What I Am Eating Lately

If we are sitting around a table together, I will most likely ask if you enjoy cooking. I find the details of how people eat fascinating — especially those who don’t cook. How do you eat? Do you order take-out all of the time? Do you eat cereal and snacks as meals?

I remember distinctly being told by my father, if I wanted to eat, I better learn how to cook. The trick of cooking is finding good recipes and  following them until you feel comfortable improvising. I don’t chop properly, but that doesn’t matter!

Food blogs and Pinterest are my go-to resources for meal inspiration. I still own physical cookbooks, which I will flip through occasionally. One of the greatest take-aways from participating in a CSA this summer is we’ve been forced to eat seasonally. On Tuesdays I pick up our box and then spend a little time washing and storing our goods properly. I’ll go online afterwards and look for different recipes to go along with what we’ve received.

These are the foods I’ve been focusing on lately.

Sweet Potatoes | Sweet Potato & Black Bean TacosCoconut Curried Kale & Sweet Potato.

Tomatos | ShakshukaBasic Chili, Curried Potatoes with Poached Eggs (we get a lot of potatoes!).

Chick Peas | Smashed Chickpea Avocado Salad (I ate this on a bed of lettuce), Spicy Chickpea & Squash Stew.

Squash & Zucchini | Vegetable White Bean Soup, Coconut Flour Zucchini Bread.

Pumpkin | 1 Bowl Pumpkin Bread (the addition of oat & almond flour makes this bread really filling), Pumpkin White Bean Chili.

I will roast the remaining vegetables and eat them as a side dish or mixed with a batch of quinoa!

What are your favorite recipes lately?

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Gluten-Free Eats | Spicy Chickpea & Squash Stew

Cassie recently asked me to share a recipe on her blog. This dish happens to be a recent favorite of mine, so I knew I wanted to post it here as well! 

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Pinterest is my go-to resource for meal planning inspiration for all seasons. The meals I prepare are gluten and dairy-free (sometimes Jordan will add dairy to his plate). Jordan doesn’t have to restrain from gluten or dairy (he loves both), but he has been willing from day-one to go down this path with me!

Gluten-free/dairy-free can be synonyms of complicated and bland, but I’m learning it doesn’t have to be that way! My aim is to keep things simple and limit substitutions: soups, chills, one-pot meals etc are our go-to’s. Despite the rising temperatures, I still crave these cozy meals. 

As soon as I saw this spicy chickpea stew on Pinterest, I knew I had to make it! This meal is filling, healthy, but also extremely easy to prepare. Even as a carnivore, it’s good to have a few solid vegetarian dishes in your arsenal to serve to guests.

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Ingredients (adapted from Dolly and Oatmeal): 

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 3/4-inch pieces (about 6 cups).
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt (we use kosher salt)
freshly ground pepper
2 medium onions
8 large garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
3 medium carrots, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup chickpea cooking liquid, or filtered water
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (I used a mixture of fire roasted + regular for extra kick)
2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (roughly two cans)
shredded chicken (optional)

Instructions:

To keep things extra simple, I used pre-cut squash from Trader Joe’s.

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and toss squash with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. Stir, and continue roasting for another 10-15 minutes or until browning and cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside.

Warm remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions, Saute for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in garlic and cook for 3 minutes more.  Add cumin, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in carrots and 1 cup chickpea cooking water (or water), and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Add chickpeas and crushed tomatoes, then roasted squash; simmer uncovered for another few minutes. The flavors meld together even more the second day!

Serve with quinoa or rice. Garnish with parsley.

P.S. Jordan likes to add a slight drizzle of ranch dressing on the top. He loves it.

Bon Appetite!

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Gluten-Free Eats | Banana Bread

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I’ve been on a baking mission. A mission to find the best gluten-free quick bread recipe. Quick breads (breads without yeast) are one of my favorite things to bake (here & here). Growing up, while participating in 4-H, I received a blue ribbon for my vegan banana bread recipe! Most of these recipes take 15 minutes or less to prepare, minimal equipment used and the end result can be served for breakfast, a snack or even dessert. Add a spinach smoothie and you’ve got yourself a light dinner.
I’ve made a few sad attempts at baking gluten-free pumpkin and banana bread since the fall, but I think I have finally found a winner! This bread isn’t grainy and unless I had baked it, I wouldn’t even know it was gluten-free. I posted this revelation on Instagram last week and was asked about the recipe from several people. I made a few slight tweaks to Monique’s recipe from Ambitious Kitchen to accommodate what ingredients I had on hand, so I figured I should share how I made it.
4 medium or 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond butter (I subbed natural peanut butter)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, softened (I used applesauce. No other reason than I needed to use it up!)
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup coconut flour (I used regular gluten-free flour*. Coconut flour is more absorbent, so I put in closer to 1 cup. I added  more flour until the dough appeared the right consistency.)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (raisins would be good too!)
For the rest of the instructions, head over to Monique’s blog. She has tons of great recipes, most of which are allergen friendly!
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*My mother-in-law bought me a bag of Krusteaz gluten-free flour at Sam’s Club and I’ve been extremely pleased with the results. I’ve also made blueberry muffins and pancakes using the flour that is even Jordan approved!

