11 December 2015

Seven Quick Takes

Linking up with SQT guest hostess Anabelle of Written by the Finger of God this week! Yesterday I promised tales aplenty from this all-the-things crazy week, and here they are...

I
Kit and I spent last Saturday morning at the walk-in clinic, and came home with a possible diagnosis of lactose intolerance for her and a ban of all forms of milk products for me. I bake all of our everything, and most of my breads have milk, butter, or both; my mother-in-law's delicious pumpkin bread is pretty much the only exception, calling as it does for canola oil and water instead. I'm reluctant to admit to how much butterkin (butternut squash/pumpkin) bread I've eaten this week...

We did also learn that taking my standard sandwich bread recipe, replacing the milk with water, and using all white flour (gasp!) (only because I ran out of whole grain flours and the baby was asleep on my shoulder so I couldn't grind more), and kneading for a solid 10 minutes, produced a respectable loaf that held up well both fresh and toasted.


II
Sunday, the feast of St Nicholas, we woke up to chocolate coins in our shoes, which I suddenly couldn't eat because there is milk in everything and it is ridiculous and frustrating. Since chocolate is pretty much my favorite thing in the world, Matt's and my coins went directly into his bag to take to work the next day. And then he went and brought home a plate of fudge, which has been sitting in the fridge taunting me all. week. long. Anyway. Bigger things than fudge to fret about this week...

III
On Monday, the well stopped filling the holding tank, and we ran out of water. No showers, laundry, dishwashing until the well started working properly again; since Monday it has done a not-quite-mediocre job, struggling to fill the 200-gallon tank even with all of us (both apartments draw water from the same well/tank) severely conserving water.

Well, it was doing a just about mediocre job until Wednesday, when water pressure somehow sheared the valve off one of the pipes next to our washing machine. Water was fountaining out of the pipe, splattering the garage ceiling, covering the floor, soaking everything in a 6' radius... until the holding tank emptied, and then the well stopped filling it again and there was no more water. Again.

We do have an incredibly clean garage floor now, though.

IV
Thursday the plumbers came out and replaced the broken valve, and the water delivery truck filled the holding tank. We've been asked to continue conserving water until the landlord can get a well guy out to hopefully fix the well. I totally understand the request—having water delivered is expensive—but I'm not quite sure what "conserve" means at this point. How long, realistically, would one expect 200 gallons of water to last two households?

V
But Tuesday was good: it was the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, we had supper at my parents' house (which came with the added bonus of not accumulating more dishes in our kitchen that I couldn't wash), and we were cheerfully laboring under the delusion that by giving the well a little rest it would be back to normal soon. Oh, and we made it to noon Mass for the solemnity as a family! Matt was able to take a long lunch to come with Little Bear and Kit and me, and we happened to have a visiting priest from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, who gave a wonderful homily.

VI
First thing Thursday morning Kit had a follow-up with our regular pediatrician, who said that given her symptoms, A) Kit much more likely has cow's milk protein allergy (CMPA) than lactose intolerance, although B) it's a little unusual for CMPA to have taken so long to show up, but C) at this point, there's more evidence to support CMPA than any of the other possible causes he could think of for her symptoms. So I'm off dairy completely until next weekend, when I can try reintroducing baked goods containing milk/butter as long as she's doing fine. If symptoms return while I'm off dairy, then it will be clear that CMPA isn't the culprit, and we'll have to start doing tests to see what's really going on.

VII
And because I haven't been able to do any Christmas baking yet, both because of A) not wanting to make more dishes and then feel guilty for using water to wash them, and B) slightly panicking over the idea that I may have to go off dairy completely for another year or longer and feeling completely overwhelmed by the question of whether to abandon our classic butter-bearing recipes, rework them to be dairy-free, or just make them the right way for Matt and Little Bear and tell myself that God is helping me lose weight this Christmas... ahem. Yes, slightly overwhelmed here. But that's effectively kicked me out of the kitchen this week, so we've been doing lots of reading:





And, apparently saving this most exciting news for last, Little Bear is definitely reading! That little booklet he's looking at? He read that story to me yesterday, with very little help. And today on our way in to Mass, I heard him in the back seat sounding out words in a picture book; I didn't quite have the brain power at the moment to explain silent Es, so I just let him laugh at the book about baby moose for calling them "moosE"s. Having him so excited about learning to read is so much fun!

