Tag Archives: gluten-free

Wanna Be Asian Noodles Recipe with Orange-ish Chicken

We love this !  I can’t stress how much all of us truly enjoy this dish.  And its various incarnations.

I also can’t quite define what I’m doing here.  It is Asian-inspired, to put it neatly.

The noodles are an attempt to copy my favorite dish at Noodles & Co (they call it Thai something or other).  The chicken is marinated in salad dressing, orange juice,  and fruit spread.  The veggies and sauces can vary each time, but I try to keep them similar.

What you’ll need:


Spaghetti or Linguine

Soy sauce

Brown sugar

Ketchup

Garlic, crushed or powder

Chili Powder

Butter

Ginger, powder

Peas, carrots, broccoli, edamame, bell peppers, onions, bok choy,  whatever

Chicken breasts

Orange juice

Asian salad dressing

As always, I try to stick to organic ingredients and make sure the dead animal I’m eating was well-treated before slaughter.  Appetizing, I know.

Directions

Cut the chicken into cubes, skewer the cubes with bell pepper and onion between them, and place the kabobs in a deep dish.

Mix a half cup each of salad dressing and orange juice with 3 tablespoons of fruit spread and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder.  Pour mixture over kabobs then cover dish; I prefer Walmart-brand plastic clinging wrap.

Prepare grill and set to medium high heat.

Fill pot with water to cook pasta. Bring the water to a boil, drop in pasta, get it submerged and back to a boil, and turn down the heat.

You’ll want to follow the directions on the box for the pasta, but know that once it can be left alone for a few minutes, you’re going to be running that chicken to the grill.

Grilled chicken can be a pain in the neck.  I’ve learned you want to cook it really hot, being fast to turn it so you don’t burn it.  Once the entire outside of the piece of chicken looks cooked, turn down (or off) the grill heat and keep the lid closed.

Basically, you’re searing the chicken to lock in the juices and you’ll let it cook from the outside in.  That’s how you keep from drying it out.

When the pasta is 97% done, toss in your harder veggies like onion, edamame, and carrots.  When the pasta is 100% done, add peas, broccoli, and peppers.  Then drain it all.

Add butter to your pasta pot, maybe half of a stick, and get it melted before putting the pasta and veggies back in the pot.  Then stir.  Get the noodles coated.

Did you forget about the chicken?  Go check it!

Turn the burner under the pasta back on to about medium heat.  Then mix together (in the same thing you mixed the marinade, if you want to save yourself dishes)
¼ cup soy sauce,
¼ cup ketchup,
¼ cup brown sugar,
¼ teaspoon ginger,
½ tablespoon garlic,
and ½ tablespoon chili powder.

Stir well, until the sugar is dissolved, then slowly pour over the buttered noodles and veggies.

Keep stirring!  You’re making my half-hearted attempt at caramelizing your noodles.  Make sure you turn off the heat AND move the pan to a cool burner when you’re done.

Bring the chicken in off the grill and strip the skewers.  Make sure it really is cooked.  This seems to be a repeat issue with me, chicken, and the grill.

Pile it all on plates and EAT YOUR COLORS!

If you’re feeding toddlers like I am, make them small portions and stick them in the fridge.  While you’re chasing them to wash their hands and get to the table, while you are filling drinks and calling out to your husband that he needs to wash his hands and get his drink, while you are chasing at least one escaped toddler, while you get forks for the other three but a set of chopsticks for yourself, your children’s food will be cooling off and ready to eat when you finally get all four of your bodies to the table.

AH-MAY-ZEEN

This meal changes every time I make it.  In fact, frequently I use ground beef in a wanna-be-street-vendor-style Korean sauce instead of the chicken.  Whatever, it is still freaking awesome.

I try to make enough to last two dinners and one lunch, but since it is so darn good, we often eat more than we should at one sitting.  Sometimes we add black pepper or a sweet chili sauce or extra soy sauce to the finish product; sometimes it is just too good for words, much less extra condiments.

Play with it.  It is amazing.  You’ll come back to this post to thank me.

