Enough Already

A lot has happened since I last made a post. I feel I have lost myself in all the chaos. There’s not much I care about at the moment. I sure as hell don’t care about food. We’ve been ordering pizza, buying processed crap, and cooking less. It does make me feel a little terrible, but at the same time I don’t actually care. I’m just trying to make it through this season one day at a time. I’m quite numb. The only emotions I have felt a lot of lately are anger and loneliness mixed with a good serving of disappointment. I can’t even cry. The moments I have felt like crying these past few months, instead of tears, nothing. My overwhelming frustration has dried my well as if it were the sun. I am an empty shell.

As if my personal struggles weren’t enough you can’t turn on the TV, read the paper, or scroll through your feed without seeing the world continuing to crumble (at an even faster rate than normal, if that’s possible). It all makes me feel silly for sitting at home, successfully eating my feelings, over everything our family has gone through lately. After all we still have a roof over our heads and food to eat. So what’s there to complain about?

In the last 2 months- we have been to the ER once, the doctor 4 times, the allergist twice, and as of last week little tummy has a new specialist on her team of issues- a pediatric gastroenterologist. She has been to the lab twice for blood draws. Today she had to choke down some tasty barium given to her by a scary man with a mask on while screaming her head off and digging her fingernails into my arm so I wouldn’t let go of her while the big scary man at the other end held her down so the scary doctor to get some images of her GI tract. That still might not be the end of tests in this quest for finding out this mystery problem she recently developed. They’re saving the “best” test for last. “Best” as in she needs to be put under for that one. Her team of doctors aren’t sure what’s wrong, but they all seem to agree that something is up.

I’ve about had it. How many more tests and problems can she have? She’s not even 3 yet!!! Our medical bills were bad before. Now they’re are just getting ridiculous. We even have decent insurance. Still, we are swimming in medical debt. I’m tired. Papa tummy is stressed. How does she continue to have all the energy in the world with a smile on her face? I’m putting this out here for everyone to read so maybe my prayer will be answered.

Dear God, enough already! She doesn’t deserve this. Make the next problem mine. Why have you let me skate by without as much as a broken bone all these years? My life is worth far less than the potential my little girl has. Please, stop this! If you’re trying to teach me a lesson somehow, you’ve made your point. You already took one life from me. Don’t make her the next. I would gladly take on cancer if it means she gets to graduate, walk down the aisle, and experience all that this beautiful life has to offer. Just promise me there will be nothing else added to the long list of her medical records.


Please excuse me while I work through all of this. Our life needs to return to normal and I need to find myself again. I wish happiness and good health to all of you.

The Good, The Bad, and Soy

There is a reason I haven’t posted in a while (Isn’t there always?). Something happened that I’ve been wanting to share. There’s been a few nights when I wanted to write a post about it. I decided to wait until after this morning, when I knew for sure. Don’t worry- it’s good news, great news. Fantastic news, even!

Little tummy has seemed to have shaken off these food allergies of hers. Something her allergist told us, “is rare, but it happens.”

Last month, we took both girls to get allergy testing done. We tested tiny tummy for all the allergies we knew little tummy had to make sure they didn’t share any. Then, they retested little tummy for all of her previously positive allergies plus a few extras that we couldn’t do last time. Tiny tummy didn’t react to anything they tested her for. Yay! What shocked the doctor was that little tummy didn’t react in the slightest to any of her known allergens. She didn’t believe it and even asked the nurse to double-check. The only thing she did react to (and somewhat heavily) was cats and dogs. Boo! Not surprising, though. We knew she had become very sensitive around pet dander. She traded her food allergies for animals. It’s not ideal, but it’s still a trade-off I don’t mind.

We still were instructed not to let her have anything that she was allergic to. They wanted to do a series of oral challenges to make sure that the scratch test was correct. This morning was her first oral challenge and it was for soy. We challenged her with some blueberry soy yogurt and she did great! Papa tummy took her while I stayed home with tiny tummy. They were there for about 2 hours and she didn’t show a sign of any issues or symptoms. We only need to keep an eye on her for 24 hours and then we can start giving her soy.

Her next challenge isn’t until July and that’s for peanuts. Her final challenge will be cashews- since it was her biggest enemy. Once she passes the next two challenges she will be clear of her food allergies!!! We feel this may have happened because we were so vigilant about avoiding her allergies. Or maybe she’s just an awesome little kid with great luck.

As wonderful as this is, it has brought on a new set of overwhelming thoughts and feelings. Avoiding food is tough and it requires a lot of learning. Adding a food back into your diet is like going through all that mess again. I have been so out-of-touch on the soy spectrum I don’t even know where to start. It has been over 2 years since we’ve had soy in this house! Within those two years an incredible amount of new products have surfaced, new recipes have been created and shared online, and new restaurants have opened. I have ignored all of these things because I didn’t want to feel like I was missing out on any of it while I was trying to keep my little girl safe.

