grain free zucchini bread and #BOSnow2015

WHOA MAMA. If you’ve been watching the news at all, or looking at your facebook/twitter/instagram/ANYTHING feed, then you’re well aware that mother nature has been spewing snow all over the northeast, with her aim directly at my house. Yes, me, she has something against. She even unleashed a friggin’ yeti in my neighborhood. A YETI. SHE’S TOTES CRAY PEOPLE!

Now I’ve been through many a nasty winter in Boston, but nothing like this- leaving the city totally crippled. It’s embarrassing really. I’m embarrassed. It’s like this sorry old beantown shrugged its shoulders and dug its head into the sand (snow) like an ostrich (which apparently is a myth).

Juno I had a great view from the office window? Get it?

When the city shuts down, like SHUTS DOWN, it’s weird. It’s weird to look out my window on a normally very busy street and see no movement, other than the wind whirling and whizzing around gusts of snow. No people. No cars. It’s pretty wild. When the T shuts down, you know $hit’s gettin’ REAL. And when it shuts down for more than 24 hours, which I’ve never seen happen (until now), it’s kind of scary. And infuriating. And embarrassing. And I can’t really pick an emotion.

Oh and the MBTA GM just resigned. Scapegoat anyone?

Soooo she keeps dumping and dumping and dumping like it’s her job. Meanwhile, myself and half a million other people are yelling ‘UNCLE! UNCLE!’ at the top of our lungs. And then it gets to the point where all you can do is laugh. Maniacally.

I’m babbling. Basically what I’m trying to say is that I developed major cabin fever so I cranked my oven and baked and baked and baked.

But let’s talk a little bit more about this snow business. Have I mentioned that it’s crazy bananas out there? So crazy I fell so hard on my coccyx that I’m on muscle relaxers.

FYI, muscle relaxers make you drowsy. You may forget that you’re baking. You may burn things in the oven. Juuuuuust sayin’.

You know what’s also crazy? A snow mountain in a Cambridge parking lot. There’s actually a ROAD on it where trucks can dump snow at the top. Yah. FRIGGIN’ CRAYYZAAAYY!

But you know what I’m crazy for? This zucchini bread. I bake it once a week to snack on at work. I’ve played around with the recipe and it’s so versatile.  Don’t have zucchini? Use canned pumpkin. Don’t have canned pumpkin? Use mashed banana. Want nuts? Add nuts. Craving chocolate? Dump in some cocoa powder. Or… chocolate. Coconut flakes. Toast a slice and smear it with homemade almond butter. Whatever you fancy. I love it I love it I LOVE IT.

Just heard we’re getting another foot and hurricane winds this weekend. No bigs.

ZUCCHINI BREAD (grain free, gluten free)
adapted from Au Naturale Nutrition

2 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup honey
1 cup zucchini (finely grated)
1 tbsp vanilla

1 cup almond flour (I’ve used Trader Joe’s and Bob’s Red Mill brands)
1/2 cup coconut flour (I’ve used Trader Joe’s and Bob’s Red Mill brands)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
(optional) 1/2 cup mix-ins (shredded coconut, nuts, choc chips)

  1. PREHEAT oven to 350° F and grease the loaf pan with butter.
  2. STIR with a fork all the dry ingredients except optional mix-ins in a medium bowl.
  3. STIR with a fork eggs, vanilla, honey, and butter in a large bowl. Stir in zucchini.
  4. ADD the dry to the wet and stir to combine. Fold in any optional mix-ins.
  5. POUR batter into the loaf pan and pat flat (it will not rise).
  6. BAKE loaf for 55-65 minutes.
  7. COOL on a wire rack and refrigerate.

Posted in bake, gluten free, me, recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

oh hi howahya whereya been?

Oh hullo! Here I am, just in time to dust off my blog for 2015. Looks like my first post in forever will also be a 2014 recap, seeing how I dropped off the face of all social media avenues late last winter. And now… it’s winter again. Hoo-ray.

Let’s start with the ugly, shall we?

2014 started out with a bang, in a pretty traumatic way. I got really sick, then sicker, and sicker and…. you get the point. I learned a hell of a lot though, and proved to myself once again that if you think you won’t be able to get through something YOU WILL, just because, well, you simply have to.

