Friday, January 29, 2016

Damn Good Guac

 
I am one of those people that will pay extra money at Chipotle for guac. I LOVE it that much. I mean what is life without the deliciousness that is guacamole? I would die without it. I want to get that shirt that says "I know guac is extra" and wear just when I go to Chipotle. I'm a regular there, YOU SHOULD KNOW I DON'T CARE IT IS EXTRA. Ok rant over.

Anyways, I grew up eating avocados with everything. Maybe it's a Latino thing, I dunno, but avocados are amazing. I remember my mom making me avocado sandwiches that only had avocado, cotija, salt, pepper in between two slices of bread. HEAVEN. Then when she would make guac, I would be as happy as could be. Hers was always plain. Just avocado, garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper. Nothing like the recipe I'm going to present you with here shortly. I don't even know how I came up with it, but if pico de gallo and guacamole had a baby, this is what you would get:

Isn't it beautiful? Let's just take a moment of silence for the beauty that is in front of us.

<silence>

Guacamole is one of my go-to recipes when I'm feeling lazy and need to take a dish with me to a get together, picnic, or Superbowl parties. You can impress your friends with this awesome and easy recipe. It will be the thing you are known for. You'll be the MVP of the party for the best appetizer. People will beg you to bring it to the next function. How do I know this, I am that person. Ha.

Ok, are you ready for this recipe? It's fairly simple to make, the key is getting the avocados ripe enough that they still have their pretty green color like this:

I waited a week for these bad boys to get this color. The key is getting them when the skin is green and letting them ripen naturally in a fruit basket or on the counter. Once they turn brown and soft to the touch, then you put them in the fridge until they are ready to be made into guac. If you don't have a week for them to ripen, you can put them in a paper bag over night and they should be good to go the next day.

Alright, it's go time!

Ingredients:
  • 6-7 avocados (I use Hass avocados)
  • 1 tomato, chopped (seeds taken out)*
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro (omit if you are a cilantro hater)
  • 1/4 of a red onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (depends on how garlicky you like things)
  • 2 limes, juiced (these are key to keep it green the day after)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 jalapeno (optional, adds a nice kick)
*In order to avoid watery guacamole, you really need to take the seeds and all tomato juice from the tomato before cutting and tossing into the guac.

 Method:
  1. Prepping the avocados - I will cut them in half, scrape the meat out of the skin and put them in a large mixing bowl. I discard the seeds. That old adage of putting the seeds in the guac to keep it from browning? ALL LIES. Lime juice is the secret. 
  2. Once you have prepped the avocados, take a potato masher and mash the crap out of them. They should have the consistency of mashed potatoes once you're finished getting your aggression out on them. Feel better? Yea I did too. ;) Set the bowl aside.
  3. Next comes the tedious part, chopping up the veggies. First make sure to wash them so they are nice and clean. No one likes a dirty veggie.
  4. Prepping the tomato - cut the tomato in half. Take a spoon and scrape the guts out and toss (or you can add to a salsa). Cut the tomato into small pieces and put in the bowl with the avocado.
  5. Chop the onion into small pieces. Toss in the bowl with the mashed avocados and tomato.
  6. Prepping the cilantro - take 5 branches and pluck the leaves so you don't have the stems. Put the leaves in a pile and then proceed to take a sharp knife and finely dice the leaves. Add the cilantro to the bowl with the other ingredients.
  7. Next you will either finely dice the garlic or use a garlic press. Add the garlic to the bowl. Garlic presses are such a delightful tool to have in the kitchen. If you don't have one, you are missing out on working smarter in the kitchen. I'm telling you, YOU NEED TO GET ONE NOW. Okay carry on.
  8. Add 1/4 tsp salt and pepper.
  9. Mix the ingredients together and do a little taste test. Is it salty enough? If not, add another 1/4 tsp of salt. If it's up to your salt expectations, let's move on to the final ingredient: the lime juice.
  10. If there's one ingredient you cannot skimp on (aside from the avocados, duh), it's the lime juice. They help keep the guac nice and green. No one likes brown guac. Trust me, lime juice is key. I've tried lemon juice and it's not the same. Just use limes, mmkay?! Cut the 2 limes in half and then put them in the lemon/lime squeezer (another excellent tool to have in the kitchen). Pour the juice into the mix. 
  11. Taste the guac to make sure that it passes the taste tester's seal of approval.
  12. Serve with tortilla chips, plantain chips to make it Paleo, jicama slices, veggies, etc.
  13. Can be stored in the fridge up to 5 days.
Let me know if you make this for the Superbowl! What are your favorite appetizers to have at Superbowl parties?

