Tough Tummies: cooking several different things at once and other tales of feeding my family with a variety of dietary issues. Recipes occasionally included.

It is mid morning on Sunday and I have been to my Bar Method class, made my way through the Beverly Hills Farmer’s market and stopped at Whole Foods. This is a typical Sunday morning for me and after, I spend much of the day preparing food that I hope someone will consume during the week.

Of course this is not the only day of the week that I appear in a market or spend hours in the kitchen. It is an ongoing daily, weekly, monthly pursuit to feed my family including two teenage boys each with unique dietary restrictions.

My youngest, Lowell, was diagnosed with food allergies as an infant, Crohn’s Disease at the uncommonly early age of 2, and Eosinophilic Disease at age 10. All of these diagnoses have required careful, life-changing, mystifying, and oftentimes challenging dietary focus over the years. He is anaphylactic to dairy as well as some nuts. He avoids processed foods and limits his sugar. Additionally, he can’t eat meat or fish as well as a list of other foods due to digestive issues, and he needs to follow a very healthy diet while also attempting to gain weight.

My older son Jonah, 18, is going off to college next year and received a Celiac diagnosis this past year. He and my husband are both vegetarians. They don’t eat any red meat, fish or chicken but they do eat dairy and eggs.

And I get to cook for these people. What about me? Well, you might say I am the easiest of the bunch, but I do have some allergies (shellfish and kiwi). I don’t eat red meat or anything really strange like organ meats or insects. And I like to try and eat as healthy as possible, consuming mostly vegetables. Much of the time I want to eat different things than the rest of my family so I often end up preparing 2–3 different meals every night. The old idea that you cook one meal that everyone eats, and if they don’t like it, they can starve, doesn’t work in my house, nor do I agree with it. My son with Crohn’s is growth delayed from his disease so it is important for him to eat what he likes, and what will help him gain weight.

This the Tough Tummies part of my blog and I will share some of my multi-tasking meal tips, market shopping adventures and recipes that I prepare in case anyone else is dealing with feeding a family with multiple food issues.

On Sundays I make certain staples that my kids eat every week without fail. For example, Lowell eats granola almost every day for breakfast and will snack on it throughout the day. I make my own with organic gluten free oats and dried apples (recipe below). You can modify with the addition of nuts, seeds or any other dried fruit such as cranberries, cherries, raisins, etc. I add ground flax seed to mine.

A note about my recipes and cooking:

I like to say that I am an intuitive cook which means I either come up with ideas for meals on my own or get inspiration from recipes and make changes as I go. Some of the recipes I share here might be loosely written because I encourage you to experiment, make your own changes and see where it takes you. Let me know how it goes!

Lowell’s ‘Nola

3 cups gluten free oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill)

1/3 cup ground flaxseed

3 TBL of oil such as grape seed or canola

¼ cup of apple, orange or cranberry Juice (I use whatever I have on hand)

1 TBL coconut oil

¼ cup of maple syrup

1–3 TBL of brown sugar (can leave out if you want less sweet)

1 tsp. of vanilla

dash of sea salt

Can add cinnamon if you like

1 cup of chopped dried apples.

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly oil a rimmed sheet pan.

Put oats and flax in a bowl.

In a small saucepan, add oil, coconut oil if using, maple syrup, juice, brown sugar if using, vanilla, salt and cinnamon, if using. Heat until simmering and stir to dissolve sugar.

Pour over oat mixture.

Spread mixture on oiled sheet pan. Cook in oven for about 30 minutes but you need to mix with a metal spatula every 5–10 minutes to avoid burning.

Cook until almost desired amount of golden color then add chopped dried apples. Stir and cook for another 5–10 minutes but make sure you check it often so it doesn’t burn. You really have to check it and stir it with a spatual often.

He eats it with rice milk but you can have almond milk, yogurt or sprinkle it on coconut ice cream, a baked apple or anything else that seems worthy.