RSS Feed

Tag Archives: dairy allergy

Weekly Lunch Wrap Up #9

Welcome to another week of school lunches! This week was another short one – Kiddo1 had Friday off for Halloween (actually it was off for conferences, but he liked to say they had the holiday off) so only four lunches this week plus a couple snacks.



 photo 2014-10-27 09.25.38_zpsbnxsesww.jpg

On Monday, Kiddo1 had a lettuce wrap with the most beautiful piece of romaine that we got at the very last farmer’s market of the season. Well, the last one of the particular market that we like to go to. There are a couple other year-round markets around but they are further away and busy so we tend not to go to the regularly. Our usual market does host one “Thanksgiving Market” on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, so we anciously look forward to that every fall. I digree – back to the lunch! Kiddo1 likes his lettuce wraps stuffed with cucumber and this one also had leftover pork roast from Sunday night’s dinner. He also had carrot sticks, broccoli, and an Enjoy Life cookie.

Monday snack

 photo 2014-10-27 09.28.00_zpslqwipliw.jpg

On Mondays and Wednesdays, Kiddo1 is at school until 5 for his robotics program. The organizers offer snacks but they’re just bags of chips and candy so I have been trying to make sure I send a good snack with Kiddo1 so he isn’t longing for the snacks he shouldn’t have. (Let’s be honest, those aren’t good snacks for anyone!) So for snack on Monday, Kiddo1 has some strawberries, raisins, and another Enjoy Life cookie.


 photo 2014-10-30 13.40.36_zpswsj9kjcw.jpg

Every once in awhile I’ve got to give Kiddo1 a salad. They’re just so easy to put together and I can get him a few extra veggies too. He’s slowly started to get used to them (ie complaining less when he sees them). This salad is a bed of romaine and leaf lettuce with carrots, cucumber, and ham cubes and a side of vegan ranch. I also added more broccoli (he’s protesting the broccoli lately so I’m offering it more often… we’ll see how that goes). His favorite – applesauce – is for dessert.


 photo 2014-10-30 13.38.18_zpsuldmjulf.jpg

Taco-night-leftovers day! Kiddo1 insists on having Taco Tuesday so I Wednesday I insist he takes the leftovers for lunch. This week we had beef tacos (we have so much ground beef from the quarter cow we bought this summer!) and they have cucumber and red leaf lettuce on a corn tortilla. He also had more carrots and broccoli, plus applesauce, and a some blue corn and sesame chips.

Wednesday snack

 photo IMG_20141029_091450_zpsyx4t2aag.jpg

I packed these away very carefully in parchment paper, but here they are finishing up on the rack. Kiddo1 finally had that donut party in her after school class so I made him special allergy-free donuts so he wouldn’t feel left out. I’m still tweaking the recipe a bit but will post them soon!


 photo 2014-10-30 13.39.03_zps8u9lkvtx.jpg

Kiddo1 kept saying, “it’s my Friday!” But to the rest of us it was still just Thursday! Still a fine enough day to have popcorn for lunch though. Plus the last of our roasted acorn squash seeds (had to clear out for all the pumpkin seeds coming in!). He also had leftover chicken – on Wednesday night I tried making Indian food for the fist time. It went pretty well I think! We had tumeric chicken, some curried potatoes and green beans sauted with mustard seeds. I will be making it again for sure! But in the meantime, Kiddo1 enjoyed a little leftover chicken with a carrot-and-cucumber kabob. Not a bad way to end the week!

Thanks for visiting our lunches this week!

Weekly Lunch Wrap Up #8

After last week’s snafu of picture taking nonsense, I made the soft light that I can use to simulate daylight. Ever since then it’s been so much easier to get a clear picture! But all week I was experimenting to find just the right light bulb. So the light may change a bit from day to day, but I feel like we’re getting close to vastly improved daily lunch portraits!

