Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kabocha Squash

Have I ever mentioned that I love Wednesdays? Well I do. It's my Monday so I'm back in the Kitchen with Amber for prep. It's also the day of farmers market. I met up with Vanessa this afternoon and we walked into town. She's been up north for the past week so it was nice to see her and catch up. I picked the usual chard, celery, pasilla chiles, lettuce, and bell peppers, but was curious about all the squash that are now available. I haven't done too much cooking with squash. I think I always thought they were too difficult but really, they are one of the easiest things to cook. I asked the woman at the Roots stand if the small orange squash was a mini pumpkin. She said it was a Kabocha squash also known as a Japanese pumpkin. She noted that the taste is sweeter than pumpkin and explained how to cook them. Cut in half and brush with olive oil. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes at 350°. Mine took close to 50 minutes. I scraped out the seeds to cook on a separate tray. They were seasoned with a little bit of olive oil and course salt. I had no idea what to pair with this so I decided to steam some broccoli and that's when I had the idea to stuff it in the squash with the toasted seeds. It was such a simple dinner but so yummy. I can't wait for next Wednesday so I can purchase more. Okra was another first time purchase today which I've also never cooked with. Some research needs to be done. When I think of okra I remember myself and my childhood best friend eating pickled okra right out of the jar. Oh yeah, and the Torkelsons. Remember that show?

Made this green drink earlier for my snack... I can now include granny smith apples into my diet which makes me a very happy girl. A month without fruit is no fun. Lots of ginger and lemon, apple, and celery leaves and stalks.

Also pretty excited about my new book purchase

Today was a good day. Hope everyone else enjoyed themselves.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth.

After I gave this blog a makeover last night I made some edits to the "about me" section. I re-read what I wrote about why I started this blog. "I started this blog to express my passion for healthy natural food and things that make me happy." Being in the kitchen cooking and experimenting makes me very happy but there are other factors as well that contribute to my happiness. Disneyland is one of them. My mom was a travel agent while I was growing up so we took trips there at least two, if not three times a year. To me, this really is the happiest place on earth. Vanessa and I took a day trip last Monday. I know I'm late on the posting but after not sticking to my diet completely that day, I had a major food hangover/coma for the next few days that followed. I've cleaned up my diet even more so since returning and I'm finally starting to feel like the supplements and diet are working. I have started including granny smith apples into my diet. I feel that these have really helped me not feel so spacey. Okay, back to Disneyland. It was awesome. It had been two years since I'd been there. I love this time of year with all the Halloween and Nightmare Before Christmas decorations. I felt like a little kid again and was filled with so much happiness and excitement.

My all time favorite ride. Yes, I bought Minnie ears to wear.

 California Adventure at sunset. Such a beautiful way to end a lovely day.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sugar and Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

 The weather is finally cooling down a bit and it’s starting to feel like fall. I love seeing the all the colored leaves falling from the trees. In keeping with the season, pumpkin cheesecake was one of the flavors on the weekly menu for Enjoy Cupcakes this past week. Not being able to eat sugar or gluten was torturous on me. On Sunday morning while at work, I was thinking to myself how I could make a gluten and sugar free pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving is approaching and I need an alternative. I’ve been making quiches lately so I thought I could use a similar recipe for the crust. In my first attempt I used equal parts almond and coconut flour with equal parts water, grapeseed oil, and almond milk. This crust came out too thick and dry. The recipe for the filling was found on Kath Eats Real Food. The end result had too much spice added to it giving the mixture a grainy texture. Overall it was decent but I knew I could make it even better with some revisions. Today I made my second attempt. The recipe is below. After my first bite I knew my alterations had paid off. I will be making this for Thanksgiving. A larger batch of course. This mini pumpkin pie can be eaten in one sitting by one person. Yes, that would be me.

Sugar and Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

For the crust
1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon almond flour
1 Tablespoon coconut flour
1 Tablespoon ground flax
1 + 1/2 Tablespoons Earth Balance (I use the soy free)
1 teaspoon xylitol
1/2 teaspoon water
pinch of salt

Sift together all dry ingredients. Beat butter until well combined and then add the water. Form dough in a ramekin and bake for about 13 minutes at 350°. 
Remove from oven and let cool completely.

