Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fall Roast Chicken

I realize it's been a long while since I've actively blogged and I am sorry about that. I have had a rough year full of not so pleasant surprises and filled with one giant wonderful addition. Lucca Paul has been the best thing to happen this year and I am so grateful for him. Amidst all the troubles I know I have this sweet sweet little baby that needs me and loves me more than anything else in the world.

However, Lucca is having tummy issues. He spits up all the time, and more than normal babies do I might add. So much so that we have visited a few doctors and specialists to figure things out. He isn't gaining weight and so where did I turn? I turned to a naturopath. (I turned towards a lot of doctors and even left the Pediatrician that we loved to find a new one because she told me to stop breastfeeding. As if?!?!) The naturopath suggested I change my diet. She said a lot of babies and children develop sensitivities. Not allergies but sensitivities towards certain foods that make their way through the breast milk. I jumped on board. Anything I can do to help my baby gain the proper weight and grow. This new diet means: NO gluten, NO dairy, NO soy, NO eggs and NO nuts. Yeah, I know that's a lot of no's. What can I eat? Vegetables, fruits, and proteins. So as I started this new eating journey I was inspired to blog again. Finally, right?! Gone are the sandwiches for lunch or quesadillas which were staples. Now I have to really thing and read labels before I cook or eat. It's been kind of fun and kind of frustrating. I think I have things figured out now. Most of my cooking hasn't really been altered. The things that get me are the add ins. Broths that contain caramel coloring, gluten, or the canola oil spray for nonstick which has soy lecithin. And you would not believe the butter that every restaurant puts into things. I am now one of those people that at a restaurant asks what the ingredients are before I order. So I am carefully learning and proceeding with caution. Has it helped the little man? Yes. :) Now, I am still covered in spit up each and every day but the it's only been a week and the volume is much less. He is doing so much better. I think this hard work is going to pay off. Let me tell you though, I am seriously missing my breads and making cookies and most of all my quesadillas for lunch. (Today I made them for London and Patrick and just stared at the cheese as it melted between the tortilla longing for it to just jump into my mouth.)

So here I am during the season of Fall. Once again it comes. Leaves are falling to the ground and the air is crisp boarding on cold. I am craving soups, stews and warm yummy foods. Now these things all have to adhere to my diet, which isn't so hard after all.

Tonights dinner is smelling wonderful as we 'speak'.

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots

3-4 pound chicken
1 lemon
sprigs of Rosemary
new potatoes
baby carrots
olive oil
salt and pepper
Herbs de Provence

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse your chicken under cold water, inside and out. (Don't forget to take out the giblets if it has any.) Pat dry with paper towels. Oil a baking dish and place the chicken inside. Stuff the cavity with half an onion, cut in half again, rosemary and half a lemon. Gently tug the skin away from the breasts and slide slices of lemons under the skin, between the breast and skin. Tuck the wings under and if you have twine tie the legs together. I had not twine so they stayed apart.

Place the potatoes, either halved or whole, and carrots around the chicken. Salt and pepper everything and sprinkle the Herbs de Provence all over as well. Drizzle olive oil on top.

Place about a cup of water or broth into the pan, over the carrots and potatoes.

Place in oven and bake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Rotate the pan once in a while to create a nice even brown.

Sit back and enjoy the smells while it cooks too. Yummy!

I hope you enjoy this and forgive me for taking such a long break.
As promised....


Monday, July 25, 2011

Brussel Sprouts

It's been a long long time my friends! I had a precious little baby about 3 months ago and just haven't been able to sit down at the computer long enough to write a blog. I've barely just gotten back into the swing of making dinner. For those of you who've had babies you understand the making dinner thing. That and bedtime are the two hardest parts of the day. It's summer now and we've made it to the farmer's market a few times. Sometimes naps have been more important that farmer's market trips and sometimes by the time we are ready to leave it's late and then the market is crowded. But we've gone and little L is carried around in his Ergo baby carrier and loves every minute of it, mostly because he sleeps so well in there!

