Product Review: Sol Cuisine

I picked up a few different  Sol products at Whole Foods.  Sol Cuisine focuses on organic, Non-GMO, Kosher, Halal, wheat-free, gluten-free, nutritious, delicious, healthy, vegetarian and vegan protein products. They make tofu, veggie burgers, veggie dogs, falafel, veggie burger dry mix, veggie crumbles and more.

I don’t eat a whole lot of prepackaged foods, but sometimes convenience is key, especially for lunch.  A salad topped with falafel or a burger is delicious and easy!  I gave up on pre-packaged veggie burgers/products a while back because most of them contain gluten ingredients, but not the  Sol!

Today for lunch I had a salad with veggies from my produce basket, my garden, and two grilled Sol mushroom burgers.IMG_0947[1]

They are tasty and convenient.  The only downfall is that they contain soy, which I generally try to avoid.  They do have a line that is soy free as well, which I could not find, but they may have carried at the Whole Foods flagship store (I will be definitely checking next time I am in the area). I am going to keep looking for the soy-free line because I like having these in the freezer for quick and easy meals.

*I received free product in return for writing a review for Sol.  I did not receive any other compensation for my opinions.

Things I like Thursday: good time Saturday night

We had a few people over last weekend.  party 5

Ok like 16.

Dan and I hosted our very first party and first house concert, featuring Drew Kennedy.  The concert was also used as a kick-start for his new album, which he played in it’s entirety.  No, it’s not cheap, but it’s really a neat experience to go to.  Small number of people and very intimate.  This was the 3rd or 4th i’ve been to, but our first time hosting.  It was hard, because we couldn’t invite everyone, in fact, I didn’t have anything to do with the logistics other than being there and getting the massive amount of groceries and helping food prep.

concert 2

The food was awesome, or at least I thought so.  I finally got to use my new Auburn serving platter!  That’s homemade jalapeno summer sausage that my dad made.

part 1

Dan smoked a bunch of meat (bacon wrapped pork tenderloins, Canecuh sausages from Alabama, and a brisket), made his mom’s potato salad, beans, I made my mom’s famous 7 layer dip.  We also had people bring oriental slaw, 7 layer greek dip, brownies, an awesome fruit bowl, and lots of drinks (our whole kitchen table was a bar).concert 1

party 4

During the first break at the concert, we sang Dan happy birthdayconcert 4

and they dug into his cookie cake (writing in Auburn orange of course!)

concert 3

I think it’s safe to say, a good time was had by all.  The evening ended with a 18 person slumber party!  It’s a good thing we have room.

The next morning the yummy bbq was converted into breakfast tacos.  I cropped this so you can’t see the disaster my house was on Sunday morning!concert 5

It got cleaned up for the most part, but then we all went to the softball benefit and I never finished the job.  Not spotless, but it’ll do until the weekend.

Things I like Thursday: veggie spiraler

Let me first by saying that I HATE gadgets that are specialized and create clutter.  I used to work at Linens N Things and I used to sell specialized crap.   In fact, my first few weeks before we opened the brand new store in Corpus Christi, I stocked that whole section of the store.  They make a gadget for everything.  I do not have the room for all of that clutter and with most things, if I’ve lived without it already, I don’t need it.

So I got this thing off of Amazon.  I saw someone else had one of these and I decided I needed one too.  I made an exception for this, because I figured i’d get good use out of it.  My #1  reason for getting it is to make mock noodles.  Not because I am avoiding carbs (which I am not), but I am gluten free and I wanted an alternative.  Plus it makes fun and interesting shapes.71rlDByme7L._SL1500_

I’ve only tried zucchini and sweet potatoes so far.  Sweet potatoes were a bit challenging to do, because it doesn’t spiral with the ease that a softer veggie does, but it still works and it wasn’t too bad.  Once I sliced both ends off of the potato and applied constant pressure, we were in business.

Last night I used it to do a stir fry with a sweet potato.sweet potato

LOVED it.  Stir fried the sweet potato in coconut oil, then added other veggies and some pork loin strips.  stir fry

I need to be more adventuresome and try some new fruits and veggies with it!

Product review: Paleo Bread

Paleo Bread.  I’ve seen this product on Facebook through Julian Bakery for months now.  I was curious, but no way was I going to pay their shipping fees which are really steep (due to the product being shipped fast and frozen).

