Friday, December 26, 2008

Out of the Office

Hi, this is Nowheymama. I'll be out of my blog office and in Florida at my in-laws until Friday, January 2. Please leave a comment after the beep and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Jamie, the post about allergens in baby toothpaste can be found here.

Vivian, the books arrived today, and I am saving them for a surprise for the kids when we return. Thank you!

Allergy Mom, I can't wait to meet you!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


At the store last night:

Preschool Girl: (weeping) "Mommy, I want [whatever toy she was lugging around]. Please?'
Mother: "We're not buying any toys today. Santa is coming in a few days to bring you toys."
Preschool Girl: (crying) "I want to buy it! I can buy it with my money!"
Mother: "Oh, you have money? I don't think you have enough."
Preschool Girl: (crying) "Yes! I have my air dollars!" [Ed.: I believe she was referring to her pretend money.]
Mother: "You do?"
Preschool Girl: (sobbing) "Yes! I have forty air dollars! I want to buy it with my air dollars!"
Mother: "I don't think that's enough, Honey."
[Conversation continues as they leave for another aisle.]

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Monday After The Day Before

The dreaded stomach virus hit our house this weekend, leaving heaps of laundry in its wake. Katherine and I spent Saturday subsisting on Jello water and Gatorade, but for dinner Scott made us Chicken and Dumpling Soup (made with Bisquick dumplings to make it dairy free) and homemade rolls.

We did manage to make it to the neighborhood Christmas party Sunday afternoon, where the kids decorated gingerbread houses (made of graham crackers) and ate lots of cookies. Santa stopped by, and some of the children took the opportunity to request toys their parents had never heard them mention before! Santa said he'd "see what he could do." Gee, thanks, Santa! That's swell. Maybe it's a good thing Scott and I had to postpone our Christmas shopping date until tonight because of illness.

This morning we had a two-hour delay because it was four degrees outside (-17 with the wind chill). The much-anticipated first grade concert at the nursing home was cancelled due to weather (They practiced so much!), but the Christmas party (for which I am providing nut-free, dairy-free sugar cookies) is still scheduled for this afternoon.

What kind of last-minute shopping and one-clicking and cooking and baking are you doing?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Free Priority Shipping!

Today is the last day Go Dairy Free is offering free priority shipping on the new Go Dairy Free book! Click here and order it by midnight (PST) for $19.95 in time for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sweets for the Sweet

Wendy tells me that WalMart discontinued Sam's Choice semisweet chocolate chips. What the heck, WalMart??? The only affordable dairy-free chips most people can easily find, and you do away with them. I did find a new dairy-free baking chocolate on sale at our grocery store, though: Scharffen Berger Semisweet and Bittersweet Baking Chunks.

And, our grocery is finally carrying So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt. Dairy and soy free! (A lump of coal to YOU, O'Soy, for adding DAIRY to soy yogurt.) Now Katherine can have yogurt again, and I can make the rest of the recipes in My Sweet Vegan.

If you're going shopping at Marshalls, look for bags of Guylian Solitaires. They are delicious dairy-free dark chocolates, and Marshalls usually carries them around the holidays.


OK, this is NOT dairy free, it is dairy full, but if you are near a Le Gourmet Chef and you can eat dairy, go buy some of this Peppermint Candy Cane Dip and spread it on brownies. Or chocolate cake. Or dip chocolate graham crackers in it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Shuttemup Cookies

Thank you all so much for your travel suggestions. AAA! Consignment store toys! Genius.

We had a very busy weekend of Christmas Cantata and Christmas play and Christmas dinner. Scott and Katherine did their cantata and play parts very well, and I made the easiest chocolate chip cookies in the world to take to the Christmas dinner.

Shuttemup Cookies, adapted from The Compleat I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken
She calls them "the fastest chocolate chip cookie," and she ain't lyin.

Cream together:
1 cup dairy-free margarine
1 cup light brown sugar

Then add:
2 cups flour
1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)

Mix it, press it into a 9"x13" rectangular pan, and bake it for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. (I use a rimmed cookie sheet.) Cut it into bars while it's still warm. "If you forget, just break it up when it's cool."

Friday, December 12, 2008

You Can Be My Yoko Ono

Or, you can be my Florida travel guide. Please?

We will be spending the week after Christmas in the Tampa area (specifically Sun City Center, where You Can Play Golf Until You Die (TM) or whatever their slogan is). Since we will be flying, we will be packing a minimum amount of toys, and there will be no toys at our final destination. How can we entertain three kids for a week in the Tampa area? Swimming in their grandparents' pool will get us only so far.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Santa Was Early

Actually, Amazon was early. And didn't feel the need to put my Christmas present from Scott in a brown cardboard box, so when I answered the door yesterday afternoon, there was the UPS guy with my gift. (Thank goodness it wasn't one of the kids' presents, AMAZON.)

I'll miss having something to open on Christmas, but I'll dry my tears while I get started on Christmas baking:

What do you like to make with your mixer?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dairy-Free Gifts, Part Two

If you're looking for an easy gift to send someone, how about an Ebook? No shipping! Arrives instantly! Environmentally friendly! Inexpensive! Paperless society!

Hannah Kaminsky has two excellent Ebooks available on her site for just $5 each: Mission: Impossible Pies and Lunchbox Bites. They are both full color and have photographs of all of the recipes. Each one is 20+ pages, so recipients could easily print them out if they choose. (Shh!)

Mission: Impossible Pies has recipes for easy, crustless, vegan pies. This means that they are automatically dairy free, but Hannah writes that they can easily be made gluten free and some can be made soy free. The book includes recipes for:
Apple Streusel Pie
Banana Creme Pie
Chocolate Fudge Pie
Coconut Pie
Cookies and Creme Pie
Cran-Cherry Pie
Lemon Curd Pie
Mint Chocolate Chip Pie
Peanut Butter Pie
Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Sweet Potato Pie


Lunchbox Bites includes recipes for:
Cinnamon-Swirled Banana Sandwich Bread
Best Bran Muffins
Brownie Bites
Coffee-Buzz Energy Bars
Hummus Crackers
Peanut Butter Bomb-Shell Blondies
Peanut Butter and Jelly Toaster Tarts
Pie Cups
Root Beer Pudding
Steel-Cut Oatmeal Cookies
Strawberry Crispy Rice Treats

The Coffee-Buzz Energy Bars are definitely a grown-up treat, but the rest of the recipes are great for anyone in the family. My kids are especially excited about the Strawberry Crispy Rice Treats, and I'm happy to find another use for my steel-cut oats: Steel-Cut Oatmeal Cookies!

You could pack some of these lunchbox treats in a Laptop Lunch system for someone because Laptop Lunches (whose lunchbox Katherine uses) is offering 20% off all items until December 16. Just enter the code: holiday2008.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dairy-Free Gifts, Part One

Hey, if you're virtually throwing gifts (like cheap toys) in your Amazon gift sleigh and you're trying to make the total go over $25 so you can get free shipping and you need a gift for the dairy-free person in your life, have I got a recommendation for you.


