Friday, July 29, 2011

Food Rakes

 

Today at work, I was eating my Udi’s sandwich when it popped in my head:

An Adam Sandler

And then I died laughing and my volunteer looked at me like I was crazy. So I tried to explain to her the hilarity of ‘Tom Haverford’ and that I was eating a sandwich or an Adam Sandler.

Yeah…she still didn’t get it! By this point I was near busting a gut, so I pulled up the video.

Friends. If you haven’t seen this video, get ready. FOOD:

Then I was prompted to visit this website, and continue to refresh until I COULD NOT breathe. Celery Swank. Little-ass lobsters. Bahahaha.

Oh boy.

Happy Weekend Friends! TGIF and all that. Parrish and I have a big weekend planned, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to involve THESE pancakes and some Kevin Bacon.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Strawberries and Cream Popsicles

 

I warned you that this week had a theme! From gluten free chicken sandwiches with a cool mint spiked yogurt and scalloped potatoes with sour cream and onion dip, this past week I have definitely been playing around in the kitchen. And while I thought the theme was “staying cool”, I guess it really should be “how fast can you go through two large containers of Greek Yogurt”.

On Sunday I had a genius idea to make a healthier frozen popsicle that Parrish and I could then enjoy throughout the week. A few years ago I snagged these classic popsicle containers:

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from CVS during their summer clearance.

I started by making a small batch of simple syrup. 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan – bring to boil and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves.

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Simple Indeed. Yields 3/4 cup, but you want to be sure to let it cool before using it in this recipe.

In to the blender:

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2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries and 1/4 cup simple syrup.

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Blend it up!

Using a tablespoon, spoon the strawberry mixture in to your popsicle molds:

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Spoon in two tablespoons per mold, and then place the molds in to the freezer for 30 minutes without their top.

THEN, take a tub of Greek Yogurt:

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I used Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt.

Spoon in the yogurt, filling the popsicle mold completely.

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Be sure to press down the yogurt to avoid any bald spots.

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Put on your tops and pop back in the freezer for six hours.

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Voila! A gluten free summer treat that just happens to be pretty healthy too…and with a blue top, a bit patriotic.

I made a few of the pops with just plain strawberry puree, no yogurt. YUM!

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I’m off to T.U.B. (total upper body) at my local Y. Last week this class made me SO SORE that I couldn’t crouch down for three days!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sour Cream & Onion Dip – Gluten Free Yo!

 

You need to make this dip.

I usually don’t like to be so forceful about my recipes. I typically figure: to each their own; maybe you’ll try it.

But screw that! You need to make this dip.

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One cup of Greek yogurt, 3 tbsp. minced dill, 3 tbsp. minced chives, and the juice of one lemon –> Whip it up!

You could even use half yogurt/half sour cream if you wanted it to be super creamy. I just wanted to save my calories for a glass of wine. PLUS Greek yogurt tastes just like sour cream to me; Parrish would like to go on record to say that he disagrees and still loves sour cream.

Back to the dip!

Serve on top of scalloped potatoes. And then write me a love note because this dip straight tastes like sour cream and onion chips!

And since you can’t eat potatoes alone for supper (or can you?) I suggest you also try these little babies that I picked up at Harris Teeter this past weekend:

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al fresco chicken sausage – delicious

In fact, this meal was so good, that my picture came out blurry:

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and I didn’t even care!! And I took the picture before my broccoli was finished and I didn’t even care! One taste of the dip and I was in fast forward. I couldn’t wait to sit down and mangiare…

Yeah. Since Parrish is Italian, I’m slowly but surely learning the language. And yes. Eat is the first word I looked up. Don’t hate. Mangiare this dip ya’ll!

Hmmm. Do you think there is a term for ya’ll in Italian? Research needed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

So Fresh and So Cool

 

Every Sunday Parrish and I sit down and make our weekly menu. I learned a long time ago that making a menu works for us. When I’m hungry…well…let’s just say, I may put on some grumpy pants.

But it’s still ballz hot here in NC, so much like my recipes for this past weekend, our menu this week had a theme: Cooling. After spending all day in the heat, I wanted our meals to offer some relief. (And the A/C doesn’t hurt either!)

