Our Geek Home

Creating our geeky home together

It’s the simple things…

So I just finished wolfing down this food..

010Other than the taste, the best part is that it is so incredibly simple.

Now usually when I post about food it involves recipes.  Not really so much here.  This is just a “Oh my goodness, yummy!” moment.

I used quinoa and rice pasta, which I find has been the best gluten free pasta texture and taste wise.  Sometimes I use zucchini noodles and sometimes I use spaghetti squash, but tonight I really wanted a pasta texture.  Comfort food, I suppose!

So I cooked up the noodles and cooked 2 pieces of chopped up bacon in a frying pan.  Once it was crispy I removed the bacon and tossed in some sliced up mushrooms sprinkled with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Once the pasta was tender, I drained and plated it, then tossed the bacon and cut up cherry (or grape, I really don’t know!) tomatoes in with the mushrooms before plating over the pasta.

Yum.  Yuuuum.  Yuuuuummmy.  Okay, see, really very simple.  But so incredibly satisfying too.  And it definitely hit the comfort food spot.

A lot of people think that gluten free foods are bland or that they take a huge amount of time.  While that can be true, it certainly doesn’t have to be!

 

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Kitchens and Cluelessness

Okay, so when we were house hunting we specifically wanted to get a house in need of a new kitchen.  In our price range that was pretty easy.  Almost every house we looked at needed a new kitchen.  In our old home we turned a 1940’s military housing kitchen into something that was actually usable.  While far from our dream kitchen, it was a good kitchen and we learned a lot from that redo.

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This was the extent of our counter space.  Not even joking.  There was a tiny little metal cabinet above the sink and that was the extent of the cabinet space.  We usually ended up using a cutting board on half of the stove for a counter top since the other half of the sink area was used for a drainer.  We tore everything out.

I think, though, that we turned it into something nice.

kitchenremodel4 kitchenremodel5 kitchenmodel6 kitchenremodel7 kitchenremodel8Though we never actually finished the project.  Sad.

But I do think we did well with the limited amount of space that we had.  And I loved those counter tops with the molded in sink.  Oh so very nice.  We eventually were going to open up the window into a in the future dining room addition.  Sadly, that never happened either.

Moving on!

So here we are, a year and a half into our “new” home.  It has it’s own kitchen problems.  The size is fantastic, but the layout is extremely awkward.  And, we are on a strict budget.

Here is my very crude, totally not to scale, took a picture of it with my phone because my scanner is broken, layout.

Kitchen Floor Plan

The fridge and pantry side lead to the dining room.  The other side just leads to the big open spaced room at the top of the stairs.  Knocking down a wall, totally not an option.  The whole area is actually surprisingly open and perhaps once I clean to my satisfaction I’ll finally get to the video tour.  That requires every room being clean at the same time, so I guess that will have to be right before a party or something!

The counter is awful. Awful Awful Awful.  We hate the cabinets too and that fact that there aren’t many.  There are cabinets over the sink as well, but it’s still a pathetic amount of storage for such a large space.

And, we don’t have any idea what to do with it.  We’re clueless!

The windows are long, so if cabinets were placed there the windows would have to be shortened.

One great thing, though, is the amount of light that comes in.  That’s pretty awesome.

We do have the option of gutting our old kitchen and reusing some stuff since that kitchen isn’t being used by anyone at the moment, but we aren’t sure how everything would fit at this point.

So, asking for help and ideas to anyone reading.  Help, we’re clueless!!

 

Update!

I just found a few pictures of the kitchen from our inspection.  The table is different and is a counter height table that I use for prep a lot and the fridge and dishwasher were changed out for newer ones.  The stove is the same however.  The wall with recycling against it is a half wall overlooking the stairs and foyer.

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I don’t follow decorating trends…

I like color.  Lots of it.  Colorful walls.  Colorful artwork.  Colorful blankets and pillows.  Color!!  But…practically my entire upstairs is an orangey beige color.  Ugly color.  But it was here when we moved in.  We painted quite a bit when we moved here.  All of downstairs and bedrooms.  But this space, it’s overwhelming.  Our solution for the space at least for now is to cover it with as much art as we can!

