Currently moving platforms. Pardon the mess, under construction…
We just got back from a family’s house where I heard some interesting information in the most unlikely setting. All the kids were settled in front of a huge outdoor screen watching Toy Story 3 while the adults sat around the porch table sipping adult drinks and chatting after a long summer week, when the subject turned to wheat as is often the case at any eating/drinking event where I show up. I don’t instigate it, usually, it is just what happens~ some friend or family member will inevitably say, “you should try this…oh, can you eat this?” and a discussion ensues about what is (blank) made out of and does it contain wheat…? Tonight it was scotch which began the “is it or isn’t it” discussion. For those wondering, scotch is apparently made from barley which is indeed off the gluten-intolerants’ list of OK to ingest, so I did not get to try the “you gotta try this” drink of the night. But that is fine~ there was wine and I was happy and it led to a fellow there saying that there are small farms planting the ancient wheat varieties which have been completely out of the food system for the last 40 years, replaced by the current wheats that are stock full of gluten and harder to digest. According to this guy who seems to have been following the wheat news of late, people who are gluten intolerant may be able to digest these ancient wheats! I don’t know~ I’ll have to do some research, but not tonight…For now I’ll go to bed with a bit of hope of eating a real wheat bread again, maybe someday.
Everyone knows tastes change, but it is really strange to watch someone’s tastes change radically and suddenly, as my oldest’s have been lately. He has always been a huge fruit eater. On his first birthday his big treat was letting him eat as many strawberries as he wanted, (and then the next day taking him to the doctor for diarrhea. Oops. But I figured if people let their one year olds stuff their little mouths full of as much cake as they can eat, how bad can strawberries be…) And then when he was four and I put him on a rotation diet for about a year as his food sensitivities settled down, fruit was an absolute life-saver. Whenever I thought there was just nothing I could feed him, fruit, any fruit, could always be served and he’d be happy while I scraped together something else to fill his little belly. His love affair with fruit has continued, unquestioned, until last week when something abruptly changed. His morning side bowls of strawberries started returning to the kitchen untouched. He didn’t like the blueberries this season, which means I got to eat them all and I can attest they are awesome, as always, this year as opposed to my son’s critique of, “they taste kind of rotten.” To his nearly constant statement of “I’m hungry” I have offered apples which he’s refused, and this kid has eaten one to three apples almost every day of his solid foods life! Even he is perplexed by this change, offering, with a shrug, “maybe grapes?” But no, the grapes were barely eaten and actually fruit isn’t even all of the newly unloved food, suddenly he doesn’t like quesadillas with beans anymore, a staple for years! I guess this should all give me hope that my younger one will suddenly start liking other things than the few foods he allows to pass his lips, but it is just so sudden it leaves me a bit unsettled.
I wish I could say I was the one who came up with that clever little nickname for June in the Pacific NW, but I didn’t. I overheard it at the crafts store yesterday and thought it was more than appropriate considering the rain fell in a continuous torrent all day and the temperature never got above second-layer-necessary. A friend of mine at school said her parents are ready to move because of the weather~ they came here six years ago to be close to their only child and hence only three grandchildren, but even those family bonds can’t compete with the lure of sunshine and warmer days. There is some sun peaking through the clouds today, and I see hopeful people walking around in short sleeves but the truth is summer historically hits here on July 5. It’s a common thing people say, and it’s true more often than not. Once summer gets going, it is unbeatable here~ not too humid, only a few days where it gets too hot to be enjoyable outside, lots of light and greenery and all-around-loveliness. But we wait, and wait, and wait, not so patiently, and plan our escapes to Florida until summer blinds us with beauty once more. I am very curious to see if my friend’s parents are still itching to move in September. Meanwhile I’m at a loss in the kitchen~ stuck somewhere between salad and soup. Maybe I’ll cook up some kale chips and see if I can add anything else to the warm oven…feeling in a rut. Time to troll for recipes I guess. On a gluten free product note, the whole family loves kinnikinnick’s graham style crackers. Their first ingredient is pea starch! How’s that for unique?! They are really good.
