Tastes Like Fall

Tastes Like Fall

I saw this on Pinterest. I stood up from the computer, walked into the kitchen, made it, and died. I got better. This is so tasty.

I had made pumpkin muffins to take to a football viewing party. (Is that what they’re even called?) I had some leftover pumpkin puree and this is just about the greatest way to blow through it.

1/3 cup pumpkin puree
half a frozen banana
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (I make my own with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. of ginger and nutmeg, 1/8 tsp. cloves)
a smoodge of honey (or a splursh, or a squiddgie–any fake S word will do)
enough almond milk to submerge (real S word) all the ingredients

My personal smoothie maker is the perfect size for this recipe, but I shared mine with a tiny person. You may or may not decide to do such craziness.

Enjoy!

Ask And You Shall Receive

Such a lovely end to a fabulous evening: all the dishes are finished, cuppa tea is steeping, Chet Baker on the radio, pouring down rain outside, fake aquarium playing on the television; couldn’t get better.

Dinner with friends, again. The girls had their standard chicken and rice with edamame and aminos.

Big girls had an amped up version of our traditional standby. Friend #1 requested cheddar biscuits. Friend #2 blurted in a text: WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR BELOVED BRUSSELS SPROUTS?!? And then she more than mildly suggested chicken, quinoa, and a chocolate dessert. I managed all but the dessert; I opted for peach cobbler. She did not complain.

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I added Yukon gold potatoes to the Brussels sprouts this time, with a bit of chopped rosemary. Absolutely delicious. Lemon slices would be good here too, roasted on 425 for about a half an hour.

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Chicken thighs with dijon mustard rubbed under the skin. Very mild flavor, incredibly moist, perfect size.

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A little quinoa (which I feel guilty for eating now and hardly ever have it) and the infamous garlic cheddar biscuit.

IMG_1207And the cobbler, which unfortunately always photographs as a rather depressed ham. But it was tasty. Pretty sure I had three helpings. (Melt a stick of butter in a pan in the oven on 400. Mix together 1 c gluten free flour, 1 c almond milk, 1 c sugar, and 1 tsp. baking powder. Pour mixture over butter. Pour can of peaches in heavy syrup over mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake until done, 30 mins. or so.)

One of Those Days

Wednesdays are crazy. I pick the child up from the after-school program. They’re either inside or on the playground. I go inside, they’re not there. I go to the playground, and somehow I’ve missed them and have to go back inside. This takes about 20 minutes to find her, sign her out, grab her stuff, and get her into the car. 

Today, we ran an errand and I completely forgot it was Wednesday. Thank goodness I remembered because I was about to make two more stops. We rushed home, changed, got to practice (where it was parents vs. kids, and now I know why soccer players wear cleats). Afterward, we stopped by the grocery and grabbed this for dinner: 

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After dinner, I checked her backpack. Her snack pocket was empty. I noticed this morning that she didn’t eat her snack yesterday. I asked her about it at the grocery and she said, “I was busy doing my homework.” So, tonight, I asked, “Did you eat two rice cakes today, and a Lara bar, and fruit snacks?” She said, “Yes.” 

So, today, my 6 y.o. daughter ate: 2 slices of bacon, an egg, part of a gluten free chocolate chip muffin top, half a cheese sandwich, two pickles, some chips, two gluten free Newman Os, 2 rice cakes, a Lara bar, a packet of fruit chews, popcorn, lox and cream cheese on toast, Cheetos, and a gluten free ice cream cone with vanilla and chocolate ice cream swirl. 

And now, she wants to know what is for dessert. 

Deep Breath

Remember that scene from Julie and Julia when Julie falls on the floor because she couldn’t stuff or turkey or something? She ended up laying on the floor and crying? I have been feeling a lot like that in the kitchen lately. Things have been off. Recently, I made pumpkin muffins (which I’ve made many times) and realized I put baking soda in them instead of baking powder. **Sorry, friends from the meal exchange.**

Well, today this happened: 

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I cracked the egg, and the top flew right off and shot across the counter. The entire contents of said egg fell into the hole of my cutting board. Jerk. 

I was preparing gluten-free bread to bake in the oven, which came out taller than I am with a gigantic freaking hole in the side. 

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Looked much better after it settled, but not sure what the slices are going to look like for beloved child’s cheese sammies. 

I made tomato bisque. I really need to pay attention when following a recipe. I was supposed to have been cooking rice to add to the soup (to later be blended by immersion–which reminds me of another kitchen tale where I’m standing and staring at the immersion blender willing it to just pop itself onto the attachment–one of my favorite kitchen gadgets), but had overlooked that little tidbit completely. 

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I also threw in some cheddar biscuits, for good measure. And a southwestern chopped salad. I am one of those people for whom cilantro tastes like I’m digging my eye teeth into a bar of Irish Spring, but I don’t care. I love salsa. I love cilantro lemon chickpea soup. I’ll eat it anyway. Let’s consider it a breath freshener, of sorts. 

