Summer Saturday Cooking

In our house… pickles are a favorite. Stephen often teases me about my love for pickles and often references the “pickle getter tool” my parents had in our kitchen growing up. Side note: My parents had a specific tool that was a claw of sorts,  specifically designed to extract pickles from jars… serious business. Hence, we take pickles very seriously in this house.

Summer is finally here in Chicago. The humidity and heat are high which means summer foods must be celebrated! Today Stephen and I strolled the neighborhood when suddenly Stephen had an idea… fried pickles! We headed to our neighborhood organic grocery and picked up all of the items necessary to make gluten free fried pickles. I loved cooking with Stephen. Usually Stephen is my sous-chef but this go around we were equal partners and had a blast.

The recipe is easy and considering what other recipes called for its not terrible for you. I rarely (never) eat fried anything but for this special occasion I gave them a try and they were delicious!

You could also easily bake these pickles to cut down on the oil.

Gluten Free Fried Pickles

IMG_4155

Ingredients: 

IMG_4133

(This recipe calls for a whole jar. We used about 1/3 of the jar and then stored the remaining batter for later use)
1 Jar of sliced kosher dill pickles
3 Cups Vegetable Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Mustard Seed
1 Teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 Cup gluten free bread crumbs
1.5 cups of gluten free multi purpose flour
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder

Adapted from this blog

We love pickles!

We love pickles!

Directions:

1. Heat oil to 365 (have this ready to go)

IMG_4134

2. Blend all ingredients except for pickles in a bowl

IMG_4136

IMG_4138

Ready for dipping!

3. With one hand grab the pickles and toss them into the blended mix (keep one hand for pickles and the other for mixing)

It can get messy!

It can get messy!

Coat evenly

Coat evenly

4. Once you coat the pickle toss it into the hot oil. Let it cook until its golden brown (about 30 seconds) and remove with a slotted spoon.

IMG_4191

5. Remove the pickles and place on a plate covered in paper towels.

IMG_4147

If you wish to get a thicker coat dip the pickle in the batter after its initial frying and then fry again.

6. Serve and enjoy! We used Bolthouse yogurt Ranch for our dip. To make vegan mix Veganoise, yellow mustard, and curry powder.

IMG_4153

Summer.

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”  – F. Scott Fitzgerlad (The Great Gatsby)

This is my last week of teaching. After 3 years as a classroom teacher, I will take a curtsey, walk out and take ownership of my career. I am incredibly excited and nervous. I am hopeful and inspired.

One of the things I am most excited about is having autonomy over my time. Further, I can  decide for myself which work structure works best for me. After being micro-managed for 2 years, the idea of setting goals and fulfilling them because I am motivated (not working out of fear) is incredibly liberating.

The most energizing part of all of this change is that I am doing something I want to do. Not just want I want to do, but something I love to do, what I am made to do. (My post on lady leadership is a work in progress and will happen eventually :))

I am already feeling the benefits of this transition. I am spending time with friends, enjoying the weather, cooking again, and most importantly getting to be with my husband. Further, the onset summer is spectacular and invigorating!

Being with friends is beautiful. I have missed this tremendously. Over the past 5 months I haven’t seen people (working two full time jobs can do that). We have even had friends over! Stevi and Nick came over for pizza. Stevi and I were perfect housewives and made veggie pizzas for all to enjoy.

Pizza night with Stevi and Nick!

Pizza night with Stevi and Nick!

Gluten free and regular crust!

Image-2

Also here is our current song of summer!

That’s Life

Chicago is in this weird in between phase with seasons. There are moments when I can feel summer: the smells, the glow about people, the dewiness in the air, the warmth, frozen yogurt, dog walks… the list goes on. Although today was 54 (get it together Chicago), it is almost summer in my heart and that’s what matters.

Image (76)

The tress are perfectly green and have beautiful blooms.

Yesterday I hit the mother load with mail and received both Yoga Journal and Vegetarian Times (thank you mother in law for the rad gifts!). This month the times is featuring detox and gluten free recipes, heaven. In the issue they recommend a 3 day cleanse that is pretty to implement and filled with delicious recipes. They list the 7 best detox foods and some favorites were included: blueberries, brocolli, and beets to name a few.

