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Crustless Paleo Quiche

I’ve entered the world of meal prepping on Sundays to make my life that much easier Monday-Friday.  It’s always a good morning when I can have eggs and roasted sweet potatoes for breakfast, but let’s face it – sometimes it’s also a good morning when I hit the snooze button for an extra 30 minutes of sleep but then the very notion of making myself a hot breakfast is out the window and it’s on to what can I grab and go?  My solution – this crustless quiche.  Now I’ve never been a big fan of quiches and quite frankly I’m not really sure what a quiche is BUT this looks like a quiche to me and I baked it in a pie plate so that’s what I’m calling it.  

It is a super simple recipe and extremely tasty.  Cut into slices and you’ve got 8 wonderful slices of home-cooked yumminess to start your day off right!  Enjoy!

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Ingredients
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and mandolin sliced thin
1 small zucchini, sliced (or veggie of choice sliced, chopped, whatever)
1 lb. organic, no hormone added country sausage, cooked & crumbled 
8 eggs, lightly beaten 
1 tbsp coconut oil
salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cook your sausage on medium heat making sure it gets nice and crumbly.  When all of the meat is no longer pink, set it aside on a plate with a paper towel to help drain any excess grease.  

Meanwhile, peel and slice your sweet potatoes with a mandolin slicer set on thin.  You can get a cheap slicer from Walmart for about $10.  Just be careful not to slice your finger!  Set potatoes aside.Next thinly slice your zucchini and set aside.  

Next, put the tablespoon of coconut oil into your glass pie plate and place in the oven for 1-2 minutes or until all of the oil is melted.  Take it out of the oven and evenly lay your sweet potato slices on the bottom of the pie plate.  You should get 2-3 layers of potatoes. Then layer your zucchini followed by the sausage crumbles.  Next, pour all of your eggs over the quiche.  It probably won’t cover everything, but that is okay.  Top with salt and pepper to your liking and stick it in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the egg is set.

Let it set up for 5-10 minutes before you cut and serve it OR cover with saran wrap and serve it the next day for breakfast.

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What I Ate Wednesday

I have officially been gluten and dairy free (per doctor’s orders not because of some new fad) since July.  Most people assume that it is time consuming and quite difficult to eat this kind of diet, but in fact it really isn’t.  For those of you who are new to the gluten and dairy free ways, I hope that this post inspires you or gives you comfort in knowing that eating this way is not as difficult or overwhelming as it may initially seem.

So what exactly did I eat today?  Well – I woke up and made myself a Tervis Tumbler full of coffee (about 2 cups or 16 oz.) with some International Delight York Peppermint Pattie creamer.  I had made some gluten free Bisquick biscuits last night for dinner, so I had half a biscuit for breakfast with a smidge of Earth Balance vegan buttery spread.  (I chose to sleep in until 6:15 AM this morning so my standard breakfast of eggs was out the window).

Obviously this little breakfast didn’t keep me full for long so around 10:00 AM I had a snack that consisted of a cranberry almond KIND bar and some water.  This held me over until lunch (which is scheduled at noon every day).  For lunch I had brought leftovers from dinner last night.  I had made Paleo sawmill gravy with biscuits.  (I had made the biscuits larger than usual so one biscuit was actually more like 2 small biscuits in terms of serving size.)  I also had a small piece of paleo banana cake for dessert and a clementine with water to drink.

By the time school let out, I was dragging so I stopped by Starbucks and grabbed a grande soy cinnamon dolce latte with no whip and ate a banana as an after school snack.  By now it is roughly 4:00 PM.

Once I got home from tutoring (6:00 PM), I quick changed and headed to the gym for a workout which consisted of 12 minutes on the elliptical completing the “Rolling Hills” program on level 1 to warm up my muscles.  Then I headed over the the row machine and completed a 2000m workout on level 6 which took me another 12 minutes.  Finally I headed over to the Roman chair and completed a circuit of lower back and abdominal exercises which consisted of 100 Roman chair moves and 30 lower back raises with a 25 pound weight.  After some stretching it was time to head home to heat up dinner.

By now it is 7:45 PM and luckily I had meal prepped enough food on Sunday so dinner consisted of real mashed potatoes (made with vegan butter and Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream), one good-sized piece of meatloaf, mushroom gravy, green beans, and roasted carrots and another small piece of banana cake for dessert.

