Thursday, October 3, 2013

ClubHouse Gluten Free Gravy with a Side of Meatballs!

Gluten free, a way of life?  A lifestyle decision?
Anyway you slice it going GF is becoming more prevalent in the world, you might say its #trending (ya I hash tagged)

Many companies are producing more options for the gluten free crowd including McCormick Canada.
They are the largest spice, dry sauce and seasoning, extract and specialty food operation in the country. ClubHouse happens to be one of their brands and they have many options for gravy mixes as well as baking essentials (tapioca, potato starch and rice flours) for gluten free cooking/baking and all are certified by the Canadian Celiac Association’s Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP)

Now let it be known that I do not NEED to go GF, however I have been dabbling in the world of revisions and trying to experiment since my teenager refuses to accept that GF and vegan can taste good (good enough not to notice a difference anyway)
We made meatballs, mashed potatoes and ClubHouse's brown gravy last night.
Hard to hide the taste of gravy when its smothering pillowy mashed potatoes isn't it?

I tasted the same great taste that the ClubHouse regular brown gravy has.  The ONLY difference I could find was the amount of time in the prep stage.
The regular version suggests you bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer about a minute whereas the GF version suggests you simmer 4 minutes.  This must be to help the gravy thicken up or to cook out some of the ... like I said, I'm still a newbie and do not know all of the details and compositions yet so really, I'm grabbing at straws.
How can you go wrong in making gravy in less than 5 minutes?

I'm looking forward to using the ClubHouse Turkey Gravy mix this year for the family (along with my homemade gravy of course).

1lb lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp dried thyme
2 cloves garlic
1 egg
Worcestershire, couple dashes
salt & pepper
1/2 c. gluten free bread crumbs (I used All But Gluten foccacia to make mine)

Combine all ingredients together just until mixed.  Shape into small balls and pan fry in 1 tbsp. olive oil turning often until browned, approx. 8-10min .  Set aside
Once ClubHouse gravy has been made add meatballs and simmer for an additional 7 minutes
Serve with mashed potatoes and some form of veggie (we had cut up peppers and cucumbers because we wanted crunch!)

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This sponsorship is brought to you by The Gluten Free Agency who we have partnered with for this promotion.
Club House Products
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Monday, July 1, 2013

Sprouting! And I Don't Mean My Belly

Do you garden?
Herbs, veggies, fruit, flowers? 

Veggies and herbs I do well.  Its pretty easy to plant herbs in pots and lettuce and onions in my raised bed.  I even grew potatoes one year (albeit we only reaped about 4 spuds).   Watermelons still to this day wont grow for me so I give up on those.

I don't do flowers well - I plant them based upon my love of colors when really I should plant based on space requirements, sun vs. shade, varying heights etc.  I am terrible at it.  Although I do have a flower bed (actually 2) they seem to look like a forest.  Inside and out....bring flowers or plants into my house and they die, a slow painful death.
I am the grim reaper of indoor things.

I was offered an opportunity to use A. Vogel's BioSnacky Original Seed Sprouter and I was thrilled!
Do you know how long its been since I've had fresh alfalfa sprouts?!  We're talking probably about 5 years now.  There is nothing better than fresh sprouts on your egg salad sandwiches - TRUST ME!

Wait...I have to grow this indoors?  RUHR OH (in my best Scooby Doo voice)  Please don't let the grim reaper strike this time, I really want fresh sprouts!
The literature that accompanied my package professed it to be foolproof.  (Thanks to bioSnacky® germinators, growing sprouts and herbs at home is fun and easy)
We'll be the judge of that.

Little Ugh was skeptical of my venture too.
3 trays, some seeds, a little bit of water and set it on my counter (in my kitchen that barely has any natural sunlight). RIIIIIIGHHHHT.
He wouldn't let me take a photo of him making fun of me while I was setting everything in motion but just think of a 15 year old boy looking at his mom like she was going to build a Lego castle without directions.
I'm telling you, I kill indoor things, I know it, he knows it and now you do too.
Except I didn't kill anything.
It was THAT easy.
Dish, seed, water twice a day (I even forgot one day to water and it still worked out) and in less than a week we were eating fresh, juicy sprouts!!
PS  My Mr. had never had sprouts before - EVER and now he's hooked.   We put them on sandwiches, burgers, in salads - he even eats them right out of the fridge.

This little contraption is now my new best friend.
I wonder if I can put my aloe plant in there?

Here's a photo re-cap of our journey!

My swag - 
1 sprouter, seed selection pack, some seasonings, a little bag to keep everything neat and organized

The beginning:
Rinse the seeds in a fine mesh strainer and place in the different tiers.

