This past summer dear hubby started to take a liking to oatmeal. While he likes oatmeal cookies and such things, oatmeal in a bowl has never been his thing. The change started when I bought some instant oatmeal packages for the kids for at the trailer. They were on a good sale (otherwise I would never have bought it) so I also picked up the Dino Eggs for fun. Our darling daughter dared Dad to try the oatmeal, which he did, and he discovered he liked it. Now his preference is to add just a small amount of water to just get the oatmeal wet. He does not like the mushy oatmeal in the picture. 

Now this change of heart lead to the purchase of lots of boxes of instant oatmeal, with hubby's excuse being that he's "taking care of my heart". But my heart was aching seeing all this excess packing in the recycle box, not to mention that even on sale, just how much more expensive this is then homemade oatmeal, and the sugar and extra ingredients in these little packages is a little too much than my liking. Not want to squash this new love for oatmeal in the family I looked to Pinterest. I knew there was a solution. Homemade Instant Oatmeal!

Looking on Pinterest there are lots of pins for homemade instant oatmeal. I tried one that added flour, thinking it would give that creamy texture, but it didn't go over well with my gang. You can add dried milk if you'd like, but didn't really notice a difference with that. I discovered while the kids do like cinnamon, they like a little while hubby likes a lot. In the end, it really is an embarrassingly simple solution... it's homemade oatmeal but not cooked in a pot.

Next thing to solve was the dino eggs that the kids love so much. They like to dig them out before the hot water is added and see who had the most. Too me these eggs are just excess sugar and junk in our food brought on by good marketing. Once in a while is a treat, but every morning is unwise. I think I came up with a much better option; yogurt covered peanuts (my kids don't like raisins) and the kids seem to like them even better than the dino eggs. Another win-win.

So now we have our own homemade version of Instant Oatmeal, listed below, so easy even hubby makes it.  I make up the mix in a container and then in the morning all that is needed is a half cup of the mix, enough hot water to your liking and top with "dino eggs" or more cinnamon and the family thinks they are getting something so much better than homemade oatmeal. Some have even asked if they could have it for lunch at school. Crazy isn't it. I tell ya, it's all in the marketing.

Homemade Instant Oatmeal - Cook House Style

4 cups oatmeal (I used the quick oatmeal but whole should work too.)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix this up in a container to store.

Been reading the book Wheat Belly and so I thought I'd try a wheat free week. Well maybe not completely wheat free but at least our supper meals.  Baby steps, right. Being wheat free isn't really a goal of mine but I am trying to be more aware of glucose index (GI) and wheat does have a high GI so it can't hurt to try these Wheat Belly recipes. Note: not everything below is from the Wheat Belly Cookbook, just those that are italicized.

Peppered steak, quinoa and green beans. Wheat Belly doesn't actually agree to using quinoa because it has carbs, but it is an OK level of carbs and eating it with steak will lower the GI impact on the meal anyway.

Tuesday: Almond crusted chicken, carrot rice and salad. Again Whet Belly doesn't encourage rice, but its going to be
basamati rice which has the lower of GI of the rices out there, so I'm good with that.

Wednesday: Meatloaf , mashed potatoes and salad. I don't know what Wheat Belly thinks of potatoes yet; haven't finished
the book yet, but what is meatloaf without mashed potatoes.

Thursday: Thai Chicken Curry Soup with salad on the side. Sounds yummy to me, not sure what the kids will think but gotta keep expanding their horizons.  If you notice salad a lot, I like to make a big batch and then I have for a couple of meals and only chop veggies once.  Dressing is always on the side at each meal.

Friday: Taco Pie and veggie sticks.  The taco pie will use the Wheat Belly version of tortillas.  Sound good too and kids
do like tacos.

The weekend usually is for eating up leftovers and/or what ever comes to mind.  I like to plan the weekday meals as the weekdays are most busy and that is when I benefit the most from planning.  I think this should be a good week for supper. The meals look more than reasonable. Now if I tried a bean week, I'd have a mutiny on my hands I'm sure.

