Grain & Gluten Free Quesadilla

Today I had some time on my hands and wanted to try a recipe that I’d pinned forever ago…IMG_7924Low-Carb Quesadillas!  I am just in love with Up Late Anyway‘s low carb recipes… she takes ingredients that I’d never imagine using together and makes the most delicious Grain Free, Gluten Free, Low Carb Bites of Heaven!

I’ve made several of her recipes before and have even experimented around with a few of my own variations.  I mostly followed the instructions this time, with a minor variation on fillings, but this time I figured out what I’d been doing wrong the last couple of times that I was experimenting … I burned the cheese.  Not enough that you could really tell at first, but I’d crispied the cheese when I was melting it initially…. just not paying attention when I was microwaving it.  The rest of the ingredients just wouldn’t incorporate correctly after that.

The important things to pay attention to:

  1. Don’t fry the cheese!  Microwave for 45 – 60 seconds. Watch it!  After that do an additional 10-15 seconds and then check and stir.
  2. Weigh the cheese.  I bought a kitchen scale specifically for these recipes.  It makes a HUGE difference.
  3. Shred your own cheese.  The pre-shredded stuff has something on it to keep it from sticking together and this recipe is sensitive enough that it’ll mess it up.
  4. Don’t buy the low-fat cheese.  Fat is good.  And the low-fat stuff will mess up the recipe too.

Low Carb Quesadilla

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella (140 grams)
1 egg
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp heavy cream

Quesadilla Filling

1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup seasoned ground turkey (I used Wildtree Taco Seasoning)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Melt cheese in microwave making sure to not overheat.

Add the cream and coconut flour to the cheese.  Stir until incorporated and then add the egg.  It takes some squishing around, but suddenly a beautiful, soft dough forms.  If you still see veins of mozzarella stick the whole thing back in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. It should all be a smooth even consistency.

Once everything is totally incorporated roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper.

Bake for 10 minutes (until it’s brown) and remove from oven.  Next add your toppings to one side of the quesadilla… since you’ll be folding it in half after its done.  Return to oven to bake until the cheese is melty.

Remove from oven and fold in half.  I used a pizza cutter to slice the quesadilla in half.

 

Detox Day 3: Shaken

Day Three of the 10-Day Grain Detox Challenge:

I finally found one of the breakfast shakes in the Wheat Belly 10 Grain Detox book that I sorta, kinda like.  I wouldn’t call it yummy… but it’s not bad.

IMG_7902Brian couldn’t make it through the Mocha Coconut Shake on day one.  In retrospect, it might not have been so god-awful if we hadn’t used the raw potato and pumpkin seeds. (Sounds awesome, huh?)  You have the choice of raw potato or green banana to introduce prebiotics into your poor, grain abused tummy.  (Not the same thing as probiotics… we’re taking those in pills.) Since Brian isn’t a fan of bananas we made his shake with the potato… and it tasted like dirt… There’s just nothing nice to say about it.  It was a Dirt Shake.

I had the Tropical Storm shake on the first day.  I
used the green banana and the overall taste wasIMG_7904 much improved by the pineapple chunks.  On Day 2 & 3 we switched the pumpkin seeds for sunflower seeds and that really helped eliminate the grainy texture.

Day Two Brian got up early and grabbed breakfast before I could make him another tasty shake.  It was just eggs, so it was totally on the detox plan, but I was sad not to have a Shake Buddy.

Today is our 8 Year First-Date Anniversary, so I made us shakes in fancy glasses with pretty straws…. and forgot that despite the fact that I was on my third day of shakes (and I use IMG_7920Coconut Oil all the time) that this was only Brian’s first shake….. and that maybe 1/4 cup of coconut oil might cause him a bit of stomach discomfort…. Happy Anniversary!
I’m pretty sure he hates me now.
At any rate…. Day Three… we’ve made it this far… more or less (don’t ask Brian’s opinion on the whole thing right now).

We’ve gotten a strange Mid-February heat wave, so we’re making the most of it by grilling some steaks tonight.  Woo Hoo, Carnivores!

 

 

Cinnamon Squares

I have been craving donuts lately.

It’s not entirely my fault… it’s the books that I’ve been reading.  I’m so easily tempted by a good pastry description.