Yes, Alisa's Go Dairy Free book is finally available on Amazon. And yes, a couple of my recipes and hints are in it. But that's not why you should buy it. You should buy it because it is an amazing resource book and cookbook all in one. Since it arrived in our house, it hasn't even made its way to the cookbook shelf because it's been in constant use. "We need a dairy-free cream cheese frosting recipe for Thanksgiving!"
"How do you make a dairy-free buttermilk substitute again?'
"What should we have for breakfast?"
"How about Banana Crumb Coffee Cake?"

I would also recommend it for the vegan in your life because while Alisa was developing dairy-free recipes, she went ahead and made a LOT of them vegan, too. 'Cause that's how she rolls.

Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living $19.95 on

[Edited to add: I just noticed that Amazon is saying the book will ship in 3-5 weeks. What the heck, Amazon? So if you need it right this minute, go to (where it is $19.99) and they will ship it to you at no extra cost. Or if you or your gift recipient has one of those fancy Kindle thingies, you can get it for that through Amazon for $9.99.]

Monday, December 08, 2008


Go over to One Frugal Foodie for a chance to win one of two Divvies gift packages! Just tell Alisa your favorite popcorn flavor in the comments by Thursday.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Props for Teacher

For the second year in a row, Katherine's class has collected the most box tops for the PTO. (No thanks to me.) Last year, they won a popcorn party, so I sent in a bag of dairy-free microwave popcorn for her to eat. This year, they won a pizza party. *Sigh*

Before I could figure out a plan B (like sending in a piece of cold dairy-free pizza), Katherine's teacher phoned me to see what we could work out.

Teacher: Is there a place in town that makes pizza that's safe for Katherine?

Me: Yes, it's [Pizza Place] and she can eat their regular pizza with no cheese. They're the only place in town that has never messed up our order.

Teacher: Well, they're going to be getting a lot more business from the school because of it.
[PTO Lady] said she was going to order all the pizzas with cheese and my student could just pick it off, but I told her that wouldn't work. I said I would call you to see what we could work out.

Me: Thank you for being so vigilant!

Teacher: Sure. Now I'm going to call [Mother of Student with Peanut Allergy] and make sure that pizza is safe for her, too.

You rock, Teacher!!!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Lollipops and Fields of Flowers

Sometimes things go on that just aren't bloggable. For me anyway. Let's just say that I agree with Not Your Aunt Bea that things are a bit craptastic right now.

How about some healthy denial, otherwise known as "Lollipops and fields of flowers!" Let's make a Christmas meme. If one already exists, sue me.

Favorite Christmas Carol: O Holy Night (when sung WELL)
Favorite Christmas Cookie: These coconut-rice krispie-date things our neighbors used to make. Anyone have the recipe?
Favorite Christmas Movie: It's a Wonderful Life (Which is also my favorite movie, period.)
Favorite Christmas Tradition: Lighting candles and singing "Silent Night" at the Christmas Eve service, then driving home to see the luminaries our neighbors line the street with each year.
Christmas Dinner: Usually ham or roast beef
Best Childhood Christmas Present: When I was 11, I asked for books, and I received about 15. I spent a lot of time putting them in the order I wanted to read them. (Yeah, yeah. NERD.)
What do you do with Christmas Cards? We keep them in a basket on the entertainment center.
Sitting on Santa's lap: fun or scary? Scary!
EDITED: New questions from MzEll!
What is the best gift you've given?
Wow, probably the little door to my Mom's college mailbox, purchased from the college after the building burned down.
What is your favorite Christmas book?
I LOVE Christmas books. My favorite is the story "Christmas Every Day."
When did you find out the truth about Santa?
I was pretty young, but I thought it was fun to keep "believing" till I was 9 or 10.
Christina adds:
Where is your favorite place to celebrate Christmas?
Our house.
If you think of more questions, I'll add them. Otherwise, consider yourself TAGGED. EDITED: or, you can answer some or all of the questions in the comment section. Come back and let me know if you post the answers on your blog!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

That New Oven Smell

Our new oven is here and it is installed, thanks to the gas-line technician (our plumber), the electrician (my husband), and the nice delivery guys who left the new stove and then came back again to install it after the old one was disconnected. No thanks go to the unhelpful telephone support lady who tried to tell me that I didn't pay to have them remove the old stove and put in the new one and therefore owed Sears $100+. Sarah don't play that.

After heating up turkey soup for lunch, I baked Catherine Newman's Yamberry Muffins. Except I used leftover pumpkin pie filling instead of leftover sweet potatoes. (The pie filling was from the freezer. Calm down, Salmonella Police.) And I greatly altered the amounts of the other ingredients. Otherwise, they're the same muffins. Oh, how I've missed having a gas oven. Let the Christmas baking begin.

Monday, December 01, 2008

December First

I've been away from Blogger so long, it logged me out.

I have hundreds of blog posts in my reader, and tons of emails and comments in my inbox.

We hosted a wonderful, busy Thanksgiving weekend with lots of company and food.

One of our oven's heating elements burned out in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner prep.

We could A.) put $100 into our ancient stove and fix it or B.) buy a new stove.

Guess what Sarah and Scott are getting for Christmas?

Katherine doesn't have school today because it is the first day of buck season.

The kids are making their Christmas lists.

They already received perfect early gifts from their aunt and uncle this weekend: a Star Wars clone, a race car, and a baby doll.

We're going to start decorating the house today, and maybe make some more ornaments.

If you want a cute, easy (cheap) mess-free ornament craft that's great for children to work on while you shop online, order these RIGHT NOW.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Price of Religious Freedom, First Grade-Essay Format

"If I were a Pilgrim I would milk the cows. And I would play marbles. I would not like to be a Pilgrim. I would have to wear lots of clothes."

Friday, November 21, 2008

2008 Dairy-Free Thanksgiving Menu

Dairy-Free Thanksgiving Menu
Two turkeys, deep-fried
Gravy (substitute dairy-free margarine for the butter)
Mom's stuffing, two batches, made with DF bread
Scott's mashed potatoes (made with soymilk and DF margarine)
Sweet potato and apple casserole
Green bean casserole
Cranberries: cranberry jelly and the awesome cranberry orange relish made by our grocery store
Raspberry jello salad (my neighbor's recipe, made with frozen raspberries from the farmer's market)
Relish tray
Appetizers, if someone else wants to make them

Pumpkin Pie

Decaf coffee

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Impossible Wish

"I want to be big big."

"Someday you will be big big. You'll be bigger than Mama."


"Because that's what happens."

"I don't want to be big."

"You don't?"

"Noo, I want to stay 'mall."

"I want you to stay small, too."


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Sweet Vegan

I love cookbooks and cooking. So do my husband and dairy-allergic daughter. Since Katherine is just learning to read, she is especially drawn to cookbooks with color photos. At age seven, she knows that while they may look good, many of the foods in our cookbooks are not safe for her to eat. She cheerfully comes up with substitution suggestions, and Scott and I try to figure out how to make dairy-laden recipes safe for her.

Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Filling

When I received a copy of My Sweet Vegan in the mail this past weekend, it was so much fun to hand it to Katherine and say, "All of these recipes are dairy free. Which one do you want to make first?" Katherine looked at the beautiful, full-color photos of rich and creamy and chocolate-y and caramel-y desserts and said, "ALL of them? I can eat them all?"

