26 Weeks of Muffins, Weeks 4 & 5

I started to giggle as I typed in the title of this blog post.  We’re not even a fifth of the way through the challenge.  On the bright side, last night I threw together a batch of muffins in about ten minutes.  Funny how life offers you the chance to build up your skills in places you never imagined.

For weeks 4 and 5, I did nothing fancy for the muffins for E’s baked milk challenge.  I wanted to be consistent in the recipe so I could keep an eye on any potential reactions after we took a week off to let E’s rashes and GI issues clear up.  I want to say it’s a good thing, even though it’s not, that at the time of her reactions there was a rash going around her day care.  A full-body rash with no other symptoms.  It lasted about three days and then it was gone without a trace.  It doesn’t explain E’s awful bowel movements, but those too cleared up within a week and so far they haven’t returned.  *Knocks on wood until the end of time*

So, next week I’ll be branching out with some new muffin recipes because a mom can only take so many Mt. Sinai allergy challenge muffins before she just longs for something more exotic.

Meanwhile, my kid’s language is exploding.  She knows 85 words and around ten two-word phrases.  She regularly says “daddy’s juice,” which is both Gatorade and Coke, and she likes to differentiate between mommy’s and daddy’s cars and shoes.  She’s starting to help me count and puts her fingers up for the numbers 1 and 5 (but none in between). Every day she seems to learn new words and communicate just a little bit more clearly to us.  It’s the most incredible thing to witness.

We’re also working on time outs.  E can throw one hell of a temper tantrum.  Tonight when it happened because I told her it was time to put the Kindle away, I sat her in a corner of the room and made her sit for one minute.  She tried to walk away once about ten seconds in, so I made her go back and started the timer over.  Unfortunately, it only made her madder and the only way I got her to calm down was to sit her on the rocker in her bedroom by herself with a couple of books.

Clearly I’m not so good at time outs yet.  I’ll have to try a few different methods and see what works best.

One last thing–can I just say I was blown away tonight when E refused to eat anything I offered to her, until I handed her a carrot?  I knew there was a veggie lover deep down inside somewhere in that girl.

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26 Weeks of Muffins: Week 1

It’s been just over a week since E’s failed baked milk challenge at the allergist’s office. For the next six months, we’ve been instructed to give E half a muffin three times a week in order to help her build up a tolerance for baked milk.  The muffins need to be fresh, so I’ll be baking a new batch every week.  Did you do the math?  That’s 26 batches of muffins before E’s next blood testing.

B is thrilled because he usually buys a package of fresh-baked muffins at the grocery store each week to eat for breakfast.  He’s really, really into muffins.  Out of every dozen muffins I make, E only gets one and a half–so B gets the rest because this mama is trying to ditch her sweet tooth.

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I’m also keeping a log of each muffin I give to E so I can discuss reactions/non-reactions with the allergist.

  • 7/23/2017:  Dime-sized rash on one cheek
  • 7/25/2017:  Quarter-sized light pink rashes on each cheek several hours after consuming
  • 7/28/2017:  No reaction
  • 7/30/2017:  [Jeopardy music]

Of course, I have to share all of the recipes I’m trying.  Most of them will require modifications for E’s other allergies, so I’ll link to the recipe and note what I did differently to accommodate little miss.

This week:  Amish Cinnamon Muffins

THESE ARE SO GOOD.  The muffin tops are incredible–super fluffy and just slightly crispy on the edges.  Oh em eff gee.

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Modifications:  subbed egg with flax egg, and subbed butter with Smart Balance (Original).  I still struggle with flax eggs in certain recipes–especially meatloaf/meatballs/etc.–but for muffins I’ve been successful so far by using a little less water than most flax egg recipes call for.  Typically the flax meal to water ratio is 1 TBSP:3 TBSP, but I’ve found doing about 2.5 TBSP of water is perfect.

Also, this recipe called for buttermilk, regular milk with vinegar, or just regular milk.  I used plain whole milk.

I’m drooling as I write this post.

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If you have a favorite muffin recipe, please feel free to share!  I might as well take this opportunity to try some new things and add as much variety as I can to E’s bland-ish diet.

Updates galore

Since my last post promised an update on the toddler protein powder, I should start there:

IT SUCKS.

Well, I don’t know if it sucks.  I refuse to try it.  It creates what looks like dirt water and E hates it.  We tried giving it to her straight, mixing it with almond milk, sneaking a small amount into her formula bottles–she can detect this stuff from a mile away.  She’s not having it.  So we’re on to plan B.  I’m still working out “plan B” in my head and doing lots of really odd Google searches, but baby steps amiright?

