my talented family: part 2

Meet my Mom, Jocelyn Herig,  a.k.a. ‘JoJo’ of

“JoJo’s Gluten Free Granola was created for my family. Our on-the-go, active lifestyle motivated me to make a healthy and  delicious snack for everyone.  It’s high quality ingredients provide sustained energy as well as many additional healthful benefits.  Eat it at breakfast or anytime for the perfect snack. There are 2 flavors of JoJo’s: “Choconola” and “Nutter Butter Berry”. The ingredients include gluten free oats, almond butter or peanut butter, sliced almonds or cashews, organic agave nectar, 70% dark chocolate, a bit of cinnamon, vanilla and a touch of sea salt. It is conveniently packaged in a 4 oz. size for your purse, workout bag or lunchbox and a 12 oz. bag for the whole family or all your workout buddies! The ziploc packaging will keep it fresh and ready to go.” -JoJo

JoJo’s Gluten Free Granola↓

Her recent venture… selling her delicious granola to the public!  If you know JoJo, you know that she has been perfecting her granola recipe for years.  She has always kept her latest creation on her kitchen counter in a big jar and we all snacked and weighed in on taste, texture, ingredients, names.  We likely critiqued it to death (poor Jo), but it is safe to say that these days we don’t have ANYTHING left but praise.  It became a staple in her home, a source of comfort in the kitchen and fame for Jo as we all brought friends over for a taste and gifted relatives with it for holidays.  She has been asked begged to send huge batches to many military men overseas in the last few years and has generously sent people home with large bags full after they can’t seem to get enough while visiting her home.  When it got the point where there were no kinks to work out and we were all sneaking over to steal bags and bags of the granola to eat, share with friends, hoard and gift others with, she decided it might just be worth it to offer it to a larger audience.  JoJo’s Granola was born this summer and it’s first sales venue is the Downtown Growers Market in Albuquerque!

You can find her at the Downtown Growers Market (located @Robinson Park at 8th & Central) every Saturday from 7-Noon

2 Awesome flavors, Choconola (dark chocolate granola) and Nutter Butter Berry (nut and berry granola)

Both recipes made with organic ingredients and GLUTEN-FREE

Sold in 2 convenient sizes

Have a free sample to decide which to buy when you visit her at the Market

 Order it online at JoJo’ (Coming Soon)


june in full swing

Not only does June hold the date of Elle’s birth, Father’s Day and me and Kurt’s anniversary, but my Mom and his Dad have birthdays just one day apart.  June is PARTY TIME around here!  We’ve had eating out, BBQ-ing, desserts and gifts coming out our ears and it’s been fun fun FUN!
We got to celebrate JoJo and Grandpa this week!
We are so blessed with parents who are so active in our lives.  They are always around to grab a quick cup of coffee or a beer.  To go shopping or to Fudd’s.  To talk or email.  We do not question for a single second that these 2 parents of ours would be, in a seconds notice, wherever we invite them to be.  We love you Jo and Dad!  Happy Happy Birthday!
Love, Dani and Kurt

On the food front:
I LOVE summer BBQ food!  Inspired by my favorite current appetizer at Savoy, we grilled up some bread with olive oil and sea salt.
Kurt (yes Kurt!) made Hummus. Garbanzo beans, olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and paprika on top.
I diced grape tomatoes, pecorino romano cheese, salami, baby bell peppers, red onion and kalamata olives then dressed it in this Giada De Laurentiis red wine vinaigrette.
It was good.  So, if you invite us to a BBQ this summer you’ll likely get to try this one 😉
Looking for a yummy, hold on – YUMMY – dessert? Head over to Farina for some Butterscotch Budino.  A delicious, not too sweet butterscotch pudding with caramel sauce and a little sea salt crunch.  SOOOOO not my usual dessert craving but after my courtesy bite, I could not stop my spoon from diving in again and again.  While you’re there better try the Chicken Cesar Salad (a special that was so good I think I’ll call in to the owner this week and beg him to put it on the menu) . . . it had the most AMAZING croutons, herb rubbed chicken and avocadoIf you have room after that, maybe throw in a Carni Curate Pizza (well, if you really really like meat).
Can anyone tell I’m hungry this morning?
She got it!  We’ve got a toddling walker.  One month from her first step and she pretty much prefers walking over crawling.  She falls a lot.  She cries a lot. But when she has a good run she is oh-so-proud of herself! 🙂

things I like today pt. 2

Things I like today:

