Monday, December 31, 2012

Boston restaurants

We spent the past few days visiting Boston.  We ate at many yummy places along the way.  Here are my reviews.

Friday

Antico Forno, in Boston's Little Italy area.  We were in the area for lunch.  I wanted to go in Fanueil Hall and check out the holiday decor in the area.  It was seriously busy with people shopping so we left to find a quieter spot for lunch.  Hubby and I shared a salad at the restaurant.  I think you probably can't go wrong at any of the Italian places along these streets.  I had ossobuco with saffron risotto.  It was fabulous!  

Hubby and walked to the Aquarium.  We waited in line to get tickets for about 50 minutes.  I really do enjoy going to aquariums though and I thought the one in Boston was nice.  They don't have a huge shark tank like the National Aquarium in Baltimore though.

I highly recommend Franklin Cafe (southie)
They were pretty great with gluten free paleo friendly food.  Hubby and I went with friends for dinner on a Fri night.  They don't take reservations yet we had no wait time getting a dinner table.  They have some awesome sounding cocktails on their menu.

Flashers.
We went to Flashers to meet up with more friends and just drink.  A neighborhood bar which for a Fri night we had no problem grabbing a table for 6 people.  Hubby had a few interesting beers.
We never did get around to doing a brewery tour in Boston.  There are a few breweries to take advantage of! 

Saturday

We did the Boston Tea party and ship museum.  I thought it was a blast! 

Barking Crab.
I don't eat any seafood.  I know this is a seafood restaurant.  I went because my hubby and our friend do eat seafood and we were in Boston  It's what Boston is known for.  We walked from the museum to the restaurant for lunch.  I got a salad with chicken and it wasn't great.  The sweet potato fries really were great and were $7.  I think if you did one of the big platters or seafood boils meant for sharing you'd have a great experience. 

After lunch we went to the ICA, a Contemporary Art Museum.  I was not a huge fan.  I just think I don't like contemp art very much. 

It was crazy snowing heavily Saturday afternoon.  Huge flakes, messy roads.  We ended up not going out to a friends place to play games and ended up eating a diner for dinner near our friends place in Watertown.  When we headed back into Boston it was only raining in Boston.  We went to see Les Mis and by the time we got out it was snowing in Boston too.  I like snow so it was cool.

Delux Diner was known for sweet potato pancakes and waffles.  It was very tempting but being paleo no carbs were eaten.  I did get the fried green tomatoes that were made with cornmeal and came with a yummy salad on top.  I also got roasted chicken with steamed veggies.  It was mostly squash, carrots, broccoli.  I had to avoid a few green beans.  The chicken was a huge portion that I couldn't finish.  I will say we walked by a table with a pile of pancakes and they smelled wonderful.

Sunday

We spent all day at the Museum of Fine Arts, MFA. It was the best!!!!  We did leave the museum to go eat at Sweet Cheeks.  A BBQ joint owned by Tiffany from Top Chef.  I ordered a pork platter, with salad (without farro because we cant eat grain) and the broccoli casserole.  It was hard to choose a hot item that was paleo.  The broccoli casserole ended up not being a great choice.  I was tasting it the rest of the day...  The pork was awesome and he bbq sauce was awesome.  The portion of meat was huge.  This is not a cheap BBQ joint.  I think the platter might have cost $18.  The food was very good though.  I'd go back.  In fact, when the museum was closing we heard tons of people saying they were headed over to Sweet Cheeks.  The great thing about the MFA ticket is you can leave and return.  The ticket will let you leave and come back anytime within 10 days!

Sunday night for dinner hubby cooked dinner at our friends place.  We had roast beef stuffed with spinach, pears, and pecans, a salad on the side with apples, grapes, pecans, and some friend plantains.
It was perfect.  I was really really full though.

Thus ends our Boston trip and eating way too much food.  I'm afraid to look at the scale tomorrow.

Happy New Year everyone!!!






Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Thighs

4 Bone in Chicken Thighs
Honey plus a little coconut balsamic vinegar
Spice mixture:  I had some chili powder, cumin, paprika, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, and I think I threw in some dried parsley.

Baked in the oven.  Look at how the honey got black and yummy!
I've made the recipe twice now.
Served with mashed cauliflower and roasted brussels.
Served with a little garlic spinach and butternut squash.


This recipe adapted from this blog!


Breakfast

Sunday breakfast!  I usually make bacon for breakfast but we finally found a store that sells Logan's sausage.  We tried it at the Metro Cooking Show and almost all of their sausage is sugar free. The one that is not is sweet Italian.

Eggs
Spinach
Logan's Argentine Spicy Chorizo (no added sugar)
Pacific Rose Apple


Mustard and herb pork chops

I coated the pork chops in spicy brown mustard, black pepper, and rosemary.  Then I let them chill in the fridge for a few hours.  Bake the pork chops for about 30 minutes and serve with roasted brussel sprouts.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pumpkin Soup


Christmas Sugar Cookie Bars

I made m&m sugar cookie bars for my work secret santa.  She said she liked baking and liked plain m&ms :) I hope she liked them!


Chicken Soup, minus the noodle

Boneless Chicken Breasts
Carrot
Onion
Celery
Cauliflower, pureed in the food processor.  I did not get a rice like texture I was trying for in the soup.
Salt free organic chicken stock

Everything tossed into the crockpot :) I usually cook on low for 6-8 hours




Pesto Crusted Rack of Lamb


The problem with store bought pesto is it has parmesan cheese in it.  I don't mind having a little of the hard cheese but it's not strict paleo.  If you made your own pesto you could leave out the parm!  I was lazy and going for a quick dinner.

