Archive - Simple Food RSS Feed

Gluten Free Garlic Roasted Squash with Tomatoes

Gluten Free Roasted Squash with Tomatoes

Gluten Free Roasted Squash with Tomatoes

This is a simple new side dish recipe for gluten free garlic roasted squash we’ve tried in the Byers home recently. I’m especially excited to share it because I used ingredients I already had on hand and it took little time to prepare. The original recipe was found here by doing a Google search. I made a few modifications. Here it is!

Ingredients (to serve 4):

* 2 summer squash (yellow)
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 3 cloves minced garlic
* 1 tsp herb seasoning (I used Bragg Organic Sprinkle)
* 10 cherry tomatoes
* salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the ends off the squash and cut them in half. Cut each half into eighths so you have 16 spears from each squash. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Pour olive oil and minced garlic over the squash and tomatoes in a mixing bowl. Stir until all vegetables are covered. Pour vegetables in a shallow baking dish, then sprinkle salt, pepper, and seasoning of your choice on top. Roast the vegetable mix until the squash is browned, anywhere from 5-12 minutes. Keep an eye on the dish after 5 minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Make Lunch Work for You: Simple Preparation (3 of 3)

Make Lunch Work for You: Simple Preparation

Make Lunch Work for You: Simple Preparation (This is one of the lunches I prepared for myself recently.)

Since you know lunch will come every day, no matter whether you’re working outside the home (like I do now) or in your home (like I did the past 8 years), you can take action and be prepared.

  1. Get a grocery plan that works. Try one of the 2 solutions listed in this post if you need inspiration.
  2. On Sunday evening or a weeknight, block out 30 minutes of prep time to slice vegetables, rinse berries, boil eggs, and grill meat.
  3. Set up an assembly line to prep your lunches. (I reuse take-out containers from restaurants and Ziploc containers.)
  4. Prepare 3-5 lunches for the week, depending on how many days you’ll not be purchasing lunch out.

Here are some lunch tips that keep me going week after week:

*I keep a bottle of gluten-free salad dressing in the office cafe fridge.
* It’s a good idea to add lettuce to your meals in the morning on the day you plan to use it so it doesn’t wilt with the other items in the container.
* If you get bored of preparing a smorgasbord of items, consider making a simple crock pot soup you can take with you to add variety. Saving money on lunch doesn’t have to mean being frugal on taste. There are some simple recipes I use that you can try under the Gluten Free heading on this blog or my Gluten Free Pinterest page to get you started.
* Don’t forget that leftovers aren’t a bad thing. If you’re already cooking dinner, you might as well cook an extra chicken breast or some additional pasta to set aside for the next day’s lunch.

That settles it, friends! Now you’re all set to make lunch work for you. If you didn’t read all 3 posts in this series, here are the other 2 to fill you in:

Make Lunch Work for You: Determine Why

Make Lunch Work for You: Choose Your Type

Make Lunch Work for You: Choose Your Type (2 of 3)

Make Lunch Work for You: Choose Your Type

Make Lunch Work for You: Choose Your Type

Depending on current circumstances, I see my weekday lunches in the office as a key way to work in what matters most to me. These are the types of lunches I typically have on any given week day, listed from most common to least common:

* Lunch to read – I like to take my Kindle to work or borrow a book from the staff library in our cafe and read as I eat. More than once I’ve come across an idea or wisdom that’s directly spoken into a situation I’d been facing that day. Reading is a great way to gain a new perspective on real-life situations. (Here are 9 other ways to make time to read.)

* Lunch with a friend – time to chat, share ideas, catch up, encourage each other. This often happens in my office cafe, but I like to meet friends outside of work, too. It’s so nice to take a break and gain a change in scenery (and possibly perspective) over the noon hour. Usually Fridays are reserved for lunch with Chris, and on other lunch with a friend days I simply walk into the cafe, see who’s eating, and join the conversation. It’s been the best way I’ve become better acquainted with people since we moved to Oklahoma.

