Author Archive

Black Bean Spaghetti w/ Smoky “Cheese” Sauce

Well, I didn’t make the spaghetti…it came from Costco. It showed up last spring and I’ve been eyeing it curiously for months and finally decided to grab a box. Or ask my mom to pick me up a box because I’m Just. That. Cheap. Whatever. I’m a pasta fiend and, as you can imagine, the gluten free life makes it difficult. I’m generally impressed with some of the GF pastas out there–Cappellos being my all time favorite but Wegmans brand coming in a close second–but black beans? Ingredients: black beans. That’s it. So…it passed the generally-crap-free-ingredients test, but how in the world does it taste?

Black Bean Noodles and Smoky Cheeseless Cheese Sauce - The Not So Desperate Housewife

Awesome. It’s awesome. I will say it’s not exactly your run of the mill, plain Jane, marinara sauce noodle. It’s got this…heartiness to it that begs for some pizzazz. Enter my “cheese” sauce. I originally thought of doing a regular old macaroni with this cheese, but I figured it needed a flashier partner.

I adore this sauce. It’s an adaptation of this recipe for a completely dairy-free cheese that I use all the freaking time. I generally avoid dairy as well as gluten because Ive found that anything more than a sprinkle on pizza or a special dinner out just does not agree with me at all. Some people say the whole dairy and acne thing is a myth, but something about it makes me break out like I’m 15. Although I do freaking love cheese…why oh, why does it have to mess with my FACE??

Black Bean Noodles and Smoky Cheeseless Cheese Sauce :: The Not So Desperate Housewife

Anyway…since it’s winter squash season, it’s an even better excuse to go hog wild on some butternut squash alternatives. You’re welcome. You can definitely leave out the pork, too, and sub whatever meat you want or just make it a vegan entree. Gotta love choices. I will say, however, that pork in particular goes so well with this particular flavor combination–you almost get something like barbecue-meets-carnitas? Does that even make sense? Don’t worry about it…just eat.

Black Bean Spaghetti w/ Smoky "Cheese" Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1½ c or 1 can pureed butternut squash (I used canned for this...so much less work!)
  • 1 c nutritional yeast
  • ¼ c apple cider vinegar
  • ½ c coconut milk (or non dairy milk of choice)
  • ½ t garlic powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 t smoked paprika
  • ½ t chili powder
  • dash of liquid smoke
  • black bean pasta (as much or as little as you like)
Instructions
  1. Brown the pork over medium high heat, then turn down to medium low.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine.
  3. Bring to a steady simmer, then cover and turn heat to low.
  4. Allow the sauce to cook, covered, for about 30-45 minutes.
  5. Prepare the black bean pasta as directed and top with sauce!

 

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Wellesley Fudge Cake

According to legend, chocolate was outlawed (!!) at Wellesley College at some point to the gals got together and started making fudge in secret. Maybe that’s part of the reason I feel so guilty when I shove my own weight of the Good Stuff in my facehole. I dunno. But somehow the Wellesley Fudge Cake–a chocolate cake frosted with a slab of the most ridiculously decadent fudge around–became a thing. I’m not complaining, and neither is my husband, since this was his thirty third birthday cake.

Wellesley Fudge Cake : The Not So Desperate Housewife

Months ago, we were at my parents’ house and for my dad’s birthday my mom found a gluten free baker and ordered a simple chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I don’t know what kind of black magic this lady was using but the frosting was out of this world. I mean, the cake part was great, too, but the frosting was…I don’t even know. The best way I could remember it was like a thin fudge–little crinkles on top and everything. With this as my inspiration for a certain spouse’s birthday, I set about looking for a good recipe and came across this one. (Gotta love Pinterest) The pictures alone had me hooked.

Wellesley Fudge Cake - The Not So Desperate HousewifeSo, yeah, it really is *that* good. Holy crapola you guys. Just…OMG. For the cake part I just bought a box mix and it came out very well if I may say so myself (as a side note, I know there’s a thousand ways to “doctor” a cake mix but for chocolate I just go with butter in place of oil and cream/half and half instead of water…gets you a nice, dense, fudgey cake and, well, it’s good enough for government work).

Wellesley Fudge Cake -- The Not So Desperate Housewife

The frosting was really the star of the show and I didn’t have to alter it a single bit, other than to add sprinkles (because it’s not a birthday cake without sprinkles!!!) and candles.

