Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Soaked Oats WORKED!

Oh my, I am SO EXCITED!!!! Soaking the oats for 24 hours then cooking them up super fast this morning worked!  Each boy was full after only ONE bowl.  I couldn't believe it.  AND, they each said they LOVED the oatmeal.  I'm so happy that they like something that's quite healthy for them.  Are you intrigued?  Do you have insatiable appetites to fill?  Are you wanting to improve the food you eat?
Here are a couple of resources that I have read:
Some excellent info at Momnivore's Dilemma blog--she's got several great posts about nutrition
Soaking Grains at the Kitchen Stewardship blog--she's also got several recipes there too
There are many more out there including a book, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.
When I asked Nicolette of Momnivore's Dilemma for some resources about soaking grains, she recommended a few other blogs:
Nourished Kitchen
Food Renegade
Kelly the Kitchen Kop
I haven't made my way through those blogs, but I bet there's plenty of great info to read there.

Quick Soaked Oatmeal
Adapted from Kitchen Stewardship*
In a pot, combine about 1 cup of water (bring this water to a boil in the microwave first), 1 cup of oats, and a bit (I just used the cap so it was about 1/2 teaspoon) of Bragg apple cider vinegar
I bought the medium sized bottle at Target for about $5.  This stuff is incredible!  Check it out.
Leave the lid off for a couple of hours so that the chlorine from the tap water can evaporate.  Cover the pot and leave it alone.  You want the oats to soak for about 24 hours.
Just before cooking, add about a cup more water to the pot. (I didn't measure any of my water or oats, just threw it together.)  Bring to a boil and stir for a few minutes--3-5 min.  Serve.  That's it!  So fast. 
Can serve with dried fruit, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, butter, etc.

*I needed to keep our dairy free.  At that link she explains some of the reasoning and science behind soaking the oats.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Heathier Breakfast and Soaked Oats

My kids eat dozens of eggs!  I'm trying to cut some eggs out of the breakfast routine and add more healthy variety.  I've been reading about the importance of soaking grains before eating them.  I'm trying to fill my kids up more with less food--crazy, right?  Some say that eating soaked oatmeal is more filling than eating today's regularly prepared oatmeal.  My kids love oatmeal and often eat it as a snack.  Tomorrow they will be served oatmeal that has been soaked.  I'm really hoping that they like it.  I say tomorrow because in my reading I've learned that the oats are best and healthier after soaking for 24 hours.  I'll let you know how it turns out.
This morning marked the second time I made Cream of Buckwheat for breakfast.  The first time I made it was a couple of weeks ago.  I made just a small amount to see if the kids would like it.  There was nothing left in the pot after they ate :)  Success!  Today I made it again, made more so that Jaime and I could have some too.  I told Jaime I packed it for his breakfast as he was heading out the door.  I know there was a slight groan.  However, later I got a text--he really liked it and was pleasantly surprised that he liked it.  Yea, double success!!!  Oh, I like it too.  Cream of buckwheat is gluten free and can be made dairy free as well.  I found the cream of buckwheat at Whole Foods on the same shelves as cream of wheat, oatmeal, and such.
Making the cream of buckwheat is very simple and doesn't really take any longer than making oatmeal or eggs.  The 2 times I've made it, I've cooked it in vanilla almond milk to make it sweet (terrible, but I knew that would ensure the kids would at least try it).  I love cream of wheat with some butter on it.  I am looking forward to making cream of buckwheat without the vanilla milk and adding some butter to it.

Cream of Buckwheat--Gluten and Dairy Free
2 1/2 cups vanilla almond milk (any milk or water will work)
1/2 cup cream of buckwheat
couple dashes of salt (optional)
Bring the milk to a boil, add the cream of buckwheat and salt, stir, bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir frequently for about 10 minutes.
I serve it with some walnuts, dried fruit, and cinnamon on top.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Weekly Menu

We made it through Thanksgiving and it was a delicious meal.  We had a Bobby Flay recipe for Brussels sprouts, bacon wrapped green beans with an onion sauce, panzanella, grilled turkey, sauteed mushrooms, salad, and I think I'm forgetting something.  I love this time of year--the excitement, the parties, the music, the food and drinks.  Three years ago when I was pregnant with Penelope there was that added excitement of a new baby.  And, here we are again :)  Who knows when she'll come--hopefully not for a couple more weeks.  I'm trying to keep things fairly simple and easy in case I'm not around the kitchen for a couple of days.  These meals for the most part can be made ahead of time and then reheated at dinner time.  I've got 3 whole chickens in my freezer that I can't decide what to do with.  Any suggestions?

