Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Got Zucchini?

Hi friends! Hope you're having a great day today. Spring is finally here! I can't wait to bring back our vegetable garden and plant flowers. Anyone else out there with a green thumb? Today, I'm sharing a recipe that incorporates one of my favorite vegetables. Zucchini. If you're planning on growing zucchini this summer, this is the perfect recipe for all that extra green.  

Flashback with me to last Friday. We were running low on food and had odds and ends in the house. I ended up making a few different "appetizers" for our dinner. I had a zucchini in the fridge, a bag of panko bread crumbs and an idea...



If my kitchen walls could talk: Top this recipe with parmesan cheese and dip in marinara for the perfect Italian treat. Need vegan modifications? Skip the egg and lightly sprinkle with nutritional yeast after baking.



Oven "Fried" Zucchini

Ingredients

1 zucchini, sliced
1 egg
1/4 cup almond milk
1 cup gluten-free panko breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp garlic salt

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with foil, lightly mist with olive oil.
2. Slice zucchini into rounds, set aside. Beat egg and almond milk in a shallow bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine panko breadcrumbs, parsley and garlic salt.
3. Working one at a time dip zucchini in egg mixture, then dip in panko mixture, covering both sides. Place on baking sheet. Repeat until all zucchini are used. Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown and cooked through. Halfway through cooking, flip zucchini to crisp both sides.

Monday, March 30, 2015

3/30 Meals for the Week

Hi there! I can hardly believe it's the start of a new week already. We had an amazing weekend and I'm sad that it's already over - we played cards at a local coffee shop, browsed through a comic book store, had dinner out with friends and family and just spent plenty of time relaxing. It was perfect.

This week is a little hectic with work and physical therapy, so our meal plan isn't adventurous by any means! We were invited to dinner on Sunday last minute with our family, so our original plan to grill got scrapped for family time and enchiladas :)



Sunday: Mexican - dinner out with family!
Monday: BBQ Pineapple Tacquitos, kale salad
Tuesday: Family dinner 
Wednesday: Leftovers -  Lightened Up Macaroni & Cheese 
Thursday: Salsa verde enchiladas - if this is a success, I'll post! Here's an amazing enchilada recipe. 
Friday: TBA - leftovers, homemade pizza, tacos...? 
Saturday: Anniversary Dinner - Out!


What's on your menu this week? 

Friday, March 27, 2015

3.27.15 Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!!! TGIF :) My favorite day of the week is here. It's time to share my favorite with all of of you!  I'm loving the start of spring and the slightly warmer temperatures... this week I'm also loving a few other things.  Feel free to share your favorites with me in the comments below!


Life In Leggings


Beauty - Bath & Body Works 


  • I'm addicted to these beachy scents from Bath & Body works. I picked up the body cream during the summer sale last year and loved it. It seriously smells just like the beach. I ran to the nearest store to pick up the rest of the set when I leared they were out again this year!

Food - Fruit Salads 

  • Fruit + salad = awesome. I've been making a salad at our work salad bar and then topping it with my favorite salad ingredients at lunchtime. I love eating a rainbow and this is the perfect way. Strawberries, blackberries, mandarin oranges, cheddar, eggs and pecans are my fave toppers. 

Finds - Headspace and La Croix 

  • Headspace. This app is perfect when you need a little more relaxation in your life. It takes you through guided meditations and once you've completed the initial series - which is free - you have the option of purchasing other sets!
  • La Croix in bottles?!?!? I'm a La Croix addict and when my husband texted me this picture from a work conference, I about fell out of my chair. Where can I find these? I need them. 

Fashion - Skirt Season 

  • Springtime means summer skirts and I'm obsessed with the Sloan pencil skirt from Banana Republic. It's the perfect length for work and I love the thick fabric. 

Fun - Trendy Tanks

  • This Mean Girls t-shirt at Target. I can't even. I need it in my life. You go Glen Coco.

What are you loving this Friday? 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Eggs Were Made for Dipping

There's nothing I love more than a simple recipe that packs a big presentation. The star of this show is eggs. So simple, so delicious and also the best source of biological protein that you could ask for. Scrambled eggs were my jam as a little girl and my mom made some of the best ones.  

Flash forward a lot of years. In college, my friend Katie referred to over easy eggs as "dippy eggs" and I realized I had never tried one. I did and I never looked back. "Dippy eggs" have become my favorite. They're perfect for breakfast sandwiches when you can use part of an english muffin to soak up the flavor. Egg yolks are full of the fat-soluble vitamins - A, D, E and K - and also are a good source of choline. Embrace the yolk and enjoy this sandwich.

If my kitchen walls could talk:  Out of english muffins? Try this sandwich with bagels, bread or even gluten-free toaster waffles (trust me, it's legit)



"Dippy" Breakfast Sandwich 

Ingredients

1 brown rice english muffin
1 tsp olive oil
1 egg
1 slice gouda cheese

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Split english muffin in half and toast until lightly browned ~5 minutes.
2. In a small skillet, add olive oil over medium heat. Add egg. After white has set, flip until cooked to desired preference.
3. Layer gouda and egg between english muffin.