Wellesley Fudge Cake :: The Not So Desperate Housewife

Once again, the recipe for the frosting (as well as a great recipe for the actual cake part I was too lazy to make. It’ll be making it’s rounds back in the house soon. Probably just by itself in a bowl with a spoon. That’s how I roll.

 

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Single Serve Pumpkin Mini-Loaf

The air has taken on the crisp coolness of mid-Atlantic Fall, so obviously it’s time for baking. With pumpkin. Gluten free and dairy free because that’s how I roll. Mostly.

Pumpkin Bread Mini Loaf : The Not So Desperate Housewife

But you know there’s those times when you just want a slice or two, and then the rest of the loaf stands neglected…I’m not one for waste, so I find it easier to make a mini loaf and call it a day. I mean, it’s fresh and hot out of the oven every single time, so a total win. Besides, theses little babies are just so gosh darn cute!

Pumpkin Bread Mini Loaf via The Not So Desperate Housewife

Added bonus–I don’t have to turn on my giant gas oven (that I’m secretly afraid is going to explode every time I turn it on…it’s an antique). The toaster oven works beautifully. I do still line the pans with a strip of parchment paper since gluten free baked goods have a penchant for sticking. My favorite GF all purpose flour to use for this is Bob’s Red Mill GF AP, but I’ve also used my Namaste Foods brand with success.

Single Serve Pumpkin Mini-Loaf
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 mini loaf
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c + 1½ T GF all purpose flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ¼ t salt
  • ½ t pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ c applesauce
  • 5 T pumpkin
  • ¼ t vanilla
  • 1 T water
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth. No such thing as overmixing here so make sure the batter is nice and fluffy.
  2. Pour into a parchment lined mini loaf pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

 

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Mid Week Link Dump

bronuts

8 kitchen hacks every girl (or guy!) should know…poaching an egg in the microwave?! Mind. Blown.

Speaking of eggs in the microwave…here’s a few more ways to get your breakfast, like, pronto.

So, Pillsbury sells tubs of gluten free pizza dough. Which means I can make this reee-donk pizza cake. Just you wait.

So, when I’m done with the aforementioned pizza cake, I can act all healthy and make this gorgeous kale and beet salad with candied walnuts. Seriously, work of art.

Cauliflower is everywhere! So versitile, so cheap, so good. Remember when I made this cauli mac and cheese a million years ago? Making its way back to the weekly meal plan…

Pumpkin and chocolate for breakfast every day this week, just so you know.

And finally, a little pep talk from Juli at PaleOMG on why rigidity, rules, and stressing over every little thing–even if it’s you health and diet–is not good for you at all. A lot of the same reasons why I made the same choice, and hey…it pays to relax, and you’ll be better off (happier AND healthier) in the long run.

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15 Minute MEATZA

I know, I know. Pizza crusts made with meat are sooooo 2010. But, you know, it’s been a while. Cauliflower crusts seem to be dominating and while I’m generally a fan, sometimes I need a wee bit more substance. Feel me?

I had forgotten how seriously quick and easy this was. Like, when I say 15 minutes, I really do mean FIFTEEN minutes. Admittedly, I didn’t even have to chop my own veggies since I’ve been stocking up on pretty much every frozen vegetable pack Trader Joe’s carries. The fire roasted peppers and onions I used for the meatza are seriously the best thing to happen to the planet. I challenge you not to find amazing meals at any time of day that are made better with them. Seriously. Can’t be done.

MEATZA : The Not So Desperate Housewife

Even without a full time job anymore, I somehow feel like I’ve got even less time to lay around and play scientist in the kitchen. Maybe it’s because I notice all the little things that never, ever, in a million years would have bothered me. Like actually folding laundry? Making beds? Ice in my chardonnay? When did I turn into my mom???

