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Prosciutto & Watermelon

Watermelon is one of my absolute favorite treats, & prosciutto is one of life’s special discoveries. Mix them together, & you have a fabulous blend of sweet & salty. This makes a great appetizer & a decadent snack, so if you’re looking for something special this summer, give it a try!

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Apple, Bacon, & Gouda Salad

I did a bad, bad thing: I bought apples in May.

“But Sarah,” you say, “What’s wrong with that?”

Apples in May are… well, they’re as bad as tomatoes in February. Especially when compared to mid-October Ohio apples, which are unbelievable. I’ll never understand what the big deal is about Washington apples. Same with California strawberries – our Ohio produce is amazing.

Which is why my craving for apples was a bit bizarre, but I went with it. I picked up four apples at the farm market, & although the flavor wasn’t fabulous, I enjoyed every bite. Thing is, right I’m just waiting. Soon there will be lots of delicious in-season local produce, but right now… ugh, it’s killing me. So I don’t really feel so bad, especially since I stumbled into this fun little salad.

One of my favorite meals is the classic hunk of cheese, hunk of meat, bit of fruit, & hunk of bread (sounds glamorous, doesn’t it?). Personally, I blame this on the epic quest fantasies I read as a kid (Mariel of Redwall, anyone? I swear the backpacks where they’d keep the vittles must’ve been bottomless!), but in any case, I love it. I often do this for breakfast, & did so this week. I threw some pre-cooked (by me, of course), crumbled bacon, a cut up apple, & some chunks of gouda into a container with some banana bread, & ran out the door. When I got to work, I proceeded to eat my breakfast, & realized that the combination of these three ingredients (gouda, bacon, & apple) was just perfection. I’ve eaten it three times this week, & loved it each morning. So I thought I’d share!

Apple, Bacon, & Gouda Salad

What you need:
Approximately equal amounts of:

  • chopped apple
  • crumbled bacon
  • diced gouda
  • squirt of lemon juice

 

How to do it:

  1. Throw a squirt of lemon juice on your apples to keep them from browning.
  2. Toss ingredients together. Best eaten when at room temperature!

 

Most people would probably tell you to ruin it by tossing this with some sort of dressing or sauce, but don’t let them fool you. The crisp sweetness of apple paired with the buttery taste of gouda & saltiness of bacon is perfection all on its own. Methinks I’ll be eating this quite a bit come fall.

Enjoy!


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Easy chicken parmesan

Mmm – chicken parmesan. Sad thing is, a month or two before I gave up wheat, I learned how to make a totally rockin’ chicken parmesan. It was a long process that involved a lot of ingredients, but WOW, was it tasty. I bid it adieu in January 2010 & moved on to other things, but then I stumbled upon a flour-less chicken parm recipe in the surprisingly primal-friendly cookbook Eat Fresh Food: Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs. It’s quick & easy, has only a few ingredients, & best of all, really tasty. Although not all the recipes in the cookbook are gluten-free, the emphasis on fresh food cooked simply is pretty rad. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly (do I ever?), but it was definitely inspiring.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand the hate towards boneless, skinless chicken breast. If money is tight & conventional chicken is all you’ve got, this is totally the way to go. & if you cook it right, it’ll be nice & juicy. At least mine always are.

Anyways! Let’s get this yummy recipe started!

Quick & Easy Chicken Parmesan

gluten-free

What you need:

  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • about a cup of parmesan cheese (the best quality you can afford)
  • salt, herbs & spices to your liking*
  • olive oil
  • tomato puree (or whatever tomato sauce you have lying around)

 

*I tend to use oregano, basil, tarragon, parsley, sage, & rosemary for everything of the Italian persuasion.

How to do it:

  1. Drizzle some olive oil on a hot griddle.
  2. Throw the parmesan cheese, a bit of salt, & whatever Italian herbs you feel like using into a bowl. Mix it altogether, then place on a plate or in a bag. Dredge the chicken in the parmesan mixture. You don’t need to add anything to the chicken; it’ll stick right onto the meat as is!
  3. Place the chicken on the griddle & let it get crisp on the outside, as shown below.
  4. Once it’s nice & crisp on the outside, transfer to an oven-safe dish that’s been drizzled with a bit of olive oil. Spoon some sauce over top, then sprinkle any leftover parmesan mixture on top.
  5. Bake at 350&deg for about ten minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through!

 

Serve with a salad, some steamed veggies, or the pasta alternative of your choice. Enjoy!


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Rivvin’s Amazing Microwave Bread

mmm turkey time...

Let’s face it – there’s not much easier & cheaper than throwing a sandwich together. I’ve been experimenting with the coconut flax bread recipe that’s out there, & I do have a coconut-flax-chia seed bread that I really like, but those take time to bake & I’m having some difficulties making it last longer than a few days before it goes bad. The oopsie bread recipe is amazing, but that’s also a long process (quite messy, too), so I don’t make it all that often.

I’ve looked at available gluten-free breads, but their nutrition is iffy & wow, they’re expensive! Spending seven dollars on a tiny loaf of bread that may or may not be tasty completely defeats the purpose of eating a sandwich. But since I went gluten-free, I’ve been determined to find an acceptable substitute. So when I happened upon the MDA forum thread The Sandwich is Back, and He’s Pretty Pissed, I’ll admit, I was skeptical (albeit amused), having tried so many promising recipes that have ultimately failed. But Rivvin’s recipe for five minute microwave bread also made me curious, & as I was delighted to discover that I still had a bag of almond meal back in the way back of the cupboard, I gave it a shot.

You know what? It’s really quite good. So fast, so tasty, & it definitely has the texture of wheat bread. I do feel that it’s far too much bread for one serving – flax & almond meals are very filling, what with all that fiber, so you don’t need a very big or thick slice. So! Here’s my take for making two sandwiches:

Five Minute Microwave Bread

quick & easy

What you need:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup combination of almond meal & flax meal – I’ve been using two tablespoons of each. I do NOT recommend using the full 1/4 cup of flax only, & don’t even bother trying out coconut. I tried with one tablespoon coconut, two tablespoons of almond meal, & one tablespoon of flax, & it just didn’t really work.

 

How to do it:

  1. Mix everything together, then pour into a square glass dish. Spread evenly.
  2. Microwave for 90-100 seconds.
  3. Cut into four squares (I use a silicon spatula) & flip out of pan. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then doctor it as you like!

 

If you want to save your second sandwich for the next day, wrap it loosely in a paper towel, parchment, or wax paper. Tuck it inside a bag, & place somewhere cool (your pantry, perhaps?). Putting it in the fridge was a definite failure – the bread just fell apart & stuck to the paper towel, which made me quite sad that lunch hour.

April’s issue of Whole Living featured an article entitled Make a Better Sandwich, & for the first time in a long time, I’m looking forward to testing out some of these ideas. Yay for the sandwich being back in my life!


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Tomatoes & basil & onions, oh my!

I know I’ve posted this recipe before, but with summer just around the corner, I thought I’d bring it up again! Tomatoes & basil is pretty much the yummiest combination ever, if I do say so myself, & the addition of sweet onion creates a party in your mouth. For a real treat, throw in some true fresh mozzarella, & you’re basically set for life.

I hadn’t actually planned to make this, it being April & all (aka, the tomatoes are generally still lifeless), but my local farm market had three things last weekend: these sweet candy onions (pictured below), absolutely gorgeous fresh basil, & the reddest little tomatoes I’ve seen since October. I kid you not, I did a little celebration dance right there in the market. YAY! I knew exactly what I was making on Sunday!

Normally I try to eat things mostly in season, but I made an exception for these. I dare not think where they came from, or how they came to be so red & juicy in April, but I’ll tell you what – I savored every morsel. Oh, it’s so, so good. & so versatile! But I’m getting ahead of myself. The recipe for this salad is basic, but I’ll write it out anyways for those who need the exact directions…

Classic Tomato & Basil Salad

What you need:

  • Good, ripe tomatoes (I used small-ish ones; feel free to use any variety)
  • Onions (if you can’t find the delectable candy sweet ones, go for red)
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper

 

How to do it:

  1. Cut tomatoes into chunks. Because I used small ones, I simply quartered them, but when I use tiny grape tomatoes, I simply halve them. Toss some salt on them to bring out the flavor. Dice up your onions, & chop up the basil. Throw these three ingredients into a bowl (if you’re also adding mozzarella, go ahead & toss it in too).
  2. Drizzle on olive oil & balsamic; even to evenly coat everything. If you feel so inclined, add some Italian dressing.
  3. Add some fresh ground pepper, mix altogether, & voila! A super simple salad you can enjoy all summer long.

 

I mentioned the versatility of this mixture, & here are some ways I’ve used it

  • On its own as a side salad
  • Thrown on top of salad greens & chicken for an entree salad
  • Blended into a quick fresh sauce for pizza
  • If using big slices of tomato, as toppings for pizza – just throw on some fresh blobs of mozzarella, & you’re good to go!
  • Mixed with pasta or spaghetti squash for an easy dish
  • Spooned over chicken breast before baking
  • Mixed into a Big Bowl of Awesome a few moments before removing from heat
  • Served atop toast (gluten-free or otherwise) for quick crostini

 

Anyone have other ideas? Let me know how you’ll enjoy this in the coming months!


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Egg drop soup

I confess, I love noodle soup. Somehow, my chicken soup just isn’t the same without noodles. Mrs Grass’ soup was always a comfort food when I was sick, & somehow winter just isn’t the same without it. Cue the egg drop! Did you know this stuff is super easy to make? Really & truly, as easy as making scrambled eggs. If you’ve got some broth, you’ve got what you need to make egg drop soup.

Egg drop soup

Makes 2-4 servings

What you need:

  • 3-4 beaten eggs
  • Soup! You can easily use any stock/broth you might have – I actually used turkey stock made from the Thanksgiving turkey. Everything but the tail & all that! I added carrots, onions, & mushrooms to mine, but that’s up to you. This is definitely a “stone soup” moment – it’ll taste lovely by itself, but added veggies & bits of meat will only make it heartier.

 

How to do it in three easy steps:


1. Thoroughly heat your soup to a good simmer, & if you’ve added meat/veggies, cook them through. Remove from heat.


2. Drop in egg using a fork. It’ll make the egg bits more “noodle-y,” rather than just one egg clump.


3. Stir until egg is cooked through for a few minutes. Serve!

This is so good, & so hearty! Next time your little one is sick, or you feel a sniffle, definitely give this a try. I think I’ll be having for lunch today!


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Chocolate-Almond Butter Smoothie

This is my go-to smoothie. I’ve always been a sucker for the chocolate-peanut butter combo, but I’ve since upgraded to the better-for-you almond butter. Just as tasty, I swear! It’s a great meal replacer – sometimes I have this for breakfast, sometimes I have it when I just want a quick lunch, & occasionally I’ll make it for dessert. The best part? There’s absolutely no reason to feel guilty indulging in it! Chock full of protein, good fats, & all the yummy things in a banana & cocoa without needing to worry about too many excess sugars & calories. Delicious!

Chocolate-Almond Butter Smoothie

dairy-free, vegan

For one smoothie, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 6 ounces plain coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons real unsweetened cocoa powder

 

Blend altogether, & enjoy!

Nutrition information via Livestrong.com: 43g fat, 21g carbs, 7.5g protein; 478 total calories.