Friday, September 28, 2012

Now THAT’S a Burger

Thursdays are a super busy for me. They’re definitely the busiest day of the week, but I never seem too stressed because I usually get to end the day being reunited with my hubby!

There was another silver lining in yesterday:

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this bangin’ burger!

Yes. Food can be silver linings! On the bun:

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Udi’s GF Whole Grain Bun, Fresh Salsa with Mango, Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar, and the World’s BEST Veggie Burger

Seriously. I LOVE this veggie burger.

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It was great fuel for the day AND it kept me full thru to supper.

Yes friends, I did NOT stop for chips on my commute home last night. And I felt even more proud of myself than I did on Monday. Thursday afternoons are a BIG chip day for me, so I was happy that I was able to respect my own desire to not eat the junk!

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Happy Friday!

I’m off to the gym after WEEKS of absence!! I’ve had fun these past few weeks running outside and going to yoga, but I’m hearing the siren call of the Arc Trainer, so time to head to the YMCA.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Two Easy Gluten Free Suppers

My MIL Emily is really killin’ it with the suppers this week! And in all honesty, with the way my week is shaping up, I feel really blessed to have someone to take care of me this week!

Last night she cooked one of my Top 5 Favorite Meals:

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Oven Chicken Risotto

So good! It’s comforting, filling, and just so so so tasty! In my opinion, the balsamic glaze is necessary!

Monday night she made Open Faced Tostadas that had all the star ingredients:

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Greek yogurt? Good. Black Beans? Good. Avocado? Good. Fresh Salsa? Good!

All together on a toasted hard corn tortilla? GREAT!

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I had four little tostadas, equaling two hard corn tortillas. I honestly can’t think of a better flavor combination….well, maybe bacon with anything….but seriously. There is just something about avocado and fresh salsa together.

YUM!

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Happy Wednesday!

This week is flying by, which is fine by me! Here’s hoping today is a better day and with the iced coffee plus dark chocolate almond milk I’m currently sipping on, I think it will be!

Smile

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Just Say No to Potato Chips

Yesterday, I turned over a new leaf.

You see, for the past few months, every car trip that I’ve made back and forth from Wilmington has involved one thing: potato chips.

I allowed myself to believe that I was in a rush and these were my only gluten free options. I didn’t have time to make something to go, so I felt like I should buy something when I stop for gas – multitask. And with the routine of always buying them for my road trip, the bag of chips became comforting. It was part of my routine.

But ultimately, after every bag of Lay’s, I felt awful. I would get a headache from my less than stellar nutrition choice, and I would find myself cranky and irritable. Not to mention just plain ashamed that I had once again treated potato chips as my meal.

So yesterday I packed my road snacks:

I wanted something that was as minimally processed as possible. So apple, Cashew Fruit and Nut Bar (the cashew bar is DELICIOUS!) and an orange. HOWEVER, if you’re the driver – don’t pack an orange. It made a nice snack once I got to school though.

And I felt better! I felt happy at my choices. My tummy felt healthier. My mind felt clearer.

As I was retelling this milestone to my in-law family last night, MIL Emily said something that really stuck with me. She talked about instead of trying to NOT eat something, just try to EAT MORE fruits and vegetables.

I love it.

As a gluten free person, I don’t like the idea of SAYING NO to any food other than gluten. I feel so limited already. I can’t have the newest Sandwich Thins, Homemade Donut at the Farmer’s Market, or a fresh croissant when I stop for coffee. So I don’t like telling myself NO. You can’t have chips. Ever.

What I do like telling myself is today you’re going to eat more fruits and vegetables. At this meal I should add some fresh broccoli or crunchy carrots would pack well. If I’m trying to hit that goal, fitting in more fruits and veggies, then I won’t have room for chips very often. If ever. And that’s fine with me.

Fruit. Veggies. Fiber. Vitamins. Sounds much better than: Potatoes. Starch. Hydrogenated Oil.

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Happy Tuesday!

A few weeks ago I made the mistake of starting to watch Grey’s Anatomy from the very beginning on Netflix. I stopped watching it around Season 2 when it was on television. Now I am COMPLETELY sucked in!!! I stayed up way too late last night finishing up Season 3. So good!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cider and Tapas

This past weekend I was able to spend some quality time with my babies. My fur babies.

