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:)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

P.S. Want granola bars? and more recipes?

I should add to the previous recipe that if you want granola bars, after you pat the granola flat in the cookie sheet (before baking) cut the granola so that when they are soft after baking you can take them out to harden in the fridge. Not that we have any left. Apparently my husband enjoyed the granola enough to eat the entire bag at work yesterday. I'd say his tastes have changed! It can happen!

As soon as I can... I am going to post a bunch of recipes (non dairy (milk and egg), some gluten free, veganish - we do eat organic cage free eggs, and delicious enough for meat eaters!) Seriously, my parents (read father) are soo picky. My dad would generally eat only steak and potatoes if he had the choice, the occasional three pounds of shrimp and crab legs if available. However, I have a stuffed shells recipe that actually ASKED for! For real! With Tofu ricotta. (sacrilegious for us Italians, but what can ya do?!) And the best spring rolls you've ever tasted. My entire family thinks so! I have been asked many times for this recipe, and tried so many spring rolls at every restaurant (we use to go to). Mine are  favorites! I don't like to brag, and everyone has their own taste. but you should try these!

But first, I've got to force the kids to get schoolwork done! or bribe them, whichever works...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Spooky Halloween!! nad Pumpkin granola!!

Ahhh Halloween! In a past life this was my favorite holiday for a few reasons. 1. my mom's birthday (and plenty of witchy jokes to go with that!) 2. I always enjoyed seeing creativity in costumes (my mom made me a spider once, best costume ever!!). and 3. A free pass to eat as much candy as I wanted! (and whatever kind I wanted when I could buy it myself! Trick or Treaters may or may not have been able to taste my favorites which may or may not have been stashed in the freezer or cupboards). And now it's a spooky holiday due to the fact that my children love trick or treating and my son could easily win an ER trip from it!

We've changed a bit in order to not kill our son and keep it a more enjoyable holiday! Last year we carried a bucket and he held a bucket. We took whatever he couldn't touch and traded, if he didn't get something he could have. (I'm not even going to pretend I let the kids eat a ton of candy! it secretly disappeared and went to work with daddy!) Then we traded a few for books and stuff. It was a bit tough due to the fact that he cannot touch chocolate and he didn't EVER want to stop trick or treating (despite daddy's pneumonia and complaining) because he loved the social aspect. This year we are going to a "trunk or treat" that doesn't involve food at all!! yeah!! (although, admittedly very odd for me having grown up in such a food centric family!) and this year we have two bouts of trick or treating to contend with, including one in my hometown. fun, except I don't' trust the ER with a splinter! Prayer and prayer!! I'm hoping "Unck" (my brother) will make the candy disappear and leave a present! But, not holding my breath.

Soooo what will our eating entail the weekend we are gone?? Peanut butter and jelly and kashi hearts I'm guessing. I'm hoping my parents might make a thing of pasta for Saturday, (no meat no dairy) but not counting on that either. It's my mom's 60th. She'd die if she found out people actually knew how old she is (don't tell her, 60s too young to die!). and we have had enough tragedy on our street and family this month. Think we're good.

I'm going to share a granola recipe I made that was fabulous!!!

I melted Earth Balance in a wok (really long story but I need to buy a new saute pan) probably half a cup, added about a quarter cup of honey, dash of salt and cinnamon. Stirred in about 1/4 cup of pumpkin. I stirred in oats (maybe 3 cups- you can guess but make sure they all look wet!) and chopped almonds (half cup), chia seeds (a few tablespoons) and stirred and tried to dry it out. I put it all in a cookie sheet and baked it at 350 for about 20 minutes. it was delicious when it came out, but even better after being broken up and refrigerated!! it made it crispy. Yum!!! great way to sneak stuff in the kids too!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Changes and New Focus!

Since I last wrote we have had some major changes to our lives! We are now vegetarian due to a beef allergy (along with the milk allergy that has skyrocketed in severity) and to my four year old (now 5) realizing where meat comes from and being very upset. Oh, and our third child is SOMETHING!!!!! The baby hasn't sat down in the 16 months we have had him. Needless to say, blogging is not number 1. However, it's time to start again. More changes that I'd like to share in hopes of helping others.

We are on a tight budget. Takes a lot of planning and trading because we also buy only organic. so...

Dairy free, meat free, organic, on a budget! Yikes! (and I have picky children?!) I've done easier things than plan our menus for the week and get my kids to eat!! To be fair, due to allergy restrictions, at the beginning my husband and I ate whatever we wanted and made special things for our oldest. Seems that came back to bite me. and chomps down every night! thankfully, he likes pretty routine stuff. As long as vegetables are froze, fruit isn't cooked, nothing is mixed.... (yeah, so he eats apples and pasta within certain guidelines, oh and potato chips and pickles)

However, I've learned to cook better! Be creative and want to pass that on to others! but, don't read if you don't want to know what you're eating!! I've learned that ignorance is bliss, though not usually healthy.