Welcome to my creative outlet

I believe that every person needs some form of creative outlet. This is mine, my personal recipe's, small projects and ramblings from life's lessons.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Never eat cranberry sauce out of a can ever again (gluten free)

                                                            Holiday Cranberry Sauce
I have a friend that told me "if it does't resemble a can it's not cranberry sauce". He was joking but the thing is I think too many people assume that the cranberry, sugar filled gelatinous stuff is what holiday traditions are are all about. They are so WRONG, you all have been missing out on some delicious stuff, and excellent left over turkey sandwich condiment bliss.

Things you're going to need
1) blender, vitamix, or food processor
2) 2 bags of raw cranberries
3) 40 ounces of quality orange juice
4) 1/3 cup brown sugar
 5) teaspoon of orange zest
In a large stew pot (that has a lid) add your 2 bags of cranberries, 40 oz of orange juice and orange zest. Set on medium/high and boil until cranberries are tender and starting to burst.
stir in 1/3 cup brown sugar (you can add additional sugar if you prefer sweeter) and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and set aside with lid off for at least an hour then with a slotted spoon scoop the cranberries into a blender/vitamix/food processor and puree until smooth (add additional juice from pot if mixture is too thick).

Refrigerate and enjoy!

Want to know what to do with the left over juices? Strain with a small hole colander and use for bellini mix with a sparkling wine of your choice =) Also works well with club soda for kid friendly drinks.

Monday, October 29, 2012

20 ways to cut 100 calories

It's the holiday season! I don't know about you but I've already been trying to fight the holiday season's delectable pound adding delicious dishes. Here's a great tip from Keizer Permenete =) Enjoy!

Small changes add up to big results. Each of these ideas can save about 100 calories — and you won't feel like you're missing out.

1. Ask that your pizza be made with half the cheese.
2. Choose a broth-based soup instead of cream based.
3. Choose a red sauce instead of a cream sauce on pasta.
4. Choose steamed rice rather than fried rice.
5. Cook with a nonstick spray instead of butter or margarine.
6. Leave 10 French fries on your plate.
7. Leave the cheese off your sandwich.
8. Make your tuna or chicken salad with fat-free mayonnaise or hummus.
9. Order salad dressing on the side, and dip your fork before each bite.
10. Remove the top piece of bread from your sandwich.
11. Replace crunchy taco shells with soft corn tortillas.
12. Replace 1 cup of pasta with 2 cups of steamed vegetables.
13. Sip a cup of sparkling water with lime instead of juice.
14. Skip the refill on your soda or lemonade.
15. Switch to nonfat milk in your latte.
16. Top pancakes or waffles with fresh fruit instead of butter and syrup.
17. Top chicken or fish with salsa or herbs rather than butter or cheese.
18. Top your frozen yogurt with fresh berries instead of candy toppings.
19. Use nonfat, plain yogurt instead of sour cream on your baked potato.
20. Wrap up part of your dinner for tomorrow's lunch.
Reviewed by: Keith Bachman, MD and Trina Histon, PhD, June 2011
Additional Kaiser Permanente reviewers
©2011 Kaiser Permanente

Friday, August 24, 2012

Honey Mustard Glaze (Chicken or Lamb) (Gluten free and Dairy free)

       Ever get bored of eating the same flavors? We were! Karl came home with a lamb steak and I had no clue what to use lamb for other than Stew. I did a quick skim through my "Betty Crocker" cook book and decided mustard and rosemary would be my focus. Since we only had 2 lamb steaks and 4 bodies to feed I also used the glaze on some chicken breasts both were delicious!

1/2 cup white wine (I used honeywood early muscat)
4 Tbs yellow mustard
1 Tbs honey
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp coarse fresh ground pepper
1p tsp sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
(blend together in a magic bullet or blender/food processor) 

In a freezer ziplock bag place your choice of meat inside and dump the marinade in, squeeze out the excess air, seal and place in the fridge for at least an hour. 

Preheat your BBQ or Oven (medium/high heat)

Wash your potatoes (I prefer red potatoes) and in the center of the foil square spray a small amount of olive oil, sprinkle sea salt, pepper and garlic powder. Wrap up the potato in the foil and repeat for however many baked potatoes you need. 

