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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Europe Day 1 & 2: Barcelona

Now that I’ve been home for a over a week and I’ve had time to relax and mourn the fact that my amazing vacation is over, I am ready to tell you all about my trip!

So on June 28th, after a crazy busy week including my UDel orientation the day before, we packed up our van and drove off to the airport! We flew out of JFK Terminal 3, which actually had a decent amount of gluten free food options. I didn’t end up eating anything from here (except a bag of the necessary kettle cooked salt and vinegar chips and a mocha latte from Starbucks), because I was able to eat the salad that came with the meal on the plane (we waited too long to call about a full gluten free meal and couldn’t get one). The flight was long to say the least. 7 hours of trying—and failing—to get some sleep. So because of the 6 hour time difference in Barcelona, we left New York at 5:30 pm and landed in Barcelona at around 7 am. We were told that it’s bad to just go to sleep when you arrive in the morning, because it’ll throw you off for that night. Plus, we couldn’t check into our hotel until 3. So we just wandered around for 8 hours, which was fun. We just explored the area, and went to this nice little market called La Boqueria Market.

This place was so cool! There was meat, cheese, fresh fruit, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I had this awesome little coconut banana juice that was delicious. I also had some fruit and tried some of the salami that my dad got. It was some good stuff.

So then we just walked around and explored a little bit more around the main road. We ended up over at the Maremagnum, a mall right on the water. We ate lunch here at a place called Kurz & Gut. They had gluten containing items marked on the menu, which caused some confusion because I thought the things that were marked were the gluten free things. Once I realized that was not the case I had a much smaller selection to choose from. I got a salad that had mozzarella stuffed chicken on top with some oil and balsamic vinegar as the dressing.

kurz & gut salad

Overall a pretty average salad. The chicken was pretty good but not anything super special. Not the greatest first meal in Europe, but there were plenty more to come! After lunch we did more wandering, and ended up sitting in the little hotel courtyard waiting to check in. This is also where we took our mid-day nap. So finally 3 o’clock rolled around and we settled into our hotel room. But not for long, because then we needed dinner! We went to a cute little place called Allium Restaurant. This was one of the places that we found in our preliminary restaurant search, and I wanted some authentic Spanish food! To start off I got some gluten free bread. They topped it with tomato, olive oil, salt and pepper and it was delicious! We also ordered a pitcher of Sangria for the table (drinking age in Europe is 18, yay!) and that was very good. As a main dish, my dad and I split the Paella. I was very surprised when the plate arrived to me with four giant shrimp staring back at me. Yes staring, with their little beady eyes. Needless to say I made dad get the meat out of them for me, because I was not touching those things! The paella was very tasty and had a very strong seafood flavor—my only problem was that I think it needed a little more seasoning. Maybe just some salt and pepper; it just seemed like it was missing something.

I then of course had to get dessert from somewhere. So we went to a gelato place right near our hotel called La Squisita and got some chocolate and hazelnut gelato! The man was so nice, when we asked what flavors were gluten free he pulled out a list and read them all off to us! With how many were gluten free he might as well had just told us the ones that weren’t. The gelato really hit the spot. After this, I was ready to go into a full on coma. At that point we had been awake for waaay too many hours. So by 7:45, we were all in bed fast asleep.
la squisita gelato

