Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tortilla Soup

It was 103 degrees in Lubbock yesterday. The heat, however, didn't slow me down, and I made soup for dinner! Soup is generally a fall/winter meal, but I just love it too much to not make it in the summer.

Before I moved into an apartment, my Nana wrote off a ton of recipes and made me a cookbook. It has everything from soup and salad, to desserts and casseroles. (My personal favorite recipe in the cookbook is Texas Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Cream frosting. Nana has managed to create a gluten-free version. Yuuuuum. Ok, moving on.)

Reagan had a meeting last night, so I pulled out Nana's cookbook and made this tortilla soup before he left. It only takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to simmer. Delicious!

Saute corn tortillas, cut into strips, with an onion and cilantro in oil.

Add your other ingredients,

simmer for 30 minutes,

and feed your hungry husband.

Nana's Tortilla Soup
serves 6

8 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons cilantro
3 Tablespoons oil (of your choice)
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
2 qt. chicken broth
1 can diced tomoatoes
1 can Rotel
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Saute the tortillas, onion, garlic and cilantro in oil. Add other ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with grated cheese, avocado slices, lime slices, and crisp fried tortilla strips!
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's for Dinner?

Thanks to my mother in-law, we have a new grill! She had been saying for a while we needed to pick one out for a wedding gift, and we finally did it last week. After assembling the grill for 3 hours... we were finally ready to put it to use.

He was excited, can't you tell?

I'm planning on using the grill for dinner every night, because that means Reagan cooks! :)

I planned all of our meals this week around the grill. Which leads me to my next point...

The first question I always get asked when people find out that I am now on a gluten and lactose free diet is, "Oh my gosh! What does your husband eat?? Do you cook two dinners every night?? That must be so hard!"

No, Reagan doesn't starve.  No, I don't cook two dinners every night. Yes, it can be challenging. Thankfully, Reagan is not picky at all, and tries anything I cook. (Black bean brownies included!)  He also understands that happy (not sick from gluten) wife = happy life. But, really.

What it basically comes down to is meal planning. I have to research, read, and plan for our meals each week.  All of this takes some time, especially if I have to find ingredient substitutes for recipes. We eat at home 90% of the time, since finding gluten free options at a restaurant can be difficult. We also have a Sprouts here in Lubbock where I can find lots of gluten free goodness. 

So, what do we eat for dinner? Protein, vegetables, and some type of GF starch (quinoa, brown rice, corn tortillas, etc.) Reagan still eats regular bread/rolls, cheese, and milk. He still has pizza every Sunday night, and I just eat something different or make myself a GF pizza.  Basically, we eat a lot less processed food than normal.

We have some good meals planned for this week, so I thought I'd share.

Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Mozzarella and Pesto
serves 4
Adapted from Eat, Live, Run

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 large ball fresh mozzarella, cut into four slices (I used regular slices)
Pesto (homemade or store bought)

1. Place chicken and one cup balsamic vinegar in a large plastic bag. Seal bag tightly and place in fridge to marinate for one hour.  (Don't marinate overnight or for a long period of time, the acid in the vinegar may break down the chicken breast, forming a mushy texture.)

2. Place the other cup of balsamic vinegar in a small pot on the stove and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering for about 15 minutes, until vinegar has reduced and is thick like syrup.  Take off stove and let cool while you cook the chicken breasts.

3. After the chicken has finished marinating, preheat the grill (or a grill pan). Grill chicken breasts until cooked through, about 8 minutes per side. Put one slice of cheese on each chicken breast and leave on grill until it melts.  Remove chicken and place on a plate. 

4. Top each chicken breast with a dollop of pesto and drizzle balsamic reduction over top.

*This fits into my restrictions except the cheese. I just leave it off!

Spicy Crockpot Sweet Potatoes
serves 6
Adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

3 lbs. sweet potatoes (3 or 4 large)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Non-stick spray for crockpot
Salt & pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons ground coriander
1 Tablespoon ground fennel (this is a powerful spice, so I use a little less)
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 Tablespoon cayenne pepper (use more or less, depending on how spicy you want your potatoes)

1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes.  Put sweet potatoes in a large plastic bag, add 2 T olive oil and spices.  Seal bag and distribute oil and spices until the potatoes are coated.

2. Spray inside of crockpot with non-stick spray. Put sweet potatoes in crockpot and cook on high for 3 hours. Stir occaisonally to prevent burning on the bottom.

3. Mash slightly if desired, and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

*Sweet potatoes can be cut and mixed with oil and spices earlier in the day. Cooked sweet potatoes can be kept in the crockpot on low or keep warm for a few hours if needed.

