Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

The day always seems to go by so fast after having been inundated with Christmas paraphernalia since Ocober 31st.   So after a day of craziness, kids and wrapping paper, now I'm wrapping it up.  I'll be on vacation for a bit.  But I'm going to leave you with something sweet and simple.  Maybe you'll think, "Hey, why didn't you post this sooner?? I could have used that at dinner!"  But I assure you, with as easy as it is, you'll make it more often.  Dip strawberries and melon, top ice creams, or just serve with your favorite warm fall custard, this recipe is sure to please.  

If you already have this one, don't worry, I have a whole book of more to come, keep checking back!


Sweet Whipped Cream

1 pint heavy whipping cream
dash of cream of tartar
12-15 drops liquid stevia (any flavor you like!)

If not using flavored stevia:   1 tBsp vanilla extract (or your favorite flavoring)


You'll want to use the electric mixer for this one.  Pour the whipping cream into a bowl with the cream of tartar.   Whip until starting to get foamy but not peaking.  Pour in stevia, whip a few seconds, pour in vanilla (or flavoring) and whip steadily until stiff peaks form (but do not break!)

There IS a bit of an art form to this.   There is a fine line between thick, rich, sweet whipped cream - and vanilla flavored sweet butter... and there's NOTHING wrong with sweet butter!  It tastes great on GF french toast, GF coconut pancakes and a bunch of other things... however, if you're going for whipped cream... keep an eye on it while you're whipping.

(Oh yes!  That IS a gluten free, added-sugar free pumpkin pie in that picture!)
Just try to keep the kids fingers out of this one!

Merry Christmas!





Friday, December 14, 2012

Oven Roasted

I assured you today's recipe would not only be edible but simple and if you've already been there, done that, well, maybe this can be some inspiration to add this to your holiday table this year?  It's quick, warm, comfort food that is whole and packed with nutrients.

First of all, how many of you reach for a canned pumpkin every time you make a pumpkin custard or pie?  What if I told you it is easy and delicious to actually make your own pumpkin puree, using just your oven, a knife and a food processor.  Most people remember grandma's "grainy and difficult" from scratch pies.  This is simple.  It's easy to be intimidated but I assure you, one step at a time and you'll have it.  If pumpkin isn't your thing, I'll show you a wonderful golden acorn squash substitute.  

Heat it up!  These cold winter months bring the chill and the snow (if you're up north) and sometimes, even in the south, it's nice to have the warmth and decadent smell of roasting something in the oven.  First, we're almost out of fall, but if you look hard enough, you'll be able to find a sugar pumpkin or a golden acorn squash (regular squash work well too.)   If you're going to make a big pan, even one or two sugar pumpkins will be more than enough.   Both of these can be eaten right out of the oven, or they can be pureed to make a wonderful filling or custard.  

First start with your oven at about 400 degrees F.   I always place foil on my pan, and prick the gourd of choice and rub it with a little butter.  You can skip that step if you like, I always prick them just in case though, so they don't get bubbles that can splatter.   Place in the oven for approximately 25 minutes.  Roast whole, until soft enough to run a fork through.  Some pumpkins are a little larger and some acorn squash can be quite small.   I would say in my experience, about a pound requires 20 minutes or so.   When your pumpkin or squash is tender, pull it out of the oven.  Cube it, and remove the seeds and skin.   Here's where you have a choice.  You can follow the recipe below, or you can toss it in a blender or food processor and make it smooth.  If at this point you're opting for the food processor, you can use your pumpkin just like canned.  Add it to anything you want!  It's ready to go.  

If you would like a warm snack or a warm comforting afternoon lunch, follow the recipe. 

Roasted Spiced Acorn Squash

1 medium roasted acorn squash (or pumpkin) cubed
2 oz butter 
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 oz walnuts - crushed
1 oz. sugar free maple syrup
1/8 tsp dried clove powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
OPTIONAL:  1 oz. dried cherries or cranberries (WARNING! These have added sugar unless from a natural store!)

If your oven is still on... GREAT!  We're going to put it to good use.   Place squash in oven proof dish.  Melt the butter with the spices and pour over your acorn squash.  Pour over the syrup, sprinkle the nuts, and cherries if you chose to have them.   Place back in the oven for about 5-8 minutes.  Just enough to get it all nice and hot and melty and blend those flavors.   Pull it out... voila!  Instant meal!  

If your oven wasn't on, or you made the pumpkin/squash earlier and refrigerated or froze it, you can still use the oven if you choose.  You could also use a toaster oven, or if you really were starving, the microwave (for about 2 minutes.)   

This is a complete meal on its own or you can serve it as a side dish for a beautiful holiday meal.  
Enjoy! 


Note:  In my photo below, I mixed them and it was amazing, but it works fine with just one or the other.  Mine was piping hot and by the time the pictures were taken, the butter was melted into a puddle.  Beautiful and delicious!! 




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12

I was going to create a post at 12:12 today, but I was at a doctor's appointment and sadly could not get to my blog at the moment.  However, I did want to make a point to write at least a little something about a somewhat insignificant date - unless you were born, married or graduated Yale today.   For those of us in my age group or older, it is the last time we will ever see a repetitive date.   My son is three years old and he has a small chance to see 01-01-01.  However, he would be almost 92 years old by then.   That is somewhat of a heavy statement and sentiment.  Luckily for us, we have the now and I'm working on something for Friday that will hopefully be helpful in the fall/winter seasons.  It is another simple recipe like last weeks, but I'm hoping everyone can find use for it.  And it's edible.


Happy 12-12-12!  Enjoy your evening and see you Friday!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Irony

I didn't disappear!  Simply had a long day yesterday, but I'm here and I have a great recipe for you today!  You will love it!  I wish I had more/ better pictures, so this coming week, that is what I'm up to:  making sure I have improved pictures of this amazing recipe!

Yesterday happened to be very busy, and I was out running some errands.  I took my 3 year old with me and we drove around town with the top down on my convertible.  Sometimes he likes it and sometimes he doesn't.  He wears a hat in the car and will wave to people, it's pretty darned adorable.  He thinks he's such a big guy helping with the groceries or the errands, and it's nice to spend some one on one time after months of struggling with school and things.  We're cruising along yesterday and "Winter Wonderland" came on the radio.  We were singing along and grooving a bit, when the irony hit me.... Here I am, driving in beautiful 72 degree weather, warm, bright sunshine, top down, wind blowing, tee-shirt and sunhat during the Christmas season, and singing along/ imagining the "winter wonderland."   It was so funny, I just started to laugh!  Christmas for us former northerners is FILLED with memory of snow, cold weather, dreary days, dark afternoons, and Christmas lights kissed with icicles.    It's a time of family and friends, heavy coats, warm boots and mittens, sitting by the fire and drinking hot cocoa.   So, "Winter Wonderland" brought back a lot of those memories and I was sucked into the past for a few moments.  Reality, however, has a different tune... it somewhat sounds like the Beach Boys "Kokomo"...
*(not my video, follow the link to visit that person's channel)



and many days, it is really like that!  I've had warm sunny days with a drink in one hand and tanning lotion in another, while sitting in the warm sun.   I've been to the beach in the middle of December when we had one of the coldest winters in decades and it was 30 degrees, and in the middle of August when it's pushing 100.

As we continued to drive, Mannheim Steamroller came on
*(not my video, follow the link to visit that person's channel)


and inspired my 3 year old into "magics."  I started imitating him and asking what this was because it was so cool... When, he interrupted me and said, "No mom.  I do the magics.  You do the car driving."   Oh.  Got it.  I'm not allowed to do the magics.   That being said, with the warm weather and the mixed messages from Florida's nature of warmth and green everywhere, it can be more difficult to get that old "Christmas spirit."  I see lights and trees and somehow, they seem out of place.  I bought a fake tree one year and sprayed it with "pine scent" from an air freshener can.   That didn't really do it.   My children have rarely seen the cold or snow around this time of year.  The few times they have, it's because we were visiting relatives up north.

So, if you have any ideas on how to bring Christmas spirit to "Kokomo,"  let me know!  I'd love to hear your ideas on how to make a warm weather Christmas more festive!