#GotItFree


Please note that I used Barilla’s Gluten Free pasta for this recipe.  I received this pasta for free to give my honest opinion of it.  I am a BzzAgent and qualified to test and taste this Gluten Free pasta.  This recipe and the opinions I have regarding this pasta are mine.

We are not a gluten free family by any means.  When the BHE and I went wheat free 5 years ago, it was for personal health based on personal research.  We didn’t really go “gluten free” nor did we stick to it after that initial round of weight loss.  Probably because I found out I was 6 weeks pregnant a couple months after we started the diet.

However, I told BzzAgent that I am interested in gluten free foods.  It is the closest way to telling them that we try to avoid excessive wheat in our diets.

I was so freaking excited to get free pasta!  I LURV PASTA!

I received both macaroni and linguine.  I used the linguine for this Asian-inspired dish.  The sauce clung to the noodles perfectly.  I’ve learned that organic wheat as well as gluten free pastas take a little longer to cook than traditional GMO wheat noodles, and sometimes those types of pastas let your sauce slid right off.  Not these!  Perfect.

The kids didn’t notice anything different about the noodles.  That’s how good Barilla did with taste and texture on these.  What I noticed was that I didn’t have to cut their servings.  Normally with linguine, I have to cut the noodles down to 1 or 2 inches in length.  These noodles broke apart during the regular cooking process for this recipe.

Let me tell you:  it still tasted good.  The flavor of the noodles is great!  My husband loved loved LOVED that it was gluten free.  He said he would rather eat something without wheat than worry if it held together.

If you were making, say, chicken alfredo with linguine noodles, I wouldn’t recommend Barilla’s Gluten Free pasta.  You can’t twirl your noodles!  If you are making this recipe or don’t care about how your food gets from your plate to your mouth, these noodles are just fine.  In fact, in the case where you need to cut the noodles to feed a kid or have less messy leftovers for lunch at work, these noodles work great!

The flavor and ingredients:  great!

The texture and look:  not so great, but acceptable.

Healthy Eating, part 2.5

Remember, please, that we are trying to be as healthy and organic as possible with our diet.  We have breaks from this, whether out of desire (Bruno’s Pizza, anyone?) or out of cost (organic meat can be cost-prohibitive).  While I can say we are roughly 80% organic and 50% gluten free in what we buy and eat, it is that other percent that people like to jump on and say, Ah HA!, THAT isn’t organic, gluten-free, corn-syrup-free, etc.

Why people have to look for faults and pounce is beyond me.

I contacted one of my cousins whom I knew to be vegan to ask a bit about her lifestyle.  I wasn’t thinking we would go vegan but that she may have some great recipes/ideas for us to supplement our protein diet (see above where I mentioned organic meat).  One of the things she said was that it might be best if you keep your dietary choices to yourself.

“My only real advice is to be sure you have a thick skin. I try not to broadcast what I do and don’t eat because the minute I do, someone has a very strong opinion about it.” 

Ain’t that the truth, beautiful?

Oh My Pot Pie

This recipe was developed from various sources and the need for something hearty for a February dinner in Indiana. Most of my ingredients are organic, and my chicken breasts are from humanely-raised chickens; the non-organic ingredients are either from before we made the switch* and I refuse to waste food or they were purchased based on budgetary constraints.

Look at this beauty!  Ohhhh myyyy!

Look at this beauty! Ohhhh myyyy!

Also worth noting:  we stuck to a fully gluten-free diet for many months when we first became enlightened about our food.  We lost a lot of weight and gained a lot of energy.  However, because of what we enjoy eating, we now have a diet that is roughly 70% GF and close to 90% nonGMO.

The ingredients

Mixing the cornbread topping

Mixing the cornbread topping

Cornbread topping:
½ c organic cornmeal
¼ cup organic all-purpose flour
1 ½ t baking powder
½ t sea salt
1 T organic clover honey
¾ c almond milk
2 T organic extra virgin olive oil

Stirring the gravy

Stirring the gravy

Gravy:
2 T organic extra virgin olive oil
2 T organic all-purpose flour
½ t sea salt
½ t ground mustard
½ t black pepper
½ t garlic powder
1 c homemade chicken broth

After raiding my freezer...

