Friday, September 28, 2007

It's My Birthday, I Can Brag if I Want To

Hey, have you all been to Revolution Health? Did you know they just launched a section on Child Food Allergies? And they have guest bloggers? And that I'm one of them? Well, it's true! So go on over there, learn about food allergies, and leave some comments about how my post changed your life, or whatever. Consider it a birthday present to me.

In other news, the first classroom birthday party was held at school the other day, and Katherine reminded Teacher that she needed one of her special snacks from the freezer. She was so proud of herself. Go, Katherine!

Later on at lunchtime when she was cutting up her turkey burger, she shared this tidbit, "Remember, old country people used to cut up their meat."

True, that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Last of the Summer Zucchini

I love zucchini. Alas, it is almost gone. So here are a few fun ways to use it up, most of which freeze well.

From Mary Hunt's Everyday Cheapskate column, here are her recipes for zucchini brownies and zucchini curry soup. I've altered them to be dairy free, of course.

Mary Hunt's Zucchini Brownies (dairy and egg free!)

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated zucchini (Finely grated)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup dairy-free margarine
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup plain soy milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until brownies spring back when touched.

To make the frosting, melt the margarine and stir in 6 tablespoons cocoa. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners’ sugar, soy milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares. Yield: 24 brownies.

Nowheymama note: The brownies look a little weird, consistency wise because they have no egg in them. But they turn out just fine.

Mary Hunt's Zucchini Curry Soup

1 tablespoon dairy-free margarine
1 medium onion, chopped, about 1/2 cup
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 small carrot, shredded
2 medium zucchini, sliced or chopped, about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
2 apples, peeled, diced
4 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, or to taste
salt, to taste

In a large saucepan, melt the dairy-free margarine over low heat. Sauté the onion, garlic and carrot slowly until onion begins to yellow. Add zucchini, diced apples, chicken broth and curry powder. Boil for 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Purée the hot soup by transferring to the blender in small batches. Return to the saucepan and add salt and pepper to taste. Servings: 4 to 6.

Nowheymama note: I might add more apple next time to make the soup even more kid-friendly. But the kids did eat it. Also, I just blended the soup in the pot with my immersion blender.

Have you been to the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle site? I have, and I cannot wait to get this book. (Perhaps for a birthday present....) Anyway, some of the recipes from the book are online, including one for Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies. Just use dairy-free margarine instead of butter and dairy-free chocolate chips, and you are all set!

Finally, the neighbor who gave me my zucchini bread recipe recommended covering the bread with foil for part of the baking time so that the top doesn't dry out. Hope that helps, Mommy Daisy!

The soup, cookies, and bread all freeze well. I haven't tried freezing the brownies yet. If I did, I would probably freeze them unfrosted and frost them after they thawed.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Poetry Friday

"September has come, it is hers
Whose vitality leaps in the autumn,
Whose nature prefers
Trees without leaves and a fire in the fire-place;
So I give her this month and the next
Though the whole of my year should be hers
who has rendered already
So many of its days intolerable or perplexed
But so many more so happy;
Who has left a scent on my life and left my walls
Dancing over and over with her shadow,
Whose hair is twined in all my waterfalls
And all of London littered with remembered
--Louis MacNeice, from Autumn Journal

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Colds and Cookies

We've been celebrating the change in the weather by coming down with the cold + fever that Katherine brought home from school on Thursday. Daddy ran out to the store for supplies this weekend and came home with *gasp!* sugar cereal (or "dessert cereal" as it's known around here) as a special treat. I felt myself coming down with the cold on Sunday, so I dug out a cereal cookie recipe given to me by a lady from our church. Yesterday I pacified the children with the cookies while I lazed around on the couch. Yes, I know they have no nutritional value, but they got us through the day. Don't judge me.

Confetti Cookies

1 package of dairy-free yellow cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water
1 egg
3 cups Fruity Pebbles

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the first four ingredients with a spoon until blended. Stir in the cereal. Drop by the teaspoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

I can envision lots of variations of this recipe with different combinations of cake mixes and cereals.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Potluck Recipes

Thank you all so much for filling my virtual recipe box! I can't wait to start cooking.

Mommy Daisy's Mom's Chili
Alisa's Whole Wheat Bread
Beck's Gypsy Soup (adapted from a Moosewood Cookbook recipe)
Swistle's Soup
My Buddy Mimi's Chicken Pot Pie (adapted from an Alton Brown recipe)
Nowheymama's Aunt Ruth's Stew

If anyone else would like to share a recipe, please let me know and I'll add it to the list.

CAQuincy's "Mock" Roast*
*To make it dairy-free, substitute two packets of Road's End Organics Shiitake Mushroom Gravy Mix, prepared, for the cream of mushroom soup. I think that should work just fine.
Cerebral Palsy Baby's Southwestern Egg Rolls (from AllRecipes)*
* I would either leave out the Monterey Jack cheese or substitute Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese for it. We have trouble finding any other 100% dairy-free cheeses around here, and also Tofutti Cream Cheese is the one kind of dairy-free cheese Scott will eat! Because it is creamier than Monterey Jack, I might cut back the amount from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Internet Potluck

It feels like fall here today, and I don't know about you, but I'm ready for some new recipes to feed my family. So let's have an Internet Potluck! Post a recipe in the comments section, email me one, or put one up on your blog. I'll collect them all later.
Bonus points if it's a dairy-free recipe or one that can be made dairy free. (Hints: if you usually top your casserole with cheese, I can leave it off. If you use butter and milk, I can use dairy-free margarine and soy milk. If your recipe is Pasta Alfredo or Cream of Chicken Sour Cream Potato Casserole, we might have a problem.)

