Burt Banana Bites

Burt has been a charmer. An absolute DELIGHT! Maybe he finally is coming out of his puppy years or maybe (just maybe) our hard work is finally paying off. Either way, we adore his behavior. To celebrate his consistent listening and good behavior I made Burt celebratory treats. I also purchased him a little token of gratitude.

burt

He’s Here! He’s Queer! He’s ready for a camp fire. His new PRIDE threads.

Burtie Banana Bites

Ingredients:
2 bananas
1/2 c oat flakes
2.5 tbsp peanut butter
1/3 c blueberries

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How do blueberries sound?

He approves!

He approves!

Directions:

  •  Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  • Mash bananas and add blueberries.

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  • Fold in peanut butter an oats.
Taste test before you split up mixture

Taste test before you split up mixture

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He likes it!

  • Spoon mixture onto cookie sheet.

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  • Wait until they begin crisp.
  • He waits...

    He waits…

  • And waits...

    And waits…

    And now to enjoy!

    And now to enjoy!

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

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Ingredients: 

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(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)

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2. Blend all ingredients except for pickles in a bowl

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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.

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

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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.

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Popsicles!

I love popsicles. One of my favorite Chicago summer staples is the popsicle carts. Nothing is better than laying on the beach and then suddenly… the popsicle bell! A refreshing fruit popsicle in the hot sun is just divine!

I have begun dabbling in my own popsicle making! The combinations are endless and they are super low calorie.

popsicles

IKEA- $2!
I also purchased additional holders from Target for $3.

Strawberry Kiwi Popsicles

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Tangy and Tart!

1 c frozen strawberries 1 ripe kiwi Vanilla Almond Milk (pour to thin out mixture)

1 c frozen strawberries
1 ripe kiwi
Vanilla Almond Milk (pour to thin out mixture)

Add ingredients to blender and set to puree

Add ingredients to blender and set to puree

the leftovers made for a tasty smoothie!

the leftovers made for a tasty smoothie!

*You can use coconut milk or  coconut water instead of almond milk

Muscle Beach

Happy July! Summer is here and life could not be better. Sunshine, dresses, and…. Annette Funicello.

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Love summer!

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Last week I hosted a vintage summer party for my beautiful friends and it was inspired by all things summer. To prepare for the party I researched mid-century foods and recipes. Jell-o became a central part of the party as it is a necessity for any vintage party.  The dishes were fun to make and I loved putting together the playlist.

Some of the tunes came from Beach Party. This album is the perfect

 Menu:

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Food:

Cherry Coke Jell-o
Groovy Jell- Salad
Pigs in a Blanket (vegetarian)
Green Olives (a must for any mid-century shin dig)
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Smores Bars
Fruit Salad
Cheese Plate (Swiss, Cheddar, Pepperjack)
Finger Foods: Cashews, Chips, Chocolate Covered Raisins

Drinks:

Gin & Tonics
Summer Sangria

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Recipes:

Lime Jell-O blended with cream cheese and walnuts. Served wit cool whip, cantaloupe, and watermelon.

Lime Jell-O blended with cream cheese and walnuts. Served wit cool whip, cantaloupe, and watermelon.

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how very American… cheese!

Wrap veggie hot dogs in crescent rolls and bake for 10 minutes

Wrap veggie hot dogs in crescent rolls and bake for 10 minutes

Summer is the best for fruit!

Summer is the best for fruit!

Gluten free and delicious! Due to time constraints I used the Duncan Hines gluten free yellow cake mix, it was great!

Gluten free and delicious! Due to time constraints I used the Duncan Hines gluten free yellow cake mix, it was great!

Cherry Coke Jell-O This was a party favorite! Combine cherry jell-o, coke zero, and cherry pie filling!

Cherry Coke Jell-O
This was a party favorite! Combine cherry jell-o, coke zero, and cherry pie filling!

Smore's Bars (another favorite). These no bake treats are great.

Smore’s Bars (another favorite). These no bake treats are great.

Summer sangria! White wine base.

Summer sangria! White wine base.

This was Stephen's area :)

This was Stephen’s area 🙂

Happy Summer!

*If you want any of the recipes message me and I would be happy to pass them along. Most I just found on google searches.

Fresh for Summer

Here is a refreshing and unexpected combination: pineapple and cucumber. I was inspired to combine these two flavors after having a cucmber salad at a sushi restaurant last week. The menu said the cucumber salad had a hint of pineapple and that got me thinking. I looked through recipes (there are a ton of thai salades) and landed on this simple salad. This low calorie salad is filling and would work splendidly on a picnic or for lunch.

picnics are my favorite.

picnics are my favorite.

Cucumber Mint Pineapple Salad

Ingredients:

1 cucumber (peeled)
1 c  cubed pineapple
2 tbsp chopped mint
1 tbsp olive oi

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Directions:

1. In a large bowl combine cucumber and pineapple.

2. In a separate bowl combine oil and mint.

3. Combine dressing with cucumber/pineapple. Mix well.

3. Chill in fridge and serve. (It is recommended you serve immediately however I made this the night before and packed it for lunch and it was quite fresh.)

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Fresh and interesting

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!

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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.

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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

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Directions:

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

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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.

Easy Spring Cous Cous Salad

This simple yet whole dish will leave you wanting to picnic, I promise!

Israeli Cous Cous Salad

Ingredients: half cucumber, lemon, half avocado, tomato, half red onion, 1 c of Israeli cous cous, salt, paprika

Directions:

Cook cous cous according to package. Dice cucumbers, avocado, onion, and tomato (take out insides of tomato). Place in large bowl and stir. Add a pinch and a half of salt and a pinch of paprika. Then squeeze both halves of lemon on mixture. Once cous cous is done place pot in freezer to allow to cool (shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes). Add cous cous to mixture, toss and serve!

Pack a breath mint, the onion will kill you :)

must. use. basil

We have this giant Basil growing in the garden and haven’t really used it. Yesterday we had a picnic on the beach and wanted something delicious to pack. What better way to use the basil then Caprese sandwiches with homemade pesto!

wanted: love and use

Homemade Caprese Sandwich

Ingredients for Pesto: 1/2 tsp olive oil, 2 tbsp chopped basil, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 and 1/3 tbsp pine nuts

Sandwich: beef steak tomato, fresh mozzarella, ciabatta or baguette ( we used a salt twist bread), sun dried tomatoes (not in oil), arugula

Directions:

Place all pesto ingredients in food processor. Chop until blended and smooth. Once pesto is made spread on bread. Top pesto with ingredients and viola! Easy peesy delicious sandwich.

easy and delicious