Just another Minnesota Mom blog.

Goodbye Gluten

Posted: February 27th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Autism, Food, Therapy | Tags: Gluten-free | No Comments »

I have been dragging my feet on making dietary changes for the boys since we first got our autism diagnosis just over 2 years ago.  (Sidebar: has it only been 2 years?  It feels like it’s been forever!)  For every study or anecdote that says a gluten-free casein-free diet makes a difference, there is an equally compelling study or anecdote that says it makes no difference at all.  This is pretty much how it goes with anything regarding autism treatment.

So, considering the boys are frustratingly picky eaters (at least at home) and probably 75% of what they will eat is dairy- mostly milk- I really hoped no one would ever suggest we try one of these diets.  Because they know as well as I do that it might not, and probably won’t, make any difference.  At least not the kind of meaningful difference that they are looking for: a calm body that leads to sitting and attending.

But, it happened.  Lincoln’s OT suggested we look into it, so here we are.  Gluten-free.

Well, we are in the process of getting there.  Monday is the last day they will have school lunch, so starting Tuesday they will be 100%  gluten-free and anything we eat as a family will be gluten-free.

Over the past week- they have refused to eat every dinner I prepared (Fresh20 Gluten-Free menu, you are not kid friendly).  Which really isn’t unusual, it was just different in the fact that we didn’t have a peanut butter sandwich to fall back on.  Peanut butter and apples or bananas is getting a lot of play in the snack and breakfast department, so, milk it is!  It’s like have 35 pound infants over here with the amount of milk they drink.

Our old breakfasts were Corn Chex, Rice Krispies, or Life cereal with fruit, and sometimes waffles or oatmeal.  They are suddenly not fans of cereal, so bananas and milk have been the go-to breakfasts the past few days.

Snacks used to be granola bars, fruit leathers, string cheese, fruit, or goldfish crackers.  They aren’t fans of my gluten-free granola/ breakfast bars and all of a sudden are not fans of cheese, so I purchased any snack I could find with “Gluten-Free” stamped on it.  They are now huge fans of Pop Chips.

Tell me again how eating this crap is better?

I haven’t tackled lunches yet.

If it were just me and Yogi Dad, going gluten-free would be easier- we enjoy food, and the fact that fresh veggies, fruits and meats are all part of the diet makes it a little easier.  Rice, rice noodles- I can hang with that*.

But,  when your kids already don’t eat, it seems like you are just setting them up for a drastic weight loss- you cannot survive on milk and a multi-vitamin.

Which brings me to my next point:

This is all probably in vain considering we haven’t taken away dairy and we don’t plan to in the near future.  I have a hard time substituting milk with sweetened milk substitutes.  And yes, I am aware they come unsweetened- my kids would be on a food strike if I tried to replace their milk with unsweetened almond milk.  We have tried.  Hemp milk, goats milk- we go through a gallon+ a day.  Unless you can show me goats milk that costs less than $3 a gallon, it ain’t happening.

So, here we sit.  Doing this for some unidentified amount of time- 3 months?  6 months?  Considering there has not been identified gluten allergy or intolerance, it kind of feels like a waste of time and energy.  Right now it’s just a total crap shoot.  These are the hoops you jump through when there are no answers, when there is no cure, no identified reason for a disability.  You just go from therapy to therapy, latching on to ideas.  God help me if I ever get to the point where subjecting my kids to a bleach enema sounds like a good idea!

To be honest, I don’t in any way think this is going to make a difference in their behaviors.  But, we have to make an effort, so I will be putting in the effort.

Did I mention Yogi Dad went vegan for lent?  Seriously.  I need a personal chef right about now.

I will try to keep updated here or over at www.MinnesotaMom.com as to our progress.

*We are not forcing ourselves to go gluten-free- there is no way in hell I could give up a good beer and cake.  Anything eaten away from the boys- after bedtime, meals out etc. is fair game for whatever kind of flour-fest we can muster.



47 Super Bowl Appetizers

Posted: January 7th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Food, Recipes | Tags: Food, Pinterest, Recipes, Super Bowl | 2 Comments »

47 Super Bowl Appetizers

If there was ever an event made for food, it would be the Super Bowl.

We don’t throw a Super Bowl party here but we do like to have a special Super Bowl meal that takes into consideration where the Super Bowl is being played and where the two teams hail from and try and have our menu revolve around famous foods from those states and cities.  It’s a great way for us to discover regional favorites.  Some years are easy to plan. Others are a bit more difficult!

