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Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Raw Kale and Avocado Salad with Lime-Sriracha Vinaigrette – we love our kale salads, and we love sriracha, so this is a big winner at our house! And of course, as I mentioned in the last post, we have fallen for the pizza crust too.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Kale Tacos with Slaw – we didn’t get to this last week, so we’ll be having it this week. And I think I finally have the recipe the way I like it so hopefully I will get around to posting it this week.

Vindaloo Vegetables with Rice – from my favorite slow cooker cookbook, Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker. A recipe to put in the frig for the week.

Potatoes and Peas in Red Curry – from another vegetarian slow cooker cookbook I found at Powell’s in Portland this summer called The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker. Another meal to be made and placed in the frig for later in the week.

Curried Red Lentil Soup – a Deborah Madison recipe, from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Roasted Tofu with Brussels Sprouts and Brown Rice – I like to take advantage of having the oven on and roast both the tofu and sprouts. Roasting tofu makes for a nice chewy texture. I will probably make some sort of peanut sauce for the tofu and rice, or just use some pre-made San-J brand peanut sauce.

This week’s theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap is beef. We don’t eat a whole lot of that around here (I do, sometimes), but if you do, be sure to check out the other menus posted over at Celiac Family. And even if not, there is plenty of inspiration for everyone!

What are you having this week?

You’ve probably seen the recipes too. I didn’t believe the raving reviews either. But you know what they say, seeing trying is believing – and now we believe!

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The first time I made this I wasn’t sure if hubby would be up for me messing around with his traditional concept of pizza this much, so I made it just for me and he ate his own gluten-full frozen pizza. But when I told him what I was making he asked me to leave off the chicken on part of it so he could taste it too (he’s the veggie, not me). And when he tasted it he ended up preferring this pizza to his own gluten-full one!

One caveat, this crust makes a pizza that you need to eat with a fork, you can’t pick up a slice of the pizza. But it doesn’t matter, it is so delicious you won’t care. We’ve made this pizza the past three weekends and my (gluten-eating) husband and I are both in LUV.

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Amazing Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Adapted from here, here and here.

One small head of cauliflower (about 2 cups after processing)

2 cups shredded cheese (I’ve used a mix of some leftover Monterrey jack and mozzarella and only mozzarella, any combo should work)

2 large eggs

1 Tbsp whole fennel seeds

2 tsp oregano

2 tsp crushed garlic (from a jar)

1/2 tsp salt

Your favorite pizza toppings

Preheat oven to 425. Preheat a sheet pan or baking stone, if desired (I used a baking stone). Chop the cauliflower into florets. Pulse in food processor until it becomes the texture of couscous. Transfer to a glass bowl. Cook cauliflower in the microwave (uncovered, no water needed) for 8 minutes.

Mix cauliflower and remaining ingredients together in a bowl. Spread mixture over hot(!) stone or sheet pan evenly. (My round pizza stone is about 12-14″ in diameter and the full recipe above is just a tad too much for my size of pan. So use two smaller pans – or just spread it thicker, which has so far worked for me.)

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Add toppings. Return to oven for 5-10 minutes, just enough to melt the cheese and rewarm. Cool slightly and serve. (The crust holds together better if you let it cool slightly before cutting and serving.)

Let me know if you try it, or if you make changes to this recipe and how it turned out and I will do the same. There are a lot of versions of this out in the blogosphere too… I hope you’ll use this as a jumping off point to find your new favorite!

**Don’t forget about the KIND giveaway. Entries will be open until tomorrow, Tuesday, January 29th at midnight mountain time.**

With my school and volunteer activity schedule these days, I have had to revise my typical meal planning/grocery shopping routine. I am not home from class until later in the evening on two nights and one evening I volunteer and so I am not home until quite late. But my husband is usually home on these evenings, and I like to make sure he is eating well even if I can’t be home (otherwise he’d be – happily – eating frozen pizza every night!). So, I have been utilizing some of my favorite kitchen tools, my slow cooker and pressure cooker, to make things a bit easier. On Sundays or Mondays, I have been cooking up two meals, at least one meal in the slow cooker, sometimes I even get both cookers out and fire them both up. These meals I just then put in the frig for later in the week. The same goes for the pressure cooker (PC).

