Which is also reason #34 you shouldn’t let a one year old help you dip pretzels in chocolate…
… now I know.
Tonight John and I spent close to two hours making dinner.
Hamburgers with cheese sauce and, get this, buns.
We used ingredients from three different grocery stores.
I raised a duck for it’s eggs.
John shot a deer for the burger.
It turned out great.
First hamburgers we’ve eaten in ages.
Clara friendly hamburgers.
I gotta tell you, I love the girl, but two is not a good age.
How we make a pizza in twenty easy steps:
1)Raise a pig.
2) Send the pig to the butcher and get back tasty packages of meat including ground pork.
3) Shoot a deer.
4) Butcher the deer ourselves wrap meat in tasty packages including ground venison.
5) Mix the ground venison and pork with a bunch of seasonings and smoke it for awhile. Call it pepperoni, store it in the freezer.
6) Make a crust – a yeast free, dairy free crust.
7) Create another crust – a yeast free, mostly dairy free, wheat free crust that Clara can eat, hope that that whatever you come up with turns out better than the crumbly cardboard you made last time.
8) Get distracted by laundry and over flowing garbage and burn the edges of the crusts while setting off all the smoke detectors in the house.
9)Cut up Pepperoni that you made in step 5.
10) Realize you don’t have enough pepperoni and thaw out ground pork from step 2.
11) Mix ground pork with pizza spices from Penzeys and brown.
12) Grate a large pile of goat cheese for those who can’t have cow’s milk.
13) Grate a large pile of cow cheese for every one else.
14) Combine plain tomato sauce with more pizza spice from Penzeys.
15) Cut up pineapple.
16) Assemble pizzas to the direction of a five year old with the help of a two year old.
17) Put in oven to bake until toppings are browned.
28) Get impatient, turn on the broiler.
19) Quick take pizza out as it will be starting to burn because you forgot about it again.
It’s a good twenty step process right? Fairly healthy result, made with partly local ingredients, minimal food additives, cooking kids… blah, blah, blah. After I look at my kitchen full of pineapple juice, sauce splatters, spilled flours and cheeses, dirty pans, bowls, spoons and baking sheets all I can think is that I really miss the days of the three step pizza.
2) Open Door.
Eating on a diet without wheat, corn, rice, oats, lamb, green beans, chicken…. it gets boring.
Fortunately we are starting to successfully add foods back into Clara’s diet (Hooray for tomatoes and cane sugar!) but it’s a slow process.
As exciting as tomatoes are the food we are eating is still pretty boring. Venison roast with vegetables sounds great, unless you eat it at least once a week. Poor Ivy has been begging, for pizza, noodles and dessert and so I’ve been looking and sleuthing online trying to come up with something different. Trying to do a regular Google search for recipes was frustrating. Even using different cooking websites and their recipe sorters was hard, lists of recipe names that I then had to open and double check ingredients seemed like a great idea but was tedious to carry out. Then I found Pinterest. While I’m still a little sketchy on the point of the whole thing and have no plans of creating my own Pinterest account (because what would I do with it?) I discovered you can look at things just from the Food and Drink category. There you can see pages and pages of good looking pictures of food. The brilliant part? I can glance at a picture and make a much better quick guess if it will work than looking at a recipe name. So as long as I can avoid drooling over the oodles of lovely looking food we can’t have I have been able to sort through and find some new ideas.
We’ve tried Honey Chipotle Turkey Meatballs, which were excellent though next time we’ll be making the sauce separate on more of them, it was “too spicy” according to Ivy. Then I found Chocolate-Covered Katie and Clara friendly dessert made a more regular appearance and life was good.
Previously making dessert was more of an ordeal, we had found a good chocolate cake recipe and a few good cookie recipes, but very few quick desserts or easy snacks. Last week we made Chocolate-Covered Katie’s Cookie Dough Dip with just a few differences to make it Clara friendly. Clara and Ivy helped me dump the ingredients into the food processor and blend it up. I opened the top, told Clara that yes she could taste it and turned to get a bowl. When I turned back she had two handfuls of it.
Needless to say the Cookie Dough Dip was a hit!
I feel I should also mention that this dip has a base of chickpeas.
