Creamy Cauliflower Potato Soup

Creamy cauliflower potato soup

We have Christmas Eve at my parent’s house every year. This year, everyone brought a soup to share. I needed mine to be migraine-free and gluten-free. I poked around on Pinterest, found a couple recipes, and combined them to make one of the best soups I’ve ever made. 

Creamy cauliflower potato soup

 I’ve made it three times now, and it’s still amazing. Even my two-year-old, who declared she did NOT like soup, gobbled it up. 

Norah eating soup

There are no “cream of whatever” soups here! I stopped using those years ago. And now that I’m gluten-free, I couldn’t have them, even if I wanted to. The base of this soup is pureed cauliflower! I added a brick of cream cheese, because, why not? Just check the label to make sure it is free of MSG. If you see “carrageenan” on the label, set it down, and walk away.   

Creamy Cauliflower Potato Soup
Creamy and delicious soup full of veggies!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Head of cauliflower, chopped
  2. 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  3. 1 cup chopped carrots
  4. 1 cup chopped broccoli
  5. 8 oz cream cheese
  6. 6-8 cups broth or water, enough to cover the veggies
  7. seasonings to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, bring broth/water and cauliflower to a boil. Cook until cauliflower is fork tender.
  2. Put cauliflower and some of the cooking liquid into a bowl and puree with an immersion blender. You can also put them into your blender to puree.
  3. Cube the cream cheese and put in with the cauliflower. Let it sit for a few minutes to soften. Then puree again to incorporate the cream cheese.
  4. Put potatoes, carrots and broccoli into the pot and bring to a boil. Cook until tender. Transfer the veggies to the bowl with the cauliflower puree. Stir together, adding cooking liquid to desired consistency. Add any seasonings to taste.
Notes
  1. If you're not migraine or gluten free, you could crumble some cooked bacon on top, add shredded cheese or sour cream.
Be SamWise http://www.besamwise.com/
This recipe is also great for customizing to your own tastes. You can add in whatever veggies you want! I used white potatoes, carrots and broccoli – besides the cauliflower base. Peas, mushrooms and corn would also be great additions! I see some new versions of this soup in my near future πŸ™‚

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Handmade Christmas Ornaments

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I don’t often get sappy, but Christmas is such a great time to reflect on the past year, everything we’ve done, and remember our friends and family. I love decorating my Christmas tree every year. It’s more than just making it look pretty. It gets me in the Christmas Spirit, and I can reminisce about the holiday seasons of the past.

For many years, my Aunt Debbie has made ornaments as Christmas gifts. And when I say “many years,” I’m talking over 20. When we were little, we’d open the bag, knowing an ornament was inside. We’d look at it, then dig through the bag to find the candy. Because there’s always candy πŸ™‚

My mom saved all of my ornaments, and a few years ago she gave them to me. 

Now when I decorate my Christmas tree, it’s really an Aunt Debbie tree. It’s a tree filled with handmade Santas, stars, angels, snowmen and more. There’s a few ornaments I’ve made, and a few others that were given to us. I love having a tree filled with memories, and not just pretty store bought baubles (even though some of them are really, really pretty!). 

Norah with ornaments
Unwrapping the handmade ornaments

Norah helped me decorate our tree this year. She loved playing with the ornaments. The angel got a lot of attention, and didn’t make it on to the tree for a couple days. She even took two ornaments to bed with her. 

I heard a rumor recently that Aunt Debbie wasn’t going to make any ornaments this year. WHAT!? I asked her immediately. It was, in fact, just a rumor. Ornaments have already been started. Phew! 

I love her tradition of making ornaments for everyone! I think it would be fun to make an ornament with the girls each year, and when they grow up and decorate their own trees, they’ll lovingly think back to the fun times we had making ornaments and their childhood Christmases. Hopefully πŸ˜‰

Ornament collage 2
A closer look at a few of Aunt Debbie’s ornaments. 

For Norah’s first Christmas, I made salt dough ornaments with her footprint. I made three, and gave one to each set of grandparents, and we kept the third one. This year I’ll do the same for Cece, and maybe do a handprint for Norah. Here’s the salt dough recipe I’ll be using. 

