Surgery, BAAAs, Moos, and Meatloaf Soup

It’s been that kind of month when your everyday routine becomes so out of wack that you’re pretty sure you’ve entered a parallel universe.  First E was sick, then I was sick, then E was sick again, then E was teething.  Two days ago, B had shoulder surgery and things have been anything but calm.  Taking care of a 35-year-old man in an immobilizer and doped up on pain killers is just as much work as taking care of a 16-month-old.  He joked last night that we should set up a baby monitor next to the recliner so he can cry for me in the middle of the night. I almost kicked him.

At least E is her happy self again.  She’s working on learning her animal noises.

Sheep:  Ba.
Cow:  Mmmmmmm.
Doggy:  Ruh ruh ruh.
Horse:  Neeeeee.
Monkey:  Ooo ooo ooo.
Bear:  Guh.
Kitty:  Mau.

foxsay

That last one might take her the longest to learn.

Now that everyone is eating properly and I have a few days off of work, I tried to make a meatloaf last night.  It was a new experience yesterday because the meatloaf I’ve made in the past contains eggs.  I followed this recipe from Betty Crocker but I subbed rice milk and ground flax eggs.  Since E was diagnosed with her allergies almost a year ago, I still haven’t been brave enough to try an egg substitute.  I’ve swapped applesauce for egg in a banana bread recipe but that’s as ballsy as I’ve gotten.

Um…I need some practice with flax eggs. When I mixed the ground flax seed and the water, I didn’t think it had nearly the egg-like consistency it was supposed to.  But this is my first rodeo, so who was I to question it?

Well yeah, the “meatloaf” turned out to be more of a soup.  The taste was okay but the texture left something to be desired.  Will NOT be doing that again.  I’m open to tips and tricks from any “experts” out there reading this.  😉

We’re heading into the weekend and we’re normally a pretty busy family on the weekends.  With B recovering from surgery, we’ll probably be stuck at home a bit more than usual.  I’ve got lots of activities planned with E, so you’ll be seeing some updates on how they went.  Can’t wait to try some new things!

Advertisements

Awareness

Let’s take a break from my usual E shenanigans to get real.

Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 14-20.  Before I had a child with food allergies, I never understood just how serious food allergies can be or how difficult they are to accommodate.

foodallergies

Part of spreading awareness of food allergies is to help people who don’t deal with them, to learn about the seriousness and the risks involved.  The other part of it is something different and a little harder to explain.

Yesterday at work I was discussing an upcoming company picnic with some colleagues.  After asking if I can bring my own food for the cooks to grill for my daughter, a few people asked about E’s allergies.  I explained and one of them scoffed and said, “Oh my god, she is going to HATE life!”

Wait, what?  Is that the stigma attached to food allergies?  That the people who have them are suffering not from the effects of the allergens but from the fact that they can’t have cheese or peanut butter or wheat?

E is one of the happiest babies I know.  She loves food.  More importantly, she loves the food she can have.  She’s never had cheese or eggs or peanut butter.  She doesn’t know she’s “missing out” on any of these things.  But she does know that her almond milk yogurt and her pea protein milk and her Daiya “cheese” and her cashew butter are all delicious.  My husband and I don’t often snack on things she can’t have, but when we do and she wants to try some, we walk her to the pantry and find one of her snacks and she’s totally satisfied with it.  She doesn’t dwell on that food she didn’t get to try.

I know it won’t always be this way.  One day she’ll be old enough that we’ll have to explain to her why she can’t have things that other people are having.  We’ll have to make sure she is aware, just like I’m hoping to make others more aware.  But by the time that day comes, I’m hoping I’ve done a good enough job as a mother to ensure that she doesn’t hate her life because of food she doesn’t get to eat.

If you don’t know anyone with food allergies now, chances are you will meet one soon enough.  Today, one in 13 children is affected by a food allergy, and 15 million Americans have a food allergy (source:  FARE).  If there is anything you take away from this post, please let it be that people with food allergies are not miserable because of the foods they can’t eat.  It’s actually just the opposite:  they’re NOT miserable because they steer clear of the foods they can’t eat.  Every three minutes, a food allergy sends someone to the ER.  Would that be worth it for a bite of ice cream or a PB&J sandwich?  No.  Definitely not.

15 Months

E’s 15-month checkup was this last week.  She’s around the 70th percentile for height, weight, and head circumference.  No wonder we’ve had to ditch all of her 12-month clothing!

Her pedi asked how many words she can say that we recognize.  B and I looked at each other and shrugged and said, “Uh, a lot?” She’s said so many new words lately I can’t even keep track anymore.  The doc said they’re happy if the baby knows at least four words by 15 months.  We are totally good.