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The dressing was high on cumin, but it was quite tasty. I smartly didn’t add the dressing to the whole salad, so now I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow; way to welcome a Monday. 

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I approve of this meal. The soup was delicious. I used almond milk, because I don’t drink regular milk anymore (except for the half and half I put in my tea/coffee). In March, it will be four years I’ve gone without caffeine. And recently, I was reading about how coffee is a significant source of cross-contamination for Celiacs. I have gone the whole day without tea or coffee. I love coffee. I have been drinking it since I was wee. I love the ritual, the smell, the taste. But honestly, it’s decaf (I know, not completely caffeine free). I don’t really need to spend the money. And if it will make me feel better to cut it out altogether, I’ll try it. So, today, I bought apple cider pods for the office Keurig; not normally something I would go for, but I’m going to try it. 

And I did a little of this: 

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I’m ready. 

Happy fall, everyone. 

 

 

Hasn’t Had a Hot Meal in Fifteen Years

I have officially become the mother from A Christmas Story. Serving my sweet child her dinner: 

“Mom, the buttons on this dress are going up my butt.” 

Take it off. 

“Can you do it?”

*washes hands/leaves kitchen/unzips dress/walks back to kitchen*

“Mom, can you get me something to wear? I am freezing.”

I think you can do that. *attempts to prepare own dinner*

“Mom. This tag is killing me. Cut it out.” 

You’ve worn that shirt a thousand times.

“Cut. It . OUT.”

Can you say ‘please?’

“Please?”

*washes hands/leaves kitchen/grabs scissors/cuts out tag/walks back to kitchen*

“Mom, can I have more water? And I need a napkin.” 

*washes hands/leaves kitchen/grabs cup/refills water/grabs napkin/delivers/heads back to kitchen*

I am glad you’re eating all your cucumbers, but don’t forget to eat your spaghetti.

“I won’t.” 

*heads back to kitchen*

“Mom, can you get me some ham?”

*washes hands/gets ham/slices ham/serves ham/heads back to kitchen*

“Mom, I dropped some spaghetti.*

*washes hands/stuffs face full of bowl of spaghetti/gives up*

 

Upping My Game

This dinner was absolutely delicious. And relatively easy.

When people tell me what a good [cook] I am, I sometimes think/say, “Well, the oven did all the work.” And that was basically true here, but it all came out so perfectly.

IMG_1174I started with olive oil and half a chopped onion. Soften the onion and add garlic and 2 cups of rice. Toast for 4 minutes. Add 4 cups chicken broth, and 1 cup of water. Stir. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. I’m certain vegetable broth would taste good, too. After, add 1 lb. of chopped asparagus. Stir. Bake 5 mins. more.

IMG_1175Finally, stir in the zest of a whole lemon and a cup of parsley.

IMG_1176Perfection, on the level of meeting Jill Goodacre in an ATM vestibule.

The rest of the meal consisted of three steaks cooked in the crock pot on low for 8 hours. I brushed each side with steak sauce and dijon mustard, and added a 1/4 cup of wine.

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The salad is roasted vegetables (onion, carrots, red and yellow peppers)–zucchini would have been tasty. I roasted them in a balsamic vinaigrette that I made in the food processor. I think I will probably roast all vegetables in that henceforth. I put the vegetables on spinach leaves and drizzled balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Dessert, the gluten free donuts I’ve made a million times. Thank goodness for leftovers.

You Growns Up And You Growns Up And You Growns Up

You know you’re an adult when you wake up one day and your celebrity crush is no longer Shawn Cassidy, but Eric Ripert/Anthony Bourdain/Nigella Lawson (?) and the like.

Tonight I made pork tenderloin. I’ve posted it before, but never the recipe. I don’t know if I actually know the recipe. I saw Eric Ripert cook it once. It involves butter and honey. Heat on an oven proof skillet. Pork tenderloin should be browned on all sides. Place in 375 degree oven until cooked through/to your liking. Heat the sauce and add boiling water (not much). Pour heated sauce over tenderloin. Devour.

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It is SO amazing. I served it with lima beans and sweet potato fries. (I am in the midst of a freezer/fridge/cupboard clean out. The meals will only get weirder from here on out.

AND! AND! AND! My daughter made this for me! My chef’s uniform. It was a great Friday.

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Frost Yourself

(Probably my least favorite movie line ever, and if you can name the movie…you’ll win…nothing. But I won’t be alone in my knowing. So, there’s that.)

I’ve been trying very hard to actually wear all the jewelry that fills eight drawers of my tower jewelry box. I usually wear a necklace (that I never take off, although I stupidly wore it when I got my hair colored and now it needs to be tended to; won’t do that again), earrings (sometimes, not every day), and bracelets. Sometimes I wear a watch and sometimes I do not. Lots of sometimes. Going for all the times.

