Recipe: Corn Pasta Salad!

Happy Fourth of July weekend!!!

It’s been a while – guess my latest trend has been one post a year which is pretty lame, I know. :/ Hope you’ve all been doing well!! A super quick update on me: I’m going into my senior year of college (scary) and currently working at my dream internship learning a whole lot about my (hopefully) future career in forensic science and I am loving every second of it!!

A couple weeks ago my mom and I were waiting in the line at Wegman’s (our favorite grocery store with soooo many gluten free options), and we picked up a magazine that had a beeaaautiful picture of a pasta salad on the front. We instantly flipped through the pages to find the recipe and I snapped a picture so we could make it ourselves (that’s allowed right???). Pasta salad is such a Fourth of July staple that we figured this would be the perfect time to make it!! So let’s get into the recipe 🙂

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What you’ll need:

  • a pound of gluten free rotini (we used Barilla because that’s my mom’s favorite – my go-to is usually Tinkyada)
  • 1.5 cups frozen shelled edamame (we couldn’t find any shelled so we just bought the ones in the shell and did all the work ourselves)
  • 1 medium zucchini, spiralized and cut to about two inch lengths
  • 2 cups halved grape tomatoes (we only had red but you can use a mix of red and yellow to make it a little more fun)
  • 1.5 cups diced bell pepper (again we only had red but you can spruce it up with some more color!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil (or parsley if you prefer)
  • 5 ears of sweet corn, husks and silks removed, cooked
  • 1 clove of garlic (or two if you’re like me and always double the garlic)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper to taste

How to make it:

  1. First you’ll want to get your corn cooking since that takes the longest. While that’s cooking, you can get your pasta going and start chopping up your tomatoes, pepper, and basil, spiralizing your zucchini, and shelling all your edamame if you also can’t find shelled edamame. If you do have frozen shelled edamame, the recipe says to toss the edamame into your pasta water in the last two minutes of cooking to defrost them.
  2. To make the creamy corn dressing, cut the corn from 3 slightly cooled ears of cooked cobs and blend that up with the garlic and water until it’s smooth. Press this mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and throw away the solids. Whisk together the corn liquid, lemon juice, Dijon, salt, and pepper.
  3. Toss all your pasta, edamame, zucchini, tomatoes, pepper, basil, and the corn from the remaining two cobs in a large bowl (make sure everything is cool by running under cold water), coat with the dressing, and enjoy!!! We finished ours off with a little grated parmesan cheese, too.

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This is such a fresh and summery recipe and it’s sooo yummy. Perfect for a meal (you could even throw some protein in it if you want) or as a side for a barbecue!

Hope you guys like this recipe as much as I do and hopefully you’ll be getting more posts from me soon and it won’t take me another year 🙂

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Friedman’s

hello hello hello!!!

It has been wayyyyyy too long since I blogged anything!! I’ve missed blogging but school has been kicking my booty so I haven’t gotten around to putting up any new stuff.

It’s been about four weeks since I got back to school from my spring break and I am somehow still in deep denial that I have to be doing work (shiver). A regular workload for a week of a chem major is about three lab reports, a problem set, at least one homework assignment, and the occasional quiz/exam (so basically I never stop doing some kind of work). When I need the occasional distraction from all of this, I can think about this bomb meal that I ate at Friedman’s over break.

We went to a NY Rangers game in the city on one of my blissful, schoolwork-free days home, and we needed a place to grab some food before the game. We referred to the handy dandy Find Me Gluten Free app to see what was close to Madison Square Garden and we found Friedman’s, which had rave reviews. My dad and I had actually been to their Friedman’s Lunch location in Chelsea Market a little over a year ago when we visited the Whitney Museum of American Art, where I got a delicious grilled cheese with tomato soup and tried my dad’s amazing fish tacos, complete with cute little gluten free marker flag:

 

When we got to the Friedman’s restaurant only a couple blocks away from MSG, the first thing we asked about was their gluten free options. They told us everything (yes, I said EVERYTHING) except one item on the menu (the matzo ball soup) could be made gluten free. They told us the owner’s daughter has celiac so they are all very well trained in how to deal with a gluten allergy (which you can read about on their website). It was almost overwhelming to have a whole menus worth of options to choose from. Lucky for us it was happy hour meaning half off appetizers, so we got two! There was no way I was seeing vegetable potstickers on ANY menu without getting them, so that was app number one. Number two was the Korean chicken wings, because, well, chicken wings.