The other night my husband and I went out with another couple to a local brewery called Black Raven where we ordered a gluten free pizza to be delivered there. As a side note, as far as I know Black Raven does not have any gluten free beers, but you can order wine there, which I did. The fact you can order pizza and have it sent to the brewery is just brilliant, and the fact Garlic Jims has a delicious gluten free crust is even more brilliant. We got the gourmet garlic and all agreed it was excellent. And here’s the kicker, at PCC this week I saw the very same pizza in the gluten free freezer! I am so excited about this! If it is half as good as the fresh version, I’ll be thrilled. The only bad thing was that after eating that night my husband’s tummy hurt, which caused us to wonder if it is possible to be gluten-free intolerant…? That’s just a joke, but really I hope that experience doesn’t cloud his future gf experiences b/c I’m sure it had more to do with the combinations of foods and drinks than one thing in particular. The couple we went with are not gluten intolerant by the way, but they do try to eat variety instead of always depending on wheat for bread type items. I think that is great~ different grains means different vitamins and minerals and such. I’ve started adding more flours in my own baked goods in an effort to boost protein and keep calories down. Plus you can give yourself a food sensitivity just by eating something all the time, which is probably why I can’t eat gluten now~ had my quota + in younger years. Which reminds me, I’ve been wondering, again, if I should put my youngest on a gluten free diet for a week. This is a more daunting task than putting a regular 6 year old on a allergy-test diet b/c he only eats a few things and most of them are made of wheat. I’ve already started substituting some items, for example giving him Pirate’s Booty and apples at snack time instead of cheesy crackers and apples. (He could live on cheesy crackers. That would be his desert island food, for sure, but he hasn’t said anything about the switch. Yet.) I have also tried making new substitute items, such as gluten free vanilla scones, like the ones at Starbucks which he adores. I also made them vegan, so in order to try this daring feet, I got out my Flying Apron cookbook and Ree’s petite vanilla scone recipe and put on my thinking cap. To be honest, they turned out only so-so, and although my oldest loves them, my target audience, Mr.Picky, does not. I’m going to try again though and hopefully I’ll get it right at some point and then post a recipe. Until then I’ll just say I followed Ree’s example with the vanilla beans, and followed the basic measurements of dry goods to wet goods from a Flying Apron recipe. The results were more iced cookie than iced scone though, except not as sweet as a cookie. The density was off. I think next time I’ll scale back the oil, or maybe not even force the vegan part~ making scones are what butter was invented for, right? We’ll see.
The other day I was at the park with my oldest when we got separated. (That means he was on his bike going as fast as humanly possible while I tried to catch up on foot.) When we reunited, he said he had gotten confused because he had thought “that boy” was me. I thought, “that boy must have some long crazy hair!” but when he pointed out the kid his head was nearly shaved, about 10 or 11 years old and Latino. Does that sound like me?
Usually when I check out at the grocery store I try to split up the amount of yogurt I buy with other things~ so for example I’ll put my youngest son’s favorite (Wallaby vanilla low fat yogurt) up then some apples and pickles, my Greek yogurt pick of the moment surrounded by orange juice and tofu, then my husband’s, etc, etc. It’s just kind of embarrassing to buy that much yogurt. If just two out of the four of us liked the same thing, it’d be so much easier, but, alas, we are four individuals in every sense of the word. We just had family visiting and while here they brought in yet another yogurt which has wrapped my oldest in its smooth creamy grip with both it’s taste and memories of his beloved cousin. It is Stonyfield’s Greek yokids yogurt and it is a fairly new product. There are no off-putting chunks, and no fruit on the bottom to stir in, plus although it is Greek yogurt, it is a lighter one, perfect for kids’ taste buds. My oldest is actually the one person in the household who went through phases with yogurt, sometimes liking it but usually not caring much one way or another about it. Now he’s obsessed. I suppose it is yet another “healthy” obsession though I have had to limit his intake. He wakes up wanting it, comes home from school asking for it, then thinks about it again before bed. At least he’ll never be accused of lacking passion.
