Category Archives: Anaphylaxis

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

I really should of been a baker. Not a fancy sort with funky icing designs, or cake too pretty to eat sort of baker, but a practical, every day healthy food consumption kind of baker.  Stop at my little corner bakery on the way to work for your breakfast to-go.  I could do it.  Maybe I should do it…

Sixteen years ago when my son was diagnosed with life threatening food allergies (peanuts and tree nuts) I started paying attention to ingredients in food. Up until then I had the grab and shove in cart mentality.

That many years ago there wasn’t a large variety of peanut/nut free foods or even strict allergen listing requirements that is available today. So, if my child was to enjoy a cookie, or a muffin or at that point, bread, I had better get the baking ingredients out and get’er done.  Besides, I started to notice this food in EVERYTHING called ‘Soy’ and labeled in many different forms. Soy lecithin, soy flour, hydrolyzed soy, soy soy soy. After much research into the world of soy, we avoid all soy in this home and if you buy anything premade/boxed etc., you will more than likely find it in the ingredients list. Anyways, this post isn’t about the deteriorating ingredient list in foods, its about super refreshing delicious Lemon Blueberry Muffins.

When it comes to blueberries and baking, the type matters. The small wild blueberries, won’t give you the blue bleed. The taste of biting into a juicy blueberry isn’t as prominent in the small blueberries, so I recommend Blueberries. You can use wild blueberries, just not my fav when it comes to baking.

If you are lucky like us, you will have a Mennonite Blueberry Farm around the corner. I can pop in anytime of year and grab a bag of frozen big juicy blueberries.

Chances are you can buy blueberries in your local area in the late summer when it is in season. The good things about this farm is they don’t use pesticides or harmful treatments so you can just plop them in a freezer bag and have on hand all year around. No washing. (Fantastic for smoothies too).

I also got a wonderful gift recently from a friend who went to Mexico and brought back vanilla.  The good stuff!

Like most of my recipes they have happened by accident and the measurements are my critiquing over time. Ok, here we go.

Side Note: I never advocate for the use of margarine in my baking.  It has a different outcome and really, if you are using margarine, do yourself a favour and don’t.  Seriously, don’t believe all the crap the agencies tell you.  Hydrolyzed anything and soy is not for human consumption!

Ingredients

1/2 cup melted butter
2 large farm eggs
3/4 cup of milk
1 cup of organic cane sugar
2 cups of blueberries (frozen is best for the addition to baking)
Zest of 2 organic lemons (zest of anything should be organic to avoid crop sprays)
2 tsp of vanilla
2 cups of AP flour, plus more for blueberry dusting
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt

See that ingredient list?  Wonderful!  Okay, lets get ready to bake!

Preheat your oven to 375 – I use convention oven, but any oven will do.  Line your muffin tray with paper cups.

In a medium bowl add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix.

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, add your melted butter (room temperature so you don’t scramble your eggs), vanilla, sugar, milk and mix until all incorporated.  Add in your lemon zest.jUNE 2017 058
(yup, those are pretty blue eggs from a friends farm)

Put the frozen blueberries into a bowl and cover them with flour and make sure they are all dusted.

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After your wet ingredients are all mixed well, add in your dry ingredients slowly with mixer on low.  Let it mix for 1 minute on medium speed.  If your batter looks too dry don’t be afraid to add a splash of milk to get the desired texture seen in the picture.  Some flours, especially depending on age, can be more dry than others.  A bit more milk never hurt anyone.

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Remove bowl from mixer stand.  Add your frozen flour dusted blueberries (not all the flour in the bottom of the bowl, just the blueberries) to your batter.  Fold the blueberries in gently.

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Once completely mixed, scoop into lined muffin tray.  Fill them up!

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Put the trays in your preheated oven.  Turn 1/2 way through cooking.  Watch your muffins as they can easily overcook in the matter of 2 mins.  Then you’ll have dry I need a drink of coffee kind of muffins.  Look for a bounce back when gently pushed in the middle to see if it is done.  Cook for 15-20 mins depending on your oven and elevation.

Remove from tray immediately and place on a bakers rack to cool.

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Bakers tip:  Baked foods always continue to cook for a few minutes while cooling.  So its OK to pull from the oven when JUST done, that extra minute you would wait in the oven, let it do it on the counter.

This is such a great ‘summer’ muffin that can be enjoyed at anytime of the year.  The lemon is fresh and the blueberries are juicy!

Thanks for stopping by!

Lemon Blueberry Cranberry Muffins, Oh My!!

