Stocking Up….

Hello, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

But….

Now it’s time to move on to CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My parents and in-laws all ready have their trees and lights up. GF Guy and I don’t have any decorations of our own. This will be our first Christmas together with a home of our own. Hopefully, we will be able to pick up a few decorations tomorrow. For now, I am settling for a Home Sweet Home Yankee Christmas Candle and a mug of Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Tea.

I spent the entire day deep cleaning the apartment. (By deep cleaning, I mean I took the stove apart and scoured the various components, scrubbed the floor… you get the picture) The apartment has been sorely neglected for the past few weeks. It feels good to have it back in proper order. All that cleaning left little time for kitchen experimentation.

My dinners the past 2 nights have been more “Me Meals”.

1) Spiralized Zucchini topped with steamed Brussels Sprouts, Asparagus, Broccoli, Sauteed Crimini Mushrooms, Bove’s Marinara Sauce (my FAVORITE pasta sauce EVER!), and Nutritional Yeast.


I also made my “Cheater’s Garlic Bread” for dipping purposes and polished off the meal with a piece of leftover GF/Vegan Crustless Pumpkin Pie.

2) Half a baked New Jersey White Sweet Potato, steamed Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Yellow Squash, diced Tomato, and diced Avocado. I also ate a little leftover turkey. My body was asking for the protein.


I know you are wondering… But Katrina, where are the fun new recipes?!
They are coming, my loves. They are coming.

Here is what I am working on at the moment:

Crockpot Homemade Turkey Stock


I plan to let it cook for 12-24 hours and will post the recipe after the process is complete.

I also have plans for the leftover Turkey. However, these plans will have to wait until Tuesday. Tomorrow, GF Guy and I have a day off together. We plan on making a “date day” of it! I am so excited!!! I just hope I feel okay. I don’t know whats wrong with me. I’ve been having dizzy spells and feelings of extreme dehydration for the past month. First, I blamed it on an electrolyte imbalance. Then, it was attributed to a flu. Now, there are no excuses left. Sigh… I’ll just have to break down and go see a doctor….

But enough unpleasantness! Let’s focus on the fact that Christmas is coming! I already have GF Guy’s gift and am SUPER excited about it! I would tell you all what it is, but GF Guy reads my blog! You will have to wait until Christmas to find out, just like him!

Are your Christmas decorations already up? When do you start decorating?

Tupperware Thanksgiving….

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving! I started off the day by dragging my sisters out of bed to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade with me. I sneaked into my parents house, (yes… the proper word is sneaked, not snuck) using my house key, (It was a major stealth operation.) and proceeded to wake up the entire household… dogs included. 🙂 We hung out, watched the parade,


I received some belated birthday presents,


and all in all had a lovely morning.

We were scheduled to eat dinner at my older sister’s in-law’s house around 2:00. Beings that I did not want to risk getting sick on Thanksgiving, I prepared my own meal ahead of time and brought it in Tupperware containers.


– Organic Roasted Turkey and Gravy (GF Guy and I shared this)
– Field Greens Salad with raw Broccoli, Tomato… and that little baggie has Nori Crinkles (what girl doesn’t love her seaweed on Thanksgiving?)
– My mom also made GF/DF mashed “Turnips”. They are actually mashed Rutabagas and are DELICIOUS, but my parents have always called them “turnips”. Whatever….. Who wants to get all technical on Thanksigiving.
– I also brought my Harvest Muffins and Crustless, Vegan Pumpkin Pie

The upside of bringing your own food:
– No worries about getting sick
– No overindulging
– You know you will like everything

The downside of bringing your own food:
– Possibly offending the host
– The other food looks yummy
– No leftovers

It was so much fun to be able to spend time with family and friends, especially my little sister. She is home from college until Sunday and is one of the coolest people I know. She is finding out next week if she gets a full scholarship to earn a dual masters in Psychology and Divininty. How cool is that?! She’s pretty much the most awesome thing ever… Just sayin’… (Okay… proud big sister rant over!)

