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This week’s theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap is garlic and the hostess is Wendy at Celiacs in the House. Unfortunately I did not plant any garlic last fall, so I won’t be harvesting any this summer. Last year’s crop didn’t do so well and then time got away from me and I never planted any last fall. So I have resorted to buying it at the farmer’s market from my favorite garlic and potato guy. He grows a lot of different varieties of both and we always enjoy chatting.

On deck for the week:

Green -Chile Cheese Tamales with refried beans and kale salad – from the most recent batch of frozen tamales.

Veggie Burgers with Kale Salad Wraps

Spicy Buffalo Chickpea Salad – an interesting salad I found on Pinterest.

Black Pepper Tofu with steamed snow peas and rice

What’s on your menu this week?

We had more comfort food this week since my tummy is still trying to get back to ‘normal’ after being sick last week. Some people have trouble with beans, but luckily, we do not. We find them very comforting, especially in a delicious soup that has simmered on the stove, filling the house with a delicious fragrance!

And now we live in a state, New Mexico, where one of the major agricultural products is beans – pinto beans! In the fall here, you can find pinto beans and Anasazi beans at the farmer’s markets. When I went to make this recipe, I found that I didn’t have enough pinto beans to make this, but I did have some Anasazi beans so I used some of those too. They cook very similarly and have a similar flavor profile, so I knew they would work together.

Pinto Bean Soup

Adapted from Cooking Light

3 cups dried pinto beans, (or Anasazi beans, or a mix)

2 tbsp oil

3 cups finely diced onion

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp dried oregano

8 cups water

2 bay leaves

2 tsp salt

Avocado, chopped

Lay out your beans on a rimmed baking sheet and look for small stones, random grains of wheat (yes, I have found them!), or shriveled beans and discard them. Rinse beans and place in a large pot. Cover with water to 2 inches above level of beans and bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes and then remove from heat. Let stand one hour. Drain beans.

In the same (dry) pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute or until it becomes fragrant. Add paprika and cumin and stir until fragrant, being careful not burn the spices. Stir in oregano, beans, water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender.

Discard bay leaves. Stir in salt. Taste and add more if desired. Top with chopped avocado and serve with corn muffins.

This recipe is cross-posted over at Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet.

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is being hosted by Heather at Celiac Family and this week’s theme is Avocado!! We love avocado! Almost always, there are  a couple sitting around the kitchen, whether on the counter or in the frig.

My husband grew up with avocados while living in Arizona and California as a kid, but I did not, not in Ohio. My mother-in-law even used them as baby food for my husband. I probably didn’t even touch guacamole until I was out of college, let alone avocado. Once I learned to like guacamole (thanks, Chipotle!) and then actually make guacamole, I still kind of kept my distance from them, because of all the fat. But these days, I am embracing the healthy fat in them and enjoying them frequently. Sometimes they can be expensive, but I have found that the price and quality of avocados at our local Trader Joe’s is pretty consistently good. But we are also relatively ‘close’ to the avocado farms of SoCal and Mexico, so that may factor in too. I am so glad I finally embraced them!

Lately I have been enjoying them mashed and spread on a piece of toast with a bit of salt, or mashed up with a bit of balsamic salad dressing in a wrap, or as a smashed chickpea-avocado sandwich. And of course made into guacamole with a bit of cumin. Yum. This week we will enjoy avocado with our Savory Pinto Beans.

Savory Pinto Beans with Avocado and Elana’s Classic Drop Biscuits

Chickpea Picatta with Mashed Potatoes and Kale – instead of arugula, I will put it over kale, which is growing like mad in our garden.

Curried Tofu with Soy Sauce over Rice with Sautéed Baby Bok Choy or Snow Peas (maybe these?)

Creamy Light Macaroni and Cheese – I saw this recipe a few months ago in Cooking Light magazine, one of my favorite sources of inspiration, but haven’t made it yet. I recently found some Kosher for Passover ‘panko’ flakes and they are begging to be used in this unique macaroni and cheese recipe. I will probably serve it up with either a massaged kale salad or some roasted broccoli.

Curried Lentils with Paneer and Indian Spiced Roasted Cauliflower – we are totally digging roasted cauliflower and broccoli right now.

Be sure to “hop” over to Celiac Family later this week and check out the other menu plans as they are posted.

