Apr 032014
 

Somehow I have always associated Mexican food with being unhealthy…….the truth is it doesn’t have to be. I recently created this recipe that in addition to being tasty is also healthy and gluten free. I hope you enjoy it. I know both my husband and my 14 month old son did, and they can be tough customers!!!!!

Mexican Crockpot Chicken Recipe
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
16 oz. frozen tricolor peppers
12 oz. frozen sweet white corn
12 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 pounds of chicken breast, any fat trimmed
1 12-14oz. jar of your favorite salsa
1 cup chicken broth (I use low sodium, fat free, organic)

Side compliments:
Guacamole
Fresh veggies for dipping (your choice, I like carrots, celery and cucumber for this dish)
Gluten free chips of your choice (your choice, I like sweet potato or a jalapeño tortilla)

Instructions:
Use olive oil to treat your crockpot, ensuring nothing sticks. Place all ingredients up until the chicken breasts into your crock pot. Make sure to mix well.

Next place chicken breasts on top of your vegetable and spice mixture. Pour the entire jar of salsa evenly over your chicken breasts. Then pour chicken broth along the edge of the pot evenly distributed.

Cook on low heat for 5-6 hours or high heat 3-4 hours. You will know the dish is done by checking that your chicken is no longer pink in the center. Make sure to check at the thickest point in your chicken breast pieces.

When serving, remove chicken breasts first. Then use a draining spoon to serve the accompanying vegetables.

I like to serve this dish with the side compliments I mentioned above. Regardless, just guacamole alone served with this dish tastes excellent as an addition.

Servings 4

Feb 222014
 

imageWhen I get in the kitchen to bake, I have fun. It is one of the few places that I experiment freely (music being the other). Anyhow, with this approach to my baking sometimes I hit it out of the park, so to speak, and other times I work and refine what starts out okay.

This particular Friday I was inspired by a bunch of very ripe bananas sitting on my counter and my son’s appreciation for things that are soft, banana flavored, and sweet. I lucked out and this recipe was a true winner. Sooooooo yummy and yes, gluten free as usual.

I hope you try this one! It’s worth it. I whipped it up in 15 minutes and baked it in 30, so it’s a very efficient home baked good. Your going to notice something very cool about this recipe. There is no added sugar. So yes, there are bananas and chocolate chips, but those alone give this adequate sweetness without needing to add any sugar.

Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf Recipe
Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine ground sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gun
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 ripe bananas cut into bite size chunks
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 380F. Prepare a 10 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Combine all ingredients in order from the ingredient list above with the exception of the bananas and chocolate chips. When combining ingredients use a fork or wire whisk to beat by hand, do not use a mixer as gluten free flours are sensitive.
  • Using a spoon stir in the bananas and chocolate chips.
  • Pour mixture into your loaf pan. Bake at 380F for 30 minutes.
  • Let cool a minimum of 1 hour before removing it from the pan.

8 servings

Feb 112014
 

It’s funny how the universe has a way of giving you what you need even if you didn’t know you needed it.

A few years ago, I found myself in a place I didn’t like. I realized I wasn’t living the life I wanted to live as I wasn’t being true to myself. Fortunately at the time, a friend suggested I read the Power of Now by Ekhert Tolle. I read the book slowly over a period of 6 months. It helped me slow down, get in touch with what I think of as the authentic me, and make some dramatic changes.

My life began moving in a whole new direction, a direction where life was more than achievements, work and the mighty dollar. Looking back now, these changes led me to realizing several of my childhood dreams that speak to who I am as a person. My life was transformed. I went from single, lonely and unhappy to married with a wonderful baby boy and deeply happy.

So if your sitting there and thinking, okay, that sounds too good to be true, I understand your skepticism. Looking back, I’m sure if someone told me that I would end up here based on reading a book that had a powerful impact on me, helping me return to living a life true to myself, I probably would have laughed.

Lately I have felt the need to revisit who I am. I think doing so is a good practice as we are all constantly evolving. Not to mention I find it easy to get caught up in the stress of daily living and lose sight of myself. Below I will share some of the self reflection questions I’m working on this week.