Unfortunately, GF Guy woke up the morning of Thanksgiving with a terrible head cold. We had to leave early because the poor man looked like the living dead. He is sleeping in a little this morning before heading in to work. Pray he feels better soon! It’s so sad when he’s sick!

I will have more pictures of the festivities later. I have to wait for my mom to post them on Facebook, so I can “steal” them! 😉

Today, it is back to work for me. I will NOT be hitting the crazy Black Friday sales today. I am an introvert… that many people would likely send me into shock…

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you stay home or go somewhere? Are you shopping with the mobs on Black Friday?

I Am Thankful For….

Contrary to popular belief, Thanksgiving is not… I repeat… It is NOT about the food!


Thanksgiving is a holiday about family.


It is about snuggling up in your pajamas next to your sisters to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

It is about fighting your Dad for the last cup of coffee, but letting him have it because you love him.


It is about dragging the Christmas tree out of the attic and yelling at the boys to “stop playing around and come do this man job”.


Thanksgiving is about love, laughter, and giving thanks for the wonderful, amazing people God has placed in your life.

That being said….

Today I started my Thanksgiving baking. In true Gluten Free Gidget fashion…. CHAOS ENSUED!
-My food processor developed a leak.
-I dropped a can of pumpkin puree which splattered all over the entire kitchen, up the walls,
across the floor, all over Dickens… You get the picture.
-I dropped the lid of a 2nd can of pumpkin puree on my foot. This time, I had a combination of
blood and pumpkin puree to clean up.

But… I persevered and was greatly rewarded.

I am thankful for….

Crustless, Vegan Pumpkin Pie
It is a recipe by the amazing Karina of Karina’s Kitchen.


This delicious pie has been a tradition since my very first Gluten Free Thanksgiving 2 years ago.

I was so proud of myself for cooking an entirely Gluten and Dairy Free Thanksgiving meal for GF Guy and myself. Hahaha!

Harvest Muffins


Another Gluten Free Thanksgiving tradition. Actually, they are an “Anytime” tradition. We just LOVE them that much!

My mom started brining our Organic Turkey tonight. This is the recipe we are trying this year. It’s something new. Here’s hoping it works!

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?

Oldies, But Goodies….

Wow… this has been the busiest cooking day! Nothing I made today was new. Instead, I went with tried and true.
Life has been crazy busy as of late. I have been neglecting poor GF Guy, who has been left to fend for himself, poor baby. To make up for it, I made one of his favorite meals, Pulled Pork and Baked Beans. He has been hinting at wanting this dinner for a few weeks now. I figured it was time. The man has been working 13 hour days for 2 weeks. He definitely deserves a good meal. I began cooking the pork early this morning. By 6:00 the meal was ready! I packed everything up and took it to the theater for a little picnic in the lobby. You’ve got to get the time together wherever and whenever you can!

Today’s other cooking endeavor was a bit more serious. Tita, my grandmother (actually my husband’s grandmother… but basically mine, too),


has been in the hospital. She underwent surgery on Tuesday to remove a cancerous mass. It was suppose to be a quick overnight stay, but turned into a week long ordeal. However, I am happy to report she arrived home from the hospital today cancer free! She is still in a lot of pain and completely exhausted, as is the rest of the family. Comfort food was in order in the form of Chicken Soup. I basically made Rainbow Chicken Soup, sans Purple Potatoes. Instead, I used Yukon Gold Potatoes and doubled the recipe. The steaming bowls of fresh, organic vegetables and nourishing, organic chicken were exactly what the family needed to soothe and nourish their bodies and souls after such a stressful week.

Since I don’t have pictures of today’s meals, (I needed to focus more on the people today) I will leave you with pictures of my newest dessert endeavor: Averie’s Raw Vegan Peanut Butter Cups


I used Enjoy Life Gluten, Dairy, and Soy Free Chocolate Chips and Raw Almond Butter to create these little treats for GF Guy. Reeses are his FAVORITE!!!!!!!

PS- For those of you who were wondering, Pop LOVED the Picadillo!

Overly Caucasian….

I married into a Cuban family….

I am very…

well…


NOT Cuban. Let’s just say I’ve often been referred to as “overly Caucasian”.

