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Cauliflower cheese sauce for mac n cheeze

I read something the other day that sort of irritated me.  Someone was saying that we shouldn’t try to replicate typical foods in a more healthy manner because we were lying to our children.  I actually read something to that effect in a couple of different places with people commenting on allergy-free paleo type blogs.  

It’s not about “lying” to our children.  My own children know that there isn’t any cheese in their macaroni.  They know that their macaroni doesn’t contain wheat.  They know that we’ve made changes for the overall health of everyone in the house.  That doesn’t change the fact that they’re children and they want the familiar.  I think we all crave the familiar no matter what age we are.  

My grandmother’s spaghetti doesn’t even remotely resemble mine, or even real Italian food.  Sometimes, though, I just want HER spaghetti.  Sometimes you want brickoven style pizza.  Sometimes you crave Totino’s party pizza….you know what I’m talking about…that nasty cracker crust, fake cheese, and ketchup for sauce.  

The important thing is not in fooling anyone, but in making sure you’re making the right choices for your own health.  Health and nutrition is not one size fits all with the exception of the fact that we all should be striving to be eating REAL food instead of chemicals.  

This has been a rough week and a half for my family.  I’ve made it clear that we are not making these changes JUST for Mickey Mouse.  I don’t want Mim or Tinkerbell pointing any fingers.  When we discussed the changes, I let them know that I am allergic to dairy and soy.  Mickey Mouse is allergic to corn, peanuts, and malt.  We do not know if any of us is allergic to wheat.  This is a choice that we’ve made as a family.  

I miss cheese.  I miss it a lot.  I’m almost certain I’m detoxing off of wheat and dairy.  I haven’t felt my best and the cravings are INSANE!  

Anyhow, I wanted to do something special for the kids today so I made macNcheez.  

I worked from this recipe.  I made a few tweaks, though.  

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16oz frozen cauliflower

1 1/2 cups plain almond milk (you can use rice milk or any type of milk that fits your diet)

2 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 cup of nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika (for the smokey flavor)

1/4 tsp turmeric (for color)

 

I put the cauliflower in the pot with just enough water to boil it.  I boiled it until tender.  Then I drained it and put it in my Vitamix.  At that point I added all the other ingredients to the blender and blended until smooth.  

I poured the sauce back in the pot and scooped my brown rice pasta directly into the sauce without rinsing so that the starch would further thicken the sauce.

 

And done.  Even my 18 year old son said it was good.  SCORE!  It’s a keeper.

 

Posted in recipes, Uncategorized

Sweet potato pancakes

This whole gluten-free and dairy-free thing has been very overwhelming….and expensive.  God has provided just what we need.  I’m not feeling a lot of excess, though realistically I know we live completely surrounded by excess, but I’m trying to focus on having “enough”.  

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about “enough” lately.  I always thought that growing up without many things, left me feeling like I needed to hoard things.  Food included.  Well, my husband didn’t grow up without and he also likes to hoard things.  Despite my desire to stockpile things like food, school books, and clothing for my children I really dislike clutter.  

We’re a military family.  With that comes PCSing, or moving around the country and world.  PCS stands for Permanent Change of Station.  I challenge the army’s definition of permanent.  We’ve moved rather frequently.  LOL  We’ve been at the current duty station the longest and we’ve gotten rather comfortable.  By that I mean, we’ve collected too much stuff.  

Right now we’re realizing that another move is coming our way even though we don’t have any details or even a timeline.  And so it’s time to get rid of the excess.  Stressful times call for comfort food.  For my kiddos that means pancakes.  

I’m only JUST learning to use these different gluten-free flours and trying to find the best options for our nutritional needs.

We are looking to limit and slowly introduce coconut flour to Mim’s sensitive digestive system in the hopes that she’ll adjust to it.  

We’re slowly introducing eggs to Mickey Mouse to see if she’s allergic.

We’re not wanting excessively high calorie meals like you would get if you stuck to just almond flour. 

And finally, we’re looking to respect and maybe even reduce our grocery expense.  

 

So tonight’s dinner was brinner.  Breakfast for dinner.  

This works out to be 134 calories per serving with 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of sugar.  

Depending on your family size and needs, you may want to reduce this recipe.  I always make pancakes with the intention of putting them in the freezer so that the children can help themselves to breakfast during the week.  

