Butter Chicken

Cooking

Butter ChickenI have fell in love with Indian Butter Chicken! I had some last Saturday and on Sunday the hubby and I collected the necessary ingredients to make it that night. I followed the low fat variation of this recipe plus a diced eggplant. We served it over brown basmati rice and with cucumber raita from Budget Bytes. If you haven’t yet checked out her blog you are really missing out. Cooking gourmet has never been easier on the wallet!

The best loaded baked potato soup, healthy version!

Cooking, recipe

The best loaded baked potato soup

Creamy potato, rich and tangy sour cream, salty bacon, melted cheese, crisp green onions… are you drooling yet? A head of cauliflower that you can’t taste,  and less than 10 grams of fat per serving… are you intrigued?

The cauliflower blends nicely into the soup adding nutrients, nice creamy texture, and volume that would have been potatoes. Using bacon fat instead of butter allows you to use less fat without skimping on flavor. If you can use organic milk, and potatoes, and nitrate free bacon.

 

Ok stop licking your screen and start cooking!

Fry 4 slices of nitrate-free apple wood smoked bacon in a large stockpot on medium low. Remove bacon, chop, and refrigerate  leaving behind the fat. Saute 2 coarsely chopped onions until lightly golden. Add 6 cups of water, 2# of coarsely chopped organic unpeeled potatoes, 1 coarsely chopped head of cauliflower, and 2 cloves of garlic. Simmer until all vegetables are tender. Working in batches blend soup with 1 quart of organic whole milk. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with minced green onions, cheddar cheese (1 tablespoon per serving), reserved bacon, and Greek yogurt.

Enjoy!

Tomato Soup

Cooking

 

tomato soup

 

Tomato soup and grilled cheese. Ah the velvety tomato goodness, the crisp edges of bread, and gooey cheese! What could be better on a cold day when you don’t want to cook? But what are you to do when you are gluten free, buy a can of tomato soup? Pssh make your own in less time it takes to drive to the store and back!

I cannot lie: my favorite part of tomato soup and grilled cheese is dipping the sandwich! It’s a lot of fun to serve the soup in mugs for the best dunking.

Quick Tomato Soup

Heat a 3 quart pot to medium high. Chop 1 onion, and peel 3 garlic cloves. Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the pot, add the onion and garlic. Cook stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, until onions are golden. In a blender combine a 28 ounces can of whole tomatoes, the contents of the pot, 1 tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon and blend until smooth.  Pour back into the pot, simmer for at least a few minutes and up to 10 minutes. Add 1 pint of warm whole milk, sea salt (don’t add too much, the bread and cheese will be salty), and fresh cracked pepper to taste. If soup is too thick for your liking thin with some water or milk. Bring the soup back to a simmer. Serve in mugs, or deep soup bowls and with grilled cheese.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Heat a fry pan to medium low. Add 1 teaspoon of butter to pan, add a slice of gluten free bread, cook until lightly golden. Repeat for other slice of bread. Assemble sandwich with toasted bread sides inward with 2-4 tablespoons of cheese. Add sandwich back to pan to brown on both sides. You can also toast in a non-stick skillet without using butter. The biggest advantage is no greasy fingers!

Cheese suggestions: Fresh mozzarella, sharp cheddar, goat cheese, or gruyere.

Other filling ideas: 1 tablespoon sliced roasted pepper, 1 teaspoon green onion or chives, 1 thin slice tomato, thin slices of avocado, or a few leaves of fresh basil.

Easy Pad Thai

Asian, Cooking, recipe

Pad Thai

Soak 12 ounces of rice sticks (I often get pho noodles) until softened but are still firm. Slice 1 onion, cut 2 carrots into matchsticks, thinly slice 1 bunch rainbow chard, and chop 2 cooked chicken breasts. Blend 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste (seeds removed from paste) with 1/4 cup of fish sauce, 1/2 cup of vinegar (I used apple cider), and 1/2 cup of raw sugar. Heat a large pot or wok to medium high, once pot is hot add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Add the carrots and onions, saute for 2 minutes. Meanwhile in a small fry-pan cook 4 lightly beaten eggs until set, remove from heat and chop. Add chicken, chard, and noodles to large pot, saute until noodles are almost cooked through. Add sauce, 1 cup of small mushrooms, 4 cups of beans sprouts, the cooked eggs, and water as needed. Saute until noodles are cooked through.

Swirl the noodles on the plate. Garnish as desired with 1 tablespoon of toasted sunflower seeds, 1/4 of a lime, sliced green onions, and cilantro.

Fuurin-Oka Futon & Breakfast

Asian, Getaways & Adventures

The husband and I decided to visit Fuurin-Oka this summer and had a wonderful time. I wish we booked more than 1 night, we won’t make that same mistake next time we come! This post is very picture heavy.

There were many sliding wooden doors throughout the whole unit. So different and fun!

Tea drinking sitting area. We loved having tea while playing a card game.

The husband being a Samurai with an invisible sword

  The husband sitting on the floor mats.

The husband being thoughtful in the front room. There’s a beautiful garden outside.

The kitchen with such cute dishes! There was a microwave, a mini fridge, a hot water maker for tea, and quite the assortment of teas.

More cute dishes!

The special bath tub. The wooden walls smelled so good when we drew the bath. There are candles to light around the edge.

There are such beautiful touches and surprises everywhere! Like this paper crane mobile.

Our wonderful host helped us out by taking a picture of us before went on our sushi date.

