Tag Archives: urban wifery

Spiced Quinoa with Nectarines and Honey

10 Sep

Well, folks. I’m still kickin’ … Although I’m pretty sure my legs are getting tired. I’m now in my second year (that’s half way done) with my grad program, I’m in my internship almost full time, and have a full load of classes. Not only that, but my clients are people who are mandated to see me thanks to CPS, Drug Court, or any other recovery-related means. It is hard to keep up with my own pace sometimes. And yet, it is more rewarding than I had ever imagined.

Needless to say, I don’t have much time to post, much less cook. I do, however, once in a long while, find myself wishing I had something of comfort from my kitchen. This little dish made me quite happy. I forced myself to take a seat at the table with the sun shining and enjoy every last bite.

It’s good.

This time of year is always a little odd to me as far as seasons go, and seasonal eating. I want it so badly to be cold and overcast with leaves falling so that I can enjoy my pumpkin-everything appropriately. But, no. It is still in the 90s here … Still summer. So this dish is a mix of fall-flavored quinoa with toppings reminiscent of summer. Go figure.


Here we go:

1/2 c uncooked quinoa (I used truRoots organic quinoa, which I found at my local Costco)

1 c apple cider (I used Simply Apple)

1/2 tsp each: ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, ground clove (I use McCormick spices, always)

2 fresh nectarines of any variety, cubed

Fresh honey, to taste

Slivered almonds, optional

To throw it together:

Combine the quinoa, spices, and apple cider in a small pot on the stove. Cook the quinoa as directed, which usually means boil it for a few minutes and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Fluff with fork. (Check the packaging for direct instructions on how to cook it.) While it is cooking, cube the nectarines. Sounds weird, but if you can have easy access to shoveling the goodness into your mouth, then hey.

When the quinoa is fully cooked, top with nectarines, drizzle with honey (I used a ton), and sprinkle with slivered almonds if it strokes your fancy. This may not seem like much, but since quinoa is a complete protein it will leave you feelings full and satisfied.




Garlic-cilantro fries with sriracha aioli … Easier than you think!

17 Jan

It is no secret that I love Sriracha. It is a fiery sauce made from chilies and garlic and adds a wonder depth of flavor to just about everything. It may just rip your face off, but it is worth it. I love all things spicy or hot, actually. Another favorite is wasabi. I don’t really eat sushi, but I love kappa maki (cucumber sushi) because it is refreshing and is cooling against a giant glob of wasabi.

Moving on.

Aside from my love of all things hot, I also love cilantro. I know it is definitely not for everyone. I know quite a few people who don’t like it one bit. They say it tastes like dirt, like nothing, and so on. I think it is lovely. And I love it.

Other things I love: fries (doesn’t matter what they look like) and garlic.

Fries + garlic salt + cilantro + mayo + sriracha + more cilantro = Magic.



For this late night snack I used frozen fries (make sure they are gluten free), Kraft mayo with olive oil, sriracha, garlic salt (make sure it is gluten free), and a handful of fresh cilantro.

Bake (or fry) the fries according to the directions on the package.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl squirt/scoop a few tablespoons of mayo and about a teaspoon of sriracha. Add a pinch of cilantro and a few shakes of garlic salt if you’d like.

When the fries come out of the oven/oil, shake a little garlic salt on them as well (or whatever garlicky seasoning you like – we also love McCormick’s Perfect Pinch salt-free garlic & herb seasoning). Sprinkle with cilantro.

Enjoy the garlicky fries (yes, feel free to use fresh garlic, too) with the spicy, smooth mayo dipping sauce.

Easy, right? 🙂

Scones, anyone?

6 Jan

I have to admit that although these delicious morsels were meant to be scones, they actually have a consistency similar to a perfectly flaky biscuit. Either way, they are absolutely delicious. I think I may try cutting biscuits from this dough and make some gravy to go along with them. Mmm.


You’ll need:

1 c sorghum flour

1/2 c potato starch (not potato flour)

1/2 c white rice flour

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/4 tsp salt

6 Tbl butter, chilled and cubed

1.5 c heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients, and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add butter, and using a pastry cutter, fork, or fingers, cut in until it resembled rough gravel. I use my hands and squeeze or squish the butter between my fingers until I get the consistency I want. Add cream and mix to combine (again, I use my hands).

Knead until combined and smooth. Pat into a round about 1 inch thick.


Slice into six (6) wedges. Or, if you’d like to try biscuits, this is where I’d use a 2-3 inch round cutter.


Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden and aromatic.


