Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Mexican Chorizo Burgers

Twelve years ago I married a New Mexican. I always knew I would. I grew up watching Young Guns and dreaming about the rough and tumble personalities that came with the territory. I thought someday I would name my children Billy, Charley and Chavez. Two girls and a boy. As of today I have two boys and a girl and I didn't name them Billy, Charley or Chavez.

When I visited New Mexico as a tween I was absolutely taken with the flash rain storms and humongous sky. The rain would come down in such unique fashion—the drops spread so far from one another you could dodge them if you were nimble enough—I had never experienced anything like it.

Besides their love for gun slinging and rabble rousing, one thing I learned quickly about New Mexicans is their love for roasted hatch green chilies and hot salsa. I have come to love roasted hatch green chilies and hot salsa too—admittedly it has taken me some time—and keeping in mind that 'hot' is a relative term. 

This week I created a New Mexican Chorizo Burger for my family to inspire that Billy the Kid spirit at the dinner table. (And give me a reason to play Jon Bon Jovi's Blaze of Glory tape as our background music.)

New Mexican Chorizo Burgers

Serves: 6
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound chorizo sausage
1 large yellow onion
4 TBS olive oil (maybe more)
6 full roasted hatch green chilies or 1 small can roasted hatch green chilies
2 ripe avocados
6 hamburger buns (gluten free)
1 cup mayonnaise 
3 TBS salsa
3 pinches salt

Preparation Method:

Combine 1 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound mexican chorizo sausage. Mix really well so the two meats are one in the same. Shape into patties. A thin patty is better than a thick patty for this burger. A quarter inch thick would be a good starting place. As with any burger they will thicken up on the grill. There are a lot of toppings for the finished burger. We want to create space, plenty of space.

Get 'em going on the grill. Cook approximately 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

In the meantime, prepare the rest of the toppings.

Slice the onions thinly in half ringlets. Heat 4 TBS olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute until caramelized.

Keep stirring so they don't stick to the bottom of the pan or become burnt. Add more oil if necessary to achieve this golden brown crispy goodness.

Crack open your hatch green chilies. Fresh (or frozen) chilies are preferred. They can usually be found in your grocers freezer, unless you go to a store that doesn't carry them like we did on this particular day. If you can't find them, the canned chilies will do but will deeply impact the end result. I suggest you go to great lengths to find the fresh ones, my friends. Unless you're running late like we were on this particular day, then the canned ones will have to do.

Grab your hamburger buns. This was the first time we tried gluten free hamburger buns and we were pretty satisfied. You should have seen the look on the kids faces when they saw a burger with a BUN! What a novelty in our gluten free house.

Prepare the special sauce for the buns. Combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 TBS of your favorite salsa and 3 pinches of salt. Mix well. Spread generously on both sides of the bun.

Stack 'em up. Sauce on the bottom, green chilies below the burger, avocado slices and caramelized onions on top.

Enjoy! And don't forget to turn on your Jon Bon Jovi tape.

Jon Bon Jovi - Blaze of Glory

Monday, August 29, 2011

Simple Joy ~ Wilderness

My sweet hubby and I had the good fortune of going out on a date this weekend. We wanted to do something different than our usual dinner and a movie. We both agreed that wide open spaces would do us good. So we spent the evening in the wilderness watching the sun set, jumping fish and the peaceful lake water. I could have spent the whole night out there. That is, until my sweet husband made mention of the possibility of lurking mountain lions just above us on the rocks. Then it was time to go home.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Crispy Onion Hot Dog Sandwiches

"It's hot dog night... again."

Usually when I make this announcement, all the adults on the premises growl with disappointment. Here in The Little White Kitchen I have a rule I follow closely—I cook one dinner for all the peoples. It is against my policy to prepare multiple options for all the peoples of the house. The rule is simple—if you don't like what I've made, don't eat. Thankfully there will be breakfast in the morning.

On hot dog night the rule still stands. Typically the children have no problem my meal selection. The adults, on the other hand, were getting a bit tired of the boring-yet-functional hot dog with no bun routine.

To make this night something everyone could look forward to I added a few embellishments to the routine. All peoples over three foot tall were very pleased with my twist on this classic kids dinner.

Crispy Onion Hot Dog Sandwiches

serves: 4
prep time: 15 minutes

4 all beef kosher hot dogs
8 slices gluten free bread
1 cup coleslaw topper (One batch = 1/2 head green cabbage, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 TBS rice vinegar, 1/2 tsp celery seed, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp sugar)
1 large onion, sliced
2 TBS vegetable oil
2 TBS ketchup
2 TBS mayonnaise
1/8 tsp sugar

The Preparation Method:

Cook hot dogs on the grill.

