Easy Grilled Bacon

Ahhh……bacon. It’s good with breakfast, on salad, on pizza, on sandwiches, and the list goes on! You can make it on the stove, in the oven, in the microwave or on the grill. Our favorite way is on the grill because it keeps the mess and smell outside and makes for an easy cleanup. And it tastes amazing. Perfectly crispy. Convinced yet? Let’s get grilling!

First, heat your grill to a medium-low heat. Around 350 degrees. Next, line a cookie sheet with heavy-weight tinfoil.

Place your bacon on the tinfoil, close together but not overlapping. They will quickly shrink during the cooking process.

Put the cookie sheet on the grill. We did two sheets at a time and were able to fit them on the grill side by side.

Close the grill lid and cook for 8-10 and then, using tongs, flips the pieces of bacon over to cook on the other side. The bacon will still look pretty raw at this point. Depending on the thickness of you bacon (thickcut will take longer), cook the bacon for another 7-12 minutes or until desired doneness is achieved. The bacon may still look a little soft but if it is starting to brown it is probably done. It will get crisper as it cools and the fat drains off.

Prepare a plate or try covered with several lavers of paper towel. With clean tongs or a fork, remove the cooked bacon and place on the paper toweled plate. Let the bacon cool for a couple of minutes and……..ENJOY!

My baby boy grilling like a pro. (Don’t worry, I was helping him). He’s getting to be quite the chef. And he LOVES bacon. My kids would eat bacon at every meal if I let them 🙂

This is the bacon we used, but any bacon will do.

Try my Cheesy Breakfast Quiche recipe to serve with the bacon! You can find it here


Cheesy Breakfast Quiche (gluten and dairy free)

Are you looking for a delicious make ahead meal for the weekend or school breakfasts? This quiche recipe is quick to put together, and makes the perfect breakfast, lunch or even a light dinner. Easy to keep in the fridge and heat up when you need it, this protein packed, comforting dish is easier than you think. Make it for Saturday brunch and have it for a relaxing Sunday morning breakfast. Or, make it at night and let it cook while you watch a show. You won’t have to worry about breakfast for the next couple of days! Great paired with crispy bacon and refreshing fruit or a crunchy salad. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Two Quiches:

Two 9″ uncooked pie crust shells. You can find my favorite GF recipe here

18 eggs

1 cup of Mayo

1/2 c. milk

1 T. sea salt

Pepper to taste.

1 -1 1/2 c. veggies, chopped or sliced

16 oz. dairy free or regular cheddar cheese

Herbs for garnish

Recipe with pictures:

Crack the eggs into a medium mixing bowl.

Add the salt, milk and mayo.

Mix with a whisk until well combined. The mixture will still look a bit grainy from the mayo.

Prepare the uncooked pie shells and set aside.

Chop the cheese into small 1/2 ” pieces and place in the bottom of the pie shell. This dairy-free cheese (on the left) is delicious! Smoky and creamy, it melts well and is sure to delight those in the family who can’t have “regular” cheese. I made one quiche with the dairy-free cheese and one with sharp cheddar. Cheddar is preferable because it melts well and is not stringy. I imagine feta or goat cheese would work well too.

Pour the egg mixture into the pie shell, covering the cheese.

Top with your favorite veggies. I used thinly sliced raw tomato, but you could also use lightly sautéed mushrooms, broccoli, peppers, onions, or spinach. The possibilities are endless!

Bake at 350* until light golden brown and puffy, about 35-45 min. The center should be firm, not jiggly. You can also use a meat thermometer and make sure that the center is at least 190*, the proper temperature for cooked egg dishes.

Remove quiches from the oven and allow to cool for at least ten minutes before trying to cut and serve. I thinly sliced a bunch of fresh basil from the garden and generously sprinkled it on top of the quiches while we waited. The basil-tomato combination is so tasty! While the quiche was cooking, we made a batch of grilled bacon to serve along side. DE-LISH!

Can I use a different crust?

Yes! This quiche will work well with any uncooked pie crust recipe or store bought pie crust shell, gluten-free or “regular”.

My quiche still looks wet, why?

If you are using an oily cheese like cheddar, the oils may rise to the top, giving a “wet-egg” look. That’s why it’s important to watch your baking time, use a thermometer if possible and/or do the jiggle test. If it’s not wiggly, it’s probably done.

Can I leave out the cheese?

Absolutely! The baking time will likely be reduced to closer to 30 Minutes.

How long do leftovers stay fresh?

