Since my last post about our recent food issues it is easy to say that food has literally taken over my life. (If you have not read the post about my family’s dietary restrictions that are wreaking havoc on our lives, read it here)….
To be honest, at first I was super overwhelmed. I have not even posted anything in awhile because it feels like I don’t have time. I have made the mistake a few times of leaving the house unprepared and then not knowing what to feed Autumn while we are out. Family gatherings have nearly given me a panic attack because I keep finding Autumn munching on some snack she picked up off of the floor that some well meaning family member gave her and then we have to start all over again. I have cried, wasted money and made some things that just tasted awful in the past few weeks. I even broke down and ate a piece of pizza…with cheese…and chicken…and I paid for it (and so did Scarlet ).
But, over the past few days, I regained my composure and decided to tackle this thing head on. I am determined to feed my family delicious, budget friendly foods that are good for them and won’t cause anyone’s food allergies to go crazy. I sat down and my computer for hours and scrolled through pictures of food, read about proper substitutions, found some things that everyone will eat and got to work. I have been surprised at the food we have been able to produce out of my little kitchen. Its amazing! You can’t even tell half of the time that its vegan and gluten free! So, I have decided that in addition to blogging about my kids, I am going to share with you all of the things that we come up with (the good and the bad) from here on out. A lot of people have been asking for links to recipes and what types of things that I buy, so I figured I would put it all on here and then you can all go to work too making some of this delicious food! So far here are some of the things that I have learned that have been helpful:
The first thing is that this type of diet takes a lot of planning, but it is well worth it in the long run. When I thought I was planning the first week, our grocery budget was still over by about 45$ and some of things I made didn’t turn out great. When I decided to just wing it the next week because we were so busy, our total grocery bill for the week was over $200. We ate some yummy food (that I didn’t make), but we could never afford to keep that up. That would make our groceries for the month cost more than what we pay for our mortgage and that is no good! This week I managed to get everything for all the snacks and meals that I planned by only spending $25 over our normal weekly budget. Not great, but not so bad either. I am finding that the key to this will also be bulk shopping, because certain ingredients are a little more expensive up front but will last for awhile as long as I use them in a bunch of things.
A few weeks ago I made a home management binder. I apologize for not posting pics of it yet, I promise that it is on the list of upcoming posts. Today I am going to let you take a peak at my meal planning section though, because it has made a huge difference. Meal planning, list making and shopping take me about 3 hours right now. It doesn’t feel like a lot of time, but I am hoping to get it to where I can do it every other week instead of weekly soon. Here are some of the sheets that I use in order to help make it a little easier.
(sorry for the low quality pics, my camera was dead so I took these quick with my phone in bad lighting)
The sheet on the left is super helpful. It helps me to keep track of which meals I have come up with that everyone really loved, along with which ingredients I used (since I am so often changing the actual recipe) and a large box at the bottom for any important directions or notes about what I did. I try to include at least one or two of the favorites each week because I usually have the stuff on hand and I know everyone will like it. I don’t just cook off of this list right now because its not very long yet and I am still trying some new things. The list on the right helps me when I think of an idea that I would like to try, but am not ready to look for an actual recipe yet. I often see things online or here ideas from other people that I would love to try, and then I forget what they are!
These two sheets right here are the real life savers though. The sheet on the right is the one that takes the longest. Its pretty self explanatory. I used to use a sheet that just listed the meals, but I had a hard time remembering all the ingredients that I didn’t have on hand. Now I write them down as I am deciding what we will make! I also make sure to include where any new recipes have come from. This sheet stays on the fridge for the whole week. The one on the left is my actual grocery list. I have it broken down into the different sections of Wegmans that I shop in because I normally never shop alone. The kids can make it a little stressful and having my list laid out this way has really helped me in not forgetting any ingredients that I need. (Try making gluten free choc chip cookies when you forgot to buy some xanthum gum…we ended up with choc cookie crumble )…
Pinterest has been an absolute lifesaver since we started all of this as well. I have a board where I pin all the vegan recipes that I want to try to make. A lot of them require some Gfree substitutions, so my actual recipes look a little different at the end, but a lot of them are attached to some pretty amazing food blogs as well. Check out my board by clicking here. I have not tried all of the recipes on this board yet, but I plan to! Plus I add new recipes I want to try pretty much everyday …
Ok…enough of the planning. Here are three recipes that I made recently that turned out really well…I apologize that I don’t have any pictures to go with them…food pictures will be coming with the next recipes …
Vegan Potato Pancakes:
One of the easiest things that I doctored a little so far and was a huge hit with all family members! The original recipe was found on vegnews.com, but it wasn’t gluten free and didn’t have a ton of flavoring so this is what we did instead:
