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All About Fall | Gluten Free Buttermilk Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

19 Oct

My friend Potter, recently went for breakfast a the Neighborhood Restaurant. This is a local family owned breakfast joint located in Union Square, right down the street from Bloc 11 Cafe, where he and I both work. Potter and I share a love for all things pumpkin and he was going on and on about these pumpkin pancakes he had there, my mouth was watering just listening to him….

Bloc 11 courtyard

Bloc 11 Cafe courtyard: Scarecrows need coffee too!

Of course, this lead me to an inner baking challenge, something I set myself up for on the regular,ha! I was determined to come up with delicious gluten free and/or on the healthier side pumpkin pancakes. King Arthur Flour’s gluten free pancake mix was on sale at Shaw’s, so I used this as the base for my pancake recipe. In another effort to ensure a successful gluten free recipe I researched online, but had no luck. I even posted an outcry to my foodie friends on Facebook, which yielded no recipe results… my determination grew.
In true Jess fashion, as Kate would call it.. I just made my own recipe up, ad-libbed and hoped for the best. And as luck would have it, they came out perfectly! Success.

#yum

#yum

Guten Free Buttermilk Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Makes 8 – 4″ round pancakes

Ingredients

1 1/3 cup King Arthur Flour gluten free pancake mix
1 cup organic or local whole milk (I used High Lawn Farm from Lee, MA)
1 tsp Bragg’s organic and raw cider vinegar
1 large organic egg
3 TBS 100% pure canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 TBS organic virgin coconut oil (melted)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1) Measure out the milk and add the cider vinegar to it, making your own buttermilk. Let sit for 3 – 5 minutes.

2) Whisk together the egg, pumpkin, buttermilk mixture, and coconut oil.

3) Whisk in the pancake mix and pumpkin pie spice.

4) Allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes to thicken.

5) Preheat a griddle or large flat grill pan. I used our gas stove and set the burner on 6.

6) Grease pan with a square of organic butter.

7) Scoop the batter by the 1/4 cupful or I used a #16 dough/portion scoop onto the lightly greased pan.

8) Cook for 1 – 2 minutes, until bubbles form on the tops of the pancakes and the bottoms are golden brown.

9) Flip and cook for 1 – 2 minutes on the other side. Serve hot, with organic butter and organic warm pure maple syrup.

These pancakes came out amazing, and you can’t even tell they are gluten free! There is a slight pumpkin undertone with just the right amount of spice to add to the flavor, but not mask the pumpkin. I would make these again in a heartbeat. The recipe made 8 full sized pancakes and a tiny silver dollar sized pancake, the perfect size to split between Stevie and Ollie and they gobbled it right up 🙂

Notes:
– This recipe could be made dairy free by substituting the milk for coconut, soy, or almond milk and replacing the butter with Earth Balance
– A great side, as pictured above is Applegate Farms Organic Sunday Bacon. (I cooked it in the oven on 400 for 15-18 mins on a parchment lined baking sheet*) *Oven baked bacon credit goes to our friends Laurie & Gabe 🙂
– Substitution suggestions for toppings: Maple Cream, Pumpkin Butter, or Baked Spiced Apples.

Cutest Pumpkins Ever!

Cutest Pumpkins Ever!

Happy Fall!

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Beatin’ the Heat | Frosty Pup Treat Recipe

3 Jun

Ollie is 4!

It is hard to believe that Ollie turned four yesterday. It seems like only yesterday I found a post on Petfinder about a tiny special needs Red Boston Terrier, named Brass Monkey, when in all reality is was in the Fall of 2009. Truth is, if a good Samaritan hadn’t found a Craigslist ad posted in Texas, by a puppy mill breeder then he wouldn’t be with us today. We love our little guy, and he has brought tons of laughs, kisses, and joy to more than just our tiny little family

Kate and I  have little traditions we do to celebrate the pups and Sitar’s birthdays. Stevie always gets a real balloon that he loves, while Ollie on the other hand is afraid of balloons so each year Kate humors me and draws a birthday balloon for Ollie. We tape it above his crate on the wall! We also bake birthday treats for them, there is a great Pupcakes recipe in our blog that Kate posted and the pups adore 🙂 This year is was miserably hot in our apartment and I really didn’t want to subject any of us to turning the oven on, so I came up with a frosty birthday treat recipe for the pups that they inhaled.

frosty treat prep

Ollie’s Frosty Pup Treats
makes 8 frozen treats

Ingredients

1 – 6 oz container of Chobani Vanilla Yogurt*
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup of 100% pure canned pumpkin

*If you want to control the sugar content in this recipe, just substitute Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt. Dogs don’t need the extra sugar but we made these as an extra special treat so I sweetened them with the Vanilla Chobani.

