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Dirty Rice

 

 

Because who doesn’t want to be like a toddler and eat Dirty Rice?  Okay back to being serious. Dirty Rice is a serious favorite around here. It’s easy  simple and will allow you to have dinner on the table in 30 minutes. I have a confession; after my slow cookers, one of the best tools in my kitchen is the rice cooker. Most of them have instructions for cooking rice, pasta, other grains (oatmeal anyone?), And simple meals. We have two rice cookers, and electric one that plugs in and a rice cooker for the microwave the that we were blessed with from a friend.

My kids love all kinds of seasoned rice. Sweetened creamed rice for breakfast, Fried rice, Spanish rice, rice and gravy. You name it, and most of the seasoned rice dishes my kiddos love can be cooked completely in the rice cooker. Dirty Rice is not one of those. It requires a little more effort but the end result is soooo worth it. I serve this with sauteed zucchini. Yum!

And just in case anyone is confused, the rice only looks dirty because of meat and seasonings it is not actually dirty.

 

Dirty Rice

 

Ingredients

 

1 lb ground beef or pork

1 lb finely diced chicken livers* ( super extra finely diced)

½ red onion

1 Bell pepper

2-3 stalks diced celery

Salt

1 tsp Garlic powder

1½ tsp Cajun seasoning, gluten free

Cooking oil of your choosing

 

2½ cups uncooked white rice

2 TBS dairy free butter

 

  • Prepare the rice. Add to rice cooker, rice, Cajun seasoning, and butter. Add water per directions of rice cooker, if cooking stove top white rice is 2:1 ratio. 2 cups of water for each 1 cup of rice. Allow the rice to cook while to meat is prepared.
  1. Pour 2 TBS of oil into a large skillet on medium heat. Add red onion and cook until they begin to caramelize. Add diced chicken livers.
  2. Add bell peppers and celery. Cook until vegetable are fragrant and just beginning to soften.
  3. Add ground meat, garlic powder and salt.
  4. Cook over medium heat, crumbling the meat, until it is all brown and no pink remains. Do Not Drain the fat. Reserve 2 TBS of fat to saute vegetables.
  5. Once rice is cooked place into a large mixing bowl. Add the fully cooked meat blend to the mixing bowl stir until rice and meat are well combined and set aside.

*If you don’t like chicken livers you can leave them out.

 

*****Bonus recipe****

Sauteed Zucchini

 

1 TBS dairy free butter

2 TBS reserved meat fat

2 lbs sliced zucchini

¼ of a red onion sliced

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp salt

***Optional*** ½ tsp 21 season salute from Trader Joe’s

 

  1. So we are again going to start the process of adding oilß to the skillet and caramelizing the onions on medium heat
  2. Once they have begun to brown add the Zucchini and seasonings.
  3. Gently stir and turn the Zucchini to evenly cost with seasonings.
  4. Cook dinner medium heat until color of zucchini deepens and they become tender.

Serve as a side dish to Dirty Rice

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Let me tell you a simple fact. Chicken and broccoli is my favorite stir fry meal. Served over fluffy white rice, hearty brown rice, or savory fried rice you can’t go wrong.  My six year old, little girl, does not like broccoli. But she’ll eat it in this dish. Be sure to use low sodium gluten free soy sauce or Braggs aminos for an extra health boost

 

This recipe as written feeds a family of six.

 

Ingredients

 

1 lb thinly sliced chicken breasts

2 broccoli crowns chopped or 1½ lbs chopped frozen broccoli

2 sliced carrots

⅓ diced red onion

2 cloves of garlic peeled and diced

1 inch piece of ginger peeled and diced

½ cup of Braggs aminos or g-free soy sauce

3 TBS sugar

1 TBS molasses

2 TBS cornstarch

Cooking oil of your choosing

**Optional** 21 season salute from Trader Joe’s

 

  1. Add oil to skillet or wok, then add diced red onions on medium high heat. Cook until onion begins to soften and caramelize.
  2. Add sliced carrots, ginger and garlic. Cook until carrots begin to become tender. Increase to high heat.
  3. While carrots, ginger and garlic are cooking; mix together soy sauce or aminos, sugar, molasses and cornstarch. Wisk well until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
  4. Place chicken into skillet, stirring to ensure even cooking.
  5. Add broccoli, if using frozen broccoli allow skillet or wok to come back to high temp before proceeding to next step. Cook until broccoli color become bright and it is fragrant.
  6. Stir the soy sauce or Amino mix. Pour soy sauce or Amino mixture over stir fry mix in skillet. Continue to stir and gently toss stir fry until sauce is thickened and glossy.
  7. Remove from heat once sauce is done.

