Friday, August 20, 2010

Wow, it's been too long!

What can I say, this summer has been busy! I stopped working in April, and have been staying busy with my little boy going to playdates, swimming, etc. Trying to keep cool as well! I'm glad my uncle Bryan reminded me that I have this blog, and I used to love posting. I need to get back into it. I guess I haven't tried many new dishes this summer since it's been so dang hot out and heating up the kitchen is so not on my list of things to do. I will share one specific recipe that is staying fresh in my memory, because it was so good, though. I had gone grain free and dairy free before my vacation to Puerto Vallarta in June, but fell off the bandwagon when we indulged in corn chips almost daily. We ate them with fresh salsa and guacamole though, so it was really hard to resist. Ever since then, I've been eating grain almost daily. I know I need to give it up for the sake of my allergies, but it's so hard to make a meal the whole family will love, completely grain and dairy free. Anyway, E is getting SO big. he's 26 lbs and about 34 inches long. He's still wearing 18-24 mo. clothing, so his height and weight has certainly evened out over the past several months. He's got pajamas that I finally put up because they were too small on him that he's been wearing since he was 9 months old. He's almost 20 months now! I ventured out today for tax-free weekend to see what little boy clothes I could find and found 8 items for 30 dollars. Most of it was resale and Marshall's. I did go to the mall, but I was about to pull my hair out by the time I left because the crowds were just insane. Not worth the 8% I was saving in taxes, for sure! E and I needed lunch so we were going to go to chipotle, but there was a huge line, so then we walked over to Tin Star and there was an even bigger line there, so I gave up and we went to the mall, where I knew I could get chickfila, and waited in line anyway. So annoying! Remind me next year not to do that. I'll stick to getting my daily deals at resale stores!

Anyway, so I did get another job, but it's only like 4-8 hours a week, depending on how much I work. It's good hourly though, so I hope I like it. I haven't started yet, because I need to take my TABC before I can do liquor promotions. I'm looking forward to getting out of the house for awhile without a kid. That will be nice. I joined a playgroup in May and have been doing outings with Ethan 3-4 times a week, and that's been a lifesaver for both of us. I'm really starting to bond with some of the moms in the group and making some good friends, so it's been nice.

E's been talking up a storm lately. He's starting to try and talk in sentences, but I can't understand a word he's saying. It's all gibberish right now but you can tell by his inflection that he's saying a sentence. He's started saying "no" to everything, even when he means "yes" and "why?" constantly. It's annoying and adorable at the same time. He loves Yo Gabba Gabba, and calls it "Yo Yo." He says "Nee-Nah" for "clean up" all the time. I love it! We've been working on getting him down to nursing at naps and bedtime only, and that's been going pretty well. I'd love to get to the point where he'd take a nap without me. It would totally free up my day and schedule, but we'll get there eventually I guess.

Okay, onto food. This recipe is grain free but not dairy free.

Smoked Brisket Salad

5 slices smoked brisket(we smoked ours in a smoker, but you could use smoke seasoning)
smoked almonds(we smoked our almonds, but you could use already smoked almonds)
1 dollop of sour cream
1 dollop barbecue sauce
shredded pepper jack
romaine or head lettuce, chopped
green onions, chopped
avocado, sliced
tomatoes, chopped
1 sprig cilantro for garnish

Toss all ingredients and serve. It would be nice with a squeeze of fresh lime as well.

I'll probably post again in the next few days. I need to catch up some more!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spaghetti with Bacon....yum

Ethan enjoying zuke noodles

So, I have been eating a lot of beef this week and decided to switch it up and make something with bacon, but pasta sounded good. I'm trying to go mostly dairy free though as well, so all those yummy creamy bacon pasta recipes were out of the question. So, I decided to try something new. I'm not doing grain, so I made some zucchini noodles. All you have to do is take 1 or 2 zucchinis, and peel them with a potato peeler until you get down to the seeds. I usually just save the seedy part in a bag in the freezer until I make some soup or something.

I love spaghetti sauce to taste a little sweet, so I usually add honey, but with the balsamic and vidalia onion in this recipe, you really don't need to add any sweetener.

Tomato Bacon Balsamic over Zuke Noodles

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 tsp italian seasoning
celtic sea salt
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 lb bacon, cooked
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 vidalia onion, chopped
two zucchinis, ribboned with a potato peeler.