I have found that gluten free baked good are usually best eaten within 2-3 days. Keep leftover quiche refrigerated in an airtight container for best results.

How do I reheat leftovers?

The best way is the oven if you have time, but the easiest way is the microwave! 45 sec-1 min. in the zapper should do the trick. It’s just as good the second day! Great for weekends and before-school breakfasts.

Where do I buy dairy-free cheese?

Most major Grocery store will have dairy-free cheese. The brand Follow Your Heart (shown in this recipe) is one of my favorites and we buy it at Walmart.

How do I grill bacon?

I’m glad you asked! Its so easy! Check out my post on Easy Grilled Bacon here.


Gluten Free Pie Crust Cinnamon Rolls

Okay, one little secret that goes along with my pie crust recipe, I always double it and make these cinnamon rolls. They are soft but flaky, not too sweet for a mid-day snack, and oh so delicious. Perfect for little hands to help with, these became a tradition when I was a child and my mom would be making one of her famous chocolate pies. I have wonderful memories of helping her make these rolls- spreading the butter and and then sprinkling the brown sugar and cinnamon. We would always grab teaspoon and eat a whole bite of brown sugar. And while I don’t sugar by the spoonful anymore, my kids like to and I know they are making lifelong memories too!

If you are looking for a way to use up extra crust after making a pie, you can just make a few rolls, or if you want a plateful, then make a whole batch like we do and know that you won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients:

Supplies:

rolling pin, parchment paper, flour for rolling in, one cookie sheet, butter knife

METHOD:

Gather your ingredients and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Divide the dough in half and shape into two disks that are each about 4″ across and 1 ” thick. Set aside one disk.

Spread a piece of parchment paper on your surface, and sprinkle with gf flour. Place your dough disk on the paper and lightly sprinkle again. Roll out using a gentle, consistent motion, shaping the edges as you go. Roll to about 12″ across.

One of my sweet helpers! He loves helping in the kitchen!
Baby Girl was really getting the hang of it this time. She really didn’t want help on her turn.

After the dough has been rolled into a circle (it doesn’t have to be perfectly round), it’s time to spread the butter. We had to melt our butter slightly. The house was a bit chilly and butter at room temp was too hard to spread. It would rip the dough. We used about 2 T of butter.

Try to spread somewhat evenly.

Next, sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon. We used about 3-4 T of brown sugar and 2 t. cinnamon per pie crust. Feel free to use less or more cinnamon as a you like, but using too little butter or sugar will change the texture bit.

Baby girl brushing the cinnamon off her hands

Its time to slice! We cut ours into quarters and then thirds, making 12 pieces.

And now….roll up! This part is so fun! Start from the wide end of the wedge/triangle and roll toward the center. Go slowly and carefully until you get the hang of it.

Place rolls separately (not touching) onto parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Repeat with the remaining disk.

We put all 24 rolls on one sheet but I forgot to take a picture.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 or until light golden brown and bottom is set and golden. They will still be soft to touch and seem undercooked, but will set up after cooling down and will become sturdy. If you are worried about the egg being fully cooked, use a thermometer to check and make sure that they are at least 190 degrees.

ALLOWING THE ROLLS TO COOL IS THE HARD PART, but try to for at least 20 min or so. While you are waiting, why don’t you make some coffee or tea and grab a book to read? When the rolls are cool, put them on a pretty plate and enjoy a cozy moment with your tea and book.

I can’t wait for you to try these favorites of ours and I hope that they become a tradition in your house too. Enjoy!

Variations/tips:

I have tried coconut sugar, and alluose in place of br. sugar with decent results. I have also tried maple syrup but it spread too much, creating a caramel the butter. Maple sugar would probably be totally awesome. Maple. Sugar. How could you go wrong?

Try baking the rolls for ten minutes on the middle rack and then a 8+ min. on the bottom to help set up the rolls without over baking.

Mix it up with a little bit of finely chopped pecans or raisins.

Save some to have with your morning coffee if you can!


garden tomato and cucumber salad

Are you looking for a simple way to use up your abundance of garden tomatoes? Or maybe you have so many cucumbers you just don’t know what to do? This fresh, lemony combination might be what you are looking for. This recipe is one that my in-laws have made for us many times over and is inspired my mother-in-loves Lebanese background. The perky tang of the tomatoes and lemon juice work well with the bite from the garlic and the smooth cucumbers  and olive oil. We recently made this recipe along side grilled chicken for guests and then again for our family dinner as a side with hamburgers. Both times it was a a huge hit! 

