Recipe: Watermelon Frosty

Indeed, another recipe post today! It seems that I am falling into a pattern of not posting recipes for several days then posting many in one big haul. I’m beginning to realize that this is very similar to how I live my life: I procrastinate like nobody’s business, get one spark of motivation, then wham! bam! thankyouma’m! I get ‘er done in a jiffy.
So in case you weren’t aware (as many of us Seattle-ites probably are with this weather), it’s summertime. To me, summertime means one thing: an excuse to eat frosty treats all day. Unfortunately, most of my favorite chilly delights are packed full of calories, sugar, and all those other bad guys. You may have the same problem. We could either enroll in some special sugar rehab OR……. MAKE A WATERMELON FROSTY! This is the perfect summer recipe whether you are sunbathing on the beach, or (as in my case), sitting on the couch watching the warm summer rain fall. The consistency is similar to a Wendy’s Frosty, but the taste is fruity and very fresh! Not to mention, extremely low-cal!

Ingredients: (serves you + one BFF)
– 2 1/4 cups frozen watermelon cubes (if these are not completely frozen, the frosty will be more like a chunky slushy. NOT as good as a creamy frosty.)
-3/4 cup water or fruit juice if you like extra flavor or sweetness
-2 tbsp maple syrup
-1 large lemon or lime (juiced)
-1 banana

Step 1: Put in a blender and blend.

Make the lime more juicy by rolling it back and forth before cutting into it.
Slice the nanner

Recipe: Hellfire Curry Chicken

Holy smokes, people. I’ll warn you right now by letting you know that this recipe is NOT for the faint of heart… or stomach. You should also know that I, myself, am among said faint of heart- this one was pretty much past my spice limit. *hangs my head in shame*. My spice-tolerant mother seemed to certainly enjoy it enough, claiming that the spiciness was right at the top of her tolerance level. Not to say I didn’t enjoy it- its just that I was at that stuff-your-face hunger point and the heat was making this more difficult than usual. SO, just know that this recipe is fab if you wanna spice up your life, or your tongue. For those of us who like our Indian food to be a little more American-palette-friendly, I’ve included modified ingredients for certain components of the recipe. You’re welcome.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)
-3 chicken breasts cut up into chunks
-1 red pepper & 1 green pepper cut into slivers
-1/2 a white onion
-14 oz coconut milk*
-6 oz Panang curry paste**
-Spoonful of peanut butter
-cayenne pepper***
-2 tbsp garlic (about 3 cloves)
-2 tbsp chicken stock
-white rice

* I would suggest having some extra on hand; when you taste the curry mixture, add some more in if it’s still too spicy
**3-4 oz if less spice is wanted. This type of curry might be harder to find in your average grocery store- I found it at my Central Market in the Asian/International food section. If you can’t find this, it’s no problem to go ahead and try it with other types of curry paste.
*** Leave out if wanted less spicy

Step 1: Start cooking the rice- or be cool like me and use handy dandy 5 Min rice and wait till the end to cook it!

Step 2: Season the cubed chicken breast with some salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Cook in a large (and I mean large… you’ll see why) skillet.

Step 3: Move the cooked chicken out of the pan and transfer it somewhere. It doesn’t have to be warmed as it will be added into a hot bubbling brew in just a bit.
Step 4: In the same pan, saute the garlic and onion for about a minute. This is when the kitchen really starts smelling delish.

Step 5: Add the curry paste into the pan. This may take a while for the paste to boil down to a liquid, but it helps to stir it consistently for a while.

Step 6: Add half the coconut milk, stir in the peanut butter, put in some cayenne pepper, add in the chicken stock, and then the rest of the coconut milk. This separation of adding the coconut milk is vital for helping even out the amount of spice. This makes it so that you won’t take one bite of bland blandiness, then a next bite of pure hellfire.

Step 7: Simmer the bubbly goodness for about a minute. Fiery bubbles of red might pop up in the brew: this is when I started shaking in my boots. But if you went with the spicy version, you asked for it.

Step 8: Fold in the chicken cubes carefully.