Also I noticed we’ve been relying a lot on ham for our lunch protein even though we eat a variety of meats through the week. And I’m pretty sure ham isn’t considered “clean eating.” So this week I’m focusing on getting other meats in the lunch box. Plus I’m going to talk about where we get our meat from because I like to talk about it.


 photo 2014-10-20 14.57.18_zpsvw4djlig.jpg

On Monday. Kiddo1 had what’s becoming a Monday staple: a lettuce wrap stuffed with cucumbers and leftovers of whatever roast we had on Sunday for dinner. This week it was a pork loin roast we bought at our food buying club*. It is all the nice things: no soy, no GMO, no anti-biotics, etc. I really love this red leaf lettuce with its curly, colored edges. Kiddo1 needed a little coaxing before he came around to them though (“They’re funny-colored!”). He also had broccoli, carrots, some red grapes and, for dessert, half a Missionary Chocolates Peppermint Bark truffle (vegan).


 photo 2014-10-24 08.34.21_zpsqsog20w8.jpg

Today we have our standard veggies trifecta: carrots, cucumber, and broccoli, with a bit of vegan ranch dressing. There’s also cubed ham – it is uncured and all the nice things: no nitraits, casein, antibotics, pork is veggie-fed, etc. We get it at the grocery store, nothing special. Suddendly I’m realizing there’s no dessert! But there is quinoa… even though that totally doesn’t count for anything in Kiddo1’s opinion. But I put it in there anyway.


 photo 2014-10-24 08.35.51_zpstyq0fsjd.jpg

Kiddo1 requested that Tuesday nights we have “Taco Tuesday,” so now he also gets “Taco Wednesday” for lunch. He ate seven tacos for dinner the night before, and he still wasn’t sick of them! These are beef tacos. In late summer we split a quarter cow with friends. We got 16 pounds of ground beef, plus a bunch of steaks and a couple roasts. It’s good quality, local, grass-fed, “all the nice things” meat. I’m glad we like it because we have a lot of it! We’ve been cooking a couple pounds of beef every week for a couple months and we have a lot left to go! Beef isn’t super great for Kiddo1’s digestive system, though, so I try to limit beef to once a week (one dinner and one lunch… so I guess that’s twice a week). Also included in today’s lunch are leftover steamed veggies seasoned with ginger. Dessert was not forgotten! It’s an Enjoy Life cookie.

Wednesday snack

 photo 2014-10-20 14.58.48_zps5ycvq5mi.jpg

Okay here’s the deal. I know this sprinkle-and-sugar-covered donut looks unhealthy. And compared to the rest of the week it is. But it is free of all his allergens and there are two good reasons it was snack today. Kiddo1 is a member of a club at school and they had a fundraiser over the weekend at the local burger joint. Kiddo1 had a great time hanging out with his friends and helping raise funds for the program, but he had a horrible time being at the burger place. We used to go there before “the change” with our diet. Being there was all kinds of sadness for him as he mourned the foods he cannot have. So the first reason he deserved a treat is because he made it through his fund raising time without eating any of those foods and, while he was sad about it, he didn’t let his emotions get in the way of his commitment, or his fun with his friends. And the second reason he got a donut is that the kids in the club were supposed to get a donut party because they raised almost twice the funds they expected to during their time at the burger place. Turns out that donut party isn’t until next week, though, so Kiddo1 gets two weeks of donut snacks. There are worse things that could happen I suppose.


 photo 2014-10-24 08.36.56_zpso32pjg6e.jpg

On Wednesday night we had a whole chicken – our favorite – so Kiddo1 got leftover pulled chicken on Thursday. I bought six chickens from a new food buying group. They do seasonal bulk buys and these chickens were part of the last of three chicken buys for the season. I just bought 40 pounds of squash from them too. 40 pounds isn’t as much squash as you’d think. But it should last us until spring (as long as I store it properly!). Anyway, Kiddo1 also had a kabob of carrots and cucumber with some vegan ranch, also roasted squash seeds and a leftover homemade chocolate chip muffin for dessert. I posted the muffin on my Instagram account (@9yearslater) plus a link to the recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie.


 photo 2014-10-24 08.37.35_zpsowqkpeis.jpg

Friday was kind of a struggle! Not only did I get a new light bulb and promptly hate it, but I fell back on ham for the second time this week! But it was still a good lunch so I won’t be too hard on myself. The lightbulb though… drove me nuts. I went from like a 2000k bulb to a 6500k one – it was just too cool of a light. I digress. Lunch was a salad on a bed of romaine and leaf lettuce with cucumber and cubes of ham. There was a side of broccoli (vegan ranch not pictured – he won’t take it without the ranch though!). Finally we had another chocolate chip muffin for dessert.

