Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nuts, Butts, and UBER Everything

One of the hardest things about going gluten free for me was the HUNGER. I was literally starving all the time!

And after two mini melt downs on road trips where I felt as though there was NOTHING I could eat anywhere…I wised up and starting carrying a food bar. Seriously you guys, this was necessary; I am not a pretty crier.

No. Not all food bars are gluten free. No. Not all food bars are snacks. So when I find one that fits both of those categories I am STOKED!

Now this may shock you…but over the past few months I have fallen off the LARABAR bandwagon. I still love their company and think they are awesome, but the texture of the traditional bar with dates just hasn’t been doing it for me. It’s too sweet and too gummy. I want something crunchy!

So was I ever excited to get these in the mail:

food bar 057

Think: less dates, more nuts!

I told you that I love the LARABAR folks, and I was tickled pink when I was home this past weekend and opened up the mail to find these little babies.

Yes I had them for four days and have already eaten them all and went to Whole Foods and restocked. I have no shame. It’s sweet and salty – you do the math!

food bar 060

Surprisingly, Roasted Nut Roll (not roasted nut balls or roasted butt balls but you’re welcome for getting that stuck in your brain) is my favorite!

Calorie wise, it is on a higher end for bars: 220 calories but as my ONE snack of the day it’s cool. I’ve also eaten one as my breakfast with a banana. Protein: 5 grams y’all! Nuts be packin’ it in.

So what about you?

Have you seen these bars? Tried them? Do you hate me for falling off the traditional bar bandwagon?

ALSO did you enter into the GIVEAWAY yet? Ummm….it’s pretty awesome Winking smile


Of course I come back to Wilmington and we’re having a tropical storm float on by. Well, I guess not really float as much as BLOW through and DUMP rain. Know what’s perfect for running from class to class? high winds and torrential downpours….


But I’m looking on the bright side and using this as an excuse to wear grubby clothes to class. Old, crazy, gluten free, bag lady stereotypes be damned. I’m slummin’ it!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Giveaway: Better Homes and Gardens

We all know that I was excited to get home this past weekend! No matter how nice and accommodating my in-laws are, I’m always going to want to be with my hubby in the home we have made for ourselves! (Although my in-laws are making my life SO MUCH easier!!)

So in honor of being home and building the type of home you want in your life, I’m giving away a one-year subscription to Better Homes and Gardens magazine!




1. Leave me a comment with the location of your hometown or a current home project you’re working on.

2. Tweet, Blog it, Facebook it and then comment back here that you did so.

3. ‘Like’ GHM on Facebook and then comment back here that we’re Facebook friends!

You have until Friday, June 1st at 12noon to enter; 5 chances to win. This giveaway is sponsored by Marlow for her blog GHM.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Exciting Weekend Up Ahead!

Thank GOODNESS for a long weekend!

With Memorial Day coming up, I’m out of class Friday through Monday which means…

esposo 001

no more Face Time with my hubby! Instead I’ll be getting real one on one face time, and I couldn’t be more excited about Smile (Mi esposo es guapo y tonto.)

And a long weekend means no more packed lunches for a few days!

crazy life 006

Not that my smoothie, wrap, and blueberries aren’t delicious BUT I would love to eat a meal while not walking from one building to another.

And yes, I do have school work to do this weekend BUT it will be nice to do said work in the comfort of my home, with these little angels in the room.

photo (12)

Dos perros amarillos

Honestly this week of school has been eye opening for me. I’m getting a real taste of what my upper level courses are going to be like in the fall, and I’m understanding more why I was advised that 3 courses in one month would be hard.

But even more, I am seeing how strong of a person I can be. Although I’m not sure I could do this without the support of my husband, in-laws, and friends, I have been stretched and pulled mentally and I haven’t had a complete melt down!

Plus it feels really good to be back in an academic environment. While of course I used my brain everyday working for a fair trade non-profit, nothing uses your brain quite like analyzing a piece of literature line by line. Love it.

Thank you guys so much for your supportive comments and emails. I’m sure it’s been a little different around here (on the blog) too BUT hopefully we can all get through this together.