I'll go first. This recipe is from my Aunt Ruth, and I don't know its real name. I made it all the time when I was pregnant with Katherine. In the summer. In Kentucky. Scott is an understanding man.

Aunt Ruth's Stew

Simmer together for two hours:
1/2 head of cabbage, cut in wedges
1 large can plum tomatoes, squished slightly with your fingers
1 large can sauerkraut
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
3-4 peeled and cubed potatoes
4 pork chops*
1 package Polish sausage*
1 package kielbasa*

Serve in bowls. If you really want to carbo pack you can serve it over mashed potatoes, as Ruth does.

* I try to dial down the fat content by using lowfat sausages and boneless pork chops.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Mission and Some News

And so the Monday Missions begin again.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation, lazy list format:
Threw bridal showers
Went to a reunion
Was a Matron of Honor
Went on vacation
Threw a Star Wars birthday party
Plotted Katherine's safe entrance into public school

* I had my 20/21 week ultrasound today. Everything is fine, and... it's a GIRL! Now, on to planning room arrangements and looking at tiny pink clothes....

Friday, September 07, 2007


Nowheymama is happy to present Katherine's first week of school, the semi-condensed version.

August 29: Met with Katherine's teacher, the Kindergarten secretary (our school district has a Kindergarten-only center), and the school district nurse (one nurse for five school buildings spread across town). Was less than pleased when the nurse said, "It's so nice to meet you," and I had to remind her that we've met. And spoken on the phone. Several times. Although Nurse had initially been the most helpful (as compared to Principal, who was absent from the meeting, and Superintendent's office), in this meeting she was obstructionist. She was concerned about the medications (Benadryl, TwinJect, and hydrocortisone) being in the classroom. Teacher wanted them in the classroom and was fine with it.
Nurse: "I just don't want to have to create a new policy for first grade, second grade and so on. I think whatever we do this year should be the policy from now on."
Nowheymama: "Yes, that's why the medication needs to be in the classroom as her doctor stated in his letter, the original copy of which you should have in Katherine's file."
(Don't mess with a protective mama and her raging pregnancy hormones, lady.)
Nurse "introduced" me to FAAN and remarked on how helpful their information is. "This document lists all of the stages of reaction you were just talking about, Mrs. Hatfield!" You don't say. I agreed that they are quite helpful, and hopefully did not express inner sarcasm.
Teacher was totally on my wavelength and was suggesting things before I could. I will go on all field trips. I will help with all classroom parties/activities. I will provide foods for K. to have during birthday parties, etc. Teacher will leave a note taped to her desk detailing K's allergy for any substitute teachers, and Secretary knows the treatment procedures, as does the teacher in the next classroom. Teacher encouraged me to call anytime and assured me she will do the same. I leave the meeting feeling hopeful.

August 30: Katherine and I attend Kindergarten orientation, which has been shortened to 45 minutes from its usual 90-minute length. I give Teacher K's box of meds, turn in the FAAN Food Allergy sheet to Nurse, and get clearance forms from Secretary. The chaos of the event worries me a bit, and I decide to speak with Teacher the next morning before school when I drop off K. Today is also K's sixth birthday. Apparently, we are "redshirting." Who knew? But I say this: her birthday is close to the cutoff date, and I wanted her to have another year to learn about her allergy before we sent her to school. Her understanding has increased so much. She sometimes even double-checks if something has dairy when I give it to her. This breaks my heart, but it also makes me so proud. This is what parents want: independent, free-thinking children who know how to care for themselves.

September 4: Scott and I drop off Katherine for her first day of school. After leaving her in the bus hall, I give the dairy-free snacks and my clearance forms to Secretary. I ask to read the labels on the crackers and pretzels Teacher keeps in her room. Secretary can't find them, so we go find Teacher, who tells me the brands. (They are fine.) Teacher asks what she can give Katherine for a reward instead of M&Ms. We agree on Skittles. I express concern about food on the bus that will take K. home. Secretary says she will call the transportation office. I tell Teacher that there are students from K's preschool in her class, and I worry that their parents might say something is safe for K. when it is not.
Teacher: "They think they understand."
Nowheymama: "Yes."
Teacher: "I will only listen to you."
Teacher reiterates that she will be calling me often, and I say call anytime.
I go home and spend Eli's naptime making a wreath (a wreath!) for the front door because I can't concentrate on anything else.
Katherine comes home on the school bus (We're letting her ride home because it's Kindergarten students only on a "van," otherwise known as a "short bus.") I reiterate the information about her allergy to her bus driver, who replies that he doesn't allow any food on his bus. Period.
Katherine loves school, she had a great time, and they had cookies for a special treat. "All the other kids had a different kind, but I had one of the special ones you sent, Mama. And guess what? I didn't feel itchy at all, all day!" Whew.

September 5, 6, 7: School continues to go well with Katherine eating only the snack I send for her each day. She loves school and wants Daddy to take her "as early as we can go" every morning. Eli is not adjusting so well. He can't wait to greet his sister as she gets off the bus, and was very angry with her the first day of school. As they almost never fight, we were surprised to see him haul off and hit her. I explained to a tearful Katherine that this was his way of saying he missed her and was sad that she left to go to school. He's gotten better each day.

So, the first week of school went well. I hope the rest of the year goes as smoothly.