Serve over rice of your choosing.

Where had I been???

You may have noticed I recently returned to my blog with a bang. Four post in three days, and another post today, after being gone for like forever.
My oven functionally died in 2016. I bought a new oven (used) but due to the rigging of the previous owner of our home no one could disconnect the old oven. It was literally cemented in and the gas line made two nearly 90degree turns the get to the oven. And some one rigged an adaptor metric to standard plumbing. It was incredibly unsafe. The stove top was kind of usable but after months of trying to have friends and the Man fix it we finally paid a plumber to remove and properly install the gas line to the new (used) oven.
Also in this timeframe our microwave died. So, no microwave, no oven; only two barely working eyes on the stove top. We used my mother’s toaster oven, our crock pot, rice cooker, and a toaster for a few months. It was and adventure to say the least, but it was not conducive to trying new recipe’s or the time and tools to be creative in the kitchen. Also it was embarrassing and furthered my battle with depression.
But we are blessed enormously. A church member gave us a microwave. A friend loaned us another crock pot for the holidays. And, of course, we did eventually get the new (used) oven safely working.
But, hey, its October! Well I have had the privilege to transfer to Arizona for my job. It’s been a fabulous place and a great opportunity. Though, it has been bumpy. I don’t know where my family would have been without the Man here helping encouraging and keeping the family focus on the Lord. Reminding us to praise Him because of and during the many trails we’ve faced since moving. Our family is closer to each other, closer to God, and stronger than ever.
Here we are in the dessert, it’s a real dessert with cacti, dust storms, and 118 degree temps.
With this incredible heat, it’s 95 degree here today,  I’d like the share a cool recipe It’s a chicken salad recipe I adapted from a friend and co-worker Mrs. Barbara. I like to serve it on high protein gluten free bread. The link to the bread recipe follows the chicken salad recipe.

Mrs. Barbara’s Chicken Salad

Ingredients
2 baked chickens, shredded
1 tsp. Adobo Seasoning
½ c. sandwich spread
1 c. egg free mayonnaise
1 tsp crushed red pepper
¼ c. dried cranberries
½ c. sweet relish (or less this is to taste)
nuts – of your choosing if safe for your family
½ of a red onion finely diced
1 stalk of celery finely diced
(pimentos) optional

Instructions

1. Place all ingredients except chicken in a large mixing bowl
2. Wisk together.
3. Add chicken, stir with a spoon until evenly combined.
4. Refrigerate until ready to serve

Allergen Free Sandwich Spread
2 Tbs. Dairy-free plain yogurt
1 c. Egg free mayo
½ c strained sweet relish (squeeze or drain out all excess liquid)
¼ c French salad dressing
Vigorously stir all ingredients together.
Store refrigerated.

This is the link to Faithfully Gluten Free, a sandwich bread recipe. Her site was formerly called The Baking Beauties. I make this bread high protein by substituting soy protein isolate for skim milk powder and using a high protein soy milk instead of water.

Protein

This is me whining. If you don’t want to hear it keep scrolling. LOL
One of the major factors that lead to healthy weight loss in women is high protein intake. Weather you eat strictly low calorie, high protein, low cab etc as long as you create a calorie deficit and increase activity you will loose weight. The significance between these end results is your body composition at the end of weight loss: Muscle protein vs. Fat percentage.
What works best for me is a high protein, high produce, low sugar, and limited carb plan. I don’t stick to truly low carb plans very well.
But why the whining you ask? The total amount of protein needed to maintain a healthy weight loss with good muscle composition at the end. My protein needs are as follows.
“Based on the weight, American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommend taking at least 128 – 230 grams of protein per day.
Based on the conditions, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend taking 74 – 260 grams of protein per day, which is 10% – 35% of your daily Calorie intake. “

230g-260g as a max amount of protein seem insane to me.
I shoot for a more moderate 170g-180g per day and almost never make it. In the pantry you’ll find protein shakes, protein bars, nuts, sun butter, meats, eggs, sea food, high protein bread chicken, beans, oatmeal etc. In spite of all these excellent food choices 180g of protein is usually out of reach. The struggle is real.
By the end of the day I am full; tired of chewing and trying to figure out where I could possibly add even more protein.
On a positive note 3-5 serving of veggies and 2-4 servings of fruit is now a breeze.