These muffins are a huge hit at home and everywhere I have taken them.  It’s a recipe I created from scratch and have critiqued over time.  I have a friend who just bought and moved into his new house and I’ll be visiting soon with these beauties as a house warming gift. Nothing like edible gifts!!

Some of the measurements like milk are easily added to, to make the muffin batter the right texture.  I usually just pour and mix and call it done when it looks right.  Today I measured (sort of) while I was making them so I could share this recipe.

As always, my recipes call for butter.  Don’t talk to me if you use margarine in my recipes and it tastes like shit.

Ingredients
3/4 cup of melted salted butter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup of milk (I use skim)
2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1 cup of cane sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar

2 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt

Rind of 2 lemons
Large fresh organic blueberries dusted with flour
Organic Cranberries

I didn’t give a quantity of cranberries or blueberries as I find it is usually a personal preference.  I used about 3/4 cup of large blueberries and a little bit less of cranberries.  Einstein doesn’t like it to be a berry explosion, he likes it all in moderation.

Directions
Prepare baking pan with muffin liners and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 (convect bake). Dust blueberries with flour and set aside. Cut cranberries in half and set aside. Grate off lemon rind from both lemons and set aside.

In medium bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a big bowl add eggs, milk, vanilla and sugar. Mix on medium for about 2 minutes. (I use a stand mixer, but hand held will be fine as well). Add melted butter slowly while mixer is continuing to mix. Put 1/2 cup of flour mixture at a time into your egg mixture, ensuring it is fully incorporated before adding the next 1/2 cup. When all the flour mixture is added, continue on medium speed mixing for one more minute.

Add in rind of the lemons and mix for another minute.

Remove bowl from stand mixer and drop in blueberries (minus left over flour) and cranberries and still just until incorporated. Careful to not over do it, or the berries could break and smear, however it’s not the end of the world if they do.

Scoop into lined muffin tray and place in oven. Cook for 15-20 minutes and remove from oven when done. Each oven is different so keep a watchful eye on them. See bakers tip for best results.

Bakers Tip: don’t cook muffins all the way until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Once muffins or any bread based baking (exemption: true bread) is removed from the oven it will continue to cook, especially when left in the pan. It’s easy to over cook muffins making them dry and crumbly when waiting until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Instead when a little bit of muffin batt er is sticky on your toothpick, remove from oven and leave in pan for 10 minutes. I use muffin liners so the muffins don’t stick to the pan. If you don’t use muffin liners they will still continue to cook once out of the pan while cooling.

This batter is versitile and always willing to please. You can mix it up, by adding lemon rinds and fresh raspberries, orange rind with cranberry, or simply just add berries without a fruit rind.  Chunked apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, I try it a lot in this batter and it hasn’t failed me yet.  We are a nut free, peanut free home but I’m sure this recipe could definitely tolerate some nuts as well.

The lemon rind makes these muffins a step above the rest and when you bite into a blueberries or cranberry it’s just a little bit of simple heaven. Enjoy!

Vac-Bate

The Vaccine Debate lives on…forever. And ever.

Oh this hot hot topic just won’t die. How we do get so fired up while we debate the pros and cons of vaccination. It’s a hot topic at many dinner tables these days with the measles cases recently, with a solid line of division for sure. I don’t really get fired up over this .. Just have my own conclusion.

Of course, like many other bloggers I am prompted to write about my theory on vaccines after a new parents’ blog has gone viral with her obvious frustration over people choices to not vaccinate. First off, I totally respect new moms level of protection for their newborns. I’ve been there. Fear often turns to anger. I also respect choice and individuality. All this I understand with great compassion. As much as she is passionate about being vaccinated so many people are passionate about reasons why to not vaccinate. Hence the debate.

I am not here to say one way or another for you or your children, to vaccinate or not. I exercise my rights often and make decisions based on my own research and knowledge. I expect you to have the same free space to construct your own views and decisions. Respectful. We, as responsible adults, have a moral and ethical responsibility to do our best. This doesn’t mean your way is better than mine or visa versa. We hopefully make our decision based on information and what we feel is best for ourselves and loved ones.

We likely know people from both sides of the debate. Each are so passionate about their reasoning. In my experience, previously most people didn’t feel compelled to do much  research, if any, before they immunize their children or themselves, including me previously, and the people who don’t immunize themselves or children have done a fair amount of research. Not immunizing is going against the grain which typically is a result of a fair bit of research and investigation. Immunizations have been around for decades and have had wonderful results. However, with the good is often the bad.