So, I don’t like neutral tones in my home.  It’s not us in any sense. I also decorate with toys.  Lego’s adorn my walls.  I’m serious.  Above our front door are shelves that house Lego pirate ships.  I’ll share that picture in the tour that is coming soon..

I don’t want a house that someone would say belongs in a magazine.  It’s my home, it’s much more than a house.  I want a house that makes people know who we are as soon as they walk in.  A home with personality.

I also want a home that is comfortable, which is how I ended up writing this post in the first place.

It seems in many decorating and renovating blogs I have visited that ceiling fans are a huge decorating no-no.

I have read a few that one of the first things the owner does upon moving into their new home is replace those fans with light fixtures, no fans!  Ok, I get that.  It’s a cleaner look.

You know what I want in my home?  More ceiling fans.  I have two.  We moved into a house with hardly any light fixtures period.  The basement room luckily has lighting, not that it’s attractive.  Right now that, the kitchen, the foyer, and the dining room are the only rooms with overhead lighting.  The dining room and the foyer are where the ceiling fans are.  And I am thankful to them so much on a day like today.  April 9th and 90 degrees!

I want more, though, especially in the kitchen and bedrooms.  In other houses that I have lived in, ceiling fans always reduced my energy costs.  I would be content with the windows open and the fans running in the heat of the summer most of the time.

So, that’s a priority before it gets to the sweltering heat of summer.  Ceiling fans everywhere!

That is all.

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A Gluten Free Cruise: Our Recap of the Carnival Miracle Part 3!

And finally…Part 3.  Where I will talk about the last two days at sea before arriving back in New York an give my overall impressions and tips.

Part One and Part Two

Given the gap between those two parts and this last one, I will admit that certain details such as what we ate on what day and everything we did has become a bit fuzzy.  It could also be because I am a bit sick, hence the gap in time!  I apologize and will strive to make a post at a minimum of twice a week.  That’s my goal!

Alrighty days 7 and 8!

Day 7 started to get colder again.  We were already at the Carolina’s by morning.  More smoked salmon and melon for room service as we went up on deck to enjoy the last little bit of time outside.  Of course we went for second breakfast later in the day and I had my gluten free eggs Benedict while he enjoyed his steak and eggs again.  We wandered around the ship for a while, did goofy things…

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But by later that day we were starting to get really worn out, in need of just some peace and quiet and a whole lot of room time.  So we watched tv for a while and lazed about with a gluten free pizza.

Guess what was on!

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Oh only my favorite movie series!  No problem watching tv for a while that day!

Later in the evening it was another elegant night.

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D’aww….

All I can safely say as far as what we had for dinner is that there was definitely shrimp cocktail, fish, and a melon plate for me and some steak dish for him with sherbert.  Beyond that…well..like I said…it’s getting hazy there in the memories.  I can say with absolute certainty that it was good!  It was also on this night that our table mates ordered a special order of creme brulee for the next night’s dinner.  Yep, you’re allowed!

After dinner we went back to the deck to moon bathe for a while, but it was starting to get really windy outside so we were shooed away in very little time.

Day 8!

I could almost talk about this day entirely in pictures, but I wont.

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Our favorite area closed off!  Unable to go outside!  10 foot waves!  It was a miserable day for me.  I was pretty seasick on the last day.  Oddly enough, so was some of the crew.  We hardly did anything on the last day.  We did go to the dining room for breakfast, but despite having ordered gluten free french toast the night before, I cancelled it and just had a melon plate and juice.  Heavy foods were not my friend.

We wandered around the ship for a while, making sure to tip extra to the people that made the vacation extra special.  Our favorite photographer, who let us do goofy poses for her while everyone else wanted us in awkward positions that did not feel natural.  The guys at the pizza place who always had a gluten free pizza for me.  The hostess in the dining room who came around every evening to take my order for the following day.  And our room steward who kept our room tidy and made us cute little towel animals every evening.

Most of the day was spent wandering, then sitting when I got too dizzy, then wandering again when not being able to go outside got to me.

My dinner was light that evening.  I stuck with only shrimp cocktail and my trusty fruit plate while he had the Indian Vegetables dish for dinner along with sherbert.  We kept hoping that they would open up the decks again before morning, but it never happened, so off to bed we went.

