Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chicken and Pesto Spooky Pasta

        Hello Friends!  It's been a while since I posted a recipe right?  To those who are following me on Instagram, thank you for reminding me. 
        Since we are celebrating Halloween, I decided to share with you my kids' favorite spooky food.   Funny thing is, I never imagined it as something freaky or even a Trick or Treating dinner staple.  It is pesto sauce for crying out loud! 
         I can still remember the first time they saw this dish.  They were so amazed because I was able to make a really "Spooky Pasta".  Was that even a compliment?  Anyway, the color definitely caught their attention and imagination.  The basil and spinach combo gave it a milder taste that the kids enjoyed.  If you have a "veggie - phobic" one just like my Child #2, don't even mention what the ingredients are.  The name "Spooky Pasta" can do the trick.  Green Eggs and Ham anyone?
         This kid friendly dish is very easy to prepare and all the components can be made ahead of time. As you may know, pesto can be frozen and so is cooked chicken.   So it is basically a reheat and serve type of dish.  Just make sure that your pasta is al dente to prevent it from being mushy.  Since it is also good at room temperature, it is an excellent lunch box idea.  Oh, did I mention that it's healthy too?     
        Happy Halloween!
- Roz


1 lbs. cooked gluten free spaghetti
1/2 lb. chicken breast cut in to 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pasta water (water used to cook the pasta)


1 tsp. minced fresh garlic (about 3 big cloves)
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (used the best that your budget can allow)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbs. canned cannellini beans (rinsed)
1/2  cup Daiya cheddar style cheese (if you can have dairy, use parmesan cheese)

1. Excluding the olive oil, put all the pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender.
2. With the machine running, slowly drizzle the olive oil. 
3. Once everything is well incorporated, stop the machine and set aside.
4. In a heated pan, sauté the chicken in olive oil.
5. When the chicken is cooked through, add the pesto.
6. After 2 minutes, add the cooked spaghetti and toss until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. If the sauce looks dry, add a little of the cooking liquid from a pasta.
7. When the pasta feels warm, turn off heat.
8. Serve immediately. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Freebies : Slow Cooker Recipes Ebooks

      The temperature has reached the 30's here in New Jersey!  Just this week alone, I overslept twice already.  You know what that means?  If mom's up late, everybody has to rush double time or else.... So far, no slips to fill out yet (fingers crossed).     
       Anyway, as the weather continues to drop, I'm pretty sure the best reward at the end of the day will be a warm stew or soup to fill us up.  That's when my handy slow cooker comes to the rescue.  If you haven't gotten one, please do yourself a favor and invest.  I don't want you to miss the "wonderfulness" that this little appliance can bring.
      For today's Friday Freebies, I've found not one but four e books filled with slow cooker recipes.  Two of which are even gluten free.  Download them all and you'll have enough recipes for the whole year! 

- Roz

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gluten Free Red Apple and Eye Shadow Lipstick Review

          Have you ever had this kind of mixed feelings all at the same time? 1. Happy to have found a really wonderful product. 2. Super excited to share the news to the whole wide world. 3. A bit hesitant to actually mention your secret as you have been getting compliments.
           That was exactly what I felt when I tried the lipstick and eye shadow kit sent to me by the wonderful people at Red Apple Lipstick.   I confess, I am a cosmetic fanatic for years.  Lately though, I rarely purchase products because I learned that most of the brands I patronize contain harmful ingredients.  I spend so much on organic food, healthier green household cleaners and nature based toiletries yet unknowingly  kept on using toxic beauty items. How sad right?

           Then came Red Apple Lipstick. Not only do they use safe and natural ingredients, all their products are mineral based, free of gluten, parabens, toxins and even soy.  Allergens that we already eliminated in our home. 


              After using the eye shadow and lipstick they sent me for 3 weeks now, I can't believe on the quality of the products.  The Dynamic Duo eye shadow doesn't only brings out my brown eyes, it stays on for hours.  It doesn't crease at all and is perfect for both day and night. (A frugalista mom's treat!) The colors blend so well which makes it foul proof.  A big help for someone who's not a pro make up artist and only has less than 5 minutes to get ready.

              That's me wearing the HibisKiss lipstick.  I love, love and LOVE it!  After years of using numerous brands of lipstick, I felt the Red Apple Lipstick difference on the first application.  It goes on so smoothly and has a really long staying power.  Not only does it prevents lips from drying and chapping, it helps hydrate and heal it.  Surprisingly, even if I don't wear the lipstick the next day, I still feel that I have lip balm on.  Hard to believe that a simple lipstick can do that kind of trick. 
              Where have you been all these years? Oh well, I'm so glad you came. Now I am hooked! 
- Roz

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Freebies: Vegetarian Recipes Ebooks

         It's time for the Friday Freebies. Can you believe how fast and tiring this week had been?  It's only 10 am EST and I can't wait to get my second mug of coffee.  Oh, did I ever mentioned that I just realized that my beloved coffee mug hold 2 1/2 cups? Yikes!
          Anyway, if you had one of those toxic weeks, isn't it time to detox?  I'm not referring about those "magic" drinks or a few days of deprivation.  Who needs that after a tiring week right? 
          I'm firm believer of food balance.  If I want to indulge, I make sure I have a healthy side dish to go along with it.  Since I am not a big raw salad fan, in fact, I don't find any comfort eating it, I looked around for healthy vegetable recipes. 
          Good news!  I found some amazing e-books filled with vegetarian recipes that you can download for free today.  From dips, appetizers, main course and even desserts, I'm sure you will find a something that will make your taste buds and body happy.    
         Have a relaxing and recharging weekend my friends!

