Please read, before reading

I am saddened by the comments on this blog that often take a judgmental turn. The information is intended to be just that -- information. You need to make your own decisions for your life and be accountable for your actions. I debated closing the blog, but feel there are many valuable items listed for families struggling with food allergies, especially early on.

If you need further information please contact a doctor. If you need to verify a product's ingredients, please look at current labels and contact the company yourself. Note many posts are several years old. Use your best judgment and do not make up comments to scare people.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dairy-Free Brownies and Baking with a Toddler

Having a child who can't have dairy presents all sorts of problems.  I love cooking with kids and my daughter is ready to help.  The problem -- most baked goods have eggs or milk, and she can't help.  Even though she can tolerate most baked goods that do have eggs or milk, if she were to touch it while helping then she would most likely have a reaction.  I found a dairy/gluten free recipe for brownies that we made today.  She had so much fun helping.  They turned out really good and she was pretty excited during the whole process.  Here a link to where I found the recipe and what I did below while cooking with my daughter. 

Dairy-Free Brownies
1 1/2 cup oat flour (don't substitute regular flour because it won't work)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup rice milk (I buy the small cartons for cooking)
1/4 vegetable oil

1. Mix dry ingredients together with whisk.  When doing this with my 22-month-old, I poured each into a larger container and had her pour each in by herself (yes, we got sugar everywhere).
2. Add milk and oil.  Mix well.  I let my daughter stir it up for a couple minutes.
3.  The mixture is really dense.
4. Pour into greased (original Pam is dairy-free) 8 x 8 pan.  
5. Bake for 30 minutes.  Make sure toddler is in a safe spot when you open the oven.
6. Turn light on oven to let your toddler peak in -- be sure they understand not to touch the oven.

**Tip: Don't stick a toothpick in to see if done.  I did this and it deflated.**

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Meal Idea

The hot dog rut.  We've all been there.  We want to give some meat with a meal and don't have any readily available.  We resort to hot dogs.  Hot dogs aren't the best in nutrition and I just don't like that there is 21 percent saturated fat (keeping in mind that's based on a 2000 calorie diet).  

The other day when I was picking up dairy-free cheese, Tofurky Franks caught my eye. It looks like a hot dog, but is tofu-based.  No saturated fat and 11g protein.  Much better I thought.  I picked it up and it wasn't too expensive (about $3 for 6 franks).  Now, would my daughter eat this?  I tried it before I gave it to her and it actually tasted pretty good.  I believe in honesty with kids and explained to her this looked like a hot dog, but it's Tofurky.  She looked at it and said "brat" and then "hot dog."   I asked her to try it and she started saying "Tofurky, Tofurky."  I asked her if she liked and she said "yeah."  And she ate about half of one.  A much better solution to the "what do I have to feed her today?" problem.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bless You --Seasonal Allergies

It seems my little toddler has inherited my seasonal allergies (my husband is pretty sneezy, too these days).  We were at the doctor yesterday and he confirmed what I suspected.  

As a life-long sufferer, I wanted to share some tips that give a little relief for me. 

1.   STAY INSIDE. If you or you child are really bad.  I mean runny nose, watery eyes, can't breathe well, and just feel completely exhausted. Staying inside  is the only way to keep the pollen out of your hair, skin, clothes and of course your nose.  What happens when you go outside is that you bring everything that is in the air inside.  So unless you hose down after you come inside (See 2.), you best just stay inside.

2. SHOWER OR TAKE BATH before going to bed.  If you do go outside, be sure to rinse off before going to bed.  This will help keep the pollen off your pillow, blankets and sheets.  Just think if you didn't do this you are sleeping in what is making you miserable.

3.  KEEP WINDOWS SHUT.  As hard as that is, it's the best way to keep it out of the house.

4. MEDICINE.  Discuss with a doctor what will work best for you.  I have used the same medicine for about 10 years and it's been the best I've used.  For kid's under 2, be sure you talk to a doctor before starting anything.  Most allergy medicines have a drowsy effect, and those tend to be the best for you to fight the allergies.

5. KEEP A JOURNAL.  I decided to keep a journal of when plants are blooming and what I see happening when we are really bad.  I noticed the lilacs bloomed a day or two ago. That might just be the culprit.  Keeping a journal will help me keep track of when my daughter is having difficulty and give me a pattern to discuss with a doctor.  

6. DON'T HANG LAUNDRY OUTSIDE.  Again you're bring allergens inside if you do this.  The key is to keep outside outside during really sensitive times.

7.  WATCH FOR OTHER ALLERGIES TO APPEAR.  Along with my seasonal allergies, I have food allergies to raw fruits and vegetables.  The reaction I get is a sore throat.  It's like a big uncomfortable lump in my throat.  It's not life threatening, but makes eating those foods nearly impossible.  The reaction can last from a half hour to a few hours.   This allergy is connected to the way the fruit is pollinated.  This is not very common, but if you have a child already susceptible to allergies (such as a food allergy or seasonal allergies), it's important to listen to other problems they have.  It's hard when they aren't able to communicate it, but as they get older be sure to listen.

