Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gluten-Free Waffles

I love waffles, especially Belgian waffles with blueberries on top. I, however, am not one of those people who cover them with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. To me thats just ruining a perfectly good waffle by drowning it in overpowering toppings.

You can find a recipe for waffles on the back of any pancake mix, gluten-free or not. We happen to have an awesome waffle maker too, that is just the right size!

In addition to pesto, I have been making waffles like it's my job lately. These are some regular ones but I also made some cinnamon sugar waffles that were to die for! I made myself one because everyone else was eating cinnamon rolls but after they all tried mine they were pretty upset they didn't have their own.

They were so good I could only take a picture of the batter before they disappeared!

For cinnamon sugar waffles just add 1/4 granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon into your regular batter. This is for a normal batch that includes 2 cups of pancake mix.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On a Pesto Kick

When I was deciding on which herbs to grow in my little garden I was probably most excited about the prospect of having plenty of cilantro on hand for my corn, avocado and lime salsa, however, this has changed and I cannot believe how much I am enjoying having a constant supply of fresh basil.

To be honest basil was not something I cooked with very often pre-garden. It was expensive to buy in the stores, I never used it all and the dried stuff just does not compare. But now that I have the plants in the backyard and I can harvest how much (or how little) I want at a time, I've found myself using it a whole lot.

 In high school my friends and I use to make this pesto, tomato and onion pasta dish all the time. (I'm not sure why we didn't continue this into college.) So last weekend I realized I had at least two cups of fresh basil that I had trimmed from my plants just sitting in the fridge. There was no way I could have made enough pizzas to use it all so I decided to make a classic basil pesto.

It was so easy! It took minutes in the food processor and my finished result was way better than store bought and also WAY cheaper!

Simple, Classic Pesto
2 cups of fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 heaping tablespoons of walnuts (or pine nuts)
1-3 cloves of garlic (depending on your love of garlic)

-Put everything in the food processor except for the olive oil and nuts. Process until smooth-ish.
-Add oil slowly until desired consistancy.
-Add cheese and mix thoroughly.

Store in the refrigerator and enjoy!
After I made the pesto I decided to re-create the dish I use to make in high school. It doesn't have a name but here is how I made it! This usually serves around four to six people depending on appetites...

Tomato, Pesto and Herb Pasta
1/2 a medium onion
1-2 cloves of garlic
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cans of diced tomatoes (mine were Italian flavored)
2 tablespoons of fresh oregano chopped finely
2 tablespoons of fresh basil chopped finely
1/2 of the pesto you made earlier
1/2 box of pasta - cooked (a heartier pasta is suggested & gluten-free if needed)

-Saute the onion in a pan with the olive oil and garlic.
-Add in the tomatoes and herbs and cook until heated through
-Add in the pesto and stir until completely incorporated
-Serve over the pasta!

Another option would be to take some Italian sausages out of their casings, chop them up and fry the bits up with the onion!

Quote of the Day!

"There are two seasons in New England: winter and the Fourth of July."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pretty Neat is a news website that specializes in local news. They also feature local bloggers! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Garlic Scape Pesto

I recently became involved with a quasi-CSA and I couldn't be happier! For those of you that don't know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You can buy a "share" of a farm and for every week in the growing season you receive a portion of the product grown on the farm. At BU they have a farmers market every Thursday which features Ward's Berry Farm from Sharon, MA. They have a CSA option that is perfect for students and those who cannot commit to nearly a year of product or who don't want to pay upwards of $500 upfront.

Ward's Berry Farm has worked out a deal where you can choose weekly to buy a box of pre-selected produce for $20. What you get varies week-to-week but it's all local and all delicious! In my box last week I got mustard greens, collard greens, beets, strawberries, spring onions, dill and garlic scapes. You might not know what that last one is but a garlic scape is the green plant portion of garlic while it is growing! They are very similar to scallions but you only clip the green right above the ground and they continue to grow.