17 comments:

  1. Poor Kit! And poor you. :( I have a friend whose son is also allergic to cow's milk protein. I could ask her for some of her cookie recipes or tips if you are interested. Her son is 5 now and can now tolerate it baked at 350 for 30 minutes. So hopefully Kit will outgrow it, too.

    Yay Little Bear!! Andrew is learning to read so Peter is pretending.

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    1. Oh, that would be wonderful if you could ask her! Thank you!

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  2. I will not let you go a Christmas without fudge!
    Easy dairy-free Fudge:
    12 ounces "Enjoy Life" dairy free baking chips or the Kirkland brand from costco is surprisingly dairy free
    1 can Pillsbury "cream cheese" frosting (also surprisingly df)
    1 teaspoon butter extract or vanilla extract
    1 pinch salt
    Directions: Cover a loaf pan with foil. In a glass bowl, melt baking chips in microwave (heating at 30 second increments and stirring in between) until chips lose their shape with stirring but not completely liquid. Stir in frosting until well blended. Stir in extract and salt until well blended. Heat in microwave for 30 sec increments and stir till smooth. Pour into the loaf pan, refrigerate till set, carefully lift foil out of the pan and peel it away, set the fudge warm to room temp, cut. Store in the freezer and let it come to room temp on a plate.
    -Jenna

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    1. Thank you, Jenna! Mmm, that sounds delicious.

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  3. I will not let you go a Christmas without fudge!
    Easy dairy-free Fudge:
    12 ounces "Enjoy Life" dairy free baking chips or the Kirkland brand from costco is surprisingly dairy free
    1 can Pillsbury "cream cheese" frosting (also surprisingly df)
    1 teaspoon butter extract or vanilla extract
    1 pinch salt
    Directions: Cover a loaf pan with foil. In a glass bowl, melt baking chips in microwave (heating at 30 second increments and stirring in between) until chips lose their shape with stirring but not completely liquid. Stir in frosting until well blended. Stir in extract and salt until well blended. Heat in microwave for 30 sec increments and stir till smooth. Pour into the loaf pan, refrigerate till set, carefully lift foil out of the pan and peel it away, set the fudge warm to room temp, cut. Store in the freezer and let it come to room temp on a plate.
    -Jenna

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  4. This is a smooth fudge that gets stored in the frig. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/148455/made-in-minutes-no-cook-fudge/