But today, I want to talk about appetizers.  Appetizers are pretty much loved by everyone no matter what corner of the country you come from.

Here is my list of the top 47 Super Bowl Appetizers!

via justaspoonful.com

via justaspoonful.com

Jalapeno Ranch Dip
Neiman Marcus Dip
Pickle Wrap Dip
Bacon tomato Dip
Taco Dip
Beer Cheese Dip
Caramelized Onion Spinach Dip

via howsweeteats.com

via howsweeteats.com

5-Layer Italian Dip
Hot Virginia Dip
Bacon Double Cheeseburger Dip
Jalapeno Popper Dip
Sausage Cheese Dip
Gumbo Dip
White Pizza Dip
BBQ chicken Dip
Hot Reuben Dip
Cheesy Chorizo and Caramelized Onion Dip

via cupcakeproject.com

via cupcakeproject.com

Hot Wing Dip
Spicy Sriracha Wings
Chicken Wing Dumplings
Chicken Wing Cupcakes
Cauliflower Buffalo Wings
Buffalo Wing Hummus
Buffalo Wing Meatballs
Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes


via girlichef.com

via girlichef.com

Asian Style Chicken Nuggets
Bang Bang Shrimp
Bloody Mary Shrimp
Hoisen Asian Meatballs
Bourbon Cocktail Meatballs
Turkey Meatballs with Orange Marmalade Glaze
Bacon Wrapped Lil Smokies
Sticky Whole Grain Mustard and Ginger Lil Smokies

via scrumpdillyicious.com

via scrumpdillyicious.com

Baked Ham and Cheese
Baked Ravioli
Pimento Cheese and Bacon Crostini
Reuben Spirals

via zitmanfam.blogspot.com

via zitmanfam.blogspot.com

Sweet & Spicy Nuts & Pretzels
Baked Corn Tortilla Chips
Salt and Vinegar Chex Mix
Cinnamon Churro Chex Mix

via alwaysinwonder.com

via alwaysinwonder.com

Caramel Apple Dip
Apple Pie Salsa
Pineapple Yogurt Dip
Slutty Brownies
Strawberry Angel Food Cake Skewers

Be sure to check out my Pinterest Board with all of these Super Bowl recipes and MORE!

Pigs, More Pigs, and Bacon on a Stick

Posted: July 31st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Food, Reviews and Giveaways | Tags: Food Blogging | No Comments »

About a month ago I was invited to spend the day with some Minnesota pork producers in a reverse Farm to Fork tour. Of course, being the pork lover that I am, I said yes. Actually, I think when I got the initial email from Oink Outings I yelled something like “HELL YES!” at my computer screen. Because really. Foodies and bacon. What’s not to love?

A little background about me- I moved to rural suburb of Minneapolis when I was 12. We moved into a new development in the middle of dairy farm country and I never could shake the fact that I didn’t belong there- I was the “city” girl. I have never set foot on a working farm in my life. But, I like to eat. I like to eat good food. I like to eat good food that is produced locally.

So, our little group of 4 bloggers (One Tomato, Two Tomato, The Dutch Baker’s Daughter, This Heart of Mine and myself) along with a couple of women from a local running club set out to meet the great folks representing Minnesota Pork Producers for the day.

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Groceries and Prepping Food

Posted: July 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Food, Reviews and Giveaways | Tags: Budget, Grocery Shopping | No Comments »

I hit up Let’s Dish the other day. I had to. I already have a session in the works for August but we are completely addicted to their Flank Steak and I just *had* to take advantage of my accumulating DishRewards points and try the flank steak recipe they have this month before <a style=”text-decoration: none;” href=”https://www.arbourgroup.com/blog/2017/may/how-to-prepare-for-an-fda-audit-by-using-a-21-cfr-part-11-assessment/”><span style=”text-decoration: none; color: #000000; font-weight: normal;”>Preparing for an FDA Audit</span></a>.

I have been accumulating points since they started the DishRewards system (I think it was after my first 3 or 4 sessions that they officially started) and I’ve never had a chance to use them because they almost always have a great monthly coupon code- either a free meal or $20 off or free assembly for Dish-N-Dash. And since you can’t use both DishRewards points *and* a coupon code, I just kept building up my points!

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Keeping Accountable: Groceries and Meal Plans

Posted: July 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Food | Tags: Budget, Grocery Shopping, Meal Plans | 2 Comments »

It’s tough keeping to a strict grocery budget.