Silken Chocolate Mousse Cake

Yes, you can, Katherine. And so can the egg allergic and vegans. You can all enjoy Whoopie Pies and Bananas Foster Cake and Pumpkin Pecan Pie. Katherine and Scott chose a dessert to make--Chai "Cheese" Cake, and I was sent to the store for Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese and tofu. She can't wait to make something else, and we can't wait to help her.

Caramel Macchiato "Cheese" Cake

A few of the ingredients are a challenge for us to find in our small town right now, such as brown rice syrup and dairy-free soy yogurt. But we are working on it, and since we are not vegans or allergic to eggs, we can use ingredients like honey and eggs (and dairy-free sour cream) if we're stuck.

At just $15.61 on Amazon for a 184-page cookbook with a full-color photo of each and every recipe, I think this is a great gift idea for the dairy-allergic, or egg-allergic, or vegan person on your list.
My Sweet Vegan: passionate about dessert

Written for Go Dairy Free.

Monday, November 17, 2008

It Must Be Winter Because... treats arrived in the mail, and another is on the way.

...I'm planning holiday menus.

...Katherine and I are choosing ornament kits to make.

...I'm feeling thankful (for all of your wonderful comments).

...we've unpacked all of the hats, mittens, scarves, gloves, and boots.

...I'm figuring out the best way to arrange our house to entertain three children indoors. (Ideas?)'s snowing!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Beating a Dead Horse to Death

This was going to be a post about another near-miss food allergy experience Katherine had last night and she's fine but I'm angry and when are people going to understand and I realize that eternal vigilance is the price of food allergies but what can I do so that this doesn't keep happening at a church we've attended for five years and blah blah blah allergycakes.

Are you as tired of this as I am?

So. What I am going to say instead is "Thank You" to all of you. Thank you for reading and being supportive. Because of you, I did not just vent on my blog and leave it at that. I called the director this morning (a very hard thing for me to do) and told her how upset I was, and I will do the same thing at a meeting next week. Otherwise nothing will change.

Thanks for helping me find my voice.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How to Make Eating Peas More Exciting

1. Pretend all of the peas on your plate are Batmans and Jokers.

2. Have two peas "fight" each other.

3. Squeeze the Joker pea between two fingers.

4. Announce, "He is squeezed."

5. Eat him.

6. Announce, "Batman is safe."

7. Eat him.

8. Repeat.

9. "I want more peas!"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Autumn Eats

I made pumpkin puree on Monday, per The Pioneer Woman's instructions. So now I can make pumpkin bread. Then maybe I'll continue my autumn baking with a recipe from BeanPlate, like Nora Bee's Shoo-fly Pie. Mmmm....

Pumpkin Bread from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I usually omit this.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, water, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients. Stir in the nuts, if desired. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn the bread out of the pan and cool on a rack.

Edited to add: For muffins, bake the batter at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes in muffin tins.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Food-Allergic American Girl

Yesterday Katherine and I, along with Helen, Gramma, and twelve of our neighbors, went to an American Girl Fashion Show held as a fundraiser for the Ireland Cancer Center in Cleveland, OH. All of the girls wore dresses that matched their dolls' dresses--in color, at least. We don't have the cash to spring for "real" AG dresses for our girls. Lunch was served during the fashion show, and Katherine was provided with a dairy-free meal. The girls had a lovely time being together at such a fancy, grownupish event, and the moms and grandmas had fun, too.

Are you sensing a "But..." coming? Good for you!

When we received our reservation confirmation letter for our not inexpensive tickets (I know, I know--it's for charity!), the letter said, "Lunch of grilled breast of chicken and vegetables over pasta for adults and fingertip sandwiches and potato chips for children will be served. If there are any major allergies in your party that need accommodation, please contact us as soon as possible so that we may work with Executive Caterers in Landerhaven."

Wow! I thought, as I dialed the provided phone number. How great that they're thinking about this! I thought, as I left a message on voicemail. What the heck? I thought, as I waited a week for a phone call.

Then the call came from a volunteer. "We ask that you call the caterer directly so that there is no mix-up in the passing of information," she said.
"That's great! I really appreciate that! What is the caterer's number?"
"Oh, I don't have that. You'll have to look it up yourself."
"Ma'am, I live two hours away in another state. Could you please look it up and call me back?" "Well, I wouldn't know where to look."
"Fine. But you're going to need that information for other parents who might call."

Using my trusty friends, The Internets, I found the caterer's number and spoke to a woman there. We decided that it was easier to order Katherine a plain chicken breast, with sides of plain pasta and vegetables then to try to figure out safe breads and fillings for the finger sandwiches. I also requested juice in place of the milk the other girls would have. No dessert was mentioned in the menu, so I didn't think to ask about it. I told the caterer that the people holding the fundraiser didn't have the caterer's number to give out and that she might want to call them.

I packed a PB & J sandwich and dessert for K., just in case, and off we went. She was served a plate of chicken and pasta with a buttery-looking sauce identical to the adults, so I sent it back to the kitchen to make sure it was safe. It was made with olive oil, so yes. I also requested a bag of potato chips for her so she could be like her friends. No one had gotten the message about the juice, so I requested a glass, along with a fancy straw like the other girls had with their milk.
The dessert was chocolate mousse, so I just pulled out the cookies I brought for Katherine. I wish I had asked about sorbet or something on the phone, though. Or that the woman I spoke with had mentioned dessert.

In summary, Executive Caterers did provide safe food for my daughter, and the servers were very pleasant and helpful. The people planning the American Girl event need to get their act together, especially since they've been doing this event for a dozen years. Don't write about accommodating allergies in your letter if you don't even have the caterer's phone number! And while I am always thankful when people are accommodating, I also think that is is my daughter's right to have safe food, especially when we have paid a good bit of money and the event planners bring up the subject of food allergies first!

Sidebar complaints, RE: treatment of mothers with infants, centerpieces
One of my friends and I brought our babies along, a fact we stated very clearly on our registration forms. No additional information was sent to us, so we assumed it was fine. We brought small strollers for the babies, but upon arriving were told that there was no room in the ballroom for them. Yet many of the little girls had full-size umbrella strollers for their dolls that they were allowed to bring in. (Did I just go there? Oh yes I did.) So my friend and I held our babies while eating and feeding them. It was fine, but we were back in a corner where there was plenty of room, and why didn't someone contact us and explain what the situation would be beforehand?

The centerpieces were made of plastic wands with paper stars on top. The same kind of wands were used in the grand finale, which was made up of the models and some girls from the audience. Those girls all got to keep the wands, but we were told to leave the wands on our tables for the second show. Now, I could care less about this, but it bothered our girls, and you know the girls at the second show were going to be allowed to take those wands home. The sponsors couldn't shell out ten more dollars to get enough wands for both shows? Please.

Sigh. I know, I know--it's for charity!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Making a Canyon Out of a Gopher Hole

Eli and I raked and mowed the lawn this morning while Helen napped. E. was such a good listener and did such a good job. Then on the way to the house he caught his foot in a hole and fell down. He proceeded to crawl around, crying, not putting any weight on his foot for the next hour. I called the doctor's office and the nurse said I needed to bring him in... to their partner's office the next town over.

