Friday, February 29, 2008

Photo Phriday: Maggie the Mutt

Maggie the Mutt, who passed away a few years ago is the inspiration behind the name of the documentary film company that my Dad and I started a few years back. We're currently working in post-production of a documentary about beep baseball: a version of baseball for blind and visually impaired athletes. I'll be sure and post a link to our trailer once it has been tweaked a bit.

*Photo taken in college on black and white film.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pignoli and Pear Salad

There's nothing quite like a good salad. My cousin mentioned once that salads almost always taste better at restaurants than when you make them at home. I completely agreed, until I discovered why -- it's all in the toss. You need a big, ole bowl and some sturdy tongs to do it right. Before my discovery, my approach was simple: make my salad, drizzle the dressing on top. This probably isn't news to most of you -- tossing a salad until everything is coated lightly in dressing makes sense, but it was a step I skipped in order to save time, and I thought -- calories. I use the same amount of dressing as I always have, probably one and a half tablespoons for a salad the size of the one pictured above, but now I take that extra step (and often create more dishes for myself to do) and give it a proper toss.

I went grocery shopping last night and noticed some great looking Bartlett pears and this afternoon when I was in my cupboard, I noticed some pignoli's (aka, pine nuts) that I had forgotten about. And from there came my pignoli and pear salad. The dressing below (I LOVE when products are labeled gluten-free, bravo Maple Grove Farms!) is a Ginger Pear dressing made with white balsamic vinegar. I marinated some turkey tenderloin in the dressing for a few hours this morning and grilled them up to serve with the salad.

Pignoli and Pear Salad

1 cup of salad greens (I used spinach and red leaf lettuce)
1 tablespoon toasted pignoli's (simply place in a pan on medium heat and cook for a few minutes until slightly brown)
1/2 bartlett pear, cut into slices
Grilled turkey tenderloin marinated in dressing (optional)

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, plus a few tablespoons of the Maple Grove Ginger Pear dressing. With tongs, thoroughly toss the salad until each piece has been lightly coated with the dressing. Place in a prettier bowl (or eat out of the large one if no one's watching) and eat with a hunk of good bread. I had some Bob's Red Mill Hearty Whole Grain Bread that I baked in the bread maker the night before.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Eat Ya Kale!

Don't worry -- Henry didn't get to the plate of food there. He is a sneaky little fella. My kitchen and living room are one open area, so my couch is up against my kitchen table. Henry likes to use that as a stepping-stool to grab food off of the kitchen table. I usually get to him before he can do this, but he has stolen quite a few pieces of chicken in the past.

Breakfast this morning was a fried egg on a corn tortilla with a side of kale. I've been lacking in the vegetable department for breakfast and wanted to incorporate a hearty dose of vitamins during the morning hours, so I tured to kale. It really is a super-food, even more than spinach (which is my typical omelette add-in) I'd say. According to Wikipedia, kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin and reasonably rich in calcium. And since my calcium intake has drastically decreased since omitting dairy, I'll be eating it more often. Melissa, over at Gluten Free for Good had a great post about February foods and spoke in more detail about the benefits of kale.

I jazzed up my kale quite a bit, but I honestly like it on it's own too, cooked briefly in olive oil with a little salt and pepper. It'd make a great side dish for lunch or dinner also.

The Good Eatah's Kale Dish (amazinly original, huh?)

-1 package of frozen, chopped kale (or use fresh kale and blanch leaves before following directions below)
-5 strips of turkey bacon, chopped (optional if making vegan - just season liberally to make up for the bacon's saltiness)
-1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
-1 portabella mushroom, chopped
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-3/4 cup vegetable broth
-2 tablespoons white wine for de-glazing (optional - could use broth instead)

Preheat a pan at medium heat and add olive oil, then add the chopped bacon, onion and mushroom and saute until lightly brown - about five minutes. Take the mixture out of the pan and place aside in a bowl. Now, take the pan off of the heat and add the wine and de-glaze the pan of it's bacony goodness. Next, add the thawed (or blanched fresh) kale and 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth and cover and reduce heat until the broth cooks down a bit -- about five minutes. Next, add the bacon/onion/mushroom mixture back to the kale and add the rest of the broth and cook another five minutes at medium-low heat. Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Magic Bullet Bean Dip

