Sunday, August 16, 2020

Hotel Quarantine Part 2

After a few days of this new life, we've settled in to a little groove. I did my first radio show from a hotel room yesterday. I'm thankful for technology, which allows life to move forward, but there's something special about being in the studio. Thank you all for tuning in and for the support you've given me through the years. 

Just to keep my focus each morning when I wake up, I make a short list of things I'd like to concentrate on for the day. Typically, it includes posting on social media, blogging, Pilates, and some self-enrichment activities. The incredible thing is that I've gotten several things done that I've been procrastinating for a long time. Honestly, it feels amazing to get a few items crossed off of my list. When I'm at home, there's always something that's screaming for me to laundry. I've had to wash a few clothes in the sink in my hotel room, but hey, I can handle that!

I brought some large shrimp from home. They were frozen and made the trip quite easily. I sauteed some onions, garlic, and tomato with butter and extra-virgin olive oil. Then, I added some spinach to the defrosted shrimp and tossed in the gluten-free pasta. I added a few gluten-free bullion cubes to the pasta for some extra flavor. I topped the dish with grated Parmesan and we were in heaven.  

I've been doing a lot of meal prep. When I know that a dish will need sauteed vegetables, I go ahead and prepare double and triple batches of the vegetables. This simple technique is saving me lots of extra effort, and I will continue this when I'm back in my home kitchen. Here's one example of a quick snack: sauteed veggies with melted Havarti. I even slipped in coconut aminos...yum!  

Until next time....enjoy!

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Hotel Quarantine Part 1

After a good night's sleep, we began to prepare ourselves to be in a hotel room for the next 14 days. Of course, I went right to thinking about food. Preparing food for myself, my friends, and my family has always been an expression of love. I know, I know... "food shouldn't be used to fill a void or presented as a gift of love or a search for approval." But you know? I'm a southern girl and in the South, where food is an important part of our existence, so I began to cook. That's an understatement when I say I started to cook. My kitchenette has two burners, a fridge, a microwave, a sink, and a dishwasher. I didn't have an oven, but after cooking 12 meals on a campfire, I knew I could adapt. 

Before I could make breakfast there was a knock on the door. Since we're in quarantine for 14 days, we're not allowed to leave. There isn't any free breakfast in the lobby or exploring the town for gluten-free least for now. Since we're in quarantine, the hotel delivered packaged breakfast to the room. When I inquired about a gluten free option, they asked if I could eat fruit. Each morning, they have brought either juice, milk, or water. It varies from day to day, but the boxed meal typically includes oatmeal, a pre-packaged sandwich, and a pre-packaged danish. One morning, we also got boxes of cereal, neither of which were gluten free. On my favorite morning, there were 2 bananas at my door. After pilfering through the bag, I decided it was best to fix some breakfast of my own: an over-easy egg on sweet potato bowls with sliced avocados. 

Honestly, when I first arrived in New York, I panicked for a brief moment. There's plenty of space to explore on my own living in the mountains away from civilization. Thinking about not leaving my room for two weeks was a little....well... overwhelming. Once I settled in and realized that this was an opportunity to rest, create, and spend time with my daughter, my heart was filled with gratitude. I decided there were a few things I'd like to accomplish each day. Plus, I figured it would help me find time to move along. Without my normal walks on the trail, I decided to do Pilates in my room. My workout doesn't take up more space. I also wanted to spend some time doing online seminars and working on my Ho'ponopono certification. So far, we're all hanging in there. 

Did I mention each day we're contacted by the New York Contact Tracer? They check in with each of us to make sure we remember what day in quarantine we are on and to report any symptoms. For lunch, I decided to prepare a hotel fajita bar. Here's a few pictures below. I used a meat alternative called "Beyond Sausage" for the filling, combined with peppers, onions, and garlic. I served the fajitas with gluten free corn tortillas and "Crepini" cauliflower wraps. Lunch was quite yummy! 

The day went by surprisingly fast. I could see how the days could quickly pass by. It seems like I'm spending lot of time in the now, there's no place that feels like home to me more. This morning, I prepared some sweet potatoes and gave them a mash. This saved me time this evening. I just fixed some steamed asparagus with olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and pepper. I seared up some salmon I brought from Virginia with a little garlic, lemon juice, and maple syrup (which will come in handy for pancakes later.)