I also learned:

  1. TO LISTEN to the smoke signals your body/mind/soul send to you. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes it’s blaring from the top of a mountain like the dude in the Ricola commercial. So… listen.
  2. MEDICINE can have some really nasty side effects- be prepared for them. They might make you feel worse. You might feel downright miserable. They’re so funny that way!
  3. Two words: BRAT DIET. If you have to go on this, no matter how creative you think you are with 4 ingredients, YOU’RE NOT. It gets real boring real fast. Astonishingly I still love bananas. (See also number 2)
  4. MIGRAINES ARE REAL! I wasn’t a believer. I rolled my eyes if anybody complained about one. I’m sorry a thousand times. I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry!
  5. FLUIDS are very important! Don’t wait until you’re so depleted that you get a migraine. And you’ll prrrrobably need 3 liters of saline but your veins will be so dried up that you’ll get poked and bruised and hematoma’d and wear long sleeves in the summer as to not look like a heroin addict which is quite the epidemic here in Boston these days so never mind you’ll fit right in. (See also numbers 3, 4, & 6)
  6. IF A NURSE says “aww nuts, I blew out your vein”…. don’t freak out! It’s not as bad as it sounds, I promise. (See also number 5).
  7. IF YOU EXPERIENCE rapid weight loss, your hair will indeed fall out. A lot of it. Totally stinks but it will grow back. Most of it anyway. Even the grey ones. Get yourself a shorter haircut. Wear a hat. Or just don’t give a shit. You may have tufty baby bangs for a while. Your eye bags will also get really saggy. You’ll survive. No bigs.
  8. DON’T PUSH yourself when you’ve been out of commission. Getting back on the horse is going to be rough as hell. Go to work when you’re ready and able. If you’re with a good company they’ll be supportive. If not, send them my way and I’ll show them my (boney) fist.
  9. IT COULD BE WORSE. So much worse. It could always be worse worse worse.
  10. This is more of a suggestion but THANK EVERYONE and anyone that played a role. Thank your doctor. Your family and friends. Your boss and coworkers. Neighbors, strangers, whatever. They’ll appreciate it because when it comes down to it you’ve been a real pain in the ass burden. Sort of. Actually yes. Thank them thank them thank them.

BUT WAIT! A LOT OF GOOD THINGS HAPPENED!

  1. I literally just celebrated my grandmothers 89th birthday. We surprised her SO HARD she’ll/I’ll never forget it.
  2. I drove 10 hours to visit my dad and other PA family. It was the longest drive everrrrrrr by myself. I listened to “learn conversational german” for many many hours aaaaaand don’t remember much of it. Ick feshteeeun no-uhh eye-n bissyuun Doyeech. Dunk-ah! I appropriately wore my poncho when visiting my native american grandmother. I also shot A LOT of ammo (at inanimate objects). Hey, when in PA.
  3. I got a visit from my dear friend and favorite healer, Sobonfu Some. She squished mud in my belly button. She gave me a mysterious powerful powdery black potion. She ordered a very special bowl of dirt to be placed under my bed… probably for eternity (thanks cuz for digging that up!).
  4. I had plenty of time on my hands to go through storage boxes and found this gem:
  5. I went camping on the Mohawk Trail with cuz and his lady friend! We went on a 2 hour zipline tour. We listened to public radio. We learned that if something in the wilderness looks like a small kitten, it’s probably a giant porcupine. We also learned that mice love avocados. Very valuable life lessons here, people.
  6. And I had a birthday! Just like you probably did too!
  7. I went to 2 gorgeous weddings for 2 of my favorite girlfriends. I wore a jumpsuit to one of them and it was fabulous. I also wore it for our office halloween party. POSH.
  8. Jessica aka little miss run shine left the office (sad) to pursue her dream of fitness (happy!).
  9. I took a lot of cat/dog photos.
  10. I saw lots of family and did things!
  11. I was introduced to Michele Wolfson via Kitchen Surfing who delivered a month of delicious homemade meals to my door! 
  12. I survived! I conquered! Residual GI issues ain’t got nuthin’ on me.

So that’s it… in a very big nutshell. Because I have new dietary restrictions, most of the recipes from here on out (for the most part) are one or the combination of : gluten free, FODMAP friendly, candida diet friendly, GAPS friendly, paleo friendly and probably some other weird diets out there that I’m not aware of.

I shall call myself Gludida FODGAPS. Catchy, no?

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chocolate dipped pecan and popchips cookies

I’m running in a contest! wait, not running. heck no.

participating.

I’m participating in a contest!

Blog and Tweet Boston has organized a contest for bloggers that attended a recent event, to create a recipe that incorporates popchips.

