Thursday, June 30, 2011

Zesty Quinoa Salad with a Southwestern Kick

Zesty Festive Quinoa Salad

Who here likes quinoa? I do! I do! I love how versatile it is. Want a breakfast cereal? Cook yourself some quinoa. Want a warm pilaf side dish? Pull out the rice cooker and make some quinoa. Want a tasty zesty salad full of nutrients and fresh vegetable goodness? Not only is quinoa tasty, nutty, and can be made into almost anything, but as most of you know, it's jam packed FULL of healthy benefits. Plus, you can cook up a big batch and freeze the leftovers. Then when you are running short of time, pull out your frozen quinoa, pop it in the microwave for a minute or two, then prepare it to your tastebuds desire.

Now that summer is upon us and we are FINALLY getting some enjoyable warm nights I have been loving hanging out on the patio while BBQing dinner. Instead of using expensive starchy gluten free pasta for a side I am loving using this mother grain instead. Even the famdamily has been loving the summer quinoa salads.

This has been one of our faves lately and I thought y'all would enjoy it as well ;)

Zesty Quinoa Salad

2 cups cooked Quinoa
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup diced radishes
1 red bell pepper diced
1/2 cucumber diced
1/4 cup green onions diced
2 avacados diced

Southwestern Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a salad bowl, mix together cooked quinoa, radishes, bell pepper, cucumber, green onions, and lime juice then set aside. In a blender, mix together all ingredients for the vinaigrette. Just prior before serving, top salad with avacado then drizzle dressing on top.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Camping Food......

Ok, so the pink cowgirl and the whole famdamily (dogs, kid, horses, everyone) are all going camping next week. I have tried to post a few tasty recipes to hold y'all off until I get back ;) Now I want to throw this out there....Before I go, what are some good celiac friendly food ideas for camping? 

It's not like we can just bring a bag of bread, peanut butter, and jelly....first of all, GF bread is very spendy, second, it just doesn't hold up well when tossed in a backpack while your out hiking, riding horses, ect....

I am looking for breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas. Don't be shy, please by all means, shout out some ideas :)

Thanks everyone!!

Brown Rice Salad

Ok, so I have never really had rice salad before. Never really thought about it before and it's certainly not a recipe idea I would Google. Thank goodness for cooking magazines. They are so fun to look at and can be such an inspiration. This recipe was found in Martha Stewart's Simply Recipes mag that I am finding to be one of my favorites. The meals and ideas are as the name states...simple...easy....and tasty.

So for dinner last night I needed some inspiration for a side dish to work with my honey cumin kabobs that I was grilling up. I also have not gone to the grocery store lately but had a nice assortment of fresh grown veggies picked from the garden. Being celiac, I am sure most of you will agree, I almost ALWAYS have rice on hand. I also like to keep a bag or two cooked rice in my freezer. It's so nice to have at times when you are exhausted and don't have the time or your stomach does not have the patience to wait 20 minutes to cook some up. 

Last night was one of those nights. I had been out and about all day and needed to put together something quick. Kabobs were the perfect main course, but I needed a filling and easy side. After browsing through some Simply Recipes mags, I found it. Rice Salad.

I pulled out a quart bag of cooked rice (which equates to 1 1/2 cups of cooked brown rice). I really don't think brown or white rice would matter much in this recipe. So whatever you have, just use it.  Then I made some alterations....I added 1/4 of the following veggies:

shredded carrots
diced jicama
diced radishes
diced red bell pepper

I then added 1 tablespoon dried onions (not to be confused with onion powder) and 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro. Tossed all ingredients together in a bowl then added 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar. Now the original recipe called for parsley instead of cilantro. Being that I had only fresh cilantro, that is what I used. I think this recipe will benefit from adding a fresh diced jalapeno (which I would have thrown in had there been on available).

Anyway, it was a quick, easy, and healthy side to summer grilled dinner. Enjoy!

Rice Salad

1 1/2 cups cooled cooked brown rice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 cup minced cilantro
1 tablespoon dried onions
1/4 cup of the following:
diced radishes
diced red bell pepper
diced jicama
shredded carrots

Toss all ingredients in a bowl and chill 10 minutes prior to serving.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fish and Radish Tacos

Tis the season for fresh, fit, and zesty eating.

