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, September 7, 2016

Allergies on Vacation.. and paleo muffins...

Ahh vacation..! A time to relax, smell the salty sea air, lay in the warm sand letting the sun's ray wash over you, taking a cool dip in the ocean or pool when you get too hot. Cleaning up for the day and going to a nice relaxing dinner, lounging in the hot tub at night...

BAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Just kidding! I have kids. And kids with allergies. so pretty much vacation is being home, at the beach, except not in your own zone. I cook, I do laundry, and I freak out when the baby crawls on the floor of the hotel, and wonder how much sand is a serving. But, it's nice to see the water as I run by or from the pool deck because someone doesn't want to touch sand. However, the beach is my Zen and it's been a very long time. We do always get a condo because we do not chance restaurants. This is hard for me, I'm use to vacation including being waited on and not doing all the work! But, for the kids, we do anything we need to eh? Not to mention, now that we are veganish AND have to be 100% dairy free, it's easier to make everything myself. Although, I also must bring half my kitchen because it's not safe to use stuff others have used. ya hoo. So, I generally make a huge batch of muffins for breakfasts and snacks. Makes at least one meal easy.

Paleo muffins. What is Paleo? Big trend, however, I'm not that into it. For one, not eating animal products makes it's tough. Two, I'm not great at history but I'm about 100% positive our "paleo" ancestors did NOT use coconut flour, and butter. No? But here's a muffin recipe anyway. Low carb, good fat. Some allergies free. It's neigh impossible to exclude every allergy, but substitutes could be made. I'll warn, these are best eaten with a fork. Oh and to further warn.... my husband loved these but I got this text (my favorite EVER)... "what was in those muffins, I barely made it to work?!" and lets just say, he's never had a GI concern in his life. Which makes one wonder how my 2yo ate about 6?!

                                                     Paleo Blueberry Muffins (what's a paleo?)

preheat oven to 425 F.

cream 1/2 c. butter (earth balance, or probably any)
1 c. coconut sugar

2 c. almond flour
1 c. oats
1/2 t salt
1/2 c ground flax
1/4 c hemp seeds
1t baking powder

mix in 2/3 c canned coconut milk (or other)
squeeze of lemon

fold in 1 c. blueberries

bake for 15-22 minutes. start checking at 15.

P.S. enjoy! I will not be making these for the car!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Motivation and rambling

My motivation to work out and lose the stubborn baby weight from my fourth child (which is apparently the only one I'm actually going to have to work to lose-but don't ask my mother, she will remind you that I never got back to what I was when I got married! FIFTEEN years ago, before life when I actually had time to do anything I wanted, plus could apparently eat most anything I wanted without too much of a problem. so I both worked out and had a metabolism and no kids. thanks mom) comes from my daughter who is five. I am not sure what God was thinking when he created 5 year old girls, but I think he added in sass a little too soon. I am truly starting to rethink our motivations behind teaching our children that honesty is best. At any rate, I bought myself a new mom bathing suit (that I truly hope I won't wear forever!) and was feeling... not gooood per say, but somewhat tucked in. My sweet girl says "well, you look okkkaaaaayyyy. but just not great." Thanks honey. I suppressed the urge to snap back about it starting with her (after my oldest I lost the pregnancy weight plus 20, probably because he cried all the time and I was CONSTANTLY bouncing. thanks unknown allergies. lost most after the 2nd and 3rd. But the struggle is serious now!) At any rate, I don't believe in hitting children, lucky for her. Though I may have given her my best squinty eyes, as I debated how to slide in the pool without anyone seeing me at swimming lessons. I am now motivated to not eat sugar or junk food. :) yay her. hahaha...

Or, I could just think of my son who woke us up this morning by randomly vomiting on himself. the heck is that?! who invented this stuff?

So, I suppose, after losing a favorite pet, we have a big hole in our family, but are getting back to our crazy version of normal. We went mini golfing and no one got injured. And we only lost one or two balls. If you see me mini golfing, please don't ask why my pockets are full of balls. Now you know.

