Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Our free range, bacon wrapped, applewood smoked turkey. It was amazing!

This was my first year hosting Thanksgiving for my mom's entire family at my house. Grandma just turned 80 and it's time for the younger generation to start taking over and let her relax on the holidays. I was a little nervous because I wanted it to be perfect, but I was also so excited because there is nothing I love more than cooking and entertaining.

When I was planning the menu, I asked my friends and family what was the one dish you have to have at Thanksgiving dinner that just makes your dinner complete. Overwhelmingly, the answer was stuffing. Since I have to eat gluten free, this was obviously a challenge. But thanks to gluten free blogger Stephanie O'Dea and her obsession with her crockpot, I found the most amazing stuffing recipe ever that is not only delicious, but frees up tons of space in the oven.

Dave said that his favorite was cranberry sauce. I refuse to serve gunky gelatinous blobs of cranberry flavored HFCS in my home to my family. My friend Carol, over at Uncovering Food, has a super yummy recipe for Clementine Cuties Cranberry Sauce. I really love the juicy sweetness of the clementines with the contrast of the tart cranberries. I changed it up a bit to use ingredients I had on hand, make enough for an army, and to give it my own twist. If you like your cranberry sauce very sweet, I would increase the honey because this was extra tart

Orange Cranberry Sauce

3 lb fresh cranberries (reserve 1/2 cup for cranberry martinis)
Juice and zest of nine clementines
1 cup of local honey
1/4 cup Grand Marnier

Wash berries thoroughly, removing any stems or rotten berries. Combine cranberries with clementine juice and zest, honey, and Grand Marnier in a large pot or dutch oven. Turn stove to medium-high heat and bring contents to a boil, stirring often. After the cranberries begin to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and continue to stir occasionally for approximately twenty to thirty minutes or until berries have burst open.

Remove from heat and store in a covered glass bowl (plastic will stain and metal will give it a funky taste). Refrigerate for a couple days before serving to let the flavors fully develop.

Other recipes I made for Thanksgiving:

Pumpkin Mousse I added two layers of a gluten free pumpkin cake.

Pecan Pie I used a gf pie crust.

One of my new favorite mixing bowl sets! I picked it up on sale at Costco last month. I love the freezer, fride, oven, microwave, dishwasher versatility of the the bowls. Pyrex doesn't pay me to say this, I just adore their products (and broke lots of them in chemistry lab in college).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Going once, going twice, going chicken soup with rice.

When I was 5, I caught a horrible cold, which turned into bronchitis and left me with a horrible cough. I ended up missing MONTHS of kindergarten. Then again when I was 7, I came down with a horrible case of croup while we were on a family vacation, and was again left with a lingering cough for months. Now, even as an adult, every time I get a cold, I end up with bronchitis and a cough that lingers for weeks making me sound like I smoke a couple packs a day.

When I finally succumbed to the "creeping crud" circulating my office a couple weeks ago, I was home sick in bed for what seemed like years (5 days). I felt just like I did back when I was so sick when I was 5 and 7, and was really wishing my mommy would come take care of me, just like she did all those years ago. Instead I laid in bed with my dogs by my side, sleeping 18 hours a day and spending the remaining 6 hours watching Netflix, blowing my nose, and trying not to cough up a lung. I was so thankful that my Keurig gives me hot tea at the push of a button in less than a minute.

But what I was really craving was some homemade chicken soup, just like mom used to make when we were sick. This recipe is based off of my mom's soup and one of my favorite books as a kid, Chicken Soup with Rice.

Homemade Chicken Soup with Rice

8 cups of Homemade Chicken stock, or 2 cartons of Organic low sodium chicken stock
1tbl olive oil
2 organic carrots, diced
2 organic stalks of celery, chopped
1 organic onion, chopped
1/2 c. of uncooked organic white rice
1 cup of cooked chicken, shredded
1 can of organic green beans, drained and rinsed
1/2-1 tsp of poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tbl of olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Saute carrots, celery, and onions until soft. Add 6 cups of chicken broth, rice, chicken, green beans, and poultry seasoning. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked, stirring often and adding additional 2 cups of stock as needed. Adjust seasoning as needed. Serve hot.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jumbo Artichokes with Sage Salt

When I planned out my herb garden, I chose to plant the things that I am constantly buying: mint, basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. To round out the garden, I decided I also wanted lemongrass and sage because I love food with those flavors. I bought and planted two tiny sage plants, not realizing how big they get and how fast they grow. All summer long, I was constantly pruning back the sage so it wouldn't overtake the rest of the garden. One day I was surfing the 'net, trying to find new ways to use the abundant sage I had harvested. The only times I have really used sage was in butternut squash soup and Thanksgiving stuffing, so I needed to find some new ways to use it to save it from the compost. I finally came up with a sage salt recipe from Vegetable Matter. I love it so much that I keep a small jar in my pantry at all times.

Last night when I was preparing fresh, jumbo artichokes for dinner, my eyes wandered over to my prized jar of sage salt. Could this be the most amazing combination ever to come out of my kitchen? I decided to give it a try and was delighted with the results.

Jumbo Artichokes with Sage Salt

2 jumbo artichokes
1 lemon
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons sage salt
1/2 cup water or vegetable stock

Wash and trim the artichokes, removing the prickly ends on each leaf. Cut in half and scoop out the choke. Squeeze lemon juice all over the cut areas to prevent them from turning brown. Drizzle each artichoke half with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with sage salt. pour 1/2 cup of water into a glass baking dish and place artichokes cut side up. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until the heart is fork-tender. Serve immediately.