Chocolate and allergies 

99% of chocolate on supermarket shelves has that scary line for us – MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF PEANUTS. What it means is that peanuts are handled in that factory whether they go on the same conveyor belt or not and there is a risk of ‘contamination.’ 

One brand of chocolate doesn’t become safe simply because she tried a piece last week and was fine. It doesn’t permenantley crown that brand ok for us. That bar, on that day going down that conveyor belt was safe… the next one could easily contain the dreaded peanut – and for us that’s a serious matter. 

It’s like a game of Russian Roulette that I don’t want to play. Along with the peanut and hazelnut risk chocolate mostly contains soy (which we avoid as a health preference) and a bucket of sugar. 

She has had the odd little piece here and there but I find myself ‘hawk-eyed’ on her to ensure she is ok. 

My found alternative is far safer for her, easier on my nerves and sooooooooo much better. It’s Jo Whitton’s chocolate recipe from her blog Quirky Cooking

I make it in the Thermomix but you could easily alter to a stovetop method (and I imagine melting the cacao butter would be a heady, delicious and soothing process.) 


From memory (see the link above) the recipe calls for cacao butter, cacao powder (do not confuse with cocoa), maple syrup or honey, salt, vanilla. Very simple, clean.and nothing too scary. It sets lovely and keeps in the fridge. It sits ok on the bench but in a Brisbane summer I wouldn’t trust it. Bonnie devours it with that deep smile that can only come from a mouthful of chocolate. We have a zero risk of nuts and zero processed sugar, reduced overall sugar and no soy! This is in fact dairy free too. I have some to a friend who said it was up there with Lindt standard so that’s saying something. That’s the basic plain recipe but you could start jazzing it up by pouring it over dried fruit or adding peppermint or rose…or my current favourite dried orange slices.

I did see that the brand Sweet William is producing a ‘christmas’ chocolate that is nut, dairy and gluten free (the gluten coming from the glucose syrup derived from wheat.)  At Easter time we got their bunny ones and it was nice to have something else in the mix but they do contain soy and an awful lot of sugar.. we found them incredibly sweet. 


We haven’t gone the chocolate advent calendar.. instead we do an advent tree. We pick a little bag off the tree each day and do the little activity inside. Bonnie really likes it and it’s a whole lot of fun to get us into the Christmas spirit. I will adjust them as she grows older but for now I don’t re- jig and simply pack them away ready to use next year 

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What the heck do you feed her? 

I get this line whenever someone sits and really listens to Bonnie’s allergy story. 

Every time, I sit back and think ‘I have no idea – this is so hard!’ However, in our everyday lives of course I am substituting and reinventing constantly and don’t give it a second thought. 

Let’s start with what Bonnie can’t have – wheat, eggs, peanut, hazelnut and coconut.  (she has other environmental anaphylactic allergies too which we will save for another day.)  

She can eat fresh veg and an aray of fruit, meat, seeds, almonds, cashews, macadamia and pistachios (which are given regularly to avoid allergies to all nuts.) 

The biggest thing we soon discovered was how much wheat is contained in store bought products – regardless of how healthy they are. From this discovery and the constant fear of buying something someone else prepared – out houselhold is now probably 90% homemade from scratch. From sauces to wheat and egg free breads to buy butters and dips. 

Yeah it’s a big job making it all from scratch and it can be expensive but thing we ever did on this allergy journey was buy a Thermomix (this is not a sponsored post.) It meant I could crush rice, quinoa, dry chickpeas, almonds into a flour in the blink of an eye and at a minuscule cost. I am also assured nothing extra has been added to the ‘flours.’ 


With this magical machine I make our own millet breads and homemade tomato sauces, bliss balls and more. The best bit is our Thermie chops everything in the bowl faster than you can get a knife out – and with a toddler this is just an extra benefit. My husband nearly fell over when I first told him the price, but I arranged for a consultant to come to our home and my husband attended and it was him filling out the details halfway through the presentation! 

Anyway, I digress on my love for our Thermomix. Coming up with new meals regularly has been a challenge for me lately, I have felt drained of inspiration to constantly vary her meals – intotalky admit it. 