Well, now I have a list of everything I have missed over these last months:

  1. 50% of my cookbooks– I can now use ALL of my cookbooks and ALL of the recipes in each of them. Now I feel like I have TOO MANY options. It’s going to take me hours to make my weekly menu. Isn’t that great?!
  2. All the convenience– Pretty much all of the frozen, pre-packaged, already made for you “not healthy” stuff that makes life a tad bit easier on days you just can’t bring yourself to lift a spatula or whip a whisk around. Now I can enjoy all the crap I want!
  3. Dining out– This was once one of my favorite hobbies. The only times we ate at any restaurant these past 2 years was when we “cheated” and had stuff with soy in it. Now, we can expand our eating out beyond the allergy menus at Native Foods, Chipotle, and Noodles and Co. Those were the only places we trusted because of how they dealt with allergy warnings. I can’t wait to go to a real restaurant and not feel guilty and not worry about the potential death of my child.
  4. Tofu– It is literally crazy how much I have missed tofu. It is the one thing I kept getting cravings for. That and tempeh. I cooked tofu for the first time tonight in I don’t know how long and it was sooooo goooood! I shared my meal with tiny tummy and she couldn’t get enough of it. This was her first time trying tofu and she loved it! Little tummy has never had tofu either. Remember, we found her soy allergy when she was 2 months old so she never even had a chance to try anything. I can’t wait to make her a tofu scramble after this 24 hour wait period is up!

One other problem that has surfaced with this news- what to do with this blog. I was working my way toward being the vegan allergy queen. I wanted to be known for altering any recipe to make it nutritious and delicious so that everyone could enjoy it. Now I just don’t know what to do. I know that I can be allergy-friendly by providing substitutes for everything with little asterisks, but is that really what I want to do? I just don’t know yet. This is something I have to mull over for a bit while we navigate this familiar old territory. As soon as I figure this out you will be the first to know.

Vegan Food Challenge

SNOW DAY! There’s a blizzard going on in Denver today. Papa tummy was even told not to go into work which doesn’t happen very often. A perfect day to create a recipe!

I’ve been experimenting with different things instead of posting lately. A lot of them have resulted in failures. I am getting close to an edible yogurt so that’s exciting!

Speaking of exciting news- I got accepted into a culinary program at Johnson & Wales University! I’m still undecided whether or not I will be attending in the fall because we have no idea what we’re doing  with little and tiny tummy. I want this so badly so we’re trying to figure it all out. As we prep for all the changes coming ahead I’m sure this sporadic posting will continue.

Anyway, I came here today to share with you about a new Facebook group I joined, Vegan Food Challenge. Audrey Thompson started this group in February. It’s still a youngin with under 300 members. I love the concept of the group. It is to inspire and motivate people to get creative with old and new ingredients. Each Friday an ingredient of the week is chosen and posted along with some nutritional and random facts about it. You can decide to participate or sit the week out. If you do participate you are asked to share photos and recipes of what you made with that ingredient throughout the week. Ya know, to inspire others. Cool, right?!

I’ve really enjoyed the excuse to get creative once a week. I’ve been feeling a little lost in the kitchen as of late with everything going on so this is just what I need right now. This is week #6 and the ingredient is phyllo dough, or fillo, or filo. I prefer phyllo. Not sure why. I happened to have some leftover in the freezer. Perfect! Today was the day to get creative and this is what I came up with.


Asparagus Phyllo Cigars with Cilantro Cream Sauce

makes 16

vegan, soy-free, nut-free


  • 1 roll of frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 package Sophie’s Kitchen smoked salmon*
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup filtered water
  • aquafaba, for brushing

*Smoked tofu or seitan slices would also would great in this. Or you could leave this out altogether.


  1. Measure the asparagus to somewhere between 4″ to 4 1/2″ long and trim off the tough ends. I didn’t trim mine enough and the ends got a little burnt since they’re sticking out. Steam them for 5 to 8 minutes until they become soft, but not overcooked. When they are done lay them out and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, drain the sunflower seeds and put in a blender with the cilantro, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and water. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  3. There were 8 salmon filets in my package so cut each one in half lengthwise and set aside. I didn’t do this and I should have.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  5. Unroll the thawed phyllo dough and cut into 4 equal rectangles. Use 4 to 6 rectangles for each cigar.
  6. To assemble: take one rectangle and brush on aquafaba, lay another rectangle on top and brush with more aquafaba. Repeat this for each layer. On one side of the rectangle lay the salmon down, then top with a spoonful of cilantro cream, and top that with 3 or 4 asparagus spears. Roll up and place on parchment.
  7. Once all the rolls are done brush them all with aquafaba. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until they are golden brown and crispy. Serve and enjoy!