Saturday, December 14, 2013

Last Hot Night in America

Once again!  I didn't fall off the earth, I was just drowning in paperwork and school.  I didn't forget about the blog, though it's possible many people have.  I'm back and it's ever so tempting to yell and jump up and down, because last night... I sang with John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls.

I don't think posting that on my food blog is going to make a difference, or announce to the world how over the moon excited and happy I was, but it's a start.


And really, does anyone want to deal with the whole "caps lock is for cool"?  No.  It gets old and people just want to hear what my latest amazing dish is, not about some silly concert.


So, when you start reading and think, "Wow, am I thankful she kept that to herself, I'm here for the cheesecake recipe,"  I'm just so happy I could oblige.


Did I mention I'm going to another one of their concerts tomorrow night?

Let's hope I can be as self controlled tomorrow as I was today.

And, as a welcome back from the dead party for my blog.  This week will have a new recipe which is AMAZING (almost as amazing as singing with Johnny).

Hey, at least I tried to keep calm!

Pics!  Though I don't have one yet of me actually singing with him because I was singing, not taking pics!

Friday, May 3, 2013


Yes, I´ve already missed a Friday post, and today is a little different, there´s a post but no recipes or pictures.  I mostly don´t have any pictures today because I decided to go on a mini vacay and take a bit of a break.  I had a Friday post for throwing all the things together in my pantry, and it turned out fairly well.  I´d share it, but the pictures are not ready.

I´ll be back soon!  In the meantime, check out some old recipes that are very popular!

No Flour Bread:  Scheduling Conflict

Ginger Breakfast Muffins:  Free Fridays, Ginger!

Cloud Bread:  Saturday Morning Breakfast!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Menu Suggestions

I had a friend who often gave me a list of things in her refrigerator and pantry and asked, "What do I do with this?"  It wasn't that she didn't know how to cook, just that she had run out of ideas and wanted to use the food she had without doing a special run for something at the store.  I wanted to do something like that for this blog.  If people left comments listing at least 4-5 foods they had, we could have a great time coming up with recipes or ideas!  The thing is, it would have to be actual ingredients, not just ketchup, mustard, onions and flour.  Well, actually, you could make onion rings with that if you had some oil, but really, we are avoiding flour for the most part!

That wouldn't stop me from trying to make onion rings with garbanzo flour!  Those would probably be great!   So, if you're hanging around the site and think "menu suggestions" might be fun to do for a little while, let me know!  Do you think it would be fun?  Helpful?  Just plain silly to see some of the things people have left in their pantry at the end of a week?   I'll be the first to start.  This week, I'll do a post and let you know what I had in the fridge and what I decided to do with it.  OR. Maybe you have some great ideas of your own!?

As a side note, my own mother encouraged me to put in a camera in my house to record the day.  She said I'd make millions just streaming the cam to a website for people to crack up about.  I let the kids (with supervision) build a fire.  This is not the first time.  It's a little tiny campfire style surrounded by sand in my backyard (which is devoid of grass.)  That is entertainment for hours.  There have been other incidents such as, "Get out of my dryer and do not eat your peanut butter and jelly sandwich in there."  This was met with my friend's the other end of the phone continuing her discussion as though I had never said such a thing.  She wasn't phased by dryers with children and sandwiches.  I thought it was normal.  Apparently, most things with kids are not.

This week was filled with me finishing my paper for school.  I'm almost done with this class.  We took a trip to Busch Gardens and it was a welcome respite from sitting around the house doing schoolwork.  The pictures below are from there.

This week was also filled with a LOT of views from Germany!! Hi everyone!  I hope you're enjoying the blog, I'm going to do a post soon of all the flags from all the countries who have had hits on my site!  Keep watching and make sure I post the right flags!  That would almost be a trivia day!

So, look forward to seeing you next week.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Coming Up Roses

So, I found something on Pinterest.  Sigh.  Who doesn't find something on Pinterest?  I could take every day of my life and plan my outfit, meals, accessories, drinks and friends with Pinterest.  Problem is, who has all this money to do all these things?  Not I.  However, when I came across a pretty pink, rose petal adorned shake, I was smitten.  This went on the "trial" list right away.  It wasn't long before I got the opportunity.  Soon, there was milk, coconut ice cream and *gasp* rose water in my possession.

Before we get really REALLY excited, let's discuss one thing.  Rose water. Is. Delicious.  You can almost drink it right out of the bottle (and I have).   Rose EXTRACT is BITTER and is NOT drinkable and you will spit it everywhere in an attempt to taste it straight from the bottle.   I was able to purchase a bottle of Rose water from a seller on Amazon who imported it from France (still had the French label on it) and it was delicious.  Soft and fragrant whisking me away to the fields of south France while the winds of the Cote D'Azure carry all my worries away.  Although, when I think about it, I wonder if I could even remember any of the French I used to know and apply it to actually speaking with locals.  Hmmm.

Back to Pinterest.  This lovely concoction was calling to me and I fell for the bait.  A "Coconut Rose Shake" by Babble contributor Kathy Patalsky is the most refreshing, delicious and coconutty drink this side of an actual coconut shake.  Now, if you're having trouble remembering some of my coconut obsession, well, here's a link to help you out.  Her pictures are absolutely gorgeous and her recipe is 100% vegan.  Here's the link, go check it out.  (Mine has a vegan option too!)

Now, we all know, I cannot see a recipe and attack it without changing it in some way.  I'd love to be the simple, just have it how it is type person but that's not my style.  If you'd like to see what I changed... keep reading.  Also, if you'd like to see how it looks in a blender cup and not a beautiful ice cream glass, well you'll get that too!   Nothing like taking something absolutely gorgeous and turning it into regular kitchen work!  I strive for the best here!

It's NOT sugar free.  The ice cream has agave syrup in it.  If you need it sugar free, you can make your own ice cream from scratch to use in it.  That seems like a heck of a lot of work.  You CAN substitute a "low carb" version though such as Breyers sugar free, low carb vanilla and get pretty close to awesome with this.  Also, you  may notice I left out the pretty pink food coloring.  It's VERY nice to have it pink, but I didn't have any "natural" food coloring so wasn't going to use the chemical stuff I had left over from 10 years ago.