Steps

1. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium size bowl

2. Place cupcake liners in a muffin pan.

3. Spoon the batter into the muffin pan, filling cups a generous half full. (I got 8 frosty treats out of my batter.)

4. Place in the freezer, our treats were frozen solid in 2 hours.

frozen treat unwrapped

Notes

  • These treats are great for pups with allergies, Stevie is intolerant to all things poultry, they are vegetarian, wheat, and soy free.
  • If you have difficulty removing the frozen treats from the muffin pan, just flip the pan over and run warm water on it for a few seconds.
  • The cupcakes wrappers are easy to remove and just peel off, no need for non-stick spray.
  • If you opt to use the Chobani Plain Yogurt, add some sweetness using molasses approximately 2 teaspoons should do the trick!
  • If you are looking for other flavors to mix it up for your beloved pups, try subbing the pumpkin out with an equal amount of sweet potato, peanut butter, or banana.

patiently waiting

This was the easiest birthday recipe I have created in a long time.

frosty treat massacre

On the other end of it, I think these birthday treats were gobbled up the quickest as well, ha! Stevie & Ollie devoured and approved.

Simple Side Dish | Roasted Sriracha Brussels Sprouts

6 May

One of my favorite places to eat locally is Highland Kitchen. Highland Kitchen is a family owned neighborhood restaurant and bar located in the heart of Somerville. They serve American comfort food, local craft beer, creative cocktails and great service. Recently Kate and I had an impromptu date night there, and this is when I remembered one of their famous side dishes, buffalo brussels sprouts. As we walked out, I brainstormed with Kate about making a riff on that buffalo brussels sprouts recipe at home for us one night the following week. Kate in all of her genius, then exclaimed… it would be tasty if you used Sriracha instead of Franks Red Hot Sauce. Done and done.

sriracha brussels

Sriracha Brussels Sprouts
serves 2

Ingredients

 1 lb brussels sprouts (cleaned and cut in halves)

3 TBS melted butter

1 tsp – 1 TBS Sriracha (hot chili garlic sauce) 

salt and pepper to taste

cut brussels

Steps
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray or olive oil
3. Place the cleaned and halved brussels sprouts in a medium bowl
4. Combine melted butter and Sriracha, pour over brussels sprouts, stir to combine, make sure they are coated evenly.
5. Place coated brussels sprouts on to the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
6. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
7. Bake 20 – 30 minutes depending on the roast level you desire. Stir brussels half way through to ensure even browning.
8. Remove from oven, season before serving with salt.

Notes
1. Sriracha is a sweet hot chili garlic sauce, 1 tsp will give you a slight heat factor, feel free to increase the Sriracha in this recipe to increase the heat!
2. This recipe could be used with roasted cauliflower too. Y-U-M!
3. If the brussels sprouts are particularly large, cut them into quarters.

Keepin’ it local | Dave’s Coffee Syrup

1 May

Image

Keepin’ it tasty, keepin’ it local…

Dave’s Coffee is a small family owned craft coffee roaster based in Rhode Island. They are certified organic and do everything by hand, the old fashioned way. I bought some of this coffee syrup at a food show Kate & I went to last December and have been tinkering with different uses and recipes for it.

All in all Dave’s Coffee Syrup is just that syrup, a thick sticky bottle of deliciousness. Hand roasted in small batches, cold brewed organic coffee and simmered with natural cane sugar. Yum!

Here are three ideas I have tried, tasted & approve… enjoy!

