One day my husband came home with a sack of avocados. And by sack, I legit mean sack. He put them on the counter and said, “I know how much you love avocado.”

He was right. I do love avocado–so much. But all you avocado lovers know that it’s a tough life dealing with avocados. You play the waiting game until you’ve waited too long. And then you’re back at the store to start again.

Well I intended to do right by this amazing and thoughtful gift from my husband, so I ate that sack of avocados over the next two days before they went bad and had to be tossed. Yep, the entire sack all by myself because I am the only one in my house that eats avocado.

Then it dawned on me that I should have tried some new recipes instead of simply scarfing them down with lemon pepper and a spoon (that’s my favorite way to eat them).

Here’s where these muffins come in. I was reading online that you can sub butter out for avocado and I decided to give it a shot. I also subbed out the egg for apple sauce for a totally vegan muffin.

Avo muffins

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar ( you can also use white sugar)
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1 cup coconut milk (or any other nut milk)
  • 1 small avocado (mashed)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 375.
  • Line your muffin tin or spray it with cooking spray.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and coconut sugar and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl mix the apple sauce, milk and avocado until well blended (I left a few chunks in my avocado but if you’d rather not see any green make sure to blend the avocado super smooth before you mix it in).
  • Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients a little at a time until your batter is well mixed.
  • Add 1 tbsp of batter to each well of your muffin tin.
  • Add 1 tsp of the cinnamon sugar mix to each well.
  • Add a final tbsp of batter to each.
  • Top it off with 1 final tsp of cinnamon sugar.
  • Use a toothpick to swirl the mixture in each well.
  • Bake for 18 minutes.
  • Let the muffins cool in the pan so the sugar can cool (don’t be like me and burn your mouth. Hot sugar is NO JOKE!).

Ready for the oven

These were super moist and just the right amount of sweetness. If you like a sweeter muffin I’d suggest adding an additional 1/4 cup of sugar.

Vegan Avo Cinnamon Muffins

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Lately I’ve sort of been obsessed with chicken meatballs. I’m not so sure why but they’ve taken over in my kitchen. Chicken is such a blank slate, but it can also be very boring and monotonous if you’re not careful. Luckily meatballs are far from boring, especially when you have a seasoning rack filled with a huge variety of herbs and flavors.

So today, I present to you Dill Chicken Meatballs. For those of you who haven’t experimented with dill weed, this is a good recipe to experience it. It’s not too much where you feel like you’re eating a pickle, but just enough for a burst of flavor.

Dill Chicken Meatballs

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb ground chicken breast
  • 1/2 orange pepper (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Lowry’s seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried dill weed
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil

Here’s what you do:

  • Mix everything together. Get in there good so you get the seasonings all mixed in. If it’s still a little sticky you can add a bit more bread crumbs.
  • Heat your oil on medium-high heat.
  • Form your meatballs (or burger patties if you’re having a lazy day).
  • Add the meatballs to the oil and cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until they have browned and cooked through.
  • Drain them on a paper towel and enjoy!

Hope you guys like this one. They were a hit with the husband.

Love ya!

RC

Dill Chicken Meatballs

Last week I had an ahh-mazing girls night with a couple of tried and true friends and a couple of new friends. I’ve been struggling lately with a bit of friend turnover when I realized that a few people I considered to be very good friends didn’t deserve that title at all. People say you know your real friends when you go through something, and Lord knows I learned that lesson for sure in my most recent down season.

But this isn’t a sad post. It’s a happy one where God filled some major friend voids by reminding me of a few people who have been by my side since they’ve come into my life and by introducing a couple new friends who I’m pretty certain are going to stick around for a while. And I couldn’t be more happy because my new girlfriends fit right in and it made for some good convo and laughs until our cheeks hurt.

I am a huge fan of girls nights and I love hosting, especially when it’s a good group of girls who are open to sharing life experiences over a few glasses (or bottles) of wine. Plus, hosting girls nights means I get to test out new recipes before sharing them with you all!

Honey garlic chicken

Here’s the recipe for my honey garlic wings which were a hit with the girls.