After raiding my freezer…

Fillings:
Equal parts (roughly ¼ – ½ cup each) corn, peas, chopped carrots, chopped red onion, cooked green lentils.
One to two breasts’ worth of chicken.  (On second thought, I would make this with only one breast.  It just depends on how much meat you like. … heh heh… )
2 c cooked organic brown rice

The process

Set your oven to 425.

In a medium pan on medium heat on the stove, mix broth, flour, and olive oil. Add seasonings and stir until well blended. Reduce to low heat. Add your choice of fillings; I put in chicken, red onions, lentils, peas, corn, and carrots in this version. Last time, I didn’t have peas or corn so used double the lentils and some green beans.

In a mixing bowl, stir together all the ingredients for the cornbread topping. Mix well so there are no lumps.

In your baking dish, press cooked brown rice evenly into the bottom. Turn off the drive and empty the contents of the pot onto the rice. Now carefully pour the cornmeal mixture on top and smooth it around without mixing in the filling.

The rice as the base

The rice as the base

Pouring in the fillings

Pouring in the fillings

Spreading on the cornbread

Spreading on the cornbread

Place this gorgeous dish in your oven and set the timer for 25 minutes. Check it when the buzzer sounds: If the cornbread is going from golden to brown, it’s done; if it’s not showing any brush, give it 3-5 more minutes.

How I save on time

All the veggies used were precut and frozen. The rice was streamed days ago and frozen. The lentils were made a couple weeks back and frozen. The chicken was boiled the day street I bought it, chilled, picked off the bone, and frozen.

Seeing a pattern? I try to prepare commonly used ingredients in big batches and then freeze everything so out is all ready to go when I am. It saves massive amounts of time in the long run.

If you don’t have that stuff prepared, this recipe goes from 35 minutes with one put, one bowl, and one baking dish to four pots, one cutting board, one mixing bowl, and one baking dish and upwards of THREE HOURS. Save yourself; prepare in batches.

Getting better every time

I drizzled in honey an M for Murphy

I drizzled in honey an M for Murphy because we are that awesome.

I’ve made this twice now. The pictures in this post are from the second go-round. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out the first time, and that had to be the tastiest trial run ever.

The fillings can be adjusted to your tastes. I think next time I make this there will be less fillings so the gravy seems more, I’ll use one chicken boob rather than two, and I’ll have more greens like peas and green beans. It really is a flexible pie, oh my.

Which fillings do you prefer? Should I double the topping so there’s more cornbread? What do you think about making this vegan?

*see the About the Murphys section

Changes, take 1

The first giant leap on our thoughtfully sought path through life

The Book

It all started the way every good thing does: with a book.

While managing a rural library, I was blessed to work with an amazing woman with a keen eye and open mind. She helped me a lot, both personally and professionally. The largest impact she made on my life, by far, was introducing me to this book*:

Eye-opener

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis

“Renowned cardiologist, William Davis, MD explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly bulges, and reverse myriad health problems.”

What we learned shocked us to the core. Davis’s extensive research and clear writing style captured myself and the BHE so that we both read this book cover-to-cover and discussed it at length.

Gluten-free and non-GMO

It wasn’t just the wheat, the gluten, the main focus of Davis’s writing that concerned us the most. Yes, we drastically cut back on wheat consumption. Yes, we became more cognizant of reading labels and what we were really putting in our bodies. Yes, cutting out wheat and gluten was our first step on this dietary journey. And yes, it made a huge difference.

Like, a 20-pound difference.

Did you see my last post, about the numbers, about our weight loss/health gain? Remember where I said that after our eyes were opened, we both changed for the better? Within two months of changing our diet, of cutting out wheat, I dropped 12 stubborn pounds and the BHE lost almost 10 (but a total of around 20).

I definitely believe the lack of gluten is what triggered our bodies to start looking and functioning as they should. Our minds were sharper, our bodies became more responsive, and our overall well-being was greatly improved.

But wait! There’s more!

Davis opened our eyes to more than our “wheat bellies.” His discussion of GMOs was a springboard for a lot more research and plenty more changes for our household.