Winking smile

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Easy Vegetable Mac & Cheese

I wonder if water chestnuts have any nutritional value…

These are the questions I ask myself when I’m in the shower at 5:30 in the morning. Well, in between missing my hubby and listing adjectives in Spanish of course!

Monday afternoon, after 7 1/2 hours of class, I drove to the local Harris Teeter with the intention of buying gluten free macaroni and cheese. I had been starving ALL dang day, and all I wanted was something filling and cheesy.

Comfort food no?

But as I stood in the aisle I began to feel guilty about the lack of…color. So I grabbed a bag of steamed veggies and called it a meal.

crazy life 010

Bonus points: One bag and one box equaled three meals.

crazy life 022

Super Bonus Points: This sat in stomach for a few hours and left me feeling full and happy!

Look at the colors! Amarillo, anaranjado, verde ….blanco…queso.

Ok fine. Cheese is not a color, but it is a necessary evil yumminess.

Seriously though, at least I got some veggies in there. I feel like one of those kids that you have to trick in to eating her veggies. Actually…I AM one of those kids! I like veggies…some veggies…and I know they’re important. Whatever works!

Just in case you were wondering, one quick search in the internet machine and I found out that water chestnuts aren’t just a filler. They are in fact a good source of fiber and Vitamin b6.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up

So…I’ve only actually had ONE full day of school, but I’ve already read one entire book and written a paper on it, read two Shakespearian plays, and gotten up to page 100 in my Spanish book.


I had heard summer school was fast but man alive. This is like school on steroids with a jet pack slapped on.

Luckily my in laws have been life savers. Feeding me and letting me stay in their super nice, SUPER quiet house. Keeping me company when I need it and letting me study non-stop. I had a great weekend of getting things done. Just imagine me right here:

wraps 014

Reading, writing, and habla espanol-ing. Could be worse Winking smile

My weekend meals consisted of things I can eat and read at the same time.

Wrap Numero Uno: Rudi’s GF Fiesta Tortilla with pimento cheese and spinach

wraps 001

YUM. So good! Know what would have made it even better? Bacon. (what else!)

Wrap Numero Dos:

wraps 018

Rudi’s GF Fiesta Tortilla Wrap stuffed with leftover grilled chicken and a schmear of hummus, string cheese, and spinach. Super fancy y’all.

Paired with carrot chips for the win!

wraps 026

For the sake of transparency: Carrot chips are not potato chips. I want to go on record that YES I would have rather had potato chips. Potato chips are deliciously tasty. But they make me feel sluggish and I ALWAYS over eat them. Plus the fat and calories…not to mention greasy fingers are not great for reading.

So carrot chips it was.

And since my lunch was pretty healthy, I rounded out the nutrients with some good ol’ Vitamin D.

wraps 033

Study picnic!

So obviously I’m eating well. And I would say that right now I feel good about school. I mean it’s taking a ton of work but I don’t feel overwhelmed. I am however feeling incredibly…sad. And lonely.

We all knew this was going to happen right?

My best friend (the husband) is two hours away! And while I do have MOH, Amy-lou, Kreesta, and other great friends here in town, I honestly have too much work to spend much time away from the books. Plus they all have their own respective grown up lives with boyfriends, pregnancies, kids, and husbands.

I also just miss my house. Silly no? I miss my morning routine. I miss my puppy roos. I just miss regular ol’ me.

But onward and upward.

Hoy es lunes y es un nuevo día. Meaning, today is Monday and it us a new day! I’ll be in class from 8am to 3:30 all week and then it’s a long weekend which equals a trip home!

I can do this. I can do this. Puedo hacer esto.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Most Viewed Recipe EVER

Are you going to the Farmer’s Market this weekend?

I don’t know about you guys but I really look forward to the summer farmer’s market. I mean, I love lettuce, spinach, and kale from the cooler months…

BUT give me tomatoes and strawberries!

And it’s funny because out of all the recipes that I have written on this blog over the last (nearly) four years, the MOST viewed page is for a  Potato Pizza Crust covered in a harvest of tomatoes! A recipe that came from bestie and is oh so easy to make.

tomato harvest_slice of heaven

It’s also the recipe that I get the most emails exclaiming how delicious and easy it was to make.

So this my challenge to you: Go to the farmer’s market. Buy fresh tomatoes just off the vine and some newly dug potatoes. Make this dish. Email me and we can both wax poetically about how delicious it is!

