Friday, May 24, 2013 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Gluten-Free Bean Ragout with Cilantro-Cornmeal Dumplings and Recipe

For Mother's Day this year, Madison, my sweet BFF, gave me this wonderful cookbook...
Each week I make out 2 weeks worth of menus of supper, ending with Payday Friday Pizza Night!

This is one of the recipes I made from this cookbook,
but with a few changes...

Someday, I hope to have my spices in pretty organized containers;
maybe something vintage...

Loving the fresh peppers...
I chopped some yellow with the red the recipe called for...

The "thank you for coming bowl" is always handy...

Please don't stand on you head for this photo lol...
I also added some baby arugula to the recipe...

Let's get started with the recipe.
2 large onions, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin, ground
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 

3 cloves of garlic, minced finely
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/4 cubes (cut in half and then in half again, diced)
2 cups chopped red bell pepper
1 large portebello mushroom, diced

Place in a dutch oven on medium if you have a stove or 
high if you have a 2-eye burner lol.

Add 1 can 29 ounce'ish can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can 15 ounce'ish black beans, rinsed and drained
8 fresh radishes, sliced thinely
Set these aside.

These were pulled fresh from my father-in-law's garden!
Have you ever cooked with radishes!? They are so good... 

Stir all the vegetables well, cooking until tender.

Open two 15 ounce'ish cans of diced tomatoes, seasoned if you wish.

The flavors are fantastic...

Pour them in a bowl and set aside...

Stir vegetables...
Add salt and pepper to taste...
It's ok to taste them too!!! Yummmm  

Add the beans and radishes...
Stir, mixing well but gently...

Cover and cook for 3 minutes...Then add tomatoes.
Cook for 5 minutes...

Time to make the dumplings...you will need...
1 cup Gluten Free White Rice Flour
1 cup gluten free cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (important for binding in baking gluten free)
1/2 cup fat free Kraft cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 cup fat free milk 

Mix all ingredients well with a mixer or by hand until the batter is creamy.

Drop by the spoon fulls on top of the bean ragout.

The Bean Ragout is bubbling around the dumplings...
It smells amazing...

Cover and allow to cook for 10 minutes or until a toothpick 
inserted into the dumplings comes out clean.

I baked the rest of the dough and it was cute and great for the freezer...
Cheese corn muffins...

Ready to serve...
one dumpling and a bowl of wonderful goodness... 

My family obviously loved it!!!
They even said so and had more than one serving...
With this recipe, it was ok that they did even without the dumpling
because it was loaded with vegetables, healthy and good for you...
I love finding recipes that I can change around to fit our healthy living lifestyle. 
I never liked cooking until I took this on as a challenge...
take any recipe and see if I can make it rockin' awesome healthy!!!

Hugs, 
Rita

Thursday, May 23, 2013 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Gluten-Free Delicious Pumpkin Pancakes and Muffins with Recipe...

 Celebrating summer and school being out has been our theme this week. Monday, we made homemade apple cinnamon oatmeal. Tuesday, we had strawberry yogurt, bananas, and homemade granola. It was time for something a bit more don't you think. So...out came the pancakes...then I thought what about a few muffins for later...

 The pancakes came out golden brown and absolutely fantastic. They are light and fluffy, tasty and filling PLUS the greatest part!!! Each one of these babies are only 3 points for each pancake which is 1/4 cups of batter...I had 3 of them and that's not bad for a great way to start the day!!!

 The muffins are also 1/4 cup of batter which makes them 3 points also. The other part about this recipe is there is no added fat to the gluten free baking mix. You can even pop in a banana if your family barks about not wanting them in their daily intake. I do it all the time and never tell them. Fruits and Vegetables are free foods, good for you too. I add chopped apples when a recipe calls for chopped onions...keep that in mind when you are cooking...

Now for the recipe...

Gluten-Free Delicious Pumpkin Pancakes and Muffins Recipe
1 pancake or muffin = 3 Weight Watchers Points

1 15ounce can of Pumpkin Puree
1 box of Hodgson-Mill Gluten-Free Pancake & Waffle Mix
1 4ounce natural apple sauce cup
1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar (optional, or sweet to taste)
1 teaspoon real vanilla flavoring
4 cups fat free milk

Mix all ingredients together in an electric mixer.
Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour batter into a skillet sprayed with cooking spray.
Cook pancakes until golden brown on both sides...
For muffins, place 1/4 cup of batter in each muffin cup sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake at 400 degrees until a tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean,
about 25 minutes.

Local honey is very good with these or fat free cream cheese. 
However, regardless of what you add, remember to add the extra points...

** Consider replacing oil when baking with a 4 ounce cup of apple sauce, unsweetened or natural.
*** Why not add a diet lemon lime soda instead of eggs and oil when baking...I do...
but I do add real vanilla flavoring...it a so very good!!

Hugs,
Rita
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Sunday's Art Journaling...the finishing pages...

 For the final pages of this art journaling project, I decided to include them all in this post. I pretty much have gone over all the techniques in previous posts during the past week. I may have bored you to death with this book too lol. However, it has been so much fun for me to revisit the making of this art journaling smash book. This page is my prayer journal for the journey ahead.

 In the hymnal I have been taking pages from I found a series of pages that holds sentence prayers. Perfect for moments of reflection and help. So I added them to a small booklet that I can pull anytime when words just won't come. I have times like that, when I am so filled with joy or even hurt. Then I clipped phrases and added them throughout the two pages with gesso and Modge Podge.

