Thursday, February 28, 2013

Buffalo's Back

Happy Friday Eve!  I can't believe it's almost Friday, this week has gone by so quickly.  I'm looking forward to March and the start of spring.  I'm so over these midwest winters and I shouldn't even complain because this winter hasn't been *that* bad and I got to escape for a week and go to Kauai.

In grad school, one of my friends used to rave about a restaurant she frequented with her boyfriend that served gourmet mac & cheese.  She said the combinations on the menu were endless, but she most often talked about the buffalo macaroni and cheese.  I thought that sounded incredible, but you know there obviously wasn't a gluten-free option.  Over time, I mastered the art of homemade macaroni and cheese, but I'd forgotten about buffalo mac....

Flash forward a couple of years - now that I'm cooking for two people instead of just myself, I've started to get even more creative in the kitchen.  Since I love wings - yes, dietitians eat wings too - and my boyfriend always wants wings and because I always want wings too  I decided to try this recipe as a way of combining two things that I love.  It was incredible and I quickly broadcasted the idea to all of my friends.

A couple of quick tips. If you've never made gluten-free breadcrumbs, it's super easy.  Throw your bread in the food processor, in for a few seconds and there you have it - gluten free breadcrumbs that are much better than anything you'll find at the store.  For the cheese, feel free to substitute other cheeses - I didn't have enough cheddar, so I used mozzarella and a mexican blend as well.

swirls of sauce!

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese


2 cups gluten-free pasta
2 tbsp trans-fat free margarine
2 brown rice flour
1 3/4 cups skim milk
1 1/2 cups shredded 2% cheddar
1/3 cup wing sauce
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked & cubed
2 slices gluten free bread, made into breadcrumbs 

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Boil pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
2. Melt margarine in a large saucepan over medium heat, sprinkle the brown rice flour on top –
fold in with a spatula. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
3. Pour skim milk into mixture. Continue to stir, occasionally scraping the bottom with a spatula.
The mixture should begin to thicken and should begin to start to bubble – keep scraping the
bottom of the pan with a spatula until the mixture thickens.
4. Once thickened, turn the heat down to low, add cheeses and wing sauce. Stir until smooth.
6. Spray a large baking dish with nonstick spray, fill with drained pasta. Spoon cheese
sauce over the top, stirring to coat all noodles. Stir in chicken cubes. 
7. Top with breadcrumbs, bake 30-35 minutes until top is golden brown.

What's the craziest mac & cheese combo that you've had? 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Craving Conquered

Hi there!  I hope you're Monday is off to a great start.  I can't wait for The Bachelor tonight and I'm looking forward to the start of March later this week!  The past few weeks have been a little hectic - as usual - but this week I'm really excited to be presenting at Seton's Lite Hearted Affair and volunteering at the Food on the Run.  My life lately has been a little busy and of course a little stressful - look for a post on managing stress later - but I'm glad that I've had this weekend to revamp and revitalize.

Anyway, I'm a horrible blogger for keeping this recipe from you.  It's been weeks since I've made it and now that I'm posting it, I find myself wanting it again.  You'll want it too when you see the picture below, so if you won't be going to the grocery anytime soon, you might want to stop reading.

Before I was gluten-free, I wouldn't touch nachos.  I just wasn't interested in them, since of course there were other gluten-ridden items on the menu.  Anyone who is gluten-free knows the restaurant struggle that comes into play when dining out as a gluten-free guest.  Do I order a less than healthy gluten-free appetizer and save some of my money or do I spend $20 on grilled chicken or salmon because that's the only other option left for me on the menu?  I ended up trying grilled chicken nachos at one of my favorite restaurants a year or so ago and fell in love....

There's just one problem.  Nine times out of ten, nachos are horrible for you.  Smothered in cheese, topped with sour cream and more cheese - the saturated fat is out of this world.  A few weeks ago, I was thinking about nachos and wondered, couldn't I create a healthier version at home?  Greek yogurt is one of my favorite substitutes for sour cream - and also bumps up the protein and calcium content, I could use 2% cheese, add avocado for healthy fat, add black beans for some protein and fiber.... and this recipe was born.

This recipe will serve two people, but feel free to half it or even double or triple it depending on the amount your feeding.  Now feast away (and don't forget your veggies!)

Pumped Up Nachos


2 servings corn tortilla chips (preferably baked)
1/2 cup 2% shredded cheddar
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
1/2 avocado, diced
6 oz 0% greek yogurt
1/4-1/2 cup salsa

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper with non-stick spray.  Layer tortilla chips flat on the baking pan, try to avoid any gaps between the chips and the pan.
2. Top with cheese, black beans and diced tomatoes.  Bake ~10 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.
3. Add diced avocado to nachos, serve with greek yogurt and salsa.

What's your favorite appetizer that you would like to revamp?  Request it here and I'll give it a shot!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fashion Friday - January Birchbox Review

Happy Fashion Friday readers!  Have you ever heard of Birchbox?  I signed up in July - after signing up on a wait list in May - and have been happy with my subscription ever since. For $10 per month (shipping is included), you receive about 5-6 deluxe beauty samples delivered to your doorstep.  After signing up, you fill out a survey about your preferences and then you receive a box full of goodies delivered to your doorstep.

Simply put, I love it.  It's like getting surprises every month and fuels my beauty addiction without breaking the bank.  Even better, for every product in your box that you review, you receive 10 points - every 100 points are redeemable for $10 off in the Birchbox store.  You'll also receive points for referring friends to Birchbox or for purchasing Birchbox for your friends.  Birchbox also offers a Birchbox man subscription for any male readers that might be interested.

