Monday, February 23, 2009

My Love Affair with Garlic

 

lots of garlic

It’s fair to say that Parrish and I eat garlic at least once a day. It doesn’t always take the spotlight in the meal, but it’s always there. (Except breakfast oats…Garlic oats?! Yuck…or a stroke of genius!)

Tonight garlic and I had a full on love affair. Well, actually more of a love triangle (Parrish cooked dinner tonight). He made Garlic Stuffed Chicken with a HUGE simple spinach salad. Parrish used Coleman’s All Natural Chicken. It comes in 6 marinating packets. Available in several flavors, Garlic Italian is our favorite. The ingredients for the marinade are simple: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, basil, rosemary, and oregano.

Parrish started by sautéing peppers and onions. Then he tossed in some garlic and diced chicken sausage. He cooked the mixture until the garlic was soft. He used an Organic roasted red pepper chicken sausage.

dice chicken sausage

He cut big slits into your boneless chicken breast and spread one Laughing Cow cheese evenly in each chicken. Then he stuffed the sausage veggie mixture into the chicken. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. The onions and peppers will caramelize, but the cheese will not ooze. I love Laughing Cow! We use the light wedges.

We served some lightly cooked asparagus on top. Asparagus grows really well on the coast, because it loves to grow in salty soil. Asparagus is such a pretty vegetable.

tasty asparagus

The spinach salad was so simple, it didn’t even need a dressing. Parrish let the mushrooms soak in balsamic vinegar, and then heated them in a pan just to get warm. That’s it! Serve on top of big fresh spinach leaves. Perfection!

spinach & mushroom salad

Tonight’s dinner was the BEST we’ve had in a long time. Every meal we have is usually a success, but tonight was over the top delicious. With dinners like this, I don’t even miss gluten!

stuffed chicken_side profile 

I love the trio of yellow, red, and green peppers.

stuffed chicken

Perfectly stuffed!

Stuffed chicken_perfect bite

The perfect bite.

Tomorrow is my Monday, and it’s going to be a long one! Luckily we have plenty of spinach left over for lunch!

I hope everyone had a great start to their week! My best friend Alex told me tonight that she is going to give up GLUTEN for Lent! She is so sweet. I’ll let you guys know her progress; luckily we eat together often, so she’ll have lots of options.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Crock Pot & Cocktails!

 

Yesterday was a great day at work! Full…busy…BUT great! I had the seedling class, then a new Gluten Free battered fish demo (Henry & Lisa’s). Thank goodness I had a volunteer come early to help set up the demo. I usually have everything prepared before they arrive, but yesterday I needed an extra pair of hands, because then I had a wine reception starting at 1pm. My co-op unveiled our new private label wine “Fly the Coop”, and I had sent out almost 300 invitations on Monday to our beer & wine lovers!!  Everything was a great success, and when I got home from work yesterday I was ready to start the weekend!

weekend start

I made a quick cocktail of sparkling water, blueberries, and a splash of sweetened tea. Refreshing!

blueberry_star

Blueberries in sparkling water are the star of this drink.

Parrish worked SUPER hard yesterday too. He and his Dad worked in the yard for hours. They pulled weeds, mowed, cleaned, AND laid down new grass! He also painted two bookcases that have been on the project list for over a year! So I wanted to make something special for him today. No, not cupcakes.

Beef stew!

beef stew

I looked over a few different recipes online, and ended up doing a Gluten Hates Me rendition of an Ina Garten recipe and a Paula Deen recipe, with a lot of reliance on what I had on hand.

To make this recipe at home, you’ll need:

One container Gluten Free Organic beef stock

5 cups of sliced veggies- I used button mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, celery, & onion

One pound steak cut into cubes- I used an All Natural, Grass Fed stew beef

2 cups red wine- I used a Merlot because it was already open

1 tbsp. Italian Seasoning- a mixture of basil, oregano, rosemary, & thyme (dried)

2 tsp. Gluten Free Worcestershire sauce

6 cloves garlic

1/2 cup pasta sauce (You could use sundried tomatoes or sliced tomatoes, but I had neither)

Start by marinating the beef for at least 2 hours. I ended up marinating the beef for 4 hours. Pour 2 cups of red wine and one cup of water into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Peel 3 garlic cloves and smash. Toss in your beef, garlic, and sprinkle the seasoning on top, give it a quick stir, and cover. Refrigerate.

