Saturday, June 28, 2008

Maccaroni and Cheese...the all time kid favorite :)

I just found this great box of dairy free Macaroni and Cheese. How exciting is that? - We had it for lunch today, I added on a few frozen peas and the girls LOVED it. Typical orange color, I bought the onex for kids and the pasta is all letters & fun. It tasted amazingly good. For the milk add on I used regular plain soy milk.

So here is the info in case you are interested

Brand "Road's End Organics", Organic, Dairy Free 123'x Chreese - The company also has a website at It looks like they also have Nacho Chreese Dips, Chreese Packets, Gravy mixes, and other types of pasta & chreese.

Have a great day all its super hot today in PDX...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cooking Camp...

My oldest daughter is in cooking camp this week. They made smoothies yesterday, and pizza today. I was debating for a long time weather or not to send her. In the end we figured that it is good for her to go. She knows that there she cannot eat foods that contain "Kuhmilch". For some odd reason, I was nervous that she may taste the food others could eat, or would be sad that she cannot eat exactly the same food as the other kids. But you know what? It is perfectly OK. She loves it, the other kids are great, and she does not feel left out. - For the smoothie I brought in Vanilla Whole Soy Yogurt, there was soy milk. For the pizza I got extra English Muffins which were safe, the sauce & pepperoni were also safe. As for now problem. We generally eat pizza without cheese.

When we picked her up today at the end of camp she was SO excited. "Mommy, mommy I made pizza and ate it too...." If that does not make the Mommy heart sing then what will :)

Have a great rest of the day.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Travel in Europe - eating out in Europe

It has become so much easier to shop in Europe thank's to the still fairly new EU Labeling Law. Milk, and its derivates now have to be declared. What a difference, now you can actually shop in regular grocery stores and no longer have to rely on health food stores. Don't get me wrong, I love health food stores, but sometimes especially when you are in a small town, there may not be a health food store, or if you are in a big city you have to find them...

As for restaurants we have found that people are (generally) really, really nice and there is ALWAYS something for the girls to eat. Stay away from ham, sausages, salami because you just never know and they most likely do not have the labels in the kitchen but here are some options. Of course, always ask to make sure its OK

  • Pasta with olive oil & garlic
  • Pizza with tuna, veggies (just make sure that the dough is w/o milk, and the sauce w/o any milk products)
  • Schnitzel (w/o gravy, no breading) and fries; any type of meat w/o breading
  • Salad --> get it without dressing as a lot of dressings in the Germanic world contain buttermilk, sour cream, etc.
  • Speck
  • Plain pasta

These are just a few things that we have found work for our kids. Keep in mind that coffee shops, etc. do generally not carry soy milk so you should always bring that along. Our kids are still small and I learn so much more every trip we take.

If you have any experience with travel I would love to hear from you...

Air travel

We go to Europe each year to visit family and friends. It is also great for the girls as we are raising them bilingual to be emerged and around German speaking kids. The travel and air plane foods are a little bit challenging. But surely not a reason to stay home. It ALL can be worked out. Here is what we do. We travel on Lufthansa and unfortunately we cannot order the kids meals as they are surely full of milk products.

  • I order special meals for the girls and myself. For the girls I order vegan, and for myself I order the lactose free meal => I have ordered a Kosher meal before was not ideal, but may be a great option for others
  • We bring on additional food, and soy milk for the girls. The food we bring is enough to last through the entire trip, as we have to either take another flight, or two more trains to arrive in Tuttlingen
  • We get a note from our pediatrician stating that our girls have CG and therefore need to bring their own food & drinks (for security)

So the trip is covered. If the girls want something once we arrive...well (hate to admit this) there is always McDonald's, or french fries, or fruit, or (if they are really hungry) schnitzel w/o the breading and w/o any gravy...We just really stay away from bread as I am too tired to find out whether its OK or not :)

Summer = BBQ time

Finally summer has arrived with all its glory :) Sunshine and BBQ time. We had the first hot dogs of the season out in our backyard. Just wanted to share a couple of things. I bought the buns at Trader Joe's and they are great. Just note that you canNOT buy the regular buns for hot dogs/hamburgers. The Multi Grain ones are without any milk derivative, and I actually think also better for you. We all like the buns.

I have to confess, that I have taken the hamburger buns along to restaurants. The buns at the restaurants we have been to generally all have whey, or they may not have the labels available. At some places we get the burgers on Pita (at all the McMenamin's restaurants for example), but it is a nice option to bring your own. We just get the burger with all the fixings and put it on the bun when the food arrives. The downside to bringing the bread along is that it can get messy (as I keep it in my purse), you need to carry it around with you, etc. It is however a nice option, as most hamburgers in general are "safe". We of course always ask just to make sure...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Quick Meals - Dare I say meals from the freezer...

So we all have it, right? Sometimes there is just not enough time to make a meal from scratch. I admit it, it happens. In the beginning I thought that there will never be quick dinners again, was I wrong :) I do need to clarify so, that generally I will cook from scratch. Generally means at least four days a week, but then I am flexible on the others Hard to admit it :)

I want to share with all of you some of the items we have found at Trader Joe's. The names on these items

- Frozen Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Fish Sticks
- Krinkle Potatoes
- Cheeseless Pizza --> my kids LOVE this pizza. The can almost eat the entire pizza by
themselves. They are 4 and 2 so its a lot of pizza :)
- There are some vegan simmer sauces and you just pop in your protein
- Tofutti Blintzes
- Orange Creamy Soy Ice Cream Bars

Check out the entire list of vegan items Trader Joe's has.

