Thursday, June 25, 2009

Product Review: Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners

I LUUUUURVE my crockpot! There is just something about dumping a bunch of ingredients into a pot, letting it stew all day, and then coming home to a house full of yummy smells and dinner is already to go. How much better can it get?

Well, let me tell ya, it CAN get better!

What I DON'T love about crockpot cooking is the cleaning of the crockpot. I'm stepping out on a limb here and exposing my underbelly...there have been times where my crockpot has sat in the sink for a few days unwashed, while a science experiment takes place, because I am SO averse to cleaning the messy, encrusted, whatever that stewed all day long.


This is where I introduce my new friend...

Reynolds makes crockpot liners. They are big plastic bags that you use to line your crockpot, even the big ones like mine, and put all your ingredients into the liner. When dinner is done, you simply remove the liner and you still have your clean crockpot.

I know...doesn't seem real, huh?

But it is. And it is a beautiful thing! No, the plastic did not melt on me, although there was a tiny leak and I had to wipe out the bottom of the crockpot with a cleaning sponge. But other than that, it was easy-peasy, like nothing else. The box comes with 4 liners, all for a low price of around $2 at Tar-jay.

I see myself using my crockpot MUCH more often, as I have the energy of sloth in hibernation right now.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Our New Normal

Since my little posting sabbatical, I've been learning a few things about myself and my son.

About my son:

We started removing gluten from his diet several weeks ago. Things have been going very well! One of the symptoms he struggled with was a strange eczema around his mouth that would just not go away. The other symptom was completely behavioral: screaming tantrums, easily frustrated, cried for no apparent reason. Since eliminating gluten from Monkey's diet, he has been doing MUCH, MUCH better! We don't have an official diagnosis and are planning on official testing soon. But the results at this point speak for themselves. A Happy Monkey = a Happy Momma!

About me:

Just like a gluten-free/dairy-free/soy-free diet, a gestational diabetes diet has a learning curve. Learning to eat foods that didn't make my sugar soar was a bit of challenge. I was in unchartered territory. So far, I've learned that the easiest way for me to approach food without the GD symptoms (severe fatigue, nausea, confusion), was to focus on meat and fresh veggies with the occasional carb thrown in. Being petite, something as small as a gala apple for a snack would just send me over the edge. My body is not even tolerating natural sugars well. I have also learned not to eat carbs alone. I have to eat it with a protein or a dense carb. So if I do eat half of that gala apple, I eat a handful of almonds with it. I have also learned that I can still have my high sugar carbs, just not in the same amounts as before. And if I eat dessert immediately after dinner, my body handles the sugars MUCH better.

All of that to say that I'm figuring things out slowly and N and I have made adjustments in the weekly food budget to accomodate both Monkey's and my needs. We have tentatively made the weekly budget $100 instead of the $75 we've become used to. With the exception of the first week, I've come under by $5 or $10, so we might tweak this more later. But this amount accomodates all the additional proteins that make up the main portion of my diet today. Meat at every meal?! N is a very happy man! No more weird vegetarian stuff. LOL! The budget also accomodates the snacks that we send with Monkey to school. They have been kind enough to work with us on the meals by providing him alternatives for fish stick day or chicken nugget day. I am supplementing this with a few items they can cook when they don't have an alternative. I can't say how grateful I am for that!

All in all, we are starting to find a little more comfort in the process, which is nice. I'm not the queen of flexibility, so I'm happy that I'm finding myself just taking the changes in stride. And I'm happy to see my little Monkey feeling so much better. I think that's the best part!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - 6/1/09

I have not fallen off the wagon! I've actually been doing the weekly menu planning and shopping trips, I just haven't been posting about it until I get comfy with the new diet restrictions and what I can safely eat. I've also been trying to get an idea of how much of a budget we'd be working with. I think I'm starting to find my new normal.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Monday: Tuna sandwiches, fresh cut vegetables
Tuesday: Grilled chicken, grilled fresh veggies
Wednesday: Beef broccoli with steamed rice
Thursday: Ham and fried potatoes
Friday: Soft ground beef tacos
Saturday: Shrimp Linguine, tossed green salad

For more menu ideas, visit Laura over at