This morning I have one slow cooker going and I have cooked some dry black beans in the PC for one meal this week (tacos below) and in a bit I am going to cook up another meal in the PC for later this week.

This week’s theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap is cabbage and it is being hosted by Angela’s Kitchen. If you need help meal planning be sure to hop over there and check out what everyone else has on their menu plan this week for some inspiration. I wasn’t even paying attention to the theme for the week, but I have been on a cabbage kick lately myself (love me some spicy slaw!) and this week I have two meals with cabbage as a key ingredient.

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Our plan for the week:

Perfect Hominy White Bean Chili from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker and possibly this Raw Kale with Lime-Sriracha Vinaigrette Salad – the chili is in the slow cooker as I type and will be put in the frig for later in the week.

Dilled Cabbage Soup with Rice and possibly veggie burgers on the side – this is  my pressure cooker recipe this week. The recipe comes from Lorna Sass’s Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure. Also going into the frig for later in the week.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza and Salad – we are loving cauliflower crust pizza!!!

Buffalo “Wing” Chickpea Salad – my version is coming soon, inspired by this recipe.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Kale Tacos with Spicy Slaw – a recipe in the works for the tacos.

Homemade Black Bean Tamales – from the freezer, if needed.

What’s on your meal plan for the week?

Okay, so don’t look back and see how long it has been since I posted last. Yes, I know it was May. A lot of bloggers that say that once you get out of the habit of posting that it can be hard to get back into it. I would agree. But also, a lot has happened since May!

I am sitting here now, staring at my Anatomy and Physiology notes, making flash cards to help me study connective tissues. Yep, I am back in school. I am studying Nutrition with a goal to become a Dietitian!

My journey began in the fall of 2011. For almost 15 years I had been working as a landscape architect. I made the decision to go to school to become a landscape architect when I was 16. Very few of us know who we are at 16. And most of us continue to evolve as people our whole lives. Over the past few years, I had discovered that landscape architecture was no longer my passion. It was a hard realization to come to as it felt like I had failed. I spent a good portion of 2011 trying to become “okay” with this realization.

As well, at 16, I didn’t realize then what an impact food would have on my life. I was diagnosed with celiac disease at 19. And while it did make an immediate impact on my daily life, I didn’t know then how much it would change my whole perspective on food, life – and the world. A few years later, I was lucky to become involved in the Chicago Chapter of the Celiac Sprue Association (Thanks to Ed and Betty for convincing me to get involved!). And then through that, the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center (Thanks, Michelle!). All of those experiences have played a huge part in how I got to where I am right now.

And so I knew I had to get off my bum and do something about these feelings I was having. I was finally okay with leaving my old career behind. So, I did my research and talked to folks in the field and realized that yes, this is where my passion now lies – in healthy, great-tasting food!

So I met with the head of the Nutrition department at the University of New Mexico and figured out how to get this ball rolling in December of 2011. She suggested I go to the local community college and take care of the health sciences prerequisites I would need. So on January 2nd, 2012, I signed up for my first class at the community college – First Aid! The advisor suggested this in order to get me into the system so that I could have existing student/priority scheduling for the summer semester.

And so in May, shortly after my last post here, I started taking one class – I was still working full time in landscape architecture, and saving as much money as we could. I started out with General Chemistry I, which I hadn’t had since high school almost 20 years ago. Yikes! Needless to say, I didn’t have a lot of extra time this past summer since I was working and battling chemistry! It was enough to get dinner on the table, groceries in the frig and keep the laundry going, let alone blog (or clean the house – thanks, hubby!). But all that work paid off with an A and a feeling that yes, I was headed in the right direction.

This past August rolled around and I left my job to start school full time. It has been an adventure. Education has changed A LOT! Technology, in particular, has changed everything. Last semester was filled with more chemistry, biology, public speaking (yuck!) and my first nutrition class. It is now the third week of the new spring semester and I have a full load of classes, along with some volunteer work to keep me busy. This semester it is organic chemistry, microbiology and anatomy/physiology. Whew! I have also applied to transfer to the University of New Mexico in the fall to start my junior year there. Fingers crossed.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to these last 8 months!

