Sunday, May 30, 2010

Got a cookbook? Swiss Chard

The other night I ended up spending a very enjoyable couple hours thumbing through my cookbooks. Something I'd never done before. It started with a quest to find a way to prepare swiss chard.  When I was a little girl, we had a garden and had swiss chard growing in it, but it was either a different variety or we picked it and ate it when it was young and tender.
The chard I got in my D2D box were huge leaves with thick stems, so I needed some help!

The Internet had no idea either, so I started digging in all the cookbooks that I never use but had to buy because they were so beautiful! Julia Child had nothing to offer, Betty Crocker was stumped, Better Homes and Gardens could offer no advice. What's a girl to do? Then I saw it. A thin little book with an unappetizing picture of spaghetti bolognese on the front.

I always figured it was the grossest picture to make your appetite plummet before you opened it to find a recipe to make for the diet. And there on page 148, a recipe for sautéed greens and it was perfect!

So, by the time I got home from a birthday party at the park...I was exhausted. Needless to say, cooking wasn't on the top of my druther list but eating was.  Yay for the fridge full of veggies!  So, I diced an onion and some garlic up real quick and threw it in a skillet for a few minutes while I chopped up the swiss chard.  Threw the chard in and had a fairly appetizing pan of greens.  Recipe compliments of an old Weight Watchers Cookbook I found buried under a stack of random recipes in the cupboard.

It also has a roasted root veggie recipe that I think will be great later this weekend for the beets, potatoes & carrots.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Best Cookbook I own is Vegetarian Betty Crocker

This is the best cookbook I own. If you can find it in the store, get it, even if you're not vegetarian!  It's full of gorgeous recipes and pictures that don't call for much of anything exotic.

True, it is not gluten free, but many of the recipes are, by nature. The others, I have found you can substitute gf grains pretty easily.  Pastas come in gluten free versions that work perfectly instead of wheat.  Quinoa or rice can be substituted in for couscous.  I also think that Suzanne Somer's version of parmesean croutons are a great sub for wheat ones!

I tend to steer clear of any sandwich and pizza recipes since I'm not all about paying for gf bread, or making it myself, for that matter.  But, I could see easily subbing out an Udi's pizza crust or sandwich bread on any of them.

I was flipping through it the other night due to the fridge overflowing with produce and came up with 20 recipes that I want to try, like today.  I could really make them all but that would take about a year. A couple I've made in the past and loved are on the list.  One of them has a very memorable (for me) story.  It's not exactly happy or sad - just memorable. It goes with the Autumn Harvest Salad recipe and involves a bad date with my favorite boyfriend's roommate and one of my best friends drunk on my couch.  Stay posted, it's a doozy. I'll tell you about it when I make this:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Comfort food

I'm bad. Despite a fridge full of fresh veggies, I am sick again this week so I turned to comfort food.  By comfort, I mean food that has proven never to make me sick and even tends to calm the acid stomach.

So, I was able to keep up with my yogurt and fruit breakfasts

and one day I had a latte and cookies for a snack (don't judge! my tummy hurts)

Then, I was super considerate of my neighbors in cubeville (not!) and actually  popped a can of Kippers to eat with rice cakes for lunch
Did I take the can to the kitchen trash after I was done, you ask? No, I didn't feel up to walking that far.  Some of my coworkers think I have questionable personal hygiene and possibly am in need of antibiotics now, as the smell lingered all afternoon!

For dinner I had my happy standby, tater tots and marinara for dipping, plus a random cherry tomato that needed to be rescued from the giant Romas trying to steal its self esteem (don't tell me you don't make up stories about inanimate objects!)

Today I have managed to eat a tub of greek quinoa throughout the day.  yeah, I packed it in the feta container, so what? It's green y'all!

and right now, I'm snacking on a  bowl of frozen cherries because I'm dying for a little something sweet

If I have dinner, it will no doubt be leftover tater tots from yesterday, possibly covered in cheese. Unfortunately, as I write this the woozy mounts...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pink Truck - how cute is this?

