Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy Belated Halloween!

Okay, for all you nuts out there: Happy Halloween (belated). 

As October dies, I wish this rotten holiday would too. The dressing up can be cute, but the rest stinks. Halloween represents a lot of junk to me: greed, selfishness, and the desire to be someone else.

Little B is five and loves every holiday. So, I get out the few decorations we have and plug in our glittering witch night light and electric pumpkin. Besides an increase in pumpkin themed baked goods, there is little else I do to draw attention to the holiday.

This year in particular I have thought much about my choices and what I do that represents greed, selfishness and the desire to be someone else other than what God created me to be. What am I doing that my daughter sees?

A few days ago little B requested a cinnamon pop-tart for breakfast. My heart sunk. I pulled the box out and looked at the ingredients. No milk. No eggs.


Me: Mommy would rather you choose something different. There are some things in here that I don't think are good for our bodies.

Little B: What mommy? Tell me about the bad stuff.

Me: A lot of the things I can't read, the words are too hard. Ew, there is gelatin, too. Do you know what gelatin is made from?

Little B: What Mommy?

Me: It's pretty gross, are you sure you want to know? (Her head nods in agreement, so I continue with trepidation). Gelatin is ground up animal bones.

Loooooooong thoughtful pause.

Little B: I am not eating that pop-tart.

Now, I went on to tell her about how those things are devoid of any nutritional value as well. And that we have to examine what we eat very closely. God gave us one body, one life, and we need to honor him by the way we take of ourselves and others.

I felt very nutritionally righteous after this conversation, so I had to bring myself back down by making something to remind me that junkfood can be vegan, too. 

Chocolate Swirl Cupcakes

Mix together:
     1.5c. whole wheat flour
     1c. sugar
     .25c. cocoa
     1t. baking soda

In a seperate bowl, mix:
     1c. unflavored/unsweetened almond milk
     .33c. canola oil
      1T. apple cider vinegar
     1t. vanilla

Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Use about half the batter to fill the bottom of 12 cupcakes.

Then combine:
     .5c. vegan cream cheese
     .25c. sugar
     .25c. vegan chocolate chips
     1t. vanilla
     2T. flour

Drop a spoonful of the chocolate chip/cream cheese mixture on top of the batter in the tin.  Cover with the remainder of chocolate batter. Swirl with a knife.  Bake for 23 minutes in a 350* oven.  Dust with powdered sugar.

Eat one.

Then go eat another one in a dark closet.  You don't want your kid to be a glutton, do you? 

Friday, October 15, 2010


Did you know that 2 cups of cooked lentils have...

 1.5grams of fat? No cholesterol?  35 grams of protein? 31 grams of fiber?

Store those stats for later.

It's been a month since my last post.  Out there in the blogging world they say that if you go more than a few days without blogging, you lose your readers reader (I know you still love me, mom).   

Rest assured though, that I have been quite busy over the last few weeks.  The details of which I intend to bore you with presently.  Not my best writing, technical or otherwise, but you shall endure, or opt to google the Chilean mine disaster.   No hard feelings.

Back at the Bat Cave, where I literally left you last, I had started a post on September 23rd, to update you on Egg Day, as Little B so lovingly dubbed it.  Our little allergy challenge lasted a bit longer than required, but alas - I knew I had to feed the kid an egg at some point...and let's be honest - I didn't want to give her an egg!  I knocked out some seriouly awesome, vegan cinnamon rolls for breakfast that day just to spat in the face of all egg-laden baked goods in the universe.  I would love to brag overtly about this, but my camera lens wouldn't open and hasn't worked since (a strike against the herbivore, perhaps?).  Now all the amazing meals I have concocted can only be defended by Mr.B and Little B and I assure you that their expressive culinary vocabulary is relatively undercooked, so to speak.  You are left to accept or deny my word as truth or fabrication - or possibly as a grossly exaggerated account. 

Back to the eggs...

I had the pleasure of going to the grocery store at 10am on a Saturday morning.  (Like I had any eggs in the house...please)!  You may readily compare such an untimely trip to having shards of glass shoved underneath your fingernails.  Despite my attempt at martyrdom, the girl finally had the scrambled eggs of her dreams for lunch and then a nighmare of a stomach ache for the remainder of the weekend.  I even kept notes on my iTouch of her complaints and bowel movements, because people, it turns out there isn't an app for that.     