Add some water twice a day....(this is really the one and only issue I seemed to have with this product - throughout the first few days some of the seeds liked to nestle into the red draining areas making the water stop flowing freely from one tray to the other - not a huge deal, started with tapping the container then moved to actually removing the cap to get the seeds out.  Certainly not a deal breaker for me)

Keep Going!

Its not long now!!

UGH apparently I deleted Day 4 but Day 5 was harvest day, it was popping out the top!!
We washed and wrapped in paper towel and tossed into a tupperwear for future eating pleasures.
Here's our first haul an deliciously crispy EGG SALAD SPROUT SAMMIE

Since we only sprouted alfalfa (because I was hesitant to kill the other options) I will be working with radish sprouts and a fitness mix next!
Do I recommend this?

(Disclaimer - although this product was provided to me free of charge all opinions are my own and in no way  solicited from the company itself)

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Sour Cream & Coconut Milk Berry Crumble Bars

Holy heck batman, I sat down and decided it was HIGH time to create a dessert.  And there was success!

We don't generally keep dessert on hand on a reoccurring basis do you?

Growing up we didn't have meals that were followed by some sort of treat unless I was at my Omi and Opa's house and nine times out of ten it was ice cream - guess that's where my love of it came from!

If its in the house it gets eaten, and I like to fill us up with goodness (i.e. veggies, proteins) not bad for you goodness.
BUT every now and then my sweet tooth kicks in (actually it never goes away) and there is a desperate need to have something to curb my cravings.  Sometimes rifling through the baking cupboard to find a handful of chocolate chips just doesn't cut it!  Don't tell me you've never done that.....marshmallows?  Never mind.

I've never actually made a crumb bar before - eaten em, yes.
The ones I have had were boring, flat tasting.
However I saw a photo of some sour cream crumb bars on Pinterest from Crunchy Creamy Sweet which looked like they would have a depth and decided I could enhance this recipe to my own tastes (or rather what I had in my cupboard).
My creation turned out awesome!
Just the right combination of textures and flavors, really proud of how they turned out first go - I mean sometimes when you start messing with ingredients and proportions when it comes to baking the first 6 rounds turn out to be a failure, not the case here.

Want some?

Trust me, you'll love em!

I'm listening to: Rio - Duran Duran

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Bring On The Heat! BBQ'd Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

Oh lordy lordy, where is our summer?
Wait, I'd just settle for spring!  I don't know how your weather has been in the past few weeks but I thought we were all concerned about global warming?  BRING ON THE WARMING.
Actually, the heat scares me a little this year since I'll be ohhhh Fatty Mc Fatster all pregnant and ready to give birth in August.  Thank goodness for air con right?

While we are still far from being seasonal (our tree JUST started budding) we did have a couple days this past week where it was remotely enjoyable to stand outside long enough to BBQ and not have to either grab an umbrella or a parka.
So, like any normal person, I opted to grill!

We buy our chicken in bulk, I always portion them out and freeze for meals so sometimes it can be a little tough having leftovers (because the boys wont usually eat them for some strange reason).
I had taken out breasts (packaged in 3, one for each) but it seemed the men were hungrier than normal.....right, so I have to make these go one meal.....without pasta or stir fry because they didn't "want" that.
Ok, I'll halve them, and make 6 pieces (I'm a genius aren't I?)
If I add some ciabatta bread to the mix that'll fill em up more.

Maybe even sneak in some veggies?
Now, the flavor.
Buffalo chicken wings were once one of my favorite things to eat (truth be told I'm more of a suicide wing gal) and haven't had them in years.  Why not right?
Lets begin the flashback memories
Wing nights:
10 cent wings (man do I wish they were still that price)
copious amounts of wet naps
burning tongues
friends gathered in a dive bar
beer (what was I thinking?)
I'll stop there.

Dinner menu set, BBQ Buffalo Chicken Sammies it is.  (with a ranchy type sauce because I don't blue cheese it - EVER)

I'm listening to:  Like a Rock - Bob Seger

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Jerk Chicken Soup - Or Burn Yourself Into Spring!

Its April.
How's your weather?  Ours has been SO unpredictable!
There's been no April showers bring May flowers.   More like April snow, sleet, ice brings wool socks, mittens and SOUP!

I know I hate soup.
Maybe this pregnancy is helping with my aversions? 
I'll take long as it doesn't want me to eat tripe or seafood.

They say soup warms the insides.  Let me tell you, this soup is going to warm more than your insides!  I would bet this would burn the cold right outtya.
It is certainly not for the heat challenged.

For now this is a 2 part recipe (making your jerk chicken first) but I am working on a one pot crock recipe for you to make this a simpler execution.
But really, when I make pulled jerk chicken its in mass amounts so that I can eat it, freeze it and give some to the Mr. to bring to his co-workers.  This is just an added bonus.

