October 10, 2015

Cauliflower Hash Browns

Wow! I made my first batch of cauliflower hash browns yesterday morning and instantly fell in love with this low-carb recipe. When it comes to food I'm a mixer (my husband Scott is a separatist) so I absolute heaven when I paired my sunny side up egg with these smokey morsels. It was like eating at a diner minus the guilt! My cauliflower hash browns were inspired by blogposts from NannyKim's Recipes and An Edible Mosaic.

September 30, 2015

Amina Thai Rockville

Over the summer Morgan attended a fantastic camp at Dynamite Agility Center in Rockville training to become the next American Ninja Warrior :) During drop offs and pick ups I had passed by this unassuming Thai restaurant several times and then decided I needed to check it out. Having lived in Lowell, MA for several years I am accustomed to amazing authentic Southeast Asian restaurants and I'm always on the hunt for similar mom-and-pop shops in the DMV area. Well, after my first experience at Amina's I was hooked! Something important to note and that makes this place a Golden Nugget is that it claims to be the only Halal Thai restaurant in the DMV area.

Spice Tray
While ordering, the owner Amina overheard me tell the waiter that I like everything extra spicy. She graciously came over with these spices and suggested that I try them and explained what goes with what and that the roasted chiles are homemade, not store-bought. If you like spicy, I highly recommend that you ask for the spice tray.

Yum Nua (Tender Grilled Steak Salad Tossed in a Spicy Lime Juice Dressing)
Veggie Spring Rolls
The vegetarian spring rolls were extra-crispy and piping hot (temperature wise), just how I like them.

Chicken Satay With Peanut Sauce and Cucumber Relish

Tom Yum Soup With Chicken (Chicken or tofu with mushrooms, tomatoes in hot and sour spicy lemon grass broth). Medium Spice.
Pad Kee Mao With Beef (Wide rice noodles, stir-fried garlic, chili, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers and basil leaves. Medium Spice.
The cuisine that I absolutely miss the most from the Mill City is Cambodian. I am dying for a Khmer restaurant to open up in the DMV area! Amina's Pad Kee Mao was delicious and reminded me of all the Mee Ka Tang I used to order from Red Rose.
Shrimp Pho Taek( Shrimp sauteed with lemon grass, onions, scallions, bell peppers, celery and red chili paste). Medium Spice.
Crispy Fish in Chef's Special Sauce

Pad Kaprow With Chicken (Sauteed with garlic, chili, onions, scallions, bell peppers, and basil leaves. Medium spice.
Mango Sticky Rice
Don't leave without having the Mango Sticky rice, it's to die for! You can check out their full menu here

FYI- Amina is days away from opening a second restaurant at 8624 Colesville Rd in Downtown Silver Spring, MD. The restaurant is set up and ready to go and the doors will open as soon as she receives her food license. Looks like East MoCo is on the case and posted a few street photos of her progress. 

July 23, 2015

Green Frog Popsicles

Hey kids, time for dessert, who wants spinach? (Cue the crickets chirping in the background). Ok, let's try this again. How about a popsicle? "Me! Me! Me!" Great!

I found this sweet and refreshing recipe for Green Frog Pops via Super Healthy Kids. Grab your blender, put in 1 cup of mangoes, 1 banana, 2-3 cups spinach (I used three), and 1/2 cup coconut water, blend until smooth, pour into your popsicle molds, and freeze. As they are scarfing down their yummy popsicles you can choose whether or not to clue them in that they are in fact, actually eating spinach.

So Morgie took one look at the green popsicle, shook his head and said, "Uh-uh." I put an over-the-top grin on my face and said in my sweetest lovingly Mommy voice, "you are going to love this Froggie popsicle."  Grinning even wider, I handed it to him, and nonchalantly walked out of the room. I didn't want him to smell my desperation and refuse to eat it just because he knew I wanted him to. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and anxiously peeked around the corner to find... him trying it! In fact, he ate the whole thing. I grabbed him half-way through so I could take a quick pic and share this successful veggie-hiding recipe with you.

What is your favorite veggie-hiding recipe?

July 13, 2015

Homemade Peanut Butter

I have been meaning to post this recipe for peanut butter because it is so easy to make and a great activity for little ones.

While preparing for an afternoon playdate with one of Morgan's best friends, Alexandra, I stopped at our local Yes Organic Market and grabbed some peanuts (in the bulk section) so they could learn how to make their own peanut butter. 

Taking turns scooping peanuts

Encouraging kids to start cooking at an early age is a crucial life skill that allows for family time and bonding while developing numerous skills including fine-motor, social, problem solving, math, creativity, nutrition, and cultural awareness.... to name a few :) FYI: That handy dandy adjustable kitchen stool that allows them to reach the counter is made by Little Partners.

Processing the peanuts

Hey KitchenAid, I love my food processor but the kids want to know if you have a quieter model :)

It only takes a couple of minutes in the processor to turn those peanuts into peanut butter. I prefer to add a little oil (coconut is my favorite) for a creamier texture. 

