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Baby Steps to Eating Healthier Food | Stock Your House With Healthy Food

Thanks for dropping back in for the next installment of Baby Steps to Eating Healthier Food! If you missed the first post, click here to catch up. Now that you are armed with a name for your new lifestyle, today we are going to talk about how to stock your house with healthy food. What should you be eating at meals and snacks? How should you accommodate guests and dinners out? Let’s chat about it!

Note: While this is call “Baby Steps” this one requires serious effort and potentially big changes in your food planning and purchasing habits. Keep pushing though! You can learn new habits, I promise!

stock your house with healthy food

You’ve got a name for your new lifestyle which will help you narrow down the vast number of recipes floating out there on the internet. Now you need to figure out what to eat then get that healthy food in your house!

First, go to Pinterest and create a new board to collect recipes that sound good to you and also fit into your new diet. Search for recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as snacks. Collect at least enough for 1 week. (Follow me on Pinterest for AIP, Paleo, and the occasional Keto inspiration!)

Next make a menu for a week of meals. I’ve spelled out my menu planning strategy in this Menu Planning 101 series. Check that out for 2 different ways to menu plan (one easier, one more in-depth) along with free printable menus to fill out!

This step is where the rubber meets the road. Your desire to eat healthier food and change your diet and lifestyle actively starts now. Make the plan so that you will have good food to eat for the entire week and you will be less tempted to deviate from your new lifestyle.

stock your house with healthy food

Head to the store and buy all the food you need to eat healthy, whole food for one week (Check out this post for more specific guidance.). If grocery shopping for one week feels intimidating to you, cut it down to 3 or 4 days. Plan and shop for whatever seems manageable to you. The goal here is to actually begin eating real food so know your limits and don’t push yourself too far yet.

If your house is stocked with whole, real food, you will be more likely to eat whole, real food. I say more likely, if you haven’t purged the junk food, the temptation might still be there (we’ll address that next post!) but at least you will have another option.

stock your house with healthy food

It isn’t realistic to think you will eat every meal in your house for the week. Take some time to think through your week to account for special events coming up: having guests over and eating out.

Entertaining

So you’ve chosen to revolutionize your diet, but you are having friends over, what do you feed them? Will they think you are a weird-o for adopting a Paleo (Keto, AIP, Whole30, etc.) lifestyle?

Relax, serve them what you would normally eat. Your guests are coming for your company, not your food. While we all love to eat, if you provide tasty food, no one will balk at lack of buns for the hamburgers.

If you are serving something that would normally have a bread product with it (hot dogs, bratwurst, hamburgers, etc.) then explain your new diet and offer for your guests to bring their own if they’d rather have a bun or pick some up for them (but you don’t eat them!).

Another idea is to serve something that is appealing to all ages but is a naturally healthy, bread-free meal.

  • Chicken wings, carrot fries, and a tossed salad with fresh blueberries topped with whipped cream (dairy or dairy-free depending on your diet)
  • Grilled steak with topped balsamic mushrooms, mashed roasted garlic cauliflower, and green beans
  • Crispy chicken thighs with sweet potato fries and a fresh veggie and fruit tray

Do some brainstorming, you may or may not have to explain your new lifestyle to your friends, depending on how you feel about it. Guaranteed though, you can still entertain and stick to your diet when friends come over.

Eating Out

Dining out is also bound to happen, and it doesn’t need to derail your diet. My suggestion at any restaurant is to order a “plain” cut of meat and two vegetables on the side. Does that sound familiar? That’s how I aim to eat every meal at my house!

For example, say you are at a steak house, order a steak without gravy, just grilled with oil, salt, and pepper and two vegetables. Most steak houses will have a green vegetable for a side plus baked sweet potatoes. Even if it doesn’t appear on the menu, request a protein (salmon fillet, scallops, chicken breast, pork chop, steak, etc.) with a couple vegetable sides. I’m sure they will accommodate your request!

Stay away from the more “fancy” dishes that are multiple things mixed together with various sauces on top. If it is hard to tell what all the ingredients are in a dish, don’t order it. Plain and simple is best when at a restaurant.

Baby step #2 requires some work. If you are unfamiliar with menu planning and purposeful grocery shopping, this will take a few tries to find your groove. Don’t give up! This is the most important step! In order to eat healthier food, you need to get comfortable with planning what food to eat, regularly shopping to bring it into your house, and planning for special events. You can do it! Stock your house with healthy food today!


Are you a menu planning pro or a newbie? How often do you grocery shop? Do you believe if you had healthy options in your house, you’d eat that healthier food?

Paleo Vegan Almond Pancakes
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Paleo Vegan Almond Pancakes | Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free

Did I get enough “-frees” in that title?? It made me giggle. I just hand to spell it all out. Anyway, so glad you dropped in today! As you might know, I’m a diet controlled Type 1 Diabetic (1 year and counting!). My diet is the Autoimmune Protocol plus a few reintroductions: almonds, wine (in small, infrequent amounts), chocolate, fruit and seed-based spices, beans with edible pods, and seed/nut oils. Yes, this diet is restrictive, but I choose to live the happiest, fulfilled life even when on this diet. Want to know one silly thing my fulfilled life must have? Pancakes. It’s taken some time, but I have created Paleo Vegan Almond pancakes that fit into my diet AND treat my kids.  Let me share it with you today.

A little back story is needed here. I once read a story about a mom who made pancakes for her family every Saturday morning. I don’t remember much about the story other than she wasn’t a terribly good cook and often burned the pancakes. Yet she kept doing it because she wanted her family to be the kind of family that eats pancakes together every Saturday morning.

Maybe you hear that and think “so hokey!” I get that. However, I’m with that mom. I want my kids to have fond memories of traditions from their childhood. Whether its a once-a-year thing like Christmas books every day of December leading up to Christmas or a seemingly mundane tradition like pancakes every Saturday. I like traditions.

To keep this tradition alive this last year, I’ve had to learn how to make pancakes first without gluten, then without dairy (similar, I used the regular Fluffy Pancake recipe from her cookbook). Truly those were a breeze. Dairy makes many things possible, and almond flour is easy to cook like wheat flour. What is really hard? Eggs. Baking without eggs is extremely tricky.

When I started the Autoimmune Protocol in February, that ended our pancake Saturdays for a while. I just couldn’t figure out how to make pancakes without seeds, nuts, or eggs. Once almonds and seeds were successfully reintroduced, it was game on! Let’s figure out pancakes!

Paleo Vegan Almond Pancakes

 

Egg Substitute

Flax seed eggs are my egg substitute of choice for this recipe. The ratio I’ve found best is 1 Tablespoon of ground flax seed to 1.5 Tablespoons of water. There are a lot of flax seed egg recipes out there with a 1:3 ratio. In my humble opinion, that is flat wrong. It doesn’t gel; I’ve tried. The best ratio for a flax seed egg is 1:1.5, 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed to 1.5 tablespoons of water.

I did not try chia seed eggs or other commercially available vegan egg substitutes. If you do try those, let me know how it goes!

