Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mixed Greens With Pears and Grilled Onions

We made this salad to go alongside grilled burgers when we had family in town this summer. We had never grilled onions before, and WOW, did they taste amazing. The flavor from the grill really stands out.

The greens, sliced pears, and grilled onions are tossed together in a salad bowl with a light dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and maple syrup.

Recipe from The Pure Kitchen cookbook.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Honey Mustard Chicken With Root Veggies

I think I'll just let this one speak for itself. We gobbled it up. Enough said...

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into pieces
salt & pepper
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large parsnip, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 1/2 c chicken stock
1/4 c Dijon mustard
1/3 c honey

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken in the oil, then remove to a plate. Melt the butter in the skillet, then add the carrots, parsnips, and shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan to allow the veggies to soften for about three minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle in the arrowroot, stir for one minute, then stir in the chicken stock, mustard, and honey. Let this thicken. Add the chicken to heat it through. Serves four.

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fresh Fruit Tart

Here's another dessert I made from the Simply Sugar and Gluten Free cookbook. Fruit-lovers, get a load of this...

A pecan crust, whipped cream, and fruit. Sweet and simple.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dipping Chili

This tends to be my "summer chili," while the other chili is what I make in the winter. However, any chili is good in the fall. :)

This is what I call "dipping chili" or "chili dip." It's less about the spoon and more about the chips!

As you can see, it is not soupy. It's thick and meaty, so it works great for scooping up on your chips. We rarely eat chips, so my son really likes that he gets to have chips with this meal.

1 lb ground beef
2 tbsp chopped onion
3 tbsp coconut sugar
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 can chickpeas, drained
shredded cheddar cheese
"scoops" corn chips

In a dutch oven or 5-quart pot, brown the beef with the onions. (If your beef is not lean, drain the grease.) Add the coconut sugar, crushed tomatoes, chili powder, salt, pepper, and chickpeas. Simmer, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, and use the chips as your spoon. Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chicken Salad

This is my aunt Cindy's chicken salad recipe... adapted to be gluten-free, sugar-free, and soy-free. Everybody loves her chicken salad sandwiches. If you ask her about this recipe she will tell you that you HAVE to use Hellman's mayo and no other. I wholeheartedly agree that Hellman's is the best! However, if for some reason you don't or can't eat storebought mayo, try my homemade mayo recipe. It's not as good as Hellman's, but it's the best homemade I have made so far. Aunt Cindy puts cream cheese in this and serves it in pita pockets. YUM! We have eaten this chicken salad on gluten-free bread, as a lettuce wrap, and plain!

In this batch, I happened to have added some garlic chives!

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 lbs)
1/4 c onion, chopped
1/3 c slivered almonds, toasted
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 c homemade mayo
garlic salt to taste
celery salt to taste
1 1/2 c grapes, sliced lengthwise
bread, lettuce, or 10 Kangaroo frozen pita pockets

Preheat oven to 400. Place chicken in a 9x13" pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center. Chop chicken into cubes. Mix everything together in a large bowl and chill in the fridge for at least two hours. Serve it how you like it! Serves ten.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Brownie-Crusted Fruit Pizza

This was inspired by brownie-crusted berry pizza, which is a recipe found in The Pure Kitchen cookbook by Hallie Klecker. I used a tart pan. It turned out really pretty!

The brownie crust is made from unsweetened baking chocolate, coconut sugar, coconut oil, egg, arrowroot starch, salt, and baking powder. I baked the crust, then added the toppings.

Over the crust we have cashew sweet cream. This is my favorite part. You soak cashews, then throw them in a blender with agave nectar, water, and vanilla. This cream is so yummy. I could just eat a whole lot of it all by itself.

For fruit I used strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi. Sweet combination. I have also used clementines.

And there you have it! Perfect treat for Mother's Day... or your fruit-loving husband's birthday. :)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Broccoli & Quinoa Casserole

My guys really liked this casserole, hence I will be making it again. I thought it was okay -- not my favorite or anything, but good for some variety. I do love how with "fake cheese" you get an extra vegetable without even knowing it. (In this case, sweet potatoes.)

Get the recipe at The Detoxinista's web site.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas

This recipe came together by blending a few other ones. My goal was to have dairy-free enchiladas with lots of flavor and healthy ingredients. In that respect, this meal was a success. It did require a lot of prep time, though... but making regular cheesy enchiladas feels like a lot of work to me, too.