In my defense, I’m making a point to take as much off my husband’s plate as I can. Darden is no joke, you guys. As a pre-med last year I know what a huge difference it makes to have someone there to keep things in their place, have the fridge stocked (his classmates seriously subsist on hot pockets and gatorade…ugh), pick up dry cleaning, blah blah blah. Besides, I can just say I’m paying it forward so he can take care of me in med school ;-)

Apologies for the iPhone pictures lately. Camera battery died and I lost the charger…which happens to be an antique that cannot be replaced easily or cheaply. I’m thinking this may be the time that someone finds it in his heart to help me with an upgrade? I do happen to have a birthday coming up next month…

15 Minute MEATZA
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c pizza sauce, store bought or home made
  • 2 c shredded mozzarella
  • 1 pkg Trader Joe's roasted frozen peppers and onions, thawed and drained
  • 1 pkg Applegate Farms pepperoni
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine the beef, pork, and eggs.
  3. Press into a greased baking sheet with some kind of elevation on the sides to prevent leakage.
  4. Bake for 10 mins. Prep you toppings while it bakes.
  5. Remove from the oven and **carefully** drain off the drippings from the pan. Blot the surface of the meatza with paper towels so that toppings will adhere better.
  6. Top with sauce, cheese, onions and peppers, and pepperoni.
  7. Return to the oven for 5 minutes.
  8. Slice and serve!

 

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Buttery Gluten Free Banana Bread (plus a little GF baking lesson)

So freaking obsessed with Glen Templeton right now…I mean, the remake Let Her Go? I seriously cry in my car so much these days. I just thought you should know that. And when I cry, obviously, baking and sweets are generally involved.

Buttery Gluten Free Banana Bread : The Not So Desperate Housewife

Except it’s made with bananas. Which are fruit. So this is basically diet food.

OK. I harp on this a lot but when baking gluten free goodies of any kind, flour choice is critical. I used Namaste Foods All Purpose here, and feel free to use another GF all purpose or “one-for-one,” just be warned that results may vary. There is no such thing as a one-for-one gluten free flour, you guys. I love this article on the matter and highly suggest following recipes as written. If they mention an “all purpose blend,” figure out which one was used in the original. Side story…I totally wrecked a banana bread recipe from Taste of Home earlier in the day using Bob’s Red Mill’s new “1-for-1.” One of these days I’ll learn.

Buttery Banana Bread : The Not So Desperate Housewife

When you do have all your ingredients on hand, make sure they’re room temperature. I’m not 100% sure why this works, but I’ve had good luck with it. That means letting your eggs, milk, or whatever else may have been in the fridge sit on the counter for a little bit. I’m also told that you shouldn’t overmix (same rule of thumb for a lot of recipes with wheat flour), but then again I’ve also been told that it doesn’t matter since, well, there’s no gluten protein to overwork. Jury’s still out on that one. I generally mix my batters until they look good to go, but I’ve definitely let my yeast breads sit in the mixer for a while and they came out beautifully. I just…don’t know.

Cast Iron Loaf Pan : The Not So Desperate Housewife

Oh! I would definitely recommend using a cast iron baking pan as well. Cast iron anything is pretty rockin’…both for the environment and for your body, but it also distributes heat amazingly well and lasts forever. I got mine for like $20 on Amazon. I do, still, line my pans with parchment paper since I’m so paranoid about sticking…with GF stuff it’s kind’ve a crap shoot.

So, yeah, those are my two cents on gluten free baking, at least as it pertains to banana bread. My husband told me this was the best gluten free baked goodie I’ve ever made, so I’m proud of that…too bad the recipe isn’t really mine ;-)

The texture of this banana bread is a bit denser than some more cake-like banana breads I’ve had in the past. It’s super rich, though, thanks to the butter. If you want to lighten it up, I’d try using a liquid oil (like avocado oil or another heat stable one that’s liquid at room temp) and maybe even using a tablespoon or two less flour than this recipe calls for. As with anything, don’t make too many drastic changes at once unless you’re prepared for a disaster, but then again, I’ve gone hog wild on a few things in my time that turned out great. You’re welcome for my unfettered wisdom.

Buttery Gluten Free Banana Bread :: The Not So Desperate Housewife

Recipe adapted from Namaste Foods.

Buttery GF Banana Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 loaf
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c Namaste Foods Perfect GF Flour Blend (or other all purpose GF flour, with caution!)
  • 1 t baking soda
  • ¼ t salt
  • ½ c (1 stick) butter, melted
  • ¾ c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ t vanilla
  • ½ t apple pie spice (or cinnamon)
  • ½ c walnuts, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. whisk together the butter, sugar, and bananas.
  4. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, and apple pie spice.
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients with the wet, being careful not to overmix.
  6. Fold in the walnuts.
  7. Spread the batter evenly in an 8x5 inch loaf pan lined with parchment. The batter will be very thick, almost like a dough, so use a wet spatula to work it into the corners!
  8. Bake for 70-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

 

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Paleo Falafel

Yup. I totally de-legumified falafel and replaced the chickpeas with meat. Sue me. It was sort of on the fly and I didn’t have any, so I did what I often do and replaced the missing ingredient with meat. Meatza, anyone?

