Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WIAW #28

Hard to believe that this is the last WIAW of the summer. :( 

Okay, so technically summer isn't over until September 22nd but you know what I mean. It starts getting darker earlier...the weather is starting to cool off a bit (maybe!) is back in session. My five year old niece is starting Kindergarten next week. I am simultaneously excited for her and sad about it. She will do great in school and have fun there, but I'm just not ready to accept that she's even that old to be going. These five years really flew by insanely fast!

But, let's get back to talking food before I cry... ;)

Breakfast: Egg whites, half an avocado, nectarine slices

Egg whites and avocado have been my standard breakfast lately, with just the fruit alternating. Not the fanciest of meals but I've been obsessed with the egg-avo combo lately.

Lunch: The usual salad w/ chicken, cukes, and strawberries

Dinner: Half a spaghetti squash w/ homemade pesto & sunflower seeds, tomato-basil salad

And let's not forget about the brew back there. Autumn Ale Brew from Woodstock Inn Brewery in New Hampshire. It just might be my new favorite fall beer. Don't forget the cinnamon-sugar rim!

Snack: A slice of Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Paleo friendly chocolate zucchini bread, that is! And it is SO good - you'd never even know it was dairy and grain free. Click HERE for the recipe post.

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Make It: Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I know what you're probably thinking. She JUST posted a zucchini baked good two weeks ago. Very sorry for the inconvenience. ;) But as soon as I saw the Chocolate Zucchini Bread on PaleOMG yesterday, I knew that it was in my future. My immediate future, too, since I had a lonely zucchini languishing in the fridge. I'm sure most of you have some zucchini hanging around. Tis the season, right?

Okay, so I ended up making a few slight changes to the original recipe, due to what was on hand. One such change: substituting 2 heaping tablespoons of almond flour for the coconut flour. Coconut flour is a lot more absorbent than other flours, so my initial thought (of course, this thought came to me after it started baking...) was that I should have used more almond flour to account for this. Wellllll, I didn't and it still came out great. *Whew!*

Ready for the oven!

Without further ado and ramblings, here ya go:

Chocolate Zucchini Bread (Paleo approved!)
adapted from PaleOMG

Olive oil spray
1 medium zucchini, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups shredded)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup almond butter
1/3 cup raw honey
1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened, of course)
2 heaping tablespoons of almond flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
(Optional: toss in as many chopped nuts as you wish)

1. Preheat oven to 375* (or 350* for glass pans). Coat your 9x5 loaf pan with olive oil spray.
2. Squeeze as much water from the shredded zucchini as you can. The more water you get out, the better your bread will be. Trust me on this one - no one likes soggy bread.
3. In a large bowl, stir the (dried!) shredded zucchini together with the rest of the ingredients until well mixed.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and slide into the preheated oven. 
5. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. You know your oven better than I do, so use your best judgement on the timing here, since they can vary widely.
6. Set the pan on a wire rack and let in the pan. Once cool, turn out onto the rack.

I found that I preferred the slices I stored in the fridge, so perhaps you'll want to try the same. Can't hurt, right?

With only a week to go before I start my real Paleo challenge (more on that later), I'm glad to be finding recipes that taste fantastic and just as delicious as the "original" versions. But whether you are Paleo or not, I urge you to give this bread a go!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy Fried-Day! (August edition)

Ubiquitous but never passe, deep fried ice cream seems to be Chinese food joint staple. (Aside from the red Jello that most buffets seem to stock. Why is that?)

It is a match that seems unlikely. Impossible, even. 

A cold, creamy ice cream center. A warm, crispy outer shell.

How the heck does the ice cream not melt as soon as it hits the hot oil?

Of course, there's a scientific reason behind it. But why take the mystery and fun outta the treat? Let's just dig in and enjoy a most perfect mash-up of savory & sweet, crispy & creamy, and hot & cold!

(The deep fried ice cream shown above was enjoyed at Asian Ginger in Foxboro, MA.)

Hungry for more? Visit past Fried-Days by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WIAW #27

Boy, Wednesdays sure roll around quick! Happy WIAW to Ms. Jenn and all the other great bloggers out there!