So these allergies and sensitivites, which I recently found out qualifies my daughter for a section 504, are easily dealt with by diet.  What I offer my child as sustenance has the ability to make her sick or keep her well.

Hello, McFly?  Isn't this the case for all of us?

Since the dairy-free adventure began three months ago, I've spent a lot of time reading about food allergies.  I've deviated quite a bit from my typical Potter/Twilight/Austen literary cycle, which is a huge deal for me.  I read countless articles, searched many websites, and devoured more nutritional and scientific books than my senior year in college when I crammed in 36 hours of a psychology major for the fun of it.  (Okay, so Skinny Bitch wasn't exactly scientific, but hilarious nonetheless.) Because I wanted to make sure I could provide Little B with the nutrition she needed and the things she loved, I was left to vegan cookbooks and resources.  Veganism, oooooh.  Everything I read said that you would feel better and nothing about requiring a PETA membership, so after awhile, I figured it wouldn't hurt to try.  I'm not an expert by a long shot, but I'm intelligent enough to read with common sense and discernment.  If I planned well, it would definitely be a healthy choice.  I figured 30 days was doable experiment.  I could do anything for thirty days.

Although my intentions were to journal about each day and the bizarro meals on which I feasted, it just didn't happen.  It was too easy.  There were no cravings, no failed recipes, no weird bodily functions or feelings.  

I just felt good. 

My thirty days ended today and I'm not planning on going back to the old ways tomorrow.  People around me are so skeptical and weirded out by it, too. You'd think I have the plague or scalped puppies in front of small children.  I've fielded some of the most hilarious comments along with the expected...

Where do you get calcium?
You'll die without milk.
Do you know that sugar has cow bones in it?
Don't you feel bad for the poor wheat plant that was sliced to death so you could eat it?
Does that mean eggs, too?
You'll never get enough B12.
Vegan isn't biblical.  
Hmmm...look at the healthy girl eating french fries.
Well, you're supposed to eat meat, you know.

I'm not a health nut. I'm 15 pounds over weight. I'm not a hippie.  You can bet I won't be throwing out my leather boots. Although the processing of some meat products makes me ill, my choice isn't about compassionate eating.  (Just please don't ever eat mechanically seperated chicken again, GAH! )  My choice isn't about anything noble or environmental.  I just feel better.  Period.  

Except when I eat 2 cups of lentils, like I did today when I got home from school.
That's 35 grams of fiber, people. 

Looks like the vegan life is going to be a large  exciting one.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Barking Mad

I really want to be the person that creates a font specific to *sarcasm.* I would use it and write:

What a fun week!

Courier Bold Italic doesn't really do my brand of sarcasm justice, but settle, I must.

This week...
  • I drove to Children's Mercy to have a doctor ask me why I was there.
  • I heard the specialist tell me the same thing I've heard before.
  • I spent over $85 on Daiya Shreds. (That's the king of alternative cheese, people.)
  • Missed Little B's allergy lab call only to call back and have to wait another day because there weren't any nurses in the office.
  • Saw my own doc for uncontrollable allergy/asthma issues  (hello $169 inhaler, prednisone and 5 extra pounds - curse you 'increased appetite!').
  • Spent half the night awake listening to and trying to care for my barking daughter, who has croup.
  • Spent the other half of the same night with the cha-chas from allergy meds. 
  • Shopped at Big Black Hole Mart.   
Now, I am completely aware that many of you had worse weeks, and I am sorry for that - but I am reserving my right to whine on my blog.  You are more than welcome to go read an article about cows on a factory farm, marginalized workers in India, Lindsey Lohan, or someone else who had a worse week than you.

There were the good parts, too. Like feeding my sick friend a home cooked meal of vegan chili. I'm lucky I have a few peeps who willingly subject themselvs to my culinary experiments.  I also passed off a couple of Cinnamon Roll JB Bars.  Feedback has been good, except for Mr. B, who pushed it back across the kitchen table at breakfast with one bite missing.  Apparently, I better stick to the Peanut Butter Cookie version with him.  However, Little B, after much consideration, shook her head wildly that she loved them.  I am relatively sure she is already tapping into my sensitivities in the kitchen.   

With a smile, though, Mr. B did eat the quarter pound walnut/veggie burger I served him up for lunch. 