Tricky Twenty-Two, the latest in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich recently came out and I’ve been devouring it.  The problem is that every time Stephanie is feeling defeated… and let’s face it, we Stephanies aren’t really Bounty Hunter material, so she’s feeling defeated pretty often…. she and Lula (the ex-Ho turned file-clerk/sidekick-bounty-hunter) get donuts.  Sometimes they get fried chicken, but I’m not really tempted by the fried chicken.  It’s the damn donuts that call to me.

I’ve been trying to eat healthier.  This past year has been rough on my diet.  I’m still Gluten-Free…. falling off the wheat-free wagon leads to headaches and stomach issues, so staying GF isn’t the problem….. the problem is chocolate, ice cream and soda are all gluten free too.  I’ve also found a number of GF replacements that are delicious and laden with carbs and evil.

So, NO, I don’t need donuts… no… no, no, no, no….. but I want em so bad.

Okay…. so what will get me my donut ‘fix,’ but not be loaded with fake flours and starches and evil?

I discovered the Up Late Anyway blog a while back and was transfixed by the magical recipes she posted.  They were insane… impossible… ingenious?

Up Late Anyway posts High Fat / Low Carb recipes…. so they’re gluten free and loaded with flavor… because fat isn’t evil… it’s delicious and good for us.  (Read The Fat Revolution for more info about the benefits of a High Fat/Low Carb diet.)

My favorite recipe is the Low Carb Cheese Danish.  It is pure magic.  The main ingredient is ….. MOZZARELLA CHEESE! Yes!  In a sweet danish.  I know, it’s crazy, but true.

The first time I made it I was about halfway through the recipe and my hands were coated with egg and coconut flour and I was getting really pissed… I was sure I’d just ruined a bunch of expensive ingredients for no good reason…. and then BAM!  It all came together in my hands.  One minute…. slimy grit… the next a beautiful dough.  It was magic.

Low Carb, Gluten Free, Cinnamon Squares

When I give you a recipe on my blog it’s mine.  I may have been inspired by another blog or inherited the recipe from someone, but I’ve altered it or contributed enough additional directions that I feel like I’m giving you something new.

So I’m not going to give you the Cheese Danish recipe here… There’s no point in me copying and pasting her work.  You should go look at her page and check out all the other amazing recipes she has.

Part of the purpose of my blog is to introduce you to things…. recipes… books… places…..ideas.  My contribution is the introduction… and letting you know that I tried it and weather or not it worked for me.

See?  I’m useful too!

Here’s the link: Up Late Anyway’s Cheese Danish

Read the recipe and actually follow the directions.  Seriously.  I’ve tried it a few times and screwed it up once or twice because I wasn’t following directions.  Don’t be lazy.  This recipes is worth the effort to use the right ingredients.  The ‘dough’ is super versatile and could be used for so many things.

I did two things different from the original recipe.  I didn’t make the cheese filling (It is delicious, so you should really try it, I was just after cinnamon this time.) and I used real sugar.  (I have made it both ways; using real sugar and using Truvia… I can’t stand the taste of the Truvia… my mom and husband don’t even notice it…. so that’s totally up to you.)

Low Carb & Gluten Free Stromboli

Gluten Free Stromboli Normally it makes me crazy when bloggers talk about a recipe, but don’t give you the recipe… they just link you to someone else’s site. In this case though, I’m just going to link you to Up Late Anyway’s blog.

Usually when I post a recipe that I’ve found on some one else’s site I’ve made changes to it or I explain how to make it differently.  This time….. she did a great job.  I can’t add anything really. The reason I’m posting it at all? I’ve made it for the family and I’ve been telling my friends how great it is…. So if you haven’t come across this recipe on your own yet… I want to introduce you to it.  It is SO good!  OMG!  You’ve got to try it!

Stromboli I found the link on Pinterest and I didn’t quite believe that it would really work.  Are you ready for this?  The main ingredient in this dough…. is Mozzerella cheese!  I didn’t believe that this would work, but if it did work…. oh, the possabiities!

I’ve made it a few times and even served it at Family Dinner Night. Everyone loved it and thought that I must have used some kind of gluten free flour.

