Vanilla Iced Coffee by Alex and Pumpkin-Butterscotch-Chocolate Chip pancakes (per request)

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Being a stay at home mom in the summer, I found it invaluable to come up with a way to make my own iced coffee. I cannot be spending $2 or more at a coffee shop every day. And, I know enough from working at coffee shops to make this happen! I had been buying those Starbucks Via Instant Iced coffee packets, and they’re pretty good (especially since you can use one packet for multiple cups of iced coffee), but still not inexpensive enough for every day! Since, our family has gone mostly vegan, I made this Iced Coffee recipe vegan, and the way I fix it everyday, but feel free to use regular milk or add a little of this or that based on your preferences.

First, premake the Iced Coffee. In a regular drip coffeemaker, make about 6 cups of coffee double strength (twice the ground coffee you would normally put in the coffee maker). After it’s done, add about 1/2 cup of organic cane sugar and stir. After it cools, pour it into ice cube trays and stick them in the freezer for a few hours. When they are completely frozen, run some hot water over the back of the ice cube trays and pop them out into a gallon freezer bag. Then you can put them back in the freezer until you need them. You could also serve this fresh if you wanted to make a bunch of iced coffee at one time. (for that, you would not need the drip coffee from the recipe below)

Iced Coffee Ingredients:

1/2 cup of your morning coffee, or regular drip coffee
3 spoonfools of organic cane sugar (more or less according to personal tastes)
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
3 cubes of premade iced coffee
Soy milk

Take the morning coffee and mix in it 3 spoonfuls of sugar or so based on your preference. If the coffee has gotten cold, you can heat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to make the sugar dissolve completely and help the cubed iced coffee to melt. (I’ll usually keep my morning coffee for 5 hours or so) Then add the vanilla to the warm coffee.

Put 3 cubes of the iced coffee in your cup of choice, about this size:

Pour the hot coffee mixture over the ice cube coffee and mix with a spoon until the ice cubes dissolve some.

Fill with Soy milk, or your choice of dairy free milk (or regular milk would work too), to about 1 inch from the top.

Add ice to the top and Enjoy!!

And here is the Vegan Pumpkin Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Pancake recipe that I came up with the other day. Creatively, I thrive when I have to make up recipes based on what we have in the house, and this is one of those times!

Ingredients:

1 cup Bisquick Mix
1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2 eggs equivalent (or flax gel replacement: 2 Tbsp flax meal mixed with 6 Tbsp water, set aside for 10 minutes)
1 cup soymilk
1/4 cup organic cane sugar (optional: I added this because I didn’t want to use syrup)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup vegan butterscotch chips
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
Olive Oil for frying

Sift together bisquick, flour and baking soda. In a separate bowl combine flax gel, soy milk, sugar, and pumpkin puree; stir until uniform. Put the wet with the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add butterscotch and chocolate chips and fry ’em up in the olive oil!

These really turned out delicious! Hope I got it up in time!

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Preschool Sports Camp – With Severe Peanut Allergy

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Normally, I consider myself a pretty laid back, go with the flow kind of person. But, this is not true when it comes to my son Evan’s severe peanut allergy. And it doesn’t help that this is the first time that I have left him with anyone other than family for more than 3 hours! So, in the days leading up to his first morning at preschool sports camp, I was starting to get a little nervous. Evan is currently in speech therapy, and is doing so well, but he is not able at present to distinguish what peanuts are, what they might be in or to stop himself from eating whatever is in sight that looks tasty to him. The only thing that seemed to comfort me was accomplishing preparation and visibility!! So, I thought I’d blog about my whole process. This is not exactly how I was hoping things would go, but this is my honest account and I do feel 90% comfortable with the outcome, which I think is pretty good considering.