Anybody have suggestions to make the protein easier?

This post is a day late.
My official weigh in days are Thursdays.
So my weekly weigh in as if Thursday morning 10/12/2017 was 282.2. Yayy!!!!!
That’s 16lbs down WooHoo!

But then comes the struggle.
We’d planned chicken for dinner but the deli area was closing by the time we arrived at the grocery store. I initially suggested pizza as an alternative plan the realized my error and asked the Man for suggestion. He reminded me that I do need to learn to practice self control in difficult eating situations. My general guideline right now is to flee temptation. I can’t eat what I don’t buy.

When I go to McDonalds there is always the option of a salad with grilled chicken but I won’t choose that I will buy the Sriracha burger value mea with large Fries and a Soda. As a result I just don’t go to McDonalds. I cant eat the food if I’m not there.
Or delicious cheese flavored crackers. They are one of my favorites but if I buy a whole box, I’ll eat the whole box so I limit myself to the single serve pack form the vending machine of just don’t buy them at all.
Ordering a pizza, which I have an exceptional weakness for, to be delivered to my home was something I absolutely did not want to do. I almost cried. But in truth the Man was right. I did much better than I have done in the past but I still overate. I had 2 slices and no salad or vegetables at all.
I also had a snack that was high carb ( I thought I’d purchased the low card option) in error. So I put on .5 a pound today.
As of this morning my weight is 282.7lbs.
I’m frustrated and disappointed but at the same time I showed much better restraint than in the past. I’m not yet able to separate emotional comfort and solace from what I eat. It will be a long road to true recovery. Yet this is a baby step in the right direction. Next time I can do better.
Why next time? Because with food and fun and celebrations there is always a next time.
I’ll continue to pray and rely on the lord to see me through this journey.

Loosing Weight

I’ve been obese, morbidly obese nearly all of my adult life. I was wearing a size 18 at 22 years old and weighed in at 225 lbs. I can count the number of “diet attempts” I’d made on one hand I think may four or five. I watched my mom make herself crazy with yo-yo dieting and supplements I never wanted to do that. My weight stopped mattering to me as long as my health metrics were oaky.
No diabetes
No high blood pressure
No heart disease
No PCOS
No fertility problems
No thyroid problems
No life threatening health concerns except…. Except for asthma, I’ve had it all my life and for a long time poorly managed it. I’d noticed the bigger I got the harder it was to manage. Hmmmm
But it was okay I’ve always had asthma and asthma can over time get worse but….. I was 28 and on the strongest dose of my maintenance medication available.

But there were other medications I could try, in the future, If I needed them right??

But along my right side, ankle, knee, hip, lower back mid back neck, and shoulder hurt all the time I’m only 30… that all related to old injuries and pregnancies…..going to the chiropractor will fix that, right???

Then there was depression it hit like a sledge hammer. I’d had an on an off affair with depression since I was a preteen and comfort foods were my fix. They send me an injection of happy. What were my big addictions? Soda, French fries, Pizza. It doesn’t matter if you eat a lot in one sitting but every day with no good nutritional option will take its toll. I needed the soda to settle my stomach after eating crappy foods, and then I felt terrible so I’d get another; I’m thirsty now lets have a third soda. Some days I’s have 8 cans of soda or 3 large drinks from Sonic.

By the time I stepped in a scale in 2014 I weighed 319 lbs, wore a size 26, and was deeply depressed. I was 32. I was suffering and I didn’t know how to loose weight I’d never really tried, giving up foods I liked was too hard I’d literally cry as thought I’d lost a friend. I was addicted to food. I made a series of small changes over time. First I gave up soda. That was hard. But I had a good motivation. I was going to see friend who new me when I was a much smaller woman. They will be my friend no matter my weight but I didn’t want to be shamed.

