Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I Ate a Bowl of Cheerios Today

So....are we going to talk about the fact that General Mills essentially glutened....everybody?

I'll admit it, after years of eating every single flavor of gluten free Chex, I jumped on to the Cheerios bandwagon without a second thought.

Seriously. I didn't even pause for a second when I saw them on the shelf at my local grocery store. I couldn't wait for that first bowl. My first bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios in like 8 years. It felt felt normal!

Head first y'all. I jumped in to that first box head first and I didn't look back. I can't even tell you how many boxes I bought, how quickly I went through an entire FAMILY SIZE box. It's a tiny bit embarrassing.

Did I eat a box that was contaminated?


At the rate I went through boxes, it's possible that I did. It's also possible that I didn't. I haven't had most of my typical "glutening" side effects. My digestive tract hasn't been tip top since giving birth to Mason, so I can't use diarrhea as an indicator. (Is that TMI? Sorry!) But I haven't been bloated and we all know that gluten gives me bloat like no other.

So I don't know. I'm guessing not but at the same time, does it really matter?

I mean, how long did it take for a mistake to be made? And how long until another is made?

Will I eat them again?


I will. I know I will. I feel like I shouldn't....and then I ate a bowl this morning!!

So what about you? Will you continue to eat Cheerios?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Gluten Free Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Gravy

It's no secret that I love living in Durham, NC.

The city itself is not too big or too small. There are tons of green spaces and parks. Not a weekend passes without a fun event, and yes - the restaurants are amazing. Durham was named Tastiest Town in the South by Southern Living magazine after all!

There are lots of gluten free options, and while I never feel deprived by any means, I wouldn't call Durham Gluten Free Heaven.

Nope. Because that title belongs to Asheville, NC!!

This past weekend the Ravelli family headed to the mountains for a quick getaway. Parrish and I were celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary on the 18th and his birthday on Monday, so a long weekend away was the perfect gift to us both!

And of course we brought Mason since he's the best gift - ever.

The only real plans for the weekend were hanging out with our friends that live in Asheville. We were so excited to just spend some real time with them and eat ALL THE FOOD in the land!

As soon as we arrived in town, we dropped our bags at our house for the weekend and headed out to our first meal. But first, we made a pit stop for cider. 

I will ALWAYS make a pit stop for cider - if you're headed to Asheville, definitely put Urban Orchard Cider Co. on your must visit list!

I had a hard time choosing, so I ended up ordering a flight of 4 ciders.

And while they were all yummy, the Pineapple Lavender - yes, Pineapple Lavender !!! - was by far my favorite. I could NOT stop thinking about that cider! I am fully regretting not buying a growler full to bring home.

After the cider stop, we headed to King Daddy's Chicken & Waffle for an early supper,

and it did not disappoint!

We started the meal with sweet potato hushpuppies - yep, gluten free.

Hush puppies y'all. HUSH PUPPIES. Every Southern girls dream!

Well, hush puppies AND fried chicken that is!

I can't even fully express how amazing this meal was. The gluten free fried chicken was moist on the inside, with a crazy crispy batter on the outside. And that waffle. OH that waffle. I almost asked our server if he was sure that it was gluten free; it was that good!

The next morning we woke up and enjoyed a slower morning with no plans until brunch. Baby Mason enjoyed crawling around on the wood floors - yep - CRAWLING around, while Parrish and I enjoyed that relaxing feeling you can only get when you're not in your own home with a to-do list a mile long.

To say that I was excited about brunch would be a huge understatement. I have been dreaming about going to Posana for....YEARS. A completely gluten free restaurant? Yes please!

We started our meal with an order of Doughnut Holes. I could have eaten a hundred of these. Parrish had a few and then he could sense my growing urge to no longer share them - he's a smart guy. So he and Mason shared some Avocado Toast with Salmon and left me to relish in my doughnuts alone.

For my meal I ordered the Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Gravy and a side of Cheddar Grits. I also ordered two biscuits for Mason and I to share because....

BISCUITS y'all - they need no explanation.

I ate every single bite. I stuffed myself to the gills and I still wanted more! The food was simply incredible. My only regret is that we were only able to eat there once.