For the record, here is everything she can say: mama, dada, kitty, doggy, baby, ball, bubbles, more, cheers, this, shoes, bottle, water, that, hi, bye-bye, night-night, and banana.  Right now she uses the word “baby” for just about everything.  It’s her favorite word and we probably hear it 50 times a day.

E has been eating really well lately, thank GOD.  We’ve gone almost a week without a night of her throwing her food onto the kitchen floor.  The Ripple milk also continues to be a big success.  We’re up to three ounces in each of her two bottles a day, so we’re pretty much half Ripple milk and half formula at this point.  She enjoys it, she doesn’t react to it negatively in any way, and my bank account has been much happier.  It’s a win all around!

I’ve spent less time perusing the internet for dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free recipes, and instead focusing on making up my own dishes.  I tend to cook with a lot of meat and rice, and nutritional yeast has become a staple in my kitchen.  B bought a block of cheese this weekend for himself, and it’s becoming odd to me to see cheese in my own refrigerator.

IMG_1249

No cheese required: dairy-free lasagna makes her a happy girl.

We did have a bit of a scare this morning.  Before we started using reusable pouches, I accidentally bought one several weeks back that contained yogurt.  Thankfully I double-checked the label at home before giving it to E, but instead of throwing it away like I should have, I tossed it up in a different part of the pantry that was separate from where we used to keep her stockpile of pouches.  This morning I came out of the shower to find E walking around the living room sucking on the yogurt-filled pouch.  I said something to B and he swiped it away from her at lightning speed, and poor E stared at us like we’d done the unthinkable.  Have you ever taken a pouch away from a hungry toddler?  Don’t.  Luckily we had a reusable pouch filled and ready to go in the fridge.

It’s just another reminder that we have to be so careful.  We know milk only causes her to break out in hives, but it could just as easily have been peanuts or peanut butter.  Oof.

In less than two weeks, we’ll be taking E on a trip to see my family.  The first day will be a 7-hour car ride, two days later will be two 3-hour car rides, and two days after that will be another 7-hour ride.  We’re stocking up on DVDs, good snacks, and good music to dance to, but E doesn’t sleep in the car much and I’m looking for ideas for keeping a 15-month-old occupied on a long car trip.  Any ideas?!

Pear, Squash, Apple, and Carrot Puree

Back when I was pregnant, I went berserk on Pinterest saving links to blog posts on how to make your own baby food puree.  You know, those “One hour for one month’s worth of food” type posts?  I was bound and determined to NOT buy Gerber purees.

After E was born:  you’re welcome for all the money, Gerber.  I hope you’re happy.

In a nutshell, the work intimidated me.  Peeling, chopping, measuring, boiling, blending, measuring some more, freezing, thawing.  With a baby to look after.

Now that I’ve purchased the reusable pouches for E, I kind of committed myself to doing it.  I’ve been blown away by how quick and easy it all is, and I’m a bit ashamed I didn’t allow myself to do this months ago.

This recipe is one I came up with because I thought it seemed simple and I didn’t expect that E would go bonkers over it. But she did, so now I’ve deemed it worthy of sharing. This recipe makes about 20-25 ounces of puree, so if you’re the type to make large batches for freezing, you’ll probably want to double it.

pear-squash-apple-carrot

Ingredients:
1 medium pear, peeled and diced
1/2 cup butternut squash, peeled and diced (my grocery store carries packaged raw, pre-diced squash, highly recommend if you can find it)
10 baby carrots
3/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup water

To prepare:

1. Place the pear, squash, and carrot in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil on the stove and let boil for 10-15 minutes until the carrots are soft.

2. Transfer the pear, squash, and carrot into the blender. Add the applesauce and 1/4 cup of water. Puree the mixture, adding more water halfway through if the consistency is too thick.

3. Serve immediately, store in containers, or fill into reusable pouches. Enjoy!

Breakfast can suck it

Can you tell I don’t like breakfast around here?

Let me clarify.  I LOVE breakfast.  It’s my favorite meal of the day.  My breakfast and my coffee make me such a happy woman.

What I don’t like is breakfast for E.

Seriously.  What kind of a breakfast do you give a toddler who can’t have dairy or eggs?  I don’t think many of us sit back and think about how much “breakfast” is centered around dairy and eggs until you can’t have either of them.

So, what kind of breakfasts do I feed this child who can’t have most of the breakfast-y things we’ve all come to know and love?