Saturday--Loaded Baked Sweet Potato Soup (never got to this last week)
Sunday--Pizza (never got this made last week either) salad
Monday--Beef and Cheese Enchilada Casserole, beans, salad
Tuesday--Brinner (breakfast for dinner)--pancakes, eggs, OJ, sauteed spinach with onion and bacon
Wednesday--Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, broccoli
Thursday--Turkey Soup--using the leftover bones and meat of course
Friday--Spaghetti with homemade sauce of crushed tomatoes, caramelized onions, and sausage

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Garlic Cheesy Herb Bread

Last night I made this incredibly delicious garlic herb cheesy bread.  I got the idea from this recipe, but used my own bread recipe and made a few other changes. 
Just look at this awesome yummy bread!
I tell you this bread was so what I've been craving (along with the jalapeno poppers my dear husband picked up for me.)
To make it yourself, just make up a batch of bread dough (or you could even thaw out some of that Rhodes dough, but making your own really is simple and quick).  Let the dough rise for an hour then separate in to 2 equal parts.  Form the dough in to 2 baguette shaped loaves.  Let loaves rest about 10-20 minutes while the oven heats up.  Bake the 2 loaves at 375 for 15 minutes.  Then, while the loaves cool some, melt about a 1/4 cup of butter in the microwave.  Add some Italian seasoning and garlic powder to the butter. Thinly slice some cheese.  I used mozzarella.  Use a bread knife to slice about 3/4 of the way through the bread. 
Next spoon or brush that melted butter mix over the top and in between the slices of the bread.  Then, slide the slices of cheese in between the slices of bread.  Put the bread back in the oven (I lowered the temp to 350) for about 5-7 minutes to melt all that cheese.  Try to resist immediately eating slice after slice of buttery, cheesy, herby, garlic bread.  Let it cool for a few minutes so you don't burn your tongue...seriously.  Then just pull off a couple of slices and indulge.  You can even heat up some marinara sauce to dip it in. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekly Menu and Thanksgiving

I have yet to plan our Thanksgiving meal.  The men of my house are getting quite concerned.  John Paul has been talking about the meal since at least Halloween.  He's worried we won't get the gluten free turkey.  He wants a chocolate pie.  I got a call this morning from Jaime saying he and the boys had a good talk on the way to school regarding my lack of planning for the big day.  Uh oh.  I don't know why I'm not feeling it this year.  Normally planning all the food for Thanksgiving is something that I enjoy doing and get done well ahead of time. I even test some of the recipes too.  I think this year, between the baby coming, not having any guests, and feeling like it's just one more meal to cook, I just am not that into it.  I do love Thanksgiving. Oh, and this year our anniversary falls ON Thanksgiving.  It's not just any anniversary, it's our TEN year! Holy cow, 10 YEARS!!!  So anyway, planning a feast (when I can barely eat a few crumbs without feeling over stuffed) just hasn't been something I've wanted to do.  I don't even like turkey. But, I do like this crazy good panzanella that we've made the last 2 years.  That's about the only thing I have planned :)

Saturday--flank steak with Gorgonzola cheese, pan roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon, rice
Sunday--loaded baked sweet potato soup
Monday--beef tacos, beans, guacamole
Tuesday--spaghetti and sauce, salad
Wednesday--pizza and salad
Thursday--Thanksgiving--turkey, spinach cheese balls, panzanella, and who knows what else....
Friday--kids with Grammy so Jaime and I can EAT OUT--remember that whole 10 year thing :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hang In There

Today we are a little over 34 weeks along.  After a few hours of contractions last night and several more contractions today, I was glad that today was my "hospital day."  Hospital day means Penelope and I spend most of our day at the hospital doing the sonogram and non-stress test for the baby.  Due to all the contractions, I received the special gift of being checked.  Lovely.  Anyway, I'm 30% effaced and dilated to a 1.  Not a very big deal in my opinion considering I walked around at a 3 for 3 weeks with Penelope.  I also had the privilege of having a liter of fluid pumped in to me and gave a urine donation.  Needless to say, we spent longer in the hospital today than usual.  Contractions have slowed and I've managed to avoid the bed rest.  :)  I've got way too much to get done before this baby shows her face! 
We got to bring a picture of her home today.  Not sure how much you'll be able to make out, but know that the picture is of her face (on the right), a hand (near the top), and her body (toward the left).
My goal is to make it to at least November 24th that way she's only 4 weeks early.  We'll see! :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekly Menu

Autumn has finally settled in around here and I'm loving it!  The cooler weather energizes me (unlike the energy-sapping heat of summer!) and makes me want to cook more, clean more, and be outside more.  Some of these cooking and cleaning desires I think are more due to nesting.  Not too much longer to Christmas Eve and a new baby girl in the house.  I've been making extra of meals and freezing them.  My only problem with these is that they've been meals for Jaime and I and not GF/DF ones that the kids can eat too.  I need to get on that.  The other problem is freezer space.  This crock pot chicken and dumplings recipe looks and sounds SO DELICIOUS, but alas, I can't figure out how to adjust it to be gluten and dairy free.  If you make it, would you share a bowl with me, please?
Saturday--Beef Brisket, Salad, fresh veggie of some sort
Sunday--White bean and roasted mushroom soup
Monday--Crock pot Lemon Chicken use this Italian Salad Dressing Mix
Tuesday--Salisbury Steak with caramelized onion gravy (sub ghee, GF flour, and liquid smoke for the butter, flour, and Worcestershire sauce), potatoes, salad
Wednesday--left overs?
Thursday--Chicken, cheese, and spinach quesadillas
Friday--Brown sugar and balsamic glazed pork (sub GF soy sauce)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Delicious Eggplant Meal

I made this delicious eggplant meal for Jaime and I.  It was kind of a spur of the moment thing.  During Penelope's nap this afternoon I did my meal planning for next week.  I knew I needed to use an eggplant that I'd bought a couple weeks ago.  So, for some ideas I turned to Pinterest and just did a quick eggplant search.  I found some beautiful examples of the color eggplant being used.