My big contribution to this recipe? Telling you to follow the instructions!  The first time I made this recipe I just used what I had in the house.  It came out okay…. but not as amazing as it should be.  Up Late Anyway tells you to make sure that your cheese has <1 carb per serving if you use pre shredded cheese…. just buy a block of cheese and shredded it…. it makes a difference, do it right.  This dough is SO worth the extra effort.

This dough is low carb and gluten free…. it takes a little bit of effort, but it is so delicious.

Up Late Anyway – Stromboli

http://uplateanyway.com/keto/stromboli/

IMG_0529

Chicken Salad Rollups

Ever so often our local grocery store has a special on whole fryer chickens and I like to grab two or three.  I used to put them into the freezer, but I never remembered to drag them out in time to thaw.  Now I’ve started baking and shredding them as soon as I get home from the store.  They really are the best when I have time to leave them in the crockpot all day and let them cook slowly, but they’re still delicious after a few hours in the oven.  I store the shredded chicken in the freezer until I’m ready to use it.  The shredded chicken thaws SO much faster than a whole chicken!

I recently made Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Squash Boats and had some shredded chicken left over.  Since I’m always trying to find new things for lunches, I thought I’d give chicken salad a try.

I am really pleased with how this recipe turned out.  I used the Blue Owl’s Crunchy Chicken Salad recipe for inspiration (I am so completely addicted to it!), but made a couple of my own additions.  I started with Wildtree’s Dill Dip (sour cream, mayonnaise & dill dip blend), I’m not sure that the sour cream added a whole lot to the flavor.  I really enjoy the combo on the Dill-icious Chicken Bites, but here I think it would be fine to go with just mayo and skip the sour cream all together.   I also added the dried cranberries (Blue Owl uses pickle relish).  Don’t skip the lemon juice…. it just adds the perfect little bite…. or the pecans… they add a little crunchy texture.

Chicken Salad Rollups

Ingredients FullSizeRender (1)

  • 3 c. Chicken, shredded
  • 1/4 c. Sour Cream
  • 1/4 c. Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • 1/4 c. Pecans, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Wildtree Dill Dip Blend
  • 2 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 c. Dried Cranberries
  • Bib Lettuce

Directions:

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients, except the lettuce. (You may prefer to add more or less mayonnaise… I don’t like a whole lot. Just enough to make everything stick together.)

Use the bib lettuce like a tortilla to roll the chicken salad up.

Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Grandma’s Stuffed Peppers: Redo

IMG_8337

We’ve had some crazy busy weeks lately and I don’t see things slowing down until late September… (hopefully).

Since I’m not always sure when Brian or I will be getting home each evening, I’ve been using the crock-pot a lot lately.

As I’ve admitted before… I’m a little freaked out by crock-pots.  I just don’t trust them not to burst into flames and burn down the countryside…. Brian thinks I’m ridiculous. Before we got married he lived off of crock-pot meals. He swears that crock-pots are perfectly safe….. I’m not entirely convinced….I still clear everything off the counter before using the crock-pot, but I have to admit it is really nice to come home to the smell of a delicious dinner.

So the other day when I stopped at the fruit stand and they had a huge pile of beautiful, green peppers…. I swear I heard Grandma’s voice…  It’s moments like these that I miss Grandma horribly and then feel so blessed to have had the time that we did.

In my family, Stuffed Peppers are either loved or hated… there is no in-between.  My Aunt Sheila and I love them… so when Grandma would make Stuffed Peppers Sheila and I would get a call to come over for dinner.  I have lied and told Grandma that I hadn’t made dinner yet… taken dinner out of the oven and gone to Grandma’s for Stuffed Peppers.  Of course, Grandma has passed, I’ve gone Gluten Free and Sheila has turned vegetarian (and almost gluten-free)….. things have changed, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have my beloved Stuffed Peppers… they just have to change a little too.

Brian was lucky enough to have had Grandma’s Stuffed Peppers a time or two… I’m not sure if he was as excited about the Peppers as I was or if it was the mashed potatoes that he loved so much.  Grandma always made mashed potatoes with stuffed peppers… I’m not sure why, considering that we topped the peppers with a tomato sauce….. but it just worked.

