Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Depression

There is a sweet man with a lot of troubles who attends our church. Sometimes he is very involved, and sometimes you won't see him for weeks. Those are the times when he says he's "got the depression."

I think I've got the depression. Or the summer melancholy. Or something. Sad things are happening to people I know and love. Happy things are happening, too, but they can make me just as weepy.

I spent Tuesday packing up infant items (bassinet, baby bathtub, baby swing) and replacing them with baby items (pack n' play, bath seat, exersaucer, baby food paraphernalia). I returned the bassinet to our neighbors and then delivered dinner to friends who just had their fourth child, their first boy. As I held him and he spit up on me, I was filled with sadness over the "loss" of my newborn. (Who is a full SIX months old now. Yeah, she'll be leaving for college any day.) Then I started thinking about my baby boy, who is getting bigger every second. (Yes, he's only TWO and is still in diapers and a crib.) But still. It feels as if time is whizzing by. When did all of the back-to-school advertising start? Where did June and July go? WHAT IS HAPPENING?

Later that evening, I took Katherine to see a magician perform in the park, where I watched her be amazed by the simple magic tricks. Then I came home to tuck in Eli. "Maybe you'll dream about trucks," I suggested to my half-asleep boy. "NO! No dream 'bout trucks! Hai dream 'bout John Deah tractras! I see three two one tractras at farm! I see front end lodah!"

So, yes, the babies disappear, but they are replaced by these wonderful children.

Speaking of delivering food (nice segue, Sarah), what's your favorite dish to make for someone who just had a baby, or surgery, or just needs some cheering up?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Our local grocery store sells wonderful homemade whoopie pies, which are called "bobbs." I have no idea why. Anyway, they are loaded with dairy, and I have never gotten around to developing my own recipe for them. But now I don't have to! Because Hannah Kaminsky has done the work for me, complete with a video demo on Everyday Dish! And hers are vegan! And she has an awesome vegan blog! And she also published a cookbook! And she's nineteen years old! Which, if I were younger, might fill me with jealousy but now just fills me with motherly pride. *sniff*

EDITED TO ADD: Another beautiful Hannah just entered the world today. Congratulations, SaLy!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Oh, all right

FINE. Are you happy now?

Friday, July 25, 2008


The kids and I went blueberry picking with our neighbors at a U-Pick place yesterday. A dollar fifty a quart! You can't beat that. Two adults and six children picked seven quarts (Helen slept in the sling), with the other families doing more than their fair share. At the end of our time there, Eli's bucket contained a dandelion leaf, three green berries, one blue one, and a twig. Katherine's bucket had some berries, but her stomach had more. "I'm the best blueberry eater," she said. Very true. (We put in extra money for the berries we ate straight off the bush.)

My sister gave me this recipe. She got it from a friend of hers.

Blueberry Graham Muffins

18 graham crackers, either regular or cinnamon, crushed (approximately 3 cups of crumbs)*
1/4 cup sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 egg
1 cup soy milk
2/3 cup blueberries
2 T honey, optional (depending on the sweetness of the berries)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin tin or put in paper liners. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and baking powder.

Beat the egg and milk together. Add the dry ingredients. Stir until moistened. Gently stir in berries. Fill muffin tin. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

*Graham crackers are a sweet, cookie-ish, cracker made with whole wheat and sweetened with honey and molasses. For those of you who can't find them where you live, is there a type of cookie or biscuit that would be a good substitute? Gingersnaps, maybe? Suggestions? Charlotte?
[Edited to add: Charlotte suggests ginger nuts.]

That takes care of a few of the berries. What's your favorite blueberry recipe?

Thursday, July 24, 2008


So, have you noticed anything new about the decor around here? I've been messing around with a new banner and have added some other new stuff. Also, I've been asked to be a WellBlogger for Wellsphere because I'm so healthy! Or because I write about food allergies. One of the two. Their new food allergy section should be up soon.

The Allergic Kid is hosting the current Living With Food Allergies Blog Carnival. I submitted a rather negative post, but I'm sure everyone else is cheerful and helpful.

Avoiding Milk Protein has a new blog.

And finally, for moo, a photo of my new ring.

What's new with you?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Things That Make Me Happy

1. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Wasn't that awesome? Yay, Joss Whedon!

2. The discovery of these dairy-free, gluten-free Sipahh straws on sale at our local grocery store. Katherine has been fascinated by these straws for months, which she can't have, of course. Are either of these healthy or necessary? No. But sometimes allergic kids deserve junk, too. There you go, Sipahh marketing department. I just wrote your slogan. And bonus points to you for writing on the package, "You can enjoy Sipahh with any type of cold milk or milk alternative, including soy or rice milk."

3. My tenth anniversary present: a silver ring from Scotland with Celtic knotwork. Pretty.

4. WordGirl. Have you seen this? It's on here at 6:30 am. The kids watch it while I feed Helen. It cracks me up.

5. Philippa Gregory--my new guilty pleasure summertime author.

6. Summer produce. Blueberries!

7. Coming up with titles for books I'll never write. Like the mystery series about a crime-fighting nun. The first book: Force of Habit. The sequel, where her nemesis comes after her? Kicking the Habit.

