Saturday, October 30, 2010

Movie Theater Popcorn

Next time you and I are at the movie theater together, and you ask yourself, "Where did Judith go?"

No need to worry - you can find me over at the popcorn butter station. I'll be pouring as much synthetic "butter" over the top of my popped corn as I can before the person behind me kicks me off. 

I have a slight compulsion to get as much of that funky oil on those kernels as possible. So much so that when I get to my seat I ask myself, "What was I thinking. Soggy popcorn is gross." 

On the plus side, at least I get the whole bucket to myself! 

But last night, friends. Ohhhh, last night. You and I were not at the movie theater together. 

Rather, Dr. B came over to hang out with my husband. Sometime around 10pm a craving for popcorn rushed over me. 

Possibly it was due to the mad house cleaning I was doing so late on a Friday night in preparation for a baby shower I was hosting in the morning. 

Or perhaps the cravings struck because last time Dr. B was over he told us that he could make "the best" popcorn we've ever tasted. I needed to know. 

So the men took off for the store to secure the materials. They talked about riding Razor scooters. But I think they walked.

(Better Than) Movie Theater Popcorn

You'll Need:
5 TBS coconut oil, divided
1/2 C popcorn kernels
sea salt

The Preparation Method:

Melt 3 TBS coconut oil in your popcorn popping pot. Place three kernels in the pot. The oil is at the right temperature when all three have popped.

Add the rest of the popcorn kernels and close the lid for fear of sustaining a coconut oil injury. That stuff gets HOT! Stir it, shake it, allow those kernels to jump around. Once the rate of popping has slowed significantly, it's time to open it up.

In the meantime, you've melted 2 TBS coconut oil in another pan. Now is the time to drizzle that over the popcorn.

Add as much salt as you like. Shake it about.

Serve. And watch the progression. 10:52pm




And the chocolate chips make an appearance. It was a good night!

This song sounds like popcorn popping on the stovetop...

Far East Movement - Like a G6

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Crock-Pot BBQ Chicken

At dinner tonight my little girl counted eight members in the family.

Dada, Mama, Big Brother, Sis, Bubba and...

The Ladies.

But I think she was missing one in her headcount. 

Ol' Bessie. 

She deserves a spot at the table too. She is a workhorse around here. We couldn't live without her. 

We love you trusted ol' friend. 

Crock-Pot BBQ Chicken with The Slaw

You'll Need:
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
12 oz BBQ sauce
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBS Worchestershire sauce

The Preparation Method:

Trim excess fat off chicken breasts. Place meat in the crock-pot.

In a small bowl, mix all other ingredients together. Pour over the chicken. Stir to coat.

Cook on high for 3 - 4 hours or on low for 6 - 8 hours.

It is done when the chicken separates easily.

Serve over brown rice with The Slaw, or in a taco shell with Slaw on top.

Facebook news flash: "I am alarmed to have spotted not one, but two people sporting hammer pants today." on Tuesday

In honor of my dear childhood friend who had to bear witness to such an atrocity - my favorite MC Hammer song.

MC Hammer - Turn This Mutha Out

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


There is nothing that makes me happier than watching a dancing baby.

I can hardly stand the faces he's making while he boogies. By the way, I have no idea where he learned that hand in the air, hip shaking thing.

Week 29 Meal Plan

Monday - Red Lentil Soup
Tuesday - Fish Tacos on the Grill
Wednesday - Egyptian Rice and Lentils
Thursday - Five Fold Burrito
Friday - Mama's Beef Stew
Saturday - Tuna Casserole
Sunday - leftovers

Monday, October 25, 2010

Friday Night Round-Up: Week 30

This photo doesn't have much to do with anything. I just liked it. You see the older children here with stick guns playing war on a mountainside. And then there's Mr. Happy trying his darndest to be a part of the crowd.

Moving onto the topic for today: $151.38

Not including the out-to-eat lunch we did on Saturday in celebration of a good friend's birthday. These things creep up on you. I don't want to include it in my total for the week. And since this is my project, I don't have to if I don't want to.

I'm not whining. It's just that it is a mandatory expense if you're going to help celebrate the awesome life of a good man. It shouldn't be held against the amazing meal planning and budgeting I did for the week.

