Monthly Archives: July, 2013

Quick and Easy Summer Squash Skillet

This one-dish supper was light and summery with several tasty veggies. I made a realization that six months ago, I probably would have thought this dish would be best served on pasta. Tonight, however, we just had it as is and it was tasty and satisfying. The kids ate the sausage and the one or two requisite ‘no-thank you’ bites of zucchini but my husband and I both enjoyed it!


Quick and Easy Summer Squash Skillet

6 links mild Italian sausage (I used an all natural chicken sausage)
1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 c. bell pepper, diced (I used a mix of yellow, red, and orange – what was left in the fridge!) ūüôā
3 medium zucchinis, halved and sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 c. fresh basil, chopped

Cook sausage according to package directions. Set aside. Slice.

In a large skillet, heat grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and oregano and sauté about 30 seconds. Add bell pepper and zucchini and sauté another 3-5 minutes.

Add sliced sausage, cherry tomatoes, basil, and salt/pepper. Cook for another minute or two until the tomatoes are just tender. Serve immediately.

Husband Rating: 7 out of 10


Gluten-Free Tabbouleh

I needed a side-dish to have with our burgers tonight and this was healthy and delicious.  It was super easy and I am excited for the left-overs tomorrow for lunch!  We had it with our Gorgonzola Stuffed Burgers and Red Cabbage Sauerkraut.  And, crazy enough, when I mixed together all three on my plate, it was outstanding!


photo (2)

Gluten-Free Tabbouleh

1 c. uncooked quinoa
2 c. vegetable broth
1 large cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 pt. grape tomatoes, halved
5 green onions, sliced thinly
1 c. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/3 c. olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt/pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, combine quinoa and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine cucumber, parsley, tomatoes, onions, and cooled quinoa. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. Toss lemon dressing with quinoa mixture and serve cold.

Gorgonzola Stuffed Burgers with Caramelized Onions

We have been working on a landscaping project in our backyard and now that we are another step closer to the finish we wanted to grill out and enjoy our beautiful new patio area. I figured I would try a new burger and this sounded delicious to me. It was SUPER simple to make and we loved them. The burgers actually turned out sweet tasting which was really nice. I served it with a gluten-free tabbouleh and some of my red cabbage sauerkraut.



Gorgonzola Stuffed Burgers with Caramelized Onions

1 lb. ground beef (preferably 100% grass-fed)
3-4 Tbsp. crumbled gorgonzola cheese
salt/pepper to taste
1 sweet onion, sliced
1 Tbsp. coconut oil


Divide ground beef into 8 balls. Flatten into 8 thin patties. In the middle of 4 of the patties, place a few tsp. to a Tbsp. of gorgonzola. Place another patty on top and press the edges together. Season with salt/pepper.

In a small pan, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until golden and caramelized.

Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Cook for 4-6 minutes on each side or until desired doneness. Serve topped with caramelized onions.

(For you non-g/f people, you could serve it on a bun but I didn’t think it needed it!)

Husband Rating: 6 out of 10

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I have wanted to try making hummus for a while now and since I am testing out before buying a full¬†sized food processor¬†(as opposed to my current mini one, thank you Liz and Dave!), I decided to give it a whirl.¬† Seriously, why haven’t I done this before.¬† Hummus is so easy to make and it tasted so delicious!

I definitely plan to make it again and try making other flavors Рroasted garlic is top on my list! I made the roasted red pepper flavor because the boys really like that one when I buy it.  We all have enjoyed it Рwe eat it with crackers, fresh raw veggies, and our very favorite, gluten-free pretzels (thanks to Aimee on that one).

So, here was my lunch from today, with the yummy homemade hummus.


Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and well rinsed
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. tahini 1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 – 1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. jarred roasted red peppers, drained and roughly chopped


In food processor, combine tahini and lemon juice. Whip in the food processor for one minute. Scrape the sides and process for another 30 seconds.

Add olive oil, garlic, cumin, and salt. Process for 30 seconds, scrape the bowl, and process another 30 seconds.

Add the chickpeas and process for 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl, and mix for another 1 to 2 minutes until smooth.

Add the peppers and continue processing for another minute or two until reaching your desired texture.

Store in the fridge in a sealed container. Hummus will be good for at least a week.

First Foray into Fermented Foods!!!

“I think I am going back for seconds.”


Those are words I NEVER thought would come out of my mouth when eating sauerkraut! But, there is a first for everything. Tonight, we had our first meal with my first ever homemade batch of sauerkraut and I am impressed! This version might even get a non-kraut girl like me to eat more of those great fermented foods!

