Monday, December 29, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Applegate Naturals Breakfast Sausage

Breakfast and I have a love/hate relationship. I use to live for blueberry pancakes, Belgian waffles, and gooey cinnamon rolls. But in a gluten-free world those things aren't the same. Forget just the flour based meals, even things like sausage are off limits. Add in the fact that I am super sensitive to preservatives I literally could only eat eggs for breakfast. And eggs got old FAST. I grew to really dislike breakfast in general and dreaded going out.

Enter Applegate naturals. These are gluten-free, nitrate/nitrite free, and antibiotic-free sausages. They come in traditional pork but the chicken and apple, and chicken and maple are my favorites. It's nice to finally have a breakfast protein source that isn't eggs, and doesn't make me feel awful.

Also coming soon - a gluten-free french toast bake!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Quote of the Day

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”

--Maya Angelou

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Quote of the Day

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." 
--L. M. Montgomery 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Quote of the Day

“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering…”

--Ben Okri 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

on wards and upwards

“Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you or makes you happy.” 
--Robert Tew

For the past six years I have spent a vast amount of time and effort at Boston University playing many different roles; student, grad student, alumni, employee. I have faithfully commuted every day with my father who has been very forgiving of my odd hours, snacking preferences, and dislike of AM talk radio. I have had classes in a wide array of buildings, eaten at all the dining halls, and further developed a great love of BU (that has been instilled since birth).

With my recent move (and some soul searching) I realized that BU didn't hold my future as I always assumed. As a result I have accepted a new role in a totally different environment that I am very excited about. 


"I may still not know what I want to be when I grow up, but I do know that someday I want to live in a house filled with my books and travel souvenirs. And the walls that aren't covered in bookshelves will be covered with photos of my family and friends. When I leave the house I will be going to a job I love, and I'll return to a person I love. So, that's my dream I'm working on."
--Amber Morley

Over the past week I have been commuting about two hours one way into BU. This has given me a great deal of time to think about life, the future, and the present. I realized how much more there is to life than a job. Life is about creating meaningful interactions, friendships, a happy home, and living life to the fullest.

While I will miss BU terribly it isn't goodbye, it's see you later (I already have tickets to a hockey game next weekend!).

On wards and upwards...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Eating Gluten-Free in Westford, MA

Burton's Grill is one of my very favorite restaurants. I was lucky enough to live next to one I'm Hingham, MA and I just moved a few minutes away from one in Westford, MA! 

Last week as we didn't have the kitchen unpacked (or ingredients to cook) we went for dinner. I ordered the seasonal soup, butternut squash soup, and shrimp and feta pasta. Both gluten-free of course. 

The soup was my favorite winter squash soup that I've had at a restaurant. It was really thick but very smooth. It was topped with a cream dolip and chives which were nice touches. I could have eaten a bowl of this with an appetiser for a whole meal. 

wanted to also get the risotto fritters and calamari appetisers because I had them at a three course dinner event at Burton's this spring and they were very good but I exercised some self-restraint for once. 

Their desert menu is also spectacular which is why Burton's is my go-to for celebratory dinners. So frequently restaurants will have great menus but will be really lacking in the dessert category, which is my favorite part of the meal. Their chocolate torte and Creme brûlée are my favorites here. 

Planning on going to another Burton's for dinner? Other favorites include: max burger, scallops and creamed corn, beet and goat cheese salad, and the gluten-free onion rings!

Wordless Wednesday: sleepy puppies



Sunday, October 5, 2014

Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken

Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken

Ingredients

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 24 ounces) or breasts
sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley

Directions

Combine the first five dry spices in a small bowl and spread over chicken on both sides. Set aside. Pour olive oil and garlic on the bottom of the crock pot. Place chicken on top. Pour balsamic vinegar over the chicken. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Sprinkle with fresh parsley on top to serve.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

you cannot discover new oceans unless you are willing to lose sight of the {south} shore

They say life comes full-circle, and today my little blog is returning to a theme that started it. I began here documenting my first adventure away from home for an extended time, and today marks my final week living in the only home I've known.

You cannot discover new oceans unless you are willing to lose sight of the {south} shore. 

