Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Anecdotal Evidence


Thank you so much for all of your birth stories! I love a good baby story. Here's a new one!

Baby Peanut is weighing in at 4 lbs 10 oz here in week 32/33. We'll be keeping an eye on her size, and I am not allowed to travel during the holidays, as I suspected.

Also, if you are, say, 22 months old and want to freak out your mother, wake up from your nap with your inner ear bleeding. Ear infections are wicked gross, and mommy's facial expressions are so funny! You will have to go to the doctor and get ear drops, though.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Thank you all so much for your awesome cleaning tips. I especially liked Hipwritermama's idea: "Leave out some disinfecting wipes and place them in wastebaskets so the rooms smell clean." Genius!

Thanksgiving went very well and we had a lovely time with both sides of our family. The only glitch was my pie making. I baked them the day before, in the midst of cleaning and organizing, which may have been a mistake. The first pumpkin pie burned because, although I remembered to reset the timer, I forgot to turn the temperature down from 450 to 350 after 15 minutes. I hurried up and made a second one, but in all of the confusion of people coming in and out of the kitchen during dinnertime, the oven got turned off while the second pie was still baking. We turned it back on and it turned out all right. Clearly I didn't learn to stop while I was behind because after everyone left, I tried to make a pecan pie for the first time while Scott brined the turkeys. (Spellcheck suggests I use "brained" or "bribed" instead of "brined.") The recipe practically yells at you not to let the pie overbake and to take it out while the middle is still a little jiggly, which we did. Unfortunately, it was still jiggly the next day at Thanksgiving dinner. I had made the dairy-free pecan pie for Katherine since she can't eat her grandmother's pecan pies, so Scott and I kept the unappealing, oozing pie down at our end of the table. Not surprisingly, K. decided not to try it. At least the pumpkin bars turned out well. (I frosted them with dairy-free frosting.)

Here's the pumpkin pie recipe. It is a lovely pie when you follow the directions. No photo, for obvious reasons.

Pumpkin Pie from A Vegetarian Harvest

1 15-ounce can of pumpkin
2 eggs, beaten
12 ounces of soymilk (I use vanilla.)
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sugar
prebaked graham cracker pie crust

Preheat the oven to 45o degrees. Mix together the ingredients. Pour them into the crust. Bake 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 50 minutes.

There is no school today because it is the first day of antlered deer season for rifle hunters, affectionately known as "the first day of buck." The kids are snacking on the last of the candy corn while coloring snowflakes and snowmen to hang from the dining room chandelier. I'm digging out some of the Christmas decorations and taking advantage of some online sales in between catching up on blogs. Happy first day of buck to you all!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cleaning...or Not

It's time to fess up: what awesome pre-holiday, pre-guest cleaning tips do you have to share with a very pregnant person who inherited the chaos gene? I'm not talking about FlyL@dy shiny sinks or passive-aggressive-Martha-advice. I'm talking dim the lights and light some candles survival.

I'm talking about this:
"I glanced involuntarily at the heap of ashes in the grate, but she saw them as no obstacle at all. From a scratched oak box beside the hearth, she produced three firelighters and a handful of sticks. These went on top of the ashes, which got only a desultory poke. She struck a match, lit the firelighters, and made a wigwam of coal. The new fire flared up good-temperedly on the body of the old while Madge took the hearth brush and swept a few cinders out of sight behind a pile of logs.
Fascinated, I watched her continue with her housework. She drifted across to the dead flowers, opened the window, and threw them out. She emptied the water from the vase after them, then put it back on the windowsill and shut the window.
From behind the sofa... she pulled out a large brown cardboard box.... [O]n the inside it was half filled with the same sort of jumble which was lying around the room. She wafted methodically around in a large circle, taking everything up and throwing it just as it was into the box, a process which took approximately three minutes. She then pushed the box out of sight again behind the sofa and plumped up the seat cushions of two armchairs on her way back to the door. The room, tidy and with the brightly blazing fire, looked staggeringly different. The cobwebs were still there but one felt it might be their turn tomorrow. [Her son] was right. Ma had got the time-and-motion kick completely buttoned up, and what did it matter if the motive was laziness?"
--Dick Francis, Forfeit

Go! Meanwhile, I guess I'll get off the computer and start. *Sigh.*

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Holiday Dinner Tips

In case you are going to someone else's house for Thanksgiving and are not hosting it like a crazy person, and/or if you have other festive events on the horizon, here are some food allergy hints and tips we've come up with over the years.