Spring brought some yummy fresh produce and now is the time for cooking with wonderful fresh produce. Big L has been begging me to buy some brussel sprouts. Mostly because they look so cute, little green balls that look like lettuce! So I did. I've never been a huge fan of brussel sprouts but a few years ago I was watching Lydia Bastianich's cooking show on PBS and she made them look amazing. I decided I would give it a go.

brussel sprouts
olive oil
salt and pepper

The first thing you need to do is prepare your brussel sprouts. Most people think that brussel sprouts are bitter and they are, at least the core is. What I do is core each sprout, take out the center. IT's a lot of work but it's worth it. Use a small sharp knife and cut out the core.

Then peel the brussel sprout like a cabbage. Then you can start the cooking part.

Heat your pan on medium heat. Add some olive oil and about a tablespoon of butter. Add the brussel sprout leaves and sautee. While cooking add some garlic to taste. I like to use the microplane and zest the clove so that I don't end up with large chunks of garlic. Add your salt and pepper to taste and possibly a bit more butter. This makes a great side dish.

You will find that the sprouts are not so bitter like this and you may even find a new favorite side dish.

I've been making homemade sorbet a lot the past month so I think my next blog will be of the sorbet. My only problem is I keep forgetting to take a picture of the final product. I have the pictures of making it, just not the actual sorbet. I plan on making some more soon and will get a picture of the whole process and the final product.

Enjoy!! Namaste

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Taste of Summer

Saturday was the first day of the Farmer's Market here in Boise. If you have followed my blog you would know that I am an avid Farmer's Market goer. London and I tend to go almost every Saturday. It was supposed to rain but then when we woke up it was sunny and not a cloud in the sky. We got dressed, jumped in the car and London was licking her lips saying over and over "Croissants!" Yes, it has been our tradition to always buy a croissant from a local French cafe and someone did not forget that tradition. She was a little disappointed when they said they were out of the ham and cheese ones but settled for a chocolate one. (So sad I know.) :) For the first day it was so crowded. I have mixed emotions about the crowds. I feel sad that it's not so intimate but happy that more people are eating locally and supporting the farmer's of Idaho. They have expanded the size but there were still so many people. A few of my favorite performers were there and London got to enjoy the music while eating her croissant. It's still pretty early and even though the Farmer's were there, they didn't have much to offer. A few had some bags of lettuce but that was about it. I know in the next couple weeks they will start to have delicious asparagus and peas. I love fresh spring asparagus, so tender and full of flavor.
London has always been pretty shy with other little kids and it takes her a while to get comfortable enough to talk and then play with them. This week she surprised me and made a couple immediate friends while playing in some grass. They were holding hands and running around. When they had to say goodbye they gave each other hugs. It made the day even better. But I'd have to say the very best thing about that day was the sun. I finally got a taste of early summer and I can now say that I am craving it. This summer will be very different with a new baby joining us in everything we do. I am so tired of the cold and the rain. I am ready, more than ready, for the warmth of the sun on my body and open windows in my house. Hopefully it will come soon so we can get some outside play going on.

With that, I encourage you all to go out and find your local Farmer's Market and go browse. Even if all you do is browse, there is a great feel out there. People are happy enjoying the outdoors and looking at what all their local craftsmen and farmer's have to offer. You can then go home feeling rejuvenated and positive about what's going on out there in your area. It's a great start to the weekend, or if it's midweek and great pick me up.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Apricot Coconut Granola Bars

I have been experimenting with homemade granola bars for a while now. I just couldn't get it right. Last week it was our day to bring a healthy snack to our childbirth prep class. I thought I should look for a new recipe for granola bars. I got searching and found one that looked good. Of course it was off of, one of my favorite sites for recipes. Her recipe looked great and the bars looked chewy, which was what I wanted. I decided to try it out, and of course I tweaked it a bit. When I make homemade treats I try to make them healthier than a store bought version. That means no preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, no extra sugar, and only natural ingredients. Her recipe called for corn syrup, which I try to avoid, so I made some changes and everything came out delicious! Here is my recipe for Apricot Coconut Granola Bars.

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (if you can't find oat flour like me, then grind the oats in a food processor until finely ground.)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chopped dried apricots (I chopped them in the food processor.)
1 cup shredded coconut
7 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350.

(I chopped the dried apricots and coconut in the food processor until they were tiny bits. I did the apricots first and then when they were just about the right size I added the coconut.)

Stir together all dry ingredients, including apricots and coconut. In a separate bowl combine melted butter and all the wet ingredients. Then pour the wet into the dry stirring to evenly coat. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper with the edges hanging over and spray all sides of the pan. Pour the mixture into your pan and press firmly down. You want to make sure that you press firmly to make sure that everything binds together and will hold once it is baked and cut.