Debarkation day went fairly smoothly, if a bit depressing.  All morning we heard alarms for the crew’s version of fire drills.  Of course we found out later it was likely because the Triumph had an engine room fire that same day.

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Sad….

Well back in New York and off the ship we went to pick up our car and dig it out from the snow…oops.

All in all, a very good vacation.

Now look, I know that Carnival cruises have been in a bad light lately.  but do you know how many cruise ships leave on their voyages every single day?  All in all the cruise industry is an incredibly safe vacation.  Yes the Triumph was stranded.  But never at any time were the passengers in danger.  I’ve read recent accounts of people that were actually on that trip and it seems to me that the hardship was hyped up a lot.  Food shortages were because people in line earlier were taking meat off of sandwiches and hording food.  Shoot, some people apparently had steak and lobster during their camping at sea adventure.  I’m not saying it’s a trip I would enjoy, especially since a lot of what was available were sandwiches and I’m not sure how they handled food allergies during that problem.  But their cruise was fully refunded in addition to a free cruise later on and extra money for the hardship.  In my opinion, which may not be worth much considering I wasn’t on that trip, that seems pretty fair to me.

I am glad that with the recent problems that some of the ships have been having that they are going work on upkeep more.  That’s never a bad thing.  But what bugs me are the people that cringe when I mention I like going cruises, Carnival one’s in particular.

In my experience, no, they are not a booze cruise.  Mostly they seemed like a family friendly cruise line and a good choice for an inexpensive vacation.

And they way they treat food allergies?  Fantastic!   I was really worried going on this trip that I would have a loss of control over what I’m eating.  That is something very scary for people with food allergies.  Not being able to control exactly what is going into your food is frightening.  But, Carnival delivered on that front for sure.

So, bottom line, if you’d like to go on a trip that takes you to a different destination each day without having to drive, I’d highly recommend cruising!

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A Gluten Free Cruise : Our Recap of the Carnival Miracle Part Two

This post was delayed by a day due to a lot of errands we had to run!

Part One : Days 1-3

By day 4 we still had no idea what we were going to do for our day in Florida.  After a late room service breakfast of smoked salmon, we ran down to the excursions desk and booked a shuttle to Cocoa Village and Cocoa Beach.

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We’re on a bus…woo!

He wanted to go to Nolan’s Irish Pub near the beach for a beer.  While there he had a beer and cheese soup, which I of course did not have!  He said it was delicious though.

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After talking to the barman for a while I realized how lucky I was with my gluten problems.  Apparently they had someone come in not long ago that couldn’t even kiss their boyfriend after he had a beer.  I’m glad that’s not the case for me, as my husband’s beer is his one gluteny treat.

After the pub, we wandered to the CVS and grabbed sunscreen since despite being quite sure I packed it, I never found it in my luggage.  Oops!  Then we hopped back on the shuttle to head to Cocoa Village.

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I did an internet search on my phone for “Gluten Free Cocoa Village” which took me to a cafe called So Good! Cottage Cafe.  Yummy Gluten Free bread sandwiches!

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And that my friends is a smile when your mouth is full…

We wandered around the village for a few more hours before heading back to the ship.  We went swimming in the pool and then watched sailaway before dinner.

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For dinner I had prosciutto ruffles with melon and sushi and salmon as my main.  He had the meatloaf, which is not available as a gluten free dish.

We again spent time in the piano bar before retiring to bed.

Day Five!  Nassau, The Bahamas.

When we finally got up the next morning we were pulling into Nassau. We wandered down to breakfast.  He had an omelet while I kept it very simple with fruit and cheese.  We lazed about for most of the morning, waving at passengers on the other ships in port.  Our snorkeling excursion wasn’t until the afternoon, so we had time to be lazy.

Finally, it was time to go!  We had been in Nassau before, so we mostly just wanted to get to the snorkeling.

The water there was gorgeous as we walked down the pier, heading to the catamaran that would take us to the reef.

Finally, our snorkeling trip began!

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I honestly can’t wait to go snorkeling again!  I wish I had gotten more clear pictures of this adventure, but next time I’ll spend more time under the water.

