In case I never said Thank You…

As school started this year, as did the flood of peanut related posts on facebook and the sort. Bloggers gathered defenses and armed themselves with angry parents to defend their rights to peanuts anytime anywhere! I read post upon post, article upon article of people claiming they have been violated in the rights department because PB&J can’t tag along to school. I have sat jaw-dropped at some comments like, “Why do the rest of the kids have to suffer due to a small percentage of peanut allergic kids.” and “No normal, healthy child should ever have to lower their bar of standards to accommodate another child’s inability to meet a ‘basic set bar of expectation.”

So basically, some of these people are saying Peanut allergic children are weaker humans and should be locked away from society if it causes even the slightest inconvenience for a small portion of the day to other “normal” children. And some aren’t quite as angry, but still annoyed at little. I get it. Just getting homework done for school is a feat in itself. Now you have to alter your lunch life as well.

Let’s throw it out there. I had no idea about food allergies before my daughter was diagnosed. I was so overwhelmed and anxious when I found out that I was up all hours of the night researching for months and months. What does this mean? What did I do wrong when I was pregnant? How did this happen!? What do I do now? But I’m not here to get into that now.

I was also very tempted to post my rebuttal list to all these maddening articles I’ve been reading. But I decided that was already taken care of by a lot of other allergy kid parents. I decided that what needed to be done at this time was to point out all the people in my life that have not shunned us for the annoyance of having us around. To all the people who have no problem going out of their way to keep our daughter safe. I may not thank them enough because it really truly means so much!

To my family! THANK YOU! Every family party I go to, my mom or my sister check with me so they can make something special for my daughter to eat. My father-in-law (Poppy) buys ingredients she can have so that he can make her a special batch of rice krispie treats. My sister always has a safe brand of ice cream handy when we have parties so she won’t feel left out. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law buy her a GIANT bag of Yummy organic lolli’s every year so she always has travel snacks. Thank you to my Aunts and Uncles who avoid putting out bowls of nuts on holidays! Thank you for all the seperate bags! For all the questions! They don’t have to, but they do.

To my friends! THANK YOU! When they have birthday parties for their own kids, they make sure nothing is made with peanuts and they make sure her goodie bag is filled with treats she can actually have. It’s enough to plan a party, but to have to take time to account for my daughter on top of all of it. It’s a lot to just even remember to do that. And they invite us again, instead of telling us to stay home because it’s too much of an inconvenience to the other kids to have my daughter there. Thank you to friends in different states who’ve invited us for weekends and made sure their homes were safe. Thank you to those who even went as far as to whip up a special batch of dairy, egg, and nut free brownies! And again, I don’t expect it, but they do it.

Even at church and small group, THANK YOU! They always check with me when they aren’t sure of something. I have a dear friend who always has something safe for my daughter to eat when we go to her house. THANK YOU!

To every restaurant that ever made her a special meal that required pots and pans to be washed or fries made seperate… or grills to be cleaned in order to prevent cross-contamination. THANK YOU! To all the pizza places that make her special pizzas! To every chef that comes to the table to make sure he knows just what foods can’t come in contact with hers. To every waitor or waitress that takes the time to make sure everything is safe or is just honest that it’s probably better she eat the food in her lunch box instead. Even to the people who take my phone calls ahead of time checking if there are is a peanut free cooking area because peanut and peanut oil is not as containable as the other allergens. THANK YOU! Nobody likes to be that person at a restaurant… that person that asks a million questions when the place is hopping. So sincerely, THANK YOU!

THANK YOU to her former pre-school for checking with me on everything from facepaint to detergent!

And there are many more people that I’m probably leaving out..

But at the end of the day, this is my problem. It’s my husband’s problem. It’s my daughter’s problem. It doesn’t have to be my family or friends problem. But they make it theirs because they love us. They wait till we leave to bust out the Reese’s on Halloween. They wash their hands and faces frequently just in case. Just like we would accommodate them if it meant keeping them in our lives. They understand what community is and what it’s like to look out for one another.

I’m not thanking them because this all makes my life easier (it does), I’m thanking them because they care enough to do it without being asked. And I don’t have all the answers. Because you can’t find them. There are so many theories to why the percentage of kids with food allergies has grown so much. You don’t know what kind of reaction your kid will have. This time it could be a rash, next time a swollen throat. Kids have died from allergies that were thought to be “mild.” So the only way to be 100% safe is total avoidance. And there’s no way to do that completely. And I’m sure if there was even a .01% chance something could kill your kid, you’d sure as heck avoid it!

So again, THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who was even thought to look out for my daughter’s well being. To everyone who makes her feel included and cared for! You can’t know how much it means to us! We love you!!!

roofacepaint

x-posted to The nut free home school

The Chocolate Cake recipe I use

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We are not Vegan, but I have a stack of vegan cook books just because it makes life easier when it comes to Roo’s food allergies. It already cuts out the dairy and eggs, and nuts are an easy thing to leave out or replace. They don’t usually have any real “job” as far as making a cake or baked item perform as it should.
So after trying out a bunch of different recipes (mostly from vegan cook books or online), I think I’ve come to the conclusion that this is my most used line up of ingredients.

This makes 24 cupcakes or two 8-9′ rounds for a layer cake… or cut it in half for a quick small cake or 12 cupcakes… ( I probably didn’t need to add that… but whatevs…) I like to make a big batch of cupcakes and freeze some in case something comes up and I need a “birthday” cake type dessert in a jif to bring to a party.