Paleo Falafel : The Not So Desperate Housewife

Thanks to the plethora of farmers’ markets and, well, local farms in general, cheap yet local and sustainable foodstuffs–like the aforementioned meat–have been refreshingly easy to come by around here, so my freezer is stocked to the brim with assorted animal parts. We’re on a tight budget, what with my husband in B-school and all, so stocking up on the essentials ahead of time has been a godsend. I’m pretty keen on feeding both of us on $100 a week, and I’d like to get it down to $86 (which is what the USDA says we ought to be able to do on the Super Thrifty…aka What You’d Get on Food Stamps…plan). It’s amazing how much you can drop in one trip to Whole Foods on, like, 3 things. Which isn’t news to anyone, I know, but it was shamefully easy to get complacent when both of us were working and living in a lower cost area.

The real challenge has been deciding what our true priorities were, and I’m still working out the kinks (which I’d like to share in a future post). For example, I’m fine with buying a lot of produce that’s conventionally grown, and the latest GMO study has me sleeping a little better at night over some things. BUT I’m still buying organic eggs and dairy products because, well, there’s some really shady practices in conventional poultry and dairy farming that pose a risk I’m not willing to take. AND I haven’t figured out where to draw the line on meat. On the one hand, yes, grass fed and pastured is better, but it’s also thrice the price a lot of times. Also a heck of a lot easier to find (affordable) grass fed and/or pastured chicken and beef than it is, say pork. Farmers’ Markets help with this but not a ton, especially since a lot of them shut down in the Fall. PS Quick cash-saving tip…I withdraw $100 in cash before my weekly grocery run…it’s the single best way I know of to keep me honest ;-)

OK so falafel. Ah-mazing with hummus, paleo or otherwise…I happened to have some parsnip hummus on hand (recipe coming soon…here’s a sweet potato hummus recipe I love to tide you over!) and did up a little plate with the falafels, hummus, and some roast veggies. I did find this recipe for a GF pita that I really want to try next time, too. There’s a lot of ways to fix up the real deal, so be creative with these! Next time I’m going to try rolling the balls in sesame seeds before frying to try for that lovely crunch.

Adapted from this recipe from Tori Avey.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Paleo "Falafel"
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground chicken, turkey, or even pork
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ t ground cardamom
Instructions
  1. Add the onion, carrots, parsley, and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until the bits are very small but not so much that you get a smoothie.
  2. Mix the pork with the veggies, egg, and spices.
  3. Form into balls. Cover with plastic and let sit for an hour or two, even overnight if you want to make ahead.
  4. In a heavy bottomed frying pan, heat ¼ inch of oil over medium heat.
  5. Fry the meatballs on all sides till cooked through, about 15 minutes.

 

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Lately.

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/01/gluten-free-croque-monsieur-recipe.html

This was originally a “Food, Fashion, and Fun” post but then I realized I had an asymmetric number of food, fashion, and fun things and really didn’t want to dig up a bunch of recipes or whatever from the web I wasn’t in love with just for the sake of having something to write about. Not to mention that sometimes I geek out over things that are neither food, fashion, nor particularly “fun.” I try to be real with you guys, ya know?

Sooooo what’s up lately? (Just as I wrote that I realized how lame it was. But I can’t think of any more creative titles for the random assortment of things I found on the interwebs this week so I’m stuck with it, I guess? So you have to live with my attempt to make it sound cool by being all hipster about it and just shortening to what I now realize is really peevishly nonchalant. I just don’t even know anymore.)

I started substitute teaching, which at least so far is awesome…any job that requires a comfortable amount of responsibility (making sure these kiddos don’t burn the place down, properly starting and stopping the educational films left by the actual teacher) but without having to take any work home with me is a godsend. Not to mention I have 100% control over my schedule so if the hubs gets a day off, I can take a day off, too. It’s really letting me pursue a lot of my own projects before I sell my soul to med school next year, but, you know, paying the rent at the same time :-)

So speaking of “projects.” Scandal starts again this week. Life = complete. Well…it will be when they get around to answering all my questions…IS OLIVIA GOING TO STOP BEING SO MELODRAMATIC AND RUN AWAY WITH JAKE ALREADY?!