As we headed back to land they passed out punch and rum punch.  Not really knowing anything about it, I avoided it.  But he certainly enjoyed his fill!

576We got back to the pier and did some small shopping.  We picked our Christmas ornament for the trip, a lovely bunch of shells in the shape of a star, and he insisted on a necklace of hematite for me.  It’s his favorite!

Back on board and very exhausted, we went swimming again and then relaxed in a clam shell chair with books until it was time to get ready for dinner.

Two shrimp cocktails and Red Snapper for dinner while he had Chicken tenders marinated in Thai spices and filet Mignon, two orders!

The next day was going to start early, so we passed out shortly after dinner.

Day Six: Freeport, The Bahamas!

666Today we decided to go kayaking.  This turned out to be our favorite part of the trip.  Unfortunately the nature of kayaking doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for picture taking.  Kayaking as a team for the first time causes a lot of arguments.  “Turn left, LEFT!” “I am! You’re turning the wrong way!” Haha, good memories.  But seriously, it was a blast.  We found out that usually when we got stuck it was because we both were doing it wrong.  Once we figured that out it went smoothly from then on.  Our guide told us that it’s always funny when couples on their honeymoon do the kayaking portion of the trip.  They start the trip very romantic and sweet with one another but once the kayaking begins all hell breaks loose.  Now that I’ve kayaked as a couple, I can definitely see how that could happen.

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After the kayaking portion we took a nature hike and ended up on Gold Rock Beach for lunch.  Unfortunately the lunch provided was lunch meat, vegetables, and bread.  Not knowing what was in the meat I avoided the whole meal other than an apple.  I would have had tomatoes, but people were stabbing the meat and then the vegetables with the same fork so I didn’t want to risk it.

We had company for our lunch…

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We spent the next hour swimming.  Gold Rock Beach was the most gorgeous beach I have ever been to.

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752I can’t wait to go back there.

Once swim time was over we were bussed back to the port and went back on board.

869We caught a nice sunset a few hours after sail away, then we headed to dinner.

I had a seafood platter with tiger shrimp, ahi tartare, and smoked salmon with grilled shrimp for my main dish while he had many servings of Chateaubriand for dinner.

After dinner we spent hours on the Serenity deck relaxing with our books, enjoying the last few hours of warmth as we headed back up the coast towards New York once again.

Two days to go…..

To be continued…yet again.

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A Gluten Free Cruise : Our Recap of the Carnival Miracle Part One

With the snow falling outside, I figured it would be nice to recap our anniversary cruise.

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One of the things we promised to each other when we got married was that we would go somewhere to celebrate our anniversary every year.  This year we decided to take a cruise!

We had gone on one cruise before on the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore.  It was close and convenient, but this year we decided to take the Carnival Miracle out of New York and enjoy one extra day at sea.

We left on February 1st.  The drive from Maryland to New York was about 5 hours, which wasn’t a bad drive, and spent the night at a friend’s apartment.  Very sleepy the next day, we made our way to the cruise port.  We stopped at a gas station for breakfast, grabbing things like string cheese, yogurt, Naked smoothies, and fruit.  It was filling enough, and gluten free.  It’s such a relief that gluten free items are more common place now and easier to find.

So, to the cruise port!  We arrived at the port at 10:45 and we were able to board the ship at 12:30.  We headed straight for the buffet and grabbed our first meal on board.

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I stuck with salad, just in case.  From there we searched out the Bacchus Dining room to talk to someone about my gluten free needs.  That proved to be easy.  They had a time set up to talk to them about dining issues such as allergies, special needs, and the desire to change either your set dining time or your assigned table.  Very nice!  I talked to the hostess who had me choose a meal for that night and informed me that every evening before dinner was over, someone would come and talk to me to get my order for the meals of the next day.  With that chore done, it was time for the Muster drill and then to the very cold sail away!

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For dinner that evening I had Cured Salmon and Candied Tomatoes as an appetizer and what was originally a chicken pasta dish, but was served gluten free for me.  For dessert I had Creme Brulee, an option offered to me every day as it was one of the few gluten free options.

The hubster had Beef and Barley soup and the Beef Brisket.  His dishes were not gluten free.

The next day came, and with it we had room service!  Yum!

