Sunday, September 30, 2012

Light Therapy, Part Deux

Now that Lil' Miss is in Preschool three times a week, I can finally try out Light Therapy as course of treatment/management for my severe hand eczema. Basically, Light Therapy harnesses the powers of UV light to help heal the affected areas of the skin. I have to go to the doctor's office three times a week, with a day in between, for this to be most effective. Talk about inconvenient! An hour before I get the treatment done, I have to apply a special compound to my hands to aid in the absorption of the light.

Here goes nothing!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Moist Meatloaf

I love meatloaf. However, it's time consuming and heats up your kitchen with it's hour-long baking time. It's calorie-laden. Often, when you order it at a restaurant, it's smothered in ketchup (yuck!) or tomato sauce (BOP no-no!). And, for our family, it usually has eggs in it and our little one can't eat eggs. So, because of all of those reasons (and then some!), it's been a really, really, really long time since I've had meatloaf.

Today was a new day! Today, I made meatloaf (sans eggs!) and it was delicious! It was moist! We all had seconds! Never mind that the kitchen thermometer read 80 degrees while it was cooking (and the AC was cranking)! I'm definitely making this one again!

1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
Olive Oil to coat the bottom of the pan
1lb. ground turkey
2 Tbl. ground flax seed soaked in 6 Tbl. water for 5 minutes
4 oz. dried bread crumbs (I used Progresso Italian Style Panko- BOP friendly!)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute olive oil, onions and peppers until clear and tender. Add to ground turkey, flax seed mixture and bread crumbs. Be sure to use a big mixing bowl and don't be afraid to get in there with your hands. Shape into a loaf and cook for 45 mins. to 1 hour at 350 degrees F. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and some veggies for a truly comforting meal!

Monday, August 6, 2012

(Egg, Nuts, Soy, Dairy, Gluten and BOP Free) Blueberry Peach Cobbler

This past weekend, we went to a good-bye party for some friends of ours. They are leaving to plant a church in another part of the state and we are going to miss them! Their little girl is the same age as Lil' Miss and she is allergic to dairy and gluten. Put that together with my daughter's allergies to eggs, nuts and soy and my own allergies to Balsam of Peru and well, you become very limited.

Here's something I came up with using what was on hand. Best of all, it tasted DELICIOUS and you would never know that it was allergen friendly! People were going back for seconds of this delish dish!

1 quart blueberries
1 jar peaches (reserve juice)
2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Mix
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
2 cups reserved peach juice + water
oil to grease the bottom of the pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of 13"x9" baking pan. Mix all ingredients except for the fruit. Gently fold in fruit. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown. Yum!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Summer temperatures are upon us and with an upcoming vacation to the Carribbean, my thoughts have been focused on packing, the beach and sun protection. Specifically, sunscreen. Besides fragrance being a big no-no to those of us with sensitive skin (and almost every single one smells fruity, coconut-y, tropical, etc., etc.), sunscreen without the use of BOP and/or benzoates is near-impossible to find!

Did you know Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, SPF 70 contains 6% Oxybenzone? Did you know that Vanicream Sunscreen contains Alkyl Benzoate? Beware of the term "AVO" in the indredient list- it translates to avobenzone, another type of benzoate.

After doing a little research on the internet, I did come up with the following information:

-Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide are natural sunblocks. Not only would this be worth looking into if you are allergic to BOP/benzoates, but it might be a good alternative if you are afraid of those scary reports floating around about mass-produced, chemically-charged sunscreen products mimicking estrogen in young girls and causing cancer in others. Just saying...

-While I have not personally tried these products, I did find that Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Sensitive, SPF 30 and Fallene Face Cotz Water-Resistant Sun Protection claim to be free of fragrance, hypo-allergenic and appear to be free of benzoates.

Other than that, may I suggest, a wide-brimmed hat, shade, sunglasses and limited sun exposure for your next outdoor adventure, this summer....?!

Monday, June 11, 2012


Being allergic to Balsam of Peru and Benzoates means that makeup can be an issue. As a women, it's a hard pill to swallow (and a bit of vanity) to realize that looking your best (and best for your skin!) actually means not wearing any makeup at all!

