Sunday, September 30, 2012

Today will be a most epic cheat day...

I'm heading to the annual Phantom Gourmet Food Fest in Boston today!
 
This will be my fourth time attending and something that I hope never to miss - it is a lot of fun. In the shadow of Fenway Park, both Lansdowne and Ipswich Streets get shut down and over 70 vendors set up booths with lots of samples. PGFF is one of the largest food festivals in the country!
 
Don't be fooled - it gets MUCH more packed than this!
 
Oh man, I already know I'm gonna eat way too much...99% of it not Paleo approved. Oops. Oh well. ;)
 
I'll have a recap of the fun for you soon!
 
If you're in the Boston area and would like to attend, there will be some tickets sold at the festival for $50. Don't forget to wear your purple!
 
 
Also...
 
Happy 21st birthday to my little bro! :D

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Instagram

A few months ago, I became another one of those people addicted to Instagram. I've always loved taking photos and later manipulating them with online photo processing programs...so, its been pretty awesome having one right at my fingertips. 


Cauliflower, orange cauliflower, and broccoflower...all in miniature! Seriously, these are about two bites worth each. Definitely worth the $1.49 because they are freakin' adorable. :)

Follow me @massachuseats, if you're so inclined!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Braised Oxtail (Paleo Approved!)

Braised oxtail.

My babe and I have been thinking about making oxtail since we first enjoyed it in the Caribbean. Thanks to our excellent tour guide, we ate lunch at Sandy's, a cool little place on St. Maarten. Amazing stuff and - just like that - we were hooked.


Guys, you need to get into the kitchen and make this as soon as possible. It was so totally awesome AND it was paleo! Besides, it is the perfect autumn dish - warm, hearty, and comforting. 

Some of you might be wigged out by the thought of eating oxtail. But there is no need to be! With proper cooking, oxtail is one of the most tender pieces of beef you can eat. The meat falls right from the bone with little effort. And, speaking of the bone, the bone and the marrow help in creating a wonderfully rich dish.


Paleo Braised Oxtail

4 tablespoons almond flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 to 4 pounds oxtail, trimmed of fat (grass-fed, if possible)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 slices bacon, chopped
3/4 cup red wine [I used Apothic Red]
1 (28oz) can ground peeled tomatoes
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano (optional)

1. In a shallow bowl, mix the almond flour, salt, and pepper. Separate the oxtail into its individual joints, if you want. (We separated some and left others whole. Don't know which is the "right" method but they both worked out just fine...so I guess do whatever.) Anyway, roll the oxtail in the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan on medium-high heat. Brown all sides of the oxtail in the olive oil. Remove oxtail and place in a crock pot.
2. Add the onions to the pan and saute until they begin to soften and brown, about 3 minutes, stirring all the while. Next, add the garlic and bacon; saute 1 minute, continuously stirring. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the wine. (Safety first!) Then, return to heat and deglaze the pan. (Deglaze = scraping up the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.) Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat and carefully pour into the crock pot. Now, add the ground peeled tomatoes, carrots, celery, and dry oregano to the crock pot and stir everything all up.
3. Turn the crock pot on low and leave it for about 7 hours. Once all that time has passed and your house smells great, skim any fat from the surface. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if needed. 

Notes: 
* Feel free to up the carrots and celery, if you wish. 
* Wine, in moderation, is a-okay on the paleo diet but you could probably substitute beef broth...it just won't be as good richly flavored.

We enjoyed our oxtails with a side of roasted butternut squash, apple, and cranberries and it was a surprisingly great combo. However, I couldn't help but think how fabulous a side of crusty bread, a pile of rice, or perhaps mashed potatoes would be to sop up the delicious sauce. But, a spoon worked just fine! ;)


Let me know if you decide to give try give oxtails a try!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WIAW #32

It is the last What I Ate Wednesday of September. Next time I see ya all, it'll be October - my favorite month. I love it because we celebrate two awesome holidays that month: Halloween and my birthday!! ;D 

Buuuut, I guess I should calm down since we're still a week away. However, consider this your fair warning: I might be a bit excitable in the coming weeks! Haha.