Scott always tells me not to overreact, to which I respond, "You're right, you're right. I know you're right," and then do it anyway--arranging for someone else to pick K. up at early dismissal, berating myself for not packing any food for lunch or enough diapers for the baby, wondering how long we might be at the doctor's office/hospital, envisioning life with a two-year old in a cast ("How will we bathe him?!?"), making panicked phone calls while Eli screams in the backseat of the van ("I DON'T WANT A BAND-AID!! IS FEEL BETTER NOW!!")

Well. It is just a mild sprain. Thank goodness. The doctor had never met us before, and he gently reminded me that kids this age are often more scared than hurt. I tried to explain how unusual this behavior is for E., and the doctor just smiled kindly. Whatever. Eli is fine, and that's what's important.

But now I feel all jangly and full of nervous energy I need to burn off. I feel the way I did when Scott and I were driven from our wedding ceremony to our reception. Friends had left a split of champagne in the backseat. We finished it on the 10-minute drive, and it didn't even make a dent in my nerves. It just made me stop shaking. Maybe I'll go out for some therapeutic Christmas shopping tonight and bring home a bottle of wine to split with Scott.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Table Torture

The challenge of getting kids to eat dinner is nothing new, what with the "how many more bites/why do I have to try it/I know I won't like its." Throw in a menu limited by food allergies, and it can be even more of a struggle. But have you ever heard this?

Middle child takes bite of sauce. *Full body shudder* Pause. "It scares me."

Let me know I'm not alone. What's your favorite dinnertime food fight story?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Small Town Politics

We went to our little voting location this morning bright and early, and the line was already out the door. The sweet ladies who work the polls were excited about the turnout, but not so excited about the already-malfunctioning voting machines and printer. I love that they know everyone and have the book open to where you need to sign your name before you even tell them.

Katherine gets to vote at school, too, so she thought it was kind of neat to come along with us first. Eli thought we were going to see a boat, so he was not so thrilled. "Where da big boat? We go on it? It so loud?"

After we voted, Eli, Helen, Grandad and I went to the Kiwanis' All-Day Pancake Breakfast, where E. ate his weight in pancakes and sausage. When Katherine used to come with us, we'd bring a bagel for her to eat with the syrup and sausage. Today I bought some frozen sausage to share later with K. and Scott. Mmmm...

Time to get something done. Hope you're having a good election day!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Hiya, Pumpkin

After making pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookies for our Halloween festivities, I was left with about a half of a cup of canned pumpkin--not pumpkin pie mix but 100% pumpkin. I didn't want to throw it away, but I couldn't think of a good use for it. Then it hit me: baby food! It's the perfect consistency for Helen right now. If she were younger, I would run it through the food processor with a little water. I'm feeling pretty proud of myself, so if you've already been doing this for years be kind in your comments.

Katherine's most recent issue of Scholastic News is about a pumpkin festival. One of the activities asks you to circle the festival foods you would try. Katherine circled pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin pancakes. She did not circle macaroni and cheese with pumpkin seeds. Good job! (We'll just assume the other items were made with soymilk.)

Even though we pack K's lunch every day, we still get a copy of the cafeteria menu. November's sidebar column is about the importance of milk: "Milk provides calcium, vitamins, and nutrients that kids need. Encourage your [child] to drink three cups a day. Keep the milk fat free, but it is okay to add chocolate and strawberry flavoring. If your child is allergic to milk, try calcium enriched soy or rice milk. If your child is lactose intolerant, get lactose free milk."

Thank you for these wise words, School Cafeteria Menu! Too bad the school doesn't provide soy or rice milk or lactose-free milk in the cafeteria! Or dairy-free meal choices, for that matter!

Sigh. I guess they're trying, sort of, right?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Treats and Tricks

Happy Halloween! Our trick-or-treat was last weekend, so I'm trying to liven things up around here with some ghost sandwiches (Mine are on multigrain bread. Dirty ghosts?) for lunch and our traditional mummy dogs for dinner. I might make mashed potato ghosts, too. And pumpkin bread. (All made dairy-free, of course.) Maybe we'll watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown while we eat toasted pumpkin seeds. Krazy!

In food allergy news, the new Living With Food Allergies Blog Carnival goes up at Go Dairy Free today. Also, I just joined Have you checked it out yet? And finally, Juventa from Milk Allergy Companion just introduced herself. Yay, dairy-free bloggers!

Hemoglobin update, part two: I've been putting Helen's vitamins in her morning oatmeal, which she doesn't seem to mind. And while there are differing opinions about whether or not my iron levels affect the baby or not, I figure it can't hurt to be taking my iron supplements. Just to clarify about the nurse's questions, the content of her questions didn't bother me, what bothered me is being asked questions that have no right or wrong answer as if there IS a correct answer.

It's not enough that we have to worry about our children's foods, lotions, and soaps. Now we have to worry about milk in their clothing! Karen sent me a link to these ecofriendly clothes made out of milk fiber. I kid you not.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Work It, Nowheymama!

Do you ever visit Work, It Mom! where Sundry and Swistle have their Milk and Cookies column? Well, WIM started a new Problem Solved column where different bloggers write about topics like homeschooling, cheap skincare, etc., and my column about food allergies is up today! Please go over and leave a comment!

Hemoglobin update: Miss Helen does have low iron levels, so we've started her on multivitamins with iron. Thank you for all of your suggestions. I did dust off my box of (big, nasty, horse-choking) prenatal vitamins with iron and started taking them again. A mother's love knows no bounds.

Eli and I are off to play in the "no" and make "nomen" and "noballs" to throw at each other because it's "no-ing." Even though it's not Cwistmastime.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Please Rephrase the Question

Questions asked by the nurse at Helen's nine-month checkup this morning:

"She's sleeping through the night all the time, isn't she?"

"She's not breastfed, is she?"

"She's cruising, isn't she?"

"You don't live in a house built before 1950, do you?"

Because her hemoglobin number was low: "Are you sure she's not exposed to lead?"

[Answers: No, yes, no, yes, yes.]

Anybody else's baby have low hemoglobin results at their nine-month checkup? Tell me about it while I go stuff Helen with iron-fortified baby cereal.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Russian Hot Pot

For CAQuincy, here is Russian Hot Pot, which is not how the Mad Men guys refer to their secretaries ("She's a real Russian hot pot.") but is instead a simple one pot meal.

Russian Hot Pot

My mom clipped this recipe from a magazine (probably Woman's Day) years ago. It recommends serving the dish with bread and pickled beets, which I guess is where the "Russian" comes in.

2 cups beef bouillon or beef broth
1 pound thin-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 pound green cabbage, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1 16-oz can whole tomatoes
1-1 1/2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey

Put the bouillon or broth in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and increase the heat to high. Add the cabbage and onion. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with your fingers. Add the meat, crumbling it up. Bring contents of the pot to a boil for about thirty seconds. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Serve in soup bowls.