What is it?

It’s gluten-free, paleo (in some definitions) bread.  It comes either made with almond flour or coconut flour.

I stumbled across it at Natural Grocer last week in Cedar Park.  $10 a loaf, 16 tiny slices a loaf.  Don’t ask me why, but I bought 1 loaf of almond and 1 loaf of coconut.


Almond is 3 Weight Watchers P+ a slice.  The coconut is 1 WW P+ a slice.


The texture is dense and it’s chewy.  The almond more than the coconut.  Reminded me of a saturated brown sponge.


To me the almond was tasteless, dense, and almost in-edible.  I seriously had to choke it down.

The coconut was better, but not much.  At least I could swallow a bite without coughing/choking on it.

I tried them both toasted, untoasted, grilled.  Made a breakfast sandwich, grilled cheese, and a turkey avocado sandwich.


Unimpressed.  I threw the almond away.  It was that bad.  More than half a loaf went into the trash.

I kept the coconut to keep working with it, because i’d spent $20 total on bread that was supposed to be fabulous.  I read some people were toasting it and breading things with it, but to be honest, I don’t care THAT much about breading anything to spend $10 on a loaf of weird bread, just to toast and grind it!

I won’t be buying either flavor again.  It’s pricey and it just plain doesn’t taste good or work well for much of anything.  I was skeptical, but this confirmed my suspicion.

That’s just my honest opinion 😉

Things I like Thursday: Simple Eats

Life has been really busy lately.  Thank goodness for simple eats!

Here are some i’ve been enjoying lately in my hectic schedule:

Steak salad.  Spinach, veggie mix, homemade pickled okra, grilled mini peppers, and thin grilled sirloin beef (with Penzey’s Mural of flavor spice rubbed on meat).  Gluten Free Ranch Dressing (I rarely eat dressing, nice change)

Turkey salad.  Spinach, strawberries, roasted sweet potatoes, EVOO to dress.

Egg stacks.  Brown rice cakes, guacamole, egg white souffles.  Penzey’s chili powder to top.  GREAT breakfast!

BBQ chicken pizza.  Glutino’s GF English muffins (pan fried/browned in EVOO first), Stubb’s BBQ sauce, leftover BBQ chicken thighs, pinch of cheese, jalapenos.  Side of broccoli (and another BBQ’d chicken thigh)

Quinoa Italiano.  Quinoa, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, chicken sausage, all sauteed in EVOO and tossed with pasta sauce.  

Quinoa toss.  Normandy veggies, zucchini, quinoa and chicken sausage all sauteed in EVOO.

Can’t beat the easy and fast!  I had cooked quinoa frozen in serving size containers at the time, so it was really fast and easy to throw together.

Verdict is still out on the Glutino English Muffins, they aren’t really anything like one, but rather cornbreadish instead.  Not bad and not something i’d buy or eat regularly, but good enough to make into part of a meal like a pizza, garlic bread, etc.

Green chile sauce

Behold!  Green Chile sauce.  I made this Sunday night to put on cheese burgers and on Monday, I put on refried beans.  SO good.  Very happy I had Hatch Green Chile’s that i’d roasted and put away in the freezer.

This was just like the sauce at Shady Grove and Chuy’s, which explains my reaction to their sauce because of the flour used to thicken it.

2 tbsp. vegetable oil  (I used 1 T canola)
1 tbsp. flour (I used GF flour blend)
1 c. water (I used broth)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. onion, minced
1 c. diced green chili
Saute garlic and onion in oil until tender. Blend in flour and stir until lightly browned. Add water, salt, and chili and simmer for 5 min

*The result was AWESOME!  I may have to make some big batches of this and can or freeze.  It was so good, that other than in the beans I made last night, there is none left!

Dan loved it on the burgers.  When the sauce mixed with the cheese, it made a spicy queso that oozed everywhere, which he ate on chips 🙂   I took pictures, but I have no idea where they went!

Running out of gas

I had big plans for Monday night.  Nothing really went as planned, but it ended well.

