This review is going to be a little different as I will be focusing on the gluten free menu. As I have mentioned Robby has had some gut issues and going gluten free has helped.  Not only I am learning about gluten free diets, I’m also checking out restaurants that have gluten free options. I first heard about Green Leaves from my niece Becky, so I knew it would be good. The difficult thing was that it was in York, Maine about 20-25 minutes away. Not super easy to do a take out order, but I found myself in York last week meeting a friend and thought it would be the perfect time to check it out.
When I was with my friend, Amanda, I asked her if she had been to Green Leaves.  “Yes, it’s a York favorite” she said.  She and her family all love it! After hearing that, I knew I had to stop in and grab some take out for Robby and I.
Green Leaves Chinese Restaurant and Lounge is located in the Meadowbrook Village Plaza on Route 1 in York, Maine. It was about 1:30 in the afternoon on a Wednesday  and I thought I would be in and out in no time. Boy, was I wrong this place was packed! The dining and lounge were almost completely filled with people and the To Go orders lined up on the counter! Wow! That was a crazy first impression. I got to the counter and asked for the gluten free menu and I was handed the menu from Andy, the owner. Andy was a super nice guy and said people come from all over for that menu. I explained I was one of those people too! He told me that when he remodeled his kitchen he put in two kitchens to be able to offer “certified” gluten free food. How amazing! I’m still learning about gluten free, but I know there are three things to look for.  Gluten Removed, Gluten Free and Certified Gluten Free. The safest is the Certified Gluten Free, so I felt really good about Green Leaves.
I ordered two items from the gluten free Chef’s Special part of the menu. I ordered Crispy Beef with Broccoli and Sweet and Sour Chicken. These dishes do not come with a side of rice so if you want a side dish you need to order that as well. I ordered the vegetable fried rice for Robby and I to share.

Let’s start with the Crispy Beef and Broccoli ($11.95) this was my favorite dish. The beef…even after driving home for 20 minutes was still crisp but it was so juicy and tender. One of the best crispy beef dishes I have ever had, gluten free or not! Excellent dish!

 

 

Next up was the Sweet and Sour Chicken ($10.95) I was a bit nervous with this hoping that they did not put the sauce on the chicken. For a take out order, you can see they do not! See those crispy bites of chicken? Yup still crispy but, Green Leaves has been voted the best Chinese restaurant in York County for 20 years in a row and counting!

Last but not least was the vegetable fried rice ($7.95) . First I should mention the portion was big, more than enough for Robby and I. We had some leftovers for the next day! The rice had plenty of vegetables, broccoli and mushrooms galore! Over all everything we had was terrific and worth the drive. This is a place we would go to anytime we are in the area with or without our gluten free guy Robby!

 

This is only a small glimpse of what the gluten free menu has.  They have a sushi menu, lunch specials, a chef’s special menu that includes what we ordered along with coconut chicken or shrimp, General Tso’s chicken or shrimp, shrimp with walnut and salt and pepper chicken to just name a few things!
They have a number of fried rice options, chop suey choices, soups like chicken and rice, egg drop and hot and sour! The stir fry section of the menu is huge! All with chicken, shrimp and seafood choices. This gluten free menu goes all the way to dessert, things like green tea ice cream, fried banana’s, and mango mousse cake!

I have only given you a small glimpse of what Green Leaves has to offer from the gluten free menu.  The non-gluten free menu is even bigger! Green Leaves opens daily at 11 am and you can also checkout their website.  http://www.greenleavesrestaurant.com/

NOTE – Robby and I did not come close to finishing either dish so I have learned that the best way to re-heat Chinese food (or pizza and seafood) is to place the leftover’s on a foil covered baking sheet.  Place the baking sheet in a COLD oven. Turn the oven to 330 degrees and when the oven bell rings to say the oven is heated, that’s when you take the sheet pan out and enjoy your leftovers! I kept the sauce from the sweet and sour chicken separate and just heated that in the microwave!

Take some time out this summer and stop in and see Andy at Green Leaves!

Enjoy!

 

These cookie bars are addicting! So good, especially warm out of the oven! Sadly, Robby can’t eat these due to some gut issues but his friends had no problem diving into them. This makes a 13 x 9 baking dish so it’s great for a party or a bunch of hungry boys! I’m thankful Robby’s friends took these out of my hands as these were really, really good and I did not want to eat them all myself! These would also be good with some chopped pecans or walnuts. Next time I know I have a few extra growing boys around I will make another batch with the nuts!

 

INGREDIENTS
1 cup of unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
2 2/3 cup flour
2 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (8 ounce) package health English toffee bits

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In your mixer, or a large bowl and hand mixer, cream the butter and both sugars until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix to combine. Add the flour, baking soda and salt mix again until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and toffee bits.
Press the batter into a greased 9 x 13 glass baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes and serve if eating them warm, otherwise let cool completely at room temperature before cutting. This will serve between 18 and 24 depending on how big you slice them.