This is what Indian food is all about

Step 9: Plate the rice and spoon the curry mixture over the rice for a neat and enticing presentation. OR just scoop it all on lunch-lady style if you couldn’t care less about plate presentation. For the sake of pictures, I tried to be neat and tidy. I should mention that I was planning on adding some chickpeas into the curry mix, but after buying the dried, I realized that they should soak overnight so that plan failed. However, if you have access to canned chickpeas or chickpeas that have been soaked, that would be mucho delicioso.

Looks innocent right? THINK AGAIN!

My stomach was on fire. My brain was on fire. My pinky toe was on fire. BUT it tasted good. So good that I didn’t want to stop eating it despite certain body parts protesting against me. I will for sure try this again, just less spicy next time.

Keep the milk at arms reach. Dad is suffering.

Spicy Southwestern Burger!

Yes my friends, I bring you yet another recipe! This is probably my favorite thing I have ever made for myself and that is due to the combination of great taste and the fact that it is something beyond the difficulty level of toast or spaghetti. I bring you the spicy southwestern burger: a delicious blend of of juicy beef, melted cheese, spicy mayo, and sweet caramelized onions. Sound good? Well, thats because it is. Try it for dinner tonight!

Spicy Southwestern Burger (serves two people)
– GF Bread or Hamburger Bun (I used Udi’s Whole Grain Bread)
– 2 lbs 80/20 Ground Beef (yes, that means a pounder hamburger. Man up.)
– some salt/some pepper
– Tabasco Sauce
– Butter
– 1/2 Red Onion
– 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
– 1/4 cup real mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip)
– a couple slices of any sort of cheese (I used sharp cheddar- if you do this get the real kind that is white not the processed yellow kind)
– couple leafs of lettuce
– couple slices of tomato

Step 1: Put the ground beef, salt, pepper, and a few dashes of Tabasco sauce in a bowl. Mix it up- don’t be afraid to get your hands messy. Just be sure to wash up afterwards so that the raw meat traces doesn’t get all over everything!

Step 2: Set aside the meat, and lets talk onions: start by slicing your red onion into somewhat thin slices. Set a medium sized pan over medium-high heat and throw in some butter. Dump in the onion along with the brown sugar and stir it around. Once the butter is melted and the brown sugar is all blended it, let this pan sit over low heat for the remainder of the time you are cooking. This will let the onions get to their maximum caramelization and they will be extra sweet and tasty.

Step 3: Make some spicy mayo: mix the mayonnaise with several shakes of hot sauce. Taste it to be sure it has the right amount of spice for you. Thats it. Simple but tasty.

Step 4: Now back to the meat- form two big round patties (or in my case, as I had a little over 2 lbs of meat, 2 big patties and 2 little patties). This is made easiest when you hold a meat ball in your palm and just pat it down right in your hand and shape it in a pretty circle. Place the patties onto your grill pan or skillet over medium to medium-low heat (make sure the surface has been buttered or sprayed). Allow each side to cook about 5 minutes or until each side is slightly browned to your liking. DO NOT smush your spatula down on the meat: that just gets rid of all the juices and serves no other real purpose.

Step 5: Toast your bun/bread. You can do this over the stove, in a broiler, or in a toaster (my choice method as it is quick and easy). Spread some mayo on each slice of bread- don’t be stingy!

Step 6: Now comes the fun part: stacking this monster… Lay out your bread, put the burger on the bread, lay the cheese on the burger, layer on lots on onion (believe me, you want it), put on the tomato, some lettuce, and the put on the top. Whew! My dad and I decided to make these with the addition of guacamole and roasted chilis next time! I cannot wait.

Presto! That there is one tasty burger if I’ve ever seen one in my life.

Original Recipe: Spicy Chicken Tenders!

I found myself being in a very creative mood tonight… so creative in fact that I made up my own recipe! Well…. kind of. Basically I Googled a simple chicken tender recipe and I translated it into a celiac friendly language (“bread crumbs”=leftover corn bread, “white flour”=GF flour, etc…). Oh, and I also made it spiceayyy. (Saying that part in my head sounds much cooler than it looks written out, eh?) I made this deliciousness for myself and my dad who had just come back from a jog, so he pretty much devoured it, calling my creation “very good!”. Success!

