Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Meal Plan 1 December - 7 December

Only 24 days until Christmas!  My 5 year old is getting so excited.  I'm getting excited, too.  This is the first year since moving to New Zealand that I actually "feel" in the Christmas mood.  I grew up in the Northern Hemisphere so Christmas meant lots of snow and cold.  It's only taken 9 years, but I'm getting there! 

Anyway, I haven't done this in a while, but here is my meal plan for our evening meals this week.

Tuesday - Buffalo Chicken Casserole with Asparagus {my family doesn't eat very spicy food, so I substitute barbeque sauce for the hot sauce.  I also just use rice bran oil instead of olive oil.}

Wednesday - Satay Chicken and Rice

Thursday - Going out! 

Friday - Chicken, Mushroom, and Bacon Pasta with Broccoli

Saturday - We are having a teen activity at our house, so we will probably end up having a barbeque

Sunday - Sandwiches with Hummus and Vegetables

Monday - Korean Beef and Rice

I know I failed miserably last time I said this, but I will TRY to get recipes up as I cook this week. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Apple & Carrot Muffins

Well, actually a cross between a cupcake and a muffin.  There is just something so cute about mini muffins.  My children love them.  Ok, so I love them too.  This recipe is based off of the carrot cake recipe in the Betty Crocker cookbook.  I really, really like carrot cake.  Our wedding cake was carrot cake.  I've had carrot cake for many of my birthday cakes.  The great thing about this recipe was that it was made with oil, so it was already dairy free.  I just had to figure out how to make it gluten free and with less sugar.  The sweeter type of apple you use, the sweeter your muffins will be.

(for some reason there are 2 apples in this picture, but I only ever use one)

1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup white rice flour
1 Tablespoon tapioca starch (arrowroot)
3 Tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large carrot - grated
1 medium apple - grated

1.  Mix honey, oil, and eggs in a large bowl until blended.  Stir for 1 minute.  (Do this by hand-trust me, they turn out better) 
2.  Stir in remaining ingredients except carrot and apple.  Stir by hand again for 1 minute.
3.  Fold in carrot and apple.
4.  Spoon into muffin tins.  (This recipe yields 24 mini muffins)
5.  Bake at 180 degrees C for 12 - 15 minutes. 

Yummmmmmm . . . 

Satay Chicken

I had never had this dish before moving to New Zealand.  When we moved here I was introduced to Thai food.  I'm not sure if this is authentic, but we have a Thai restaurant that we love and satay chicken is one of our favourite dishes from there.  This is not exactly like they serve at the restaurant, but we really enjoy it.  My daughter calls it "Peanut Butter Chicken."  My husband, who doesn't even like peanut butter, is a huge fan of this dish.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

I had planned on taking pictures of this dish when I made it this week, but we had company over for tea that night and I ran out of time to take pictures before it all got eaten.  One batch of this is enough for our family of 2 adults and 2 children, plus leftovers for lunch the next day.

Satay Chicken (a.k.a. Peanut Butter Chicken)
400 grams (or about that amount) boneless/skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tablespoon oil
500 grams frozen stir-fry veges* (See note below)
1 batch satay sauce (recipe below)

Heat oil in wok (a frying pan works too) over medium-high heat.  Stir-fry chicken in oil.  Add frozen vegetables and stir-fry for 7 minutes.  Pour over satay sauce and bring to the boil.  Stir often.  Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is thickened-about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom.  Also, keep an eye on it because it can get thick really quick.  Serve over rice of choice.  We really like short grain rice, but jasmine rice is nice too.

Satay Sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground corriander
3 Tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1 - 2 Tablespoons coconut sugar (you can use brown sugar)
1 - 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 - 2 Tablespoons soy sauce 
1/8 teaspoon ground chili powder** (if you like it spicy, feel free to add more)
1 to 1 1/2 cups coconut cream

Mix all together in blender.  Start with the smallest amount of each ingredient and add more to get a balance of sweet, sour, and salty.

*You can just use fresh veges, but if you are using broccoli and/or cauliflower I would steam them for a short time first unless you like them quite crunchy.  If using carrots, make sure to cut them into thin strips or steam them a bit first.

**Chili powder here is incredibly spicier than the kind you buy in the States.  I found this out the hard way.  :)

Schnitzel von Crumb

Tonight's tea was crumbed schnitzel with mashed potatoes, roast carrots, and roast broccoli.  My 5 year old daughter came in and asked what was for tea.  After I told her, she replied, "Yum! Schnitzel von Crumb!"  A few minutes later my husband asked the same question, I gave him the same answer, and he replied just like my daughter did!  So, Schnitzel von Crumb it is!