I notice often people invest more time choosing a daycare to send their children too in comparison to the possible effects of vaccines and/or whether to vaccinate or not. I do think this is changing.

One of my first thoughts when the new parent was full of anger towards anti-vaxx’s: does a vaccinated mother passed on any immunity to their baby while in-utero and nursing. I googled. I’m not a professional. Don’t crawl up my back. But it appears our immunity is passed on for up to six months.

Source: http://seattlemamadoc.seattlechildrens.org/measles-outbreak-with-a-baby-at-hom

For Babies Under 6 Months of Age: If a baby’s mother has had her MMR shots and/or had measles infection in her life she passed antibodies to her baby during fetal development while in-utero and continues to pass them passively while breastfeeding. Those antibodies provide protection for young infants and typically are thought to protect infants for up to 6 months or more. The reason babies don’t get the MMR shot sooner than a year of age is because of the persistence of these maternal antibodies — if you put a vaccine in while maternal antibodies are still around the vaccine won’t stimulate the baby’s own immune system to respond, it will just get soaked up by the maternal antibodies doing their job.

Do we trust the research behind that? How valid is this tidbit of info? Maybe you’d find a different source that is contradictory. However, if we can or do trust that, we should have some peace that a newborn should have at least a medium level of safety for the first 6 months. I completely feel the first 6 months should always be approached with caution for exposure anyways, but I don’t think I would fret and alter my daily life. Would I got to Disney world right now. No. Would I purposely expose my newborn to any disease. No. Would I go to a friends house whose toddler has chicken pox? No. Would I continue my typical life of grocery shopping, visits with friends, family and doctor office visits etc., of course.

Remember the days of hurry up and find a child who has chicken pox sores oozing goop? Expose your child, as it’s easier to deal with while they are young? Now they have vaccines for that. My daughter who is 24 didn’t get immunized for chicken pox. She got them around age 3 and definitely had a miserable time with it. My son, who can’t be immunized due to a severe life threatening auto-immune response to the MMR vaccine, got vaccinated against chicken pox at age 6. By the time he was 8 he had chicken pox twice. Twice!! I was told he got it twice because the first time wasn’t severe enough. The second time definitely was a full blown ugly case of chicken pox. Ummm, what about his immunization? Not so much eh? So what’s my thoughts on this immunizations? Flop.

Pro-Choice.

Maybe ‘science’ should explain why according to a document filed on December 13, 2012, Chief Special Master Patricia E. Campbell-Smith awarded Ryan B. Mojabi $969,474.91 for injuries caused by the MMR vaccine. They want it noted that any money awarded is paid from the tax money from vaccines not the vaccine company itself. WTF. DOES IT MATTER? New Jersey girl gets awarded $4.7 million for her debilitating consequence of her vaccine at 2 months of age. Her brain stopped developing. She is almost a pre-teen and has the mental capacity of a 2 month old. There are over 5000 settled cases.

While the government and pharmaceutical companies are busy promoting the safety of vaccines, maybe someone, anyone? can also explain the existence of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The compensation program is funded by a 75-cent tax on each vaccination. (Remember, it isn’t the vaccine companies, it’s the tax from the vaccine. Ugh). Congress created the fund in 1986, at a time when a growing number of lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers was driving them out of the marketplace. Since its inception, the fund has settled more than 5,500 claims, and awarded nearly $1.4 billion. The fund provides compensation for injuries from all vaccines mandated by the federal government: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP); measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR); polio, hepatitis B, chickenpox, and H. influenza Type B. (Remember this is a national fund, however I don’t believe the Canadian government mandates chickenpox and flu type B) I’m totally hung up on this compensation fund and that a special tax was created to pay for the damages. This find was a game changer for me. Jump started my thought process.

There is so much information on the web about how vaccines have caused or triggered underlying issues that are later express as Autism, ADHD/ADD, Mental Health, Allergies and Auto-Immune Diseases. (Remember ‘underlying issues’ when you get to my GMO paragraph). There are also as many articles that say vaccines are safe and not linked at all and it is all false. I am comfortable saying vaccines were created to save lives. That is also debated by many. Vaccines have and will continue to save lives. But they also will cause irreversible damage to lives. Both sides of the argument are proven.

However, may I suggest an obvious need to revisit the formulas in vaccines. Or perhaps an alternative method to ‘herd’ control. Tweak it or something. Something. First thing to tweak the F out NOW is the Mercury. Get it out of all vaccines.

