Tag Archives: healthy

And Then There Was Sesame…

Are you kidding me 2019? That was the first thing I thought of when we were leaving the allergist’s office that Monday morning in January. Really… sesame…another allergy to add to the mix.

Like I wrote about in “Some Days Just Stink,”

we had just learned that …

  • TJ’s allergy levels for this year had pretty much remained the same unlike the previous few years.
  • That he would be going into kindergarten with dairy, egg and peanut allergies.
  • Then, Madison had unsuccessfully tried straight milk with her allergist the week before. This was her final step in being able to eat anything!!!

I felt blessed that soon I would have one child who could eat whatever I ate… could eat anything at parties or play dates or restaurants …. but then …

sesame struck …

 

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Now, three times in the summer Madison had tried hummus and loved it. However, all three times her cheeks got a little red and irritated. The third time her mouth got itchy so we knew it was something to avoid and ask the allergist about.

In January, the skin test showed what we expected although we prayed and hoped for the opposite:

She had an allergy to sesame and needed to avoid it until next year when we could retest in skin and blood work.

Are you kidding me 2019? Another allergy added to the mix… and so I allowed myself the next day or two to be bummed and annoyed. But like anything, those 48 hours of sulking was enough. It was time to turn it around.

Sesame is the 9th most common allergy in the United States. However, it is one that is usually not labeled, since only the top 8 need to be. However, sesame can be sneaky.

(Sesame Allergy Post from 2015)

We are no strangers to s sense allergy as TJ once had it too. But since passing his sesame food challenge a couple years ago, he must keep it in his weekly diet 2-3 times a week. (The same protocol is used with all his past allergens.)

While TJ now loves hummus, Madison has her own favorite dip. Sesame free hummus is always an option (look for upcoming post) but also guacamole. We love organic Yucatan guacamole. But here is a simple recipe totally kid-friendly and adaptable to all taste buds.

Ingredients:

2 avocados (mashed)

1/2 of a lime (squeeze out the juice)

1 teaspoon cilentro

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon salt to taste

1-2 tablespoons organic salsa of your choice (amount depends on how large the avocados are)

Directions:

  1. Mix the lime juice with the mashed avocado

  2. Add the rest of the ingredients

  3. For added flavor for adults, add some cayenne and cilantro to the top.

Easy enough to not leave too much of a mess behind and totally not miss sesame one bit.

 

Blissful Banana Bread

Who doesn’t love a good baked bread especially when it involves bananas. Here is one of our simple favorites.

 

Ingredients:

First Bowl:

1.5 cups of flour

1.5 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

Second Bowl:

2 mashed bananas

1/3 cup of applesauce

1/2 cups of sugar

1/4 cup cooking oil (We use melted coconut oil, but have used others.)

1/4 cup dairy free chocolate chips (optional but a favorite)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a loaf pan. We use Earth’s Balance.
  3. Mix in all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the middle of it.
  4. Mix the second set of ingredients in a separate bowl or even directly into the well of the first bowl.
  5. Then mix together everything thoroughly.
  6. Add in dairy free chocolate chips.
  7. Pour mixture into the greased pan.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes.  Test with a toothpick.
  9. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • We prefer Pyrex but have learned (the hard way) to be careful when taking out glass from the oven.  Do not place directly from the oven onto the cool surface like the counter.  It can explode!

Now, let me try to get to that counter…

 

Butternut Squash Soup

While I don’t always eat it, I love soup and get into little kicks of making it every weekend.  Since it has been unbearably cold lately, soups have stolen the spot from salads as my lunch.

After some experimenting, here is my new favorite butternut squash soup recipe.

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Total Time: an hour

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

3 cups vegetable stock/ vegetable broth

Olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 apple, cored and chopped

1 yellow onion

1-2 butternut squashes (I usually use 1.5 for the soap and the other .5 for another meal)

2 garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sage

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

optional – nutmeg

1/2- 1 cup of So Delicious boxed unsweetened coconut milk

1 bag of riced cauliflower

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut the butternut squash in halves and sprinkle lightly with olive oil. Place face down in the oven for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees or until soft.
  2. Chop the other vegetables.
  3. Saute the onions and garlic with some olive oil for 3-5 minutes. (Optional)
  4. Add the vegetable stock or broth, carrots, onion, apple, and all the spices into a pot on the stove.   Cook on a medium heat for about 30 minutes.
  5. When the butternut squash is done.   Spoon out the squash and put into the pot on the stove.
  6. Mix in the coconut milk.
  7. Blend it all in a blender.  Our favorite is the Vitamix.
  8. After it is all blended, pour back into the original pot and add the rice cauliflower for texture until it is warmed up and ready to go.
  9. Add some paprika and cilantro to the top or even some crumbled organic turkey bacon (Optional)
  10. Enjoy!

Delicious! Now, I am excited for my lunch for the next couple days and the best part is…. with a crazy busy week coming up, I don’t need to do a single thing but heat it up.

Do you have a favorite soup? If so, what kind?  I am always up for a new soup recipe to try out.

