Friday, November 30, 2012

An Alternative to Christmas/Advent Chocolate Calendars

I know this isn't about cooking, but as the holidays approach, mainly Christmas, I have to find ways to keep Precious Butterfly involved too, just because she's allergic to Milk, Eggs, and Rice doesn't mean she cannot participate.

So, it's almost December and that means the count down to Christmas and the birth of Jesus!!!!  My kids and I go to church just about every Sunday, there a few times here and there that we don't attend (usually due to sickness in the family).  Anyways, when my sister and I were little our parents bought those Advent Calendars that had the little windows that we open each day and get a small chocolate.  This year my mom bought one for Little Man, but didn't get one for Precious Butterfly (Precious Butterfly can't have the chocolates due to her dairy allergies) so I decided to come up with a special treat for her to count down to Christmas. 

So I've been looking all over the place to find a way for her to get to do a count down to Christmas.  I finally found on that I like and just in time since tomorrow is December 1st! I like to call it the Count Down to Christmas Craft.  I printed the blank one and colored it myself.  After coloring it, I assembled it following the directions on the web page.  After assembling it I glued it to a piece of construction paper so the it would be sturdier and less of a chance that it would rip.  Here's a photo of it completely put together:
I am planning on adding cotton balls to his hat's pom and probably to the brim where's it's normally white.  Then starting tomorrow I will help Precious Butterfly glue on a cotton ball each day to Santa's beard so that she can count down to Christmas too!  It's an alternative if you'd rather not give your kids chocolate or if they are allergic to regular chocolate.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner 2012 (Part 1)

So now that the holidays are upon us, you may ask how can we have a good time, but avoid an allergic reaction?  Well, I've got some ideas:

This year due to finding out Precious Butterfly's allergies keeping her safe is my number 1 priority.  How will I do that you may ask, well I'm hosting my own Thanksgiving Dinner.  I figured that if my in-laws were staying home, they'd invite us over and make food that just wasn't safe for Precious Butterfly since they don't seem to remember that she's got food allergies and not just that, going to their house means bring the high chair (which doesn't fit in the car) and making a separate meal safe for her.

So I decided to have my own Thanksgiving dinner, besides my mom isn't sure if she'll be having a dinner at her house or going to my aunt's house.  So If my mom doesn't have/host a Thanksgiving dinner, then my mom's mother (my nana) will host one.  If she does, I'm in the same predicament as I'd be in if I was to go to my in-laws regarding the high chair for Precious Butterfly.  So I told her to come to my house both her and her husband (grandpa) and my sister and her husband too.  Afterall Thanksgiving is about being with family. 

Now what's my plan, well my in-laws have accepted the invite for dinner.  My mom still hasn't made up her mind, she said she will this week.  It's fine if she hosts dinner because she hots a noontime meal and I'll host a dinner meal.  I also invited a friend who will be alone for the holiday since her kids will be with her ex-husband and her grandmother won't be having a dinner.  She might go to her aunt's house, but isn't sure so I told her she was more than welcome to come here for dinner.  So right now there will be six for dinner, but there could be up to 6 more coming for dinner.  I hope to find out in the coming days.

So the menu...that's tough, but hubby and I think we've figured it out.  This is by no means set in stone, but an idea of what to have and also catering to the needs of Precious Butterfly's food allergies.

We are planning on having:
  • Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Corn
  • Green beans
  • Crescent Rolls
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Crab Ragoons
I know some of it contains items she's allergic to, however, I've got a plan and I'll tell you about later this week!  Just wait and I'll even post my recipes that I'll be using.

It's been crazy!!!!

It's been a while since I've posted, but I wanted to fill you in on where we're at with Precious Butterfly...

Recently, last Thursday night to be exact, we took a trip to the Allergist's office to get her flu shot.  Now you may say OMG, she's allergic to eggs, but calm down...the allergist's office gets the low egg concentration of the shot (it's special) and they gave her that shot rather than the regular flu shot.  We had to hang out there for 30 minutes with the nurse present the entire time.

Before being given the shot the nurse looked her over head to toe and front to back and found nothing out of the ordinary.  Once given the shot we let her play while we chatted and waited until the 30 minutes were up.  We got some more helpful information and even a re-training on using the epipen correctly.  Her pediatrician showed us, but he told us to do it in the front, but it should be in her side of her thigh per the nurse.  I know you're saying DUH! that's where you're supposed to do it, well I know that per the instrustions and it's reinforced by the nurse. 

After the 30 minutes were up, the nurse looked her over and she was fine!  Now we did ask that since she was fine could we just have it done at her pediatrician's office and the answer was no.  She was given the low egg concentration and from now on until she is no longer allergic she will get her yearly flu shot in the Bedford office.  Oh well, we tried.  No biggie though, we find that it's better to do it there even though it's sorta a long trip.  We want to do whatever we have to to keep Precious Butterfly safe even if it means trips to Bedford for the allergist visits and the flu shot. 

So now the entire family has had their flu shots and hopefully none of us will catch the flu this year!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Apple Crisp

So fall has officially begun!!!!  Yippee!!  As the cooler weather settles in here in New England, I'm reminded of apple picking and all those amazing recipes using them.  This past weekend my husband,  my children, my in-laws, and myself went apple picking at a local apple orchard; this was the first time that my children went apple picking.