While the dogs are cooking, fry onion slices in 2 TBS vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Continue frying until onions are golden and crispy. Remove from heat and set aside.

While onions are frying make the special sauce. Mix together 2 TBS ketchup, 2 TBS mayonnaise and 1/8 tsp sugar. Set aside.

When all pieces are ready it's time to assemble the sandwiches. Toasted bread. Special sauce on each slice. Hot dogs split down the center, arranged flat side down on the bread. Layer a hearty helping of crispy onions over the dogs. And a thin layer of Coleslaw Topper over the onions. Smush it all together and dig in!

I LOVE this jam. I'd never seen the video before today, even tough I've listened to the song about a million times. It makes me love the song and Erykah Badu even more.

Erykah Badu - On & On

Monday, August 22, 2011

Simple Joy ~ Popsicles

Oh the joy of icy cold popsicles on a blazing hot day! 

Little kids are the best at making the most of all the popsicle has to offer because they don't give a care. 

They dig-in without any regard for drips, drops, slurps and burps making the popsicle experience all the more enjoyable.

I've been taking notes and striving to embody more of that spirit lately. Next time you see me I might just be wearing my popsicle like Bubba is here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing by Newman's Own

When the craving for a delicious salad dressing strikes, I always turn to Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette. It is fabulous on nearly every type of salad I can dream up. Balsamic Glazed Steak Salad, Chicken Salad Salad, Tuna Salad Salad, Egg Salad Salad... you get the idea.

I put my trust in this product because it is gluten, dairy and corn free! This is a rarity among prepared salad dressings. Most dressings on the grocery market shelves these days contain high fructose corn syrup. The absence of that strange oddity known as hfcs in this dressing makes me want to do backflips. Hooray for Newman's Own! 

And besides, the Newman's Own Foundation donates all profits to charity. Since 1982, Over $300 million has been given to thousands of charities. Hooray!

This is not a paid advertisement. I like Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. I like Paul Newman in Road to Perdition. I like Paul Newman all up on my salad.

Please note that companies can change their ingredients at will. If working with a severe food allergy always double check the ingredient list before consuming this product. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Creamsicle Smoothies (Dairy Free)

It's been hot. Real hot.

Hotness has a way of getting me dreaming of Creamsicles. 

Creamsicles make me think of the zoo. 

The zoo makes me think of my mother taking my brother and I to see the monkeys every week on Tuesdays throughout the summer (Tuesday was free day). 

Weekly free days at the zoo makes me think of growing up in the eighties (they don't do weekly free days any more). 

Growing up in the eighties makes me think of Creamsicles (and Def Leppard). 

And thinking about Creamsicles makes me want to eat one right now.

Despite the fact that National Creamsicle Day was last Sunday, August 14th, sadly for me, I dare not indulge in a popsicle with such a divine creamy center encapsulated by orange flavored ice. Dairy, even in its cheapest of forms, does not do well for my body.

All summer long I've had a strong urge to recreate everything I remembered a Creamsicle to be. Considering how many smoothies we've been having lately, I decided to recreate the flavor in smoothie form. 

Finally, I can properly transport myself into my dear memories of watching the monkeys at the zoo on a hot Tuesday afternoon in the mid-eighties with a Creamsicle dripping down my chubby little hand.

Creamsicle Smoothies

serves: 4
prep time: 5 minutes

1 1/2 cups Vanilla Almond Milk (I love the Almond Breeze brand)
1 1/2 cups orange juice, use the frozen concentrate and dilute only by half the recommended water*
4 frozen ripe bananas

*(Usually the can of frozen orange juice asks for three cans of water to dilute the concentrate. For this recipe, dilute the frozen concentrate with only 1 1/2 cups of water instead. This is an important consideration. It won't taste quite right with fully diluted orange juice. It needs to be strong to get the full Creamsicle effect.)

The Preparation Method:
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high for a couple minutes until the smoothie is smooth as silk.

Go ahead now, transport yourself back into all those sweet memories of yourself indulging in summer's finest!

Note: Frozen bananas make this drink perfectly cold and smooth. Using fresh bananas will result in the drink you see modeled here by Bubba.

More frothy and less thick. 

Another note: Pay no mind to the dirt and grime on the hands of this little man. Here he's modeling the ever popular "rough-and-active-little-boy-on-a-mid-summer's-day" look. 