I devoured mine topped with strawberry jam and a cup of tea. They are flaky, chewy, and have a wonderful texture. You will not be disappointed!


Pizza bread!

19 Dec

Monday night I found myself craving pizza, yet had no energy to throw one together. After a bout of stewing, brainstorming, and wandering around the kitchen aimlessly I had an idea.

Instead of making individual pizzas, which required multiple pieces of parchment, olive oil, and a big mess, I’d make a loaf of French bread and put the pizza inside of it! Oh, glory be. I wasn’t sure how I would do it, but I would.

After running the idea by the Hub (he agreed it would be magical), I sprang into action. The effort was well worth it.

Although this recipe uses my french bread recipe, I feel like it may have been tweaked a bit, so I’ll let you in on exactly what I did:

1 c milk + 1/2 c water

2 Tbl yeast

1.5 Tbl sugar

4 egg whites

4 Tbl olive oil

1.5 c tapioca flour (aka tapioca starch)

1 c white rice flour

2/3 c sorghum flour

2/3 c chickpea flour

2 tsp xanthan gum

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp each: dried basil, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flake (these are optional and you can add whatever you like)

1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

32 pieces of gluten free pepperoni

Tomato sauce for dipping (I used Prego’s Roasted Garlic & Herb)

Here we go:

First things first: preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a microwave-proof measuring cup combine milk and water. Heat for about a minute, or until about 110 degrees F. Add sugar, stir to dissolve, then add yeast. Stir and set aside to proof.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (outfitted with a paddle attachment) combine flours, gum, salt, and herbs. Give it a quick mix to combine flours.

Once the yeast mixture has proofed (gotten bubbly), add the egg whites and olive oil. Give it a quick stir to combine, and add to flour mixture.

Mix at medium speed for about 2-3 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and smooth.



Lay out a large piece of parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil. Spread out the dough to make a rectangle about 15 x 12 inches. You can make it smaller (thicker) if you’d like. Next time I think I may even use only one half of the dough at a time to make it a bit thinner and fill it with pesto as an appetizer.

Once the dough is spread out, sprinkle with 1/2 c cheese, and lay the pepperoni out evenly. Top with the remaining 1/2 c of cheese.



Next, take the edge of parchment closest to you (or the edge of the table) and lift to roll the dough into a log, much as if you were making cinnamon rolls.



Let rise for about 15 minutes on the stove top. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden.



Let cool for about 15 minutes before slicing. This is important because not only with the center of the loaf finish cooking, the cheese won’t run out when you slice it. However, I couldn’t help myself.



I sliced thick slices, and served it with tomato sauce, but I could imagine myself as a teenager ripping chunks off as I passed through the kitchen, so hey. Enjoy it any way you’d like. It’s not very pretty, but it is delicious, and is sure to kick any pizza craving in a pinch.


Florentine bark

16 Dec

I’ve missed my kitchen. I’ve missed it a lot.

Thankfully, I’m back. Finals are over, papers are turned it, I’ve worked my last full work week, and now I can breathe – and cook – again.

As I greeted my kitchen today I felt possessed to be festive and make my first batch of holiday cookies. However, I have been feeling pretty beat and tried to think of something that would be quick and easy. What possibly could I make?

Florentines. Or, florentine bark. Even better.

Florentines are thin, delightful cookies that are usually backed with chocolate and take no time to make. I did make a batch of these simple cookies, but then got an even better idea. Instead of doing individual cookies, which spread out while baking, I’d pour the whole batch onto a cookie sheet and break it into pieces. And, I’d add a secret ingredient.

The secret ingredient I used was anise extract. Random, I know. Why anise? Well, I love biscotti. I love the hint of anise that is complemented by almonds and chocolate. I didn’t know how it would turn out this time around, but it was perfect.

They turned out fabulously.



I originally found the almond florentine recipe in a Bon Appetit magazine, but have subbed out flours to make it gluten free.

Here we go:

1/4 c butter

1/4 c heavy cream

6 Tbl sugar

2 Tbl + 1 tsp sorghum flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Sorghum Flour)

1 1/4 c slivered almonds

1/2 tsp anise extract (my secret ingredient)

Chocolate of choice for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

In a saucepan combine butter, cream, sugar, flour, and extract. Heat until simmering.



Add the almonds, and simmer a few minutes more. It will be thick and smell delicious.



Pour the mixture onto the parchment and spread thinly (I used a butter knife to spread it out).



Bake it for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Again – I am not very good at keeping track of time, so forgive me.



Drizzle with melted chocolate of choice (I used semi-sweet) and let cool completely.