Recipe: Who Needs Pizza – Easy Potato Crust

You’re guaranteed a good weekend with this on your menu!

I have a nice little weekend planned to! Plenty of reading…

photo (84)

The Rose Tattoo by Tennessee Willams

Plenty of riding….

photo (85)

Elliptical with Harry Potter = The easiest 300 calories burned ever!

And plenty of chatting…

photo (1)    photo (2)

Max is always hammin’ it up on Facetime.


What about you? Favorite farmer’s market purchase? Favorite recipe using fresh veggies or fruit?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Para Comenzar

To begin.

A simple phrase. Just two words really, but when said together: “to begin”, this phrase seems huge to me. I’ve been preparing for today for months.

I procrastinated when I should have been packing…

photo (81)

I ate gluten free caramel mango chicken when I should have been cleaning…

photo (82)

Hazel…well…she certainly didn’t help.

photo (79)photo (80)

But ready or not, school starts today! I am officially a full-time, non-traditional student living 2 hours away from her husband. (say that three times fast) And even though classes didn’t start until today, I already had homework!

photo (83)

Is it legal to assign 35 pages of reading (in Spanish) before class even starts?!? And yes, I am asking about the legality because it sure feels like a crime.

Cross your fingers, send your prayers, and make a wish for me today. And hopefully I will somehow figure out how to eat a lunch in 15 minute spurts in between classes!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gluten Free Sandwich Wraps!!!

For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to put the hard life choices and the tough decisions out of my mind. It’s almost as if I’ve been in…


Denial is a lovely thing, but then you get to the day before you need to leave to go down to Wilmington and there isn’t much time left. You’ve haven’t even started packing and your husband is going to be home any minute, expecting you to cook him a delicious celebration supper.

Yes. Denial is a lovely thing but I can no longer live in it. I’m heading to Wilmington today for my first leg of the summer school marathon. I already have work assigned even before class has started! (Anyone want to help me read 35 pages in Spanish?)

Luckily I haven’t been in denial about everything involving this life change. In particular, I have given lots of thought to food!

With only 15 minutes in between my classes and a schedule that lasts from 8am to 3:30pm, I’m going to literally need food that I can shove in to my face while booking it to the next classroom. And it’s going to need to be GOOD FOOD that keeps my brain working and my tummy full!

Enter: A Wrap!

rudis 001

Rudi’s gluten free Fiesta Tortillas stuffed with homemade veggie cream cheese and lean turkey!

When Rudi’s emailed me about reviewing their new wraps for the blog I was excited but skeptical. We all know what corn tortillas really are….dry and easily broken shovels for food.

But these wraps are not made with just corn, they’re loaded with whole grain flours like brown rice, amaranth, quinoa, and millet. And because of this awesome combination, these tortillas ARE NOT dry and brittle.

These tortillas are soft and malleable!

I popped mine in the oven at 400 degrees for about 3 minutes before making my wrap (I don’t have a microwave) and it worked perfectly!

rudis 008

I seriously couldn’t be more excited about these wraps!

EVERYTIME I go to the grocery store I give a quick scan to the section where the Flat Out wraps are, holding my breath and crossing my fingers that they’ll come out with a gluten free wrap.

Wish granted!

For the above wrap, I mixed ~3 tbsp. of minced cucumber with ~3 tbsp. diced cherry tomatoes with 1/4 cup Neufchatel cream cheese. I spread this in the wrap and then added in a serving of lean turkey and wrapped it up!


I foresee sprouts, spinach and pimento cheese getting wrapped up in these all summer!

What about you? What would you wrap up in a tortilla?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

EASY Strawberry Shortcake Bites

strawberry shortcake 011

Do you love strawberries?

I LOVE strawberries. Sliced in oatmeal, a smoothie, or just plain for a snack, strawberries are one of my favorite summer fruits!

With my upcoming classes, I wanted to make something fast and easy that I could literally ‘pop’ in my mouth when I’m on the go. Plain strawberries are great, but seeds in the teeth don’t exactly make a great impression.

PLUS we all know that I am a self proclaimed lazy baker. I’m just not good at it; so I needed a recipe that was easy to follow with a little bit of wiggle room.

