The Sweetest Thing.

" I feel there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people" ~Van Gogh

Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs. August 13, 2015

Filed under: Chicken,Dinner — Jessica @ 4:05 pm
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Fresh pineapple is one of those things that I often buy and we either eat it within a day or we don’t eat it at all and it goes in the compost. After throwing away two whole pineapples, I was optimistic that we would actually get around to eating this one. Well, we didn’t- at least not in the traditional way alongside breakfast or lunch. I came home from work and noticed it was still sitting on the baker’s rack and needed to be used. I thought about making some kind of dessert but really, I just needed to get dinner on the table. So, I decided I would work the pineapple into our meal. (I should clarify that I am not generally a fan of fruit in my dinner). This is what I came up with based on the chicken I had thawed and some veggies we had in our refrigerator. It was a winner for both of us & perfect served with coconut rice for a complete meal.

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Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs

Serves 6

Ingredients-

Marinade

1 fresh pineapple- peeled, cored and diced into large chunks- RESERVE HALF

1/2 cup tamari (or soy sauce)

1/4 c packed brown sugar

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup water

3 TBLS olive oil

1 bunch green onions- sliced (I use scissors)

Everything Else

1 lb chicken cut into large chunks (I used boneless skinless chicken breasts)

8 oz mushrooms

1 lb mini sweet peppers

1 large red onion- quartered and seperated

Remaining pineapple chunks that you reserved from the marinade

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1.Place first 6 items in food processor and blend until pineapple is broken down into very small pieces.

2. Add green onions

3.Reserve 3/4 cup marinade for basting while on grill

4. Add chicken and mushrooms to marinade and let sit in refrigerator for 2-12 hrs.

5. Using kabob sticks that you have soaked in water, alternate ingredients (chicken, mushrooms, peppers, pineapple and onion). Place on foil lined cookie sheets until you get them all done.

6, Cook on grill (grilling times will vary). Ours took about 35 minutes. Rotate every 10-15 minutes. Baste with reserved marinade when you place on grill and every time you rotate them.

7. Remove from grill and let cool slightly.

8. Enjoy!

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March Grocery Shopping Part 2- Wegmans & Big Lots. March 19, 2015

Part 1 of the March grocery haul is here.

We have been to Wegmans a couple of times this month. Once on purpose and once to pick up eggs. Of course, we bought much more than eggs! This was a great example of why I try to limit my monthly trips to the grocery store. I will buy more than I plan 100% of the time. We are still under budget so I am okay with it. We also made a trip to Big Lots to pick up some totes for our basement organization project. I love checking out their grocery aisles while there. They always have at least a couple of great products at great prices. Gourmet condiments, organic snacks, gluten free goodies…. It is definitely always worth checking out if you are there.

On to the groceries~

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Meat~

~ Chicken Thighs

~ Chicken Drumsticks

~  Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

~ Hamburger

* I used to only buy boneless skinless chicken breasts but have shifted away from using it exclusively since deciding to eat more organic meat years ago. Organic chicken thighs and drumsticks are really quite cheap and worth the extra dollar or two. Organic boneless skinless breast is about $5 more a pound and I just can’t afford that. So I buy the non organic and we eat less of it. Someday I hope to buy all organic meat, but this works for now.
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Produce~

~Zucchini

~Spinach

~ Kale

~Cabbage

~Mushrooms

~Spring Mix

~Ginger

~Sage, Thyme, Rosemary

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Pantry Items/Misc~

~Wild Rice

~Sun dried tomatoes

~Peanut Butter Granola (this stuff is so good)

~ Green, Earl Grey and Chai Tea

~ Cheddar Cheese

~Coconut Oil

~ Cottage Cheese

~ Green Chilis

~Tri Color Rotini

~ Pasta Sauce

~ Coffee

~ Gluten Free Panko

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This was the trip for eggs~

~Peppers

~Pineapple Soda and Ginger Ale (for Tiff)

~ Soybean paste & Flavored Soybean paste for the Kale Pancakes

~ A giant box of Crunchmaster Crackers (my favorite)

~ 2 boxes of Clif Bars (these were only $9.99 a box)

~ Eggs

~ Bananas

~Coconut Milk

~ Sorbet & Ice Cream

~ Seltzer/Sparkling Water
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Big Lots Goodies~

~Popcorn- Sweet & Spicy and Caramel and Cheddar. I would never have bought Caramel and Cheddar popcorn if I had not tried it from a place in Chicago. It is really good

~ Arborio Rice ($1)

~ Lindt Dark Chocolate Chili bar ($1)

~ Glutino wafer cookies ($1 a bag)

I do not foresee any other major grocery trip this month. We will need milk, eggs and some bananas but that is about it. Do you have any “secret places” for great grocery deals?

