We have been so sick in this house - and if I hadn't been sick too and if I was at all into epidemiology, I'd have been fascinated by watching how the germs and the sneezing, coughing and fever jumped from one person to the next. But I'm not and I wasn't and all I wanted for the past ten days was to just lie down. Not for a long time, just for a little.
It ain't easy being the mommy and the sicky at the same time. Josh is amazing but at the end of the day (or really, at the very beginning of the day), he couldn't really hang with us; he had to go to work.
Today is the first day that everyone is back at school. I'm home and I'm still coughing and I really think that the doctor that told us that we had a virus was wrong. I think this was the flu.
Anyway, besides following kids around the house, picking up dirty tissues and watching way too much PBS and Food Network with my kids, I spent the week making chicken soup. I made many batches and speaking as the girl who grew up thinking that chicken soup is made by squeezing chickens and who couldn't fathom that water could be turned into soup, I think I can safely say that I have come a long way.
There are hundreds (thousands?) of chicken soup recipes out there. Here's mine. And may you only eat it because it's part of your dinner plans and not because you must as part of a cold remedy. And let us all say, Amen.
My Chicken Soup
1 whole onion
3 lbs carrots, washed, peeled and cut into large pieces
4 parsnips, washed, peeled and cut into large pieces
3 big zucchinis, washed and cut into thirds
2 lbs of chicken - bottoms, tops, whatevers - cleaned and skinned
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
salt to taste
Place all the ingredients in a really big pot.
Add water to cover the ingredients and bring to a boil.
Lower the flame, cover almost all the way with a pot lid and let it simmer for at least two hours or until dinner.
Your house will smell amazing and don't be surprised if you find yourself with the urge to bake challah.
Succos came, succos went. So did my parents. And now school has started again. How's that for a three week update?
Oh, and we took the kids off wheat.
And sugar, but sugar is really hard.
Its more like added sugar garbage that we're abstaining from.
Its going to cost me a cool $120 to conduct this experiment; I promised each of them a dollar a day for 30 days. Kind of like the kid version of the Whole30 except the only reward for the grown up Whole30 is feeling better. That's a good thing, but thirty dollars is pretty nice too.
The kids have been doing surprisingly well without wheat. They ask for cookies or bread or crackers here and there but I've been able to divert their attention for the most part. Breakfast is hard though, they are sick of scrambled eggs which is why I took a special trip to Whole Foods to pick up some almond flour and coconut flour - and now I have some chocolate-almond-coconut muffins baking in the oven. I really hope the kids like them and eat them for breakfast. I also really hope I find someplace else to buy almond and coconut flour because man alive, Whole Foods is expensive.
Needless to say, I've been spending way more time in the kitchen than I'd like to. But it's been worth it. My two kids who cough and just generally hack away all night long have been silent sleepers for the past five nights. And my five year old, who generally visits us three times a night has been sleeping through the night - not any later than she normally does - about 4:30am - but you know, baby steps.
My big coup this week was pizza night. The kids really wanted pizza and I really didn't know what to do. I saw a few recipes for cauliflower pizza crust but they all sounded like so much work. And then I thought an egg might do the trick. This took way longer than I thought it would but I made these pizza crusts. Each crust is one egg, fried into a very thin omelet. One egg per frying pan, cook it on both sides and wala (how do you spell that?!) a round something to put sauce and cheese on. I was able to bake six at a time in the oven, but I couldn't make them fast enough. So funny really, because it's really just pizza eggs, something we've been eating for years but I guess it looked enough like pizza that everyone was happy.
I didn't think of then, but you could also put mushrooms or onions or peppers or whatever on your pizza and get a few vegetables into the kids at the same time.
Week two of the wheat-free experiment starts now.
It's a fast day today, so what else is there to talk about besides food? Nothing, that's what.
And so in that spirit, the kids and I sat down and made a list of meal and snack ideas that are summer-appropriate. Because really, the goal this summer, besides for all the packing and whatnot, is to avoid turning on the oven as much as possible. And when we do turn it on, it's because we are baking a truckload of zucchini muffins to freeze, freeze, freeze.
At first I was going to make two lists, one for snacks and one for meals, but then I decided that when it's this hot (its actually not that hot here at all just yet, but for list purposes we're pretending that we already moved to Florida), all these food ideas are interchangeable. I mean, who said watermelon and string cheese is not a meal? Exactly.
