King O Falafel

…I bow down to thee.

I haven’t been feeling too well since eating that ice cream so we decided to go out for dinner last night. When we first came here, we looked up a falafel place but kind of put off going there, as I found a recipe online, which I’ve made a few times. Yesterday, we finally decided, it was time to go.

http://kingofalafel.com/

We first read reviews, since we’ve been disappointed SO many times with the food around here. I live in the area surrounding Disney World…where there are so many places just trying to make a dollar and no one really cares for quality. Usually if we eat out, we go to one of the Disney parks because we know it’s clean and delicious. We were pretty surprised when we read that they had 4 1/2 stars…and the lowest rating they were given was 3 stars, which when you read the review didn’t even sound that bad.

For some reason I thought this place was much farther from me. I guess because of the Kissimmee address, I figured it would be a bit of a hike, but it only took about 15 minutes to get there, which is pretty good.  PLUS it’s on the way to JoAnn’s!!

I read a few times over that it used to be a Quizno’s and it’s very apparent when you walk in. The same set up, tables, chairs, the Q on the glass, etc are still there. They kind of decorated over it. It’s probably their only downfall, and I found it more entertaining than anything else.

I had read it was cheap, every review remarked how inexpensive it was to eat there and it was very pleasing to find this, here, in tourist country. We started with appetizers, 1/2 dozen falafel(also available in dozen) and a small hummus(available also in large).

The hummus was so creamy and delicious. They served it with warm fluffy pita and it was  delicious and beautifully served.

The falafel was amazing. Absolutely amazing. It was perfectly crunchy on the outside and so soft and flavorful on the inside. I am craving more today. I wish my falafel was half as delicious as this!! Next time we go, I can see getting the larger order of this!!

This looks really messy…Falafel on a flat bread with fried potatoes. Mr McDorkin ordered this, as he is in fact addicted to falafel and needs serious help. He actually took his time and ate this. I was proud because I could see the need to unhinge his jaw and jam it down his throat like a python.

I ordered the regular gyro, with beef and lamb. Seriously. Amazing. Their bread is so soft, the veggies are perfect, the sauce is amazing and the meat is perfectly spiced. I savored the flavor and I could also eat one of these right now, too.

Baby McDorkin was a beast boy, per usual, and he loved up on the falafel and the gyro. But the dessert, which we sadly didn’t get to take any photos of, was his true love. We ordered a pistachio baklava and it was sublime. We had to order another(they are pretty small but only $1.75 each) because he needed more. Then he laid in the booth and we had to talk him into leaving. I think he seriously would have been happy to stay in that restaurant and replace me with their baklava. Which, seriously, was amazing…It wasn’t overly sweetened, like I notice a lot of Greek places make.

So, yeah, I want to eat there every day for the rest of my life. We all do.

The kicker, the bill, with 2 small appetizers, 2 sandwiches, 2 small desserts and 2 bottles of water was only about $20. Insane, right?

They have larger looking platters, vegetarian ones included, that look like they could feed 2 and are about $10 a piece, depending on the platter. It I wasn’t a junkie for gyros, I probably would have gotten one. There is always a NEXT TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pretty sure Mr McDorkin has put in a birthday request to go there!

Oh, I know I’m lactose intolerant….but….

We went out for ice cream last night. I’ve been eating healthy and losing weight…I DESERVED it. It was also a test to make sure that I was, in fact, lactose intolerant. 

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We went to Kilwin’s in Celebration and I had the salted caramel ice cream in a chocolate dipped cone. It was so delicious. The ice cream was so creamy and rich I needed a drink of water to wash it down!! The chocolate pieces, with caramel inside, were actually my favorite part. This is coming from a girl who picks any hard chocolate pieces out of most ice cream.

Mr McDorkins had the toasted coconut ice cream in a waffle bowl. I always get a little weirded out by coconut, I guess because I associate the smell with sunblock. I did have a taste and it was surprisingly tastier than I thought it would be…It was very heavy in coconut and I loved the crunchiness it gave the ice cream.

 

As much as I want to go back, I don’t think I want to relive the night long tossing and turning and the day of pain that follows.

Kilwin’s, I love you.

xoxo.

Rainy Days and Comfort Foods

I love my comfort foods. It makes me SO happy to have some of my favorite dishes.

