Vanilla Chia Oat Muffins

Do you ever wake up and know that you simply must bake something?

That happened to me this morning. I slept in (until 7:30…..) and awoke feeling refreshed, revitalized, and in the mood to play in the kitchen. I opened my pantry and perused the contents. While mentally taking note of the ingredients available, I found myself craving something simple and wholesome, something… well… for lack of a better word, “oaty”.

As I sipped my coffee, I combined a little of this and a little of that in my favorite mixing bowl (a hand-me-down from my mom with a hand-painted eggplant nestled in the bottom). In less than 10 minutes, breakfast was in the oven and the sweet aroma of vanilla wafted through the air. A little photo session in a beam of morning sunlight completed the picturesque milieu.

As I sat down to eat, I couldn’t help but to count my blessings. It’s idyllic mornings, such as this, that help you appreciate the little joys found in each day. A beam of sunlight, the scent of vanilla, the smell of autumn in the air…. they are all little reminders that God can be found in the details of each day.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Vanilla Chia Oat Muffins

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups certified Gluten-Free Quick Cooking Oats (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Original Almond Milk
  • 3/4 cup Water (plus 1/4 cup if baking at high altitude)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Creme Liquid Stevia
  • 1 tsp Bourbon Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (425 degrees if baking at a high altitude)
  2. Lightly grease a muffin tin with coconut oil.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring until just combined. Allow to rest for 3-5 minutes. The batter will thicken as it sits due to the chia seeds.
  4. Scoop into the prepared muffin tin, about 2 heaping Tbsp per muffin.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 9-11 minutes, until set.
  6. Cool in pan for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

 

Arroz con Pollo (Take One)

Almost 5 years ago, I married a Cuban….

…and by marrying a Cuban, I mean I married his family.

They are loud. They are boisterous. They are all up in each others business. AND…. I LOVE THEM!

Every Sunday, the entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins, 2nd cousins, random neighbors) gathers for lunch. The fare consists of Picadillo, Arroz con Pollo, Plantains, Black Beans….. you get the picture.

These are just a few of us.

I had never eaten these foods until I met GF Guy. Now, I am addicted!

Through the years, the traditional recipe for Arroz con Pollo has morphed into an Americanized version using the Vigo Yellow Rice mix. Lucky for me, the mix is gluten-free. Unlucky for me, it is also crazy high in sodium and other not so “natural” ingredients. I decided to take matters into my own hands and attempt my own version from scratch.

I did run into one snaffoo… my version isn’t yellow. I could add Turmeric, but am totally open to suggestions. Does anyone out there have and tips for me?

Either way, this is a delicious version of Arroz con Pollo that will definitely be repeated in our household! I tested it on two Gluten-Eaters and both loved it. Grandma would be so proud!

Arroz con Pollo

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Ingredients:

Chicken Marinade-

  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh Cilantro
  • 1/3 cup Santa Fe Smoked Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Herbamare
  • 1/2 Black Pepper

“Arroz”-

  • 6 Bone-in Chicken Thighs
  • 1/2 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 large Sweet Onion, diced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Sweet Paprika
  • 1 tsp regular Paprika
  • 1 tsp Herbamare
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/2 of the “reserved” Marinade
  • 1 lb fresh Tomatoes, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 2 cups Long Grain White Rice (yes, I used white rice… and no, the world is not going to end) 😉
  • 1 1/2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 1 1/2 cups dry White Wine, like Pinot Grigio
  • 2 cups frozen Green Peas
  • Avocado, for garnish – optional
  • Baby Spinach, for garnish – optional

Directions:

  1. To prepare the marinade, place the marinade ingredients in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
  2. Remove and discard the chicken skin.
  3. Rub 1/2 of the marinade all over the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  4. The remaining marinade will be used later in the recipe.
  5. After chicken has marinated for the desired amount of time, heat a large pot over medium-high heat.
  6. Melt the coconut oil in the pot before adding the onions and peppers. Cook for 5 minutes, until onions are translucent.
  7. Add the herbs, spices, and the bay leaf and cook 1 minutes, until fragrant.
  8. Now it is time to use that extra marinade. Add the marinade to the pot and cook about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  9. Once the garlic is fragrant, quickly add the marinated chicken thighs and chopped tomatoes. Cook 7-10 minutes over medium heat, stirring often.
  10. Once chicken has cooked a bit, add the rice, chicken stock, wine, and peas, in that order. Try to make sure the chicken and rice are all submerged in the liquid.
  11. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20-30 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is fluffy.
  12. Serve on a bed of baby spinach garnished with chopped tomato and avocado. (optional, but highly recommended!)

