March 2, 2015

Strawberry Shortcake (Gluten-Free)

Strawberry-Shortcake-Whole-300x199This is a recipe I shared here on GCH 2 years ago.  I love it and plan on making it soon.  Spring can’t come soon enough for me, and I look forward to farmer’s markets brimming with fresh berries!  If you can’t wait either, read on for my Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake!

Strawberry-Shortcake-Cut

 

Strawberry Shortcake (Gluten-Free)

Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (or butter), softened
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or regular milk)
  • 1/4 cup honey (or more, if you like)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced thin
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • optional – 1 or 2 teaspoons sugar (I didn’t use them, since my berries were really sweet. If your strawberries aren’t as sweet as you’d like, add the sugar to the whipping cream)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans, and then cut a circle of parchment paper for the bottom of each pan, and grease that too. (You can do this without parchment paper, but you will need to be really liberal with the coconut oil / butter / cooking spray on the bottom of the pan. The cake stuck the first time I made it, so the next time I used parchment paper, and it was perfect!)
  2. In a very large bowl, using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat the eggs until frothy. Beat in the softened coconut oil and milk, blending well. Mix in the honey, vanilla, orange zest and orange juice. Beat until foamy again.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the coconut flour, baking powder and salt. Then, a little at a time, blend the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Mix well, making sure there are no lumps.
    Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes. When a toothpick comes out dry, remove from the oven and cool for ten minutes. Remove from pans, and finish cooling on a rack.
  4. While the cake is cooling, place the beaters of your hand mixer and a metal mixing bowl in the freezer for half an hour. Slice the strawberries and put back in the fridge until ready to use.
    When the beaters and bowl are very cold, beat the whipping cream with the vanilla (and optional sugar) until stiff peaks form. To decorate: spread a very thin layer of whipped cream on the top of one cake. Make concentric circles of strawberry slices (use half the strawberries, saving the other half for the top), then cover with a thick layer of whipped cream. Place the other cake on top of this, cover with the rest of the whipped cream and the rest of the strawberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

This is not a very sweet cake, since it relies on the berries for sweetness. If your berries are not sweet enough for your taste, you can add more honey to the cake, and the optional sugar to the whipped cream.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipes, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Roasted Asparagus

Have you noticed?  Are you starting to see spring vegetables in the produce department of your fav grocery store?  I KNOW…very exciting!   Yes, even here in the frozen tundra of the NorthEast!  Hip-hip-hooray!  Now, if you have followed our ‘healthy but oh-so-yummy’ portion of the At Home w/ GCH foodblog, you know I am a huge fan of winter veggies…especially the squashes.  But spring and summer veggies…such abundance and variety!  Yes!  Here they come!

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A favorite of ours is asparagus.  There are so many dishes in which asparagus can either be the main attraction…or easily fit into a supporting role.  (Sorry…my newsfeed, yours too i would imagine, is just inundated with comments and pics from the Oscars last evening!)  Ok…back to asparagus!  Here are some nutrition facts to check out.

Today’s recipe is a super easy way to prepare a bunch (or two!) of asparagus.  Prep time…maybe five minutes.  I usually put as many stalks as will fit on the baking sheet; they can be slightly crowded as they will shrink up just a bit as they roast.

Leftovers will keep well in a covered container in the refrigerator and can be incorporated into breakfast, lunch, or supper!  They are delish for a quick breakfast tossed in with some scrambled eggs or underneath a couple of sunnyside-up eggs; yum!  Or mix up a melange of other leftovers along with the roasted asparagus (chicken, veggies, quinoa or rice) and you have a simple hot lunch.

I’d love to hear how you use this yummy recipe to feed your loved ones!  Enjoy!

 Roasted Asparagus

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ingredients:
1 or 2 bunches (usually about one pound each) of fresh asparagus
olive or coconut oil
sea salt, freshly ground pepper (I use lemon-pepper blend)

directions:

  • preheat oven to 400
  • line a large baking sheet pan with parchment paper (or foil)
  • break or cut off the woody, dry end of the stalks
  • place asparagus on the lined baking pan, and season VERY well
  • drizzle 1-1+1/2 teaspoon(s) oil evenly over the asparagus and then roll back and forth on the baking sheet to distribute
  • bake for 10-20 minutes (depending on the thickness of the asparagus) JUST ’til a sharp knife easily pokes through the thickest of the stalks; remove from oven (try not to overcook)

here are two recipes of ours that you could use the roasted asparagus in…and of course, you simply could sit down and eat a handful, too!