The term bitter-sweet fits perfectly for how I am feeling. While part of me is excited to have my own closet (a walk-in!) I am certainly going to miss these walls and doors and people still living there. When iI was little and we would leave on vacation I would always request that we return to my "little, lellow house" and I've been a total homebody ever since. Yes my little, yellow house is too small, and there isn't enough storage, and if you're over 5'5 standing in the basement is a major problem, but it has still been home for almost 25 years.

I remember huge fights and plenty of angry tears within these walls, but beyond that I vividly remember the mud pies I made behind the garage, climbing the Dogwood, waking up to find my mom going to get us a new kitten, Smokey Joe, the last Thanksgiving with my Nana where there were so many people you couldn't push back your chair, and of course the many adventures of having our only puppy, Will.

Over the years our house has changed along with its occupants. I began in a small, ivory twin bed with flowers stenciled by my mom, but my room grew to incorporate a sister, and then bunk beds. We've gotten a new kitchen, a new bath, and a variety of furniture. With the introduction of Will, we've had some chewed wood work, chairs, and shoes, and several baby gates but he rounded out our family and made us all a little more humane. Jill and I have gotten older and taller (me older, Jill taller), my mom has had many different hair cuts, and my dad has remained resolutely steadfast through it all. Will is the hands-down family favorite and it wouldn't be the same without seeing him sit at the gate when we return home.

As I go about mentally wrapping and packing all of the bits and pieces of my life in my little, yellow house I feel my sentimentality growing. First a catch in my chest, then a tightening of my throat, a prickling in my eyes, and a slow (but sure) welling up of tears. I try to blink and look around hoping the tears will spontaneously dry up, alas I've gone soft in my old age.

This house has seen me through a variety of stages from refusing to sleep without my mom, to sleeping with a Virgin Mary nightlight, to sleeping with Cordy the teddy bear. It's seen me through groups of friends and many different styles but it really hasn't changed.

It is easy to make broad statements about the superiority of large houses, but I can see the merits of small houses, too. My little, yellow house fostered humble beginnings that provided a solid foundation on which my world view developed; I wouldn't trade that perspective for all the large houses in the world. 

As I go about actually wrapping and packing all of the bits and pieces of my life in my little, yellow house I feel my sentimentality growing. I remember one of the first weekends I returned from college quick to scoff at my small house and blue-collar town. My father in his omnicient way reminded me to "not forget where you came from." 

In my senior yearbook my parents placed a photo and a quote,

there are only two lasting bequests that we can hope to give our children - roots and wings.

Although I may be losing sight of the {south} shore for now, my little, yellow house will remain with my roots intact. 



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss."
--Eric Roth

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

coconut shrimp with fruit salsa *gluten-free*

I never use to be a fan of coconut shrimp but then friend first made these for us and totally opened my eyes to how delicious they are! Thanks to Lisa for the recipe.

Coconut Shrimp Ingredients
As many peeled and de-veined uncooked shrimp as you'd like
Corn starch
Flaked, sweetened coconut
Two (or more) egg whites

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Take your prepped shrimp and coat them in the corn starch.
Dip them in the egg whites and then coat liberally with the flaked coconut.
Lay them on a foiled-lined pan.
Repeat.

Bake the shrimp for 3-4 minutes on one side, carefully flip and bake for a final 3-4 minutes.
The coconut will be lightly browned and the shrimp nice and firm. Serve with fruit salsa!

Fruit Salsa Ingredients
10+ strawberries
2 kiwis
1 nectarine
1 heaping tablespoon of fruit preserves (peach, apricot whatever you like)
1 tsp of finely diced jalapenos 

Dice the fruit into tiny pieces (think half of a pinky nail sized).
Add the jalapenos.
Mix in the fruit preserves and stir well.
Serve on top of the coconut shrimp!




Thursday, September 11, 2014

hens and chicks

Love my Hens and Chicks. Looking for an adorable, very hardy, self-propagating plant? Try growing them!



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Gluten-Free "Sand"

My gluten-free "sand" pudding turned into "dirt" with a lack of vanilla cookies. Still tasted great! Recipe to follow.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Quote of the Day

"If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave." 
--Mo Willems

Cinnamon Coffee Cake *Gluten-Free*

One of my Nana's most famous recipes is her Cinnamon Coffee Cake. It's delicious, moist, and super cinnamon-y. Most importantly its chalk full of walnuts - my favorite! 