These recipes are proof that gluten free doesn't have to be terrible. I would make both of these regardless of being on a gluten free diet!

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gramps and Grummy

Please meet Gramps and Grummy.  They are my great-grandparents. For those of you who know my family, Gramps and Grummy were Nana's parents.

Over Easter, my family got to talking about Gramps and Grummy, so I thought I share some of their story!

Having lived well into their nineties, I can only imagine all the things they saw in their lifetime.  Wars, the invention of tv and internet, the Great Depression, their great-grandchildren - just to name a few.   Gramps and Grummy passed away several years ago at 98 and 96 years old, respectively.

We learned later in their life that they were kind of rebels when they were young. Gramps drove a motocycle and had a huge clown tatoo on his arm. Grummy wore a short flapper dress on her wedding day. 

Gramps and Grummy were married 78 years. 78 years. (Think abot that for a second!) They tied the knot at the ripe old ages of 20 and 17.  Before they passed away, they made it clear they wanted their headstone to say how long they were married.  Growing up, I didn't really understand what an accomplishment it was to be married for 78 years.  Most people don't live that long, let alone have a marriage that spans almost eight decades.

Being a newlywed, I have a whole new appreciation for them. I think about everything that has happened in the three years Reagan and I have been together, and I wonder what kind of stories we'll have after a lifetime.

So, this post is dedicated to all the couples who have seen many decades of life together; and especially to Gramps Grammy. Lovers of their families, the Texas Rangers, the Lord, and each other.

Happy Monday! Pin It

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Try Something New

Reagan was in Chicago this past week and weekend, so that means I tried out some new recipes.  Kind of like the soup I made last time he went out of town, these weren't exactly man-friendly recipes.

First up, we have Black Bean Quinoa Burgers from Clean Eating Chelsey.  The burgers were actually a lot more involved than I anticipated, but I have to say they turned out great. 

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers (makes 6-7 large burgers)
from Clean Eating Chelsey
  • 3 cups (or 2-15 oz cans) of prepared black beansMarch 21, 2012 002
  • 2/3 cup quinoa, dry
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 white onion
  • 3 baby carrots (I think about the equivalent of 1/2 of a regular carrot?)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • sprinkle of sea salt
  1. In a small saucepan, bring 2/3 cup quinoa, 2/3 cup water, and 2/3 cup vegetable broth to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and cover for 15-20 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and let the quinoa cool 5-10 minutes
  2. Place quinoa and remaining ingredients in a food processor. Pulse the food processor until the ingredients are combined, but not smooth or pureed. The burger should hold together nicely in your hands if you want to check to see if your consistency is okay.
  3. Using your hands, shape 6-7 equal sized burgers. Heat a greased skillet to medium high heat and cook for 6-8 minutes on each side, flipping once.
**At this point, I put my burgers on the grill to “bake” the insides a little more so they would stay together a bit better. If you aren’t grilling, I would say to cook them in a 375 degree oven for 5-10 minutes to cook the centers of the burgers a bit more. It’s not 100% necessary, but my burgers did stay together a bit better!
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days or freeze leftovers. Enjoy!

My parents came to visit this weekend! (Number one reason why Lubbock is great!) Since I had houseguests, I cooked our favorite Maple Ginger Pork Chops. 

Maple Ginger Pork Chops
The recipe was not new to me, but it was new to my parents and grandma.

Last, but not least, my mom and I decided to try out a Glowing Green Smoothie.  I've read a lot about Kimberly Snyder and her eating philosophy.  Since I have so many eating restrictions now, I'm interested in what people eat that have similar restrictions or lifestyles. 
Glowing Green Smoothie
I sent Reagan the above picture and he asked if it was chimichurri sauce. I wish.

The verdict on the smoothie: not for me. It has celery in it, and I hate celery. I thought the other ingredients may camouflage the celery (umm.... 8 CUPS of spinach?!) but no such luck.

I immediately made brownies. Much better! Pin It

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Pinterest stresses me out. Is it just me, or does Pinterest make every girl/woman feel like they need to dress in an amazing outfit while crafting, cooking an amazing dinner, and decorating a nursery all at the same time??

I watch A LOT of TV... Lord help me when Reagan moves to Austin for the summer and I live alone. That leads me to my next point. I need a TV show to start watching from the beginning this summer. So far some suggestions have been Revenge, Gossip Girl, and One Tree Hill. Thoughts?

I went to a TRX class with my mom on Monday, and I. Still. Can't. Move. I guess there is nothing like a good butt kicking.

My newest blog obsessions are:

Modern Eve

elle bow room

Camille Styles

Forgiving Martha

You should definitely check them out. Lots of pretty pictures and happiness!

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