Hungry Hungry Hippie

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Giving and the ballet and haircuts

Thanksgiving weekend was packed so I’m only finally getting my pics uploaded.

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P had a dentist appointment to kick off the week and hooray for healthy teeth!  I got some grief from the dentist for asking a bunch of questions about the flavored toothpaste they offered (birthday cake!?!) so they agreed to just use plain old paste.  I get that they want to make the visit painless fun for kids, but he doesn’t know any better so just give him the one that doesn’t have recaldent and save me a headache dealing with a dairy reaction thankyouverymuch.

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Using up leftovers to clear room in the fridge for Thanksgiving fare means….eating heaps of squash…with more squash.  It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.  😉

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On Tuesday night I made the cake and frosting for this vegan and gluten free pumpkin roll.  Prep work – check!

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Since Kyle had Wednesday off we went to the zoo as a fam.  I take the kids about once a week thanks to our membership and they LOVE it, so it was fun having Kyle along this time.  I’m pretty sure the last time he came was on the day before Thanksgiving last year.  As a special treat we rode the train 🙂

After nap time we headed to my parents’ house.  V helped grandpa mix some drinks.

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Hey bartender.

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My dad got crab which both pleased and freaked out pacman.  He totally gets that he eats animals and I’m very frank with him about the whole food chain because I want him to make informed decisions about his eating habits, but he mostly stuck to salmon that night. And bread.

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My mom got the WF brand vegan Caesar dressing and it was meh.  Too lemony in my opinion.  Follow Your Heart is my preferred brand but they didn’t have it for some reason.

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The next morning we layered up for the Walnut Creek Turkey Trot.  I met my friend and her babes for the stroller 5K but it was crowded as all ^%$# and we could barely stay together.  We were hardly even running to be honest, it was such a herd.

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We left P at home with grandma and grandpa and at some point during the race V decided it was too cold to bother staying awake and just fell asleep.  ZZZZZZ.  HAHAHA.  Such a cutie pie.  Kyle tried to pull her hat up so she could see dueing the run and she just pulled it back down.  Totally didn’t care about the happenings going on around her.

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Zonked.

A starbucks and a shower later and we were feeling great.

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Football time.

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Bubbly time.

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Thanksgiving fell on Laura’s birthday this year.  So we opened presents while the kiddos were napping and then got into the appetizers.

Marie made turkey bacon wrapped dates and a vegan spinach artichoke dip (with cashews, yummmm).

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Helping hands.

PS I made that ladybug pot holder in 8th grade.

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Here are some more dishes with links.

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Bon Appetit’s rye, kale, mushroom and pumpkin seed stuffing. New favorite!

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Mom’s traditional stuffing.

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V getting it on.

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I made the kale salad, which had a champagne vinaigrette, dried cranberries, and toasted slivered almonds.

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Roasted root veggies are my faaaaaaavorite.

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Mom, the best hostess ever.

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Plus cranberry jellies and green beans, mashed potatoes and roasted cauliflower with lemon parsley dressing.

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How fortunate we are!

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Plate numero uno.

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The little monkeys ate mashed potatoes like it was going out of style, which means I’m going to have to make them again at our house soon.

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Chocolate pecan pie and my pumpkin roll for dessert.

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The rolling part of this made me very nervous but it came out decently well.  It kinda folded more than rolled but who cares because it tasted great.

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And I had leftovers for breakfast for a couple days the next week too 🙂

Speaking of the next morning…

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Time to bust out the holiday decor!

Truth be told, our tree has been up since well before Thanksgiving, as well as most of our Christmas decorations, but it’s a tradition to go get my parents’ tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

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Such a great family shot!!! HA.

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That’s better.

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For breakfast I used leftover mashed potatoes and added eggs to make a potato pancake/latke/tortilla espanola kind of thing.  I made a few so I could have them the next day too.  Then I added avocado and boom, leftovers re-invented.  If I recall, I did the same thing last year as well!

Post tree shopping I fed the kids and got them down for naps and then went to town on the leftover kale salad.  Kale is not safe around me.  If there’s a kale leaf in the building, it will meet it fate very shortly after I arrive.  🙂

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As a treat, we took P to the children’s production of the Nutcracker that afternoon.  V stayed home with my parents (and had a ball!) and P sat front row and got to soak up every second of the ballet that has been on his mind for the last week.

