Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Back to School Lunch

There's a reason why you store them rolled side down.
Mine were falling apart in this picture!
Whether you have kids who are getting ready to go back to school or you're looking for a new way to bring a sandwich with you to work, this recipe for Sushi Style Turkey 'n Cheese is sure to please. Yes, these rolled-up turkey sandwiches really look like sushi. It's super cute!

I saw these at Target's Feed the Family event last month and knew I just had to try them for my own lunch. These would be easy to make gluten-free. Just use the appropriate substitutions for the bread (We like Udi's), deli slices (Thumann's and Boar's Head are good g/f choices at the deli counter), and salad dressing (Ken's has great g/f dressing options).

Here is the recipe as Target gave it to me. It uses all Target food products, but like I said, if you need to make substitutions to fit your diet, you can easily do so.

Ingredients:

2 slices Archer Farms Honey Whole Wheat Bread
2 tbsp. Market Pantry cream cheese spread
fresh spinach leaves, stems removed
2 slices Market Pantry Healthy Oven Roasted Turkey Deli Slices
1 slice Market Pantry Colby Cheese, cut into 4 strips
Market Pantry Low Fat Ranch Dressing

Preparation:
1. Cut crusts off bread and discard. (My note: or eat them! Or crumble them up and use them as bread crumbs in another recipe.)
2. Roll bread with rolling pin or press to flatten slightly.
3. Spread each piece of bread to edges with cream cheese.
4. Arrange the spinach leaves on cream cheese leaving about 3/4 inch cream cheese at one end of each bread slice uncovered. Arrange uncovered edges away from you.
5. Roll up each slice of turkey.
6. At ends closest to you, stack two cheese strips and one roll of turkey.
7. Roll up tightly, firmly pressing ends to hold closed.
8. Cut each roll into thirds.
9. Place on cut sides in sandwich box, packing snugly to ensure sandwiches stay rolled. Cover and store chilled.
10. Serve with cup of ranch dressing for dipping, if desired.


I feel like this would be something that kids could help make, too. What a great way to introduce kids "cooking" in the kitchen and give them the opportunity to help out! It's always great when you can get kids actively participating in the preparation of food. They'll be more likely to eat it if they help make it.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Blue Cheese, Cranberry, and Pecan Spread

I've had this on my mind for weeks now! I went to a press event a few weeks ago, and one of the snacks that was served was crackers with a blue cheese, cranberry, and pecan spread. OH IT WAS SO GOOD! I have yet to make this at home, but I finally went online to see if I could find a recipe for it. Of course, I found one, and of course, it's so easy to make I really could have figured it out myself. Mix blue cheese crumbles with dried cranberries and chopped pecans. Done and done! Have you guys ever had this before? The flavors and textures are so delicious together. I want some right now!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mom's Macaroni and Cheese

I finally decided to try a new recipe in our Betty Crocker Cooking Basics cookbook. Usually, if we have macaroni and cheese, we have Trader Joe's gluten-free boxed version. It's cheap and easy to make. However, our grocery store had some gluten-free elbow macaroni on sale last week and we stocked up, so I figured making our own macaroni and cheese with the elbow macaroni would be a good idea.

This is essentially a baked mac and cheese. We have another recipe for baked mac and cheese, but it uses lots of ingredients. Mom's Macaroni and Cheese is much simpler, but it does take 40 minutes to make. Not exactly something that you want to make on a weeknight, although we did and we didn't eat dinner until 7:45. Should have read through the entire recipe first to see what we were dealing with, huh?

The end result was good. Very creamy. The recipe called for a block of American cheese, but I couldn't find that at my grocery store. So we just went with a block of cheddar. I like cheddar better anyway. The recipe also called for an onion. Uh, no thanks. Not in my mac and cheese!

What's great about this recipe is that you can spice things up to make it different each time. As I was stirring the macaroni into the cheese mixture, I thought that some chili powder would be a nice kick. What do you add to your homemade mac and cheese?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Real Simple Chicken with Potatoes, Bacon, and Cabbage

This recipe for Chicken with Potatoes, Bacon, and Cabbage had been on my to-make list for quite some time. I mean, I love chicken, potatoes, and bacon. So how can this recipe go wrong? Well, for starters, cabbage is just weird. We liked the first three things in this recipe, but the cabbage... eh. I think it would taste better with spinach. Have you guys ever tried cabbage before? What do you think about it? Is there a better lettuce-y substitute? Everything else about this recipe was good, and it was easy to make, too. I sliced the potatoes with my vegetable shredder. Super cool invention!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chalupa-style Tostadas

 

The other night we looked up a recipe for gluten-free chalupas. When you have Celiac disease, you can't eat at Taco Bell anymore. Well, the recipe we found was more of a tostada recipe than a chalupa recipe, but it was still really good. We used yellow corn tortillas and baked them on a greased baking sheet under the broiler for 5 minutes. Then we put refried beans and monterey jack/cheddar cheese on top and placed the tortillas back under the broiler for another 5 minutes. We topped that with sour cream and taco meat made with our own taco seasoning. The recipe also called for salsa, but I chose not to have any on mine. I put salsa on my husband's tostadas, though. We served ours with a little white rice on the side. You could do some other type of fancy rice, but my husband is a fan of white rice. These were really good, and we're going to have them as leftovers this week. YUM! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I'm tweeting now!