I have never willingly ate more than a single bite of a chickpea containing food before.
Of course I also never had them with chocolate chips.
Chocolate, it makes everything better!
For awhile now I’ve been meaning to write about Clara and her food issues but it’s not that fun of a story.
Lots of crying.
In summary I shall say this:
Clara has a pile of food sensitivities, she has had them her entire life and we are still working on figuring things out.
Perhaps we can get into the gory details of how we found all of that out later but I’m not up to that post tonight.
Since Clara has always had issues with food, she’s always had to avoid foods and eat differently from others. While it’s been difficult, Clara has known for a very long time that she can’t have anything with dairy in it and now accepts that some foods will hurt her belly. When faced with such a food she doesn’t cry or scream or pout. She just asks, “Me smell?” and so long as you let her smell the forbidden food, she’s happy.
It’s completely heartbreaking.
It’s also caused us to re-name many things to make it easier for her to tell what she can and can not have.
We have butter and we have “Clara butter.”
We have cheese and “Clara cheese.”
We have raisins and “Clara raisins”
We have sugar and “Clara sugar.”
We have oatmeal and “Clara oatmeal.”
Creative aren’t we?
Most of our diet has changed to comply with what Clara can and can not tolerate, and because of it we’ve been eating very healthy. Lean meat, veggies, whole grains – we’ve got them. Of course we are only human, so Ivy, John and I gleefully scarf down Clara unfriendly food whenever we get a chance.
And it bothers me.
It bothers me that I have to tell Clara that she can’t eat foods. It bothers me that the rest of us sneak food when she isn’t paying attention. It bothers me that we sometimes eat different food at dinner than she does. It bothers me that she misses out on the snack at story time. It bothers me that I should be grateful that she (and we) are eating so healthy but that I’m just resentful of the restrictions on my cooking. It bothers me that we have to skip doing things with people so we can be home for meals. It bothers me that I can’t magic her problem away. It bothers me when we mess up reading ingredients and she pays for it. And it bothers me every time she says “Me smell?” and insists that I eat the food instead.
The benefits have outweighed all of the problems in planning our meals and life around her current restrictions. Even my own emotions, that seem to have firmly attached themselves to the issue, are nothing compared to the improvement we’ve seen in Clara. She is a different girl than she used to be – a much happier one, and so we carry on with the crazy diet.
But it’s still not easy.
This week Ivy was leaving to play at a friends house. (You know, one of those things that could be called a “play date” but I refuse to call it such because the term irritates me all to pieces… but that’s a different story). Clara was very sad that Ivy was leaving and so I promised her that we could make a treat once Ivy was gone. Without hesitation I was informed that she wanted “Clara donuts.”
A little recipe sleuthing and I discovered that donuts have nothing in them Clara can have, but we went to the kitchen and started substituting.
Clara flour, Clara sugar, Clara butter, Clara eggs… I think the only thing I didn’t substitute out was the baking powder and the nutmeg.
I had dumped the dough out and was dubiously staring at the brownish mass I was supposedly making into donuts when Clara looked up from her beater licking and said:
She was right. We had successfully made a treat for Clara that I didn’t have to worry about her eating and that she was loving. It was better than good. It was great. And the donuts weren’t bad either!
I know, I know, you are thinking this is impossible.
You are thinking that Diet Coke is perfect, and you can’t make perfect better.
But, as I’m sure you all know, the only thing that can compete with Diet Coke is chocolate.
Please watch Ivy’s demonstration on how to make Diet Coke even better.
Take one chocolate cake mix,
Then all that’s left is to frost,
And there you have it Diet Coke made even better.
It is possible that because Ivy made me a birthday cake all by herself I’m a bit biased as to the results.
But hey, that’s my daughter, it’s my birthday, and I think the cake was awesome!
Tonight dinner was a failure.
We all dutifully ate some and declared it bad.
Then, after crossing out the recipe in the cookbook with a Sharpie marker, John looked at the remains on the table and said, “What are we going to do with it?”
Ivy gleefully answered, “Feed it to the chickens!”
I thought that was ridiculous, this was clearly something the pigs would enjoy more.
We dropped it off for them on our way out the door.
