August 28, 2012

Short Hair...Long Hair...Why Do You Ask?

A co-worker asked me if I missed my longer hair that I had when I first started with the Department back in 2006.  No, was my immediate reply.  I'm not sure exactly why she was asking.  I'm pretty sure she likes my short hair but those kind of questions always make me wonder what is really behind the question.  

Maybe it's because I've finally found a hairstylist that works with me and my crazy hair.  Maybe it's because I just don't want to spend any more time on primping than necessary.  But, for now, I love my short hair.  

I feel more confident with short hair.  I hid behind my long hair and it did nothing for my face shape, my self-esteem, etc.  

Again, why do people ask these kind of questions?  Or, is it that she just doesn't have a filter ;)

You know what I do miss...the pink streaks.  But that was just way too much work!

August 27, 2012

Beef Shawarma

There is a little hole in the wall that everyone should eat at in Grants Pass if they ever get the chance...Abu's Oasis Deli.  It's run by a lady and her husband and they make an amazing shawarma plate, gyros, and wonderful baklava!  But, I rarely get to Grants Pass.  This isn't exactly the same, but it's pretty darn close.  

We had it for dinner tonight with a dollop of the hummus I also posted this evening, tomatoes, and a dollop of my dairy-free Ranch dressing.  Andrew added tortilla chips.  Dylan was asleep ;) 

Can you tell I'm home more in the evenings and wanting to try these recipes I've been storing away for a while.  I got this recipe from the same lady as the hummus, Mexican Wildflower.

Beef Shawarma
1 lb beef, I think we used sirloin, she called for chuck roast...I also would be willing to do a bit more than 1 lb with the same amount of marinade
1 c yogurt
3 T shawarma spice mix
2 T lemon juice
2 T olive oil

Cut your meat into thin strips and mix together with the rest of the ingredients.  Let marinate in a Ziploc or bowl with a lid in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours.  Heat a cast iron skillet with a bit of coconut oil or your fat of choice.  Remove the strips from the marinade and cook the until done, turning once. Discard remaining marinade.  Enjoy!

Shawarma Spice Mix...from website called Jewish Recipe Trader
1 T cumin
1 T ground coriander
1 T garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix everything together!

Hummus...Umm Yeah!

Everyone needs a go-to hummus recipe!  This one adapted from Mexican Wildflower is now mine.  If you don't like garlic, just keep looking. Otherwise, quick, easy, and tasty...all good things!

1 can garbanzo beans
1/2 c water
6 cloves garlic
1/3 c tahini
1/4 c olive oil
2 T lemon juice
1 tsp salt

Blend ingredients together in blender or food processor (I used the Vitamix) until smooth.  If necessary, drizzle in a little olive oil until you get your desired consistency.

If you are serving for presentation, sprinkle with paprika and fresh chopped parsley.  Otherwise, try not to eat it straight out of the bowl!

Disgustingly Easy Asian Beef over Rice

This recipe was borrowed from Yummy-Healthy-Easy.  Of course, I had to leave the green onion off because of Andrew and I cut the sugar back because of me.  But, damn it was easy, QUICK, and tasty.  Dylan liked it too!  Very inexpensive too.

Asian Beef over Rice

Cook a batch of rice (I brought 3 cups of water to a boil, added 1.5 cups white rice, turned to low for about 15 minutes; comes out sticky just like I like it)

1 lb hamburger
1 T sesame oil
3 cloves minced or pressed garlic
2 T brown sugar
1/4 c soy sauce (I used reduced-sodium, tamari - gluten free)
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger (I used 1/4 tsp powdered 'cause that's what I had)
1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
 salt and pepper to taste
green onion if your family will eat it :)

Brown the hamburger in the sesame oil.  Add the garlic.  Cook for a minute or two.  Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the green onion.  Serve over the rice with green onion as garnish.  Enjoy!

August 19, 2012

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Need to use those darn things up!  Just one more way to enjoy them.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 c sugar
1/2 c + 2 T coconut oil, melted
1/2 c applesauce
1/3 heaping cup of cocoa powder
2 c shredded zucchini
1 tsp vanilla
2 c gluten-free flour blend (most accurate is 280 grams if you have a scale)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix everything together up to the flour.  Then, add the dry ingredients.  Divide between two greased bread pans and bake for an hour or so in 350 degree oven.

August 18, 2012

Pasta ala Sunny...or my take on Pasta Carbonara

If you fear fat you shouldn't be reading this to start with!  This is quite the tasty and actually easy dish.  Andrew adds extra salt; the bacon is enough for me.  You be the judge.