One of my odder comfort foods is shepherd’s pie. My mother was never much of a cook and one of my best friend’s mothers would actually make this. Between the shepherd’s pie and the amazing Italian dishes she made, she was one of my favorite parental units!!

Recently, I started making it on my own, especially after getting the Harry Potter cookbook. I have recently started putting a little spin on it, to increase nutritional value and to avoid putting on the oven, since it’s seriously too hot in the summer.

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I basically make my Shepherd’s Pie a Shepherd’s Skillet meal. I start an onion, brown my meat, add the spices and broth with tomato paste and let it all simmer and sink in, then grate cheese over top of it. While this is going, I make brown rice on the side, so we can replace the less nutrient filled potatoes.Image

Yes, this blog is taking too long to write because I am eating this.

Most recipes say to add a tbsp of flour or however…but I just skip that step and let it simmer down on it’s own…It absorbs all of the flavor and you can keep your meal gluten free!!

Making Breakfast Bars HEALTHY!!

So, I’ve never been a breakfast bar person. I actually used to hate breakfast all together. Mr McDorkins, though, is a breakfast bar junkie. He is an addict and he needs help.  Help, because when you turn one of those scrumptiously decorated labels around, you realize that 1 bar can have 30% of your daily sodium and a massive chunk of sugar!! It’s gross.

I’ve been making snack bars for him lately, especially since the cost of these unhealthy bars are about as stupid as the people who decided labeling something that obviously isn’t good for you as healthy.

First, I made a homemade twist on Larabars. Neither of us have ever, actually, had a Larabar so I don’t know if I can actually compare what made to the real thing. Super simple….

Homemade Larabars

1/4 c dried cherries

1/4 c dried dates

1/2 c cashews

1/4 tsp cinnamon

First thing I do is measure out the dates and toss them in a bowl and cover with water. This softens them and removes the flour/sugar/whatever they put on them to keep them from sticking. I rinse a few times over the course of 5 or so minutes. Once that is done, I put the dates in the processor with the cherries and cinnamon. Pulse until a paste. Scoop into a bowl. Pop the nuts into the processor and pulse until they are chopped, too large and they fall apart a lot easier. Toss those into the bowl, mix and then split in half. I use a piece of plastic wrap for each one, I kind of spoon the mix on and I try to fold the plastic wrap over the bars and shape them while they are wrapped so that I don’t make a massive mess.

They go straight into the fridge and usually are eaten within the next day by Mr McDorkin. I think in the time since I’ve started to make them, I’ve had half of one bar.  Once they start to warm up they become a bit more crumbly but if you have them cold, they keep shape perfectly.

Today, I decided to try something a little different and in a larger batch, rather than 2 at a time. I found this recipe(http://www.food.com/recipe/oatmeal-breakfast-bars-45034) and I put a slightly more crunchy spin on it.

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

2 C uncooked rolled oats(a base, I had to increase this by about a cup to get the right consistency)

3/4 C oats and 1/4 C sliced almonds

1/2 C dates(or whatever dried fruit you have around)

1/2 C dried cherries(or whatever dried fruit you have around)

1 C apple juice

1/4 C turbinado sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 C coconut oil

1/4 C chia seeds

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine the 3/4 c oats and 1/4 c almond slices in the food process and process until a fine/flour consistency. Once you get the right consistency, pour into a large bowl. Soak your dates like the recipe above if they are dry and place in the processor with whatever fruit you choose. Pulse a few times to just chop the fruit into smaller pieces. Scoop out and into the large bowl. Add all of the other ingredients. I mixed by hand to combine and mixed and mixed and mixed, adding more oats as needed to get a firmer consistency. You want to be able to shape the dough.

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before mixing

Place your mixture into a pan and flatten out so that it reaches the edges. Pop it straight into the over for about 35 minutes. Once you pull your pan out, cut your bars. I used a pizza cutter and then cleaned up the ends with a butter knife. Let cool completely before removing. Eat. Makes about 12 bars, depending on how you cut them.

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these smell SO good baking!! 

 OF COURSE, you can take these recipes and put your spin on them. Use YOUR favorite fruits to make them, not mine. I think the best part of recipes if that you can always personalize them and make them your own!! That’s the fun of it, right?

Cooking is art, have fun and create.

