Category Archives: Gluten-Free

Fall / Gluten-Free / Personal / Stay Healthy / Sweet / Vegan / Vegetarian

This Was Not the Plan

September 18, 2017

The past few days have been a little trying. I woke up on Friday morning in a bad mood. There wasn’t any real reason for it (well, the perpetual sleep deprivation might have something to do with it), but nevertheless, there it was. Later that morning I managed to lock myself and the girls out of the house after Prim’s dance class; and then naptime, the only time I get to myself during the day, fell apart royally.

Most days during the week I use naptime as my workout hour, so it’s not even like I’m sitting back watching TV and shoving cookies into my face (which is what I would really rather be doing). On Friday though, my 60-80 minute workout turned into a 3-hour ordeal, due to the fact that I was running up the stairs to deal with one or two screaming children every 10-15 minutes. I finally had to pull Lark out of the room and have her sleep in the guest room, which was frustrating since I just transitioned her into sleeping in the girls’ room during naptime. This of course did not deter Prim, who continued to scream and carry on until I finally pulled her out of the room, giving up on her taking a nap altogether. I ended up sticking her in front of Puffin Rock on the iPad so I could finish my workout, but since I really try to limit her screen time (when we’re not traveling) I felt like a complete failure.

On Saturday I got my hair cut for the first time in nine months. I had previously vowed never to have my hair cut in Europe, having been warned by numerous expats (and being a person with eyes who has seen Euro-hair). However, my hair was last cut in mid-December and our next trip back to the US is set for mid-March next year, so that means I would have had to go another six months without a cut. After seeing a friend’s cute cut, I decided to brave it and came to the salon armed with pictures of multiple mid-length hairstyles with long layers. What I got was… not exactly that. In fact, I was so unhappy with it I ended up chopping somewhere between four and six inches off by myself the next day. I now think it looks ok, so whatever. And it’s just hair. I’m actually not really someone who gets hung up on bad haircuts because my hair grows pretty fast, but I have to admit that the whole ordeal was fairly annoying.

This weekend we also had two nights where the girls were up for two hours in the middle of the night. Being up from 3-5am on two occasions in the same week is not my idea of fun. (This is also why I am in pajamas and no makeup in the photos above. No sleep = no effort to look presentable.)

Oh yeah, and my phone fell out of my pocket while I was riding my bike and the screen got smashed. (Like, suuuper smashed.)

So this morning I decided to reset. KC is working late tonight and will be in Dublin the rest of the week, so I am on my own with these two little ladies. This morning I made applesauce from the apples that were about to turn AND I laid down the law at naptime and managed to get two hours to myself as a result. Right now I’ve got applesauce muffins in the oven and the apartment smells amazingly fall-like as a result.

This week is going to be better. Let’s go, Monday. We got this.

Quick No-Sugar Applesauce

makes 3-4 cups

  • apples, peeled and diced (I used 5 Jonagold that were about to turn)
  • 2 thin slices of lemon or juice from half a lemon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • small pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  1. Combine everything in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. If you like a thicker applesauce, remove cover and simmer up to another 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the lemon slices, then mash with a potato masher, fork, or run a hand blender through everything until the desired consistency is reached.
  3. Store in the fridge.

Gluten-Free / Soup / Stay Healthy

Easy Homemade Chicken Stock

February 10, 2017

Here in the Netherlands they don’t have ready-made chicken stock like they do in the states — only bouillon (which I assure you, is not the same thing). And while bouillon is fine for some recipes, for others (like Winter Minestrone), I find that it just doesn’t work well. I decided to make my own chicken stock since I have Winter Minestrone plans this weekend, and I have to admit that while making stock is time-consuming, it’s pretty dang basic.

I used chicken carcasses in my stock, rather than whole chickens, because I make roast chicken somewhat regularly and throw the carcass in the freezer until I’m ready to make stock. I do this with my veggie odds and ends as well, which you could totally just throw in with your old chicken bones, but I save mine for when I’m making veggie stock, which is why I opted to use fresh veggies in this.

Here’s the recipe I used, in case you’re looking to make your own stock and/or wondering what you should do with your old chicken carcasses and vegetable odds and ends. Please note that this recipe is totally open to interpretation, so feel free to toss in what you have on hand. Leeks, parsnips, dill, etc. would all make delicious additions.

