Monday, August 31, 2009

Watermelon Juice…will make it better?

 

I had a great day at work today!! It was SUPER busy with a lot of lifting and moving fixtures, but it was great to be active all day! Unfortunately, my sciatic nerve does not agree. Do any of you guys have issues with your sciatica?

A few summers ago I worked at a Fondue Restaurant that a group of my friends own. The trays were super heavy, and I was constantly bent at a strange angle to stir the cheese pot. Ever since then, my sciatic nerve will bother me if I’m on my feet for more than 3 hours straight.

For the past week I’ve been on my feet for 5-8 hours a day and my back can’t catch up. Today I think I may have taken it over the edge and past the point of no return. It started bothering me at work; so I took the time to do some stretches that I’ve used in the past. No luck. After work I stopped at the grocery store to get some fresh foods* (read veggies for Green Monsters and milk for Gorilla Munch) and I could barely walk. I would get shooting pains that hurt so much, it took my breath away. Incredibly embarrassing when you’re in the middle of the milk aisle!!

Once home I did more stretches and decided that I needed to treat myself. I don’t have much of an appetite because of the pain, so I made myself a fresh juice.

watermelon juice_tall glass

Watermelon Juice!!!

So good and so easy to make!! To make, just cut a seedless watermelon into cubes and set your blender to liquefy. Perfection! Seeded watermelon? Just pluck out the seeds first!

Catching up on blogs, email, and tweets and then heading to bed. Hopefully morning stretches will help tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rose Colored Glasses

 

I hate it when I don’t know what day it is. All day today I had no idea what day it was!! Work was busy, and I spent most of the day unpacking shipments. I LOVE unpacking shipments. It’s like it’s my birthday, and all of my gifts are these gorgeous handmade, fairly traded items!!

When I got home tonight I was reading through updated blogs, and it seems as though a bunch of folks were having a case of the Mondays…on a Tuesday. Yeah, by the third blog I did actually realize what day it was. (Funnily enough I thought it was Wednesday) :)

But I had a great day today! Even though I was busy, I was still in an energetic, positive mood. I guess I was just seeing the world through rose colored glasses!

zpom_rose

Rose Colored…wine glasses!! A few months ago, the kind folks at POM sent me a case of their juice to try. I used it in everything! I even started a nightly tradition of a POM cocktail. One part POM juice, one part Poland Spring’s sparkling water. Tasty!

zpom_fizz

I think a big part of my great day today was my lunch! LEFTOVERS!!! :)

Last night I cooked up a recipe that has moved into my TOP 5 favorite recipes of ALL time!!

Balsamic Chicken with GF Pah-sta

balsamic chicken_big

To make this you’ll need:

GF pasta (I LOVE Tinkyada. It is my go to pasta always!)

10-12 spears of asparagus (I used frozen)

5 Roma/cherry/grape tomatoes (I used Roma from our garden)

2 tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic

splash of white wine

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp. brown sugar

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Robusto cheese, shredded

 

I started the pasta boiling first and I boiled some spears of frozen asparagus. I roasted the tomatoes by cutting them in half and putting them in the oven on Broil.

Then I mixed the olive oil, balsamic, white wine, garlic, and brown sugar in a sauté pan and warmed it over medium heat. I had Parrish start heating two frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts while I was on my way home. They were still a little pink when I started cooking, so I cubed them and then added them into the balsamic sauce to cook the rest of the way. When I added the chicken, I turned the heat up to medium-high. Let the chicken cook completely. It almost starts to look like steak from the balsamic. After about 5-10 minutes I added the cooked asparagus and roasted tomato to the sauté pan and tossed. Then I added in the cooked pasta. Once coated, I sprinkled the top with shredded Robusto cheese!!

balsamic chicken_long

Creamy, sweet, tangy, rich…SO GOOD!! And the leftovers were just as tasty!

I hope everyone has a Happy Hump Day tomorrow!! New Top Chef, can’t wait! I still don’t know who I’m pulling for!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I’m in Lurve

 

I am going to ask Liz Holtz to marry me…and I may also ask her husband Dan to marry me too. Why this sudden confession of the heart? Because one of them is responsible for this:

chocolate cookie

Liz Lovely Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Cookie (aka Da’ BOMB!!!!)

Liz Lovely is one of those companies that you just love.

They care about the environment:

liz lovely 001

And they care about their product:

“We bake gourmet cookies with organic & fair trade ingredients from our 100% vegan cookie bakery in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Unlike most natural food companies these days, we bake everything in our own bakery and ship it directly to people and stores all over the country.” – Liz Lovely

 

And they care about Celiacs!!!

