We usually have onions in some form for every meal. Red onions, White onions, Sweet, Walla Wallas, Vidalia, shallots, the list goes on, depending on what’s in season, what comes in our CSA box or we grow in the garden.
Onions are an awesome food, with major health benefits like being anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and antiviral. They contain great nutrients like vitamin C and calcium among others.
We either eat them raw, roasted (above), caramelized, sauteed or grilled. They are juicy enough you don’t really need to douse with olive oil, but when not using oil for added flavor, we use it to keep the onions from sticking to the pan or grill.
I roasted this batch of onions and kept them in a jar to add flavor to dishes during the week. We’ve also taken to adding raw onions to our batches of fermented cabbage, adding a strong, sometimes sweet flavor. One batch even reminded me of the little cocktail onions my grandfather used to use in his drinks. (Of course I only ate the ones from the jar, never from Pop Pop’s drink.)
Whenever we’re sick, we make a batch of onion, garlic and ginger soup, it warms you up, clears your sinuses, keeps you hydrated and makes you feel so much better…
Onion, Garlic and Ginger Soup
3 large onions, chopped
3 heads of garlic, peeled and minced
large piece of ginger, peeled and minced
vegetable stock (or water)
cayenne pepper (optional)
Saute onions in olive oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add minced garlic and ginger, saute for another minute. Add peppercorns, a dash of cayenne pepper (to your liking) and vegetable stock and bring to a boil Reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes. Serve hot.
Make enough to keep a batch in the freezer for the next time you’re feeling worn out.
It was 6:43 and the sweet Izonator had awoken. We’d been awake for an hour or so already. My husband blames me for our daughter’s early rising habit. Apparently, I was not an early morning sleeper when I was pregnant, up and eating or pacing or reading at 4am. I must have blocked it all out, I don’t really remember that. Hormones.
6:43 is relatively late for her. When she was a mere 18mos, she was up at 4:30am. Regularly. And I don’t mean as in, let’s snuggle mom, I mean jumping up and down TIME TO PLAY NOW!!! I like to think she’s sleeping in these days.
I have to say that we do rise quite early, a sneeze usually lets everyone in the house know I’m awake. Yes, I sneeze, it’s my internal alarm clock.
On this particular morning, we were up for a while, still in bed, talking and I was on my 2nd green tea refill in my signature Z mug by the time snuggler thumped out of the top bunk, turned off her noise machine and shuffled into our room, climbing into my husband’s side of the bed. She blinked and smiled, pulling the covers up over her lap, scooting closer to me. I put my arm around her and pulled her closer. Love bug. She had Kitty and her Junie B. Jones book about Handsome Warren with her. I know she slept with Kitty, but the books are the things she tends to grab on her way in.
I love books. There are a few stacks bedside and a few shelves full in the other room. I like to read them, flip through them, have them close. She loves books too and I love that they are usually the first thing she thinks of when she wakes up, and they are the last thing she has before she goes to bed. But since she slept in and it was almost time for me to start getting ready for my work day, I didn’t have time to read to her. That’s ok Mom, I can read to myself.
Heart exploded and sank at the same time. How awesome! She can do it herself! But that’s what we do together!! Ugh, there are times when I think I’m ready to let her do her own thing (I want her to, I really, truly do with all my heart), and my first reaction is heart bursting love for my girl, I smile, and inside I think NOOOOOOO we do that T O G E T H E R. So now we all sit together and read silently together after dinner / before bed. I’m totally ok with that.
Anyway, I remember looking at the clock when I heard her pop down from her bunk bed. 6:43. It all seems so clear. I looked at my husband, smiling at me, sipping his coffee. I felt completely, awesomely happy.
After my shower, I came out to this:
A beautiful breakfast rice bowl. I’ve been on a hypo-allergenic food cleanse thingy. I feel awesome. My wonderfully considerate husband completely takes care of me and made me this for breakfast.
I love rice bowls. I never really thought about them until I had been in China so much and realized that I ate rice for breakfast every morning (lunch and dinner too…. go figure).
