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A Diaper Update and More Diet Safe Meals

4 Apr

I am still going strong with the diet and haven’t caved in or slipped up once! I have added corn back in to my diet, though. I did that after seeing the new pediatrician two weeks ago and her telling me to resume a normal diet because this was just the way Rilyn was. Being skeptical, I decided to start with one food at a time. Corn was first, because if I’m being completely honest here, it was the hardest. Corn is in absolutely everything. I am so grateful to be eating corn tortillas and chips again!

And lets not forget about my Dr. Pepper! I was missing my DP like whoa.

So, that puts me at no dairy, soy, wheat, gluten, eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts, and beef. While I’ve been doing okay with the diet, I have some super hard days. Days that have me crying while making dinner because I can’t make what I want, days that I just wish I didn’t have to make dinner and we could get take-out or eat at a restaurant (can you believe I’ve made all of our meals every single day for over a month now?!), days when I just want to be able to make cupcakes with my biggest little and set her free to decorate them however she wants. I suppose I could still do that, but I don’t trust myself with cake batter and frosting laying around. If I got any on my finger I don’t know that I’d have the willpower to not lick it off.

And then there are the days I bring it on myself. Like when I walk down the cookie or ice cream aisle, or when I think about the red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting that I’d like to be eating for my upcoming birthday rather than the banana “ice cream” I’ll likely make instead, or when I think of the meal I’d love to make Brandon for our anniversary but know that I can’t because it’s not “diet safe”. Those days I have to snap out of it and remind myself that it isn’t going to be this way forever, and that I’m doing all of this for a VERY good reason.

Moving on to what’s most important: Miss Rilyn’s diapers are still the same. We haven’t seen blood since Friday, but the mucus remains. Brandon and I have gone back and forth about going to see a GI specialist. We knew the wait list was long (2 months) to get in to see one, but we also didn’t want to go see one and talk about testing if everything was going to turn out fine and it end up that this IS just how our child is. A few days ago, though, a friend from college that works in a pediatric GI office contacted me about getting Rilyn in within a week if we wanted to (feeling so grateful for her)! We took that as a sign and Rilyn has an appointment on Monday. I’m nervous and anxious, but I’m ultimately looking forward to having someone that specializes in this take a look at her, and for being able to have peace of mind that I’m doing all I can for her. She’s still as happy as ever and growing too fast for my liking! You know I’ll keep you updated.

Here’s what I’ve been eating lately. If you’re interested in recipes for any of these, please let me know. I’m happy to share! Also, these pictures are terrible. Sorry Charlie.

 

ground turkey chili

mint chocolate shake (using frozen banana as the ice cream)

my momma made pork chops, potatoes, and green beans

ground turkey and bean tostadas. Yum-o. homemade shell, too! and, yes you do see cheese on those bad boys. but it’s dairy free and soy free and definitely nothing like real cheese.

rice pasta with a garlic avocado cream sauce. this is by far my favorite diet safe meal. 

teriyaki chicken with quinoa. never in all my years did i think i’d ever make my own teriyaki sauce (diet safe of course. made up of balsamic vinegar, orange juice, olive oil, water, and pepper).

Now if I could just figure out a good dessert recipe that’s dairy, soy, wheat, egg, and nut free!

….and fish free. I’m not up for trying a dessert with fish in it.

Elimination Diet Dinners: Day 10 and 11

15 Mar

Day 10- Homemade tomato soup with brown rice noodles and turkey meatballs. This was delicious.

Day 11:

Guys! GUYS! This might have been my favorite dinner thus far. I knew we’d be watching our beloved Cats play late tonight and I was really craving some finger foods that we could eat while watching the game.

We really will be having this meal again.

Maybe tomorrow night.

Baked bacon wrapped chicken with brown sugar and chili powder, homemade baked sweet potato fries, and homemade guacamole. I don’t like to say that I’m a good cook and I don’t take praise over my cooking well either, but my guac is good, y’all. That I will say over and over again.

Random dinner, yes, but delicious nonetheless. Even if I had to eat the guac with rice chips instead of tortilla chips. ;)

Plus, our Cats won! Holla!

Elimination Dinners: Day 6, 7, 8, and 9

14 Mar

I’m slacking on these food posts, but I’m giving myself a free pass since we’ve been dealing with some sickness. Hopefully we’re on the mend around here.

Day 6 dinner is probably my favorite I’ve made since starting this elim diet. I’m craving mexican food like mad, but since eggs and corn are on the no-no list, finding tortillas is pretty much impossible.

I’m not a huge fan of lettuce unless it’s covered in salad dressing, but I’m finding this diet is helping broaden my horizons, and I used lettuce leaves as my ‘taco shell’. I loved it!