  • What makes you happy? Are you spending time doing things that make you happy?
  • Who are you today? Are you happy with this person? If not, why?
  • What are your hopes and dreams? Have you lost them? Can you sit back and allow yourself to creatively explore and reawaken them?

This is the first of several posts I plan to share in this vein of thinking. Here’s hoping you consider joining me on this journey in the coming weeks. I know that this isn’t an easy thing to do, but I believe it is worth the work. Being authentic is where inner peace and happiness lie.

Feb 042014
 

{46c715fe-47f0-41e4-9a0b-e86667ad2719}_7BWI’ll never forget my son lying on my chest for the first time in the hospital. It is a feeling that I cannot compare to anything in the entire world. Whether I realized it or not, from that moment on, my life no longer held the same meaning for me.

Having grown up with a less than perfect childhood (yes, the better part of our population fall into this category), I realize I had developed in my mind’s eye a picture of the perfect mom. In my mind, this woman held certain characteristics, virtues and performed specific tasks on a regular basis. This mom, whom I must call “Supermom” given her energizer bunny energy and ability to do everything her child possibly wants for him or her, is who as my newborn baby laid on my chest, I hoped and prayed I could be. Could I possibly place more pressure on myself?

I write this post because I know I’m not alone. I know that there are so many soon to be mommies and present day mommies who try to live up to an ideal that just is not attainable nor is it good for their own well-being and their families.

Looking back at my first year of mommyhood, I realize that placing unrealistically high expectations on myself did nothing but make me feel bad when I didn’t accomplish what I thought I should. Do I fall back into this expectation habit again on a regular basis? Yes, of course. However, what I have also realized is that what my son really needs is a mommy who is present and in the moment with him. If I am concerned with accomplishing things for him, I can’t truly appreciate him for who he is in each and every moment. These are moments that I will never be able to recreate. So……..rather than “Supermom,” I hope that I, along with all you other mommies out there, can be a mommy who is present and aware and enjoying their children.

 

Feb 032014
 

imageI recently purchased a crock pot and honestly, I can’t believe I waited this long. As a mom, this is honestly one of the best tools I have to get a healthy meal on the table almost any night of the week. In the coming months, you will see more recipes that I have developed for the crock pot. I wanted to start with one of my husband and baby’s absolute favorite, turkey chili.

Having just moved to Boulder, I had a chance to make this again last night for the big game. We were definitely disappointed that the Broncos were not at their best last night, but as you’ll see from my son’s face, that didn’t stop us from enjoying this yummy dish.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we always do. It is low fat and gluten free. I like to serve it with guacamole and gluten free taco chips, celery, and baby carrots.

Turkey Chili with a Kick
Step 1

Ingredients
1 pound ground turkey breast
Salt to taste
1 tbsp. ancho chili powder
1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
3 tbsp. olive oil

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Combine the ground turkey with all above listed ingredients. Use a fork to shred the turkey into crumbles. Brown the turkey in the skillet slightly undercooking it. I usually brown it for about 3-4 minutes.

Step 2

Ingredients
Olive oil to coat the crock pot
1 12 oz. can of tri color kidney beans, drained
1 medium Vidalia onion, diced
1 10 oz. bag of frozen sweet kernel corn
1 12 oz. bag of frozen tri color peppers
1 12 oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 8 oz. can of tomato paste
3 tablespoons Worcester sauce (gluten free bottle of choice)
3 tablespoons of Red Hot sauce
2 teaspoons of salt
1 tablespoon of ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon cilantro
2 tablespoons of minced garlic

Coat the crock pot evenly with olive oil to ensure the ingredients don’t stick. Place all listed ingredients in step 2 in crock pot and mix well. Fold the browned turkey from step 1 into the newly mixed ingredients. Make sure to thoroughly mix the turkey with all ingredients. Place crock pot on low and cook for 3-4 hours.

Step 3

Ingredients
Low fat shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Cayenne pepper

Top each person’s chili with cheese and cayenne pepper to taste depending on spice preferences.

Servings 6-8

Jan 212014
 
Jari Schroderus / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

As I begin to write this post, I feel my hands tremble.