 

I think when I ate these I died and went to heaven. The potstickers were sooooo good—so  crunchy, so flavorful. There was a Sriracha aioli drizzled over top of the potstickers, and a ginger soy dipping sauce, and just the combination of everything together was amazing. The Korean wings were equally as heavenly. They were so crispy, as a chicken wing should be, and the SAUCE you guys. It was a sweet chili glaze, and I could have licked it out of the bowl. The theme of the appetizers for this meal: crunchy and delicious.

After the apps, I was almost too full to even eat my regular meal. But we power through for good food. I really wanted the chicken and waffles, just because I’ve never actually eaten chicken and waffles and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. Unfortunately, their waffle maker was broken 😩 BUT I still wanted some good ol fried chicken. So instead of a waffle, I got mac and cheese which is a pretty good tradeoff.

 

AND THE HEAVEN CONTINUED!!! The fried chicken was perfectly crispy, as expected after the perfection of the chicken wings. The pieces of chicken were huge, but I did my best to work my way through it. Sadly, the breading did not stick to the chicken too well so it started to fall off, but either way I was a happy girl. The mac and cheese straight up blew me away. The pasta was perfect, the creamy combination of cheeses was decadent, and the crispy breadcrumb topping provided a great crunch. I wish I had an endless bowl of this mac and cheese right now, I would never stop eating it.

I literally can’t believe how amazing Friedman’s was. I expected it to be pretty good based on its reviews, but I never would’ve expected it to be that good. I would go back here in a heartbeat, and I expect this to be a new regular spot for our visits to the city 🙂

Friedman’s breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner menus for their Herald Square location

Snap Custom Pizza

Wow, it’s been a while since I blogged. I’ve really been slackin’. I’m sorry, but I’m back!

I’m a little over halfway through my spring semester. It’s been going well, my grades are all A’s (except for chemistry with that dang C+, but I’ve got a couple weeks of quizzes and exams to get that baby up). Since I’ve been here at the good ol’ University of Delaware, I’ve been working my way through the restaurants on Main Street. There are literally so many choices, and a lot of them have gluten free options!

One of my favorites on Main Street is Snap Custom Pizza. They just opened at the beginning of last semester, and I could not wait to try it when I heard they would have gluten free crust! It’s a cool set up for a pizza place; it’s almost like a Subway but with pizza instead of subs. You pick the crust you want, the sauce, the cheese, the meat, and any other toppings you want, pick your finishing touches, then it gets put through the oven and in a few minutes, you have a nice fresh pizza! When you tell them you want a gluten free crust, they’ll ask you if it’s an allergy or preference. When you say allergy, they will change their gloves and apron and make your pizza separately in the back to make sure theres no cross contamination. They also have a separate pizza spatula (I think it’s called a peel?) to get it out of the oven and place it in a separate area to cut it with a separate pizza cutter. Needless to say, I love Snap Pizza.

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My standard pizza is usually this beauty: gluten free crust with pesto, shredded mozzarella, chicken, tomatoes, artichoke, and spinach, finished with roasted garlic oil. I mean, come on. Does that not just sound amazing?? The crust is one of the best I’ve had. The flavor is great, nice and thin but not too much so, and they always manage to get it perfectly crispy. The roasted garlic oil gives it the perfect amount of moisture and deliciousness. It is truly heavenly. My other go-to, for when I’m in the mood for your more typical pizza, is tomato sauce, shredded mozz, and pepperoni, finished with basil and parmesan. Also amazing. Now, I try to just treat myself to going to Snap every once in a while, but if you asked me if I’ve ever eaten there three times in one week…let’s just say I can not confirm nor deny that… 🙂

At Snap, you can either create your own pizza (which is my method of choice) or get one of their signature pizzas. But they’re not just all pizza, they also have salads and grain bowls, but when this girl goes to Snap, she wants to inhale an entire pizza. But you can see all their options on their menu. They have locations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, so you can find out if theres one near you!

