Arroz con Pollo (take 2)

This past weekend was full of family and fun!

My baby brother graduated from college, making me officially old. At least my little sister is still under 14 years old. She will keep me “hip with the kids”!

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PS – Check out my dad’s epic photo-bomb in the background of this picture!

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Then, I flew home to spend 24 hours with my husband, GF Guy. In honor of his visit home, I made a second attempt at creating his family’s famous Arroz con Pollo. In sticking with my convictions to avoid processed foods, I skipped the usual yellow rice mix, and made the recipe completely from scratch. My first attempt, a few months ago, was just okay. The recipe was very complex, but, it was missing something.

I think this version is much closer to where it should be. Both GF Guy and I loved it and went back for seconds. And, the chicken to rice ratio was spot on perfect. In our house, that is probably the most import thing when making chicken and yellow rice. There are few things more annoying than ending up with a giant pot of leftover yellow rice and no more chicken.

This version will be a keeper in our house!

Arroz con Pollo

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs Organic, Chicken Thighs (bone-in, skin on)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, julienned
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • about 2 Tblsp White Wine
  • 1.5 tsp Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • pinch Saffron threads
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1 Tblsp Tomato Paste
  • 1.5 cups Paella Rice (short grain)
  • 3.5 cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 1 cup frozen Green Peas
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 bay leaf and chicken thighs to the pot of boiling water and poach 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, drain, and season chicken with salt and pepper. Set seasoned chicken aside.
  3. Place large pot back on the stove over medium high heat. Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of the pot and saute’ onions and bell pepper until soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Quickly, so as not to burn the garlic, deglaze the pan with white wine.
  5. Add the tomato paste and rice.
  6. Add the spices and bay leaf and stir to thoroughly coat all ingredients.
  7. Pour chicken stock into the pot.
  8. Nestle the seasoned chicken thighs in the pot. They should be mostly submerged in the cooking liquid.
  9. Top chicken with the peas, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Drizzle with a small amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  10. Reduce the heat to low, cover pot with a lid, and cook 20-30 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and rice is fluffy.
  11. Adjust seasonings and serve.
  12. Serve with fresh Cilantro, chopped tomato, baby spinach, and sliced avocado, if desired.
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“Sneaky Veggie” St. Patrick’s Day Cornbread

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! ….a few days late…

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I am fresh off of a crazy month and a half during which I was home for about 4 days total. I have been to Orlando, Tampa, Anaheim, San Francisco, Seattle, Sacramento, Eugene, and San Jose. My marathon of travel culminated in a once in a lifetime trip to Kauai with my love, GF Guy.

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He has most of the pictures. But, once he posts them, I can promise you all a Gluten Free guide to Kauai featuring the best seafood on the island, a swim in a waterfall, a traditional Hawaiian lunch at a road side food truck, and a helicopter ride through the beautiful island that now holds a piece of my heart.

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We arrived home on Sunday, just in time to pull together a mini St. Patrick’s Day get together. In “traditional Irish fashion”, I whipped up a big pot of Pumpkin Chili. (riiiiight…..). The side dish, however, was the real star of the evening! I knew I had to make something green, but detest the thought of using artificial coloring. Instead, I used a healthy helping of spinach to transform Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix into a festive, green side dish that packed a veggie punch!

My “Sneaky Veggie” Cornbread is an excellent way to get those picky eaters in your family to eat more vegetables and have fun while doing it!

“Sneaky Veggie” St. Patrick’s Day Cornbread

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Puree almond milk and spinach in a blender until smooth.
  3. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour batter into a greased 9×9 baking pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until done, about 30 minutes.
  6. Cool slightly before serving.

Gluten-Free Travel Essentials

Normally, I don’t post much during the week. You see, I travel for my job, which makes cooking near on impossible.

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I live out of a suitcase 4 out of 7 days a week. I can pack for a week in 5 minutes flat. (Yes, I timed myself!) AND, I know how to get through airport security faster than the TSA do themselves!

My meals are rather boring. Usually dinner consists of a bed of lettuce with steam in the bag veggies, salsa, and either tofu or tuna. Lunch is eaten on the go. Think, a Larabar, or something similar, baby carrots, or dry-roasted Edamame. I’m not particularly married to either of these meals, but they do the trick. My hunger is satisfied, and my stomach is not upset.

BUT… there are two creature comforts of which I can not do without. When you can’t have your own bed you are entitled to find your comfort wherever possible. For me? My two travel essentials are (and don’t laugh)

The Light My Fire Spork is a fork, knife, and spoon all in one! It has saved me on countless occasions. It sounds dorky, but this is seriously the best travel tool I have ever bought.

