Sunday, August 15, 2010

Testing, Testing

Well, Analise's GI specialist gave us the go ahead 2 weeks ago to relax a bit on the rotation diet, and go ahead and VERY SLOWLY reintroduce milk and soy into my diet and see what happens. Well.... I never would have dreamed it, but she seems to be FINE with milk in my diet!!!! I started with just a splash in my egg beaters, and continued with small amounts cooked in, and eventually progressed to 2 servings of milk, a weight watchers fudge bar, and a dinner out without restrictions on butter or cheese at an Italian restaurant, all in the same day! Totally amazed! I am really fearful of trying soy, though, as all her flare ups were linked to some sort of minimal soy introduction. I am thinking a cookie I made with soy milk that is sitting in the freezer as my test for tomorrow. Then probably nothing for 2 days to see. I am anxious to hear when they will allow me to try eggs, and now yogurt and cheese with her directly!

Also this week, is our annual visit and testing with the Allergist. Both girls are going, Alexis took the day off, and BOTH should be getting tested. May the force be with us! Keep checking back for results! Testing is Wednesday, and results take up to 3 weeks to get back. Some of the nut ones even take longer. I am always so hopeful before testing, but my hopes are always dashed. Prayers said, and everything crossed that this time is different. I am praying that we can schedule challenges for Isabel! Keep us in your prayers this week!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Well, Isabel celebrated her birthday this past month with THREE celebrations, and three cakes! For her first kids party, we ordered a vegan pull apart cake from Whole Foods. THey needed 2 weeks notice because the custom vegan cakes come from the "main store" but we were pleased. Since I am still soy free, I was not able to taste it myself, but everyone told me it was wonderful! Isa chose chocolate cake and white frosting, with orange flowers. Nothing over the top in decor, but safe, tastey, cute, and convenient to just pull the cupcakes out!

I made her a chocolate cake of my own. I will post the recipe soon, but I frosted it with a simple tub of Pillsbury white frosting. Tonight, I begin my own cake decorating classes, so hopefully soon I will be able to post a tastey frosting recipe with it!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Moist Vanilla Cake

After MANY attempts, this is the best non-chocolate milk, egg, nut, soy free cake I have come up with! Still perfecting a frosting, but this will likely be the birthday cake of choice for awhile, unless the spice cake I am making this weekend can surpass it!

2c flour
1c sugar
2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2t salt
1 1/2c water
1/2c oil
1T lemon juice
1t vanilla extract

Mix dry ingredients and wet separately and then combine and stir until blended and large lumps are broken up. Batter will remain lumpy. Bake at 350 for 15-18 min. Makes a 9x13, or 24 cupcakes or a combo of regular and mini cupcakes for shorter baking time.

Sweet Couscous

2c couscous
3c water
1 3/4c raisins
boiling water to cover
2T butter equivalent
chopped onion
1/2c chopped dried apricots
2T cinnamon
1/2t tumeric
1t ginger
salt to taste
3T honey
mandarin oranges, or 2 fresh oranges peeled, chopped, and memberanes removed

Pour water on couscous and let sit while prepping
Pour boiling water to cover raisins in bowl. Let sit 15 min, drain and retain water, adding to measure 2c water

Melt butter in pan and saute onion until golden. Add raisins, apricots, spices, honey, and soaking liquid. Cover with steamer full of the couscous. Steam 25-30 min. Transfer to platter and mix with spicy sauce and orange. Serve immediately.

If no allergies, would be good with 1/4c. almonds!

8 servings!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Probiotics

After a little research following a conversation with another mom last week, we started both the girls on probiotics. Isabel has started Culturelle and Analise is on Bio Gaia. It has only been 2 days but they both seem to be tolerating them well. I am still a little concerned about Analise, as the label on hers reads "may contain a trace amount of milk proteins". She is so sensitive to the tiniest slip in my diet. Our GI doc gave us the go ahead and I am curious what our allergist will think about it in August. Isa's is dairy free.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Picante Pollo

Super easy!
1 lb boneless chicken breasts cubed (or throw in an extra 1/2lb)
1 jar chunky salsa
3T brown sugar
1T dijon mustard
1/4-1/2 chopped sweet onion
2T your favorite allergen free butter
1T wine (or sherry or another alcohol)
Optional-
cayenne pepper if you like it spicy- we don't
brown rice to serve it over
cheese if you can and want to- we can't and don't!
tortillas- haven't tried it, but would make great burritos!

carmelize onion with butter and wine. Add to salsa, brown sugar, mustard and chicken and bake in 8x8 baking dish at 400 deg for 20-25 min
Serve over rice, with or without cheese, or in tortillas

