Valentine’s Day Recap

I am sorry it’s taken so long for me to update this blog. I have a few recipes I want to post, but for the last couple of days I’ve been prepping for and celebrating Valentine’s Day! I hope everyone had an amazing day yesterday and got to celebrate with the one they love most (whether it’s a partner, a family member, a friend, or a beloved pet).

Hubby and I had an amazing day. As previously mentioned we don’t usually celebrate, but this year we decided to. I wasn’t expecting anything but a romantic dinner, but when I came home from work Robert had bought me flowers and two Valentine’s Day cards. He has only bought me flowers once throughout our entire relationship and this time he put so much thought into surprising me. He hid the flowers and the cards, so that when I got upstairs, I didn’t know he’d gotten me anything. Then when he asked me to turn around, there they were! In all their beautiful glory.

After being indecisive for weeks, I finally chose something to make for dinner. Robert and I both like chicken pot pie, and lately, I’ve been longing for some. Since I didn’t have time to make a gluten-free pie crust, I took my mum’s suggestion and made a chicken pot pie shepherd’s pie. Essentially, chicken pot pie with a mashed potato top.

Now, I should let you know I cheated a little. As I get home from work at 6pm, my mum was my sous chef for the day . She had already prepped the mashed potatoes and made the chicken soup. Since Campbell’s has wheat in it, my mum hand-made the chicken soup for me.

Chicken Pot Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

2 pieces of chicken

3/4 of a bag of mixed frozen vegetables

Twenty diced mushrooms

1 can of cream of chicken soup

Three big potatoes

3 tablespoons of low-fat milk

1 oz of butter

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil the potatoes until they are soft. Once cooked, remove from stove and drain water. Add the milk and the butter and mash potatoes to desired consistency.  Put to the side.

Now, cook your chicken. Half way through cooking the chicken, add the mushrooms. When the chicken is almost done, add the mixed vegetables and the soup. Cook until heated through. It’s okay if the chicken isn’t fully cooked because you are putting it in the oven, too. You do want it to be mostly cooked though.

Next, pour the chicken mixture into an 11 x 9 casserole dish. Pour the mashed potatoes on top of the chicken mixture. Cover the potatoes with butter to help them brown in the oven.

Cook the dish in the oven for at least thirty minutes. My potatoes didn’t brown on top, but I knew they were done when the mixture started bubbling. If after thirty minutes your mixture isn’t bubbling, continue cooking until it does.

 

Voila! You are now ready to serve. I really enjoyed it and so did Robert (of course, I can tell he liked the cheesecake more). I do wish I’d found a way to add a little more seasoning, but there was a lot of seasoning in the soup. I have a tendency to pour salt on top of everything so I think that’s just me. Robert loved it as is.

I’m so excited I got to serve it on our Mikasa Love Story plates, too. They were a wedding present from a good family friend and I absolutely love them. They’ve been sitting in their boxes since the wedding though, so I’m so pleased we finally got to use them!

Look out for the cheesecake recipe! I’ll be posting that soon, too!

 

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The ultimate weekend comfort

It felt so good to be back in the kitchen and cooking. While it’s only been two weeks, that’s enough to drive a girl like me crazy! I enjoy experimenting with different recipes and I love it even more when people actually enjoy what I make. I love taking pictures of my culinary creations and I love blogging about it, too. Basically, I’ve just really gotten into cooking and baking since I became a wife. . .  too bad I can’t get into doing other domestic-type stuff, too.

Tonight while I was cooking we watched. . . oh boy, I’m ashamed to even admit it. . . we watched. . . “Twilight Breaking Dawn.” I only share this with you readers because I don’t feel like I need to hide it. See the thing is, I’m truthfully not a “Twilight” fan. I’ve seen most of the movies, but I honestly don’t get the attraction. I can admit that many of the things he says are pretty sweet, like “no measure of time with you will ever be long enough, let’s start with forever.” If Robert said that. . .  I’d probably melt into a puddle of absolute mush. Otherwise, I think there’s far more powerful love stories out there, like “The Notebook” or “Pride and Prejudice”. I watched the third film because they got married and, my goodness, that wedding looked gorgeous! So I can admit I’ve watched the movies, I can admit there’s a few sweet parts, but I’m still not a fan. Not to say there’s anything wrong with liking “Twilight”, it’s just that I don’t think I’ll ever be a fan.