Norah's foot ornament
Norah’s footprint ornament

I also think these could be fun to make:

Candy Ornaments from Baby Rabies

Scrap Ribbon Tree Ornament from Fireflies and Mudpies

Glitter Twine Ball Ornament from The Thinking Closet

Do you have any Christmas traditions? Have you ever made your own ornaments?

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5 Tips for surviving the Holidays on a migraine-free diet

The tree is up, the stockings are hung, and my oldest has met Santa twice. Tis the season! For holiday parties, potlucks, cookie exchanges and get-togethers with friends and family. 

Norah with Santa

I love a get-together with friends as much as the next gal, but when you’re on a special diet, it can actually cause some anxiety. “What am I going to eat?” is a common question my husband and I discuss whenever we’re headed out to eat or to a friend’s house. 

Here are five tips that I use to make sure I stay on my diet – and stay migraine-free throughout the holidays:

1 – For a potluck, it’s simple – just bring something you know you can eat! My go-to is a veggie tray with hummus. You could also get more involved and bring a casserole or other main entree. 

2 – When a friend is throwing a dinner party, it’s okay to just ask, “What’s on the menu?” Chances are, there’s going to be at least one thing you can eat. If there’s not, eat before you go. You’ll still get to spend time with friends, and that’s the best part anyway! 

3 – Because I’m gluten-free, I opt out of cookie exchanges. If you want to participate, just give the cookies you receive to your husband and children πŸ™‚ 

4 – When I go out to a restaurant, I generally order either a steak or chicken breast – with no seasonings, and a side of steamed veggies or rice. We don’t get out a ton, mostly because it’s hard with a baby! (She’s always fine until our food comes. Then she must be held/rocked/fed/walked around the restaurant. She has excellent timing.) So when we do go out, I stick to this plan and typically come out migraine-free. 

5 – And if you’re really into the Holiday Spirit, you could always throw your own dinner party! Cook a big migraine-free meal for your nearest and dearest. Show them it’s delicious while still being healthy – and not as difficult as they might think! 

Thanksgiving
Dishing up my Thanksgiving feast!

Remember, alcohol is a migraine trigger. If you’re going to be drinking, do so in moderation. Make sure you’re also drinking water to stay hydrated. For the better part of three years, I’ve either been pregnant or breastfeeding, so I just don’t drink much! Red wine is one of the biggest alcoholic migraine triggers. If I do have a drink, I’ll have a hard cider or gin and tonic (both are naturally gluten free), followed by a lot of water! 

What did I miss? Do you have tips on staying on your migraine-free diet during the holidays?

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Homemade Vanilla Granola

There was a time in my not-too-distant-past when I hated oatmeal. It’s true. I thought it was slimy. When I was pregnant with Norah, I saw some instant oatmeal with strawberries while grocery shopping, and my pregnant stomach took over. It was fantastic. It wasn’t long until I learned that instant oatmeal is nothing compared to old fashioned. And don’t get me started on steel cut! Nom nom nom! 

Fast-forward to the present time. Norah and I eat oatmeal almost every morning – preferably steel cut, but I don’t always have time to make that. Then we like to snack on granola throughout the day. Plus, granola is a great snack to put in my purse or diaper bag for when I’m out and about.

My current favorite granola is Bob’s Red Mill – Gluten Free Granola Honey Oat – 12 oz. (affiliate link). I love every BRM product I’ve tried, actually.

But, the bags of granola can get a little spendy. I’ve made my own granola before, so I thought I’d try it again. I found a recipe, figured out what I needed to change to make it migraine-free, enlisted my little helper and got to work! 

My little helper, stirring the granola mixture
My little helper, stirring the granola mixture

The original recipe called for almonds and almond extract. I left those out since they can be triggers. If you’re not worried about migraines, by all means, put them back in! You could also add dried fruit or other nuts. 

Homemade Vanilla Granola
Sweet and crunchy homemade granola!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups oats
  2. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  5. 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  6. 1 Tbsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300ΒΊ F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix oats, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In a smaller bowl, melt the coconut oil. Add maple syrup and vanilla to melted oil. Mix well. Pour over oat mixture. Stir until all oats are moistened.
  4. Spread mixture on your parchment paper. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  5. Let cool completely. Try not to eat it all in one sitting.
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Be SamWise http://www.besamwise.com/
Next time, I’ll probably make a double batch. Granola is my go-to snack, and this stuff just won’t last long in our house! If you are going to do a double batch, use two baking sheets. Don’t try to get it all on one. 

