Truly Loyal

One thought comes to mind when I think of Loyal, and that thought goes to my Sophie. I always heard people say dogs are a man’s best friend, they are loyal and care so much for their human; after being fortunate to have my Sophie in my life, I must agree.

Through thick and thin, through moving states, introducing my now husband into our life, gaining 2 step-children, a cat, recently having a baby, my Sophie has been through it all; being as big of a sweatheart as a pup can be.

Years, years ago I was in a not-so-healthy relationship where I was faced with turmoil brought on by my ex-husband; for no other reason then to be hateful towards me he put me in a corner and wanted to give away, our dog at the time, Sophie.

I thought how could anyone want to get rid of such a sweet, gentle, caring pup? She did not mess on the floors; nor was she aggressive or misbehaved. She was loyal; always greeting us at the door; tail wagging – eyes expressive telling us how much she loved us and missed us when we were away every day. She just wanted to sit with us, play games, and show us love. So how could someone want to get rid of her, nevermind someone who found her with me and took her in; made her part of our family?

When faced with such a decision I stood up for myself; I pushed back and said no. She didn’t deserve to go, she was here to stay. Years later I clearly made the right decision; my Sophie continues to be loyal to me, and I to her. For all dogs that show such unconditional love, they deserve all the loyalty you have to give.

For my Sophie, I will always be loyal to you as you have been to me; I will care for you ’til you take your last breath one day – until then we will take lazy naps in the sun and enjoy each others company. My love for you is deep; not until I found you did I truly realize how much loyalty, care and love a dog can truly bring. I am the fortunate one and will be loyal to you every day, as you have been to me.

Inspiration

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Life is all about balance; the balance of chi, aka the vital energy that unites mind, body and spirit – the principal of Ying and Yang, where an imbalance will create catastrophe and plague. Sometimes too much of a good thing can create an imbalance. That is why I like to indulge now and then with a treat and to keep my body in harmony with a reward that tickles my taste buds.

I had the pleasure of attending a fall food festival in my town and was lucky enough to come across a wonderful cupcake stand with gluten free cupcakes baked by Gigi’s cupcakes. It was amazing: triple chocolate torte cupcakes – moist, fluffy, chocolatey, and best of all, gluten free. I savored each and every bite and felt fortunate to have been able to treat myself with such deliciousness. Best of all, it put my body and mind back in balance with this little reward. Now it’s got my mind ticking of how I can replicate such fluffiness in a gluten free cupcake. From this delicious cupcake a recipe will be born as this chocolatey goodness has inspired me to come up with my version of a delicious cupcake that promises to deliver such wonderful flavor and texture. Off to the kitchen!

You Bacon Me Crazy

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“You bacon me crazy” said the egg. Why is that? Because he was loaded with bacon! I love bacon; thick, thin, crispy, soft; on everything and in anything, bacon just adds a deliciously salty unmistakable flavor.

Sunday funday in our house is all about our spread.  Todays Sunday funday menu features deliciously zesty deviled eggs. The deviled eggs I grew up on seemed to always be a little bland, not setting my taste buds on fire. I find the one mistake with cooking is food doesn’t get seasoned enough – if it be from fear that too much seasoning will ruin the dish or not taste testing during cooking. Life is all about stepping outside your comfort zone – experimenting and experiencing; once you do you’ll find all sorts of new adventures, accomplishments, and most important, happiness.

These creamy deviled eggs are deviled eggs with a zing; made outside of the traditional “comfort zone” recipe. Soon you will hear your eggs saying “ya bacon me crazy”!

Smacnego!

 

You Bacon Me Crazy Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • Smoked paprika for garnish
  • 1/4 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Place eggs in single layer in a sauce pan and cover with water so there’s 2 inches of water above the eggs.
  2. Turn up the heat to high until water begins to boil.
  3. Once boiling, cover the eggs, turn down the heat to low, and let cook for 1 minute.
  4. After 1 minute, move the covered pot off the heat and let sit for 14 minutes.
  5. Remove eggs and put in ice bath for 5 minutes.
  6. Peel eggs, rinse, and gently pat dry with paper towels.
  7. Slice eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop out yolk into a separate bowl and place egg whites on serving plate.
  8. Mash the egg yolks. Add mayo, seasoning, pepper to taste and half of your bacon (I put my crumbled bacon through my grinder to make it a little more fine). Mix well.
  9. Scoop about 1-2 tablespoons of yolk mixture into egg white shells. Sprinkle smoked paprika and garnish with remainder of the crumbled bacon.
  10. Chill deviled eggs in fridge, covered, for about 30 minutes before serving.

