Tag Archive: Food

Halloween Chex Mix

Halloween Chex Mix

Candy corn is a polarizing food. People usually either can’t get enough of it or can’t stand the stuff.

I love it and would eat a whole bag in one sitting. Since that’s probably not the best idea you have to find ways to mix it up and make it a little more filling. This Chex mix isn’t health food but it’s just the right balance of sweet and sweeter for a party or just an afternoon. 

Coating some of the Chex cereal with melted chocolate adds an unexpected layer and makes it slightly more decadent. You can make this more fun at a Halloween party by creating different names for the ingredients like bat droppings and witch’s nails. 

Halloween Chex Mix

A note from the last batch of Halloween Chex Mix I made: If gelatin’s a problem ingredient for you, some manufacturers don’t use it in their candy corn. Instead of Brachs, try CVS store brand candy corn. 

Halloween Chex Mix

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 12 squares):

  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips, divided
  • 2  1/2 cups Chocolate Chex, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1 1/2 cups Vanilla Chex
  • 1/2 cup candy corn

Method:

  1. Melt 1/3 cup chocolate chips gently, set the rest aside.
  2. When melted, stir in the butter and milk until silky and smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups Chocolate Chex cereal with the melted chocolate until covered.
  4. Lay the cereal out on a non-stick tray and refrigerate for 10 minutes until the chocolate has set. Once set, break apart any clusters of cereal stuck together. 
  5. In a large bowl, toss together the remaining chocolate chips, remaining Chocolate Chex, Vanilla Chex, and candy corn. 
  6. Serve or store in an air-tight container at room temperature. 

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Loaf Cake

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Loaf Cake

Baking is just more fun in the Fall and Winter. You get to stand near the oven to stay warm, make something delicious, and wear oversized sweaters to hide how much you’ve been eating. What’s not to love?

My favorite things to bake on the weekend is anything I can have for breakfast or take to work and eat with a cup of coffee. Put this next to a cup of coffee and a spoon of almond butter and you won’t be disappointed.

Pumpkin spice is just a mix of a bunch of other spices, so if you don’t have it on hand just use cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and/or cloves. This recipe doesn’t actually have any pumpkin in it but neither do pumpkin spice lattes and that’s never bothered anyone.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Loaf Cake

I really liked this more like a crumb cake with chopped pecans and raisins to add some texture, but it’d also be great without any mix-ins and covered with a cream cheese frosting.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Loaf Cake

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 12 squares):

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans(optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all of the sugar, flour, and baking soda.
  3. Add in the milk, butter, eggs, extract, and spice and mix well until it forms a batter.
  4. Mix in the chopped nuts if using.
  5. Grease an 8 x 8 baking pan thoroughly.
  6. Pour the batter into the baking tray.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the center is cooked through.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool before cutting.

Easy Maple-Curry Acorn Squash

Maple Curry Acorn Squash

When you live in the city, it’s sometimes hard to tell exactly what season it is. That’s what Starbucks limited edition drinks are for.

After I saw it was pumpkin spice latte season already, I knew it was time to start digging up old squash recipes. This recipe I’ve posted an annoying amount of times but still come back to again and again.

It’s one that I always make because I know how easy and delicious it is. Using curry powder to flavor the squash adds an untraditional kick that keeps the squash anything but boring. Still it’s familiar enough that semi-picky eaters will enjoy. 

Maple Curry Acorn Squash

You can really use this coating on any type but I prefer acorn the best for this since I think it has the mildest flavor. Butternut and winter squash tends to be sweeter on their own. 

Maple-Curry Acorn Squash

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 4 servings):

  • 1 Large acorn squash
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt*

*omit if your curry powder is already salted.

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking tray
  2. Cut the squash in half to remove all the seeds. Once de-seeded, cut along the ridges into thin wedges.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the wedges with the maple syrup, curry powder, and salt so that the squash is evenly coated.
  4. Lay the squash out on the baking tray and roast for 45 minutes or until fork tender.
  5. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Sauce

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup

We’re really spoiled at my office. We have a Keurig machine and 2 Nespressos with a built-in milk foamer; there’s no excuse to go to Starbucks ever.

That being said, there are certain drinks I always crave, like sweet lattes with rich caramel sauce swirls. Even if it’s not worth standing in line 20 minutes and shelling out $5, it’s certainly worth taking the time to make it at home for pennies and an infinite supply.

I’m not a pumpkin-spice fanatic, but I do love the earthy flavors in coffee, especially mixed with rich, buttery caramel. I tried Ina Garten’s caramel sauce last year, loved it, and vowed to make it again and again. This was the first time I made it since then(oops). It’s amazing that a little salt and spice changes the flavors completely. This could go in anything from coffee to oatmeal to even squash. 

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Sauce

I don’t recommend using a candy thermometer for this because by the time you have it calibrated right the caramel will burn. It’s best to just watch it closely, use your judgement, and buy an extra set of ingredients because it’s the easiest thing in the world to mess up the first time(but worth giving it a second try!).

