An auspicious occasion and a request

Today marks a very special occasion for me.  As of today, I have now updated all the photos on this website with (hopefully) more artistic and better (!) photos of all the yummy food that I’ve been making.  Can everyone do a happy dance with me to celebrate, please?!

For those who have been along for the ride, you will remember how about 6 months ago, I really started getting into the social media scene.  This was to challenge myself to make my food look better, and to find out lots of new ideas from bloggers around the world.  I started to realize pretty quickly that my photos were just not up to par when I looked at what everyone else was posting.  So I asked for help, and researched a few topics, reached out to a number of Facebook groups for food photography and food blogging in general.  And I think I’ve improved.  

Below are just some of the photos that I’m really proud of:

      

       

      

What do you think?  I know I’ll never win any food photography awards, but I’d like to think these are ok for social media purposes?

And now the request …

You’ve been through my journey with first gluten-free baking and cooking, then adding the dairy-free issues, then the vegan sugar-free trial period, and then the issues with corn etc, leading to the Whole30 adventures.  My question to you is – what type of recipes do you want me to look at developing next?  I’ve had lots of fun re-doing all the recipes on this website, and have been developing a few others along the way, but I want to know what you want me to do.  What challenges do you want to give me?  I’m up for anything!  Just tell me!

I look forward to reading lots of ideas  in the comments below!  

As always, feel free to let other people know about this little ol’ website if you like what you see.  Sign up for updates on new recipes and general experimenting in the kitchen, follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and/or Facebook.  I just ask that you all enjoy life and cooking at home!

Until next time,

Sarah

 

 

My second Whole30

I have just completed my second Whole30 – and have learnt a lot more about myself and my relationship with food than I ever thought possible.  

For those of you who don’t know what the Whole30 is, check out their website.  Basically, it’s a 30 day reset, where you eat whole, nutritious foods and eliminate those foods that have the potential to cause issues in your system – digestive and psychological.  You eat lots of meats and veggies, eggs, fish, fruit and nuts and remove gluten, dairy, alcohol, legumes and grains.  And sugar.  And then follow a structured reintroduction protocol to positively identify the impact those various foods have on your system so you can make an informed decision about whether you want to eat them … whether it’s worth the reaction, if there is one.

I did my first Whole30 in October (see posts here, here, here and here) and established some good habits (like not standing next to a bowl of cookie dough and putting the spoon in my mouth so many times I only make half the amount of finished product).  And I felt a lot better, less bloated, more clearer mind.  But then November and December happened … and I started moving towards more and more eating cookie dough and cake batter, having less Whole30-ish meal days, my digestive system started to react again and I knew I needed to nip this in the bud, so I committed to a second Whole30 in January.

This time around I wanted to make recipes from other people and test them out on the family – getting more creative in the kitchen.  And people have asked me what I eat … so here’s a round-up of all the meals I made … and all of them were awesome!

From the Whole30 cookbook (thanks to my awesome husband for my lovely Christmas present!):

  • Twice baked Mexican potatoes
  • Italian slow cooker roast beef
  • Green pork and cauliflower curry
  • Ketchup
  • Garlic and prosciutto smashed potatoes
  • Grilled bacon wrapped turkey

From other bloggers:

And I couldn’t forget all the Whole30 compliant recipes I have on this website, which I made during the 30 days:

Try any or all of these recipes, feel better about eating good, wholesome food, and let me know what to think!

Until next time, enjoy cooking these (and other) recipes at home!

Sarah

 

Pizza and monster cookies

What do pizza and monster cookies have to do with each other?  Well, that’s the combination that Abby and Henry came up with this week for their turn at cooking dinner for us.

Abby asked me at the beginning of the week what Italian food I could have, being on the Whole30 and such, and I couldn’t really come up with anything.  Even my cauliflower crust pizza is kind of frowned upon by the Whole30 rules – they describe that making technically Whole30 compliant ingredients into things like pancakes, pizza, muffins etc will make your brain think it’s actually getting those sorts of foods.  And hence the habits that you are trying to kick, such as overeating on pizza, fries, cookies etc, are not going to change because your brain thinks – I want pizza (for example) and it gets a type of pizza.  But it’s not as good a pizza as the ‘real’ thing, so at some stage, you are likely to just go full bore and hoe into a gluten/dairy/fatty pizza and all the work you’ve done for the Whole30 will be for naught.

