Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Hey, y'all.

It's been a while! We've continued to eat every day :) but not usually from a lunch box. I do have kitchen news, though, and something I hope will help others.

For years I resisted the gluten-free diet trend, preferring instead to explore the wonders of sourdough baking and push our diet in a more plant-centered direction. With T recently diagnosed with celiac disease, however, I've cleared gluten out of our kitchen. Here's my checklist (PDF, print double-sided), in case you're needing to do the same. It was expensive and a lot of work, so I don't recommend it if it isn't medically necessary for you; gradual changes are easier as long as you keep working toward your desired diet.

T needs to gain about a pound and a half a month right now, so there's also a lot more meat and dessert going on around here. And especially without PB & J as the basis for lunch, a lot more cooking and dish-washing. I've bought some celery, so at least now we can do ants on a log.

If you're in the same boat, here are some simple gluten-free meal ideas:
  • A veggie frittata - I like to sauté some mushrooms first, beat about 6 eggs, and mix the eggs and mushrooms along with some spices (salt, pepper, maybe sage, whatever). I pour it into a buttered glass pie plate. Top with Roma tomato slices, and a little grated cheese or nutritional yeast. Throw on a little zucchini or finely grated carrot if you like. Cook in a 350F oven for about 30 minutes.
  • Japanese butter chicken (I omit the sake) and brown rice with an easy vegetable, such as microwaved frozen peas - I freeze the extra rice in a canning jar. Make sure to use tamari rather than a soy sauce that contains wheat!
  • Salad and popcorn are easy sides for something like tofu, bacon (check ingredients) or shrimp.
  • I liked these slow cooker turkey meatballs. T liked them without the sauce. To isolate some in the slow cooker and keep them plain, use a pint canning jar. 
  • This sticky sesame cauliflower recipe is really good. It's vegan as written, but I replace the agave with honey for convenience.
  • Baked potatoes are naturally gluten-free and go great with broccoli and cheese. White or sweet potatoes do very well in a slow cooker: Wash, put them in whole, and cook on low 6 to 12 hours. Small ones cook a bit faster. They come out amazing. Covington sweet potatoes are my favorite vegetable to eat plain.
  • Most stuffed tomato or pepper recipes are gluten-free, or can easily be made that way. Here's an example: brown some beef, with minced onion and garlic as desired. Mix with cooked rice, the tomato bits scooped with a melon baller after slicing off the top, some oregano and other Italian seasonings, a little grated cheese, and a beaten egg. Fill the tomatoes and bake 25-30 minutes in a 325 or 350F oven. Bell peppers do better if steamed a few minutes before filling and baked a little longer.
  • Many soups can be made gluten-free. I plan to make peanut soup tomorrow--something along the lines of this one.
And now to the important issue, as far as T is concerned: What about dessert?
  • Ice cream is GF unless it has add-ins like cookie dough. GF cones are an expensive specialty item; it might be worthwhile to make a banana split or sundae instead.
  • I tried a buckeye recipe (peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate). They're a bit messy to make, but good.
  • King Arthur Flour (no affiliation) has some GF recipes and products. Today we made the caramel corn with peanuts. Unfortunately, Boy Scout popcorn has malt flavoring, so we won't be able to buy it this fall unless they make changes. Homemade it is.
  • There's always fruit salad, or a parfait with gf granola. (Yeah, oat products are presumably contaminated unless marked otherwise.)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring adventure lunches

For the six-year-old:



-- Peanut butter on crackers; raisins; extra PB for the celery in the little red container;
-- Fruit "pudding";
-- Tomatoes, broccoli, celery, and carrots;
-- Bee-shaped cake;


For the parent:

-- Carrots and broccoli with ranch dip;
-- Butterfly-shaped cake;
-- Crackers with roasted chicken and cheese;
-- Almonds.
I wish I had some grapes to add this time.

The cakes are from a modified recipe from My Halal Kitchen: I replaced the blueberries with mini chocolate chips, reduced the sugar slightly, and baked for about 25 minutes in silicone molds.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Autumn

Okay, first the lunches, then the news.



-- Raspberries;
-- Turkey sandwich; orange bell pepper;
-- Cucumbers;
-- Dried cranberries.


-- English muffin;
-- Cucumber slices;
-- Raspberries;
-- Almonds and raisins;
--  Frittata; bacon.


-- Pluot; carrot sticks;
-- Hummus; date-coconut bar;
-- Lemon (knife is included, not shown;
-- Sandwich.
Yes, my husband will cut up a lemon and eat it plain. I don't, but I see the appeal; at least lemon tastes better than grapefruit.


So now the news. As faithful readers (all six of you?) have noticed, I have not been posting often. No worries: life here is good. The lapses in blogging have happened because, to be completely candid, I have better things to do.

Don't get me wrong: we love food around here, and I still pack my husband's lunch two to four days a week, plus the occasional meal for a picnic or whatever (we're looking forward to one Saturday, in fact). But I'm no longer finding food blogging rewarding enough to merit a commitment to posting very regularly. I am homeschooling my Toddlebug, I've somehow wound up on two church committees, I have to put time into keeping the house from sliding from "lived in" to, um, slovenly (yay for the FLYLady!), and my cat apparently considers me full-time staff. And for some reason my dear husband would rather have me make dinner than tell the Internet about lunch! (Actually, I prefer that too--if he is in charge of dinner... well, he can't be in charge of dinner. Did I mention I'm a picky eater?) Plus, if I don't read a couple of books a week, get some exercise, knit for charity occasionally, cuddle up to my husband often, and get outside once in a while, I have trouble with my AoG (attitude of gratitude) and slip into more of a B---- range, which is not how I like to be.

TL; DR: It's time to make sure my time is invested in ways that meet important needs and support my personal goals.
Therefore:
  • This blog will revert to its old URL, http://www.basicbento.blogspot.com, in a few weeks.
  • I will update if and when I have something interesting to show you.
Meanwhile, go visit the other blogs in the blogroll over on the right. Surf Pinterest for something veggielicious instead of all those crazy Cool-Whip-based desserts. Shop at the Farmers' Market and make something awesome for yourself and the people you love!

Take care.
--M.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chicken and veg

Here's my husband's lunch for today:



-- Chicken (I made our favorite roasted chicken, so this is left over; I simmered it with some taco spices this morning before packing it);
-- Baby carrots;
-- Hummus;
-- Red bell pepper and broccoli;
-- Dried cranberries.