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March 27, 2013

Steak with Mushroom Sauce, Cauliflower Puree, and Asparagus

As you can imagine when we heard the sentence news of all the different food that my husband could no longer eat, it was rather distressing.  He, for obvious reasons and I suppose Me for selfish reasons.  

I had a full day of "Poor me!" as I realized that cooking was about to get 100% harder.  My husband likes to cook, but working full time on his PhD doesn't allow for a lot of extra time for anything.  Usually he's working at school late, but if he does manage to come home for dinner he's walking in at 6:30.  So dinner time, by necessity  is placed squarely on my shoulders. Cooking, something I've never particularly enjoyed in the first place-- and take out all the dinners I was used to cooking = Poor Me.

I was still in the swallows of Poor Me when I was reading Real Simple Magazine.

I came across their 20 minute dinner section and was shocked to see a dinner listed there that looked equal parts yummy and something he could eat.

I quickly tore this recipe out of the magazine, and after acquiring the ingredients made it a few days later.


We LOVED it!

It had everything we needed simple, delicious, and free of all the crazy things he could no longer eat.

Visit Real Simple for the full recipe.
CLICK HERE for my printable version.

Steak with Mushroom Sauce, Cauliflower Puree, and Asparagus
Recipe adapted from Real Simple Magazine.

1  cauliflower cut into small florets
2  TBS  dairy free butter
Sea salt and black pepper
1  TBS  safflower oil (or olive oil)
1 1/2  pounds steak, cut into 4 pieces
10  ounces mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1/2  cup  balsamic vinegar (or red or white wine)
1 bundle of asparagus, snap off the tough ends

Steam the cauliflower in a large pot until very tender, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a food processor, add the butter, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and puree until smooth. 
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the steak with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing; reserve the skillet. Add the mushrooms to the drippings in the skillet and cook, tossing occasionally, until browned and tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vinegar (or wine) and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced and syrupy, 2 to 3 minutes more; season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. 
Meanwhile steam or boil the asparagus 5-8 minutes.
 Serve the steak with the cauliflower puree. Top with the mushroom sauce.  Asparagus on the side.

Also, I will mention on the side of the recipe in the magazine it mentions that you can substitute balsamic vinegar for red wine, which we usually do.  We've done it both ways and prefer the balsamic vinegar better.  
Oh, and of course, we use dairy free butter.

This is a special dinner for me.  Not only do we always enjoy eating it, but it was a symbol to me that this new lifestyle of eating could be done and figured out.  It would take work-- but it would be worth it.

March 26, 2013

Tied with a bow

What is it about Spring that makes me want to sew up bow ties?

I invited the boys to join me last week to pick out their own fabric (from my stash) to make bow ties for them.

My oldest picked this fabric.  

This boy picked this cute pattern.

Always keepin' it Classy.

March 22, 2013

Baby Car Seat Canopy

I've got a quick, simple project to share with you today.  I made this about three weeks before my baby was born.  So whereas it was quick- sitting on the ground cutting out fabric is never easy at 8 1/2 months pregnancy.

But I had to have it for my December baby.

I thought about making a tutorial for it but it was so simple it doesn't really need one. Plus a quick google search will bring up hundreds.

I did decide to with the simple velcro method and faux button on top-- which I think is cute.

The other fun thing about this canopy is I made it using up all fabric scraps I already had on hand.
I had bought the umbrella fabric from JoAnns intending to make another small blanket out of it, but when I decided to turn it into a canopy I realized I didn't have enough material.

So I turned to my scraps.  I have all these darling minky scraps left over from all the big blankets I make for my babies.  I love looking at this canopy now and seeing big brother's blanket, little brother's blanket, sister's and now babies extra blanket scraps. 

It's so nice to have I wish I would have made it for baby # 1 and not baby # 4.

March 20, 2013

GF + DF Delicious Lemon Orange Cream Frosting

I'm excited to share with you one of the first things I ever made that was both Gluten and Dairy Free.

About 4 weeks after learning of all the changes we needed to make for my husband's diet, it was going to be his birthday.  I was extremely worried that I wasn't going to be able to make him anything edible for him to enjoy on his special day.
I spent weeks online trying to figure out HOW I was going to manage the most simplest thing...a birthday cake. (Remember I was still really new at this).

I started on Amazon and typed in gluten and dairy free white cake.
Then I proceeded to buy 6 Bob's Red Mill Vanilla cake mixes.

Then I spent several days looking online for a simple frosting that I could make.
Many of the recipes included crazy ingredients I hadn't yet acquired.

I wanted a simple recipe.  Everything was too much to handle already.  I needed a simple frosting recipe to make for my husband.  So I made one up.  

I was super proud of my recipe.  The cake and the frosting were delicious.  
Believe me, I gave myself a huge pat on the back for this one. I stored the cake in the fridge and I loved the cool, refreshing, delicious cake.

Lemon + Orange Cream Frosting
An original gluten and dairy free recipe from Freshly Completed.

Makes enough to frost tops and sides of two 9-inch cake layers
Start to Finish 20 minutes.
·                   2Ingredients
½ C. Non-dairy Butter (Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread)
1 tsp. Vanilla
5 1/2 cups sifted Powdered Sugar
¼ C. Lemon Juice
2 Tbs. Orange Peel zest

Beat non-dairy butter and vanilla until fluffy. Add powdered sugar alternately with Lemon juice beating well after each addition.  Add 1 tbs. orange peel zest and beat until nice and fluffy.  Frost cake.  Add last tablespoon of orange peel zest to top of cake.  Enjoy!