Last night’s sandwich did not fail to impress:

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Lime Kissed Grilled Chicken Sandwich with a Cool Mint Yogurt

And as fancy as it may sound, it was actually pretty easy to make!

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Bottom to top: Udi’s Whole Grain bun, THIN sliced mozzarella cheese, spinach, chicken marinated in Goya Mojo Criollo and then grilled, fresh tomato, caramelized vidalia onion, and 0% fat mint spiked Fage Greek Yogurt

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To make the yogurt, I simply mixed 1 cup Greek Yogurt with 1 tbsp. lime zest, juice from one lime, 3 tbsp. minced fresh mint

Easy Peasy.

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Fresh.

And I don’t really need to continue to declare my love for the Udi’s Whole Grain bun do I?

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Well, I’m going to anyway! I love love love it! This bun is the bomb. Gluten is SO 2008.

The only thing not cool about last night: Choosing to watch The Road for a romantic night in. UGH! Most depressing movie ever. Not much romantic about cannibalism. I’m just sayin’.

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I am loving your comments on the newest Balancing My Weight post, and REALLY enjoying your emails! Sharing each other’s stories is the main reason I LOVE writing this blog. It’s so nice to connect!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Balancing My Weight Gluten Free–Trifecta of Trouble

 

Miss the first post in this series? Recap here!

A year after going gluten free, I became really uncomfortable with the weight I had gained. I knew I ate mostly healthy, but something must have changed. I was carrying an additional 30 pounds on my 5 foot 4 frame.

It was tough because health wise, I was feeling the best I had ever felt. My migraines were gone, and so was my diarrhea! But at the same time, I didn’t feel like myself. I had gone up two pants sizes over the course of a winter, and I began to feel depressed. I just wasn’t comfortable in my own skin.

Thankfully, writing this blog and reading others, gave me the inspiration and the focus I needed to take control. I sat down and made a plan. First I was going to keep a food journal for a month. It was tough, but worth it! I wrote down everything. Even handfuls here and there.

And I noticed a pattern. There were three MAJOR issues that I found, each sabotaging my health separately and together. I call them: The Gluten Free Trifecta of Trouble.

The troublemakers: Gluten Free Substitute Nutritional Landmines, Food Insecurity, Deprivation = Treats

Let’s start with the most obvious saboteur:

Trifecta

It’s pretty simple. I felt like I was already losing so much, by giving up gluten, that I felt like I deserved treats. And while everyone does deserve a treat once in a while, I began OVER-TREATING myself with empty carb gluten free foods.

Gluten Free cookies, brownies, and cakes. I would justify a bigger portion than I needed. Gluten Free pasta was easy enough to cook, so I would make indulgent bowls with rich cheese and smoky bacon.

My treats fed in to the next saboteur:

Trifecta

SO many of the gluten free substitutes I was eating (and overeating) were made with white rice and assorted starches. Refined to the max and processed – losing out on much of the fiber found in brown rice. And everything was high on the glycemic index – not good for blood sugar.

And let’s not forget the CARBS! Carbs, Carbs, Carbs.

While your body needs carbs for energy, not all carbs are created equally. Complex carbs coming from whole grains and fruits and vegetables are WAY better than their refined counterparts. You could see the simple carbs my body was storing all over my mid-section!

The last saboteur ties right in with the previous two:

Trifecta

In the first few months of going gluten free, I found myself in situations where I was hungry but there was nothing I could eat. I remember being at a wedding where there was literally NOT ONE thing I could eat. But I thought I handled that well. I had OVEREATEN at lunch, just in case there was nothing at the reception for me.

It didn’t help that in my first few months I was constantly starving. ALL. THE. TIME. hungry. So I started overeating. I lost sight of portion sizes. If I found something I could eat, that’s what I would do: EAT. It’s hard to understand the logic, but I literally felt like I needed to eat whenever I could because I didn’t want to get stranded without any GF foods.

I was overeating, over treating, processed gluten free substitutes.

Next post: I’ve identified the issues…and now the solutions!

Do any of these saboteurs sounds familiar?

