Why we're here...

The quick version :) We are a family of 7 (plus 5 if you count pets, sadly now 3) living with severe food allergies (thus far dairy and beef, thinking the baby might add some to the list) and as vegetarians (mostly vegan, except pastured eggs occasionally), organically, and I generally attempt to do everything as quickly and easily as possible (think one bowl everything!).


The long version... This journey officially started one Saturday in April (2011) when my husband decided to let me (his very pregnant wife) "sleep in" and took our 18 month old son downstairs. The minute I fell asleep again they came back up, my husband said that Jake seemed tired again and wanted me. Byebye sleeping in. We settled back in bed, Jake on top of me, I dozed for a minute and opened my eyes admiring my boy. He sleepily opened his eyes and threw up all over my face, head, back (no idea how), pillows, you get the idea! To which I said "Change Jake, I'll be in the shower!" At which point my husband admitted "oh I gave him milk". At this point we knew only that he didn't like milk.

When I told his doctor this story in passing at his 18 month appointment she felt that was an unusual reaction and he should be seen by an allergist. Jake had never touched a milk product willingly, but we figured maybe an intolerance or preference. Clearly we were wrong when I brought him to be tested and the doctor said "he's allergic to milk". By the look on his face he did not think I was entertaining when I replied "Oh come on, that's ridiculous". Thus... I had to remove milk from his diet, as well as my own because he was still nursing. Which at first was tough due to my unnatural obsession with ice cream, but there are enough milk substitutes to deal with that. However, later this summer he was still having symptoms. Brought him to get tested once more and found he was allergic to eggs as well (again my "Are you kidding?!" was met with a quiet smile). (2014 Update: he's fine with eggs now, his milk allergy severity has sky rocketed, as well as a new beef allergy. and too many environmental allergies to list! But seriously, who cares if he cannot own a horse!)

Moral of this, I had a lot to change in the cooking department! I attempted to use vegan recipes. Thus, these recipes were born, and further, this website. Apparently allergies are occurring more and more but it is very difficult to find recipes to accommodate. My goal is to help that cause by providing ways to work around that and still eat well (and by well, I mean food that my chicken-wing-addicted-husband-who would-never-eat-anything-that-grows-in-the-ground-if-his- obnoxious-wife-does-not-nag-him-until-he-gives in- will actually eat. (2014 Update-This man has become a near vegan at home for his little man! He's a fabulous father! However, I learned quickly to cook for him!)


2016 update! we now have four children ages 6 to 6 months. Only one has confirmed allergies, but it's looking possible that this may increase by one or two (currently we are just watching and waiting :) Please don't take our peanut butter away!!

2018: We now have 5 children. The oldest is 8, and still seriously allergic to milk, and beef. Youngest is 3 months. and no other confirmed allergies. but the 2 year old can not eat bananas, though sadly she loves them. the baby throws up constantly... but who knows:)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

N.. Ice Cream....Summer preview!

We hit a record high yesterday for February! It was 75 degrees F. and Fantastic!!! Homeschooling is great on days we can play outside! (Well and almost every other day!) So i had a bazillion bananas get ripe because if i buy two they eat them before we get home, if i buy 20..... i throw them away. Anyhow, i got proactive and peeled and froze them before they got really gross. So i made nice cream. pretty run of the mill recipe. nothing exciting. added strawberries and "milk" to frozen bananas yesterday, then little chocolate chips (all dairy free of course!). And today this... i looked online for cake better flavored things and came up with this based on a few.


Cake Batter Nice Cream


5 frozen bananas
vanilla (about a tablespoon)
milk (just enough to blend thick. though a smoothie would be good too, add more!)
melted dairy free butter (1/4 cup)
coconut flour (about 1/4 cup)
sprinkles (optional)
a big spoonful of cashew butter (probably a big tablespoon) (or any butter, or none)
dash of salt

blend everything except sprinkles (if using). i blended the sprinkles.... turned funky brownish and the kids said what am i chewing.... lesson learned. ENJOY! you could always add protein powder or potentially mild vegetables... but i felt like a treat. :) my son's blood work came back exceptionally high for milk and beef (which considering.... isn't a problem. it's just hard to avoid the various forms of milk.)


