Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Peanut-Free, Artificials/Preservative-Free.....
but definitely NOT Flavor-Free Living.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Peanut Monsters on Halloween

Halloween this year turned out to be much more eventful than we planned.  With the boys allergies, we always cash-out their candy at our dentist’s office and then they use the money at the dollar store or for something they’ve been saving for.  I also give them some safe allergen-free candy which I have here.  However, they still like to dump out their stash and look at the pieces and count them.  My husband has a few favorites from their candy which he keeps and takes to work, so we use this time to sort out the candy for him as well.peanut_allergy

My youngest son and I were alone in the living room and we had my husband’s candy sorted out.  I walked into the kitchen to get a ziplock bag.  When I came back into the living room I noticed my son was missing, and thought it was strange.  Just then he rounded the corner with a bit of a mischievous look on his face. I asked him to open his mouth and was dismayed to find a piece of candy in his mouth.  I fished it out and became alarmed to discover that it was a SNICKERS bar!!  Not a good thing for a boy with a severe peanut allergy

I immediately washed his mouth out in the bathroom.  He was complaining that his tongue was itchy, so I gave him a dose of Benadryl.  Then I watched him, not much was happening, so I thought we had it under control.  Over the course of about five minutes his back was itching a little.  I took his shirt off, he developed a few hives, but nothing serious.  A couple of minutes later his voice started getting a little hoarse.  I started to wonder if the Benadryl was going to be enough.  I began some tapping on acupressure points to help slow the reaction in his body.  A couple of minutes later he started coughing.  This was alarming, although he had been coughing for a few weeks (from a cold), so still not as alarming as it should have been.

I decided that the epi-pen might be in order so I went to get it.  I got back to him and all of a sudden he threw up, twice!  Now I’m starting to panic, it’s been about 10-12 minutes since we gave Benadryl, and about 15 minutes since he ingested part of the snickers bar.  I knew I need to give the epi-pen, but am a bit nervous about this as well.  What if I inject it in the wrong spot?  What if I don’t hold it in his leg long enough and the medicine doesn’t get in his system?  What if he has a reaction to the epinephrine?  What if it doesn’t work and my baby dies??  A million thoughts are running through my mind.

I take off his pants, position him on my lap and inject the epi-pen in his thigh.  He cries while I pray.  Within a couple of minutes all of his symptoms start to reverse and he relaxes completely in my arms. 

I clean him up (from the throwing-up), place him in his Daddy’s arms as he is now falling asleep from the Benadryl and probably the epinephrine as well.  Now my next task is what to do next…this is after all the first time having to use the epi-pen.  I knew that I needed to seek medical care, but wasn’t sure if I should call 9-1-1 or just take him to the ER.  A quick search on the internet informs me that the epi-pen can wear off within 20 minutes.  I place a quick call to the after-hours care at his pediatrician’s office, leaving my cell phone # as a call back and head to the ER with my son.  Thankfully my pediatrician calls me back right as I pull into the parking lot.  She felt that since I had given him both benadryl and the epi-pen that it would be okay if we forego the ER trip and just monitor him carefully at home.  She suggested he sleep in my bed and if ANY symptoms reappear to immediately call 9-1-1 or go straight to the ER.

I brought him home and put him in bed.  I then did some additional research on anaphylactic reactions.  I learned that up to 20% of people have a biphasic reaction (or a second reaction) that can be mild, equal, or more severe than the first reaction.  It often occurs within 4-6 hours after the first reaction, but can occur up to 24 hours after the first reaction.

I stayed up until 4 hours after the incident, then crawled into bed with him by my side.  About 45 minutes after I went to bed, he woke up coughing & threw up.  I thought, “Oh no, he’s having a second reaction.”  I flew out of bed to prepare to take him to the ER.  He immediately fell right back to sleep.  I cleaned him up again (from the throwing-up) and then woke him up to assess him.  He was not coughing, his voice was not hoarse, he had no hives and was breathing fine.  I decided not to rush him to the hospital, but closely monitor him for awhile.  He had no further problems.

Monday, after school, we rushed to the dentists office as soon as possible to sell back our remaining Halloween candy.  We have a peanut-free home, and I felt so much better to restore it back to its peanut- free status.  While this was a frightening experience, I learned much.  I will now no longer fear giving the epi-pen.  I have a much better idea of how to train those who have my son in their care for symptom identification and treatment.  I hope my son has learned from this experience.  Needless to say….I’m already fearing next Halloween….not for the ghosts & goblins, but for the horrible “peanut monsters” that lurk behind every doorbell.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cranberry Fruit Salad

1 ½ c. water
1 ½ c. granulated sugar
12 oz. fresh cranberries
1 ½ c. navel oranges
½ c. red apples
½ c. bananas
2 Tbsp. pecans, chopped

1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
¼ c. boiling water
2 Tbsp. granulated tapioca