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Sauce(Adapted from this recipe)

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients(Makes about 1 1/2 cups):

  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Combine and mix the sugar and water in a medium-sized pot.
  2. Bring the sugar water to a rolling boil and maintain. Once the water is boiling make sure not to touch it with a utensil.
  3. While the water is boiling, mix the vanilla and cream in a cup.
  4. Watch the sugar water carefully as it changes from white to a soft green to a hazelnut. When it turns a reddish-brown, remove quickly from the heat. Don’t let it get to a solid brown or the sugar is too burnt.
  5. Off the heat pour in the cream and vanilla extract. Stand back as it sizzles and may splatter.
  6. Once the caramel’s calmed, return it to the heat and start stirring as it’s just below boiling point. The caramel will have clumped and hardened.
  7. Continue stirring until the clumps have dissolved into the cream and it’s an even color and consistency.
  8. Remove from the heat and add in the spice and salt. Continue mixing as it cools to get the clumps of spice out.
  9. Once cooled, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 

Top 5 NYC Gluten-Free Restaurants

As of this month, I’ve been living in NYC for over a year. I no longer feel like a lost tourist trying to work their way to the Empire State Building, but rather I can work my way around a subway, hail a cab, and order take-out like a pro.

Over the last year I’ve tried different restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner across Queens and Manhattan. Some I didn’t care for and others I make a point to eat at whenever I can. Even in a big city like NYC, gluten-free options can be limited at times. But if you save these 5 restaurants on your phone it doesn’t have to be. 

Whatever cuisine I’m in the mood for, I know one of these restaurants has it and does a phenomenal job at making their food delicious and gluten-free.

El Centro – I’m a huge Mexican food fan and there are tons of great options in the city(and also plenty of Chipotles I’ve been to, too). El Centro is my favorite of them all for something delicious and a little sophisticated. The whole menu isn’t gluten-free but you won’t be left without options. I’m a big fan of their chilaquiles! 

Risotteria – So few places do gluten-free Italian food as well as risotteria. For starters, you get gluten-free breadsticks at every table. Their menu is a good mix of risottos(duh), pizza, paninis, and more. Best of all, they sell their own desserts and gluten-free flour mixes so if you loved anything you can get the ingredients to make it at home.

Pie By The Pound – While Risotteria has great Italian food, for pizza I’d always go to Pie By The Pound. It’s definitely on the pricey side but everything’s made fresh to order and the gluten-free dough is as light and crispy as their regular. They also have an endless list of delicious toppings. It’s not on their menu but if you just can’t decide you can ask them to do half & half toppings. There’s even a 10% gluten-free discount card for regulars.

Lilli and Loo/Lili57 – Asian cuisine is tough to find when you’re on a gluten-free diet. It’s even tougher to find a place that makes it as good as their regular menu. Lilli and Loo is great at that. They have a good mix of Thai, Japanese, and Chinese items. Their express location, Lili57, has mostly the same menu and is great if you’re in the heart of town and want something quick or takeout.

Tu-lu’s Gluten-free Bakery – If, after all of these meals, you want a good old-fashioned bakery where you can buy a chewy chocolate chip cookie the size of your face or a rich chocolate cake with buttercream, I’d recommend stopping at Tu-lu’s bakery. They do a great job of creating classic bakery desserts for a gluten-free appetite and always have a good selection available.

The New Petite Creme + A Smoothie

IMG_7302_2

As someone who’s eaten Greek yogurt religiously for 5 years, I was suspicious when Stonyfield announced a new protein-packed non-yogurt.

In July I got to go to Stonyfield’s launch party and try them out. It was swanky, it was fun, and–most importantly–it was delicious. The Petite Creme(technically a cheese and not a yogurt) is just as velvety smooth and sweet as you could hope.

It comes in 7 flavors; my favorite were the vanilla, which tastes like a rich vanilla bean, the strawberry, which tasted like a strawberry cream candy, and the plain. I rarely use plain greek yogurt in savory dishes because of the strong tang it has but this is something I’d put regularly on soup, dips, or even tacos.

It was hard to make a recipe with any of these because I just wanted to eat them straight with a spoon. I thought this smoothie was a perfect compromise because it’s just as creamy and sweet as the yogurt itself.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

You can try this recipe with any of their flavors and any sort of jam. They all taste delicious so you can’t go wrong and make a bad batch. I love using jam as a sweetener in smoothies instead of sugar or honey because it’s a little bit more “natural”(albeit that depends on the brand) and can add an extra subtle flavor.  

Strawberry Banana Cream Smoothie

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 1 servings):

  • 1 5.3oz cup strawberry Petite Creme
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 Tablespoon strawberry jam
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Method:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until thick and smooth. Make sure not to over-blend.
  3. Poor into a glass and enjoy cool.

Stonyfield is also hosting an Instagram competition where you can win some Petite Creme from them! The contest is almost over but you can read how to enter here to win a case of Petite Creme or $1000 gift card. Look through the #cheatongreek hashtag for some inspiration. 

My First Life By Dailyburn Recipe

Low Sugar Chocolate Hazelnut Granola

The internet is a crazy awesome place because it’s full of resources for any life you want to live, whether it’s gluten-free recipes, vegetarian restaurant hot spots, of just a chocolate-filled life.

