There are a lot of things that I used to do that I don't do anymore. One of those things is bake. It's partially because of the gluten intolerance. Creating something with unfamiliar ingredients means I'm not really sure what the outcome will be, and I don't really have time to waste on a batch of cookies or brownies that nobody wants to eat. Add to that the fact that I stopped eating a lot of baked goods anyways, and well, the oven in this apartment is cold most of the time.
But sometimes, the stars align, and my mixing bowls, spatulas, and even the Kitchen Aid get some love. In this case the stars in question were my birthday, another friend's birthday, a book club gathering, and this recipe showing up in my inbox (ah, the joy of rss feeds delivered via email).
What this all meant was that I had to make this tart. HAD TO.
Of course, I had to de-glutenize it, but it was just the crust. I ended up using a bag of Pamela's Extreme Chocolate Mini Cookies which, conveniently, have a recipe for a cookie crust on the back of the bag.
Other than that, I followed Jeanette's recipe to the letter. I even broke the pie making process into multiple days: Monday for the crust, Tuesday for the filling, Wednesday for the chocolate ganache and chopped peanut topping.
This worked out well for many reasons. The pie needs some fridge time, so this meant it had ample time to chill. It also meant I didn't have a sink overflowing with dishes when I was done. Win! I ended up unintentionally documenting the whole process on Instagram and started referring to this as the #epicpie, because all these steps and the anticipation leading up to the finished product was starting to feel, well, kind of epic. I realize that I'm making it sound like this tart was a huge undertaking, and it really wasn't. Each step is relatively easy, and completely worth the effort because the end result is AMAZING.
I'm not going to try and hide the fact that it's rich, but that just means you serve smaller pieces and there's more to go around! And even though it's rich, it's not too sweet. I highly recommend making it for your favorite peanut butter & chocolate fan.
I'm not going to repost the recipe here, because Jeanette's version is perfect, so head on over to Everybody Likes Sandwiches and make this tart!
A couple days ago, Not Martha mentioned my Scarfshop collection, and it made me realize I had never documented how many I have (except maybe in a few Instagram photos). So I got out the big camera and I took a photo for you.
I really do love these scarves. I tend to order the BIG size, though I do have a couple of the regular size, which can be nicer for spring or air conditioned offices during the summer. I have one (the vibrant purple one) that I ordered in the square size, which I wore when I got married.
Also, this scarf stack looks a little familiar, no? When I find something I really like, apparently I start to collect.
Other things that are going on with me:
And now I'm off to enjoy my three-day weekend!
The middle of April means a lot of things to me. Taxes (meh), the start of an onslaught of birthdays for the next few months, and also the anniversary of me discovering my gluten allergy. Yay!
I mentioned to a friend that on the anniversary of my gluten-free-ness, I wanted to make a list of things I haven't eaten in two years, and she didn't think it was a good idea. But as someone who loves not only cooking but also EATING food, I find it kind of fascinating that I've been able to give up some of the things I ate on a pretty regular basis. So let's make a list...
Things Whitney Has Not Consumed in Two Years
Okay, so it's not that bad. There are gluten-free substitues for a lot of things. But my diet has also changed enough, that I don't eat very many things that might have gluten in them anyways. I do really miss banh-mi though (I love a good vietnamese sandwich). And the wheat beer. It was my favorite kind of beer to order and it makes me sad that I can't order one when I'm out. (If only more places served hard cider!)
When I get down about not being able to order a sandwich and a beer, I remind myself that there are still so many things I can eat! This weekend, for example, I ate all of the tacos. ALL OF THEM! And there are so many hard ciders available at the grocery store, and so many gluten-friendly menus when I go out.
To all of the people before me that had to deal with a lack of gluten-free options in years past, thank you for paving the way for those of us dealing with it today. We really do appreciate it.
Now if someone could get started on that gluten-free banh mi, this list will be a little bit shorter next year...
Let's switch gears a little bit, shall we?
A few years ago, I mentioned how much I liked my Android phone. Many times, I've said to you and myself, "Who needs an iPhone?!"
It turns out. I DO.
It was hard to admit. But the phone that I bought a year ago (an android phone), was giving me some grief, but more than that, I'm tired of all the good photo apps coming out for the iPhone first (Hipstamatic and VSCO cam, I'm looking at you!). I was lamenting some of my woes to a friend a few weeks ago, and he offered to let me borrow an unlocked iPhone 4 that wasn't being used. But not knowing how it would work on TMobile, I hesitated. Then I did some googling, and found an article in TMobile's support forums claiming that an unlocked phone just might work. So I took him up on the offer.
Since I already have an iPad, I figured there wouldn't be much of a learning curve, and really, there wasn't. Except for a few of things:
Hardware-wise, the iPhone just works. I get home and it picks up the wireless. I get to work and it picks up the wireless there. My android phone was frequently having issues finding wireless networks and sometimes the battery would completely drain for no reason. Sometimes it would just freeze up for no reason and I'd have to take the battery out to restart it. I've had to restart the iPhone once, and that was partly due to a user error and not anything the phone did.
In other words, I REALLY like the iPhone. So what was I going to do? Wait another year for my contract to end and then switch carriers? Pay way too much money for an unlocked phone from Apple?
Well my friends, it turns out TMobile is getting the iPhone (talk about timing, right?) and I pre-ordered mine last Friday. I know it's just a phone, and I really shouldn't be so excited, but I am. I've already started shopping for the perfect case...
