Lovin’ It: Domino The Book of Decorating

Lovin’ It: Domino The Book of Decorating

I’m launching a new segment today called Lovin’ It where I’ll feature products, businesses, services that I’m lovin’ in hopes that you may love them too! And no, McDonalds is not on my Lovin’ It list. But this Domino book sure is!


My favorite design magazine, Domino, unfortunately went out of publication a few years ago…Sad story, but the good news is there is a Domino book that captures many of the best images and design ideas from the many issues of the magazines. This book was a Christmas gift from my hubby this year. It makes a great gift for those design and decorating lovers! Here’s some of the beautiful images from the book to give you a glimpse. Hope you’ll pick up a copy (you can get it on Amazon).


Its full of color palette and space planning ideas.


Lots of tips to mix and match pieces in a space.


The book includes beautiful fabric and wall paper prints. This one is from GP & J Baker #158408C fabric in #R1375-3 color.

There are plenty of ideas for entryways, living rooms, dinning rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, offices, and kids’ rooms.


There are tons of Tricks of the Trade inside.


There are even ideas for renters and for even the smallest spaces.

Hope you’ll enjoy this book as either a beautiful coffee table book or a great resource for the decorator/ designer in your life!

*Book: Domino The Book of Decorating: A room-by-room guide to creating a home that makes you happy
by Domino editors, Deborah Needleman, Sara Ruffin Costello, and Dara Caponigro, 2008

Greens, Beans, and Sausage Pasta

Greens, Beans, and Sausage Pasta

I found love pasta dishes that are full or flavor. I fell in love with this one because its delicious despite the fact it doesn’t have cheese in it! Its a little spicy, a little saucy, and full of nutrient packed ingredients that’ll warm you from the inside out.
As you can see this is another kale dish; I’m really loving kale right now and hope you will too!

Ingredients:
1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large red onion, sliced thin
4 fully cooked spicy chicken andouille sausages cut into thin slices (I like Trader Joe’s Smoked Andouille Chicken Sausage)
1 pound greens (I use kale, but you can also use collard greens or mustard greens) cut into 1″ strips
1 can tomato based vegetable juice (I use V8 Vegetable Juice)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 pound penne pasta (I use GF pasta)

Directions:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Toss with a little olive oil and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in large pot on medium heat and cook onions until translucent. Add chicken sausage and cook until fragrant about 5 minutes.

3. Add greens a little at a time and coat until wilted. Then add vegetable juice, cayenne, and sugar. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes until greens are tender.

4. Add beans and stir to combine. Cook uncovered until most liquid is absorbed about 3 minutes. Swirl in vinegar and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
5. Serve greens, beans, and sausage mixture over pasta. Enjoy!

* Recipe Source: A health magazine that I can’t remember the name of, sorry. Got it a couple years ago.

Re-purpose It: Blanket Basket

Re-purpose It: Blanket Basket

This is definitely a trash turned treasures idea.
My in-laws were throwing out this old house plant basket, so I decided to take it and find a use for it.

I like to have throw blankets in my living room to curl up with while watching a movie, but I was really tired of seeing them collect on my couch. So, I decided to roll up some throw blankets and store them in the old plant basket right in my living room. They’re contained in the pretty basket, but easily available right in my living room.

So, if your house plants have bit the dust this winter, don’t get rid of the pretty house plant basket. Just Re-purpose It!

How to Replace Eggs

How to Replace Eggs

Not only can I not eat gluten, but I also can’t eat eggs. Many gluten free breads, pastries, cakes, and muffins that are pre-made have eggs or egg whites in them. And most gluten free baking mixes call for eggs.

So, how can I eat these baked goods? My secret is Ener-G Egg Replacer.
Its a GF product, that is a powder. You simply mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of the powder with 2 tablespoons water, which equals 1 egg.

How does it taste?
If I didn’t tell you I used this substitute in a normal recipe instead of eggs, you’d never know. I use this egg replacer in recipes where eggs are used to leaven.

Where can you buy it?
Most local health food stores carry it. You’ll most likely pay anywhere from $5 to $10 for it, but it lasts a long time because you only use such a small portion at a time.

What is it made of?
Its made of potato starch, tapioca flour, leavening (calcium lactate, calcium carbonate, citirc acid), sodium carboxymethylcellulose, methylcellulose. Calcium lactate is not dairy dervived. It does not contain lactose.

This product does NOT contain: Any ingredients produced using biotechnology, gluten, wheat, nuts, preservatives, artificial flavorings, sugar, cholesterol, dairy, or any eggs or animal protein.

Hope this helps some of you enjoy foods you otherwise couldn’t eat!

Coconut Sorbet

Coconut Sorbet

Even though its a cold, blustery day I thought I’d share this recipe for Coconut Sorbet.
Since I don’t eat dairy, a creamy ice cream treat always hits the spot. Sorbet is one option for those who don’t eat dairy, but this sorbet has that creamy texture like real ice cream because it uses cream of coconut as the base.
I make this tasty treat year round in my ice cream maker (automatic). Enjoy this delicious treat…In fact I’m enjoying it as I post!

Ingredients:
1 can cream of coconut, sweetened
1 (equal to can amount of water)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Make sure you use cream of coconut, not coconut milk or coconut cream…I’ve made both these mistakes and it does not turn out well.

Directions:
Mix all ingredients together. Pour mixture into ice cream maker. Mix in ice cream maker for 20 minutes. Place in freezer for 6 hours. Then serve with lime zest or chocolate chips, whatever. Enjoy!

* Recipe Source: Cuisine Art Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker Recipes

Slow Cooker Chunky Chili

Slow Cooker Chunky Chili

Because its a winter wonderland here today I thought what could be a better recipe to share than chili?
And not just any chili, but Slow Cooker Chunky Chili!
This chili is certain to warm you right up during these cold winter days and you throw all the ingredients in your slow cooker and when you come home, its hot and ready to enjoy.

