Monday, October 10, 2011

Check out my guest post at Kidsteals...

I was thrilled to be asked to guest blog about food allergies on Kidsteals' blog - love their deals

Some of it might sound familiar - but I hope you enjoy the read

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Helllooooooo Soy!

Food allergies is a prominent topic for me...its what has me scouring the web for things to try and substitutes to use in my effort to create different meals for Ty in an effort to NOT raise a picky forgive me for another post about them...

but i am doing cartwheels... and have been for 3 weeks!!!!  I've been so excited that sitting down to type has been a low priority...there are new foods to buy and labels to read at the grocery..... because...

Ty passed his soy food challenge


I didn't realize how momentous this would be until i traveled to the grocery the next weekend

We found the following new items for Ty to try

Vegan Gluten Free Burrito - haven't tried this yet
Ian's French Bread Pizza - a massively new texture for his, but definitely intriguing to Ty
Amy's Chocolate Cake
Soyatoo Soy Whipped Topping
and last but not least
Van's Gluten Free Waffles - multiple varieties

I don't even now where to start when it comes to raving about these waffles...I swear I think Ty might turn into a waffle...he would eat them every meal if he could...he wakes up asking for them...its incredible...I havent seen him this excited about a food in so long...
and you know what...I wouldn't know they were gluten free if you didnt tell me...they are super easy to make, healthy and tasty fantastic...

so Van's Waffles - THANK YOU!!!!

We aren't eating tons of soy, but being able to buy foods that happen to have it in it is an amazing thing!

Ok...back to the cartwheels!  Recipes for Back to School soon!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Great Cloth Diaper Change

In amongst my intro I mentioned that I cloth diaper...these are NOT your mom's diapers!!!  New brands and styles are here making it easier than ever...I'll try not to preach but i LOVE it...its better for the environment, better for baby and better for your wallet!

Today was 'The Great Cloth Diaper Change Event' ( where people all around the world attempted to set a Guiness World Record for number of simultaneous cloth diaper changes.  We participated at Nurture in Ardmore, PA ( - a great store where we bought some of our cloth diapers - hubby wanted to "see them" before "seeing them" if you know what I mean...

It was great to see so many babies and in cloth diapers to boot! 

Its funny that I get all excited about this considering the last few weeks...DS will be 2 on friday (where did the time go!?!?!?) and is definitely growing up.  His vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds as well as his independence and comprehension of things...
Which leads to the irony of today...about 3 weeks ago, DS turned to DH and I as we were preparing for bed and calmy said "poopoo"...we'd bought a potty so that we would be prepared for this eventuality but thought it was several months away...we asked if he had gone and he replied that he hadn't so we didn't think much of it...but he we finally thought to ask if he needed to go...Yes! he replied...
We dashed to the potty that we bought just for him and were surprised when he "produced" almost immediately..  we chalked it up to coincidence and tucked him into bed.  However, much to our surprise, the next night was a repeat. 
We aren't aggressive about this little turn of events, but most nights results in us waving goodbye to something as we flush the toilet...and so...its a little funny and a little sad...I get excited about cloth diaper events just as we might be starting to let them go....

Tomorrow is Easter...we're going fairly traditional for our meal.  But leftovers...ah that will result in some recipes...promise!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cleveland Rocks!

Sorry for the lack of posts...the last few weeks have been plagued by cold, infections, and the like...leaving little energy for anything else...

However, I've been meaning to post this for a bit...another reason for a delay...a weekend getaway!

Usually, weekend getaways are great, but factor in a toddler, especially one with allergies, and its a whole new ballgame!


Hubby and I set out on our adventure to Cleveland for a weekend conference with fraternity friends (its a long story- too long for here) with a mix of trepidation and excitement.  With bags loaded with stuff for the weekend and several safe foods to limp by, we set off for the BWI airport - a much cheaper flight than from Philly, especially with it being times two...

Our trip was fairly smooth - we even found snacks at the airport that were safe for Ty and I! There was hope that this would be an indication of the whole weekend - boy were we right!

We arrived at the hotel around 8pm - later than we wanted, past Ty's bedtime, and hungry and a little anxious...finding a safe meal at this hour might be difficult....we dumped our stuff in our hotel room and trudged back to the hotel restaurant and bar to grab a table...

Our waitress came over to get us settled and we began looking over the which point, I mentioned to the waitress that we had several food allergies and had a lot of questions...wisely so, she voluteered to get the chef....

The chef, words can't begin to describe this wonderful man....he calmly went over everything with us and made suggestions but also allowed me to point out the items I most wanted...
We settled on a chicken dish that sounded pretty glamourous but in the end was a very simply dish from an ingredients perspective that had a ratatouille side...and also some gluten free french fries for Ty guy...a burger for hubby....