Currently / / March

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Dreaming | The weather is slowly inching warmer (though an ice storm is supposed to be here tonight!) and I’m looking forward to regular afternoon walks with Jordan. These walks are a perfect remedy for the dreaded 3pm energy slump.

Planning | Meals for the week. I’ve been in a soup/chili rut and while they’ve been delicious I need to branch out. I made this kale, rice, and bean bowl last week and it was delicious! What are you making for dinner?

Making | Checklists — March is already shaping to be the month of getting business done: taxes, budgeting & finalizing vacation details, transferring our car title, etc. Last year at this time I was focused on packing for our impending move and I’m excited to enter the summer more streamlined!

Baking | Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars — yum! And the above pictured banana bread granola.

Watching | Jordan and I are marathoning Friends. We started several years ago, but now that all 10 seasons are on Netflix, it’s much easier to keep up. When I was younger I found Phoebe annoying (probably because I didn’t get her humor) but as an adult I find her hilarious!

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/ / Linking with Anne & Jenna.

Shauna Niequist’s Breakfast Cookies

Shauna Niequist's Breakfast Cookies

Shauna Niequist writes on the importance of experiencing and encouraging community around the table in Bread & Wine. I assumed the recipes sprinkled throughout the book wouldn’t align with my current food restrictions. You can’t imagine my excitement when I realized Shauna’s family eats primarily gluten-free.

I find it easy to omit/substitute dairy, but converting a fully gluten based recipe to gluten-free isn’t quite the same. I finished reading with a long grocery list ready to tackle many of the dishes!

Continue reading “Shauna Niequist’s Breakfast Cookies”

Weekend Links / / Snowed In

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After dropping Jordan off at the airport on Saturday night for a work trip, I wanted to hit the ground running. I filled my calendar with dinner and coffee dates and had lofty intentions to get a good chunk of our taxes prepped and organized, register our license plates, run errands, etc…and then the snow began to fall on Nashville. I am used to extreme weather, but Chicago has the infrastructure to handle it. Nashville simply does not! The lack of snow plows and salt trucks pose a real threat to the safety of the locals.

The weather (affectionately dubbed #snowbama) rearranged my work schedule and nearly wrecked my car as I tried to get to work. After all this, I’m wiped out! I am so ready to sleep-in tomorrow and pick up my much missed husband from the airport!

I haven’t read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, but I stumbled upon her blog while browsing Bloglovin’. “The reward of loving is in the loving; loving is itself the great outcome of loving.” How Real People Really Make Love. Sacrifice, comfort, and choosing each day to be present with one another is real love.

As I near 30, more of my friends have become parents. It’s special witnessing someone become a parent, but then the separation begins. The separation between moms and not moms and moms and adoptive moms…and the rest of us. It’s not always easy being on the sidelines. Sally beautifully shared that she is no more of a mom than the rest of us.

Gluten-free baking isn’t as easy as replacing all-purpose flour with a one-to-one ratio. I don’t have the cabinet space to keep a lot of different flour obligations handy. I’m excited about these pancakes and waffles that only use oat flour. Kate’s advice to freeze some extras to eat during the week is perfect for me since I have to eat breakfast on the go a lot! I love breakfast food.

The perfect solution for hanging miscellaneous pictures and prints. This would also be a great solution for greeting cards! I’m pretty sure I saw something similar floating around during the holidays, but I love how Samantha made this washi tape gallery wall so simple.

..And Kristen Schaal for the win! #manspreaders

Happy Weekend, all!

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/ / Linking with Meagan.

Weekend Links / / Yes, Please

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“Good for you, not for me.”

I FINALLY finished reading Amy Poehler’s memoir Yes, Please. Well, actually I listened to the audiobook… and besides the Harry Potter books, this was by far the most enjoyable audiobook I’ve listened to. In addition to Amy herself, special guests (her parents, Seth Meyers, etc) read certain chapters while Amy interacts with them – – it feels like radio theater! Amy is funny, open, and humble about her successes and failures.

The chapter designated to her life motto, “Good for you, not for me.”  has stayed with me. It’s a good reminder to affirm the decisions of others, while also being okay saying, “…not for me.”

This one-pot spicy egg and potato dish was a hit in our house. I’m not a vegetarian (give me all the bacon!) but a lot of the meals I’ve been drawn to lately don’t include meat. During my transition to a gluten and dairy-free diet, I’ve found soup, stews, and chili’s to be the easiest. Jordan can easily add cheese if he wants it.

I love when Chelsea includes gifs in her blog posts. I was chuckling to myself while reading, 10 (more) lies every girl tells herself. Especially #8 and #9.

“However bad life may seem. Where there is life, there is hope.” – – Stephen Hawking

Tracy shares simple text and quotes on pictures every week or so and while the sayings might seem cliché, I can afford to hear some positive affirmations in my life!