For any kind of everybody-bring-a-dish event, bring dessert. Kids are less likely to mind if their veggies don't match everyone else's, but if they are eating a stale granola bar from the bottom of your purse while everyone else feasts on pie, things are going to get ugly. I usually bring something in individual servings, like cookies or cupcakes. That way, there is no fear of the server from a cream pie being used to serve the dairy-free pie. As an added precaution, I put a plate of cookies/cupcakes out for everyone but keep a baggie full of them in my bag. No cross contamination, and this prevents the cookies from being eaten by everyone else first. (This really did happen to us one Thanksgiving, even though I told everyone that they were the dairy-free Katherine cookies and the only dessert she could eat. Fool me once....)

We often bring rolls as well because Katherine loves bread and has a hard time watching everyone else eat it in front of her. Cranberry sauce makes an excellent dairy-free spread. If we don't bring rolls for everyone, I pack a few dairy-free ones just for her.

I also pack a potato. If there are facilities for me to cook it in, I pack it raw. If not, I microwave it at our house and throw it into a baggie. By the time we reach our destination, the potato is cool enough to eat. Also, steaming in the baggie makes for easy skin removal. You can then cut it up or mash it up and season it with salt and pepper.

There are usually enough fruits and veggies that are dairy free (get to the relish tray early!), along with the cranberry sauce and jello salads (as long as they don't have cream cheese, of course). Check to make sure the turkey hasn't been basted with butter. Otherwise, it's usually fine. When I don't know much about the foods being served, I will pack some precooked chicken or turkey and canned green beans as well as the bread, potato, and dessert.

If this is an immediate family event, you can usually check with everyone ahead of time about what they're bringing and what the ingredients are. Some people are happy to alter recipes, and some are not. I choose not to push the issue and just bring lots of our own food. This is each parent's personal choice. If someone is interested in substituting dairy-free margarine for butter, I am happy to give them safe brand names. If great-grandma's stuffing has always been made with butter and American cheese and we are by god not changing that for anyone, fine.

As we all know, food can be a very emotional topic for people, especially at holiday time. Also, cooking dairy free (or gluten free, or nut free, or egg free, etc.) can be very intimidating. And, as many of us were taught that asking "What's in this?" is rude, it can be hard for people not to take offense. I really, really try to be understanding. I am so appreciative when people try to make things Katherine can eat, and I try so very hard to remember it is nothing personal when they don't. The flip side of this is that I hope they remember that we are talking about a six-year-old child. So I hope they aren't offended when she doesn't like the dairy-free dishes they so carefully made for her.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Raspberry Salad

Here's my friend Tracy's raspberry salad recipe. Sorry there's no photo, but I wanted to go ahead and post it for those who might be interested. This is going to be a part of our dairy-free Thanksgiving.

Raspberry Salad

approximately 35 ounces of applesauce*
2 small or one large package of raspberry Jello
16-20 ounces of frozen raspberries

Set the raspberries out to thaw a bit while you heat the applesauce until it starts to boil. Stir in the Jello. Stir in the raspberries. Pour into a 9x9 dish or a Jello mold. Refrigerate until set.

*Tracy usually buys a large (50 oz.) jar of applesauce and measures out the amount she needs.

Scott thinks this would be good with other Jello/berry combinations, too. Hey, who am I to disagree?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Dairy-Free Thanksgiving Menu

So, who's hosting Thanksgiving? For both sides of your family?

*Nowheymama shakily raises hand.*

Let's plan a menu so I can sleep at night. What do you say? And since my blog becomes less private every day--Family, this is what we're having for dinner.

Dairy-Free Thanksgiving Menu
Two turkeys, deep-fried by Scott and my Dad
Gravy, made by Dad, who substitutes dairy-free margarine for the butter, of course
Mom's stuffing, two batches
Scott's mashed potatoes
My brother-in-law Jarred's sweet potato casserole (Um. Please, Jarred?)
Green bean casserole
Cranberries: cranberry jelly and the awesome cranberry orange relish made by our grocery store
Raspberry jello salad (my neighbor Tracy's recipe, made with frozen raspberries from the farmer's market)
Relish tray
Appetizers, if someone else wants to make them

Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie?

Decaf coffee

I promise to post/link to more recipes ASAP. This is a 100% dairy-free Thanksgiving menu.

Oh-so-exciting family health update: Eli is recovering from the croup and an ear infection. I do not have gestational diabetes (told ya!) and am fine. The baby is growing and growing, which is great, but my dreams of an induction-free birth fade with every ounce she gains. Ah, well. And Katherine and Scott are just dandy. Wake up, I'm finished.