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Mediterranean Summer Salad

Long time no see! The last few months since I started my new job I have been trying to play catchup in life and have not been very inspired to cook. This usually happens when I start a new employment until I start to get into a routine. But as of late I’ve been eating out a lot and finally am getting sick of it. So now I’m creating. 🙂
Last night I threw together an experiment and hoped for the best. Thankfully it was a winner! 😀 Thankfully it’s really easy to make as well. The flavors in this salad are perfect for summer as it’s very fresh and light. This dish was inspired by a conversation about the Mediterranean Diet someone at work has been on lately. I think I might look more into it!

I call for “cans of”, but if you want to put in the extra time to cook your garbanzo beans I made mine in a “beyond rice, cooker” crockpot so it could soak for 3-4 hours and then cook for a minimum of 3 hours. I cooked mine in water, pink hymilian salt, and dropped a vegetable bouillon cube in for added protein and flavor.
Give it a try and plan a picnic on a beautiful day. I paired this with red lentils and green beans. Rinse and cook red lentils in chicken broth for 10 minutes, adding onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and 1/2 – 1 tsp dried thyme. Once cooked, add in cooked and drained green beans, and a little olive oil and that’s it. It packs a lot of protein in these two dishes and no meat had to be thawed (which is the main reason I barely eat meat…lack of planning lol!)
So now on to the recipe! 🙂

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Mediterranean Summer Salad

Ingredients:
• 1 can Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 can black olives, drained and sliced
• 1 can artichoke hearts, drained (I got the ones in water to cut the cost)
• 1/4 – 1/2 red onion, diced
• 1 green onion, diced
• Lemon zest of 1 lemon
• Juice of 1/2 a lemon
• Olive Oil to coat (3-5 Tbs)
• 1 Tbs Italian seasoning
• Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and marinate in the fridge overnight. It will taste good when freshly made, but even better if you marinate it.
Serves 4-6

I hope you are enjoying the beautiful spring and cooking fresh homemade meals. It really is an investment to your health to cook instead of eating out. I just feel better when I know what goes into my food instead of hoping I don’t get sick from an ingredient someone forgot to tell me, or cross contamination.
Also a recent change to my diet, I have been off corn for almost six months now if not longer, and cheating doesn’t even appeal to me anymore. It really made a difference in my digestion. When I ate corn it was organic as much as possible, and even that bothered me. Now I am starting to cut out nightshades too. I do notice when I eat potatoes on how much it effects my alertness and pain levels. Potatoes are my #1 comfort food too. But I do want to feel even better than I have been and hopefully one day the weather changes will not effect me as much as it does.
Look forward to more creations coming up and fresh meal ideas.
Thank you also for hanging in there while my life was put on hold.

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Porcupine Meatballs (no road kill was used in this recipe…)

I had tasted this recipe on Sunday at a friends house and usually I bring my own food but I had been eating mine the last few days so I was open to something different. When I ask my friends “what’s all in it” usually a few key ingredients get missed and I end up hurting.
I think I asked my friend 2-3 times before eating it to be sure the story was straight. So I gave one a try. They were sooo good! So I asked again so I can copy down the recipe and when she said tomato soup instead of sauce my eyes got real big! Uh oh! But she just miss spoke and it was really sauce. (I’m sure not all ingredients used were completely GF cuz I did notice some stomach cramping, but I lived).
After asking the last (probably 6th time by now) what all was in it, she finally found the recipe card and I snapped a few pics. Yea!
So here’s the recipe. It’s pretty easy. Probably 45 minutes from start to finish. Or an hour if you include cleanup.
I’m all for quick and easy! Even though my back feels like I was standing in the kitchen for 2 hours…makes it hard for me to enjoy cooking with my defects!
For some reason I enjoy baking more than cooking, maybe less chopping? But I barely bake anymore because I’ve been avoiding sugar.
Which do you prefer? Cooking or baking? Is it possible to like to both? Let me know in the comments which you prefer more? That way I can also add more of those recipes to my page. 😉
Enjoy!