I liken this celebratory eating-out to school photos. These creep up on you too. Try your darndest to budget and pull in the reigns on extra spending for the month, and next thing you know, little Johnny comes home with a school picture order form. In all sincerity, are you not going to order at least one photo?

The poor child was made to sit in front of a taupe backsplash, bright lights shining in his face, was handed a comb and told to groom himself. I am not going to be the one telling him he did all of that for nothing. I'm going to order the darn thing. It might be the cheapest package available, but I'm ordering one. Not four 4x6s. Not twenty wallets. Not even two 5x7s. Just one. Grandma and Grandpa are going to be mad.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sweet Honey Cornbread

Sweet Honey Cornbread
Finally, we've found a homemade gluten-free cornbread that doesn't taste funky, weird or crumble like sand the moment I grab a slice to dip in my soup. This I am grateful for.

Regretfully, we may not be making this recipe again anytime soon.

We assumed the asthma was kicking into high gear because of the allergens flying through the late fall air. But our intuition got the best of us. After weeks of watching the asthma get worse by day and scary by night, a little voice inside spoke those dreaded words, "It's the corn."

The night we ate these perfectly fluffy, utterly scrumptious cornbread squares, our little man had a full-on asthma attack. Since we've been asthmatic for a couple of years now, we have everything we need at our fingertips to deal with an attack at home within minutes. This I am grateful for.

But that attack was the last straw. No more wavering on corn. No more, "Ok, well just a little bit, not too much now son." No more imagining that corn doesn't wreck havoc in our son's little body. Too many excuses for too long. "It'll be too hard to do gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free." "Corn is an easy, inexpensive option to fill the gluten-free void, we can't do without it."

Off of all corn for a full day, we slept through the night for the first time in months. The next day we didn't use the inhaler. Not even once. There have been no inhalers and no nebulizers since. It is the corn. There is no denying it.

Gotta love that parental intuition. This, too, I am grateful for.

Sweet Honey Cornbread

You'll Need:
1 cup white rice flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 TBS sugar
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup canola oil
drizzle of honey
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x9x2 baking pan (or something of similar size).

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together the wet ingredients.

Add wet to dry. Stir together. Don't overmix. Combine just until moistened.

Pour in pan. Drizzle honey over the top. As much as you like, honey.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Enjoy the fluff. Dip in your soup. Savor it you corn lovers. Have some for me, pretty please.

Pete Philly & Perquisite - Grateful

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hearty Butternut Squash Soup

It must be the rainy, chilly, perfectly beautiful fall weather that gives me the craving for all things creamy. Here's another delicious soup to add to the recipe box.

Hearty Butternut Squash Soup

You'll Need:
2 TBS olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 medium baking potatoes, cubed
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
4 cups chicken/vegetable broth
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 avocados

The Preparation Method:

Peel the butternut squash with a potato peeler. Scoop out the seeds. Cut it into one inch cubes. Careful with the knife, ladies. The squash is tough as a rock and slippery. Not an ideal coupling.

Chop the rest of the veggies.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy soup pot. Cook the onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, and squash until steamy and fragrant. About 10 minutes.

Add chicken/vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.

Use your trusty immersion blender to puree the soup. (Or if you don't have immersion blender yet, you could always use a regular blender. Trust me, you need an immersion blender. It will make your life ten times better. I'm not exaggerating.)

Season with salt and pepper. Top with sliced avocado.

Ummm. Creamy goodness.

Speaking of rocks (remember the squash?), this is a favorite living room jam in our house.

Queen - We Will Rock You

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Love Country Music

There is music constantly playing in my soundtrack to life. On the radio in my car. In my kitchen. In my head.

For the past four months something special has been opening wide the great vibration in my soul.

For too long the same old beats had taken root in those deep places and it was becoming nothing short of boring. I felt an internal rising.

It all happened on a road trip 1000 miles to the East early this summer. When I took the wheel that night, my sweet husband assured me that I would be a country music fan by the time we hit Iowa. "How could you like that crap?" was my first sentiment. "He's just pulling my leg" was my second. And then I laughed.