I call this chicken salsa tacos. I put chicken breasts, taco seasoning, salsa, and black beans in the crockpot. I then shred the chicken when it’s done cooking and add it back in the mixture. I made brown rice with some spices and scooped the rice, chicken salsa, more salsa, and an avocado sauce I made using avocados, chicken broth, garlic, salt, cayenne pepper, and lime juice into the lettuce leaves. It was delicious!

Day 7 was rotisserie chicken and homemade fries again. I didn’t figure I’d need to take a picture of the meals I’ve already done.

Day 8 The flu found it’s way to Brandon so I scratched what I had originally planned for dinner for something easy and fast since Lakyn and I would just be eating it. Spaghetti with brown rice pasta. Again.

I know I’ve got two repeats as far as meals go, but if it works in my diet, it’s good, and it’s cheap, I’m not above repeating meals. Sorry peeps.

Day 9 I threw a ham in the crockpot with some brown sugar. Made some garlic mashed potatoes, and added some green beans. Oila! Dinner is served.

Elimination Diet: Day 3′s Dinner

7 Mar

Spicy!

This was a first for me. Making some cajun food. Look at me growing up!

I’ll definitely adjust some seasonings for next time, but overall, it was yummy. The sausage was the best part.

And it was spicy! But I said that already.

Red beans and rice with andouille sausage

 

Some Questions, The Plan, and Meals

6 Mar

Questions some are wondering:

1. Why not get her tested for allergies? Wouldn’t that be easier?
Yes, it would be easier if they were conclusive, but the problem with getting her tested for allergies, especially at this age, is that there is no test for intolerances. We (I) could go through the trauma of having R’s blood tested just for it to come back saying she’s not allergic to anything, which would be great news, but not helpful, because obviously there’s something that isn’t agreeing with her body.

2. Why not switch to formula?
Rilyn’s still not taking a bottle and because she’d have to be on a special formula (dairy free). That stuff is ex.pen.sive.  A-nothankyou.

3. Will Rilyn get everything she needs?
Yes. Actually, she’ll probably be getting better things than before as I will be eating better than I ever have. Plus, I’m still taking my prenatal vitamins (although I had to switch to ones that were free of dairy,soy,wheat,nut,fish,etc). We decided last week to stop her cereal and her green beans to make sure all she was getting was milk. This is to clear her system faster and to help her as breast milk is the easiest digested food for her. Our plan is to start her on rice cereal again this weekend. If she does well with that, we’ll reintroduce green beans.

4. What WILL you get to eat?
I’ve been wondering that same thing for the last couple of days now, and honestly, I’m finding quite a few things that will fit inside the limitations.

And honestly, I’m kind of excited!

There are two silver linings to this huge drawback of major diet restrictions.
1. I’m helping my baby.
2. I’m being forced to branch out and cook new things; I’m being forced to not be such a picky eater.

The plan looks like this:
Eliminate all beef, dairy, soy, wheat, gluten, eggs, corn, nuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish from my diet for 2-3 weeks. Hopefully at this point Rilyn’s diapers are better. If they aren’t, we’ll contact a GI specialists. Let’s say that they are better, and please God let them be, at which point I will slowly add those items back in one at a time.

As of right now, I will add corn back in first, then beef, then eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat/gluten, soy, and lastly dairy. I will wait 5-7 days between adding something new. If her diapers go back to being mucusy then we’ve found the or one of the culprits. It’s very possible we’re dealing with multiple intolerances here. We’ll just wait and see.

So, that’s where we’re at. Exciting, huh?

Wanna know what we had for dinner last night and tonight?

Last night (Night 1):

 

Seeing how it was the first day of my new diet, I didn’t have a lot of ideas and kind of felt like I was going to be left eating plain lettuce. Alas, I picked up a rotisserie chicken (checking the ingredient list first). Hooray! To go with it, I made some homemade french fries, and a salad. Winner winner chicken dinner!

Tonight (Night 2):

Spaghetti!!! I used rice noodles which I actually don’t mind at all. Yay! I also had a salad with cucumber and tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with some salt and pepper. Delish and I’m full!

Stay tuned for more dairy/soy/wheat/gluten/peanuts/tree nuts/shellfish/fish/eggs/corn/beef free recipes.

DF Chocolate Cookies

11 Feb

DUDES!!!!

I’ve struck gold. Dairy free gold. And if I use the right chocolate, these could even be soy free. Double score for me!

Okay, maybe this won’t be a big deal to everyone, but it’s HUGE to me! Real quick, I suppose you need to know something about me.

I have an insatiable sweet tooth, more specifically, a chocolate sweet tooth. I get these cravings and I NEED chocolate. Stat. The problem is that a candy bar, or cookie, or even ice cream isn’t enough to fulfill it. Often times, the only thing that cures it is brownie batter.