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Chop your veggies into small chunks. I used onion, potato, mushroom, celery, and carrot.

carrots&celery

 

mushrooms

 

Once the beef is finished marinating, lift each piece out of the marinade, shake off the excess, and dredge in Gluten Free flour. Reserve the marinade! Heat 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Brown the dredged beef in the hot pan, once brown set aside in a large stock pot. Once all the beef is browned, add the veggies and 2 tbsp. olive oil to the pan.

stir those veggies

Cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. Stirring occasionally. While it’s cooking, mince 3 cloves of garlic. Add the garlic to the veggies and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Then pour onto the reserved beef in the stock pot.

Take your reserved marinade and pour it into your hot pan. Turn the heat up and with a wooden spoon, deglaze your pan. Scrape up all the browned bit from the bottom of the pan. Let the wine marinade simmer, then add in the Gluten Free beef stock and bring to a boil. Add this bubbling beefy wine to your stock pot. Cover and bring to a boil.

Pour all the contents of your stock pot into a crock pot, and cook for 3 hours on high.

beef stew

Mmmm tasty!

I have been working to lower my blood pressure over the past 6 months, and I went to the doctor last week and found out that my blood pressure is PERFECT!! But I’m still not using added salt in my foods. I honestly don’t miss it. But you guys may want to add salt to this recipe. Beef stock is a bit salty on it’s own, but Alex added salt. Parrish said he meant to add salt, but forgot.

beef stew_whole plate

The beef is tender! You can cut it with a spoon! The veggies are perfectly cooked, and the wine really brings out some bold flavors. I love the mixture of Italian seasoning with the wine.

beef stew_max likes it....

Max is interested…

Beef stew_max likes it

in being a taste tester. Look! He’s sitting. What a good boy.

I have about 3 servings of leftovers. You could add in more beef to your batch, and adjust the wine and seasoning, but I like having more vegetables. I’m going to attempt to freeze the rest, so I’ll let you know how that goes. I’m hoping it freezes well. I will definitely make this again!

Friday, February 20, 2009

TGIThursday

Yeah, I know it’s Friday, but it’s my Thursday because I have to work tomorrow. I actually enjoy working on Saturday. My Co-op is super busy on Saturday, and I get to spend a lot of time on the floor. Plus new shoppers come in on Saturday, and it’s so fun to help new people discover healthier choices. The best is when I get called to help new gluten free shoppers!

I had to work late tonight and I have to be there early tomorrow, but I wanted to quickly post the winner of the Easy Summer Food Giveaway. And the winner is….

Megan of Megan’s Munchies!!

Congrats to Megan! I hope that you enjoy the cookbook this summer!! (And hopefully you will find it conducive to your food allergies)

Tomorrow is a busy day for me at work, so it’s a quick dinner and a spin on the dreadmill, then off to bed. I hope everyone has a great TGIF!

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For breakfast in the morning I usually eat gluten free steel cut oats, but once a week I wake up early enough to enjoy a veggie scramble. Local eggs with fresh spinach, onion and red pepper. Yum!! I haven’t quite mastered the omelet technique; so for now it’s a scramble! pics 006

Web Site Difficulties


My website seems to be having technical difficulties. I'm hoping this post will right the issue. This is a picture of a work gathering we had at my Co-op. This fabulous group is a mix of staff, family, board members, and long time shoppers. I love my Co-op!

UPDATE: It worked! For some reason all my posts had vanished, but writing a new post brought them all back. Phew!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Persimmon Persuasion


Persimmons from my friend's farm. While they're not my favorite summer food (they're not in season), these were the best fruit I have ever eaten! Not everything good happens in the summer. My friend Jessica and I went to a conference near Trace's farm, so he gave us a tour. We picked the persimmons right from the tree on a cold winter morning, and they were amazing. Sunkist sweet with citrus and honey. Mmmm.

Trace and Jessica

My friend Trace, his partner Kristen, and two friends Noel and Danielle bought a farm together. They left Wilmington for "greener pastures" in Silk Hope, NC. They're calling their farm Circle Acres. You can read all about it at Trace's blog Cricket Bread. Trace is an awe-inspiring person. He is everything that's good in the world, and he works daily to spread it. Plus he's really funny and just the most perfect writer. He makes the most complex of topics seem approachable.