8. Eli climbing into my lap yesterday and telling me, "I love ooh, Mommio."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pop Quiz, Hotshot

1. You are in charge of a week-long event for children. The snacks have been preplanned, taking the dairy allergy of one of the children into consideration. On the last day, a family informs you that they are ordering pizza for everyone. You say:

a. "Thank you so much, but snacks for the week have already been provided. I'm sure there's another way you could contribute, though, if you'd like."
b. "Thank you, but we have a child with food allergies here. Let's talk to her mom and see if there's something we can order that's safe for her."
c. "Ok."

If you answered "c" to question 1, proceed to question 2. Otherwise, skip to question 3.

2. The mother of the allergic child hears that large quantities of the allergen are arriving for the other children to eat, and her child will not be able to participate. She asks you, the program director, about this. You say,

a. "I'm so sorry. I didn't think about that. What can I do?"
b. "I had nothing to do with it. You'll have to take it up with [family who ordered the food]."

3. The family who ordered the pizza listens to the mother's story and promptly orders a dairy-free pizza with the child's favorite topping because they:

a. are compassionate
b. are nice
c. have a son who had food allergies as a child
d. all of the above

4. You are the father of event participants, but you were not a helper during the week. You come to the snack area for food and see two pepperoni pizzas, 1/2 of a mushroom pizza, 1/2 of a sausage pizza, and a bacon pizza with no cheese. You take a piece of the no-cheese bacon pizza. A mother who is helping points out that that is the dairy-free pizza for people with dietary restrictions, like her child. You:

a. Apologize and eat the other pizzas instead.
b. Apologize and don't take more of the children's pizza.
c. Explain that bacon is your favorite topping and take another slice.

5. You are the mother of the dairy-allergic child. A grown man keeps eating pieces of the dairy-free pizza meant for your child. You:

a. Explain, again, who that pizza is for.
b. Yell at him while beating him about the head with a spatula.
c. Say, "Excuse me," wait for him to move, and stand guard over the pizza for the rest of the evening.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

So Tired

I'm helping with our church's VBS is this week from 6-8:30 every evening, which is kicking my tail and making the kids tired and out of sorts. Scott: "Don't you love Jebus?"
But the snacks are all dairy-free, thanks to the lovely woman in charge. She even asked the children if any of them had any food allergies of which she wasn't aware. Little Boy: "I'm allergic to my sister."

My Pay It Forward Prize made it to Mimi All Me--on her birthday! You can see a photo of it and enter her contest here.

I was talking with my dad about beets, and he said, "I like to think of myself as being someone who likes beets."
I feel exactly the same way. We get some in our weekly share of vegetables from our CSA, and I don't know what to do with them. What do you do with beets? I mean, besides bake them in cake.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Killing Me Softly

Dear Food Allergy Researchers/Medical Professionals:

Let me start by saying I appreciate all of the work you do. I don't know where we would be without you. I am so glad you are trying to find cures for food allergies. I try to follow your advice as closely as possible. You're the experts, right? But here's the sad truth: you are killing me.

Oh, I don't mean you are literally killing me. But part of my heart dies a little death each time the advice you give changes or the research you do produces a different result. I know we're all grasping at straws in the dark (or something) here. And I'm willing to take on some of the responsibility. But good lord, could I do with some consistency right now, not to mention a little less mommy guilt. Let's recap.

My thoughts, circa 2002-3, based on your research and advice:
Did I cause or exacerbate my eldest child's dairy allergy by eating large amounts of dairy while I was pregnant? Was her "colic" really a reaction to the dairy I ate while nursing? Did I seal the food allergy deal by feeding her solids too early? How the holy heck am I supposed to introduce one food at a time when so many baby foods are mixed or have fillers like CORNSTARCH*?

My thoughts, circa 2006-7, based on your research and advice:
Will my son have a food allergy too? Is it true that 60% of siblings of a food-allergic child have a food allergy--not necessarily the same one? Ok, I can feed him only breast milk for the first six months of his life if this means he won't have allergies. I'll wait to introduce the family's allergens (wheat, dairy) until he is 9 months old and a year old, respectively. Other common allergens can wait till he's 12-months old, too. Sure, that will be a challenge, but whatever helps him avoid allergies--even though no two experts/resources will give me exactly the same answer--is worth it.

My thoughts, circa 2008:
Well, our self-made allergen-avoidance plan seems to have worked with my son, who is 2 1/2 and appears to be food allergy free. I guess we'll just follow the same plan with his baby sister, who is nearing her six-month bir--WHAT?!

I have to go lie down. Call me when you have this all figured out, and I'll figure out who's to blame.


*Corn is a very common allergen.

Monday, July 14, 2008


My sincere apologies to those who are fasting for my writing about food, but I want to write these non-recipes down before I forget them.