Rose Kissed Coconut Shake

1/2 cup  Coconut Bliss - Naked Coconut flavor (or your choice of sugar free vanilla)
1/2 cup whole milk or coconut milk -> (vegan option!)
2 tBsp  rose WATER (if you're using extract, you want about 4 drops)
1 tsp coconut extract/flavoring (optional but good if you're using vanilla ice cream)
3 tBsp of unsweetened shredded coconut
4 drops liquid stevia

I used a blender.  You don't have to.  In fact, if you just want to dump all this in a glass and stir, go for it.  However, I like a nice THICK shake.  Sometimes, I skimp on the milk a little and add a few more dollops of ice cream (you can try that if you want, it's delish).   If you're doing the glass thing, add all the liquid ingredients first, then add your ice cream and coconut and stir.  Otherwise, throw it all in the blender and hit go for about 20 sec.  Drink.  =D

How EASY was that!!!!!!

With all the snow still in the north, I'm sure some of you are thinking, "I'm not going to be sipping ice cream shakes anytime soon." BUT! You'll thank me in about 4 months when it's hot and I come here in July and say, "HEY EVERYONE! LET'S MAKE COCONUT ROSE SHAKES!"  Then it will rock!


P.S - My birthday was last week, and I made a cake.  Don't worry, it was absolutely terrible and most of it ended up in the trash.  It looks kinda pretty...
My mom saved the day however with a cake she sent - made out of flowers!! It's very pretty!  And doesn't need icing or gf flour! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ever Wonder....

How is it, that someone who does food blogging for a living (don't let that fool you, I'm making zero money from this, but I love it and I love cooking so, it's definitely living) and loves food and loves cooking goes to an exotic location with wonderful people, sights and food and takes NO pictures?   Oh sure, I definitely got the sunsets, the animals, a bug here and there where I could find them, but no food.  At all.

What is WRONG with me?  I can explain.  When I'm there and things are just laid back and I have no worries and no responsibilities and the world just turns, it's so easy to just walk away from my camera and enjoy everything.  This is how life is meant to be lived, not behind a camera.  But I'm an addict, and I need the camera to see things, I need to see them later.  It's such a joy to go back later and pull all those old memories up and remember the moment.  Food pictures unfortunately are not included in my addiction in that moment of the world just turning.  I don't know if it's just forgetfulness or a complete immersion into the moments which are usually very beautiful and consist of me struggling to understand a little Spanish!  I've come back and demonstrated my skills with a plantain!  That's progress!!!

So, today all I can tell you is, "I'll try harder!"  Maybe next time I can get some food photos, or at least come away with something akin to a kitchen photo? WAIT!  I have one of those!  Let me get permission to use it and I'll have it posted here, you can see, I actually DO work in a Costa Rican (authentic!) kitchen sometimes.  It's beautiful, fun and very tropical/laid back and welcoming.  Nothing better than a shared meal on a cool summer night with the Latin beat in the backdrop of the city sounds and cheerful faces around the dinner table.  Sadly, when I cook, I tend to bring Italian or American style to the table.  Having the Mrs. of the house cook usually yields a much better (and delicious) traditional dish.

The picture with a bus isn't a picture of food, but it is a picture of outside a place where I ate food.  That's close right?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Autism Awareness Month

April began autism awareness month.  I'm not going to list statistics, you can find them all over the place, but for most of us, we've either heard about or know someone with autism.  The person I know, is my son.  He was diagnosed when he was almost three years old.  It was a little frustrating at first to know, as a mom, that instinctually, I knew something was not right, yet everyone argued he was fine.   When I finally hit my limit (they say when you hit rock bottom, you can only go up from there) I took him to a pediatric neurologist who ran every test in the book on him.  She said she was very impressed by his motor skills.  I thought this was great.  She left the room a few minutes and came back, laying a stack of handouts next to me and the words are forever etched in my mind, "Don't panic, but..."  She went on to tell me my son had autism.  That there was help we could get and this wasn't the end of the world.   She said she'd never seen a child with this level of autism have such great motor skills.  I stared at the papers in my hands and wondered what this meant.  I had heard about autism, but I thought those kids were confined to beds and wheelchairs or couldn't talk correctly.   My son struggled with speech and only said a few words, but I didn't think that constituted autism.

I brought the paper work home and poured over it.  He had everything listed.  Some more mild than others, but he hit every checked box on the list.  I decided this wasn't good enough, I may be convinced but that didn't mean it was reality.  Perhaps this particular doctor just thought she saw something she didn't.  I got a second opinion.  We weren't there 10 minutes and the doctor said without a doubt: autism.  I got a third opinion.  This time from a psychologist.  Autism.

At this point, most parents are overwhelmed.  I suspect I must have felt overwhelmed but there's something that happened that shocks or offends most people:  I was relieved.  I was so overjoyed that it wasn't something I had done wrong, it wasn't my failure as a parent, it wasn't some brain tumor that was incurable in my child, or worse, he was normal, and I just couldn't handle parenting.  I think I could have dealt with those things and improved myself, but in that moment, as selfish and awful as it sounds, I was relieved.  Relieved that I wasn't imagining things, relieved that we could get help, relieved that he had hope for his future, relieved that we could work together and make life better.  I cannot express how low of a point we had gotten to.  I could not handle him.  He wouldn't talk, he wouldn't cooperate, he didn't listen, he didn't seem to hear...  He was obsessed with cars and trains and only smiled at them, never looking me in the face or addressing me, he wouldn't play with me, he would climb and pick locks and break open medications.  We spent three Christmas's in a row at the ER because of my distraction and his competence in cracking child safety locks.

I always call the psychologist an angel.  After a week of calling places, leaving messages and never getting  callbacks, or worse, a callback that said we could be seen in the office in 6 weeks (their earliest opening,) I called this little tiny number on the back of the reference sheet from the neurologist, which I hadn't noticed before and a man answered.   I asked for the doctor, and he said that was him.... I panicked a minute feeling a little embarrassed that the office had given me some poor doc's personal number and here I was bothering him at a bad moment perhaps.  I apologized and asked for the secretary's number so I could make an appointment, to which he replied, "I have no secretary or office staff, is there something I can do for you?"

