A visual tour of our latest meals

Okay – so sitting down to type up a post just has not happened.  I have been sick lately – not just with a cold, but beyond normal.  I thought I had mono (nope) and am just ready to be able to take a full breath again.  I’m so tired, but life just does not stop when Mom is tired….or grades are due…or … well, you already know.

So rather than a recipe, here’s a visual tour of all the things I *thought* I was going to be able to write up, but just haven’t had a moment to catch my breath (or the physical ability to catch my breath – LOL) lately.

Which one interests you?  What are you making now that Fall is here?

Some curly pasta caught my eye. Stir-fried with garlic, chicken, and veggie? Done. And quick too.

Blanced giant collard green paddles, stuffed with ground turkey, rice and veggies and topped with enchilada sauce before baking a bit more. A veggie packed dinner punch for sure!

Last minute garlic bread. Seriously. From idea to the table in 35 minutes or so. Hot dog! It’s definitely modified, but this working woman is keeping this idea in the mix!

This Pinterest-inspired dish is great. I mixed a ton of veggies into the dish and will absolutely eat this again and again. YUM.

Breakfast burritos are so much faster now – Thank you, Rudy’s! I can make a huge batch, wrap and freeze. Then reheat in the microwave on my way out the door in the morning.

I’ve been working on a new GF bread recipe – and converting some of my favorites for the bread maker. Honestly, I’ve realized I just don’t eat that much sandwich bread any more. But I LOVE having the breadcrumbs on hand for fish, chicken, etc. 😀

Making fancy potatoes for the girls “Princess dinner” – easier with a great pair of squared-off chopsticks as cutting guides. Don’t slice all the way through, just down until about 1/3-1/2 inch. Then slightly separate the potatoes when placing in the baking dish and drizzle with butter, season to your desired levels and top with some great chopped parsley.

Currently, I have a fresh, whole pumpkin sitting on our counter.  It came with our CSA pick up.  I have delicata squash, carrots, beets, rainbow chard, purple cabbage, celeriac, etc.  Missing is the time to explore/experiment.  Most of what we eat is stir-fry as it is so easy to chop up the veggies we have on hand and munch.

But last night I made some yummy tortilla soup – another family favorite way to use a ton of veggies.

Winter is really just starting around here now.  The dark, cold mornings are upon me.  Seems like just last week the sun was shining on my way in to work and on my way home.  I think I need to learn how to make some tasty gumbo this winter.  Anyone have a recipe they recommend?  😀

Happy GF Eating All –

Kate

KISS Your Greens, gluten free

K.I.S.S Collard Greens - GF, of course

Keep It Simple, Silly:  Collard Greens
Photo by Kate Chan

I have to be honest.  The last couple of CSA boxes have had collard greens.  And I’ve swapped them out every week because I’ve been intimidated.

My Love really enjoys collard greens – but it is also because he loves southern food and has had some great food in Chicago.  And me?  Yes.  I like collard greens, but cooking them?  *Yikes*

I’ve heard how “long” and “tough” it is to cook collard greens and have them turn out fabulously.  Seasoning them and making them the right texture and not having either mushy or bitter greens to serve.  And you know what?  I’m much more of a baker than a cook, so that whole “you’ll know when it’s done” thing?  Doesn’t always work for me.  Well, unless I’m grilling chicken or pork chops.  I’ve got that down.

Last week (and this week’s) CSA box had collard greens, so I bit the bullet.  I was going to prepare them and prove my Love wrong.  I was going to make simple and tasty collard greens.  And guess what?  It totally worked.  He wants more.

So tonight, with my family here visiting, we’re making grilled chicken breasts, some more KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly) Collard Greens, fresh new potatoes roasted with feta cheese and parsley and watermelon.  And for dessert?  I’m attempting a checker-board sponge cake.  (Yeap, now I’ve gone ’round the bend, huh?)