Recipe found!

with text

Strawberry Shortcake Bites – gluten free

adapted from Dashing Dish

You’ll need:

2 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp Baking powder

1/2 tsp Baking soda

1 1/2 cup strawberries, diced, and patted dry

1/2 cup diced strawberries to stud the tops of the bites

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

You could make these in large cupcakes like the Dashing Dish, but I LOVE making small bites of baked goods to better help me with portion control.

Start by combining all the ingredients except the strawberries in a food processor. Process until the batter is creamy and the oats are pretty much broken apart.

strawberry shortcake 032

Sort of like chunky peanut butter.

strawberry shortcake 033

Pour in to a mixing bowl and add in 1 1/2 cups diced strawberries.

strawberry shortcake 035

Mix well.

strawberry shortcake 042

Spoon the mixture in to your desired baking platform. I used a silicone small bites sheet, sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Once spooned in, stud the top of each bite with the reserved diced strawberries.

strawberry shortcake 044

For small bites – Bake 15 minutes

For larger cupcakes/muffins – Bake 20-25 minutes

strawberry shortcake 073

Eat right away with a small smear of butter or pack away and take them on the go!

I love how the strawberries keep the little cakes moist and add a punch of tart sweetness.

strawberry shortcake 085

And this batter is pretty versatile. You could add dark chocolate or white chocolate chips for a more dessert-like option.

I know you’re going to love these AND luckily this recipe makes a bushel!

strawberry shortcake 107

Because you’re probably going to want to share!


Happy Tuesday!

I just received an email and as it turns out I have 35 pages of reading and studying to do for summer school before classes even start on Thursday! Bah!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Kindness Macaroons and Other Confessions

Confession: I haven’t gone to the gym for the past two days. Instead I’ve caught up on Desperate Housewives, played with my puppies, and taken the time to blow out and curl my hair.

photo (76) photo (77)

I don’t regret this.

Confession: One of my customers at the store brought in chocolate macaroons just because she had some extras.

photo (78)

If you’re thinking about moving to NC, I would highly suggest Durham. I’ve seriously never lived in such a kind and loving community.

Confession: The above macaroons were delicious…and I need to go to the gym tomorrow.

Confession: I made this semester my b**ch.

photo (75)

Get ready summer. I’m coming for you.

Confession: Everything is better as a slider.

sliders 003

Last night’s BLTs turned in to mini BTC sliders, and they were awesome.

sliders 002

Bacon, Tomato, and Cheese on Schar GF Baguette Slices – YUM.

Confession: After writing this post I may be rethinking my decision not to head to the gym this morning. Just sayin.

Confession: TGIF! I have to work today and tomorrow…and then I don’t have a job anymore! Bah!


Previous Confessions:

Tank Top Binges and Other Confessions

Hidden Valley Ranch is Gluten Free

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Everything’s Coming Up Cherries

Most mornings I am the first one awake in the Ravelli household. Even Hazel has started to sleep in more and more.

So what pulls me out of bed so early while everyone else is snoozing?

(Besides having to pee….)

It’s this tiny little red light.

good morning coffee

A tiny little red light that tells me that coffee is ready and waiting for me!

However this morning as I enjoyed my morning coffee, I had a GREAT idea. Possibly…one of my best ideas ever.

with text

Strawberry Chocolate Cherry Protein Smoothies!!

You’ll need:

smoothie 003

Makes 2 servings

1 cup frozen cherries

1/2 to 1 cup Strawberry Kefir

1 cup milk or milk substitute of your choice

2 scoops chocolate protein powder (I used Biochem Whey Protein in Chocolate Fudge)

1/2 tbsp. Chia powder – optional – for fiber

Blend Blend Blend

smoothie 015


Seriously, why have I never thought of this before?! Sweet. Chocolatey. Smooth.


Cherries are considered a super fruit, bursting with antioxidants and I love the flavor they bring to this smoothie. Coupled with the strawberry in the kefir, it’s the perfect blend of sweet and tart.


Happy Thursday!

I finally caught up on Gossip Girl! Eeeeeeeeeeee. The Season Finale looks good!

TONIGHT: New Office! AND BLT’s with kale chips Smile