Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Progress, and please don't try this at home

It has been two weeks since our last updose, and all has been well and busy. We took the boys to the drive-in movies for Valentine's day to see "The Lego Movie." Now I have two little boys running around saying "I'm here to see your butt" and a husband who keeps singing "Everything is awesome!" It's all a crack up really.

I bought the boys these cheap little growing sponge things from the craft store last week and they thought they were the most amazing things ever. It was a great lesson on talking about things dissolving and absorption. The sponges now live in the bath tub.

The boys picked out new pets. We've been talking about it for awhile, so we finally took the plunge. The tank sat empty for a few days before we brought these two buddies home. Sadly, the little blue one didn't even last 24 hours, but we have a new bright orange one to keep the little yellow one company. We'll work out way up to about 8 guppies over the next few months. 

I took the boys out for lunch one day after Big Monkey had to have a biopsy of a strange growth on his elbow. He was not anticipating a needles and stitches from the dermatologist that day, so he received several bribery treats in return for sitting still. We'll have results on Monday and hoping that they are nothing. For now he is rocking his first two stitches just below his elbow.

We made more peanut doses. I'm getting faster. It no longer takes multiple hours. Just half and hour or so for this many.

And finally, we rounded off the last two weeks with another updose today. I was a little nervous about today's updose. We doubled our lunch dose and now our total dose for the day is the twice what we had a hard time with in December. It was a big step. Big Monkey seemed a little extra tired today and his allergic shiners (dark circles under his eyes) were a bit more prominent, but otherwise he did really well. No hives, no strange feelings, nothing. So that's good!

With that said, please, please do not try anything like this at home. If you or your child have been diagnosed with a food allergy, strictly avoid your allergens unless otherwise directed and under the supervision of a board certified allergist. I have spoken with a few people over the last month who, upon hearing about our journey, have said something along the lines of "oh yes, I decided awhile ago to expose my kids to small amounts of the things they are allergic to. It just makes sense." Thankfully, the people who mentioned this were not talking about anaphylactic allergies, but even then exposure to allergens should be avoided. OIT without proper medical supervision is very dangerous. Even with proper medical supervision OIT can feel very scary. I have a love hate relationship with our updose days. I am excited but also scared out of my mind as to what could happen if his body refuses to tolerate the new amount of peanut protein.

So I leave you with a picture of Big Monkey with his drawing of a monkey. More to come in a few weeks! We'll be back in Dr. R's office and moving forward in some form.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thin Crust Pizza with Walnut Kale Pesto

We eat more than bananas in the Monkey Kitchen. Last nights dinner of whole wheat thin crust pizza topped with walnut kale pesto, goat cheese, ham, mushrooms, and arugula was by far better than bananas, even though I really do like that fruit too. Several people have asked for the crust recipe, so I thought I would share here.

I often don't know food is picture/share worthy until after it has been consumed 

Whole Wheat Thin Crust 

- 2.5 cups whole wheat flour (you can use white flour or any combination of white and whole wheat flour if you prefer)
- 2 Tablespoons cold butter
- 1 Tablespoon yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- pinch of salt (optional)

I make this dough using my Blendtec blender. I have made it in a food processor before, but it is much harder to get a really thin crust that way for some reason. The blender seems to pulverize the flour more or something and makes it possible to roll it out thinner. With a food processor you might be able to get a thin crust with some good elbow grease.

Cut the cold butter into a few pieces and add butter and flour to blender. Pulse until combined. The flour will go from looking powdery to looking like a lightly damp sand almost. Add the yeast and water and salt if desired. Pulse until dough forms a ball.

Remove from blender and place on a lightly floured surface (I usually place on lightly floured parchment paper. I also flour my hands and lightly flour the dough top). At this point I usually divide the dough into 2 pieces to make 1 large pizza and 1 med/smaller pizza (or 2 individual size pizzas) for the little monkeys as they don't always like the "adult pizza). Roll out using a rolling pin to the desired thinness. Pierce all over the crust with a fork.

Parbake your crust at 400 degrees for approximately 3 minutes. I pulled my out of the oven as soon as I started to see bubbles forming. I bake directly on my oven rack with the parchment paper, but you can use a pizza stone, just your rack or a baking sheet if you would like (it might be less crispy though).

Remove and add your toppings of choice.

Bake pizza at 475 degrees for about 10 minutes. I honestly didn't keep track of time last night as I just sort of stood there and watched until the pizza looked brown on the edges and the cheese was all melted and bubbly.

Kale Walnut Pesto Sauce 

-1 bunch of kale
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup of basil leaves
- 1/2 cup unsalted walnuts (The recipe actually called for almonds, but we eat plenty of almonds and Big Monkey is under orders from the allergist to consume more walnuts during treatment and he's not crazy about their texture whole)
-1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic 
- 1 tsp of salt (or more to taste, I accidentally put WAY more than this and it was a little too salty but still good)

Typically pesto sauce includes Parmesan cheese. This recipe called for 1/2 cup, but I left it out and didn't miss it at all. So add it if you think you need it.

Remove the center stalk from the kale leaves and place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until smooth.

This will make way more than you need for the pizza. So place in jar in the fridge for a few days. I plan to use mine on pasta tonight.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Our Most Amazing Updose to Date

I am considering today's updose the most amazing so far. Why? Well, today we finally got back to the dose we came home on almost exactly two months ago! In fact, Big Monkey is consuming MORE peanut flour in a 24 hour period than he was two months ago. And you know what? He is doing just FINE! Great even!

My 2 Monkeys
Yes, I will admit that I was a ball of nerves this morning before we doubled the morning dose. If you remember, we are currently dosing once at breakfast and again at lunch (not necessarily the same dose). So today we doubled his breakfast dose so that it is now the same amount that we attempted but reacted to back on December 14th. His lunch dose will remain the same as the previous dose (which is half the morning dose). I'm still not clear how exactly his body is processing this split dose approach. I don't know if it is a cumulative effect or if the separation in time sort of lets his body reset itself. Either way, this is a huge step forward for us and really does prove that this is working. Last time he took this dose he broke out in full body hives. This time he had one little itchy spot on his back, but there were no hives there. Dry skin maybe? 

Obviously I went into OIT with the belief that it worked. However, seeing is believing and I am currently amazed!

Hanging with Daddy Monkey in the Monkey Mancave
Today I am especially grateful  that Big Monkey did not react as I am experiencing my own reminder of how terrible a full body allergic rash really feels. It is no fun and I am reminded of what an amazingly brave little trooper he really was those first two weeks. Although I must say, after two days of this itching and hives under my hair, I'd gladly drink that charcoal and take the medications Dr. R has laid out for us in the event of any unexpected reactions! Don't think I didn't think about actually doing it!

Calm hours are sometimes spent "running" with Mommy (and being asked if they are twins)