Thursday, January 31, 2013

Easiest Hummus Recipe Ever

I've never made hummus before.  In fact, I don't even eat it much, but I recently decided that I wanted to make some.  Naturally, I consulted my Betty Crocker cookbook that has just about ever staple you could imagine.  This recipe took about 5 minutes to make and cost almost nothing. Also, hummus is a naturally gluten-free and dairy free!
Here's the recipe, including my changes, because I can't ever follow a recipe completely:
1 can chick peas
1/4 cup oil (olive or vegetable, I used vegetable because I had it handy)
1 clove garlic, cut in half (I used a teaspoon of minced garlic instead)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
Chopped fresh parsley (I used 1/2 tsp of dried)
Whatever you want for dipping
What to do:
Drain the chick peas and toss everything into a blender, or food processor.  I used the food processor.  Blend it all together, mixing it occasionally to get everything well blended.  Blend until creamy and enjoy!
A couple things about this:
I think you could reduce the garlic just a tad, because it is pretty powerful.  Also, the recipe says to garnish with parsley, but I just tossed it into the mix.  A great thing about this recipe is you can customize it so easily. Throw in some spices and create all sorts of yummy dips.  As always, if you happen to create a delightful creation, please share it, so I can make some too!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gluten Free Mac 'n Cheese

I've made many, many mac 'n cheeses.  Like, tons.  I've been toying with my gluten free recipe for some time now.  In my new years resolution inspired attempt at eating healthier, I set out to make a mac 'n cheese that was both delightful and less butter filled.  Here's my first attempt, which I have to say, came out quite delicious.

Also, though it often pains me to think of you non-gluten-free-ers, you can very easily adapt this to be gluten-filled.  Simply use your favorite pasta instead of the gluten free kind. 

You will need:
3 tbsp butter (I can't part with my salted butter, but you can feel free to use unsalted)
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp corn starch
1 c. reduced fat milk (I used 2%--it's what was in my fridge)
6 oz. plain Greek yogurt
2 c. part skim shredded mozzarella (I find Wal-Mart's is pretty good for being so inexpensive)
1/4 c. freshly grated sharp Cheddar (I use Cabot NY Sharp) + more for adding to top
a little bit of bread crumbs for the top
1 package gluten free pasta (personally, I favor corn pasta, but use what you like)

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease a baking dish.  In a large sauce pan, melt the butter on med/high heat, and add in the garlic, thyme, and paprika.  Stir occasionally until the butter is melted.  Be sure not to burn it, or the whole dish will taste like it!  Now, you're going to make a rue (don't you feel fancy?).  Simply, add the corn starch to the melted butter and slowly stir it in on low heat.  Be sure to break up any clumps (corn starch tends to clump) and simmer for about a minute, blending it well.  Next, add the milk and Greek yogurt and cook on low/medium until creamy and blended.  Add salt and pepper to taste, turn heat down low and add the cheese.  Mozzarella will be quite stringy, but not to worry, it will melt more thoroughly in the oven.  Heat and stir until creamy and pretty much melted, remove from heat, and add the cooked pasta.  Mix well, coating the pasta and pour into the baking dish.  Top with some bread crumbs and a little more freshly grated Cheddar.  Pop it in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the top cheese is melted.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Oh, Hello 2013. Welcome.

Happy New Year, Friends!  I hope you had a fabulous and eventful (or pleasantly uneventful) evening.  There's something very special about the new year, and the new beginning we get at this time each year.  Now, we are faced with the hard part: what will we do to make the most of our year?  That said, what are some of your resolutions for the New Year?  And more importantly, why is it your resolution?  I think the one we most often hear is "I will lose weight this year!" but why do you want to lose weight?  Perhaps if we had a great reason for our resolution, it would help us keep focused on our goal.  So here's a few of mine:

1. Cut down on sugar so my poor teeth don't suffer.  My goal is to achieve this by not adding sugar to my already coconut creamer filled brew, and to not indulge in candy just because its in front of me.  I'm terrible about this. 

2. Take time for ME.  It has recently occurred to me that even when I'm sitting, I'm doing something.  We all are.  Our culture these days can't seem to just sit and do nothing (what a concept) and this fast paced lifestyle can wear us down!  My goal is to take 5-10 minutes a day to something I want to do, rather than something I need to do.  Sure, much of my day is spent working on orders for my Etsy shop, and I love doing this, but it's work none-the-less.  Now, what will my 5-10 minutes be today? 

3. My father suffered a heart attack a week ago, and it really made us stop and evaluate how we are treating our bodies.  So one of my resolutions is to eat healthier (not for weight related reasons) in order to keep my body strong.  And for crying out loud, we need to stop stressing over everything (I'm preaching to myself here)! 

4. My husband inspired this one, when he said we need to embrace life and take the time to explore our areas of interest.  He, for example, has always had an interest in woodworking, but has never gone anywhere with it.  After attending a dinner party recently where the food was all native to Northern India, it inspired me to learn new cooking techniques and experiment with cooking. 

5. And last, but perhaps most important, I vow to SLOW DOWN this year.  I was bred to always be moving and doing something.  Flashback to me as a kid, summer vacation, lounging and enjoying my television programming only to have my dad tell me to get outside and "find something to do." (Didn't he know that I HAD to watch Saved By the Bell?)  But this year, we all need to slow down and not multi task with a hundred things at once.

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