From that day on, he came to my house, assessed our situation, my son, and our lives and put me on a winning train.  I got lucky.  So very, very lucky.  I have days that it seems all the worst luck in the world is pouring over me, but in that moment, perhaps, I should remember, finding this for my son used up every ounce of good luck I had.  And it was worth it.  My son, my family, we needed help and we received the best in the world.  The doctor would come to the house, observe our routine and my son's behavior and gave me all the tools to make things work for us.  My insurance gave me fits, they didn't want to pay, they didn't want to cover it and I scraped and saved and paid out of pocket.  I couldn't lose this doctor who had done such miracles with my child, with me, as a parent.  It was so worth it.

Four years after we started an intensive therapy regiment,  I stopped by a friend's house whom I hadn't seen in a while.  As we came in and started chatting, she stopped and pointed to my son who had said hi, and asked about her pets, and she said, "Is this even the same child?  I would never have recognized him by his behavior, he's a totally different person."   I cried.  I never thought he'd be seen as "normal."  I never thought people would see him as just another kid.  But it's happening, and still does.  Oh, sure he has all the autism quirks and some odd behaviors, he'll never be free of it.  However, he's been such a trooper in this life that handed him something he didn't ask for.  He's positive and intelligent and full of life.  He's my salvation and inspiration many days, knowing that he's' changed my whole life for the better and I was able to change other things that were no good for us, just by his existence.

This doesn't mean my other children don't have a special place in my heart.  They have their own unique qualities and talents.  Since today is autism awareness day, I wanted to tell this story.   It has somewhat of a happy ending, others do not.  He is not grown yet either, so I don't know what life has in store for us.  So far, it's been a wild ride, a great experience and a blessing beyond what I ever could have asked for in this life.

Many parents go gluten free for their autistic kids, some show improvement, others, like mine, did not.  We do gluten free for my allergy, but for my son, it's bland as usual.  I know some of the people who use my recipes are looking for more kid friendly versions and I try to keep that in mind.  However, most kids just want "normal" food.  There are lots of websites that use rice flours and such to recreate a more "normal" kid food, but I just can't do that.  I buy organic cereals and chicken nuggets and hope for the best.  I do not make my kids eat gluten free because I have to.  I certainly don't make them sugar free either, even that is difficult for me most days (who doesn't have a sweet tooth?!)

I do however have a shop, which sells teeshirts if you're interested. I don't make a ton of money off them, but I do own one and love it!  I created the design myself, on paint, and it's very cute and versatile.  Looks good on men and women.  Check it out if you're interested and come back soon for more recipes.  Since today's post is long, I'll probably do the recipe this weekend.  I have some great experiment successes!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vegan Option!

I'd love to say I came up with this recipe purely to go vegan and improve my life and animal's lives all over the world, however.... I accidentally threw this together out of leftover abundance and laziness.  I really need meat.  There's a lot of argument over that, but I do have a metabolic disorder that complicates my system and proteins simply help the absorption of nutrients and slow the effect of sugar way better than veggies or complex carbs.  So, to have a vegan recipe in my house, is basically unheard of.

However, last night we had tacos: beef, black beans, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, hot sauce, sour cream, chives.  It was delicious.  When we finished dinner, I found I had a LOT of black beans left.  Normally, the kids will have these for lunch, heating them up with some cheese and sometimes dipping corn chips.  Today, I went to the freezer to see what meat to thaw, when I realized, it's going to take hours to thaw the chicken or beef or whatever, but there were black beans.  I was thinking a chicken quinoa soup, as I've been meaning to get back to soups and hopefully help heal my body a little (recently realized there's some struggles with solid foods...? what is this, regression?)  The thing is, I didn't want to wait for the chicken to thaw.  I really have been craving some veggies.  So, when I saw the massive bag of quinoa in the freezer (I'll explain,) then I was very excited.   I grabbed some open bags of frozen vegetables that looked as if they were going to get frost bite faster than they were going to be eaten and I set up to throw together an amazing meal.

*Note:  I keep oats, flours - garbanzo, coconut, etc, quinoa, and other such dry goods in the freezer due to a problem a few years ago.   I found an infestation of moths in one of my cans of almonds.  I cleaned those out and the whole cabinet and later found them in a sealed box of flour (which I had long since stopped using.)  One by one, the dry goods in my pantry became contaminated with these tiny bugs that would just not stop.  I cleaned out everything.  Any dry good that came into my house, went into the deep freeze after that.  It just must be that way for now, until I can trust the vermin with my food.   No, I'm not talking about the children....

So, today's recipe is 100% vegan (with the option of adding meat if you need/want to.)  It's also extremely nutritious, protein packed, and delicious!

Hot Veggie Quinoa

2 cups uncooked (but washed quinoa - any type)
2 tBsp vegetable soup base  (non vegan can use chicken soup base if you like)
1/2 small onion chopped (or 4-5 green onions chopped)
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 tBsp coconut oil   (non vegan can use butter if you like)
1 can or 10 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables, your choice - I used a couple 1/2 full bags of edamame, mixed and green beans

1/2 cup vegan shredded white "cheese"  for topping (non vegan - shredded parmesan)
2 chopped chicken breasts/ meat if wanting to add meat

The usual ratio of quinoa to water is 1:2.  If you have one cup of quinoa, you need 2 cups of water.  I used 2 cups of quinoa and 4.5 cups of water, maybe even a splash or two more.  I used a little extra water just to give it a smoother texture when I added the vegetables.  Heat large pot over medium heat with coconut oil, garlic and onion in it.  Cook until light brown about 5 minutes.  Add 2.5 cups water and add soup base mixing well until everything is swirled together in the water.  Bring the water to a light boil and add your quinoa.  Turn down the heat and simmer about 15 minutes or until the quinoa crack open and get al dente.  Add in the frozen veggies and black beans (and meat if you choose to have meat with this) and stir over low/med heat until hot all the way through.

