Archive for September, 2010

September 30th, 2010

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

When my parents would take us out to eat on Sunday nights, there was something I was always irritated with. Soup! I love soup. Being a vegetarian, and loving soup, there is always a moment of disappointment when you ask the server if the soup is made with meat stock, and their answer is yes (or you get the server who has no idea and makes up the answer, such as, I don’t think so…I don’t trust those servers!).

Some of B and I’s friends have made up a saying, based on one of our heated “disagreements”. They thought it was so funny and bring it up from time to time. When we were first married, B asked what we were having for dinner one night, I told him “soup” with no hesitation. He kept asking, “soup aaaaaand…..” I was confused, because, wasn’t soup enough? My parents always had just soup for dinner sometimes, and no one ever complained.

I continued to tell B that it was just a hearty soup. He said “you can’t just have just soup, there needs to be a point of interest, like a sandwich or quesadilla. I don’t even like soup”. I finished the “conversation” with a loud, “I like soup, soup fills me up!”

I guess I can see why this is funny to other people. You see, I got the last laugh. B loves soup now, and is happy when I serve soup for dinner.

I had never had tortilla soup, but I was always eyeing whoever ordered it, whenever we ate out. It looked and smelled so good. One day, I had had enough and started making my own. I love this recipe so much. It’s such a warm and hearty soup.

As fall has made it’s debut here in Ohio, soup was definitely on the menu. I always save those tiny bits at the bottom of the tortilla chip bag. They are perfect for my tortilla soup. I feel so included when I make this soup. I even make it with Quorn so it tastes authentic. B, a meat eater, even loves this soup!

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 C frozen Quorn tenders
1 t hot sauce
1/2 t smoked paprika
2 C veggie stock
2 C water
1 1/4 C diced tomatos (or you can use crushed)
1 jalapeno de-seeded
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 C chopped leeks or onion
1/4 t cumin
1/2 t chili powder
1 t. garlic granules
1/2 t pepper
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 a lime juiced
2 t celtic sea salt (course)
1 C old tortilla crumbs
1 C pepper jack cheese
1.Add the evoo to a medium size pan, and heat on medium heat.
2. Add the Quorn, hot sauce and paprika. I use the Quorn frozen. Sautee until the spice has absorbed. About 2 minutes.
3. Cover with the stock and water and add in all the other ingredients, except the salt, cheese and tortilla crumbs. Bring to a boil and once it boils, cover and turn to medium low for about 20 minutes.
4. Once the ingredients has cooked together add the cheese, tortilla crumbs and salt. Continue cooking for about five more minutes.
5. Top with shredded cheese and plain greek yogurt.

*my favorite brand of chips to use are organic Xochitl.

September 29th, 2010

Words Of Wisdom Wednesday!

I’m changing it up a bit today. My husband sent me this video and I thought it would be perfect for today. Enjoy =)

September 27th, 2010

Coconut Porridge

As the mornings are getting a little colder here, I have noticed a void in my breakfast ventures. Since changing my diet to low grain/mostly gluten free, breakfast isn’t as familiar as it used to be. I used to eat eggs and toast, pancakes, crepes, homemade english muffins, oatmeal, you get the picture, mostly carbs/grains!

On the cooler, misty, fall mornings, it seems like nothing will satisfy like oatmeal. I haven’t had oatmeal since the winter, probably. I’m not the biggest oatmeal fan, but as an adult, I was learning to love it. I used to love those Quaker instant packs as a kid. They even had ones where there was a squeezable topping, like strawberry jam, or chocolate fudge. I have a hard time finding people that remember those. Anyways, those are less than healthy, so I gave those up a long time ago.

I figured, to fill the void, yet sticking to my grain/gluten free diet, I would play around with some ingredients. I had been making a lot with shredded coconut, so that was going to be my medium. To my delight, things turned out just as I had hoped. It was warm, creamy, filling and satisfying. There was no grains, which made my belly happy.