Gasp! I know, raw egg and all. I’d always try other forms of chocolate first, but more often than not, I’d end up making the batter.

Enter dairy free and soy free diet. Exit chocolatey goodness.

So, back to striking gold…

Now that I’m dairy AND soy free, finding yummy chocolatey things to eat isn’t as easy as it once was. Forget about the candy bars, the M&M’s, the ice cream. I even have to be careful with chocolate chips. I’ve been researching and hunting for more dairy free things to eat and in that quest, I found these amazing cookies.

Believe me when I say amazing.

They’ve replaced my brownie batter fix.They’re everything I need from the batter: fudgy, intense chocolate, sweet. They look like chocolate crinkle cookies but are so much better. They’ve got a slighty hardened outside and an incredibly soft and gooey inside. They’re divine when still warm and still amazing the next day. I’m telling you, I’ve struck gold.

Plus, if I use the right chocolate, no soy as well.

Plus, no flour. Holla all you gluten-free peeps!

Plus, only 6 ingredients.

Plus, 72 calories a cookie.

That’s right, I said it. If ever there was a healthy chocolate cookie, this would be it. Dairy free, flourless, and healthy. Unbelievable? Believe it.

Go ahead, try them. You might like them.

Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and you may, I say.

Sorry, the Dr. Seuss in me came out a little bit there.

 

Flour-less Dark Chocolate Cookies - recipe adapted from Picklee.com
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli for dairy free and Enjoy Life chocolate chips for a dairy and soy free version)
3 large egg whites, room temp
2 cups powdered sugar, divided (plus 1/2 cup for cookie coating)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large  baking sheets with parchment paper. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in glass bowl in microwave, stirring twice, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly. Using electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl to soft peaks. Gradually beat in 1 cup powdered sugar. Continue beating until mixture resembles soft marshmallow cream. Whisk 1 cup sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. On low speed, add dry ingredients into meringue mixture. Mix lukewarm chocolate mixture and 1/2 cup chocolate chips (dough will become very stiff). Place 1/2 cup sugar in separate bowl. Roll 1 rounded tablespoon dough into ball; roll in sugar, coating thickly. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and tops crack, about 9-10 minutes. Cool on sheets on rack 10 minutes.Transfer to rack to finish cooling.

Food Friday: Mexican Casserole

11 Jan

Like mexican food?

Like the ease of casseroles?

Like having leftovers?

If you answered yes to the above questions we should be friends.

This is one of B’s favorites casseroles that I make and when we had his family over last weekend, I made it for the lot of us.

They declared it a winner!

Hopefully you will, too!

Mexican Casserole
1 lb ground beef
1/2 of an onion, diced
2 cups salsa
1 can (15oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1/4 cup italian dressing (Sounds weird, I know, but you can’t taste it, and it’s good. Trust me.)
2 Tbsp taco seasoning
6 flour tortillas (8 inch) OR 12 corn tortillas!
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg (8oz) shredded mexican cheese

Heat oven to 400*
Brown meat with onion in LARGE skillet, drain.
Return meat to skillet.
Stir in salsa, black beans, corn, italian dressing, and taco seasoning.
Arrange 3 tortillas (or 6 if using corn) in the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish. I spray mine with cooking spray first, then lay tortillas so they cover the bottom. There will be some overlapping.
Spread HALF of the meat mixture over tortillas. It won’t completely cover the tortillas, just spread it evenly and don’t worry about covering every inch of the tortillas. It won’t matter in the end.
Add HALF of the sour cream. I drop 6 little spoonfuls. If you want to be all fancy and try to spread them out, go for it. I leave them in little dollops, though.
Sprinkle HALF of the cheese over the top.
Repeat layers of tortillas, meat, sour cream and then cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Uncover dish and bake for 10 more minutes.

Eat, drink, and be merry! Then tell me what you thought if you made it.

That’s an order.

Sorry for being bossy.

Food Friday: Gearing Up For Baby

10 Aug

Bit Bit will be here soon. Or I can only hope.

To help us transition to being a family of four, I set out to prepare some freezer meals to have stocked up and ready to use when we get home from the hospital. Thanks to both my mom and my mother-in-law, I accomplished every meal idea on my list. I’m quite proud of myself and knowing that I have all these meals in my freezer, means I can focus on other things. Like cleaning.

Or not.