Some of you that know me personally know that I began suffering from an eating disorder at a very young age.  To this day I still fight this battle, sometimes winning and other times just remaining above water. I honestly thought becoming a mommy was somehow going to miraculously make things better. I truly believed in my heart that I would be able to accept my body in this new phase of life, knowing that I had brought a beautiful human being into this world. The truth is, there is no magic wand that erases the struggle.

When I look in the mirror, I don’t see what other people see. Some of you may understand what I mean, but for those of you who don’t, just imagine you went into a fun house at an amusement park and you look into one of the distorted mirrors. There are indeed good days where my vision seems more accurate, but I never know what kind of vision I am going to have on a given day. One look in the mirror can send me on a cascade down a spiraling path of sadness. It makes me so angry that I am impacted by this.

It seems nowadays almost any person, woman and/or man, has some form of an eating issue. Believe it or not, it is too often the person you don’t expect that is struggling more than anyone else. I truly hope that we can all strive to remember that we don’t know what another person is dealing with on any given day.

So tomorrow, like today, I will wake up and strive to find body acceptance. We each have our own personal struggles. What is your hidden struggle? Next time you start to judge someone else, will you stop and remember he or she may be having their own struggles?

 

 

Jan 102014
 

IMG_2718Hello from Boulder, CO. I can hardly believe I’m here. Never in a million years would I imagine that I would be living in a new city at this stage of my life just a year after having my first child. You really never can tell where life is going to lead you. So, here I am.

So many changes have occurred in my life in the last year. I can’t wait to share and explore with you all here in my new home city. My posts may shift a bit from time to time at this point. You can expect to continue to see gluten free recipe posts. I also hope to have more music to share with you as my creativity is sparked from the beauty of the mountains and sunshine surrounding me. I also plan to share with you pearls relative to what I am learning as a new mommy. I feel like everyday is filled with new wonders that I learn from my little man, Christopher. Lastly, I’m going to share my new city with all of you, my friends and readers. Stay tuned!!!

Now, before I sign off……I meet so many people here in Boulder that refer to this life change I have made as living “the dream.” I have to be honest, I never dreamed of relocating here, but now that I have arrived I feel in my heart that I am in the right place for me at this point in time. Who knows were the right place will be for me a year from now, but what I do know is for now, I’m very happy to be living “the dream.”

Nov 182013
 

So I am personally a huge fan of pumpkin. This fall season I set out to design what I was hoping would be a “perfect” pumpkin muffin. Whenever gluten free is involved, that is somewhat of a challenge and a challenge that I welcome. After several tries I did it. What follows is a recipe that is sure to make any pumpkin lover smile.

“Perfect” Pumpkin Muffins (gluten free)

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons of butter (melted)
  • 4 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • 3/4 of a 15 oz. can of pumpkin
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup of millet flour
  • 1/4 cup of sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup of brown rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of golden raisins
  • coconut oil non-stick cooking spray

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 380 F.
  • Coat a 6 muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg with a fork or wire whisk. Then beat in the melted butter, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla extract, pumpkin and sea salt making sure the mixture becomes smooth.
  • In the same large mixing bowl, measure and drop in the xanthan gum, baking soda, cinnamon, and flours, then mix with a mixing spoon. Unlike baking that uses gluten, you do not want to over mix anything. Do NOT use an electric mixer. If you beat the batter too much it will not rise and will not have the desired consistency. You want to mix with a mixing spoon just enough that all of the ingredients are dissolved throughout the batter.
  • Fold in the golden raisins and mix until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  • Fill the muffin cups evenly, about 3/4 full.
  • Bake muffins in 380 F oven for 30 minutes. Check that they are fully cooked by inserting a toothpick in the center of the muffins. The toothpick should come out clean. If not, put back in the oven for 2 minute intervals until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool muffins for a minimum of 30 minutes before removing from the muffin pan. Serve immediately or store for a maximum of 4 days.

Servings: 6 large size  muffins

Oct 222013
 

You may have noticed that I have not been posting much lately. My duties as a new mommy have led me to take a short break from posting regularly. I don’t often find a hands free moment to get on the computer. However, today it seems like an opportunity has emerged and my little man (Christopher) is sleeping soundly in his ergo carrier on my chest as I type.

