Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WIAW- Allergy Free Eating

Lyric will be 6 weeks old on Friday and I just don't know where the time has gone! At his one month check up he weighed 10lbs 13oz and was 22 1/4" long. I love this big guy!

What I don't love is all the foods I have had to cut out of my diet. It's totally worth not having an upset colicky baby, though. So far, what I've cut out has been caffeine, all dairy, soy, eggs and chocolate. This includes any processed foods that contain any of these ingredients. Omitting theses items seems to be a good system, and honestly I feel better NOT eating them! It was difficult at first to rethink my recipes, but after a week or so, it has been easier. Also, I have found a bunch of great recipes around the blogging realm! Here are some dairy, soy, and egg free meals we have found to love just as much as the non allergy friendly meals.

*Some of these recipes are NOT gluten free, however you can sub the regular flour for a gluten free one if you choose. I have not tested them as such, though.

Pumpkin Pancakes

It took me a couple tries to make a good pancake. At first I tried to change a recipe I had and I couldn't get them to cook all the way through. Then I found this recipe at Allergy Free Cooking Baby! and it turned out perfect!

Turkey Tacos with Spanish Rice

I love Mexican food! We have these tacos almost once every week. Super simple! I will have to post the recipe soon! Usually I make my Spanish rice from scratch but I had a box mix that I used here. It was allergy free, a plus! I never use a premixed taco seasoning anymore either. I always make it from scratch. It's very easy!

Venison steak with roasted sweet potatoes and green beans

Just what it sounds like! We like to season our steaks with Emeril's Essence and cook them on the grill. (Yes even in the winter!) 

Dairy Free Pot Pie

One of my Pinterest search finds! I am loving this blog! She has a ton of great dairy free recipes! We loved this chicken pot pie. I used coconut oil instead of the Earth Balance butter because that is what I had and it still turned out great. I should say, the pastry sheets do "contain 2% or less of eggs". It didn't seem to bother the baby, though. Recipe from Milk Free Mom.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with mashed potatoes and carrots

When I made this, I didn't have Earth Balance butter so I used coconut oil a lot in this dish. I used this recipe for the pork loin (without the apples). For the mashed potatoes I used coconut oil and unsweetened coconut milk. For the gravy, I used some pan drippings from the tenderloin and a little coconut oil, flour and coconut milk. Note: my husband didn't like the gravy. I thought it was ok but did have a coconut flavor. It would have been better with the Earth Balance butter and chicken/vegetable stock.

Chicken Parm with salad

We just had this last night and WOW! I bit into it and was completely amazed how good it tasted for just a couple ingredients! The whole family loved this one as much as I did! I used Prego traditional for the sauce. I dressed my salad with salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Recipe from Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery.

One thing I just can't give up is my ice cream! So I found this So Delicious coconut milk ice cream. It comes in a few flavors but I get vanilla. I top it with a little honey, Yum! I cant have it all the time though because it's pretty expensive!

Here are few of the things I found to use in place of my normal dairy/ soy items. I purchased all of these from Azure Standard. I haven't checked Whole foods yet to see if they carry any of these. Smith's carries the coconut milk  and they have Earth Balance butter but it's not the soy free kind. They have Daiya cheese but not the shreds. I haven't tried the creamer yet. I got it to use in my occasional decaf coffee. I also purchased some canned coconut milk in case I need coconut cream or milk to cook with. The Daiya is ok. I would say it's similar to Velveeta. It's really salty so you don't want to use a lot in my opinion.

I think along with the help of the chiropractor, the baby will get better. Eventually I hope to start adding these things back into my diet. He already seems to be doing better. I was able to eat egg whites with my breakfast the other day without it bothering him. The first time I tried that he still got sick. 

I am very new to this allergy free diet. I find that I can search for Vegan or Paleo dishes and adapt those recipes for our home. I think even if I do add these things back into my diet, it probably wont be nearly as much as I used to eat. I just feel better without them. 

Do you have any allergy friendly meal ideas?

What did you eat for this WIAW?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Getting into the swing of things... maybe

Has it really been over a month since my last post? Wow, I'm sorry guys. There has been a ton of things I wanted to blog about but just haven't had the time!

