Comfort in a Cookbook….

Oh me oh my…. I am one happy girl. GF Guy is home visiting for the week. I just picked him up from the airport, and he is currently fast asleep on the sofa across from me. Dickens is curled up on the rug at my feet. The windows are open because it is a perfect 72 degrees outside…. really, could life get any better right now?
My life has become so mundane. You know what? I kind of like it. It’s the simple day-to-day joys that make each day wonderful. Things like doing a crossword puzzle, curling up with a freshly bathed puppy, and cooking a recipe directly from a cookbook.
I must admit, I rarely cook from a book. If I’m not making a meal off the cuff, the Internet is generally my giant cookbook. Last week though, I decided to “kick it old school” and pull out a gift from my Fairy Blog-mother, 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer
It was like reading an actual book versus a Kindle; comforting, nostalgic, and beautiful simplicity. The recipe was for Wok-Seared Chicken with Mustard Greens & Spicy Soy Sauce found on page 657
This contemporary curry fused Indian ingredients and a Chinese cooking method to develop a spicy symphony of flavors. 
Having never eaten Mustard Greens, I was excited to try them.
I ate a few pieces raw and was astounded to be smacked in the face by a “Wasabi-like” after effect! I LOVED IT! Has anyone else experienced this? Vegetables are so cool! (big dork)
Anywho….
Next time, I will probably double the sauce. Served over Brown Rice with a little extra GF Soy Sauce, this was an excellent, simple supper. So cheers to you Raghavan Iyer! (sorry, I took a sip first)
I can’t wait until we play in the kitchen again!   
 Oh, and Mr. Iyer, should you ever come to Tampa, I want you to teach a cooking class at my store! You are wonderful!

Going Green….

Our local CSA has had an abundance of greens lately, due to the cold snaps. 
You won’t hear me complaining. This girl LOVES her greens! 
My in-laws, on the other hand, are not quite so sure. They don’t really know how to cook them, nor do they particularly love them. They are more “spinach people”. I guess a taste for greens has to be developed. I could eat them 3 times a day and be a happy little camper. 
I took an Indian twist last night with my greens. Trying a little something different. YUM! This version will definitely be making it into the rotation.
Indian Spiced Greens
(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free)

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch Lacinato Kale
  • 1/2 bunch Collard Greens
  • 4-5 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tblsp Garam Masala
  • Black Pepper
  • Sea Salt
  • 1/3 cup Low Sodium, Organic Chicken Stock

Directions:

  1. Wash and cut greens into bite size pieces.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large pot, stir, and cover.
  3. Place over low heat for 20-30 minutes until soft.
Do you like your greens? What is your favorite way to enjoy them?

Call Me Carrot….

I’m about to head to O-Town to spend the weekend with GF Guy. But, before I go, I wanted to share my latest recipe!
More inspiration! Yesterday at work the “Odwalla Guy” gave me a free bottle of Pure Carrot Juice. 
Now, a normal person would drink it. I, on the other hand, to one look at that gorgeous orange liquid and thought… 
“I should bake with that!”
And bake I did. Not bothering to take off my coat, I began measuring and mixing the moment I arrived home. By golly, it worked!
This whole grain, vegan bread is subtly sweet and the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee for breakfast. (or crumbled overtop a bowl of pumpkin puree!!!!!!! I’m seriously obsessed….)
Carrot Oat Bread
(Gluten-Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oat Flour
  • 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Fava Flour
  • 1/2 cup Sorghum Flour
  • 1 tsp Xanthum Gum
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger
  • 1 cup Carrot Juice
  • 2/3 cup Light Agave Nectar
  • Egg Replacer for 2 Eggs
  • 3 Tblsp Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 3 Tblsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped Pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray 3 mini-loaf tins with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, combine wet ingredients.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until combined.
  5. Fold in chopped pecans by hand.
  6. Pour batter into 3 mini-loaf pans.
  7. Bake in preheated oven 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes. Finish cooling before slicing…. if you can wait that long!
What is the strangest ingredient to inspire you? 
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

Hoppin’ Jane….

This post is linked to 

 
For the first time in weeks, I was struck by culinary inspiration! 