Slow Cooker Chicken

I'm sure this is not revolutionary to many of you, but it is to me. Take one whole chicken, rinse it and pat it dry, and season it all over with the seasonings of your choice. (I used Aldi's chicken seasoning, Emeril's Original Essence, and salt.) Stick it in your slow cooker with a chopped up onion. Do not add ANY liquid. Cook on low heat 6-7 hours, at which point you will have very tender chicken and flavorful broth.

Now, you can eat the chicken as is, OR you can debone it and shred it and mix it back into the broth that you have thickened with flour, or cornstarch, or arrowroot, or whatever. Serve the chicken/gravy mixture over biscuits or waffles, OR put it in a pie crust (brush the top with egg white if you like) and bake it for 30 minutes at 425 degrees.

Non-Dairy Pesto

I made this the other day and didn't measure a thing, so here are my vague directions. Blend together in your food processor:
1 part basil
2 parts parsley
1 part walnuts (or other nut)
1 clove garlic
olive oil (enough to make the pesto the consistency you want)

When you put it in a container to refrigerate it or freeze it, drizzle a little more olive oil on the top so it doesn't discolor.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I Want...

...a copy of Charlotte's book, The Great Big Veg Challenge. Congratulations on reaching Z for zucchini, Hume family! see what everyone won in the Pay It Forward contests. win this.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


My Pay It Forward prize is on its way to Mimi All Me! My mom came by for a bit, so I ran out to the P.O. and grocery store ALONE. I was in such a hurry that I didn't photograph the prize OR write a note. Hopefully Mimi will enjoy the prize and pick up my photography slack.

The newest edition of the Living With Food Allergies Blog Carnival is up at Go Dairy Free. Go check it out!

We had a nice trip to KY, although it rained a lot. But the family picnic day was sunny, so we were able to swim with all of the cousins. Even me, who left my swimsuit at my in-laws' house by mistake. That's right, children! Mommy chlorine bleached her new navy shorts for YOU. Don't you forget it.

I managed to be strong and turn down almost everything my in-laws offered us (they are in the process of moving to Florida) because I want to overcome the clutter in our house. "No thank you, I don't need clothing, toys, furniture, candles, Christmas decorations, wall hangings, or a TV. A full set of Lenox china?! With eight place settings?!? Well... Ok... to pass on to your grandchildren."

But other than that, I was strong. I said no. Until Scott told me that his mom was getting rid of her entire cookbook and recipe collection, except for one small recipe binder. If you can turn down a box of cookbooks with titles like The Glorious Goober Cookbook by Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, you're a stronger person than I am.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

You Could Still Be a Winner!

If you are Mimi from Mimi All Me! Congratulations, you've won a package of dairy-free goodness! Just send me your address, please.

Now I'm off to do all of the laundry from our weekend away.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

One of These Things is Not Like the Others, and Neither is the Other One

So much to write about, so much packing to do before our first trip as a family of five! Gack. In this issue you'll find: a cereal review, a contest, and an anniversary note.

But first, have you read about the possible relationship between milk allergies and recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH)? Holy crap. And milk allergies are now the most common food allergy. We're number one--um, whee?

And now it's time for a Go Dairy Free product review!


Artisan Inspiration Granola

Photo courtesy of Nutritious Living

Everyone in our family liked this granola, even me with my dislike of raisins and the kids with their dislike of non-uniform cereal. Although the granola is dairy free, vegans and those avoiding wheat and nuts need not apply. It is a fancy, fancy granola filled with dried cherries, raisins, dates, cashews, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, wheat flakes, and other good stuff. I was surprised to see corn syrup listed in the ingredients, but it's not high fructose.

Ingredients: Whole rolled oats, raisins, whole white wheat flakes, whole barley flakes, turbinado brown sugar, sunflower oil, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, mixed fruit juice concentrate (pineapple, pear, apple, peach), dried sweetened cherries (cherries, sugar, sunflower oil), corn syrup, sweetened dates (dates, dextrose), cashews, sesame seeds, dried coconut, pumpkin seeds, honey, maltodextrin, flaxseed, barley malt extract.

Suggested retail price: $4.49/11 oz. box

For more information, visit Nutritious Living.

This review written for Go Dairy Free.


Group Effort: Pay It Forward Contest

In case you haven't heard, Swistle suggested starting a bunch of Pay It Forward contests, and many bloggers are following her lead because we want to be just like her when we grow up. And because it's fun.

So, I am going to give away a prize to a randomly chosen person who comments on this post between now and midnight on July 4. I will be out of town when the contest ends and will not name a winner until Tuesday, July 8. The winner must then give away something on her/his blog, and on it goes. If you would like to participate but don't have a blog, you can give something away on mine.

Swistle wrote lots more about the contest rules on her blog, and she is keeping a running list of all of the contests as well.

I haven't chosen all of my giveaway items yet, but the box will include some Artisan Inspiration Granola! How's that for tying it all together? [Edited to add: Unless of course someone in your house has a severe allergy to one of the items in the cereal and you don't want it. I'll just think of some other yummy thing.]

If you want to participate, leave a comment telling me a typical lunch you make for yourself or your kids.


And finally, a happy, happy tenth(!) anniversary to Scott. Yay, us.