Monday, August 30, 2010

Review of allergy friendly foods

Last Monday I made a trip to Whole Food for my Enjoy Life chocolate chips and I came out with a couple of new things to try. I ended up leaving the store with three packages of chocolate chips, three boxes of Whole Foods rice milk, So Delicious Coconut milk and Roads End Organics 123'z Chreeze. On Monday I thought with J starting school it would be a nice suprise for him to try mac n' cheese so I made the box of 123'z Chreeze and served it to him, Princess R and made a bowl for myself. Princess R tried one bite and told me it was yucky and J would not try it until I bribed him (this is not unusual for him) and once he did try it he told me he did not like it. I tried it and did not care for it myself. It had a funny taste and odor about it. I saved the rest of it and a couple of days later I added olive oil to it (this was a suggestion from the back of the box), well I don't think that this suggestion helped at all. I was glad to have the ability to buy one box from Whole Foods (I think it was about $2.50 a box, whereas at the local health food store it is priced over $4) before I bought a case of the cheese packets for $12, which I had contemplated doing.

On Thurday I tried the Whole Foods Vanilla Rice milk. It has the same texture and taste as Rice Dream for at least $.50 less a box. The only issue I had with it was this morning when I had a couple of clumps at the end of the box (I think this is a user error, as I don't think I shook the box enough)!

This morning I also tried SoDelicious Vanilla Coconut milk. I was expecting an overwhelming coconut taste, since some of their ice cream has a lot of coconut flavor (which I don't mind since I like coconut). The texture is thicker than rice milk and the price a half gallon of coconut milk is about the same price at Kroger as two quarts of rice milk.

*I was not paid to try any of these products, I purchased all of them myself, with the exception of the coconut milk that the dairy manager at Whole Food let me try for free.

Menu for the week of August 30th

Well we are planning on eatting a lot of leftovers this week (it seems like everytime we have a party our guests don't eat anything and we end-up with tons of food) and visiting our parents for dinners too, which means little cooking for me!!!

Monday- Sloppy Joes (from leftover hamburgers) and three bean casserole

Tuesday- Grilled chicken (on leftover salad) and pasta salad

Wednesday- Taco salad with ground beef

Thursday- dinner at my parents

Friday- country ribs

Saturday- John's birthday dinner with my parents

Sunday- John's birthday dinner with his parents

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Suprise Party!!

Well I have been a bit busy lately throwing my husband a suprise party for his 30th birthday. I started thinking about throwing him a party a couple of months ago and for the last couple of weeks I have been doing a lot of party planning and shopping and I managed to pull off a huge suprise! Here is how I pulled it off. I set-up a golf outting for my husband (John) with the father of my son's best friend from church. Meanwhile, I finished cleaning up the house and set-up everything. I had stored some of the food at my sister and mom's house and in my freezer and my gift/craft area. Since I could not manage to make a lot of my food the day before and hide it from my husband my mom and sister helped with some of the food prep and brought it a couple hours prior to the party. Most of the guests were able to arrive before my husband and they all parked across the street (most people thought it was strange that I told them to park that close to the house, but our neighbors have parties almost every weekend so I thought he would not notice (and he didn't). When he finished playing golf (which he did earlier than I expected) I sent him to the store to pick up some things for "dinner". While John was the the store his friend called him (while he was sitting on my deck) and asked John if he wanted to do something after dinner. He called me to ask if it was okay and then asked if he could ask him to come over for dinner. Of course I said that was fine (since he was already at my house for dinner!) and my hubby called his friend back. I called John back and talked to him until he was about five minutes from home. We all got ready for him and when he walked in I could tell he had no idea it was coming- it took him a couple of minutes to process everything. Somehow I managed to pull it off!
As for the menu most of it was egg, milk, soy and nut free. Here is what we had:
Hamburgers and Hot Dogs (with milk, egg, soy and nut free buns)
Homemade salsa and tortilla chips (and cheese dip which had milk)
Pretzels and Chips
Pasta salad (I made plain pasta without egg and used italian dressing that was free of our allergens)
Three Bean Casserole
Mixed Salad
Chocolate and yellow cakes (I could not eat either since I used store bought icing which is milk, egg and nut free, but not soy free- I did not have the time to make homemade icing)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Yeah I am Going to be the Host of a Fisher Price House Party!!