When I found out they had a gluten free line last week, I immediately joined their fan club. (I’m not joking, they actually have a fan club!) And I may or may not have gushed in my sign up email about how much I used to love their glutenous cookies and that I was crazy about the fact that they use Fair Trade Chocolate. And that I was dying to try their new gluten free cookies…and that I love them. Yeah, it was a pretty long sign up email. I’m sure it got a few laughs around the office.

So when they emailed me and asked if I wanted to review some of their line for the blog…well, I blushed I was so honored. I was more than familiar with their company from my time working at the food co-op. Back in my glutenous days I was a big fan of their cowgirl cookie. All of their cookies are 100% Vegan, and even though I’m not, I can’t taste a difference!

I was sent three flavors to try: Chocolate Fudge, German Chocolate Cake, and Ginger Molasses. All Gluten Free!!!

Like Coconut?

german chocolate

Then German Chocolate is for you!!

Big flakes of real coconut, hunks of walnut, and the fudgiest (is that a word?) cake you’ve ever tasted!!!

german chocolate tasty

Love Crystallized Ginger?

ginger molasses

Then the Ginger Molasses Cookie is for you! This cookie was instant Christmas for me! The blend of gingerbread spices paired with the bits of crystallized ginger were to die for!! All I needed was a chilly night and cup of Nutcracker Sweet tea!

Love Chocolate? (Like I even need to ask!!)

liz lovely 006

Then the Chocolate Fudge Cookies are for you!! These cookies are SOOOOO GOOD!!! So remember the last time you were making brownies and you snuck a swipe at the bowl and felt a wee bit naughty? Well, these cookies are exactly like that, except you don’t feel naughty because this is the civilized equivalent of sneaking brownie batter. PLUS they use Fair Trade chocolate…so you really shouldn’t feel naughty at all!!

Once again I wish I were rich, and I would send each and everyone of you gluten free gals and guys a box of these cookies. There are so many times that we have to skip the cookies at the party, meeting, or random gathering that we all deserve to have an uninterrupted afternoon with these cookies.

Unfortunately I’m not rich BUT there is some good news!!

Liz Lovely is currently celebrating their ONE YEAR Anniversary of gluten free goodness and they’re offering 20% off everything gluten free!! They have a full line of Gluten Free Cookies and more flavors than featured on this post. So you too my dear readers can fall in love with Liz Lovely!

And become a Cookie Monster!!!

liz lovely 037

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So on Twitter today I realized that pretty much everyone in the bloggity world is searching for sponsorship to Foodbuzz Fest!?! Hopefully this will be one situation where being gluten free works in my favor!! I’m not even sure if companies like Enjoy Life, Nature’s Path, Amazing Grass, or LARABAR do sponsorships, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that someone out there thinks I would be a great representative of their company! :)…wait, should I take the Cookie Monster picture down?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Blogger Heaven

 

april

Le Sigh.

I have been daydreaming ALL day today…about Food Blogger Heaven.

image

As a Featured Publisher for Foodbuzz, I enjoy lots of perks. Not only am I a part of a great foodie community, but I often get the opportunity to sample new products before they hit the market.

It’s safe to say that I LOVE food! And so a Food Centered Festival…with bloggery goodness…well that would just be pure heaven!!

Don’t congratulate me dear readers…remember my sigh at the beginning of this post? We must remember that I am saving for my wedding AND while I love my job and what I do for others, I work at a non-profit. Key words non and profit.

So unless Cheaptickets.com reads this post and offers me a free flight (Fingers/toes/eyes crossed) I will just have to enjoy reading about Foodbuzz Blogger Festival on blogs.

I guess I could offer a company the opportunity to tattoo their brand on my body in exchange for a flight, but that’s a little…well…maybe…NO, no that’s crazy!

But I highly encourage all of you to register! Registration is open for Featured Publishers and will open for all other bloggers on the 31st. They have a great lineup planned and it’s sure to be the event of the year!!

But I did at least have something to cheer me up today!

Liz Lovely Gluten Free Cookies!!!!!!

llgflarge

Review to come soon…but let me just say, I’ve already eaten BOTH (you get two giant cookies in a pack) Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Cookies and they are AHHHHHmazing. I took a few drool-worthy pics…between bites! :)

Big day at work tomorrow! Fair Trade Coffee Plant giveaway in our community! Too fun! But it’s definitely bed time for me soon!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Give Them Room

 

Like most food bloggers, this past week I saw the movie Julie & Julia…and LOVED it!!! The foodie in me loved it…the blogger in me adored it…and let’s just say that I have been known to panic and possibly melt down in the kitchen, so I couldn’t stop laughing!