*Side note…Any extra yolk mixture left over makes for a great spread on crackers or bread. Gluten free crackers have come a long way over the past years. I’ve tried them all, and my two favorite are Van’s The Perfect 10 Gluten Free Crackers and Schar Gluten Free Table Crackers. The Van’s crackers have a little more flavor and are smaller in size, while Schar’s crackers are closer to a traditional cracker with more of an airy, plain cracker taste. Both are delicious!

Tomato Soup with Rump Roast

 

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Happiness, aka a big delicious bowl of tomato soup. Nothing makes me happier then cooking up a delicious dish that fills my home with a wonderful aroma. The process of cooking is just as important as your final dish. Cooking really is a great metaphor for life. You have all these amazing ingredients that you carefully prepare; chopping, searing, blending them together. Seasoning just right – not too little, not too much, just enough to compliment your ingredients and bring everything together. During this process your mind is being creative, your senses are excited, and your heart is skipping a beat in anticipation of this wonderful, delicious creation that you’ll soon get to enjoy.

Life itself is a process filled with trial and error; patience, heartache, excitement, experiences and accomplishments. Cooking teaches us to be thankful for our ingredients; being careful to wash, prepare and handle them all with respect; reading about and understanding the different flavors and the magic that happens when you combine everything together.

I find my happiness in the kitchen. My mind escapes while I whip up dishes like a mad scientist; experimenting, testing and creating. My reward to having my patience tested, my mind stimulated, and my palate teased? A tasty bowl of goodness.

The best part about cooking is it’s completely in the hands of the chef. You are in the driver’s seat. Your creation is your interpretation, your opinion, your creativity. Cooking is never a failure because if your dish doesn’t come out as you wished then the next time you’ll do something different…And that truly is just like life!

The recipe below is my interpretation of the ingredients I had at hand, but honestly, season as you find appropriate and substitute – create your own happiness. Enjoy, have fun, laugh, relax; let your mind escape while you take my recipe below and make it your own. Any comments are welcome! I love to read about other people’s take on recipes to see what I can do different next time around.

Tomato Soup with Seared Rump Roast

Ingredients

3 lb rump roast
2 tablespoons olive oil
32 ounces of beef stock
4 large whole peeled garlic cloves
Half a red onion chopped
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
All purpose seasoning to taste – about 1/4 teaspoon
1/2 can chopped carrots, drained
1/2 can sweet peas, drained
1/2 can sweet corn, drained
1 white potato, peeled and chopped
28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
28 ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cream cheese

Directions

  1. Trim fat and generously season your roast with coarse sea salt, dry rosemary, thyme, pepper and paprika.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-hot heat in 6 quart pot – sear all sides of roast until browned.
  3. Add in beef stock, onions and garlic to pot. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to bring up all the deliciousness from searing your meat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 3 hours, or until meat is tender and falls apart with fork.
  4. Transfer meat to plate, strain out fat (discard) and strain out garlic from beef stock along with 1/2 to 1 cup of beef stock, set aside. Freeze remainder stock to use in the future (if you freeze in an ice-cube tray you can pop out beef stock cubes for when you want to add some flavor!).
  5. Add the 2 cans of tomatoes to the pot, veggies, beef stock, and garlic, one cup of water, and shredded rump roast meat.
  6. Mix well and season to taste with all-purpose seasoning.
  7. Bring everything to a simmer, cover, and let get happy for about 10 minutes (or until potato is fork tender).
  8. Add the cream cheese to thicken – mix well. Serve with crusty bread, noodles, or just how it is.

                                                    Enjoy!

