Mini heart-shaped chocolate chip muffins

My mom was visiting/helping with the girls over the weekend. She likes to clear out unused toys, etc when she’s here yet somehow the decluttering always ends up bringing in more stuff…. this time she brought a heart-shaped muffin tin and a muffin maker. Sophia always gets excited about new things and was very eager to make something with the heart-shaped tin. All morning she kept asking me when we could make something with the muffin tin, waving it around in my face. I was finally able to get Savannah down for her morning nap and so we decided to bake. I found an allergy-friendly, vegan recipe for mini chocolate chip muffins that I adapted a little to fit what we had in the house. This was a fun project for us and they came out pretty good, too! The apple sauce keeps the batter pretty moist so I recommend cooking them closer to 12 minutes to make sure the consistency is right. Here’s what you need:

  • 1.5 cups Bob’s Red Mill Baking Flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup and 1 tbps granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons of melted earth balance spread
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • one pouch of Gogo squeeze apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of enjoy life mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease muffin tin (if you don’t have a heart-shaped tin just use a regular mini muffin tin). I used a little bit of the Earth Balance spread to grease the pan.
  2. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and cinnamon.
  3. In another small bowl, mix together the earth balance spread, coconut milk, apple sauce, and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet and dry ingredients and mix well with a whisk or spoon. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Use a spoon to fill each muffin tin with about a tablespoon or so of batter. Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from tin and let cool. Enjoy!

 

Race Day

For those of use who have ever done a 5k, triathlon, mud run, obstacle course or any other sort of race you know how exciting race day can be. Except maybe when you’re supposed to run 60 some miles through steep hills and climbs and it’s 40 degrees and raining. That’s what Paul is up against this morning as he takes on the Zion Ultramarathon in Utah today. For anyone wanting to track his progress today, you can go here to set up notifications. Savannah and I were supposed to be there to cheer him on but because of our sickness we had to stay home. I’m so sad that we cannot be there with him today but we are thinking about him and saying lots of prayers that he stays safe during the race.

In other news, I received a message from Savannah’s pediatrician yesterday about her Calprotectin levels. They came back normal! I was so thankful for this news. The last time I had her levels checked ( I think in January) they were 216 and this time her level was 119! (high range normal is 165) Amazing! I am so relieved that this crazy diet is helping her. Now, again, if I could just pinpoint exactly what is giving her an issue. The first time I had her stool tested I was only dairy-free, soy-free so we know that it is not JUST those things. In any event, once I start breastfeeding again after I’m done with this course of steroids I think I will try to add one thing each week and see how she does.

I did go on a  mini binge the other day – ate pretty much all the allergens and then of course was not feeling well that night. Got back on the diet yesterday so hopefully my system will clear it all by next week. I made allergy-friendly chicken piccata last night (one of my fav dishes) so I will have to post that recipe soon.

The sense we take for granted

And no, I’m not talking about common sense. It’s smell! We had a terrible upper respiratory infection run through our house the past week and we are still in recovery mode. On Monday as I was eating my dinner I realized that I could not taste anything – it was so strange. Then I tried smelling anything around – dirty laundry, diapers, toothpaste – and nothing. I got worried because although I was stuffy, I’ve never lost smell completely before. The next day I went to see my ENT. He scoped me and cleared out all the mucus in my nose and told me how inflamed everything was. This is the third time in the last year that I have battled a really bad sinus infection (this one was the worst). I haven’t been able to take any decongestants or use any nasal sprays because I was either pregnant or in this case, breastfeeding. I suffered through the weekend pretty badly. I worked at Banfield Saturday morning and then performed at a wedding Saturday afternoon when I probably should have been resting. Sunday afternoon I was supposed to perform at another wedding but I had to find a sub and thank goodness Paul was here to help with the girls because I felt like I was hit by a train.