Thanks as always go out to Jenn for hosting this food porn party. And many thanks to everyone who posts their yummy meals because I've gotten some fantastic ideas through you all. 



Breakfast probably looks familiar from the past couple of WIAWs. I'm still obsessively eating 4 egg whites, half an avocado, and a piece of fruit...with water and green tea. Hey, there could be worse obsessions to have. This is a winning combo of protein, healthy fat, and fresh fruit that fills me right up after my Crossfit classes.


We've been feeling the fall chill around here lately so a hot lunch is a nice treat. (And so is busting out away from my usual salad.) I did enjoy a small side salad alongside a homemade paleo turkey sausage patty and sweet potato wedges. The sausage is pretty good but not perfect yet. I'll be sure to share the recipe once I get it down! 


My babe and I picked approximately 392 pounds of apples over the weekend so a batch of homemade applesauce was a total must. I'm sure all of you already make/know how to make applesauce but I shared the simple directions in this post for anyone interested.


Grilled balsamic chicken and spaghetti squash with pesto rounded out my day's eats. I made this pesto using cilantro and walnuts, rather than basil and pine nuts. Pretty decent though it definitely would've benefited from some grated Romano but...that's not very paleo, is it? ;)

Before you run off to read someone else's blog because I'm all "paleo and boring," give my most recent Fried-Day post a glance to find out where you can try these amazing fries!


The week is already half over - Happy Wednesday! :D

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Apple Season

Outside of Halloween, apple picking is definitely one of my favorite fall activities. Being outside in the crisp air, crunching through leaves, and shimmying up trees - yep, sounds like a perfect autumn day. 


On Saturday, my babe and I went to Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow, MA. After wandering around the large orchard, climbing ladders and taste testing quite a few apples, we filled an enormous bag with Macs and Spartans. Seriously, check out our haul...


Afterwards, apple cider donuts were a MUST! They were excellent and definitely worth breaking Paleo for. We got a half dozen and promptly ate them all up. #piggies


By the way, Honey Pot also has a corn maze, hay rides, and caramel apples & other food, so the ride up is worth the time. Make a day of it. I thought it was a fun little orchard, albeit pretty busy on the weekends.

As you can see, I'm now in possession of a TON of apples. I plan on eating most of them just straight up because I totally hate grocery store apples and avoid them at all costs, so this is the one time of year that I gorge on apples. However, a batch or two of homemade applesauce is a total must, right? 


I'm sure most of you already know how to make applesauce, but I'll share my method anyway. Peel and slice up a bunch of apples, toss em into a large saucepan with a big splash of water, and simmer the slices until they soften. Let them cool a bit and then smash with a potato masher for chunky sauce or smooth everything out with a stick blender. Most apples are sweet enough for me so I keep my applesauce unadulterated - just straight up apple. My babe likes his with cinnamon though, so I added some just for him. ;)


What else do you all like making with a surplus of apples? 
Share your favorite recipes!

(Also, how many times can I say 'apple' in one blog post?!) 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy Fried-Day! (September edition)

I was looking back at my previous Fried-Days and realized something: almost all of them are sweet. I'm actually pretty surprised by this discovery because I typically would rather eat something savory. So, where oh where are all of the savory noms? 

Wonder no more! I'm here today with one of the most notorious fried foods...

Good ol' French fries! 

Seriously, is there anyone out there who doesn't love the classic slice of spud, tossed into hot oil, and then sprinkled with salt?

Or, for your foodies, try some of the more "gourmet" fries that have been popping up all over the place lately. These particular beauties are Truffle Fries from Fox & Obel in Chicago - hot, crispy taters tossed with Parmesan and served with a truffle aioli. Amazing!


Who makes the best French fries?
What's your favorite way to eat 'em?