Rack of Lamb
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Store bought Pesto

I followed the cooking directions on this blog

In a pan, heat olive oil and sear lamb on all sides.
Heat over to 375 and cook about 30 minutes.  I felt ours needed a little more cooking time.  It depends on your preferred doneness.  On a steak I'm always a medium well girl.  On roast beef and lamb it can be more pink.

Served with some purple turnips, onion, and mushrooms.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies

I must blog this recipe because I have it on a little card from a cookie swap and the cookie was so good!

Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies
Yield 3 dozen
Cook time 10-12 minutes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling cookies
1/2 cup pure pumpkin
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. In stand mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar together until creamy and smooth.  Add the pumpkin, molasses, egg, vanilla, and mix until well combined.

2. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking soda, spices.
Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until combined.

Refrigerate dough for an hour.  Can be chilled for 2-3 days.

3. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.  lace sugar in a small bowl.  Roll tablespoon sized balls of dough in sugar.  Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookie look cracked and set at the edges.  They will be soft.  Let cool, transfer to wire rack.  Store in tupperware.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Paleo taco salad

I need to write this dinner down because it is tasting so good!

Homemade Taco seasoning
-black pepper
-salt
-oregano
-cayenne
-chilli powder
-cumin
-ground coriander

Mix all the spices together in a small bowl

Taco Filling
-olive oil
-ground turkey
-onion, diced
-green pepper, diced
-minced garlic

In a large skillet, heat olive oil.  Add the onion, garlic, and green pepper and stir.  Let the veggies soften a bit and then add the ground turkey.  Toss the seasoning on top of the ground turkey.  Heat until the turkey is cooked through.

Salad Toppings
tomato, diced
mixed greens
spicy guacamole- I buy this as a two pack at Giant.  It really is spicy with jalapenos in it
plantain chips (mine were the coins but I have strips too)

In a bowl add the plantain chips, then the mixed salad greens, top with diced tomato, add ground turkey mixture, and squeeze on some spicy guacamole.

It tasted like heaven.  I needed that crunch of something like a taco shell and the plantain chips saved the day. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Paleo Carrot Cake Super Cookies

I am eating a sweet and crunchy snack.  I bought 100% organic carrot cake super cookies made by Go Raw, Real Live Food.  I found them at Roots Market.  There are a few other flavors but I've only tried carrot cake so far.  They are about the size of a quarter.  I've had the bag for about a month and I only dip in when have a snack attack. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Paleo Chinese Food

It is hard to avoid soy when you are wanting to eat Chinese food.  My husband fried chicken using almond flour and made a fantastic stir fry sauce.  It turned out to be a little more curry and Thai than Chinese but it tasted so good!


"Peanut" Sauce
-------------
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos (in place of soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom oil
  • 1/4 cup iced tea or orange juice
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 3 tbsp orange blossom honey
  • 2 knobs ginger, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • Sriracha to taste
  • salt

Coconut Curry Vegetables
-------------
  • 2 carrots, sliced or julienned
  • 1 onion, sliced and quartered
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced and quartered
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp chili pepper flakes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 head broccoli, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp coconut balsamic vinegar

Crispy Chicken
-------------
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 package chicken tenders, cut into thirds
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups (or more) almond flour
  • salt
  • pepper

In your blender or VitaMix, blend all of the sauce ingredients (except the Sriracha) until smooth. Add Sriracha to your desired heat level. If too thick, add a bit of iced tea or orange juice. If too thin, add a few more cashews. Season with salt, if necessary. Set aside.

Cut all vegetables and sort into two bowls. In the first bowl, the carrots, onion, and bell pepper. In the second, the green onion, curry powder, chili pepper flakes, salt, pepper, then the broccoli on top. Set aside, along with coconut balsamic vinegar.

In your wok, put enough vegetable oil to be about an inch or more deep in the middle. Heat. Dry your chicken, then sort remaining ingredients into two bowls. In the first bowl, gently whip egg and mustard. In the second, season the flour with a bit of salt and pepper. Set aside a plate/bowl with a couple dry paper towels draped into it.

Roll all chicken in the flour mixture first, then shake off and set aside. When oil is heated, take a few pieces of chicken at a time and roll them in the egg wash, then the remaining flour. Put several pieces into the fry oil at a time, rolling every so often to brown all sides of the chicken. When golden brown and crispy, remove each batch and put it into the paper towel bowl for dripping dry. If the oil becomes too shallow, add a bit more. If the breading flour runs out, add a bit more.

When all chicken is cooked, spoon almost all of the oil out of the wok and into a metal sauce pan (or other adequate receptacle that will not melt) and set aside. Add the first bowl of vegetables. Saute until tender and glassine. Use little bits of the leftover fry oil if more is needed. On top of the vegetables, place the broccoli only, then dump in the 1/2 cup of water for steaming. Put the lid on your wok. Toss all of the vegetables every few minutes until the broccoli is your desired tenderness and bright green. Add the last of the vegetables with seasoning and coconut balsamic. Toss a couple of times, then turn off the wok.

For plating, put the stir fry vegetables on one side and the crispy chicken on the other. Drizzle the peanut sauce across the middle for dipping.

Next time, I would:
  • Garnish with sesame seeds and a lime wedge.
  • Add fresh Thai chili peppers and Thai basil to the stir fry vegetables.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Paleo pumpkin pie

My husband had breakfast duty for his work.  He made breakfast tacos and a paleo pumpkin pie.  He does paleo and one of his coworkers is gluten free so they were both going to be able to eat this pie along with everyone else.

