Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Eating Healthy with Spry!

As any of my readers know, I love recipes. I'm always on the hunt for my next favorite dish, whether it be gluten free, raw, vegan, etc. I was recently introduced to SpryLiving.com and I wanted to share it with you. It is the online community that goes hand-in-hand with a newspaper distributed magazine.

When you first visit SpryLiving.com, you are greeted with a user-friendly page. The colors are calm, and I love the background image of clouds. The font is clear and easy to read. It is a picture heavy site, so it takes a little longer to load on slower connections, but I did not find it bothersome. I am usually not a fan of the dropdown menus like this because they tend to switch to different tabs on accident. This one, however, did not. I am impressed with the programmer(s) behind this interface :)

I particularly like the healthy eating section, obviously. They have dozens of articles for a wide range of people, from help navigating college cafeterias to recipes that help fight cancer. I couldn't help but read this article - Great Gluten-Free Sweets. The two recipes I am most excited to try are for GF Banana Bread and Carrot Cake. Yummy :) I'm also going to find some veggie recipes I can use with produce I get from the farmer's market this weekend!

SpryLiving.com has a weekly eNewsletter you can sign up for, as well as connections to all the major social networks. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Impromptu Dinner Party!

Last Friday I decided to call up Talon and invite her, as well as Ooka and Starr, over for dinner. I was in the mood to cook, so I needed people to share it with. I apologize in advance for my poor food photography skills. I really need to work on that. Any recommendations how to take better food pics?


The Menu:
- Italian Mozzarella Meatballs
- Parmesan Pesto Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Garlic Mushrooms and Asparagus
- Beefy Quinoa
- Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Pineapple

Italian Mozzarella Meatballs
Ingredients
12 tbsp gluten free italian breadcrumb mix
2 lbs grass-fed, organic ground beef
1.5 cup ketchup
1 large free-range egg
1 cup shredded italian blend or mozzarella cheese

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together. Using an ice-cream scoop, form the meat into balls and place on a large edged cookie sheet. Bake for 15 - 25 minutes, depending on the size.

Beefy Quinoa
My mom bought me a rice cooker last month, and I have fallen in love. Never again will I cook grains/seeds on the stove. But if you don't have a rice cooker, that's ok. Put 1 part quinoa into 2 parts beef broth in a large saucepan. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through - see picture for example. It's difficult to describe.

Parmesan Pesto Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Ingredients
1-2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tbsp EVOO
4 tbsp Parmesan Pesto Sprinkle from Savory Spice Shop
Optional: Parmesan cheese to taste

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 350. Toss brussels sprouts in olive oil and parmesan pesto seasoning and put mix into a baking dish. Roast for 15-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until brussels sprouts start to get crispy on the outside. Remove from oven and serve with optional extra parmesan cheese!

Garlic Mushrooms and Asparagus
Ingredients
1-2 pounds asparagus, washed and trimmed
1/2 pound cremeni mushrooms, washed and sliced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp EVOO

Directions
Saute garlic in large skillet on medium heat with EVOO. Add sliced mushrooms and saute until soft. Add asparagus and beef broth. Cover, reduce to medium heat and steam for 10-15 minutes, or until aspargus is cooked to your liking. (I like them just a little crunchy)



Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Pineapple
I melt my chocolate in the microwave. It's really easy to do, the trick is to do it slowly. Usually I fill a coffee cup halfway with dark chocolate chips, microwave for 40 seconds, stir. If it's not completely melted, add another 10-20 seconds in the microwave, then stir again. Keep doing this until chocolate is melted.

I chopped a pineapple into bite size chunks, sliced the tops off the strawberries, and arranged on a large pan.I spooned the melted chocolate into a sandwich bag, snipped off a small corner, ans piped the chocolate over the fruit. This is easier than dipping - especially with the pineapple. It is wet, so the chocolate doesn't stick very well. When piped, it does.