We were supposed to be having a contractor come out and give an estimate on a deck addition.  He didn’t show.  Neither did the last guy.  I think we’ve tried interviewing/estimates with like 11 different deck companies now.  Irrigators, that’s been worse.  I think we’ve delt with 16 of them.  I am incredibly picky about the irrigation since I know the rules like the back of my hand and I have really high standards since i’d part of what I deal with at work.  At the rate we are going, our irrigation system will never get adjusted and our deck won’t get built.  *sigh*

Dan told me our new propane gauge said the gas may be a little low.   I thought maybe I could limp it along to at least cook dinner.  WRONG!  I got through all of maybe 10 minutes of cooking, before I had to transfer the meat and veggies to the oven…which was already occupied by fruit crisps.  Had to reorganize.  Took those out, reset temp, put dinner in.  Then when dinner was done, put chicken in, and then the crisps.

Eventually I got the fish, veggies, chicken for Tuesday night, and the crisps all cooked.

Great new salmon recipe, easy and very tasty.  Served with roasted onions and zucchini (well they were half roasted, half grilled).  I also cooked some butternut squash and some sweet thai chicken from HEB (for Tuesday night’s dinner).  There were also grilled and stuffed jalapenos.

Recipe for the salmon (from Everyday Paleo):

Spice It Up Salmon

2 wild caught salmon fillets

2 T of garlic, minced

2 pinches of sea salt

ground black pepper to taste

1 tbsp fresh thyme

1/4 tsp ginger

2 pinches of cayenne pepper

2 pinches of cumin

olive oil – enough to make a paste

Heat your grill – we set our gas grill on medium. In a small bowl crush the garlic cloves, add the remaining spices, and add enough olive oil to make a paste – a couple tablespoons typically. Place the salmon fillets skin down on a large sheet of tin foil. Fold the sides up on the tin foil to make a tin foil “tray.” Rub the spice mixture on top of the salmon fillets and place the tin foil tray on the bottom rack of your grill.  OR bake 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

*Next time i’ll probably do more cayenne.  We both liked it, although Dan is not a huge fan of fish.  He said he’d eat it on occasion.

Mixed Berry Crumble (adapted from The Kitchn)

Gluten–Free Peach Crisps makes 6-8 individual crisps, or one larger crisp
For the Filling:
6 cups peach slices
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
(extra butter for greasing the ramekins/pie plate)

For the Crusty Topping:
3/4 cup gluten–free oats
1/4 cup gluten free oat flour (you can put a rounded 1/4 cup of oats into a food processor and pulse until a flour is achieved)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup pecans/walnuts (whichever you prefer, or use both as I did)

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 6-8 ramekins (or a large pie pan, if using). In a large bowl, toss the peach filling ingredients together until evenly combined.

For the crusty topping, place all ingredients, except the nuts, into a food processor. Pulse 10-15 times (holding down about 5 seconds/pulse), until a loose mixture created. Don’t worry if it’s not totally uniform, rustic is the look. Add nuts to mixture.

Evenly divide sugared peaches into greased ramekins. Sprinkle about two tablespoons of oat/butter mixture onto each of the crisps.

*I used a mix of blueberries and strawberries instead of peaches.  Coconut oil instead of butter.  3/4 cup oats total.  Almonds instead of other nuts.  I skipped the sweetener all together and added a little cinnamon to the fruit mixture.  The way I made it (6 servings), 3P+ per serving 🙂   The photo doesn’t do them justice at all.  They were very pretty and patriotic looking, would be perfect for July 4th!  Maybe in a couple of weeks, i’ll make the peach version.

Propane tank being added to the grocery list 🙂

Recipes: more from dad’s garden

Breakfast quinoa bake.  Easy.  Quinoa cooked in broth, tomatoes (from the garden), herbs, spinach, egg.  If you do dairy, cheese would be great. Next time i’ll add different types of veggies.  I tried it with broccoli too.  I eat broccoli a lot with breakfast, apparently that’s weird.

Fish with Jalapeno-peach pico (red onions, peaches, and jalapeno from dad’s garden), warm spinach and tomato salad (also from the garden), and green beans.  Made the pico a day ahead of time to let the flavors blend.

I don’t usually do fish leftovers, but I made extra to have for lunch today.  Cold.  I am not a cooked fish or shrimp at work person.  I don’t like when people make gross food smells in the breakroom!

Roasted baby acorn squash with saigon cinnamon and almond butter.  Great dessert!

