Menu Plan

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Even though all I am craving right at this moment is a huge bowl of potato soup, eh…maybe Corn Chowder and a hefty side of chocolate malt balls (weird, right?!), I am planning for meals that have actual nutritional value of some sort and not for every single whim and desire that seems to fly my way.

If this boy in my belly could have his way, I would be on a very steady diet of all things potatoes. Mainly in the fried fashion. Oye vey.

Here’s what we’re chowing down on this week:

1. Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash (adapted for Jonah to be dairy-free)

2. Vegan Pesto

3. Turkey Tacos & Salad

4. White Chicken Chili

5. Breakfast for Dinner (Brinner)

 

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Menu Plan

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Add a dollop of toddler pickiness to multiple severe food allergies plus texture aversions and it’s a recipe for a burnt out, frustrated Mama. There is a lot of work that goes into meal time. I have to meal plan, shop at multiple stores while staying within a reasonable budget (with both kids and my ever growing belly), prep, cook, store and serve the food. Sometimes this tedious process is done and it’s worth the time and effort to make sure Jonah is safe and we are all eating something healthy that we can enjoy as a family.

Lately though, meal time has been finished before I can even get it on the table. All of a sudden the little man has major preferences. What he loves one day, he detests the next and honestly, there isn’t a whole lot of room for variance.

While I would love to just call in a pizza and call it a night, that’s not an option. So I girded myself with more ammunition…after all, you give me a challenge, I will rise up and defeat it.

Buah haha.

I bought a couple of new cookbooks from individuals in the world of allergies I have grown to admire in my own journey and reveled in the pages that reminded me to just get back to basics and keep things safe, short and simple.

The biggest reminder to me was that anything we loved pre-allergy, I can tweak and with enough creativity make a safe version of that same meal.

So I guess the boy will somehow learn to not merely survive on green smoothies everyday if I have anything to do with it.

Here’s our plan:

1. Chili

2. Balsamic Seared Salmon Salad & Roasted Broccoli (Jonah will have Turkey since we haven’t tested fish yet. Mama is pregnant and Sadie wants hair as long as Rapunzel so we need those Omega-3’s. We compromise on this one)

3. Leftover Chili Stuffed Baked Potatoes

4. Soup & Grilled Cheese (GF bread and Daiya cheese)

5. Baked Calzones & Peas

Extras:

Trail Mix

Morning Glory Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Menu Plan

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Yea, so life gets in the way. Sometimes climbing the hills of parenting toddlers takes priority over any sort of organizational sanity that I so enjoy. Despite it all, I do in fact have a menu plan! It’s a good thing too, because starting this week I’m a Mama to three, three and under during the week. A friend of mine starts back at work and I’ll be in charge of smothering her baby boy with affection. It definitely calls for a plan since there is one of me and the little army will take over!

We are definitely hitting some eating challenges with Jonah. Getting in enough protein is a constant concern with 14 food allergies. On top of that, he has some unresolved sensory issues from past trauma that are causing him to hoard his food in his mouth where he chews, but never swallows. And yes, he is a picky eater on top of it all so weight loss is a real scary thing for us to deal with. That’s why we are keeping it kid-friendly, simple, and prepped for the week.

Monday:

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast: Steel Cut Oatmeal
  • Lunch: Marinara Turkey Meatballs & Pears
  • Dinner: Chicken Tenders, Garlic Roasted Broccoli & Sweet Potato Fries

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal Date Bars & Green Smoothie
  • Lunch: Grilled Cheese (Daiya & GF Bread) with Peas
  • Dinner: Shabbat with extended family

 

Menu Plan

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I’m shaking it up a bit this week because, well…it’s my feeble and weak attempt at making food enjoyable and not stressful. Who am I kidding? It stinks. But we move forward.

There is so much of me that wishes I had contacts with publishers who would work with me to publish a book for families like ours who fumble their way through the kitchen trying to unite everyone despite multiple severe food allergies while still letting the “normal” people in the clan feel like they aren’t giving up anything. All the while, maintaining a high standard for a health-conscious, mostly plant-based diet that is frugal.

It takes thought, preparation, research, and a little know-how but it isn’t impossible with a little fire lit under the booty.

Plus it sounds like a good read, doesn’t it? Of course it does.