And I also found this
I knew I'd be making it quite soon. Quite soon turned in to tonight's dinner :)  I made the kids some GF/DF calzones with sausage, mushrooms, and spinach.  I had planned the same thing (with gluten and dairy) for Jaime and I, but just couldn't get that gorgeous eggplant and cheese picture out of my mind--I could practically taste it!  I've never had breaded and lightly fried eggplant, but I sure could imagine it.  I love it when I have everything on hand to make something I'm craving.  I even still had some fresh-from-our-garden cherry tomatoes that needed to be eaten.  The meal came together super fast and easy.  I did use a different goat cheese--just one that I had on hand.  Another change I made was to not peel the eggplant.  The peel is perfectly fine to eat and didn't impact the flavor or texture at all--keep all your nutrients (in this fried meal!) Also, NEVER put your fresh tomatoes in the fridge (the recipe says to cut them and then refrigerate them while prepping the eggplant. I just cut them while the eggplant was in the oven for the 7 minutes.) Jaime and I both decided this would be a repeat dish.  Give it a try!
Here's mine--I think I should have left it in the oven a little longer to melt the goat cheese more, but we were ready to eat.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stew Sucker

I'm a sucker.  A sucker for stew meat.  Good stew meat.  Several weeks ago I picked up a little over a pound of some on sale, organic, wonderfully cared for and grass fed stew meat.  The meat was beautiful!  Last week I had planned stew for dinner tonight.  Why? Why do I fall for the stew meat? Why do I insist on making stew?  Because I'm a sucker.  I can't make stew.  There, I said it. It's out there forever now.  Let me revise that.  I can't make stew and have it taste any good.  I've tried a few different recipes--herbs, red wine, variety of potatoes, browning the meat, etc.  I typically end up making stew in the crock pot.  It has never tasted good.  One time, Jaime made this incredible stew from a Jacques Pepin recipe.  It was pretty wonderful.  It took a long time.  It was NOT in a crock pot.  Maybe that's my problem.  Maybe I just haven't tried the right recipe.  Anyone out there have a good great crock pot stew recipe?  I know I'm a sucker and I'll probably end up buying some beautiful stew meat again.  I'll need a fantastic recipe. Help me out please, won't you?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Weekly Menu

I started planning this menu earlier today during Penelope's nap, but wasn't feeling too inspired.  I think it's because I just haven't been hungry lately. Now, as I work on it, I keep falling asleep--it is almost 11pm.  I usually write out my grocery list as I plan the meals, but haven't  done a very good job tonight--again, because I keep falling asleep.  So, I think I've got the week decently planned and the list writing will have to wait until morning.  Leave a comment here on the blog to let me know if you try any of these meals and what you think of them.

Saturday--Grilled flank steak (minus the Worcestershire sauce so that it's GF), spinach something (I've pinned several ideas and can't decide! Did you know you can follow me and my various boards over on Pinterest?), roasted fingerling potatoes and garlic
Sunday--Spaghetti Bread--will make 2 of these--one GF&DF and the other following the recipe, green salad
Monday--Southwestern Stuffed Spaghetti Squash  we had this a couple weeks ago and we all enjoyed it :)
Tuesday--crock pot stew, homemade bread
Wednesday--Spicy Thai Noodles with chicken
Thursday--Calzones--spinach, cheese, sausage, mushrooms Dip in marinara sauce
Friday--Chicken Marsala Pasta

Penelope this week

Life with an almost 3 year old :)
Monday--dressed up as a cowgirl for Halloween, but insisted she was Buzz
Tuesday--had to feed the birds. painted a beautiful picture and hung it on the fridge BY MYSELF! never mind the paint that is on the wood floor--Lily will clean it. (it's Friday now and that dog still hasn't cleaned the green paint off my floor)
Wednesday--decided early in the day that she wanted to go to the beach (umm, we live in Kansas!). It was our first rainy and chilly day. She called her Papi that evening and told him he needed to come pick her up (he lives in Dallas) and take her to the beach.  She said she couldn't drive because it was raining.
Thursday--another chilly day. insisted on carrying a couple naked baby dolls around everywhere we went (including visits to the perinatalogist, church, and library).  chose several Christmas books from the library since there weren't any Thanksgiving books
Friday--had to feed the birds again and run up and down the street a few times (it was 23 degrees this morning and the water in the bird bath was a block of ice) with me trailing behind. made cookies (larabar-like), played dominoes, Zingo, and tangrams. got sent to her room for not following directions and talking back--stuck stickers all over a stool instead of paper. had to remove stickers and put on paper. emphatically declared she wouldn't put stickers on said paper. left her room and decided it'd be a good idea to put stickers on the paper. ate cheesy bread, pretzels, pickle, and dates for lunch.


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