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Welcome to The Sensitive Kitchen. Where home cooks are inspired to Cook To Enable Those You Love To Flourish. I’m Cindy Sullivan, registered dietitian, passionate nutrition, educator, and accomplished home cook. Whether you’re changing how you cook for food sensitivities, allergies, intolerances, or just trying to eat healthier on a budget, you’re in the right place.
Most episodes, I will share favorite recipes as well as modification, tips and nutrition benefits. Occasionally I’ll have a guest or special episode like modifying holiday favorites.
My favorite foods? They’re raspberries and homemade chocolate chip cookies. My latest cooking project was long fermented sourdough bread.
Have you had an epic fail in the kitchen lately? How about a cooking project that took way longer than you anticipated?
Youthen either had to quickly make something else for dinner or find a quick meal because your cooking time and/ or energy was spent. Or the number of dirty dishes in your kitchen overwhelmed your counter space. And after all that, the recipe you made just was not good. Sigh, I’ve been there. That was my last week.
But before I tell you more about my cooking adventures, I want to tell you that I am working on getting The Sensitive Kitchen recipes on Pinterest. So while I’m just publishing every other week this summer, soon you’ll be able to find the recipes there.
Now back to adventures in veggie muffin recipe development. My wonderful student, Rebecca is working on a vegetable muffin recipe. It’s an intriguing concept. The muffin had no added sugar, no added fat, entirely whole grains, lots of veggies and lots of calcium.
So we both (separately) took to the kitchen. I started a day early and shared my initial results with her –
muffins came apart when trying to remove them from the pan – not done cook longer. Still could not get them out of the pan. Yes, I greased the pan well!
I tried cupcake liners. They came out of the pan- hooray! But when I use the cupcake liners, as the muffins cooled, they didn’t lose as much moisture. So they stayed wetter.
Thankfully they tasted pretty good and they were okay after being frozen too. (However, I will tell you that when I took them to Bible study to get their “official “taste testing, nobody took any leftovers home. Hmm.
What would happen if I tried to add some oatmeal to soak up the extra moisture? Hockey pucks resulted. But as I made the rest of that batch into scones, one of my taster said those were her favorites.
Next was trying different vegetables. We knew carrot and zucchini worked. I tried beets and Rebecca tried eggplant.
Rebecca also sauteed her veggies. Is it worth the effort to shred them and then saute them? I tried just sauteeing the shallots and the garlic. I loved the flavor improvement.
What about different levels of spice? As soon as she made one batch, Rebecca added more spice. When I added more spice, my family didn’t like them as well. My first batch of testers agreed, but my second batch of testers liked more spice. So, both levels of spice will be options in the recipe.
The recipe was coming along, but these muffins contained several frequently avoided foods: wheat, dairy, and eggs. So I wanted to try the dairy free version and the egg free version and the gluten-free version. And how do the gluten-free ones taste without dairy? And what would happen if I added a little applesauce and some dried cranberries to make a sweeter version similar to my most favorite sweet potatoes, zucchini bread?
My husband and I were on a quick bike ride to the library and I was whining to him that I had spent all day cooking veggie muffins, and they were not that good – yet. And I still had more to make. I was discouraged. There were a lot of dishes in my kitchen and dinner was not made,
It turned out that a healthy veggie muffin saved the day for dinner, along with my freezer – a homemade vegetable soup, veggie muffins, cheese and milk for dinner. It was awesome.
But on our bike ride, my husband told me I needed to write this blog post and record this podcast. I often felt discouraged, exhausted, and frustrated when I started this journey. I still sometimes feel like that when I’m trying to modify a recipe, especially a baking recipe, but it can happen with anything.
Some of my thought process when trying a new recipe is below – have you ever thought like this or felt like this?
First of all, you find a new recipe.
We like all these ingredients.
This recipe sounds good.
I’m ready for something new.
So you give it a try.
Then- boy, this took longer than I expected.
There sure are a lot of dishes!
Is it supposed to look like this?
This does not taste like I expected – maybe is better the second day? And sometimes it does!
And you are tired, but dinner needs to be made today and tomorrow too.
Okay, my cooking friend, I am here to encourage you. It does get easier. And some new recipes are wonderful. And many recipes take much less time as you get used to cooking them. Your tastes do adjust to a modified diet. Let me share one of my secrets with you – my freezer, I almost always cook a double or a triple recipe of a dish when I’m making it. That way when I need a break, I can pull a main dish out of my freezer, put some frozen veggies and some raw veggies on and dinner is served.
For those of you who missed my very first podcast episode. Let me share my CHOICES framework with you. And to hear the whole thing, listen to episode 001, the very first episode of the podcast.