We pulled out of our drive at 4pm and I drove for the next ten hours straight. Halfway into my sunflower seed package, somewhere in a quite dark delirium, just a touch past acre 497 of nothing but corn rows, a miracle occurred.

To keep myself awake on that lonely road I would play the Channel Surfing Game. The rules are easy. Scan. Listen. Bored. Scan. Listen. Curious. Scan. Listen. Weird. Scan. Listen...

Guess what? Out there in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night, I found station after station of nothing but country music. All kinds. By 2am I was singing along with my favorites. Lord knows I'd heard them five times already. Then it hit me... I was truly enjoying myself. This music touches me.

The looks that people around here shoot my way when I tell them of my love for country music is priceless. They look at me like I'm crazy. "How could you like that crap?" is the most common sentiment. "Really? You're just pulling my leg" is the second in line. And then a loud chorus of laughter follows.

But I swear to you, I love it. Can't get enough. Here's a short list explaining my reasons:

1) Country music is always there for you when you need a good cry. I weep to some of these songs. I mean weep, ladies. And it feels good.

Brad Paisley - Anything Like Me

2) Some of the lyrics are downright silly. And that makes me laugh. And Heaven knows there are days when this dancing cook needs a good laugh.

Joe Nichols - Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off

3) And don't forget about the hopeful songs. Don't tell me you haven't dreamt of this exact scenario on certain dreary afternoons.

Billy Currington - People Are Crazy

4) And finally, these songs can be so tender. Sometimes it feels like I wrote the song myself. Seeing as I can't write music or sing, I'm glad she wrote it instead!

Miranda Lambert - The House That Built Me

Come on now, friends. Give it a try. If you need help, just hop in the car and start driving through middle america. Play the Channel Surfing Game. And don't forget your sunflower seeds. You'll be a fan in no time!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


For years I designed my gluten-free grocery list to include all of the normal favorites that American families have grown to love.

Bagels. Waffles. Pasta. Bread. Cereal. Crackers. Frozen pizza. Cookies. Ice cream.

The cold, hard evidence from my investigation on the cost disparity between normal food and gluten-free food was nothing short of appalling. If the label says "Gluten-Free" you can expect to pay at least three times the amount you were accustomed to paying in the past.

After years of shopping like this, my pocketbook gave me an ultimatum: find a way to eat that doesn't break the bank or spend the next fifteen years paying 27% on your favorite dairy-free ice cream.

I choose the former. And we've found unexpected joy.

Joy in cooking healthy dinner from scratch every night.

Joy in watching my three young monkeys enjoy diverse foods that most of their peers won't touch with a ten foot fork.

Joy in making snacks and sweets in my oven and being able to gracefully pronounce every last ingredient from top to bottom.

Joy from living simply.

We've found this joy by trading in the frozen waffles for our own Praise Worthy Pancakes.

Packaged cereal for oatmeal—every morning.

Pasta dinners for eccentric brown rice dishes.

Ice cream for... well, there is no replacement for ice cream.

We've learned to trade in the bowl of ice cream for one bite of dark chocolate after dinner.

All of this helps us to keep our pocketbooks grounded and our heads level. I couldn't be more pleased with this experiment. And miraculously, three months in, I have the distinct pleasure of hearing from every last member of my clan how much they love oatmeal in the morning. Sweet satisfaction.

Week 30 Meal Plan

Monday - Spiced Chicken with Stubby Vegetables
Tuesday - Hearty Butternut Squash Soup
Wednesday - Crockpot BBQ Chicken with The Slaw
Thursday - Egyptian Rice and Lentils
Friday - Taco Nachos with Guacamole
Saturday - Tuna Casserole
Sunday - leftovers

This song won't leave my head. It keeps playing over and over again. It's a good thing my favorite band sings it otherwise that might be annoying.

Zac Brown Band - As She's Walking Away

Monday, October 18, 2010

Friday Night Round-Up: Week 31


This is promising. Is this my first week of making my goal? I think so. But the parameters of my experiment have changed. I must admit, I did not include the trip to the liquor store in this figure. I'm ditching that idea. It was not wise in the first place. Nor was it realistic.