It was delicious...Ty gobbled it up...and since I really didn't expect him to eat, we had to order another since this was "my" meal (like that ever happens to a mom - what was I thinking!?!?!?)
Just after we ordered the second meal, the chef came over to check on us...this personal touch was wonderful and well appreciated...We told him we liked the meal so much we ordered a second....he chuckled and problem...he'd get right on it....

The next day was jam packed with seeing old friends and making new ones...and a banquet to cap off the night...but before that...since this was a conference, I had requested special meals for it...we got to meet the head chef of the hotel and the hotel manager...both were friendly and flexible...I related how much we enjoyed the previous night's much so, that we basically ordered it again - the banquet meal was a duet of chicken and beef with a side that wasn't going to work for us...but the ratatouille - just like the movie- was we ordered that...Ty and I split the meal and it was terrific -

So, for those of you looking to travel to Cleveland  - I recommend the Wyndham Playhouse Square....the food staff "get it" and are happy to help and our accomodations were perfect for a family of 3...

No recipe today...but look for my version of ratatouille this was a winner and our CSA will be starting soon - Can't wait!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Snacks...

So its one of the most popular Sundays in February and while I am still counting down to next Sunday as well (#99 baby! - Its your year!), this sunday is all about munchies, snacks, dips, chips, and beer. 

In honor of Super Sunday, here's some Super Snack ideas that are super good for you...

Guacomole and Chips

Guac recipe courtesy of Genuardi's Grocery Store
2 ripe Avocados
1/2 Lemon, juiced - I use lime juice - 1tbsp
2tbsp chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt - I prefer Kosher
2tbsp olive oil

cut avocados in half; remove seeds and scoop pulp out of skins into a bowl.  Mash pulp and stir in remaining ingredients.  For best results, cover and chill for an hour before serving

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips - we like Mission Chips

Hummus and Rice Crackers

We like Breton brand rice crakers - Gluten Free and today we are trying Athenos Hummus in Original

For sweets, we have Raspberry Banana Mini Muffins
We made this recipe:
but used Bob's Red Mill All-purpose Gluten Free Flour, Ener-G Egg Replacer, and Rice Milk to keep it allergy free


I'll be rooting for the commercials!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

One Year Ago...

Most new parents reflect on the passage of a year with shock and awe...they can't believe their little one is a year or they can't believe that a year has passed and little one is a year older.

This week marked a different one year mark for us. 

One year of food allergies.

It was a year ago this week that we were thrust into this new and strange world known as food allergies.  Its been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs....I promised I would relate a few of them to show how we got here and thought this might be as good a time as any.

Cow's milk is an interesting thing, I've learned.  Its really for baby cows...and we humans are not baby cows...Just like sheep's milk is for baby lambs.  We humans are equally enabled to provide for our offspring in the form of breastmilk (or formula - this is not a debate over these options).  But generally at the age of 9mos, parents are given the ok by their pediatrician to allow baby to have cow's milk in forms such as cheese or yogurt...not straight yet...not til a year old as their bodies aren't "mature enough" to handle cow's milk yet...

And like good parents (or so I thought), we gave little man some yogurt one night for dinner.  He loved it! Licked it all off the spoon...gobbled down the tablespoon or two that we fed him.

15mins later, we thought something was definitely wrong...he was vomiting, turning bright red all over his body with welt like hives, screaming/crying and as the minutes ticked by as we tried to figure out what the he** was going on, we noticed that his lips were looking a little blue...

Being the overprotective parents that we were, we tossed him and the always packed diaper bag and my breast pump (don't ask how I even thought to pack that!) into the car and we sped off to the ER as he continued to vomit everywhere.

Upon our arrival, the ER staff wanted to try to greet us and assess little man like ERs tend to do.  He, however,  promptly threw up again and you could tell was heaving and having difficulty breathing.  No assessment needed...rushed to a room...needles flying...sensors pinging...I don't know that I can even begin to remember everything that happening - it was a blur.

It was pretty clear to the ER staff that this was an allergic reaction - to what we didn't know yet...interestingly we were on a course of penicillin for an ear infection so it was a 50/50 call as to which allergen it could be...

Once he was stabilized, it was a night of breathing treatments to help his lungs, benadryl to keep the reaction at bay - kids have a high likelihood of latent reactions so you are usually monitored for an additional 12 hours - and steroids as well to help heal.  'Roid rage in a 9mo old is an interesting phenomenon - one that I don't recommend!

24 hours later, we were discharged, armed with prescriptions for a bazillion different items - epi-pens, benadryl, and albuterol breathing treatments, doctors appointments, etc...and a new found paranoia that i thought had passed since we now had 9 mos of parenting under our belts.  We were ordered not to give any new foods until after we saw an allergist and to carry the epipen with us at all times....i thought I was shell shocked then....