New reader? Check out previous Fried-Days HERE!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

WIAW #31


Happy WIAW everyone!

It's my third week of eating Paleo and its going pretty well and getting a bit easier. Though I totally had a cheat day this weekend and it...was...awesome! However, I'm not gonna say a lot here today because I want to share this fun mealtime survey I saw over on Jessie Loves to Run. The teen girl in me has always loved filling out quizzes and reading other people's answers. So, I hope that you guys will share your answers with me! :)

Breakfast: Egg whites and raspberries

Breakfast Questions

Favorite breakfast as a child?
Bacon. (Still is!)

Coffee or Juice?
I don't drink coffee at all and juice so rarely. Usually its just water.

The one food you eat most often at breakfast?
I go through phases where I'll eat the same thing for weeks. Right now, its eggs; before that, oatmeal.

Yes, that is my fridge right now. What?! They were on sale, $1 a dozen!

Lunch: Salad w/ chicken *Shocker, I know*

Lunch Questions

Sandwiches are generally considered a “lunch food.” If you had to choose between a grilled cheese and a peanut butter and jelly, which would you pick?
Grilled cheese. I <3 cheese in any way, shape, and form.

You can only put four ingredients in your salad (not including greens); what do you throw in the mix? Additionally, which greens and dressing do you pick?
I'd throw cucumber, tomato, black olives, and grilled chicken on top of my spring greens. Top that all off with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and black pepper.

One food you can’t live without at lunch?
Salad - I eat it almost every day.

Dinner: Cobb salad minus the bleu cheese (and that bread) :( from CBS Scene 

Dinner Questions

It’s the end of the day. You’re tired, hungry, and your fridge is empty. If a fast food (from a chain) is your only option, where do you go and what do you order?
Taco Bell! #7: a chicken quesadilla, a soft taco, and one of them huge cups filled with fruit punch. Extra Fire sauce, please!

TV/computer on or off while you’re eating?
Usually one of em is on, though I know its really better not to use them during meals.

The one food you eat most often at dinner?
Chicken. How boring, right? I wish it was pizza.

Snack: A couple spoonfuls of almond butter ;)

Dessert Questions

Choose between these two American desserts: cheesecake or apple pie?
Cheesecake with some kind of chocolate in it. I don't like fruit pies at all - bleh.

Choose between these two foreign desserts: tiramisu (Italy) or flan (Spain)?
Flan...tiramisu looks good but I hate the coffee flavor.

Ice cream: cone or cup?
Sugar cone!

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Randoms

Sometimes I get bored on the Internet. How that's possible, I don't know. But it happens. 

So I decided to share a couple of my favorite recent links with you all in case you're ever in the same boat!

Paleo Pumpkin Granola


As soon as I saw this post, I legit ZOOMED to the store to buy dates and then immediately set to work making a batch. Definitely was worth the effort because this granola is the bomb! Super crunchy and it tastes like fall! My brother had no idea that there wasn't any oats in it.

Paint Chip Calendar


A friend on Facebook posted this link and I love the idea of it! So much fun and very customizable. Plus, its reusable. 

Breaking Calvin


An amazing cross between Calvin & Hobbes and Breaking Bad. Who'd have thunk? Can't wait til more seasons are added!

12 Things You Should Be Able to Say About Yourself


I hope that you all can say positive things about yourself and your life! Because you ARE awesome! :D


Also, if you wanna be sucked into a total time vortex, feel free to peruse my 1,300+ pins on Pinterest. I'm forever adding more and more pins so follow my boards if you're into that kind of thang!

Ooh, and it is almost FRIDAY! Saturday, I'm running the Bold R Dash obstacle 5k and on Sunday, we're hitting up King Richard's Faire. Can't wait to nom on another one of these bad boys:

Turkey leg, ftw!

What are you doing this weekend?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WIAW #30

Before jumping into this week's WIAW, I had a couple of fun things to share! Well, they're cool to me anyway but if you're bored, skip on ahead. ;P

First off, I roasted a whole chicken for the first time! I'd been wanting to learn for a long time now but had never got around to it. I'm glad to cross that one off my list. Thanks for helping me, Mom! 

