In the Kitchen: Gluten Free

I am trying to pysch myself up for eating gluten-free again. While I’ve never been diagnosed with celiac disease, I have experienced symptoms of gluten intolerance.

When I went gluten-free last year, my joint pain disappeared, digestive issues improved, and I slept so much better. I know it’s a healthy choice for me, but it’s really difficult without intense meal prep and planning.

I want to go in it with a better game plan this time, so I started by making a list of dinners that my family already eats that are gluten-free (or easily adaptable for me).

Easy GF Dinners:

Taco Bowls with rice
Roasted Chicken, Potatoes and Carrots
Stir Fry Chicken or Shrimp, Squash and Onions
Potato Soup with Sausage
Grilled Chicken or Pork, served over salad
Hash, with potatoes, peppers, and onion
Cheesesteaks (without the bun)

These are the common dinners that my family loves that make it hard to stick with a gluten-free diet:

Spaghetti (I can make with chickpea pasta)
Sandwiches (I can use GF bread)
Pizza (I am doomed)

I haven’t made it beyond list-making. But as good veggies are popping up in the grocery and farmer markets will be opening soon, it seems less daunting.  Does anyone else have this ‘good on paper, bad on follow-through’ problem?



New Recipes

These colder days bring a renewed energy to get creative in the kitchen for me, but this energy is tempered by my kids -especially because they aren’t always open to new flavors.

Not sure if this resonates, but I need familiar ingredients that are filling- comfort food at its most basic! (eggs, potato, cheese, pork, pie dough), and it needs to be simple enough that it can be made on a weeknight. The kids love to help and I want to encourage it.

I am going to search through these cookbooks that are new at my library for inspiration to try to get some ideas for next month. Tonight, we scrapped the idea on my calendar in favor of breakfast for dinner, which is so comforting on this chilly and damp day!




My November Dinner Plan

This month I am trying out something different.

I decided to give each day of the week a theme according to the time and effort I have for cooking dinner.

Then I filled in a month’s worth of dinners so the Saturday grocery list is easy to compile, and a good starting point if I wanted to buy some food items in bulk.

  • Sunday: Roast Something
  • Monday: Beans-Soup Night
  • Tuesday: Salad Night
  • Wednesday: Out
  • Thursday: Quick Grill
  • Friday: Leftovers-Pizza
  • Saturday: Pasta

november meal planI am sure we will adjust slightly as the month bears on us, but it made my heart happy to have a plan.

How do you meal plan?


A Slow Cooker Secret

I have been reading One-Pan Wonders, a Cook’s Country publication that I borrowed from my library, and I wanted to share this tip that I found in the Saffron Chicken Stew recipe (which was delicious, by the way!).

Microwave the diced onions with your aromatics to brighten the flavors, before adding to the slow cooker.

So simple and punchy, and for just 3-5 minutes in the microwave, those onions with a little oil and spice bring a tremendous amount of rich flavor.

The weather has turned cooler this week, and I have made both Beef Stew and Chili in my slow cooker this week, and they were extra delicious with this small recipe tweak.

Hope you are having a deliciously cozy fall week as well!


In the Kitchen: Pizza Rolls


Thaw Frozen Yeast Rolls in a muffin tin lined with aluminum cupcake liners.
After they thaw and double in size, (5-8 hours… they work while you work!) pinch apart and stuff with some mozzarella cheese and your favorite pizza toppings.
Drizzle with melted butter and season (I sprinkled with parmesean and garlic powder.)
Bake according to the yeast roll instructions (mine was 375 degrees for 14 minutes)
Dip into your favorite marinara sauce for the weeknight dinner win!


April Reading

As spring blossomed, I heeded the call to be outdoors this month (allergies be damned, ha). We spent several weekends at the lake, adjusting the dock and cleaning up after the flooding, and just enjoying some longer evenings spent with friends, riding bikes and playing in our neighborhood.

I had running on the brain, with the half marathon, and read a couple of cookbooks about running nutrition and whole foods- Run Fast/ Eat Slow and Nourishing Meals.

I also listened to Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli on my walks. It was narrated by John Ritter, a voice I adore. Stargirl is a girl who is misunderstood, who marches quite literally to the beat of her own drum. I loved it and can’t wait to enjoy this one again with my soon-to-be-middle-schooler.

I’ve been wanting to read When Breath Becomes Air for awhile now. Being so popular when it came out, it was hard to pick up at the library. And in forgetting to reserve it online, completely forgot about the book. A couple of months ago, when reading yet another glowing review, I finally pulled the trigger and got on the wait list at the library. Of course, the advantage in waiting is that the library has many, many copies now and the wait was not long. The book was hopeful, and sad, and lovely, and just everything I wanted it to be. (Well maybe not, I knew the ending, but if I didn’t- I would hope for some magical cure, happy-ending optimist that I am.) The medical jargon was a little over my head, but broken down enough that I got the gist of what was happening to Paul. I certainly read it more with the focus of Lucy and how she must feel to navigate this journey, rather than Paul. A true must-read, as many reviews have advertised.

I also read Running by Cara Hoffman. I had mixed feelings about this one. The story is centralized around a young girl orphaned very young, and raised unconventionally. She ends up hustling for money and squatting around Europe. Parts of the story were shocking, and seemed to amount to a miserable existence. Just when you think the abandonment and hopelessness would triumph, hope peeked around the corner and you realized that she was living the life she wanted. So maybe as an observer, I just don’t understand the appeal of the lifestyle, and that’s why I was a bit distracted and uninterested as a reader.

Have you read anything wonderful lately?


Reading Phases

I don’t know if this is common with others, but I go through reading phases. My interest will go heavily into nonfiction, fiction, biographies, magazines, cookbooks, or juvenile novels, for several months. Because I am actually recording what I read these days, there’s a certain effort into spreading it out. But what happens now, instead of enjoying that rabbit hole, it results in me just not reading and picking up my knitting or focusing on running, if I can’t get into what I’m telling myself I should be reading (instead of what I want to be reading). Which is a long way of saying, I haven’t been reading very much.

But I did pick up two excellent cookbooks that were new on my library’s shelves this past month (and disheartenedly, they are due tomorrow and reserved, so there’s no option of renewing).

Nourishing Meals by Alissa Segersten & Tom Malterre

Nourishing Meals was excellent, and would be a top notch resource if your meal planning involves sidestepping gluten, dairy and soy. You should have seen how many recipes I sticky-noted along the way! I made the grapefruit and radish salad a few weeks ago, and have so many more plans to incorporate these recipes into my daily routine. There’s practical advice on lunch planning, creating balanced family meals, and incorporating smart snacking into your diet.

Run Fast. Eat Slow. by Shalene Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky

I heard about Run Fast. Eat Slow. on the podcast, Another Mother Runner. The half marathon training was in full swing, and I was struggling with the energy to get out the door for the longer runs and trying to figure out what to eat (& when) to maximize my energy levels while also being realistic about balancing my busy work & kid schedule. With the help of this book, I roasted beets for smoothies, garlic and sweet potatoes, and batch cooked whole grains. This book was endorsed by some pretty impressive athletes- Joan Benoit Samuelson, Meb Keflezighi and Allyson Felix. I want to be running in ten or twenty years, and it is conclusive that getting nourishment from whole foods is the key to long-term success.

If you are into the whole foods movement or need help avoiding certain allergens, both of these books would be recommended.