Fast forward to the next morning: we woke up very refreshed from the extremely long sleep. My mom went over to a cafe that appeared to be a chain called Pans & Company to get some breakfast for her, my dad, and my brother. She also brought me back a decaf coffee to have with my breakfast, a Whenever Bar. Once we were all fueled up and ready to go, we set out to see more of Barcelona. When time came for lunch, we went to another restaurant we found on Find Me Gluten Free called La Lluna. This place was AMAZING. I could not believe how incredible this restaurant ended up being. First of all, it was a three course meal—appetizer, entree, dessert, and a glass of wine—for only 15 euros. I’ve never seen a price like that anywhere. The gluten free options were marked on the menu, so it was very easy to order. For an appetizer, I got the White Bean Salad with Bacon and Basil Pesta. This was sooooo delicious! I loved it a whole lot. The flavors were just perfect. I also tasted my dad’s appetizer, the Potatoes with Poached Egg. It tasted like breakfast, and it was so good. For my entree, I got the Dogfish Gratin with Creamy Spinach Mascarpone. Again, I loved this so much. The melted cheese on top of the fish made it so flavorful, and the spinach was smooth and creamy. I tried my mom’s pork dish which was covered in this amazing gravy; I was dipping my bread in it non stop. OH, I almost forgot to tell you about the bread!!! This was the best gluten free bread I have ever eaten in my life. It was crunchy on the outside and really soft and fluffy on the inside. I wanted to order 200 and take them home with me. So for dessert I got the cheesecake, and it was great! I was a little nervous about it because it had what they called a cinnamon crumble on top, and while it certainly could be made gluten free, and was marked gluten free, I had a funny feeling about it. But I ate it anyway, and didn’t get sick from it so my feeling was wrong! I also tried my mom’s Homemade Coconut Soup with Sorbet (tasty, but the soup and sorbet definitely needed to be eaten together and not individually to get the full effect) and my dad’s Soft Catalan Cheese with Honey and Nuts (not a huge fan of this, but my dad enjoyed it). I wish I could eat here every day of my life. I would say this was the second best meal I ate on this trip (you’ll have to wait til a little later for the best!)

So after this, my dad and brother went with the family who went with us on this trip (otherwise known as our cruise family) to Camp Nou, the Barcelona soccer stadium, for a tour. My mom and I aren’t very into soccer and weren’t interested in seeing this, so we went shopping instead. We had a great time just walking around and buying things, and eventually found our way back to the hotel to figure out dinner. We decided on a tapas restaurant that we had passed on our way back from lunch called El Pintxo de Petritxol. I was a little iffy about this place when we sat down and the waiter didn’t seem too knowledgable about gluten free options, but then I talked to another woman who seemed to know a lot. I ended up ordering the grilled squid tapas and the cheese plate. I didn’t know if I would like the squid, but I actually loved it! Whatever sauce they had on it was great. I think it was some kind of herby olive oil thing. The ends of the tentacles were crispy and crunchy and awesome. I loved it so much, I ordered a second one! The cheese plate was also delicious. Really, can you go wrong with a cheese plate??? I could not tell you what kind of cheese was on this, but whatever it was, it was good (except the bleu cheese, ew). They also gave us some free shots for some reason at the end of the meal—I think the waiter had a crush on Lauren (member of cruise family). So I took my first shot ever, of what the waiter told me was their version of Bailey’s Irish Cream, and I discovered that I do not like the way it feels to take a shot. But it was an interesting experience!

We then made the walk back to our hotel and hung out there for the rest of the night. We went to bed very excited to get on the cruise the next day!!

Up next- Day 3 & 4: First Day of Cruise and Day at Sea! 🙂

Gold Award Ceremony

girl scout gold award ceremony 2016

On Thursday, I received my Girl Scout Gold Award at a nice little ceremony at The Mill in Spring Lake, NJ! It’s the highest honor a Girl Scout can get, and I am so proud that I was able to complete my project. As I’ve said, this blog is a big part of the project, and I have enjoyed it immensely—even more than I ever thought I would.

So of course, I’ve got to talk about the food that was served at the ceremony! I’m always a little nervous going into banquet type events because I don’t know if they’ll have anything for me to eat. So we called ahead of time and were told that they didn’t have the menu for the night on hand (the woman on the phone couldn’t get a hold of the catering manager), but they would definitely be able to serve me something that would be gluten free. I was also extra comforted by the fact that on their regular restaurant menu they have plenty of gluten free options marked. So even if what they were serving at the dinner wasn’t gluten free, they would have the resources to make me something.