I did finally get to speak to the nurse in the allergist's office.  She couldn't give me each result for the celiac blood panel, but did add that Little B is allergic to cats.  I am grateful this doesn't add to the list of what she can't eat.  Although, I think I am the one who is really chiseling down her list on my own. 

The doc Little B saw for the croup episode, suggested we cancel the appointment with the GI.  No, it isn't normal for kids to be constipated, but it is common.  This I agree with heartily. Mr. B thinks I just need to do what I think is best.  When you think about the junk we feed ourselves and our kids, it's a wonder we aren't worse off than we are.  I'm not quite sure that anyone has it completely right, but I am sure we can get there - even if it isn't what others think is right.  Some might think I am barking mad - I guess this makes me a nutritional universalist.  

And that's okay. Especially when you make Calzones for Dinner.

Homemade dough...

Yes, my measuring tools are just as warped as I am.

Loaded up with as much meat alternative and dairy free cheese as I could get my hands on in the middle of Kansas.

I'm just too lazy to type out the recipe...but homemade crust and soy meat galore: bacon, hamburger, and pepperoni. YUM.

Beats an old hot pocket any day.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Holy Huevos, Batman!

Little B has been a virtual pin cushion this week.  After an allergy scratch test and a super-fun, high decibel trip to the lab for a blood draw, we know a little bit more.

Holy Huevos, Batman!

Definitely not what I was suspecting - a live bat hanging in out tiny basement window (outside, thank you, Jesus!) or an egg allergy.  It isn't a stop breathing, face swelling reaction, but we know she's allergic.  Over the next two weeks, we have to perform THE CHALLENGE - no Jeff Probst to commentate. No eggs for 14 days, then we get to feed her one and see what happens!  I am sure this will bode well with my bent toward gut-wrenching, debilitating anxiety.  At first, we wanted to start it right away, but decided to wait until the weekend.  Against my better judgement, I figured I'd go ahead and let Little B have the two cupcakes that were coming for fellow classmates' birthdays.  Plus, her first slumber party was scheduled for the weekend.  The girl had spent the last two days being poked and prodded.  If she wanted a cupcake, she could have one. 

Utter insanity.  Just like a bat in my window.

A while back I mentioned an article that linked dairy hypersensitivity to emotional tantrums in children? Well, this is one of those times I wish I did have little voices in my head to remind me of that article. The screaming, throw herself down on the floor fit she threw out at my friend's house was straight 'out of high school to the draft' quality.  Add this to the fact I took her directly to the hospital to have blood drawn - awesome day for me!  Needless to say, the result affected me as well as Little B. 

ME: Honey, I don't think you'll be able to have any homemade treats like cupcakes at school anymore.

LITTLE B: I think that's a good idea, Mama. 

Thank the good Lord we got her off dairy before puberty. GAH!

Of course, dairy+egg+who knows what else was in those sugar-gut-bombs, wasn't going to make the situation better.  Even though I have only one nerve left, I am still grateful for the normally sweet, endearing daughter Little B really is.  She gave up dairy without a hitch and doesn't seem too disturbed by the egg discovery she has told almost every person she's seen over the last two days that she's only a little allergic to eggs. I suppose the next time she requests and Egg and Cheese Sandwich, we may see her dark side. 

This coming Tuesday we are traveling to Children's Mercy in Kansas City to see a Surgical Specialist.  Apparently, it is to see if she even knows how to poop (Little B, not the doctor).  Mr. B believes this to be a waste of time and money, but another opinion is another opinion and I have become just obstinate enough to hold my own with Dr.  Specialty.  I had some relatively good practice with the allergist.  I was glad that I knew before hand that a celiac is different from a wheat allergy.  She seemed a bit surprised that I even asked the question,

ME: Now, a wheat allergy is different from celiac disease, which the scratch test wouldn't show, correct? 

DR: Ummm.....yehs. She iz ahlso coufink at nieght. It cout be refloox. 

ME: Okay, but she hasn't been coughing at night since we went off dairy. 

DR: Vell, yoh do nat need meelk prodooks nutriceeonalee, speakink. 

ME: I understand that. I want to rule out celiac disease. 

DR: Eeet iz berry, berry rare, but we weel do dee blood test.   

Sorry, she was Russian. I couldn't help myself.