Eating the fruits of their labor

Morgan and Alexandra couldn't wait to grab a box of Saltines and start making peanut butter cracker sandwiches. 

Packaging some up for Alexandra to take home

Homemade peanut butter is a great gift idea and you can customize the flavor for each person. I can't wait to try making chocolate coconut or cinnamon raisin, flavors inspired from the girls of Wild Friends who were featured on my favorite TV show, Shark Tank. What's your favorite flavor?

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July 11, 2015

Carlty Bryer's Wicked Good Key Lime Pie

This is not your traditional Key lime pie recipe. Our sweet neighbor "Nick's wife" made it for my dad a few weeks ago and we were lucky enough to get a hand-written recipe from her. This is a no bake, no fuss recipe, that will take no time to throw together but will leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.

This Key lime pie recipe has officially made it into Carlty Bryer's personal cookbook collection.

GNG Tip: I have had better luck finding Key limes in my local Cambodian, Thai, and Korean markets rather than Giant or Whole Foods.

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May 12, 2015

Twice-Baked Potatoes (Lactose Free)

Did you know that you can actually make lactose free twice-baked potatoes? You bake them just as you would normally do but instead use a lactose free milk and cheese. These potatoes are stuffed with bacon, green onions, and smothered with melted pepper jack from Cabot. If pepper jack packs a little too much heat for you, check out the variety of lactose free cheeses in the Cabot faq's page.

Want more lactose free cooking ideas? Check out this wicked easy lactose free gourmet pizza recipe here.

March 13, 2015

Homemade Mayonnaise

After reading a few blog posts about making homemade mayonnaise with an immersion blender in approximately 30 seconds I quickly hopped on my Amazon Prime account and ordered this model from Cuisinart. I grew up on Miracle Whip (versus Hellman's) but I love the idea of having fresh homemade mayonnaise in the fridge that isn't filled with all the additives that store-bought brands contain.

Yesterday I took out my handy dandy immersion blender and put The Healthy Foodie's Fool-Proof Paleo Mayo recipe to the test. Unbelievable! I whipped up this cool and creamy mayo in under 30 seconds. It was so easy that I decided to rinse out a Miracle Whip container and made two more batches in order to fill the jar.

The first thing I made with my new mayo was egg salad.  I also had a fresh batch of crispy bacon from the Amish store in Laurel so I decided to sprinkle some chopped pieces on my toasted egg salad sandwich. Absolutely delish!

February 16, 2015

Black Bean Brownies

Whether you are trying to eat healthier or are in search of tasty "veggie-hiding" recipes for a finicky eater in your life, you will want to add this black bean brownie recipe to your collection. Here's why: They are delicious. My taste testers couldn't believe that these rich brownies were made with black beans, which are a good source for fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals. Another bonus is that they are gluten-free!

He's smiling because he knows he is going to be eating brownies. I'm smiling because I know he is going to be eating black beans. It's a win-win!

Do you have a favorite veggie hiding recipe? I would love if you would share it in the comments below.

February 2, 2015

Filippo's Italian Specialties

Although I have lived in Silver Spring since 2005 I am embarrassed to admit that I had no idea how many golden nuggets were tucked away in an area adjacent to the Wheaton Mall known as Wheaton Triangle. I had ventured over there one morning after my friend Brian from Corcoran Caterer's highly recommended visiting a mom and pop baker's supply shop named Little Bits. Unfortunately Little Bits was closed for the day but thankfully a few doors down I noticed a sign for Filippo's Italian Specialties (formerly known as Marchone's). Intrigued by the idea there was an old school Italian market in Wheaton I popped in to see what they had to offer. I was immediately welcomed with a warm smile and greeting from the owner, Filippo. While waiting in line for my sandwich it was apparent that this store had a loyal following. One gentleman that I spoke to had been coming here for over 30 years. I ordered a cold cut sandwich and it did not disappoint! It's one of the best I've ever had... and that's saying a lot coming from a girl that grew up on legendary The Coffee Pot sandwiches in Bangor, Maine.

Oh yeah, they also have fresh and famous cannoli shells from Vaccarro's that are stuffed with a homemade filling on site.

After a superb sandwich and conversation with Filippo I vowed I would be back with Scott in tow so we could take some pics for a blogpost and help spread the word about one of Wheaton's best kept secrets.

In line at the deli counter Menu
Italian Cold Cut 
Meatball Sub

I love the hot cherry peppers that they put on the cold cut sandwich (I always order extra) and am stoked that they have jars of it in stock from Sun of Italy as well as fresh Italian bread, deli meat and cheeses for when I want to make sandwiches at home. 


Frozen meals to go

I picked up a couple of frozen chicken parms for quick and easy meals for Scott while I was out of town.
Vaccarro's cannoli shells
My favorite is the chocolate dipped cannoli. To die for!

Getting a special cookie from Filippo... or maybe two :)  was definitely the highlight for Morgan. 

Filippo, you've got another customer for life!

Do you have a favorite hidden golden nugget? Please leave a comment and share!