Finished, homemade, crazy delicious granola!
Finished, homemade, crazy delicious granola!

Enjoy! Let me know if you try this recipe, or have ever made your own granola. 

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Thanksgiving! Gluten and migraine-free style

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that my brother is coming home for Thanksgiving! I don’t even remember the last Thanksgiving we spent together. It’s been at least seven years! 

He has Celiac Disease, so we’re doing a gluten and migraine free Thanksgiving. My mom and I have been looking at recipes and planning our meal for awhile, so I thought I’d share it with you in case you need some inspiration for the quickly approaching day.

Veggie tray with hummus. I buy Sabra Roasted Red Pepper hummus. I keep trying to make my own hummus, and it’s never as good.

Turkey – we’re going to do a brine and then bake it. My brother-in-law did it this way a few years ago and it was the best turkey I’ve ever had. I bought this brine kit from World Market. 

GF Cornbread muffins – this recipe technically isn’t migraine free because there’s yogurt in it, but I eat them anyway. We make these in a muffin pan instead of a skillet. They only need to bake for about 12 minutes. I’ve used this recipe many times. It’s so good! The muffins only last about 3 days in our house. 

My little helper, making cornbread muffins
My little helper, making cornbread muffins

Homemade applesauce – My parents made a batch of applesauce and froze it, so we’ll be eating that. 

Sweet corn – My parents also cooked and froze some good ol’ Iowa sweet corn this fall, so we get to eat that. Mmmm, Iowa sweet corn!

Roasted butternut squash – I made this recipe last week to test it out. It is nothing short of amazing. Also, peeling and cubing a butternut squash is not fun! But your tastebuds will be greatly rewarded for your effort. I put my brother in charge of this dish πŸ™‚ 

Roasted butternut squash
Cubed butternut squash, ready for roasting!

Cranberry chutney – I’ve never made my own cranberry sauce, but I’m going to give it a whirl! I’ll be making a few changes to this recipe, since citrus is a no-no for migraineurs. I’ll be replacing the orange juice with peach juice and omitting the orange zest. 

Garlic mashed sweet potatoes – I’ll omit the sour cream, since that’s a migraine trigger. Maybe put in some cream cheese instead? Yeah, cream cheese! 

Stuffing – We call stuffing “dressing,” and it drives my husband crazy. “Dressing goes on salads!” Whatever you call it, I’ve never been a big fan. Probably because there’s onion and celery in it. My grandma is making the stuffing this year, so it probably won’t be GF/MF. But, if you want to make your own, this recipe doesn’t look too tough! Just leave out the onion to make it MF. 

Green bean casserole – My husband really wants to make a green bean casserole. He said he’s just going to make up his own recipe as he goes. This recipe looks pretty tasty though! The onions and cheese are migraine triggers, so I’ll probably pass, but everyone else can enjoy it!

Pumpkin pie – My grandma is in charge of the pies. But I want to make one pumpkin pie just to be sure it’s GF and MF. I bought some Bob’s Red Mill GF Baking Flour (affiliate link – Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour Gluten Free — 22 oz), so I’ll be testing my GF baking chops! Here’s the crust recipe I’ll be using. 

Have you planned out your Thanksgiving meal yet? Do you have to modify for any food allergies? Think you’ll try out any of these recipes? Let me know in the comments!

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My Lifesaver

In a typical day (as typical as they get around here), Shane is gone all day, leaving around 7 a.m. and returning by 5 or 6 p.m. Norah wakes up sometime in the night and ends up in our bed. Cece sleeps all morning, waking up around 10 a.m. 

We play. We eat lunch. Cece naps (hopefully in her crib). We might watch a couple episodes of Dinosaur Train. I try to get some chores done around the house. 

But inevitably, at some point during the day, Cece will start squealing. It’s high pitched and very loud. It could wake the dead. It generally means, “PAY ATTENTION TO ME AND ONLY ME AND IF YOU SO MUCH AS LOOK AWAY I’LL SQUEAL AGAIN!” 

What is one to do in this situation? I stick her in my Boba

 

 She chills out, barely makes a peep, sometimes snoozes, and I have my hands free! 

