I’ve been on a baking frenzy this season. Cabin Girl and I attempted to calculate it and figured I made around 1,000 servings of treats; cookies, breads, bars, and fudge.
It was Pi Day yesterday and the internet collectively lost its shit.
I helped by making my husband’s favorite kind of pie:
My mother in law found the recipe, called Mom’s Peanut Butter Pie, on a Western Family Cream Cheese package in the early 90s. Captain requests it as his special dessert whenever I give him the option. So, with yesterday being Pi Day and all, I whipped one up to have after dinner.
It’s a pretty rich dessert, so we have smallish pieces. Since we have a family of 6, we go through food really fast, but we managed to keep our indulgence down to half of a pie between us. Which left half of a pie in the freezer for tonight.
It was wonderful, being able to offer the kids such an awesome treat 2 nights in a row. We had a delightful few minutes where the kids were focused on shoveling the cold, creamy delight into their pie holes *snicker*.
Until Cabin Boy flung a glob straight at his older sister’s face.
If you want a piece of this amazing and food-fight friendly pie, here’s the recipe:
‘Mom’s Peanut Butter Pie’
9 in. graham cracker crust
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
8 oz. cool whip, thawed
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy.
Mix in the peanut butter and sugar.
Slowly add in the milk, mixing well.
Fold in the cool whip until the mixture is thoroughly combine.
Pour into the graham cracker pie crust and freeze for several hours.
Remove from freezer 10-15 minutes before serving.
My mother in law likes hers with a “BAM” of hot fudge and salted peanuts. Captain prefers his unaltered. I think next time I’m going to have to try it with Nutella instead of peanut butter.
How do you avoid common food allergens when you dine out?
I’m on a pretty hardcore elimination diet to try and pinpoint what is causing The Kraken to break out in a massive rash. No dairy, soy, nuts, eggs, or fish. I’m also trying to avoid corn, as that’s a pretty big allergen, and watching my gluten intake (because it makes me feel better).
Being on this diet makes it difficult to plan ahead. Everything needs to be made fresh, for the most part. I’ve found a few quick snacks that tide me over (sunflower seed butter and jam on a brown rice cake, for instance), but, in general, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen cutting up fruits and veggies.
Which brings me to my dilemma.
I want to take the kids on a roadtrip over spring break.
Aside from being insane, it is going to be next to impossible for me to prepare and have Elimination Diet friendly food handy.
So, I started perusing the sites of various fast food establishments on our road trip route to come up with a list of things I can eat should we need to hit the drive thru. I thought I’d share that list with anyone else who may be needing a few pointers on what they can have, as opposed to what they can’t.
All of this information can be found simply by Googling the restaurant name + allergy menu.
Like I said, I’m avoiding Dairy (milk), Soy, Nuts, Eggs, and Fish. This is what I pulled together to help me avoid all of those things simultaneously.
Papa Johns (I know, technically not a drive thru, but I had to include a pizza option for our Family Friday pizza and movie night)
Original Hand Tossed Dough- Wheat
All toppings (except chicken (which contains soy!) and anchovies (because fish, duh))
Pizza dipping sauce
BBQ dipping sauce
Buffalo dipping sauce
I had a Papa’s Works with no cheese and it was BOMB.
BBQ Roasted Jalapeno sauce
BBQ dipping sauce
Sweet and Sour dipping sauce
Artisan Style Bun
Whopper and Hamburger patties
Crispy chicken patty
If you feel like building your own sandwich, ask for an Artisan bun, no cheese, with ketchup and mustard. Just avoid the pickles; they have soy!
Bakery style bun
Chipotle bbq sauce
Grilled chicken fillet
Sweet chili sauce
Chicken nuggets/Mighty wings/Mcchicken (use your best judgement: all breaded chickens here are prepared in veg oil blend that may include soy)
Oatmeal (w or w/o brown sugar)
Salads (no cheese; grilled chicken)
If eggs are no problem for you, AVOID getting them from McD’s, as they are prepared with soy!