Yes, it's finally happened. I signed up for Twitter. Mainly so that I could try and win free shoes on Target's Free Shoe Fridays. But I thought maybe I would actually use my Twitter account to post other food and crafty links in between blog posts. It might not happen as much as I want because I don't have a smart phone, and therefore no consistent internet access, but I'll try. Follow me if you want: @CookScrapCraft

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bic Soleil Savvy Razor

Several months ago, I tried a Venus razor. It was amazing! I didn't want to go back to my disposables. But when I went to the store to find refills for the Venus razor, I realized that despite the amazingness of the Venus, it was way too expensive for me to use on a regular basis. And thus, I went back to regular disposables and nicks all over my legs.

Then I was invited to participate in the BzzAgent Bic Soleil Savvy Razor campaign. The Bic Soleil Savvy Razor is a disposable razor with the performance of a premium razor at a lower price, about $7.99. Every Soleil Savvy package contains an easy-grip disposable handle and four replaceable, triple-blade heads. The blade heads feature flexible blade technology and lubricating strips with Vitamin E. Bic says the pivoting heads are made to follow a woman's contours and provide a super-close shave. Once you're done using the four blade heads, you throw away the razor handle and purchase a whole new pack. (Bic Soleil Savvy cartridges are not sold separately.) 


So what did I think after two months and two blades? Well, I know that I can get a bag of several disposable razors for cheaper than $7.99, but the Soleil Savvy is MUCH better than my normal disposables. It's easy to use, and the Vitamin E strip didn't irritate my sensitive skin like other razors' lubricating strips. In the two months I used the Bic Soleil Savvy Razor, I only nicked myself once on my knee! Plus, $7.99 is still cheaper than $20 for premium razor cartridge refills.


The day of the shave (I always shave in the morning) my legs felt super smooth. If I rubbed my legs on the second day, I could feel stubble, but I got the same results with other razors, and the Soleil Savvy doesn't claim to keep your legs smoother longer. It just gives you a comfortable shave without irritation and nicks, which I like!

If you want to try out the Soleil Savvy Razor, I've got $3 off coupons to give away! The first four people to leave a comment will receive two coupons. (Please make sure I have some way of contacting you - email, blog - so I can send you the coupons.) This giveaway closes on August 1 and is only open to residents of the contiguous United States (which means no Hawaii or Alaska).


And before you shave, check out these shaving tips from Bic:
1. Shave at night! Shaving removes dead skin cells and the superficial layer of skin. While this process is healthy, it reduces your skin's defenses for a couple of hours. Shaving at night gives your skin time to recover its strength and suppleness to resist irritation.


2. Shave clean skin! To help prevent infection and bumps, make sure your skin is perfectly clean before you shave. Apply hot water beforehand or shave after showering. 


3. Apply shaving cream or gel! It's gentler on your skin than regular soap and can help lift hair. Lather the cream or gel and leave it on for two minutes prior to shaving.


4. Use a sharp blade! Change your blades regularly, especially if you have sensitive skin. Shaving with a dull blade can result in red spots.







Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Scrappy Foursome

Just a few scrappy items to share with you today. First up, another card made with a Manila folder. 
This one uses American Crafts scraps and stickers from My Little Shoebox.




Next up is a layout! I had pre-made this layout in an effort to use up scraps and clear 
out my scrap drawers. I liked the way the colors looked with this picture of my parents and me. 
The photo is a 5x7, but you could easily do two vertical 4x6s instead.



Here's an easy layout that I did using a sketch from Sarah de Guzman.
I had some colorful paper in my stash and some extra pet stickers from a Target
$1 pack that I had purchased years ago. I thought it came together nicely
and it was super easy to do!



And for the last layout, I used some papers and embellishments from a vacation-themed
travel pack. On the back of the pack were some layout ideas for using the items in the pack, 
so I took one of the ideas and turned it on its side to create this layout about the World's Largest Catsup Bottle, which is actually a water tower in Illinois. I don't like saying "catsup", so I
made the title of this layout "ketchup." What is the difference between "catsup" and "ketchup" anyway?



