Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Zuchinni soup, green bean fries and healthy pie!

Welcome to the world of totally gluten free at the Houston's! The No White diet is in full swing over here, and we also don't eat potatoes of any sort. Let the improvising begin!

I would also like to say that the no white sugar part of the diet is not heavily emphasized at the Houston household so....yea. Take all the "No White diet" recipes with a grain of salt...or sugar. HA.

This meal was one of my/our personal favorites so far!

Zucchini soup!

This recipe is one my mom made a year or two ago that she got from her friend Dee. And lo and behold, here it is. It's like a soup you'd get at Zuppa's! Versatile as either a fall or summer soup. And perfectly delicious either way. 

Zucchini Soup 

-1/2 pound onions, chopped
-1 1/2 pounds zucchini, washed, peeled, and sliced
-3 cups chicken broth
-1/8 tsp nutmeg
-1/8 tsp salt
-dash cayenne pepper (can leave out if you don't like spicy food whatsoever)
-1/2 cup half and half
-cheese, bacon bits, and sour cream to top it

Cook chopped onion in butter until clear but not brown. Combine onion, zucchini, chicken broth in heavy saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer 15 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Add seasoning and blend in blender until smooth (BUT DON'T BLEND IT BOILING HOT LIKE I DID cause it like explodes. There is no other way to describe it.). Adjust seasoning to taste (for fall you may want to add more nutmeg, for summer you may want to add the cayenne.). Add 1/2 cup half and half. Reheat but don't boil. Garnish with toppings of choice. 

Crispy Baked Parmesan Green Bean Fries! 

These are really great if you are bored with just steaming green beans. And personally I don't think they would be good with ketchup. They are plenty flavorful all by themselves. (*side note, I used garlic salt and real minced garlic instead of garlic powder and it was still delish.) 

Find the recipe HERE

Healthy No Bake Chocolate Berry Pie! (with coconut milk!) 

This pie is so pretty it deserves two pictures, I think you'll agree. 

Do not skimp on the freezer time. It won't work. I tried. Freeze it for AT LEAST 2 hours before consumption. It is such a creative use of coconut milk! Who knew?! 

Find the tasty recipe HERE

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Delish zucchini bake and GF cookies!

To go along with our roast, I tried out this squash and zucchini bake that I found on Pinterest. It's really quick, and a good way to use up those veggies that you keep getting for free from your neighbor's garden (or your own!) :) It turned out so tasty! It's cheesy too!
Find the recipe here

I made yummy Coconut & White Chocolate Chip Cookies! TOTALLY GLUTEN FREE! And really not too bad for you, either! As far as sugar goes, they have only 1/3 cup of brown sugar in them. 

Find the recipe here

I know gluten free cookies often don't look too pretty on the outside, but these are good! TRY IT! 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Just a little chicken fried

I hope you all know that country song. If you don't, please look it up ("Chicken Fried" by Zac Brown Band). Thank you.

My favorite munchkins (because they're both fun-sized humans, not because they're any younger than me) in the whole world, Sara and Nimisha came over and we made dinner together last night! And it was DANG GOOD.

We made Crusted Honey Mustard Chicken (It's like very flavorful, healthy, homemade fried chicken. And ridiculously easy!), mashed potatoes (with garlic salt, milk, and cheese added), and a salad.

Find the recipe for the chicken here! It's weight watchers as a bonus! 
*we sprinkled a little bit of fried onion on the top (like the kind you sprinkle on salads and such) after it was all cooked, and it was delish. 

Unfortunately, this meal isn't quite in the "no white diet" category because you have to specifically buy gluten free cornflakes. Apparently cornflakes have malt in them which is *NOT* gluten free. What a bummer. But this can be easily fixed! Have no fear! 

In other news, I made these cute little tacos for lunch today. Literally just threw some corn tortillas on a cookie sheet, put some pieces of rotisserie chicken from costco on there with sliced black olives, a little bit of mild green taco sauce, red salsa, and cheese and broiled it in the oven for about 5-7 minutes. Boom. Lunch is served. Also, this is gluten free thanks to the corn tortillas. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Improvised Dinner with Friends

My parents (aka my guinea pigs for trying healthy new things I make) were gone last night for dinner so I invited my friend Courtney over to make dinner with me and our friend Miranda joined us later once it was all cooked :) (not on purpose of course). So, Courtney chose a chicken stroganoff recipe we found on this website. BUT. It said it was going to take an hour so we improvised a few parts. And we served it over pasta!
It was delicious! Although we did add too much mustard. Whoops!
We served it (Court's idea) with this lovely spinach salad which has cucumber, celery, red onion (still my new fave!), blueberries, sliced almonds, and a soft Mexican cheese (with the texture of goat cheese pretty much). Balsamic vinaigrette or Red Blush Wine vinaigrette is perfect on this type of salad. 


Monday, June 30, 2014

Best Low Carb Dinner!

My Mom and I cooked dinner together tonight and it was BOMB.

I got to finally try one my friend Ally Smoot's family favorite Quinoa salad! It is sooo yummy. Seriously. I understand if you don't like quinoa, usually. But this is so flavorful and the avo and mango make it so delish. See for yourself!