One of the best things about summer.

One of the best things about summer.

The recommended breakfast for the cleanse is a beet smoothie. If you like beets I recommend, if you don’t like beets.. beware!

Detox Beet & Blueberry Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 c blueberries
  • 1 c vanilla almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 2 beets (boiled)
  • 1 slice of ripe avacado
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1/4 c of cold water

Image (72)

Directions:

  1. Place ingredients in blender and hit liquify, serve immediately

Image (73)

Image (74)

When school is over I am going to do the full 3 days and post the recipes. I think a cleanse/detox will be the perfect way to kick off a healthy, productive, and fun summer! Until then I am going to do my sort of cleanse that involved frozen yogurt from time to time 🙂

Each morning I start with a smoothie and then eat a kale salad, cucumber and side of fruit within my day. I have consistently been drinking the detox water I posted about weeks ago. Since I have started my water I have lost about 7 pounds.

Each morning I start with a smoothie and then eat a kale salad, cucumber and side of fruit throughout the day. I have consistently been drinking the detox water I posted about weeks ago. Since I have started my water I have lost about 7 pounds.

Spring has Sprung

photo (32)

The best spot in the world.

Spring has finally made its way to Chicago. The sun shimmered this week and the air has begun to warm. Flowers have started to bloom and blossoms are budding, it is a great time to be in the city.

This past week in one of my yoga classes my instructor used Spring to guide our class. She made a wonderful point about the changes in the air. Spring is a new beginning, an opportunity to find balance in your life, a time to reflect and make changes. Our sequence incorporated a lot of balance asanas, all were a great reminder of the surrender and strength it takes to find balance.

I have been working to find balance in my life. It is a struggle to differentiate between work and relationships especially when your work is driven by passion, but my relationships fuel my ability to work towards my passions. I am using this new beginning, Spring, to remind myself of this balance.

Eating healthy is a big part of balance for me. I found this great blog Eating Bird Food and I highly recommend it. I recently tried their “Easy Strawberry Chia Jam” and I must say it was incredibly easy and great! Try it out!

Image (42)

Strawberry Chia Jam

The Square

I of course can not mention LOVE without talking about the love of my life, Stephen. I was asked to guest blog on A Breakfast Serial for Valentines Day so I am going to actually reference that post as my tribute to Stephen. I could list every reason why I love Stephen here but I am not going to. I will say though that I am always referenced as the activist in our relationship but I LOVE that Stephen is actually  a quiet rebel. Not many people know this about him, but I do and I love it.

419301_10150657595605155_2014236059_n

We normally don’t do much for Vday but this year we actually went on a date. We didn’t wait  for Valentines Day to celebrate because there was a magnificent opportunity to celebrate our love and we had to take it! The historic Music Box theater teamed up with Sound Opinions from NPR to show The Graduate. The Graduate is one of my all time favorite films so we just jumped on the opportunity to view the film in theaters. The Graduate is my love for many reasons. I identify with the lost identity of Ben. I think Elaine is beautiful and want all of her clothes. I love the historical transition the film represents. I could not love Simon and Garfunkel any more than I do. All around perfect film.

images

the uncertainty and trust is perfect.

We paired our film with sushi, another love in our lives. Perfect date. Perfect husband.

Perfect Date.

Perfect Date.

6.5 years down, a bagillion more to go.

6.5 years down, a bagillion more to go.

If you want to make a difference…

Sometimes doing something for someone else, someone you don’t even know can be an amazing gift.

89860955036816344_w7B16661_c

I have the honor of teaching some pretty amazing students. One of my dearest scholars has recently landed an awesome opportunity to volunteer in Costa Rica over the summer. She is totally jazzed about the trip but can not finance it. We created a page for her in the hopes of raising enough funds (or a portion of it) ultimately allowing her to go.

If you believe in karma, good deeds, tzedakah, or anything in between, donating to this page will prove fruitful in your journey towards giving. Please help by clicking the link below. $5 would be an awesome amount, anything helps!

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/311488?c=home