Certainly not going to be winning any beauty pagents with this photo but who cares when it tastes great?

After a great Crossfit WOD, a mess of errands, and roasting the chicken, I was in one of those productive moods. So I baked some Paleo pumpkin muffins...


...did a little decorating for Halloween...


...and finally got a couple of pictures hung in my living room. These had been in the corner of my room for, oh, a year now. Super pumped to have gotten them up there - they really finish off the room nicely. :)



And here we are at week 2 of my all-Paleo WIAW!


The first couple of days on Paleo pretty much sucked. Which I was expecting...but was still not prepared for. I had a headache for 4 days straight (though that may not have been the cause, I'm guessing it was) and felt super tired and weak during my workouts. So much so that I only ended up hitting Crossfit twice last week, rather than my usual 5 times. And that second day basically killed me. I ended up being a lazy bum the rest of that day.

Anyway, I'm happy to report that I'm feeling MUCH better this week. Most of my cravings have either disappeared or diminished. My headache and tiredness has lifted. And my workouts have been stellar. I snagged a 10# PR on my squat cleans on Monday (from 105# to 115#!) and have been resting less during the WODs. Whether this is from my eating Paleo or I'm invigorated from 3 days off, I'm not sure entirely sure. But I ain't gonna knock it!

Alright already, let's get to some eats. 

Breakfast: Egg whites, avocado, grapefruit

The new normal. But if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

Snack: Banana w/ almond butter

Someone please chime in here and tell me I'm not the only one who likes their bananas to be on the slightly greener side. Once they get all yellow - and especially with brown spots - they are just too gross for me to eat by themselves. Anyone else out there?

Snack: Raw Brazil nuts & almonds

Between a few handfuls of this, picking pieces off of the chicken, and taste-testing the muffins, I wasn't hungry for a real lunch. 

Dinner: Roasted chicken, baked sweet potato, salad

Yum, the perfect dinner for the first crisp fall day we've had!

And now I'm off to see what you have all been up to. Have a great day!

By the way, for anyone else Paleo, check out this chicken salad recipe:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Restaurant Roundup: Conrad's

While the Norwood location has been an institution for years, today I'm writing from the new Conrad's location in Walpole. And when I say new, I mean new - it just opened at the beginning of August.

The first thing I noticed about the Walpole location was their bar. No, not because I'm not an alcoholic, thank you very much, but because it is simply eye-catching. And its fully stocked so you're sure to enjoy your libation of choice. While here, I opted to keep it classy (for once) and sipped a glass of Blufeld Riesling while perusing the menu.


I don't know about you but I totally love appetizers. Conrad's has the usual munchy fare mixed in with some really fabulous picks. Conrad's makes their mozzarella in house and it is divine, so you can't go wrong ordering any app starring it. The Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella was fan-freakin-tastic. But how can bread, cheese, and prosciutto ever be wrong?


The Walpole menu is slightly different than Norwood's but have no fear - their famous steak tips are still there! Seriously, I'd been hearing about these things for ages from all kinds of people. So naturally, that's what I HAD to order for my meal.


Well, let me tell you - they are famous for a reason.  First of all, they are huge. Secondly, they are bathed in the most fantastic marinade...I'd drink it if I could. Finally, they are grilled to perfection - no overcooked tips here! Thank goodness because there's nothing worse than eating steak tips that are tougher than shoe leather.

(Here they are also on a Greek salad.)

And though I didn't try any myself (you know, being the resident seafood hater and all that), the scallops got rave reviews also. They, too, were huge and broiled in a white wine butter.


Aside from steak tips and seafood, Conrad's has a lot of other menu items so you're sure to find something to whet your appetite. Pizzas and calzones, Italian pasta dishes and sautes, and a host of salads. Not to mention an evil looking dessert menu. Mwahahah!