Combine diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, and italian season in a medium saucepan, simmer while you make everything else. In a skillet, use the leftover bacon grease from cooking the bacon to saute the onions and garlic. Once soft, add the 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and cook on medium until it has reduced some. Pour the onion/garlic mixture into the tomato sauce and add salt and pepper to taste. Add more water if it's too thick for your taste. While the sauce continues to simmer, clean out the skillet and add the zucchini, and 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and a little salt and pepper. Saute until zucchini is tender, but not too soft. Serve the sauce over the noodles and top with chopped cooked bacon. I also grated a little asiago cheese and cooked some broccoli to mix in. Made a nice veggie rich meal. Very filling too!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Grain Free! Garlic Wine Chuck Roast, Roasted Green Beans & Chocolate Cupcakes!

I just read (well, skimmed) The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson and was very inspired (partly due to my mom and sister as well) to go grain free. They were doing it for allergies, and weight loss and I am mainly doing it for my allergies. It seems every year around April 1st, I start to develop chronic congestion. I get so congested I can't breathe at night. It usually lasts about 8 weeks. Either this grain free diet is helping tremendously with my allergies, or it just happens to be better because it's been about 8 weeks since my allergies flared up. I know they are seasonal, but I have environmental allergies all year round. The allergy shots help with those though. Anyway, I haven't had grains in about 2 days and I feel awesome. I am never hungry. I still crave sugary things a bit but I think it's because I haven't cut out sugar and sweet fruit yet. I don't really intend to either. I really just want to cut out the grains. This may be a temporary thing, but if it continues like this I might stick to it for life. We'll see.

Being gluten free already has made the transition pretty easy. The only thing I really miss so far is corn chips and salsa. If I could make a grain free chip I'd be in heaven! I think it's also helping that we are at the yummiest season of the year for produce. Corn, watermelon, strawberries, blackberries are all in season right now, and are quite abundant. Unfortunately, we got about 10 ears of fresh local corn in our last produce share and I'm not eating any of it! So sad. Oh well, my son and husband will enjoy it with gusto I'm sure. I haven't attempted a grain free pizza yet (well, I guess chebe mix is considered grain free, because it's made from tapioca but still processed pretty highly), but I'd like to because I really love my pizza. With peppers, and sausage and lots of onions.. drool....Hell, I may still eat the chebe. I don't think it bothers my allergies. Only one way to find out!

Tonight I made an amazing chuck roast in the crock pot. My sister helped me out with this one.

The recipe:

1 cup dry red wine (I actually used pinot noir, which isn't dry but it's all I had. Dry would be better)
1 grass fed chuck roast (mine was about 3 lbs, bone in)
8 garlic cloves, sliced
1 onion, sliced into rings
1 can organic diced tomatoes
salt and pepper ( just throw some in)
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 springs fresh rosemary

Layer all ingredients besides the roast into the crock pot.
Brown the roast in a little coconut oil before placing in the crock pot.
Cook on low all day (mine cooked from like 11-6)
If your roast is boneless, just remove and slice.
Mine was bone in so I had to remove the roast and take the bones and fat and cartilage and junk out, then chop up what was left and put it back in the pot to cook for a bit more. Drizzle with the juices from the roast.

And as a side:

Roasted Green Beans

1-2 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed
sea salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

Toss green beans in olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on cookie sheet. Bake in 400 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes, or done to your liking. I like mine really done!

For dessert, I made grain free chocolate cupcakes, thanks to Elana's Pantry!

Adapted from Elana's Pantry recipe:

Grain Free Chocolate Cupcakes

1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
1/4 cup refined coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2- 1 tsp almond extract
  1. In a medium bowl, combine coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda(I used my hands to smooth the lumps in this step)
  2. In a large bowl, blend together eggs, oil and maple syrup
  3. Blend dry ingredients into wet thoroughly
  4. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners and scoop a 1/4 cup into each
  5. Bake at 375° for 20-22 minutes
Makes 9-10 cupcakes

Mine turned out a bit dry, but very tasty. I'm thinking butter might help with that next time? Honestly the batter tasted like chocolate pudding. I might just eat the batter next time!!

Elana has a recipe for vegan buttercream frosting on her site, but I am trying to cut back on sugar, so I didn't frost them. I just ate them like chocolate muffins. Still yum!

