Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tales from the Kitchen (whaaat? yeah, you heard that right...)

Perhaps it was the newly-arrived Autumn weather that inspired such unusual behavior from me last weekend. Or maybe there was something...infectious...floating around in the a virus...or an overabundance of Fall pollen. Then there's the (much more realistic and likely) possibility that I was finally just Fed. The Heck. Up. with my Elimination Food Plan that's now been going on for, oh, more than 4 months. Whatever the reason, I got a strange (for me) hankering to (wait for it...) COOK. (Feel free to go ahead and gasp--I completely understand...) And I'm not talking about just throwing together a dinner...I mean the real deal...using recipes I pulled from recent magazines....buying special ingredients that I didn't already have on hand...and, you know, " products".

I KNOW, right? Totally bizarre and kind of disturbing, maybe even something to keep an eye on, in case it becomes habitual. (Ha! Yeah...not to worry...) Anyway, it began with an innocent apple crisp, which I decided to make for the office, to mark my one-year anniversary of working there. I mean, c'mon...apples, gluten-free oats, honey, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon--doesn't that sound amazing? Well, I'm here to tell you that is absolutely delicious, in fact, that I whipped up a second batch for the family (partially due to guilt over the fact that they'd had to bask in the enticing aroma while it baked...and then watch me take it away without sharing any! Oh, and also...I wanted to eat it again. Hey, is that so wrong? Fruit, whole grains--it's practically healthy anyway, for crying out loud!)

That little experiment turned out so well that I continued my wild and crazy...culinary tackling a recipe for roasted butternut squash soup. Now, this was one item that I knew would belong entirely to ME, because--while I'm just a wee bit obsessed with it--the male portion of Team WestEnders doesn't particularly care for...edible entrees made from gourds. I won't belabor the details, but suffice it to say that it was mouth-wateringly yummy...and made enough for me to enjoy it for 3 meals. (And that's what I consider a fabulous return for my grudging efforts in the kitchen, y'all...)

Finally, given my previous successes, I confidently prepared one more dish: an alternative to tomato-based pasta sauce, utilizing sweet potatoes and carrots instead. Since the red one of the things off-limits to me, it sounded like this option was worth trying. And it was...well...let's call it "a lesson learned". I ended up with a very weird, thick, sweet...paste?...that didn't taste quite right with noodles, and whose texture was somewhat off-putting, to be honest. Oh well, I gave it a shot, yeah? And after the first go-round, I just resorted to adding some ground hemp and walnuts for protein, and eating it like mashed potatoes. Eh, you win some, you lose some--I'll take 2 out of 3, any day!

Meanwhile, on an only-slightly-related note, since we're speaking of eating (as we do often do), Riley has been kind shall I put this?..."even more food-oriented than usual" these days. For example, he confided one night, "I'm having one of those days, where I'm not necessarily super-hungry, but I could, every couple of hours. Like, if there was food in front of me, or if you offered me some, I'd definitely take it." I was processing this alarming bit of news when he added the part that was even more terrifying: "This happens about 5 days a week, lately..." Oh. Dear. I do realize that the boy's not finished growing yet, and I fear that we may very well wake up soon to find him several inches taller. Also, this may help explain why I've been feeling like I run to the grocery store every couple of least now I understand? Somehow, that's not as comforting as I might hope...

However, at least I know that he's still following the...dietary education with which he's been indoctrinated by both school Health class and his fitness-conscious parents...since he also shared how, even though he wants to scarf down everything in sight, he's consciously trying to make good example of which he described thusly, "After school, I'll have pretzels...and a cereal bar....and a pear...and yogurt...and then I'm good!" (Wait...that was supposed to reassure me? Jeez Louise! All I can think of is that I'd better add all of those to my next shopping list...)

Then, in case I had any lingering worries about his....self-monitoring skills (which I didn't, but he was being so marvelously forthcoming that I encouraged him to forge ahead anyway) he added, "You know those pumpkin candies you bought for Halloween? I read the label (pause for a moment while your mother sniffles and wipes away a proud tear...okay, carry on...) and saw the serving size, and how many grams of sugar they I probably won't eat them every day." (Yes sirree, that's my child: peruses the nutrition information and weighs the consequences before deciding whether to put something in his body--that least in the days leading up to a major...sweets-consumption... holiday, like any rational human being! Eh, I'll take it...)

So...that's the latest random roundup of our food-related adventures. With trick or treating looming on the horizon, maybe I'd better look up a couple more wholesome recipes to counteract the upcoming influx of junk. And, of course, I need to re-stock the pantry...fridge...and freezer...before the younger teenager's next snacking frenzy! Food Lion, here I come...AGAIN...siiiiighhhhh...

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