Here’s how he made the rice bowl in the photo
Hypo-Allergenic Vegan Gluten Free Rice Bowl (can you say YAHOO!!!)
Rice from night before (you can make it in the morning if you want to and have time)
Ground Flax Seed
Grated Fresh Ginger
Pour almond milk over rice in a small pan, heat up until warm and moist. You may have to add more almond milk, the rice is thirsty. When it’s hot enough pour into a bowl, add more milk to your liking, I like mine soupy. Add Avocado and Ground Flax Seed and the Grated Fresh Ginger and Chopped Nuts.
You can do this with anything you love. Other greens, other veggies, any legume, add a dash of cinnamon.
Our mornings are pretty spectacular, amazing conversations, cuddles and good food. We love starting our days this way.
There were four of us in our silver Mini driving back to the ferry to Seattle. In typical Pacific Northwest fashion, it was raining. Not a downpour, but the windshield wipers had to be faster than the mist setting. Per special request, Don McLean’s American Pie was blasting. We all sang along, as loud as we could. (You at least know the chorus – if not the entire song…)
We were heading home after our traditional holiday dinner with the extended family 2 days before Christmas. It was a comfortable way to continue the Christmas festivities. I volunteered my cousin to host (it’s a family tradition to volunteer others for hosting), and she asked us all to bring salads. I got a separate text later to bring my pumpkin chocolate pie, it was a “special request”. How could I refuse?
I do love to cook, but lately, I haven’t been doing it as much as I have in the past. I’ve been focusing elsewhere, and haven’t spent much time at the farmer’s market or the co-op. If I think about it too much, I realize how much I’m missing it from my routine. (And so I’ve spent the last few nights meal planning again….hungry at 9pm, drooling over the cooking blogs. )
There is a slight challenge to my cooking for my extended family of picky eaters. Gluten Free and Vegan are YUCK words. I mean, who wants to eat roasted brussel sprouts (ok, she tried them, but she didn’t like them), other than me? We actually eat them like candy at our house, including the almost 8 year old.
I wanted to eat the pumpkin chocolate pie this year. The recipe calls for creme fraiche, that ingredient is not on my vegan list. My first thought was that I would just make it with the original ingredients and stare at it, not eat it. But then I thought, why can’t I eat it too? I started Googling vegan substitutes, but each of them said, NOT FOR BAKING. ARGH. I felt so defeated. There had to be something that would work.
I stood in front of the vegan cream cheese containers in the fridge at my local PCC having an internal (gosh I hope I didn’t say any of it out loud) conversation, do I bake with it, do I not? I had to move out of the way twice so someone could open the doors and grab their own items. Tired of myself, I grabbed the 8oz container of Tofutti Cream Cheese, turned it over a few times, read the ingredients (it’s an awesome habit – you should do it to), and dropped it into my cart. I finished at the bulk section and headed home.
The recipe calls for 8oz of creme fraiche. I pulled out my blender, scooped out what I thought was 5 oz of the Tofutti Cream Cheese into the blender and poured in 3 oz of soy creamer. Blended for 30 seconds and voila! Vegan Creme Fraiche. I popped it in a jar and stored it in the fridge until I was ready to use it.
I had never had either the vegan cream cheese or the soy creamer. I’ve strongly held the belief that I shouldn’t eat the imitation stuff. I still hold that belief. So until I do my research on a suitable replacement for creme fraiche for baking, I’ll be using this. But I will keep looking….
Not to spoil it all, but I forgot the sugar. I FORGOT THE SUGAR!!! I baked this pie and forgot the sugar. Yes I did. And guess what. Everyone ate it. Sure, there was extra whipped cream, but it was still a hit. I won’t forget the sugar next time, it definitely needs it.
