Posts tagged ‘dinner’

April 26, 2013

Polenta with Portabellas and Asparagus and a salad

I love a meal filled with complex flavors and textures. But sometimes a simple meal just hits the spot. Last night I made Jim and I a simple dish of polenta with vegetables. We both love polenta, and granted, usually when we eat it, Jim’s step dad makes it and fills it with mozzarella and covers it in marinara and it’s to die for! But it’s not the healthiest way to eat it, especially since we’re not really doing cheese anymore.

This simple recipe uses fresh ingredients and is still packed with flavor. It may have been enhanced by adding some marinara, and I’ll probably give that a try next time.

asparagus polenta2

Polenta with Portabellas and Asparagus

1 cup polenta

1 portabella mushroom cap, sliced

1 bunch of asparagus, cut into short spears

1 tbsp oil (I used truffle oil, but you could use olive or coconut or whatever you wish)

1-2 tbsps Bragg’s liquid aminos

Salt, pepper, garlic, to taste

Cook polenta according to directions on the package. It takes about 30 minutes and constant attention, so plan accordingly. Meanwhile, saute the vegetables in the oil. Sprinkle with spices and liquid aminos. Heap veggies over polenta and serve with a small salad.

Simple, right? You can easily add a protein or some Parmesan cheese to the top of this or it’s pretty delicious just the way it is.

asparagus polenta3

And I promised a salad.

This salad is simple, let delicious and accompanied the polenta nicely. It’s light and perfect for summer.

Steph’s Spinach Salad

1 large handful of spinach

8-10 strawberries, sliced

1 large handful of walnuts, chopped

1 large avocado, cut into small cubes

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp orange muscat champagne vinegar (From Trader Joes…you can use any vinegar, though. This one is just my fave!)

salt & pepper, to taste

Toss spinach with strawberries, walnuts and avocado. In a glass measuring cup whisk olive oil, champagne vinegar, salt and pepper. Dress salad.

spinach salad1

It was really a delicious and refreshing dinner. It kind of made me excited for summer, which I never am. Summer heat and I don’t get along at all. But this year I’m actually a little excited about it.

I love summer produce. We have the boat this year, and we plan on taking it out a lot. We also plan on taking Katie to the lake to see what those webbed paws of hers can do!

I hope everyone is having a lovely Friday!

P.S. I lied. I actually made this for dinner two nights ago. Eeeeeep! Don’t hate me.
April 25, 2013

Mr and Meatless’ Thai Noodles and a little update

I love Thai food. Jim does not. I mean he’ll eat it every once in a while, but we don’t go out for it nearly as much as I’d like to. So when I decided to make a Thai-inspired dish for dinner last night, I was a bit apprehensive. I needn’t have worried, though, because Jim loved it. And I think you will too.

thai noodles1

This really is the simplest dish to make. Which is a good thing because Jim and I got home late last night. And honestly, I’m super proud of myself because in the past, after an hour and a half yoga class followed by grocery shopping and returning home after 8 p.m., I would have abandoned my dinner plans and picked something up while we were out instead of cooking. We would have spent more money and inevitably put crap into our bodies that we didn’t want there.

I must be making progress. This new lifestyle Jim and I have been living must be working. That alone is proof of it.

Anyway, I promised you a recipe and taunted you with a photo, so here we go! The update can wait.

Mr and Meatless’ Thai Noodles

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil (you can use whatever oil you want, I just like the sesame flavor for this dish)

1 tbsp red curry paste (more if you want…or less. But don’t worry, it’s not that spicy)

1 heaping tbsp peanut butter

A few squirts of Sriracha sauce

1/2 can coconut milk (I used full-fat for a creamier texture, you could probably use lite too if you wanted)

1 1/2 cups veggie broth

As many veggies as you can stand, cut into spearish shapes (I used carrots, zucchini, little mushroom guys, broccoli and spring onion)

Handful of rice noodles (again, use as much or as little as you want)

Water for boiling

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat. Add noodles and leave them while you do the rest of your preparations.

Heat oil in a large pan. Add red curry paste. Mix it all around and let them mingle for a moment. Add your firmer veggies (carrots, onions and broccoli for me). Let them saute for a few minutes. Add more oil if you need to.  Add the rest of the veggies and saute for about a minute. Add veggie broth. Cover and let the steam cook your veggies a little bit more, maybe 2 minutes. Remove lid. Add coconut milk. Let the milk warm, about a minute. Stir in the peanut butter and Sriracha. If you like it a little thinner, add more  broth.