Homemade Chicken Stock
Active time: 20 minutes / Total time: about 5 hours
makes about 3 quarts

  • 2 chicken carcasses
  • 2 yellow onions, unpeeled, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 4 carrots, halved or quartered
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into thirds
  • 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
  1. Throw it all into a big pot, cover with 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer and simmer, uncovered, for 4 hours.
  2. Remove solids and chill overnight. Skim any fat that has accumulated overnight off the top. Use within a week or freeze in quart containers for up to 3 months.

 

Dairy-Free / Dinner / Easy Meals / Gluten-Free / Savory / Stay Healthy / Vegetarian

Easy Meals: Tabbouleh

March 30, 2015

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I have this thing about freezer meals — I just don’t love things that have been defrosted and reheated most of the time; so I’ve been trying to think of easy meals that I can prepare once the baby arrives.  Specifically, meals that come together in 30 minutes or less, and utilize fresh ingredients.  I’m still planning to make some frozen things to have on hand (like my favorite cookie dough), but our freezer is small, so I think I’m going to be limited in what I can really prep and freeze.

And I don’t know about you, but when I’m exhausted and have zero energy for cooking, I tend to get into this rut of ordering out and not eating well, which really just makes me feel even worse after awhile.  So a quick meal like this that will last through multiple shifts?  I think it might just be a lifesaver.

This week I went back and revisited one of my favorite easy meals — tabbouleh (or, my interpretation of tabbouleh).  This recipe is so simple and healthy, plus it makes a lot of food and saves well in the fridge — all of which add up to a good meal for post-baby.  You could totally even throw some of the leftover tabbouleh over lettuce, dress it up with a dijon/oregano/red wine vinaigrette — and voila! it’s a delicious salad.  Put a dollop of hummus on top and you’ll really be in business.

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Tabbouleh with Tzatziki (+ Hummus and Pita)

serves 4-6 generously

Tabbouleh:

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat (feel free to substitute quinoa here to make it gluten-free)
  • 1 large chicken breast (to make this veg, omit the chicken and add in cooked chickpeas for protein)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 large red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size
  • optional: couple large handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped; kalamata olives; cooked chickpeas; crumbled feta
  • olive oil
  • juice of 1-2 lemons
  • small handful of fresh mint leaves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cook bulgur wheat (or quinoa) according to package instructions.*
  2. Grill or roast chicken breast with some olive oil, salt and pepper — then dice.  (I roast mine at 350° for 30-35 minutes).
  3. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl, season with fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper, then toss to combine.  (Don’t skimp on the salt and pepper — you’re seasoning a lot of food here!)

*I generally just cover the wheat with 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups boiling water in a bowl, then place a dish or lid over the top and let it steam until the chicken is done cooking (about 30 minutes).  Once it’s ready, I’ll dump it into a strainer and press out any excess moisture before adding it in with the rest of the veggies.

Tzatziki:

  • 1/2 – 3/4 large English cucumber, grated
  • 8 oz greek yogurt (I use Fage 2%)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • small handful fresh mint leaves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  1. Place grated cucumber into a clean towel and squeeze over the sink to release excess water.
  2. Once well-squeezed, combine cucumber with rest of ingredients in a small bowl, season with lemon juice, salt and pepper, then stir to combine.

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Spoon tabbouleh into pitas and top with tzatziki and your favorite hummus.  So delicious!

Gluten-Free / Pescatarian / Salads / Savory / Stay Healthy / Vegetarian

Arugula and Endive Salad with Citrus

January 15, 2015

I meant to post this yesterday and forgot.  I also got on an elevator going down today and forgot to get off, leading me right back up to the floor where I had boarded the elevator.  And I almost missed my BART stop last night.

Basically, my brain is barely functioning at this point.  I keep thinking that it’s a good thing that this baby is literally attached to me, otherwise I’d probably forget her and leave her at Starbucks or something.

I’m gonna be such a good mom.

Anyway, this is a salad I made for my extended family the night of our annual cioppino feast in December.  We have a cioppino night every year around Christmas as a pseudo Feast of the Seven Fishes, which is an Italian tradition.  My mom makes a killer cioppino with seven types of seafood and we all eat way too much of it (worth it).

