Fed Up

I know I haven’t posted in forever, but we’ve had a lot going on! The two year old tankless hot water heater exploded, flooding the house. I haven’t had an oven since march, and my cooking-spiration has been way down. This led to an increased dependence on convenience foods, until one day I realized I was allowing foods that are affecting my kids’ health. So I had one of those “fed up” moments. You know the ones…where you’re just “done”? Well I was “done” with our crackers, and chips, and “I’m not hungry” when the healthy stuff is offered, but as soon as we’re on the road without it? “Waaahhhh! I’m STARVING!!!!!” So no more. I am back on track. And we might still use convenience foods (still no oven!) but at least they’ll be meats, fruits, or veggies!

So how do you do a sudden change like this… honestly, I expected more of a push back than I received. I decided that Sunday is a day of rest, so crackers and a treat or two will be allowed on Sundays. Otherwise, I have a great answer for why you can’t have goldfish today. “Because it’s not Sunday.” It was a rule that made sense, they could understand, and it gave them something to plan for. “Mommy, on Sunday, can we…..” [Important safety tip: Decide in advance how many treats you’ll have on “treat Sunday” or it’ll be total and complete sugar chaos. Not that we did that, or anything… 😉 ]

The other thing is…my kids are older now. The picky eater who really would have starved herself to death had I insisted on certain foods? She eats now. I used to joke (sort of!) that she was opposed to all food. But now we can go out, and she needs to order her own meal. It only took 5.5 years 😉 So I’m ready to say “if you’re really hungry, you’ll eat that…(carrot, cucumber, red pepper, whatever).” And she does…or doesn’t, but at least she stays at a healthy weight!

I thought I photographed way more than I did…maybe some things are on my phone… but here is “Fed Up” lunchbox #1. They ate it happily. None of what’s in here is novel in the Paleo world. It’s just that my cracker and chip loving kids ate it without complaint. Those will come, but they didn’t on this day. Obviously, if you’re dairy-free paleo, you’ll want to tweak this somewhat.

  • Red Pepper Strips
  • Mini pepperoni in heart cup
  • Broccoli and cauliflower
  • Grapes
  • Turkey/cheese rollups
  • Ranch dressing

Fed Up 1

Meatballs vs. Meatloaf

This is the meal where I learned my lesson about meatballs vs. meatloaf. Did you know, there’s a difference, and it matters, even if the recipe is exactly the same?? It’s true. Kids (and husbands) will eat meatballs far more readily than they’ll eat meatloaf. Over on ibreatheimhungry she often comments that she’ll turn almost any protein into a meatball. And now I know why. I had the bright idea to turn her meatballs into a meatloaf, because, hey, that could be a family meal. Nope. Epic Meal Fail. The next day, the same flavors were offered in a different shape (meatball, not meatloaf) with sauce on top. The kids loved them. So it’s not just veggies and ham that taste better shaped like flowers. Meatballs trump meatloaf every time.

Honestly, the meatballs are so easy to freeze and then reheat individually for lunches and snacks, I doubt I’ll ever push meatloaf again.

The hated meatloaf with mozzarella on top:

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The much loved meatballs cooking in the pan:

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And finishing in the oven:

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We then laid them on a cookie sheet, placed them in a the freezer until they were frozen, then in Ziploc baggies for easy reheating. I get them out for snacks, lunches, dinner, everything. And I’m asked “are these the meatballs you made?” Me: “yes” Them: “Yay!”

Merry Christmas

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:8-12

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

John 1:1-5

“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:9-14

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”

Romans 5:12-17

http://www.areyouagoodperson.org/

 

 

 

 

 

Chili Shepherd’s Cauliflower Pie

I keep meaning to photograph the easy cheesy cauliflower gratin from ibreatheimhungry. But it keeps getting eaten too fast! Here, I combined her 10 minute chili with the cauliflower gratin as a topping, to make a quick shepherd’s pie. I melted some extra cheese on top…which I should have allowed to brown a little for better photographing, but hey, we were hungry! Again – what I love about this site. The recipes and meal plans are (1) YUMMY; (2) FREE; and (3) YUMMY! Oh, I meant to say easy… my tummy got in there and put in the yummy factor again! But seriously, they’re easy, healthy, and good. The dollop of sarcasm on her site is just an added bonus. 🙂

