Roasting a chicken at 9:30 AM in 90 degree weather…why not?
I’ve been addicted to these three seasonings lately.
We do have central air conditioning, but with several days in a row of very hot weather, even the air conditioner let’s out a sigh of relief when I am able to shut it down and open the windows after dark. I can’t complain about the weather, other than I don’t like having the house closed up during the day. I love the sun and love the heat. The dogs have been rather lazy though and I’ve had to coax them outside to get some sun and fresh air. Seems they’ve become a little spoiled in the cool house.
The reason I’m roasting a chicken at breakfast is because upon returning home from our camping trip, I realized that we have a freezer full of organic meat. What’s wrong with that you ask? Well, if our house sells quickly (God willing!) we won’t be able to take it with us because only a minimal amount will fit in our trailer freezer as we trek across the country from Washington to New Hampshire. And as I’m sure you know, organic meat is not cheap. My poor husband is only home for two dinners a week lately if that, so if the house sells “quickly” the math doesn’t add up if I keep making myself toast for dinner while he’s gone. So I decided yesterday that I would roast a chicken so I could have roast chicken and vegetables for lunch and then use the remainder of the chicken for “other” dishes throughout the week while he’s gone. And of course, maybe a little special snack or two for the pups. Then I’ll have to force myself to make a proper dinner instead of toast or crackers and goat cheese at least a few times a week so I can whittle down our freezer meats and fish .
So as I mentioned, we are selling our house…we haven’t had any bites yet. A lot of people have looked at it on various websites, but no offers have come in and no one has been by to look at it! The Realtor assures us it’s because of the wonky weekends around the 4th of July holiday with people traveling and such. He assured us that because we priced it reasonably it will sell within 60 days. It’s only been 13 days, so maybe I’m being a little hyper… I’d like to believe him but my inner, anxiety ridden, worrier mechanism that I try to beat down and keep at a low murmur, thinks differently. We’ll see. I would really rather not move across the country in the middle of the winter.
I’m trying of course to see this entire thing as the huge blessing that it is. The move is exciting, buying a new home is exciting, seeing and experiencing new things is very exciting. But the details and keeping the house spotless at all times, and the thinking, thinking, thinking, and not knowing…that part is highly annoying! So this morning, I’m throwing caution to the wind. I sit here still in my pajamas with raccoon circles under my eyes because I was too lazy to remove my mascara last night after a Home Owner’s Association meeting from hell, my feet are up on the stool next to me while I type, and my house is not spotless. See how rebellious I am? (ha) If I have to clean at the speed of lightning and rush out of here like my hair is on fire with dogs and cat in tow so someone can look at our house, then so be it. Today, I’m doing what I want to do. Which so far hasn’t amounted to a whole heck of a lot!
I mentioned up above that we recently returned from a camping trip. It was amazingly relaxing. My husband and I both knew we needed it, but I don’t think we knew how much we really needed it. We were in bed by 10:00 every night, slept in until 7:00 every morning. I usually hop out of bed around 4:30 or 5:00 each morning, so I guess I needed those extra few hours! The sleep was blissful. The rest was blissful. The scenery was gorgeous, the bird and the water sounds were like salve to my soul. I only made it home with one mosquito bite. Life is good.
And the sun and heat. Oh. My. Goodness. We’ve endured a long, wet, winter and spring and waited a long time for the sun to finally show itself.
We were able to sit in the evenings in front of our trailer and watch Osprey hunt in the water, watch swarms of birds fly around feasting on the evening bugs, and were even able on a couple of occasions to get a good look at a Bald Eagle. On our last morning, just up from the end of our trailer a mama deer trusted us enough to allow us a look at her new fawn. It was adorable. Bouncing around and enjoying the morning. My camera had broken the day before…so no pictures of mama and baby. More about that later.
Of course for us, food is a big part of camping. I didn’t take pictures of everything and didn’t write down recipes for my food or my mother in law’s, but this will give you an idea of what we were enjoying.
