Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sherry Lynn's Gluten Free

Before I get into the deliciousness of the doughnut above, I have a few short stories to tell...

I've only lived in the Capital Region of New York for about a year and a half, but Sherry Lynn's Gluten Free has been a part of some major life events. First, when my husband and I were looking at houses here (mind you, this is after seven years, three deployments, and thousands of miles apart, we were finally living in the same place for good) I mentioned to our real estate agent that I couldn't eat gluten, so she brought us to Sherry Lynn's for lunch. It was the first meal I ate here and immediately after I remember telling my husband, "I hope we find a place close to Sherry Lynn's." 

We did.  We live about four miles away in a house that's so perfect for us it's almost creepy.

Fast forward about eleven months after we moved to upstate New York and I'm in labor with my son. After ten hours of contractions and pushing we meet our little (er well, big: he was 9.1 lbs, which probably had something to do with the Sherry Lynn's cravings I had during pregnancy) guy. It was the most amazing, tiring, rewarding experience of my life and how do we celebrate? I ask my parents to pick up some Sherry Lynn's to bring to the hospital for lunch.  A patty melt filled my stomach as I watched my son sleep in the bassinet beside me.
It's one thing to be gluten intolerant and eat at a gluten-free restaurant because it's safe. It's another to make that restaurant a part of your life, a way to celebrate big life events, and a place you want to take your family.

I heard recently that Sherry Lynns was having a breakfast and lunch buffet. I haven't been to a buffet where I could eat all the food in probably seven years. This was very exciting.    

We went for breakfast and I had something I've never had before: breakfast pizza. And in a word, it was ridiculous. Ridiculous in the best way possible. Chewy, soft bread with egg, cheese, veggies and meat cooked on top. My husband informed me this breakfast pizza is nothing new (his college had it in their dining hall) but in my head, this mixture of pizza and breakfast blew my mind.

(The buffet also had a tasty quiche-like dish, eggs, bacon, waffles, hash browns, and doughnuts. Fresh-from-the-fryer glazed doughnuts. I couldn't handle it. I ate two - they were mini doughnuts -  and had to restrain myself)

Oh Sherry Lynn's. You've outdone yourself.

To use the terms that I hear my sister use with her four-year-old-niece about food that's delicious but not good for you in large quantities, Sherry Lynn's is a sometimes food. A "special occasion" food. A place with food that I can't wait to share with my little Wild Man (when he starts eating food, of course).  

I can't write a post about the place without mentioning the people. Sherry Lynn's is family run. They work hard and they treat you right. And they're super kid friendly.  They're doing the gluten-free community a great service here so I urge you, if you are even traveling within an hour of Albany, NY - make a trek here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spinach and Pecan Pesto

Spinach is a great addition to almost anything. I've put it in smoothies and it's been the star in dips. And because (to me at least) it just tastes fresh it can be a sneaky addition to many baked goods and casseroles.

But sometimes it needs to shine; to get all the attention. Pesto is a good way to do that.

Pestos are usually made with huge handfuls of basil, or large bunches of parsley. When you make it with spinach, that fresh taste just hits you. And that color! It's just so green.

You can spread it on sandwiches, use it as a sauce in pasta dishes (or spaghetti squash like I did the other night) or even use it as a vegetable or chip dip. It's good stuff (and yes, highly caloric) so moderation is key.

I need to remind myself of that.

Spinach Pecan Pesto  

About 2 cups of fresh spinach
1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted (just put the nuts in a pan over medium low heat until fragrant)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (can be omitted to make dairy-free)
1/4 cup parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

Put all of the ingredients EXCEPT the olive oil in a blender or food processor and mix on high. Slowly add in the olive oil until you get a smooth consistency.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A to Z

Happy Friday, everyone! I took this meme from my friend Jen of A Life of Sugar and Spice.

A is for age: 29

B is for breakfast today:
2 eggs, a piece of center cut bacon and gluten-free toast.

C is for what you’re currently craving: Salty and sweet anything.

D is for dinner tonight: Not sure yet. There are chicken thighs in the fridge. We'll probably BBQ them because it's nice out.

E is for favorite type of exercise: Normally any type of group fitness class. Or, I turn on music in our gym and do a very random lifting routine for about 45 minutes.

F is for an irrational fear: My car going over a bridge into water. This story only worsened that fear.

G is for gross food: Fried clam bellies.

H is for hometown: Brockton, Mass - City of Champions

I is for something important: Family.

J is for current favorite jam: Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye

K is for kids:
My life, my (almost five month old) son Jack.

L is for current location: The island in our kitchen

M is for the most recent way you spent money: I need to get a g-darn new tire for my jogging stroller because one of the wheels has a hole in it. (And it's brand-new. GRR)

N is for something you need: A babysitter for Jack every once in a while. (Though family has been great for this when visiting)

O is for occupation: SAHM and journalist/filmmaker

P is for pet peeve: Not using your directional when changing lanes/turning.

Q is for a quote:
"The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention" AND "Work for a cause, not for applause. Live life to express, not to impress. Don't strive to make your presence noticed, but your absence felt."

R is for random fact about you: I was voted nicest in my 7th grade class.

S is for favorite healthy snack: Carrots and hummus.

T is for favorite treat: Ice cream of any variety.

U is for something that makes you unique: I have A LOT of freckles.

V is for favorite vegetable: Carrots

W is for today’s workout: Probably a jog when the huz gets home from work so he can watch our little guy.

X is for X-rays you’ve had: Teeth.

Y is for yesterday’s highlight: Yoga with the babe.

Z is for your time zone: Eastern.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Simple, Zesty, Dairy-free Caesar Salad Dressing

I love Caesar salad.

In fact, I get on kicks where I make it multiple times a week; especially when it's warm out. And today it hit 90 here in Upstate New York.

It's something about the zest and tang of the dressing and that crisp Romaine lettuce.

And for me, it's one of those foods that will cause a craving the instant I hear the words caesar salad or see a photo of the stuff.

(You can imagine writing this post is a little difficult for me.)

But! Caesar dressing can be downright fattening. And if you can't eat dairy, out of the question. I came up with this dressing a while back - when I couldn't tolerate dairy. Now, even though I can eat dairy, I usually choose to do without. In my eyes, the kick of the garlic and dijon make up for the lack of cheese.

Here's my five ingredient (not counting the salt and pepper) gluten-free, dairy-free Caesar dressing recipe:

2 tablespoons mayonaise
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
the juice of half a lemon
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
2 zest-ed cloves of garlic ("zest-ed" - to zest or microplane your food)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl whisk all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust to your liking.

*Warning: the fresh garlic gives the dressing quite a kick. I've omitted the fresh garlic and used garlic powder (about 1 teaspoon) and more mayo to make it less kick-y.

Whether you like your Caesar salad on its own with gluten-free croutons, or with shrimp on top, don't forget about the importance of tossing your salad! Oh, and Henry says Hi!

One last thing: Did you know Caesar salad was not invented in Italy, but Mexico?