What's your favorite breakfast? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pizza Hut - A Gluten Free Review

Pizza can be described in a variety of ways. It's hard to find bad pizza, but it's even harder to find the holy grail of pizza... especially when you're gluten free. I remember when I became gluten free 4 years ago, only one pizzeria near me served gluten free pizza.  Plus, it was overpriced and terrible. As the gluten free market has expanded, pizzerias have jumped on the gluten free train.

I heard that Pizza Hut had recently unveiled a new gluten free pizza in their stores and I was eager to try it. Growing up, Pizza Hut was my all-time favorite!!  There was the Book It program for reading, our weekly family Friday night pizza party complete with TGIF, volunteering with my friends at the museum center and eating pan pizza in the lobby.



My general consensus with pizza is that it what really separates brands isn't always the crust, but the cheese and the toppings. Of the two "mainstream" pizza brands I've tried - Larosas and Donatos - the gluten-free pizza tastes pretty spot on to the original. I suspected that Pizza Hut would follow suit.. I placed the order and we patiently waited for our pizzas to arrive...


I loved that they use a standout box to separate the pizza. I've had issues with other restaurants accidentally sending a non-gluten free pizza and totally forgetting to look for the small gluten free sticker on the box. I knew the Udi's crust would be a hit - Donato's also uses an Udi's made crust - plus, let's be honest, it's the same crust I buy at the grocery store.  


I ordered my usual topping, black olives. The cheese tasted exactly like I remembered it. It was rich and buttery. The sauce was mild and didn't overpower the flavors, but complemented them.  The black olives were the perfect touch. This was definitely reminiscent of the pizza of my childhood!

It wasn't perfect though. My biggest complaint was that the crust was burnt around the edges. I also disliked that the pizza was on the retail sized Udi's crust. I didn't expect the gluten-free pizza to be the same size as a large pizza, but for almost $15, I was expecting it to be a little larger.

Overall, I rate it a solid B! I would definitely order it again and if the crust wasn't burnt, it would have moved up into the B+ category.  


Have you tried Pizza Hut's gluten-free pizza? What were your thoughts? 


Disclaimer: This was not a sponsored review

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Triple Chocolate Heaven

Do you dream of chocolate desserts?  I'll be the first to admit that I have a sweet tooth around anything containing the word chocolate. Chocolate chips. Chocolate cupcakes. Chocolate cheesecake.  I'm not sure that I ever invested the time in making a "real" cheesecake.  Cheesecake seemed labor intensive and let's be honest...a little hard.


Never one to back away from a challenge in the kitchen, I decided to go big or go home. If I was going to try my hand at making a cheesecake, it needed to be full of chocolate from the bottom to the top.  I decided to roll with a gluten free chocolate cream cookie crust, top it with a dark chocolate cheesecake filling brimming with chocolate chips and it obviously needed chocolate ganache.  This cheesecake is decadent and while it's perfect for impressing a crowd, it's also perfect for binge watching House of Cards in your pajamas.


If my kitchen walls could talk: Feeling extra decadent? Sprinkle chocolate ribbons on top of the ganache after it sets.  In a time crunch? Leave off the chocolate ganache and drizzle each slice with hot fudge and mini chocolate chips. This cheesecake is a little labor intensive, so plan accordingly.



Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients - Cheesecake

1 package chocolate gluten-free sandwich cookies
2 tbsp butter
24 oz cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1/2 tbsp vanilla
6 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Ingredients - Chocolate Ganache 

3/4 cup almond milk
1/2 tbsp butter
12 ounces chocolate chips

1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Crush cookies in small food processor, melt butter in the microwave, combine with cookies. Press into bottom of a 9 inch springform pan until uniform. Bake for 8 minutes. Set aside.
2. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Break chocolate into pieces and set in a small bowl,  microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each set, until melted. Add to cream cheese mixture, beat to combine.
3. Add each egg, 1 at a time, beating until fully incorporated. Fold chocolate chips into batter with a spatula. Bake for 45-50 minutes until center is set - the majority of the cheesecake should be solid, but the middle may jiggle slightly.  Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
4. Heat almond milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate chips, stirring until smooth.
5. Pour ganache over cheesecake. Refrigerate until set.

What's your favorite cheesecake?

Monday, March 23, 2015

3/23 Meals for the Week

Hi friends!  Happy Monday. How's the week treating you so far? I can hardly believe another week is already starting.  We had a full weekend that included plenty of downtime and fun time - some highlights - buying a new couch! watching the UC vs. UK game, even more March Madness, chocolate gelato, grocery shopping on a Saturday night and running at the park. It was perfect.


I'm packing lunches for the week but wanted to pop in to share the meals for this week. A new tip that I have to share is to grill extra chicken on Sunday and use it for lunches/salads/dinner etc. throughout the week. Here is the tentative agenda and feel free to share yours in the comments. I'm always looking for new ideas.

