Menu Plan Monday, August 18th!

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The theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap over at Celiac Family is after school snacks. My daughter thankfully is doing a half day kindergarten, so when she gets out of school we just go home and eat lunch! She does have snack in school, but last year she mostly just ate gluten-free pretzel sticks. The parents bring in snacks consisting of cheese, fruit, and veggies but my daughter is still so picky she will only eat apples and occasionally muffins. I made some banana muffins for them to keep in the freezer for birthday parties for her and brought in lots of bags of pretzels over the course of the school year. When she wants a snack at home she frequently eats a trail mix with pretzels, nuts, dried fruit, and some chocolate chips. I try to offer apples when they are in season and sometimes I can get her to try some smoothie, but she likes her snack routines so I usually just roll with it.

What Sunday Dinner looked like!

What Sunday Dinner looked like!

Sunday dinner

This weekend threw us a curveball of stomach flu with the Princess. That was rather nasty and it made her miss the first day of kindergarten! (That sounds like one of the saddest things ever! So, I didn’t get some of the special back to school breakfasts done that I wanted to, but we’ve had plenty of toast and applesauce going on!

Sunday
Breakfast:
gluten-free cereal
Lunch: Honey Basil Kabobs, with grilled chicken for hubby and grilled salmon for me
These were super yummy and I was so excited to find an easy recipe that starred veggies for the grill!
Dinner: popcorn

Rest of the week:
Breakfast Choices:
Pink Panther Smoothie
Eggs
Favorite waffles
Paleo Chocolate Breakfast Cookies
Banana Bread

Dinner:
Breakfast for dinner: Pancake with cinnamon sautéed apples
Tex-Mex Shepherd’s Pie (from Happy Herbivore) & Regular Shepherd’s Pie
Sloppy Joes (Lentil Sloppy Joes)
Chef Salad with croutons
meatloaf (Recipe from my mom’s home economic class!)
Vanilla cream mango milkshake with popcorn
Pizza, salad

Leftovers!

For more menu ideas check out Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday! Or for gluten-free menus check out Celiac Family and the Gluten Free Menu Swap!

August Is the New January!

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What our garden looks like right now...

What our garden looks like right now…

I was sitting in my living room the other day with the fan on full blast, listening to the air conditioner coming on again, and just pondering how hot it was. I came to the conclusion that August in Florida is as bad as January is in a northern state.

By August I am so over summer, plus it is just hot. Hot like the air conditioner keeps coming on even if you have it set on 80 degrees F and it is depressing to think what the electric bill is going to be like. Hot like you walk outside and you almost get knocked back indoors by the wall of heat and humidity. Hot like you don’t feel like doing anything (not even getting up and going somewhere to go swimming) because that would involve driving somewhere in a hot car, parking in the hot sun, and possibly in spite of applying oodles of sunscreen getting some sunburn that will then keep you hot for even longer!

By January up north the newness of winter has worn off. The holidays are over, and it is just cold and snowy. It isn’t always safe to go out, so you end up spending a lot of time at home. And I bet that the central heat runs almost constantly. You’ve probably made snowmen, drunk gallons of hot chocolate, and done all the winter sports you could think of. Now the bleakness of the next couple of months is staring you in the face.

I know that Farmer’s Markets up north are closed in January. Down here they are open all year-long and some people think that’s great. All that’s been available for sale for the past few weeks that is local and in season at our Farmer’s Market is tomatoes and zucchini. I do love both of those vegetables, but they are getting a bit dull. We had about 15 tomato plants going full blast in our garden until August when they all melted and died. Our squash gave it up before it even got going and melted right before our eyes. I’ve been taking a break from the Farmer’s Market this month in hopes that veggies will brave the still hot, but not quite so hot of September.

I’ve considered decorating for fall in hopes that cooler weather would hurry up and arrive, just like my mom used to read seed catalogs in January and plan her garden in hopes that spring would be just around the corner! I think both are equally effective in their end results.

What about you? What’s your favorite (or least favorite) month of the year? Why?

Menu Plan Monday, August 11th!