So, for those of you with greens and not southern touch to your cooking (like me), feel free to copy.  These are fabulous greens.  I’m thrilled to have an easy recipe to make collard greens with now.  And I won’t be swapping out my collards for any more carrots.  I promise.

K.I.S.S. Collard Greens

K.I.S.S. Collard Greens

Serves two.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of collard greens, cleaned/washed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, mashed and minced
  • olive oil
  • salt/pepper for seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice.
  • OPTIONAL/Main Dish Salad:  chopped chicken, raisins or dried cherries, toasted almonds.

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of water (salted. optional) to a boil on the stove.  While you wait, prepare your collard greens.
  2. Cut the thick center vein/stem out of the collard greens.  Split each leaf in two.  Roll together and slice into thin strips (1/4 inch – 1/2 inch).  Cut the strips in half.  (See picture above of rolled collards that have been cut into strips.  I just sliced the rolls in half one time.)
  3. Drop the greens into the boiling water.  Boil for 6 minutes (thin slices) – 8/10 minutes for thicker slices.  Remove the collards once they have reached the “al dente” noodle stage after 6 – 10 minutes (depending on the thickness of your strips).
  4. Drain and press out the excess water.
  5. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pan.  Add your garlic and stir until fragrant (1 minute).  Add the greens and stir fry for 4 – 5 minutes until tender.  Drizzle with sesame oil and season with salt and pepper.  Continue over the heat until even temperature.  (The greens will remain “al dente” or just tender and not mush after such speedy cooking.) Squeeze a half a lemon over or drizzle a teaspoon of lemon juice over (or more, to taste) and toss.
  6. Serve warm as a side.  Or top with a few raisins, sliced chicken and toasted almonds to make a fabulous entree salad.
Happy Eats!
~Kate

Gluten Free Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

GF Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

GF Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins, Photo by Kate Chan

Last week I couldn’t get enough pumpkin…. or chocolate… or sleep.  But that last one is definitely not worth blogging about (unless any of you have tips on easing a toddler out of nightmares or getting a baby to sleep longer than 6 hours a night – my ears are open!).

The Chicklet and her little sis The Peanut are definitely getting into more of a routine around here.  It’s often synchronous.  But the moments of synchronicity do not involve ones that are easy for Momma.  Other functions of theirs (those that would make Momma’s life easier) are out of whack.  For example: bodily functions/needs?  Synchronous.  Sleep?  Not so much.  Sometimes these asynchronous moments are the best of the best moments of the day, however.  I get time with each of them without the other feeling slighted or in need of attention when I can’t give it.  But mostly, it just keeps me busy, busy, busy, busy….. you get the picture.  I am fearful of the sheer exhaustion I am bound to feel when I return to work in a couple of weeks.  It makes me sad just to think about losing time with my girls and never getting these moments back.  But I have to work.  That’s just the way it is.  After all, diapers, wipes, and formula are not funded by the trees in my backyard.  No matter how hard I might wish that were true.

So, instead of being an Eeyore, the girls and I are seizing upon the time given and running with it.  This means that Zo and I are often in the kitchen creating something new (oh man – we’ve been on a roll lately too!) or in the living room creating new sensory experiences of my little wet-dirty-messy-phobic girl.  (Something tells me my mom never had to encourage me to get messy, by the way.)

Zoe has a new found love of pumpkins.  She points them out to me everywhere we go (much like a broken record until you acknowledge the appearance of yet another pumpkin).  Gosh, I’m glad it’s Halloween the season for pumpkins around here.  We are able to spot find them  at every intersection, store, package, flyer in the mail, and crack in the cement.  (I bet you don’t have a pumpkin-shaped crack in your driveway, do you?  I didn’t know we had one until the other day.  To be sure, I’m not certain we DO have one… but Zoe insists that it is out there…. somewhere.)