I tried to learn Spanish once. I kept telling people “I have lots of men”, when I meant to say “I am very hungry”….

Like I said, I am very not Cuban.

This being said, I decided to try to make a traditional Cuban meal for my husband’s Grandfather. I decided to tackle Picadillo. As usual, I took a perfectly good recipe (a family recipe), found 3 other recipes, and used them all to create my own. I just can’t leave well enough alone! I normally am not a huge fan of Picadillo. It’s basically Sloppy Joes served over white rice. Surprisingly, though, I like my version, which I served over Quinoa. Let your taste buds be the judge.

This Little White Girl’s Picadillo


Ingredients:

– Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– 1 White Onion, chopped
– 1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
– 2 cloves Garlic, minced
– 1 teaspoon Cumin
– 1 teaspoon Oregano
– 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
– Salt, to taste
– Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
– 1 lb. Organic, Grass Fed Ground Beef
– 1 Bay Leaf
– 2 Tomatoes, chopped
– 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
– 1/2 cup Gluten Free Beer (I used Redbridge)
– 1/4 cup, or less, Spanish Olives
– 2 teaspoons Capers, and a little brine
– 1/4 cup Golden Raisins

In a large pot, saute onions and peppers in oil over medium high heat.
Once onions are soft add garlic and spices.
Allow flavors to marry, about 1 minute, before adding the ground beef.
Brown the beef.
Add all other ingredients.
Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer about 30 minutes.

Simple, no? I don’t know if Pop liked my version, yet. GF Guy took it over this morning before work. Keep your fingers crossed!

While I made this man meal for the Cuban men in my life, I made myself an utterly delightful “Me Meal”.


Spiralized Zucchini “Noodles” with steamed Spinach and Brussel Sprouts covered in Marinara Sauce and sprinkled with Nutritional Yeast Flakes. A slice of Oat So Good Bread was the perfect dipping tool. (PS- the bread is the moistest, most delicious gluten free bread I have ever tasted! You MUST try this recipe!)

Also… I need your help. I just found out I will be cooking for the ENTIRE family this Sunday. I need to cook a meal sure to feed the hungriest of appetites, yet something light enough that my grandmother will be able to eat it. I am thinking soup. Any suggestions would be most welcome and appreciated! Thanks!

AND… I just found out one of my blog posts is featured on Be Well @ Stanford powered by Wellsphere! Check it out!

Candy Bars Are So Last Year….

I have an embarrassing confession.

I used to LOVE candy bars. The ooey, gooey, chocolaty goodness called to me, and I answered it’s siren song. My friends personal favorites were:

Carmello

Midnight Milky Way


Twix


and…..

ALMOND JOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Can you guess which one was my favorite?

How can you resist those layers of coconut and almonds coated in rich chocolate?

Plus, they are joyous! They have a sense of humor….


Now, the thought of eating one of these sweet bars of decadence kind of makes me sick. How did I ever eat a whole one of these in one sitting?! I would probably go into sugar-shock for a week… solid! However, that does not mean I do not still appreciate and love the flavor combinations of these classic check-out line treats. How can you go wrong with coconut, almond, and cocoa?

BUT… I have grown up… (don’t laugh!) I have moved on… I have evolved…

You get the picture…

I decided to use my new found love of “children” to create a “grand baby” for my mom to enjoy. It is time for more fun with Fudgie Babies!!!!!!!!! My mom prefers her babies less “date-y” and more “cocoa-y”. Using her personal preferences, this is what I came up with.


Almond Joy Fudgie Babies


Ingredients:
– 8 Medjool Dates, pitted
– 1 cup Walnuts
– 1 teaspoon Almond Extract
– 5 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
– organic Unsweetened, Shredded Coconut, for rolling

Place all ingredients, except the coconut, into a food processor.
Process until the ingredients come together to form a ball.
Form into balls and roll in coconut flakes.
Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Next time I might try using Almonds instead of Walnuts and Vanilla Extract instead of Almond Extract. I liked the flavor, but I think these changes would be more like the original.

