alintx

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  1. I am so sorry that you have this giant mess of stress. I can only imagine how hard it is to try to keep it under control. I have two severely ADHD kids, one with additional problems (still diagnosing). I committed to grain-free-sweets-free a few weeks ago (on the loooooong road to a W30) and it has turned them into wild balls of desire for junk food, sugar and bread products. Like, totally off-the-charts crazy to get their hands on it. It is utterly exhausting to head them off at the pass. We live walking distance to a convenience store and a grocery store, and they have allowances, so they plot like fiends to get outside and sneak off to the store. In an attempt to regain some control, I feed them a large cooked breakfast, plus their vitamins and DHA and a large glass of water. We also are eating dinner earlier and earlier and I'm spending a lot of time teaching the middle child (3, two with ADHD) to cook so he will feel like he has more control. I wish I had some advice to offer but I really don't. One big hurdle for anyone on a specialized eating plan is the development of cooking skills so it doesn't feel as hard to cook a meal. We're trying to get better/faster so that dinner prep doesn't seem as overwhelming. It's hard, though, when kids are hungry and bouncing off the ceiling. My teenager (almost 17, the oldest with ADHD) has been cooking with me since she was 2, and in the last 6 months has actually become very proficient. But man oh man the mess she makes! Please keep posting updates. You are not alone, even if it feels like it sometimes. :-)
  2. alintx

    CSA and budgets

    I'm late to this party, but wanted to throw support for CSAs. Mine costs $45/week and I can certainly buy similar products elsewhere for cheaper. I consider it to more in the "think globally, act locally" category of expenditures in that if we don't support local growers, there won't BE any local growers. Sometimes the cost is painful, but it helps keep me out of the car and out of a grocery store for a day or two which helps cut down on impulse purchases.
  3. alintx

    Breakfast, faster

    Also on the "faster" front: 2 eggs, one banana and a dribble of almond butter (or not). Zapped with stick blender. I think I found that recipe somewhere here. Makes 10+ small thin pancakes. Or, one large egg, one small banana, drizzle of almond butter. Made like pancakes on the griddle. One-egg recipe makes just 6 or so small pancakes. They are thin, so they cook fast and the stick blender is much easier to clean than the regular blender. In the time it takes the pancakes to cook, I slice some tomatoes and/or an apple and start pre-loading the boys before they melt down.
  4. alintx

    Breakfast, faster

    The two older ones have been cooking with me since they were under 2. What a mess that was, but worth it. I have photos of them at the counter, standing on chairs competing with each other for egg-peeling when the now-10yo was 2. What a mess that was, too! I agree that it is really really important for them to become proficient in the kitchen! It takes a loooong time and a lot of patience but it starts to pay off. Unfortunately, in the morning, the two boys (6, 10) have no patience or attention span to help. They just need to be fed before expecting anything from them. The 10yo will make smoothies (bananas, ice, berries, vanilla), which helps, but what a mess! The 15yo is very well versed in the kitchen and I am very grateful that she actually enjoys cooking. She is very ADHD, so what a mess! *sigh*, one day they'll be on their own and I will wish that mess back.
  5. They were really easy and really tasty. One to two ribs per person. I am guessing that the bone in them helped the falvor develop?
  6. alintx

    Slower ramp-up to the Whole30

    Really good post. Part of what makes it hard to just go W30 right out of the gate is that many of us are feeling so poorly that even relatively small changes (switching cooking oils) seems like a really big deal. I cleaned out non-compliant crap from the fridge one day, the baking cupboard another day, the pantry another day. We try a handful of new recipes on the weekend, when it isn't a dinner-time disaster if a recipe fails. Then we start making those recipes until they become easier and more routine (and more accepted by my kids). By the time we officially go W30 (instead of "just Paleo"), we hope it will be easier (4-months of increasing knowledge, practice and resources), and more like the icing on the cake. The book "Practical Paleo" has tear-our shopping guides that are awesome. Instead of tearing them out, I took photos with my phone so I can just scroll through and find the info I need when I'm standing in the store considering which eggs, or which meat to buy.
  7. alintx