Homemade Coffee Soda

Ingredients

12oz seltzer water

3 TBS Dave’s Coffee Syrup

Steps

1. Fill 16oz mason jar or pint glass with ice
2. Pour in seltzer water, you can make your own with a Soda Stream or use bottled seltzer
3. Stir in coffee syrup

Image

Vegan Coffee Egg Cream (adapted from Babycakes NYC)

Ingredients

2 TBS Dave’s Coffee Syrup

3 TBS vanilla soy milk

5oz seltzer water

Steps

1. Pour soy milk and coffee syrup into a tall glass and stir well to combine
2. Continue to stir vigorously while adding seltzer

Notes
1. For the best results, make sure the seltzer and soy milk are well chilled.

ImageSlow Cooker Marinated Pork Tenderloin
serves 2

Ingredients

1 – 24oz frozen pork tenderloin

1 medium onion roughly chopped

1 32oz box chicken broth

1 12oz bottle of ginger beer

1 TBS Dave’s Coffee Syrup

1/2 TBS Sriracha (hot garlic chili sauce)

1 TBS apple cider vinegar

1/4 c Trader Joe’s Soyaki (equal parts soy sauce & teriyaki sauce could substitute)

1/4 c ketchup

1/2 TBS smoked paprika

1 TBS grill seasoning

5 – 6 garlic cloves (peeled and smashed)

Steps

1. Roughly chop the onion and line the bottom of the center of the crock pot.
2. Cover your pork with salt and pepper and place on top of the onion, this will keep the bottom of your pork from getting chewy during the cooking process.
3. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and pour over the pork in the crock pot. The liquid should almost completely cover the pork.
4. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours, then reduce the cooking temperature to LOW for 4 hours.
5. Once the cooking time is complete, remove the pork from the crock pot, slice and serve.

Notes
1. If you need more pork for your meal, then double the amount of pork and use the same amounts of liquid in the above recipe.
2. To adjust the heat level, add more smoked paprika and Sriracha.
3. The outcome was a really moist, tender and flavorful protein.

For more info on Dave’s Coffee or to order some coffee syrup follow this link to Dave’s Coffee online shop.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes | Versatile & Easy!

28 Apr
tomatoes, olive oil and S&P waiting to be roasted

tomatoes, olive oil and S&P waiting to be roasted

The warmer New England weather is starting to remind me of the summer foods I’ve missed all winter. Top of my list? Fresh tomatoes!

Grocery stores have been taunting me with tomato sales but I know they’re not yet in season. There is nothing quite like a just-picked tomato at the height of its season (or any produce, for that matter). My dad grew them nearly every summer in the garden when we were kids. He’d have competitions with a fellow gardner friend and I have vivid memories of secret tricks and strange apparatuses surrounding the tomato plants in the garden. My mom would make tomato and cheese sandwiches for us to enjoy at the peak of tomato season — hearty white bread spread with Miracle Whip then stacked with layers of sliced tomatoes and cheddar cheese & a little sprinkle of S&P. Yum…summer in sandwich!

So back to my point….since cherry tomatoes have been on sale quite a bit, Jess has been buying them. They were fine tossed into my lunch salads but I wanted a way to make them more delicious. Flour Bakery (a Boston area delight) is smart — and their BLT is the best BLT I’ve ever had in my life. I dream about it.  One of their secrets? They roast the tomatoes when they’re not in season in order to bring out their yumminess. Roasting also rids them of that gross mealy texture that often plagues out-of-season tomatoes. The recipe I used as a guide states, “roasting concentrates their flavor, turning the tomatoes into savory, tender little umami bombs”. Genius, right? It’s very easy & roasted tomatoes are a perfect addition to any recipe, sandwich, salad, pizza, pasta/rice salad, etc. — the possibilities are endless. We added them to a homemade pizza with oven roasted rosemary lemon turkey breast and banana pepper rings.

fresh_to_roasted

top: before roasting, middle: after first 20 minutes, last: after roasting

Oven Roasted Tomatoes (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen: DIY Cookbook, Oven Dried Tomatoes)

