Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Favorite salad - Starkist Tuna in Olive Oil


This is by far my favorite way to have a salad (for now at least). Ever since I discovered tuna fillet in olive oil, anyway.

It's ingredients are: tuna, olive oil, salt. I get them for about $1.58 - but it is so worth it to avoid soy and mystery ingredients! So, I cut up whatever is in the fridge and dump the can of tuna on top, shake some balsamic on it and tah daaaah! You have a salad complete with dressing.

Nothing to drain, barfycat doesn't want a taste and I'm happy!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Golden Sweet potatoes



D2D sent me yams and golden sweet potatoes and I just couldn't wait to roast them. I've decided that roasting and grilling are about the only ways to really cook veggies. Everything comes out so flavorful and good - without a bunch of seasoning or prep work (you know how I hate prep work).
So, I peeled these babies, sliced em 1/2 inch thick and put them in the oven at about 385 for 30 minutes. Voila! I admit, I ate them straight off the pan and the picture above is leftovers, the next day. I swear they got better overnight!
Also, I used my new plate - pretty huh?
What do you roast? I've heard that you can roast brussels sprouts but never had any that way. Do you think it stinks up the house?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I luv Chard Chips this.......much!

I'm always entranced by how gorgeous red chard leaves are. I love them! I especially love them chip style:


This time I finally did it right. I cut out the stem and ripped them into bite size pieces. Then dried them, put in a bowl with a drizzle of Evoo and salt and tossed till coated. Pretty, yes?
Baked them for about 15 mins at 350, until they were crisp and ate almost all of them right out of the oven. Heavenly! Best thing ever!! Not to mention the perfect color combo for Christmas ;)

See you later!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Review: Bob's Red Mill GF Bread mix

I was totally in the mood to bake bread this weekend and lucky me, I had a Bob's mix in the cupboard that I'd put off using because it requires more egg whites than yolks. But I decided to give it a try and find out how many extra yolks I'd really have and it was only 3.
So, not to waste those cute pillowy yolks (have I told you how I truly love separating eggs? it's like dicing onions - I could do it all day!) I decided to scramble up an extra one with a whole egg and some veggies for breakfast while the bread was baking. Good no? i also cooked one up for barfycat - she loved it ;)

It's sliced up zucchini innards (after I made zucc noods) & onion sauteed in evoo, S&P. Also, cut up some cute little tomatoes and scrambled them with the eggs. Num :)
Here's the bread:


The bread turned out as good as I can expect! When it was fresh out of the oven it was warm and soft - I could have eaten the whole loaf at once! But, the next day it was really crumbly, even after warmed in the micro :(
I don't blame Bob. See, I messed up, a lot! First, I melted the butter in the micro but added cold milk to it! which of course solidified that butter right up...so I put the bowl on the warmer while I separated the eggs and kept whisking until it was finally incorporated and warm (heed the instruction that all ingredients must be at room temp).
Then, after I dumped the ingredients into my cuisi bread maker in proper order, forgot that I didn't add the vinegar...so I dumped it in on the edge and hoped it would get mixed in good enough. I pushed "Start" and went to do some other chores...an hour later I came back to see how it was doing and found out it had done the entire cycle without the mixing paddle!! Luckily, it hadn't baked yet so I cleared it, dug under the pasty goo that was forming and stuck the paddle in. Closed the top - went to finish my chores...an hour later came back to see how it was doing and had forgotten to start it! Ugh! Slapping my forehead and stomping feet ensued. Then, I pushed Start, crossed my fingers and waited...10 minutes till it started stirring. Then checked back every 30 minutes until it was baking.
So, I'm sure all my messing around is directly related to the crumbly bread. but, it tastes good and that's what matters, right? RIGHT?

Friday, December 10, 2010

I won't be the girl with the can of frosting

ok, I made this tonight because I will not be the girl with a solitary can of frosting in the checkout at the store on a weekend night.
I'm craving frosting like something else tonight! I do have all the fixins to make some...but it takes so long...and I had a bit of peanut butter so I squished this together real fast.
What's in it?
A couple spoons of sugar, a couple spoons of cocoa powder, about 2 Tbs of peanut butter, a dash of vanilla and a dash of salt. In the micro for about a minute, stir and smash on a rice cake or eat it with a spoon.
I think I'm going to finish up with about about a bottle of wine!
BTW, a couple spoons each of sugar and cocoa powder is Hot Cocoa mix - Swiss Miss has nothing over that! Don't forget a dash of salt ;)
Cocoa is outtie! Night night kids.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Book: A Course In Weight Loss, 21 lessons

As you know, I'm a big fan of "Add More ~ing to your life" and it's probably saved my life, almost literally. I have a feeling that if I wouldn't have been Divinely guided to Gabby, I probably would have been guided to something similar - but I also believe that everything is part of a plan, so there you go.
Anyway, Gabby recommended this book by her mentor, Marianne Williamson, so I checked it out and I'm so glad I did! It has changed my life profoundly in the 21 days I dedicated to do the lessons. Now, I'm recommending it to you. No matter if you're overweight or not, everyone needs to learn the lessons in this book - about your relationship with God.
If you want to know more, message me somehow and I'll link you up to my other blog - where I wrote about each day's lesson and what it brought up for me.

I was curious about it initially because since being diagnosed with Celiac and going on the gluten free diet, among other things, I've actually gained quite a bit of weight. I chalked it up to my long-time starving body holding on to every calorie and medication notorious for making women hold an extra 15 pounds or so. But, I believe in miracles and Marianne says in this book - ask for a miracle! But, you have to believe it too - you don't want to reject your miracle, so there's a lot of work to do too.

So, the premise of this book is that being overweight is a manifestation of your mind. It is the emotional baggage that you have not worked through appropriately, being housed in your body until you do deal with it. That baggage can range from abuse to trying to please others to just needing to be closer to God. I found I was closer to the needing a stronger relationship with God mixed in with a little of the hiding my greatness to be accepted by others.
My baggage started with: I'm so afraid that I will be somewhere without safe food that I'm constantly preparing for that. Also, that I don't put enough trust in God and I'm rejecting love from my life.
It was an amazing process to go through and like I said, profound changes! For instance, every morning I get up and ask God to guide me where he wants me to be and promise to show up for my assignments. In a way, I've always known this was my job, as a Christian. I've been taught this all my life yet somehow I also picked up that what I want is what God wants. Now I know that might be true, or he might want something better and by grasping and fighting for things I may be limiting my life's greatness.
Another great ritual I've developed is praying before meals. I've never really done that before, we pray before holiday meals and I have a dear, beautiful friend who prays before meals and I appreciate it so much. Personally, I've felt awkward about it. Now, I just do it. It's a nice reminder that God has provided for me and to remember those who aren't as fortunate. It brings me back to consciously appreciating food instead of always fearing that it will make me sick, fat, tired or not satisfy me at all.

These might sound like simple things, but they are really huge, for me. Giving up my (false) control over my day and asking God to take control, every day, is alien to me. I've always thought I was supposed to do all the work, now I know that some of that work isn't mine to do. I can't control other people and I can't hold the stars in the sky.