In the mean time, here's your recipe, which, by the way, is NOT (it is but it's not) edible!!!!

Wait, wait, wait.  A recipe on a food blog that is not edible?  What am I doing?  Well......

If you have a girl or guy in your life that has dry skin, or loves lotions, you are going to LOVE this recipe.  I developed it years ago, but talking to my mom yesterday she gave me a great idea to spice up my old recipe.
If you have very curly hair, a little bit of this worked into the curls away from the scalp makes them shiny and bouncy!  I know, I used it on my son's kinky curls for years and he never woke up in the morning with tangles!

Island Lotion

REAL cacao butter (link provided for reference, not advertisement) - this is NOT cocoa butter (ok it is... but sometimes people confuse it with a premade lotion or marketed product... you're looking for a RAW version, with this spelling you'll get much better results!)
http://www.nuts.com/nuts/cacao/raw-butter.html

real, cold pressed, minimal processed coconut oil (refined if you do NOT want it to smell like coconut,
UNrefined if you like the smell of coconut) - The company I'm linking here, I really like a lot, however they do not pay me to advertise for them, so again, this is a reference, not an advertisement, but I do think their company has great products.

Food grade flavoring of your choice.   (I have NEVER used this site, however, think I would love to try it.  My local store has many of these in stock however, so this is reference for you!)  Any flavor or scent you enjoy - if you like chocolate cheesecake, get that flavor.  Find something that goes with chocolate or coconut, however, it doesn't have to be that way, many times the raw ingredients, their scent fades and you are left with the flavoring scent.

Here's the idea:  You choose your favorite scent for your 'lotion'.  You can buy a mold (for soap) if you want it to look pretty, or you can use an ice cube tray, miniature cups, or a mini muffin tin.

Take 2 parts cacao butter and one part coconut oil and SLOWLY, VERY SLOWLY, and VERY LOW TEMP, start to melt them together in a pan.  Keep the temp VERY low.  I cannot stress that enough.  And DO NOT use the microwave.  I understand it's quick, however the microwave will kill the natural properties of the oils.

Once the mixture is completely liquid, pour in a few drops of flavoring - or as much as you want or like!  If you love a strong smelling lotion, add more, if you are not so keen on smelling like a bakery, or spice rack, then use less (or none at all).   The product without the flavoring, has a sweet, light coconut chocolate scent that disappears shortly after you apply to your skin.   After you add the flavoring, stir a few more times to incorporate the scent and then pour evenly into your molds of choice.

Allow to cool over night (if you're in warm sunny Florida, you might want to cool these in the refrigerator, otherwise, room temp is fine.

When they are solid, press down on one side and they should POP release out of the mold (or depending on your mold you may just be able to invert the mold and they will fall out.)  If you are having trouble DO NOT IMMERSE THE BOTTOM IN WARM WATER!  They will melt faster than you can get them out of the mold.  Simply hold the mold in the palm of your hand for a few seconds and then try again to press on the top side and see if it will pop.

I suggest use right out of a warm shower.   Roll in your hands a few minutes then rub ALL over, a little bit goes a long way.  I like this best on freshly shaven skin, or on very curly hair.  If you used an adorable mold, perhaps these can go into gifts or stockings this year (provided the fireplace isn't on....)

Do remember...
1.  They will melt once the room gets warm.  I store mine in the refrigerator to avoid warm days or accidents.
2.  They do not taste as good as they smell, however ARE SAFE TO EAT!  **
3.  They are WONDERFUL for people with eczema (so long as they are not allergic to the ingredients)
4.  Can be used by people who are sensitive to chemicals, additives, and coloring.
5.  Can be used on curly hair to tame the cold weather frizzies.
6.  Make great gifts


**Yes, they will smell great.  Yes, you may be tempted to think, "Ok, just one bite."  Go ahead.  It tastes pretty gross.  HOWEVER, it has no added chemicals, or unpronouncable additives.  It is made out of ALL FOOD GRADE MATERIALS.  If your two year old gets into this and takes a bite, you will not have to call poison control and ask what to do next.  It IS made out of natural fats which people use in foods, and too much of this can cause stomach upset, just like eating too much of any food.

So, please, try to refrain from eating it, but definitely enjoy this without worry on your skin, your baby's skin and for the whole family during this cold weather season with lots of dry skin!

Wrap in wax paper or a pretty tin to give as gifts or store.  Be particularly aware of the melting point of this lotion, it can quickly ruin pockets or purses if left there in warm temperatures.

The best part of all this?  It's gluten free AND sugar free and you didn't have to write the company to make sure they didn't add gluten to the lotion your skin is absorbing.   I made this mistake once and am very careful now.  I used a lotion that had wheat added for a thickener (all natural and organic!) but gave me very itchy skin.


I hope you enjoy this recipe and today's dose of irony -- Snow songs and sunny days and a food blog recipe that you can't eat!

(pictures coming soon!)

Until then, enjoy a sight of the season!  Yes this is MY humble abode (not that you can see a whole lot of it!)


Friday, November 30, 2012

50 Ways to Say Goodbye

WELCOME TO FRIDAY!!!  First, I hope there's no copyright infringements in regards to today's post title.  If you know what I'm talking about, isn't that fun?!  My kids love it, we all sing along and everyone wants to dance.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, well, there will be a link at the bottom for you to follow.  As you probably know, around here, we're pretty much music enthusiasts.  We all love, love, love music, almost more than we love good food.   All of my kids have grown up listening to music.  I used to be that mom who wanted every moment of the day filled with Bach, Mozart and the fullness of a grand piano so my children would be genius's.   That ended about 10 minutes into the idea.  Since then a stream of 90's bands have filled my house and my kids have picked their favorites.  Sometimes they look at me like I'm crazy, and sometimes they beg for a song to be played again.  My oldest got to hang out with Parachute AND the Goo Goo Dolls last year.  His first concert ever, he won a back stage meet and greet, and while we were grabbing dinner, met John outside on the sidewalk (yes, I have pictures!)   I cannot even begin to tell you how good Goo was to him.  The whole band was genuinely excited to see him, and since it was his first concert I was trying not to be "too much."  It was a great night and we had a lot of fun.

Now.  For reality.  Let's start at the beginning (the second part of today's post title.)  Yesterday was pretty crazy.  I woke up and got moving pretty quickly, drama after drama kept happening with the kids and before I know it, I'm running late.  Rushing into class, I get there about 5 minutes after class starts and feverishly start working on my (impossible) test.  Everyone is stressed, the tension in the room is palpable.  We finish the test and the class erupts into the hallway with sighs of frustration and defeat.  The common complaint was no matter how hard you studied, the test was just very complicated.  No one felt very good about it.  Onto lunch and the next test - the final.  We had no class the week before so Thursday's class was about last week's material, then we would take the final right afterward.   Here we are again, angst riddled and tense, studying the material and hoping for the best.  Luckily, after that one, everyone's moods lifted.  We ran out, excited and ready to get onto the weekend, however, I still had another test.  I rushed home to let the babysitter go, and the next thing I know I'm pouring through my work.  Took the test and finally cleared one more thing from my list. At this point, I'm exhausted and ready for the day to be done.  I get the kids to bed, and beeline for the shower.  And here, my good readers, is where it all goes down hill.  I start up the shower, and get in, and all the days aches and cares and worries start to swirl right down the drain with the yummy warm milk soap suds.  The water is steamy hot and melting away the stress and tensions.  I start washing my hair when suddenly it hits me... the water isn't quite so hot anymore... hmm.  Ok.  Maybe one of the kids left the faucet on in the other bathroom.  Ok, whatever.  Keep washing, but notice, it's getting a bit cooler.... and a bit cooler... and OMG HURRY UP AND RINSE OFF BECAUSE IT'S GOING TO BE ICE IN ABOUT 3.2 MINUTES!!!!  And now I'm RUSHING like a prize horse in the Kentucky Derby.  As I rinse finally and slam off the water, it goes to ice temperature and I jump out of the shower.  Grabbing a towel and shivering and thinking... this is NOT what I needed today, I proceed to go down the list of what's wrong.  Perhaps the breaker tripped?  Maybe the water IS on somewhere else?  Maybe there's a coil out?   I don't have time for this though, I have doctors appointments and another class tomorrow morning.  I head to bed, get deep into sleep and then hear beeping.... beeping... beeping.  We lost power.  Fun. 