A little side note here is that I also find a big difference when I only use a fork to mix this recipe. You can mix it with a spoon, but it’s just as easy and doable with a fork. Takes a bit more patience, but it comes out more fluffy and moist. One of the biggest problems I always had baking without eggs was trying to get the cake less dense… and I could be crazy, but I feel like substituting the fork for the spoon is the key.

Dry ingreds:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Mix all dry ingredients together. You can throw em’ in a big bowl, or you can throw em’ right in the pan you’re going to bake them in. If you’re using a square or rectangular pan, you can pretend it’s your zen garden and run the fork through in pleasing patterns whilst crushing any flour, sugar, or cocoa power rocks that may have formed.
And if you are just mixing this in the pan you’re going to bake it in, you won’t need any kind of baking spray. This is the “less stuff to wash later” method. Not suggested if you’re making a layer cake… but if you’re just going to leave it in there to frost and cut up, it’s the quickest and easiest way.

Wet ingreds:
2 cup warm water
2/3 cup Canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 apple cider vinegar

Once all your dry ingreds looks uniform, start adding the wet ones one at a time until completely blended with the fork. The oil is the toughest to incorporate, but just keep running the fork around the edge and kinda fold the oil in until blended. I always leave the vinegar till last, it’s doing the job the eggs got fired for and it can’t sit around like that too long so try to have your oven ready as soon as it’s mixed.

I used to worry about over-mixing with a spoon, but again, I don’t think I’ve ever over-mixed with the fork so don’t be afraid to keep blending until you’ve got a good consistent texture.

Bake for 30 mins at 350 if you’ve got two 8′ round pans or a half batch square.
Bake for 20 mins at 350 for cupcakes

Bake longer if you’re using a bigger or deeper pan. I would start with 30 mins and just keep testing after. I’ve never actually made a batch this size in one big pan so … use your judgement. 🙂

And the great thing about this cake batter is that I have no problem letting my daughter lick the bowl (shown above) since there are no raw eggs or dairy in there, it’s basically liquid chocolate sugar… how could that taste bad?

As far as frosting, you can throw a quick glaze on top with confectioners sugar, water, (soy milk or a safe butter alternative), add an extract for flavoring… etc. This is perfect if you’re making a chocolate bundt cake.

If it’s for a birthday party or something where I want to decorate it, I usually just use the Pillsbury frostings. (Ya know… coz you want your kid to bounce off the walls a little after consuming your confections… hey, it’s a party right?) But they generally don’t have any dairy and are just a pile of sugar and soy ingredients in attractive colors topped with coordinating sprinkle type decorations.

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And the above picture is proof that this cake can stand on it’s own…  if your child steals a cupcake pre-frost… you know you’ve got a keeper.

Enjoy!

xo Fitty

Hershey Revisual

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So this is our third trip to Hershey with the kiddies. I think that means it’s officially a tradition… but this was the first time we visited the Gardens there.

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This face painter was not only talented… but a face-painting warrior! She battled kids knocking into her and invading her space, she re-painted several times areas roo had wiped off, and she didn’t even flinch when the biggest flying waspy bee thing landed on her ear whilst Nins and I screamed and pointed and went…”omg…omg…OMG..”

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I thought it was so weird that Roo would choose to have a unicorn painted on her face and then have it shellacked with glitter…
That last statement is the biggest lie ever.

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This one needs a caption… I think they were looking for the rock garden on the map… They as in Noah and Eleanor… Luke was contemplating whether he should start that online rocket science course, or just play baseball next weekend.

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This one kinda looks like two kids in love running off into big piles of roses to live happily ever after… until one falls down or gets a rose thorn prick and runs back crying for a bandaid. Or until they realize they’re cousins.

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Was a good weekend trip as usually. Thanks Aunt Nins for Roo’s b-day present! We had an awesome time!

Oh, and a little side-note about taking a Food Allergy kid to Hershey Park: Don’t know about anyone else’s experience, but so far it’s been one of the easier places to deal with. For some reason the first time I was going to take her there I thought… “OMG, I can’t take her to HERSHEY!?!…” For some reason in my head I just pictured kids running around with peanut butter in their hair and wiping Reese’s peanutbutter cup residue all over the rides… and …etc… But after I dared to go there, I realized that it’s no different than any other amusement park that sells candy and has roasted peanut stands. I just made sure I had her meds close at hand… two sets of EPI pens… and clorox wipes to wipe down any ride or seat that I felt needed wiping.
And as far as restaurants and food in general. The Hershey Park website has all the allergens listed by place so I was able to pick out places she could eat before we even went, and if I wasn’t sure, I could just go to my phone and double-check online. There was a restaurant we ate at in the hotel that I couldn’t find any information about online, so when we got there, I asked the waitress if she had any allergen information and she was very sweet and asked me what her allergies were and said she would go discuss it with the chef. Not five minutes later, the chef himself came out to double-check and ask me what she liked to eat. Long story-short, he made her dinner and brought it out himself and said he used separate cooking pans and utensils and made her a batch of fries with new oil also separate from the rest. I can’t say I’ve ever had any restaurant be so attentive when it came to food allergies. I almost cried I think…

So I give Hershey great marks for that… I should probably write a letter or something…

xo fitts