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays , Allergy-Free Wednesdays, and Friday Foodie Fix.

Simple Veggie Saute’ for One

….because sometimes simple is better.

Do you ever crave a plain-jane meal? No bells and whistles…. Just good, simple, straight forward flavors?

I sure do. Sometimes all my body wants are vegetables, pure and simple. I could just have a salad, but that’s not always the ticket around here. Last night, I was in a just such a veggie mood. I opened the crisper drawer, hauled out every last scrap of produce I could find, and set to work. I chopped and sauteed my little heart out (for all of 10 minutes) before sitting down to a heaping bowl of veggie goodness.

Naturally, I topped my bowl with mashed avocado for some heart healthy fats. I’ve noticed my clothes are getting a little loose lately. Time to amp up the fats in my diet again! For those of you who don’t know, I tend to lose weight fairly easily, especially when I’m not working out consistently (backwards sounding, I know…) I have to make sure to include a good amount of healthy fat in my diet to keep at a consistent weight.

My favorite fat sources are:

  • Walnuts
  • Avocado
  • Salmon
  • Chia Seeds/Flax Seeds
  • Coconut Oil
  • Coconut Milk (Ice cream anyone?!)

image source

What about you? What are your favorite healthy fats?

Simple Veggie Saute’ for One

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 5 large Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Zucchini, chopped
  • 1 Roma Tomato, chopped
  • Sea Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 Avocado, mashed

Directions:

  1. Melt oil in a saute’ pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and saute’ about 5 minutes, until translucent.
  3. Add mushrooms and cook 3 minutes, until they begin to sweat.
  4. Add zucchini and cook about 3-4 minutes more.
  5. Add garlic and saute’ 1 minute, until fragrant.
  6. Quickly add the chopped tomato to keep the garlic from burning.
  7. Cook until tomato begins to break down.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Serve topped with mashed avocado.

BBQ White Bean & Kale Sweet Potato Pocket

Thursday already? This week is flying by!

Recently (and by recently I mean yesterday), I came to a big conclusion. I am a small fry.

image source

What brought this revelation about, you ask? Well, these last 2 days I have been a part of some pretty big meetings at work. I would sit there all prim and proper listening to those around me discussing quarter objectives and ACVs and wondering how the heck I managed to get asked to participate in these meetings! I mean seriously! I must have been the youngest person in the room by at least 10 years (with 2 exceptions). The breadth of knowledge and experience of everyone was down right intimidating and more than a little inspiring. Long story short…. I came to the realization that I am completely content in the position that I am in, for the time being. I need to focus and pay attention to what is going on around me. I need to be challenged to learn and grow by my peers.

For now, I am a small fry. BUT, soon I will grow to be a medium fry, and eventually to a pretty sizable fry. I’m only 27. I’ve got all the time in the world. I’m okay with that…. for now! 😉

Now, the food!

Today’s recipe is a quick, week night supper that uses pre-made salsa and BBQ sauce for a cheaters version of baked beans. I may love to cook, but not after crazy long work day. I have my limits!

BBQ White Bean & Kale Sweet Potato Pocket

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 3 Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/4 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch Green Curly Kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Cannelini Beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1/3 cup Salsa
  • 3 Tbsp BBQ Sauce
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Wrap sweet potatoes in foil and bake in oven about 1 hour, until soft.
  3. When potatoes are almost done begin making the stuffing.
  4. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted and skillet is hot.
  5. Saute onions about 5 minutes, until translucent.
  6. Add mushrooms and continue to cook 3-5 minutes until the mushrooms begin to “sweat”. (Watch the heat. You may need to reduce it to medium.)
  7. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute before adding the kale in 3 batches, sauteing until wilted before adding another. If needed, add 1-2 Tbsp water to help the kale cook.
  8. Add remaining ingredients cooking until heated through.
  9. Unwrap cooked sweet potatoes and slice lengthwise down the center.
  10. Stuff kale and white bean filling in each sweet potato.
  11. Top with sliced avocado to serve, optional.