I actually have two Bobas. I bought one for Norah when she was just over a year old. We were going on vacation and I loathe taking strollers anywhere. I carried her EVERYWHERE on that trip! People kept asking if my back hurt. Nope! 

Cece’s Boba I actually won from a blog I follow – Tales of a Mountain Mama. Cece’s is a Boba 4G (Norah’s is a 3G). The 4G has a special infant insert that boosts the baby up so they fit better. 

So far, our Bobas have gone lots of places. 

To the top of Crazy Horse.

Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse Monument

Hiking around the ranch.

At the ranch
Peek!

Virginia Beach. 

VA Beach nap
Boba naps are the best
VA Beach train
On kiddie rides in Virginia Beach

The Colorado Springs Zoo.

CO Springs Zoo
Feeding giraffes!

We also get to share babywearing duties!

Mom carrying NJ
My mom carrying Norah on a hike
volksmarch
Sharing babywearing duties on the Volksmarch to Crazy Horse Monument

I also just use it around the house to keep my sanity.

boba around the house
She ended up napping in here, because, who wouldn’t?!

So, if you have kids, get yourself a Boba. Or a wrap. Or SOMETHING to carry the baby in to free up your hands and make your life soooo much easier. Just make sure it’s a safe one, no “crotch danglers,” and no forward facing carriers. There’s lots of reasoning behind it.  Your baby will thank you. #WearAllTheBabies

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Toddler Lunches

Norah eating 1

I recently started doing something that has made my life much easier: meal planning Norah’s lunch. 

I grew up terribly picky. I ate a LOT of PB&Js and grilled cheese sandwiches. But only creamy peanut butter. And only grape jelly. And heaven help the person who put marinara on my noodles. 

Norah is not a picky eater – thank goodness!

However, I was stuck in a rut. She was eating an awful lot of PB&Js with a side of cottage cheese for lunch. And sometimes dinner. She wasn’t complaining, but I wanted to change things up and offer some diversity.

I poked around on the web, looking at other toddler lunch ideas. I wrote down everything I knew she would eat. It was a pretty long list! 

Then I wrote out her lunches for the week. I tried to incorporate a veggie, fruit and protein in each meal. I also meal plan for our family, so some of the lunches are based off leftovers from that plan.

Here’s what I did for this week:

Monday: Sliced hard boiled egg, toast with peanut butter, steamed carrots.

Tuesday: Turkey and cheese sandwich, sliced apples, steamed carrots.

Wednesday: Rice with mixed veggies, cottage cheese, pears.

Thursday: Quinoa chicken enchilada bowl, grapes.

Friday: Turkey and cheese on crackers, yogurt with granola, carrots.

Saturday: Butternut squash, toast with peanut butter, banana.

Can you tell I just made a big batch of steamed carrots? πŸ™‚ Luckily, she loves them! I think it’s because I ate carrots and hummus every day while I was pregnant with her. 

Norah eating 2

Monday’s meal went great. She ate everything, then asked for more carrots. While she was eating those carrots, I sliced an apple for myself. Then she asked for some of my apple. We are both bottomless pits. 

So, that was my stroke of genius for the week. I plan on typing up my list, and making a template for her lunches. Then I can stick it in a page protector, put it on the fridge, and write on it with a dry erase marker. 

Have you ever meal planned for your toddler? Do you have any other mommy hacks that made your life easier? Please share!

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Big News! And no, I’m not pregnant

I’ll start this post with a couple stories.

Shane had been gone on an overnight trip. Actually, a couple overnights. In a row. For weeks. 

Norah and I called him and talked for awhile. When we hung up, she said, “Mommy, where’s Daddy?”

“He’s at work.”

“But I want to give him a hug!”

Did your heart just break a little bit? Because mine did.

Story number 2:

Shane had been gone on all weekend. He was supposed to be home Monday, but got called out early that morning for a trip. 

Cece was fussing a bit, and Norah patted her tummy and said, “I know, I miss Daddy too. He’ll be home soon.”

Now your heart is definitely broken, right? 

So, what do you do when this happens to you? I’ll tell you what we did. 

