When we started homeschool, one of my simplify or lose my mind announcements was that lunch was always going to be PB&J or leftovers – forever or until the kids enrolled in another school – where I would probably pack them leftovers or PB&J.
Then I got diagnosed with celiac and learned that I am not detail oriented enough to safely run a bifurcated kitchen. So no more wheat bread pb&j.
Well, it is possible to have gf bread. But they sell it in the freezer section for a reason. It tastes good once it has been toasted (and you slather it with butter and jam, but everything tastes good with butter and jam) but the texture is different the next day after you thaw it. (gf bread that tastes weird is still fine to keep in the freezer as bread crumbs for meatballs or breading though, and it’s too expensive to throw out) The tastiest gf bread is out of the bread machine my Mother-in-Law gave me. Actually, I think it is technically M’s since he is the one who misses bread the most. She tried to teach M to make it himself right after breakfast so it’s ready for lunch – um, well, it has 9 ingredients, and I have enough trouble remembering to swim right after breakfast, let alone remembering to remind Ben or M to make bread.
So, that’s a habit we can establish later. I suppose I could mix it up before bed, keep it in the fridge, then plunk it into the machine in the morning.
I’m also learning the habits to make a crock pot and rice cooker work for me. Umm, it’s more of a habit trick than anything else. I’m STILL working on it.
But what do we actually eat for lunch these days?
About once a week, yes, I make bread. M usually asks for tuna salad, but I put the peanut butter and jam on the table in case. Also quarts of yogurt. And leftovers, and fruit. I do that with most lunches so the picky eaters will have some choices of SOMETHING they don’t hate.
What turns out to be easiest for me after all is potatoes. Stuffed re-baked potatoes, roasted potato/sweet potato with bacon and sesame seed salad (roasted in a little olive oil lemon added at the end. the bacon roasts with the potatoes on the roasting sheet) Left over roasted potatoes turn into potato salad.
Corn is still gf. I buy lots more corn tortillas than I used to. I can quickly make some re-fried beans (from a can of bean) and serve with salsa, cheese, lettuce and avacado. Or I make quesadillas. I cheat though; I batch process it on a pan in the oven, sometimes I brush oil onto the tortillas so they get crispy, but I don’t pan fry them one by one. Sometimes I put some canned black beans in with green onion and red pepper (which both M and K try to pick out later.) Corn chowder is a possibility too.
Beans also come to the rescue; white bean soup, left over bean soups, lentles…fill out with gf crackers. Hummous goes over OK if there are plenty of crackers and veggies to dip in it. Annie’s black bean and corn salad with mango.
Quinoa is a nice grain that keeps it’s texture cold, so I make quinoa tuna salad with olives and mayo, quinoa with mozzarella cubes and olives with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and the orange/garbanzo/raisin salad from Poor Girl Gourmet, (she uses Israeli Couscous). I’m a little nervous of quinoa though, M and Dan got sour stomachs consistently after eating quinoa, but perhaps the grains weren’t as pre rinsed as they were labeled? I’m so hoping they haven’t gotten sensitized to the saponins, because I don’t find rice based noodles stand up well cold for salads.
We are blessed that our local grocery is Seabra – which carries lots of Brazilian foods. Frozen Pao quejio cooking in the oven always makes the kids happy. I love reading non contends gluten on a yummy, easy thing. We eat way more goiabada than is probably good for us, and while it is traditional to serve it with a soft cheese like fresh mozzarella, we like it best with extra sharp cheddar.
I get happy when I write a menu full of curies that will give me several meals – but the kids only like it once a week, not over and over again for lunch. The last few weeks I’ve let the kids loose on my cooking magazines with sticky notes so they pick 6 meals each. OK, I for one am done with meals based on ground beef, but the sweet and sour meatballs with pineapple sauce were tasty.
Except for missing PB&J, M has told me that meals are better around here since my diagnosis. I think it’s because gf baking is so tricky, you have to follow the recipe. No more breezy winging it for me. In fact, I have to use a scale when baking to get the flours right. Inconsistent food used to irritate him. Me? Well, I’m a lot more comfy than I used to be – in fact, when a lady at church was diagnosed with celiac, I handed her cook books and got on her case to start eating for her health. So, I guess that counts as not being irritated anymore about radically changing my diet. Bad labels though – now those are irritating.