Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Lemon Sauce

Beck posted a wonderful, dairy-free gingerbread recipe the other day. While she recommends serving it with butter (margarine) or applesauce, my favorite gingerbread topping is lemon sauce. Gingerbread (or another kind of spice cake) with lemon sauce seems to be a perfect way to welcome November. Because unlike my local W@lmart, where the sound system was playing "Monster Mash" while the employees feverishly set up Christmas displays, I am not ready to speed from October 31 to December 25.

Lemon Sauce (adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook)

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons dairy-free margarine
1/2 cup lemon juice
grated rind of one lemon (if all I have is bottled lemon juice, I leave this out.)
dash of salt

Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a small saucepan. Add the boiling water, stirring constantly. Boil for five minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the margarine, lemon juice, lemon rind, and salt. Serve warm.

Friday, October 26, 2007


(Cookie pictured above is from a Sunflour Bakery dairy-free cookie kit and was decorated by Katherine. My review is here.)

Karen from Avoiding Milk Protein has asked me to share some tips for a safe, allergen-free Halloween. Will do.

First of all, there was a fantastic article in our local paper a few days ago, and I cannot find it online to link to it. If someone else finds it, please let me know. It was written by Helen Malani, chief shopping expert for She did a price comparison of treats vs. toys. Her examples were Junior Mints, 16-cent handheld Halloween puzzles, and three-cent vampire teeth. (Malani found the games and teeth online.) "To sum it up: If you get 50 trick-or-treaters at your door this year, you'd have to spend $9.50 to hand out the Junior Mints, $8 for handheld puzzles, and just $3 for enough vampire teeth." See? Safer and budget-friendly. She recommends Century Novelty, Sticker Giant, and US Toy for inexpensive toy handouts.

Then she earned my eternal love and devotion by writing about the dangers of food allergies. "Truthfully speaking, handing out Halloween toys is obviously healthier for kids, but it is also a safer choice. Last year alone, hospital emergency rooms treated nearly 30,000 adults and children for reactions to common foods like peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and milk.....
"It's not enough to assume a candy that looks safe is safe. So if you insist on remaining a traditionalist this Halloween and handing out candy, don't play any guessing games. Scrutinize every package's label. Do it for those little pirates and princesses that will be invading your doorstep this Halloween night."

*Sniff* I love you, Helen Malani! Call me!

Allergy Moms has published a list of 99 Food Allergy Friendly Treats just in time for Halloween.

Alton Brown has some great homemade candy ideas. All of these can be made dairy-free by substituting dairy-free margarine for the butter.

One of my friends said she read an article with a suggestion to let children choose a few pieces of candy to keep and then trade in the rest for a small toy. I think this is a great idea. Does anyone know where this article was published?

At our house, we purchase dairy-free candy to give out, and we reserve a few pieces of it. Katherine trades in her candy with dairy for dairy-free candy at the end of the evening. Other than that, we follow the same basic safety rules everyone should: don't eat anything until Mama and Daddy check it; throw away poorly-wrapped candy, go to the houses of people you know, etc.

We are very fortunate to have thoughtful neighbors who purchase treats that Katherine can have. Our next-door neighbor, who is a grandma raising her grandson, keeps a separate basket of potato chips, pretzels, and raisins for children with dietary issues. Awww....

These are just some of the many ideas that will get you through this candy-centric holiday. I'd love to hear other suggestions!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Week in Review

Weather: Rainy
Roof: Leaking rain down all three floors.
Scott's new nickname for the master bedroom: The Maid of the Mist
Cost of roof repair: TBA
Number of fruit flies in the house: hundreds
Posts written: One long, whiny yet incredibly humorous post written late Tuesday night.
Posts deleted by Google, possibly for being so freaking depressing: see above
Work done: four product reviews and counting for Go Dairy Free
Halloween costumes made: Zero. We're going with store bought this year. Leave me alone.
Size of fetus: Large but still in normal range
My 'concerned' family members think this means I have: gestational diabetes
They will now give me: lots of useless advice
On Sunday, I taught a Children's Church lesson about: Samuel anointing David
When asked to draw a picture of Samuel anointing David, one of my students drew: "Samuel, David, and the annoying guy."
What I've missed this week: You!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Peanut Butter Fudge Frosting

Rational Jenn has the latest Living With Food Allergies Blog Carnival up on her site. Go check it out!