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Porcupine Meatballs
• 1/2 Cup Jasmine Rice
• 1/2 Cup water
• 1/3 Cup diced onions
• 1/4 tsp celery seed
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1/8 tsp pepper
• 1/8 tsp GF garlic powder (or a few cloves fresh pressed garlic).
Side note: I’m thinking this recipe needs an herb, but can’t decide which to use. Parsley? Rosemary? Basil? Any of them would deepen the flavor for sure. About 1/2 tsp.
Also refrigerating over night would really enhance the flavor of these little porcupine balls.

—————-
• 1 Pound Lean Ground Beef
—————-
For Sauce:
• 1 (15 oz) can GF tomato sauce
• 1 cup water
• 2 TBS brown sugar
• 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins brand is Gluten Free).

The Steps:
1) Preheat oven to 400°F

2) Mix the first 7 ingredients together and let sit for 5-10 minutes to let the rice soak up some water or the rice will be crunchy when it’s finished.

3) Then add to the above mixture:
1 pound lean ground beef (preferably grass fed).
Mix together with hands until all incorporated. Roll into 1-1/2″ balls.

4) Heat 2 TBS coconut oil in a large skillet on medium heat and drop 1-1/2″ round meatballs in heated oil until brown on all sides.

5) In separate bowl mix all the ingredients for the sauce together until incorporated.

6) Using a 9″x9″ or 9″x13″ pan (depending how big your meatballs turned out). Transfer all cooked meatballs into this dish and pour tomato sauce mixture over top.
Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turning and basting with the tomato sauce after 15 minutes.

7) Remove from oven and check the center to be sure they are cooked all the way through. Then serve over rice, GF pasta, or whatever your heart desires.

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Spicy Tortilla Soup

Tis the season for a warm soup! One of the reasons I love autumn is because it’s a great excuse to make SOUP! I am totally a soup person. I hated breakfast foods when I was a teen, so I would eat Campbell’s select chicken noodle for breakfast. And ya, I was hungry like 1 hour later. Haha.
This soup is gluten free and very hearty. I served this Sunday and most my friends made soup or chili too. We all had that look on our face like we barely ate but were sooo full! I ate mine with my Organic non-GMO white corn chips and they had their Juanita’s. They asked why I brought my own….umm…everything about Juanita’s chips are tainted! To each his own. :-p
This soup got the crowd approval, so it’s edible. I hope you try it, it can be made in the crockpot too. If you use canned beans then you don’t have to cook as long, 20-30 minutes to simmer is fine. I wish I had more chicken to work with but there were only 2 rotisserie chickens left; small or smaller. 😦 I had run all over town Saturday to get my stuff I between errands and avoiding car wrecks on the freeway. No greater joy then hitting every red light it town! :-p
I hope you try it out. Enjoy!

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Tortilla Soup

• 1 lb. dried black beans, rinsed
• 6 cups Chicken stock
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 2 ribs celery, chopped
• 3 carrot, finely chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, pressed
• 2 tsp. cumin
• 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
• 2 bay leaves
• 3 T. tomato paste
• salt to taste (about 3/4 – 1 tsp)
• 1/2-1 tsp pepper
• 1 rotisserie chicken, de-boned and shredded
• Cilantro, chopped for topping
• Cheese for topping (I use almond cheese)
• Tortilla chips

How To:
Cover and soak beans overnight, or bring to boil and then turn off stove and soak for 1 hour. Drain. (Or cheat if in a time crunch and use 2-3 15oz cans rinsed and drained)
Add chicken stock, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, cumin, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves. Bring to boil and simmer gently about 1 hour.
Stir in tomato paste, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
Simmer another 30-45 minutes, till beans are cooked through. Add chicken.
Remove bay leaves.
Serve topped with cilantro and cheese and tortilla chips.

*Note* I usually add more veggies than called for because I like a nice chunky soup to dip my chips in. 🙂

 
 

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Protein Breakfast Scramble: Part 2

