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 vanillawafted 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.
…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!
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.
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)
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
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Wrap sweet potatoes in foil and bake in oven about 1 hour, until soft.
When potatoes are almost done begin making the stuffing.
Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted and skillet is hot.
Saute onions about 5 minutes, until translucent.
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.)
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.
Add remaining ingredients cooking until heated through.
Unwrap cooked sweet potatoes and slice lengthwise down the center.
Stuff kale and white bean filling in each sweet potato.
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!
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….
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.
Fun times and frivolity have been in abundance in the Gidget household.
Mama Gidgetcame 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, organiccelery, 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!