Flour Ratios

This recipe uses almond flour and coconut flour. Non-gluten flours spoil quickly, so I store them both in the freezer. Almond flour tends to freeze in clumps so I prefer to measure out my flours using a kitchen scale as getting my clumpy flour to measure correctly into a cup is quite difficult. For best results, weigh the flour, but I have provided volume measurements that are approximate.

Time

The rest period written into the recipe is crucial. It cannot be skipped! The rest time allows the coconut flour to absorb the almond milk creating a sticky, thick dough. If the dough does not have time to rest and thicken up, it will all fall apart on the hot pan. Trust me, let the dough rest.

Another comment on time, this recipe is a labor of love. I make them because I want my kids to have pancakes. I want the memory of pancake Saturdays to be a part of their childhood. That being said, the dough has to rest and the pancakes take a while to cook. So have your patient pants on when you begin this recipe. Start to finish will be about an hour. Also, don’t turn up the heat to cook the pancakes faster, you will end up with burnt outsides and mushy insides. Take your time.

Form the Pancakes

As mentioned earlier, the dough is very thick. You might be tempted to thin it out with more almond milk or water before cooking, don’t do it! I’ve tried, and the pancakes will not hold together from a thin dough.

Use a spoon to scoop mounds of dough onto the pan then use the spoon to form into a patty. Or use your hands to form the patty then gently lay on the hot pan. I prefer to form the patty in my hands before putting it on the pan. The resulting pancakes are more uniform that way.

Other Tips

Since there is no gluten or eggs in the recipe, the pancakes are fragile. Use a nonstick pan and a flexible plastic spatula to turn over the pancakes. Get the pancake fully on the spatula before flipping. It will rip easily!

While my kids do top these with traditional maple syrup, I like to think outside the box too. Almond butter, homemade jelly, fresh fruit, coconut whipped cream, dried fruit, and nuts are all fair game in our house. Let your kids decide how to top their pancakes; they will love it!

Paleo Vegan Almond Pancakes

It thrills me to no end to be able to serve my kids pancakes on Saturday morning. These Paleo Vegan Almond Pancakes are a family favorite. If you have leftovers, make sausage gravy the next morning and pour it over the pancakes. Yum. Hope you enjoy these!


What traditions to you keep with your kids? Which are your favorites and which do your kids love?

Paleo Vegan Almond Pancakes

Egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and grain-free pancakes. The perfect breakfast recipe for those with gluten, egg, or dairy sensitivities!

Course Breakfast
Cuisine Paleo, Vegan
Keyword Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo, pancakes, vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rest Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 people
Calories 276 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 5 Tbsp. flax seed ground
  • 7.5 Tbsp. cold water
  • 150 g almond flour ~1.5 cups
  • 100 g coconut flour ~1 cup
  • 1.5 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • olive oil for cooking

Instructions

Flax Seed Eggs

  1. Mix ground flax seed and cold water in a small bowl and set aside to gel.

Pancake Batter

  1. In a large bowl, weigh the almond flour and coconut flour. Add baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, coconut sugar, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla, Stir to combine.

  2. Once coconut oil is incorporated, stir in the almond milk and flax seed eggs. These are mixed in last so the coconut oil doesn't firm up into hard balls.

  3. Let the bowl sit on the counter, untouched for 20 minutes. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.

Cook the Pancakes

  1. Warm up a large flat nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. 

  2. When the pan is hot, spoon pancake batter onto pan and press into pancake shape. Either do this with a spoon after batter is on the pan or scoop some into your hand, form a patty, then lay the patty on the pan. The batter will be very thick and unlike other pancake batter so will form easily in your hands.

  3. Let pancake cook until brown on one side, about 4-5 minutes, then flip and cook until brown on the other side, about 4 minutes.

  4. These pancakes cook slowly so I usually have two pans cooking at the same time with 4 pancakes in each pan. The recipe makes 16, 4 inch pancakes, so each pan only has to be reloaded once.

 

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The Cast Iron Pan Dilemma | Cast Iron Storage in Drawers

Hi, there! Thanks for stopping by to Flawed yet Functional today! My cast iron pan collection has been on my mind lately. I recently acquired more from my grandma’s estate which made too many to store in my oven. Today I’m following up from last week’s post with the quick and easy storage solution I found for my cast iron pans. No money was spent on this project, and I was able to store all the cast iron pans in drawers, the way I designed the kitchen years ago!

cast iron pan storage in drawers

As I mentioned in this post, I had too many cast iron pans to continue storing them in my oven. The oven isn’t even an ideal spot because they should be stored in a cool, dry place. I can be honest with you guys, right? I regularly put my clean pans away in a still-warm oven…I’ve even cooked with a pan or two still in the oven. Gasp! There. It’s out. I don’t always take proper care of my pans.

Moving on.

There were so many good suggestions and responses to the original post! (Check them out on my page or the Flawed yet Functional page) While I may still do an organization method that requires some building or effort, I found this $0, 10 minute solution by using things lying around my house!

Ideal Storage Solution

When we renovated the kitchen, we extended the peninsula to hold a stand mixer lift and these deep drawers specifically for the purpose of holding pots and pans. The ideal storage solution would be to use these drawers for their intended purpose, right? They were made with heavy duty draw slides so the weight of the cast iron pans won’t be an issue.

There is one major issue though: I have too many pans. A purge was definitely in order. Note the current contents is 100% non-stick with no room for the additional cast iron pans. Also note how inefficiently everything is stored! The stack on the right is 4 pans deep!

Cast Iron Pan Storage

Purge Unused Pans

Maybe I love my kitchen stuff too much or maybe it’s because these non-stick pans were a wedding present, but I struggled with getting rid of any of my pans! It’s so silly too because 3 of them I haven’t used in years. Yes, years. I think I used my deep dish skillet once or twice since moving into this house 5 years ago. Holding on too long, Emily!

So I took a deep breath and pulled out all of the pans that I (1) don’t use regularly or at all and (2) have a duplicate for. Pans in the purge pile were 1 non-stick dutch oven, 3 non-stick skillets, and 1 cast iron skillet. What? You got rid of a cast iron skillet? Yes, it was 1/2″ smaller than my largest cast iron skillet, and I just wasn’t happy with the size when I used it. Into the purge pile it goes!

Two quick texts later, and I had homes for all 5 pans. Woot!

Now I had room for the pans I actually use!

Use Plate Organizer to Stack Pans

If you’ve ever stored pans in a deep drawers you know the issues with these huge drawers. Pans have to be stacked. Not only does this leave them prone to scratching each other, it is just plain annoying to dig out the pan from the bottom of the stack!

As I mentioned before, I really liked the idea of these pan organizers, but I couldn’t find one shorter than 10″ which is all the clearance I had in my drawers. Rats!

Bless my lucky stars also in the depths of my grandma’s house, were several corner plate organizers (similar). Now, I was supposed to take them to my sister (which I did with the other three!) but I snagged one of them at the last second hoping they’d fit in my drawers. Oh happy day, these plate organizers are just over 10″ tall WITH a cast iron pan on top! Perfect!