Like Kjersti commented on my post last week, the government thinks it possible to feed her family of five on $200 worth of food stamps each week. Both you and I know that they are expecting their participants to purchase the "cheap" food. To the best of my knowledge, quality brands and organic produce are not supported by food stamps. So indeed, if the government sets their standard at $200 then my goal of $150 for this special needs diet is certainly a challenge.

My curiosity got the best of me and I plotted an investigation into the cost disparity between normal American food and our special allergy friendly diet. Here are my findings:

On the top of the list are items that I used to buy at the grocery store. No, these are not the only things we ate. That would be gross. This is just a small sampling of what I would consider the norm in this country. At least it's what I see filling my friends' cupboards.

Beneath these are the items that I have (in the not so distant past) bought in place of normal food. These are the premade/prepackaged gf/df goodies that I've searched high and low for. The list here represents my favorite gluten-free dairy-free finds. We've spent years refining our selections to only the best of these specialty items. You better believe that we've spent a pretty penny on gluten-free/dairy-free foods that tasted like cardboard with sugar sprinkled on top, or worse.

(Note: For comparison sake, I've calculated the prices for equivalent packaging sizes. As you may imagine, the prepackaged size of some of these gluten-free items would be hardly enough to feed a large bird, let alone a full family. It's easier to compare apples to apples here.)

Store brand milk (1 gal) $1.98
Rice Dream (1 gal) $7.38

Store brand bread $0.99
Millet bread $3.99

Honey Nut Cheerios (12 oz) $1.88
Glutino Honey Nut O's (12 oz) $6.83

Pasta bulk (1 lb) $0.99
Tinkayada rice pasta (1 lb) $3.69

Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup $0.50
Health Valley GF Chicken Noodle Soup $2.99

Ritz crackers (16 oz) $2.50
Glutino crackers (16 oz) $14.51

Cake Mix
Pillsbury cake mix $0.79
Betty Crocker GF cake mix $4.19

Store brand frozen waffles $1.77
Nature's Path Wildberry Buckwheat frozen waffles $3.69

Quick Kid Food
Kraft Mac & Cheese (7.25 oz) $0.69
Road's End Organics GF/DF Mac & Cheese (7.25 oz) $2.89

Ice Cream
Haggen Dazs Ice Cream (14 oz) $2.79
Good Karma Organic Rice Divine Ice Cream (14 oz) 3.49

Granola bulk (16 oz) $2.49
GF Granola (16 oz) $7.99

Store brand bagels (4) $2.00
Kinnikinnick bagels (4) $5.39

Lunch Meat
Store brand lunch meat (16 oz) $5.00
Nitrate Free lunch meat (16 oz) $10.99

Snyder's pretzels (16 oz) $1.99
Glutino pretzels (16 oz) $7.30

It's possible that you have not have followed me all the way down this list. That's ok. You may not care.

But I set out to investigate why it seems so difficult to meet this $150/week grocery challenge. And now I have an inkling as to why this challenge is proving to be tough.

Normal = $26.36

Special = $85.32

Three times as much mu-lah to complete the same grocery list.

Enough said.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


There are waves of Melatonin wafting through the air this week as the season changes to fall.

The drowsiness that has overcome my week is unparalleled. All I've wanted to do is cozy up in bed with a book and drift into dreamy sleepland for as long as my rowdy children will allow. All I need is one paragraph in a book, any book, and I can assure you that I will be fast asleep within a few short minutes.

Perhaps I'm getting sick.

Or, maybe it's the chill in the air that pushes me under my covers each afternoon at Bubba's naptime.

By chance it may have been those two nights in a row earlier in the week, up until 2am dancing, dancing and dancing the night away.

Surprisingly, this is the first week that I made every single one of my planned meals. And boy were they good. And easy to make in a haze.

Ah ha, I have connected the dots. I have put my finger on the exact reason for the drowsiness - cooking and dancing, dancing and cooking. Appropriate.

Week 31 Meal Plan

Monday - Crockpot BBQ Chicken
Tuesday - Creamy Lentil Soup
Wednesday - Pork Chops with Apple Chutney
Thursday - Chickpea Tagine
Friday - Coconut Curry Chicken
Saturday - Daddy's Steak and Potatoes
Sunday - leftovers

My favorite music for sleepy afternoons in the fall....

