Speaking of Food Allergies…

Even though E has tested negative for it up until now, it turns out that he is also allergic to shrimp. We found this out when we um, had shrimp for dinner last night. He threw up several times and got hives but after some Benadryl his reaction calmed down.

Finding out that he has another food allergy in addition to milk, eggs, peanuts, and nuts hit me kind of hard. Not because a shrimp allergy is especially difficult to manage (it’s a cake walk compared to milk and eggs) but because it made me despair that E’s food allergies are ever going to be getter. It seems like the odds of him outgrowing them are getting worse and worse.

I try to keep things in perspective–I’ll take food allergies over the host of ailments other kids and families struggle with (bone cancer anyone?), but I have to admit that despite all that sometimes I get a bit discouraged.

Easy Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Brownies

I lost my pregnancy weight from Mimi (37 pounds) much quicker than I did with E. One thing that helped was having a giant baby that was almost a third of the weight and the rest I chalk up to not eating dairy, eggs, peanuts, or nuts since Mimi was born.

E is allergic to all of those things and his allergist said that it might help Mimi avoid having similar food allergies if I eliminate E’s allergens from my diet while I’m nursing her. It might not have any effect but if there’s anything I can do to help Mimi avoid food allergies I’m going to do it.

I’d like to lose another 30-40 lbs which is the weight I gained the first couple of years after I got married. But my weight loss has stalled out a bit these last few weeks, mainly because E and I have been making a batch of these brownies at least once a week. Many thanks to my friend and neighbor Jenn for sharing this recipe with me.

Recipe: Adapted Duncan Hines Brownies
(If you have food allergies please check the brownie mix ingredients carefully and make your own decision about using this recipe. E is fine with this recipe, but I can’t be responsible for any adverse reactions you may have!)


  • 1 box Ducan Hines Chewy Fudge brownie mix
  • ¼ c flour
  • ¾ c sugar soda, Coke or Sprite
  • ¼ oil


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Grease your pan of choice with dairy-free shortening. (FYI, when I used a 9×13 pan they came out too thin. I like using a muffin tin, the recipe will make 12 good-sized individual brownies. )
  • Mix flour into brownie mix until incorporated
  • Add soda and oil, mix until blended
  • Pour into pan and bake according to directions on box. (When I use a muffin tin I usually bake them for about 23 minutes.

That’s it–dangerously easy! These brownies are pretty good (i.e. they taste like normal brownies, not like a consolation prize) and they never last very long around our house.


We had a nice relaxing Thanksgiving. We hung around the house watching football and playing with E then whipped up a dairy-free, egg-free Thanksgiving meal. The hit of the evening was this vegan pumpkin pie which was actually quite good (I copped out and used a pre-made Marie Callendar’s pie crust).

E was pretty excited about the whole thing.

Yesterday I felt a little worn out and sort of over Thanksgiving but when I stopped to think about it (which I need to do more often) I was floored by my many blessings, especially my family and my relationship with my Savior.

The tricky part is hanging on to that feeling and not letting my first-world problems get me down.

Somewhat Disappointing

Last week E had to have several vials of blood drawn so they could run tests on his food allergies. As you might imagine, the blood draw did not go easily and kind of traumatized E. It was worse than last year because now E has a much better idea of what’s going on and he’s a lot stronger (it took two techs and myself to hold him still). Anyway, yesterday I took E in to get the test results and to see his allergist for his annual check-up.

Sadly the test results were not encouraging. The tests measure the amount of antibodies in E’s blood that react to specific allergens. Last year his results for milk were already quite high and since then they have doubled to being super high. His results for peanuts doubled as well and eggs and most nuts stayed the same.

All of which means that E is very unlikely to outgrow any of his current allergies. I’ll admit that I was pretty disappointed. From year one to year two it looked like E might outgrow his nut allergies and maybe his egg allergy. But this last year everything just looks worse.

I was feeling kind of down as I drove home. It just hit me again that my son will most likely never be able to eat like a normal person. Right now making sure that he only eats food that’s safe for him is solely my responsibility (and N’s) but what’s it going to be like when he’s in school or away from home? It’s a lot for a little kid to handle.