Dana’s Roasted Red Pepper Aioli 

Shrimp and Asparagus over Red Quinoa

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Italian Vegetable Cheese Soup

Italian Vegetable Cheese Soup

 

I remember my Mom made a version of this dish probably 25 years ago, and it was FANTASTIC.  It was one of those things that was so rich and luxurious that the memory stayed with me for a quarter century!  I asked my sister, who is now in possession of my mother’s recipe box, to find the recipe, but to no avail.  After some hunting online, I think I found something close.  As is my modus operandi, I tweaked it and made it my own, and now I’m sharing with you:  Italian Vegetable Cheese Soup!

It’s a very simple recipe, and of course, I always encourage you to make it how you and your family will like it best.  Feel free to add more vegetables to the soup.  This recipe is pretty basic, but please keep the zucchini, lots of onions and garlic, and the garbanzo beans.  I guess you could sub in another bean – Great Northerns would work – but I like the firm texture of dried garbanzos that have been cooked just to al dente.  Do NOT skip the wine in this recipe.  You only need half a cup, but it adds so much flavor.  As for the cheese, I used a combination of cream cheese, goat cheese, and a very sharp white cheddar.  You use what you like – maybe some Asiago would be nice, and Fontina would definitely be delicious.

This is not diet food, but a small bowl will fill you up, so it’s okay!  Eat this for lunch with a green salad and enjoy!

Italian Vegetable Cheese Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound dried garbanzo beans (or use one can of garbanzos)
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 can crushed or diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted with peppers, and it added a welcome spicy kick!)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs (or use a combo of dried oregano and basil)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 ounce goat cheese (or more!)
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar or other cheese (parmesan, mozzarella, fontina, gouda, asiago…)

Directions:

  1. If you are using dried garbanzos, pour them into a pot, cover with a  few inches of water, and simmer for about an hour.  If you are using canned, skip to step 2.
  2. In a large pot, cook the onions in the butter for about five minutes until soft.  Add the zucchini and garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.  Drain the water from the beans and add to the vegetables.
  3. Add in the can of tomatoes and the dried Italian herbs.  Add the wine, cover the pot and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the milk and cheeses. Stir to combine and cover, over medium low heat.  Let simmer for five minutes, then stir again.  Don’t let the cheese stick to the bottom of the soup!
  5. I like it thick, but you can thin this out more with either milk or wine.  Serve hot!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipes, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

 

Roasted Apples and Sweet Potatoes

In my continuing quest to find new and yummy ways to serve more veggies, I have had some successes…and a few failures.  Like roasted cauliflower with a healthier spinach-artichoke dip topping.  Ummm, yeah…it did NOT come together on the plate like it did in my head.  But this—the Roasted Sweets and Apples—so yummy!

We enjoyed this alongside a roasted chicken.  This is healthy but-oh-so-yummy comfort food!   I prepared this for supper on the coldest day I think I have ever experienced…with the windchill factor, our temps never got out of the below zero range.  So when my husband walked in, I literally heard him say, ‘ahhhhh….’  (Made me happy, too!)

This recipe makes enough for leftovers.  We enjoyed this a day or two later for lunch accompanied with breakfast sausage and a nice, runny sunny-side up egg. However you serve it, I hope you and your loved ones enjoy it!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples

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ingredients:
2# sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed about 1″
1 red onion, diced small
3 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 apples, peeled, cored, and cubed about 1″
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary (or thyme)
sea salt, freshly ground pepper (I use lemon-pepper blend)

directions:

  • preheat oven to 400
  • line baking sheet pan with parchment paper
  • in a large mixing bowl, combine sweet potatoes, cinnamon, onions, generous amount of s&p, and 2 tablespoons olive oil ‘til potatoes are thoroughly coated
  • pour onto lined baking sheet
  • place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or so
  • in same bowl, combine apples, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and rosemary
  • add to sweet potatoes
  • roast for additional 15-20 minutes, ‘til sweet potatoes are tender
  • taste for additional s&p

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!    (Don’t ever forget that!)

  coleen

Almond Joy Chocolate Bark

Almond Joy Chocolate Bark

What’s Valentine’s Day without some chocolate?  This is pretty healthy stuff though, so as long as you don’t eat the whole batch in one sitting, you can have a treat and not be naughty.  Almond Joy Chocolate Bark is the way to go!