I always think of Stuffed Peppers as an Autumn type meal,  but summer is really the prime time for garden fresh peppers and tomatoes.  I had a bunch of tomatoes from my garden that I needed to do something with….. I don’t know why I plant them.  I always end up with more tomatoes than I know what to do with, but every spring I am compelled to buy tomato plants.  I decided to make my own homemade spaghetti sauce using Wildtree’s Hearty Spaghetti Sauce seasonings.  OMG!  It was sooooo good!

I make a few changes from Grandma’s original recipe.  I add pork sausage, where Grandma just used hamburger… I often use turkey instead of hamburger too.  I also use Wildtree’s Garam Masala Blend… it sounds a little odd, (Ingredients: Organic Cinnamon, Organic Cardamom, Organic Cumin, Organic Coriander, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Cayenne Pepper, Organic Nutmeg, Organic Cloves, Organic Turmeric) but the flavors go together just perfect.

 

 Grandma’s Stuffed Peppers: The New Way

Ingredients:

Stuffed Peppers

  •  1 lb – Ground Turkey (or Hamburger)
  • 1 lb – Pork Sausage
  • 1 – Onion, chopped (small)
  • ½ c. – Celery, chopped
  • 1 t – Garlic, chopped
  • 1 t – Wildtree’s Garam Masala Blend
  • 1 c – Rice
  • 6 – Green Peppers
  • Salt & Pepper

Spaghetti Sauce

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together; roll into balls and stuff into the peppers.

Meanwhile, dice the tomatoes and onion.  In a medium sauce pan, combine the onion, tomatoes, garlic and seasonings.  Allow sauce to simmer at least 20 minutes.  (Or longer if desired.)

Bake at 350* for 1 ½ hours.

Or place in a crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  If you use the crock pot you could add the spaghetti sauce to the crockpot and allow it to cook with the peppers all day.

 

 

 

Salad in a Jar

IMG_7003Mom and I have been trying to encourage my aunt to go Gluten Free for a while now.  One of her biggest hang-ups is that she is a vegetarian …. the pickiest vegetarian on the face of the earth…. (luv u, Auntie).  She doesn’t like most vegetables…. or fruit…. Honestly, I think she is an Ice-cream-aterian, but she says vegetarian because it sounds healthier.

Auntie’s got some nasty joint issues and real trouble sleeping and I would just LOVE for her to try going gluten free and see how she feels in a month or so.

Well, nagging logical reasoning finally prevailed and Auntie agreed to give it a shot.  Woo Hoo!  Except that somewhere along the line I promised to find and make food that she would actually eat.  Yeah….. so…..

Thankfully, Auntie likes salads and Mom and I have a garden full of fresh tomatoes, zucchini and summer squash.  Since we’re trying to get her to up her fat intake too (that took some convincing!) I’ll throw in some feta cheese, hardboiled eggs (from Mom’s chickens!) and a little grapeseed oil for the dressing.

I’ve been eating these Salad’s in a Jar since I saw the idea on Pinterest a few years back and decided to give it a try.  It isn’t a complicated idea, but there is a trick to keeping the lettuce from turning black and slimy….. Layering.

I’ve used plastic containers if I know I’ll be eating them the same day, but I noticed that the glass mason jars kept the salad colder until lunch time.  Don’t let the size of the jar fool you either… once you start filling the jar you can really cram it full.  I am always suprised how huge the salad becomes when you un-pack it from the jar.

I read that they would hold up for over a week in the jar when stored in the fridge, but I’ve never had them last that long….. I always ate them!  I do know that when I’ve made them on Monday they were still crisp and yummy on Friday.

Salad in a Jar

Ingredients IMG_6998

  • Dressing or Oil
  • Hardboiled Eggs
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Summer Squash
  • Carrots
  • Cheese
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Pecans
  • Spinach Leaves
  • Romaine Lettuce

Directions

Layer your ingredients in the jar in this order.  Wet/squishy stuff first.  Next drier items like cheese and nuts.  This creates a dry barrier between the lettuce and the wet ingredients and keeps the lettuce from turning slimy.

Tighten the lid and store in the fridge until ready to eat.

Turn the jar upside down and shake into a bowl, toss.  Yum!