Challenge testing – so far, so good!

My oldest son has been slowly challenge testing with baked milk products.  We have tried little bits of margarine (which contains whey) baked in cookies and the like.  So far, he has had NO symptoms.  No excessive gas, no hives, no rash, NOTHING:)  So happy.

The next thing we have tried was an imitation cheese.  It is lactose-free but contains casein in it.  I was hesitant at first, but decided that I would just keep a close watch on him.  Again, no reaction!!!  This makes me very happy.  Hopefully this means that if he were to get a trace amount of milk products while out and about (or if he travels abroad) then he will have no problems with it.  It is easy to spot cheese, sour cream, and the like, but not so easy to spot hidden dairy items like whey and casein.  I am thrilled that he has thus far passed the challenge tests.

The next test I plan on trying is baking 1/4 c of straight cow’s milk into something like pancakes with the rest using almond milk.  I may start with a smaller amount at first.  The last time I tried this, he broke out head to toe in a rash.  However, due to his current challenge test results, I think I am finally ready to try again.  Here’s hoping for success!!!

Dairy-free chocolate chips option!

We went to Costco and found bulk chocolate chips there.  They are Kirkland’s brand and contain NO dairy!!!  That said, they were manufactured on equipment that may contain dairy products.  We have had no adverse reactions with them and are so happy to have found a more economical way to make dairy-free chocolate chip cookies.  We have also found some dairy-free ones at Save Mart out west that have no cross-contamination.

Challenge testing – it’s time:)

My son, who is now 15 1/2, has begged me to try the baked milk challenge test again.  When I baked 1/4 cup milk out of 2 c in corn bread a few years ago (giving him about a tablespoon of baked milk), he broke out in a rash all over, so I have been hesitant to do it again.  That said, I think it is time we tried again as he will soon be going to college and I want to make sure he is safe from hidden sources of dairy.  We are going to try baking in 1 T of regular milk out of 4 c of milk in pancakes, and then I’ll watch him closely to see if there is any reaction.  If there is no reaction, then we will slowly increase the amount of baked milk.  I’ll keep you posted as to his progress!

Great use for leftover almond pulp

We have been making our own almond milk now for a while with great success.  It saves a ton on the grocery bill and my son loves it.  I have found that soaking the almonds overnight is sometimes too much, so I usually only soak them for an hour.  Using our recipe of 1 c almonds (soaked for an hour and then drained), 3 c water, 2 T sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla (optional), we blend it all together in our VitaMix and then pour it through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth (I use a spoon to push out the excess milk or twist the cheesecloth and squeeze the milk out over a pitcher (I wash my hands really well to do this)).  We then chill until ready to use.  This method produces roughly 3 c of almond milk or so, costing about $1 (buying almonds in bulk).  That said, I have found that when I save the “paste” or leftover almond pulp in a tupperware, I can use it in baking.  There is enough paste leftover to make 4 c of almond milk.  I put the pulp in a measuring cup and add enough water to make 4 c.  I then stir it together to make the reconstituted “milk.”  I use this in muffins and pancakes and sometimes cake.  We can’t really taste the difference.  Using this method, I can get around 7 c of almond milk for $1!  This totally makes the effort worth it considering 1/2 gallon of almond milk costs almost $4 where we live.  Happy baking:)

Dairy-free Beef Enchiladas

Just made dairy-free beef enchiladas last night for my son.  We ate too quickly for me to take a picture.  Happy Holidays!

Here’s the recipe:

1 lb. cooked hamburger meat
1/2 onion, chopped and cooked with hamburger meat
taco seasoning, to taste
6-8 flour tortillas (could use corn tortillas – more authentic)
1 can enchilada sauce
Lettuce, Tomatoes, & Cilantro, chopped (optional)
Guacamole (optional)

Pour a little bit of enchilada sauce (1/4 cup or so) in the bottom of a baking dish.  Combine cooked hamburger meat, onions, and taco seasoning.  Place equal amounts in tortillas and roll, placing seam-side down in the baking dish.  Pour remaining enchilada sauce on top and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Top with desired toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, and/or Guacamole).


If you happen to have these on hand, you can also sprinkle on dairy-free vegan cheddar cheese before baking as well as serve with dairy-free sour cream.  We didn’t have this on hand, and it was just fine:)

Cool new food allergy app for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad

I was just told about a cool new app for the iPhone.  It is called “Allergy Talk” by Fooducate.  From what I can tell, it allows you to instantly tell which food items contain the following allergens:  gluten, peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, egg, milk and soy.  (You can turn the allergen alert on and off to meet your specific needs.)  I think the information comes from scanning the bar code.  You can also discuss the allergens (I’m assuming with other users of the app?).  If this is as good as it says it is, reading labels may be a thing from the past!