Pasta ala Sunny...or my take on Pasta Carbonara

8 oz package gluten-free pasta (I like TJ's brand)
8 oz diced, bacon (again, I like to use TJ's Ends and uses celery or something to cure it rather than nitrates/nitrites; but it's a bit fattier...more the merrier to me)
4 eggs
1/2-1 c shredded Parmesan (more makes it a bit creamier but sometimes you use what you have!)
3 cloves garlic, minced
~4 c chopped broccoli (about 2 heads)
~1 lb little zucchini (3-4 little ones)

Cut up your broccoli and cook for about 4 minutes in the microwave, covered and with just a touch of water (1 T or less).  Meanwhile, cut up the zucchini fairly thin.  

Start a large pot of water to cook your pasta.

Take a large frying pan, preferably Cast iron, and throw in your diced bacon.  Cook until almost crispy, remove from pan with slotted spoon and set aside for a sec.  Turn the pan on low, throw in the broccoli and the zucchini.  Add the minced garlic.  Saute for a few minutes and then add the bacon back in.  

Whisk your eggs in a bowl and then whisk in the Parmesan.

Once your pasta is cooked drain it.  DO NOT run cold water over it.  Dump it back in the pot, stir the egg/cheese mixture together with the pasta.  This creates a yummy, creamy sauce; i.e. the heat from the pasta cooks the eggs.

I didn't cook my pasta in a large enough pot to add the veggies and bacon so at this point I transferred the pasta with sauce to a LARGE bowl and then stirred in the veggies and bacon mixture.  That's it.  Put a little fresh ground pepper on top when you serve if you like.  This makes a lot (we probably could have fed 4 adults and Dylan)!

NOTE: If you just want a side dish, ignore the veggie part but not the bacon part.  Cook the bacon until crisp and stir in at the end.  You can toss in a bit of the bacon grease and save the rest for another wonderful meal.

August 15, 2012

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

For some seriously questionable reason, I was craving these tonight.  So, even though it was at least 95 degrees outside, I made these.  And, I loved them.

Cheddar Bay Biscuits (recipe borrowed from Rasa Malaysia but there are a lot along these lines out there)

1/2 c shredded cheddar
2/3 c milk
1/4 c melted butter
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried parsley

Mix the baking mix and cheddar together.  Add milk and mix together and don't worry about over mixing.  Mix until everything sticks together well.  Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet (mine made about 9) and bake in 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes. 

While those are baking, mix the melted butter, garlic powder, and parsley together.  When you take the biscuits out of the over, brush them with the butter mixture.  And, enjoy!

Homemade Gluten-free Baking Bisquick

But it's gluten-free and homemade!  I used this to make cheddar biscuits tonight even though it was hot...really hot!  Not sure why but I got a craving for these...and I don't even eat at Red Lobster.  I've probably only ate there maybe three or four times in my whole life. 

I'm still not comfortable sharing the flour mix that I use because I got it from the cookbook Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Kelli and Peter Bronski.  You really should just go buy the book for the flour mix and all of the other recipes.  If you know me personally, I might be willing to share.  Anyway, their mix is what I use currently and I love it.  Between the mix recipe and the waffle recipe and a couple others that I've tried, I'm glad I went ahead and bought the book!

Homemade Gluten-free Baking Mix (appropriated from Kitchen Simplicity)

5 c gluten-free flour blend
1/4 c baking powder
2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
1 c butter

Whisk dry ingredients together.  Cut butter into flour mixture.  Store in airtight container - makes about 6 cups of mix or so.  

I'm storing mine in the fridge since it's so warm around here!

Use this mix in any recipe that calls for Bisquick.

August 11, 2012

Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

This recipe came in our CSA box a few weeks ago and I finally got around to trying it.  Andrew said they were better than he thought they would be.  I loved them and they were easy to make...and easy to convert to gluten free.  I think they would work fine with frozen broccoli in the winter as well!

Broccoli Parmesan Fritters 
4 c finely chopped broccoli
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 c flour ( I just used my favorite gluten-free blend)
1/3 c finely grated Paremesan (I packed it in)
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 tsp salt
few grinds fresh black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes

Cook broccoli until it's soft (I did this in the microwave for time sake).  Let it cool a bit.  

Meanwhile, mix the egg, flour, cheese, and spices together. Add the broccoli and smash together a bit.  

Heat a pan with a bit of oil or butter and drop by about 2-3 T mounds.  I used a 1/4 measuring cup not completely full and then used the bottom to flatten the fritters a bit.  Cook until brown, about 2-3 minutes, flip over and cook until brown on the other side.  Enjoy!

Love Letters to My Sons..