Before we had kids it was not unheard of to spend $100+ a week on groceries for the two of us. After kids, while I was still working it was not unheard of to spend $200 a week on groceries. Now that I am a SAHM and we cut our income by 1/3, I need to keep the spending in check. Personal finance software is really good for keeping track of your spending and grocery money, I also try to check out the Financial Dictionary by CC Bank once in a while, which helps me out a lot.

I know this isn’t an extreme budget by any means. $220 for two weeks of groceries for 5 people plus all pet supplies (we have 2 cats and a small dog), paper products and toiletries is totally doable. Eating fresh, healthy foods definitely stretches me when it comes to meal planning.  Other than our trips to the farmer’s market, I do not go out of my way to eat organic, price is almost always the first consideration.  Do I wish it was different?  I don’t know.  If my $5.00 farmer’s market eggs that looked almost identical and tasted no different than my $1.49 regular large store brand eggs are any indication: it’s not always worth it.I’ve said in previous posts that me making sure this part of our budget is balanced is something I can do to make our overall budget work. It’s one of the things that makes it so I can stay home. I like to stay home, so I do what I can.

This is my meal plan for the next 2 weeks. I only plan 8 meals because we inevitably have leftovers or make something quick (or grab something on the go) so planning 14 dinners is not really needed. Lunches are sandwiches and or mac and cheese and hot dogs for the boys and salads or leftovers for me. Yogi Dad has veggies and rice for lunch most days. Breakfasts are waffles or Rice Krispies and fruit for the boys and eggs for us. If I get breakfast.

Chicken Fajita Tacos
Turkey Cherry Pasta Salad
Beefy Rice Taco Salad
Pineapple Teriyaki Burgers
Kielbasa, Peppers, and Rice
Crockpot Cheese Tortellini
Asian Chicken and Rice
Blue Cheese + Steak Wedge Salad

Going into my trip I had a lot of staple produce items from a trip earlier this week, half a bag of chicken tenderloins and 2 lbs of ground beef in the freezer so I had a little bit of a head start on this list.  I also have one pork tenderloin left from my last session at Let’s Dish (Have you scheduled your Dish-n-Dash session yet? 11 days left to use coupon code BLOGDASH!) in case I get into a bind!

Groceries (from Target):

SB=Store Brand

Smoked Chicken Sausage (2 packages): $4.78
Hot Dogs (4 packages): $6.00
Ground Turkey: $3.99
Flank Steak: $7.71
Chicken Tenderloins (2 bags): $10.98

Spinach: $2.00
Avocados (4-pk): $2.99 (A total steal, I will be buying more tonight on the way home from fireworks.)
Iceberg Lettuce: $1.29
White Peaches (4): $2.54
Red Onion: $1.24
Sweet Yellow Onion: $1.27
Green Pepper (4): $3.88
Strawberries (2 lbs) $3.58
Limes (4): $1.96
Whole watermelon: $5.99
Cantaloupe: $2.29
Mushrooms: $2.49

SB Strawberry Jam: $3.04
SB Agave Nectar: $3.49
Franks Hot Sauce: $2.64
SB Mac and Cheese (4 boxes) $2.88
Taco Shells: $1.47
SB Salsa: $1.68
Salsa Verde: $1.68
SB Tortillas: $1.85
Soy Vay Teriyaki Sauce: $3.79
SB Brown Rice (2 bags): $1.68
Instant Folgers: $6.54 (for iced coffee)
SB Canned pineapple: $1.02
SB Canola spray: $2.49
Dried Cherries: $3.64
Dried Tropical Fruit (2 bags) $4.22
SB Mixed Nuts: $5.34
Goldfish: $6.99
Nut Thins: $2.89
SB Freeze Pops: $4.24
SB Alfredo Sauce: $1.39
SB Rotini: $.99
Poppyseed Dressing: $1.89
Blue Cheese Dressing: $1.89
SB Honey Wheat Bread: $2.69
SB Wheat Buns: $2.65

SB Frozen Tortellini: $2.99
SB 2% Milk (gallon): $2.59
SB eggs (dozen): $1.49
String Cheese: $3.49
Blue Cheese Crumbles: $3.49
SB Shredded Cheddar: $2.49
SB Shredded Italian Blend: $2.49
SB Butter: $2.84

SB Diapers: $6.29
Cat Litter: $6.87
SB Lap Desk: $12.99
SB Shower Caddy: $7.99

-coupons: $5.25
-5% discount: %9.48
+tax: $1.92
Total: $182.00

In reality, even with $38 left we will probably go over budget over the course of the next 2 weeks. We have been going through a whole watermelon every 2 days and at $5.99 each, that adds up.  But, in this heatwave I will do anything to keep the boys hydrated.