Hence the fun blood test.  That ordeal has made me wonder: What came first? Doctors treating symptoms OR patients wanting a quick-fix, leaving doctors no choice but to treat symptoms.  People like to keep doing what they're doing without thinking of the consequences - this applies to what we put in our mouths, too!  I read once that we should treat food as medicine: proper dosage, necessary ingredients. But the eat-to-live mentality is opposite of the American live-to-eat culture.  Does the laxative work for Little B? YES! Extremely well in fact, but I want to know WHY she needs it!  I also read that you shouldn't eat anything with ingredients a normal cook wouldn't keep in the kitchen pantry, and it seems that polyethylene glycol isn't a cupboard staple.      
As I sit here typing, Mr. B just brought Little B back from her sleepover. I wonder what she ate, I wonder if she'll get sick, I wonder how long I'll stress about it.  

Too long, no doubt. 

Oh, a muffin or two will settle my nerves.

Wheat Germ Muffins

2 ripe bananas, mashed
1c. sugar
1 c. almond milk
1T. apple cider vinegar
1c. whole wheat flour
1/4c. soy flour
1T. baking powder
1/4 wheat germ
1T. cinnamon
1/2t. salt

Add the vinegar to the milk and set aside.  Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly.  Add all together - mixing until moist. Fill a generously sprayed muffin tin.  Bake for about 25 minutes at 375*
Despite the amount of sugar, the are very 'healthy' tasting.  Interestingly enough Little B ate 3.5 of these on Sunday was crying in pain from a stomachache come late afternoon.   Ironic, is it not?        

And now, my stomach hurts.  GAH! I will not intentionally eat meat again...but that's another blog for another day!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Stop and Go and I Don't Know

It has been a very busy couple of weeks.  School started for both Little B and myself, so it's been very hard to keep up with the things I enjoy like working out, blogging about my dairy-free kitchen and being a generally well-rested person.  Life gets in the way sometimes. It pushes you forward and you just keep going and going and going until something stops you.

Like an intestinal strike, courtesy of Little B's digestive system. 

We were finally getting into a groove when everything stopped. Little B gobbled up vegan lasagna made with cashew ricotta, spinach salads, fruits, veggies, almost everything you'd want your kid to eat.  We'd been on about 3/4 of a teaspoon of medicine for 10 days when everything came to a halt. Her tiny little belly ballooned out like a 9 month pregnant kindergartner. Eight days passed - no poop. Not even a skid mark.

We've been in this situation before, remedied by an adult dose of Miralax daily until things got moving.  So for three more days, we gave her the 4.5 teaspoons of laxative as suggested by our doctor.  She's 5 and weighs 34 pounds.  That's a lot for a little girl. 

Aggravated as ever, we got two appointments set up. One with an Allergist/Immunologist and one with a Surgical Specialist.

ME: Do you do celiac panels?

DOCS: Yes.

ME: At the patient's request?

DOCS: Yes.

ME: Even if the said patient isn't experiencing the "classic" diarrhea symptom?

DOCS: What kind of insurance do you have?  

ME: I will pay cash up front. 

DOCS: Sure. We can do that.  

Strangely enough though, since Thursday, we have had diarrhea. Isn't that lovely? In 5.5 years, the only time she had the Hershey-squirts was once while on an antibiotic for an ear infection.  In the last three days, I've washed out more panties than I care to admit, resulting in the purchase of the most expensive, princess-plastered pull-ups I could find. Thank God Little B doesn't like to have stains in her Tiana panties and understands Mama B can only take so much poop in one day.  I didn't think my gag reflex could take much more.  

When we set out on this venture about 6 weeks ago, my mediocre research led me to believe that if Little B had a allergy it was either dairy or wheat. Based on the fact that a test for dairy allergy will show positive results regardless of whether there has been any dairy intake affected the decision to remove dairy from her diet.  Wheat is different.  If Little B does suffer from celiac, she must to have it in her system to show a positive blood test.  Of course, it is only confirmed by a biopsy to check the villi in the small intestine; six months on a wheat-free diet, then another biopsy to see if the villi have healed. 

Doesn't that sound like a super-fun time?

And, it seems that some celiacs, before they are diagnosed, seem to think they are lactose intolerant or test for a dairy allergy. Their digestive systems can't handle the milk because of the damage in the small intestine. So a dairy-free diet will help, but not cure the problem.  Maybe explaining our initial success?  Who knows...