Pull out two large rectangle pieces of foil and lay them on top of each other (should form a cross) lay your fresh or frozen mixed veggies in the middle (salt, pepper, and dairy free margarine/butter to taste) fold up the first layer and then the second to lock in the moisture.

Take your meat out of the marinade and grill, dump the remaining marinade into a sauce pan and bring to a boil (while stirring) for at least 3 minutes. Now take your glaze out to the grill area with a silicone basting brush or spoon (a silicone basting brush will save you a lot of cleaning from the grill later). Each time you flip the meat baste it with the glaze.

Place your foil wrapper potatoes and veggies under the meat on the bottom wrack if you have a double wrack grill, if any glaze falls off it will land on your foil instead of the flame area (the less clean up the better!)

When your meat is done, your potatoes and veggies should be too! If you're using russet potatoes instead of red potatoes you may want to put those on the grill before anything else to give extra time to bake.

Finish your potato with toppings of your choice and enjoy!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I'm going to get mushy for a second...

When I was little and making a list of all the things I wished I had in a dad and wanted for my children I set very high expectations. I didn't even consider the characters of that future betrothed as a partner in life but someone to stick around and share equally in the development and love of our 2 kids (yes I always wanted one boy and one girl!). I had a list of qualifications that were so unrealistic I didn't think that man existed, up until the moment Nadine was born.
Nadine was a surprise in our second year of marriage and I was terrified! I didn't know what a functional 2 parent home looked like 24/7 and was afraid of letting my child or spouse or both down. I was wrong! Do you know who put me straight?! My husband, my incredibly loving, and understanding (and goofy!) husband! 
The version of myself when I am with Karl is so much better then without. 
I knew this journal entry existed somewhere and thought it important for Karl to know how he stacked up...

Father's day 1999 [excerpt]
IF I ever have kids the dad better be a rockstar of a dad because I wouldn't want to raise me (or JJ!) with out four eyes watching instead of two.
1) He'd rather die than leave his family
2) He has to be good at sports, because I'm not!
3) He has to want to sing lullabies to the baby
4) He needs to be funny
5) He needs to have more pride in our children than himself
6) He's got to make up for my lack of patience

Granted, I was a bit of a drama queen. Currently, I have a great relationship with my step-dad and biological dad but at the time I had neither. I didn't think this guy existed, and I was content to never have kids if he didn't.

If you know Karl at all, you know that he not only meets the standards he created new ones. He holds himself to higher standards of being a dad and husband then what I thought the perfect guy would have. No one is flawless, that is for sure, but as far as being the best man to raise children and spend the rest of my life with KARL is the one and only.
Happy 6th Father's day my love!
For those of you waiting for the food aspect of this post... Today, we went with BBQ Chicken, Loaded Baked potatoes, veggie tray with humus and cookies for dessert. The weather was glorious, the food was good, but most of all I thanked and let 2 of the most important men in my life know how much I appreciate their fatherly skills. 
Grandpa Gaylor and Nadine

Not only does he sing lullabies but he teaches the love of music to our kiddos!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Verde Chicken and potato burritos

Breakfast, lunch or dinner I love potatoes and I love burritos so why not combine? I have 4 left over baked potatoes, a half a jar of verde salsa and a half an onion from dinner the previous night so I got crafty and all of us agreed it was a keeper!

Things to grab:
4 *baked potatoes (I used red)
2 chicken breast
half a sweet onion
one cup of verde (green) salsa
olive oil

Consider toppings:
sour cream
scrambled eggs

Ready set go!
Heat your olive oil in a skillet pan and toss in your diced half of an onion to soften. Season with salt and pepper. While your onions are cooking down slice your raw chicken breast into bite size pieces (think fajitas), season the chicken with seasalt, pepper and cumin and add to the skillet. As the chicken browns add your half cup of verde salsa. While your chicken simmers cube your baked potatoes and toss in to the skillet for the last 2-4 minutes. 

I like to heat up my tortillas on a cast iron pan or in the microwave.

Serve up on to a tortilla with your choice of toppings or eat as it, it's simple and delicious! 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Grilled Peanut butter and chocolate sandwich

Who doesn't love chocolate and peanut butter together? Want a quick treat that you and the kiddos will love?
Two pieces of bread, spread out the peanut butter and sprinkle on some dark chocolate chips (90% coco typically is dairy free)

melt some dairy free margarine or butter into a pan and lightly brown on both sides (Like a grilled cheese sandwich)

cut in half and serve up! also good with some whipped cream to dunk into.