Since the movie I have been dreaming about French food. Before my Celiac diagnosis, I enjoyed a DECADENT meal at Chez Nous in Austin, Texas. I have often joked that I would fly back just to eat their again. My dear friend Jessica dined with me that night, and between the two of us we consumed probably 10 pounds of butter…and cheeses that taste like butter.

Living a gluten free lifestyle, I really don’t dine out often. And although I’m 100% positive that I could dine at a French restaurant and find food that wouldn’t hate me…let’s get real. The bread alone would make me grumpy, not to mention the sauces thickened with flour. (The duh-licious sauces)

One of the scenes from the movie that really stuck with me, was when Amy Adam’s was cooking mushrooms. This past weekend I bought a container of mushrooms with the plan of cooking Julia Child’s Creamy Mushroom Chicken dish.

…then I tried on wedding dresses on Monday. Now I am not going to be one of those brides who bores you with her woes of weight and blah, blah, blah…at least not on this blog! I’m an active gal and I love my body. However, I like my weight where it is, and a few of Julia Child’s recipes would quickly get me off course! :) So I decided to switch the recipe up a bit, lighten it, and rely on Paula Deen to get me there. (I know, I know Paula and lighten aren’t often in the same sentence, but I adapted it!!)

Chicken Child a la’ Deen or Chicken Chapel Hill

This recipe is adapted from Paula Deen’s recipe for Chicken Georgia. You can find her version at Food Network.com. My sister has made Paula’s precise recipe before and it was awesome!

The STAR:

chicken georgia_the star

I melted 3 tbsp.of ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light’. Once warm, I added two hand fulls of sliced mushrooms, one garlic clove minced, and around 2 tbsp. of onion minced. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. I cooked the mushroom mixture for around 10 minutes. Using Julia’s tip: Give the mushrooms room. Don’t crowd.

chicken georgia_let them breathe

***About 25 minutes before I started cooking I was driving home from work. I called Parrish and asked him to take two frozen boneless chicken breasts from the freezer and pop them in the oven. They baked at 375 for about…20 minutes*** Then I added the prebaked chicken breasts and let them soak in the mushroom mixture and cook for about 10 minutes. I continually stirred the mushroom mixture while the chicken cooked and frothed the not-butter underneath the breasts. Pull the chicken from the mushroom mixture and top with the cheese of your choice. Paula Deen calls for mozzarella; I used Colby Jack. Spoon the mushroom mixture on top and serve!

chicken georgia_end result

We enjoyed ours with sautéed baby bok choy. It was SO good!! Not-Buttery mushrooms…mmmmmmm

Parrish and I were BOTH big fans!!! Clean Plate Club for sure!

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New Season of TOP CHEF!!!! Are you guys watching right now too? Who are you pulling for?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Cherry On Top

 

…well actually, the pineapple on top, but cherry sounds much better for a title.

Parrish and I had a fantastic day. We both had the day off of work and our schedules were relatively open. So we ventured out to the West Point of the Eno River for a hike.

west end eno 020

The trails at the Eno are so fun! Lots of climbing, which I love! Most of it runs along the river, so the views are great!

west end eno 022

After the hike we decided to walk the river bed a bit. We both wished we had brought sandals…but no such luck!

west end eno 031

So handsome!

west end eno 035

Lately Parrish has been grilling every Sunday! (Love that!!) Steaks and asparagus were on the menu, but I surprised Parrish with one of our favorite desserts!

west end eno 062

Grilled pineapple with a dollop of Mascarpone Cheese! Tasty!

Grill the pineapple until it begins to char. Serve it with a cold dollop :)

grilled pineapple

Perfect Bite

Wedding UPDATES!!!

We booked the venue and set the date! September 18, 2010 :)

And I’m going to look at wedding dresses tomorrow…SO NERVOUS!!!

Also, I changed my header over the weekend…I’m still not crazy about it. I use Microsoft Clip Art usually, and my previous header ended up on another GF blog as a logo. So I figured I should change mine to keep it fresh. This one is just until I tweak a few of my own pics. That way I won’t have to change it again. But I am not the most savvy computer gal. Any pointers?