Something I think of when I hear "summer staple" is definitely all the fresh veggies in the garden! It has been so great to just walk out back and snag some fresh basil and a few tomatoes to go with dinner. Not only is it convenient but the taste can't be beat. They actually taste (and look) how they're suppose to rather than the gorgeous but tasteless produce the grocery store usually carries.

These became part of dinner.

While we're on the subject of gardens, my Memere really does have the most amazing green thumb. Not only does she keep up with the veggies, but look at her flower garden. (Mind you, this is only a tiny bit of the whole garden - the thing is massive!)

Gorgeous, right?

Breakfast: Egg whites; raw walnuts & pecans; apple

A simple breakfast but filling! I especially liked that I didn't have to do much to get it together. That's always a plus after a good Crossfit workout when I'm just ravenous. 

Lunch: Half grilled cheese sandwich; veggie soup

I was without dental insurance for a year, so I was super thrilled to finally get a cleaning yesterday. (Yes, I am one of the few weirdos that actually likes to go to the dentist.) My appointment took longer than I expected, thus my not-so stellar lunch. Whatever, junky "kid food" is always a nice treat! ;)

Dinner: Grilled chicken; tomato-basil "caprese"; green salad

I marinated the chicken in (and subsequently dipped in) an excellent sweet and spicy pomegranate sauce, Scarlet Blaze. Check out the review I did on Monday about it, if you're interested. And heck yes, those are the garden-fresh tomatoes and basil from earlier in the post. Such a simple salad but so freakin' good.

I assume many of you make something similar yourselves but for those who might be wondering: slice grape tomatoes in half (or chunk up larger tomatoes) and chop the basil. Add to bowl and toss with balsamic vinegar, a bit of olive oil, and salt & black pepper. [Or, if you're like me, no salt but a TON of pepper. All of the amounts are totally up to you, so do whatever your tastebuds are up for.]

Have an awesome day!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Local Product: Captain Mowatt's Scarlet Blaze

Oh. My. God. I am completely obsessed with this sauce!

After eating my weight in ribs at the Ribfest, I was walking off some of the calories when I stumbled upon a booth selling all kinds of delectable sauces. Made in nearby Portland, Maine by the W.O. Hesperus Co., there were many kinds that sounded fantastic. But the Scarlet Blaze caught my eye because it uses pomegranate, one of my most favorite fruits in the entire world! I've loved it ever since I was little. Every now and again, my dad would split one with me and then let me play keyboards in his studio. :) 

I've mostly used Scarlet Blaze as a chicken marinade - then, after grilling, slather more on top. It is fabulous! It is also amazing over grilled vegetables...even if you aren't a big veggie eater, I'm betting you'd be all over em after a drizzle or two of the sweet and spicy Scarlet Blaze. According to the company, it is also great on steak, pork, fish, and tofu. I can't vouch for those (yet) because my bottle was emptied rather quickly. 

Scarlet Blaze took the 1st place People's Choice spot in 2001 at the Pig n' Pepper Festival in Westford, MA. Ain't hard to see taste why! After trying Scarlet Blaze, not only am I going to buy more but I'm excited to try some of the other flavors. At $8.50 a bottle, it is a bit pricey but I absolutely think its worth it. So, give it a try and support a small local company. 

Give W.O. Hesperus Co. a 'like' on Facebook, too!

(Note: W.O. Hesperus Co. did not endorse or in any way promote this blog post.  This is a product I personally use and enjoy.  All opinions are strictly my own.)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Random Asides

For all you hungry readers, I'll be back with the food porn soon, not to worry! In the meantime, this has nothing to do with food. But I feel compelled to write anyway because it was totally awesome and a couple of big 'thank yous' are in order.

It was like Christmas around here!

A little while back, I was reading one of my fave blogs - The Great Fitness Experiment - when I took note of a contest, sponsored by Under Armour and BlogHer. Simply by commenting on her post about which UA gear you liked best, you were entered into a contest to win a $500 gift card for Under Armour. Well hell, sign me up! I quickly left a comment on the post...

