Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pure Comfort Food!

Happy happy weekend enjoyed with Jackie, Rachel, James, Mom and Rich (missed you Dan). This is all I wanted: taco salad and margaritas. If I had to have this every night, the world would be a better place. It was fantastic as always and highly recommended.

Thousand Island dressing mixed with Taco Seasoning*
*Taco Seasoning: 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, pinch cayenne, sprinkle of paprika
Ground beef, cooked, drained, and seasoned with the same
Refried beans, warmed up
Kidney Beans
Sour Cream (for those non-allergry-free folks)
-Could also add corn or substitute black beans.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New cookin' with lentils!

What a wonderful night! A first time try that could not have been better. Spanish Lentils with Mushrooms recipe from herbivoracious.com. Goodness it was fantastic and I could eat it every week. Incredibly good for you, incredibly filling. Lentils are packed with fiber, protein, iron, folate, and magnesium. Folate has been shown to reduce the incidence of breast cancer in women and magnesium slows the release of sugar into the blood stream for steady glucose control and lowers CRP-potential heart damaging inflammation (via Living Without magazine, Full of Beans, Dec/Jan 2011).

Recipe found
  • 1 small white onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups French green lentils, picked over and washed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (such as pimenton dulce)
  • salt
  • sherry vinegar
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, quartered lengthwise
  • 16 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 big leaves of basil, chiffonade
  • black pepper

Took me a minute, but I'm peeling a butternut squash here. Thanks Jax. After looking at all the possible lentil recipes, I saw several with butternut squash. The squash did not make it into the lentils but we sautéed it with olive oil and brown sugar for a sweet addition to the lentils.

A beautiful mess


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Old Christmas Dinner

It's old only because obviously I'm about 3 weeks late on this post but the photos are so cute. The family and I celebrated finger-food Christmas on the 23rd and then mom, Rich and I headed to the beach for a great, relaxing time.

Fresh live crab from ABC Asian market, looking awesome in mom's antique sink

Rosemary golden mini-potatoes and sausage stuffed portabella mushrooms

Rumaki! Bacon wrapped dates with chestnuts in a special sauce and then we also had bacon wrapped scallops, I don't know how that happened

Mmm, the mushroom was so good


Christmas dinner at the cabin, that and margaritas

Our Christmas tree!

So cute!

Monday, January 10, 2011

What to do with 2011

My New Year’s Proposition

-Fitness: Let’s get this over with. Since January 2010, I lost 10 lbs and 1.5 inches. I’m pretty proud. With all the crap that went down, that sounds just fine to me. My new plan is to loose a full 5 lbs by my birthday.

Routine now (since July 2010): Run 15-20 miles a week + push-ups and sit-ups.

New routine: Trade/add 1-2 weight-bearing routines and SWIM!

I had no choice but to swim for cardio after my motorcycle accident. It’s so hard! I really like the challenge, despite my fear of drowning, and would like to get back to it-even just once a week/two.

-Allergy-Free: I was going to attempt a food challenge of trying out allergy foods to see if I react to them but, I’m not ready. It took me a year to figure out how to eat allergy-free so perhaps this year I could accomplish some intestinal healing and not have a stomachache for more than half the year.

-Keep on a’cookin! I had a great time trying out new foods this year. Some other cuisines I want to attempt are: Indian, Moroccan, and Thai. These dishes already use less dairy, wheat, and egg than your average American dish. And of course I want to continue my baking attempts and love of Spanish food.

-Crafting: Try something new! Perhaps knitting, decoupage, or the dreaded watercolor.

-Blogging: Keep on a’posting! And it’s time for a re-design.

-Reading: College seemed to bite my leisure reading in the butt. I read TIME magazine this year and allergy-free blogs. So I hope to start up real ‘book’ reading again-even though all I want to read is cookbooks, perhaps I need to find some food narratives beyond Under the Tuscan Sun. :)

-Buying a car. Yes, it’s time to break down and buy something a bit more reasonable-something that can carry crap, maybe a passenger or two and drive in the snow. I AM keeping the motorcycle and I can’t wait for better weather!

That's quite a start for me and sounds like an awesome year. Can't wait!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

To Gramma's House We Go

Christmas at Grammas was two days early. We had it on Wednesday since we were going to the beach. I wanted to show folks these photos of Gram's awesome house. These are of the board room which used to be the garage. Been fixed up since then and is the hoppin' place to be.

Gramma found 100 year old sheet music that Dan and Colton were checking out.

We busted out the really old Christmas vinyl that hardly plays on the new machine-Bing Crosby.

One of Gramma's many many quilts.

'Woodstove' (it's electric)

Rich and Gramma

Grampa's got his Christmas shirt on for us! (Even though it's two days early)

Cousin and me :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My first allergy-free holiday

Well, I set out on my allergy-free, holiday baking adventure with enthusiasm. However, after 8 hours into the endeavor it was intimidating, nerve-wrecking and ended in several failures mainly due to me forgetting ingredients etc. I decided to still post this mainly to collect these mishaps so I can try them again when I'm less frazzled and maybe with help. For all the recipes I'm sure they would taste REALLY good if you added two sticks of butter and two cups of sugar but let's try not to overdue it. I attempted: snickerdoodles, rootbeer pinwheel cookies, flourless brownies, and sweet potato crumble bars.

GF All-Purpose Flour via VeganEatsAndTreats

1 1/4 cup white rice flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup GF oat flour (I didn't have this so I used potato flour)
3/4 cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum

Allergy Free Snickerdoodles via Eat the Love, a food blog who's motto really speaks to my cooking-just eat the love out of my cooking and then you can throw the rest away. :) These snickerdoodles were the best of my cooking attempts and I actually fed them to others. Considering I never made pre-allergy snickerdoodles it was interesting and exciting.

(I was house-sitting at the time, yay for a kitchen-aid!)

Cute as buttons

Rootbeer Pinwheel Cookies via VeganEatsAndTreats, seemed to bake well and freeze well with the main dilemma being... where do you find rootbeer extract? I tried Fred Meyer's, Safeway, New Seasons, Whole Foods, and Kitchen Kaboodle. Ridiculous. So in order to make my first pinwheel cookie anyways, I used cocoa powder for the brown dough. I did wish they had more sugar and I frosted them when serving them to others. Turned out good but I will search higher and lower for that extract.

Flourless Brownies via Whole Foods Market, I had seen this recipe a couple times and thought I would give it a go. The 'flourless' version uses a can of black beans instead to flour and though you are not supposed to notice a difference, I thought it tasted like ground black beans. :-P They were gooey and never cooked in the middle at all. Mostly a failure that I don't plan on trying again-it went straight into the trash. Other bloggers claim these to be amazing but, I will have to do some more research. I do love my sisters food processor-thanks sis! Also, these are the only chocolate chips that are safe for me, that I can find-the Enjoy Life brand found at Whole Foods.

Sweet Potato Crumble Bars via Affairs of Living, was to be the big kahuna. A busy recipe that I was looking forward to. Unfortunately I saved it till last and was exhausted and intimidated. I ended up forgetting the milk which, was important and was the sugar additive. I wish it tasted as well as it photographed but it ended up tasting like bad baby food. I wanted it to have more maple syrup or sugar or something to make it more of a dessert. Once I recover from failure I would like to attempt this again with the forgotten ingredients.

Toasted oats

Baked sweet potatoes




And so ends my first holiday allergy-free baking adventure, a little worse for wear but more informed about baking and my own limits of being in the kitchen.