Avocado Brownies

Brian and I hosted our first Gluten Free Living: Dinner & Discovery event last night.  It was even better than I’d hoped!

We had six guests, old friends and new friends, some totally new to the lifestyle and some who have been living it for a while now.   We spent a great evening cooking, eating, chatting and learning.  It is so nice to be able to share the excitement and frustration of living Gluten Free with others who are on the same path.  We all had tips and questions and ideas to share…. it was wonderful!IMG_6965

We started dinner off with appetizers and sharing our stories about how we had each come to be (or consider becoming) Gluten Free. While everyone was snacking on fresh guacamole and corn tortilla chips Brian demonstrated how to make Avocado Brownies.  (MINI Food Processor: Black & Decker HC306 1-1/2-Cup One-Touch Electric Chopper …. buy one, you will love it!)

One of the things we want to do with these Dinner & Discovery parties is showcase the products and tools that we’ve found to be really useful for cooking Gluten Free. Remember, we’re not getting most of our food out of a box anymore, we’re making it.

We also want to share the recipes that we KNOW work.  When we first went Gluten Free, Brian and I ruined so many recipes because we either didn’t have the right tools (ever try putting one avocado in the full sized food processor?) or we didn’t understand the new foods (hello, coconut flour) that we were working with.

Once the brownies went into the oven, I grabbed the roasted spaghetti squash and demonstrated the way they should look and feel when they are done.  I also showed everyone how easy it was to go from squash to spaghetti…. something I hadn’t quite believed would be so easy when I first started making spaghetti squash.

With the demonstrations done, we headed to the dinner table and dug in.  Conversations wandered from food to travel and families and back again…. it was wonderful.  Good friends and good food…. good for the body and good for the soul.

Menu

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Avocado Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 large, Ripe Avocado
  • ¼ c Butter
  • ½ c Honey
  • 4 oz Bittersweet Baking Chocolate
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • ¼ c Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Flour (sifted)
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • ¼ c Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (to sprinkle on top)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°

Cut avocado in half, peel and add to mini food processor.  Process until VERY smooth.

Melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil together in the microwave or over a double boiler.

In a stand mixer, combine avocado and all remaining ingredients (except chocolate chips) and whip until very fluffy (3-5 minutes).

Spread batter into greased 8×8 or 9×9 and sprinkle the top with chocolate chips.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.  Remove when toothpick comes out clean.

Dill-icious Chicken Bites

Dill Dip Chicken Bites

After our Wildtree Launch Parties we had a a few leftovers… not much, but enough to play with and create an interesting, easy dinner for ourselves the following day.  At first, I thought I was just being good and using up leftovers…. Nope….  I was creating our new favorite dinner!

I had a little of the Dill Dip left over and a cup or so of the Spaghetti Sauce…. I didn’t want to throw it away, and eating it with a spoon seemed a bit silly.  (I did consider it though.)

I thawed out a few chicken tenders and some spaghetti squash (yes, I freeze leftover spaghetti squash… it turns out just fine.) and got to cooking.  Brian says this is his second favorite meal.  Woo hoo!  Good thing too, because we had it twice in one week because it is one of my favorites too! Best of all, it is pretty Low Carb (just the corn-flakes are naughty) and Gluten Free.

Now, don’t just open a jar of spaghetti sauce and call it done.  You will be missing out!  I used to be a spaghetti sauce in a jar kind of girl too.  I never saw a problem with it….. tasted fine to me…. until I tried the Wildtree Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Blend.  I’m telling you…. this stuff is delicious! Aside from the awesome taste, the other huge bonus to using the Wildtree blend is that you can cut the recipe down to a proper size for your family.  When I’m doing a Family Dinner night, I use a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes.  When it’s just me and Brian, I can use the smaller can and half the amount of spice….. no more half empty jar of sauce in the fridge.  Yay!

Dill-icious Chicken Bites with Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients 

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash, roasted and shredded
  • 2 Chicken Breasts (I used about 5 Tyson, Skinless Boneless, Chicken Tenders)
  • 2 c. Corn Flakes, Crushed
  • 1/4 c. Sour Cream
  • 1/4 c. Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Wildtree Dill Dip Blend
  • 14oz can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tbs Wildtree Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Blend

Directions

Spaghetti Sauce:

In a small sauce pan combine the Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Blend and the whole can of crushed tomatoes. Let the sauce simmer while you work on the chicken.

Chicken Bites:

Preheat oven to 350°

In a medium sized bowl, combine the mayonnaise (I used Miracle Whip), Sour Cream and Dill Dip Blend.

In a second medium sized bowl crush the cornflakes into small pieces.

Spray olive oil on the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch pan or baking sheet.

Slice the thawed chicken into bite sized chunks (Mine were fairly healthy chunks… two-bite, bite sized). Coat each chunk in the Dill Dip and then roll in the crushed corn flakes.   Place coated chunks in/on your pan.  Repeat until all the chunks are coated.