After my book is published, I will also be needing financial backing to open up my own little refuge restaurant in a quaint storefront in my beloved Old Towne. You can also pay off my school loans because let’s face it, paying off these Allergist medical bills sounds like way more fun. They’re much newer financial woes.

Here’s what’s on the menu:

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New Allergy Update & Menu Plan

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There is a fire lit inside of me and I am blazing the trials making Jonah’s life as normal as possible when it comes to food. I realized two crucial things this week through his Evaluation for Occupational Therapy and Allergy appointments…no, make that three things: 1) My little boy is seriously a champ, 2) He has some real food aversions from bad experiences and associations with food thanks to all of the allergies, reflux, and anaphylactic responses, and 3) he has a lot stacked against him with his new, updated, and revised list of food allergies diagnosed today.

What’s the updated list you ask?! I am writing them here, posting them on the fridge, and handing them out to family because, frankly I can’t remember them all of the top of my head:

  1. Dairy*
  2. Wheat
  3. Egg*
  4. Peanut*
  5. Cashew*
  6. Soy*
  7. Strawberries
  8. Pork
  9. Stone Fruits (mango, peach, plum, etc.)
  10. Avocado*
  11. Banana*
  12. Kiwi

* indicates a strong enough reaction to elicit an anaphylactic response (banana is one we experienced first hand last week)

We’re hopeful he will grow out of many of these, although the strong allergens may end up being lifelong issues. Only time will tell as he is old enough to do challenge tests to see at a later time.

As his Mama, I want him to have as many choices as he can. I desire for him to begin to have a fun, explorative, and healthy relationship with food despite his rough start. I want him to thrive, grow, and find joy in the things that he can eat without growing up feeling like he is missing out.

I am coming to a point more and more in my moments of desperation figuring out all the puzzle pieces to this little man that my children belong to the Lord and I truly have no choice but to surrender it all. My kids have been given to us to care for and God has chosen us to be the ones to tend to their needs. Whatever they are, or how complicated they are, they are ours for a reason. Even if I don’t see the end.

I am so thankful for so many reminding me this past week since his scary trip to the ER that we are enough for our Jonah. I feel completely inadequate at some point every day.

It feels like swimming in the middle of the ocean at night time knowing there are sharks wading the waters as you swim. But…

Like I said, he is a champ. And Sadie is an amazing cheerleader for her brother. TJ is a great encourager.We’ve got this.

Here’s what we’re eating this week:

Snacks:

Juicing Project:

Menu Plan

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Alright, I’ll admit it. I am a food documentary junkie. It all started with Supersize Me and Food, Inc. a couple years ago. Since then, every time we have passed a McDonald’s in Sadie’s lifetime she has learned to say, “Yuck.” Inside it’s a proud moment for me just like it is when she hears a fire truck and says we need to stop and pray. Some things you are just grateful for your kids picking up on from an early age.

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead is what got me on my juicing project adventure a year ago (still going strong), and Forks Over Knives blows my mind.

My newest favorite to add to my every-growing, obnoxious, obsessive list is Vegucated. Please. If you have any of your five senses intact, experience this documentary. We already were living a pretty heavy plant-based diet, but this documentary got my wheels turning once again.

I don’t know if it’s my own life experience with disease in my family, my children’s severe allergies, or my love of food, but I feel so strongly that food can heal us or hurt us. I see it first hand every day with my Jonah. My perspective on food and faith go hand in hand, growing daily together into something I feel so passionate about it’s becoming hard for me to contain it.

I’m looking forward to developing some recipes that not only fit the bill with the severe food allergies we have to deal with, but recipes that will promote health for me and my family. Even more than that, I’m looking forward to sharing with you what my journey to this point has looked like and what I continue to learn along the way.

1. Vegan Pesto & Roasted Veggies
2. Ancho Lentil Tacos & Roasted Broccoli
3. Black Bean Soup with Cilantro Lime Brown Rice with Cumin Spiced Roasted Bell Peppers
4. Quinoa Chickpea Stir-fry
5. Oatmeal Blender Waffles & Green Smoothies

Menu Plans Revolve Around Declining Food Consumption

To be honest, the last thing I have wanted to write lately is about our beloved weekly Menu Plans. I still stick to doing it for the sake of staying on budget, but writing about food when all I do is think about food and the lack of it actually staying in Jonah’s belly is an emotional topic for me at the moment.

We still have no answer for what is wrong with him and there is something wrong.