Ingredients

12 ounces – 1 pint of cherry tomatoes (grape tomatoes would work fine, too)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Rinse the tomatoes and lightly pat dry with a clean dish towel.
  3. Cut each tomato in 1/2 lengthwise & toss into a small bowl (with enough room for tossing later).
  4. Add olive oil, salt & pepper to the bowl and toss to evenly coat the tomatoes.
  5. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (or aluminum foil) for easy clean-up. Place a wire rack on top of the prepared baking sheet and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  6. Place the seasoned tomatoes on the rack cut side down (not all of mine were facing down & they turned out fine).
  7. Place tomatoes into the oven for  20 minutes.
  8. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 300 degrees.
  9. Use a fork to carefully flip the tomato halves cut side up and remove any tomato skin that has fallen off. If all of your tomatoes still have the skin on them, there’s no need to remove it since cherry tomatoes have such tender skin.
  10. Place them back in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven & allow to cool to room temperature before enjoying.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

roasted tomatoes standing by to be the next pizza topping

roasted tomatoes standing by to be the next pizza topping

Let’s Get Organized! | Spice Rack DIY

2 Mar

DIY spice rack

One result of small space living (or a small kitchen at least) is the true need for clever kitchen storage solutions. We’ve come up with a few that utilized stuff we already had, like an office document/mail organizer tucked in a lower cabinet to neatly store oversized Tupperware/lids & a larger, short, round Rubbermaid container to keep smaller lids tidy that we stuck to the inside of the door of the same lower cabinet with industrial Velcro.

We’ve never had a great solution for storing herbs & spices that we use frequently. We bought these containers that we love, but had them stacked in a two-tiered “system” on our kitchen shelves. It wasn’t the best use of their great see-through lids & it still left us shuffling through spices whenever we wanted to use them.

I’ve seen a lot of terrific spice storage solutions but wanted something that utilized our existing jars & a smallish wall space we have in our kitchen next to some cabinets. Note: the best placement for spice storage is somewhere darkish (or out of direct sunlight) and a coolish/room temp. While the magnetic tins we made would be fine stuck to the side of a refrigerator, the fridge in our kitchen can run a little warm & the side we’d have stuck them to is right next to the window, so we opted for a space on the other side of the kitchen, away from direct sunlight and appliances that emit heat.

I intentionally made the labels take up a large part of the see-through lid – to keep out even more light.

Supply list followed by quickie DIY instructions

Spice rack stainless steel magnetic base: We used this and were really pleased with the quality & speedy shipping. Screws are not included so be prepared to provide your own for attaching the base to the wall.

Tins: Source: Specialty Bottle — I’ve ordered lots of things from SB & they’re great! They’ll send you a couple of samples too (at no charge!). The possibilities are endless but as previously mentioned, we used these.

MagnetsI bought these but you can also search for them on Amazon & elsewhere on the web. I’ve seen other tutorials that use magnetic paper. That would be fine too – but in my experience, it’s not as strong as individual magnets & I didn’t want to go to the trouble to make this whole thing, only to have the heavier spices slide down the wall mounted base.

Glue: I used E6000 (that I bought at a local craft store). It worked well but it’s super toxic AND even with the windows open (hooray for a warm winter!) & a tabletop fan pointed towards the window….WOW — the smell was horrible & made me feel nauseous! I’d forgotten how toxic this stuff is…ick!

1) Measure the space you want to put your jars. Make sure if it’s near a cabinet, that the door when opened, will clear the jars on the wall.

2) Glue magnets to bottoms of jars.

3) Download my free printable spice jar labels & please ignore the little dashed line in the template — I can’t, for the life of me, get rid of it & it doesn’t appear in the original design file. It won’t appear on your finished labels because you’ll cut them out anyway! Print them on a big sheet of label paper (like this kind from Staples) & punch out. I used a 1.5 inch round craft punch.

4) Fill jars with spices/herbs & attach the tops.

5) Write on labels & stick to tops of jars. I love a handwritten label but if you don’t, you could use a label maker/vintage typewriter or add spice names to labels in a design program before printing.

6) ENJOY! If you have space at the bottom, use a magnetic clip to hold grocery lists and a tally of spices you’re running low on or out of.

