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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Three Secrets To Budget Friendly Multiple Food Allergy Diet

It's a new year. 2015. It has been 2015 for about a week and a half. Have you changed anything drastic about your life? I haven't. I'm attempting to go without grains, nightshades and sugar which adds to my already restricted list of food allergies of gluten, corn and dairy. Both grains and nightshades make my stomach feel weird and I get seriously bloated, and sugar I know I'm sensitive to. But the question often asked is: "Are you making your family do the same?"

No, I'm not. My family does follow the gluten-free diet simply because cross contamination for me lands me in the hospital. Eating gluten causes Honey Bunny's brain to swell and have suicidal urges. The link there is about the gluten-brain connectionYeah, that's not a great one with a teen who already has other challenges. For Boo Bear, gluten contamination results in migraines. Not right away, mind you, but about an hour later. She is in severe pain, crying and miserable. And Hubby? Well, he gets the trots. Believe it or not, even our dogs are gluten free! Baby loses her fur when gluten is in her diet and Major? Well, he's never had it so I don't know.

But am I asking my entire family to go corn, dairy, nightshade and grain free? No way! Unless those foods bother them, I see no reason to. They DO bother Boo Bear and she is going to try it with me.
We will see how she does.

So, how does one Momma help their family regulate what is "safe" to eat? Easy. I meal plan. And when I talk about meal planning, I am talking about a month's worth of meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It takes me about 2 hours a month to sit down, plan it out, make sure I have the left over recipes used and try to keep my grocery budget about $600-$700 a month. I've been able to do it for $400 but that was when we were eating mostly beans due to unemployment and had assistance from food pantry lines for produce and meats due to a special donor in my old hometown in Connecticut.

The best resource for me is Emeals. I LOVE this site! It is a pay for subscription site. The options it offers are amazing! Every Wednesday, I get an email with 7 nights worth of dinner, recipes and a shopping list!! They offer everything from Paleo, Gluten Free and Vegetarian to Budget Friendly, Kid Friendly and Diabetic! I save thousands every year using this service! They have recently added a lunch and breakfast menu but I am unable to use them because they are not as diverse as their dinner options.

I also use Supercook when I do in-house shopping. What is in-house shopping you ask? It's when I go shopping in my pantry, freezer and fridge. I do this about once a month. I print out a shopping list from a pre-made grocery list and use it as an inventory list. Rather than write everything down I do have, I just check off what's on the list, notate if I have something additional, and from there hop on over to Supercook and put in what I have. From there, Supercook goes out to the net and finds recipes with my ingredients on hand and lets me know what I would need to add! It's like having a personal chef in my kitchen helping me make up my monthly menu. Who wouldn't like that?

I then open up my template for an entire month of meal planning from The Good Old Days Farm and type in my choices.  It works best when printed because typing it is a bit awkward, but I make do. It isn't really made to be typed in. I kinda force it to happen that way. I have girly handwriting and can't make my writing fit in their nice little boxes. Come to think of it, I've never been able to fit inside a box. Goes to figure...

As I'm writing up my monthly menu, I am making a weekly list of what I need to supplement. I get my meat from a local butcher who offers grass fed beef and grub and peck fed chickens for $4.25 a pound. It's a 30 minute drive for me, but worth the savings. I also attempt to visit a large farmers market which is open all year round about 45 minutes away every other week, and when there buy mostly the $1 bags of fruit or veggies about to go over or bruised and use those to make things like apple sauce, sweet potato chips and pickles with smaller cucumbers. To fill in other things, I use Aldi's and buy responsible priced organic produce.

My kids and hubby don't suffer. We have a house full of fruits and veggies, homemade chips and some store bought chips, we have cookies in the house or I use making cookies and a math lesson in fractions or a science class in chemical reactions. We make gluten free bread about once a week. That's usually gone by dinner. We have well balanced meals. We have variety. We have colorful plates of dinner and we even eat the D word...dessert. Can you believe it? All without dairy or gluten or ... corn. And they taste good.