And onto my child, my 17 month old toddler. Can't believe he's 17 months! He's now saying "Nee Na" for clean up, no, hi, bye, mama, dadda, knee, eww, oooh (like in amazement), yumm, doggy, puppy, poopy, wa wa (water), Beeba (which is his nickname, but we say EEB, because those are his intials), up, many words! He's no sleeping about 4-6 hours in his bed at night and then when he wakes up he walks into our bedroom and sleeps with us the rest of the night.
It's called part time cosleeping. I like it. It's a nice compromise! That's all for today. I'll post again soon!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gluten free Grain Free crackers

I adapted this recipe from Elana's Pantry to suit my own tastes. This is adapted from her walnut crackers with fig tapenade recipe on her site. Just trying to give credit where credit is due and to remind everyone that very few recipes are truly original, so I'm going to call this an adaptation.

Nut Crackers

1 cup blanched almond flour (I used bob's red mill)
1 egg, whisked until frothy(not sure why, but that's what I did cause that's what Elana said to do)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey(to give it that real cracker taste..)
1/2 cup other nut flour blend (I combined walnuts and pumpkin seads in the food processor) You can play around with these combinations.
1 tbsp olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Scoop out the dough with a spatula onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough. Roll out with a rolling pin (or in my case, a uniformly cylindrical glass since I don't own a rolling pin) until the dough is even and cracker-width. remove the second piece of parchment paper. Using a pizza cutter, slice the sheet of dough into cracker size pieces. I ended up with about 30 crackers. Then bake in the oven for about 12 minutes at 350 degrees. When I first read Elana's recipe, I didn't realize you could bake with parchment paper, so I removed both pieces of parchment paper and had to basically roll the dough again directly onto the baking pan. Well, the crackers stuck to the pan and I had to destroy them to get them off. I'm going to use the crumbs as a cracker crumb topping for a casserole I think and try again the right way next time. I'm sure it turns out much cleaner and the crackers are prettier like the picture on her blog. I then topped the cracker bits(a few made it) with some canned smoked sardines and kalamata olives. It was a very satisfying "snack." I call it a snack, but it was really a meal. Those crackers are super dense, but not in a bad way. They're completely nut based, so lots of protein and fat to fill me up! If I had some decent raw cheddar or aged parmesan, I would have added that as well. Anyone who attempts this, please let me know how it turns out! Mom, I know you are tonight. I'm curious to see what yours end up like.


Friday, April 30, 2010

My Adventures With Mayonnaise

So, my sister came over a couple weeks ago and showed me how to make mayonnaise. Well, I had recommended to her that we use my immersion blender because I read online that you can make mayonnaise in an immersion blender without having to add the oil slowly. You could just throw all the ingredients in there together and it would work. Well, it didn't and but we had a nice bacon, lettuce and tomato salad with a dressing made from our liquid mayonnaise. It tasted good, but it wasn't mayonnaise.

Well, Ethan has been really cranky and needy lately, and I thought it was due to this one tooth that hasn't popped through yet, but he has been happy as a clam the past two days and his tooth still isn't through, so I'm not sure what that is all about. Needless to say, he was a happy camper today and let me get all kinds of stuff done without whining all over the house all day :). So I decided to take advantage of his mood and get cooking! I attempted the mayonnaise again. I was determined to use the immersion blender successfully, but this time I started the right way. I added one egg to the container, and then slooooowly added an olive/coconut oil blend drip by drip. It turned out fairly thick! But then I added vinegar afterward, and it became liquid again. I tried again. Cracked another egg, but this time, added vinegar to the egg, blended then added the oil. Well, I guess I didn't pour the oil slow enough this time and it never emulsified. I added too much oil and the result was a very olivey tasting mayonnaise liquid.

I couldn't let it go to waste. Afterall, I used pastured chicken eggs and good quality coconut and olive oil. So, I turned it into a honey mustard dressing.

Honey Mustard Dressing

3/4 cup mayonnaise (homemade)
3 tbsp mustard (I used grainy brown mustard, but yellow would be classic and yummy too)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
Apple cider vinegar (not sure how much, just use as much as it takes to taste right, probably around 1/4 cup.
Raw honey ( I think I used around 3 tablespoons)
a little whey (this will make it last longer with the homemade mayonnaise)

Mix all together with immersion blender or just shake it all up in a jar.

I then had a little less than 2 cups of honey mustard dressing that I wasn't sure I would use before it went bad, and I hate wasting food, so I decided to then make potato salad with it!