After a week of no soda I’d lost 7 lbs. now I was motivated!

I started walking every day during my lunch hour. At first I could only walk for 25 minutes. I slowly built up to 2.5 miles-3 miles over lunch.
Then I looked up the recommended amount of fruits and veggies I should be eating an added them to my daily meal plan. I was eating all the time. I would be tired of chewing by the end of my work day.
I read more on nutrition and realized I should have my carbs as whole grains and in the morning for long lasting energy. So I flipped my carb intake to mornings.

Next was protein several studies have shown that women loosing weight need roughly double the normal protein intake to maintain successful and healthy weight loss. So, high protein foods with every breakfast and protein sakes.
Then more physical activity walking, every evening, while taking my kids to the park.

I lost 60 lbs. I was down to 261 by May of 2015., My clothing size was between an 18-20. I bought clothing and a regular department store. I’d never been happier with my size. My depression was alleviated, asthma was getting better my paid was nearly gone.

Then life hit. Stressors that just don’t seem fair for one person to have to endure, and I didn’t fall back on God. I fell apart. I failed. But managed to maintain my weight and have limited, healthy weight gain while pregnant. By 2 months post partum I was back in my “skinny” clothes of 18-20. But I’d lost momentum I was back to stress eating, and having soda, and the weight slowly came back. I got all the way up to 298. Nearly 40lbs gained.

Well, here I am in October of 2017 working on weight loss again, this time instead of loosing weight from shame or for friends my focus is on God. My focus is on health and being a good steward of the body God has given me. Figuring out how to turn stress and anxiety over to God and not to Soda.

As of this morning I’m down to 283.8 almost 15 lbs.

I have accepted I have a food addiction. Instead of relying on God in hard times I’d hold onto my stress and go eat or truthfully go drink soda. I must give up soda maybe permanently but that is a sacrifice I can make to remove that which comes between me and God.
This time I am making the same slow changes but I am preparing for the hard times knowing that it cant be food or hiding in bed that comforts me a sees me through. My comforter is Christ Jesus.
Obedience, patience, and sacrifice as I walk this weight loss road with Jesus.

Cheesy Chicken and Ranch Potatoes

This is an easy meal that I love. It makes a great casserole but if you are pressed for time you can cook the whole meal on the stove top. I have taken to using a few major short cuts in the kitchen that save me soooo such time. Generally speaking, we get our chicken breasts from Sam’s Club in the freezer section 6 lbs. for just under 12 dollars. That’s cheaper than Aldi so it works for me. When I get them home I take 4-6 chicken breasts and wrap them in foil lightly sprinkled with adobo or whatever gluten-free season all I am using and bake them on 275 until cooked completely.
Yes I pop them in still frozen. The foil traps in the moisture and the low temp makes sure they cook completely, if slowly. Anyhoo doing this one short cut I almost always have cooked chicken breasts on hand and this saves a lot of time when cooking dinner. Another time saving measure? I keep ranch dressing mix dairy free, cashew sour cream and coconut milk cheese in my fridge. I don’t let them run out. They are wayyyyyy to useful in making quick meals to ever run out.
This is the whole ranch dressing recipe:
http://www.adventuresofaglutenfreemom.com/2011/08/ranch-dressing-dairy-free-egg-free-corn-free-nut-free-and-soy-free/
the part I keep handy all the time is the dry ingredients. I make big batches and use 2 ¼ tsp at a time added to ¼ c nondairy buttermilk as per the recipe and then stir the mix in to the cashew sour cream.
• 1/2 tsp. dried Parsley (or 1 tsp. fresh)
• 1/2 tsp dried Chives (or 1 tsp. fresh)
• 1/2 tsp. dried Dill (or 1 tsp. fresh)
• 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
• 1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
• 1/8 tsp. Sea Salt
• 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper

Ingredients
6 sliced potatoes
2 chopped chicken cooked breasts
8oz cashew sour cream w/ ranch dip stirred in
4-6 oz coconut milk cheese finely cubed or shredded
1/2 cup green onions chopped
¼ red onion diced
3 Tbs olive oil
Daiya cheddar shreds if desired
Adobo to taste

