Friday, April 11, 2014


Friday already?

Happy Friday!!  I'm linking up with Lauren today for High Five for Friday.

one:: every time I attempt to clean off my desk, it just piles up worse than ever.  I actually didn't travel much this week, so I was holed up in my office at my computer more than the usual hour I regularly have…which lead to this mess.

two:: last friday I had the opportunity to tour a specialty pig farm… I have a full post on this soon!

three:: it's hard admitting this, but I'm actually starting to enjoy the solitude of my solo runs… I still have moments of struggle, but there are moments of clarity also.

four:: I had my first Lululemon experience… really bad, tremendously bad decision… I'm totally in love.  Can running tights really be this amazing?  And for no reason, other than I fell in love with the feel of the fabric… why do I love texture so much… I had to buy a running tank also.

five:: (excuse my manicure, top priority tomorrow).  We're doing pedometers as a wellness challenge at work.  I'm obsessed to put it lightly.  Unfortunately I also hate the thing because I almost never wear pants to be honest (no, no, I wear skirts or dresses!!) and it's so hard to wear the thing.  So most of my steps come from running.  But I just love seeing that number sky rocket!! 

I'm off to Chicago here in a bit to see my bestie :)  Fun filled weekend with Christina is just what I need.  Haven't been to Chicago to see her since I went last year around my birthday.

I hope you had a great week and have a great weekend!!

Always, J

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Relationship with Food

So I had a conversation the other day with a friend that made me realize how different my relationship with food is from hers. 

I suppose I've noticed this over the years from many many conversations with different friends because it appears that most are similar.  To be completely blunt and honest, most (and these are female friends by the way) correlate food to "how fat is this going to make me."  They struggle with the concept that food is comforting for them and in return, food will make them uncomfortably tight-waisted.  I have one friend who can simply rattle off foods and their matching calorie counts, which absolutely blows my mind.

My relationship with food is undeniably different.  

I have a love / hate relationship with most all food.

When I think about food, my only consideration is how much pain will this inflict…not how many calories is this, how much will I have to workout to counter-balance this choice, will this make me fat?

I could eat an entire bag of chocolate chips, I have no idea if that's 100 calories or 10,000 and nor do I care… but I do know if they are gluten free.  When I look at an ingredient label, I only look at the ingredients…at this point, after all these years, I couldn't even tell you what's listed above that… I've become completely immune to it.  

Some people find comfort in food… I find it terrifying.  Food is painful for me.  There's nothing scarier than "let's meet for lunch."  Sure… Where are we going to go, how's my stomach going to feel that day, is it going to be weird if I don't eat, maybe I can just eat a little bit, I guess I could cancel my plans after just in case, can't we just get coffee?

I just get exhausted thinking about food.  Maybe it's seasonal, or because I haven't been feeling fantastic lately, or because I haven't been cooking much lately… or maybe I wish I just had to think about calories.

Actually, no.  To some extent, I'm grateful my food decisions aren't related to numbers - that my choices are still about taste, and feeling, and exploration.  But I also wish food was more comforting.

I physically cannot keep pace with other people.  My celiac ridden body just does not enjoy food the way other people do… maybe I'm the only one.  I just don't know.

Why do we have such weird relationships with food?

I'm grateful food is my medicine, my salvation, and that I'm not reliant on drugs and chemicals to feel, to feel healthy… that I have some level of control over how my body will react to what I choose to eat.

But the constant internal food dialog running through my mind is getting old.

Can we talk about something else?

oh wait, this is a food blog.

Always, J

Friday, April 4, 2014

High Five for Friday!!

Wow, looking back and seeing my last post from November is a bit scary for me.  I have seriously been neglecting this blog that I love so dearly.  Step one: start blogging again!  I've heard on the "news"… aka. Dr. Oz, that you're suppose to start good habits on Mondays… oh well, we'll see how this Friday good start goes :)  So bear with me!

It's been a crazy couple months to be honest.  Here's a little bit of what's been going on…

one:: I'm happy the weather is sort of not really beginning to cooperate and I can at least attempt to [under many layers] run outside again.  I inherently hate the treadmill, dreadmill.

two:: I drive a lot, I mean a lot.  I average a good 4,000 miles of windshield time each month so I've learned to enjoy being in my car…usually on the phone or soaking up the silence. 

three:: I've never been big on doing laundry, well that's gotten a bit worse lately.  It's more of a quarterly endeavor for me… I hear rumors that some people do laundry weekly - wow!

four:: meeting are my life.  Work meetings, club meetings, fundraising meetings, meetings just to have meetings.  What are you doing?… I'm in a meeting.

