Monthly Archives: March 2014

Wheat Free Menu Plan and Goals

The weather has warmed up and it’s feeling like spring. We’ve been able to spend most evenings outside and let the kids burn off some energy. The landscape isn’t turning green yet (except for the weeds, that is) so it’s still quite ugly outside but hopefully before long we’ll see things turning green.

It’s slightly embarrassing to admit this, but I purchased fish when I went shopping for my first time ever. I’m never been a huge seafood fan and cooking it has always kind-of scared me. The first recipe we tried actually turned out pretty well. Shaun said it was one to make again. I’m looking forward to testing out some other recipes.

The weekend started with a concert and then a fantasy baseball draft (which was at our house) and this week is the last of membership drive for our concert series association and the final concert of the season. I’ll still have work to do as memberships continue trickling in but the big push and long few days will be over.

We are starting on our third week of wheat free. The little guy’s face is looking smoothing and the eczema isn’t raised at all. Occasionally it turns more red but nothing too bad. It’s hard to know if it’s the lack of wheat, heater not being used, him getting older etc. I guess the true test will be seeing what happens when we reintroduce wheat into our diets at Easter. (Or rather my diet seeing that he still doesn’t care about solids and I try to wait until longer to introduce wheat directly to the kids.)

Menu Plan and Goals @ Deanna Micheals - From this Kitchen Table

Suppers:

  • Salmon and Asparagus
  • Fantasy Baseball  Draft at our house – snacks
  • Egg Roll in a Bowl
  • Ladies’ Bible Study – bringing chickpea and corn salad
  • Leftovers

Lunches:

Breakfasts:

Goals:

My goals this week are going to be simple. Only 1 day of the 7 do we not have something extra going on and a couple of the days will be really long ones.

  • Concert Series Headquarters
  • Print ballots prior to the last concert Thursday
  • Make graphics and re-read this week’s posts
  • Continue 28 days of Pilates and 30 day plank challenge (half way there)
  • Keep the house halfway put together and everyone fed. :-)
  • Reading, jewelry making and anything else is a bonus

What’s on your menu? Any big projects you are tackling this week?

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

Indian Pea Pilaf (peas pilau)

Indian Pea Pilaf (peas pilau). My favorite rice side dish. Easy and super tasty.

This is another recipe from my sister. She makes some awesome Indian food. The flavors are subtle but tasty and different. Something different about this recipe is that there is no heat from peppers which makes if perfect for those with sensitive palates.

I made Indian Pea Pilaf or Peas Pilau for my first time a year ago and fell in love. What a simple dish to prepare and it has a unique twist. This is my favorite recipe to use when I want to serve a side dish of rice with any recipe. Last week I make it to go with roasted chicken. My husband is not a fan of peas but this was tasty enough that he said he didn’t mind them.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Indian Pea Pilaf (peas pilau)
Serves: 8-10
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter or expeller pressed coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablepoon ginger garlic paste (or 1½ teaspoons finely minced ginger an 1/12 teaspoons finely minced garlic)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (may need a little more)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cups water
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a skillet. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon stick. Saute until fragrant - around a minute. Watch carefully so the spices don't burn.
  2. Add the onions and saute until tender.
  3. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté another minute.
  4. Stir in peas and salt. Turn off heat.
  5. Place rice, pea mixture, and water into a rice cooker and cook according to cooker instructions.

 

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What is Your Response?

What is Your Response? One of worship and trust no matter your circumstances or one of "woe is me"?

I’ve been reading the book of Ruth the past several weeks. I’ve read it numerous other times but something different jumped out at me going over the first couple of chapters.

Naomi is annoying. Yes, she suffered greatly with the loss of her husband and sons. She wasn’t near her friends and family. Life didn’t go according to plan. It didn’t make her response any less annoying for me to read. Her attitude turns to one of “woe is me”. She says, “don’t call me Naomi; call me Mara, God dealt bitterly with me. I went away full and came back empty.”

Compare Naomi to another individual in the Bible who also came up against some rotten circumstances: Job. His response to suffering was to tear his robe, shave his head, and fall on the ground and worship. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked shall I return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Job make the decision to worship God and trust in Him even though his life was turned upside down. Even in the midst of his suffering.

Only when Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem and the Lord blessed Ruth’s gleaning from Boaz’s field did Naomi change her tune. She went from “the Lord has brought calamity upon me” to “His kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead”

How easy it can be for me to get caught up in life and issues and stuff. I worry about health, finances, family, decisions. It’s so easy to act like Naomi, feel sorry for myself and the circumstances and uncertainty that I’m going through.