Long story short... the power came back and after today's running, the wonderful appliance man showed up... and then I started singing 50 Ways To Say Goodbye... because for real, no lie... she's dead. 


They're bringing my new water heater... on Wednesday.  Yeah......... 

I think this calls for something delicious!  

We should call it, "No Hot Shower Salad" 

Or just simply: 

Cold Shrimp Salad

Ingredients: 
4 Servings of your favorite gluten free pasta OR brown/long grain rice 
12-14 medium shrimp cooked but tails removed - can be chopped
1 stalk of celery - diced
1 avocado, diced or mashed
1-2 cups homemade mayonnaise (or store bought whatever you like)
1/2 lime (squeezed - use the juice)
red pepper flakes (to taste... no more than about 1 tsp)
2 tsp dill seed
2 tsp paprika
2-3 oz of shredded parmesan romano
1/2 lb of cooked sweet peas (cold)
2 cold, chopped hard boiled eggs
OPTIONAL: 2 tbsp milk if needed if dressing is too thick

Place pasta, shrimp, eggs, and peas in a large serving dish.   Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl or salad dressing bottle until well combined.  If you do not like mayonnaise (I don't blame you), you can use plain, unsweetened greek yogurt as a substitute.   I start with a cup, and as I add things, I'll add more to make it thicker or to cover better.  If you just like a hint, or 'dip', you can just use a cup, if you want the whole salad covered, then use 2 cups.  Pour your 'dressing' over your pasta mixture and serve COLD.  You can even place them all in the fridge (covered) for a while to chill.  However, this salad needs to be kept cold, AND needs to be eaten immediately.  The avocado, mayo, milk combo do not last for long and you'll have a brown mess the next day.  Serve this up right as everyone is sitting down to dinner.  It's delicious, flavorful, and healthy (mostly!)

And it's cold.  Just like the shower.  =)







Friday, November 23, 2012

Welcome to the Holidays!

Well, it's begun.  The insanity everyone calls the "holiday season".   We celebrate Christmas around here, and typically Christmas BEGINS on the 24th and goes until January 8.   It's not unusual for our tree to go up around the 20th and just when the radio quits playing carols, that's when our festivities begin with big meals, presents, visitors and the festive mood of family and celebration.  Unfortunately for us, the rest of the world goes back to reality on Jan. 2 (sometimes on Dec. 26) and then we look crazy still wearing our red and green and singing "Silent Night."   This makes for a strenuous relationship with the outside world.  So, more and more every year our little Christmas only lasts a few days.  Some people really get into it and do gifts every day, some celebrate on the day then again on the 8th.  I think a lot of people just wish it would go away by the time the 25th rolls around.   We used to do the grandparents one night, other grand parents another night, our family another night, friends another night, you get the idea.  Nowadays, it kinda fades into the past once we hit Dec. 25 at 1:00 p.m.

One big tradition that I've always had is Monkey Bread for Christmas morning breakfast.   I've been making Monkey Bread for about 15 years.   Imagine my absolute crushing disappointment to not be able to eat it.  The first year I couldn't have it, I refused to cook anyway, because I was so emo about not being able to eat anything I loved.  Well, that did NOT fly with the kids.  They wanted their classic Christmas breakfast.  The next year I broke down and made the whole thing (thinking, falsely that now I had things in my arsenal and I'd be fine with it.)  Wrong.  I ate quite a few bites of it.  And then got sick.  However, it was really good!  While it lasted.....

Do I have a great gluten free alternative to Monkey Bread?  Not yet.  You just cannot replicate the chewy, gooey, smooth texture of wheat and sugar in a sugar free, wheat free dish.  It just (mostly) doesn't happen.
However.  I do have something that IS delicious, sweet, gluten and added sugar free that perhaps may become a NEW Christmas tradition breakfast!  This dish does have fruit in it, and if you're avoiding that because of natural sugars then, I'll have more coming up that you can try.  So, don't panic yet.  But for  now, we're going to be using pears.

I LOVE pears.  I made pear everything one year, pear lemon, pear ginger, pear chocolate (YUM), pear orange, pear cinnamon, pear apple cranberry.  You name it, I made it.  This particular recipe I did come up with on my own however, if you find that your Aunt Martha made this in 1967, please don't call me and say I must have broken into her house and stole the family recipe.  I wish I was that good.  No, this came to me in a pear craving.  That's it.  Unless Aunt Martha answered my telepathic cravings with her recipe in my head... well then I got it from her.

Ginger Pear Cobbler

5-6  ripe pears chopped (not brown though)
28g (1oz) grated fresh ginger **NOTE
pinch salt
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 tsp cinnamon
4g (1/8 oz) vanilla extract
1/2 tsp NuNaturals Stevia or 10-14 drops liquid (or NONE at all if your pears are sweet!)
2 tBsp lemon juice
26g (1oz) chopped almonds
26g (1oz) craisins (optional - remember regular grocery store adds sugar, Wholefoods has a kind with no added sugar)

(yes I see the disparity of the 28g/1oz of ginger and 26g/1oz almonds - this kinda gets my argument of we need to go back to metric but what do I know.  I like ginger, I eeked a bit more into the mix.)   =)

Topping
56g (2oz) crushed almonds
1tsp salt
142g (5oz) GLUTEN FREE OATS ***NOTE
56g (2oz) sugar free maple syrup
56g (2oz) room temp or softened butter (or coconut oil)


**Note:  something I learned the hard way.  Fresh ginger is kinda solid feeling, like a carrot.  Older... aging ginger can get soft.  I have nothing G rated to compare that too... OH like a twizzler!  For a bunch of people who are eating sugar free, I'll be really impressed if you remember what twizzlers feel like.  LET'S just say, more like the texture of an aging tomato?  I'm not doing any better huh?  Either way... OLD ginger is HOT, and very juicy, it tastes great, however, fresh works better here.  It's sweeter, easier to grate and has very good flavor without being overpowering.

***Note:  Some people find they react to oats.  If you make sure you are using gluten free oats, sometimes you will find you can tolerate them... sometimes not.   Either way, if you are able to tolerate oats, make sure you get gluten free.  They are farmed and processed differently as to avoid wheat cross contamination.  I ALWAYS advocate for GMO free and organic.

Directions:

First, chop your pears into 1/2 to 1" cubes into a bowl and pour the lemon juice over them, fold gently.  Add everything else (not topping,) fold that in as well.

Now.  Here is where you have a VERY, VERY difficult choice.  IF you are a raw foodie and you want to eat this cold....you can.... follow the directions for raw.  If you want this warm and bubbly and crispy on top out of the oven... follow the regular directions.  Really, it depends on if you can wait and let it set all night and risk waking up to find an empty pan in your fridge, or if you want to pull it out of the oven and turn around to get a plate and find the pan empty and still piping hot.  Your call.

FOR BAKING:
Preheat your oven to 425f.  Butter a glass 8x8 pan and pour in your pear mixture.  In separate bowl, mix your dry ingredients for topping, then add in the wet ingredients, mixing with a fork until crumbly (I recommend using butter here.)  Crumble the mixture over your pears.  Bake uncovered for 25 minutes.  Try to let it cool at least 5 minutes, serve with heavy cream poured over the top.


FOR RAW:
Pour your pear mixture into a glass 8x8 pan.  In a separate bowl mix your dry ingredients for topping, then add wet ingredients (coconut oil works here but not quite as flavorful as butter.)   Mix with a fork till crumbly.  Pour over the pear mixture and PRESS together (not too much, don't squish the pears.)  However, you do want to create kind of a cookie 'cover' for the pears.   Place in refrigerator covered to let flavors meld!  Chill overnight or until you can't stand it any longer.  Eat from pan.  I mean... serves about 8 - if you're super generous....
(you can still pour cream over it, it's delicious!)

Here's the real problem.  Because the cobbler was hot out of the oven... I got pictures of it.  The other one.. well, it didn't last long enough to get a picture.  In fact... the topping never met the pears - or the refrigerator for that matter.  We just ate it from the bowl with a spoon and then a spoonful of pears,  spoonful of topping, spoonful of pears, spoonful of topping.... well, you get the idea.  It didn't last.


