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Homemade Fries

10 Jun

Baked, not fried, baby. The healthy journey continues here in our household. The other night we had delicious chipotle turkey burgers and I couldn’t enjoy it without fries. So, I made some. No oil needed.

I used:

2 giant russet potatoes, skin on and cut into 1/4-inch sticks

Canola oil spray (or nonstick spray)

Salt-free seasoning of your choice – I used McCormick’s Garlic & Herb Seasoning, which I can’t get enough of

Bowl of ice water

Here we go:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Cut your potatoes into whatever shape you’d like, but be sure to submerge them in ice cold water to keep them from oxidizing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA3. When you are ready to bake them, lay them out on paper towels to dry them off. I actually rolled the towels up around them to squish any excess water off.

4. Spread them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spray with oil, and season.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5. Bake for roughly 30 minutes, or until crisped and golden. Feel free to sample a few along the way to make sure they are done.

6. Pull them out and serve with your favorite meal or dipping sauce! We enjoyed them with our burgers and chipotle mayo.

turkey burger and homemade fries 6 5 13

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Happy New Year!

4 Jan

It is hard to believe we are already a few days into the new year. It seems as thought I cannot wait for the holidays to arrive, and once they do they go by much too quickly.

Surprise! It is 2013!

I’ve been hearing a lot of people commenting on how 13 is their lucky number, so this year is bound to be a good one. I have to agree. Thirteen has always been a significant number (my new house was my 13th move, and so on). I’m hoping for good things this year.

For years I simply hoped for good things to happen. This year is different, though. Over the past few years – which have been full of learning experiences – I’ve realized just how much power we have over our own happiness. I feel like I have always been aware of that simple fact, but in recent years it has become too important to ignore.

That being said, here are a few of my resolutions:

Be happy. Or rather, remember to stay happy since I am in charge of my happiness meter.

Stay grateful.

Nail a great paid internship.

Teach a few dance classes.

Take a few dance classes.

Cook more.

Try my hand at a cookbook.

Try more new things – food, experiences, clothes, routines, whatever.

Ride my bike.

Stop worrying. About everything.

Love more freely.

I encourage all of you to come up with realistic and meaningful goals for yourselves, too.

Cheers to the new year!

Thank you!

22 Nov

On this Thanksgiving Thursday, 2012, I would like to thank all of my friends, blog followers, readers, twitter followers, and family who have supported me in starting (and continuing) my blogging adventure. It has been a slow start, but I hope to truly become a gluten free resource and couldn’t do it without all of your support.

This year has been a wild one, and I have all kinds of things to be grateful for. Reflecting upon this past year since last Thanksgiving, let’s recap:

November 2011 – Applied to grad schools, smoked our first turkey on the tiny stoop of our apartment, fully realized we found our first home and panicked about our qualifications and paperwork

December 2011 – Spent most of it wondering if we’d be moving and if I had gotten accepted to graduate school … And had many a moment when I was grateful that I was even fortunate enough to be looking into buying a home or into grad school … Was also grateful for my dad making it a year since his triple bypass and hospital stay in Dec 2010!

January 2012 – Home purchase approved! Waited and waited for move-in date, spent most of the month doing home inspections, wondered about grad school

February 2012 – Moved in to our very first home! It was a really surreal experience.

March/April 2012 – Was accepted to all graduate programs I applied to!

May 2012 – Graduated with my BA in Psychology, began summer-long Operation Make-My-House-A-Home mission, got a job as a nanny for a wonderful family

August 2012 – Started my grad program

September/October 2012 – Whirled around trying to stay sane

November 2012 – Am in disbelief at how my life has been going, am grateful to have such a wonderful husband, warm home, great friends, and an exciting future

Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way, and to those of you who will support and help me in the future. I am so grateful!

Creepy Crafting

8 Sep

Happy weekend!

This post isn’t a recipe, but it is for the kitchen! Only a handful of people knew (you’ll know now) that I have a secret crafting passion. As much as I enjoy cooking and baking, I also love to try new crafts and projects. The problem is, though, that crafts generally take me a lot longer to do than cooking a meal does. So, most of the posts are obviously about food.

Well here is my humble craft attempt. My mother-in-law made me some awesome kitchen towels as a gift and I can’t live without them. She took a plain old kitchen towel, added some crocheting, sewed on a button, and boom – two delightful kitchen towels were born!

Since Halloween is coming up, and it is my very favorite holiday, I decided to try my hand at some Halloween kitchen towels. I know some crochet basics and know how to sew on a button, so I gave it a shot.

Okay, so it isn’t the most flattering pic of it, but hey. You get the point. I don’t think the entire project cost me more than a few bucks, and didn’t take nearly as long as I’d thought it might.

I started with a kitchen towel from the Dollar Tree (where yes, it was a dollar). I laid it out on my cutting mat, and did my best to straighten it out (I was too lazy to wash or iron it, folks).

Then I cut it in half. I really didn’t measure anything for this. I just eyeballed where the center might be, adjusted for some bats, and sliced away.