…that 4 years in, this is what our life is.  Honestly though, I looked at this picture and felt O-L-D.  Like, double take- ‘wait, is that a picture of my parents and us when we were little?’  But, a little perspective later- I feel so far beyond blessed that I get to call this my life, that my front yard, those my children, him my husband…
…Father’s Day morning.  It sounded like this, “Ava, want to wrap your gift for Dad? Sure.  Think Dad will like his new shirt?  Of course, he told me his favorite color is purple. Ava, keep your voice quiet. Mom, can I crack the egg.  Just finish decorating your card.  OK. How do you spell Dad again.  Ava, keep your voice quiet. Oops, I added an extra A. It’s fine.  I drew you Mom, look how funny you look.  Can I try the bacon?  What kind of tea did we make dad?  It’s coffee. Ava, keep your voice quiet. Elle, NO! CRASH. Oh crap, nobody move.  Ava don’t walk on the floor.  Elle crawl into the bedroom. Ava call your sister.  Ava open the door.  He’s asleep.  No he’s not, just say Happy Father’s Day.  Happy Father’s Day.  Were you seriously sleeping. No…so, what’d you break?”
This dessert.  My new summer staple.  It’s like a frozen S’more.  Do it!
The little girls endorsed it with ‘yummy sounds’…so did everyone at the table.  Seriously, that good!
…my dad.
…the baby that we constantly have to strip down to her diaper because she is always such a mess.
…Kurt’s new “favorite color” shirt.
…this cute belly and the baby boy we are praying makes a prompt arrival the moment he is done cooking.

i love chips.

Anyone tried Kale Chips?

Well, for starters, if you are a true chip lover (like myself) these little suckers really shouldn’t have the word ‘chip’ in their name… For the purposes of this blog we’ll call them Kale Crisps.  Anyway, buy a bunch of Kale (it’s by the lettuce).  Chop it up (the leafy part – remove all of the thick spiny parts).

Toss it in a bowl with about 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil.

Spread it out in one layer on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and some grated parm.

Throw it into a preheated oven (350 degrees) until it’s crispy and dried out.  If you’re going by looks- still green but shriveled.  Not brown (see above).  This is a picture of Kale Crisps cooked 5 minutes too long.  20 minutes was too long, if that helps anyone.

Scoop it up (feels like gathering some fall leaves off the lawn).  Put it in a bowl.  Snack on the pumpkin-seed-tasting Crisps.  Remind yourself that this is a healthier snack than the real chips you want to be nibbling on as you prepare dinner.  Enjoy a 2nd scoop of Blue Bell for dessert tonight. After all, you ate Kale instead of chips!

“would you say your pesto is the best-o?”

(Shout out to my ·FRIENDS· friends ↑)

I don’t know about that. but my first attempt at fresh pesto was pretty darn good-o.  one of those meals that we all fight over.  one that Ava and I thought about the next day. one that I think Kurt might have felt badly for taking all of the leftovers in his lunch.

We know that we love PESTO, but without a food processor, it was never on my radar. Every time a recipe circulated, I wrote it off.  But…this time when a food network recipe cropped up I remembered my new food processor and headed immediately to Trader Joe’s for the ingredients.

Basil, Olive Oil, Pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, Garlic, Salt, Pepper… that’s it.

Pan fried some chicken, made some Ancient Harvest shells (great pasta texture-the perfect al dente noodle), tossed, EASY and DELICIOUS (and Gluten Free).

Ava:(took a bite, put her fork down, closed her eyes) yum.

And since I had to steal this spoonful out of Kurt’s already packed lunch container it’s not nearly as bright green and fresh looking as it was, but you get the idea. Hmmm… wonder if anyone would mind if I made it again tonight.

THE dessert of 2011

We had a really fun New Year’s Eve at Kurt’s parents house this year!  Along with fun games, plenty of Wii- ing and a delicious appetizer buffet I scored the recipe for my new favorite dessert (thanks so much for introducing me to this deliciousness Lucy- and thanks even more than that for sharing the recipe!)!  No sooner did she offer to share the recipe I whipped out my email address and as soon as she sent if over I sent Kurt to the grocery store for ingredients!  I couldn’t wait to eat it again and so for my first attempt I halved the recipe for a yummy treat for just four of us!  There is a little bit left and I have to say, it won’t last another night 😉  We have some family coming into town from Cali at the end of the month and I think this is just the ticket to keep them coming back!

Dark Chocolate Cream Tart
1/2 C. sliced almonds ground (coffee grinder works well)
1/3 C. sugar
2/3 C. whole wheat flour (I used some Gluten Free baking flour)
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tb. butter
1 tsp. almond flavoring (I used vanilla-it’s what I had on hand)
Mix well and push into a 9-10 inch tart pan with removable rim that you have lined with parchment paper (I just flattened it out with my fingers onto a piece of parchement paper in a baking dish) .  Bake 15 min. at 350 degrees.  Set aside to cool.
Chocolate Layer To be melted in double boiler over just barely hot water:  6 oz. of dark chocolate
1/2 C. heavy whipping cream                                                                                                     Melt, mix gently (for my ‘half-recipe’ version I used a 4oz. bar of Ghirardelli dark chocolate.  I heated the heavy cream in the microwave until hot (not boiling) and then added the chocolate and stirred until fully melted!)and spread on top of partly cooled crust.  Set in fridge to cool.
Top layer:
1/2 C. heavy whipping cream, whipped – set aside
8 oz. Mascarpone cheese
3/4 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix all but whipped cream till well blended, then add whipped cream and blend gently.  Spread on top of choc. layer and place in fridge to keep cool.  Take out of fridge about 30 min. before serving. Top with fresh raspberries (or in our case blackberries).  ENJOY! Serves about 8-12 depending on size.

