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!"