Then she started thinking about what else she could make.  And wanted to make pork buns – well, reheat them from the pre-packaged ones that we found at Costco a few months ago.  Like a dutiful mother, I went to Costco to buy some … and they weren’t there.  Went to a number of other grocery stores and couldn’t find any.  I was going to make some lamb burgers the following day, trialing another recipe and thought I could help Abby make them instead.  So that was the plan … until I took longer at work than expected that day so we didn’t have time to get properly organized.

And then I thought … if I bake a sweet potato, and put the toppings from Abby’s pizza on top, it won’t be anything like a pizza and I can still remain Whole30 compliant.  So that’s what we did.  Abby made her favorite Aussie egg and bacon pizza (basically scrambled eggs with bacon and onions) and put it on some Greek pita bread with cheese and some awesome pasta sauce that I found on special … and that’s what the rest of the family had.  I had the egg/onion/bacon mix on my sweet potato with some salad and it was a great compromise!  Grant put some hickory smoked BBQ sauce on his as well … and he said that it was just awesome!

Now Henry was determined to make cookies.  You see, earlier in the week I had made some white chocolate sugar cookies (recipe here) intending them to be for our weekly Bible Study group.  I made them on Monday for a Tuesday night get-together.  The family had some (I didn’t – yay me!), and then I put them in a container.  Came home from work the following day to find 5 of them missing … out of about 12 that were there at the beginning of the day.  And Henry was home all day with them.  I’m sure you can do the math!

So he wanted to make monster cookies to make up for the ones he’d eaten.  I cautioned him that my recipe made a lot of cookies and maybe we could only do a third of the recipe.  But he was determined to make a full batch.  So I helped him .. and yes, there was a lot of cookies made, in weird shapes and sizes (see the photo), and there was dough eaten by Abby and Henry (not me – yay me again!).  And apparently they were very yummy!

So that’s what the kids cooked for us this week.  Hope you enjoyed reading about their adventures – I had fun helping them out and look forward to the next time they ask me to do so!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!

Sarah

Winter camping food

Call us crazy, call us whatever, but for the past two years the family has gone camping at Christmas time.  For all you Southern Hemisphere people, that probably doesn’t sound like a very big deal.  For all us Northern Hemisphere people, just one word.  Snow.  And lots of it.  And did I mention, we camp in tents?

Last year we camped at Zion National Park, where the days were bright and sunny, there was a little snow on the ground, and it was quite cold at night.  Well, below freezing actually.  We ended up buying a few more blankets and other winter gear while we were camping out.  So this year, we wanted to try another National Park, and chose Bryce Canyon.  Now, Bryce is at 8000 ft elevation, so is definitely higher than Zion.  Strike one.

The weather forecast when we were planning on going showed the first two days with snow, clearing to the blue sky and sunny skies for the next two days of our trip (but considerably colder – maximum temperatures not even reaching freezing).  When we set off, it was snowing.  The roads had snow.  Lots of snow.  But we were holding onto the belief that the snow would clear after the first day.  We set up our tents in the snow.  We made a camp fire in the snow.  Henry made a path in the snow from our campsite to the amenities block … you get the picture.

The second day it was still snowing, but there was about an hour or so of sunshine and blue skies.  And then the snow came back.  With fog.  We did go for a hike – we were told that the fog was not as dense lower in the canyon – see for yourself!

Yes, that is Grant and me, standing where the fog was the least!  We ended up sticking it out for another night, when a huge winter snowstorm came through and almost buried our tents.  We ended up having to crawl through our tents that collapsed under the weight of the snow.  Packing up was probably the quickest we have ever done it, and it was very good to get back home.  So we missed out on two days worth of camping … but the forecast showed more snow and more fog for the rest of the time.  And it really wasn’t that much fun hiking in the snow to not see anything.  The kids were troopers, though, I was so proud of them!

What has this got to do with a cooking website, I hear you ask?  Well, let me share with you what we ate while camping.  I managed to stay relatively on the Whole30 plan (i.e. no sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, gluten) with just a few exceptions along the way.  Here’s what our main meals were:

From the top left clockwise: taco soup, ham and potato soup, beef stew and satay chicken (obviously these aren’t the actual photos of what we took camping, but you get the idea!).  Our breakfasts consisted of eggs and either bacon or sausages – I also brought some sweet potato toast and avocado so I could have my all time favorite breakfast (recipe here).  And our lunches were basically sausages, or pulled pork or burgers (recipe here) with salad for me (bread-type stuff for the rest of the family).

So we ate pretty well – I cooked up all of the main meals before we went so it was just a matter of reheating … which was very convenient considering it was snowing every time!