I knew I had to make something sweet and salty, so a cookie sounded like the perfect vehicle. while at the grocery store, I had my heart set on a shortbread cookie, like a praline type thing. then I wanted chocolate chip. then I couldn’t remember what ingredients I had in my pantry. then I was exhausted.

feeling defeated, I opted for the easy route (as per my usual). AHEM, store bought cookie mix. Betty Crocker saves the day!

so yah. I made these awesome sugar cookies with toasted pecans and crushed original potato popchips.

just gently crush them. crush them with your bare hands. we want their crunchy texture to really shine in this cookie.

but don’t stop there. no sir. I dipped them in melted dark chocolate, and you should too.

like what you see? then please vote for this cookie! voting begins this Wednesday, 3/19 on Blog and Tweet Boston’s WEBSITE.

CHOCOLATE DIPPED PECAN AND POPCHIPS COOKIES
by gibblemethis

1 package (17.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1 cup (three 0.4 oz bags) original potato popchips, gently crushed
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1 dark chocolate bar (about 3.5 ounces), melted

  1. PREHEAT oven to 350° F.
  2. TOAST pecans on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes. allow to cool, then roughly chop.
  3. WHIP butter in a large bowl with mixer on high speed until fluffy, about 8 minutes.
  4. STIR in cookie mix and egg until combined with a spoon, then stir in pecans.
  5. FOLD in crushed popchips (gently, don’t pulverize them!)
  6. DROP rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes, until the edges are golden. transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.
  7. MELT chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. dip each cookie to coat half, and place on parchment paper to cool.
Posted in bake, blogger events, recipe | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Cooking Competition with popchips, Kitchensurfing and Workbar

A little over a week ago I attended a cooking competition. No worries, I wasn’t cooking. That should always be left to the real professionals.

Workbar is a shared office space where members can utilize all the benefits a typical corporate office has to offer, from private offices to meeting rooms and function spaces. Additionally, workshops, networking events, and lunch seminars are available. It’s the perfect place for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and remote corporate employees to “cowork”.

Well whaddya know, Workbar has a bar. Hello happy hours WITHOUT LEAVING THE OFFICE.

Polar Club Soda with Lime and Deep Eddy Cranberry Vodka came together to provide us with a drink for the night: the Cran Cod. Refreshing and right up my alley.

popchips provided us with snacks, and was the highlight of the competition. Three teams of Kitchensurfing chefs were challenged with creating a recipe that incorporated a popchips flavor, and we, the people, were able to eat and vote on our favorite.

Kitchensurfing is a network of chefs that you can hire for private dinner parties. They bring everything they need from cookware to salt and pepper, you just provide the kitchen and hungry guests. They’ll even do the dishes. 

The first group I met was Mark O’Leary and Justin Hackett from Aprons Off Catering. They created “A Vietnamese Bahn Mi Sandwich & Popchips Had A Baby”, made with BBQ popchips cured pork, salt and vinegar popchips mayo and Katy Perry’s supernatural popchips pate on an original popchips Vietnamese style baguette. Yes, even the baguette had popchips baked right in it.

Next up,  Jitti Chaithiraphant from Food is Love made a warm, dairy based “Corn & Cheddar Popchips Soup”.

And finally, Jen Rogers from Perfect Bite served up her take on chicken and waffles. “Popchips Chicken & Waffle” was accompanied with a maple-cider slaw and a Bloody Mary shooter.

Now for my vote. The bahn mi was really fun and creative. The soup was creamy, flavorful and filling. However, I went for seconds on the chicken and waffle dish, so there you have it. All winners in my book, the chefs were a delight to chat with and I enjoyed each inspiring dish!

Thanks to popchips I came home with a snack a day to last me quite some time, along with a can of Polar seltzer to wash it down with. I even got copies of the chefs popchips recipes, and bitters that I have yet to use for a delicious cocktail.

NOW FOR THE MORE FUNNER PART. yes. more funner. We’re having our very own popchips competition, organized by Blog and Tweet Boston. You’ll see my recipe in my next post, where I’ll link you to vote for me so I can win a Kitchensurfing giftcard and invite you over for dinner (NOT COOKED BY ME)! Practically a win-win situation here, people.

Workbar has locations in Boston and the metro area, with a range of memberships and pricing to fit your needs.

Kitchensurfing has chefs in and near many major cities across the US, as well as Berlin, Germany.

popchips can pretty much be purchased anywhere you buy food. So do that.

