Turkey at Muir Woods

Bye November & Thanksgiving Photo Diary

Hello everyone! This is going to be a very short update because somehow, someway in between all my studying and Thanksgiving prepping I found the time to contract the flu. Yes so until I’m well enough to do anything other than lay in bed and surf the internet please enjoy some pictures from my Thanksgiving week!

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Reveling in the glorious results of my Thanksgiving cook-a-thon

I hope everyone is having a happy and healthy start to the holiday season!

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Gluten Free Review: Cook Simple Ancient Grain Salad

Hello everyone! Another gluten free review today – hopefully no one’s getting bored with these! I was pretty excited when I found this at my local Lucky in the pasta salad mix aisle. Is that the proper term for that isle? Maybe it’s just the pasta aisle? Hmm, not really sure on that one. At any rate it’s the aisle with tons and tons of boxed pastas!

So yeah I bought this and a zesty ranch pasta salad mix (by the same company) because it seemed like a potentially awesome side dish!

Cook Simple Gluten Free Ancient Grain Salad

Ancient Grains Salad Plated


Ingredients:

Dressing Packet from Box
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Greek Yogurt
2 1/2 Cups Water
Grain & Bean Packet from Box

Ancient Grains Box & Ingredient Spread

Ancient Grains Directions


Directions:

1.Add the dressing packet, mayonnaise, and yogurt to a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Once the dressing is a nice smooth consistency set it aside.

Ancient Grain Dressing Unmixed Ancient Grain Dressing

2. Bring your water to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan and break open your grain packet.

Ancient Grains Grain & Bean Packet

3. Once the water has come to a boil add in the grain and bean packet. Turn the heat to medium and allow the mix to simmer for around 40 minutes or until all the moisture has been absorbed. The time will vary depending on your stove top, mine finished around 36 minutes.

Boiling Water With Grains Cooked Grains

4. Now all you need to do is take your grains off the heat and spoon them into the mixing bowl with your dressing. Fold together the grains and dressing until well combined and pop this into the refrigerator until it’s well chilled throughout.

Ancient Grains Unmixed Ancient Grains Salad
Okay so my thoughts on Cook Simple’s Ancient Grain Salad are rather mixed – in the end I’ve got positive feelings, but I’m definitely going to be doing some recipe adjusting the next time I cook this.

First things first, the quinoa smells incredible whilst cooking. Seriously, this stuff just smells mouth wateringly good. So even though I really really really wanted to dig in before finishing the recipe I held myself back. The struggle haha. Anyway this brings me to my next point which is… I didn’t really like the dressing very much. At all actually. The flavor was very heavy on dill and garlic. However, I’m nearly positive the main reason I didn’t like it was because of some weird texture thing I have going on with this particular type of food.

Let me explain.

I’m really not keen on deli salads. So this isn’t really a leafy salad issue, but much more a pasta or chicken or potato or tuna salad type problem. I just do not go for those types of salads when they are overly saturated in dressing. Now, knowing that there was mayonnaise in the recipe for this you would think I would have made some sort of compensation effort. Usually yes, but this time I was trying to follow the recipe exactly so I could give an honest review and honestly I will be changing the way I make that dressing the next time around. I think I might substitute the mayonnaise (not my favorite ingredient to be honest) with a bit of olive oil and make a small addition of lemon juice. I think olive oil might do the trick in lightening up the dressing and I wanted to add the lemon to help brighten up the flavor of garlic.

I think if I were to give this a rating it’d have to be three out of five. It’s definitely got promise, but the dressing really needs some tweaking to make it a staple product in my pantry. If you get a chance to try this for yourself leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

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Spicy BBQ Chicken

Here we have another case of an “oh shit I have nothing planned for dinner and need to go grocery shopping” meal. To be honest I hadn’t planned to post this, until I tried the marinade and decided it was actually pretty delicious!

I find this happening quite a bit actually. The impromptu meals I make (and don’t plan to write down any recipe for) end up tasty and are then requested again later-on causing me to run around like a chicken with its head cut off because I have no idea how I made them.

