Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Dinner was an "eh" and a shoulder shrug.

I made this recipe for dinner tonight with a few changes: I used fresh peas instead of frozen, I used vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth, and I used my rice cooker to make the risotto.



Nothing spectacular.

On a good note, I ate an Enjoy Life Cocoa Loco bar on a snack break at work today. I liked it and will buy them, but you definitely get the texture of the fig and date pastes. Not bad, though. The only bad thing I can say about them is that I really needed 2 to get through until lunch.

On a not-so-good note, while bending and squatting (you know, that half-bend, half-hunch thing you do when you want to get something out of a bottom drawer?) at work this afternoon, something in my lumbar region gave way. I am in a lot of pain, worse than any other back pain I have dealt with before, and I have had my share Cross your fingers that this is not my first osteoporosis fracture. Because that would suck.

I have one of those Thermocare heat jobbies on it now. As long as I don't move once I get into a position (sitting down, standing up), I am fine. It's the trying to move into a new position that is excruciating. I sure hope my legs stay up on my foam wedge while I sleep tonight or I bet I won't be getting any (sleep, that is).

I'm sure it didn't help that I had to haul in 5 bags of groceries and 2 boxes from Timber Creek/Natural Farms when I got home from work. The Man was sound asleep on the couch, where he remains even now. Since I had perishables in those bags and boxes, they couldn't sit out.

Sometimes, I swear, my life is a soap opera, without all the cheating bitchiness.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Enjoy Life Rye-less Rye Bread

I should go on record right now as disliking rye bread. Even when I ate gluten, I hated rye bread. The only time I actually enjoyed eating the stuff was at the Eagles Club Friday Fish Fry. Dad has been a member of the Two Rivers Eagles Club as long as I can remember, and they have been doing their Fish Fry thing for years. Every once in a while, I would get roped into helping in the kitchen.

I don't know who they get their rye bread from, but it's the only one I would eat and enjoy. I think it's because it wasn't overly "caraway-ee." I have bad memories of my dad going a lot overboard with the caraway seed in the sauerkraut and to this day, too much caraway will cause me to promptly spit out whatever it is I am chewing.

So it was with reservations that I toasted two slices of Enjoy Life's Rye-less Rye Bread to make a sandwich for dinner. To the toasted bread I added 2 slices of Hormel's GF deli ham, baby lettuce, a couple slices of tomato, mayo, and some provolone cheese.

And it was....



Toasted, the crust was a little tough for my beat-up teeth to bite through or chew easily, but once I got past that normal annoyance, it was pretty darn good. The bread didn't have so much caraway that it turned me off, for which my keyboard is grateful (that's where the bite would have landed).

Would I buy it? If I was planning a reuben fest or a fish fry, you betcha. Just for noshing, probably not. It will probably take me 6 months to finish off this loaf.

But know that the next trip to my parents we take, I will have 2 slices stashed in a cooler in preparation for the Friday Fish Fry.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Anyone else sick of winter?

We had a great time at the Transworld show yesterday and timed it so perfectly that as I pulled into the driveway, sleet began to fall.

We ordered nearly all of the costumes needed for this year's Barn, plus a few new "tricks" guaranteed to freak out most of the people who go through, and got ideas for the future too.

Can't be specific on what we got because I hate spoilers. If you wanna know, we're open every weekend in October :-)

Anyway, it sleeted. Then this morning, it rained. This evening, it snows. I love to cook when it's like this outside. And believe it or not, I did not make soup.

In hopes that my parents will come down this coming weekend with a greatly anticipated dishwasher, I stocked up on meat and poultry Friday night. With the thought of this dinner, I set in my cart 2 bone-in steaks, which is a big deal in this house as I usually buy ribeyes or filet mignon.

Pan-Fried Steak with Puffy Potatoes

For the steaks:
2 bone-in steaks of your choice
3 cloves garlic
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper

For the potatoes:
5-6 large potatoes (I used a mix of what I had, namely 3 reds and 2 huge russets)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove the steaks from the fridge and set on the counter to come to room temperature.

Peel and cube the potatoes; place in a pot of water with a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat, cooking until the potatoes are tender.