Just to update everyone...

Lyric has arrived!!

He was born November 1st 2013 at 1:00am. He weighed 8lbs 13ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long.

The past three weeks have had their ups and downs. I'm still trying to get used to having two little ones to take care of. I know many mothers have more children than that and I tip my hat to those women! I'm not going to sugar coat it, I'm lucky if I have a chance to brush my teeth! It might help if I didn't have a colicky baby. I have cut out all dairy, caffeine, and gassy foods and he still is having trouble. Aside from the chiropractor, the only other thing that somewhat soothes him is baby wearing.  Unfortunately I can't carry him for long periods of time because I'm still healing from a C section and I get a little sore. ( More about that in his birth story)

Another thing that I'm trying to get used to is running errands with both kids. WOW! I didn't think it would be all that different... it's A LOT different! Trying to get everyone dressed and out of the house at the right time is an art that I just have not mastered yet, not even close! You don't want to get ready too early, because then someone needs their diaper changed again before you leave. Then if you get to your appointment too early with a toddler and have to wait longer in the waiting room, well... just don't! It's not fun for anyone! So far we have been late for almost every appointment we have gone to. It happens. I'm fine with that.

Apparently my husband is trying to get used to another baby as well. The other day he used the baby's bottle brush to clean out the meat grinder. I thanked him for doing the dishes but told him he had to go to the store for a new brush. (In my head screaming AAAAAGH!!)

I am officially cloth diapering both children. Well for the most part anyways. It is a little tough keeping up on the laundry so we do have days where they are in disposables. I am trying to be better about that. I am also learning to just let certain things go in order to keep my sanity. A disposable diaper will not bring about my demise.

I am trying my hardest not to be that "perfect mom" in other people's eyes, but instead be the perfect mom in the eyes of my children. They are very different.

All in all, I am so thankful for my beautiful little family! It may be a lot more work, but there is a lot more love in this house!

And if I don't have time to post before Thursday,

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Candy Cane Cake Mix Cookies

The other day I had a craving for cookies! Actually just some kind of baked good. I wanted to bake something but didn't want to work too hard at it. I've had this boxed yellow cake mix in my cupboard for a while. I've been seeing a lot of "cake mix" cookie recipes on Pinterest. So I thought I would try my hand at making some. I honestly didn't think they would be as good as they turned out to be! Yum! Yes, they are from a pre-packaged, processed, boxed cake mix. But if you are looking for a quick easy cookie recipe just try it out!

Everything I used in these cookies I had on hand. I just improvised! That's what makes these so great! You can substitute your favorite add-ins to make them your own.

I used 1 box of yellow cake mix, 1 stick of melted butter, 2 eggs, and about half a package of Hershey's Candy Cane kisses. (I didn't use the regular chocolate chips that are in this picture)

I put the kisses in my food processor to chop them up. (They will chop easier at room temperature.) I dumped the cake mix in a bowl, added the eggs and melted butter and mixed it up. Then I added the chopped Candy Cane kisses.

Melody helped stir!

Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes. Don't let them get too brown or they will end up too chewy.

You can't eat just one!

Candy Cane Cake Mix Cookies

Makes about 42 cookies


I box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, melted (unsalted)
2 eggs
1/2 package of Hershey's Candy Cane kisses- chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium size bowl, mix cake mix, melted butter, and eggs. Add chopped candy cane kisses and mix well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WIAW- What I eat when the hubby isn't home...

My husband is what you could call a "meat and potatoes" kind of guy. All of his meals must have a meat! This can get a little expensive with groceries! So when he goes out of town or isn't home for dinner, I will usually take that opportunity to make a meatless dinner.

When hubby went hunting a couple weekends ago, I decided to make a veggie pasta. Being 8 months pregnant, I like quick, easy meals! I can say I have digressed to more pre-packaged foods than I am usually comfortable with. I honestly just am way too tired by the end of the day to do all the work of making meals from scratch! This meal however was super easy, I used a bag of frozen mixed veggies (steam bag variety), some linguine, and made a simple cream sauce to go over it all. Yum!