Thanks for looking!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Coconut Chicken Salad with Warm Honey Vinaigrette

Remember a few weeks ago when I posted about neglected recipes I'd been meaning to try? Well, I finally got around to making one of them: Coconut Chicken Salad with Warm Honey Vinaigrette. This recipe is a total keeper! After we finished eating, my husband said TWICE how good it was. :)

Of course, I had to make some changes to this recipe in order for it to be gluten-free, SO here is my gluten-free recipe along with some other adaptations:

Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tbsp. shredded coconut
2 tbsp. rice crumbs (or gluten-free bread crumbs)
1 tbsp. crushed gluten-free cornflake crumbs
2 egg whites
pinch salt
olive oil spray (Mazola's website says it is gluten-free)
6 cups baby greens
3/4 cup shredded carrots

For the vinaigrette:
1 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. white vinegar
2 tsp. dijon mustard

Directions:
1. Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. (I put my bowl into the fridge.)
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. Combine coconut flakes, rice crumbs, cornflake crumbs, and salt in a bowl. Put the egg whites in another bowl.
4. Lightly season the chicken breasts with salt. Dip them in the egg whites, then in the coconut crumb mix.
5. Place the chicken breasts on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil for easy clean-up. (The original recipe calls for parchment paper, but I didn't have parchment or wax paper.)
6. Lightly spray the chicken with the olive oil spray and bake for 35-40 minutes, turning halfway, or until chicken is cooked through.
7. Place two cups of baby greens on each plate.
8. Divide the carrots evenly between each plate.
9. When the chicken is ready, slice it on the diagonal and place it on the greens.
10. Heat the dressing in the microwave for a few seconds and divide it equally between each salad.


Friday, July 13, 2012

tsp spices

You know how you purchase spices, and then they sit in your pantry for months because you've only used, like, one teaspoon of the spice in one recipe and now the spice is losing its freshness? Yeah, that's me. Do I still use all the probably unfresh spices? Oh yeah. Because I spent money on them!! I want to get my money's worth.


Well, there is something new in the market to solve this problem. I attended a holiday gift guide media event last month and discovered a company called tsp spices. It sells spices in one-teaspoon servings. Say you need one teaspoon of cumin. Just pull out a one-teaspoon packet, open it, and pour the cumin into your recipe. No more using measuring spoons. It's all pre-measured, which saves you time as you cook. The unused cumin stays fresh in sealed packets until you are ready to use it. The different spices are sold in containers of 12 one-teaspoon packets. Each retails for $7.99.


There's allspice, ground ancho chile, anise seed, ground chili pepper, cloves, ginger, cumin, coriander, and so many more spices! I got to use the ground chili pepper. It was so easy to add it to my recipe, and I don't have to worry about the rest of the spice going bad. Plus, tsp spices are organic, pure, non-irradiated and free from fillers or additives. 


tsp spices are only available right now in stores in New York, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, and Virginia. But you can order your favorite spices online at the tsp spices website. What's also cool about the website is the recipes section. So you can order your spices and then figure out new ways to cook with them!


What do you guys think? Would you be interested in using this new method of buying your spices?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New gluten-free snacks!

When I went to do Yoga in Times Square last month, there were a lot of vendors handing out free samples of products. I sampled lots of SmartWater and the new VitaminWater flavor, e Coconut/Pineapple something. (It really wasn't that bad, and I don't like pineapple.) But what I really got excited about were crackers and chips from a company called Mediterranean Snacks. Why was I so excited? Aside from the fact that I got two free samples each of the lentil crackers and lentil chips, I was excited because these snacks are GLUTEN-FREE!

There are a variety of different flavors for both the chips and the crackers. The cracker flavor we tried was Cracked Pepper and the chips flavor was Sea Salt. I LOVE SEA SALT. Other flavors include Parmesan Garlic, Rosemary, Cucumber Dill, and Roasted Pepper.

The crackers are made with non-gmo ingredients, are gluten-free, are a good source of protein, and are low in fat. The chips are all-natural and gluten-free, a good source of fiber, and contain 70 percent less fat than regular potato chips. These products are made from lentils, garbanzo, and adzuki beans.

In addition to the Lentil Chips and Lentil Crackers, the company also makes gluten-free Veggie Chips, Veggie Straws, and HummuZ CrispZ (which are coming soon). If you want gluten, you can check out the company's Multi-Grain Chips and Wingers. You can find out more about all of these items at the Mediterranean Snacks website. The products are available at Whole Foods, Food Emporium, D'Agostino, Wegman's, King's, and Fairway stores.

These taste good and I like that they are healthier than traditional chips or other snacks. I have a feeling they will not be to everyone's taste. I was trying to think of something to compare them to, but I just couldn't come up with anything. So my advice, just go and try these, especially if you are on a gluten-free diet, if they sell them at a store near you!


