Archives for April 2011

Nutritionally Challenged

I have a friend who likes to refer to my food allergies issues as being nutritionally challenged. I think that is the perfect way to put it because it has become such a constant challenge. When our group of friends get together there are two of us that deal with food allergies so there are always warnings about foods that are not intended for the nutritionally challenged. I really appreciate that they understand my needs for safe foods and love that it doesn’t stop the rest of them from having the foods that they enjoy.

The Allergic Girl book that I read encourages the nutritionally challenged to rethink how they view their food by becoming a foodie. Foodies are amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation, and news. Foodies want to learn everything about food, both the best and the ordinary, and about the science, industry, and personalities surrounding food.

Cooking toolsSo I have been challenging myself to try out new foods and make new recipes and it’s been fun. I now view cooking as a hobby rather than a necessity to survive. As my cooking skills continue to improve I am being more confident to substitute ingredients based on what I happen to have in the fridge or even cook without a recipe and make it up as I go. I hardly ever follow a recipe exactly anymore, there are almost always adjustments needed for ingredients that I can’t have.  But I don’t focus on what I can’t have anymore and I don’t automatically rule out a recipe because I can’t have some of the ingredients.  It just means that I get the challenge of making it my own version which makes the meal that much more satisfying when it does turn out well.

We also love to watch and learn from cooking shows. Our favorites are Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, and Man versus Food among others. Lately we’ve also been watching The Next Great Restaurant. We like to see how these people create their food and figure out how we can make a similar dish. I think my most favorite cooking show is Good Eats because it is so educational. I hear the theme song for the show playing in my head as I write that sentence. I love watching that show because he explains the role each ingredient plays in a dish and the history behind how our favorite foods came to be. The show really gives a different perspective on food preparation and makes me want to try what he makes.

Paleo Spaghetti

Spaghetti has always been one of my most favorite meals so I was truly crushed when my food allergies took it away from me. However, once I learned about and made my first spaghetti squash I honestly feel like I don’t miss out anymore. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t gladly go back to normal spaghetti… but I really do love this new option. And it’s just as quick and easy to make.

Start by cutting off the top and bottom of the squash. Then slice it length-wise and scoop out all the seeds. This part is Jesse’s job because they are really hard to cut through.

Spaghetti squash

The first time I cooked mine in the oven, then someone told me that the microwave works much better. I like to add a little water to the bottom of the dish so that it steams well and microwave for 10-12 minutes depending on the size of the squash.

Cooking squash

When it’s finished, it should shred easily with a fork. Make sure to get all the way down to the skin, it makes a whole lot more food than I realized at first… plus it is really filling.

Finished squash

Then it’s ready to be topped with your favorite spaghetti sauce. I like to use Muir Glen tomato products and mix with ground beef to make it more filling. I love their sauce because it’s just tomatoes and spices… nothing I’m allergic to!

Spaghetti sauce

Of course, you have to add parmesan cheese on top, too.

Spaghetti dinner

Have you ever tried spaghetti squash? It’s really good, give it a try! Enjoy!


Weekends are so much nicer than they used to be when I had to go to work. Sounds backwards because we would always be looking forward to the next weekend, but now we actually have so much more time and energy to enjoy our weekends. We get recharged and re-energized over the weekends. We are able to start each week being motivated about what we want to accomplish instead of dreading yet another Monday.

Before I began working at home with Jesse, nothing got done around the house during the week. So weekends were filled with chores, grocery shopping, and errands that needed to get done. Now I usually have time to get most of that kind of stuff done during the week which leaves weekends open for fun stuff. It makes me realize how lucky I am that we are able to have the lifestyle that we do.

One of the blogs that I enjoy reading is called Enjoying the Small Things. The name of her blog pretty much explains what she blogs about. She is always talking about how her family can be doing nothing, yet it is so very something. I feel like we moved a little closer to that idea this weekend. Even though we didn’t go anywhere or do anything fabulous, which would have been great also, we did enjoy time together just relaxing. We really needed some relaxing nothingness after how busy we have been lately.

Movie watching

This weekend we just stayed home… and it was good! On Saturday I made a big mess baking in the kitchen while Jesse took a much needed nap. We did a lot of catching up on our TV shows, watching movies, and playing games. Good weekend, now back to getting our stuff done.