If you would like to understand more about children with food allergies or just feel like a good cry, please visit Hipwritermama's site and watch this short video. It makes my heart ache.

We've been taste testing lots of products for Go Dairy Free. It's a tough job, but we're managing. We recently tried Namaste Foods chocolate cupcakes, which are excellent. We frosted them with peanut butter frosting. I looked online for a recipe and ended up making my own based on several I found. I'm sure any nut butter would work well in this recipe. I think the brown icing on the chocolate cupcakes looks very fall-ish.

Peanut Butter Fudge Frosting

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup plain soy milk
1/4 cup dairy-free margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Mix with a mixer until smooth and creamy.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I really, really like homemade applesauce. And so do the kids. For years I labored under the delusion that it was hard to make, but now I know the truth! Let me share it with you, so that you may enjoy homemade applesauce goodness of your own. Here's the secret: get thee a food mill. Then you don't have to worry about all of that peeling and coring.


8-10 tart apples, washed (We're looking for middle-of-the-road apples here. Not Delicious, not Granny Smith. Whatever is growing locally right now.)
dark brown sugar (optional)
lemon juice (optional)
cinnamon (optional)

Wash the apples and cut them into chunks. Put them in a pan with enough water to just cover the bottom of the pan. Simmer, covered, for about 15-20 minutes, until the apples are soft. Run the apples through the food mill over a clean bowl. Discard the seeds and peels left in the mill. Taste the applesauce, and add a tiny bit (1-2 teaspoons) of dark brown sugar if desired. If the applesauce isn't tart enough, add a shot of lemon juice. Stir cinnamon into the applesauce or serve with cinnamon on top if desired.

Of course, you can always peel and core the apples before you cook them, then mash them with a potato masher. But I am a food mill convert. Plus, I like the way the apple skins turn the applesauce pink. And don't worry, Gramma, Katherine says your applesauce is still the best.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Allergy Kits, or I Am Not A Doctor; Don't Sue Me

Benadryl with clearly-labeled dispensing cup, EpiPen and hydrocortisone, also labeled with directions, in labeled Tupperware box on Teacher's Desk. Shelf-stable dairy-free snacks in Teacher's closet, just in case. Child is sent to school with a dairy-free snack every day.
Dairy-free cookies and cupcakes (for classroom parties) in school freezer stored in clearly-labeled freezer bags. Label information includes Child's name, Teacher's name, contents, and the adjective "dairy-free."
(Nowheymama tip: After baking cupcakes, peel back one side of the cupcake paper, slice the cupcake two-thirds of the way across, as you would a sandwich roll, and spread icing in the center of the cupcake. Rewrap in cupcake paper and place in freezer bag.)

Mama's Purse:
Benadryl with cup
Fruit snacks
Granola bar

Church Allergy Kit

Church Allergy Kit (good for any extracurricular activity location)*
All of the following items are kept in one large, clearly-labeled plastic container that is stored in a locked office when not in use. It is brought out on Wednesdays and Sundays, when Child is present.
Benadryl with clearly-labeled dispensing cup
Hydrocortisone, also labeled with directions
Various shelf-stable dairy-free snacks
*There is no EpiPen in this allergy kit because the doctor prescribes only two: for home and school. Mama is either in the building or nearby with her cell phone and EpiPen. If Mama is away, her EpiPen is given to someone else.

More Tips:
"Unappealing" adjectives like "dairy-free" and "wheat-free" plastered all over the storage containers seem to keep food thieves away.
We put dye-free liquid Benadryl in all of our kits. We tried the Benadryl quick-dissolve strips, but they taste like mint, which Child doesn't like, and you need scissors to open each individual strip. Not very handy in the heat of the moment. I just saw an ad last night for the Benadryl pre-filled single-use spoons. Those seem like they might be a reasonable alternative to put in Child's backpack or perhaps in the Allergy Kits. I'm interested in seeing them up close.

