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.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


As we have embarked on this dairy-free journey, many questions have ensued.  Some are a good-natured, "How's it going?' And some are mouthed with no sound, "How is (gesture towards Little B)'s diet?" This particular form is almost always followed by a expression of horror and trepidation.  When I say great, no one hardly ever believes me and then they ask how soon I am going to reintroduce dairy into her diet. 

Hello, people. It's been 14 days. 

You should take her to the doctor.
You should try giving her juice.
You should do like my grandma who used to give my kids corn syrup.
You should up her fiber.
You should make her drink water.
You should make her eat fruit and vegetables. 
All kids are constipated. Just deal with it.

Thank you so much for your brilliant insight, genius. I am so glad you thought of these things because I never considered any of them over the last 5 years! 

Now, I know that people are just trying to be helpful and supportive. I also know that some of them think I'm a nut case for subjecting my family to a dairy-free lifestyle.  Unfortunately, this is when tend to snap into lecture mode.    

I just have this feeling that my daughter reacts to dairy. It has been nagging at me for several years.  No, she doesn't have the diarrhea associated with lactose intolerance but she does have hard stools even though her diet is very balanced.  The giant distended belly set her apart from other children her age.  At birth she was 7lbs, at a year she was 16lbs, at 2 she was 20lbs. At this point the pediatrician said to beef up her calorie intake. I believe the exact words were, "Just slather everything with butter."  The ear infections doubled.  By December 2007, we had tubes in her ears, although she stil continued to get ear infections with the tubes, which is basically like snot coming out of your ears.  At 3 years she was 24lbs. During the next two years there were three pediatricians, a chiropractor and one pediatric gastrointestinal specialist.  The intestinal problems just kept getting worse.  2 ADULT doses of Miralax a day until she was cleaned out.  "Keep her on it indefinitely. Then try to wean her off of it."  Each time I tried, we were right back to square one.  When I asked about diet, I was rebuked by each - like I had suggested putting a bandaid on cancer. "She doesn't have diarrhea. She doesn't have diarrhea. She doesn't have diarrhea."  Over and over again.  The accidents were too numerous to count.  We went through more princess panties than a sorority whore house.  No one would agree to send us to an allergist or order a blood test.  Within the last year, her temperament became unpredictable.  Inexplicable tantrums erupted out of nowhere; her tolerance level for frustration shrank to zero; and she had a hard time falling asleep.

But the last 14 days have been amazing.  Each day has been progressively better than the one before. I can even see a bit of muscle tone on her skinny little belly. No coughing at night or hacking up a loogey in the morning. Don't get me wrong, she is still a 5 year old girl.  She cried three big tears at Home Depot because I wouldn't buy her a Tinker Bell house key, but she was quiet and easily brought back to smiles.  Even the lady behind me in line remarked about how undramatic she was about it.  This is the same kid who threw herself down on the floor, screaming in Wal-Mart because they didn't have any popcorn chicken.  The same kids who cried about taking a bath...and then cried about getting out. This is the same kid who pitched a fit with her father almost everyday last year because she didn't know what to wear to preschool.  

 Two days ago she actually put on a T-shirt and shorts with a giant smile on her face. 

This is a genuine miracle, people. GEN-U-WINE.   

So when am I going to reintroduce dairy?



Monday, July 26, 2010

Weekend Warriors

It was a very busy weekend in the B house. Since there are only a few of them left until I go back to school, Mr. B decided we are going to plan some Fun Family Outings. (Also commonly known as the FFO.) Our first FFO was to a neighboring city's pool. I was stoked because I love wearing a swimsuit.

Insert sarcastic eyebrow raise HERE.

The plus side of this was we got to stop by the only health food store with in a two hour radius. Middle of Kansas, remember? There just aren't that many conservative fundamental Christian NRA vegetarians. Granted, the store is the size of my living room, but the people are friendly, helpful and sympathetic to our dietary desires. After dropping fifty bucks on some vegan cheese, sour cream, butter, rice vanilla ice cream, and silken tofu, we headed home so I could throw a couple non-dairy side dishes together for a get together with friends.

