Hey guys, hope everyone has been well! Sorry for the lack of posts as of late, it has been a bit busy over here with us getting our house ready to get on the market and everything else we have going on, with work and otherwise. We leave tomorrow morning to head to California for the week, where we plan to explore and really dive into what will soon be our new home. Both my hubby and I agreed that with such a HUGE life decision pending, we owe it to ourselves to be 150% positive that this is where we want to move and that this is what we want to do. We are both 99.9% sure, but the last time we were out there, last July, we were talking so casually about it, more like a 5-year plan. Since we really never do anything half-assed, we decided why would we wait so long? Let’s get our house here in Buffalo on the market, sell it and go! So after this week long trip, we plan to get back home, get our house on the market and when it sells, we are gone. We have been painting, putting up lights, decluttering, ebaying, craigslisting and just getting ourselves and the house ready! It has been exciting and worth it though, we can see the progress being made and we are getting that much closer. It looks like if the house here in Buffalo goes on the market in early June, there is a possibility we could be living in California by late Summer. That is so exciting and terrifying, all at once.
As you can imagine, this is partially why I haven’t had as much time to play in the kitchen, play around with recipes, etc. I have been cooking and baking but I have been sticking with trusted and favorite recipes, or just simple throw together things that require very little thought. Though I did try to create a new recipe on Friday night and it just didn’t go as planned, I was trying to make grain-free, vegan ginger snap cookies and they just didn’t come out quite as I had imagined. They tasted amazing but the dough was a bit too thin and the cookies spread out more than I had wanted. So back to the drawing board on those.
Saturday we had a fun little Kentucky Derby party at my parent’s house. So I, of course, did a little baking and cooking! I made oven “fried” okra (vegan and gluten-free), which turned out pretty good and these corn bread muffins. I also made a little something for everyone else, a Louisville favorite, “hot browns”! These are totally not gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free or anything else Beth friendly, but it’s one my hubby’s favorites and it reminds him of home. Rather than butchering a classic trying to make it healthy for me, I took one for the team and made a mini version of the traditional sandwich. Basically a hot brown is roasted turkey served on top of thick toast, topped with a thick, creamy white cheese sauce, some bacon and a slice or two of tomato. All of that is just put in the broiler until browned and bubbly, and you have one happy hubby! This may have been the first time I have ever made something that I couldn’t take a single taste of. I made the cheese sauce from scratch, but since it was thickened with regular flour, I couldn’t taste it. I was relying on everyone else’s taste, it felt strange and foreign. Kinda fun though, too.
My mom made some oven baked “fried” chicken, we had some delicious beans and greens, some vinegary coleslaw and my dad made pulled pork. Oh, and of course, the bourbon and the mint juleps were flowing freely. My sister made a hysterical horse head cake and for me, she made some incredibly delicious and super beautifully decorated gluten-free and vegan chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, totally from scratch. They were so amazing. My mom also pulled out some of my great grandmother’s (my great Yia Yia) old hats and we all picked one out to wear.
Since I always make sure to make at least one or two things that I know I can eat that are somewhat healthy, besides the simple corn meal crusted fresh okra bits that I baked up to make crispy, I decided to have some fun with these corn bread muffins and add in a little heat with the jalapeños. You could certainly leave those out if you don’t like jalapeños, or you could try chipotle or some roasted poblanos, etc – but I would recommend trying it. The heat and spice is very subtle and it is so nice with the gritty corn flavor. If you like your corn bread more on the sweet side, than savory, just add in a more sugar (or sweetener of your choice).
Our Derby party was super fun and laid back. As we always do, Mark and I hit one of the seedy OTB’s (Off Track Betting) before heading to my parent’s house. It is the only time of year we bet on horse racing. It is our tradition. I always like to bet on one favored horse and one underdog. I put just $10 to win on each of my two picks and didn’t expect much! My underdog horse, #19 – “I’ll Have Another”, actually won and I walked away with $155! Yay!
I am so glad we got to have this little party! This is one of the times of year that Mark gets homesick and we all love a good excuse to party! With us gearing up to move, I cherish these moments more than ever before!!
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk) Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a full-sized muffin tin with paper liners. Mix the vinegar with the milk, and set aside. In a large bowl mix together well all the dry ingredients, corn meal, all-purpose flour, cane sugar, baking powder and sea salt. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil and milk/vinegar mixture. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture slowly, mixing all the while. You can use a spoon or a mixer on low, just make sure the ingredients are thoroughly blended. Fold in the finely chopped jalapeños, make sure they are evenly mixed throughout. Pour the mixture into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is firm and the edges are slightly browned. Serve warm if you wish.
makes 12 muffins
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 large farm fresh brown eggs, lightly beaten at room temperature (you could try using an egg replacer here to make vegan, but I haven’t done so yet, myself)
1/3 cup olive oil (you can also use canola oil or melted coconut oil)
1 cup gluten-free stone ground, whole grain medium grind corn meal (If you can’t find whole grain, regular will work and if you prefer fine grind over medium, that’s ok, too)
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used a blend of tapioca, potato starch and sorghum flour)
1/4 cup organic raw cane sugar (regular sugar will work, too)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 to 2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a full-sized muffin tin with paper liners.
Mix the vinegar with the milk, and set aside. In a large bowl mix together well all the dry ingredients, corn meal, all-purpose flour, cane sugar, baking powder and sea salt. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil and milk/vinegar mixture. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture slowly, mixing all the while. You can use a spoon or a mixer on low, just make sure the ingredients are thoroughly blended. Fold in the finely chopped jalapeños, make sure they are evenly mixed throughout.
Pour the mixture into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is firm and the edges are slightly browned. Serve warm if you wish.