Archives

Menu Plan

Consistency. Still my word for 2017. And I have definitely had consistency with menu planning. It has been a real lifesaver some days. We are finishing up our school year, cramming tons of things in to finish up strong. Lots of fables and myths and history and math. Such a conglomeration of subjects to finish the year. Some days are a struggle, with the warmer weather, but we keep talking about how we can be outside even more each day if we can finish up our stories and lessons. 😉

This week’s menu has no new items/recipes. Trying to keep it simple, as my husband will be working nine days straight! Hoping to just keep my sanity. Everything but the pizza is gluten-free, so I am just planning a big salad with some leftover chicken for myself that night. Avoiding gluten right now has been great for me. I don’t know if I will continue like this forever, but for now i just really like how my stomach feels each day, so I am sticking with it. I miss bread….a lot. But making it for the kids has been nice. Typically now I have been making both versions of bread items – regular and gluten-free. Most of the time, all five kids want to try the gluten-free; often they all like that version. So, if I did decide to go gluten-free for them, too, it wouldn’t be that hard, I suppose. But, without necessarily needing to, I don’t know that we would. Plus, when they eat elsewhere – friends’ homes, church, extended family’s homes – it might mess up their tummies to be off of gluten and then indulge. We’ll see how it goes. For now, experimenting is fun. Trying new gluten-free recipes has been great. And I haven’t had to increase our food budget, so all is well. 🙂

Breakfast

Pancakes (regular and a gluten-free) x 2

Crustless Quiche w/bacon

Cereal or Eggs

Banana chocolate chip muffins (regular and gluten-free)

Scrambled Eggs, bacon

Quiche with sausage

Lunch

Leftovers

Mac and Salad OR Salad

Snack-type lunch (possibly park picnic, depending on weather)

Mexican Tuna Boats

Dinner

Grain-Free Chicken Parmesan, zucchini coins, carrots

Pizza OR Salad

Ranch Chicken Stuffed Peppers (or just the filling over rice, for my pepper hating family members), salad, veggies

Super Simple Crockpot Roast, Green Beans, Salad

Ham, Potatoes with gravy (sweet potatoes for me), Zucchini, applesauce

Breakfast for Dinner

Bolognese over pasta (spaghetti squash for me), salads, applesauce

 

Snacks

Energy Balls

Fruit (grapes, apples, bananas, strawberries)

Trail Mix

Granola Bars

What’s your menu plan look like? Trying anything new this week? Just hoping to get by? Feel free to share!

Menu Plan

 

I just cannot believe we are almost done with our school year! The last few months have been packed with schoolwork, church, family time, and even a Spring Break vacation with friends! It really has been a great year so far. School will be wrapping up for us in less than 3 weeks! That is one week ahead of schedule….because I am just ready to be done. 😉

We have been really good about menu planning (and sticking to it!) lately. I had these tummy issues somewhat under control, until we went away for Spring Break. We were able to eat a lot of homemade meals, but I did eat a lot of things I had been avoiding to help my stomach. So, by the time we got home I was back to being bloated, constipated (or the very other side of that spectrum!), and my skin being broken out. I am now a full week back to being gluten-free and starting to feel much better. My skin still looks awful, but my bloating has gone down. I am blaming this all on age – I did not have these issues when I was younger!

This week’s menu has some new meals from some of my favorite paleo cookbooks. It had been a while since I used them for meal planning, but I needed to look up a recipe and found some others that I had meant to try a while back and never did! We are sticking to a gluten-free menu for almost the whole family this week; I found several recipes I could double inexpensively to feed us all, without anyone complaining there was no bread item. 🙂

Breakfast

Cereal (kids), Eggs

Swirly Crustless Quiche

Pumpkin Pancakes (dad will have just eggs), bacon

Blueberry Lemon Muffins, Cereal (kids)

Bacon and Egg Salad

@ my parents’ house for Easter

Eggs and sausage, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (kids)

Lunch

Mexican Tuna Boats

@ my parents’ for Easter lunch

Buffalo chicken lettuce wraps (pb&j for the kids who won’t eat that. lol)

Leftovers x 2

Salad (me), PB&J  x 2

Dinner

Citrus & Herb Roasted chicken with carrots, quinoa (basmati rice for kids), roasted sweet potatoes (leftover from lunch), green beans

Broc-Cauli chowder with bacon and cheese, gluten-free biscuits(trying out Aldi’s GF baking mix), salad

Turkey Meatballs, Cauliflower Mash, Green Beans

Cumin spiced pork tenderloin, cilantro cali-rice, salad

@ my parent’s house

Pizza (dad and kids), Salad with chicken and other toppings (me)

Banger Sausage Patties, sweet potato mash w/onions,  salad

Snacks

Herbal tea gelatin (ok, only Lily and I like it, but it is a super yummy snack!)

Vanilla Almond Sponge bread (gluten-free, new recipe I want to try out)

Yogurt and fruit

Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies (THIS recipe I got from a friend….it is AMAZING.)

