settled.

sometimes being settled is a good thing.

spending 2016 on the move was a great thing.

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spending 78.5% of 2017 in a constant state of flux was a not-so-great thing.

 

so, this thanksgiving, being settled in our own place feels kinda great.

 

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gluten free all the things (except those darn crescent rolls. not that I couldn’t have made gf crescent rolls (I totally planned on it but ran out of energy.)

Anyway, it proved a good time to teach a couple of young men exactly how to roll triangles of refrigerator dough into crescent shapes.

(I think they did a pretty good job)

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being back in my own kitchen is helping me get back on the eating right train. would you believe I made a kale lasagna today? yes. kale, once my sworn enemy, occasionally finds a place in my diet (trader joe’s broccoli and kale slaw is downright addictive) 

this kale sausage lasagna was super easy to throw together and a low-carb dish to warm you up on a chilly winter weekend. *recipe adapted 

ok in complete honesty, calling this a lasagna might be a bit of a stretch. it’s more of a casserole. 

IMG_0320Ingredients:
1 lg bunch of kale, washed, stems removed, cut into 2″ pcs

2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb bulk italian sausage (hot or sweet)
1 jar pasta sauce

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

preheat oven to 375 degrees. spray a 9″ x 12″ glass pan with non stick cooking spray.

heat the oil in a large heavy sauce pan, brown the sausage until cooked thoroughly.

when the sausage is done, add the pasta sauce, and let the sauce simmer 20-25 minutes, or until it’s thickened and the liquid is reduced.

 

add about a teaspoon or so of salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil.  drop the kale into the boiling water and cook until barely wilted. this should take between 1-3 minutes depending on the kale, so keep an eye on it. drain kale into a colander in the sink and toss it to remove as much moisture as possible. dump the cooled kale onto a clean cotton dish towel, roll up and squeeze out remaining moisture.

begin layering the ingredients in your prepared pan, starting with half of the kale. then half of each of the sauce, the parmesan, the mozzarella. then repeat. you’ll have two complete layers.

cover with foil and bake, covered for 20 minutes, then uncovered for an additional 20 minutes.

let casserole sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

enjoy!

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All images © 2013-2017 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

summer breakfast

It’s hot. Summer is hot, proven by my social media feed filled with people posting photos of their car thermometers or screenshots of their weather apps. (do you remember winter….and the ice and snow? yeah, me too.)

It’s that wake up hot,
…go to bed hot, kind of hot.

If you’re like me and you don’t like a big breakfast (and if you can remember to prepare this before bed, which I know I’m asking a lot) this is my new favorite breakfast treat.

I know, there’s a billion recipes for these online. In fact I even saw pre-made “Refrigerator Oats” at target last week.

Some call for cute mason jars or fancy spices and yogurt

But, after experimenting and testing different methods my favorite recipe is this:

OVERNIGHT OATS:

in the smallest of my Pyrex Snapware (the little orange one):

1/2 cup gluten free oats
1 Tbls shredded coconut (unsweetened)
a few blueberries
some chopped pecans
1 Tbls maple syrup (agave, or other liquid sweetener will work)
1/3 cup milk of choice (coconut works great!)

Don’t stir, just snap the lid down, refrigerate overnight and in the morning you have a cold refreshing, (gluten free, dairy free) nutritious breakfast!

Of course the options to modify this are pretty endless; I find that the combination of the crunchy (pecans) and the sweet (blueberries) with the texture (coconut) make a great balance.

Enjoy! And stay cool 😎

 

 

 

All images © 2013-2017 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

time to bake.

(finally)

looking back, and realizing that we have moved six times in the past year helps me understand why lately I just feel like sitting on the bed zoning out to back episodes of shows like “keeping up with the kardashians” and “brooklyn nine nine”.

mindless brain numbing occupiers of my time.

 

but last night I decided I needed a treat, preferably a gluten free one….and even better if I could bake it myself.

so

I did just that.

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behold; the shortbread crust.

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reserve 3/4 cup of the crust, blend with brown sugar and 1/4 cup gluten free flour.

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I used frozen organic cherries….tossed with a tiny bit of sugar (about a teaspoon)

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sprinkle the crumb topping on top.

bake!

 

Gluten Free Cherry Shortbread Crumble

Ingredients
  • 2 cups (280g) + ¼ cup (35g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
  • ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 16 tablespoons (224g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (109g) packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup frozen (organic) cherries, thawed and tossed with a teaspoon of sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch square pan. Set the pan aside.
  2. In a large bowl, place 2 cups flour, the xanthan gum, (if needed)  granulated sugar and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, and mix to combine. The mixture should come together as a soft dough. Remove about ¾ cup (150g) of the dough and transfer it to a medium-size bowl. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and the remaining ¼ cup (35g) flour to the reserved dough, and mix to combine. This is the crumble topping. Place the bowl of crumble topping in the freezer to chill.
  3. Scrape the remaining soft shortbread dough into the prepared square pan, and press into an even layer with a spoon, or well-floured hands. Set aside.
  4. Layer the cherries on top of the shortbread evenly.
  5. Remove the crumble topping from the freezer and sprinkle it in an even layer on top of the cherries. Press down on the topping gently but firmly.
  6. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven, and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is uniformly light brown in color and seems set. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool completely (place in the freezer to speed the process).
  7. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Freeze any leftovers, tightly enclosed in freezer-safe wrapping.