You’ll be happy to know I got a new lightbulb on Saturday that I love, so no more struggles with light. Other than keeping children and pets out of my light. Sigh. They’re so cute though.

* For more on our food buying club and our alternative grocery store choices, see this post.

Weekly Lunch Wrap Up #7

This week I almost didn’t post lunches. I don’t know what happened! I forgot to take a picture of Tuesday’s lunch and I think maybe another day’s photo got deleted? Or I forgot to take two days’ worth. I don’t remember which! But, I thought, I will still post them, mostly because I didn’t want to have a gap in weekly lunch posts! But also because it’s nice to see that people are human. And forgetting to take the picture is better than forgetting to make the lunch! I’m proud that we haven’t yet had to run a lunch over to school because we forgot it!

I wish that’s where the drama ended, but it doesn’t. When I actually remembered to take pictures, they were rushed and the lighting was super weird! It’s inspired me to step up my photography a bit, though, so not all hope is lost! I made a soft light so I can take better indoor pictures (there’s no daylight when I pack lunches). I think it turned out pretty good! I’ll post a tutorial of how you can make your own soft light later this week.

For now, lunches!


 photo 2014-10-17 09.21.23_zpst7ojxuig.jpg

Not a bad way to start the week – a little ham, a little leftover quinoa. Our carrots and broccoli came straight from the neighborhood Farmer’s Market, yum! We also packed some vegan ranch dressing (apparently he just can’t eat the broccoli without it) and organic applesauce for dessert.


 photo 2014-10-16 09.24.43_zps0mkovmx7.jpg

Leftover turkey stir fry, a “salad” of organic cucumbers, carrots, and broccoli with more vegan ranch. Organic red grapes for dessert.

Wednesday was going to be sweet – Kiddo1 had leftover tacos. Taco Tuesday is becoming a thing in our house, though, so you’ll see another leftover taco picture next week.


 photo 2014-10-21 14.53.07_zpsjdagpixd.jpg

I’ve been able to sneak a salad into the lunches a few times now. I’m thinking it might be a regular occurrence, cause the plate comes home clean (and he says he eats it!). He does prefer the lighter lettuce though. This one is romaine and some leaf lettuce with ham and lemon cucumber. He also has the standard carrots and broccoli with some raisins for dessert.

Come back next week! It’s going to be awesome!


Diet Changes Are Hard, Part 3

The struggle is real! Some things are getting easier, some are still difficult.

Recall from parts 1 and 2, we gave up processed and over-refined foods at the beginning of the year, then we gave up diary, eggs, wheat, and peanuts about three months ago (for the background story on that later restrictions see this post).  Here’s an update on our progress…

First, the good. Dinners have become much less of a struggle than they were a couple months ago. We’ve found a few meals that are guaranteed hits, greatly reducing sorrow from both the diners and the chef. Kiddo1 has also been slightly more willing to try some foods, as long as each meal is served with at least one thing that he likes already. He’s much more willing to try a vegetable if it is served alongside the chicken he loves. And we found a vegan ranch dressing with which he’ll eat almost any veggie.

There are still nights when we butt heads a little, mostly the meatless nights. We’ve had Meatless Monday going for awhile now, but I just added Meatless Thursday (or leftover Thursday, depending). It is a struggle to find meatless meals with at least one thing that the kids already like, but it is good for us (both our physical health and financial health!). I’m sure they’ll get used to it just like the other changes! But it is really hilarious to see Baby2 get excited on the nights when we do have meat. She says, “Meat!” in this very excited voice and points to her empty place for me to pile it on.

