February 24, 2014

Faux Garlic & Chive Mashed Potatoes

For the past two months I have been on a low carb kick, along with my gluten free diet.  This can become challenging when it comes to finding low carb side dishes.  There are times when you just want mashed potatoes!

So this is what I came up with to satisfy my mashed potato craving.  Delicious and satisfying - I really felt like I was eating mashed potatoes.  Can't get much better than that!

Faux Garlic & Chive Mashed Potatoes

1 medium head of cauliflower
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1 tbsp chives, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Pour the broth into a saucepan and bring to boil.  Rinse and cut cauliflower into pieces then add to the boiling broth and cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until soft.  Drain and pat dry with paper towels (you want it as dry as you can get it), but do not let it cool.  Place cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor and add the remaining ingredients.  Puree until nice and smooth and it resembles the look of mashed potatoes.  Makes about 4 servings.

February 18, 2014

Penny Cluse Cafe, Burlington VT

Man, the last couple of weeks have been crazy around my house!  Problems with our furnace, major issues with my car, getting ready for vacation, anniversary/birthdays/holidays....you name it and it seems we've been hit with it!  I feel like I haven't had a second to breathe, much less work on my blog!  So, I decided to do a post on one of my favorite places in the world to have breakfast - Penny Cluse Cafe in Burlington, VT.

I say it's one of my favorite places for breakfast simply because that's the only meal I've gone there for, but I'm sure lunch would be just as fabulous!  Plenny Cluse was featured in a 2010 edition of the Food Network Magazine for the best place for breakfast in all of Vermont.  Specifically noted was their biscuits smothered in herb gravy.  I have to tell you - I am not a biscuits & gravy person when it comes to breakfast food, however Penny Cluse's herb gravy is TO DIE FOR!  I would order this for breakfast just so I can eat their amazing gravy!  I hope to one day be able to replicate that gravy. 

This past weekend was my birthday, so my husband took me to Penny Cluse for a celebratory birthday breakfast.  My most favorite thing in the world to eat for breakfast is banana pancakes.  It is the only type of pancake I will eat....no other is worth eating in my book.  Needless to say, I think I have banana pancakes maybe once a year so it is a special treat for me!  Penny Cluse happens to be the only place I know of that makes them the way I like them, so it's a great excuse to make the trip out there (below is a picture of a batch of banana pancakes I made - click here for my recipe).  

Breakfast at Penny Cluse was a wonderful start to my birthday!  If you are ever in Burlington VT, I highly recommend going to this amazing cafe - I promise you will not regret it!  

In the next few weeks I have a couple of fun things to look forward to - thank God because I could use a break!  First off is vacation in Antigua with my amazing husband to celebrate our 10th anniversary.  Then shortly after that we will be welcoming a new puppy to our family - a female charcoal lab.  We haven't decided on a name yet, but here is a picture of her:

She is actually the color of charcoal/gray (this picture doesn't do her coloring justice & the "brown" label simply means the color of her collar so they can tell them apart).  We are very excited to bring her home in a few weeks!  After we settle in with her, I hope to get back to more regular blog posts, so stayed tuned!  Till then - I will be thinking of you all as I bask in the Caribbean sun! ☺

February 9, 2014

Mexican Brownie Sundaes

I decided to challenge myself by entering a recipe contest (you can click on this link to see the contest https://www.facebook.com/FoodieBlogroll/app_451684954848385).  They gave us three ingredients that had to be in the recipe - chocolate, cinnamon and strawberries.  I am not a big fan of chocolate, but who can resist a thick gooey brownie with some vanilla ice cream?  Even I love the combination, and it's even better with a drizzle of caramel sauce.  These were the thoughts going through my head as I pondered what to make.  

I decided to go with a variation of it by making Mexican brownies (brownies with cinnamon in them) and using them in a sundae with vanilla ice cream and strawberries.  It seemed like a great idea in my head, so I went with it.  

I actually really enjoyed this dessert.  Everyone in my house did actually, which surprised me a little!  People in my house tend to prefer sticking to original recipes, so I was thinking they may not like the brownies with cinnamon in them.  They did however, and they loved this sundae.  Yay!  

Mexican Brownies

2 sticks of butter
4 oz of unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tbsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325.  Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper, grease it well with butter or cooking spray and set aside.

Melt the butter in chocolate in a medium sized saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously.  Remove pan from heat and stir in the sugar.  Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine until nice and smooth.  Add the flour and cinnamon, and stir until just combined.  Pour into baking dish and bake for about an hour, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.  Allow the brownies to cool for at least an hour before cutting.

To assemble the sundaes:  Put about 1 1/2 cups of sliced strawberries in a bowl and add about 2 tsp of sugar, then mash them together until they become mushy and juicy (feel free to add more sugar if you like them sweeter).  Take one brownie and crumble it up in the bottom of a bowl, top with some vanilla ice cream, then add some of the mashed strawberries, and then crumble some more brownies on top.  Enjoy!