Home Made Chicken Strips/ Goat Cheese Chicken (Cow Dairy Free)

 My Kiddos love chicken strips and I love chicken parmesan! Because we eat cow dairy free it is nearly impossible to find pre-made chicken strips that haven't been dipped in buttermilk let alone a comparable chicken dish made with goat cheese so I've taken care of both cravings with one recipe. Enjoy (and be safe!) If you are also in the Salem, Oregon area I recommend Fairview Farm Goat Dairy for fresh and local goat cheese, their cheese is the only one I've found that isn't gamy and melts beautifully.

Things you need:
Thawed chicken breast tenders
Panko bread crumbs (either or plain or Italian)
3 eggs
1 cups olive oil
1 cups canola oil
White Cheese of your choice (Parmesan, Mozzerella, or goat cheese)
2 jars of Marinara sauce

Seasonings for panko:
onion powder
garlic powder

lay out your chicken tenders on top of plastic wrap then double back over. Pound those babies out (I use a tenderizer)

You can use Italian Panko bread crumbs or add seasoning to  plain  ones. I prefer to season my own =)  Put your oil in the dutch oven on the stove top on medium (4-5) heat to be ready to fry the chicken.

Have your 3 beaten eggs in a bowl then the bread crumbs. Your going to dunk each strip in the egg wash first then coat in crumbs and repeat until they are all done.Have an empty plate ready to lay out your dredged chicken on for  easy transition to the frying station. 

Uncooked and breaded, read to fry up!
Use the lid of the pot as a shield from splattering oil. Brown up each side evenly, it's ok if the chicken is not cooked all the way through because it's going to go in the oven after this! (preheat your oven to 375 degrees)

Line the cookie sheet with a couple paper towels and lay out the strips as you fry each one so the excess oil is absorbed.

layer about 1/2 inch of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish  place the chicken strips in a single layer and top with your choice of cheese. Place in the oven on covered  at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted. If you're doing just chicken strips then place on a cookie sheet for 10-13 minutes and check the center to verify cooked all the way through. While the chicken is in the oven baking start your starch/pasta. I love angel hair pasta and also the pre-made gnocchi (Italian potato dumpling pasta)

Assemble and voila! Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Low Calorie "Street Tacos" at home

Summer is quickly approaching, and even here in Oregon with the rain and overcast its starting to warm up for outdoor cooking! This week we grilled several chicken breasts and put them in the fridge to use for tacos, salads, sandwiches and etc. so we could have lean cooked meat with out heating up the whole dwelling.

Things you need:
Chicken Breasts (3-4)
Fire Roasted Peppers

Poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, cumin

Grill the chicken breasts after lightly seasoning with poultry seasoning , salt, pepper and  cumin. After about 15-25 minutes of grilling let the chicken rest for 5 minutes then shred or cut into strips.

prepare your toppings! We used lettuce, canned fire roasted peppers, tomatoes and salsa. Additional toppings to consider would be black olives, onions, cheese, sour cream and jalapenos.

Depending on your gluten tolerance, you can use a variety of tortillas for gluten free I like Udi's, but for those of you wheat eaters I prefer these half corn half whole grain tortillas (heat up on a stove or in the microwave).

Assemble to your liking and enjoy! Simple, delicious, and low calorie meal the whole family will enjoy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Noah turned 1 year old!

On March 9th 2012 we celebrated our second child's 1st birthday! Noah Jaden Marshall is our little miracle baby. It took 2 1/2 years of trying and several unsuccessful pregnancies before God blessed us with this little gift!

Celebrating Noah's birthday brought back a flood of emotions revolving his pregnancy, the hormone therapy, preterm labor caused by a car wreck and then a few seconds away from a C-section deciding he finally was ready to drop down and come into the world!  This year has been full of so many firsts for him and its been wonderful to celebrate them as a family. His big sister, Nadine, enjoys him immensely. Their relationship is so special, I can't wait to watch them grow up together. It's funny how celebrating this amazing year also brings mixed emotions, I'm not ready for my baby to be a toddler and he's only a couple months away from no longer being a baby and now being a little toddler boy. I know I can't keep him from growing, and there are going to be some incredible milestones along the way but I sure am going to
miss the newborn smell, the wondrous look as he experiences the world for the first time, and being able to hold him in just one arm.
On the other hand I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for him to walk, loving all of the new words he's learning and can't wait for the weather to get better for us to head out to the park, go camping and walk through the zoo!
Anyway, Noah and his birthday buddies enjoyed all the bubbles, the bouncy balls and the cake. It was a wonderful time. We are truly blessed to have such incredible children, supportive friends and loving family.