So, if you notice a change in me - like I'm not so controlling or bossy or even if it seems like I'm careless, you know why now. I'm letting God hold those stars and I'm listening intently to his directions. I'm working really hard every day to act from a place of love and to think like I'm God's hands and feet, eyes and ears. One of the lessons says to think about your body this way, because God lives in us. So, once in a while I stop and I think WWJD? For real!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Spaghetti or not spaghetti?

Don't let anyone tell you that spaghetti squash is a fair sub for real spaghetti...but it is really good!! So, you should definitely try it. I do put marinara on it, and the leftovers will no doubt get some butter, SP instead though, cuz that's good too ;0)

So, if you want to make this squash all you need is a baking dish and a microwave! Cut the squash in half, scoop the seeds out and put it cut sides down on the dish and put a little water in in it. Don't worry if it gets the squash wet. Then cook it for as long as it takes to get soft, mine takes about 10 minutes.
Then, use a fork to scrape out the insides, it will be stringy like spaghetti, but not stringy to eat, kind of crisp actually. Top it with whatever makes you happy, like cheese or sauce or just some salt and pepper.
This week, after not having to work for a whole week, was busy! I really didn't have a lot of time to cook ;0( and to tell the truth, yesterday I got the last of the Thanksgiving dishes done...I'm usually pretty good about getting the dishes done.
Anywhoo...sandwiches have been big - as in having one every day. I've alternated between Buddig Beef (it's gluten free!!!) and fried egg. The one above is corned beef with spinach and some grape tomatoes that my parents had growing - it's been really warm here still!
I was also really blessed to have T-day leftovers well into Tuesday, at which time I tossed the last of it for fear of food poisoning (how long do leftovers really last?!?)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Post T-day hangovers anyone?

No, I don't have a hangover but if I did I think some greens would help, don't you?

Maybe I have a bit of a stuffing hangover though so I threw together this spinach fritatta for breakfast. So easy, chopped up some spinach, half an onion, a clove of garlic and some tomatoes- S&P of course! - in a bowl with a couple eggs (I used 4 cuz that was all I had). Grease a pie pan dump it in and bake for about 30 minutes at 350. *heart*
Still craving some greens I did this huge salad for lunch today. Red leaf lettuce, spinach, green onions, pear, tomato, and a can of tuna in olive oil with balsamic vinegar to dress it. The perfect antidote to the stuffing I keep snacking on!
The one thing we didn't have was dessert. I totally forgot until today when I was putting together my leftovers for dinner and thought how great a piece of pumpkin pie would be. I'm going to have to make sure that one shows up at Christmas!

What do you do after Thanksgiving to balance out again? or do you eat sensibly and don't need to?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving


Here's my beautiful Thanksgiving dinner. I made cranberry sauce from scratch!! And wild rice with onions and celery, mashed potatoes and stuffed squash from the glutenfreegoddess blog:
The wild rice took forever to wash! I was being ultra careful so I put it through a dozen bowls of water to make sure there was no sand left. How embarrassing would it be to have a dinner guest break a tooth? This picture was after bowl 8 ish, I actually lost count.

This was one of the nicest thanksgivings I've ever had. Of course that was after the screwdrivers, 2 kinds of wine, martinis and nog. We all get along great after a little hooch ;0)

So, what did you do for Thanksgiving?

P.S. nobody missed the turkey and I only have a couple meals worth of leftovers. Woo hoo!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chocolate chip pancake hangover

This morning I got inspired to make pancakes so I got out the Bob's and tossed some chocolate chips in it and got cooking.

They didn't need syrup at all! They were so sweet and fluffy. Pure happiness.

Stay tuned for my Thanksgiving recap. Lots of yummy food ;0)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving and pomegranates

I found that pomegranates are not easy to eat. In fact, it takes for.ev.er to get the seeds out and then eating them is still no fun. Tastes great - lots of work.
I also got a persimmon. How do you eat a persimmon?!? Cute isn't it ;)
In other news, I have this whole week off. Forced PTO - not fair - blahdy blah - whiney whine whine. On the upside, I have a whole week off, including Thanksgiving. So I'll be cooking.
What are you cooking for t-day?
Since I can't have poultry anymore I plan to make stuffed acorn squash using Bob's Redmill cornbread ala Karina's: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2008/11/maple-roasted-acorn-squash-and.html
We had this last Thanksgiving too, but with turkey. This year we will have wild rice instead. Mmm...wild rice is my favorite and my great uncle sent me some all the way from Minnesota which is way better than any you can get in Colorado!!
I'm really looking forward to it and over the next couple days all I need to do to prepare is get a couple acorn squash thanks to D2D bringing me all the other ingredients I need. :0)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Turban Squash!!

It totally looks like a turban...not! But it is really pretty. So, I didn't know how to cook it...exactly. I read that I could cut it open, scoop the seeds and bake it like any other squash, so I tried that.
Those seeds are soft and huge! That is a big soup spoon that I'm scooping them with.
What I learned:

1. Cut it in half, not just the top like a pumpkin. Why? Because the seeds are in every nook and cranny - it was impossible to get them all out through the top.
2. Plan a flavorful recipe. Although it is still yummy yummy squash, it is kind of bland and watery, like pumpkin.
3. Have plenty of people to eat it. I've been having some every day all week and there's still about half left!

In other news...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dreamy coconut milk

Picture me at the store, picking up my usual Almond Milk and I see this coconut milk next to it and think "OOOOH! Something new!" and had to pick it up. What a goofball!! It isn't any different than the coconut milk you can get in a can, that they've sold for.ev.er. I'm such a sucker for marketing, apparently ;)
The bonus though is that it makes the BEST Hot cocoa and chai lattes in the world. Better than cow milk, way better than soy and not as strong as almond.
So here's what I got to make chai lattes - totally recommend trying it!
For hot chocolate, I mix a tablespoon (rounded!) each of cocoa powder & sugar in a mug then fill it with coconut milk and microwave it for 1 minute, stir, nuke 1 more minute, done! MMMM perfect for a cold winter night like tonight.
I other news, I was too tired to deal with dinner tonight so I came home and fried up an egg and toasted some Udi's sandwich bread in the same pan on the stove. I haven't had an egg sandwich in YEARS! Seriously, 6+ years, I can't even remember. So I wanted to document it for posterity here:
It didn't have cheese or butter and I kind of missed the cheese but Oh Boy! it was perfect for me tonight.
Now, I'm gearing up for Thanksgiving. I'm cooking of course, which is easy since it'll just be me and the 'rents. Only kids get it easy I guess. Luckily, I'll have all next week off (universally forced PTO - when will I ever get to take a vacation day when I want to?) so I can find all my ingredients and prepare (like cleaning the house...).
What are you making for T-day?
Are you going to be watching a game on TV?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What would you do?

Oh No!! I left my lunch at home today. My beautiful salad with craisins, arugula, green onions and balsamic. So, I'm a little stupid this afternoon and decided to blog.
What do you do when you leave your lunch at home and can't get out to find anything?
In my office, there is a snack machine.