Lunches are great. We’ve been very successful at putting together a healthy lunch for Kiddo1 to take to school every day. I’m sure that posting the lunches weekly has helped with that. Of course, I still struggle to get up from my home office computer and build myself a healthy lunch, but Mr. Handsome has helped – either by making my lunch or reminding me to eat on the days he can’t make something for me. I’ve found the key to successful lunches is making a bigger dinner than I think we need so that we have leftovers at the ready. That, and having a lunch fallback for the days there are no leftovers or the plan somehow falls through. Our go-to on those days is a lettuce wrap “sandwich” – ham and cucumber wrapped in a romaine leaf with a raw veggie side – usually carrots or, if we’ve got vegan ranch on hand, some broccoli.

Another good thing lately is that Kiddo1’s appetite has been super strong in the past couple months. I have to think that has something to do with eating foods that his system can handle well. Before we started these diet changes, he hardly ate at all. Now he’ll eat twice as much food as me and still ask for dessert. And a bedtime snack. At the beginning of the school year he complained that he had too much food for lunch, but now the lunch box comes home totally empty. Between meals he’s always asking for snacks and while that’s driving me nuts and wreaking havok on the grocery planning and budget, I couldn’t be happier that he is finally eating like a teenager. (PREEEE-teenager – I hope he didn’t hear that “teenager” slip! He’s only 11! But wants so desperately to be 13 already!)

Now the not-so-good… As much as I complain about the family’s willingness to try new foods, I’m probably the biggest “defector” of all of us. Confession time! Sometimes when I’m out of the house by myself, I go to Dairy Queen. I know! Now, I’ve already admitted this to the family and have made amends with them about it, but I still feel guilty. Although the guilt is not much in comparison to how my tummy has felt the last couple times I’ve had any kind of dairy. When I eat it, about three hours later I’m back to where I was two months ago – unable to do anything but lie down and wait for the pain to end. So now I don’t stop at Dairy Queen anymore. Damn you, Snickers Blizzard. Damn you.

Eating out in general is really difficult. Sometimes it seems like everything has cheese. Even gluten free hamburger buns have eggs. Meatballs have bread crumbs. There’s no getting away from all the allergens when we go out, unless we all have salads (and even then, the salad dressing could have cream, eggs, cheese, etc). We have been great at cooking our food at home, and the allergy concerns are a good motivator for that. Yet sometimes we want to go out for a special occasion or just because we have a free evening, but we have to be careful and plan ahead to find a place with a few items on the menu that we can have. That hunt is almost more difficult than just planning a special meal at home! But then we still have to do the dishes.

And as long as we’re on the not-so-good stuff, I’ll tel you that baking has been a struggle. After my first success with a bread mix, I went rogue and tried to develop a flour blend of my own that would work. The result? I found out it is really hard to do that! I must have baked 10 loaves of bread before deciding it was the flour mixture that was the problem, not the ratio of xanthan gum to flour, not the ratio of non-dairy milk to flour, not the baking powder vs baking soda (baking soda alone made the bread super gross!). But now I’ve changed my flour mix and the results have been better. Still not 100% awesome, but at least my loaves aren’t turning out super gummy anymore. The item that really got my confidence back up are the apple cider donuts I posted a few days ago. I’d still like to come up with a simpler flour blend for those, but for now I’ll bask in my victory.

Slowly but surely the new diet is getting easier. As it gets easier I find myself wanting to make more changes for example: I’d love to get us off sugar and I wish we’d eat more fermented foods. Perhaps I will make strides on those by the time I’m ready to post another update!

Weekly Lunch Wrap Up #6

Here’s what Kiddo1 took to school for lunch this week! I thought I might write a little bit about where we get these foods from too, so each day will have two paragraphs of explanation. I don’t know if I’ll keep up this format, but I’m giving it a try this week.


 photo 2014-10-08 23.10.47_zps8vnp97bh.jpg

We’ve taken to eating chicken on Sundays so Mondays are becoming chicken leftovers days for Kiddo1. He also had grapes and cucumber, mashed butternut squash and a homemade brownie.