Speaking of Scandal, The Limited released (breathe) The Scandal Collection. Got my eye on the Dolman Wrap Coat.

This gluten free (!!!) croque monsieur.

I’m feeling way too good about Amazon Smile. Like, I’m going to start needing to take charity with the amount I’m shopping these days. But, you know, making the world a better place takes sacrifice, right?

Cuban Sandwich Cinnamon Rolls. I know, I know. But I still can’t look away…

So, yet again, artificial sweeteners are killing us slowly. I’ll admit to using stevia more than I ought to these days, so I’m waiting for the jury to come back on that one…

Finally, the 12 Types of Baristas You Will Encounter in Your Life. Dying.

Image: http://www.seriouseats.com

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Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Crock Pot Casserole…aka The Ultimate Fall Comfort Food

When my husband came home with this cooking on the counter, the scent of sage and rosemary wafting through the house, he was convinced I was making Thanksgiving dinner.

The Ultimate Comfort Food - Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Crock Pot Casserole :: The Not So Desperate Housewife

Admittedly it’s super hard to make a picture of this delicious mess look as amazing as it is, so I reallyreally need you to trust me here. It’s approximately 2 minutes of actual work (and by work I mean dumping stuff into a slow cooker) for a meal that will either feed 6-8 people comfortable or feed 2 people for DAYS. And feeding us for days on some very affordable ingredients is a very, very good thing…especially if it manages to hit the level of rich, warm, comfort that makes a food coma positively inevitable.

The Ultimate Comfort Food - Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Crock Pot Casserole : The Not So Desperate Housewife

This will most definitely be happening again…next time I’m thinking it’ll be time to bust out the fall veggies and go all out with some sausage, cranberries, winter squash…maybe even some apples if I’m feeling crazy ;-)

What combos would you want to try?

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Crock Pot Casserole...aka The Ultimate Fall Comfort Food
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of uncooked dry rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 cups of water or chicken stock
  • 2 lbs cooked chicken
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 c sliced mushrooms (1 box)
  • 1 T rosemary
  • 1 T sage
  • 1 T thyme
  • 2 t garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Put everything in the slow cooker. Give it all a big stir.
  2. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3 hours.

**Adapted from Vegan in the Freezer

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In Honor of Autumn Solstice, Here Are All My Favorite Pumpkin Things

PSL-8099

I guess if there’s already Christmas stuff out, I should have started eating pumpkin stuff last Easter. Whatever. It’s *finally* cool enough to start scarfing my favorite spicy winter squash mashups after the summer weather from opposite-ville so I’m taking an opportunity to cram in as much baking as I can before the Fall decides it actually wants to be 90 degrees every day to balance out last year’s Polar Vortex. There are a lot of these recipes I’m planning on re-working, too…maybe even in non-paleo form. Scandalous. I’m also cooking my way through Seriously Delish while watching a few more episodes of Dr. Phil than I’m willing to admit. Insane. Funemployment is a busy time, you guys.

OK, OK…Pumpkin Things! For those of you who hate pumpkin, and while I cannot conceive of a world where this is possible I’ll accept it and move on and ask that you just…I dunno…pretend that wherever it says “pumpkin” just insert “chocolate” instead. Chocolate is like Type O blood or super-glue…just a fix-it for everything.

Paleo Pumpkin Cupcakes : The Not So Desperate Housewife

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin Pie Granola : The Not So Desperate Housewife

Pumpkin Pie Granola

Savory Garlic Sage Pumpkin Bread

Savory Garlic Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Pie Hummus : The Not So Desperate Housewife

Pumpkin Pie Hummus

Paleo Pumpkin Streusel Bread : The Not So Desperate Housewife

Crunchy Pumpkin Streusel Bread

Pumpkin Streusel French Toast : : The Not So Desperate Housewife

Pumpkin Streusel French Toast

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte Muffins : The Not So Desperate Housewife

Pumpkin Spice Latte Muffins

And because I have to…here’s a recipe I loveLOVElove for a pumpkin spice latte that hits all the right notes and still manages to spare me from feeling like my teeth are covered in peach-fuzz.

pumpkinspice1

Image: thekitchn.com, praofb.org

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