It has absolutely nothing gluten free though.
Lately, my desk drawer stash has shrunk down and with our upcoming 10 day shut-down, I'm putting off restocking it. No need to feed the rats or bugs or whatever takes over the office while we aren't here.
I want my salad. and it's 3:30 so I'm challenging myself to go the hour and a half until I can run home to my food.
So what happens when I don't eat for hours and hours? First, I get grouchy. Then I get stupid. Like I can't talk or recall information that was once at the tip of my tongue.
Once that passes, I get a headache - which I have learned to soothe with lots of water. Finally, I'm just a little light headed but the pain has passed. Much like now, I'm not hungry per se, but I know I need to eat soon or I'm in serious danger of falling off my chair.
Add to that the 6:00 HOA meeting that I'm compelled to go to and I'm seriously considering trolling for change to buy a Coke!
Trolling, you ask? Yes. I don't carry cash just exactly so I'm not drawn in my the Coke machine.
The HFCS is so bad for me, besides being fattening it's been proven to cause so many health issues.
The other option is aspartame and that has been proven to cause brain problems.
And I have enough of those!!
Yet, every day I crave a Coke. Once in a very long while I know I have change from some random purchase and I'll give in and buy a pop. Then there's guilt. and the burping. So I stay away.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Purple Potatoes?!?!

How cool looking are these purple potatoes?

They were purple all the way through, not like red potatoes that are white inside, which totally surprised me!

I roasted them at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes with a dash of EVOO S&P and I was in potato heaven.
Have you ever had purple potatoes? Have you ever seen purple potatoes? I didn't know they existed until this week, so this was a totally fun Friday dinner to try.
This morning I woke up with a hankering for something spicy so I made breakfast tacos. Totally easy - you toast some tortillas, rip up some lettuce, scramble a couple eggs with salsa and viola!!
This was literally a 7 minute breakfast.
So, I have absolutely no plans this weekend, which is AWESOME! I mean, there aren't chores to do even. It seems like a perfect weekend for some shopping and girl's night out, no?


Friday, November 12, 2010

Simple Pumpkin for a Simple Girl


I had such high hopes for this pie pumpkin D2D brought me - seriously! I was going to bake a pumpkin pie. I have a gf crust mix and all I really needed was a good filling recipe. But, I never found it and pretty soon the endeavor was forgotten.
I found myself baking a carnival squash - so cute, so yummy - and out of the corner of my eye this petite pumpkin waved at me and said "eat me!". Ahem. So I cut off his top, dug out his guts and put him in the oven with the squash.
About an hour later, they were both done but I still didn't know what to do with the pumpkin. I tasted it, and it was bland and kind of watery. So, I wrapped it up and shoved it in the fridge until I could come up with something. 2 days later he waved at me again when I was peeking around for a snack and said..."umm...eat me?"
Ok, fine. So I put a chunk in a bowl with a teeny pat of butter and some maple syrup - it was good! I paired it with a simple salad for lunch and there you go. How simple is that? I think there is more pumpkin in my future, no longer sequestered to Thanksgiving pies and random muffins, the pumpkin is going to make a come back as a veggie side dish I tell you!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Roasted Curried Cauliflower


Roasting roasting roasting!! Carrots and Cauliflowers. yummy
So, I got this huge head of cauliflower from D2D and didn't really know what to do with it, as I don't really dig Cauli. But, I found a recipe for curried roasted cauliflower in a cook book, I believe the new Skinny Bitch cookbook actually, and since I have this thing of curry powder that I don't really know how to use either I figured - why not?

It was a pretty simple recipe:
2 tsp curry powder
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup oil
S&P
You stir it all up in a bowl, coat the cauli well and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Can you stand it?!?

Gotta say, I like it! I ate a bunch right away and put the leftovers away.
My ENTIRE house smelled fantastic the first night but the second day of stale curry was not fantastic :(
So glad we had a warm-ish day so I could open the windows and air it out a bit. And don't forget the box of baking soda in the fridge, unless you like curry flavored everything!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: Gluten Free Pantry Bread

I made this in the bread maker and I'm going to give it a gold star!
It was super easy and came out soft and smelled so good while it was baking. Me and Fluffy were just drooling and running down stairs every 10 minutes to see if it was done yet (despite the timer which kept telling us exactly how many minutes were left!).
Once it was done and still really too hot, I sliced it open and as you can see it was divine!
I smeared it with peanut butter and honey and I gotta say - it's some heavy bread! I was STUFFED!
See, I've been planning to make Bob's bread mix for a few weeks now. I put it on the counter by the machine so that the next time I found myself in the kitchen with a few minutes to spare I could just drop in the ingredients and set it. One day, I was standing there and decided to start - but it calls for more egg whites than egg yolks, so I have to figure out what to do that will need extra yolks before I can try Bob's. See - at $4 a dozen for my organic cage free happy chicken eggs, I'm not wasting a yolk!!
BTW, the price is worth it - they taste better and I'm truly a believer in organics because my health has improved significantly since I went organic.
Back to the bread...so I was at the store and saw this Gluten Free Pantry brand on sale and looked at the directions - 2 eggs, 1.5 cups water, 4 Tbl butter. Ummm Yeah!! I can do that. And I did!
It was $5 and is about twice as much bread as Udi's (same cost) plus instead of a white bread taste, it has this moist warm buttery taste. I think it would make great dinner rolls too. Just a thought for Thanksgiving sweethearts!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review: Thai Kitchen stir fry noodles and sauce

Good morning and happy Daylight savings time kids! I love getting that extra hour once a year, but would definitely give it up if I didn't have to spring forward in a few months!
I'm taking advantage of it today by baking bread though - tune in tomorrow for the results. It smells incredible!

Until then, let's talk stir fry. Of course, this was one of my magical finds at Walmart!!
Thai Kitchen Original Pad Thai Rice Noodles and Sauce. It's Gluten Free!! And I give it a gold star!
It was so easy to make, I have to say - it's going to be a staple at Chez Cocoa. You can pretty much add whatever you want: meat, tofu, shrimp...I did it veggie style of course! So, here's the steps and you can decide for your self if a meal that could serve 4 for just a few measly $ and 10 minutes of your time is worth it. You know I did!
1. Boil 4 cups of water
2. Put the noodles in and remove from heat - set timer for 8 minutes
3. Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet or wok, scramble an egg in it and add a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies (I always grab a bunch when they are $.88 - 1.00 on sale). Cook until hot.
4. By then the noodles should be done, drain them an rinse with cold water so they quit cooking.
5. Dump noodles and sauce in with veggies and mix well.
Viola!
The sauce has a nice mild sweet taste to it. Having the noodles on a timer kept me from cooking the veggies too long so they were still fresh/crisp and the oil kept the egg from getting crispy too.
I added some red pepper flakes as garnish of sorts because I've been craving spicy all week and they did the trick - definitely recommend!!

So, what do you think? is 10 minutes in front of the stove too long? or would you just order in?

Total for this meal ~$4.50

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wild Rice and Chocolate Chex?