Drain the noodles and divide them between your bowls. Spoon vegetables and sauce over noodles. Enjoy!

 

thai noodles2

*Note: This recipe is very versatile, and you’re not going to mess it up by changing things, adding things, etc. Jim likes his extra spicy, so he added a bunch more Sriracha. If I’d had some cilantro, I probably would have put some on top to garnish. You could add shrimp or chicken if you feel it lacking in protein. I actually sprinkled a little bit of salt into mine. You could add soy sauce. It’s not terribly Thai, but then again, I don’t think salt is either. I don’t claim to be any kind of an ethnic cook. That’s why I said this recipe is Thai-inspired.

We both thoroughly enjoyed this meal. There was some sauce leftover, so we’re excited about using it with some brown rice and veggies on nosh night this weekend.

A Little Update

As of April 18th, Jim and I have been juicing, eating mostly vegan, avoiding caffeine, working out weeks we don’t juice, getting enough sleep, I’ve started doing yoga, and overall putting our health before anything and everything else. Mostly. Hey! We’re not perfect! And honestly in those moments of imperfection, I’ve paid dearly. For the pizza and alcohol I consumed last weekend, my tummy paid all Saturday night and most of Sunday. For the hash brown casserole we ate all day the Saturday before, I paid dearly. And when I finish this lovely soy latte my amazing little brother brought me at work (and forgot to get decaf) I’ll be paying dearly this afternoon with jitters, a racing mind and a need to run nine miles. My body is losing it’s ability to handle having crap inside of it. I’m healing!

But mostly, I feel amazing.

I have energy. And without a daily morning latte!

I have a clear mind. I have control over my mind.

I have motivation. To workout. To eat well. To write. To work on my business. To do crafts and hobbies I lost the will to do long ago.

I have a positive attitude. Even about this job which drives me mad but is necessary for, well, every thing.

I have confidence. I KNOW I can succeed. At yoga. At photography. At getting my novel published (you know, once it’s finished).  At losing weight. At being a good wife. Maybe even someday a good mother.

I’ve lost 12 lbs.

I’m happy. Content. Looking forward to the rest of my life. Looking forward to seeing my husband tonight, to going fishing with him on Sunday. To my lovely friend Stephanie’s bridal shower this weekend. And her wedding in June!

I’ve never felt so good in my life.

And that’s your little update for today.

And while I’m feeling so damn positive, what’s your favorite thing about life right now? Anything. Tiny or huge. Share with me!

April 18, 2013

Recipes: Favorite juices and smoothie

Lately I’ve been telling you all about Jim’s and my juicing experiences, but I haven’t posted any recipes for you. Partly that’s because I wanted to come up with a few favorites before I posted any. So here they are, just a few of our favorite combinations.  All recipes are for two people. Keep in mind you may have to add more or less depending on the size of your fruits and vegetables. My recipes are just a guideline to work with.

Jim’s Favorite

2 apples

2 plums

1/2 head of purple cabbage

1 cucumber

Handful of kale

Handful of spinach

Wash it all, trim and cut it into pieces that will fit in your juicer (if necessary), and juice away!

Rather than showing you a photo of the finished product in a glass, I figured I’d share with you the just-juiced photo, before we mix it all up and pour it. Pretty amazing, huh?

juicing

Stephanie’s Favorite

1 bulb of fennel

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled

6 carrots

3 oranges, peeled

1/2 head of purple cabbage

Wash, trim, cut, juice!

juice2Pretty, huh?

It’s really fun for me to watch the pitcher fill up in such weird color combinations. In a way it’s kind of satisfying because we all know that the more colorful the food we eat, the better it is for us. I love knowing that such amazing nutrition is going into my body!

Jim and Steph’s Morning Smoothie

No matter what else we’re doing for food during the week, whether we’re just juicing or incorporating meals into our days as well, we start with a smoothie.

2 frozen bananas

1 big, big handful of spinach or kale

1 heaping scoop of peanut butter

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tbsp chia seeds

1-2 tsp spirulina

Almond milk  (to desired thickness)

Wash your spinach, throw all ingredients into the blender and let ‘er whir!

smoothie1

Sometimes we’ll also add a scoop of protein powder to our smoothies, but there’s really plenty in there between the peanut butter, chia seeds and spirulina.

