Monthly Archives: July 2013

Menu Plan Monday July 29!

Standard

We had a fairly decent week last week foodwise. I think my favorite thing was this coffeecake from Gluten Free Goddess. It truly was one of the best coffeecakes I’ve ever had not even taking into account the whole gluten-free and dairy-free issues.

The theme for the GF Menu Swap over at Celiac Family this week is green beans. I’ve always liked fresh green beans, but my picky family has texture issues with them. However, I did buy some at the farmer’s market this week in order to try this recipe: Vegan Tuna-Less Nicoise. I made the cashew cheese yesterday and it was surprisingly good and actually tasted like cheese. It wasn’t much cheaper than the stuff in the grocery store, but it was easy to make and tasted super yummy.

My daughter's dinner from Saturday night!

My daughter’s dinner from Saturday night!

Sunday
Buckwheat granola with way too much Gluten-Free Peach Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel Topping
Grilled chicken, shrimp, potato salad, steamed broccoli and a box of gluten-free brownies from Aldi’s. The brownies were amazing and I even got asked what my recipe was!
Fruit, pickles, popcorn

Rest of the week:
Breakfasts:
Buckwheat granola
Pumpkin French Toast Sticks
Pancakes (some for the freezer)
Blueberry Quinoa Breakfast Bars (some for the freezer)
Eggs
Smoothie, toast

Lunch/Dinner:
Tuna Apple Salad
Tomato sandwiches (our tomato plants are taking over the world!)
Chili and cornbread
Tacos (with Spicy Smoked Portobello Tacos for me!)
Chickpea of the Sea
Fish, sweet potatoes, veggie
Pizza, salad
We’ll continue with cleaning out the freezer/fridge and of course eat up any 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!

Advertisements

Homeschool Memories: A Greek Chorus Tragedy

Standard

We joined a home school club when I entered ninth grade. We met once a month for writing class and I procrastinated in completing my assignments. In addition I remember meeting several others from that group at the county fair where we created a scarecrow together and won first prize. It was organized by someone else, so all I had to do was show up, stuff hay in the scarecrow and sneeze myself silly because of my hay fever allergy! And collect my share of the prize money at the end of the week.

The most memorable part of being in that group was the annual play. Every spring they put on a play and the first year we joined it was decided that we would produce a Greek Tragedy (where everyone dies) for the older students and a Roman Comedy (where everyone gets married) for the younger. I never considered myself a thespian of any note, but somehow I got roped into being in the Greek Chorus that year alongside my sister. Things went fairly normally. We started out with monthly rehearsals and lines to memorize which I did fine with. Apparently dispensing good advice in a creepy manner suited me. Things ramped up as the date for the production got closer and we started having longer (2 hours!) rehearsals which led up to the day before the play when we had our dress rehearsal.

The dress rehearsal was a trip for many reasons. When I signed up no one told me I would have to wear clown/mime make-up. Yes, that white mask was required to make us look ghost like. In my opinion it just made us look sick! When we had to take the make-up OFF we had to use baby oil and my face broke out. Then we donned our white sheets which were our costumes. On stage we sat on stools in center stage where we sat for the entire time. The stools were hard, the sheets were warm, but the worst part was the spot light. Everything got exceptionally hot at that point. We were admonished not to move a muscle no matter what else happened.

What happened was my asthma kicked in. All of a sudden my stomach felt funny and even though I tried not to think it I felt like I had to throw up and/or faint. Normally I would have dashed to the bathroom, but I had been told to stay put. Of course I did throw up, and no I didn’t move until someone came and got me. I was told that being sick WAS a valid reason to move and I got cleaned up a little in the bathroom. Someone found a fan that would not only help their ghosts not to faint or throw up, but would also make us look more ghost-like due to blowing white sheets.

The day of the production was a bit of an anti-climax. Everything went off without a hitch, except of course my costume still smelled like throw up. After that I decided that I enjoyed watching plays much more than actually being in them.

image courtesy of Wikipedia via Booyabazooka

Blackberry Coffee Cake

Standard

Couldn't wait for a slice!

Couldn’t wait for a slice!

Coffee cake is in a category all by itself. It’s amazing when you can eat cake for breakfast! It’s delightful for coffee, but you don’t even have to have coffee to enjoy it. This is one of the first things I made for my mom after she found out she couldn’t eat gluten. The first result was a little grainy from all the rice flour, but this time with a little tweaking the result was a light and yummy breakfast cake that was hard to eat just one slice of. This is also a great recipe in my book because you can do all the prep the night before, clean up, and then have a yummy breakfast in the time it takes to get a shower. Enjoy!