But, now that I’ve completely digressed from my story, I’ll come back to my actual point. These last few weeks I’ve learned there’s nothing as relaxing as watching movies all weekend. I particularly love a marathon of Disney movies followed by me cooking dinner.  It’s become that little bit of comfort I look forward to at the end of the week. I think it’s become the only way I truly relax, and if I’m doing anything else, I feel rushed and like there’s not enough time in the day. . .  which, on weekends there never is! Two days goes by so quickly.

Well tonight I made a chicken dish with mango salsa, coconut rice, and avocado! I’ve never had coconut rice, but someone suggested it at work and like the mango/avocado quesadillas, it had to be tried. I find myself gravitating towards fruity chicken dishes. I love chicken with some kind of citrus dressing. Even if it’s just a marinade, I’m hooked! Plus, chicken is still on my list of okay items to eat. So works out for me!

Chicken with warm mango salsa

Source: “Good Morning America”

Ingredients:

Chicken

1 avocado

1 mango

1 tomato

1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (I used this instead of the jalapeno)

1 lime juice

The zest of 1 lime

1 red pepper (I don’t think this was on there, but it made for a nice extra)

Side note: I didn’t use all of the ingredients that “Good Morning America” used. For one thing I hate onions and my throat always gets scratchy and sore when I have pepper. So I do recommend looking at those ingredients as well.

Method:

Chop your mango, tomato, and pepper into cubes. Toss them on a plate and leave for now.

Start cooking the chicken on a medium heat. Once you’re about halfway done with the chicken, start cooking the mango mix. Since I didn’t use jalapeno, this is when I added my red pepper flakes.

Once your mango mix has cooked a little, add the lime zest and the lime juice. Continue cooking.

When the chicken is fully cooked and the salsa is warmed, put the chicken on a plate and add the salsa on top.

Use the avocado to garnish or as a side item on the plate.

Coconut Rice:

Source: a work colleague

Ingredients:

Jasmine rice

1 can of low fat coconut milk

Method:

Place desired rice in pot with entire can of coconut milk. Add a little water just to give it enough to boil with. Once the rice has boiled, turn off the stove and leave until soft and ready to serve.

Food wish list: Blue Bayou

So I’ve decided to wait until next year to hit Disney World (when all their new attractions open). This year I’m doing everything I can to save for a trip to Disneyland instead. I’ve been once before, but they’ve opened new attractions since then. I really want to go on “The Little Mermaid” and the “Alice in Wonderland” rides. Then of course there are the classics, like “The Haunted Mansion,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.”

Yet, the one feature of Disneyland that keeps pulling me in is the Blue Bayou restaurant. I’ve never been before, but from the pictures the inside looks so fabulous. It’s designed to look like a bayou (naturally), but they also have all these whimsical lights that look like fireflies. It just looks magical. You can sorta get an idea from this picture.

Originally found on fandisney.com

Then of course there is the scrummy Cajun food. There’s one sandwich in the slideshow that makes my mouth water every time I see it! Let’s hope they offer gluten-free options! If not, this may be my one exception (on our last night of course- don’t want to be sick at Disney).

 

 

Lime-cilantro chicken

I think my gluten free experiment is proving that my illness is wheat related.  I accidentally had wheat on Friday for lunch. I didn’t read the ingredients in a Marie Callender meal because it was just rice, chicken, and mushrooms. I thought those ingredients were pretty safe; however, there was wheat in it and that night and the next day I was really sick. After feeling pretty good all week, my sudden change in wellness has to mean something. There’s still a chance it’s something else making me feel this way, but after experimenting I do think at least part of it is a wheat allergy.

I still have a little while until my next appointment (which is the endoscopy) and I’m hoping to learn more about my blood tests then. For now I think I’ll stay gluten-free. This Saturday I made lime-cilantro chicken and my mum made delicious cheese and parsley mashed potatoes to go with it. I’ll have to post the recipe for the mashed potatoes later on. I haven’t tried to make them myself yet, but they are a delicious addition to any meal! Here’s the lime-cilantro chicken to start with!