On the positive side E’s allergist said that there is hope that this new baby won’t have allergies/or will have less severe allergies. She said it’s a combination of genetics and enviroment and that when nursing moms cut allergens out from their diets (like I’m going to do) sometimes kids only end up for a few milder allergies that they outgrown within a few years. I don’t know how much difference it will make since I eliminated allergens from my diet when I was nursing E once we found out about his allergies but he was already seven months or so old at that point.

So while there’s nothing really concrete to go on I won’t be eating dairy, eggs, and nuts after the baby’s born because I will do anything in my power to lessen the chance that another one of my kids has to go through this. On the plus side, this time around I’m a lot more knowledgeable about what our food options will be (and it will probably help me lose the baby weight).

After spending a few hours at the doctor’s office, getting skin tested to see if he could get a flu shot, and then getting the flu shot itself E was pretty wiped out and hungry so on the way home we stopped into a Chik-Fil-A that recently opened near our house.

As I watched E eat his waffle fries and chicken nuggets (his doctor okayed food fried in refined peanut oil) and then run around the playground I felt my spirits lift. While there are a lot of things E can’t eat and he’ll most likely have to be careful of them his whole life it’s not as though he has a serious or terminal illness like some kids do. He’s still a healthy little boy for which I am deeply grateful.

The Joy of Vegan Baking

I bought the highly-regarded The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau a while ago with the intention of regularly baking E some dairy-free, egg-free treats. I had visions of myself wearing a cute apron pulling steaming muffins out of the oven and presenting them to him, my grateful offspring. (After which I would go and sit on the couch in my dress and pearls and make small talk with Don Draper.)

The book covers a wide variety of baked goods and most recipes are accompanied by tasty-looking photographs, always a big plus in my eyes. Probably the biggest selling point of this book for me is it uses easy-to-find and rather inexpensive ingredients. Some vegan cookbooks call for a lot of exotic ingredients like coconut oil and specialty flours that are pricey and require at least a few trips to a specialty store to gather. Except for things like soy butter and non-dairy milk this book uses pretty standard baking ingredients which I really appreciate.

I used the book’s recipe for chocolate cake to bake some cupcakes for N’s birthday this last week. It’s a variation of Wacky Cocoa Cake. They turned out well except they were a little underdone. I checked them at 15 minutes like the recipe said and ended up pulling them out at 20 minutes because I was afraid they were burning. They were really moist and pleasingly on the dense side.

The cupcakes didn’t quite rise all the way (maybe I over-mixed?) but I just filled the little divots in the middle with frosting–ta da! Flavor-wise I think this is just as good as a normal chocolate cake mix cake. I’ll probably make this recipe again and try and figure out how to fix the sunken tops.

Chocolate Cake Recipe from
The Joy of Vegan Baking


  • 1 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 c cold water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 f
  2. Lightly oil a bundt pan, 9-inch sprinigform pan, or muffin tins
  3. Combine all dry ingrediants and mix
  4. Create a well in the middle and add the wet ingredients to it.
  5. Mix until just combined.
  6. Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes
  7. (For cupcakes, check for doneness after 15 minutes)
  8. Cool on wire rack and then run a sharp knife around the inside of pan to loosen the cake.
  9. Cool completely before frosting.

Yield: one 9-inch cake of 8 cupcakes.

The Verdict:
4 out of 5 stars. If you’re interested in milk-free, egg-free baking for either health reasons or food allergies this should be one of the first books you get. It’s covers a wide range of baked goods and most recipes use easy-to-find ingredients (I’m looking at you, Babycakes!).

Happy Birthday, N!

N recently had a birthday and so E and I made him some egg-free, dairy-free chocolate cupcakes. After feeling rather down about E’s food allergies last week it made me happy to watch E lick the batter bowl clean like a normal kid. (E was also a big fan of said bowl-licking.) And the cupcakes were really quite good.

(I know I know–he’s getting a haircut later this week.)

Happy birthday, N! You are the best.

Sometimes it’s hard

E came down with a stomach bug over the weekend which I also caught. I’m better now but E still has a low fever and a cough. He’s been spending a lot of time draping himself over the couch and/or bursting into tears.

My stomach still isn’t back to 100% and I have been eating very much but for some reason this morning a fried egg (with a deliciously runny yolk) over rice sounded good to me. So I fried up an egg on the stove.