Bake the bars for 30 -40 minutes. Check to see they are browned on the edges and maybe even in the center a bit too. Take out of the oven and cool the bars completely before taking out and cutting. You might even want to place in the fridge after they are cooled to help with the cutting.

Using the paper that was hanging over the edge take the bars out of the pan and cut into little squares. I made 16 total but you can cut them any way you want.

These are super yummy and we had none leftover from our class. Patrick was very sad and made me promise to make some more for us to eat. So I did!

I also made a chocolate peanut butter version. For that instead of apricots and coconut I added about 2 cups of mini chocolate chips and into the wet I added 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter, a natural no sugar added brand like Adams. Of course I was meaning to make a peanut butter chocolate chip bar but forgot that when you add warm melted butter to they dry ingredients it would melt the chips. Oops. So it ended up just being a chocolate peanut butter bar. You could add the chocolate chips right before baking if you don't want them to melt. It's good either way I'm sure, we had none of those left either.

Now that you have this recipe you can play around with the ingredients. Instead of the apricots and coconut just add 2-3 cups of your favorite fruit and nut combination and see what you get! Hope you love this as much as we do!!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011


It's been a tough week for me. I've been feeling rather emotional, crying over everything. This did not happen to me during my first pregnancy but hey, lots of things have been different this time around. I cry when I miss people, I cry when I watch something full of emotion, and I almost started to cry last night when I learned about how amazingly strong the uterus is and how amazing a woman's body really is. Yikes!! So I thought that it would be a good time to try new recipes and poor myself into that. Yesterday I made two batches of homemade granola bars, which both turned out amazing. I took them to the childbirth preparation class that we are attending and we came back with empty plates. (We were a little sad about not having any for ourselves but PAtrick made me promise to make more.) I didn't take pictures of them so I will make some more later this week and post it with pictures. Last night I also made a new pasta dish, that was not a huge hit with me. Tonight I decided to make a quiche. I haven't made too many quiches but I know I can make anything that I want to when I want to and have the time to. I started this morning by making the dough for the crust and then putting it in the fridge to chill. Later this afternoon I took it out, rolled it out, and then baked it. Then this evening I made the filling and baked it. This quiche recipe was from I like their recipes because I can always count on it to be on the healthy side. (Even though quiche is quiche and will be high in cholesterol and add cheese to that and you get more cholesterol.) I figure for a once in a while meal it will be fine. I changed it a little by making the crust with whole wheat flour and then adding asparagus to the top of the quiche due to a request from my 4 year old. The quiche came out great and then some. We all ate our slices and a couple of us had seconds. Can't wait for breakfast tomorrow to have some more! :) I am going to give you my adapted version.

Spinach, Green Onion, and Gouda Quiche topped with Asparagus

6 tbsp butter, softened
3 tbsp 1 % low-fat milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cups unbleached flour
3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 thinly sliced green onions
3 cups baby spinach
1 cup 1 % low-fat milk
3/4 cups Gouda cheese
3/4 tsp salt
dash of nutmeg
3 large eggs


Place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until soft and fluffy. In a small bowl combine milk, salt and egg yolk, stir with a whisk. Add milk mixture to butter a little at a time and blend until well blended. Add flour, beat until just combined. Press dough into a 4 inch circle on plastic wrap; cover and let chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350

Unwrap dough and on a floured surface roll out to a ten inch circle. Fit the dough down into a 9 inch pie pan. Freeze for 15 minutes. Bake for 25 minutes until browned slightly and fluffy. (Mine did have a few air bubbles in it but that's okay.) Let cool.


Over medium high heat add olive oil and green onions and saute until tender. Add spinach and saute until just wilted.

Combine milk and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, stir with a whisk. Stir in spinach mixture. Pour filling into crust.

Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes. (Mine took a little longer to set.) I like to let it get a little brown on the top too. Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.


This was easy even though I had to make my own crust. I like to do things from scratch whenever possible to avoid having preservatives in our food. I like to make sure I know everything that goes into our food. That being said, you could always buy a store bought crust and just make the filling. The filling couldn't be easier to make and then who doesn't like to sit back and relax, or wash dishes (sarcasm), while the dish is in the oven?