For the filling

1/2 cup organic canned pumpkin (fresh could be used in place)
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
37 drops liquid stevia (I use the Kal brand.)
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of vanilla extract

Mix well to combine
Once your pie crust is completely cooled, fill with pumpkin pie filling.
Garnish with slivered almonds if desired... Chopped pecans would probably be good too.
Place in freezer for about 45 minutes to an hour.
Remove and enjoy the pumpkin pie goodness without sugar or gluten.

Friday, October 14, 2011


I haven't been too happy with the Instagram update so I've been using Picture Show instead to edit my photos. I saw that I can upload directly to my blog. This is my first attempt at it. For my dinner tonight I cooked a turkey patty with chopped spinach, steamed zucchini, and an arugula salad with tomato, green bell pepper, and some kind of chile I picked up at the farmers market. Today was a fun day. My friend Vanessa and I went for a walk and then went to the coffee shop where I had some yummy hibiscus tea. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Single Serving Quiche

Ever since I made my first quiche last week I have been wanting to make another. It was so yummy. Mondays are my Saturdays so I had time to cook this morning. I didn't feel like making such a large size portion so I decided to make a single serving size in a ramekin. I don't know what it is about the ramekin dishes but I love using them. I need to make a trip to a kitchen supply store and get some more. That might be a bad thing though. I remember getting lost in Peppercorn, a shop in Boulder for at least an hour. I wanted to buy everything but restrained myself. I did leave with an awesome set of 4 mini tart pans. 
Okay, so back to the quiche. I followed the same recipe from memory that I used for making the broccoli cheddar quiche last week. I did scale it down and added ground flax like I said I wanted to. For the crust I used about 1/2 cup almond meal, 1 tablespoon flax, 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, and 1 tablespoon water. Because I didn't scale this down exactly, the crust was more moist. In the end this was not a bad thing. I baked it for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. After taking it out to partially cool, I prepared my filling. 1 egg plus egg whites and leftover veggies (kale, yellow squash, and zucchini.)

 The whole quiche took about 30 minutes to bake. Halfway through the baking process I added a special topping. It consisted of 1 teaspoon almond flour, 1 heaping tablespoon chopped pistachios, and 1 teaspoon earth balance. Mix well and sprinkle on top.

The original recipe says you are supposed to wait 30 minutes before eating... I waited about 5. I was hungry! I even took a bite out before photographing it.

PS. Thanks to my mama for the cute hot pad she brought me back from San Francisco.
Hope everyone has a lovely week. My friend Vanessa and I are taking a trip to the pumpkin patch today! So excited it's finally fall and I will be much happier once the weather cools down.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Peanut Butter Carob Chip Cookie Dough...Yes, It's sugar free!


 Being on such a restricted diet where I can't even eat fruit makes it difficult to really satisfy my sweet tooth. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love sweets. I do have to say, with all the restrictions, it forces me to be much more creative in my dessert making abilities. As always, I was browsing through foodgawker last night before going to bed. I came across a post from Chocolate Covered Katie. It was for No Sugar Cookie Dough Dip. I read through the recipe but it called for dates. Since I always like to alter recipes anyway I figured I would try to make a variation sans the dates. This morning after I got home from work and made some yummy breakfast tacos, I started thinking about that cookie dough again. Time for another experiment in my kitchen... these are my favorite ways to pass time. Being just an experiment, the recipe does not have exact measurements. Here it is if anyone would like to try it.

Peanut Butter Carob Chip Cookie Dough
Approx 3/4 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
Scant 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt and pinch of baking soda
3 Tablespoons almond milk
About a dropper full of liquid stevia

Blend in food processor until smooth. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times.
Transfer into a bowl and fold in about a handful of unsweetened carob chips.
Enjoy right away or place the fridge.
I did both... I'm saving the rest for later.

My breakfast tacos... These were seriously good.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

So here is my quiche. I would say my first attempt came out quite well. After waiting for almost two hours I had a piece for breakfast. When I came back from yoga I had a piece for lunch with an arugula salad. I have never been a big fan of quiche but as I was browsing though foodgawker last night one of the photos caught my eye. It was a broccoli cheddar quiche with a brown rice crust. It looked so yummy. I had broccoli, cheese, and eggs in my fridge but no brown rice precooked. I decided I would try to make something in the morning with a different crust.