First thing, about 3 weeks ago, I emailed the sports director at the YMCA where the sports camp is being held this week to see if we could discuss ideas that both he and I had to make this a safe and fun experience for Evan- because along with the peanut allergy issue we also have the “I don’t want to listen all the time and occasionally run off because I am a rambunctious three year old” issue. He never got back to me… So, I went down to the office right before one of my workouts and asked to speak with him in person. Fortunately, I caught him when he was right outside the office and we spoke about my ideas. I asked him to send out an email to all of the parents of participants in the sports camp asking them not to pack any snack items containing peanuts because there would be a severely allergic child present. He reluctantly agreed to this request. Then I spoke to him about my idea to post signs on the area to remind parents, but he didn’t think this was a good idea because he felt it would make Evan feel alienated… at 3 years old? really? This is one of the signs that I had printed:

So, I let this one go, and started focusing on things that I could do to help promote awareness and safety. Even after all that it seems that the sports director never sent the email that he said he would. I am told that he meant to but there was apparently some mistakes involved. I still have not received it.  I do think, however, that I got the point across to him of the severity of the situation and my extreme concern.

Last night, I set out to label every item that I could and ask a trusted friend who also has a son with a severe allergy for her advice. She had, in particular, suggested that I include a second set of epi-pens because in the case of an extremely severe reaction, you may need more than one. So, I stuck an extra in his bag as well as the regular. On his normal epi-pen case, I labeled some simple instructions for using the epi-pen. They can be found on the epi itself, but I’m thinking, the more times you see information, the better it sticks in your mind.

Next, I place the epi-pens as well as this babysitter and drop off form into his bag. I found this form here: http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/babysitter_form.html. Kidswithfoodallergies.org is one of my favorite websites for ideas for holiday planning, support, and just so many other things.

I filled it out and just put it in his bag as another place to find emergency information and if someone went poking around in his bag they would hopefully at least glance at it. Then I put a label on his backpack that states: “Epi-Pen In Bag”

Since they eat lunch at the camp (and thus the whole reason for my concern) I packed Evan a lovely vegan and nut free lunch in this lunchbox and put a big label on it, as though I hadn’t beat it through these people’s heads yet!

And finally, Evan wore this peanut allergy bracelet, which he wears quite often, that we bought from www.allermates.com. His name is P. Nutty. 🙂

I tried to explain to Evan not to eat anyone else’s food and to listen to the coaches, but he is a bit unpredictable. When we arrived at the camp this morning and I dropped him off, I asked the sports director to have someone sit with Evan during the snacktimes and he agreed. Evan seemed very excited and perked up especially when we saw his very close friend, a little girl who he was in basketball class with. I asked her to look out for him for me and she said she would, and ultimately this is what gave me the strength to leave him there. When I picked him back up at 12:30, the sports director  came up to me with his bags. I thanked him and asked how Evan did and he said that he just needs to work on his listening (which I warned him about), so I would say that is a success! Now, since a friend of mine forwarded me the schedule email, I have found out that there is an Easter Egg Hunt during the camp on Friday so I am trying to decide if I want to be involved in the hunt to make it safe or if I should just take him out on Friday. I’m a teeny bit peeved that the sports director did not mention it to me. I’ll probably update this when I figure it out.

So, it’s not the perfect situation. The people at the YMCA certainly could have been more helpful-especially the sports director-but, I really just had to take it upon myself to try to make Evan’s needs as visible as possible. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Vegan Banana-Kale Muffins

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I added kale to this banana muffin recipe because my wonderful husband, Josh, mentioned to me that he thought the kids should eat more veggies! And because I ran out of vegan chocolate chips… The kids LOVED them and Evan, my oldest, keeps asking for more!

Ingredients:

3 very ripe bananas
Leaves of 3 pieces of kale
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda

Put the three bananas and the kale leaves into the blender and pulse a few times. Add the oil and sugar and blend until smooth. Let set while preparing the dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, sea salt, and baking soda. Mix the wet with the dry ingredients until smooth and distribute into greased muffin pans.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

You wouldn’t think the flavors would go together but they really do! They’re quite tasty. 🙂

Here is the link to the original recipe that I adapted this from: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/veganmuffinrecipes/r/bananamuffins.htm

Becoming a blogger.

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I’ve decided to start a blog with general me-isms since it often seems like I’m writing a blog post on facebook anyway and this would just be an easier way to do all that. I’m excited about having a place to share my thoughts and life; a little web space of my own. I’ll probably post vegan recipes or other interesting things that I find or create.