Def Leppard - Hysteria

Monday, August 15, 2011

Simple Joy ~ Dandelion

Ordinarily, walking past a dandelion in my lawn draws me into a state of frustration and disappointment. Frustration knowing that I have no defense against the bazillions of seeds that will spread with the next wave of wind. And disappointment in my poor lawn keeping skills. If I'm being completely honest with myself, I'll admit that my skills are downright pitiful. Come mid-July brown grass and dandelions cover at least fifty percent of my lawn.

But on this particular mid-summer morning while I was walking back to the house from taking out the recycling, this ordinary dandelion caught my attention. I felt an overwhelming sense of joy as I walked past it while I observed its beautiful patterns illuminated by the early morning light. 

Joy in the beauty of nature's designs. 

Joy in the sun shining brightly every morning.

Joy in the blooming and spreading of a flower's seed. 

Joy in the simple things. 

Go right ahead now, enjoy something simple for yourself today.

Friday, August 12, 2011

PW's Pasta with Whiskey, Wine, and Mushrooms - Gluten and Dairy Free

I'm a fool for cream sauces.

I'm an even bigger fool when said cream sauce includes mushrooms.

Throw in some white wine and Jack Daniels, pour it over pasta and my satisfaction meter goes through the roof.

Being gluten and dairy-free you might assume that I've run across a handful of roadblocks in my efforts to indulge my addiction.

Cream + Pasta = A Different Lifetime

I used to have a problem indulging my addiction. But that was the past. Back when gluten and dairy-free was tantamount to dry, bland and lifeless dinners.

Let me tell you a secret. I don't have a problem indulging my addiction any more.

Welcome to this lifetime. The one where I discovered cashew cream. It is the answer to all my problems. Well, not ALL of them, just most of them.

Earlier this week, one of my favorite blogs—The Pioneer Woman—posted a recipe for Pasta with Whiskey, Wine, and Mushrooms. I began salivating. I need. I need now.

I couldn't wait to try this recipe with gluten-free Mostaccioli and dairy-free cashew cream. Lord have mercy, my satisfaction meter was hovering somewhere near the ceiling just thinking about dishing it up on my dinner table that night.

For you today... a gluten-free and dairy-free rendition of The Pioneer Woman's Pasta with Whiskey, Wine, and Mushrooms.

PW's Pasta with Whiskey, Wine and Mushrooms (Gluten and Dairy Free)

24 ounces thickly sliced mushrooms (baby Portobellos are more than delicious in this recipe)
2 TBS olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
4 TBS olive oil (or even better, 2 TBS olive oil + 2 TBS butter)
1 whole large onion, peeled and sliced
1 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc offers nice flavor and is easy to work with)
3/4 cups Whiskey (time to pull out the Jack friends—gulp, gulp, gulp)
1/2 cup chicken broth (or mushroom stock if vegetarian)
1 cup heavy cashew cream (1 cup dry raw cashews* + 3/4 cups plain rice milk + 1/8 tsp salt) — *cashews need to soak a minimum of 4 hours
12 ounces gluten free Mostaccioli, cooked Al Dente

The Preparation Method:

Earlier in the day, say, first thing in the morning, you need to start soaking the cashews in water. It's quite simple and will only take 30 seconds of your time. Seriously, the soaking step is what kept me from trying cashew cream for so long. Don't let this be you. Commit to the soak. It's not hard. Here, I'll break it down so you can see how easy it is.

1) Find a bowl.
2) Dump in 1 cup raw (unroasted, unsalted) cashews.
3) Pour water over the top until the nuts are sufficiently covered.
4) Set aside and don't think about it again until dinnertime.
5) Easy and done. Done and easy. Commit to the soak. You'll be happy you did.

A few things to know about cashew cream...

1) The longer the nuts soak, the smoother the sauce will be once blended. That said, you don't have to soak the nuts if you don't want to. It is possible to make cashew cream with nuts that haven't been soaked at all, or for just 1 hour, or for just 20 minutes. You should know that this will lead to a fairly gritty sauce. Some recipes can tolerate a gritty sauce. Others can't. Sauces that lay over pasta should be smooth, not gritty. Just thought you should know.

2) A healthy dose of salt is everything when we're talking cashew cream. Salt helps seal the deal as you attempt to use it as a replacement for real cream. Without salt, you will certainly be left questioning what all the hype is about.

You put your cashews to soak earlier in the day. You went off to play. Now it's dinner time. This recipe should take you about 30 minutes. Start to finish.

To begin, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lay thickly sliced mushrooms in a shallow baking pan and drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add a few dashes of salt and pepper over the top. Roast approximately 25 minutes—give or take—until the mushrooms are deeply browned. 

