Thursday, March 29, 2012

sometimes life gets super busy...

...and that's why I'm writing today. I have to neglect this blog for a couple weeks because things in life have taken precedent, things like celebrating my boy's birthday, fretting over selling our house and taking a much needed vacation with my hubby of ten years!

But I value anyone who reads this blog and wanted to let you know that in a couple weeks I'll start blogging again.
And I have so much to tell you about and a ton of yummy recipes to share. So please come back again, right after Easter! Oh, and happy Easter everybody!

Friday, March 16, 2012

You are what you eat...

Hi, welcome to Foodie Friday. No recipe today, but important information about how food affects our children. Some people believe this to be a myth or an excuse...but I have seen first hand the difference some foods or lack there of make in my children's ability to concentrate, behave and stay calm. I've especially seen different food dyes played out in my child's behavior through aggression.  While I have not been able to eliminate ALL food dyes from my children's diet, I have been able to observe which ones affect my child over the others, and have noticed a difference when we eliminate just a couple that are the culprits. More to come on my personal experimentation with my own kids. But If you've been curious about how certain foods and dyes affect your child's behavior, please read this article.

New Research Implicates Food Dyes in Children's Behavior Problems

Have your kids lost their minds? Are you losing yours?

This lens will help any parent who worries about their kids' behavior. Many food choices contain artificial food coloring that can have negative effects upon children's behavior, impulse control, attention, ability to focus, learning, thinking, and energy level. Children are particularly susceptible to the effects of food dyes, especially those with ADHD and ADD.

This lens will educate you on the dangers of food dyes and point you in the right direction for your child's nutrition and health. Kids' brains absorb about 50% of what they eat, so natural foods and natural supplements are critical for brain health!

It's time for artificial food dyes to die!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Foodie Friday: last bit of winter comfort foods!

I know that everyone is worried about their waiste line come this time of year. You can see it in all the magazine headlines, and we feel it when we get teased with 65 degree days and notice that swim suits are already being stocked. But then we get hit with high wind, overcast days, rain, and temperature drops that remind us that we still have some Winter to squeeze out of our systems. So how about some stew ideas that are not too bad on the waiste line but still comforting enough for Winter, not to mention easy!

My Simmering Stew recipes were featured in the Fall 2010 issue of Delight Gluten Free Magazine, they are delicious, easy, and family pleasers.

PS: I've added a bonus recipe this week 
because there was no Foodie Friday last week, 
hope this makes up for it!

Hearty Chicken Stew (slow cooker)
gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, rice-free and soy-free
Who doesn’t love a hearty beef stew? The Romans began this tradition using lamb or fish. The French modernized it with beef. For a different twist on this ancient tradition, try it with chicken, adding a more elegant and unique flare to the hearty, comforting dish. Serve as is or over gluten-free bread or biscuits. *note: different brands of onion soup mix packages are different, be sure to check your labels, I believe all mixes contain soy.
Prep 15 min,
Cook 7 hrs 15 min
12 servings

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 pounds cubed chicken breast
1 cup baby carrots
4 large potatoes, cubed
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups boiling water
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix (make sure it's gluten-free, and check for other allergens)
3 tablespoons butter (sub dairy-free if needed)
3 onions, sliced
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup frozen peas

1.     Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cubed chicken and cook until done, juices run clear. Transfer to a slow cooker along with the carrots, potatoes, parsley, salt and pepper. In a small bowl, stir together 2 cups of boiling water and dry soup mix; pour into the slow cooker.
2.     In the same skillet, melt butter and sauté onions until softened; remove to the slow cooker. Pour red wine into the skillet, and stir to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom. Remove from heat, and pour into the slow cooker.
3.     Cover, and cook on high for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and cook for 6 hours, or until meat is fork tender.
4.     In a small bowl or cup, mix together 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/4 cup warm water. Stir into stew, and add frozen peas, cook uncovered for 15 minutes, or until thickened.


Sausage Stew
gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, corn-free, soy-free, rice-free
This stew embodies the spice of sausage and a chili-likeness with kidney beans. You can decide it’s unique flavor with the sausage you choose to use. There are so many flavors on the market these days from bold spicy to cheese filled, you decide!
*note: always check labels on things like sausages, different companies may add different fillers.
Prep 10 min
cook approx 25
serves 4

1 to 1 ½ lbs of sausage or polish sausage
1 (14.5 ounce) cans beef broth
8 new potatoes cut in halves or quarters
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (16 ounce) package frozen vegetable blend of your choice

1.    In a Dutch oven, crumble and cook sausage over medium heat until browned; drain.
2.    Add beef broth, potatoes and beans. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add frozen vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer. Cook 7 to 15 minutes or until potatoes and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Bonus Recipe:

Flourless chocolate pie gluten-free and dairy-free
gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, corn-free, soy-free, rice-free
This pie is rich in flavor, with it’s dark chocolate glaze. An ingredient that really adds to it’s deep flavor is the use of bittersweet chocolate, which is actually dairy-free. Bittersweet chocolate is a sweetened form of dark chocolate that does not contain milk in either liquid or dry form. It is a mixture of chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, sometimes vanilla and often lecithin as an emulsifying agent. The chocolate liquor contains no alcohol though it’s name suggests it. It is a form of cocoa produced by grinding cocoa beans down into liquid form. There are brands that my add more so please check ingredients. We suggest using Ah!laska Organic Cocoa Chocolate Mix, Non-Dairy in substitution for the cocoa powder, this product may need to be ordered on-line or my your local health food store.

Prep 20-30 minutes
Bake 40 minutes
Chill 30-60 minutes
Serves 1 9-inch round pie

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (check packages to make sure no dairy, read intro)
1 cup butter or Earth Balance buttery spread cut into chunkcs
3 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance buttery spread cut into chunks
1 ¼ cups sugar
6 eggs
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or dairy-free cocoa powder (try Ah!laska brand)
1 tablespoon milk or diary-free milk substitute
1 tablespoon honey
¼ teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9 inch springform pan with oil. Line springform pan with    parchment paper and spray the paper with oil.

2. Place about 8 ounces (2/3 of the 12 ounces) of bittersweet chocolate and 1 cup of butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Stir often. Melt the chocolate and butter until blended thoroughly. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.

3. Add sugar to the chocolate/butter mixture and blend. Add eggs one at a time, mixing with a whisk. Sift cocoa powder into the bowl and stir until just blended.

4. Pour the whole mixture into the greased springform pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until pie has risen and top has formed a thin crust. Make sure the pie is firm in the center.

5. Cool for about ten minutes, then carefully flip pie upside down on a plate, removing sides of springform pan. Remove parchment paper and let pie cool completely.

6. Make the dark chocolate glaze by melting the remaining bittersweet chocolate and 3 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat, stir until smooth.

7. Remove from heat and stir in milk, honey and vanilla. Set aside to cool a little.

8. When pie is cooled, pour glaze on top. Use a spatula or back of spoon to gently smooth glaze across the top of the pie and down the sides. Chill pie in refrigerator, uncovered for 30-60 minutes before serving to set the glaze. Serve with ice cream or cherries.

recipes copyright Julie Ann Luse
photo credits: 
Chicken Stew: Lauri Patterson (istockphoto) 
Sausage Stew: John Peacock (istockphoto)
Flourless Chocolate Cake:  ShyMan (istockphoto) , 

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