Miss Hazel Basil

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and Prince Max

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Parrish was out of town on a Bachelor’s Weekend and so me and the pups spent a relaxing weekend at home. There was lots of fetch, tug, and peanut butter kongs to break up the time.

So by last night, we all pretty ready for Parrish to come home and celebrate a night together before I head back to school today.

With the gorgeous weather we’ve been having, I moved the celebration outside:

Tapas Night!

Parrish and I both LOVE tapas. Meat. Cheese. Olives. What’s not to love?!

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Various Applegate Farms Meats: pepperoni, salami, and prosciutto

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With assorted olives and spreads, including red pepper jelly!

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CHEESE: Robusto and Triple Cream Brie. Enough said.

And to top it all off,

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Against the Grain Gourmet Gluten Free Baguette – YUM.

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Parrish enjoyed wine and I enjoyed a new-to-me Pumpkin Cider:

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Verdict: Good. If you love cider, then you’re going to love this Autumn inspired brew. The pumpkin isn’t too heavy and it has undertones of clove which was nice.

Would I buy it again? No. In all honesty friends, I’m just not a cider person. I don’t like the sweetness. I can never drink more than one (which may not be a bad thing) and it leaves that sugar coating in my mouth.

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Happy Monday! I’m heading back to Wilmington for the week. Hello I-40. Smile

Friday, September 21, 2012

Gluten Free Pumpkin Crunch Cupcakes

Do you know what tomorrow is?

The FIRST day of Autumn!

Autumn is hands down – my favorite season of the year! Followed by winter and then summer and lastly spring. To me, autumn is the best!

Autumn means:

Apple Cider Drinking

Mum planting

Tree Watching

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Crisp Air Walking

Clemson Football Watching

PUMPKIN Everything!!

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Like most food bloggers, I have A LOT of pumpkin recipes. From breakfast to supper, every season I look for new ways to cook with this seasonal favorite. So what did I plan to do on my first night back in Durham?

Cook pumpkin!

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Crunch Cupcakes

On Pinterest, I found a recipe for a Pumpkin Crunch Cake which you can find here. Being that I we’re a family of two, I didn’t want to make a whole sheet for servings sake. So I tried them out in cupcake form.

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For now, I’m going to say: Stick to the sheet cake recipe while I figure this recipe out. Substitute the cake mix for a gluten free cake mix. I used Bob’s Red Mills Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Mix. I also subbed out pecans and subbed in walnuts. I’m just not a big pecan fan.

It’s a relatively simple recipe, but in cupcake form, the pumpkin layer is not strong enough to hold shape.

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It’s freaking delicious – I mean you pour melted butter over the top?!?! – but it’s not quite perfect yet. I made a small batch last night, so I’m going to play around with a few things today.

Until then, try the sheet cake recipe. Serve it warm over vanilla ice cream and celebrate Autumn!

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Speaking of significant days – do you know what today is?

Parrish’s BIRTHDAY!!!

Our Engagement Anniversary is on my birthday and we got married just a few days away from his birthday. What can I say…we like our birthday months! Smile

Happy Birthday to the best husband a girl could ever ask for!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Weekday Recap and EXCITING NEWS

MAN! This week has flown by!!

What I like most about when I go home to Durham on the weekends, is that I’m only in Wilmington Monday morning until Thursday afternoon. Breaking up the week in this way makes me feel like I have these long luxurious weekends….in which to do school work…but hey who cares!

My meals haven’t been terribly exciting this week. I have had great fitness days however. A successful five mile run on Monday on my new favorite trail in town:

with my new favorite gadget:

The Garmin Forerunner10 was one of my anniversary gifts from Parrish and I absolutely love it! It’s SUPER lightweight, easy to use, and you can set it to run/walk intervals or target paces. Plus, at only $129 as compared to the other Garmins, it’s an easier price to swallow.

Tuesday I went to yoga again at the Wilmington Yoga Center. There’s just something about this studio that I freakin’ love. Maybe because it’s where I first started practicing yoga or maybe it’s the instructors. Either way, Tuesdays class was just needed. All stretchy and flowy and with just the right amount of sweat!

Wednesday I hit the trail again. This run was much harder.

My anterior shin splint is acting up again. Surprise Surprise. It’s such a bummer. I’m going back on Glucosamine Chondroitin – hoping this helps. I’m not running back to back days. On the trail I run beside the pavement on the dirt as often as I can. I’m doing walk intervals. Sigh. I don’t know.

