Sunday, June 29, 2014

It's Always Baking Season!

I don't know about you, but my garden is overflowing with zucchini. I've had a giant one hanging out in my kitchen for a couple days now, as well as a couple of super ripe bananas, so I decided to put them to good use! Even though it's a million degrees outside I heated up the oven and busted out my favorite whisk (yes...I have a favorite one) and made some amazing gluten-free zucchini banana bread! It's heavenly!

Gluten-Free Zucchini Banana Bread
Makes 2 loaves

270 grams superfine white rice flour
93 grams arrowroot (or potato starch)
45 grams tapioca starch
12 grams xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c granulated sugar
1 c packed dark brown sugar
2.5 c grated zucchini
3 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
2 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat your oven to 325F. Grease two standard 9-by-5-inch loaf pans and set them aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (rice flour through brown sugar) and whisk to combine , working out any lumps. In a separate medium bowl, combine the zucchini, eggs, bananas, vegetable oil and vanilla, stirring well.  Create a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour in the zucchini mixture. Mix with a spatula to combine.
  3. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans, smoothing the tops with a wet spatula (if you want to be fancy.) Place loaf pans in the center of the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each load comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes in the pans. Remove from the pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Eat Your Greens: DIY Salad Table

Look works! 

The weather in California has been ridiculous this year! HOT, HOT, HOT, HOT, and more HOT! It has brought spring on super early and I had this idea to not only build a compost bin, but to make my very own salad table. One of my cool friends built one and it looked like a genius idea! I did some research, found one that I liked the most, and adapted the directions to meet my needs. Here is your very own DIY tutorial to build a delicious salad table. Happy building everyone!

1. Gather your supplies:
  • 7- 2x4x96 untreated lumber
  • 4- 1x7x60 boards for shelves
  • 4- 2in. locking swivel casters 
  • 1 box of 2 1/2-inch galvanized deck screws
  • Staple gun and 1/2-inch staples
  • 3-by-5-foot roll of aluminum window screening
  • 3-by-5-foot roll of 1/2-inch mesh hardware cloth (galvanized wire mesh, comes in a roll)
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Square (if you're feeling super exact!)
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Circular saw
  • Scissors 
  • Tin snips
  • 1 pound of 1-inch roofing nails (totally optional...I didn't use any except for holding the cute labels on!)
  • Seeds for 12 rows of lettuces, about 8 packets
  • 1- 2.5 cu feet bag of potting soil
  • Paint stir stick or yard stick cut to 30 inches 
  • Cute tags to label your greens
2. Cut your wood:

From your 2x4s:
  • Cut 4- 36" pieces (these are the legs)
  • Cut 4- 58" pieces (these are the long sides of the frame)
  • Cut 7- 30" pieces (these are all of your cross pieces)
From the scraps you should have or be able to cut:
(these get attached to the legs and support your top and bottom shelves)
  • 4- 12" pieces
  • 4- 8" pieces
I was a genius and didn't measure before I went and cut my boards in half. There was NO NEED!!!! Leave your 1x7x60 boards whole and make your shelves with them...or get sassy and cut them however you want them! 

3. Make your salad holding shelf:
Just the frame
  • Take two of the 58" two-by-fours and attach them to two 30-inch two-by-fours with 3 galvanized screws. 
  • Attach the interior cross pieces 18 3/4-inches from each end of the long piece, making three equal sections. You now have your basic frame! 

The window mesh and hardware cloth
  • Decide which side of your frame is the prettiest and flip your frame so the pretty side is down. 
  • Pulling the window screen tight as you go, staple it to your frame. Trim excess off. 
  • Center the hardware cloth, pull it tight and staple it to the bottom of the frame. Trim off any extra with the tin snips (I totally wore gloves for this part because this stuff can rip your skin up!) Oh...and you may notice that my hardware cloth is smaller than my frame...that's because I used leftovers that were 2 feet wide, not 3 feet wide! This worked fine but your mini-farm will have more support if you get the 3 feet wide stuff! 
4. Make some legs:
  • Go get your rad leg pieces (36") and your shelf support pieces (12" and 8" pieces).
  • Attach the 8" pieces, matching the ends of the piece with the leg piece. I just used two screws to attach them. This is the bottom end of your leg and your bottom shelf is gonna sit nicely on top of this piece!

  • Next up your gonna attach the 12" pieces to the top end of the leg. I used a spare 2x4 to help me space it so that the salad shelf sits right on top of this piece. Once again, I used 2 screws to attach the two pieces together. Check it out! 

  • Next up...casters! Flip your legs so that you can attach the casters to the bottom end. You might want to use an extender on your drill because the dang caster kept getting in my way! 
  • Do this for all 4 legs!!!! And take a dance break!!!
Dancing legs! 