Flash forward 6 weeks when we finally were able to get an appointment with an allergist...

Let me begin by saying this was one of the least pleasant experiences of my life...and i've had several bad experiences...

We took the first appointment we could get, we chose a specific children's hospital since it is one of the best in the country and is conveniently 10mins from my office/little man's daycare....and yet, we had to drive into Philadelphia for the appointment...

The floor of the exam room looked like it hadn't been swept in months, and it was NOT child friendly...but I digress...

Several people came into to ask me the same questions over and over again about what made me suspect a food allergy, what happened, etc.  We then proceeded with a skin test - which on a 9mos old was nearly impossible and took up his entire back

After waiting an agonizing 15 mins, the results of the test were worse then I feared...4 allergies - dairy, wheat, soy, and eggs...the rest of the appointment was a blur...I remember a piece of paper being shoved at me about reading labels and what to watch for and that was about it...

I left, near tears, but somehow juggling baby, stroller, diaper bag, and my composure through the crowded city...I drove home in tears expecting to live in a bubble forever...since he may or may not grow out of this.

Fast forward 10 months to now...we've had a few hiccups...
Like the time he swiped someone else's sippy at school and had to be rushed to the ER because it wasn't water...
Like the time another mom innocently gave him a snack as she was picking up her daughter from day care - no reaction that time as we got it from him before he could eat it - that mom felt terrible and i felt terrible since i literally sprinted across the room to grab it out of his mouth...
Like times where we have had mysterious reactions -

Those have been the times to cry

But in these 12 mos, we've had lots of laughs too...

Like the day we found out about Sweet Freedom Bakery and knew that there was a cupcake that he could have for his birthday that wouldn't make him sick...
Like the day we all drove into the city to go back to that bakery and we told him that he could have whatever he wanted...and daddy and little man sat in the window and shared a cookie together

Like the days where I have successfully made items that were delicious and safe! Like cinnamon rolls (courtesy of Cybele Pascal's The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook)
LIke when I have successfully adapted family favorites into safe treats  - (l-r) zucchini bread, raspberry-banana (with some blueberry) muffins, and cinnamon raspberry blackberry muffins
Like the time I unsuccessfully adapted an ice cream cone recipe
<<no picture available or wanted as hubby says ;-) >>

I could wax philosophically about how these experiences mold and shape us...but its late, and i am beyond long winded...and that would likely just end up sounding corny

No recipes tonight but pictures of food that I hope you will drool over...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My crockpot love affair

Sick babies and blogging don't mix...sorry for the delayed post....

the temperatures are dropping here in in the Northeast and with a toddler (a clingy one at that!), meal prep has been challenging. Most of the year, we grill up over the weekend to minimize cooking after work.  The winter doesn't always afford us that luxury.  In fact, we currently have 4+ inches of snow on the deck and more falling from the sky - we're due a foot tonight!

its days like this where i remember that funky appliance that was all the rage years ago and I think (hope) is making a comeback. My crockpot :-)

I make lots of things even on hot summer days when I don't want to have to stand in front of the stove for hours.  We tried beef stew last week and it turned out great!  Again we got a great meal that had lots of leftovers and could control the ingredients to meet our allergy needs.  I'll share some other recipes in future posts.

Here what we did - this is modified from a slow cooker recipe that I found in a book i have

Beef Stew
1lb beef stew meat (literally this is what my grocery called it, but you can use chuck roast, etc)
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes
3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2-3 medium carrots, peeled and cubed (i used baby carrots roughly chopped - around 12)
1 large handful (about a cup) of frozen green beans
1+ cup celery (i say plus because I like celery, so I went heavy on this measurement)
1 tbsp quick cook tapioca - sounds weird but trust me
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

put meat in the crockpot, followed by vegetables and seasoning.  top with chicken broth and tomatoes.
Cover and cook on low for 11hours.

A few notes: In theory, you could do this on high for half the time.  I've never had success with that as the flavors just don't blend as well and the beef needs that "low and slow" approach to get tender and pull apart.  Also, our "cubes" were larger than an inch but needed only the side of a fork to cut.
One of the modifications I did was to double the guide recipe - we like leftovers - so it can definitely be halved.
The first night's servings were a little "thinner" than I am used to, but the leftovers thickened up over night perfectly.
This has fed the 2 of us for about 2-3 nights.  If you're family is larger, you can adjust the recipe if you are looking for leftovers

Enjoy!!!  I'm off to find something to cook in the crockpot for our impending snow day tomorrow

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The things I miss (food wise)...