Energy Balls

Homemade granola bars

 

 

Menu Plan

 

We are finishing up schoolwork, so we can enjoy our Spring Break coming up! We have a vacation planned, but it is a surprise for the kids. They know we are going somewhere but do not know where or with whom. 🙂 I am pretty excited to surprise them.

This week’s menu is a simple one. With packing and getting the dog boarding stuff situated (always a joy – NOT) and my husband being super busy at work, I needed to plan some simpler meals. I am still pretty selective with my gluten intake. I have steered clear from some of the more major problem-causing sources, which include store-bought breads. This includes restaurant bread, too….so it was a bummer when my husband wanted Jimmy John’s last week! I am finding it easier when the gluten items are made here at home, so I wonder if it is more the preservatives or fillers or whatever added for the extended shelf life of the store-bought stuff. Not really sure, but I will continue to avoid for now.

With that in mind, I planned out a few alternatives items for myself in a few of the meals. The kids and husband can still have their pasta and breads, but I swapped out a few things for my plate. Not too hard to do, just a few more minutes of prep at dinner time.

Breakfast

Oatmeal

Scrambled Eggs

Pancakes (eggs for me)

Coffee Cake (eggs and bacon for me)

Cereal

Oatmeal muffins and yogurt

Lunch

PB& J for the kids, leftovers or salads for me

Egg Salad

Tuna Salad

Snacky

Dinner

Crockpot Garlic Parmesan Chicken, Potatoes and Carrots

Tomato Soup with Chicken, salad

Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans

Sloppy Joe in a Bowl (rice), Salad, Raw veggies and ranch

All-Day Chicken Soup, salad, fruit

Honey Mustard Chicken, Green beans, carrots

Baked Pasta Casserole (salmon cakes for me), salad

Breakfast for Dinner

Honey Shrimp and Veggies, Salad

Menu Plan

img_2450

I am working more healthy meals back into our dinners. The past few weeks I have been making a lot of easy meals, so we could focus on school and get through our busy schedule outside the house, too. My gut isn’t too happy with me right now, unfortunately, so I know it is time to get back to more meals without breads and dairy. I am pulling from my paleo books and favorite paleo sites for some gluten-free and veggie-heavy lunches and dinners. My plan is to also juice again a few mornings a week. Hopefully my stomach will get back to normal, soon. 😉

Breakfast

Sweet Potato Hash, fruit x 2

Eggs (Arthur and me), Cereal (kids)

Eggs (us), Waffles (kids)

Omelets x 2

Oatmeal with toppings (cinnamon, fruit, maple syrup)

Lunch

Egg Salad

Smoothies, Air-popped popcorn, carrots and ranch

PB&J (kids), Tuna avocado lettuce wrap (me) x 2

Hummus and cheese pitas (kids), Large salad and hummus w/veggies (me)

Lunch drawers (kids), salad w/hard-boiled egg (me) x 2

Dinner

Pulled Pork, Steamed broccoli, carrots and ranch

Chicken Barley Soup, salads

Chicken Parmesan orzo (mine will be without orzo and maybe just spooned over quinoa or brown rice)

DATE NIGHT!!! (kids will eat at grandparents)

Chipotle Chicken Wraps (lettuce wrap for me, bread wraps for the others), Veggies w/ranch, Applesauce

Citrus and Herb Chicken, Brown Rice, Green Beans

Pizza (others), Salad (me)

Snacks

Apples with honey and cinnamon

Berry Shakes (dairy-free)

Banana Chocolate Shakes (dairy-free)

Homemade larabars

Raw brownie bites

Air-popped popcorn

 

Recipe: Aquafaba

IMG_0414

I really like saying that word…aquafaba. It is fun to say. And it is fun to eat as well!

I heard of aquafaba last Summer but decided not to try making it because the idea of it actually made me gag. The water from a can of chickpeas?! Made into a sweet item?? Ew!

Friday, though, I decided to make roast chickpeas as a fun treat….and had two cans’ worth of chickpeas liquid left over. So, I decided to give it a try and make the aquafaba.

Turns out, this concoction is extremely yummy! For those with allergies, it can also be gluten-free and dairy free and vegan! It is a great alternative to whipped cream for desserts. And, if you are like my boys…you will try to eat it by the spoonful.

I should warn you, this recipe makes a TON of aquafaba. I had read this warning on other sites sharing this recipe…and I totally ignored it. I just went ahead and use the two cans’ liquid. Next time, I will probably cut the recipe in half. But, I clearly won’t need to make this again for an eternity with the amount we have!

So, here it is, in all its glory….AQUAFABA!

  • Liquid from two cans of chickpeas
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white sugar

Combine all 4 ingredients in a stand mixer and mix for 10-15 minutes until firm peaks form.

That’s it, folks! Again, this recipe makes a lot… I had to store it in two containers in the fridge! I read it will keep in the fridge for about a week…so we are going to find all kinds of ways to use it this week. 🙂 And if it goes bad before we do, I won’t worry because this literally cost me pennies to make!

