Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dairy Sensitivity and Breastfeeding

Time for a Punkin update!!

Punkin is doing well now.  Why not before?  We think Punkin has a problem with dairyWhy?  We did a little experiment.......

Punkin was a relatively good sleeper, but became horribly fussy every night from about 8 pm to 1 am or even 3 am.  Those were very very long nights!

Now, our house is allergy safe for Bee but I will admit to some late night takeout surprises from Prince Charming.  And, yes, those little snacks did have dairy and gluten and eggs and other bad things!  The evidence is always outside in the trash before morning and all the paper plates and paper towels are thrown out too.  But our little late night date snacks are our little secret.  What better to do while we were staying up with Punkin than watch a movie and eat some cheesy pizza?

After a few weeks of very little sleep, my hubby suggested going completely gluten and dairy free to see if we noticed a change in Punkin.  One week later she went to bed at 11 pm and slept until 5 am.  That was nice!  She did this for several nights.  Coincidence or not?  We decided to try to find out.

I had one day of eating some dairy.  She did fine that night but was fussy the next day.  The evening of that second day she did not go to sleep until after 3 am.  It was the longest and most miserable night for both of us.  That was our little experiment.  Maybe it's not exactly scientific but we feel the results are conclusive enough for us.  Punkin may or may not have an allergy to dairy but it does seem that dairy bothers her if I eat it.  I have since gone completely dairy free again (and I'm still avoiding gluten), and she's going to bed at 11 pm and getting up at 6 am on a consistent basis.  I can handle that!

So, even though doctors tried to convince me that my diet did not bother Bee, I know it did.  And I think I just proved that once again; the mother's diet affects a breastfeeding baby.  I miss our late night snacks but I've just had to bake ourselves some little treats to make up for our lack of take out snacks. 

Now Punkin is doing very well.  She's a very calm, smiling baby who enjoys her sleep!  I enjoy my sleep too!  And now that she sleeps and naps, I have more time to bake!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Allergy Free "Peanut" Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies

I miss peanut butter cookies almost more than anything.  Not more than cheesecake.......but close!  So, I've been so excited to find a peanut butter substitute for Bee since she can't have any nut butters or sunbutter.  We use No Nut Butter which is made with golden peas.

These cookies are soft and taste surprisingly like real peanut butter cookies.  The added chocolate buttercream on top makes me think of Reece's cups.  They are yummy without the chocolate addition, but I think chocolate should be included in dessert whenever possible!

"Peanut" Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies

4 T Earth Balance
4 T unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1  1/2 tsp egg replacer whisked with 2 T rice milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour blend
1/2 tsp xanthan
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Beat together first 5 ingredients until smooth.
Mix in egg replacer mixture and vanilla.
Add in flour blend, xanthan, soda, and salt.  Mix well.
Drop onto parchment lined cookie sheets by rounded teaspoons.
Flatten with fork.  (If the fork sticks to dough, wet fork tines before pressing).
Bake at 375 for 10-11 minutes.
Let cool on cookies sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack.

Chocolate Swirl Icing

6 T shortening (I use Spectrum brand)
2  2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup rice milk (plus a little extra)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Beat the shortening.
Add remaining ingredients.
Mix well until the icing is smooth.
Pipe onto cookies.
(I used a ziploc baggie with a small hole cut in one corner.  I'm really high-tech like that....)

NOTE:  You could probably make these with sunbutter or another safe "butter" but you might need to reduce the salt.  The No Nut Butter does not contain added salt, so I made sure the recipe had enough.  You might stick with 1/4 tsp salt if using a different nut or seed butter.  You'll have to do a taste test!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Guest Post: Eczema

Here's a guest post from a sweet friend that we've met.  Her daughter is friends with Curly and has been diagnosed with multiple allergies.  She also has bad eczema just like Bee.  It's nice to get with other allergy moms, compare notes, encourage one another, and share frustrations.  You can learn more about their family at her blog: School Room of Life

Update on Erica

I haven't blogged a whole lot about Erica and her allergies and eczema and there's a lot of reasons for that.  I will one day blog about her history and the journey we've had up until now, but every time I try to write it all down, I get overwhelmed.  So I'll just start from last year.