I made Mac & Cheese, per Little B's request and a broccoli salad for the adults. The food went over okay. Everyone was surprised by the Mac & Cheese, which was nice. I really don't expect people who shovel in dairy every day to take their veggie counterparts with enthusiasm. But they all tried, which was also very nice.

The highlight of the evening was Mr. B drinking a throw-back Dr. Pepper with real sugar in it, then taking out his sugar high on the Rock Band drum set...and Dance, Dance, Revolution.

I, too, decided to drink a Dr. Pepper. One word for you: MISTAKE. I could only stomach about half, so I didn't suffer the Junior High shakes like Mr. B, but I swear I had a sugar hangover the next morning. There is no polite word to describe how I felt. I'm a pastor's wife. Use your imagination.

Saturday we were confronted with out first meal out - Cracker Barrel. Now, this is not our most favorite restaurant to begin with, so we knew it would be a challenge. I did a little research the night before and found out what we could eat. Eggs, meat, sourdough bread and Apple Bran Muffins were sans dairy. Little B wanted eggs anyway, so we were good there. I slid a little leftover piece of Banana Awesomeness into my purse just in case things went awry.

You could tell from the get-go that our dietary restriction made the waitress a tad nervous. I didn't want her to think we would go into anaphalactic shock if we got a little moo in out breakfasts, but I didn't want to down play it like it didn't matter either. Little B didn't like the eggs or muffin, but devoured the snack I snuck in. Mr. B and I tried a egg sandwich on sourdough with tomato. Mediocre, to say the least, but we didn't get any sides, so we split the Apple Bran Baseball, I mean - Muffin. This is definitely a recipe I will tackle at a future date. Surely dairy is not the only way to get moisture in baked goods.

To get our minds off our Crapper Barrel breakfast, we worked out, then went swimming with friends. A fabulous afternoon. Saturdays call for pizza on my husband's side of the family, so I thought this might be a good time to try out a non-dairy version.

Pizza Crust

1 pkg quick yeast

3/4 c. warm water

1 T. brown sugar

2 c. whole wheat flour

2 T. oil

Dash of salt, or other seasonings ( I used Spike)

Mix the yeast, water and brown sugar. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Add oil and mixture into mixer. (I used my Kitchen Aide.) Slowly add flour, scraping sides as needed. Once all incorporated, let the K.A. do its thing for about 10 more minutes. Then, allow the dough to rest and rise for another 1o or so. Shape your dough onto a pizza stone. Bake at 400* for 5-7 minutes. Add a smidge of your favorite sauce and bake for 5-7 minutes more. Add your toppings. Bake again for 10-12 minutes, depending on your toppings.

Little B had Toffutti cheese only. Mr. B opted for turkey pepperoni and bacon. I dumped on red onions, mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes. Yum. Sorry I couldn't get the photo before stealing a couple of bites.

To cap off the weekend, I think Little B may have gotten some dairy in the form a vanilla sandwich cookie snack at church on Sunday. I shall monitor the situation and keep you updated on how things, uh...turn out.

Friday, July 23, 2010


So it has officially been one week without dairy products. A short recap...
Little B is a rock star. I was moments from a heart attack on Monday morning when she took off her jammies to reveal a blue and purple bruised belly. Seriously, folks, I think my left arm started to go numb. I thought my good intentions were causing my baby to bleed internally. Little B backed away slowly, then admitted to coloring on a paper plate and putting it up her dress at church on Sunday. Lovely. She progressively had more BMs (you'll figure it out) up through day 5. However, there has been little action in that area on days 6-7. The weird thing is that her belly isn't distended at all. Previously, she'd go one day without a BM and look like a pregnant preschooler. She did have a bit of a runny nose on Thursday morning, so I'm thinking whatever she snuck at our church's picnic Wednesday afternoon could possibly have been dairy laden. Grrr. (Beware: I'm a nutritional conspiracy theorist.) BONUS: Little B is begging for more non-dairy mac.

Mr. B is my hero. He went all week and didn't have a single complaint. He did get a smidge crabby Thursday night, admitting that he was craving a Blizzard of enormity. He did not succumb, but it was a very quiet ride home from the library. He may have eaten an entire package of graham crackers when we got home. He told me over breakfast that he was really needing something sweet. Did I forget to mention that I wasn't using any sugar either?