The coconut offers a lot of health benefits and there’s a lot of fiber in it. Add in whatever trips your trigger. I topped it with honey and raw, slivered almonds and a white wine poached pear (left over from the party).

Coconut Porridge

2/3 C. coconut milk (or whatever milk you like)
1/4 C. shredded, organic coconut (unsweetened)
1 t. vanilla
a pinch of salt
2 T almond flour
1 T. golden flaxseed meal
honey to taste

Heat the milk in a small sauce pan and add in the remaining ingredients, cook on medium heat until it reaches the desired thickness.

September 23rd, 2010

Black bean noodles

I’m still recovering from the party! I don’t know why it’s taking so long, maybe it’s just mental. In the days following I just wanted healthy, nutritious food. It’s probably because I was up to my elbows in sugar for 4 days straight. Whatever the reason, I needed healthy eats.

I had a bundle of fresh green beans in the fridge and a new bag of black bean noodles I was excited to try. I remember hearing, on some show, that black bean noodles existed. I thought that was too good to be true but it wasn’t! I saw it in the gluten free section of my health food store and I grabbed the last bag for around $5!! Whatever, I was excited to try it.

What I liked about it was that it was way lower in carbs than other GF pastas, had more protein, a lot more. One of my favorite snacks has always been pasta with soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. I don’t know why, but it just hits the spot.

The noodles are short, thin and dry feeling. Very delicate, unlike other GF noodles. When cooked, they are a bit rough on the tongue and dry tasting as well. They are best suited for an asian application. I really did like them, despite my negative toned description. They held onto my sauce well.

This did make me feel better. I think my body was satisfied with the unexpected protein punch.

The brand I got was Explore Asian Authentic Cuisine. It was called gluten free black bean spaghetti. I also liked that it was organic. All the ingredients are- black beans, water. An added bonus was also that it was locally made.

Black bean spaghetti- Asian style
2 oz. black bean spaghetti
Cook the noodles for about 6 minutes and drain in a fine sieve.

Add about 1 tablespoon of GF tamri, 1/4 t. toasted sesame oil and a little bit of red pepper flakes to taste to a warm pan and toss with the noodles. Finish with sesame seeds.

This is how I like it but you can adjust it to your taste.

September 22nd, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

September 20th, 2010


I apologize for my absence. I’m currently sitting on the couch, nursing a sore back and tired body. I am exhausted.

Yesterday, B and I, and my family, threw my Dad and my Uncle, his twin brother, a surprise 70th birthday party! This is why I couldn’t post anything last week, because incase my Dad would have seen it, it would have ruined the surprise.

I spent the past 4 days shopping, baking, cleaning, painting, cutting, decorating and scheming! B was in charge of the art, and my brother and sister-in-law came over to help paint a huge banner that would hang in the party hall. I spent most of my time baking.

I may have mentioned before that I was born on my Dad and Uncle’s Birthday. I’ve always had a special bond with them because of that. When I was a kid, my mom would put together a huge get together for the birthdays. I remember our dining room table being covered in cakes and tarts and a few cookies. My mom did all of the baking and every one loved it and looked forward to it. I always thought everyone had that many cakes at their birthday parties! Come to find out, in later years, most people weren’t born on their parents birthday, and most people didn’t have 20 desserts to choose from.

Whenever my Dad’s side of the family got together for an occasion, there would always be tons of desserts. A lot of the photos from family events are of friends and family sitting around a table full of desserts, enjoying their coffee or tea and cake. I have sweet memories!

After 2.5 days straight of baking, and not sleeping much, it was party time!

My mom rented the party room of the German soccer club my Dad’s been a part of since he came to the States, from Germany. I spent a lot of my weekends and holidays at the club, usually on the sidelines of the soccer field, watching my Dad play soccer with all of his buddies. The kids of the other players and I would conger up weird myths and stories about the club that still stick with me today! My Opa (Dad’s father) actually help build the club and I have deep roots there. I have great memories of the club and I love going back.

