Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Secret Life of the American Fast Food Menu

We have all heard about them - the secret menu items that exist at many of the popular fast food restaurants. It makes people curious, and it makes me curious to know if anyone actually orders these things.
Recently Panera Bread aka "my second home" added their secret menu items to their regular menu. This includes a couple healthy bowl options for breakfast and lunch
But what about other restaurants? Here are the top five items I am dying to try!
5. Starbucks - Biscotti Frappuccino. You can order any Frappuccino with a biscotti blended into it.
4. Kentucky Fried Chicken - Poutine. This includes French fries, fried cheese curds, and gravy layered together.
3. Taco Bell - Doritos Locos Cheesy Gordita Crunch. The name says it all. You can also get a Volcano Taco Cheesy Gordita Crunch and a Fiery Doritos Locos Cheesy Gordita Crunch. Just ask and you shall receive.
2. Chipotle - Nachos. You can order Nachos at Chipotle. WHAT! Obviously they have all the components but I just never thought about doing this. But Nachos made with their amazing guac? Heaven.
1. Chipotle - The Quesorito. A burrito made out of a cheese quesadilla. OH. MY. GOD.
You can find out more about this marvelous concoction here.
Did you notice my last two are both found at Chipotle? Yes, the obsession lives on. And it is not going anywhere any time soon.
What secret menu options are you dying to try?
Obviously I am most interested in the Mexican variety.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fridge or Pantry?

Does ____ belong in the fridge or in the pantry? A debate that some of my family members have often. Some of the most popular food items? Ketchup, syrup, peanut butter, and butter. For me, all of these things belong in the fridge (well, peanut butter is a toss up; all natural stuff belongs in the fridge, but feel free to keep that Jiffy in the cupboard!). To others, they are seriously against any of these products being near the fridge. But seriously, what's better then a warm pancake with some cool syrup or a hot French fry dipped in cold ketchup?
But what about other things such as produce? I've got some answers for you.

1. Stone Fruit. This first one is a trick question. Things like peaches and plums actually have their place in both the fridge and the pantry. These types of fruits will not ripen in the fridge. Keep them on the counter until they are nice and juicy, and then move them to the fridge to prolong their shelf life.
2. Tomatoes. Keep these guys out of the fridge. The cold temperatures will lead to a mealy texture.
3. Berries. These guys belong in the fridge. Being left on the counter will only speed up their decay.
4. Cooking Oils. Every oil is used differently and the same should go for their storage. Olive oil and Canola oil can be kept in the pantry. Sesame oil, peanut oil, and truffle oil however should be kept in the fridge or it will go rancid.
5. Onions. Like tomatoes, onions take on a "too soft" texture in the fridge.
6. Potatoes. When kept in the fridge, potatoes can take on an oddly sweet flavor when cooked. To keep them fresh, keep potatoes in a paper bag in a dark place. Once they start to sprout you know it is time to throw them away.
Hope these tips help you prevent spoilage of your favorite foods!
What tips do you have for me? I would love to hear them!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Coffee Equals Water?

This morning as I was drinking my coffee and reading my favorite blogs I came across the newest post on fitfoodiefinds.com where Lee talks about how she almost passed out in one of her classes due to lack of water. She had realized that while driving to her class at 6:45pm she had not had any water all day, just her coffee.
I thought to myself "I do that everyday!" I began thinking about how much water I drink daily vrs. how much coffee I drink. Yesterday alone I did not drink a glass of water until 9:30pm, meanwhile I drank 3 cups of coffee throughout the day. I guess I feel like I am putting liquid in my body so I do not notice the lack of water intake.
I then began to think of the increasing amount of headaches I have been getting the past two weeks.
Could these be linked? Yes Casey.
Water hydrates your body while Coffee actually dehydrates you.
Dehydration: when your body does not have as much water and fluids as it should.
Symptoms include but are not limited to:
1. dry mouth
2. lethargy
3. dark urine
3. dizziness
4. light headedness
Besides the obvious there are many benefits of drinking more water:
1. It boosts your metabolism
2. Reduces the risk of headaches (there it is!)
3. It boosts brain power
4. Shinier hair and younger skin
5. lowers stress levels
So how much water should you be drinking daily? According to WebMD (the leader in all things medical related, right?) you should drink 6-8 eight ounce glasses of water a day.
Get bored with just plain ol' H2O? How about making an infused water. They are an easy and flavorful way to get in your daily water without any additives.
So there it is folks. If you are like me you are probably dehydrating yourself with the amount of coffee you drink to "make it through the day".
Join me in my pledge to drink more water today!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I am always game to try different types of cuisine whether it be Italian, Greek, Mexican, Japanese, Tai, Ethiopian, etc. I have never been the biggest fan of Indian food. There is just something about the different flavors they use that do not peak my interest.
When my family suggested we try the new Indian Restaurant that opened up on Main Street in East Greenwich however, I was not going to dispute them. Rasa is owned by the same people as Kabob and Curry in Providence, which I have always heard wonderful things about.