Who else does menuplanning? Do you plan weekly, bi-weekly or whatever?  I find if I do this it helps me out a lot because I don't have to ask "what's for supper" every day.
I had my doubts that these wheat-free pancakes would work or even taste good, but they did. I used recipe in  "The Wheat Belly Cookbook." I did change it a bit; I exchanged one cup of the ground almond with chickpea flour. I did that for two reasons; 1) chickpea flour is cheaper than ground almonds, and 2) I thought all almond flour would be too grainy.
The family ate them just like any other time. Overall a great
success. Will make them again. 
Imagine, no coffee. For a coffee addict as I, that would be tragic. And then not only no coffee but no sweets like cookies, cake, chocolate! Heaven forbid! Well heaven didn't forbid but I CHOSE to forbid...for a week!

Let me explain. My church plans a week of fasting in January each year, so knowing it was coming up I decided I needed to do something. Now I sometimes have trouble with low-blood sugar so a complete fast didn't sound wise and quite simply I also didn't think I could do it. But I wanted to do something so at first I thought sweets.... and then I added coffee too. Oi, I must be crazy, but I was serious. 
This fast had to be something that meant something and these are two things that I enjoy, a lot.  So it started two Sundays ago in the afternoon. Here is a breakdown of my week.

Day 1 - Monday
First morning getting up and no coffee. Regular morning tired but then hubby made his coffee. I could smell it stepping out of shower. Didn't say anything. Didn't have too. Hubby did for me.  "Mmm, Cooofffffeeeeeee" as he greeted me when I came down.  That's OK I will be fine with.... tea, herbal tea. I like tea, not like coffee, but I like it.

I was expecting a headache, a big headache this day, but while I did have one, it wasn't that bad. Yeah for me! As the day went on I felt so incredibly tired and the mild headache didn't help, but what could I do. Mid afternoon my eyes were closing on me while working at my desk. If I put my head down I'm sure I would be asleep before my head hit the desk. I got up and walked around a bit all the while not trying to think of coffee and cookies and how they would give me the pick-me-up I needed. 

Kids came home, made super, I think. Don't really remember. There was picking one of the kids up from something as well, don't remember but its on my calendar and the kids are all accounted for so must have done it. Finally the kids are in bed etc and hubby and I sit down to watch TV and I'm out like a light. Didn't see much of Castle.

Day 2 -  Tuesday
Started much the same as the day before but this time hubby is trying to be nicer and made coffee in the Keurig thinking it wouldn't smell as much.  Wrong, can still smell it, but thanks for trying.

The headache was still there as the day went on, but not as distracting. I thought about how comforting a coffee and chocolate or cake would be. Addiction is not only physical but psychological as well. Must stop thinking about it and think about what I can have. More tea, yogurt, apple, banana, pretzels... OK I'm not feeling that comfort feeling but this wasn't about comfort, this is sacrifice.

Day 3 - Wednesday
Went for a walk after the kids were off to school before starting my work day.  That felt good. Sunny shining, breathing fresh air and no more headache. Alright!

Later I noticed an acquaintance was blogging her 28 day cleanse which intrigued me.  No coffee, no diary, no wheat, no sugar, you get the idea. Serious stuff here. She did admit to coffee cheats the first few days because family needs a happy mommy too. Then the thought crossed my mind, I could cheat, right? What's a half a cup of coffee? But no, I can't and I won't.  Jesus didn't cheat and come off he cross for a break. Said to myself, does coffee really have that much a hold on
me? I won't let it. It's one thing to honestly forget or slip up, but a cheat is purposeful. Besides, I now have almost three days invested into this and starting to feel better.

An interesting thing I noticed this day. While I didn't have a headache, when I thought of coffee, I got a headache. Stop
thinking about it, headache gone. What a hold caffeine can have.

Other exciting thing was I got my FitBit today in the mail.  I'll talk about that later but you can look it up on www.fitbit.com
if interested. In a nutshel,l its an activity tracker.

Day 4 - Thursday
Today I had back pain. Started last night and didn't sleep well because of it. So now tired and sore. I'm not accustom to back problems so while it probably wasn't as bad a pain those with back problems do have, it was for me. Got the heating pad for while I worked and it helped.  I googled caffeine withdrawal symptoms and there are a lot of symptoms related to coffee.
While body aches is one of them I conclude the back pain is not part of caffeine withdrawal but probably from the new Kick Box workout I tried (which I didn't think I did that hard) a few days earlier. The back pain is distracting so not thinking much of coffee or sugary treats.