I just had to share that this is probably the cutest wine bottle I've ever seen.  The wine was good too.  Very drinkable and not too strong.
Please ignore the bucket, it's just there for aesthetic purposes.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's here! It's here - my Door 2 Door Organics

Fingerling potatoes - these are new to me but they sent me a recipe so I'm totally psyched!
There is even an avocado (this will be the true test, if I go back for more).
Barfycat couldn't resist a couple bites of red lettuce.  I chased her down, as soon as I snapped a pic, of course!
I had to wash everything right away so it's ready to eat (on the run?).  Guess what?  There was dirt and sand in everything!  Like it came from a real garden...I can't remember the last time I had to wash dirt off.  Pesticides and coatings, sure! But dirt - how novel  :-)
I have so many veggies, I hope that they don’t rot before I can eat them all. I think I have enough for a month.
Here’s what I got:

1 big bunch Swiss Chard
1 BIG bunch Spinach
1 head red leaf lettuce
1 lemon
7 roma tomatoes
2 large zucchini
2 large cucumbers
1 avocado
4 heads of garlic
2 HUGE onions!
3 huge carrots
3 big red beets
3 lb bag of fingerling potatoes

I put one of the cucumbers to use right away coupled with some cherry tomatoes I had left in the fridge to make a nice greek quinoa salad for dinner – with a Bard’s GF beer. Yum! Beer good. Greek good. Cocoa happy!

And my fridge is really full:

Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm so excited to get my veggies!!

So, I got this coupon for half off a box of organic fruit and/or vegetables - delivered by a company called Door to Door Organics.  I had heard of them before and was tempted to try it, but it seemed expensive and I had no references to tell me about their experience.  But, for $17 I was willing to take the risk.

I know it's premature to blog about it but I just can't wait for it to get here!  It's supposed to come tomorrow.  I'm expecting something like this:

Red Turnips: 1 1/2 lb
Fava Beans: 1 1/2 lb
Zucchini Squash  1 lb
Yellow Onions: 2 lb
Yams: 2 lb
Roma Tomatoes: 1 lb
Red Kale: 1 
Green Leaf Lettuce: 1 
Eggplant: 1 
Cucumbers: 2 
Carrots with Tops: 1 
Broccoli: 1 
Lemon: 1 
Avocado: 2

This box is usually $32 and to be honest, I've been too lazy to hit up a WholeFoods or Natural Grocers to see if I could buy all of this for less.  Why, you ask? Because I also find value in getting groceries delivered right to my door on a regular basis.
Have you ever tried to fight with the old people at the store on a weekend afternoon? B.R.U.T.A.L.  I hate going to the store to find that they are out of what I went for and then have to stand in line for 30 minutes to buy the handful of other stuff I picked up so the trip wouldn't be a total waste.

More perceived value on my part: help planning meals.  They send different produce each time and a sample recipe.  I'm excited about this!

I have my hopes up here, people!  I'm hoping that I get a beautiful box of veggies so that I can continue to use their service and make my life easier.  If it's bad, I guess I'll chalk it up to learning experience.
Here's hoping!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ricotta spinach puffs

I did an experiment, prompted mostly by the fact that I had a partial container of ricotta cheese open in the fridge...for over a week.  So, I came home and said to Barfycat, "What do I do with this ricotta?" She was no help but after perusing my fridge contents I decided to put together some ricotta cheese puffs.

In a skillet: dab of butter, 1/2 onion diced, 1 clove garlic minced, basil, oregano, S&P.
Mixed up in a bowl: 2/3 package of ricotta (about 5-6 ounces), 1 egg.  Then add the skillet stuff and a pile of spinach.

Spooned into a muffin pan:

Baked at 375 for 20 minutes, then put asparagus in to roast for 10 mins at 475:


Saturday, May 22, 2010

A little unwellness

I've been feeling poorly this week, not much to report in the fun food way!

I mostly kept going with the overnight oatmeal, bananas and rice cakes.