In the spring of 2012, we discovered Erica had several food allergies:  peanuts, corn, soy, peas, and oranges.  After removing these things from her diet, her chronic stomach pain went away.  She started to FEEL good again.  And sure enough, anytime she ate something with one of her allergens in it, she'd feel HORRIBLE.  It was great to see such a huge improvement.  However, we saw absolutely no improvement in her eczema.  After switching between this steroid and that for her skin, the allergist finally agreed to try Immunotherapy (allergy injections) with her, as she also tested positive to MANY environmental allergens:  between the tree pollens, mountain cedar, grass, and weeds - there's something pollinating all year long that she's allergic to.  She started them in October 2012.  They said it could take 6 mos to a year to start seeing results.  Three months in and her skin is horrific.  I mean, I've said many times in the past year that her skin is the worst it's ever been, and I feel like her skin is telling me, "oh you think so?  You ain't seen nothin' yet!"  I am SOOO hopeful though, because her skin seems to flare exceptionally the day she gets her injection.  While it is soooo hard to watch her be so miserable right now, I just know that once her immunity is built up from the injections, her skin will clear up.  I just know it.  It got so bad over Christmas, that we decided to put her another round of prednisone.  It always clears her up immediately, but she usually flares worse again after she stops.  And that is exactly what happened.  Not to mention that the steroids have REALLY affected her negatively.  We decided to completely stop ALL steroid use.  We have noticed a HUGE change in her.  Her intense anxiety has vanished.  She is a happy little girl again!  We are so thankful for that!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Allergy Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've been in a cookie baking mood lately and I've been experimenting with oats in my cookie recipes.  If my cookie has oats in it, then I feel like they are slightly healthy.  Less guilt.....So, here's a simple oatmeal cookie recipe that tastes just like grandma's and is really yummy when warm from the oven.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup Earth Balance soy free
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp egg replacer whisked with 4 T rice milk
2 tsp vanilla
1  1/4 cup flour blend
3/4 tsp xanthan
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups quick oats
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars until smooth.
Add egg replacer mixture and beat well.
Add in vanilla.
Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl and then add to wet mixture.
Mix until just blended.
Stir in oats and chocolate chips with spatula.
Drop by teaspoon fulls onto parchment lined cookie sheets.
Bake at 325 for 12 minutes.
Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheets before moving to wire racks.

Linked up with Try a New Recipe Tuesday!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Allergy Free Ginger Applesauce Cake

Here's a simple cake that's not too sweet and smells of fall with the ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon.  It even has oats-which makes it a breakfast cake in my book.

Ginger Applesauce Cake

1/2 cup Earth Balance soy free
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp egg replacer whisked with 4 T rice milk
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1  1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1  1/4 cup gluten free flour blend
3/4 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves

Combine flour through cloves and set aside.
Cream Earth Balance and sugar well.
Add egg replacer mixture on low speed.
Then beat batter for 3-4 minutes on medium speed until it is fluffy and almost doubled.
On medium, slowly pour in maple syrup.
With wooden spoon gently stir in applesauce, alternating with flour mixture.  Stir until just blended.
Pour into greased 9 inch square pan.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Sometimes when I tell people about all our allergies, they wonder what we actually do eat or if we can eat anything at all.  Well, there are things we can eat.  Ladybug will prove it to you!

She's our little "chubby tummy" as the big kids call her.

You will not starve living the allergy free least not at my house!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Allergy Free Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

These might just be my new favorite cookie.  These are chocolately and light and the kids insist they taste like chocolate clouds.  They do just melt in your mouth.  However, do yourself a favor and do not take a deep breath right before you take a bite.  Inhaling the powdered sugar coat is not fun.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

1  3/4 cup sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Earth Balance soy free
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
2  1/4 cup gluten free flour blend
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Mix sugar, applesauce, cocoa, oil, Earth Balance, melted chocolate chips, and vanilla in mixer.
Mix well.
Add flour, xanthan, baking powder, and salt and beat well.
Cover dough and let chill for 3 hours in the fridge or 1 hour in the freezer.
Form chilled dough into small balls.
Roll the dough in the powdered sugar and place on parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Linked with :

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What Does It Mean to Be Allergy Free?

Before we participate in any event, I usually spend my time calling ahead and asking about food at the event.  Goodness knows there won't be any event involving kids without some type of food being served!

Recently, I contacted a local church about a children's program.  I asked about snacks and of course, snacks were served.  I asked what snacks were provided and no one seemed really sure.  Not a good sign.  Then I explained about the allergies and told them why I was calling.  The lady was quick to assure me that the snacks were safe for everyoneThose snacks were allergy free.  She just knew the crackers were ok for anyone with allergies.  She just insisted.  I had yet to tell her what all of our allergies were.  It didn't matter, she just knew those snacks were allergy free though.

So, it got me thinking.  What is allergy free?  When I think of allergy free, I think of foods that are free of the top 8 allergens-dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, shellfish, fish, peanut, and tree nuts.  Those are the most common allergens.  So, when I post an "allergy free" recipe, my recipes are free of the top 8 allergens.  Others consider anything that is free of peanuts to be "allergy free."  The definition varies widely!

But anyone can be allergic to anything.  Take Bee for example.  She's allergic to pineapple and banana and watermelon and sunflower seeds.  Those are not listed in most allergy resources.  Those are not common allergens.  So, while those yummy sunbutter cookies are "allergy free," they are not for everyone.