The other day, we made those delicious pumpkin pancakes because of her obsession with both pumpkins and the book.  The reason why I even had pumpkin (canned at the time, until she ate her way through that with pancakes, muffins, and yogurt-pumpkin smoothies) was because she spotted it at the grocery store

Cute grocery cart

Photo by MississippiMom on Flickr

Since she has been requesting to ride in the “special carts” at the grocery store, she has eye-level access to A LOT of things.  Thankfully, we skip a ton of the crap-filled gluten-filled aisles and hit the main drags and produce sections most often.  Truthfully, I hate these grocery carts.  It feels much like you are pushing a small bus without any turn radius down the aisle.  We used to indulge Zo when we would go out with these rides every once in a while.  She loves them.  But once Rory came along, there was no other option if I am alone.

Sometimes I carry Rory in a Beco baby carrier but sometimes…. it’s just too much.  I can’t bend over and get things off the bottom shelves very well with her in the carrier, so it’s not always the best option.  Putting the car seat on top of the traditional seat in the cart and Zo in the front of this thing makes seeing where I’m going nearly impossible.  Case in point:  two days ago I apparently pushed an orange caution cone about 50 yards before someone pointed it out to me.  Nice.  Zoe’s new job?  Advise mom BEFORE she hits something rather than sit in the Screamer-pose traumatized by the cone for 50 yards AFTER she hits something.  (Ooops.)

After that, we turned that freakishly giant cart around and Momma picked up two little sugar pumpkins to make some pumpkin fries (both savory and another bunch of sweet ones) for the babe.  Those were delicious too.  (That post will have to wait for another day.)  But the recipe we enjoyed that afternoon were these Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins.  OH, delightful!  They have just enough chocolate to let me ease my way out of guilty-Momma from the morning’s trauma (not the only one, mind you… she did get knocked down after walking in to a swinging door… and I couldn’t get to her in time).  BUT, it also has some decent whole grains and pumpkin to boot – so I don’t add to my guilt to think I’m serving complete junk to my babe.

Oh!  I am rambling today!  You didn’t come here for my ramble.  Just the recipe, right?  K… moving on then.  Here’s the recipe.  Do let me know how you like them!

Gluten Free Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12 standard muffins

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/3 cup pureed pumpkin
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 – 1/2 cup of milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 cup GF flour mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips or chunks
1/3 cup cocoa nibs

Directions:

  1. Preheat your over to 375F.
  2. Cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar.  Add pumpkin and mix again.
  3. Add eggs and 1/3 cup of milk.  Mix again.  (Reserve the remaining milk for the end, if you need it at all.)
  4. Add vanilla, cinnamon, salt, GF flour mix, baking powder and cocoa powder.  Mix again.
  5. Check your consistency.  If  it is thin (like cake batter) DON’T add the extra milk.  If it is thicker than a regular muffin batter, add the remaining milk.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chunks and cocoa nibs.
  7. Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way.
  8. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until completely baked through and set.  (A toothpick test should only have ooey-gooey chocolate from the melted chunks, not batter goo if they are done.)  Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 – 10 minutes before eating.

Try NOT to eat them all in the same day.  We barely managed to do that.  (Thank goodness!)

Happy GF Chocolate AND Pumpkin Joy from our house to yours!
~Kate

The Soup That Was: A GF Speedy Potato Soup

No photo for the soup today. Seems the battery was dead on the only camera within reach when the soup was done. AND… if there is one thing I have learned with TWO little ones at home it is this:

Eat when you can because someone is bound to need something as soon as the spoon heads toward your mouth.

Yesterday was one of those days… and today is not looking much better.  I think maybe I’m just wiser.  (Or wishful?)  By the time I had the Chicklet settled down, the Peanut was up and ready to parrrrrtay!  Needless to say, neither their naps nor their activities seemed to be on the same schedule yesterday.  And while that is helpful when it comes to feeding time for THEM.. .it means there isn’t much time for me to think about what I might need to be eating.