The leftovers freeze well, or you can mistakenly leave them in the pot on the stove overnight and create a fruit fly breeding ground. Your choice.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday List

Thanks to everyone for your eating out tips! I think one of us should win the chance to cook with Martha Stewart, don't you?

Helen is at that in-between food stage I always forget about. She wants to eat everything with her hands but still needs us to help fill her up with pureed foods. What are your favorite baby foods for nine-month (*Sniff!*) olds?

Our town does Trick-or-Treat the Saturday before Halloween, which makes Halloween itself rather anticlimactic. That means Trick-or-Treat is this Saturday! And the school "Literary Parade" is tomorrow! I dug out all of the kid's costumes yesterday and am making a peanut and dairy-free treat (rice krispie treats) for Katherine's class party.

Speaking of food allergies, thank you so much to The Allergic Kid for the link to Coupons for expensive allergen-free foods! Whee!

This bread recipe has changed my life. Fresh bread every night! Tonight we're having it with Russian Hot Pot. I don't know what's Russian about ground beef with cabbage, potatoes, and tomatoes. The pickled beets served on the side, maybe?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Eating Out

Recently, Linda wrote and asked, "I have a 5 year old who is allergic to dairy and I am very
interested in any dining out tips you may have! I am specifically looking for restaurants that
you frequent and what you order there. Also, Eating out for breakfast seems daunting. What are your 'staples' for eating out or packing to take with you?"

I'm going to divide this subject up into a few categories to make it easier to manage. Disclaimer: This is just what we do for our daughter. I am not a doctor, and your child's allergy may be more severe than Katherine's. Etc., etc..

At Home
When we're home, we don't eat out very much. When we do, we go to places we know well where we've never had any problems. Either Chinese restaurant in town is fine, but of the six or so pizza places, only one has dairy-free crust AND has never cross-contaminated Katherine's pizza with cheese. Interestingly, it is a local, not national, chain restaurant, and the workers are almost all college-age guys. They take great care of us. Katherine's Chinese food staples are sweet and sour chicken and white rice, and her favorite pizza is bacon with sauce--no cheese.
We also like our local Eat n' Park's breakfast buffet, which is a good place to take visiting family or friends. It has several dairy-free items available and has Silk soymilk on the menu. The servers are always happy to get buffet items from the kitchen for Katherine so we know they haven't been cross-contaminated. Katherine usually eats fresh fruit, applesauce, cereal with soymilk, and bacon. If it's the brunch buffet, she'll add fresh vegetables, crackers, and jello to her menu.

Before we travel, I go to the websites of the chain restaurants (fast food places) we're going to visit. Each chain is supposed to have nutritional information brochures to hand out upon request, but they are often out or the workers don't know where they are. At McDonald's, Katherine gets the Happy Meal with a plain hamburger, apple dippers (no caramel dipping sauce), and a juice box. At Burger King, the chicken tenders have dairy, but the chicken fries do not. Sometimes I can convince the employees to put chicken fries in her kid's meal instead of the tenders, and sometimes I have to order the chicken fries separately and make a trade. Their french fries are fine and are cooked in a dedicated fryer. Katherine can also eat the apple fries (no caramel dipping sauce) and drink juice. She can eat the Subway kid's meal with raisins or apple slices and a juice box.
For breakfast, bagels with jelly (no butter or margarine) are usually a safe bet, or else we get a box of cereal that she eats dry or with soymilk we packed. I always keep a few granola bars on hand just in case.
If I pack lunches from home for the kids to eat on the road, I include a little prize, like a Hot Wheels car, so they don't feel like they're missing out on fast food fun.

When we eat out at a restaurant I've never been to before, I grill the server about menu items. While it may be a bit embarrassing to Katherine, I make it very clear that my daughter has a severe allergy and that she cannot have any dairy. No one wants an allergic reaction in their restaurant, so usually people are very accommodating. I've had servers bring labels out for me to read, go back and check with the chef, bring the manager out, etc.
Raw fruits and veggies, plain pasta with oil or DF tomato sauce, grilled chicken (cooked in oil)--these are staples we can find just about anywhere. If there is a salad bar, I can usually find lots of things there for Katherine to eat. I usually pack fruit snacks or a cookie for dessert.

Whew! I'm going to stop there for now. Let me know what else you'd like to know, or share tips you have!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Birds and the Band-Aids

"Eli, we're going to see my doctor today."

"You get lollipop?"

"No. We get lollipops at your doctor."

"Oh. You get band-aid?"

"No, I don't think so."

"You have baby in your tummy?"

"No. No I don't."

"Oh. OK."

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm Not Nuts

I just finished watching Kevin J. Lindenmuth's new documentary, "I'm Not Nuts": Living With Food Allergies. Am I allowed to make this required viewing for every childcare worker and educator in the country? Because I'd like to. This film clearly and carefully lays out the basics of what it's like to be food allergic and/or to have a food-allergic child. Visual mediums are so powerful--I think this will touch people who don't know much about food allergies in a way that written stories cannot. The videotape footage of a one-year old, egg-allergic girl scratching her hands at her first birthday party because she was allergic to the eggs in the cake made me weep. (Her parents didn't know about her allergy at the time, of course.)

For those who do live with food allergies, the information here is nothing new, or at least not very much of it. But the feeling is one of a support group meeting and allergist's visit right in your own living room. I found myself nodding my head in agreement and talking to the screen. "Yes! This is what it's like."

Full of interviews with the food allergic and their families, as well as interviews with allergy experts such as Terry Furlong, co-founder of FAAN, Scott Sicherer, M.D., researcher in the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai, and Harvey Leo, M.D. and Ben Song, M.D., of Allergy and Immunology Associates of Ann Arbor, MI, I think this documentary is a great resource.

Watch the introduction here:

Kevin Lindenmuth has worked in the video production field for more than 24 years. He is an independent filmmaker who has produced seven documentaries since 1997. You can read more about the documentary here.

Order "I'm Not Nuts": Living With Food Allergies (84 minutes, 2008) at The DVD is $29.95, including shipping and handling.

This review was written for Go Dairy Free.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Catching Up

I was Internet-less for most of the day yesterday, but I'm back on now. Whew!

has some exciting yet confusing allergy test news. Any words of wisdom are welcome, I'm sure. Also, Misty is looking for muffin-type recipes for a quick and easy breakfast.

The new Living With Food Allergies Blog Carnival (Halloween Edition) goes up at Sure Foods Living today.

Speaking of Halloween, Enjoy Life Foods and Gina Clowes of Allergy Moms have teamed up to make Halloween safer for allergic kids. And you can Trick-or-Treat for Food Allergy with FAAN!

I cannot wait to try this One-Hour French Bread recipe.

Finally, Hellokittiemama gave me my very first blog award. I pass it onto all of you because I love all of your blogs!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fat Talk Free Week

Do you know Kate Harding? Do you read Shapely Prose? You should. Today she posted about Fat Talk Free Week, which is sponsored by Reflections: Body Image Program. Kate writes:
"What is Fat Talk Free Week? It’s five days of nationwide events during which women are encouraged to quit talking smack about their own bodies and other women’s. ('I need to lose 10 pounds.' 'She’s too fat to be wearing that.' 'My thighs are so huge.' Et frickincetera.) The cumulative effect of those little statements does a number on one’s self-image...."