Light Honey French Dressing
Garden Side Salad
Plain Baked Potato
Rich and Meaty Chili
Regular Chicken Nuggets (may be cooked in oil with fish and eggs, so use your best judgement)
Fries (again, the oil)
Sweet and Sour Sauce
¼ lb. Patty
Ultimate Chicken Grill Fillet
Homestyle Chicken Fillet (oil)
Applewood Smoked Bacon
Oatmeal with Summer Berries
Plain Oatmeal (w/ or w/o brown sugar)
Homestyle potatoes (oil)
Plain toasted bagel
As far as options go, Wendy’s ranked the best IMO. Potato + Chili; Garden Side Salad + Grilled Chicken Fillet; a Jr. Hamburger + Apples; Bagel with bacon and sausage; or Oatmeal with berries.
Taco Bell and Taco Time disappointed me something fierce. Nearly everything had soy. If you’d be satisfied with a side of black beans topped with guacamole, then go ahead… otherwise, steer clear.
Never fear, though, for there is a place you CAN have a tasty burrito!
Taco Del Mar
Black bean and corn salsa
Taco shell 7”
This is about the only choice for gluten free options, too. Plus, they’re used to everyone customizing their food, so they won’t look at you like you’re nutso!!
Every bread on Subway’s menu may contain soy. I’d spring for a salad, but, if you’re dying for a sandwich…
9 grain wheat
Oven roasted chicken (also may contain soy)
Cold cut combo meats
Black forest ham
Italian BMT meats
Roast beef (the only meat not containing something!!)
Turkey breast (again, potential soy)
Sweet Onion Sauce
Although, if eating yoga mat material isn’t your thing, I’d avoid Subway’s breads altogether.
There you have it! I’m looking forward to being able to make informed decisions on our road-trip.
Is there something in particular you take pains to avoid while on the road, for you or your family?
It was a success!! Dinner was ready on time, and the only thing that turned out iffy was the dressing, which was a bit on the soggy side.
I couldn’t decide which roasting recipe to follow, so I combined a few that I came across and the turkey turned out amazing! I rubbed it with butter, sea salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder. Then I stuffed it with chopped apple and diced onion. Poured half a quart of chicken broth into the roasting pan with most of a bottle of white wine. Covered it with a foil tent and roasted it at 375, basting it every 30-45 minutes. It was perfectly done in just over 5 hours.
Ugly, yet sooo amazingly delicious.
We’re having an early Thanksgiving dinner with Captain’s dad tomorrow, since we’ll be out of town for the actual holiday.
This will be the first holiday we’ve celebrated with him since Cabin Girl was a baby.
He’s been a bachelor for years, self sufficient, proud, and a pretty good cook.
Needless to say, the people pleaser in me is practically desperate to knock his socks off.
This year, I don’t have the arsenal of a huge kitchen with all my gadgets, 2 refrigerators, and a gorgeous wall oven behind me. I have a tiny kitchen with possibly 10 square feet of counter space, a single, smaller than standard wall oven, and a single, smaller than standard fridge.
Last night I put a chicken in the crockpot with diced onion, some celery and spices. Not only does it eliminate the need to cook up lunch for a few days (I love me some cold chicken), but now I have the broth I’ll need for the dressing, gravy, and potatoes.
Today I baked up a pie pumpkin (the only one I managed to snag out of my garden before we moved) and turned it into one of the ugliest gluten free pumpkin pies ever. But, from the tiny sampling I scraped off the foil, it is deeeelicious. Baking from scratch is the schiznit, yo.
I cleaned and seasoned the seeds from the pumpkin with cinnamon and granulated coconut nectar, then roasted them for a bit as an extra little snackadoo.
I diced up red potatoes and stuck them in the fridge, peeled, diced and boiled a sweet potato, which is also waiting in the fridge, and boiled another sweet potato and turned it into the filling for a chocolate sweet potato pie… only I’m going to serve it more like a mousse so I don’t have to deal with making another hideous pie crust.
I diced up the celery and onion and baked a loaf of gluten free bread for the dressing.
Set the turkey out to thaw.
And did 2 loads of dishes. I hate doing dishes.
