Category Archives: Celebrate!

So many choices at the Puritan Backroom Restaurant

My favorite restaurant in Manchester New Hampshire is the Puritan Backroom.  The Puritan is a place where Luke and I go to celebrate many happy occasions and accomplishments.  My college graduation, my engagement to Luke, special date nights, new jobs, and even my first 1000 hits on my blog (yes we look for ANY reason to celebrate) are all the happy moments I think of every time I go to the Puritan.  The reason I love the Puritan Backroom Restaurant so much is that they have by far the best and biggest gluten free menu out of all the places I have been.

Check out the menu, I guarantee there is something for everyone!

The Puritan Backroom Restaurant Gluten Free Menu

Two weeks ago Luke and I went to the Puritan Backroom Restaurant and it was delicious (as usual).  I ALWAYS start off the night with their amazing Greek salad (with oil and vinegar on the side).  This salad is my favorite!  I am sure it has to do with the giant hunks of feta cheese they give you.  Yum!!

If you like appetizers there are plenty of gluten free options to choose from. You can order fresh vegetables with Tzatziki (a Greek strained yogurt sauce), fruit cup with sherbert, Loukaniko (grilled Greek sausage with onions and peppers), scallops wrapped in bacon, jumbo shrimp cocktail, or fresh vegetables with hummus.  I typically don’t have enough room for an appetizer, but I could always go for fresh veggies and hummus.  This is a great healthy option to go with a lighter meal.

Choosing an entree is hard for me at this restaurant because there are so many choices!  When I’m in the mood for something on the lighter side I tend to go for the vegetable stir fry.  This meal is a giant plate of summer squash, zucchini, carrots, broccoli, pepper, and onion sauteed over rice. I love this dish because it is nice and healthy, really tasty, and big enough that I have plenty left over for lunch the next day.  Another dish I have tried in the past is the barbequed lamb.  Lamb is not something I usually order, but I tried it one day when feeling more adventurous and loved it.  It’s a smaller plate of barbequed lamb tips on a skewer with onions and peppers.

The only dish I have tried at the Puritan that I would not recommend are the broiled chicken fingers or the broiled chicken parmesan.  The Puritan is well known to have the best (regular) chicken fingers around.  I was hoping the gluten free ones would be similar, but I really just did not like them. The chicken was tough in texture and the gluten free sauce was too sweet for me.  Maybe it was just an “off day”, but there are so many items on the menu I do like, that I am not sure if it is worth trying it again.

I have been on a big fish kick lately, so this past time at the Puritan I ordered the swordfish.  You have the option to choose lemon pepper or Cajun spices.  I love food on the spicy side so I went with the Cajun!  It was delicious!  So far this is my favorite dish on the gluten free menu.  It’s much more expensive compared to other items on the menu ($19.95), but worth it!  I guess I am going to have to save this dish for those extra special occasions!

Some other great reasons to go to the Puritan:

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Filed under Celebrate!, Eat-Drink-Review, Jamie's Favorites, Just Plain Good

All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!

Another busy week has come to an end.  This one was full of exciting good news, a couple of celebrations, and plenty of chocolate! 

My Week in a Nutshell

On Monday Luke and I adopted a little sister for Jasper.  Her name is Luna (formally known ad Bebe) and she is incredibly sweet!  She’s two years old only weighs 5.8 pounds (Jasper weighs 14!).  Before going to the animal shelter she came from a one bedroom home with over 50 cats!  Looking like a baby herself, she had a litter of kittens this past March, all of which have been adopted.  So far Jasper seems to love her, following her around everywhere she goes.  She doesn’t seem to mind too much, but is still getting used to her new home and her new brother.

Miss Luna girl lounging on the couch

On Tuesday, we had a party at work for my work study student Mireille.  She is graduating from UNH and leaving us to go teach in Tennessee.   At 6 am I decided to make a batch of gluten free brownies before work.  I was in a hurry so I used Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Brownie Mix.   At first I didn’t even tell anyone they were gluten free because I wanted everyone to try them.  They were a hit!  They were really chocolaty and very moist.  No one even noticed the difference!

Congrats Mireille!

UNH President's Office saying goodbye to Mireille!