I recently read in July 2012 issue of Women's Day that "Parabens- methylparaben or BENZylparaben- are artificial preservatives added to products to keep bacteria in check and increase shelf life."  That means, that using a beauty product with the ingredient "PARABEN" could actually contain benzoates...! Ladies, beware!

After a quick internet search, I found that Almay Pure Blends claims to be paraben-free. On the higher end of the spectrum, Sephora has paraben-free products. I found The Paraben Free Beauty Expert with a long list of beauty items that are paraben-free.

So, in conclusion, I would recommend  research what goes into not only your food, by your beauty products, as well!! Stay away from fragrances, dyes and parabens- your skin will thank you!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Oxygen in the Blood

A lot of people that have allergies also have asthma- not everyone, just some. I happen to be one of those lucky few that suffer from allergies that have a tendency to trigger asthmatic symptoms. Lately, my asthma has been causing me to wake up in the middle of the night around three AM, gasping for air and in a frantic search for my rescue inhaler. Not good. So, needless to say, I scheduled myself an appointment with the doctor.

While at the doctor's office, I learned a couple of interesting facts;

-Did you know that the amount of oxygen in your blood stream is directly related to how much oxygen your body is getting? This is an especially critical unit of measurement for an asthma patient who can't seem to get enough air into his/her lungs and has trouble breathing.

-When a body is at rest, it produces less corticosteroid. Apparently, corticosteroid is naturally occurring and is needed for normal body function (breathing, being one of these functions). Corticosteroid is at it's lowest around three in the morning and that is why my body was having trouble breathing.

Strawberry Muffins

Strawberry season has arrived a little earlier than normal here in the Carolinas! So, we took the grandparents strawberry picking and enjoyed some good ol' fashion fun on the farm. After making jam out of the one basket, eating them on top of cereal in the morning, cut up as a snack in the afternoon and on top of shortcake for dessert, I still have berries left! So, here's a little recipe that I adapted from Betty Crocker (original recipe called for blueberries and streusel topping) to help use up some left over strawberries. These muffins browned perfectly, were light and airy and very moist. Berry Delicious, if I do say so myself ;-P


3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
cups self rising flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
cup fresh strawberries (cleaned, and diced)

Heat oven to 400°F. Line 12 regular-size muffin cups with paper baking cups, or spray bottoms only of cups with cooking spray.

In large bowl, beat milk, oil and egg with fork or wire whisk until blended. Add 2 cups flour, the granulated sugar, all at once; stir just until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy). Gently stir in strawberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. If muffins were baked in paper baking cups, immediately remove from pan to cooling rack. If muffins were baked in sprayed pan, leave in pan about 5 minutes, then remove from pan to cooling rack. Serve warm or cooled.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Applesauce Honey Cake

Here's a recipe I made for MOMs Club Coffee and Chat. It was a big hit and best of all it was free of all of our family's allergens! The cake was sweet and moist and perfect with a cup of coffee! I adapted the recipe (loosely) from the Incredible Honey Applesauce Cake recipe from the back of the Pioneer Brand Pancake box.


1/2 cup Plain Yogurt (I used homemade)
1 cup Honey
1 1/2 cups Applesauce (I used unsweetened)
2 1/2 cups Pioneer No-Fat Complete Buttermilk Pancake Mix

4 Tbl. Cold Butter
1/3 cup AP Flour
1/3 cup Oatmeal
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1/3 cup White Sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 11"x7" pan. Mix all cake ingredients and pour into prepared pan. In separate bowl, combine Topping ingredients, being sure to cut in butter until the butter is small and crumbly. Sprinkle topping onto cake and bake for 45 minutes. Enjoy the cake warm.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Olive Garden Chicken and Gnocchi Soup Copy Cat Recipe

My hubby LOVES the Chicken and Gnocchi soup from Olive Garden .He tells me that he had never had gnocchi until he met me- oh, the food horizons I have opened him up to! :-) Because of my daughter's allergies to eggs, nuts and soy and because of my personal allergies to BOP and other things, I felt it was worth exploring trying a copy-cat recipe to recreate the creamy, steamy goodness at home.

