foodradical

The space between the refrigerator and the stove


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Breakfast For Dinner-A Mother’s Day Tribute

This is the second Mother’s Day without my mom here.  This day brings such bittersweet memories with a touch of extra sadness as I think of the recent death of my bff’s mother. All the firsts; they really are the hardest.  Today has been a day of reflection for me.  I enjoyed breakfast with some of the family, then treated myself to a clothes shopping spree, something I rarely do.  Although I chatted with both my kids today, I missed them more than usual…wishing that they lived just a little bit closer.  I felt an underlying sadness most of the day even though I was having fun throughout it.

One of the things I fondly remember when my kids were young was our monthly tradition of breakfast for dinner.  It was the one dinner I knew my kids would eat without argument and I enjoyed making a comforting dinner that was quick, delicious and affordable.  As a single parent, all these things are valuable to quality of life and sanity!

Once home, I really wanted to bring myself back to a content state of mind so I put my new kitchen island to the test.  Recently gifted to me in the same magical way I have been receiving things the past several months, it was not in perfect condition.  It needed a good cleaning, a bit of tightening for stability and refinishing of the butcher block top.  Freshly rejuvenated by me with a little help from a friend.  I am very proud of my DIY kitchen island make over.  It still needs a couple of finishing touches but is usable and as of this morning, sits prominently in my kitchen area.  Happy Mother’s Day to me!!  It worked beautifully as I prepared my own breakfast for dinner to celebrate myself…well, and the fact that I have two amazing kids who call me mom.  That makes my heart very happy.

Today, I say thank you to my kids, grown and paving their own way in this world.  Thank you for choosing me to be your mom.  I am such a proud mama, a heart overflowing with love and gratitude.  As a tribute to them and to my mom, who would scoff at breakfast for dinner.  “Why, that is not the way you do things!”  I can hear her saying it.  I raise my fork to you, mom….I secretly think she would love breakfast for dinner.

It was fantastic.  I am content.  Back at my happy place.

Happy Mother’s Day.  Every day.

My finished project!!  Looking good!

My finished project!! Looking good!

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Pancakes

1/3 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cups brown rice flour

1/8 cup almond meal

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 Tbsp Xanthan gum

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup raw cane sugar

whisk ingredients together in a small bowl

1 egg

1 cup almond milk

1 tsp vanilla

whisk together in a small until well incorporated and small bubbles form around edges of bowl

whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients.  Mix until blended.  Let sit for 5 mins.  Scoop 1/3 cup of batter into a cup and pour into well oiled pan, preheated on medium heat.  Let brown until bubbles form on top, flip, cook for 5 more mins.  Plate with your choice of topping.

Frittata

whisk 5 eggs, your choice of spices and 1/2 cup almond milk in a medium bowl.  Saute diced onions, green onions and carrots.  Line the bottom of an 8×4 shallow glass casserole dish (greased) with onion mixture, spread a lay of baby spinach across the top of the mixture, covering it completely. Pour egg mixture over all of it, making sure all veggies are covered well.  Top with cheese, dairy free or not at all!!  Bake for 20 mins at 350 degrees.  Enjoy

Breakfast.  It’s what’s for dinner.


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Spiced Apple Carrot Muffin

As I was cleaning up my bookmarks on my laptop recently I came across this recipe that sounded like it would taste good, be healthful and provide the convenience I enjoy with muffins.  I was trying to use the items I currently had in my little refrigerator so I could make room for my next shopping trip.  I am learning to be a much more efficient shopper!!

Instead of dealing with the hassle it would be to make these in my tiny kitchen and be irritated by the lack of proper tools to prepare this them, I decided to pack up all the ingredients and take them with me on a recent visit to see my dad. His house has a spacious kitchen with lovely counterspace.  It is still filled with all my moms baking gadgets and supplies.  My mom kept a well stocked bakers kitchen so I had everything I needed to make my muffins.

I followed a recipe from ‘Eat to Beat’ cancer website.  They promote dietary behavior changes to destroy the cancer epidemic.  It is really a fabulous website that is filled with valuable information.  I highly recommend you check it out.  I discovered this site when my mom was sick and I have made several of the recipes they provide.  I am always happy with the results.

These muffins tasted fantastic, but the texture didn’t turn out as I had wanted.  They seemed too spongy and they didn’t really rise. However, I will say this was very likely chef’s error as I forgot to add salt and I did get a little carried away with my moms hand held beaters.  I may have whisked the egg mixture a bit too long!!  I got lost in memories of when I was small and watching my mom use this same tool as she baked.  I had a good time using the tools of my childhood, spreading out in a spacious kitchen and just doing my thing.