Gregory Alan Isakov - The Stable Song

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Creamy Lentil Soup for the Dairy-Free Cream Lover

There are certain fall days that require a hot, hearty, creamy soup to warm the soul. Today was one of them. Rained all day. Overcast. A true fall nip is in the air. 

These days beg for warm creamy goodness. Sadly, it's been years since that need has been met. But we lucked out today. As a self-confessed lover of cream, this soup lands a spot on my top five list of creamy soups... despite the fact that it doesn't have an ounce of that eczema inducing product of cow lactation.

Creamy Lentil Soup for the Dairy-Free Cream Lover

You Will Need:
6 bacon slices
2 TBS olive oil
3 cups chopped onion
5 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
2 cups baking potato, peeled and chopped
1 cup dried green lentils
3/4 cup chopped carrot
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup almond milk
2 TBS dry sherry

The Preparation Method:

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot.

When oil is very hot, add the onions.

Brown 'em up, baby. About 5 minutes or so.


Add chopped potato, chopped carrot, lentils, chicken broth and salt. Swirl it all around. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for one hour or until vegetables are soft.

And now for my favorite part of any meal... the bacon. Fry it up. Nice and crispy. Remove bacon from the pan, chop it into smithereens, set aside to use as your topping for the soup.

Special note to all cooks who like their food extra tasty:
When your bacon is done cooking, you will have a bit of bacon grease sitting in the bottom of the pan. What to do? What to do? Take two tablespoons full of grease and stir it into the soup. Shhhh, don't tell anyone.

Special note to individuals concerned with their heart health:
I make no claims that this practice is in any way good for your health. I learned this trick from the cooks down the line in my Lithuanian heritage. Can't deny the urge to tie in the deep ancestral connection to my food.

Special note to all vegetarians: 
Pay no attention to the aforementioned step. Pretend I never spoke of it.

Ah ha! The hand blender. You need one.

Once the veggies are tender, take your hand blender to task in that deep soup pot. Puree until smooth.

Stir in the almond milk and sherry.

Top each serving with bacon crumbles. Ahhh!

This one goes out to some certain individuals who are serious about getting their boogie on...

Phish - Simple
Phish - 8/6/10 "Simple" from Phish on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Friday Night Round-Up: Week 32


Tomorrow I will start an investigation into why my $150 goal is proving to be so difficult. One thing I know for sure, when we started on this gluten-free and dairy-free diet years ago our grocery spending more than doubled overnight. Add three very zealous young eaters to the mix. Sprinkle in two adults who won't settle for low quality food. Add to the oven of ever evolving food allergies, eczema, and asthma. And POOF! This food is expensive no matter which way you look at it. Tomorrow I will look at the dollars and cents of it. I'm just curious.

Until then, a song. Listen to it twice. It feels good.

PS - Don't mind the blurriness below. The song is so good it doesn't matter what the video looks like.

Paolo Nutini - New Shoes

Friday, October 8, 2010

Five Fold Burrito

Oh yeah baby!

The long awaited Beans and Rice with BBQ Squash was worth every second of the three week delay.

This recipe has five parts, which could easily feel overwhelming if you attempted to do it all in one shot. I chose not to feel that way - and after all, I am the master of how I choose to feel - so I worked on the pieces to this puzzle over the span of a few days.

I will post the various peices in separate posts for ease of readability. This blog post would stretch from here to the Baltic Sea if I included it all in one place. Click on the links below for the items that you should prepare ahead of time.

First item of business - The Slaw - I did this two nights prior.

Second item on the agenda - Butternut Squash - I did this the night before.

Third piece to the prep puzzle - Chicken Marinade - I did this at lunchtime the day of.

If you don't think this is a quick meal, I'll have you know that I started cooking this meal at 3pm. The kids were eating by 3:45pm. All four of us were out the door to soccer practice by 4pm. That's about as quick as they come when cooking from scratch. Once everything got rolling the swiftness of the prep surprised me!

So, whenever you're ready to start cooking this is what you'll do...

Fourth item - Rice - This is the first thing you'll put to heat as you start to pull this meal together.
Put the rice on to cook. However much you think you're family likes to eat. We use two cups of rice for our family of five.

