6 Reasons For Buying A Vegetable Spiralizer

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  1. It’s an incredibly easy way to make veggies and fruit more interesting.
  2. You can make “pasta” that has no carbs (zuchini, squash, beets…)
  3. Comes with tons of options. You want a salad? Leave it cold. Wait, what’s that? You want chips. Slice and bake my friends.
  4. For some unexplainable reason, it alters the flavor of the veggie so it’s kind of new again.
  5. The device is super affordable.
  6. It’s fast. Like, 15-20 minutes for washing your veggies and spiraling MAX.

Seriously, you need to buy a vegetable spiralizer.

Sundays are for soup…

Cauliflower Bisque | The Polka-dot Maven

March in the midwest is cold. Frigid cold. So even though spring is on the horizon, I still have comfort foods on my mind. I couldn’t think of a better Sunday meal to warm us up other than my Cauliflower Bisque and semi-homemade cornbread.

Cauliflower Bisque

  • 1 Cauliflower
  • 1 Packet Goat Cheese (small)
  • 1 Leek
  • 3 Carrots
  • 1/2tbs Herbes de Provence
  • 2tbs Pepper
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2tbs Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Butter (to prevent burning)
  • 1 box of Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock
  • Fresh Chives (for garnish)

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and butter. Sauté the leek and carrots until slightly browned. Set aside. Roughly chop the cauliflower. Add the spices, chicken stock and cauliflower to the pot then switch the heat level to medium. Allow the mixture to simmer until the cauliflower is soft–approximately 30mins. Stir in the goats cheese. Turn off the stove and allow the soup to cool. Once cooled, use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Garnish with fresh chives.

For the cornbread, if I’m not making it from scratch (and today I definitely wasn’t), I love Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free mix. It’s quick, easy and always tasty.

Himalayan Salt Block…

While on a recent trip to Bonita Beach, I enjoyed a light and flavorful meal prepared by a local chef. One of the most notable things about this delectable meal (apart from the food itself) was the Himalayan Salt Block that the shrimp appetizer was served on.  In addition to enhancing the savory flavor of dishes, the marble-like surface of a Himalayan Salt Block is an incredibly unique way to serve appetizers. The other bonus is that this serving platter is an excellent heat conductor so it keeps hot things hot and cool things cool. You can even cook thinly sliced meats and fish directly on the block! If you’re thinking of one for Mother’s Day, or as a self-gift you can find some pretty cool ones at William-Sonoma or  Amazon.com. 

Pumpkins | The Polka-dot Maven

The Great Pumpkin…

October is the beginning of a brief two month window where squash and pumpkins are allowed center stage in our decor and in our meals.  My love for pumpkins runs fairly deep. I find myself enchanted by their vivacious colors and consistent irregularity. They’re magically bulbous and whimsical…I’m so smitten.

Last year, at the very end of the acceptable pumpkin display season; I received this gorgeous  Staub cocotte pumpkin dish. I was instantly taken with this crafty beauty, combining decor and dining. This year, giving thanks to the French for loving pumpkins and autumn as much as I do, I made sure to haul my dish out of storage on the very first of the month. Making the most of our short reunion, I plan to makeup for lost time with hardy soups and casseroles…

Epicurean Cutting Boards | The Polka-dot Maven

An epicurean kitchen…

I hate doing dishes but I love filling them up with tasty treats and snacks. Recently, I discovered these clever beauties at Sur La Table. Entertaining just became a lot easier. These unique and fun cutting boards double as serving platters, saving you prep and clean up time. This year, the geniuses at Epicurean really have outdone themselves.


Click on the photos if you feel compelled to add these dual purpose cutlery partners to your collection…

Gluten Free Muffins | The Polka-dot Maven

Baking is a science…

I am what I like to call, an organic cook. I occasionally read recipes, follow them loosely, improvise, and since I’m imaginative, I generally make things up. Gluten Free baking is quite the opposite. It is a chemistry, requiring immense precision, and dedicated recipe following. Especially for novices.  You mustn’t be mislead into thinking you can make edible GF pastries with measuring cups, it requires measuring by weight. Even if the recipe calls for cups when measuring out the flours, figure out the weight on your own. Because, it is nearly always a bold face lie. Most of all, GF baking requires patience.  All qualities I struggle with in the kitchen…After several failed attempts at imaginative baking, I resigned to purchase a GF and sugar-free baking cookbook (click here to check it out). My goal is to become a master gluten free pastry chef, but I think I could settle for my creations being excitingly edible. Since fall makes me think of comfort necessities, I am beginning my journey of baking betterment with..gluten free, sugar free, pumpkin muffins…

Ingredients:

9oz almond flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla powder

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup agave nectar

1 can of organic pumpkin puree

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your muffin pan by either lining it with paper cups, or greasing the interior. Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl and all the wet ingredients in another. Combine them. With an ice-cream scooper, fill the cups in the pan with about 1 1/2 scoops of the mixture. Bake for 25 – 35 minutes…

They turned out perfectly; a bit like a pumpkin pie/cake meritage. I confess, I couldn’t help my self. I had to deviate from the recipe just slightly…I added vanilla and omitted the cloves and cranberries it called for. I can’t imagine not using vanilla, it has such a wonderful smooth flavor – it had to be added, and cloves are simply too reminiscent of potpourri. Since the revisions didn’t ruin the muffins, I think it’s safe to say I’m on my way to becoming a gluten free chemist, sort-of.

Cupcakes | The Polka-dot Maven

Lavender Cupcakes…

During a recent lunch break, I discovered the Vegan Sweet Tooth bakery. There, I indulged in the most heavenly cupcakes I have ever had in my life. Gluten free, vanilla lavender cupcakes that taste rich and yummy (unlike most GF pastries which can be likened to frosted sawdust). Be still my beating heart…the perfect density and consistency!

Cupcakes | The Polka-dot Maven

While I don’t fancy myself a proper baker (especially since GF baking is seriously fickle), I have big plans to recreate this delectable treat in the very near future…