Even though my dad scoffed at my muffins for their gluten free nature, he certainly asked several times when the muffins would be done!  Once done and samples enjoyed, he also made sure I was going to leave a few on a plate for him.  Dad approved; they turned out pretty well, albeit a little flat.  Give them a try, but I suggest being a bit more gentle with the whisking!  Enjoy!

Here is the link to the recipe— http://www.eattobeat.org/onemeal/636/spiced-apple-carrot-muffin.html

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I added two each of apples and carrots because mine were small!!

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Gluten Free, Dairy Free Banana Pecan Bread

I have had four bananas getting more ripe as each day passes.  Each morning I silently tell myself to make banana bread before they are too far gone.  My reluctance has been my inability to find my favorite recipe and the ordeal that I know could make this activity incredibly frustrating.  I am still working with limited kitchen counter space and honestly, I find making food in my little kitchen more frustrating than not.  That is just no fun for me! Additionally, I still have many of my kitchen supplies in storage due to my lack of space.

Once I decided to take this task on, I was determined to keep a positive attitude and looked at it as somewhat of an adventure.  I was not going to let my lack of kitchen supplies bring me down so I bought a disposable bread loaf tin.  I decided I would just make up a recipe, feeling confident I could pull off a decent bread.  I have been studying up on the best gluten free flours to use together to create most desirable end result.  Wow, I sure got this one right!

I  managed to get my bread in the oven after a lot of maneuvering.  Gosh, it really should not be so difficult!  I look forward to the ease a kitchen island will bring to me once I find just the perfect one for me.  I was so impressed with my banana bread I am glad I had the determination and patience to give this a try.  I think you should too.  It is a fantastic bread.  In fact, I must say this is one of the best sweet breads I have made.   The texture and  consistency is spot on and the flavor is perfect.  Not too sweet, very banana like with the perfect crunch of the pecans.  It has been a lovely morning snack with my tea.  And, it was an excellent choice for travelling food as I discovered when I packed it with me for my Boston trip.  Stay tuned for my next blog where I share all about Boston gluten free and dairy free eats!!

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Banana Pecan Bread

1 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1 Tbsp xantham gum

1 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup raw can sugar (this could have been omitted. The bananas make it sweet!)

4 ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup applesauce

1/3 cup sunflower seed oil

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp pure vanilla

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Measure all dry ingredients into one bowl and whisk to incorporate.  Measure all the wet ingredients into another bowl and mix to incorporate.  Add mashed bananas, mix well. Pour mixed wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just blended, add chopped pecans and fold into batter.  Pour batter into greased loaf pan.  Bake for 50-65 mins.

Makes one large loaf.

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Boston Bonanza

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It's a Portland thing

It’s a Portland thing

I recently returned from a whirlwind mini vacation to Boston where I spent time visiting my daughter and seeing as many sights as we could jam in to my short stay.  It was so much fun!!!  I love Boston and I especially love the T subway system.  That transit system is fabulous, in my opinion!  It allowed us to see all the amazing places my daughter had planned for me to experience.  I enjoyed seeing nearly every neighborhood I wanted to meander, as well as a trip to the beach; all on the T!!  The weather was gorgeous and I always have such a great time hanging out with my kid.

We had casually talked about a trip to see her, but I didn’t think it was the right time to travel across the country considering my recent circumstances.  It just felt too stressful. However, as things smoothed out for me and with now stable housing that would keep me in Portland, my daughter took the chance and booked the ticket.  She wanted to give me a break from everyday life with all I have gone through and you know what?  She was so right!!  Being distracted in the best kind of way was exactly what I needed.  I am so grateful to my girl, who has become quite an amazing young woman.  She has an incredibly generous spirit and a big heart for her mama, which makes me feel so happy.  Considering some tumultuous adolescent and young adult years, we have developed a close bond of mutual respect and admiration.  I am deeply proud of the woman my daughter has become and I relish our time together.

Knowing I wanted a good food experience during my stay, my daughter had a list of reviewed places that offered gluten free, dairy free dishes.  We were regularly dashing off to various restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs to peruse their menus, always excited to try an impressive new dish.