Coffee and sugary treats really do go hand in hand. If I'm going to have a coffee something most times needs to
go with it. I don't put sugar in my coffee, but you could say I put it on the side.  I am missing sweets as well.  I'm not a hard candy girl, but chocolate? Now that's another story. I know I eat too much sugar and been trying to cut back so this is a good thing, but I'm struggling to think what else to munch on. Investigating new snacks that don't include sugar, refined sugar that is.  I'll eat fruit and dried fruit. I'm realizing I'm not getting that sugar rush anymore.... I miss it, but I know this is good for me.  In fact it will probably help straighten out those low-blood sugar levels I get at times.  I'm probably experience caffeine and sugar withdrawal, not just caffeine.  I did notice in the beginning I'd get these fluttering feelings in my chest, like heart
palpitations but don't know if that's what it really was.  I asked my sister-in-law, who is a fitness/health guru, and she says it is those types of feelings that go hand in hand with cutting out the junk. Isn't that comforting, but they aren't happening that much anymore so its good.

Day 5 - Friday
I'm tired of tea, really, there is in love affair going on here. Don't get me wrong I like tea in general and will drink it and prefer the herbal teas, but it's not coffee, the warm soothing, relaxing coffee. Oh well, if I want something warm to drink, its tea.

On this day I'm really starting to feel awake, alert and with energy. Back is still bothering me if I sit too long but better than the day before. I'm finally getting over the caffeine stupor. Not saying that I have boundless energy but the fog has lifted.
Yeah! Hubby even waved his coffee under my nose and I was OK with it, sort of. He is such a helpful, supportive guy, isn't he.

My daughter has also picked something to fast this week; desserts/candy. When she came home from school she told me she slipped up. At school they had a party type of thing at the end of the day (pajama day at school) and there was some candy things and she ate some and then realized she shouldn't.  Honest slip up.

Day 6 - Saturday
Glad for the weekend, get to sleep in to 9am or at least lay in bed until then.  Now with some extra sleep I'm really feeling good and energetic. I work from home most days and can get cabin fever at times so today I/we cleaned the house in the morning and then my daughter and I head out to the mall. I have my fitbit on and my daily goal is to get 10,000 steps in a day so lets get moving. After a while at the mall my daughter was thirsty so I got a juice at Tim Horton and didn't even order a
coffee for myself. Such craziness I know! I also went to Timothy's to pick up some more K-cups my hubby asked for and didn't order a coffee to go either. The guy at the register looked at me like I had three heads when I said "that's everything".

Made it a pizza night coming home from the mall and my mom had stopped by to join us for supper.  She had picked up some treats for the kids too.  My daughter said thank you but declined eating hers, and my mom said "oh, its almost the end of the week". I tell you, the look on my mom's face when my daughter said no to eating it was priceless.  She felt so sorry for her, but  it's a good thing. It's commitment, stick-to-it-ness. My daughter said "Jesus didn't come down from the cross for a break either." Love that girl.

Day 7 - Sunday
Coming to the end of the road today.  This was the day I was thinking of at the start of this week, the day I thought I'd be just gaga about, but I was almost sad.  OK, not really but I found out some interesting things about myself. I can live without coffee and sugar, and it can and will stop calling me "over here, I'm here, warm and yummy". I also discovered other munchies that are OK. (not going to lie, there is still nothing like a good ole sugar rush, but won't do it because its a
slippery slide down. Really, if I start, I won't stop.) The best part is that I can take control over my body and not be held victim to it. That is part of what a fast is about; to be serious and committed enough to deny your body what it wants or needs. The other part of this fasting is to pray and be in tune with God. Many people will fast for other reasons, be it a cleanse to detoxify or protest, but that more known as a hunger strike. What ever the purpose, it takes away the excuse "I can't do it".

So the afternoon came and now was the time for my first coffee in a week, the anticipation... OK it wasn't that big a deal. It was good, not like before though, but the psychological feeling of sitting down to a relaxing cup of coffee, yup, that feeling of enjoyment is still there. Still holding back on the sweets thing and going to try to keep that at minimum.

But there is more to this day. We went out as a family to Chapters afterwards and of course there is the Starbucks there too.  Hubby likes Starbucks, but me, dare I say, not so much. Hubby went and got a coffee and one for me too. I did drink it. I only like the blonde, won't drink the other stuff. Nothing unusual here. Now come bedtime, I couldn't sleep. Seriously I couldn't fall asleep.  After a while I started reading stuff on my phone to pass the time... 2:30am hubby wakes slightly and mumbles "what? you not sleeping?" and dozed off.  Me, didn't finally doze off until about an hour later. 

The evils of coffee. What a pay back.