Friday, August 14, 2020

New York Trip Summer 2020

Ithaca, NY

I haven't traveled since before the pandemic began. I've taken the quarantine extremely seriously over the last several months; my social butterfly calendar was stripped to nothing! However, it's worth it to play on the safe side and work quickly became the highlight of my week. I have been preparing for months for the possibility of taking my daughter to college, however, suddenly I found myself preparing relatively quickly. I felt as though I had to get my daughter to New York to attend Cornell University this fall in the blink of an eye. About a week before we embarked on our trip, we had to each have a COVID-19 test. After receiving our negative test results, we filed our New York Travel Form. We packed the car and headed to New York the next day. I packed a massive of amount of food. I tried to menu plan, bringing as much food as I possibly could. Unfortunately, a few items like pasta sauce and salsa didn't make the cut.

A few hours up the road, we received calls from the New York State Contact Tracer. We were asked a series of questions, which included our travel history and medical background, and they evaluated our symptoms. Afterwards, we were given a list of guidelines and rules to follow during our 14-day quarantine in New York. I packed some delicious shrimp and cilantro summer rolls with spicy sweet chili dipping sauce. The plastic containers I packed the rolls in came in extremely handy for storage in the hotel. Salty, greasy, and crunchy is the trifecta of foodie pleasure for a southern girl! So, in travel tradition, I packed a bag of plain gluten-free potato chips for the anticipated craving. 

After arriving at the hotel, we checked in and were given several handouts about COVID-19 and registering with the state. We were not allowed in the public spaces of the hotel, including the breakfast area. The staff made arrangements for delivery of the items we needed such as towels, paper products, etc. 

We checked in and made our way to the 3rd floor studio room. I unpacked all of our food items, and I was pleasantly surprised that the frozen items remained frozen.

We were so hungry be the time we arrived and unpacked, I decided to whip up one of my simple go-to meals: quesadillas. I have been using salad shrimp for several of my recipes recently, as I've been learning to accommodate different types of vegetarian diets. I used olive oil, butter, garlic, scallions, mushroom, shrimp, and salt and pepper for the filling. Then, I popped out these babies quickly using some grated cheddar cheese I brought from home. I used gluten free tortillas for the "crew" and made mine low-carb with Crepini cauliflower wraps. I topped the quesadillas with cracked black pepper, sour cream, and fresh cilantro. By the time I made dinner and unpacked, I was ready to hit the hay! 

Sweet dreams...

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Daytime Tricities Recipes June 2018

Here are the recipes from my recent appearance on Daytime Tricites celebrating National Picnic Day!  Some of the dishes I prepared were my summertime Citrus Basil Chicken Salad, Individual Cheesecakes in a Jar, Watermelon Mint Salad with Feta Cheese & Crispy Chili Chickpeas! Hope you enjoy...

Citrus Basil Chicken Salad
2 tsp. Basil Extra Virgin Olive from Olive Oil Divine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp gluten free soy sauce
Cracked pepper

1 Pound, Chicken thinly sliced (1” pieces)

1 Package, gluten free pasta shells
            **Cook according to manufactures directions. Place pasta in a large bowl.

In a shallow dish, combine all marinade ingredients and whisk well. Add chicken to dish and toss with marinade. Cover, chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Marinate for 2 hours or overnight if desired. When you’re ready to assemble the salad, heat a large skillet over medium heat with a small drizzle of oil. Remove chicken from marinade and toss marinade. Sauté chicken until cooked thoroughly, about 5 to 7 mins. Remove from heat and place in a large bowl with prepared pasta. 

Salad Dressing:
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 ½ T fresh squeezed OG
2 ½ T fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ tsp gluten free sodium soy
3 Tablespoons, Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Olive Oil Divine
¼ tsp ground ginger

While chicken is marinating, prepare the dressing. In medium bowl combine garlic, salt, pepper, juices, soy sauce, oil, and ginger and whisk well. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

5 Scallions, chopped ½” on an angle
¾ Cup cucumber, peeled & thinly sliced
1 Cup, fresh basil, torn in small pieces.

Add scallions, cucumber and basil to the pasta and chicken. Drizzle with salad dressing and toss well. Serve.

Gluten Free No-Bake Individual Cherry Cheesecakes

12 soft baked gluten free snicker-doodle cookies
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
¼ tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 cup Sugar
Gluten Free Cherry Pie Filling

6-½ Pint Jars with Rings & Lids

Place cookies into the bottom of mason jars and gently pack down in the bottom of the jars.
In a medium mixing bowl, whip heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
In another medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth, scrape bowl if needed. Mix in the sugar, lemon juice & lemon zest.
Fold in the whipped cream with the cream cheese, lemon mixture. Divide evenly between mason jars. Level mixture and wipe the top edges with a clean damp paper towel.
Top each cheesecake with pie filling.  Place lids & rings on jars. Place in refrigerator and chill for two hours. Serve
** Gluten free Gingersnaps, vanilla wafers or sugar cookies as be used as a replacement for the snicker doodles. 