What you need:

  • 3 lbs wings
  • 1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • Green onions for garnish

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 400.
  • Season your wings with the seasoning salt, paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper.
  • Refrigerate while you make the glaze.
  • Heat your butter in a medium sauce pan.
  • Chop your garlic and sauté in the butter.
  • Add the honey, water and soy sauce and mix well.
  • Heat on medium-high until the sauce thickens just a bit.
  • Pull your chicken out and put it into a baking dish. I like to use a cast iron skillet for even cooking and browning.
  • Pour your sauce over the chicken.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until the chicken is nicely browned and cooked through.
  • Garnish with chopped green onions.
  • Plate, eat and enjoy!

Honey garlic chicken

As always…love ya!

❤️RC

Honey garlic chicken

First off I’d like to send a huge thank you to all of my followers. You guys have been going strong with me for a while and I appreciate you keeping up with my stories and recipes (even in the times when I completely neglect my blog space).

Today I have a brand new recipe for you–one that was pretty fun to experiment with because it marks my first encounter with coconut sugar. If you are like me and have never used coconut sugar before, here’s what you should know:

  • It has a mild sweetness with a carmel-like flavor
  • You can use it in any recipe in place of regular sugar at a 1:1 ratio

Pretty simple, right?

Coconut Sugar

Now, on to the gluten free sweet potato bread. I realize some people aren’t fans of sweet potato. There’s like a war between sweet potatoes and pumpkin. And that’s ok. You can substitute pumpkin for the sweet potato. So let’s get to it!

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Bread

What you need:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cup Oats, ground into flour (it took me about 3 cups of oats to get 2 1/2 ground oat flour)
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cup Mashed Sweet Potato Puree (it took me 3 medium potatoes to get 1 1/2 cups of mash)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup Coconut milk (or any kind of milk)
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup Almond Butter (or any kind of nut butter)

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 350F.
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl and stir well.
  • In a delegate bowl, combine the Sweet Potato Mash, Almond Butter, Coconut Milk, Egg, Coconut Sugar, Vanilla Extract, and Apple Cider Vinegar.
  • Mix until everything is well incorporated.
  • Add in the dry ingredients.
  • Gently stir until well combined.
  • Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly.

Gluten free bread ready for the oven

Mixing the bread in a stand mixer

I had mine warm with a little butter and I absolutely loved it. I think I’ll keep this in heavy rotation for a while.

Love you guys! ❤️

RC

Gluten free sweet potato bread

Carrots are my favorite vegetable. I loved eating them as a kid and still love them now. I used to think carrots helped your eyes, but it turns out that may not be the case. Or maybe I just never ate enough because I’m blind as a bat.

Anyway, when I cook carrots I typically prefer them sweet rather than savory. A good glaze of honey or brown sugar always does the trick for me. But I was challenged to change it up a bit by one of my instagram followers. I posted a picture of carrots and asked my followers for suggestions on what to make. Someone said carrot gnocchi. TOTALLY UNEXPECTED.

I loved the idea. So I set out to do a bit of research on gnocchi recipes to discover the best way to swap the potatoes for carrots. Here’s my take on a healthier (maybe) version of gnocchi.

What you need:

  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 eggs yolks
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  • Cook your carrots in boiling water until they are soft
  • Drain and mash the carrots (I pulsed them in my blender because I’m lazy–the goal is mashed carrots, doesn’t matter how you do it)
  • Put your mashed (or blended) carrots in a mixing bowl and mix in the egg yolks, salt and Parmesan
  • Add in 1 cup of flour and incorporate. Continue adding flour 1/4 cup at a time until you get your dough. If it’s sticky then you need more flour. This is NOT an exact science so add bits of flour until you get to a dough-like consistency.
  • Roll 1/4 of the dough onto a floured surface into a log about 3/4 inch thick

  • Cut your log into 1 inch pieces and place on a floured surface while you continue this process with the remainder of the dough (I put mine on a floured baking sheet)

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil
  • Salt the water (always salt your water whenever you are making any kind of pasta)
  • Drop in your carrot gnocchi and cook until they float to the top (about 4 minutes)

At this point your gnocchi is complete, but pasta isn’t amazing until you add a sauce. You can eat it plain or sauce it however you like. I chose a garlic and sage butter sauce. It’s super light and flavorful, and you can use it for all kinds of pastas.