And now i have nothing for dinner. my husband's idea to save money is to not really grocery shop until we are out of EVERYTHING (like including spices and dried goods, i believe). No one is appreciating the magic i am performing to come up with some special dinners.... of course.... remember the post about getting your kids (or husband) to eat anything... psh... Also, my son told the dance teacher i bought "fake" Irish dance shoes off of Amazon and not the "real ones". So i'm still embarrassed. Which of course, warrants treats (even somewhat healthy ones). What did i do.... Smile :) haha... Moral: teach your kids to lie



Friday, February 16, 2018

New Year New... life! Healthy Mac n Cheese!!!

I am attempting to be more committed to this blog this year. I have so many new ideas and we have been through so much. And I have invented the healthiest, best, allergy free mac n cheese ever.

 No, seriously, all four of my children and my husband, ate it. i practically threw a party. That is why it got its own line. ALL.FOUR.KIDS. For 5 meals (judge if you will! we have a newborn and three nights of dance a week! plus homeschooling)

So we had a new guy in November 11/11, after a very strange (for me) end of pregnancy. He's so sweet and the kids try to maul him (i just told the 2yo three times to stop honking his nose) . It also appears he doesn't like something i eat. cue biased food allergy parent fear.... In case anyone's interested, i apparently was the only person ever to be veganish (still eat pastured free range, local friends when we can, eggs. cant force my husband to give them up, he's given up his entire way of eating) and unable to eat dairy ever at the hospital i gave birth at. i came home after 24 hours plus a few of labor very hungry!

The day after my first fuzzy baby (Tazzy cat) died. Thank you hormones for making that more traumatic!

With so much going on, I was thrilled i had made a big batch of mac and cheese that i had frozen to help us after the baby. I was always slightly jealous of the meal trains that people get after big events. With food allergies, you cannot accept those acts of kindness.

Mac and Cheese

Here's what i do.... my measurements aren't so exact but this is forgiving. My family likes a very saucy mac and cheese, feel free to change amounts if yours does not!

Cook: pasta *( any kind, gluten free, wheat, etc. between 1-3 pounds depending on your family and if you are making to freeze)
set aside


Steam: (or cook somehow until easily blend-able) I use same pot as the pasta, and then blend or puree very well with the rest of the water used to cook! (unless your kids like veggie chunks)

1 large (or 2 small) heads of cauliflower
1 sweet potato
3 any other potatoes
carrots (a handful of baby carrots, or about 3-4 big)
any squash
handful of greens (the big sneak! next time i'm adding broccoli)


Sauce:

Melt butter or oil (about 2-4 tablespoons, or so....)

add flour or thickening starch about 1 T per cup of liquid (i tend to use almost a quart of milk and about 1/4 of flour or potato starch)

stir until bubbles

add: (to taste)
a good bit of salt
a large squirt of mustard
garlic and onion powder (a teaspoon of each)

stir briefly and then slowly add milk of choice. ( i use unsweetened unflavored flax milk, but have used others. I wouldn't use vanilla but...to each his own) whisk until thick.

here i add:

a bunch of nutritional yeast
two packs of whatever cheese you want (i generally use daiya Cheddar block and a shredded mozzarella, or whatever has been in there longest, isn't green and needs to be used)


Add the pureed vegetables, and then fold in pasta until you are happy with the ratios. re-season (you added a lot of vegetables)

At this point you can eat as is or put into a dish and bake it. At the beginning i added buttered bread crumbs and more cheese to fool my kids. As it turns out, they actually eat it anyway. Who knew! Take that sensory issues! 

*would also be good to make this using bite sized cauliflower, or broccoli instead of pasta for grain free and almost no carbs. however, my kids eat all those so i just deal with the pasta as vegetable transportation. 



Friday, June 2, 2017

Get Your Kids to Eat What you Cook!!

