Monday, January 2, 2012

hands of love #23...

Oh, do I have some incredible recipes for you, so get your pens & paper ready!! (I'll wait.)

It's so exciting when you find those KEEPER recipes, you know? The ones you know you'll be adding into your regular repertoire, not just saving for special occasions?

And because they're naturally gluten free, (no special modifications needed) they're great for anyone whether you're GF or not!

Got your pen ready yet? Ooh, I am so excited to share these!

Made for my sweet little family with hands of love...

Southwestern Salad with a Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette. Whenever I make mexican food for company, here's THE salad I'm making to go with it. It is DELISH. I didn't go all out like the recipe calls for-- didn't get cojita cheese (just sprinkled on some of the mexican cheese I already had), didn't have any pumpkin seeds on hand, didn't put any tortilla strips (though I could've put a few of our tortilla chips broken up on top), and didn't have any avocado on hand, either. But whatever. It was soooooo good.

HERE'S the 2nd greatest recipe of all time, folks. I'm serious. (the first one is at the bottom of this post!) Best chicken I've ever had hands down. The meat was literally falling off the bone-- unbelievable. And get this-- it's made in the CROCKPOT!!!! (woohoo!!!) So easy. Here's the recipe. (and I'm liking the blog I found it on, too. She even includes how to use the bones from the chicken to make homemade chicken broth to use when cooking rice or quinoa or for soups, etc.) MAKE. THIS. DISH. (and then let's rejoice at how yummy and easy it was together!)

Broccoli cheese soup. (in my feeble attempt to try to eat more vegetables & a little less meat in my life)

Speaking of no meat, this meal was entirely made up of veggies!! It's pasta sauce with mushrooms (instead of meat) over spaghetti squash for the "noodles" with a side cucumber/tomato salad. No meat, and no starch. This type of meal is definitely the way to pack in some veggies, though I have to admit I'm hungry a couple of hours later....

For any of you who haven't tried using a spaghetti squash before... Just cut it in half longwise, scrape out the seeds, rub a little olive oil on the side with the seeds, place it face down on a baking sheet, and cook it at 350 for 40 minutes or so. When you take it out of the oven and turn it over, use a fork to gently scrape out the insides & it will instantly come out as "noodles." You can eat the noodles with white sauce, with marinara, or maybe just sprinkle on some parmesan cheese if that appeals to you more.

It's worth trying! Caroline definitely prefers the real noodles, but I can still get her to eat these if I top it with enough sauce. :)

A cobb salad using leftover ham from Christmas dinner.

And HERE it comes, ladies and gentlemen... THE recipe of a lifetime, especially for you gluten-free'ers... (drum roll here, because I, of all people, am NOT a good dessert maker...)

a FLOURLESS chocolate cake!!!!!!! (did you catch that? Flour-LESS!!!) And it's SOOOOO easy to make! Whether you're gluten free or NOT, this is like the silkiest tasting brownie you've ever had-- serve it warm with ice cream on top & it's to DIE for. TRUST me. NO more brownie mixes! THIS is it. I've already made 2 of these things for company THIS WEEK. :) Outback Steakhouse (which is very gluten-free friendly, by the way) has something similar to this on their regular dessert menu, and Marc says this rivals it.

Flourless Chocolate "Cake"

9 ounces of semisweet chocolate, chopped (get the good stuff at the grocery store that comes in squares-- ours is in the health section-- I used a combo of dark & milk chocolates for mine)
1/2 cup butter (or Earth Balance spread, for dairy free)
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
a little cocoa powder

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease an 8 inch round cake pan, and dust with cocoa powder.

2. Melt the chocolate & butter separately. (I did this easy breezy in my microwave)

3. Mix melted chocolate & melted butter, stir in sugar, eggs (already beaten), & vanilla. Pour into prepared pan.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack and cool completely. Slices can also be reheated for 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave before serving. (serves 8)

It's probably not too hard to convince you guys to make this one, eh? :)

Hope you can enjoy the labors of these hands of love!
Posted by Picasa


  1. YUM!!! i love spaghetti squash sauteed with olive oil, onions, and garlic. you should try it! :) (bake first, like normal, then sautee the "noodles") hope to see you in a week or so...will i?!

  2. Hello! I'm a old friend of Amy Crawford's and I found your blog through her blog. I've been a loyal reader for a couple of years now and I really enjoy reading your posts. My youngest daughter is the same age as Caroline. I was just wondering what kind of flash you're using. I have a Canon Rebel and I use my pop-up flash. But, it looks like you're using a different flash and bouncing it off the ceiling, correct? Your photos look great!

  3. @ Meredith- yes, I will be at the wives' retreat! Looking forward to it!

    @ Stacey- yes, I'm using an external flash (called a Speedlight SB-400 that goes on the top of my Nikon D60) & pointing it at the white ceiling! Marc got it for me as a Christmas gift (he did all the research) and a friend showed me how to point it up and it made all the difference in the world! Then I'm a big user of Picasa (Google's free photo software) to brighten things up even more.

  4. I've been wanting to try the chicken in a crock pot thing for a while. My friend at work uses Indian spices in hers and it is delicious! Now, I'm gonna go get a chicken!

  5. Everything looks so good. Yum-yum! It makes me hungry.

  6. I just rubbed my chicken and placed it in the crock pot!! So excited! I also purchased a spaghetti squash for the first time today, and we will be having it also as a side...and I'm also hoping to make your flourless chocolate cake for dessert!! Thank you for these posts. I really needed some new ideas this week, and I am glad to know about the blog, too, where the chicken recipe is.

  7. OK, we had the chocolate cake tonight, too. So delicious!! Thank you :)

  8. Yay, Mary Mills!! Glad you liked it!

  9. Our family is having our first ever spaghetti squash tonight thanks to your hands of love post. We love it, even Katherine who is sometimes very picky when it comes to vegetables. I think it helped that at first she thought she had a pile of grated cheese on her plate :)