Lime-cilantro chicken

Source: Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Kelli Bronski and Peter Bronski

Ingredients:

Lime juice from one whole lime

1 cup of orange juice

Skinless, boneless chicken pieces (you can use up to 6 pieces for this mixture)

2 teaspoons of pepper

1/4 cup of olive oil

1/4 cup of fresh cilantro (roughly chopped)

2 tablespoons of garlic (minced)

Method:

Cook the 1/4 cup of olive oil and garlic in a skillet. Next, throw in the lime juice and the orange juice. Leave those flavours to blend for about five minutes and add the pepper and cilantro.

At this point you are supposed to marinate for an hour or a whole day, but as usual I didn’t read the recipe correctly. So I put the chicken straight in the pan to cook with the marinade. Every time I turned my chicken, I spooned the marinade over the top. I think it turned out just as good as leaving it over night. Although, I’m sure leaving it longer would have resulted in a stronger taste.

Gluten-free experiment

A few weeks back, my doctor suggested that a wheat allergy could be the root of all my problems. HURRAY, thought I! An easy solution (in comparison to surgery or some extensive medical treatment). Unfortunately my test results came back negative for Celiac’s disease (a wheat allergy), but since then I’ve heard a lot of different stories. First of all, this particular food allergy runs in my family, so it wouldn’t be strange for me to have the same condition. Secondly, one of my friends said her grandmother tested negative when she actually has the disease. When the grandmother cut the ingredient out of her diet, she felt better. So I decided that, despite my results, I was going to try a gluten free lifestyle. Even if it turns out I’m really not allergic, I figured there was no harm in trying it out. If it doesn’t help, I’ve lost nothing but a few weeks of eating all the foods I probably shouldn’t eat anyway!

So far I’m doing okay. This weekend I made a few slip ups because I never thought to check the ingredients in soup and chili (Campbell’s has wheat flour in it). But those are the only mistakes I’ve knowingly made since Saturday. I miss oatmeal considerably, but I’ve still been able to have eggs for breakfast, and my mum has been fabulous about making gluten-free meals for dinner (like Shepherd’s Pie and Smothered Chicken). This weekend I’ll probably experiment with my own gluten free recipes.

I know gluten free whoopie pies are on the menu, and if all this gluten free dieting works out, eventually these little cupcakes will be on there, too:

Gluten Free Strawberry Cupcakes (from Pinterest originally from Elanaspantry.com)

I’ve also started keeping a diary of all of the foods I eat. That way, if something gives me a reaction I can make a note and avoid it.

As for the results, so far I feel good. Tonight I ate so much food and I haven’t been able to eat a lot in a while (hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself). It is still early in the experiment though, and I think I’ll have a better idea of whether it has been effective or not this weekend.

I only wish I could stick to my no sugar diet as well as I have this gluten free one. I’ve completely failed in my goal of eating less sugar, but I also got myself into some really bad habits while I have been sick. When I couldn’t eat, I went to chocolate because I was able to eat that without feeling worse. Breaking that habit has been the hardest part, particularly since now I’m always craving something sweet. But I will get back on track. . . I hope!

Anyone else on here have a wheat allergy? Any suggestions on what I should try?

Foodie wish list: Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

The first time I ever went to Disney World, this is how the castle looked! Picture originally from http://themeparkcanuck.com/2011/10/01/walt-disney-world-celebrates-its-40th-birthday/

As I mentioned, I’ve been on a little bit of a Disney kick this week. I’ve download so many Disney songs that I’ve been blasting on my way to and from work. I’m sure when they see me singing at the top of my lungs, the drivers beside me are thinking “what is wrong with that girl?” I haven’t been to Disney since. . . well, I think 2004 (maybe 2005). So I’m getting a little eager to go. When I heard they offer a yearly International Food and Wine Festival, my newly found culinary side went crazy!

Just look at what the event offers:

  • International kiosks featuring tasty tapas and refreshing beverages
  • Cooking demonstrations and dining events—including experiences with celebrity chefs!
  • Mixology classes and wine tastings
  • Live musical performances by popular hit-makers

(info from http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/special-events/epcot-international-food-and-wine-festival/)

I’m not so excited about the live performances, but I love the idea of trying food from the different countries and watching the cooking demonstrations. Disney and food? Could it be any better? I’m going to be working extra hard to earn some bonuses this year. If I’m lucky, I maybe able to go for this year’s festival. Honestly, chances are slim, but I’d like to believe it could happen. If not this fall, it’s definitely going on my foodie wish list.

What types of foodie wish lists do you have? Where/what are you longing to go/experience.