Breakfast, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Dinner, Drink, Gluten-Free, Keto, Lunch, Opinion, Paleo

Dining Out With Dietary Restrictions

Hey bacon lovers. If you’re gluten and dairy-free like me, dining out can be a challenge. Luckily, we live in an age where most restaurants recognize the severity of allergies and intolerances, but there are still some places that refuse to modify their food in any way, shape or form to meet certain dietary criteria.

I recently wrote an article for Foodbeast entitled “Is it Right for Chefs to Refuse Making Modifications to Their Food,” based on a recent experience I had. I went to a super popular restaurant in LA and couldn’t eat a single thing because they had a no modification policy! Well, what do you think? I’d love to know! Comment below 🙂

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Dairy-Free, Dessert, Drink, Gluten-Free, Sweet

Bacon Espresso Pudding Shots

Sometimes you find yourself lost in a daydream pondering the ideal world. More often than not, that ideal world is full of bacon. Sometimes, depending on the day or your workload, it involves a drink or two. Occasionally, you have the wherewithal to act upon this daydream and you do it. Cue: my life.

I’m not going to lie, these pudding shots required about 75% of my heart and soul, a lot of bacon, and tons of patience, but they were worth it. From the rich, chocolate flavor of the homemade espresso pudding spiked with enough vodka to taste it but not really taste it to the salty bacon rim and creamy coconut cream, these shots will get your night started in a deliciously classy way.

One of my roommates described the flavor as “something you would get from a restaurant” and I imagined for a moment I was the female version of Daniel Boulud, and everything was right in the world.

Level: Medium

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours (estimated)
Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Servings: 10-12 pudding shots

Ingredients:
Chocolate Espresso Pudding
4 tablespoons corn starch (or tapioca starch if Paleo)
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or any other kind of sugar)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups coconut milk creamer (thicker than regular coconut milk!)
1/3 cup chocolate chips (I used dairy-free because…well, you know)
3/4 cup vodka (I used Bakon vodka because I got it for Christmas and wanted to try it out)
4 tablespoons coconut cream (this isn’t totally necessary but makes it creamier)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Coconut Whipped Cream
1 can full-fat coconut milk, set in the fridge a few hours in advance (muy importante)
2 packets stevia or 2ish tablespoons sugar
Bacon Rim
5 slices bacon (I used espresso rubbed bacon because I’m clearly a bacon connoisseur)
2 tablespoons honey

Directions:

  1. In a small cup, combine 3 tablespoons corn starch and 2 tablespoons water. Stir to fully incorporate and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, add coconut sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt.
  3. Turn heat on medium-low and add coconut milk creamer 1/4 cup at a time, stirring to fully incorporate in between each installment.
  4. Once all coconut milk has been added, cook for about one minute, making sure the mixture does not boil.
  5. Add chocolate chips, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick to the bottom.
  6. Add corn starch mixture and vanilla.
  7. Stir constantly for about 3 minutes as the pudding thickens.
  8. Remove mixture to a heatproof bowl and let cool. This might take a little while, but make sure to stir the pudding occasionally or a skin will form, locking in all the heat and never letting your precious pudding cool.
  9. While the pudding cools, it’s BACON TIME. Slice bacon in half length-wise, so the strip is half as wide. Then dice from there. This is the ideal dice for this dish.
  10. In a medium frying pan over medium-low heat, add diced bacon and sauté for about 5-6 minutes, or until fully cooked.
  11. Remove bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the grease. Pat as dry as possible. Set aside until you’re ready to compile the shots.

