Simple Breakfast Casserole

 Breakfast casserole_lesscropped

In my constant battle to get to work on time, I’m always looking for healthy, quick and protein-packed breakfast items-this casserole fits the bill! Here’s a super simple breakfast casserole sure to be a crowd-pleaser. This casserole serves four, can be made a day (or two) ahead and is made with your favorite mix-ins. I’ve made mine with juicy, lean chicken sausage, green onions and light cheddar cheese. This casserole is a great quick breakfast before work, on a holiday morning or before a summer bike ride.

Continue reading

Blog Update: We’re going gluten-free!

Hi all,

Sorry it’s been such a long stint since my last post. I’ve become really involved in our brand new community garden, been doing a load of wedding planning for our wedding in October, and become a member of Denver’s Sustainable Food Policy Council. That said, summer is sorta-kinda-ish here in CO and that means farmer’s markets, garden goodies, camping food and local yummies galore-with one twist. This spring I was diagnosed with celiac disease.

I didn’t really realize I had a problem with gluten until I visited my doctor and for the umpteenth time complained of being exhausted, no matter how much sleep I got. She recommended a full dietary blood panel and sure enough my tTG levels (t-Transglutaminase-the standard test for celiac) came back at 74 U/mL when the healthy range is 0 to 3-woops. After some other tests, it was confirmed that I have celiac disease, so more wheat…ever.

Once diagnosed, the first couple of days were OK, but after about day 3, the cravings hit. Fluffy bread, pasta, cakes, beer-anything that contained gluten was all I wanted. It was bad. I was actually dreaming about food. Slowly though, I began to find some replacements for those items that I reaalllyy wanted and I learned which replacements to avoid-some things are just not the same and not worth the money to try to replace them. It’s been about 4 months now since my final diagnosis and it’s much better. The cravings are gone (although I do still drool over bagels and doughnuts when folks bring them into the office), I have a good arsenal of GF bread and pasta and I’ve learned how NOT to get burned when I eat out at restaurants. It’s been a learning process, but I feel so much better and I know I’m treating my body better. If anyone is struggling with a new diagnosis of celiac, I am happy to chat-just shoot me an email at messykitchenhappybelly@gmail.com.

So, all that said, I’m really excited to get back to the blog. I don’t think I’ll be focusing on “gluten-free” recipes, but rather recipes where you won’t notice that the gluten is missing. I still want to keep my focus on local, healthy foods and having a good time in the kitchen. Stay tuned folks, I’m excited to share what we can make with the bounty this summer has to hold!

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Polenta

Spring is here! The daffodils are blooming, birds are chirping and it is almost time for the farmer’s markets! It’s time to hang up the skis, bust out the camping equipment and shift our meals from winter comfort food to grilled delights and fresh vegetables. My grilled portobello mushroom polenta recipe is the perfect gluten-free and vegetarian meal to celebrate the new season! This dish was inspired by a recent collaboration between the The Wynn Resort in Las Vegas and the vegan chef Tal Ronnen. These collaborators are working together to create beautiful vegan and vegetarian dishes for all their guests at the Wynn. Check out the Vegas.com link here: http://www.vegas.com/resorts/wynn/ to learn all about the Wynn hotel, read guest reviews and plan your delicious dining adventure at the Wynn! No drooling on the keyboard!

finished_small

Continue reading

Local Burger Night Celebrating James Ranch

burger no egg

Well, time got away from me and I am a bit behind with my posts-so prepare for a blog blast! The first thing I wanted to share with you all was a great local burger night that we had at home. We rarely have burgers at home, but when we do, we don’t mess around. For this night, I wanted to make sure that all our ingredients came from the big CO. On our recent trip to Durango, Mom and I had recently visited the James Ranch and we were blown away by all the beautiful cheeses, vegetables and meats. The ranch is just outside of Durango, near Hermosa, CO. The James family has cared for the land since 1961 with the goal of producing nutritious, delicious and humanely-raised food for the community.

Continue reading

Red Velvet Cake

final

I love making birthday cakes for my friends and family. Even though making cakes for events can really be stressful when you’re trying to make sure everyone loves the cake and that nothing goes wrong at the last minute (haha), it’s such a joy to be able to make the people you love feel special. I’ve made cakes we’ve enjoyed while camping, made cakes that got sat on (repeatedly), made cakes that were elegant and make cakes that were…..hideous special…

This cake, inspired by an Alton Brown recipe, turned out quite well and was a special treat for my mom’s birthday. I added some berries within the cake layer and on top to break up the thick cream cheese frosting and to contrast the cocoa of the cake. Here’s a fresh twist on a classic cake sure to bring everyone together!

Continue reading

Big News! My first #MadeWithChobani recipe! Homemade spinach ravioli

final 1

A couple of weeks ago I was inspired by Chobani’s #MadeWithChobani Project to create an original, and healthy, recipe using Chobani Greek yogurt. Naturally, I chatted with my friends, consulted my fiance and mom and spent several days mulling over recipes. I decided that a savory dish would pose more of a challenge and fit the healthy, innovative recipe bill a bit better than a sweet option. I think I may have a couple more options up my sleeve (did someone say Borscht?) but here’s the first, my homemade spinach ravioli made without a pasta maker! With this ravioli’s creamy filling made with three cheeses and Chobani plain Greek yogurt, this recipe is sure to become a favorite family dinner! If you’re interested in other original and delicious recipes using Chobani Greek yogurt, check out the company’s website here: http://www.chobani.com/culture/recipes

Continue reading

Zucchini Bread Muffins

zucchini_squash_ripe_for_the_picking_by_miss_merlina-d55y22s

I love zucchini bread. No, really; if I see if from afar, I will go out of my way to capture it and consume it as soon as humanly possible. I love the moist center, the holiday spices, the crunch of the squash-but what I love the most about zucchini bread is the memories it brings back to me. When I was little we went to the beach every summer and we always stopped at this one special farm stand. They had the best corn picked only moments before being sold, amazingly sharp white cheddar, incredibly sweet fruits and the world’s best zucchini bread. Even now, zucchini bread reminds me of that stand and lazy summers spent in the salty air. I’ve tried in vain to recreate that stand’s recipe for years, and come to the realization that maybe muffins are the way to go, rather than the traditional bread. I’ve had more success keeping the muffins moist than I have with bread, and it seems that the spices are more aromatic in the smaller form. I really like the contribution of the applesauce in this recipe, it gives the muffins sweet flavor and keeps them moist and the holiday spice blend in this recipe makes your house smell amazing! Give this recipe a shot and let me know what you think!

Continue reading

Mom’s Banana Bread

bread2

Once upon a time, I hated bananas. Something about the mushy texture and the smell combination. I carried on avoiding these awesome fruits until one fateful night when I had leg cramps so badly that I forced my way through a banana in hopes that the potassium would cure me. Not so surprisingly, the banana saved me from the leg cramps and suddenly bananas were back on the scene. I still avoid the perfectly ripe ones and really only eat mine when they are still just a bit green, but I now try to incorporate bananas into my diet frequently.

In my new-found acceptance of bananas, I’ve tried my fair share of banana breads. Some with nuts, some with dried fruits, some filled versions and some muffins, but I have to say this classic recipe from my mom is my favorite. This delicate and slightly sweet bread showcases the flavor of the bananas and is extremely moist.

Continue reading