A lot of people ask us if our green drinks taste…well, green. The answer to that depends on what we put in them. Last night I made our juice with a cucumber, a couple of zucchini, lots of greens (collards and kale), and a couple of oranges. The result tasted pretty green. It didn’t bother us, but the if you can’t take such an earthy flavor, add another orange. Or an apple. Apples are VERY sweet. The recipes above are all delicious and the greens sort of melt into the background flavor-wise, especially in the smoothie. Banana is a pretty potent flavor and so is the cocoa powder. It tastes more like a banana, chocolate, peanut butter shake than a green smoothie, but you still get the benefit of the greens.

We’ve learned that juicing is a very personal thing. In fact, we don’t even look at recipes anymore. We just check the fridge and fill up the juicer with things that seem like they’d taste good together. Sometimes we don’t do so well, like the time we put too much ginger in. And sometimes you come up with something you want to use over and over, like the ones above. If you’re interested in juicing, there are plenty of recipes out there. Try Reboot with Joe or one of Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy recipes. They have plenty of inspirational recipes to get you started until you feel comfortable to create your own.

March 15, 2013

Food Truckin!

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m lovin’ the food truck craze that seems to be going around. Gone are the days where you can only find a hot dog or a burrito in a food truck. Now they come in all shapes, sizes and varieties of gourmet cuisine.

food trucks8

Every second Thursday of the month, Sacramento Mobile Food Events (SacToMoFo for short) comes to downtown Roseville and sets up shop on Vernon Street (Roseville’s main drag) where people flock in for a delicious culinary treat. There are about thirty different trucks that make the rounds with SacToMoFo, and about seven of them were on Vernon last night. Jim and I and my good friend, Reanna, took to the streets in search of the perfect food truck dinner. Jim and I had never been to the event before, but they also go to Reanna’s place of employment sometimes, so she was a seasoned pro. We had our choice from wood-fired pizza, tacos, southern BBQ, hot dogs, burgers and, of course the one we had to pick: gourmet grilled cheese.

food trucks6

Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen is famous for their “Hemi” sandwich. I did not get the hemi because, along with some delicious items like mac and cheese, grilled onions and cheddar, it also includes pulled pork. You can probably guess that Jim did order this one.

Reanna ordering all expertly

Reanna ordering all expertly

I ordered the “Prius.” Of course the veggie sandwich would be named after the “greenest” car known to man. It had green apples, smoked almonds, brie cheese and honey between two slices of wheat bread. And, of course, it was grilled.

I enjoyed it. I was half tempted to order the “Hemi” sans pulled pork, but I figured I’d give the offered veggie option a try first. It did sound good, after all.  Along with the sandwiches we got an order of tater tots. Yes, tater tots. Jim and I are, well, kind of tot crazed right now, so when we saw they had garlic rosemary tater tots, we had to try them. We had already made our way through half of them before I thought to take a photo. They were delicious, too, and I’m still tasting garlic this morning.

Garlic Rosemary tots

Garlic Rosemary tots..they look a little lacking in toppings in the photo, but trust me, there was PLENTY of garlicy goodness.

Lastly, and probably my favorite part of the entire meal, we got the s’moreski. It’s like a grilled s’mores sandwich. It was fantastic. Marshmallow fluff, nutella and graham crackers grilled between two slices of bread. I could have eaten three all by myself.

mmmm.....s'moreski

mmmm…..s’moreski…

Don't you hate it when you have someone take a cell phone photo and it comes out all blurry?

Evil s’moreski eaters!

We thoroughly enjoyed our experience…with the exception of the hoards of mosquitos that came out for the event. The food was delish, the weather was perfect, the atmosphere was great. I can’t wait for next month!