McDonalds may not be fantastic, but at least it’s dependable.
*note: This is not a picture of the pigs eating our dinner, our dinner was not that good looking.*
Once again I’m being reminded that it has been many days since I’ve had something to share, but there have been reasons for this people, many reasons!
There was a horse fair, and a ballet recital and a trip to visit Sarah, that included a birthday tea party for her daughter. Once that was all done and we were back home it was Monday night.
Tuesday night, was quite a night.
Lots of things.
All at once.
From what I can remember, though not necessarily in this order, it included things such as: peeing on the floor, breaking a glass, dogs barking, cars honking, chasing ducks off the road barefoot, Kamikaze kids jumping off the couch, false starts on dinner, missing ingredients, the cook being locked in the kitchen for protection from the kids and dogs, messing up recipes, John announcing that he was “OUT OF PATIENCE!”, some pee in a potty chair but mostly on the floor, dinner eaten, bath time, blueberries eaten- everywhere, and finally the real reason why there has been no updates since Friday. Pee in the surge protector that the computer plugs into. It was chaos, and through most of it I was cooking dinner in the kitchen laughing so hard I was crying.
Laughing with John because this is our life.
It’s a great life.
But some days….some days you’ve just got to laugh.
Why do we call the process of preserving food in jars canning?
Why not jarring?
These are the questions Tyler and I asked each other in our canning delirum at one in the morning.
The weekend was planned as a venison canning weekend. And it was. The last of the 64 pints are in the canner as I type.
Of course had we not found so many other things to do we’d be done already and we’d have skipped the delirium last night.
But where’s the fun in that?
The first set back in the canning progress was that Sarah and I have never been brillant about rationing time spent together. That history is a whole post that involves two countries, too much Diet Coke and a lot of tears, so I won’t go into it here. I’ll just say we saw each other, it was fun, and I probably should have been canning.
Then after staying up canning until delirium set in last night Tyler took me grouse hunting this morning.
I recommend hunting with Tyler.
While I did see a grouse and lots of track this morning I didn’t get a shot off , but I’ll forgive my guide/Sherpa/driver/child sitter/dog handler, he had his hands full.
This is my favorite cooking utensil. It has no equal and I don’t even know what to call it. It is made of bamboo and came with a wok as a wedding gift, sadly its brilliance went unnoticed for the first few years of married life. But now… now, I know this thing, (what ever it is called) is perfect. It tapers to a fine point on the end, perfect for scraping up things like scrambled eggs. Its odd shape makes it perfect for stirring the entire bottom of a pan of sauce. It’s perfect for stirring pasta. It has no equal when sautéing onions in butter in cast iron. It can serve things like rice just as well as a spoon.
I love it.
When I cook at other peoples houses I always wish I had brought it with me. When I wash the dishes I never put it in the dishwasher because it would take too long to get clean and I might need it. That’s how much I love it.
Or should I say loved it.
And the mouse war, it’s ON!
Sadly the mice are already winning—-
–We interrupt this post with breaking news!—
Upon going to check the mouse trap set previously in the day when the damaged “thing” was found Jessie discovered a rat under her sink.
—We now return you to your previously scheduled post.—
Earlier today I set a mouse trap under the sink. Shortly after starting this post I checked on it – tripped and empty. So before relaying by how much the mice were already winning I went to check again…
…and there was the rat.
The rat was facing away from me in the cupboard under the sink, I was peering in the door and we were both frozen. I had a rat, not moving, and I couldn’t come up with a good way to kill it. So I did what any self respecting house wife would do. I grabbed the rolling pin off the counter and tried to smash it while it ran around in circles under the sink, then screamed like a girl when it came out by my bare toes. Now I had the rat corned in the kitchen and my toes were feeling awfully vulnerable. It was time for reinforcements. PIPER! Had the dog out of her warm bed under the covers at a run. Piper skidded into the kitchen and when I yelled “GET THE RAT” to my amazement, she did! When it was dead she accepted my praise, followed me to the garbage outside to see it thrown out, barked once at the night and then went back to bed.
My dog rules.
So now the mouse and rat war is on.
We’ve beaten the mice in winters past.
The rats are on a winning streak.
It’s on rats, ITS ON!