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We barely made it through the rat fight, but thanks to some lap time cuddles (and LOTS of lead up conversations about it before we got there), we made it through to the dance of the sugar plum fairy and after that it was all good.  Awe and admiration…I don’t think he blinked once in that hour long show!

Also, we still have the program in the car, which he holds the entire car ride wherever we go.  To say he is obsessed with the nutcracker is an understatement.  He lives and breathes it.  Poor V has had to reenact it with him dozens of times and I may be through with Tchaikovsky myself until next December.

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Last morning in town with my parents!  I had the same thing for breakfast and then we packed up because we had a 10 oclock hair appointment for this little lady!

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The fact that she even needed an appointment is a joke in and of itself, but then she came with a whole entourage too!  HA!

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Four hairs (and 3 minutes) later we were on the rad back to Davis.

And now it’s practically Christmas!

Back from thanksgiving

It’s been a veggie-ful week thus far.  Well, I guess it’s only Tuesday, but ever since last Thursday we have been hitting the greens hard.  Recovery cravings ya know?

I thought I’d pop in to say hi and share pics from yesterday because the kids are still napping (as I start this, at least).  I’ve finished dinner already and the mood to blog hit, so here I am.

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The last bits of the pumpkin roll cake I made for Thanksgiving are nearly gone, but I took a break from that this am and opted for a quickbread with cashew butter instead.

I used Elana’s recipe and froze it a while back.  I almost forgot to take a photo, but then I got one part way through.  You get the point.  I ate one slice while waiting for the other to heat in the microwave. We were running late for open gym so I kinda had to inhale my food standing in the kitchen, which is never fun but that’s life.

After open gym we took care of mega holiday shopping.  Hooray for sales!  The kids were super well behaved so we went to pick out a new ornament for them.  They get a new one each year, and although P doesn’t remember his from his first two years, he remembers the more recent ones and now he and V have very strong preferences in tree decorating.

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He chose a snowman nutcracker (he’s OBSESSED with the nutcracker again this year) and she chose a soft santa (which is equally perfect because we have a santa decoration in the house that she treats like her own doll these days – asking to hold it 24/7).

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Lunch was my usual kale/avo/macadamia monster.  With home-made crackers on the side.

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I sipped on kombucha too, until naps were over and then we played a bit until P had swimming lessons.

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Luckily I made dinner during their naps which made coming home late from swimming easy peasy.

Kyle was gone so I roasted a big kabocha squash for me (and the kids).

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They had leftovers too.

But I just had this.

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I went back for seconds and man was it exactly what I was craving.  Hit. The. Spot.

Since the littles and I ate together I bathed them together (we are in transition still but hopefully this will become the norm, as opposed to putting V down before the rest of us eat as a threesome).  They like taking “brother sister baths” and once everyone was lotioned and PJed we read books and hit the sack.

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I had this waiting for me 🙂

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Then I took advantage of Kyle being away and got my wrap on.  With trashy bravo shows on my computer.

The good news is Kyle is back and our spa is finally working again and clean and full of water so we have our evening plans for the rest of the winter now!

I am spartan

Over the summer, we decided we needed something to inspire us to stay active during the colder months and so we ended up signing up for a Spartan race in early November.  We even managed to convince my sisters to do it with us.  Thanks to a promo code, we didn’t break the bank (it’s normally $100 per entry) and it got us pumped to “train” for the months leading up to it.

Kyle and I created mini workouts at a local park (which P has hereafter dubbed “the exercise park”) and while I felt like I could have done more to truly prepare myself, I felt good about the improvement in my upper body strength going in.  We aren’t members of a gym, and our exercise times are limited to the early early am (quick sessions before Kyle goes to work when we can alternate who is working out and who is watching the kids)…so all that considered, I think we did a decent job getting ourselves ready.

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The race day arrived quickly though and I had some self doubt as we entered the ranch and saw every crossfitter in the nor cal area looking eager to attack the course.

For those who don’t know, the spartan (sprint) race is supposed to be 2-3 miles of running interspersed with 20 obstacles.  Ours ended up being 4.8 miles of running, so there’s that.  Oh and it was unseasonably hot out (better than rain!) yet still muddy at parts.  We chose the spartan race because it is similar to the tough mudder but you don’t get electrocuted at the end.  There were a few other lesser known obstacle course type races, but the spartan seemed the best fit for us in terms of difficulty and location.  It was in Sacramento, so we all met at our house in Davis beforehand for a team lunch.

