{Homemaking Journal} New Spring Recipes

Five months into this whole mommy thing, I’m still loving the extra time I have to cook proper, delicious meals for my little family. Granted, this week included two nights back-to-back where I got precisely nothing on the table due to completely packed apartment days, but under average circumstances, I have the time and the energy to put yummy food in front of my hubby each night and I love it! Here are a few favorite new recipes from recent weeks. Please pardon the language in one of these blog URLs. It’s an unfortunate blog title but the food is scrumptious! My new favorite cooking blog for sure.

As always, I made numerous changes to these fine recipes…including altering them to be gluten free. Sorry for the poor photo of the Bang Bang Chicken! I always forget to get my Nikon out after I’m done cooking. =)

Trader Joe’s Spaghetti Squash Carbonara – I personally loved this more than the Cheesecake Factory version. To die for!

Cheesy Enchilada Rice Skillet – Nothing earth-shattering flavor-wise, but SO easy.

bangbangchickenBang Bang Chicken – I’ve made this twice already! DELICIOUS! Worth the fuss!

Cauliflower Chowder – I’m honestly not a big fan of cauliflower, but I absolutely loved this soup. And it was sooooo simple.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Panini – These satisfy that occasional and obsessive craving for something toasted with cheese.

{Homemaking Journal} Favorite New GF Dinner Recipes

I am loving this new season of life, with the bulk of my time and energy being devoted to home life! Andrew and I are still apartment managers, but because we currently have no vacancies, that job is only requiring a few hours a week on average. I am also back to reading books and writing reviews four hours a week, another fun job that I can cater to my schedule. With this new schedule, I have enjoyed getting to put more energy into cooking and trying new recipes! Here are a few recent favorites, all gluten free. My disclaimer is that I rarely follow a recipe and often toss instead of measure. Also, I add minced garlic or garlic powder to nearly everything I cook. =)

Honey Balsamic Meatballs – I love that these meatballs use cooked quinoa instead of bread crumbs. They were really easy to make and tasted great with brown rice.

image1Kale Caesar Salad With Crispy Garbanzo Bean Croutons – A friend made this at a recent baby shower and I couldn’t wait to try it myself. The homemade dressing is to die for! Making the “croutons” is a bit time intensive. I might opt to skip them next time, although they do add a lovely crunch.

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken – Sadly, another delicious recipe that has sugar. But it can’t kill you once in awhile, can it? I’d actually like to try subbing honey and see what happens. This is in the oven right now…Andrew immediately requested a repeat when we enjoyed it last week.

IMG_4669Southwest Salad – I recently learned that this kind of salad is one of Andrew’s favorites. I cheated and started with store-bought Ranch dressing, then threw in chili powder, cayenne, etc. And I used corn chips from Trader Joe’s instead of making my own.

Chuck Roast With Balsamic and Dijon – Except I didn’t use dijon, I used regular mustard, as I always do. This was delicious.

Tasty Chicken Hot Pot – This came out a little bland, but was better after some Frank’s hot sauce. I’m still saving it because it’s fast, simple, and doesn’t require unusual ingredients. We ate it over brown rice.

{Recipe} Copycat King Mahalo – Chipotle BBQ Chicken Sandwich

imageDo you live in the Pacific Northwest? Have you ever dined on the King Mahalo Sandwich at Coconut Kenny’s? No? Then you are not experiencing everything that the PNW has to offer. It is literally the world’s best sandwich. But I have good news. You can make this fabulous item right in your very own kitchen, and it comes mighty close to being every bit as mouth-wateringly delicious as Coconut Kenny’s original.

First, to give credit where credit is due. I started with this recipe and then made a number of adjustments. My version, which is closer to Coconut Kenny’s, is below. (I used a gluten free bagel for mine, but I am sure Andrew’s was tastier on a hot dog bun.) I also didn’t measure anything, but below is approximately what I did. Note: omit the chipotle pepper if you don’t like spicy!

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded (thighs will be the moistest)
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, diced
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
A bunch of fresh cilantro
Sliced cheddar cheese (enough to cover each sandwich)
Mayonnaise
6 hot dog buns

1. Mix chicken, pepper, and barbecue sauce in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until warm.
2. Mix in red onion and crushed pineapple. Leave warming on the stove.
3. Spread mayonnaise on hot dog buns and broil until toasted.
4. Add cheddar cheese slices to one or both sides of the buns and broil until melted.
5. Spread chicken mixture onto sandwich.
6. Top with fresh cilantro and enjoy!

My Journey to Better Health {Part 1}

1459967_10152490236018109_7490556494908558576_nThere’s a lot of controversy these days about gluten free, paleo, and healthy eating in general. Many swear by these lifestyle changes, while others claim that their apparent effects are mostly if not entirely placebo. I think this is a case-by-case issue, and while many people (celiac, for example) are dangerously allergic to gluten, there are also thousands of self-proclaimed gluten intolerant people who have no real sensitivity.