One day I had kippered snacks and rice cakes, which very much reminded me of this guy:

And of course, my spinach salads, which I would die without!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mmmm Oven Roast

I'm so excited about this meal!!  So, I got a roast at the store - one of those with a lot of fat marbled around in it so I knew that it should go in the oven, not the crockpot so all the fat could get all frittery.  Someone told me I should put it in the crock pot but I didn't listen and we are so glad! There are no pictures because I forgot to take them, and then after it was ready we were too hungry to wait - and I forgot.  Nonetheless...I will continue.

So, I sprayed my pyrex baking dish with nonstick and sliced up a couple small onions and minced up 2 cloves of garlic, very fine and sprinkled them around in the pan, reserving some of the onion slices for the top.  Then, I put the roast on top of the veggies and sprinkled pepper generously and some salt too, then put the rest of the onions on top.  Covered it in foil and put it in the fridge for the next day.

I  baked this baby at 365 for about 90 minutes.  The foil kept all the moisture in so there was a good amount of fat and water in the bottom of the dish.  I also had broccoli to roast so I cranked up the oven to 450, threw it in with the uncovered roast for 15 minutes.

My dinner guests had not yet arrived so I simply turned off the heat and let the food stay in the oven. Here's the best part.  When I took out the roast, all the juices had cooked off and the outside of it had browned up beautifully!  I had the perfect roast.  It was browned on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside.  

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Snacks snacks snacks

I'll tell you right now, I'm tired of cooking!  The "Raw" food diet is starting to appeal to me more and more.  Not just because you don't have to cook anything but also because it seems very healthy.
But, I'm a sucker for roasted veggies now. I'm seriously hooked.

My point though, is that I've been doing a lot of snaking lately.  Cottage cheese (low fat!) with Adzuki bean rice chips...

Honey Nut Chex and canned peaches. Yes, I was out of milk, almond or otherwise so I used the syrup.

Cinnamon Chex for dinner

Sliced avocado on my Amy's enchilada dinner.

Pretty much anything I can eat directly from the package.  That's been my last few days. Aren't I cool?
But I really need some soup!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

So Easy: Mini Crustless Quiche

Mini crustless quiche are the easiest and best thing I like to make.  You can make a lot and then freeze them for later - they reheat really nice straight out of the freezer too!

The basic recipe is: 4 eggs and a bunch of veggies and cheese in a 6 cup muffin pan.

Today I decided to be a little creative so I stirred up 4 eggs, about 1 cup of low fat cottage cheese, 2-3 Tbs of sundried tomatoes in oil, 1/4 cup of shredded parm and some S&P in a bowl.  Meanwhile, I also sauteed up about 1/2 of a diced onion and a large clove of minced garlic in a glug of olive oil.  Then, I added a bunch of fresh spinach and let it cook down a bit (frozen works just as well btw).
I stirred the spinach into the eggs, spooned it into non-stick sprayed muffin tins and baked them at 375 for about 20 minutes.

I took these over to have brunch with my Mom and Dad. We had clementines and hash browns too - great meal!

My dad even told me I'm getting to be a better cook :) It doesn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I had 2 potatoes in a bag on my counter and look what they did!  I had never seen anything like this.  So, I'm going to get a bag of dirt and plant them and see if I end up with more potatoes.  How cool is that?!?

I hate to bury those pretty purple sprouts though. But I've been told if I don't it will eventually rot and stink.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sundried tomato fest

I got some sundried tomatoes and went hog wild!

First fried eggs with feta and sundrieds (I would not recommend):

Then a spinach salad with parm and sundrieds, I used some of the oil for the dressing with balsamic again (I would definitely recommend).

I'm sundried out.
And I ran out of dishes.  It's kinda pathetic when you're at home and too lazy to hand wash a plate...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spinach and Oatmeal

Today's menu:
Breakfast- yogurt & a banana, like usual
Lunch: Oatmeal!! made with Silk Almond Milk. Nommy nom nom nom!

It always boils over. I turned away for 5 seconds!!

Dinner: Spinach Salad with strawberries, avocado and balsamic.  I would've added almonds, but lunch kind of covered that. Still, salad perfection!

I feel like a dietary angel, then I remember the whole bowl of lemon cheesecake I ate and I know that this is just recovery!

Monday, May 10, 2010

When your breakfast looks like this...