Well not today! I’ve written down and photographically documented this one to be used at a later date. Ah, also before I forget (in case you were curious) the fries are Trader Joe’s Frozen Hand-Cut Potato Fries, which you’ll simply need to follow the recipe on the bag to make.

Enjoy!

Spicy BBQ Chicken

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Ceviche de Camarón

Another childhood favorite! Ceviche is one of those foods that has always seemed (to me) so fancy and exotic, when really it’s incredibly fast and easy to make. Honestly, other than playing the waiting game while the shrimp were marinating this dish took me… maybe 30 minutes total? Fast and easy – I like it! Haha, ease of operations aside though, ceviche basically screams summer to me whenever I taste it, see it, or think about it. Probably because of lots of fond memories eating it at summer holiday parties, but also because it’s packed with the brightness of citrus and spicy kick from cilantro that fly you to a clear watered, white sandy beach where you have no cares in the world.  Which is maybe just me (food REALLY speaks to me), but I hope you enjoy it just as much!

1 Pound Fresh Shrimp (Deveined)
1 Orange (Zested and Juiced)
4 Limes (Zested and Juiced)
1 Teaspoon Frank’s Red Hot
1 Teaspoon Sugar
2 Tomatoes (Deseeded and Finely Chopped)
½ Red Onion (Diced)
½ Jalapeño (Deseeded and Diced)
2 Tablespoons Cilantro
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Rinse and clean the shrimp in a colander under cold water before cooking. Fill a medium sized sauce pan with water to about an inch to the top, bring water to boil over high heat.

2. Once boiling, bring the heat down to medium high and add the shrimp to cook for 3 minutes.2015-08-09 14.24.07

3. While the shrimp are cooking create an ice bath in a large mixing bowl by filling it with ice and cold water. Once the three minutes have passed immediately drain off the hot water and shock them in the ice bath to stop the cooking process.

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4. When the shrimp have cooled enough to touch begin peeling them. If you are planning to serve the shrimp whole, be careful to leave the tail on the shrimp. After all the shrimp have been peeled drain off the cold water and set them aside.

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5. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the fruit juices, zests, Red Hot, and sugar.

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6. Fold in the tomato, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro until well combined.

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7. Depending on how you want to eat your ceviche you may add in the shrimp whole or cut into thirds. Traditionally my mom serves hers as an appetizer so she leaves the shrimp whole with tails on, arranges five or six in a margarita glass, and drizzles the marinade over them. I served my ceviche as a taco topping so I cut the shrimp into thirds for more bite size pieces when guests put them on tacos.

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8. Add your shrimp to the marinade and season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill in your refrigerator for a minimum of four hours.

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ⓛⓞⓥⓔTricia

Lemon Garlic Asparagus

Here’s another quick and easy recipe for when you’re lost on the side dishes front! This is very similar to my simple green beans, but instead of keeping the veggies warm you shock the asparagus immediately after blanching to stop the cooking process – which is actually my favorite thing about this recipe because the asparagus turn out awesomely crisp and fresh. Because honestly the worst thing you can do to yourself is eat overcooked asparagus.

1 Bunch Fresh Asparagus
Water
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
3 Cloves Garlic (Pressed)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Start by cleaning and cutting the ends off the asparagus.

2015-07-02 17.24.58 2. Evenly distributed the prepped asparagus across a shallow pan with a lid, I used a sauté pan, and add enough water to just cover them.2015-07-02 17.28.22 3. Cover with a lid, and set them on medium high heat until the water comes to a light boil. While waiting for the asparagus to come to a boil create an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water. When the water in your pan begins to boil pierce one of the asparagus with a fork to make sure they are cooked – it should be crisp, but easy to stick your fork into.

2015-07-02 17.36.12 4. Drain the water from the pan and put the asparagus into the ice bath to stop them from cooking further.

2015-07-02 17.37.14 5. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper to create the dressing.

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2015-07-02 17.45.54 6. Pat the asparagus dry and place them in a covered serving bowl. Toss the asparagus on the dressing and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before serving.

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ⓛⓞⓥⓔTricia