Dips are great. But ever since my gluten-free, dairy-free journey began, I have longed for something to dip my tortilla chip in. Gone are the days of my beloved sour-cream based French onion dip, or the cheesy, seven-layer Mexican dip that frequents parties. I love a good guacamole which is naturally gluten and dairy-free (unless you're like my boyfriend and like to put sour cream in your guacamole), but I yearned for something different -- something hearty and garlicy. Thanks to my fantastic Valentine's Day present from my parents, I was able to whip up a simple bean dip.

Magic Bullet Bean Dip

1 can black beans, drained
1/4 cup onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup roasted pepper
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Place all of the ingredients in your magic bullet, or mini-food processor and pulse until desired consistency. I had some majorly large garlic cloves on hand, so mine was particularly pungent (which I like). Eat at room temperature, chill, or warm in the oven and sprinkle with cheese if you're into that type of thing.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Photo Phriday: Wishing It Was Warm Out

My parents dog, Elsa (aka Henry's BFF) trying to eat (or attack) the hose during a warm summer's day.

(I apologize for the bluriness)

Thursday, February 21, 2008


It's been chilly here: biting, hand-numbing cold. Or at least it feels that way when I take Henry for his walks. We live on the top of a very large hill -- almost a plateau, so when we go for a walk, we're met by the windiest of winds. He doesn't seem to mind it; he almost bites at the air with his mouth, but I need a little comfort after those experiences, so I turn to pudding -- my favorite comfort dessert.

It's not difficult to convert gluten-free and dairy-free. In fact, you could probably take most any "normal" pudding recipe and add a bit more cornstarch than normal to substitute for the thickness that naturally occurs from using cow's milk. If you end up using almond milk, I'd recommend cutting down a little bit on the cornstarch because it's a bit thicker than the rice milk.

Chocolate Pudding (gluten free, dairy free)

1/4 cup cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 1/2 cups chocolate rice, or almond milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan mix the dry ingredients together, then turn the heat to medium and add the milk. Whisk the mixture until it thickens and bubbles slightly. Take off the heat and add the vanilla extract and stir to combine. Eat warm, or pour into a separate dish(es) and chill. Add a dollop of ricemellow before serving to keep it vegan and up the sweetness.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Customer for Life

In a recent post I announced how excited I was that my German Chocolate brownie recipe was chosen as a runner-up in the Pamela's recipe contest. I was told I was going to receive a prize, but I didn't know what that entailed -- and boy was I surprised with what I received.

That photo above? I didn't go on a Pamela's shopping spree, that's my prize! It was such a wonderful feeling to get home from work, feeling kind of blah and seeing a giant, heavy box in front of my door. I couldn't think of anything that large and heavy that I was expecting in the mail, so it took me awhile to make the connection of why I was receiving all of these cool things! Included in the package were lots of cookies: the bite-size ginger snaps and chocolate chips cookies, the normal sized peanut-butter, chocolate chunk, ginger and chocolate chip. I also received Pamela's baking mix, bread mix (which i covet), chocolate and yellow cake mix, and frosting mix. ALSO in the package was myriad kitchen tools: pizza cutter, spatula, whisk, frosting knife and a sturdy notepad with pen. AND a hat, t-shirt, oven-mitt and shopping bag.

I felt like it was Christmas again!

When a company understands the importance of appreciating and taking care of their customers, not to mention Pamela's was the very first gluten-free item I ate when I was diagnosed (and it made me so hopeful that I could happily live with this diet!) I am sold. They've got a customer for life.

And Henry really likes the ginger-snaps.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Vegan Sweet Potato Soup

I had a dilemma this weekend: I was having a co-worker and her niece over for lunch and wanted to make something tasty, but more importantly I wanted to make something that we could all eat! I'm gluten and dairy free. My co-worker is a vegetarian. And her niece is allergic to tree nuts.