If you're heading to Asheville or within a 3 hour driving distance of Asheville, you have to make eating at Posana a priority. And honestly, it's not necessarily that the food is gluten free, it's just good food! I'm already planning my next trip!

After brunch we headed out to explore the town with friends. We walked around the Farmer's Market, bought some apples, and hit up a few (of the many) breweries.

I wasn't sure it was possible, but all the walking around (with 20 pounds of squishy baby love attached to my chest) actually helped me work up an appetite after ALL THE FOOD at Posana, so we had an early dinner out at Asheville Brewing Company.

We rarely get to eat dinner out since having Mason - that baby LOVES an early bedtime. But we were on mountain time that weekend and he didn't seem to mind staying up a bit...especially if there was food involved!

Baby Mason LOVES to eat! He enjoyed a meal of puffs, sweet potatoes, and corn, while Parrish and I shared an AMAZING gluten free pizza.

I'm telling you, not one bad meal the entire trip! Even Parrish remarked on how good this gluten free pizza was. If it hadn't been smaller in size, I would have wondered if it were actually gluten free!

After having fried chicken TWICE in one weekend, pizza was the perfect way to end our trip.

Monday morning came all too quickly, and I'll admit that I had a hard time leaving Asheville. It was such a relaxing weekend, a welcome break from all the stresses and pressure of our home life currently. I can't wait to visit again!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Dear Mason, A Reflection on Months 6 & 7

*Edited to Add: Two days before your 7 month birthday you caught your first virus! Today is September 2nd, and you've had a fever for 5 days. It spiked yesterday and you were the saddest you have been. ever. It's hard to see the happiest baby in the world cry, but me and Daddy have been taking good care of you. Extra snuggles at night and lots of napping. Hopefully you will feel better soon.

Dear Mason,

It really is no surprise to me that time got away from us these past few months and I ended up not being able to post your 6 Month Reflection. Life with you continues to be very busy!

6 months was the beginning of the real fun, and month 7 was a total blast!

You started sitting up by yourself for periods of time, which makes playing so much easier. At 6 months we would use a boppy to help you steady yourself, but at 7 months we just sit nearby or place a boppy behind you where your head would hit if you fell backwards. You are so much more sturdy at 7 months than you were at 6, but you haven't mastered sitting quite yet.

You are really ready to crawl, but you're not quite sure how to do it. When you're on your belly you push way up in to an upward facing dog yoga position, but you're not sure what to do with your legs yet. You can wiggle your way around in a circle, but you get frustrated when you realize you haven't moved anywhere. You've even started kicking your legs back and forth from a seated position and looking down expectantly like, "Hey legs?! Why aren't we going anywhere?!"

But you have mastered rolling. In fact, during month 7, you officially became a belly sleeper!

In month 6 we moved you from the Rock and Play in to your crib. Mommy and Daddy were nervous about it, but you did fine and it seems like you're enjoying the extra room. Some days you wiggle yourself diagonally in the crib, or you end up all the way at the bottom. But no matter where you are, you're on your belly.

Speaking of your belly, you are a growing baby!

At your 6 month check-up you weighed in at 20 pounds 5 ounces, which puts you in the 88th percentile for weight - which is no surprise to anyone that meets you because you have an appetite!

After your 6 month check-up, we got the go ahead to start feeding you 3 meals a day. And the Dr. told us to let you tell when you're full, instead of us stopping you from eating. At 6 months your favorite foods were butternut squash and sweet potatoes. At 7 months you are currently loving pears mixed with mangoes. You open your mouth REALLY WIDE for those.

You also hate avocados, which sort of breaks Mommy's heart because I love them so much. We've tried 3 times but each time you take a bite, shiver your whole body, and then won't take another bite! You're also not the biggest fan of kale, but if we mix in prunes you gobble it up.

You continue to be a happy-funny baby, and have showed no signs of being weary of strangers. You still let anyone hold you, and you love to give away smiles to new friends. Whether you're riding in the grocery cart or your stroller, you love "being on parade" and smile at everyone you pass by.

Crazily enough, you still have NO TEETH. You seem to be "teething" off and on but nothing comes out of it.

Big events of Month 6 included your first BIG road trip to Ohio for your Uncle Bud's wedding.

We were nervous about you sleeping in the hotel, but it was no problem at all! You were still sleeping in your Rock and Play then, which made travel super easy.

