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Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

My three year old is really loving to cook these days. Since our family has lots of food allergies and sensitivities, cooking, especially baking is a bit more complicated for our family than many others. No using Grandma’s recipe here. I found a great blog recently that had a lot of recipes we could eat (or easily alter.) The Baking Beauties has a recipe for Snickerdoodles and since I had everything on hand when I found it, the kids and I went straight to the kitchen to make cookies.

K was way too excited to get started. It’s amazing to watch how much he’s grown, he was really helping quite a bit. I look at his sweet little face and I see a baby, but he’s not. He’s grown into such a unique little boy. He radiates charm and joy.

E is growing too, she’s really a toddler and not a baby now. Something that’s hard to admit on your last baby. (At least I am 90% sure she’s my last…) She had a lot of fun running around the kitchen playing in the cupboards, but had no interest in helping us bake.

K took his baking very seriously. He especially liked rolling the cookie dough in cinnamon.

They came out pretty well. I think next time I will use honey instead of sugar, which will hopefully make them more moist. All in all, everyone was happy with them though.

K even had fun cleaning up. I only wish his enthusiasm for helping around the house could continue when he’s older. It’s really too bad that when kids WANT to help they are too young to effectively help. He had a blast washing dishes even if I had to wash them again.

I used to try to keep the kids out of the kitchen or otherwise occupied when I was cooking. I’ve changed my tune, however. They gain so much from being involved in daily family activities like this. Besides more time with mama, K is also learning a lot about measurements, time, listening, patience and hard work. I love how much can be learned through daily life!

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We don’t own a television. Any time this comes up, after whoever is hearing this for the first time picks his or her jaw up off the floor they ask me “What do you do all day long?”

Another shocker to many is that my kids won’t be attending school and that, at least for now,  I am “unschooling” Keagan. *and Eden, learning begins at birth, right?

So I thought I would show what it is we do all day long and how we learn without any sort of formal curriculum or lesson plan.

Our day in words and pictures 🙂

We planted a tree.

We learned that even big things start small.

We planned our garden. We learned that food does not come from the store and that hard work has its benefits.

We played on the playground.

We learned the being flexible comes in handy in life and that patience is a virtue. (It’s hard to wait your turn for the slide!)

We explored.

We learned not all who wander are lost.

We looked at bugs. We learned that ants “go really, really fast.”

We played in the dirt.

Mama learned to let things go.

One of us napped in the sun.

We all got our vitamin d the old fashioned way.

We picked flowers. We made wishes.

We learned the world could use more wonder.

We hugged trees. Literally.

We learned to revere nature.

Keagan cut himself.

We learned a deep breath and a good snack make most problems feel smaller.

We met our neighbors. We talked. We learned that a smile goes a long way in life.

We played. Keagan with a doll. Eden with a truck. We defied gender stereotypes…

and realized how silly they are.

Some seriously window coloring went on…

and we learned that art comes in many mediums…

Sometimes even baby sister’s face.

We relaxed.

We loved one another.

We learned that the little things in life matter the most.

We played. We laughed. We colored. We sang.

We read books.

We learned that fantasy can help us better understand reality.

We played with pom-poms. We counted. We sorted. One of us learned what fuzzy tastes like.

We learned that some items have any uses.

We cooked. Okay. I cooked. Keagan “helped” and Eden snacked.

We counted, measured and timed as we did so.

We learned that sometimes hard work tastes really good.

We ate. We laughed some more. We played and sang some more. We tickled and loved. We lived.

We learned that your family is the people who are there for you at the end of the day.

All in all it was a pretty good day.

I don’t think we’re missing out on anything without the TV. I don’t think we’re missing out on anything without the boxed curriculum or preschool.  I think we’re doing just fine and making the best choices for our family.

What do you think? 🙂

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Since we can’t have virtually any prepackaged candies, I thought I’d look for some fun recipes for Halloween. We are soy, gluten, dairy, shellfish, nut and citrus free. We also avoid high fructose syrup. So there’s just not much left  for us to eat without going through extra efforts, especially when we want to celebrate.

It seems fairly easy to have Halloween treats if all you’re avoiding is gluten, by the way.  It seems that all Tootsie and Jelly Belly products are gluten free.  I also found this list of gluten free candies.  Since only my husband could eat those snacks, I found options our whole family (well those of us with teeth) can enjoy.

Sunbutter Cups and Popcorn Balls

We’ll roast pumpkin seeds.