But I didn’t let it get me down (well I did and then my endorphins kicked in and I shook it off) I finished 2.5 miles with more power walking and squats. If I can’t run then I’m at least going to do some squats!

After each workout this week, I was able to have a real treat!

 

Blog/Instagram friend Lindsay Cotter makes these awesome recovery bites! Her husband is a pro-athlete and she’s a fitness guru as well, so she created Healthy Bites. Pictured above is the Lemon Coconut Whey Protein bite. It pretty much tastes just like cookie and it’s gluten free!

Amazing.

And even though the bites were amazing and I’m happy that I’ve accomplished fitness everyday this week so far, I am MOST proud of:

watching the first episode of Season 3 of Downton Abbey. NO NO NO.

That’s not it! (Although. Yes. It was amazing)

I’m most proud of THIS EXCITING NEWS:

applying for graduation yesterday!

Yes. They make you “apply” for graduation. It is total lame sauce, as is the “processing fee”. Just one more way to suck money out of you.

But hey! Who cares!! It’s starting to actually feel like it’s going to happen. For real. Like really. I’m going to graduate.

I nearly teared up as I signed the paper, and the registrar lady looked at me like I was crazy, but I didn’t care. This is ELEVEN YEARS coming!!! I couldn’t be more excited!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gluten Free Tip: Quick Gluten Free Meals

Thank you guys for all the sweetness about my anniversary with Parrish! And thanks for letting me monopolize the blog this morning with a post that wasn’t about food at all!

Now. Back to the food.

Something that I’ve learned from being back in school, is that I don’t always have time to cook. This concept is bothersome, because even during my craziest times during the holiday season in retail, I still found time to throw some things together.

But now that I’m back in school with a FULL LOAD of classes, I’m trying more shortcuts that I wouldn’t have taken in the past. Last night’s supper is the perfect example.

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Much like the White Bean and Kale Risotto recipe, I started with a box of Lundberg Risotto.

For last night’s meal, I used the Mushroom Risotto. I cooked according to the directions and then about five minutes before it was finished (meaning that the liquid was almost completely soaked up) I added in pre-cooked Balsamic Brussels and Onions – about 1 cup total and chopped pre-grilled chicken breast – about half a breast.

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By adding in the brussels and chicken, I not only helped the nutrition content by balancing the carbs of the risotto with the protein from the chicken and adding vitamins with the sprouts, but I also helped this meal go a long way. Instead of two portions, I now had three-four easily!

Also, adding in the pre-cooked portions just before the risotto finished, helped the flavors meld.

In meal planning, I’ve started looking for pre-cooked additions that I can prepare on Sundays or I can buy somewhere like Whole Foods. This way, I stay healthier during the week, even when I don’t have time to cook an entire meal.

I’m hoping that this discovery will also help me when I’m a mom one day Smile

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Hope you have a great rest of your Tuesday!! It’s been crazy storms here all day today but I’m still hoping to make it to yoga tonight!

A Letter to My Husband–Reflections on 2 Years

Being married to your best friend is a good idea.

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Scratch that. It’s THE BEST idea.

I am so thankful to be married to someone that I not only trust my heart with, but who I can also talk to about anything. I can be my TRUE self with you. Not just bits and pieces that I share with others.

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And you are your true self with me. Funny. Caring. Fur Daddy. Sleep Talker. Rapper. And so much more.

I wish I could say that the past two years have been wedded bliss, but unfortunately God had different plans for our life. Thankfully, the solid foundation of our marriage has helped us weather the storms. I couldn’t have made it through these tough times without you.

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Because we make a good team. And with you around, nothing seems as bad. Yes, this year has been hard BUT these two years with you have been amazing.

You are the best. The first. The last. And you have my heart – always.

A-cakes

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I’ll be back this afternoon with an easy 20 minutes Gluten Free Supper! Until then, Happy Tuesday and Happy Anniversary Parrish!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago today, I was possibly the most nervous-happy-stressed-excited I’ve ever been in my life. Two years ago today, was the day before my wedding!

Amidst, the piles of decorations…

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and boxes of gluten free beer….

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I still found time to make a healthy breakfast:

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Creamy Oats Topped with Sahale Snacks Pomegranate Vanilla Cashews

Two years later and I would still go back to that day! Even though I was pretty stressed and had so much to do, it was so much fun!!