I’m excited that Dailyburn‘s blog Life By Dailyburn asked me to be a recipe contributor for their site. They’re an amazing resource for anyone looking to be healthier and get whipped into shape.

The first recipe I made for them will hopefully pique your interest. If you want to cut out sugar in the morning but still eat flavorful food making your own is a must. This cocoa hazelnut granola recipe only uses maple syrup for sweetness to keep the flavor but ditch the processed sugars. It also tastes great and can save you money–what’s not to love?

And if you’re also looking for a healthier life and haven’t yet, follow them on Facebook and Pinterest for some daily inspirations to eat great and workout.

Homemade Peach Applesauce

Homemade Peach Applesauce

I’ve eaten more applesauce over the last weekend than I probably had over the last decade. If there was a bright side to getting my wisdom teeth taken out Friday, it was rediscovering how good applesauce can be(and mashed potatoes but I already knew that).

Before my surgery I bought a jar of applesauce–that was gone by the second day. By the third day I had a bunch of recently picked peaches I couldn’t bite into to save my life. Making them into more applesauce was a no-brainer.

This recipe has a lot less added sugars than it looks at first when you consider most of it gets poured out with the water. The final recipe has a much lower sweetness than the store-bought kind which the fresh, natural flavors make up for. 

Homemade Peach Applesauce

The peaches in this aren’t an overwhelming flavor. If you want more of a peachiness to this, I’d recommend replacing a few more of the apples with peaches and making sure they’re slightly over ripened. You can also use the same recipe with no peaches and have a great, basic applesauce.

Homemade Peach Applesauce

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 6 servings):

  • 5 Macintosh apples, cored and peeled
  • 4 medium sized peaches, pitted and peeled
  • Water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Method:

  1. Add all of the apples and peaches into a large boiling pot that has a lid to it.
  2. Cover with just enough water that the fruit begins to float.
  3. Add in the sugar and stir gently.
  4. Boil the fruit and water on high heat until the apples turn slightly brown and are tender to touch(about 15 minutes)
  5. Drain as much of the water from the pot as you can.
  6. Put the fruit into a high-speed blender. Add in the honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  7. Pulse until the sauce is smooth.
  8. Remove from the blender and let cool before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Brunch is the best meal there is; the competition’s not even close. You can go sweet or you can go savory(you can even go both!). It can be at 10am or 3pm. And even when it’s at 10am it’s always acceptable to have alcohol. What could be better?

My favorite items on any brunch menu are the different roasted vegetables(and home fries, but that’s a given). They’re something that you have to put time into but end up being well worth the effort.

If you want to wake up with savory food, these brussels sprouts are perfect for you. They’re just the right amount of crispy, satisfying, and seasoning to wake you up. Combine them with a runny yolk from a fried egg and they’re that much better. 

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Brussel Sprouts

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 2 servings):

  • 1 1/2 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and washed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large garlic clove, diced
  • 3 Tablespoons parmesan

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toss the brussels sprouts, salt, and 2 Tablespoons of oil together.
  3. Lay the brussels out on a non-stick baking try and roast until slightly crispy(about 30 minutes for small-medium brussels)
  4. Heat the remaining Tablespoon oil in a pan over low heat.
  5. Toast the garlic until browning.
  6. Add in the brussels sprouts and toss until well mixed and they’re cooked in the oil.
  7. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle the parmesan over and toss until well-mixed.
  8. Serve hot. 

Gluten-Free White Chocolate Raspberry Loaf

Gluten-Free White Chocolate Raspberry Loaf

I like to think I know everything but I don’t (of course). For instance, I don’t know if this is “bread” or a “cake”; I don’t even know if it’s a breakfast or dessert. But maybe not knowing is best because it means you can have it for both. 

As much as I love fresh berries for their sweetness, raspberries are by far my favorite for their sour punch. Fresh raspberries are an excuse for something special, like a hot sweet loaf straight out of the oven. 

This is right on par with Starbuck’s banana bread and pumpkin bread (or my very own). The addition of white rice flour gives it a light, airy texture. It’s sweet and moist and falls apart in your mouth. It’s as good in the morning heated up with some peanut butter as it is at night with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Gluten-Free White Chocolate Raspberry Loaf

3/4 cup milk is more of a guestimate than an exact number. Go for a soft, semi-fluid bater that you can pour into a loaf pan but that fights to leave the bowl a little. Depending on what kind of flour you’re using, you might need an extra 1/4 or 1/2 cup. 

Gluten-Free White Chocolate Raspberry Loaf 

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Ingredients(Makes one loaf):

  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 5oz vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flours, sugar, and baking powder.
  3. Add in the oil, yogurt, eggs, and milk and beat well.
  4. Add in the rest of the ingredients and continue mixing until it forms a batter.
  5. Lightly grease a 9-inch loaf pan with oil.
  6. Pour the batter into the pan.
  7. Bake for 50 minutes or until the bread rises and sets.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing. Store in a cool place when not enjoying.