E loves helping to cook and dragged a chair over to the stove to watch. While I let him sprinkle some salt and pepper on the egg I reminded him that “This egg is for Mama; E can’t eat eggs because they will make him sick.” He’s usually pretty good about listening when we tell him that certain foods will make him sick and doesn’t insist on eating them.

But today, for whatever reason, he really wanted to try the egg. I gave him a few bites of rice but he kept pointing to the egg and saying “try it!” He had a full-blown sobbing meltdown and I ended up scraping my food into the trash because I felt horrible for eating it in front of him. And then I felt like crying.

I know that his food allergies are a minor thing as health issues go but I really wish he could eat eggs, drink milk, and have a peanut butter sandwich like a normal kid.

As graceful as always

I almost forgot to post today. I’ve been in a bit of a funk since this morning when, carrying E, I slipped on the ice outside of his daycare and fell. My right knee and elbow took the blunt of the fall but poor E fell on his back and bonked his head lightly. It freaked him out quite a bit and upset me too. I felt horrible about dropping E (mother-of-the-year!) and then really embarrassed since my graceful landing was witnessed by several people who then kept asking if I was all right. Le sigh.

Also, E ate a chicken nugget at daycare that contained something he was allergic to and so when I came to pick him up the skin around one of his eyes was red and covered with little hives. But on the plus side, he was still having fun playing with the toys and didn’t want to leave. I gave him a teaspoon of Benadryl right away and in about an hour and after a bath he was back to normal. When I had dropped him off I had asked the cook to check the ingredients of the nuggets for milk and eggs so I’m not quite sure where the breakdown occurred, but obviously something went wrong. The next time I drop him off I’m going to bring a bag of E-safe chicken nuggets for the daycare to keep in their freezer and feed to E if there’s any doubt about the food they’re serving that day in the future.

I know it’s wasn’t like anything super traumatic or even horrible happened today but I still feel like I’ve been put through a wringer. (Because I am a delicate flower like that.) So it’s nice that I have an outing scheduled with some girlfriends tonight for dinner and some Christmas shopping. I’m still a little concerned about E’s reaction. If E was going to be left with a sitter I would probably cancel but since N will be home so I can go out without feeling burdened by worry.

Now I just have to go clean my house like mad before my friends show up.

Test Results

E’s appointment with his allergist took most of the day on Friday. I got stuck in the backup from a traffic accident on both the way up and back from Salt Lake. On the way up it wasn’t so back, only about 25 minutes. But on the way home I was in stop-and-go traffic for over an hour with a cranky, tired, hungry E. The only thing between us and insanity was a bag of Skittles I had put in the car for such an emergency. By the time we got home he was covered in a layer of sticky brownish grime from the colors melting together all over his face and hands. As soon as we pasted the wrecked my irritation evaporated, though. It was pretty bad. Among the crunched cars there was a flipped minivan that was torn up really badly. I wondered if there had been kids in there. And I realized that dealing with a cranky toddler for an hour was infinitely better than whatever than whatever the people in that van were dealing with right then and maybe for the rest or their lives. (Just checked, sadly someone did die.)

But about the appointment itself: there were mixed results. Last year we found out that E is allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts, and a bunch of other nuts. The doctor (who is really great–let me know if you ever need a recommendation) wanted us to also avoid all seafood because it is also highly allergenic. So this year we retested his blood to see if his allergies had changed.

The bad news: E is somehow more allergic to milk than he was last year and his egg allergy stayed the same.

The good news: E’s peanut and nut allergies went down dramatically. He’s still very allergic to them, but at least they went down which gives me hope that he can continue to outgrow some of his allergies. And E is not allergic to seafood so we can start giving it to him. I think one of the first seafood recipes I’m going to try is this one from my sister-in-law Mindy who is a great cook.

The doctor and I were kind of disappointed about the milk and eggs. She said that normally if kids outgrow something it’s usually milk or eggs so it’s usual that E’s peanuts/nut allergies came down instead.

The plan for the next year is to continue avoiding all milk, eggs, and peanuts/nuts and then do his bloodwork again when he turns three. She said that by the time E is four or five and can articulate if he’s having a reaction then they’ll probably had the protocol for oral desensitization worked out and he can start on that. While we got mixed results I’m trying to look at them positively.