She continues: "Reflections seeks to supplant the 'thin ideal' with 'the "healthy ideal," which looks different for every woman and focuses on health, not weight or size,' according to the video it has created to kick off Fat Talk Free Week (below). Not only is that a peachy idea for boosting self-esteem, but researchers like Linda Bacon — whose new book, Health at Every Size, details the philosophy of focusing on health without regard to weight — have long argued that it leads to better physical health outcomes."

So please take a moment to watch this clip, for you and your daughters:

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Best-Laid Plans of Mice and Moms

I was waiting to introduce wheat (a family allergen) into Helen's diet when she was nine months old. Helen decided to introduce wheat into her diet today, when she snagged one of her brother's pretzels and ate it all. A prouder, happier baby you have never seen.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Caramel Apple Cake

I haven't tried Maggie's Vegan Caramel Apples yet, but I did make Caramel Apple Cake last night. This is one of those back-of-the-box recipes from Bisquick, altered by me. I was going to photograph the cake, but, um, it's GONE.

1 1/2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup plain soy milk
2 medium cooking apples, peeled and sliced (2 cups)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt, to taste
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix Bisquick and granulated sugar in medium bowl. Stir in soy milk until blended.
Pour into ungreased square pan, either 9x9 or 8x8. Top with apples; sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon (and salt, if desired); sprinkle over apples. Pour boiling water over apples.
Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Twitter Tag

Hellokittiemama tagged me with a Twitter meme, which is good because I was out of inspiration today. Also, if you aren't on Twitter, come join us! It's fun!

I'm supposed to share six things no one knows about me, which is hard since I have family members reading this. I'm going to share six things other bloggers don't know about me. Unless I've mentioned them before. I'm boring, dudes.
  1. I'm a lefty.
  2. I ran cross country for two years in high school.
  3. I love Diana Gabaldon's books. I was so happy to put down all of my English Lit books and never look back.
  4. Right before K. was born, I had Scott take his pet cockatiel to his parents' house so it wouldn't wake our newborn. It's seven years later, and they still have him. Sorry, Sydni.
  5. I'm addicted to Bravo's reality shows.
  6. I teach a Sunday School class for two- and three-year olds.
I tag:
  1. MommyDaisy
  2. MimiAllMe
  3. SaLy
  4. Shannon
  5. LoriD
  6. Moo
The Rules:
If you’ve been tagged with the meme game from Twitter, you must post 6 things no one knows about you on your blog. Then you tag 6 more people. (don’t forget to let them know they’ve been tagged.) Leave me a message letting me know that you’ve accepted the tag. Let me know when you’ve posted your list. Have fun!!!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Getting to Know You

What do you like, Eli?
John Deahs wif Grandad

What do you like to eat?
Punkin cookies
Chicken and pasta
I like eat wif Katin (Katherine).

What do you like to play?
Ball wif (Gramma) Susie and Grandad
Games wif Susie and Katin: Sorry, Fish
Toys wif Baby

What is your favorite color?

I love you. You know that?
I know dat.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Scenes From a Fall Party

I took Katherine to a fall birthday party at our favorite pumpkin patch on Saturday. Helicopter parent that I am, I stayed the whole time (respectfully in the background, of course). And, the curtain opens....

After the hayride out to the pumpkin patch, two girls needed to use the bathroom. One decided to wait, and one decided to go in the field, with limited success.

While the children were choosing their pumpkins, the farm owner chatted with me about the different varieties of pumpkins planted in the field, such as pie pumpkins, which are good for cooking, and "cow pumpkins," which are good for carving and for feeding the cows. He even cut open a pumpkin with his pocketknife to further illustrate a point, and he gave me some soybean plants from the next field so that I could show them to Katherine. Seeing the soybeans, another girl on the hayride said that she was allergic to milk, too, and her grandmother concurred.

We returned to the picnic area in time for lunch and dessert. I was standing off to the side holding Katherine's dairy-free cupcake, and a girl slid up next to me and said, "You're Katherine's mom."
"Yes, I am! How did you know?"
She raised one eyebrow and pointed to the cupcake. I laughed. "I sit by Katherine every day at lunch and I drink milk every day, but she never touches it or takes a drink of it," she reassured me. "That's good to know," I said.

The other dairy-allergic girl ate cheese pizza and cake made with milk at the party. I said, "Oh, so she just can't drink milk straight, but she can eat it cooked?"
"No, she's not supposed to have dairy at all, but we let her cheat sometimes," the grandmother said.

In addition to a pumpkin, each child received a candy apple, made that morning by the farmer's wife. Katherine brought hers home and shared it with her brother.

Friday, October 03, 2008

First Month of School Report

  • There have been no allergic reactions in Katherine's class.
  • A little boy did fall while carrying a pencil, and it went up his nose. Ouch. (He's fine.)
  • Her class goes outside a lot, which is great because the school is right next to a park.
  • Yesterday, she made it all the way across the monkey bars for the first time.
  • Katherine's desk and her cafeteria seat are adorned with Mabel's Labels.
  • Since she can't participate in buying ice cream on Fridays, I pack a dessert in her lunchbox instead.
  • If the cafeteria lunch is something she'd like, I try to pack something comparable. (Dairy-free chicken nuggets on Chicken Nugget Day, for example.)
  • Katherine and N., who has a peanut allergy, have become fast friends.
  • Katherine is interested in learning more about peanut allergies, to help keep N. safe.
  • The tables in the Cafegymatorium are built into the walls. K. and N. have special desks that are pulled up to the ends of their class's tables each day at lunch. That way, they can still be with their friends, but their seats won't be cross-contaminated.
  • Katherine brings all of her trash home in her lunchbox so she doesn't have to go near the trash can and flying milk cartons.
  • We keep cupcakes and cookies in a freezer at school for classroom birthday parties.
  • She is learning a lot and especially likes math and reading.
  • Katherine loves school!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Kinder, Gentler Exercise Routine

The new Living With Food Allergies Carnival is up at The Allergic Kid. I submitted a letter about breast milk ice cream, but the other contributors wrote thought-provoking posts and contributed great recipes, as usual. Vegan Caramel Apples! Mmm....

Since my beloved Denise (SHUT UP!) has been removed from Lifetime, I'm in the market for a new exercise show or DVD. What do you like? Think twice before recommending something hardcore; you're talking to a person still mourning the loss of someone who regularly encouraged her to, "Tone that tushy!"

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman

We have a new wool-blend area rug in our living room. The color is "Toast," although it looks more like "Whole Wheat Toast." It is lovely and thick and cozy, and it sheds abominably. I have been reassured that this will stop, eventually, and our living room will no longer look as if it is home to daily sheep-shearing contests. In the meantime, Helen spends most of her time crawling around the floor looking for balls of wool I miss with the vacuum that she can delicately pick up with two fingers and push into her mouth. At least two times a day, I hear a choking-on-a-hairball sound. Years from now, she'll be telling her therapist, "I keep having a recurring dream that I'm choking on wool. What does this mean?"

