Friday, July 27, 2012

Keeping up, and changes ahead

I return here after April, and do hope I'm here for good, at least on a semi-regular basis. As it turns out, having a daily blog is really timing consuming (that sounds obvious, doesn't it, but it took me over a year to accept it).  Regardless, I've still taken daily photos of what I make, as well as notes on everything so I can keep track of what's what, and how I modified it to fit our dietary needs.  I enjoy blogging, the friends I've made, the info I've learned and shared, and the inspiration to keep creating, revising, and staying motivated.  However.  I'm one of those people who keeps a long, perfectionistic, running to-do list in the back of my head at all times, and then repeatedly judges oneself for not having it all done at all times.  Knowing that I'm months behind on blogging (six, to be exact) does not do wonders for that relaxed place in my mind that I'm trying to cultivate.  Raising a family, keeping of top of ever-changing health needs and resulting doctors' appointments, and maintaining some sanity (ideally) would be great.  Going forward, I've decided to continue blogging, but focus on meals we enjoy, new things we've found, and so on.  While I did intend to demonstrate how a young family could eat healthy, homemade meals, day in and day out, especially when we became gluten-free, I'm ready to move beyond that.  I don't need to write about, and you don't need to see, a boring night we ate rotisserie chicken and tator tots. So I'll skip over those meals.  But when I make a new recipe and fall in love with it, I promise I'll share it.  We're still gluten-free, soy-free, and mostly dairy-free, but I'll always include ways to make what we eat, no matter what your needs or desires.

Best in healthy cooking and living,

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A day in the life of... GAPS

Before I can even talk about what my family is currently doing, I have to first say that I strongly dislike the word "diet" and all of its connotations.  To me, the word "diet" is so overused in our culture, and carries with it such negativity.  It typically implies superficiality, and the desire to lose weight without attention to health.  Especially given my years of studying eating disorders and working with individuals suffering from them, I cringe when I hear someone "on a diet," especially children.  To take it one step further, I've never believed in any of the faddish low-carb diets, as I've always known that the best path to improving one's health is through long-term, sustained lifestyle changes, and not a quick fad diet to be followed for a brief time.  So when I use the word "diet," I really mean "meal plan" or "lifestyle."

That said... my family is currently on the GAPS "diet."  It's a structured plan designed to heal  medical conditions (in our case, leaky gut) and its origin is medicinal in nature.  It's drastic, and the idea of it took some getting used to.  The concept is to remove anything harmful or inflammatory from your diet, and allow your insides to heal.  Basically, GAPS is a grain-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, whole-foods-only diet.  Lots of cooked veggies, fruits, chicken, nuts, seeds, and eggs.  And if that doesn't sound restrictive enough, we're doing a modified intro, which means you begin following the diet by eating meals consisting of only of a homemade bone broth filled with cooked meats and vegetables.  While we are not eating anything unpleasant, at all (I actually love veggies, fruits, eggs, and chicken) it's more of what we can't eat that's the adjustment.  Anything you can buy from the store that is pre-made, packaged, or comes in a sealed container of any sort is off-limits.  Shopping for GAPS means leaving the store with raw meats or poultry, a carton of eggs, and fruits and vegetables.  It's lots of cooking, making broths, and adjusting.  We've been gluten-free and quasi-dairy-free for seven months now, and that lifestyle is a walk in the park compared to this one!

The reason I share our current journey is that I could not have gotten to where we are now without the help and guidance of others who have been down this path before us.  I have one close friend w ho is my gluten-free, grain-free guru, and beyond her I have spent countless hours reading articles, books, and blogs to find our way.  The more I talk to others, the more I have find so many people who are affected by gastrointestinal upset, headaches, arthritis/inflammation, asthma, allergies, Autism/Asperger's, and so many other complaints.  Shockingly, so many of those ailments can be addressed through purposeful detox and diet (well, lifestyle change, but you know what I mean).  I've made many friends in cyberspace who have been where we are, and give a glimpse of what is to come.  It builds hope.  I welcome anyone who is not feeling quite right, or who knows someone who isn't feeling quite right, to look into the possibility that there is a bigger picture, and a possibility that changes in lifestyle could bring surprising relief.   I'd love to talk to anyone who's been down this road before, or considering it now.