When I cook for myself, I usually go with a 30% protein (usually meat-based), 40% vegetable & 30% starch ratio. It seems to work for me and give me the energy I need for the day. But I was at a loss when trying to figure out a meal for the three of us: no meat, no cheese, no nuts. Luckily, I got over it and came up with Vegan Sweet Potato Soup, Gluten-free Corn Muffins and a green salad with avocado and mango. For dessert we had some killer gluten-free and dairy0free chocolate-chip cookies (Annalise Roberts recipe) and sipped on blueberry green tea. It was a great meal and I didn't feel like I missed out without any "meat" on my plate. I should eat vegan more often.

I was really surprised with how quickly the sweet potato soup came together, thanks in large part to my immersion blender that my dear sister and brother-in-law gave to me.

Vegan Sweet Potato Soup

2 large sweet potatos (or yams)
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon dried chili pepper
2 tablespoons light oil (canola, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, etc would work here)

Peel and cut the sweet potato into chunks. Boil in water for about fifteen minutes, or until very tender. Drain and set aside.

Add the oil to a large pot on medium heat. Add the ginger and saute for a few minutes until fragrant and add the red pepper. Now, place the sweet potatos into the pot and incorporate with the ginger and red pepper. Add the coconut milk and some of the vegetable stock and let cook for a few minutes. Take your immersion blender and blend away until smooth. Most likely, it will be more of a puree, than a soup -- add more vegetable stock until desired consistency. Serve with chopped chives or cilantro as a garnish.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Photo Phriday: Valentine's Day Edition

A lovey-dovey photo of me and my boyfriend at my parent's pool.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ba Humbug & Feeling Loved

I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day. Sure, it's a nice excuse to remind people that you care for them, but the forced, commercial holiday that it has turned into makes me bitter -- or it could just be the fact that my Valentine is half-a-world away. Either way, I'm forgetting the lovey-dovey stuff and turning right to the chocolate, well almost.

My parents are pretty amazing people and they can read me like a book. I'm sure they had a feeling that today might be a difficult day for me (really though, I'm doing fine -- this will be the fifth year spending Valentine's Day thousands of miles apart from my sweetheart, so I've gotten used to it), so they decided that at 8:30AM this morning they would come over to my place and have a wonderful Valentine's Day breakfast prepared for me. A crustless vegetable quiche, sausage and fresh berries. Yum. My Mom is an great cook, or as I liked to say when I was little "a good cooker." Along with this delicious breakfast, they brought flowers and an awesome present (that deserves it's own post). Even if the food, flowers and gift weren't a part of it -- just them stopping by made me feel loved, so that was pretty neat.

In an attempt to not indulge in the store-bought Valentine chocolates because I know very few of the gluten-free and dairy-free variety, I decided to make my own chocolately treat: Cinnamon and Chocolate Covered Almonds. They're pretty simple to create, and after hearing that cinnamon is a mild appetite suppressant, I was stoked.

Cinnamon and Chocolate Covered Almonds (gluten-free, dairy-free)

1 cup raw, organic almonds
3/4 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (or Tropical Source -- both are gluten/dairy-free)
1 tablespoon cinnamon

In a double-boiler mix the chocolate on low heat until completely melted. A few at a time, drop the almonds into the chocolate and cover. Place the almonds on a large platter to harden (I let this happen overnight). Next, put the cinnamon in a small bowl, and a few at a time, coat the chocolate-covered almonds with the cinnamon. Give to your parents who you love very much.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Love You American Chop Suey

Ohhhhh, American Chop Suey. People love to hate you. Foodies turn their nose up at you. But me? I love you American Chop Suey. When I eat you, you remind me of Grandma's house, which is a good thing. You're an All-American gem. A comfort on cold days. My go-to, feel-good meal.

For awhile there, I thought we would never see each other again. I thought our time was through. But no, I discovered a way to bring you back into my life, only now: gluten-free and a bit healthier than how Grandma made it.