It’s been a long dry spell of recycled recipes. The longest I’ve ever had. Not going to lie, I was starting to sweat a little! It’s a little scary when something usually second nature disappears for a bit.
For me, inspiration takes a leave of absence when GF Guy leaves. Cooking for others is one of my love languages. I guess it makes sense that when my love leaves, he takes my inspiration with him.
Whoa…. way to get all sappy and romantic all of a sudden! Moving on….
My surge of inspiration came with the arrival a package and our CSA delivery.
Collard Greens
Mendocino Smoked Sea Salt
The good fortune that caused these two items to drop into my lap within mere hours of each other could only be heaven sent!
I belong in the kitchen! God gave me a sign!
Hoppin’ Jane
(Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan)



Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Buckwheat
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 cups chopped Collard Greens
  • 2 cups frozen Black-eye Peas
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • Black Pepper
  • Mendocino Smoked Sea Salt
  • 1 (14/5oz) can No Salt Added Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups Low Sodium Vegetable Broth

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place all ingredients in a 9×13 glass casserole dish and cover tightly with foil.
  3. Cook 1 hour, or until buckwheat is cooked completely. 
Enjoy!

    Hey Rudi, You’re So Fine You Blow My Mind….

    About 2 weeks ago, I arrived home with grilled cheese sandwiches on my mind. I had Daiya Vegan Cheese, but not a crust of bread was to be found. Not one to give up that easily, I was literally pulling my bread machine off the shelf when the doorbell rang. 
    Dickens went crazy, GF Guy jumped, and my poor bread machine almost lost it’s life then and there!
    I answered the door to find a gift from the heavens…..
    a Rudi’s Gluten-Free sample pack!!!!!!
     I couldn’t believe the timing! It was uncanny!
    Grilled cheese it was! 
    You know how most gluten-free breads are better doorstops than sandwich vehicles? Not Rudi’s!
    The Rudi’s Gluten-Free Multigrain Bread was soft, pliable, and moist. Perfection!

    Just look at that “cheeze” oozing out of that perfectly grilled bread!

    We feasted on Grilled Cheese like a couple of 2nd graders!
    A few days later, toast was back on my mind, but this time with eggs.
    Again, the Rudi’s Bread was whole grain perfection! 
    I am a rather harsh critic when it comes to bread, but Rudi’s passed with flying colors! Check out their website for a $1 OFF coupon and get yourself a loaf!
    Even better….
    For every dollar coupon downloaded, Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery will give a dollar to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, up to $20,000, to help in its efforts to better educate physicians in the diagnosis of celiac disease. Coupons are available on the Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery website and Facebook page.

    Thank you Rudi’s!

    A Triumph…(dining guide)…

    Before the holidays, Triumph Dining sent me a copy of their latest and greatest Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide
    I have been a long time fan of Triumph Dining Cards, and recommend them to everyone I know. 
    Chefs has come out to my table in restaurants to personally thank me for bringing such a comprehensive guide to my specific dietary needs and asked where they could purchase a set for their kitchens! They are available in 10 languages and tailored to each specific cuisine. Invaluable!
    Despite my love of their Dining Cards, I had never even seen a Triumph Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide. It was such a treat to receive one in the mail. 
    Having traveled rather extensively, I enjoyed comparing my own experiences with those in the book. I am happy to report they were spot on! 
    The book was organized by city and state and was very quick and easy to navigate.
    But, do you want to know the best part?
    In the back, there is an allergen breakdown of every major fast food restaurant in the U.S.! WHAT?! Sometimes, there is nothing but a Burger King around for hundreds of miles. Wouldn’t this guide make your life a ton easier?
    I couldn’t keep this gem to myself! A friend of mine at work is seeing someone who travels for a living. He is completely new to a GF diet and has been having a tough time. (understatement of the year!) I was able pass along my copy of the Triumph Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide to him as a Christmas present. It made his year! 
    To get your very own copy, go to www.TriumphDining.com
    Thank you, Triumph, for creating such a wonderful, helpful tool for gluten-free diners everywhere!

    My A-mah-zing Day….

    Today, I woke up at 5am. (I have been doing this all week and am kind of liking it!) 
    I took a shower, got dressed, etc… sat down to drink my coffee and was startled by a sudden rumble of thunder! What the..? All of a sudden the skies opened up and Niagara Falls appeared outside my window
    Not one to be dismayed by a little rain, I shrugged, reminded myself I have curly hair for a reason, and trotted out the door. 
    Once at the office, I managed to get in a solid two hours of work before “nature called”. I headed to the bathroom and was slightly shocked to find my underwear was on inside out! 
    …It was going to be one of those days….
    Deciding it would take more effort to rectify the situation then to “live with it”, I carried on, inside out underwear and all and had a rather productive day.
    After work, the gym was the last place I felt like going. Instead, I decided to test a few new products for work. I baked Ginger Cookies
    and Brownies!
     
