Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dairy-Free, Egg Free Sausage Gravy Recipe

Yesterday evening I was searching around the kitchen trying to figure out what we were going to have for dinner. Being that it's almost time to go grocery shopping the cupboards were looking a little thin. I decided I had enough stuff on hand to make breakfast for dinner and it turned out pretty good. One of the things I made was biscuits and gravy. Not exactly lo-cal but yummy. As I was making it I figured maybe someone new to food allergies might like the recipe so here goes!

Dairy-Free Sausage Gravy
what you need:
-1 lb. ground sausage
-2 cups rice milk(regular not vanilla)
-about a cup of flour, give or take
-salt and pepper
-a pan
-um, oh yeah, a stove to cook it on would be nice too :)
-dairy-free store bought biscuits(I used Pillsburys Crescent rolls last night because that was what I had on hand!) Always check your labels!

O.k brown your ground sausage in the pan until no longer pink. Drain, but save the grease. Set aside cooked sausage in a bowl(whoops you need a bowl too!) return grease to the pan. On medium heat slowly add flour to the grease stirring constantly until it is thick, but not clumpy. Then slowly add the rice milk, stirring continously, until it looks like a thick soup. Salt and pepper to taste. Fold in your sausage that you set aside and voila', yummy sausage gravy! Serve hot over biscuits!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Allergies and Laundry

Along time ago, back when we were first learning about allergies, my son had a severe case of eczema. We went through many "remedies", homemade and store bought, before we figured out what worked for him and now our newest addition. Basically, we have found that removing as many allergens as, humanly, possible from their diet and environment, plus using mild soaps and detergents, and cutting back bathing to every other day(when possible) helps tremendously with their severely dry, and itchy, skin. Now there are many great allergy free products out there that I hear work wonderfully, but I have used very few of them. I found them expensive and several caused their eczema to get worse. A friend suggested a long time ago to switch to ivory soap. I did and haven't gone back since. I buy it by the caseload because not only do we all bathe with it but I make our laundry detergent out of it too. Sounds like a hassle doesn't it? That's what I thought until I started making it myself and realized it only takes about 1/2 an hour to make laundry detergent that lasts me about two months. Also, I can make it for pennies of what the store bought detergent costs! Bonus, huh? Wanna try it? Here's the recipe I use, it's from a great forum called Welltellme.com:

Stuff needed:
2 bars of Ivory soap(I hear Dove is also very mild)
5 gallon bucket
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of WASHING Soda (not to be confused with baking soda!)
cheese grater
large utensil to stir (BBQ utensils work great for this)

O.k. to get started take your two bars of soap and shred them with the cheese grater.
Next, place them in your pot and cover the pieces with water. Heat on low, stirring continuously, until ALL the soap is dissolved. This takes a while but be patient it is worth it!
When that is completed fill your 5 gallon bucket 3/4 full with HOT water, add Borax and Washing Soda, stir until dissolved.
Add your soap to the mix and stir, top off with additional water, if you have room!

It is ready to be used as is but will be watery. If you let it "set" up for about 24 hours it will gel up and it looks kind of cool. I use about 1/2 cup per load of laundry and it works great. You don't get the fresh, flowery, smell when you use this laundry soap, I kind of miss that but the fragrances used in the store bought detergents are a big part of the problem for us. Anyhoo, I hear white distilled vinegar makes a good rinse, but I haven't tried that. In place of dryer sheets I use dryer balls. These make your clothes and towels just as soft as the bottled or box softeners. I couldn't believe it when I tried them, but they really do work. You can get them at Wal-mart or Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Yummy Dairy Free Smoothie

O.k. smoothies have long been a favorite in our house. They are a great, nutritional, breakfast or quick snack. We have experimented with many recipes, some dismal failures, but now have a tried and true basic recipe. Here goes:

1/2 cup juice
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
Approximately 1 cup fresh/frozen fruit
3 or 4 ice cubes (delete if using frozen fruit)

Add all liquid to blender, mix in fruit(adding slowly if using frozen) blend until smooth, delicious!

Diaper Woes!!