Salt and pepper to taste and top with vegan cheese (or parm or nothing at all!) and ENJOY!!  This is very simple, quick, gluten free, appropriate for vegan, vegetarian or those avoiding meats and is still very delicious and healthy with a warm, comfort food appeal.

This recipe will easily feed 6-8, however, no guarantee there will be enough left for seconds or leftovers!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Perfection! Or lack thereof....

I follow a lot of blogs, and a lot of them are food blogs.  Some are just funny to be funny, others random things.  I like gamer stuff, techie, humor.  Mostly humor.  I can have a very dry sense of humor sometimes or just goofy but no matter what I like to read what other people have to say.  With the food blogs, I love to see the ideas people come up with and before you know it, I'm whipping something up in my kitchen and thinking, "OOOH, this is going on my blog when I'm done!"

Well, sometimes, no... many times, I have some delusions of grandeur.  I know I do well around the kitchen (no "America's Next Top Chef") but definitely can shake up some pots.  However, after trying some new recipes from some of these websites, I get a little discouraged.  My shots aren't very clear or bright, my food didn't turn out looking as delicious, or didn't turn out at all.  And these days have a bit of a down effect on me.  I look around, think, maybe I missed my calling with eating and talking....

HAH!  Yeah right!   Eventually I snap out of it.  I love food.  Some days are better than others but nobody's perfect.  That's what I'm getting at today.  You can try some crazy recipes and if it's not as good as it looks on the other website, who cares!?  It's time and effort you did!  That's what counts.  We all have our talents, mine is goofing off in the kitchen until I find something that tastes delicious!  Even if that means ruining every other recipe I find, first.

Today's fun recipe is actually pretty simple.  I'm going to give my modifications but the original recipe is just absolutely delectable!   Forgive the not so great (imperfect!) pictures as I took them with my new Nexus 4 and since my Galaxy died (thanks a lot Samsung....) I had to get something else, unfortunately, this camera isn't quite as good, but it's not bad either.  I need to start saving for an SLR!

This recipe belongs to "Smitten Kitchen."   I have modified it, but of course, her recipe is fine as written.

Spinach Cream Pesto Linguine

4 Servings of  cooked gluten free linguine (al dente)
1/2 lb of washed/dried spinach (you can do this in a salad spinner)
1 tBsp butter
1/4 tsp chicken stock soup base (vegetarian - use veggie soup stock!)
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tBsp heavy cream
fresh ground black pepper or pinch of red pepper flakes.
1/2 cup shred parmesan for serving
salt and pepper to taste

In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat and cook onions and garlic thoroughly about 8 minutes.  Add in fresh spinach, and cook quickly about 3 minutes until wilted and dark green.  Careful not to overcook.  Pour the cream over the mixture, add soup base and red pepper flakes and stir about 30 seconds more.  Transfer everything from the skillet into a food processor and pulse until you have a creamy sauce.

Place pasta into a pot and pour the green sauce to cover, mixing well.  Serve hot, sprinkled with parm.

EASY!  You can do it!

(See?  In order to show you perfection is not the goal, I found too late, that I had no linguine or spaghetti, or broccoli.  This recipe was born from elbow macaroni and spinach being the few food items left in my house. Everything worked just fine!)

P.S. -  HI READERS FROM RUSSIA!!  Good to have you all hanging out with me.  Again this week you were the country with the most readers/page views and I'm super excited to have you all over here!  I hope you're finding some great things or at least having a good laugh!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Kix and Coldplay

I thought this was supposed to be some sort of healthy eating food blog... what is this nonsense about Kix?  Isn't that against the law in low carb eating?  Well, yeah, but after a long day, sometimes all you need is a little Kix and some Coldplay.  Or, well, lol, maybe not.  "Nobody said it was eeeeeeeeeeaaaaasssyyyyyy" may not be the most inspirational post-midnight ballad ever written.  Just possibly.  Milk has protein right?   Hey, who died and made me expert?  There has to be a point where you can just stop and turn around and say, "OK LIFE,  ENOUGH OF YOUR CR@P!  I NEED TO GET SOME THINGS DONE HERE!"

But maybe it's just not like that.   What is it about Christ Martin's voice though in that song (there's a link!  go check it out!) that makes a person want to melt into nothing but still cry like a baby?   So, if you're looking for the super smart and healthy version of this recipe just know that for what I can tell, Kix doesn't have any really bad additives that will make my kids turn any weirder than they already are.  I have a couple gallons of organic milk, and even some organic almond milk in the fridge.  I'm doing something right here.  The bowl is of course hand crafted pottery, made in the USA, with no lead.  It's a winning streak!   The spoon I can't really vouch for, except to say that it was given to me from my grandmother, and I know it has some real silver in it, but your guess is as good as mine for what percentage is real.   Bowl + cereal + milk + spoon + Coldplay = careful not to cry into your milk but at least you'll have some food in you like I do now, after a while of having trouble eating.

At least we'll have a fun project coming up with the rose water I bought.  No guarantees, but I think this one will be lots of fun, especially if you're a fan (as much as I am) of coconut shakes.  I have not found anywhere locally that makes coconut shakes.  So, in my ever expanding waistline, erm, kitchen repertoire, there is now the ability to make a really awesome coconut shake.  Now, with kick!  Keep checking back, we're headed that direction!  Oh, and in case anyone here is a fan of SmittenKitchen, I'll be showing you one of her awesome recipes that I tried, that needs absolutely NO fixing but I can give you some alternatives!  It's a great meal!  Careful heading over there!! She's addictive, awesome and not always gluten/sugar free, but don't let that deter you.  Totally worth the drool in your keyboard!

This below picture was taken in Canada, many years ago, in front of the home of an amazing W.o.W. pvp player and old friend.  I'm almost shocked at how good the quality is, considering the camera I had at the time.
See you back here soon!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fuzzy Slippers

For people with chronic illness (and mostly everyone who has to deal with a harsh reality,) there is a certain point that you hit, which signals, "stop, drop, and roll - before you detonate like a bomb."   There's only so much people can take; life is stressful and can be overly demanding.  So, when I called in for sushi takeout tonight, and showed up in my fuzzy house slippers, it didn't bother me one bit.   Mostly.  Today was filled with doctor issues and back and forth of a crazy schedule.  I was exhausted by 3p.m.  Everyone has those kinds of days.  Last week I had three different people tell me that life's been complicated and some of the recipes I have here seem equally so.