 

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ibreatheimhungry

So I found this new blog: ibreatheimhungry. She has meal plans on there that I love! My two favorite things about her meal plans are (1) they’re free; (2) they’re easy; (3) they’re super yummy. Oh, wait, that’s more than two. 😉 But seriously, she’s got great meal plans, with most of the cooking done on the weekend. And the food is delicious! I’ve deviated from her meal plans, as my tendency is to make a dish, and just eat that until it’s gone, then make the next one. But I’m still working my way through in order. Honestly, the food is so good, I couldn’t stop at one serving anyway, so knowing that I get to have the meal again soon was just the ticket!

The first meals I made were the sausage & spinach frittata (as cupcakes), chili spaghetti squash casserole, spinach feta meatballs, and the cauliflower gratin. But I was hungry… so I made some alterations!

So far I’ve loved:

I’ll post and link pictures of these as I can. Some of this I ate before I could photograph it, so I’m needing to make it again! 🙂 In the meantime, here is a pic of the Spinach & Feta Meatballs on Spaghetti Squash with Butter. My 6 year old had seconds. After eating her regular dinner. They saw me eating this and asked to have it too. Yep, it’s that good. And yes, that’s an Anna bowl, from Frozen, with my kid’s spaghetti squash in it. (*sighs happily*)

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Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing

Stuffing is one of the hardest things to Paleo-ize on the thanksgiving menu. This year we tried this stuffing found here. It was fantastic! And easy, because there was no fake “bread” to make the day before. It’s just meat and veggies, with a little bit of eggs, coconut flour, and cranberries. We thought it was slightly over cranberried, and will adjust this next year.

Also I made this into a “make ahead stuffing.” My recipe alterations are posted below the picture. And I’ve been loving the leftovers. I mixed some with egg, ate some more with lots of salt, and turned another few spoonfuls into a lettuce wrap. It’s a whole bunch of yummy fabulousness. Whether it’s the “Best Ever Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing” I’m not qualified to judge (yet), but it sure was darned good! Even my “I don’t like stuffing” hubby asked for seconds.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  •  2 cups diced onions
  •  2 cups diced bell peppers
  • 4 cups (about 1 pound) diced mushrooms
  •  2 cups diced apples
  • 8 oz fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup toasted chopped pecans (optional)
  • ~ 2 T duck fat, bacon fat, butter, or coconut oil. (I used duck fat)
  • 1 T fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 T fresh thyme, minced
  • 2-3 leaves fresh sage (or 1/2 t dried)
  • sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chicken or turkey stock
  • 2 T coconut flour

Directions (as modified by me)

Prepare all of your ingredients and preheat your oven to 350°.

1. Melt about 2 teaspoons of your fat of choice in a large cast iron or stainless skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add the pork and cook until it just browns, 3-4 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and remove with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl. Pour off excess liquid from your skillet and add another teaspoon of fat.

3. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Saute for about 8 minutes, stirring often. Add to the bowl with the pork.

6. To the large bowl, add the apples, pecans, cranberries, herbs, and a good pinch of salt.

If doing as make ahead, stop at this point and reserve the ingredients for cooking the next day.

7. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, chicken or turkey stock, and coconut flour. Add a pinch of salt if your stock isn’t salted.

8. Pour the liquid into the large bowl and mix.

9. Pour the whole thing into an oven safe casserole and bake for one hour.

10. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before eating. It will firm up a bit.

Nut-Free, Grain-Free Cupcakes!

In a search for a healthy afternoon snack I can send to the Preschool, where there are life-threatening nut allergies in the afternoon session, I tried these. It’s actually Maria Emmerich’s Red Velvet Cake turned into cupcakes and doughnuts. (Yes, I know, they’re not red. Clearly, we have issues measuring food coloring.) I found them to be delicious. For the doughnuts, I made her cream cheese frosting, and thinned it a bit with some coconut milk (so it could pipe through a small decorating tip). I then stuck the tip into the hot doughnuts and piped a bit of frosting into each doughnut as pictured below. I did the same for the cupcake, but placed a small amount only in the center. I then topped the cupcakes with the remaining frosting.

