Archive for November, 2011

“Empty the Fridge” Fall Stir-Fry

I’ve been on a mission to use up a majority of the remaining items in our fridge so they don’t go to waste before the move. I have to accept a few items will have to be thrown away (sad!) but with a little creativity, yummy and inventive dishes came be born…

So what to do with a one serving portion of frozen turkey, 1/4 of a cooked squash, the remaining container of spinach and leftover white beans? Make an easy stir-fry!

This recipe serves one, but after I finished lunch, I wished I’d made a larger portion — I was more than happy with this healthy but hearty one-dish meal! I finished the stir-fry with a drizzle of roasted tahini, which paired beautifully with the squash, meat and veggie combo! Don’t skip the tahini, it takes this humble dish over the edge :)

“Empty the Fridge” Fall Stir-Fry

Ingredients

2 tsp coconut oil (or butter or oil)
3 to 4 oz ground turkey, chicken, beef or your favorite meat substitute (crumbled tofu?)
1/4 cup sliced onion (1/4 of a small onion)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 of a small cooked kabocha squash, cubed (about 1 cup) or any winter squash
handful of greens – spinach, chard, collards or kale (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup cooked white beans (or your favorite beans)
1 tsp sesame seeds
dash of crushed red pepper, optional
sea salt and ground pepper to taste
roasted (or raw) tahini, for drizzling (I eyeballed but used approx. 1 -2 Tbsp)

Directions

1. In a medium skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground meat and the onions and cook until meat is no longer pink cooked through, about 3 minutes.

2. Add garlic and cooked squash and cook for another two minutes, stirring occassionally. Add greens and white beans and saute for another few minutes until greens are wilted and squash starts to brown.

3. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the skillet and toss the combine. Season with salt and pepper. When serving, drizzle tahini over the stir-fry and enjoy!

Serves one but could be doubled, tripled or quadrupled if desired

November 30, 2011 at 3:54 pm 5 comments

Holiday Vacation Recap

Chris and I had a great time with his family last week in Seattle and Victoria BC; it was fast-paced and event-filled…just the way we like it! Our family likes to stay on-the-go, and with seven of us there is never a dull moment. I am not much on sitting around, especially with a new city to explore, sites to see and lots of good food to eat (yep, always a priority!).

I will try and keep it short sorta short and sweet :) Due to the rain and weather, I opted for my trusty waterproof point and shoot camera…

Tuesday (this was a laid-back day, waiting for family to arrive and no schedule): flight to Seattle and checked into hotel; planned to go on a city tour but the rain was coming down too hard and shopping for waterproof shoes was top priority. The night ended with dinner at Ivars on the water.

Wednesday Breakfast at Pike Place Market, shopping and found homemade tri-color gluten free pasta, sugar-free beef jerky and a few knick-nacks. Next was a trip up to the Space Needle:

We were cold and stopped for hot chocolate and opted for an indoor activity — the Seattle Aquarium.

Afterward was a light lunch then off to the very entertaining Seattle Underground Tour (I highly recommend this!). We topped off the night with a fancy 3-course meal at Tulio (fabulous and creamy chanterelle mushroom risotto for my first course was my favorite!)

Thursday (Thanksgiving) We caught very early ferry over to Victoria (3 hours) and head over to gluten free high tea at the Empress Hotel

To start were two chocolate dipped strawberries. What followed was this tower of gluten free goodness and my choice of Jasmine Butterfly tea – ALL for me and you better believe it was finished! The gluten free selections varied a bit from the usual menu: variety of finger sandwiches, spreads and pates (bottom tier), a blueberry scone and whipped cream and jam (middle tier) and mini raspberry cheesecake, pot de creme, shortbread, brulee of lemon cream/curd and the classic Battenburg cake (top tier).

Off to the Royal BC Museum and a free tour of the Parliament building, then wrapped up the day at a local bar for dinner and watching the Texas A&M/UT football game (this is a Thanksgiving tradition in our house)

Friday City bus tour of Victoria and lunch at a local deli. A much anticipated Wildlife tour (aka whale watching in off season) – we saw TWO whales, a few groups of seal lions and several bald eagles.

I am sporting the bulky, orange, reflective jumpsuit. Without this suit, I would have froze to death, this piece of “clothing” was much needed.

Next was dinner at the delicious Baan Thai restaurant and finished with dessert at the local “Soda Shoppe”

Saturday (our last day) breakfast, rented a mini van and drove to Sidney, coffee/hot chocolate break, then a scenic trip back with and lovely views and photo opps.

Tour at the Craigdarroch Castle in the middle of Victoria, very neat!