Fast forward in time. I'm Crossfitting 4-5 times a week and I have just barely enough workout clothes to make it through the week, nor the expenses to buy any. [Random but humorous side story: I was heading to Crossfit but hadn't yet done laundry so my clothing choices were pretty limited: yoga pants or leggings. Because it 90+ degrees out,  the pants weren't an option. Soo, leggings it was. The only problem was they got a bit sheer when you squatted down...and, of course that day we had to do front squats during the wod. Sorry for flashing you all my booty, guys!]

Not so see-through, thankfully.

Anyway, as I was pondering about buying a few more workout pieces so my gym would be a bit less X-rated, I got an email saying that I had won the UA gift card. At first, I thought it must've been spam because I'd sort of forgotten about entering and almost deleted it! But it quickly came rushing back to me and I was totally excited! I love Under Armour gear - its comfy, super cute, and lasts forever - but I'm typically too cheap to buy it. Here was my chance and what a fantastic haul:

Yes, I like black. And, apparently, pink - which is a new one.

A warm-up jacket, 2 Cold Gear turtlenecks, 3 tanks, 1 tee, 3 bras, 2 pairs of shorts, 2 pairs of capris, Cold Gear compression pants, and a pair of socks...I'm gonna venture to say that I'm set for awhile. 

Thank you times a million to both BlogHer and Under Armour for this fantastic prize, as well as TGFE for posting about the contest. You made my week month year! :) 

And, for no other reason than that I'm OBSESSED with them, these are my new Crossfit sneakers that I got the same day as all my UA stuff - the inov8 f-lite 230s. Love em! <3

Be sure to check out The Great Fitness Experiment blog (and book of the same name). Charlotte is hilarious & witty, personable, and very knowledgeable. Happy reading :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WIAW #26 and Make It: Coconut Flour "Tortillas"

I am Sparta!

Haha on Saturday, my babe and I joined his sister's team to run the Spartan Sprint in Amesbury, MA. It was an absolute blast! The group was super friendly & enthusiastic and the course was awesome. Compared to May's zombie 5K, the Spartan was a little bit longer and had much better obstacles. The 20 or so obstacles included everything from monkey bars to shimmying under barbed wire to throwing a spear. Oh, and mud, of course...

I was very pleased to find that the trail running was much easier for me this time around. I guess that means all my pain and suffering hard work at Crossfit is really paying off! ;)

Sunday found us being a bit lazy and just running errands. And eating tasty food obviously. So, my WIAW this week is brought to you from Sunday.

Brunch: Meat lover's omelette and home fries

We slept in later than usual so we ended up at Watch City in Waltham for brunch! The omelette was stuffed with bacon, chicken-apple sausage, and ham. Happy day :D

Since we ate late in the morning, dinner was the only other meal we ate. [Except for a couple tasty Kosher dills.]

Dinner: Paleo-friendly fajitas; tomato-basil salad; turnip fries

I might have mentioned before but we are planning on giving the Paleo diet a try. We're starting the day after Labor Day! So, experiments have begun so that we aren't clueless about what to make when that day rolls around. 

The "tortillas" are quite different since the use of grains and corn isn't allowed on Paleo. They were made using coconut flour and eggs. Texture-wise, a bit eggy and they crack easier. Taste-wise, pretty good! I still plan on experimenting with other recipes but for now:

Coconut Flour "Tortillas"
makes 6

1/2 cup egg whites
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 teaspoons coconut oil

1. Mix the egg whites and water in a small bowl.
2. In a larger bowl, whisk together coconut flour and salt. Whisk in the egg white mixture until completely combined.
3. Heat a large skillet. Add 1 teaspoon coconut oil and allow to melt. Be sure to completely coat the entire bottom of the skillet with the oil.
4. Pour in 3 tablespoons of batter into the skillet. Quickly spread the batter into a larger, thinner circle by tiling and turning the pan. (Be careful!)
5. Fry 1 to 2 minutes on the first side, or until edges begin browning and lifting slightly. Carefully turn the tortilla over and fry 30 seconds to 1 minute on the other side.
6. Repeat with remaining batter, spreading skillet with another teaspoon of coconut oil each time.