Well, what a year...  baby number 5 surprising us (or will be in Oct/nov) , I have not made any headway into spending less on groceries. Or on this blog obviously! But we are recovering from losing a pet, and possibly one more being terminal, my father's cancer (he will be home soon for a bit before surgery. well not my home, 10 hours from here) and many other things.

 I have however, found the key to getting the kids to eat more vegetables, and foods that I cook, in general. Here's the (probably familiar? ) background...

Dinner Time!! What are we having?! I want this! I don't want this! I don't like this! Can you make this?  Me: head spins and I lose it. I decided that I would never again make more than one dinner!!! FREEDOM!!!!! I prewarned the kids. I informed them that dinner is dinner and whatever I make is dinner and they would be expected to try it. If they choose not to eat it, they are able to get a banana, or other fruit, but not a whole other separate meal, and they can get it themselves.

Guess what happened..... For two days they tested... and now they have found out they actually like things they didn't know they did! what?!?!?! My life got much easier!!! The only exceptions are that each of my children has a true dislike for one or two things (lets say that we found out my 6yo lady may possibly vomit on the table when forced to take a bite of sweet potato... um the end...). If I am making something exclusively those truly disliked foods (ie. chili, my 3 almost 4 yo has a reaction no one wants to see with beans.... and since we are vegan, chili is beans!) I will substitute something I decide and something easy. (said almost 4yo loves sweet potatoes and will make that his whole dinner)

And guess what else? They don't complain and aren't so "picky". So pretty much I learned that that was my fault and not theirs. Special... add it to the list. haha....

I also make lunches now primarily vegetable and fruit based and am trying to keep them from as much bread (though we do use Ezekiel which is the best). But seriously, my 6yo daughter would eat toast for every meal if I let her (with Earth Balance butter). So probably missing some nutrients. And, while I didn't mine making breakfast or dinner, lunch was driving me crazy. So  no I have 5 compartment plates that I fill with whatever I feel like and see what happens. The kids think it's fun (they even call them the "cool cool plates") and it's easier than taking 4 lunch orders.


Next up: I have mastered (almost) living in a regular hotel room with the inability to go out to eat bc of allergies. (which by the way, now my current youngest cannot have bananas, that's fun. But bc she's not anaphylactic, we do let others eat them. Important when your husband has braces and he's whining about being hungry :). I will post that soon!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Merry Christmas and Other Holidays!! And vegetables!

My thankfulness on Thanksgiving was a little premature.. Upon further testing, my father does have a slightly serious form of cancer and is getting his first chemo as I type. It is surely time for scientists to start working on why cancer is occurring at the rates it is as well as the cures!! In doing so, I want to start focusing on a healthier plant based diet for my family. Time to invent new recipes with vegetables that my kids will eat!! This is a daunting task, that I sometimes feel tired about. hahaha... But it's what needs to happen! If I could give up most things in a package I would. But I'm not that daring yet! I first want to attempt to invent some type of vegetable based dip or cracker... something picky kid appealing. If I actually find something that 3 of 4 of my kids eat, I will consider it a huge win!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Very Thankful Thanksgiving!! And Menu..

As I sit here and blog.... I am reminded of so many things I am thankful for! My family being first! My dad's tumor is benign! He has to have a major surgery because it needs to be removed and is very large, but still.... It brings to mind others who did not get that same news. My kids are wonderful, sweet and smart (except from about 4:40 to 6 which I lovingly call the not happy hour)
Also as I sit here, I am reminded of why I actually shouldn't be sitting here and that I have so may things to do and far less time than required to do them. hahahaha...

Here's our Menu for tomorrow... (in your head, pretend someone is whining about everything I type)

Lentil/Bean (and secret ground up mushroom- please don't tell my husband) Loaf
Mashed potatoes (and cauliflower- see above, change husband to kids)
gravy (that only my husband will eat)
Stuffing (adults only, I'm sure)
green bean casserole (vegan zed, freshized, and probably just for the adults, and also, my husband will not be thrilled that I could only find cut green beans, hahahaha... cue complaint about chewing with braces)
Rolls (cue everyone cheering and begging to only eat these with butter, me thinking I should have skipped making them. ha)

Desserts:
strawberry shortcake (a two layered white cake with strawberry in the middle and whipped frosting)
pecan pie (kind Arthurs version with no corn syrup)


All of this can be made free of any allergens needed. And it's clearly low carb. hahaha... just one day. although, my son has made comments to suggest I had better get working out (I AM thankful for my kids. right?!). guess who needs a bigger health plan ? me. but not tomorrow.