Speaking of pre-packaged foods... On the first night DH was gone, we had a "girls' night" and made some brownies from a box mix. Mind you, I haven't made a box brownie mix since before I was married! I forgot how simple they are. Melody helped stir the brownie batter!

I recently acquired a new cook book... The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I have made a couple different recipes so far from this book. It is not a "light", or "healthy recipes" cook book. They aren't necessarily unhealthy recipes but they are definitely "meat and potatoes" types of recipes. I was looking for something different for breakfast and came across the recipe for Migas. I didn't have all the veggies she puts in hers so I improvised a little and just used onions. I'm sure they would be much better the correct way but these were still awesome!

Another thing we eat when hubby isn't home is left-overs! This was yet another Pioneer Woman recipe, Chicken Spaghetti. This recipe made a TON of food for our little family! It was so creamy and good!

Yes, yes I did! While at my dad's house, I heard the notorious sound of the ice cream man coming down the street... Melody had never experienced the awesomeness of this wondrous event! So, of course, being the good mom I am, I had to introduce her! And also get my favorite ice cream, the ninja turtle with gumball eyes!

Do you eat differently when your significant other isn't home?

-Don't forget to link up for WAIW!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Baby Shower!- Part two of last month's happenings

We wanted to get Melody's new room finished before my baby shower. We were having it at our house this time. It was actually the first time we held a large gathering at our own home! We have had most of our other parties at my in law's house! Thanks guys! I thought it was time we grew up a little and did this on our own. Getting our little home ready for as many people as we have in our family was definitely time consuming! My husband had to clean up the back yard and garage, while I had to get the inside ready. Thank goodness we finished Melody's new room in time! The party turned out great, and we all had a blast! My mom and a friend helped me decorate and cook, which was a big help! I guess I will just let you take a gander at some of the pictures to see for yourself!

We found this cake at Sam's Club! I was going to make my own but I decided this would be easier! I did make chocolate cupcakes though. (yes, from a box mix, don't judge me!)

I love this picture! We played a few games and to settle a tie this is how my family handled it! I'm telling you, we know how to have a good time!

Because our family is so large, there are a lot of kids! So we decided to rent a bounce house. What a good idea! They all had a blast, especially Melody! Here she is bouncing away. For the next week she kept asking to go outside and "bounsh!" 

The cutest little cowboy boots!

My mother in law got us this swing and bouncer in one. I'm excited to try this thing out! It's already put together in my living room.

Here is me, my mom, my Aunt Vickie, and my Grandma Brenda

And for good measure a pregnant belly pic!

And after much deliberation... the baby's name will be Lyric William. I don't know why it took us so long to decide what to name this baby! I swear we had Melody's name picked out before we even knew I was pregnant!

Overall, the party was awesome! A whole lot of work for a pregnant girl, but awesome none the less. To be honest, the clean up process didn't start until two days later. I needed to take a day to rest! I would have loved to make more of the food from scratch and not processed box mixes, but I figured I didn't want to over work myself. I can definitely say, what I did do, was enough. 

Thank you to everyone who came and also everyone who helped make my shower amazing!

Friday, October 11, 2013

I'm Back!- part one of last month's happenings

Yes, I know I've been gone from the blog scene for about the last month. I'm sorry! There were just more important things to attend to. Plus being 8 months pregnant is pretty tiring on it's own! So I decided to focus my attention elsewhere and give blogging a break.

I am happy to say I am back now, though. I know you missed me! (Insert sarcasm) I don't get as many nap times anymore, though, so my posts may be slightly sporadic at least for the next couple months. (Yes, I am blogging during a much needed toddler nap time! Praise the Lord!) I would like to fill you in on what has gone on in the last month. (Seriously I have been busy!)

We finally got Melody's new big girl room put together and she is in there 24-7 now! I no longer have a living room full of toys! Well, not all the time anyways. DH scraped the popcorn ceiling, and then we painted the whole room, put in a fan and new blinds.

In the midst of painting

I also refinished her new toddler bed and dresser. The toddler bed was pre-owned and purchased a few months ago and the dresser was also pre-owned and gifted to us by a friend.