When it has cooled and set up, break it into pieces and enjoy!



Pumpkin Chai Muffins

24 Oct

Sunday mornings have always been when I feel like cooking most, I think. This last Sunday was the first day it really felt like Fall … Well, maybe it felt more like Winter. The sky was gray, it was chilly, and it was perfect for baking.

I love to bake, but sometimes I don’t like to spend all the time it takes to blend flours, find ingredients, etc. I’m normally very organized and efficient, but sometimes I’m also very hungry.

I looked in my pantry and found a box of Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cake Mix, Yogi Chai Black tea, a can of pumpkin, a bag of dried cranberries, and a tub of pitted dates. What could I make with all that? Pumpkin Chai muffins, of course!

These cute little muffins pack a lot of flavor. The cranberries are soaked in tea, so they burst in your mouth, and the dates add a richness that is just perfect. The pumpkin keeps these muffins moist, and Betty Crocker is just the bomb. I always keep Betty Crocker Gluten Free products on hand because they are the perfect go-to, never let me down, and although they are a bit more expensive than glutenous mixes, they are well worth the price.

Here we go:

1 box Betty Crocker GF Cake Mix (the yellow kind, not the chocolate)

3 eggs

1 stick of butter, softened

2/3 c hot water

1 bag Chai tea – I used Yogi Chai Black 

2 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 c pumpkin puree

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground clove

1/2 c dried cranberries

1/2 c chopped pitted dates

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Pull out your muffin tins – I ended up with 22 muffins, so I used two 12-cup tins. Line the cups with baking cups or butter the pans thoroughly.

In a measuring cup, measure out 2/3 c hot water. I did this right in my Pyrex 2-cup measuring cup. To the hot water, add the chai tea bag and the dried cranberries. Let them hang out for a bit.

In a mixing bowl combine eggs, butter, vanilla, pumpkin, and cake mix. Stir to combine a bit, then add the tea and cranberries (minus the tea bag, of course). Add the chopped dates and mix to combine. I used a fork for the mixing, but you can use whatever you like. If you use a hand mixer, leave the dates and cranberries out until you’ve thoroughly mixed the other ingredients.

Using a small ice cream scoop, or an 1/8-cup measuring cup (like I did), spoon the batter into your baking cups (or greased tins) about half way full.


Stick them in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. I cooled mine on a baking rack, then dove right in. I think I ate three right away. I just couldn’t help myself.



Penne Lasagna Bake

3 Oct

The other day I was browsing menus of local restaurants for new gluten free items and I came across an Italian place that had lasagna featured on their menu. No, it wasn’t gluten free, but it made me realize that I hadn’t eaten lasagna in nearly 3 years! Well, I had, but it wasn’t my mom’s. Despite it not coming from my mom’s oven, Amy’s Gluten Free Garden Vegetable Lasagna is absolutely delicious. I wish I could find it more readily near my house.

I then turned my attention to how I could make my own. I could make my own pasta and try it in lasagna, I bought DeBoles rice lasagna noodles but have yet to try them (but am excited to do so), but I just don’t seem to have the time these days. So, I improvised. What did I use instead? GF penne. It turned out just as cheesy, delicious, and flavorful as the lasagna I thought I’d missed. We enjoyed it with roasted broccoli with parmesan and it was a fine meal.

Here we go:

1 12 oz box Schar gf penne pasta

2 c ricotta cheese

2 c fresh spinach

8 oz (2 c) shredded mozzarella cheese, halved

1 24 oz jar Classico Florentine Spinach and Cheese tomato sauce

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp ground pepper

Dash of red pepper flakes

Dash of ground nutmeg

First things first: preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook pasta to al dente – DO NOT OVERCOOK! If you overcook the pasta, it will get super soggy when you bake it. I drained my pasta almost before al dente, actually.

While the pasta is cooking, in a bowl combine: the ricotta, herbs and spices, tomato sauce, and half of the mozzarella. Tear up the spinach by hand and toss it in as well. Stir to combine.

When the pasta in drained, add it to the cheesy mixture and toss to coat. Pour it into a 9 x 13 greased baking dish and top with remaining mozzarella.

Throw the pan in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and looks deliciously golden and bubbly. When it is heated through and gooey, pull it out and let cool for a bit for the sauce to set up a bit.

If I were really ambitious I would have served this with homemade french bread, a salad, and roasted broccoli. Instead, we just had the broccoli to accompany it, and it was perfect! Everyone gobbled it up. Luckily for me, everyone in my household  looks forward to dinner and never second guess the gluten content. 🙂