First I have to tell you about Fry Sauce! I have spent some time in Salt Lake City during my lifetime and the one thing they have there that nobody else has is fry sauce. It's in every restaurant and I can't believe it hasn't spread to other places yet. I love it.
So, I had to make my own the other night when I made some fries (Ore Ida brand is gf). It's really simple - take equal parts of mayo and ketchup and stir them together. I used this cute little mug because...you can guess it - no clean dishes!
I haven't only been eating junk food, I also made this wild rice dish:
Also simple:
First, get a teeny tiny box of wild rice at the store and pay an arm and half your leg for it. Then, try to follow the directions, which aren't right and keep adding water as it boils off/gets absorbed until you can't stand it any more. Or you can do what my mom does and dump a ton of water in it and boil it a very long time until the grains pop open and are chewy and soft and almost fluffy. I like it better the latter way, but I actually tried it the former.
Second, sautee 1 onion, 3 ribs of celery and 6 or so mushrooms in EVOO
Then, stir it all together and eat it!
This attempt was still pretty good the wild rice is not actually rice (as in grain). Did you know that? It's a seed and it's full of great nutrients and protein.
I like mine with lots of veggies, so if you don't, scale back on them a bit. Also, lots of people do a mix with brown rice - it makes it more affordable, but I'm a bit of a purist and don't feel the need to mix something in that will take away from the deliciousness that is wild rice.
Finally:
No big secret here, just a recommendation. Pour chocolate Silk Almond milk on your Rice Chex, you won't regret it!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Review: DeBoles Angel Hair Pasta

I gave DeBoles Pasta a try with my usual Newman's Own Marinara (by far my favorite ever!).

It was pretty good. The pasta has a whole grain feel to it and reminds me of some whole wheat pasta I ate in a previous life. Definitely liked this!
The next day's leftovers were ok. The pasta seemed to lose its structural integrity and broke up into smaller pieces as I stirred it into the sauce. But still tasted great and you know what? It kept me from splattering sauce all over my chin at work! So, I think that's a bonus, don't you?

I'd definitely buy this to serve to anyone and I'll for sure buy it for me again soon!
Verdict? Try it! you'll probably like it if you like a nice hearty tasting pasta. If not, go the Tinkyada route, it's milder.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Review: Van's gf French Toast Sticks

Here's what they look like in real life:


I won't be buying these again for a couple reasons:

1. They are not fully cooked - this freaks me out
2. They come out of the oven after the required 10 minutes @400 degrees, hard - so hard I had to dunk them in hot coffee to soften them enough to chew and still they were quite tough.

Their actual taste would be good for kids or someone with a severe sweet tooth, they are very sugary. I'm trying very hard to think of positives here...but I didn't like them.
In a pinch, with hot coffee I might be convinced to eat them again. But I will never pay upwards of $5 for a box of these (comes with 8 of these teeny little biscuits).
Also, in the 25 minutes it took to make these (including oven pre-heat time), I could have dunked some pre-made bread, like Udi's, in eggs and had fresh French toast, and it would have been divine! Live and learn

You know, the more I start trying these gluten free products the more disappointed I am! Obvs when I started out gluten free I stuck with whole foods for the most part because I didn't want to blow my budget on all these truly expensive goodies. Then I got a raise and I thought, "I can dedicate this to savings or to trying new foods." I decided to do a little of both.
I'm glad I'm trying these packaged goods, so that I can be confident in my original choice to avoid them.

I have to admit, I've been getting a $5 loaf of Udi's bread every other week so I can pack sandwiches for lunch. And I buy Betty Crocker Devils Food Cake mixes, Pamela's mixes and a few Amy's frozen dinners - that's about all I have really found value in purchasing, out of all these various mixes and products in the market.

So, if you're thinking about trying these, I'd say, don't waste your money. Spend that $5 on a bread mix or Udi's and some eggs and make your own. Your taste buds will thank you.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weird concoctions of mine


I know, this looks weird. It's because I thought I could mix up my spinach quiche in the Magic Bullet. I got the sweet potato crust idea from the Spunky Coconut - you should check her out, cool gal. Basically, you cut your sweet potatoes up in nice rounds, I did about 1/8 inch think and you overlap them slightly as you line a greased pie pan with them. Then, you dump your quiche mixture on top and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes (high altitude) or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
It came out looking about the same as it went in, maybe a little toasty on the "crust" edges. nummy!!
So my recipe was: a couple eggs, some chopped spinach, onion, garlic in the MB and zipped it up until it looked like a smoothie. Ahem. I'm going to revert back to the day of chopping the veggies with a knife and stirring them up in a bowl with the eggs, it's much nicer looking.
Then there was my scramble. I had leftover quartered artichoke hearts, chopped tomato, chopped spinach and onion so I sauteed it up and tossed in a couple eggs and scrambled! Drizzled in just a touch of Balsamic vinegar and it was so good!! I call it my mediterrenean scramble.
Looks weird, tastes good...guess my new goal in life is to make it look like it tastes?

What do you guys cook that looks funny but tastes great?


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oh how I love squash, let me count the ways!


You've seen these in the store, right? So have I! And I always wondered if people bought them for anything but fall decorating. So, when D2D brought me a couple in my box I knew they were for eating! Had to get the Betty Crocker cookbook out to see that you can cook them just the same as acorn squash. Whee!
So, I cut em, scooped em and plopped em face down on a baking sheet and into the oven for about 45 minutes.
It was a long time to wait but so worth it! I swear, I did not put anything on them, I just ate them straight. See, I always taste things plain so I know if I like it or if it's all the flavoring I put on it. When I took a bite of the long skinny one it was so sweet and creamy, I just kept eating! The little round one wasn't as sweet but definitely sweeter than an acorn squash. No wonder they are called delicata. They are delectable! Beauty and taste all in one package. I'm such a fan of squash!!!
Oh yeah, since I had the oven going I threw in some russets to bake (one hour)
and some beets, yams and carrots to roast (30 mins). I figure once the oven is hot, that's most of the energy so you might as well take advantage of it. Now I have roasted veggies and bakers for the rest of the week. Can you say No-cook Thursday night?
In other news, the email and voice mail systems are down at work, so I get to blog for you guilt free!!
What do you do when email is down at work?


Friday, October 22, 2010

And the Winner is....


Thank you all for participating in my first ever giveaway! And all your great comments! It was lots of fun for me to do my taste test, sorry I couldn't have given you more opinions, but that was part of the rules! I'll do follow up posts in detail reviewing other mixes in the near future so come back and check them out :)

Now - the winner is: Lindsay!!! I hope you enjoy your prize pack, I know I'm having a lot of fun with my pancake pen still!

How did I choose the winner? I went to http://www.random.org/ and used their random # generator, which gave me the result of 5 and picked my 5th comment below. Simple system for a simple cook.

If you didn't win, please be sure to print the $1 coupon so if you see Gluten Free Bisquick in the store at a good price you can pick some up. Here's the link again:http://www.myblogspark.com/uc/main/8b49/

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bisquick review and GIVEAWAY!!!

So, the cool people at MyBlogSpark.com sent me this awesome pancake party set!! I've already done one review of Bisquick: http://cocoasglutenfreeplace.blogspot.com/2010/09/everybodys-doin-it-gf-bisquick-review.html
BUT since I was given a second chance to try it for free, I figured - why not?

