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Dinners

Food inspiration? YES!

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Food inspiration? YES!

I know I’ve been gone from this blog for awhile. It wasn’t intentional, but rather…. I felt a lack of inspiration to write about food. Until recently. I’ve been thinking about food in general… okay, I do that ALL the time. But more specifically, I thought about what about food excites me? EVERYTHING. So why haven’t I wrote anything? When analyzing myself, the answer was simple. I was too busy and too lazy. I was focused on getting licensed at my job, welcoming a new niece, getting ready for my best friend’s wedding and just enjoying life in general!!!

But know what? I’ve been trying SO many new recipes! I’ve come up with a few on my own but I will save that for another time. I wanted to share what I DID try and loved! I mean, I’ve had times where I’ll take a bite and I’ll groan with delight, declaring it’s my favorite. Over and over.

How’s that for somebody with 8 food allergies? A few years ago if you’ve told me that I would have had a culinary adventure while exploring food sans gluten/dairy/sugar/corn/soy/sesame/cranberry/baker’s yeast, I would have laughed at you. Seriously. Flat out laugh in your face. It sounds horrible but it was difficult for me to even imagine enjoying food. Well, guess what! I proved myself wrong.

Here’s a few recipes, or more accurately, links to recipes that I’ve fell in love with and strongly encourage you to try!

http://paleomg.com/peanut-butter-and-jelly-ice-cream/

(I used actual peanut butter… I loved it!)

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/butternut-squash-and-macaroni-casserole

(I adapted the recipe, using quinoa rice pasta from Trader Joe’s- WIN!)

http://www.agirlworthsaving.net/2013/01/paleo-garlic-bread.html

Garlic bread/rolls

I added freshly dried oregano and extra raw garlic to this recipe and it was HEAVENLY!

I found that recipe through Pinterest. I also found another one for zucchini lasagna at http://healyeatsreal.com/lasagna-rolls-vegan-paleo/

Both vegan and paleo! My husband and I were amazed by this recipe!!! I loved layering up both eggplant and zucchini together. And I highly recommend using raw garlic when making the cashew cream. Yum!

Both vegan and paleo! My husband and I were amazed by this recipe!!! I loved layering up both eggplant and zucchini together. And I highly recommend using raw garlic when making the cashew cream. Yum!

But seriously… I found so many more recipes! But I won’t bore you with them all. I take that back. Bore is the wrong word. Overwhelm is more like it. I’m amazed by the options I have before me! What I’ve posted here’s not even… 0.000000001% of what I’ve found. I’ve tried so many more! Invented a few (they weren’t all successful) but basically I had FUN with food. I hope you did as well! Keep exploring and share what you’ve found that works for you!

Enjoy your next bite, otherwise what’s the point?

Now it’s time to go off backpacking and enjoy our new finds! Tip for backpacking- pack bags of quinoa with spices in it. All you have to do is boil water and throw it in, wait maybe 10-15 minutes and viola!

 

I’ll be back SOON and that’s a promise! Not just to you all, but to myself as well!

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Last week, I was all about fall flavors ESPECIALLY apples. I go ga-ga for apples, specifically Granny Smiths. There’s something about the tartness that I just love. So naturally I looked for recipes and noticed there were many dessert recipes. I thought to myself, why not switch it up and make a dinner dish out of it? So I pretty much… thought up flavors I love and just… bought a few things and threw it together. I have a ROUGH recipe so you can do what I did. So I can make this again since we loved it!

What is this recipe? Stuffed apples. Sausage stuffed apples. We used chicken sausage but you could use whatever you prefer. Pork sausage will taste AMAZING in this recipe!

Okay, here goes:

Ingredients

Prepared apples, the "bowls" for this dish

Prepared apples, the “bowls” for this dish

4 apples (I used Granny Smiths), cut in 1/2, scoop out insides and mince the insides into a separate bowl

1 stalk celery, minced

1 TBSP rosemary, chopped

1 TBSP oregano, minced

4 garlic cloves, minced (I used black garlic, a delicious find in a co-op in Burlington, Vermont!)

*1 package cooked sausage (I used Aidell’s Chicken Apple Sausage), minced

2 TBSP olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.) After the apples have been cut in halves and scooped out, place the skins (which will act as bowls for this recipe) and place in a greased glass plan. Also lightly spray olive oil over the apples.

3.) In a medium mixing bowl, place 1/2 of the minced apple insides**, sausage, celery, rosemary, oregano, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Combine well.