After I got up this morning, I did a quick search online for a gluten free quiche recipe. I came upon this recipe from Gluten Free Life. I made the crust according to the recipe. I added dried oregano, thyme, and red chili flakes.
For the filling I used 2 eggs plus 1/2 cup egg whites, 1/4 cup almond milk, 1 cup broccoli florets, and 1/2 cup goat milk cheddar. I baked my quiche in a souffle dish so it took a bit longer to cook than the recipe says. I'm definitely going to play around with the recipe. The almond crust came out kinda crumbly but that's common with gluten free flours. On my next attempt, I'm thinking of adding ground flax to the crust. Anyone have any other ideas??

Here is a pretty picture of the sky I took earlier from the parking at the gym. I'm hoping for more rain tomorrow.

A Lovely Day and Dinner

Today is my Sunday. It's only fitting that I sit here drinking coffee. Coffee? I barely ever drink coffee but I'm in the process of making a quiche for breakfast and it's going to be at least an hour till it's ready to eat. The coffee is suppressing my appetite. I think it's funny how I will take the time to make myself something wonderful to eat even it it takes what seems like forever and I'm starving. Okay, enough about this quiche... that will be a later post. We'll see how it turns out. This is my first attempt.

It's raining right now and that makes this day so much better. It started on my drive home last night and it was the perfect ending to a lovely day. I drove to Santa Barbara to spend the day with my friend Josh. It was gorgeous outside so we hung out at the beach for a few hours.

On our way back to his casa we stopped at Whole Foods to pick up supplies for dinner. We were thinking of cooking up some salmon so we picked out veggies to that would pair nicely with the fish. It wasn't until we were waiting at the fish counter that we saw calamari steaks and had the idea to bread them... gluten free of course. They didn't have any gluten free flour in bulk so I got a little bit of cornmeal and brown rice flour. I figured I could try and make it work with these two ingredients. We got the calamari steak as well as some raw garlic shrimp and sweet brown rice. I've never cooked with this type of rice before. It looks just like short grain brown rice but once it's cooked it has the stickiness and consistency of sushi rice.

I love when my food represents <3

Sauteed veggies... simple yet so good.

For the calamari steak I used equal parts cornmeal flour and brown rice flour. I mixed them together on a plate and seasoned with dried oregano, garlic powder, and a little bit of salt. In another bowl I mixed together 1/4 cup milk and 1 egg. Whole Foods was nice enough to season the calamari steak for us with pepper and garlic. I dipped the steak into the egg and milk mixture and then coated with the flour blend. I did this process twice. In a frying pan I added a little canola oil and cooked the calamari for about a minute and a half on each side. The garlic shrimp were on a skewer but I took them off and cooked them in the pan after the calamari was done. I was a bit worried that the calamari might not come out okay since the breading idea was my first attempt but it was a very tasty experiment.

Favorite picture of the day

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Veggie Tacos

It's been far too long since I've done a new post. A lot has been going on but that's really not an excuse. My visit to the doctor earlier this week has forced me to become strict with my diet again. I swear this candida is going to be the end of me. I have been dealing with this for about three years now. I know I could have gotten rid of it if I had stuck with the proper diet but I always gave in to sugar. I should rephrase my previous statement and say that sugar is going to be the end of me. That is why I have given it up once again. I'm so tired of feeling sick all the time. I'm determined to overcome this for good. Today is day 5. The doctor gave me an herbal formula as well as a high dose probiotic. The supplement protocol will last around a month and a half. If things are looking good I will start to incorporate low sugar fruits back into my diet at that time.
As for now it's lots of veggies. Since I have been so horrible at keeping up with this, here are a few instagram shots of my meals lately.

I made veggie tacos for lunch today.  They were delicious. 

I started out by roasting a pasilla chile in the oven at 400 degrees until tender.  I wasn't keeping track but I would say it took around 20-30 minutes.
On two corn tortillas, I spread hummus and topped them with shredded goat milk cheddar. These were placed in the oven after the chile came out. (Reduce heat to 350 and bake until cheese melts.)
I cut the roasted chile into strips and divided them between the two tortillas after taking them out of the oven. Arugula, onion, and hemp seeds topped these tacos off. Chipotle cayenne vinaigrette was drizzled on top.
I may have shared this dressing recipe before but I will share it again because it's so yummy. Equal parts apple cider vinegar and olive oil, dijon mustard, and chipotle cayenne powder. I'll usually add a little bit of lemon or lime juice too.
I made a side salad for my tacos with heirloom tomato, onion, and anaheim chile.