Whether you're starting with leftover already cooked meat (pork, ham, beef, hamburger, chicken, turkey, bacon, sausage) or you are frying up meat in a large pan to start your meal, stir-fry is an easy meal to make custom to your taste buds. Cook/heat up your meat, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil the the pan & sautee fresh or frozen veggies of your choice & prepare sauce and rice while they cook up.
You do not have to have a huge variety of veggies- we once made this without meat, using only carrots, celery and purple cabbage julienned in the food processor as our veggies. Sauteed and then put on rice with teriyaki sauce, it was amazing!
Here are some veggie suggestions: cabbage, carrots, broccoli (I even slice up the stalks like tiny match sticks), cauliflower, snap pea pods, brussel sprouts, celery, bell peppers, onion
Not only are muffins (blueberry are my FAVORITE!) delicious, but they are a quick and easy breakfast for little hands to eat. Traditionally not very filling, these gluten-free almond meal muffins can fill you up. I used Trader Joe's Almond Meal to make this recipe for Orange Cranberry Almonds I found on Arismenu.com and then dressed it up a bit to make the orange flavor pop out a little more. Although there are oranges in my picture (they were on the counter begging to be in the photo), there's no fresh orange or zest in this recipe, just orange juice concentrate. Here's the recipe I will be making over and over again:
Almond Meal Muffins with Cranberry & Orange
yeild: 12 muffins
1 3/4 c (Trader Joe's) almond meal
1/4 c (Bob's Red Mill GF) sweet sorghum flour OR almond flour (you can use more almond meal, but the resulting muffin will be more dense)
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3 dashes salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. dried cranberries (I used original Craisins and cherry juice infused Craisins)
3/4 c. almond milk (vanilla or original will work)
1/4 c. honey or agave (I used raw honey)
3 T. orange juice concentrate (not prepared- just open a can of frozen OJ and scoop!)
2 T. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place paper liners in muffin tin. Mix all dry ingredients together well, stirring in cranberries last. In a separate bowl (I do this in my 2 cup glass measuring cup), mix together all liquid ingredients. You can warm them in the microwave for a minute to help the honey stir into the cold milk/OJ better. Mix wet ingred. into dry ingredients and then fill muffin cups 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full; you should get a dozen. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool (if you can wait) before peeling off the papers and digging in.
These are soft and moist, and heavy enough that 3 of them made a great lunch that doesn't leave me hungry at all. :D Not so heavy that I stopped at 1 or 2... lol. Even a hit with the littlest family member.
****Update: I recently read that the yellow box original Cheerios are going gluten free in the fall of 2015! Woohoo, let's all cross our fingers this won't come with a dramatic price increase. Even if it does, I think we'll need a box every once in a while. Such a comfort food to me that I've not had in so long and my two youngest boys have never even tasted!
Further UPDATE: We tried "gluten free" Cheerios and they are the FIRST product labeled GF that we've ever had a problem with. Both myself and my 3 year old son reacted badly digestively to having had them- and he only had ONE bite. I tried them 3 separate times, desperately wanting it to be a coincidence. Nope. After reading on the box and website that Cheerios didn't actually keep the oats separate from wheat, but rather attempted to "clean" the wheat out afterward, I cannot recommend GF Cheerios to anyone truly gluten/wheat sensitive or allergic or with Celiac's disease.If you do try them, do so in moderation and if they work for you- great!- I just wanted to send out a cautionary note from our experience.
For a while, I was off of gluten, dairy, egg, and oats. Breakfast consisted of: GF cereal or leftovers from lunch/supper the day before. Because my stomach doesn't always want lunch/supper food for breakfast, and my budget doesn't allow me to purchase expensive varieties of GF cereal, I got creative. Well, it seems like common sense now, but at the time it was SO amazing. Just ask anyone who has ever eaten the same food prepared the same way for 5+ days in a how much they appreciate a change of taste/texture!
Here is a great GF/DF/EF cornbread recipe that is sure to compliment any soup (it is based off a recipe I found online and adapted, but for the life of me, I cannot locate the original recipe to link it back, my apologies! but, nonetheless, here is my version):
EASY GF VEGAN CORNBREAD
(not terribly crumbly, more of a "cake-like" but not overly sweet)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lightly grease an 8"x8" pan
1 c. Bob's Redmill (all purpose mix) Gluten Free Flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
1 cup cornmeal
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer
Once dry ingredients are mixed, in a separate bowl, mix:
4 Tablespoons water
1 cup original almond milk
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
(I'm sure another oil would work, I just haven't tried it)
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mix just enough to combine & pour into prepared pan. Bake immediately fro 20 minutes. (Many egg-replacers, including just using higher amounts of baking powder, don't rise as well if they sit too long before being heated/cooked.)
***UPDATED*** To include another version of this recipe which doesn't include the salad dressing (and we found we prefer!)
