Battling the Breakfast Blahs
Breakfast. It’s the hardest meal here because we have the least time to prep and the kids are at their grumpiest. It’s also the time of day where it’s vital that we work in protein, which can be tough when there are only “so many” proteins available, especially ones that my kids will eat and that Goose considers “breakfast food.”
Admittedly, we’ve been slack lately too. We’ve worked in more juice and fruit than we should, which adds more sugar, and we’re freer with dollops of raw local honey here and there when we crave sweetness, but we’ve also gone out to eat quite a few times in the past 3 weeks as we struggle with routines and meal-planning in the midst of a VERY busy time for our family right now (Goose is changing schools to name just one!) We’re all feeling under the weather from our two recent bouts of strep, and now spring is upon us with hayfever as well. I’m frustrated with myself for falling behind, but it happens, and the only thing to do is just climb back up on the wagon and try to do better.
In the spirit of sharing with you what works and doesn’t work, I can tell you that Twig and I have researched and even tried some of the meal-planning websites, as well as having come up with our own pencil and paper methods, a shared GoogleDoc, etc. and somehow we make it work… until we don’t. But a week or so ago, I happened upon PlanToEat and I’m loving it. It works for us well so far. You can import links (like from Allrecipes, for example) OR cut and paste a recipe in the bulk uploader and it sorts all the jibberish and inputs it nicely and neatly into a little standard form for measurements, directions, etc. then lists all the ingredients in another tab for grocery shopping, where you can then check and uncheck what you need from the store, etc. It’s free for 30 days too, so I’ll let you know if it’s working for us in a month and we decide to spend the mere $40/year for it.
The best thing about it (I’m starting to sound like a commercial, aren’t I???) for ME, is that I like to see all my recipes in one spot, which has been hard to do without loads of effort. I do have an allrecipes account and several others, so it was neat to combine all of those as well as all the ones I’ve created and shared here on the blog, and ones friends and family have sent via email and message boards, etc. Now when I think, “I want that chicken crockpot stuff with the chilis…” I don’t have to visit 5 websites, 3 message boards and 2 email addresses to search for it anymore! Yay!
So last night, in organizing all the recipes and inputting them into PlanToEat, I came across quite a few I had forgotten that would work for us, or be easily adaptable. One is Sausage Balls. If you’ve never heard of or eaten sausage balls, then you ain’t southern. Sausage balls are little balls made from cheese, biscuit mix, and sausage, sometimes with some spice like cayenne or Tobasco, that are served at parties, especially at Christmas. They are crispy and cheesy on the outside and meaty on the inside… like a tiny little sausage cheese biscuit all mushed together, but wayyyy better. And Goose loves them. So I figured out a way to make them work for us and it’s something new for her for breakfast. PLUS I can make loads ahead of time. They refrigerate and freeze well if you actually have any left that don’t get eaten!
Gluten-free Sausage Balls:
1 lb sausage (make your own or use a natural one with no sugar or nitrites and yucky stuff)
4 cups of cheese (I used 2 c seasonal spring raw local cheddar + 2 c raw, aged Parmesan)
about 3 cups Gluten-Free baking mix (recipe to follow)
Mix and squish this all together until it is combined and smooth. It will take some effort, but you can do it! It’s best to split it into quarters and work each quarter smooth and then combine those quarters well, so that everything is divided nicely. Once combined well, roll into balls about the size of shooter marbles. Line them up as closely as you want (but not touching) on parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400* oven for about 15 minutes (you will see the cheese start to get golden brown and the bottoms will be all golden as well.) They are delicious hot and I like them in a spicy mustard sauce, but they are good in bbq sauce or plain also. I think my sister used to even dunk them in ranch dressing, actually.
Gluten-Free “Biscuit Quick” Mix:
2 1/2 c. gluten free flour mix (I used Gluten Free Baking Flour from Bob’s Red Mill)
2 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (you can skip this if you are using very salty sausage or very salty cheese)
1/4 c. oil (I used olive oil, and yes you need this even though sausage is kind of greasy)
Mix together until crumbly and use in place of bought Bisquick. (For the sausage balls, I did not mix beforehand, I just dumped all ingredients in a bowl, other than the oil. I put the sausage on top of the flour mix and then dumped the oil onto the sausage and blended it like that.)
One more breakfast recipe while I’m thinking of it. We had this tonight after dinner in a gluten-free ice cream cone that I discovered at our Woodman’s grocery store. I will probably use it for breakfast alongside peanut butter balls as the weather gets hotter.
Strawberry “Ice Cream”
1 can whole-fat Coconut Milk (I like Native Forest because the cans are BPA-free)
(put in freezer for 20 minutes or so)
1 bag organic frozen strawberries (mine were whole)
about 2 cups of ice
Dump ice into food processor along with frozen strawberries. Leave the part open where you can pour things in, but turn on the processor and grate the ice and frozen berries while SLOWLY pouring in the coconut milk. You want to pour in the whole can, cream and all. You may have to scrape the sides, but keep processing until it’s smooth but a little ripply like ice cream. It scoops well and can even be put into a cone.