Thursday, September 29, 2011

Quote of the Day

"I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny - a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons. Let them never be Stupid Girls." – J.K. Rowling 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

flax·seed: [flaks-seed] noun


the seed of flax yielding linseed oil; linseed.
For the past couple of weeks I have been adding these little beauties to nearly everything I eat. You can eat them whole or ground up. You can put them in oatmeal, cereal, cookies, sauces and your dog's dinner. Seriously we give Will about a tablespoon of them every day in place of much more costly fish oils pills that he sometimes chooses not to eat.

Ground up they add a deliciously nutty taste that unless you were told (or put them in yourself) you would have no idea how much more healthy your meal had become. Two tablespoons of them ground up in my morning oatmeal give me 146% of my daily omega 3's, 25% of my daily magnesium, 20% folate and 15% of your B6's. They have fantastic anti-inflamatory properties, have been proven to reduce hot flashes, protect bone health, may result in nicer hair and healthier nails, and after two months have reduced cholesterol levels just as well as prescribed statin drugs. 

You can buy them whole and in bulk at health food stores. We keep our whole seeds in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and grind them in a coffee bean grinder (whose purpose is dedicated to flaxseeds as it is a royal pain to wash one) as we use them. Here is my little ball jar full of ground up seeds! Go give them a try, you have everything to gain!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan

...or A Sneaky Way to Use Rice Krispies

Two weeks ago cod was on sale at the super market. I love fish and needed something for dinner so I bought some. I've always loved fish but it is difficult to find gluten-free fish at restaurants so I haven't had any in a long while. Now I've never actually cooked fish myself so I was at a loss for how to turn my cold wet fish fillet into supper. 

At a restaurant I use to work at they would bread their fish and bake it with lemon. Obviously the breading was not gluten-free and gluten-free bread crumbs are a little pricey so that was out. I, however, had remembered that you can use crushed rice cereal as breading on a lot of different things. And I just happen to have a few boxes of gluten-free rice krispies that otherwise were just going to be hanging out in my pantry.

I promptly crushed them, added some salt and pepper, covered my fish in them and prayed for 14 minutes while my oven was at 400 degrees. My fishy prayers were answered and I had a delicious piece of fish completely covered in what very closely resembled breadcrumbs.

Anyway this brings me back to this Sunday when my Mom and I were at Trader Joe's stocking up on gluten-free things. They always have samples and last week's was eggplant parmesan. This gave us the idea to make eggplant parm at home for dinner. Now you can make it with just slices of eggplant, which are obviously gluten-free but when given the chance to bread and fry things in our Fry Daddy we generally jump at the chance.

Here is when my rice krispies came into play again. See the picture below? Looks like regular breading right? Nope. It's just mashed up rice cereal!

We also grabbed two small eggplants instead of a large one because we hate seeds! The smaller ones are much better and much more flavorful. We proceeded to peel the eggplants, although this step isn't necessary, and chop them relatively thickly. We then dunked them in an egg wash and the rice krispie mash to which we added basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

The best part about using the Fry Daddy is the fact that you don't have to flip them and worry about the coating sliding off or you burning yourself. Since we were going to be baking them we fried them for a short time, until they were a light golden brown.

We took the finished eggplant slices and layered them in a baking dish with slices of fresh basil, fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce. We could have used some parmesan but I couldn't find any that didn't cost $15. We then baked it at 350 for 20 minutes.

It was absolutely delicious. The rice breading worked amazingly well. It gave the eggplant a crunchy and very light breading very unlike some eggplant parm I've had elsewhere. No one even knew what the breading was. It even fooled my father who normally wouldn't even eat something if he had any inkling that it might be gluten-free. I've never tried it but if you have some rice chex I bet those would work too! So I highly recommend giving those gluten-free rice krispies a try, if not in your cereal bowl then most definitely in your next fried dish!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Photography Assignments One and Two

This semester I am lucky enough to have room in my schedule to take a photography class! For the past two weeks we have been focusing on learning how to shoot in full manual, including manually focusing the camera. The first half of the semester all our photos are to be submitted in black and white and the second half with have to do with color management.