When I began this journey of motherhood 15 years, or so, ago there was much I didn't know. While, I don't know probably a tenth of what I need to I'm learning new things all the time. One thing I realized, lately, is that each of my children are different. They have different likes, and dislikes, they react differently to the same situation and also present different symptoms to the same type of illness. With the recent birth of my third child it has been a joy to get to know her and her sweet little personality. One thing has presented me with a new challenge, though. I think she is sensitive to fragrances of all types. Recently this has manifested itself in the diapers she has been wearing. We received a lot of diapers as gifts and for the first two months of her life enjoyed the economic benefit of them. As I was using up the last package of them I realized I would have to start purchasing my own. Now when it comes to diapers I've always purchased Luvs for my children believing them to be the best buy for the money. So, the next time I went to the store I purchased a new bag(?) of them. When the last of the gifted diapers ran out I, of course, started using the new diapers I'd purchased and with in a day she had a rash! I had a few of the other diapers still left in the diaper bag and I took them out to see if I could tell a difference between them and the Luvs, something that would make her break out and develop blisters on her hiney and when I did I noticed that the other diapers didn't smell. Now mind you these were unused diapers but the Luvs have a very distinct, fresh baby, kind of smell. But the others had no discernable smell to them at all. So, I packed up the Luvs and bought some more of the other diapers and with in a couple of days, no rash!! Yeah! Anyway, I was doing a little research online about allergies and diapers and such and found out that really cloth is best but if you use disposable it really is just a matter of what your baby is sensitive to. Now this isn't a debate on all the icky stuff used to make diapers vs. cloth and the environment,or even Luvs vs. any other brand of diapers, just one mom's experience in discovering what doesn't work for her baby! To read about some other mom's experiences with diapers and which ones worked best for them, and why, click here!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to School with Allergies!

Well, today was the first official day back to school for my children. Things were hectic around here this morning, to say the least! Can you believe one of the things I let slip under my radar this year was addressing my sons allergies with his new teacher? I realized last night at open house I had yet to do that and with all the other new students and their parents vying for my son's new teacher's attention, it was obvious that was not the time to do it! So learn from my mistake and address this much earlier on! If I was going to do this over I would 1. set up an appointment with my son's new teacher and other staff members that will be responsible for his care. 2. make sure I have all his prescriptions up to date, and 3. come up with an action plan, a sort of expectations I have for his teacher and others to follow should he have a reaction. I found these free, downloadable, forms from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network to help me. 4. This is a no brainer, but here goes: Take the medications and action plan to the appointment and clearly explain my expectations to those who will be providing his care. Grab your action plan forms here!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Yummy Dairy Free/Egg Free Chocolate Chip Cookies!!

Over the weekend we all got a hankering for some chocolate chip cookies. With my son's food allergies making desserts has long been a challenge, especially desserts that everyone likes, so he can feel included! Well, I "found" a cookie recipe that was a hit with everyone and if I didn't tell you, I bet you wouldn't have guessed it was dairy/egg free either! So if you're in the mood for a little baking check out this recipe from Mother's Click, delicious!

Makes 2 1/2 - 3 doz.(small cookies, if you don't eat some of the dough!)

Ingredients with measurements:
1 c. dairy-free margarine*
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. soy milk or rice milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 c. unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In large mixing bowl, cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add rice or soy milk and cream. Mix in vanilla extract.

Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to the creamed ones. Fold in dairy free chocolate chips.

Drop by spoonful on to a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Let cool on wire racks. Yumm!

*For the butter substitute I used Earth Balance from my local health food store. For the chocolate chips I used a brand called Tropical Source by Sunspire that are dairy and gluten free, always check your own labels though. Enjoy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Milk by Another Name

A friend of my daughters recently was diagnosed with milk allergies,among others. Talking with her about what to do to get started reminded me when reading food labels that milk is not always listed as just milk. When looking at ingredients in the products you buy keep an eye out for these:

Ammonium/calcium/magnesium/potassium/sodium caseinate
Casein/caseinate/rennet casein
Delactosed/demineralized whey
Dry milk/milk/sour cream/sour milk solids
Hydrolyzed casein, hydrolyzed milk protein
Lactalbumin/lactalbumin phosphate
Milk derivative/fat/protein
Modified milk ingredients
Opta™, Simplesse ® (fat replacers)
Whey, whey protein concentrate

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list but should get you started!