Goals for 2013

Image

20121230-075344.jpg

I hope everyone is having a safe and happy break from school and work, full of good food & good times!

Around this time of year people often start making New Year’s Resolutions. It’s a noble effort, as having goals gives you something to work for. But I feel that many NYR are too specific and end up making people feel like failures.

Examples are: I will lose 40 pounds this year. What if that doesn’t happen? What if you lose 20? Are you a failure?

So I tend to give myself broader goals that are more about the journey than the destination. My goals for 2013 are:

1. Become a better wife. I believe very strongly in the Bible’s principles about how to make your family life successful, so I plan to spend more time studying it, and applying what I read. I want to make our marriage stronger.

2. Cook more outside the box. I love cooking. That’s why I began this blog! But I tend to make the same things over and over. So my goal is to cook different things, more often. I hope that my Try Something New Tuesdays will help with that!

3. Clean up my eating. We eat pretty clean on a regular basis, but I think there is always room for improvement.

4. Exercise more/differently. 2012 was the year of running. I ran two half marathons and I’m in love! But I think that to stay balanced I need to incorporate some other types of exercise and strength training. I shall start by going snowboarding tomorrow 🙂

5. I want to take more time to enjoy life, like those seagulls in the picture up there. Even they know when to sit down, take a breath, and enjoy the sunset. I want to do that more in 2013.

What are your goals in 2013??

Advertisements

French Toast with Espresso Vodka

Image

20121228-084017.jpg

My last post was about making yeast free bread for my hubby. Today that’s out the window haha. It’s his cheat meal and I wanted to use real, yeasty, gluteny bread!

My boss gave me some fresh bread from a local bakery, but you can use any bread. It’s best if it is a little dry to start with.

– INGRDIENTS –
4 eggs
2/3 cup vanilla soymilk
1/4 cup espresso vodka (I used Vail brand)
Splash of vanilla
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Bread

– PROCESS –
Heat your skillet over medium heat.

Mix all your ingredients (except the bread of course) and then pour in a shallow bowl.

Dip your bread, slice by slice, in the mixture and let soak for a few seconds. Place in pan and let cook on each side for about 3 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Serve with your favorite toppings. Mine are fruit!

Orange Cardamom Cinnamon AirFreshener

Image

20121227-100443.jpg

In an effort to continue to not waste the orange peels from all the beautiful oranges given to me, I had a stovetop airfreshener going yesterday.

I put some orange peels in a small pot with a sprinkle of cardamom and cinnamon and some water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Turn off the stove. If you need more fragrance later on in the day, turn it on again!

The whole house (my whole one bedroom apartment haha) smelled delicious! It’s a perfect way to use resources wisely and it is also ideal for people with allergies to chemical airfresheners like me!

Try Something New Tuesday – Quinoa Flour Bread

Quinoa Flour is fairly new to me.  Not completely new, but new enough to be a part of Try Something New Tuesday.  I will be doing this weekly to motivate myself and you to try new things regularly.

photo 1Anyways, with my husband’s new diet, I have been looking into yeast-free breads.  We need it to be yeast-free and as low in carbs as possible.  On an investigatory trip to Sprouts we discovered that we will have to plan to pay at least $6 a loaf for bread he can eat.  I refuse to do that.  So I have begun experimenting with my own bread!

Experiment number one failed miserably.  It tasted fine, but was about an inch thich, not exactly ideal for sandwiches.

So today I have tried something new.  I am still using quinoa flour because of the high protein content and the fact that it is gluten free.  I adjusted the amount of baking soda, and I added extra milk to make the consistency closer to pancake batter than bread dough.  And I am making my bread in a skillet.  Individual “slices” of bread.  I avoid the rising problems caused by lack of yeast and I can control the size of the slices.

– INGREDIENTS –
2 1/2 cups quinoa flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 teaspoon salt
2 cups vanilla soymilk
1/8 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons shredded coconut

– PROCESS –
Heat up a large skillet on low to medium heat. You can use coconut oil or non stick spray. Coconut oil crisps the slices, whereas non stick spray leaves the bread a little softer.