I have a couple things for you.  One, don't try a new recipe on a day that you're working late, driving the kids to practice all over town, or fried from a bad health day.  If it looks interesting and you'd like to try it, put the ingredients on a list, make sure you have all of them, and then on a day when you're inspired, give it a go.  If not, no worries.  There are plenty of other things (like takeout sushi) to eat for dinner.

In the spirit of simplicity, tiredness, and stressed out, today's recipe is a GREAT snack, very easy, takes 5 steps (not counting the ones to get to the kitchen) and then you're good for a while in front of the tv, Starcraft, or pretending to work with your head firmly planted on your desk.   Also, because I've been writing posts EVERY DAY in my head, but not here, I have some catching up to do.  You see, there were CONCERTS recently and do you think THIS fan is going to miss that?  OOOH NO!  LOL - I stood in 40 degree weather for 3 hours to watch some live Goo.  I have NO pictures!  Yes, I'm fine!  No, I didn't freeze.  Yes, my camera works.  I did get American Girl on video with my Galaxy but that was it.  Just jumped up and down until my pants fell off and screamed and waved and clapped until my hands and voice went numb.   I'll fill you in later.

Today is Bon Jovi's album release, and if you haven't heard it you should.  I'm not a huge fan, but this is GREAT stuff!


Baked Chickpeas 
(anyone else seeing a glassy eyed, half lidded, pothead chickpea?  No?  Ok, movingon...)

1 can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed well, until no bubbles form
2 tsp rosemary
1 tBsp sea salt
1-2 tBsp olive oil/coconut oil of your choice (melted/liquid)

Preheat oven to 400.  Get a baking pan/cookie sheet, line with tin foil - shiny side up.  Pour your rinsed chickpeas into a zip bag with the oil, salt and rosemary.   Give it a few good shakes, pour out onto the pan.  Pop in the oven for 35-45 min.

YES there is a BIG time discrepancy here... I'll tell you why.  The first time I made them they were crispy on the outside and kinda not so much on the inside.  It tasted great all the same.  Then later, I forgot when I made them again, left them in the oven and they got a little DARK brown for my taste BUT this caused them to be crispy all the way through.

So, if you want them MORE brown and crsipy, leave them in longer.  If not, well take them out when they are just barely golden.

Here's "Because We Can"!
(and a pic of these yummy snacks... noooo...NOT the band...)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

You Had To Be There

I wrote an awesome post last night.  Complete with amazing pictures, great commentary that every reader was hanging on to each word like it was the best.  It got a ton of page views and I was a cooking superstar.  Then I woke up (guess you just had to be there;) woke up this morning and realized the day had left with no post.  So, I figured a Saturday morning post would be great, then I slept in and was lazy.  Then I went on an adventure and now, my escapades have brought me back to you.

I got inspired mid week to warn about the nutritional deficiencies and sugar over abundance of juice.  Sometimes, I think people are out to get me with juice.  I see a mom handing a baby a bottle full of juice and I'm convinced it's a conspiracy (then I see moms handing kids bottles of Mountain Dew and I realize the world is just done for.)  But yesterday... oh yesterday....

I saw a mom buying her kid some sugar cereal yesterday in the grocery store.   Adorable little kid, normal guy, probably goes to daycare "Monday thru Friday"  7am to 6pm.  Mom probably picks him up, makes him a little dinner and puts him to bed only to start over the next morning at 4:30 a.m.  He'll get his little sugar cereal and be happy as a clam.   No problem right?  Kids are entitled to a little sugar.  What am I a sugar Nazi?  Who died and made me Queen Kill-All-The-Fun?

Well.  It's not that.  It's that somehow we here in this little country I live in of the USA, we've all been fooled into thinking eating carcinogens is totally cool.   Have you ever heard of BHT?  TBHQ?   Do you know what they are?  Would you eat them if you didn't know what they were?  Some people don't care.  That's fine, if you really don't care, maybe you should but I'm not going to argue.   I'm going to post some of the studies regarding these additives that are in KIDS' cereals.   Would you let your kids drink gasoline?  Do you know BHT is compound made from petroleum products (taken from phenol, taken from petroleum,) added to cereals and is a KNOWN carcinogen.  As in, no one is arguing that it causes cancer (except the EPA, and the government.)   And... we feed it in mass quantities to kids and put a label on the outside that says "natural" or "now less sugar" and expect parents to be cool about it.

Check out this info and these studies and make that call for yourself.  Are you a working parent (that would be all of us)?  Do you think your kids are getting the best foods from your hard earned money?  Look at the labels, don't fall for this parent trap.

As for the EPA... you know, that wonderful government institution which is supposed to protect consumers and the population from dangerous chemicals... they are certainly doing something about this right?  Nope.  Check it out.  They believe it safe.  Regardless what studies show, or what findings are.

In fact, THIS is the statement they have for BPA (the plastics residue that causes hormonal imbalances, infertility and possible birth defects,) which was ONLY addressed after so many parents started making a fuss over it.  They might "INITIATE" something, or perhaps "CONSIDER INITIATING" something else, but at this time... quote from website: "EPA does not intend to initiate regulatory action."

I'll get back to the recipes, don't worry have some really good ones coming up!  I could have put one today, but I really think it may have been inappropriate while people are feeling sick to their stomachs over chemicals in food.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mid Week Miracle

I think to some degree it's a miracle that I'm posting mid week.  However, this is going to be short and to the point.   I'm kind of addicted to clean eating.  That doesn't mean, every once in a while, I can resist whipping up a disaster cake (hey, the design was good!) or splurging on a real sugar ice cream.   Yesterday, though was the local "natural living" store's sale and as usual it was packed in there.  I went in for two things and waited in line about 20 minutes to pay.  As I was waiting, I noticed a lot of things around me.  We care about our health and what we're eating, but does the radar shut off when we're in a so-called "health food store?"   Why all of a sudden is everything there good for us?   I find creams or lotions all the time with wheat in them, shampoos with preservatives and supplements with no overdose warnings.  Worse yet, the woman in front of me was buying a ton of extremely expensive organic 'power' juice.  It was a blend of a couple super foods but here's my beef with that:  you are not getting any nutrients from a fruit that has been juiced (unless you do this at home, blender style - whole fruit.)