I’ve asked myself many many times how has this remarkable increase in ADHD/ADD, Auto-Immune diseases, Autism etc. occurred. How? Until science can PROVE to me that immunizations don’t cause any or all side effects and PROVE to me what does cause these health issues, I would not immunize my children, knowing what I know today. The onus is on science.

Flyp. Born and stamped with a seal of good health. With each immunizations his reactions got worse. He had 2 sets. The swelling, the burning, the flaming red at the injection area was alarming for a parent. Each time he was hospitalized. As a parent I failed. Miserably. The doctors told me some babies reacted in this manner and it was not dangerous and considered among the norm. Why is he hospitalized crying non-stop for at least 12 hours each time. The crying and screaming. You could not calm or settle him. Period. I can not tell you how badly I was at war inside my head.

Stop the immunizations, something is wrong.
But how will he be protected.
Can I not immunize my child.
What do I do.
What are my options.

It was later decided amongst the specialists and doctors he would wait until he was 18 months to see if he could ‘tolerate’ them better and would be administered at the children’s hospital as a precaution. I failed. I agreed to more. My child, a test monkey in a lab. Compliments of his uninformed conflicted mother. I was so uninformed. Hind sight: I should of said no. No to vaccines.

At 18 months was his worst reaction to date. From that moment on he has a blanket exemption from MMR’s and any other related immunizations. Despite that horrible experience I got him the chicken pox as he was struggling with what they thought was some kidney issues and some other health concerns and they feared chicken pox would be really hard on him (chicken pox was spreading like wild fire through daycare – only to learn later that the protection wasn’t immediate anyways) The doctor assured me it wasn’t even close to MMR. What did that mean? It wasn’t even close to MMR. It’s not as toxic? I failed again. Got him immunized against chicken pox. Or did I? He got chicken pox twice. Fortunately without any visible reactions.

Flyp is anaphylactic to peanuts. Flyp has been diagnosed with ADHD as a young child. Flyp has struggled with anxiety past and present. I have researched enough to accept that the vaccination attempts likely played a role in his allergies, anxiety and ADHD. On what level I can’t say, however I’m very confident the vaccines’ ingredients did play a role. I absolutely believe vaccines are linked to these side effects with varying degrees. Now that I am informed and aware, I would not vaccinate either of my children. Ever. However, I know maybe I feel that way because of the diagnoses we have for Flyp and the challenges he deals with daily. For the rest of his life. If all was a smooth running engine would I feel the same? Would I of ever had a reason to be interested and indulged in the available research and information? I’m still not promoting one or the other. Vaccination or not. I’m saying be informed and educated. Make your educated decision. No matter what that decision is. Regrets really suck!

In Addition…
I believe GMO’s and environmental toxins are also responsible and proven to be linked to a lot of health issues, including some of the ones listed above. A real consideration for me is, we as pregnant moms, are toxic bodies carrying our developing babies all while creating their immune system from toxic building blocks. Are we giving birth to toxic babies? Absolutely. Babies have cancer. Toddlers have cancer. Teens are dying of cancer. 20-30 years ago this was almost unheard of. Something is going horribly wrong. Maybe MMR’s were better tolerated before GMO’s were introduced to our daily diet. Maybe not, since the compensation fund was set up in 1986 and GMO’s in our daily food supply followed a few years later. Maybe our toxic children’s immune response (underlying problem) is so altered by GMO’s and environmental toxins that when we add an additional heavy toxic load of mercury and disease, in the form of a vaccine, the response/consequence manifests into Autism, ADHD/ADD, allergies etc. Maybe. Will science ever let us know the truth? Not as long as science is funded by the government and pharmaceutical companies. Not. A. Chance.

Do we really believe that Andrew Wakefield’s research was discredited with absolute unwavering integrity? Or has he been silenced like so many other whistle blowers? If we truly believe Mr.Wakefield’s research was false and doesn’t warrant any factual information, why do we have a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program? (Can you tell I’m hung up on the compensation fund yet?) We must ask questions. Reasonable logical questions. It’s imperative to ask questions to make our informed decisions. Are we willing to risk it? Should we? Will we? Should we risk the possible consequences of unvaccinated children? Should we risk the possible consequences of vaccines?

I am a parent who is much more informed today than yesterday and I wouldn’t vaccinate my children if it was applicable. My twenty four year old daughter is fully vaccinated. My son does not carry enough anti-bodies to be classified as protected after his horrible experiences. I support my distrust in the vaccines and immunization protocols with extensive research and personal experience. If I could go back, I would have both children unvaccinated. Simple. With that said, I would not drop my kids into a pool of measles patients or expose them purposely to any disease. Vaccinated or not.