There are so many wonderful places to eat gluten free and dairy free in Boston.  It certainly is not as prevalent as Portland, and there is a bit more planning involved to find the establishments that cater to my dietary preferences.  Some of my favorite places to eat that offered the easiest menu for me or were willing to customize an order for me are worth a mention here.  They are all on my “must visit” list each time I go to Boston.  Besides offering my kind of food, generally the staff and overall environment of each of these businesses is an awesome in it’s own way.

Thinking Cup, Day 1 The Theater District Location

Thinking Cup, Day 2 North End location

Thinking Cup, Day 2
North End location

Thinking Cup deserved two visits.  This trip I got to try out a new location in the Theater District.  Both locations offered to customize my breakfast sandwich and both were equally amazing.  I had smoked salmon with an egg on gluten free toast, one had arugula.  What really makes this a must visit place is their absolutely heavenly hazelnut lattes.  They are the first shop in the Downtown Boston area to offer Portland originated Stumptown Coffee; my personal favorite.  They make their own roasted hazelnut paste to use in these lattes and I have to say, it’s simply fantastic.

SUSHI!!!

SUSHI!!!

Avana Sushi is a tiny hole in the wall place in Boston’s Chinatown.  By appearance, it is one of those places that I would not consider without the high recommendation of someone who has already been there.  It sits in a tight corner of a space that is also occupied by other equally small, squeezed in businesses.  There are just four tables and 5 counter stools.  One of the tables sits at the edge of their kitchen.  It’s an experience!  I wouldn’t recommend this place to someone who experiences claustrophobia because this space is small!  What they manage to prepare and plate is simply amazing.  This is some delicious and fresh sushi for a fantastic price.  The line that develops into the lobby and spills out onto the street is proof this place is worth a visit.

Sweet Lavender coconut based frozen dessert on top of a gluten free cone!! My first ever!!!

Sweet Lavender coconut based frozen dessert on top of a gluten free cone!! My first ever!!!

Fomu (premium alternative ice cream) has totally got it right.  This ice cream is d.i.v.i.n.e. !!!  After my happy dance subsided about my first gluten free cone, my first taste of this creamy goodness made me stop walking because all my concentration had to be with my palate.  Seriously, so good.  Boston has one up on Portland, where there is no exclusive vegan ice cream shop.  I fantasized a kick starter business for a while on this idea!  We are missing out here in P-town. I will crave this delicious dessert until the next time I can satisfy it in Boston.  This place is definitely worth a visit.  Additionally, the staff are lovely to watch at their skill and will happily share their knowledge.  It is a fun place that takes me right back to childhood ice cream memories!!

Life Alive

Life Alive

This place is fantastic!  It was my first visit to this place located in the Cambridge area.  My daughter was really excited to take me here.  Their menu boasts some unique and tantalizing dishes that are organic, therapeutic and nurturing for the body and soul.

whole food goodness!

whole food goodness!

I wish I  could remember the name of this delicious salad I had, but as you can see from the picture, it is filled with some whole food goodness. We enjoyed this lunch outdoors on a warm, sunny Boston day.  It was a perfect afternoon!

Other establishments worth mentioning is Ula Cafe in my daughter’s neighborhood of Jamaica Plain.  Sadly, I have no pictures of the most incredible gluten free coconut macaroon I have ever tasted.  We walked to this cafe’ for a morning cup of coffee and I discovered them in a display case while waiting in line.  They were so moist and full of coconut flavor goodness.  The edges were perfectly caramelized crispy and chewy.  It was ridiculously good.  When we walked back on my last day in Boston to get one more, we learned they were all gone.  It was a specialty item for Passover.  I am so glad I got to enjoy one before they disappeared!

Fresh and colorful!

Fresh and colorful! Canary Square offered a pretty amazing and tasty beet salad dish that was beautifully plated.

The Friendly Toast is worth the trip to the Cambridge area strictly for the eclectic experience you will have.  People will wait for over an hour to enjoy dining here.  They have huge portions of comfort classics and I must admit, their classic egg breakfast is pretty heavenly. IMG_3211

kitchy eclectic decor!

kitchy eclectic decor!

My trip to Boston was outstanding.  It was the break I needed.  I came home with such a completely different perspective on my situation.  I feel more solid in my future and I am a lot calmer; more accepting.  My daughter and I both got exciting news while I was visiting.  She will begin working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, one of the leading research institutes in the country.  My daughter will be working among some of the top scientists and I am so proud of her!  My news is still developing, but I can definitely say it will be life changing!  Stay tuned!

Life is moving on and I am feeling good.  Everything happens for a reason and I am finding mine moment by moment.  Crazy how life works, isn’t it??