My recipe adapted from Martha Stewart. The original is awesome. If you are into Dairy and Wheat, totally go for it. The Gluten Free / Vegan version is also TOTALLY AWESOME:
We love brunch. Especially when it involves family and friends. Wait, isn’t that always brunch? I think so, I don’t think of this as brunch when it’s just us eating. (But maybe we should – more fun that way…)
We have a few favorite menus for our brunches. We love the mini Frittatas. Or we also call them Frittata Muffins. Instead of one giant pan, we bake the frittatas in the muffin pan. Totally awesome because if we have to, we can make a gazillion different types of frittatas if needed. Today, we made only one kind.
I chopped up the Kalamata olives, sauteed the onions, crumbled the feta cheese and dropped a spoonful in each space. I beat the eggs with milk and spices, and poured over the ingredients.
Since we had been roasting our potatoes in the oven at 425F, we put these in at the same temperature when the potatoes had 10 minutes left (I roast potatoes with onions, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper and olive oil for about 45 mins at 425F). The Frittata muffins take about 10 minutes. (You can also cook these at a lower temperature for longer time… like 350F for about 20-30 minutes – you’ll have to test to make sure they are cooked all the way through)
Brunch was DELISH! Kalamata Frittata Muffins, Roasted Potatoes, GF Muffins with Mandarin Oranges and Raisins and a Fresh Fruit Salad.
Kalamata Frittata Muffins
We’re cutting down on dairy here, so these are made with almond milk. You can use milk, whipping cream (my FAVE! Makes them so light and fluffy!), or even water.
Makes 24 individual Frittatas (muffin size)
1 pint of Kalamata Olives
Feta Cheese (block or crumbles)
1 cup Almond Milk
Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Dice the onion and saute in olive oil until onions are clear (or slighty browned, however you like them) If you are trying to keep the vampires away, you can add garlic. (We love garlic, but with new friends over for the first time, didn’t want to scare anyone away – they’ll get it the next time.)
While the onions are cooking, slice up the Kalamata olives and crumble the feta cheese if you bought the block. Amount you use is totally up to you. We LOVE both of these, so I load up (and munch on the olives while prepping – so buy yourself a few more).
Spoon (or sprinkle – your preference), a portion into each spot in the muffin tin.
Hand Whip up the eggs with the almond milk, water, salt, pepper and seasoning. Add a splash of olive oil. I like to let this sit for a minute, then mix again before pouring over the ingredients.
Pour egg mixture over each “muffin”, filling 2/3 full. ** These will puff up when cooking (it’s the air that was whipped into the egg mixture). Place in the pre-heated oven. Cook time is approx 20 minutes. Insert toothpick to make sure egg is cooked through. I cook until the tops are slightly browned. These do shrink when pulled out of the oven (don’t panic – they are still delish).
** I throw these together. These are AWESOME for leftovers. I don’t use a non-stick spray, the oil from cooking the onions and splash in the egg mixture usually keep them from sticking. Cooked just the right amount of time, these pop right out. These are also awesome for lunch the next day (if you have leftovers..).
Ok, wheat’s not bad, it’s an amazing grain for sure, but lately, has not been agreeing with me. After being pretty sick in May, I stopped eating wheat gluten. I stopped for a few days, then had a slice of pizza and was sick for days. That’s it. Truth be told, I feel so much better. My allergies are 100 times better, I’m not bloated and my blood sugar isn’t dropping out the bottom. Crazy right? Maybe not.
So, my dear, sweet family has been eating less wheat too. They are awesome. We’ve found some excellent rice noodles, and they still taste great with pesto and spaghetti sauce. I’ve got a small stash of flours for baking and I’ve been experimenting (insert mad scientist laugh here) on friends and family. So far so good, ok well there was that one pie crust that was DISGUSTING, and I made brownies from the Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Brownie Mix (I thought they were horrible, but I know a few who have tried and LOVE them), but some things have really turned out well.
Then, the big challenge. Rob’s birthday. And Rob feeling a little put out by the no-wheat food in the house. You know, it’s just not the same (that’s right honey, it’s BETTER!). So I researched for a while, I read a LOT of recipes. Rob wanted something with chocolate and coconut.
