|A new cook is born with a hand-me-down Kitchen Aide and a few ingredients.|
Having been on special diets most of my life, my shelves of recipe books have largely gone unused, except for browsing through them while drooling on their pages. I love to eat, but for many years, having to substitute ingredients makes cooking a serious mental activity. Substituting was only part of the challenge, eliminating ingredients like milk, wheat, eggs, sugar and vitamin D was yet another one. Label reading made even my simple three or four ingredient recipes a serious study, and it was just easier to find more suitable recipes!! Somehow cheesecake just isn't the same without eggs and cheese!! I have, however managed through the years to make bread without milk and eggs, and cookies without flour as well as reduce the toxic, but delicious, sugar!
|Baking always did come first!|
|What is not to love about garden produce?|
|Home-grown Napa Cabbage makes a great slaw!!|
I tried making a gluten-free lasagna, but somehow the rice noodles simply turned to starch paste when frozen. I then tried a noodle free lasagna and simply boiled rice noodles to serve with these "sauce casseroles". Still better I found excellent gluten-free Tatertot casserole recipes and made all sorts of varieties: buffalo chicken, shepard's pie, chicken pot pie, and let me miss an ingredient or two and I started creating recipes of my own!
While my husband is "easy" to cook for, he doesn't like to eat the same thing twice in a row and so I soon expanded my repertoire and came up with "in-between-casserole meals" of hot dogs and baked beans (right out of a can), hamburgers with, dare I say it, "Tatertots" and cottage cheese with sliced tomatoes on the side. Bagged salads were easy too! Pre-made frozen stuffed shells with spaghetti sauce right out of a jar followed and was another hit for my husband while I ate instant one-serving-sized gluten-free mac and cheese. Desserts were easier yet, an old-fashioned "Milk-Nickel" ice cream bar on a stick or variations thereof. This made us both "stick" to a normal sized serving (pun intended) It made me wonder if perhaps meals could be served on sticks? A new form of diet that we could "stick to"? OK, now I will give up the puns!! But perhaps a great and easy invention in the future, after all my sister has gone to only using paper-ware so she doesn't have to do any dishes. The possibilities are so vast!
|Variations on a desert theme...all individual serving sized on a stick!|
We aren't starving and my confidence is building! Though I hate to admit it, my daughter and her friend's influence came shining through. With summer approaching I turned to grilling, or to be more accurate, I recruited my husband to do the grilling. I simply marinate the chicken by pouring a little Italian salad dressing on it while it defrosts in its freezer bag (frozen, pre-filleted and and ready to go). When slipped onto a grill for a few minutes on both sides, it is delicious! So as to not appear totally lazy, I do my part of the meal by pouring out pre-cleaned and -cut fresh veggies along with a sliced onion on a cookie sheet, sprinkle them with olive oil and garlic salt and pop them in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes or so, giving them a stir, and voila another favorite addition to any meal! BBQ'd hamburgers can also done at the last minute. With cottage cheese, canned baked beans, and bagged salad on the side, or sliced fresh cucumbers and add any left overs and we have our own smorgasbord!
|Variations of squash and cucumber dishes...all easy to prepare...Delicious, no?|
|My mother's labor intensive Martin Potato Salad.|
|A squash, hamburger, onion, spagetti sauce and cheese, perfectly "blackened".|