4-6 Chicken breasts (we used frozen)
1 can of cranberry sauce (the kind that has the whole cranberries in it)
1/2 c. of salad dressing: french/catalina/western (decrease dressing to 1/3 c for a healthier version or to add more sweetness increase to 1 c)
1 pkg GF dry onion soup mix (optional).
Mix together salad dressing, cranberry sauce & onion soup mix (if you're using it). Place chicken breasts into 6x13 glass baking pan and pour sauce mixture over top. Bake at 350 degrees until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170+ degrees. Using our medium sized frozen chicken breasts (not thawed) cooking time was about an hour and 20 minutes in our gas oven. Many recipes are similar to this but suggest marinating overnight. I am sure that would give splendid results, but frankly, I very rarely think about the next day's supper- I take it one day at a time! ****If you have leftover sauce, refrigerate it and add it to cooked ground beef the next day for a savory treat (we ate it as dip with corn chips).
UPDATED RECIPE (does not include salad dressing)
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 chicken bullion cubes (or 2 tsp. granules), GF/dairy free
6 chicken breasts
1 can cranberry sauce with whole cranberries
oil for pan
Saute the onion in the oiled pan until translucent. Add chicken, 1/2 cup water and chicken bullion; stir. Cover & cook until chicken is almost done. (If you need to add a bit more water to keep your pan from drying out do so, but if there is still a considerable amount of water in the pan when your chicken is fully cooked, let it cook down before adding cranberry sauce so it doesn't thin your sauce too much.) Stir in cranberry sauce as chicken finishes cooking uncovered for last 5-10 minutes, mixing it well with the onions and making sure it is heated through before serving.
I just updated my page with ideas for families to make holidays meaningful with the most amazing, simple, inexpensive idea for stocking stuffers! Check it out by clicking here and then scrolling down till you see the same picture that's posted to the left.
I am SO excited to give this unconventional idea a try and see the reaction from our 4 kids on Christmas morning (if I'm rolled out of bed by the time they get to them!) Usually they come running into our bedroom at ridiculously high speeds, given the time of day, and beg permission to dig in their stockings. We always say, "Yes!" so I'm wondering if this will be the year they'll skip over waking us early and just dive in?
***Update: They woke us up to ask if they could dig in their stockings. (YAY for being polite, AWW for not sleeping in a bit) They were really excited over this idea!!! I will definitely be repeating it from now on! No more cheap toys adding to the expense and clutter of Christmas morning for our stockings!
Holly Burkhalter is a human rights activist who has witnessed tragic suffering in third world countries and in her own family. Her sharp mind and perhaps biased logic convinces her that God isn't there for the poorest of the poor and the most neglected in this world, but Holly's heart of compassion has compelled her to take a stand against these unjust and unimaginable situations (and she does her job well).
The book's subtitle: "The Improbable Journey of a Human Rights Activist from Unbelief to Faith" is very accurate in depicting that this book is about Holly's journey. She gives us just enough background on herself, then dives into the context of which major events, minor details, personal and professional relationships slowly softened her bitterness toward the Lord. Glimpses of faith penetrated the dark clouds looming over her career, allowing rays of light, hope, and praise to enter into the devastating cases of abuse, even torture, that she was acquainted with.
We don't only hear about Holly's experiences and influences; we hear her thoughts. She has an uncanny way of being very honest and transparent regarding her own beliefs at different points in time. It is remarkable to see someone so precisely depict how their own train of thought was changed over a course of time. Many of us, when we discover we've been wrong about something or someone, accept the new-found truth and try to sweep our previous misconception under the rug, or tuck it into a closet, as to pretend we knew the right facts all along. Not this author. She airs out all her dirty laundry in a spirit of full disclosure regarding what was going through her mind.
At first this was concerning to me, as many of the beliefs she expressed early on in the book reflected what I believed to be direct misinterpretations of Scripture and/or the character of God. I reminded myself that this was a novel about her journey, not an essay about her arrival, and kept reading despite my 'red flags' of disagreement. To her credit, she never claimed to have 'figured it all out' and reminded the reader that the ideas and concepts she mulled over were merely her own thoughts and interpretations.
Nearing the last couple chapters of the book, it is apparent that Holly has developed her own personal relationship with and walk with God. She seeks to know Him more and graciously lays bare her learning experiences thus far, not-withholding the ever-present sense of doubt that plagues her.
This was a fairly quick-read for me, and while I did not find it nearly as fascinating or inspiring as many of the biographies I have read, it may be hold just the right encouragement for someone else who struggles with doubt due to the suffering that is so evident in this world. The reason I did not give this book a higher rating is that I feel it was written prematurely. In my opinion, the message and content of this book could have been far superior if the author had chosen to hold off and write a stronger ending when she had answered some of those lingering questions and corrected even more of the misunderstandings she had regarding the character of God. The book ends on the note that she hasn't yet arrived on very solid ground in terms of placing her complete trust in the person of Jesus Christ. To hear the joy and liberation she would experience when set free from such weighty doubts to a life of praise would've been glorious!