Now, in the recent past, I was very upset with Snap Custom Pizza. On the day before St. Patrick’s Day, my local Snap in Newark, DE was having a promotion for $5 pizzas if you wear green. So I changed my shirt and walked my way up to Main Street to find a huge line of at least 40 people pouring out the door. But I thought, “I came all the way here. I’m not in a rush. I’ll wait in line. It’ll be worth it.” Well, 45 minutes later, I finally make it to the front of the line. I ask for a gluten free crust. She tells me they ran out of gluten free crust. Excuse me…what??? You what???? I was very upset, and since I was already on Main Street I angrily made my way over to Panera and bitterly ordered a Greek salad and tomato soup instead (which, by the way, was actually delicious, just not what I intended on eating). Waiting in line also made me late for my 8pm Grey’s Anatomy, which is obviously very important. So I did what my mother taught me to do: I wrote an angry (yet polite) email. And guess what? It paid off! I got a response from a very sweet woman named Nicole from Snap’s corporate offices, who sent me a free pizza card to use at my next visit (thank you Nicole!!!!!). So I actually ended up with a better deal than I would have gotten if they didn’t run out of gluten free crust. Moral of the story: angry emails work.

And moral of the blog: go to Snap Custom Pizza! If I could eat there every day I would. I love how attentive they are to my allergy, and they’re always very friendly and understanding. Definitely one of my favorite restaurants on Main Street, and one of my favorite restaurants anywhere.

Nuts.com Products (and Recipes)!

Hi guys! I was so excited to receive an email from a representative from Nuts.com asking me to tell you all about their great products. They were kind enough to send me a couple of their products to try out (yay free stuff!).

First up, black walnuts!

Now, black walnuts are like regular walnuts, but with a much more unique flavor. They’re also full of great health benefits; they contain more protein per ounce than any other tree nut, and they are very low in saturated fat, and high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (those are the good ones, they help maintain good cholesterol!). They come shelled and ready to go in the package, and I decided to make some pumpkin muffins and toss some of these in there! (I apologize for the lower quality photos, I forgot to bring my nice camera home so I had to make do with my iPhone camera)

These were really good! We used some pumpkin muffin mix that we got from Trader Joe’s. The muffins were fluffy and moist, and the walnuts provided a great crunch (I also added some chocolate chips, because a little chocolate never hurt anyone right?) I liked the walnuts in the muffins, but be warned, they are a little bit of an acquired taste. I probably wouldn’t eat them by themselves, but the unique flavor works pretty well when you put them in other things.

Next, pine nuts!

I never thought to eat a pine nut on its own, but I tried one and it actually tasted really good! It kind of reminded me of a sunflower seed. They have a great flavor that goes well in any kind of dish, and toasting them brings out even more nutty flavor! Like the black walnuts, these are also high in monounsaturated fats, which are great for heart health. They also contain nutrients that naturally increase energy levels (because who couldn’t use a little energy boost?). Anyway, the first thought that popped into my head for how to use these in a recipe was in pesto. But no, that’s too expected. I had to do something different. I didn’t want to blend them up into a sauce—I wanted to showcase them and their flavor. So I decided on a pasta dish with fresh tomatoes, artichokes, garlic, and basil. Heres the recipe! (Again, low quality pic, sorry 😩 )

Pasta with Tomato, Artichoke, and Pine Nuts

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What you’ll need:

  • 1 package Tinkyada Brown Rice Spaghetti (or whatever spaghetti you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • one 8.5oz can of artichokes, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • a little bit of oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan

How to make it:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and sautĂ© the pine nuts and garlic until light brown (I didn’t use all the oil for this step, just enough to toast the nuts and cook the garlic)
  3. Add the rest of the oil, tomatoes, artichokes, basil, and oregano and let it simmer for a little bit, and season with salt and pepper
  4. Toss in the pasta, and serve with grated parmesan

This really was such a delicious, fresh dish, and it allowed you to really taste the pine nuts. I can’t express how much toasting the nuts brings out the nuttiness; it was just so good. I will definitely be adding this recipe to my regular lineup.