5. Attaching the legs:
You may need to recruit a second pair of hands at this point. I went out to my sidewalk and looked up and down the street. My neighbor was out in his yard and I recruited him to help with the cause! He just held stuff and I did all the hard stuff! 
  • Keeping your salad tray upside-down, attach each leg to each corner with 3 screws. Make sure that the legs are flush with the sides of the tray. 

  • Flip the table right side up and admire your handy work! 
  • Let your neighbor go home for a while and drink a glass of water! 
6. It's time to make the storage shelf! 
  • Grab the two remaining 58" 2x4's and and the three 30" 2x4's
  • Take the 58" two-by-fours and attach them to two 30-inch two-by-fours with 3 galvanized screws. Then attach the final 30" piece in the center of the frame. 
  • Attach your shelf wood onto the frame 
  • Go back out to your sidewalk and find a neighbor to help you lift the shelf onto your table. I nearly had a hernia trying to lift mine by myself! It was a great moment in time! 
  • Attach the shelf to the legs. You may need to have your neighbor help you push the legs to make it all square up...not saying that I had to do this...but...
By this point in time I was exhausted and sunburnt! I needed a full on craft break! I busted out my label supplies and made these cute tags to add to my table:
These are little wood pieces I bought from Joann's, black acrylic paint applied with a sponge brush and white paint pen. TADA...CUTE TAGS!!!!

8. Let the planting begin! 
  • Divide your potting soil equally between the three sections
  • Using either the paint stir stick or yard stick, create 4 furrows in each section
  • Sprinkle your seeds in each furrow. I used about a packet for each 1.5 rows 
  • Push the dirt over the seeds so that they are fully covered
  • Label your rows with whatever cute labels you decided to use
  • Using the mist or shower setting on your hose, gently water your seeds. Make sure that the dirt is thoroughly soaked but don't blast the dirt so that the seeds go flying out before they have a chance to grow! 
  • Water about every 3 days
  • Lettuce will be ready to trim in about 30 days! 

And now you are ready to eat your greens like a pro!!!! 

If you like videos...check this out Salad Table Video 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Curry Rubbed Roasted Chicken!!!

When I was at the store the other day whole chickens were on sale for 83 cents a pound!!!! That's like stupid I stocked up!!! My standard roasted chicken recipe wasn't really floating my boat, even though it is totally delicious, so I decided to mix it up! Years ago Oprah published a super tasty curry rubbed chicken recipe and that was all I could think about. I wanted that recipe but with a little bit more spicy goodness. I've combined a couple of recipes together here to make this amazing chicken! Serve this with rice and some tasty green vegetables to help cool your mouth off. You could even make a lovely apple chutney to go along with this warm and spicy dish.

Roasted Curry Rubbed Chicken

1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs.

2 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp chili powder
8 tsp curry powder
4 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/4 tsp ground ginger

4 tsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered

  1. Preheat your oven to 425F (Yes!!! Make it a hot!!!) Line a roasting pan with heavy duty foil. Set it aside. 
  2. In a small bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients. Take your chicken out of the fridge and dry it off with a paper towel. 
  3. Rub the inside and outside of your chicken with the olive oil. This will help the rub stick so be sure to do this! 
  4. Now take the rub and rub in ALL OVER the inside and outside of your chicken. Use ALL of the rub! Don't be afraid!!!! Use it all!!!!
  5. Stuff the onion into the chicken cavity and place your chicken in the roasting pan.
  6. Place in oven and roast for 75-85 minutes, turning at least once during the cooking process. Make sure your chicken is done. The internal temperature should be at least 165F. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Delicious Cauliflower Pizza

As a person who can't eat gluten I often find myself longing for a delicious pizza. That tasty cheesey goodness and toppings piled high...ah...those were the days!!!! It would also be genius if there was a pizza that wasn't ten million calories per slice!!! I mean...who wants to eat a measly little tiny skinny slice of pizza...we all want to take a big juicy bite of a nicely appointed slice of pizza! Today I tried out a recipe that I found on Pinterest and was pretty darn satisfied! I changed the recipe a little...because that's how I roll...but here it is...the recipe for my delightful lunch!

Cauliflower Pizza
Makes 4 personal size pizzas, 5PPV per pizza

2 eggs
2 cups fat free shredded mozzarella
2 cups raw shredded cauliflower (use a ricer, cheese grater or food processor for this)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned

Toppings: (feel free to add whatever you want at this point!)
1 cup marinara sauce
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 yellow squash, thinly sliced
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
Sliced deli ham (or whatever meat you want...or none if you don't want any!)
Basil Ricotta