It's late and I should probably go to sleep, but I have some FEELINGS right now that I am compelled to write down. Lucky you!
First, keep these three things in mind when you read below about a little interaction I had today:
1. I got married about 6 months ago.
2. I've lost 30lbs over the past 16 months, but I've still got a little bit of a belly.
3. Today, I decided to wear a dress that's become a little bit too big for me.
Someone, who I do not know all that well (but who knew about #1 up there), saw me and said "Oh, Congratulations!" and I responded with, "Huh? What?" and then both of us looked at each other with a collective, "Oh..."
Someone assumed I was pregnant. And they were wrong. So very wrong.
I sincerely hope that the next thing I write down isn't something that I need to tell you, but I'm going to put it here anyways: Never, ever, ever, ever, and one more for good measure, EVER assume someone is pregnant. EVER. Because there's a 50% chance you're going to be wrong, and if you are? Both parties involved end up feeling pretty bad.
I could go into all the reasons why it's a bad idea, but it should be obvious, right? And I know that when this happens, it's usually because people are happy and excited for you. The intention is good. But you have no idea what's going on with that person, so why would you assume something so personal about a stranger or someone you don't know very well?
And I mention the stranger scenario because, you guys, this is the SECOND time this has happened to me in the past few months. When I was 30lbs heavier, nobody seemed to think I was pregnant. Lose 30lbs? Strangers waiting for their food at In-N-Out Burger want to know what you're having, and they're not asking about your to-go order.
When it happened today, it was someone who assumed that because I recently got married and she saw a little tummy bulge under my baggy dress, well, that must mean there's a baby on the way! Because why would I get married unless I'm going to have babies? (I know the sarcasm might not be coming through on that last one, but believe me, it's there.) The person who made a wrong assumption today did apologize, and I understand how she arrived at the assumption, which sort of made it less hurtful than it might have been.
And I guess maybe I've reached a point in this weight loss journey where I don't necessarily look that overweight, but because there's still a bit of tummy, the pregnancy assumption is easy to make? But why even take that risk? Why would someone's brain think "pregnant!" and then also feel the need to voice that out loud without actually knowing? I just don't know.
The one thing I do know? I never have and never will assume someone is pregnant, ever. Also, I think that dress I wore today is either going to a tailor or the donate pile.
Reasons why the St. George Spirits distillery tour was super awesome:
Seriously. It was fun, and the spirits they make are amazing. Also, just the drive out to the distillery was almost worth it without the tour. The view of San Francisco from where they're located was really cool and I'm kicking myself for not taking a photo - guess I'll have to go back!
Want to go on a tour and check it out for yourself? They have a website with all the info you'll need.
Remember when I was all "I'm going to review recipes I've made from Pinterest every once in a while"? Um, yeah. Not doing so great on that one. But despite how things look, I have been cooking!
The thing is, the way I cook has sort of changed. I don't really cook dinner anymore. Most of what I cook is food for my lunch during the week. Which doesn't mean I don't pin things that don't look like great dinner recipes, it just means that most of what I make falls more into the lunch category. I find something that sounds like it would survive well as left overs, make the recipe on Sunday, and then portion it out for 3 or 4 lunches during the week.
I've actually made quite a few things that I've pinned on Pinterest (I've just been slacking on tacking photos of what I cook):
Paleasagna - also known as "paleo lasagna". It's what's in the photo at the top. The basic premise is using zucchini to replace the layers of pasta, a layer of ground turkey and tomato, and then a layer of greek yogurt, cheese, egg, and chopped broccoli. I made this earlier today, and then ate some for lunch because I couldn't wait to see how it turned out. Annnd it was pretty good! Next time, I think I might add a small can of tomato sauce to the meat mixture, to make it a bit more saucy, and possibly some raw crushed garlic to the broccoli mixture. But it was definitely good enough for me to want to make again.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad - My mum actually sent me the link to this one, and I saved it on Pinterest because it's exactly the kind of lunch recipe I look for. This one was a definite winner, just for the dressing alone. But with the quinoa and veggies and olives, it was all perfect together. I did add some feta (Mum's idea) when I made it, and I included some sliced chicken when I packed it for my lunch. I would also suggest seeding the cucmber if you make this (the recipe doesn't mention this step). I think it helps keep everything from getting too watery, especially if it's going to be in the fridge for a couple days.
Thai Larb Chicken Lettuce Cups - These were so good. So very good. I ended up using ground turkey instead of chicken and tamari instead of soy sauce. Oh, and I put everything over some romaine lettuce and sliced red bell pepper to make it more of a salad. Which I think is how larb is usually served. It worked better for my lunches that way. One day I even managed to throw in some chopped mint, which was excellent, though I would have preferred to add a bunch of cilantro. Next time. Because there will definitely be a next time.
Beef & Bean Chile Verde - This recipe? I've already given it to 3 co-workers. It's easy, quick, and delicious. Also, I can buy everything to make it at Trader Joe's (I love their Salsa Verde in the jar) and it's easy to change it up. The first time, I made it with pinto beans, the next time - kidney beans. I might even make it with black beans at some point. I garnish this with some chopped tomatoes, green onions, and a little sour cream. Sometimes I even add a little cheese. The possibilities are endless!
So how many recipes is that? Four? That's like a whole month of lunches! Assuming you don't mind eating the same thing for lunch all week. That money you were spending on lunch? That could go towards, oh, I don't know, shoes?
You can thank me later.