I love summer days and summer nights. I used to be such a fall girl. I adored the changing of the leaves, snuggling up in your favorite sweater, and sipping on spicy steamy apple cider. As of late, the table are turning. I am indulging in my inner California chick. I could spend every waking hour in the summer months hiking, mountain biking, working in my garden, sun bathing, you name it. If it's a sun filled summer activity, count me in.

This dinner goes along perfectly with summer. It's a great way to use up your excess radishes that are abounding in your garden or for sale at your local grocer. Plus what a better light dinner than broiled fish tacos topped with bitey radishes. Ya, I know, bitey is NOT a word...but haven't you noticed that home grown radishes have quite a bit more bite? fish tacos are bitey.

To create this summer dish, get about a pound and a half of tilapia. If it they are frozen, pop the filets in the microwave and defrost them. Or if you are much more organized than myself, you would have been more prepared and had them thawed out earlier in the day....

Pour some olive oil on a baking dish then sprinkle salt, pepper, and ground coriander on the filets then lay them on the baking dish. Oh, and don't forget to have your oven pre-heated to broil. Place the baking sheet on the top rack and broil away. You'll want to cook the filets about 5-7 minutes or until the fish is cooked all the way through.

While your fish is cooking, prepare the radish relish by slicing up 1 large bunch of radishes...roughly 1/2 cups worth of the BITEY red root. Hehehe. Place the thinly sliced or cubed (totally up to you whether you want slices or dices) radishes in a bowl then add the following:
2-3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 of a jalapeno de-seeded and diced
3 diced green onions
salt to taste

Let sit and marinate for a few. Isn't that purdy?

That's all :) Top the tacos with fresh lime juice, cojita cheese, fresh cilantro, tobasco, you get the idea ;)

Fish and Radish Taco's

Radish Topping
2-3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1 small bunch radishes (1/2 cups) sliced thinly
3 green onions diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper diced
salt and pepper

Broiled Tilapia
1 1/2 lbs tilapia filets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coriander
salt and pepper

Garnish with cojita cheese, cilantro, and salsa verde

For the radish topping
In a small bowl, toss together lime juice, sliced radishes, diced green onion, diced jalapeno, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the Broiled Tilapia
Preheat oven to Broil. Drizzle olive oil in a baking sheet. Sprinkle Tilapia filets with ground coriander, salt, and pepper. Place on the top rack in oven and broil for approximaly 5-7 minutes (or until cooked all the way through).

Serve on gluten free corn tortillas, garnish with radish relish, lime wedges, cojita cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese, fresh cilantro, and salsa verde.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hanging Tomato/Cucumber/Pepper Planters

Ok, so foodie friends, I DO apologize that this is not a "FOOD" based IS related to food and heck, who doesn't think that a home grown tomato is the bee's knee's :) Now if you are a penny pinching princess and you don't want to pay big $$ for a hanging tomato planter at the store why not make your own? It's a lot easier than you think and you only need a few items.

So to start out, get yourself a 3 gallon bucket. I found mine at WinCo for $2.89. Next you will need a hand drill and a hole saw drill bit. Now the size is going to depend on the size of the plant you want to plant. You will need to thread the plant leaves through the hole, so use your best judgement. I used a 2" hole saw for my little cuke plant.

I want to thank my dear sweet hubby for being my little photographer AND for drillng the holes for me. It was quite the day today and just plumb ran out of time. My poor plants really needed to be planted. In fact, I barely was able to get my tomato plants through the 2" hole because there were baby maters growing all over it lol!

So with your hole saw drill a nice little hole on the bottom. Didn't the hubby do a good job? What a great "how to shot" ;)

You now have a hole in the bucket...."there's a hole in the bucket dear Liza, dear Liza....there's a hole in the bucket dear Liza....a hole". Oh dear...I am going to be singing that song all night now hahaha!

Now out of some thick material folded in half, cut a basic circle (no reason to have a perfectly measured circle...just a basic round shape'll work. You'll want the circle to be about 6-8 inches wide. This will keep the plant from slipping through the hole. Now cut a slit in the fabric and make two little notches which will give your little mater plant some wiggle room.

Now place your little plant in the center of the material.

Next overlap the seam. Not too tight, but snug enough to keep your little plant from falling through.

Now with a needle and thread do a simple slip stitch from the edge of the circle to the base of the plant. Just be sure to not stitch up the seam too tight. Your plant will be growing still and need some room to grow.

