Designing a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

Designing a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

I readily admit Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love that it's all about family and food, and just getting together to be thankful for our many blessings.  It seems to be a lull between the frenzy of finding just the right costume for Halloween, and searching for the perfect Christmas gifts...

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Foodster Friday: Easy G-Free Brownies

Do you ever feel like Pinterest has taken over most aspects of your life? Not only is it my go-to for home design ideas, and wanna-be fashionista pics, now it's sorta my food planner, too.

I saw

this recipe

for from-scratch brownies that gave the ingredient list without having to click-through, (laziness wins) and I happened to have them on hand.   I can't say brownies are my

faaaavorite

dessert, but this preggo also hasn't been known to turn one down, so...

 The original recipe is not gluten-free, but I was out of regular flour, and happened to have some G-free flour mix, so I used it.  I also subbed coconut oil for the vegetable oil.  Healthier, and adds a subtle-tropical twist.

Super-quick and easy, and the halved recipe makes the perfect small batch for those of use who will sit and eat an entire pan, given the chance.

Flaky-crusty on top, ooey-goey on bottom.  More of a spoon-worthy brownie, really.

Quick & Easy G-Free Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 c Sugar
  • 1/2 c Gluten-Free flour*  (I use Mama's Almond Blend - substitution ratio is 1:1, and you don't need other items like xantham or guar gum)
  • 1/3 c Cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 c Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Directions

  1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 F
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl
  3. In a separate bowl, mix Eggs, Oil and Vanilla, then add to wet ingredients
  4. Stir until evenly mixed
  5.  Pour batter into small baking dish (I used an 8x6 pyrex)
  6. Bake @ 350 for 35-45 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean

Mmmmmm....Face plant.

*Recipe adapted from

A Few Short Cuts

Foodster Friday: Carolina Style Pulled Pork (from the crock pot)

Although we're Native Texans, we lived in eastern North Carolina for a couple of years before moving to Brazil.  Prior to living in NC, the only BBQ I was familiar with was Texas-style: usually beef, say, ribs or brisket.  Smokey, with a dry rub or seasoning.   Tasty, and very specific to Texas.

*Aside, have you watched those BBQ cook-off shows?  So cool to see the competitions between the regional food styles on parade, and how SECRET it all is!

Anyway....I realize I risk being tarred and feathered by my Texan cohorts, but I really loved North Carolina-style BBQ.  Pulled pork, seasoned liberally with a tangy vinegar solution.  Usually served topped with more sour/sweet fixin's like slaw or pickles.

Right thar wi' ya, Carolina.

After seeing

Jenny's post

a couple weeks ago with a crock-pot version of Carolina pulled pork, my cravings went into overdrive, and I went for it.

The original recipe is from

Gluten Free Anna

, but there's not exactly a wealth of gluten-free condiments and such in Brazil, so my version is....

Full Gluten

?

Pulled Pork BBQ

3-4 pound boneless pork butt roast

2 medium onions, sliced

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I barely used this - wanted my kids to eat it)

1/4 - 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (I skipped the sauce, and it was fine)

Coleslaw (threw together my own non-recipe version)

Pickles

Hamburger Buns

Place sliced onions at the bottom of the crock pot stoneware insert.

Combine brown sugar, paprika, salt & pepper into a dry rub. Rub all over the roast. Place roast over the onions in the crock pot.

Combine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic salt, and cayenne, whisking well to blend. Drizzle one half of vinegar mixture onto roast, reserving remaining vinegar mixture in the fridge.

Cover the crock pot and cook on Low for 10-12 hours. During the last half of cooking, drizzle on the remaining half of the vinegar mixture.

Remove pork and onions to a bowl to shred the pork with two forks. Pour on your favorite BBQ to taste. If you like a saucier/sloppier version, add the BBQ sauce, or put it out for anyone to self-serve.

Serve as sandwiches, with coleslaw and pickles as you like.