You did a great job in the car for a tiny baby, but 6 1/2 hours on the road at one time seemed to be your limit. When we were driving back we stopped at a hotel for the night in West Virginia, and you were SO HAPPY to be out of your car seat. I plopped you down on the king size bed and you rolled around and giggled and babbled for nearly 30 minutes.

You also attended your first music festival during month 6 which - no surprise - you loved! You are still at your happiest outside, so combining that with live music and new friends meant you were in heaven. You lasted ALL DAY and never showed signs of being done. It was so much fun!

Big events for Month 7 included sitting up on your own in a highchair in restaurants. You absolutely LOVE it and Mommy and Daddy love being able to eat without having their hands full.

You also started playing games this past month, including Peek-a-boo. You love to play after you've woken up from a nap but you're still in your crib, so we play peek-a-boo through your crib bumpers. You've also really started mastering toys and understanding how to turn things or stack things, so Mommy and Daddy bought you new toys that use those skills.

Another favorite: your fur brother and sister. You love to watch them walk around and try to "pet" Max regularly now. Hazel doesn't get close enough for you to pet but she has given you a few kisses.

You continue to LOVE your exersaucers, especially the Step n' Play piano. You have never seen a happier baby banging on the piano keys and jumping up and down.

And last but definitely not least, you love other babies!

You have started interacting with other children and it is the cutest thing ever. We meet up with friends at the library for Baby Lapsit and you stand and squawk and smile the entire time. We visited your friend Amelia and her new baby brother, and you kept lunging at Amelia to grab and hug her. You just love being around friends!

In fact, there is not much you don't love Mason Modesto...aside from avocados of course! You continue to be a happy funny baby, and Mommy and Daddy love you more and more everyday. You are our best buddy, and we can't wait to see what month 8 brings!

24 weeks

28 weeks

Past Letters to Mason:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Homemade Chesapeake Mayo

Summer always seems to drag on in North Carolina. By the time September arrives, I am MORE than ready for autumn. I mean who doesn't love crisp air and pumpkin spiced everything?! But even though I always find myself wishing summer away at the end of August, it only takes one trip to the Farmers Market to remind myself to savor the season while its here!

I mean, tomatoes out of season just aren't worth it.

So Parrish and I have been eating our weight in tomatoes. We've had them on top of salads, sandwiches, and stuffed in omelets. I've had a few slices at breakfast and on top of pizza for supper. To me, tomatoes are the BEST of summer produce, and while I'd eat them on nearly anything, to me there is no better way to enjoy a tomato than a simple sandwich.

A freshly toasted gluten free baguette from the downtown Durham Farmers Market topped with a Pineapple Tomato and local bacon. When we had these for supper the other night, I made two different types of homemade mayo to spice things up. I whipped up my usual Lemon Garlic, and then made a special treat for Parrish: Chesapeake Mayo.

So stinkin' good and super easy to make. In a mason jar, combine one egg and 1/2 cup Tessemae's Lemon Chesapeake Dressing. Blend using an immersion blender and drizzle in light tasting olive oil until you get a thick consistency. I've been keeping a small jar of it in the fridge for sandwiches. I would like to say that it will keep for a week but ours never lasts that long!

We ended up having our tomato sandwiches tapas style because neither of us could decide which mayo we wanted.

Which was really the best choice! Both the mayos are just too good to commit to one.

Mason is currently taking his morning nap, but as soon as he wakes up we're headed back to the Farmer's Market. I need more tomatoes!

I'll grab a couple more for sandwiches, and then a handful to make my Potato Crust Pizza.  (Which is still one of my most visited posts of all time!) I haven't made salsa yet either, so I should grab a few for that....and fried green tomatoes. So many delicious tomato dishes - too little time!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Whole 30 Creamy Potatoes

I've been wanting to do the Whole 30 for months.

After being pregnant and nauseous for a million years 40 weeks, and then having some not so happy digestive issues postpartum, I've been feeling more than ready to change my eating habits. (Never heard of the Whole 30? Read more here.)