This recipe makes about 40 servings of 2 4 inch pancakes each.

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6 cups mashed sweet potato

4 cups Hodgson Mill Multi-purpose Baking Mix Gluten Free (I’ll update later when I use my own baking mix blend)

2 cups almond meal (blanched almonds that I ran through the food processor)

1/4 cup coconut flour

3 tbsp gluten free baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

5 eggs

2 tbsp coconut sugar

2 tbsp cinnamon

1 1/2 cup water (I’ll likely use almond milk in the future)

 

Mix well and spoon onto your hot griddle.  This mixture is very thick and so it didn’t bubble like traditional pancakes would, so watch the edges carefully.  

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Our latest chapter…gluten-free and dairy-free

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Tinkerbell and Mickey Mouse (photo taken by Kelly McGovern Photography http://www.kellymcgovernphotography.com/)

The precious pumpkins have had eczema since they were around 2 years old.  They’re the youngest of our kiddos.  In 2009 we cleaned all the corn, nuts, eggs, and anything containing malt from our home. 

The eczema continued. 

It had been suggested by many of our friends that we eliminate dairy and gluten. That seemed silly to me because they’d been tested and found to not be allergic to dairy or gluten.  We even switched to raw milk. 

Our family chiropractor suggested that we eliminate dairy and gluten.  I responded with my standard “they’re not allergic to that”.  His answer was that allergy testing is not to be trusted.  I remembered the allergist telling me that with the blood testing we would get false positives, but no false negatives.  That really got me to thinking about how ridiculous that statement is.  It’s like saying “We’re going to run this test and the results aren’t reliable, but we’re going to do it anyway.  It’s only flawed in one direction.”  I’m no longer buying it. 

Today is day 4 since we had the talk in our home.  We sat the children down and explained that we were going gluten and dairy free, too.  Tears were actually shed by Mickey Mouse over her beloved cheese. 

The 1st day was painful, for me.  I had to clean our our pantry and fridge after having already spent our grocery budget for this pay period.  I’m a penny pincher.  It HURT. 

The 2nd day was painful, too.  I had to tell my kiddos “nope, there’s no cheese”  “Nope, no yogurt.”  “Graham crackers are gone, too.”  “Nope, tortillas hit the road.”  And on and on.

The 3rd day they were eating fruit and complaining less. 

So, we know they can have almonds.  They’ve been able to have eggs in baked goods.  We’re going to try them on straight up eggs in about a week to see how they respond.  For now the recipes I post will be gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, corn-free, and soy-free. 

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Shoe shopping

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Do you feel judged all the time?  A couple of years ago I came to the realization that a lot of my social anxiety was my own fault.  I felt like people were watching me and judging me all the time.  My internal dialogue was devastating.  It really clicked when I was asked a very straight forward and simple question.  “Why do you think people are judging you?” 

Why indeed?  What evidence did I have?  Was I such a figure that people simply couldn’t wait to see what I was going to do next?  The answer was hard and ugly.  It was because I knew I was judging them.  I knew I was looking at that woman in the store and saying, to myself  “I can’t believe she went out in public like that.”  “Why would she have an argument in the middle of the store with her husband?”  “Like we all want to hear that!”  and especially “Oh yes, lady, I came to the store without my children so I could listen to yours scream.” 

That paints a pretty ugly picture of me, doesn’t it? 

It was having a negative impact even though I never said the words out loud. 

From that point on, I made a conscious effort to correct my thinking. I would quickly replace those negative thoughts with positive ones.  Those negative thoughts still creep in sometimes, but it’s up to me and only me to change them.  I’ve found it easier and easier to go out without feeling looked down upon.  I’ve learned to be ok with where I am in life and who I am.  I’ve realized that most judgements are reflections on the person doing the judging and their own unhappiness.  

What does this have to do with shoes or shoe shopping?  You’ve heard the expression “If the shoe fits…?” 

STOP TRYING ON SHOES!  No one else is going to force them on you.  If you are feeling judged, stop judging others and stop trying on shoes.  The ones currently on your feet are just fine. 

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

 

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It’s all related

Proverbs 22:6

“Train up a child in the way he should go,

And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

I do not claim to be a perfect parent.  I fail.  Daily.  I see my failings and acknowledge them.  I strive for better. 