Peel and crack the garlic cloves. Pour the olive oil into a skillet large enough to hold the steaks. Turn on low heat; add the garlic. All you are trying to do is infuse the oil with the garlic. After 6-7 minutes, add the rosemary. Keep the heat on low.

Sprinkle the steaks with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Set aside.

When the potatoes are done, drain them well. Put them back into the pot and onto the stove to allow the heat to dissapate any remaining moisture. Then pour the potatoes into a clean bowl. Mash them with the cream and butter; if you have a hand mixer, use it, because you want these as smooth as possible. Once the potatoes are whipped smooth, mix in the cheese, salt, and pepper.

Lightly spray a small casserole dish with cooking spray. Spoon the potatoes into the dish, cover, and bake for 15 minutes with the cover on and then an additional 10 minutes with the cover removed.

While the potatoes are baking, remove the garlic and rosemary from the olive oil in the skillet and then turn the heat up to high. Once the oil is smoking hot, add the steaks. Fry for 7-8 minutes on the first side, flip, and then fry for an additional 5-8 minutes, depending on how done you like them. Remove from the pan and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Halloween starts in February in this house

Very shortly, I will be on my way to the 23rd Transworld Costume & Party Show. We already have our basic game plan for the 2007 Haunted Barn, but we will be looking for props, costumes, and ideas for future years.

There's nothing like being surrounded by people who, just like you, love scaring the crap out of people.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday night

About 4:45 this afternoon, The Man sent me an IM: "Dinner honey?"

I rarely have days when I wish I was married to someone who has a clue in the kitchen, because I love to cook so much. Today, though, was one of those days. Sometimes I just want to come home and relax while someone else does all the work. Because I don't want to drive a good distance in order to get an insured GF meal, I am stuck as I am. The Man has no interest in learning to cook.

My father is an excellent cook and makes the best pie crust I have ever eaten. My mom claims that it has something to do with his "magic" hands. I grew up in a household where the duties were split 50/50, so I tend to get frustrated with the lack of 50/50 here.

It's not all his fault - The Man was an "oops," born late in his parent's life, 11 years younger than his sister. His dad didn't cook either. So that's what he saw growing up.

I could be nasty and show the uneven split of household duties here, but then...that's just nasty. So I will list it in my head.




There. And now I can gloat because I am a career woman with three children (well, cats and a husband) who can "do it all."

And this "do it all" woman wimped out with dinner tonight.

Chicken Sandwiches with Baked Potato Wedges

For the chicken:

2 hamburger rolls (in this house, 1 GF and 1 not GF)
Favorite toppings such as lettuce, tomato...
1 tsp olive oil + some for the pan if not grilling
1 tsp Liquid Smoke (per their website this is GF)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

For the potato wedges:

2 large potatoes, cleaned and cut in half, then wedges
2-3 tsp olive oil
Mix of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder (I don't measure, I just dump it in until it smells good)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the chicken breasts on a plate; sprinkle both sides with 1 tsp olive oil, Liquid Smoke, garlic powder and onion powder. Allow to rest.

In a bowl, combine the potato wedges, olive oil (enough to coat), and spices. Mix together so spices and oil coat all of the potatoes. Line a baking sheet with foil; spray with cooking spray. Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

When the potatoes are near done, preheat a skillet doused with a splash of olive oil (I have a Kitchenaid Pro stove, so I have 3 different sized burners. Here I used the smallest burner on medium). When the pan is hot, add the chicken breasts and cover. Cook, flipping once, until chicken is cooked through (10 minutes or so). Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate to remove some of the oil; while draining, place a slice of provolone cheese on each.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sometimes simple flavors are best

This morning, I told The Man that most likely I would not be making dinner tonight. We had a company meeting scheduled for tomorrow and since we waited until the last minutes to come up with things to talk about and an agenda, I knew I would be at the office late.

And then to my surprise, the meeting was cancelled.

I went to the store to see what I could see for dinner tonight. The produce naturally looks a little pale this time of year, but I have been scrimping on the veggies lately, so I decided to make myself something light, yet filling.

