a month down!!

It’s been a crazy month with a steep learning curve, at least twice as many hours in the kitchen and way more time planning meals, finding recipes, creating shopping lists and shopping, but we survived!! I know for sure that some of our habits have changed. I can drive by a dutch bros without my car starting to veer into the drive thru, and Sam no longer cries when we drive by fast food and don’t get it. The urges are still there, but it’s getting easier.

I think Sam’s eczema is significantly better, he’s a less itchy kid overall and h doesn’t have any scabs on his back where he typically rips up his skin. He is still three, which I must admit a part of me had hoped this would cure, hahahaha. But seriously I would pay a large chunk of money if someone could figure out the magic trick to getting kids to whine less. I honestly thought that if you NEVER gave in to their whining they would eventually stop, because, you know LOGIC!! I swear, I have not one time, even in a moment of sheer desperation given into demands made in whine, but yet, they persist. Once again God is using this tiny human to correct my misunderstanding of how people work, and to humble me. Oh my tiny whiney humbler. He’s also my most affectionate and extroverted kid, coincidence? I think not. =)

I noticed about the 2 week mark that my acne has resolved. Which is significant since it hasn’t given me a break in the last 20 years. I’ve always been someone who react quickly to diet changes, if I cut beef for 2 weeks and then eat it it will give me an upset stomach. This month has led to lots of upset stomachs for me as we make big changes and then shift things.

IMG_9849 Thankful for a friend explaining that if we fried the corn tortillas in coconut oil for a minute on each side they’ll actually hold together well enough for soft tacos. Now if I could just get anyone in the house but me to eat avocado in any shape or form, hahaha

Most of my Kitchen gear is wedding gift IMG_9858from our wedding 10 years ago. It didn’t get used much the first 4 years while we lived on campus. This is the first time I’ve been in the kitchen 7 days a week (we did a lot of prepackaged meals or cheap fast food), so my gear is taking some abuse. We’ve had som good laughs about stuff breaking and things we’ve needed to get. Turns out I need 3 sets of measuring spoons.

IMG_9860 These Crispy potatoes were a big hit with everyone. I cooked them in the Instant pot, then fried them on the stove. I’m such a noob that I managed to splatter oil on myself and get a third degree burn on my neck that took weeks to heal.IMG_9870

When Adam or I pack lunch for the kids and him we do two salads, one for him to take to work and one for me in the fridge. Then I only have to make lunch for the little kids. It’s about a million times easier to eat well when it’s already prepared. Adam can only get on board with spinach, carrots and celery, then we add lunch meat, salami, and hard boiled egg. I like the Annie’s tuscony Italian dressing.

IMG_9896 I made my first bone broth using the Instant Pot (robot pressure cooker that promises not to explode my house). Costco rotisserie chicken carcass, still had a fair amount of meat on it because I’m a priss about picking it apart, celery, onion, carrot and fish sauce. It’s been fun having broth in the freezer, makes me feel like a real homesteader. =) It came in handy when I was sick last week, Adam was able to make me some rich in the Instant Pot with the broth which tasted great and was gentle on the tummy.

IMG_9897 Dinners are mostly veggies now. The cooking doesn’t take long, but the prep takes FOREVER. I’m considering a food processor to see if I can cut my prep time. I’ve also been watching some knife skills classes on Craftsy, which has helped some. The kids have never been big fans of dinner, so it’s not new for them not to eat. We have never picked our dinners based on what they’d eat, as fun as an all mac and cheese and nuggets diet would be. =)

IMG_9909 I’ve been involving the kids in food prep more. Mostly because it takes me an hour plus to make dinner, and I’m still supposed to be keeping them alive. Hannah eats a little more of the meals if she’s helped with them. The little 2 still refuse veggies in all forms. Mags is a meat machine and Sam would like to exist entirely on fruit. Turns out that all fruit diet creates a less than ideal poop situation. ew…IMG_9911

Some meals take a year to make and they’re just meh, like these meatloaf meatballs.The brussel chips also took a while, were not chips and an way shape or form and no one touched them but me, hahaha. It’s discouraging when food takes so long to prepare and it isn’t fantastic. I’m starting to find sites I really like and authors I trust for recipes, rather than just googling and making the first thing I stumble across. I have a few favorites that came from random google searches though, like this Teriyaki Chicken.

IMG_9914 An upside of the kids hating everything I cook is that sometimes we excuse them and we get to eat in peace, hahahaha. While remotely supervising of course. =)IMG_9950

Christmas has been a little bit of a hard time to do this experiment, since so much of the holiday involves food based traditions. We splurged and bought Gluten Free graham crackers and gluten/dairy and dye free candies to make graham cracker houses. I made frosting out of powdered sugar and almond milk. We didn’t cut sugar, just haven’t been using it as much. I bought a few processed food alternatives like gluten free animal crackers for Sam to have at school when his buddies have snack. We did pretty good avoiding the packaged food for the first couple weeks.

IMG_9962 Our first venture eating out was at Mucho Gusto. The tostadas and chips are corn and all the topping except the cheese and sour cream are fine with our limits so it went well. Hannah had a bowl of rice and beans with chips and I had a tostada piled with everything. It felt like a HUGE treat to have someone else cooking an cleaning up. Nothing like a long stretch of home cooking to make me grateful. We also figured we can eat at Laughing planet, though the kids don’t touch anything but the rice, hahaha. I got a kombucha on tap which was fun.IMG_9970

Oats by themselves are gluten free, but most places produce them on the same machines as wheat so you have to buy special gluten free , aka expensive, oats. Bobs red mill sells bags of it, but its cheaper if you can buy it bulk. Sadly it was out last time I hit Winco. Mom makes homemade granola and has very kindly adapted the recipe so my kids can keep eating it in mass. They used to eat it with yogurt, but now use almond milk on it. Sam likes to eat it dry or with honey. Last week he decided he couldn’t handle the sunflower seeds in it so loving Nana made him a special seed free batch.