Bake at 350° for 15 – 20 minutes.

Combine the squash, chicken bites and sauce to your preference (I like to dip the bites into the sauce…) and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Omelets: Pretty Not Required

Tomato Basil OmeletEvery weekend Brian makes us breakfast in bed.  It is a habit that we started early in our relationship and it has survived the years.  I do most of the cooking throughout the week so it is nice to sit back and let Brian feed us.  When we started it was just a fun, romantic thing… Over the years we’ve made a concerted effort to keep up the tradition.  It is so nice to just take a little time to slow down and have this “us” time before we start our day.

Most every weekend Brain asks me what I want for breakfast…. unless he woke up before me and got too hungry while I was snoozing…  In that case, it’s gonna be waffles (Made with Pamela’s GF Pancake & Waffle mix).  Usually, I’m just happy as long as bacon is involved.

I’ve got another 5 pounds that I’d like to get rid of before we leave on our MINI Takes the States trip… so I didn’t want all the carbs in waffles or  pancakes this morning.

Omelets!  We have fresh tomatoes and basil (grew them in my very own garden, thank-you-very-much) and a bit of feta cheese left over from making Salads In A Jar.  Perfect, right?  NO!  Brian tells me that he can’t make omelets…. Whatever!  Omelets are SO easy.  Maybe it runs in the family….just last weekend his Dad and I were talking about making omelets… and he was trying to tell me how hard they were to make.  Huh?

Okay… it is hard to make a “pretty” omelet…. Maybe that is why people think omelets are hard to make.  I’m just after a yummy omelet… aside from this blog, no one is taking photos of my omelet… omelets are for eating, they don’t have to be pretty.

This is how my momma taught me to make omelets:

Tomato Basil Omelet

Tomato Basil OmeletIngredents

Directions

In a small pan, heat the grapeseed oil on medium. (Use a little pan so that your omelet maintains a nice shape)

In a small bowl, wisk the eggs with a dash of water.  (Seriously, just a splash of water.  Some people use milk, but I prefer to use water.)  When the eggs are fluffy (just a light foam on the eggs,) pour them into the hot pan.

Now, here’s the trick…. you’re not going to flip the omelet over.  With a fork, just keep pulling up the edge of the omelet, letting the liquid egg run under the cooked.  If a bubble forms in your omelet, poke it with the fork and allow the liquid to pour through.  The inside of your omelet won’t look as cooked as the outside… it will still have a slight shine to it…that’s okay.

Lower the heat and sprinkle the cheese onto the omelet first.  (If you are using a cheese that you want to melt, just pop the lid on the pan for a bit.)  Next add the tomatoes and basil (or whatever filling you are using).  Using a spatula, fold the omelet in half.  (At least, that’s the plan… they taste just as good in pieces…. pretty isn’t required.)

Okay… now eat it!

 

Wildtree Launch

Brian and I held our first Wildtree parties this weekend.  Wildtree suggests that you hold two launch parties, back to back, to give all your friends and family a IMG_6846chance to join in the fun.  It is also a great chance to try out all the products in the hostess samples and experience a Wildtree party from the hostesses’ perspective.

First off, we discovered that we like pretty darn much everything from Wildtree. There had been a couple of the samples in the hostess packs that I wasn’t too interested in…. then I got to try them…. Oh, Yum!  Like the Dill Dip…. I’m okay with dill dip… I just don’t usually buy/use dip, so I wasn’t expecting to get excited about it.  Wow!  Everybody at the party went wild for the Dill Dip.  I was more excited about using the leftover dip than using it as a “dip.”  I used some of the leftover samples from the first party to experiment with a few new recipes.  Crunchy Dill Chicken Bites Recipe… coming soon!

I fell in LOVE with the Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Blend.  Holy cats!  Just add a can of crushed tomatoes and let simmer…. SO good!  Good-Bye spaghetti sauce in a jar!

Brian really liked the Taco Seasoning.  We’re kinda nacho fanatics…. so we’ll be adding that to our pantry too!

IMG_6854I wasn’t crazy about the Heavenly Chocolate Mousse at first… the directions say to let it sit for a couple of hours before serving… so I made it the day before and let it sit….but it still tasted bitter to me.  I almost didn’t serve it at the second party, but I tried it once more and “whew” it was good!  I’m not sure if it was something I did, or if it just needed more time for the sugars and chocolate to “meld.”  I might have developed a little bit of an addiction for the Chocolate Mousse and Annie’s Organics GF Cocoa and Vanilla Bunnies!

We are so thankful to all our friends and family that came to our parties to support our new endeavor.  Spending time with friends and family (and meeting new friends) was a huge portion of the reason we joined Wildtree.  Dinner parties!  What better excuse to get together and hang out?