Schnitzel is a very thin cut of beef.  This is a really simple dish that tastes delicious!

To start with you need breadcrumbs.  I simply toasted some of my homemade bread . . .

Broke the bread into small pieces and put it in the blender . . . 

Then blended until I had fine crumbs.
I then mixed in some dried mixed herbs and salt.

Next, break an egg into a bowl and whisk with a little milk (I used coconut cream)
You are going to dip the meat into the egg mixture and then into the breadcrumbs.

It should look like this when you're finished dipping all the pieces.

To cook, heat the oven to 230 degrees C.  Put some coconut oil (or butter) into a glass baking dish and put in the oven to melt.  Once the coconut oil is melted place your crumbed meat in the dish and put in the preheated oven. Bake for 5 minutes.  Flip the meat over and bake for 4 minutes more.  Because the meat is so thin it cooks very quickly.  You don't want it to turn to leather!  Serve with your favourite vegetables.  To make dairy free mashed potatoes I use coconut oil instead of butter and coconut cream instead of milk.  Because we weren't having gravy, I seasoned the potatoes with dried mixed herbs, garlic powder, and salt.  Even my daughter who doesn't like mashed potatoes will eat them like this.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 17, 2015


I love bread!  I love sandwiches!  When I found out that it was best for me to stay away from gluten, bread was the only thing that I missed.  We can buy really delicious gluten-free bread here in New Zealand, but at $7 a loaf (a very small loaf) it's not something we buy very often.  I tried several recipes before this one and after a bit a tweaking, this is our go-to bread recipe.  I love this bread!  We recently had friends over for tea and I made this bread and served it.  The husband ate quite a few slices before he found out it was gluten free and he was shocked.  It's not quite the same a regular bread, but we love it!  So here is our recipe for gluten-free, dairy-free bread (it's so simple a 4-year-old can make it!).  This bread is amazing for sandwiches the first day you make it.  After that it's still delicious, if you toast it.  This recipe makes one loaf.  We've starting doubling the recipe and it still turns out great!

1 1/2 Tablespoons sweetener (we use honey)
1/2 Tablespoon active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup + 2 1/2 Tablespoons white rice flour
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch (also called arrowroot)
1/4 cup corn flour (cornstarch)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 Tablespoons oil
2 large eggs
1/2 Tablespoon guar gum

First, dissolve sweetener in warm water and sprinkle the yeast over the top.  Let stand to dissolve yeast.

While the yeast is doing it's thing, measure out your dry ingredients into a bowl.

Next, mix your eggs and oil into another bowl.

After the yeast has dissolved, pour in your dry ingredients.

Add your wet ingredients.

 Give the ingredients a bit of a mix by hand.

 Put the bowl on the mixer stand (you can also use a hand-held electric mixer).

Turn the mixer to medium speed and mix for 3 minutes.

Pour dough into bread pan lined with baking paper (I helped with this bit).

Smooth down the top with wet fingers.

Clean up your mess while you leave the dough to rise for one hour.

After the dough has risen for one hour, bake for 25 minutes in an oven preheated to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F for all you Yankees).  Now, behold the finished product!

Slice and enjoy!

Meal Plan (15 September - 21 September)

"What do you actually eat?"  This is a question I get asked A LOT!!!  When people hear about how many food sensitivities our family has, this is usually the reaction.  It has taken a while to adjust, (and I'm still learning) but there are actually a lot of delicious things to eat out there.  It's Friday here now, but here is a list of the meals we had/are going to have this week for tea (dinner, supper, whatever you call it).  Tuesdays are my grocery shopping days so that is why the list starts on Tuesday. :)

Tuesday - Chicken salad for hubby, ham sandwiches with cassava crisps and raw veges for the rest of us (My husband wasn't going to be home for tea so we had a picnic for tea)

Wednesday - Chili and bread (My youngest can't eat tomatoes so I kept some of the browned mince/hamburger for him and added a bit of chicken stock and mixed veges to it)

Thursday - Roast chicken with roasted carrots and potatoes (kumera/sweet potato for the youngest) and green beans

Friday - Nachos (serving leftover chili from Wednesday on corn chips with guacamole) 

Saturday - Satay chicken and rice (will be posting a recipe when I make this)

Sunday - BBQ chicken on flat bread (recipe coming soon) with raw veges and hummus

Monday - Crumbed Schnitzel, mashed potatoes (kumera/sweet potato for youngest), broccoli and carrots

I'm planning (we'll see how that goes) on actually taking pictures of our meals and posting recipes this week.  Stay tuned to see if that happens! :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Rice Porridge

Here is a recipe for one of our go-to breakfasts.  It does take nearly an hour to cook, so I put it on when I get up in the morning and get ready while it's cooking.