 Give this one a try, but of course modify it to your dietary needs and taste buds.  It will not disappoint even on a counter that still needs to be cleared…

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Replacements Over Recipes

We spent a lot of that first year or two after TJ’s diagnosis, avoiding, avoiding, and more avoiding. It was easier and safer for us to just do our own thing and not have to worry about food allergies, skin reactions, cross contamination, and other people’s ignorance to it. However, despite what I once believed, avoiding was not the best option for us.

Let me explain…

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To start, we are homebodies who like to get out sometimes. Since TJ still has not eaten food other than what we’ve made or bought, we make sure to be prepared beforehand. This may mean…packing his favorite foods, contacting the parent before a birthday party or a family member before a family gathering or holiday.

For preschool, I ask for a monthly list of special events where treats would be given or food would be present. We also kept a bag of Oreos, a treat he rarely has but loves, for the times that somehow slip through the cracks or an impromptu kind of party.

Whatever it is, it helps us ensure that we have alternatives that are dairy, egg and peanut free and that TJ is included as much as possible.

(Look for an upcoming post on some of our favorite store-bought party options for when baking does not fit into our schedule.)

In all the allergy free recipes we’ve tried, TJ and I have had the most success with replacing ingredients, instead of full recipes. Here is what I mean:

You can make anything just as tasty, if not tastier peanut, egg and dairy free or whatever allergen you have… it just calls for some creativity.

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To start, we like to find actual recipes that contain even his allergies and then we replace with safe products and work our magic.

One of our creations in 2018 was stuffing for Thanksgiving but it would be delicious to add to any dinner throughout the year. Our entire family devoured it too. Of course, letting TJ have his portion first.

Here is the beauty:

Stuffing

(Dairy, Egg & Peanut Free)

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Oven temperatures: 300 degrees then 350 degrees

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 of a loaf of organic honey bread
  • 4 Tablespoons – organic Earth’s Balance spread
  • 3/4 cup of diced celery
  • 3/4 cup of diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 package of turkey sausage (We used Applegate’s chicken and apple version)
  • 1 and 1/4 cup of vegan vegetable stock (We used the Kitchen Basics brand.)
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sage
  • 1 Tablespoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Chop bread into cubes and toast the bread cubes in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  2.  Once out of the oven, turn the oven to 350 degrees.  Melt Earth’s Balance then saute onions, celery and garlic until soft.  (about 10 minutes)
  3. Add veggies to bread cubes in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Don’t wash pan, but remove the veggies, and add sausage and cook.  Then, cut it into bite-size pieces.
  5.  Add chicken or vegetable broth/stock, applesauce, and the spices to bread cube mixture.   Mix until moist.
  6. Transfer into a greased oven pan/tray.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes.

 
Let us know what you think. Let us know if and how you switched it up and made it your own.  We hope you enjoy!

And remember even though our kitchen counter may never be cleared off, we are continuing to smile our way through the mess one recipe at a time…

 

stuffing

TIPSy TUESDAYS: Find Your Trusted Village

While we have all heard the proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child,” have we ever thought about how this not only applies to children.   If you really think about it, we all need a “village” to live to the fullest.   As much as many of us try to do everything ourselves and not ask for help, it is not healthy or realistic.   Even though maybe of us know this fact, we continue on trying to achieve the impossible.   Why is that ?

In my own life, since the days of being a stubborn little girl wanting to do everything all by myself to now being in my thirties, I try to handle situations on my own.   I don’t like to pester others with my problems plus independence is quite empowering. I’ve always known that this is not the way it should be.   However, I carried on until now. While I will post more about this past month later in the week, I have learned firsthand that we all need a village of people we trust.  This includes not only family and friends, but also trusted doctors and support staff who know us well. Well enough to direct our steps when life throws battle after battle…challenge after challenge…”mystery” after “mystery” at us…

We did an amazing job of finding my son an amazing village. In addition to having remarkably supportive family and friends, we found others who genuinely care, guide, and have his best interest in mind. So far, they include:

√  An amazing pediatrician

√  Other pediatricians in her group that we also trust

√  A great allergist

 √  Day care staff and teachers who genuinely look out for TJ

However, in doing that, I forgot to devise my own village.  I guess that is part of being a parent.   You forget about yourself.   And honestly, I didn’t mind it at all until my own health issues arose and I found myself running in circles and circles seeking answers…and Google sure didn’t help either!

While I too have incredible family and friends, I have been blessed to not have to see doctors very often except for routine physicals.   I have an amazing ENT, great chiropractors, and gynecologists that all know me very well at this point.   I trust them and it takes a lot to get me to trust these days.  However, one important figure missing from my village was and is a trusted primary doctor.  The one I have been seeing is never available to see me when I go and so I usually just see whoever is available that day in her group.   This was never a problem until recently when I needed that missing part of the equation. I learned this lesson the hard way. Therefore, I have been actively looking to find a great primary doctor and have made an appointment with a new one soon.

While my tip this week is not directly related to food allergies and my son, it is a crucial one for everyone. By focusing on making some necessary additions to my village and ensuring my own health, I can best continue to do the same for my son.   With that being said, we smile on with the help of our developing team, our trusted village…

 

creativity is Intelligence having fun