I wanted to stop her and beg her to save her money.  She was heavy and more mature and I'm sure had been told that juice was good for her.  And perhaps it's good for her.  I want to encourage people to pick up your packages and read the carbohydrates and sugars in a food or item you're looking to buy, especially at the health food stores.  If you are cutting out excessive sugars, carbohydrates break down into sugars.  Nuts, sweet potatoes, and whole fruits and veggies are the best way to get carbohydrates.  Consuming juices, crackers, bread products and pastas do not hold much (if any) nutrition.   Even corn, which I do use quite a bit since going GF, is full of sugar.  GMO corn is even worse.  Many people battling with celiac are also starting to show corn sensitivities.  Check out this study.   The thing most don't realize, is that there are theories that autoimmune disorders can be caused, triggered or aggravated by the pesticides and herbicides used in vast quantities of these products.  And you would ask, "Well then why am I not reacting to other things grown with pesticides?"  Wheat is used in VAST amounts in our foods and processed foods.   Think about going GF for the first time.  Remember all the things you found that had wheat in them?   Do you find strawberries in so many of those things as well?   This does not mean people don't have strawberry sensitivities, but it is much less than wheat.

Enjoy your week, eat whole foods, skip the juice and come back on Friday because I've been cooking up some things in the kitchen this week!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sunny Friday

Welcome to Friday!!  This is a beautiful, clear, sunny, bright, happy and awesome day!  It's been filled with some great things already.  First, I want to really address something I found on my website last week.
Last week, the amount of readers from Russia were double my readers from the States and Canada combined.  I'm super excited, thank you and all my readers who come here to read some seriously lengthy and inconsistent posts and hopefully enjoy some good recipes!  I really enjoy the internet's reach across oceans.  I had a friend living in Russia, teaching English for a while.  I have a Polish friend, Canadian friend, Bosnian friend, Costa Rican, Italian, Australian, Japanese, Chinese, English (UK!) Brazilian  and many many more!!   One of my friends, we call her a Guammy Bear - she's from Guam!  I'm not sure that's completely politically correct, but she rocks and it's all great fun.  I grew up in a small town where not a lot of come and go existed.  People lived their whole lives in that town, their kids lived there and then grandkids.  There was almost zero exposure to other cultures and customs.  The States are a very mobile people.  We do tend to move and when I was 13 we moved to an even SMALLER and close knit, non mobile town.  I couldn't wait to get out.  I never had money to travel, and when I first connected to the internet in 1998, and created a hotmail account, I used to beg my friends to email me after I moved away from home.  The internet has done horrible and wonderful things since then.  There are entire thesis' written about how the internet has corrupted cultures and destroyed traditions.  It's brought evil into homes and completely changed life as we know it.  For every negative though, you'll find a positive.   Information flows freely now, people can meet other people and learn about other cultures, schools are online - saving me personally - hundreds of dollars in gas, communication involves more than just a voice (Facetime/Skype) and the world can connect in one big abyss of collective knowledge.   Remind anyone else of the Borg?  No?  OK, let me beat back the inner nerd trying to surface.   Thank you, dad, for making sure I grew up a Star Wars AND Star Trek fan.  Nothing like being placed in the middle of a large, volatile, bloody, nerd vs. geek battleground.

So, I realize I "missed" last Friday.  I was exhausted and I'm sure you're thinking, "Really?  How hard is it to just post a recipe?"  Well, I like to test some of my recipes a few times to make sure they are working right and last week, the recipe I had, is the one I'm posting today.  I've made it quite a few times now, and  I'm COMPLETELY addicted and I hope you'll absolutely love it too!  There are some variations which will enhance or destroy the flavor you're looking for.  Choose wisely (Oh, Indiana Jones... how I miss you!)  If you don't like eggs or are like me, have really developed an aversion to them due to eating them for so long, give this a try!  It's very different and flavorful and it's not just "an egg."

Sunny Side Tacos
2 eggs
2 white or yellow corn tortillas (organic, non gmo preferably)
1 ounce of butter
2-4 ounces of your choice cheese (monterey jack, mozzarella, yorkshire, goat)
1 clove of garlic minced (if desired)
1 tSp of chopped onion (if desired)
1 ounce of fresh spinach (if desired)
sour cream (if desired)
cooked crumbled Italian sausage (if desired)
chopped cooked mushrooms (if desired)

Base Recipe! (use this to get started, add things as you go!)

Fry 2 tortillas in a buttered pan or griddle over medium heat until lightly browned - about 3 minutes a side.  When they are done, remove from pan, place on a plate and fold  in half.   In the buttered pan, over medium heat fry two eggs over easy or sunny side up until cooked about 2-4 minutes depending on how "slimy" you want your eggs.  (My kids HATE slimy eggs, so I cook them until all the white is set, but the yolk is still liquid... this is a nerve wracking process.  A little TOO long and it's all over, a little too short and it's all icky.)
When the eggs are cooked how you like them (yolks should still be runny,) remove from the pan and place one in each tortilla.  Butter the pan a little more, brown your garlic and onion in the pan about 5 minutes and throw in your spinach.  Twirl in the pan for about a minute or until the spinach has "wilted" but is not cooked through.  Place on top of the egg.

Now.  Get creative.  Add cheese, sausage, mushrooms, sour cream, tomatoes or NOTHING at this point.  Basically, try this recipe basic first, and then from there add one or two things.   Don't over do it, or you'll lose some of the foundation.   The first one I did had egg, white cheese, salsa and sour cream.  It was killer.  The next one I tried was egg, sausage, and spinach.   The most recent one I made was egg, yorkshire cheese with cranberries and spinach (pictured.)  It was brutally good.  Just remember your base:  tortilla, egg - then pick 2 "toppings" and go from there.  Below I've matched a few combinations to try, that are delicious.