On the way to dance class yesterday, Katherine explained to me how much she likes exercise: gym, recess, swim lessons, dance. "Exercise makes me feel comfortable." I am so proud of her attitude, which she SO did not inherit from me. She is my exercise role model. Speaking of exercise, what's up with Lifetime taking Denise Austin off the air? I know she can be a bit hard to take, but I liked her routines, and the times her shows were on in the morning fit into my schedule perfectly. Dumb move, Lifetime.

When Scott made pie this weekend, he was going to use Butter-Flavored Crisco, which we have used in the past. Now the label says "natural and artificial flavor" instead of just "artificial flavor," so we weren't sure if the Crisco had dairy or not. Scott called the 1-800 number and was told that there was no dairy in the Crisco.

Yesterday I read an article in the September issue of Everyday Food about the label "natural flavor," which said that the FDA defines natural flavors as "any flavoring derived from 'a spice, fruit, or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof.'" Broad definition much?

The article goes on to say, "People who avoid meat, dairy, and fish for any reason should pay mind to products labeled as containing 'natural flavors.' These additives can come from meat, eggs, dairy, seafood, and poultry; yet their source does not have to be disclosed,* except--ironically--when they're included in meat and poultry products, which are regulated by the USDA." When did our food production get so messed up? You know it's bad when we have shows that explain where our food comes from, and even "100% juice" can have "natural flavors" of a questionable origin. (Thanks to Go Dairy Free for the juice link.)

*I put the words in bold.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Birth Weekend

I had a wonderful birthday weekend. On Friday, our local grocery store owner stopped me to tell me that his store now carries: Tofutti ice cream, Tofutti Cuties, Tofutti American Soy-Cheese, and...Tofutti Sour Supreme, a product we have never tried. Also, he has Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese on order. Yay! I don't have to drive out of town to find these items! I don't have to buy them by the case from the natural foods store and then have to figure out where to store them! I can make recipes that call for sour cream! Both of the kids had tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch on Saturday. Such a small, normal thing. It made me so happy.

Scott made birthday apple pie on Saturday. I am one of those rare people who, if given the option, would choose pie over cake every time. Mmm.

The kids were mildly sick on Sunday, so I stayed home from church with various children draped over me. After lunch, I went shopping at the outlet mall by myself where I saw a car with a license plate from my place of birth. Marion, Indiana--Hollah!

We enjoyed spaghetti with homemade sauce and homemade bread for dinner. I'm sorry to let down all of my dairy-free peeps, but after the kids were in bed Scott got me a Peanut Buster Parfait from Dairy Queen. Our Dairy Queen is a rarity because it sells only frozen treats, no hot food, and it is open only half of the year. The opening of DQ is a sign of Spring. I was glad to sneak in one last frozen treat before they close for the winter. (We do go as a family, sometimes. Katherine can have the StarKiss Bars and the Arctic Rush.)

What did I get for my birthday? A food dehydrator! And an awesome dried foods cookbook. We can make our own dried fruits! And fruit rolls! And sun-dried tomatoes! And.... (Help me out, Sally.) Best of all, I received a beautiful homemade card made out of an index card. It will fit perfectly in my wallet.

Thanks for all of your birthday wishes.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

You Say It's Your Birthday...

...It's my birthday too--yeah.
--The Beatles

In honor of my birthday, Scott has been treating me to quotes from this all day. Enjoy it with me, won't you?

Friday, September 26, 2008

An Open Letter to Ben and Jerry's

September 26, 2008

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Cofounders
Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.

Dear Mr. Cohen and Mr. Greenfield,

On behalf of my readers and supporters, I'd like to congratulate you on your balanced response to PETA's suggestion that you replace the cow's milk in your ice cream with breast milk. I think spokesman Sean Greenwood's statement, "We applaud PETA's novel approach to bringing attention to an issue, but we believe a mother's milk is best used for her child," was well said.

I'd like to offer a compromise, if I may. Have you considered making some non-dairy ice cream flavors? I'm not asking you to do away with your cow's milk ice cream. I just think that the company that makes the best dairy ice cream could do a great job with dairy-free ice cream. Soy milk? Rice milk? Coconut milk? The options are many, and none of them involve hooking women up to high-powered breast pumps.

The production of a dairy-free line of frozen desserts--beyond your three excellent sorbets--could broaden your customer base to include people with lactose intolerance, people with dairy allergies, and vegans. This would also be a way to show PETA you are listening. (I was going to say "a way to throw PETA a bone," but they wouldn't appreciate that.)

Thank you for your consideration,


Thursday, September 25, 2008


I am a big brother.
I am a little brother.
I am a big sister.
I am a little sister.
I am a talker.
I am mostly quiet.
I like to sing.
I am big for my age.
I am small for my age.
I like animals.
I like tractors.
I like ballerinas.
I can tell jokes.
I can't always explain what I want.
I like ketchup.
I make a mess, sometimes.
I am learning to share.
I wear diapers.
I am learning to go to the bathroom.
I take naps.
I am a good helper.
I can't always sit still.
I love my pets.
I love my sisters.
I love my brothers.
I love my daddy.
I love my mama.
I am loved.

I am NOT terrible.
I am two.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Here is my salsa recipe, created from a combination of recipes I found online and my own personal salsa preferences. It meets these important requirements:

1. It is easy.
2. It used up all of the tomatoes Scott's coworker gave us.
3. It isn't very spicy, so the kids will eat it.
4. It isn't very chunky, so I will eat it.
5. It freezes well.

Nowheymama's Salsa

5 lbs. tomatoes, blanched and peeled
3 cups sweet onion, chopped
3-4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced (Seeding them makes them less "picy," as Eli says.)
3 teaspoons canning salt
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4-1/3 cup sugar

Place the tomatoes in a large pot, and either mash them with a potato masher or squeeze them with your hands until they are well... squished. Add the onion, peppers, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Begin with 1/4 cup sugar; you may need to add more depending on the sweetness of the tomatoes. Mix everything together, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for half an hour. Blend with an immersion blender (or blend batches in a regular blender) until it reaches the desired consistency. Cool, and then ladle into freezer containers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Not As I Do

Milk-Allergic Child: May I try a piece of your gum?

Her Parents: Sure. Here you go.

Milk-Allergic Child: [Makes face.] This gum makes my mouth feel funny.

Her Parents: Ha! Ha ha! That is because it is peppermint flavored.

Or, you know, it could be because of this:

Always, ALWAYS read the label. (Katherine spit out the gum and was fine. Thank goodness.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Abby the Alley Cat

As I've mentioned before, children's books about allergies--especially dairy allergies--are not very common. Children's books about allergies that my kids actually enjoy reading are even more rare. So I am pleased that they like Abby the Alley Cat: Staying Safe From Dairy! by Myronie and Sam McKee. First-grader Katherine finds the Seuss-esque rhyme scheme and repeating refrain ("Staying safe from dairy is my goal/So I will not touch it with a 10-foot pole!") easy to read, and two-year-old Eli likes the cute drawings by illustrator Adi Rom. I like the positive, upbeat message and the allergy-related information for parents included in the back of the book.