So, here's hoping you can blow the kids out of the water with this healthy and delicious breakfast!  Or just hide in your room with 2 bowls and a spoon and lock the door.

Whatever.

Here's all the stages!  I was able to chase my kids away long enough to get decent pics!  HAPPY HOLIDAYS and enjoy!





Monday, November 19, 2012

Under Construction

This blog has been live an entire year!  I have so many recipes yet to share and so many things I'd like to post and am currently working on my own website, that may or may not merge into this.  When you pick up one healthy lifestyle, it starts to bleed into everything else.   Not that my diet was the starting point.  Years ago, it started with something everyone would pretty much consider normal and simple and it branched from there.  I started looking for healthier foods, healthier living, healthier mentalities and interactions.   I'm sure you've heard the phrase "toxic relationship."  It basically refers to someone who promotes instability, drama, unhealthy lifestyle or spirituality, or a general malaise in your life.  As facets of this life became shining or bright for me, others dimmed a bit.  That included some people to an extent.  What used to be important is no longer, simple things became simpler, and important things became championed.  I believe most of us go through this transition in life, and sometimes, sometimes, I feel like it may be easier for women who are very connected to life around them.  For many, it's easy to make changes for her baby: the woman who quits smoking while pregnant, or starts watching what she eats.   These things can ultimately lead you down a path you never thought you'd find yourself on.  I have talked to men that had these type of awakenings, with their kids, or with situations that were eye opening.  I'm not being exclusive, just noting that's where I see it often.

That being said, had someone asked me at 15 when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder if I would be blogging about food and going to conferences for women, I would have laughed at them and told them, "I just want a better job so I can get a nice car."   It's easy to be a part of the system,  it's even easier to fall victim to it.  So, as we all navigate this rocky road of reality and dreams, we find our niche and do what we feel called to do.

In this case, I'm on my road, and since you're kinda following with me here, if you're interested in the recipes or you like what you see, subscribe for updates and make sure to check back once a week to see what's going on.  I am working on an index of all the recipes arranged according to type, sweet, savory, snack, or meal.  I may integrate into my website (which is built around natural and peaceful beginnings of life and family living) or I may keep my food separate from my kids - which is almost always a great idea, otherwise, we end up with banana pudding dripping from the ceiling.... across the room from the table.

Also, I made a cheesecake today!  Yes, another one.  And after my weekend with these mama-mazing women, I have realized I don't do quite as much with dairy free as some would like, I will attempt to focus some more on this.  I'm a dairy addict, and it IS a cause of swelling sometimes.  If you have arthritis, have tried gluten free the next step might be to go dairy free.  At this point, you wonder, WHAT DO I EAT??  Well, that's what we're working on here!  No, cheesecake does not fall into that category, unless... it's a dairy free cheesecake (yes, I have a recipe for that!)  I've also found a gluten free, dairy free lemon curd recipe as well!  We have great things coming, don't worry, there's something for everyone.

As for today's cheesecake?  Well.  It's ridiculously delicious.  Check back and see if I can be convinced to part with this wonderful recipe in time for the upcoming winter holidays!

Perhaps you'd like to try these recipes this year as part of your Thanksgiving dinner:

Upside down sweet potato pie
Green beans and cranberries
Spinache artichoke dip
New York Cheesecake

Enjoy! Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Manners

Since I will not be here Friday, I will be posting today in a feeble attempt to keep this crazy train going.  I have a lot of fun with this blog and of course I love food so much,  that to stop blogging would be akin to stop breathing, except that sometimes I get distracted and I don't write whereas, mostly, I do not get so distracted I stop breathing.  Actually.....

Anyway!  So today's topic on a food blog, is manners.   I have kids.  I bet you or someone like you (ahem) has kids.   Maybe your neighbor has kids?  I'm sure you must know someone who has kids.  Kids tend to get sick a lot too and sometimes, perhaps this person is a little... unwell? (ahem)   Either way, kids are a great example usually of people who need manners.   However, I'm sure we've all met that ONE person who is genuinely full of himself, thinks he owns the world and doesn't owe anyone anything, especially courtesy.  This person could be compared to a child with his impetuousness, lack of discipline, and general lack of respect for the general public around him.  When everyone else starts to get angry, he tends to get bent over everyone's "irrational" behavior.   You see, we're supposed to be grateful, praising the gods for their hand me down.  Or whatever bone they threw.  So, today's lesson is based in the real world, where us normal folks live.

Begin:

Please:  paired with a request:  Please pass the peas.

I'm sorry / my apologies:  usually following a mistake or misunderstanding:   I'm sorry we didn't post the stipulations of the contract you signed and then proceeded with the business deal anyway.

Thank you:  gratitude for a good deed received:  Thank you for purchasing things from me, when you could go to someone else and be just as overjoyed.

Excuse me:  sometimes coupled with "I'm sorry", continued clarification of error:  Excuse me for my mistake, I will try my best to rectify the situation.

Most situations and misunderstandings can be generally smoothed over by a general use of manners.  Sometimes it takes a little more effort to prevent a downfall, however, the work is totally worth getting everyone back to good.


Tuesday was a little rough for my friend J and I.  She's the one with the awesome pictures of Johnny at the Goo's concerts.  I stole them fair and square right off her camera.  {I'm sorry for stealing your pictures and posting them on my website.  Since you read my website, I'm probably busted.  - I'm using my newly learned manners.}  J is a great understanding friend, so imagine my surprise when Tuesday rolled around and our combined disappointment led to a long day of upset and sadness over a miscommunication.

Let's just say, we ran into an unexpected glitch in our fanatic and frantic race for our beloved past time, only to find out, it wasn't exactly what they said it would be.

We're recovering.  Don't worry!

In the spirit of learning new manners, getting on with life and knowing, we all have our ups and downs, I'll post a very simple recipe that will go great with some onion and chive sour cream and a little movie pick me up.  A nice snack that can be paired with some cheese or would make a great side with a burger.  It's gluten free, but has natural sugars.  I don't usually use potatoes on this site, however, this is very similar.  Sometimes you just have one of those days where you need a simple salty snack, but without the icky additives and worries about,  "what did they put in this."


Snackable Plantain chips

1-2  BARELY yellow plantains (basically - you want them yellow enough that you can still peel them without cutting the peel off like when they are green, but not with brown on them - which makes them sweet)
fine ground sea salt for sprinkling
butter
1 lime, quartered


Heat your grill (I LOVE mine - you can see it HERE - I very much recommend it.) to 300-325f.  Grease the very liberally with butter.  You don't need the plantains to sit in a 1/2 inch pool of it, but not just a simple swipe with butter either, you want to see bubbles.  Slice the plantains anyway you like, but keep them somewhat thin.  Not potato chip thin.  Sprinkle both sides with a bit of salt.   Heat on grill till warm brown on both sides, about 20 minutes.  It takes a WHILE, about 10 min a side.   If you get to 10 min, and yours are not brown - let them be a little bit longer.  If you get to 10 min and they are burned, your heat is TOO high.  Low and slow.  You'll get a wonderfully crunchy on the outside, smooth on the inside, salty, chiplike snack, which everyone can enjoy, with no additives, chemicals or preservatives.  After removing from heat, sqeeze with a little bit of lime and serve with cheese dip or onion chive sour cream.



As for J and I.  Well,  we just look at this whole situation and our attitude now is, "I'll believe you when......"


(again, the blurriness is a little awkward for a food blog, I had to take these with my iPad.  Faith in my camera restored....)






Monday, November 12, 2012

Best. Monday. Ever.

Of course.  You knew this was coming.   You did.  And you knew the day it was here, my blog would explode in a veritable panic of musical happiness....

MATCHBOX 20 IS HEADED TO THE USA!

Ok. Ok.  Australia.  You can quit gloating now.   They went there first and my best friend and I were just crushed.  We could not believe one of our favorite bands was abandoning the U.S.  I mean, we totally understand, that Australia is beautiful and the people are awesome... but we want to go to the concerts too and can't afford to fly to Australia!  Well.  It's our turn now!