As evidenced by the tear, these do stick a little bit, so be sure to oil thoroughly! After frying the first side, I would lift the tortilla up with a spatula and, using a silicone brush, would brush the remaining oil over the bottom of the skillet before flipping. [Wow, does that even make sense?]

I'd love to hear from you if you try these out, make any successful changes, or have any other recipes you like! :)

Oh, and if you're looking for something to do with all that extra garden zucchini, check out this Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins recipe. It is super yummy, I promise!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Make It: Zucchini, Banana, Flaxseed Muffins

Growing up, I was adamant that I did not like veggies infiltrating my breads or muffins. I liked the veggies on their own. I liked the baked goods on their own. But, the two together? Nah. This aversion went on until about two years ago...

That's when my babe asked if I'd make some pumpkin bread. And, being the great girlfriend I am [wink, wink], I whipped up a loaf. After all that work, I felt that I should perhaps at least try it. Taste buds change and all that. I mean, I was even starting to eat mushrooms. Pumpkin bread...psh, that should be a snap, right? Well, lo and behold, I freakin' loved it. Now I've been making up for lost time!

This was one of the first muffin recipes I made using squash. It eclipsed all others to become my absolute favorite muffin recipe! They have such great flavor and texture. Super moist, too. [Ugh, I totally hate the word 'moist' but sometimes it is the only word that'll really do. Anyone else hate it?]

I changed up the original recipe slightly, mostly trying to make them a little bit more health conscious. I swapped in white whole wheat flour and added much less sugar. I can't see the need to add a lot more sugar  since ripe bananas are already pretty dang sweet.

Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins
adapted from Everyday Food September 2011

Nonstick cooking spray
1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 to 1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar (depending on how ripe your bananas are)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated zucchini
1/3 cup mashed ripe banana
3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat muffin tin with cooking spray. 
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, flaxseed, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. 
3. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and vanilla. Add zucchini and banana; stir until combined.
4. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir until combined, being careful not to overmix.
5. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake 20 - 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Let muffins cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

My favorite way to eat these muffins? Slice them in half, toast em up a bit, then spread on some peanut butter. YUM! :)

(Pre-peanut butter'd think I was certifiable if you saw how much I smear on them.)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ribs, Ribs, Ribs (part 2)

Yeah, I definitely let enough time lapse in between this post and the last one. So, let's do this!

The weekend after the Ribfest, my babe and I went to the Phantom Gourmet Beach Party at City Hall Plaza in Boston. While the emphasis wasn't necessarily on ribs, of course they were the main attraction at most booths. 

And so, we did it all over again - trying ribs from each booth. The day's total came to 5 different orders of ribby goodness!

Aussom Aussie had really yummy ribs and sauce! Must have something to do with their barbie. (Haha, sorry.) I think they were my favorite on this day; however, my fave ribs are still from T-Roy's.

Anyway, if it wasn't obvious by now, I definitely like me some ribs. But there was something else that stole my heart [and stomach] that day. Something fantastically amazing...

Thick cut bacon. Smothered in chocolate. Topped with crushed M&Ms. 

Yep, I went there. It was the most perfect combo of sweet and salty. The thick cut bacon was definitely the best choice - a thinner slice wouldn't have been able to cut it.

Don't knock it til ya try it! Thanks, Firefly's!

They also held a qualifying event for the famous Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest at the Beach Party: 

Anxiously awaiting the next Phantom Gourmet event...September 30th's Food Fest!!!!

See you there! :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

WIAW #25

Before jumping into What I Ate Wednesday, I wanted to give a big thank you to Lish of jumpeatrun for nominating me for a Beautiful Blogger Award! What a nice surprise! :D

Here are the rules:
1. Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo and post it in your post.
2. Thank the person who nominated you & link back to their blog.
3. Tell all of us 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 7 other bloggers & comment on their page to let them know.
Seven things about MassachusEATS:
1. I love bacon and have since I was little and long before it was "cool." I even dressed up as bacon for Halloween last year!