The Movie

The next painful (life-altering) eye-opener*:

food inc

Food Inc. lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing how our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. Food, Inc. reveals surprising and often shocking truths about what we eat, how it’s produced and who we have become as a nation.”

We aren’t the type to blindly accept what our government says and does. We do not appreciate major corporations choosing profit over quality and safe products. We are distrustful of chemicals, from cleaners to those added to foodstuffs.

We question the status quo.

At least, we thought we did. But we were typical American consumers before we started to really pay attention.

Well, we do so now. To a much deeper extent. Everything is researched. Everything is thought over and discussed.

It isn’t just about us. It isn’t only our family we are concerned about, although what we feed and expose Angel Baby to is a major consideration.

No, this effects us globally. Humanity’s survival. The planet’s survival. It’s bigger than you or me or our diets.

Don’t believe me? Do your own research. I’ll try to include as many of our resources as I can in future posts. I’m all about the sharing of information. Heck, I’m a librarian!

This documentary was an eye-opening game-changer that we have re-watched and shared. Every time we recommend it, we give the same “disclaimer” we got. A couple we are friends with told us to watch it only when we were ready to change everything about our diet. Now I say the same to you:

Watch this video WHEN YOU ARE READY**

Then you’ll be prepared to take the next necessary steps. This documentary, and its handbook if you can get it, will help pave the path your mind and body need to take for a healthier future, for yourself and your household and your world.

Disclaimer

I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a doctor or professional dietician. My education is in the library sciences. Do your research. Talk to your doctor, if you trust her judgment and extent of her research. Trust yourself and find trustworthy resources.

What I write about here is what our family has found and how our family had learned and benefited from that knowledge.

Stay tuned to this blog for more on why we do what we do, what we’ve learned on our thoughtfully sought path through life.

* Both the book (and it’s similarly named cookbook) and documentary (and its accompanying book) were borrowed from our library.

** If your eyes aren’t opened, if your mind isn’t changed, if there isn’t some part of you questioning the status quo, then either you weren’t paying attention or you enjoy being willfully ignorant. In which case, don’t bother reading any more of this blog; go watch Fox News.

A Weighty Issue

A weighty issue

Throughout high school, I was 5’6″ and 132 lbs. I never deviated more than 3 pounds. It is just that some where over the summer after freshman year, my ass sprouted. No joke: one minute I was a round child, the next I was an adult hourglass with stretch marks. It’s like the thing just burst out, and I’ve got the tiger claw scars on my cheeks to prove it.

Every Midwestern Girl’s Dream

After high school, I left suburban Hoosier heartland for wet Florida swamplands. I grew another inch and my weight dropped about ten pounds. A lot of that was “baby fat” but mainly I had a terrible diet. I subsisted off of cigarettes, pop, cheap liquor, and foods that came out of boxes. That Sam’s Club membership I had? Yeah, cheap alcohol plus I could buy orange Slice in flats.

I lived in Florida for four years. I went to clubs and parties. A lot. I ran. A lot. I drove to the beach or laid by the pool. A lot. I was skinny with a butt, tan with naturally blonde hair, and so far from real friends and family that I was miserable. And therefore drinking, smoking, and partying. A lot.

What’s love got to do got to do with it

I moved back to Indiana, reconnected with my friends, and !BAM! fell in love. I had only been living in the state for a few months when I met the future BHE. Love at first sight. The clouds parted and the angels sang. We began to seriously and exclusively date immediately. Within less than six months, we were moving in together.

I couldn’t cook. His abilities in the kitchen were limited to spaghetti with meat sauce, frozen pizza, boiled hotdogs, and grilled hamburgers. We were both skilled in opening bags of chips and driving through Burger King.

Oh my God, look at her butt

There is a photo I will post here if I can find it  that I won’t share, ever, which really illustrates what an abundance of love but lack of cooking skills does to one’s backside. We were canoeing down the Wabash River with his father and some friends. There were a few snapshots taken when we stopped on a sandbar for lunch*. I’ve turned to hug the future BHE. And my posterior is front and center.

Less than a year into our relationship, I had packed on 20 pounds. That is not an exaggeration. I was 122-ish when we met and 140-ish on that canoe trip. Bam! That just isn’t healthy.