Garlic & Sage butter sauce

  • Melt and brown your butter over medium heat (careful not to burn it)
  • Add in your minced garlic and sage and cook for a minute or so
  • Sauté your gnocchi in your butter sauce until all the pieces are coated
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Plate your gnocchi and garnish with some extra Parmesan and sage.

Hope you enjoy this one. It was a big hit with my girlfriends!

Love ya!

Summer is on its way out the door. And that means goodbye to all the colorful dishes and hello to pumpkin and sweet potato. But summer isn’t gone yet, so I’m holding on to it for as long as I possibly can. 

That’s why I decided to go for sausage and peppers for dinner tonight. I mean, who can resist a plate full of colors? So I went on a hunt for the perfect palette of peppers. 

A few weeks ago my husband and I moved to Brownsburg, Indiana. It’s a suburb of Indianapolis, but it’s got more of a town feel–which I love. We are super close to a number of farms and that means fresh produce all the time! 

On my exploration of the city, I found a place called The Hayloft. It’s not a traditional farmer’s market. It’s a farm-to-table store with locally grown fruits, veggies and herbs. They also have fresh eggs, meats, cheeses, honey and infused olive oils. And it’s all local. I seriously felt like I hit the chef’s jackpot. 

Pineapple Vanilla Bean Jam
Checkout this locally made pineapple vanilla bean jam I found.

The Hayloft had some amazing Bell and Lipstick peppers to select from, all fresh and ripe for the picking. I even found a purple one. It was gorgeous! The color cooked away and it became more translucent in this dish. Next time I’ll reserve the purple pepper for a summer salad rather than cooking it. That way I can enjoy the color when it’s served. 

Purple Bell Pepper
Peter Piper picked a purple pepper 😉

All in all, this sausage and peppers recipe was very tasty. It was quick and light–perfect for an end of summer evening. 

Here’s what you need:

Most people would add onion to the recipe. I abhor onions, but I won’t judge you if you add them in for your version. 

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4-5 colorful peppers (I chose a mix of Bell peppers and Lipsick peppers)
  • 4 chicken sausage links
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel 
  • 1/2 tsp ground savory (if you don’t have ground savory you can easily substitute thyme)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Here’s what you do:

Start with a cast iron pan (if you can). I like my sausage and peppers to get a nice char on them, and I find that’s best with cast iron. 

  • Heat your olive oil and sauté your garlic
  • Chop your peppers however you like. I chop my Lipstick peppers in rings and I chop my Bells long and skinny. 
  • Add your peppers into the pan along with your herbs and salt and pepper
  • Stir the peppers until they are fully coated
  • Let them cook for about 3-5 minutes or until they begin to soften. You will notice that purple peppers will lighten and orange peppers will take on a more yellowish tone. 
  • Add your chicken sausage and stir
  • Cover your pan and let the sausage and peppers cook until the chicken sausage is cooked through and all the flavors are married together 
  • Serve over brown rice and enjoy your colorfully warm, summer goodness. 

-RC 😘

Chicken sausage and peppers

I am a sucker for anything light and creamy and sweet of course. I asked my husband to pick up some fruit from the store one day and he came home with a sack full of pears. I’m typically more of a strawberry, grapes & kiwi type of girl, but my honey was onto something when he switched it up.