I keep hearing about how great fermented foods are for you… that can include yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and of course fermented vegetables. They contain tons of probiotics and are great for a healthy digestive system. Here¬†is a quick article with basic info on it. I love yogurt and kefir¬†and have even enjoyed kombucha¬†a bit. But, I really know nothing about how to make them myself and so just buy¬†the store versions. However, when I realized that the store-bought sauerkraut contained high-fructose corn syrup, I just couldn’t bring myself to but it and serve it to my family (i.e. my kraut-loving husband). So, I made my own!

It is super easy to do, super inexpensive, and so delicious – again, words I NEVER thought would come out of my mouth. I am taking a class on fermented foods in August and I just can’t wait to find out what else I can make at home!!!

We enjoyed our sauerkraut with brats, spicy mustard, and grilled broccoli and cauliflower.



Red Cabbage Sauerkraut

1 head red cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 head green cabbage, finely shredded
2-3 large carrots, shredded
3 tsp. sea salt
half-gallon wide-mouthed mason jar
small pint mason jar

In a large bowl, combine cabbages and carrots. Sprinkle with salt.

Use your hands, not just to mix but to gently crunch the shredded vegetables. Do this until they start to release the liquid (about 5 minutes).

Pack the mixture into a meticulously cleaned half-gallon mason jar. Pack it down tightly, allowing the juices to rise. I had just enough to fill the jar almost to the top.

Fill the small mason jar about 3/4 full of water and place into the mouth of the large jar as a weight to hold the vegetables under the liquid. If, after putting the weight on top, the vegetables are not under water, add a few tablespoons of water until all are under water.

Cover loosely with a towel and leave sitting on the counter. Check daily to make sure the vegetables stay submerged. If small bubbles form on the surface of the liquid, skim it off. Let it ferment for at least 3-5 days before testing the flavor. We tested it after 5 days and then decided to let it sit for another couple of days. The flavor will continue to increase with each day, getting more sour and pungent as you wait.

When the sauerkraut reaches your preferred flavor, put the lid on top of the jar and place in the fridge. Enjoy for the next several months. The fermentation will slow down but not be stopped completely so the flavor will continue to mature with time.

Husband Rating: He didn’t give it a number but said it was mild but good.

Red, White, and Blue Brownie Skewers

Another Fourth of July BBQ treat was our Red, White, and Blue dessert. I have used the brownie recipe below several times and really like it. I think I prefer it with honey instead of stevia but it is nice to have options. The boys LOVED these skewers and I felt pretty good about it too knowing that it wasn’t a totally sugared up type of dessert!



Red, White, and Blue Brownie Skewers

Brownie Recipe

Recipe adapted from

1 c. almond flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt
1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp. liquid stevia plus 1/3 c. water or 1/2 c. honey
3 eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 glass baking dish with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

In a small bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add other liquid ingredients and mix well.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Combine. Mix in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Red, White, and Blue Brownie Skewers

1 pan brownies, cut into 1 in. cubes
1 pint strawberries
1/2 c. blueberries
1 banana, sliced
wooden skewers

Clean blueberries and strawberries (removing tops from strawberries). Assemble fruit and brownie bites on skewers. Do not put bananas on until just before serving as they will brown if you do it too soon.

Deviled Eggs (No Mayo)

I have been way behind on getting posts up so please excuse the fact that I am still going back to the 4th of July for my recipes this week…

For the 4th of July, we hosted a BBQ with some good friends.¬† My husband wanted to do “traditional, all-American” food for the BBQ.¬† We served BBQ Chicken breasts, Jo-Jo potato wedges, a veggie salad, and these delicious deviled eggs.¬† But, of course, for me it isn’t that simple; I had to give all the recipes a healthy, gluten-free twist.

My mother-in-law always told me that deviled eggs were really simple to make but I just have never done it – it just doesn’t look that simple to me. But, when we went with the traditional food theme, I went for it and made my first deviled eggs.¬† I wanted them to have no mayonnaise because I just don’t like using it.¬† So, instead this recipe uses plain Greek yogurt along with a few other ingredients.

My husband couldn’t tell the difference and ate MANY of them that day.¬† I loved them too and definitely will be making them again.¬† Oh, and my mother-in-law is right¬†– they really are easy to make.