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Rancher’s Turkey Burgers

I finally broke into my Wildtree new rep pack of goodies.  I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to try the sample packets or if I should save them for my hostesses.  MyIMG_6766 up-line leader said I should try out the samples and have fun.   Gee…. this Wildtree work is SO hard.  🙂

Mom was the one who suggested that I give Wildtree a try.  She was just as excited as I was by all the great all natural products.  So of course I called Mom as I broke into my new Wildtree products and started to experiment in the kitchen.

We started out by opening up the Best of Wildtree 8 Pack and sniffing.  I was impressed by how full all the jars were.  Most were filled right up to the rim.  One or two were slightly less full… below the neck of the jar, but still above the label.  Oh, and they all smelled so good.

I was craving burgers, so we decided to start with the Rancher’s Steak Rub.

Rancher’s Turkey Burgers

IMG_6772Ingredients 

 

 

Directions

Combine turkey, cheese, egg and spices.  Divide turkey mix into three patties.  Press one Cheddar Cheese cube into the center of each patty and cover.

Heat the oil in a cast iron pan (or whatever you use, but I really like using cast iron.)  Cover and cook the burgers until they are completely done.

———–

Mega yum!  I think Mom was  a bit nervous that we wouldn’t like ’em, (Here we’ve gotten ourselves into this new business, right?) but they were great.  There was a ton of flavor in that little teaspoon of seasoning.  Enthusiasm renewed!  I am so happy that I joined Wildtree!

 

Wild News!

Brian and I have a bit of exciting news….. We’ve become Wildtree Reps!

Last weekend Mom, Brian and I were at a Strawberry Festival and as we were wondering through the booths we came across a company that I hadn’t heard of before (I’m an Event Coordinator for another festival, so I know a lot of direct sales companies).  Wildtree is direct sales company that specializes in all natural spices, mixes and oils.  Every Wildtree product is natural: containing no additives, preservatives, MSG or food dyes.  The typical Wildtree event is done as a tasting party.  Does this sound like me and Brian, or what?  Eeep!

We bought the Infused Grapeseed Oil Set and the Alfredo Extraordinaire at the festival.  I wanted the Alfredo sauce mix because I’ve found it hard to find many without wheat and  I actually knew what all the ingredients in the mix were!  (How rare is that?)

We sampled a number of the oils at the festival….. The reps even had popcorn for us to dip into the oil samples.  How’s that for nice?  Most companies that offer samples just have pretzels or bread cubes.  Popcorn for those of us avoiding gluten… nice!

I couldn’t wait to get home and start trying out the oils and the Alfredo sauce mix.

Since we’re trying to stay low-carb, Brian and I have been on a Spaghetti Squash kick.  I already had some squash roasted and frozen, so I just grabbed it out of the freezer and let it thaw for the afternoon.  I put it in the oven for about 30 minutes to heat it back up.  I hadn’t tried freezing and reheating it before, but it turned out just fine.

I was really pleased with the Alfredo sauce mix. Yes, you can just buy Alfredo sauce in a jar, but one jar is too much for just the two of us (and have you read the list of ingredients?  Do you know what half of those things are?).  Most of the time I don’t have all the ingredients on hand to make Alfredo sauce from scratch, but I always have butter and milk. This will be nice to just have on hand.   I’m already imaging other recipes!

Over dinner we discussed Wildtree and talked about signing up as reps.  Working for a small family company, I either have tons of time available or none at all.  Something like this would give me some nice flexibility.    I had considered joining a direct sales company before, but hadn’t come across a product that I felt passionate about.  Wildtree is FOOD… HEALTHY FOOD!  And instead of those parties where the reps convince you to buy purses that you will use twice or candles that you will yard-sale……I’ve bought plenty in my time… not knocking em…. that’s just not for me….. These are FOOD Parties!  What is more fun than getting together with your friends and having a tasting party?!  Brian liked that these are parties that, as a guy, he would enjoy too.  We especially liked that the products were all natural and preservative, additive, dye and GMO free.  This is a product and a company that fits US.

So you are going to be seeing more recipes on my blog using Wildtree products.  Not ALL of my recipes…. but more.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! If you are interested in more info about the products or hosting your own Tasting Party please message me!  I would love to introduce you to Wildtree!  Of course if you just want to shop online, you can use my online store too.


Spaghetti Squash Chicken Alfredo

Ingredients

1/2 c. MilkSpaghetti Squash Alfredo

1/2 c. Alfredo Extraordinaire

5 Tbs. Butter

2 Chicken Breasts

1 Spaghetti Squash

Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil

Directions 

In a small pan, cook the chicken with a tablespoon or two of the Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil.  (I hate dirtying multiple pans, so I set the chicken on a plate and reused the same pan.)

Melt 5 tablespoons of butter and add the milk and Alfredo sauce and mix.  (I just followed the directions on the package.)

Top roasted spaghetti squash with Alfredo sauce and chicken (and mushrooms if you like!)