I'm thinking alot about those persimmons today. When those persimmons are in season next, I will be living there. That's right. Parrish and I are moving. We're not moving onto the farm, but we are moving into the middle of the state of NC. Most folks find it hard to believe that we would want to leave the coast, but I like hills...and farms...and the community in the "Triangle". I'm hoping to become even more involved with sustainable agriculture with this transition. More details on the big move later.

Don't forget to enter into the GIVEAWAY. Less than 24 hours to go!

My favorite summer food: Fresh Organic tomatoes right off the vine. Warm and juicy with a little salt and pepper. Yum!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Love & Lima Beans

gorgeous carnations

Valentine’s Day Carnations from a local gardener. Parrish knows the way to my heart! Carnations are not filler flowers to me! They are my favorite!! :) He bought an entire bouquet, so I separated them into four different bouquets. The red with the blue milk glass is my favorite. The picture in the background is from almost 4 years ago when Parrish and I first started dating. We were best friends before we dated! The picture is the day before a hurricane hit our small coastal town. We went down to see the water…not the brightest idea!

gorgeous carnations_up close

gluten hates me 012

Last night I tried out a recipe that I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks. It involves my food processor, and I have to be motivated to bust that out! I didn’t tell Parrish right away that it was a Lima Bean Dip, gluten free of course! I presented it as a gluten free bean dip. He loved it! I’m not sure why lima beans gross some folks out; they’re delicious! This dip is easy to make and packs a nutritious punch. Lima beans have fiber, folate, magnesium, potassium, and protein!

Lima bean spread

You’ll need:

One package lima beans, cooked

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp. freshly chopped thyme

salt and pepper to taste

a sprinkle of dried minced onion

Process the lima beans and lemon juice in your food processor until smooth. Add in the olive oil, minced onion, salt, and pepper. Process until super smooth. Add in thyme and pulse twice. Serve with chips, crackers, or veggies. You could even spread it on a sandwich.

lima bean spread_close

You could use fresh, dried, canned, or frozen lima beans. Just cook them according to the corresponding directions before adding to the other ingredients.

Enjoy! Don’t forget to enter into the GIVEAWAY! I’ve loved reading the comments on summer food. Two days left to enter – no purchase necessary! Happy

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Kale Chips and a GIVEAWAY!

 

100th post 006

Kale is gorgeous. I love big, fresh bouquets of kale, but surprisingly I’m not a huge fan of the taste. I had only ever tried to cook it in a pan with a little bit of oil and garlic, and it always turns out too bitter for my taste. I’m more of a baby bok choy fan. But I knew I was not going to give up on kale. I want to find a way to enjoy all vegetables.

Thank God for an awesome blog by a sweet girl named Kath. Her blog is entitled Kath Eats Real Food, and she’s adorable. Not only is she a fellow Carolinian, but she’s also an inspiration. Much like me, she experienced weight gain in college, but through hard work and a new outlook on food, she has been able to take it off and keep it off. Eating healthy is not a a fad “diet”. It’s a necessity for me. When I eat crap, I feel like crap.

Kath has a neat way of cooking kale, that she claims is great. She calls them Kale Chips. I’m not sure if it’s her original recipe, but she eats them often and her readers make them too. They all agree they’re great; so I gave them a try.

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They’re great! Crispy just like chips. A teensy bit bitter, but not enough to deter my taste buds. As you may remember, I have a wonky stove, so a few of my chips were on the well done side. To make them yourself, tear your kale into chip size pieces, and lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and apply a liberal amount of salt. I used Jane’s Crazy Salt. Kath sprinkles hers with parmesan. Check her blog for cooking times; I had to use broil! :) Bake the chips until they barely begin to crisp and brown. Served with a side of gluten free ketchup, yum!

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Max likes them too.

AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!

The weather was chilly in my small coastal town today, but this past week the weather has been beautiful! Upper 60’s and sunny with a cool breeze. The warm week reminded me of spring and summer, and one of my favorite cookbooks: easy summer food.

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This cookbook not only has great recipes, but it also has AHHHMAZING pictures! I LOVE food photography!

HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:

Write a comment on this post with your favorite summer food and you’ll be entered for a chance to win your own copy of this great cookbook. I’ll use the random number generator to pick a winner. You have until Friday at noon to post, so tell your friends!