My contribution was this salad, which ended up pairing quite nicely with our pescatarian feast.  It’s a good recipe for a crowd if it’s a side dish, and it’s pretty dang tasty (if I do say so myself).  Plus, all the ingredients can be found at TJ’s (as this salad actually came about because I didn’t go home to grab anything out of my fridge before dinner).  So head on over to Trader Joe’s and whip this up next time you’re tasked with bringing a salad somewhere.  You won’t be sorry.

Arugula and Endive Salad with Citrus

Arugula and Endive Salad with Citrus

Salad:

  • 1 bag or large bunch arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 3 small heads endive, washed and sliced into 1/2″ ribbons
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (I just dumped the whole pack from TJ’s in)
  • mandarin oranges from one small can, drained, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/4 small red onion, sliced
  • big handful of toasted almonds, chopped (you can also buy the toasted sliced almonds at TJ’s and use those — the honey roasted ones would probably be delicious in this)
  • bleu cheese crumbles

Dressing:

You have a few options with the dressing here.  I’d recommend a standard champagne vinaigrette (equal parts champagne vinegar and olive oil + salt and pepper, or Girard’s makes a nice one).  I ended up using TJ’s Champagne Pear Vinaigrette and adding a little red wine vinegar + salt and pepper to cut down on the sweetness.  A sherry or red wine vinaigrette with a little dijon and honey added might work well also.

  1. You know the drill — put it all in a big bowl, dress it and toss it to your heart’s content.

Dairy-Free / Dinner / Fall / Gluten-Free / Pescatarian / Savory / Soup / Stay Healthy / Vegan / Vegetarian

Soup Recipes for Rainy Evenings

December 3, 2014

Just like I go crazy for salads during the summer, I love making a giant pot of soup when the weather gets cold in the fall and winter.  Soups are so wonderful because they generally require fairly little effort, and have a big payoff with enough food to cover more than one meal.  Plus, it’s an awesome way to get a crapload of veggies into your body (always helpful when trying to fend off the plague when you ride BART).

I’ve posted a lot of my favorite soup recipes on here already, but thought a recap post might be in order (I always like to have a one-stop-shop for the “what am I going to make for dinner” dilemma).

Sooo, here we go!  (Just click on the name of the soup to link to the recipe.)

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup with Black Beans and Butternut Squash

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup with Black Beans and Butternut Squash

You guys, this soup is the business.  It doesn’t make a TON of soup like some of the other soup recipes, but it’s so delicious and easy to make — perfect for a weeknight meal.  And trust me: you shouldn’t skimp on the toppings!

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Split Pea Soup

This is a great, basic recipe for split pea soup; and it’s another nice option if you don’t want to be eating the same soup for the next 7 meals (it makes about 6 generous servings).

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Not Your Mama’s Chicken Soup

This soup is a little more time-consuming than some of the others, and makes A LOT of soup.  But it’s awesome if you or someone you know is feeling a little under the weather.  Maybe whip up a batch and give half of it to your neighbor who isn’t feeling so hot.

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

This soup is so delicious and comforting — perfect for a cold, rainy night.  I like it with some Grana Padano grated over the top and a big hunk of sourdough bread.  (But really, I like most things with a big hunk of sourdough bread…)

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Potato Leek Soup

This soup is so crazy-easy to make.  And it’s just a little indulgent (not quite as veggie-full as many of the others on this list).  It’s so delicious though, and awesome to make for a crowd.

Winter Minestrone

Winter Minestrone

This is my go-to soup during the fall and winter months.  It makes a ton of soup and is overflowing with all kinds of good-for-you ingredients.  Grate some fresh parmesan on top and have at it.

Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I made up this recipe after being dissatisfied with butternut squash soups that were either lacking flavor or wayyy too sweet.  This soup is a good balance of salt, spice and sweet.  It tastes rich and creamy, but it’s actually full of veggies.  Yum!

Spicy Tomato Soup 4

Customizable Spicy Tomato Soup

This tomato soup is great for picky appetites — there’s a million and one ways to modify it.  Make it upscale with spices and some coconut milk, scale it down and make it basic — whatever your little heart desires.  Just don’t serve it without the grilled cheese if you’re making it for me.  🙂