Here’s what I’ve got ready and waiting:

  • 6 sausage and egg english muffin sandwiches (think Sausage Egg McMuffins)
  • 3 loaves of banana bread
  • 2 packages of browned hamburger to use for casseroles or other meals
  • 2 packages of spaghetti sauce (two different kinds)
  • 2 packages of taco meat
  • 1  package chicken quesadilla meat
  • 2 chicken enchilada dinners
  • 2 manicotti dinners
  • 2 chicken spaghetti dinners
  • 1 homemade macaroni and cheese dinner (because we ate the other one already!)
  • 2 chicken casserole dinners

Since it’s Food Friday, I’m including a recipe for the macaroni and cheese. It’s the Pioneer Woman’s recipe and my little family lurves it! You do get quite the arm workout with all the stirring, but who couldn’t use an arm workout every now and then? And please, PLEASE, do not leave out the ground mustard. It honestly makes this dish! Comfort food at it’s best, peeps.

Of course, these meals aren’t going to last long, but it helps knowing that I’ve got a few easy dinners ready to go. Actually, knowing that I have these dinners bring such peace of mind, that I’m thinking about continuing this in the future. Maybe just make a stash once a month to have meals ready when I don’t feel like cooking dinner…

Or maybe I should adjust to being a mom of two before I commit to any crazy ideas! :)

Food Friday: Lemon Crinkle Cookies

20 Jul

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest grocery store and buy the ingredients you need to make these cookies!

Trust me.

They’re just as delicious as their sibling, the chocolate crinkle. I love me some lemon flavored desserts in the summer time and if you do too, I really think you’ll love these. If lemon isn’t your thing, just make the chocolate ones. You can’t go wrong with those!

I’ve made these before using a lemon cake mix and a whole container of cool whip. They were still good, but these ones? Oh my! Ten times better. The cake mix recipe made a very sticky batter and I felt a little weird about all that cool whip, but they did produce a great lemon flavor. THIS recipe though, resembles more of a sugar cookie and has a wonderful lemon flavor that doesn’t get lost in the sugar and it isn’t too overpowering. HINT: The dough tastes ah-mazing!!!

Plus, they make a great ‘Thank You’ gift for your lemon-loving brother-in-law that went all the way out to Nebraska Furniture Mart to pick up your baby’s crib AND dresser, brought them all the way back to your house, and then proceeded to unload them in your house for you. Yes, these cookies are a perfect ‘Thank You’ for something like that! :)

*****

Please don’t judge my pictures. I didn’t take the time to get out the fancy camera for this recipe. I should have, but when those pregnancy cravings kick in, you just have to listen and there wasn’t time to get it out! I needed these cookies STAT! Good thing the ol’ iPhone is always within reach!

ingredients:
 ½ cups butter
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoons baking soda
1½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cups powdered sugar

-Preheat that oven to 350. Even if it’s 106 outside. You’ll thank me when you eat one of these.

-Cream butter  and sugar together in a large bowl.

-Mix in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice.

This is where you’ll see my cheap side come out. I do not own a zester, so I just used the smallest side on my grater and it worked great. Make sure that you’re only grating the yellow skin off the lemon. You don’t want to get the white part, it’s very bitter.  

-Stir in all dry ingredients, EXCEPT FOR POWDERED SUGAR, until all is combined.

Go ahead and just eat a chunk of that dough. You’ll be glad you did.

-Put powdered sugar in a bowl and roll a rounded teaspoon of dough around in it. Make sure you get it well coated. If you think there’s too much powdered sugar on it, you’ve probably got the right amount!

-Place the dough balls on a greased cookie sheet, or one lined with parchment paper, and bake for 12-14 minutes or until the bottoms are light brown and the cracks look done. *The original recipe says 9-11 minutes, but my cookies needed longer than that. Just watch your first batch and see how long your oven needs.* Cookies will set up and harden more as they cool, like most cookies usually do!

-Let cool, and then try not to eat the entire batch before you can share with loved ones.

-Call me and tell me how much you love these cookies!

I got this recipe from On The Bright Side, thanks to Pinterest!

Beef and Cheese Empanadas

6 Dec

yum-o

Hello, my name is Afton, and I’m a terrible blogger. I seriously need to join Blogging Help Anonymous.  BHA. Is that a real thing? Can that be a real thing? Please?

Now that I have a couple minutes, how bout a new recipe? I found this one courtesy of my Kraft Food magazine. The actual recipe calls for chicken, instead of beef, but I used what I had on hand people and the Hubs said he thinks he actually likes the beef better. Score!

We (even Lakyn) really liked this recipe. The crust is light and flaky, it didn’t take too long to prepare, plus, I made another batch to keep in the freezer for quick lunches or those busy dinner nights. I LOVE recipes I can do that with!

Since I didn’t take any pictures while I was making them, I’ve linked up with the recipe on their site. Bonus: it has a video! Remember that theirs uses chicken, but seriously, use whatever  you fancy.

I can’t wait til Miss L gets bigger and starts helping me in the kitchen. I have a feeling she’ll love rolling the dough and filling the empanadas with me, and who could forget about the ‘crimping’ part?

Enjoy ya’ll!