I've gotta say this was my first time using kale in anything. I figured if we didn't like it, it would be covered up by all the other flavors anyway! But it was great. I will make this again.

1/2 green pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano leaves
1/4 tsp ground cumin
15 oz can tomato sauce
1 bunch kale, chopped & stems removed
olive oil
1 large sweet potato, diced small
1/2 c cooked brown rice
1 can black beans, drained
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp onion powder
8 corn tortillas
4 green onions, chopped

In a medium bowl, mix together the green pepper, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and tomato sauce. This is your enchilada sauce.

Saute the kale in olive oil until it shrinks and is tender. Add to the kale your sweet potatoes, rice, beans, pepper, salt, and onion powder. Stir and heat through.

Soften tortillas in the microwave for 15 seconds, two at a time, and spoon one-third cup of the bean mixture down one side of the tortilla to within one inch of the edge. Roll up the tortilla and place it seam-side down in a pan or casserole. Repeat this with all the other tortillas. Pour the sauce over the tortillas. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Garnish with green onions.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Berry Popsicles

We had a lot of popsicles for snacks this summer. So simple, so healthy, so refreshing.

2 c strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries
2 cans coconut milk
1/4 c agave nectar

Blend in a blender until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds. Freeze overnight.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Almond Butter Chocolate Crispy Squares

Having made almond butter recently, I naturally had to make something like this.

I adapted them from these peanut butter chocolate crispy squares.

My dad says they're the best dessert I've made that he has tried! They are sweet, especially good for when you need a chocolate/nut butter fix. A lot like Special-K bars. (Just without the extra junk!)

6 c Erewhon or Barbara's Crispy Brown Rice Cereal (you'll need one box)
1 c agave nectar
1 c coconut sugar
1 1/2 c almond butter
a few shakes of salt
3 c pre-made chocolate chips, melted over a double-boiler (OR just make my chocolate chip recipe and pour the chocolate over the bars)

Spray a 9x13" pan and a large bowl. Pour the crispy rice into the bowl. In a medium saucepan, stir agave and coconut sugar over medium heat, just until it boils. Remove from heat; stir in almond butter and salt until smooth. Pour the mixture over the crispy rice and stir well. Transfer to the pan and press it down with the back of a spoonula. Spread your chocolate over the top, and refrigerate for one hour. Cut into 48 squares (8x6). Delightful!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

BBQ Ribs in a Slow Cooker

When I was a kid and my mom asked what meal I wanted to have for my birthday, often I'd ask for ribs. She made really good ones. I tried slow cooking these for about three and a half hours and they turned out fabulous. For the ketchup I used homemade so the flavor was deep and sweet.

The ribs were very tender. Absolutely no refined sugar was used here. The sweetness comes from honey, coconut sugar, and the brown rice syrup used in the ketchup. There are also lots of good spices and onion in this. Recipe from the Simply Sugar and Gluten Free cookbook.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Banana Bread

No wheat flour or refined sugar in this banana bread...

But it was moist.

It was sweet.

 It was beautiful.

And it was enjoyed by all.

Another great recipe from Amy Green's cookbook.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Bacon, Basil & Mozzarella Sandwiches

A few years ago, my dear friend, Katie, had me over for lunch. She served these delicious sandwiches on french bread. It was fabulous.

I won't forget that day because it was such an encouragement to me. I was in very poor health at the time.  Katie listened and asked such good questions. Then she shared her testimony of God's grace to her through a lung disease, several lung collapses, lung surgery, and long road to recovery. It was a time in her life where she was completely helpless, debilitated, and wondered how she would get through it.

Someone understood.

Katie has prayed for me and encouraged me so much. She shares so much hope with me and many others. God has carried her. Like me, she is not completely healed. The doctors put a device in her lung to hold it open. (Um, I think I've got all that right but please correct anything I'm getting wrong, Katie!) But she is now as healthy as a horse! She exercises, hosts great parties, and even has babies. :) Most definitely a new creation in Christ.

8 slices of bread
1/2 lb bacon, cooked
fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1-2 tomatoes, sliced
3 tbsp butter
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 bunches of fresh basil, chopped

Melt butter in a small frying pan on the stove. Add garlic and basil; saute until aromatic. Assemble in this order: bread, bacon, cheese, tomato, herb mixture, bread. Place sandwiches on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted. Serves four.