I hope everyone has a great Monday tomorrow :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Patience and Pickles

 

Wedding Update:

We have a venue!! Well…that’s not exactly true. We know where we want to get married! Now we just have to pay the deposit (eesh) and set the date! We’re thinking September 2010. More on that later.

This morning I had a GREAT breakfast! berry granola

Gorilla Munch cereal with Very Berry Crunch granola!

A few months ago, Enjoy Life asked me to try their New and Improved Gluten Free Granola and give them feedback. I tried all three flavors and really enjoyed them. But this morning I had a stroke of genius! I added 1/2 cup of very berry to my morning cereal. Mmmm…it literally tasted like Captain Crunch with Berries!

After breakfast I spent most of the morning cleaning and weeding through emails. After lunch I decided it was finally time…to tackle the HUGE pile of cucumbers Parrish picked yesterday.

PICKLES!

pickle jar_silo

Quick pickles are super easy to make. Although they do require a little patience.

To make quick pickles you’ll need:

3 cucumbers, sliced the way you like them

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

1 1/2 cups water

3 tsp. dried dill OR 2 tbsp. fresh dill, minced

2 tsp. mustard seed

2 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. sugar

3 bay leaves

5 cloves garlic, smooshed

pickle jar_herbs

In a small saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, dill, mustard seed, sugar, and salt. Bring to a simmer. While the saucepan is simmering, Combine the cucumber slices, garlic cloves, and bay leaves in a bowl. Simmer the vinegar mixture for 5 minutes and then pour in with the cucumbers. Stir to combine and coat.

I added in little bits of onion at the last minute. I LOVE pickled onion!

pickle jar_kitchen

Cover. Let cool. Refrigerate. Be Patient.

Even though these are quick pickles, they’re still best if they sit overnight!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Who needs pizza crust…

 

when you can have a potato crust! This potato pie crust is bangin’ good! My sister sent me this recipe months ago; my only regret: that I hadn’t made it sooner! You bake the crust first, then you can fill it with whatever you like! My sister sent a broccoli pie recipe with the crust recipe, but I didn’t have any broccoli. Instead I made a Savory Tomato Pie, that was ten times better than pizza!

Parrish picked the daily tomato harvest from our garden. A mix of cherry, roma, and slicer tomatoes.

tomato harvest 008

I love the way tomatoes smell when they’re fresh from the vine!

To make the crust you’ll need:

2 firmly packed cups grated raw potatoes
1/2 t salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c grated onion
vegetable oil

You could use the Simply Potatoes found in the perishable dept. at most grocery stores instead of grating your own, but Parrish and I have a TON of potatoes, so I grated my own.


Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 9 inch pie pan. Place raw potatoes in a colander and salt. Let set for 10 mins, and squeeze out water.
Mix potatoes, egg, and onion. Pat into pie pan, building up the sides.

tomato harvest_pie crust


Bake 30-40 mins or until golden brown. (After the first 20 mins, brush with oil to crispen the crust.) Remove from oven and reduce heat to 375 for the rest of the pie.

Now the crust is ready!

tomato harvest_crust ready

I sliced the larger tomatoes into thin slices and the cherry tomatoes in half; tossed them in a touch of olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper. I did a layer of tomato slices:

tomato harvest_crustwithtomatoes

and then a light sprinkling of parmesan and fontina cheese. Then one more layer of tomato and another sprinkling of cheese!

Bake until the cheese is golden.

tomato harvest_slice of heaven

Heaven. The potato crust is SO GOOD!!!! When I make this next time I think I’ll add caramelized onions. I didn’t add them this time because I wasn’t sure how strong the onion in the crust would be.

tomato harvest_slice

Tasty! I ate leftovers for lunch the next day at work, and it was still delicious!

:)

Tomorrow Parrish and I are going to tour a possible wedding venue!!!!! I’m so excited! Expect a recap!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

And the winner is…

 

Lucky Number 7!!

Congrats QwerkyQook!! I hope you enjoy the polenta recipe!!

I’m so excited to try more recipes from Chef Rob’s cookbook this week, but today Parrish and I enjoyed our own simple recipe: Garlic Fries.

almost july 015

Take Yukon Gold Potatoes and slice them into wedges and toss in olive oil. Bake at 425 until golden brown. While the potatoes are baking, sauté chopped garlic in olive oil. (use as much garlic as you like. Parrish and I LOVE garlic) Once the garlic is fragrant, add in chopped scallions. Stir well. Remove the garlic mixture from heat, and toss with the cooked wedges. Serve with fat free plain Greek yogurt.

almost july 016

So easy to make and SOOOO tasty!