My Dad and Uncle thought there was an “Old timers” game at the club. This was just the rouse of course, but my Dad was so excited, he was calling all his old players and cleaning up the field weeks before. We invited almost 200 people and I feel like all of them showed up!

My mom called me, telling me that she couldn’t hold my Dad down and that he was going to show up early. This sent me into panic mode, but everyone said it will be what it’ll be.

Guests started coming in and gave a satisfied look at the massive amounts of desserts. They loved the decor and were excited to be there. My Dad and Uncle arrived and were delighted with the surprise (even though my dad knew something was up). They went around the room greeting all who came, and I even saw a shiny tear speck of emotion on my dads cheek. I could just tell how loved they felt and how excited they were for each person who was there.

The party was awesome. People kept telling us how great it was. There was even an impromptu soccer game and yes, I was crazy enough to join in. The minute the cakes were cut, it looked like a tornado hit the table. People were skipping the food and going straight to dessert.

I loved seeing what went the fastest of what people went back for. My Mom’s cakes like her marzipan torte, poppyseed kuchen, and cheesecake were gone in a flash, of course. Another winner was my coconut macaroons. I don’t know why but I’ve had a thing for them lately. My Dad has always loved them, so I was sure include them on the list. I even had my picky cousin, yelling at me across the room, mouth stuffed saying, “I don’t even like coconut but I love these!” They are really good! They are probably the best macaroon recipe I have ever tried.

There were some family friends there who I was wondering if they had gotten anything to eat, because I was pretty sure they were gluten-free eaters. I asked if they had gotten and thing to eat and they politely said yes, and that everything was great. Then, I let them know that most of the desserts I made were GF. When I said that, it was a different story! They went to the table and I pointed out the “safe” desserts. They were so happy to be included. It’s the way I feel when I’m at a pizza place that has GF pizza!

The night was a success. My Dad couldn’t have asked for a better day. He was surrounded with friends and family that truly love him, there was a table full of his favorite desserts, he got to play a soccer game with his old teammates and his son, daughter, and son-in-law, all at the same time. Perfect!

Now I’m just deflating, like the hundreds of balloons that we used to decorate. If I’m up to it, I’ll post some more recipes that I used for this momentous occasion.

Coconut macaroons

adapted from David Lebovitz recipe
4 large egg whites
1¼ cups organic sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
2½ cups organic unsweetened coconut
1 T organic coconut flour
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all the ingredients, except the vanilla, in a skillet over medium heat. Stir together constantly until there is a slight scorch on the bottom of the skillet. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla. Use a small ice cream scoop and scoop out 1 inch mounds. I like to pack them down a little bit. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool completely

If you would like to dip them in chocolate…

tempered chocolate
1 1/2 C organic chocolate chips

in a double boiler melt 2/3 of the chocolate, until it reachers 110-115 degrees F. Take off the heat and add in (seed) the rest of the chocolate chips. Stir until it cools to 80 degrees F. After it gets down to temp. put it back on the double boiler till it reaches 90 degrees F. Dip the macaroons immediately and put on parchment or wax paper.

*In the picture, you can see some are darker than others. I actually forgot a batch in the oven. These are surprisingly forgiving so, bake them how you like them…shorter for really moist and “doughy”, or longer for a toasted, crispy flavor.

September 15th, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

September 8th, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

September 7th, 2010

twenty eight

Today is my birthday. I am currently watching my sweet husband make me a cake! It’s weird to be on the receiving end of a birthday cake, since I’m always the one making them for other people.

I don’t know how I feel about this day. I think I’ve come to the point where my birthday is a tiny bit depressing. I’m really getting older. It seems like since I’ve been married, time is flying, with no plans of slowing down. I guess I may change my tune by the end of the day. It’s still early.

I’ll follow up on the Vita Mix vs. Blendtec Battle.

September 3rd, 2010

I have a 10 year old!!

Towards the end of August, I always wish my cat, Acey May, a Happy Birthday! I don’t know her exact birthday since she was dropped off as a kitten, probably in the field across from my parents house. So, every day in August feels like her birthday to me!