1. Peel and Grate 6 white potatoes (or russet or baking potatoes…I wonder how these would taste with sweet potatoes!?)
2. Put shredded potato in colander and press out as much water as you can, I didn’t do a very good job with this step and they still turned out great!
3. Add a grated yellow onion to grated potato in a large mixing bowl.
4. Add 1/4 c Gfree baking flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill mixed flour, if you are not Gfree you can use regular flour!)
5. Add 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1tsp salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper.
6. We also added about 1 clove of minced garlic and 1 tbsp. crushed red pepper to the mix, but these are optional
7. Mix everything together to form the batter!
8. Fry them in a large frying pan with a thin layer of heated oil (I used canola oil because that is what we had on hand.) They need about 6-8 minutes per side to turn crispy on the outside!
9. Add topping of choice! What is suggested by the website is vegan sour cream or applesauce…I couldn’t get Matt or Gabbi to try them with either. Gabbi decided to eat hers with country sweet sauce (her fav condiment), Autumn used ketchup, Matt used both and I ate mine with sautéed onions and mushrooms and it was amazing.
This recipe made about 12 pancakes. We ate them all at dinner that night. We served them with a big salad and some steamed cauliflower…
Chickpea and Brown Rice Veggie Burgers:
Ok – these were delicious! I am always searching for a yummy “burger” and I think this totally fits the bill! Plus its SUPER easy, which is a huge plus! The original recipe was found at wholeliving.com and included an egg, which I just omitted. I also added some extra things to the patties themselves…Ok so here is what we did:
1. mash together 2 cups of cooked and drained chickpeas with 1 cup of cooked brown rice (yea I always forget to make sure that rice is supposed to be cooked before and its caused dinner to be late A TON!)
2. Add 1 clove garlic, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. parsley, 1 Tbsp. onion powder, 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard and 2 tbsp. Nutritional yeast (optional)
3. Mix it all together!!
4. Form into 1/2in thick patties, and fry in a very shallow layer of heated oil for about 4 min per side!!
5. The fun part – eat them!! We also served these with salad because I have not found a good substitute for buns, but these would be awesome topped with some mustard, veganaise, red onion, tomato and lettuce!
Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies:
Ok – so these are a fantastic thing to make for something quick to grab in the am. Again, not my original recipe and you can find the link to the original recipe on my pinterest board. These came together quickly, tasted great and were gone in a day! It made 14 cookies. Preheat oven to 350 before you begin making the dough
1. Mash 2 bananas until creamy (you could use a food processor if its easier)
2. Add 1/3 cup peanut butter (creamy, crunchy, organic…whatever kind you prefer!) and mix until combined.
3. Add 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1 tbsp. ground flax seed (optional), and 1 tsp. vanilla extract – mix
4. Add 1 1/2 cups of uncooked oatmeal (if Gfree make sure its certified Gfree oats!!) and 1/4 cup of your fav nut! We used crushed walnuts and it was yummy! We also added 1/4 cup of vegan choc chips at this point. Mix until well combined…
5. Let dough sit for about 10 min, then spoon onto greased cookie sheets and flatten out a bit (they will not expand much while cooking)
6. Bake 20 min for chewier cookie or up to 30 min for a harder cookie! Cool on cookie sheets and store in airtight container (if they even make it there!!)
I would LOVE any recipe suggestions or to hear about any of your favorite substitutions! I will be including some more recipes later this week that we try this week! Also, for those of you wondering about that fantastic fudge I gave out over the weekend, check out the easy peanut butter fudge pin on my pinterest page – this is one recipe I made following the directions exactly and it was perfection!