In addition to the book, there is also a video available for purchase. It is done in a Reading Rainbow style; the narrator reads the story while the camera pans in and out over the book's illustrations.

At $12.99 for the book ($11.66 currently on Amazon), the price is steep, but I would recommend Abby the Alley Cat for allergic children, especially those with dairy allergies. The video download is $2.99. And, according to the authors' website, 10% of the profits go towards helping children with food allergies.

This review was written for Go Dairy Free.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Paved With Good Intentions

So, yeah, I went to a Christian Ed meeting at my church last night and basically announced that our lovely church is dying because we aren't making children and young families a priority. This is true. It needed to be said. I wasn't the only one who said it. I know it was the right thing to do. And yet I feel like crap. Being extroverted takes a lot out of an introvert, dudes.

Anyway, let's talk about something else. When is a recipe your recipe? When is it not? I read somewhere that changing one ingredient means you've made a new recipe. But what if all you did was substitute margarine for butter? Soy milk for milk? When can you stop saying you adapted a recipe from someone else's and really call it your own?

When does a recipe enter the public domain? When does it become so well known that it belongs to everyone? If two people have the same idea and write about it, is one automatically plagiarizing the other?

What do you think? How do you handle recipes on your blog?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Vanity Cakes and Gluttony Chips

I made homemade salsa the other day, only to discover that we had no chips of any kind in the house. But we did have tortillas. And pita bread. So Scott and I made our own chips by cutting the breads into triangles, frying them, and salting them. We're just like pioneers, if pioneers had store-bought flatbreads and deep fryers and didn't care about their fried snack teaching a lesson:

"It seems strange that I never learned to make them. I know they were mostly egg and were fried in deep fat as doughnuts are. They were to be eaten hot. Were crunchy, not sweetened and were so light, really a bubble that they seemed almost nothing in one's mouth. They were a golden color when fried. I suppose the egg yolks helped in their coloring. They simply puffed up when fried until they were nothing but a bubble: Vanity cakes."--Laura Ingalls Wilder, as quoted in The Little House Cookbook.

That's great, Laura, but I think we'll stick with our easy, inexpensive, message-free chips. Because at $1.50 for a 12 oz. bag of pita bread off the day-old bread rack, as compared to $2.64 for a 6 oz. bag of ready-made pita chips, that's... (Help me out, math people.) that's a deal is what that is.

Friday, September 12, 2008

He'll Be Here All Week

Eli: Mommyo, somefing in my nose.

Me: There's something in your nose?

Eli: Yeah.

Me: What is it?

Eli: Is my fingah.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years

Seven years ago, I was a very, very nervous first-time mother who had barely taken her newborn out of the house. Early on the morning of my baby's two-week checkup, my husband and I got up, got ready, and slowly and carefully made the drive to the pediatrician's office for our appointment.

We reached the check-in counter about five minutes before our appointment time, and the receptionist berated me, "Do you see the sign? You are supposed to be here at LEAST fifteen minutes before your appointment. I have the right to cancel your appointment because you are late. Don't let this happen again." Standing in an office I had never visited before, whose policies I did not know, in my milk-stained shirt and holding a newborn in a car seat, I cried.

We sat in the waiting area for a moment, and then were called in to see the doctor. "Did you hear that a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center in New York?" the nurse asked. "No," we said. "Was it a small plane?" "I don't know," she replied, as she deftly checked our little girl and went to get the doctor.

We drove back to our house to find my visiting flight attendant mother sitting on the couch crying as she watched the TV. "A second plane just flew into the towers," she said. Scott had to leave for work, but Mom and I sat glued to the TV all day. Because there were no planes flying and no rental cars to be had, my brother-in-law drove my mother to meet my father halfway between our homes. And I continued to watch the coverage through a haze of hormones and sleep deprivation, holding my baby girl.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Hey, kids! This is just like what they eat in the movie! Now EAT YOUR VEGETABLES.

Ratatouille (adapted from the well-known cookbook, How I Feed My Family on $16 a Week, published in 1975)

1 small eggplant
4 small zucchini
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 tomatoes, cut into eighths
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Peel (optional) and cube eggplant and zucchini and cook for 10 minutes in boiling water. Drain. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and cook the onion until it is golden brown.
Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for about twenty minutes over low heat, until tender.

This recipe freezes well.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Fall Foods

Thank you so much for your tomato ideas! I ended up making a vat of tomato sauce and freezing most of it. I'll have to try your recipes with the next batch of tomatoes. And I'm wishing more and more for a food dehydrator....

Here are some other great fall recipes:

Swistle posted a dairy-free apple bread recipe.

Beck posted a dairy-free, no-bake peanut butter ball recipe--no powdered milk in sight!

Hannah has a new dairy-free, vegan recipe booklet called Lunchbox Bites for sale at BitterSweet.

Happy eating!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Around the Internets

The new Living With Food Allergies Blog Carnival is up at Food Allergy Buzz.

Beck has an interesting food allergy/school lunch conversation going on at her Kitchen Party post, which was prompted in part by this post (and its comments) at Fairly Odd Mother.

Linda Coss posted an article about keeping food-allergic children safe at school.

Jennifer McCann has fruit cozy patterns up at Vegan Lunch Box. No more bruised fruit in bookbags and lunchboxes!

[Edited to add: My vintage apron arrived today! It's so pretty. Thank you, Becky and Lisa!]

Questions for you:
What do you like to pack in your children's lunches?
Got any good tomato recipes?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Dairy-Free Wizard of Oz Birthday

Glinda's bubbles (PB & J circle sandwiches)
Tinman's heart cookies
Scarecrow straw (potato sticks and pretzels)
Emerald city green grapes
Munchkin (baby) carrots
Rainbow popsicles
Chocolate cake
Water and apple juice

Coloring Pages
Eat Apples off the Tree: Remember the trees that throw apples at Dorothy? This game is just like it sounds. No hands! K got the idea from a Clifford Halloween book.

Witch's Broom Relay: I saw this idea on several websites. The kids stand at start with a broom in hand and use the broom to hit a ball up and around a "yellow brick." They come back to start and hand off the broom to the next person in line. We had the older kids play one-handed with their non-dominant hand to even the playing field.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road: I wrote clues on one side of yellow "brick" cards with the names of two or three of the children on the other side. I matched up children who can read with those who can't. The first clue led the first group of kids to the next clue, which was then read by the second group of children, etc. The final card had the birthday girl's name on it, and she found and distributed the goody bags.

Goody bags:
straw wands

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Day of School

Morning Snack:
Kettle corn

Lunch, packed in her Laptop Lunch system:
Daddy's Fried Chicken with honey mustard
Gramma's homemade applesauce
Carrot sticks
Fruit snacks

Monday, September 01, 2008

Dairy-Free Fair Foods

What dairy-free foods can you find at the county fair? Pack your own sandwich and water bottle for dinner, then choose from these items:

French fries (made from fresh potatoes at a stand that sells only french fries--no cross-contamination)
Cotton candy
Roasted peanuts
Kettle corn
Fresh-squeezed lemonade
Candy apples
Italian/Hawaiian/shaved ice

Happy Labor Day!