Stay strong my friends. Until next time!

Affiliate disclosure - I have partnered up with Amazon and they give me a (small) commission if you buy anything in the links at no extra charge to you. It's snack money and helps keep this bloggy blog free for my wonderful followers. The links are items that I actually use and love. With the exception of the Guac tee-shirt. I don't have that...yet... ;) Ok carry on!


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Recipe Review: Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup [DF | GF | WF]


I am always scouring Pinterest for weekly food inspiration for meal prep Sundays. This week was no different and I had a specific ingredient I wanted to use: pork sausage. I also wanted soup. I came across a few tempting recipes that involved sausage soups but most had gnocchi and I wasn't entirely sure where I could find a gluten free option without going on a wild goose chase in Phoenix. I did not have the time nor the energy to do so. Don't even ask about hand making it. <scowls> One thing you will learn about me, is that I can be a lazy cook. If I can get it packaged and make it semi-homemade, I'm happy. If I have to go to the extremes of hand making everything for <ahem> party of one <Moi> then no thanks. I'M GOOD.

I found a Sausage, Potato and Spinach soup that looked promising. If you read the title, you will notice that in true Timo fashion, I did not follow the recipe as it was written. Whoopsie! Sorry not sorry. A little deviation never hurt anyone and this one turned out mighty tasty. In my defense, I followed the recipe about 80% and then went off the beaten path to make it my own.

The original recipe calls for heavy cream and while I love heavy cream, my body does not. For some strange reason, dairy has been like an evil invader and wrecks havoc so I am steering clear of the dairy as much as possible. It's been quite the challenge, but it's been totally worth it. I used coconut milk and you can't even tell the difference, but shhhhhh....don't tell my friend because he doesn't like when I make things healthy. HA. He happened to be sick the night I made it so being the good friend that I am, I made extra for him. Who doesn't enjoy a hot bowl of soup when you're sick? Needless to say, he really enjoyed it and while it may not have cured him of his ailments, it sure did make his tummy happy!

You ready for this rich and delicious soup recipe? You are going to LOVE how easy it is to make! I sure did.

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups kale, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 lb. red potatoes
  • 1 lb. sausage (I used Jenny-O breakfast sausage)
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Method:
  1. Clean and rinse the kale and potatoes.
  2. Cut the potatoes into cubes. Set aside in a bowl.
  3. Remove the stems from the kale so that you just have the leafy part. You will then coarsely chop the kale. Set aside in the bowl with the potatoes.
  4. Mince the garlic. Place in a small ramekin until later.
  5. Dice the onion into small pieces. Set aside in another bowl (there is a reason that my kitchen looks like Hurricane Timo hit after I'm finished cooking...).
  6. Heat a large soup pot to medium. Place the breakfast sausage in the pot and break it up with a wooden spoon. Stirring occasionally so that the meat browns evenly. 
  7. Add the onions to the meat mixture before it completely browns. Continue cooking the meat and onion mixture until the onions become translucent and fragrant.
  8. Add the basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Stir for a minute or so to evenly combine.
  9. Pour the chicken broth and add the bay leaf to the mixture. Turn heat up so that the soup starts to boil. Once boiling, turn heat back down to medium.
  10. Add the potatoes and kale.
  11. Let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Once potatoes are soft, turn heat off and add the coconut milk. Stir until completely mixed. 
  12. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I did not have to add any additional salt as it was plenty salty with the sausage and chicken broth.
  13. Makes approximately 10 cups of soup.
Additional thoughts:

This soup was extremely rich and filling. If it was cold here in Phoenix like it is out East, I would say it warmed me up, but I don't live out East and it's not cold in Phoenix. Sooooooo...it did its job of warming my belly and leaving me satisfied.

I will definitely be adding this to the soups to make come winter and I highly recommend you try it. You will not be disappointed!