Good to Know:

  • My kids actually ate it (sans veggies 'course) 
  • It was better on Day 2, after more serious marinating had happened
  • I ate it for three days (and I'm kinda anti-leftovers)
  • In other words...it was GOOD

Foodster Friday: The Antipasta Dinner

Some of my favorite meals are not meals at all.  If it's hot, or I'm just not in the mood to cook, the best meal as far as I'm concerned is one that presents great, but doesn't require much, if any actual cooking.  Truth be told, I'm also a terrible meal planner, so sometimes these things come together out of sheer neglect.
That doesn't make them any less tasty.
Enter the Italian Antipasta plate.  Not reinventing any wheels, here.  Just giving my take.  Also, so simple, yet filling enough for a busy mom to be able to check off the box of "I made dinner."


"Antipasta" covers a lot of ground, but for me it means:  some kind of cured cold-cut (with or without fruit), a selection of cheeses (ours were decidedly NON-Italian, so go with what you like), fresh bread, and some kind of salty goodness - usually olives/anchovies/tapenade, etc.  I threw in some arugula greens to make it pretty, and get something of a veggie in.
It's really a preference thing, but I will say, having GOOD olives is key for me.  I'm not a big olive person in general, but these olives are absolutely amazing.  Cerignola olives.  Put it to memory.  They're  "young" olives, but still big and buttery.  They're also preserved in a brine that isn't so ridiculously salty.  They're just incredible.  Check the specialty area of a grocery, gourmet food store, or in a pinch, Amazon sells them HERE.
Arrange it prettily on an olive board or something.  Take a pic for Insta (obvs), and call it a night.

Foodster Friday: Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

I started a food blog over a year ago, but haven't really been able to keep up.  The fact is I'm kinda lusty over food photography, but don't have enough of my shizz together to host several blogs, much less set up a proper food styling and photographing gig.  I do cook quite a bit, though, so I'm going to try to cull some of my hits and misses in the kitchen here.  Since we all indulge a bit more on the weekends, I figured Fridays are as good as any day to do a....series.  (Is that SO two years ago bloggy trend?)

There's a nice selection of cook books in my pantry but, when I'm in "what the hell am I going to cook today" mode, I usually turn to the visuals on Pinterest, Foodgawker, etc.

The other day, I had a craving for a coconut cookie - not a macaroon, though - and found this Coconut Chocolate Chip cookie recipe via Pinterest. 
Super easy.  Required only one mixing bowl.
And, I've pretty much face-planted in them all week.

Sorry for the iPhone visuals, otherwise, you're welcome.

Chewy Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) room temperature butter
  • 1 cup (200 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 2/3 (200 grams) cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut *I had closer to a cup, and it worked out just fine
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla extract, scrape the sides of the bowl and mix well.
  3. Slowly add the flour mixed with the baking powder and salt. Mix until just combined.
  4. With a spatula stir in the coconut and the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough on two baking sheets (lined with parchment paper) and place them in the fridge to chill for few minutes.
  6. Meanwhile heat the oven to 375F.
  7. Bake the cookies for 10-13 minutes (depending on how big they are) until the edges start to brown.
  8. Cool them slightly on the baking sheets before removing.
  9. Enjoy! 
*Recipe adapted from Roxana's Home Baking

Also:
 I used these Guittard chocolate chips - they are dark (not too sweet) goodness
 Enjoy Brazilian-style with an afternoon espresso - sitting on your zeeb chair, ya'll.

For your Weekend Enjoyment

Do ya'll hate it when I post food pics, then send you off to my other blog?  Sorry.  BUT I just thought you might enjoy having this recipe this weekend because it is SO FREAKING AMAZING!  Last weekend, we adapted ordinary, perfect soul food, Chicken and Waffles to the Ultimate - Fried Chicken & Butternut-Quinoa Waffles with Cinnamon Chipotle Maple Syrup.  It was amazeballs.
DSC_0269-001

See what I mean? 
Try it out this weekend.  Let me know how they were on Monday.
Happy Waffle Weekend, ya'll!