When food allergies (dairy, wheat, soy, and eggs) were diagnosed in our household (baby was 10mos at the time), many people remarked, "well, at least he won't know what he's missing"...A very true statement, which gave me some comfort, but at the same time, it made me sad....sad that he wouldn't get to try things that many take for granted - french fries as a treat at the local drive-thru, ice cream on a hot summer day - and for the selfish reasons, sad that I would have to give up everything that he was allergic to immediately so that I didn't pass them on to him through the breastmilk that hubby and I had agreed to give him until he was 1 (at the time).  Sad that we would have to radically change our eating and food shopping habits because mistakes could kill.

For me this meant, no more lattes on Sunday morning from our barista named Joe (yes his name is really Joe and he has been great trying to find ways to make drip coffee with no milk in it somehow exciting).  No more "lets just grab chinese/pizza/burgers" on nights that we both work late and have no energy to cook.  Meals take more planning, grocery shopping takes significantly longer, and God help me when my sweet tooth kicks in...

So...what do I do? Find substitutes...good ones and bad ones...but substitutes...and what are they???

Snacks and Dessert are easy...companies like Enjoy Life Foods make foods that are top 8 food allergen free: brownie bites, snickerdoodles, apple cookies...Cherrybrook Farms for pancakes and chocolate chip pancake mixes; hummus and guacamole with tortilla chips rather than chip and dip....

The entrees...those are the harder ones...I miss pizza, and grilled cheese, and eggs...boy do I miss eggs - fried, scrambled, and light fluffy omelets - there is no substitute for these...but the others...i'm starting to find substitutes

Eggs- there is no substitute...most mornings its oatmeal for breakfast...a treat would be to have sausage or bacon on the side.  We used to do this scramble type thing that was eggs, sausage, and potatoes...we skip the eggs now - the baby really likes it too so we'll have that for dinner sometimes too

Pizza - I've managed to make an allergen free crust...i found it on another website which i can't find right now...but now that Bisquick has a gluten free version, i think this might be easier... Daiya is great company that makes a "faux" cheese that is amazing... when I want a more authentic pizza experience and have time, this is what i would do;
Pizza Substitute -  for a quick fix, growing up i remember english muffin it is corn tortilla ones...throw a few on a cookie sheet with some pasta sauce and toppings and my daiya "cheese" and broil it up...

We grill a lot the rest of the year and make enough for the week.  Crock pots have become a staple for us too in the winter...we can control what gets mixed in but isn't a time killer...
We do pulled pork, mexican chicken, marinara pork, and tomorrow we're gonna try beef stew.

Pulled Pork
One pork butt
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ Sauce
1 Onion

Clean and quarter the onion.  Place the pork and onion in your crock pot and pour sauce over top.  Cook low and slow - Low setting for 8 - 10 hours.
When time is up, lift pork out of crock pot and place in a dish with at least a 1 inch lip.  Use 2 forks to "pull" the meat into shreds.  Spoon remaining sauce over pork

Serve on a roll with coleslaw if you can, or for me, over rice or mashed potatoes...

Sadly, the baby hasn't taken to pulled pork like hubby and i have, but it does create lots of leftovers for us for the week.  We'll usually make something different for the baby

More next week...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hello and Welcome...

I've been thinking about starting a blog for a few months now...over the coming entries I'll explain how I got here...but since I'm here, and so are's what you'll find...
A little of this...a little of that...
I'm an attempting-to-be-green mommy of a rambunctious little boy who had me learn quickly about major food allergies, cloth diapering, baby-wearing, co-sleeping and work/life balance
This blog will focus on all these items...I'll try to balance them...but there will be times where certain issues come up more frequently...because each one gives us...Times to Laugh and Cry...

Food Allergies - You want'em? We got'em: Dairy, Wheat, Soy, and Eggs!!!  It isn't about what we eat either...but thats 95% of, recipes, and more recipes - including my failures will be here... I love to modify ones that i find online so you'll see a LOT of commentary here too

Cloth Diapering - Yup - We do it..and they aren't your mom's or grandma's diapers either...hubby and coworker can attest that I can talk for hours (ok minutes) about them...even to complete strangers at the local BRU

Attempting-to-be-Green - Mother Earth will be here longer than we we're making changes where we can to be green (see cloth diapering) as well as loving our local area (thanks to our CSA)
Work/Life Balance - its a struggle, but we do what we can...cut corners where we can and somehow survive to the weekend :-)

Baby wearing and cosleeping - ok...i really won't write about these much if ever...there is so much out there on the web...and these are personal decisions...i'll let you decide...but if you have away!

Going to back to the work/life balance thing...that means that I'll only have so much time for this blog...i promise to do an entry at least once a week...but sometimes it might be more and sometimes less...forgive me now...i'm a mom first afterall...