In our late summer garden harvest, we have an abundance of orange cherry tomatoes and so that it what I used in the salad. Any tomatoes or cucumbers will do, but firm is better than too soft. My mom planted English cukes this year and we. just. have. so. many. My kids like to eat them plain, sliced up and sprinkled with salt. But they were great in this recipe.

First, I peeled the cukes and then sliced into bite size pieces. I cut 1/2” slices and then quartered the slices. This was about 3 cups. Next, I sliced the cherry tomatoes in half. I had about 2 cups. I feel like it’s better to have a bit more cukes than tomatoes just because the tomatoes are so acidic. Put the veggies into a serving bowl.

This was a BIG lemon!

Next, let’s make the dressing. This dressing is so easy and simple and has so many possibilities. First, take 1 t. Minced garlic and crush it with the back of a spoon in your bowl. Fresh garlic is best, BUT jarred (fresh, not dried) garlic works as well. You can add more garlic if you really like it and you’re not going to church or prom or something. Or if you’re my in-laws. 😉

Next, squeeze half of a large, juicy lemon. You want about 4-5 T of juice. Start with less, you can always add more. Fresh lemons are the bomb. Add to this 2-3 T of your choice of olive oil, 1 t. Salt or to taste. Shake the dressing in a mason jar or whisk in a bowl.

Pour over veggies and gently mix Grind some fresh black pepper over the top….and enjoy! Best served fresh, room temperature. This salad doesn’t keep great, but might last until the next day, if it hasn’t been gobbled up!

Isn’t it sooo pretty? Its tasty too! I’m sure you will love it as much as our family does.

Here is a picture our hamburger meal. This was our first time trying the Impossible Burger. It was pretty good. The hubby and kids said they couldn’t tell the difference, and that’s saying something. It was okay. It was actually better than I expected. But, the salad was the best part of the meal for sure.

Ingredients:

2 C. Chopped Tomatoes

2-3 C. Chopped Cucumber

1 t. sea salt

1 t. fresh garlic, diced fine

4-5 T. fresh lemon juice

2-3 T. olive oil

fresh ground pepper

Variations: Try adding chopped fresh herbs. I have used chives, basil and mint. But not all at the same time. Be creative! This dressing is also excellent as a marinade or served on other salads/veggie combinations. 


Gluten free pie crust

This year my parental Grandfather turned 80! I think it is as hard for him to believe as it is for me. He pretty much seems the same as he did 20 years ago. When you are little everyone seems old and as you age, you realize that 50, 60, and 80 are not so very far away. I am so thankful for his Godly example of trusting God and being joyful in the Lord. My grandparents do not entrust their joy or contentment to their circumstances, but they entrust their hearts and lives to God. They have lost their son, their siblings and had many trying situations in their lives, but yet as Job they are unwavering in their praise of God.

For Poppys birthday, I wanted to make a yummy baked good and decided to make a pie with some of the blueberries we picked last week. The blueberry filling turned out rather runny and I still need to work on a better recipe, but today I will share with you my tried and true Gluten Free Pie Crust that I have been making for years. This recipe makes 2 crusts.

These are the ingredients we will be using:

3 cups GF flour (my favorites are Bobs Red Mill 1 to 1 mixture or King Arthur All Purpose Flour)

1 t. salt

2/3 C. shortening

1/3 c. slightly soft but still firm butter

1 egg

3/4 c. cold water

Supplies:

8″ or 9″ pie plate

parchment paper

adult-size dinner fork

rolling pin

mixing bowl

measuring cups/spoon

Method (directions)

First, measure out the flour and salt and mix together in a medium size mixing bowl. I use a fork for mixing.

Next, add the shortening and butter.

Mix and press with a fork until crumbly. It should look something like this. Its okay if there are still some small chunks.

Its time to add the liquid! Scramble the egg in a glass measuring cup and fill with VERY COLD water up to the 1 cup line. Most eggs are equal to 1/4 c. and so you should be adding about 3/4 c. water.

Add liquid to the butter/flour mixture and mix gently and quickly until water is absorbed and just until the ingredients are cohesive. It should be the perfect amount of liquid, but if it dries out too fast, add a tiny bit of water as needed. You really want to handle the dough as little as possible with your hands, so continue to use a fork for the mixing.

With floured hands, gently form the dough into two disks. The dough is now ready to be used in your single or double pie crust recipe!

I rolled out mine one at a time for my blueberry pie.