When my mom was here helping out, she mentioned the importance of convenient foods.  And then she realized that most of the foods she was thinking of are hardly convenient for people who are gluten-free, not to mention inexpensive if they do exist.  (Or tasty, I should add while I’m at it.)  So, when we hit the grocery store after she left, I made sure to throw some things in the cart that are truly convenient, healthy and easy to keep on hand.  I have Oikos Greek Yogurt in the fridge, some cheese sticks, GF pretzels, Nutella, a huge array of fruit/veggies,etc.  To make it even easier, I made sure there was some pre-prepped stuff that normally I would do myself to save money and enjoy fresher flavors.  For example, I bought a jar of pre-crushed garlic cloves in olive oil and some Pacific Foods GF broth/soups.  I knew this stuff would come in handy when I was cooking for just me.

I even had hidden a little chocolate treat in my purse for the Chicklet and I to have nibbles from in the afternoon.  (It was probably more for me, admittedly, as she truly prefers to munch on fruit first.)  I knew I was in trouble yesterday when the girls bothhad about 15 minutes of overlapping sleep and I noticed how freakin’ hungry I was!  It must have been 2:30PM and the last time I had eaten was 6:20AM when I had a banana before the day got rolling.  While I had been drinking coffee and water, that was just not enough.  I wanted food….. NOW!

I actually contemplated the nutritional value and pay-off/costs of eating the chocolate treat for my mid-afternoon lunch.  I wondered if the sugar-high it would provide would last until my Love got home from work after 5:30pm.  I had convinced myself that the calories were a non-issue as I would have been consuming the same (or more!) with a “real lunch”.  And then I realized I was contemplating the nutritional values of the lunches  I see my high school students eating.  Yeap.  Time to make something to eat.  But it had to be fast.

Enter Stage Right:  shredded refrigerated potatoes.  I thought about scrambling an egg and tossing in some potatoes, but really I was craving soup, not breakfast.  So out of the need for food in under 15 minutes, I made the best soup ever.  The quantities listed below are COMPLETE ESTIMATES as there was no time for note-taking nor measuring.  I was hungry!  (Even the photo was sacrificed for sustenance while the battery charged.)

So the next time you are in a hurry for food, just open your fridge.  It will be there.  Yes, there are more elaborate meals you can make.  But sometimes there is nothing more satisfying that a good bowl of soup.  Even the Chicklet would agree with that statement.  She’s the one who polished this bowl of soup off when she awoke from her nap.

Please be sure to check your ingredients.  All of mine are gluten-free.  (Even the cheese – Sargento’s Pepper Jack – is gluten free.)

Gluten Free Pepper Jack & Potato Soup
Serves 1.5 people for lunch

Ingredients (quantities are estimated)
2/3 cup shredded refrigerator potatoes (Simply Potatoes are gluten free)
1 1/2 cup + chicken broth (Pacific Foods is gluten free)
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 slice pepper jack cheese (Sargento’s is gluten free)
2 – 3 Tablespoons half and half
OPTIONAL:  Bacon bits (Hormel is gluten free), ham or turkey slices/chopped, chopped green onion or scallions or parsley, etc

Directions:

  1. Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add olive oil, potatoes, minced onion and garlic.  Stir until fragrant (or 1 – 2 minutes).
  2. Add chicken broth to cover potatoes plus a little more (about 1/4 cup more).  The potatoes will absorb the broth while cooking.  Too little broth will make for a pasty potato soup.  Keep your broth handy. You can always add more as the cooking continues.
  3. Simmer the potatoes until tender.  Drop pieces of the sliced cheese on top of the soup.  Stir in completely.  Use an immersion blender or small blender to cream the potatoes/soup.
  4. Add a couple spoonfuls of hot soup to the half and half (to avoid heating the half and half too fast and curdling it) and then add it back into the soup.  Stir until smooth.
  5. Sprinkle your soup with crumbled bacon bits or chopped green onion, etc
  6. Try to eat it all before your toddler spies you munching and smells the goodness.  She’s going to want some too!  (Or maybe just be smarter than I am and make enough for the two of you to begin with!)

Happy Gluten-Free Eating!
~Kate

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