*I ate an entire larger bag of Mike-sell’s Honey BBQ chips on that trip…and never once touched the oars.

Get rid of it!

I started at Purdue that Fall. I made it a point to park far from my classes’ buildings so I’d have to hoof it. I always packed my lunch, for work or school, so I wouldn’t pay to eat junk. My snacks were plain carrot sticks or a handful of raisins. I drank water. All. The. Time.

It didn’t go away. My thighs got firm, my butt lifted, my abs were never really hidden… But I still weighed 140 pounds. So not acceptable.

The future BHE proposed to me on New Years Eve, on a cruise ship, looking out over Nassau and into 2008. I had one more semester of school then my life was going to be all about the wedding and honeymoon. As I had a year and a half, I figured I could get rid of the weight if I went slow and steady, exercising and eating right.

Define “eating right”

I didn’t lose it. I was still 1-freaking-40 on my wedding day. I don’t care that I was squeezed into a size 2 gown. I was 140 pounds! On a 5’7″ frame! Not cool.

This is us, right before leaving the church for the reception.  Note my untoned arms.

This is us, right before leaving the church for the reception. Note my untoned arms.

My sister-in-law’s favorite memory of our wedding reception was seeing me, in a chair pulled up to the buffet table, shoveling food directly from the serving dishes into my mouth. When she came to check on me, I told her to shut up, go away, and “I haven’t eaten in six months!”

I hadn’t. Eating right while exercising wasn’t working so I severely limited my intake. It didn’t work.

It wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that we were enlightened. THAT, my friend, is a whole post in itself. Stay tuned; I’ll type that one up soon.  Think:  gluten-free, organic, non-GMO.  In other words, the real way to “eat right.”

Here’s recent history, by the numbers

I was 142 pounds in June 2012. We had our eyes opened in late July. I dropped 12 pounds in six weeks; the BHE dropped over 20 pounds in that time. I found out I was pregnant mid-October. At my 10 week appointment, even though I had been eating plenty and had no morning sickness, I weighed in at 130 pounds. Bam!

My belly could hold a 15 lb cat... and my thighs were looking great!

My belly could hold a 15 lb cat… and my thighs were looking great!

The most I weighed during my pregnancy (in my life!) was 174.2 pounds, and that was at about 38 weeks. Angel Baby was six weeks old when I had my post-op check up and I was 153 pounds.

By mid-October, I was back to 132 pounds. Nothing special: stuck to our regular diet, drank tons of water, and breastfed. No extra exercising or anything. I was 122 pounds on Angel Baby’s first birthday.

Just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you must do a thing

I’ve dropped to 119 one but have been firmly at 124.6 since right after Thanksgiving 2014. I ate horribly for the entire month of December. Because I could. Because of the holidays. Because of my birthday. Because I could.

The BHE and I both felt terrible after all the holiday celebrations were done. Fluffy and lethargic, bloated and sick… Ready to get back on track.

I’ll tell you all about what we do and why in my next post. Until then, here’s a before-&-after picture for you to gawk at:

This is what 140 vs 120 looks like.

This is what 140 vs 120 looks like.

This is just the beginning.

Welcome. Thank you for taking a bit of your precious time to check out this blog. You will find a lot here as I develop it. So much of what will be posted will be practical information you can use to make positive changes in your life.

I don’t like giving advice; mainly, because I don’t like receiving it. (Stay tuned and you’ll learn all about my pet peeves.) This blog will contain information about how and why we do what we do. I hope that information can be applied to your life in a way that benefits you.

We receive questions (and judgments) about our lifestyle all the time, so in this blog I’m creating a repository of answers. I will cover everything about our sensible, sustainable path so you can see not only the what, how, and why but also the results of it all. I’ll let you into our lives and home to see so much.

Come back often to learn about: renovating a 110+ year old home, gardening, cleaning, raising children, eating an organic diet on a budget, shopping just once a month, budgeting and saving on one income, cooking some fantastic food (with some major fails in the kitchen from time to time), cloth diapering, heating 3000+ square feet with a woodstove, and so many other aspects that are part of this cleaner, greener, healthier, happier path through our crazy life.