menu plan


Fall, to me, feels like the beginning of the new year. School begins and summer habits must be reshaped. The air takes on a smell of decaying leaves and even chimney fires and evenings grow quieter. Patterns and routines are regained. And so I find myself revisiting menu planning. My first born has made it successfully through the first week of kindergarten and I’ve made it through the first week of packing lunches; however, dinners involved too much food made by others (i.e. Thai food, take out Gf pizza, etc).

I also find myself, like last year at the beginning of fall, hitting a low ebb physically. I’m tired and achy and I’m not sure why. Last year I went to a nutritionist and a massage therapist who specialize in abdominal massage in hopes of continuing to aid my body in healing after years of living with undiagnosed Celiac. This year as I approach the third anniversary of my diagnosis I mostly feel confused and discouraged as to why I don’t feel better. (It might possibly have to do with my energetic 5 and 3 year olds or just possibly with the effort I’ve put into starting my own business this year but it seems to be something more than even those account for).

I hope to regain some energy so I can savor this favorite season of mine and I so I’m going to return to the basics: enough rest and good food. So, on to the menu plan! It looks like this week’s Gf Menu Plan Monday item is apples. Since a friend just gave me a bag of local apples and our tomato plants are loaded with green tomatoes, I’m going to try my hand at a Green Tomato and Apple Pie. If anyone has a favorite GF pie crust recipe, please pass it on. I’ve made OK crusts so far but nothing outstanding. I’m still hunting.

Ok, the rest of the week:

Monday–Roast chicken and potatoes w/ sauted red chard

Tuesday–spaghetti w/ green salad w/ the option of eating the sauce over spaghetti squash

Wednesday–Thai stir-fry w/ jasmine rice

Thursday–homemade GF pepperoni pizza using Bob’s Red mill mix

Friday–fried green tomatoes (yes, we have a lot that aren’t ripening this cool Seattle summer), grilled corn cut off cob and mixed w/ bell peppers sauted w/ bacon…and I’m not coming up with a meat to go with it. Maybe make a salad, cook a few extra strips of bacon, and call it good.

Speaking of good food, I just learned a gluten free dessert place is opening walking distance from my home! One more reason the season feels it is full of new beginnings.

This week’s menu is finally happening, but not until Tuesday. I’m looking through our cupboards and thinning them out. I think I am finally figuring out what the pantry staples of our gluten free life are. Initially I had to try everything. I’ve finally found my favorites as well as what I have time for on a regular basis. Maybe next week I’ll actually make a list of what is regular eating in our house, snacks and meals, as well as what I benefit from (almost) always having on hand. I’m enjoying other bloggers (such as Gluten Free Mommy, Gluten Free Cooking School and Book of Yum) posting on how they manage their food bills since this is something I’ve had little success at but am ready to begin to tackle.

I will put up a post later this week with a recipe for lasagna.

Short and sweet, the menu:

Monday we grilled out with friends and had chicken kebobs w/ peppers and onions and mushrooms, potato packets with rosemary and leeks, and this amazing salad that had all sorts of fresh herbs in it. Mmmm.

Tuesday: left over aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower), dal and rice.

Wednesday: GF lasagna

Thursday: community dinner with a friend whose house hosts these on a regular basis.

Friday: bean soup and cornbread

I hope to make white bean hummus today (TJs has an awesome white bean hummus but it has soy sauce in it). For the kids one of these days I’m going to make a pasta with homemade cheese sauce, broccoli, carrots and peas. It is a fun kid friendly recipe so I’ll try to get that one posted.

Woodland girlCheers!

Last week was a slow recovery from the good foods of Easter weekend. This weekend was spent writing a resume and filling out an application for a counseling internship. BUT we still need to eat, so here’s my best attempt at a menu for our week:

The Menu

Monday–quinoa, carrot and potato soup. Simple, warm and basic.