But before I do that, I want to tell you that this is why I’m creating a membership for people who are cooking for food sensitivities. It can be discouraging and exhausting to cook from scratch every day, especially when need to modify many ingredients. I get it. The Kitchen Table membership will be a place where you can receive encouragement, get your questions answered and tried and true solutions.
We will be trying new recipes to encourage variety in our diets. Every month we’ll have a cooking challenge with a theme. One month we may work on breakfasts, the next Italian favorites, or perhaps soups. You will find or modify recipes that meet your family’s needs. So you might have a different soup recipe than another member and that’s okay. No one will avoid exactly the same foods as your family, but many of us will share at least some restrictions.
If you join as a founding member, you not only will have the lowest price ever offered and keep that price forever, but you will be able to help shape the membership. You and I will be working to help this community be a vibrant online community, where you’re encouraged and inspired to Cook To Enable Those You Love To Flourish. For more information, go to foodsensitivitykitchen.com and click on the Kitchen Table tab.
Now back to my CHOICES framework. Often what I need it is a reminder why I’m cooking and attempting to modify recipes. What option do I want? Do I want to find new ways of eating and cooking or having family members who are not functional?
Do I want To live with no peanuts? No soy, no olive oil, no onions, no raspberries, little wheat, little cinnamon, no chickpeas, or have a husband who can think clearly and has energy? A son who stays out of the emergency room and alive who has fewer migraines so he can go out and change the world instead of spending three to four days a week on the couch in pain.
Every choice will cost me something. If you choose to cook from scratch for your family, there will be shifts in your family life. You’ll spend more time and probably more money in the grocery store. You will do more dishes. You’ll spend more time packing food to take with you to the zoo, to a soccer game, to a dinner, after a ski meet, a softball game or on vacation. You will spend more time explaining to family and friends what you can and cannot eat.
But the rewards are great. You’ll eat dinner together most nights. You will have family members who feel good so they can do whatever it is God’s calling them to do. You are teaching your kids life skills: cooking, shopping,doing dishes, and you’re teaching them flexibility, resilience self-discipline and perseverance.
Part of what I’ve learned is that it’s all about choices. Let’s use CHOICES as a framework for this cooking you’re doing.
C stands for Choose Simple Foods. The other night for dinner, we had grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, microwave, baked potatoes, and sliced kiwi. Simple, delicious.
The H in choices stands for help. Help simple foods taste good. Perhaps it’s a flavoring or a sauce you’re going to add, or an herb or an herb mixture. Tonight with simple baked pork tenderloin, I mixed some peach jelly with some spicy Dijon mustard for a simple sauce.
The O in choices stands for over-cook for one meal. That is, cook more than you need for one meal so that you can pull a meal out of the freezer for busy days,
I stands for include all food groups. You need all food groups for variety, both to make sure your family gets all the nutrients it needs. And also to reduce new food sensitivities.
C stands for challenge yourself to find a new recipe each month that your family loves or at least likes to eat.
And E is expect changes. Don’t expect the way you’re cooking right now to be the way you’re going to cook forever. Because some things are going to change. You may add some food sensitivities or allergies, or you may lose some.
The S in choices is for smile and be thankful. You have important people to cook for (even if it’s just you) you have food to eat and dishes to do. It’s really all about perspective. Focus on what you can eat. As I said, it likely will not be forever, but the skills you learn now will serve you well in the months and years to come.
So to recap on choices, C is for choose simple foods. H is for help foods taste good. O is over cook for one meal for lunches or for your freezer. I is include all food groups. C is to challenge yourself to find a new recipe each month and E is to expect changes. S is to smile and be thankful today.
As I close, I want to ask you to do two things for me. First of all, is to share this podcast. I bet if you are cooking for multiple food sensitivities or changing your diet for another reason, you know someone else who is also. Would you please share this podcast with them? Or post a link to this episode in a Facebook group you belong to or on your personal profile?
Second, if you have not taken my Cooking Framework Quiz, I encourage you to do it now. I am not sure how much longer it will be active in this format that it’s in now. And I don’t want you to miss out. You can find it on my website, foodsensitivitykitchen.com.
Remember that my Pinterest boards are being worked on and should be live soon. Watch your email for details. And if you’re not yet on my email list, please take the quiz to sign up or go to foodsensitivit kitchen.com under the Kitchen Table membership, to say that you might be interested there. Of course is no commitment, but I can stay in touch and tell you about new recipes and podcast episodes and new opportunities and resources.
Next episode will be in two weeks. Keep a lookout when my student, Rebecca, joins me as we discuss those new vegetable muffins! Until then, Keep Cooking To Enable Those You Love To Flourish. Thanks for joining me today. Bye bye.