Blackberry Coffee Cake

1 egg
1/2 cup of sugar (I have made this recipe with blueberries before and didn’t need quite as much sugar–blackberries are tart!)
1 1/2 cups of gluten-free cake flour (I used 172 grams Better Batter Flour plus 38 grams of cornstarch)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons of salt
1/3 cup almond milk
3 Tablespoons of coconut oil
1 1/2 cups blackberries
2 Tablespoons of sugar
1 Tablespoon of lemon zest, divided

Beat the egg and sugar in a bowl. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the flour and milk alternately to the egg mixture. Stir in coconut oil and half the lemon zest. Fold in blackberries. Pour into greased 8 inch square pan. Sprinkle with the 2 Tablespoons of sugar and the remaining lemon zest.

Before baking!

Before baking!

Cover and refrigerate overnight. Next morning remove from the refrigerator and place on counter uncovered for about 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is lightly browned.

Note: The batter will be rather rubbery and hard to spread. Do not fear this is normal. It doesn’t look like it will turn out to be much when you put it in the fridge overnight, but all that changes after being cooked.

Adopted from food.com

Menu Plan Monday July 22!

Standard

I was so thankful for the Chia Seed pudding last week! I spent 3 days at the beach with my mom and sister having a Girl’s Getaway and they both eat dairy. So part of breakfast every morning for them was a big bowl of yogurt topped with fruit…not something I can participate in if I expect to not be in pain for a couple of weeks. I remembered the Chia Seed pudding and whipped up a batch and then I too could join in the big bowl of something topped with fresh fruit. It was a delightful way to start the day. I used strawberries and kiwis this time around and it turned out better than any of my previous attempts.

The theme for the GF Menu Swap over at Celiac Family this week is grapes. I don’t usually buy grapes because they are on the dirty dozen and I can’t afford the organic kind, unfortunately. I do occasionally have to splurge on grapes because they are such a nice way to cool off. I usually eat them raw, but have been known to pop them in the freezer for an even better way to beat the heat!

This week we’re still cleaning out the freezer (I never knew I had so many bits of random leftovers in there!) and I’m looking ahead to school starting in a few weeks. We enrolled our daughter in Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) and I have a feeling it will be a bit of a shock to have to get up and go every morning. So I’m planning a couple of freezer breakfasts every week. We’ll have some that day and then I’ll freeze some for those panicked mornings in a few weeks!

My breakfast from yesterday!

My breakfast from yesterday!

Sunday
Eggs with blackberry coffee cake (recipe coming up this week!)
Meatloaf (everyone was supposed to have this, but I couldn’t remember if I made the meatloaf gluten-free or not! So my daughter had some chicken nuggets and I had a salmon fillet)
mashed potatoes
corn
Fruit, pickles, crackers

Rest of the week:
Breakfasts:
Leftover coffee cake
Buckwheat granola
Pumpkin French Toast Sticks
Eggs
Smoothie, toast

Lunch/Dinner:
Meatloaf sandwich my husband, different sandwiches for my daughter and me
Tomato sandwiches (our tomato plants are taking over the world!)
Shrimp stir fry
Melon Spinach Salad topped with fish
Beans and Rice
Fish, sweet potatoes, veggie
Pizza, salad
We’ll continue with cleaning out the freezer/fridge and of course eat up any leftovers!

For more menu ideas check out Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday! Or if you are interested in some gluten-free menus check out Celiac Family for the Gluten Free Menu Swap!

My Mentor: Laura Ingalls Wilder

Standard

The books that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote.

The books that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote.

Laura Ingalls Wilder lived during a fascinating time in history. She was born in February 1867 and died in February 1957. When she was born there was no electricity in houses, no indoor plumbing, trains were unheard of, and automobiles would have been laughed at! By the time she died she had lived through two world wars, traveled across the country in a train and on a road trip, and written a whole series of wonderful children’s books.

My Mom made me a Little House on the Prairie Dress just like Laura's! I didn't like to wear my sunbonnet any more than Laura did.

My Mom made me a Little House on the Prairie Dress just like Laura’s! I didn’t like to wear my sunbonnet any more than Laura did.