    Crockpot roast challenge

    Whichever one you use . . . in addition to the big chunks of veggies you can sautee minced onions, garlic, carrots and celery in your favorite W30-approved fat and spread them on top of the roast. Then deglaze the pan with some water or broth and pour that over the roast. As it cooks in the crock pot, the water will condense on the lid and drop down onto the roast, and those little bits (we call them "tasty little bits") will really help boost the flavor. I can't eat alliums anymore (garlic, onion), but even just carrots and celery sauteed and poured on top is yummy-making. We mince the bits in one of the little food processors. I often make a bunch of batches of tasty little bits and freeze them to add to other recipes for a flavor boost with less work.
  8. alintx

    Breakfast, faster

    My kids have maybe 5 minutes of patience between waking up and needing to be fed. Then, they fall apart. The 10yo equates hot food with love, so breakfast is (usually) cooked. I keep this LIddle Griddle on the counter, ready to go. It can go in the dishwasher, it's a little bigger than a sheet of paper (griddle surface-area) and it heats up as fast as I can crack the eggs and whisk them together. BAM! I have a bigger Cuisinart griddle, but it can't hold a candle to the efficiency to the liddle griddle. Just something to help make your Paleo life a little easier. Alison
  9. Made beef short ribs for the first time in the crock pot, overnight on low. Intended to send them in the kids' lunchboxes, but they demanded them for breakfast. So breakfast was one short rib shared between two boys, a handful of strawberries and "pancakes" made from 2 eggs a medium banana and a teaspoon-ish of almond butter (zapped with the stick blender).
  10. alintx

    "Oh my god, what DO you eat ?"

    I snap photos with my phone of the fresh produce on the belt in the check-out line. I text that to friends eating the same way. Helps keep us honest (with ourselves), and helps to be able to reference "what we ate" and "what can we eat". No cheating by hiding the crap out of the camera range. The array has been . . . astonishing. Even challenging the kids to pick different varieties of apples, to compare the flavor and crispness. We might still record "apples" in this game, but if that is 7 different kinds, particularly the ones that don't dominate the market, that also helps prop up crop diversity (and smaller farmers, hopefully).
  11. alintx

    so. much. food.

    Here is the knife skills book we've been using. I'm going to put it out there . . . I've been spending at least $400+/week on groceries since "going Paleo". That is up from $250/week + eating dinner out several times per week. I always eat lunch out on work days (5x/week), for another $50/week. That covers: 1 adult, and three kids (15, 10, 6) A weekly box from Greenling (delivered) with a small assortment of local organic produce, two half-gallons of pastured whole milk, local organic pastured butter (8oz), a dozen of the super-best eggs we've found, 1 to 3 packages of high-quality local meat and a few other local products. The box runs $80 to $150/week. I do this, despite the painful expense, for two reasons: to support local/organic food-producers and because the box is delivered on Friday evening and I can avoid the grocery store for weekend groceries (shopping with 3 kids = not fun). More expensive weeks are the weeks where I order more meat (again: local, pastured, damned expensive). I also go to Whole Foods, Central Market (HEB's version on Whole Foods) and the regular grocery store 3x/week and spend about $100 (2x) and $50 (1x). I try to buy mostly organic produce. I pack lunch for 2 of the three kids 5 days a week, and I pack my own breakfast to eat at work. The teen cooks breakfast for herself from Paleo foods, skips lunch, then east mostly Paleo at home. She has almost no budget for eating out but she's been eating up the few remaining non-Paleo foods I didn't clear out of the house. :-( I have 2 kids with ADHD (the teen and 10yo), and another who is/was just WILD (crying, explosions, hyper . . . but surprisingly, probably not ADHD). I am eating Paleo, with a little pastured butter. Not yet W30 - still on the giant learning curve of what to eat and what to avoid. My non-W30 foods are mostly non-compliant meats - the ones with a little bit of added sugar like the Applegate Farms bacon and sausage. The teen is mostly Primal, but is very confused and distracted by the hoards of crappy fake-Paleo/Primal "advice" out there. Her ADHD plus her age make keeping her on track a challenge. She lost 10 pounds in a month, though, without actually trying, and her acne and sleeping patterns have improved greatly. I restricted the boys (10, 6) from food colorings and added sugars about 2 months ago, and from grains almost 2 weeks ago. They also started eating primarily organic produce and higher-quality meats 2 months ago. BIG difference in both from the first change, and a noticeable improvement since the grains were cut out. The 10 yo snuck some candy home from school a few days ago, ate it on the sly, then spent the evening crying, whining and fighting. I think he made the connection between the crap he ate and how it made him feel. Yesterday I was down hard with a cold and let the boys eat cafeteria food for breakfast and lunch. They came home WILD and angry. After getting some salad, trout and pears into them, we were able to have a very enlightening conversation about why they've been restricted from eating sugars and grains. For the FIRST time in years I feel that I have the mental clarity, self-control and focus to manage what we eat. The daily blood-sugar roller coaster is GONE, the mental fog is GONE, I can even shop when I am "hungry" and make good choices. Every. Single. Day. that the kids stay off the grains, sugar and additives is a better day for our family . . . and we still have a lot of experimenting to do to see what other foods are screwing with our brains and bodies. Although our current food budget is painful, I know it will improve. We are wasting less food, I'm learning to gauge how much they will eat of the new foods, and which ones will keep them full and not crying for snacks. They eat more and waste less of the lunches I pack. We use more of a cut of meat, and I've greatly improved and learned to control what I need to take to eat at work. My 10yo is taking half of his ADHD meds and his teachers are reporting NO problems at school . . . nothing that would suggest he is as behaviorally-challenged as he has been in the past. He has on-going problems with writing (dysgraphia), but he's staying on-task at school and not driving the teachers out of their minds. The decicion to take him off grains was driven in part by several scary ODD episodes (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). Other than his candy-sneaking day and yesterday (cafeteria food), he has been remarkably more even-tempered and able to cool down when he does get heated up (as opposed to exploding and throwing things and screaming). I am gearing up for a W30 (or more realistically, a W100) for me, and then one for the kids. For those of you reading this and wondering if Paleo eating will help your kids, I would say: DO IT NOW.
  12. alintx

