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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Italian style baked Spaghetti Squash (gluten free)

I'm not a big fan of squash but I saw an episode of Diners Drive-in and Dives where a restaurant was serving half shell baked spaghetti squash and it looked amazing! So I took note of the ingredients and went to work making my own version with out beef or cow dairy. Incidentally it's gluten free as well!

Things you need

One whole spaghetti squash
One jar spaghetti sauce (I prefer O organics)
Ground Italian sausage
Goat Cheese (comparable texture to mozzarella or white cheddar) -If you you want to use regular cheese go for it! I have friends that have made this with mozzarella and provolone and it was delicious.
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper

Ready set go!

Cute the squash in half length wise
Drizzle or spray with a little olive oil (lightly!)
Salt and pepper the flesh
Pop in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, while that's in the oven brown up your sausage in a medium sautee pan or wok. add the sauce to heat up.
pull out of the oven (careful it's hot!)
Fork out the flesh into the length of angel hair pasta and toss gently into the sauce.
pack back into the squash shells and top with cheese. Now place back into the oven until the cheese is gooey and just starting to turn golden brown.

Pull it out and either serve in the shell (I cut in half as is and serve like that as a nice presentation) you can also just pass it around family style. This makes about 4-6 hearty servings.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Grilled Chicken with Pico De Gallo and Creamy Goat Cheese Rice

I am always looking for low calorie easy dishes that we can throw on the BBQ and this is one of my absolute favorites! It has a juicy chicken breast with a risoto style easy rice base and zesty Pico De Gallo to add freshness to the dish. Yum!

3 Chicken breast
2 cups minute rice
2 cups Chicken Stock
5 tbs Creamy plain Chevre (I like Fairview Goat Farm's)
Pico De Gallo (I get mine pre-made from the produce section in the grocery store)

Garlic powder

Season the chicken breasts on both sides and either grill on a cast iron pan or out door BBQ. Cook 2 cups of minute rice with 2 cups of chicken stock. Combine cooked rice with Chevre and lightly season with pepper and salt.
Assemble by putting rice on plate top with the chicken breast and garnish with Pico de Gallo.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Having a heart like a Child

Being a mother constantly teaches me new lessons. Today while driving my kindergartner to school she started a conversation that had me beaming as a mother and also a little verklempt. I know, it's not food, it's not a craft but today more than any other day I felt like a life lesson was laid on my heart and it was important to share. =D

Nadine: Mommy, I need to learn Spanish.

Me: Well, you're doing a good job already. You know your colors and some numbers. If you want to be able to speak Spanish we can work harder on it together and mommy will learn with you.

Nadine: But Mommy, I need to know now.

Me: Why do you need to know now?

Nadine: [in tears] But Isis speaks English and her mommy talks in Spanish, it makes me sad when she goes home and can't talk to her mommy like I do. I need to talk in Spanish to help Isis talk to her mommy.

Me: oh sweety that very kind of you, but if Isis mommy speaks Spanish then Isis probably speaks it too.

Nadine: I don't think so, and it makes me sad. Isis and I can learn together right Mommy?

Me: You know what, why don't you ask Isis today in class if she speaks English and Spanish. If she only speaks English then we will find a way to help. I think you'll feel better after you talk to Isis today in class.

Nadine: Ok. I will talk to Isis before anyone else.

.... 2 hours and 35 minutes later

Nadine: Mommy you're right! Isis said God made it so she learned English and Spanish when she learned to talk like a baby... and Isis is going to teach me Spanish so I can come over and stay the night and talk to her mommy and daddy. I hope God gives me Spanish talk like he did Isis.

I know some of the conversation, since it is after all with a 5 year old, is comical. The center of the conversation is beautiful. Nadine heard at some point Isis said that her mom speaks Spanish and assumed that since her friend only spoke English. It broke her heart, she was in full tears this morning thinking of her new friend not being able to have a relationship like she and I have. She saw a friend who she thought was in need and was taking a leap to help her in any way she could.

I think being an adult we learn to harden our hearts, and have thick skin in an effort to not get broken and beaten by the rest of the world. The danger of constantly having a guard up is never really fully loving and embracing one another and having compassion for people truly in need. We become observers instead of taking action and having grace towards people in general not just those we feel safe with.

Mathew 18:3 "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It doesn't get any easier Alfredo! (gluten free and cow dairy free)

Hello, my name is Danielle and I have an addiction...to pasta ;)

I love fettuccini Alfredo so much I'm willing to eat it, drug myself with allergy medicine and be miserable for almost a week just to have a couple bites at Olive Garden. It's ridiculous and self destructive so I've put an end to the madness and come up with a simple and tasty alternative for those who want to use regular pasta or gluten free!

(Single serving)
1 serving of Rice pasta try DeBoles
1/4-1/2 cup of cooked chicken (I use left over rottiserie chicken you can bake/boil or pan sear a breast of chicken if you don't have left overs)
2 tbs of Chevre (I love Fairview Goat Farm's)
1tbs Earth Balance Margarine
1/4 cup of frozen broccoli (microwaved to heat)
Salt and pepper to taste!