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Nuggets sandos for all.

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My parents stayed behind with the napping littles while the rest of us piled in their old van and shuttled ourselves to these hills in the middle of nowhere.

HILLS.  Davis is flat so there’s no real way to train for hills.  And it wasn’t just a few hills.  it was up and down and up and down, with sandbags, with a bucket of rocks, in a boat, with a goat (jk that’s Dr. Seuss).   For any obstacles that you can’t complete, you have to 30 burpees.  I did pretty well to be honest and Kyle and I were kinda awesome as a team.  I definitely felt pumped throughout 75% of the course.  The length was probably my only real complaint.  We didn’t start until 2:45 and the course had some bottlenecking at various times (also it was 2 miles longer than advertised), so we didn’t finished until 5 pm!!!  My poor parents had dinner plans and we didn’t get home until 7 (the parking lot after was just that – we spent 45 minutes just getting out!).  Anyway, it was fun and we all enjoyed different parts and rallied each other through it (the ones that involved helping each other and using teamwork were my favorites), but I don’t think I’ll do another one.  That said, I did have a hop in my step the following few days due to a sense of pride and accomplishment.  I will credit mom strength big time – I for sure felt that various activities were easier for me because I was used to lugging around two toddlers.

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This is the delicata squash salad with kale and millet from the Oh She Glows cookbook.  I don’t know why I waited so long to buy this, especially since Angela’s second cookbook is just now coming out, but I’m loving it so far.  I also made the orange miso dressing from it last week and was glad to have doubled the recipe for use on my salads throughout the week.

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P doesn’t like butternut squash (I don’t know!!!) but he liked the delicata rings.  And the rest of the salad was also a hit, minus the red onion.

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Squash season is here!!

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P also recently discovered seitan and has since requested it a few times.

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He and V both helped with the stir fry above by putting already chopped veggies into the wok.

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Served over brown rice with a almond butter sauce….mmmmm…

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Above is pacman’s gateway seitan – a plate of leftovers that he asked to have a bite of.  And who am I to deny him some of my yummy eats?!  That’s a real sign of love right there.  Giving him some food off my own plate (Joey doesn’t share food!!!).  😉

I have tried several packaged seitan brands and so far I think I like Sweet Earth’s slices and strips the best.  West Soy cubed seitan is another one I have bought in a pinch, but I would rather make my own.

img_1148-1Our garden doesn’t know it’s November and that’s alright with me.

P doesn’t like tomatoes, but V inhales them.  The above will last a week, maybe.  And just after I took this, I went out an picked another 4 pints. Davis is made for ag, that’s for sure.

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Why are the refried beans from Guadalajara so goooood.  I don’t want to know.

Kyle’s work gets team lunches catered by them so much that he has a bunch of free burritos and so I felt lazy earlier this week and hit the South Davis spot up for a dinner plate.  I have heard their breakfast nachos are legit too.  It’s so close to us, it’s a slippery slope.  When I was preggo with V, I threw caution (read:fodmaps) to the wind and would get their burritos with sour cream on Wednesdays to bring to market.  Before this visit I hadn’t been in several months though.  It just rarely makes sense to order food because P can’t eat anything from outside my kitchen so if I have to cook for him, I may as well cook for everyone.  Which I do.  And yes, I get worn out (which is a bummer because deep down I want to make everything from fancy cookbooks and Bon Appetit and pretend I’m Gwyneth) but everyone seems to like my easy-peasy-burned-out-on-cooking-meals (grain + protein + green) so oh well.

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I over cooked this pasta (distracted by children, no doubt) but otherwise it was great.  I used my all time fave pasta (Ancient Harvest pagodas) and added cashew squash “cheese” sauce, spinach, and slivered almonds.

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Cozy fall food, fasho.

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This was the spread at my little sis’ casa.  After a long day of driving to Fremont, I was happy to put the kiddos down at my parents’ house and go over for some girl chat.  Champagne ‘aint too bad either.  Thanks for encouraging me to come Bee!

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That same weekend was Poppy’s 2nd birthday!

I can’t believe she is two.

Elmo made an appearance at the party and both Pops and V were not okay with it.  V kept saying “bye bye Elmo, bye bye Elmo”.  Side note: her vocab is insane.  It’s blowing up.  Every day our jaws are dropping.  It’s especially cute because she is speaking in sentences now and can interact with P in a way that allows them to play with each other.  Just another way that she is more advanced than her cohorts (stereotypical second sibling sitch) because she is doing more group play than parallel play at such a young age.  It’s def cute to watch.

