Happy New Year

I’m not really one to make resolutions. I don’t know why. I can usually think of a list of things to add to a list, but I just really like making lists…. Maybe one resolution could be Do not make too many lists, or more realistically Make prettier lists.

With the impending birthday, there are lots of things that come to mind that I could try to resolve. For one, I’m terrible at making decisions. I have no idea why. I’m a Capricorn/only child. I don’t have a favorite anything. I usually end up with shopper’s remorse (WHY DIDN’T I BUY THAT?!). Naming my child was the biggest decision I have ever made. So another could be Learn to make a decision and stick with it.

My mother would like for me to make a resolution to fall in love. Let’s move on.

I would like to Learn to sew.

I would like to finish my book I’ve been writing (for far too long), and start my next book. Write every day.

I want to be a more patient mommy. A more patient person. Be patient. (Again…Capricorn/only child/single mother.)

I want to be a better friend/daughter. Feel free to keep me honest. Be better.

I want to learn to be a better gluten free cook. Perhaps go raw for a few months. Eat less sugar. Be clean.

And I want to discover how I’m meant to spend the rest of my years. Find a purpose.

The other day, my friends and I instituted No Spend January. Less than twelve hours later, my vacuum cleaner broke, my Maintenance Required light lit up on James Spader (my vehicle), and my child came home with broken glasses (had to go buy Krazy Glue). Do not deprive oneself.

I hope this year is the most amazing yet, for myself and my child; and for you. And remember, tomorrow is another day. Hopefully.

5 Things You’d Take on a Deserted Island

As an only child, I can go days and days without speaking to another human. That never happens now that I am a single mom. And that’s fine. Today, my child woke from 12 hours of sleeping (which also never happens) and continued to jump and talk all the day long. I have to admit, it was awful. That famous question about the five things you’d take on a deserted island. As an only child, that sounds FREAKING AMAZING. I wouldn’t take a damned thing! That is the whole point: deserted. Nada. Just me and my thoughts; me sleeping, waking up WHEN I WANT TO WAKE. Oh man. Delightful.

But if I had to cave and pick something, one of those five things would be a pot to make soup in (on the off chance I can procure a fire). I love soup. I could live off of it. Throw any old thing in there. One of the best soups I ever made was for a second date. I had leftover chicken and little else. I found a can of chickpeas and a can of diced tomatoes in the pantry. And one lonely carton of chicken broth. I combined everything in a pot and, after I portioned our servings into bowls, I put a dollop of cottage cheese in the middle. My date was flabbergasted. “Why would you do that? What made you do that?” I think I said something really romantic like,  “Um…it is about to expire.” He informed me that he and his father are the only two people he’d ever known to put cottage cheese in their soup. And that soup was divine. I was proud of my little poor woman’s concoction.

Tonight, I made a soup that trumped that one. I amazed myself. It was from Emeril’s daughters’ gluten free cookbook. A type of tortilla soup with turkey and beans and veggies, it smelled just as good as it looked. It was light and filling. I paired it with their jalapeño cornbread. I forgot to set the timer, but grabbed it in time.

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I forgot to take an after pic, so I’ll do that tomorrow on Tumblr (because I’m having it for dinner tomorrow, too. And probably lunch.). This was before I added the broth and water.

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The top rack has two chicken breasts in a glass pan. I always make chicken and rice with edamame for my child and her friend. Well, I once tried to change it up a bit and it wasn’t well-received. So, now I stick to what is requested.

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This is the best gluten free cornbread I’ve ever had. Better than any store-bought mix. Made with a gluten free flour mix I blend and keep in the refrigerator, and corn meal, green onions, and jalapeños. The texture was perfect, and kept its taste even after dipping it in the soup. Lots left over, and years ago…I used to make cornbread in my cast iron and then eat it for dinner a few nights (and breakfast, and lunch…) with sour cream and heated salsa on top (I love salsa heated in the skillet).

And for dessert (since I made the apple/chocolate/walnut/cinnamon crisp thingy without the girls here and they weren’t too happy about that), I repeated this delicious creation. And I learned, if you refrigerate the leftovers and let a slice come to room temperature, all that brown sugar turns into a dreamy caramel sauce.

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Don’t Crowd the Mushrooms

It’s true. Julia was right. I like to make mine with bacon grease (Boar’s Head) and Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour. 

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I cooked steak in a skillet and then fried the mushrooms in it. I honestly can’t think of a better combination. Unless, of course, it’s edamame/corn/pickles. Heat frozen edamame and frozen corn with 2T of water. Once heated, add 1/2 cup of diced pickles (I used dill, but you could use sweet) and 1T of pickle juice. Delicious! What a treat. 

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Sweet potato fries might be the child’s favorite new side item. Every single time I make them (or fried/diced Yukon gold potatoes), she asks, “Are there more of these for me?” before she even starts eating them. 

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This is the first time in I couldn’t tell you how long that my sweet child hasn’t burst into tears at bedtime, telling me she’s starving. She has always eaten enough for three football players, and always asks for dessert after. I have been giving her apples at night hoping the fiber will fill her up; she didn’t even ask for dessert tonight. But I think the apples are making a real impact on her, wouldn’t you say? 

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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!

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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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.