Now Eat THIS….

Well, let me begin this post by expressing my anger for WordPress post scheduling. Twice now a post I’ve scheduled has not made its way to you, dear blog and readers and not known about it until I log in to write the next post.  This is SEVERELY unnerving for someone who keeps her ducks in a neat little row for the most part.  So, let me give you the short but sweet version of the blog you SHOULD have gotten yesterday!

Thursdays are now known on my blog as Now Eat This Thursdays!  I love food, and I’ve had my challenges with it.  But in the past year, I’ve really made a thoughtful attempt to improve my eating and cooking habits.  I’ve been diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease, so following a Gluten Free diet has become very influential in this turn for the healthy.  It’s very easy when you’re living on your own to eat cereal or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But, neither of those things are good food staples…once in awhile, of course! (I’m not a sadist for cryin out loud).  Healthy, fresh and GF are my most important focuses when it comes to cooking now.  I’m also a proponent of extra sleep, so making things in a family size quantity and then refrigerating/freezing them in smaller, lunch size containers keeps me in bed for an extra few minutes on my 6 days of work that require a lunch.

In order to accomplish my goals, I turned to one of my favorite social networking sites, Pinterest, for many a food inspiration.  It’s been so great to share recipes, ideas and factoids on that site.  If you haven’t tried it out, please do the best/worst thing you will ever do for yourself and sign up for an account.

Here are a few things I’ve made and really, really enjoyed lately.

Click on the title of the section to get taken directly to the site responsible for both these images and the recipe!

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow

Image via Gimme Some Oven

Image via Gimme Some Oven

This treat was a great twist on a classic favorite for me.  I used Rice Chex cereal for this recipe, and they are Gluten Free!  Of course, tis the season for all things pumpkin spice, so all I had to do was add a bit of pumpkin pie seasoning.  I did, though, adjust the recipe to use half regular chocolate and half white chocolate chips because I’m not generally a fan of white chocolate.  Many thanks to the bloggers over at Gimme Some Oven.  Visit them and pin the recipe to your Food boards!

Crockpot Chicken with Apples and Sweet Potato

Image via the Stockpiling Moms

Image via the Stockpiling Moms

This was one of my favorite dinners of the week!  I have a small crockpot that I use whenever I can, and this treat really spoke to me because I happened to have all of the things in the house already!  I really wanted to use some honey crisp apples that I had in the house as well, but I was a bit too nervous with this recipe. It called for so little liquid–just 1 cup of applesauce and 2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar.  Just to be safe, I added some butter and a cup of water.  The result was a delicious stew-like dinner whose leftovers I’ve been happily chowing down!  I ate this dish plain, but it would be great served with rice or a nice noodle.

Slow Cooker Chili

Image via Cooking Classy

Image via Cooking Classy

So, I also unabashedly made this one for Roy and I to have last Sunday for dinner.  I’ve always been a great chili chef, but I didn’t have a solid recipe for a crockpot.  I went to this recipe and was not disappointed!  I added a few more onions and a bit more garlic, because that’s how I like my chili.  One ingredient I hadn’t put in my chili before was cocoa powder, but it really added a great layer of flavor!  I’m also a fan of serving chili with noodles on the side and cheese and sour cream for toppings.  We stopped at my local market and picked up a fresh made cornbread to avoid having to make any of our own, and let me tell you, it was a great pairing with the chili.

Pepperoni Pizza Cauliflower Casserole

Image via IBreatheI'mHungry

Image via IBreatheI’mHungry

 If you’ve ever seen people saying that you can substitute caluiflower for all of the starchy things you miss as a Celiac’s patient, you’ve probably been doubtful.  That is…until you try it!  The cauliflower tasted  perfectly starchy and held up as well as any noodle or potato would have.  This recipe reads like it can be served as an entire meal, but after eating it for a meal, I’d go with it as a side dish.  I substituted turkey pepperoni, and I could see using sausage in the future as an option, too!