Fifth and final item in the Five Fold Burrito - Pinto Beans - Get these going after the rice is on the stovetop.
Sorry, no pictures for the beans. But don't worry, it's easy. All you have to do is saute half of an onion, one clove of garlic, and 1/4 tsp cumin in 2 TBS vegetable oil. Once soft, pour two cans of pinto beans (drained and rinsed) into the pot, add 1/4 cup water and 1/8 tsp salt. Stir and heat it up. Done.

Now that the rice and beans are cooking on the stovetop it's time to head outside to the grill to lay down the squash and chicken.


Flip halfway through, about 8 minutes. Continue grilling until all items are done. Perhaps 5 more minutes. Chicken should no longer be pink in the middle. Squash should be easy to penetrate with a fork.

Cut the chicken and squash into one inch pieces. Layer all items: rice, beans, chicken, squash and slaw. Yummmm. 

You could even put it into a tortilla for the true burrito effect. Gluten-free tortillas are expensive and nasty. We choose to eat ours as a burrito bowl to maximize pleasure in the experience.

Attention all vegetarians: To make this a meatless burrito, you know what to do.

The Slaw

You can make this up to one day in advance. Take your time, drink a little wine, and stir it up girl.

This Slaw makes so many things so especially yummy. Try it on top of the Five Fold Burrito or the Fish Tacos on the Grill.

The Slaw

You will need:
1/2 head of cabbage
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 TBS rice vinegar
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar

The Preparation Method:
Combine mayonnaise, rice vinegar, celery seed, salt and sugar. Mix well.

Shred the cabbage into thin pieces.

Dump cabbage into mayo concoction. Stir it around. Coat cabbage well. Refrigerate. Done.

Grilled Butternut Squash

This is my new favorite way to prepare squash. The brown sugar caramelizes on the grill and the squash gets a little charred. Chop this into little squares as a welcome addition to all kinds of dishes and soups, specifically the Five Fold Burrito.

Grilled Butternut Squash

You'll Need:
one butternut squash
3 TBS vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar

The Preparation Method:

Peel the squash with a good potato peeler. It's so much easier than you think. Come on, just try it.

Chop it in half. Or should I say, saw it in half. This thing is hard as a rock and slippery as a skate on ice. Unlike the item above, this task is much harder than you think. Just be careful with that knife.

So glad you didn't get hurt. Now slice the squash into pieces a 1/2 inch thick, give or take. Due to the slippery-like-ice nature of this Cucurbita moschata don't feel bad if some slices come out thick and some thin. Roll with it, it will all be tasty in the end. Once sliced, place in the refrigerator until grill time (up to 24 hours in advance).

At grill time, brush squash pieces with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on the grill. Take spoonfulls of the brown sugar and mash it onto the top side of each slice. Grill for approx. 8 minutes. Flip. Mash more brown sugar on this flip side.

Grill until squash is tender and easy to penetrate with a fork.

Hoppin' Chicken Marinade

You gotta love a marinade that helps a chicken breast maintain its moisture even in the most drying of climates - like the BBQ grill. This chicken is especially tasty in the Five Fold Burrito.

Hoppin' Chicken Marinade

You'll need:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/8 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp white pepper
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

The Preparation Method:

Mix all ingredients together.

Pour over chicken breast. Coat well. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for a couple of hours - at the very least.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


In case you were wondering, yes I have been MIA for a few days.

My laundry was wondering the same thing.

No, my rear end has not been parked in the sand of some far away island soaking in the sun. Though this is my dream. Instead I've been working on the release of the updated version of my fourth baby. Yes indeedy-do, we're adding a contraction timer to the fabulous iBirth iPhone App. This has taken quite a bit of time away from my writing.

We still need to eat. So don't worry, I continue to dance while I cook, even when busy with other desk items besides this here bloggy blog.

Here's our meal plan for Week 32:

Monday - Fish Tacos on the Grill
Tuesday - Creamy Lentil Soup
Wednesday - Five Fold Burrito (aka Beans and Rice with BBQ Squash)
Thursday - Daddy's Steak and Potatoes
Friday - Chili Mac
Saturday - Crock Pot BBQ Chicken
Sunday - leftovers

I'm starting to notice some trends in my weekly meal plans. This week seems to be quite heavy in the BBQ. Guess you've got to live it up grillside until the weather turns cold.