The Man naturally turned up his nose and has been grabbing string cheese out of the fridge for his dinner. I offered to make him leftover spaghetti, but rarely will he eat leftovers.

All I did was make a half-batch of polenta with butter and parmesan; saute some squash, zucchini, tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and orange pepper; and bake a piece of salmon.

And, boy, did it hit the spot tonight.

And it was FORTY-FIVE DEGREES TODAY! A veritable heat wave, compared to the frigid temperatures we suffered through over the past month.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

On top of spagheeeeeeeeeeeettttttttttttttttttti

All covered with cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese.
I lost my poor meatbaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllll
When somebody sneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezed.

Or not. Try to take-a my-a meat-a-ball-a and I-a guarantee I will-a stab-a your hand-a with a fork-a.

Sheri's Spaghetti Sauce

2-29 ounce cans of tomato sauce (I use one normal and one "chunky")
1-14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 onion, finely diced for the finicky eaters in this house
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms (again with the finicky eaters)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup red wine (I used merlot)
Meatball recipe of your choice (I used this)
Rice or corn spaghetti noodles

Heat a skillet with the olive oil; saute the onion, mushrooms, and garlic until onion is soft and garlic is lightly golden. Remove from the heat. Pour into the crockpot. Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes, salt, basil, oregano, thyme, and wine. Stir well to combine. Set the crockpot to cook as long as you need (mine has options for 4, 6, 8 and 10 hours). The longer, the better.

An hour before you want to eat, get those meatballs rocking. 15 minutes before serving, make your pasta.

Serve with GF garlic bread and shavings of fresh parmesan.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Just call me Slacker with a bagel

Usually on the weekends, I am a cooking fiend and catch up on all the posting I should have done during this week.

I was a slacker this past weekend. Sorry about that. I just had no motivation to do anything other than play a stupid computer game. Well, that's not completely true. I did make spaghetti sauce in the crock pot yesterday, even going so far as to write down everything I did in preparation for blogging about it (I have been making my sauce on the "fly" for years). But we ate a very late lunch, I ate a lot of fricking chocolate, and therefore the household was not hungry at dinnertime. Into the fridge the spaghetti sauce went. Once we eat it, I will post.

I really hate doing dishes when I didn't eat anything.

Speaking of doing dishes, a miracle may soon occur here. My father owns a tv and appliance store in my hometown in Wisconsin. I may shortly be receiving (either by drop-ship or personally delivery by my parents) one of these. It won't be anywhere near the sink, so we are going to run water and drain lines up from our basement. I will still need to wash dishes, as I will not put my knives or calpalon cookware in a dishwasher, but it will be much easier to clean up after cooking.

And maybe my motivation to create in the kitchen will become as forceful as it used to be.

About the Enjoy Life bagels.... I never did eat one with just jam. However, on Sunday I did use one to make an egg sandwich. It was delish. Will I buy these? Absolutely. The taste isn't what I was used to in a bagel, but the texture is good, the taste isn't bad, and I am not a "just-bagel-and-cream-cheese" person anyway.

Friday, February 16, 2007


I must have whined prettily enough over on Mike's blog because Enjoy Life got in touch with me and sent 2 goodie boxes to me, too. One of the things I got is something I miss mightily - bagels. Well, I don't miss bagels themselves, actually...I miss Bagel Bites. You know, those pizza-bagel things in the freezer section?

I told you before that I love pizza.

So tonight, even though I made myself a pizza last night (yes, pizza 2 days in a row - leave me alone LOL - blame it on PMS, k?), I used one of those precious, adorable, cute as all get-out bagels from Enjoy Life and made me some bagel bites.

I guess I should start this off by saying that when slathering pizza sauce and other pizza goodness over the top of something you want to truly taste-test, it doesn't work out so well. I was more interested in satisfying the pizza-taste craving to pay attention to the vehicle conveying that spiced yumminess to my mouth. However, I can tell you that that chewy texture that I associate with bagels is there.

The taste? I will let you know tomorrow, when I plan on eating one for breakfast with some homemade blueberry jam. And maybe some peanut butter.

Thank god I only buy natural peanut butter.

