Saturday, January 18, 2014

No More Bein' Cheesy (Week 1)...

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

Yes, my friends, its goodbye to cheese (and other dairy products) for this family!  Today is Week 1 Day 1 for our completely dairy-free eating.  This change has come about out of both necessity and curiosity.  First, necessity because we already know that our second-born is lactose intolerant.  Figuring that out is along story that involved a gastroenterologist and a biopsy.  One of the twins is sensitive to dairy, so Mommy has to stop eating it because of breastfeeding.  I, apparently, am a cheese-a-holic!  If it is in the house, I will eat it. So its better for the little one if there is no dairy in the house for Mommy to eat.  Now, the curiosity is that 2 other children are exhibiting symptoms of a possible dairy sensitivity.  I'm hoping that being dairy-free for a month will eliminate those symptoms, and we will all feel good!  My plan is to have a Dairy Day after a month as a test.  I know this won't be easy, but it will be worth it.  

I decided that since I know a lot of people, both friends and family, that struggle with dairy, I will post my menu plans online, along with recipes that we try and find to be good.  I've decided to really focus on what we CAN eat, instead of what we can't.  I hope this attitude will rub off onto hubby and the children as we all make the adjustment together.  

One great thing I've found is that they have original and vanilla almond milk at ALDI now.  Its a great price and tastes exactly the same as the SILK brand.  Also, Sam's Club has extra virgin coconut oil, which is a great substitute for butter in dairy-free baking.  For actual butter, I'm trying out two different dairy-free types: Earth Balance Original and Smart Balance Original, both in a tub.  Smart balance is a dollar cheaper, so I'm hoping it works out.  :o)

Our menus begin on Saturdays, because I do my grocery shopping on Fridays.  

Sat:  Pancakes with peanut butter and syrup, bananas, drink almond milk
Sun:  Peanut butter/banana/honey toast, juice
Mon: Oatmeal (made with vanilla almond milk and brown sugar), juice
Tues:  Eggs, bacon, and fresh pineapple, almond milk
Wed:  Blueberry Coffee Cake, peaches, almond milk
Thurs:  Oatmeal, juice
Fri:  Eggs, bacon, and oranges, almond milk

Lunches (I always serve water with lunch)
Sat:  Sweet & Sour meatball "subs", green beans
Sun:  Baked potatoes with chili
Mon:  Leftover Spaghetti from Sunday's dinner
Tues:  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, green beans
Wed:  Baked potatoes with chili
Thurs:  Chicken salad lettuce wraps, corn chips, pears

Dinners (I'll serve either sweet tea or water)
Sat:  Enchiladas* (recipe here) (make double recipe)
Sun:  Spaghetti with sausage spaghetti sauce, green salad
Mon:  Mushroom burgers (dairy-free mushroom gravy here), rice, salad
Tues:  Salsa soup, crackers....for our Life Group bible study
Wed:  Enchiladas*
Thurs:  Family Dinner Night...I'm making Spaghetti again.

crakers & peanut butter
fruit strips (ALDI)
almond milk smoothies
fruit & nut bars (Sam's Club)

Sarah's Chicken Salad 

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 apples, peeled, cored, chopped into small bits
1/4 cup walnuts, pecans, or almonds, chopped
mayonnaise to taste

1.  Mix it all together!  Put it on a large lettuce leaf and roll up like a burrito!  Yum!

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

1 bag frozen, plain meatballs or turkey meatballs
1 bottle barbecue sauce
1/2 cup grape jelly
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Toss ingredients into slowcooker, and cook on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Sausage Spaghetti Sauce  (not specific to amounts because I make it "to taste")

1.  First, mix together tomato sauce, chopped garlic, and italian seasoning to taste and simmer about 10 minutes.  
2.  Brown enough ground sausage to suit you.
3.  Dice some zucchini and cook in olive oil until tender.  
4.  Add sausage and zucchini to spaghetti sauce and simmer another 5-10 minutes.
All done!!!  My husband says, "Everything tastes better with sausage."  Haha!

Enchilada Recipe - 31 days of dairy free dinners ::*Even using "mild" enchilada sauce in the enchilada recipe, it was still very spicy.  The children had a difficult time eating it, and some of them just ended up having a bowl of Cheerios with almond milk.  I'm going to be searching for a milder substitute.  I think next time I might just try a mild salsa that I know is not spicy. 

There you have it.  I hope this helps someone :o)  Let me know if you have any questions or comments, or if you have anything you did differently that turned out well!  Next week, I'm thinking about exploring some dairy-free dessert options. :o)  I'll also try to keep track of some more dairy substitutes that I find.

Thanks for reading.  May God richly bless your dairy-free conquests.

In conclusion, I've been praying Jeremiah 29:11 over my family as I am preparing school each Sunday evening.  I hope that you are seeking God as He reveals His plan for your family every step of the way.

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