I used this recipe for the best paleo pumpkin pie.  Unfortunately I only have a photo of the crust and not the finished pie!  The crust was perfect, the pie filling was good, but maybe a few too many spices for us.  I'd like to try just pumpkin pie spice next time.  I also had leftover filling that didn't fit into my crust so I baked just some filling on the side in a baking dish. I think it'd be nice to just have the filling baked in individual ramekins for friends.

I followed the recipe as written.  I did the suggested substitution of pecans for walnuts.


Pie Crust
  • 1 ¼ cups raw walnut halves (you could also substitute pecans)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 egg white (keep the leftover yolk for the pie filling)
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Grind pecans in a food processor until finely ground and almost starting to clump together.
  3. Mix pecans, almond flour, egg white, and salt together.  (you can do this in the food processor too)
  4. Use your fingers to press pie crust into a pie pan
  5. Pierce the crust all over with a fork to stop bubbling while it bakes.
  6. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until starting to turn golden brown.
  7. Let cool at least 10 minutes before pouring the custard in.
Pumpkin Pie Filling
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cups raw pecans
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews 
  • 3 eggs and leftover egg yolk
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (if you’re making your pie right after making the crust, just reduce the temperature).
  2. Place cashews and pecans in your food processor and pulse until finely ground.  Add eggs, honey and maple syrup and blend for 2-3 minutes until completely smooth (you could also add some of the water if it’s too thick for your food processor or blender to puree well).
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until combined.
  4. Pour into cooled pie shell (doesn’t need to be room temperature, just cool enough to touch).  Spread the top out evenly with a spatula.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes.  Allow pie to cool completely before serving.



Paleo Chicken stuffed with artichoke pesto

I didn't actually make anything for this dinner.  I used store bought artichoke pesto, I sandwiched it between two chicken breasts, and baked it at 400 degrees for about an hour until the chicken was cooked through.  The broccoli was just steamed on the stove top.  It was a good easy dinner!


Paleo Maple Chicken Thighs

I was inspired by this recipe!  I only bought two little chicken thighs and didn't make a huge batch of chicken and ribs but I definitely will someday.  The chicken was so tender and wonderful.  The sauce was also very good.  I served the chicken with some diced sweet potatoes that I tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper and baked in a pan next to the chicken. 

Two bone-in chicken thighs
Less than a cup of unsweetened iced tea (I didn't have any apple juice which is what the recipe calls for) 
4 tablespoons maple syrup (I actually used hickory syrup because that's what I had)
2 tablespoons olive oil (instead of vegetable oil)
2 tablespoons coconut aminos (in place of soy sauce) 
3 whole cloves (I didn't have star anise) 
1 cinnamon stick broken in half 
6 cloves garlic that I did smash a little and peel

Throw all ingredients into a ziplock bag and refrigerate for as long as possible.  Mine marinated for about 4 hours. 

Bake the chicken and sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes.




Paleo stuffed peppers

I found a riceless stuffed pepper recipe from Shape magazine.  I tweaked it to suit me.

Stuffed Peppers
- 2 green peppers cut in half and seeds and membrane removed
-olive oil
-1 pound ground turkey
-1 sweet yellow onion, diced
-garlic, 2 cloves minced
-1 small zucchini, diced
-a handful of brown mushroom, diced
-1 tomato, diced

In a skillet brown the turkey, onion, and garlic with some olive oil until almost cooked through.  Drain the fat from the pan.  Add the zucchini and mushrooms to the pan until tender and turkey is cooked through.  Turn off the heat and stir in the tomatoes.  Add the stuffed pepper filling to the pepper halves.  Put a little water into the bottom of a baking dish and bake the peppers.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes with the baking dish covered in tin foil.  After 35 minutes remove the tin foil and continue baking for another 30 minutes. 


Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

I had a huge chocolate chip cookie craving one night.  I found this recipe for paleo chocolate chip cookies but I didn't have the dark chocolate to cut up.  I used our cocoa nibs instead and didn't get the melty chocolate taste of a chocolate chip.  They tasted nutty, not chocolatey.  I now have some nice dark chocolate in the house so I can try this recipe again!

Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • ¼ cup chopped dark chocolate pieces

Combine all of the cookie ingredients together in a bowl.  Place a silpat on a baking sheet.  Scoop about 10 cookies onto the silpat.  I got exactly 10 out of the recipe.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 11 minutes.  The edges should be starting to brown.  Remove from oven and let cool.  They will be very soft so let the cookies rest on the pan before moving them to a cooling rack.


Paleo Apple Pie

We went apple picking and I just had to make an apple pie.  I found this recipe for a paleo pie crust.  The crust tasted good but it was pretty crumbly when I was cutting the pie.  I want to try to cook just the apple filling and then crumble this topping on top towards the end and bake it like a crumble next time.

1 Paleo pie crust

  • 1 1/2 C Almond Flour
  • 1/2 C Coconut Flour + more for dusting the board
  • 1 tsp Raw Honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C Coconut Oil
  • 6-9 Tbsp Ice Water
In a bowl combine flours, honey, and salt.  Cut in the solid coconut oil.  Next add the water a tablespoon at a time until crust forms.  I used the entire mixture to make a bottom pie crust.  I smashed it into the pie pan with my fingers instead of trying to roll it out.  My dough was too sticky to try to roll. Bake at 325 degrees for about 35 minutes.

1 Apple pie filling
  • About 8 apples peels and sliced thinly
  • About a cup Coconut palm sugar
  • 1/3 cup Coconut flour
  • honey
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash salt
  • Tablespoons of coconut butter to dab on top of filling
In a bowl mix together the apple pie filling.  Pour the filling onto the pie crust.  Dab some pieces of coconut butter on top of the filling and bake.  Oven should be at 425 degrees and pie should bake for about 40-50 minutes.  Cover the crust edges with tin foil to avoid burning.




Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paleo 30 days

I have been doing the paleo diet for 30 days now and I've lost 13.5 pounds.
I am very happy with the diet!
Here's to the start of another 30 days of great results :)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Food Cravings

I have a backlog of recipes to share.  I'm going to post my chocolate find for now.  I wanted chocolate chip cookies strongly recently.  We ended up eating out at a restaurant and had a free dessert.  I ordered whatever they had that was close to a chocolate chip cookie.  It was way too sweet and my stomach hurt a bit afterwards.  I had tried a recipe for paleo chocolate chip cookies and I used our cocoa nibs.  It didn't melt or taste like chocolate so my craving didn't go away.  I decided to look up chocolate that would have maybe less dairy and less sugar.  I found these 72% cocoa bars at our Giant in the specialty food section.  They were 2 for 5$ so I bought regular and espresso.  I broke off a few pieces of espresso and it is awesome tasting!  Next time I try to bake paleo and need chocolate I'm chopping up one of these guys.


I also crave pizza, a lot.  My coworker asked me if I crave the taste of soda.  I used to need a coke at the end of a work day.  I don't need soda for alertness now that we juice and the chemical mix of soda does not appeal to me anymore.  I guess there is one thing I don't crave! 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Roasted turkey breast with summer squash

This meal made the house smell like Thanksgiving :) What a great Friday night!
Turkey breast covered in sage, rosemary, salt, and black pepper.
The squash and eggplant were diced and covered with olive oil and herbs.
All roasted in the oven until the thermometer said done!
I can't wait to eat the leftover turkey on a salad with avocado today.


Paleo Chocolate and Banana Milkshake

This milkshake was so yummy!  It was also very filling and it made three glasses worth of milkshake!  One glass is sitting in the freezer for another day.

Cocoa nibs
2 bananas
Almond milk
ice


Spaghetti squash and meatballs

Last weekend I bought my first spaghetti squash at the farmers market.  I had some fresh meatballs frozen in my freezer along with tomatoes from our garden that were already roasted.  The sauce the roasted tomatoes made was AMAZING.  I use roasted tomatoes to make tomato soup too.

Ingredients:
Spaghetti squash
Meatballs
Fresh tomato sauce

Cut the spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the middle fibers and seeds.  Cover with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Bake in the oven at 400 degrees.  This squash was roasted cut side up for about an hour.  I've seen some recipes were it only took them 35 minutes.  Check the doneness with a fork!  If it's hard then it's not done.  Use a fork to pull the squash from the sides of the skin and make the spaghetti noodles.  I happily took these leftovers to work for a few lunches.


Paleo Coconut pancakes and bacon





Last weekend I made a paleo Sunday breakfast of coconut flour pancakes and natural nitrate free bacon.

I used this bloggers coconut pancake recipe

Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 cup almond milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
a sprinkling of salt (I dont have sea salt since it was banned form my diet back when I was no iodine)
coconut butter

My coconut flour and coconut butter were bought at MOM, mom's organic market.

Heat a nonstick pan.
Beat the 4 eggs in a bowl and add the other liquid ingredients: milk, vanilla, and honey.
In another bowl mix together the dry ingredients: coconut flour, baking soda, and salt.
Grease the pan with the coconut butter before adding pancake batter.
Spoon in pancake batter, cook each side for a few minutes.
The pancakes will be thick.
Add more coconut butter before each batch of pancake batter.

We ate our pancakes topped with hickory syrup and a side of natural bacon.




Paleo Pork Loin Dinner

Herbed roasted pork loin with roasted butternut squash, onions, and garlic

Ingredients:
Pork tenderloin
Fresh sage
Fresh thyme
Fresh rosemary
Garlic cloves- as many as you want
Olive oil
Salt Pepper
Butternut squash cut into pieces
Sweet yellow onion- cut into wedges


This was my first intentional paleo dinner. I bought a pork tenderloin at the grocery store (make sure it's one that doesn't have "added solution" because that sounds disgusting). There were two loins in the package. I put them in my roaster that I use for chicken and turkey.

I grabbed rosemary, thyme, and sage from the garden. I added it to a small food processor with some olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper to make an herb paste. I rubbed the paste all over the tenderloins before cooking.

The butternut squash I cut into pieces, the onion into wedges, and I added whole cloves of garlic for roasting. They all got a little olive oil, salt, pepper.  I also tossed a whole sprig of rosemary on top.  I put them in a separate pan because I knew they'd finish roasting before the tenderloin.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees Roast both pans for 30 minutes
Turn the oven heat down to 425 degrees and continue roasting pork for another hour
Check the vegetables after about 1 hour of cooking time.
The squash should be soft enough to stick with a fork.
Pull the veggies out and peel the skin off the squash pieces. I read that it would be easier to peel the skin off after roasting, instead of peeling before. I'd say it was still a hard process. It doesn't peel off in one nice piece.







Sunday, September 23, 2012

Banana Pudding

I made Paula Deen's Not Your Mama's Banana Pudding for a BBQ this summer. I have made the recipe before but I haven't blogged it. I don't have a trifle dish so I used a glass pitcher to made my layers of pudding and cookie goodness. Chess cookies instead of vanilla wafers is the best part!


More Margartia Cupcakes



These are cupcakes I made for my husband's birthday. I made them in July and I don't know where I got the recipe. The lime glaze underneath the frosting really made them rock!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tiny Harvest

I picked three things from the garden today, a zucchini, a pickling cucumber, and some kind of pepper. I wish there was more! Last year we had a lot more around this time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Going on detox, the plan

I am back from a vacation in Croatia! We had lots of pasta and pizza some with yummy truffles and cream sauce. mmmm.