All the best.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day Four hundred and thirteen

Bread: NIRVANA!  After quite a few months of trying bread recipe after recipe, we have hit our nirvana and will stop looking.  This awesome recipe is an amaranth and brown rice flour loaf, and the recipe comes from Gluten Free Makeovers, which has a ton of great recipes.  This tasted just like a loaf of whole grain bread, and not "gluten-free" in any way.

School lunch: PB&J on tapioca bread, green beans, cucumber, apple slices, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese.

Day Four hundred and twelve

Two loaves of tapioca bread (GFG) which were then sliced and slid into the freezer.

Dinner: I am not proud of this starch-heavy dinner.  The only nice thing that I can say about it is that it included a vegetable.  Looking back a few months, I'm fairly confident my husband was heating up dinner.  We have gluten-free chicken nuggets, sweet potato fries, a potato skin, and snap peas.

Day Four hundred and eleven

Lo mein (Brown rice spaghetti; Recipe: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring).

School lunch: Yogurt, PB&J on tapioca bread, fruit salad, baby carrots.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Day Four hundred and ten

Cornmeal griddle cakes with strawberry syrup (recipe: Cooking for Isaiah).  Another awesome recipe from this cookbook.

And an extra stack of them for the freezer.

Dinner: Eggplant spinach parm, sauteed yellow squash, salad, and fruit salad.  This is one of my favorite dinners, and I realized I've never shared my recipe. Here it is:

Slice one large eggplant into one-inch slices, and bake at 450 in a single layer on a greased baking sheet, 10 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup of part-skim ricotta, 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, one egg, a little salt and pepper, and a handful of parsley and basil in a bowl. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray, and cover the bottom with your favorite marinara sauce. On top of the sauce, layer as follows: half of the eggplant, ricotta mixture, three cups of raw baby spinach, more sauce, remainder of eggplant, and more sauce. Top with two tablespoons of Parmesan and a handful (about 1/2 cup) of part-skim mozzarella. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. To make it extra authentic, use your own homemade sauce, and don’t measure any of the ingredients as you go along. This came together quickly, my kids loved it, and I doubled the recipe and froze an extra tray of it for a future dinner. Serve with a green salad, and mangia!

School lunch: Sliced grilled chicken, crackers with a cheese stick, cucumber, and pineapple.

Day Four hundred and ten

Saturday morning breakfast: Hashbrown waffles (from one of my new favorite cookbooks, Cooking for Isaiah, which is gluten and dairy free.  By the way, these were incredible.  I highly recommend them), with scrambled spinach eggs, and fruit salad. 

Oatmeal cookies.  I didn't write the recipe source down in my notebook, but I know I printed it.  I'll update this one.

Day Four hundred and nine

Dinner: Italian minestrone (crockpot; recipe; it goes w/o saying that we used ground turkey rather than beef) with the crusty boule bread (dough from the freezer; recipe) and salad.

School lunch: Rolled deli turkey, mozzarella stick, crackers, salad, and orange slices.

Day Four hundred and eight

Dinner: Pasta pesto salad (brown rice fusilli with pesto, mozzarella, and grape tomatoes), chicken spinach sausage, fresh pineapple, and steamed veggies.

School lunch: Rolled deli turkey and cheddar, ants on a log, pretzel sticks, and an orange.

Day Four hundred and seven

Dinner: BBQ chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, steamed veggies, and an orange.

Dessert: Mini Marble Cake (recipe: Gluten Free in Five Minutes).

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day Four hundred and six

Breakfast for dinner: Blueberry pumpkin pancakes, turkey bacon, scrambled spinach eggs, and mango.

Day Four hundred and five

Breakfast:  Scrambled eggs, cinnamon raisin bread, and grapes.

Dinner: Spaghetti squash parm (recipe), salad, and brown rice penne.

Day Four hundred and four

Blueberry orange scones (recipe: Gluten free made simple).  These were SO good.

Day Four hundred and three

Lunch: Mac & cheese (brown rice pasta, cheddar cheese, pureed butternut squash).  Served w/veggies and apple.