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  5. I just had a huge reply typed out and lost it all...and now I'm trying to touch on the most important things before my baby wakes up.
    1. Dairy allergy sufferers can have anaphylaxis. Watch for troubled breathing, facial swelling, etc and call 911 if necessary. 2. Check out this website http://www.foodallergy.org for a wealth of information! It will give you a better understanding, name some foods to watch for hidden diary in, name ingredients that are dairy, as well as some that are surprisingly non-diary. 3. Pediatricians and general practitioners are not experts on food allergies. Ask for a referral to an allergist or GI specialist based on your child's symptoms. I wish I had been more forceful in asking for a referral. 4. It takes more than 21 days for dairy to leave your body. You need to be 100% dairy free for that time and closely watch for improvement in your child's symptoms. 5. Read all food labels closely. Look at every ingredient. 6. It is still totally worth it to alter your diet and provide your breastmilk to your child. 6. There's blood and skin tests to verify allergies although false negatives do happen. There's also a condition called FPIES which is similar to an allergy so you'll want to discuss more with a specialist.
    As Karen said, my 5 year old has probably outgrown his allergy. However, my 12 week old started having symptoms at one month old and I caught it early this time. My oldest suffered for 8 months with rashes on his face, yeast diaper rashes, tons of spit up, and digestive issues, but since he was gaining weight and was relatively happy his pediatrician didn't care about those symptoms. At 8 months, she finally witnessed him spit up the way I had seen him for all those months and finally believed me that there was something wrong. She misdiagnosed him with reflux, but after I saw the medication give him a terrible rash on his face, I went dairy free. He improved in 5 days and got completely better after a month. Thankfully I never gave him dairy directly. That was God's protection. I always planned to give him yogurt as I introduced solids, but something always happened to stop me, such as my husband eating all the yogurt or cheese before I got to it. It was always inconvenient, but that was God's intervention!
    I know this is incredibly overwhelming at first and especially as the holidays when there's so much food. You are blessed that you have great kitchen skills so you will have an easier time than someone who can't bake or cook for themselves. You will learn so fast, and hopefully your child will outgrow this. As far as recipes, you can almost always substitute almond milk, cashew milk, or soy milk for cow's milk. You can almost always substitute shortening or vegan buttery spread for butter. My favorite is Earth Balance Buttery spread or sticks. There's also some dairy free Country Crock and Blue Bonnet Lite, but I don't recommend them for baking (too much water content). It won't be tragic if you end up using those though.
    Some surprisingly dairy free things are: shortening, Oreo cookies, Nutter Butter cookies, some Jello pudding boxes, Hershey's Cocoa Powder and Chocolate Syrup, Teddy Grahams, Ritz Crackers, many breakfast cereals, Pop Tarts, Starburst, Skittles, and the list might continue if I had more time. Alas, there's a baby calling for me! I wish you the best!!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Jenna! This is so helpful. Do you know if I should ask about seeing a pediatric allergist specifically, or does such a specialization even exist? I've been off dairy completely for more than a week now and am still seeing the occasional symptom, so I really appreciate knowing that it could take 21 days! I'd initially been under the impression that if she was still having symptoms after I'd been off it for 6 days, it had to be caused by something other than dairy and I could go back to eating milk products.
      I'd already been in the habit of reading ingredient lists, but never specifically looking for dairy-derived ingredients; it's incredible how many things have some form of milk in them! I'm very glad to know about Oreos—chocolate is definitely the thing I'd have the hardest time giving up!

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    2. Pediatric allergist and Ped GI specialists do exist. I'm glad your little one is starting to do better. Don't be surprised if it gets worse again and then better. 21 days!

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  6. Is there any particular kind of food you are craving? I found that they Dark Chocolate Almond Milk was a lifesaver when I had a chocolate craving. It was years before I knew Oreos were safe.

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  7. I hope Kit feels better soon, one way or the other!

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  8. Oh the joys of avoiding dairy! I understand your pain. Your Cuban bread recipe is great without milk. My mother in law uses almond milk or water leftover from boiling potatoes to make bread instead of using real milk, and it works fairly well. Coconut milk, if you have access to it, is a rich and delicious dairy substitute you can use in many things like pancakes, tikka masala, and more.

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    1. I had completely forgotten about the Cuban bread, thank you! It's scribbled down in the back of a cookbook I hardly ever use. Do you use coconut milk from a can or a carton? Do you know if/how they're different?

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    2. I've only ever used it from a can, and I always get full fat. The lite stuff tastes bad and usually has added chemicals and junk. Cartons might work too, as long as it is coconut milk, not coconut water. I've only seen coconut water in cartons out here, so if you have both cans and cartons available I would check the ingredient lists and nutritional information to see if they're the same or not.

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    3. The cartons are indeed coconut milk, but I picked up cans instead; I don't know exactly how or how quickly I'll wind up using it, and I would hate to have half a carton go bad because I didn't have a way to use it all. You can't make yogurt out of coconut milk, can you?

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    4. I have seen coconut yogurt in the store recently, as well as almond milk yogurt. I'm not sure how to do it, but I bet there are recipes online! Also, coconut milk ice cream or sorbet is super yummy.

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