Of course, maybe it isn't either of those things. Maybe my poor child will have to be on a laxative for the remainder of her life. Maybe she'll grow out of it.

I just don't know anymore...and that's tough for a mom.   

I'm not sure if I can say, "Honey, we'll get it figured out. You will feel better soon!"

In lieu of a cure, I settled for what moms do best...comfort food.

I made Macaroni & Cheese and my own version of LARA Bars, a new family favorite.


1/3 c. walnuts
1/3 c. cashews
1/3 c. almonds
2/3 c. pitted dates
1 t. vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 c. mini vegan chocolate chips

Grind or blend the nuts into dust.  If you like nuts, feel free to blend a little less and leave larger pieces. Set aside.

Blend the dates, vanilla and salt until it separates into balls. Add the nuts. Blend until well mixed.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Press into a saran wrap lined 8x8 pan and press until flat.

Let set for a couple of hours. Cut into 8 bars and wrap individually.

Make sure to take some to your darling co-workers who have to listen to you talk about your child's intestinal duress and keep the school office stocked with TP and panties. 

Gotta go...I just heard, and I quote, "I got a great, big poopie out!"

We shall see friends, we shall see.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Do Over!

Everyone screws up every once and awhile.  Some of us more often than others, but it does happen to all of us. 

It happened to me.

It was one of those mistakes that you don't see coming, where you weren't thinking things through, and certainly didn't see the chain of events that would follow after you rectified the mistake.

So Little B starts kindergarten next week.  I am fortunate enough that she gets to go to the school where I teach and the teachers are exceptional. This is not a dumb joke to compliment myself.  The other teachers in the building are phenomenal.  Hardly a days goes by where I don't consider how lucky I am to work with such outstanding people (despite the dent their mastery inflicts on my professional self esteem!).

When I went to enroll her, my also exceptional administrator asked which class I would like her to be in.  I told her it didn't matter to me.  Let's just put it this way.  People should move cross country to get their five-year-olds in my school.  Mrs. L and Mrs. S work kindergarten magic.  Then she asked me if Little B had any Little friends she might like to be with. "Yes!" I responded immediately.

Little B and her little friend got tucked away into the same class.

I went home and shared the news, everyone was ecstatic. 

Enter a Mama's kryptonite: WORRY.

I love Little B.  She has a great imagination, an aptitude for music, a zest for life and Chocolate Soymilk.  But she is also a follower.  It is dreadfully common for kids this age to want exactly what their friends want, do exactly what their friends do, throw a screaming, crying fit when they can't see their friend.

All I could see were precious minutes of instruction flushed down the tube thanks to my child's antics...and of course torturous seconds of wailing from the time-out chair (torturous for the teacher that is, who would have to endure the aural damage).  

So I decided to start out my journey as the interfering, annoying parent a tad earlier than expected.  I mean, come on! The school year hasn't even started yet!  I tucked my tail and asked if Little B or her friend could be switched to the other class. I explained I felt like a total irresponsible moron, who didn't take the time to think about the consequences of that decision I made in haste.  Idiocy: it's a lovely badge to wear. 

The change was made.

The emotional avalanche that I was expecting was merely a wintry drizzle, except for me

I want a do over, not necessarily to make the right decision the first time, but to change my expectations instead of making mountains out of molehills. I sort of thought I had passed that juvenile, psychotic reaction phase.  Apparently, not. I thought everone would be mad at me, everyone would feel bad because of me.  Turns out I am waaaay more self-referential that I realized. Hello, junior high.

I still feel like a tool, for lack of better late nineties slang. Aren't I just prolonging the issue by rehashing it and writing about it?  And isn't this blog supposed to be about dairy-free living anyway? Shouldn't I be talking about Little Bs bowl movements and abdominal distention?

I'm going to shut up now and make some cookies. Cookies make you feel better. 

At least I can't interfere or talk when my mouth is full of dairy-free, gooey, chocolatey goodness.


1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour

1 c. all purpose flour  (I'm a realist, people)3/4 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt
1 c. Earth Balance margarine (softened)
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup silken tofu, drained
2 t. vanilla
1 c. dairy-free chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Use a Silpat mat or spray cookie sheets.
Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  (I sifted.) 
In another bowl (I used my Kitchen Aide), combine the margarine, sugars, tofu, and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and beat well. Add chocolate chips. 

