Friday, November 26, 2010

November :)

Well the votes are in , and yes, I win the award for the worst blogger of the month award :) I thought for sure once things kind of got rolling with school that I would get in a groove and find time, but didn't. And not really that I didn't find time to get to my computer and read your blogs, but to cook, and then take pictures (which has to be done in the afternoon) and then write up the recipe, and all that. I also thought I would have my "little shop" open the day after thanksgiving as a it's almost christmas suprise, but, it's not quite there. But with the christmas shopping spirit in full force (being the day after thanksgiving and all) I thought I would share my wish list. And here it is...

my wish list

What's funny about this wishlist, is that I can't really have any of these things. Sad I know. The boots (nicole winchester riding boots) are a style from last year, and even though I technically purchased the only pair available anywhere, they got lost in the mail. Don't feel too bad for me, I found a similar pair and decided to just deal with only getting my second favorite. The jacket (dalilah from abercrombie and fitch) is also an older item of theres and not available anywhere. But I love it so much and tried my hardest to find it. Found it, and then things went awry. We were charged but the order was cancelled, and still not resolved. I'm probably not going to get it. The bag (from Fossil) is gorgeous right? Well I've been wanting a new purse for about a year and a half, ever since I grew out my last fossil bag, and it started having some strap issues, but I just can't seem to find one that I like. And everytime I say to myself, ok, I think I really like that one I was looking at, I find out it is sold out. What do you think of the one above, I think I like that, not sure if it's sold out so I better make up my mind :) And the lovely straight and LONG blonde hair, well that's just a silly wish I threw in because, OBVIOUSLY I can't have that right now :) I'm still working on getting the hair past shoulder length, it's been stuck there for a few years now, and most likely it won't ever be as pretty as the gorgeous miss witherspoon's.

Moral of the story.. My wish list isn't really very important :) I'm not into christmas shopping. I think I tried to go christmas shopping nuts one year, and realized, it's just not that important. I LOVE the holiday season, thanksgiving almost more so than christmas, and I think it's because its a relatively no stress holiday. Yes, I still by gifts for the loved ones, but it's not number one on the list during the season. So I just thought I'd show you a few pretty things, but remind you that the holidays should be about love, and family, and gratitude, and all those warm fuzzy things.

This is my first married holiday season, and we're both so lucky to have so much family close by, and so much love. What I'm looking forward to most is having a break from school, and getting to spend more time with my husband and family.

with love,
kristin ann :)

p.s. I can't wait to have some more time in the kitchen in a few weeks.. get excited :)

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Baked Ziti.. and gluten free!

Since I've really wanted to make a point to cook gluten free I thought I might as well check out some pasta alternatives. I wasn't expecting much because I have not enjoyed most other gluten replacements, up until now. In my cooking I have never liked making substitutes. If you can't eat something, just don't eat it: this has been my philosophy until now at least. And usually it's because the alternatives aren't necessarily good for you, they're just alternatives. I bought some gluten free cookies the other day, and I eat them all the time, but they're just not as good as the original. And when you read the ingredients, it has I think 5 flour substitutes, and if I were baking it's just not worth the hassle.
Back to my dinner. I wanted to at least try another form of pasta, because I love pasta, and it makes for an easy and cheap dinner usually. On a few food sites I check out I have seen quinoapasta, and I thought, I'll try it. So I went to our local health food store (fremont natural foods, I think) and I wasn't impressed. I was hoping to see isles of glorious healthy food, and it is really more of a health supplement store, but they had a few food items. I found a bag of brown rice pasta, and decided to try it out. I love brown rice, it's always been one of my favorites, and so healthy! Anyways.. here's what I made :)

{top and bottom photos are the pre baked shots}

A Gluten-Free Healthy Baked Ziti

package of penne pasta (1 lb/16 ounces)
I used Tinkyada brown rice pasta
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 lb ground turkey
1 T. fennel seed
1 tsp. dry thyme or sage
salt and ground pepper to taste

1 1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 jar of marinara (any flavor or brand) they're usually 26 ounces
16 ounce container of low fat ricotta cheese
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves chopped
2 cups grated low fat mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta according to package instructions; rinse with cold water, drain, and set aside. In a large pan, saute the onion with a little olive oil, add ground turkey. Keep on medium heat, and continue to separate the meat into smaller pieces. Add fennel, and seasonings to taste. Cook until all meat looks seared and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Place the meat on a plate and set aside. In the same pan, over medium heat, add garlic and mushrooms with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook until golden brown, and add the marinara. Over low heat, stir the ricotta cheese into the mixture. Turn off the heat, but make sure that the cheese is completely mixed in, with no chunks. Add the basil to the marinara sauce, as well as the cooked turkey, and mix.

In a large baking dish (or a 9x13 pan) drizzle some olive oil to grease the pan. Add about half of your cooked pasta to the pan. Spoon or pour about half of the sauce over the pasta. Lightly toss the pasta and sauce. Continue to add the pasta and sauce until the pan is just about full. (I usually have a cup or two of pasta left over, which I refrigerate and use as a quick meal in the next few days). Make sure to add all remaining sauce. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to the top of the mix. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until the edges all begin to bubble. Remove foil and top with grated cheese, and bake for another 10 minutes.

And enjoy!

Why I used some of the ingredients..
brown rice pasta - gluten-free, full of fiber and nutrients
ground turkey - much healthier than your Italian sausage, but tastes great
fennel - it gives you a similar taste to the Italian sausage
low fat ricotta - tastes and feels almost identical to the original, and less saturated fat
low fat mozzarella - tastes and feels almost identical to the original, and less saturated fat

Feel free to use your everyday pasta, Italian sausage, and any cheese you would like. I just wanted to give you a healthy alternative to a classic Italian dish!

(Jonna I absolutely love the dishes you gave me!!)

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