five:: I decided on bangs for awhile… to distract myself while the rest of my hair grows faster… I think it working.

six:: when I'm not driving or in meetings… farm tours.  These are the best!

seven:: I finally have my home office set up… this is early on before I finished it completely.  I'll do a home office post here soon!  It's a love/hate relationship.

eight:: Cass and I before the Leprechaun Chase 10k… I love 10k's… and this is one of my favorites.

nine:: "spring" in Nebraska = calving season!  I got to sneak away for a couple hours for some family time with my cousin Calvin on a work trip out west.

ten:: meetings are great, but meetings with great people who care about the future of agriculture - that's what it's all about!

eleven:: I'm over the bangs.  But I don't think my hair is much longer… I don't think it's physically possible to consume anymore vitamins.  Come on!  Grow!!

twelve:: just a beautiful reminder… from a fortune cookie I couldn't eat… so ironic.

I hope you have been well these last couple months!  And I hope your week was wonderful.  I am back to blogging and can't wait to chat more soon :)

Always, J

Oh and if you're curious… I'm blogging about running temporarily on my TEAM in Training blog here:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


You can't have cornbread stuffing without cornbread!

I made a batch of this last week in preparation for some cornbread stuffing I plan to make Thursday morning for Thanksgiving dinner.  

I doubled the recipe because one I had the ingredients and two I have an enormous cast iron skillet - so I knew it could handle it.  

I was really impressed how amazing this turned out!  Who needs gluten?  

I'll be posting my stuffing recipe later this week (sorry it will probably be a little late for Thanksgiving, next year!!)

Gluten Free Cornbread (cast iron skillet style)
ingredients: (for one batch)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup gluten free flour (Trader Joe's or Domata)
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup whole milk (don't sub this)
1 egg
1/4 cup shortening (melted)
2 tablespoons butter

Combine all the ingredients together (except the butter) in a large mixing bowl.  Don't over mix (no need for a mixer, just use a good old wooden spoon just until everything is combined.  

On the stove heat up the cast iron skillet and melt the 2 tablespoons of butter.  Let the butter sizzle and get just slightly brown.  Pour the batter into the hot skillet!  Don't be afraid, it might splatter and sizzle like crazy but that's what makes it so good!  It needs to sit on the stove for 2 to 3 minutes.

Then into a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Keep an eye on it.  Ovens are all different and you just never know with gluten free flour.  It should be golden brown on the edges and completely set on top.  You can use a knife to check for doneness in the center just like a cake.

The cast iron skillet will be insanely hot so be careful.  Let sit for a bit to cool - then eat immediately with maple syrup - yum!! 

Or serve with chili soup!

Or potato soup!

Or bacon!

Or pot roast! 

Or corned beef!!  OMG is it st. patrick's day yet?

Or let cool completely and save for stuffing!  

I cut mine into squares and threw them into a freezer bag.  Then this evening I'm going to set them out on a pan to dry out over night so I can make my stuffing.  


Monday, November 25, 2013

Mushroom & Goat Cheese Frittata

Frittatas are the best!  It's really simple:

6 to 7 whole eggs plus a splash of cream (maybe 2 tablespoons)

and the filling.

Then bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until set.

That's it. 

You can make ANY kind of frittata you want - whatever's in the fridge.  

Here's how I made the mushroom and goat cheese version::
I used half of a very small onion, finely chopped.

And a package of baby bella mushrooms - which I chopped up into small pieces.  Remember - mushrooms cook way down to about half their size so if it seems like a lot at first - don't worry!

I sautéed them in medium sized pan that is able to go in the oven (this is a one pot dish!).  Just using a little olive oil - NO salt at this point, it makes the mushrooms weird.

Once it's starting to cook down - add a tablespoon or so of butter, for no other reason than it tastes good.

Add in 2 cloves of minced fresh garlic.

Deglaze the pan with a splash or two of red wine.  (meaning turn the heat up on the stove for a minute or so and pour in the red wine - it should sizzle up and all the yumminess on the bottom of the pan will let loose).

Add in a package of spinach - again this will wilt down to almost nothing so feel free to use quite a bit.  I used almost an entire package.

At this point - sample for flavor.  Add salt & pepper if needed.

Prepare your egg mixture.  6 to 7 whole eggs plus a little cream (or whatever milk you have on hand - I've even used almond milk before).  Best tip:  it's worth it to get out the mixer and really beat the heck out of the eggs so they're nice and fluffy!

With the pan still hot and on the stove (maybe on medium to medium low) - pour the egg mixture into the middle of the pan and it will spread out evenly.  

Let it sit on the stove for 3-5 minutes.  This is actually cooking the bottom of the omelet.  Frittata actually means italian baked omelet - and personally it's way easier than making quiche or a perfect french omelet.  These are definitely my favorite.