Sunday: Agave Lime Grilled Chicken, Oh She Glows Tomato Soup w/Chickpea Croutons, asparagus
Monday: Leftovers - hummus sandwiches, brussels sprouts & tomato soup (see above)
Tuesday: Family dinner
Wednesday: Breakfast sandwiches, fruit
Thursday: Lightened Up Macaroni & Cheese 
Friday: TBA - maybe out!

What's on your plan for the week? 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Curl up with a Blanket

I just love comforting foods when the weather drops. Spring is on the way and will be here before we know it, so I am taking these last few weeks of winter to make some of my favorite comfort foods. I spotted black beans on sale in my weekly grocery ad and knew that I needed to make enchiladas.

I always used to stick to basic cheese enchiladas, but tonight I wanted to go out on a limb and combine peppers, onions and black beans.  These enchiladas are by no means basic, but if you're looking for a basic cheese enchilada, this recipe never disappoints.  I sauteed the veggies until soft and combined them with black beans for the perfect protein punch.

This recipe though was simply divine. I also played around with a homemade enchilada sauce that needs a little tweaking, but these enchiladas were over the top and perfect for a night of watching The Bachelor.  They may not be the most beautiful looking enchiladas in all of the galaxy, but I promise the taste won't disappoint.



If my kitchen walls could talk: Use your favorite jar of enchilada sauce or if you are feeling particularly fancy, feel free to use homemade.  Keep in mind that depending on the spices used, homemade sauce will take on different colors, such as the dark brown color shown above. If you like your enchiladas less spicy, turn down the heat by omitting the poblano pepper. Want to roll with more spice? Swap out the poblano for a few jalapenos. Don't like corn tortillas? If you aren't gluten free, swap them out for flour.

Black Bean and Vegetable Enchiladas

Ingredients

1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 green pepper diced
3 cups red enchilada sauce
30 oz black beans, canned and rinsed
2 cups cheddar/monterey jack cheese
12-14 corn tortillas

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Spray a rectangular casserole dish with non-stick spray or lightly grease with grapeseed oil. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion, poblano and green pepper to pan. Saute 7-10 minutes until soft. Turn heat to low. Add 3 tbsp of enchillada sauce to vegetable mix, stir to combine.
3. Combine black beans and 1 cup cheese in large food processor until blended. Set aside in a medium bowl. Add vegetable mix to black beans, stirring to combine.
4. Wrap stack of tortillas in wet paper towels, heat in the microwave ~2 minutes until softened. Add 3 tsbp of bean vegetable mixture to one side of tortilla, gently roll and place seam side down baking dish. Repeat until all tortillas are used.
5. Pour enchilada sauce over rolled tortillas. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes until top is lightly browned.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cake for Breakfast

Happy National Pancake Day!  Unfortunately, I did not celebrate this morning because pancakes are my weekend tradition for Sunday. It's the last day of the weekend and brings a new start to the week. I always use the day to tie up the loose ends of weekend and get ready for the new week ahead.  I meal plan, pick up all of our groceries and finish that never ending pile of laundry. Before all of that can begin though, I have my Sunday tradition. 


My perfect Sunday morning involves a steaming cup of almond milk coffee and a side of pancakes. Can you believe there was a time when I couldn't cook pancakes without burning them? My roommates of years past could tell you many stories, of that I'm sure.  The secret that I've discovered is to cook the pancakes over low heat to minimize potential burning.


I've made a wide variety of pancakes over the years. There was my go-to that I tweaked to serve one with minimal ingredients; I am pretty sure those pancakes were the main reason that I made it through graduate school.  There were the slightly fancier red velvet protein pancakes which combined a few gluten-free flours with protein powder. Aside from that, there have been a few other varieties that have found themselves in my kitchen over the years. These take the (pan) cake.

                           

If my kitchen walls could talk: Don't have oat flour on hand? Add oats to a small food processor and blend until you have flour.  Feel free to use your choice of milk, I used 1% but almond milk would also work well. Flaxseed replaces the eggs in this recipe, the hot water helps the flax to form a gel, replacing the binding capability of the eggs.


Oatmeal Almond Chocolate Chip Pancakes



Ingredients

2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 4 tbsp hot water
3/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp mini chocolate chips

1. Combine flaxseed and hot water in a small dish, set aside.
2. Add oat flour, almond flour, sugar and baking soda to a medium-sized bowl, stir to combine. Add wet ingredients - vanilla, milk and and flaxseed to flour mixture, stirring to combine.
5. Add chocolate chips.  Let mixture sit ~5-7 minutes as it will thicken.
6. Heat a small pan to medium low.  Spray with non-stick spray.  Add batter in increments of 2 tbsp, depending on whether you want small or large pancakes.  Flip when bottom is set - bubbles will not begin to form like with traditional pancakes.  Serve with your toppings of choice.