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Somewhere Over The Rainbow There Is Strawberry Water

In the early morning hours this past Saturday, one of my sweet kitty companions moved to the other side of the rainbow.  Her time came without warning and from all I could decipher, was quick.  She looked as if she was still peacefully resting when I discovered she was not breathing,

Amelia, more affectionately known as Mama (or fatty, the beast, perfect princess, mama-son) was my “grandchild” cat.  Originally my daughters cat, Amelia and I had tumultuous beginnings.  I often looked in on her when my daughter traveled. Mama was not keen to change and she battled with my attempts at affection and attention when she was in my care.  This cat was like a guard dog watching over my daughters house and I got attacked for having dared enter.  I tried to like her, despite my “battle wounds” for my attempts at sharing some love.  When my daughter traveled to New Zealand, Mama came to live with me for five months.  During this time Mama decided I wasn’t so bad, though like any “child” she certainly tested my patience often enough.  Our relationship developed and I discovered the sweet, incredibly loving side of Mama.  I spent most of her life being “grandmother” like; looking in on her, occasionally housing her, giving her attention when I would come to visit.

Mama came to live with me full time when my daughter was preparing to move to Boston.  She was my constant companion for nearly three years.  By that time she was accustomed to change and still despised it.  She had grown to trust me and the transition was not as rough as past moves for her.  She enjoyed my affections immensely.  Her aggressive head butts and persistence in making sure she got her share of attention was as endearing as it was annoying.  I developed such a love for this cat, who had one of the quirkiest personalities and could display the most “human like” expressions of any cat I have known.  I always knew what Mama was thinking and feeling.  Despite her shortcomings, I think she was absolutely the best cat with the most pure heart; like that of an old soul.  I am so grateful for our time together over her twelve years, but especially in these last years when she was with me.  I find comfort with thoughts of Mama’s last months.  I am sad she had to endure one last traumatizing move.  She did however, adjust quickly to the freedom of roaming where she wanted without a young, sassy “little sister” (M’s cat) ready to pounce on her around every corner.  She had a beautiful and spacious outdoor area where she loved to spend time feeling the sun’s rays.  She adored being able to cuddle up next to me in bed and even found a new level of acceptance with Boy, my other cat.  They actually had begun to interact in a playful way, chasing each other around the apartment.  I marveled at her unusual frisky behavior.  She actually let loose recently and l enjoyed watching her amazing “cat dance” play with a tiny piece of carpet thread-until she saw me watching her.  She then quickly regained her regal like stance and pretended none of that nonsense had just happened.  She was such a hilarious cat!  She gave me so much happiness and I believe that our move brought out her fun loving nature.  I found her endlessly entertaining.  Mama always cheered me up, whether it was watching her antics or getting loved up on when I was feeling down.  Mama reached in to the recesses of my heart and attached herself to me.  I totally adored her and I miss her immensely.

One of Mama’s quirky behaviors was her obsession with water.  Where there was running water, there was Mama frantically crying out for some drizzles of water to drink from.  It truly was a little fanatical at times.  I am pretty sure nothing made “the beast” happier than to drink the water I slowly poured into her bowl at just the right angle for her to sip from, with the exact amount of drizzle to please the “perfect princess”.  She would vibrate her tail with excitement at her favorite activity.

She also had an obsession with fruit.  Not all fruit, but apples and strawberries made Mama very happy.  If I was preparing either of these, she was there begging, curious, making sure I knew she should be involved in what I was doing.  If I was eating them, she was pawing at my hand to get at the fruit.  She would nuzzle her nose into the fuzzy green stem of the strawberry as if she enjoyed the tickle then slowly nibble away at the strawberry.  It was so silly and cute.

This “recipe” which isn’t really much of one, is dedicated to my sweet mama-son, my fatty, my princess.  In honor of the best cat ever- I made strawberry water.  I can think of no better way to say thank you for accepting me into your world, for loving me, for showing me patience, grace and presence.  Cheers to life and love with two of Mama’s favorite things.

There are some great benefits to strawberry water.  I recommend making an entire pitcher to store in your refrigerator.  I made mine in a single glass because unfortunately, I don’t have the room in my tiny fridge to give up space for a pitcher of fruit water.

Fresh strawberries are packed with Vitamin C, rich in potassium, folic acid and fiber.  Strawberry water, or most any fruit water, is excellent for overall body detoxing.  Enjoy a simply made glass, or make enough to enjoy for days.

Mama loved sunbathing

Mama loved sunbathing

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In memory of Mama

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Water with ice in it is grand!