We decided to move. Yep, that’s right. We’re moving!! Back to Shane’s hometown in the Black Hills! We’re going to live on the ranch he grew up on. We visit there several times a year, and it’s just, ah … words don’t do it justice, so here:

Deadhorse Canyon
Hiking in Deadhorse Canyon on my first trip to the ranch. 
The Samyon!
On Samyon Ridge, looking down on The Samyon. That’s short for Sam’s Canyon. I renamed it πŸ˜‰ 
Looking North
Looking North
Looking South
Looking South

It’ll be different. Really different. But good different! The town has about 900 people. The next closest town, where Shane will be working, has about 4,000. And it’s 30 minutes away. Shane will be working with his mom, who has her own Ameriprise office. 

The most often asked question I get when I tell people we’re moving is, “Will Shane still fly?” Not professionally. We would like to get a small 4 seater someday so we can all fit in it and he can still do what he loves. 

I’ll still stay home with the girls and Norah will probably take over the ranch πŸ˜‰ This girl, I tell ya, she LOVES the ranch. She’s always telling Grandpa it’s time to go check the cows, or feed the cows, or just ride around on the Ranger. And she loves helping Grandma pick tomatoes, carrots and potatoes in the garden. 

Oh, and I’m going to have to keep my eyes out for these guys:

Ranch 4 rattlesnake

Yep. That’s a rattlesnake. We walked by him TWICE before Shane’s sister noticed him. He was hanging out in a cave we were exploring. Sheila threw a rock at him to see if he was alive. He was. There are also mountain lions and black widow spiders to look out for.

We’re not moving until next Spring, but we’re very excited. Shane will be home every morning, and be there to help put the girls to bed every night. He’ll have holidays and weekends off. (He’s flown on Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, Valentines Day and the Fourth of July. Not cool.) He loves flying, and the people he flies for, but being away from his family so often is just too hard for him (and the rest of us) to handle.

So, ranch life, here we come!!

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Freezer Meals – gluten and migraine free

If you follow me on Facebook, you’d know I just finished up a round of freezer meals for our family. This is only the second time I’ve made them, and I can’t believe how helpful they are! 

I love cooking, but when the husband is gone all day or on overnight trips, it can be hard to find time to make dinner. But pulling one out of the freezer and plopping it in the crockpot? Easy, peasy. 

All of these recipes are gluten free and MSG free if you read your labels. Some have cheese in them, which can be a migraine trigger. If it’s your trigger, skip that recipe or leave out the cheese. 

I keep a running list in my Google Docs of the recipes I use. When I’m preparing for my cooking day, I print it out and make my grocery list. I write down EVERYTHING I will need. Then I go through the kitchen and pantry and cross off what I already have. Then make a new grocery list with what I still need. It takes awhile, but it’s worth it. Also, if you have a simpler way of doing this, let me know!

It takes a whole day of cooking for me to get these all done. That’s what life is like with two little ones! 

Note on the chicken meals: Norah’s not huge on eating meat, so I usually just use one full breast in each meal. (A full breast is when they’re still attached – I separate and clean them before bagging them). If you have more than two that will be eating, throw in another breast or two! It shouldn’t be an issue.

A note on broth: Using homemade broth is best because you know that it won’t have gluten or MSG in it. Most chicken broth was made using onions, which are triggers. I  have yet to find a store-bought broth that doesn’t have onion in it. You can always just use water and add more seasonings. 

The night before I make the meals, I label all of my freezer bags with what goes in them and how to cook/reheat them. These details are all listed with each recipe below. Ideally, I’d have gone grocery shopping in advance of my cooking day, but I didn’t this time, because that’s life. So Norah went with me early in the morning. 

Once I actually got to cooking, I started out by washing and chopping all my vegetables. Then I cleaned the chicken breasts and put them in their respective meal bags. 

Chopped veggies
Chopped veggies

I tried to find the links to the original recipes. If there’s no link, I couldn’t find where I got it from! 

Cheesy Meatloaf

If cheese is a migraine trigger for you, just leave it out! It’ll still be delish πŸ™‚ High quality American cheese is not a trigger, so you could use that. 

  • 1 lb beef
  • 1 c shredded cheese
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 3/4 c oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Cool, and put in freezer bag.

Write on bag: Thaw, Reheat at 350 until warm throughout. 