If it's not one thing lately with the food poisoning, it's another. Makes you wonder what the heck is going on in the plants that make our food, doesn't it?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The ABCs of Housekeeping

Happy Homemaker over at Sensible Life posted this and I thought it was cute.

Aprons- Y/N? If Y, what does your favorite look like?

I own them, so yes, but I don't wear them. Too lazy, I guess.

Baking - Favorite thing to bake:

Anything, really.

Clothesline - Y/N?

Yes, we have an umbrella clothesline because I hate how much room the regular ones take up.

Donuts - Have you ever made them?

Yes. I have made them at home before, but my first job in Illinois was doing the doughnuts at a local convenience store - 5 days a week, starting at 4:30 AM.

Everyday - One homemaking thing you do every day.

Just one thing? Hah. Let's see - my schedule is as follows every weekday: Haul my butt out of bed, catch up on a few blogs, take my shower and get dressed, scoop cat litter, make the bed, sweep the kitchen floor, do dishes if I was too lazy to do them the night before (happens quite often), generally straighten up if I have time, and skedaddle for work. When I get home, I cook.

Freezer - Do you have a separate deep freeze?

We have freezer space all right, especiallly right now, with the deep freeze outside. Other than that, I have a chest freezer and a second refrigerator/freezer in the basement.

Garbage Disposal - Y/N?

Yes but no. Mine died Sunday night and will hopefully be replaced this week yet. I hate being without it!

Handbook - What is your favorite homemaking resource?

The Internet.

Ironing - Love it or hate it?

I choose option (c) - loathe with the fires of a thousand hells. I buy wash and wear clothes just to avoid it.

Junk drawer - Y/N Where is it?

Oh yes. What house doesn't? Even if it didn't start out that way! Mine is in the kitchen.

Kitchen - Color and decorating scheme.

The walls are currently burn-your-eyes yellow. I liked it. Really, I did. I still do. But I think we need to tone it down a bit. My mother made the curtains - predominantly blue with white and yellow flowers.

Love - What is your favorite part of homemaking?

The satisfaction I feel when the house is clean, I have fresh GF bread, all the laundry is done, and I still have time to do whatever the heck I want.

Mop? Y/N?

Hell yes. But 4 times a year I get down on my hands and knees and give all the floors a good handwashing.

Nylons - Wash by hand or in the washing machine?

Washing machine - on delicate, in a bra bag.

Oven - Do you use the window or open the oven to check?

Depends on what I have going on in there. If it's just a pizza or something, I tend to open the door. If there's anything that is supposed to be rising in any way, shape or form, I leave that door closed.

Pizza - What do you put on yours?

Can't do olives or anchovies. I am willing to try just about anything else. But my favorite pizza is just olive oil, tomatoes, onions, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella.

Quiet - What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?

Read, crochet (I haven't started a new project in a while - maybe I should do that), play computer games, snuggle with the hairdroppers

Recipe card box - Y/N?

Once upon a time, I had one. But the recipes got to be too many for the box, so now I have 2 binders.

Style of house - What style is your house?

1960s ranch with attached garage.

Tablecloths and napkins - Y/N?

Only at holidays. With the hairdroppers, are you kidding?

Under the kitchen sink - Organized or toxic wasteland? organized toxic wasteland :-)

Vacuum - How many times per week?

I vacuum the kitchen floor nearly every day because of cat litter, but lately, the rest of the house only gets it once a week (gasp!).

Wash - How many loads of laundry do you do per week?

Hopefully only 2. My work clothes. Laundry is supposed to be The Man's job.

X’s - Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off?

At work I do but not at home. Unless I have family coming down, in which case I have lists everywhere.

Yard - Y/N Who does what?

Yes - we have a nice corner lot. I can't touch freshly-cut grass without getting a rash, so The Man mows and trims, but everything else is unfortunately my domain.

Zzz’s - What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?

If I am not too lazy, the dishes. Otherwise, it's making dinner.

A Valentine's Day Dinner for Two

I had Food Network on the tube this afternoon and Sandra Lee was making something pretty nasty. Ugh. I much prefer cooking from scratch; it's just as fast IMHO, tastes better, and isn't full of nasty chemical-ly stuff. Such as this evening's menu: turkey tenderloins, roasted potatoes with olive oil and garlic, and some plain ol' corn.