Watermelon Mint Salad with Feta
2 cups fresh cut watermelon cubes
1/3 cup chopped feta cheese
1 Tablespoon, chopped Mint
Sea Salt & Pepper to Taste
½ Lemon, Juiced
2 tsp Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Olive Oil Divine

Place watermelon in a medium sized bowl. Drizzle melon with lemon juice and basil oil and mix gently to incorporate. Add feta, mint, salt & pepper to taste. Gently stir and serve.

Crispy Chili Chickpeas
2 cans of garbanzo beans
2 Tablespoon Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Olive Oil Divine
Spice Blend: 1 tsp granulated garlic, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/8 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rinse beans and drain thoroughly. Dry chickpeas with a paper towel and place chickpeas in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with spice blend and mix well. Pour chickpeas on to a large cookie sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until browned and crunchy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Roasted Chicken Taco with Champagne Mango & Tomatillo Cream

2 cups, Shredded chicken, (Gluten free roasted chicken, cooked)
1 small can, Green chilies
¼ cup Salsa
¼ cup, Scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon, fresh lime juice
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Ground Cayenne pepper, to taste

Champagne mango, peeled & sliced (Or other variety of mango, if desired)

In a large bowl combine chicken, chilies, salsa and mix well. Add scallions, lime juice, salt, pepper & cayenne pepper to taste.
1 Pack, Gluten Free White Corn Street Tortilla Shells

Tomatillo Cream

2 tsp Tomatillo salsa
3 tsp Sour Cream
¼ tsp Fresh lime juice
Salt & Pepper to Taste
In a small bowl, combine guacamole, sour cream, lime, salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.

** Heat Street Tortillas in skillet over low heat until warm. Fill shells with chicken mixture. Top each taco with a mango slice & 1 teaspoon of avocado cream. Garnish with additional scallions or cilantro if desired. Serve & enjoy!

Coconut Lime Shrimp Tacos with Arugula & Tomatillo Salsa

½ can Coconut milk
2 clove garlic, minced
½ red bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp green bell pepper, chopped
1/8 tsp coriander
Cayenne pepper, black pepper & salt to taste
2 Scallions, chopped
2 teaspoons, fresh lime juice
Tomatillo salsa, garnish
Sour Cream, garnish
Cilantro, garnish
1 cup arugula
1 Tablespoon of Oil, (Your Choice)

Heat oil in medium skillet, over medium high until oil is hot. Add scallions, garlic, bell pepper, coconut milk, coriander, salt & pepper. Stir well and reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking sauce until it thickens. Add shrimp & stir well. Reduce heat to low & continue cooking until shrimp are thoroughly cooked, 3-5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add lime juice & arugula, toss well. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Warm tortilla shells according to manufactures directions. Place shrimp mixture in tacos.. Top with sour cream, tomatillo salsa, scallions, cilantro & a pinch of cayenne pepper if desired.
Serve & enjoy!!

Roasted Pork Mesquite Tacos with Pineapple Salsa and Avocado Cream

1 Pack, Gluten Free White Corn Street Tortillas

Roasted Pork Filling
½ Mesquite pork lion (roasted)
½ Red Bell Pepper, diced
½ Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 Jalapeno Pepper, minced
¼ cup onion, diced
2 tsp. canola oil
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp coriander
Salt & pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Heat oil in medium skillet, over medium high until oil is hot. Add onions, garlic, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt & pepper. Sauté vegetables until tender. Add pork and stir to incorporate. Reduce heat to low & continue cooking until pork is thoroughly heated, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat & set aside.

Pineapple Salsa
½ pineapple peeled & diced
1 medium tomato diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Cilantro, chopped
3 Green Onions, Chopped (1 Reserved for Garnish)
1 tsp Fresh Lime Juice
Salt & Pepper to taste
In a medium bowl combine pineapple, tomato, scallions, garlic, cilantro, lime, and add salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.

Avocado Cream
2 tsp Guacamole
3 tsp Sour Cream
¼ tsp Fresh lime juice
Salt & Pepper to Taste
In a small bowl, combine guacamole, sour cream, lime, salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.

Heat Street Tortillas in skillet over low heat until warm. Fill shells with pork mixture. Top each taco with 2 teaspoons of salsa & ½ to 1 teaspoon of avocado cream. Garnish with additional scallions if desired. Serve & enjoy!