The chickens we get directly from a farmer who is committed to pasture-raised animals who are not fed soy or GMOs. The chicken is tender and delicious, with fat little legs that obviously got a work-out on pasture (as opposed to those factory chickens with tiny legs because they don’t get any exercise!). The veggie produce (cucumber and squash) are from the farmer’s market we go to every Sunday. The grapes are from the local grocery store (not a national chain, and of course they’re organic like all the produce we buy). The brownie is actually a mix from Bob’s Red Mill. I haven’t gotten to making my own recipe from scratch just yet, but I’ll get there!


 photo 2014-10-08 23.12.26_zpsn5atbkcf.jpg

We had some interesting vegetables to use after finding romanesco (the green pointy one) and purple cauliflower at the Farmer’s Market on Sunday. Kiddo1 also had carrots, slices of ham, raisins, and another homemade brownie. The pan of brownies lasted the whole week! I’m so proud of us for pacing ourselves.

The carrots came from the same farmer’s market as the romanesco and purple cauliflower. Man we love that market so much. The raisins are Sunmaid – I’m sure there’s something better out there… maybe we could make our own raisins!


 photo 2014-10-08 23.13.35_zpsyhtlzhl4.jpg

Oops, another rushed and blurry picture! Oh well! On Wednesday Kiddo1 had leftover turkey stir fry with a bed of romaine, skinned and sliced cucumber, carrots, and, you guessed it, another brownie.

The ground turkey is from our local grocery store, the produce items are all from the farmer’s market and the brownie is still made from the Bob’s Red Mill mix.

Wednesday bonus!

 photo 2014-10-10 13.13.12_zpsbktmxjfb.jpg

My pictures were so rushed this week! I need better lighting… and more time! This “lunch” is actually Kiddo1’s dinner on Wednesday – his after school class when on a field trip until 7pm so I wanted to make sure he didn’t get too hungry. He had snacky foods that he could munch on whenever he had an opportunity – sticks of ham again, cucumber pieces, cantaloupe, blue corn chips, and a brownie.

Once again all the produce is from the farmer’s market. The blue corn chips and ham came from the local grocery store.


 photo 2014-10-09 11.52.39_zpsllto1ntg.jpg

Thursday was our Friday because there was no school on the real Friday! Kiddo1 had a four-day weekend (so there will only be four lunches next week, and probably a Wednesday snack too). Lots of repeats today (clearly we needed to get to the market again!): more ham, more cantaloupe, more cucumber, plus carrots, roasted acorn squash seeds, and a final homemade brownie to end the week.

Except the meat and brownie, all the food from this lunch came from the farmer’s market.

More lunches to come next week!


Weekly Lunch Wrap Up #5

Welcome to another week of lunches! Here’s what Kiddo1 had for lunch at school this week.


 photo 2014-09-29 09.31.18_zpsyvpz9luw.jpg

We started the week off with a wrap! A romaine lettuce wrap with pork and diced red onions. We also made a little veggie kabob with carrots and cucumbers. Carrots and cucumbers seem to be our default veggies so I’ve got to find some ways to make them interesting now and then! Also adding interest were these purple sweet potato chips. They turned out pretty well and they’re super easy to make (slice thin and dehydrate!) but next time I will slice them thinner and add a bit more salt. Rounding out the plate is applesauce.


 photo 2014-10-01 11.43.12_zpstz7sl2bm.jpg

Haha, see more carrots and cucumber? We also added some celery and cubes of ham, plus raisins and an Enjoy Life chocolate chip cookie. I’m still getting the jokes in the lunch box one way or another, even though I can’t remember them to jot them down here!


 photo 2014-10-01 11.44.19_zpsdvbmr2ou.jpg

Leftovers day! Kiddo1 had leftover ground turkey and quinoa from dinner, plus carrots (natch) and broccoli. Kiddo1 won’t take the broccoli without ranch, which has been difficult since ranch is typically full of dairy (which he can’t have) BUT we found a couple vegan and gluten free ranches that we’ve been trying and he seems to think they’re okay! So broccoli is back! Rounding out the box is another Enjoy Life chocolate chip cookie.

