Pineapple with Chile Salt

Pineapple with Chile Salt 2

Just as other folks are calling it quits from the blogging game, I’ve decided to stage my triumphant return!  (sarcasm hopefully noted)

As much as I’ve loved taking the time off for both work and fun (international trips! beach days! reading actual books!), my slacking has started to catch up to me.  No longer am I able to quickly pull up new favorite recipes online… recipes are now scattered in various notebooks and scraps of paper.   It’s a bad scene.

And so I’m going to ease back in with a quick and easy recipe, which is barely even a recipe.  Sweet, sun-ripened fruit with a sprinkle of spicy salt?  Truly a match made in heaven.  Right after I tried this for the first time, I made it about four times in the subsequent week.  It was the perfect after work pick-me-up snack.   If you don’t have easy access to pineapple like I do, feel free to substitute your favorite fruit.  And I may or may not be heading off to make some chile salt right after I hit post, so that I can sprinkle some on that Alphonso mango sorbet in the fridge…

Pineapple with Chile Salt 3

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Pad Thai Noodles

Pad Thai

If I’m going to make Thai noodles, nine times out of ten it’ll be a simpler spicy noodle with garlic and Chinese cabbage.  But sometimes, and I’m pretty sure you’ll all agree, only Pad Thai will do, with those chewy, sticky noodles, a sweet and slightly spicy sauce, crunchy beans sprouts and peanuts, and a sprinkling of fresh herbs.  There’s a reason why it’s one of the world’s favorite Asian dishes.

Even just a few short years ago, the idea of making Pad Thai would have seemed overwhelming.  So.  Many.  Ingredients.   But I didn’t go on this culinary adventure to back down from food challenges.  So I finally put on my big girl pants, made the rounds to the grocery store, Asian supermarket and farmer’s market, and gave it the ol’ college try.

Pad Thai

And wow.  I’m pretty sure that a large number of Thai restaurants would go out of business if more people knew just how easy it is to make Pad Thai at home.  You’ll have to make a special trip to the Asian grocery store, sure, but that’s pretty much the most difficult part.

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Head’s Up: Super Duper Deal on Blendtec High-Speed Blenders

So, I pretty much never ever do these kinds of posts, because I worry that it would come across like I’m just trying to make a couple bucks from Affiliate links.  But this time I’m making an exception because,  really, it’s more like a Public Service Announcement.

I first heard about high-speed blenders soon after I was diagnosed with Celiac disease.  I was looking at getting a grain mill for making my own gluten-free flours and was researching different models.  Then in some online forum I saw a recommendation to buy a high-speed blender instead of a grain mill because it wasn’t a single purpose appliance.  In addition to grinding flour, it could be used to make soups, smoothies, nut butters, ice cream, etc.  as well.   Within the hour I was pretty much obsessed with the idea of getting one.  I didn’t want to plop down $400-$500 for a blender, so I stalked Craigslist and finally became a proud owner of a used model several months later.

It’s an expensive appliance, but so, so worth it.  Five+ years later and I still use it pretty much every day for green smoothies, shakes or soup (or homemade Nutella!).  I’ve bought a couple high speed blenders to give away as gifts and several friends have, after seeing what mine could do, bought one for themselves (although those Will it Blend videos may have also influenced them :).

I wanted to give you a heads up that Blendtec (one of the two most popular brands of high-speed blenders… the other is Vitamix) is having a crazy good sale on their refurbished models  right now.   They’re pretty much like new and they come with a 7 year warranty.   I think the sale is only through the end of January, so if you’ve been wanting to buy one, now’s the time.

A well-deserved reward for sticking to your New Year’s get healthy resolution?  Or a nudge to get you back on track?  If you use the links I provided I’ll get a small commission from any purchase you make (at no extra cost to you), but if you prefer, you can also get the same exact deal if you went straight to the Blendtec site.

Happy shopping and blending!

Happy 2014!

picstitch1picstitchLong time, no post, but I just wanted to check in and wish you all a happy new year.  I do hope 2014 is treating you right so far.  I’m still recovering from the holidays…  I ended up spending more than 50 hours traveling to see family all over the country in the span of about 8 days.  But I had my first white Christmas in a very long time, which was a nice treat. Also a nice treat?  Pinkberry, which I tried for the first time (!!) during one of my many layovers.

Hopefully you’ll forgive me for staying away just a bit longer.  I’m under a tight deadline to do some major, and somewhat complicated, travel planning and since my ideas are all over the place (Christmas markets in Central Europe!  Fall foliage in Japan!  Springtime in Sydney! ), I’ve got to buckle down and do some more research.  I’m up to my eyeballs in Rough Guides, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic guidebooks for countries all around the globe.  Wish me luck!  I’ll be back as soon as I can…