On the bright side, we’re making some great progress with alternative milk cooking methods.  Oat milk has become a staple in our pantry.  I’m going to do a bit more with rice milk this week and I’m actually excited about it!

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On the peanut allergy side of things, I’ve noticed my anxiety is much higher these days.  E’s day care called me last week to ask if they could give her some Tylenol for her molars coming in; but when their phone number flashed on my caller ID, my heart started beating so fast because the first thing I thought was, Oh no, did they have to use her EpiPen?  That same night, I noticed some hives on E’s tummy when I was putting her pajamas on.  She’s an allergy baby all around so it could have been anything; but when I noticed she slept for several hours in the same position without moving (she moves around a LOT in her sleep), I started to worry it had been worse than just a rash when I put her to bed.  Because when you have a kid with severe food allergies, you just never know.  Of course I’d been over-paranoid and E was just fine, but I’m trying not to feel silly about it.  I feel like if I go even one moment without taking it seriously, that’s when something will happen.

fullsizerender-17Allergies aside, E is loving life.  She’s working insanely hard to stand up on her own without holding on to anything; she can pull herself into a squat position on both feet but then she falls to her butt.  She inherited a push walker from a friend of mine and she spends about half of her awake time at home pushing it around the house.  E’s communication skills are getting better every day.  She shakes her head no to things she doesn’t want, she starts to wave and say “bye bye” (pronounced “dye dye”) whenever we start getting our coats and shoes on, and she’s finally started to obey when we say the word “no.”  Lastly, we just survived E getting two molars and two front teeth at the same time–it was a brutal week, but we got through it and there is a night and day difference in her mood.  Even though it was rough, I’m relieved we got four over with at the same time!

For those of you who are interested, I’ve started a “Recipes” page where I will list links to all of the dairy/egg/peanut-free recipes we’ve tried and loved.  So far there are only a few, but my hope is that over time it will grow and grow, and that maybe eventually I can add some of my own to this list.

Table Food for the Allergy Baby

E’s former doctor referred to her as the “allergy baby.”  It’s true, E does have a lot of known allergies…already…and unfortunately, two of those allergies are to dairy and eggs.  E is over ten months old now which means she’s getting a couple of “meals” of solid food every day.  Recently E graduated from purees to table foods, but at times this is proving to be a challenge. A lot of my mom friends give their babies cheese cubes, cottage cheese, yogurt, and scrambled or hard-boiled eggs.  I can’t do that.  In fact, I can’t even give E a piece of bread to nibble on without first scrutinizing the label to ensure there are no “hidden” dairy ingredients.

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So, what do I give miss E when she can’t have a lot of the soft, yummy foods babies her age are typically eating?  Here are her current favorites:

  • Pasta.  This girl LOVES pasta.  She’ll eat it plain, but I like to drizzle it in a little olive oil and lightly sprinkle some salt on it for some flavor.  Eventually I’ll make some dairy-free sauces for it, but for now she’s perfectly content with the minimal-effort version.
  • Cheerios.  These are her absolute favorite.
  • English muffins.  Not all of them are dairy-free, but I did find some safe ones at Trader Joe’s and E is a big fan.
  • Almond milk yogurt.  Although E also has a peanut allergy, tree nuts aren’t a problem.  I wasn’t a fan of the almond milk yogurt, but E has a different opinion.  We buy the Almond Dream brand and she can’t get enough.
  • Olives.  I buy the pre-sliced canned olives and cut them in half.
  • Canned fruits and veggies.  For the fruit, I only buy it in 100% juice, not the syrup.  These are nice because they’re super soft and I don’t have to be peeling, slicing, and steaming things to make them soft enough for her to chew.
  • Plum Organics Super Puffs.  When I show E the bottle, she knows exactly what I’m about to give her and she dances out of excitement.  Best baby snack ever!
  • Ground turkey.  Plain.  Sounds boring but E loves it.
  • Shredded chicken.  Plain.  Sometimes this baby makes it too easy for me.
  • Watermelon.  Easy to chew and also good for the days when E is being stubborn about drinking her water.

I should probably mention that we’ve tried oatmeal…twice…and both times, E hated it so much she sobbed uncontrollably until she was positive I wouldn’t try giving her another bite.

E’s next round of allergy testing is in one month.  We’ll find out if she’s grown out of any of her allergies (FINGERS CROSSED!) and if she hasn’t, we’ll be able to do some bake tests and things to find out if she can tolerate small amounts in recipes.  Until then, we’ll keep experimenting and reading labels and growing this list!