 I made a pocket using a tag to hold this booklet and one of my favorite hymns, "What a Friend We Have..." both fit nicely in the pocket. I covered the tag in scrapbook paper and adhered it on two sides with my ATG gun. The booklet is covered with scrapbook paper as well.

 I used Glossy Accents to bring the butterflies out in the paper and make them 3D.

 This page, and those to follow, were clippings from one article I wanted to save. I decided to cut it up and put it in this art journal. The clipping to the right hung off the page at the top and bottom, so I added tabs to both ends and folded the bottom up so that the book could sit on a shelf easily. I covered both ends part the way up with scrap printed scrapbook paper so that it would be both sturdy and pretty. I have done this throughout the book. I added journaling spots to give my response to the article clippings throughout the each of the following pages.

 I always have trouble getting the articles to meet when I have to take one part from one column and another portion from another column, so I use a tab punched from cardstock to fix that problem...

 I turn the article section over and adhere them to the tab punch. It makes it easier to position with my ATG gun. I put the adhesive on the tab and then place the article pieces on the tab. Perfect.

 I loved the quotes from this article by Julian Michael. I wanted to add the songs I listen to and her quotes to my healthy living book. I felt inspired by her words and her interview. As I said before, I left space for journaling my personal thoughts too.

 On these pages I used clear gesso and brought out the illustrations with water color crayons. Then I added some pieces from my art journaling stash that I wanted to save. Favorite things, paper clippings. I used punches of the paper I loved.

 Once again, I used clear gesso and water color crayons on these pages. I brought a hymn page clipping to the page and thought I would use it for a frame to a photograph later.

 "Kicking Beauty" is hanging off the page which I am falling in love with the effect of doing so. It brings the smash book to art journaling. I have added tabs throughout the pages which may be too much for some, but it just goes with the fact it is my favorite punch and I really do love love love it. Maybe too much I guess...since I own the original form of the punch and got the newer version for when my old one bits the dust and celebrates it's homegoing.

 I did some decoupage on these pages which I suppose you would say I have done throughout the book with the magazine clippings. I allowed myself even more journaling spots too. I might even add photos to these areas. Regardless, I have space within the spots or without. I can write anywhere I want, it's my book. =) Remember, there are no rules when you are art journaling or creating a smash book...

 I added a unique element to this set of pages. The paper towel on the left is one that I used on this project to wipe my brushes, clean sponges, or other tools. I added some Modge Podge and placed the towel down. It created a nice texture.

Here, I added yet another portion of the paper towel and on the back inside cover is a hymn page where I can close the story of this portion of my journey.

I took this as a visual to my Weight Watchers meeting when our leader asked what motivates you to continue your journey. Mine is first my hope, second is my strong faith, and third is my future in caring for my family.. Then it's art. Loving it...

Hugs, Rita
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Sunday's Art Journaling....Joy

As you can see...I brought three of my favorite art interests into one, scrapbooking, art journaling, and smash book. The one element that stands out ((drum roll)) the punch! I used the Stampin' Up tab punch heavily on this page, not on purpose, but regardless, I did. At the top left corner and on all the tags. LOL, what can I say, it's my favorite.

 I won't say that this is my favorite flower, but it worked for this page. I added ATG tap to the bottom edge to hold the tags perfectly without covering up the hymn. The flower can be folded back to reveal the whole page if I desire to do so. I love this hymn and didn't want to take away from it in any way. I distressed the page and edges with ink and gesso.

 The tags are removable. The oval shaped tag is from the same scrapbook paper as the flower. I added more scrapbook paper to the back for journaling or an additional photo spot. The tag is the same paper but here I added to the back some packaging that I had leftover paint on. Perfect for recycling. It is slick paper but it worked perfectly for the back of a tag. =)

 Once again, as you saw on a previous page, I added the to-do shopping list page to a tag card. These tags and pockets are from Close to My Heart, but I revamped them for this page. I distressed, painted and roughed them up a bit...

 As you can see they don't look like new tags right from the package. I recycled scraps of paper that I had laid my brushes on or even purposely put my distress tools and inks on the tags to mess them up. I painted the tag holders with paint. I sprayed them with Marshmallow Glimmer Mist, which I used here and there throughout the book.

 Here is a glimpse of the other side of the tags. The pink tag is paper from a shopping bag scrap...
which I am going to tell you about at the end...

I made a pocket under the tag pocket to hold an additional tag
which is also serves as the page marker.

More tags and a look at the distressing... 

I added two of the original twine that came with the tags to the bottom left tag casing to create a tied closer. I adhered each end to the back to make it longer and able to tie. I cut a piece of the scrapbook paper which the flower on the left is from, to make the topper for the right bottom tag holder. See, there is no end to what you can do with recycling...reusing...recreating...even down to shopping bags...

Look at the photograph above. Have you noticed that the page on the right is larger than the page on the left? The original page in the book was torn badly. I couldn't fix it. So, I found this shopping bag in my art journaling folder. I cut it to fit over the page and slide it on. I sealed it shut with my ATG gun. If you look closely at the other photos, you can see the edge of the shopping bag. Don't you love it?!

I feel like that bag some days, don't you?! I am recycled, reused, recreated into something new and amazing because of my faith and hope. I never thought I could be and thought I was really happy the way I was. I discovered I really didn't know what being happy was, until now. My life is forever changed. I will always find happiness and be positive in whatever life brings, but today, I know what and where my true love and happiness comes from. Pretty rockin' awesome.

Hugs, Rita
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