies and were so sweet and determined to cook for us anyway.

Here's why that will rarely work:  Accidents happen, even when I'm cooking, and food can contain allergens or be contaminated.  I would never want anyone else to have that responsibility.

I'm not sure I could trust those who didn't have a working knowledge of food allergies and label reading to prepare food for Bee.  It's so difficult to read labels and understand which brands are safe and which aren't.  I still get confused and would not wish that confusion on someone else.

I would worry about cross-contamination since their kitchen would not be allergy-free.  Our kitchen isn't even perfectly allergy free (late night ice cream for mom and dad does happen here).  Kitchen counters and utensils would have to be thoroughly cleaned before any food preparation. 

Just looking at Bee's list would be too overwhelming because it is so long and the ingredients are unfamiliar and hard to find.  Believe me, I've been there.

I could not think of a single "simple" meal that I could give them or an easy recipe to provide.  With food allergies simple and easy do not exist.  

So we compromised:  If someone wanted to help, they provided a gift card to a restaurant where we could eat.  That way we could place our very strange order and pick up the food ourselves.  And believe it or not, this is really much simpler.

With food allergies it's so hard for others to help and even when they sincerely do want to help, it's impossible to explain how they can.  Yet, I felt I was almost being ungrateful and it was so difficult to turn down their offers.  I miss being normal!  But it's worth it each time Bee smiles....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Baby Bee BBQ

Baby Bee loves BBQ chicken and her Daddy has made her some special BBQ sauce.  Don't even get me started about how many sauces contain one or more of her allergens.  Daddy feels better knowing that our sauce is always safe.
We even use this sauce as our pizza sauce on the BBQ chicken pizza that we make.

Bee's BBQ
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup coconut nectar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp lime juice
3 T coconut aminos (soy sauce)
1/2 T molassas
1 T minced onion
1 tsp onion powder
1 T minced garlic
1 tsp pepper
1 T of your favorite seasoning rub - such as a poultry seasoning or steak rub
Goes great with "rainbow veggies"  
It's all about names and presentation when getting kids to try new foods.
And BBQ chicken pizza was a request of Bee's for her birthday dinner
Can I eat now Mom??
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