Deviled Eggs (No mayo)

6 eggs
2 Tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. olive oil
splash lemon juice
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. chili powder
sea salt/fresh cracked pepper to taste
paprika to sprinkle on top


Hard boil eggs. My method is to place eggs in an empty pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Boil for one minute before covering and removing from heat. Set time for 12 minutes and leave eggs in hot water for 12 minutes. When time is up, place eggs in a bowl filled with cold water and ice. Allow to fully cook before peeling.

Peel the eggs. Slice eggs in half and reserve yolks in a small bowl.

Combine all ingredients except paprika with yolks. If it seems to dry, add a splash of olive oil or lemon juice. Adjust to your taste preferences. Scoop a small amount of yolk mixture into each egg white. Sprinkle with paprika on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Healthy Cookies – Gluten-Free

Tonight I am hosting a kick-off event for my church’s Team World Vision team. We are a group of mostly non-runners who are training together to run a half marathon in October.

Why would non-runners do this, you ask? Well, that is a great question! We are doing it to raise money to bring clean water sources to people living in Africa who do not have such access, specifically the country of Zambia.

Did you know:

*4,200 Children die each DAY from dirty water

*3.75 million people die each year from water-related causes.

Clean water is so integral in our lives and we take it completely for granted here in the US. When I think about how much water I used just in washing up my dishes,¬†wiping my counters after baking, and throwing in a load of laundry this afternoon¬†and how some people don’t even have enough clean water to drink or cook with, I am even more motivated to help! For $50 dollars, a person in Zambia will receive clean water access for LIFE. That’s right – less than the cost of a tank of gas!!!


If you would like to support this cause, you can visit my personal fundraising page at

There you will see all kinds of information about this cause as well as how World Vision is going about bringing water into the communities in need.

So, what does this have to do with a food blog?¬† Well, like I said, I am hosting the kick-off event for our team.¬† And, I needed some good snacks for it.¬† Being that we are training and running, I couldn’t just do a regular cookie…¬†I figured I should at least make it healthy, right?¬† So, I found a few different recipes for healthy cookies, breakfast cookies, whatever you want to call it and ended up with this one.¬† It’s pretty delicious and it taking a lot of self-control right now for me to not go back over to the counter and scoop up more!!!

Before you make this recipe (and you are going to want to make it), please take a second to think about how much water you use every day and how little it could take for you to help out someone else who doesn’t have that.¬† Then, go to and save a life by making a donation.¬† Then, go and make these cookies!¬† ūüôā


Healthy Cookies

Recipe adapted from

3 Tbsp. flaxseed meal with 6 Tbsp. warm water
2 medium bananas
1/2 c. natural crunchy peanut butter
2 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. honey (if vegan, sub agave nectar)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch sea salt
1 1/2 c. gluten-free rolled oats
1/2 c. oat flour (grind from g/f oats)
1/2 c. almond meal
3/4 c. dark chocolate chunks (I broke a 85% cocoa dark chocolate bar into small chunks; if vegan, choose dairy-free chocolate chips)

In a large bowl, combine water and flaxseed meal. Allow to sit for a few minutes to “gel” together. Mash bananas into flaxseed mixture.

Add peanut butter, oil, vanilla, honey, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Stir in oats, flour, and almond meal. One well combined, add chococlate chunks.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop drops of cookie dough onto parchment paper using a spoon.

Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 15-17 minutes or until lightly golden on the edge. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Store in an air tight container for a few days or in the fridge for even longer storage.
Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Our Growing Paynes

A journey about cooking, traveling, gardening, and crafting.

Pastor Dale Jenkins

Encouragement, Faith, and Hope for the Journey

Scissortail SILK | Becky Thompson

Encouragement for Today >>> Hope for Tomorrow

Clare Smith

Or, a way to answer the question, "What's for dinner?"

Eat the cookie!

before the cookie eats you...

Life Shared and Loved

A blog written by Krysta Kemp on all areas of life loved.

Or, a way to answer the question, "What's for dinner?"

Spiritual Table

One girl's quest to learn why food is a matter of faith.

oil-istas - The oil-istas Blog

Or, a way to answer the question, "What's for dinner?"

Bee Baby Blog

Real food, baby stuff and awesomeness

Sugar-Free Mom

Just another site

Keeper of the Home

Or, a way to answer the question, "What's for dinner?"

Proverbs and Pacifiers

Or, a way to answer the question, "What's for dinner?"

The Better Mom

Growing Better Together

Organizing Made Fun

Or, a way to answer the question, "What's for dinner?"

Simple Life Mom

Natural Beauty and Homemade Everything

I'm an Organizing Junkie

Or, a way to answer the question, "What's for dinner?"


Or, a way to answer the question, "What's for dinner?"