Sloppy Joes

A new favorite in our house, and yes, everything I make is "to taste". I am terrible about exact measurements!
Serves 4

1 lb ground meat (we used beef- chicken might be interesting)
Diced onion (1/4 of a large or to taste)
1/2 diced green bell pepper (I was a little short and threw in some yellow pepper too)
3 cloves garlic
3/4c ketchup
2-3t brown sugar (depends how sweet you like it!)
1/2t dry mustard
1t chili powder (or more to taste)
splash of A1 (worcestershire sauce if you can have soy)
1T tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
Rolls

Brown meat and drain. Add salt, pepper, onion and green pepper and cook until soft. Add remaining ingredients. cover and simmer 15 min

I like with a nice soft bun to let the flavors seep in, but would also be good on a toasted kaiser roll with butter.
Pairs nicely with steak fries or kettle chips

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rotation Diet

Our GI specialist has us using a "rotation diet" with Analise now that she is on solids. It is a bit of a challenge, but possible. I will say it is a good thing I don't mind making my own babyfood, since it can be difficult to find individual fruits or veggies. Mixing them isn't a problem, but working them into the rotation is! Basically Analise eats 3x/day, and is not allowed to repeat a food (fruit, veggie, meat, carb, cereal, etc) within that day, or for 5 days thereafter. Obviously meats and cereals are particularly tough and we just do what we can. I have found the meats to not only be more cost effective, but also more palatable for her. I tried pureeing our dinner one night (pork tenderloin) but she wasn't impressed! The hard part is that she likes variety within each meal. We are also still avoiding berries and citrus. Here is what we are using:

Meats:
Chicken
Turkey
Beef
Ham
Veal

Veggies:
Green beans
Wax beans
Peas
Broccoli
Carrots
Sweet Potatoes
White potatoes (in theory haven't bothered with these yet)
Squash
Beets (they suggested this, but I still don't see the nutritional benefit)
Pumpkin
Lima Beans
Spinach
Cauliflower (if I do a medley)

Fruits:
Banana
Avocado
Peaches
Pears
Apples
Plums
Apricots
Mango
Prunes

Cereal:
Rice
Oat
Mulitgrain

Finger foods:
Puffs
Plain Cheerios
Rice
Whole Wheat pasta

I actually have a calendar to plan out her meals each week! I am anxious for her to get beyond the purees already!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Travelling long distances with allergies

We recently returned from a long trip to Puerto Rico with both girls. It was hard work, but we did it without any reactions from either of them and nobody starved! We stayed at a condo and I did most of the cooking for dinners. Lunches were at family's homes or in franchises where I had done my homework ahead of time. The best tip I recieved from a fellow allergy mom, though, was googling the airports we would be in, and searching for their restaurants. Then I searched them directly. Some were great, others not so much. Those in the US had the best info, especially the franchises. Those in the San Juan airport were not as easy. Packing a lunch bag and an icepack helped, since we were traveling all day coming home. I did take advantage of the early boarding to wipe down armrests and trays before the girls started grabbing at them- mostly for the risk of the nut allergies, but our flights were nut free. Any way you look at it, traveling that far with two little ones is exhausting, but at least it was safe too!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Honey Sesame Chicken

2lbs or so chicken (I like boneless skinless breasts)
2 cloves garlic
2T dijon mustard
3T honey
3T sesame seeds
1/2c. beer

Mix marinade and pour over chicken in crockpot and cook all day on low. Or, mix all together in zip loc bag on shopping day, and freeze. Just take the bag out and bake or put in the crockpot the day you plan to have it! I serve over brown rice (white for my fussy hubby), and with a side of broccoli.

Baby Biter Biscuits

This could not be easier! I don't know why you would buy them!

1c baby cereal of your choice
1c flour
1c juice (I use apple)

Mix into a super sticky dough. Roll out or shape and place on cookie sheet. Bake 350 deg for 30 min, or then turn down to 250 and sit for a couple hours until they dry out. Wrap individually, and freeze!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Confirmation

Today we learned that Analise's biopsies showed increased eosinophils, which means that she does indeed have allergic colitis. It is hopeful that she would be outgrowing it now that she is beyond 6 months, and our doctor would like us to continue nursing as long as possible. I don't think Analise would take any special formulas at this point anyhow. We are starting cereal today, and this doctor has a different philosophy. Instead of one new thing each week, he wants us to rotate 3 different cereals, then 3 different fruits/veggies, etc. to not continue over exposing to the same proteins. Completely different philosophy than anyone else I have spoken with, but at this point, worth a try. Rice today, oat tomorrow, Barley on Wed. Let's see what happens. We follow up with him by phone in 2 weeks.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

And we wait...