December 31, 2012

Carrot and fennel soup

As I was going through my refrigerator last week searching for things to make for dinner, I came upon a realization: I had a ton of carrots! And I had just gotten my Farm Fresh to You box which had even more carrots…and fennel. So the creation of this soup was pretty much inevitable.

carrot fennel soup1

Carrot and Fennel Soup

A bunch of carrots (I had three large and about twelve smaller ones)

1 large onion, chopped

2 small fennel bulbs, chopped

Garlic, chopped (I used about six cloves, but measure on your own taste. Garlic is kind of personal)

3-4 tbsp olive oil

Sprinkling of sugar (maybe 2 tbsp)

5 cups vegetable broth

Thyme (Again, to taste. I just sort of sprinkled a small pile in the pan)

Salt and pepper

1 cup heavy cream

Heat olive oil at the bottom of a large soup pot. Add carrots, fennel, onion, and sugar to the pan and caramelize the vegetables. After about five minutes add the garlic. Add the thyme, salt and pepper and let cook, stirring frequently for another five minutes or until veggies start to soften. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let it boil away for about 30-45 minutes or until all veggies are soft. Transfer in small batches to a blender and whip until it’s all a big pile of orange mush (or use your fancy immersion blender…you know, the one I got rid of because I didn’t think I needed it anymore?). Return it to the pot and gently bring it back to an edible temp. Mix in heavy cream (you can skip this step if you want. It’s not necessary but it sure makes it taste more substantial). Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and a personal-sized baguette (courtesy of Trader Joes…as in I bought it there, not as in they donated it to my cause). If you have the energy, which I did not, make up a nice salad to go with it. Or grilled cheese when you serve the leftovers for lunch the next day.

carrot fennel soup2

I hope everyone is having a wonderful last day of 2012. My day would be better if I wasn’t working, but so far I have no complaints.

Does anyone have fun New Year’s plans tonight?

October 17, 2012

One year down, the rest of our lives to go

I know, I know. I promised you a full report when we got back from our anniversary weekend, but things got a little crazy in the meantime. Jim gave us about half an hour to eat lunch when we got home from Monterey before we were off with our realtor looking at more houses. She had six lined up for us and boy were we striking out.

The first one was…weird. That’s the best we could describe it. Not bad. Just weird. Like you walk in from the street to what is essentially the back yard, with a pool and a patio and a bbq area. We then walked around the other side of the house, looking for the front door, but all we found was a small patch or tan bark surrounding the walkway…we’re talking a few feet from the fence to the house. The door was there, but it was…yea, weird. We went inside and into the first bedroom to the right. It had double closets, which was nice….but in the back of the second one was a door…to the next room, the den, basically. Weird, right? The kitchen was nice, good size. The living space was…big…and there was a little..sunroom? except there was no door, so it was more like a nook of windows…it was…yea, you guessed it. Weird. The master was small. Master bath was small. Overall, it wasn’t bad. We didn’t cross it off the list…not till later. But I’m getting there.

Next we saw two foreclosures on the other side of town, the side I don’t want to be on. I gave it a chance. It struck out. What can I say? These houses were AWFUL. Completely trashed, needed so much work AND priced way too high for us to even consider.

There were two houses in Rocklin. One the owners accepted a cash offer pretty much as we were on our way there and the other one, it ended up they weren’t ready to show it yet.

The last house we saw was in central Roseville, pretty much on the very edge between “I won’t live there” and “I’ll consider it for the right house.” We drove up and I wasn’t impressed yet. It is painted a pretty icky brown. But paint isn’t permanent and it really isn’t a huge deal to me. I just don’t care that much. What I did love at first sight was the red door. I have always told Jim I want a red door…in the past we even joked about him buying me a red door for our future house. So this red door was promising.

Once inside we found ourselves facing a lovely open floor plan, three bedrooms, a beautifully updated kitchen (in the exact color scheme I would have chosen myself) a really cool little den with french doors and a cute little backyard, a tiny bit smaller than we were hoping for, but it’ll do.

We put an offer in that night. They accepted the next morning. We had the contract by that afternoon and I was in the loan guy’s office the next morning signing paperwork. That being said, we’re in escrow! We just had the home inspection last night and there are no major problems. The house isn’t falling down or rotting from the inside out, so we’re moving forward. Appraisal should be next week and that’s pretty much our last major hump. As long as it appraises at or above what we offered, we’re moving forward!

So that’s why I haven’t posted about our anniversary yet. I haven’t had time to sit down and edit photos, mostly. And my brain has been on overdrive. Anyway, better late than never right?

The actual date of our anniversary was Monday October 8th, so we decided to take a long weekend, starting in Santa Cruz for a night with Jim’s grandparents.

Highlights of night one:

Hours of enjoyable conversation with the grandparents

Delicious dessert crepes at The Crepe Place (which won out over ice cream at Marianne’s because Jim hates the crowd and The Crepe Place has an amazing outside garden patio area)

Rescuing a cat from under the house

Grandma’s scalloped potatoes

In the morning, we started south for Monterey and stopped at one of Jim’s favorite beaches, Seacliff State Beach.