So, my food blog has just been overthrown by a musical rant.  We'll be seeing them in Baltimore in February, then Tampa and Orlando in March.  They say they are going to be doing more over the summer with the major cities, so perhaps we'll get exponentially lucky and get to see them again.  I'm in the market for front row seats, so all of you awesome people out there who are friends with MB20 and read my blog, just write anytime and hook me up!

Anytime now....

Still waiting....

=P

Anyway.  In celebration of more music awesomeness for this year (2011 was filled with Goo Goo Dolls and I have the pictures, video, audio, backstage passes, signed set lists, and stage paraphernalia to prove it!)
It's taken me almost an hour to write this post as my imagination pulls me to loud crowds, standing in line, being so excited I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest and chase the lead singer across the stage.  I'm lost in daydreams about what front row with MB20 would be like and if I'd survive the heart attack from being that close.   I have lofty goals of up close pictures of Rob Thomas.... sigh.  I probably need to get out more.

I would VERY MUCH love to give you the most awesome celebratory recipe today so we can all party on with MB20, however.  However.  I did something this weekend that would make everyone here completely drool on themselves.  It was THE best recipe I've come up with since probably a week ago.  I know I don't post all the time, but I'm constantly searching for ingredients, recipes, ideas, and inspirations for different things.  I like to test them a few times and then post.  I had a great idea once, tried it, and it flopped so badly, it left a bad taste in my mouth (lol literally) and I decided it wasn't such a great idea after all.  Glad I hadn't already just passed it onto you (since it LOOKED wildly successful!  It did NOT taste that way.)

I'll tone it down a bit from my near panic flailing excitement and talk about breakfast.

Do you struggle with breakfast food?  Eggs.  Check.   Eggs.  Check.   Egss with cheese.  Sigh.  Is there anything else for breakfast that's gluten free and sugar free?  Have you seen cereal lately?  It's packed with the rice flours and potato starches and SUGAR that we were talking about on Friday.  That is NOT a great way to start a great day.  I find a good breakfast needs protein obviously, but eggs have gotten old.

Here is a great morning starter, fairly easy to throw together, and if you wanted to, you could add any number of your favorite items to it.

Morning Burst Yogurt

1 cup plain, unsweeted organic yogurt (Greek works fine too, I can't remember the kind I usually buy, but use Stoneyfield regularly also)
1/4 cup almonds (salted roasted or raw, however you like them)
10 drops liquid stevia (14-18 for Greek if you like)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut (grated fresh, or dried)
OPTIONAL:  you can throw in a handful of berries if you like, or some craisins - REMEMBER!  Craisins have ADDED SUGAR!   Unless you buy the non sugared from Wholefoods, the ones at the regular stores do HAVE SUGAR.  Be really sparing with these.  Or do not use them.

Mix and enjoy!  I love to add a cup of hot white tea to my breakfast.  Give it a try!

(oops.  Ignore my school-laced, messy desk for this photo, it was morning.  You know what that means right?  My brain wasn't functioning yet.  I'm so proud of myself for having a clear picture that you can actually see the food.....)



Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Treat

I was so excited last night!  I had something great I was going to post today, something earth shatteringly amazing, something no one could miss, something so beyond wonderful - that I forgot.
Seriously, how old am I?  Senility is slipping in.

So, instead of an incredibly noteworthy word performance today, you must settle for the blank stare of doom.  That moment when all thought seeps out of your head and your eyes glass over and all you can think is, "I used to know what I was talking about."

Mostly it  must be school.  I've been very concentrated on learning, memorizing and 100 word essay'ing my way through class so I can pass and move on.  I'd love to take the II part next semester, but things are already looking busy.  I need to focus more on the kids education; this is a great year for them... 3rd and 6th grade.  As soon as the books arrive, I'm actually thinking of bumping my 6th grader to 7th, simply because he's done most of what was required (but I switched programs).   My 3rd grader is a great inspiration in procrastination and free spirit but he has a knack for math and that's ok with me.   Also, opportunity has arisen to get my yoga instructor certification, and as long as it works out with my other school, perhaps I can make it work.   I'm already getting really tired, so I want to make sure next year is a more even balance and perhaps I can take things one at a time, instead of all at once.

In honor of today's no brainer post.  I'd like to introduce yet another gluten free pizza schematic.  If you'll notice other gluten free websites and blogs sometimes take another recipe (say, pizza crust) copy the whole recipe, and then instead of flour, they write "your favorite gluten free baking mix."

I'm very sorry.

This does not fly with me.

It actually became a pet peeve of mine after I was first diagnosed and found two things:  1. TONS of recipes did the above 'swap' and  2. within 6 months of being diagnosed with celiac disease, most people GAIN 30 lbs.  T-H-I-R-T-Y  pounds......wow.  The articles and experts caution that celiac diet is NOT a weight loss diet.  I'm going to argue that.  I'm not arguing that it IS a weight loss diet.  I'm arguing it's NOT A DIET.   If you are incorporating rice starch, potato starch, tapioca starch or "your favorite gluten free baking mix" - that is not a diet at all, you're not eating anything healthy or brain/muscle/bone building.  You might as well sit down at every meal and eat a snickers bar and call your day gluten free (that statement alone is controversial, as some say it's cross contaminated others say it's a safe candy bar - that's not my point.)   My point is that all those starches = simple sugars.  They have NO redeeming qualities or health benefits at all other than bypassing the food allergy.

If you've noticed on my blog, you will NEVER find rice starches, potato starches or baking mixes used in my recipes.  I use almond flour, garbanzo flour, cheeses, nuts, butter and vegetables.  I try to avoid grains.  This is a disclaimer to today's recipe.  I try.  Sometimes, you just really need something crispy or sweet and oats and corn tend to be perfect for those things.  Remember, if you're buying oats or corn, make sure it's non-GMO and specifically says "gluten free."  These items have actually been farmed differently and are not cross contaminated during harvest or processing.

Use whole foods, or process your own as you need to.  There are a lot of raw recipes that used soaked cashews which are thrown in a food processor and made into butter... this is still a 'whole' food.  There are no additives, preservatives or any kind of cell splicing going on here... except I guess the physical breakdown of the nut itself.  We'll get more into this as we go.  I tried a 'raw' recipe the other day and got rave reviews.  I'm going to do my usual magic on it to remove the sugars and (it was already healthy gluten free! YAY!) then pass it on to you and let you give it a try.

BUT!

Getting back to Friday.  Since today is such a great day for pizza, I'm going to give you a new one to try!  There are TONS of pizza recipes online.  No matter where you go, there's the cauliflower crust, the potato/rice starch crust, the no crust casserole type, the veggie base type, the gross soggy try gluten free biscuits kind.  Whatever.

You're going to love this one.  The brainchild of a wonderful weekend, only having a few groceries and a craving for pizza.   If you're driving by Pizza Chain Inc tonight and the kids are yelling for pizza, you know you're going to end up craving it after filling the car, the house and every inch of your nose with that incredible smell.  Here you go, thank me after a great pizza night!

 Weekend Pizza

1 box of whole grain corn taco shells or tortilla rounds (make sure it's gf, preferably made with whole grain stone ground corn, no additives, no preservatives.)
2 fresh tomatoes
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
2 cups of Italian shredded cheese or mozzarella (your choice)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
basil (fresh or dried)
garlic (fresh or dried)
OPTIONAL:  meat of your choice (sausage, burger, bacon, steak strips, ham, prosciutto, etc.)