So back to Tuesday after seeing Dr. Mallon – he prescribed antibiotics, steroids and nasal spray. As you probably know, steroids are not safe to use while breastfeeding but at this point I was pretty concerned about my own health and worried that I may never smell again (which I think could be pretty awful as it does happen to some people). After I got home from the appointment, I pumped all the milk I had and then started the steroids. I will have to feed Savannah a combination of what I have stored in the freezer thats DF/SF/GF and a hypoallergenic formula (we have Elecare right now) for the next week. So far she is doing okay. I’ve been giving her breast milk during the day and formula once during the night. Today I have (thankfully) regained most of my smell and taste and since I’m not breastfeeding I have been eating anything that I want. Cheez Its were just so good – oh how I have missed them! I think tonight we will order pizza from Fireside Cafe in downtown Palm Harbor – sooo yummy. I figure I have one more day of eating anything I want and then I will have to go back to the ole diet to give the proteins time to leave my system before I start breastfeeding again. I will need to wait 8-12 hours after taking my last dose of the steroids before I start again. I found a good website for exclusive pumpers to help me with a pumping schedule which you can find here.

The website recommends 4 pumps a day for 6-11 month old. I feel a little bad about dumping so much milk but it would only be safe for an adult to drink. I told Paul he should drink some to help him recover from this sickness. He didn’t get it as badly as the rest of us but he is prepping for a HUGE race out in Utah on Friday. Maybe I’ll freeze some of the steroid milk and he can take some Momsicles to go, lol. Apparently there is a decent market for selling breastmilk to men/body builders. That’s gotta be weird though – meeting up with a stranger and giving them your milk to drink….. I even feel weird about my husband drinking it. I have never tried it myself, though I have thought about it a few times.

I was supposed to travel with Paul to Utah for the race and we were planning to take Savannah with us but unfortunately I am unable to go. My sinuses are still not healed and getting on a plane would aggravate them even more. I am sad to miss his race. We will all be cheering for him from home.

 

Gluten free pasta

Although you wouldn’t know it from looking at me (I’m blonde and fair-skinned) I am part Italian which means pasta has always been a big part of the menu. After I had been dairy-free and soy-free for months without the improvement I wanted to see in Savannah’s diapers, I concluded the next logical thing to cut out would be wheat and gluten. One of my best friends from college, Vanessa, was gluten free and so I reached out to ask her some questions. She told me the reason she was gluten free is because of her Lyme disease and doctors had told her that gluten and dairy cause tons of inflammation in the body. I thought, wow, that makes so much sense. I’ve been gluten free for about 2.5 months – also remember if you’re cutting things from your diet it can take 2-4 weeks to clear your system. I have tried a ton of different gluten free pastas and the best one by far is the gluten free pasta made by Ronzoni 👏. If you’re from the North End this still might not cut it for you, but it is the best I’ve found so far.

What’s for dinner?

Crock pot sausage, peppers and onions

This one is super easy and great for everyone! It doesn’t take all day so no need to defrost anything the night before. A girlfriend suggested I make this for a potluck and it’s stuck with me for an easy go-to week night meal. I started mine at 1pm and it should be ready by 5pm.

Ingredients

  • package of Publix brand mild Italian sausage
  • one large onion
  • one or two large green peppers (mix with yellow or red for variety)
  • 2 cups of chicken broth

Directions

  1. Turn crock pot on high and add sausage to the pot.
  2. Slice peppers and onions and add them on top of the sausage.
  3. Add in the two cups of chicken broth – make sure you check the ingredients. I did encounter a vegetable broth that unbelievably had milk as one of the ingredients.
  4. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or until sausage is cooked through. Serve over rice or gluten free pasta! Super easy and delicious!

Hello world!

Being a mom is tough! Being a mom of babies/kids with food allergies/sensitivities is even harder! There are some days that are so difficult for me while on this journey of trying to avoid foods that upset my baby’s tummy. I think the hardest part of the whole thing is not knowing exactly which foods upset her. Some babies react immediately after you eat a food they are sensitive to. Some react hours or even days later making it sometimes impossible to know what they are sensitive to. Several months ago I had Savannah’s calprotecin levels tested (checks for inflammation of the intestines). The levels were elevated but not off the charts so the pediatrician was not overly worried. At that time I was only off dairy and soy. I submitted another stool sample yesterday to check the levels again. We will see if this crazy diet has helped and the levels are down. Hopefully I will find out sometime this week. Throughout this whole journey, she has always been a happy baby. Sophia on the left, Savannah on the right.