Our intern brought me some yellow squash today. Not sure if i’ll cook that up or opt for one of the other squash types I have all over my kitchen!  I am thinking squash pizza.  We’ll see 😉

I am LOVING all of this homegrown fresh summer produce.  But it’s a good thing Dan has been traveling.  He doesn’t do quinoa, squashes, or pretty much anything but the jalapeno and tomato dad sent.


Until this weekend, I’d forgotten how much I LOVE Galaxy Cafe.  So much so, I ate there twice in two days.  There are three locations in Austin, none of which are near my office or house.  If I took a long lunch, I could possibly do the one at the Triangle.

I’d originally discovered Galaxy a few years back through Groupon.   My mom, sister and I have been several times.  I took Dan yesterday for breakfast and he loved it!  I was so happy, because he doesn’t usually like the kind of places I like that are local and that have many options for me.

Here is why I love them:

  • They are locally owned and operated
  • Large amount of Gluten-Free options
  • If I wanted a sandwich or wrap, I can get one, they have GF bread products
  • Large menu overall
  • Their food is always fresh
  • It’s fast but gourmet
  • The atmosphere is fun and friendly
  • They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Things we’ve tried and loved:  Denver Scramble, Gluten-Free Mediterranean breakfast, Turkey and Brie Sandwich, Gluten-Free Fish Wrap, Smoked Turkey sandwich, and the Grilled Chicken Sandwich.  Next time I want to try one of their burgers!

Saturday night dinner (takeout because I wasn’t feeling great) was the Gluten Free Fish Wrap, sounds weird, but it was so good.  I had them add avocado, because it makes everything taste even better 🙂

Grilled white fish, red & green cabbage, cheddar cheese, roma
tomato, & our jalapeno-lime sauce.

It was the first time i’d had a rice-wrap.  Not sure i’ll be running out to buy my own, but the filling of the wrap was spectacular, especially the sauce.

Sunday morning brunch was the Gluten-Free Mediterranean breakfast.  Dan had the Denver.  We were both big fans 🙂  I was torn between breakfast and lunch, but settled on breakfast.
Eggs scrambled with fresh roma tomato, feta cheese & fresh basil.
Served with rice bread & a cup of fruit.

This was a breakfast after my own heart.  I love fruit, fresh basil and feta 🙂

I brought a take-out menu to work to post in my “good-eats” binder that I made for our office.  Maybe I can talk someone into heading south to get us take-out one day soon 🙂

Recipe Review: Lasagna Soup

This recipe has been starred in my reader since August!  I’ve been trying to be even more careful about new things to try, because Dan is apparently becoming even pickier.  I don’t understand this, because he’s certainly not picky when we go out to eat.  We liked it so much, there aren’t any photos!

This lasagna soup recipe was originally found over at With a Side of Sneakers.

Lasagna Soup

1 large white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 Tbsp dried basil
2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 T tomato paste
1 28-oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes (I used 2-15 oz cans)
4 c low sodium vegetable broth (I used HEB brand beef-garlic)
2 c water
1/4 c non dairy cream {optional} (I used coconut milk)
4-8 oz uncooked lasagna noodles, broken into small pieces
large handful of fresh kale, ripped into small pieces (I used spinach)
black pepper
salt to taste
chopped fresh basil leaves for garnish

  • Saute onions in large pan over medium heat until just start to brown.
  • Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in tomato paste and seasonings {except salt}. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add diced tomatoes, vegetable broth and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.
  • With just a few minutes remaining, stir in cream and kale. Cook until kale wilts.
  • Season to taste with salt.
  • Serve in large bowls. Garnish with fresh basil.

Dan and I were huge fans of this.

Of course I made modifications.  I used spinach instead of kale, because Dan doesn’t like kale.  I topped his with mozzarella cheese.  I think next time, i’ll do Parmesan instead.

As posted, the recipe is vegetarian, however, I didn’t have veggie broth, so I used some of the new flavored HEB brand broth, which was awesome.  I’ve tried most of the gluten-free varieties.

I cooked everything in 1 pot until I got to the noodle step.  I then transferred half to another pot and added brown rice pasta to that pot.  To the original pot, I added 4 oz of broken lasagna noodles. Because the brown rice pasta takes twice as long to cook, I added it into that pot 10 minutes before I did Dan’s pot, so they’d be done around the same time.

I was pleased how both pots came out and Dan said his was very tasty.  Too bad in the shuffle of pot coordination and brewing tea, I burned Dan’s garlic bread…twice.