I love dark chocolate and I use the darkest I can find in the grocery store.  Here I used a bag (11.5 oz) of 63% cacao Guittard chocolate chips, but feel free to use whatever dark chocolate you like.  I also used roasted, salted almonds because that little bit of salt really offsets the sweet and makes the flavors pop.  If you want a sweeter bark, you can use “Angel Flake” coconut that has sugar added.  I used unsweetened coconut flakes and it’s quite yummy!  I also used 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.  I like that it makes the chocolate a little smoother, and I think it tastes great too.  You can leave it out if you don’t have it.

Give some to your sweeties, treat your friends at work, or just nibble on this chocolate bark and enjoy some quiet time.  Happy Valentines Day!

Almond Joy Chocolate Bark

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (use the darkest chocolate you can find, with the highest percent of cacao)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup whole, roasted, salted almonds
  • 1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  1. In an oven-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate and coconut oil together for 30 seconds.  Stir very well with a rubber spatula, then microwave again.  Keep doing this until your chocolate and coconut oil are smooth and blended.  Mine took 3 blasts of 30 seconds each.
  2. Line an 8×8 baking pan with plastic wrap.  Pour in 1/3 of the melted chocolate and spread over the bottom of the pan.
  3. Spread the almonds over the chocolate layer and sprinkle with coconut.
  4. Pour the rest of the chocolate over the almonds and coconut and lightly spread to cover.  Put in the freezer for about 2 hours until solid.  Cut or break into 2″ pieces.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Sweet Potato – Spinach Mash

Like many of you, I am sure, we have refocused our healthy eating lifestyle. Preparing and eating LOTS of soup in January was so helpful! One good habit we are working on is having half the plate (or more!) full of veggies. Often that works out just fine. And a side salad is always a good and simple answer. But I find myself desiring some ‘comfort food’ especially during these cold and snowy months. And most of the dishes that I consider ‘comfort food’ don’t easily fall into the ‘healthy but oh-so-yummy’ parameters. However, the other night a recipe came together that fit the bill perfectly!

Sweet Potato and Spinach Mash…oh, yeah!

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I think that this is a ‘non’-recipe…you know…a basic idea where you can tweak it using what you have on hand. Like this: the frozen spinach could be switched out for finely sliced fresh spinach or some baby arugula or kale. You could use ricotta or greek yogurt or even cream cheese for the goat cheese. Try some different spices…cinnamon or nutmeg would be good; even your favorite curry spice blend. And I used some leftover baked sweet potatoes…that made it super quick and simple! If you try this recipe, I would love to hear of your variations!  Enjoy!

ingredients:
12 ounce bag frozen chopped spinach
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon minced garlic (I use jarred)
1-2 teaspoons dried herbs (thyme or marjoram or tarragon)
6 small baked sweet potatoes, skins removed
additional 1/2 cup broth or milk (use if mixture is too dry)
sea salt, freshly ground pepper (I use lemon-pepper blend)
3-4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

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directions:

  • place the spinach and broth in a medium-sized saute pan with a lid; cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes
  • stir in the minced garlic, s&p, and herbs
  • add the sweet potatoes and mash the whole mixture together
  • cover again and simmer gently ‘til heated through
  • taste for seasoning, and add in the goat cheese
  • remove from heat and serve

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥ 

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Napa Cabbage with Peas and Prosciutto

Napa Cabbage with Peas and Prosciutto

Punxatawney Phil, that old son-of-a-gun, just declared there would be six more weeks of winter.  Growing up in Southern California, it didn’t mean much to me—maybe a day or two of drizzle, or a heavier jacket if the temperature dipped into the fifties at night.  Now that we’re in Texas, winter is FOR REAL!  There are no good farmer’s markets, no fresh produce for cheap.  So when it’s the dreary days of February and you can’t plant your garden yet, it’s time to make the most of what you have.  This recipe for Napa Cabbage with Peas and Prosciutto can’t bring spring, but it can warm up your belly!