So thanks, Betsey, for letting me snag one of these organizers for my cookware! (Except I didn’t actually ask her permission. She doesn’t know I kept one. We’ll see if she reads this post or not…)

Line Pans to Eliminate Scratching

You’ll notice I still ended up with some pans stacked. However, each stack is only 2 pans high when my last was 4! To keep my pans from scratching each other, I cut a circle out of my drawer liner to place in the bottom of each skillet. Thanks, Kim, for the great idea!

Cast Iron Drawer Storage

Enough of my jibber-jabber about these pans and drawers! Here are my functional, neat drawers that only hold the pans I use! AND, the oven is empty! 🙂

Top drawer: non-stick saucepans on the left then starting from the bottom of the stack: (1) non-stick griddle and cast iron tortilla pan, (2) #10 cast iron skillet, and (3) #6 and #8 cast iron skillets

cast iron pan storage in drawers

Bottom drawer: dutch ovens and lids

Being able to get my pans in and out of these drawers without moving ALL THE  PANS ALL THE TIME makes me so happy! No cast iron pans hanging out on my stove or in my oven, and I am still using my kitchen in the way I designed it! Are you looking for a way to organize pans (cast iron or not) in deep drawers? Try out the corner plate rack! It fits snuggly into the corner leaving enough room to get pans in and out without scratching.


How do you organize your pots and pans? Any other $0 solutions out there?

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Baby Steps to Eating Healthier Food | Choose a New Lifestyle

Thanks for stopping by to Flawed yet Functional! I, Emily, am a Type 1 Diabetic who is managing my health without additional insulin (for 1 year and counting!). I am passionate about helping other people take control of their health and lead a fulfilled life. My most recent interactions with Type 1 Diabetics or pre-Diabetics revolve around the issue of how or where to start eating healthier food. They fully realize their diet needs to change, but how do you go about it? To help answer this question, I’ve created a series of posts that I wish I had known when I began my health journey. Let’s jump into Baby Steps to Eating Healthier Food, Step 1 | Choose a New Lifestyle!

What is a Healthy Food?

First, let me level set what I believe “healthy food” or “healthy diet” to be. I mean fresh meat, vegetables, and fruit. I do not mean packaged food, most frozen food (except plain frozen vegetables), sweets, or abnormally large amounts of anything. For example, I’ve seen people on the Keto diet eat only dairy to keep carbs low. That is not healthy. Vegetables, meat, and some fruit is needed daily.

If it grows from the ground or comes from an animal, I consider it healthy! “Healthy” applies to many diets out there (I’ll go into detail below), but they are all similar as the most basic level: fresh meat, vegetables, and fruit. So what is the first step to eating healthier food? Choose a new lifestyle (AKA diet)!

Choose a New Lifestyle (aka Diet)

To most people, the word “diet” brings up thoughts of crazy fads that promise tons of weight loss with little effort. The reality of these fad diets is constant hunger and rebounding the weight once you stop the diet. Most people think of diet as a short-term fix to a weight problem. This is not what I’m talking about.

Baby Step #1 is about selecting a new framework for your diet that will last forever, this is why I call it a lifestyle. It is not a fad. It will not be over in 30 days. While that might sound daunting, remember if your health is failing you now, that is likely largely due to how you currently eat. Something has to change in order for your health to improve. I promise you changing your lifestyle/diet is challenging at first but quickly becomes second nature.

The reason I suggest naming your new diet is to help you find recipes and resources that will fit into your new lifestyle and help you meet your health goals. I did not do this when beginning my gluten-free, insulin-free journey because I had no one to tell me that it would be helpful! If I had named my diet sooner, I could have revolutionized my diet faster and more completely (and thereby could have kept my pancreas functioning at a higher level!). This step is to educate you and make future changes easier. With that in mind, let’s review some common diets that I believe to be good lifestyles to adopt.

Hands down, this is my favorite diet. It is the most comprehensive with allowance of meats, vegetables, and fruits making it the least restrictive to adopt (in my opinion). 

Basics of Diet

Sometimes called the caveman diet, the Paleo diet says you should eat only what people would have eat in the Paleolithic period. Boiled down, if it’s meat or plant, eat it. If it’s processed (snacks, sugar, pasta, etc.) don’t. There’s no need to count calories or carbs on this diet (unless other health reasons call for it, diabetes!). Just eat balanced meals until you are full.

Other important factors are moderate exercise, sleep, and keeping stress low. Focus on these after the food is down pat.

Do’s Eat

  • All vegetables (except soy)
  • All fruit
  • All meat
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Oil/Fats

Don’t Eat

  • Dairy – cheese, milk, yogurt, etc.
  • Grains – corn, wheat, barley, rye, etc.
  • Legumes
  • Processed food
  • Refined sugar
  • Soy

Keywords

Use these keywords to help narrow the recipe search on Google or Pinterest.

  • Paleo
  • Caveman diet

Resources

General Paleo Information

Nerd Fitness

Paleo Leap

Mayo Clinic (In case you wonder what the medical community’s opinion is!)

Basics of Diet

This diet is often called the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. It is a stricter version of Paleo with a more specific plan and health goal. It is designed to eliminate the symptoms of autoimmune diseases and, in some cases, cure the disease. There is tons of research out there as to the triggers of autoimmune diseases, and food is one of them. This diet will help you identify what food is causing the autoimmune response in your body.

The Autoimmune Protocol has a strict 30 day “Elimination Period” where many foods are eliminated in addition to the traditional Paleo diet’s. After those 30 days (maybe longer as your body needs), food are reintroduced in a specific, careful way and the effects of the foods are measured.

This diet is only necessary if you have an autoimmune disease. Although, it won’t hurt you if you don’t have an autoimmune condition and choose to follow along with this diet for the sake of a loved one (my family does this!).

Other important factors are moderate exercise, consistent adequate sleep, keeping stress low, and possibly some supplements. Focus on these after the food is down pat.

Do’s Eat

  • All vegetables (except soy, nightshades)
  • All fruit
  • All meat
  • Oil/Fats

Don’t Eat

  • Alcohol
  • Dairy – Cheese, milk, yogurt, etc.
  • Eggs
  • Nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers)
  • Nuts
  • Grains – Corn, Wheat, Barley, Rye, etc.
  • Legumes
  • Processed food
  • Refined sugar
  • Seed, fruit, nightshade-based spices (mustard, coriander, mace, cayenne pepper, chili powder, etc.)
  • Soy

Keywords

Use these keywords to help narrow the recipe search on Google or Pinterest.

  • AIP
  • Autoimmune Protocol
  • Paleo Autoimmune Protocol

Resources

Basics of Diet

The Ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate diet. The liver will transform all the fat eaten into ketones which will fuel the entire body. The benefits of this diet are rapid weight loss while not going hungry at all! Fat allows you to be satisfied at the end of a meal and stay full until the next meal. Unlike we were taught in the 80’s, fat does not make you fat. Quite the opposite, in fact, fat will make you thin!

Food restrictions are more loose in the Ketogenic diet with the primary focus being on Macros. Macros (macronutrients, molecules that the body uses to make energy) are the three primary food segments that are kept in line to maintain ketosis in the body.