Yesterday, wasn’t one of those days and dinner was a beautiful array of foods. Nitrate free bacon, spinach, sauerkraut, pickle, olives, tomato, cheese, avocado some roast potato (not shown – it was cooling) and other little bits. She was so excited to be presented this! I would say she ate about 3/4, she didn’t want to the pickle, spinach (she did suck and chew on them a bit), or the sauerkraut tonight – and that’s just normal toddler behaviour which we also need to cater for. 


Bonnie’s not a huge meat fan either and we never force it in her. We eat pasture raised, organic meats and nitrate free hams and bacon, sometimes she will eat it but mostly she doesn’t want to – and that’s cool with us. 

Today I am making some almond bliss balls for snacks – they a great filling protein, gets the almond nuts in and are an easy snack to pack. See the link for the recipe below… we sub the coconut oil in the recipe for butter or ghee (today its butter) 

http://www.quirkycooking.com.au/2015/09/raw-chocolate-chip-cookie-dough-balls/

If you don’t have a Thermomix you can still make these- buy almond meal and pop them in your blender. Or you could chop the dates by hand and hand mix the lot. 

Are you on an allergy journey? What are your restrictions? 

Sunny smiles 

a journey and a rebirth

well, I have missed some time on here…oops. I had so much to say and so little time. So much has happened and we are such a different parenting path than I imagined we would be.

 

I am using this space to re-ignite the flame (for in the kitchen!) Sounds strange on it’s own, but not for our little family.

Our little blessing, Bonnie Mae, now 2 years old has multiple anaphylactic food and environmental allergies.  I will write a big post on it all explaining how we first came about it all but as it currently stands she is anaphylactic to coconut, egg, dog (a rare one to be anaphylactic to), and allergic to wheat, peanut, hazelnut, dust/mites and cat. Yep, it’s quite the list.


Food wise, it’s been a journey for us. I have learnt new skills in the kitchen, combining this and this to substitute that. I feel lucky for already having confidence in the kitchen, but I still remember the beginning of the journey feeling like I was in a mind field.

Needless to say, its been a big year, with two anaphylactic shocks and survivals and the devastating rehoming of our dearly beloved pets, we are feeling tired as we enter the festive season. Lately, I have been very uninspired in the cooking department (something I used to love.) I think a combination of constantly substituting recipes and developing my own (a very new experience) and sourcing tried and true recipes that suit Bonnie’s needs and keep our palette entertained.

That’s where you come in. For a good twelve months now, various people have encouraged me to write down my allergy food knowledge, to share my findings and learning’s and of course stumbles! What a perfect way to re-ignite my inspiration in the kitchen and hopefully help another mumma bear (or papa bear) out on their allergy journey.


So stick around and get ready for delicious dishes and story sharing of life with an allergy kid.

xo

Change table organisation

I completely forgot to take a ‘before’ picture but I will describe the state of our changing table. The top had all sorts stuffed down the sides of the mat from rogue socks to different creams that had been gifted to us that I had meant try.

The second shelf wasn’t too bad but the ‘dirty’ container for our reusable wipes was forever overloaded because I would forget to put them in the wash with nappies (once our front loader starts there is noooo stopping.) Nappies were piled but not really neatly and I forever digging to find one.

The bottom shelf was the biggest mess with a myriad of STUFF. Nipple pads, cotton wool balls, disposables that had been given to us, blankets… I honestly can’t tell you what else there was – just STUFF. Basically it wasn’t working and my fears were coming true of owning a nappy change table! A big fat mess!

Sorry the photos are quite dark. It is a steaming hot day here and we closed all the heavy curtains to keep the heat out! I also snapped them on the iPhone as I was rocking Bonnie off to sleep.

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The ‘after!’ It is so much neater and more organised and I feel in control when I go to change her now! Whereas before I would panic slightly knowing stuff wouldn’t be available to me.

Let me take you on a your of our change table.

26-01-15 Change Table 3

Here’s the top.
The change mat is minky, backed with PUL. I love these as I can easily whip it off when it gets soiled and throw it in the wash. I have three – two for here and one I keep in the car in my emergency pack. I keep coconut oil and the paw paw balm I spoke about the other day tucked at the top as I use these two the most. The amber bottle is a natural hand sanitiser. I get weird, ouchy skin burns from other regular hand sanitisers.

Now we move down a shelf. On the left at the back is a small pink basket where I keep things I might need at hand. A digital thermometer, Perfect Potion baby moisturiser, nail clippers, baby sun cream, baby room spray etc.