Recipe from Little House Living

Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c Gluten-free panko crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Line baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes. Cool, and put in freezer bags. Makes 12 meatballs. *I put 6 meatballs in two quart sized freezer bags because we don’t eat more than 6 at a time.

Write on bag: Thaw, reheat in microwave or oven.

Sweet Chicken

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 c honey
  • 1/2 ketchup
  • 1/2 gluten free, MSG free soy sauce
  • 2 tsp minced garlic

Write on bag: Thaw, line baking pan with foil or parchment paper. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Serve with rice or quinoa and veggies.

Note: When I made this, I had frozen peas in my freezer so we cooked them up. It was the perfect addition! We also had a lot of sauce left over so you could probably cook 4 chicken breasts if you wanted.

Chicken Broccoli Rice casserole

This recipe makes at least two meals. 

  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 pkg cream cheese (read label to make sure it is MSG free)
  • 6 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 packages frozen broccoli
  • 5 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Melt butter in saucepan. Add milk and cream cheese. Stir occasionally until cheese is melted. 

Mix ingredients with cheese sauce in a big bowl. Divide between two freezer bags. 

Write on bag: Thaw, grease 9×9 pan and bake at 350 for 30 mins.

Recipe adapted from My Gluten Free Kitchen

Cheeseburger Soup

Cheeseburger soup
Cheeseburger soup

This is the most labor intensive recipe, and it’s totally worth it. So good, especially on a chilly night! This makes a LOT of soup! I put about 6 cups of soup in two freezer bags. I use my 9 quart stockpot to cook in. Again, there is cheese in this recipe, so if that’s your trigger, leave it out or skip the recipe. I added mushrooms to my soup because I had them on hand. This recipe is easy to adapt to your family’s tastes!

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 package frozen peas and carrot (or fresh veggies of your choice)
  • 1/2 c chopped red pepper
  • t Tbsp minced garlic
  • 6 cups gluten and MSG free chicken broth
  • 9 cups cubed potatoes
  • 1/4 c corn starch
  • 1 lb cubed cheddar cheese (I use sharp cheddar)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Brown the beef in the large stockpot. 
  2. Add the broth, potatoes, red pepper, peas and carrots.
  3. Bring to a boil, stir, then turn to low heat, cover pot with lid, and let simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.
  4. In a smaller pot, melt the butter, then whisk in cornstarch. Add milk, whisking until smooth. Bring to a boil until starts to thicken, about 2 minutes, then remove from heat.
  5. Gradually add the milk mixture into the stockpot once the potatoes are tender. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil and let boil for 2 minutes to thicken the soup. Reduce heat to simmer and stir in cheese cubes.
  6. When cheese is melted, add garlic salt and pepper. Stir until all is warmed through to desired temperature. Taste to see if you would prefer additional garlic salt or pepper, or other seasonings. (I add cayenne pepper to everything!)
  7. Cool, put in freezer bags.

Write on bag: Thaw, add milk when reheating. 

Teriyaki Chicken

  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 bottle of gluten free teriyaki sauce (check for MSG also)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic

Combine everything into a freezer bag. 

Write on bag: Thaw, cook 8 hours on low, 4 on high. Serve with rice.

Note: I added a bag of frozen broccoli during the last hour of cooking. 

Recipe from Fall Apart With Joy

Bacon Potato Soup

Note: Bacon can be a migraine trigger (sad but true). This soup would still be great without it!

This recipe makes 2 meals. 

  • 2 pints heavy cream
  • 1 bag hashbrowns (gluten and MSG free)
  • 1 can chicken broth (gluten and MSG free)
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli
  • 1 bag frozen carrots
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 lb bacon

Divide the bacon between two quart sized freezer bags. Label it “For bacon potato soup.”

Divide the rest of the ingredients between two gallon sized freezer bags.

Write on bags: Thaw, cook 2 hours on high.

Staple the bacon bag to the soup bag.

Before serving, thaw and cook the bacon, and crumble it on top. 

Beef Stew

Beef stew
Beef stew

If you’re going to freeze this meal, start it early. It needs to cook in the crockpot and cool before it is frozen. Makes 2 meals.

