January 2020 has already been a success and a test of my word for the year.
I had three words for 2019, Connection, Comfort and Confidence. I needed all of them last year as I tried to do more professionally, put myself out there as an expert in living a life with multiple food allergies and Celiac disease, and feel comfortable in my life doing those things.
My word for this year is Refresh. There are many ways I feel like I am going through the motions in my business and in my life. There are somethings I need to go back to the drawing board on, some I need to take a step back and start again, and some I need to radically mend and shock myself with action. I need a refresh.
I think both of refreshing a computer when it is stuck and refreshing a room with a new coat of paint. I am also refreshing some of my go to recipes and reaching outside my comfort zone to expand my food knowledge and ways of cooking to support both my own eating and for those I am coaching.
I’m always looking to add more fresh fruits, veggies and greens to my menus. I feel fuller throughout the day when I add a salad to my lunch. I like making salad like Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad or some other “planned/recipe” salad. One of the reason’s I am not making salads from greens is that it is hard to find a dressing that is free of all the ingredients we avoid.
One of my #2020goals is to make dressing twice a month. There are a few I already make and like but want to add more to my rotation. I love this Strawberry Basil dressing. It is easy to make and during the summer I can use the basil from my garden. It will keep for just a few days in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. My trick in the winter is to make it with frozen strawberries. Not as flavorful as fresh picked in June but still a great dressing for greens.
Happy 2020. I took a long time off for the holidays this year. It was a much needed break for me and I was able to visit family and spend time with those I love.
Traveling can cause a lot of anxiety for those of us who have to avoid food due to Celiac Disease, Food Allergies and other food avoidance diagnosis. Extra planning for your travels and taking your own food helps ease some of the anxiety with travel. For me, if you have been following you know, I take Bobo bars or Bobo bites. I always take a reusable water bottle to fill up at the airport after going through security. I also pack a reusable thermos for hot coffee.
When planning for a trip check out the airport you will be traveling to and from ahead of time. Even if there is just the standard gas station offerings there can be some safe food. For my Dairy/Soy/Peanut/Tree nut allergic Celiac child, Lay’s potato chips are offered almost everywhere.
Now that I am back and spent the last two weekends binging three seasons of The Great British Baking Show I have so many baking ideas in my head. I love the bold flavor combinations that so many of the contestants use in their bakes. I am not very artistic and the thought of piping anything is intimidating. My baking goals for the year do include “learn how to decorate cookies and cakes.” For today I will stick with some of my tried and true recipes.
My local veggie market has had blueberries at a great price so I made blueberry crisp twice this past week. I love my Apple Crisp recipe but find this drier topping pairs well with blueberries. You could use it with any fruit, and the addition of the oatmeal is a nice texture change from the hot fruit.
I heat this up for a treat mid-day, but have been known to have it for breakfast.
I have finished my menu planning for our Thanksgiving dinner. This year it will be mostly traditional foods.
A big turkey from Trader Joe’s. Stuffing made from Walmart’s gluten-free white bread. Rolls made from teff flour. My kids favorite chocolate pie. The salad may change to Brussels sprout salad, but then I would need to change my roasted vegetable.
I’m really looking forward to the leftovers. I love Turkey Dill Salad. A whole cup of dill in one salad.
I went to Woodman’s this week and they had many products for your milk-free, gluten-free Thanksgiving.
They had the Earth Balance Soy Free Sticks. I had not been able to find these for awhile. Whole Foods (the one by me) had stopped selling them.
SoDelicious Oatmilk Vanilla
SoDelicious Oatmilk Snickerdoodle
I was excited to see these creamers. Last years list of 100 things included start drinking coffee black. The switch was not as hard as I expected and now I don’t feel as bad about the brown sugar I put in my oatmeal. I used the vanilla creamer in a chocolate frosting I made for a friends birthday cake and it was amazing!
Aleia’s Stuffing Mix
Aleia’s Stuffing Mix Ingredients
Woodman’s carries so many good brands for those on a gluten-free diet. I had not seen the Aleia’s brand stuffing that so many people were asking questions about in the gluten-free groups. I was happy to see that it was also free of milk. (It does contain eggs.)
They had some of the Enjoy Life holiday cookies. The Kinnikinnick Gram Style Crumbs would be a great shortcut for making pie crusts. Full circle Market Organic Gluten-Free Fried Onions were a good find too. It has been hard this year to find the Aldi Gluten-Free Fried Onions so it is great to have an alternative.
I am making my usual holiday menu. With lots of extra for leftovers for the weekend and for the freezer.
There are lots of questions about stuffing. I have been to Trader Joes and Aldi. Both of their boxed stuffing mixes contain milk so I will not be using them but I do think they are a great option for those new to the gluten-free lifestyle.
