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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?

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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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It’s taken me a long time to get around to this. Not because I didn’t want to write, but because I wasn’t sure of what to put in my 100th post. I cannot believe it’s already my 100th! In a way, I feel like I could have written more, but I’m not going to dwell on that. Instead I’m going to think about what I’ve learned over the years.

I started this blog over two years ago with a purpose to share my experience with others when it comes to food. I started off with three “culprits”. Gluten, corn and soy. I’ve made the adjustment to having a restriction free diet to a somewhat limited diet. Only it opened up a new world to me. I became excited about finding recipes, whether it’s my own or from others, that had food that made you forget it was “missing” anything. I’ve learned that gluten is an ingredient that I can easily go without. EASILY. I was fortunate to have a cousin pave the way for me. Olivia found out she was Celiac a year before I found out I was gluten intolerant, so I had a year of practicing with gluten-free recipes. I prided myself in finding food that she would enjoy! I was adamant that Olivia enjoyed her food as much as anybody else. So when I found out gluten also made me sick, I thought “okay”. Then there was corn and soy. That was a bit more difficult because they were in everything, so it seemed. But I made the adjustment.

Coffee is a mutual passion of ours, always looking to try local flavors: grown, roasted and brewed all at this place in Molokai, Hawaii!

Coffee is a mutual passion of ours, always looking to try local flavors: grown, roasted and brewed all at this place in Molokai, Hawaii!

Then I met my boyfriend Alexander (now husband) who easily adapted to my culinary lifestyle. I still thank God that his mother, Laura, trained him to eat the way he did! I remember the day she and I shared recipes (flaxseed bread, to be exact) BEFORE my first date with Alexander. Funny how life works out! He did his research and took me to this restaurant with gluten-free options, Wagamama in Harvard Square (we went to Harvard Museum of National History and Castle Island that day! It was an amazing day). When the waiter walked over, he immediately explained that I had food allergies and was shown dishes I could choose from. I knew there was something special about this guy.

Sure enough, we’ve been together ever since. Alexander was also the one who pushed me to find out more answers when I wasn’t feeling good. This lead to my next discovery: that I was allergic to other foods. Dairy, cane sugar, cranberry, sesame, and baker’s yeast. The first two made me cry. When I read the email that had the results from the allergy test I took, I remember sitting in my car with tears streaming down my face. I thought I was doomed to life without sweets. Without pizza. Without… anything worth eating.

Ecstatic at my rehearsal dinner, the night before I married my best friend at CAV (an incredible restaurant in Providence, RI)!

Ecstatic at my rehearsal dinner, the night before I married my best friend at CAV (an incredible restaurant in Providence, RI)!

How quickly did I forget? Eating without gluten proved to me that there was more to food than wheat. With my family’s encouragement, I made the adjustment, slowly but surely. I was engaged to Alexander at that point, so we had to go back to the caterer and modify our menu. They did this without complaint! We had an incredible spread for our wedding dinner! My sister-in-law Rae also baked the most scrumptious carrot cake for our wedding cake. Baked, yes you read that right. Instead of cane sugar, she used coconut sugar and date sugar. WHOA! People clamored for our wedding cake instead of the gluten-full cupcakes provided. Sure they tasted good according to several guests, but nothing like the carrot cake we had reserved for our gluten-free guests.

Thanks to our guests, our kitchen was also well stocked. I had almost everything I wanted to create whatever I wanted. Seriously. I’m extremely fortunate to have people in our lives that wanted the best for us. My now-husband also encouraged me to experiment with recipes or come up with new ones. I want to say we ate deliciously every night, but that wasn’t the case. We certainly ate WELL, but I had my share of mess ups. Dishes that came out bland, dishes that came out screaming for masking agents (such as mustard, Alexander’s favorite go-to cover-up). But we also had many, many, many and many meals that left us in awe.

My “diet” also led me to a willingness to try new recipes, from various sources. Although I have to say I have a few favorites: Whole Foods’ website, Epicurious, Elana’s Pantry (and ALL of her cookbooks! I’m now addicted to her Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry and Gluten-Free Cupcakes) and Whole Life Nutrition (go to http://www.nourishingmeals.com). While I have never met them, they’ve truly inspired me with their continuous search for better food.