I do not know when my children who would eat everything and no one could believe it, became so picky that I actually do not want to make them dinners. here's what they sill eat without complaining right now..... potato chips, bread rolls............... toast....the.. end... (and maybe a few more things for the three year old, who otherwise is a crank pot)

I keep telling myself it's a phase..... Oh wait, they also enjoy those vitamins that taste like candy.

But there's so much to be thankful for. And in the very long journey to find out what was wrong with my father, I've learned that, while difficult, it's up to us as individuals to suck the wonderful out of life!! So give thanks everyday!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

life.....

As we move on towards Thanksgiving (a very vegan thanksgiving here!) (and also I didn't realize that American thanksgiving is next week..) there is plenty to be Thankful for. But it's been tough. The blog, and other such things in life, have taken a second place to life. My father was recently diagnosed with cancer (in the past few weeks). As we come to terms with this and what it means, they are 1000 miles away in hopes of receiving the best medical care. We are blessed they can do that. but it's hard to be so far away. And frankly eating has been the last thing on my mind. But thanksgiving is coming....  roasted Root veggies and Brussel sprout?  Mashed potatoes? (k, btw my kids hate these?!?!?) maybe a lentil/bean loaf... I really want a stuffing... we shall see... There is truly always much to be Thankful for. Sometimes we need to look for it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I was going to post about vacation but... Pumpkin Pie Smoothie!!!

We went on vacation! Myrtle beach was wonderful. The ocean is very much my Zen! although we learned a few things... never take anxious kids on a walk when they are tired and it's very dark and they are unfamiliar with the area. Yikes... Also, the baby loved the sand, to eat... which was great, didn't have to feed her as much! Ha! Also, cleaning, cooking and doing laundry is way better on the beach!!

But also, though, I seriously have to thank Cheeseburger in Paradise in Myrtle Beach for making our first time going out to eat in 5 years (with the kids, and I still brought food for the kids) way less anxiety inducing than expected! I told them that I don't eat dairy or meat. They checked with me several times about a few things, they took precautions and had the manager bring out me and my husbands. I really appreciated their attention and consideration! (we were with my parents, hence the cheeseburger :) The very name says ER in paradise to us considering our oldest is allergic to every part of a cheeseburger. But I did not get milk (i'd have been quite ill) and they had a great veggie burger!

So, since then we've done about a thousand things. We love the Buddy Walk that supports Down Syndrome. Our oldest had a birthday, and I've taken over the job of hosting the annual Halloween party for the Food allergy support Group here. YIKES!! Had I known..... So apparently with 4 weeks left it's not so easy to find a place to hold it (not by my choice, it's when I was given the job). So apparently, as much fun as it is to go to, no one wants to volunteer to work at it. It's a 2 hour, food free kids party. One has only to stand at a game and hand out a prize...... Here's hoping there's some high school kids left around with volunteer requirements that are available in 1 week... haha...


K, yum, I invented (though it's probably been done before, but this can be completely allergy free) a pumpkin pie smoothie. I'm off the expensive protein powder that I've not quite used all of. I started to think it does more harm than good. I wanted a quick smoothie and made this wonder...


Chocolate Pumpkin Pie smoothie


1.5 cups of milk (I use unsweetened cashew)
ice
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg
smaller sprinkle of cloves
tablespoon of hemp seeds
maple syrup to taste (start with a teaspoon, maybe none if using sweetened milk)
tablespoon (and a ooops more) of dark chocolate chips
small grab of pecans (optional)

Blend in high speed blender (not sure the chocolate chips will blend otherwise)
Enjoy!!! sooo gooodd! If only I had more pumpkin!