26-01-15 Change Table 1

In front of that sits the cheeky wipes ‘clean’ container. This houses bamboo cloth wipes, water and lavender and chamomile essential oil. We love our cloth wipes and find them very easy to use. We also have the ‘dirty’ container but as I mentioned above are trying without!

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On the right sits a wicker tray with pocket nappy bamboo inserts, including the night inserts.

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And my wonderfully newly organised bottom shelf! The two wicker baskets are from Kmart at $10 each… I love them. They hold our cloth nappies. One holds the fitted, sized nappies and the other holds our osfm (one size fits most) pocket nappies. On the far right is a pack of disposable nappies that were put in a gift basket for us – we haven’t yet cracked them.

I really hope it stays a bit more organised now – it was a bit crazy there for a while!

How do you organise your change station?

x

Modern Cloth Nappies

Yep, I am a cloth using mumma bear. I weirdly love it. I enjoy washing and hanging out nappies! There were a number of reasons we decided to use cloth nappies. Yes, hubby does use them as well, without complaint.

nb – This post ended up being hugelyyyy long so I have chopped in and will talk more about different types of nappies at a later date. x

1. Environmental factor My understanding is it takes 300-500 years for 1 nappy to break down, they are not biodegradable. With an average of 7 nappies a day, that’s a lot of impact on the envronment. The planet that my child will grow up in. I am sure there was some carbon footprint making the cloth nappies, however, these will last her to toilet training and then future children. 23-01-15 Modern Cloth Nappies Pt 1

2. Savings.

The hidden cost of babies can quickly add up and we knew when planning for our daughter we wanted to keep things as simple as we could. We estimate to save at least $1000 a year using cloth nappies. Any future children that come along will use this stash of cloth nappies, saving more again. 23-01-15 Modern Cloth Nappies Pt 1b

3. Ease factor.

We have enough nappies to have some dry and folded, some washing and some dirty. We can’t run out unless I dont wash for seven days! This means we don’t run out, there are always nappies available to us.We totally have our favourites we use first up, but they all get used and put through the cycle. 23-01-15 Modern Cloth Nappies Pt 1j

4. Generally no nappy rashes.

So far (14 weeks), Bonnie Mae has not had a single rash from nappy wearing. She might have a small bit of redness diretly after a number two, but it dissappears by next nappy change. I generally use coconut oil or paw paw to give her a helping hand.

5. Cuteness factor!

There are some super cute designs available. As she has been a summer baby, it has been really sweet for her to hang out in just a singlet and a coulourful nappy. 23-01-15 Modern Cloth Nappies Pt 1k23-01-15 Modern Cloth Nappies Pt 1l

Some factors to consider when using cloth are

1. Washing.

Dirty Nappies go into a ‘dry pail.’ A pedal bin with a washable pail liner. They are then all thrown into the machine. I do a cold rinse cycle then a cold cycle with 3 rinses. I wash nappies every second day. You need to use detergent that is MCN (Modern Cloth Nappy) safe. These products are usually free from enzymes and fillers. I haven’t found a powder that is MCN safe yet and my understanding is powder is out – liquid wash is in. We already used eco store liquid wash and this happened to be MCN safe. This was great as we didnt have to switch or have separate detergent just for nappies. Two others options are Earth’s Choice and Biozet Eco or Rapid. All available in the local grocery store. Again only the liquids not the powders. There are others out there such as Rockin’ Green and natural soap nuts. Sun is your friend, soaking powders are not. I didnt understand the magic of sunshine until using cloth. MCN’s are made from beautiful fabrics like bamboo, hemp and minky, any powder soaker like Napisan will destroy your beautiful nappies. Any marks that are left after washing are hung in the sun. VOILA, it dissappears. I have only had one stained nappy so far from a fabulous number two. When I pulled the nappies in from the line that afternoon, I couldn’t find which had been the nappy with the stain! The sun will also freshen the scent of your nappies if you feel they are becoming a little musty. I am still cautious on leaving them too long in the sun on these super hot summer days we have been having. If you still find you need help moving a stain out you can use pure sodium per carbonate (Coopers Home Brew sanitiser – REALLY!) This doesnt have any fillers or other things that will destroy your precious bundle. 23-01-15 Modern Cloth Nappies PArt 1n