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I’m going to try to make caramel apples using this caramel sauce recipe. I have no clue if it will work or not, but you have to try things out to learn. 🙂

I’ll probably just make soup and gluten free bread that night, and maybe use a cookie cutter to cut the bread into pumpkin shapes. Keagan loves pumpkins. 🙂

It’s funny. I never cared about Halloween one way or another, but now that I have kids (and that one is old enough to enjoy this all…) I am so excited about it. I’m decorating and making costumes. I’m planning silly meals and trying to figure out age appropriate activities for the day. It’s a lot of fun! I love that kids bring back the joy of celebration. I just want to make their world a little more special… a little more magical. And I know I am creating memories to last a lifetime. How great is that? I have a feeling that the time  from now through the new year will be filled with so much joy. I can’t wait!

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We always do our big shopping trip the first weekend of the month, so I’m doing some recipe planning. I’ve had a few friends ask how we manage to eat healthy foods inexpensively, especially since we have lots of food allergies and sensitivities in our family. (No wheat, soy, shellfish, citrus, dairy or nuts in this house!) We also limit meat (Americans eat WAY too much, it’s expensive and most animals are not killed humanely.) So I thought I’d share a few of the recipes I plan to cook this month with you.

http://cheaphealthygood.blogspot.com/2008/02/comfort-me-with-chili.html
Now this is a pretty inexpensive recipe to start with. And big, we can freeze the leftovers for future lunches. I’ll make two changes, however. We’ll use dried beans (canned are so much more expensive!) and we won’t use beef stock, we’ll use vegetable. Did I mention we don’t eat beef or pork? Because we don’t. We’ll also cut the turkey to 1 pound and up the rest of the stuff because meat is expensive and we won’t like it that much anyway.

(goat) Cheesy Baked Salmon
We got a screaming deal on local wild salmon at the farmer’s market. We got six pounds a few weeks ago and still have a bit left, so we’ll be trying this out, but with goat cheese. I’ll probably have a brown rice side.

A “Martha” take on (rice) spaghetti
This one has to be altered as well. We’ll use organic brown rice pasta from Trader Joe’s as we can’t eat wheat. And instead of Pecorino Romano, we’ll use crumbled goat cheese on top. Also purchased at Trader Joe’s. Very simple. This will be a good dish for one of those nights when I just don’t have time to cook.

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2008/09/black-bean-tomato-quinoa-healthy-delicious-recipe.html
This one, we once again have to alter, but it’s simple and will cut out an expense and save us from an allergen: no lime for us. Quinoa is a wonderful grain, by the way. It is a complete protein! That’s great for those who don’t eat meat or don’t eat much, like us. If you live near a Costco, you can get a big (4lb) bag of organic quinoa very inexpensively – our last bag lasted for more than two months and that’s with me accidentally spilling about a pound. Oops.


http://www.marthastewart.com/portal/site/mslo/menuitem.fc77a0dbc44dd1611e3bf410b5900aa0/?vgnextoid=e17056866a80f010VgnVCM1000003d370a0aRCRD&vgnextfmt=default&backto=true

Once again, we’ll use dried beans instead of canned. We’ll also use a half pound of mushrooms since I’m not a huge fan and add more beans. And I’ll dice my own tomatoes. I always use fresh veggies when I can. We’re joining a CSA so we’ll have lots of fresh ones around. We have some time left in tomato season.

http://chefinyou.com/2009/02/ratatouille-or-rat-a-tat-touille-which-one-would-you-choose/
I haven’t tried ratatouille before, but we have most of this on hand, so I am going for it! This will result in plenty of leftovers, which we always use for lunches.

Cickpea Pasta http://cheaphealthygood.blogspot.com/2007/08/quiet-mastery-of-sara-moulton.html
We’ll substitute rice pasta again here, and goat cheese once again. And dried beans. I never pay for canned beans, especially with bpa in almost ALL linings of cans!

Pan Roasted Chickenhttp://www.recipezaar.com/Pan-Roasted-Chicken-and-Veggies-78707
We bought some chicken breast at Costco last month and still have quite a bit in the freezer (we really do not eat much meat!) so I will use breast instead of thigh. Plus dark meat makes me want to gag. I’ll double this one so we have plenty of leftovers to freeze and I get that chicken out of there.

So there’s what a week of dinner looks like in our home. Well eight days. We’ll probably do a few more pasta dishes (so easy to come up with!) and a few more chicken (since we have so much) and more quinoa as well. It’s healthy and easy, why not?!

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