So, to make it interesting and fun, I invited the fam over for a pancake tasting party! The rules were simple, eat a strawberry, eat a pancake, repeat and tell me what you think.
*please note, these are our personal preferences, the results may have been skewed by burning or non-burning of the pancakes/amount of butter & syrup applied and residual pancake flavor from the previous contender and that I used Almond Milk, which definitely varies the taste*

Alright, disclaimers out of the way - hang in there until the end when I tell you how to get your own FREE pancake party pack!!!
The Contenders:

I gave them each a number, which corresponded to a # on each plate, to make it a blind taste test.
#1. Bob's Red Mill Pancake mix
#2. GF Bisquick
#3. Pamela's Baking and Pancake mix

The Mixes:

You can see that Pamela's mix is a little lumpier and has dark flecks of almond meal in it. Bisquick is the white, silky smooth mix and Bob's is a smooth beige color. Each type has different ingredients that make it taste and feel unique.

The Pancakes:


It's hard to tell by the pic, but each brand looked different too! Bob's were flat and didn't puff up too much, Pamelas and Bisquick looked pretty similar though.

The Results:

Bisquick, the star of today's post, were the sweetest tasting. Since this was the first time any of us had tried Bisquick pancakes, we didn't know what to expect. When cooking them, the batter was thicker and didn't bubble on the top to indicate preferred flipping time, something to get used to, for me! These pancakes were described as sweet and reminding one taster of Kix cereal.
Overall we really enjoyed them and I must note that the required ingredients and prep time were the same among all pancake recipes.

Bob's has been a favorite of ours for 3+ years now, described as having a buckwheat flavor. This morning we all had our sweet tooth on though, so it came in as least preferred.

Finally, Pamela's Mix was also a winner. We have always enjoyed the nutty flavor of her mix in everything from pancakes to muffins. These pancakes were light and fluffy and we really enjoyed them as well.

So, compared to my last review, in which I was disappointed in the performance of Bisquick as a pizza crust, but pleased in it for flat bread, I have to say I'd definitely add this to my pancake mix rotation! They were tasty and light. The price per box is comparable to the other pancake mixes at my store and once I got the hang of cook time they went quick. 3 positive stars on this review.

Now for the funnest part!


1 lucky winner will get a FREE pancake prize pack from MyBlogSpark!

Enter to win by either:
1. Leaving a comment on this post, including your email address or twitter handle so I can contact you and what you'd like to try with Bisquick mix or what you though of this review
2. Tweeting about this post adding @cocoauno to your tweet

Also, you can go here for a $1 coupon off Bisquick: http://www.myblogspark.com/uc/main/8b49/
and try it now.
For recipe ideas go here: www.bisquick.com/glutenfree.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Week 1 of my 30-day service project


Since my inspiration came on so quickly and I didn't want to wait to figure out where to start, I spent the whole 1st week helping people around me. I did little chores for friends who needed help and when I was shopping, I tried to buy things that would benefit other people too. For instance, I bought Dawn dish liquid and donated $1 to wildlife and when I was looking for a new lanyard, I bought pink to support breast cancer research (50-70 % of profits went to Susan G Komen).

The most exciting part this week was that I became more aware and took action on little things I could do to help other people.

This week, I will be knitting baby blanket(s) for Project Linus (projectlinus.org). After reading about these sick kids and how much the textures and colors of handmade blankets help their recovery I decided I could do that! And I know that all the loving energy I put into these blankets is going to carry over to them and they will feel that love.
I'm not a very creative knitter - I'll admit it. But, I can do the standard knit and pearl so I'm going to use colorful soft yarns and lots of love to help these kids.

I've rediscovered a part of my life that has been neglected for a while now. In school, I was in the Jr. Optimist club for 3 years, even serving as President. But, since college I've been striving to find a career, a husband, friendships, moving every year or so and fighting my autoimmune disease. My life got small. Last week I had to fight off so many negative thoughts that have snuck into my internal dialog. I really had to shift my thinking away from "I can't do that because..." to "But, I can do that!"

So, long story short: I'm so glad to be able to serve again, it's a part of my life I've missed. Not only am I benefiting other people but it's forcing me to change my inner monologue from "I can't do that because ___" to: "What can I do? What is possible today?". It's such a good thing!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

I like Chard chips better than kale chips

I tried making kale chips the other day and although they were quite tasty, and really cute...the texture wasn't as nice as chard chips.
Quick description: they were crunchy at first but then they were really chewy. I didn't dig the chewy.
Today I had this great spinach salad. Craisins, pecans, avocado and tomato. Mmm.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Should we talk $$?

People talk about how expensive it is to go gluten free and I can show you why today! I've always kept my costs down by eating whole, natural foods and very few packaged goods but when I went wild and bought a bunch of gluten free packages I could see how it really adds up.
So here we go!
Bob's Redmill gluten free oats $5.99
Bob's gf bread mix $4.39
Udi's sandwich bread $5.49
Lundberg Rice Chips $1.86
Glutino Pretzels, 8 oz $5.59
Perky's Rice cereal, 12 oz $4.79
Perky's Flax Cereal, 12 oz $4.79
Amy's mac & Cheese $3.29
Amy's Tortilla Casserole $4.49
Amy's gf pizza $8.19

So to counteract all that cost...not really...I just needed to use up a pound of potatoes and a bunch of carrots so I made a crock pot stew. I threw in a bunch of rosemary and thyme with about 2 onions and a couple cloves of garlic too. It was so yummy and lasted all week!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Van's Waffles & my 1st green smoothie


So, these seem to be really popular around town. King Soopers and Safeway stock them, I expect to see them show up in Walmart any day now. So, why didn't I luv them?
1. They are not fully cooked. If I'd have read the package better I would have known this, but I thought I was picking up something quick. That could go in the toaster for a walking breakfast. These MUST be baked for 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven to be fully cooked.
2. They are so crunchy! I like a softer waffle, but these are so light that they crunched right up in those 10 minutes so that there was nothing chewy about them. I nuked them with a wet papertowel in hopes of a little squashiness. No good - they kept the crunch.

So, if you like crunchy waffles and don't get the wiggins from partially cooked and have time to bake in the morning - I'd give you the thumbs up because the taste was good.

As for me, I could have mixed up pancakes in the 20 minutes it takes for the preheat and baking of these, and I'd have had my chewy soft goodness from a Bob's Redmill mix.Oh boy. I decided to try to make a green smoothie because I have a fridge full of spinach and kale. I'm not so sure I did it right...I believed the hype that you could just toss some fruit together with some greens and go so I started with an apple, and an orange and the juice of a second orange so the Bullet would work.
Kinda blended that up liquid-like and added a couple kale leaves and blended twice as long as I thought I should.It was the thickest, chewiest, stringy mess I've ever tried to eat. I added a good running over tablespoon of honey to try and disguise that strong kale flavor. I was semi-successful. It tasted like a cup full of cow food. I ate half and the other half is waiting patiently for my sugar/chocolate craving before bed. I have to admit- after downing half of that I was no longer in the mood for goodies, or anything else for that matter.
I may have found a secret diet shake and I'll make a $million off this idea. Don't steal it!!
Next time I'm going to make it with banana and almond milk ala IGE. She may know the secret ;0)

Friday, October 1, 2010

New GF Finds

The other night I decided since King Soopers has quit stocking my favorite things, I'd hit up Safeway (right across the street) and see what they had to offer.
Imagine my surprise after scouring the whole store, I found a little section of gluten free items!  Throughout the store I did find a few things here and there and I was looking at a bag of sweet potato chips that was covered in something sticky and got all over my hand. Gross! So, quick trip to the restroom at the back of the store to wash it off (I mean, it was really gross) and coming out up the baking aisle there was the gf stuff.  I picked up a bunch!
Of course I got some Glutino Pretzels ($5) for a 9 oz bag *ouch*


There were new things too:
Perky's Cereal. Despite that fact it was $8 per box, I picked up both flavors - rice and flax.  I was really pleased to see it is sweetened with grape juice instead of sugar and syrup.
So far, I've tried the rice flavor - it's super crunchy! Goes great with almond milk.