4.) Spoon mixture into apples. Try to stuff as much as possible. If any spills over into the glass pan, that’s okay! Once the apples have been filled, pour the rest of the mixture around the apples in the glass pan.

5.) Bake for 20-25 minutes until apples have soften.

6.) Serve with greens (we had kale on the side, yum! Balances out the sweetness, savory and tartness of the apple dish)

*If the sausages are raw, just cut them up in slices and cook until ready then mince as the recipe calls for.

**I used the rest of the apple insides to create an apple crisp type of dish. Yum!

Stuffed apples with chicken sausage

Stuffed apples with chicken sausage

Please feel free to mess around with this recipe! A recipe is never final it’s always up to a person’s taste. If I cooked this for my mother, I’ll omit the rosemary and add more thyme and maybe even sautéed shallots. She’s not a fan of rosemary, not the way I am.

One thing I do recommend: cook within the season. If there’s an abundance of apples, take advantage of it! I’m already looking forward to my dinner on Thursday night which will include butternut squash.

What’s your favorite fall recipe?

Homemade Lipton noodle soup

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I haven’t been feeling well for a few days. A bad cold which left me nauseous, light headed and stuffy. When I’m like this, all I want is broth. Or Lipton Noodle Soup. But alas! Lipton is full of gluten. So that’s out. I cannot remember the last time I had some time. But it still stands out as my ultimate comfort food for times when I’m sick. It’s easy to eat, easy on my stomach and easy to make.

Yesterday afternoon I told my husband that I wanted Lipton soup (for the second time in two days?). He wanted to help me out but also knew I couldn’t have Lipton. So I did my research aka google for recipes.

I found a fairly simple one but it still wasn’t “Dru-able”. So I decided to make my own.

I bought a box of Pacific organic vegetable broth, Thai kitchen thin rice noodle (thin is key here!) and after searching the shelves at Whole Foods, I also found Seitenbacher Vegetarian Vegetable Broth and Seasoning.

I filled a pan with water and let it reach boiling as I cut the rice noodle into pieces with a kitchen scissor (IN the bag otherwise dry pasta will fly everywhere). I filled another pan with the broth and added two heaping tablespoons of the vegetable broth and seasoning and whisked it up. The water was boiling so I shut it off and put the pasta in (this specific kind requires only hot water to cook in).

I drained the pasta and transferred it to the broth. I then let that reach a boil to allow the flavor infuse the pasta.

Now it was time for the taste test. I took my first taste. YES! Success! I felt as if I was eating Lipton noodle soup instead of a mock version! And it’s every bit as delicious and healthier for me! Not to mention super easy to make.

I call this a win, even though I still have a box of tissues with me.

    Homemade Lipton Noodle Soup

-32 oz. vegetable broth
-One package Thai Kitchen Thin Rice Noodles (8.8 oz)
-2 heaping TBSP vegetable broth/seasoning

Cook pasta as directed. In another pot, heat up broth and add seasoning and whisk until smooth.

Drain pasta and transfer to broth.

Allow soup to reach boil before turning it off.

Cool slightly so you don’t burn yourself and enjoy!

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Loving it in Hawaii!

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Traveling is normally difficult when it comes to finding food that I can eat. So imagine my delight at locating Whole Foods a few miles away from my hostel! That took care of my backpacking trip. We came back from Haleakala yesterday (which was an incredible experience and you HAVE to see if you’re ever in Maui!) and wanted to relax. So we went to Lahaina beach and walked around.

We came across a small cafe called “The Bamboo Fresh Express”. Looking at their menu, I was somewhat doubtful since a lot of combinations included cheese. Then we saw a gluten-free option- TWO of them! Either a rice wrap or a rice box (box with rice not a box made of rice!). So I asked the sweet woman who worked there- showing her my food allergy card.

Lo and behold! She was able to create a Dru-friendly Da’Green Pig wrap! A kalua cooked pig with spinach, avocado, jalapeño, honey, tomatoes, etc… It was mind blowing delicious! My husband said I looked as if I was in heaven savoring the meal. I also had a fresh fruit smoothie with pineapple, coconut and mango. YuM! What a way to reward ourselves after an intense backpacking trip!

And the woman? Also from Rhode Island! What a small world! She also commented on the food allergy card saying it really helped her figure out alternatives. Yay! It really does help me out. A lot. Takes away any potential misunderstanding and people often respond better when it’s written down as opposed to listening.