  • Fat – 75%*
  • Protein – 20%*
  • Carbs – 5%*

*Percentage of total grams of food (fat, protein, carbs) eaten in a day.

Other important factors are moderate exercise, sleep, and keeping stress low. Focus on these after the food is down pat.

Do’s Eat

  • All meat
  • Berries
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Oil/Fats
  • Vegetables grown above ground

Don’t Eat

  • Grains – Corn, Wheat, Barley, Rye, etc.
  • High Carb Fruit
  • Legumes
  • Processed food
  • Refined sugar/Candy/Soda

Keywords

Use these keywords to help narrow the recipe search on Google or Pinterest.

  • Keto
  • Ketogenic
  • Low-Carb

Resources

General Keto Information

Diet Doctor

Wikipedia

HealthLine

Basics of Diet

This diet is not a lifestyle change but rather a 30 day “reset” for your body. The principles are so similar to the Autoimmune Protocol that I thought I’d give it a mention in this list. I think the principles of this diet are right on, just continue with the diet after 30 days and reintroductions!

Do’s Eat

  • Fresh Meat
  • Fresh Vegetabkles
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Nuts
  • Healthy Fats

Don’t Eat

  • Alcohol
  • Dairy
  • Grains – none of them
  • Legumes
  • Processed Food – even homemade!
  • Sugar
  • White Potatoes

Keywords

Use these keywords to help narrow the recipe search on Google or Pinterest.

  • Whole30
  • Whole 30

Resources

General Whole30 Information

Whole30ing for Beginners

Whole30

Blesser House

Remember, choose a diet that appeals to you and helps you meet your health goals. I believe one of the four diets above are a good place to start. Notice that the do eat/don’t eat lists are quite similar! This is because I believe everyone should be eating fresh meat, fruit, and vegetables. There are many ways to do that, but that is my standard for a healthy diet.

Naming your new lifestyle will make eating healthier food much easier. All the recipes with those labels will be within the constraints of the diet (always read carefully though!) and should help you feel less stressed when preparing a menu plan or cooking for your family. Baby Steps to Eating Healthier Food, Step 1 | Choose a New Lifestyle is all about getting you started on the right foot so you will succeed. Are you ready?


Are you familiar with these 4 diets? Have you given any of them a try? What were the results? Did you meet your health goals? If not, do you know what went wrong?

 

balsamic mushroom burgers
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Paleo & AIP Balsamic Mushroom Burgers | How to Cook a Multi-Dish Meal

Welcome to Flawed yet Functional and to my dairy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free kitchen! When I have company over, sometimes I keep things plain and simple. For a play-date, my friends usually pack their own lunch so each mom only has to prepare for her kids. Easy-peasy! However, other times I like to pull out all the stops. I like to serve a nutritious, delicious meal to not only feed my friends but show them the delicious variety vegetables offer. Today, I’d like to share Balsamic Mushroom Burgers on Cauliflower Mash with Roasted Vegetables along with tips on how to make a multi-dish meal successfully.

balsamic mushroom burgers

 

Usually, I only show you a recipe for one dish at a time, but I thought it might be helpful to show how I prepare a multi-dish dinner along with the recipes for each part. Just like cooking is a learned skill, hosting and preparing food to be ready at the same time is a learned skill too. It takes practice, but you can do it!

Each part of this company-worthy meal is simple, they just use basic grilling, sauteing, and roasting techniques. However, there are 4 separate dishes to make which can be a lot for one person. I recommend asking your spouse help: one person man the grill while the other prepares the rest of the vegetables inside.

Cook Time

Before cook anything, I think through each dish and how long it takes to cook. For the grill, I include warm-up time so I can tell Dan when to start so all he has to do is start the grill and cook the meat which should end up ready at the same time as the rest of the meal.

Grilled Hamburgers | ~35 minutes total time – 25 minutes to get the coals ready using a chimney and 6-10 minutes to cook the burgers

Balsamic Mushrooms | ~20 minutes cook time – Might be less time but can stay warm in the pan for at least 10 minutes

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower | 70 minutes total time – About 35 minutes to roast the garlic, 15 minutes to boil the water, 10 minutes to cook the cauliflower and 10 minutes to finish the dish

Roasted Vegetables | 45 minutes total time – About 10 minutes to warm the oven and 35 minutes to cook the vegetables

Cook Order & Kitchen Surface

Now I mentally think which dish needs to be cooked first and make a list (a physical list only in the case of Thanksgiving dinner, but it might help you to actually write it out if you are new to this!).

  1. Counter | Complete all mise en place. Chop all the vegetables, onions, and garlic.
  2. Oven | Pre-heat oven and roast garlic
  3. Oven | When garlic is finished, increase temp on oven and put in vegetables to roast.
  4. Stove-Top | Turn on water to boil and boil cauliflower
  5. Grill | Tell Dan to begin burgers
  6. Stove-top | Once cauliflower is boiling, begin mushrooms
  7. Counter | Finish cauliflower mash
  8. Oven | Remove vegetables from oven
  9. Grill | Dan should be bringing the finished hamburgers in now!

Don’t forget to think through with kitchen surface it will be using. You don’t want to have two dishes that need the oven at the same time, and also you don’t want to have 4 pans that need to cook at the same time on the stove-top (yes, there are 4 burners, but I don’t have any pans small enough to actually fit 4 on the stove-top simultaneously). For my kitchen, I like 1 item in the oven with 2 max on the stove-top.

It’s an intense bit of kitchen work, but this meal should come together in less than 90 minutes including prep time. For a complete Paleo/AIP meal with 5 vegetables in it, that’s not too bad!

Plate the Food

On each plate, smear a large spoonful of the roasted garlic cauliflower mash and place the hamburger on the mash. Top the hamburger with balsamic mushrooms and place a serving of the roasted vegetables on the side. Not only with the food taste delicious, but it will look like you are eating at a fancy restaurant. There’s just something about a beautifully plated meal!

Enjoy!

balsamic mushroom burgers

Balsamic Mushrooms

The perfect savory topping for hamburgers or steak! This savory mushrooms are Paleo and AIP-friendly and will jazz up any meal.

Course Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine AIP, Paleo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 10 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped fine
  • 8 oz. baby Portobello mushrooms chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar to taste

Instructions

  1. Chop the mushrooms into small pieces, whatever size you like to eat. They will shrink when cooked. Chop the onion fine.

  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium-low heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 

  3. When oil is shimmering, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to sweat and release some moisture.

  4. Add the mushroom to the onions and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until soft and very brown, stirring occasional, about 10 minutes.

  5. Pour vinegar in the pan and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat and taste for seasoning. Add salt, pepper, or more vinegar as needed.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Not eating gluten or grains? No worries! Use this AIP/Paleo mashed cauliflower as a delicious base for your hamburgers, pork chops, meatloaf, steak, etc.!

Course Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine AIP, Paleo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 30 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 1 bulb fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 head fresh cauliflower rough chop
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

Roast the Garlic

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°.

  2. Keeping the garlic bulb whole, cut off the top 1/4" or so to expose the garlic cloves. Place in the middle of a sheet of aluminum foil, 10"x10", and drizzle olive oil over the cut end of the bulb.