While the mushrooms are in the oven, it's time to make the cashew cream. Take the 1 cup of cashews that have been soaking all day (or not soaking at all) and add them to the blender. Add 3/4 cups plain rice milk and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Blend on high until a smooth sauce has formed. Smoothness is key here. Blend, blend and blend some more. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat (or 2 tablespoons olive oil + 2 tablespoons butter). If butter is a part of your diet, then you should by all means use butter here. Butter makes everything better. I, myself, don't tolerate butter very well so I use olive oil instead. It works just fine.

Once the oil is hot, add the sliced onions. Saute until they are soft and translucent. You may even choose to let them caramelize just a touch for added dimension.

Now add the whiskey and wine and allow to bubble for a minute or so. Add the broth and allow the liquid to reduce for a few minutes.

Stir in 1 cup of cashew cream. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Add mushrooms and pepper to taste. Continue simmering while sauce thickens. While thickening, taste for proper saltiness. Keep adding more salt until just right for your palate. If the sauce doesn't taste like it's drawing together well, keep adding dashes of salt until it does. Like I said before, the proper amount of salt is everything when cooking with cashew cream.

Pour sauce over gluten free pasta. Serve immediately.


Have you ever noticed that Beyonce's got some moves? Just sayin'.

Beyonce - Run The World (Girls)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Butternut Squash Breakfast Tacos for Dinner

I cook dinner for my brood nearly every night of the week.

Only recently have I come to realize that many of my meals are a slight variation on a theme. Take for instance the taco theme. There are a million and one ways to make a tasty taco. Why not explore them all?

This recipe is one that came together on a moment's notice. It's not that I had a moment's notice to prepare dinner. For I know this is part of my job description from the moment I awake any given  morning. But a moment's notice because the day got away from me and it was suddenly 5pm and I had three hungry munchkins at my feet demanding I feed them.

With no real plan for dinner in that moment, I began fantasizing about placing a carry-out order at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant. In all practicality—and back in reality—I began pulling items fast from the fridge and frying them up. First came the chorizo, then the red onion, red bell pepper and butternut squash. Next the egg. I threw it all together on top of a corn tortilla and called it a night. My sweet hubby was so impressed with the flavor he couldn't stop raving about my new taco creation in-between bites.

There was something remarkably special about the caramelized butternut squash that put this dish over the top into the "Best Taco Ever" category in The Little White Kitchen. Perhaps it will fill the role of "Best Taco Ever" in your Big Blue Kitchen, or Awkwardly Tight Yellow Kitchen, or So Large I Can Hardly See You Across the Room Gray Kitchen, or ....

Butternut Squash Breakfast Tacos

1 pound ground Chorizo sausage
8 eggs, fried
3 TBS vegetable oil
1/2 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large red onion, diced
salt & pepper, to taste
1 TBS brown sugar
8 soft corn tortillas

The Preparation Method:

This is going to require all four burners on your stovetop to be working at once. Get ready!

In one pan, over medium-high heat fry the chorizo sausage until cooked through. Set aside.

At the same time, in another pan, heat 3 TBS vegetable oil. Add the diced red onion, red bell pepper and butternut squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to suite your tastes. Saute over medium-high heat until the onions start to caramelize. Add 1 TBS brown sugar. Stir to combine. Continue to saute until onions are nicely caramelized and the butternut squash is easily pierced with a fork. Set aside.

At the same time, in a third pan, begin frying the eggs. We like ours over hard. Set the fried eggs aside.

In a fourth pan, heat a touch of vegetable oil and fry the corn tortillas to make them super pliable. Corn tortillas just aren't quite right unless they're gently fried.

Once sufficiently warm, pile each tortilla high with one fried egg, a heaping spoonful of chorizo, and a double-heaping spoonful of sauteed veggies. 


This is the jam that inspired my four-burner stovetop session. I may have played it five times over during the fifteen minutes it took me to prepare this dinner. I may have broke out a few hot Bollywood moves on my linoleum floor. I may have busted into a few old-school breakdancing moves in front of my three young children. Or I may not have done any of those things.

Panjabi MC featuring Jay-Z — Beware

Monday, August 8, 2011

Simple Joy

Once a week I slip out of the house at the break of dawn for some me time. It's one of my sanity strategies. On my walk the other morning I saw these sunflowers beautifully illuminated by the rising sun. I felt a deep sense of satisfaction in my soul. Hooray for getting out early and enjoying nature like I'm the only person on Earth it was created for.