I used a cookie scoop and placed the wads about 2-3 inches apart.  Bake until the edges are brown. 10 minutes was the magic time for my decrepit oven.  (Hint, hint, Mr. B)

Oh, and if you live in Kansas or anywhere else it is 105* at 7pm, you'll want to put your dough in the fridge between batches. 

Cool on wire rack.  Store in an airtight container if you don't eat them all while wallowing.

It turns out this is the best cookie I've ever eaten.  I plan on abandoning my lucrative, but short-lived career as a bread maker and focus on cookies.

Forget Earth GrainsOtis Spunkmeyer better watch out now. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Living the Dream

My brother-in-law always says he's "Living the Dream."  Beautiful house in swanky suburb of Cincinnati, posh job with a big company and a super cute girlfriend.  So maybe he is living his dream.  But this weekend, I got to live a little one of mine.

Mr. B asked me Friday morning what I'd like to do for my last weekend as a free woman. I described it to him...and people - IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED!

Remember that catchy song from OKLAHOMA?

I got to Kansas City on a Frid'y

By Sattidy I larned a thing or two

Like I would totally uproot my family simply to live near a Whole Foods Market. Sigh.
For up to then I didn't have an idy
Of whut the modren world was comin' to!

Yes, that's our hotel.  You know they must be hurting if they are only charging $89 a night.

Ev'rythin's up to date in Kansas City
They've gone about as fur as they c'n go!
They went and built a skyscraper seven stories high,
About as high as a buildin' orta grow.

Again, our hotel.  Swanky

Ev'rythin's like a dream in Kansas City,
It's better than a magic lantern show!
Y' c'n turn the radiator on whenever you want some heat.
With ev'ry kind o' comfort ev'ry house is all complete.

Like $4 Aquafinas in the hotel room.  C'mon Hyatt - that's just filtered tap water! GAH.

You c'n walk to privies in the rain and never wet your feet!

I'm sure I would have appreciated the LINK more if it were raining, but in 100* heat, it was more like getting cooked in a long glass oven.  

They got a big theayter they call a burlesque  The Coterie.
Fer fifty cents  $42 you c'n see a dandy show.

Best children's theatre I've ever seen and worth every cent.   

Ev'rythin's up to date in Kansas City

They've gone about as fur as they c'n go!

However, I didn't bank on an awesome Clifford the Big Red Dog Exhibit to tickle Little B's fancy.

After dragging her away from Clifford heaven and avoiding the scary clowns in the Crayola store, we headed to the Whole Foods Market for Lunch and to stock up on things we can't get next door to the middle of nowhere. 

Like Daiya Shreds.  They. Are. Unbelievable. 

I've never told Mr. B to keep out of any food we have in the house, until last night.


So obviously, the dream is over...until Trader Joe's opens in Omaha.

I dreamed a dream of days gone by...
Where I was near a Trader Joe's and life was worth living...

Thursday, August 5, 2010


It's hot here.  The past two days have been 105* with the heat index even hotter. Outside is completely unbearable. I'm to the point where I'd rather have the dog pee on the carpet than take the dog outside for 30 seconds. 
It's hot.

I practically roasted yesterday as Little B and I went out to do our trading in Manhattan.  School supplies, groceries and the like.  We raced through each store like our pants were on fire, which they practically were.  I'm sure that sweatiness was the only thing that prevented combustion. 

One item on our shopping list was bread.  As much as I prefer not to subject myself to the black hole that is Big Box Mart, I needed to search the wall of bread to see if I could find one lousy loaf that did not contain milk products. 

How fun do you think that was?

I'd checked things out at the not-so-stressful health food store a while back.  Their gluten-free loaves didn't have milk, but it seemed silly to spend $6 on a loaf of bread with 12 silces when wheat doesn't seem to be our problem. 

I showed Little B where to look on a label to see if there was milk. 
She has definitely added contains, wheat, soy, and milk to her sight word vocabulary.

After checking TONS of labels, we ended up with this...

Rainbo. $2.68

Manufactured by Sara Lee, it is full of enriched chemicals, day-glo white and smooshy.  I have to say that when I read the ingredients, I thought they were less than stellar, despite the lack of moo.  I threw the loaf in the cart and proceeded to check out other carbohydrate delights.  Luckily for my sanity, I found some 100% whole wheat mini-bagels and sandwich thins that were sans dairy. 

