Today was a pretty easy-going day. My kids watched DVDs, did a little something on the computer, and the like. (They're in a retro phase; today they busted out the Scooby-Doo. I was planning on culling all the Scooby DVDs to donate. Sigh...) It's just too darn hot out to send either of them out to play, even if they wanted to, and at 12 and 14, I can't just turn on the sprinkler and let them run around like loons anymore.
For me, though, it was a busy day. I feel like I haven't sat down for more than five minutes together. Today was Food Day. Food Day includes making all the things that go into all the things that get made. To bake, I need baking powder, but store-bought baking powder has corn starch; corn is on our "forbidden" list, so I have to make my own baking powder from baking soda, cream of tartar, and potato starch (2-4-2 ratio, if you're interested).
To make peanut butter fudge, I need marshmallow fluff because store-bought marshmallow fluff lists as its first ingredient corn syrup. To make marshmallow fluff, I have to make confectioner's sugar because store-bought confectioner's sugar contains corn starch. Put white sugar into the blender for a really long time, but with pauses and shake-downs because the motor heats it up and it gets icky. Then go back to the fluff recipe: Beat egg whites, golden syrup (not the called-for corn syrup!), and salt for a really long time. (Note to self: Next time, buy a stand mixer to avoid standing at the mixer for 15-minute stretches.) Add the confectioner's sugar and vanilla and beat some more.
To eat salads, we need a dressing. After much experimenting, we found a Ranch dressing recipe that we like. It doesn't have a very long shelf life, so we make it every five to seven days. I like to line up a handful of containers for the seven herbs/spices that go into it (along with lemon-juiced almond milk (no casein in this house!) and Vegenaise (wickedly expensive) to substitute for store-bought mayonnaise (which, for reasons unknown to me, contains soy or one of the other forbidden foods). That way, I can just grab a "mix" instead of measuring out half a teaspoon of this and a quarter of a teaspoon of that.
Because it's the Fourth of July, I figured we'd have S'mores. To make S'mores, we need graham crackers (homemade to avoid gluten), marshmallows (homemade to avoid corn), and chocolate (specially bought to avoid casein). I could have used the marshmallow fluff for S'mores -- and have in the past -- but I thought we'd enjoy toasting the marshmallows instead of glopping on the fluff. I had made marshmallow peeps at Easter time, so I used that recipe and rolled the blobs in confectioner's sugar instead of regular sugar. For whatever reason, (OK, I know the reason: I tried using a meat thermometer instead of borrowing my neighbor's candy thermometer again) the first two batches of marshmallows were no-gos. With the purchase of a pretty spiffy candy thermometer of my own, the third batch worked a treat. By this point, I was getting tired. The graham crackers didn't get made; we used up the last of the store-boughts and will just have to take the gluten hit.
We also had burgers and veggie kabobs. Burgers require homemade buns or bread because even store-bought gluten-free buns and bread have corn, soy, or casein. I haven't figured out how to make buns yet, and the GF bread mix that we used to like so much we now like not so much. In another command decision, I bought regular, oh-so-full-of-gluten buns. I cooked the burgers on the grill (oil-misted as Pam-type sprays all have forbidden ingredients) and topped them with bacon, casein-free, soy-free (read, nasty) cheddar cheese, lettuce, and specially bought bar-b-cue sauce or ketchup (as both are regularly forbidden).
I was planning to make casein-free chocolate ice cream, but my husband whispered to me as he headed out the door with our daughter that he was going to stop at Bruster's on the way home from the fireworks. Bless him. We're just going to ignore all the lovely casein in that most delicious Brusters ice cream.
So now I'm off my feet. One child is happily holed up in his room; the other is out with her dad. One dog is cowering under the bed upstairs and likely won't come out until well after the very last boom of fireworks; the other dog is stretched out beside me on the couch. There's a piece of peanut butter fudge with my name on it, and maybe, just maybe, no one will need me for several minutes running. It's funny how my definition of freedom has changed over the years.