My husband jokes and says that I eat like a professional athlete.  But the truth is, I don’t count calories.  I just eat until I’m full.  Sure I splurge and have a latte or some non-dairy creamer in my coffee but the rest of the stuff I’m eating is real food and I don’t feel bad about eating it in the slightest.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Sweet Potato Casserole

My father-in-law loves sweet potatoes and requested that I make some for our Christmas dinner tonight. So I altered a simple recipe and made it work. It is pretty darn tasty. Healthy? Nope. But tasty? You bet!

Ingredients
2 16-oz cans sweet potatoes, drained
1/4 cup vegan buttery spread
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup almond milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup gluten free bisquick mix
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp vegan buttery spread
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Heat the sweet potatoes in the microwave for 3-5 minutes. Add the vegan butter (I use Earth Balance). Mash with a fork or potato masher until thoroughly combined. Add in almond milk, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Mix well. Pour into an ungreased casserole dish.
3. In a small bowl, add bisquick, brown sugar, and butter. Mash with a fork until it makes a crumbly mixture. Stir in your nut of choice. Generously sprinkle over the top of your casserole.
4. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Serve warm.

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Tis the Season

At the end of November I had these grandiose plans to watch a Christmas movie every night until Christmas with my husband.  Of course then my husband had to go to Texas for work the first week of December so that didn’t work out so well.  The following week seemed to fly by as we were preparing to go back to Texas for a company Christmas party.  Now all of a sudden we are in the third week of December, Christmas is 8 days away and we have yet to watch a single Christmas movie.  To be quite honest, I’m lucky we even got our tree up and some decorations.  With all of his traveling early on, my husband didn’t even want to put up decorations in the first place.  It wasn’t until I had a good friend offer to come over and help me put up the tree did my husband change his tune. (Thanks Z!)

Even with Christmas music playing around the clock, stockings hung on the chimney with care, and presents under the tree – I felt like I still hadn’t fully gotten into the Christmas spirit.  I remember growing up, ever since I can remember, my mom spending an entire weekend baking TONS and TONS of homemade Christmas cookies from scratch and then sending me off to deliver them to all of the surrounding neighbors.  I found this very embarrassing as a child but now I think it would be rather fun to catch up with some old neighbors.  She would make baklava, pizzelle cookies, chocolate covered peanut butter balls, Christmas shaped sugar cookies with holiday sprinkles, kiffles, macaroons, Madeline cookies, and jam thumbprint cookies.  Yeah, my mom was a cookie rock star.

I love to bake, but I’m not very patient and I don’t like cleaning up big messes.  So if it involves rolling out dough, rolling dough in sugar or sprinkles, or dipping things in chocolate and setting them out on wax paper to dry you can probably count me out.  In fact – in my 6 1/2 years of marriage I’ve only “baked” Christmas cookies once and I think that was our first year together.  And I didn’t actually make anything from scratch.  I went to the local grocery store, bought every kind of cut and bake cookie available, baked them, and handed them out in pretty tins.  So I guess that doesn’t really count.  Since then, I’ve just handed out Christmas cards to my neighbors and I make my husband stick them in the mailboxes.

This year I wanted to be different.  I wanted to get as Christmas-y as I possibly could in the midst of all of our hustle and bustle with our new house, getting settled, working, and every day life.  So tonight, for the first time in my married life, I made Christmas cookies.  Actually, I just made cookies but I will call them Christmas cookies because they are for Christmas.  I decided to keep my list of cookies short since: 1. I can’t eat the cookies myself due to being gluten and lactose intolerant.  2. My husband doesn’t really eat sweets so the leftovers would probably go bad before they were eaten. 3. I don’t have that many new neighbors to hand out cookies to.

So on my list to make were Blondies (which is like a blonde brownie, I guess), chocolate chip cookies, Heath cookies, and mint chocolate cookies.  I figure you can’t go wrong with the basics and everyone likes the standard “go to” cookies.  I mean, who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies?  And the mint chocolate cookies were Christmas-y, sort of.  I decorated the festive holiday plates (courtesy of the dollar store) with Hershey Kisses to give it that extra holiday effect and slapped a Christmas card on top to solidify the fact that these were indeed Christmas cookies.  I even hand delivered them to my neighbor myself.  Mom, aren’t you proud of me?  (I’m still debating about the other neighbor.  I don’t have their contact info, I don’t know if they are home, and it’s not safe to leave food on the doorstep when you live on a wooded lot.)

Anyway – 129 cookies, 4 cookie plates, 1 special plate for the hubby, and 1 huge ziplock full of leftover cookies, I can officially say I’ve made homemade Christmas cookies.  Tis the Season!