I thought I would take a few posts to tell my “story” in case any of the things I used to experience might help someone else pinpoint and cure their problems. I’m an entirely different person from who I was about a year-and-a-half ago, and I believe it is mostly due to some major diet changes. At the same time, I know that the mind is incredibly powerful and is directly linked to our bodies and their well-being, so I’m willing to recognize that some of my improvements may have been due to the placebo effect, although I doubt it. Quite frankly, I don’t really care, because placebo or not, I feel like a new person.

Warning: I am going to spare few medical details, so if you are easily grossed out or don’t want to hear about my past physical ailments, read no further. 

I visited a naturopath in September of 2012. I was originally going because my cycle was virtually nonexistent. I could go months without a period (as in six or more), and then have two heavy periods back to back in the span of a few weeks. This caused a number of hormonal irregularities and frustrations. As I spoke with my naturopath about other symptoms in my life and began verbalizing how I felt a lot of the time, I realized I had a lot more problems that I just thought were normal.

I felt sick almost every single morning, and the earlier I got up, the worse it was. It wasn’t exactly a nausea, in fact it’s very hard to explain. It was like a really heavy gut feeling and a yucky taste in my throat. Let’s just say getting out of bed was extremely difficult. Diarrhea in the morning was normal for me, and if not, it meant I was constipated.

I was also low on energy, and I felt lethargic and sort of foggy-brained most afternoons. But all of these symptoms had come on so gradually over the course of a few years, that I had come to accept them as normal and just thought everyone must feel like crap in the morning and deal with constant digestive trouble.

Happily, I was wrong, and there was no reason for me to continue living this way. Enter God’s gracious care by way of a naturopath.

To be continued…

Flourless Chocolate Cake: My Company Go-To

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I have to share this absolutely fabulous recipe. I got it from my friend, Meg, about a year ago and I’ve made it multiple times since for company or to take to friends’ houses. It’s by far the most easy and delicious gluten free treat I’ve made. Plus, it’s really fun to concoct. I love the separating of the eggs, the beating of the whites, and the folding in at the end. I feel like I’m on Master Chef, and yet it’s so simple! The cake comes out fudgy, airy, and chocolatey–but not too rich, as most flourless cakes I’ve eaten. Since I make no changes to the original, I direct you to Martha Stewart for this fabulous recipe. The photo in this post is from the middle of enjoying the cake with friends last night. Enjoy!

{GF Recipe} Corn Souffle & Holiday Menus

I don’t know about you, but I’m having fun planning my Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus! Cooking gluten free, and avoiding dairy when possible, makes the prep time a little more involved so I try to get a jump start on it. If you’re interested in seeing some of the ideas I’ve collected, here’s my Christmas Dinner & Breakfast 2013 Pinterest board.

corn souffle

My favorite special holiday recipe that I started making a few years ago is Corn Souffle. I originally got it from a church friend (Mary S) and improvised it a little. Here’s my gluten free version. I stole the picture above from Cinder Says because I keep forgetting to take a picture of mine, but it usually comes out looking about like that, although I like to brown the top a little more.

This is a delicious side with turkey, ham, or roast beef dinner. It’s like a very moist, creamy cornbread. I don’t love cornbread but I love corn souffle! Grated cheese can be added, and the milk and sour cream amounts can be changed depending on your taste. It’s a pretty fail-safe dish, but bake-time can vary so allow for some extra time. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Corn Souffle

1 1/3 cup and 4 teaspoons Gluten-Free Cornbread Mix
1 can cream style corn
1 can regular corn, drained
2 eggs
1/2 c. sour cream
1 stick butter, melted

Mix all ingredients until blended. Pour into a CorningWare baking dish or similar. Bake in 350 degree oven uncovered for 1 hour, or until top is golden brown and knife comes out with crumbs instead of batter. Best served hot, but it reheats well.

{GF Recipe} Zuppa Toscana Imitation Soup

soup

This recipe is one of my all-time favorites. Have you ever eaten Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden? If not, I’d venture to say you’ve not yet lived.

A couple of years ago, I was looking through soup recipes on Eat Better America and came across this one, which sounded very similar to Zuppa Toscana…so I gave it a shot. Andrew and I think it tastes almost exactly like Olive Garden, and it’s gluten free!

Here’s my adaptation. I change amounts and leave out ingredients. For a dairy free version, use almond milk. It won’t be as creamy but it will still be flavorful, I’ve done it.

  • 1/2 lb spicy Italian sausage
  • 4 medium yellow potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (omit if you don’t like spicy)
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth (I use chicken bouillon dissolved in water)
  • 4 cups chopped fresh kale or Swiss chard leaves
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  1. In a saucepan, cook sausage over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until no longer pink. Drain well on paper towels; set aside.
  2. In same saucepan, mix potatoes, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, water and broth. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cook uncovered about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in sausage and kale. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes and kale are tender. Stir in half-and-half; cook just until heated.

Original recipe here.