But what on earth do you do with them!? That's what I wondered at first. Well, you can use them like scallions and put them in mashed potatoes or sprinkled over a baked potato. Or you can make this delicious pesto from them! Garlic Scape Pesto courtesy of the Washington Post! I also threw in some fresh basil leaves because my basil plants are very prolific and I hate to waste them!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! In the spirit of the holiday I'm sharing some bits of wisdom my Dad has shared with me over the past 21 years..

1. Be charitable. This applies to any number of things. From not teasing people over their looks or smarts to being understanding of others situations.

2. After 5 minutes of looking, your golf ball is lost.

3. Always bring plenty of extra golf balls.

4. The word "very" is often very unnecessary.

5. There can never be too much ice cream in the freezer.

6. Don't write a paragraph on something that could be said in a sentence.

7. Procrastination results in a poor product.

8. 55 in a 60 in always a safe bet but betting on a (horse's) name is a risky one.

9. Elbows do not belong on the table, chewing mouths should remain closed, and only take what you want, you can always get more.

10. You can never have too many rough drafts.

11. Knowing how to answer a phone and take a message politely is a valuable life skill.

12. However always goes in the middle of a sentence and "but also" always follows "not only."

13.Everything tastes better with salt and pepper.

14. You can never have read too many books.

15. Hysterics get you nowhere.

16. Coffee with Bailey's will not raise your cholesterol.

17. Taking the "scenic route" means you're probably going to miss dinner

18. Scraping excess peanut butter back into the jar is not acceptable and will not be tolerated in the Riley Household.

19. Err on the side of "opaque" when it comes to sunscreen application.

20. Decide what you want before you open the refrigerator don't just stand in front of it staring for hours.

21. It's rude to listen to your iPod too loud in the car.

22. Taking the "scenic route" home means you're probably going to miss dinner.

23. Realize how fortunate you are. There are so many people who would love your life.

See Dad I really have been listening!

(I do realize that today, Monday the 20th, is not Father's Day. Blogger had some technical difficulties and it did not post when I expected it to!)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday everyone!

Images from mine and Will's walk last night..

A Girl and Her Dog

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

Last Thursday was hot. I mean really hot. The kind of hot that makes tiny beads of sweat pop up on your nose just as fast as you can rub them away. When it gets really hot I hate eating big meals, I'd sooner just go without. 

Earlier last week, though, I saw a recipe in Better Homes & Gardens for a frozen blueberry pie that looked so good! I figured what day would be better to make a frozen pie than one whose temperature was approaching triple digits.

The crust was made from almond meal, butter and brown sugar.

You mix 'em all up and press them into a VERY WELL GREASED PREFERABLY NON-STICK pan. I made this mistake and was thought that since there was butter in the crust it would release fine. Wrong! After the pressing you bake it in the oven for 10ish minutes.

After all the crust making business you put three cups of blueberries in a large sauce pan with some cornstarch and sugar and water and lemon zest. Cook until most of the berries have popped. Refridgerate until completly cool. This is important because you layer this delicious mixture with vanilla ice cream, and if the berries were warm you would have soup.

Take some more berries and dry them completely.

I gave Will a blueberry and he wasn't totally sure what to do it with it. He carried it around the house until he decided to eat it and then he wanted some more!

So once all the berries are cooled you soften some ice cream and layer it with the berry mixture until your pie dish is full. I overloaded mine a little but it's okay. After the layering you make a mixture of whipping cream, sugar and sour cream to put on top. Honestly I wasn't a fan of this. I would have preferred just making whipped cream and omitting the sour cream.

Cover the pie with the fluffy cream and press the dried blueberries into the top! Here is my pie in the freezer, note the overflow.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Weekly Will!

So due to a lack of commitment on the American side, I didn't get many "Weekly Will" pictures posted while I was in Ireland. I'm thinking about restarting it even though I put up enough Will pictures to fill album after album.

Anyway I am shameless in my love for my dog so here is another that I found super cute..

Will loves baseball games and I love his in-focus nose and tiny chicklet teeth.

Photo credit: Jill Riley

Friday, June 10, 2011

Little League-ers

A Little League game:
Shorter innings, shorter boys,
not short on suspense.