First thing tomorrow I plan on making my own pumpkin spice creamer to add to the several cups of coffee I intend to down. Then, the dressing will go in the crockpot. The turkey will go in the oven. I will make a cranberry persimmon sauce. The red potatoes will be reheated in broth and then mashed. The sweet potato will be doused in butter, honey, and pecans and set to warm in the oven as the turkey rests and gets carved. I’ll cheat and use whipped topping out of a bucket, mostly because Captain loves it.
My father-in-law will bring rolls and veggies.
All the while I will pretend to really enjoy the sparkling cider I’m drinking, since pumping and dumping doesn’t really work for me and The Kraken gets an upset tummy when I drink wine. And I’m hoping against hope that it will turn out. Because this is my first ever attempt at preparing a Thanksgiving meal on my own.
I’ll update you with Part 2 tomorrow.
Do you have any turkey tips for me?
The hardest part of maintaining a clean eating lifestyle, for me, is definitely the sweets.
I. Love. Sweets.
Do you love sweets?
Our family has tried quite a few clean treat recipes over the last year, and I’ve compiled a list of my favorites and Ashley from It’s Fitting invited me to share it, plus my very own No Bake Cookie recipe, on her page today!
Make sure you’ve had something to eat before you click over, though. Just like the grocery store rule, never browse recipes while hungry!
Miss Days 2 and 3? Get caught up here.
Day 4! You’ll notice I’m no longer listing water, but don’t worry, it’s still being consumed in copious amounts! Cabin Girl and I went shopping for a birthday party present then hit the Farmer’s Market before heading to said party. Here’s how the day went.
Coffee with creamer
Steel cut oats with raisins and walnuts (yeah, sorry, no pancakes this weekend)
Chicken adobo and rice
Piece of cake
“WOAH WOAH WOAH, Jessica!” I hear you saying. “I thought you were eating clean and cutting out gluten! Coke, potato salad, and cake?!”
Here’s the dealio:
I’m not trying to diet. I am creating a new norm. If I can make sure my habits are strictly gluten free 99% of the time and clean 80% of the time, I’m okay with indulging in a piece of cake at a birthday party. I know myself, and it’s when I expect myself to be 100% perfect, 100% of the time that I find myself failing miserably. Out of everything I ate in days 1-4, one thing for sure had gluten, one was likely not clean, and one was definitely not clean, but I’m okay with it. If I expect too much of myself, I will crash and burn, and possibly do more damage to my body than what a small indulgence every few days will do.
For dinner we had baked chicken, asparagus, and a cheesy potato bake. No treat, because I had that cake and coke earlier. Moderation. Plus, Captain headed out of town for a job interview (but not before THIS adventure!) and by the time I wrangled all the Cabin Kids into bed, I was ready to pass out.
Day 5. Captain was out of town, so we went easy and simple with leftovers and snackadoos.
Coffee with creamer
Leftover steel cut oats with blueberries and walnuts
Strawberries and raspberries
Chocolate almond milk
Chicken breast and carrots
|Dinner was cobb salad using iceberg lettuce (gifted from my lovely neighbor’s garden!), sugar peas (farmer’s market!), grated carrots, avocado, hard boiled egg, chicken, and, of course, bacon)|
Day 6. Captain stayed home to get a few things taken care of and rest his shoulder that he keeps messing up playing softball. So I took the opportunity to hit the laundromat and wash a few comforters (including the one mentioned in the adventure from day 4). Before leaving I put a partially thawed beef roast in a baking pan, seasoned it with garlic powder, salt, and black pepper, and stuck it in the oven at 350 degrees. It’ll provide an easy, simple dinner tonight and leftovers for something tomorrow.
Omelete (spinach, italian cheese)
Tomato soup and grilled cheese
Beef roast with onion, carrots, and red potatoes (there are no leftovers)
Yogurt with chocolate chips and pecans
This week we’re getting ready for our summer vacation, so I’ll be sharing a post about preparing to go ‘camping’ while eating clean soon!
Coffee with coconut creamer
Greek yogurt with chocolate chips and pecans
Chicken with sliced cucumbers (I kept one of those packs of chicken thighs out of the freezer to bake for a late lunch. It was perfect! The cucumbers, however, just tasted like chemicals, despite being organic, washed, and peeled. Very disappointing.)
