GF/DF Italian Sausage & Brown Rice Soup

sausagekalesoup1Soups on! I want to jolt back to 2010, when I probably could have written a book just about anything delectable that goes into a bowl, slurped up with a spoon! THAT was a seriously cold and snowy winter. So much cold, means so much soup that needs to be in my belly :). Tom Yum, Cream of Mushroom, Creamy Potato, Chicken Noodle, Chili, Chicken Tortilla, Cheeseburger Soup. What a great year was that!!

Well, since the world started spinning reverse on its axis, and I can’t eat anything awesome without my stomach paying the price and feeling like crap for the next day and a half. No more creamy delicious soups for me (unless I’m inhaling Lactase pills to compensate)!  Woe-is-me!
On the bright side, this has just jet-streamed an alternate path of creative juices, to pair new ingredients together, as well as attempting new recipes not yet conquered or developed!

Mass prepping and left over ingredients are becoming an absolute must for me. I work late, I work out late, and get home later. By the time I step thru the door it’s typically pushing 8pm. That then leaves 3 hours to make dinner, clean the kitchen, wind (or WINE) down, and sit for about an hour before going to bed. I’m exhausted just writing that.

Leftover Italian Sausage, yellow and orange peppers, charred poblano peppers from stuff mushrooms really turned out to be a great idea for a sore throat, coughing, hacking, sick….me.

Fat burner, belly warming delight in a bowl. Boom. This is one of those dishes that isn’t the best thing you’ve ever tasted in your life. Nor should it be. Everyone’s taste is a little dulled when they’re under the weather. Broth, veggies, and a little kick of Italian Sausage seems like a good way to kick the end of this cold. It was. Soup ya!

Italian Sausage & Kale Soup
(serving size, 2)

3 cups of chicken broth
1 cup ground Italian Sausage, cooked
1/2 cup brown rice, prepared.
1/2 yellow bell pepper diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
6 Bella mushroom, chopped
1/4 cup kale, chopped

Directions
1. Cook your brown rice, this will take 30-45 min
2. Brown Italian Sausage in sauce pan
3. In the same saucepan, on medium heat, dump the rest all in!
2. Simmer for 30 minutes, or as long as it takes your brown rice to cook
3. Poach an egg
4. Dump soup in bowl, add two tablespoons of brown rice to each bowl, and place poached egg in the middle.
sausagekalesoup2

GF/DF Black Bean Soup

blackbean2This month, as you know, is Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free for me! I’ve caved a few times, not gonna lie. Some of them may, or may not have been after a bottle of wine…or because I’m pretty the bag of chips  started speaking to me (I ate 3…lol). Although it’s been a challenge to completely change my diet, I feel SO much better than before I started it. I was just sick to my stomach, EVERY time I ate, and I definitely feel more alert and not tired during the day.

This lifestyle change is absolutely inconvenient, haha! It’s almost impossible to snack, and breakfast has been a real challenge which is heartbreaking, since it’s my favorite meal. I really miss my eggs+french toast…like, a lot.
Or…my homemade Pepperoni Egg-McMuffins. Sad.
The flip side of feeling better is just about worth it though 🙂 I don’t miss feeling like a filled up balloon all the time, and dropping 10 lbs since last week didn’t exactly break my heart either! Heading to Mexico in a couple of weeks, so getting the summer bod back is an absolute necessity!

Going out to eat-is a pain in the butt, and tempting, so I’ve been staying home…A LOT. I miss being able to pick out anything on the menu, and the only things I want are things I’m not supposed to have. I try to force my eyeballs immediately move to the salad section, and I try not to glance around any further for fear of ordering and eating a whole plate of french fries.

I’ve found myself coming home and getting irritated that I haven’t planned ahead enough for dinner. Having something thawed out, or recently purchased and ready to go is not something I’m real skilled at 🙂 I’m a professional “wing it” kind of dinner person.  I’m going to have to start pre-planning my weeks a little better, remembering to plan meals so I have things already thawed out, or make my trips to the grocery store verify specific to that week, so everything is fresh.

A night this week, I stumbled in the door after a long day at work, I was exhausted from the gym, and starving. I wanted someone to make ME dinner… but that ain’t gonna happen, so I started fumbling thru the cabinets. Everything convenient (aka awesome) was pasta, cheese, or pizza related. I just stood there aimlessly staring at the same items in the pantry and fridge…for a good 15 minutes, by minute 14 I was convinced that God actually hated me for taking all my favorite things away. After checking the fridge now…for the 13th time, my eyes finally set on a Tupperware of beans I’d soaked the night before in attempts to try dried black beans for the first time. hmmmm….