  3. Wrap the foil up around the bulb, pinching it closed at the top. Bake for about 30 minutes or until garlic is soft, brown, and fragrant.

Make Cauliflower Mash

  1. While the garlic is baking, bring water to a boil in a dutch oven (enough to cover the cauliflower, about 3-4 quarts).

  2. Cut off the stem and any green leaves from the base of the cauliflower. Cut the head in half then cut each half into four pieces.

  3. When the water is boiling, add the cauliflower pieces and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.

  4. In a blender or food processor, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper, whole bulb of garlic (garlic removed from paper), and soft cauliflower. Blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Basic Grilled Hamburgers

Everybody should know how to make a good hamburger! Salt, pepper and heat are all you need to make a great hamburger!

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine AIP, Paleo
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Pre-heat Grill 25 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 380 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. ground beef high quality, 80/20
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat grill to 600° or there about. A good burger needs HEAT.

  2. While grill is heating, break hamburger into small pieces then portion into 6 burgers, 1/3lb. each. Handle the burger gently. Do not press firmly together. Just push until the patty holds together and no more. A loose pack will allow for a more juicy burger. 

  3. Sprinkle both sides of the burger generously with salt and pepper. Place on a plate in the fridge until the grill is ready.

  4. When the grill is hot, place burgers on grill and shut lid. Cook for 3 minutes. Flip burgers then cook, covered for 2 more minutes. Check the temperature of the meat with an instant read themometer, pull off at 125°. The meat will continue to cook as it rests on the plate. It will rise to 135° to be medium rare when you eat it. 

  5. If you'd like your burger more done, continue cooking but test temperature every 30-45 seconds. It will cook fast. Pull the burger off the grill 10° before your desired doneness (so for well-done, pull at 145°.

 

Basic Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are so easy and versatile. Consider this recipe a basic recipe and adjust to whatever vegetables you have access to.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine AIP, Paleo
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 102 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 2 whole golden beets peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli florets bite size
  • 2-4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Peel and chop all the vegetables and place into a large mixing bowl.

  3. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Continue to add olive oil until all the vegetables look coated and shiny but oil is not pooling at the bottom of the bowl.

  4. Pour onto baking sheet and arrange in a single layer (use two pans if necessary). Roast for 20 minutes, stir then continue cooking for 15 minutes or until all vegetables are soft.

 

Status

The Cast Iron Pan Dilemma | Ideas and Inspiration for Storing Cast Iron Pans

So glad you dropped by to Flawed yet Functional today! If you’re new here check out some AIP and Paleo recipes here, get the low-down on my health and how I manage it here, and fun DIY projects here. For today, I have a problem that needs solving so I thought I’d run it by you all: how to store cast iron pans. I’ve learned so much over the years of the benefits of using cast iron (and I love how food turns out on them!), but when it comes to the practical aspect of where to put them in my kitchen, I’m lost!

store cast iron pans

Why Use Cast Iron

Why in the world do I bother cooking on cast iron? It’s heavy, it requires a different type of cleaning than most pans (no soap!), and it’s not ideal for all types of food (like very acidic dishes, i.e. tomatoes).

While, there are many benefits to using cast iron pans, the two most important to me are (1) it puts iron into my food so I never struggle with low iron and (2) it heats up very hot allowing for better crisp and flavor in my cooking. There are so many other good reasons! Check out these lists for more information (1, 2, 3).

Recent Acquisitions

On to the issue at hand! I recently received some new cast iron pans from my grandma’s estate, and I couldn’t have been more happy! I got a #9 skillet, a #8 flat pan (tortilla pan?), a grill press, and an enameled dutch oven. Score of the century, right?

cast iron pan storage

The only problem is now my cast iron collection looks like this…ruh-row.

cast iron pan storage

Now, I have a storage problem. (Perhaps, I should also mention that I have an entire set of Calphalon non-stick pans plus one more dutch oven.) I used to keep the 3 cast iron skillets that I use daily in the oven and the large dutch oven in the buffet in the dining room. Now there are far too many to put in the oven.

The most logical place would be these two deep drawers where I keep my nonstick pans. I don’t use all of these pans anymore (because of copious amounts of cast iron :)), so I definitely need to purge some of those. But then the issue of nesting them, the weight on the drawer, and just plain fitting them in the drawer comes up.

store cast iron pans

Inspiration for Cast Iron Storage

I took to the good ole internet to see if I could find any creative storage solutions. I love this first rack, but it’s far too large for my drawers. Although, ideally, I would fit them into the large drawers. The drawers are 15″ x 20″ by 10″ deep.

Cast Iron Skillet Holder

Hanging them on the wall is an idea, but I’m not sure I want them out in the open. I like simplicity and less clutter in my kitchen, so not completely loving this idea.

Storage for my cast iron. Thank you hubster!!This is my favorite idea, but I don’t have a cabinet big enough or a vertical rack short enough. Rats!

Pots and pans: are they cooking necessities, or are they drums? You decide. Promising review: "Before I bought this, I would have to stack my cast-iron pans on top of each other, which meant I had to lift one pan to get to another one. Now, they are neatly organized in my cabinet and I can very quickly go straight for the exact one I need—without having to pick up the whole collection. Very sturdy and tolerates the weight of the whole collection without giving. Love it!" —Dawn WhittGet it from Amazon for $24.97.Source

So there are my thoughts and ramblings on how to store cast iron pans. Lots of questions, not a lot of answers. I’d love your thoughts if you’d like to take a minute or two and comment. What is the best way to store pans??


What do you think? How do you store your pans (cast iron or not)? Do you have a great solution that keeps them accessible? How do you keep your pans from scratching each other?

 

Healthy Habits | Part 2: Keep Your Kitchen Clean {Almost} All The Time, The Non-Cleaning Edition

Welcome to Flawed yet Functional! Staying on top of my housework keeps me sane throughout the day. My primary area of focus is the kitchen. I cook a lot, usually at least 2 meals a day are made from scratch. Do you know what makes this task difficult? A dirty kitchen. In the first post, I tackled the cleaning aspects of keeping a kitchen clean, and today, I’d like to focus on the non-cleaning aspects of keeping the kitchen clean. These are more like habits to get into that will make your kitchen appear more clean not because you have wiped food off a surface but because there is less clutter. Let’s dive into the 4 habits to keep your kitchen clean {almost} all the time, the non-cleaning edition!

keep your kitchen clean

As I worked to write this post, I realized I’ve slipped in some of these areas lately. While I explain my top 4 habits (non-cleaning) to keeping my kitchen clean, I’ll give you a real life progression in my kitchen. To level set, this is my kitchen after I returned from an all day trip and my kids had been home with the babysitter. The sitter kept the kitchen clean of dirt and food but the counters were littered with stuff I brought home and the kid’s toys.

keep your kitchen clean

Clean up Toys

Maybe this is just me, but the kitchen is a magnet for my kid’s toys. Likely this is because we are all in the kitchen together often and the toys follow the boys, you know? Have the kids pick up their toys and take them elsewhere. Stepping on legos while cooking never puts anyone in a good mood.

