Sunday, March 8, 2015

Cauli Arborio Bacon " Rice"

I've not been feeling well for quite awhile, therefore I'm trying very hard to make sure I'm eating food full of nutrients and lots of vegetables. That being said we're getting a little crazy for cauliflower around our house. Plus my hubby doesn't like a huge variety of vegetables.  If it were up to him we would only eat green beans, spinach, and romaine lettuce. But he will try new things and I've found a way that he will eat cauliflower. We love rice, especially cooked in homemade chicken broth. But we really love arborio rice. You know the stuff, with butter, Chardonnay, chicken broth and delicious Parmesan cheese, yeah that stuff.  Well I've looked at those cauliflower rice recipes on the Internet and I thought - why not?  Why couldn't I try the arborio style rice with the cauliflower "rice"?  So I did and the results, if I fo say so,myself they are pretty darn tasty.

Food Processor, Cutting board, Sharp knife, Large skillet (should hold 8-10 cups), Spatulas

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into pieces - processed equals about 6 cups
1 cup of chopped onions
3-5 strips of bacon
1/3 cup of dry white wine
1/2 cup of  chicken broth
1 packed cup grated Parmesan cheese, Parmesano Regiano is truly the best. I beg of you to not use the stuff out of the green cans. Splurge for the good cheese for this one.

Place the chopped cauliflower in your food processor, do not fill it more than half full, pulse the cauliflower until you see rice sized pieces of cauliflower. Be careful not to over process. Continue pulsing batches of chopped cauliflower until all the cauliflower has been run thru the food processor.

Add the bacon to a large skillet, you will use this skillet for the entire dish so make sure it's big enough. Cook the bacon till crisp. Once the bacon is cooked place it on a paper towel to cool. Leave the bacon grease in the pan. Add the cup of chopped onions to the skillet with the bacon grease left in it the pan and saute the onions till translucent, approximately 5-7 min on medium heat.

After the onions have been cooked till translucent add in the dry white wine or your favorite white wine. Turn up the heat on the skillet to high now. Cook the wine until reduced by half. Now add the "riced" cauliflower to the skillet. Stir to incorporate the onions and wine.  The cauliflower should begin to steam now. After about 4-5 minutes and 1/2 the chicken stock to the cauliflower mix. Cook the mixture now until the bottom of the pan seems dry, now add the rest of the chicken stock.

If the cauliflower is still very firm place a lid on the skillet for about 5 minutes to let the cauliflower cook thru. Continue to stir the mixture until the cauliflower rice is cooked. Be careful to not over cook the rice, it can turn into mush if over cooked.

Remove the skillet from the heat.  Chop the bacon into bite size pieces and add to the contents of the skillet. Now add the Parmesan cheese and stir to combine the bacon and the cheese.

Taste the mixture, add salt and white pepper as needed. Note that I wait to salt the cauliflower until the very end because the cheese is very salty. 

At this point I tilt the skillet slightly so any extra liquid can be separated from the rice. 

Dip out the rice into a serving dish and sprinkle on a little bit of bacon as a garnish. 

Now enjoy!

Monday, March 2, 2015

5 min Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

My husband and I love a little after dinner dark chocolate so last week I thru together a few simple ingredients in my Nutri-Bullet and Ta-Da! We had ice cream.   We use our Nutri-Bullet almost everyday and mostly for smoothies but this little trick has seriously fulfilled our chocolate ice cream cravings and for me it's completely dairy free. 

5 minutes Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream (Dairy Free)

Fill your small Nutri-Bullet cup half full of ice cubes. 

1/2 cup of Coconut Cream (Trader Joes extra thick) chilled if possible 
1 T chia seeds
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T honey

3 T dark chocolate chips, Coconut Chips, Nuts of choice (go crazy) 

Put all the ingredients except for the chocolate chips (nuts, coconut, etc) into the small Nuti-Bullet cup. 

Place on your blender lid, invert and push down to begin blending. Now listen to the blender, it won't take more than 30 seconds. You will notice you cannot hear the ice crunching anymore. 