Monterey Jack and sausage
spinach and Yorkshire with cranberries
salsa, white cheese and sour cream
sausage and mushrooms
Mozzarella and spinach
Sriracha and sour cream! (this one is out of my league but I KNOW some of you out there who are hot sauce fans will LOVE it!)

This makes a great dinner as well as breakfast.  So if you come home at the end of a long day and all you can think is, "I need something NOT complicated but delicious and healthy!"  Well, this is it!  Simple, healthy, delicious, and customizable!  You can't get a food better than that.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Musical

Welcome to Friday!  I know I posted the big unveil yesterday, but I was having so much fun this morning with the radio (yes, my car is old, and I have to listen to the radio) that I wanted to share some musical inspirations for Friday.  This is proof the radio can still play decent music!  On occasion.  And no, we will not listen to or discuss a certain song which was terrible and about Friday.  No, no, no.

So, want to know what I cook too?  What I daydream and sing off key to while putting recipes together?  Why sometimes there's 58 grams of ginger but only 54 of almonds in a recipe?  Well, it depends on the inspiration.  I have a lot of inspiration in my life.  Some gets to constantly meander around my head as I struggle to pull coherent thought together and some just pop up and are a hit for a minute and then fade away.

So, today, I figured since I don't really have a recipe for you (because of yesterday - I really hope everyone can try that meringue cake soon!) then today I'll make sure you have some great tunes.  If they aren't that inspirational for you, we will roll some more!  I used to do the song of the day, maybe we'll add that to Fridays.
I wanted to add GGD Last Hot Night in America, really upbeat and fun, but it's not been recorded yet.  I have it recorded from a concert and the YouTube concert videos can be sketchy.  If I find a decent one, I'll post it (if I wasn't screaming my head off in my own videos, I'd post those....) Very fun song!

Get your kitchens warmed up and your music blasting!  Enjoy!

Maroon 5 - always good for an upbeat song.

Funny, with this Cranberries song, they played it on the radio this morning, and I heard it a few days ago in Publix (grocery store)... the top few comments people are saying they heard it in Publix!!! LOL  INSPIRATION!! I like this girl's lyric version because she gets them right!

Plain White T's - I just find it funny that the girl in the video is right there with today's current style and this was produced 7-9 years ago.   Fashion just isn't what it used to be, but this song, is very "in."

And who ISN'T a fan of FUN!?  Besides the cutie lead singer who looks like he walked right out of a dapper 1950's era, the redhead on the keyboard makes this video all win.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Big Unveil

Let me start with one thing:  I did make this cake as intended the first time and it turned out great.  When I made it the 2nd time with a shape and lemon filling... things got messy.  If you want to use lemon and not chocolate, I can help with that, but my one warning will be - GO EASY WITH THE FILLING!

This has got to be my  most epic failure EVER.  I don't usually mind what something looks like too much (yes, it should be appealing to the eyes as well as the tongue) but mostly I want good flavor.  I want to bite into something and the memory of it later causes my mouth to water.  This cake had my severe focus on how it looked, and in the end, the lemon took over.  I won't be posting the recipe for that, I'm simply going to redirect you to where you can make the cake and have it turn out awesome.

First, the reaction from the crowd was amazing.  Everyone thought it hit the nail on the head for the theme and the decorations were done right and well.  The one thing I regret here is not covering the whole cake in white fondant and hiding the filling 'overflow.'  I think, even or especially with wrinkled white fondant, it would have looked very "portalish."

That being said, here you go, judge for yourself.  The edges are messy but the design, amazing.

I WAS PRESSED FOR TIME!  So, I used Wilton fondant.  This is processed in a facility that could risk cross contamination.  I didn't really have a problem with it, that's not to say someone with extreme allergy or sensitivity would be ok.  I have a link HERE for those who would like gluten free fondant.

That being said, I had an artist on Etsy make the birds, because no way did I have time for that.  She was super professional, very awesome and was able to take on my short deadline.  The birds were colorful and bright (despite how my camera was acting last night - it would NOT get the color right and I was super upset the pictures didn't come out as clean and bright as they should have.)

If you'd like to stop over on her store, you can find her at YOUR FANTASY CAKES!  She makes all sorts of cute toppers and is great to work with.

The Cake!

The cake I used was ridiculously good, and the recipe can be found here:  Sweetapolita

The fondant was used for nothing more than the decoration and we peeled it off.  If you're going for looks and don't have a theme, forget the fondant.

The meringue cake CAN be made sugar free!  Use stevia instead of sugar... I did 20 drops liquid and about a teaspoon of NuNaturals powder.  It turned out great.  As for the filling... I'm working on that.  When I get a sugar free version worked out, I'll post it.

The Geek!

I cannot express in words how much the design rocked.  Now, in retrospect, it could have been done a little more cleanly, and, if my camera had been behaving, the light and brightness would not have become such an issue.  

However, Angry Birds Portals was a huge success here!  And, as expected.... the cake IS a lie!

Enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rebel Beat

No, I did not just mess up the title of an old Billy Idol song.  In fact, I'm neck deep in eggs and this project that I promised you was on it's way.  I really hope it won't disappoint, because I've been working nonstop on this and so far, the prototype looks phenomenal.