I found Lauren’s recipe for Devil’s Food Cake. I have to tell you this cake is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Not only does it taste great, the texture alone will have everyone convinced this is a cake made with regular wheat flour. Guess what, there’s not a drop of wheat in it.
What started out as this:
Ended with this:
Rob had asked me, “Is it?” again, “Is it?”. He saw me eating it and I smiled. “It is.”
Enjoy. Get the full experience on CeliacTeen.com with the original recipe here. I made a coconut cream cheese frosting (oh my). Recipe follows below.
1/2 cup millet flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch/flour
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
5 tsp brown rice flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature *separated see my note
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup very warm water
*About 30 minutes before you start, get the eggs out of the fridge and separate them. Cover them either with a lid or clear plastic wrap so they don’t get filmy. They are easier to separate when they are cold.
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the bottom and 1/2 the sides of each pan. Put a parchment circle in the bottom, grease the parchment. (This is worth the time for success. The parchment ensures no cake will be left behind, ugh hate that, and greasing up only 1/2 the pan, let’s the cake rise to it’s fullest. Some will suggest only greasing the bottom, but I’ve had success with greasing 1/2 way.)
Combine all flours, xantham gum, cocoa, baking soda, baking power, salt and sugar. Sift together in a large bowl. (I did it 2x, sifting adds air to the mix, helping to keep the cake light and helps in preventing the dreaded cake falling in the middle.)
Combine egg yolks, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and very warm water in another bowl. Once thoroughly mixed, mix into the dry mix bowl, until combined, do not over mix, you want to keep as much air in the mix as possible.
Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. (also helps to keep cake light and airy and prevent the dreaded fall) Gently fold these into the mixture. Again, don’t over mix, the air in the mix is crucial, and over mixing eliminates the air in the mix.
Pour 1/2 the batter in each pan, bake for 30-35 minutes (mine was done at 30,), until the toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let the cake cool completely on a rack (if you have one). While cooling you can prepare the frosting.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coconut flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut (for sprinkling on the cake)
Beat the cream cheese and butter in a mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Stop and scrape the sides and bottom to make sure it is mixed thoroughly. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, alternating with heavy cream. Continue scraping the bowl to make sure everything is thoroughly mixed. Beat in the salt, coconut flavoring, and vanilla extract. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and spreadable. Add additional confectioners’ sugar if necessary to thicken the frosting, or more cream to thin. Stir in the coconut. Sprinkle coconut over the cake.
Assembling the Cake
After your cake is completely, totally and wholly cool you may remove it from the pan. Run a knife along the edge, remove cake from pan and place on cake plate. Spread the frosting over the first layer, sprinkle a bit of coconut on top. Place second layer on top of first layer. Spread frosting over top and sides. Sprinkle with coconut. Put in fridge to set if you have time, don’t leave out in the heat, butter and cream cheese will run if too warm.
Enjoy. This has to be one of the best cakes I’ve made so far. And the best part, it doesn’t taste like one of those gluten-free bricks.
I had a few zucchinis in the fridge and have been wanting to try to make some crispy zucchini fries. These were so fun to eat. Super crispy on the outside (probably thanks to the panko) and super smushy soft on the inside. AND, Izzy, the 5yo who-used-to-eat-everything-and-now-doesn’t child, LOVED them.
“EW”, she said when they came out of the oven, “I am NOT eating that. What is it?”
The rule at our house is you have to taste it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it, after all we should enjoy what we eat, mother nature worked hard to grow it and we take special care to make it, it should be yum to eat, right?
Well after the first one, there was the second one, third, fourth, fifth….she ate these before the raviolis. We’ll be making these again, and the best part? These are so easy a 5 year old could totally make them too. It’s fun, all the dredging and rolling and sprinkling, it’s total tea party time.
Crispy Yummy Zucchini Sticks
4 Medium Size Zucchinis
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
a couple sprinkles of your fave seasoning, I used cajun spices, but Italian or anything you fancy would be nice.