Finally, the kind folks at Nuts.com sent me some gluten free snacks to try out. I got roasted chickpeas, veggie chips, and half-popped popcorn.

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The chickpeas were really really good. I’ve been wanting to give chickpeas a try as a healthier alternative for a snack, and they exceeded my expectations. I’ve been sitting in my dorm snacking on them since I got them. I think they taste kind of like a cross between a peanut and a sunflower seed. It’s great. Some friends on my floor had a little sampling session in the hallway and they liked them too! So the chickpeas have been college student approved. Now the next two snacks were kind of a toss up; I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about them. I’ll talk about the veggie chips first. I didn’t think I was going to like them that much. Well, correction, I knew I would like the sweet potato chips, I wasn’t sure about the carrots, squash, taro, or green beans. Yes, I said green beans. Someone made green beans into chips. And surprisingly, I liked them. And everything else in it for that matter. They each have a unique flavor, and I really like it. As for the half-popped popcorn, the name is literal—it really is only popped halfway. I was imagining the weird pieces of popcorn that don’t get fully popped when you microwave the bag. But these were not that. They are delightfully crunchy in just the right way. I really enjoyed them! I’m happy to have these great snacks as options for hanging out in my dorm. I might just have to order more when I run out!

I’m so happy that I got to try these products, and a big thank you to Nuts.com for sending them to me! They’re definitely worth a try!

Although I was not paid for this review, I received free samples of Nuts.com products. However, everything I’ve said in this review is my honest opinion and reflects my own personal experiences.

1 Year Blogiversary!

1-year-blogiversary

45 posts, 3,763 views, 151 followers, 1 Gold Award, and 1 year later…

I can’t believe it’s officially been one year since my first blog post! It feels so weird that it’s only been a year; I feel like I’ve been doing this forever. If only I knew then how much I would love blogging. I just wanted to write a little post to say how much I appreciate everyone who’s supported me this year and everyone who’s followed, commented, liked, or even just checked out my blog. I’m so proud of everything I’ve been able to do, and I’m so happy to have help others with my experiences! I can’t wait for the next year to be just as good. 🙂

Life Update!

Hey everyone! Since the last time I posted, I have officially become a Blue Hen (complete with cool, yet slightly culty, induction ceremony)!

udel induction ceremony

Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, but college has been keeping’ me pretty busy. I’ve been at the University of Delaware for about 5 weeks, and it’s been awesome! I’ve met a whole bunch of great new people, and I’m enjoying all my classes. It took quite a bit of adjustment in the beginning (it was weird to think that I live here now), but I’m mostly used to it! I still miss my family (and my cat) a lot though.

As for the food, I’ve been doing pretty well. Most of the time I eat at Caesar Rodney Dining Hall (I talked a little bit about it in this post), since it’s the most convenient because of the gluten free station. I can also order a meal ahead of time from Russell Dining Hall, which is literally 5 steps from my dorm room, but I either always forget to do it in time or nothing in there is any better than what’s in Rodney. I have ordered from Russell a couple times, but I’ve found that I like the food in Rodney better. One day I ordered pasta with meat sauce from Russell (which I was really excited about, since we all know I love pasta and I hadn’t eaten any since I moved in), but when I got it, the pasta had all completely fallen apart. I had a bowl of pasta mush. But that has been my only bad experience here with food! The quesadillas from Rodney are literally fantastic. How can you go wrong with a good ol’ gluten free tortilla filled with chicken,  black beans, and melty cheese??? Answer: you can’t. I’ve also eaten at a couple restaurants on Main Street, like California Tortilla, Honeygrow, Home Grown, Panera, and more (there’s literally so many options on Main Street). All have been great; maybe if I get some time soon I’ll write a full review on a couple of them. Also, for the times I just don’t feel like leaving my room or I don’t like anything in the dining halls, I just eat a frozen meal or a can of soup in the comfort of my own room.