I’d eaten enough salads to bore a cow this week, and it was an entire 3 degrees outside… and then….* light bulb *. SOUP. Boom, on it.
Black bean soup, is just so…different. It is its own category of soup. I’m not even real particular about the consistency, since there are so many varieties of thin to creamy.
I glanced around online at a few recipes and then just started playing around in the kitchen- which turned into a fantastic new recipe!!
Awesome new recipe accident? Check. This was phenomenal.
The in-depth flavor profile completely took me by surprise. For me, what really made this one a home run, was coffee. Weird right? I’d used a little instant coffee packet the day before for a protein shake additive, and had a half packet leftover-which just gave me a little wink in the cabinet. The warm simple flavors were good, but the coffee really brought it around and turned it into decadent dish. It doesn’t overpower anything, but you can taste the resonance at the end of your spoon, it’ll make you happy. Promise

Black Bean Soup
Serves 2
2 cups Black Beans, cooked. This is a half pound of dried.
(I soaked mine overnight in water, and then boiled them for 10 minutes) I would not recommend using canned here, they won’t stand up as well.
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 cups of beef broth
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
2 jalapenos, slice in half, remove the seeds
1 tsp oil (I used sesame oil)
1/2 packet of single serving instant coffee
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
s/p to taste

Directions:
1. Take the black beans you soaked overnight, and boil them for about 10 minutes if they’re not tender enough and drain
2. In your pot, add oil, garlic, and onion on medium heat, let cook for about 10 minutes, then add the beans back in
3. Dump in the rest of the ingredients (that was easy…wasn’t it)
4. Simmer for about 20 minutes
5. In your food processor or blender, blend! Add back into your pan and simmer again for 5 minutes to bring the temperature back up.
** You can pick your consistency here, if you want to thin it out, just add more water/or broth!

Gluten-Free (GF) January

gf

So I love food, this isn’t exactly news. Well Baby Jesus 2015 must dislike me, because every time I consume something exciting, aka bread/pasta or milk/cheese based I want to keel over. After much research,  I’ve been instructed to clear my system of both and then introduce back in one at a time to see if it could be a slight gluten or dairy intolerance. Let’s hope it’s neither, but in light of the situation, I figured it would be a great time to play in the GF playground for the month of January.

I know it’s a double hit, but you’ll see little to none dairy aspects this month as well as I try to clear my system. If anything it’ll at least be a great recipe learning experience! Starting the new year with some clean-eating isn’t the worst idea either! Greens and protein here I come!

Happy New Year!

🙂 Claire

No Butter almost no Flour Cookies, What?!

In attempt to trim down the ‘growing giant’ also know as ‘booty’ this recipe came about. Apparently the ol’ metabolism must be slowing down, or maybe I’ve just been sneaking a few too many snackies!

Whatever the cause, I’m using this as an excuse to try new and oddball recipes. Not butters, no fats, no flour, GF (gluten-free), ect ect. I have several friends that are GF and also one that is on a strict calorie counting diet for six months. Being aware of different necessary lifestyles only makes me more knowledgeable and versatile…so how can I say no?!

Friday was our St. Patty’s food day at work. Looking for something simple, a sweet, and contents as healthy as possible.  Eghhh, sounds like a nearly impossible task! BUT WAIT-  A Spoonful of Sugar to the rescue! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw there was no butter and only 2 tbsp of flour for a batch of 3 dozen. (no cookies without butter or oil?! What? Is this a mistake?! Are they gross?!)

My original goal was to find a chewy cookie to make whoopie pies with green frosting to keep in the green theme. I’ve tried this a few times before to no avail of finding a cookie recipe soft enough- until today!

On first glance, these cookies look crispy and crunchy. Don’t let them fool you! They are incredibly soft and have great flavor. The binding agent here seems to be just the cocoa powder, which uses a lot..but cranks out a ton of cookies. 

Mixed Reviews:  I got several different opinions when handing these out. For the most part, the majority of people thought they were really good…just a little different.  Others said it seemed like it was missing a lot of body (to which of course I had to toss in a smartbutt retort with…”ya….butter or flour…” ha) but I think if you’re attempting to be fat-free and/or gluten-free with a sweet tooth, this is a great guilt-free recipe you have to try. If you have a need for chocolate and for

something different to switch it up…these are a great quick fix, AND really good for 3-4 days opposed to 1-2 days. When you use butter in baking, whatever you’re doing always tastes best when eaten the day of. The really roll down hill quick.

TIPS! : You really need to play around with these until you can tell what time your oven will take to bake them all the way thru. DON’T touch them until completely cooled or you will lose half the cookie.

-Most often with cookies you can remove them after a few minutes and move on, BUT, I found out with these b/c of the lack of ingredients, you really need to let
-Don’t Spray the parchment paper if they try to stickthem completely cool all the way and let the ingredients settle and come together all the way before removing them or you will lose the bottom middle of the cookie onto the parchment paper.

INGREDIENTS

4 egg whites

2 1/2 cups of sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
Feel free to add up to one cup of your favorite nuts or dried fruit. The original recipe also called for 1 cup of chocolate chips, but again I wanted to cut out some of the fat. (and I didn’t have any…)
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until barely frothy. B

I played around with the baking time and I found that about 9 minutes worked good.eat in the sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, and flour until the mixture thickens.

Drop a heaping teaspoon of batter onto the parchment paper for each cookie.

FOR THE FROSTING IF YOU DESIRE!

1 cup confectioners sugar

3 tbsp of milk
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
food coloring of your desire!