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The three bracelets, necklace, and matching earrings on the far left came from Grey Goose Gifts at etsy.com. I wear the bracelets daily and have since I got them last year. Necklace and earrings are in rotation. I have about six pair of earrings, several necklaces, and rings. I love everything and want everything (hint, hint).

The black pearls at the top were my graduation gift when I received my 2nd bachelor’s degree. There is a matching bracelet that I like to wear. I’m into stacking bracelets now.

The necklace at the bottom was a gift and it’s gorgeous, and I thought I had lost it once and nearly had a coronary. Now I’m very careful with it.

The sterling silver bracelet above it came from Mexico on a trip in college when I got my 1st bachelor’s degree. The man at the flea market chased me out onto the street after I said I didn’t want it after all. I am so glad he did (even if he did scare the crap out of me).

The long earrings in the middle came from Old Navy and Target. I am obsessed with having earrings as long as my hair. It’s from my other obsession: The Fabulous Baker Boys. Michelle Pfeiffer’s earrings in that movie moved me. The other earrings are from Target. A little bit of an earring splurge this weekend. Sparkly is my favorite color.

And last but not least, the bracelet on the far right made by a woman in Kenya through the Journey The Ed Colina Foundation. He does amazing work. Great organization to make your donation.

So, if you run into me soon and I’m weighed down with eleventy bracelets and fortyteen necklaces, you’ll know why. Equal time, people. Equal time.

Cleanin’ Out My Closet

Not really–my freezer. But I love Eminem, and that phrase pops into my head multiple times a day. It’s like a tic. Think of it when I actually AM cleaning out my closet. It’s amazing.

Anyhoo…

I made soup for dinner. Soup is one of my favorite things in the entire world. I could live off of soup. If I was on a deserted island and I could take 5 Things, soup would be one of them. And after three years, when I was finally able to make FIYAH…I would eat the hell out of that soup.

Of course, if I was stuck on a deserted island, I would make soup out of whatever I found laying around (or growing around) which is pretty much what I do when I make soup at home. I look in my fridge and freezer and use whatever needs to be used.

Tonight’s soup consisted of: lima beans, green/red/yellow peppers, onions, peas, and corn. I added chicken that needed to be used from Sunday night, and gluten free corn spaghetti. I spiced it with sage, thyme, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Used Pacific Natural Foods Free Range Chicken Broth. I added equal parts boiling water (from the Twining’s Naturally Decaffeinated Irish Breakfast cuppa tea I made). Then I topped it with shredded mild cheddar jack cheese. (I like my soup with little broth and mostly stuff which does NOT make it a stew.) FREAKING. DELICIOUS.

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Calm down.

Sweet potato fries.

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And a tiny glass of wine that also HAD to be used from Sunday’s dinner with friends. This wine is delicious. I highly recommend it. I can’t drink red wine anymore. And gluten free beer doesn’t sit well with me lately. But I like this wine:

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…and margaritas.

The child loved the soup and I am certain there were peppers in there which went unnoticed, because TRUST ME you would’ve heard about it.

What’s Cooking

There have been a few times lately where I’ve royally screwed up in the kitchen. My friends and I have decided that I need to write a cookbook called, “When You Eff Up the Original Recipe, Here’s How You Can Fix It,”…or something of that nature. 

Just a few weeks ago, I forgot to add the flour to the pumpkin muffins. Cooked pretty much a pumpkin pie in paper muffin cups. Took out the steaming hot pumpkin, added it to the flour, put it back in the oven. Mixed together the topping and saw that I was supposed to put the topping on the muffins before baking. Added topping. Baked muffins AGAIN. Somehow they were “a 10,” as my friend informed me. I made them a couple days later the correct way, alone in my kitchen. Nothing to distract me. 

Tonight, I was assembling the ingredients for bean soup and noticed that I had purchased a can of spicy chili beans that the recipe did not call for. This is why I hate groceries. I can never reach the top shelf, and as I’ve mentioned before I refuse to wear stilettos to Kroger. I usually luck out and some tall man (or woman) will come down the aisle and I can get them to reach the things I cannot. When my daughter was a baby, I would put her on my shoulders to reach the high shelves. She’s way too big for that now. 

Nevertheless, the soup turned out to be quite delicious. I started with a mirepoix (and garlic). Image

Then added the ham, beans, broth, thyme, and salt and pepper. I even got to use my immersion blender I haven’t used in years. I actually forgot how to attach it to the base. 

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I made a salad with romaine and homemade dressing (olive oil, mustard, OJ, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and red wine vinegar), and homemade gluten free croutons. YUM. I’m going to start putting those suckers on everything! 

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My child and her friend requested mashed potatoes, chicken, and edamame. No complaints there. And for dessert, caramel apples with peanuts. OMG Thrilling. Followed by 45 minutes of dishwashing. 

Totally worth it. 

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Nice spatula indentions, yes?

And the quote of the day came from my dear daughter, who on the way to the grocery said, “I’m wearing my pearls, mom; just like Julia [Child].” 

I’ve done good work here.