Tag Archives: food

My Summer of Being Granola

I know I’ve been a bad blogger–bad Meggan, bad Meggan. Let’s just say that, after two hernia surgeries less than six months apart, and more mesh than a stripper in fishnets, I **should be** on the mend.

But the surgeries and work and life (read: t-ball and softball) took their toll on my blog. We weren’t getting home until almost 8:00 on any given evening, and then it was a rush to get dinner and showers done by a reasonable hour. And the morning time? Forget it. That was all about me nagging my children about their homework, and trying to make sure they completed their chores and didn’t forget anything on their way out the door.

It was… busy.

But softball season is over (yay!) and school is out, so I’ve decided on embark on yet another project. This one revolves around both food and outdoor activities.

For a background on the food project, I’ll tell you: my family has some weird dietary restrictions.

I have celiac, and I’m allergic to eggs and beef (and a mystery, TBD spice, but we won’t mention that). Husband is diabetic. My young son gets a glorious rash that mysteriously gets better when I don’t feed him wheat products, but the doctor swears up and down he has no allergies (granted, he also didn’t see the hives he got from the latex tape, either. They bled). Now before you scoff at the rash, I’ll tell you this: he has scars from it, it gets that bad. So when I say it gets better without wheat, that’s something, because, honestly, corticosteroids helped, but not as much as the giving up of wheat did. And both of those together actually cleared it up for a few days.

And Monkey, AKA Tiny Daughter (who, at eight, is not so tiny anymore)? Well, she gets stomach migraines (yeah, I sort of thought that was a “Get out of here, crazy Mom” diagnosis, too. Except it’s been mentioned a couple of other times, not in relationship to Monk, so maybe it is a real thing.) Anyway, her stomach aches get better when she’s not eating artificial colors.

So here’s what we have going: diabetes, celiac, no artificial colors (and I’m cutting out the flavors). The doctor told M no diet sodas, because they mess with blood sugar, and, because I’m reactionary, I took out all artificial sweeteners except Splenda, which she said was okay. So M’s favorite sugar-free creamer? I trashed it. He gets fat-free half and half instead, which I actually like better.

So, with all of this, I’m doing a crazy crack down on processed foods. No nitrates, no sulfites, no artificial colors or sweeteners (except Splenda, because, well, I can only go so far). I’m using agave nectar to sweeten most things I have, because, in theory, it doesn’t raise blood sugar like regular sugar does, but even that I’m trying to do in moderation.

And all of this makes me feel… pretty granola.

And dude… it’s hard to be granola.

Do you know how hard it is to find nitrate-free lunch meat? Or bacon? Or sausage without MSG? I mean, if I go to Whole Paycheck, land of uber-granola, I can find it, but a) nitrate free lunch meat has the consistency of a slimy sponge, and b) who can spend that much money on food? It’s already three dollars for a gallon of milk if I buy the cheap stuff on sale ($4+/half gallon for the organic stuff, and there’s just no way). Can I really afford to spend $15/pound on almond flour? And two dollars for a bunch of kale?

No. And growing it myself is sort of out of the question this season.

But, with the wizardry of the internets, I can find bulk almond flour for about $6/pound, which is way more expensive than wheat, but is better and cheaper than the trip to the ER for one of my attacks–which I haven’t had since I gave up wheat, so I guess there’s that. So, I’m embarking on a project where I bake my own bread, make my own lunch meat, and basically, where I serve low-carb (but hopefully still good) food that is good for us, too. It’s a whole foods kick, low carb style (almost, but not quite, paleo). If I don’t know what it is, I don’t eat it.

So, for my first recipe in this endeavor, I recently made mashed cauliflower as a replacement for mashed potatoes. It went over relatively well. M liked it, I liked it. Chewey seemed to think it was okay, and Monk wouldn’t touch it, because heaven forbid I make a single meal where no one complains.

Bonus? It’s so stinking easy, and it was cheap.

So, here’s the recipe:

1. 1 head of cauliflower, cut up

2. 1 cup of chicken stock

That’s basically all you need to start. I added garlic into the pot because I like garlic mashed potatoes, but you don’t have to do that.

Anyway, I put everything in a Dutch oven. Any old pot will work, but I’m in love with my ceramic Dutch oven, so there’s that.

Bring to a boil and let it cook for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft. If the chicken stock gets low, add more.

Once the cauliflower is ready, transfer it to a food processor. Blend for about 30 seconds, and then start adding what you like in potatoes. I like cream cheese, so I added some, along with two tablespoons of clarified butter. It was still a little dry, so I added a little more chicken stock from the pot. The chicken stock adds plenty of salty flavor, so I just topped it with some pepper (because my family likes pepper. A lot of pepper), and served it up. I’m sure it would be awesome with bacon and chives, but bacon doesn’t exactly make things low-fat. Or good for you.

But it is delicious.






The Gluten Free Experiment

Today, I made vegan, gluten-free corn muffins.

Not out of any higher sense of purpose. I’d happily eat a slab of beef if it didn’t make me outrageously sick. But it does. As much as it pains my ranch-raised husband, who raised and then ate Boo boo, we are a largely meat free household. We do eat fish, and that’s where it ends, for the most part. (As an aside: I used to hate fish. Wouldn’t touch the stuff. Sushi actually made me gag. And then it was the only thing I ate that didn’t make me sick, and I developed an affinity for it. Still not my favorite, but my favorite hurts me, so there you go. It IS possible to change your taste buds after 30!)