Everyone loved dinner that night, and of course dessert was the biggest hit.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Japanese Gardens and a Camera Phone

Hubs took me to the Farmer's Market last week. It was all part of a bribe - if he took me to the farmer's market, we could go out for breakfast and go to a new store he'd been wanting to check out. Latte Da Dairy, my fave goat cheese dairy, was having a sale at the market that day, and I was willing to do anything to go. After stopping at Waffle House, we headed to the farmer's market. I picked up kalamata olive feta and mango tango chevre from Latte Da Dairy, beautiful purple eggplants, a bushel of black-eyed peas (in the shell!) and spicy pork tamales. We then realize that we have an hour to kill before his store opens, so we decide to head over to the Japanese Garden at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. I have had a year membership to since April and just now used it. As we are parking, I realize I don't have my camera, and I'm ticked. But I decide to make the best of it and use Hubs' phone. It actually takes decent pictures.

Hubs, rocking his "I Wear Teal For My Wife" PCOS Awareness shirt, feeds fish on the stepping stones

I love having photos of the two of us to remember trips :)
We also went to a garage sale where I picked up a new yoga DVD which I LOVE - Sara Ivanhoe's Yoga 20-min Makeover - Flat AbsHubs got to go to his store, too. The funny part of this whole story - I had my camera the whole time. It was under my seat in the car, where I had hid it earlier in the week.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gluten Free Eggplant and Tomato Pizza

Gluten Free Eggplant and Tomato Pizza
Ingredients
4 small or 1 large eggplant
8 large Roma tomatoes
4 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp basil
1 small can tomato paste
salt to taste
1/2 batch Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Dough
1 cup Italian blend or mozzarella cheese
Optional - add roasted peppers to taste

Directions
Cut 'X' in each tomato and drop in boiling water for one minute. Remove from water and transfer to bowl of ice water. Allow to cool. While the tomatoes are cooling, slice the eggplant into small, bite-size strips. Saute garlic in olive oil in skillet, then add eggplants, sauteing till brown. Peel skin off tomatoes and dice. Add tomatoes, basil, salt and tomato sauce to eggplant mixture, (add roasted peppers if desired) mix and simmer for 20 minutes. Mix should be thick but pourable, like spaghetti sauce. Pre-bake the GF Pizza Dough according to package instructions. Remove eggplant and tomato mixture from stove and spread onto pizza dough. Top with cheese and bake the crust again according to package instructions. Enjoy!

Sadly I do not have pictures :( Nonetheless, it did get rave reviews from my mom, my hubby, and our friends, Ooka and Talon!

Labor Day Picnic at the Park

Finally! The weather is cooling down and we can go walking again! Labor Day was the first awesome day, so we picked up BBQ, had a picnic at the park, then walked around the pond. I'm glad I had my camera, because you have to see how bad this Texas drought is with your own eyes. Thankfully, though, it poured last night. It's not nearly enough to pull us out of the drought, but it's a start.

10 feet off the shore, the geese are standing in the water, not swimming.

This is the waterline on the opposite end of the pond.

We aren't allowed to swim in the pond, but we can stand in it!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What's Your Song? Thursday - Sept 1, 2011

There are two big things going on this week for our little family. We have grown larger by one more featherbaby, Mona. She is an adorable little parakeet with the most unusual watercolor markings. The picture I posted really doesn't do her justice, but it's the best one I could get.




It's also September, which means PCOS Awareness Month! I made a couple of profile pics for Facebook, and welcome anyone to use them! If you would like a custom ribbon text, I can do that for 50 cents. 25 cents will be donated to inCyst Research Institute in CA. Just email me at wallacedesigns (at) gmail (dot) com with your paypal email and your choice of text up to 14 characters (including spaces), and I'll send you a paypal invoice for 50 cents. As soon as I receive payment, I'll send the picture!



Oh yeah, isn't it time for a song? Well... how about some beautiful Nat King Cole? Here's Mona Lisa



Want to join us and share your song? Head to Amber's beautifully newly updated blog, Goodnight Moon and link up! And enter her awesome giveaway while you're at it!