Confessions of a Sugar-Free Chocolate Protein Shake

I know I haven’t been around much for the last few weeks. Well, it’s time for me to let you in on a little of what I’ve been up to.

It’s confession time…..

Confession #1: I took almost the entire month of July off from working out, and fully acknowledge that it’s not fair that my abs still look like this….

Confession #2: Sometimes I burn my toast on purpose. I like it that way. Don’t judge.

Confession #3: I forgot to water the hydrangea plant Mama Gidget gave me. Luckily, it perked right back up I practically drowned it in a last ditch effort to save its life.

Confession #4: I have become a choco-holic.

This last confession, #4, is particularly strange because I’m normally more of a fruit-obsessed individual. But, these last few days, I have been craving chocolate morning and night. Sugar-free Chocolate Mug Cakes have been a nightly occurrence, and this morning, chocolate even found its way into my breakfast!

I added a scoop of unsweetened cocoa powder to my usual protein powder to create a luscious chocolate-lovers dream smoothie. In a perfect world, this would have been a smooth, icy treat. However, my blender is… well… crappy. So, I ended up with ice clumps floating in liquid. Regardless, it still tasted delicious!

Sugar-Free, Vegan Chocolate Protein Shake

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Place ingredients in a blender, in the order listed.
  2. Process until smooth.

Spinach Frittata for One

My guests are gone, and I am, once again, left to cook for myself.

A little girl, in a big city…..

Okay… that sounds all sad. It’s not really. After Mama Gidget left, my friend “R” staid with me a few days. Once “R” left, another friend took me out for a night on the town.

Naturally, we played in the modern art we stumbled upon on our way to and from the restaurant….

…naturally…

After all that frivolity, I needed to stay home, do laundry, and decompress. So, what do I turn to for dinner? What else? Eggs! I went a little fancier than my usual scramble, by creating a delicious, single-serve frittata.

What is your “go-to” single serve meal?

Spinach Frittata for One

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread
  • 1/4 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1/4 Zucchini, chopped
  • 1 large handful fresh Spinach
  • 1 large Egg
  • 2 large Egg Whites
  • 1/2 large Tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (375 degrees F if at a high altitude)
  2. In a small, oven-safe skillet, melt Earth Balance over medium-high heat.
  3. Saute’ onion 3-5 minutes, until translucent.
  4. Add chopped zucchini and cook 3 more minutes.
  5. Add spinach and saute’ until wilted.
  6. Remove pan from heat.
  7. Evenly spread spinach mixture in the bottom of the skillet and top with an even layer of tomato slices.
  8. Sprinkle chopped, fresh herbs over top tomato slices.
  9. In a bowl, beat 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites until frothy and well combined.
  10. Season eggs with salt and pepper.
  11. Pour beaten eggs into the skillet evenly over the vegetables.
  12. Place skillet in the preheated oven and bake 15-20 minutes until eggs are set and fluffy.
  13. Serve immediately.

Herbed Quinoa Pilaf

Fun times and frivolity have been in abundance in the Gidget household.

Mama Gidget came for a visit. We are both hyper-active to begin with. Put us in the same room and chaos ensues! We dominated a Farmer’s Market, painted the town, jammed to my old school record collection…

…and even managed to completely redecorate my apartment, all in 3 days!

We ate out once, then opted to cook at home using our Farmer’s Market haul the remaining days. You can’t beat local, organic celery, tomatoes, hybrid cauliflower, cucumbers, zucchini, corn, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, basil, parsley, dill, and cilantro. I don’t care who you are!

I made the following Quinoa side dish to accompany our dinner one night. The leftovers of which rounded out our remaining meals!

Herbed Quinoa Pilaf

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Place quinoa, water, and bay leaf in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 12-15 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Remove the bay leaf, season with herbamare and pepper, and fluff with a fork.
  4. Gently fold in Earth Balance and fresh herbs.