Roasted Turkey Tenderloin

1/4 cup GF soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine
The juice of 1 orange
The juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 package turkey tenderloins (mine had 3 pieces)

Combine all ingredients in a zipper-type bag; squish the bag around the tenderlions to be sure to coat them completely. Put in the fridge to marinate for 6 hours.

An hour before you plan to eat, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the tenderloins from the bag and place in a baking dish. Cover with foil and place in the oven, baking for 30 minutes. Increase the temperature to 425 degrees and finish baking for another 10 minutes (depending on the size of the tenderloins you are using, of course. Could be less, could be more).

I combined about a pound of red and purple potatoes (quartered), 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, 4 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper in another baking dish and put that in the oven at the same time as the turkey tenderloins.

For dessert, I made Namaste spice cupcakes, following the package directions. I frosted them with caramel frosting and a dusting of cinnamon.

Caramel Frosting
Adapted from a recipe by Paula Deen

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup half and half
1 tablespoon vanilla
16 ounces powdered sugar

Combine butter, brown sugar and half and half in a saucepan; heat until butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat; add in the powdered sugar in batches and mix until combined. Frost something.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Pain and re-becoming a woman

Ten years ago this past November, I began taking the Depo-Provera shot as birth control because my monthly cycle was so horrible. When I received my diagnosis of advanced osteoporosis this past summer, my gynecologist decreed that I could no longer take this shot because of the osteo. He said that we could discuss new birth control methods once my body had rid itself of the Depo.

Monday afternoon, I started my first period in over 10 years. I have been dreading this, and for good reason, apparently. Every part of the misery that caused me to take injections every 3 months is back. Well, not all - I don't seem to have the vicious PMS. Yet.

I am really hurting today and decided to stay home to eat ibuprofen and apply heat to my abdomen and back. I can't even straight up to stand. Grr... Why does being a woman have to hurt?

The good news to all of this is there is already a half-baked plan to stop the pain in the future, but until I have a normal period, we can't move forward. My gynecologist is very talented in performing a procedure called a endometrial balloon ablation, where he inserts a balloon, fills it with saline, heats it - and cauterizes the lining of the uterus so that the lining can't grow. However, how long this procedure lasts depends on the person. It may only help for a couple of years.

Because of the severity of my cycle, he and I have also seriously discussed a hysterectomy.

Anyway, since I am home today and because it IS Valentine's Day, there will be food. Our protein is already marinading in the fridge, side dishes are planned, and there will be cake. Well, I should qualify that - there will be cake if I can bribe The Man into stopping at the store to get some heavy cream so I can make frosting.

I wonder if half-and-half would work to make caramel frosting?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My favorite meal in this whole wide world - now GF

Oh, I am so full.

There is one meal in this beautiful world that I will eat until I nearly explode, and when I know I am going to eat it, I make sure to wear elastic-waisted pants. Up until today, I hadn't made it because of the imagined difficulty in having it taste as good in a gluten-free version as it does "normal." It turns out that I did exactly right, you can't taste much of a difference, and I just made a huge pig of myself.

The meal is bread and potato dumplings, pork roast, and sauerkraut - but I skipped the kraut tonight and made kale with leeks and garlic.

I love it when I can revisit a favorite meal in my new lifestyle.

I was born on my parents' first wedding anniversary. For as long as I can remember, my birthday was celebrated "on the day" and then they did their own thing either the weekend before or the weekend after. My day was all about my favorite meal; one year only did I request something else - stuffed pork chops.

And yes, I am primarily German, with some Polish and Bohemian for good measure.

I'm not sure which relative the dumpling recipe comes from, but I think it's my grandma on my dad's side.

Bread and Potato Dumplings - the GF version

6 large potatoes
1 1/2 cups GF bread, dried and cubed
1/4 cup potato starch
1 cup white rice flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup butter

Wash and peel the potatoes. Shred them either on a grater or in a food processor with the shredder blade (God bless Kitchenaid - I used to do this by hand. Being the klutz that I am, I usually included some skin in the potatoes). Put the shredded potatoes in a sieve; press the spuds against the sides of the sieve with a spoon until most of the liquid drains out. Dump into a bowl.