While it's sitting on the stove - add the crumbled goat cheese.  Just dot it over the top.  I used about 4 oz total from a Trader Joe's goat cheese log.  Then sprinkle just a little grated parm on top - I like the saltiness and it browns nicely.  I finished it with just a little fresh thyme because I had it on hand.

Then into a 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.  I just watch it - you can tell when it puffs up and the top just starts to get all brown and golden!

See the difference?  Just a little golden brown.

This dish is so great because it keeps and travels really well.  My pan has a lid which is handy so I can bake and take this anywhere.  It's also a fantastic brunch dish because it's just as good cold as piping hot out of the oven.  It should slide right out of the pan and can easily be presented on a beautiful platter or it's just a great served straight from the pan!

I hope you enjoy this!  Would be fantastic for brunch on Friday after Thanksgiving :)

Always, J

Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy Friday!

Whew!!  This week has gone fast!

Happy Friday everyone :)

I'm linking up with Lauren today as usual, man it feels good to be back to regular blogging :)

one:: My friend Cass and I have gotten to spend some time together lately and I'm loving it!  We tailgated and cheered on the Huskers last Saturday…during an unusually warm weather game for November in Nebraska (of course this morning there's snow on the ground!).

two:: Obviously this made me week.  Check out the full post here.

three:: Being so busy has definitely slowed down my reading lately but I did manage to find this gem.  I'm absolutely in love with this love story.  Have you read it?  You should.  I'm actually enjoying my fiction reading challenge!

four:: You can't have cornbread stuffing with out cornbread!  I'll have this recipe posted on Monday - so easy and delicious.  I'm very ready for Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday!!).

five:: Things are slowly coming together in my office (the main reason I moved).  I love having this space to add structure to my day, keep organized, and still make it a creative space.  My job is so amazing and I get so caught up in the experience that I usually forget to take photos along the way… but after seeing that I only had a couple photos for this week I decided I need to make a more concentrated effort to capture my new life! 

I hope you had a wonderful week!

Always, J

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Candied Pecans & Spiced Nuts

Here are two awesome nut recipes for holiday gifting or entertaining!

*I bought all my nuts at Trader Joes - so that's the size packaging I'm referring too…

Combine in a bowl:
1 package 1/2-salt roasted cashews
1 package whole walnuts
1 package whole pecan halves
1 cup salted-roasted whole almonds (use more if you really like almonds)
1 cup pumpkin seeds**

For the dressing: (whisk or shake together in a jar)
2 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice - plus the zest of the orange
Use 4 teaspoons of spices :: cumin and garam masala (indian) OR cumin and chipotle seasoning OR chili powder OR whatever other combination you think would be great.
4 tablespoons fresh rosemary (finely chopped - no stems)
Fresh ground pepper

Mix all the nuts together.  Then toss in the dressing until all the nuts are well covered.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two sheet pans by lightly coating them in oil.  Pour the nuts into an even layer on the pans and roast for 25-35 minutes until they smell delicious, have soaked up most of the dressing, and start to brown slightly.  Remove them at least twice during roasting to toss them around for evenness.

Pour onto parchment paper in a single layer immediately to cool.  Give them a taste and see how the salt level is… sprinkle with additional salt before they cool completely if needed. The nuts must be absolutely cooled and dried before packaging them up in boxes or jars.  Store in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.

In a small sauce pan - heat over medium:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamon
*This recipe is easily doubled - I actually made a triple batch last time.

Pour mixture over 1 - 8oz package of pecans and toss to coat.  Roast in the oven at 350 degrees in a single layer on an oiled pan for 15-20 minutes.  Toss at least once during the roasting time to ensure even cooking.  

Remove from oven and cool in a single layer on a piece of parchment paper.  Once completely cooled and dried - package for eating or delivery!  These should keep about 2 weeks in an air tight container.

I always said I didn't like pecans before…I guess I've never had candied ones… these were so delicious I had a hard time getting them out the door and gifting them!!  

Either of these recipes are easy to make and are absolutely delicious.  Packaging is easy - I just used mason jars that I had left over from canning season and I did buy a couple larger jars recently at hobby lobby.  A little ribbon and some decorative tags - good to go!  Anyone would love receiving these.

I hope you enjoy!!


*I just want to apologize right now for the terrible photos that you are experiencing and will experience for awhile going forward.  I've moved and haven't adjusted to the new light very well and of course it also gets dark about 4:45 pm here which makes things even trickier.  I'll get this whole photoshop thing figured out again!! I've also been switching back and forth between cameras trying to figure out which works best - so please bear with me!