Lunch at the tasty Sauce restaurant (sweet potato fries will rock your socks off), stopped by the Maritime Museum and headed back to the ferry for another 3 hour ride to Seattle. We left Sunday for Denver…

Whew – are you tired after reading this? :) I did mention we keep busy!

After a fun-filled trip, I am back in packing mode getting ready for our big drive on Saturday, with movers coming Friday to load up the moving truck.

Here’s a sneak peak at a few recipes to come:

“Empty the Fridge” Stir-Fry

Blueberry Mila Pudding

Ranch-Flavored Gourd Seeds

Vegan Maple Almond Spice Biscotti

November 29, 2011 at 11:17 am 13 comments

Orange Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

When I get stressed or overwhelmed, I typically bake…and eat. As my schedule gets tighter and time is running out before our move, I find peace in the kitchen. Tomorrow, I will be unpacking from my Seattle-Victoria vacation and packing up the my baking pans and a large portion of the kitchen…temporarily, but it’s time.

I thought I’d give you a break from squash :)

You can’t go wrong with cupcakes, especially when these individual cakes are lightly scented with orange and vanilla and topped with silky cream cheese and bright orange zest. I’ll eat one a few for a little energy to help with all my packing! Excuses, excuses…

Orange Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
(adapted from The Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam)

Cake Ingredients

2 large eggs, separated + 1 egg white
1/4 cup coconut oil in liquid form (butter or oil would work too)
1/2 cup honey (could use agave or even maple syrup but will alter taste)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp orange zest

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3 Tbsp honey (or agave) or more to taste
1/2 Tbsp gluten free vanilla extract
1 tsp orange zest (or you could probably use 1/2 tsp orange extract or liqueor)

orange zest for garnish, optional
chopped almonds or whole almonds for garnish, optional

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line 10 muffin cups (I’ve tried just greasing the tins and they tend to stick)
2. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl until pale yellow. Whisk in the oil, honey, vanilla and lemon juice. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites to stiff peaks with an electric mixer. Gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture.
3. Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl then gently fold into the wet ingredients.
4. Scoop batter into paper liners. Bake 20-28 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean(mine baked for 22 minutes but keep an eye on them).
5. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for half an hour then remove from tin and let cool completely.
6. While cupcakes are cooling, prepare frosting.  In a large bowl, whip cream cheese until smooth using a mixer. Add in the honey and vanilla until well combined. Pipe or spread over cooled cupcakes, garnish with additional orange zest and/or almonds and enjoy!

Yields 10 cupcakes.

November 27, 2011 at 9:14 am 8 comments

Giving Thanks

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

To those who celebrate Thanksgiving here in the States, I wish you a fantastic holiday full of family and/or close friends, laughter and love, relaxation (football for many)….and a huge plate of yummy food :)

Just a quick post today and no recipe but I wanted to take a moment to be thankful for a few of the many blessings in my life:

My brother is missing in this pic!

  • My supportive husband, my loving parents and my family – without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today
  • My health – from having the energy to get out of bed everyday to the ability to run/walk and taste/see – this is something I often take for granted
  • Change and new seasons of life – with changes come growth and I am ready to be challenged (although it is scary!)
  • Laughter, smiles, nature and the outdoors – all things that breathe new life and renew my energy
  • Music, books and art – outlets that enable my creativity, various emotions and provide a little escape from the day to day
  • Tears, mistakes, disappointments and challenges – without the downs, I wouldn’t appreciate the ups and these things only make me stronger
  • All of YOU – my fabulous readers and visitors – you all have rekindled my passion for cooking and photography and given me an outlet and a voice my food craziness (or creativity), I am forever grateful!!!!

A few more silly/material things things I am thankful for include:

  • nut/seed butters, chocolate, squash and chia seeds
  • my camera
  • my running shoes, pajama pants and headbands
  • sticky notes, my blender and chapstick
  • the color blue (especially sky blue, it simply makes me happy)

A couple things that may seem strange but totally make sense when you think about it:

  • Dirty dishes in the sink – because this means I have food to eat
  • Dog/cat furr – as much as this drives me crazy, it’s a daily reminder that I have pets that demonstrate unconditional love and they like to snuggle
  • Papers piling up – no fun but it’s a reminder that I have a job
  • My elbow scar from my car accident (I will have to share this story one day) – a constant reminder of how precious life is and that I having a loving Father who watches over me. Also, that appearances aren’t what matters, it’s what’s in your heart that counts

What are you thankful for?

Ok, I didn’t mean to get totally sappy on you but did want to take some time to appreciate the little things that are so often overlooked or forgotten…wishing you all the happiest of holidays!

Now off to a gluten free high tea :)

November 24, 2011 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

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