Gf pizza (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Pizza Mix. For sauce I just used some organic crushed tomatoes and seasoned it myself with red pepper flakes, garlic, and oregano. Topped the kids’ with cheese, uncured pepperoni and black olives while Captain and I had cheese, uncured pepperoni, spinach, mushrooms, pickled jalapenos, and black olives.)
|After dinner we scooted off to a ping-pong social with Captain’s work friends. We had Pirate Booty and some GF cookies for a snack. With water, of course.|
|Apparently, that’s my “Look strong” face. Yeah.|
|My dad’s response to this picture was that we needed to go play outside. What a funny guy.|
|Dinner: Grilled flank steak, mashed sweet potatoes (with butter and a touch of coconut sugar), roasted beets, and green salad with some dressing. With, you guessed it, water to drink.|
Now I’m sitting/laying (it’s really hard to type while laying on your left side, btw) in bed, trying to discourage contractions! Whee!! I do plan on sneaking down for a cookie, or maybe a piece of super dark chocolate once the kids go to bed.
Tomorrow is Sunday, which is Captain’s day to sleep in, so I’ll be making one of our favorite grain-free pancake recipes tomorrow and hitting the Farmer’s Market for some local produce!
If you missed the preface post to this one, you can read it here: Double Whammy.
So, you’re all caught up on WHY I’m returning to a gluten-free/Paleo/Primal lifestyle.
Here’s how we’re getting started.
Thankfully, I’ve kept quality meats at the top of my grocery priority list, even at my laziest. We have grass-fed, organic beef, free-range chicken, and a bit of wild caught fish in the freezer along with a few cuts of pork and loads of uncured breakfast meat like bacon and chicken sausage.
I had plans to roast a chicken to go with the fettuccine alfredo I was craving like mad, so I had a thawed chicken in the fridge when I learned that my switch to gluten-free had to be immediate. Scrounging around the cupboards, I found rice, organic crushed tomatoes, and canned coconut milk. CREAMY CURRY TIME (recipe will be at the end of the post)!
We already use olive oil, butter, lard, or coconut oil to cook everything, so that’s not going to be a hard switch. I made our grocery list after dinner, keeping in mind what we have discovered works for our family and what doesn’t, and hit the road.
I happily took my time perusing the shelves for what I wanted. As I was leaving, this happened…
Going from what I brought home and what we already have, this is the plan for the next few days (all of it is gluten free and as much as possible is organic).
- (Alongside my coffee with coconut hazelnut creamer) Breakfasts will consist of:
Gluten free steel cut oats once or twice a week
Eggs with veggies (either broccoli or kale) and bacon/sausage most mornings
Hard boiled eggs on lazy mornings (read: mornings I don’t have to cook Captain’s post-workout breakfast)
On weekends I’ll make Paleo pancakes or waffles
Leftovers from dinner
Tuna/chicken salad with kraut and cucumbers
Hard boiled eggs with salad or black olives
Kettle Brand potato chips (Kettle Brand, NOT Lay’s Kettle; non-GMO is important!)
Spaghetti with meaty marinara and salad (from my garden!)
Beef with roasted red potatoes and beets
Roast chicken with lentil soup
Greek yogurt with pecans and Enjoy Life chocolate chips
Almond shortbread cookies
Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk
It’s important to note that during the first few days of a dietary change, your body will rebel. HARD. I feel like I am starving today, so I’m allowing myself to eat as much as my body thinks it needs, even if it’s trying to trick me. I’m also drinking copious amounts of water to help flush as much gunk out of my system as possible.
Today, I had:
- Water with my cranberry and spirulina supplements.
- Coffee with coconut creamer and 2 hard boiled eggs.
|Lunch: leftover roasted chicken breast, half an avocado, and a handful of black olives.|
- Kettle chips.
- About 8 oz. kombucha
- Greek yogurt with pecans and chocolate chips.
- The leavings of the kids’ mango.
- Water, water, water.