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POACHED PEARS

What you need:

  • 4 pears
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

What you do:

  • Peel the pears and cut in half (try to leave the stems in tact)
  • Core the pears with a melon baller or a spoon (the melon baller will give you a perfect hole)
  • Add your water, brown sugar and honey to a large saucepan and let simmer until the sugar and honey dissolves
  • Stir in your spices and almond extract
  • Add your pears in with the inside facing up (I pushed them down so the liquid would fill the inside and help keep the pears from floating to the top)
  • Cover the pears and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until you can poke the pears easily with a fork (be careful not to let the pears get too soft…we don’t want mush)
  • Remove the pears and the juices and put them in a covered dish to steep

You can eat the pears once they cool but I decided to steep them in the fridge over night for more flavor


HONEY & SPICE SAUCE

What you need:

  • Your remaining juices from your poached pears

What you do:

  • Pour the juices into a saucepan and bring to a boil
  • Turn down to medium-high heat and cook until the juices reduce and thicken

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ALMOND PUDDING

This recipe is actually an adaptation of my mom and grandmother’s banana pudding recipe.

What you need:

  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup of sugar (the recipe calls for 1 full cup but I like my pudding a little less sweet)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract

What you do: 

  • Mix your dry ingredients together in a saucepan
  • Mix your yolks and milk in a bowl
  • Add your egg mixture to the saucepan
  • Cook on low to medium, stirring occasionally, until your mixture starts to thicken
  • Make sure to stir to keep it smooth…nobody likes lumpy pudding
  • Remove the pudding from the heat and stir in your extract

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This recipe might seem like a bit much because of all the pieces and steps, but it is really very easy and equally delicious. Enjoy!

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With lots of love from my heart to your belly!

-RC

Hi Friends!

So many of you know that I have given up meat, dairy and gluten until Easter. This journey has been going pretty well so far but I messed up a little last night. I thought I was making vegan, gluten free pizza. As it turns out, I actually just made gluten free pizza.

Last night was a lesson in remembering to read ALL labels of EVERY ingredient.

I set out to make pizza after my husband suggested we find some gluten free bread and put some tomato sauce with mushrooms and spinach. Poor thing was craving pizza so bad, and I figured I’d help him out.

My initial plan was to make my own crust, but I was perusing through the Kroger clearance shelf and saw a box of gluten free pizza dough. It was premixed and it said GLUTEN FREE in big beautiful letters. That box was saving my life and my time, so I grabbed it and continued on the get the rest of my ingredients.

After we finished dinner I decided to read the box to see what the ingredients were. I was searching for ideas for my own gluten free dough. And I realized that while the mix had no gluten, it wasn’t free of dairy. That’s right folks. We made a mistake and had eggs and milk when we ate that crust. Father, forgive me.

This recipe is still worth sharing.

What you need:

  • Gluten free pizza crust (I used a generic premixed brand and just followed the instructions on the box)
  • Your favorite tomato sauce
  • Garlic & Herb flavored TreeNut cheese (This stuff if like heaven to me)
  • 1 can mushrooms (You can also use fresh mushrooms and saute them, but clearly I was being lazy this particular night)
  • Whole, pitted back olives
  • Vegan meat crumbles. Now as you know, I am not a huge fan of fake beef, but I did find some that I love.

LightLife_SmartGround_OrigCrumbles_PkgFrt

  • Small bunch of spinach
  • Seasoning salt, lemon pepper, garlic powder to taste

What you do:

  • Prepare your dough and preheat the oven according to the box instructions
  • Roll it out in a baking pan. It’s not going to look very pretty. At least mine didn’t
DSC_0371
My sad, sorry attempt at rolling out my dough.
  • Spread on your pizza sauce. Feel free to spice your sauce up with seasonings. I didn’t because this night was a super lazy night. Once I saw the box of premixed gluten free dough, it was pretty much downhill from there.
  • Drop spoonfuls of your TreeNut cheese on top of your dough. It’s not very spreadable, but it’s OK. DO NOT try to heat it up to make it spread more easily. This isn’t real cheese so that won’t work. Use as much as you like. I used a ton because I love this stuff.
  • Now you can add your toppings. Add as much or as little as you like
  • Sprinkle your seasonings on top
  • Put it in the oven and bake according to the box
  • Take it our and ENJOY.

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This recipe actually was really good. It wasn’t super reminiscent of pizza as the dough had a bit more of a crunch to it. That TreeNut cheese is life though. It’ so creamy and tastes so delicious with the fake meat crumbles. This recipe was a hit in my house.