Basil Ricotta:
1 cup low fat ricotta cheese
1 tbsp fresh, chopped basil
pinch salt
fresh ground pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Line two cookies sheets with either silpat mats or greased parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the shredded cauliflower, eggs, mozzarella, basil and garlic. Mix it all up with your hands! Divide it into 4 equal parts and press it out onto the lined cookies sheets so that each one is nice and even. Mine were about an 8" circle. 
  3. Bake the crusts for 12-15 minutes.
  4. While the crusts are baking, mix the ricotta, basil, and s&p together in a small bowl. Set aside. 
  5. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Top with marinara sauce. Add sliced zucchini, squash, onion & ham. Drop dollops of the basil ricotta on top of the vegetables. Press the dollops so that they are a little bit flat. 
  6. Put the topped pizzas back in the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  7. EAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Black Bean Goodness

So yesterday I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer and in an effort to be thrifty, I rummaged through my meager "pantry" in an attempt to find something that I could turn into dinner. What I found was a can of sardines, some canned tomatoes, black beans, and lots of random rices! Of all the options the black beans looked the most I was off to Pinterest to see if I could dig up a recipe to make some burgers. Eureka! I found a low fat recipe, and because I'm crafty, switched it up a little bit because I don't know about you, but this girl doesn't have "artificial smoke flavor" readily available! Here's the deliciousness that I came up with:

Black Bean Burgers!

Black Bean Burgers
Makes 4
3 PPV per patty

1 tbsp chia seeds, smashed with mortar and pestle
3 tbsp warm water

1- 15oz. can black beans, drained, rinsed and mashed
2 gloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Cooking spray
  1. In a small bowl, combine the chia seeds and water. Let sit for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. 
  2. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients and mix well with your hands. Divide the goo into 4 equal patties and place flat on a plate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm.
  3. Spray a large pan with cooking spray and heat over medium high. Cook patties until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Best eaten the same day you make them, but they are ok microwaved the next day for lunch :)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

All-Purpose GF Flour Mix & A Little Cornbread!

As you may have seen on Facebook or Instagram I received a fabulous gift in the mail this week! Someone sent me a copy of the latest Gluten-Free Girl cookbook (check out her blog here: Gluten-Free Girl) and so far the cookbook is genius!!! Since it was SUPER HOT outside today, naturally, I decided to bake! Oh...and to make black bean chili! I wanted some delicious cornbread to go with my chili but I didn't have any of the good all-purpose gluten free flour mix that I like. Luckily for me, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day has a recipe for an all-purpose flour mix! I had to get crafty because the recipe calls for potato starch and I'm allergic to I used arrowroot instead and ended up with super delicious, fluffy and delicate cornbread. I doused mine with butter and honey and watched an episode of Psych to wrap up my Saturday! Here are the recipes for both the flour mix and the cornbread!

Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour Mix

300g sweet rice flour
400g millet flour
300g arrowroot starch (or potato starch)

Pour all of them into a large bowl and whisk until well mixed. Store in an airtight container.

Sweet White Corn Cornbread

1 1/2 c. GF all-purpose flour
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. white cornmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 c. vegetable oil
3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8 square pan with either butter or cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Whisk to mix.
  3. In a 2 cup measuring cup mix milk, eggs and oil. Pour into the flour mixture and whisk. Add melted butter and whisk until all lumps are gone. Pour into prepared pan. 
  4. Bake for 35 minutes or until lightly browned on top and toothpick comes out clean. Top with butter & honey! 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cali-Persian Fest!

Many thanks to the June issue of Bon Appetit and my lovely friend Hannah for a weekend of RIDICULOUSLY amazing food! We ate like royalty! The menu included Shirazi Salad, Shallot Yogurt, Jeweled Rice, Grilled Saffron Rack of Lamb and Rose Water Shortbread Cookies! The recipes are all from Bon Appetit but the inspiration to actually make all of this dreamy food was a visit from a my dear friend, who came to take care of me post-surgery. All of the recipes in the Cali-Persian article are AMAZING!!!! If you don't have this issue run, don't walk, to the closest store and get it! You will be in love!!!! I'm only going to share one of the recipes here because it uses rose water and it is a delightful dessert that is gluten free! Happy cooking everyone!

Rose Water Shortbread Cookies

½ tsp. ground cardamom
1 ½ c. white rice flour, plus a little for rolling if needed
¾ c. powdered sugar
½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp. rose water
1 tsp poppy seeds

1.     Whisk cardamom and 1 ½ c. rice flour in a medium bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in a medium bowl until smooth. Add egg and rose water and beat to blend.
2.     Reduce mixer speed to low; gradually mix in dry ingredients (dough will be stiff). Cover and chill at least 6 hours or overnight.
3.     Preheat oven to 300F. Scoop level tablespoonfuls of dough and using lightly floured hands (I didn’t need to flour my hands!), roll into balls. Place on parchment lined baking sheets, spacing about 1 ½” apart. Using a fork or another utensil that can make a decorative pattern in dough, flatten balls to a ¼” thickness. Sprinkle cookies with poppy seeds.
4.     Bake cookies until firm but still pale, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool. (Makes about 3 dozen cookies)