Hubby and I are going to detox a bit since we go to the beach with our friends in about a week.

The plan is juicing for breakfast (hubby does breakfast and lunch)
I tend to like cucumber, apple, carrot, lemon in my juice.

I will hit the gym 4 times a week, increase to more than 10 miles a week. Maybe I'll try for 15?

For lunch today I had brown rice vegetable sushi. I know this is something I should learn to make at home!

For dinner tonight I plan on making black bean burgers without buns, corn, and sauteed spinach. The store didn't have any fresh corn so I'm steaming some frozen corn.

For tomorrows dinner I'm making some couscous. I want to add in tomato, zucchini, cucumber, onion, red pepper, and cilantro. I have to go check the veggie garden to see if I have tomato and zucchini :)

Friday I want creamy avocado; white bean wraps that I saw online. They look awesome.

Saturday we are celebrating hubby's birthday with friends with a crab feast. I don't eat crab so I will probably be eating some chicken for dinner.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

What's going on in our garden



Blueberry Bush

Catering 200 people

Catering for 200 plus people is quite a challenge but it's something my husband likes to take on himself instead of just paying for catering.

Appetizers
Chips
Salsa
Popcorn
Veggies
Dip
Grapes

Main course
105 pounds of pork butt
Turkey and vegetarian burgers

Sides
Coleslaw
Mac n Cheese
Baked beans

Dessert
Cookies, store bought and homemade
Texas Sheet Cake
M&ms

Sauces
My husband's homemade BBQ sauce
My husband's homemade Hot Sauce
Store bought BBQ and hot sauce

105 lbs of pork butts all rubbed the night before are getting unwrapped for smoking.


Zucchini Tots

These things are pinned all over Pinterest. My husband made them for his breakfast at work, but made two batches. They were a bit like mini quiche made with zucchini to me.

Zucchini Tots

Ingredients
Yield: 12 mini tots

1 cup zucchini, grated (for me this was one zucchini, about 7 inches in length)
1 egg
¼ of an onion, diced
¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup dry breadcrumbs
salt and pepper


Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Grease a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. Grate the zucchini into a clean dish towel. Wring all of the excess water out of the zucchini that you can (it won't be much, but every little bit counts).
3. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
4. Fill each muffin section to the top, pushing down on the filling with your spoon so it's nice and compacted (otherwise they'll fall apart more when you try to take them out of the tin).
5. Bake for 15-18 minutes in preheated oven. The top will be starting to golden. To easily remove from the pan (without scratching it to death), run a plastic knife around the edges of each tot and they should come right out.

Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls

My husband has breakfasts at work. This time around he made blueberry cinnamon rolls and zucchini tots.

He followed this recipe for dough and baking instructions. He used blueberry jam with whole Maine blueberries in the jam for the rolls filling plus some butter, cinnamon, and sugar instead of fresh blueberries and he did not make the frosting.

Dough Ingredients

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
4 cup flour
1/2 cup flour
1/2 heaping tsp baking powder
1/2 scant tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp salt

Blueberry Filling Ingredients

Butter, melted
Cinnamon
Sugar
Jar of blueberry jam with whole blueberries

Dough Process
Mix whole milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald to 150 degrees. Let cool until lukewarm (~45 minutes). Sprinkle in yeast and let sit. Then add 4 C flour, stir mixture together. Cover and let sit for one hour.

Add 1/2 C flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir mixture together.

Divide the dough in half. Sprinkle surface generously with flour and form into a rectangle, roll the dough thin, maintaining a rectangular shape.


Adding the filling

Brush melted butter onto the dough. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top. Next smear the blueberry jam on.

Roll, rest, and heat
Roll the dough toward you. Pinch the seam to seal it. Grease foil cake or pie pans. Cut rolls 3/4 to 1 inch thick and lay in greased pans. Repeat with other half of dough and filling.

Cover the rolls and let sit for 30 minutes.

Bake at 375 for 15 to 18 minutes.




Friday, June 22, 2012

Vitamixer Fresh Tomato Sauce

I made the Vitamixer recipe for fresh tomato sauce last night. I really think it would be better with roasted tomatoes but that would add a lot of cooking time. I was surprised it called for brown sugar instead of white. I didn't taste a huge difference it was just different from a typical spaghetti sauce. I like that the only thing that came from a can was 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.

I overheard a woman at Fresh Market telling her kid that they couldn't have spaghetti and meatballs because it was almost noon and it would take too long. I made tomato sauce, baked chicken parm, and spaghetti last night for dinner and it took about 30 minutes. I feel bad for that kid who probably really wanted spaghetti and meatballs.
Spaghetti is one of my favorite foods!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

New Foods

Today the farmers market had garlic scapes. I bought a handful of them.
I also bought some squash that was not the yellow long neck or zucchini that we grow in our garden. I plan on making alfredo tomorrow with it all.




We also saw a quince at the grocery store and bought it on a whim. My hubby read an article about old fashioned fruits and it was mentioned. We will have to try baking into it's pink or red goodness. Also in the article were loquats which my brother remembers eating as a kid as jelly but I don't remember them.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Annual BBQ

The borrowed smoker in our backyard! Our neighbors were very curious when it arrived :) My husband smoked a beef brisket and racks of ribs in it.



A borrowed canopy for covering the patio area.