This event was provided by Blog and Tweet Boston, Workbar, Kitchensurfing, and popchips. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Posted in blogger events, product reviews, review | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

MOKSA’s roasted butternut squash soup

yes folks. more soup.

this one is a real treat. remember when I joined Blog and Tweet Boston for dinner at Moksa? well, they were ever so generous to share one of their recipes with us: Oven Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. you can read about my restaurant experience HERE.

I loved it SO much at the event that I recently made it, loved it again, and felt guilty keeping the recipe to myself.

very vegan. slightly sweet. coconut milk based. curry. edamame.

oh, and butternut squash.

MOKSA’S OVEN ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
adapted from MOKSA restaurant

1-2 butternut squash (3 lbs total), halved and seeds removed (I bought 2 prepared halves that were already skinned and seeded)
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup edamame, shelled and boiled (for garnish)
2 cans coconut milk (I used one regular and one light)
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup hot water
2 tbsp canola oil
3 tsp Japanese curry powder (the original recipe calls for 6 oz, which I imagine is a typo?)
salt and pepper to taste

medium-large stockpot
baking sheet
aluminum foil

  1. PREHEAT oven to 400° F.
  2. LINE a baking sheet with aluminum foil. place squash halves onto baking sheet cut side up, coat with 1 tbsp canola oil and roast until fork tender, 50-60 minutes.
  3. COOL squash on a wire rack for 20 minutes. scoop out to remove from shell (unless it’s shell-less just chop it up) and set aside.
  4. MIX Japanese curry powder with 1 cup hot water in a small bowl until smooth. set aside.
  5. HEAT 1 tbsp canola oil in a stock pot. add onions and sauté until soft.
  6. ADD squash, curry mix, coconut milk, broth, and bring to a boil.
  7. SIMMER on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. REMOVE from heat and blend (carefully!) until smooth. season with salt and pepper.
  9. GARNISH with edamame.
Posted in recipe, soups, stews, chiliez, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Del Frisco’s with Blog and Tweet Boston

You’ve probably noticed that I primarily eat vegetarian, and that red meat in particular is a rarity (pun intended). You also may have noticed that I love delicious things, and I’d eat just about anything on a special occasion.

Well, this was a special occasion.

Last weekend I joined Blog and Tweet Boston for lunch at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, and am so very glad that I did. Not only did I get to fine dine on some of the best food the Seaport District has to offer, I was able to share the experience with some of my favorite foodies, family style.

DRINKS

We were greeted at the bar to sip on a few of their signature drinks while we waited for the rest of the bloggers to arrive.

THE VIP: Svedka Clementine Vodka infused with fresh Hawaiian pineapple
POMEGRANATE MARTINI: 360 Vodka, PAMA Pomegranate liquor, splash of cranberry

The VIP was my favorite; tropical, clean and crisp, and reminded me that spring is right around the corner (yes please and thank you).

After wetting our whistles we were led into the Harbor Room, one of four private dining rooms. Surrounded with nearly floor to ceiling windows, we had a spectacular view of the harbor. It’s a darn shame it was too cold for us to use the private patio.

STARTERS

The meal began with three appetizers, and let me tell you, they really set the bar high for the rest of the afternoon.

CRAB CAKE with Cajun Lobster Sauce

AHI TUNA TARTARE with Citrus, Capers, Kalamata Olive Spread & Crostinis

SHANGHAI-STYLE FRIED CALAMARI with Sweet Chili Glaze, Bean Sprouts, Cherry Peppers, Crushed Peanuts & Scallions
(photo credit: Little Miss Runshine)

The crab cake was amazing; moist and very light on filler. Nuthin’ but crab here, baby. The tuna  tarare was super fresh and the salty kalamata olive spread was an excellent accompaniment. Sesame heavy for a sesame lover like myself, the calamari was perfectly fried and not greasy.

ENTREE SALADS

SEARED AHI TUNA Shaved Napa Cabbage, Arugula, Mango, Chilled Noodles, Toasted Almonds, Tomato, Avocado, & Ginger-Sesame Dressing

STEAKHOUSE Broiled Prime Strip Steak, Deviled Egg, Baby Mixed Greens, Watercress, Avocado, Cherry Tomato, Bacon, Parmesan, Blue Cheese & Horseradish Lemon Dressing

What can I say, I’m a sucker for Ahi Tuna. This salad was crisp and fresh and bright and gorgeous. Loved every bit/bite of it. If you prefer it more on the rich and heavy side, then the Steakhouse Salad is the one for you.