- Roz

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Healthier Garlic Mashed Potatoes - Dairy Free

          My children and I love mashed potatoes.  No matter how big the batch I made, it is often gone within 36 hours.  I don't know about you, but that simple side dish, when done right, always brings happy memories.  Emotional eating alert?  Who cares! Moderation is key right? As if all of you can resist a creamy, buttery and cheesy potato. 
         Anyway, when I learned that we have to remove dairy from our home, one of the toughest dishes I have to remake is the mashed potatoes.  As most delicious recipes available out there, this dish is nothing but a simple concoction of  vegetable, seasonings and a truck load of dairy --- butter, sour cream, cheese, milk, cream.  The more the merrier!
         So after tons of disastrous attempts, I finally was able to come up with something that have a creamy, flavorful and yes dairy free version for my food allergy kids.   Surprisingly too, it turned out healthier and very much lower in fat than the traditional ones. 
        The trick to this recipe is to add as much flavor as possible.  As you will notice below, I cooked the potatoes in broth.  Use the best one that you can find.  If you are lucky enough to have some cheese, feel free to add a tablespoon or two.  Don't go overboard.  You will be surprise how little you will need. 
         Serve this in your next gathering and you will have more room for dessert too! How's that?
- Roz            


1 lb. russet potatoes, skin removed and cut into 2 inch cubes
2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock (enough to cover the potatoes)
2 cloves fresh garlic, smashed
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper (you can also use white pepper)
2 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbs. buttery spread (I used Earth Balance Soy free) or 2 Tbs. bacon grease (oil from cooking bacon)
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley

1. In a stock pot, combine the potatoes, stock and garlic.
2. Bring it to boil.  Once it starts boiling, lower the heat to simmer and cook the potatoes until fork tender.
3. When the potatoes are cooked.  Turn off the heat and remove about 3/4 of the stock and the garlic pieces. Don't throw away the stock.  Set it aside.
4.  With the help of a potato masher, gently mash the potatoes in the same pot.  If it looks a bit dry, slowly add some of the broth that was set aside.  Keep mashing until you reach your desired consistency.
5. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and buttery spread or bacon grease. 
6. Mix well and top with chopped fresh parsley.
7. Serve hot.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Freebies: Paleo Diet Recipes Ebooks

           One of the diets I first turned to for recipes when I learned about my children's wheat allergy is the Paleo Diet.   For those who are not familiar with it yet, Paleo or the Caveman diet is a nutritional plan that focuses on eating foods that are not processed and as close to its natural state as possible.  It mainly promotes meat and vegetables. 
           Since this diet prohibits grains, I know that I can get tons of wheat/gluten free recipes ideas.  Is our family on the Paleo diet? Not really, as we also refrain from eating eggs, dairy and nuts remember?  But there are some awesome recipes that can be adapted to our families needs. 
           If you are curious about this diet or are just looking for new recipes, I have found some good ebooks filled with grain free recipes.  As part of Friday Freebies, you can download them today for free.  Cool right?
           Have a great weekend!      

- Roz


Thursday, October 10, 2013

4 Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef BBQ

           Last weekend, I was cleaning the pantry and I can't help but notice some items that had been there for a while.  Admit it, you also have those bottles of sauce that you always meant to use but never did.  Anyway, allow me to give myself a little pat on the back because the products I found are not expired yet.  Yay!!!

          Since I hate wasting food especially now that I mostly buy organic,  I decided to experiment again in the kitchen.  This time I made something very simple.  As in, I only used four ingredients and my BFF, the crockpot. 

           If you have been reading my recipes before, I'm sure by now, you know that I love to layer flavors.  That means marinating, searing and having at least 10 ingredients.  I have to say, I was a bit scared when I made this BBQ.  It's just too easy.  My 4 year old can actually do this.  Oh well, I took the plunge and gave it a go.

           The end result exceeded my expectations. Tremendously! Beef was almost falling apart soft.  It was well seasoned all the way through.  The sauce was thick and had a caramelized flavor without being salty or acidic.  I can't believe it was the same bottled BBQ sauce.  The taste was totally hearty and homemade.

           My kids can't even wait to try it because the house smelled so good when they arrived.  As you can see, I wasn't even able to take a pretty photo.   After learning that we have cooked rice available, they immediately dug in and even asked for more.   Guess what? The leftovers even made it to their lunch boxes today. 
           Who knew something so delicious can be this simple? 