Today was Analise's proctosigmoidoscopy. She did INCREDIBLE!!!! It was so odd. There I am trying to occupy her in my lap for over an hour and she is just playing and laughing and having a blast with herself. She was happy to go into surgery with the nurse (is this the same kid that has been having all the separation issues?) and when I picked her up in recovery, she was being held quietly with the nurse. What a champ!

Dr. F said that the tissue looked very healthy and he made it through the descending colon. He took a lot of biopsies, and we don't know anything until we get those results next week. Meanwhile, she is happy and in no pain. Tonight is our first night in many months without Prevacid or Tagamet. Keeping our fingers crossed!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Beef Stew

This is the best beef stew I've ever made. I adapted it from a recipe on allrecipes.com

2lbs cubed stew meat
1/3 c flour
1/2t salt
1/2t ground black pepper
1-2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1t paprika
1t worcestershire sauce (if this is allowed on your allergy diet- I substituted with A1)
chopped onion to taste
2 c. (or more) beef broth (read the label if avoiding soy!)
3 cubed potatoes
sliced carrots to taste
celery if you like (I don't)

Dredge beef in flour, salt, and pepper and pan fry in olive oil
Add to crockpot
Add butter and onion to pan until onion is soft
Deglaze pan with broth
Add to crockpot with herbs and remaining ingredients
Cook all day on low.
You can thicken with cornstarch if desired.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Changing GI specialists

Today we switched specialists for Analise. Good move. This doctor was great at taking the time to sit down and talk, answer questions, explain things, and actually do a physical exam. To summarize, he did confirm that she is bleeding and wants to do a procedure (sigmoidoscopy) to confirm allergic colitis, as opposed to something else causing the bleeding. She has a hemangioma very low on her back, and apparently it is not uncommon for babies with these to have them internally as well. No changes for now, and we will continue to delay solids until we get the results of the biopsy from this test.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Isabel's appointment

Isabel had her regular allergist appointment today. It turned into breathing treatments and steroids! No changes to her diet, and she returns in August with her sister for her first appointment! Both will be tested at that time.

On the down side, Analise is still intermittently crabby and intermittently bleeding. My accidental soy ingestion was on Feb 17, so I called the GI specialist. It really should be out of my system by now. Back to eliminating soy lecithin. Hopefully that works, because I would hate to take soybean oil out again, especially with our vacation coming up to Puerto Rico.

Today's lesson: always second guess everything. Picked up Isabel's prescription and it was for prednisone four times a day. I could have sworn she said only two times. After calling the pharmacist, nurse line, and having the pedi paged, she is only taking it ONCE a day! Never fear asking!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Sweet Potatoes

Yum! This is Alexis's favorite! It is enough for a couple dinners, or a larger dinner party. This is from the Food Allergy News Holiday Cookbook.

1t salt
1/2t cinnamon
1/2t cardamom
1/4t black pepper
3 1/2 c sweet potato in 1" cubes
4t olive oil
2- 3/4lb pork tenderloins
3 large Granny Smith apples peeled and wedged.

Preheat oven to 500, and coat large pan with spray.
In small bowl, combine salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and pepper.
In large bowl, combine sweet pot., 1t spice mixture, and 3t oil. Toss well.
trim pfat from pork and drizzle remaining t oil over pork with remaining spices rubbed in.
Place sweet potato mixture on pan and bake 10 min.
Add pork and apples, bake 10 min.
Turn potato, apples, and pork- bake 10 min.
Turn again, and bake another 10 min.

Honey Apple Pancakes

I adopted this recipe from The Food Allergy News Cookbook.
1 1/4c four
2t baking powder
1/4t salt
1/8t apple pie spice (or nutmeg, cinnamon, or your choice)
1/8t baking soda
1/4t cinnamon
3/4c apple juice
2T honey
1T oil
1 1/2T water, 1 1/2T oil, and 1t baking powder; mixed together (equivalent of 1 egg)
1 apple finely chopped

Mix dry ingred in med bowl. Combine wet ingred. in small bowl and add at once to dry ingred and mix until blended, but still lumpy. Let rest 2-3 min.

Makes abotu 8 4" pancakes, or plenty for all of us as dinner during Lent!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Homemade breadcrumbs

This is so painfully easy I don't know why I have never done it. Great if you are working on an allergy diet, if you forgot to buy them at the store, or if you just like your own seasoning better.

I save the ends, or near end pieces of our "safe" breads and throw them in the freezer. It is best not to use stale bread or your breadcrumbs will taste stale (or so I am told). When ready to make breadcrumbs, use fresh or thawed bread, and place in 250-300 degree oven until bread is dried out-40-60min. Then put them in your food processor, and DONE! Add your favorite seasonings. I add garlic powder, basil, oregano, or sometimes parsley. They keep well in a sealed freezer bag!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

cleaning solutions

Here are my new favorite cleaning solutions- taken from various green websites, blogs, and mommy websites. They are pretty common, as I found them in multiple places.

