It’s summer time. This means I have a lot of children in the house all day every day. Kids want to eat constantly. This gets challenging. If we ate garbage food, I’d buy a giant box of goldfish crackers for them to munch on throughout the day and at least I wouldn’t go broke. . . Since that’s not an option I’m looking for ways to feed this crew in an affordable manner (and attempting to not prepare multiple different foods at each meal or snack).
We were making steel cut oats in some variation most mornings. I could soak the oats at night and either turn them into yummy baked oatmeal (which was a huge hit) or cocoa oatmeal or whatever sounded tasty. This kept breakfast under $10. Oats would fill their bellies and we usually had enough that 2nd or even 3rd helpings were possible if the kids really thought they were STARVING (which seems to be often). This was working out well and I had plans to buy a couple more 25lb bags of gluten free steel cut oats on our next trip to Portland. . . They are about $27 a bag this way which is a great savings. I probably will still buy them so that I can feed them to the daycare, as I’m taking the entire daycare gluten free in July. This is my way of keeping our children safe and ensuring that once our baby is crawling around, s/he can’t pick up goldfish and eat them when I’m looking the other way. It’s not an inexpensive decision, so it’s going to take some major creativity to meet the USDA nutrition guidelines for the daycare and stay 100% gluten free. I’m seeing lots of oatmeal bars, rice, and corn breads in the future. I will bake on the weekend so we have ready to go food for the week.
But for my kids it is imperative that I get them fully back on the grain free band wagon. What this is going to mean for my budget, I don’t know yet and I’m sweating a bit (remember, I already spend $1400/month on groceries and there’s not extra left to increase that). I recently took my 8yo daughter to the ND to see if we could figure out foods she’s reacting to and see if there is a gut/brain connection going on. Well. . . she reacts to gluten (duh), dairy (strongly), soy, complex carbohydrates (!!!!), and pomegranate. Awesomey awesomeness. Her belly had large gas bubbles in it (also a duh for me, but nice to have it validated). This kid burps and toots with the best of grown men. So, no more fillers of rice with dinners or oats with breakfast. (She definitely has a gut dyabosis. . . we started a high quality digestive enzyme and probiotic as well as getting a homeopathy treatment in the office.)
This has left me scrambling in the mornings to find something filling, fast, and not horrifically expensive. The kids get bored of eggs (quickly) and I don’t like the constant complaining. So far, I’ve made an oven pancake aka Dutch Baby and now today Honey Muffins. Both went over well with the kids. The Dutch Baby I altered by doubling the recipe, melting coconut oil in the bottom of the baking dish, slicing up several bananas, and topping with sweetener (for the cost, I used organic cane sugar this time), then I poured the batter in on top and baked it for about 40 minutes in a 11×17 pyrex dish. The honey muffins I made as the recipe states, but omitted the nuts and doubled the batch. It made 16 muffins. I haven’t ran a cost on these yet, but I don’t feel that they are overly expensive. However, if I keep baking with 12+ eggs every day, I may have to supplement our chickens eggs (we get 10-11 most days right now). So far, it’s working okay for me to get up and make the kids a hot breakfast since I’m up before they are anyway. We may reach a point where I need to have muffins or cakes baked in advance that they can pull out.
In other news, I’m planning a paleo party for about 100 people this weekend. Pictures and information will post next week. 🙂