Heat oven to 400f.  You'll need a pan with ventilation through it, like a pizza pan with holes or that nice top part of your roaster pan.  This is not an advertisement, it's just to give you an idea.  If you're using the taco shells, break them in 1/2 like little 1/2 moons.  Place as many as you can fit on the pan.  If you're using the tortilla rounds, just lay them out.  Next sprinkle a little parmesan and Italian cheese mix to cover each shell lightly, if you want more cheese, go for it, however, don't make the pile too thick or it will never cook.  I put about 3 taBlespoons of cheese for each shell.  Next sprinkle with garlic (crushed and chopped if fresh) and basil (torn up if fresh).  Next slice the tomatoes AS THIN AS POSSIBLE without adding skin from your fingertips to the slice.....place one or two slices on each taco shell, or 3-4 for the tortillas.   Try to get them almost paperthin, we're kinda going for a margarita style.  Finally, add the meat of your choice or none at all. I usually do one or two slices per taco shell, 3-4 for tortillas.
Pop in the oven for about 7-10 minutes (mine takes 8).  You're looking for brown bubbly cheese, and nice crispy edges.
I don't even wait for mine to cool usually, I just shove them in my mouth as fast as possible because I'm starving and they are delicious and crispy like a thin crust pizza.  Then I burn my mouth and I go running for a glass of water... So, just be warned, you may have an unhealthy urge to eat faster than physics allows.  Don't fall for it!! It's a tarp!  ahem.  Sorry, the gamer in me just got loose again.

Enjoy and have a GREAT weekend!


(Apologies in advance for the blurry first picture and then the no followup with the spinach pizza...I imagine the day I was taking these, I must have been starving, hence, the no after pictures.  You get the idea.  I just got a different day, different pizza!)













Friday, November 2, 2012

Sick Day

I have been working and/or going to school all day, every day, since Monday.  Operating between the hours of 7a.m. and 11p.m, 12a.m., 1a.m, 2a.m.... you get the idea.  Well, I finally did it:  dragged myself into a flu. Running around trying to do everything, getting up early and going to bed late, not to mention sneaking candy out of the Halloween buckets did not result in healthy energetic me.  My head got groggy, my sinus filled up, my nose started to drip, headache followed and pretty soon I was almost in tears just from showering because my joints hurt so badly.  I'm sure you understand if you have chronic pain or disease how debilitating a simple cold can be, and when you live with joint pain and you get the flu, sometimes, there's just no possible way to accomplish movement.

With that in mind, and hopefully a nice bright healthy sunrise on the horizon, I threw together a simple, fast "pick me up soup."  Consider this the soup to throw in what you have, and don't worry about what you don't.  Try to go heavy on the garlic and ginger, if it's spicy warm, it will help soothe your throat and kick up  your immunities.

Meanwhile, get some rest, do NOT surf Pinterest all day and dream of how lovely your house will look when you win the million dollar lottery and how many nice things off Etsy you'll own - I assure you, this will not make you feel better - yes, experience talking here!  Pick up a book (I finally settled on my new crochet book,) indulge in your favorite tv series (lots of good ones nowadays,) and lay in bed or sleep.   When you need some food, toss together this healthy and warm soup, give yourself a break and know... someday, when the kids move out, the house will be spotless.

Before we get started:  drink lots of water.  And, as I list the ingredients DO NOT cringe and shun them!  If you are sick you need quick foods!  Healthy CAN be quick but shortcuts aren't always the best route (remember the microwave?!)

Pick Me Up Soup

1-2 cans of large chunk organic chicken (OKOK DON'T PANIC!)  if you don't have cooked chicken in the house, maybe this can be a fallback.  It's not terrible!  Just quick.  However, I buy "packets" of organic chicken at costco, they cook up pretty fast and I can refreeze them in bags already cooked.  That is another option.  About 4-8 ounces of cooked, cut up chicken.  That's the important part.  If you're allergic, use turkey, or no meat.  We're flexible, we're sick.  It's ok.

4-6 cups of water (heated to a low boil)
2-4 ounces of shredded ginger
2-4 cloves of garlic -  crushed or chopped (garlic powder works also! GO FOR SIMPLE! whatever works, if using powder - about 2 taBlespoons
1 bag of frozen mixed veggies (organic is great, fresh is better, BUT we don't have a lot of time to chop, saute and wait around and we are sick, go for simple!)
1 taBlespoon of coconut oil (good oils for the brain function
2 taBlespoons of Organic Better Than Bouillon  - this is my favorite kitchen shortcut in the world... it tastes SO incredible, comes in vegetarian, but I use chicken flavor, has no gluten and tastes wonderful, add a little more if you want stronger flavor.
1 can of white beans, any kind you like or have laying around
2 teaspoons of fresh cracked pepper
You can throw in a few dashes of basil (or torn up leaves) if you like,
and some dried celery flakes if you like that sort of thing
throw in onion... dried flakes, or powder whatever you have about a taBlespoon.
OPTIONAL! very optional - one egg (with a separate bowl of cold water mixed with 1 TSP cornstarch.)  I'll tell you what that's all about

Here we go!

Get all of your spices together, oil and the bouillion, put them in the water and continue to low boil,  IF you want the egg... you're going to scramble it in a small bowl...Pour the cornstarch first and stir 3 minutes, then add the beaten egg slowly "dropping" drips of it into the boiling water and swirling gently with a spoon.  Next pour the veggies, chicken and beans into the soup.  Boil for 5 minutes or until piping hot and serve.  Whatever flavor you like the most... add as much as you like.  My measurements are for reference, if you love ginger (and I know someone who LOVES ginger) then put more.  If you hate onion, don't add onion.  This soup will work for you!

Easy, fast, simple, PICK ME UP soup!  Perfect for sore throats, sluggish colds and generally not having the energy to stand in the kitchen for an hour and cook.

And it's healthy.

Mostly.

Because really?

We didn't use the microwave.  =)





Saturday, October 27, 2012

Gramm(a)r Lesson

Every once in a while, at 2am when I'm trying to think of something to make food look more interesting (you know, while I'm struggling not to run to my nearest Krispy Kreme and pig out until I'm sick for weeks?) I'll have a lapse in grammatical judgement.   I do teach homeschool, and sometimes I look at these posts later and think, "oh wow, the county is coming for me now."   I have to recall then, that I am desperately trying to keep my focus and positive attitude about everything food, and well, my judgement on grammer, ahem, grammar, will slip a bit.

Today was such a challenge for me, because I have soooo many recipes I've been gone and testing and trying and researching.  I have a notebook, that I lost for a bit so there were random strewn pieces of paper everywhere with notes and markings all over them, which contained everything I wanted to post here.  It was glorious.  I've struggled today with which to share.  Everyone is in such a fall mood!  We don't get much fall here in Florida, and among my music, pictures, food and school obsessions, I'm kind of distracted from fall.  It's such a beautiful northern event, but the south, we get great beach weather!

I'm taking the kids to get a pumpkin tonight or tomorrow and we're going to hope the costumes aren't all sold out.  I'm not a big Halloween fan.  It's so much easier to just send my kids into a sugar spiral by buying my own candy that I know hasn't been tampered with or has gross additives.  However, they disagree.  They like to dress up, go beg like hoodlums at the neighbors house and generally run around the neighborhood like it's a glorified playground on kid crack.  Well.  It is after all.

These past weeks I've had a lot of testing at school and work is very very busy.  Things in life are turning like the season and basically, I'm going after some more focus.  Picked up crochet (like I need more to do right?) and am patiently (read: extraordinarily impatiently and crazily) awaiting the MB20 U.S. tour.   Also, go figure, Goos working on their 10th studio album now, who knows when that release is but we'll all hang on every word John says until then and then RACE to get tickets.  Preferably front row, so I can have a repeat of watching my bff J. almost pull Johnny right into the crowd which she denies to this day.  I digress, and then there's Bon Jovi touring again and I'm sadly missing Aerosmith in Tampa in December.

My point, however, is this.  In the next few days, I'll have a GREAT fall flavor posted for you.  If you haven't tried the purple soup or the chicken kale soup, those are great fall flavors.  Coming up will be more acorn squash, pumpkin everything and of course, turkey!  It's almost been one year since I started my blog, and at the anniversary, I'm hoping to have something spectacular (like concert tickets? - I wish) but something you will love to share with your friends and family and NOT have to worry about your dietary restrictions!

This week will be busy but I'll post some updates and maybe a good fall drink.  My friend makes a smashingly good spiced wine but we'll make it more sugar free and alcohol free friendly!

You'll be seeing more of me soon as I get back to blogging and food!  



Saturday, September 22, 2012

Scheduling Conflict

Good afternoon!! If you've found yourself here because of Pinterest or Twitter posts on gluten free, sugar free living, then welcome!  If you're here because you know I've been neglecting my blog and you're hoping for some good things, well - welcome also, and know there's more recipes coming!