50/50 vinegar and water
Lavendar oil added for fragrance, or
Tea tree oil added as a disinfectant and mold killer

2c hot water
1/2t washing soda
tiny bit of castille soap (I bought lavendar scented)

Vinegar in the Downy ball as a fabric softener. I tried adding lavendar essential oil as well, but while it made my laundry room and kitchen smell incredible, my towels smelled no different.

Glass cleaner
2c. water
1/3 c. vinegar
1t castille soap

Waiting to try the furniture polish and laundry detergent recipes

Monday, February 22, 2010

Americans with Disabilities Act

Individuals with food allergies are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act
http://www.ada.gov/
We are using this as our resource in finding a safe environment for Isabel's preschool.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Easiest Waffles Ever!

2 c. baking mix (Bisquick)
2T oil
12oz ginger ale

Mix the above and let sit 5 min. Pour into iron and cook according to your iron's instructions. For me, it was just under 1c. for one belgian waffle and 6 min cooking time.

And, no, they don't taste like ginger ale! Quite yummy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Picante Pollo

4 boneless chicken breasts- in chunks or strips
1 jar favorite salsa
3T brown sugar
1T dijon mustard
1 onion (I used Mayan, can use Red- I diced, can use sliced)
2T butter/margarine or equivalent
1T sherry or another alcohol (I only had white wine on hand, and it worked)
1t cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
rice to serve over (I did brown, white works as well)

Mix salsa, brown sugar, mustard, and chicken chunks in bowl.

Carmelize onion with butter, sherry, and cayenne. Add to chicken mixutre
Pour in 8x8 baking dish and bake at 400 for 20-25 min.
If you are good with dairy, top with cheese of your choice.
Also good for burrito shells- read labels!

Italian Drip Beef

Many of the seasonings for beef have soy lecithin, which Analise is sensitive too, but we really liked this recipe. I originally took it from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

1 whole Beef Chuck Roast (3-4lbs)
1 can beef consomme (or beef broth)
3T Italian seasoning (yes, good Seasons Italian Dressing Packets work)
1t salt
1/4c water
8oz pepperoncini peppers with juice
deli rolls (read ingredients)

Mix everything together and put in crockpot. Mine was done in 8hrs, using frozen beef. You can also make in dutch oven for 1/2 a day. Serve on deli rolls- fresh or toasted, dip in drippings.

Chocolate brownies

I made minor changes to this recipe from Allrecipes

2c flour
2c sugar
3/4c unsweetened cocoa powder
1t baking powder
1t salt
1c water
3/4c spectrum shortening
1t vanilla

350 degrees,

Mix dry ingredients. Pour in water, vanilla, and spectrum.

Spectrum is a palm oil shortening, found in all major grocery stores. You can substitute vegetable oil, but it seems a bit greasy/oily for my taste.

Bake 25-30 min until tops are no longer shiny. Cool at least 10 min before cutting. These are soft brownies.

Getting Started

I have finally decided to blog our allergy experiences. It occurs to me I should have started this two years ago when Isabel was first diagnosed. At 2 1/2, she is allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts, and treenuts, as well as a couple medications. We are also avoiding all fish preventatively with her. Now we have Analise, currently 4mo old, and showing signs of allergies to milk and soy at this time. Fortunately, we figured her issues out at 11days, instead of 9months with Isabel.

How did we know they were allergic? That is a question I get often. With Isabel, I was still nursing, and she was getting full body hives. I logged everything she ate and her symptoms, but nothing matched up. Then, we figured out that it was what I was eating. Since it takes at least 2 weeks for allergens to get out of mom's system, and an additional 2weeks to get them out of baby's system, we never would have known. She was tested, and continues to be tested every 9 months or so. We pray she outgrows them.

Analise was obvious to mom in that she was more than just colicky. She was in obvious pain, screaming, arching, and curling. I went on a very strict elimination diet (initially no milk, egg, soy, nuts, fish, tropical fruits, or chocolate). We are down to no milk, eggs, nuts, or fish and she is doing well. When something accidentally gets into my diet, the screaming returns, as do the bloody diapers.

I hope to blog our journey as they outgrow these allergies (thinking positive!) as well as some great recipes for everyone. I have had calls from friends and family on what to make for Isabel, or what to bring in to their child's school, when a friend or classmate has allergies. It isn't that hard, it is knowing that is the hard part.

Finally, the best resource out there is the Food Allergy and Analphylaxis Network www.foodallergy.org

I hope this blog helps others on this journey, and helps in the understanding of food allergies.