Other notes
Use a cookie sheet (new or vintage) or have a home supply store cut you a sheet of stainless steel – just make sure it’s magnetic (not all stainless/metal is) and we didn’t go to a home supply store because I wanted rounded corners (pointy metal corners are SHARP!) – also I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with drilling the holes in the metal for hanging. We’re comfy with DIY (& power tools!) but I really didn’t want to overcomplicate things for this project. If you’re in the mood for a visit to Ikea, this would be an awesome option (it’s nice & tall & comes in white, too).

Spice storage ideas/tutorials/inspiration
I like the jars a lot & the finished product reminds me of honeycomb. 
Friends of ours painted a wall in their kitchen with magnetic chalkboard paint & attached magnetic spice jars to it. Love!
One of many sources online for a DIY vintage soda crate spice rack (swoon!).

Tiny Bites, Big Flavors | Turkey Sliders

4 Feb

Saturday afternoon at work I had thought of the perfect idea for dinner on Sunday night, Super Bowl Sunday night. I knew I would have to do some convincing when it came to getting Kate on board, but I was up for the challenge. You see neither one of us are sports fans, so I knew I couldn’t approach it from that angle. Quite frankly I know I was more excited in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl, especially since it features adoptable dogs that need homes and uses this event to promote adoption. P.S. We didn’t get to watch that much of the Puppy Bowl because Ollie was so into it, he kept standing in front of the TV on his hind legs and barking along with the puppies, cute, but not conducive to apartment living, ha!

My goal Super Bowl Sunday menu was going to feature all game day themed appetizers. Yes! As I had predicted Kate wasn’t into it, but as she often does she humors me and my crazy themed meal ideas. On one condition, that the menu items had to be healthier versions. Got it, the challenge was on.
I found this amazing hot spinach and artichoke dip recipe on Skinnytaste.com it was amazing. We paired it with Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita chips that were on sale at Shaw’s yesterday, bonus. As an added tip, because Kate had her contribution to the meal cooking in the oven, we made the dip and baked it in the toaster oven my parents gave us for Christmas and it came out perfect.

Kate wanted to make her Mom’s stuffed mushroom recipe, so we had those as well. Upon returning home from grocery shopping she realized that she didn’t buy the French Onion Soup packet that her Mom’s recipe called for, to substitute she finely chopped some shallots, sautéed them and added some garlic salt to the recipe and they were amazing.
On to our main course…
sliders
Turkey Burgers with Sriracha Aoli

Ingredients
1lb Ground Turkey

1/4 c Panko breadcrumbs
3/4 small white onion grated
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp grill seasoning
3 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
1 egg
2 TBS Dijon mustard

Steps
1) Place ground turkey into a medium size bowl

2) Grate the white onion directly into the ground turkey in order to get all of the onion juice into the mix

3) Add the remaining ingredients

4) Combine with your hands

5) On medium heat, heat a medium-sized skillet drizzled with 1 TBS of olive oil or sprayed with non-stick spray

6) Form the slider patties, make them approximately 3″ in diameter and 1″ thick

7) Cook for 3 minutes on each side, a meat thermometer should read the internal temperature as 165 degrees.

Sriracha Aoili

Ingredients
1 tsp Sriracha (hot garlic chili sauce)

4 TBS light mayonnaise
juice of 1/2 lemon
dash of salt

Steps
1) Combine the Sriracha, mayo, and lemon juice in a small bowl

2) Season to taste with a dash of salt

Notes:
1) We used Sara Lee dinner rolls for buns and they were the perfect size

2) To melt cheese on your sliders, once the burgers are done cooking, remove the pan from the heat, add one half of a slice of your favorite cheese to the top of each burger and place a sheet of aluminum foil over the pan, be sure to fold the foil in half so that it looks like a tent prior to covering the pan, this will keep your cheese from sticking to the foil.

3) The portions were two sliders per person and there was a little more than half of the ground meat mixture left last night, so tonight we are having ground turkey soft tacos in order to make our leftovers count.

4) For best flavor spread the aoli on each side of the bun, the bottom that the meat will sit on as well as the top to help anchor the greens.

Enjoy!

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