Hopefully the rest of the week gets better, but I have a feeling that as time is getting closer, 6 more weeks to go, I will just be getting more emotional. Oh well, c'est la vie! Or at least it's my life at the moment.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spinach Side

I have said before that spinach is a super food. It is full of wonderful nutrients that as I always say to London, "It's soooo good for our bodies." She has taken to saying this about all fruits and veggies. When I make dinner I always am thinking what vegetable or side dish would go with this. I am 33 weeks pregnant and right now am trying to use a lot of vegetables as side dishes as opposed to starches or carbs. I bought a huge box of spinach from the store the other day when I made some spinach pesto and decided that a side of sauteed spinach would go well with the Salmon I made. I decided to also throw in some mushrooms to that saute as well.

A while back I was eating mostly vegetarian. I came across Liquid Smoke. Who doesn't love that smokey meat flavor? Most of us when craving certain foods really are only craving the flavors of that item. When you crave something that is smokey off the grill it usually is just that smokey flavor we are craving. When making a vegetarian chili there is usually just a little something that is missing, that is when you add a few drops of liquid smoke. Liquid smoke is collected by collecting the condensation made from different woods when smoking them in a smoker. You get the great smokey flavor with no meat added.

Back to the spinach. I wanted to make it taste almost as if there was ham, or prosciutto in the spinach so I decided I would look to liquid smoke to add that little bit of smokey flavor and depth to the spinach. (You can find liquid smoke at your grocery store near the ketchups.)

olive oil
diced onion, just a bit to add flavor
Spinach, enough to feed your family. (REmember, spinach wilts down to almost nothing so add more when in doubt.)
mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
liquid smoke, a drop or two

Heat the olive oil. Add the onions and mushrooms and saute for a bit. Add the spinach, salt and pepper and cover for a bit. When you notice some wilting going on take the lid off and saute some. Add the liquid smoke and saute until done to your liking. This is a great side dish. It's so good for your bodies. :)


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Homemade Pop Tarts

About a couple weeks ago I saw on Facebook someone saying that they made homemade pop tarts. I immediately followed the link on their site and saw the recipe. I thought about for a while and being in St. Croix I decided to wait until I was back in Boise. I'm back and so yesterday London and I decided that it would be a good idea to try them out. I, like most people, ate a lot of pop tarts in college because they were the most bang for the buck in the vending machines that lined the halls on campus. I knew they were horrible for me but since I was dancing all the time I figured that the exercise would balance out the harm. Well now that I have London I have not purchased pop tarts in years. There are a few foods that I will not buy and pop tarts are one of those foods. They are full of preservatives and artificial colors and not to mention high fructose corn syrup. No real fruit and who knows how long their shelf life is. London didn't even know what they were, until yesterday when we made them.

I can tell you this, they are time consuming. They are not difficult but time consuming for sure. Instead of making them rectangles we made them half circles. This time I opted for chocolate filling. I chopped up some dark chocolate, mixed in some sugar, cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg. Next time I will try a jam filling. It was so much fun and now London will only know a pop tart to be my pop tarts. Here is the website that I got the recipe from. This site has a lot of really yummy recipes on it that I am dying to try. I will do and then let you know as I do.

Here are the pictures of our experience. London loved helping and then she loved eating. We also did the recommendation of King Arthurs Flour of making the scraps into a tasty treat. It was a delicious kind of day yesterday.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Healthy Snack

It's been a long long time. Sorry to all those that follow and like my recipes. My Dad passed away unexpectedly the 28th of November so my mind has been elsewhere. I have also been back home with my family for a while and just now got back to Boise. While I was away I ate so many yummy comfort foods and loved them all.

One of my favorite snacks, and London's, is yogurt. I go through phases with yogurt and sometimes don't eat it for months but right now I'm on a kick. I love greek honey yogurt. I love the brand Zoi, which I can only find in one store here in Boise. It's so thick and creamy.

For a snack I scoop some into a bowl then top with blueberries and drizzle with a little extra honey. I love this snack and don't feel bad when I eat it. :)

Greek yogurt has more protein in it that regular yogurt, which right now since I am 27 weeks pregnant, is very important. The blueberries provide antioxidants and that tiny burst of flavor. (The extra drizzle of honey is just because I love sweet things!) Hope you enjoy this super easy and yummy snack, good for all ages.