Breakfast  for dinner: Scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, mango, and sweet potato fries. As I look at this picture, I wonder, where are our vegetables? I think spinach was supposed to go into the eggs, and we forgot.

Day Four hundred and two

Cinnamon raisin bread (as promised from yesterday's post).

Which became an awesome breakfast, with fresh strawberries.

School lunch: Rolled deli turkey, cheese and crackers, cucumbers, and grapes.

Pizza!!! That's fresh spinach and basil leaves on top.  No matter what, I'm partial to the Pat's Yeast Crust recipe from The Gluten-Free Gourmet.

Dinner: Pizza, salad, and apple.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Day Four hundred and one

Cinnamon raisin bread.  This was our first gluten-free loaf of CRB, and I LOVE the recipe.  Definitely give this one a try.  I'm not slicing it until breakfast tomorrow, so come back see how it turned out!

Two loaves of tapioca bread (recipe: The Gluten Free Gourmet).

Bread sliced.  Most into the freezer, and a few turned into...
Waffle sandwiches (with salad and orange slices)!  These are my younger daughter's current obsession. She goes to the cabinet and pulls out the waffle maker at lunchtime.  It's basically a grilled cheese that spends a little time in the waffle maker.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day Four hundred (Wow).

I cannot believe I've been doing this for four hundred days. Wow.

The other day, we were in the mood for a smoothie but not our usual kind.  I surveyed the freezer and made a judgment call.  After a few items were tossed into the blender and a scuffle over who got to press the blender buttons occurred, and we had a "Sunny Smoothie," as we dubbed it.  To quote my husband and daughter, “It was the best smoothie ever.”

To make this one, grab your blender and combine 1 c. vanilla yogurt (I used Greek), 1 c. orange juice, 1 1/2 c. frozen mango chunks, and two bananas. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon (about one teaspoon) and blend until smooth. This was a nice and thick, sweet but not over-the-top, and really filling. It’ll definitely be a part of my smoothie repertoire from now on.

Day Three hundred and ninety-nine

Breakfast: Pumpkin waffles.

Lunch: Grilled cheese waffle sandwiches with carrots and apple slices.  This is not technically a waffle- it is a cheese sandwich made with the tapioca bread I baked a few days ago (any slice of bread, gluten-free or not, would do) and then put into the waffle maker to become the shape of a waffle.  My younger daughter is delighted when I make these.

Day Three hundred and ninety-eight

Pumpkin bread.  I know I make this all the time- I was bringing it to a friend's house for dinner.

Tapioca bread.  Both loaves get sliced and go into the freezer, and taken out as needed.

Dinner: Salad bar (spinach, romaine, apples, cucumbers, steamed carrots and broccoli, kidney beans, shredded cheddar, hard-boiled eggs, ranch dressing).

Dinner: Assembled.

Day Three hundred and ninety-seven

Dinner: Chicken corn chowder (crockpot; Make it Fast Cook it Slow).

Day Three hundred and ninety-six

These look like chocolate chip cookies to me.  And although I keep track of everything I cook in a yellow speckled composition notebook, I didn't write anything down for this day.  Mysterious.  I'm sure these are my favorite Alton Brown cookies, and I think I may have been bringing them to a party or something.

School lunch: Leftover sliced chicken, cottage cheese, apple slices, steamed broccoli, and edamame crackers.

Day Three hundred and ninety-five

Ricotta gnocchi, rolled out, ready to be sliced, formed, and boiled. 

Gnocchi, a closer look.

About half were put on a cookie sheet, frozen, and put into a ziploc bag afterwards.   These made a nice meal about a month later. The rest...

Became dinner, alongside steamed broccoli and orange slices. Since these were made with so much cheese, I felt comfortable with them serving as the main course.  We went meatless.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day Three hundred and ninety-four

Breakfast: Bob's Hot Cereal with cinnamon and peaches.

Buns (hamburger, more specifically).

Buns (post oven).

Dinner: Turkey cheeseburgers on above-mentioned buns, steamed veggies, sweet potato fries, and mango chunks.