Curly has a little friend who has many allergies; however, her allergies are almost opposite of Bee's.  While Bee can't have wheat or any flour or grain containing gluten, this little friend avoids all foods with corn.  If you've ever read gluten free labels, you know many of them contain corn flour or corn starch.  Also, Bee can't have soy or dairy.  Therefore, Earth Balance with its soy free margarine product containing pea protein is safe for us.  On the other hand, this little girl cannot have peas or any pea protein.  That makes our dairy and soy free cookies very unsafe for her.

Allergies are as individualized as the people who live with them.  There is no "one size fits all" allergy free food.  We can compare allergy lists all day long, but in the end, most people's lists will not be exactly the same.  It's such a pain!  And it's even more difficult to explain. 

So, do yourself and the rest of us allergy sufferers a favor.  Never assume that just because a food is free of a few allergens that it's safe for everyone.  Never assume that everyone has the same allergy list.  Be on the safe side and always ask!

Monday, January 21, 2013

{Allergy Free} Crockpot Chicken Stew

Here's a good fall soup recipe that can be made in the crockpot!  It's great with chips or cornbread.

Chicken Stew
olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
6 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 (14 1/2 oz) can chopped tomatoes (I put mine in the blender)
chicken broth
1 package boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained

Saute celery through garlic in the olive oil for at least 5 minutes.
Add spices and saute a few more minutes.
Pour into crock pot and add remaining ingredients.  You will need to only add enough chicken broth to cover chicken and other ingredients.
Cook on high 5 hours or on low for up to 8 hours.  Stir occasionally.
Remove chicken and dice and then stir back into soup.

Monday, January 14, 2013

{Allergy Free} Baked Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes

My kids love pancakes.  And those flapjacks are hard to make without eggs!  They are either too mushy, too crumbly, too gummy, or too dry.  Plus, it takes forever to make enough pancakes to go around for my crew.  Instead, I now make the baked pancakes-which is really like a very light and fluffy cake with enough cinnamon to put a cinnamon roll to shame.   

Baked Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes
1 1/2 cups rice milk
4 Tablespoons Earth Balance, melted
3 teaspoons egg replacer whisked with 4 Tablespoons rice milk
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 cups flour blend
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk together wet ingredients.
Add sugar and whisk well.
Stir in flour, xanthan, baking powder, and salt.
Pour into greased jelly roll pan.
Top with cinnamon swirls.

Cinnamon Swirl
4 Tablespoons Earth Balance, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon

Stir together and drizzle over cake or put into ziploc bag, snip one corner, and pipe onto cake before baking.

Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes or until cake springs back when touched.

1 cup powdered sugar

Slowly whisk in milk until powdered sugar is thin enough to drizzle on top of warm pancakes right out of the oven.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Allergy Free Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Here's a wonderful summer time cupcake recipe that tastes like strawberry lemonade.  (Who cares that I made them in January!!  I'm ready for spring!)  They are light and refreshing and taste best when topped with a lemon frosting.

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
1/3 cup plain hemp milk
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 cup pureed strawberries
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour blend
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine hemp milk and vinegar and let sit in large mixing bowl for at least 3 minutes.
Add strawberries through vanilla and stir well.
Add remaining ingredients and stir just until batter is smooth.  Don't over mix.
Pour into greased muffin tins.
Bake at 325 for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean.
Cool completely on wire racks.

Lemon Frosting
1/2 cup Earth Balance
2 cups powdered sugar
zest from 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Beat Earth Balance in mixer.
Slowly add powdered sugar and mix well.  Add lemon juice as needed.
Add in lemon zest and let mix until creamy.
Pipe onto cupcakes.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Allergy Free Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

Here's a fall recipe for pumpkin muffins that are subtle and not too sweet.  This was our favorite breakfast in November.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins
1  1/2 cups flour blend
1  1/2 cups GF oats (I used quick oats but you could use regular rolled oats)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1  1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 can pureed pumpkin
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
3 teaspoons egg replacer whisked with 4 Tablespoons vanilla hemp milk
1/4 cup vanilla hemp milk

Whisk dry ingredients together.
In separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients together well.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.
Spoon into greased muffin tins.
Bake at 375 for 18 minutes.

Makes 18 muffins.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Our New Addition

Well, I've taken an unplanned blogging break.  I have a very good (and very cute reason) as to why.........

Meet our newest addition!!!!

She was born on the 14th of November (3 weeks early) and was 6 lbs 15 oz and 19 3/4 inches long.

Here's our little "Punkin!"

I had some pregnancy complications that came up rather suddenly.  There went my plans for another home birth!  So, I ended up in the hospital twice - once for monitoring and tests and the second time for an induction.  It was absolutely miserable and I had even more complications during delivery.  All in all, it was very unfun but worth it for our cute little bundle.  But boy am I glad it's over!  So, she arrived in time to join us for Thanksgiving!

So, my blogging might be a little sporadic in the upcoming months-at least until I'm getting a little more sleep!
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