Anyway, thanks for reading this far – feel free to let me know in the comments on whether you think we are seriously crazy, or whether we should continue camping in the winter!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home (or while camping … in or out of the snow!)

Sarah

Our weekly routine

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about cooking with kids.  Maybe you think I’ve forgotten about them?  Well, I haven’t.  And they’ve been cooking up a storm!

You see, we’ve started a new routine in our house.  Once a week, the kids cook us a meal.  One week Abby cooks the main course and Henry cooks the dessert, and the next week they swap.  They get to choose what they want to make (with a little guidance from Grant and me), but the planning and time management usually is left to them.  We’ve had some really good meals.  And I think there was only one that ended up in the trash – which is pretty good considering we’ve been doing this for well over three months now!

But this week, I was asked to help out more than normal, so I thought I’d take photos of what my awesome kids came up with.  This was probably the best meal combined that we’ve had with them cooking and I’m so proud of them.  Note, I only guided them – I didn’t really do anything with them.  Usually Grant and I will hide away from the kitchen while they’re cooking so they get to deal with problems by themselves.  This time, I was in the kitchen with both of them, answering questions.  And generally enjoying spending time with them again.

Henry wanted to make ‘bangers and mash’.  For those who do not have an English background, this is basically sausages, onions, mashed potatoes with gravy over everything.  Henry has made this before on the kids cooking night, but just cooked sausages and mashed potatoes with gravy.  Without the onions.  Or vegetables.  And made the plate look like a smiley face.  Actually, it was classic when he went to start cooking and opened the fridge looking for the mashed potatoes – the look on his face when I told him he’d have to peel, chop and cook the potatoes before mashing them was priceless!  This time around he knew what he was in for, and did the potato preparation, and the onions.  And did really well with the gravy.  He still didn’t cook any veggies for the rest of the family, I just had a serving of roast vegetables in the freezer for just an opportunity for me (recipe here).  So he had fun plating up the food – here’s mine:

The other plates ranged from being a grumpy face, with a uni-brow (with the gravy), smiley-faces etc.  I didn’t get any gravy because it had gluten in it …

And then we came to Abby’s dessert.  Most of the time she’s been making cakes, or cupcakes and decorating them at will.  This time, because I wanted to update the photo of my chocolate chip bread pudding (recipe here), I asked her if she wanted to try it out.  And she did a really great job!  Probably better than I could have done.  

I am so proud of my kids and their skills in the kitchen.  Watch this space for more of their creations – this time I can’t wait until they get to cook for us again!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!

Sarah

Whole30 – the end and reintroduction

My friends, I did it.  I went for 30 days, actually more than 30 days, with no sugar, gluten, dairy, grains or legumes. Read – no peanut butter! For more than 30 days! Are you proud of me?

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Let me recap for you:

The original objectives were (1) to change my habit of eating too much, especially while baking, (2) to lose some weight and (3) to understand if other foods than gluten and dairy were causing me dietary distress. 

The results:

(1) I baked so many cakes, cookies and slices, including many with peanut butter, and did not have a single bite, lick or taste. At all.  Yes, some were full of gluten and dairy to take away the temptation, but through the process I did develop other habits, like putting the spoon on a paper towel, rather than in my mouth, wiping my fingers on a tea towel rather than licking them, etc. I was so proud of myself – I found I was enjoying baking without the feelings of guilt associated with eating too much. And that was awesome – I was able to fulfill my love of making food for people and seeing their joyous expression with no regrets.

(2) I lost weight. 6 pounds to be exact. All of my work pants now feel like my ‘fat pants’ used to. Almost need a belt for them.  Almost.  However, my jeans and shorts that I used to wear when I lost a bucket load of weight about 5 years ago still don’t fit without having to squeeze into them.  Maybe that’s due to denim shrinking in tumble dryer (please say so!).

(3)  One of the critical parts of the Whole30 is the reintroduction phase – where you slowly reintroduce foods that were taken out during the 30 days, like grains, legumes etc.  I’m still in this phase right now, but let me just share without giving too much information that beans (i.e. black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans) have kicked my great feelings to the curb, and corn (just kernels tested so far) have not assisted in my digestive process.  For me, any dish that contains these ingredients will have to be so darn worth it for me to have them again (and Abby does a silent happy dance that I’m not going to pressure her to eat beans again!).