1/2 cup coconut cream
2 cups water
1 + 1/4 cups medium grain brown rice
2 Tablespoons coconut sugar or honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup frozen blueberries

Mix all ingredients except blueberries in saucepan.  Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover pot.  Simmer for 30 minutes. Do not lift the lid! Turn heat off and leave covered for 10 minutes.  Stir in blueberries, cover again, and leave for 5 minutes.  Stir once more and serve!

Again, this makes enough for our family of two adults and two children.  My daughter really likes this with crushed walnuts sprinkled on the top. Another option is to leave out the blueberries and instead fry some thinly sliced apples in coconut oil with a bit of cinnamon. After the porridge has cooked just serve the apples on top.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Oatmeal Cake

This has become one of our favourite breakfast dishes.  Who doesn't like cake for breakfast?  This does include oats which a lot of people who have issues with gluten need to avoid.  We stayed away from oats for about two years before trying them again.  Thankfully, they don't seem to bother us any more.  That's a good thing because they are cheap!

My recipe is based off a recipe I found in a cookbook that my home church put together.  I love looking through that book and seeing names of so many people that have influenced my life. The lady that submitted the original recipe for this was one of my teachers in Sparkies - a Bible club for kids.  That programme helped me learn many Bible verses as a small child.

1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup sweetener of choice (honey, coconut sugar, brown sugar, etc.)
2 large eggs
2 + 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup finely shredded coconut
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 180℃ (350℉).
Combine oil, sugar, and eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Stir well.
Add remaining ingredients, except blueberries. Mix thoroughly.
Fold in blueberries.
Pour into a lightly greased 9x9 inch baking dish.
Bake for 30 minutes.

We cut this into 6 pieces and it feeds our family of two adults and two children.  The cake can be crumbly, so for our 18 month old son we serve it in a bowl with a bit of milk poured over the top. It's less messy for him that way.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Beginning

Why another food blog?  I'm glad you asked.  Here is our story.  Four years ago we started a food journey with our family.  Our daughter, who was 17 months old at the time, had severe eczema and stomach issues.  She had suffered like this since she was 5 weeks old.  We kept going to our doctor for help with the eczema and each time we were given a different steroid cream to help.  The cream would work for a few weeks and then her skin would flair up again with the eczema and we would have to go back for a stronger cream.  The cycle just kept repeating itself so we decided that something had to change.

So what to do?  Google it of course!  We began researching about her skin and stomach problems and found that the problem started on the inside of her body.  The flare-ups on her skin were an indication of what was going on inside her body.  The only way to heal her skin was to heal her body from the inside.  The best way to do this was to find out what she was eating that was triggering these flare-ups.  Our doctor told us that she was too young for allergy testing so we then began researching other ways to find out what she was reacting to.

The solution for us was an elimination diet.  Simply put, you eat very basic food (think white, non-processed food like chicken, rice, cauliflower, pears, etc.) for a few weeks and then you slowly add things back in to find out what is causing the problems.  The whole process takes a couple of months.

After the first week we noticed improvements in her skin and stomach issues.  In the end we found out the foods she has to avoid are: dairy, gluten, bananas, strawberries, and citrus (except lemons).  Now there was just one question, "What do I feed my child?"

So began our journey.  A year later I experienced some health issues of my own and found I needed to stop eating gluten.  In January 2014 our son was born and he too has eczema and stomach problems.  We haven't figured out everything he needs to avoid, but so far he does best if he stays away from: gluten, dairy, bananas, citrus, and nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, capsicum). For myself I am now avoiding gluten, dairy, and sugar.  

Our health is improving, but we are still have a way to go on this journey.  This blog is a way for me to record the recipes that we are using.  Most of our recipes I find on Pinterest and then tweak them to fit our family's needs.  Some recipes are old favourites that I've altered to suit us.  Enjoy!