There was also Justin's Maple Almond  Butter. I've heard great things about this stuff so instead of the little packets I actually picked up the big jar :)  I think it will grow on me. It's not very smooth, like I'm used to, but it does taste good.


The rest of the week has been filled with salads and Ore Ida, since end of quarter makes me so tired. I pretty much come home and veg out with a book or a movie and barfycat. I've also set aside an hour every day for my ~ing.
Such a lifesaver!  Sitting quietly in prayer and meditation has totally kept me centered the last couple weeks. Somehow, taking care of myself by setting aside that time every day also makes me take care of myself all the time. It's amazing.
Instead of sitting in that room, feeling obligated to just be present, I give myself permission to leave for blocks of time, which does a ton of good for my mind set. It also helps me keep up on my day-to-day work so that I'm not falling so far behind on all the other duties I have.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pub Mix freaks me out

Day 4 of end of quarter...snacks are beginning to appear.  This is one thing that freaks me out the most during these 2 weeks.  If I don't take it on myself to bring lots of gf treats, non-gf treats show up in full force.
Today I came in to find a bag of cookies, 2 gallons of Pub Mix and Starbuck's coffees everywhere.
I'm so glad they are keeping it at the other end of the table. One of the guys told me I'm "paranoid". I'd like to kick him in the nuts every day for 7 years and see how paranoid he gets of that. Instead, I explained that even a couple crumbs of gluten will make me sick for 2 weeks.  Umm yeah, maybe I'm paranoid thinking that the open baggie of cookies and the jug of pub mix might tip over and roll over to me and I might accidentally touch it and stick my fingers in my mouth and get sick. But.I.Don't.Care. Keep that crap away from me. I'm not giving them the stink eye for eating it, I just don't want it set directly in front of me.
As for the Starbuck's...since all the confusion about what is gf and what's not, I'm kind of avoiding them. So, here I sit with a cup full of Lemon Zinger, wishing I could have a sweet macchiato or even a vanilla latte. So sad.  I keep telling myself that all the Starbuck's in the world isn't worth the yucky sick I feel afterwards. 


Just in case you're wondering, my clean diet seems to be working pretty well. I haven't had dairy in weeks, and I don't really miss it. I actually haven't felt ill all week - this is AMAZING! 2 nights ago I had a bad headache and had to go to bed at 7:00 pm, but other than that, pretty good!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The oven is ON!

We are at that wonderful time called end of quarter at work. This means 2 weeks in a conference room waiting for the phone to ring with orders and chasing $$. Not for me, I'm just there for moral support or something... But, it means being trapped and needing to have snacks on hand because I can't run out. So tonight I'm having a baking marathon. First I roasted baby rosemary potatoes and beets (leftovers pictured)
Even thought I'm totally exhausted, I threw in some cherry muffins, since the oven is hot and all. I used Pamela's mix and they are so perfect!


And why not toss in a carrot cake too? I downloaded the recipe from the Betty Crocker site today: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/carrot-cake-gluten-free/81350456-95da-4e1b-bcb9-fe84378a2098
Everything is done now and as soon as that cake is cool enough to go in the fridge, I'm hitting the hay.
Bonus picture: best salad I had all week!! Craisins, walnuts, zucchini innards, balsamic...

My next endeavor will be a kale salad - later this week!
Time to go check the cake temp.  Nitey nite!

Friday, September 17, 2010

I can haz bean tacos?


As I was contemplating this post, here is what I saw. This is the 2nd time I've looked up to see barfycat peeking over my laptop.  Creepy? Cute? 
Personally, I think she's thinking "Boy do I love that girl! She's so cute & funny and sweet. I always have a full bowl &a clean potty. But, if she dies in her sleep on a Monday & no one finds us by Thursday, my dish will be empty. I think I'll start with her lips. Wait, maybe I should start on her while she's fresh - the food will keep." Yeah she rambles...
Now that I've completely grossed you out, let's talk about vegan bean tacos.
Oh but first...I finally got a pic of the collards - leftover - but still a picture :)

Now the bean tacos. Aren't they pretty? Want the recipe?
1 can pinto beans, 1/2 jar El Pinto Salsa cook until hot, toast tortillas and add some ripped up lettuce.  Num!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cinnamon apple tacos



This week D2D sent me apples. I don't really like apples, it's the way the squeak in my teeth. Cooked apples are usually ok though. So, I chopped them up, put em in a bowl with a running over tablespoon of honey and a couple dashes of cinnamon and a dash of salt and nuked! Then, I had a little brain child. I have corn tortillas in the fridge still - would that be good? It was!  I toasted them on the stove in my non-stick pan so they wouldn't get soggy from the syrup.  I was pretty happy with my breakfast concoction.
Then there was lunch.

Yeah, I ran out of clean dishes. I'm washing them today!! I'm also running out of ideas and as you can see I put my homemade pickles on top of lettuce and chopped the last tomato up. That was it - pickle juice for dressing. I'm not going to tell you it was a fabulous salad, but it was tasty and light for a hot (fall) day.
You may notice a lack of meat, especially after my post about going almost vegan. I have to admit, I cooked a pound of bacon up 2 days ago to cook my collard greens in. The bacon is gone, the collards are not.  I should have listened to Ani Phyo's book and used them as mini-wraps. That would have been cool, and easy! I de-stemed them anyway and neglected to cut them up any more so I have giant leaves to eat. They are slightly tougher cooked than raw, well it's a completely different texture. You know?
Keep forgetting to take a picture, they aren't that pretty anyway ;)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Don't eat the dye, but be sure it's GF if you do?

Ummm....just so you know - Clairol brands Natural Instincts and Perfect 10 are gluten free (as far as I can tell) as is Loreal creme natural blonde . I was so surprised to see wheat protein, gluten and other wheat ingredients in quite a few types of dye, including boxes of highlights. Of course, I don't plan to eat the dye, I think glutening would be the least of my worries if I did.  I still I avoid it.


Why is my post about this? Because I couldn't leave the house today without a hat. Why? long story short, I dyed my hair 4 times in 2 weeks and #3 was horrific!
Ready for the long story?
I wanted to go lighter so a couple weeks ago, I picked up a nice blonde shade and gave it a try (#1). Success: blond roots, Failure: the rest stayed dark. Ewwww!  So, I took myself to the store and picked up some semi-permanent dye in brown to cover it up (#2). Semi-success. But as it washed out I ended up with tri-colored hair. :(
Then, last night after work I used 2 boxes of dye remover to try and clean it up (#3) and I ended up blonde/red/copper headed.  It would have been fun if there weren't also splotches of dark brown in the back...semi-failure. Here's the best I could do with it this morning...


