Saturday, May 18, 2013

finding a new routine. also a broccoli soup recipe.

its been a couple weeks now since i was diagnosed with celiac disease, as well as several other very inconvenient food allergies (in case you missed that, you can read more about it here), and im still completely overwhelmed with information. i mean, i really do appreciate that everyone at church has some kind of advice about what they think i should do or eat, but to be completely honest i have so much information coming in i cant even process it. there are just so many things to consider, and since i feel like absolute crap most of the time (though after a week and a half of no gluten, i do occasionally feel ok for an hour or two, not great, but just ok), i just cant even focus. 

i keep reminding myself that my FIRST priority, before trying new recipes or mixing a fifty pound bucket of gluten free flour or going on a juice fast or purging the pantry, is figuring out how to make my new dietary changes work with our meal plans, shopping routine, and most importantly, grocery budget. so as far as what i need to deal with right now, ive got four main concerns:
1. i REALLY LIKE what weve currently got going on in that department (you can read more about it here).
2. i am NOT going to spend all my time running around to every specialty grocery store in town to get one or two things every week (especially since lately alice has been, shall we say, hit or miss at stores). 
3.i also refuse to settle with either extreme of cooking a complete separate meal just for myself every time we eat, or putting ALL of us on a gluten free diet (especially when theres no celiac involved). 
4. and that $50 a week grocery budget? that needs to stay, im not doing that for fun or to have some kind of "extra money", thats all we can realistically do for groceries. 

so ive started out slow, keeping most of my orginal plan intact, just focusing the meal plan around meals that were either already allergen-free, or only needed a small change (i was surprised at how many there were, ill be posting more recipes soon), and keeping my key "special" purchases (bulk cashews, gluten free bread, etc.) to a minimum each week. to avoid running all over town for just one thing, ive been shopping at sprouts on "double ad wednesday" when more things are on sale, and getting all our produce there as well (it can be significantly cheaper than at vons, it just wasnt really worth the effort to go to both stores every week). this has worked out pretty well so far, its not that inconvenient, and since im able to get our produce at a better price, weve only been a few dollars over budget each week (which could have totally been avoided if i hadnt been so liberal with the treats).

ive also been poking around the internet looking for some new recipes, but its been a little frustrating, because for most of the internet "gluten free" is synonymous with "super ridiculously overzealously healthy and requiring $30 of ingredients (mostly kale) and have no calories or carbs or fat or flavor", and that is not at all what i need. i need real food, tasty food, preferably with LOTS of calories and carbs and fat and most importantly flavor. so ive been mostly focusing on recipes that are coincidently gluten free. then i was reading my friend karolinas blog, and she had posted this recipe for an asparagus soup, and it sounded SO GOOD, but asparagus wasnt on sale and i dont have quite as many dietary restrictions as she does, so i modified it into this broccoli cheese soup:

broccoli cheese soup
serves four

1/2 a large onion
2-3 cloves garlic
a few tablespoons of olive oil
2 quarts stock (or water and boullion, i like better than boullion vegetable base, but it has soy sauce in it so ill need to find a new one)
2 medium sized broccoli crowns, chopped into florets (or about 3 cups chopped broccoli)
2 large russet potatoes 
salt, pepper, basil, and oregano to taste
1 cup milk (half and half or cream would have been better but all we had was whole milk)
shredded cheese for garnish (we had some cheddar and an "italian blend")

start by finely chopping the onion and garlic and in a soup pot, sauté them in olive oil until the onions begin to caramelize. peel and chop the potatoes, chop the broccoli and add them to the pot, followed by the stock, salt, pepper, and herbs. bring soup to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fully cooked, about 10-15 minutes. once the potatoes are cooked, adjust the seasonings if necessary and add the milk. entirely optional: partially blend the veggies in a blender with a little bit of broth and return to the rest of the soup (make sure to leave the center cap of the blender off and cover with a paper towel or the steam will pop the lid off). garnish with cheese and enjoy!

 this recipe makes kind of a lot of soup, it was enough for two dinners for us, though it seems like it would freeze nicely so next time i make it i think ill double the recipe and save half for another day. 

this soup was pretty much the highlight of a week that was really, well, blah. on the bright side, alice has totally picked up on me not feeling well and wanted to spend all yesterday morning (till nearly 11! ) in my bed with me reading books and playing ponies. it was pretty dang cute. 

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