I like to lightly flour a large piece of parchment to roll mine out on. It can help to gently shape the edges of the dough into a circle as you roll it out. Try to handle the dough as little as possible. Keeping the dough cool will prevent the butter in the dough from melting before baking. This does two things: keeps the dough firm and stable, AND keeps it flaky and tender when cooked.

I usually roll out the dough to be at least an inch past the edges of my pie dish. I tried to show that in the picture below. It’s not perfect, but you get the idea. You need enough dough so that the inside edges of the pie are covered, plus extra for the crust.

Fill with you favorite filling! This was only part of the blueberries I put in. I also cooked some with honey to fill the crust.

Here I am crimping the edges. The lattice tops didn’t turn out very well because the filling was still hot. The dough was melting as soon as it got near the filling and so I couldn’t lay it properly. Oh well, lesson learned. I am still working on a good blueberry recipe, and so I’ll try it again next time!

I sprinkled the top of the crust with cane sugar before baking. I BAKED my pie at 350* for about an hour.

It turned out beautifully! Golden brown, flaky and delicious.

Everyone loved the pie and no one could tell that it was gluten free! I hope that you give this a try and that you enjoy it as much as we did. Happy baking!

NOTES:

I use a combination of butter and shortening intentionally as it gives, in my opinion, the best of both flavor and texture.

My shortening trick: line the inside of your dry measuring cup with plastic wrap. Fill with shortening, dump out into your recipe, and throw the wrap away! Easy peasy!

The egg helps hold the dough together and gives body.

I have NOT had good success preparing the dough ahead and of time and keeping it in the fridge. It broke apart too easily. I have not tried freezing this recipe.

This dough does not brown as much as a regular GLUTEN pie crust would. Be careful not to over bake or it will be dry.

As I said before, KEEP DOUGH COOL and manhandle as little as possible for a flaky crust!


Mexican Minestone Soup

Sometimes here in New England, we have chilly August nights. The temperatures are down into the sixties and you just want something cozy. Even though I am not quite ready for fall, I do love the cozy soups and find myself having them more and more these past two weeks. Sometimes for dinner, or even for a quick lunch. There are so many ways to make a quick soup!

This recipe is is something that I threw together with what we had on hand. It is incredibly versatile and and adaptable so feel free to substitute or experiment. I will include some variations and tips at the end of this post.

Before I go any further: this apparently is taco soup according to my hubby. So… yeah. He is right. I just thought Mexican Minestrone sounded catchy and never thought that is was very similar to a taco in soup form. So I posted on my instagram account a picture of the soup with the Mexican Minestrone title. Too late. That’s what it is and here’s the recipe.

I’m new to this blog thing, so don’t judge. I know my picture is sideways. I’m learning. 🙂

First, brown a pound of beef with 1-2 t. fresh garlic. Drain the fat and add 4 cups of water. Add one 16 oz. jar of salsa. We used mild salsa so that all of us could enjoy it. My husband and oldest son put hot sauce on top of their own serving. Drain and rinse one can of your choice of beans. (The kidney beans made me think minestrone, haha). Next, add a can of diced tomatoes, and about 1-2 cups of cooked corn. We had leftover corn on the cob which I cut off and added to the soup. I forgot to get a picture of the corn. Oops!

Let this all simmer together for about 20 min. As the flavors are meshing, prepare shredded cheddar cheese, crushed corn chips, and guacamole to serve on top. I hope you have a favorite soup bowl. Everything just tastes better in its proper serving dish. I love these hearty, earthy green pottery bowls that my mom has.

After you’ve ladled a couple of spoonfuls into your bowl, top it with the cheese, chips and guacamole.

Everyone in my family LOVED this soup! The kids liked getting to customize the toppings and enjoyed the SMOKEY flavor from the fire roasted tomatoes. I hope your family enjoys it as much as we did. Happy cooking!

Variations and substitutions:

  1. 1 lbs. of ground turkey or 2 cups of cooked veggies such as cauliflower and carrots could be substituted for the meat.
  2. Try your favorite salsa! Probably not a sweet mango salsa though. I don’t think that would work.
  3. Black or pinto beans would be a delicious alternative to the kidney beans.
  4. I used fire roasted tomatoes and it lent a wonderful, SMOKEY flavor to the soup. If that sounds gross to you, use regular, salted, diced canned tomatoes. You could also use fresh, garden tomatoes if you wish. You would want to de-skin them first though. Look up how to do that if you don’t know how. It will add a little bit more time to the cooking process.
  5. Frozen (preferred) or maybe even canned corn (in a pinch) could be used in place of the fresh.
  6. cheddar really is the best cheese for this because it melts so smoothly and is not stringy like mozzarella. For dairy free, use vegan cheese.