  • 3 c chopped carrots
  • 4 c cubed potatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 4.5 tsp Worcestershire sauce (check for migraine triggers)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 lbs stew meat cubed (I used 4 round steaks and cubed them)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can beef broth (gluten and MSG free)
  • 1 package frozen veggies of choice (I used mixed veggies – corn, carrots, peas and green beans)

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high 4-5 hours or low 8-10 hours. Remove bay leaf. Add frozen veggies during the last hour of cooking.

After cooking in slow cooker, allow to cool, then portion into freezer containers. 

Write on bag: Thaw, reheat in microwave or on stovetop. 

Recipe from Once A Month Meals.

Quinoa and Chicken Burrito Filling

I love this recipe. I’ve never frozen it before so I’m hoping it turns out well! We’ll test it soon to make sure πŸ™‚ There is cheese in this recipe. If that’s a migraine trigger for you, just leave it out.

  • 1 cup shredded chicken
  • 1 cup dry quinoa = about 3 cups cooked 
  • 1 cup cooked/canned black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • Β½ tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Β½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

Cook quinoa. In a large bowl combine chicken, quinoa, black beans, corn, and cheese. In a small bowl combine dry spices.

Toss with quinoa mixture. Add lime juice and toss well.

Cool and put in freezer bag.

Write on bag: Thaw and reheat in microwave. Serve with chips or corn tortillas, tomatoes, salsa, etc. 

Recipe adapted from Cooking Quinoa

Italian Chicken

  • 1 lb. chicken breasts
  • 4-6 medium potatoes, about 2 lbs, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning  (make sure it is MSG free)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Put all ingredients in a freezer bag.

Write on bag: Thaw, cook 8 hours on low or 4 on high.

Recipe from 5 Dollar Dinners

BBQ Chicken and Potatoes

  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3 potatoes, cubed
  • BBQ sauce (The directions didn’t say how much BBQ sauce to use, so I did about 1/2 cup. Also, make sure it is gluten and MSG free)

Add all ingredients to freezer bag.

Write on bag: Thaw, cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

 

There you have it! Let me know if you have any questions!

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My Custom Baby Gate

When Norah started crawling, we decided it was finally time to get a baby gate. We knew it would be hard to find one that fit because our stairs are a little awkward. 

One side is a wall, and the other side is spindles. The standard gate that uses pressure to hook in wouldn’t work. 

And, let’s be honest, most baby gates are hideous. Plus the ones that are decent looking are expensive! 

Every time we went to the store we would look at baby gates. We looked online at countless websites. Finally Pinterest came to my rescue! All my time pinning was about to pay off. I found one that looked like a barn door and asked Shane if he could make it. 

Obviously, he said yes. Anything that will get him some garage-time.

After some configuring, we decided to nix the barn door style because we wanted to be able to see through it. He designed a new one, I okay’d it, and he went to work. 

He used oak 1×4 and 1×2 boards. He put a caster on it so if Norah hangs on it, it won’t break off the wall. 

He angled the bars on the top and bottom to give it a little style πŸ˜‰ 

The baby gate, working it's magic. Also - Norah's giant cloth diaper butt!!
The baby gate, working it’s magic. Also – Norah’s giant cloth diaper butt!! 

It’s so sturdy and solid! And it looks sooo much better than any you can buy in the store!

Seriously. He needs to be selling these things. It cost about $60 and took less than 4 hours to make. 

The latch took some figuring. We didn’t want to drill into the spindle, so he make a block to fit around it, and attached the latch to the block. 

After awhile, Norah learned how to open it, so we changed it up. She keeps us on our toes. This photo is with the first latch system. Now the latch is attached to the gate and locks behind the spindle with a pin to keep it in place. 

Shane and his dad made this gate at their house:

Shane's parent's baby gate that swings both ways.
Shane’s parent’s baby gate.

They designed it to swing both in and out. They framed it with 1x4s and screwed on tongue and groove boards for the front. It has a sliding bolt latch on the back.

Then his sister had him make a gate at her house.

Shane's sister's gate, which also swings in and out.
Shane’s sister’s gate, which also swings in and out. Izzy was not pleased about having to move for the picture.

This gate is a single piece of edge glued pine. In order to not drill a hole in the banister, he zip tied a board to it and drilled into that for the latch. 

He’s basically a baby gate making expert now.  

It’s so nice to have a handy husband πŸ™‚

Also, baby gates are awesome at keeping the dog in the basement when he’s annoying you.

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