A light bulb went off. He figured the milky-sweetness he was craving was due to the 'milk' part, not the sugar. This seemed to raise his spirits. BONUS: he was stoked not to have eaten out for 8 straight days. Home cooking is definitely the way to this man's heart, even if it is dairy-free.

As for me, I am loving it. I haven't had any cravings and I feel great. I did have to endure one less-than-supportive comment from my mother-in-law, but at least it wasn't in regards to Little B not getting enough calcium. (That's another post, for another day.) In addition to the no-dairy business, I haven't had any sugar or aspartame either, which I believe is contributing to the feeling of superbness. BONUS: I actually lost a few pounds, too. But I attribute that to eating better in general overall...and not putting 1/2 cup Vanilla Caramel creamer in my coffee each morning.

My week was made when I woke up this morning to Little B calling to me from her bedroom.
"Mama," she said, "Can I have some more of that banana awesomeness you made yesterday?"
Your non-dairy wish is my command.

Banana Awesomeness
2 bananas, mashed
3 T. egg substitute
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 t. baking soda
pinch of salt

Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately. Combine. Pour into a pie pan coated with non-stick spray. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.

BONUS: It's even better the next day.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Udder Madness?

I'm not sure what came over me yesterday. I'm not sure if it is 5 days with out dairy or what, but mania took over.

Little B has, for the past 4 days, had a Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie for breakfast. Super delish as it is (although I take mine without the Miralax), I thought a little change was in order. Summer is a time for frivolity and variety; I don't want to be stuck in a breakfast rut before she goes to kindergarten in 4 weeks (egads! I might add!)

Much to Mr. B's delight, I tried quick a cornbread muffin with peaches and a dab of pure maple syrup. Little B tried a bite and said it was good, but opted for her smoothie instead.

With breakfast cleared away we switched our bed skirt with the one we have in the spare bedroom downstairs. This is what began the frenzy.

Mr. B went off to work and I proceeded to rearrange our bedroom, taking off closet doors, moving dressers. At one point, both Little B and I were trapped in the bedroom. I had to hoist myself on to the top of the dresser, which was stuck in the doorway to go get paper plates in an attempt to slide them underneath my furniture nightmare. I felt a little Indiana Jones.

I was sweating in places I didn't know I had. Little B on the other hand, was singing a medley of Jesus Loves Me and The Festival Soap while creating a tape measure-zip line for her Polly Pockets.

Once I got the dresser unwedged from the previous predicament, it was time for lunch. When I asked Daphne what she wanted, you will NOT believe what she said...

LB: Is there any more of that no dairy macaroni and cheese?
ME: Really? Oh, honey, no! We finished it last night.
LB: Then Mama, we need to go to the store RIGHT NOW.

Then she zoomed down the hall into her bedroom. Mere seconds later she returned to the kitchen with hair brushed and shoes on. After promising her that we would go to the store after daddy got home, she settled for a strawberry-kiwi salad and Tofutti cheese quesadilla. The Tofutti was my first attempt with sliced American-ish soy cheese.
A definite hit.
After refueling, the madness resumed. I decided that, with the dresser moved out of the bedroom, that Mr. B or I would need to move our clothes the the spare room as well.
Ah, the spare room.

On a somewhat relative tangent (is that an oxymoron?)...We moved into our house in January of 2009. We had a tiny 850 sq ft. started home, but decided to sell it, pay off some debt and move into our church's empty parsonage. We almost tripled our space with 5 bedrooms, 3 up - 2 down. The first two upstairs of course, came to be occupied by our existing family. We left the 3rd empty and untouched - in hopes of a Baby B.

Well, needles to say, Baby B isn't in on its way and my school is getting a renovation this summer and our computer broke and my friend gave me an elliptical and I had some jewelry stuff and Mr. B needed to store some of his seminary work and...and...and...and...and...


I worked on the closet for a great deal of the afternoon, but this consisted mainly of me moving things from the closet into our living room (Goodwill bound). When you're making a mess, you've got to spread the love, right?

