Tag Archives: lunch

Shake It Again

I am all about the green shakes.   I am all about pouring as much nutrition into a burst of morning energy.   And while bananas usually steal the show of most of my shakes, this one has a totally different spin to it.

So here you go again…

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons almond butter (Note: almond butter pictured is unsafe for peanut allergies)
  • 1 cup green grapes or 1 cup chopped mango (although grapes work best)
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup spinach or kale
  • 1 1/4 cup almond milk or protein nut milk for added protein (almond, cashew, pea)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • Handful of ice

*Note: ingredients can be modified for specific allergies.

Mix together in the Vitamix and enjoy! This is one my husband even loves (the grape version)… a great way to sneak in some veggies … and empower you to get after that mess once and for all…well, maybe tomorrow.

And of course I need to share with my little sidekick…

A Picky Eater’s Peas

Picky eating drove me crazy for way too long. From the time TJ was first able to eat, he was never really interested in food.

Some of this was due to his 21 food allergies at that time, texture sensitivities, and the fact he was a slow chewer and eater.

However, in every difficult situation, there is always a blessing. Because of his pickiness …

He wasn’t the child grabbing for someone else’s food at daycare. (Thank God for that with a list as long as his at that point.)

At his one year old appointment, his pediatrician who we love, spoke the medical truth, “TJ would have a reaction in daycare that year. The chance was too great not to. We just had to make sure the staff was prepared.”

(The course of action we took after that is for another post… as well as the panic I fell into..)

BUT…while that’s the medical facts, we believe in the God of real truth, of miracles, of the impossible … TJ was and is living proof of that. He never had a reaction that year at daycare or any of the other years after. God is good! And prayer with belief is powerful.

Looking back, his pickiness was a blessing, a way he was kept safe in otherwise, high-risk situations. However, he was still such a picky eater and it drove us nuts especially after his blood work came back around twelve months, stating he was mildly anemic, adding more to his already limited plate! (Quite the paradox if I can say so myself!)

Our options were put him on a supplements or try to build up the iron naturally with food. The latter was what we chose after meeting with two nutritionists. So we spent the next four months, getting him to eat three meals a day filled with iron … each meal would take an hour or more for him to complete… talk about patience…

When he was rechecked, sure enough it had worked! However, it did not stop the picky eating nonsense which continued for years…

Therefore, I was always on the search for new safe foods, recipes, inspiration …

When my daughter was first born, in a conversation with another mom, she mentioned roasted chickpeas being something her own picky eater loved.

TJ liked chickpeas here and there so we tried it… (I would have tried almost anything at this point) …and sure enough it was an instant hit!

And the added bonus… it’s so easy!

Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients:

  1. Organic chickpeas (When we use a can, we make sure it is BPA free.)
  2. Salt
  3. Pepper
  4. Olive oil
  5. Any other spices your child likes

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Rinse and dry chick peas. Get out as much liquid as possible
  3. Coat the oven pan with a little bit of olive oil. Not too much
  4. Put the chickpeas in the pan.
  5. Sprinkle salt, pepper or whatever spices you want. (Amount is always to your child’s liking. I only use a little pepper for that reason.)
  6. Drizzle the top with some more olive oil.
  7. Put in oven for 40-45 minutes
  8. Halfway through, shake or flip the chickpeas around to roast all sides.
  9. Finish cooking until lightly browned and crunchy.
  10. Enjoy!

It’s been over two years of making this recipe which now both of my kids continue to enjoy. And even though it may still take TJ a little longer to eat them, he does so with a smile.

Butternut Squash Soup

While I don’t always eat it, I love soup and get into little kicks of making it every weekend.  Since it has been unbearably cold lately, soups have stolen the spot from salads as my lunch.

After some experimenting, here is my new favorite butternut squash soup recipe.