You're not going to believe me how easy this is until you try it yourself =D

Boil the pasta in salted water, drain and place back on the burner low heat.
Add the margarine, chevre, chicken and broccoli. Stir until evenly incorporated and heated all the way through!
Salt and pepper to taste.
It really is that simple, and delicious! For additional zing add a tbs of bruchetta or pico de gallo.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

holy mole those are some holey jeans

I distinctly remember having a pair of wooden soled slip on leather flats that were my absolute favorite shoes to wear and in the 1st grade they got too small. I wore them until I couldn't stand it anymore and my mom made me throw them away because they were so worn out no one would even want them as hand me downs. You would have to know me a little better to understand my bizarre attachment to something like shoes but none the less my daughter has the same affinity for different reasons to some special articles of clothing.

Nadine has a favorite pair of jeans, she would wear them every day if I let her and they definitely reflected that in their beaten and shredded knees. It got to the point where the wear and tare no longer looked stylish but just plain shredded. The rest of the jeans still have plenty of life so today I devised a plan. 1) pick out a shirt that is too small for her but has cute fabric/decals 2) patch up those holes!
I decided to re-enforce the inside of the tare area using the sleeve material from the shirt, that way it was already double layered. I cut off the bottom 4 inches of each sleeve then sewed around the thinned area where the jeans were still thick and not worn. Some of the frayed areas I re-enforced with a few stitches as well. I couldn't decide on whether to use the light or dark blue thread so I double threaded the needle and it actually mimicked the coloring of the denim pretty well. Then I turned the pants inside out and cut off the excess material so it wouldn't snag or tare when she thrusts her legs into the pants in a hurry to run out the door every morning =)

The left knee had a much larger tare in it so I cut out one of the butterflies and the body was narrow so I re-enforced it with a small piece of the sleeve material and stitched all the way around the body before then attaching the butterfly strategically over the thinnest and structurally weakest part of the knee are.
All done! Took me a little less then 2 hours and it looks pretty darn cute =) Nadine is one happy camper to not have to give up her favorite jeans...for now ;)

Creamy Chicken w/ Veggies and Rice (Dairy free and gluten free) AKA The post that keeps getting deleted haha!

Before I start this blog post (for the 3rd time!) I have to say that I must not adapt well to new things. Why might you ask would I bring this up? I have posted this recipe on two other separate occasions and instead of "edited" them to add tags I deleted the whole post! lol TWICE! OK, this time... you all will get to learn the deliciousness and ease of this recipe.

Items to grab:
Gluten free onion soup mix (if you don't need gluten free then try Lipton's Onion Soup Mix)
4 cups of water
4 chicken breast
1 tlbs of crushed garlic
1/2 tbs of onion powder
1 tub of Tofuti Supreme Cream (or 8oz regular sour cream)
2 lbs of Earth Balance dairy free margarine (or regular butter)
1 small bag of frozen veggies
3 cups of uncooked rice (I like to use minute rice)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Simmer the chicken breasts in the water/garlic/onion soup mix until cooked all the way through. Then  pull the breasts from the soup mix and cut into bite size pieces.

Add the frozen veggies and simmer until cooked all the way through.

Add the supreme cream, margarine, and seasonings and bring to a simmer until sauce thickens  to  a gravy like  density. While your sauce is reducing take this time to prepare your minute rice.

Scoop the mix over the rice and enjoy! Makes for great left overs! and you can  re-purpose the chicken mix into a chicken casserole by using gluten free noodles a corn flake crumble and bake until the corn flake crumble is golden and crispy!

My mini me

Nadine is the best little 5 year old baker a mommy could ask for, she is absolutely fearless when it comes to baking and it actually makes me a little anxious for when she is tall enough to reach the oven settings. To teach her at a young age the fun of cooking, baking and doing it safely she accompanies me in the kitchen A LOT. For Christmas she was gifted from her aunty Leah  a "Cra-Z-Cookn" baking set (it's microwaved instead of baked) and is obsessed with making these little edible treats! I think it's adorable, she's really the only one who can eat them sense they have dairy and gluten but boy does it bring us joy to watch her have so much fun and take pride in her work.
add packet and water

Stir like crazy! (Isn't she so cute?!)

microwaved for 30 seconds, added frosting and sprinkles!


I've got to say the final product sure is cute and pretty =) If you have a little kitchen helper and don't mind the clean up and initial assembly then you should find one of these kits!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gluten Free Dairy Free Waffles!

Who doesn't love Waffles? 

Do you ever get into a rut for breakfast? For us it's always a banana and cereal or an apple and handful of nuts. Sometimes you just want a nice filling and hot start to the day but that doesn't take too long to make. I have the yummiest gluten free/dairy free waffles that make for a hearty breakfast.

Things you will need:
Waffle Iron
1 package of Bob's Gluten free cornbread mix
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk or soy milk
2 medium sized eggs
1/3 cup canola oil

Mix all the ingredients together so it is evenly incorporated, the mixture will be a little on the dense side.  Spoon the batter into the waffle iron on medium/high heat. Don't touch that lid once it's dropped until after the steam has stopped escaping. Our iron has a handy little light that tells you when it's done, this would be great but really it depends on how crispy you prefer your waffles to be. I leave mine in a good minute after the "done" light turns on.
I've had these waffles paired with everything from fried chicken to fruit  and peanut butter! They are delicious and versatile!