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Lox and cream cheese, hold the Bagel!  We went up on deck to watch the sunrise after eating, but sadly found we missed it.  We spent the rest of the morning relaxing in one of the clam shell chairs on the adults only deck.  Ah, being on a cruise is pure relaxation.

After a while we headed down the dining room for our second breakfast!  I had ordered my food the day before, Eggs Benedict on gluten free toast and fresh melon with cottage cheese.  287

I ordered the fresh melon every day Brunch was going on in the dining room from then on.  The eggs Benedict was delicious, though it was very filling and rich.  Hubster ordered the steak and eggs and was quite pleased with his choice.

We lazed around for the rest of the day, hitting a future cruise talk and browsing the shops.  Since we had late dining at 8:15, we found ourselves getting hungry earlier than planned.  Luckily the pizza place on board offered up gluten free pizza, which we both decided to partake in.

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From there we spent time in the hot tub before heading to a nice nap before dinner.  Something about being on the ocean is very relaxing and fantastic for sleep.

I ordered the night before smoked duck and a salad as my appetizers (on a cruise you can order as much as you want, no extra cost!) and a pork steak dish as my main.  He ordered Tom ka gai (a thai soup) for his appetizer and flat iron steak for his main.  We both had tropical fruit for dessert, and that remained my dessert for the rest of the trip despite the hostess pleading with me to try the gluten free melting chocolate cake or the crustless cheesecake.  I just wanted fruit!

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We spent the rest of the evening in the piano bar, and then up on deck to the enjoy the very dark night and the quiet before retiring to bed.

Day three!

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We brought our room service breakfast outside to enjoy the sunrise, which we managed to catch this time!  I was still tired after eating, so I went back to the room to nap while he headed to the gym.  Once I woke up we decided it was a good day for mini golf.

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Playing mini golf on a ship is an amusing experience.  Imagine a slight swaying and a little ball not going exactly where you wanted it to go.  Or that ball on course for the hole when a slight listing happens.  Oops, your hole in one just got ruined!  It was pretty amusing!

Later in the day a Mexican buffet was going on.  I figured that the tortilla chips that seemed corn based and the tomato based chili would be safe bets.  I was wrong.  I spent the rest of the day before dinner dealing with skipping heart beats, anxiety, and severe indigestion to the point of not being able to stand up straight.  We still aren’t sure where the problem came from, though the suspicion is that the “corn” chips were probably very cheap and had wheat added to them.  I never ate from the buffet again.

Before dinner, we managed to catch the sunset from our balcony.

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I felt a little better by the time dinner rolled around, but not by a lot.  As luck would have it, it was elegant night.  I chose to wear a loose fitting skirt rather than the fancy dress I had planned to wear because my stomach was still hurting quite a bit.

At least at dinner, having ordered already, I knew everything was safe.  I had shrimp cocktail and lobster while he had the pumpkin soup and prime rib.  No complaints there!  I should probably mention that every day at dinner after the waiters would offer bread to my table mates, they would bring me two slices of gluten free bread on a separate plate.  The first night I hated it.  Thought it was gross.  Then I slathered it in butter and suddenly it was better!  My taste for it grew over the week.

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I unfortunately would remain overly cautious about everything I ate for the rest of the trip because of the buffet fiasco.

After dinner we cuddled up in our clam shell chairs and just relaxed until we grew too tired to stay awake.  We crawled into bed and slept until morning, day four, and Port Canaveral Florida!

To be continued…..

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Rough Weekends and Unproductiveness

I accomplished one thing this weekend.  I vaguely organized the pantry.  Not even organized it well.  Just organized it enough so it doesn’t look like this anymore…

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Ugh…that’s awful.  Now it looks like the slightly more reasonable this…

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How many cans of tomato sauce does a person need, really?  You see, the last time we went to our gigantic super warehouse store to get gigantic super warehouse store stuff, one box of sauce was hiding in the back of the pantry already.  We didn’t see it.  Gee, I can’t imagine why not.

This is nowhere near at the organization level that I would like.  But, it makes me slightly less crazy.  By the way, I don’t like our pantry. At all.  Am I glad we have one?  Yes, especially considering our last residence did not have a pantry at all and very limited cabinet space.  And the place we lived before that we used a non built in cabinet that tilted in a scary way.  Be careful when you open it, things might come tumbling out!  Oh, but when we redo this kitchen, the pantry will be better and so very organized.