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Total Time: an hour

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

3 cups vegetable stock/ vegetable broth

Olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 apple, cored and chopped

1 yellow onion

1-2 butternut squashes (I usually use 1.5 for the soap and the other .5 for another meal)

2 garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sage

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

optional – nutmeg

1/2- 1 cup of So Delicious boxed unsweetened coconut milk

1 bag of riced cauliflower

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut the butternut squash in halves and sprinkle lightly with olive oil. Place face down in the oven for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees or until soft.
  2. Chop the other vegetables.
  3. Saute the onions and garlic with some olive oil for 3-5 minutes. (Optional)
  4. Add the vegetable stock or broth, carrots, onion, apple, and all the spices into a pot on the stove.   Cook on a medium heat for about 30 minutes.
  5. When the butternut squash is done.   Spoon out the squash and put into the pot on the stove.
  6. Mix in the coconut milk.
  7. Blend it all in a blender.  Our favorite is the Vitamix.
  8. After it is all blended, pour back into the original pot and add the rice cauliflower for texture until it is warmed up and ready to go.
  9. Add some paprika and cilantro to the top or even some crumbled organic turkey bacon (Optional)
  10. Enjoy!

Delicious! Now, I am excited for my lunch for the next couple days and the best part is…. with a crazy busy week coming up, I don’t need to do a single thing but heat it up.

Do you have a favorite soup? If so, what kind?  I am always up for a new soup recipe to try out.

 Give this one a try, but of course modify it to your dietary needs and taste buds.  It will not disappoint even on a counter that still needs to be cleared…

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Replacements Over Recipes

We spent a lot of that first year or two after TJ’s diagnosis, avoiding, avoiding, and more avoiding. It was easier and safer for us to just do our own thing and not have to worry about food allergies, skin reactions, cross contamination, and other people’s ignorance to it. However, despite what I once believed, avoiding was not the best option for us.

Let me explain…

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To start, we are homebodies who like to get out sometimes. Since TJ still has not eaten food other than what we’ve made or bought, we make sure to be prepared beforehand. This may mean…packing his favorite foods, contacting the parent before a birthday party or a family member before a family gathering or holiday.

For preschool, I ask for a monthly list of special events where treats would be given or food would be present. We also kept a bag of Oreos, a treat he rarely has but loves, for the times that somehow slip through the cracks or an impromptu kind of party.

Whatever it is, it helps us ensure that we have alternatives that are dairy, egg and peanut free and that TJ is included as much as possible.

(Look for an upcoming post on some of our favorite store-bought party options for when baking does not fit into our schedule.)

In all the allergy free recipes we’ve tried, TJ and I have had the most success with replacing ingredients, instead of full recipes. Here is what I mean:

You can make anything just as tasty, if not tastier peanut, egg and dairy free or whatever allergen you have… it just calls for some creativity.

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To start, we like to find actual recipes that contain even his allergies and then we replace with safe products and work our magic.

One of our creations in 2018 was stuffing for Thanksgiving but it would be delicious to add to any dinner throughout the year. Our entire family devoured it too. Of course, letting TJ have his portion first.

Here is the beauty:

Stuffing

(Dairy, Egg & Peanut Free)

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Oven temperatures: 300 degrees then 350 degrees

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 of a loaf of organic honey bread
  • 4 Tablespoons – organic Earth’s Balance spread
  • 3/4 cup of diced celery
  • 3/4 cup of diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 package of turkey sausage (We used Applegate’s chicken and apple version)
  • 1 and 1/4 cup of vegan vegetable stock (We used the Kitchen Basics brand.)
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sage
  • 1 Tablespoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Chop bread into cubes and toast the bread cubes in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  2.  Once out of the oven, turn the oven to 350 degrees.  Melt Earth’s Balance then saute onions, celery and garlic until soft.  (about 10 minutes)
  3. Add veggies to bread cubes in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Don’t wash pan, but remove the veggies, and add sausage and cook.  Then, cut it into bite-size pieces.
  5.  Add chicken or vegetable broth/stock, applesauce, and the spices to bread cube mixture.   Mix until moist.
  6. Transfer into a greased oven pan/tray.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes.

 
Let us know what you think. Let us know if and how you switched it up and made it your own.  We hope you enjoy!

And remember even though our kitchen counter may never be cleared off, we are continuing to smile our way through the mess one recipe at a time…

 

stuffing