 

Gluten Free Omelette with Avocado Toast

Days off are for cooking, baking and regenerating.  They are for spending time with family and sharing amazing meals that bring us all together.  The word “food” doesn’t describe what food really does to the soul.  I feel like it should be a softer word, like “love” or “kind”.  Food heals and comforts; it rebuilds our mind, body, and soul.  It is an understatement to say food is just food.  It brings us together in our world of different races, cultures, and religion – our minds connect on a silent level when we share and experience all sorts of ingredients.  I love food; how it makes me feel warm, fulfilled, and happy. With the hustle and bustle of the work week sometimes I rush at meals and don’t get to really sit down and enjoy each and every bite – days off are for savoring all those bites of deliciousness and enjoying every single ingredient as it dances in my mouth.

This recipe will fill your body with amazing nutrients that regenerate and re-energize the body with vitamin C and K; nutrients that will cleanse the body of everyday toxins; protein to rebuild and feed your muscles, and vitamins and minerals to rebuild your cells as well as warm your heart.

I’m thankful to have these simple, fresh ingredients to make one of my favorite dishes – a mushroom, spinach, cheese omelette with avocado gluten free toast.  There are many variations of the recipe below, feel free to experiment and substitute as desired!  As we say in Poland at all of our meals, smacznego!

Gluten Free Omelette with Avocado Toast

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh, washed and chopped mushrooms (chefs’ preference)
  • Handful of fresh, raw baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Half of a soft avocado
  • 1-2 pieces Gluten free bread – my go to gf bread is Udi’s Gluten-Free White Sandwich Bread
  • 1/2 Roma tomato, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a 10 inch skillet on medium heat. Add mushrooms once hot, about 3 minutes; sprinkle with sea salt and pepper; saute until soft, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. While mushrooms are getting happy, crack eggs into dish, add sea salt and pepper to taste; add milk – mix gently. Set aside cooked mushrooms.  Add about 1/2 tablespoon oil to grease pan on medium heat and add egg mixture.  Egg mixture will fill pan – cook about 3-5 minutes or until bottom is a little bit firm (lift ends of eggs up with spatula to see if mixture stays together in order to be able to flip).
  3. Once underside of egg mixture is firm like a pancake, take spatula and place under egg mixture – carefully flip onto top side. Continue cooking while you layer your omelette.
  4. On half the egg mixture layer cheese, mushrooms, and spinach. After about 3 minutes of cooking, fold over the egg mixture that has nothing on it onto the cheese, mushroom, spinach side.
  5. Place a cover or plate over the skillet to allow the cheese to melt and remove from heat.  While the omelette is sitting, place toast in toaster.
  6. Peel avocado, slice, then smoosh with fork until soft and smooth.  Wash and chop tomato; sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Set aside.
  7. Once toast is toasted, spread avocado onto it; sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
  8. Remove omelette from pan after about 5 minutes and place on plate, top with tomato mixture and serve with avocado toast.  Enjoy!

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Thank You

As Gray and I get ready for the day I think about all those people who don’t have a warm bed, hot meal, running water, or clean clothes because of hurricane Harvey. I can’t imagine having my home and life turned upside down from a natural disaster, nevermind losing loved ones over something we have no control over. It is absolutely heartbreaking – my thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected.

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a natural disaster or any disaster to remind us of all the little things that matter and those who have been kind to us in our lives. I need to do a better job remembering the help I’ve received in my life from kind people.

Thank you to all the people who are contributing to all those affected; if it be financially, physically or even mentally by praying and keeping them in your thoughts.

When we moved to America many years ago a wonderful immigration support group gave us bags of toys and clothes to rummage through. I remember being a little girl digging through these bags with excitement and happiness over all the toys I could choose from. Gray`s daycare is collecting care kits to send to those affected by Harvey and I`ve gathered supplies to contribute. This is my paying it forward because those people all those years ago were kind enough to donate toys and clothes to those in need which at the time was my family and I. So thank you, even if I can’t pinpoint the exact people, for your contributions; because of you, I am grateful for what I have to this day and want to pass the love and care I felt to those in need affected by Harvey. One toothbrush can help one person and if that one person feels the care being sent their way then they will help someone in need and hopefully a snowball affect of support and love will follow. Sending love and good thoughts to all those affected.

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