2-3 lbs potatoes, red works best, but I only had russets, so that's what I used, cooked and cubed
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup honey mustard dressing
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 onion chopped
paprika for a splash of color. I didn't have any, but it would have been a lot prettier if I did! Oohh, smoked paprika would have been really good. Oooh and truffle oil would have been a good oil to use for the mayonnaise. Why didn't I think of that before? Oh well, next time.
Anyway, make sure the eggs and potatoes are cool before tossing all the ingredients together in a bowl and let chill in the fridge for awhile before eating.

I guess you have noticed that I didn't put a recipe for the mayonnaise. I am going to perfect it first, and then I will post my final results in a recipe format. I will master this! I'm determined.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Life With a Child

You know how people always say that once you have a baby, you forget what your life was like before you had kids? Well, I'm going to be honest and say I do remember what it was like, and at times I do miss it. I remember the nights where I could go to bed at midnight and get up at eight without a chubby toddler's foot kicking my face just as I'm drifting off to sleep, knowing that once I hit my pillow, I'd get a full 8 hours and could time when I wanted to go to bed accordingly. I also remember being able to go out with friends last minute without needing to call up a grandparent first to make sure there was a babysitter, being able to shower every day, sitting at the computer for hours on end just killing time without a child trying to claw at my shirt and crawl on my lap, right as I am sitting down to return an email. I could go on. Yes I remember all this stuff, but as the months go on, the small things that I used to relish have become so insignificant, and a distant memory. I can only imagine that as time goes on, the memories will become more distant, and while I do think of these moments occasionally when I've had a long day and want to relax, I wouldn't have it any other way. I think this is what the phrase is intended to mean:"Once you have a baby, you don't forget what it's like to be without one, you remember what it's like, but wouldn't trade it for anything."

This is my life.

Let's see what I have to say when he hits the terrible twos :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gluten Free Oven Baked Pork Chops, Red Cabbage Cole Slaw and Oven Fries

Yum!! Was at home all day today, so I decided to make a nice homey meal.

Oven Baked Pork Chops

2 or 3 pork chops (I used boneless)
3/4 cup corn flake crumbs
dash of lawry's salt
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
dash of garlic powder
1-2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup whey

Combine corn flake crumbs, lawry's, italian seasoning, garlic powder in a shallow bowl, add melted coconut oil and combine with fingers until all ingredients are mixed well. beat egg and whey together. Let chops soak in the egg mixture for at least 1/2 hour. I also used a meat mallet to tenderize the pork some. The whey will help tenderize as well. Coat chops with corn flake mixture and place in a non stick baking dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until chops are done.

Oven fries

2-3 baking potatoes, sliced like wedges.
olive oil
sea salt

Toss all ingredients. place on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, then crank up the heat to 425 and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until fries are crispy, or done to your liking.

Red Cabbage Cole Slaw

1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 zucchini, shredded
1 celery stalk, sliced at an angle
1 cup mayo
2 tsp celery salt
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
black pepper to taste
2 tbsp minced onion

combine mayo, onion, celery salt, honey, ACV and pepper together in a small food processor, blend until smooth. Combine the rest of the ingredients with the size. Adjust spices to your liking.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Beet Salad for those who don't love beets!

So, I personally love beets, but not everyone does. It's a vegetable that doesn't really get a good rap. So, I came up with a beet salad that pretty much anyone will enjoy. It only has a faint hint of that earthy beet taste to it, but mostly you taste sweet and sourness :)

1 large or 2 small beets, peeled and shredded
2 green onions, chopped up
1 clove garlic, pressed
juice and zest of one orange,
juice and zest of one meyer lemon(or regular lemon, whatever)
1 carrot, shredded
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and serve. It doesn't really need to marinate, but tastes much better if you let it marinate for an hour or overnight.

i added a little bit of grapefruit juice too, just because I had it on hand. Adjust the spices and quantities to your liking. My husband who hates beets tasted it and said it wasn't too bad. (didn't love it, but liked it okay..that's good enough for me!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Meal planning..trying to at least

I feel like I would be an amazing stay at home mom, but being at home all the time actually doesn't appeal to me. However, if I were, I swear, I would make my husband the happiest man. I absolutely love to cook, especially from scratch. I usually have enough time to make decent meals that are prepared quickly and taste good, but if I was at home all day, I could make awesome meals from scratch every day. Well, since I'm not at home all the time, and I do work and babysit, I don't have as much time, but I still try to cook as much as possible from scratch. Not only is it healthier, but cheaper too. One of my goals for the year is to use as much as possible from my cupboard, freezer and fridge before going out and supplementing ingredients when I don't really need to. Sometimes you just have to get creative with what you are cooking. It's taken me 7 almost 8 years to master my cooking skills, but I'd like to say that I'm pretty good at cooking from scratch without a specific recipe, and can get creative when needed. I was able to compile a list of the ingredients I have in my pantry, freezer and refrigerator right now, and I'm planning on using as much as I can with what I have, only supplementing when needed, like with milk, cheese & produce.