Spent the weekend eating different versions of the spring roll no rolls. Great for the budget! Which for my husband included mayonnaise (is vegan except for helmanns a new term? cause he has a problem. and quite honestly, I've tried all other versions. He was annoyed with me this morning because there are 5 kinds of mayo in the fridge. every other one we have tried has the same weird taste that helmanns probably hides with some nasty chemical) and a tortilla and some version of condiments. Which, technically, is a roll.

I'm also getting use to matcha, but I'm not magically in love like people seem to be. I got a free sample from Viva Naturals, for an honest review, and honestly, it's so sour and bitter I was surprised. Where's the fairies and the sparkles I hear about? I throw it with unsweetened almond milk, ice, vanilla and a touch of sugar and it makes a tasty afternoon treat. I have decided to quite protein powder because I have come to finally figure out that it's the protein powder making my face break out. No idea why.

Anyway, I am suppose to be getting ready for our much needed vacation to the beach Friday. or at the very least, watching my children. Clearly neither are happening. But I needed a break. All my kids want banana muffins and bananas are outlawed until after vacation when the baby has a new doctor. and we are close to a hospital we know. ha. gotta love allergies!!

PS muffin recipe coming soon

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Spirunlina?! and Cheap Groceries... And a new recipe!

So before I start the discussion about the supposed superfood Spirulina, I'd like to take you on the journey of grocery shopping affordably and organically. Done.... that's it. I don't know how. Our grocery bill has been quite honestly more than our house payment by plenty and we cannot afford it. So I'm beginning to delve deeper into the world of budget cutting and cheaper food. We can do this together! I started by deciding that avocados, while a extremely healthy favorite of many in this family, are too expensive for regular consumption, and have been (very sadly) demoted to treat food. We also are using far less plant based milk, which cuts down, but mainly because my children will only drink the full sugar junk. We try not to do tons of sugar, but i'm not convinced they get enough calcium, B12 and other stuff based on the level of picky. I'm continuing to work on cutting down by leaving out processed foods (though the occasional Gardein nuggets pop in). We each so much produce (I'm literally not kidding when I tell you that we only allow our oldest 3 apples a day) that it's hard to cut down more (bananas were a cheaper staple but our youngest may be allergic), but I need to find more ways. I'm going to try to cut our groceries by 1/3 at least.

Tonight's dinner is what I just invented called Spring Rolls no Rolls. I make incredible spring rolls, but here's the difference. Leaving off the "wrapper" saves calories (carbs and fat from the oil from frying or baking) and money! Oh yeah, and the time rolling all those rolls! I'm hoping the kids are fooled (even though I've already been told that my daughter only likes the roll part-she may be hungry!)

Spring Rolls no Roll
feeds about 6-8

shredded cabbage (I use a mix of green and purple) 2 small cabbages
6 shredded carrots
Kale/spinach/broccoli etc (ground up so that your kids don't know what they are)
garlic or onions (ground, see above)
anything else that you want to hide

dipping sauce (adult version)
1 cup seasoned rice vinegar heated for 20 seconds with minced garlic and crushed red pepper (to taste)
mix in about a tablespoon of soy sauce or alternative
scallions if desired

Normally I stir fry these vegetables with a bit of coconut oil. then sprinkle with turmeric and a grind of black pepper to increase the healing strength of turmeric. I sprinkle a bit of seasoned rice vinegar also. then I usually wrap it in the wrappers and either fry them in a coconut/olive oil combo, or brush them with oil and bake them (a much healthier though not as crispy version). Tonight, I am forgoing the rolls (and probably my children eating). Possibly adding bok choy and rice.

WHO decided spirulina is something to eat?! Yikes! I got a free sample from viva foods in a review group. Goodness... It took me 3 days to get it opened without the smell making me ill. (and I use to LOVE seafood before we became vegetarian/veganish). Yikes, then I had to make a smoothie that I thought may have the fortitude to hide it. I have not yet noticed any magical happenings, but I appreciate it's nutritional value. Maybe i'll sprinkle it in the Spring rolls :) ha