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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December Updates

Great news!
  1. I passed the CPN exam! I am now a Certified Pediatric Nurse and I get to put extra letters after my name. Wahoo!
  2. Cindy Lou Who's reflux is getting better. She's still on more than $500 worth of medication each month and I still can not have tomatoes or onions, but I can have small amounts of cranberries, chocolate, citrus, beans and dairy. Really, this is huge people.
  3. We had a great Christmas, including some time with my brother-in-law who just came home from the Philippines.
With these big things behind us I'm ready to conquer the world. Or maybe just tackle my house. It needs serious work. And perhaps get around to fixing my blog, that is getting my computer programming husband to fix my blog. Starting the first of the year I'm going to try something new: The $100 Challenge. For the month of January I plan on spending no more than $100 on groceries for my family of five. It's basically a pantry challenge, but gives me some leway to buy milk and fresh produce. I'll share my menus and food storage ideas here and I'll find prizes for some of those who want to join me in my endeavors to rotate my pantry items and save some money. Who is with me?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Easy Dairy-Free Ice Cream

Ice cream is a big comfort food for me, and unfortunately with baby's reflux I can't have it. My husband who loves me found a recipe for dairy free ice cream on the internet. Then I improved it. I have to say this stuff is pretty darn good. It doesn't give you the "full" feeling that a bowl of ice cream and chocolate give you, but it sure tastes like ice cream, which is good enough for me. It is also significantly better for you than regular ice cream, but you do have to plan for it at least a few hours ahead of time.

Dairy-Free Banana Ice Cream
1 banana
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
cashews (optional)
caramel (optional)

1. Select a ripe, but firm banana. Peel it and break into thirds. 2. Freeze chunks until solid (at least three hours). 3. Puree bananas and vanilla until creamy. You need a pretty good blender for this. Usually I blend them into a chunky mush and then I have to scrape the size of the blender to get the much all back and the bottom and then I blend again until I get the desired product. 4. Top with caramel and cashew if desired. (Honestly you can top it with anything that you please, but those are just some of the few things that don't bother and infant with reflux, so I take it.) Makes one serving

I'm taking a break for the next few weeks. We've got family stuff going on, Christmas, birthdays and I studying to become a Certified Pediatric Nurse. But rest assured that I have many more things to say.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Food Storage Friday: Raspberry and Spinach Pasta Salad

I created this recipe with my extremely limiting dietary restrictions in mind using things I happened to have in my fridge and pantry. So if you aren't married to a vegetarian and you aren't breast-feeding an infant with moderately severe reflux, feel free to add some grilled chicken strips, mandarin oranges, feta cheese and/or chopped kiwi fruits. I actually can have kiwi, I'm just out.  You can serve it as a side (I had mine with grilled fish) or eat it as a light meal. Whatever floats your boat.

Raspberry and Spinach Pasta Salad
Food Storage Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons toasted almonds
2 cups cooked pasta
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1/4 cup raspberry vinaigrette dressing (I used Private Selections from Smith's because it doesn't use soybean oil.)

Fresh Ingredients:
handful of fresh raspberries, torn in half
1 Bartlett pear, chopped
1 large handful of baby spinach

1. Coat cooked pasta with olive oil. 2. Toss all ingredients together.

I love this because a) I'm allowed to eat it, b) it's healthy, c) it's delicious and satisfying and d) it's super quick and easy to make. We have a winner! If I were in a situation where I was using only my food storage I could use reconstituted dried raspberries and canned pears and probably just forgo the spinach. The fresh is better, but I could make do without.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Preparedness Wednesday: November in Review

October was a crap shoot: newborn with pretty bad reflux, 4 surgeries, a root canal, Halloween, ring-around-the-rosie with the insurance company over my baby's medication and a few more curve balls that life had for me, meant that I didn't accomplish any of my preparedness goals. But I did better in November.

  • Bought a second shoe rack (this one for my closet), so the area by the backdoor could feasibly be a little more organized
  • Attended a meeting where mom's shared ideas about how they manage to keep their houses clean and organized.
  • Paid off a chunk of my husband's student loan with my credit card, because the interest rate is significantly better. (Sad, huh?)
  • Had a gate installed so my neighbors dog won't be able to poop in my backyard anymore. Yay!
Food Storage:
  • Dole pineapple tidbits- 50 cents per can @ Albertson's
  • Campbell's cream of mushroom soup- 39 cents per can @ Smith's
  • Swanson's vegetable broth- 39 cents each @ Smith's
  • Natural canned black olives- $8.97 for 8 pack @ Costco (We recently discovered that not only are these cheaper than your average black olive, they also taste much, much better.)
  • S&W canned black beans- 49 cents each @ Smith's
  • Progresso Vegetable soup- 75 cents each @ Albertson's
  • Cold milled flax seed- $8 @ Costco, shelf life is not as long as whole flax seed, but it's still a couple years and it sooo much more convenient.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Natural Solution for Clogged Tearducts in Infants

 When Thing 1 and Thing 2 were infants they had clogged tear ducts. They almost constantly produced these really thick tears that would dry and leave their eyes crusted together. I squeezed their tear ducts with a q-tip, just like my pediatrician showed me, but it didn't seem to help much. It finally resolved itself when they were each around 6 months old.
 When I took Cindy Lou Who in for her first checkup, she was starting to develop the same problem. Now keep in mind, my pediatrician is very conservative in his practice. (A different pediatrician since we moved a couple years ago.) I know this from my experience with my kids and from working with him at the hospital. He's not one to throw around alternative therapies and often gets frustrated when his patients put so much faith in them. So when he told me the following I figured it was worth a shot. "Ok, I know this sounds crazy and when I worked in Detroit I never imagined that I would ever suggest this to a patient, but it works. If you squirt a little breast milk in their eye it takes care of the clogged tear duct. If that's too weird for you, here's a prescription for antibiotic drops."
 And I'll admit it sounded a little weird. I know that breast milk has antibiotic properties, but would you really squirt dinner in your eye and expect it to clear up and infection? Generally not. However, when the thick tears and eye crustiness started getting worse I gave it a try. After a feeding I just squirt a bit of breast milk in each eye. It was pretty freaky looking to see her eyes coated with milk. But it didn't seem to bother her at all and she had no more issues with goopy eye secretions or crustiness after that point. I'm not going to guarantee that it will work for everyone, but it's a pretty harmless intervention and worked really well for my baby.