Anyhow, it was a rough weekend.  I had lots of things on my agenda and the sad and not very impressive pantry cleanup was the only thing I accomplished.

Saturday brought anxiety.  Why?  I’m not really sure.  I wasn’t feeling well for most of the morning.  While I was out and about I encountered some rude people.  Very rude people.  From there on I started feeling anxious.  Anxiety turned into neck tenseness, and the neck tenseness turned into a very severe headache.  I spent the rest of the day in bed just trying to relax it away.  Sunday I still felt jittery, no idea why.  I had a skipped heartbeat episode in the middle of the day,and that’s all she wrote.  I have been shaky ever since then, hence my lack of accomplishment.

I am hoping this week will bring many things checked off the to-do list.  I do have a bunch of posts lined up in my brain, ready to write, so look forward to that this week!

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Bacon, Spinach, and Onion Chicken Roll-ups

This recipe was adapted from Bacon and Spinach Stuffed Chicken.

It was yummy!

Bacon, Spinach, and Onion Chicken Rollup

I used 3 large chicken breasts to make this.  Unfortunately, my chicken breasts were rather deformed.  That’s what I get for getting a big bag of frozen chicken breasts that I couldn’t see into.  When I make these again, and I will because of husbandly requests, I’ll use breasts that I actually see first!

001See?  Funky looking chicken breasts.  Anyhow, I butterflied them as much as possible, something I had never done before in my entire life.  Basically it involves cutting them just short of in half, and then opening the sides like a book.  After that I used my trusty rolling pin and smashed them flat…sort of.  It didn’t work as great as I would have liked, but the pieces were all basically the same thickness, so I went with it.  My husband and I joke that I’m a good cook, but not a good chef.  My technique leaves a lot to be desired!  After I made my topping, I scooped it on one side of the flattened chicken, then rolled them up and placed it open side down on a foil lined cookie sheet.  The act of cooking sealed the rolls shut pretty well!

Ok, to the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 3-4 butterflied and pounded flat chicken breasts
  • 8 ounces chopped mushrooms or 6 or 7 baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 5 or 6 pieces of bacon, diced.  I used 6 because I had that many left in my package and leaving one lonely piece of bacon was unacceptable
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 F

Cook your diced up bacon in a skillet until crispy, remove the bacon pieces and set aside.  Toss (don’t literally toss, you’ll probably end up with bacon grease burns) your garlic, onion, and mushrooms in the skillet, cooking in the bacon grease.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook until onion is soft and translucent.  Reduce heat to low and add your spinach to the pan,mix around and cook until spinach is wilted looking. Add in your cooked bacon. Remove from heat.

Spoon your topping onto your flattened chicken, roll up and place on your pan open side down.  There should be some overlapping on the open side, so don’t worry, it wont spill out.  Cook for 20-25 minutes.  Mine took 25 minutes to cook.

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Eat up, and enjoy!

So the next post I make will probably not be food related.  I have to get the whole Geek Home portion of the blog!

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Food and Why We Eat This Way. Meatloaf Cupcakes and Almond Butter and Jelly Cookies

As promised, a food post!

Back story time.  In 2010, shortly after we got married, I almost died due to a lack of adequate amounts of iron in my blood.  I was eating “right” but no matter what I did I was severely anemic.  After I had to crawl my way to the bathroom one day because I had no energy, I ended up in the ER.  There’s more to the story, and perhaps I’ll share the whole thing at some point, but for now I’ll just say I spent the next two years going to a hematologist and getting iron infusions once a week, every single week.

That is…until March of last year.  I was tired of getting infusions every week.  I was tired of being tired all the time.  So I took processed foods out of my life and ate closer to a Primal way.  Two weeks is all it took for me to not need infusions anymore.  Two Weeks.