There seems to be a short dinnertime wait (20-30 minutes) since they opened, so keep that in mind. And while it might seem like a tad inconvenient when you're hungry, know that its because the food is worth it!

Oh, and my mom works there and she's the best ever so there's that too. ;)

Conrad's Walpole is located at 905 Main Street. 
(Or visit the Norwood location at 728 Washington Street.)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Make It: Avocado Chicken Salad

I legit just whipped this up maybe an hour ago and decided that it needed a blog post. Yep, it was that good. However, a picture was unfortunately not snapped because it was eaten too fast. Sorry but hunger won out!  It wasn't much of a looker though, so perhaps its best that I spared you?

This week has been the start of my Paleo adventure so I obviously needed something Paleo-friendly for lunch today. I also just bought a bunch of avocados last night and was itching to experiment with 'em. This is what I came up with!

Avocado Chicken Salad
serves 1

1 cooked chicken breast, diced
1/2 of a large avocado, mashed
Red onion, diced
Celery, diced
Dill pickle, diced
A squirt of Dijon mustard
Salt & black pepper
A sprinkling of cumin
A sprinkling of cayenne, if you're daring ;)

Mix all together. Adjust seasonings to your tastes. That's it!

Aside from the chicken and avocado "measurements," the rest of the recipe is merely a guideline. Add or subtract seasonings and mix-ins according to your taste.

While chicken salad is ideal for using up leftover chicken, I didn't have any cooked leftovers so I poached mine up.

To poach chicken, place trimmed chicken breasts on the bottom of a deep-sided saute pan. Cover with water or broth. (You could add veggies or herbs at this point for flavor too, if you were so inclined.) Anyway, bring to a boil and then quickly reduce heat to slow simmer. Simmer until chicken is cooked through. Mine only took about 10 minutes since I'd sliced the breast in half lengthwise prior to starting. Thicker ones will take longer.


Okay, a short and sweet post. Let me know if you give this one a try! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

WIAW #29

Welcome to my first all-Paleo What I Ate Wednesday!


My babe and I are doing a Paleo diet challenge with his sister and two friends from September 4th through November 21st. There aren't many strict rules aside from trying to adhere as much as possible to the Paleo diet guidelines, as listed below. Oh, and after the first two weeks, a cheat day will be allowed once a week. (I have a feeling I'll be living for those days but we'll see...maybe I'll be surprised.) So I'll be trying to fall into good Paleo eating habits this month!

For those of you who aren't sure what I'm talking about: the Paleo diet is basically about eating what the cavemen ate - fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat and fish, and nuts. What can't we eat? Any and all grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, and processed crap. Giving up cheese is going to be the toughest part of this whole venture for me. I freakin' love cheese. Sigh.

At first I was like, "WTF am I going to eat?" But the more I researched and thought about it, there is plenty of variety and ways to put together meals. I can't wait to show you all some! Starting with today's super simple menu...

Breakfast: Egg whites; avocado; nectarine slices

My new favorite breakfast! Obsessed with the egg and avo combo. 

Snack: Fresh watermelon

Lunch: Salad w/ chicken, tomatoes, and cucumbers

I seriously need to update my salads. While this is a decent combo, its a bit tired now. Let me know your favorite salad additions!

Snack: Green grapes and raw almonds

Dinner: Spaghetti squash w/ tomato sauce, broiled chicken, and sunflower seeds; tomato salad (unpictured)

This huge half of a spaghetti squash filled me up without weighing me down, like traditional spaghetti can. Not only that but it is so much less caloric, though I'm not going to be counting calories any longer. I can't lie though...it was tough not throwing a handful of Romano onto the squash!

So there ya go! While today was a bit more uninspired than I would've liked, it was still very tasty and filling. Stay tuned on here for more Paleo meals and recipes!

And Massachusetts residents, if you're looking for a great dinner out, check out my review of Tempo Bistro in Waltham. This was one of the best burgers I've ever tasted.



Have an awesome day!