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:)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mac and not cheese??

there are a few things I especially miss from our pre nearly vegan (except eggs) days. Pizza (that I didn't make, with cheese, NY style), milkshakes, being able to grab coffee wherever (one of those over priced drinks- but not at Starbucks, we differ on too many views of life!), and macaroni and cheese. not so much craft but the real homemade kind. its been 5 years!!! or maybe 4, point is.... So I found this recipe on Facebook, The No Cheese Mac and cheese from www.ordinaryvegan.net and it looked ok, not awesome. I had no hope, but decided to attempt to create my own, kid friendly (except for my oldest, who did try it, but doesn't eat anything cooked anymore :( )version based off that recipe. It was fabulous for even my husband!! who is serious about his pre vegetarian/no dairy favorites. the baby (who will not eat pasta) even ate two bowls! Score on for mama! Hidden vegetables! However, the lovely lady who wrote the original attempted to make this healthy. While it's better than the dairy kind, I use butter in attempt to get my family to eat it.

Bare with me...

No Cheese mac and Cheese (not even the fake kind!)
1 Box of pasta (I used gluten free, but really, who cares?! use whatever!)
1 head cauliflower
A few cloves of garlic (smash em with a knife, take the skin off, use whatever you like!)
Enough bread slices to make about 1.5-2 cups of crumbs (not we seriously enjoy our toppings and sauces, if it's too much, use less!)
Ground mustard (or regular I suppose)
Black pepper (or white, who's checking? whatever you have is fine!)
Butter (clearly we use vegan Earth Balance, as it's all we can find that we tolerate, but to each his own!)
2ish cups of milk ( we use original rice, but any kind would do, unless it's flavored. the thought of vanilla in this recipe makes me feel a little ill)
flour 2-3Tablespoons (I did use regular organic, NOT gluten free, but I would try gluten free next time)
cook the pasta now or later. If you do it now, you can use the same pot for the sauce!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. I realize that most recipes say 350, 375, However, I never have that kind of time with three little people being crazy! Crazy thing happen when I turn my back!
Cut the cauliflower, the smaller the better, and put it on a cookie sheet in the oven for about 35 minutes, 40 if you've got em!
While that's cooking, put the bread, 1 t of parsley, 1/2 t of salt, and garlic cloves in a food processor (or something similar) and pulse until bread crumbs. Dump out of the processor, no need to even clean it!
I waited (per previous disasters happen ) for the cauliflower to finish cooking (getting lightly browned and soft) before I completed the rest. Once the cauliflower was cooked I put it into the food processor. The woman who wrote the previous recipe had you process until chopped up but not really blended. I processed until nearly like peanut butter figuring that would blend better into a sauce (it did). I did not think of this until this moment, but a handful of spinach might be great too blend in with it!
melt 2 large T of butter in the sauce pan with 2 tablespoons of flour. whisking until thick and bubbly. when it's think add in the milk and ground or regular mustard. nutmeg, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, paprika (any spices your family likes). If you like it spicy add cayenne or crushed red. cook until thick. I ended up adding more flour here because I was afraid the sauce wouldn't thicken. Though, I feared that putting it back in the oven would create lack of sauce, didn't happen. Don't forget to taste! and taste, and taste. Once the sauce tastes good to you mix the pasta in and the blended cauliflower (I seriously forgot this the first time! ), and any other add in should you choose.
Now you have a choice! you can
1. mix the bread crumbs in now (very yummy! by accident bc as mentioned, forgot the cauliflower until I put it in the oven, so had no choice) and dump into a casserole or baking dish.
2. dump everything in a casserole or baking dish and put the bread crumbs on top with extra dots of butter.
bake at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes or lightly browned on top.
cry happy tears as you eat because you finally found something reasonably close to macaroni and cheese!!
more recipes coming soon!