    so. much. food.

    Bwahahaha! Thank you for making my day. I have the same "problem". I am shocked at how much my 3 kids are eating. The other day when I checked out at Central Market (HEB), it came to $200. I had a mini panic attack . . . that either we wouldn't eat it all before it spoiled, or, that we'd eat it all in 3 days and I would have to come back for more. It was the latter. :-( I'm realizing the hard (and expensive) way which foods are the better bang for the buck, and that I'm going to have to start buying whole birds and really using up every last bit. There is an awesome knife skills book out there and I've been going through it with my 10yo and 15yo . . . the better we get at chopping, the easier this becomes. And, boy, are we getting a LOT of practice.
  13. alintx

    What are your must have kitchen tools/gadgets?

    Both All Clad and Le Cresuet sell large braisers (12 or 13 inches across) that are awesome. I keep my LC one on the stove - it gets used THAT much: skillet recipes, browning meat, sauteeing veggies. Colanders/strainers . . . that can nest to save space.
  14. alintx

    Braising and other flavor-enhancing techniques

    Those sounds like two great books to get! Amazon also sells one called "All About Braising" by Molly Stevens. The first section in particular tells why braising makes food taste so good (and it's so easy!). You know how some people know a little and think they know it all? I feel like the more I know, the more I realize I don't know, and have to learn more! Kinda like the Paleo/W30 epiphany! Surely other folks reading this have some resources to add?
  15. One thing I think hurts a lot of people when they transition to a whole foods lifestyle is the lack of cooking skills. You know, we're used to flavor blasts from bottled sauces, packaged foods and artificial flavor enhancers. Quick-and-easy recipes often leave food tasting flat because it can take time and skill to coax out the best flavors. So, I pose to you: What do you consider to be the most essential flavor-enhancing skills? Do you have recommendations for where people can go to learn better technique? (Specifically, not generally) I can say that when I learned better skills for roasting vegetables (for use in other recipes), braising, toasting (spices), and de-glazing a pan, my cooking street cred increased and my kids starting eating more and complaining less. I feel like I did it the hard way, though. So, I would love see your own lists, links to resources, etc. Seriously . . . think about the techniques that set you apart from other home cooks, especially the ones that are making your Paleo and W30 experiences more likely to become permanent lifestyle modifications.