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<p>My name is Kimberly and I hate to cook.  I love to bake but hate to cook. </p>
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<p>I need help.  I stood in front of my refrigerator tonight to start prepping for dinner and I started to cry.  The menu said "Potato Kale Soup with Leftover Salmon."  It just made me want to cry.</p>
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<p>The problems -</p>
<p>DD  can not have gluten, dairy, or soy.</p>
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<p>DS is the world's pickiest toddler (in this house:  how did it happen?)  He won't fruit or vegetables or anything he thinks has a fruit or veggie in it.  I made pumpkin coffee cake - he wouldn't eat it. </p>
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<p>I have a very small food budget</p>
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<p>I hate to cook</p>
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<p>I haven't figured out how to feed the freezer with our particular diet</p>
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<p>DS will eat potato soup with cashew creme and since I can hide veggies in it we have it a lot.  But really, again?  Potato soup again?  Sigh. </p>
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<p>How can I muster happiness in cooking and joy when I'm faced with food intolerances and pickiness.</p>
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<p>I don't even know what to make anymore.  To make things worse dinner is just the children and I since DH works.....alot.</p>
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<p>I need motivation.  I need recipes.  I need hugs.  HELP!!!!</p>
 

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<p>I'm not really sure about suggestions for those allergies, since I don't cook to accommodate those.  I would suggest that you check out the allergies thread, I am sure that there are others there who have a similar situation.  I can offer my understanding and sympathies at struggling to make dinner.  Some nights it seems an insurmountable task.  Hopefully on the allergies thread they may have some specific recipes for you.  My only suggestion for the pickiness would be to have the foods your DS will and can eat available by making them in largeish quantities, perhaps even freezing his sized portions.  Then make for dinner something else that he can eat, even though you don't expect him to, and enjoy it with your DH, don't even offer any to DS.  See if he gets curious about what you are eating and wants to try it.  For some kids this will work, others will just be happy to eat the same thing every day for a looong time.  Maybe it will work with your son?</p>
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<p>Good luck!</p>
 

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<p>Okay, if your ds will do soup, could you try other soups? What about bean soups? Minestrone? Cream of mushroom, or tomato, or leek, or chicken, etc? I, too, will hide veggies in soup, very easy.</p>
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<p>If he eats potatoes, will he try sweet potatoes....they are just orange potatoes after all!</p>
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<p>If I were you my main focus would be on getting him to eat fruits and veggies. If he absolutely will not touch them, I would start to reward him for eating some. If he eats an apple (or maybe just a few bites) you will take him to his favorite park. Maybe you could feed him a few bites of veggies BEFORE his main meal, and if he eats it all he gets a special dessert?</p>
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<p>Would cutting them with cookie cutters or wavy cutters help in presentation? I know it is the winter now, but many kids that grow a garden often cannot resist trying something from what they have grown.</p>
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<p>Perhaps you could cook two "side" dishes (small main meals) every night. One specially made for your DD and one that you think will work for DS. Again, if ds will try the dish that dd is eating, he gets rewarded.</p>
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<p>What would he do if the food that he likes isn't in the house? Would he eventually settle for something else? My dd had a liking for some sugary things that I just wanted to break the habit of. So I slowly weaned her, making only one a day availalbe in the house. Once she ate that then that would be it for the day. I did this for a while and then just wouldn't buy them anymore. She cried and wasn't happy but found something else to eat. Maybe your ds would surprise you??</p>
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<p>Do you have any good allergen-free cook books for your dd? I can't recommend any even though we eat allergen free, but most of what we eat is veggie based.</p>
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<p>And (((HUGS))) for you!</p>
 

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<p>I ate with those restrictions when my last baby was nursing. It's a pain, for sure, but I did end up finding some joy by reading recipe blogs by people with celiac or allergies.  Google some!  Most celiac recipes can be modified to exclude soy and dairy. And many allergy-friendly recipes can be done without gluten.</p>
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<p>So, a couple things.  The rice cooker was my friend.  We had rice or another grain most nights (you can cook millet, quinoa and polenta in the rice cooker, too). I also always kept gf pasta in the pantry (Trader Joe's makes a rice pasta that's inexpensive).  I would make meatballs and hide veggies in there and increase the bulk of them (using less meat) by adding gf oats.  My picky kids would eat those. You can even add some beans/lentils for added nutrition.  And you can make a lot of them and freeze them for later. Will your ds eat tomato/pasta sauce?</p>
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<p>I made muffins a lot.  Was your ds put off by the color of the pumpkin cake or did he know you'd used pumpkin or did he genuinely not like how they tasted? Would he go for banana muffins (since the color isn't as obvious)?  I did the same with gf pancakes, added pureed fruit if I thought I could get away with it.  My picky kids eat (gf) oatmeal with frozen blueberries, but I'm not sure your lo would go for that.  We also ate a lot of eggs for breakfast. Heck, we ate them for dinner a lot of nights, too.</p>
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<p>My other thought is to temporarily give up feeling bad about the toddler's pickiness. Most toddlers are notoriously picky.  My babies have eaten lentils, rice, fruits, veggies and all kinds of goodness, but then, at 2 or 3, suddenly they hated everything. It stinks.  But I would just do my best and try not to let their pickiness ruin everyone else's meal.</p>
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<p>Also, a couple things about feeding toddlers that actually worked for me. I sometimes put the food on the table and serve everyone but the toddler (when I don't think he'll eat what I made). Then, everyone starts eating and he gets curious and finally asks for some of the food. It hasn't always worked, but I get a better result than when I plate everyone's food in advance. Maybe it's a little toddler power play?? LOL.</p>
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<p>The other thing is that my toddler will eat a lot more if I stick toothpicks in it. Normally he won't eat grapes, but when I halve them and put them on a plate with toothpicks poking out, he thinks that's fun and will eat them.  </p>
 