* Lunch to process – Sometimes I go outside for a breath of fresh air, take a walk, or find a quiet corner to process all that’s going through my brain while I eat lunch. It energizes me for the afternoon ahead, and this type of lunch is a blessing when I’m in the middle of a work or personal issue or facing a difficult decision and need wisdom from God.

* Lunch for errands – This is my least favorite type of lunch, but I use it in a pinch when I need to get a one-off errand done and don’t want to dig into family time in the evening. I typically eat a little before I go then finish up my meal as a 3:00pm snack to keep me going strong until dinnertime.

Use your lunch time wisely and try to work in at least two of these lunch types into your weekday schedule each week!

Did you miss out on the first post of this series? Check it out! Make Lunch Work for You: Determine Why

Make Lunch Work for You: Determine Why (1 of 3)

Make Lunch Work for You: Determine Why

Make Lunch Work for You: Determine Why

Lunch happens every day, and it’s wise to make lunch work for you. If lunchtime is something that creeps up on you daily and you’re left spending $10 on an unhealthy meal, consider taking control to keep money in your pocket and have better energy and focus throughout the day.

First, size up your circumstances. In my case, it’s easily a 5-10 minute drive from my office to meet someone for lunch. I might do it once or twice a week, but it eats into my break time (sorry for that pun just now), uses up gas in my car, and usually costs more than bringing lunch.

Next, admit the truth. A few months ago when I took a serious look at my lunch circumstances, I came up with two realizations: 1) My favorite lunch place is about $8 a meal and a 10 minute drive from the office. 2) I would gladly save the money and time spent driving (you know how I long to return to my car-free life of years past in England) if I could make lunches to bring into work that are as tasty as the restaurant fare.

Let’s just say that looking at things from that perspective meant it was an easy challenge for me to accept and helps me stick to my weekday lunch plan.

Ask yourself these three questions to start your lunch plan wheels a-turnin’!

  1. What does my typical lunch cost?
  2. Do I have to drive to eat lunch?
  3. Can I prepare something just as tasty (and healthier) at home?

Now all you need to do is determine what motivates you to make a lunch plan. Maybe you’d like to save money? Perhaps avoiding the drive or having a quieter lunch experience is the payoff. Personally, I risk consuming gluten every time I eat out, and that can be difficult to manage. No matter what your WHY is, I challenge you to give it a try. Take control of lunch so it doesn’t ruin your health, time, or financial plans.

In the next 2 posts, we’ll discuss the use of your time during lunch and how to develop a plan to make your weekday lunch preparation simple. Enter your email address in the sidebar to get all my blog posts via email so you don’t miss out!

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free Kale Chips Recipe

Crunchy, Gluten Free, and Easy to Make Kale Chips

Crunchy, Gluten Free, and Easy to Make Kale Chips

Kale chips are a wonderful gluten free snack or side dish that provide a tasty crunch without preservatives or hidden junky ingredients. I’ve ordered kale chips in a local restaurant before and searched the Internet a few times for a simple recipe. Some people suggest using a dehydrator, but I don’t have one. To my surprise, using the oven worked quite well.

1 bunch of fresh kale, rinsed and dried
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Garlic salt, pepper, or salt

Instructions: After kale is rinsed, cut or snap off the stems. If the ribs are thick or tough, tear the leaves off on each side. Keep pieces as big as possible.

Put kale pieces in a bowl, pouring the olive oil and salt on top. Use your hands to mix the oil and salt on your kale chips.

Put kale chips pieces on a tin foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20-25 minutes, until crispy.

Enjoy!

 

Gluten Free Black Bean & Rice Soup Recipe (Crock Pot)

Gluten Free Black Bean and Rice Soup Recipe (Crock Pot)

Fall is the perfect time to try a Gluten Free Black Bean & Rice Soup recipe! Last weekend Chris and I invited some people from the Oklahoma City tech community over for dinner.  We were out of town all day until late afternoon, so tossing things in the crock pot before I left in the morning made for super easy preparation just before our guests arrived.