My kids are real kids. They flop themselves on the floor claiming they “can’t stand up” when I tell them to remove their toys from the kitchen floor. So my expectation is not that they will pick up all the legos and put them in the proper bin on another floor. Depending on the age, I might just ask them to make a pile on the stool so I’m not stepping on them. Or I might say all the stuffed animals need to go to the bottom of the stairs (to be properly put away later). Baby steps. Baby steps. Involve your kids in cleaning the house however it works for you. It will be beneficial to both of you.

After: I put my lunch dishes in the dishwasher, took the cooler to the garage, and put away the food processor (box on the left), put away the dry dishes, and had the kids take their toys to the basement. I did not clean anything, just put things away. Huge progress, right?

keep your kitchen clean

Decor is Not For Counters

The kitchen counters are for working, so if they are kept clear of any clutter (stand mixer, blender, canisters, decor items, etc.) the whole room will look cleaner, even if it isn’t. If the item is not used daily, find a home for it behind a closed cupboard door. If the item is used daily, think long and hard before you leave it out on the counter.

For example, I do not keep my blender or stand mixer on the counter as they are only used every couple days. I do use olive oil, salt, and pepper every day (every meal!) but I also choose to put the oil and salt in a cabinet right next to the stove because I still don’t like the sight of them on the counter. I would put the pepper grinder there too, but it’s too tall!

After: I looked at my kitchen and realized I’ve gotten lax in this area. There was an overflowing container of wine corks, coffee grinder and pot we don’t use currently, and an empty fruit bowl. So I just put them away and replaced the coffee pot and grinder with tea items.

keep your kitchen clean

Sort the Mail Immediately

As soon as you walk in the door with the pile of mail for the day, make a bee-line for the trash can and quickly sort all the junk into the trash. Then create a place for the items that do need attention (bills, personal notes, invitations, etc.) and make that place NOT the kitchen counter.

I don’t have an example of this because I am ruthless with paper. I throw it away immediately.

Use a Mat for Drying Dishes

While there might always be a pile of dishes drying next to the sink, make those times you actually have put everything away that much better by using a drying mat or kitchen towel under your dishes. There are several advantages to this type of drying rack over a traditional plastic or wood drying rack.

  1. Less visual clutter – It’s flat. When it is empty, it doesn’t take up space in the room making the kitchen seem cleaner by having less visual clutter.
  2. It can be washed – Since it is only made of fabric, toss that mat into the washer whenever it gets dirty or too wet. When’s the last time you scrubbed down a wood or plastic drying rack? My guess is very infrequently.
  3. It’s easy to put away when guests arrive – Want to go the extra mile of appearing clean? Toss that mat under the sink or in the laundry room right before guests arrive. Bam. Clean kitchen.

After: To get that extra oh-so-clean look, I took away my drying mat. What do you think? Looks like a spotless kitchen, right?

keep your kitchen clean

With just a few minutes of work, my kitchen instantly looked and felt cleaner. Wouldn’t you agree? But it wasn’t! I didn’t clean any surface, dust, or vacuum. However, with less visual clutter, everything feels fresher, lighter, and cleaner. This exercise, including taking pictures for this post and cleaning up the unused coffee items, took less than 15 minutes (pictures definitely took the bulk of the time!). It doesn’t take long, folks, and it will make your kitchen feel so much cleaner.

When you boil it down, it all comes down to getting rid of the clutter. Clutter in the form of toys, decor, paper, and unnecessarily large counter items. If you can find another home for these items, your kitchen will feel so much cleaner with little work from you!


Do you have a trick to keeping the kitchen clean? What areas bother you the most? What things do you choose to leave on the counter and why?

fresh blueberry pie

Paleo Fresh Blueberry Pie

Hi, everyone! Thanks for stopping into Flawed yet Functional today! I’m a huge advocate for owning your health, eating real food, and living a fulfilled life. If you’re curious about my health conditions, read more here, or tasty, healthy recipes click here, or my recent habits for setting up a productive day, click here. Today let’s talk tasty desserts! I’d like to share my Paleo Fresh Blueberry Pie. It is blueberry season in West Michigan, and this cold pie is a staple in our home in the summer.

fresh blueberry pie

West Michigan has a great climate and soil for fruit growing. We (Michiganders) like to do things ourselves around here so there are u-pick fields aplenty by us. So far this summer, I’ve picked strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Before winter hits, I’ll have picked apples and maybe cherries…maybe peaches, we’ll see what the summer holds!

My husband grew up loving fresh, cold blueberry pie. Traditionally, it is made with a graham cracker crust, and the blueberries are held together with lemon jello. Well, since we can’t eat gluten anymore and as a Type 1 Diabetic, I want to watch my carbohydrate intake, I wanted to give this family favorite recipe a Paleo and low(er) carb make-over.

My goals for this pie were Paleo-friendly, cut as many carbs as possible (for a dessert that is!), and the fewest, whole ingredients possible. The crust is made of crushed pecans (graham cracker substitute) with coconut oil, and a bit of coconut flour to hold it together. It comes together very much like a traditional graham cracker crust, just different ingredients!

fresh blueberry pie

The gelatin took a quite a few tries to get right. Injecting fresh lemon flavor while still allowing the gelatin to set was trickier than I thought it would be. Come to find out, too much acid messes with the gelatin’s ability to set properly. Who knew?! The ratios in this recipe will set, but you do need to be patient. I recommend making this pie the day before you need it to make sure it is gelled completely.

To sweeten the gelatin, I used powered Stevia to keep the carbohydrate count in the pie as low as possible. If you don’t want to use artificial sweeteners, just add your sweetener of choice. However, it matters to the gelling process when you add it. If it’s a powdered/granulated sweetener, stir it into the gelatin before blooming it in the cold water. If a liquid sweetener (honey, agave, liquid stevia), add it with the boiling water.

This recipe can handle up to 8 cups of fruit. One of my attempts used 8 cups which made for a nicely domed pie (pictured below).

fresh blueberry pie

I decided to knock off a cup of blueberries for the final version to cut some of the carbs. A 7 cup pie is a touch less rounded, see below, but still pretty. If watching carbs isn’t necessary for you, use 8 cups!

Diabetic Tip: Each 1/8th serving of the 7-cup pie has 25 carbs. For me, that’s too much for one sitting so I usually eat a 1/16th slice.

fresh blueberry pie

Once the pie has had plenty of time to set, it will cut into nice pieces. Top with coconut whipped cream if that strikes your fancy and enjoy!

fresh blueberry pie

I hope you enjoy this dairy-free, gluten-free, Paleo fresh blueberry pie! It’s a favorite at our house in the summer and sure to be one in yours too!


What are your go-to summer desserts? Do you bake pies for dessert often? I hear there are people out there who don’t like pie. I, personally, don’t understand such people. Are you one of them?

Paleo Fresh Blueberry Pie

Paleo fresh blueberry pie is light and refreshing, perfect for a summer party! Use freshly picked berries and top with coconut whipped cream for the best summer dessert!

Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-free, Paleo
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 10 hours
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 382 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2.5 cups pecans crushed
  • 1.5 Tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 1.5 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Pie Filling

  • 2 pkts unflavored gelatin, ~5 tsp. Knox brand
  • 2 pkts stevia, ~1 tsp.
  • 2 lemons zested and juiced
  • 3.5 cups water divided
  • 7 cups blueberries

Instructions

Make Pecan Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, add crushed pecans, coconut oil, coconut flour, sea salt, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. 

  3. Press into an un-greased pie plate firmly on the bottom and up the sides of the plate.

  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until pecans are fragrant. Set aside to cool completely before filling.

Make Lemon Gelatin

  1. In a glass measuring cup, add the juice from the 2 lemons (~1/2 cup). Then fill up with cold water to make 2 cups total. Pour the lemon juice and water into a small mixing bowl.

  2. In another small bowl, mix unflavored gelatin and Stevia. Gently shake the Stevia/gelatin mixture over the lemon juice/cold water and allow to bloom for several minutes.

  3. Bring 1.5 cups of water to boil then stir into bloomed gelatin. Stir in the lemon zest from the 2 lemons at this time too.

  4. Put the mixing bowl in the refrigerator to partially set before completing the pie. Check every 45 minutes or so. Around the 2 hour mark, it should be slightly thick and beginning to stick to the sides of the bowl.

Assemble the Pie

  1. Place the blueberries in a large mixing bowl and gently stir in the gelatin to coat.

  2. Using a slotted spoon, gently scoop blueberries into the pecan pie crust. Gently move the blueberries around as you add to make them at tight together as possible.

  3. When all the blueberries are arranged in the pie pan, spoon the remaining gelatin over the blueberries to fill any gaps. Fill as many holes as possible without allowing the gelatin to ooze over the sides of the pie pan. You will have gelatin left over.

  4. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, overnight for best results.

  5. Serve cold with coconut whipped cream. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

This recipe has 25 carbs per serving.

Healthy Habits | Part 1: Keep Your Kitchen Clean {Almost} All The Time, The Cleaning Edition

Hi there! Welcome to Flawed yet Functional where I, Emily, purpose to live a healthy, fulfilled life to the best of my ability (I’d like to encourage you to do the same!). If you’re new here, read more about me here and my health journey here. This year, I’ve been working on establishing healthy habits that will support my health and allow me time to do the things I love (reading, productivity, sewing). One that is on-going but I’m making huge progress with is keeping my kitchen clean. Perhaps you are looking for tips and tricks to keeping that all-important, most-used room of the house clean. If so, this post is for you! Let’s dive into 5 steps to keep your kitchen clean {almost} all the time.

keep your kitchen clean

Consider this post Part 1 of how to keep your kitchen clean. In this first part, I’ll tackle all the habits that require actual cleaning, picking up a cloth and removing dirt. There’s nothing earth shattering about this post. I’m sure these are all things your mom told you over and over when you were young, but even with all of those reminders, we still forget. Allow me to be your mom for today. 🙂

Clean Up as You Go

The primary sourced of actual dirt and grime in my kitchen is the cooking and meal prep. It is impossible to chop vegetables without some falling off the cutting board or counter. But it doesn’t have to be a slippery slope to a filthy kitchen. Are you ready for this? My number one tip is to clean up as you go. My mom told me this over and over growing up. She was right! It is the easiest way to keep your kitchen clean.

After your mise en place is done, rinse and toss each bowl in the dishwasher as soon as you empty the ingredients into the cooking pot. Don’t let it touch the sink or counter, put it in the dishwasher immediately! This way, all those extra dishes don’t mean more clean up after the meal. Most of the clean up will be done while you are still cooking.

As your timing allows as you cook, wash as many larger bowls, knives, or sheet pans that cannot go in the dishwasher. You will be amazed how much cleaner the kitchen feels when you sit down to eat if you’ve washed the big items (even if it’s only 1 or 2!).

Finally, when you get to the final stage of cooking, wipe the cutting board off. This takes less than a minute and will go a long way to make the kitchen appear clean. It also helps if you serve dinner off the cutting board like I do. Who wants to serve up their dinner from a pan sitting on onion slivers and mushroom particles? It’s just kind of gross!

Wash All the Dishes and All the Pans

This is a hard one for me sometimes. Clean all the dishes, all the pots, and all the pans after every meal. Don’t leave any to “soak.” Soaking is just delaying the inevitable. (If you think soaking is necessary, fill the dish/pan with soapy water while you take care of the rest of the dishes. Then scrape the pan with a plastic scraper or spatula. Guaranteed, it will come clean.)

I know your belly is full and you just want to relax, but the next meal will be here before you know it so those dishes need to be done now. Get the whole family involved here. There’s no reason one adult needs to do this. Everyone can bring their plate to the counter and even load their own in the dishwasher (if old enough!).

Wipe the Table

You’re in the home stretch: the meal is eaten and all the dishes are done. The kitchen/dining room just needs a quick wipe down that will make the room seem sparkling clean.

Begin with the dining table, do a quick wipe starting at one end of the table and wiping back and forth without picking up the cloth to the other end of the table (If you’re right-handed, start at the right and work left and vice versa for left-handed). This method will trap all the crumbs in your cloth and is the quickest way to clean a table. This will take about 30-45 seconds depending on how large your table is. Or how messy your kids are… (I love Norwex enviro cloths for this. They seriously rock at cleaning AND only use water!)

Wipe the Counters

Once you’ve wiped the table, shake the crumbs into the sink, refold your cloth (again, assuming an Enviro cloth which rocks at picking up dirt!) and wipe your counters. This step should only take a minute or two because the cutting surfaces should already be cleaned up while you were cooking which was the majority of the food mess.

Wipe the Stove Top

Lastly, once a day, wipe your stove top. I’m talking a 30 second, get-the-fresh-grime-off wipe. This is not a deep clean but will go MILES to making your kitchen seem very clean. Also, when you do take time for a deep clean of your stove, it won’t be that bad because it has been wiped down regularly.

keep your kitchen clean

There you have it. This is how I keep my kitchen clean! It’s not a sparkling, no-crumbs-anywhere clean, but a very functional clean. I’m cooking in my kitchen every day, 3 meals a day and that just can’t happen in a dirty kitchen. Am I saying dishes never pile up? Absolutely not! Just this past weekend, we left the house in a rush, and I left the dirty breakfast dishes, skillets, and even knives on the counter all weekend. Yep, all weekend. I am human. But…

If you want to take control of your health and eat more fresh food, you will have to get better at keeping your kitchen clean. It will drive you nuts cooking in a dirty kitchen every day and might deter you from sticking to your health plan. So do yourself a favor and work on keeping your kitchen clean! Start with these 5 steps to keep your kitchen clean (almost) all the time and adjust as needed for your kitchen!


How do you keep your kitchen clean? Are you like me and feel like the whole house is dirty if the kitchen is dirty? How do you involve the rest of your family in keeping the kitchen clean?