Quote of the Day!

"If it were not for hope, the heart would break."

— Thomas Fuller

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Due to the crazy warm and wet weather we experienced last week my herbs and lettuces have shot up! 

The greens in this picture are garlic that last week were only tiny cloves with ever tiny-er sprouts.

Kind of too bright to see but these are my basil plants that I had taken a ton of leaves for my pizzas!

Tiny herbs that I couldn't put in with the big guys. At least two are doing okay.

"Salad Bowl" Lettuce

"Boston" Lettuce

"Ruby Red" Lettuce

Hopefully this week I will get some use out of these plants! I already pruned back my cilantro for some corn salsa (post to follow) and I can't wait to eat a salad I've grown!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom! Take 2

Ever since I saw I Am Baker's "Rose Cake" I was in love. I needed to try and make it. So the next birthday coming up was my moms and I lunged at the opportunity. I spent all day Saturday making cakes and various frostings for fillings and piping. But I didn't want my mom to see it. This was difficult considering we live in the same house.

So I waited until they went out and started constructing like mad. Life was good. I was able to cut the cakes neatly and I definitely had enough frosting. But I decided not to put the cake on the serving plate right away because I didn't want the plate to get all frosting-y. Unfortunately once I frosted the cake and decorated it I couldn't tell where the seam was. So while picking it up to put on the plate a whole quarter kind of separated from the rest. Frantic, I smushed it together and piped over the seams to make it look normal. 

In my haste I neglected to take pictures. But since the construction of the actual cake creates two of them, I just recreated it on Monday! 

Check out the link to the blog "I am Baker" to see what the inside looks like!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Gluten-Free Margherita (and french bread) Pizza

Friday nights in the summer are our chill-out nights. Since this weekend was my Mom's "Birthday Weekend" Rhianna and I decided to make some pizzas as an extra-special treat. I started the dough along with some gluten-free dough and left it in a warm oven to rise. But no dice. The regular dough was just like lumps of play-doh. 

The gluten-free dough (I used Bob's Red Mill mix) was fine so we ran to the store to buy a pre-made crust but we couldn't find what we wanted. I was looking for a frozen crust that you just put toppings and sauce on but no such luck. Our second choice was Italian bread split down the middle but since it was late they were all out. We went with two loaves of French bread because we had a lot of mouths to feed!

Earlier in the day Rhianna and I went to a local farm to buy corn because it is my favorite summer food and ended up leaving with a whole pound of fresh Mozzarella. Combined with my fresh basil we had fantastic toppings for a pizza. So even though we got a late start, the pizza was a success!

Tray 1 of pizza:

My love for fresh Mozzarella is immense.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Homemade Pudding!

Once, very long ago, I made pudding. I used two packets BUT I FORGOT TO DOUBLE THE MILK! The result was a "pudding mold" that came cleanly out of the cup when it was turned upside down. I still haven't been able to live this down. 

So in an attempt to clear my name and regain my ability to say I can make edible pudding I tried this recipe from Roben Ryberg's book. I love her recipes because she uses simple and very easy to find ingredients! She doesn't try to throw seven different flours at you that are costly and difficult to find and she recreates dishes that we all have grown up with. So...

Did you know pudding is the easiest thing ever to make from scratch? Ever wonder what is in those little "cook and serve" packets? Just this minus the egg!

Chocolate Pudding
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla (the debate over vanilla is gluten-free is ongoing)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup cocoa
1 egg

In large saucepan combine all the ingredients. Cook over medium heat until thickened -- and bring to a rolling boil.

I got 5 servings out of this recipe but it all depends on how much you like pudding and the size of your serving dishes. If you're sensitive to eggs you can try it without but no guarantees on how it will turn out since the egg serves as an additional emulsifier.

This pudding cooks up very quickly, I think even more quickly than the packet! And it is so similar to the store-bought packet that my Dad didn't even blink an eye when I told him it was from the packet. 

A huge plus -- pudding is naturally gluten-free!