Monday, June 9, 2008

When shopping...

By now I am familiar with most the products I buy on a regular basis. However I double check the items generally on the ingredient list really quickly. The items to watch out for become such second nature, that I can mostly spot them on the first glance. If however I see that an item (even if it is unfamiliar brand) is parve I never double check. It is kosher and to be pareve

"...Foods that contain no dairy or meat content are known as parev (also spelled pareve). Examples may be most drinks, all fruit, and raw vegetables.
Pareve food and drink can be consumed with either dairy or meat meals..."

How to change recipes to allow the foods in the diet

After initial diagnosis one of the big questions for me was how will I be able to cook. What items are available? After four years it has become second nature for me to make almost all of our recipes so that all four of us can eat them. I have always been a "make from scratch" cook so I did not have to reinvent the wheel for me, but had to change ingredients. The list below is what I have found is certainly not inclusive and I will add on with additional posts as I think of them :)

Recipe calls for Substitute
Butter Earth Balance Margarine (comes in a tub and in sticks which are
great for baking)
Margarine Earth Balance Margarine
Sour Cream Tofuti Sour Cream
Cream (sweet) Soy Creamer plain
Milk Soy, or rice milk (depending on the recipe I use non-sweet, or
Cream Cheese Tofuti Cream Cheese
Cheese Depending on the recipe I may leave it out, or (on pizza, or
lasagna) I use Vegan Cheese from Vegan Gourmet. It comes in 4
different kinds and really melts wonderful
Bread Crumbs Either Matzo Meal I use
Manischwitz brand
Buttermilk For one cup of milk you use, and 2 TBS Lemon Juice
Chocolate Chips I use Trader Joe's Chocolate Chips - they are Parve
Ice Cream - Rice or Soy ice cream - I like Soy Delicious while my husband really loves rice milk ice cream. The kids love either or :)
Yogurt - Soy Yogurt, we love Whole Soy Brand

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Great bakery in SE PDX - Sweet Pea Bakery

Sweet Pea Bakery is an all vegan bakery. Their stuff is outstanding and everything in their food case can be had (of course we only limit any type of milk sugar and not free galactose). Cup-cakes, donuts (on Wednesday, and Saturday only), bagels with yummy cream cheese (of course Tofuti), cakes, cakes made to name it they have it. Last weekend my oldest and I got the cup-cake for the B-day party she was attending. She really wanted a bagel with Cream Cheese, and it was possible. It made me, and her so very happy :) - How glad we are to be leaving in Portland...

When you go to Sweet Pea. Have a bagel with their home made cream cheese on it. It is "bacon" scallion, and just so delicious. The cup cakes are outstanding. On the weekend they also serve brunch for $10. Of course everything is vegan, and free of any type of milk sugar. Doesn't that make your heart sing? It sure makes mine sing :)

Back after a long hiatus...

Wow its been a long posts since January and it is early June. Life is good and the levels of the girls in February were just great :) We are so excited. A few things happened since January so. My oldest now has been invited to two birthday parties. That was a first for me, and I have to say it was not easy for me to figure this out. Why? Well, I do not want her to feel left out when other kids are having treats. The way I approached it was by calling the parent of the kids having the party and found out what they are serving. Both parties had cup-cakes. That was an easy one as I just made sure to have cup-cake for my daughter at the party.

At the second party all kids were decorating cup-cakes (including my daughter). I am so amazed at this four year old. Not being able to eat items other kids can have is no big deal. She asks whenever there is food whether it is OK, or not. WOW...and it was just understood that it is OK that she has a different cup-cake.

The kids have snack days at pre-school. For my daughter's day we brought Whole Soy Vanilla Yogurt (we just love that stuff), strawberries, and bunny crackers. The other kids asked whether this was yogurt everyone including my daughter can have. These kids really amazed me. They were so excited that my little could also have yogurt that day.

Galactosemia to me really has become a way of life. It is an opportunity, it can be a little challenging at times, but truth be said...after E.Coli Mengengitis, and Sepsis this is all a piece of cake. You can make life difficult, or you can make life easy and livable. You can make Galactosemia a center of your life, or a part of your life. For me (us) Galactosemia is not the center of our life, but a part of it. I think of all the great things that come from it. We meet great people, make friends with people that we would otherwise have no contact with. Last year we met (and stayed) with a family in Northern Italy who also has two kids with this disorder, we know a family in Berlin, and many more. What great opportunity...Of course there are hard parts to it. Blood draws are always the worst for me. I just feel so guilty about having given my girls this gene. And then of course when my oldest asks me why we need to go to the draws and she told me "I do not want to have Galactosemia"...Those are hard days bringing me to the verge of tears. Those days I must remember what to be grateful for...I have two beautiful, healthy children. The girls are bi-lingual, growing beautifully what else could we want.


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