Add the cubed bread, potato starch, rice flour, and salt. Combine with your hands like you would meatloaf.

Form into 2" balls and drop into wide-mouthed pot of boiling salted water. Boil for 20 minutes. Don't crowd them in the pot or they will stick together.

Melt the butter in your preferred way; use to drizzle over the dumplings at service.

The Pork Roast

Pork roast cut of your choice
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Liberally salt and pepper the roast, place in a roasting pan, and cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes, then adjust the oven to 425 and bake an additional 30 minutes (or until internal temperature of the roast reaches 180 degrees).

Kale with Leeks and Garlic

2 leeks
1 bunch kale
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil

Heat a large skillet; when hot, add the olive oil and garlic. Chop the dark green stuff off the leeks; slice the bulbs in half and then slice into "rings." Rinse well, drain, and add to the skillet. Saute on low heat. Wash and dry the kale; slice into 1/2" strips. Once the leeks have softened, add the kale, toss to coat with the oil, cover and remove from the heat. Allow the kale to wilt for 10 minutes before serving.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Just not hungry tonight

I'm not hungry, but since I haven't eaten much of anything healthy all day, I knew I better put something in my stomach or I was going to regret it.

The reason for the absence of hunger? I did a taste testing this afternoon - Pamela's Irresistable Chocolate Brownie Mix. And I added chocolate chips to the batter. I ate too many.

Pretty good, but I felt that there was a chalky aftertaste. Maybe it was just me. It didn't stop me from eating 3 big pieces, though.

Anyway, I needed something light. And I had a new-to-me product in the fridge - Greek yogurt.

Greek Yogurt with Fig and Honey Swirl
Adapted from a recipe by Tyler Florence

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange, juiced
12 dried figs, chopped into quarters
1 small container Greek yogurt
A small handful of almonds

In a saucepan, combine the honey, water, orange juice, cinnamon stick, and figs over medium heat. Simmer until figs are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, take out the cinnamon stick, and let cool.

In a dry frying pan, toast the almonds until golden.

Take the container of yogurt and divide between 2 serving dishes. Pour the cooled fig and honey sauce over the yogurt, top with almonds, and serve.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

One bunch of greens done

I am so full. And I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

How did I choose which greens to make? Turned my head aside, stuck my hand in the fridge, and pulled chard.

Green Chard, Potatoes and Mushrooms with Poached Chicken

For the vegetables:

1 bunch green chard, washed and dried, removed from stems and torn into pieces
10-12 purple potatoes (can use baby reds, of course),
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots
1/4 cup water
8 oz package of baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and thickly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the chicken:

1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine (I used chardonnay)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, cracked and peeled
1-2 chicken breasts (I used boneless skinless)

Create your poaching liquid by combining the chicken broth, white wine, and water in a sauce pan large enough to hold the chicken without it touching the sides of the pan. Bring to a boil. While you are waiting for it to boil, prepare the rosemary and garlic; add to the pan. Once the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and add your chicken. Cover and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the thickness of the chicken), turning the chicken once.

Cut the potatoes into halves; place in a saucepan filled with salted water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. When they are cooked, drain and set aside.

Add the olive oil to a large skillet; heat to medium. Add the mushrooms, shallots and garlic; saute until shallots are soft and mushrooms are tender (5 minutes or so). Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the potatoes and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Add the chard to the skillet; pour in 1/4 cup of water. Cover and steam for 5 minutes.
Pack face with calcuim-loaded goodness.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A new box from Timber Creek

I received my latest delivery from Timber Creek Farms this morning. I love how I am early on the route and am home when they deliver, so I don't have to put a cooler out. I can get it unpacked into my fridge and not have to worry about the stuff freezing on my porch.

Here's today's bounty.

TCF is now doing something called The "Boxer Series," which is a series of boxes of fruits and vegetables geared toward specific health problems. I ordered the osteoporosis box and got a ton of "new to me" stuff like collard greens and kale.