Enjoy!

This recipe can be found at www.cozycountryliving.com

This week I have a couple recipes for your Fourth of July barbecue or any of your summer gatherings! The first one is this berry/Lime crostini. So easy and easily can make a couple dozen depending on how thick you slice the bread. The bread can be toasted in your oven or lightly grilled. I used a combination of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, but these would be great with strawberries too, or any combination your family likes. These take no time to make and should be served immediately.

INGREDIENTS
1 French baguette, sliced on a diagonal 1/4 – 1/2 inch
Whipped cream cheese, about 1 Tablespoon per bread slice
Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries – or your choice of berries
Honey to drizzle
Zest of 2 limes

DIRECTIONS
Place your bread slices on a baking sheet and place in the oven on broil, keeping the oven cracked open slightly, DO NOT WALK AWAY…these toast up very quickly! Or place the bread slices on your grill and lightly toast one side. Remove from oven or grill. Top each slice with about 1 Tablespoon of the whipped cream cheese covering the bread slice, top with berries, drizzle lightly with honey and zest lime over the top. Do this for each slice and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

 

A couple weeks ago I told you about taking the train into Boston with our niece Becky and her man Adam and eating our way through Boston. Not only did we go to Haley.Henry wine bar but we also went to Al Dente located at 109 Salem street in the north end of Boston. With Al Dente being our first stop of the day and none of us having much for breakfast, as we knew we were in for some amazing food, we were all hungry and ready to eat!

We decided on three dishes and all share them. It did not take us long to agree on a couple dishes but I will say the menu is fantastic! While we were deciding, we had bread with dipping oil in front of us and of course our drinks! Our first choice was the Bruschetta ($8.95) toasted garlic bread with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. We dove into the dish pretty fast and all enjoyed All,of the fresh flavors. Great start for sure!

Our next dish was one of their specialties, the lobster ravioli ($11.95) This is a lobster and cheese filled ravioli in a light marinara sauce with shrimp, a touch of cream and Romano cheese. I love a good lobster ravioli And this one was excellent.  There was no question why this dish is one of their specialties, light, fresh and filled with lobster and shrimp in the sauce.

 

The last dish we ordered was Pasta Alfredo with freshly made spiral pasta. this dish was hands down a favorite of all of us! If there were not other people in the restaurant, there would have been a fight as to who was going to lick the plate clean. We did contain ourselves but I can say the plate was in fact very clean when we were done…not a drop of that amazing sauce was left. This dish is $14.95 and worth every penny.  You can choose the type of pasta you want with it, but oh that sauce, that amazing sauce is made with heavy cream, butter, egg and fresh Parmesan cheese.  What a great way to start our day in Boston! Good thing we had some walking to do before we were at our next stop!

I can say ANYTHING you get from Al Dente will be good.  This restaurant is not just cozy and casual, it really is like being at your grandmother’s house for Sunday supper.  The food choices will please anyone’s taste buds, they even have a kid’s menu. They have many pasta sauces to choose from, along with seafood, veal, chicken and of course some house specialties. Al Dente is open daily starting at 11:30 am. They do take reservations and you can find more information including their full menu  online at http://www.aldenteboston.com/

These are some fun pictures I took as we walked through the city. Jim left his cell phone at home so he felt connected to the pay phone on the street!
Thanks so much to Adam and Becky for such a fun day in Boston!

Enjoy!

 

I have seen this cake floating around on Pinterest for sometime now.  I pinned it a couple weeks ago and decided to make it as it looked like the perfect summer cake with the mandarin oranges and the pineapple. This cake goes together very simply. This is perfect for any summer gathering you may be having. I shared this with my parents as well as a couple neighbors and we were all in agreement that this is a delicious cake.  I think Jim liked it the best! You all know that I’m not a baker and it’s my least favorite thing to do in the kitchen but I will make this cake again! If I can make it, I know all of you can too!

INGREDIENTS
1 package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 can (11 ounce) mandarin oranges, NOT DRAINED
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

FROSTING
1 can crushed pineapple (8 ounce), NOT DRAINED
1 package (3.5 ounce) instant vanilla pudding
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 (8 or 9 inch) round cake pans.
In a large bowl beat the cake mix, oil, oranges-not drained, eggs and sour cream until well blended.
Evenly divide the batter into the 3 prepared pans. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Mine took about 18 minutes. Let cool in the cake pans for 20 minutes, then turn the cake pans upside down onto a cooling rack and let the cakes cool completely.
To make the frosting beat the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer or handheld blender until stiff peaks form.  In a separate bowl combine the crushed pineapple, not drained, and the instant pudding powder, mix until combined. Add the whipped cream into the pineapple/pudding mixture and stir to combine.
Place the first cake layer down on your serving platter frost the top of the fiRst cake, add the second frosting on top and finally add the third and final cake layer and frost the cake completely on the top and sides. Serve right away or store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

 

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