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:)

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

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