I started school and decided to work outside my home a little.  All these things collided at once and my blog suffered.  I'm also starting a new business, and soon, my website will be linked here if anyone is interested - it will have a natural focus on the beginnings of life.   I may start to post bi weekly, just to slowly get back on my feet.  In the world of blogging that's almost suicide, but with everything going on, it's how things are going to work right now.  I love food, cooking and healthy living and love supporting others on the same path.  This is passion and purpose for me and tying all these things together in life seems the way for me to go.  I need to get through school and bring my business up to speed in order to complete the circle.

I was supposed to start yoga instructor training this year, but didn't have the money or time for it.  I'm considering doing that in the spring now, if possible.  It's something I've wanted to add to my life for years and the opportunities are in front of me and hopefully will be part of my life plan!

As a welcome back for anyone who was following (or would like to! just click follow! I'm also on twitter and pinterest!) I have a super easy, very surprisingly wonderful recipe for bread.  I can hear everyone thinking,  "Ugh! Bread!  So difficult!  So much wheat!  So much on the 'no' list!"   AHA!  But this one isn't!  You'll be glad you tried this one.  I was.

It has a rich 'nutty' almost rye flavor.  It's very very moist and good, but the secret is the baking time.  I will post the original recipe website, and then give you my run down as usual.

http://satisfyingeats.blogspot.com/2012/01/easiest-bread-ever.html


Easy Almond/Peanut Butter Bread

1 cup natural almond/peanut butter, smooth
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (if PB already has salt, you can omit)
2 servings Stevia (to taste, more if you want sweeter bread)



  1. Blend all ingredients in large bowl until smooth, about 1 minute.  
  2. Pour into a loaf pan lined with foil for easy removal.  I used a 8.5X 4.5.  This makes the bread rise a little higher.
  3. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. (Times will vary based on different ovens.  Just don't over bake or it will be dry).
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Then remove foil and cool on rack.


First, this is such a great, satisfying bread.  Very delicious and rich.  My suggestions are such:

1. Watch your baking time like a hawk.  This is the key.  If you dry it out, it's just going to be icky and then you'll feel like it didn't turn out.  It does great right around 22-28 minutes if using a loaf pan.  I used a bundt pan (so we could have little circle sandwiches) and it required even less time, about 15 min.

2.  Use organic, no sugar added, creamy almond butter.  I know she says use peanut butter, but almond has a much lighter taste and just works really well with this particular bread.

3.  Get over the no flour aspect.  It doesn't need flour.  Really.

4.  Yes, use a little stevia even if you're going to be making ham and cheese.  It works, just trust us.

5.  Add the vinegar last.  I put all the ingredients together, mix well in my mixer and then add vinegar, mix again then dump it into the pan and into the oven stat.  Mine was pretty fluffy.  Not overmixing once the vinegar/baking soda reaction hits, is another key.  Get it blended in, then put it in the oven.  Some recipes try to replicate this by dumping a can of soda in the bread (YUCK!) but this works well, you can't taste it, and it's free of high fructose or any sugars and additives (WIN!)

Good luck and welcome back!









Saturday, June 30, 2012

Beach Easy Free Friday!

So, it only took 2 weeks to to do the easiest snack in the world that is carb free, sugar free, and gluten free.   It's quick, fun and the kids will love it.  Delicious and high protein, it's a great snack to keep you going all afternoon.

Since today is a beach day for us, we are headed out to Lido Key to watch the sun set over blue Carribean waters and enjoy the surf.  I'll do a quick post today and hopefully be back Monday.  Mondays have become really busy so I'm considering moving to Tues, but I'll still love sharing my finds and gems for sugar free gluten free living so everyone can enjoy them!

Today's is grilled cheese and baked bacon.   Baked bacon is the best thing since finding 100 dollar bills on the street.  Basically, you save yourself the mess, cleanup, pesky grease burns and guessing time on cooking.  Grilled cheese is amazingly crisp like a cracker on the outside and chewy warm on the inside.

Let's start with the cheese:


I used Sargento Light cheese sticks (mozzarella) and cut them in to about 1" pieces.  I preheated my electric grill to 325/350f and when it was hot, dropped them with plenty of space between them to spread.  Also you can do this with sharp cheddar - it's much more greasy, but when you're done you have the most amazing tasting cheez-its taste alike!    Cook until brown on one side or solid, use a  pancake turner to loosen and flip them then cook another 3-4 min a side.

For the bacon, get some nice quality thick cut bacon, line a 13x9 cookie sheet with foil and place the whole package, some-what crowded, onto the pan.   Bake for 20 min for chewy bacon, 25 for moderate, 30 for crispy and 35+ for blackened/ super crunchy.

Here's pics of the order!  Enjoy your delicious snack!!






Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Sneak Peek - Easy!

I'm actually here on a Monday.  I can hear the collective gasp from my enthralled audience.   This week will be busy and I spent an hour in Ikea this morning.  That place is a money death trap.  I went in to buy a mattress for the guest room bed, which my sister will be needing by Wed.  I ended up leaving with a lot of things, that, while I do not regret buying them, I probably didn't need them at all.   There was a replacement cushion for the couch, a set of hangers, some curtains, oh,  yes, and the mattress after all.  Ikea is one of those places where you could definitely wander for hours and then walk out of dreaming about your simple, yet, fabulously organized, small but adequate home.  It's nowhere near anyone's reality, but it makes for nice imagery all the way home.  When I walk through the door and am greeted with overflowing shelves, books and paperwork stacked in every corner and toys draping every surface, I realize the imaginary Swedish land of clean and tidy is but a pipe dream - for us, for now.  I have some of those beautiful clean lines shelves and home items.  I fell in love with a dining room table, only to find it on clearance in their dent and scratch section for a fraction of the cost.  But upon further review, I realized, I have a perfectly nice, working and usable kitchen table; why would I need another?

Let's keep this week simple, since it will be complicated by family and chaos, the idea for Friday is going to be easy.  You're going to need just a few things, but you may have them laying around your kitchen already and when it comes to making this adorable snack, you'll just be so glad you came to cook with us on Friday.   It's fun, the kids will love it, easy to do and of course gluten and sugar free.

Now, onto the important stuff.  Matchbox 20 (which you do not get to hear about much around here because we're too busy drooling over our latest creations in the kitchen and the Goo Goo Dolls)  is releasing a new album on Sept. 4 but tomorrow, they release a single from the new album.  It's called "She's So Mean" and Aol seems to have some kind of exclusive on a promo.  I searched for another source, advertising, anything, and didn't find much.  So, the link below will take you to their new song, and take a listen.  People are complaining already - too much pop, sounds like their old sound, nothing new or interesting, and people are freaking out - can't wait for the tour, so glad mb20 is making more music, and awesome sounds just like the old days.  

Pick your side and take a listen.  Are you glad MB20 is bringing out another album?  They've had some trouble in the past but Rob Thomas has a lot of talent, and while still performs on his own (LOVE the song Her Diamonds) the band was a 90's hit and should definitely be on the scene today.

Check out their new song, and get back to us at the end of this week, for a fun easy snack idea.

http://blog.music.aol.com/2012/06/11/matchbox-twenty-shes-so-mean-song-premiere-exclusive/



Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Morning Breakfast!

In celebration of breakfast today,  Friday's post is going to be Saturday morning!  That was the best excuse I had for not making it to my computer yesterday!  There was a lot going on and the day ended with me crashing at 8:30 at night.  I do wish I had a cup of coffee to share this interesting recipe, which I found at Food.com, but we can make due with a bowl of yogurt and almonds.

Things have come along well at the house.  Kids entertained, bedrooms cleared, and waiting for mom to show up.  I've been trying to make some menus (again yes!) to have an idea for grocery list and such, but so far I'm coming up blank.  Not sure what some good ideas are for when company is over.  There are still 300 soups in my freezer, so that's always a good fallback right? 

