Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Christmas is coming....the goose is getting fat...

Please put a penny in the old....man's (?) hat.

My wants. Always for the kitchen. Maybe The Man will actually LOOK at my blog and see what I want and actually get it LOL

I love him dearly, but sometimes he can be a little scary when it comes to gift-giving. One year, I asked for a Land's End hoodie sweatshirt. I got a skin-tight (can't be worn by anyone older than 8) Hooters hoodie thing.

Last year, the only thing I asked for was a Spot-Bot. I got it on the first try!

Red quinoa

On the nights when The Man chooses to not be around for dinner, such as tonight, I take advantage. He is one of the pickiest eaters I have ever met and won't try a lot of new things. For example, I have to sneak mushrooms, green peppers, and onions past him by mincing them until they're unrecognizable.

I, however, have taste buds and like to try new things. When I was at the grocery store this morning, I finally found the quinoa (I have read a lot about it on several GF food blogs and have wanted to try it). So tonight, with The Man gone, I decided to make some quinoa.

I don't know if I will be able to acquire a taste for this - I may have over-doctored it with stuff so if you are reading this and I overdid it, please let me know so I can try again. Don't get me wrong - it wasn't bad. Maybe the texture was so different than what I am used to that it turned me off.

Sure looks pretty, though.

Red Quinoa with Peas & Smoked Salmon

2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup red quinoa
smoked salmon
sugar snap peas
roasted garlic olive oil

Combine the broth and quinoa in a pot; cook until all of the broth has been absorbed by the quinoa. Stir in flaked smoked salmon, a handful of sugar snap peas, and a few teaspoons of roasted garlic olive oil. Put the lid on so the heat of the quinoa warms the peas and salmon.

Check for cat hair and then serve.

Hair droppers

Hair Dropper #1


He never sits still when he sees a camera. This is actually a good picture for him with a digital.

Hair Dropper #2


I woke him up to take this. Mean momma.

GF panini goodness

Took the day off of work today to relax and also because I have a podiatrist appointment this afternoon. Did some grocery shopping, coming home with fresh mozzarella cheese and some baby greens.

Tomato, Baby Greens, & Fresh Mozzarella Panini

2 slices GF bread
tomato slices
baby greens
slices of fresh mozzarella
roasted garlic-infused olive oil

Set out 2 slices of bread. Cover one slice with baby greens, sliced tomato, and fresh mozzarella. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle basil on the other slice. Combine the 2 slices into a sandwich.

Heat the panini grill to HOT. When it's ready, put the sandwich on and wait patiently until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasty.

Pick off any cat hair and enjoy your sandwich with a salad.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hodge-podge in the crockpot

Before I left to go to the Haunted Barn today, I threw a bunch of stuff in the crock-pot and prayed it would taste good when I got home LOL

I planned to make a cornbread mix from Bob's Red Mill, but I was too tired and hungry to wait to eat.

If I make this again, I need to add more chili powder and cumin. It's good, but needs more spice.

Hodge-Podge in a Crock-Pot

1 green pepper, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
1/2 a good-sized onion, diced
1-6 oz can organic tomato paste
1-28 oz can organic crushed tomatoes
1-28 oz can organic tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
Chicken-I used 2 breasts & 3 thighs (sprinkle with salt and pepper)
1 can organic pinto beans, drained
2 tbsp chili powder (best guess since I didn't measure)
1 1/2 tsp cumin (best guess since I didn't measure)
Olive oil

In a pan, put a few tsps of olive oil and then add the chicken; cook until done. While the chicken is cooking, dice up the peppers and onion; throw in the crock-pot. Add the minced garlic, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. When the chicken is done, take out of the pan and let cool. When you can handle touching it, shred it with 2 forks or your hands, whatever is easier. Take the cat off the counter.

Mix together and set the crock-pot to cook for 10 hours. When you're close to ready to eat, add the pinto beans so they get heated through.

Serve over your preferred rice.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The beginning of the end

Two more days. Today and tomorrow.

Since August, every weekend has been devoted to the building, and then the running, of a Haunted Barn. The Man and I have been doing this for 4 years now, and while we love scaring the pants off of people, it's very tiring to put in long days at the office from Monday through Friday and then do the barn thing on Saturdays and Sundays for 8 to 9 hours each day.

Our Haunted Barn is part of a local pumpkin farm called Dollinger Family Farm, which has a corn maze, train rides, face painting...and a Haunted Barn. This all happens on weekends through the month of October.

So The Man and I come up with a floor plan, have friends help us build and put the spooky stuff in, and then on September 30th this year, we opened up. Local groups provide the ghosts and goblins and we run the show.