Gluten Free Livin’- Again

It feels pretty weird to write a blog that is all about me… to be honest, I don’t really like doing it.  However uncomfortable though, I thought I would like to share a little of what’s been going on with me and give some background for you before I start sharing Gluten Free Recipes that left you wondering… what the heck?

About 7 years ago I was plagued with constant stomach pain and anxiety.  Even then I wasn’t quite sure which was a symptom of which.  Finally, through many, many doctor visits, including an intestinal biopsy, a visit to an allergist, a chiropractor, and multiple different restrictive diets, I came out with a very loose diagnosis saying that I was gluten intolerant or had a gluten sensitivity.  The prescription= a gluten free lifestyle and some mild intestinal muscle relaxers to help with some digestive issues (namely- IBS).  This gluten free diet was the only thing that seemed to alleviate my symptoms and so although I was very sad to leave many of the foods I loved,  I was SOLD.  After living this way for around 9 months my doctor recommend that I try to gradually add gluten and wheat products back into my diet and see what happened.  I was TERRIFIED!  If any of you struggle with gluten sensitivity you know that after being gluten free for a time the idea of introducing it back into your body is enough to give you a stomach ache.  But I did, and slowly but surely I was able to handle it and even eventually got back to my old “normal” diet.  In the back of my mind were always the words of my doctor saying that some people just don’t digest gluten as well as others and to be aware and sensitive to my body… I have definitely taken this precaution into consideration noting that when my life got a little high stress, my stomach was the first to go.  I would generally steer clear of wheat products until the stressful situation was taken care of and that seemed to help. This has been my general approach for the past 5 years and that gets us to the past few months.

After having a stomach ache every night for about a week followed by some brief episodes of heightened anxiety, I started to try to figure out what was going on.  The symptoms immediately transported me back to 5 years ago and I was almost positive I was dealing with a relapse of sorts.  Sure enough when I looked up gluten sensitivity/intolerance it said that symptoms can be exasperated by high stress, lack of sleep and pregnancy. AH HA!  My main symptoms tend to be anxiety, stomach issues and a hard time sleeping… what a catch 22!  Without looking back I have jumped into my old GF life again.  I need more than ever to be on my game to chase my 2 little ones around.  Now looking back over my pregnancy I can see that all of the normal signs were there, but due to being so hungry and having been so sick for the first half of the pregnancy, I had discounted the almost daily stomach aches and never steered clear of foods that I knew could be adding to the problem.   I think I could have caught this sooner, but was focusing so much on my drastically different life with 2 kids, a new house, and summer traveling that I overlooked it for months.

As I attempt to feel better both physically and emotionally I  will try to share I little of what I am finding to feed my body.  I know that more and more people are attempting a gluten free lifestyle due to the fact that stomach and head issues are so hard to diagnose.  It is amazing how diet can truly change everything about you.  The way you look, feel, your mental state, your energy level, how well you sleep,  the condition of your skin… the list goes on.  Here’s hoping this diet= HEALTH for me!  I know that many of my friends and family struggle with some or all of the same issues as me- as my form of moral support I’m going to try to share some yummy GF recipes that feed my soul and keep me feeling good!  Last time I was sick I lost so much weight because there wasn’t much out there in the form of Gluten Free products… this is SO NOT THE CASE NOW!  I do not doubt that a few extra pounds will find me as I taste test all of the wonderful products now available at Sunflower Market, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, even the normal grocery store and a handful of restaurants in town.  If any of you have any experience in the Gluten Free life please feel free to pass on your favorite products and recipes!  This actually might be a little fun!

My Number 1 Gluten Free Dessert LOVE!

All flavors are Gluten Free *except English Toffee and Cookies and Cream

YO-KEVA… IF you haven’t ventured into a Keva Juice lately, you should.  We have recently added frozen yogurt that is WONDERFUL!  4 flavors are offered at a time (flavors change on Thursdays and Sundays) along with 20 different delicious toppings!  The yogurt is self serve, thirty nine cents an ounce AND after 7 p.m. it is half off!  Also, if you go in and ask for EXTRAS (the flavors that they have recently changed out that have been packaged and frozen) they are half off ALL THE TIME!

That said, here is my first GF dessert!:

1 Package of Glutino Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies (bought at Sunflower Market) – finely crushed

1/4 cup butter- melted

Mix and press into a 9 inch pie pan and cook on 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool.

Put 1 full 24 ounce container of Yo Keva Extra’s (in this case Irish Mint) into your Kitchen Aid Mixer along with mini-chocolate chips (or candy of your choice) and mix until smooth.  Then spoon into your crust, cover with Cool Whip or Whip Cream and freeze for about 3 hours until set!