1 pkg. dairy-free vanilla pudding

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar & cranberries. Cover over medium heat until the cranberries just begin to open, stirring occasionally. Transfer the cranberries to a large bowl. In a medium saucepan, dissolve 1 pkg. unflavored gelatin in 1/4 c. of boiling water. Add granulated tapioca. Let stand one minute. Add to bowl with sweetened cranberries. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Prepare vanilla pudding as per label and allow to chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Stir in cooled vanilla pudding into salad mixture. Peel and cube oranges, core and cube apples, peel and slice bananas. Fold fruit and chopped pecans into the cranberry salad. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Product Review: Coconut Milk Ice Cream

I thought I had found my all time favorite dairy/gluten-free back when I posted about the Coconut Almond bars, but it has now been replaced by a new favorite....So Delicious German Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream. It is truly a creamy chocolate flavor with a perfect amount of caramel & coconut. My mouth is watering just writing about it...good thing I have some in my freezer right now...what's in your freezer?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Natural Cleaning Solutions

Okay ~ so you're eating a pure, healthy allergen-free diet. But what are you cleaning your house with? Chemical cleaners leave toxic fumes in your home and can contribute to poor health. Try these tried & true cleaning solutions, not only do they work great but they smell great too!

All Purpose Cleaner (Mix in a spray bottle)
1 cup vinegar
1/8 cup dish soap (1 oz.)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup water

Glass Cleaner (Mix in a spray bottle)
1/2 tsp. dish soap
3 Tbsp. vinegar
2 cups water

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Sprinkle baking soda in the toilet bowl, pour a generous amount of vinegar in toilet bowl
Scour with a brush & flush

Replace fabric softener with ½ cup vinegar added to each load’s rinse cycle.
Adding ½ cup of baking soda to laundry helps naturally whiten them and deodorize them.

Furniture Polish
Mix well 1 ½ cups olive oil, with ½ cup of vinegar. Apply to furniture with a soft cloth.

Oven Cleaner
· Dampen the oven surface by sprinkling with water.
· Rub with a very fine steel wool pad using baking soda as an abrasive paste
· Wipe away residue with a sponge, rinse with a damp cloth and let dry before using oven.

Drain Cleaner
· First use a plunger or plumber’s snake
· Slow drains can be improved by pouring one cup of baking soda down the drain followed by one cup of vinegar. Cover if you can and let stand for five minutes to let this mixture foam-up. This mixture works by breaking down fat & allowing the clog to be washed down the drain. After five minutes was away remaining clog with very hot water.

Mineral & Lime Remover
Soak a cloth in vinegar and wrap around a faucet for an hour to remove buildup.

Mold Killer (Mix in spray bottle, use on moldy places)
2 tsp. tea tree oil
2 cups water

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Product Review: Udi's Whole Grain Bread

Our family is in love with the new bread by Udi's. We prefer the Whole Grain version, although a "white" sandwhich bread version is also available. The thing we love about it is it's soft texture and fabulous flavor. Up until this point, all gluten-free breads were very lacking in the flavor department and terrible in the texture department. That is why I spent the last year baking my own gluten-free bread from this recipe "Gluten Free Harvest Loaf".

My only complaint about the bread is it's small loaf size, which translates into small slices of bread. I will say, however, that the size of the loaf seems to have gotten bigger since we first tried it about 6 months ago. The upside is that the bread is dairy free, gluten free & soy free.

Try a loaf (or two) today. You won't be disappointed!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lemon Almond Frittata

Here is a light and delightful recipe that is great for a Sunday morning brunch. We drizzled ours with pure maple syrup.

Lemon Almond Frittata
4 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 c. ground almonds
1/2 c. coconut milk
1/2 c. sliced almonds (more for garnish)
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
Powdered sugar (for garnish)

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine eggs, sugar, salt, ground almonds, coconut milk, sliced almonds, lemon zest and juice.
2. Melt coconut oil in an 8-inch ovenproof skillet over low heat; add almond mixture to pan, tilting pan to distribute batter evenly. Continue to cook tart on stovetop until edges just begin to set, then put pan in oven and finish cooking, about 10 to 15 minutes more.
3. When tart is done, put it in broiler for about a minute or until just golden on top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and sliced almonds. Serve.
Yield: 4 servings.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

GFCF Buttermilk Biscuits

We recently found a biscuit recipe that we absolutely love. It's hard to believe they are gluten & dairy free and my husband even loves them. This recipe has been adapted from the Gluten Free Every Day cookbook by Rob Landolphi.

GFCF Buttermilk Biscuits
1 1/4 c. tapioca flour
1/2 c. sorghum flour
1/2 c. brown rice flour
3/4 c. potato starch
1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
1/3 c. palm oil shortening
1/4 c. dairy free margarine
3/4 c. unsweetened rice milk
3/4 c. unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet with palm oil shortening.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the tapioca flour, sorghum flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and sea salt. Stir with a whisk to blend.
  • Using two dinner knives, cut the shortening and dairy free margarine into the dry ingredients. Cut the through the mixture with a pastry blender until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.
  • Mix together the rice milk, coconut & apple cider vinegar to create "buttermilk". Add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.
  • Drop by 1/4 cup mounds on baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly. Serve warm.
  • Makes 16 biscuits

These are wonderful with coconut oil, honey or fresh preserves. It was even suggested that they would be perfect fore gluten-free strawberry shortcake. Happy baking!

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