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Very Veggie Stir Fry

I got the pleasure of dog/house sitting recently. ‘Red dog’ is one of my favorite four-legged friends.  What made this visit more exciting for me this time was that I had access to some good kitchen space and a large skillet. It made me so excited!  I do have to say I love my new little studio and I am grateful every day for this sweet arrangement I have.  But, I have not had the resources to make my tiny kitchen space more functional for me, which also means I am living with the bare essentials of my kitchen supplies.  This has definitely been a lesson in how often I use certain kitchen items and I realize that I do use most of what I own regularly.  I have been missing some of my most used supplies quite often!  We will be back together soon enough!  For now, I am doing the best I can until I can get a kitchen island and my favorite supplies from storage.  I make it work because it is what I have now. But, for me, there is nothing better than a spacious kitchen with all the good gadgets and kitchen tools I need to create something fantastic.

The home owners always offer up any fresh produce and foods in house, and sometimes I will eat something that looks like it won’t last, but mostly I have always planned my own foods to bring.  I am living with slim financial resources these days and I just couldn’t plan my foods in the way I have in the past.  This time I welcomed the offer and used some of the veggies to create a delicious stir-fry.  I brought my own brown basmati rice and made some of that, too. I love a big pile of perfectly stir fried veggies over a bed of rice.
I have been craving vegetables!  Variety!  I regularly keep greens of some kind and carrots, but I just don’t have the space I used to for fridge storage so storing multiple types of produce just doesn’t happen.  I keep it to my daily favorites.  Not only did I get to enjoy one of my daily favorites in this dish, I enjoyed parsnips, red onion, zucchini and turnips. Someone recently said it would be good for me to eat some grounding root vegetables to help me feel more settled and secure.  I think this dish accomplishes that. As well, these vegetables provide a winning combination of vitamins, nutrients and trace minerals. My stress levels will remain low and my spirits high.  Can’t ask for better in a tasty meal.  Give this a try.  Let yourself feel good!  Enjoy!

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In a large skillet preheated on the stove top, add 1-1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, dark sesame oil or combination of both. Add onions to pan and cook until translucent. Add roughly chopped, bite sized veggies of your choice, beginning with hardest veggies first. Add remaining veggies as the harder ones begin to cook. I added a few splashes of Tamari, a dime sized drop of oyster sauce and a generous sprinkling of thyme.  Veggies stir-fried to al dente style is the most tasty!


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Stress Busting Raspberry Scones

I am stretched in many directions these days so I like to be prepared with ready to go foods that offer me the nutrients I need. My stress has been high and I have been busy. There was a bag of frozen raspberries from our garden harvest last season in the freezer at the other house and I took it with me to my new place. However, it was a gallon size bag and my freezer is a tiny ‘ice box’ size freezer so this was taking up too much room. Raspberries just happen to be filled with vitamin C, stress busting anti-oxidants, and are one of the world’s healthiest foods. Lucky me!  Not only would I empty my freezer, I would be giving my body the necessary nutrients for stress relief in the most delicious way!  I remembered the raspberry scones I made for my road trip last summer that I really enjoyed, but all my recipes are packed away in storage so I just decided I would make it up!  I was feeling motivated and I just bought a new baking sheet that I was eager to try out!

I think they turned out great.  The texture was dense but not doughy.  My scones turned out to be a delicious grab and go food.  I am happy to have an empty freezer (to fill with blueberries!), my body is happy to have nutritious food, I am happy to have convenience at my fingertips and the best part–so much less stress!!  These scones will make your world happy.  Give them a try!

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Stress Busting Raspberry Scones

1 cup of sorghum flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1 Tbslp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp pink himalayan sea salt

1/2 c coconut oil (not melted)

3 Tbsp agave (or maple syrup)

3 Tbsp raw cane sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup coconut milk (from a carton, not can)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups of raspberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Place all the dry ingredients into a medium mixing bowl and whisk until incorporated.

Cut in the coconut oil with a pastry cutter until the ingredients resemble coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl, combine all the wet ingredients using a whisk.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until just incorporated.  Fold in raspberries with wooden spoon.  Do not over mix as it will create a less than satisfactory end result.

Drop large spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet.  I use my fingers to shape each spoonful into a scone-like shape. Bake for 15-18 mins.  Remove from oven and place scones on cooling rack.  Try to let them cool before devouring!  Enjoy!

Makes about 10 scones

 

 

 

 

 

 

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