After some explaining on my part (sorry, ice cream in a cone is the same as having ice cream in a cup), we came up with this list of Top Twenty Summer Snacks and Meals:
Can you think of any other ideas?
We really like making ices when the weather turns warm - and I really do not like buying ices in the store. All that red dye #4 and all. Blech. And besides, these could not have been easier to make - if you have a blender. Without one, I don't know what to tell you. A food processor maybe? A Magic Bullet?
I peeled, de-seeded and cut up one grapefruit and washed and cut the tops off of a pound of strawberries. Into the blender went all the little fruit and out come something resembling a smoothie.
I poured the fruit smoothie into my trusty ice pop maker, popped the whole thing into the freezer and then forgot about it. For like a week.
So a week later, on a hot afternoon, we broke out the ices. I enjoyed them immensely, as did two of my kids. The other kids would have enjoyed them more had the ices been a little sweeter, so experimenting with different sweetness levels before freezing might be a helpful idea. Josh wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole because of the grapefruit. Although, I'm willing to guess that these days, he might start singing a different tune - he's now on day 3 of his first Whole30 and fruit treats are starting to look pretty good these days.
We shall see what happens...
We have been having breakfast issues lately, specifically with the what to have part of breakfast.
My kids are partial to cream cheese and saltines, an unfortunate combination that has become the go-to breakfast in the house for a while now. I have been trying to counter that by offering scrambled eggs, but really, who wants to get up early to scramble eggs every morning? I know. Me either.
So I made these muffins (from 100daysofrealfood.com) last night, in the hopes that they'd eat these for breakfast - and three out of four kids ate them happily, and in my book, that's a win.
The 100daysofrealfood mom says to put whatever you like into the muffin batter so I tripled the recipe and then added three different kinds of add-ins: chocolate chips, walnuts and coconuts. But now I think about it, I'm pretty sure she meant nice things like fruit, not questionable breakfast items like chocolate chips. What can I say? Baby steps.
The muffins are delicious and a triple recipe yielded 36 muffins, so enough for many many breakfasts and a few lunchbox treats. Like I said to Josh - one recipe makes 12 muffins. That's so cute. What would I do with 12? After everyone tastes, I'll be left with almost none. Nope, in our house, we triple a recipe or we go home. Or however that saying goes.
Today marks three weeks since I began the Whole30 challenge.
It's been very hard, exhilirating and boring, all at the same time.
Hard because I love chocolate, I miss chocolate and I think about it fondly and often.
Exhilirating because I am finally doing something for me and about me, and while I have no idea if I am losing any weight because weighing in is a big no-no until the 30 days are up, I feel better, sleep better, think better and eat better.
And boring, because I'm bored, literally bored with what I am eating.
There is only so much poached salmon, grilled chicken and diced avocados a person can eat. So for dinner tonight, I invented my own recipe and and it worked (it's okay, I'm shocked too).
It's super simple and very yummy.
And the best part, you can use as much or as little of any of the ingredients as you like.
And even better than the best part, if you have some chicken that has already been cooked sitting around in the fridge (and if you're Whole30ing, you really should have some), then you won't have to actually cook anything here, just chop, mix and eat.
What should I call this?
I think we're going to go with Citrus-Chicken Salad.
Romaine lettuce (or your favorite salad green), chopped
grapefruit, peeled, sliced and cut up
a handful of raw cashews
Toss the first five ingredients in a bowl. Add a little olive oil and salt. Retoss. Eat.
It was quite good, if I may say so myself. And there was also quite a lot left over, so I guess my dinner for tomorrow night is already done. Hooray.
And I keep thinking, Day 21 already, what am I going to do on Day 31? How and what will I eat. I'm getting nervous.
And because I seem to be the master of bad transition sentences lately, I'm now going to say that Chanukah is making me nervous too. There is still so much that I have not done. (See how I did that, with the word nervous in both sentences? Clever. I know. )
For the past fews years, I've been thinking about making a Chanukah bingo game for our family Chanukah party, but it always seems like so much work. I can make that first bingo board, no problem. It's the shuffling around of the pictures to make the other boards that throws me. So I've never done it.
I'm sure then, that you can imagine my delight when I found these free (free!) printable Chanukah themed bingo boards on Crayola.com.
Just print and go.
And you can use chocolate Chanukah gelt as the pieces so even the players that don't win, win with all that chocolate. I think I'm going to be the bingo caller. I can't be trusted around all that chocolate. You know, the Whole30 and all. (See how I tied that all together like that at the end? I know.)
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)