  • Toast with cashew butter.  Almond butter or sunbutter would probably suffice as well, but man my kid loves cashew butter.
  • Kashi frozen waffles.  Thank you, sweet baby Jesus, for the existence of frozen vegan waffles.
  • Cereal.  It’s surprising how many boxed dry cereals don’t contain milk.  We have the added bonus of having to check for peanuts, but those are rare in breakfast cereals so it’s not usually a hindrance.  The catch here is that E hates cereal in any kind of sub milk.  She’ll take it dry, thank you very much.
  • Fruit.  E will eat her weight in fruit.
  • Oatmeal breakfast “cookies.”  I usually steer clear of breakfast items that require baking because as a working mom, ain’t nobody got time for that.  But these are SUPER quick and easy, and I get to steal some of them so… #worthit.
  • Almond milk yogurt.  We buy the Kite Hill brand because it’s pretty thick (some almond milk yogurts are watery and runny) and it’s got five grams of protein, which is a lot more than many sub milk yogurts.

 

IMG_0973

No bowl needed, just give her the box.

Things I should be able to give E for breakfast that I can’t because she hates them and hits the spoon away:  Cream of Wheat and oatmeal.  E likes oatmeal in things like breakfast cookies, but she doesn’t like it hot off the stove.  These days she will at least take a bite and consider it before refusing more…the first time I gave it to her, she bawled her eyes out like I’d fed her a spoonful of thorns.

Allergy moms and non-allergy moms, what kinds of dairy-free and egg-free things do you feed your babies/kids?

New Things Aplenty

It’s been a week of new things around here.

First, reusable pouches:  Why didn’t I start doing this months ago??!!?!?  They’re awesome.  AWESOME.  I started out simple because I didn’t know how it was going to go.  I made an apple-carrot puree that took about ten minutes and cost, I’m guessing, a whole dollar.  It filled up enough pouches for the entire week and E loves them just the same as the pouches I was buying from the store.  I’m doing a jig, I’m so pleased.  This weekend I’ll probably get a bit more ambitious with my fruit and veg combos now that I know it went over well.

IMG_1243

IMG_1239

Second, Ripple milk.  We’ve only just embarked on this experiment so I can’t give a thorough update.  I can tell you I gave E a sip last night and she didn’t make a face OR spit it out.  I gave her another sip this evening and she actually signed and said “more” and took two more big sips.  That’s a better reaction than any other sub milk I’ve given her.  This morning I mixed one ounce into her bottle of formula and we had no issues.  I’m feeling optimistic about this one, guys.  Did I finally find THE milk????

Third, cookies.  Remember my last update where I was griping about how much my child hates sweets?  Yeah, scratch that.  She discovered *mini* Oreos (and Golden Oreos) and something about tiny cookies makes her go bananas.  She’s a fiend.  And I love it.  I want to feed her cookies three meals a day just because I’m so thrilled about it.

Fourth, geese and squirrels.  We went to the park last night and the squirrels were running amok and E laughed hysterically over them.  We also encountered a goose, which made E squeal with delight while I stood behind her praying to the goose gods that sucker didn’t lash out and attack us.

Geese are mean.  Cute, but mean.

Before I close up to do my yoga for the night, let’s talk about underwear for a minute.  My underwear.  E thinks it’s pretty fun to get into my clothes hamper and carry my underwear all around the house.  And she leaves them in random places, like in the doorway to the laundry room.

Toddlers are weird.

I can’t even

Sometimes E is such a cute toddler it almost hurts.  She waves good morning to the cats. She does “cheers” with her sippy cup.  She tries to share her bottles with me.  She wiggles her butt to any kind of music.  She points at things she’s not allowed to play with and shakes her head “no.”  She cries when I won’t let her take her books to bed.  I can’t even. Everything she does makes me melt.

Except the occasional temper tantrum, over something like not letting her play in the toilet.  Or even better, over no identifiable reason at all.  But give me five minutes to recover and I’ll still find a way to make it sound cute.

tantrum.png

It amazes me how from day to day, it doesn’t seem like she changes much.  But if I think back to a full week ago, she’s learned so much since then.  She’s a different human being.  If I think back a full month ago, my mind is blown.

Food has been getting easier.  Not easy, but easier.  I’m finally becoming comfortable with the fact that some of the recipes I make don’t have to be free of dairy or eggs; sometimes I can make things that call for milk and eggs and I can just substitute those ingredients.  I’ve also accepted that when I substitute these items, it will NOT taste the same as it would with the real deal.  Once I let go of that expectation, I started enjoying the things I cook much more.  After all, E doesn’t know anything different, and she loves the food I cook.

Speaking of which, I made vegan mac and cheese and it actually freaking tasted like cheese.  E ate it for lunch for four days straight.  VICTORY!

I also made vegan brownies (from a mix) and she HATED them.  She took a bite and immediately spit it out.  Seriously, is this my kid?!  Who doesn’t like brownies?!?!?!

For the record, I thought they were amaze-balls.  I might have eaten about half the pan.

brownies