the mill gluten free salad

So while everyone was still arriving and checking out the project displays (you can see mine in the middle picture of the collage up at the top), the servers started bringing out salads to every table. At this point I hadn’t spoken to anyone yet to make sure I got gluten free meals, so I asked a server who then went to confirm that the salad dressing was gluten free, and it was! So I sat down and enjoyed my little salad with what I assumed was some kind of raspberry vinaigrette. I liked it, it was tasty, but just a salad. I found it strange that the pieces of cucumber were so tiny. My mom and I were joking that it seemed like they ran out of cucumber and had to cut it up really small to make sure every plate got a little bit. It made me sad because I love cucumber and I like having big rounds of it in my salad. Otherwise, a nice salad.

the mill gluten free stuffed pepper

The main course was where my concern was. There were three options: chicken, tilapia, and a stuffed pepper. And it turned out the stuffed pepper was gluten free, so no need for a separate meal! Yay! It was a roasted red pepper stuffed with quinoa and served with vegetables. It was delicious! I initially looked at it and thought it was weird that there were golden raisins in the quinoa, which I don’t really like, but as I ate it I didn’t even taste the raisins. Overall, the pepper was awesome. The vegetables were also really good. Only complaint: the carrots were pretty undercooked, some of mine even tasted raw. But the zucchini and yellow squash were very well cooked and very yummy. This was a pretty successful meal.

the mill gluten free dessert

Dessert is always the part of the meal that I expect to just have to skip. But when we were being called up to receive our awards and the cake was being served, I asked my waiter if he could find me something gluten free. He came back with this cute little glass of strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. It was so nice! I refrained from eating it until after I was called, because I had this vision of me having berry seeds stuck in my teeth as I’m smiling nice and big for my pictures. But once I got back, I very much enjoyed my little berry glass.

Overall a successful meal and a very successful night.  I feel so honored to have received this award. I’m so excited that all the hours and hard work that went into my project has paid off and I can’t wait to keep it going in the future! I also want to say thank you to all of you who have followed my blog and supported me, and I hope that I have been able to help you all in some way. 🙂

Brick House

This past week was my brother’s 20th birthday (man he’s old). Every year for everyone’s birthday, the birthday boy/girl chooses their favorite restaurant and we go out to dinner. Unfortunately for Ryan and my parents, I’ve kind of limited their choices since they don’t really get to pick wherever they want—it has to have gluten free options. But that doesn’t mean we don’t go to some great restaurants!

brick house gluten free menu

This year Ryan picked the Brick House for his birthday dinner. I love the Brick House (their deviled eggs are heavenly, but we’ll get into that later), but I’ve had a couple issues with them lately. The past couple times I’ve been, they’ve messed up my order and given me something with gluten on my plate. Which then leads to me feeling very very bad about telling my waiter that they need to take my plate back and make me a new one, although I know it has to be done. I’ll talk more about the problems I’ve had a little later. They do have a separate gluten free menu, which has a decent number of options, ranging from appetizers to salads to entrees to sides. They don’t have any dessert listed, but they do have ice cream, which is always a good end to a meal!

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Every time I go to Brick House, I must get the deviled eggs. They are amazing. Even if my parents go here without me, I always make them bring me back an order of deviled eggs. They’ve got bacon and green onions and paprika on them, and how could anyone say no to that? I could eat a million of these if I had an endless supply, but unfortunately they only give me six of them. 😦