I had half of a head of cabbage left after making a batch of Stuffed Cabbage Soup and needed a recipe for it.  If you haven’t searched through Epicurious.com, please do.  I used the search function to find recipes for Napa cabbage, stumbled onto this one, and tried it.  Fantastic!  I followed the instructions, except I replaced prosciutto with bacon.  Warm, smoky, sweet, and salty.  Try it tonight!

Napa Cabbage with Peas and Prosciutto (recipe courtesy Epicurious)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 small napa cabbage, trimmed and sliced crosswise
  • 1 ounce prosciutto, chopped (I substituted 3 slices of bacon, minced, cooked, and drained)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or more, to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large heavy skillet, heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Add peas, cabbage, prosciutto, and zest and cook, stirring, 4 to 5 minutes, or until cabbage is wilted and tender.
  2. Remove skillet from heat and stir in lemon juice, Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste.

 

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Mexican Rice (with a secret ingredient)

Intrigued?  What is the ‘secret ingredient’, you ask?  Cauliflower.  Yup! Cauliflower makes a great stand-in for traditional rice.  Oh yes, you can google cauliflower rice…but you better be prepared for the many-many-many recipes, healthy-living blogposts and articles that you will find!

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Cauliflower ‘rice’ fits so perfectly into our healthy-but-oh-so-yummy POV.  (Click here  to check out some nutritional facts about cauliflower.)  And here are links to a couple of articles I found so interesting…they will surely expand your vision of some of the myriad ways that you can use cauliflower as a substitute in some very appealing recipes!  Check ‘em out!

How-To Substitute Cauliflower Deliciously….

25 Of the Best Cauliflower Recipes on Pinterest

Here in our home we have enjoyed <really enjoyed!> ‘riced’ cauliflower as the pinch-hitter in fried rice, rice pudding, Cauliflower&Veggies and, most recently, in Mexican Rice.  This Mexican Rice would be a nice side dish to the recipe Dana shared with us last week… Veggie Burritos.  Season this ‘rice’ dish in the ways that your family would enjoy…toss in some finely diced jalapenos or add a can of chipotle in adobo or simply add a tiny bit of crushed red pepper for some spiciness!  Enjoy!

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

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ingredients:
1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, “riced” **
2 tablespoons olive oil (or fat of your choice)
1 cup bell peppers (red, yellow, or green), diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (I use jarred)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons chili powder (I used chipotle)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes (I used Rotel brand)
assorted toppings: diced avocado, sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole

directions:

** to make “riced” cauliflower, break the head of cauliflower into florets cutting off large stems (save for soup!). place the florets in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until it breaks down and resembles pieces of rice (this only takes 10 or so ‘pulses’). or you can simply use a cheese (box) grater. always process the cauliflower for “rice” while it is still raw.

  • heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat
  • add onion and sauté for 5 minutes
  • add diced peppers and continue to saute for additional 5 minutes
  • lower heat and add chopped garlic and seasonings; stir constantly for 1-2 minutes
  • add in the “riced” cauliflower and stir to mix all veggies and seasonings together
  • stir in the tomato products and broth; raise heat to medium-high and bring to a boil
  • cover and lower heat to a simmer
  • cook ‘til liquids have been absorbed (20-25 minutes)
  • taste (carefully!) for additional seasoning

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Veggie Burritos

veggie burrito

Despite what restaurants would have you believe, a burrito (or taco, for that matter) doesn’t have to be the same boring combo of meat, rice, and beans.  Believe it or not, you can make burritos or tacos with whatever you have.  I have a great cookbook by Rick Bayless, who despite his gringo name, is one of the preeminent Mexican chefs in America.  His book has recipes for mushroom tacos, squash tacos – you name it, you can make it into burrito or taco filling.  Following his lead, I steered clear of the meat-rice-beans set-up and created my own version of the Veggie Burrito!