Tuesday–black bean and sweet potato tacos

Wednesday–slow cooked Rosemary lamb shanks with garlic potatoes, some other veggie and Kate’s millet quinoa bread, an adaptation of Natalie’s great oat millet bread. (I’m currently out of oats so I’m going into new territory with the quinoa flour)

Thursday–class. Maybe I’ll make a pizza ahead of time.

Friday–Sea’s spinach cottage pie. I’m a sucker for caramelized onions.

It just keeps raining and snowing and being generally nasty here in Seattle. The cherry trees are glorious but who wants to go sit under them when it is 40 degrees and raining? However, I just heard thunder for the second time this week and that almost makes it worthwhile. It almost never thunders here and it is surprising how much I miss it.

I look forward to getting past this season of applying for internships and writing papers. I don’t have much left over for cooking. Of course, then the weather will get nice and I’ll want to stay out on the playground with the kids until the sun goes down. I might just be in trouble until next October.

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When Jeff and I were planning our honeymoon, we knew we wanted to go somewhere out of the country. Jeff had grown up in Peru but beyond that had only been to the States and Mexico. I myself am addicted to international travel and need very little excuse to experience another country. We only had a week to travel and we didn’t want to spend the whole time on planes. Initially we thought about British Columbia, but in the end we decided to go to Ireland. Sadly, I was wiped out from the wedding that continued to be exhausted most of the trip. But Ireland was beautiful. Seeing the countryside and eating the food at the beginning of our marriage has certainly added a certain flavor to our relationship. We added braised beef in guinness and Irish stew to our regular meal rotation. Jeff is makes a mean Irish soda bread. However, Guinness and true soda bread is off the menu now. We have some lamb in the freezer, though, so I should make some Irish stew here soon. And, Karina–bless her–posted a scrumptious sounding Irish potato and cabbage soup along with a GF soda bread recipe. Therefore, in honor of our marriage, memories and travel, good Irish food, and St. Patrick’s day I’m going to try my hand at making her recipe this week. However, I don’t have any Van Morrison to play, as she recommends. I think I’ll have to put on Once in the background. And after dinner we might just have to pull our slides of the Irish countryside.

Hopefully I can get the family fed despite my having 3 different night that events will keep me away during the dinner to bedtime hours. And we have a new goal of trying to think ahead on our weekend meals. Book of Yum is hosting this week and Sea’s chosen ingredient is coconut. I’ve been really enjoying using coconut flour in my baked goods. It brings in a little sweetness on its own and is actually quite good for you. I also use it when making homemade granola. (Side note–where do you get your certified GF oats? I’ve been using Bob’s Red Mill’s but they are having stabilization issues (something about how they aren’t staying fresh long enough). They hope to have the problem resolved soon but in the meantime I still want my granola).

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Drum roll, please. Once again here is…

The Menu

MondayKarina’s Irish cabbage and potato soup with soda bread.

Tuesday–Crockpot chili and cornbread (and, yes, I do make a lot of soup. Why do you ask?)

Wednesdayroasted chicken, spinach, and rosemary biscuits

Thursday–breakfast for dinner for dad and kids, leftovers of some kind for me

Friday–stuffed baked potatoes

Saturday–(lunch or dinner) tacos with the leftover shredded chicken; a simple dahl and rice for the other.

Sunday– brunch with friends; hopefully a good roast lamb and potatoes and asparagus with other friends later.

And breakfast this week will end up involving Cocoa Pebbles, a guilty pleasure my husband had the nerve to pick up at the grocery. I know, I know, they are terrible for me. But man they’re good. I just can’t resist. I hope y’all don’t all think I’m a low brow eater now.

So, every other week a box is delivered right to my front door full of organic and as local as possible for the season fruits and veggies. It is marvelous. However, it has also been the same season for quite awhile. I’ve gotten a lot of leeks. I’ve gotten a lot of kale. I’ve gotten a lot of potatoes and squashes. I’m looking forward to a new growing season and more variety in my box. At the same time, I hopefully won’t need our box in parts of the summer because Jeff is working on building raised beds out on our front parking strip, complete with their own watering system. It is a rather big project but he keeps plugging away at it week by week. Hopefully this summer we’ll have so many amazing vegetables I’ll have to learn how to can or something.