Because of Hub’s dietary restrictions, we’ve largely given up potatoes, so my meat and potatoes guy has largely turned into a fish and salad kind of dude. Really, a healthier way to live, even if we were dragged into it kicking and screaming.

Recently, on top of the eggs and beef, I was advised to give up gluten, and I have. In the two weeks of the gluten-free experiment, I’ve taken one Zofran. Incidentally, that’s down from the one Zofran A DAY I was taking just to function and go to work in the morning. For more than 10 of those days, my stomach felt good, which hasn’t happened in four years. Right now it hurts, and I’m a little queasy, but I’ve been fighting a cold for over a week, and cough medicine usually does a number on my stomach, so I’ll take it.

I’m not crying on the floor, so I’ll put it in the win column.

So, I made gluten-free, vegan muffins. Between the allergy to beef and eggs, and now wheat (and boy child’s lactose intolerance), there’s not a lot in the baked goods aisle that we can all eat. So, I attempted to bake, because, well, I kind of can’t buy it.

I think they turned out remarkably good, all things considered.

This is notable for two reasons:

1) I don’t bake.

2) Oh, wait, there’s only one reason. I don’t bake.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I can cook. I love cooking (I hate the clean up, but that’s another blog). The more complicated the recipe, the better. (weekends only. Weekdays it’s crock pot time!) But baking? Not so much.

It’s not that I don’t want to bake.

It’s that I don’t have the talent for it.

So if any of you have any good gluten-free, vegan recipes for baking, I’d sure like to try them!

Fun Food Sundays

I’ve decided to add my culinary exploits to the blog, because, even though I can barely eat food, I do really enjoy it (long story, poor me, you don’t want to hear it).

So my latest foray into food started today with candy making.

I attempted peppermint bark (bless my little heart. So precious!) (This is teacher code for OH SWEET MOTHER OF GOD! WHAT THE HELL!)

My peppermint bark does not, let me reiterate, DOES NOT look like other people’s. Let’s just say, the moment I took at look at it, I knew that shizzle was wrong.

This is why I don’t bake. I am not a baker by nature, and, for some reason, even though I can make fudge, today I couldn’t even melt chocolate.

What I created today was something like a cross between peppermint bark and toffee, and has the consistency of super dense fudge on top (the toffee part) and a chocolate bar on the bottom. Topped with peppermint. Yeah, I know.

Luckily, the kids don’t know any better, so they thought it was awesome.

Here’s a picture of my latest culinary adventure:

It looks… okay. Wrong, but okay.

It doesn’t taste like peppermint bark, though. That much is for certain. Monk’s assessment, “Huh. It actually tastes pretty good, Mom. All things considered.”

Oh, my firstborn child, aren’t you just precious? (sic)

So, while I had this brilliant idea this afternoon I would post my recipe, I’ve decided against that. No one needs to recreate this. Yes, I know I burned the white chocolate, but the darn stuff wouldn’t melt. I know I burned the dark chocolate, because, well, I also managed to scorch my pan. Though how I did this with the heat on low is seriously beyond me. In my defense, the recipe didn’t call for a double boiler.

As I stood in the kitchen, burning chocolate and muttering angrily under my breath, Chewey says, “Hey, Mom, what are you making?”

And husband says, “Memories. She’s making memories.”

And Chewey says, “Memories? What’s memories? It smells like burning marshmallows.”

They both got an eyeful of bless his heart.


Gluttony’s B*tch

My love of food is wholly unrequited.

I would stalk food if I thought for a minute it would love me back. I would follow it home from school and sit in the tree outside its house. If it dropped something from its backpack, I would pick it up, take it home, and sleep with it under my pillow. I would be the creepy stalker that stares at the window from the sidewalk, hoping to catch a glimpse of food maybe stepping out of the shower, or just hanging out watching TV.

(Scarily, this is sounding a lot like something that happened to me in high school, so now I’ll have to move on from my stalker routine and on to something else. I’m starting to creep myself out.)

I love watching cooking shows. I love trying to make the food I see on TV. I love everything about cooking: the act of cooking, the presentation, and the eating. Oh, the eating! (Not so much the dishes, though. I am not a domestic goddess in any way, shape, or form)

Unfortunately, as much as I love it, food doesn’t love me back.

Gluttony, my favorite sin, has broken up with me. It doesn’t return my calls or answer the phone anymore. The things I can actually eat are things that are *gasp!* good for me. Yes, I’m looking at you, kale. I like you kale, but I don’t like like you. Let’s just be friends.

As I sit here and eat homemade kale chips (because, let’s face it, the store-bought ones taste like horse manure), I reminisce about the good old days when gluttony and I had a really great relationship. Honestly, homemade kale chips simply don’t compare to, oh, say, a really decadent chocolate cupcake. Really, truly and honestly.

Homemade kale chips vs. brussels sprouts–that’s a contest (like Mathlete vs. Spelling Bee winner. It seems like a fair fight). Kale vs. Cupcake? Hardly. That’s like pitting the president of German Club (hey, I resemble that remark) against the captain of the cheerleading squad. Kale wouldn’t even last one round against Cupcake. Kale would get her azz handed to her and be forgotten by the next day.

So, as I sit here and watch Cupcake Wars and Barefoot Contessa and fight the temptation to get up and lick the television set, here’s what I have to say:

Food, you suck. (love me, love me, love me.)