7 Layer Greek Dip

I pinned this dip on my pinterest.
I made changes to the original recipe.
My version's layers
1 Container of Plain Hummus
1 Small Container of Greek Yogurt
Roasted Red Peppers from a jar – Diced
Marinated Artichoke Hearts from a jar – Diced
1/4 Red Onion – Diced
Crumbled Feta Cheese
Handful of Pine Nuts
Sprinkling of Oregano- dried
Cucumber Slices and Pita Chips for dipping

I layered everything in the order written above and used a square dish with sides for serving because the roasted red peppers were liquidy.

I made this a day ahead of time, put some plastic wrap over it, and pulled it out the next day to serve.

This recipe was a winner and I'll be making it again. Not only did people want the recipe, but people were requesting I bring it to the next event...Memorial Day weekend. How is it almost Memorial Day?



Spring Vegetable Dip
Another dip I pinned on pinterest. I made several changes to the recipe Baked Goat Cheese with Spring Vegetables
1 cup asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter1 cup chopped green onion, white and green parts
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups heavy cream because I had leftover from making cheesecake and I don't usually buy whole milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
lemon zest- I didn't measure I zested most of a whole lemon
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese, divided in half

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water for 2 minutes and drain. Let cool and separate out the tips.
3. Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the green onion and cook until they are tender, about 6-7 minutes, stirring regularly, stir in flour until the green onions are well coated, and then slowly pour in the cream, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture is a bit thickened, about 5-10 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and add the cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted, and then add a couple grindings of fresh pepper, all the veggies except for the asparagus tips, the herbs, the lemon zest and two ounces of the goat cheese and stir gently.
5. Pour the mixture into a 4-5 cup shallow baking dish. Arrange the asparagus tips on top, pushing them down slightly into the cheese mixture, and scatter the remaining goat cheese over the top.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden in spots and bubbling. Let cool for about 5 minutes, and then serve.

I served the dip with plain pita chips.

Crockpot Bacon Bourbon Baked Beans
I pinned these beans on my pinterest because I was on a search for crockpot baked beans. There were no leftovers, but I didn't really like the beans myself. I think I'm used to baked beans that start with canned beans, add bacon etc, and then bake in the oven. I followed the recipe exactly as written. I started my beans before going to bed, everything went into the crockpot before 11pm so it'd be ready the next day for a party.


1 pound dry navy beans
10 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into pieces
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups water
3/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup bourbon1
1/2 tablespoons ground mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce

The night before, add beans to a large pot and cover with water.
Drain the next morning.
Bring beans to a boil in a large pot of water, let simmer for 30-40 minutes, then drain.
While beans are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until crispy and fat is rendered, then remove bacon with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add onion, cooking for 8-10 minutes, until brown and soft.
Add in garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then turn off heat.
Add water, bourbon, brown sugar, bbq sauce, ketchup, ground mustard, vinegar, molasses and worcestershire sauce to the crockpot and whisk well to combine.
Add in beans, onions (and all of the bacon fat) and bacon to the crockpot.
Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours, stirring occasionally.
After 10-12 hours, turn crockpot to “warm” setting or turn off completely and let sit anywhere from 30 minutes-2 hours, which will help the sauce for the beans thicken even more.

Potato Salad
Boiled red potatoes cut into bit sized pieces
Thinly sliced red onion
Fresh chopped dill
Equal parts red wine vinegar and olive oil
2 Tablespoons sugar

Strawberry Cheesecake
My usual cheesecake recipe plus strawberry topping.
Arrange 1 cup fresh strawberries on top of cheesecake.
Melt 2/3 cup strawberry preserves on the stove in a saucepan with a little lemon juice.
Pour melted preserves over strawberries.

Coconut Macaroons

I used Martha Stewart's recipe for these guys. I this I halved the following recipe because it says it makes 90 macaroons!

Ingredients

2 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 bags shredded sweetened coconut (14-ounces each)


Directions

Heat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites and salt until frothy, about 2 minutes. Stir in condensed milk and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, fold in coconut until well combined.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats. Using a teaspoon and your fingers, form macaroons into 1 1/4-inch mounds about 1 inch apart.
Bake until macaroons are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to a cooling rack; let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

DC Metro Cooking Show

Tickets are on sale now. My husband and I are seeing Top Chef judges, Tom Coliccio and Gail Simmons, plus Giada De Laurentis.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Husband made dinner

I'm on my spring break but I ended up pet sitting for my parents and watching both of my nephews this past weekend. My nephews are college and high school age which makes them easy to watch but we still fed them several times a day :)

My hubby made some cheesy pasta, and boneless pork chops, garlic crostini, roasted tomatoes, and steamed peas.

So many seedlings!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

BBQ

Our friend Charlie's family has a smoker. We made three racks of pork spareribs, potato salad, coleslaw, jalapeno cheese cornbread, goat cheese stuffed peppers and oatmeal butterscotch cookies. We wanted to have a BBQ because Anthony made a batch of strawberry (and other berries) BBQ sauce. It's awesome tasting!

The ribs rubbed with Anthony's blend of spices




St Patricks Day

Costco sold really cute ravioli for St Patricks Day. I did make corned beef, cabbage, carrots and potatoes in the crockpot on a different day too.





Mango Pineapple Coconut Sauce

This is a bottled sauce I bought at fresh market. I've had several people tell me how much they love mango chicken lately so I thought I'd try this sauce. It's not a strong mango flavor and you taste a lot of coconut flavor. I liked the sauce, it's just not mango sauce :) We put the sauce over some chicken and peppers, with steamed rice and snowpeas.




I happily took the leftovers to work!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Chicken Pesto Empanadas

My husband and I went out for Italian food on Thursday night and we drove past, Panas, an empanada restaurant. He was reading the reviews to me while I drove home and one of the popular empanadas was chicken and pesto. Yesterday while I was at Fresh Market grocery store grabbing ingredients for the asian salad I posted about I saw chicken pesto empanadas! I bought a 4 pack for lunch today to split with my husband. I think the empanadas rocked! I'm not sure I need to visit the restaurant.