Take the blender jar off of the blending unit and open it up. Now is the time to check the consistency. If it's too runny add a few more ice cubes and also now is a great time to add a few dark chocolate chips or even coconut chips. Replace the blender lid and pulse for just a few seconds if you want little bits of chocolate in your ice cream, blend longer if you want the chips and or the coconut finely incorporated. We like our ice cream with little bits of chocolate chips still visible. 

Remove the lid and add two spoons to the cup or pour into two individual bowls. 

This recipe makes two generous servings.  Serve and enjoy immediately. If for some reason your ice cream is a little runny for your liking simply place in the freezer for about 15 min, if you can wait that long. 

Recipe and all photos are property of SheShes Gluten Free. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Chickens, chickens, chickens

I have chickens on the brain.  Last year we started the process of building a chicken coop in hopes that by late spring we could get some chicks.  Well, life got in the way again and we didn't finish that project in time. I know we could've gotten chickens at just about anytime but we did not want to overwinter our birds so we kept on getting ready for next year. Well, here it is 2015 and I can't stop thinking about chickens. I'm reading everything I can get my hands on. 
I love Mother Earth News articles on chickens.  I've bought the "Chickens" magazine at the farm store and asking local folks what they are raising. I have lots of ideas on what I want so now comes the research of where to get them. I feel like a chicken geek. But I love learning new things so this is right up my alley. 
As kids, my brother raised chickens and sold the eggs for his 4-H project for several summers. The day the chicks arrived was always full of excitement. There is nothing cuter than a baby chick. Plus it was the signal that spring had sprung as there was new life abounding everywhere you turned. Daffodils, trees, and grass emerging from their winter sleep. It's all so beautiful. My mother says the most we had at one time were 200 laying hens, and the crazy thing is we lived in a small town (approx. 200 people, tiny I know). Obviously this was before HOA's, because we always had at least one rooster.  
I remember that it wasn't always fun and games with the chickens.  Some were mean and those were the hens not just the roosters. Gathering the eggs was enjoyable when we had smaller flocks. Unless there was a snake in the nesting box. Ooooooooooo!!!!  And my poor father had the job of protecting the chickens from the nighttime predators. There was always a loss of a few birds every year. If my memory is correct it seems my mother did most of the work. Gathering the eggs most days, washing them, and weighing them and sorting them. The eggs were sold and were worthy of sale because of all the extra effort she out into it. 
Plus each late summer we had a large day of butchering the hens and then we had mountains for fresh chicken. There is nothing in the world like the taste of home raised chickens. While they weren't pastured because we lived in town, I'm sure they were better for us than what we could buy. 
My mom used EVERYTHING the chicken had to offer. Absolutely nothing went to waste. She even saved a special portion of fat on the chicken that was this beautiful deep yellow color and kept it in a tall Tupperware container in the freezer. Mom used some of that fat when she made homemade noodles, sugar cookies, and pies. I'll have to talk to her some more about that and get better details so I can write it down so I can do the same thing.  
One thing I learned about my Mom back then was that she was one tough bird ( lol, pun intended). This woman could kill a chicken in numerous ways and did not need a man to do it for her. Let's just say that when you are a pre-teen and you see your mother step on a chicken and pull its head off that you suddenly understand that you should not mess with this woman. ( I say this in the utmost respect). My mom was/is tough. 
At then end of the butchering day she would fry up the biggest plate of chicken you've ever seen. Everyone else loved this, I on the other hand would have had my fill of the smell of chickens and would eat the vegetables while my older brothers made fun of me. 
Going down memory lane is sure fun and reminds me that chickens are a lot of work. They are not for the faint of heart. They need a lot of care, and sometimes have to be put down or die on their own.  However I'm looking forward to all of the wonderful things the chickens will bring to our family.  
Beautiful healthy eggs, cleaning up pests from our pasture, providing some manure for the garden, and some nutritious meat for our freezer. 
Bring on the chickens.