Toward the end of World War I, when the country was facing steel shortages, this ship, as well as two others like it were built of cement, but weren’t finished until the war ended. This ship, the Palo Alto, was towed here and settled into the bottom and became an amusement attraction with a dance floor, heated pool, cafe and other such concessions. The company that owned it went broke after two seasons and it was stripped and left to the seagulls. (source)

Its kind of sad, really.  It just sits there, half sunk and stinking like seals and seagull poop. We didn’t stay long. Just long enough to take some photos before climbing back up the 150 steps (yes, I counted) to the parking lot.

Once back on the road, it took us close to an hour to get to Monterey. We settled into our room and walked down to the wharf.

You like my gettin all crazy with my saturation? I think it looks cool.

Ok, real time now. This was our view at dinner. Not too shabby, eh?

It just occurred to me that I didn’t take any actual photos of the wharf. Oh, well. I did get this shot of Jim with our appetizer course before dinner (we had an hour before our dinner reservation and we were STARVED).

I know San Francisco is supposed to be The Man when it comes to clam chowder, but I’m not sure they’ve got Monterey beat. The next day we had another bread bowl from a different restaurant and we couldn’t tell which was better they were both so dang delicious…and different.

And I did get this photo of me trying on a cool mask in a store.

That night we picked up a bottle of wine from a little boutique wine shop after chatting wine with the owner for like half an hour. He was cool, knew his local stuff. We also stopped at the chocolate shop along the way and grabbed some dessert to go with our wine.

Don’t these look delish? Mine were the one with the jelly bean on top. It had peanut butter inside and the s’mores one with the graham crumbs on top. Jim’s were peach and coconut…also in the photo above you can see my dark caramel marshmallow and Jim’s key lime which were eaten before the photo below was taken.

The wine was so-so. A little dry for my taste, but it was drinkable.

The next day we went to the aquarium, Jim’s favorite part of Monterey. We were a little early, so we went to look at the bay and finish our coffee.

Jim doesn’t let me take many pictures of him…or us together for that matter. He gets so annoyed. So I’m going to post all four of them.

The first place we went was the penguins because they were being fed right as the aquarium was opening. This is my favorite shot. It’s blurred because he’s diving, but I love the spray of bubbles behind him and how just smooth he seems to be slicing through the water.

From there we went to check out a few other feedings, including the puffins. The one in the bottom left of the photo below was heading toward the door where the guy eventually came out with food. He sure knew where his meals came from!

My favorites are the jellies, I think. They’re so pretty and so bright and colorful. I don’t know, though. Seahorses are pretty dern cool too. They look so peaceful and serene…and also a bit mystical, like they might not exist outside of a fantasy or something.

The rest of the day we spent just sort of roaming around by the aquarium and resting. We got a couples massage, which I think is pretty overrated. There’s not much special about simply being massaged in the same room. Although I’m not sure what else I expected. Then we had a relatively early dinner, followed by another trip to the chocolate shop.

Dinner was interesting. We bought a living social deal for the hotel, which included a room, a spa credit and a restaurant credit. Well the restaurant was Spanish inspired, so they served tapas, which I’ve had only once before and Jim’s never had. It was interesting. And delicious and we would definitely do it again!

Grilled peaches with goat cheese and spinach and a tomato tart. I didn’t get a photo before we devoured our first course: hardboiled egg with shrimp and something spicy, watermelon with feta and fig and goat cheese toasts. Oh man, I want some just writing about it!

Free “Happy Anniversary” chocolate cake with raspberry gelato!

After dinner was the most special, though. No! Not like that.

On the last evening of our honeymoon in Santorini, we shared a delicious bottle of wine and watched the sunset over the Aegean Sea.

For Jim’s birthday last year, my mom bought (Read:imported) him a bottle and we decided to save it for our one year anniversary.

The next morning we left Monterey around 9:30, got home just after noon, ate lunch and met Kia to look at houses! And you know the rest.