Overall, college is pretty fantastic so far. I can’t wait to share some exciting college stories with you all soon. 🙂

Europe Days 5-10: Italy, France, & Spain

Ok guys, I suck and I’ve completely procrastinated writing my next Europe post (I really have a good excuse, I’m getting ready to head off to college!), so to avoid even more delay, I’m gonna just knock it all out in one post. Prepare for a very long European food whirlwind.

So after our leisurely day at sea, the week of back-to-back ports began. First up was Sicily, Italy. We chose the Taormina On Your Own cruise excursion, so we took about a 45 minute bus ride to Taormina (with beautiful views) and were able to just wander around town. This was such a beautiful little place, with stunning scenery. I mean look at this:

Seriously, just amazing. Taormina was very close to being my favorite place, but not just for the scenery. We went to lunch at a nice little restaurant called La Botte. Our tour guide told us they have gluten free pasta, and when we got there and told the waitress I would be ordering gluten free, she said it would be a little longer because they have to boil new water (which means they didn’t cook it in gluten-y pasta water, yay!!). I ordered Penne ala Norma, which was GF penne with tomato sauce, aubergines (aka eggplants), ricotta, and basil, along with the necessary bottle of house white wine for everyone to share.

First impression of the dish when they placed it in front of me: what are these french fries doing in my pasta???  But I soon remembered they were eggplants, and when I took a bite, I think I went to heaven. This was the most delicious thing I’ve eaten in my life. The pasta was perfectly cooked, and I have no idea what they make their GF pasta out of in Europe but it tasted like I was eating regular pasta. There was some toasted parmesan around the edge of the plate and I could’ve eaten that straight out of a bowl. Everything about this was perfect, and I was so sad that I was too full to finish it! 😩 We of course had to end the afternoon with a delicious chocolate gelato pop from a cute place on the street, where all the pops are “senza glutine”!

For dinner that night back on the ship, I got vegetable spring rolls and seared tuna as appetizers (two appetizers is a necessity on cruise ships), veal parmesan with spaghetti as my entree, and of course, chocolate melting cake for dessert! It was all delicious, except the seared tuna was a tiny bit bland.

Next day: Naples. We did a scenic drive of the Amalfi Coast and spent about an hour and a half (which was definitely not enough time) in Sorrento.

This was also a really pretty town! Now, we knew with only an hour and a half, eating somewhere would eat up (haha) most of our time. But we were in Europe, so we were going to eat. So we went to Ristorante Tasso for some gluten free pizza! I got the Calabrese pizza, which had tomato sauce, mozzarella, and spicy salami. It was so good! A little soggy, so I had to eat it with a fork and knife, but undeniably amazing. I didn’t finish it, but I brought it with me and finished it in the cruise terminal, where I also bought a cappuccino and a bag of gluten free Italian pasta to bring home! We also of course got more chocolate gelato while we were in Sorrento.

Dinner that night I was a little wild. As my first appetizer, I got braised ox tongue. Sounds gross, I know, but it was actually really tasty! The sauce was ridiculously flavorful. My other app was broccoli cheese soup, which was amazing. Closest I’ve ever gotten to Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup, so I was very happy. My entree was salmon cakes, which were very tasty and herby, and a s’mores parfait for dessert, which was more like just a glass of chocolate mousse and marshmallow. That night we also enjoyed a beautiful sunset from the ship!

