Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day Two hundred and ninety-eight

Lunch: Fresh mozzarella, sweet potato crackers, green beans and red peppers, and clementine slices.

Dinner: Turkey hot dogs on gluten-free buns, corn on the cob, cantaloupe, and steamed veggies.

Day Two hundred and ninety-seven

My daughter's first gluten-free school lunch: Colby-jack cheese on gluten-free bread, hard-boiled eggs, sliced apple, green beans and red peppers. Fairly similar to a regular lunch, other than the bread. This is a fabulous Laptop Lunches bento box, and it makes packing school lunches a breeze.

Dinner: Homemade tomato soup (recipe: Double Delicious) with baby spinach, mini turkey meatballs, and mozzarella cheese. Did you know both canned tomato soup and many commercial meatballs contain wheat? They're worth making yourself. :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day Two hundred and ninety-six

This was our first "official" gluten-free dinner, although truthfully, I had it planned from before we became gluten-free.  The good thing about many of our dinners is that it turns out they're already gluten-free, or easy to convert with a few substitutions.

Shepard's pie (crockpot; ground turkey, vegetables, a mashed potato crust; recipe: Make it Fast, Cook it Slow).

Dinner: Shepard's pie and frozen mango chunks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Changes: The gluten-free journey

I believe everything happens for a reason, and it occurred to me recently that everything has been leading up to this moment.  Almost five years ago, I put my career on hold so I could dedicate my time to my family.  The decision to leave the field was a complicated one, but I'm thankful every day that I had the courage to follow my heart, and I've never once regretted it.  As my family of three turned into four, my career as a stay-at-home mom emerged.  Clearly I love being domestic, and being home has given me the opportunity to explore and experiment in the kitchen, and share this passion with my two girls, who cook with me often.  We've moved toward making more and more of our own food, cooking from whole foods, and making healthy eating a priority.  Some have questioned why I bother making our own bread, yogurt, granola bars, etc., but to me it feels right, and I feel great knowing exactly what we're eating (and what we're not).

A little over a month ago, the luxury of making our own food became a necessity when my daughter was diagnosed with gluten intolerance.  Only weeks later, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease.  After watching my daughter suffer through not feeling well, the opportunity to get her feeling better was a welcome relief.  However, we then came to realize that gluten is everywhere, and in everything.  No longer could we rely on grabbing a loaf of bread at the local store if I didn't get a chance to make one, or picking up pizza, or stopping at Dunkin Donuts for a bagel.  Now, and forever, our diets are altered, and for both health and financial reasons, we need to rely on ourselves to make our own food.  With concerns ranging from cross-contamination occurring in a restaurant, to the cost and inconvenience of making a special trip to the health food store to buy a loaf of gluten-free bread (over $7! For a tiny loaf!) I came to the realization that self-reliance is going to be the safest, most cost-effective way to go.

The most comforting part of this journey has been the reaction of family and friends.  I've lost count of how many people have provided encouragement, reminding me of my love of cooking, my willingness to cook new things, and how comfortable I am in the kitchen.  "If anyone can do it, it's going to be you," so many of my friends have said.  And in those moments, it occurs to me that perhaps this is why I chose to stay home, to start building a mac-truck-sized binder of recipes, to learn how to make my own of this, and that, and that.  I didn't know it, but I was getting ready for this moment-- our next chapter-- gluten-free.

With the help of a few wonderful friends, who have shared their endless knowledge and ideas, and a handful of really great gluten-free cookbooks, we are back on track and moving forward.  We still have some kinks to work out, both with getting final diagnoses on some health issues, and figuring out how to make (or where to buy) this or that, but as a family, we're excited for the journey ahead.  My goal right now is for us to continue living how we've lived, and enjoying what we've always enjoyed, but in a healthier, more thoughtful, more purposeful way. We are gluten-free, but not grain-free, and we're experimenting with exactly what that means, where it will bring us, and what lies ahead.  I'm excited to be sharing it here with you.

Day Two hundred and ninety-five

Peanut butter and jelly muffins (whole grain, with pureed carrot; recipe: Sneaky Chef).

Breakfast: Peanut butter and jelly muffins, scrambled eggs, and fresh peaches.

Day Two hundred and ninety-four

Breakfast: A peach strawberry smoothie.  I couldn't decide which picture I liked best, so I included all three.  :)

Day Two hundred and ninety-three

Summer pasta salad (which we brought on a picnic; based loosely on Karmel's recipe): Whole wheat pasta, shredded carrot, baby spinach, corn, and chunks of grilled chicken.

Day Two hundred and ninety-two

Something I love to do in the summer- a cold lunch.  Hard-boiled eggs, fresh peaches, baby spinach, and whole grain crackers.

Pot-luck dinner.  My friend came over for dinner with her two kids, who eat only "kid" foods.  She brought chicken nuggets/fingers, garlic bread, fresh mozzarella with tomatoes, and I made whole wheat pasta and vegetables.  Then the kids had grapes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day Two hundred and ninety-one

Dinner: Grilled cheese with cheddar and turkey bacon, on whole wheat, steamed carrots, and strawberries.  Eaten outside on the deck.  Nuff said.

Day Two hundred and ninety

Birthday dessert: I made this for my sister, who was in town for her birthday for the first time in years.  It was homemade vanilla ice cream with creamy peanut butter mixed in, on a graham cracker crust, topped with chocolate sauce, and crushed peanut butter cups and heath bars.  There isn't anything I can say about this dessert other than YUM.

Day Two hundred and eighty-nine

A really simple Lunch: Whole wheat english muffins with melted cheddar, watermelon, and steamed carrots.

Day Two hundred and eighty-eight

As I've mentioned, we've recently become gluten-free, and the learning curve is definitely noticeable.  I'll finish up these last few posts that occurred before we were gluten-free, and then I'll move on from there and explain what we're doing and how we've done it. Thanks for coming along on our journey.

Veggie baked ziti (whole grain pasta, baby spinach, zucchini, and fresh tomatoes).  My memory is failing me now, but I think I made two of these and froze one for future use (or perhaps this was the one I did freeze for future use- who knows).
Dinner: Veggie baked ziti and fresh peaches.

Dessert: Cream cheese swirl brownies (Pretty Life in the Suburbs).