My mom LOVED her new Fudgie Grand-Babies. In fact, she took most of them home with her! Thanks mom! You are the best Grandma EVER!

What were/are your favorite candy bars/candy?

National Homemade Bread Day….

Happy National Homemade Bread Day!!!!!!!!!!

In honor of this illustrious holiday, I developed a new recipe, based on an existing Oat Bread recipe from the Cream Hill Estates website.

Oat So Good Bread


Ingredients:
– 1 1/2 cups Hot Water
– 2 Eggs
– 3 tablespoons Oil
– 1 cup Certified Gluten-free, Old Fashioned, Rolled Oats (Lara’s from Cream Hill Estates)
– 1 cup Certified Gluten-free Oat Flour (Cream Hill Estates)
– 3/4 cup Brown Rice Flour
– 1/2 cup Sorghum Flour
– 3 tablespoons Sugar
– 1 tablespoon Yeast
– 1 tablespoon Xanthum Gum
– 1/2 teaspoon Salt

Place ingredients in you Bread Machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Select the Gluten Free setting for a 1.5 pound loaf.
Test loaf for hollow sound after set cook time ends. Add 5 minutes if needed.
Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
*Not all Celiac’s can tolerate Gluten-free Oats. I am one of the lucky ones who can handle them in moderation.

Fudgie Not Pudgie….

I have become a part of a growing movement. A movement so amazing, I can not keep it to myself…..

GF Guy and I are having a baby!


A FUDGIE BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Everyone’s favorite Chocolate-Covered Vegan, Katie, has started a raw revolution with her Fudgie Baby recipe. Variations have been popping up all over the blog-o-sphere. It was only a matter of time before I jumped on the bandwagon.

I was a bit nervous about how receptive GF Guy would be to welcoming these adorable babies into our little home. I need not have worried. HE LOVED THEM! … as did my mom,and trainer, and….. you get the picture. I just can’t help myself! I have to spread the word! These are the BEST, easiest, healthiest, most satisfying dessert EVER!!!!!!! Make them NOW!

Mint Chocolate Fudgie Babies


Ingredients:
– 8 oz. Dates, pitted
– 1 cup Walnuts
– 1 teaspoon Peppermint Extract
– 4 tablespoons Cocoa Powder

Place ingredients in a food processor.


Whirl away until a ball forms.


Pinch off pieces and roll into little baby balls.
Enjoy!

I can not wait to try more variations. My mind is going crazy with the possibilities! Any requests/suggestions?
Speaking of Katie, she is hosting an awesome Chocolate-y giveaway!
While you are at it, be sure to check out Katie’s Operation Chocolate-Covered Kindness. She is such a wonderful lady with such a giving heart!

This post is linked to the “What Can I Eat That’s Gluten Free” even hosted by The Gluten-Free Homemaker.

There Was a Little Girl, Who Had a Little Curl….

I am that little girl, and I have a whole lotta curl. Are you curious as to why I have so much curl today? Well, it because…..

I GOT A SPIRALIZER FOR MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She’s beautiful, isn’t she?…. le sigh….

After seeing Spiralizer creations featured on Averie, Katie, and Gena’s blogs, I knew I just had to have one of my own. In fact, I have been lusting after a Spiralizer for months. After tonight’s “Me Meal”, I can definitively state, it was worth the wait.

If you are just tuning in to the “Me Meal” episodes, I will give you a quick recap. GF Guy is in tech for the new musical he is working on, Wonderland. This means he is at the theater until after midnight every night, leaving me a “Theater Widow”. I miss not seeing much of him. However, I am always one to accentuate the positive. I am looking at this as a chance to make all sorts of fun meals I have been wanting to create, but haven’t because I didn’t think he would like them. Hence, the “Me Meals” series was created. We are now in week 2.

Behold…. a Spiralizer creation! I was craving meat tonight, for some odd reason. This is a rare occurrence, so I knew my body must need it. Unfortunately, I did not have any meat in the house… or so I thought. I peered into the depths of my freezer (aka my best friend) a found a few frozen Turkey and Spinach Meatballs! SCORE! It was time to go Italian!