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The theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap over at Celiac Family is packing gluten-free lunches for back to school! I am thankful that I don’t (yet) have to regularly pack a lunch as my daughter is going to a half-day kindergarten. However, we occasionally need one when she stays for after-school camp for a couple of hours. We’ve been packing lunches all summer long as we’ve had playdates galore and because of food intolerance packing a lunch was the way to go. Since we don’t do it everyday I usually end up packing a similar version of the same thing every time. The Princess isn’t used to the circus of eating with her peers and tends to not eat much during the eating period and then wanting to eat in the car on the ride home. So we pack several small snacks: a trail mix (with chocolate chips of course), crackers with nutbutter, a fruit stick, maybe a cookie or lollipop, sometimes lunchmeat, and sometimes just a regular nutbutter and jelly sandwich. I did dig out my old starwars thermos one day this summer and fill it with some super hot water, then added some super hot mac and cheese with some leftover chili. That was gone by the time I picked her up!

Cupcakes from the Princess' birthday party!

Cupcakes from the Princess’ birthday party!

The Princess had a birthday and a couple of birthday parties this past week! We had an amazing party with pink cupcakes and friends and then a family dinner with pink cupcakes and family. Pretty much the whole week was working and prepping bits and pieces for the party, so some cooking didn’t get done, but that’s okay. You only turn 5 once! This week I’m going to try do a bunch of cooking for the week on one day. Seems as the week goes on the energy and motivation for cooking gets less especially in the hot, hot, hot days of August in Florida.

Sunday
Breakfast:
gluten-free cereal, strawberries, blueberry muffin (I found them in the freezer and I don’t remember what recipe I used!)
Lunch: turkey burgers marinated in this recipe, veggie burger for me, potato chips, corn on the cob, and coleslaw. Pink Cupcakes for dessert (a friend who does baking on the side made these!)
Dinner: nutbutter and honey sandwich, fruit salad

Rest of the week:
Breakfast Choices:
Pink Panther Smoothie
Eggs
Favorite waffles

Dinner:
Breakfast for dinner: Favorite Waffles
Cauliflower Alfredo with frozen veggies (didn’t happen last week!)
Broccoli, Bacon, Tomato Pasta Salad
Spaghetti and meatballs
Vanilla cream mango milkshake with popcorn
Pizza, salad

Leftovers!

For more menu ideas check out Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday! Or for gluten-free menus check out Celiac Family and the Gluten Free Menu Swap!

Menu Plan Monday, August 4th!

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I didn’t mean to take another two weeks off, but I totally blame it on vacation brain. You know…where you are thinking and planning and packing about going on vacation, then you go and you have a wonderful time! And then you have to come back and there’s laundry and grocery shopping waiting to slam into you as soon as you walk through the door!

The theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap over at Celiac Family Quick and Easy Gluten Free Breakfast for back to school! We don’t go back for another couple of weeks (and they are the worst weeks as there are no special activities planned!), but that is just the time to start implementing quick routines so back to school goes smoothly. I am the queen of quick and easy breakfasts because we’ve had so many Vacation Bible Schools, and other activities that quick and easy has been the theme all summer for us. Here are some of our tried and true favorites. (All of them easily freeze!) Lighter Gluten Free Chocolate Muffins, Paleo Chocolate Breakfast Cookies, and Peanut Butter (Sunbutter for me!) Chocolate Banana Bread. Yes, we like chocolate around here! We also do cereal occasionally, and we throw in a smoothie or eggs for a change. My daughter likes a sausage to go with her muffins a couple of times a week or just some applesauce. I have some of these refillable containers to make the applesauce budget friendly and grab and go friendly!

Forgot to take a picture of food, so here's a rainbow from vacation!

Forgot to take a picture of food, so here’s a rainbow from vacation!

We’re keeping the main meals quick and easy around here again so we can eat good food and still have time leftover to play!

Sunday
Breakfast:
gluten-free cereal, strawberries, chocolate peanut butter banana bread
Lunch snack meal with olives, pickles, pretzels, cherries, canned oysters, chips, etc.
Dinner: steaks (mushroom steaks for me!), mashed potato cakes, corn on the cob, broccoli
Dessert: Chocolate Chip Blizzard!

Rest of the week:
Breakfast Choices:
Pink Panther Smoothie
Eggs
Lighter Chocolate Muffins
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Dinner:
Breakfast for dinner: eggs and leftover mashed potato cakes
Cauliflower Alfredo with frozen veggies
Tuna apple salad
grilled cheeze
Creamy Chocolate Hemp Smoothie with popcorn
Pizza, salad
Tomato & Fresh Corn quiche
Shrimp Stir Fry with homemade teriyaki sauce
Leftovers!

For more menu ideas check out Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday! Or for gluten-free menus check out Celiac Family and the Gluten Free Menu Swap!