This past week was a bit of a rough one. Still trying to figure out what hit me. I woke up in the wee hours of Wednesday morning horribly sick. Nothing would stay put. I wasn’t able to eat anything all day, I only drank some Gatorade and a few sips of coconut water. (I was not a fan of the coconut water, even though I know it is better for you than the sugar, artificial flavors and colors of Gatorade. But my nose was being super sensitive and the smell of the coconut water was off-putting.)

For three days, I was only able to eat some Yehuda GF Matzo, Gatorade and water. Luckily I love the matzo and they tasted especially good since they remind me a bit of Saltines, which was “sick food” when I was young. At one point, I attempted some gluten free Chicken Noodle Soup, but even it wasn’t welcomed by my tummy.

After a few days, as I finally began to get better, I knew I needed to get something else into me besides matzo! So I made us some soup for dinner. (I added some chicken to mine (I am not vegetarian), for an extra boost.) It was tasty all around. And quick, to boot.

Chicken (or not) and Rice Soup

Original by Renee

Serves 4-6

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, diced finely

2-3 stalks celery, sliced thin

2-3 carrots, sliced thinly

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups vegetable broth

2 tsp dried oregano

1 cup cooked brown rice *

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 chicken breast, cooked and diced, if desired *

1/2 tsp each salt and pepper, or to taste, it will depend on your choice of broth

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and cook until almost soft and onion is becoming translucent. Stir in garlic and cook till fragrant. Stir in broth and oregano. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Then stir in the cooked rice and beans. Heat through. Turn off heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

Notes:

* I keep pre-cooked rice on hand for occasions such as these. You can find it in vacuum-sealed plastic packaging, microwaveable bowls or frozen. Very handy, especially when I forget to plug in the rice cooker.

* Since I was making this soup for both of us, I left out the chicken and added the beans for some staying power for my husband. Then I cooked up a chicken breast separately and diced part of it to add to my individual serving bowl. If your tummy isn’t a fan of beans, leave them out. Ours do just fine with them.

Here’s our plan for the week:

Roasted Tofu with Braised Brussels Sprouts in Mustard Sauce

Chana Dal with Indian Spiced Roasted Cauliflower and Rice – I will use all three cauliflower links as inspiration.

Malaysian-Inspired Tofu Curry with Roasted Broccoli and Rice – curry recipe from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Mujadara with Kale Salad – I have been wanting to try this easy (and inexpensive) lentil and rice dish for a while now. And yes, another recipe from Kalinda at Wheat Free Meat Free this week.

Oops! I am a week behind schedule. The theme is actually artichokes, and the swap is hosted by Heather at Celiac Family. I only recently began to enjoy artichokes, as you can see here and here.

This week’s theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap is Cookbook Inspirations and the swap is being hosted by Wendy at Celiacs in The House. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I am inspired by many cookbooks. Here is a  list of some of my favorite cookbooks. But it looks like I need to update that list as I have a few new ones!

I am always on the look-out for a new way to make quinoa. I love it so much that I even have a separate category in my bookmarks for quinoa. I love how easy quinoa is to make, and how nutritious it is. So of course, when I saw this recipe from Cookin’ Canuck, inspiration struck again.

We have eaten this salad three times in the past three weeks. Once here at home, just for us, then once for a potluck at work, and then for our monthly celiac support group potluck meeting. It has gotten rave reviews from all!

Lemon Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Inspired by and adapted from Cookin’ Canuck

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa *

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1-1/2 cups tomato, chopped *

2 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1 avocado, diced *

Dressing:

5 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp honey

1-1/2 tsp dried oregano

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Cook quinoa in water according to directions. Cool. Combine with other salad ingredients, except the avocado. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Gently stir in dressing. Top with avocado.

Notes:

* I buy Bob’s Red Mill quinoa from Costco in the large bags. It says that it has been rinsed already. Some quinoa will need to be rinsed to remove the saponin from the surface of the grains, check the box or bag.

* At this time of year I can usually find tasty cherry tomatoes.

* It is best to not mix in the avocado unless you know you will be eating it all since the avocado turns brown after a bit.

* I think this salad tastes best at room temperature.

Do you love quinoa as much as I do? If so, be sure to check out my other quinoa recipes, especially one of my most-viewed and most commented-on recipes – Sweet Potato, Quinoa and  Black Bean Burgers.

This recipe is cross-posted over at Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays. Check it out for more inspiration!

Well, it has been a few weeks since I have posted, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking! Although, we have had a variety of things going on, preventing me from experimenting too much in the kitchen.