Little B hadn't had a sandwich in three weeks.  All she wanted for dinner was a PB&J on bread. It was like Christmas. As she chowed down on her refined sammy, I stared at that evil oven.  Too many weird ingredients on that bread label, not enough fiber. Watching her eat that bread made me a little uneasy.  I hate to even type the words...

I'm going to have to bake my own bread. 

Hey - it's only 94* today. The heat index is still under 100, I think. Let's fire that oven up!

Wheat Bread

1 t. agave nectar (or honey)
1/2 c. warm water
1 packet of yeast

Mix and let sit for 10 minutes or so, then mix in...
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 t. salt
3 T agave nectar (or honey)
2 1/2 T. pure maple syrup

Once mixed well, slowly add...

1/2 c. ground flaxseed
2 T. Vital Wheat Gluten
1 c. soy flour
3-4 c. whole wheat flour

Once it is pulling away from the sides of the bowl, let it rise for 1 hour in a warm spot or preheat your oven as low as it will go (170*), put the dough in and turn the oven off.

After an hour, separate into to loaves, then let rise another hour or so. 

NOTE: make sure you have loaf pans before you start.  Or you'll have to do this:

I should have just told you I was going for something a little more rustic, but I digress...

After the second hour, bake at 400* for 10-15 minutes, then 350* for about 20 more. 

Cathe Freidrich was kicking my butt during this the details are hazy.

Someday, people...someday.

You can use whatever combination of flour you may have and you do not have to use the gluten.  Gluten is supposed to help it rise a little more. I also sifted it all together, hoping for more fluffyness.  

The result was, like the Rainbo, less than stellar. 

Now, this bread is huge - if you are a Princess Tiana Polly Pocket (who happens to be missing an arm).  

So my vain attempts at height were as feeble in the world of bread as they are in real life. However, I heard no complaints...

Mr. B even said it tasted like a loaf I bought at the store.

Watch out Earth Grains - I'm coming for you!

(And friends, don't use this bread recipe - not yet, anyway!)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bakefest 2010

I am starting to feel the pressure of going back to work.  I told Mr. B the other day that I am now like a real person because I only have one week of vacation left before the first duty day.

"So you weren't a real person before?" he asked.

Always the comedian.

This weekend I was going to get a lot of stuff done. Shopping, cooking, and movie watching.  When I announced to Little B that we would be taking a trip to Manhattan, her face fell like a leaf.  I had a lot to do, 99% of which could be considered torture to a 5-year-old.  I called my friend who agreed to let her come over to play with her girls.  Little B was ecstatic, crowned me "The Best Mama I've Ever Had," brushed her teeth without me asking, picked out an outfit that actually matched and was waiting at the door to the garage before I could get my right contact in. 

As an extra-special treat, my friend, Jen the Dietician, came with me on my not-so-fun errands.  We'd been trying to plan a girls' night out since my birthday in March, then her birthday in May. Who knew it would be Harry Potter's birthday before it actually happened?  Such is the life of mothers of young children.   

Our Girls Gone Wild Saturday consisted of...please skip the next paragraph if you are a prude...

...Hobby Lobby, Hastings, and Bed, Bath and Beyond. Then we decided to stop for a drink at Starbucks and then hit the primary target of our day out - the Health Food Co-op.

 I know, I know - we really know how to tear it up. No rumors, please.   

I was in search of a few items that have been cropping up in recipes that elude me at the local grocery stores.  I use the 's' very loosely - there are TWO.  

Agar powder: I think the dude helping me find it told me at least 5 times how to pronounce it. I would try to type it phonetically, but I still can't say it right. Apparently, it is seaweed gelatin. I can read your mind - YUM. Am I right? Am I right?

Arrowroot powder: an alternative thickener; it may make baked goods crispy as well - I tried it in a banana streusel muffin without much luck.  I was hesitant - maybe arrowroot powder needs a firmer hand.  

Stevia: I bought some powder and a little dropper so I can mix my own. I felt a bit like those people who make experimental drugs in their basement behind a faux cinder wall.  I think if I mentioned Stevia to the next 5 Kansans I meet at least 4 of them would think I was in the drug market.  

Sucanat: I was interested in buying this so I could make my own chocolate chips. I've been calling it "suck-on-that" ever since I first read it in a recipe. Aren't I so charming?

