Showing posts from January, 2017

Gluten Free and Vegan Pumpkin Cheese

As my body starts to heal, I find that I am craving my old ways - reminiscing on the times when I would spend the entire day cooking new recipes (meals, bread, cakes, granola, you get the picture...)

Knowing that I am not back to my 100%-self, I do take it easy and sometimes get leery of new things  - How will my body handle it? Will I be sick for days and need time to recover? Will it be a win?

You don't know without taking changes, right? So, I have decided to take chances, just in baby-steps.

I have been craving cheese. I am going to blame the holidays - I watched everyone indulge in their Italian Antipasto plates filled with cheese. Omelets smothered in healthy doses of cheese - or was it the other way around, cheese topped with an egg, and pasta drenched in gooey melted cheeses! Oh my, hungry just thinking about it.

Why can't I, a gluten-free and vegan gal also enjoy my Italian heritage? I started doing what I do with anything, Google-searcing. I found a couple of article…

Inside-Out Gluten Free And Vegan Spaghetti Squash Pot Pie

Okay - confession here - it really is not an inside out pot pie, because I have 100% omitted the crust aspect on this one BUT - it was still yummy!

It has been a very very long time since I have had a potpie, but the winter months are settling in and I am longing for old-time classic comfort foods, with my own health-twist.

I did a lot of google-searching for "vegan pot pie", "gluten free pot pie", "winter squash pot pie" and nothing came up that I wanted to even remotely base a recipe from so I took my basic knowledge of ingredients that would typically be captured in a pot pie: onion, garlic, vegetable broth, bay leaves, mushrooms, milk, celery, carrots, peas, butter, flour.... and figured I would eliminate those that I either don't have on hand or are currently not Nicole-Friendly.

Here is what I came out with.
1. I started a vegetable broth....ginger, star anise, cinnamon, vegetable scraps, ginger, garlic, spring onions and bay leaves.
2. I roast…

Star Anise & Turmeric Basmati Rice

Somedays you just don't give a damn about making dinner. You don't want to be bothered with standing over a stove or chopping and prepping vegetables or watching a pot of water to boil. I mean, it happens. We ALL have those days. Society wears us down.

We try to be "fit" and healthy so we get up at the crack of dawn to sneak in a workout. Then it's rushing through the gym shower and off to a busy day at work. When you finally get a moment to look up - you notice it is way past the time you wanted to leave the office. You quickly toss everything into your bag, telling yourself you will finish work later tonight. Leaving later than you wanted to, you are now stuck in traffic. Yippie! Finally, you have reached home, had to fight for parking and deal with the idiots that do not know how to park. In the house we go, now time to put todays' items away and pack up for yet another very early morning tomorrow.

In hopes to keep up with your routine, it is time for a dai…

101 Pennsylvania Farm Show

It has become my tradition to make it every year to the PA Farm Show with my dad. We enjoy walking around looking at the animals - the baby chickens are always my favorite. I always find myself stuck to the observation glass as if I had never seen a baby chicken before. I mean, seriously, I am shaming myself here, no one would even know that I grew up on my father's self-proclaimed farm. For goodness sake, I can recall my twin hiding eggs in her side dresser draw with a heat lamp until they hatched, or until mom found them.

It's a time for dad and I just spend time together and enjoy some good food!

This year, we were blessed to join a very good family friend and her two little guys. I mean, the farm show is always more fun with kiddos!

They indulged in the free samples - I think the fresh soft pretzels were the favorite, enjoyed the baby cows, goats, and of course the bunnies!

Then we stopped to pick up some potato donuts for mom and the boys needed a famous Farm Show Milk Sha…

Hot Apple Cider

Growing up, my parents would make a LARGE batch of locally warmed apple cider for every occasion - birthday's, Halloween, Thanksgiving and so on. I remember always looking forward to this special treat and find that I certain herbs recall this memory for me.

While I found a gallon of unused apple cider in my parent's fridge, I quickly grabbed it and started creating my own version.

1. 2 Mug fulls of apple cider
2. A sprinkle of cloves
3. Couple pieces of cinnamon sticks
4. A sprinkle of nutmeg
5. Star Anise pod
6. A piece of ginger
7. A tangerine (or two)
8. Some fresh cranberries

I added the cider into a stock pan, sprinkled in the nutmeg and then added the remaining ingredients into a tea ball and dropped it in. I allowed the mixture to slowly roast at minimum 30 minutes and then about 5 minutes before I was ready to consume, I added in the cranberries, covered and allowed the cranberries to pop open.


Besides it being a cup of delicious memories (or perhaps…

A Squash A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

I am still on a rather simple squash (easily digested and rather healing vegetable) meal plan.

Sometimes I get a little bored- but thankfully there is a wide variety of squash available at the local farmers' markets. Speaking of which- I really do make an effort to avoid grocery stores as I as much possible and try to rely on the local farmers' markets for as much as possible.

Today I struck with a very simple steamed zucchini and some sort of squash- taste more like a pumpkin to me so I don't think the farmer actually knew what it was (which I am finding more and more often).... the more squash I eat, the more dad and I educate ourselves on the wide variety available. We like to consider ourselves sort of "squash experts" now.

Anyhow, back to my lunch - I added some steamed veggies and lightly seasoned spaghetti squash topped with scallions and parsley.

While I reflect back on the year- I'm proud of myself. I have come a long way! I'm still not where I wo…