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 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:

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bisquick review and GIVEAWAY!!!

So, the cool people at sent me this awesome pancake party set!! I've already done one review of Bisquick:
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:
and try it now.
For recipe ideas go here:

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 ( 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.