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snack time.

I’ve been benefiting greatly from the use of essential oils lately, and sharing them with my friends and family to help them has become one of the best benefits. from helping my little nephew find a solution to his tummy aches, to the awesome sight of my brother in law inhaling peppermint oil for the first time and being able to breathe through both nostrils for the first time in years! (priceless)

using oils in cooking is something I’m just starting to experiment with, and this recipe from doTERRA we’ve made several times, in that it’s so easy and delicious. you’d never know there was no refined sugars, gluten or dairy in these tiny pops of power and flavor.

give them a try–and if you’d like to have more information on the benefits of oils for your family, feel free to contact me here with the link above.
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begin, again.

 

 

balcony

new balcony.
new apartment.
kitchen

new kitchen and new ideas in mind….stay tuned for updates.

baking

 

(and, as always: find us on etsy and on facebook for your immediate gluten free needs)

facing the cold with photography and chocolate cake.

 

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We’ve been lucky so far this year in Ohio with the weather, but this week we got hit with some f-f-f-freezing cold.

So, what’s a good Cleveland girl to do? Go to the beach, of course.

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I wasn’t going to pass up the sunny day, even though it was only 14 degrees out, to get some stunning ice waves and driftwood photos.

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I spent the weekend preparing a gluten free cake for an order, and updating my etsy shop with a few new listings. I’m really excited about my new Cakes in Tins listing, which enables me to effectively ship individual cakes anywhere in the US. Hop over to etsy and take a peek, and just think of the possibilities!

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starting a new plan.

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We started a new diet around here this week, and a big part of it is giving up sugar. If you’ve ever done this, then you know it is not easy. Another aspect of the new plan is no grains, no dairy. This part; not so tough. Except I do like a little bread with my dinner, especially when it’s a dish like “Chili without Beans” which is what we had this evening.

I found a few recipes for coconut flour based breads and biscuits, and after reading several reviews, I modified, combined and fiddled until I ended up with the this one.

note: It would be much better with a tiny bit of honey, agave or other sweetener in it, if you are not limiting (denying yourself) sugar. this version is a moist, eggy bread that serves as a nice little side for a soup or chili. definitely savory.

recipe.

3/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup ghee (plus extra for greasing the pan)

6 eggs

(up to 2 tbsp honey)

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8″ loaf pan with ghee, or spray with cooking spray.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl until foamy. Sift the coconut flour, baking powder and salt into the eggs, blend. Slowly mix in the ghee (and honey if using) until smooth. Do not over blend.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with just a little bit of crumbs attached. Cool on a wire rack, slice and enjoy.

here comes fall, pumpkin scones.

I’ve been away for a while, sorry about that…but I’ve been under the weather. I have another genetic condition, hemochromatosis, and due to some oversights by people who should have been more careful I ended up very exhausted for the past six weeks.

But, I’m slowly feeling better…and better means baking!

Fall always brings pumpkin flavored goodies. My favorite is these delicious scones. They smell delicious coming out of the oven and are the perfect treat with a cup of coffee (or a pot of tea) while you curl up on the sofa with a good movie, a good read, or a good friend.

comforting cornbread.

 

It used to be when I was turning the corner of recovering from something, be it a migraine, or a bout of the flu, or a bad personal experience,  I knew I was getting better when I would have a craving for one thing. Spaghetti and meat sauce from a certain local Italian eatery. I realize now I craved that particular combination from that particular place, because that meat sauce was the closest thing to what my Grandma would make for us when she visited; simmering in the yellow cast iron dutch oven on our stove for hours. It was truly my original comfort food, and it’s local take-out replacement stepped in when my grandma was no longer with us.

Although spaghetti is no longer an option for me, the comfort food craving apparently did not get the memo. I would suffer through the longing for the warm slippery noodles smothered in the steaming, meat laden, spicy sauce, often substituting with lesser grade replacements as we, in the gluten-free world, do. (quinoa pasta, anyone?)

But then one recent post-migraine morning, I had the strangest feeling. My body was sending me a whole new message. It wanted cornbread. Not just any cornbread. It wanted my gluten free cornbread. Somewhere, I thought I heard angels singing.

 

This time I adapted my recipe to the ingredients I had on hand.

Gluten Free Blueberry Yogurt Cornbread

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup blueberry yogurt (I used noosa)

1/2 cup milk

1 cup Gluten-Free Flour Blend

2/3 cup yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 425°F. Combine oil and sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, until creamy. Add eggs; mix well. Blend in yogurt and milk. Reduce speed to low; add all remaining ingredients. Beat just until mixed.

Pour into greased 9″ round or square cake pan.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Perfectly comforting cornbread.

a carnival and some blueberries.

This weekend started out like any other, no real fun plans; until I remembered that within walking distance of our new apartment was the annual city carnival.

Funnel cakes! (no!)

Beer tent! (no!)

Corn Dogs! (no!)

But we could ride the ferris wheel…eat kettle corn and have some fresh lemonade, all of which we did. After we walked the (longer than I remembered) walk home, we watched  “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” which was interupted by the carnival’s fireworks display that we could view from our balcony. perfect.

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This morning I woke up and decided to use up the quart of blueberries I had in the fridge, by making some vanilla-blueberry scones. They were a sweet ending to a delightful weekend. I hope your weekend was just as nice.

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