September 25, 2012

End of Summer Stuffed Squash

I didn’t have a garden this year. Our 983 square foot apartment’s tiny little deck had room for little more than a few tomato plants, which we gathered precisely ZERO tomatoes from. I think it was because there wasn’t enough sun on that side of the building. I grew the crap out of some tomatoes on the deck of my old apartment…which happened to face the opposite direction. Anywhoo, just because I didn’t have a garden of my own doesn’t mean I didn’t have plenty of fresh homegrown vegetables from the garden’s of various other people in my life. And as of last night I had 3 different kinds of squash, a couple of sweet peppers, a small tomato, an onion and several garlic bulbs left. Not wanting any of it to go to waste, I decided to throw it all together in one delicious meal.

Please excuse the crap photo. I just didn’t have the energy to get the camera out last night. But you get the gist anyway.

End of Summer Stuffed Squash

Serves 2

1 largish squash (it doesn’t really matter what kind. I’m not even sure what kind mine was. It just came in a lovely bag from one of our employees)

1 small onion, chopped small

1 small tomato, chopped small

1-2 other small squashes, chopped small (I had two other small squashes. That’s why I added them. You can adjust based on what you’ve got)

1 small sweet pepper, you guessed it, chopped small

1 clove of garlic, chopped small

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup quinoa (cooked in two cups water, per the instructions on the box)

1 heaping spoon of greek yogurt (or sour cream if you wish)

1 handfulish parmesan or asiago cheese (or a mix, like I used), shredded

1 slice of bread (I used gluten free bread), broken up into pieces

1 sliver of butter

Seasonings to taste

Cooking Spray

Spray a cookie sheet with your cooking spray and set it aside. While you’re cooking your quinoa, broil your bread chunks until they start to darken and become “toasty.” Put bread chunks into your food processor (or your Ninja blender, if you weren’t so lucky as to get your food processor from your wedding registry) and make bread crumbs out of them (feel free to just use bread crumbs if you want. I like this way better because they’re a little coarser..and you know, all around tastier).

Cut your large zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the innards. Chop the innards a bit and add them to your other chopped squashes and your chopped peppers and garlic.

Put your olive oil in your frying pan and when it gets warm, add your onions. When they start to soften, add the other veggies (DO NOT add the tomatoes till the end of they’ll be gross and mushy) and whatever spices you’re going to use (I used Jim’s step dad’s magic spice mix, which I’m not exactly sure of all the contents, but I know salt, garlic, rosemary, parsley, I think?? That’s all I got for ya. Sorry. You can wing it). When your veggies start looking opaquish, add the cooked quinoa and let it fry away for a few mins. Meanwhile, melt the butter and mix it up with your bread crumbs. Add the tomatoes to the frying pan at the last minute, just to warm them up a bit.

Mix in the cheese. Then mix in the Greek yogurt. Place your squash halves onto your prepared cookie sheet and fill them as full as you can with the quinoa/veggie/cheese/yogurt mix. Top them with your buttered breadcrumbs and bake for about 20 minutes at 400ish. Your crumbs will be browned and your squash will be softish (try stabbing it with a fork).

Sooooo good.

I used the veggies I had in my fridge, and since I don’t eat meat, I didn’t add any. I’d imagine sausage would be good in this if you’re into that kind of thing. I also might try carrots, Jim suggested mashed potato instead of quinoa. You can probably stuff pretty much anything into a squash. Use your imagination…and whatever you’ve got on hand.

Speaking of the end of summer, is anyone else beyond excited for fall? I’m SOOO ready to bust out my sweaters and scarves and boots and drink steamy drinks and eat pumpkin everything. We even already put up our cute little fall door sign.

Isn’t he cute and welcoming?

What is your favorite part of fall? Are you as excited as I am for it’s true arrival?

June 8, 2012

No more convenience eating for me + Tucker turns one

I remember the days, not so long ago, when I could arrive home exhausted, feeling lazy and simply order a pizza to be delivered to my door within an hour’s time. Or I could call an order of sushi in at the place down the street or a burrito bowl from our favorite Mexican place and have Jim pick it up on his way home.

But the burrito bowl has corn in it. And the pizza is obviously filled with wheat flour. And some of the sauces they use on sushi have soy sauce in them, which is fermented with wheat, so questioning must be done before I eat any of it. So any convenience eating I used to do has effectively been removed from my life.

Last night Jim really wanted pizza, so we decided to pick up a frozen one for me at Whole Foods, and get him a take-n-bake from Raleys. Well, after a small meltdown in Whole Foods as a result of their being out of my favorite rice crust pizza, we did some research and learned that our local favorite pizza place, zPizza, carries a gluten-free crust. I called them up and confirmed they used to corn products in it, and placed an order (Jim got his own pizza there…with regular crust).