I've gotten amazing products in my boxes - even full-size like the Stila eyeliner I received, fell in love with and subsequently lost a few months later.  Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm was another one of my favorites - I'm hoarding my Birchbox points to buy it :)

So, each month on Fashion Friday, I'll be reviewing my most recent Birchbox and giving you a heads up on my favorite finds.  This month is a little late, since it's already February, but my new box hasn't come yet :)

Overall, January's box wasn't one of my favorites but it wasn't one of my least favorites.  I loved, loved, loved the blush I received, but all of the other products I used even though I wouldn't buy them personally.

My January Birchbox included the following...

Deborah Lippman the Stripper to Go - ughhh these were horrendous and I have no idea why someone would waste their money on this when cotton balls and nail polish remover are so much cheaper.  This didn't even take the nail polish off all ten of my nails.

the Balm Hot Mama Shadow & Blush All-in-One - I am madly, madly in love, this eyeshadow was so beautifully pigmented. I will be buying this as soon as it runs out.  This was by far the best thing in my box!!

My Multi-Purpose Mattifying Moisturizer - it did make my face more matte, but I don't have a big problem with shine to begin with.. but I could see how it would be very helpful for someone that does!

Amika Color pHerfection Shampoo - it was okay, the sample was a tad small and I felt like I needed to use it a little longer to see results.

Harvey Prince Skinny Chic - it wasn't bad, but I wouldn't buy it, I do plan to keep it in my purse or a carry on for trips.  It doesn't compare to my favorite fragrance of all time, Chanel Chance :)

Need an invite to Birchbox?  Click for a referral.  

*Disclaimer - This post is not sponsored by Birchbox, I purchase my own box every month. Clicking the above link will allow you to bypass the wait list and will also give me referral points as discussed above*

What subscription services have you tried?  I'd love to hear your comments!

Monday, February 11, 2013

All Things Valentine's Day

Happy Monday!  I hope your week is off to a great start :)  Now, for my long term readers, you all know that I love Valentine's Day and you can read a re-cap of the food, girlfriend and fun that went down last year.  It shouldn't be surprising that I have plenty of tricks up my sleeve for celebrating Valentine's Day, even if I already did receive my own Valentine's Day gift a little early.  This recipe that I've come up with is perfect for Valentine's Day due to it's pink color - you could even cut the bread into hearts using a cookie cutter for heart shaped pieces :)

On Saturday morning, I crawled out of bed at 7:00 am to get ready for a bootcamp class that I've been dying to try.  Before I left the house, I decided that I wanted to make french toast.  I planned on letting the bread soak in the egg mixture - in the fridge of course - while I was at class, so that when I returned home, I would have a quick and oh so easy breakfast waiting for me.

A quick background story. I picked up this new to me prairie bread a couple of weeks ago from Whole Foods.  I've never been a crazy bread eater, I was never the person that snuck into the kitchen to sneak a piece of bread before or after going gluten-free.  I tried one bite of prairie bread and almost died - absolute heaven.  It can be a little bit crumbly if it's not toasted, but it's hearty and dense... which makes it perfect for french toast.  If you don't have prairie bread available, I highly recommend brown rice bread as a substitute.  Use any kind of milk you want and if you don't have agave nectar on hand, then just roll with maple syrup instead :)

French Toast with Blueberry Syrup


1 egg
1/4-1/3 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 pieces gluten-free prairie bread
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 cup blueberries

1. In a small dish, combine egg, milk & cinnamon. Beat to combine.
2. Add bread to egg mixture, so that one side of each slice is able to be coated.  Let soak for 10 minutes, flip and soak the other side.
3. In a small pan heated over medium heat, spray cooking spray or use a small amount of trans-fat free margarine to prepare the pan. If using margarine, swirl the pan around so that all sides are coated.
4. Add bread slices, flip when golden brown on first side, about 3-4 minutes, cook the other side until golden brown.

What's your favorite weekend meal? 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Quinoa Love

Happy Tuesday!  I hope your week is off to a great start, my apologies that I've been a little MIA.  In between moving, unpacking, meetings etc., blogging fell a little bit off of the bandwagon.  Not to mention that I haven't had much time to do any cooking...or come up with new recipes.  I've found that this week, I'm back in the swing of things... and am currently lounging on the couch watching The Bachelor.  Love.

Sunday is our grocery shopping day in this house.  Yesterday, the store was packed with people stocking up for Super Bowl Sunday and I barely made it down the aisles without crashing into about a million people.  One thing I noticed was a sale on quinoa that was ending asap... $3.99 a box when it's normally $6.39? Sold.  I love quinoa for it's high protein and fiber content, all while being gluten-free.  I remembered how I had made a similar recipe earlier in the year and with a few tweaks, it was perfect.

All dressed up and ready to go 

Three Cheese Quinoa Cakes


1 cup quinoa, uncooked
4 eggs
1/2 cup 2% shredded cheddar
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/3-1/2 cup green onions, chopped
2 tbsp potato starch
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste
2-3 tbsp olive or grapeseed oil

1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
2. In large mixing bowl, combine eggs, cheeses, green onions, potato starch, red pepper flakes & salt/pepper, stir to combine.
3. Add quinoa to egg mixture, stir to combine.
4. Add 1 tbsp of oil to a large saucepan, heat to medium high.  Pack a 1/3 measuring cup with batter, flip batter into pan.
5. Cook ~4-5 minutes per side until golden brown, serve with greek yogurt or fat-free sour cream.

Too hungry to take a non-blurry picture!

What's your favorite quinoa recipe?