Here is the recipe:

Summer Quinoa Salad

  • about 4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 can black beans (except I used Kidney beans which were equally as good)
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper 
  • 1 chopped mango
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 or 2 green onions (except I used about 1/2 of a red onion and I think that is better) 
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Dressing:
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB red wine vinegar
  • 3 TB lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
Combine everything together and serve! 

My Mom made this wonderful family favorite soup of ours called Savory Sausage Soup from Weight Watchers. So yummy! 
Here is the recipe:

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 pound italian turkey sausage
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 medium turnip, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1 medium celery stalk, sliced
  • 4 small new red potatoes, scrubbed, quartered
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 medium bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 small head of cabbage chopped
  • 2 tsps cider vinegar, optional
Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan, then add the sausage. Cook, breaking apart the sausage. Add the onions, turnip, celery and carrot. Cook until the sausage is browned. Stir in the potatoes, cabbage, broth, bay leaf, thyme, sage, and pepper; bring to a boil. Place the cabbage over the soup, then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer until the potatoes and cabbage are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the vinegar to the soup, if desired, and discard the bay leaf. Serve. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer Foods

Summer Foods
A delicious summer salad! Isn't it pretty? It looks like a fiesta of veggies. Red onion (my new fave!) and feta cheese really make this salad good. Plus yellow AND red tomatoes as well as celery, cucumber, bell peppers...the usual. 

Gluten free pancakes! Made with Pamela's gluten free flour. You may have a previous impression that all gluten free items taste like cardboard, which I respect and understand. However, these really aren't too bad! Especially when beautifully arranged with strawberries, bananas, maple syrup and whipped cream. Although this may be white flour free, it isn't quite white sugar free...You have to pick your battles I think. 

These are lovely lemon cookies that are perfect for summer and taste like teatime at an English cottage in the sunshine. Yep. Find the recipe here

I SWEAR by this chocolate chip cookie recipe I found on Pinterest. It produces PERFECTION cookies! Whatever you do, DON'T add more flour even though you will probably think it needs more after everything is added. Find the recipe here
There is honestly nothing better than homemade strawberry lemonade. And since I have the highly esteemed privilege of being in a home that has a Vitamix (at least for the summer....not having one for 6+ months has made me thank my lucky stars for this blessed blender designed by the gods), I literally just threw in about a cup of hulled strawberries, 3/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of lemon juice and a bunch of water and blended it all up! And boom. Ice cubes in the glass, happiness in my mouth. And isn't that jar just ADORABLE?! Me and my mom are in love with it. 

ALSO, I tried a yummy recipe my sister Katie gave me for crockpot meatloaf that is delicious served with garlic mashed potatoes! But I didn't take a PICTURE of it! I was so mad. But it was so good! Here is the recipe, with some additions I made: 

Grandma’s Saucy Meatloaf

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
3/4 cup quick oats
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1 1/3 cup ketchup
2 T brown sugar
2 T mustard

In a large bowl, combine beef, oats, egg, milk, pepper, and onion.
Shape into a loaf and place in a greased 2 1/2 to 3 1/2-quart slow cooker.
Mix together ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard. Spread 1/2 of the sauce over top.
Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.
Heat up remaining 1/2 of the sauce in the microwave and add extra to each serving as needed. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fancy chicken and beans

Courtesy of my sister Christina Pendleton who gave me the ideas/recipes, I made this delicious meal for dinner tonight!

Strawberry Balsamic Chicken and Caramelized Green Beans! 

Here is a close up. 

My mom said that "the green beans are heavenly!" 
The recipe is from "Our Best Bites". Here is the recipe, altered a little by moi :) 
Caramelized Green Beans
1 lb. (actually, just a little bit more…maybe 1 1/8 lb.) fresh green beans
A large handful of crumbled bacon bits
1/2 red onion, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (I just used 4 teaspoons minced garlic)
olive oil
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
Start boiling a large pot of water. Place beans in a colander and rinse them well. Then snap the ends off and snap them in half.
Prepare the sauce by mixing sugar, soy sauce, and salt in a small bowl.
Make sure your onions are sliced, garlic is pressed  and everything is ready to go.
 Just use some olive oil and heat pan to medium-high heat. When the pan is hot…
Add onions and garlic. Give them a quick stir and then…
Add beans to boiling water. Place colander in a clean sink. Boil for one minute; you’re not cooking them until they’re done, just blanching them to take the edge off. Meanwhile, stir the onions and garlic so they don’t scorch. After one minute, drain beans in the colander in the sink.
Once beans have been drained, add them to the onions and garlic. Stir fry 2-3 more minutes.
Give your sauce a quick stir and then pour on top of the beans. Keep stir-frying until the beans get kind of glazy. Stir fry for another 2 minutes.
Add crumbled bacon and lots of freshly-ground pepper to the beans. Keep stir frying until the sauce sticks to the beans and the bacon. Transfer to a serving dish and allow to stand a few minutes so the beans cool down a bit and the glaze thickens up a little.
Serve immediately.

Check out the recipe for the chicken at Christina's blog, http://christinascookinupcrafts.blogspot.com/