Tag Archive | gluten-free

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

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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

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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!

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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: BBQ Baked Chicken

Here’s a SUPER SIMPLE weeknight meal. Seriously, even if you forgot about planning any meals, you could grab these items and have a delicious meal with minimal work! I saw it over on The Pinning Mama. We used WAY more cheese than she does, but the picture alone is what made me want to try it. Looked delicious…and it was!

BBQ BAKED CHICKEN

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I often just have the frozen ones from Aldi on hand. Fresh or frozen – either will work.)

2-3 TBSP bbq sauce for each chicken breast – bottled or homemade sauce works

1 onion, sliced

LOTS of cheese – any kind you prefer. We used sharp cheddar and about 3 cups of it – 2 cups for baking and 1 cup to sprinkle on after it was done.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lay chicken in 9×13 baking dish. Pour bbq on each piece of chicken. Toss onion on top of bbq sauce. Sprinkle cheese over everything.
  3. Bake for 45-60 minutes, (less for fresh chicken, more for frozen) until chicken is completely cooked through.
  4. Sprinkle any extra cheese over it. Serve over rice. We had a wild rice mix (had white, brown, and wild rice in it, I think) that we scooped the chicken over. Mmmm. Everyone loved it.

This meal doesn’t require much prep, so you can mix it up quick and then the oven does all the work! Super easy and very tasty. I think next time I will steam some broccoli and scoop some of the juices from the dish onto the broccoli too. Yum! If you have a gluten-free bbq sauce, this meal would be a good GF meal too…if you ever have company that need a GF meal. 🙂

Also, if you need to feed a crowd, shredding the meat after it bakes helps it go farther. I shredded it for us, since my little guys don’t like chunks of meat. With six chicken breasts in the dish, we had enough for dinner as well as leftovers (for all!) the next day. Shredding works great for us!

Recipe: Peanut Butter Oat Bars

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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!

Menu Plan: 9/30-10/7

It took me several hours yesterday to come up with a menu plan that, I think, will suit everyone. My husband’s marathon is next weekend, so he needs to be sure he is eating well and A LOT to get him ready. His need to eat well actually WORKS with Lily’s eczema diet, so the meal planning was a little simpler than I anticipated. But, it still took quite some time to replace gluten items. I have been told that gluten-free will get easier, that it is difficult at the beginning only.

So, I am buying very little processed foods, a TON of fresh produce, and I have a lot of work ahead of me as far as prep! The eczema is a great motivating factor, though, as it is pretty much essential to do the prep work in order for Lily to eat well and get this skin thing under control. (And I apologize if it seems like that is all I talk about these days, but we are just at our wit’s end here with keeping it under control and helping it heal. So, there will probably be lots more eczema talk in the coming weeks! Just a heads up…)

Breakfast

Pumpkin Pancakes  (eggs for Arthur…he isn’t a pumpkin fan), fruit

Hashbrown Pizza

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (again, eggs for Arthur)

blueberry Chia Muffins (and you guessed it…eggs for Arthur)

Braided GF Nutella Bread (although I may make my own chocolate spread instead of buying Nutella…they have soy ingredients, and I am trying to avoid soy for Lily)

Eggs for all! and bacon 🙂

Smoothies (chocolate PB banana), fruit / eggs for Arthur

Cereal (krispy rice or GF chex squares)

Lunch

Salad x 3 (for Lily and I ), PB&J  or quesadillas for other kids

Brown rice and beans

Leftovers x 3

Dinner

White Chicken Chili, Tortilla Chips (they’re GF!)

Cornbread Taco Bake (may sub in my own cornbread mix instead of looking for boxed GF mix), Refried Beans

Bacon Ranch Chicken (doubling the recipe to feed us all), Wild Rice, Green Beans

Cauliflower Breadsticks (I will probably add a red sauce to make it more of a pizza bread), Salad

Chipotle Chicken (chicken breasts seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, chipotle powder, S&P, and a little cumin then shredded), Brown Rice and Carrots

Sweet Potato Sloppy Joes (I will cube the cooked sweet potatoes and pour the Joes over, instead of doing individual  baked potatoes), Salad

Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies (doubling the veggies here, as we will eat a lot!)

Snacks

Homemade “lara bars” (dates, peanuts, chocolate chips, cocoa powder)

Granola bars

GF cookies – the chickpeas cookies. they are delicious! we double the recipe, though, because it doesn’t make very many…and we love cookies. 🙂

Homemade Items to Try

Almond Milk

I found an easy recipe (with pictures!) for making homemade sweetened almond milk. Almonds, water, dates and honey are the ingredients. Seems to take some time for the almond soaking but it looks fun, so I will try it. Lily’s been drinking rice or almond milk instead of cow’s milk, but the store-bought versions have extra crap in them to preserve. Homemade would be nice, but I realize it doesn’t make very much at a time. We will see how it goes!