8. KNOW YOUR CHILD'S OR YOUR SYMPTOMS.  When I was in high school, I began to know the difference between a cold and seasonal allergies.  I think it's a little different for everyone, but understanding the difference will help you treat the right problem.  Treating allergies with cold medicine doesn't work for me.  But an allergy pill taken daily will help.  Again check with a doctor for treatment.  

9. WASH JACKETS OR SWEATSHIRTS OFTEN.  Again this will help cut down on allergy attacks if you aren't wearing the pollen on your sleeve.  

10. STOCK UP ON KLEENEX AND VASELINE.  We go through so many tissues during allergy season that I stock up months before.  I always have a few extra boxes stashed away.  And I keep a box (or two) in every room.  Some people only have tissues in the bathroom.  I just wonder how they can survive...then I remember that most people don't sneeze as much as I do.  Vaseline is the best to put under the nose as the tissues rough up the nose.  Too bad you end up rubbing it off as quickly as you put it on.  It still helps.

Be sure to contact a doctor if you or you children have allergy symptoms.  

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Websites with Recipes

Here are some sources with Dairy-Free recipes.  

If you find a good one, please share!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dairy-Free Breaded Fish

dI really hate those pre-package fish sticks or chicken nuggets.  And as a mom who has to read every label, it's amazing how many products have milk in them.  And while I read to see if there is any milk, I read all these other ingredients that I can't even pronounce.  Thus why I make most of our food from scratch or near scratch.  It doesn't take that much time and it tastes so much better.

I made this recipe for breaded fish a while ago.  The recipe calls for parmesan cheese.  When I made a portion for my daughter, I omitted the parmesan cheese. It turned out that the breading was way too salty and needed something to ofset the salt. I found a Vegan Grated Topping (made by Galaxy Nutritional Foods) that I used instead.  It is soy-based and has a parmesan cheese flavor.  As for the butter, substituted Blue Bonnet Light.  

Herb Butter Fish -- Dairy-Free
2 white fish fillets (I've used tilapia and cod)
1/4 cup Blue Bonnet Light or dairy-free margarine
1/3 cup breadcrumbs (I use crushed saltines)
2 Tbsp Vegan Grated Topping
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt (or less if you use saltines)

1. Combine cracker crumbs, Vegan cheese, basil, oregano, salt and garlic powder.
2. Dip fish fillets in melted butter and then in crumb mixture.
3. Arrange fillets in baking pan.
4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until fish is tender and flakes with a fork.

**This would also be a great breading for chicken.**

**Sprinkle Vegan Grated Topping on toast for a tasty bread to go with spaghetti.**

Where did she get that rash?

On Saturday, my daughter came inside from playing in the backyard.  All of a sudden she started breaking out in hives on her face.  Hives on her face is where we see the milk allergy reaction.  We had no clue why.  It got a little worse and then was completely gone in an hour.  This happens once in a while and it can just drive you crazy wondering what she got into -- especially since we try to so hard to keep milk products out of her reach.

Yesterday, I gave her a bite of cake, which was loaded with dairy -- sour cream, eggs, butter, milk.  She seems to tolerate baked goods with dairy in them really well.  But last night she had an explosive diaper.  Was it a reaction to the the very small bite of cake or something else?  It's so hard to say.  Side note, she loved the cake!

When it comes to food allergies (as an allergy sufferer of raw fruits and vegetables) there are no hard or fast rules.  One time there's a reaction, the next time there isn't.  I just proceed with caution with everything I give my daughter.  And trying new things when I am prepared to deal with a possible reaction.  Of course, you have to always be prepared.  With that rash she got on Saturday, we did nothing.  We just waited to see how bad it was going to get.  Benadryl is what I use if it gets really bad.  Check with your doctor, so you know the proper dose.

Monday, May 11, 2009


If you a reader or just checking my blog out for the first time, let me know what you think.  I have lots of ideas, but want to know what readers want to see!  Leave a comment below!

Thank you!

But she can't have chocolate

Well, my daughter can't have milk chocolate, but she can have dairy-free chocolate chips.  I made chocolate chip cookies this weekend and they actually taste really good.  You wouldn't know they were dairy-free unless you were told.  

These are the dairy free chocolate chips that I used.  Go here and you can get a 55 cent off coupon. 

As a chocolate lover, I'm so glad she can have some chocolate!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Dairy-Free Rice Krispies Treats

This is the original recipe, but with a couple dairy-free tips.   I found that using Blue Bonnet Lite works really good.  You really don't need a lot anyway, but it sure helps with the flavor.

Dairy-Free Rice Krispies Treats
10 oz marshmallows
3 Tbsp Blue Bonnet Lite 
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1. Melt butter in large pot on medium-low.
2. Add marshmallows and turn to low.  Stir continuously.
3. Add Rice Krispies cereal.  I usually add more than 6 cups so it isn't too runny.
4. Spray 9 x 13 pan with Pam (original is dairy-free) and pour mixture into pan.

 **Tip: Spray cling wrap or wax paper with Pam and press down evenly into pan. **

For more great recipes go to the recipe swap at The Grocery Cart Challenge!
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