Cheers to another beautiful year full of firsts with this gift from God, and his equally special big sister who will be turning six years old in June!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Start it and forget it Chili Verde (Dutch oven)

Do you ever go to the grocery store with a specific list and walk away with some bargain because it was a BARGAIN and then have to figure out how to use it? That was me ;) Below is one of 3 packs of boneless pork chops I found for an 80% discount and couldn't pass up! Problem? Umm.. my husband hates pork! haha.. My husband thinks that pork is chewy and doesn't have a great flavor, I was determined to prove him wrong so I made a slow cooked, lick the bowl, delicious and easy chili verde.
Really, who could pass this up for $6?

First and foremost make sure your boneless pork chops are thawed, you can use bone in but it takes more effort to take all the bones out before shredding.
Things you need:
olive oil
2 cans of whole green chiles (Fire roasted)
1 can Green Chili enchilada sauce (mild)
1 jar of salsa verde (mild)
3-4 lbs of Boneless pork chops

onion powder
garlic powder

Are you ready for some easy slow cooking?
Spread a dash of olive oil into the bottom of your dutch oven and heat on the stove top to medium-high. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Dust the pork chops with the seasoning (DO NOT USE SALT) on both sides.
Sear both sides of each the chops and leave in the bottom of the Dutch and add all the remaining ingredients (whole green chilis, enchilada sauce and salsa verde). Stir in the sauce to pick up all the yummy browning off the bottom of the pan. Cover the Dutch oven and place in the oven for 4 hours.

4 hours may seem like a long time but I was able to watch a movie, do the dishes, put laundry away, build a snow man and play with the baby. You put dinner in and walk away until it is ready!

........4 hours later........

Remove your dutch oven from the oven to the stove top and lift the lid. The pork chops should so tender that all you have to do is pinch them with some tongs and they will fall apart, making "shredding" so easy

I use my chili verde in burritos, nachos, huevos racheros, and taco salad. It's so tasty!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Not your Grandma's pot pie! (super easy)

I get bored of eating the same thing over and over again don't you? I am not a fan of frozen dinners but have always been intrigued by chicken pot pie. When I was little my grandma made chicken pot pie one summer when we were visiting in Missouri. In true southern fashion it had tons of butter, and a crust made of half a box of bisquick lol. I have never tasted anything so delicious (although I suffered from the butter). I was determined to make a lighter, easier version in my semi-homemade way.

Things you need:
Left over whole chicken (I pick it clean for dinner and lunch then the next day use it in this recipe!)
1 roll of crescent rolls (the safeway brand is dairy free)
3 left over baked red potatoes from the previous night's chicken dinner
2 cups of mixed frozen veggies

Let's get started! Throw your chicken carcass in a medium sized soup pot with just enough water or low sodium chicken broth to barely cover the carcass. Put a lid on it and simmer on medium heat until the remaining chicken meat falls off the bone. (This can take between 30 minutes to an hour or longer depending on how big your chicken was and how much meat was left on the carcass).
*Note* If you don't have left over  baked potatoes then use this time to wrap your washed/salted&peppered red potatoes in the oven now so we can assemble the potpie quickly.

*Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Ok remove the carcass from the liquid (let the stock continue to simmer and reduce) and remove the chicken meat from the bones, if you've simmered long enough it should practically fall off or already be in the stock pot. Throw away the bones and inedible stuff like fatty clumps, gristle or chewy skin.

Add the chicken back to the stock, cube your potatoes and add the potatoes and veggies to the mix. Dump the mixture into a pie dish (if the stock has been reduced properly it will be thick like a hash)
Unroll your crescent rolls and layer over the filling.