Trader Joes Orange Chicken

People are always asking what everyone likes to buy at Trader Joes. Last night we used the orange chicken in a new way. We cooked the chicken and sauce following the instructions on the bag but we used the chicken to top a salad. I bought romain lettuce, a red bell pepper, green onions, and Ken's asian sesame dressing. Then I sprinkled some sunflower seeds and red pepper flakes on top of my chicken. It was pretty similar to Pei Wei spicy chicken salad. I felt a little better about eating the batter covered chicken on top of a salad :) try it sometime.

Monday, February 27, 2012

We have sprouting!

We have never started seeds indoors before and also we've never used our own seeds from our mature vegetables (not bought in a packet). We have babies though! It's exciting since it has only been 1 week.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Seed Starting

We are starting our indoor seeds this weekend. We bought some shelves, heat/sun lamps, and some containers. To start we are using what my husband seeded from all his pepper plants. Hopefully the effort to save seeds is worth it and we have a few plants by May when we will plant everything outside. We are also going to toss in a few of my herbs, cilantro and dill because I have seeded my plants and had success with using their seeds the next season. Here is our set up!





Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Brunch


We were maybe going to have some real snow in the DC area this weekend but it didn't pan out. I still treated today a bit like a snow day. We made breakfast and then I cooked feijoada all day in the crockpot. The hashbrowns are so green because we used a whole green pepper and a jalapeno pepper in them. We finally cracked open the wild Maine blueberry jam we bought at the DC Cooking Show in November. It has tiny whole blueberries in it that are so cute.

Making Hot Sauce


We had many varieties of hot peppers that we grew over the summer. My husband made 3 different batches of hot sauce. The process took three months of curing in the fridge before he bottled and labeled the sauces. A lot of these were given as gifts at Christmas time!


Two Valentines Day Dinners

My husband made reservations at Timpanos for actual Valentines Day. The restaurant is around the corner and we've gone before for Valentines Day, even without a reservation. In the past they've had a Valentines special where you get drinks, some sort of appetizer, two entrees, and their awesome dessert tree which had chocolate covered strawberries and cheesecake pops. No such luck this year. Not only did we have to wait around for a half an hour even though we made a reservation this year, they also didn't have the same Valentines special they've had in the past. This year you could get lobsters as the special, otherwise you could order off the regular menu. Our waitress took forever to take a drink order so by the time she showed up we had chosen everything we wanted to eat. We both ordered salads, the aged steaks and two sides. The salads came out first and were great. Then our steaks came out. Then there was a horrible crash of dishes and turns out those were our sides. The waitress offered to put our food under a heat lamp. Um no thank you. When you have a $30 steak you don't put it under a heat lamp. We ate the steaks without any sides. Later our sides showed up. Never did the manager come to our table and apologize or anything. We also weren't compensated at all for the fallen food. The only Pro for Timpanos is the food. The steaks were wonderful and so was the truffle mac n cheese. We wont be back. They also took the cheesecake pops I loved so much off the menu several months ago according to the waitress. The whole experience took over 2 hours and not because we were enjoying ourselves.

My husband made reservations for 6 of us to eat at Firehouse in Old Town several weeks ago. We arrived early and walked around Old Town until it was time for our reservation. 2 other friends in our party had arrived and were told the table wasn't ready. 15-20 minutes after our reservation we were seated with 4 out of 6 people in our party. The other 2 were having trouble parking. The waitress took our drink order right away and my husband put in an appetizer order. The appetizer came out moments later before the drinks arrived. We tried the reuben eggrolls and they were really good. They have Boylans root bear and birch beer. I ordered birch beer. I love that stuff! Our other two friends arrived and we put in our dinner orders and other drink orders. One bottle of wine was ordered and it was brought to the table and offered for approval before the whole bottle was poured. I ordered the bison short rib stroganoff. It is the reason we were at the restaurant in the first place because this dish was on the tv show "Best Thing I Ever Ate" as a twist on a classic that is awesome. Three other people at our table ordered prime rib and even though they ordered the 10 ounce it was HUGE. The horseradish potatoes were really good (I tried my husband's). Two people at our table ordered scallops and they cleaned their plates. For dessert my husband and I tried the dessert sampling where they have homemade donut, snickers bar, hostess cupcake etc. I liked the homemade snickers bar the best. Another person in our party ordered the mint icebox type pie. It was good. It was weird that it tasted like mint ice cream but was mousse that didn't melt. I liked the dessert but I don't think it was for my palate. All the pros: restaurant is beautiful, the wait wasn't very long, the staff were great the food was awesome, the restaurant isn't very noisy (we were on the second floor so it might have been a little due to being away from the bar area).

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bacon Cheddar Potato Soup


I made a Vitamix recipe for potato soup this weekend. I think the mixer is so cool and I am happy every time I see it used on Top Chef or during Iron Chef on the Food Network.

You can also find this recipe on the Vitamix website.
I did make some changes.

I bought 4 small Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled them until tender all the way through
3 strips of pepper bacon, cooked
About 1/2 a sweet yellow onion, diced and cooked in the bacon grease
shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups of 1 milk
Italian herb paste
salt for the potato water and I added salt to the soup

Into the blender went two of the cooked potatoes, the milk, onions, salt, and Italian herb paste. Set blender to variable, 1 then turn to variable 10 and switch machine to high. Blend until everything is hot and steam comes out of the blender vents. This took me about 6 minutes when the recipe said 4 minutes. Then I cut the blender to variable 3 and put in the other 2 small potatoes and turned it off. I used the crumbled bacon as a garnish instead of tossing it in the blender as the recipe suggested. I liked the soup. I think next time I may try to leave the last potatoes even chunkier than I did but for a first try I think it was a success!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Spicy Chicken

So I've had chicken at a few places in the past week.