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Today’s the Day!!! Head on over! You won’t BELIEVE all the amazing items! Including some goodies from yours truly!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Recipes for the Weekend–Sweaty Summer Edition

 

Friends! I hope you’re enjoying the first post in a series: Balancing My Weight Gluten Free – Young Years. Look for the next post bright and early on Monday morning! But can I just say that I can’t believe NO ONE has said anything about my awesome Dr. Seuss shirt!

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So is it H. O. double T where you live?

Man alive. North Carolina is MISERABLE. When my UPS guy walked in yesterday, I gave him my usual “Hey! How are you?” and he literally looked at me, shot me eye daggers, and grunted while wiping sweat from his face. I almost chirped in with a “Well, we’re all luckier than the guys out front paving the street.” but I thought better of it.

In times like these, eating is the last thing on my mind. I’m more worried about getting home and taking off as much of my clothing as I can without creeping out my neighbors.

So this edition of Recipes for the Weekend is full of COLD, LIQUID recipes that will keep you cool and hydrated!

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Watermelon Juice

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Red, White, and Green Smoothie

^^Best smoothie ever! I SWEAR it tastes like an orange creamsicle!

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TGI-JUICE!! – it looks like sherbet BUT it’s even better!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Balancing My Weight Gluten Free–Young Years

 

I have been wanting to write a post about my struggle with weight and living gluten free, for a long time! And when I finally sat down at the computer with the intention of knocking it out, I realized that this is so much more than one post!

So I’m going to write a series of posts – Balancing My Weight Gluten Free, where I’ll talk about my own personal thoughts, issues, tricks, etc. And hopefully we can create a dialogue through the comments section. What has your experience been?

What better place to start than the beginning?

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Well, maybe not that long ago. Let’s start with middle school, where my fashion sense really started to blossom:

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mmmm yeah. That ‘Thing 1. Thing 2.’ shirt is aging me isn’t it? Yep. It was 1995…and I promise it was in.

But as you can see from the pictures above, I pretty much grew up skinny. Not model thin, more like lanky – all legs – knees and elbows.

I grew up in a small town in South Carolina, without fast food…or restaurants actually. There was one diner, Pittman’s Country Kitchen, and it was your basic greasy spoon. My mom cooked all our meals, and while they were tasty, they were definitely FILLED with gluten. While I didn’t know it at the time, my thin figure, raging migraines, and constipation, could have all been symptoms of Celiac Disease.

But at the same time, we didn’t sit around on our butts either! We only had three TV channels (nope. no My So Called Life for me) so we played outside all day. We also didn’t have any soda unless it was a special occasion, so we were spared that sugar.

In 1996, we moved to North Carolina and to another small town. But this town had a few fast food joints – movin’ on up! But I still pretty much ate from home. I played tennis

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and danced

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and my lanky figure slowly developed muscles. Teeny tiny ones. I ate what I want and never thought about the fat, calories, or carbs. I was oblivious to anything regarding food, other than taste.

After high school it was off to college and a BIG city – to me. I know most folks would say Wilmington, NC is a pretty small town BUT it was HUUUUGE to me. And in regards to food, there were so much at my fingertips. I would say that I embraced fast food with my whole stomach!

My first year I was filling in a size 0-1 and by my fourth year, I was filling out a size 6-8 but at the same time, I was growing up. I was gaining some hips and a booty, but I was still completely in the dark about what I was eating. Healthy to me was a salad with ranch and a ton of cheddar cheese.

Reality Check needed.

Luckily I began working at a food co-op that focused on local, healthy, organic foods! There was a lot of information and I was a sponge! The more I learned about food, the more I paid attention to what I ate. I became more in touch with my body and I realized that sometimes after I ate I felt sick and bloated. I was convinced I was lactose intolerant but try as I might, I couldn’t stay away from cheese. My constipation took a 180 and I couldn’t stay out of the bathroom! I had to plan my day around diarrhea.

Fast Forward to a traumatic event and then a few months later, my Celiac diagnosis.

Six months after my diagnosis, I found myself with an EXTRA 30 pounds on my frame. And unfortunately, I had a realization that in my life I had never had to try to lose weight or even maintain.

I was clueless.

NEXT POST: The Gluten Free TRIFECTA that caused my weight gain!

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I created a new Gluten Hates Me header!!

AND

It’s coming….