I remember B and I coming home from my high school Powder Puff game, and my mom greeted us outside saying, “There’s a cat stuck under your Dad’s van.” Without thinking, I was under my Dad’s van searching for this cat. I heard the little cries and grabbed for it somewhere around the guts of the van.

I pulled out an oil slicked, gray fuzz-ball, covered in fleas. We took her inside and cleaned her up. I knew I couldn’t get attached because we already had two other cats that wouldn’t care for the new addition. My mom made me promise to try to find her a new home. For about 2 weeks we kept her on the front porch, so she wouldn’t bother my other cats. I found myself out there for hours playing with the adorable baby. I was so tempted to bring her in, but I didn’t want the cat to get too comfortable either, if I was just going to have to give her to someone else.

Needless to say, my begging to my mom worked and I was able to keep her. The minute she was allowed in the house, she made herself at home. She slept in my bed, and followed me everywhere, even in between the shower curtains, on the bathtub ledge, while I took a shower. She was, and still is my best friend.

I did notice, however, that there were these dark dirt-like specks in my bed all the time. I didn’t think too much of it. I would just wash my blankets frequently. Then, I actually saw a tiny brown bug, making it’s way across and in my baby’s nose. I was so grossed out, I immediately gave her a bath and we got her a flea collar and a good flea brush.

She has been the most clean and pristine cat…. until she turned 10!!!!

I was noticing that she had been scratching around her neck, way too much for me to be comfortable with. I grabbed her flea brush and gave her a swipe. Sure enough, FLEAS!!! I was appalled. My perfect, clean cat had fleas for the first time since we had gotten rid of them 10 years ago. I couldn’t understand, until I realized that there had been a couple of new cats that have visited us, from our neighbors.

I knew I had to get down to business to eradicate them.
Here are some flea facts: They need a warm blooded host, such as your pet, because there are lots of warm, furry places to hide and they live off of their blood. Their life cycle is about 20 days from laying eggs, hatching and then dying. They can jump 100x their own height.

I love my cat, I don’t want to put toxic pesticides on her, that she’s just going to lick away. Those products, meant to control fleas on your pet, can do long-term damage, such as liver and kidney damage. No thanks! I have found that the natural approach is the best approach.

The things you need are: a good flea comb, raw organic apple cider vinegar , tea tree oil shampoo, and red cedar oil.

-First, you must comb your pet every day. Get in all the nooks and crannies. This is really the best method of getting rid of them. I do it outside and then squish the flea right away so it can’t jump back on my cat.

-Give them a bath but do not get their head wet. Fleas hate water, and will search for higher, drier ground. Create a sort of soap collar out of some herbal (natural or organic) shampoo. I like Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle. When your pet is all wet, the fleas should jump into the soapy collar and get caught and then you’re able to wash them down the drain. I follow up with TJ’s Tea Tree Tingle conditioner mixed with raw, organic, apple cider vinegar (about 3:1). Fleas hate the smell of this stuff so it’s a great defense tool. After they’re out of the water (and their misery!) get a cotton swab soaked in apple cider vinegar and apply it to their ears, repeat with their rear-end, with a new cotton swab (fleas love these warm places).

-Vacuum every day if possible. If any are living in your carpet, you’ll need to suck them and their eggs up. Like I said before, they need a warm host, so if there’s a pet in the house, they are most likely not going to bother with the carpet. You can make an essential oil spray by adding a few drops of red cedar oil to some water, enough to make a pleasant smell. Spray your carpet.

-Brush, Brush, Brush! Everyday, outside. This is the only way to ensure your getting rid of them and their eggs and their poop.

These steps should bring your pet back to scratch-free happiness.

Part of having a wholesome home, is treating your pets with equally wholesome practices. For most people, our pets are our loyal, loving best friends. They are always here for us, so why would you want to surround their small bodies with toxins.

-Be Wholesome