IMG_9971 We were so good and didn’t buy a bunch of GF versions of the processed foods we love, but about week 2 we bought some gluten free bread so we could make the kids PB&J sandwiches. I’m a bit suspicious that the bread gives Sam tummy issues, but it’s so hard to identify just what does it. We bought some hamburgers and GF buns and tots for a treat. Even tried some of the Daiya dairy free “cheese”. The burgers were delicious, but Sam and I both got belly aches.IMG_9977

 

We’re thankful for flexible family that have been willing to change holiday traditions to accommodate our weird limits. We did Christmas Eve lunch at Mucho Gusto, then Dad smoked tri tip for dinner. We typically do Chinese food, but I couldn’t find anywhere that did chinese without Gluten. Soy sauce ha gluten in it, so most asian food is out. We have Tamari sauce we use at home that works great as a substitute.

IMG_0035 I made some chocolate chip cookies from my new cookbook. They’re good, not weirdly eggy or cardboardy like most gluten or dairy free baked goods are. They have a bit of an aftertaste. They tell me my tastebuds will change. I’m sure they have some, but I still remember what my moms chocolate chip cookies taste like, and this is not them.

I also made marshmallows. Typically I help mom make fudge, toffee, carmelitas and IMG_0037 truffles. None of those can be adapted for us. I helped with the fudge, which took some self control not to lick the spoon, but Mom was sweet enough to make the rest without me. We took tins around to the neighbors like we usually do. I’d dreamed of getting the marshmallows done in time so I could contribute to the tins, but they didn’t happen until after Christmas. The kids love them. It’s good to know they’re actually fairly simple.

IMG_0039 I made some pancake/waffle mix from the Against All Grain Meals Made Simple book I got from Christmas from Adam’s mom. It’s been fantastic so far. We made a ton of waffles and froze the extras. we’ve been warming them up in the toaster in the morning an adding peanut butter. I think they’re weirdly eggy, which makes sense because they have a TON of eggs in them.IMG_0040  The kids didn’t notice and happily ate their body weight in waffles. We all crave carbs for breakfast, big time. I know carbs aren’t a great way to start your day and they don’t fuel you for long, but it’s a hard habit to break!! Thankfully this seems to be filling the need for the kids. I still want a big bowl of lucky charms, haha.

IMG_0064 We found a local bakery that is dairy free and also makes gluten free cupcakes. We got 5 to sample so Hannah could pick her birthday cupcakes. She picked cookies and cream and peanut butter for her party, I picked chocolate for the adults. =) Our kids haven’t had regular baked goods in a month so they didn’t say anything about them not tasting like regular cupcakes. Adam and I thought they were good, but they are a bit denser than regular cupcakes. Hopefully no one at her party cares or complains.

 

IMG_0067IMG_0066My Instant Pot is seeing a lot of action. It can cook frozen chicken tenderloins in 7 minutes. I also hardboiled some eggs on top at the same time.

 

IMG_0068 The kids don’t like mystery foods, so if it’s easy I’ll separate the meal out for them so they can identify each element. They won’t eat soups, stews and casseroles and such, so dinner is often a no go. They sit with us and watch us eat and chat, but don’t eat.  IMG_0075 IMG_0072

We had spaghetti squash a few months ago and Adam wasn’t a big fan. I tried again using it as noodles for a pepperoni pizza pasta recipe from my new cookbook and he said it was great. He’s pretty agreeable when it comes to food I make, he’ll always eat it, but if I press him he’ll admit if something wasn’t his very favorite. The teriyaki chicken recipe was the first thing I’ve made that he raved and raved about. Maybe I cooked the squash too long last time. This time I just did a few minutes in the IP. I also remembered to cut the squash across instead of long ways to make longer “noodles”. The kids ate the pepperoni off theirs, hahaha.

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For lunch yesterday we went big and made wraps from scratch, ranch from scratch and then added chicken, avocado, bacon and lettuce to make lunch wraps. Very yummy, but so much work and clean up that we just ate packaged meatballs and popcorn for dinner. IMG_0084IMG_0077

 

The kids and I have really enjoyed having Adam home from work the last 2 weeks, we’re going to be a hot mess when he goes back. It’s made it possible for me to be in the kitchen for an hour or so working on dinner without having to break up any fights or make sure no one is falling down the stairs. His company changed the time off policy so he had to use up all his accumulated time off before years end, so it was a fun chunk of time together. We went to Old School, and Get Air, the science factory, rode the animals at the mall and generally enjoyed hanging out. Christmas was a bit of a rough time for the food exclusions, but overall I think the ease of having Adam around definitely made this the perfect time.

Adam is dreaming of cheese, so that’s first on our list of reintroductions. We need Sam to have a couple days with no belly issues first so that we’ll know if the cheese is the culprit when we try it. He’s been complaining about his stomach hurting a few times a day since he got sick on Christmas Eve. Hard to know if it’s just a virus and taking forever to clear, or if it’s something he’s eating. I feel like a scientist with terrible research practices.

Adam just finished making meatloaf meatballs and I tried making cauliflower rice for the first time, so we’re off to dinner. Eating for us, and watching and complaining for the kids, hahaha. =)

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