I especially wish I could go back to have oatmeal every morning! For the past few months I’ve had to wake up so early for school, that I don’t have my full appetite by the time I have to eat breakfast.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a real treat to have cereal in the morning. BUT oatmeal keeps you full so much longer! Maybe I can adjust my schedule  a bit to have more time…or maybe I’ll just have to save the oatmeal for the weekends!

I mean – LOOK at this bowl:

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Creamy Oats with Caramelized Butter Peaches and Walnuts!!! Seriously?! So good.

Want more oatmeal recipes? Click Here!

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Happy Monday!! I’m heading back to Wilmington this morning for the week Sad smile I’m pretty bummed about not getting to spend our wedding anniversary together tomorrow, but I’m trying to shake it off!

Shake it off!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

6 EASY Ways to Cook With Quinoa!

I don’t think I could have woken up in a better mood this morning! I am so excited because tonight I get to see my hubby AND my puppies!! We’re pretty tired of looking at each other over Facetime…

Hazel is skeptical of Facetime. She can hear. She can’t see me. She’s pretty sure she wants to bite something or lick something….it’s very confusing.

On Wednesdays I have a class that lasts for 3 hours and doesn’t let out until 6:30. I swear, this class makes me feel like an old lady. I walk to my car thinking, all these little wipper snappers need to get home and get into bed! So yeah, I guess it makes me a little crochety too.

Last night when I got home I had to bust out another paper. Bringing my total for the week to FOUR. Seriously?! Pssh. Ridiculous. Thankfully Parrish makes a good editor, so I don’t have to check for grammatical errors.

I received a handful of emails yesterday expressing their gratitude for the Quinoa recipe. Apparently many of us are in the same boat where we feel like we know we want to use the gluten free grain, but we’re still a little confused about how to do that.

So I today it thought I would list a few more Gluten Hates Me Quinoa Recipes – feel free to link up to your favorite in the comments section!

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Quinoa Lettuce Wraps

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Cheesy Quinoa Bites

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Quinoa Croquettes

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Cheesy Quinoa Cakes (…apparently I really love cheese)

Quinoa Pilaf

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

EASY Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites

I feel like I could start every blog post this week with: Omigoodness it was such a beautiful day here today. I LOVE cooler weather!

There’s just something about cooler weather in the very first parts of fall. There are still green leaves and even some flowers hanging around, unlike Spring when those plants are just starting to catch their first breath.

In the first weeks of fall you get to enjoy the lush with the cool breeze! Amazing. But I’m guessing if you live in San Diego you’re like, Marlow. I don’t get it. But if you live anywhere else, I know you’re shaking your head in agreement.

So this morning I have taken my office outside!

I’m enjoying the cool breeze, a hot cup of coffee, and the chattering of squirrels. Seriously. They are chattering. (AND chasing each other. Pretty cute)

Yesterday MOH and I were talking about how fall just gives you energy. Case in point, yesterday I did a Nike Training Club,

then yoga, and went on a nice walk with MOH. Which is pretty amazing considering that I started my day with four back-to-back-to-back-to-back classes.

I ended the day with a new supper:

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites

Almost like mini meatloaves, except with wing sauce, quinoa, and chicken! I actually cooked these on Monday afternoon when I had the time and then reheated three of them for supper last night. I HIGHLY recommend this new dish!

You can follow the recipe I adapted them from, or you can follow my shortcut recipe. Just remember if you follow the original, sub out breadcrumbs for gluten free ones!

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites

adapted from So Very Blessed

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped cooked chicken – I used Boar’s Head chicken deli meat. I asked for a one inch slice of the deli meat and then I cubed it for this recipe. 
  • 1/3 cup wing sauce – I used Moore’s 
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs
  • 1 garlic clove – minced 
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook your quinoa according to directions. You can easily make the quinoa a few days in advance.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. In either a greased regular sized muffin tin or a mini muffin tin, spread the mixture evenly and press down gently on each cup to compact the mixture.

Regular Sized Muffin Tin – Bake 35-40 minutes

Mini Muffin Tin – Bake 25-30 minutes

Serve with Ranch dressing or Plain Greek Yogurt

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These reheated really well and I love the Chicken Wing flavor that comes through!

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Happy Hump Day!! I have three papers due at the end of this week, so I better get crackin’!