6 PM Sunday night will be very welcome. The Man took next week off of work so he plans to start tearing down all the walls and spooky stuff. It sure would be nice to have everything down before next weekend (so I don't have to help LOL).

So what do I eat during these long weekend days? Not a lot until we get home to whatever I may have thrown into the crockpot or lurks in the fridge for reheating. Usually I throw some rice cakes or similar snacks into a plastic bag and head out. The Man grabs bags of forbidden-to-me chips at the store before heading out. There's nothing at the farm for me to eat, so if I forget to pack something, I grow a pit the size of Texas in my stomach by the time we get home.

Today I am bringing some organic GF crackers from Mary's Gone Crackers. I love these things. If you haven't had these yet, try them!

Mmm...Apple Butter

The Man came home at 3:30 AM and woke me up, so here I am.

One of my fondest childhood memories is being pretty young (this was a yearly thing at my parents' house) and smelling the apple butter cooking on the stove. My mother canned everything...applesauce with big chunks, apple butter, jellies, jams, veggies, soup, and even ketchup once (we don't discuss that experiment, my sister and I).

If you know my parents, who are both quite handy in the kitchen, you know that I have a lot to live up to. So with the extremes of trepidation and excitement, I made apple butter this past Monday night. And the lids even sealed!

I have been eating apple butter on Ener-G's Harvest Loaf bread for breakfast ever since. Not to mention for dessert a few times this week, too.

FYI that I suck with a camera...

Apple Butter

12 cups apples (I used organic MacIntosh)
1 cup sugar (I used organic)
1 tsp cinnamon (I am not going to repeat myself here)
3/4 cup apple cider (see above)
1/2 tsp ground cloves (and again)

Combine apples and cider in a big pot (I used my Calphalon 6-quart stock pot). Cover and cook on low to medium heat (depending on how fast you want to shovel this into your mouth), stirring as needed. Once the apples are soft and your house smells incredible, run them through a food mill. Put the mixture back into the pot; add the sugar, cinnamon, and cloves and then cook (leave the lid off), stirring occasionally, until it reaches the consistency you want.

Toast some GF bread, slather on the apple butter, pick out the cat hair, and fill your mouth with Fall.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Nummy Risotto

Tonight's dinner was based on Shauna's (thanks for the inspiration, Shauna!) Bacon and Spinach Risotto. I was starving when I got home but wanted to set up my blog at the same time, so I fired up my Cuisinart Rice Cooker with a bunch of stuff and sat down at the puter to play.

Bacon, Spinach, Leek & Asiago Risotto

6 cups chicken stock
2 rice cooker cups arborio rice
2 leeks, chopped (I only used the bulb-leaves were a little pitiful from sitting in the fridge)
2 handfuls baby spinach
6 pieces of bacon, cooked & crumbled
1 cup grated Asiago cheese
Fresh garlic to taste
Olive oil

Put about a tablespoon of olive oil in the rice cooker bowl and fire it up so the oil heats (give it 2 minutes or so). Add the rice and let it cook for a few minutes. While this was happening, I cooked the bacon on paper towels in the microwave (I am not big on bacon grease).

When you can smell the rice (the only way I can describe it - you'll start to smell it toasting), add the garlic - I pressed 3 good-sized cloves - and the leeks. Let that swim around with the rice for a minute or two. Then add the chicken stock and bacon and let it all work together per your rice cooker instructions.

When the rice has nearly soaked up all the stock, add the spinach and cheese. Stir all together and let sit for a few minutes to let the cheese melt.

I am not a big salt and pepper person, but if you are, add to your taste.

Pick out the cat hair and voila! Dinner.

A very weird name, I know

We have 2 male cats that we have never been able to train to stay off anything, much less the kitchen counters. So when cooking, I am usually on the hunt for black cat hair in the pathetic attempt to have a hairless meal. No matter how diligently I search, I am unsuccessful in this endeavor. Hence the name of this blog.

For the last ten years or so, and particularly since the end of January 2006, I have had one health issue after another. After environmental allergy testing last May and doing a lot of research on the web for what I tested positive for, I decided to try several things to help me feel better.

I found information on a fluke about problems people have when they are gluten intolerant.

Bloating - check
Diarrhea - check
Weakness - check
Joint pain - check
Migraines - check
Bad teeth - check
Early onset osteoporosis - check

There are more, but I will stop there (I can hear my one reader saying "thank goodness").

So two weeks ago, I officially went gluten free. With one lapse. One PAINFUL lapse. This past Wednesday, I lost control over my willpower and ate part of a Wendy's single with cheese. Within 20 minutes, I was absolutely miserable.

After thinking about my stupidity, I decided I needed to do something to keep myself on track and away from the bad stuff. I hope this blog will do that as I will post whatever creation I made myself to eat.

And as always, with the addition of at least one cat hair.