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TCHO went on sale.  99 cents per bar.  So obviously I went to work.

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Friendsgiving!!  I brought hummus, roasted squash, and a spinach salad.

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We ran out of kid forks, which lead us to discover that V is very ready willing and able to handle her own adult silverware.  Sooooo…there’s that.  Pretty soon we are going to make the transition of putting her to bed later.  That way we can eat all together and do bath time with both kids together.  It would be soooooo much easier to not do back to back bed time routines every single night.  Let’s streamline this ish amiright?

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Big girl action.

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My breakfasts these days are some kind of quick bread with heaps of nut butter.

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I didn’t mean to drag this post on forever and ever like it is, so I’ll wrap it up with this time I treated myself to a gluten free goody from farmer’s market.

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Kyle’s sis was visiting and so we braved the rain to get out of the house and get some produce one Saturday morning.  I needed kale and sweet potatoes, and then some rainbow chard and apples lured us in (because it’s apple pie season, duh).

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I didn’t take pics of the apple pie I made, but I did get some glamour shots of dis beaut.

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TBH, it’s way overpriced but if you only splurge once a month (or 3) then it’s ok.  Also it’s delish.

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You guys!  It’s the season for divided popcorn tins!  And orange chocolate slices 🙂

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We all know my hoarding tendencies intensify with chocolate things, so let’s hope we don’t end up with 600 oranges in the pantry by mid December.  I mean, there could be worse things…like crawling under barbed wire for half a mile.

OIT and SLIT and allergy challenges

I don’t exactly know where to start with this post since it’s been a few months of back and forth and it’s not easy to sum up, but I like keeping you in the loop so here’s where we are…

P has outgrown his tree nut, soy, sesame, and gluten allergies but is still allergic to peanuts and dairy. We are aware of all the latest treatment options for peanuts – namely what is being done at Stanford and Long Beach – to desensitize patients.  Essentially small doses are administered until the immune system is convinced it doesn’t need to react…and then doses are increased over time until a maintenance level has been reached that (hopefully) allows for a “bite proof” lifestyle.  It’s called oral immunotherapy (or sublingual immunotherapy).

Here is the most detailed research article on OIT and SLIT that I’ve found.

We have been on the waiting list for Stanford’s trials for over a year, but there are now more options becoming available in our area.  The one in Sac that we looked into last year seemed super invasive and disruptive to P’s lifestyle so we passed.

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A few months ago we found out about this clinic, which has a similar but more practical implementation.  I won’t go into the details but suffice it to say we decided to switch insurance companies during the open enrollment last month after going to a consultation at the Fremont office.

Fremont is a 2 hour drive from our house which can be 4 hours in traffic (and once accepted he would be going every week for months and months), but I’m trying to focus on the positive.  If this works it could save his life.  And if it doesn’t then we will continue being as cautious as we are and at least I will have a clear conscience knowing we tried.

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In the meantime, I’m squeezing everything I can out of our Kaiser insurance.  We met with a new allergist (who I loved) last month and he offered to do an oral challenge in the office with BAKED milk. More on that in a sec.

img_1159My cooking buddies.  <3

This is going to come off as arrogant, but it was so great chatting with someone who knew as much as I do about food allergies…P hasn’t met with an allergist since he was first diagnosed (at 9 months) so I’ve been in a vacuum finding all the info I can on my own.  Well I finally decided I wasn’t being proactive enough and asked his pediatrician for the most progressive allergist in our area and next thing I know we are booked to meet him.  Can’t sit back and expect change to fall into your lap, right?!

He was really impressed I knew about these probiotics and clued me in on Vitamin D’s roll in allergies too, so I’ve already added that into his daily regimen.

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Anyway, I was very straight with him, telling him we were basically leaving Kaiser since they couldn’t do OIT (talk about a bizarre first meeting), but I wanted to know his opinion of the desensitization protocols.  Clearly, he has no reason to push it since his support would confirm us switching to a different provider, but disclosed that he is currently doing it with his own kid (on his own) so that says everything I needed to hear.  Obviously I’m not cool doing it on my own (that’s crazy dangerous!) so now P is on the 90 kid long wait list for the Columbia Allergy clinic.  They anticipate he will get in by Spring.  Fingers crossed.

