marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
I hate when I go out to do errands after dinner and I notice I have a spot of soup on my shirt...and it's from lunch.

marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Through a concerted effort in both cleaning and shopping today, I have created a situation in which a person could open my fridge and actually want to eat or drink the things found therein; further, they could do so with a high likelihood of not dying as a result of doing so.  This is a new and unusual status for my fridge; we'll see how long it lasts.

The problem with growing up in a household of 6-12 people (varying over the years) is that it creates an expectation that anything one places in the fridge will be eaten within a day and a half.  Apparently it doesn't work like that.  Or so I am informed by the tartar sauce I just threw out, which while it could not actually talk yet, was displaying signs of incipient sentience.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
I thought the company cafe would be open today, so I came to work without packing a lunch, figuring to get a salad and use my soy-free salad dressing on it. DOH. Cafe is closed. Many places near work are closed. Chances of obtaining allergen-free lunch are basically nil. So, if I'm going to have the sniffles all evening, I may as well enjoy myself first, right? Yes. So I got fish & chips from O'Callaghan's, which is a pub-type place in the neighborhood. Without me asking, they included all of the following along with the meal: tartar sauce, ketchup, vinegar, lemon, salt, pepper, and a fortune cookie.

I virtuously threw away the lemon but am having everything else. Fish & chips FTW! Um, and benadryl even more FTW.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (spock-beer)
The problem with lemon is that it's delicious and makes many many things taste better; also citrus fruits are full of vitamins, so lemons are totally yay in every way.  This makes avoiding them for allergy reasons a HUGE PAIN IN THE ASS.  

I stopped drinking Diet Coke, because of the cinnamon and the - of course - lemon.  Also no sprite, none of basically any soda that is normal.  The soda I have been drinking every couple of days so that I don't die of sadness over the lack of soda is Goose Island Concord Grape soda.  It is delicious and is made with cane sugar and the always-mysterious "natural flavors."  I foolishly assumed that it was flavored with grape, but no matter where I look all I can get is "natural flavors."   Which, 90% of the time, appears to mean they threw some lemon in there at some point just for good measure, because LEMON IS DELICIOUS.  Stupid delicious lemons.

It's still just a theory, but since I seem to get incredibly congested, sneezy, and heartburnny 20 minutes after I drink one of these, I'm thinking there's something to it. I initially thought it was something in the food I was eating (since I drink a soda with a meal, it can be hard to pin down) but at this point I think I have it isolated, which means I have to stop drinking the yummiest grape pop ever.  DRAT.

Every other soda type thing I look at has the same "natural flavors" bullshit on it, unless it comes right out and says lemon/lime or orange or grapefruit.  STUPID UNIVERSALLY YUMMY CITRUS FRUITS.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Anyone using a bread machine out there?  We used one years ago, but it made these weird giant square loaves that would dry out in 4 hours (but were yummy up until then).  Since I have to get my bread right now from a bakery that's 20 minutes from home, I'm thinking it might be a good idea to get a new one that makes normal-looking loaves, or use the old one for all the pre-bake stuff and then bake the loaf in a traditional pan in the oven, or...something.  Ideas?
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
I went out to the grocery on my lunch break and found some happy-making soy-free stuff. Packaged food FTW!

Plum sauce [YAY STIR FRY]
Oyster sauce [YAY MORE STIR FRY]
Duck sauce (aka apricot-type sweet & sour) [YAY get the idea]
Rice vinegar [YAY SUSHI]
Almond biscotti [YAY COOKIES]
Organic blue corn chips [corn chips do not rate a yay, but these are good]
Weetabix cereal [YAY NOSTALGIA as this was what I ate in England when I was a wee expat for a couple of years]

I also found that Hellman's makes a canola-oil mayo, but it has lemon juice in it, so that's out because of the citrus allergy. Dang. Fortunately guacamole makes a lovely substitute for mayo on sandwiches.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Unfortunately, soy turns out to be one of those foods that some people find inherently evil, which makes it difficult to glean useful information from the internet about soy allergy management.