Olive Tomato Salad

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Simple Tomato and Olive Salad

Simple Tomato and Olive Salad

This is a great quick salad to add a side dish to your dinner. It’s also great to use up those last few grape tomatoes that might otherwise end up in the compost bin!

Dressing

adopted from cdkitchen
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon salt (to your taste)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine the spices in a large flat bowl. Pour the olive oil over. This also makes a GREAT dip for bread. If you use up the oil and have leftover spices in the bowl add some more oil! My favorite thing to do is to make this for the bread and use the leftover for a dressing.

Olive Tomato Salad

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, whole or quartered
1/2 cup black olives, whole or quartered
1/4 cup above dressing or more to taste

If cutting the tomatoes and olives up, do that first. Place in a bowl and drizzle dressing over the top. Stir to evenly coat and serve!

Gluten Free Lemon Blueberry Bread

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lemon blueberry bread 2

Normally, I don’t use recipes from Facebook, but a friend posted one called Lemon Blueberry Bread and I just couldn’t resist. It came from Nell’s Old Fashioned Recipes page, but I couldn’t find a direct link to it.

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Adopted from Nell’s Old Fashioned Recipes

1/3 cup melted butter*
1 cup sugar (used coconut sugar)
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour mixture with xanthan gum (I used Better Batter)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain full-fat kefir*
2 Tablespoons lemon zest
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

GLAZE
2 Tablespoons Lemon juice
1 Tablespoon melted butter*
1 cup confectioners sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large loaf pan or 3 miniature pans. Zest the lemons to get the 2 Tablespoons of zest and set aside.
Beat the butter, sugar, lemon juice, and eggs until combined.
Combine in separate bowl the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir the flour mixture in the wet mixture alternately with the kefir. Fold in lemon zest, blueberries, and walnuts if using. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top of the loaf is lightly brown.

GLAZE
Mix all the ingredients together. Drizzle over slightly cooled bread.
Enjoy!

*I almost used coconut oil and I think either coconut oil or earth balance would be a good substitute for the butter. I used kefir because it seems to give an extra lift to gluten-free baked goods. If you can’t have it I would suggest a 50/50 mixture of almond milk and coconut milk. Sometimes just almond milk will give a grey color to baked goods.

Lemon Blueberry bread

Menu Plan Monday, July 14th!

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What a busy week! And this week looks no better, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is the last Vacation Bible School week AND the last week of swimming lessons. Whew!

The theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap over at Celiac Family is summer squash! This is not my favorite squash (I prefer winter varieties), but a few years ago when I had tons and tons I learned a few tricks of what do with lots of zucchini. First thing I did was take a trip to the library where I found this delightful book: The Classic Zucchini Cookbook. I made zucchini bread and butter pickles and several other recipes. Last week I made some zucchini spaghetti! This year I figured out I can grill zucchini and put it in a wrap where it is quite tasty! Some of my favorite old standbys are Zucchini Potato Bake and Fabulous Zucchini Grinders.

Simple Tomato and Olive Salad

Simple Tomato and Olive Salad

The tomatoes are nonstop around here. Last week we skipped the sauce and froze a couple of quarts of crushed tomatoes. That is quite impressive since to freeze tomatoes you have to de seed them and take the skin off and after you do that there doesn’t seem to be much left! We still have another pile of tomatoes from what my husband picked yesterday so it looks like we’ll be freezing again!

Sunday
Breakfast:
gluten-free cereal
Lunch and Dinner: I didn’t feel like cooking and neither did anyone else. So these were just snacky meals with olives, pickles, pretzels, a smoothie, some leftover dessert, canned oysters, chips, etc.

Rest of the week:
Breakfast Choices:
Pink Panther Smoothie
Eggs
Lighter Chocolate Muffins

Dinner:
Breakfast for dinner: Gluten Free Waffles
Cumin Black Bean Quinoa Salad with pinto beans, and added veggies such as tomatoes and zucchini
Broccoli quesadillas and salad
Pizza, salad (leftover from last week! It was really good!)
Blackberry Coconut Smoothie, popcorn
Last week I just gave up around Wednesday and got take-out Chipotle. It was such a big hit that I’m going to try to recreate it at home. I haven’t googled recipes yet, but I’ll report back next week!
Leftovers!

For more menu ideas check out Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday! Or for gluten-free menus check out Celiac Family and the Gluten Free Menu Swap!