Back to the baked dairy challenge.  Here’s an article on the science behind the prolonged heating of cow milk protein and how that works to denature the proteins in a specific way to trick the immune system.  P’s new allergist gave us the article with the recipe and we scheduled a follow up appt to bring them in and give it a go.  We have until the end of 2016 with Kaiser coverage so why not?

I’m including a photo of the recipe below…the batter was divided into 6 muffins, so each muffin contained 1.3 g of milk protein.

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Obviously this is food I’d never otherwise feed him – I sweeten the kids’ pancake batter with mashed bananas and applesauce and they think smoothies are supposed to have things like beans, greens and seeds in them so I had no doubt he’d enjoy this treat.  Let’s be honest, it’s basically cake.

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I was trying not to get my hopes up, but it’s hard not to.  His blood work from the previous appointment (a week before) came back showing a rather steep increase in his IgE for both milk and peanut, which was alarming since it had only been a few months since he last tests were done.  His peanut actually jumped up enough to get reclassified as Class IV.  🙁  Sucks.  Anyway, that’s why we are jumping on this other opportunity!  I’m not sure why, but apparently the younger the better with allergy treatment (how do they know this stuff when it’s all so new??) so we are going for it.  I am losing years off my life stressing about him when he’s out of my sight.

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I’ll cut to the chase.  He failed the oral challenge.  They cut the muffin into 16ths and he was instructed to eat one portion every 15 minutes.  By minute 25 he needed Benadryl and shortly thereafter he was wheezing enough to warrant a breathing treatment.  Womp womp.  Based on his antibody numbers, the MD wasn’t surprised, and I guess I wasn’t either, but there was definitely a small part of me that was hoping that maybe just maybe he was moving in the right direction despite what the lab work showed.  Poor kid.  He only had something like 1/96th of a cup of milk and that was too much.

He’s such an amazing trooper through it all.  He is literally the best patient.  We read SO MANY stories throughout our appointment and he colored and chatted with the staff and basically acted like the most mature 3.5 year old ever.  I am so proud of him.

Silver lining of all the driving is we have discovered the books on cd section of the library.  Still very committed to the media free lifestyle, but talk to me in a few months once I’m trying to entertain two toddlers in a car and an MD office for 10 hours straight.

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Oh and don’t worry about what I’ll be doing to treat myself for all the driving…there’s a Whole Foods and See’s within walking distance of the office 🙂

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I’ve already tested it out 😉 This is a roasted carrot salad with cumin and hazelnut vinaigrette.  And above is the most humongous soft pretzel.  They warmed it up for me and then I got some honey mustard from the salad bar.  WIN.

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Best dates I could ask for!

Comfort food

It’s 9 pm and usually I’d be heading to bed but I can’t turn off the news.  I think I may be up all night. My heart rate is sky high.  There’s only so much chocolate can do.  So I guess I will multi task and share some pics.  Food as a means of comforting?  YEP.

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Cashew hollandaise don’t mind if I do.

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Sooooo, these avocado and quinoa fritters were good but I’m not sure if they were worth the time and energy it took to make them.

They are from this cookbook, A Modern Way to Cook.

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My photos could use some work, but the iPhone can only do so much.

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I ended up adding heaps of quinoa more than the recipe calls for to make them work which I’m thinking may be due to the bigger than average size of avocados I used.  Maybe the (UK based?) cookbook author isn’t familiar with the CA avo scene.  You can’t really form guacamole into a shape, and that’s kinda what I was doing…anyway, the kids took long naps so it was okay, and the good news is it made a TON so now we have avo fritters for days to come.

Speaking of things in excess…

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The kind staff of TJ’s didn’t judge me even a bit for reserving all this.  And now I have even more chocolate (on top of my birthday and Halloween stash) to help me through this election.

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Peanutty contraband.  PS I’m going to have an allergy update for you guys soon (his IgE went up for both cow dairy and peanuts – womp womp).  Until then.

One recipe that I think you guys should try out is this pinch of yum broccoli salad with orange miso dressing.

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I used fresh squeezed oranges instead of juice and happily devoured the leftovers the next day for lunch (which is saying a lot since (a) I’m not a leftovers person and (b) I always want my same massive avocado kale and macadamia nut salad for lunch and nothing else is ever as good).

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Which is your favorite?  Which would you go for first?