Aldi Live G Free Stuffing 2019
Aldi Live G Free Stuffing 2019
I use an old stuffing recipe and sub my favorite gluten-free bread. I’ve always used untoasted bread, torn into bite size pieces. Last year I used Walmarts gluten-free bread and will use it again this year. I made garlic bread with Canyon Bakehouse’s Mountain White last night and have some left over. I may make a small batch of stuffing with this as the base if I have some extra time today or tomorrow. To see if it makes a better stuffing base.
Today I am making a batch of Chicken Bone Broth – in the Pressure Cooker. I made lots of chicken wings the other day so I would have plenty for a batch of broth to help get me through making all the sides for Thanksgiving.
My menu includes a salad, corn casserole, a big turkey, roasted brussels sprouts, cranberry fluff, and a chocolate pie dessert that I make with Daiya Cream Cheese (contains nightshades) for my kids. On my list of 100 things for 2020 includes making my own dairy-free cream cheese that is nightshade free.
How are you preparing for Thanksgiving? What is on your menu?
I really am a creature of habit. I have oatmeal almost everyday of the year. Yes, hot and hot coffee. When I am traveling I bring along oatmeal packs or eat BoBo Bars.
I had been making batches of oatmeal in the slow cooker until I found that you can make it in the pressure cooker. It’s easy and fast (under 30 minutes).
I usually make enough for 5-6 days. Having a breakfast that I just need to heat up makes my mornings go smoother.
My favorite oatmeal to make this way is Bob’s Redmill Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats. I like to use a one to one ratio for the Oatmeal, one cup water for every one cup of oatmeal. I usually make a batch of 3 cups of oatmeal which gives me around 6 servings.
I store it in a container in the refrigerator and take some out each morning. It would work too to store it in glass single serve containers to be reheated individually.
I add a non-dairy milk, cinnamon and brown sugar to enjoy each morning. With hot coffee of course.
3 cups Oatmeal (I use Bob’s Redmill Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats)
3 cups Water
Put Oatmeal and water in the Instapot or pressure cooker.
Set the pressure cooker to 8-10 minutes on the rice setting.
Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes and then open and enjoy!
I store in the refrigerator and take some out each morning to have for breakfast. It could also be stored in single serve glass containers to be heated up in the morning, a little bit more time saved in your day. – Susan
I love to try making all the fall baking treats. I still haven’t been able to make a good Pumpkin Bread, so I thought I would try a Pumpkin Bar. It was definitely a “No”. Too chewy and oily.
Baking fails happen. It often feel worse now that I’m using all the different gluten-free flours and dairy alternatives that are more expensive. But I had plenty of baking fails before we needed to change our diets due to Celiac Disease and food allergies.
It’s a good thing I have Aldi’s new Sea Salt Caramel Dessert Hummus to have with apples instead of the chewy pumpkin bars. Have you tried this seasonal dessert hummus? It is really good.
I better make some Brownies, since when my kids saw the pan yesterday they thought brownies (it is the only thing the pan is used for) and I had to quickly warn them it was NOT brownies.
I’m back to the pumpkin bar/ pumpkin bread drawing board. I also have one other dessert I am trialing this week. I hope it turns out better than my pumpkin bar experiment.
I love fall. It is my favorite time of year. So far it has been busy and cold!
I participated in FAACT’s Teen Retreat with my daughter. What an amazing time for teens with food allergies and their parents. As an adult with food allergies I often feel the odd man out, and am thankful that most of my friends, family, and coworkers ask questions and are understanding to my food needs. This weekend was the support that my teen needed to feel NORMAL.
Many of us lunched at Maggiano’s Oak Brook. With well over 20 teens and adults needing to special order, Chef Tito did an amazing job. I love seafood, but often it is pre-seasoned in the morning or the night before. I knew they could do the pasta for me (gluten-free pasta with just oil and garlic) but I really wanted some shrimp. Chef Tito said yes, they pre-season their shrimp but would try to find some plain shrimp for me and he did! It was great to see all the kids order and eat with no problems. Every child at the table had to list their allergies and ask extra questions making it normal for the next child to do the same.
The rest of the weekend was full of new friends, speakers who were informative and personable, and teens and parents who get what it’s like living with food allergies. We can’t wait till next years and are trying to figure out how to fit Camp TAG into our summer schedule and hopefully a visit with our new friends before the 2020 Teen Retreat.
Now that we are home and getting back in the swing of things, I am again attempting to make pumpkin bread from scratch that tastes as good as the GF box mix from Trader Joes. With all of it’s cross contamination warnings I would like to find something safer.
My attempt looked good but wasn’t quite done and was dense on the bottom. My kids had all kinds of Great British Bake Off lines to describe the failure, which made me happy. It was an improvement on my last attempt at pumpkin bread, yeah me.
I guess I will stick to my Apple Crisp for today. And try pumpkin bread again next week.