Ingredients:
1 medium red or white onion, chopped
3 carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 (16 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans gluten free broth
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large crockpot, leaving the rice out.
  2. Cover and cook the soup on low 8 to 10 hours. (I used the low setting, but high works after 3 to 4 hours.)
  3. Cook brown rice then add it to the soup before serving. (I did this in the microwave 30 minutes prior to the guests’ arrival.)

Be sure to keep extra Tabasco sauce out for people to add according to their preferences. I doubled the ingredients and it all cooked well in the same amount of time as the recipe calls for. You’ll notice I made a few adjustments, but you can see the original recipe here.

Dana Byers and her family are passionate about adoption and online ministry, and they sold all they owned in 2007 to live a mobile lifestyle overseas and expand online ministry practices globally.  She’s the author of “The Art of Online Ministry” and recently moved to Oklahoma to become the Community Pastor for LifeChurch.tv Church Online. All opinions shared here are expressly her own.

Be Creative Using Forced Deadlines

Be Creative Using Forced Deadlines

Have you ever had to do something that mattered in a limited amount of time? Of course you have. We have more to do and less time to do it.

I’m protective of my time at home in the evenings with my family as well as time alone to reflect and relax, therefore I choose to focus on my commitments in a creative “do more with less” attitude. I say no a lot, but the fact is, some of the things that I value (like blogging for you and this amazing community of people) is something I don’t have a lot of time for.  So I recently asked myself this question:

How would I operate differently if key tasks I perform at home or work had to be done in half the time?

I’m loving the results that this difficult question led me to:

* On my day off, I work on a laptop without a power source. When my battery dies, I’m done writing.
* I stopped doing my kids’ laundry – because I discovered they can do it on their own.
* Dinners in our home are much more simple now, but our conversations at the table are just as rich.

Now it’s your turn.  Force a tighter deadline.  What do you need to do that you can start doing in half the time?

Dana Byers and her family are passionate about adoption and online ministry, and they sold all they owned in 2007 to live a mobile lifestyle overseas and expand online ministry practices globally.  She’s the author of “The Art of Online Ministry” and recently moved to Oklahoma to become the Community Pastor for LifeChurch.tv Church Online. All opinions shared here are expressly her own.

Recipe: Gluten Free & Vegan Breakfast

Recipe: Sriracha Tofu Scramble

I don’t have a lot of recipes that are both gluten free and vegan to classify among my favorites.  But I think this one tastes excellent.

First, the behind-the-scenes story…

I like to do things according to plan, so I naturally married someone who doesn’t operate exactly the same way.  His creativity truly paid off last week in our kitchen!  I could hear Chris looking through the cabinets and opening and closing our fridge doors.  He was hungry and wanted something different, I think.  I’m so glad he made the effort because the outcome was my favorite new gluten free and vegan breakfast food!

Now, the delicious result!

Sriracha Tofu Scramble

1 package firm tofu, drained
1 Tbl oil
Sriracha Sauce (pictured)
5-8 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
Salsa

Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. Slice the tofu into strips or cube it; toss it into the warm skillet. Squeeze Sriracha sauce over the tofu to taste. Stir up the tofu and Sriracha in the skillet until it begins to crumble.  Add the cherry tomatoes and salsa, simmer on low to medium heat for 10 minutes.  The longer you cook it, the more the tofu will take on the flavors.

Enjoy!

Here are some other resources for you:

Gluten Free Goodness (my board on Pinterest)

My Gluten Free Weight Gain (and Loss)

Striving’s Overrated: Health

Gluten Free Crock Pot BBQ Chicken

Dana Byers and her family are passionate about adoption and online ministry, and they sold all they owned in 2007 to live a mobile lifestyle overseas and expand online ministry practices globally.  She’s the author of “The Art of Online Ministry” and recently moved to Oklahoma to become the Community Pastor for LifeChurch.tv Church Online. All opinions shared here are expressly her own.