From here you could hem the top where you cut, but I left it as a raw edge. I was simply trying to get to the crochet part to see if I could do it, but the next one I make I will most likely hem the edges just so they look a little more finished.

Next, fold the raw edge over a bit, and make little cuts along the edge for the initial crochet loops. I used a scissors and just snip, snip, snipped.

Now, for the crocheting: it isn’t difficult at all, but I’m horrible at explaining it since I’m not quite proficient in the crocheting vocabulary. Across the top, using the cut slits, I did – what I understand to be, anyway – a slip stitch. Or, it might be some sort of single chain. Next time I will do a video tutorial, for sure. If anyone out there can label what I did, I’d love to know what it is called!

From there I double chained across the length of the first stitches, and when I came to the end I did two slip stitches to prepare for the following row.

I did a row of single chains, another row of double chains, another row of single chains, and the rest double chains. Here is the trick: shorten the width of the row with each row you add, so that it tapers off. I really wish I had taken better notes while I did this so I could tell you exactly what I did for each row, but this was an experiment, people. I can tell you I ended with a width of four double chains across.

When the crocheting is complete, tie it off, and find a button you like. I found a pack of simple black and white buttons at Walmart for about $1.29 I think. I used a black button, since I liked the contrast, and sewed it to the BACK side of the tapered crocheted end. What do I mean the back?

If you have the towel laying flat with the colored side up, flip it over. That is the side you’ll sew your button on to. The idea is that you’ll fold the crocheted part back onto itself to button around an oven bar or some other bar or handle in your kitchen.

When you’ve sewn the button on, can fold it over and button, you can then hang it up where you please! I hope to have more detailed instructions the next time I do a crocheted project, and I’m open (and looking for) any crocheting advice or insight I can get!

Homemade Play Dough!

30 Jul

I am so excited about this! For years I have been a nanny while I got through school, and I’ve only had to worry about the horror of play dough (or gluten dough) in the last few years. I’ve managed to avoid it, but I can avoid it no longer! The little kiddies I care for now are ALL about the stuff. They have the tiny tubs and all the cool rollers, cutters, and squishers (yes, that is the technical term) you can imagine. When I saw the little tubs on the kitchen counter I initially thought nothing of it. However, it wasn’t too long before the little ones were asking to play with it and I had to figure out a way to tell them “no” in terms they understood. Luckily for me I had an opportunity to explain that I don’t eat crackers because they “hurt my tummy” and when they asked why I explained “they’re made of yummy gluten and gluten hurts my tummy” and that was that. “Play dough is made of gluten and it hurts my tummy if I play with it” sounds ridiculous, but luckily saved me from a horrifying bathroom camp out.

I was mortified to tell the parents I work for that I couldn’t play with the beloved dough with their little ones, but they understood completely. Getting the message across to the fullest extent is not as easy as it sounds, though. Knowing they had played with the play dough on the carpet we play on made me nervous. Seeing play dough bits under my nails after story time made me nervous. I am always cautious and make sure to wash my hands before I eat anything, and have gotten it under control so far, so hey. Not too bad.

After a few days of avoiding the play dough train, I began to spin my wheels about how to get on board. Wear gloves? Only play with it outside? Try to wash everyone’s hands within a millisecond of putting it away? No. Ridiculous. Make my own to bring and surprise the kids? Yes.

My mom made my sister and me play dough from scratch when we were little on more than one occasion and I can remember it being a magical process that transformed salty liquid that reminded me of glue into a smooth, pliable dough in a matter of minutes. I, too, have conquered the play dough process, and have managed to do so free of gluten. I can’t wait to share this with my kiddies!

GF Play Dough:

1/2 c each: white rice flour, cornstarch, salt

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 c water

1 tsp oil

Food coloring of your choice – I used McCormick’s Neon food coloring

In a saucepan combine all of the ingredients except the food coloring and stir to combine. Note: I used a wooden spoon throughout the process and it worked well for me.

The mixture will begin as a fluid glue-like substance. Don’t panic. I promise it firms up and becomes the elusive dough of glutenous childhood.

 

Stir every few seconds, and be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. That is where it will begin to firm up first. Keep stirring, and scraping, and eventually the mixture will firm up into a dough-like substance, much like that of a glutenous choux pastry dough.

Once you have incorporated all of the mixture into the dough, turn out onto a smooth surface to knead. The kneading smooths it, thoroughly incorporates it, and gets it ready for coloring.

Once my dough was as smooth as I could get it, I divided it into four (4) parts so that I could use all four (4) of the food colors that came in the box. You could divide it into as many or as few pieces as you’d like. You can be as creative as you want from this point on!

To add color to the dough take a single piece, flatten it out, and add two (2) or three (3) drops of desired food color. Fold the dough on itself a few times and knead through. Eventually I just squished the dough between my hands and played with it until the color was even throughout. I did this for each piece of dough I had, and I couldn’t be happier with the results!


Cool Crafts

9 Jan

Coming soon! Check back for the coolest crafts around.