Alas tonight, after waiting the required 24 hours, I finally dumped a couple boxes of light brown on top (#4) and so far so good - it almost looks like my natural shade. This bodes well, because by hair is so crunchy from all the processing horses could mistake it for hay!  Once it's all dry, I will know for sure if it's a success or not.  I'll let you know in the morning.
Sweet dreams kids!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Giant salads to cure the funky tummy


Good Morning Labor Day! I'm feeling down, I can't quite deal with the fact that summer is over. My vacation is over. I've come to some serious conclusions about my diet.
Turns out that dairy is definitely an enemy of my tummy :-(  I'm so bummed about this because it was the one thing I was holding on to. Something has changed though and it seems that I cannot handle dairy any longer.
So, after 4+ days of not feeling well, I guess I'll be cleaning up my diet even more.
Since I'm so emotionally tied to food, I thought that surely this means I can have brownies and cake, right? Wrong. The brownies made my tummy hurt too :-(  So depressing.  Back to the sugar free zone as well.
I guess when it's all said and done, I'm just bummed out today and really just want to curl up under the covers and ignore everything.  But, I won't and I can't. It's Labor Day!
So, I remind myself that I can still have all sorts of yummy foods. Like this juicy plum I'm having for breakfast and that wonderful avocado you see on my salad, above.  I'm still down with nuts and rice cakes too.
My positive twist is that if I eat like a cave woman, of course I'll look like this, right?
Since all my enlightenment settled in yesterday, today I'm going to have to do some research about how to get complete nutrition on a vegan diet. Any suggestions? Help?
Now, I'm off to clean up my messy house! I haven't vacuumed in ages and if that's the only thing I accomplish today, I'll be satisfied.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bard's and Rice cereal


No, this is not my breakfast, although some people think it could be.  It's actually my dinner.
I did one of my massive cookings and made a big bowl of Cream of Rice Cereal and had it for breakfast 3 days in a row. This is the last of it and I just couldn't bear another day of it so I had it for dinner!  With a Bard's gluten free beer.
Luckily, I'm almost out of the Bard's. Not that it's bad, I'm just not a beer girl.  Never have been.
I used to be a tequila shot and gin martini kind of girl but after a few years of getting nasty "dirty" or watery martinis even when I specify "straight, no ice" and one very fun night of matching 20+ shots of tequila with a friend (some of them doubles), I'm not that kind of girl anymore.
I'm the kind of girl that likes to sip a short glass of Mogen David in the evening before bed or gulp a nice Riesling on a date to sooth my nerves.
I'm glad to sip a glass of very old, very smooth scotch with the guys and I've even been known to chug vodka and cranberry with a splash of soda at family events.
Maybe it's maturity, or just the loss of that excitement at drinking heavily and dancing all night, but I'm much more of a connoisseur now.
That's all  :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My ~ing-venture & the Udi's bread

So, I have been doing a lot of spiritual work lately. I don't share a lot because I'm kind of secretive (surprise, surprise). I figure only a few people read this blog anyway, so what the hell...I can share a bit of my spiritual life with you all.
If you aren't familiar, check out Gabby Bernstein on www.addmoreing.com and follow links to her other stuff too. She's pretty cool.
So, I got her book back in April and as with everything else, I figured I could do the crash course. You know, as in "I can do anything in 18 days"??
And it was mildly successful, I changed my perception on some stuff and was flowing a little better. Then, in July, they started the ~ing book club and every month is working through a chapter (as she originally intends in the book). So, I decided to go ahead and participate since there was a lot of guidance and support.
July was about Feelings, & was one that I found to be easy, I mean I feel all the time, right?  I did start to find that actually being present with my feelings was a different action than I thought at first and discovered some things I'd been hiding from. I knew they were there, just never got curious about them before.
August was about Forgiving.  It was an easy peasy chapter for me.  I've always been really good at forgiving people. I had a significant learning experience though, when I found out that I had to go ahead and be mad at a certain person who was continually causing me pain, and feel that anger - then I could forgive. Good stuff!!
This month is Balance. I think it's going to be an awful lot of work for me.  I'm totally off balance and have been for years! Maybe always, as an adult.
So, that brings me to the sandwich.  I finally gave in and bought a bag of Udi's gluten free bread at the store $6! for a small loaf of bread...my review? It was bread - kinda dry but it got me through the last couple weeks when I just didn't feel like cooking.  Buddig sandwich meat, lettuce, mustard, mayo, bread. Every day for lunch or dinner.  Why?
Because I have been working very hard and getting very tired.
Alright, deep breath!! I'm off to do some rebounding and improve my balance!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Everybody's doin it - GF Bisquick review

I guess gluten free Bisquick is the news du jour for those of us desperate for gluten free baking mixes that might save us time and effort but still taste good.  Gluten Free Goddess rounded up a few, check out her blog for more.
I finally bought my $5 box of GF Bisquick and gave it a whirl yesterday.  What do I think?
Well, my first feeling was disappointment.  Every recipe calls for oil, eggs and at least 1 or 2 other things - far from instant! Not to mention the additional egg or corn starch to make it turn out at High Altitude! So, I basically felt like with all that effort, I might as well make my own mix from scratch.
You know me though, I won't.  So I gave it a chance...
I made "Pizza Crust".  Which, btw, took the entire box of mix - cuz it's like 2 cups of stuff in that $5 box.
I used extra "Italian seasoning" because I wasn't going to use cheese and I used EVOO instead of "oil". I suppose EVOO is veg oil, but I felt like it was a step up ;)
And I was SOOOO glad I did! or this would have been inedible. Instead it turned out as a super soft flat bread of sorts.  
Then, I went ahead and put my pizza toppings on it:
Fire Roasted tomatoes (not saucy, mind you), green onions and mushrooms
and baked it some more.  Looks good, no?
Well, here's the disappointing part. The crust turned into a pasty gooey mess under the toppings, which was gaggy to try and eat :(
So, the moral of the story: make the flat bread and dip it in stuff - don't try to bake a pizza out of it.
Other reviews have not been stellar either.  A couple people have used it to make some yummy looking things though, so in a pinch, go ahead and give it a try.
My official review: 5/10.  I prefer Pamela's for pancakes, Bob's Red Mill for biscuits and Amy's for pizza crust. Plus, they are easier to stir up!
But, thanks General Mills for giving it a shot, because sometimes something's better than nothing!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Playing with food


Here was breakfast - simply sliced strawberries and a peach  Yum
Lunch! This is my first try of Udi's brand sandwich bread. It's ok. I never have been big on bread, but it's kind of fun to have a sandwich once in a while. Peppered beef, mustard and lettuce on it. Was good :)
Yesterday, I tried their gf cinnamon rolls. They were ok, but kind of dry and grainy. I miss soft chewy cinnamon rolls :(
Yesterday's dinner.  It was SOOO HOT! I left early to run some errands and ended up just baking in my truck from B&N to the library to the grocery store, to the gas station and by the time I got to my parents' house, I thought I was going to pass out! Cinnamon roll, almond milk and a grapefruit soda later, I was on my way home - sweating buckets! So, after lying on the floor in front of the  a/c, cooking was not gonna happen. period. 
It was really nice to have a bunch of green lettuce in the fridge...here's the gross part...I was washing it and a dead grasshopper fell out. *gag gag gag*  I washed it really well and ate it anyway. Didn't die overnight, so it must not have been poisonous.
Dinner Friday. Yeah, tired of cooking after work so I sliced green onions and fried up eggs with it and added some hashbrowns. I always do like having breakfast for dinner though. I mean, I'm hardly ever up early enough to do anything for breakfast but grab a lara bar on the way out the door.
One night I actually felt like cooking so I made this delicious summer sauté. 1 yellow squash, 1 zucchini squash, 1 onion, 1 red bell pepper, a few mushrooms, drizzle of EVOO, S&P. It was great and I had a bunch leftover for the whole week.  Highly recommend.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

OLE!! Guac and margs



The other night I left work with nothing on my mind but margaritas so I promptly mixed one up when I got home and of course had to have a little guacamole to go with it!
Recipe for the Marg:
In a Shaker: simple syrup or sugar and ice cubes, equal parts tequila and lime juice.  Shake it baby, shake it!