How am I just realizing macarons are gluten-free? Now that I know they are made from almond meal, I’m bummed I didn’t seek them out when we were in ParisBeth’s recipe actually seems doable, but let’s be honest, I’ll most likely stick to the Whole Foods variety. The macarons paired quite nicely with my new Teavana Winterberry tea  — a strawberry flavored green tea. Yum!

Happy Weekend, all!

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/ / Linking with Meagan.

A Short Cookie

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Jordan and I had dinner with friends last week. You know you are blessed with great friends when they accommodate dietary restrictions without batting an eye. We brought dessert and I debated for a while about what to make.

I love cookies. They are my favorite dessert; you won’t have to ask me twice if I want a cookie. 🙂 I’ve baked a few gluten-free cookies and they’ve been okay, but not amazing. There are so many flour varieties to play with and I don’t feel I’ve found the right combination yet.

All of a sudden I remembered no-bake cookies. I didn’t grow up with these cookies, but they were made regularly in Jordan’s home. No-bake cookies consist of oats and peanut butter, while not exactly allergen free, they hit all of my requirements! The bonus is, you don’t need any special flours or ingredients.

Ingredient

1 stick of butter (could sub coconut oil to keep it completely dairy-free)
2 cups sugar*
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/2 cup of milk (I used almond milk)
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put above ingredients through milk in a pan and stir until butter is melted. Then bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add the peanut butter and vanilla. Mix in oats to consistency (3-4 cups depending on how wet you want the dough to be).

Drop onto foil sheets until cooled. Store in an airtight container.

*I searched for a slightly healthier version and found one that used honey instead of sugar. Jordan requested his moms version (it was nice to bite into a familiar cookie) but next time I’d like to try this variety.

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Gluten-Free On The Go

Gluten-Free On The Go

Right before Thanksgiving, I began eating gluten-free. You might remember that I stopped consuming dairy in the spring (with a few lapses here and there) and had a really hard time adjusting. I thought limiting another food group would really complicate my life. It’s interesting though because by removing cheese, the shift towards less gluten had already started.

Preparing gluten-free meals at home wasn’t my main concern. I was a bit baffled on what I would eat at work or as a quick on-the-go snack. I can’t rely on buying a breakfast sandwich if I forget my lunch, but I also don’t want to eat leftover chicken and potatoes at 10 in the morning.

Over the last few months I’ve honed in on the best quick and easy gluten-free snacks/meals. When I am in a hurry and don’t have time to prepare a full mea, I reach for one of these!

Gluten-free waffles / / Seriously guys, these are a life-saver. I either purchase the Trader Joe’s brand or Van’s, which I find at Kroger. They are low in sugar and only 100 calories a waffle. They are my toast substitute, so I might layer them with peanut butter or make an egg breakfast sandwich. These are the only gluten-free “bread” swap I keep on hand.

Kind, Luna, or Lara Bars / / I always keep a stash in my bag/car as a backup incase we are out and about and I can’t find any alternative. When I open at work, I always start my day with a bar. It’s quick and simple, which is exactly what I need at 4 am. The Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Lara Bar is my current favorite.

Hummus / / When I have access to a fridge, I bring hummus with me. It’s delicious and filling! Hummus is also the perfect appetizer to bring to a party. It’s allergy friendly and pairs perfectly with vegetables and chips.

Quick Cooking Oats / / I eat oatmeal almost every work day. Quick cooking outs are rolled oats that have been chopped into smaller pieces so they cook in about five minutes. McCann’s is my favorite brand, but I’ve found similar options at Trader Joe’s or even Aldi’s. McCann’s doesn’t claim to be gluten-free (oats are technically GF, but it’s whether or not the plant prepares other foods), so if you have a severe allergy you might need to look into their manufacture plant specifics. I mix my oats with fruit (dried or fresh) and a bit of honey.

Rice Cakes / / Banana, honey, and peanut butter sandwiches are one of my favorite combinations. Surprisingly, rice cakes work great as an alternative to bread for this sweet, salty, and crunchy snack.

Granola / / When I make a batch of granola, I bring it to work with me and eat it like trail mix. Sometimes I’ll add almond milk, but that isn’t necessary.

Do you have any GF snacks to add? Please share, I’d love to hear!

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Currently / / January

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Planning / / Jordan and I spent January 1st going over vacation and concert plans for the year. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but 2015 is already looking to be a fun-filled year!

Hoping / /  My skin and I have been fighting an uphill battle with one another for over two years and it’s been extremely frustrating trying to resolve the problem. To help with some scarring, I had a facial last week and I’m beginning to see results. I hope my skin continues to heal and respond well to all of the dietary changes I made last year. There better be a good reason I gave up my beloved grilled cheese sandwiches! 😉

Baking / / I am not baking nearly as much since giving up gluten, but I still make granola regularly. It’s so handy for a quick snack or breakfast.

Wearing / / This long sweater from Abercrombie & Fitch. It’s like wearing a blanket, but far more stylish. Thankfully, Abercrombie & Fitch stopped putting their logo on everything and I’ve really been able to find great pieces. It’s not the same A&F I grew up with and I like it!

Resolving / / That I need to focus less on circumstances outside of my control.

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/ / Linking with Anne and Jenna.