I quote from a comment on a discussion of soy lecithin (a derivative of soybean oil):

"If it was supposedly extracted from a natural substance and converted into an artificial substance then I can gurantee it is harmful. Why do you think they use so little of it at a time. They use it in small candy bars, lolipops, gummy bears and mainly small things so when you start feeling these random aches and twitches in your body, you won’t think it was from the small candy bar..."

Those damn sneaky gummy bears, giving me arthritis in my sleep!



Oct. 8th, 2010 11:17 am
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (cthulaid)
Ok, so yesterday's doctor verdict means that I can't drink Diet Coke any more, and I can't drink Earl Grey tea either because of the bergamot oil.  I'm never going to be a real milk drinker, even if my tolerance improves with better asthma control, so I typically don't drink breakfast teas.  Right now I'm going with Darjeeling for my caffeine fix, but I'm interested in something a little more flavorful (but no citrus or cinnamon, b/c of allergy).  For herb tea, I generally don't like herb teas--maybe they're bitter? --but I am fond of Rooibos tea.  I also haven't managed to find an iced tea that I like, but maybe Rooibos will be good cold.

So tell me, O internets, what are some good teas?  Varieties, brands, etc?  Feel free to include teas that don't fit my allergy profile, since other tea drinkers will be interested in recs too.  Also tips for brewing, although I'm pretty well hooked on my Senseo coffee hot water maker.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (spock-beer)
I've been craving a jumbo chili cheese dog for a while, so I asked the folks at Portillo's on Clark to make me one with no bun--just stick it in a bowl and put chili and cheese on it  (Eating cheese is cheating but some foods I can cheat with and it all turns out ok as long as the histamine cops don't find out).   I got a few weird looks and one high-five from the folks behind the counter, and I sat down with my fork & knife and had a wheatless chili cheese dog with fries and a diet coke, and it was AWESOME.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (charlie-washcloth)
He is dubious but I convince him to try a taste of ketchup off of my pinky...


More pics... )
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (charlie-washcloth)
Because of his allergies, Charlie's only ever had 2 flavors of yogurt before this week.  Nowadays he can tolerate more fruits so I decided to give him Strawberry yogurt instead of the usual vanilla.

Me: Look Charlie, it's a new flavor, it's yummy!

Charlie: (tries it cautiously)

Charlie: yum yum!

I feed him half a container of yogurt, which he gobbles up (he can feed himself but yogurt is soooo sloppy I usually do it for him; bad mommy)

Me: Look, there's a piece of fruit in this bite, it's called a Strawberry.

Charlie: (takes bite) (look of alarm)
(pushes tongue out of his mouth bearing an entirely yogurt-free piece of Strawberry)
(grabs piece of Strawberry and throws it)

Me: Ok, sorry, you don't like that, huh?  Here's another bite with no fruit pieces, promise!


Me: Um, ok, do you want some more of your baked beans instead? You're not quite done with those


Me: Ok, so, uh, do you want your Binky now?

Charlie: (snatches Binky out of my hand, sticks it in mouth)
(glares at me)
(plays with toy car on tray of high chair, occasionally giving me dirty looks)

I guess we'll try blueberry next....
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
A week without wheat or oats has done good things for my various immune responses, such that I am reasonably sure that I'm allergic to them (the proteins are very similar so generally if you're allergic to one you're also allergic to the other).  I'll probably follow up with a skin test but for now I'm doing 100% avoidance.  In about 3 weeks I'll try 80% avoidance and see how that goes...that's my normal mode for most of my no-fly-foods list.  The only things I have to avoid 100% are mango, because it appears to give me anaphlaxys, and chocolate, because when I have a piece of chocolate it is a lot like that scene in Trainspotting where Ewan MacGregor, fresh and clean from rehab, takes heroin again.  I cannot only have chocolate 20% of the time, basically, so I have it never.