Monday, July 9, 2012

Real Simple Herb-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

We don't normally eat much pork at our house, but when pork sirloin chops go on sale for 50% off, well, you buy them, and then you eat pork. I was looking for some good pork recipes that I could use the sirloin chops with, and then in my inbox one day I got an email from Real Simple boasting a super pork recipe. So I checked it out. Even though the recipe for Herb-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Potatoes and Lemony Asparagus calls for you to use pork tenderloin, we made do just fine with the pork sirloin chops.

Here's how I adapted it. Instead of rubbing the pork with thyme (which I bought fresh, and let me tell you, those little thyme leaves don't come off as easy as they show in the cooking shows), parsley (not fresh b/c I couldn't find it), salt, and pepper, I just put two pork sirloin chops into the skillet and sprinkled the ingredients on top. We browned the pork sirloin chops for eight to 10 minutes in the skillet, per the directions. And then we put them in the oven to cook for another 12 minutes. And since the pork was already sliced, we didn't have to wait five minutes to dig in!

Also, my stainless steel Calphalon skillet (thanks Mom and Dad) is oven friendly. Wahoo! You'll need an ovenproof skillet for this recipe.

Instead of new potatoes, I used red potatoes because the five pound bag was on sale, and I can use the leftover potatoes for something else.

I think this recipe was a success. It didn't take me as long as I thought to make it, and aside from cutting up the asparagus, potatoes, and lemon, there really wasn't that much to do. Everything had a good flavor, too. I didn't eat the lemon slices, but my husband did. I don't know. I like the lemon flavor, but eating an actual lemon? Eh.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Everything Here is Wonderful

Here's a simple little layout I did using some American Crafts and K & Company products. (Mainly American Crafts.) This picture is of a little restaurant I ate lunch at with my parents in Illinois. It's called The Oatman House. I had the Oatman Club Sandwich with a little cup of homemade potato soup. It was really good! The restaurant is in an old house with indoor and outdoor seating, plus you can rent it out for events.

Here's some info on the restaurant: Dr. Charles Oatman, a former drummer boy in the Civil War, had this house built for his family in 1875. A classic example of Gothic Revival Architecture, this house with its "gingerbread" trim now stands as an historic landmark in downtown Collinsville. With an emphasis on preserving the Victorian decor inside, the Oatman Haus offers visitors the opportunity to step back in time to enjoy the quaint atmosphere of an era gone by.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Archer Farms Gluten-Free Pasta

This is what Target's Archer Farms Gluten-Free Pasta looks like! Sadly, I couldn't find it at my local Target store. But my PR contact at Target was kind enough to send me these samples. The pasta was good! It's corn and rice pasta, and the two kinds are fusilli and spaghetti. The packaging does say that the pasta is processed in a facility that uses wheat, however, not on machinery that also processes wheat. I don't know to what extent Target monitors cross-contamination at its factories, so if you have Celiac Disease, I guess this is a product that you'd have to eat at your own discretion. If you can find it at your Target stores. Let me know if this is available at your stores! There's another Target store that I can try, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Guess I'll have to start emailing local Target management asking them to start stocking this gluten-free pasta.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Triple Card Threat

I made a few simple cards recently using up American Crafts scraps. The base of each card is actually an old manila folder. I had a BUNCH of used manila folders in my scrap room that I was no longer using, so I cut one up and made three cards with it! The folder is nice and sturdy, moreso than cardstock, which I like. So, if you've got some manila folders at your house taking up space, why not put them to good use?








Sunday, July 1, 2012

Porkie Packs

We tried a new recipe from our Recipes for Gluten-Free Kids cookbook. This is called Porkie Packs. It's pork tenderloin, sweet potatoes, brown rice, zucchini, and barbecue sauce. Now, I had a picture of this food item, but it didn't turn out well. In fact, it made the Porkie Pack look disgusting. So I didn't want to turn you off with that picture because this isn't a disgusting meal.

We used pork sirloin chops because they were half off at the grocery store. Because of this, the chops were bigger than what the recipe called for and our cooking time was twice as long. We also didn't use brown rice. Someone (not me) in my family doesn't like brown rice, so we used white rice.

Also, the only gluten-free barbecue sauce I could find at the grocery store was Naturally Delicious Original Barbecue Sauce. It contains no high-fructose corn syrup and says "gluten free" right on the back. All the other barbecue sauces contained modified food starch, which I've been told is NOT safe. Nobody really knows what's in modified food starch. Of course, there are food products with modified food starch that are labeled gluten-free, so I assume those food companies know what's in their food starch. 


I still have some pork sirloin chops in the freezer. I'm looking for any other new recipes that we can make with them, so please leave some ideas! I don't want to have to resort to Paula Deen's artery clogging fried pork chops, y'all!