Weeknight Indian food

Usually Mondays are our pizza night, but today I wanted something different. I have been wanting to try making GF naan bread for a while now and I decided tonight was the night. We had all of the other ingredients I needed. So we looked and found a Naan bread recipe from Tea for Turmeric and decided to give it a try. Little Girl and I starting working on the dough which was very easy to mix up but the only thing is that you need to give yourself at least an hour to mix, roll out, and cook all the pieces (we made 12).

I rolled out two pieces at a time and cooked them in a large pan with avocado oil. I prefer using that over butter because it has a higher smoking point and won’t make the bread taste burnt if the pan becomes too hot. It’s been over a year, and I am still getting used to my moms commercial gas store.

As the bread (naan) was cooking, I chopped two chicken breasts and starting sautéing them in a pan with some olive oil.

I also cut up three bell peppers, two for eating raw (my kids LOVE raw veggies) and about one peppers worth I cut up and added to the pan with the chicken.

I then added one can of chickpeas, drained. If it was just me, I would have used just veggies and more chickpeas instead of chicken. Yum!

After the chicken was mostly cooked and the chickpeas and peppers had some brown on them, I added this delicious sauce! *note to those that must eat dairy free- this sauce does have milk in it. THIS SAUCE WAS YUMMY!! I found it at Sprouts in FL, but it looks like you can buy the same sauce at Target or Thrive Market. The sauce was labeled “mild” spice and we would agree, but it was not lacking for flavor. Everyone in my family loved it.

Now I’m sure that I could make a homemade sauce and that might be a bit healthier, but sometimes it is worth it to just buy a pre-made component to your meal. It cuts down on time, energy, stress, and maybe even money! Otherwise, I would have had to purchase all of the different ingredients for the sauce. It’s ok to take shortcuts in prepping your meals if it means less stress and better quality mealtime with the kiddos.

I let chicken mixture simmer for 10-20 min. Meanwhile, we finished making the naan and set the table.

I put out a bowl of greek yogurt (the more the better!) and some of this delicious chutney from Trader Joes. If you’ve never had it, chutney is, in my opinion, a sweet/savory sauce that is somewhere between salsa and jelly. This one has some white, soft raisins mixed with ginger and tiny bite from some cayenne pepper. It paired perfectly well with tomatoey chicken and cool yogurt. I think its a must have for this meal.

So there you have it! We served ours by spreading some of the chicken mix on the naan and then topping with yogurt and chutney. Somehow, I did it opposite for the photo here, but it tasted just as good. The chicken, yogurt and chutney would also be delicious served over jasmine rice for a quick dinner.

I hope you are inspired to try a new flavor profile or if Indian is something you usually only get out, maybe you could try making it at home. There is something very rewarding about making your own food, and these Naan were easy for the kids to help with, which they always love to do. I find they are more ready to try something when they helped make it.

Don’t forget your apron! Enjoy!


About me

Hello! Thanks so much for stopping by! My name is Anastasia and this is my little spot in the world to share my creations and adventures with others.

I grew up in New England and would consider myself an old soul. I love all things white, warm, and vintage. As a child I loved to bake with my mom and grandma, make crafts, sew, and read, sometimes for many hours a day. Not much has changed except for the reading hours a day part. I still do read every day, starting with my Bible every morning and ending with a classic book or theological title in the evening.

My husband Silas and I have been married for a blessed 11 years, and have had many adventures together, living in many different states in New England and also in Florida! He is wonderful, humble man and I am so thankful for his support, friendship, and love all these years.

Together we have 3 precious children, two boys and a girl. Our kiddos are super smart like their daddy and love to create and have adventures like me. Between the kids and me, the house is usually in some sort of (creative, delicious!) mess. Oh, and they also love to read. They didn’t have a chose.

We trust in Christ our Savior in all the large and small aspects of our life and strive to glorify and enjoy God in all things. We need never fear the changes or seeming instability of this life for we know that God our Father is in control. Our God is good and he does all things well. Please check out the Beliefs tab in the menu for further reading.

I love to find the beauty in every part of my day and try to be intentional about making everyday feel special. Sometimes just a few moments of cuddling (and reading!) here, or a special cup of tea there can give such a boost and warmth to the soul. I would love to share what I am learning with you and hope that I can inspire and encourage you today!

Maine 2020