You may already know that Katie is a great cook. I have changed up her recipe a tad. (I like to add tomato slices, and use a gluten-free bread.) At the time these pictures were taken, I had made an herbed quinoa flatbread and used that for the sandwiches. But we have used all sorts of breads and anything works. A crusty bread is my favorite. Also, the mozzarella in the pictures was not fresh mozzarella, which would be way better. So, these are not the best pictures, but I figure it's better than nothing!


Oh, look! I found a couple more pictures of this meal.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Pregnancy, Abortion, and Health of the Mother

After reading this article, I would like to share my perspective.

I have had to seriously reconsider my pro-life stance on abortion. Pregnancy is hard. Pregnancy took so much of a toll on MY health that I was left with a chronic fever, autoimmune problems, debilitating migraines, and a heart weakness. If I ever became pregnant again, my heart and other organs could shut down and it could be fatal.

So, would I now consider abortion if this happened again?

This question has demanded an honest answer from me, and frankly, no, I would not abort. Even with serious risks to my own health. For me, this has meant putting a lot more trust in the God who loves my family even more than I do.

Maybe you haven't ever been in a state of health where it was your actual HEALTH or LIFE you had to consider giving up for the sake of a pregnancy. But I have really had to ask these questions after learning about the kind of problems my body has faced and still would face in the case of being pregnant.

One thing I know is that pregnancy is about being a mother. Even if you're going to give up the baby for adoption, you are mothering that baby for nine months in your womb. You are nourishing, feeding, providing a home for, and growing a living person. That's what a mother does. For at least nine months, God has ordained you "mother." And all mothering -- including pregnancy -- is about sacrificing your own time/desires/money/health/life so that someone else can have these things.

I know this so much more fully now. My one child gives me plenty of proof that mothering is worth it. That pregnancy is worth it. I look at him and never would've imagined that God could've created something so magnificent.  

There really are no accidental creations.

I feel so fortunate that God allowed me to survive the heart condition and live to raise my own child. But I wonder if I would've considered abortion, had I known the upset it was going stir in my body ahead of time. The thing is, it would be presumptuous and prideful to consider his life not worth living without me. I am a pretty "hands-on" mom, so that's not an easy pill for me to swallow. But it's true. He is a separate entity from me and his life is equally valuable.

Life is a gift. Do you believe it?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Apple Crisp and Apple Pie

Like John the Baptist preparing the way for the Messiah, sometimes I feel that I am just a voice in the wilderness pointing to the Simply Sugar and Gluten Free Cookbook.

I am not the big deal when it comes to gluten-free, but I can throw some water on ya and tell you where to get the good stuff. :D

So, everyone and their dog is making apple crisp right now. It's that time of year. You go to the orchard, you get some apples, you're congested and blowing your nose for the next week from all that hay dust.

But at least you get to eat apple crisp. This one's gluten-free and sugar-free and, as usual, simply scrumptious.

And we actually haven't been to any orchards yet. But our neighbor has a honeycrisp tree and shared a couple bags of apples with us. This is what came of it!

Z has been asking and asking for apple pie, so we used some of the apples and made that too. Recipe can be found in -- you guessed it -- the Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free Cookbook! I seriously should get paid to advertise.

I will never make a pie crust again (too much work!), but this kid sure was happy.

This pie has a pecan crumble topping which totally MADE the pie. The pie was thick, the apples were nice and soft, and the crust did not burn at all. I would definitely make the pie filling and topping again. But I have decided to not make any more pie crusts in my lifetime. I think I spent at least an hour working with that dough and had to add water a bunch of times to get it to stick together. I have my limits, people.

Happy apple baking!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Almond Butter

Branching out from peanut butter has been sort of a detox choice for me. If you want to know why peanut butter isn't as great as you thought, read this article. But don't click on that link if the knowledge will only serve to annoy you.

Other nut butters I've tried are sunflower seed butter, cashew butter, and almond butter. Almond butter is my favorite of those three, and I love to use it in baking. Recently I was able to make some homemade almond butter in my Vitamix, which tasted amazing.

Making homemade almond butter couldn't be more simple if you have a blender or food processor that can handle it. You just throw the almonds in there with a little oil. I used the tamper to push the nuts into the blade. It turned out smooth and creamy.

I wish I could tell you that making my own almond butter saves money. It doesn't. Raw almonds are expensive. But it does taste great!