Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Princess Party

It's been a long month without Ry being home... and we sure are missing him.  He was sad he had to miss this birthday. Daisy was excited that his gift arrived in the mail right before the party started.  
We enjoyed having her friends helped her celebrate her birthday -- princess style. 

PS... A big Thank You to Cinderella for making her party awesome!







The roses were made from sticks of bubble gum. The beads were Strawberry Whoppers. 




Saturday, July 16, 2011

I could possibly be okay with this

Warning -- this is a bit long, and possibly boring. But -- it's my new reality. Just don't say I didn't forewarn you...

So you may or may not know that I have severe wheat and egg allergies. Kinda sucks. As in the "I-have-been-super-angry-about-this-for-months" kind of way. You see, I haven't always had these allergies. There are few things I like better than homemade bread straight out of the oven, slathered with butter. The crisp crust is delicious and the soft middle is heavenly. I love going to the grocery store right as they pull the french bread out of the oven. Just inhaling the aroma is a little bit of a high for me. I would get a loaf of it and eat the whole thing by myself. I love bread so much, I would pass up a platter of brownies just to enjoy a loaf of chewy sourdough bread, no jam or butter needed.

The problems started after baby #6.  Every time I ate something with whole wheat flour, my throat and belly would hurt, as though I had swallowed shards of glass, and it would become slightly swollen, as though I had a sore throat. The more whole wheat was involved, the worse the reaction, and as time went on, the reaction went from a sore throat to my throat closing off completely. Umm, scary! Until I figured out what was causing it, I just carried liquid Benadryl with me everywhere I went.

For a very long time, I could get away with white flour. White bread didn't bother my throat, but I soon found the next day my joints would ache and be very inflamed. I soon eliminated bread altogether and rarely ate baked goods, but you know me, I love to bake -- plus I was still in denial of how bad off the reaction really was. I would bake something up, have one little piece, and give the rest away to neighbors or friends so that it wouldn't be tempting me around the house. After a while, even that little bit was bothering me. I could take just one bite and feel my lips, tongue, and throat swelling immediately.  Once, Amanda ground some wheat in preparation to make some homemade wheat bread. I walked out in the kitchen and immediately my throat began to close off simply from the flour in the air. By the time I got back into my bedroom, I was laboring so hard to get enough air in that I couldn't even talk. Benadryl to the rescue.

If I had eggs, the reaction was also severe, which is sad since Eggs Benedict on toasted English Muffins with fresh tomatoes from the garden and creamy Hollandaise sauce is possibly one of my favorite meals ever.  For a long time I was still able to eat eggs in baked goods. The makeup of the protein in the eggs changes when heated, plus it was a small amount compared to eating a fried egg. Whether it's the flour or the eggs now, I don't know... but the combination of them both in baked goods is now deadly.

It is to the point that as tempting as that brownie looks, I cannot eat a single bite. My throat closes immediately, my lungs seize up, I get very light headed and dizzy. I am afraid the next time I eat something I will go into anaphylactic shock. Bad idea without an epi-pen handy.


Some have suggested I have celiac disease -- and I may. Typically, celiac disease will not produce such an immediate life threatening reaction. There is a big difference between the auto-immune response of celiac disease (a gluten intolerance) and the immunogloben iEg response from an actual allergy. Both are dangerous, both will wreck your life, but celiac disease doesn't usually swell your throat and tongue or give you itchy hives immediately. I'd like to know for sure what it is -- but that is going to have to wait til I have money to throw at blood tests and skin prick tests.  Especially because there are still a few other things I am suspecting as allergens as well. (Whey, for example.)

Either way - I have one answer. Don't eat it. Don't breathe it. Don't get it on your skin, and if you do - wash it off in a hurry.

Take a look at any of your baking recipes, or pantry staple ingredients. Remove the ones with flour and eggs. What do you get?  A whole lot of rice and beans.

Can you see why I am NOT excited about baking or cooking lately?

Well... there is hope. For the first time EVER I am excited about baking a wheat free, egg free cake.

 (Pause and shout for joy with me!!!)

I was in the health food store yesterday picking up some Alfalfa tablets, and noticed some incredible wheat free-egg free-soy free-everything free coconut macaroons and fudge truffle cake.  It looked so silky and smooth and delicious! One problem, - they wanted $7.49 for one tiny piece of cake!  (Prices are apparently lower if you buy direct from  www.rawmelissa.com)

But it got the wheels in my brain turning.  I have slowly been letting go of the anger about what I can't eat, and trying to accept the things I can eat. I've read blogs and I know there are alternative flours to use, and egg replacers. Eliza was even kind enough to go buy some egg replacer... but there was a major mental block that said "This is hard! This is unfair! I hate this! I am not okay with this!"

Besides, something about making french bread with rice flour just seems so wrong.  And how am I supposed to get a perfectly moist, perfectly flavored Homemade Hostess Cupcake without flour or eggs?  Moist layered cakes with amazing flavor combinations are one of my favorite things to make!

Well... get ready for a whole new revolution of what a layered cake looks like. I looked at the ingredients for Raw Melissa's truffle cake, and remembered the "raw cake" a friend makes using almonds and cocoa. I looked online for some other recipes, and the more I look... the more excited I get.

Watch out world, because I have some baking to do.

Take a look at this...

Blueberry Cake Balls  (You'll have to scroll past the pink poodle part.)

Peppermint Chocolate Cake 

And this Raspberry Chocolate Mousse Cake.



The party's just started people. This is going to be fun :)

 - Rachel
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