Whew, this week is confusing…and long! I’m off ALL DAY from work tomorrow! I’m doing a class this Saturday to teach folks how to start seedlings, and then co-hosting a wine reception to introduce our co-op’s new wine Fly the Coop. So instead of my typical Monday-Friday work week, my Tuesday will be my Monday and Thursday will be my Hump Day and I’ll celebrate TGISaturday.

Big HugHave a great Monday!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine’s Day

valentine's day 002

For Valentine’s Day I wanted to make Parrish something special. I originally saw this idea in the February issue of Martha Stewart. I’ll post the gluten free recipe soon, but for now I wanted to share some sweet pictures.

valentine's day 001

A Gluten Free chocolate cupcake with whipped vanilla icing and sprinkles, complete with a Gluten Free chocolate truffle brownie. I used fat free yogurt in the cake instead of milk, leaving the cupcake super moist!

Parrish’s favorite part was the brownie! :)

It's my first Valentine's Day Gluten Free, so heart shaped pizzas are out...but those aren't really good anyway! :) Last night I had dinner with some close friends and we dined on local flounder and organic chicken, with sides of organic mashed potatoes, asparagus, and squash. Mmm. Yeah, who needs pizza! :)

I'm pretty sure Parrish has something up his sleeve for this weekend; I'll keep you posted. I hope you guys have a great weekend. I love you!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gluten Free Oats

 

Steel cut oats

I usually don’t have time to make a great breakfast on Mondays, and I never have time to take pictures. BUT yesterday I was off of work, so I made a HUGE pot of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats. Yum!

I’m trying to wane myself off of butter, and I didn’t have any yogurt to make the oats creamy. Now, this is going to sound crazy dear readers, but to achieve the creaminess in my oats I used 2 tbsp. of pudding. Sugar free Pistachio Pudding. It was leftover from dessert on Sunday night. And you know what, it really did the trick! I can’t say that I’ll do it often, but I did enjoy it.

Blueberries are great in oats, and I’m lucky that I live in coastal NC, where blueberries thrive. Did you know that you can just pop the local, fresh berries in freezer bags and thaw whenever. The blueberries aren’t quite as good as they when they’re in season, but I’d rather eat locally grown $1.69 a pint frozen than $3.99 a pint berries from Japan!

blueberries are beautiful

Blueberries are beautiful.

Every year there is a blueberry festival, but I’ve never been. Maybe this will be the year! :)

breakfast

Tasty! The bowl above has a whopping 9 grams of fiber! Served alongside the rare glass of orange juice. I wish I had the time everyday to sit back and enjoy my breakfast. This morning I enjoyed my oats in a coffee mug quickly before driving to work. Not ideal, but I still love the Bob’s Red Mill!!

Anyone have a good recipe for rolled oats? I have 4 bags that are taking up a ton of room in the pantry!

Friday, February 6, 2009

My 100th Post!


I can't believe I have posted 100 gluten free recipes, restaurants, and disasters. I also can't believe that it's almost been an entire year since my Celiac Diagnosis!

I am so blessed to have discovered blogging. I am so thankful to have all of you as readers. I truly believe that if I hadn't had all your support, I couldn't have stayed true to my new life. I would have "cheated", and ultimately continued to be sick.

I had big plans for my 100th post. I was going to make cupcakes, but then I ended up just making Kale Chips... which burnt in my wonky stove. :) So I tried again, remembering that not all recipes are successful the first try. They ended up being delicious and I will share them soon.

But I decided that instead of sharing a new recipe with all of you, I would share a little bit more about myself. My life is in a huge transition right now, which is the funnest time to look back and see where you've been.

I love food. I love local, organic, sustainable food. And...I used to love gluten.
Now it hates me.


I love to play cornhole. I do not love Miller High Life.


I have a best friend named Alex who is a great taste tester.

I rode in my first Critical Mass this past year. I loved it!

I helped found a community garden.

I work part-time for a local goat dairy.

Alex and I joined a CSA together. We received a fresh box of produce
from a local Organic farm every week for 14 weeks!

I write and design a gluten free e-newsletter for my Co-op.
My store manager came up with the name. :)
It changes each month, and I often give your blogs shout outs!

I have a twin brother. He is 6 foot 4...I am 5 foot 4.

Thanks again for reading! I look forward to 100 posts more and 100 more posts of your own!!