Lesson here is it IS possible to eat a restricted allergy diet on a budget. You just have to be more creative. Feel free to share below what other tips YOU have on how you save money on groceries.

Happy Shopping Everyone!




Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Parental Sex-The Good, The Bad and the Hysterical

Since I've touched upon the subject of teen sex, I thought I'd bring up the subject of Parental Sex. You know, that thing you did to have kids. Remember that? Remember the moments of excitement, new panties and bras? Remember when having sex was an adventure of finding new places and ways to make your partner's toes curl?  Yeah. Me, too.

It's like a foggy memory right about now. Now it's totally different. We've been together almost 9 years. In that time, we've transitioned from mid-30's to mid-40's. Our bodies have changed. We've gone from having elementary aged and infant aged children to teens who want to have sex, and some are probably having sex more than us, and an elementary aged child. We've gone from new panties and sexy bras to some dingy, ugly panty thing I found at Walmart 3 for $1 and a nude bra which has lost it's shape somewhere along the way from being tossed in the dryer among a dozen teenage girl used towels.

And let's discuss sex. I mean, really discuss sex.  Anyone else here find being discovered by their kids more upsetting then having your parents catch you as a teen?! I call it: "Batman Sex." That is sex done with 1/2 your clothes on, if not more, the TV on in the background of some boring sitcom with canned laughter. You keep the old pj top still on just in case someone of a younger age walks in on you. In addition to the 1/2 clothes on, there is also the blanket over the body thing like a cave. You sit on top of him, or he on top of you, and you pull those damn things up almost over your head, creating a "Bat Cave" where no one can see what you're doing. You have sex so fast that he finishes way before you because it's been weeks, if not months, since your last session in the Bat Cave and your ears are open, listening for any feet which may come your direction for which you instantly hop off of one another, pull up your bottoms, and sit up in bed watching TV like nothing was happening, only to be asked for a cup of water from a very capable child who loves to climb on the counters at any other time of the day but right then.

Or, even better, the kids are out of the house. You can have sex with the lights on, naked, and be loud. So exciting! You are finally childless and you spy the dishes in the sink. You know no more will be made for a few hours so you begin to think about all the things you could be doing while the kids aren't home, such as straightening up, dishes, laundry, dinner prep - heck, maybe even another night's dinner prep, and hubby is like: Come on, Bat Girl! I'm READY!  So, you leave the dishes to go into your room. You quickly disrobe and begin laughing-hysterically.

There is my middle aged husband, belly paunch from needing to lose 30+ pounds, standing there in all his...glory...and there I am in my dingy underwear trying to feel sexy. OMG..it doesn't happen. I just begin to laugh. I can't help it. We look so pathetic! Then, we start to try and make out but I'm still laughing between kisses. Our bodies are like jello. We are jiggling all over. I mean his moobs touch my boobs and I laugh. I can't think of anything more scary than seeing me naked! I've seen myself looking down into a mirror. I know what I must look like when I'm on top and man, that shit is scary! I swear my entire face/neck just slide to the tip of my nose. I think I'm having a sexy type face when he bursts out in laughter and asks me if I have to pee. He tells me the best way to stop the teens from having sex would be for them to walk in on us because it would scare the hell out of them!

At this, we both laugh hysterically, he finishes and I'm still thinking about the dishes that have to be loaded in the dishwasher, the laundry that needs to be switched over and how my entire body, which used to be firm and feel sexy, has become a jello wrestling match all by itself.

We shower, put our clothes on and share a cup of wine, exchanging sweet nothing glances about the silliness we did a few minutes ago. We know it may be weeks or months before we are alone again.  He knows I have on fresh but dingy undies again. I know chances are he didn't grab a fresh pair of boxers.

The kids come home and life is back to normal. But, later on, I sneak into the closet and exchange my current shirt for my Batman shirt and we both laugh hysterically.