Yummy frozen Whole Foods rice crust pizza

 

I was a little hesitant at first because there had been some not so lovely reviews about this gluten-free crust from this particular pizza restaurant. Much to my pleasure, the crust was quite similar to the one I had planned on getting from Whole Foods. Was it as good as the crust on Jim’s pizza? No. Was it as bad as the rice crust my mom bought last week? Far from it! I’m aiming more these days for “Satisfying” rather than “blow me over delicious.” I can’t have the things I love anymore, so I have to satisfy my cravings with alternatives that are, well, satisfying.

The gluten free zPizza pie

In other news, I don’t remember if I mentioned it or not, but my favorite Lil Man turned one year old on Tuesday. His party is tomorrow and I’m making a zillion cupcakes as well as his personal cake tonight when I get home. I’m a little nervous, I won’t lie. I’m so tired, I’m not sure how I’m going to get it all done tonight AND get my doctor recommended 30 minutes of elevated heart rate in. But I’ll do my best. Maybe a nice walk after dinner will cover it. He did say walking counted….

Eating (and thoroughly enjoying) his banana…the wrong way

Here are a few more photos for you from the first year of his life. I can’t believe it went by so quickly! It’s weird because the first few months went by slowly as I was waiting for my wedding day to arrive, but after that, time sure did pick up speed!

Me and Tuck at one week old. He was so tiny!

Probably still less than a month old

Love this one. Doesn’t it look like he’s trying hard to fart?!

He was four months old, helping me get ready to walk down the aisle

This little guy sure does bring a smile to my face. I’m so glad he came into my life a year ago. I can’t wait to see what the next year is like and the man he eventually grows into.

June 1, 2012

weddings and allergies and acupuncture, oh my!

My life has been in kind of a whirl-wind lately. And as I type that, I know I’m searching for excuses as to why I haven’t posted in over a week. All I can tell you is that I’ve opened wordpress a handful of times, stared at the blank screen for hours (between doing other things at work, of course) before giving up and closing the window, vowing to try again tomorrow.

It probably hasn’t helped that I haven’t stopped moving in over three weeks. I haven’t had a weekend where I could just sit back and relax and recharge for the next week. Sure, we spent last weekend at my family’s house in Shelter Cove, but between packing and cooking and walking around at the tide pools and the 11 hours of driving there and back, it’s a fun weekend, but not necessarily a relaxed one.

I’m not saying that the past several weeks haven’t been good either. They, for the most part, have been very good. Last Wednesday I photographed my first wedding. (I’m gonna sprinkle some photos in between my text)

It was stressful at times, but it went really well. The bride and groom and their families were amazing. So friendly, so easy to be around. No one was cranky or weddingzilla-y at all.

I had my first round of acupuncture last week, and another one this week. It’s a big thing for me because I hate needles. Hate them. And I realized that the reason I hate them is that nervy feeling you get when they go in. Well, that’s what acupuncture is all about. So I more or less dislike it. I know it’s going to help me feel better, and I’m going to keep going, but I don’t enjoy it. I’m hoping I’ll grow to though. My mom has been doing it for a while, and she enjoys it. Maybe I just need to get over the initial newness of it. I’ll keep ya posted.

And since I don’t have any acupuncture photos to share, I’ll post ya another wedding photo.

I am also kind of still getting used to eating things without wheat and corn. In and of itself, the change isn’t hard. I’ve been eating a lot more fruits and vegetables, straight up. I’ve found some crackers I like and I’ve been packing string cheese and bard boiled eggs to take to work. With the hypoglycemia, I’ve pretty much eliminated the concept of “lunch” and snack on what I pack throughout the day.

What’s hard is making dinner. I’m still experiencing a lot of fatigue, and dinner has always been my hardest part of the day. I can’t tell you how many pizzas we’ve ordered in the past simply because I was too tired to cook (and Jim was coming home at 8-9 pm every night).  I can’t do that anymore. I have to think it through, I have to have ingredients on hand. I need to find some time to make up a bunch of tomato-basil pancakes to throw in the freezer so I can just pull them out and heat them up when I feel like I can’t cook.