My Nana had this one pan that she always used for it, but unfortuntely it's quite old and is now just a display peice. My mom suggested a springform pan and it turned out wonderfully! As usual I substituted Jule's GF Flour (http://www.gfjules.com/) for regular flour and it worked great.

Recipe coming soon...




Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Eating Gluten-Free at Beaches Turks and Caicos

I recently spent a week at Beaches Turks and Caicos, a member of the Sandal's resort family, with 22 other family members. It was wonderful! For a family with ages ranging from 3 months-70 years there was plenty for everyone to do.

Most importantly, I follow a gluten-free diet and they were very accommodating. One thing I wish they made more clear was that you need to fill out forms for all meals (including snacks) usually a day in advance, or the morning before a dinner, so the restaurants can prepare. You need to visit the "culinary concierge" in each village to look at menus and decide what you want. They then send the form to the restaurant to prepare your meal. I wasn't told they had those menus and was so confused as how I was supposed to know what I wanted to eat from any of the 16 restaurants. If you decide not to go to a place for a meal then no big deal, you aren't locked in. This process will alleviate a lot of the stress on you and the employees and makes for a much more enjoyable experience. It's a little annoying at first but stick with it.

Breakfast was a great experience. At most restaurants it starts being served at 7:30am. My favorite breakfast option was Schooner's because it was menu-based and they were good about gluten-free. I think I had breakfast there at least four times and got the pancakes twice. I even may have had "second-breakfast" a time or two. I liked Barefoot's omelets and wish I had gotten to try their waffles gluten-free but I just didn't get the opportunity. (Barefoot is great as long as you don't mind your feet in sand) There are several buffets for breakfast but the gluten-free options were typically very limited.

The lunch situation isn't as great as dinners or breakfast. There are fewer restaurant options and more buffets. Honestly I usually ate a TON at breakfast and had early dinners. I would usually have some grilled chicken, steak, or ribs from Arizona's for lunch but that was it! Do submit a request for gluten-free pizza at Bella Napoli (the pizza place closest to the beach) a day before so you can snack with your family. I wish I had done that a few times.

I loved all of the dinners - notably the fish dishes from Schooners and Barefoot. Definitely visit the french restaurant (if you're over 18) the food there is incredible. Several of us had the duck, or steak, and the escargots were apparently killer. The french onion soup was good but a little sweet. They also had a really yummy creme brulee - my go-to dessert if available. They even had gluten-free bread for me! Their servers were extra attentive as well.

Also check out the Cafe de Paris because they had some gluten-free snack-y options and great lattes. My favorite dessert was at Mario's - on Saturday and Sunday nights they have a buffet and have chocolate nut clusters and macaroons. I spent the rest of my week searching for a better dessert. My fiance is dairy-free and they also were very accommodating for him! Not too many dairy-free dessert options though.

My two favorite experiences were the teppanyaki restaurant, Kimono's and the sushi restaurant, Soy. Both of these places were out.of.this.world. I could eat everything at Kimono's! They prepared all of the food for the table (steak, fish, chicken, rice, and vegetables) and added the gluten-free sauces to my meats first and plated my food first. They then added the regular soy sauce and other sauces to the food for the table. Don't worry about not having enough food, trust me they gave me TONS of food and I loved every minute of it. Soy has hands-down the best sushi I have ever had and then even made me my own gluten-free plate and had gluten-free soy sauce. The service as usual was outstanding - I could have eaten at both of those places multiple times and I SO wish I had!

A word on the alcohol - as an all inclusive everything is included. You can get drinks with any alcohol you want, even premium brands. I was very partial to Tanqueray and tonics but they have every thing else imaginable including Jack Daniels, Bushmills, Jameson, Captain etc. I found the house wine really good as well but they do have a list of wines to buy if you want. I liked the house pino grigio the best even though I'm typically a chardonnay girl. The frozen drinks were excellent as well. My favorites were the pina colada and Miami vice (half pina colada and half strawberry daquiri). I also really liked the passion of paradise and mai tais - be sure to order with pineapple! The best part is when you are floating in the ocean, there is a drink guy that comes around and takes orders! Or if you're partial to the swim up bars, check out the Italian Village bar it's the best.

