Thursday, January 29, 2015

Deflate Gate Cupcakes and Super Bowl Ideas

Deflate Gate Cupcakes

What are you serving at your Super Bowl Party this year?

Did you see the deflate gate cupcakes I uploaded on my Youtube Channel a few days ago?  

Spoiler alert... I used a Betty Crocker gluten free devil's food mix since that video was more of a decorating idea than an actual recipe.  The mix was pretty good but my homemade chocolate cupcakes are far better.  I'll post the video for the deflate gate cupcakes below as well as some other quick ideas for recipe videos that would fit right in at the party.

Have fun this weekend...

Deflate Gate Cupcakes

My Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes

Buffalo Chicken Sliders

Bacon Wrapped Spiral Cut Hotdogs

Loaded Potato Skin Salad

South Western Chicken Sliders

Spicy Sausage Balls

Chili Cheese Roasted Chick Peas

Spicy Crudite Dip

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cioppino - Mediterranean Seafood Stew

Cioppino - Mediterranean Seafood Stew

If you love seafood and the flavors of the Mediterranean then you have to make cioppino.  It’s a flavorful tomato based seafood stew that’s so good you might want to lick the plate.  I’m pretty sure it has its origins in San Francisco with fishermen of Italian descent .   I could be wrong.  It doesn't really matter.  My recipe probably isn't done the way they   originally made it either. 

For me this dish originated in my childhood when my mom declared, “I’m making cioppino for dinner”. 


I wasn't sure what it was but I loved seafood so I loved her stew.  I think mine has some ingredients that she didn't include.  I’m pretty sure hers didn't contain olives, bell pepper or saffron.  It’s hard to say for sure without checking.  It doesn't really matter how she made it.  This stew has evolved to suit my tastes and isn't that what good cooking is all about.

My cioppino beats the stew I remember hands down so authenticity can take a backseat.  The sauce is so delicious you just have to have some good bread to mop it all up.  Today I used grilled slices of Canyon Bakehouse’s rosemary thyme focaccia.  Let just say I wasn't disappointed.

Cioppino (Seafood Stew)
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 15 - 20 min
Servings: 2

  • 1 lb seafood ( I used a mixture of cod, shrimp, and calamari rings)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove sliced garlic
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 anchovies fillets (or 1-2 inches of anchovy paste)
  • ½ onion diced
  • ½ red pepper cut into small strips
  • 1 carrot cut small pieces
  • 12 green olives or kalamata olives, halved
  • pinch of saffron
  • ¾  cup wine
  • 1 cup of tomato puree
  • ¾  cup water
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • grilled bread (I used canyon bakehouse rosemary thyme focaccia)
  • chili oil and lemon (to finish the dish)

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Add the olive oil to a medium pan and saute the garlic, red pepper flakes, and anchovy paste together for 1-2 minutes or until the garlic just begins to toast. 
  2. Add the carrot, onion, peppers, and olives and saute until the veggies just start to wilt and the onions begin to get translucent.
  3. Add a pinch of saffron and stir, then add the wine, tomato puree, water and thyme then stir to combine.
  4. Bring it up to a boil then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for 8 to 10 minutes then begin to add the seafood.
  5. Simmer the cod for 3 minutes on the first side then gently flip it over, add the rest of the seafood, and simmer for another 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp is pink and fully cooked. 
  6. To finish the dish, serve you can snip over some fresh herbs I used parsley and basil then squeeze over some fresh lemon, and drizzle with chili oil.  Serve with grilled bread.

  1. I left the cod whole so I added it a few minutes before the other seafood since it would take a few more minutes to cook but if you cut it into bite sized pieces everything could be added together.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Send Me Gluten Free Review & Giveaway

Today I’m reviewing Send-Me-Gluten-Free’s January subscription box.  If you’re not familiar with a subscription box service, I’d describe this one as a Gluten Free Expo arriving at your doorstep each month.  

Of course all of the products are gluten free. 

The company name, Send Me Gluten Free, says it all.

Each month they'll send a box packed with 8-12 gluten free products for you to sample including at least one full sized product.  I received three full sized products in the January box.  Most of the items contained in the box are food related but the box can also include personal care items, supplements or other household products that fit in with your gluten free lifestyle.

The subscription plans vary from their month-to-month service to a full-year subscription.  As you've might have guessed, the price drops based on the length of the plan chosen with their 1 year subscription being the best value.  

You can check out the pricing details on their website HERE.

In the interest of full disclosure, Send Me Gluten Free sent me the January box to review for free.  But they've also generously offered to host a giveaway awarding one of you a box to sample for yourself.  You can find the giveaway details at the bottom of this post.

They've also provided a discount code so if you place an order and enter the code BLOG20 you'll receive an additional 20% off the purchase.

Alright, enough with the incidentals, let’s unbox this bright orange box of goodies.   

 Send Me Gluten Free Box - January 2015

To give you a better idea of what was in the January box, I tried to divide the contents into categories

Cracker Category
There was a full sized package of Milton's gluten free baked cheddar crackers.  I haven't tried them yet but they look good.  There were also two single serve pouches of gluten free olive oil and sea salt crackers by a company called Free for All.  I loved the combination of salt and olive oil in these little crispy crackers.  

Savory Category
In the savory department there were two full sized products: a Moroccan tagine simmer sauce from Saffron Road and a taco spice blend seasoning pack from Wild tree.  These both seem very appealing.  The thing about a subscription service is that you'll get to try new products that may not be on your radar.  Both of these products look like something I can use in an upcoming video on my Youtube channel to give them a more complete review. 