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So yesterday I FINALLY got to talk to my new naturopath doc. I am really hopeful this guy can help me get better. After an hour and a half “history” of my health problems he’s scheming up different ways to go about this. And the fact that he is allowing me to have 1 cup of coffee a day and to eat my dark chocolate means he will live another day. Lol!
The last few days I have been getting some raging headaches from trying to quit coffee and I don’t normally get headaches. So for now I’m gonna follow the doctors orders and drink my coffee. :-}
He also explained why my deep leg pains and the SUPER Sensitivity I’ve been having where it literally hurts to wear clothes (but they are kinda necessary!). It’s called “Central Sensitization” and it totally makes sense! (Is that too much senses for one sentence?). All my senses except sight (cuz I’m super blind) are pretty heightened. I’m a big texture person, smells bother me more than a pregnant lady, sounds and light bother me a lot and all those tend to make my pain worse. For a while I thought I might be autistic because I know that’s what they deal with too. But I am not.
Anyway. He also said I need more fat in my diet because it helps feed the brain. Healthy fats, not saturated fats. So I am experimenting…
This is a basic recipe I embellished today from this post.
Wanna know what is under this layer of dairy free jalapaño cheese? Just keep reading.

Ingredients:

• 1/2 onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, smashed
• 1 Tbs olive oil
• 7 oz. cooked black beans (half a can rinsed and drained).

Sauté all those ingredients together until onions are done. The sprinkle in:

• smoked paprika
• sea salt & pepper
• ground curry (I thought I grabbed the cumin. Haha)
• ground Turmeric
• dash of ground cayenne

Mix that all together and add 3 eggs, bacon bits, and a handful of washed fresh spinach.
Cook until eggs are done.

Shred dairy free cheese and add on top. Cook until “cheese” is melted.
I used Lisanatti brand Jalapaño jack cheese.

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It really does not smell very good to me. But the taste? OH MY GOODNESS! I could have eaten the whole thing to myself. 🙂
It serves two. Maybe I am two people?? 😉

So go ahead and try it out if you are adventurous. It really is D-lish! 😀

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I can’t believe this month went by so fast! I have been so sick lately with stomach issues and then my normal stuff x10 so it’s not been a fun one. I have had no motivation to cook or anything lately and basically been living on raw veggies and hummus. One good thing out of all this is that by no mental effort, I’ve hit my goal weight. (Sorry if that offends anyone!) So I’m happy about that, but I wish my stomach would cooperate! I still have a bunch of tests to run to figure out the problem. Sometimes I feel like a genetic defect and they should just start over and hit the reset button!
I have a feeling my diet will be changing drastically in the next few months, so there might be some yummy recipes coming. (Here’s hoping!)
I mentioned in my last post that I was going to try a kale basil hummus…and it was not that tasty, so I’ll spare you from trying it too. I think mainly my beans weren’t cooked enough and the consistency was not great (I cooked mine in the pressure cooker). But this one is great and two of my co-workers were loving it today. 😀
I’m also glad it’s payday week because I just had to clean out my veggie drawer that wasn’t looking too happy. 😦
So here’s the recipe, now back to being conformed to my work chair another 5 hours.

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
• 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
• 3-4 cups cooked garbanzo beans (chick-peas), drained
• 1/3 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
• 1/4 – 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1 red pepper seeded, chopped & roasted (I did mine in a toaster oven on broil)
• 1/2 tsp salt (if using dry beans, 1/4 tsp if using canned)
• 1/4 tsp dried parsley
• 1/4 cup olive oil (add however much you like for consistency)
• 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
• 1/8 tsp cumin

How to:
– To prepare garbanzo beans in pressure cooker, add 7 cups of water/chicken broth to 2-2.5 cups dry (rinsed) beans.
– Seal top, and cook according to your pressure cookers instructions for 25-30 minutes.
– Rinse, de-seed and cut in large chunks your red pepper and put on broil until it’s looking roasted. Maybe 15 minutes? I didn’t put mine right next to the heat so it could take less time, just keep checking it.
– Once all that is ready, drain beans, peel garlic, juice lemon, dump all ingredients and spices in food processor except oil.
– Turn on to low setting until it’s starting to look smooth.
– Turn up to high setting and drizzle in olive oil from the opening in lid until it starts to get the consistency you like.
– Taste test to see if it needs tweaking, then either refrigerate for an hour to enhance flavor, or devour and leave no trace behind. 😉

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I hope you are having a great week and leave any suggestions for hummus experiments in the comments or yummy ones you have tried. 🙂 Thanks!