Absolute must-attend restaurants: Kimono's, and Soy. Standouts: Schooners, Barefoot, and the Petite Chateau. Not favorites: Neptunes and Arizona's.

________________

A few tips: A word of caution about the cross-contamination at buffets because I saw other guests double dipping the serving utensils. Aside from one buffet meal I didn't get sick the whole time. Ask the staff their story they are all super interesting - many of them are from Jamaica and not from TCI. Also check out karaoke night at Cricketers. Go on a snorkeling trip through beaches, not one advertised by the locals that troll the beach. The scuba package is pretty pricey and I you don't get as much actual dive time as you might think. Buy souvenirs at the local market they hold once a week outside of beaches because they are SO expensive at the airport. Also bring MORE than enough sunscreen as it is over $25 a bottle in the store. I used an entire bottle myself in a week and almost had to buy more.

Overall great experience and we will certainly be going back, maybe to a resort at Jamaica as well!!

Smoke Shack Southern BBQ, Boscawen, NH

I decided to stop by Smoke Shack to meet some family who were already there. I have driven by it on several occasions and never thought about seriously eating there. Well I'm pretty glad I did! I was a little skeptical at first primarily because I am gluten-free and I didn't think I'd be able to eat anything. In actuality all their smoked meats and two sauces are gluten-free! I tried the ribs and the chicken and it was pretty good. I like the ribs the best but the chicken was certainly a good standby option. Apparently the pulled pork is even better. I loved the potato salad and I really enjoyed how garlic-y it was. I didn't try the corn bread (being gluten-free I couldn't) and I also enjoyed the root beer. Looking for a decent standby? Give it a shot. The service and atmosphere isn't anything to write home about but I was pleased with the food.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday

It's been a while since I've posted my current reads so I figured I'd give you all an update! This has been a pretty busy summer of re-reading favorite books and I just finished an all-time favorite of The Last Summer (of you and me) by Ann Brashares.


I love a good island novel and Brashares, the author of the sisterhood of the pants books, doesn't disappoint in her first adult novel. The Last Summer (of You & Me) is about two sisters and their how their childhood lives on island make way into adulthood. It is heart-wrenching at times, and the narrative is top-notch. I've underlined more than my fair share in this book. Looking for a great summer read with many poignant moments? Give this one a shot.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Quote of the Day

Someone asked me what home was and all I could think of were the stars on the tip of your tongue, the flowers sprouting from your mouth, the roots entwined in the gaps between your fingers, the ocean echoing inside of your ribcage.
—  E.E. Cummings

Monday, July 28, 2014

Beaches - Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

Last week myself and twenty-two others made the treck from Logan Airport, Boston, MA to Providenciales, Turks & Caicos to vacation at the lovely Beaches Resort. (Just a note - Beaches doesn't know who I am, this was by no means sponsored!) The food was great, the service was stellar, the weather was HOT, and the ocean was magnificent. I would have stayed there indefinitely. 
















Thursday, July 24, 2014

Catching back up to life..

This time last week I was floating in the crystal clear water of Turks and Caicos at the Beaches Resort. I am still catching up to life and emails and whatnot but expect a post soon about my lovely trip!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Quinoa and Avocado Salad

Quinoa and avocado salad courtesy of skinnytaste.com. Make it - you'll be so happy! Ps. Make more quinoa than the recipe calls for and eat it like oatmeal for breakfast!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Donuts

Donuts are one of my favorite foods. I could eat chocolate glazed, sugar raised, strawberry frosted, Boston cream, or warm cider donuts until the cows come home.  Since going gluten-free visiting dunkin donuts has been a sad experience - the fresh smell of sugary deliciousness that I can't have wafting under my nose makes me very unhappy. 

As I've mentioned before one of my favorite gluten-free and dairy-free cook books is called Cooking for Isaiah by Silvana Nardone. In the book she has a couple of great donut recipes! 

I made the chocolate glazed recipe this weekend and they came out awesome. They are cake donuts so you'll need a donut pan - I got mine on amazon. I prefer to fill the pans a little over 3/4 full for a traditionally round donut. I also used my favorite Jules Gluten-Free flour as a cup for cup replacement for Silvana's mix. 