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This week Gluten Free Mommy is hosting the menu swap. Her ingredient of the week is thyme, which I may or may not be able to work into any of my recipes. We shall see. I am making a recipe from Gluten-Free Girl’s blog to celebrate Shauna. She just announced she is pregnant! I am so excited for her. In October when I first learned that I was gluten intolerant, her voice was one of the first that I stumbled upon online. And what a lovely, positive voice it was. I was personally grateful to have finally learned the cause of my illnesses as well as a way to hopefully feel better, but the more I have read online the more negative voices I have come across. People who view food as the enemy. Shauna has none of that. Her words are full of hope and joy and celebration. That is what I needed to hear in those first weeks of learning that I was going to have the change a lot of things in my life, changes that would impact my whole family. The week my doc discovered all those gluten antibodies in my blood also just happened to be the week that Shauna’s book came out. I rushed out and bought it, devoured it, tried a few recipes, and then learned she was local and was teach a class on eating gluten-free at a local food co-op. I went to the class and to an event she and the Chef had at his restaurant that week. It was so encouraging to be able to meet other people face to face who were making the same life changes I was. It was great to be able to ask Shauna some of the specific questions I had. It was encouraging to taste gluten-free hors d’oeuvres at Impromptu and soft, tasty baked goods in her class. All these things gave me the courage to jump off and successfully pursue really good gluten-free eating, the courage to claim that I had the right to feel safe from cross-contamination in my home, and the courage to claim that I could still enjoy eating with friends at my home and theirs.

So, here’s to you, Shauna and the little one growing in you. I’ll be praying for good health to both of you.

Menu

MondayJamaican Jerk grilled fish, sweet potato fries, black beans and rice

TuesdayCaldo Verde (Portuguese potato kale soup) and Natalie’s millet oatmeal bread

Wednesday–grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato basil soup and maybe a simple green salad

Thursday–leftovers. I have class and Jeff is with the kids. As long as they have rice, they’ll be fine.

Fridaypork and bean soup, cornbread and salad.

Later this week I hope to post the first version of a rosemary and carmelized onion biscuit recipe I’m playing around with.

And for kicks, here’s a picture of my baby who at the rate she is going won’t be a baby too much longer. I’m so proud of her–she eats about anything I fix. wren-airplane.jpg

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This past week I’ve been sicker (in the general flu, cold, virus manner) than I can remember being for a long time. Days on the couch unable to take care of the kids, much less cook. My husband was sick too, not quite as badly as I have been, and was home for a good part of the week trying to take care of us all. We lived on boxed soups, rice, Gatorade and orange juice. It was a much much simpler week of cooking than I expected and definitely not the kind of break I’d ever want. At one time I somewhat enjoyed getting sick because it was a chance to lay on the couch all day reading books and watching videos. That scenario just doesn’t play out when there are two small ones who don’t quite understand why mommy isn’t as interactive as usual. Thankfully they’ve been sweet and funny all week. And I did get to take many, many naps.

One of the hardest things about the week was that food neither sounded nor tasted good. I just couldn’t taste much and my throat was on fire. It made me realize what a sad thing it would be if we couldn’t share our enjoyment of food. All those lovely adjectives we use to describe food, the beautiful pictures were meaningless, empty and bland to me this past week. It was tragic. Thankfully, this isn’t normally the case. Normally I can describe my favorite dish to best of my ability, ingredients, smells, the look, the bite, the flavors and you can begin mentally to experience it yourself and maybe even ask for my recipe. We can relive favorite family or travel memories by swapping stories of food. And we can sit down and share food together and understand by looking at each others faces what a marvelous part the food plays in our coming together. On that note, I’m honored to be hosting this week’s menu swap and gathering together a lot of delicious looking meal plans in one place. I’m sure some of these dishes will be ending up on my menu down the road because just thinking about them is making me hungry. It is so nice to have my appetite back.