Dresser before, and after

Toddler bed before, and after
Here is the end result. (I didn't have the dresser in the room yet in these pictures)...

And how does Melody like her new bed? Well she is adjusting... She took her first nap in her toddler bed last week. That same night we were able to get her to sleep over night in it. The second night she slept the whole night as well. Since then she has been back and forth. Some nights she wakes up and wants to get in our bed. I have been trying different things to get her to stay in her bed the whole night. I put up a baby gate on her door at night so she can't just run down the hall to our room. When she wakes up I've tried to sit with her until she goes back to sleep, that didn't work. I tried reading to her again but that involves turning the light on, which wakes her up more. Then I tried turning on her little tv with a movie with the volume on low. (It wasn't my first choice, believe me. But at 8 months pregnant I was trying anything just to get sleep!) That worked but she woke up a few more times that night and woke up early that morning. I just think she wasn't able to get to a good deep sleep with the tv on. (I know I can't) Last night seemed to be better. (Or I could have just gotten lucky!) I heard her wake up and immediately went to her room BEFORE she got out of bed. I tucked her back in, gave her her dolls, and turned on her pillow pet night light (Dream Light, she loves that thing!) . I went back to bed and she went back to sleep until 7am! Hopefully she gets better and more comfortable. As for naps, well that's give or take. Some days she will and some days she wont. I still try to put her in her room with the lights low and a movie on so she can at least "take a rest". We both need our alone time for a little bit! I am trying to come to terms that maybe my 21 month old just is done with naps.

Did your toddler give up naps at an early age?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Homemade Fruit Strips- Attempt #2

My previous fruit snack endeavor didn't go as well as I had hoped. Melody didn't like them. I did find, however, that after about a week in the fridge, they weren't as sour so Melody did eat some after that time.

I decided to try again! This time I wanted to try fruit strips instead of the gummies. I had purchased a bunch of fruit from Sams Club last weekend and never got to making these so my strawberries went bad. UGH! Such a waste! I had a few different types of fruit so I just used what I had on hand.

Basically what you will need is:

About 3 cups of fruit-diced
Sweetener (I used 3 Tbs honey)
2 tsp lemon juice
Extracts or spices (optional)

In this batch I used 1 peach, 1 banana, 1 cup strawberries, and about 1/2 cup of mango. The banana, strawberries, and mango were frozen, but I thawed them before blending.

No, you could cook the fruit down on the stove, but why do more work than you really need to, right? So I just threw all the fruit in my blender, then added 3 Tbs honey and 2 tsp lemon juice. Blend it really well until there are no big chunks.

You will need either a large baking sheet or a couple small ones. I had two small ones that fit perfectly next to each other in the oven. You could use a silicone baking mat if you have one or just use plastic wrap. Just make sure the plastic wrap has a little overhang because it shrinks up a little in the oven.

Pour your fruit mixture onto the pans and spread it out evenly. Make sure you don't get too close to the edge of the pan and try to keep the layer as even as possible, about 1/8" thick.

Put the pans in a 170 degree oven or as low as your oven will go. They will need to be in the oven for at least 6-8 hours. It has been humid here so I left mine for 8 hours during the day, then turned off the oven and left them in there overnight.

This is what they looked like in the morning! I peeled them off the plastic wrap and placed them on a sheet of parchment paper.

I trimmed the edges and rolled them up. Then I just cut inch sections with my kitchen shears. If you don't have any sharp scissors you could cut them before rolling them up.

Done! I put mine in a ziploc baggie and store in the cupboard. They should last a couple weeks, or you could store in the fridge for longer.

The best thing about these strips... Melody likes them! Score for mommy! I still have a bunch of blueberries and blackberries in the fridge that I will try with this recipe hopefully this weekend.

Not sure if there will be enough time, though, since operation "Melody's big girl room" is officially underway. I spent my whole day yesterday moving all of my arts and crafts out of her room into the garage cabinets. I'm very proud of myself but extremely sore!

Now DH just needs to move all the big heavy stuff out! I really need to pick out a paint color!

Any ideas on a paint color that will go well with brown and pink?