Naturally I also was out of confectionary sugar so I boiled down a quarter cup of granulated sugar and water for a dairy-free glaze. Let them cool and the glaze will harden deliciously. My batch yielded 12 donuts. I made 6 on Saturday and refrigerated the rest of the batter for Sunday and it was perfect. 

I kept meaning to take a picture of the donuts in their cooked form but they were gone to fast to do that!! A picture of the uncooked version will have to suffice until I make more!

You can find Cooking for Isaiah here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00CVDOP6E?pc_redir=1404742951&robot_redir=1

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Quote of the Day

“All I want to tell young people is that you're not going to be anything in life unless you learn to commit to a goal. You have to reach deep within yourself to see if you are willing to make the sacrifices.” 
--Louis Zamperini

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Quote of the Day

“The sun is perfect and you woke this morning. You have enough language in your mouth to be understood. You have a name, and someone wants to call it. Five fingers on your hand and someone wants to hold it. If we just start there, every beautiful thing that has and will ever exist is possible. If we start there, everything, for a moment, is right in the world.” 

--Warsan Shire

Eating Gluten-Free on Cape Cod - The Keltic Kitchen

As a child we would visit the cape every summer. We would go to Mayflower Beach (the best on the cape), go shopping in Chatham, and eat a lot. One of the places I vividly remember visiting is the Keltic Kitchen where I got the best BLT with Irish bacon. Unfortunately it isn't super close to where we usually stay in Dennis so we haven't been back since. This weekend Evan and I were visiting friends in Yarmouth and Brewster when I realized we weren't far from the Keltic Kitchen!

The Keltic Kitchen is an Irish restaurant with breakfast and lunch options. I wasn't sure if they had anything specifically gluten-free (like pancakes or toast) but from looking at their menu online (here: http://www.keltickitchen.com/) I saw plenty of other things I could eat. When we arrived the place was packed - which as far as I am concerned that's a great thing. We really enjoyed waiting because there was a sand sculpture artist there making this incredible replica of the Molly Malone statue in Dublin. I can't believe the entire thing was sand. He told us that once finished they spray it with really watered down wood glue to keep it together. This photo does not do it justice. You wouldn't believe the details! There is a contest on the cape this summer and at many restaurants or events there are sculptures by local artists. The winners will be announced late August.


Anyway, once seated I asked my server about gluten-free options. My server let me know that they do have gluten-free pancakes, french toast, and toast! Naturally I ordered WAY too much food but was so happy. I ordered a short stack of pancakes, corned beef hash, eggs, and toast. The pancakes were really fluffy and delicious and the hash was great too. I couldn't get the home fries because they are fried with other foods, so not gluten-free, but I really wouldn't have been able to eat them I was so full. Even if you aren't gluten-free I would really recommend checking out Keltic Kitchen on your next trip to the cape. They had some fantastic looking specials and I'm still hoping to get back to have another BLT!

Gluten-free pancakes

Corned beef hash, eggs, and gluten-free toast!

Seagull Beach, Yarmouth

It's hydrangea season!


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Things My Father Taught Me - Father's Day 2014

My father is a veritable wealth of knowledge and advice. While I can't even begin to write it all down, here are a few of the noteworthy ones. Please note, two of the sever are in regards to ice cream - our favorite thing.

Happy father's day to my Dad! I love you so much!

1. Be charitable.
2. Always repeat your phone number in a voice mail. 
3. Remember where you came from. 
4. Not everyone had the advantages you did. 
5. A proper sundae has walnuts.
6. The word very, is usually unnecessary.
7. The best ice cream flavor is coffee. 
8. Live your life like you are on camera.


Monday, June 9, 2014

This Weekend

This weekend was lovely, it was the first that truly felt like summer. We went to the beach for long walks, a birthday feast, and some magazine skimming. It was also a great weekend to be a dog! Not too hot, with plenty of opportunity for a swim.

We also tried out a recipe for a gluten-free, dairy-free key lime pie! It wasn't your typical key lime pie but we certainly ate all of it. Keep an eye out for a recipe coming.

Dream dreams, then write them, Aye, but live them first.
Commonwealth Mall, Boston, MA

Will, Lily, and Tori




Coconut cream in place of condensed milk


Beach roses, rosa rugosa


It's a tough life being a dog