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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!

My newest addiction

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Paleo food. Not because I’m following the trend, but because it FITS me! With one exception- sometimes it’s just too much meat but I love their recipes. Especially for sweets and sides. How come? NO SUGAR. No dairy. No gluten. So far that fits my allergies!

A very spicy, filling and absolutely aromatic dish. And see the word crockpot? Means it's EASY!!!

A very spicy, filling and absolutely aromatic dish. And see the word crockpot? Means it’s EASY!!!

I’m pretty much obsessed with this blog, I’m sure you may have heard of it: PaleOMG . Just check it out at http://paleomg.com/  . I love how she writes and her recipes. I recently cooked her crockpot pulled pork chili. Very spicy but wow!!! Super easy and so Dru-able. There was her gingerbread brownies that left my families raving over Christmas. Her roasted red pepper and avocado soup with sausages topping? I drool about it just thinking about it.

My best friend Jenn also shared this Paleo recipe for tapioca rolls that’s SUPER easy to make. I made it twice already and I ate the second batch in two days. Actually I’m not sure if it was even 24 hours… It was so buttery and that’s thanks to olive oil. I made a SLIGHT adjustment but it truly was a treasure find by her!!!

I’m sharing this recipe for one incredibly selfish reason: so you’ll have it ready for me when I come over for dinner!

 

Tapioca Rolls

1 C. tapioca flour

1/3 c. coconut flour

1 tsp. salt

1 egg

1 C. warm water

1/3 c. olive oil

1.) Mix the dry ingredients and slowly add in the wet.

2.) I prefer a muffin or cupcake pan and I can make 8 rolls this way. Be sure it’s UNGREASED.

3.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

4.) Try to pace yourself. Repeat steps if you just ate it all and need to make some for others.

 

PS. The rolls tastes AWESOME with the pulled pork chili! If you turn it upside down, it’s almost hollow and you can scoop the chili into it and have a “bread” like bite!

Also today is January 2nd so here’s a belated Happy New Year!!! Here’s to a wonderful 2014!!! I anticipate an exciting year filled with joyous events as well mouth-watering meals!!!

Until the next time.

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!

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?

I found the perfect cupcakes!

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I’ve been craving sweets. BAD. I baked my husband walnut brownies the other day. With white flour and sugar. Yeah, I’m not risking my health for that. No dessert is worth a week of nausea.

Then my favorite blog posted a recipe- check it out at http://www.nourishingmeals.com/2012/10/chocolate-cupcakes-with-creamy-yam.html#more

WOW! The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen is both my favorite cookbook and blog. The recipes are incredible. I can’t remember the last time I tasted a recipe of theirs that I wasn’t crazy about. So when I saw chocolate cupcakes with yam frosting? I had to try it. Just had to.

And guess what? The frosting was the BEST one EVER. I swear. I felt like I flew to Neverland when I tasted my first spoonful. Oh you bet I had more than one!

A grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, …. What more could I want? The perfect to chocolate to accompany it? Mmmmmm now that sounds nice. Cuddling with my kitten will do!

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An Adventure with Cookbooks: SUCCESS!

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Earlier I said I would try cooking 5 different recipes from 5 different cookbooks or websites. Well, I did it! I consider it a wild success!!! I felt AWESOME. I actually had a decent lunch. I typically grab whatever leftovers I have so I end up eating the same thing twice a day often. Alex, my husband, asked that I make a meal for myself to eat for lunch. So I did.

It was an-one-time shopping trip, without going back to the store at all for the rest of the week. No quick trips, which helped us SO much considering our long commute! No more wondering what we’ll cook that night. It was all planned out. We did this last Sunday.

Here’s the menu for 11/4-11/10, including where the recipe’s from:

 

SUNDAY

Fall Vegetable Stew with Moroccan Spice

(Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, p. 258)

 

Spicy Pumpkin-Seed Quinoa

MONDAY

Spicy Pumpkin-Seed Quinoa

(Going Wildly in the Kitchen, p. 155)

Sweet Acorn Squash

(Healthy College Cookbook, p. 124)

 

TUESDAY

Leftovers

 

WEDNESDAY

Roasted Veggie Wrap (my best friend created this, with roasted carrots, beets and onions in brown rice wraps)

Broccoli Pizza

 

THURSDAY

Broccoli Pizza

(Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, p. 57)

 

FRIDAY

Leftovers (We ended up throwing all vegetables left into a soup along with brown rice. YUM!)

 

SATURDAY

Ate out with friends at this delicious Ethiopian/ Eritrean restaurant!
LUNCH

Roasted Potatoes, Shallots, Kale with Caramelized Garlic Dressing

(Epicurious)

 

SNACK

Fruit Salad

Homemade Applesauce

 

My Menu for Week 2

Know what? I loved it so much- Alex did too- so I created another menu for this week! It’s already off to an incredible start with Mushrooms and Pine Nuts (it also has potatoes and had me and Alex raving about it from our first bite! No I’m not exaggerating, I was mumbling with my mouth full and trying to sign while holding the fork). Then the Warm Red Lentils with Coriander and Currants. Wow. Just… WOW. It’s from Vegetarian Bible and Simply Delicious Vegetarian cookbooks, respectively by the way. I love love LOVE it. I’m SO excited about the fruit salad I’m going to make this week- very different from last week with pomegranate, Pink Lady apples, blackberries and red grapes. Ooooo! Why do I have to get full, can’t I just eat all the time? But then I wouldn’t be able to appreciate all that Earth has to offer. Oh the medley of flavors! The recipe that I’m most excited about this week? I will have to say it’s Kale Tart with Cranberries (I’m subbing cranberries with currants since I’m allergic to cranberries. I know! Thanksgiving is coming up and I’m not having any cranberry sauce. Boo).
And I’m going to make chocolate mini-cupcakes with creamy yam frosting. How awesome is that?!?

On the top of it all, I got to RELAX today, along with going to church, getting inspired, chilling with my adorable kitten (in fact she’s sitting on my shoulders right now).
Chow away! But be sure to ENJOY it- and one of my favorite part of it all? I know I’m keeping myself healthy. And it’s FUN! Granted, it takes time. But it’s well worth it, I guarantee it.
Monopoly time with my hubby!

An adventure with cookbooks!

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So I’ve decided to take on a challenge this week. Maybe you don’t think it’s tough, but when you’re busy, it gets hard! I’m choosing 5 recipes from 5 different cookbooks/websites for food this week. I’ve already started last night- I had this delicious fall vegetable stew! With Moroccan spices, can you say YUM?

When I finish out the week, I’ll post again with pictures and whether it was a success or not.

What’s YOUR favorite cookbook or website to go to for meal ideas? What’s the criteria you use while sorting through the bazillions recipes available out there? How do you decide?

For me, it starts simply: omit what I cannot have. It narrows down my options by a LOT which has both pros and cons. I prefer to see it as a benefit since it leads to incredible dishes! My husband and I’ll ask each other if we want meat at all or not. Recently we’ve been going vegetarian, we just haven’t wanted meat. No cravings for it and it has also been making us feel crappy. Not a good thing considering we are both very busy people with a lot happening! We need our energy AND as everybody else, we rely on food for that. I also check my food rainbow chart to see if I’ve been getting every colors or not. Each group of colors of fruit and vegetables offer different nutrition, vitamins and minerals that one another does not. This helps me stay balanced.

I’ll keep you guys posted at the week’s end!

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