They have boxes for anemia, arthritis, asthma, cancer, cardiovacular, diabetes, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, menopause, osteoporosis, weight management, and prostate.

I didn't know how much I was going to get in the osteo boxer, so I added a few things to my order. When will I learn? I added leeks, minneolas, 2 different kinds of cheese, beets, a clamshell of spring mix, and grape tomatoes. The osteo box contained kale, collards, chard, garlic, apples, oranges, pineapple, avocados, broccoli, strawberries, cabbage... My fridge is a wall of green inside again.

Now to figure out what to make with it all!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Rearranging the food storage shelves in the basement

That's how I spent some of my time this morning. When I went gluten free, I didn't do a very good job of making room for the GF flour purchases I made. A lot of it was sitting in boxes on the floor (not smart in a leaky basement - I got lucky that none of it got wet).

I was rooting through the various items on the shelves and realized that I have some stuff down there that I had completely forgotten about, stuff I bought to try because I had never had it.

I have a ton of regular pasta downstairs that I have no idea why I am hanging onto it. Two bags of wheat flour. Am I waiting for a miracle? Probably not. The only thing I can think of for holding onto this stuff is for when my family comes down to visit. I wouldn't cook any of it for a different reason, especially after what I went through de-glutening the kitchen.

Oh - and if anyone needs xanthan gum, let me know via email at sheri AT justnotdinner DOT com. I have five bags of Bob's Red Mill down there that there's no way I will use by their expiration date.

Back to the purchased-and-yet-untried. Artichoke hearts. The Man isn't home. Here comes dinner!

Pasta with Artichoke Hearts, Tomato, Mushroom & Basil

1/2 package Tinkyada spaghetti
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and cut into quarters
4 oz button mushrooms, sliced
1 tomato, chopped
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
Sea salt

Prepare the pasta according to package directions. In a skillet melt the butter and olive oil together on medium-low heat. Add the artichoke hearts and mushroom (spinkle with a little salt); saute until mushrooms begin to soften (about 5 minutes). Drain the pasta, reserving a half cup of pasta water; add the reserved pasta water to the skillet with the vegetables. Toss together with the pasta. Right before serving, toss in the tomato and basil.

Not a bad introduction to the canned artichoke.

On another note, I have a really dumb question. I do not have a very large....well, chest. I want to know how it's possible that it becomes a shelf to catch what falls out of the hole in my chin? I didn't think I was a very sloppy eater, but whenver I eat pasta of any shape, I end up with noodles on my shirt!

The Superbowl at our house

The Man just stopped home after delivering The Stepson (who got his driver's license last weekend, by the way - get off the roads of northeast Illinois) to his mother's home. He had stopped at his favorite watering hole to have a few and borrow some masking tape.

He came into the house quietly, just in case I had crashed on the couch, which is my habit on weekend afternoons. When he peeked around the corner to see that indeed, I was awake and rotting my brain with Food Network again, he begged for my help with a blue marker.

The stupid crap we do in this house.

Baked bean and cheese taquitos

Thanks to a coworker (I believe I have mentioned this before), I am now in the possession of an authentic cast iron tortilla press. Isn't it pretty?

I used it for the first time a little bit ago, to make taquitos. Normally, taquitos are fried in oil, but I have an aversion to fried foods, especially since heart disease runs in the family. So I made me some baked ones.

Superbowl snacking. I will be home while The Man attends a party. Will I be watching the game? be honest, the TV will be muted while the playing is going on and unmuted for the commercials LOL

Baked Bean and Cheese Taquitos

1 cup masa harina
2/3 cup water
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 cup refried beans
1 cup shredded cotija cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the masa, water and salt to make your tortilla dough. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and press between pieces of waxed paper in a tortilla press (if you don't have one, use a rolling pin like I used to do). Fry each tortilla in a dry skillet for 2 minutes on each side.

After the tortillas are fried, spread a thin layer of refried beans over each tortilla, then sprinkle some cheese. Carefully roll the tortillas up and place on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Serve with salsa, sour cream (or a mixture of the 2, like I do), guac, or whatever you like.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Closed-minded people

Really tick me off. Really. A lot.