Wednesday my sister Kasey and her boyfriend Ryan came over and we made my Chipotle Chicken Fajitas!  YUM!!! 🙂  If you haven’t tried them yet, I suggest you give them a try!

Thursday was an awesome day for me.  I was offered a job at Timberland Boot Company.  I was really excited.  I had been trying to find a job there for the past year!  To celebrate Luke took me to my favorite restaurant, The Puritan Backroom in Manchester, NH.  They have an amazing gluten free menu… review to come!!

Friday my friend Jodi and I were up all night making gluten free cupcakes for our best friend’s bridal shower.  Because my vanilla cupcakes were a hit on my birthday, (see my “birthday cupcakes” post) we decided to make a dozen vanilla and a dozen gluten free chocolate cupcakes. For the chocolate cupcakes we used a similar “revised” recipe using Betty Crocker’s chocolate cake mix.

Note: Use the recipe below, DO NOT follow the recipe on the box.

Update Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix

Ingredients

4 large eggs and 1 egg white

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (gluten free)

1 package of Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix

3.4 ounces of jello instant chocolate pudding (powder mix not pre-made)

1/3 cup sugar

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 325°

2) Mix eggs, oil, orange juice,and vanilla extract in a small bowl.

3) In a large bowl mix cake mix, pudding mix, and sugar. Slowly add wet ingredients into the large bowl and mix thoroughly until batter is smooth.

4) Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake for approx. 25 minutes.

5) Let cool. Top with your favorite frosting.

I thought these cupcakes came out great!  Like the vanilla, the result was very moist and much better then the original recipe on the box.  Some people say they can taste the orange a little, and others couldn’t tell at all.  The people who could taste it still said they enjoyed the flavor.  We did a mixture of strawberry frosted (my fav!) and vanilla frosted, each sprinkled with edible glitter stars!

Wedding Shower Cupcakes!

And of course… Happy Wedding Shower Day to my beautiful and amazing best friend Ashley Wilson!!

The Bridal Party

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Filed under Celebrate!, Delectably Sweet, Eat-Drink-Review, It's All About ME!

Grab your sombrero, it’s Cinco de Mayo!

Jasper's ready for a fiesta!

Cinco de Mayo is a day to celebrate Mexican pride and heritage, a day to celebrate Latin American culture and commemorate the Mexican army’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th in 1962.

Mexican food is one of my favorites!  Tacos, fajitas, corn burritos, quesadillas, rice, beans, corn chips, guacamole, salsa… the gluten free possibilities are endless! What better way to celebrate Mexican tradition this Cinco de Mayo than with chipotle chicken fajitas, tortilla chips, and homemade mango salsa!

Chipotle Chicken Fajitas

Chipotle Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients

1 fresh squeezed lime

2 teaspoons oregano

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons chipotle pepper sauce

2 teaspoons minced garlic (I used jarred minced garlic in olive oil)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pound chicken strips (cut into cubes)

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 cup shallots (sliced thin)

4 large corn tortillas

Directions

1) In a large bowl combine lime juice, oregano, brown sugar, chipotle pepper sauce, minced garlic and salt. Add chicken, toss in mixture until coated evenly. Hold aside.

Chipotle Chicken Mixture (before cooked)

2) Heat olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Add shallots and saute until tender. Remove shallots from pan and place in a bowl.

Shallots

3) Add chicken to pan and saute until cooked all the way through. Combine chicken and shallots in bowl.

Chipotle Chicken

4) Warm corn tortillas on a pan. Fill with chicken and shallot mixture. Serve with rice.

Large Corn Tortillas

*Alternative* Chipotle Pork Fajita

*Note* You can also try the same recipe using pork! In the past Luke has made this using pork tenderloin and soft white corn tortillas! (shown above)

Mango Salsa

Chips and Salsa... my favorite snack!

Ingredients

2 mangos

1 tomato

1 red bell pepper

1 cup red onion

2 limes, fresh squeezed

1/4 cup minced cilantro

1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp.salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

Directions

1) Combine mango, tomato, red bell pepper, red onion, lime juice, cilantro, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a large dish. Chill.

2) Serve with your favorite corn chips!

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Filed under Celebrate!, Just Plain Good