The BIGGEST thing by far, is knowing how I feel when I don’t overeat.  Eating just 3 meals a day.  Big meals.  Full of protein, fats and veggies.  And the very occasional snack when it’s been 5 hours between meals and it will be another 2 or so before the next one.  This has been the winner for me.  Knowing that I don’t have to feel bloated. Knowing that I can exercise because I enjoy it and not to make up for eating too much.  

The kids have both commented that I am more awake, more tolerant, more happy.  I feel better.  I feel healthy.  I feel happy.  Haven’t quite got the additional energy kick that some people have reported, but that may be due to a snoring husband and cats that sleep on my side of the bed, rather than anything food-related!

Summary:

If you feel bloated, always tired and worried about food/health – give the Whole30 a try.  It sounds restrictive, but I enjoyed cooking so much more, knowing it was good, healthy food that was going to make my body feel good.  See below for all the recipes I made that are Whole30 compliant:

Thanks for supporting me – would love to hear any comments/thoughts/suggestions!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home!

Sarah

Whole30 – nearly the end

It’s coming to the end of my Whole30 and I wanted to update you all on how I went. 

I can honestly say that I feel better than I have in such a long time. My stomach is so much flatter i.e. not bloated, I don’t feel the constant need to exercise off overeating episodes, and in general I feel happier, without the guilt of overeating. And I’ve been able to bake so many sweets without having a single lick or bite. Not. One. Single. Bite. 

This photo is a collage of all the goodies I have made this month … including things like my favorite monster cookies, peanut butter fudge, my ultimate chocolate peanut butter slice, carrot cake and granola.  Lots of granola.  The granola was meant for Abby when she realized how much better she could be eating but she didn’t really stick with it that much.  I’m still working on her though!

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Mind you, a lot of the time I baked with full gluten and full dairy so I knew I would suffer some pretty terrible pains if I did give in, but I still made a few things that technically I could have eaten.  And I didn’t!  I’m so proud of myself!

I’m still being challenged with how much to eat at each meal. Over the past week or so I’be been really hungry. And I feel like I’ve been eating way more than previously. The recommendation is to just have 3 meals a day but to snack on a combination of protein, fat and/or carbs if hungry. I’ve been trying to avoid snacking, but I’ve given in a few times. People have told me it can take 4-6 weeks without the sugar and grainy carbs for your body to use the fat and protein for energy instead so I’m waiting for that to kick in. 

I havent weighed myself, or measured myself all month but I’m pretty sure I have lost some weight and inches at least. And I haven’t missed peanut butter or sugar at all. To be honest, I am a little scared of how I’ll go next month and whether I’ll gradually slide back into my old habits, but the funny thing is, the first non-whole30 compliant food I’m thinking of having is green peas in a soup or casserole. Not sweets or peanut butter. How weird is that?

Anyway, just thought you guys could celebrate with me … counting down the days but will probably continue eating this way the majority of the time and only splurging on the non-compliant foods when it’s really worth it. It will be interesting to see how my body copes with legumes and grains again … wish me luck!

Thanks for reading and for following me on the journey. I look forward to posting many more new recipes across the gamut of all things gluten and dairy free in the coming months!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home!

Sarah

Whole30 October … the first 14 days

It’s halfway through the month of October so I wanted to give you an update on how my Whole30 experience is going.

The positives:

  • I have not had peanut butter for over 3 weeks now!  That’s a pretty major achievement for me!!
  • I can definitely feel that my stomach is less bloated, and my pants fit better.  I always thought I had a few pairs of ‘fat pants’ for work, but for a few months I never found them (they all look the same!).  Since last week, every pair I’ve worn have felt like the ‘fat pants’!
  • I am enjoying creating new meals with Whole30 compliant ingredients, and am amazed that a lot of my recipes are already compliant, or can easily be made compliant.  Check out my new creations here (Thai beef curry, Turkey meatballs with marinara sauce, Sweet potato toast with egg & avocado and Applesauce and trail mix).
  • I have still been baking a lot for friends and guests.  And I haven’t had one single lick of the spoon or scrape of the bowl.  At all.  While most of what I’ve made has been full-gluten and full-dairy to help me get into better habits, I recently made my ultimate chocolate peanut butter slice, which is fully gluten and dairy-free and I did not have one taste.  I’m counting that as a major win!
  • The kids tell me I look more awake and more happy.  And that’s true – I feel more happy now that I’m not constantly worrying about how I’ve overeaten.