I know this does not relate to food allergies, but my sister and I both applied for a Fisher Price House Party a couple of weeks ago and when I checked my email this morning I found out that I was going to be one of 1000 lucky hostesses! If you don't know what a House Party is let me explain. House Party is a site where you can apply to throw a party based on one of their themes, they are basically having you market a new product to your friends in exchange they allow you to try new products and send you an awesome hostess pack. They want you to invite at least ten friends (I already have ten friends on the list as of this morning and I am sure the invite list will be more than ten). This is my second House Party (my first was a Ziploc Party) and my sister had a Hasbro Game Night party. If you are interested here is their site: I am so excited, for my House Party they are sending me five brand new Fisher Price toys to let the kids try out, and a bunch of party favors. I will update you on how the party went (yea!)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Menu for week of August 23rd

Today was J's first day of preschool, so I have promised to make his favorite meal for dinner (pizza). Here is the rest of what I am planning on having this week:

Monday- pizza
Tuesday- Spanish Rice with deer meat
Wednesday- Grilled pork chops
Thursday- parents
Sunday-Grilled Chicken salad

(I did not quite get through the menu last week- we ended up at Chipolte yesterday and had two days where we just ate leftovers- I had no motivation!)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Could I have Celiac Disease?

Over the last three months I have been living with the feeling that something is constantly stuck in my throat. I finally decided that maybe I should have it checked out so I went to see my family doctor on Tuesday. He referred me to a Gastroenterolgist and to the hospital to have an unltrasound of my thyroid (I had the ultrasound to rule out thyroid cancer, since my mother had thyroid cancer). I had the ultrasound yesterday and they found that my thyroid looks fine. I was lucky enough to get into the gastroenterologist today and she told me that I need to have an endoscopy (which is scheduled for mid-September). They are going to take a look and do some biopsies. She told me that she thinks my problem is one of three things: allergies (which she seemed to think that I probably do not have allergies since I don't have the other symptoms related to allergies), a mass in my throat, or celiac. While I was sitting in the exam room I was looking up at the pamplets on the wall and thought, hmmm what if whatever I have could be related to celiac. In case you don't know what celiac disease is an "autoimmune disease where the lining of the small intestine is damaged from eatting gluten and other proteins found in wheat, barley, rye and possibly oats". If you are diagnosed with celiac you have to go off of all gluten to allow the intestine to heal, because not avoiding those foods could cause other issues including autoimmune disorders, intestinal cancer, fractures, infertility, miscarriage and oestoporosis. (Google Health)

Ever since J was diagnosed with food allergies over three years ago I always said, at least my children don't have allergies to soy or wheat. Well now Mr. T is allergic to soy and if I have celiac then wheat, oatmeal, barley and rye are out, which is way depressing since my favorite food is pizza and I would not be allowed to eat at any of my favorite pizza restaurants (I might as well never go back to Chicago because my FAVORITE thing to eat there is pizza- they have the best pizza on earth) and bakeries are totally out. I don't know how people handle a wheat free diet- I am totally in love with anything that is made out of bread- doughnuts, pizza, bread, etc... and I cannot imagine anything made without wheat flour could taste good. When I talked to my husband and mother today I asked them what I would eat since I am off of milk, eggs, nuts and soy and they told me that if I have celiac that I should probably stop breastfeeding since I would be restricted from eatting most foods. I want to keep breastfeeding Mr. T as long as possible. Anyway, I guess I should not dwell on that unless I have to cross that bridge.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

One of My New Favorite Snacks

A little over a month ago I stumbled over a recipe for soft pretzels (I was looking for a recipe for hamburger buns- which turned out to be awful, and since I have found a couple alternatives that I can purchase). These are delicious and in my opinion taste very similar to a popular mall pretzel franchise's pretzel. You can add salt like the recipe instructs or you can add cinnamon sugar prior to baking, which makes for a really yummy sweet alternative!

Pretzel Rolls

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

1/4 cup white granulated sugar

2 4/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

7 cups of water

1/2 cup baking soda

coarse salt for sprinkling

In a large bowl, combine the yeast, warm water and sugar, agitating until the yeast is dissolved. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly. Add the flour gradually until forming a soft dough that is neither sticky nor dry, adding extra flour if necessary. Turn the dough onto a clean work surface and knead until elastic and smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Preaheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a large baking sheet and set aside.

Bring the water and baking soda to a rolling boil in a medium large saucepan over medium high heat. Punch the dough down and turn out onto a clean work surface. Separate the dough into 8 pieces and kned each until elastic. Shape unto rolls about 3-4 inches long.