These are Cecelia’s pickled onions from thekitchensgarden. I used rice vinegar, peppercorns, thyme, rosemary, and garlic cloves to season mine. And by the way, I love her blog. I look forward to it every morning and it’s the first one I look for out of about 30 that I follow. Take a look through some of her posts and read her About Me section, and you’ll soon understand why I look forward to it every day.
This is a typical macaroni salad, except mine is made with gluten-free pasta and olive oil mayo. Make sure you make extra dressing if you’re not going to serve it immediately. Then, stir in the reserved dressing right before serving.
These are organic, gluten-free and dairy free, handmade sausages from one of our local specialty stores. I was not impressed. But then again, when the butcher assured me they were gluten-free and dairy free and I asked for two of the chicken and jalapeno sausages he said, “Now those have jalapeno, is that gluten?” Yikes. I wanted to snort and roll my eyes, but I didn’t. I asked kindly if I could look at their ingredient list.
This is a cherry pie, of course. I wasn’t extremely impressed with it either. I haven’t made a pie in a very long time and it seems I’ve gotten a bit rusty. Looks like I will have to bake a nice pie once a week until I can get it right and get my mojo back. I didn’t hear anyone argue with that logic.
This is a Namaste brownie. It’s by far the best allergen free brownie mix I’ve tried. And I have tried a few! You can freeze them and they are just as delicious as when they are fresh.
This is one of my favorite summer cocktails. Meyer’s Dark Rum, Knudsen’s all natural Tangerine Spritzer, the juice of 1/2 Clementine, and the juice of 1/2 Lemon. I call it the Yummy Rummy.
This is my homemade creamy sheep’s milk cheese salad dressing. When you can’t eat dairy, a creamy salad dressing on your greens is heavenly every once in a while. It’s just sheep’s milk cheese, olive oil mayo, rice vinegar, ground pepper, and any seasoning you like. This time I used the Bragg’s seasoning I pictured above and dill.
I also made another dressing/spread that I called creamy pesto. It was just a few spoonfuls of homemade pesto, olive oil mayo, and lemon juice. It was incredible both as a salad dressing and a spread. Unfortunately I was so intent on eating it, I didn’t get a photo.
This is my mother in law’s meat spaghetti sauce on top of gluten-free noodles. Her sauce is wonderful. Rich and flavorful and making me wish I had some right now! I wasn’t lying when I said I hadn’t accomplished much today. It’s now 6:30 PM and I am just adding photos to the post. I did manage to get out of my jammies and remove the raccoon look though. I also did some laundry, and squeezed in a little nap. It was a heavenly day…
This is just one of many delicious lunches we enjoyed. A BLT with avocado, red onion, and creamy pesto spread. The salad has a mixture of the creamy dressing and homemade thousand island dressing I made. You can Google the thousand island, it’s so easy! That’s my favorite gluten-free beer.
We took Chloe camping with us for the first time. It will be a good precursor for the trip back east. It wasn’t as weird or as difficult as I thought it was going to be.
Evidently, this particular cigar has received the highest rating ever for a cigar. I know absolutely nothing about cigars, but my husband assures me this is true information. And no, that is not my hairy arm! This is just one of many cigars my husband was able to enjoy on his much-needed vacation.
Here he is, kicked back and enjoying an evening of chatting with his parents. I can’t quite believe we will be married 21 years on the 25th of July. Time goes by so quickly! I am truly blessed and thankful that he is mine.
Every morning I woke up to this out of our bedroom door, which we left open every night so we could hear nature and see the moon and stars. Wonder what the view is like from up there?
The only bummer of our trip was that my camera broke right when we headed into Lake Chelan (about 60 miles from where we were camping in Winthrop, WA) on our third day. I’m sure you’ve noticed that some of my pictures above are not exactly up to par. Something was wrong with my shutter and as I was getting my camera ready and experimenting, I was only able to get these two shots right as we got out of the car. And then it wouldn’t work. (Enter sad violin music here…)
After this last photo, the camera completely seized up. Certainly makes you appreciate the finer things in life. The little pocket Kodak is not quite the same experience.