This is what breakfast was like for me last week. I was mainlining as much caffeine as I could. Coffee yogurt with a latte, another latte with a full sugar Pepsi, one day I had 2 lattes, 2 Pepsis and a Diet Coke and still passed out promptly when I got home at about 7 PM.
All I can think is: "What the heck?" So, I decided that I may need more vitamins. Full strength adult vitamins kinda hurt my tumtum so, I decided to try taking children's vitamins since they have lower concentrations and just take 2 at different times of day.

Shopping for them was the hardest part. Have you seen what exists for a vitamin aisle lately?
I remember when you had One-a-Day for Men or Women, Geritol and Flintstones chewables.  Now there are rows of Princess, Disney, Flintstones, Dinosaurs, Cars, gelcaps, solid, tinctures...I was overwhelmed. Until I started reading the ingredients. I was able to weed out most of them immediately due to the fact that the first ingredient was Sorbitol. I can't believe they use that stuff in vitamins. I mean, it's the diarrhea drug! Lucky you just have to turn around to pick up some Imodium....
Which gave me another random thought.  There was almost as many types of laxatives as there were vitamins and just the one kind of anti-diarrheal medicine.  Is everyone but me constipated? This would explain why they all act so stupid and mean, I guess.

So, back to the story. Here are the kind of vitamins that I finally settled on:

They have everything I need but iron, so I guess more spinach and nuts, maybe more beef until I feel 100% again.  I also stopped taking my Zyrtek, in the end I think that's what was causing my severe drowsiness but the vities are so yummy, I'm gonna keep taking em!
Like candy peeps!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Blackened Steak and Mashed Potatoes

Steak time again - trying to get those iron levels up. So I thawed out these thin steaks I had in the freezer, from who knows how long ago. I drizzled some EVOO in a skillet, dumped plenty of chili powder, some curry powder,salt and pepper in, then put the steaks on it.  More chili powder S&P on top and left them to cook. I eventually flipped them and left them to brown up a bit with the lid off.

I also threw some Yukon gold potatoes in a pot of water to cook. These will be the only potatoes I ever boil again.  I usually use the brown ones, but they take SO LONG! I fully expected these to take that long and they were, shall we say over-done? I intended slightly stiff potatoes and these deteriorated to mashed - no mashing or draining required.
The moral of the story is that these cooked fast and had kind of a creamy texture anyway, which saved on the butter poundage :)

For dessert, you're gonna luv this, lemon Jello cheesecake. I don't remember exactly where I got this recipe - it was years ago when I was first diagnosed Celiac and was combing through cookbooks to figure out what to do. In any case, it called for some kind of gluten free cookie crust, which I promptly nixed and I just make this in a (couple) bowls.  It's basically instant but it requires a mixer so I consider it "baking".

Mix 1- 6oz (or 2-3oz) lemon Jello with 2 cups boiling water until dissolved. Then add 1 cup cold water and put it in the fridge for an your mom or whatever.
Then, blend (with a mixer) 8 oz cream cheese, 8 oz sour cream, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract - until smooth.  Dump in the jello and mix it up smooth again.  Chill until it's set.

I hafta tell ya, it can be the most satisfying thing you ever eat! It's sweet and creamy and chewy all in one. Yum! I sub out Neufchatel for the full fat cream cheese, you can even use fat free cream cheese and sour cream if you want to.  I don't because of all the fillers that stress me out. So I choose the least number of ingredients. You can also use sugar free Jello, but you still have to sweeten the dairy stuff so I figure, why bother?

And I'll be eating on this for the rest of the week.  I'm also dedicated to my daily spinach salad until I get bored with them. When they look like this I start to wonder:

This one happened to be totally delish though. Spinach, pecans, cranberries and Parmesan cheese w/ balsamic vinegar, of course! In my opinion - the perfect mix of sweet, tangy and salty. All of the nutrition none of the guilt.

Friday, May 7, 2010

In a slump

Oh I've been in some kind of cooking slump these last couple days!

I've been mixing it up between Cinnamon Chex, nachos & spinach salads. I fully intend to throw some blackend steaks in the mix tomorrow though!