- Roz          

3-4 lbs. beef short ribs or chuck, cut into 3 inch cubes
2 cups BBQ sauce (I used our favorite Wegman's Kansas Style)
1 cup chopped white onions
1. Combine the BBQ sauce and broth in your crock pot.
2. Add the beef and onions.
3. Mix well so that all the meat is all covered with the sauce.
4. Cook on high for 8 hours.
5. Serve it over rice or pasta. You can also serve it with potatoes or on top of a salad. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Crock Pot Dairy Free Beef Stroganoff

         Did you miss me?  I know I have been MIA (missing in action) lately.  Just can't believe how hectic this new school year has been so far.  My 5th Grader's homework and projects aren't helping either.  Oh well!  The joys of motherhood. 
          With such a busy schedule, I realized that I started to use my slow cooker (crock pot) more frequently.  About 2-3 times a week to be exact.  There's just no way, I could do all the cooking for my food allergy family without my new BFF. 
           Do you enjoy using your slow cooker too?  Need some recipe ideas?  Well, you're in luck.  I am sharing with you today my secret Dairy Free recipe for Beef Stroganoff.  Hearty, creamy and piping hot, this is  real comfort food perfect for this cooler autumn weather.  Best part is we don't have to slaves in the kitchen to make it.  
           Whether you have company to impress or just short in time, give this recipe a shot.  I'm sure you'll love it too.  Your guests will never know how easy it is.  So, can you keep this a secret?
            Gotta go.
- Roz
3 lbs. beef chuck cut into strips
8 oz. baby Bella mushrooms roughly chopped
2 cups beef broth
1 Tbs. sea salt
1/2 Tbs. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
1 14 oz. can coconut milk
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 Tbs. fresh garlic minced
1 cup chopped onions
1 tsp. mustard powder
2 pcs. dry bay leaf
1 Tbs. cornstarch (or arrowroot)
2 Tbs. cold water
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1. Combine the broth, salt, pepper, chili flakes, thyme, garlic, nutmeg, mustard powder and bay leaf in the crock pot. 
2. Add the beef stripes, onions and mushrooms.  Mix well.
3. Cook on high for 5 hours.
4. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water.  Make sure there are no lumps.
6. Pour the coconut milk and cornstarch mixture to the beef.  Mix well.
7. Cook for another 1 hour on high or until the beef is tender.
8. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.  Great on top of pasta or rice.
Whole day method:
          If you will be out the whole day, you can combine all the ingredients except the parsley in the slow cooker.  Cook for 8 hours on low. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Gluten Free Vegan Carrot Cake Mini Donuts

          Ah Donuts! I can't believe how obsessed I have become after purchasing that cute Babycakes Mini Doughnut Maker which my children saw on sale about a year ago.  I can still clearly remember that day.  It was a few weeks after Child #3 was diagnosed with food allergies and our home has to be clear of wheat, dairy, egg, soy, nuts and peanuts.  While grocery shopping, the kiddos gang up on me and sweetly justified why we need another kitchen gadget.
           Since I haven't made any doughnuts before, I'm a bit hesitant.  Their positivity, however,  about being able to eat their favorite treat again, made me gave in.   Boy! I'm so glad I listened to them.
            Maybe you're wondering why I am so passionate with donuts all of a sudden. Here are the top five reasons.
              1. The mini donuts are portioned and portable.  I can always throw some in the lunch box.
              2. Making my own donuts allows me to add healthier ingredients.  Sneaky way of giving more fruits and vegetables to the kids.
              3. It's baked which means less oil and calories.
              4. Since I make them food allergy friendly, my children don't feel left out or very restricted.
              5. The kiddos just love them! 

           When I was young, I am not a huge fan of carrots.  Everything changed when I had my first slice of the carrot cake from a newly opened bakery near our home.  If something made from carrots can taste as heavenly as that, then vegetables aren't that bad at all.   
             This recipe was reminiscent of that feeling.  These doughnuts which are loaded with carrots are a delectable treat without the big guilt.  I often leave it unfrosted to avoid extra sugar and make it school snack friendly.  Dusting it with confectioner's sugar at the end, makes it a pretty dessert too.
              Are you craving now?  Me too.  I think it's time to make another batch just for me. Want to give this a try? What are you waiting for?  If you need any help, just let me know.
- Roz


2 Tbs. flax meal
6 Tbs. lukewarm water
3/4 cup sugar (I used Wholesome Organic Sugar )
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 tsp. molasses (you can also use maple syrup)
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon powder
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Chinese 5 spice powder
1 1/2 cup finely grated carrots
1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional) This will is just for dusting after the donuts are done.

1. Preheat an electric donut maker. 
2. In a small bowl, combine the flax meal and water to make a flax goo.  Set aside for at least 5 minutes before using.
2. Whisk together all the dry ingredients.  Set aside.
3. With the help of an electric mixer, cream the oil and sugar until it is light in color. 
4. Add the flax goo and molasses.
5. Slowly add the flour mixture until just combined. Don't over mix.
6. Fold in the carrots. 
7. Drop about 2 Tbs. of the batter on the donut maker crevices.  Bake for 7-8 minutes.
8. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top.

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