Vega One Protein Powder is a nutritious AND delicious way to start any morning! It powers me through the work day without weighing me down. Since I am both gluten-free and diary-free, a protein powder that tastes good mixed with only water is essential. This protein fits the bill! This week, I wasn’t able to find the protein for 2 mornings. I bought a different brand and nearly gagged both mornings! I will NEVER cheat on my Vega ever again!

Do you have any products that you can’t live without? What are your tips and tricks for successful gluten-free travel?

Tofu in my Tummy

*Yawn*
Did anyone else have trouble falling asleep last night? Perhaps it was the new episode of Toddlers and Tiaras that kept me up.
It is kind of a scary show….. BUT I STILL LOVE IT! Call it a morbid fascination, but I just can’t get enough of the big hair, bad make-up, and crazy mothers. (Don’t judge me too harshly)
Unlike the other night, when I slept at my little sisters house and was able to use her kitchen, last night was a hotel room meal. I did my usually grocery store run and wound up with a perfect (for me) dinner. A salad of spinach, bell peppers, raw mushrooms, & cherry tomatoes, topped with plain tofu & salsa is the stuff that dreams are made of!
Plain tofu is one of my top 10 favorite foods. There is just something comforting about the taste and the texture that i can’t get enough of! All my friends think my tofu love is weird, but oh well!
What are your top 10 favorite foods? Are any of them considered to be “weird” by mainstream standards?

My Kind of Town….

Hello everyone! I am still in Chicago visiting my wonderful Hubby! I have been a bad blogger and not taken many photos. 
I made a decision to spend this time focusing on my husband instead of taking pictures for the blog. Sorry, but I decided to be selfish on this one.
Since I am hanging out at the hotel tonight while GF Guy is at the theater, I have a bit of time to do a quick mid-trip post.
Food wise, I have only gotten sick once! I know, I know.. that’s one time too many. But, considering all we have done is eat out, it’s not too shabby. 
The culprit was a breakfast place called Yolk. I called ahead and spoke to the manager over the phone and after I arrived. We discussed cross contamination, etc… but to no avail. I ended up stuck in the hotel room for the remainder of the day. 

Aside from Yolk, the food and service has been wonderful! Maybe I am having a charmed trip, but I’ll take it! Our favorite restaurants from this trip to Chicago include:

  • Big Bowl (GF menu and awesome service- Get the Tofu & Vegetable Pad Thai!!!!)
  • Flat Top Grill (GF menu and again awesome service)
  • Epic Burger (no special menu, but the only thing “unsafe” are the buns; just ask for extra lettuce or bring your own)
  • Su Casa (no special menu, but plenty of options)
  • Noodles & Co. (they messed up my order, but apologized profusely, the manager made me a new meal, & gave me a voucher for a free meal)
  • Argo Tea (they sell GF/DF cookies in addition to having some amazing herbal teas!)
 It is so much easier to eat out here, in Chicago, than it is at home! Most of the restaurants have GF menus or are, at least, knowledgeable about it. 
I also stocked up on Glutenfreeda Instant Oatmeal packets and Larabars and have been eating fruit like a little champion!
But enough about the food, on to the fun!
I spent a few days exploring the city by myself because GF Guy had matinee and evening shows. The first day I visited the Adler Planetarium. It was about a 2 to 2.5 mile walk to the planetarium, not a bad little jaunt!
I haven’t worked out much since coming to Chicago. I am rationalizing my laziness by saying that I am walking a lot more than normal, which is true. I am walking at the very least 2 miles a day. That is if I go straight from the hotel to the theater and back, with no stopping in between or veering from the main path for food, etc…. 
The following day, my favorite museum, The Art Institute, was calling my name! I spent four hours visiting my favorite painting by Georges Seurat 
and reveling in the beauty, color, and light of the countless other great works of art housed in that wonderful building.
Don’t worry, I haven’t spent all my time by myself! I tagged along with GF Guy and the cast of Rock of Ages for a few Broadway in Chicago sponsored activities! My favorite by far was a 3 hour guided Segway tour of the city by Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours. 
There is no better way to see the city! We were surprised to find a few news crews waiting for us at the Segway Tour location. They interviewed Constantine and a few other cast members and followed us around filming and taking pictures. We also took an architecture boat tour that was delightful. This city has some of the best, most diverse architecture!
Today, the weather was gorgeous so GF Guy and I took our lunch to a small park by the “beach” and Navy Pier for a picnic
It’s days like these that make me wish I was touring with him again. **sigh**
Okay, I will catch up with you all later!