Lake Chelan is absolutely gorgeous. The water is deep blue and you can see right through it to the light-colored sand below. It’s a 50 mile long, glacier fed lake. Just gorgeous. I could have taken so many wonderful pictures for you! But such is life. I guess it’s a good reminder that we probably depend on these gadgets instead of memory far too much. So for now, I will have to live with our little pocket Kodak until my camera is repaired.
We toured around the town for a bit, ate lunch, and then went wine tasting at a few of the local wineries. If I couldn’t take pictures…then my next agenda was to sample a lot of wine and do some stocking up of west coast wines before we make the big move. And stock up, I did. From Tsillan Winery, Lake Chelan Winery, and one of my all time favorites, Lost River Winery. I hope I make friends quickly in our new home, my husband doesn’t drink. If not, my posts might take on a new look if I have to drink all this on my own!
Well, the day has sped by and it is now 6:41 PM. I think I’ll head out into the yard and mill around. It has dropped from 94 to 93 so it doesn’t look like we are going to get much of a reprieve from the heat until later tonight. I’m tired of the house being shut up tight, so I’ll open it up and just be thankful that summer is finally here.
I hope you all had a lovely and relaxing Independence Day!
I’m noticing that since we made the decision to move and have put the house up for sale, that “easy” has been my go to word for a lot of things.
It’s weird when your house is up for sale because you feel like you can’t do anything that takes a lot of time, makes a big mess, or makes your house smell weird. After all, the goal is to get someone to think they need our house more than another one, and as fast as possible. Add to that the hours spent on the internet looking for houses in areas of the United States that I’ve never even been…that makes for a tad bit of stress and yes, we are really tired. My husband has to do extensive traveling for work and I hold down the fort here, handle the details, and take care of the dogs. So when it comes to meals lately, “easy” it is!
Chicken & Italian Sausage Pasta Bake
You can find the french bread baguette recipe here.
*Makes a 9×11 dish of pasta, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
1/2 lb. Ground Italian Sausage (a lot of sausage is made with dairy & gluten, make sure you check)
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, sliced or cubed
A Good Shake of Red Pepper Flakes
4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
About 4-5 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, chopped
About 3 Tablespoons Fresh Oregano, chopped
About 6 Cremini Mushrooms, sliced
1 – 14.5 oz Can of Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 – 6 oz Can of Tomato Paste
About 20 oz Of Your Favorite Pasta Sauce (I used Newman’s Marinara)
About 3/4 of a bag of Gluten Free Spiral Pasta, cooked just before aldente (mine called for 15 minutes of cooking time and I cooked it for 10-12)
Daiya Dairy Free Mozzarella Style Cheese
Galaxy Foods Dairy Free Parmesan
Drizzle a large saute pan generously with olive oil. Add the sausage, chicken, and pepper flakes. Saute until just done.
Add the garlic, basil, oregano, mushrooms, and saute until garlic is beginning to brown. Add the fire roasted tomatoes and the tomato paste. Stir well and simmer for 5 minutes.
Spoon the pasta into an oiled 9×11 pan. Add the contents of the saute pan, and the tomato sauce and fold to combine.
Taste for seasoning. I added a couple of teaspoons of dried oregano. Sprinkle generously with dairy free parmesan, and spread a handful of the dairy free mozzarella over the top.
Spray a piece of foil with non-stick spray and cover tightly. Bake for 25 minutes, remove foil and broil for 5-8 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.
Serve with gluten-free french bread and dairy free butter.
We are embarking on a new and exciting life adventure! Completely stepping out of our comfort zones, leaving our families, and moving almost 3,000 miles from where we live now. Several weeks ago my husband accepted a job on the east coast. If everything goes according to “the plan” we will be moving from Washington state and living in New Hampshire within a few months. My husband grew up in a military family and has lived in quite a few places over his lifetime. I lived briefly in Montana and Wyoming when I was younger, and have lived in Washington State for the majority of my life. We are so excited to see and do new things! Not that we won’t miss our “comfort zone”, I’m sure that will be hard. But the opportunity to move somewhere completely different from what we’re used to, meet new friends, enjoy the area…that’s exciting! Nerve wracking too, but that’s to be expected.