Ear infection returns…and yummy barbeque sauce:)

My second oldest son has been off dairy for many years due to a recommendation by our ENT. He had had ear infections every 6 weeks since he was a baby for eight years and had five ruptures in his left ear. He also had tubes put in twice. We have been very strict, however, as of late, my son has wanted to “test” dairy products. He is 13 years old now, and I felt that it would be okay to try trace amounts. Shortly after our move out west, he said that he couldn’t hear out of his right ear. It progressively got worse, until I finally was able to get him in to see a doctor. Sure enough, his right ear was infected. He also failed the hearing test in both ears. Strange, since we haven’t had problems for years. We go to see a new ENT on Monday. I will be curious to see what he says. I have no idea if it is related to the small amounts of dairy that we have permitted or if it is related to a new area (seasonal allergies?). Needless to say, I will take him off of dairy again until we are certain what has caused the infection. Fun times:)

On a side note, my husband made the BEST dairy-free barbecue sauce that I have ever tasted. I wasn’t able to take a photograph because we devoured it so quickly (there were NO leftovers). He cut the chicken up into small strips and cooked it in the sauce (covered in a skillet) until the chicken was no longer pink. Here it is:

1/2 c ketchup
1/2 c salsa (we used Medium heat picante)
4 T brown sugar
2 T white or cider vinegar
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. mustard powder
1/2 tsp. salt
dash hot pepper sauce or crushed red pepper
1/2 onion, diced and sauteed

Saute onion and set aside. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients together and bring to a boil. Add onion. Pour or brush over desired meat and cook until no longer pink.

Accidental milk challenge test with NO reaction

The last time I tried to do a challenge test with my oldest son (now 14) with 1/4 tsp. of baked milk, he broke out in a rash the next day all over. So, I decided to not re-test him for a while. Recently, I was making corn bread muffins for a friend with a rice allergy. Since I only had rice milk and cow’s milk on hand, I made her batch with the cow’s milk and ours with the rice milk. I set the pans of corn bread to the side and left the kitchen. My teenager, who love to “test” things, ate three slices of cornbread from the WRONG PAN. This gave him an equivalent of 3 T of cooked cow’s milk. I decided that it was a good challenge test, so rather than rushing to get Benadryl, I just watched him on and off for 24 hours. Nothing. No rash, no hives, no digestion issues, nothing. He is so excited that he wants to go straight for cheese (yeah right). I think that I may try once again to start introducing baked milk a little at at time. Although I am fine if he doesn’t have dairy the rest of his life, I hate worrying about if he’ll be okay in college or when he’s on his own. I also feel for his future wife. There are so many hidden sources of dairy, and he has had so many bad reactions in the past. It would be nice to see if he could at least tolerate those hidden sources and baked sources, even if he never is able to have cheese. (Although, he REALLY wants to have cheese:)). I’ll try to log in some of our testing and give updates. Yeah for cornbread!

Rosemary-Potato Frittata – Dairy-free Recipe

This is adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook “Eat Well, Lose Weight” to make it dairy-free.  It was SO yummy!

8 small red potatoes, thinly sliced
1 c chopped red onion or onion
1 c chopped peppers (red, orange, yellow, or green)
10 eggs
2 tsp. freshly snipped rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried, crushed rosemary)
1/2 tsp. salt (or as desired)
Cracked black pepper

In a large skillet, cook potatoes and onions in about 1 inch of water for 7-8 minutes.  Add peppers and cook an additional 3 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.  Drain off water and set aside vegetables.  Dry skillet and spray with non-stick cooking oil (or lightly oil pan).  Return vegetables to skillet.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, rosemary, and salt.  Pour egg mixture over vegetables in skillet.  Cook over medium heat.  As mixture sets, run a spatula around the cooked edges of the frittata to allow the raw egg to flow to the edges to be cooked.  Continue in this manner until all eggs are cooked (covering your skillet will speed up this process).  Top will be shiny.  Remove from heat and let set for 3-4 minutes.  Crack black pepper over the top and serve warm.  Serves 8.

Almond Milk Recipe

We have finally come up with a delicious almond milk recipe!!!!  My kids love it, and it bakes beautifully as well as tastes great.

Here it is:

1 c raw almonds
3 c water
2 T raw sugar
1 tsp. vanilla (optional)

Soak almonds for 6 hours or overnight.  Rinse off almonds and place them in a blender (I use a Vita Mix) with 3 c water, sugar, and vanilla.  Blend together for 3 minutes.  Pour milk through a sieve lined with cheese cloth.  Use a spatula, if needed, to help milk strain faster.  You can also squeeze any additional milk through the cheesecloth if desired.  Place milk in refrigerator and enjoy!

Note:  I have been saving the leftover almond paste/matter and have had great success in using it in cakes and muffins.  No waste, and very yummy!!!  I’ll post another recipe soon!