2. I got my first cookbook when I was 5. Still have it, still occasionally use it. I have had a passion for cooking and baking ever since.
3. If its hot n spicy, I'll probably love it. 
4. I'm addicted to Crossfit! I recently deadlifted 205 pounds. :)

5. I'm a rock n roll kinda gal. Specifically 80s hair metal, despite being a 90s kid. I was about 10 when I saw a Def Leppard video on VH1. It was instantly love and I've never looked back.

6. I have 2 younger brothers. They, along with our close friend, are in a band called The Pity Whores. They've played on the Jerry Springer Show! (<--- This was filmed a awhile ago before my other brother was in the band.)
7. I didn't really travel anywhere [besides New England] until I was 18. The traveling bug hit me hard and now it is one of my favorite things to do. My babe and I are currently planning a big trip! Details forthcoming. :)
My seven nominations go out to:(Seven of my favorite WIAWers!)

1. Bec @ Half Baked
2. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

3. Sable @ Squat Like A Lady

6. Chelsea @ Chelsea Runs

It was a fairly boring day to report about but here goes. Make sure to stop by Peas and Crayons for more tasty WIAWs!

Breakfast: Egg whites and bacon <3

Lunch: Grilled chicken salad

Dinner: Pasta and sauce w/ grilled chicken, zucchini, and summer squash

I love wagon wheel pasta - it is such a fun shape! :)

Have a fabulous day everyone! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

WIAW #24

Happy first day of August!

I absolutely cannot believe that July has already come and gone. Seriously, time flies! When I was younger, I never believed anyone when they said that life goes by in the blink of an eye. But damn am I believing it now.

Anyways, I suppose I'm okay with it. Because then Wednesdays come by more often. And we all know by now what Wednesdays bring...another round of What I Ate Wednesday! :)

The theme this month is summer staples - what foods scream "summer" to you, how you use it, and all of that good stuff.

Between all of the fresh produce available and my grill going full bore, it seems that most of my summery staples are fairly simple and straightforward meals. Lots of refreshing salads, sweet fruits eaten out of hand, and grilled meats & veggies make their appearance much to my happiness. Not only are they filling and healthy (woo!) but prep is super simple and my kitchen stays a heck of a lot cooler.

Lately, I've been throwing garden-fresh zucchini onto the grill for a quick veggie side. Cut off the ends and then slice in half lengthwise. Rub it all over with a tiny bit of olive oil and sprinkle with preferred seasonings. (I usually stick with black pepper but we have this seasoned salt that is fabulous too.) Toss right onto the grill grates and grill on both sides til it is done to your liking. I don't have any timing for you guys unfortunately but just wing it - it'll be great, I promise!

(I sliced my zucc this time around so some of the oil & seasoning would get inside too.)

And keeping in the spirit of last month's fitness theme, I wanted to share a bit of news. While I have many goals I hope to achieve, my most desired one since starting Crossfit was to deadlift 200+ pounds. A couple of weeks ago, I hit 190# so I knew it would only be a matter of time. Well, on Monday, I deadlifted an additional 15# and hit 205!! Needless to say, I was - and still am, clearly - super psyched! :D

I should totally make these to celebrate, right?! ;)

Well, let's get on with things......

Breakfast: Oatmeal w/ banana, cookie butter, chia seeds, & ground flax

The return of my favorite oats! After a long retirement, this breakfast was welcomed back with open arms. 

Lunch: Salad w/ leftover steak tips, cuke, and cherries

I wasn't sure how the cherries were gonna be in the salad but I really liked em. And those steak tips? The best. damn. steak tips. ever. No lie. I'll be posting a review about the restaurant hopefully tomorrow or Friday, so swing on through if you're interested.

Snack: Baby carrots w/ garlic hummus

Dinner: Chinese takeout and champagne!

My babe closed on his house tonight so we celebrated with some bubbly and ate takeout on the floor!
 Big congrats, babeski! :D 

Oh, and last week I posted the July Fried-Day, so click on over for a peek!

Have a great week! 

( Ha, I'm a poet & didn't know it. )

( Okay, I'll stop now. ;) )