Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pantry Reorganize

I ordered some things from Amazon on Monday after I opened my pantry and things literally fell out. Sometimes, I'm really messy.....
Have a look at the kind of Before picture.  I had already taken out items from one of the shelves that I wanted to organize.  Truly, I border on being a food hoarder.

Well actually these are all of the items that came from just ONE shelf.  Wow!

I used these to expand the amount of room on each shelf and allow me to actually see what is in the cabinet instead of reaching in and having things fall out.  They expand to 24 inches.  I thought I was in trouble when the legs of the shelving kept slipping through the spaces in the wire shelving but I used a little ingenuity and came up with a fantastic solution.  I quickly measured the width and length of the existing shelves and then used the shipping box to place under the new expandable ones.  I cut the box to the correct size and it worked like a charm.

Now, the After 

So much better!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 4/14/14

I'm thinking that this date is going to be lucky.  Woohoo, I'm buying a Lotto ticket.  Growing up all of our important numbers contained 4's. Our house and street numbers, our telephone numbers, our alarm code, our automatic door lock, and any other information that was vital for our family.  My parents did this to help them remember what the passwords were and it has followed me in to adulthood.  So.....over the years we've come to think of 4's as a sort of talisman/good luck charm and today is filled with 'em.  With that tidbit shared I'm on to the menu for this week. By the way if I win the lottery, I'm on an extended vacation immediately....just sayin'.

Have a great week and yes, I'm still dairy free!

stovetop cheesy broccoli rice with ham recipe
using daiya cheese
Fresh Bread
To Do:  Make enchilada sauce, chop fruit and veggies for the week, roast chicken and package for freezer, make pork or set up crock pot for tenderloin, make dressing

Olive Oil Couscous
Fordhook Limas
To Do:  Put chicken in frig for defrost


Thai Chicken Satay Noodle Salad with Creamy Coconut Peanut Dressing | The perfect salad for every occasion via Club Narwhal
Thai Chicken Satay Salad
If not the salad, will make jasmine rice to go with the chicken.
To Do:  Nothing, off tomorrow.


Chicken Enchilada Pasta
with Dairy Free Alfredo Sauce
using almond or soy milk
Green Veggie
To Do:  Put hot dogs in frig


Chili Dogs
Tater Tots
To Do:  Nothing tomorrow is Friday :)


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Saturday, April 12, 2014

What We Did This Week

I had a creative and fun week....I need so many more of these.

First I decided to paint the mailbox....mine looked something like this picture although faded and with numerous sticker from the previous owners.  You are gonna have to use your imagination because I forgot to take the before picture.

 I painted the outside and replaced the numbers and added some decorations to satisfy my aesthetic.  Here is the result even though the pictures aren't too good.  I couldn't seem to get the light right.

You can tell that the mailbox was old by the pink not red flag on the side.  I actually might get some pink paint to spruce that up too. Isn't the result so cute??  Oooh Aaah, lol

After that I hung this wooden sign on my front door for the spring season.  It caught my fancy in Hobby Lobby while shopping for poster supplies with my Boy #2 (story to follow).

And finally, I made this poster, after receiving a lot of direction from said Boy #2 because he was using it as a prop to ask his friend to go to the prom.  Keep in mind that this was completely his idea and I was just the facilitator (along with a couple of other people) of the plan.  His grand scheme was to surprise his girl by re-enacting the wrecking ball video by Miley Cyrus because.....that is her favorite artist.  So he enlisted his Grandfather to help him get a tire (to mimic the ball), called his friend's Mom to ensure it was okay to hang a rope swing from one of her oak trees, got me to make the poster because in his own words "his handwriting is atrocious", and borrowed a shirt from a friend with Miley Cyrus picture on the front from the Bangerz tour.  I'd say he orchestrated everything perfectly.  Oh and I forgot to mention he wrote a poem of sorts for me to put on the poster.  After all of his (and our) hard work, she said yes....thank the Lord!

Now we have to put all of his prom "plans" in motion.  Who knows what's in store??

As far as food goes, we ate really well and on my part dairy free.  Even though Boy #2 initially started this journey with me, he's only truly dairy free when I cook.  That's perfectly fine with me since he's willing to eat just about anything I make.

We ate Grilled Chicken, Black Beans and Corn with Red Peppers, and Pesto Couscous
We also had Bacon and Avocado Burgers with Roasted Potato Wedges, Beef Roast, and
Crab legs, Sauteed Shrimp, along with Tilapia  They were all great but I didn't take any photos :(

I discovered coconut butter.  It's really tasty and very rich...a little goes a long way.  The fat content makes this satisfying and filling.  I also found a yogurt that fulfills my lunch time need.

That's it for our week.  How 'bout yours?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Coconut Yogurt vs Almond Yogurt Review

I'm doing this non dairy thing, right?  And the one thing I haven't told ya is that I'm in love with regular whole milk greek yogurt....but, I haven't eaten any in one solid week.  No big deal since I'm only in the infancy of my diet change although I knew I needed to find a substitute that I can live with to keep me from falling off the wagon..  This led to taste testing some different brands that were available in my tiny health food store that is local.  I tried an almond milk based brand and a coconut milk based brand.