Last night after the acupuncture rendered me more or less useless, I lied on my bed wondering what the heck I was going to eat for dinner, straining my brain, like so many other nights recently, to come up with something easy based on what I had in the fridge and cabinets.

I would up throwing together a little “Breakfast for dinner” of sorts. I threw some potatoes and butternut squash into a pan with some olive oil and spices, then added zucchini, onion and peppers once they were almost done. I mixed in some vinaigrette dressing and some dijon mustard and topped it with two poached eggs, 1/4 of avocado and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese..oh and salt and pepper. I thought it turned out pretty tasty for a meal thrown together with only half of my brain engaged.

(this photo looks kind of funny with all the wedding ones. lol)

With any luck, I’ll get a little relaxation out of this weekend, although I doubt it’ll be much. It’s funny because when we’ve had a long string of boring, sit-at-home style weekends, I wish like crazy we had something to do, somewhere to be. But now that I have just that…all I want is to sit at home! Jim and I haven’t had a Sunday afternoon nosh on the couch with a Nancy Drew game or reruns of Storage Wars in months.

This weekend I have to test out gluten-free strawberry cake for the cupcakes I’m making for Tucker’s 1st birthday party next weekend. Then on Sunday Jim plays basketball and we have an event to go to at the vineyard. I feel like I may be able to sneak a few hours of relaxation in on Saturday. Although I do need to go grocery shopping and plan meals for next week, so I don’t end up in a frenzy like I did this week.

I’m hoping that my weeks start slowing down a little. I miss spending time with my blog (and with other people’s blogs! I’ve had no time for reading either!) And sleeping. I miss that too…..

Happy weekend, everyone!

May 16, 2012

Tomato Basil Pancakes with Avocado and Balsamic Drizzle

So far this whole corn-free, wheat-free thing hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. Sure, its tough to get rid of the foods in my kitchen that I bought because I wanted and can no longer eat. And yes, memories of that french bread from the weekend are still fresh in my mind. But overall, it’s a pain in the butt, but I’m not missing the corn and wheat that much.

Granted, ask me again in a few weeks and I may be singing a different tune.

In the meantime, I’m doing okay, and trying to find interesting recipes that can accommodate my newly discovered dietary restrictions.

I was pointed in the direction of Clean Eating Chelsey, who has similar restrictions. On her blog I found a bunch of interesting recipes and decided to give her tomato basil pancakes a whirl…with my own tweaks, of course.

Tomato Basil Pancakes with Avocado and Balsamic Drizzle

1 1/2 cups Bob’s Redmill Gluten Free flour

2 tbsp flax seed meal

seasoning of your choice (I used Jim’s step dad’s, of course. Recommended: salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary)

1 cup almond milk (or other milk of your choice)

handful of basil leaves, chopped

1-2 roma tomatoes, chopped small and dried (I just patted the pile with a paper towel)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 avocado, sliced

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add almond milk. Stir until combined. Add basil and tomatoes. Boil balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and set aside (it will thicken as it cools). Heat a griddle pan (or non-stick frying pan) with a little bit of olive oil. Pour batter onto griddle. Cook each side until its golden brown. Stack pancakes, lay 1/2 sliced avocado on top and drizzle with balsamic. Makes two servings (approx 6 pancakes, as shown above).

I actually flipped these over again to brown them a little more. Just fyi.

This was the first time I’d used the gluten-free flour, even though I purchased it back at Christmas time to take a shot at making some gluten-free cookies for a few friends with celiac disease. I was surprised at how good these tasted. Even my husband enjoyed them. Of course, if you aren’t sensitive to wheat or gluten, I’d probably recommend whole wheat flour. That’s what I would have used a week ago.

After dinner, we went out and played some tennis, and I took Monday’s photo (I know, I know. I’m supposed to take one every day, but I forgot my camera and my phone and I wanted this one for the 14th photo).

Day 14: Grass

I know it’s not grass. It’s a dandelion, but I look at it creeping up through a crack in the tennis courts every day when we play and it somehow inspires me…photographically speaking. I couldn’t get the exact shot I was hoping for with the phone camera, but I wasn’t going to bring my nice camera out when we were going to be haphazardly whacking balls all over the place. Not a smart move.

Day 15: Love

This is a double love because I love my little nephew and I love strawberries! Oh, and my mom in the background. I guess it’s a triple love!

Today’s photo is “what you’re reading,” and you’ll have to wait for that one because my books are at home!