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Zuppa Toscana DF (Olive Garden Dupe)

Now that it’s coming close to Autumn it’s time for some soup! I love soups so much cuz it’s a one dish meal. I don’t have the time or energy to put a full meal on the table every day.
When I was at my parents house we had 4 people making dinner (3 1/2 with my gma who has Alzheimer’s) and we got a lot done! I made fried zucchini, my mom made fruit salad and fresh picked green beans, my dad made an awesome flank steak. And everything gluten free. Yea! I’ll have to get my dad’s marinade…olive oil and a bunch of fresh spices from their garden.
So now that I’m back home, there’s no one to help…I have to feed myself. Today was a bad fibromyalgia day too. Spent my Labor Day in a full flare up and a tension headache. If only I could have a (discrete) sumo wrestler walk on my back I’d feel soo much better!!
Somehow I managed to make this soup tonight. Glad I finally did it, purple kale was losing it’s purple!
I’ve had to throw out so much F&V this summer cuz I just have no energy to cook. Hopefully I can get back on track soon!
I need to get to bed so I’ll stop jabbering and give up the recipe.
This tastes JUST like (if not better) Olive Gardens Zuppa Toscana. It was one of my favs when I used to eat there. This version has a LOT of flavor.
Try it…you’ll like it! 😉

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Ingredients:
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled & diced
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
6 C. Chicken stock
3 cloves minced garlic
4 yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed, skins left on, cut into large chunks
1 can white beans (I used great northern), drained and rinsed
1 tsp. Worcestershire
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 slices bacon chopped
1 Hormel natural selects turkey sausage. Chopped
4 C. Purple kale
2 C. cashew cream (1 c. cashews, 1 1/2 C. water and 2 T. nutritional yeast blended til creamy in a power blender, if you don’t have a power blender, soak the cashews overnight and do this in a normal blender).
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Method:
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in your soup pot, sauté bacon & sausage. Add the onion and sauté til translucent, about 2-5 minutes. Add celery and carrots and sauté for a few minutes more. Add potatoes and garlic and sauté for a minute more. Add the chicken stock, white beans, crushed red pepper flakes and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil, then cover pot with a lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender. Add in cashew cream, kale and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Makes A Lot!

Blooper: I read too quick my own recipe and added 6 cloves of garlic. I feel sorry for whoever has to be around me tomorrow!! :-p

 
 

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Homemade GF Granola

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After about a year of buying super expensive 11 oz (only makes 3 bowls) gluten free granola at the store, I finally came across this recipe. It’s so easy it’s ridiculous! It’s also subject to your own creativity as well. So give it a try, see how much it makes in the end and then throw your head back laughing at how much money you wasted on “gluten free marketing”. You can omit the last part if you want. 😉
(The above picture is before baking).

Gluten Free Homemade Granola
3 cups old fashioned GF oats
1/4 – 1/3 c extra virgin organic coconut oil melted
1/2 c organic maple syrup (Costco)
1/2 tsp sea salt
Handfuls of:
Walnuts, cashews,
raw pumpkin seeds,
ground flax,
dried cranberries.
I also added a little of chia seeds,
hulled millet seeds (my birds favorite),
and organic dark chocolate chips, but you can add really whatever you like.

Mix dry ingredients together first then add coconut oil and stir. Then add in maple syrup, stir. Make sure it’s all coated, but not soaking. If it’s a little dry add a little more maple syrup as needed. (You can add more coconut oil, but I really don’t like the taste so I use as little as possible, it’s healthy so that’s why I use it).

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes on lined cookie sheet. If you are more coordinated than me you can stir after 15 minutes, but I didn’t and it turned out ok (I’m a klutz). If you have chocolate chips in it you might not want to stir or it will be a sticky mess. Let cool on cookie sheet, then put in air tight container when completely cool.

It’s really yummy…and smells wonderful right now as its baking. :-]

Possible alternative ingredients:
Peanut butter
Almond butter
Buckwheat
Quinoa
Peanuts
Raw Sunflower Seeds
Cinnamon (I just realized if forgot to add this!)
Nutmeg,
Allspice,
Dried raisins, or blueberries, or apricots, or pomegranates! (Saw these at the store the other day and was iffy about it, but a friend had some and they are soooo good!)

If you have other combos you like, comment below, I’d love to see what others put together. 🙂

(This is my granola after baking, I added my cinnamon and nutmeg on top because I have “Sometimers”).

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