Note:

I did not get any compensation to write this review. I simply tried a recipe that I enjoyed and I wanted to share my thoughts with you. If you have other recipes that you would like me to try, please feel free to email me at: thehungrylatina@gmail.com. If it's a recipe that is not gluten free, I will convert it so that I can eat it. ;)



Monday, January 25, 2016

Comfort Food: Meatloaf [Gluten Free & Wheat Free]

 You are either team meatloaf or you're not. I grew up team meatloaf because it's fairly inexpensive to make and tasty. I have tried various types of meatloaf recipes and always keep going back to the one my mom would make growing up. It was not a complicated recipe. In fact, you can find it on the back of the Lipton French Onion Soup box. This recipe has always been in my arsenal of go-to recipes ever since I flew the coop and started off on my own adventures.

Once I made the change to go gluten free, I was heartbroken that I would not be able to make my favorite meatloaf with the same ingredients. I decided to go on a mission to find a gluten free version. It didn't take me long to find what I was looking for in one of my favorite grocery stores: Trader Joe's! Not only is it affordable, but it is gluten free. My inner kid squealed in delight and I bought a few packets to test out the recipe once again.

Let me just say this, I was not disappointed! So let's get cooking.

Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs. 96/4 lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 packet of gluten free onion soup (Trader Joe's has a gluten free version!)
  • 3/4 C gluten free bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 C water
  • 1/3 C sriracha ketchup*
  • 1/2 C BBQ Sauce (you can add before baking or after)** 
*I got my sriracha ketchup from Fry's (Arizona's Kroger equivalent). If you can't find it, you can use 1/3 C regular ketchup and 1-2 Tbsp sriracha depending on how spicy you want it. This happened by accident as it was the only type I had. This was a good accident to have happen.
**I prefer my BBQ sauce to be added after it's been baked, but it tastes just as good if you add on before baking.

Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, add the ingredients in order given. 
  3. This recipe calls for you to get in hands deep to mix things up. Since I'm a germaphobe, I will put vinyl gloves on before sticking my hands in the mixture. I suggest you do the same too. Plus it's easy clean up. Work smarter, not harder. ;)
  4. Before you get your hands full of meatloaf mix, you will want to make sure your loaf or mini loaf pan is ready to go. Mix the ingredients thoroughly with your hands. 
  5. Once the ingredients are mixed together, scoop the meat mixture and pat it into the loaf pan so that the top is flat.
  6. Place in oven for 1 hour.
  7. Once meatloaf has cooked, I recommend letting it sit for about 10 minutes to cool before serving.
  8. Serves 6-8 (depending on type of pan used) 
  9. Add BBQ sauce if you didn't already put it on before baking.
  10. Recommended sides: potatoes and green beans
Additional Thoughts:

This was my first time using the mini loaf pan and I really liked the way it turned out. They definitely helped with portion control and it was the perfect amount of meatloaf. Using a loaf pan can be great, but it's hard to control the portions when you have to cut them yourself. A whole loaf is a serving size, right?!

Turning this recipe gluten free did not change the taste or texture of the original recipe. In fact, you cannot even tell it's gluten free! It's still very moist and juicy and most importantly, tasty!

Let me know what you think of the recipe and if you make it! I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Stay strong my friends! Until next time.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Carrot Spice Protein Bread [DF | GF | WF]

I have a sweet tooth and my motto has always been "Life is uncertain, eat dessert first." I LOVE me some dessert. Doesn't matter the time of day, I'm game for it all. So it comes as no surprise when I try to incorporate sweets when I'm watching what I'm eating. Enter flexible dieting aka: counting macros. While I'm not actively counting them at the moment, this recipe was a go-to when I was hitting the gym something fierce. Don't get me wrong, fitness is a part of my life, but at the moment it has taken a backseat temporarily.

Remember that 2 year hiatus I took? There was a lot of struggle that went on. I won't give you the long story, instead I'll give you the shortened version... The guy I moved to California for...yea...we broke up. That caused a domino effect of...stuff. I moved 4 times after that and eventually ended back in Phoenix. I will say, the break up taught me A LOT. I'm a whole lot stronger and have a clearer vision of who I am and where I want to be. Which brings me back to the blog...