Now, does anyone have a good recipe for a vegan & gluten free crust?

Hello everyone! I hope you all are doing lovely today. I’m super excited to share this recipe with you because it’s super easy and totally guilt free. 

You may not know this, but I am in love with Asian cuisine. I know I always say I’m in love with other stuff like pasta and cream and wine and whatnot. And that’s because the truth is that I am in love with food. Period. 

But Asian is by far my favorite. I used to say I wanted to marry an Asian man so I could get all the recipes. And as you all know my love isn’t Asian at all so I didn’t luck up on any authentic Asian recipes. Instead, I just try and replicate my favorite dishes. Sometimes I fail, but this time I think I did ok. 

Now I need to warn you that although I used Asian ingredients, I didn’t really do anything super exciting. I also didn’t really make an Asian dish. I just used a couple of Asian ingredients to create a quick and easy guilt free dish. I am in no way claiming this to be an authentic Thai dish. It’s just called Rae Thai because Rae is my nickname (pre becoming RC) and I was dreaming of Pad Thai when I made it. 

What you need:

  • 1 8oz box brown rice noodles 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 14oz container extra firm tofu
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package of steam in the bag stir fry veggies (mine were frozen)
  • 1 bottle gluten free Pad Thai sauce (I’m fasting from gluten for Lent so I chose gluten free. The gluten really comes from the soy sauce that’s in the Pad Thai. If you’re not gluten free, then don’t worry yourself over finding a g-free version). 

One Pot Rice Pasta

What you do:

  • Soak your rice noodle in hot water (not boiling) for 6 minutes. 
  • While noodles are soaking, heat olive oil in a medium pan 
  • Chop tofu to your preferred size and add to the pan once the oil is hot
  • Add in salt and pepper to taste. I also added in some seasoning salt and garlic powder 
  • Brown the tofu to your liking 
  • While browning, steam your veggies. I steamed mine in the microwave. I told you guys this was super simple. 
  • Add the rice pasta into the pan with the tofu and toss around
  • Add in the steamed veggies. Make sure to drain the water out. 
  • Toss the veggies, tofu and rice noodles until mixed well
  • Pour on your Pad Thai and mix it all in. 
  • Plate, serve enjoy. 

I added a little extra sauce to mine because I love sauce but it’s probably best without the extra sauce (according to my husband). 

Rae Thai

By now I am pretty sure you are all WELL AWARE of my addiction to pasta. I created this guilt-free alternative and it turned out to be a hit. Contrary to popular belief, everything I try in the kitchen isn’t always a hit. When I made this I wasn’t on the fast, but you can very easily remove the sausage and this would still be a perfect vegan & gluten free option.

What you need:

  • 1 10 oz box red lentil pasta (I used Tru Roots brand and found it at my local grocery store.)

package-ancient-grains-red-lentil-sedanini

  • 6 chicken sausage links (I used 3 chicken spinach sausage links and 3 chicken and maple sausage links from the meat department at my local grocery store. FYI chicken sausages are sometimes still cased in pork casings.)
  • 1 can white clam sauce
  • 1 can red clam sauce (You can also just use low cal tomato sauce if you hate clams.)
  • 1 jar artichoke
  • 1 jar sun dried tomatoes
  • Handful of fresh spinach (Use as much as you like)
  • Salt, pepper, garlic and thyme to taste (Sorry I didn’t measure. Use your best judgement.)

What you do:

  • Cook the pasta as directed and BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO OVERCOOK. It will turn to mush if you do. Remember these are beans we are working with.
  • Mix your clam sauces, artichoke and sun dried tomatoes in a sauce pan
  • Bring to a boil for about 2 minutes
  • Add your seasonings and let simmer
  • Stir in the pasta
  • Fold in the spinach
  • Eat as much as you like…unless lentils rumble your stomach.

It was pretty hard to remember that we were actually eating lentils. The pasta was nice and firm and had a great taste to it. Hope you enjoy this one!

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