Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy Weekend!

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Here's how I got mine started this morning:

Looks delish, right? It was.

The boyfrined and I whiped up a batch of Maple Grove Farms' gluten free pancake mix and threw a handfull of pecans in with the dry mix. I also substituted 1/2 cup of water with 3 tsp of flaxmeal mixed in to replace the eggs they call for. Topped with blueberries, bananas, and maple syrup. Great way to start the weekend.
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Friday, July 23, 2010

No Fuss Hashbrowns For One

*Vegan and gluten free.
This is an easy-as-it-gets recipe. I would let a 12 or 13 year old do this on their own, with limited supervision – not that I have children or know any 12 or 13 year olds. Seriously, though, it's a fast and easy recipe that calls for very few ingredients, quick prep, and instant gratification.

What you need:
1 medium potato½ sweet onion
3 or 4 sprigs of thyme
Fresh ground pepper
Dash of saltOil for cooking
(You can easily adjust the ingredients for more than one serving)

(I'm eating this as I write the recipe!)
How to do it:
Chop up the onion into smallish pieces. They don't have to be perfect and uniform, just smallish so they'll soften up while cooking. Bag the other ½ of the onion and throw it in the fridge for a later use. Dump the onions into the bottom of a small mixing bowl.

Take your handy-dandy grater and grate that potato, baby! Only after you've washed it and picked off the bad spots with a knife, of course! I prefer to just stick the grater in the bowl so I don't have to transfer it over later, but if you do it elsewhere, put the potato in with the onion.
Pick the thyme off the sprigs and do your best to chop those little guys up a bit. Nothing fancy, just get the job done. Dump that in with the onion and potato and add some fresh ground pepper and some salt to the top before digging your hand in and mixing it all up. You could use a fork to do the mixing, but what's the fun in that?

Coat the bottom of a medium or large skillet with olive oil (use a spray bottle or a paper towel moist with olive oil) and heat it up to medium heat. Once hot, dump in the potato mix and scoot around to form to potato blobs. Again, nothing fancy, just makes it easier to turn two smallish hashbrowns than one large hashbrown. Cook for about 3 or 4 minutes per side, or until your desired crispiness is achieved. I topped mine with Daiya and Braggs and flipped them over, Daiya side down, to help melt the cheese. The cheese doesn't stick too bad in the skillet, so just about 30 seconds should do the trick.

Eat and enjoy. Sharing optional.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Book Review and Other Updates

Sorry to have been overloading you with all the meal plans, but I wanted to catch up on the back stock I've gathered. On to more important things.....

… The Flavor Bible!
Holy crap, I finally ordered my very own, shiny and new copy of The Flavor Bible. I'd been searching for it's illegitimate child in the bowels of the internet and kept turning up with empty hands. I'd check every few months for it, but each time there was still nothing to be found. This, I'm telling you, is a little odd for the internet now-a-days.

Not to worry, however, as I have procured a fully legal copy through Amazon, a hardcover, at that, and am learning about new concepts and off and running with ideas on how to mix up the everyday foods that we eat around here. I'm really excited about this book and hope it'll make meal planning and dinner time a bit easier.

…..and moving to Portland!

Less than three weeks and I will be in a state I've never visited, a city I've only seen maps of, and sharing an apartment with a roommate I've never met in person. It's fair to say that most of the reasons that I'm excited to go for are also the reasons why I'm a bit anxious about going: meeting new people, getting around in a new city, going to a large campus, finding a job, etc.

I'm giving it about two weeks before I'm semi-comfortable with getting around there, but I'm hoping that I don't get lost too much in the beginning. I have a horrible sense of direction. The boyfriend and I have a running joke about the place we're going to being 8 blocks the other way that springs from early in our relationship, maybe one of our dates, when I insisted that where we were going was, you guessed, 8 blocks the other way.

…..enjoying my last few weeks in Texas!

While I'm very excited about going to Oregon, I will miss Texas – I grew up here and it will always be my home. I'm enjoying the hot weather and cool rivers while I can. Getting out in the sun and enjoying the days with the boyfriend. Visiting family soon in another part of the state, taking lots of pictures, and enjoying all the time with the boyfriend and cats as I can. I don't know how long it will be before I see them again. Hopefully not too long, but it's all up in the air and will be for a while. That's okay though, we'll see how things land and take it from there.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Vegan & Gluten Free Meal Plan for 19 July – 24 July

     I try to create a meal plan each week.