“Spaghetti” a la Zucchini


Ingredients:
– 1 Zucchini Squash
– Marinara Sauce
– leftover Turkey and Spinach Meatballs (from the freezer)
– Garlic Powder
– Nutritional Yeast Flakes

I began by cutting the ends off an organic zucchini squash (bought at the Farmer’s Market yesterday). Then, I cut a shallow, slit lengthwise down the center of the zucchini, placed it on the Spiralizer, and set to cranking.


It’s a miracle! Curly noodles began to accumulate in greater volumes then I had anticipated.


I originally planned on using both a zucchini and a yellow squash,

but only need the zucchini!

The remaining zucchini scraps looked a bit… awkward.


However, the resulting bowl of “noodles”,


which I topped with marinara,


meatballs, and “cheese” was a big old bowl of heaven!

This meal was surprisingly filling, and not so surprisingly delicious. If you don’t have a Spiralizer, ask for one for Christmas! You definitely NEED one of these!

I also made a decadent, sinless dessert, but…..

You will have to tune in tomorrow for the details!!!!!!!!!

I Ain’t Afraid of Alfredo….

What a wonderful day! It has been too long since GF Guy and I had a day off together! We began by exploring a Saturday Farmer’s Market in St. Pete. I got a few fun new, to me, vegetables (look for them in this coming week’s “Me Meal” posts) and Artisan Gluten Free Pasta from a little stand for Pappardelle’s Pasta.We stopped for lunch at a little cafe called Central Cafe and Organics. They touted Gluten Free fare, and the owner and servers were very knowledgeable and helpful. They even brought Dickens a little bowl of water!

I ordered the Raw Power Salad, a delicious blend of shredded raw carrots, beets, romaine, sprouts, tomato, cucumber and cabbage, topped with hearts of palm.

Wow… I look exhausted, but excited about my raw veggie goodness!

GF Guy ordered the Strawberry Fields Salad which contained Romaine, carrots, cabbage, sprouts, stawberries, crumbled feta, pecans and dried cranberries with raspberry vinaigrette on the side. (He asked for no cabbage or sprouts.)

The salads were HUGE! I couldn’t finish mine. (which is very, very rare!)

The rest of the day was spent in idle pursuits, a little conversation, reading, and Hulu watching. All in all, it was a lovely, idyllic day. The perfect birthday for me!

Dinner was a perfect blend of GF Guy’s tastes and my own, showcasing our Artisan Trumpet Pasta from the market.

Isn’t it pretty?

I took a traditionally high fat, high calorie, gluten and dairy laden meal and transformed it into a healthy meal with all of the flavor, none of the fat, none of the gluten, and none of the dairy!

Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta with Kale

Ingredients:

– 1/2 pound Gluten Free Pasta
– 1 bunch Lacinato Kale, steamed
– 3 cloves Garlic, skin on
– 3 tablespoons Dairy Free Margarine
– 2 tablespoons Potato Starch
– 1 teaspoon Sage
– 1/4 teaspoon Thyme
– pinch Nutmeg
– 1 teaspoon Salt
– freshly ground Black Pepper
– 2 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk, warmed
– 3/4 block Light Firm Tofu (about 1 cup)
– 1/4 cup Pumpkin Puree

Cook pasta according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Wash and steam kale.
In a saucepan, dry roast Garlic with skins on until soft.
Remove skins from Garlic and chop.
Meanwhile, melt margarine in the saucepan over medium heat.
Whisk in the potato starch and spices.
Whisk in the Almond Milk and bring to a bubble, whisking occasionally.
Add tofu.
Using an immersion blender, incorporate the tofu into the sauce.
Add pumpkin puree and whisk to blend.
Add pasta and kale to the sauce, toss, and serve.

GF Guy and I both enjoyed this meal. It left us feeling full without feeling heavy. A lovely meal for a chilly autumn evening! Bon Appetit!

PS- Thank you all for your birthday wishes! It has, indeed, been a happy birthday, and I am feeling much better today.

I have linked this post to Slightly Indulgent Monday’s at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.