Through this whole process I realized a few things about what I was eating before.  I am gluten intolerant.  Gluten causes anxiety, severe indigestion, heart palpitations, and obviously anemia in me.  I am also soy and added hormone sensitive.  Artificial food additives and artificial preservatives cause me problems.  So, here I am, probably eating what would be a considered a very “clean” diet.  But it’s not a diet for me.  It’s a lifestyle.  It has to be for me, unless I want to go back to getting infusions on a weekly basis and not being able to go up the stairs without a racing heart.

The benefits, other than the obvious iron improvements, have been many.  But the one people would be interested in the most is probably the weight.  It’s embarrassing and I’m still losing, but I have lost a lot.  My former heavily processed foods diet was not working.  And even when I was eating what most people considered healthy, I still gained.  And I was still quite obese.  I’m overweight now but I still have a long way to go.

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That’s a 55 pound difference in less than a year.  Not insignificant!

Anyhow, long back story, get on with the food!

Last night I made mini meatloaf cupcakes with mashed cauliflower.  Yum

Ingredients for the meatloaf:

  • 2 pounds ground meat.  I used beef, you can use turkey or chicken or mix and match!
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp raw coconut aminos, or soy sauce if you don’t have sensitivities
  • 1 egg
  • sprinkling of salt and pepper, don’t be shy

Preheat oven to 350 F

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix thoroughly.  Really get in there and squish it around.  That’s part of the fun of making a meatloaf. Grease a muffin pan with oil of your choice, then fill it on up!

401Ignore the dirty oven…we will be replacing it in the future.

Bake for 40 minutes.  You can top with your mashed cauliflower if you wish, or serve it on the side, or don’t serve it at all!  I served it on the side.

Mashed Cauliflower Ingredients :

  • One head cauliflower or frozen cauliflower, one bag worth
  • 2 cups chicken broth, optional
  • 4 tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • garlic salt, to taste

You can steam or boil, but to add a really rich flavor I always steam the cauliflower with the chicken broth.  You can use water if you wish, but I enjoy the flavor more of the broth steamed cauliflower.  Let steam until the cauliflower is easily mash-able.  You’re looking for an over steamed texture.

396Pour cauliflower into a stand mixer or food processor.  Added melted butter or coconut oil and spices of choice.  Mix until you get a lumpy mashed potato look.

And there you have it.  Meatloaf cupcakes with mashed cauliflower.   I wish I had an after shot, but I was too hungry apparently!

And now, dessert.

Flour-less Almond Butter and Jelly Cookies

400Full disclosure..When I made these in the past they did not spread out that much, but I made this batch during a rain storm.  Weather matters when baking, very important to remember that!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar.  I used raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • jelly, your choice

Preheat oven to 350 F

Beat almond butter and sugars together in a mixing bowl until combined.  Add your egg and vanilla next, mix for roughly 2 minutes.  Add baking soda and salt for another 2 minutes until well combined.

Roll your dough into balls and put on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

388After this step, I stuck the pan into the fridge for 15 minutes to let the dough harden a bit.

Once chilled, make a small imprint in your cookie by pressing your finger down in the center.

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Fill the indentation with jelly of your choice.

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Bake for 10-15 minutes until cookies are firm. Let cool and then enjoy!

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752Guess where we were two weeks ago?  If you guessed The Bahamas you’d be correct!  Oh look at that water.  So very pretty.  That’s Gold Rock Beach

Okay, so I started over…again.

That’s right, the minimal posts that were actually here are gone..again!

I just feel that my focus needed to change, and the last time I updated we were living in an apartment.  We aren’t anymore.  Homeowners!  Woo!

Alright, rewind time.  September of 2011 we finally moved into our house.  4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, split foyer entry house.  I know, split foyer!  Eeek!  But, it’s not that bad.  This house gives us a lot of living space for the footprint of the house.  Downstairs is essentially the recreation room and “fun” areas while upstairs has the kitchen, dining, formal living room and bedrooms.  It works very well for us and we love it.  More on that in later posts, including a handy picture of the house layout.  Other posts to look forward to?  Before and during pictures of things we have accomplished so far as well as a list of things we would like to fix and accomplish in the house posts are coming.  We have a lot of plans for this house.  We’ll also talk about food, how exciting!  The first food post is going to be tomorrow. And I’m thinking I’ll even do a post vacation write up by this time next week.  That will be a quite long post, can you handle it?

So, many things heading your way!

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