Bonus? Everything was organic and GMO-free! Sweet! A delicious wrap that’s also good for me?! I call that a win!

Then we walked over to enjoy a beautiful sunset on the beach. I’m loving it here in Hawaii. Time to get back to my vacation!

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Aloha!

Irish pride

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Coming from an Irish family, I grew up on boiled cabbage, carrots, onions and corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day dinner. Some of us loved it. Others, not quite so much… When I started dating my husband, I decided to try something different. Irish soup. I’ve found I enjoy it so much more and it’s actually more authentic since peasants didn’t always have beef available to them. Often it was out of their price range.

So tonight, we made potato soup with a few ingredients: potatoes, onions, vegetable broth, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and fresh chives as a garnish. That’s it. Sometimes the simpler a meal is, the tastier it is! I served it with a side of spring greens drizzled with olive oil and white balsamic vinegar. YUM.

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But the celebration didn’t start today for us! We went out to this whiskey bar: Barrel House American Bar in Beverly, MA. I highly recommend it! A huge whiskey selection. I chose a Scotch, Glenlivet, aged 12 years I believe. It was surprisingly nice to have the bartender serve us complimentary sparkling water and ask us on the rocks or neat? I felt like a grown up, although it was more like I was pretending to be one…..

But what truly made it a time of celebration of being Irish? Being with family. Seeing my brother,sister in law and of course my husband. That’s what made it a special St. Patrick’s Day!

Cheers!

My Chi-Chickpea Carrot Salad

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My week was planned out, food wise. Except for lunch. I bought two cans of chickpeas but I had no idea what I’ll do with it. Plain garbanzo beans, maybe? With salt and pepper. Then I realized I had carrots…. Currants…. Spices…. To make the story short, my creative juice got flowing and I now have a tasty lunch waiting for me tomorrow! I snuck in a bite, of course.

Here it is!

    Chi-Chickpea Carrot Salad

2 TBSP olive oil
3 carrots, minced
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup currants
1TBSP chia seeds
1/4 cup lemon juice (or lime juice)
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
2 cans chickpea, rinsed
1/2 cup pecans, roasted, crushed
1 tsp salt (I used Himalayan pink salt)

1.) Heat up a large pan with olive oil. Sauté onions and carrots for 5 minutes, until softened.

2.) Stir in garlic, cook for 1 minute. Add spices, currants, chia seeds, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Stir until everything is coated in spices.

3.) Add chickpeas, stir. Add pecans and salt.

4.) Season to taste. Serve warm with greens on the side.

5.) Enjoy!!!!!

Delicious! Both my husband are splitting it for lunch this week. Yum!!! I love it when I’m able to come up with something tasty while using what I have. Even more so that chia is in it- some people add sesame seeds to their stir fry, stews and the likes. Why not chia? All the nutrients and none of the allergens (I’m allergic to sesame). Works for me!!!

What do you usually do for lunch?

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Got leftovers but not enough? Recreate a new meal!

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Last night my husband made spaghetti with a DELICIOUS sauce. It was red, but it has absolutely no trace of tomatoes! It was a red pepper sauce. The recipe can be found on: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Red-Pepper-Sauce-4658

Instead of hot sauce (which we ran out of and I didn’t realize it when planning meals for the week, OOPS!), my husband used a bit of water with chili powder. He threw an onion, two red peppers, ginger, water and the spice in a sauce pan to cook it a bit. Then he poured it all into a blender and mixed it up.

A tomato-less red sauce made with red peppers and ginger!

A tomato-less red sauce made with red peppers and ginger!

It was scrumptious! Packed with flavor- the ginger added a kick to it. Immediately I wondered how it would taste if I roasted the red peppers first and used paprika or chipotle powder instead of chili for a smoky taste.

We ate all of the pasta. It was so good, satisfying my cravings for carbs yet it was entirely different than your standard tomato sauce. I mean I love comfort food but I wanted something a bit different last night.

So… we have no pasta left but some of the sauce left. Looking at my kitchen, it hit me. I told him, “Don’t worry about it. When we have our leftovers, I’ll just mix it up with red kidney beans and avocado for dinner.” Now this sauce is a multipurpose sauce!

I love it when I can recreate an entirely different meal using leftovers. It adds variety to our meals with half the work!

What’s your favorite leftover to reuse and how do you do it?