My sister Jill was nice enough to pose for 227 pictures for me last Saturday! I had the camera on continuous shutter so that has a lot to do with the really high number. Our first assignment was a vertical headshot cropped in pretty close in full sun and the second was the same type of photo in full shade. We played around with Photoshop tonight to get the right balance between the blacks, whites and grays and here are my two results!

I had some extra time in class left so I played with a photo that I liked even though it wasn't to the assignments specifications. The quality of the pictures is really nice on my computer but it doesn't quite transfer onto blogger but it's okay!

Stay tuned for the rest of the 18 assignments I'll be doing this semester!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My View

Here is a picture I took out of my living room window! Check out how crazy fast the sun passed right by the bridge. These were taken within a couple minutes of each other.

The Easiest Gluten-Free (Peanut Butter) Cookies I Have Ever Made SUCCESSFULLY!

So my last post was a pretty lame. I have been crazy busy with school, work and life in general. On a positive note my classes are going really well. I have kept right on top of my insane reading quotas, managed to make my self real meals for the past two weeks AND have finally, finally, finally figured out how to shoot in all manual on my DSLR! And that's including using manual focus! To be completely honest I am pretty darn proud of myself.

Anyway back to my super lame post. I thought I was being crafty and using half brown sugar in the first batch and also using my kitchen aid mixer. (Yes I have a kitchen aid in my campus apartment! Thanks to my Auntie Jeanne for lending me her old one when she upgraded to a professional!) I think I beat the heck out of the dough, causing the peanut butter to basically separate. This time I used all white sugar (of the "super fine" variety because I wasn't paying attention at the store) and carefully watched and stopped the mixer when it just came together.

I also baked them for about 7 minutes at 350. My oven at school is super hot so that will depend on your stove. Both the stove top and oven get extremely hot way quicker than I am use to at home and consequentially I have burned my oatmeal several times.

Anyway here is what a good batch of these cookies should look like! I like to use the little Hershey kisses because I like chocolate and I hate when the large kisses fall off or you awkwardly have to nibble at them. And when you scoop out the cookies press them flat with a fork to make those markings. They will spread out a lot too so don't over crowd!

 This last one is an iPhone photo!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Easiest Gluten-Free [Peanut Butter] Cookies I've Ever Made

Friday at work one of my bosses made some delicious "Peanut Blossom" Cookies, the kind with Hershey's Kisses in the middle. I saw them and remembered how delicious they are and then she informed me they are made without flour! 

1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Bake at 350 for 10ish minutes. They will not look very normal but I promise they will cool down right quick and look delicious!

You can add a little brown sugar but don't go half and half. I tried that and it turned the cookies way too chewy.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Super Simple Gluten-Free Meatballs

I love meatballs. In subs and in my pasta. Unfortunately 99% of all meatballs are not gluten-free because they contain breadcrumbs to keep them together. A while back I noticed that the Kraft parmesan cheese in the canister (I call it shake-a cheese, not sure why) has a recipe for meatballs that replaces the breadcrumbs with the parmesan cheese! Side note: Kraft is very good about labeling their products with the most common allergens in general.

Anyway, you just mix the ground beef, cheese, italian seasoning, one egg and some garlic and you roll them into balls! You then bake them at 350 for 25 minutes. So easy and so delicious! You could then freeze them and keep them for later or toss them with some sauce and pasta. Unfortunately once again I forgot a final result picture. Sorry!

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup of Kraft parmesan cheese
1 egg
2-3 tbsp of italian seasoning
1-2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

Mix well. Roll into 12-16 meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Meet Pumpkin

This is Pumpkin. And this is my front room. He is our neighbor's cat. Pumpkin enjoys naps in the sun and hanging out in our house.  We think he likes hanging around Will because he is always sniffing around our yard, carefully behind our chain link fence and just out of reach of Will. Once Will is inside or out on a walk, however, Pumpkin slinks underneath our front gate and peruses our yard at his leisure.

Several times I have brought Will home from a walk and when we turn the corner to our front steps and there is Pumpkin lounging. But at the sight of Will he dodges under the railings and watches to make sure I bring him inside. We love Pumpkin and we think him and Will are going to be good friends soon. We want a kitty but we don't want my dad to have a coronary if we bring another animal home unannounced.