Luckily for me, I used my culinary super power to desensitize Mr. B to the mess when he arrived home. I believe his exact words were, "This is the best dinner you have ever made."

The meal got him through the night. However, the disaster still awaited me this morning.
You can try the magic too...if you need some saving grace in the form of wheat meat.

2 T. vegan margarine
1/4 OJ ( I only squeezed mine fresh because I had none on hand.)
2 T. Lemon Juice (Yes...I squeezed this fresh, too. I told Mr. B not to get used to it.)
3 T. Honey
1 T. Dijon Mustard
1/2 t. salt
4-6 pieces seitan
Preheat the oven to 375*. In a small pot, melt the butter. Then add in the OJ, lemon, honey, mustard and salt and whisk together. Take it off the heat.
Place the seitan in a 9x9 (or 9x13 if you have larger pieces). Pour your mixture over the seitan. Bake for 45-50 minutes, basting occasionally if you wish.
When the seitan is crispy, remove it from the dish onto a serving plate. Pour the sauce from the pan into little individual bowls.

We had wild rice and broccoli as well. I ended up dumping my ramekin of sauce over my entire plate. It took more self control than necessary to keep from drinking the remains off my plate.
Manners aren't my strong suit.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


So for the past three years my darling husband and I have been trying to find out what is wrong with my daughter's intestinal tract.

Aren't you excited to keep reading?

We've been to many different doctors, specialists, and crackheads to try and figure out what's up. No dice. The closest we've come to a diagnosis was "Lazy Colon." We were handed a carton of Miralax and sent on our way. Perturbed that my child has been doomed to a chemical concoction of words I can neither spell nor pronounce, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I do have my M.Ed. Take out the E and I'm practically a doctor.

Experiment OPERATION: NO COW commenced Friday, July 16, 2010.

If you didn't know this already, dairy is in EVERYTHING. Thank God I had a few eggs to scramble on Friday morning.

What? You may ask...What kind of mother starts her kid off on a diet with nothing to feed her?

That would be me.

We just recently returned from Cheesefest 2010. (a.k.a. one week with Grandma & Grandpa, followed by one week with Mimi & Papa) Of course, this wasn't their fault, it just happens that I tend to do a minimal amount of parenting and an excess amount of sleeping in when we visit our folks. She still got her medicine everyday, so things were running smoothly, if you know what I mean.

Anyhoo, the eggs, which she barely ate, somehow gave her enough energy to dance like a maniac all through the grocery store, where we were for an extremely long time. Let me just tell you now: the dairy-free pickins are slim in Kansas. Slim, my friends, very, very slim.

Her lunch that day consisted of pretzels, peanut butter, some fruit and chocolate soy milk. Please note the absence of anything green. This has kept on for the past three days. No green, lotsa poop and one fit of hysteria, in which I am fairly sure I heard, "Mama, I miss my cheese." Pained by her withdrawal, I decided to whip out some vegan mac & cheese for dinner. I would add a photo here, but it looked somewhat unappetizing to say the least. My vegan "It Melts!" cheese, did not do as promised. Unfortunately, it was the only cheddar cheese I could find. I live in the middle of Kansas, remember?

Despite its lackluster appearance, Mr. B loved it and even went back for seconds. Little B on the other hand complained about the pasta because the texture was funny on her tongue. Cursed whole wheat elbows!

If you are feeling adventurous, try it out for yourselves.

Mac & Fake
(Mr. B's delightful branding)

1/2 lb. elbow macaroni
2 T. vegan margarine
1/2 block silken tofu
2 T. unsweetened milk (I used almond)
1 t. salt
1/2 t. dry mustard (vain attempt at yellowness)
8oz vegan cheddar (You're on your own with this one)

-cook pasta, drain
-toss in margarine to coat
-blend tofu, milk, salt, mustard (I used an immersion blender)
-stir mixture into pasta
-add cheese
-pray for melting

I also popped mine into the toaster oven at 350* for 15 minutes
(and looked on the Internet for mail order vegan cheese while I waited).

Back into the fray...