brick house gluten free entrees

I’ve tried a bunch of Brick House’s entrees. I’ll start with the picture in the top left corner. This is what I got when we went for Ryan’s birthday, because I wanted to try something different than what I usually get. This is the Black Rum BBQ Salmon. I actually don’t love barbecue sauce that much, which would probably make you question why I would order this, but I did enjoy it! Confession: I may have just ordered this because it came with potato salad and I love potato salad with all my heart. And this potato salad was great! Only comment: I think the potatoes could’ve been cooked a little more, because they were a little bit hard for my taste. Moving on to the bottom left pic, the Drunken Chops. I’m usually not a meat person, but I wanted to give these pork chops a try. And I’m glad I did, because they were great! Very well cooked, very delicious sauce, amazing mashed potatoes. It was just wonderful! Next, top right pic, Grilled Mahi Mahi. This is where my problems occurred. I love this dish; the fish is great and I love love love the little remoulade sauce it comes with. But multiple times I ordered this, even when I specifically mentioned that I was ordering off the GF menu and have a gluten allergy, they served me a side salad with croutons on it. Which, of course, since the croutons are on the plate with the fish, meant I have to get a whole new plate made. Well, one time when I sent it back for a new one, the new piece of fish had a large piece of plastic stuck to it. Now this isn’t a gluten problem, this is a general culinary problem. You shouldn’t serve someone a dish with a hunk of plastic on it. This made me so sad because I love this meal so much, and they messed it up for me numerous times. Finally, bottom right pic, Filet Mignon Salad. This wasn’t my meal—my aunt ordered it and allowed me to try it—but from what I tasted it was very good! She ordered it with a side of bleu cheese, which I don’t love, but she said it was great!

Brick House has 26 locations in Ohio, New York, Texas, Missouri, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and of course New Jersey. I may have had my issues here, but it’s still a great restaurant and have been very understanding and gracious when fixing what was done wrong (and I’ve never actually gotten sick after eating here, so they have done a good job of making sure that the meal I eventually got was gluten free). I think it’s worth giving a chance because the food is genuinely delicious, just make sure you make it very very clear that you are gluten free/have gluten allergy!

College Decision!!!

Big news!! After months of back and forth between the University of Delaware and The College of New Jersey, I’ve finally made a decision on where I will be going to college! I have decided to go to…

University of Delaware! 😀

university of delaware

The campus is sooo beautiful! I love it so much. In the end, picking UDel just felt right. I’m so excited to go already! I would start tomorrow if I could. I’m already buying things for my dorm, and I still have four months until move in day. One of my favorite parts of this school is all the gluten free options! They just built a new freshman housing complex, which included a brand new dining hall, called Rodney Dining Hall. And it has a designated gluten free station! Meaning they only cook gluten free food here. Meaning very very little chance of cross contamination (I can’t say no chance for sure since there are other gluten foods in the hall). When we visited in March, we tried out Rodney.  Once we walked into the hall, the first person we ran into was the chef from the gluten free station! She was so ridiculously nice. I loved her. I’m so annoyed at myself for not asking her name, but I’m sure now I’ll get to know her very well since I’m going to see her all the time for all my meals! We visited at a weird off-time, around 3 o’clock, so they didn’t have the full range of options that they usually would since they were in the transition between lunch and dinner. At this time, they had cheese pizza, chipotle chicken BLT wraps, and salad. So what did I do? I tried them all!

udel rodney dining hall gluten free

Considering the dining hall horror stories I’ve heard, this meal was pretty great. Let’s go from left to right. So the salad was good; it was a salad. Lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, italian dressing. Pretty basic, but good. The pizza was so much better than I thought it would be. I thought it was going to taste like icky frozen pizza with not-so-great ingredients, but it wasn’t that at all! The crust was really nice, and the sauce and cheese tasted like pretty good quality stuff. I really enjoyed it. The chipotle chicken BLT wrap was tasty too! The wrap itself was one of the better ones I’ve tasted. The stuff inside was really good, but I wish there was more of it! The chipotle chicken had great flavor, and a great little spiciness to it. I just really wanted a good stuffed wrap, and the filling was a little sparse. Overall, this food completely exceeded my expectations!

So the dining hall has a little online portal where you can see the menu for the next couple weeks. I’ve seen some really good looking lunches and dinners, but there’s no gluten free options listed in the breakfasts. So of course, that was my first question to ask. Super nice gluten free lady told me that she always has some breakfast options for “her kids” at the gluten free station, like muffins and cereal.

But Rodney isn’t the only place to eat gluten free on campus. There are plenty of off campus restaurants that I will be able to stop in and grab something to eat, whether it be a meal or a snack.

Here are some places that I’ve already tried that I know are wonderful:

And some that I plan to try:

I can’t wait for August to come. I’m so excited to try all the new gluten free food in Newark. And even more excited to be a Blue Hen!! 💙💛