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<p>Hugs. I cooked for several months for a kiddo who couldn't do dairy, gluten, soy or apple, and it was tough. Well, sort of - he was actually used to really bland, gross food, but I like to cook and felt bad about feeding him the same few meals over and over. So I kind of made it hard for myself. :p</p>
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<p>Both your kidlings could eat meat - say, a chicken breast cooked in olive oil and lemon juice - with fries (homemade if necessary, for the gluten issue) and tomato sauce - right? Or would DS balk at the tomato sauce? That sort of thing isn't the most fancy-schmancy meal, but if they eat it and it doesn't take much prep work, could you just decide to do that a few nights a week so you don't have to think too much about it? Obviously you can change it up a bit - if they eat steak, awesome, if you can find allergen-free sausages, cool, if they eat fish, super. Chuck on a few veggies for you and DD, and that's a pretty easy meal.</p>
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<p>Pasta might be another one. You can get GF pasta... would DS eat pasta sauce, or could you do a simple egg and cream sauce for him and pasta sauce for DD? She could have nutritional yeast, he could have cheese.</p>
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<p>Would DS eat veggies with hummus? (Even pita chips with hummus isn't a terrible meal, really.) Any chance he'd try pesto? You can get GF/DF/SF versions of both of those, I think.</p>
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<p>Would he eat fruit in homemade sorbet? Berries or bananas in smoothies? How about chocolate zucchini cake, spiced apple cake (where the apple's grated and thus invisible), banana chocolate chip muffins, chocolate beetroot cake (yes, it exists!), etc? There's a cookbook called Deceptively Delicious which is all about sneaking veggies into foods - I haven't used it, but I've read good reviews. Can be a wee bit labour-intensive though, like pureeing cauliflower to hide in cheese sauce. Would he try olives off toothpicks?</p>
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<p>Cold hard-boiled eggs are a nice snack. :) So's popcorn popped with olive oil and sprinkled with nutritional yeast.</p>
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<p>Could you do a chicken soup with homemade stock? Sneak veggies into the stock while you're boiling it, then make a clear soup (but if you can, take out a bit of the broth and puree some onion with it, then add it back to the pot) and add GF noodles. Very nutritious, chicken soup!</p>
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<p>Have you investigated raw dairy for your daughter? Some people find they can tolerate it when they can't have pasteurised milk, because raw milk contains lactase, which digests lactose. Lactase is destroyed by pasteurisation. It can be a pain to get, but it would broaden your cooking horizons considerably if she can tolerate it!</p>
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<p>Lastly: don't beat yourself up over it. The same few boring meals... that's a lot better than most kids in the world get. Being creative and pizzazzy in the kitchen is great if you LIKE cooking, but if you don't, don't feel like you "should" be providing snazzy exciting meals every night. That's totally unnecessary pressure under the circumstances. And I doubt your DS will perish from a few months off vegetables. :) Keep reintroducing them without pressure every now and then - it's highly likely he'll grow out of it.</p>
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<p>Are you currently nursing, so you also have to stay on the diet? If not, I'd give myself the freedom to make what I want to eat, just for me sometimes. Just because the kids can't eat something doesn't mean you have to give it up all the time.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #7
<p>Thank you for the wonderful suggestions!!!</p>
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<p>Today I tried to get DS to eat a bite of applesauce.  He used to love applesauce until he saw me make it and figured out it has apples in it.  LOL. </p>
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<p>The good news is DS does get lots of fruit and veggies.  Veggies through soup and fruit because for some reason he drinks smoothies.  :)  As far as the pumpkin coffee cake:  he saw me put pumpkin in it.   Sigh. </p>
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<p>I keep the whole family on the diet except DS.  Really, it's my own laziness in that I don't want to cook two meals.  We don't have a microwave or even a toaster so EVERYTHING I do is handdone and made with love.  I don't want to make it twice.  DS doesn't eat processed, he just doesn't eat what we eat. </p>
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<p>I might start experimenting with new recipes.  I love new recipes.  Or maybe a new type of cooking.  I was looking into Ethiopian last night.  I just need to find my joy again.  I lost it somewhere in the middle of potato soup. </p>
 
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