Hand Embroidery….

I’m a noob to hand embroidery…I have done it a handful of times and I haven’t touched my needles for almost a year…but I love to create and I wanted to do something that didn’t include yarn.

PLUS, when I do something, I need to super do it.

You’ve been warned….

Day 1

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day 3

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It is a work in progress and right now, this last photo is where I am. It started as a tracing of a beautiful image of a flamenco dancer I found using google and now it is turning into something much more. I have turned her dress into a rose and I may actually put two in there. I don’t know how it will turn out, since I’m free handing on and off.

It is nice to be so excited for a project and slowly creating something that is beautiful. I don’t think there is nothing better than creating something from nothing.

Black Bean Chocolate Cake

With the birthday season in my house quickly approaching, I have been pinning and reviewing recipes that are a bit healthier than the traditional recipes I have used.  A friend of mine posted a black bean chocolate cake recipe she had recently found and tried and I decided, after reading about the black bean brownies and the such, maybe they were on to something. 

http://www.grouprecipes.com/118314/black-bean-flourless-chocolate-cake.html

I was happy to try a gluten free cake since I have been trying to stay away from wheat. I have been bad and ate wheat for 2 days in a row and I feel like someone has kicked me in the stomach and I am suffering greatly for my gluttonous choices.

I did make a few little changes to the recipe above. I took it down from 5 whole eggs to 3 and added 2 egg whites. I also didn’t add additional salt, since baking soda and baking powder already have sodium in them. So, here it is…

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Black Bean Chocolate Cake

2 cups black beans(I used dried beans, rehydrated and cooked as normal)

3 large eggs

2 egg whites

1 tbs vanilla

1 Tbs water

6 tbs melted butter, or extra virgin coconut oil or olive oil

3/4 cup sugar

6 tbs baking cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 and grease your pan how you like it. I used coconut oil all around.

I cooled my cooked beans and threw them in the processor with all of the wet ingredients(eggs, vanilla, water, coconut oil) and processed them down until they were a liquid with skin chunks. Sound sexy? In a large bowl, I mixed the dry ingredients. I poured the wet ingredients into the bowl and mixed until completely combined(I would have used the processor but mine is small and wouldn’t fit it all, sadly).

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Pour it into the greased pan and pop it in the oven. It bakes for 50 minutes at 350. Take it out, let it cool, remove from pan.

They say, in the link, to leave it overnight for the best flavor, so I did. But I was a nimrod and didn’t remove it from the pan, so it became a crumbly mess and we are sort of digging it out to taste it. If I could make any other changes, I would reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe. It’s very sweet to me and I think a rich chocolate topping would me amazing on this and would probably send it way over the edge for sweetness. I’ve never really had a sweet tooth, though, so you can make that call. I’d make it again, but I’d remember to take it out of the pan before it was fully cooled and inhabiting the tin it was in. 

So far, everyone has really liked it, Mr McDorkin and Baby McDorkin have both inhaled a good amount. I think there is a slight aftertaste– to me it just tastes like it was made with artificial sweeteners, maybe just because it was too sweet. 

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I’m a ninja!!

This past week marked one year of living in Florida for the McDorkin family. Soon Mr McDorkin will have been at his job for one year, also.

Little Boy McDorkin’s birthday is quickly approaching and he will be turning 8 years old and then within a few weeks, he will be starting his 3rd grade school year!! I’m afraid. Last year was hard, I worry this year may be worse. Kids are stressful.

Anywho, my oldest son’s birthday marks the beginning of the celebration season at our house. Unlike myself, everyone else in the house has their birthday in August and September. Also Mr McDorkin’s family’s family has a ton to top it off. His parents will be coming at the beginning of September and will leave the day of Baby McDorkin’s birthday.

I have been lurking Pinterest for ideas of snacks and delicious cakes and awesome decorations for the big days. Tonight I am going to do a test run of a black bean flourless cake. It is supposed to taste it’s best if made the day before so I will not be making a post about this recipe until I can give it a taste test for myself.

I can post a photo of the new ninja food processor that my mother bought me for my 1 year anniversary here. I guess she got tired of me always borrowing hers….

/happy dance

In other news, I finally had my hair cut and I keep running my hands through my hair. It feels so soft and luxurious that I can’t stop.