Let's discuss for a moment vegetarian and vegan perspectives in this blog.  I am obviously  not against eating meat in any way shape or form.  I am highly dependent on it for keeping my blood sugar regulated and my metabolic syndrome in check.   However, there are some people, like a friend of mine, who recently was told to stop eating meat - for medical reasons.  I'm going to go for an elementary and short explanation, search the web if you want more comprehensive idea of how these diets work, I don't follow them, so I'm NOT the expert!  Cutting out meat and meat products would be vegetarian.  Cutting out meat, dairy and any animal product or by product is vegan.  Vegans won't eat honey, eggs or milk because it's taken from bees and cows.  Vegetarians will or can eat honey, eggs and milk.  Everyone's food choices are what's best for them and in this blog, there's an abundance of meat.  You'll find sometimes that I've thrown in a vegetarian option (and I've tried to dabble in veganism a couple times to no avail.)  Coconut and almond milk can only go so far for a person who can't/shouldn't eat grains.  Eventually you need some substance.  Vegans can wake up in the morning and have a bowl of cereal with almond milk and go about their day.  I haven't had a bowl of cereal in over three years.  

Keep these three things in mind when you're going over some of my recipes: 

1.  Chicken stock/broth can always be substituted with vegetable stock/broth.  Always.  It's good stuff!  Likewise with milks, some recipes (not yogurt! or custards, they require different methods) can have almond or coconut milk substitute

2.  Some soups/foods can omit the meat and still taste great.  Try substituting portabella mushrooms for steak or hamburger. 

3.  Beans are also a good meat substitute.  Later, you'll find me substituting wheat flour with beans.  =) 


Today's recipe is neither vegan nor vegetarian but you can modify it to vegetarian if you like (just leave out the bacon! - what??? Leave out bacon is capital crime in my house.)


Here's my source!  http://www.food.com/recipe/carb-free-cloud-bread-411501  Yes, I changed some things,  YES! I do make the recipe as stated FIRST before making my modifications.  You can be sure this recipe is a lot of fun in my house and makes amazing hot ham and cheese sandwiches! 

Bacon Onion Cloud Bread

3 eggs separated (very carefully - no yolk in the white at ALL!)
3 pinches of cream of tartar
2oz softened cream cheese
8 drops of liquid stevia
5 green onions chopped into tiny pieces
2 pieces of bacon (cooked) and the meat parts (cut off ALL the fat) chopped into tiny pieces

Preheat the oven to 300f. 

In a mixer,  mix on high the egg whites and cream of tartar until STIFF white peaks form.  Stiff is the keyword here.  High, fluffy, and can stand in towers on their own.  
















In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks, cream cheese, liquid stevia, green onions, and bacon until as smooth as possible.  










Then, we're going to FOLD, the yellow mixture into the whites.  Don't go crazy here.  Take a spatula (bowl scraper) with a silicone end and fold fold fold, then stop.  If you over mix it, it's going to turn into a liquid and that's what we want to avoid.  Go for fluffy. 



These things tend to be a bit sticky.  Try wax paper on your cookie sheet but just cooking spray or oil is not going to be enough to keep them from sticking.  I greased my pan with liquid bacon fat (from cooking the bacon) but they still got stuck, but didn't fall apart taking them off the pan.  

Drop into large spoonfuls on a cookie sheet.  I get about 6 to a sheet and they are the size of a regular burger bun.  They do not spread so much, but leave some room.  


Bake on middle rack for 23 minutes.  Some people might need longer, some shorter, just keep an eye on it, you don't want them overly browned but white is definitely not done.  

Cool on a cooling rack and store in a plastic container in the FRIDGE!  Use two to make a delicious hot ham and cheese sandwich (heat a fry pan med heat, put some butter in it, put cheese on one 'bread' and top with meat, and another bread - fry on one side till the cheese is melty, then flip and cook another 3 min.)   This bread is also good if you add 2 cloves crushed garlic and serve with low carb spaghetti or one of the soups on this blog!

Hope you enjoy this recipe, it's a LOT of fun to make.  I have added sweet things to it too as a dessert or breakfast bread and it's always turned out well.  They are fluffy, low carb, wheat and gluten free,  interesting bread substitute and easy to pull out of the fridge and have for any meal.  

Here are some pics of the steps I took.  I DO have a camera now, but I was still using my droid for these pics!  

Have a fun weekend! 






Friday, June 1, 2012

Free Friday - Soup!

I'm going to be sliding into home with this one today!  Welcome to June today!  Just barely made it to the computer to type all this up.  I've been obsessed with beds and bread today.  Baked two batches of bread... I'm sure you'll get to see that one soon enough!  Also, went and got the kids a new set of bunks.  We were one bed short for everyone to have their own, so I fixed that today.   Now, I just need the kids bedroom flooring to be installed, and I'll be cooking with gas!  Actually, that won't change at all how I cook, sadly, because if new floors equaled gas stove, I'd have done that long ago.   As it is, I'm impaired with an electric.  There was some discussion to switch the kitchen to gas, but the long and the short was it's expensive to convert like that plus it's not exactly going to add value to the house, especially in this economy.  Most people like the convenience of electric, unless they are serious chefs and understand the importance of gas, and that's still a fairly small market.

Onto Friday!  Busy day!  The kitchen is finally quiet after a day of bustle, the bed is stacked in boxes in the living room and my vacuum never showed.   My seller was very quick to get it out to the shipping company, but those people really took their time.  I realize the holiday weekend was last week and that probably slowed down, and subsequently, backed up shipping, but seriously, it shouldn't take 2 weeks coming from Arizona.   Look out if the box is damaged, oy vey.  However, today's idea was the fact that I've been filling my freezer with soups.  I love soups, easy to eat and fairly easy to make, today's soup is Bok Choy Shiitake mushroom.  I DID get this recipe from another website!  It's certainly no brainchild of mine, though I was considering taking on a challenge with leeks...

So, I can't say that there are a whole lot of recipes out there that I haven't seriously modifed - rejoice! today's our day, I changed almost nothing in this recipe!  Shocked?  Me too.  It's ridiculously rare for me to find a recipe and not turn it into a three ring circus, or at least some semblance of a messy kitchen.  I did change up some things though.  First, I made it gluten free (DO NOT follow her recipe exactly if you are wheat/gluten free!!!!  Please be aware!  Soy sauce has wheat in it.)  Secondly I had to substitute an ingredient I didn't have and add one I loved, and thirdly, I changed one of the steps.  There is a really neat secret to getting some good flavor into your soup.  I used an idea from a friend and soaked the mushrooms in some of the broth before cooking them - it greatly reduces the oil they absorb while cooking.  They pick up the flavor and then it basically cooks down when they are sautéeing in the pan.

Here we go!

This is the original recipe:  http://feralkitchen.com/2012/05/19/bok-choy-shiitake-mushroom-soup/


Bok Choy Shiitake Soup


About 1 medium/large head of bok choy - chopped
2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
(3 ounces of grated ginger if you like)
2 tsp coconut oil
2 tBsp tamari sauce (you can find this in low sodium versions - I have some in my fridge right now!)
1 tsp dried red pepper flakes (OR szechuan pepper - which I did not have)
1 Quart low sodium chicken stock
salt/ pepper to taste
chopped chives to garnish


Start with a large sauce pan (6-8 quarts) with about 1/3 of the broth in it and the mushrooms.  Gradually raise the temperature to 'HOT'.  HAHA!  What a description!  Basically, you're not cooking the mushrooms, you want them to soak up the broth and they're ready to be taken out when they are too hot to touch, but NOT cooked!  Use a slotted spoon to get the mushrooms out, leave the broth in the pan, keep it at a simmer but be careful to not boil it all off.

While the sauce pan heats, place the oil and onion in the frying pan and cook till they are translucent.  Add the bok choy, mushrooms, ginger, tamari sauce and pepper flakes and cook about 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked.

Take all the ingredients from the frying pan and using a spatula, scrape every tiny bit of it into the saucepan.  Pour the rest of the broth in as well.  Heat to simmer and it's piping hot, ready to serve!

No, my pictures are nowhere near as amazing as hers.  I don't have my camera yet.  I am using a Samsung Galaxy S 5.0 mp3 player for a camera.  Takes pretty good pics for an mp3 player.  =)






Welcome to a great weekend!  Hope yours is filled with delicious eats and lots of relaxation!

Enjoy!