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The challenges:

  • Life happens.  And every now and then Grant and I like to go out for a meal together.  Typically we would choose places like Indian, Thai, etc, but now I’m leaning more and more towards the steakhouses, where I know I can get a decent piece of meat and some steamed vegetables.
  • Trying to balance the flavors that I like – eggs, avocado, sausage – without having the same things every meal every day.  I’ve had to put together a meal plan so I can do all this.
  • I’m still not sleeping that well, but that may be due to the change in weather, the cats sleeping on my side of the bed, and/or Grant’s snoring, rather than any digestive issues!
  • We were recently invited to a friend’s house for dinner.  She made a chicken veggie soup that was full of good stuff, but she showed me the ingredients of the chicken stock and it contained honey.  I battled with myself as to whether I should bring my own food and appear rude, or whether I should just eat the soup.  So I ate the soup and it was yummy.

Now I need to figure out whether I should either start the 30 days again, or realize that amount of honey wasn’t going to bring back all the old habits of overeating or promoting any sugar cravings and just continue for the rest of October.  I am really enjoying eating this way and am thinking I’m not necessarily going to reintroduce many of the foods I’ve taken out this month.  I think it will just be a decision each time as to the costs vs benefits of each food.  And still enjoying life.

So I’m definitely continuing for the next 16 days.  It just depends on how I feel at the end of the month, whether I feel I’ve gotten out of all those bad habits while baking, as to whether I continue to strictly monitor sugar contents and the grains/legumes (read peanut butter).

I’d love to hear any advice from people who have done the Whole30 or something similar … and also what you think of all my new recipes!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home!

Sarah

Whole30 October

Warning: this post is going to be a bit more personal than usual, so feel free to click back to whatever you were doing before if you don’t want to step inside the workings of my mind!

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I’ve decided to do the Whole30 for the month of October.  That’s a pretty big statement there, because I’ve just made myself accountable to you all.  But I’m determined to do it … and I’d love any support you can give me – thoughts, prayers, recipe ideas etc!

What is the Whole30?  

For all the information you could ever want to know, check out the website at http://whole30.com/.  But in a nutshell, the Whole30 is a ‘short-term nutritional reset, designed to help put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal the digestive tract and balance the immune system’.

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Why would I want to do a Whole30?  

The reasons are pretty much two-fold:

(1)  Since we moved to the US just over 2 years ago, I have gained nearly 15 pounds in weight.  And I’m having trouble losing it.  And I’m still having digestive problems.  And I have very low energy levels that can’t totally be explained by lack of sleep at night or just getting older.

(2) My eating habits have gotten very poor.  This is pretty much the main reason why I want to do the Whole30, and here’s where all the personal, touchy-feely stuff comes in.  

I have joked around on quite a few of my blog posts and recipes about eating too much, and this is not an infrequent occurrence.  I can usually eat quite well and disciplined during the week, but when it comes to the weekend and I start baking, I have a tendency of eating way too much of both the preparation and the finished product.  And if I bake during the week as well, I can easily blow up with too much food.  You know the feeling that your stomach is never empty?  Yeah, I was getting that lots, rather than giving my stomach time to digest, I was just filling it with baked goods.

And even though I’ve made a concerted effort to reduce the amount of refined sugar in my baking, I can still eat way too much combinations of peanut butter, honey/maple syrup etc.  And I was craving it.  Every weekend … I’d get upset if I couldn’t go in the kitchen and bake (translation – eat dough).

I have tried a number of things – like calorie counting, working through an eating disorder app and talking to professionals – and every time I think I’m doing well, the weekend hits and I can justify to myself that I can be strong and not eat too much while baking multiple things.  I do feel that I’ve improved over the last month or so, but there are still too many times that I overdo it.

How does the Whole30 work?

So it comes to the Whole30.  Here’s the deal (from the Whole30 website):

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  • I eat real food – meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetable, some fruits and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds, foods with very few ingredients, totally natural and unprocessed.
  • I avoid:
    • Added sugar of any kind, real or artificial
    • Alcohol
    • Grains
    • Legumes
    • Dairy
    • Carrageenan, MSG and sulfites
    • Re-created baked goods/junk food with ‘approved’ ingredients

This list of foods to avoid is to help to regain a healthy metabolism, reduce system inflammation and help discover how these foods are truly impacting my health, fitness and quality of life.  My main objective is to train my brain to not crave baking (and eating).  The secondary objective is to lose weight and become fitter.  The tertiary objective is to find out if other foods are affecting my stomach issues.

Sound simple?  Well, in case you missed it, peanuts are a legume.  Legumes are on the foods to avoid list.  And if you know anything about me at all, you will know that I LOVE peanut butter.  30 days without peanut butter, or baked goods???  That’s going to be the challenge.