I have been wanting to share an amazing brownie recipe that I perfected over the past few months. I am certain you are all going to love them. They are truly scrumptious. There is a mild coconut flavor to them due to the use of coconut oil and coconut flour in the recipe, this is the secret twist. The secret twist adds a fun, unexpected decadent flavor to what would otherwise be a typical brownie.

Dark Chocolate Brownies Recipe (gluten free)

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces high quality dark chocolate (70 – 80%)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fine ground sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of chopped, unsalted pecans
  • 1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips
  • non-stick coconut oil spray

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • On the stove top, melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil till smooth. After removing from the stove, stir in the vanilla extract.
  • In a medium size bowl combine and hand mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, almond meal, sorghum flour, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the two eggs.
  • Pour the eggs and the melted chocolate mixture into the center of your dry ingredients and mix well. Do not worry if the mixture seems a bit thin. Make sure to mix well with a spoon by hand until the consistency is somewhat sticky.
  • Fold in the unsalted pecans and mix.
  • Coat an 8 inch round pan with non-stick coconut oil spray or an individual mini loaf pan (8 servings).
  • Pour your batter into the pan you have selected. Then take the mini dark chocolate chips and sprinkle them across the top.
  • Bake for 25 – 30 minutes at 350 F. You will want to watch the brownies very closely when you reach the 25 minute mark as you don’t want to over cook them. Use a toothpick to test that the brownies are done and watch that the edges don’t begin to brown too much or separate from the edge.
  • When the brownies are complete, leave to cool at least an hour before cutting them. If you are an ice cream lover, these taste absolutely wonderful with vanilla or chocolate ice cream on top.

Serves 8

Aug 132013
 

Violet and the TransAtlantic SoundLabI can hardly put into words the emotions that I feel at the release of my 1st Album. It has been such an incredible journey that I never imagined would happen. The crazier part is if it were not for social media, I don’t know that it ever would have. A little over a year ago now, I met Paul Mahabir from Wirral, UK on twitter. Having never met, but noticing we had complimentary talents, we teamed up and started  writing music together. We call ourselves Violet and the TransAtlantic SoundLab. Our first album is called Moments. You can purchase it on iTunes as well as CD Baby and will find it in a host of other places such as Spotify where you can stream it for free.

Moments on iTunes

Moments on CD Baby

Just in case your curious what people are saying about the album, here are a few reviews:

Moments of Pleasure
“Reading the bio of Violet and TransAtlantic SoundLab for the first time, I was very intrigued to find out if it’s possible for the musicians who never even met in person to create something good together. To my amazement, what I heard turned out to be better than good. Soft yet powerful, eerie at times melodies (Paul “Mabzi” Mahabir) enriched by alluringly haunting vocals (Laura Violet Alexandre) create a moody dreamlike atmosphere. From the first notes the listeners may be tempted to close their eyes and let the sound take them far away. Each stop on this journey is a lovely experience – whether it’s watching a roaring, untamed sea (Goddess Of The sea), running barefoot in the sun (Summer Embrace), searching for the true love (This Eternal Moment), witnessing the hardships of creating process (Connotations) or going back in time (Where We Used To Meet) Every track is a wonderful stand alone piece, evoking variety of emotions from pure joy, through anxiety to nostalgia and tranquility. Yet, together they make a strong consistent whole.
Dwelling on the EP for a little longer you can discover great depth to it. The title itself “Moments” is an interesting choice. It seems as if each song was to capture these fleeting little moments our lives are made of and keep them from evaporating into the past.
A truly wonderful debut EP that may satisfy the senses of any music lover. Just take a few “Moments” to listen.” ~Magdalena Rutowska

Ethereal, Powerful, Memorable

“In this busy, hectic world we live in ~ finding moments that soothe the soul, refresh the spirit, and renew our hope, can be hard to come by. Until now, that is. Moments, by Violet and the Transatlantic SoundLab, is nothing short of pure magic. Their creativity never ceases to amaze me. Original, spiritual, inspirational, beautiful! This CD is my go-to music!!” ~Michelle Madrid-Branch

Stunningly Beautiful

“I loved listening to every beautiful song. When you both put your talents together its Magic. The music is amazing and Violets Voice is mesmerizing. I get goose bumps when I hear it. It is music you can also feel, not just hear.” ~Michelle Baker