American Chop Suey (serves 2)

1/2 pound of ground turkey
1/2 yellow onion
3/4 cup tomato sauce (I had homemade on hand, so I used that)
1 cup cooked brown rice pasta (I use Tinkyada spirals -- which rock)
Salt, Pepper, Garlic powder (and any other seasoning you like) to taste

In a medium skillet, cook the onion until translucent, then add the ground turkey and season. Cook until brown. Now add the tomato sauce and pasta and mix delicately (so as not to break apart the pasta) for a few minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Good Morning, Teff

Oh, Henry -- always sniffing his way into the photos I take. At least that means that the food I cook is interesting smelling to my dog.

I had a hankering for something warm and soothing for breakfast this morning after returning home from Virginia (where it was a high of sixty-one degrees on Saturday) to New England (where it was a wind-chill of nine degrees today). I checked my cabinet and remembered the whole grain teff I had purchased a while ago. I have baked with teff in it's flour form before and remember liking it, so I decided on making the grain for breakfast. It's texture is similar to cornmeal, it's color close to chocolate and it's taste -- a nutty, slighty bitter flavor. I added a dash of maple syrup and some pecans to mine and it hit the spot.

Breakfast Teff

1/2 cup teff grain
2 cups water
1 tablespoon maple syrup
A small handful of pecans

Simple bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1/2 cup Teff Grain, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes until desired texture. Mine was similar to polenta.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

I always thought pulled pork was one of those intensive, time-consuming dishes that required patience and culinary know-how. I was kind of right. It requires time; this version requires thrity-six hours of time to be exact, but it's pretty darn fool proof and served with coleslaw on a warmed, corn tortilla while watching the Patriots get their butt's kicked during the Superbowl? Well, that's just heaven.

I was browsing quite a few pulled pork recipes on the ole internet when I found that the most common ingredients were simple: onions, peppers, barbecue sauce (bottled or homemade) and well, pork.

Here's my version:

Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

2 pork loins (or shoulder, or butt)
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, diced
Black Pepper
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar
BBQ sauce, either homemade or storebought-- enough to cover the roast almost all the way. (I used 1 1/2 bottles of Kraft brand Light BBQ sauce)

Stir all ingredients except roast into crock. Add roast, cover crock, set to LOW.

After a few hours turn the roast over.

The meat is done when it falls apart easily when poked with a fork; this took eight hours on low for my crock pot.

When meat is ready, shred it from the center of the crock outward with a fork. When meat is all shredded, stir it well into the sauce that remains in the crock and let sit for even longer until desired *consistency.

*The pork can be done and ready to serve in ten hours for sure, but those extra twenty-six on the warming setting made for some tasty meat.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Me Me Me!

I have been tagged by Melanie over at The Gluti Girls. I've been following her awesome blog for a few months now, so I'm pretty honored! Along with her great recipes, check out the post about her dogs; it's really touching.

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 random or weird things about yourself.

3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.

4. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Random, weird things? I've got plenty!

1. As a child I would hum when I was eating.

2. I was voted "Most Athletic" in high school.

3. I currently work in Public Access Television and co-host a few shows in my city. Sometimes I get recognized when I'm out and about.

4. My boyfriend of 5+ years is on his second tour of duty in Iraq. I miss him a lot.

5. I have been sky-diving and just two weeks ago did a "polar plunge."

6. During the summer in high school and college I worked as a tennis instructor at a swanky country club.

7. I'm going to be an Aunt in under two months! I am beyond excited.

Now it's my turn to tag seven more people! I choose:

Kate at K8 and Cat

The Grumpster at Grumpsterboy

Jill at Hey That Tastes Good

Melissa at Gluten Free For Good

Sally at Aprovechar

Jeena at Jeena's Kitchen


Monday, February 4, 2008

Healthy Potato Skins

Ellie Krieger -- you rock. Not only did you create a potato skins recipe that was healthy but you created one that was easily made dairy-free, and that was naturally gluten-free.

Here, I give you the Good Eatah's version of Ellie Krieger's brocolli potato skins.

I simply omitted the cheddar cheese and turned the avocado cream into a pureed guacamole.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Photo Phriday: Oh Deer

In honor of the wonderful venison I had last week, I post this photo -- taken on Mount Desert Island, Maine.

Speaking of deer, please check this out. It's the coolest thing I've seen in awhile:

Read story regarding video, here