Ingredients: (serves: two people or one voracious lion)

-3 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
-A palmful of GF Flour (Bob’s Red Mill is my flour of choice)
-1 egg
-Anything related to bread crumbs (can be GF breadcrumbs, I used leftover GF corn bread. Whatever floats your boat here, people). About two handfuls of this stuff.
-Red pepper flakes
-Hot sauce
-Frozen peas (optional)
-Delicious dill pickle (also optional)
Step 1:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Defrost the chicken (running it under water helps get the frost off), and start by pounding out your chicken. Please just ignore the fact that I used a beater as a meat pounder.
Step 2:
Cut the chicken into (ideally) strips. I say “ideally” because real chicken thighs are not physically shaped in a conducive form for cutting into strips. So it is likely that you will end up with a pile of hodgepodge chicken slices. Thats okay.
I tried.

Step 3:

Assemble your line of flour, egg mixture, and bread crumbs. I did this one by one: the flour needs to be mixed with some pepper flakes- just a couple shakes of that. Mix one egg with a little bit of water, some salt and pepper, and a couple splashes of hot sauce. Crumble up whatever bread you are using (or if you are using ready to use breadcrumbs then, well, yeah..). Now lay all of this out in a line in this order: raw chicken –> flour –> egg wash –> crumbs –> prepared cookie sheet with parchment paper. This is the order of your dipping/coating process. 
Chicken, flour, eggs, crumbs, pan

Step 4:

Using one hand, coat a chicken strip in the flour then dip it in the egg. With your other hand, coat the chicken in the crumbs. I advise you to use this hand-to-hand choreography to avoid excessive messiness all over your hands. Place the chicken strips equally spread on the pan.
Step 5:
Place the tenders in your 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. BE SURE TO CHECK THAT THE CHICKEN IS FULLY COOKED. It would be quite the meal spoiler if everyone ended up having salmonella at the end of it. Just sayin’. The tenders should look slightly brown and have a bit of a crisp on the outside. The inside should feel easy to cut and should look completely white. 
After the tenders have baked until cooked, remove them from the oven and flash fry them in olive oil to get that extra crisp you want. Just place each tender in a olive oiled pan for a couple minutes each side over medium heat until they are browned. Remove the tenders and place them on paper towels. (I ran out of said paper towels, so I used aluminum foil…. Idk?)

Step 6
Devour! I chose to pair this little nuggets of lovin’ with some peas (seasoned with pepper flakes and salt/pepper) and a dill pickle! Straight out the elementary school cafeteria but of course, better. 

Get in my belly!
Daily Life, Review

Tried, True, and Tested: NYC

Last week my mom, my friend Sarah, and myself took a grand voyage to New York, New York! aka- my favorite city. This has been my favorite city since I first visited about 9 years ago (before I was a Celiac), and I love it even more now that I’m gluten free- it’s honestly one of the most Celiac friendly places I’ve been so far, even more so than Denver! I know that from my gluten free travel experience, it can be a little daunting to go somewhere with unfamiliar food choices; you don’t want to starve while your gluten eating friends get to indulge in the local grub! Let me assure you that you WILL NOT starve in NYC. I always recommend doing some research before any traveling to find restaurants that offer GFree food for the sake of yourself and your travel mates so here are some good, bad, and ugly (though mostly good!) locations that I experienced myself:

Holy smokes, people. Just go here. Don’t ask questions, just go. Basically this place is a Celiac’s therapy group disguised as an adorable Italian style risotto restaurant. The tables are set up in a long line, so it is very easy to start conversations with fellow gluten free eaters which is great for getting advice on other places to eat in the city, or just hearing other people’s gfree experiences. I ordered the asparagus and saffron risotto with a red velvet cupcake as dessert! And the breadsticks! Oh, those scrumptious breadsticks. It was so delicious and my 3 gluten eating dining companions loved it as well– even calling it their favorite restaurant of the trip! Risotteria takes food allergies very seriously and they made me feel extremely comfortable eating there. Just look at their website: the phrase “gluten free” is literally all over the place!