We had a great time picking apples.  Since it was the children's first time apple picking, we decided to make it a tradition with my in-laws every year.  So we picked some Macintosh, Cortland, Macoon, and Honey Crisp apples.  We even ate a few apples while walking around.  Precious butterfly enjoyed holding and eating whole apples.  She did quite well all on her own with eating it after I chewed a piece off.  As for little man, he just picked them off the tree and tried to eat them. 

So last night I attempted to make Apple Crisp...I did it wrong, but according to my husband it was delicious.  So I made it again this morning.  I peeled and cut up 6 apples, I probably should've used more apples or cut the other ingredients in half, but anyways.  I peeled and cut the 6 apples and put the cut up pieces in a glass Pyrex oven-safe baking dish.  Then in a separate bowl mix 3/4 tsp of cinnamon, 3/4 tsp nutmeg (you can use less, it is very strong, I used 1/2 tsp), 2/3 cup brown sugar (I used light brown sugar since that's all I had in my cabinet), a 1/2 cup of flour, and a 1/3 cup of butter or margarine.  You might say how can it be dairy free, well in place of the butter/margarine, I used Earth Balance Buttery Spread

 (there are other kinds available, depending on your needs, they do have a soy free version for those allergic to soy).  I use my hands and mix all of the ingredients together, if you have any rings on take them off before mixing everything together.  Once you make a crumble-like topping, sprinkle it over the apples covering the top as best you can.  Then place it in the oven preheated to 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  When it comes out, you can eat it right away with a scoop of ice cream, or cool whip.  Obviously you decide and do what you'd like depending on your allergies.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Finding out...

Since finding out my daughter is allergic to eggs and milk, we proceeded to eliminate those foods from my diet...that didn't last too long before she had another reaction.  A week after seeing the allergist and her testing positive for eggs and milk, I was making dinner.  That night I made Kielbasa, Rice Pilaf, and Green beans.  The kielbasa was cooked on our George Foreman Grill and basted with Sweet Baby Rays Sweet Vidalia Onion BBQ Sauce.  I made the Rice Pilaf with Earth Balance Buttery Spread (a dairy free butter).  So I portioned out some and put it on her tray for her to eat with her hands.  She was rubbing her face quite a lot.  My wonderful husband said she was just tired, but something told me to look closer at her face.  As I looked at her red face, I noticed she had hives...

Above is a picture of her taken with my phone just before giving her Benadryl (my husband was getting it from the cabinet).  After dispensing the Benadryl, I ran her a cool bath to hopefully help distract her from itching until the Benadryl kicked in.  Once we were done with the bath, I got her in PJ's and nursed her.  While I nursed her, I called the on-call allergist and spoke with him immediately.  He informed me that I should call the office in the morning and get her seen that day, otherwise for that moment she should be fine.  The next morning my sister drove us to the allergist's office where I met with the doctor I spoke with the night prior. I brought the labels from all the food we had to try and see what could've caused the reaction.  He said that she needed to be tested for BEEF, PORK, RICE, WHEAT, and SOY.  Unfortunately, they couldn't test her that day because she just had Benadryl less than 24 hours prior.  We decided to test her at the end of the week.  So as I left I made an appointment to see her allergist and to have her tested 2 days later. 
Finally testing day arrived, my husband took the day off from work so that he could be there.  We arrived early and once in we met the doctor.  She informed us that should will be tested for: BEEF, PORK, WHEAT, RICE, SOY, PEA, and PEANUT.  The results are in the picture:
These are the results after 20 minutes...on the Left top to bottom: Beef, Pork, Wheat, and Rice; on the Right top to bottom: Soy, Peanut, Pea, and Control; in the Center at the bottom is the histamine.
As we can see, she only reacted to the rice.  This is unfortunately not a common allergy in the US, but is is common over in Asian countries due to rice being a staple in their cuisine.  It's uncertain if she will outgrow it, but it is certain that it's not a new allergy.  I asked if that when she was just starting solids at around 7 months or so of age if when we introduced rice cereal the GI issues she had as a result was the first indication of the allergy and the allergist said most likely.
Now not only do I have to avoid dairy products and egg products, but now also rice products.

Chicken Chili

I love this recipe and so does my hubby...I got this recipe from Food Network's website:

I have changed it a little to meet our needs. Since I don't have a food processor I bought 2 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes (I bought store brand); I also only bought 3 split bone in chicken breasts (that's how many come in the package and it was cheaper since we're on a tight budget). Another thing I did was used already minced garlic, the recipe calls for 2 cloves and on the minced garlic packaging it says 1/2tsp is equivalent to 1 clove, so 1 tsp is all you need. I cut and chopped the onions by hand, a trick to not crying while cutting them is not to talk and to breathe through your nose only...if you've got kids, like I do, do it while they're napping or else you'll probably have tears and stinging in your eyes. Another thing I didn't use was fresh basil, I never use it I just use dried basil. If using dried basil I use about a teaspoon or so of it.

I pretty much follow the directions with the above substitutions and when it's done it looks like the picture I've posted. You can certainly top it with the suggestions included in the recipe if you want depending on your dietary needs. Enjoy!!

This is dairy free, egg free, and rice free.