And since I wasn't planning at the time to blog about this cake I don't have any fancy pictures.  But here are some from his special day.  And where as I stressed and spent weeks planning his birthday cake...I spent 0 time thinking about his birthday candles.  
He's pretending to blow these "candles" out.  I just added some in post editing.
Thanks for joining me in my first What's for Dinner Wednesdays?
Okay, I know this isn't dinner...but you get the idea.

March 19, 2013

Why I'm no longer cooking dinners with Gluten + Dairy + other Random Things...

You'll notice I said, "dinner", not "ever".

I wanted to share with you all my sudden journey into gluten free + dairy free + a host of other, super random foods that we no longer buy...for my husband.

Where to start?  I guess the beginning. In the effort to make this succinct and direct I'll just state it simply as my husband has been uncomfortable after eating meals for nearly our entire marriage.  He had progressively gotten worse over the years and it became very apparent that something was wrong.  Finally, I was able to convince my husband to see another doctor.  That visit led him to a Gastroenterologist. That visit lead to a food intolerance test given through ALCAT.  This is not an allergy test, but strictly a food intolerance test.

I really appreciate that doctors are beginning to move away from the umbrella of IBS and drugs, and are beginning to solve food intolerance's through diet and rotation. 
 I say that now.  But the reality of his test results were extremely stressful when I first heard them.

 He got his test results when I was one week away from giving birth to our fourth child.  Not only that, but Christmas was two weeks away.  Learning an entire new way to cook and how to buy foods, cutting out all the favorite and easy things is HARD-- any time of the year, but the impending birth and holiday season made it seem impossible!

We were given lots of information with his test results of what foods he was intolerant to and which he showed no reaction to.  Here's a part of his list which shows his tolerance levels to food.  Right now we're trying to reset his tolerance levels and basically he shouldn't be eating any food unless it is on his green list.

That alone would be hard enough.  No more gluten or dairy or spinach or strawberries or parsley or eggs...or swordfish (we can live without that one-- he's never even eaten that.)  Plus none of his favorite foods like cheese, mustard, olives, and bread. Trying to cook without all these common food is hard, I wish that was all his treatment entailed,  but we also had to introduce the 4 day rotation diet.  Ideally he shouldn't be eating any of the same foods without a 4 day break.  Anything eaten on Monday cannot be consumed until Friday.  Let me tell you-- this is a whole new set of hard.  Of the new limited foods he's eating, they shouldn't be repeated too often.

 If he were home each day and we had all the time in the world we would probably be doing better than we are.  But he is always gone for lunch and some times for dinner. Finding foods I can easily send to school with him is incredibly tricky, especially when I can't repeat things.

So this is why I'm no longer cooking dinners with Gluten, Dairy, plus lots of other random things.  We love eating dinners together as a family-- and if Dad can't eat it, nor shall we. 
 (However for breakfast and lunch the rest of the family still eats like we used to).

 I'm looking forward to sharing with you things that have made my meal planning easier.
Some of the favorite Gluten + Dairy Free Cookbooks
Favorite GF + DF Blogs

And I'm excited to share with you What's for Dinner Wednesdays?  
Where I'll be sharing with you one of our favorite dinners from the week, both gluten + dairy free.

Look for that coming up.
If any of you have similar diets or dietary restrictions let me know. 
 I'd love to hear about it.

March 11, 2013

How to make your own Igloo

I've got a treat for everyone today.  I've got a guest post today from my sister.  I asked her to share with us this really awesome idea.  Take it away, sister.

Need a cozy, cold place to call your own?
Have lots of snow in your backyard?
Have a little time to kill?
Why not build an Igloo?

It's easier than you'd think.

1. Rubbermaid Bin
2. Snow
3. Shovel
STEP ONE: Grab your bin and head outside.

STEP TWO: Using your shovel pack your bin with snow, pressing down firmly.
Extra fun: have a snow war.

STEP THREE: Place your packed snow one at a time around in a semi circle, building up your igloo.  Repeat, bringing each layer closer and tighter in.

STEP FOUR: Pack around the cracks and smooth everything down.

ENJOY your cozy new igloo hang out.

Wow, this looks awesome.  
I can't wait to try it out when we get more snow!

March 6, 2013

Super Easy Caramel Popcorn

I made this super easy caramel popcorn this past Monday for our Family Night and I thought I'd snap a few quick pictures so I could share it with you all.  This is a recipe from my sister that she shared with me from her in-laws.  Where it came from there?  I'm not sure.

3 - 4 quarts of Popcorn
1 stick of butter
1 cup of marshmallows
1/2 cup of brown sugar

Pop your popcorn(I usually just pop one bag in the microwave).  While that's popping, melt your butter in a pan.  When butter's almost melted add marshmallows and brown sugar.  Stir all together until completely melted.  
Pour popcorn in a bowl and pick out all unpopped kernels. 
Add caramel to popcorn.  Enjoy! 

Can you see my unpopped kernels   Whoops, I forgot to pick them out.