IMG_0417

This would be good as a cupcake frosting (pretty light and fluffy) or as filling for a whoopie pie! I am also thinking of giving it as a “dip” with fruit or as a spread for banana bread or on a pie! I will let you know what I use it for and how it goes!

Do you make aquafaba?? How do you use it??

Recipe: Peanut Butter Oat Bars

IMG_0245

 

I am loving these little snack bars. Only 3 ingredients but they are incredibly tasty! These are a good option for a healthy snack that meets the sweet and salty needs. I found this recipe online a while back, scribbled it on a Post-It note and stuck in next to my fridge. Just a few weeks ago, I finally decided to make them. I tweaked the original recipe and used maple syrup instead of honey (because honey is like gold here, so I save it for illness more than I do for baking….thankfully we keep pure maple syrup on hand for that!), but the taste is just as yummy.

Peanut Butter Oat Bars (makes 16 small bars)

1 cup peanut butter (look for some that does not have added sugars)

1/2 cup honey (or pure maple syrup)

3 cups old-fashioned/rolled oats

  1. Warm the peanut butter and honey/syrup in a small pan on low heat. Stir to combine items thoroughly; do not let boil/burn.
  2. Once thoroughly mixed, pour over oats in a mixing bowl. Stir well to wet all of the oats.
  3. Line a 9×9 pan with foil. Scoop mixture into foil and press down, so thickness is even throughout.
  4. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Cut into bars. Store refrigerated.

These are really handy to grab and eat in the car. The kids take them outside. They are just easy to snack with, and these bars are pretty healthy. And if you need a gluten-free option, use gluten-free oats and you are good to go!

Happy snacking!

Day 10 – Ending Eczema

We have been actively working to get rid of the eczema for a full 10 days! To my knowledge, Lily has only had one slip-up with eating gluten….when she popped an animal cracker in her mouth, while filling a little baggie for her brother.

The eczema patches have gotten worse then better then worse. I don’t know if we are on the right path or not, but I know 10 days isn’t enough time to make a decision. So we’ll press on, gluten-free. 🙂 I am borrowing a couple of cookbooks from a friend, and my mom found a gluten-free baking recipe book, so we have plenty of ideas!

Her legs have been extremely itchy in the middle of the night, and she still wakes up to scratch and then confess to me about scratching them. 😦 Poor girl just needs a good night’s sleep!

We are coating them with shea butter at least twice a day (more if she is wearing jeans all day…she itches without realizing THROUGH the jeans, which always makes the skin crack or super irritated). Today we started rubbing the fresh aloe, from our plant, on the areas. Tonight, I will start applying the Vitamin E oil again.

I have updated pictures, but they aren’t very encouraging. They are saved in my phone for now, but when I have more time I will post them. It is a little discouraging to see them worse, BUT everything online says it will get worse before it gets better. Just hard to see that reality right now. I caved and applied the plain hydrocortisone cream (over-the-counter) when she is on the verge of tears. Hoping to move away from that in the future.

The steroid withdrawal has become more confirmed to me. A ton of medical sites (like, the ones posted by hospitals or doctors or medical schools) discredit the “steroid withdrawal” claim. They say the side effects from potent steroid creams (like what Lily was using) are only if applied incorrectly. The directions from our doctor were to apply twice a day when the area is inflamed. But, the creams aren’t supposed to be used long-term.

So, riddle me this: if we use the cream twice a day, then we stop when it seems to be getting better. THEN it gets ridiculously crazy worse and we go back on the cream and do it over again…..how do we NOT use it long-term? And how do they explain the getting worse when we stop the steroid?? There is only one more potency level above the cream we were using…..I can only imagine how bad the withdrawal would be if she were coming off one of those.

I don’t understand the logic behind all the creams OR the ignoring of steroid withdrawal. The insanely huge number of people claiming it online can’t ALL be wrong…can they?! And I am adding Lily’s name to the list. Because NOT using the steroid cream is like seriously sending her body into a crazy withdrawal. And the eczema is much worse.

Yes, we are flushing out her system with diet changes. BUT, her skin is craving the steroid. And it looks angry. Sounds silly, but it does. And she is embarrassed. She doesn’t like to talk about it. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell her don’t worry about it or try not to scratch or whatever….she is worried about infection or people seeing it or having to talk about it or scratching in her sleep.

I am thankful for doctors and the knowledge the medical community has to help us with our health. But, I do feel like they have failed my daughter with treating her skin. Diet changes haven’t been discussed. Psychological effects of the eczema aren’t discussed. Hormonal changes from the eczema withdrawal aren’t discussed (and let me tell you, angry outbursts immediately followed by sobbing are NOT normal).

So, I am praying for a happier post in the next week. 🙂 And maybe I’ll post the pictures to show the changes.

Tonight is chicken piccata (a change from the chicken chili I had planned) with mashed potatoes. Gotta go mash my taters!