For stove top preparation
In a 5 qt pot (Dutch oven) on medium heat add olive oil, potatoes, red onion, and adobo. Cook until potatoes have softened about 15-20 min
Once the potatoes have begun to soften add ¼ cup green onion, cashew sour cream, coconut milk cheese.
Mixing well to ensure ‘cheese’ and sour cream are well mixed.
Add chicken, once again mixing well. When completely mixed simmer on lowest heat setting for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Garnish with additional green onions and Daiya if desired

To prepare as a casserole pour all ingredients except for green onions into a large casserole dish (9×13 or larger) stir well to evenly distribute seasonings and ingredients.
Bake @400 for 45 min or until potatoes are tender. Remove and garnish with green onions and extra daiya if desired then bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.
Remove from oven serve warm.

My family hasn’t had chicken and dumplings  in 2 years because I didn’t have a good sturdy gluten free dumpling recipe. We will be having this often this winter. Dumplings are generally just biscuits added to the stew in the last 10 minutes or so of cooking but none of the gluten free biscuits held together well until now. Nicole has several yummy gf biscuit recipes. If you cant do dairy you will need to make substitutions.
http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/gluten-free-biscuits-and-gravy
I used 4 TBS of brown rice protein powder instead of dry milk.

32 oz chicken broth Pus more as needed
3 Stalks of celery chopped
3 carrots sliced
7.5 Oz corn ( half a can)
1/2 a bell pepper finely diced
1/2 a small red onion very finely diced
1.5 cup Dairy free milk ( I use coconut)
1/3 cup Gluten free flour
1/4 tsp basil
1/8 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
about 1/2 tsp adobo sin pepper
2-3 cubed chicken breasts cooked

First make the biscuits but do not bake. place the rounds on a cookie sheet and cut the raw biscuits in to 6 or 8. these are now your dumplings. place in the fridge while making stew.
next cook the chicken breasts in a skillet and season with the adobo. set aside.
Then place chicken broth vegetables, herbs and seasonings in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil.
In a separate small bowl mix flour and dairy free milk.
Add chicken mixture to Dutch oven.
Add milk and flour mixture to Dutch oven.
Cook until thickened stirring constantly, on high heat for appx 3 min
Lower temp to lowest setting and allow to simmer until veggies are tender.
Add additional broth to thin soup base if desired
One veggies are tender bring stew to a boil again and add dumplings all at once stirring constantly.
Allow dumpling to cook on high heat for 5-10 minutes or until toothpick inserted in dumplings comes out clean

Names, they are an integral part of our identity. They are one of the first impressions a person receives. It can tell of our culture, of our home. Our names can have weight and meaning. They set us up for various stereotyping both positive and negative.  There are numerous studies on names. For instance people with names beginning with the letter “A” tend to receive more “A’s” in school. Conversely people with names beginning with the letters “c and D” tend to receive lower grades than average.
A child’s name on a class roster is the first meeting that teacher has with their soon to be student. It is the first impression of their family. The spelling and structure give and idea of the parents level of education at the time the child was born….and let the teacher know how much support or struggle they may have from that parent.

Resume’s with ethnic names get fewer call back’s and interviews than mainstream names with traditional spellings.
Of course these are not hard and fast rules I know several very successful and well educated Shaniqua’s and Jamarion’s (with a variety of spellings) and other equally highly ethnic names.

I have also encountered a host of Arabic and Hebrew names that people think of as “ghetto” but are not. These names are full of history, meaning and beauty. But, our culture has placed a judgment  upon them. made them second class, taboo even.

What do you do? simply being aware of the power of a name is the first place to start.

I am overwhelmed. Drowning in the autism, ADHD, giftedness, exuberance, love, joy laundry, dishes, sleeplessness. Dinner. It’s all on this lady’s rather broad shoulders. And buddy it’s a big heavy load. I am however lucky I have help a mom who retired and moved in to care for her grand babies so no more daycare is needed. Who cooks meals when i am not here. Who loves them as much as I do.
Never the less, I am overwhelmed. sigh.