We started off with some drinks which included the white peach sangria which was delicious, a berry martini, and an Indian beer called the Taj Mahal. For appetizers we ordered the cauliflower 65 which was a fried cauliflower tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce and the Green pea Samosas. I absolutely loved the flavor of the cauliflower. It was the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, and was my favorite dish of the night.

I was not super hungry, so for my entrée I also ordered off the appetizer menu. I got the Artichoke and Veg Utapam which was a rice pancake with a variety of vegetables. This was good, but would have been more enjoyable as a shared appetizer rather then a main course, my mistake.
The other two dishes ordered at the table were the Lamb Curry and the Dum Chicken Biryani, both extremely flavorful. I definitely missed the boat by not ordering an entrée, a mistake I will not make again on my next visit to Rasa.
AMAZING Nan Bread!
Do you like Indian food?
What is your favorite dish, I would love to hear some suggestions!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Seasons Changing

I have been spending a lot of time outside. One of my favorite spots is outside on the deck at The coffee exchange on Wickenden Street in Providence with a cappuccino and a good book. 

What am I reading right now? 
1. A Stolen Life by Jaycee Lee Dugard, the story of the girl that survived 18 years in a man's backyard. The story is hard to read at times, but is incredibly inspiring that someone can go through all of that and still come out of it so strong. 
2. My Story: Elizabeth Smart. Keeping with the theme, I pre ordered Elizabeth Smarts book on her story which will download onto my nook tomorrow. 
3. I am thinking about starting the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy. I know it is a big hit with many women and with the movie being filmed soon I thought I may jump on the bandwagon. 

Fall also marks the return of many of my favorite shows. 
1. How I Met Your Mother. It is the last season and I just don't know how to feel about it. I am going to miss Marshall's singing, Lilly's lectures, and Barney's wait for it.. legendary adventures. 
2. New Girl. Jess + Nick = amazing. 
3. The Voice. The greatest talent show on tv
4. Master chef Junior. To me and my boyfriend, anything with Gordon Ramsay is gold. 
5. Glee. It gets worse and worse every season, but I just can not look away. 

When the seasons change like many people I have the overwhelming urge to bake. After picking two bags of apples I have been doing some baking. Last weekend my boyfriend made an awesome maple apple crisp. This weekend I decided to return the favor and bake him an apple pie while he was at work

This pie was super easy to make, and this Pampered Chef apple peeler cored the apple, peeled it, and sliced it for me. So easy. Then you just add in some sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the apple slices and place them in your pie tin. 

The boyfriend is always cooking for me and I am always blown away about how flavorful his food is. I think my pie came out pretty well and I am super excited to have him try it.

Other things I am loving right now? 

This butternut squash ravioli and a sage brown butter with mascarpone cheese and sausage that 
I ordered from Sonoma in North Kingston. 

Coffee tastes better in a mason jar of course 

A couple of new restaurant reviews coming your way, as well as a restaurant re- review. 
Until then, get outside with your favorite person, a cup of coffee or warm apple cider, and enjoy the weather because in New England you never know when winter will sneak up on you.