EDITED TO ADD: The Benadryl Perfect Measure Spoons are excellent and mess free. They would also be great in these kits.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


There comes a time in every pregnancy where "You don't even look pregnant!" changes from complement to insult. I am six months pregnant, and that time is now.

I understand the impulse not to want to inadvertently hurt someone's feelings by guessing she is pregnant when she is not, but, dude. I had my 24/25 week appointment yesterday, and I am measuring at 29 weeks. I look pregnant. (I also have big, nine-to-ten pound babies, so the news that I am measuring large was met with little surprise. Scott: "Shocker.") So, to those of you who want to say that I don't look pregnant, or even, "Did you already have the baby?", please refrain.

At the farmer's market the other day we bought apples, onions, eggs, raspberries, and sweet corn. You heard me. Raspberries and sweet corn. Right there on the table next to the butternut squash and chestnuts. In October. Grown in a community where it is not considered unusual to wade through snow on Halloween. I should be excited to have so much local produce still available, but it feels wrong, somehow. Very "all the seasons shall become one." But we took our purchases home, and the kids enjoyed their apocalyptic berries and corn on the cob with dinner.

Fall is coming, though. Eli and I saw lots of "punkies" on our drive to the OB yesterday. We stopped at a coffee shop on our way home and split a "punkie" scone. Sharing something Katherine can't eat with Eli always gives me a vaguely uncomfortable feeling, like I'm stepping out on her. I'm glad she is the oldest, so we can balance the food unfairness with, "But you can do this!"

The arrival of fall and my hormonal urges are making me feel like doing nest-y things. First on my list: copy Amy Karol's idea for a recipe cheat sheet for the side of the fridge. Genius!

I'm off to listen to the school nutritionist speak at the PTO meeting. This should be interesting.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Fun Links

I did receive Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for my birthday (Thanks, Scott!), and I am really enjoying it. I can't wait to make the pumpkin soup in its own shell. The recipe even suggests using soy milk!

Charlotte Hume visited me for the first time last week. I love her Great Big Veg Challenge site. The mission statement: "To eat our way through as many vegetables as we can find in the A to Z, trying out at least two recipes per veggie, taking ideas from people around the world. Cook, taste, try and Freddie [her son] rates them."

Rational Jenn started a food allergy blog carnival. Some of the bloggers she invited missed the submission deadline (Ahem), but there are several great articles in this issue by punctual bloggers.

If you haven't been to Go Dairy Free in awhile, please visit! Alisa adds great recipes and reviews all the time!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tomato Soup

The kiddies have developed a liking for tomato soup, and I am happy to oblige them. If we're going to be eating it frequently, though, I want it to be homemade sometimes. Here's my first attempt.

Spicy Clear Tomato Soup (from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 1996 edition)

2 1/2 lbs. fresh ripe tomatoes, cut up
1 1/2 cups water
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
5 cloves
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Put the tomatoes, water, celery, carrots, onion, green pepper, and cloves in a soup pot. Bring the soup to the boiling point, and reduce the heat. Add the salt, pepper, and sugar. Simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Strain. Editor Marion Cunningham's note: I drain the soup into a bowl, and put the vegetables through the food processor; then I strain them again, pushing all the juice into a bowl with the back of a spoon. Correct the seasonings if necessary. Serve hot or cold.

Nowheymama notes: I used a sprinkling of ground cloves because I didn't have any whole ones. Also, I added 3-4 teaspoons of sugar instead of two to make it more palatable for the little ones. Finally, I used white pepper instead of black so I don't hear, "What are those little black things in my soup?"

Edited to add: Mama was the only one who really liked the cloves. I looked online at some similar recipes and noticed that people often substituted garlic for the cloves. I think I would try that next time.