Monday, May 14, 2012

Peanut Butter Bliss

These are FREAKING delicious. Peanut Butter Blondies -- I can't get over how tasty they are. Everything I've baked since starting FG has been a slightly less delicious/more healthy version of the recipes I love. I've finally found something that tastes fantastic and is FG-approved and healthy.

Peanut Butter Blondies

1 cup peanut butter (I used Trader Joes Creamy/Salted)
1 cup flour (I used spelt)
3 tbsp. Ground flax
6 tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. cashew butter

Mix the wet ingredients -- add in the dry. Pour into a greased/parchment papered pan (I used a weird oblong 6x10, but I think a 9x9 would be good.) Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Let them cool before cutting. They are a little crumbly, so you could add more binding if you wanted, but I love the texture. It's almost like the inside of a peanut butter cup.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Coping Mechanisms

 I think I've neglected to realize how easy the FG diet is when LIFE is easy.

Lots of people lament the difficulties of FG -- the expense, the time, the cooking, the reading, the educating yourself and others, the judgement. It's a lot to take in. On the other side of 11 weeks, we felt like we had a pretty good handle on what's what.

Then my dad got sick.

Between full time work and spending evenings at the hospital, there isn't much left for planning meals. Fortunately, I've been able to pack Max's lunches and I haven't had to rely on other people to follow the diet restrictions more than usual. Tonight, I'm actually home and plan to cook something homemade and delicious.

But this is when I understand why people have to start relying on the fast food options. I'll be the first to admit -- when a new FG member comes on the message boards and, within a day of joining, is asking about fast food options, I feel a little irritated. FG is a commitment -- a commitment to whole foods that are cooked at home, mostly by you. It took weeks for us to pinpoint Max's aversions to corn syrup, pineapple, and chocolate. The only one we discovered right away was watermelon. How could you possibly commit to something when you're already thinking about the drive-thru?

Now, though, I think I get it. As I commute from Jefferson to Frederick to Baltimore and back, I've been tempted many times to hit up one of the many chains with bright orange nuggets and crispy yellow fries. I haven't -- I've packed meals and taken them with me. But I've been tired enough multiple times that, had I not had that sandwich or those crackers, I would have stopped for a Big Mac...

So maybe this is a lesson that I should be less judgemental. I don't know what it's like to have multiple children or be a stay at home mom. I don't know what anyone has to deal with in terms of their relatives or their jobs. I do know that, while I continue driving back and forth, I can't promise I won't cave into the fast food convenience. FG is many things, but convenient isn't really one of them. Don't get me wrong. FG is still our savior. It's still a commitment to a life change. The problem, I think, is that life changes happen when LIFE CHANGES -- and that can throw everything into complete upheaval.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week

I've been sort of struggling with this. I wanted to do something other than my typical Starbucks gift card. I decided that there were few things I, as a teacher, looked forward to more than summer. So I made these little tags that say, "A month until summer -- but who's counting? Wishing you sunny days all year long!" Then I filled these inexpensive plastic ice tubs with a reusable summer-themed tablecloth, butterfly napkins and plates, Popsicle molds and Jelly Belly cherry flavor, sun block, cocoa butter, and Lip smackers. I feel pretty good about it, I gotta say. It's bright. It's cheery. Most of all, I think it shows how very much we love Max's teachers and how important they've been to us.

Hopefully the Buffalo Wing dip and Crab dip I'm making for their lunch next week will turn out just as well!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Beauty of Normalcy

I'm absolutely shocked that Max had a good day today. I hate saying stuff like that, but after a weekend of strep, scarlet fever, actual fever, Advil with artificial flavor, and antibiotics, I was sure that a return to school would be disastrous. It wasn't. In fact, according to Ms. Sarah and Ms. Meagan, it was a great day.

This afternoon, I was waiting for a student to finish a test -- I'd already logged off my work computer and I was staring at the wall when I noticed my FG behavior inventory -- the one I filled out about 9 weeks ago. When I looked back over it, it was amazing to see that so many behaviors had been completely eliminated. Others had become the exception, not the rule.

One thing my parents have said several times is that I need to remember that Max is still a four year-old boy. FG has the tendency to prompt me to forget Max's age in favor of an ideal, a perfectly behaved boy who does nothing wrong. For the most part, Max actually has become that boy -- the only time he falters are in situations where he's anxious (uses his chewie, turtle, or other self-soother) or when he's excited and happy, where he goes up a notch in hyper behavior and will often zoom around like a car, honking and running into walls. I hate that a lot of people see these behaviors more than the every day normalcy -- around others, he's far more likely to be anxious or excited.

Regardless, I know we've made tremendous progress. We've introduced some Stage Two with good results. And today we found out that daycare is going to transition Max from the 3 year old room to the 4 year old room. This is something we never thought we'd see -- and the school is actually prompting it, meaning that they think he's ready. I really, really hope they're right.