 Almond Milk 
The texture was quite thick and paste like and the flavor caused my jaw to contract as if I'd eaten twenty lemons at once (I only drink lemon water so that wasn't the issue).  In my head I was busy formulating ways to get over the fact that lunch is not complete without a yogurt product and the wheels were already turning to find some suitable substitute.  I had decided to purchase vanilla or plain versions so I would be able to really confirm or deny my like/love/hate for these products.  So vanilla it was for the almond.

Coconut Milk
With some trepidation, I tried the coconut.  The texture of this one was similar to the almond but the taste was much more palatable even though there wasn't any flavor added.  After one bite I made a take out container for my lunch the next day.
Coconut Greek Style Plain with Homemade Strawberries, Jam, and Flax Seed
I used half of the plain carton with a teaspoon of homemade strawberry jam, 1/2 cup fresh strawberries and topped it off with 1/2 teaspoon of flax seeds.  I'm in love with this.  The only negative as far as I'm concerned is the fact that I have to layer this myself instead of grabbing a pre made container out of the frig.  I'm saving calories as half of the carton is only about 65 and my usual greek yogurt contained from 150-170 per carton. I'm not feeling deprived and that's a good thing.  I may have had a bad experience with the first flavor and I'm certain I will try some other types and flavors when I have the opportunity to make it to the neighboring town for a more varied selection.

For this challenge, coconut rules.....almond drools.  I'm such a geek, lol

Monday, April 7, 2014

Coconut Butter

I was ignorant until today about this stuff....I'm so glad I'm not now. Yum!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 4/7/14

I made a decision about 4 weeks ago that I haven't shared here on my blog.  Due to my auto immune disorder not getting back to baseline after a severe flare last March, I decided after some research to do at least a 30 day change of my food intake.  I found an "allergy diet" on a blog that I was reading. While I'm not prepared to cut out everything just yet, I have cut out ALL dairy as of April 1.  What is amazing to me, because I think my expectations were pretty low, as nothing I have done over the last 12 months has really made a significant difference in my health status/perception, again my expectation was low is that my symptoms seem to be improving.  One of my primary symptoms....full body itching/pruritis.....began to subside almost immediately.  I mean better sleep, decrease in abdominal bloating with less stomach irritation, and decreased esophageal reflux almost the next day.  My adult facial acne also started to resolve within the first two days.  Hmmmm, coincidence?  Maybe, but enough immediate difference has occurred that I am going to continue eating this way for the next foreseeable future.  Oh, and by the way, I found out that my "cheese addiction" is true.  When I read this article, I was devastated because I love, love, love cheese and have been very hesitant to commit to not eating it on a daily basis. I added cheese to just about everything and ate greek style yogurt daily for the probiotics.   Or maybe I just ate it for dessert, lol.  However, knowing that there were numerous substitutes that I could use, I made a decision and gave myself three weeks to eat stuff myself with butter, cheese, and cream.  I'm learning a lot and will probably make a lot of mistakes. I'll keep you updated on what goes right and any epic fails that might happen.  

Have a great week and leave me a comment if you have any favorite products or ideas that will help me succeed on my dairy free journey!

Toffuti Sour Cream
Pan Fried Corn with Purple Onion and Cream Cheese (Toffuti)

Bacon Avocado Hamburger
To Do:  Prep the wontons, put chicken in frig to marinate, make a dairy free appetizer for the pool, pack lunch, borrow a big steamer pot from my surrogate family.

Crab Rangoon - This crisp, fried wonton is loaded with cream cheese and crab goodness, and it's an absolute party favorite!
Mushroom Wonton
Grilled Chicken
To Do:  Nothing, off work will prep and shop tomorrow


Crab Legs
Sauteed Shrimp
Parmesan Tilapia
Rice Pilaf
To Do:  Prepare crock pot, make mac and cheese, shop, laundry, make homemade mayo  or some of these for crab and tilapia dunking.


Beef Brisket
Macaroni and Cheese
Green Veggie
To Do:  Chop veggies,make up mixture for sauce, put chicken in the frig.


Peanutty Chicken Pasta
Garlic Bread
To Do:  Nothing it's Friday night and I'm working on Saturday.

(Your on your own)

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Daiya Cheese Review

So as my dairy free adventure continues, I'm discovering new products that are making the transition much easier.  I'm glad to say that my beloved cheese topped casseroles will be soon making an appearance on my menu again.
From a layperson person's point of view, this product was questionable at best when I first saw it in my local small tiny health food store.  As a matter of fact, I didn't buy it because it had a weird name and didn't look altogether appetizing when I looked through the peek a boo window on the package.  Lucky for me, I did some investigating on the web and found that this brand is hands down the winner among those who are dairy free.  My oldest son was close to a larger "whole foods" type market and purchased four bags for me.  He gbought two mozzarella, and two cheddar varieties.  Score.  Today I finally had the opportunity to finally try the mozzarella and found it to be delightful.  No, it doesn't taste exactly like mozzarella cheese because,well, it's not but.....melted on top of a crispy pita bread it was delicious.  The melt and stretch factors are over the top!
One thing I noticed though is the time that it takes to get to the stretchy, melty point is a bit longer than dairy cheese.  That's okay for me though....I can work with that just fine.
I love me some cheese :D