Dinner, again?

So, I've never been the kind of person that thinks about what to have for dinner AHEAD of time.  My husband used to ask me all the time, "What should we have for dinner tonight?"  I'd think to myself, 'We just had breakfast!'...but this is the way my husband was raised: dinners were pretty regular for him growing up.  For me, not so much.  I went out to eat a lot with my family, particularly after my mom went back to school for her Master's degree when I was seven.  Life was about convenience and what was easy.  I remember a lot of Arby's and Piccolos, this Italian/Mexican restaurant down the street.  My dad wasn't much of a cook, so we ate a lot of rice and beans, microwave meals (once we finally bought a microwave from a yard sale down the street) and lentil pilaf.

courtesy of dummies.com

I can't even recall a time when I cooked a full meal when I lived on my own after high school, while I was going to the state college in Denver.  I ate a lot of Top Ramen and macaroni and cheese.  Oh, and I drank a lot of orange juice.  Let's just say I didn't have the healthiest diet.  What I lacked in cooking skills I made up for in waiting tables at restaurants with good food.  Which led me to my husband.  He was in culinary school and we clicked.  Now, he worked a lot and so did I.  When we were home together, he made dinner.  Then came babies, and I still didn't know how to cook.  Many a mid-day argument ensued over the fact that I couldn't really think of what to have for dinner, let alone prepare it.

Well, thankfully that has changed, much to my husband's appreciation.  My desire to learn how to cook has grown.  My allergies as well as my daughter's soy and dairy intolerance as an infant made for adventures in cooking.  My father-in-law said it best in the beginning, after I'd make something to accommodate both my daughter and I.  I would say, "Try this, it's dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free!" and he'd chime in with, "and taste-free?"  Well, after many attempts at what I love ~ baking cookies and cakes, I have found success!  I have also discovered a desire to make good, nutritious meals for my family.  My husband worked two  jobs, days and nights for five months before we moved back to San Diego from the DC area and I had to prepare dinner five nights a week.  Let's just say that with a bit of inspiration from my mother-in-law (who worked full-time and cooked every night for a family of five, then cooked every night for us when we stayed there) and our cookbooks and gluten-free blogs, I only ordered out a handful of times!

Now, I cook a few times a week and contribute to many of our evening meal ideas.  I feel more like a cook than I ever did, though I still take hours to make my meals and my timing is still not so great.  Most of our meals are gluten-free, many are dairy-free (no butter at all really), and all are full of fresh veggies and nutritious ingredients.  Sure we eat out sometimes and order pizza occasionally for the kids - I get an antipasto salad.

Scrumptiously delicious GF chicken and dumplings
What I love more than making meals for my family, is when my husband and I get to make meals together.  A prime example of this, is our recent collaboration on gluten-free chicken and dumplings.  I must say, they turned out fabulously!


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