My Christmas Cookies!

My Christmas Cookies!

Gluten Free & Dairy Free Sweet Cornbread

This makes a TON of cornbread – be prepared to either serve a lot of people or to eat this for 4-5 days…

Ingredients
1  – can whole kernel yellow corn, undrained
1 – can cream-style corn
1 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
2 eggs, beaten
1 box Hodgson Mill Gluten-Free Cornbread Mix
1 stick – Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread, melted

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine all ingredients and dump in a 9×13 lightly greased glass baking dish.

3. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon

The Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon was my 2nd half marathon for the 2013 running season and my last race of the running season as well.  Yes – I’ve hung up my running sneakers until the weather gets warmer again (metaphorically… we all know I still workout during the winter months, I just don’t pay to run in the cold).  I’ve never run in the Indy Monumental half before, but I’ve run two downtown races so I figured it would pretty much be the same thing.

For this last race, I ran with my friend, Alyssa.  Alyssa decided to run the half marathon (her first half marathon) to raise money for Joy’s House, an adult day service in Indianapolis for adults who need assistant and cannot provide for themselves.  She had a goal of $200 and a finish time of 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Where do I come into play you might be thinking?  My job was to be her running buddy, to keep her motivated when she wanted to quit, to help her with her pacing, and to let her know she was doing a good job.  I was able to run with Alyssa a few times prior to our actual race day but nothing more than 8 miles.  In fact, neither one of us ran more than 8 miles before the race.  (To be honest, I didn’t train as much as I should have for this race but I was in the middle of moving from my house into an apartment and then from an apartment to my new house… it was quite a hectic month for me).  I wasn’t too worried for myself, however, knowing I had run 13.1 miles earlier in the year and I run quite often.  I know how to pace myself for longer runs without over doing it in it the beginning.

Race day arrives and we get to the start line.  There is no race coral and no one is really pushing to be up towards the front.  I find this oddly refreshing compared to my last downtown half marathon start.  It is very relaxed.  The music starts and we are off.

We ran most of the 13.1 miles with a couple of walk breaks and lots of water breaks to ensure hydration.  In the end, not only did Alyssa exceed her $200 fundraising goal, but she also finished her very first half marathon in just 2 hours and 24 minutes (6 minutes under her goal).   I am so proud of her and I’m so glad I was a part of it!  Way to go!

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Alyssa and I with our finisher medals and bananas!

Gluten Free, Dairy Free French Apple Pie

For the next 8 weeks I am volunteering at my church’s Alpha group in the kitchen.  Including myself, we have 4 gluten allergies, 1 MSG allergy, and 1 lactose intolerant person.  Feeding that many people with that many allergies can be intimidating and perhaps slightly overwhelming to many people and the easy way out would be to buy a box of allergy-friendly cookies and send those people on their merry way while the rest of the participants get to dine on spiced cake or brownies with ice cream.  These people come to Alpha not only to feed their spirits but also to feed their bellies and I want everyone walking away with that, “That food was so good, I can’t wait to come back next week,” feeling.  So I took it upon myself to make the allergen-friendly dessert.   I got the skeleton recipe from good ole’ Betty Crocker and then tweaked it to make it dairy free as well.  It was delicious and there were no leftovers for me to take home, even the people without allergies were wanting a piece.  Had I known, I would have made more!  Anyway – here is the recipe, enjoy!

Golden brown and deliciously allergen-friendly

Golden brown and deliciously allergen-friendly

Ingredients – Filling
3 apples, peeled and sliced (I used 2 McIntosh and 1 Rome)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup Biquick Gluten Free mix
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tablespoons Earth Balance Coconut Spread, melted (you could probably use coconut oil or coconut butter as well)
3 eggs

Ingredients – Streusel
1/3 cup Bisquick Gluten Free mix
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons Earth Balance Coconut Spread

Directions
1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease 9-inch glass pie-plate with coconut oil.  In a medium bowl, mix apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Place in pie plate.

2. In the same bowl, stir remaining filling ingredients until well blended.  Pour over apple mixture in pie plate.  In a small bowl. mix all of the streusel ingredients using a fork until it is crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly over pie filling.

3. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until golden brown and inserted knife comes out clean.  Serve warm with Almond Dream Praline Ice Cream or store in the refrigerator for later use.

Makes 8 servings

Serve it warm with a big scoop of Almond Dream Ice Cream for the perfect fall dessert!

Serve it warm with a big scoop of Almond Dream Ice Cream for the perfect fall dessert!