     This is much easier said than done, however. Between the boyfriend and I, there is no dairy, egg, or gluten in 99% of what we eat for dinner. We also avoid processed foods and aim to only eat real foods or prepared dishes that only incorporate real, whole foods in them. We lean towards organic when we can to help avoid GMOs and for the less environmental impact their conventionally grown counterparts. He doesn't like tofu or pasta all that much, either, and we rarely eat out – like five times a year. We do this for about $80 to $120 each week and manage to get plenty to eat for dinner, lunches, breakfasts, snacks, coffee, and juice.

     When Friday night rolls around, it means meal planning night. The boyfriend usually has the guys over for game night on Fridays and I usually get a bit of time to myself to read or piddle around on the internet. Nothing too serious gets done as the noise level is not conducive to studying or creating, but it is an enjoyable time for me. Almost forces me to just veg out for a bit, something I do not like to do normally. Early Saturday mornings or late evenings are usually our time to ride down to the farmers market and grocery store, so it is imperative that I meal plan on Friday night or at least before we go.

     When meal planning does not occur, the grocery store trip is a bit disorganized and we often buy things that we do not use right away. No meal plan also means me stressing out when it comes time to start making dinner during the week. Me and stress do not go well together. No meal plan also means tater-tot tacos for two or three days a week, lots of chips, salsa, and guacamole, and random vegetable risotto.

     Meal planning is the way to go, folks. Keep your sanity and help keep your dinner time as stress free as possible. You're making food to nourish your body with and the better that you feel about what you're making and how you're making it, the better the dish will be for you and your dinner mates to enjoy. This being said, here is the meal plan for this coming week:

Potato and Onion Soup
Burgers with Lemon Pepper Quinoa
Chili & Cornbread
Stir Fry
Spaghetti & Garlic Bread with Salads

Grocery List:
Curry Paste
Onions x3
Chips Lemon x1
Rice Noodles
Cabbage & Parsley (for the rabbit)
Chili Mix
Diced Tomatoes
Potatoes ~ 1.5lbs
Ice Cream
Daiya - White
Burgers (We buy Sunshine, check them out – best veg burgers you can find, hands down!)
Pasta Sauce
GF Bread
GF Spaghetti
Soups for Work Lunches
Bell Pepper x1
Flavored Salt (almost out!)

     I will be doing an ongoing series of posts about these meal plans as I create them, but I will also be posting older meal plans that I have created as well. While I have been meal planning regularly for about eight months now, I only begin to keep track of them after I realized that there were almost no vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free meal plans available that I really could use and enjoy. Too much crispy tofu and grilled vegetables. Or if they were semi do-able for me, like the one over at Vegan Health, they were too short at only three days. Regardless, I hope that this makes it a bit easier for someone out there searching for a decent veg friendly and low allergy meal plans that aren't too boring.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Gluten-Free Assistant Goes To Portland

     The Gluten Free Assistant is headed 2,298 miles away to Portland, Oregon.

     I have been accepted into one of Portland's universities and will be starting classes at the end of September. The big move is scheduled for August 11 – just under thirty days away! I will be taking a one way flight and renting a room until I can get a place of my own and move the rest of my family up to join me. I am very excited about the new state and new city, neither of which I have been to before. Because I am changing my area of study I will be entering as a freshman despite my previous classes. However, making the switch from accounting to community health is a great change for me and more in sync with my interests. A minor in anthropology is also on the horizon.

     My family is very much supportive of me and my mother will be coming to visit me about a week after I arrive and attend a few events at the university with me. After that, I probably won't see a familiar face for about two or three months. Not a huge deal, but I'm sure going to miss my cats that cuddle with me in bed, my own apartment, and my boyfriend among a long list of other things I'll miss about Austin.

     My rabbit is coming with me for the move, so I will not be without at least one companion until I can get to know a few people around town. I've been applying at jobs in the area as well and am expecting to get a call back from one soon. I will be renting a room until I can afford a decent place of my own that is big enough for the boyfriend and the cats to come up as well. We also need to have the cash to move up, so a couple more months of savings and I'm hoping that we'll be able to make the move then.

     I normally do not make personal posts on this blog, but this is a major step in my life and I felt it was important enough to share with you. Portland is a town that, like Austin, loves it's food and I'm hoping that passion for food will bring me great blog fodder for you guys! I should get a few more posts in before I go and hopefully be posting soon after I arrive and get set up a bit. If anyone has any favorite places Portland, let me know!
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