I did pick up a few things that weren’t necessary, but that have been on the list of things that we do need: the shower caddy and the lap desk. I haven’t had a shower caddy for our shower since we moved over a year ago and I am constantly tripping over bottles of shampoo and body wash because the boys toss them all over the bathroom- I opted for the cheapest version at $7.99 instead of the really pretty ones that were going for $18.99 and up. This is mostly for my sanity at this point as the little nooks in our sower aren’t deep enough to have anything actually fit on them. (There are a lot of things I am learning about DIY house flipping on the cheap- namely that the cheap versions of things kind of suck).

As for the lap desk…do I need it? Do we really *need* anything? Right now I spend 3-4 hours every night sitting at the kitchen table blogging while my husband sits in the bedroom watching TV. I’m hoping this will help make it more comfortable so that I can sit in the same room with him and get my work done. I think $12.99 is absolutely worth it in this case.

I could probably make the case that these items should come out of a discretionary budget and put our total remaining for milk and produce at $59, but we’ll see how we fare without doing that.

I think I’m going to do this for each my shopping trips- mainly to help keep myself on track budget-wise, but also so I can keep myself accountable to shopping the perimeter of the store. There are some things I just can’t do without: Goldfish crackers and bottled salad dressing top that list. I know I can make my own salad dressing, but the cost of having the ingredients on hand at any given time just outweigh the cost of buying a bottle for a specific recipe (Who has champagne vinegar on hand anyways?). But- this looks way better than it did a year ago when I was at the height of my coupon clipping and buying anything that was cheap or free *just* because I had a coupon!

What does your grocery list look like? Have you written a post about your grocery budget? How does it compare?

Dinner on the Fly

Posted: July 2nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Food, Recipes | Tags: cooking, Instagram, Recipes | 5 Comments »

Today it was around noon when I remembered that I should probably figure out what to serve for dinner.  I’m usually all over having a list of meals on the freezer door so I know my options, but one of the short people who lives here decided to annihilate my notepad and I can’t remember what was on the list.

So, I shot from the hip.

I know we had tacos on the list at some point- so I had all of the extras for that.  I though chicken sounded good instead of beef and I had half a bottle of lime vinaigrette in the fridge from our beet salad a few weeks ago.  I also had a few red onions and a green pepper.  My first thought was fajitas.

I tossed about 10 chicken tenderloins, the sliced pepper, and onions into a bag with the dressing and let it marinade for like 4 hours.  When it was time to put together dinner I pulled out my grill pan, cranked the heat to high and got to grilling up the chicken and veggies (which I drained all the extra marinade from).  I also sauteed some sliced fresh jalapenos in butter, cut up a couple of avocados and a head of Romaine lettuce and threw it on a cookie sheet.  The lettuce and avos got hit with fresh lime juice and the avos got some salt.  I chopped the chicken and veggies as they came off the grill pan and added them to my make-shift tray.  I also put salsa, cheese and sour cream on the table.  We only had a couple of tortillas left so I heated up some taco shells in the my retro toasters I got online.  I think Yogi Dad may have made his into a salad.

This is what I set on the table.  It was awesome.

Fast chicken fajita recipe

What did you have for dinner tonight?

Sweets for your Sweetie: 4 Easy Valentine’s Desserts

Posted: January 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Food, Recipes, Reviews and Giveaways | Tags: Holiday, Recipes, Sponsored posts | 10 Comments »

Today I have a guest post from Susan Colburn, a self-proclaimed social media addict who is working on breaking into the food media biz.  Today she is sharing 4 quick and easy Valentine’s Day desserts to bake up for your Sweetheart!  Keep your eyes out for Sue- she may be the next food television star!  You can contact Sue at SusanColburn@gmx.com with your foodie questions.  Thank you Sue!


If you’re looking for Valentine’s Day dessert recipes that will delight your lover, these Valentine’s Day pies serve as the ideal aphrodisiac for the perfect evening. From fruit-filling aficionados to self-proclaimed chocoholics, there is a perfect pie for everyone. Satisfy your cutie pie’s sweet tooth this year with pastry-surrounded goodness—they will love you for it!

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Post-Halloween Brownies

Posted: November 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Recipes | Tags: Brownies, Candy, Halloween Candy, Recipes | 9 Comments »

Alternately Titled: What I do with all the Chocolate Candy

(Ooops. I was going to wake some pretty pics but apparently we ate them!)

