Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Favorites

Apologies for the long span between posts!  I went out of town to visit a friend for a few days and it was last minute and I didn't have anything prepared ahead of time.  I wanted to get something out there so this is a couple of my new favorite things.  These are things that I know I've mentioned before, but they really are so yummy!
Since trying to be better at eating healthy and then turning into gluten free, food prepping for the week for lunch time has been great.  Breakfast and dinner don't give me too much grief, but lunch time is another story!  That's when my kids are either at school or napping and I love the peace and quiet.  I also enjoy a cup of coffee at this time and with that I also like to enjoy something sweet to go with it!  I've had really bad things happen at this time of day.
Some of my favorite things to cook up to eat for lunch time is sausage and roasted sweet potatoes.  What I like to do is heat a pan, add a little of the sausage and potatoes to it and let it start to warm up.  If I have spinach I'll wilt in a handful or so too.  Then crack in 2 eggs and mix it up all together into a type of scramble.  It is so yummy!  This past week I had made some roasted beets and they were really good to go along side with it too. 

Another things that isn't necessarily a new thing, but a revised one to make it GF for myself now.  It's a late night indulgence from time to time.  (or a couple times a week...)  It's the S'mores I've mentioned before.  Rice cake(s) (or graham crackers) with peanut butter.  Sprinkle on a handful of chocolate chips and some marshmallows, mini or big ones (If  you use the big ones pull them in half.).  Put them into the toaster oven or under the broiler until the marshmallows turn golden.  And the Heavens open!  These are soooo  good!!!

So, what are some of you favorite things to make?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Using-Up-Leftovers Chicken Fried Rice

This week was such an off, blah week for me.  I don't know if it was because my family left after visiting for a few days or what.  I just couldn't seem to get it together!  I've been so tired and not wanting to do anything.  Plus, all of our usual programs came to an end this week.  Now I have to come up with new ways to entertain my children during the week.  With only a few more weeks of school left, I better think fast.  Yikes!  So hence to say, my cooking wasn't that great or inventive either.
Everyone likes a dinner they can throw together quickly, everyone usually likes and can also help clean out the fridge.  That's what I did last night.  I was going to make stir fry, which is great way to use up veggies that need to be eaten, but then realized I also had some left-over grilled chicken that needed used too.  So I opted for Chicken Fried Rice instead.  Everyone has their own variation of it.  I came up with mine a few years ago and just kinda wing it every time.  I'm going to try to put it in recipe form the best I can for you all, so bear with me!  Fried rice of any kind is a great way to use up leftover rice too.  If you don't have any leftover in the fridge, cook up some before hand, either in the day before or earlier in the day.  If you don't have fresh veggies in the fridge, you can use frozen ones too, I've totally done this. 

Chicken Fried Rice
5-6 servings

2-3 cups cooked, cooled rice
1 small head of broccoli, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 (or more) cup chicken, chopped
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Sesame oil
1 T butter
2 eggs
Soy Sauce

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1/2 T butter and 1-2 tsp. sesame oil to the pan.  Add in chopped veggies and sauté until beginning to soften.
Add in chicken and rice and stir to combine.  Drizzle another 1-2 tsp. sesame oil, other 1/2 T butter and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder to rice mixture and stir. 
Once it seems to be heating through, make a well on the side of the skillet, add a little butter if needed to prevent sticking.  Crack 2 eggs into the well and stir quickly to scramble.  Once eggs are cooked and scrambled, stir into the rest of the rice and veggie mixture.
Add in soy sauce.  This is a total taste preference thing.  Add in some, taste and go from there.  I like to go a little light on it in the pan so then everyone can add what they want to it in their potion.  Me, I like mine loaded with it.  Not a sodium free meal!  Haha!
I like to keep my rice cooking a little longer so it begins to brown a little.  Let it cook for a couple minutes, stir it around and repeat a few times until you get the texture and taste you want in your rice.
Serve hot!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dinner and Dessert

I hope you all had a wonderful mother's day!  Mine was good and actually turned out to be better than I thought it would be.  My hubby had to work, but ended up getting home early and getting to spend most the day with us.  It was a nice surprise!  He took me out to get running shoes and I'm so excited!  Now, no more excuses, I'm going to do this!  I'm going to run a 5K this year and I'm going to actually jog/run the whole thing.  That's my goal.  I started out in the beginning of year wanting to do this, then I got the flu, kids got sick and then before I knew it I got here....  4 months of doing absolutely nothing.  I'm feeling good about my diet, for the most part.  I do have horrible days of eating terrible or weeks where I eat a whole cheesecake myself, (This really happened a couple weeks ago.) but as a whole I feel good about where I'm at with food.  Now, I just got to get all these jiggly bits under control!
I'm going to share 2 recipes I made this past week.  The first is another one of my mom's classics that I did a little twist to, Stuffed Pepper Casserole.  I took my mom's stuffed pepper recipe and made it into a simpler casserole.  My hubby and I both liked it more then the whole pepper thing, and we still got all the same flavors.