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GHM is contributing and there are some other great gluten free items too!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday–Make GF wontons!

 

Make your own gluten free wonton wrappers?

Yep.

You can do it!

I first made them in 2008, just a few short months after going gluten free. I used them to make a pasta dish of sorts, but you could also steam them or fry them.

Expect an updated post soon with a video, but for now, here’s the post from 2008. In looking back, I honestly can’t believe how much I have improved at taking photos!! It’s all about the tungsten. PLUS, Parrish was still just my boyfriend!

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originally posted:

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2008

Roasted Chicken Purses


Made from scratch Wontons! I'm still a bit in awe that I was able to pull this off. I found this recipe from Food Network for Roasted Chicken Purses created by Giada. The recipe calls for wontons. I've never cooked with wontons, so I didn't realize that it was basically just flour, salt, and water. I couldn't find any gluten free wontons but I did remember that I have a case of my beloved Beth's Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. I found a pretty simple recipe for "regular" wontons so I just substituted Beth's. It turned out pretty well!
Gluten Free Wonton Recipe:

  • One egg
  • 2 cups Beth's Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 - 1 cup water
Lightly beat one egg with 3/4 tsp. salt. Add 1/4 cup water and mix. In a large bowl, sift 2 cups Beth's Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add in the water and egg mixture. Mix in with the flour. Continue adding water, 1/4 cup at a time to form the dough. I ended up adding 3/4 cup additional water and around 1/4 cup additional Beth's. Form the dough into a ball and then knead for 5 minutes, or until it forms a smooth dough. Cover the dough and let sit for 30 minutes. Next, on a floured surface, roll out the dough until very thin. (Think of how thin regular, store bought dough is) It is now ready to stuff!
Giada's Roasted Chicken Purses recipe was really just a launching off point. I changed a few things more to my taste, but I was still SUPER pleased with the results. The stuffing is pretty simple:
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted chicken, shredded
  • 1 bar Neufchatel Cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • One egg, whipped up for egg wash
  • 4 - 5 tbsp. butter
  • a bit of paremsan, shredded
While you make your filling, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place 1 1/2 cups roasted chicken in a bowl. (I bought a rotisserie chicken from my local Harris Teeter. It saved me time and had alot of flavor) Mix in 1 bar of Neufchatel Cream Cheese at room temperature. Also stir in 2 tbsp. organic lemon zest, 1 tbsp. fresh chopped thyme, and 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. That's your filling. You'll also need an egg wash, just one egg whipped up in a small bowl. In the center of each wonton piece, you'll scoop out about one tbsp. of filling. Wash the egg around the filling all way to the edges of the wonton. Then grab your four corners and make a purse. Unlike my Chicken Cresecents, you'll want to be sure that the wonton piece is completely sealed, since you're going to boil it. Once you have ten purses made, place them in the boiling water. Boil for around 5-6 minutes. Drain. While you're boiling the purses, melt 5 tbsp. of organic butter on medium heat. Once your purses are finished, toss them in the butter to coat, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Voila!
Parrish (the boyfriend) ate his with soy sauce and loved it! I was out of tamari :( , so I enjoyed my purses plain. We have some leftover purses that I think I'll have with pasta sauce for lunch tomorrow. Yum!

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BIG POST TOMORROW!

I’m going to start the first in a series about being gluten free and weight. From gaining to losing, we’ll cover it all!

So keep those answers coming!

After going gluten free, did you find it was easier or harder to lose/maintain your weight?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Little Kitchen Helper

 

This past weekend I woke up early on Saturday and felt inspired. Inspired to go to Target…

What? You don’t wake up early and go shopping? Target is WAY better around 8:00 in the morning. There are WAY less people crowded in there, and you get the good sizes in the clothing department.

We buy most of our groceries at Harris Teeter (and a tiny amount at Whole Foods) but I do like to scan the groceries at Target. Sometimes they get new products first. So when I saw:

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Gluten Free Hamburger Helper – Asian Chicken Helper…

I couldn’t resist! Well, honestly…I almost put it right back on the shelf when I looked at the ingredients:

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White rice, artificial flavor, yellows, MSG!!!!!

