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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.

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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!