**In the spirit of full disclosure, I will let you know that I received a copy of this book courtesy of Blogging for Books for the purpose of reviewing. I wasn't obligated to give a positive review; the opinions are my own.
Oh my. I had a hard time deciding if this recipe was a breakfast, snack or dessert idea. All of the above!
It tastes like berry cobbler & banana bread all at once.... delish!
I adapted this recipe for Berry Bliss Oat Squares from the amazing Oh She Glows blog to suit what I had in my cupboards:
Dough for Top/Bottom:
3 c. GF oats, divided
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c + 3 T. (6 oz) unsweetened applesauce (I used blueberry- YUM)
1/4 c + 2 T. agave or maple syrup
5 T. water (use 6 T if you used maple syrup)
1 tsp vanilla
1 c frozen* berry blend (mine had blueberry, raspberry & blackberry)
1 c frozen* sliced strawberries
1 overripe banana, sliced (frozen is okay)
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 1/2 T. cornstarch
2 1/2 T. warm water
* You can use fresh berries, just reduce the cornstarch & water to only 2 T. each.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut parchment paper to line an 8x8" square baking pan.
2. For filling: Place berries, banana and sugar in saucepan on low. Mix together cornstarch & water and set aside.
3. For dough: In food processor, bled 1 1/2 c GF oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until oats have turned to a flour. Dump into a bowl and set aside.
4. Filling: When fruit mixture is boiling, take off heat & stir in cornstarch and water mixture thoroughly. Stir in almond extract and set aside.
5. Dough: Mix in remaining 1 1/2 c GF oats. Then add applesauce, agave (or maple syrup), water & vanilla.
6. Press 2/3 of dough into pan. Spread fruit filling over top. Drop remaining dough in small globs over top of fruit filling. Bake 30 minutes and cool 20 min. before cutting. (Hint: It cools faster if you set it outside on a MN winter day like I did.)
We had a recipe for butternut squash soup that was pretty good- as long as you stirred in sour cream or cheese at the last minute. Since we've eliminated dairy from our meals, we haven't made the soup again. It just wasn't good enough to eat plain. So when I saw that Chocolate Covered Katie had a Vegan butternut squash soup recipe posted, I knew I had to try it. I didn't have all the ingredients and I changed the flavoring to suit our family's likes, and came up with the most amazing butternut squash soup. It doesn't NEED any garnish or stir-in to make it scrumptious! My 13 year old daughter said it tastes like there is cheese melted in it- it's so creamy. Nope, no cheese. No vegan fake cream cheese or faux sour cream either. I dislike anything coconut, but thought I'd give this a try and could probably tolerate it. I was wrong, I LOVED it! I think it is easily my new favorite stew/thick soup.
Here is my version, adapted from the original recipe linked above:
2 T. oil for sauteeing
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 (13-15 oz) can coconut milk*
1/2 (1-15 oz) can coconut cream* (I used Trader Joe's extra thick & rich)
1 c. water
1 tsp. salt
1 large peeled, chopped butternut squash
3 T. (dairy free) butter flavored maple pancake/table syrup (can use pure if you have it)
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of curry powder
2.5 oz Oh Boy! Oberto brand bacon jerky [cured naturally], chopped OR cooked, crumbled bacon
*You could easily use 1 1/2 cans of either coconut cream or coconut milk, I just happened to have 1 can of each to work with.
1. Saute onion & garlic in oil in bottom of stock pot until onion is translucent. Either chop bacon jerky into bits or put in food processor and set it aside. (We did the food processor since our son needed very soft foods with his sore throat.)
2. Add all remaining ingredients & stir well, bringing to a boil.
3. Continue at a low boil/strong simmer until squash chunks are soft (cook past being fork-tender so that if you pierce them with a fork they split in half)
That's it- enjoy! We sure did!
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I am not much of a blog reader. There's only a couple I check on occasion:
Love this girl's writing... feels like she's a long distance friend. Well, her sister is my long-distance friend, so that probably helps. Either way, what an inspiration and encouragement- you just need to check out some of the places life has taken Leah and be strengthened and inspired by the love that oozes (yes, oooozes) from her heart for Jesus, His people and His creation!
If you like nummy recipes, or have special dietary needs (or both!) check it out. ALL of her recipes are Vegan, and many can be made gluten-free. I stumbled upon it when searching for dairy/egg free treats to make for my kiddo and have gotten hooked on several recipes. Okay, "hooked on" doesn't portray it well enough. How about "addicted to"? That's more fitting. Will definitely be going back for more!