You will need:

1 bottle Jerk Marinade
12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 carrots
3 stalks celery
1 small/medium onion
4-6 cups fresh baby spinach
1 can white kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn kernels
6-8 cups beef broth

**If you have a favorite jerk marinade you make from scratch or you buy go ahead use it!  This recipe was for ease of execution and so I use a product called Memories of Montego Bay (a President's Choice product here in Canada)**

For the Jerk:
In a baking dish coat the chicken thighs with the marinade (you do not need an entire bottle) I estimate it to be 1 1/2 cups marinade to 12 chicken thighs.  Cover with tinfoil and bake in a preheated oven for 45 - 60 minutes.  Remove the foil, start shredding.  If you cannot easily shred the chicken toss it back in for a little longer (covered).  Once you've shredded the chicken put back into the oven for about 15-25 minutes UNCOVERED.  If you feel there is not enough liquid feel free to add a little more sauce, but with the amount of juices that will escape through baking you should be ok.

For the Soup:
Saute onions, celery and carrots together until slightly soft.  About 10 minutes on medium heat.
Add in your broth and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a low simmer and add in as much of the shredded chicken as you'd like - I used about 1/2 to 3/4 of it (as I wanted to save some for tacos), beans, corn, tomatoes and lastly the fresh spinach. 
Let simmer 10-15 minutes then season to taste.  You will likely not need to add salt, maybe a touch of black pepper if you desire but with the jerk seasoning it permeates the broth and flavors everything!

Enjoy with a few slices of fresh crusty bread with butter and you're golden!
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Saturday, March 2, 2013

PB & Banana Stuffed French Toast

Ever want one thing and then 10 minutes later you decide you want something completely different even after gathering the necessary ingredients for said first thing, start prepping, pre heating and getting your kitchen dirty?
Please tell me that its not just me.

So I suppose you could say breakfast started this way today.
I was going to go french toast route.
Then I decided maybe I just wanted a banana smoothie (totally not filling enough)
Peanut butter sandwich?
In comes another idea.
French toast that incorporates peanut butter AND bananas.
Stuffed french toast.

Sure, why not right?
So I cut up the bananas (sneaking a few slices here and there)
Get my egg wash ready.
Slather the PB on the bread and arrange the slices, dip, dunk and fry.

I totally just wanted a smoothie.
I had half a slice because, well, I made it so I better make sure its edible before I pass it along to the sleeping boys in the house.
Shoulda just made a smoothie.  *not because it tasted gross, just because I really just wanted a smoothie*

Pretty sure I should have timed Little Ugh while eating. 
Pretty sure he didn't even take more than 3 breaths.
Almost positive he asked for seconds (I was prepping my smoothie when he dropped his plate on the counter)
Definitely was asked to make again.
Hopefully the next time my pregnancy food weirdness will subside slightly because it really was awesome.

Bet you'll like it!

I'm Listening to:  Little Lion Man - Mumford and Sons
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Monday, February 25, 2013

Sweet n Spicy Orange Tilapia and Why I Havent Been Around Much!

Of late the days seem to start early and end early.
By 6pm I am barely awake and lack the energy to make dinner let alone come up with new ideas and write them all down.
Do I feel guilty.
Sure do.
I haven't let the family starve, although there may have been more take out and pre prepped grocery store meals consumed in the last month or two.
I sense a shift however.
At least I'm hoping!!  They say in the second trimester you regain energy.

Oh wait...did you just read that right? 
Sure did....we're expecting!!
Little Ugh (who's nearly 15) wont be the Little Ugh anymore...well maybe, hopefully I can expand the palate of our newest member and they wont have the "ughhh's" but I'm sure I will have to wait for those days.

So that's our news, that's why I've been MIA for a while, and this is why you'll likely find all of my favorite things being shared on the Facebook page.  Anything that makes me drool is going up - I have a whack load of talented food blogging friends who keep me mentally full every day!

There's been no unique cravings, that I'm aware of anyway, or major food aversions (other than the ones I previously had) but I have been keenly aware that my sense of smell is helping me in the kitchen when creating dishes I wont be eating!
Like last nights dinner.
I don't eat anything that comes from the water.  Don't get me wrong, I have tried most although there are things I refuse to even put near my mouth - escargots, squid, raw fish to name a few.
But the boys love it and if it was up to me there wouldn't be a trace in the kitchen.
So I made them a fishy dinner.
A sweet and slightly spicy tilapia!
They loved me it!!

This is super easy, a few ingredients at most and the best part is they are all wrapped up in parchment when baked so clean up is a breeze :)


I'm listening to:  Magic Carpet Ride - Steppenwolf
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