Not too long ago I was upset by a review of a Bible study that said that God required of us perfection not imperfect progress.  I knew immediately that this person was not someone I could relate to.  I am most definitely imperfect progress.  I progress.  I fail.  I try harder and progress some more.  Everything about ME is imperfect and all that is perfect lies solely in our Heavenly Father. 

The point of this is the word “progress”.

Definition of PROGRESS

1
a (1) : a royal journey marked by pomp and pageant (2) : a state procession

 

b : a tour or circuit made by an official (as a judge)

 

c : an expedition, journey, or march through a region

2
: a forward or onward movement (as to an objective or to a goal) : advance
3
: gradual betterment; especially : the progressive development of humankind
 
I am speaking specifically of definitions 2 & 3.  I know who, somewhat, I want to be.  I know the morals and values I want my family to have.  I work towards those. 
 
I am already better than I was.  I will almost certainly never achieve my perfect ideal for two reasons.  First is that I’m not perfect.  I do fail.  Second is that once goals are achieved, then it’s time to set new goals. 
 
As I move forward I can see the things behind me with a clarity that I didn’t have when I was facing them.  The whole hindsight is 20/20 thing.  God has definitely guided more and more of my choices as I’ve released more of me to HIS will.  I do not take credit for the good in my life.  It’s all HIM. 
 
My children.  In the beginning, I was told how strict I am and how I was going to “break their will”.   I’ve heard “boys will be boys” and “kids will be kids”.  I’ve also heard “the proof is in the pudding”.  I get approached by people who struggle with their children’s behaviors looking for advice.  I can usually tell quickly if they are willing to make changes.  
 
Changes.  A small example of what we experienced was with a TV show called Caillou.  The girls used to LOVE that show.  I could get the kitchen cleaned and have peace and quiet if they were just parked in front of that show.  Then the behavior started.  They whined when they didn’t get their way.  They became argumentative, started back talking, and had tantrums.  These were not my children.  I finally actually WATCHED Caillou myself and was shocked.  They were mimicking this child’s behavior!  My eyes were opened.  We cut that show and began to pay close attention to what they were watching.  I stopped taking it for granted that this network or that network was ok.  After about a month of not being allowed to watch that show, they would still ask, but the behavior was gone.  So was my peace and quiet and clean kitchen, but it was worth it.
 
From then on we have observed everything.  We screen their TV, their books, their music, and even their friends.  We try to expose them to what we DO want them to mimic. 
 
As they’ve gotten older, more questionable stuff is allowed, but we talk about it.  We have conversations that make clear where we stand.  This is essential to prepare them for the world and to prepare them to make the choices that only they will be able to make. 
 
 

My oldest turned 18 last week.   I have no idea what it’s like to have a disrespectful teen.  He’s never spoken to me with anger.  When he has issues, he doesn’t hesitate to sit down and ask if we can talk.  I praise God for this fantastic young man, with his quirky sense of humor, and pray that God will continue to guide and bless him.  

 
I can only hold their hands for such a short period of time when I look out over their lives.  I’ve held it tightly in both of mine.  My prayer is that they’ll always remember the warmth of my embrace and feel that I guided them as lovingly as I could onto the right path. 
 
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Why I don’t really like Christmas

It is upon us…and it’s my LEAST favorite holiday.  I’m not a Scrooge or a Grinch.  I’m a wife and mother.  

Everyone looks to me for everything.  I have to do all the planning and almost all of the execution.  Everyone expects it to be fun and memorable.  The meal.  The gifts.  The entertainment.  All on me. 

Who makes it fun and memorable for me?  Don’t get me wrong.  I do take joy in seeing my family happy, but there’s so much hype that it’s one big mess of “what’s next??”

“what are we gonna do now??”  and all eyes turn to me. 

I take more joy from Thanksgiving when everyone knows it’s a lovely meal, time spent with family, and just the process of lingering over those things we are thankful for.  There’s no expectation except that the food be good.  🙂

My family isn’t especially materialistic.  They’re always happy with what they get and never want for more.  There’s just the hype in the media and all around them that it’s hard to NOT take in that Christmas should be magical.  I spend my time fighting to see to it that they see the magic was in the birth, life, and resurrection of Christ.  There’s so much build-up that sometimes HE gets lost in the shuffle and the excitement. 

I’d rather have two Thanksgivings.