Of course, you can use whatever veggies you like, and please feel free to add or subtract vegetables from my recipe.  This one features toothy black beans (instead of the heavy refried beans you usually find plastered to the inside of a tortilla), onions, chopped mushrooms and sautéed kale.  Then get crazy with the accoutrements:  salsa, cheese, diced avocado, sour cream (or Greek yogurt in my case).  Need something a little more filling?  Replace the boring rice with quinoa!  You get more protein that way.

If you have leftover veggie mix, you can just heat it up and serve with a fried egg on top for a healthy breakfast, or make a burrito bowl:  veggie mix, quinoa, avocado, salsa – basically everything but the tortilla!

Veggie Burritos (Makes 2 burritos)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped kale, washed
  • 8 ounces mushrooms (white or cremini), sliced
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tortillas
  • salsa, grated cheese, sour cream or Greek yogurt, chopped avocado, cooked quinoa – your choice of any or all

Directions:

  1. In a large frying pan with a lid, add the butter, salt, and chopped onion.  Cook over medium for about five to ten minutes to get a little color.  Don’t let them burn!
  2. While the onions are cooking, prepare the kale – wash and spin it.  It doesn’t need to be dry, since a little water will help it steam and get tender.  Slice the mushrooms.
  3. Stir the washed kale into the onions in the frying pan and cover with a lid.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Then remove the lid and add the mushrooms.  Cook for five to ten minutes, until most of the water has evaporated and the mushrooms are cooked through.  Add the black beans and stir for another minute.
  4. Put the two tortillas on a plate and cover with a damp dish towel.  Microwave for 30 seconds, then fill with a heaping scoop of the veggie mix.  Top with salsa, cheese, et cetera, and fold tortilla to close.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

SoupPalooza 2015 Ham {Not Split Pea} Soup

Final week of SoupPalooza 2015!  Oh…i really wanted to wow you with some extravagant, lucious, inspiring bowl of yumminess!  I thought of doing a Norwegian-style fruit soup…but couldn’t find just the perfect fruits at this time of year.  I thought of doing a gluten-free, grain-free paleo version of Chicken and Dumplings…but had to ‘dump’ the dumplings (still working on that!).  And then I ran across a great deal on a nice, big ham…and was going to make split pea à la Gramps (my dad)…but then when I made this oh-so-full-of-flavor ham stock (who knew?!?), I thought ‘Just keep it simple, coleen…’  This is a good soup to round out SoupPalooza 2015.  It is simple, hearty, flavorful, adaptable.  And I can tell you…the guy who has enjoyed soup every day this month was very thankful to come home to a steaming mug-full of this!  (He told me to tell you that he hopes you enjoy it just as much!)

This fits well into our healthy but oh-so-yummy point of view—full of veggies, full of flavor, low-fat.  I hope you follow Robert’s lead and enjoy some soup!

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 Ham {NOT Split Pea} Soup

ingredients:
1 leftover hambone (with a decent amount of meat attached)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
6-8 ounces mushrooms (I used Baby Bellas), diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2# red or yellow potatoes, peeled and diced (I used baby Yukon gold)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (I use jarred)
1 cup canned white kidney beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup petite frozen peas
1 teaspoon each dried thyme and tarragon
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
meat from leftover hambone

directions

  • place hambone into your largest stockpot and add enough cool, filtered water to cover the bone halfway (for me this was about 8 cups)
  • cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for an hour or so; remove hambone
  • allow to cool slightly and skim off any nasty business from the surface ;-)
  • cut away and set aside all the meat from the bone; discard bone
  • heat olive oil in another stockpot over medium heat
  • add onions and mushrooms; saute just ‘til mushrooms are beginning to caramelize
  • add diced carrots and potatoes; saute for additional 5 minutes or so
  • add chopped garlic, stirring constantly for 1 minute
  • stir in ham stock, beans, corn, peas, and seasonings
  • bring back to a boil; cover and reduce heat; simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes; remove bay leaves (discard)
  • add ham pieces; mix in thoroughly and continue to simmer ‘til heated through, 2-3 minutes
  • serve hot and steamy

    ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥ 

    God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

    ♥  coleen