It’s 2,810 miles from our home in Washington to the area we are going to live in New Hampshire. Basically, we’re moving from one corner of the United States to another.
Our adventure kicked into high gear last Friday when we met with a Realtor. Up to now, this whole thing felt a little surreal. Today, we are in full motion. I’ve been sorting, deep cleaning, organizing and luckily there’s only a few little things we had to do to the house. The Realtor wanted me to dress it up by setting our table with flowers, wine glasses, and fancy settings. Evidently it’s called “staging”. Did you know you can hire professional Stagers? What a fun job that would be! Smidge, you would be perfect for a job like that and you could make millions!
I removed all the family photos (insert sad face here), we replaced a strip of carpet that leads downstairs to our unfinished basement, moved some furniture around, and we need to turn every light in the house on when we know they are coming for a look-see.
Bare walls where about 50 family photos used to hang.
We also have to hide the dog crates and the cat accessories. Evidently a huge percentage of people who are looking for a new home think they are allergic to pets, but they aren’t. Those are the Realtor’s words, not mine. I’m kind of clean freak, so it won’t be too difficult to keep the house pet free…except for the pets! We have to collapse the pet crates and cram them under the bed every time they show the house. They’re huge. Wednesday it took me a half an hour to hide everything before the photographer arrived. You wouldn’t think something so simply constructed would be such a pain to maneuver! I can’t complain too much though. It’s a small price to pay if we want the house in tip-top shape and to appeal to all types of buyers.
Trust me, they look simple but it’s a huge task. I was sweating when I was done wrestling with them. Guess this will turn into my new workout if we’re lucky enough to get a lot of viewings over the next couple of months.
With my husband working, I’m pretty much on my own when it comes to figuring out how I’m going to get everyone out of the house for showings. Needless to say, I will have to be more organized than usual. I’ve come up with a cleaning plan every night before bed to make things less hectic if we have to scoot out of here early the next day. Who knew so much went into the whole process? I see a busy and crazy future ahead of me for a while…
Natural cleaning products have become my new best friend. Have you tried this brand? I love them, they smell so good! They all smell great but my personal favorite is the furniture spray. It’s smells just like the cherry and almond smell of Jergen’s lotion my grandma used to wear.
Seth, the Realtor, gave us lots of compliments on the house and its decor, said it would photograph very well and then told us that he just sold a house right down the street from us……..in EIGHT days. So he didn’t see any problem in getting it sold. Um, eight days? I looked at him and said, “Holy cow, I don’t know if I can do 8 days.” We haven’t even found a house in New Hampshire. We know the basic “area” we’d like to live, but other than that, nada. Luckily Seth has “connections” and has set us up with a Realtor in New Hampshire. Soon the emails will begin rolling in and we can start weeding through properties. That’s when the fun and excitement begins!
If you know me, you know that I like a plan. I like a step by step plan on how life is going to go and how we’re going to deal with it… Ha! Funny, right? I might like things that way, but I cannot remember one time when it actually turned out like that. I’m learning to take a lot of deep breaths. And use a couple of drops of these every now and then. They’re homeopathic calming drops. Just enough to take the edge off of an overly exciting day. All natural goodness for your body.
I’ve also been snacking on these amazing vanilla meringues lately and squeezing in breaks to read and relax. The meringues come from Trader Joe’s and are to die for. If you haven’t tried them, you must! And go quickly, because I think they are a “featured” product which means they won’t always carry them. Be careful. They’re addictive.
When you commit to something this huge, you just have to roll with the punches. It will be crazy, but we’ll consider ourselves lucky if the house sells quickly in this market. And if it takes months to sell, then we’ll regroup and deal with that too!