- GF spaghetti with meaty marinara and salad greens from our garden with a touch of dressing.
- Chocolate almond milk.
- And more water.
Yes, I had lots of treats today and not many veggies. No, I’m not worried about it. Like I said above, my body is rebelling against the changes I’m making and I’m doing what I can to cope with alternatives. I’m hoping all this water will not only flush out some of those SAD toxins, but help me deal with the allergies that are making me want to claw my eyes out right now, too.
Now, on to the SUPER easy curry recipe!!
Sautee diced onion in coconut oil in a large pan. Add diced zucchini. Season generously with curry seasoning, paprika, garlic, and salt. Add cans of coconut milk/cream and 12 oz. crushed tomatoes. Simmer until it begins to thicken, then add half of the roasted chicken (I do exactly half, mixing white and dark meat), torn into bite sized pieces. Let it simmer a few more minutes, taste to decide if it needs more curry or tomato, then serve on top of steamed rice or riced cauliflower! If you can, steam your rice in half water and half chicken broth for a flavor AND nutrient bonus. The best thing about this recipe is you can add whatever veggies you want to customize it to your family’s tastes. I LOVE sweet potatoes and cauliflower in my curry, but the Pirate Crew does NOT. We also like this recipe without the tomatoes, and we add large chunks of bell peppers to the onions. It is great the night of, but I love it even more reheated a day or two later!
Don’t forget to clean the other half of the chicken and keep the meat for leftovers or tomorrow’s dinner and SAVE THAT CARCASS, drippings, and giblets to make some chicken broth!
|Dump all of those chicken remains (skin and everything!) into a crockpot, dice up an onion (carrots and celery tops are great, too) to toss in, cover with water, and let simmer on low for at least 12 hours. This stuff is gut health GOLD!|
If you try the curry, please let me know what you think!
Being pregnant is hard. Being food conscious is hard, too. Being pregnant AND food conscious? SUCKS.
My body has been craving simple carbs like mad. Know what’s full of simple carbs? Crap. Conventional, boxed, overly processed CRAP. In a battle between hormones, sciatic pain, pelvic pain, and food cravings, the cravings are the easiest to take care of.
So instead of being our usual 80/20 selves (80% Primal, 20% not Primal but mostly clean with an occasional cheat thrown in), we’ve been more along the lines of 50/50 (50% crap, 50% whatever healthy thing I can manage to scrounge together).
The kids and Captain are LOVING it. We’ve had crackers and cookies, bread for sandwiches, noodles and rolls with dinner, and take-out and fast food MUCH more than I am willing to admit.
I’ve been struggling. Feeling guilty about allowing my family to eat this junk, feeding my family this junk, and every night I resolve to do better the next day. Then, the next day rolls around and it’s the same story.
**History break. During each of my pregnancies my blood platelet count has dropped low. Low enough that I hemorrhage after delivery and need intervention in the form of a clotting injection. Anything less than 100 can cause extra delivery complications.
Yesterday my platelet count came back much lower than it has previously been at this stage in my other pregnancies; at 29 weeks my count is at 105. Group F Strep was also found in my urine samples, meaning I have a urinary tract infection; not from e Coli, as most are, but from strep, pointing to an imbalance in my gut flora.
Low platelets AND a UTI. Fun.
My doula picked the brains of a few colleagues and informed me that there are some inconclusive studies out there linking gluten to low platelet counts during pregnancy. There are also a few connections between chlorella consumption and increased platelet count.
So begins an experiment. I’m officially going back to a strictly gluten-free diet, and at the same time falling back into a mostly Paleo lifestyle, with the exception of rice, red potatoes, and quinoa for simple carbs and Greek yogurt for extra protein and probiotics. I’m also taking an spirulina supplement for chlorella and cranberry extract, to see if it helps my UTI in conjunction with focusing on gut healing foods.
In the spirit of camaraderie, I thought I’d share what we’re eating the first few days of our re-adjustment, in case there are others out there needing some easy ideas, or a sympathetic ear.
If you live a gluten-free, Paleo/Primal, or clean eating lifestyle, what revelation(s) made you start? Have you had any stops and restarts?