Some ways that Laura has influenced my life are: her can-do attitude! In one of her books Laura talks about the devastating plague of grasshoppers that appeared in their area just as their crops were about to be harvested. Those crops would have been enough to pay their obligations towards their house, the farm machinery they had purchased, and provide them with food for the next year. Unfortunately, the grasshopper devoured everything. Instead of despairing (as I most certainly would have done!) Laura’s mother said that, “There’s no great loss without some small gain.” The small gain was that they wouldn’t have to buy chicken feed–the chickens were gorging themselves on grasshoppers! I try to keep this can do attitude when small disasters happen around my house. It’s immensely satisfying to find that small bit of good stuff in the midst of a giant gob of bad stuff.

Laura had a strong sense of family values. She persevered in several activities that she did not enjoy and sometimes detested in order to help out the family. From going into town and working as a seamstress to a very horrible first teaching situation Laura made sure that she finished everything so that she could earn money in order to send her older sister Mary to blind college in Iowa where she could learn to read again and learn other skills to help alleviate the darkness she lived in. Laura also spent a good part of her pre-teen and teenage years “seeing” or describing things for her sister Mary who had gone blind. I’ve gotten my sense of family values from my family, but Laura also inspired me to go beyond what would be considered normal.

Other books written or inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Other books written or inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Some of my favorite writings of Laura’s are her journals which were never published until after her death. My particular favorite is the one where she drove across country with Almanzo (her husband) to visit her family in North Dakota. She describes every penny they spent including gas, food, and their daily stop for ice cream! My mother encouraged me to start a journal as soon as I could write sentences which was about second grade. The beginnings were rough, but as I got older the stories of various field trips and other events were easier to write down. I am glad that she insisted because now I have detailed memories that I can go through and share some of my experiences.

Laura was an amazing person and an amazing author. As I reread her books (some of them almost yearly–particularly “The Long Winter” every July!) I find new ways to relate to her stories. Although she died just after she turned 90, her memory lives on through her writings!

Tuna Apple Salad

Standard

The ingredients

The ingredients

Ah–this salad is a lifesaver usually at least once a week! It’s also easily adaptable to many different tastes and allergies so that makes it even more awesome. I first remember my aunt making it for us one day and it’s been a staple around my parent’s house and now my house ever since. It’s simple so you might have everything you need on hand to whip this up for lunch today!

Tuna Apple Salad:

1 apple
1 can of tuna
1/4 cup or less of mayo or similar product according to taste
1 stalk of celery or more according to taste
1-2 shakes of dried onions or more to taste (can also use fresh onion if desired: 1-2 T)
1/4 cup more or less of nuts (walnuts, pecans are good choices) according to taste (can be optional)
celery seed if desired
grapes (optional) I hardly make it with grapes anymore because I try to buy only organic grapes.

Dump everything into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Enjoy! You can eat as is, or eat over spinach, or add some brown rice chips or crackers or toast for some carbs.

Right before consumption!

Right before consumption!

Menu Plan Monday July 15!

Standard

Another week, another menu plan, another crazy week! If I didn’t menu plan I know that there would be severe general crankiness around the supper hour! This week I’ll be out of town BY MYSELF for a couple of days and I can’t wait! Consequently, I didn’t plan breakfasts and lunches (my husband probably wouldn’t follow the plan if I had done them anyway), but next week should be semi-normal again…whatever that means!

Chia Seed Pudding the night before

Chia Seed Pudding the night before

Chia Seed Pudding right before eating!

The breakfast pudding from last week was interesting. It didn’t have a strong taste (probably because I couldn’t bring myself to use ginger after being grossed out by the raw ginger juice during a recent cleanse) but it wasn’t unpleasant. It filled me up and kept be going and I felt no ill effects from it so I will be trying it again. Maybe with different seasonal fruits. This past week I used mangos and raspberries.

The theme for the GF Menu Swap over at Angela’s Kitchen this week is stir fry. I don’t have a stir fry on the menu this week, but I love how I can grab some frozen veggies, some shrimp, and some rice and make dinner in 20 minutes or less and it’s one that my whole family can eat!

Sunday
Eggs with toast
Some kind of leftovers
Canned fish, humus, and whatever veggies are available…maybe some popcorn too!

Rest of the week:
Breakfasts:
Usual assortment of waffles, smoothies, and eggs.

Lunch/Dinner:
Chicken, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts
Hot dogs & beans
Chili, corn bread
Burgers…I’m thinking of doing an Italian burger with spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese on top. Or if I’m tired and don’t feel like cooking because it’s so hot we’ll just have regular burgers with sweet potatoes!
Pizza, salad
We’ll continue with cleaning out the freezer/fridge and of course eat up any leftovers!

For more menu ideas check out Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday! Or if you are interested in some gluten-free menus check out Angela’s Kitchen for the Gluten Free Menu Swap!