Drop one roll at a time into the boiling water. Boil for about one minute, remove using a slotted spoon and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat this until all of your rolls have been boiled. Sprinkle with coarse salt and bake until golden brown about 12-14 minutes. Allow rolls to cool slightly before serving, and allow to cool uncovered on a wire cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This Week's Menu

Before I went on my elmination diet I planned a whole month's dinner menu. That way I could plan my shopping and budgeting was a lot easier (and I did not need to make "emergency trips to the store). Since I went on my diet, planning dinners is a thing of the past. So, this week I am trying to start planning my menus one week at a time. Here is what I am planning to have this week:

Monday- Baked Salmon with dill and olive oil, steamed broccoli and carrots, fresh corn on the cob

Tuesday- Spaghetti (Princess R has dance class tonight and I already made the sauce and froze it)

Wednesday- Pot roast with roasted new potatoes

Thursday- Spanish rice with deer meat

Friday- Parents

Saturday- Chicken Fajitas (I have a couple of peppers that need to be eatten from my garden)

Sunday- Grilled Pork Chops (but I may try to talk my husband into going to Chilpolte- I saw on a blog that the restaurants in the Cincinnati area are supposed to have free kids meals on Sunday)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

How to Save Money with Allergies

When it comes to buying food for someone with food allergies, it tends to be a lot more expensive than it is to buy food for someone without food allergies. For example, a gallon of cows milk where I live is usually priced between 1.88 and 2.30, I can buy Silk soy milk for 2.99 for a half gallon, which means a gallon is 5.98, which is a lot better than Rice milk, which is sold by the quart for 1.99, so a gallon is 7.96 (four times more than I pay for cows milk!) So for the last three years I have tried to find ways to cut down on my food expensives, while still purchasing food my children can eat. Here are some of my pointers for making buying allergy free less painful.

1. Watch for sales- allergy free food does go on sale, but it is usually not advertised in the sales circular. I make it a point to always hit the health food section every time I go to the store, because I have found that they often have something on sale that I use, or have reduced foods that are discountinued or close to the sell by date. About a month ago I found Enjoy Life Ginger Snap cookies marked down 50 percent!

2. Cook from scratch- I have started to make myself a lot more food from scratch, first of all it is much better for you, but it is also a lot cheaper.

3. Check labels of foods that aren't in the health food section, they may suprise you! I found out about a month ago, that Krogers sells chocolate chips that J and Pricncess R can both eat (unfortunately they contain soy ;( but they were 1.79 a bag instead of 3.99 a bag.

4. Check company websites for coupons- this has been a huge money saver for me. Here are a few sites that I found coupons:

Silk Soy Milk

Turtle Mountain (So Delicious Products)

Enjoy Life

Whole Foods

(Remember you can stack a Whole Foods store coupon with a manufacturer coupon for even more savings)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Coconut Ice Cream Here I Come!

So for the last month one of the things that I have missed the most has been ice cream (right behind cheese and candy bars). When J's doctor told me today that I could have coconut I was super excited because the Purely Decedent Coconut Milk Ice Cream has been calling my name! We had to make a trip to Kroger tonight for a few things so I went to the health food section and checked out the coconut milk ice cream. There were a few that I could not have, but the one I was really hoping I could have (the chocolate chip cookie dough) did not include any ingredients I am trying to stay away from! So I purchased one pint of chocolate chip cookie dough (which is on sale this week at Kroger for 2.99, normally it is priced over $5!) I took it home and scooped a little into my bowl and a little into J's bowl. J took the tiniest bite of ice cream I have ever seen a child take (J is always hesitant to try new foods, he has been like this all his life, we struggled to get him to eat anything until he was 18 months old). He said he liked it, but wanted to save it until tomorrow. I loved it! It has a coconut taste to it (I am a huge fan of coconut so this did not bother me) and there were yummy chunks of cookie dough and chocolate chip pieces in it. I loved this ice cream so much that I went back to get another chocolate chip cookie dough and a cherry amaretto pint!

Visit to the allergist

Well J had his bi-annual appointment with the allergist today. I was hoping that maybe the allergist would agree to a food challenge test with milk baked in, but he told me that the earliest we would try it would be a year from now, after he turned five. I was really anxious to possibly have him try food containing milk after I read an article in Allergic Living Magazine on breakthroughs in milk and egg allergies Basically the article stated that studies done at John Hopkins have found that 75 percent of kids that test positive for milk and/or egg allergies can safely eat milk and eggs when baked in food for at least 30 minutes at 350 degrees. They also believe that it may help the child to grow out of the allergy. After reading the article I was so excited and hoping that maybe we could try a challenge test.

When I approached the doctor he told me that he would feel better waiting until he was five for two reasons, first J is more allergic to milk than anything and he tested 4.8 on a 5.0 scale, egg whites come in a close third (just 0.1 behind hazelnuts) and he feels that is he waits another year he has a better chance of outgrowing the allergy. We have not seen any movement in the milk or egg white number yet, but he told me that he has had some patients that have no movement while they are toddlers and then around five or six totally outgrow the allergy. Second, he said that he feels better waiting, since he feels J would be able to better express the side affect that he feels at the age of five. So basically I had my bubble burst. But on a positive note he told me that he feels comfortable with me feeding my children coconut and that I can consume coconut, which is considered a treenut, but he told me that 99.99 percent of people with treenut allergies do not have problems with coconut.