I became annoyed with Naomi simply reading about her. How much more so do those around me get frustrated with me.  I imagine they are wanting to say “Just stop. Let it go. Remember who God is. Continue to bless Him even when it’s hard. Count on Him to help you.” They see the big picture as I’m caught up in my own little self-focused world. Not only is it annoying it’s also dishonoring to my God.

In Philippians we are told not be anxious about anything. Peter tells us to cast all our anxieties on him. In James it says to count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds.

It’s not okay to wait until the trials and worries are over and I am looking back that I trust Him. That doesn’t require trust and faith. Instead, in the midst of the battle, in the midst of uncertainty, in the midst of pain, I’m called to trust Him and to let Him carry my burdens however heavy they may be.

What is Your Response? One of worship and trust no matter your circumstances or one of "woe is me"?

When life comes at me, I want my response to be like that of Job’s no matter my worry over medical results, loss, finances, decisions or uncertainty. I want to cast my cares on Him even while I’m waiting for the test results to come. I want my automatic response to be one of praising and blessing God.

It’s not easy. In fact, sometimes I may not even want to but how much better it is when I obey.

What have you found to help your response be one of praise in the midst of the unknown?

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Peppermint Double Chocolate Cookies

Peppermint Double Chocolate Cookies. These are one of my favorite cookies. The mint is the perfect addition.

My second recipe is up at The Best Blog Recipes today for Peppermint Double Chocolate Cookies!

Peppermint and chocolate is one of my favorite food combinations. Most people only think about peppermint at Christmas time when candy canes fill the candy aisle at the store. These cookies are perfect for year round. Bring them out at Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, family gatherings, and dessert with friends. No one else will duplicate your contribution and you will come away with an empty plate. I recently made these for our small group, and everyone loved them.

There are a couple of different options when it comes to adding the mint flavor and it’s all about personal preference. If you want to go for more of a mint flavor like you’d get in mint chocolate chip ice cream or Andes mints, use mint extract. You can find it in the baking aisle at any grocery store. It is a combination of peppermint and spearmint.

The other option is to go with a straight peppermint flavor (the taste you get when eating a candy cane). My local grocery store did not carry this. I had to purchase Wilton peppermint oil from the cake decorating section at Hobby Lobby. This is a lot stronger than the extract so be sure to start with just a few drops.

I’ve made the cookies both ways and my preference is with the peppermint oil. However, both are spectacular. I Highly recommend you give this recipe a try. It is one of my favorites!

Find the recipe here!

Bring your favorite chocolate dessert to Roxana’s home baking #chocolateparty and win amazing prizes from Imperial Sugar®Gold Medal Flour®Safest Choice™ Pasteurized Eggs and KitchenAid®

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Wheat Free Menu Plan and Goals

It was a fun week for our family! My sister had her third baby (my first niece) on my mom’s birthday. I can’t wait to get to hold her. She was a tiny thing. Two days later another sister got engaged on my little brother’s thirteenth birthday. Hooray for growing families!

Coming next week I’ll have a series on kitchen tools, appliances, and essentials that I thought my sister might find useful as she and her fiance plan their registries. You might find an idea or two on the list for your own kitchen or to use as gift ideas too.

Menu Plan and Goals @ From this Kitchen Table

She wanted to have a picnic on the living room floor.

We have started our second week of being wheat free. Our little guys face is looking better but I don’t know if it’s from no wheat, the heater not being used as much, or him just getting older. I guess we’ll see if there continues to be improvement and observe what happens when we add wheat back in at the end of the experiment.

Menu Plan and Goals @ From this Kitchen Table

Suppers:

Lunches:

Breakfasts:

Goals:

What goals do you have? Anything tasty on your menu?

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

 

Spicy Indian Chicken Sandwich

One of my sisters is married to a man from India. She cooks some killer Indian food. This recipe is one of hers and it is good. The Spicy Indian Chicken Sandwich is a fun change from a regular grilled or pan cooked chicken sandwich and has a nice kick. Adjust the spice depending on your family’s heat tolerance. My family can’t take things near are spicy as my sister and those she cooks for. On top of the heat in this chicken, she recommends topping the sandwich with sliced raw jalapeno. There is no way my mouth could handle that, but if you like fire, go for it!
Spicy Indian Chicken Sandwich. This is so tasty and a fun and flavorful twist. Can serve in a bun or in naan.

You can thinly slice the chicken breast and cook on the grill or cut into bite sized piece and cook over the stove. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, and thinly sliced red onion. Serve on a bun or in a piece of naan as a tasty wrap.

This will serve 6-8 depending on how large your chicken breasts are.

Spicy Indian Chicken Sandwich. This is so tasty and a fun and flavorful twist. Can serve in a bun or in naan.