Here's my list

Fridge/Freezer/Cupboard Stock 1/24


2 lbs GF pasta
4 28 oz cans org. diced tomatoes
5 cans org. tomato paste
7 cans albacore tuna
1 lb org. dry pinto beans
1 lb org. dry black beans
1 lb green lentils
2 bags org. mixed rice
3 bags chebe bread mix
1 can coconut milk
Pamelas mix
Coconut flour
Olive oil
Coconut oil
Raw honey
1 baking potato
1 onion
3 sweet potatoes


2 sandwich bags frozen swiss chard
Green beans
Mixed veggie blend
1 lb ground beef
1 beef neck bone
Enough tomato mix for chili for one meal
3 pkgs pork chops(2-3 in each)
6 2 breast portions chicken breast
2 quarts smoked turkey stock
2 quarts chicken stock


9 carrots
2 celery stalks
6 radishes
4 beets
6 small heads baby heirloom lettuce
1 head romaine
1 1/2 lemon
1 bag apples
3 oranges
2 grapefruit
1 head broccoli
3 pears
6 bananas
½ head white cabbage
1 turnip
6 heads baby lettuce
2 russets

1 pkg chicken thighs
1 pkg of 2 pork chops
7 Eggs
1 quart chicken bone broth

Condiments, dips & spreads:

Asian Barbeque
Sweet & Tangy
Fish Sauce
Brown mustard
Ranch Dressing
Hendricks Dressing
Homemade Dressing
Sour Cream
Plain Yogurt
Queso dip


Flour & corn tortillas
Hot dog & hamburger buns
Wheat bread


Raw Cheddar
Mozzarella sticks
Lunchmeat & Cheese

The goal is to compile meals based on all these ingredients for the next month without having to buy too much extra. I don't know if it's enough, it may not be, but that's the goal. Here are the meals that I have come up with with only a few extra ingredients that I need to buy

Menu plan

Meatloaf-make w/eggs, coconut flour, onion, veggies (include liver if possible), corn & salad

Black Bean soup made w/beef neck bone, & rotel, maybe throw some shredded cabbage in there for extra nutrients?

Chicken thighs (with San-J sauce), peppers, broccoli & rice

Autumn Pork chops with potatoes & turnips perhaps? in crock pot (on cd kitchen)

Broiled or grilled chicken breasts w/roasted beets, carrots & sweet potatoes

Chicken & dumplings & salad
(use celery, onion, carrots, leftover roasted chicken, make a roux with flour, butter & milk, thyme), top with drop GF biscuits)

Lentil stew (soaked lentils, frozen swiss chard, corn, frozen squash, carrots, diced tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaf, onion, sea salt, pepper, potatoes & diced ham)

Tuna & pasta ( use 1 can tuna, linguine, lemon juice, salt& pepper, parmesan cheese, & broccoli)

Pizza (use tomato paste & diced tomatoes, garlic, spices, honey & ACV), crust made with chebe mix, onions, bell peppers, garlic, whatever other veggies I have lying around, nitrate free pepperoni

For breakfasts, I'm trying to incorporate other foods besides eggs and fruit, my staple. I am going to try and start making smoothies, including yogurt, frozen fruit, flax seed meal, and raw eggs. I would also like to start soaking some breakfast grains so we can have grains for breakfast too, something I normally don't do.

Anyway, this list of stuff is primarily for me, but I thought I'd share with everyone else, too.
This weekend has been a very productive weekend. I got all the laundry done and put up, the house cleaned, and refrigerator cleaned out. I also have planned meals and prepped our lunches for the week. It's amazing what you can do with two whole days off! Plus, Mark and I had plenty of time to play with our little boy. Now, the weekend is almost over and back to the typical busy week! Hope everyone had a good weekend!