We’ve lived in this house for 12 years, the longest we’ve ever lived in one home. Luckily, I’m not a hoarder and I’m very organized. However, even though I’m not a “stuff” keeper and like to have everything in its place, I was still able to come up with several bags of things for The Salvation Army. It’s funny what we keep around thinking that it will be used, only to have completely forgotten that we even kept it! Everything is in its place so that when the movers come, things will be delivered to New Hampshire hopefully without the chaos of having to search through boxes for our bare necessities. That may be wishful thinking. We’ll see.
So for now, it’s still a bit of “hurry up and wait”. But that’s OK, because once the house sells, things will go very, very, fast. We’re going to try to squeeze in a nice camping trip with the in-laws next week and now that our weather is clearing up, we’ll plan for as many lazy Saturday evenings as we can in the backyard with delicious snacks and cocktails. I have to admit, we love our yard and we will miss it. We’ve tried very hard to make it a relaxing and beautiful area where we can “hang out”. Hopefully the next folks will enjoy it as much as we have!
Then, when the time comes, we’ll pack up our trailer and go on an adventure TO our adventure as we travel across the country to our new home. Google Maps tells me that it will take us 46 hours to drive there. But luckily, we will be taking our time and soaking in the country on our way and will meander, enjoying every bit of scenery on the way to our new home. I’ve never traveled past Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. There’s a lot of country I’m excited to see on the way to New Hampshire!
Did I tell you I’m planning on taking you with me? Stay tuned, I promise, it will be an exciting summer!
Have you ever had a week from H-E-Double Toothpicks and then you realize it’s only Thursday and you still have three more days left in the week?
A week like that calls for rum fudge.
A week like that calls for rum fudge, wine with dinner, and probably mojitos and lemon drops in the yard over the weekend. Lots of them.
Vegan Coconut Fudge
2 Cans of Full Fat Coconut Milk
1 Cup Sugar
4 Cups 72% Belgian Chocolate (dairy free), chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons Instant Coffee Granules
Kosher Salt, a nice sized pinch
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
6 Tablespoons Dark Rum
1 Cup Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts, chopped
1/2 Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
*This recipe was adapted from Gluten Free On A Shoestring‘s chocolate & peanut butter fudge.
(The first time I made this recipe I followed GFOAS’s recipe exactly. It didn’t set up and was basically like a fudge sauce. Still delicious, but not fudge in the form of fudge. I experimented with it today and was able to tweak it to my liking. As you can see, I tweaked it a lot, but I’m still thankful that I was able to learn the basics from GFOAS!)
Line an 8 inch square baking pan with doubled crisscrossed waxed paper. Melt coconut oil and brush on generously. I only used one layer, I think it would have come out of the pan easier with two, or even with the bottom layer being parchment.
In a heavy sauce pan or dutch oven bring the coconut milk and sugar to a boil on medium-high. Continue to boil, stirring well about every 3 minutes until liquid is reduced by half, is slightly thickened, and begins to turn a light amber color. I didn’t keep my eye on the clock, but I would guess it was about 20-25 minutes.
This picture doesn’t show it, but it’s a bit darker than this, but not by much. Once it reaches this point, remove from the heat and add the instant coffee, salt, vanilla, and rum. Stir to combine until the coffee granules have dissolved. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until completely melted. Add the nuts and coconut and fold in.
Pour into lined pan. Smooth with spoon and allow to set up in the freezer for three hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
When ready to cut, allow to sit on counter for 15 minutes. Remove fudge from pan with the sides of the wax paper and/or parchment and slice, or slice it right in the pan.
Keep leftovers in fridge or freezer.
Sometimes I get really tired of breakfast. I’m not really a breakfast food person, although I won’t turn down pancakes or crepes. I prefer leftover dinner for breakfast, but even that has me feeling “blah” lately. A smoothie is a wonderful way boost your vegetable, fruit, and protein intake. They are easy to make, convenient, and a light and healthy way to consume high fiber and nutrients that most of us have a difficult time getting enough of in our diets.