SOO..... here goes...!

Adapted from:

3 -4 chicken breasts , cooked and diced
4 cups chicken stock (I used water)
2 cups half-and-half (I used fat free half and half)
1 stalk celery , diced (I used 2 stalks)
1 garlic clove , chopped
½ carrot , shredded (I used a whole carrot and cut into matchsticks)
½ onion , diced (I used a whole)
1 cup fresh spinach , chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper
16 ounces potato gnocchi (pre-made)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional) (I only had flour on hand so I used 2 Tblsp.flour)

-Saute the onion, celery, garlic, carrot in oil over medium heat until onion is translucent.
-Add chicken, chicken stock, half and half, salt and pepper, thyme. Heat to boiling, then add gnocchi. Gently boil for 4 minutes, then turn down to a simmer for 10 minutes. ( Heat to boiling and add cornstarch dissolved in 1-2 Tbsp water at this point if you want a thicker soup)
-Add spinach and cook for another 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted.
-Ladle into bowls and serve!

Hubby gives the soup two slurpy spoons up! He says that the Olive Garden one is a bit saltier and a tad bit thicker in consistency. So, next time, add more salt and/or use homemade chicken stock (that I know is soy-free). Also, double the roux to add thickness. Personally, I liked the fact that I could add *some* nutritional boost to this usually-diet-disaster by bumping up the veggies. Lil' Miss ate a whole bowl by herself so I'd say that it was win-win all around! Yummy!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Papa John's Pizza

Did you know that you can order pizza at Papa John's without sauce? If you go onto their new online ordering tool, they give you and option to have extra, regular, light or no sauce! How cool is that?!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Blueberry Bundt Cake

We are getting ready for vacation and I'm trying to whittle away the contents of our fridge so we don't come home to any moldy, science-project-worthy "surprise" when we get back. I had some blueberries left over and decided to make this Blueberry Bundt Cake. I modified the original recipe slightly by using milk (since we're not vegan) and real butter. After mixing up all of the ingredients, the batter was really thick- cookie dough thick- and I was concerned about the end results. However, after putting it into the pan (with some persuasion) and baking it, a nice, fluffy, golden brown cake appeared. Delicious!

(Another) Steel Cut Oatmeal with Apples

After a Valentine's Day weekend binge of all things NOT BOP-safe, I thought I'd share a recipe that IS BOP free AND tasty and healthy to boot! The addition of flax seed and the hearty fiber of steel cut oats, makes this dish warming, filling and full of nutrients. I love that this dish can be thrown into the crock pot the night before and then, when you wake up, you have a hearty breakfast waiting for you.

I've tried a variety of steel cut oatmeal recipes for the crock pot and this one succeeds in not being too mushy and just the right consistency.

  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2-1/2 to 3 cups chopped)
  • 1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, additional milk or butter
Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours. Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.

To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Recipe can be doubled in 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Increase cooking time 1 hour.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Banana Bread (that I actually like!)

  • I do not like bananas- never have. Yet, while trying to avoid BOP and dealing with my daughter's allergies to eggs, nuts and soy, I've been forced to incorporate more bananas in my baking. We had some nanners that were going to go bad so I decided to make some bread with it. I combined a couple of recipes and come up with this and guess what? I actually liked it! The taste was not overly banana-y and I can appreciate the fact that it has whole wheat flour (and no eggs, nuts or soy) in it. I like to eat this bread with honey spread on top- yum!
  • Ingredients:
  • cup milk
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup butter , softened
  • 1/8 cup agave
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cups whole wheat flour


  1. 1
    Blend first five ingredients in large bowl.
  2. 2
    Add soda and salt; mix well.
  3. 3
    Stir in flour and nuts.
  4. 4
    Pour into well-greased 9" or 10" bread pan.
  5. 5
    Cover loosely with tin foil, shiny side up, and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve hot!