10 years ago I ate whatever I wanted. And guess what? I ate like crap. I’m serious, I had pasta maybe three times a week, with a favorite being Kraft macaroni and cheese. Appalling, I know. Then 6 years ago, that disappeared from my diet. Hello gluten-free, corn-free and soy-free food! My choice in food improved drastically. I still loved pasta, but now it was rice pasta. It was easy for me to boil a pot of water and dump uncooked pasta in it. I baked a lot more. I started checking out farmer’s markets. Slowly, I added more fresh ingredients to my diet. I began to crave the sensation of chopping onions and other vegetables. I loved fresh food. But it was still about convenience at times, especially since I was in graduate school. Then a year ago… all that changed. I still enjoy rice pasta, but maybe once every three weeks? My favorite section of the store? Produce, by far! I love looking at the colors of the rainbow (I don’t mean Skittles). If I saw something I didn’t recognize, I became giddy at the prospect of bringing them home and figuring out what to do with them! Ask Alexander, and he’ll tell you that it’s a guaranteed way to make me smile. That’s one thing I LOVE about living where I live: a few minutes walk to Whole Foods. Close by where we live is also a store that sells only olive oil and vinegar. Can you say heaven?! We recently purchased blood orange olive oil. My mother in law treated herself to a peach-infused white balsamic vinegar.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is, that since I’ve started this blog- and long before that- I have learned so much about food. Not only did I learn about edible delights, but I’ve also grown so much on my journey. I’ve become more accepting of circumstances while refusing to settle for less. Additionally, my health has improved drastically! Compared to a decade ago (I cannot believe I’m saying that), I feel younger and I can do so much more physically!

Delighting in a marble cupcake!

Delighting in a marble cupcake!

And know what’s awesome?

I’m eating a marble cupcake I baked an hour ago, courtesy of Elana Amsterdam’s Gluten-Free Cupcakes!

Keep on delighting your taste buds and please share with your feedback!

I think the kitchen’s calling my name once again…

A quick and easy snack

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I love food. Especially food that tastes great ANd is a snap to make!!! A new addiction of mine are brown rice tortillas heated up on a flat pan, with olive oil sprayed on the TOP, not the bottom. Sprinkle adobo and red hot pepper flakes on it. Cook /toast until golden on the bottom, or crispy. Use a pizza cutter to slice it in 6 or 8 pieces.

It’s my fix for garlic bread. I used to miss it until I tasted this. So easy right!? If you don’t like spicy food, substitute red hot pepper flakes with dried oregano or any other herbs you love. My husband loves this.

I would have it every night if I could….

Oh PS if you don’t have Adobo, use garlic powder and a touch of salt. It’s pretty much the same thing. YUM!

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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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A twist on poached eggs inspired by my brother-in-law

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So this morning I suggested to my husband that we make poached eggs. But do you know what is the best part? The bread you soak up the runny yolk with. YUM. I used to do that with Against the Grain baguettes- tasted amazing! But I haven’t been able to have dairy since March. So that’s out for me (Against the Grain makes their gluten free delicacies with mozzarella cheese).

My husband and I visited his brother and wife (who by the way was my college roommate!) last weekend. We had so much fun!!!! We found out were having a nephew! Congrats again!!!! one morning my brother in law made breakfast for us. He made hole-in-wall eggs using avocado instead of bread. Delicious! And so much lighter which I appreciated.

Taking his cue, I sliced up avocados and spread them on two plates for Alex and I. After poaching eggs, I put them in the hole of avocados that I cut up. I love the gooey mess of poached eggs. After finishing it I realized I still had a lot of yolk left. Fortunately I had brown rice tortillas from Food for Life. I heated it up the microwave for 30 seconds and ripped it up, dropping it in where the yolk was most concentrated.

Heavenly.

I can enjoy poached eggs again without feeling like I’m missing out on anything! Thanks Nat for the inspiration!!!!

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Faux cinnamon buns

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I don’t necessarily miss ONE food- but rather the experiences I had with food. Remember those mornings with a warm and sticky cinnamon bun? Already rare to begin with, but it stays with you. The gooey goodness and the satisfaction you gain from enjoying each bite. Well, it’s been awhile.

With dairy being one of my new allergies, I had to bid farewell to Against the Grain. Mmm… Which meant another search. Somebody had once mentioned a food that was fun to cook as well eat, but what was it? I couldn’t remember.

Until one day I went to Whole Foods to pick up Against the grain for my family (they can have dairy), and as I passed the dairy section (believe it or not), there it was!!! Mochi! I picked it up and read the ingredients: sweet brown rice and filtered water. Umm, that’s it? So I bought a few. They also had one with cinnamon and raisins.

I cut it as directed- in squares and placed them on a cookie sheet. 10 minutes later they were puffy! It doubled in size! So cool to see. I popped one in my mouth. Tasted okay. Now this was the original. Later I tried the cinnamon raisin… SO much better! I happened to have my jar of raw honey out, without thinking I took a knife and slathered it on a plate. Shrugging, I dipped a piece in the honey.

I had that experience once again! A warm cinnamon bun with it’s sweetness oozing on it. I ate it all. All of it.

And I baked some more later that week.

Twice.

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