So...I got these because they were on special and I like to encourage my store to put gf stuff on sale.  They are like no other cracker I've ever known.  They are very nutty/seedy and have an interesting taste to go with the texture. A nutty/seedy taste.  The first couple times I tried them, I was iffy but they grew on me and I took them to work a couple times with cheddar cheese for lunch.
Will I buy them again, you ask? Maybe, someday, but not right now.

I hafta give a shout out to Chex. The cinnamon ones are great! I haven't tried the box of Honey Nut yet, just got them at Walmart!! Anyway, these with my VV Silk have been such a great dinner idea this week. I tossed in a couple nacho nights with Mission Tortilla strips and El Pinto Medium Salsa.  Interesting cheese I got at Walmart - I think it was frozen at some point because it was really crumbly - much like when I buy cheese in bulk and freeze it myself.  It works fine for nachos though, lucky I had the chips, no?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My kind of stir fry

I've been feeling so run down lately.  Partly because I haven't been eating enough green stuff and partly because I'm up all night with barfy cat. Lemme tell ya, I don't wanna cook - even more than I usually don't wanna cook. Wah.  So, tonight I stood in front of the fridge visualizing what was in there instead of opening the door and letting out the cold. 
All I could picture was frozen vegetables. Bags and bags of them! 
That meant 1 of 2 things for dinner - vegetable soup or stir fry. I couldn't picture any broth existing in there but I knew there was Minute Rice in the cupboard.

This is my version of fried rice. It's cheap, vegan (w/o eggs) and satisfying without being artery clogging!

Serves 2 for about $2 in 5 minutes.

Buy: 1 bag frozen stir fry veggies $1, minute rice $2 (but that's the whole box!), seasoned salt.

I can't believe I'm writing this up it's so easy!
1. Follow the directions on the rice to cook up about a cup of it.
2. Heat a large skillet or wok. Put rice, veggies and a teaspoon of vegetable oil in it. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and stir until fried.

*optional* I need protein so I often add 2 eggs after the veggies are hot and stir it up fast.  Done!

I actually had energy after I ate this and managed to write before I passed out in bed. *snore*

Monday, May 3, 2010

Breakfast tacos

Breakfast tacos are about as fast as you want them to be. 
It takes about 10-20 minutes to make 12-15, which should feed at least 4 people for about $4.25.

Here's the plan:
Buy: eggs $1.25 doz, 8 oz cheddar cheese (shredded or shred your own - your call) $1.25, corn tortillas $2 for 300 ct (you're gonna have leftover!!), salsa $2.50 jar (I luv El Pinto brand but it costs more than some)

Step 1:
scramble up eggs and salsa in a frying pan.  I suggest 6 eggs for 4 adults and salsa to taste, don't forget a little salt and pepper too!

Step 2:
Either microwave a stack of tortillas for 1 minute - until soft and scoop eggs and cheese in them 
Put the egg mixture in a dish to stay warm and start toasting the tortillas in the frying pan.

I like to toast them because then they are a little crunchy and don't fall apart as easy. It adds about 20 seconds per taco though.
I use a heavy--ish skillet on High - NO grease - just toss in the tortilla and flip it after it's steaming. Toss some shredded cheese and a spoonful of eggs on it while the other side toasts.
Then, slide it out of the pan and fold it over. Viola!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Fake Totino's

Since King Soopers tricked me by dangling Amy's Pizza ads out and then not putting the gf ones on sale I've been dying for pizza.  I won't pay a lot for it though or do a lot of work, aka stirring, to get one. Enter leftover corn tortillas and pasta sauce. My little brain said, "Why don't you put the sauce and cheese on those corn tortillas, they kinda look like crusts." So, I did. And I broiled them on low.

And I luv them! They are like mini pizzas. Hey, they are mini-pizzas!

Then my little brain said, "What if you put them in a muffin pan and make little fake-Totino's?"
So I did that too. 

Well...they tasted the same but the bottoms got soft and the tops got crunchy.  Luv the crunchy not so much the soft - so I'll have to perfect this technique. Perhaps straight-up baking would do better than the broiling? Or should I try turning them over?
I'm open to suggestions!