Aside

Positive Impacts of Managing Chronic Health Conditions without Medication

Welcome to Flawed yet Functional! My name is Emily, and I’m an adult-onset, Type 1 Diabetic forging a new path for diabetes management by controlling my blood sugar levels through diet, exercise, and healthy habits. If you’re new here, hop on over to my Insulin Free Type 1 Diabetes Resource Page to get more information on what I’m doing, how I discovered it, and how I manage diabetes. Today, I’m going to get on my soapbox a bit and flesh out some of the positive impacts of managing chronic health conditions without medication. Obviously, my focus is Type 1 Diabetes, but these ideas apply to any lifelong disease.

managing chronic health conditions without medication

I’ve been thinking a lot about the other impacts of how I’m managing my health. What is the impact beyond my personal health and well-being? A common sentiment I hear is “Why are you trying so hard? Why not just take insulin?” In other words, “Why bother?” Well, I’m so glad you asked! Here are my thoughts on this seemingly simple issue that I believe is not simple at all in practice. 

Offending you is not my goal but rather to get you thinking. Your health and how you manage it affects more than just you. Changing how you manage your long term health could positively impact your life and the lives of so many others. While this may not be easy reading, I think these are things those of us with long-term health issues have to think about.

::deep breath:: 

Reduce Environmental Waste

I don’t consider myself to be a tree hugger type, but I do believe this beautiful world God created is ours to care for responsibly. Diabetic supplies are primarily made out of plastic and metal. The industry intends each syringe, lancet, or pen needle to be single use. If we’re being honest, I don’t know anyone, including myself that changes their lancets every use. So that’s less waste than the industry is instructing us to make, but still, TONS of materials making it into landfills to sit there for eternity.

By managing my Type 1 Diabetes through diet, exercise, and healthy habits, I have produced one 16 oz. bubble bottle full of sharps in one year. Yep, that’s it. It’s filled with about 20 pen needles and the rest of the bottle is lancets from checking my blood sugar every day, a lot of testing and not too much waste.

Food for thought: How is your health care affecting the environment? Are there non-medical steps you could be taking to reduce the use of these consumable medical supplies? If you changed your diet, could you throw away fewer pill bottles or order fewer prescriptions (paper and plastic galore!).

Reduce Health Insurance Cost

Diabetes is expensive for you, the insurance company, and your fellow insurance pool participants. The constant need for testing supplies (lancets, test strips, continuous glucose monitor supplies) and insulin supplies (vials, needles, pens, pen needles, or pump supplies) is costly. Other chronic illnesses require more frequent doctors visits, daily (sometimes multiples a day!) prescriptions, and other health management tools that are covered by health insurance plans.

So why should I care how much these supplies cost if I hit my deductible every year and the insurance company ends up covering it?

The health insurance company is a business not a benefactor. They are spreading the cost of your medical supplies over a large group of people, and you are one of the people in the group, including the amount that is spent above the deductible.

If your deductible is $1,000, but in a year the actual cost of medical supplies is $5,000, the insurance company keeps track of the overage! When the premium rates (the amount you pay out of each paycheck) are calculated the following year, the extra $4,000 is going to be factored in and spread throughout the pool of insureds. The company will raise deductibles for everyone in the pool and/or raise the premiums everyone pays to cover that $4,000. (This is very simplified, pricing is much more complicated but know that there is no such thing as free money, even for medical supplies.)

Food for thought: Have you considered your personal health management when it comes to insurance rates? What could you do to take control of your health, reduce your healthcare costs and reduce everyone’s health insurance rates?

Reduce Out Of Pocket Expense

Health insurance does cover some of the medical expenses for those of us with long-term health issues, but there is always a bit that will be out of pocket.

When I was first diagnosed, I had to hunt high and low for blood glucose monitors and strips that would be covered by my insurance. It was a nightmare, and in the end, I never did find a location that I could pick up test strips that would be covered (I failed at mail order too!).

My solution was to shop around and pay out of my Health Savings Account, so tax free but not run against my insurance. Did you know there are subscription services for diabetes testing supplies? I have an unlimited One Drop plan that is about $400/year. Many people compare per strip costs, so this is around $.22/strip. (Note: It looks like the cost went up this year to $480/year for unlimited strips. That’s from people like me using tons of strips! Again, business not benefactor!).

Even with paying for my test strips and lancets out of pocket and covering labs work and doctor visits, I came nowhere near hitting my annual deductible. That’s good news for my budget and your health insurance rates! You’re welcome!

Food for thought: Have you shopped around for the daily medical supplies you need? What about switching to different brands that costs less? Would you be willing to pay out of pocket for things your insurance company would pay for to save yourself and other insureds money?

Improve the Health (Current & Future) of Those in Your Household

As you’ve heard me speak about before, I believe the whole family should eat the same food. Not only for the support of the family member with health problems or food sensitivities, but it will improve the health of the whole family.

I should point out, I’m assuming that changing the diet leads the family toward fresh meat, vegetables, and fruit and less Cheeze-Its. What will not be good for anyone is switching from Cheeze-its to gluten-free Cheeze-its. Are you with me?

Short-term effects like stronger immune system, more energy, and more alertness/focus are huge perks. Likewise, there are long-term health benefits, from preventing diabetes to Alzheimer’s (now called Type 3 diabetes!), what we eat impacts the entire body from head to toe.

Food for thought: If you knew what would happen to your children/spouse down the road, health-wise, would you go through the effort to change now?

Improve Your Long-Term Health

Managing long-term health conditions without medication will improve your long-term health more than just taking medicine. This seems obvious to me, but it may not to you.

If you look for other solutions to your health issues than medication, you will be looking for and finding the root cause of your condition. When the root cause of the condition is discovered (gluten sensitivity, too much processed food, sugar intake, etc.), then real, true healing can begin. Not just relief/masking of symptoms, but actual healing of the body. Medicine does not heal. Medicine masks symptoms.

One area specific to diabetics is c-peptide levels. You body produces c-peptide as long as the pancreas produces insulin. When the insulin production stops, so does the c-peptide. Why does this matter? C-peptide improves circulation (a serious problem for lifelong diabetics!), improves kidney and nerve function, and more. Keeping the pancreas alive impacts more than just beta cells and blood sugar levels. Making an effort to keep the pancreas producing insulin will result in the kidneys continuing to produce c-peptide (I’ve spoken about this before) which is of long-term value to your health.

Food for thought: Would you be willing to put in the time and effort to discover the root cause of your health condition? Once discovered, are you willing to make radical changes to heal your body and change your long-term health?

As I write these thoughts out, I do see how this can seem offensive. I am not attacking you or your health. I only want to encourage you to think outside the box when it comes to managing your health, especially with a lifelong condition. Will it be possible for every person to get off all medication? Maybe not, but many could. Can every diabetic stop taking insulin? No! Not at all, if the pancreas has stopped producing insulin, the body must have insulin to function. Therefore, it must come from injections. What I am saying is if you are eating a whole foods diet that addresses any sensitivities you may have, there will be huge positive ramifications (even if you are still on some medication) beyond just your current health right now.


Are you offended? Did I make you think? What are your thoughts on health care management for lifelong conditions? If you have a lifelong condition, I’d love to hear your thoughts and discuss!