And when KIND Healthy Snacks contacted me asking if I was interested in helping them celebrate National Peanut Butter Day by hosting a giveaway, I said sure! It was a perfect reason to get me back here and finally write this post.

Yes, today, Thursday, January 24, is National Peanut Butter Day.

Happy Peanut Butter Day to you!

Now, I don’t know about you, but KIND bars are already some of my favorite gluten free on-the-go snacks. I almost always have a KIND bar in my purse or backpack for those moments when nothing else is safe and available and/or I need something RIGHT NOW! (You have those moments too, right?) I even took a big box of KIND bars to China with us when we went a few years back. If nothing else, I knew I would be able to eat a KIND bar! I love KIND bars over most other bars because they are made from healthy nuts and dried fruits – real food that I can see – with the occasional chocolate drizzle – and peanut butter! As well, they aren’t covered in chocolate, so they don’t melt. (Although some flavors can stick to their wrapper a bit after they have been banging around in your bag for a while, so eat up!)

KIND was kind enough to send me some samples of the giveaway products to try, most of which are new to me. Did you know that they have a Healthy Grains line of granola-like clusters? I didn’t. But I have to say, the peanut butter clusters are pretty awesome! And yes, celiac friends, they use gluten free oats, as it states clearly on the package ingredients.

Last night I was volunteering with some fellow nutrition students and so I took some of each of the products in the giveaway to share with them and everyone gobbled them right up. The verdict was  that they were all super tasty! (And everyone but me was a gluten-eater, so you can be assured that they don’t “taste” gluten free.)

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In honor of today, KIND is allowing me to give away a selection of their peanut butter products! One lucky recipient will receive the KIND Peanut Butter Cube which contains the below:

Peanut Butter Whole Grain Clusters (2 pouches) – Tastes like crunchy peanut butter and is made of 100% whole grains like amaranth and quinoa

Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein (4 bars) – Healthy, satisfying blend of peanuts and antioxidant-rich dark chocolate.  It’s so good some people confuse for a candy bar.

Peanut Butter & Strawberry (4 bars) – If you don’t have time to make a PB&J sandwich, this bar tastes strikingly the same, and is just as good.

What is your favorite way to eat peanut butter? Let me know below, by midnight Mountain Time on Tuesday, January 29th, and be entered to win a KIND Peanut Butter Cube of your own. One entry per person, please.

I’ll start:  My favorite way to eat peanut butter is on toast with sliced bananas. Or with a spoon and a chunk of dark chocolate. (I can’t pick one favorite, can you?)

*The products were very kindly provided to me free of charge, but the opinions expressed above are my own.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted…and a couple of busy weeks it has been. (Oh wait, make that a month! Oops!)  One week my husband was out of town so I was busy holding down the fort as a ‘single mom’ and then I was out of town for a week for a wedding and other shenanigans with my high school gal pals. In between there we had some dog training issues, a broken garage door and a broken vacuum cleaner. And then I came home and decided I had to have two new baby chicks! So, it’s been a busy few weeks.

High School Besties!

Two little chickies!

And now we’re back to ‘normal’ life…or at least trying. First step, groceries! and in order to do the grocery run, a meal plan is required in this house! There are a few more dishes than normal listed below as not all of these make excessive leftovers and I am also trying to get back onto my ‘normal’ grocery shopping schedule.

After a week of eating out and about, indulging in nose-snorting laughter, good wine and gelato, and not cooking in my own kitchen, I am ready for lots of fresh veggies.

Spicy Ginger Noodles – one of our favorites!

Chickpea and Spinach Curry with rice – another tried and true favorite!

Chinese Noodle Salad with Sesame Dressing – a new one – it’s snow pea season!

Quinoa Pizza Bites – recipe in the works.

Mediterranean Wild Rice Salad – a new recipe in the works.

Socca Pizza with pesto, fresh mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes and salad

White Beans in Tomato Sauce with Sage – another favorite.

So, I hope to have a few new recipes for you in the next week or so. In the meantime…If you’re looking for more ideas and inspiration, be sure to check out the Gluten Free Menu Swap. This week is being hosted by Heather at Celiac Family. The theme is spinach – which I have included above in the Chickpea and Spinach Curry, purely by accident! And unfortunately my spinach didn’t come up this year so no fresh garden spinach for us. Boo.

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!