Ingredients:
1 pound 90% lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cans (16 oz. each) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup prepared salsa

Directions:
1. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add beef and onions, cook until beef is browned and onion is tender. Drain fat.
2. Place beef mixture, chili powder, tomatoes, beans and salsa into slow cooker; stir.
3. Cover and cook on low 5 to 6 hours or until flavors are blended. Stir occasionally if possible.

I’ve cooked it for 4 hours on high before, but stir more often. A double batch works great for lots of left overs.
I serve this delicious chili with Bob’s Red Mill brand cornbread….Mmmmm Good!

* Recipe Source: Rival Crock Pot Slow Cooker Recipes

Winter Details

Winter Details

Some may say the weather outside is frightful today in the chicagoland area, but there is definitely beauty to be found.
I thought these winter wonderland detail images may help you to see the beauty that exists outside in January. Enjoy!

Stir-Fried Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Stir-Fried Turkey Lettuce Wraps

I love this recipe for lettuce wraps. Its a perfect quick and fun to eat dinner for a Friday night eating in rather than ordering take-out! It not only, follows my restricted diet (no gluten, egg, dairy, etc.), but its a really light meal that’s low in fat, but filled with tons of flavor. Hope you’ll enjoy these lettuce wraps sometime this weekend!

Ingredients:
1/4 cup soy sauce (GF)
4 teaspoons fish sauce (this stuff is especially pungent, but does add good flavor to the meal, I suggest only using 2 teaspoons though)
4 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small jalapeno or serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 pound ground turkey (lean)
2 large heads Bibb, Boston, or Iceberg lettuce, leaves separated
Rice or oriental rice noodles, limes, and sliced/ peeled carrots and green onions for filling options

Directions:
1. In small bowl combine soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Set sauce aside.
2. Heat a large skillet or wok on high heat until hot. Add oil and swirl to coat skillet. Add shallot, ginger, garlic, and chile and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add turkey and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until almost cooked through, 5 minutes. Add half the sauce to skillet and stir until meat s cooked through, about 2 minutes. Serve in lettuce leaves with filling options and sauce.

Gluten Free: How to Go GF and Not Go Hungry, Tip 3

Gluten Free: How to Go GF and Not Go Hungry, Tip 3

Tip 3: Know your GF substitutes!

So, you find out you have to go GF and you think I’ll never eat pasta, pizza, bread, cakes, cookies, or pastries again!
Thanks to the huge rise in the availability of GF products you can eat all of these things, just with substitute products.

What is a GF substitute/ product?
GF substitutes and products are processed in factories apart from where they can be contaminated by gluten.
GF substitutes replace the wheat, rye, and barley flour in a product with alternate flours. The alternate flours generally include rice, bean, tapioca, corn, and potato flours. The trick is that generally these flours must be used in combination to achieve the proper texture.

  • You can buy the flours individually and blend your own as specified in a GF cookbook to use in recipes
  • Buy a GF All Purpose Flour to use as a replacement for wheat flour in a recipe
  • Or buy a pre-package GF mix for whatever you want to make

I use all 3 of these methods, but the easiest is to just buy a GF mix for brownies, corn muffins, bread, cookies, oatmeal, etc. My favorite brand of GF mixes and flours is Bob’s Red Mill, but there are a lot of brands making GF products now.

GF pasta is generally made from brown rice and is available at grocery stores that have a health food/ GF aisle. Don’t over cook it and cook with the lid off.

GF cereals, oats, and pancake/ waffle mixes are great options for breakfast.

Hope these GF options help add more great food to your diet!

Gluten Free: How to Go GF and Not Go Hungry, Tip 2

Gluten Free: How to Go GF and Not Go Hungry, Tip 2

Tip 2: Add new foods into your diet.

I’m a firm believer that whenever you cut foods out of your diet you have to add new foods into your diet.
Constantly thinking about all the foods you can’t eat can be seriously depressing on any sort of restricted diet.
So, instead of thinking about what you can’t eat, think about the foods that you can eat.
If the staples of your diet were pizza, spaghetti, sandwiches, muffins, bagels, and chicken fingers and you have to go GF, you’re going to have to introduce yourself to new foods.

First, I suggest trying dishes from other countries.
Maybe you’re the all American meat and potatoes eater, but there is a whole world full of food out there. I’ve always enjoyed ethnic cuisine, but when I found out about all my food restrictions I started paying more attention to what was in various ethnic dishes.
I’ve found that with my restricted diet authentic Thai food, Mexican food, Nicaraguan Food, Indian food, and Japanese food has a lot to offer me. Thai food uses a lot of coconut milk rather than cow’s milk and uses a lot of meat, veggies and rice. Mexican food uses a lot of corn rather than wheat…and on and on. I can’t eat every dish from these countries, but more than many others have to offer.
So, if you’re GF and tired of eating salads why not look up recipes and make dishes from one of these countries, or find an authentic ethnic restaurant in your area. You never know what you could love!

Second, I suggest trying unusually fruits or veggies that seem foreign to you.
I like shopping at groceries that have a huge selections of fresh produce. Every couple weeks I generally like to buy a fruit or veggie that I’ve never had before. Most of the time ‘ll look up how to cook it, peal it, eat it online. If I dislike it, I’m generally out less than $1. But, if I like it then I’ve found a whole new food to add to my diet.

Third, I suggest trying fruits and veggies you disliked as a kid.
Find recipes to make with these foods that enhance the flavor of the food. If you hated green beans as a kid, but your mom only made green beans from a can or cooked fresh ones until they were mush, try them again.
Try fresh green beans sauteed with salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon juice.