Moving back to my initial thoughts...

Zac Brown Band - Knee Deep

Friday Night Round-Up: Week 33


I am pleased with myself.

Well, I was, until Saturday night. Walking into the seventh day of the food week we were on target to make the budget for the first time since we started this challenge in early August.

The final day of Week 33's challenge started out promising. I laid in bed until 8 am. That's always a sign of a good day. My sweet husband prepared a big breakfast of home fries and scrambled eggs. I scooted out the door to meet all the new babies from one of my recent Childbirth Ed classes. Truly a divine Saturday morning.

Back home again we started packing up the crew for The Enchanted Forest. A friend told me it was a really great tradition for the kids. She mentioned something about animals popping out of the forest talking to the kids about their lifestyles and habitat. Music and food, too. I didn't know what to expect. We were in for an adventure.

We attempted to make our way out of the driveway, which was seemingly quite difficult without car keys. So ensued a thirty minute search for the key. Last anyone knew the baby had it. We searched high and low. Inside and out.

And then it magically fell to the ground from the hook where it normally resides. Not sure how that happened, but this clearly was the beginning of an afternoon of similar setbacks and oddities.

The forest walk was truly enchanting. The kids never failed to point out to the forest creatures, "You're not real. That's just a costume." Over and over and over again.

It was an enjoyable walk through the orange and red colored foliage. Crisp fall air mixed with the sounds of the Marimba band for a relaxing family afternoon. Relaxing, that is, until wet drops started falling from the sky. We quickly realized that a few key items were neglected in our desperate search for the car key.

Wet and cold with no jackets. Dang. You would think we'd have a handle on this by now. Preparedness is not our forte. Clearly.

We forgot the gluten-free dairy-free snacks as well. And baby missed his nap, to boot. Cold, wet, hungry and tired the elders of the group made the executive decision to make a bee-line for our favorite Mexican restaurant. There's nothing that spicy salsa can.'t fix.

And so we did. And so we spent an extra $22 on food this week. And so my perfect week of food budgeting went straight down the tubes. Damn.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Coconut Curry Comfort

Coconut Curry Comfort
Everyone has a favorite comfort food. In my gluten-free dairy-free existence, this coconut curry is it. This recipe comes to the rescue anytime I need something healing for my body, soul or mind. It's especially nurturing to hear my children proclaim their love for this meal. That alone brings peace to every part of my being. The joy of this recipe is in its ease. Even a tired woman recovering from a funny tummy can concoct it in no time.

Coconut Curry Comfort

You'll Need:

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
salt and pepper
3 TBS vegetable oil
2 TBS curry powder (note that the success of this dish lies entirely in your quality of curry powder, you must find a good one)
1/2 onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
3 TBS sugar

The Preparation Method:

Like yesterday's recipe, you can prepare your chicken ahead of time. I prepped all of my chicken for the week in one shot under the broiler. Boneless, skinless breasts under the broiler on the High setting for 10 minutes, flipping once at the 5 minute mark. As you already know, the chicken is done when the juices run clear and the inside is no longer pink.

Another way to cook the chicken in this recipe is to cut it into one inch cubes, throw it into the pan with the curry sauce and cook it for approximately 7 minutes until the juices run clear and is no longer pink in the center. This method requires a bit more handling of the raw meat, which I simply don't prefer. 

Whichever preparation method you choose, you can start with the rest of the recipe once you're chicken is prepped.

Heat oil in the bottom of a heavy pan. Add the curry powder.

 Mix together and heat for a couple of minutes until a strong spice aroma is rising from the pan.

Stir in onions and garlic.

Cook approx. 4 minutes and coat the onions and garlic well.

Add more oil if necessary. Make it saucy.

Mix in the chicken. Coat with the curry oil. (Refer to the top of this recipe for two different ideas on cooking the chicken.)

Pour in the coconut milk, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce.

And now my favorite part of any recipe... the sugar. Stir it up.

Simmer on low heat for 40 minutes.

Dish it up and serve over rice.

Just try not to make your rice overflow all over the stovetop like I do every time.

Something mellow to dance to for your healing.

Bob Marley - Stir It Up

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