 

Why I Quit Couponing

My tiny London kitchen: no room for couponing here!

I used to be a legit couponer. At the time, I was at home full time with my oldest child and my husband’s income was about 50% of what it is today. I became so adept at the practice that I was that annoying person no one wants to be in line behind when she’s checking out at the market due to my possession of many coupons and a lot of items to scan and load. I began keeping track of how much money I was saving as an alternative to the $0 salary I was bringing in at the time. Highlighting our savings on receipts and showing them to my husband became a source of personal pride for me.

Then I moved overseas.

1) I couldn’t take all those items I’d been saving money on with me. One does not simply pack 12 tubes of toothpaste or 6 boxes of cereal, and she certainly wouldn’t be wise to pay to move or ship said items.

2) In Europe we ate less and ate simpler. Our family was no longer consuming the pre-packaged foods that are most often have coupons available in the Sunday papers. Coupons weren’t available for the fresh fruit and produce available in our local market. My new routine became picking up items at the store for the evening’s dinner on my way to walk and get the kids at school.

3) There was no room to accumulate. My kitchen was about 7′ in length x 4′ wide. We had one cabinet to store pantry items and a euro-sized fridge that was about 4′ tall including 3 shelves inside and a small freezer below. Our sink, stove, and washing machine were all in this tiny space. If I’d chosen to live out the American values of never running out of anything and having plenty on hand, I would’ve had to resort to using up the open space in our home for storage.

My fridge in London taught me not to accumulate items “just in case”.

4) For those of you who took college accounting courses, you’re familiar with the FIFO practice – First In, First Out. In America, I accumulated canned goods and freezer goods to the point that I could pass on using the ones that weren’t appealing. When practicing FIFO, we eat what we have before adding more to the mix. If I bring a dozen bananas home from the grocery today, it’d better be because I’m running low and our family will consume the new ones in the week to come.

5) No matter which countries I’ve lived and traveled in, I’ve realized I’m uncomfortable keeping extras of nearly anything around. Even though I’d saved us thousands of dollars on items we’d “eventually” use, they were often not used or of much value overall. The main thing I had to show for the “savings” were cabinets overflowing with “just in case” items.

6) We had no income and were living on our personal savings when we moved overseas. Adopting this lifestyle forced me to realize that, back when we’d had my husband’s salary I never felt it was enough and was trying to squeeze all I could out of it by couponing. When we had no true income in Europe but I stopped couponing, I began to see what we had as enough.

Now that we’re back in America, I’ve taken my couponing lessons and experience and applied them to my preferred method of grocery shopping. The images in this post are screenshots taken from a video our family filmed of a decluttering project we did in our London home.  If you’d like to see the video (and our results), click here.

If you’re an avid couponer, I encourage you to ask yourself whether the financial savings you’re gaining and the time you’re spending truly outweigh the resulting clutter and accumulation that this practice creates.

Ready to drop the scissors and stop clipping? No problem! Try these 8 Alternatives to Couponing.

 

Dana Byers and her family are passionate about adoption and online ministry, and they sold all they owned in 2007 to live a mobile lifestyle overseas and expand online ministry practices globally.  She’s the author of “The Art of Online Ministry” and recently moved to Oklahoma to become the Community Pastor for LifeChurch.tv Church Online. All opinions shared here are expressly her own.

Gluten Free Crock Pot BBQ Chicken

This simple dish is a Byers family favorite. (And by favorite, I mean I’ve lost count how many times my picky eater has requested it!)

  • 1 whole chicken in pieces (or legs and thighs)
  • 1 bottle gluten free BBQ sauce (I love Annie’s.)
  • 1-12oz. bottle of Coke (or natural soda)

Combine all three ingredients in your crock pot.  Cook on low 10 hours or high 6 hours.

What’s your go-to meal when you’re low on time or energy?

Dana

Page 1 of 212»