Wednesday snack

 photo 2014-10-01 11.45.09_zpsrti7vlyb.jpg

I forgot to take a picture of Thursday’s lunch! I don’t know what happened – a lapse in mama brain I guess. But luckily I did snap Kiddo1’s snack which I don’t normally do! Weird. Anyway, Kiddo1 has a late day on Wednesdays for an after school class, so we’ve been sending a snack with him (the school provides a snack but it is packaged bags of Dorito’s and other junk he can’t have). Today’s snack was some cantaloupe, raisins, and another one of those Enjoy Life chocolate chip cookies that he loves so much.


 photo 2014-10-05 23.33.19_zps9fe4gpk1.jpg

Changing it up a little bit on Friday – no orange foods! Unless you count the roasted acorn squash seeds. The family wasn’t too keen on these at first but we’re all coming around to them! They’re easy to make, too, once you get all the squash goo off them! Just roast and salt – yum! We also had more broccoli with vegan/gluten-free ranch, blue corn chips, ham, and an Enjoy Life chocolate chip cookie to finish out the week.

Thanks for visiting our weekly lunch post!

Weekly Lunch Wrap Up #4

Welcome to another week of lunches! If you’ve found 9 years later via Instagram, a special welcome to you! Please check out the archives for lots of posts about our recent diet changes, our garden, and even some posts about our summer vacation (those are taking me way too long to write, but only a few posts left!).

If you’re a regular reader, did you know 9YL has an Instagram account now? Check me out over there – @9yearslater is my user name. I post a lot of food right now, including a collage of the week’s lunches. I will get more eclectic as we settle into our new food routines, I promise!

Anyway, on to the lunches!


 photo 2014-09-23 13.20.14_zpse3mflfqj.jpg

This week started off with Kiddo1 still not feeling well (last week he stayed home sick on Friday). So we took it easy with some light, liquid foods to help him feel better. He had leftover squash and sweet potato soup (in this awesome thermos that keeps the soup hot all day – even the leftovers were still warm when he brought them home) and a small fruit salad.


 photo 2014-09-23 13.18.36_zps2uzhb8vw.jpg

Poor kid, still not feeling well. And the soup + fruit salad was just too much food for him to eat on Monday. So we went even lighter with a brothy soup made with ham hock, spinach, sweet potatoes, onions, leeks, garlic, spices, and homemade broth (of course this picture does not show off very many of the yummy ingredients!). I ate this soup for lunch two days straight – I just couldn’t get enough! Kiddo1 was kind of “meh” about both soups. He did (mostly) eat them though!


 photo 2014-09-24 09.11.40_zpst6n7pztt.jpg

Back to some regular foods! Still trying to keep things pretty watery though. Kiddo1 agreed to a salad with leftover ground turkey and cucumber. He also had some cantaloupe and homemade blueberry gummies. Gummies are so easy to make! I should write a post about all the wonderful things one can made with gelatin. So much better for you than that processed and industrialized Jello!


 photo 2014-09-25 11.23.10_zpsnmvhmglj.jpg

More salad! And a “non-watery” food too! Kiddo1 was starting to feel just about 100% on Thursday. So he got to have these blue corn chips that he loves so much as a snack in his actual lunch. He was pretty excited! He also had more salad, yes, again with cucumber, plus some carrot sticks, raisins, and applesauce. He didn’t quite finish it all (I guess I got carried away packing everything!) but he said it was good!


 photo 2014-09-29 09.30.08_zps8cmtxo6b.jpg

Apparently I was in quite a hurry this week because all my pictures are just a bit blurry! But there’s always next week for improvements! Anyway, today Kiddo1 had leftover chicken!! I understand that usually chicken doesn’t get two exclamation points. But we hadn’t had a whole chicken in at least a month and only some chicken tenders a couple weeks ago, so we were really excited to have a whole chicken for dinner again. We tried out a new farm (because the farm we love actually switched to a GMO-soy-based feed – who does that anymore??) and bought 6 chickens so having the first one turn out so good was so satisfying! And a bit of a relief. We took a gamble getting 6 chickens on the first shot, but I’m so glad we did. They should last us through the end of the year if we’re careful.

But back to the actual lunch! I offered to give Kiddo1 some strips of chicken or other shapes, but he just wanted this big ol’ chunk! It was the only bit of leftovers from the whole chicken that we had! (Besides making broth from the bones, of course! We do that every time we have a whole chicken so we have a nice stock of broth in the freezer.) He also had cucumber, carrots, strawberries, more of his favorite applesauce, and one Enjoy Life chocolate chip cookie.

It was a yummy week!