I'm fairly certain that I have an issue with tapioca starch (an issue being that it gives me the most terrible smelling gas EVER) but I really need to do an elimination diet to be sure. The Whole 30 seems like the most straight forward way for me to do that. Plus I like the idea of not "dieting" but just cleaning up what I eat. I eat fairly healthy now but typically follow the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy foods and 20% treats, like gluten free donuts. And I'm pretty sure that 20% category is what's leaving me in gastric distress.

And at the same time....I love creamy foods.

Sour cream, cream cheese, sharp cheddar, and ranch are some of my favorite foods. Coupled with the fact that breastfeeding gives me a hunger like no other, and let's just say that my will power is very low right now. Plus I don't exactly have a lot of extra time to meal plan or food prep, so if I'm going to do the Whole 30, I have to be prepared beforehand.

But being gluten free, I'm already accustomed to making most of my own meals. Add to that having a 6 1/2 month old baby, and I'm not exactly dining out a lot. So really, now is the perfect time for me to try the Whole 30 - I don't know why it feels so hard.

Not hard: my supper last night. It came together so easily, and imagine my surprise when I realized that my entire meal was actually Whole 30 compliant - including my creamy potatoes!

These potatoes are super easy to make - served alongside grilled steaks and a salad, it's a real weeknight treat!

And yes, potatoes are Whole 30 compliant! Yippee! Read more about the rule change here.

You'll need:

12 small white potatoes (or small red potatoes)
coconut oil (not doing the Whole 30? Use olive oil!)
salt & pepper
Tessemae's Lemon Garlic Dressing
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped scallion (or chives)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place the potatoes in a large pot and fill with just enough water to cover plus one inch. Bring to a boil, then simmer with a lid on until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and let the potatoes cool for just a few minutes. 

Heat your coconut oil to make it easy to drizzle. Drizzle a small amount of coconut oil  onto a baking sheet. Using a fork, flatten each potato and place onto baking sheet. Drizzle the tops with coconut oil and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops begin to crisp and brown. 

Using an immersion blender, blend 1/2 cup Tessemae's dressing with one egg. 

Once blended, drizzle in coconut oil until you get your desired consistency. I went for a little bit runny but not watery, like a dressing.

Drizzle the baked potatoes and then top with chopped scallions. Serve hot.

Monday, August 17, 2015

I Don't Always Cry for Gluten Free Pizza....

Last night was hard. 

The kind of hard that makes you question your abilities. 

The kind of hard that leaves you sobbing big fat blubbering tears while you cradle your screaming baby in your arms, vulnerable, having absolutely no idea what to do. 

I'm lucky I guess. I can actually count on two hands the amount of times that Mason Modesto has cried actual tears, and I can count on one hand the amount of times that he has cried and I had no idea what to do. 

But last night was one of those nights. He's crying. I'm crying. He's screaming. I'm shushing and bouncing and rocking and swaying and kissing and rubbing and holding and praying - praying real hard - that I can comfort Mason. 

After nearly an hour of working through it together, I finally had MM quietly sleeping in his crib. When I walked out of his room I realized that not only was I completely exhausted but I was also starving. 

And friends, in times like that, only one meal will do:

Gluten Free Pizza!

I went with the Steak and Blue on a gluten free crust from Uncle Maddio's - my current absolute fave! Spinach, basil, tomatoes, thinly sliced steak, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze - it is so good!

And it is SO HARD not to eat the entire pizza at once. 

This was the first time I haven't been sharing the pizza with another person - fingers crossed it reheats well for lunch today!

Friday, August 14, 2015


After losing my beloved lap top a few months ago, I've been trying to find my blogging rhythm again. 

I already struggle balancing my home life and my work life - we won't even get in to my fitness life right now - so taking a little bit of a break from blogging just made sense. 

But the truth is, I miss it.

I miss reflecting on my life and typing about my day. I miss cooking actual meals, and working on new recipes. 

I definitely miss meal planning. 

So I'm recommitting myself to cooking one new recipe a week and blogging at at least once a week as well. Even if it's just one adorable picture of Mason Modesto and two sentences; I will focus on self reflection at least once a week! 

Featured Above: 

Fry Days - after a very long week, fries were necessary
My Pinterest Success from last week - Thai Peanut Chicken Pineapple Satay
Mason Modesto - MM found his new favorite toy at his 6 month doctor visit; nothing like sanitary paper