Good morning starshine. The Earth says hello. You twinkle above us. We twinkle below. 
[Name That Tune]

Friday, August 5, 2011

Five Minutes Alone

A couple of months before I started this here Dance While You Cook blog, I had an idea for a website that I believed would help validate my chaotic existence as a full-time stay-at-home mother to three wild and unruly children.

I envisioned the site as a community space to share photos of the crazy things little kids can do in those horrifying moments when you realize the pip-squeaks have been utterly too quiet for entirely too long. 

I pray I'm not the only mother who walks down the stairs to a pantry ripped apart, tots covered in vaseline head to toe, fresh baked birthday cakes smeared all over the cupboard doors or a carton of eggs smashed on the dining room floor. 

Knowing that other capable and loving parents go through this same course of events could be satisfying to my stay-at-home mothering ego.

That said, I went through a long creative process about what the site would be called. I drank a lot of iced chai. I ate a whole ton of organic dark chocolate. I landed on the perfect idea. I bought the url right then and there. 

And then I told my closest friends. They laughed. They snickered. They blushed. 

They told me I should NOT start a website with that name. They thought it would too easily be confused with a pornography site... or worse.

But I've been thinking about it lately. Scenes like this happen all too often in my daily existence. I need an outlet. Maybe you do too?

Five Minutes Alone is the place where I'll be posting the cold hard evidence of those instances when I leave the children alone for five minutes only to find an hour's worth of clean-up as my punishment.

It'll be good for a laugh. 

It'll be good for validation.

It'll be good for our collective mental health.

Please, please do join-in the fun by uploading your photos to the Five Minutes Alone Flickr Group.

It'll make me feel better.

If folks choose to contribute, I'll be regularly posting all the great photos on the Five Minutes Alone blog so we can all laugh together.

If I'm the only woman on the planet who encounters this reality, I'll be posting my own photos on the Five Minutes Alone blog and I'll be crying to myself.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Super Thick Strawberry Almond Milkshakes

I may have mentioned how ridiculously hot my house is lately. We have no air conditioning, very little cross ventilation and one ceiling fan. That said, I have been ridiculously under-motivated to spend any time in the kitchen creating new recipes. Unless they are frozen. And include ice. And can be consumed through a straw.

Today I bring to you a recipe for something that will cool you off and replace a meal if you so choose. 

It's a milkshake. Not a true milkshake because there is no cow's milk in it. In fact, when I told my children that we were having milkshakes for dinner they asked me with such sweet innocence, "Mama, what's a milkshake?" It's a funny thing being dairy-free for so long. The children are not entirely aware of all the divine pleasures that exist out there in the world of eats and treats.

The unique thing about this milkshake, besides the absence of milk of course, is the addition of oatmeal. For months now I've been considering creative ways to use the leftover oatmeal from the morning's breakfast. 

Finally, the excess oatmeal has found a happy home in my Super Thick Strawberry Almond Milkshakes.

Super Thick Strawberry Almond Milkshakes

1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 cup smooth almond butter (or less if you don't prefer your shake to be sooooo thick)
1 cup cooked oatmeal
2 cups frozen strawberries
1 banana, fresh or frozen
2 cups ice
1 1/2 TBS honey
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

The Preparation Method:
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Turn on high and puree until smooth.

For the Visual Learners Among Us:

Begin by measuring out your ingredients. One and a half cups almond milk—original or vanilla, sweetened or unsweetened—whatever your preference. I love, love, love Almond Breeze!

One cup creamy almond butter. Use half this amount if you would rather your Super Thick Milkshake move more quickly through the straw when all is said and done.

One cup precooked oatmeal. I love, love, love Bob's Red Mill Certified Gluten Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats.

Two cups frozen strawberries, or more for a stronger strawberry presence.

One banana. Use a frozen one for proper milkshake thickness. Use a fresh one if that's all you have because you've made smoothies for dinner every night this week and you don't have any frozen bananas left.

Two cups ice cubes.

One and a half tablespoons honey.

One half teaspoon pure vanilla extract.

Blend it all up on high for a few minutes until you've achieved a Super Thick Strawberry Almond Milkshake.

Insert straw, enjoy the cool refreshment and sit outside under a shady tree where the cool wind blows.

Now that we've all cooled off a bit—let's dance!

Toby Keith - Beer For My Horses featuring Willie Nelson

Monday, August 1, 2011

Simple Joy

Summertime Free Creative Play... There is nothing on Earth quite like it. 

Little kids dreaming of being bigger. 

Big kids wishing we could steal back our younger years. 

Around and around we go. 

Cherish the moment, my friends. 

Breath deep. And find yourself a moment to cherish today. 
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