    Photo courtesy of Kelda Baljon

    Photo courtesy of Kelda Baljon

  12. Once pudding is cool (totally ok to shove it in the fridge/freezer for a bit if you’re impatient), transfer it to the bowl of your standing mixer (or bowl you can use your beaters in).
  13. Start the mixture on low, and add a few tablespoons of vodka.
  14. Once this is incorporated, add 1/2 teaspoon of coconut cream and an 1/8 teaspoon of corn starch
  15. Repeat steps 13 and 14 until all vodka, coconut cream, and corn starch has been used. If you can add more vodka without the pudding separating, DUH, go for it. Test the limits. Be an inspiration to mankind
  16. Once now-alcoholic pudding is complete, transfer to a flat Pyrex or glass dish and let cool in the fridge for maybe 30-45 minutes.
  17. Clean the bowl of your standing mixer because it’s coconut whipped cream time!
  18. Add the solidified coconut milk from the top of the can to bowl of your standing mixer. I add a few tablespoons of the still-liquid milk as well. This is okay to do. Oh, add your Stevia or sugar now, too.
  19. Turn your mixer as high as it goes, head into the other room and watch Netflix for about 10 minutes.
  20. Return back to your beloved mixer to (hopefully) find some whipped cream. If the peaks aren’t super stiff, that’s ok. The cream is more for taste than anything.
  21. Transfer your patted down bacon to a cutting board and just go to town chopping it. Even smaller than bacon bites. I’ve tried to do this in my food processor before but the bacon is typically too meaty or greasy that it never works. Do it the old fashioned way. Chop the daylights out of it with the sharpest knife you own. Get out any aggression you have while you’re at it.
  22. Transfer your mega-chopped bacon to a small plate.
  23. Gather every shot glass you own. If you’re using disposables, make sure to get the plastic ones so you can add the bacon rim.
  24. In a tiny bowl, add the some honey. Gently dip the shot glass (face down) into the honey, making sure it covers every part of the rim.

    Photo by Analiese Trimber

    Photo by Analiese Trimber

  25. Dip the shot glass into the plate of mega-chopped bacon and twirl so entire rim is covered.
  26. Spoon pudding into shot glass. Top with coconut cream.
  27. Put assembled pudding shots in the fridge until you’re ready for them. I refrigerated mine for a few hours and the pudding became nice and thick. You might need a spoon!
Photo by Analiese Trimber

Photo by Analiese Trimber

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Dairy-Free, Drink, Gluten-Free, Paleo

Cucumber Cilantro Margarita

It’s summertime. And for some reason when it’s hot, I really don’t like drinking water. Totally counterintuitive, I know, but it’s just too boring. I have a thirst for exciting, refreshing drinks that is never there during the winter and it really throws me off guard. I am the queen of water. You will rarely see me without my water bottle. I have been made fun of immensely for how I feel naked without my water bottle and therefore carry it with me everywhere.

Maybe my taste buds think they should get a reward for braving the heat. Who knows. Anyways, the most important thing about this peculiar scenario is that no generic lemonade will do. I’m picky about my beverages. I know, it’s a weird thing to be picky about, but overly sugary drinks are a huge pet peeve of mine and if you think about it, they end up dehydrating you more than you were in the first place.

The secret, ladies and gents, is balance. In life, in beverages, in whatever, balance is key. So throw together some cucumber for hydration benefits, some cilantro for a little kick, lime juice because Hallelujah! the lime shortage is over, and tequila because, well…why not? And if you think I’m insinuating this beverage may possibly be the key to life and happiness as we know it, well, maybe that’s exactly what I’m saying.

Level: Easy

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Servings: 2-3

Ingredients:
1 small cucumber
1 handful cilantro, depending on how much spice you like
2 shots-ish tequila
1 shot triple sec
juice from 2 limes

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Grab a mesh strainer and large bowl. The mesh is important here. A regular strainer could probably work but just be more vigilant about making sure you’re only getting juice and no pulp (that leftover gunk that won’t be making it into your cocktail).
  3. Pour contents of blender into strainer while it’s placed over the large bowl.
  4. With a spoon, press down on the pulp, extracting as much liquid as you can.
  5. Taste the liquid and make sure the proportions are right for you. If you can add more alcohol, well…why not?
  6. Pour the liquid into your favorite glass and load it up with ice.
  7. Enjoy!
Photo by Analiese Trimber

Photo by Analiese Trimber

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Breakfast, Dairy-Free, Drink, Gluten-Free, Paleo

Paleo Mean and Green Smoothie

Green drinks are all the rage these days, but rather than invest my happiness in a strangely colored, potentially astringent $7 drink from Whole Foods unsettlingly reminiscent of freshly cut grass, I decided to take matters into my own hands. See, I wanted something creamy. I wanted something sweet, but not too sweet. I wanted something with both fruits and veggies. And lastly, I wanted a vivid, beautiful color that would lend itself well to a photograph. I knew exactly what I wanted and I knew I would be most happy with the result if I made it myself.

Well, the rest is history.

Level: Easy

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 4 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients:
1/2 avocado
1 banana
1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter
2 mini zucchini
1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1/4 cup frozen mango chunks
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 handful spinach
1/4 – 1/2 cup coconut milk, depending on your desired consistency

Directions:
1. Throw everything in a blender.
2. Blend on high until smooth.
3. Enjoy!

Photo by Analiese Trimber

Photo by Analiese Trimber

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