We are so happy to be together!

Two of our sushi rolls from SuBi. It was really good, I can’t wait until next time we are on the island so we can eat there again!

One of our breakfast trays. It was a lot of food! 2 different vegetarian sushi rolls(the eggs in the omelette came from the hosts chickens!), 2 types of rice balls, miso soup, and grape juice. Hubby also made green tea to go with our breakfast.

Close up of the cucumber & beet rice balls. So refreshing 🙂

BBQ pork rice balls. These were great!

Miso soup with wakamae & tofu. A nice contrast to the sushi.

I’ll leave you with a picture of one of the vases of flowers that were in the house. No doubt picked from the gardens.

If you’d like to book a night please visit their website. It is hard to get in since it’s such an amazing place to stay!

Note: I was not paid or compensated in anyway for this blog post, I just loved the Furrin-Oka!

$5 for 7 meals worth of spaghetti sauce!

Cooking, recipe

The weather is finally warming up a bit!

That means a couple of things to me: gardening, barbequing, more greens in meals, summer sewing and planning for Fall knitwear.

First off gardening

I’m starting lots of different lettuces, tomatoes(big,medium, small, pink, red, yellow, slicers and paste), basil for pesto and 2 more types, mini bell peppers, cilantro and probably more. My celery, kale, carrots, leeks, onions, chives and parsley survived the winter so that’s good.

Second

Barbequing! We got propane today so I’m planning on making grass-fed beef hamburgers with sweet potato and green bean fries.

Third

See above about gardening. I’m planning on having TONS of greens this summer!

Fourth

I’m working on a prom dress for a friend and then I want to whip out a pair of shorts, capris, a skirt and a top for me. This should be interesting since I’ve never made pants or shorts besides PJ’s.

Fifth

This will be a surprise and it will be awesome! Want to be the first to hear what I’m up to? Join the newsletter.

 

Oh and by the way I got a giant, I really do mean huge(108 ounce) can of S&W crushed tomatoes in rich puree from Costco for about $3 + $1 worth of organic onions + less than $.50 of spices and sugar = the equivalent of over 7 jars of spaghetti sauce for less than $5!

All I did was dumped the can of tomatoes into my largest crockpot, added 2 diced onions and turned it on high for 3 hours. Then I added 4 tablespoons of minced garlic, 5 tablespoons of dried basil and how ever much was left of my dried oregano(what can I say, I’m sooo scientific about the process. If you need more directions come over here) Around 2 hours later I added about 2 tablespoons of sugar to cut the acidity.

I froze the sauce in 2 cup blocks, after they were frozen solid I popped them in ziplock bags for quick meals.

For the most part I’ll brown veggies or meat in olive oil, add the thawed sauce and heat to a simmer. Sometimes I’ve added cream cheese to the sauce as well.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Cooking

Nearly Wordless Wednesday! Yesterday I made some red velvet cupcakes that turned out delicious and today I whipped up my favorite cream cheese frosting to top them. I followed this recipe for the cupcakes over at AllRecipes.com For the frosting I blended 8 ounces of cream cheese, 4 ounces of butter, 1 tsp of vanilla and a couple tablespoons of milk together until everything is nice and creamy. I added enough powder sugar until it was frosting consistency. It was yummy and I hope you are hungry now.

{Happy Baking}

This week’s dinner menu

Cooking

These are this week’s dinner ideas, let’s see if I actually follow it! 😉

  • Homemade quick gnocchi with slow cooker pasta sauce and peas, organic green salad.{Sunday night}
  • Teriyaki chicken kabobs w/ organic bell pepper, onion and pineapple. Veggies sushi rolls.
  • Lentil rice casserole in tortillas with cheese, Greek yogurt, salsa and lettuce.
  • Spaghetti & turkey meatballs in slow cooker pasta sauce, green beans
  • Clam chowder, home baked bread and organic green salad.
  • Honey mustard chicken, brown rice & broccoli.
  • Turkey meatloaf, mashed sweet potatoes and green beans.

Italian Style Hamburgers

Cooking, Grill

My basil is doing really well so I made basil and garlic mayo to spread on these Italian style hamburgers. Tomatoes sprinkled with salt, pepper and sugar are broiled with mozzarella top the bun and spinach under the patty make a flavorful burger that’s layered with flavor. I can’t wait until I have my home grown tomatoes, did I mention before that I have 6 varieties? I have little red cherry tomatoes to big yellow heirlooms.

 

Garden update: Some raspberries and strawberries are ripening, the tomatoes and bell peppers that are in the ground are doing well(I put a mixture of lime, fertilizer and bone meal under each plant), the pea plants are blooming and the lettuce is growing like crazy 🙂



Beef Kabobs with Mushrooms and Pineapple

Asian, Cooking, Gardening

The beef round steak strips were marinated in soy sauce, cooking white wine, garlic powder, fresh ginger, sugar and olive oil for several hours. Hubby helped skewed the beef strips on the kabobs alternating with mushrooms and gold pineapple. They cooked quickly on the grill and I served them over rice with chopped chives.

~*~

News from my garden:

I have 2 strawberries that are close to being ripe, the raspberries are fruiting, the mints and bee balms are growing like weeds in your favorite garden bed, my tomato and bell pepper starts are eager to come outside, the irises are blooming(soon to be taken to a plant swap), transplanted carrots, mixed salad greens and peas to the garden boxes and we started prepping the side of the house for some tomatoes. Whew, it’s time for a break 🙂

~*~