Okay now that I've gotten that off of my chest, we're going to do my second favorite thing in the kitchen: BAKE! I originally found this recipe on Pinterest looking for low calorie sweet treats that satisfied my killer sweet tooth. The original recipe is somewhat gluten free as it uses oat flour, however, I've done my research and know that not all people who are gluten free can eat oats. I decided to experiment with various gluten free flours but I wanted to keep it simple. My eyes glaze over when the recipe calls for 5 flours, 3 starches, every expensive ingredient at Whole Foods, and the tears of a baby. I like to work smart, not harder in life and this ideal translates nicely in the kitchen. If it's too difficult or I have to buy 50 ingredients I'll use once, no thanks. Part of the idea of starting up this blog again is to simplify gluten free recipes. Not to discredit the original author, I just don't have the time or the resources for fancy schmancy ingredients. I'm trying to be frugal and being on a gluten free diet makes that a pinch more challenging.

I decided to play around with sorghum flour because it had a nice nutty flavor and didn't turn my baked goods into rice flavored bites. Ever bake with rice flour and wonder why it tastes like you're eating sweetened rice? I mean if that's your thing, then by all means. But for me, rice is good as rice pudding or with a main dish. But in my sweet treats? Ummm...no thanks. I read around that you still have to use a starch with sorghum to make it fluffy. <SIGH> Again with the massive amounts of ingredients! I was starting to feel like I was conducting a chemistry experiment. In reality, I was. Gluten free baking is more precise than regular baking will ever be. It lacks that little thing called gluten...aka...the glue. This is where xanthan gum comes in really handy as it acts as the binder/glue to make gluten free goods nice and fluffy. Trying to figure out the perfect combination was an absolute nightmare. Luckily for you, I figured it out so you don't have to.

On to the fun stuff! This recipe was adapted from Jamie Eason's Carrot Cake Protein Bars so I can't take all of the credit for it. Also, before I forget... Affiliate Disclosure - In order to keep my blog free for everyone, this post contains sponsored links from Amazon.

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (unflavored is fine)*
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (whatever your macros will allow for - this tastes good with or without) 

Wet Ingredients:
  • 4 egg whites** 
  • 3/4 cup sweetener of choice (I use Splenda)
  • 8 oz. carrot baby food***
  • 4 oz. water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (if using unflavored protein powder) 

*For the love all of that is holy, use a protein powder you actually enjoy the taste of. Otherwise you will hate your protein bread. Also, egg white protein is possibly the worst protein powder to use. Trust me, I speak from experience.
**I HIGHLY recommend using liquid egg whites from the carton. Otherwise you will have an eggy textured bread which is no bueno.
***Baby food in protein bread? What on earth? Yea it's weird, but just go with it. I'm all about texture and the baby food adds a nice texture. Plus at 30 calories a jar, you can't go wrong. Holla!

Method:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Do it now before you forget and get into the groove of things. Then you have to wait around for the oven to warm up. Ain't no body got time for that!
  2. You can use pretty much any kind of baking receptacle your little heart so chooses. I usually grease up a 9inx5in loaf pan or you can use a mini loaf pan (my personal favorite). Just don't forget to grease that sucker up.
  3. I'm OCD so there is a certain way that I will bake. You can do whatever tickles your fancy. I like to mix the dry and wet ingredients separately AND then marry them together. It doesn't make a difference except those of us who are ridiculously OCD. 
  4. Mix the dry ingredients in order given in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients until completely mixed together.
  6. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients. Try not to beat the mixture too hard. Xanthan gum is a fickle little bugger and can get out of control fluffy. Just a forewarning ok? 
  7. Once wet and dry ingredients are mixed together, gently fold in walnuts.
  8. Dump the mixture into the greased loaf pan of your choice and stick in the nice and hot oven for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Let the loaf cool for about an hour before taking it out of the pan to further cool on a wire rack.
  10. Makes approximately 14 servings.

What did you think of the gluten free version of this protein bread? Leave me a comment with your thoughts, things you did differently, randomness, etc. There's more where this recipe came from and you can expect to see similar items in the near future. Stay strong my friends!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Tex Mex Chicken Chili



This year for Christmas I made my annual trek to Houston to visit my dad's side of the family. It's always a crazy time visiting them since there's so many people to see and not much time. There's never enough time to spend with everyone.


The little time that I was able to spend with them was spent reminiscing about memories and catching up on each other's lives. I let them all know about my plans for my blog and how I'm going to be doing a lot more cooking and baking in the new year. My goal is to test out gluten free versions of recipes that I find on Pinterest, old family recipes, or other things that look good. My Grandma was a great resource as she has tons of recipes. She pulled out her three ring binder that was loaded with newspaper and magazine clippings of recipes that she had been collecting over the year. Her binder was all neat and organized. It made my inner OCD leaped with joy.