Recipe for the guac, as usual:
1 avocado, mashed + equal part salsa mixed in. numm.  I nuked the chips for 45 seconds till they were warm and it was like Cafe Cocoa.


I slept really well after I took my allergy pill with the last of the marg. Like the dead. Somewhat groggy at work, till noonish though. Probably won't do that again. It was just habit - I take a pill every night so it won't interfere with the other pill in the morning. It's a whole system. Since I'm not a regular drinker, kind of forgot.  oops.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Who makes Coleslaw? I make coleslaw!

I finally figured out how to use my food processor. Yay me! So, I made coleslaw :)
Yep, those are raisins in there.  My recipe went something like this:
shred 1/2 cabbage and 3 carrots in the food processor.
In a bowl, mix a couple spoons of mayo, 3 splashes of vinegar, 2 pinches of salt, 1 pinch of pepper and 4 spoonfuls of sugar. Stir in cabbage. Dump on some raisins and stir!
It was quite good. I think it's probably pretty hard to mess up coleslaw considering all you really need is cabbage and miracle whip or mayo.

So, it went with lunch:

I grilled up some steak and a couple ears of sweet corn. I'm not such a corn lover but my mom said it was really delicious. So, yay me again!
Barfycat turned her nose up at the piece of steak I gave her and grudgingly ate it so I was confused about why she was begging at the table. Then, when I opened up my corn and she started drooling and petting my feet, I knew.  So after I cut of my kernels I gave the cob to her and whoo hoo! She was a purring machine!!
For real, she's a corn kind of girl


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My pickles bring all the boys to the yard...or something like that!


I made pickles. Sounds hard, right? Yeah it was.
NOT!
It took like 2 minutes and they are so yummy! I think I like them better than store bought...except maybe Claussen, those are darn good.
Want the recipe?
In a jar:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 white vinegar
dash of salt
1/2 small onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic sliced
1 tsp dill
a little less than 1/2 cup water
1 sliced cucumber
Shake it all up, let it sit over night or longer in the fridge. I tipped it on the side for a while to make sure everything soaked up evenly. Nommy nom nom nom!
After all that hard work I also made some brownies from Betty Crocker's gf mix. I followed the high altitude directions this time and they turned out really nice. We ate them quickly...
Regular instructions are to add butter and eggs.  High altitude you add cornstarch, reduce butter, add another egg and some water. I almost felt like I was cooking from scratch. But, living in Colorado is worth the extra work.
Otherwise, spinach salads every day! Gotta keep those vitamins up.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

90% vegan bc I have to get my life back

Hi Kids! 


I haven't felt like boring you with picture after picture of summer squash on skewers and salads topped with tomatoes because I've also given up dairy in an attempt to calm the raging tummy
You see, a couple of weeks ago I was invited to my grandpa's 99th birthday party and as much as I wanted to go, my body just wouldn't let me. It was like I hit a new low.
I realized that getting up every morning, barely making it to work and suffering through in pain to come home and go to bed early every night isn't living. That one day a week when I felt able to run my errands was a real accomplishment for me and somehow I felt ok with that. But now, I feel sad about that.

Maybe TMI, maybe just a candid confession: I've been really unwell lately. Like, if I have one or two days a week that I'm not in excruciating pain, having gi issues or just curled up in the fetal position from all of the above, I feel lucky. 

So, giving up dairy was kind of an accident. I felt so sick for about 2 weeks that I didn't even go to the grocery store. I lived off my Door to Door deliveries and whatever was in the pantry. Mostly quinoa and instant mashed potatoes. So, I ran out of cheese, yogurt and milk (I was making my instant potatoes with water and olive oil). Not so great tasting, but in a few days I was feeling better. My one good day came that week and I spent it with a friend visiting and laughing. A couple days later, I felt good enough to do some house cleaning above and beyond basic maintenance. Then, a third good day came and I considered going to the grocery store but I had so many other things I wanted to do, so I skipped it! I actually ended up with an entire week where I was able to accomplish things that I hadn't felt well enough to do in months but no "decent" meals to show for it.
Then, I went to the store. I had put 2 and 2 together but I got 3.5 somehow and grabbed some cheese. That night I topped my gf pepperoni pizza with it and the next day I was in pain and sick and for 3 days after that.
So, the short end of my story is that I've decided to give up dairy. Even if it was a coincidence because all other tests have shown it to be ok for me, I don't need it. It's kind of odd for humans to drink cows milk anyway.
People either scoff or are really concerned for me now that I've gone 90% vegan because they don't see how I could possibly get complete nutrition being gluten free, sugar free and meat/dairy free. I think mostly, they are afraid I'm going to put my food issues on them. Well, I'm not. Go ahead and drown in your gluten and pork, if it makes you happy. 
All I know is that raw meat gags me and there's a good chance I'm somehow intolerant to dairy. I want much more from life than the pleasure of food, so I'm willing to give it up. As for nutrition - I'll worry about that when I get my life back! The FDA/USDA might suggest a "perfect mix" for us on some funky looking "pyramid" but that doesn't mean it's what I need to get through my day. 
So, I'll get back to the food pictures, in fact there is a batch of pickles, pickling in my fridge right now. They are very pretty. 
I'm starting to feel like I'm going to end up with a blog about how to eat nothing...well, maybe just plant based foods and the odd egg or grass fed beef (I said 90%...).

Monday, August 2, 2010

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Economical me fried the bacon in a skillet, then dumped out most of the grease, fried the potatoes and onions, then the eggs. Added a tomato to cut the grease. So good! So bad! One thing I can say, I don't like eggs fried in bacon grease. There, I said it. Please don't judge me.
Sautéed and ate an entire onion and entire zucchini for lunch. Is that 2 servings of veggies or more? Who cares? It was delicious!
Sautéed some spinach with garlic, thawed out some pre-cooked frozen shrimp and viola! Dinner in 10 minutes or less. This is why I don't understand people who live on fast food because they don't have time...I didn't even have to watch those shrimp defrost - just put em in a bowl in the sink and let the cold water dribble on them for 5 minutes while I stirred the spinach. This would serve 4 people for under $10 can you do that at McDonalds?
I'm just sayin', I could save the world if they'd let me.