Spicy Indian Chicken Sandwich
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 3 chicken breasts (thinly sliced or cut into chunks)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1-3 teaspoons of sambal oelek (these last two are the ingredients you'll want to adjust for how spicy you like)
Sandwich
  • Bread, Buns, or Naan
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Red Onion
  • Cheese
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except for chicken.
  2. Rub spice mixture over chicken and let marinate at least four hours and preferably overnight.
  3. Cook the thinly sliced pieces of chicken on a low grill being careful not to overcook or saute the chunks in a small amount of oil on the stove.
  4. Build your sandwich or wrap with your choice of bread and toppings.

 

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Homemade Pizza Sauce

Hopefully you aren’t tired of all the pizza talk yet. (My husband would say there is no such thing as too much pizza.) I promise we are almost done. I shared my tips for making pizza on a budget and my recipe for crust and tips for making the perfect pizza already. Today, I’m going to give you my sauce recipe.

Easy and Delicious Homemade Pizza Sauce. You can whip this up in seconds and it freezes great!

Let me tell you a secret. Pizza sauce is one of the easiest things to make and can be done in seconds. There is no need to purchase jarred sauce if you have basic spices in your pantry. I use tomato sauce. If you are out, tomato puree or another tomato based product would work.

Pizza sauce is one of those things I never measure ingredients on. I add a shake of this and a shake of that. The past few times I’ve made it, I’ve pulled out the measuring spoons to get this recipe. Feel free to switch it up and taste and adjust at the end. Sometimes I’ll add thyme and in the summer when I have fresh herbs I love to add them instead of dried ones.

4.7 from 3 reviews
Homemade Pizza Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon marjoram
  • pinch of rosemary
  • pinch of fennel seeds, optional
  • small pinch of red pepper flakes
  • freshly cracked pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine everything in a small saucepan and gently heat on low to let the flavors combine.
  2. I use approximately ½ cup per pizza. This recipe makes enough for three pizzas.
  3. Freeze in pizza size portions if you aren't going to use it all.

 

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Homemade Pizza Crust

Almost every Friday night, you’ll find an oven blazing with a round baking stone heating up inside. Homemade pizzas were made weekly when I was growing up and we’ve continued the tradition.

Last week I shared some ways to make homemade pizza frugally so that even if you are on a budget you’ll still be able to enjoy pizza night and my sauce recipe is here. Today I have my crust recipe and baking instructions for you!

Homemade Pizza Crust | We love this recipe and there are my top tips for a great homemade pizza!

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My number one tip for a successful homemade pizza: A baking stone! We have a 15 inch round stone from Pampered Chef. It has become well seasoned over the years and is well worth the investment. 

My second tip: Don’t roll all of the air bubbles out of the dough. I use a combination of stretching, tossing, and rolling. I like to use my mini pizza and pastry roller (one similar to this).

My third tip: Preheat the oven and the stone. Give it longer than when your oven says it’s ready. You want the stone good and hot.

My fourth tip: Use a high temperature. I turn the oven to 475 degrees.

I know crust thickness is somewhat a personal preference. This crust recipe fits a 15 inch stone. If you like super thin and crispy, cut the flour back to 2 cups. If you like your crust thicker, increase it to 2 3/4 cups. Don’t forget, this means the water amounts will change as well. Gradually add the water to the flour until you come up with the right dough consistency. The first time you make this, it will be a little bit of a guessing game. Simply tweak it the next time to your family’s preference.

I prefer to let this dough rise for several hours but when I’ve been in a rush I’ve made and used it after a short 15-30 minute resting period and it was still good.

We’ve also used part whole wheat flour and all whole wheat flour. This will change the texture slightly and you’ll end up using more water.

Homemade Pizza Crust
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
Instructions
Dough
  1. Place flour in mixer bowl.
  2. Top with salt, sugar, and yeast.
  3. Add water and oil. Should make a soft dough that isn't sticky at all.
  4. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
  5. Cover mixing bowl and let dough rise until at least doubled - a couple of hours. It's okay if it goes longer.
Preheat
  1. Thirty to sixty minutes before you are going to bake your pizza, preheat the oven and stone to 475 degrees.
Rolling the Dough
  1. Gently put the dough on a lightly floured surface.
  2. Next roll, stretch, and toss your dough into a 15 inch circle. When rolling, do it gently so not to deflate all of the air bubbles. I prefer to use my mini roller.
Topping
  1. Remove the stone from the oven and carefully carry and place the crust onto it.
  2. Spread with sauce of choice.
  3. Top with meats, vegetables, and cheese.
Bake
  1. Bake for 8-15 minutes.
  2. Cut and serve

 

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