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, diced
2-3 green bell peppers, cut in chunks
1 14 oz. tomato sauce
2 cans tomato soup
3/4 cups raw rice, then cooked according to package directions
1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350.
Brown beef, draining grease, add onions and peppers 1/2 way through cooking.
Add in tomato sauce and soups, stirring to combine.  Stir in cooked rice.  Add in Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
Pour mixture into 9x13 baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly.

The second recipe I want to share is for a Gluten Free Chocolate Angel Food Cake.  It was much easier then I thought it'd be and tasted amazing!  I wish I had a prettier picture of my cake, mine doesn't give it justice.  I meant to take a picture of a slice of the cake with strawberries and whip cream, but I'm not going to lie, it was demolished in about 10 minutes by about 10 people, including 6 kids.  It was a huge hit!  I don't think they'd even know it was gf if I hadn't told them.  I will absolutely make this one again!

Gluten Free Chocolate Angel Food Cake
 from Tasty Kitchen

  • ½ cups Rice Flour
  • ½ cups Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Xanthan Gum
  • 1-½ cup Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1-½ cup Egg Whites, Room Temperature (about 10 Eggs) (I used 100% egg whites from a carton and they worked perfect!)
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Cream Of Tartar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.
If your eggs aren’t room temperature, sit them (before separating) in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes until no longer cold to the touch.  (Since I used all white I measured them out and let them sit out in the cup for a couple hours before I made the cake.)
Sift together the rice flour, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, 3/4 c sugar, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Combine egg whites, water, lemon juice, cream of tartar, and vanilla in the bowl of your mixer. Beat on low speed for about a minute. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture increases 4-5 times in volume. Mixture will be foamy and will hold very soft peaks.
Bring mixer back to medium-high, and add the last 3/4 c sugar a tablespoon at a time. Beat until the egg whites hold soft, glossy peaks, not stiff ones!
Sprinkle a little of the flour mixture over the top, then carefully fold in. Repeat about seven times, sprinkling and folding.
When everything is incorporated, scrape the batter into a clean, ungreased tube pan. Bake 40 minutes, until no longer jiggly and starting to pull away from the sides. A toothpick will come out clean.
Immediately after taking the cake out of the oven, flip it over and cool it upside down, to keep the cake from falling. Cool completely before removing from the pan.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Pioneer Woman Kind of Breakfast

I am a total Food Network junkie.  I love it.  All of it.  From the cooking shows, reality shows, Chopped and everything in between.  One of my absolute favorite cooking shows to watch is The Pioneer Woman.  I love her!  I love her recipes and have made many.  I have one of her cookbooks and love it so much that I didn't pay any attention to the cover and actually bought it a second time thinking it was a new one.  (I know, a blond moment, right there!)  So, this post is dedicated to her.  Miss Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman.
First I'll tell you about her Blueberry Corn Mini-Muffins.  I saw her making them on her show, of course, and thought, "Why can't I make those gluten free?!"  So that's what I did!  They turned out great!  I used my trusty GF all-purpose flour mix.  They puffed and baked beautifully and tasted great!  Even my hubby couldn't get enough!  She says you get 24 mini's and I got 48 without changing a thing.  I also added a little sugar (maybe 1/4 cup) to the second batch to give them a little bit more sweetness, but either way were good.  The other thing I did do differently was, I didn't pay attention, again, and I bought blueberry Craisins instead of actual dried blueberries.  They, again, were still great, but I'll definitely make these again with regular dried blueberries another time. 

Blueberry Corn Mini-Muffins
From The Pioneer Woman
  • 1 cup Yellow Corn Meal
  • 1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1/4 cup Shortening, Melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 8 ounces, weight Dried Blueberries

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine corn meal, flour, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, milk, egg, and baking soda. Stir to combine. Add melted shortening, stirring constantly. Add vanilla extract, then stir in dried blueberries (you can use a little more or a little fewer if you'd like.)
Pour into a greased mini-muffin pan, trying to make sure blueberries stay evenly distributed. Bake for 10 minutes or so, or until golden brown.

The next recipe I want to share is for these perfect little Eggs in Hash Brown Nests.  They are so cute and perfect!  Super easy to prep the day before and easy to throw in the oven in the morning.  I used leftover baked potatoes I had and we actually had them for dinner one night.  These would be great for a brunch or potluck too.  Yum!

Eggs in Hash Brown Nests
from The Pioneer Woman


  • 6 whole Medium Russet Potatoes (6 To 8)
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 24 whole Large Eggs
  • Non-stick Cooking Spray

Preparation Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bake the potatoes until almost tender (potatoes should still have a little bite) 45 minutes to 1 hour. Allow to cool, and then peel and grate them. Season well with salt and pepper.
Spray two muffin pans generously with cooking spray. Scoop 3 to 4 tablespoons of grated potato into each muffin cup. Use your fingers to gently press the sides and bottom in each muffin hole to make a nest (don't press the potatoes firmly against the pan; they should sit lightly in the pan.) Spray again (very lightly!) with cooking spray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Watch and make sure they do not burn. (If they seem like they're not browning, kick up the temp to 450.) Remove when the nests are golden brown.
Allow the nests to cool. Crack an egg into each one. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake until the whites are set, about 15 minutes. Don't be concerned if some whites bake differently; no two nests will look alike!
Remove from the muffin pan with a spoon or fork and serve.