Monday just might be the weekly equivalent to the month of March. While we enjoyed a few days of sun over the weekend, spring seems to be in a constant state of sticking out her tongue at us here in the greater Seattle region. March has dragged on, raindrop by raindrop, greyer than grey and longer than a week’s worth of Mondays. I guess you might have guessed that I’m in a gloomy mood. I was walking along the sidewalk today, and noticed that it was carpeted with evergreen droppings, dampness, and small branches bearing witness to strong winds. The few people I saw out of their cars were wearing scarves, boots, and warm black coats. April is just around the corner but Spring is no where in sight. To try to change my mood I decided to make cinnamon-pumpkin scones. Baking usually makes me feel happier, and it worked while I was busy in the kitchen, but now I’m back to looking out the window at the grey world. I could make kale chips but something tells me that won’t chipper me up. Perhaps I should just chalk this up to Monday and this never-ending March, and let my moodiness reign. Something tells me that my kids, almost home from school, will not agree with my bad mood indulgences though. At least I can offer them scones.
My oldest son likes a lot of different foods, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever picture him wolfing down a plate of kale. It happened. Several times actually, now that I’ve tweaked the recipe I tried during my cleanse earlier this year. Here’s their version: Kale Crisps which includes sesame seeds. In order for my son to eat them I have to leave off the sesame seeds and add fresh ground pepper and Mediterranean sea salt (which already has herbs mixed in.) They are so easy to make and you can spice them any way you want! I learned a trick at PCC for de-stemming kale; you just hold the end of the stem and run your hand up the kale to take off the edible green part. It is quick and effective, then all you have to do is cut the greens into chip-size pieces (they get smaller in the oven) then place them on a baking sheet, add 2 T olive oil and 1 T lemon juice, salt and pepper (and whatever else you want). Cook on 200 for half an hour, flip, then another 25 minutes or so (until they are crispy). There are quite a few companies out there making prepackaged kale chips too. I haven’t tried any since they are so easy to make at home (and I know what exactly is on them) but I did see that the Natural Foods Merchandiser team picked Brad’s as their favorite. I’ll just keep making them here though, since at least one son eats them. Now if I could just convince the other son to try them…
This week there have been three disturbing stories in the news concerning food. Here is the first I heard: Death by Bacon? It basically says that eating red meat every day increases one’s risk of all kinds of bad things, such as cancer and heart disease. Is this really news? How many times can that be said and reported and studied (thanks, Harvard, for that earth shaking insight) before people say, OH, I get it now…eat less meat, more veggies. Obviously this has not sunk in yet b/c this story was everywhere in the news for at least a day. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming, and bacon eating. The second one is about “Pink Slime.” What is pink slime you ask? Why it’s just what your child is eating at lunch today. Seriously. And apparently it isn’t just in the school cafeterias, it is also in grocery stores. And although it sounds like something you have to say “trick or treat” for, it is actually in the meat section. Unmarked. Pink slime is the oh-so-cute-little nickname of lean beef trimmings, and if you want to hear how they got that nickname and why 200,000 people signed blogger Bettina Siegel’s petition to get it out of schools you’ll have to read the article. My stomach doesn’t want to go there. But before the vegetarians start feeling too smug, there is yet another story to make one question what is on their daily fork: Eating white rice daily ups diabetes risk, study shows. Again, how many times do people have to hear that white rice, flour, bread, etc. is not the best thing for them? Brown rice is better. Whole grains are better. If you take off the outer bran of grains, you have more sugar and less fiber per serving, which isn’t how the grain was intended. Whether you believe God or Mother Nature or whatever made the grains out there, chances are they knew what they were doing. I suppose what really irks me is that these things are news at all~ don’t we all know this stuff? I mean really, c’mon. People must know these things and just ignore reality b/c it suits their taste buds, to the detriment of their waistlines, health, life expectancy, and the earth. I suppose it’s like global warming (in the ignoring reality sense), where everyone just kind of chortles and shakes their head at distant tsunamis and closer to home storms and says, “guess that’s global warming, heh heh.” It IS global warming! It IS a reality and it isn’t pretty. What exactly do people think is going to happen if we stay the course? So for goodness sakes, do something!