Buffalo Wild Wings has two limited flavors right now. I tried the Thai curry and it wasn't spicy and really only tasted like curry. To me it tasted more like Indian than Thai. It lacked sauce. It was seasoned chicken but not saucy like buffalo chicken. It was supposed to be on the spicy end of the spectrum and it wasn't spicy at all. I was disappointed.

Boston Market has added sauces to the rotisserie chicken. I bought a quarter white meat chicken combo with the mango habenero sauce. The sauce comes on the side in a plastic container so you can control the amount. It was spicy and sweet and perfect! I love this sauce. I hope other people try it out and they keep it on the menu. Love!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New favorites

Like everyone I'm trying to eat a little healthier this year.
I have cut soda out of my diet. I've gone a week without it and I don't think I need it in my life. I will see if I can go a month without it and I'll blog if I make it.

I tried several new things recently that I have liked
I had Michelinas frozen macaroni and beef today for lunch plus I had a third of a leftover triple decker club from last night. I think if I only had this frozen meal I would have been hungry later on but I had something to go with it.

I've also been eating Pacific Rose apples. I LOVE them! I usually only eat sour Granny Smith apples but I really like these big juicy apples called Pacific Rose. They are so juicy I need to eat them with a few napkins.

For dinner tonight I tried a few new Trader Joes products. I baked the frozen falafel in my toaster oven, put it on some pita with lettuce and Trader Joes cilantro and chive yogurt (Greek Style) dip. Yum to both Trader Joes products! I know I have made falafel and yogurt sauce from scratch but my husband wasn't feeling Greek this week so I made these frozen guys for myself on a night he works late.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Eve

My husband was mostly recovered from his 24 hour stomach flu by New Years Eve so we went to a friends condo for a low key New Years Eve party. Yes we watched Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve until the ball dropped.

I took two items to their house, Cava's crazy feta with flatbread crackers and I made some cookies. I wanted to just buy something cute that had 2012 on it at the store but I couldn't find anything. The stores were really crazy on New Years Eve anyway.

Hershey's Mint Truffle Blossom Cookies
I used this recipe but with Hershey's Mint Truffle kisses and I rolled my cookies in granulated sugar only. I also only got about 3 dozen cookies out of the dough but I usually make large cookies :)


Pork Ragu

December 29th my entire family went to my aunt and uncle's house for dinner. On December 30th my husband was next to have the stomach flu. He was stuck at home all day and sounded horrible I didn't leave the house either. I did spend 4 hours cooking Mike Isaballa's pork ragu recipe. I made a HUGE HUGE mistake in buying gnocchi from a specialty food store where I buy lots of meat and have never disliked anything until now. The gnocchi were terrible. The ragu is fabulous though! I did not find buratta cheese and instead I dropped on a bit of riccota cheese.

December 28th Dinner

The day after Christmas two more family members were struck with the stomach flu. My dad and my cousin who was staying at my parents house. We all made it to a dinner theater on the 27h to watch a performance of White Christmas though.

On December 28th my husband and I hosted a family dinner at our house. My brother called that morning to say he had caught the stomach flu (his kids had it first) and he couldn't make it. My uncle couldn't make it either because he was working. My dad came to dinner but was still trying to recover so he ate very little.

Our dinner menu
spinach artichoke dip
brie topped with macadamia nuts, brown sugar and brandy,
Standing rib roast
Roasted broccoli, carrot, and cauliflower
Mac and cheese
Tomato soup
Cheesecake with strawberry sauce

Tuesday night after the dinner theater show we started the meat. It needed to be scored, and rubbed with a mustard and peppercorn mixture.

This is Martha Stewart's rub and we tripled the amount because we had a 20 pound roast!
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Then I smashed black peppercorns to rub on top of the mustard mixture because the Pioneer Woman did a similar method on a beef tenderloin and it looked good!





Brie Appetizer. A Paula Deen recipe I have used several times because it's so good. I always serve it with crackers and red and green apples.


Christmas Day

My husband and I take breakfast over to my parents house on Christmas morning. We took mini bacon cheddar quiche and a braided apple pastry. This time I put the apple braid on a silpat and it came off so much better than putting it on wax or parchment paper! All of the family members made it for Christmas day. The stomach flu was lasting about 24 hours.



Our Christmas dinner is almost exactly like our Thanksgiving dinner

There were mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and cranberry jello salad, corn casserole, rolls, asparagus, broccoli casserole, and gravy. Recipes for sweet potatoes, broccoli, and corn can be found here. Recipe for the crescent rolls can be found here.











Garden still going

These pictures are a little old. We have HUGE broccoli in the garden right now. I'm sure we'll be eating it very soon. Here are some photos of our broccoli, purple cabbage, and spinach which is growing in a large rubbermaid tub with drainage holes.






Christmas Eve

Well we had a week of holiday fun filled with stomach flu passed from one person to another. My brother's house was hit first with a few of the kids having a stomach flu. They were supposed to host Christmas Eve. We moved the dinner location to my parents house instead. My sister-in-law and two of the kids stayed home.

We threw together some keilbasa in bbq sauce (the same recipe I use for bbq meatballs) in the crockpot for an appetizer.




We made scalloped potatoes (not the same recipe I usually use, but my mother's recipe). I think I prefer Emeril's method!