2. Creams and balms.

Rash creams containing zinc oxide will be very difficult to remove from your nappy and mess up the absorbency. A lot of creams contain this. Lanolin may leave traces after a wash as well. There are a number of products you can use on a cloth bottom including coconut oil (just from the grocery store – I use organic unrefined), some paw paw balms (not Lucas’ Paw Paw) and the very  popular CJ’s butter. Again there are many more, these are just a few. I use coconut oil and Natures Care paw paw. I really would love to try some CJ’s butter one day soon. They use both natural scents and synthetic and both are ok to use, however, I only want to try the naturally derived scents. I rarely need to use anything down there but I have these two products ready in my battle kit. 23-01-15 Modern Cloth Nappies Pt 1m

3. Out and about.

Initially for the first few weeks we did use disposable nappies. We used Naty eco nappies as our little bundle was too small for her cloth nappies at this stage. Once we transitioned to cloth we used a ‘wet bag’ when out and about. This bag stores our dirty cloth nappies and doesn’t leak through the rest of the nappy bag. The first few times I was a little nervous being out and about using cloth as I was still mastering the fit and I was still new to parenting rooms. I was, and still am a minority when changing a cloth bottom and some parents are really interseted, some intrigued and some disgusted. At first, I was a little anxious about this but I am TOTALLY over it now. I don’t judge a mumma bear for using disposable so ask those mummas not to judge me for using cloth. I am also MUCH better at fitting a cloth nappy now. It is different to putting a disposable on, so I was all over the place initially but now I can fit them with my eyes closed. 23-01-15 Modern Cloth NAppies Part 1o

5. Cloth nappy obsession.

I could spend hours pouring through the amazing cloth creations. You can buy them from established companies like Bambooty, Baby Bee Hinds, Bum Genius, Eco Naps (there are hundreds of other companies.) But there are also some incredible embroidered creations from WAHM’s (Work At Home Mums.) You can become easilly obsessed. I joined a closed facebook group for modern cloth mumma bears and we are all just as obsessed with cloth! 23-01-15 Modern CLoth Nappies Part 1p

Told you it was a super long post! I will talk about the different kinds of nappies at a later date. My little one had some Bowen Therapy today. She had a feed when we got home and has had a wonderful peaceful sleep, but I can hear her stirring – time to make a quick cuppa before she is ready to wake!

Are you a cloth mumma or a disposable? xx

Welcome back to me…2015

Yay! Our Internet is finally all fixed and we are back in touch with the cyber world! We did really miss it but it was also good for us not to have constant access to email, social media and www. It wasn’t us that broke the net here it was something at the exchange box (I don’t really know) but we are backkkkkk.

Hoping you all had a jolly Christmas and festive New Years. Ours was a hectic whirlwind with visiting family members and a new baby.

14-01-15 Welcome back to me 3

Bonnie (now 13 weeks) was so spoilt with gifts we were so incredibly blessed. We decided to share the love and donated a box of her things to Assist-a-sista. We aren’t trying to offend any wonderful gifters however,  with her being born in October then having  Christmas 10 weeks later we were heaving under the love and genorisity of family and friends. We felt we could help others by sharing the love around. Assist-a-sista is a volunteer community who support survivors of domestic violence rebuild their lives. This time our parcel went to them. You can check them out on facebook too.

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Have you made any goals for 2015? I gave up calling them resolutions in 2014 and tried to set a goal every month last year and put it in a jar so I could look back on it come year end. I really loved the idea and made up a chart like the one below. I modified it so we both fit on one chart (nb-I pinned the below goal chart from Pinterest but the link to the original source does not exist anymore.) We had a weekly and a monthly. I lasted about 3 months last year- hope you can do better! This year we have one big goal in the pipeline but I won’t share it just yet as it is still in ‘goal creation mode.’

14-01-15 Welcome back to me 4

I have quite the list of things to talk about since my little break…you can expect a post at least every second day this year – unless the Internet wants to break up with me again…

Share your 2015 goal…..x

Internet woes

I haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth…promise.
We are having Internet woes here. It teases me by pretending to work again then rips the security blanket from under me And crashes out again.

I’ll be back, when cyberspace allows it to be so!

Hope the mumma bears are well!

We seem to be starting a routine here and I am starting to understand her wants and tears a lot more… Yay!

Talk soon x