My chosen ingredient for the week is cauliflower. I’ve loved cauliflower ever since I was a kid, but I’ve particularly grown to love it in Indian dishes. It seems to hold the aromatic spices perfectly. It is in season now, I was actually suprised to learn, and is super high in vitamin C, something I’ve been in need of. Eating them (along with broccoli, cabbage, and kale) also seem to reduce the risk of certain cancers because of a compound they contain. It is a tricky plant to grow, so you don’t usually find it in the home garden. It can be eaten raw, pickled, or cooked in a variety of ways. I think mashed cauliflower has a great slightly sweet flavor.

I’m hopefully going to go easy on myself this week, especially since my 2 year old is also pretty sick. I’ll try to get some good vegetables in us. And if you have a menu you’d like me to add to the list, please email me at cris (at) souphouse (dot) org.
The Menu

Monday– Kale and white bean soup (since we didn’t get to this one last week)

Tuesday– Chicken in a Indian simmer sauce and aloo gobi (a cauliflower and potatoe dish) all on Basmati rice, of course.

Wednesday– stir fry (our veggie box is delivered on Tuesday and will have baby bok choy and broccoli in it, so hopefully I can do something with those)

Thursday–breakfast for dinner

Friday–taco salad

Sea at Book of Yum has her menu up, including a collection of great sounding cauliflower recipes if you are looking for ideas. She’s also got some marvelous sounding Thai and Asian fusion dishes I wish I could get in on. Make sure you note that she’s beginning a weekly feature–homemade salad dressings. Yum.

Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl has a new feature along her menu. She’ll be highlighting a cookbook each week and letting us know why she likes it. She has many great sounding veggie dishes as well as a number of recipes from her cookbook of the week, More-with-Less.

Karen at Gluten Free Sox has a yummy looking collection of dishes this week, including Jambalaya…and she’s promising to give us the recipe for that one later this week.

Sally at Aprovechar is focusing on adding leafy greens to her breakfasts. Good for you Sally! Her gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free meals look great and I wish i could have been there for the fish fillets and sweet potato fries last night.

Ester at Lilac Kitchen has her menu up even though she is due on Saturday. I’m so impressed. She figures her boys will then know what to cook for themselves even is she delivers this week. She even has two nights of cauliflower (since she had some on hand to use up).

Ginger at Fresh Ginger is back from traveling and has her menu up from the second half of this week. She’s promising to post a recipe for Shepherd’s Pie, which is one of my favorite dishes, later this week.

Happy Eating!

Menu Swap

In menu planning–as in most things–I have burned a lot of fuel in my initial burst of effort and am now beginning to run out of steam. On the one hand, I have eaten well the past two weeks. I would continue the trend if someone else could cook for me this week. However, I think it is time for a slower week. In fact, my body is insisting on it. I’m finally coming down with some variation of the bug that everyone I know has had. So, drum roll please. Presenting my third menu plan ever.

Monday–beef and broccoli (or an even simpler stir fry if I keep feeling worse.)

Tuesday (Vegetarian)–Sweet potato black bean chili with cornbread

Wednesday–Kale and white bean soup and biscuits

Thursday–Leftover soup (I have class and J has the kids)

Friday–Spaghetti

Natalie at Gluten Free Mommy is hosting the swap this week. Bananas are her chosen ingredient. It may be time to begin to try degluten my favorite banana bread recipe.

In the next week, besides bringing some of my recipes I previously posted on my other blog over here (too make it simplier for me to find them), I hope to post a Peruvian recipe or two. My husband grew up in the jungles of Peru and seven years ago I was able to travel for three weeks with him and my in-laws to a few different areas of the country. I quickly discovered the trip was all about revisiting favorite restaurants and having favorite dishes. The food is wonderful, diverse, and, best of all, almost completely gluten-free (though a far far cry from starch free. Peruvians have no qualms about having potatoes and rice and maybe even yucca in the same meal).

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