ENTREES & SANDWICHES

FILET MEDALLIONS with Scallion Mashed Potatoes, Thin Green Beans & Lemon Butter Sauce

SOLE FRANCESE with Lump Crabmeat, Baby Arugula, Cherry Tomato, Lemon Chive Beurre Blanc

PRIME SHAVED STEAK SANDWICH with Au Jus & Horseradish Sauce

Unless I can call the house made chips an entree, and don’t judge me for eating chips for dinner on (frequent) occasion, the filet medallions win here.  Cooked perfectly, juicy and tender.

SIDES

ONION RINGS Harpoon Beer Battered, Thick Cut
CHATEAU POTATOES
MAQUE CHOUX CORN
SAUTEED MUSHROOMS

You guys, just look at these onion rings. Thick cut and dipped in Harpoon beer batter, if you love onion rings like I do, then you’re already drooling. I seriously had to eat them with a knife and fork and didn’t even ask for ketchup. The maque choux corn was sweet, the sauteed mushrooms delightfully seasoned, and the chateau potatoes creamy and smooth.

AAAAAND MORE STEAK

STEAK STEAK AND STEAK

We also sampled a variety of cuts including rib eye, strip, and filet.

I just.
couldn’t.
finish it.

DESSERT

Okay okay so I couldn’t finish my plate because dessert was en route. I’m pretty sure it’s bad luck not to eat dessert, you know, like every day. I read it somewhere once.

SIX LAYER LEMON CAKE with lemon buttercream icing & lemon glaze

They make this cake every morning… fresh, “light”, and dreamy… my-oh-my.

DETAILS

Del Frisco’s is participating in Boston Restaurant Week, from March 16-21/23-28, and I highly recommend taking advantage of it. They also offer a prix fixe menu every Sunday.

Del Frisco’s
250 Northern Ave
Boston, MA 02210

Don’t live in Boston? No worries! Del Frisco’s has locations in major cities scattered across the U.S.

This complimentary meal was provided by Del Frisco’s and Blog and Tweet Boston. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Posted in restaurant reviews, review | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

vegan chocolate avocado cookies

I won I won! I won a giveaway! thanks to my girl Elizabeth over at Little Moments of Happiness, I’m the proud owner of a bunch of vegan chocolate. well, not really a bunch anymore, as it’s disappearing F-A-S-T.

now I’m no vegan, but have recently been dabbling with vegan recipes and was thrilled to try this chocolate. you wouldn’t even know it’s dairy free. it’s creamy and delicious and truly magical.

Chocolate Hollow (“Utterlessly Divine”) is made with love in Burlington, Vermont. I’ve nibbled and noshed on a few different bars, but thought it would be fun to bake something with them. you know, something vegan.

I’ve also been curious about baking with avocado to see what all the fuss is about. apparently you can substitute it for butter (half of the amount called for butter)… and guess what? it’s fabulous!

these vegan chocolate cookies are chewy and fudgy and so rich you’ll only need one to satisfy a craving. of course I won’t judge if you nab a handful.

quite possibly the best part about vegan baking is that you can eat all the batter you want and not have to worry about getting poisoned by raw eggs. let’s be real, we still do it, but like, you could eat the entire bowl.  just don’t blame me for your belly ache.

also how do you people measure coconut oil? it’s hard and waxy and doesn’t smoosh into a measuring cup very well. can you melt it and then let it cool? let a girl know, I just eye-balled it here.

and baking with avocado, does it matter how ripe they are?

regardless of me having no idea how to measure coconut oil or bake with avocado, these came out really good, I promise. soooooo no bigs if you’re just as ignorant as I am.

VEGAN CHOCOLATE AVOCADO COOKIES
adapted from two peas & their pod

1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup mashed avocado (about half an avocado)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup almond or soy milk
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips or hand chopped chunks

  1. PREHEAT oven to 350° F. line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. WHISK together flour, baking powder, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl. set aside.
  3. BEAT coconut oil, avocado, and sugars in a large bowl for 2-3 minutes, or until smooth. add vanilla extract.
  4. ADD half of the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix on low. add the milk and then the rest of the dry mixture until combined. stir in chocolate chips.
  5. DROP tablespoon balls onto lined baking sheet, 1-2 inches apart. flatten slightly with fingers (these will not spread out on their own).
  6. BAKE for 10 minutes or until edges are set, and cool on a wire rack.
Posted in bake, product reviews, recipe, vegan | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments