Menu Plan Monday, March 16!

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A month ago it was chilly, and a month later its hot. I think I have a love/hate relationship with Florida weather!

I’ve had a few issues with getting everything done that is involved in menu planning lately. Either I would have a wonderful plan and shopping list and then fail with actually cooking the food, or I’d have no plan and do well with shopping and cooking. It was driving me crazy, but a friend reminded me of Pepperplate.com and how it generates shopping lists from your recipes/menu. Their app has really improved since the last time I tried using it and my menu plan and shopping list was done in 15 minutes!

The theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap over at Celiac Family is cabbage! I bought a cabbage a couple of weeks ago and still have half of it left. Last week we had this yummy taco casserole and this week I think we’ll have a stir fry with noodles and cabbage.

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I’ve been keeping up with weekly baking so except for last week when it just didn’t happen we’ve been able to eat homemade bread instead of gf freezer bread. I’ve also been able to tolerate some meat again so it makes planning and executing the plan so much easier! We’re also on the tail end of strawberry season here, so I got a half flat from the farmer’s market and hope to make some freezer jam today.

Saturday
Breakfast:
Egg McMuffin with ham and daiya cheese on vegan English muffin
Lunch:
Sunbutter and jelly, cantaloupe (we did Engineering Day downtown!)
Dinner:
Rotisserie chicken, potato salad, broccoli
Sunday
Breakfast:
Cereal with strawberries, english muffin, frozen coffee drink (used frozen almond milk!)
Lunch:
Steak, leftover potato salad, corn on the cob, broccoli
Dinner:
Strawberry shortcake

Rest of the week:
Marriage Saver Mango Smoothie
Oven Pancake with blueberries
Chocolate Banana Bread
Vegan English Muffins
Eggs/ sausage

Dinner:
Stir Fry with noodles and cabbage and coconut aminos
Almost Instant Tomato Soup
Freezer Burritos (Freeze the leftovers for quick meals!) using Zucchini Flour Tortillas
Cauli-Power Fettichini “Alfredo”
Chipotle Copycat Beans and Rice
Veggie (Lunchmeat for others) sandwiches
Pizza, salad
Leftovers!

I’m trying to make a healthy dessert once a week also this week is Gaps friendly Chocolate Chip Cookies. Actually the Princess can almost make these herself except for operating the oven part.

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!

Happy Endings…

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The term happy ending sometimes seems like it is misnamed. For me a lot of endings seem to mean something sad. At the end of school it always meant the end of favorite subjects and the end of a fun year. At the end of camp it meant saying good-bye to new friends that I knew I would most likely never see again. When we moved it meant saying good-bye to neighbor friends and favorite spaces.

Some endings aren’t so bad though–the end of something good can mean the beginning of something even better! The end of my college years meant a new job with new friendships. The end of my first car meant more reliable transportation. The end of my single years brought me into the arms of a wonderful man that I am delighted to fall more in love with everyday.

It’s been a little quiet around here this week because I’ve been taking time to contemplate and grieve. This past week was the end of a good friend’s battle with cancer, the end of her pain, and of her life here on earth. While I will miss her more then I can really put into words right now, I am thankful for those endings because it means she’s in the arms of her Lord and Savior whom she so faithfully served and loved with all her heart.

Today the world is missing someone who was the hands and feet of Jesus to everyone she met. She didn’t like good-byes anymore then I do, but I can say with all confidence–see you soon!

A Birthday Treat!

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My mom’s birthday is in February and the time we picked to celebrate this time was earlier in the month. Her favorite dessert is lemon meringue pie. Usually we manage to make some sort of something resembling the pie for her birthday treat, but some years it just doesn’t work out.

Pie crust has never been my friend and I haven’t even attempted a gluten-free pie crust in the past almost 4 years. This year the plan was to make some sort of almond crust but that fell through at the last-minute due to time constraints.

I remembered an impulse purchase at Wal-mart that had sat in my cabinet for a while. Dark Chocolate Dessert Cups that didn’t have milk listed on the ingredients. I took those, made my mom’s favorite lemon curd and served the curd in the cups topped with some powdered sugar. Since they were small and I had egg whites leftover from making the curd I also made some Forgotten Kisses to go with them.

The result was a light dessert that everyone enjoyed. There were a few leftovers because some crazy people didn’t care for the lemon curd (more for me I always say!) and it tasted even better leftover. Even my husband who dislikes almost everything except ice cream ate some and went back for seconds!

Happy Birthday Mom! Hope you have a splendid and wonderful celebration!

New Gluten Free Dairy Free Products

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I’m not a huge fan of processed products. If I had the time, I would probably make everything from scratch! However, since I work a couple of jobs plus ferry the Princess around I have to be reasonable and know my limitations. When I do use processed products I can’t always recommend them, but recently I found two products that made the cut.

Dairy Free/Gluten Free Cheese & Yogurt

When I stared using the meal plan in January a couple of recipes called for dairy-free yogurt. I once tried some almond milk yogurt and it was so bad that I couldn’t even convince myself that I would get used to the taste (which is what I usually try to do with dairy-free/gluten-free foods that don’t taste the best). I decided to look around the dairy case at our local natural foods store and see what I could find just in case. I found some Greek Plain Coconut Milk yogurt that actually didn’t have carrageenan in it. I brought it home and tried it and it was good (especially in recipes). The color is a tiny bit gray, but I wasn’t able to tell the difference in taste from traditional yogurt! I was so surprised and pleased that I’ve bought it several times since. The price is crazy, but I see it as an occasional treat. The So Delicious brand frequently has coupons available, so I’m able to use those.

Then the other night I was browsing the cheese area of the same store. This is always a dangerous pastime, as I’ve always been a cheese lover and I usually end up disappointed. This time I found some aged cashew cheese. Again, it was fairly expensive, but I thought I would at least try it once. I was impressed beyond belief! It actually tasted like real cheese–something like a goat or feta tangy cheese. It was amazing with bread and soup and then again in the morning with an english muffin with egg for breakfast. I’ve tried making cashew cheese myself, but it never turned out hard and tasty like this one!

I’m excited to occasionally add these two new products to my menu!

Menu Plan Monday, February 16!

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It’s been rather brisk around here and I was super cold when I was planning menus as you can see from the excessive amount of soup we’ll be eating this week!

The theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap over at Celiac Family is kiwi fruit! I love to make a fruit salad with strawberries and kiwis with a tiny bit of dairy free coconut vanilla yogurt drizzled over the top. YUM!

Saturday Baking

It’s a busy week again, so I did a bunch of baking on Saturday so we would have bread for the week. I made two loaves of Vegan Rustic French Bread, a batch of English Muffins, and a batch of Grain Free Banana Bread (I didn’t have any pumpkin thawed). The Princess is really enjoying the Vegan French Bread–I can even get her to eat 3 small slices for breakfast!

Saturday
Breakfast:
Cereal with strawberries and almond milk
Lunch:
Valentine’s Meal! We decided to share with the Princess instead of going out to eat.
Steaks with bacon wrapped around them, lobster, steak potatoes, corn on the cob, onions and mushrooms
Dinner:
Not hungry! Just a couple of veggies and humus and some fresh bread
Sunday
Breakfast:
Cranberry and pecan Breakfast bun, coffee, 1/2 veggie omelet
Lunch:
BBQ Bean Stew, corn bread
Dinner:
snack/smoothie dinner

Rest of the week:
Baked potato with salsa
Sweet Potato with almond butter and applesauce
Smoothies
Rice Pudding
Vegan English Muffins
Eggs

Dinner:
Veggie soup (from freezer)
Potato soup
Tomato Soup
Tuna Apple Salad
Curried Chickpea Wrap
Veggie (Lunchmeat for others) sandwiches
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!

Happy Heart Day!

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valentines 2014

Here’s a cute picture of the Valentine’s the Princess made for her friends and classmates. We got the idea from this website.

I know they look kind of fancy pants, but they seriously aren’t complicated. After last year and making 20 plus heart-shaped melted crayons with a mold that only made 6 at a time and peeling each individual crayon…this seemed like a walk in the park! The Princess is always happy with a project and since it involved a lot of gluing she did most of it herself. We did the cutting out as she still isn’t allowed scissors at home due to cutting her hair at the beginning of the school year.

So I hope you have a Happy Heart Day, and don’t forget what I mentioned last year around Valentine’s Day!

A Clever Way to Clean

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When we first moved into our house the appliances all had issues. The fridge was the smallest I had ever encountered, the stove only heated up some spots hot some of the time, and the dishwasher was on its last legs. The fridge was the first thing to get replaced, but second was the stove.

I thought I would like a flat top stove because they looked so shiny in the store. Surely that would be easier to keep clean!

Alas, it wasn’t … and I’ve tried various things to clean it and I just ran out of elbow grease.

Then I saw an idea, and I figured…what do I have to lose?

I sprinkled baking soda on my stove top, got a slightly damp rag and laid it on top of the baking soda for a couple of minutes. I then used some slight scrubbing motions and then wiped up all the baking soda. My stove top looked like this: 10835260_10152676224208450_8295485193730668253_o

Woohoo! No elbow grease involved!