 

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes w/ Maple Cream Cheese Frosting & Toasted Pecans. November 19, 2014

That’s quite the title, but all of the ingredients  play an equal roll in the deliciousness of these and I didn’t want to leave anything out. I have not really done much gluten free baking from scratch and these are no different. I will get there eventually, but for now I am relying on box mixes and I am okay with that. These are really simple to make and really good. The cake itself is not very sweet, but the frosting makes up for it and the toasted pecans are really just the perfect finish. These would be great to take to Thanksgiving dinner or a nice fall treat for work.

 

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes w/Maple Cream Cheese Frosting & Toasted Pecans

Makes 18 cupcakes

Ingredients~

1 bag/box gluten free vanilla cake mix

1 can pumpkin puree

1 egg

2 Tbls pumpkin pie spice (or a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves)

8 oz cream cheese (softened)

6 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup chopped pecans- toasted

 

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1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line 18 cupcake spots with paper liners.

2. Combine cake mix, pumpkin, egg and pumpkin pie spice and stir until smooth.

3. Divide evenly amongst liners and bake 18-22 minutes.

4. Remove and let cool completely.

5. For frosting, combine softened cream cheese, 3 cups of powdered sugar and maple syrup in stand mixer (or large mixing bowl). Start on low so the powder sugar doesn’t fly everywhere (I always forget). Gradually add remaining sugar until combined. Increase speed incrementally and let it go for about a minute once it gets all the way up. Frost cooled cupcakes. (There will be extra frosting)

6. Toast chopped pecans as desired. I use a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes and jostle them around every 30 seconds or so. Some people prefer the oven. I have even heard of doing them in the microwave. Once pecans have toasted and cooled, top frosted cupcakes with them.

7. Enjoy!

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Giving Up Gluten. September 27, 2014

Filed under: planning,random,Uncategorized — Jessica @ 5:00 am
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Giving up gluten has become quite the trend these days. There have been many studies done and articles written claiming that unless you have Celiac disease, gluten intolerance isn’t real, but I assure you, I would not give it up unless I had to. About 2 years ago, I started feeling just generally sick. I had almost constant headaches, I was tired all the time, I had a lot of issues with gas and indigestion, repeated yeast infections and just general discomfort. I also had a really hard time focusing on things and staying on task, which is totally unlike me. I went to the Dr. 5 times in a year and a half and she kept giving me prescriptions to treat the symptoms instead of trying to figure out what the problem was. I finally decided I needed a new Dr. After describing my symptoms to my new Dr., the first thing she asked was if I had tried to give up gluten. Having done some reading on my own, I both expected and feared she might ask that. Once the Dr. suggested it, I knew I was going to have to give it a try.

 

Going gluten-free was pretty easy at first. Most of the foods I eat on a regular basis are naturally gluten free- vegetables, meat, fruit, nuts, dairy, many ancient grains.We don’t eat a lot of processed food in our household, so that was not an issue.  I felt so much better after just a couple of days that it was easy to keep the momentum going. I made it about a month without feeling deprived or bored with my  naturally gluten free food choices. It was actually after going grocery shopping and seeing the plethora of gluten free specialty foods and buying a few gluten free substitutes that the cravings came.  Gluten free substitutes are expensive and  the money in the grocery budget for them is limited. I tend to buy a loaf of bread, crackers, pasta and maybe a brownie or cornbread mix when we go shopping twice a month, but beyond that, I just have to do without. (I did spend a ton of money on gluten free flours at first too, but have not used them all that much yet). Gluten free alternatives are nice and I am really happy I can still enjoy things like avacadoe toast with eggs or a plate of pasta, but I definitely think it makes it harder to say no to regular bread and pasta when gluten free options are not available- but maybe that is just me.

 

I have found that I can have limited amounts of gluten without any major side effects but I also find it hard to know where that line is and very easy to just keep pushing it until I am sick again. It is best for me to just avoid it in my everyday home life and not stress too much about it if I am going to a friend’s house for dinner or eating at a restaurant. I still try to stick with generally gluten free options in those situations, but I don’t have to worry about every ingredient.

 

The hardest things to give up have been fresh from the bakery bread and beer. I really love both of those things. Luckily wine is gluten free and I have developed a real love for hard cider since giving up gluten. Now that the weather has cooled down a bit, I am looking forward to experimenting with some gluten free baking so I can still enjoy one of my favorite hobbies. Overall, giving up gluten is definitely worth it for me and I even enjoy having to branch out a little bit (more) in my cooking to find delicious alternatives that leave both my non gluten-free partner and I satisfied.

 

What is your favorite gluten-free meal?