    Yes… the tubby kid bakes brownies instead of doing burpees. Deal with it. (In case you were wondering, I was not a fan of the products by Bloomfield Farms. They were okay, but there are MUCH better options out there.)
    Then, I scrubbed the bathroom and cleaned the kitchen all while wearing the high heels and Hudson jeans I wore to work! 
    Cause I’m a woman…. (sing it with me!)
     Anyhoot, that was the a-mah-zing-ness that was my day. (insert curtsy)
    Now back to recipe sharing!
    This next recipe was made possible by my Fairy Blog-Mother. She sent me (well, GF Guy actually) a batch of her homemade Caramels which practically begged to be baked with! In the back of my recipe book, I had a notecard with an old recipe belonging to my little sister. This recipe for ooey gooey Caramel Brownies is decadent, delicious, and dairy-full. As the caramels contained dairy, I went ahead and stuck pretty close to the original recipe. If you can indulge in dairy, DO IT WITH THIS RECIPE!!! Enjoy!
    Decadent Caramel Brownies
    (Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free)

    Ingredients:

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. In a saucepan, heat caramels and 1/4 cup evaporated milk until melted and smooth, stirring often. Keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.
    3. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, butter, and remaining evaporated milk. 
    4. Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
    5. Spread half of the cake mix dough in the pan.
    6. Bake 6 minutes and remove from the oven. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the baked layer. Drizzle caramel mixture over chocolate chips.
    7. Spread remaining cake mix dough evenly over the caramel.
    8. Bake 15-20 minutes.
    9. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
    Seriously people, this is the most decadent ooey-gooey mound of chocolate-y goodness you will ever encounter! Thanks Cari!

    Grandma Would Be Proud -or- The Christmas Cookie Revenge….

    Happy 2011!
    I’ve been super busy with work and GF Guy coming home that, no offense, blogging hasn’t exactly been at the top of my list.
    I have a stack of product reviews waiting to be written (okay, it’s only 2, but they are staring at me!!!), new recipes to share with you, and lots more going on in this curly little head of mine.
    I spent New Year’s with GF Guy in Ft. Lauderdale where we danced and laughed the night away with the cast of Rock of Ages. 
    Erika, writes a blog about life on the road called It’s Just the Road. Check it out for some great life lessons and musings from an awesome and talented chica!
    Good times had by all! I’m going back this coming weekend and to Orlando the next weekend… I’m practically a ROA Groupie!
    I finally got the Christmas tree down and the decorations put away. Now, I’m going to try to pump out a new blog post for the next few nights before heading out of town again. 
    I am particularly proud of this next cookie recipe. Last year, I tried, and failed miserably, to recreate my Grandmother’s famous Sand Tart cookies. Not one to simply accept defeat, I made another attempt this year.
    BOO-YA!!! I DID IT!!!!
    My dad even approved, which was a big deal. 
    Warning: these little buggers are a bit time intensive. Consider yourself warned! :)
    Gammy’s Sand Tarts
    (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free)

    Ingredients:

    Directions:

    1. Using an electric mixer or Kitchenaid, cream together the shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add the 2 of the eggs and beat until incorporated. Add the flours and baking poser and beat until combined. 
    2. Divide into 4 equal pieces, wrap in saran wrap, and place in the refrigerator overnight.
    3. The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    4. Place remaining egg and a bit of water in a small bowl and beat lightly to form an Egg Wash.
    5. Dust a large surface with Tapioca Starch and remove one dough ball from the refrigerator.
    6. Place unwrapped, chilled dough on tapioca dusted surface and dust dough and a rolling pin with Tapioca Starch.
    7. Roll dough veeeeerrrrry thin, as thin as possible and cut into shapes with metal cookie cutters. Using a thin metal spatula, place on prepared baking sheet.
    8. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush cookies with Egg Wash and decorate with sprinkles.
    9. Bake in preheated oven 9-11 minutes until crispy and lightly golden on the edges. Be careful! They burn easily!
    10. Allow to cool a few minutes on baking sheet before moving to a wire cooling rack.
    Do you have a special holiday recipe you are trying to convert? Let me know if I can help!