Progress so far:

I was originally going to start the Whole30 this week, after a weekend of lots of chocolate and peanut butter left me feeling more bloated and heavier than normal, but as I started working through some of the normally considered healthy food I had in the house, which needed to be used, I realized that I needed to take a week just to get prepared.  Did you know that Craisins have sugar?  And that tuna often contains soy?  So this week I have used to get more familiar with the program and trying my best to adhere to the principles without worrying about a few green peas here and there.  I haven’t had anything with honey or maple syrup, or any baked goods this week.  And I made a cake for Henry’s birthday without tasting even the slightest amount of it (it was full gluten and dairy, which made it easier!).  

My stomach is feeling better and I am learning a lot about what I am capable of.  And I’ve started swimming again and loving it.

Don’t worry – I’m not going to forget you all during this month!  I’m bound to be creating new recipes for you to try and I’d love to hear any suggestions of what you recommend.  I’ve already discovered a number of new dishes that I’m dying to put up here for you guys … once I make them again and take photos!

Another challenge will be for me to still bake stuff, but get out of the habit of sampling as I go … so I’ll still be continuing to update my photos with recipes I make again.  Again, suggestions and comments on the photos are always welcome!

If you made it this far, thanks for reading all my brain dump.  I’m hoping this is the beginning of helping me to become a much healthier person.  Wish me luck!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home!

Sarah

Empanadas in America

It’s been a while since Abby and I got to spend any time together – not just in the kitchen but just anywhere.  Life has suddenly just got busier for our family – we spent most weekends during the summer paving our backyard (to reduce the amount of lawn we need to mow), and that nearly broke us.  Every single Saturday, Grant and I were out doing something in the backyard.  But it looks great now – and we have vowed the next house we move into will have an established garden!

Abby is growing up … way too fast.  She’s nearly my height now and she can kick my butt in karate (which isn’t that difficult, really!).  I am so proud to have her as my daughter … and I love the fact that she jumped at the chance to spend some time with me again.  

This opportunity was awesome.  An awesome chef (Freyka) at one of my previous cooking classes contacted me and said she was piloting a new class on empanadas and would like me to come and give her some feedback.  I had to think for less than a microsecond before I said a resounding ‘yes! And can I bring my daughter with me too?’.  Abby and I got to spend some time together in the car to the class and back again and some of the conversations we had … lets just say I’m glad we got the time together.

But now to the class:

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We were making empanadas, which were right up our alley from the years we spent in Chile.  Three types were on the menu: a Venezualan empanada de viento, which was a cheese-filled deep fried empanada, Peruvian beef empanadas (Peruvian because they were baked – if they were fried they would have been Argentinian) and a Costa Rican pineapple and coconut sweet empanada.  And our challenge was to make them gluten-free and to trial how they would work in a class.

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Obviously Abby and I were on the gluten-free team – another team got to make them with all the wheat flours etc – and we were joined by two other awesome people who also have food allergies.  How did we go?  Well, the team making the ‘normal’ empanadas did really well – their empanadas looked like they were supposed to …

Our cheese empanada actually formed ok, but ended up being like little rocks.  Our beef empanada pastry just did not want to hold together and stretch out properly, so we made it into a pie.

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And our pineapple and coconut empanadas also had troubles being rolled out so they were formed into little cookies in the base of ramekins with the filling on top.  They tasted pretty good (apparently – I didn’t have any of them because (a) they had dairy in them and (b) I’m starting the Whole30 where I am not eating any gluten/dairy/grains/legumes/sugar… but more on that in a separate post).

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We learned a lot at this pilot cooking class – how to make 3 different types of empanadas in the time allotted, and that gluten-free pastry is REALLY difficult to work with.  I’m looking forward to the challenge of trying to assist Freyka in coming up with no-fail gluten-free pastry crusts … I haven’t yet succeeded with a gluten-free pizza crust, which is starting to annoy me!  I do have an empanada recipe on this website (see here), but it may be a little complicated for a cooking class – Freyka, feel free to give it a go!

Anyway, Abby and I had a great time learning stuff about cooking again, and most of all, just hanging out together again.  Thank you to Freyka Nunez del Prado for making this possible, and for Harmons Cooking Classes for providing the location.  Also the awesome people I got to meet at the class – go check out their websites at kiwi and carrots, life made simple bakes and the diy foodie!

If anyone else wants help trying out new recipes etc, I’m happy to oblige – just let me know!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with your kids!

Sarah (and Abby!)

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