One of the recipes that she had tried was this Tex Mex Chicken Chili and she had plenty of good things to say about it. I'm not sure where she originally got the recipe from, but I'm glad I got my hands on it as it was easy to make and tasty!

Affiliate Disclosure - In order to keep my blog free for everyone, this post contains sponsored links from Amazon.

Ingredients:
  • 2 small zucchinis cubed
  • 1 can of black beans (15 oz.)
  • 1 can of pinto beans (15 oz.)
  • 1 can of whole kernel corn (8 oz.)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (I use Better than Bouillon)*
  • 1 jar of salsa (I use Sadie's Not as Hot salsa)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (8 oz.)
  • 3 cups shredded chicken**
  • 1 garlic clove (pressed)
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Optional toppings: sour cream/plain Greek yogurt, cilantro, cheese, avocado etc.
*If you are using the Better than Bouillon, you will need to heat up 2 cups of water (I use a kettle) and put 2 tsp. of the bouillon paste and mix thoroughly until it dissolves.
**I bought a rotisserie chicken and shredded it myself. These are my go-to for chicken salads or anything that requires shredded chicken. SO EASY to deal with. Plus I'm lazy, so this is easy for me. Freeze any leftovers in a ziplock bag for another chicken inspired meal.
***Vegetarian option - sub out the chicken broth for vegetable broth and leave out the chicken.

Method:

Throw everything into the pot. Haha. Just kidding. It's simple, but I'll walk you through it.
  1. Open and drain the beans & corn. I usually rinse my beans so they don't have the weird liquid on them from the can. 
  2. While the beans and corn are draining, rinse and wash the zucchini. Cut them into chunky quarters. Set aside.
  3. Here comes the fun part...dumping the ingredients into the pot. Pour in the chicken broth, tomato sauce, and salsa. Then add the beans, corn, chicken, and zucchini. Finally add the garlic, chili powder, and ground cumin.
  4. Mix all of the ingredients until the spices have dissolved.
  5. Set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes to simmer and let the flavors mix and mingle.
  6. Once the timer goes off, you may serve the chili in bowls and top with garnishments. I put half an avocado on mine and it made it perfect.
  7. Makes approximately 6 servings.
The chili will keep in the fridge for up to a week and can easily be frozen as it makes a lot. Being a single gal, I will freeze half of what I make to enjoy at a later time when I'm feeling too lazy to cook.

 Additional Thoughts...

I will definitely be making this recipe again as it was easy to make, I only had to use one pot, and did I mention that it was extremely easy to make? Oh yea...I did. Anyways, I can't take full credit for the recipe as it was not my own, however, my Grandma and I have no idea where it came from. If you know, let me know so I can give credit where due.

If you try it out, let me know how you like it or if you modified the recipe.

Next post will be all about the sweet treats...modified to fit into everyone's New Year's resolutions of course. ;) Until next time!







Sunday, January 3, 2016

Let me reintroduce myself...

Hellooooooooooooo blogger world! It's been a long time and so much has happened. I don't even know where to start. It's been TWO years since I last wrote on my blog. HORRIBLE. Just horrible. Like I said, a lot has happened. I was the driver of the struggle bus for a while. Now I'm just a passenger for a little bit longer.

The New Year always brings forth reflection of the previous year - the changes that have happened, things accomplished, goals for the upcoming year. I've been doing a lot of self reflection and doing things to improve myself by listening to podcasts and reading. One of the things that has really stood out to me is creating a vision for the future. What does Timo want? What does the future look like in 5 years? 7 years? 10 years? All difficult things to address, but I'm slowly getting things down. I've been setting goals and figuring out a game plan.

Some of my goals include blowing up my blog. I have finally decided to take the plunge and really focus on my writing and cooking. The past couple years have given me the opportunity to expand my repertoire and hone in on my cooking and photography skills. You can expect to see more posts from me in the future. My goal is do 1-2 posts a week. The focus will still be gluten free foods and I'll be adding my own twist to things. I don't want to divulge too much now, but it's going to be exciting. I'm also going to be doing changes to my website and overall look and feel of it. So you can be sure that 2016 will be a big year for The Hungry Latina! I'm excited to share this journey with all of you and we'll be eating some yummy foods this up coming year.

Are you ready?!