This recipe is adapted from Women’s Health Magazine. Theirs didn’t have protein powder, or pineapple. They also had two apples and ginger where I had 1 apple and no ginger (I love ginger, husband doesn’t). They also juiced theirs. I don’t believe in juicing. Although it looks gorgeous, whereas mine resembled a bit of pea soup, you miss out on all of that amazing fiber if you juice instead of simply blending. If you can, use all organic ingredients.
Pea soup look aside, this smoothie is delicious and fresh tasting. Sure to give you a light and energetic start to your Friday!
Going Green Smoothie
*Makes two 16 ounce smoothies
1 Large Packed Handful of Baby Spinach Leaves
2 Medium Carrots, peel on
2 Stalks of Celery
1 Apple, cored, skin on
1/2 Cup Pineapple
Juice of 1/2 Large Lemon
2 Scoops Protein Powder, I use brown rice protein
About 8 oz. Spring Water
About 8 oz. Ice
Place all ingredients in a heavy-duty blender and blend until smooth. You can add more water for whatever consistency you desire.
Over the weekend I ordered a hot chocolate at a specialty shop downtown. I like to go to that particular shop because I know that their sipping chocolate is dairy free and they will make me a hot cup with almond milk.
Or so I thought.
If possible, I usually watch people make my food and drinks. Because honestly, no one cares as much about my food allergies as I do. But on this occasion I was on a date weekend with my husband who has been traveling a lot. My focus was on him and we were chatting away, not paying attention to my favorite cup of sipping chocolate. As we walked out the door with my to go cup, I first put my nose to it and inhaled deeply as I always do. Ahhh…chocolate. Is there anything better on certain days?
Hmm…it smells different.
I stopped in my tracks. Took a couple of sips and again realized…something is different. I looked at my husband and said, “Do you think I should go back in and double-check if they made this with almond milk? I asked her to make it with almond milk right off the bat.” For whatever reason, I hate to be an alarmist. I hate to be one of “those” paranoid people who whine, or throw a fit when they think their order isn’t prepared properly. But my husband looked at me and said, “Just go back in really quick and ask. What’s wrong with asking?”
So I popped back in and nicely asked and… you guessed it. She made it with cow’s milk! I told them I was allergic to cow’s milk and that I had asked for almond milk. They apologized (kind of) and gave us a tiny little vegan caramel to share. How generous…and of course, made me another sipping chocolate with almond milk.
Luckily, those two or three sips only resulted in mild stomach issues and a little swelling. There’s a theory that if you abstain from your sensitive foods and allergens that you can eventually add them back into your diet at some point once your gut has healed. Not so with me. My body now recognizes gluten and dairy almost immediately, where several years ago it would take 12-24 hours to appear.
This “accidental” exposure has happened to me numerous times with gluten and dairy. Seriously, more than I can count. It can make even the most anti-alarmist a little paranoid and skeptical. It has even happened in restaurants where I order off of the gluten-free menu and make sure there’s no dairy in my entrée. As a matter of fact, sometimes when we are extremely busy, which we have been, we eat out a couple times a week. Even though I’m careful, very careful, I can tell after a few restaurant excursions that I am slowly being fed allergens in one form or another even if they tell me I’m not. Swelling joints, stomach issues, headaches, and if it’s really bad, shingles appear. Then I know for sure.
When we were standing at the counter waiting for my sipping chocolate, my husband looked at me, shook his head, and said, “Always go with your gut.”
Always. Go. With. Your. Gut.
Who cares if people think you are an alarmist, paranoid, or just into the latest crazy diet fad? It’s your health and it’s important. A good reminder.
Here’s a very interesting article that popped into my email this morning. I am set up on Google Alerts for gluten and dairy intolerance articles. This article is very simple and informative in the way it explains the body’s response system to allergens, antibodies, and how the inflammation process works.
*Photo courtesy of DrOZFans.com