Sunday, April 21, 2013

Purple potatoes

My CSA came with a ton of goodies this week. I didn't take pictures of most of them because, well, a lot of it was the same ol', same ol' stuff I've been snapping lately. Pea greens, potatoes, lettuces, apples, frozen veggies... however, I was shocked to see a new color when I was cutting up potatoes to roast: 

Purple potatoes? Yup. I have found a legit purple food. 

I did some reading and apparently these purple bad boys are South American in origin, and pack a pretty hefty nutritional wallop. They're high in antioxidants and have been shown to reduce blood pressure. And, they're rumored to do so without causing weight gain. Does that sound too good to be true or what? (I'm guessing here that we don't have liberty to eat our weight in potatoes and still have to practice portion control in order to get that particular benefit ;-)). 

Anyway, my purple potatoes came with a couple more traditional red-skinned potatoes with white flesh. I sliced them all up, tossed them in a bit of EVOO, seasoned with seasoned salt and pepper, and roasted them. They were delicious! My husband thought the purple potatoes tasted the same as regular potatoes but I thought they had a slight nuttier and earthier flavor - I liked them more. 

I'll keep an eye out for these in the future. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fro yo

In the past year or so there has been an explosion of fro-yo in the Capital Region.

The ones I can list off the top of my head: 
  • Lemon Drop - I love this place. It's convenient (on Wolf Road next to Trader Joes) and all allergens are clearly labelled on electronic screens. 
  • Sweet Frog, which just opened up in Mohawk Commons. This is dangerous - it's close to my gym AND my nearest Chipotle. They also get points for allergen labels on their signs. My husband was a little disappointed in their flavor selection (his only option was vanilla) but to be fair - they had a lot of gluten free options, he just hates chocolate and most fruit flavors. 
  • TCBY, which I believe has the most locations in the area. They get points for awesome labelling on their website, but the stores I have been to don't label gluten free so you either have to ask or have a smartphone on you. 
  • Menchie's, which is opening (soon?) in Rotterdam. I am looking forward to trying them out! 
  • Plum Dandy - this one is still my favorite in Saratoga. I love their homemade whipped cream. And yes, they have signs up indicating what their GF flavors are. 
  • 16 Handles - I love this place too. I can't remember if we had to ask about gluten free yogurt or if it was labelled when we went to the Clifton Park location. Trying out the East Greenbush location is on my TODO list, but last week's sleet made me not want yogurt that much. 
  • There are others in the malls too. 
Now - this is awesome because a lot of yogurt is naturally GF, it's self serve so you can decide how much or how little you want, and you can make your dessert quasi-healthy by choosing non or low fat versions and adding fruit toppings. It's also dangerous because I always want yogurt - and I wonder how they'll stack up against our seasonal outdoor ice cream stands. 

I also suspect the fro yo trend has also had an impact on the cupcake craze of a few years ago based on some of the recent closings that I have seen. :-( 

Overall though, in my social circle at least, "let's go meet for fro yo" has replaced "let's go meet for cocktails." 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Lots of restaurants

Happy Sunday!

There was no post last week because we were out of town. Hubby and I went to NJ for the weekend (I bought him Wrestlemania tickets - the event was definitely an experience, I had a lot more fun people watching than I would have thought). We ate a ton of food there - the two highlights were a chain called Cheeseburger in Paradise where we got awesome burgers on gluten free buns and fries. Also, breakfast at Six Brothers Diner, where they have a pretty extensive gluten free menu. I was surprised that my hubby didn't go with pancakes or french toast, but he wanted an omelette with a GF english muffin since that's hard to come by at restaurants around us.

I don't know why, but it seems that wherever we go - California, Boston, NYC, NJ... these places have so many more GF options than our area does. Don't get me wrong - we're definitely getting better each year - but other areas just seem much more progressive. There are no pancake houses with GF options here. PF Changs is the only Chinese restaurant I know in the area with a GF menu. And it's still a crapshoot whether many servers understand what gluten is and what cross contamination is.

This weekend, we tried a Groupon to Simply Grille in Albany. I never heard about them before until they advertised on Groupon and between the prices and the fact that their menu is mostly GF I had to pick up the Groupon to try it. We had lamb and beef kebabs for lunch and they were pretty decent. The basmati rice was my favorite part of the lunch - we'll definitely be back again. We also had dinner at the old standby Bangkok Bistro. I love that place. Wow, we've eaten at a lot of restaurants this week! I really need to work on scaling back on that, because it's hard not to gain weight when we're eating out all the time - and I have 2-3 pounds (depending on the day of the week) to go to hit my May goal of 15 lbs lost since January!

This last week, my CSA subscription resumed too. Yay! Here's my haul this week (not sure why I can't rotate it):
Shiitake mushrooms, kohlrabi, apples, frozen corn and flat green beans, microgreens and garlic cheese nuggets. 
  • The corn was a side dish on Thursday with leftover BBQ grilled chicken before my Zumba class. 
  • We tried the garlic cheese nuggets with dinner on Friday. Verdict: meh. The flat green beans were also for dinner on Friday, sauteed in EVOO with garlic, salt and pepper. They were delish. 
  • The shiitake mushrooms are going in this mushroom soup recipe, I'll just sub the flour for a GF flour. 
  • I'm going to roast the kohlrabi again, since that's so easy and just awesome. 
  • The apples are basically gone, with lunches. 
  • I figure that I'll try the microgreens on more time. I bought some fish to make at home this weekend - I might try that as a garnish (copying Prime from a couple weeks ago). 
So, meal plans this week: 
  • Tonight: a cajun-style stuffed pepper recipe with chicken andouille sausage, rice, onions, garlic, and monterey jack cheese - and of course, Red Hot. I love one-dish dinners. 
  • Monday: grilled shrimp with spicy lemon garlic sauce with salad and homemade GF garlic bread. At least, it looks like Monday's the best grilling day so far. 
  • Tuesday: Mushroom soup with salad and homemade GF garlic bread
  • Wednesday: Pan fried tilapia with Old Bay; roasted kohlrabi and salad. Served with either small cups of leftover mushroom soup or else small baked potatoes. 
  • Thursday: Cleaning up leftovers.
  • Friday: TBD.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Random thoughts

  • No CSA delivery for two weeks. I miss the veggies and am looking forward to getting them next week! I've been making do with grocery store veggies, lots of salads, that sort of thing. 
  • However, I still have not found a way to enjoy kale. I just don't know if I can like it. 
  • We tried O'Toole's in Albany last weekend. Had drinks, nachos, and sandwiches. It's great to enjoy pub food and not feel disgusting afterwards like we do with some other places. We'll definitely be back! Wish I had been able to make the buffet in Queensbury, but it's just too far away on a weeknight.
  • Bought Groupons to the Melting Pot and Simply Grille. Can't wait to use them. 
  • I need to find time to go to Wednesday wine dinner at For Love of Wine. 
  • Had Easter brunch with family at Riverstone Manor. All of the sauces were GF, which meant that only the obvious stuff (breads, pastas) was off limits. I thought it was a little on the pricey side (though probably all Easter events are), but it was nice.
  • New fro yo places have been popping up relatively close to my house. I feel this is dangerous. I also feel that it is my responsibility to try them all. ;-) 
  • Grilled for the first time this week! It finally feels like Spring. 
  • Working from home vastly increases my mini egg consumption. Thank goodness I don't have many left. When they're gone, they're gone. 
  • Dinner date last night at 677 Prime. First time I've been there and It. Was. Awesome.
  • Now that I know what microgreens are, I see them everywhere. 
  • As of this week, I am done with school! No more homework! No more classes! Yay!