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
1 cup of plain breadcrumbs
Olive Oil (spray if you have it)
Preheat oven to 475F -500F depending on your crisp factor (I did 500F)
Prepare a cookie sheet, brush or spray with olive oil, set aside.
Cut the zucchinis lengthwise in quarters, then into 3rds or quarters again.
Mix the flour, seasoning and salt together in a bowl.
Whip the egg whites until they are really frothy, almost until they form soft peaks, almost, in another bowl.
Put the breadcrumbs in another bowl.
Dredge the zucchini sticks in the flour mixture, dip in the egg whites, dredge in the breadcrumbs.
Place on prepped cookie sheet. Repeat until finished. Spray or drizzle sticks with olive oil.
Put in oven for about 20 minutes, turning half way through.
I used cajun seasoning and they were good, I think cumin would be AWESOME, and of course, the old stand by – Italian seasoning.
I used panko, the Japanese breadcrumbs. LOVED them, super crispy.
We really liked the super crispy outside and super soft inside, we cooked them for probably 25 minutes until the breadcrumbs started to turn super dark brown.
I think you could totally make a batch and freeze them after they’ve been coated with the breadcrumbs. I’m going to add this to my “What to do with all the zucchini” part of the year and freeze a bunch for later.
Or this post could also be titled “Pop Tarts: So Easy To Make A 5 Year Old Could Do It”.
We were watching a cartoon on some channel, not one that we normally watch, and there were commercials, and one came on for Pop Tarts. I remember eating Pop Tarts. We’d occasionally have them in the house growing up, but it wasn’t a normal breakfast for us. It was a treat. I know in some cultures or houses, cake or pastry for breakfast is the norm, but not at our house. That being said, there is nothing more wonderful than the occasional delicious treat.
However, I never thought Pop Tarts were delicious. I thought they tasted like sugar coated card board. And, have you read the label? Totally too many ingredients that I can’t pronounce, or have to look up to figure out what it is. So here I have to follow some of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules like:
#39 Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.
Amen to that. Have you made your own junk food? WAY better than the commercial stuff. And I think you burn all the calories while making it and cleaning up afterwords.
#11 Avoid foods you see advertised on television.
This I learned from my mother, ANYTHING advertised on TV is off limits. (except the stuff I do for my job, it’s on TV, and well, I’d buy it).
So, literally, I’ve been thinking about it this week. Totally, sort of obsessing over it, thinking about these big convenience food makers and their role in our lives. (Ok, that’s for another post, later). Anyway, catching up on my food blogs, I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, and well the rest is history. We made them right away.
We rolled the dough into rectangles. Don’t you love my perfect rectangle? Isn’t it AWESOME. Tip #1, I used my large rectangle cutting board as a template. I felt so clever.
We made smaller treats (portion control is important, you don’t need big ones to enjoy them and they are treats), and cut the rectangles down to 12 pieces. I think next time I would cut them into 16 pieces, even the 12 pieces were too big at around 3×4″.
We brushed our squares with egg, then poured our cinnamon filling on top. There are more ideas at Smitten Kitchen, but I really liked the nutella suggestion. For Izzy, since she’s not so into sweets, I need to come up with some savory ideas.
We cut up the 2nd rectangle and put them ontop of the first rectangle and pressed down the edges to make little pillows.
Using forks, we sealed the edges.
Izzy added her designs to each one.
I cooked 4 of them, and put the rest in the freezer.
Sorry, when they came out of the oven, they were gone right away, no photo of the finished product. Next time.
This was so easy peasy. Seriously an awesome project. SO EASY A 5 YO COULD MAKE THEM!! We now have a bunch in the freezer for treats and I think if I can find a savory filling, these would be an even bigger success at our house.
We made our own ricotta lemon gnocchi the other day.
It was so stinkin’ easy.
Fluffy pillows of lemony goodness…
Then pan fried….
Gone in 60 seconds.
Recipe is from EveryDay Food (and of course, I’ve been carrying this issue around with me I LOVE IT and can’t find the magazine to share the recipe, I’ll post it when I can find the link or the magazine.