For about a month and a half it seemed like everything had miraculously fixed itself and all we had to deal with was food allergies. His screaming and crying all day writhing in some indescribable pain every day had stopped suddenly and he was the happiest little guy.

But in the last few weeks things took a turn in the wrong direction. It started with gagging himself. At first we thought he was just doing it for attention or playing a game. But then gagging turned into throwing up. Then it was just throwing up all the time at meals or right after eating. Self-gagging or not, it doesn’t stay down. It went from eating normal (allergy-friendly) whole, table foods to regressing back to purees, and now hardly anything all day without throwing it all back up again.

The screaming and crying started back again today, especially when it’s meal time. People in public looked at me like I was crazy this morning because I was attempting to run my errands with a boy who was beside himself no matter what I did. There is nothing I can do to make it better. He would be the same way at home, so I might as well get something done. That kills me.

This whole ordeal is heart wrenching. There’s no other way to describe it when something you need to survive is hurting your child and you can’t figure out what it is and it’s taken this long to have answers.

So, food is all that revolves in my brain. I spend all day thinking about trying new snacks, baking new things he might keep down, cooking something he won’t refuse, spacing food out, trying to offer nursing more, stressing his liquids, his wet diapers, his poops per day, his weight loss, his vitamin intake, his nutrition, his sleep habits, his demeanor, his…

We’re starting the diagnosis process day after tomorrow. Pray for him.

Right now I just hate food.

Here’s what we’re eating despite it all this week:

  • Chicken Sausage with Roasted Veggies
  • Maple Butternut Squash Soup
  • GF Felafel
  • Quinoa Stir-fry
  • Vegan Pesto

 

 

Menu Plan

This week is all about TJ. After all, on Friday he leaves me in the dust and heads to the thirty-year-old world! I have no clue what that’s like. Is this really happening?! Are we really on the verge of going into another decade of bonafide adulthood?!

Heck, my high school ten year reunion is in a couple of months. When did that happen?!

Do I have to start buying wrinkle cream soon?!

Are there grey airs on my head nobody is telling me about?!

I know I have a house and two kids (still missing the dog), but honest to goodness there are still days where I wake up and ask myself if I am old enough for all the responsibilities I have.

Time is whizzing by.

Anyways, he had a couple of requests and since it’s his birthday week and since I love him like I do, I will spoil the man rotten just this once. Wink, wink.

Here’s what the plan is for this week:

Sunday- Mexican Chicken Stew

Monday- Rosemary Chicken & Root Veggies

Tuesday- Vegan Chili

Wednesday- Light the Night

Thursday- Leftover Vegan Chili & Baked Potatoes, Salad

Friday- Shabbat with the clan (and TJ’s birthday)

Saturday- TJ’s birthday DATE NIGHT!!!

Menu Plan

I’m beginning to think that Risotto is this family’s new best friend. I can make a large quantity of it for cheap and pack it full of vegetables to give a great variance of nutrients to the little people without them even knowing what hit them. The biggest plus is the fact that this is always a meal I can make that we can all eat together as a family if I substitute whatever cheese is called for in the recipe for Nutritional Yeast Flakes.

Wait, you mean I don’t have to make four different meals for four people who all have four different dietary needs and restrictions?!

Why, yes.

Risotto is my manna from heaven.

Oh, and let’s not forget that I was going to buy it for $2.99 a pound at my local health food store when I stumbled upon the clearance cart that had 2 pounds for $1.99. Score. Or so I thought. As I stood in line, I looked at the clearance cart again and saw packed on the bottom a beautiful looking package with 6 ounces more of Organic Arborio rice for the same $1.99.  You can betcha I was digging to the bottom of that cart, while holding my squirmy Jonah who thinks sitting in a shopping cart really is a challenge to dive head first to the ground and see if he can bounce back.

Anything for a good deal.

Here is what the plan looks like for this week:

1. Tomato, Chicken Sausage & Spinach Risotto

2. GF Pizza Bites with Vegan Pesto, Arugula & Goat Cheese

3. GF Baked Black Bean & Turkey Taquitos with Refried Beans & Salad

4. Vegan Pesto & Garlic Wilted Spinach

5. Roasted Acorn Squash & Sweet Potatoes with Salad

 

Snacks:

Homemade Granola Bars

Breakfast Cookies

Fresh Juice