Moscato Raspberry Punch

Image via The Pampered Jes

Image via The Pampered Jes

This punch is fantastic for a brunch or lunch.  It’s sweet and easy on the gullet.  You can’t go wrong with this as your go-to drink!  We made this for a patented “Girly Night” where my friends and I leave kids and significant others at home and..end up talking about kids and significant others. 🙂

Well guys, there you have it!  If you’re on Pinterest, look me up and let’s share some more awesome recipes!

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Foodie Files: Hoosier Mama Pie Company

If you’re ever looking for a way directly to my heart, just bring an adventurous spirit. It’s one of the things I appreciate most about the people I’m lucky enough to call friend (or family).  I’m always coming up with some new or crazy-looking opportunity to check out or restaurant to try, and they go along willingly…almost always, anyway.  I’m particularly fond of taking adventures with my awesome boyfriend Roy.  We’re constantly finding new and different things to check out…even those things that fall into the “I haven’t done that in YEARS!” category. I’m sure I’ll write more about our adventures as my blog challenge goes on.

Yesterday, we visited Hoosier Mama Pie Company‘s Evanston location for a little snack. It is close enough to Roy’s place to walk, which is awesome and devastating at the same time. They are also associated with an awesome coffee concept, Dollop Coffee & Tea Co. When we walked in on a Saturday evening, the restaurant was full without being crowded.  The note about ordering your holiday pies now seemed to indicate, though, that you might find a crowd on given days.  (Insert flashbacks to Novembers past when I’d be the person responsible for picking up the birthday cakes from Weber’s.  They’re always worth it, though).  The decor reminded me of an awesome 50’s style kitchen…minus the overly kitschy poodle skirts, shiny chrome and glittery-red vinyl seats.  It even had the same chairs that my elementary school had, just adult-sized! The menu is a huge chalkboard, with the majority of the day’s offerings being hand written, which is a nice touch on the diner style.  I could have spent so much time perusing their sweets, savories and beverages.  Sadly, though, that list paled in comparison with the actual pies tempting you from the counter! There are a few sizes to choose from: a slice, a small pie or a whole pie.  I was drawn in and damn near pressed my nose to the glass. (I didn’t, don’t worry. I probably would’ve embarrassed Roy, lol).

I ordered a slice of the Cranberry Sour Cream and a Honey Cinnamon Latte .

Cranberry Sour Cream

Cranberry Sour Cream…up close and personal

The pie was just as delicious as it looks.  Cranberry, as a flavor, is one of my favorites because of its tart but sweet nature.  It paired so well with the almost-cheesecake texture of the sour cream filling.  The crumbled topping was just sweet enough to balance the cranberry, having a bit of a brown sugared taste.

And the crust–my goodness the crust!  I’m a weirdo who likes her desserts to be a bit on the cold side.  It makes them firmer in my opinion…I said it was weird.  This pie was served just a bit below room temperature, so the crust was crisp and buttery without melting.

I could not have enjoyed this pie without the awesomeness that was my Honey Cinnamon Latte.  Now, having worked for Starbucks for a large portion of my young adult life, I’ve become a coffee lover.  I make it a point, though, to try coffees that are NOT Starbucks simply because being a barista requires some level of artistry, and I appreciate the craftsmanship.  And, Dollop’s barista did not disappoint!

Honey Cinnamon Latte

My first piece of latte art! Loved/Hated drinking it!

Dollop brews a coffee with full, robust flavor profile.  Honey as a coffee flavoring might seem like an odd choice, but honey mellows out some of the harsher coffee tastes.  The cinnamon was a beautiful topping to the light and pillowy foam.  I added a tad more honey to the latte as I got into the beverage more, and that made it perfect for my palate. I hated sipping away the art, though.

The clientele ranged from students working on their computers to families sitting down and eating savory chicken pot pies, so there is definitely room for everyone at this venue.  The joint has a very come as you are vibe. There was a couch toward the back where you could check out a local paper, too. All in all, if you get the chance to visit Hoosier Mama, it’s worth the trip.

PS– Sorry about the lack of pictures of Roy or his pie, which was a chocolate brownie baked into a pie…neither one of them was still long enough for me to get a good one!  I’ll have to get better at catching them.