I layer the crescent rolls from tip to tail

Keep an eye on your dish, Baking time should be about 13 minutes or until  it is evenly  golden brown across the  top.
Cool for about 3 min and serve! It's delicious and much lighter in calories since there isn't a gravy on the inside or double layer crust!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dairy Free Rice Pudding

Tonight for dinner we had stir fry using my left over Terriyaki Sauce from last weeks post and I had a couple cups of rice left over. I knew tomorrow morning was going to be hectic and thought, "hmm it would be so easy if breakfast was all ready to go in the morning.." So I decided to wing it and recreate my mom's rice pudding she use to make when I was a kid. I love homemade rice pudding! But of course I can't have dairy and my husband and kiddos can't do cinnamon so this recipe is with a twist and is very delicious!
You have to love it when you wing it and it turns out to be a winner =D

Things you need:
1 cup Original coconut milk
2 eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2- 2 cups cooked rice (brown or white are both good)
1/2 Tsp of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
In a blender/magic bullet whip the coconut milk, eggs, brown sugar and nutmeg until evenly incorporated.  Scoop the cooked rice into a pie dish and level out (don't pack it down). Pour the egg mixture over the rice.

Cover with foil and bake for 35-45 minutes until the center is firm.
Once the rice pudding is out of the oven remove the foil and allow to cool for about 30 minutes, you can enjoy while still warm or put in the fridge and enjoy cool for breakfast or as an after dinner treat.

This is so delicious, with the nutmeg and sweetness from the coconut milk I don't even miss the cinnamon.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

(Gluten free) Teriyaki Chicken and veggies made easy

  • Teriyaki Marinade
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (I prefer low sodium)
  • cup water
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 -2 tablespoon honey
  • Slurry for thickening....
  • tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ cup cold water

Directions for assembling your marinade:

Mix all but cornstarch and 1/4c water in a sauce pan and begin heating. Mix cornstarch and cold water in a cup and dissolve. Add to sauce in pan .Heat until sauce thickens to desired thickness. If you thicken the sauce too much add a little water to loosen it up.

Things you need for the stir-fry:

3 large chicken breast (thawed or fresh)
One bag of frozen stir-fry veggies or fresh veggies of choice
Wok or large saute pan
3 cups of rice (uncooked)
3 cups of water

Marinate your 3 chicken breasts in  1/2 of the cooled teriyaki sauce in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to an hour.

  1. Cut your chicken breast into 1/4 inch strips (I use meat scissors for ease) and  toss into a  preheated (high) wok or saute pan. It's important the pan is super hot to quickly sear the pieces, otherwise the moisture seeps out and steams the chicken instead of fry it.
    Throw in your veggies (thawed or fresh) once the chicken has a nice sear on it.

    Only add the remaining half of the teriyaki sauce after the veggies and chicken are completely cooked, then  tossed until heated through and serve over your rice.

     You can use the teriyaki sauce the chicken was marinaded in but you have to make sure it's heated to a boil so the raw chicken is completely cooked. Then you end up with extra sauce for next time. Or if you want to play it safe throw out the marinade in the freezer bag and use the half that was untouched =)


    For convenience I use minute rice which is equal parts rice to water and microwave for 5 minutes covered. 
    You can use what ever works best for your dietary habits. I like it with out a starch too, and also yakisoba noodles.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Easiest Salmon dish that even non-seafood eaters will love

I am going to be honest with you...I'm not much of a seafood person. I should be put to shame for being a self proclaimed foodie that does not like seafood! On the other hand, my husband loves salmon. I had to create a salmon dish that I was willing to eat with Karl and that Nadine would eat too. After a couple tries I'm pretty sure this is the easiest and yummiest salmon dish I've ever had.

2 bonesless salmon steaks (about 4 oz each) preferebly fresh not frozen
4 tbs of orange marmalade
4 tbs of orange juice
1 bag of mixed veggies (either the "steam ready" or frozen)
season to taste: salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder

Take a large sheet of foil and line the inside of a cake pan or cookie sheet,
drizzle foil with a light amount of olive oil
place salmon steaks on foil (scale side down) with room to curl up the foil for making a packet
Season salmon steaks, top each steak with 2 tbs of orange marmalade
Pour the bag of veggies over the salmon and season lightly
add 4 tbs of OJ for moisture
roll up the sides of the packet (adding more foil if needed to cover the whole thing), seal tightly
place in the preheated oven 350 deg for 45 minutes
remove from oven and serve over rice or as is =) for super easy and yummy rice I get the the frozen jasmine rice it only takes 3 minutes to microwave!

Each serving has less then 300 calories!