Anyway, I haven't had any real trouble finding good things to eat this week, since I already have to (80%) avoid cheese, milk, and eggs, which means I don't eat a lot of sandwiches or pasta or whatever anyway.  Chicken, guacamole, corn, and a lot of tortilla chips have kept me happy most evenings, alternating with Chinese takeout.  And soup or salad are fine for lunch...mostly.  However, I am from a culture and tradition that values heavy, stick-to-your-ribs meals, and it appears that if I don't have one of those occasionally--once a week, at a minimum, apparently--I become cranky.  Very cranky.  (Particularly given the lack of good breakfast-in-the-car options--I've been eating freeze-dried apple chips, cashews, that sort of thing, in the mornings.  Adequate but not carb-y. )

So today for lunch I will seek out the traditional foodways of my people, and hie me to the Irish pub up the street and have me some goddamn Shepherd's pie, goddamn it.  Thank God I can still eat potatoes. Why isn't it lunchtime yet!?

Post lunch, ETA:  I am SO much happier after a nice Shepherd's pie, ahhh.  Hooray for Fado!
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (charlie-laugh2)
We took Charlie to the allergist this morning for skin testing.  We've been doing a bit of challenge testing* with some of the foods he'd reacted to when he was 8-12 months old, and getting good results, so we decided it was time for some repeat tests at the doctor.  The experience was horrible--after the stuff was applied to his arm, we had to hold his arm and try to keep him still for 10 minutes while it got itchier and itchier. 10 minutes of screaming and crying later, though, we got a very pleasing result.

Over the course of our intial testing (both at the doctor and at home), we determined that he was allergic to eggs, wheat, oats, strawberries, cherries, plums, peaches, apples, pears, peas, green beans, onions, and possibly white beans and possibly cats (in the non-food sense).

Today's test shows that he is strongly allergic to cats, eggs, and peas; a tiny bit allergic to wheat and plums, and in the clear for the rest.  YAY!  The doc said he can have wheat, just not piles of it, and to bring him back in 4 months for a checkup.  This is so great, I can't even tell you how great, seriously.  For one thing, it means he can eat most of the menu at day care, instead of me having to prep all of his food and snacks etc.  SO GREAT.

Afterr slathering steriods on his arm and giving him a dose of benadryl (they can't have any antihisthamine for 48 hours before the test...a long, cranky 48 hours in his case), we celebrated by going out to brunch.  He had some of his usual hash browns and little-bits-o-steak, but completely turned his nose up at his special new treats--applesauce and toast with strawberry jam.  Toddlers.

*feed small amount to kid & watch carefully, basically
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
A breaded chicken cutlet with bacon, lettuce, and tomato on a croissant is not a chicken club sandwich.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Charlie's doc says we need to feed him more green veggies, because most of what he eats is yellow/orange, which apparently causes something or other to build up in his skin and make him extra-prone to bruising and suchlike. The things you learn when you have to keep your kid on an extremely limited diet....

Anyway, I'd love some suggestions of what to give him.  He eats Avacados now (which are fruits, and partly yellow, come to think of it) but I think that's it for green foods.  I'll test Asparagus on him next (all foods go through a testing phase to determine if he's allergic before they become a regular part of his diet).  So, we're looking for green veggies that are:

1. not beans or other legumes
2. not stringy or having an extreme texture (eg celery)

If they can be cut into cubes and boiled half to death so they're soft, that's a plus but not essential.   Any ideas? 
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (spock-beer)
After experimenting with a few things, I have come up with a way to make sweet potatoes in a form that Charlie likes and can feed to himself.  (We are working on getting him to eat finger foods, but his allergies make most of the common ones verboten)  These are pretty tasty so I'm sharing the recipe (don't laugh! This is serious cookery, for me, despite it being totally simple for people who actually cook).

Preheat oven to 425 f. 

Peel two sweet potatoes and chop into little cubes.  (The chopping is the most time-consuming part of all this) How little depends on how good your toddler is at chewing & not choking.  I make them about...maybe 1/4 inch across?  Maybe a little bigger.

Mix together:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt

I am lazy and kind of stir these together in the olive oil's measuring cup, which means I don't really put a full 1/4 cup in because of the room taken up by the other stuff, but it seems to work fine.

Dump the sweet potato cubes into a big ziploc bag and then dump in the olive oil & spices.  Seal up the bag and smoosh everything around until the cubes are evenly coated.

Dump the cubes out onto a nonstick cookie sheet.

Cook in oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on how browned/mushy you want them.  20 minutes in my oven (which is the tiny, cupboard-mount variety so may not work like your oven) makes cubes that are solid enough to pick up and hold but mushy enough to eat without proper chewing.  If you care about even cooking you might want to try flipping them with a spatula halfway through--I don't bother with that since I'm not browning them, but I do sometimes stir them up a bit while they cook.