All I am saying.

A new vat of soup

Yes, another pot of soup. I know, I know.

Creamy Turkey & Rice Soup

2 quarts turkey stock
2 tbsp butter
1 cup onion, diced fine
1 cup celery, diced fine
1 cup carrot, diced fine
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp ground thyme
3 cups cooked and chopped turkey breast
Sea salt
2 cups half and half
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup GF flour (I used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour)

Melt the butter in a stock pot; add the onion, celery and carrot. Saute until onion is translucent. Add the stock, bay leaf, thyme and turkey. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cooking for 30 minutes. Add the rice and stir well. Continue to cook until rice is tender, about 35 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour in the half and half. Stir well. Combine the water and flour; whisk to remove lumps. Stir the flour-water mix into the soup and stir well to make sure you don't get lumps in the soup. Heat another 5 minutes and then serve.
The plan was for wild rice instead of brown rice, but someone (*cough* The Man *cough, cough*) picked up an Uncle Ben's wild rice thing that had wheat. Beware of those ;-)

Cold enough for ya?

Man, it's frickin' cold out there! Wind chills below zero. The Stepson actually thought I was going to let him out of the house a few minutes ago without a coat. Dork.

I have a turkey breast roasting in the oven in preparation for tonight's turkey and wild rice soup. Recipe and picture to come later.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Sweet cherries

Cherries are probably my most favorite fruit in the world. I got a pound of them in my last organic delivery and eyeballed them every day, trying to decide if I wanted to eat them out of hand or bake them up in something.

Earlier in the week, I thought about cherry-vanilla ice cream. But then, I still have the meyer lemon-mango sorbet taking up space in the freezer.

I almost threw a handful in with my lunch this morning. And changed my mind as soon as the word "cobbler" formed in my head.

So as I stuffed last night's leftovers in my face tonight, I whipped together a cherry almond cobbler.

Cherry Almond Cobbler

1 pound cherries, halved and pitted
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the cherries in half and then pull the pits out. Curse your lack of foresight in purchasing a device to pit cherries.

Combine the almond meal, sweet rice flour, tapioca flour, white rice flour salt, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and xanthan gum. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, canola oil, milk and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Pour the batter into an 8x8 cake pan. Spread out the cherries on top of the batter. Strategically place (ha) the almonds on top of the cherries. Sprinkle the whole thing with 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

More taste testings

I am a pizza fanatic. Back in my gluten days, I ate pizza at least 5 meals a week. Sick, I know, but I really, really like pizza. Just veggies, sauce and cheese. Yum.

Since going gluten free, I have been disappointed in the crust mixes available to me in my local stores. I love to make crust from scratch, but during the work week, it's just too much. So I rely on mixes for my pizza fix.

I finally found one that I like. Enough to eat half the pizza. In one sitting. Which is saying a lot, as I packed some veggie punch onto one pizza: a whole tomato, half a package of mushrooms, half a green pepper, half an onion, a good-sized handful of baby spinach leaves, lots of fresh basil, and half a ball of fresh mozzarella.

Who makes the crust mix? Arrowhead mills. If you haven't tried it yet, try it. You'll like it! (Mikey) Get it?

I have been snacking on something else for several weeks now that I hadn't gotten around to mentioning.

I got a box of these a LOOOOOOONG time ago through Natural Farms, I want to say November. The first one I had, I took 2 small bites out of and pitched the rest, chalking it up to experience. I was very surprised that I didn't like it because I absolutely love coconut. That's why I got them in the first place.

A few weeks ago, I needed to take something along with me somewhere, just in case. The only thing I had in the house was the box of Oskri bars. I tossed one in my purse and out the door I went.

The second time around, I chewed more slowly and allowed my taste buds to get past the texture. Not bad, I thought.

That was 8 bars ago and now I am hooked.

A word (well, a few words) to the wise: you really, really gotta like coconut to eat these. That's all they are - coconut, brown rice syrup and cherry flavor. They have a bunch of other flavors, too. Once this box is gone, I am going to try a different kind.