Mix your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Melt the butter and add it in with the soymilk. Add the wet ingredients and stir well.

photo 2Pour two pieces of bread a time, being careful to make them a similar size.

photo 3Place a cover over your pan and let cook for 3-4 mintues. Flip bread over and let cook for another 2 minutes. You will end up with one side much flatter than the other. This is where your sandwich toppings will go.

Let cool and then store in a sealed plastic bag.

photo 4This bread is nutty, full of protein, gluten free, yeast free…and delicious! I like it topped with peanut butter and honey personally.

Orange Honey Balsamic Chicken

84F85396-4782-43BD-95E1-0F6545F99A3FI have been thoroughly enjoying the oranges my friend gave me the other day. I knew my husband and I just wouldn’t get to all of them before they started rotting, so I spent some time juicing a large percentage of them. Juice came out great!

I was left with a lot of orange peels afterward though. A LOT. Ordinarily I would throw away the peel, but it just seemed wasteful to take that much organic material and throw it out!

I decided to make a meat marinade out of some of the peels. I took a mason jar and filled it with washed orange peels. Then I added honey and balsamic vinegar. I shook the bottle and stuck it in my fridge overnight to let all the flavors mix.

5EF75043-3A38-469E-A6BF-201FFE69650CThus is born my orange honey balsamic chicken!

– INGREDIENTS –
Clean, leftover peels from some oranges (or lemons if that’s what you’ve got lying around)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable stock
3 chicken breasts
1 butternut squash

– PROCESS –
Grab a mason jar ( or any sealed container) and fill it with orange peels. Add honey and vinegar and shake. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning shake again. Pour some of the mix into the crockpot along with 1/2 cup vegetable stock. Place chicken on top and then pour the rest of the marinade on top of that.

96E71590-37D2-4C6D-A527-C301E92C4587Slice up your squash, scoop out seeds, and put skin-side down on top of the chicken.

C841A9BB-CF44-4064-BC8A-D0AADA4CF9F4Cook on high for four hours.  Mash up your squash and garnish with something bright!photo 2

 

 

Jamaican Jerk Chicken & Sweet Potato

photo 2I enjoy going out to eat. It gives me an opportunity sit back, relax, enjoy the company of friends and family…all without the work of cooking myself. And let’s be honest – sometimes the food at a restaurant just tastes better. The ingredients they use are unique, their cooking techniques flawless. Along with that delicious food, however, often comes a high price and way more calories, sodium, and sugar than you need for an entire day.

One of my favorite dishes out is the Jamaican Jerk Sweet Potato at Claim Jumpers. Fits all the criteria above, including the “bad for you” stuff. So I did some research and found out how to make this amazing dish with things I already have in my fridge and pantry, and it’s good for you! Plus, it’s made in the CrockPot!

– INGREDIENTS –
– Spice Mix –
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon thyme

– Other –
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 sweet potatoes
a few sprigs of rosemary
1 red onion
2 cups crimini mushrooms
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth

– DIRECTIONS –

Mix everything for your spice mixture in a small bowl. Set aside.

photo 2Slice up the onion in large chunks. Put half of it on the bottom of the crockpot with some of your chopped rosemary. Pour in vegetable broth.

Place chicken breasts on top. Sprinkle spice mix on top, coating the chicken thoroughly. Lay the rest of your onion on top of the chicken along with the rest of the chopped rosemary. Also put in the mushrooms. Wrap your sweet potatoes individually in tin foil and place on the very top.

photo 4Let cook on low for 3-4 hours.

Serve with a drizzle of honey on top (or not if you’re trying to limit sugar). Delicioso!

Jamaicanjerkchicken*Note: I leave for work very early in the morning, so I like to put together my crockpot dishes the night before. This is one that holds up very well in the fridge overnight. I think it helps the chicken to take on the flavor of the spices even more!*