Next, carefully thread your little plant through the hole.

Now fill up your bucket with potting soil, give your little plant a drink, and hang your little greenie up. That's it!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pineapple Banana Muffins

The muffin....easy, versatile, and scrumptious. It's such a lovely little vessel to be able to use up excess fruit, veggies, flax, just about anything. The great thing about muffins is you can use up just about any sort of fruit or combinations of fruit and BOY oh boy, it makes for such a yummy treat. Now at our home, the hubby has been on a smoothie kick and consequentially we have a LOT of fruit. Most of it get thrown in the blender for the morning smoothie, but once in a while we don't get them all used up. The hubby being a bit picky about his fruit, he would not let me use the overripe bananas and pineapple. Sooooo, I figured, why not....throw them in a muffin :)

That being said, here is the recipe for a tasty gluten free muffin bursting with pineapple chunks and tasty goodness.

Here be the recipe for these tasty little bites.

Pineapple Banana Muffins

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon xanthun gum
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup crushed pineapple (of course you can use canned and just drain the juices)

Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tin with paper liners. With a fork, blend all dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, oil, banana, and pineapple. Pour wet mixture into the dry ingredients and blend well. Pour into muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Prickly Pear Juice

Yes, that's right. Juice from a prickly pear. The great thing about being celiac (yes, I DID say there is a plus to being celiac) is that you start thinking outside of the box when it comes to things to eat. I love visiting the Asian store or the Latin American markets. I love to see all the different fruits and vegetables there are to try and today's post is inspired by some tasty new fruit I recently found. Now my tastebuds are not a virgin to the fruit of the opunitia cactus. Growing up my mom was always so good to find new fun things that I could eat. If it wasn't for her, I don't think I would be as brave in my culinary adventures. I remember her making me shark, many different types of fruit and veggies, swordfish, ect....I will say, I have never made juice out of the prickly pear, but I have heard of people doing it and figured that since they are SO full of liquid, why not?

So come with me as I take you on a little journey of making some yummy nummy juice from a cactus :)

Start out by cutting off the ends then peeling and quartering the prickly pears (if the peel is not removed, the juice will be slimy and one likes slimy juice). You will want a total of 6 cups. Place the peeled chopped fruit in a large saucepan. Pour 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil on medium/high heat. Lower heat and simmer.

Now, be sure to clean up your cutting don't want it getting confused with a murder scene hehehehe.

Stir frequently while the liquid simmers for roughly 6-8 minutes. This would be a GREAT time to sweep the kitchen, mop, clean up, you know...that domestic stuff. Not plop your keester on the couch and watch old Ghost Adventures episodes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once liquid has cooled Pour through a cheese cloth and squeeze excess liquid from the pulp. When you have a nice big pitcher full of prickly pear juice, stir in the following ingredients:

juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup sugar

Pour over ice, sit out on your back deck, listen to the birdies chirp, and sip your tasty and unique juice :)

I just had to add a picture of the sweet little bouquet of flowers my sweet little munchkin gave me from the picked flowers from the neighbors yard tee hee. It was too cute not to share :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Southwestern Tomatillo Chicken Stew

Betcha couldn't guess....we love soup at our house. The hubby loves anything spicy, mexican, southwestern, you get the picture. Now tomatillos are a vegetable I am still learning and playing around with. I am starting to experiment and really enjoy this little green husked thing. I love how it adds such a fresh taste to dishes especially SOUP (since this is what this little post is devoted to anyway ;). Now this soup is really quite tasty the day of....but is even TASTIER the day after :) You can eat it alone for a light lunch or dinner or pour over rice for a more hearty meal.

Start out by throwing 1/2 cup diced onion, 3-4 diced tomatillos, and 3 minced garlic cloves with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pot. Dash with a bit of salt and pepper and the following spices:

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder

Cook on medium heat for 6-9 minutes until onion and tomatillos become tender. While your veggies are simmering, salt and pepper 4-5 boneless chicken thighs (course, you can always use bone just gotta wait for them to cool then shred em up) and toss them on your grill. Now, grilling them is not a necesary step, but MAN, something about a charbroil grilled piece of chicken REALLY goes with the fire roasted taste this soup offers.