Although our memories of regular donughts and cupcakes are still too close for my girls to embrace these, we’ll get there. In the meantime, I’ve been loving these as a sweet breakfast treat! They’re so sweet, you’ll want and love a coffee with them.

Doughnuts:

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Cupcakes

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Banana Mouse Pancakes – sort of

We made these Banana Mouse Pancakes from Against All Grain. The mouse shaped ones didn’t last very long. But they were a total hit. I love them too! Banana pancakes? They’re just screaming for a nut butter!! I also added some no-sugar-added jelly for an amazing PB&B&J (peanut butter and banana and jelly) pancake. They’re a new morning addiction. Here is a photo of one of mine, the kids ate theirs too fast for photos! The recipe in her book is not published free elsewhere, but this verson is available on her website.

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Here is the recipe (including parantheticals and notes) available on Against All Grain.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup non dairy milk (I use coconut or almond)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ⅓ cup blanched almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 overly ripe banana (brown spots are the best!)
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips (we use Enjoy Life – omit for SCD)
  • Butter or coconut oil for the pan

Instructions:

  1. Mix together the wet ingredients, beating well until the eggs are beaten and slightly foamy.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then incorporate them into the wet. Whisk well until combined, then let sit for 3-5 minutes to let the coconut flour soak up some of the moisture.
  3. Heat a cast iron (or non-stick) pan over medium-high heat. You can also use a griddle to make more pancakes at once. Mix the batter again, then begin making your pancakes.
  4. Oil the pan with coconut oil or butter, then pour about a ¼ cup of batter per pancake. The pancakes are easier to flip if you keep them small, about 4 inches in diameter.
  5. Once the pancake begins to bubble, place a couple of slices of banana and a pinch of chocolate chips on top.
  6. Carefully flip the pancake over, and cook for another minute until the pancake has fluffed up an feels slightly firm.
  7. Keep hot in a warm oven until you are done making the remainder of the pancakes.
  8. These are best eaten immediately, but if you have leftovers you can warm them in a toaster the next day.

Lunchbox #16

I try not to post needlessly redundant lunchboxes (if you just said really??, then I’m sorry!), which is why I haven’t had a lunchbox in awhile. just because today my protein was ham, and tomorrow it is chicken, and the next day it will be leftover taco meat, well, that’s not all that interesting. But we recently made these barbecue bacon burgers from against all grain. The one in the post I lined to is slightly different than the one in the book. I’m not listing it here, because although it is available through a web search, it was not made available online by the author. The book is great and worth getting! But since I didn’t write the book, the recipe is not mine to give.

The only change I made to the recipe was to add some finely grated zucchini. I’ve started adding this to all recipes containing ground meats. It just makes them more moist, and adds some vitamins and minerals as well.

I almost forgot to tell you how yummy the burgers were! Notice that there’s only the leftover photo, and nothing of the original burgers? Um… by the time it occurred to me to photograph them, they were in our tummies. We only had leftovers because I made way too much (which you need to do when cooking grain free!). I would definitely make these, and freeze them raw, to have ready-to-go burgers on hand. I’ve done this with mini-meatloves and…hey! BBQ bacon mini meatloves would be a great variation on this recipe.

Lunchbox contents:

 

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Grain Free Cereal

I can’t believe how long it’s been since our last post! Life got a little (LOT!) crazy there for awhile. But now as we head into Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’m sure it will slow down. 😉

We recently made Maria Emmerich’s cereals (which my girls call “mommy’s healthy cereal.” This is currently the only cereal available. They loved it for awhile and then decided to be done with cereal. No problem by me, they are downing her Super Power Waffles (or the way I make them, “Super Power Pancakes”). I hope to have a post on those up soon. But until then, if you have cereal loving kiddos, these are a great crunchy, sweet substitute.

This is her Franken Berry Cereal, and was objected to because it wasn’t “pink enough.” Now, I’d say that food color doesn’t matter, but every foodie would heartily disagree. And then I’d have to remember the time I followed the recipe (instead of the tweaking I usually do) and added the tomatoes, then the raw chicken to the sauce. You know what happened. Pink unappetizing looking chicken. I should have disobeyed the recipe, added and seared the chicken first, then added the tomatoes. But you get the point … you may need to add more “pink” depending on your food audience!

You can find all of Maria’s cereals here.

 

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