I let them sit on the hot cookie sheet for another 10 minutes or so after I take them out, which probably doesn't really make any difference.  

These keep perfectly well for several days in a ziploc in the fridge.  I zap them in the microwave for about 10 seconds before I give them to him, but I think at daycare he eats them cold and he seems to like them fine either way.

marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (charlie-chair)
As I've often mentioned, Charlie has food allergies.  He also has some motor skill delays.  This makes feeding him a bit of an adventure.  Our goal for a long time was just to identify his allergies and identify foods he could eat safely.  Of particular importance to me as chief food-preparer was to find some commercial baby foods he could eat so I wasn't cooking all the time.  We're finally in a bit of a routine with all of that, which means of course that it's time to change everything around again!  He is still in the infant room at his day care, because in order to move to the toddler room he needs to be able to walk and to feed himself.  So, we're working on the walking in PT (at 15 months it is ok for him not to be walking yet, but before PT he wasn't doing any of the predecessors either--I'll save that for another entry) and now I need to work on transitioning him from purees to finger foods.  He can eat a couple of crunchy snacks unassisted but he'll need to be able to have a whole meal's worth of finger foods by himself every day before he can move up.  So far he reacts to anything mushy by playing with it, but he doesn't try eating it.  He understands the concept of a spoon and can get a couple of bites in his mouth, but he gets frustrated by the complexities and generally moves onto the "throw it on the floor" stage after a few tries.
I'm sort of formulating a plan and I'll be running it by a peds dietician soonish, but first I'm soliciting suggestions and commentary from y'all.  Specifics behind the cut. )
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
1. cook up a batch of Minute Maid instant rice
2. spread on mat in sun; leave until dry.
3. dry some more
4. grind up now-dry rice in mill of some sort
5. mix together rice flour and an equal amount of sawdust
6. maybe throw in some instant potato flakes while you're at it
7. stir in just enough water to make a paste
8. coat a bread-shaped mold with a little PAM spray
9. press paste into mold
10. leave in sun to dry
11. dry some more
12. maybe run the dehumidifier next to it for a while
13. form into "slices" with chisel and mallet
14. freeze and sell for $4.95 per loaf

At least, I assume that's how they make this crap.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Charlie)
Charlie's getting tubes in his ears tomorrow.  The surgery shouldn't be a big deal, but since it's general anesthesia he'll have to fast for a whole lot of hours beforehand.  We can give him clear juice and other clear liquids up until 4 hours before the surgery, which is great except that he's allergic to apples, pears, peaches, and cherries.  Grapes are in the "maybe allergic" category so we're going to let him have a little grape juice and just deal with the rash if he gets one.  (Discovering his allergies is a process of giving him increasing amounts of a substance and waiting a couple days each time to see if he gets a rash or other reaction*.  4 small spoonfuls of pureed cherries, no rash. 6 big spoonfuls a week later, rash all over, plus vomiting.  Good times. Grape juice has passed two rounds.)

It feels very strange to scour the grocery store looking for clear liquids, checking ingredients, and buying only the stuff with NO natural ingredients.  We've came home with "tropical fruit" pedialite, "strawberry" jello, and "grape" kool-aid. I am a 1950's mom! Better living through chemistry!


*neither skin tests nor blood tests are particularly accurate at this age
**note: ad may be fake. I collect vintage ads, but this is not one of mine.

marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
The young hippie guy (ponytail, granola-ish clothes, a little body modding) who was bagging my stuff at the grocery noticed that the bottle for the 100% pure maple syrup was glass, not plastic.

guy: "huh, it's glass, I wonder why?"
me: "maybe that's to make it seem fancy, since it's the pure stuff."
guy: "is that better?"
me: "well, it is if your kid can't have the regular kind. I like the regular stuff better, but it's made of corn syrup and other stuff."
guy, looking puzzled: "then what is this made from?"
me: "trees."
guy: *looks incredulous*
me: "yeah, maple trees."
guy: "oh, wow. Wild!"

April 2013

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