What science does acknowledge is that each immune system responds differently. That applies to receiving a vaccine as well. You can have the vaccines administered, but maybe your immune system didn’t create antibodies after all. That’s how in the past, present and the future we will have adults who are vaccinated and get the measles. Or maybe if we are 30+ years old do we have enough anti-bodies left to fight the measles? We know vaccination/immunizations aren’t forever. So does that mean at 30 or 50 years old or somewhere in between, we need another round ?

In my opinion, the likelihood of a car crash, or airplane crash, or early exposure to street drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, bad parenting and tolerated bad behaviour (including entitled spoiled kids) pose far more risks to your vaccinated child(ren) and can carry worse consequences, than my unvaccinated child. It’s just the way the odds fall on the chart.

Thanks for reading. Hope you’ll stop by next time.

Cheers,

Sandy
Just a side thought … Perhaps with our baby welcome package, formula diaper info and/or samples etc. (do they still do that?) They should give information on vaccinations. Not one sided, the truth. The good, the bad and the ugly. All the relevant information we need to make an informed decision, no matter what side of the fence you end up on.

Oreos In The Pantry

Definition of Anaphylaxis: Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. It can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to something you’re allergic to, such as a peanut or the venom from a bee sting.

The flood of chemicals released by your immune system during anaphylaxis can cause you to go into shock; your blood pressure drops suddenly and your airways narrow, blocking normal breathing. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include a rapid, weak pulse, a skin rash, and nausea and vomiting. Common triggers of anaphylaxis include certain foods, some medications, insect venom and latex. Anaphylaxis requires an immediate trip to the emergency department and an injection of epinephrine. If anaphylaxis isn’t treated right away, it can lead to unconsciousness or even death.

My son, Flyp is an anaphylactic. He’s anaphylactic to peanuts. Most recently he has dropped tree nuts, but we will still be avoiding them for 2 years until we have a second negative test. Simply put a peanut can kill him.

Flyp is 15 years old. Over the years the availability of peanut and nut free foods has definitely been increasing. It’s wonderful. Other allergens such as gluten, milk/dairy etc. are also getting the spot light and allergens are being respected. The FDA has strict labelling laws to help protect anaphylactic persons. This makes a big difference for families living with allergies and/or anaphylaxis. Some big restaurant chains have allergen listings which helps as well. Real progress over the years.

I won’t get into the emotional and physical stress that comes with allergies today. I’d like to just keep it simple in this write.

Dare Foods is superior in peanut and nut free foods in my opinion. Crackers, cookies, jelly beans, June jubes, Melba toast. I just got an email today/press release from Anaphylaxis Canada that Dare has partnered with Cineplex for a safer environment for all. Wow. Impressive. But we also have other companies like Enjoy Life, Nabisco, Quaker, Presidents Choice, Natures Best, to name a few, who have made a lot of peanut/nut free (and some other allergens too) alternatives for families that live with allergies.

Although Flyp does gets some store bought cookies every once in a while…thank you Dare, Nabisco and Presidents Choice, he has always wondered about the famous Oreo. The one everyone loves. The one his friends say ‘man it must suck to have an Oreo free life’. Everyone loves an Oreo. I do prefer to make our own cookies, just way less junk in the ingredients list and we have become used to it with his allergies. However once in a while Flyp wants to have a store bought box of cookies.

Today I was out doing errands before the snow storm hits tomorrow and I noticed a bag of mini Oreos. The bag looked like it has the very recognizable peanut free symbol on it. I did a double take. It is!! Oreo Minis are peanut free. I read the label. Yup. Looked at the other Oreo bags, they all have peanut free symbols on them. I get my phone out and call the 1-800 number on the bag and ask all my relevant questions. They pass the test and make it into my cart. I grabbed a carton of chocolate milk and said today will be the day. A question answered. Yes it’s not the most important question in the world, but it’s one of his many questions in life.

I wish I videoed his first Oreo taste. Flyp is definitely on the Oreo band wagon. Best cookie ever. Being the good mother I am, I didn’t put him in the spot and ask him whose is better, mine or the scrumptious Oreo. I can’t handle the truth. Hahah! He’s a teenager whose never had an Oreo until today. I’m totally cool with taking the back seat for a bit.

It’s just a bag of Oreos to most, but to us it’s been a forbidden item for 15 years. That bag of Oreos is gone less than 4 hours later. I’m ok with it. Everyone needs freedom to eat a whole bag of Oreo minis once in a while.

So, today a bag of Oreo Mini’s made it to the pantry.