(Photo by ArtHouse Studio)

Jamie has taken over the meal plan section, with a few more additions she thought might be handy for your cooking options. Enjoy!

…And while you’re at it, drop in and see Charlie’s Top 5 Meals, and Jamie’s recipe listings for them!

Meal Plan – Week #14 (Written by Jamie)

(Meal prep this week — including Collard and Mustard Greens, Cubed Celeriac “Home Fries,” Vietnamese Pork Mini Meatballs, BBQ Chicken, Greek Chicken, Onion, and Cilantro – pic by Drew)

Meals: (1) BBQ Chicken with Collard, Turnip, & Mustard Greens, & Celeriac “Home Fries” / (2) Greek Chicken with Roasted Zucchini & Lemon “Rice” / (3) Deconstructed Bahn-mi Salad / (4) Taco Salad with Black Beans or Chickpeas & Fresh Salsa Dressing / (5) South African Chakalaka with Tumeric “Rice”

Snacks: Chopped Veggies (for dipping) / Balsamic Herb Dipping Sauce / Egg Whites / Naked Popcorn / Coleslaw with Chopped Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, & Sweet Peppers with a Lemon Basil Dressing / Julienned Cucumbers with an Herb de Province Vinaigrette / Black Bean and Chickpea small packs for bonus salad proteins /

(1) Chopped chicken breast coated with “Charlie-safe” barbecue spices like sweet paprika, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili con carne (very mild), thyme, cumin, and a dash of salt, and freshly squeezed orange juice (in lieu of sugar) and olive oil. I baked it then seared it briefly. You could sear it in a pan, grill it, or air fry it. Greens were cooked simply in a pan with olive oil and a little salt. Freshly chopped garlic was added once the greens were wilted down. Celeriac (or celery root—though, fun fact, it isn’t the root of celery stalks) needs to be peeled first. I find this easier with a knife, as the it’s not a smooth surface like a potato we’re working with. Then I chopped it into bite-size pieces, tossed it in a mix of olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, then air fried them till crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, stirring occasionally. / (2) Chopped chicken breast coated in lemon juice, zest, olive oil, parsley, thyme, dill, basil, rosemary, a dash of salt. Baked (in the same pan as the BBQ chicken, with tin foil between them) and then seared quickly. Zucchini were sliced into ¼” rounds and then fried with a touch of olive oil and a dash of salt. Cauliflower rice is made by cutting cauliflower into florets and steaming it over boiling water without letting them touch the water (or they’ll get too soft), then putting them in the food processor briefly until the right rice-size texture is achieved. I added some lemon zest to the cauliflower rice to brighten it up and match it with the Greek chicken. / (3) I sliced carrots and radishes into thin strips and did a quick pickle with white wine vinegar, a little water, salt, and dill weed. I didn’t have daikon radish, but if you do, I would use that. Chop cucumbers into thin strips then add chopped green onions and fresh cilantro. Mix ground pork with coriander, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, lemongrass, cilantro, and salt. Make thumbnail sized meatballs and cook. I air-fried, but you could bake, as well. Combine over mixed greens for a Vietnamese sandwich inspired salad. / (4) Our standard salad every week is mixed greens of some kind (this week was half spinach, half “herb” blend) with chopped cucumbers, carrots, celery, and sweet peppers. On the side we had a choice of rinsed black beans tossed with epazote and garlic powder or chickpeas seared in a pan (you could also use the over) with a drizzle of olive oil and smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin. For a dressing, I made a fresh salsa, using the food processor to mince canned tomatoes, green onion, red onion, garlic, a little jalapeno (sans seeds), lime zest and juice, cilantro, and salt. / (5) Cauliflower rice from above had turmeric added for great color and anti-inflammatory properties. (Next time I won’t recook the cauliflower rice with the turmeric, but will just dust it on. The texture wasn’t as good, and it added a bitter note.) On top was a blend of canned tomatoes, frozen green beans, and white navy beans with a spice blend of onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, chile con carne, thyme, coriander, turmeric, ginger, clove, and cinnamon. Super spice forward, smelled sweet due to the ginger, clove, and cinnamon making us think of baked goods, but tasted rich and deep.

Health Stats: 38.6 lbs (that’s the avg weight of a 4-year-old), and 18″ down

…Meanwhile, Charlie inches forward in her 14th week, with only two more ahead before her next health pannel check-in.

The external physical changes are obvious, and we are all crossing fingers that the internal stats blow the Docs away SO MUCH that they open up a few more food allowances to help her get more long-term energy retention.

Now that the sun is out and things like hikes and longer walks are part of her weekend days, we are still trying to bulk up snacks and meals to meet the calorie-burning needs (without her having to graze whole platefuls of beans and spinach salads every hour.) There is no “energy bar,” anywhere near to falling under her restrictions. The attempt to get more alternative nut proteins in backfired with a string of migraines usually only seen with a peanut and caffeine overload — so we are on break from those for a while, and have also put her on coconut milk watch (as part of her Green Curry meals) for the same reason.

…Eliminating anything new is a major kick in the stomach for all of us, as there is so much already “not allowed.” This means we take turns giving breaks before reintroducing a “possible” offending item in hopes it will remain on at least the “occasionally allowed” list vs landing in the firmly “No” pile.

The odd thing is that we are so far into Charlie’s detox nutritionally, you’d think her sensitivity levels would be less at this point. Instead, it almost seems like her reaction to foods have grown more intense than before. As if the oatmeal, potatoes, and pastas made some sort of odd alkaline food buffer. Not that she wasn’t upon occasion bloated and uncomfortable, but seemingly far less than a tummy that gets completely empty before new foods are introduced and burned through immediately without that protective buffer of “pillow” foods left behind. And because so much has been cut from her diet, what we might have only had her eat once every week or so (like other nut proteins), we tried to fit in more frequently to help keep her full, which backfired and started us back at a new version of square one.

…Which is why we would ALL give a huge sigh of relief if we were given a few more elements to play with.

For real.