Next up was Rome, the crazy busy day. Rome was not our favorite place. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful and the sights were amazing, we just didn’t really get a chance to enjoy it because we were rushed way too fast through it all. We saw the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Coloseum. It was just a lot to do in such a short period of time, and we didn’t get enough time to appreciate it. For lunch, we went to Ristorante Naumachia, and I got a Caprese salad, which was very good. Not a lot of gluten free choices here, but we were pressed for time.

Dinner that night featured a cruise staple: escargot. Those delicious, buttery lil balls of flavor along with fried shrimp were my appetizers, and my entree was a seafood pasta dish with calamari, salmon, mussels, scallops, and shrimp. For dessert I ordered cheesecake, but instead I was given bananas and strawberries in a caramel sauce (I thought they maybe couldn’t make the cheesecake gluten free for some reason).  I missed my cheesecake, but this was pretty good too.

escargot

Stay with me here, only three more days to get through! The next day was Florence, which was the consensus favorite of the whole trip. Especially after being in such a hustle bustle type city like Rome, Florence was just calm and beautiful and relaxing. We did a little walking tour for about an hour, then we were off on our own to shop and wander. We went to lunch at a restaurant our tour guide recommended called Casa Toscano. I got GF penne with mushroom sauce and bacon. I was expecting a white or brown kind of sauce, so I was surprised when it was a tomato sauce. Either way, it was delicious! We spent the rest of our time just walking around and buying some souvenirs, and obviously eating more gelato.

When we were back on the ship and dinnertime rolled around, I got alligator fritters (may sound weird, but very delicious) and lobster bisque (WOW this was fantastic) as appetizers. For my entree, I got chicken cacciatore, which was pretty good but not great. For dessert, I got the melting cake, AND apparently the night before (when they brought out the wrong dessert to me) we had left before our waiter found my actual dessert.  He had brought my cheesecake out but we were gone! So he kept it in the refrigerator over night, and I got two desserts. 🙂

The next day we were in Marseille, France, and we did a bus tour with some free time to walk around. The town was beautiful; I really loved it. Again, I just wish we got to spend more time there! We didn’t end up eating lunch here; we just went back to the ship and I headed up to Cucina del Capitano for some GF spaghetti with pomodoro, grilled chicken, eggplant, onions, and peppers (the same thing I got on the first day at sea that I loved).

My appetizers at dinner that night were clam chowder and crab cakes, which were both amazing. Continuing with the seafood theme, I then got jumbo shrimp as my entree. And for dessert—surprise!—melting cake. (Why didn’t I take any pictures of my food this night???)

Our final cruise day was spent in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. This was the surprise stop, because we didn’t think we were going to love it as much as we did! It was really beautiful, and we had a great time just walking around town. We went to a restaurant called Sa Casa for lunch, which had gluten free items marked on the menu. This was a tapas restaurant, so we all shared what we got. My mom and I split the zucchini carpaccio and goat cheese salad, and I gave my dad’s chorizo and mussels a try. Everything was amazing! Palma turned out to be an awesome place.

For my last cruise dinner, I ordered frog legs and steamed mussels. It was my first experience with frog legs, and it was actually very good! For my entree, I got prime rib, which was so juicy and delicious. My last dessert of the cruise was carrot cake, which was kind of a toss up because I’d never had it before, but I loved it! I ended our last night off later with a piña colada and a comedy show.

We were so sad to wake up the next morning to have to get off the ship and get on our plane. But we had a short layover in London to hang out and eat lunch in the airport. With this came the challenge of finding something for me to eat. But there was a little cafe that had some pre-made meals, so I got mushroom risotto. It was surprisingly good for airport food! When we got on our plane to take us back to America, we also got a meal. This time we called far enough ahead to get me a gluten free meal, so I had chicken with gravy, potatoes, carrots and green beans, a salad with Italian dressing, a fruit cup, and a really super delicious and soft gluten free roll! My experience with airport and plane food was better than expected.

Overall, this was a seriously amazing trip. I am so thankful to have been able to have this incredible experience, and I hope I get a chance to go back at some point! Hopefully, if you’re ever visiting any of these fantastic places, I have given you some good options to try out and enjoy. 🙂