I forgot to photograph my risotto at the restaurant, so these are the leftovers =]
Cheddar breadsticks- I think I lost count of how many I ate at 4…

A picture of this tiny bakery should be next to the word “adorable” in the dictionary. Despite the long walk/subway ride to the bakery, this place is a true gem. It is all vegan with many nut-free, dairy-free, and of course gluten-free options. It was around noon when we arrived here after walking about 6 miles so far that day, so we decided that we deserved some sugary treats rather than a proper lunch. ;] I indulged in a sprinkled donut and a maple pumpkin cupcake. My God… so gooooooooood. The frosting was the best I’ve had, the cake was super moist, and the donut was just like the donuts I used to get from Dunkin Donuts!

Sprinkled donut and maple pumpkin cupcake!
A very petite bakery with big flavors!

This place was voted “Best Gluten Free Pizza” in the city, and even though it is the only gluten free pizza I actually ate, I can’t help but agree! They do a great job of separating their gluten free pizzas from their gluten-y pizzas, and they have several topping options to choose from, which is a luxury for a Celiac who usually gets stuck with the option of plain cheese pizza on rice flour crust. I got a spinach/tomato slice- it was super cheesy and packed full of toppings which I love! These people know how to do gluten free right…

Fortunately I ran into no “bad” restaurants…

Lilli and Loo
They tried, they really tried… This place was really promising with their extensive gluten free menu; they even have gluten free pork dumplings! We chose this place as dinner on our last night in the city. Sarah and I were way too tired to go out anywhere, so we ordered food from here online and sent my mom out to get it for us (I know we are lazy, don’t judge.) I was so excited once the food arrived: they were HUGE servings. My single pad thai meal could probably feed a family of 4, easy. I probably could have eaten it all except it was just not very good. The dumpling were ok once you got past the super thick dough that had a weird consistency. Neither Sarah or my mom really enjoyed their food either. It all stunk up the hotel room pretty bad and I felt sort of sick afterwards. I don’t think this was due to gluten intake, but because it was just bad chinese food. I wouldn’t recommend this place at the moment but if they make an effort to refine and improve their food a little bit, I might give them another chance.

As you can tell from the amount of good restaurants I went to as compared to the amount of bad or ugly ones, NYC is a must-go travel destination for a Celiac. Go and buy a seat for the next flight out.

Daily Life, Review

Bob’s Bridal Shower Cupcakes!

I have always been obsessed with baking cupcakes- I’m that kid that got (and still gets) in trouble with my parents NOT because I am out too late, NOT because I don’t clean my room as often as I should. No, I get in trouble because I make too many cupcakes that we, as a three person household, cannot eat by ourselves. Shows you how much of a rebel I am (NOT).
When I got my diagnosis as a celiac, I was more upset about the fact that my cupcake baking days were over than I was about the fact that I would never eat gluten again. BUT ALAS! I was simply unaware of all the gluten free baking mixes out there that are absolutely fabulous an can even get the approval of our gluten eating counterparts! I’ve tried several different kinds of cupcake mixes, both vanilla and chocolate, but none are able to get that soft, fluffy texture like Bob’s Red Mill‘s cake mix does.
I happened to bake some mini cupcakes for a friend’s bridal shower the other day, using Bob’s GF Vanilla Mix, and let me tell you. They were a hit! People didn’t even realize that they were gluten free, and best of all the bride couldn’t stop telling me that my gluten free cupcakes are her favorite cupcakes! (P.S– As much as this may have started to sound like a commercial, I promise I am not being paid by B.R.M to say any of this!) Anywhoozle, here are some pictures I took of the cupcakes (one kind is vanilla cake with chocolate sprinkles and the other kind is vanilla on vanilla cake with a lace heart that I cut out of doilies).

Vanilla on Vanilla with Lace Heart
Chocolate on Vanilla with Sprinkles
Bridal Shower food spread!