Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fall Squash Harvest

I absolutely love the colors of Fall. The colors, the smells, the produce, the chill in the air, hot cider, pumpkin anything... and, more recently... experimenting with squash.

I adore spaghetti squash and it's similarity to noodles.  And zucchini for it's versatility - it's amazing what can be done with zucchini... makes very tender juicy meatballs when used in place of breadcrumbs, to muffins, breads, grilled pizza bites, the list doesn't end.

As seen in Simply Gluten Free Magazine, Sept Oct 2015
After doing my research for this Simply Gluten Free magazine piece I found a variety of squashes to explore, cook and bake with.
Let the GF Fall cooking, roasting, baking begin!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

'Reluctant' Cook

Reluctant. I used this to describe myself here but though I chose that word, it doesn't feel comfortable. And it has remained uncomfortable to me since I wrote it last week

It doesn't tell the whole story...  or give an accurate picture.  

Granted I don't have a passion for cooking, but I DO have a passion for eating healthy, eating fresh and most of all... eating safe!  

Cooking gives me that   So I am quite happy to cook.  It gives me peace of mind to know it's safe, to choose what goes in, to know what I am putting in my body - and into my family.  
And sometimes - it is fun!
So why 'reluctant'?  

Because pretty much any day of the week I would rather be making art... drawing, painting, sketching. Or playing with daughter.  Or painting,  crafting and sketching with her! 

My solution.... keeping a small sketchbook handy in the kitchen. So I can sketch between chopping, or while I am waiting between food prep steps.  Ideas come while I handle the vegetables, herbs and spices... or while I daydream looking out the kitchen window.   

Dinner gets made, and dinner gets drawn. All of the art in this post was conceived in my kitchen sketchbook.  

In fact, this piece became this page in Simply Gluten Free Magazine's Sept/Oct 2015 issue.

So it is a win-win situation.

And it is why I have started working on a kitchen coloring book for adults... more to come on that!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Measuring Up - Kitchen Confessions

I don't like to measure when I cook. Even when I bake, which requires a balance of ingredients to make the magic happen, I still tend to approximate wherever I can.  Not really sure why, but I definitely avoid it.

Maybe it feels to confining.  Too much like rules.

Somehow it feels like it stifles my flow and creativity. Guess I like to imagine I am conjuring up and magically creating something new every time.

The fact that I am a reluctant (for lack of a better word) cook may explain it.  I cook for necessity not for the passion of it.   I know people who touch heaven when they are in the kitchen. 
And based on the exquisite foods they create I am pretty sure heaven comes down and touches them in the process.
Again, Seriously.
I touch heaven when I draw, paint and run. Those activities fill me up - even when they are difficult.  That is passion.
So in my daily cooking time I try to spice it up. (pun intended)  Looking to make the process more exciting, adventurous...  more of a game. So I wing it. A lot.  
I approximate. 
And guesstimate.  Makes the doing more interesting.
And makes the results more of... an adventure.  Nothing ever tastes exactly the same as it did last time. I know, there are pros and cons in that.
But the meals are there, hot, healthy and ready when everyone is hungry. And the cook is happy because she enjoyed the process.

If you enjoy my work you can see more in my shop Erin Go Paint and my online portfolio.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Gloriously Gluten Free Hot Artichoke Dip

Our car limped into the car repair shop as they were closing up on Friday afternoon.  And, so it sits there for the weekend, grounding us.  Not that it flies or anything, but grounding us in the sense of sticking close to home, and taking care of things on foot.

Now as luck would have it, we actually have all the necessities within walking distance of our new home including 2 pharmacies, 2 grocery stores, our bank, a liquor store (yes, all the necessities!) a playground, and a butcher.  So though it may be more convenient to drive here and there on a whim... it is actually nice to plan and walk, and go out and about on foot as a family.

Our 9 year old was less than pleased with the plan for the weekend and it took some getting used to. Yesterday when I suggested a snack she said "but what I really want is the cheesy hot artichoke dip and we don't have the stuff for it."  But, again as luck would have it I was able to pull out of fridge and pantry all that we needed.  Well, we improvised a bit and used shredded cheddar instead of Monterey jack - but it was just as awesome.  As she was grated the Parmesan she said she was so very happy at that moment.
That is the best comment ever.