But I digress!  Everyone will see the project by Friday!  TODAY is something AMAZING!!!  A few days ago The Goo Goo Dolls announced their feature single to be released (right around the time of performing at the Inauguration!)  The new album, "Magnetic" is due out on May 7 and the single was released to radio a few days ago, but now they finally posted it on their site!  So, while I'm dealing with food and cake, I can listen to an upbeat tune.   I'm not such a fan of the 'boyband' sound they have but the message is good, it's rock positive and I'm sure it will grow on me (or get filed in the ranks of a certain "this is crazy" song... which shall NEVER be mentioned again.)


we keep headin in the same direction
you've become my own reflection
is that your soul that you're trying to protect
i always hope that we would intersect, ya
you need time to cope and time to heal
time to cry if it's what you feel
oh life can hurt when it gets too real
i can hold you up when it's hard to deal 
alive, alive, alive is all I wanna feel tonight, tonight

i need to be where you are x2

hey you look around can you hear that noise
it's a rebel sound
we got no where else to go
and when the sun goes down
and we fill the streets
you gonna dance till the morning to the rebel's beat
you can take everything from me cuz this is all I need

you know that life is like a ticking clock
nobody knows when it's gonna stop, ya
before I'm gone I need to touch someone
with a word with a kiss with a decent song ya
and it gets lonely when you live out loud
when the truth that you seek isn't in this crowd
you better find your voice better make it loud
we gotta burn that fire or we'll just burn out
alive, alive, alive is all I wanna feel
tonight, tonight

i need to be where you are x2

hey you, look around can you hear that noise
it’s a rebel sound
we got nowhere else to go
and when the sun goes down
and we fill the streets
you’re gonna dance till the morning to the rebel's beat
you can take everything from me, oh yeah
you can take everything from me
‘cause this is all I need

we are free tonight
and everything’s alright
put your arms around me
baby, show me how to move you
‘cause there’s no worries, there’s no cares
feel the sound that’s everywhere
take what’s ours for once and baby, run like hell!

hey you, look around
can you hear that noise, it’s a rebel sound
we got nowhere else to go
hey you, look around
can you hear that noise, it’s a rebel sound
we got nowhere else to go
and when the sun goes down
and we fill the streets
you’re gonna dance till the morning to the rebels beat
you can take everything from me, oh yeah
you can take everything from me
‘cause this is all I need
this is all I need

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Just Before the Drop....

I love The Montu at Busch Gardens.  They've never paid me to say that, in fact, I pay them so I can say that. I ride the Montu as many times as my kids and the line will allow.  I once met Vanilla Ice in line at the Montu and his lovely wife.  They were very awesome and put up with the crowd's torture of chanting "Ice, Ice, Baby" before boarding and wishing they had all had some kind of face transplants.   That being said, I've ridden it at dark, with the lights on, in the daytime, in the scorching heat and in the long lines of spring vacation.  That ride does not disappoint.   Everyone knows that moment as you come to the front of the line after waiting minutes, hours or days and weeks for a ride.  They open the gate.  You claim your seat with heart racing and excitement pulsing through your chest.  The bars click down.... the ride starts to roll.  Some rides are instantly fantastic.  Instant shoot-you-out-of-a-cannon rides, and drops and speed bursts.   Others, like the Montu, start a little slow.   You cruise out of the bay, around the corner, and start clicking to the top of the first drop.  You know that moment?  The moment when you can feel every click reverberate in your ears, and your heart starts jumping faster and you almost wish you could get out and push the darn thing to get it going?  Then, you get to the top.... and you can see the WHOOOOLE WORLD!  or... the whole park.   And next thing you know {  0   gravity  }  AAAAND YOU'RE FALLING!

Well, today I have some just before the drop excitement.  I'm taking on a pretty hefty project and no matter if it ends up worthy of a Pulitzer or sad mention on CakeWrecks, I'm going to do this.   My autistic son is having a birthday next week and I'm not a crafty mama.  I can't do theme parties.  I'm not one to get everyone together and play some awesome team laser tag game with matching cake and party gifts.  I like to put a store bought cake on the table (what a confession coming from a food blogger huh?) and set out the presents and take pictures and enjoy the moments.   "Wait, wait, wait... you BUY a cake?" you're thinking.  I know.  I know.  You see, my son is not allergic or sensitive to gluten.  In fact, removing it would be like starving him to death and I realize that is sometimes a symptom of gluten issues, the addiction.  However, I've found HUGE success with removing artificial colorings, flavorings and refined or processed sugars from his diet.  Removing high fructose corn syrup was the best thing I ever did for this family - food wise.   Birthdays give all that a bit of a boot though.  I'm not a food nazi with my kids because honestly, they are pretty good about humoring my gluten free sugar free diet the rest of the year.  I buy them organic cinnamon toast crunch (non GMO, unrefined cane juice sweetener, and no BHT - I can live with that, I'm not eating it) and they in turn taste my failure thumbprint cookies that looked like the jelly jar exploded all over my beautiful cookies.    So on their birthday, they get to choose their cake and meal for the day and everyone's happy.  The next day we go back to non chemical eating and everyone doesn't miss the day of what a friend of mine calls "chemical cakes"  (ie: store bought or boxed mixes.)   This year was about to be no different, until....

I talked to A this morning after having a gloriously amazing inspiration last night (from him of course, but he may never really know it.)  I asked him if it would be ok if I made him a gluten free cake.  His face immediately fell.  Let's just say, that no matter how GREAT my white bean cake is, he is autistic.  His taste buds work like a blood hound's nose.  He does like the white bean cake.  But he misses a good old birthday cake, especially being that his diet and body do not require wheat free.  There is no difference for him.  Except missing his old flavors and textures.  So, I sweetened the deal.  I told him I'd feature his cake, NO MATTER HOW BADLY IT TURNS OUT, on my blog.  AND I would use real sugar (I'm using minimally processed, organic cane sugar, unbleached - however, the fondant is store bought, has a disclaimer that it could have possibly come in contact with wheat contaminants in the facility... I'm unable to change this at this time due to the cake's theme, however, I have some links if you want to see gluten free fondant.  It's fairly easy to make at home with marshmallow fondant, or there is a company that makes it.)  As for frosting, I have no idea yet.  I'm wishing someone will rain down organic frosting but so far, no luck.  I'll keep updating.

That's what's going to happen next week.  I'm spending this week, playing with fondant (ugh) and testing gluten free cake recipes made with starches (ugh) and then I'm going to use food coloring (ugh) and make a nice little design and prove that YES, really, you can make really great tasting food and still be gluten free (but not necessarily HEALTHY!)   Hahahaha!

This is a special I'm doing for my little boy and it's going to be a combination of gluten free and geekery at it's finest (no health guarantees.)  We love games around here and I cannot WAIT to show you what I have up my sleeve.

Besides my elbow.

Pictures this week are courtesy of Costa Rica.  Beautiful place, remember sunscreen even in the Cloud Forest if you have a complexion like mine (ie- ghost color.)