Last week we had family visiting and we convinced them to help us make a new batch of tamales with my new stand mixer. Can you believe that in 16+ years of being gluten free that I have never owned a stand mixer? Some people probably think that’s a little strange. But if you know me, or have been around here long enough, you know that I am not much of a baker. If I make bread, I now make the no-knead boule which uses no mixer. And so it was the promise of more homemade tamales that finally led me to buy a stand mixer. Mixing masa by hand is not my idea of fun, and I had finally burnt up my hand mixer, after 16 years. So, off to Costco I went for a new mixer!

KitchenAid Pro-Line 575 watts with all-steel gears - for only $250 at Costco! Cheaper and more powerful than the 'Artisan' ones at BBB and Kohls. Woo-hoo!

We made another full batch of Green Chile-Cheese Tamales and a half a batch of sweet ones – Pumpkin Chocolate Chip. They were both wonderful. And now we have a bunch of frozen tamales to grab when needed. Yum.

This past week I was feeling under the weather – between the juniper and Siberian elm pollen – whew! And then I wasn’t sure whether I was getting a cold on top of it all. Turns out it was *just* allergies gone haywire. Whatever you do, don’t believe someone if they tell you to move to the Southwest “for your allergies”. It isn’t true!!! There are certain times of the year when our allergies here are waaay worse than they were back in Chicago and Ohio. So I didn’t feel much like doing anything except make this Miso Vegetable Noodle Soup. (Watch the ingredients in the miso paste, some contain barley! And so I use whatever ‘color’ of miso I can find that is gluten free.  I also just use GF brown rice spaghetti.)

Juniperus monosperma - One-seed Juniper - the evil one in this ecosystem we know as Pinyon-Juniper.

And it's prolific male pollen. ~ah-choo!~

This week I am back to cooking, as long as the juniper pollen stays at bay! I was rooting around in the deep freezer this afternoon and found a few things that could stand to be eaten up, so you’ll see those below. I also worked on our taxes and a revised monthly household budget this weekend so I am feeling especially frugal today!

How much do you spend on groceries and eating out every month? I am curious. I think we spend a lot for a two-person household, but then again we don’t eat out more than once or twice a month, unless we’re traveling or have company, so pretty much ALL of our food is purchased from the grocery store(s). I rarely bake and I don’t buy a whole lot of “prepackaged” gluten free items, I don’t eat much meat, and so I thought we were probably doing well. But in looking back over the past three months, we spend an average of $150 per week for two people, including household and personal items like toilet paper and deodorant. This seems like a lot to me. If you feel comfortable, share below how much you spend each week (or month) on groceries. I know I can reduce our monthly bill…any tips?

This week’s menu swap theme is eggs and Heather at Celiac Family is the host. Despite having our own hens, we don’t do a lot with eggs. I am allergic to them, except when baked. So, hubby eats the majority of our eggs, unless I do get the urge to bake something. Go on over and check things out for more meal planning inspiration.

And now, on to our plan for the week:

Three Bean Tacos – this favorite makes a lot and I think the leftovers are even better the next day as taco salad, nachos, etc.

Quinoa, Shrimp, Avocado and Lemon Salad – minus the shrimp for us, perhaps some chickpeas instead.

Sloppy Lentils with Napa Cabbage Salad with Red Bell Pepper and a Dijon-Ginger Dressing – the lentils are from Stephanie O’Dea’s cookbook, More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, and pulled from my freezer. And I will need to use up the leftover napa cabbage from last week’s Miso Vegetable Noodle Soup I mentioned above.

Tofu Vegetable Stir-Fry with San-J Peanut Sauce over Rice – I love having the San-J GF sauces handy because I can whip up a quick vegetable stir-fry with frozen vegetables, maybe some tofu and sauce. (Did you see that there is a new-to-me sauce out called Asian BBQ? Sounds delicious!) The sauces are one of those prepackaged items I will buy, especially since I frequently find coupons for them. And since I found a stray package of frozen stir-fry vegetables in the deep freezer…

Pizza with salad or leftover Napa Salad from above – a frozen gluten-full pizza for the hubby and a Chebe one for me, perhaps with some barbecue chicken, balsamic onions, mozzarella cheese, and cilantro for me (my take on CPK’s BBQ chicken pizza). Chebe bread has been a stand-by for us for years. It was one of the first edible pizza crusts around. I just use their Original Cheese Bread mix as my crust. I haven’t tried their actual Pizza Crust Mix. Have you?

So, I am interested to hear…how much do you spend per week or month on groceries for how many people?

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