The Sweet Treats
In the sweets department there were single serve samples of Enjoy Life's sugar crisp crunchy cookie, Detour Smart's oatmeal blueberry bar,  and Ola's no nut vanilla granola.    I'd never tried any of these products before so having the opportunity to taste them before shelling out the money for a whole package is very beneficial.  My favorite here was the cookie followed by the granola while the blueberry bar took third place.  My daughter shared the same conclusions as she tried them with me.  Did I mention how excited she was to dig through the box?

Back to the unboxing.

I'm calling the final product category the "I'll Probably Never Use Department".  Laugh with me.  There were samples of Tummy Zen heartburn relief medication and Nurturme baby food.  Since I don't personally suffer from heartburn, nor do I have any plans for another baby at 47 years of age, these specific products were just not for me. 

This is where the subscription service reminds me of what it's like to stroll through a gluten free expo.  Most of the products will pique your interest.  Some of the products you'll enjoy while others you may not care for and occasionally you'll run across a product that's simply not right for you at all.  No biggie. I'm sure that when this happens there's always someone close-by that could make good use of it.     

Beyond the product samples contained in box, you'll also find an orange envelope with coupons for additional discounts or products.  In my envelope there were coupons for:
  • 15% off Your Order at Detour (the blueberry bars in the box) 
  • $7.00 Gift Card @
  • .50cents off NuturMe Baby Food (also from the box)

In short Send Me Gluten Free is a great way to try new products that you may not be familiar with.  I had a lot of fun going through the box and trying new things.  It's great to be able to sample something before committing to purchase. We all know how expensive gluten free products can be so tasting before buying is always nice.     

The Giveaway Details:

The photo above is an example of a monthly SMGF box.  The contents vary from month to month so I'm not sure what will be included in the winner's actual box.  Whatever comes, I assure you it will feel like Christmas morning.  

Due to the fact that SMGF currently ships only to the continental US (they hope to expand) the contest is only available to continental US addresses or PO boxes.

To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment below expressing your interest in entering the giveaway.  

That's it.  

I'm keeping it simple.  

The winner will be picked at random from the comments left on this post when the contest ends.  

You'll have until March 15th 2015 to enter the giveaway.   

Be advised that the winner will need to provide their name, email address, and full mailing address within a week of being notified in order to receive the April box which is shipped during the first week of April.  If you don't provide your info in a timely fashion you may miss the deadline and receive the May box.

Additional entries may be earned by leaving a comment on any video I may do on my Youtube channel (before the contest ends) that uses a product from this unboxing.  (e.g.  The Moroccan Tagine Simmer Sauce or Chili Spice Mix)  

I'll mention the contest within those video(s) if I am able to film and edit the recipes before the contest ends.  No promises but it wouldn't hurt to make sure that you're subbed to my channel so you don't miss the videos.

Good luck on the Giveaway.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Chocolate Cocozia Coconut Water Review

Chocolate Cocozia Coconut Water

Move over coconut water, there’s a new kid in town. 

It’s chocolate coconut water from Cocozia and it's delicious.

You may remember that last year I did a review on Cocozia coconut water.  In that blog I used the water as the star ingredient in a tropical smoothie.  

Later in the year, I demonstrated the versatility of coconut water when I used it in place of broth in my Quinoa and Crimini Risotto recipe.  

I love coconut water.  I feel like there's no better way to hydrate than with coconut water.  And we all know the importance of hydration when it comes to staying healthy.

But no matter how big a fan I happen to be of coconut water, my daughter still doesn't like to drink it straight.  She loves it in soups or smoothies but won't try it straight after her initial taste test.  I remember it well...she took a few sips, shook her head and handed it back.  

But she does love chocolate so I was hopeful she might like this variety.  Maybe hope is a strong word.

In all actuality I was wondering if she'd even try it.  She can be pretty stubborn at times.  Once she has something in her head, it's pretty hard to get her to change her mind.  

But when I handed her the carton she half smiled and agreed to give it a try.  That was a huge victory in itself

To my astonishment she loved it.  

I guess I shouldn't have been so shocked.  This stuff is like Yoohoo for grownups.  It's very rich and chocolaty yet not as sickeningly sweet as the drink I used to love as a child.

This chocolate Cocozia variety might be just what I need to keep from eating a chocolate bar while I'm trying so hard to stick to my resolutions.  It's a great alternative to eating dessert.  

But although I love it, I actually prefer the plain variety.  It's what I've grown accustomed to when I think about coconut water.  I also like the fact that the plain variety can be used in either sweet or savory dishes.  

Additionally, the original variety is only 40 calories per serving while the chocolate variety has 60.  And as far as the ingredients lists compare to each other, the original variety contains only coconut water, while the chocolate variety also contains: organic coconut milk, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa powder, organic guar gum and salt. 

I suspect it’s the addition of the cane sugar and cocoa that has my daughter so excited.  Still this is a much healthier alternative over soft drinks for her.

We’re halfway through the cold and flu season and so far I haven’t been sick but you can rest assured that I’ll be keeping my pantry stocked with both varieties just encase. 

I LOVE THIS STUFF..  The only drawback for me is how pricey it can be as compared to cheaper sports drinks but I guess you get what you pay for.  Obviously it's more expensive to harvest coconut water than it is to mix up sugar water with vitamin powders.  

You can check it out at Amazon HERE.  

I’m already dreaming up what sort of sweet creations I can concoct with Cocozia's chocolate flavor.  Smoothies are the obvious choice but I think I can come up with something more creative than that.  

Have no fear, whatever recipes I dream up will be shared on my blog and Youtube channel of course.
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