All you have to do is combine all ingredients above in a dish that can go in the oven leaving some of the grated Parm to sprinkle on top right before it goes in the oven.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Let set for 5 minutes before eating.
We used tortillas to dip.
Our hot creamy cheesy artichoke dip made out day!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Easy GF Strawberry Ice Cream

As part of our Mommy-Summer-Camp plan, I promised my daughter lots of cooking, food prep and experimenting in the kitchen.  She's 9 and is a serious foodie, so we want to encourage that.

Also, given that eating gluten free is keeping her migraines in check... I want her to see how much great food can be made and enjoyed fresh and without gluten.
So we broke out the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer and the ice cream bowl that has been quietly and patiently waiting in the freezer for it's chance to make some magic!
I like things to be simple - the simpler the better - so 5 ingredients and straight forward preparation makes me happy.

5 Ingredient Strawberry Ice Cream

In a large bowl we combined the milk, cream, sugar, salt, and strawberries.

Stirred the sugar into the heavy cream about 30 minutes before so the the sugar can dissolve. And, we ran the strawberries through our Magic Bullet to prevent chunks in the ice cream(my daughter likes smooth ice cream).

Then she poured the mixture into the freezer bowl of the Kitchenaid. And licked all the bowls and spatula.

The machine mixed for 20-25 minutes while we went out to play in the yard.

When it was finished we scooped it out into a dish to freeze and again licked the spoons, etc.  It's amazing that we got as much ice cream into the freezer as we did!

Froze it for about 5 hours and had it for dessert - perfect and creamy with just the right amount of sweet!
There is still some left for tomorrow (unless my husband goes back in late tonight!)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Plank, Pain and Perspective

Last night at 2am I was jolted awake from a deep sleep by a searing pain. Like fire shooting down my right side.  It was so intense and immediate, I jumped out of bed - which seemed to make it worse. 
My assumption of course was digestive.  As a celiac that is always the first thought. "What did I eat?"
But my immediate list of reliefs...  bathroom,  drinking water,  ginger chews did nothing to relieve the ricocheting pain.

Panic started to take hold as I tried to think which organs were involved?  Or was it my intestines?  Was it all those cherries we picked and ate yesterday.  Did my appendix burst?  Was it a kidney stone and the pain was radiating?  Was it time to wake my husband and call an ambulance?  
Meanwhile I had just gotten a clean bill of health -  and a "you are doing great"  from my Doctor.  Now my insides were on fire!

I continued to drink water and tried to find a comfortable position as I contemplated the worst. As I turned slightly to the right the pain was momentarily soothed, calmed.  That gave me a moment of clarity. A moment was all I needed.

That is when I remembered the post-dinner plank pose family competition.  Ah ha. The plank pose. A brilliant core building exercise but not one to be under estimated, or to over-do.
And there it was,  the pain was shooting from under my ribs to my groin and could not be pin-pointed to an organ because it was muscular.
If I stayed in the right position the pain continued to be soothed and relieved.
So I got back into bed, gingerly, and found a position where it was not being aggravated.  And as I drifted off to sleep I was reminded that though so many issues are triggered or caused by celiac...  
It is not responsible for everything that goes wrong.

And this morning, gratefully, I am fine.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Lemon and Ginger for what 'ales' you

Last night I was up in the middle of the night because of an accidental gluten ingestion.  Was it the chips marked GF or the Tamari marked GF?  Not sure but neither consideration makes me happy.  Nor does it make me feel safe about labeling and supposedly safe food production.  I will approach each with caution, or most likely avoidance!

Not feeling too terrible this morning, though tired from the loss of sleep due to late night bathroom visits. But, whenever this is the unfortunate circumstance I have a few go to foods the next day:
First and foremost - a lot of water.

After a few glasses of plain water I add fresh squeezed lemon and fresh grated ginger to the water... that I drink all day long.  It's delicious and refreshing and the ginger especially works wonders.  And makes a lovely drink to sip on any day.

My formula is pretty simple on these kind of days peeled apples, bananas, cooked rice and plain yogurt.
And time... plenty of time.