Once your chicken is nice and cooked slice the thighs into vertical strips and toss in your soup pot. Pour in 3 cups chicken broth, 1 can drained rinsed kidney beans, and add a whole can of fire roasted tomatoes. Bring soup to a boil, lower heat, then simmer for 15 minutes. Add the juice of 1 lime and a handful of fresh cilantro about 1 minute before serving.

Southwestern Tomatillo Chicken Stew

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
3-4 diced tomatillos cut into 1 inch pieces
3 cloves minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
3-4 boneless chicken thighs (salted and peppered and cooked on a grill)
3 cups chicken broth
1 can drained rinsed kidney beans
1 whole can fire roasted tomatoes
juice of 1 lime
1 small handful fresh cilantro roughly chopped (about 1/2 cups worth)
salt to taste

Warm oil in a soup pot and add onion, tomatillo, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Cook on medium heat until onion and tomatillo are tender (about 6-9 minutes). Meanwhile, salt and pepper chicken thighs and cook them on a grill. Slice them cooked chicken into strips and add them to the pot. Add the broth, beans, fire roasted tomatoes and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook for 15 or so minutes. About 5 minutes before serving add the cilantro and lime juice.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Oven Roasted Broccoli

Can you tell I like to oven roast veggies? There is something about the way an oven brings out the fullest of flavor vegetables have to offer. Plus, I just love the way my little family gobbles them up when I serve them this way. Broccoli is no different. It's so darned cute how the munchkin will snatch up piece after piece from the baking sheet. Mommy just doesn't know where they disappear to hehehehehe ;)

Well, the layout of this recipe is pretty darned simple. 1 head of broccoli, 3-4 tablespoons olive oil, and seasoned salt (gluten free of course). I like Real Salt's seasoned salt. Quite scrumptious!

Preheat your oven to 400 then cut your broccoli into 2" size florets. Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with seasoned salt (roughly 1/2 teaspoon's or so).

Place baking sheet on the top rack of the oven and bake for 7-9 minutes or until they start to become tender and can be pierced by a fork.

Oven Roasted Broccoli

1 head broccoli cut into 2" pieces
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
seasoned salt (1/2 teaspoon or so)

Preheat oven to 400. Lay out broccoli on baking sheet and drizzle olive on top of broccoli then sprinkle with seasoned salt. Bake for 7-9 minutes until broccoli begins to become tender and can be pierced with a fork.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Seductively Summer Salad (another name for Strawberry Salad hehehe)

Strawberry Salad with caramelized onions.

Yes, I would go so far as to say this salad is borderline sensual. Think of chocolate in in a bowl...with more healthy benefits of course. Now that Utah is FINALLY seeing some tale tells of spring, what a great way to welcome the warm weather with a divinely cool and crisp salad. Not to mention treat my tired worn out body. More to THAT story later. Anyway, this little number is quick and easy and a LOVELY salad to accompany your summer dinners. Or toss in some shrimp or chicken and make a nifty light lunch.

So, here is how to make this wonderful berry laden salad.

Start out by making your dressing. Blend together the following ingredients:

1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt (or to taste. I normally add a tad more)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons olive oil

Now, warm up on medium heat 2ish teaspoons butter in a small frying pan. While butter is warming, slice 4-5 slices of a red onion (about 1/3 cups total). Or more of course if you like em :) Cook them on medium low heat stirring once in a while until they are nice, soft, and caramelized.

Now, if you were prepared, you would have already bought slivered almonds....I of course, only have whole raw almonds. Easily remedied with patience and a sharp knife. Now, in another pan, or the same pan you cooked the onions in (washed of course). Heat slivered almonds on medium tossing frequently until they are toasted. About 5 or so minutes. Not much longer. Here is another OR....or you could get yourself some pre-toasted and candied almonds and use those instead. Me being uber tired...I choose to not drag my tired butt to the store and just use what I had in the house ;)

Now the rest is pretty darned easy. Fill a salad bowl with roughly chopped romaine lettuce (about 3-4 cups worth). Top with 1 cups worth sliced fresh strawberries, and 1/3 cup feta cheese.

How easy is that? Drizzle some of that dark and luscious vinaigrette on top and enjoy :)


Strawberry Salad with Caramelized Onions

1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt (or to taste. I normally add a tad more)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons olive oil

4-5 cups romaine roughly chopped
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/3 cup feta cheese

This recipe is featured on the Gluten Free Homemaker's Gluten Free Wendesdays