But I decided to try it once, for you guys. I feel as a blogger, it’s sort of my duty to try new products and tell you if they’re worth the purchase. PLUS I do like to support companies when they take strides to make gluten free products.

So in the cart it went, along with dog bones, new running shorts, and a few clearance pillows.

When I was planning the menu for the week, I gave Asian Helper the ‘Easy Monday Supper’ slot and made sure to pick up some bok choy at the Teeter to accompany. I highly suggest making a veggie side with this meal.

To prepare the Asian Helper, I simply followed the directions on the box. Easy Peasy!

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As far as servings go, I would say that if you make a veggie side, you could get three servings out of this. The directions call for 1 pound of chicken, and I only had .90 pounds BUT it’s still pretty small. And even though the box says there are five servings…I didn’t see five servings.

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The bok choy was delicious! I simply chopped the choy in to small bites and sautéed with one minced shallot, one tbsp. oil, and one tbsp. GF tamari.

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I seriously love bok choy. Especially baby bok choy. It’s so tender and not the least bit bitter.

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The helper had good flavor…probably highlighted by the MSG…but it was yummy. I liked the egg, but the best part was:

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the chicken! Juicy, tender, and full of “asian-y” flavor.

Aren’t these chopsticks cute?! They were a gift from MOH and I love them! Cute little owls:

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I know a blogger who would love these!

SO the final verdict on Gluten Free Asian Helper? Yummy

Would I buy it again? I honestly don’t think so.

I couldn’t stop thinking about making my own version with brown rice and whole, natural ingredients. Plus, I’m not a fan of MSG. It’s unnecessary.

And did you notice this little gem on the box?

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Even though it’s gluten free it still tastes great? Phew! I thought gluten free meant gross. bahahahahahaha

I guess you have to reassure gluten lovers. It’s ok. It still tastes great…even without the gluten.

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Keep those answers coming!! I’m working on a post about going gluten free and weight, and I would love your input! I’m loving your emails on the subject too!

Monday, July 18, 2011

In a Flash

 

This morning I woke up early and had an Isn’t She Lovely for breakfast:

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and now I’m headed to the Y to get my sweat on before work.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a new product review! I found something over the weekend at Target that I didn’t even know existed!!!!

Until then, a question:

After going gluten free, did you find it was easier or harder to lose/maintain your weight?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Recipes for the Weekend–Welcome Home Edition

 

I was talking to bestie on the phone yesterday and we both agreed – the best part about being home is cookin’ in your kitchen!

The West Coast was fun but all those restaurants ain’t got nothing on me!

Well…Fresh Brothers may be close Winking smile

So it got me thinking about recipes for the weekend. I’m hoping that in between Harry Potter marathons, I can talk Parrish in to a picnic…in our living room…because it is BLAZING hot here. Maybe I can sway him if I show him the menu:

Barbe-cutie Gluten Free Pasta Salad

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Gluten Free Remy Chicken Salad

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Crustless Gluten Free Peach Pie

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Miss Past Posts? Ruh-Ruh-Ruh-RECAP!!

Recipes for the Weekend

Recipes for the Weekend – Take Two

Recipes for the Weekend – Part Three

Recipes for the Weekend Part Four – And Hazel’s Video Debut!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vacation’s great…

 

but I really missed…

OATMEAL!

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For some reason, I thought it would be easier to buy GF frozen waffles once we were in Cali, instead of traveling with oats. Not quite sure what I was thinking! My tummy and my blood sugar really missed these filling bowls!

MAX and HAZEL!

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My fur babies! Even though they were both WELL cared for, I missed these little boogers! However, two mornings of 6:30 wake up calls and maybe I’m missing them a little bit less Winking smile

WATER!

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Water, Water, Water!! Because I was traveling with my family, we had to ride around together in a van. And since LA has the WORST traffic, we were in the car a lot! Stopping once an hour to use the potty wasn’t always an option, so other than at meals, I limited my water consumption.

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And now that I’m home, I’m getting to enjoy all my regular routines and of course I’m missing vacation time! You can’t have it both ways.

Two things I’m missing the most:

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Twinsies

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and spending every day with Lil’ Gluten Loves Me.

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It’s my first day back to work! Hopefully my email inbox isn’t too crazy!