A few years ago we started a tradition of chopping up all the chocolate candy we acquired during Halloween and dumping it into a batch of brownies. I love candy. I will continue to go back to the bowl over and over and over again until it’s gone. I’d rather just get everything out of the house as soon as possible and stop the constant trips to the candy bowl.

Yogi Dad isn’t the frequent candy sneaker like I am, but he will eat baked goods. I figure even though these are brownies, this way, I’m not eating all of it myself!

I start with a box of brownie mix. It doesn’t need to be fancy or frosted or have any special mix-ins because you will be adding those from your Halloween stash.

Then, I choose what chocolate is going in. Last year I had so much that I broke it up into themes: M&M’s, peanut butter candies, things with caramel. This year I just threw it all in together. I had 15 mini bars and bags of M&M’s. I keep out things like Kit-Kats, Butterfingers and Twix because I’m not sure how they’d work. Anything mint never makes it this far!

Next, chop up your candy. I like big chunks!

Mix up your brownie mix according to the package directions and stir in the candy.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake as directed on the box. It seems to take a bit longer, so keep an eye on them and adjust accordingly.

When they come out of the oven do not be twmpted to dig in with a fork- there is molton caramel and nuget bubbling under the surface. Let these babies cool all the way down.

Once cool.. Enjoy. I know someone who makes a pan and serves them as a super decadent dinner- seriously, everyone get a fork and get this over with! I’m pretty sure if I went that route the boys would expect that every night! I’ll stick to cutting them up

I’ve also done this by adding the chocolate candy to a basic Chocolate Chip Bar recipe. Last year we had so much I ended up making 2-3 batches to get rid of anything. Of course you can add as much or as little as you want!

Thankfully my sweet tooth doesn’t extend as willingly to the sweet/ tart/ sour candies. The boys will get some of it (Skittles can be a great motivator!) but a lot of it ends up getting dumped.

How do you get rid of the Halloween candy in your house?

Birthday. Cake.

Posted: August 9th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Food | Tags: Birthday, Cake., Pics | 11 Comments »

Judah’s Birthday came and went without a hitch.  On his actual Birthday, we opened all of the gifts that came in the mail from exotic locations like Missoula Montana and Yorktown Virginia.  I think having family from far away means that we will always have a gift opening that consists of many packing boxes and at least 1 box cutter.

On Sunday, we had a little family party here at our house.  The weather was gorgeous and the boys were in great moods.  Judah wore his Birthday Outfit from Grandma C (although we had to pop the shirt as soon as food was introduced) and even wore a party had for about 37 seconds.

Here is a little bit of the cake action.  Notice the extra helpful hands of Lincoln and Wyatt…

Judah is ready to eat!

Judah's Tie-Dye Smash Cake

Get this hat off me!

Dude, it's cake...better let me taste it

I get it now, I should eat this deliceious Rainbow Cake.

My Cake!

It's not like it's my birthday or anything....

Get your paws offa my cake!

Ahhhh, taste the rainbow!

Fine, I'll share my cake.

And finally, the effects of too much sugar (Why yes we did let him have another piece of cake with dinner.  Is that bad?) and not enough naps combine for this 2 hours later:

Judah falls asleep in his highchair

I’m just gonna rest my eyes.

Another 1st Birthday, another reincarnation of the Rainbow Cake.  I can’t believe you are one.  On the other hand, I can’t believe you are ONLY one!  It’s been quite a year, I can’t wait to see what  happens before the next one.



I Need a Lesson in Food Photography

Posted: July 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Recipes | Tags: Date Night, Guest Post, stuffed mushrooms | 2 Comments »

Today I’m Guest Posting over at Life With Levi.

If you remember, last Friday, Yogi Dad and I had an impromptu date night after the boys went to bed. The whole date-after-the-boys-go-to-bed concept is not new, but it had been awhile since we’d implemented it. I had agreed to write a recipe post and figured that would be a great chance to prepare the recipes and get photos.

I will tell you up front that when if comes to photography I am a complete amateur. When it comes to food photography…well, I’ll just apologize now. There are many things I would do differently if I could go back to square one. Like make a chocolate cake instead. Stuffed mushrooms, although delicious, really aren’t much to look at!

Don’t let that deter you, they really are good and they look better in person and all that jazz- so go! Now! Check out my post over at Life with Levi and seriously, these mushroom appetizer recipes couldn’t be easier.