Braggs - at first I thought liquid aminos meant some wierd, natural body building supplement.  My brain immediately went to amino acids.  Well, whatever it means, it's commonly used as a replacement for soy sauce or tamari. This is for a cheese spread recipe that is in my current line-up.  It's made from cashews and nutritional yeast (who refused to pose for the blog photo).  

Many of my new ingredients didn't make it in to any weekend dishes.  I was in more of a baking mood this weekend and finally turned my oven on. (GAH!)  Despite our recent estrangement, we did a Strawberry Flax Cake, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and Banana Streusel Muffins.  Many of the cookies, which Little B loved, went into snack baggies to be frozen for school lunches, which start in two weeks.  (Again, GAH!) 

In this realm, I found a book I'd been hunting for called The Vegan Lunch Box. This mom was also faced with the dilemna of packing her child's lunch for school. When she asked him what he wanted, he said "sushi." And thus, the blog was born...then the book. I'm hoping to get lots of those recipe/lunch attempts blogged...we shall see! I don't know about sushi, but there will definitely be Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

They are vegan, but don't be afraid!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1/2 c. canola oil
1/3 c. agave nectar
1/3 c. almond milk
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 1/3 flour (I used 1 c. all-purpose, 1 1/3 whole wheat)
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
2 c. oats
1 c. raisins

Preheat oven to 350*
Combine oil, agave nectar, milk, sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Sift the flour, baking powder, soda and cinnamon into the wet ingredients and mix. Stir in oats and raisins. 

Bake for 10 minutes on a greased cookie sheet or silpat baking mat to prevent sticking. Cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container. 

I used a silicone scoop to gather the dough and my fingers to press the cookies down a little flatter.

        A couple of cookies in hand and a large cup of coffee now -  Little B is waiting to play Princess and the Frog on the Wii.  What can I say?  Duty calls.  

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Camp B

Today Little B got to have some friends over.  I am usually against such social frivolity, stick-in-the-mud that I am - but my most darling and wonderful friend needed someone to watch her kids while her do-good baby sitter cares for orphans in Korea. Seriously.

The morning started off with a musical show. Mr. B is quite the musician, so we definitely have an instrument or two laying around the house. Three guitars, a ukelele, an upright piano, a miniature piano and a triangle were left out in out living room, so those were the instruments of the day.

 Thank God I hid the recorders.

Before my head exploded from the 345th rendition of Hot Cross Buns, I distracted them with Orange Ginger Muffins that were masquerading as a cake.  I can't seem to find my toaster oven muffin pan and I refuse to turn on the regular oven unless it is absolutely necessary. 95* outside + 350* oven inside = one crabby mama. 

Our friends asked lots of questions about Little B's new way of eating.  They were used to her counting her dairy servings, not going without them.  "Is juice diary?" one of them asked and then continued, "I hope not, because that's her very favorite drink."  I let them in on Little B's new favorite: chocolate soymilk.  They were very excited to try it with lunch, which consisted of yummy whole-wheat pancakes and scrambled eggs.

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
3T Milled Flax + 1T water (or 1 egg)
1 c. non-dairy milk of your choice (I used almond)
1t. vanilla
1T. baking powder
1T. agave nectar (or 1T. honey)

Mix wet ingredients then sift dry ingredients into wet.  Mix and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Crank your griddle up to 350*. 1/4 measure makes a decent sized pancake.  Flip once when bubbles start popping up to the top.  Makes 8 rather non-uniform cakes. Great with a thin layer of natural peanut butter and pure maple syrup.

Nope, the hand is not as good as the pancake.

We swam for a couple hours in the afternoon in our state-of-the-art swimming pool.

 There was not a "no running" rule, just a "Splash Mama B's Computer and Die" blanket statement.  It's funny that in my first grade classroom I work really hard to get kids to frame a rule in the positive - Be kind to others. Stay in your own space. Not so much at home.  Enter my classic tag line:

I get paid to love and nurture children, so it's hard to do it for free. 

And it's hard to love children in the blistering Kansas sun, so we came in for a quick peanut butter graham cracker snack.  Then the girls asked to watch a movie. 

Would a mom who cares enough to nurture her child's body with the best food possible really want to subject that same sweet brain to 90 minutes of mind numbing Barbie in Mermaidia?

You bet your hot cross buns I would.