Monday, December 31, 2012

The Last Day–So Long 2012

We made it!

It’s the end of 2012 and for Parrish and I we are celebrating the end of this year and the start to a new one – together.

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Big things we’re looking forward to in the new year:

  • No more commuting to Wilmington!
  • My new job – more on this soon
  • Fun Conferences for Parrish
  • My 30th Birthday
  • Living on two incomes again

and so much more!

We knew 2012 was going to be a hard year, but with everything we went through with Parrish’s Dad and then Parrish’s surgery…well…let’s just say we won’t miss 2012.

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We’re celebrating with friends tonight in Raleigh and working on our Resolutions for the year. Parrish has already proclaimed his for the year: One live music event a month. Love it!

I on the other hand, take a little bit more time to craft my resolutions. I did 11 in 11 (part 1 and part 2) and 12 in 12 (part 1 and part 2). I can’t decide if I’m going to do 13 in 13 or try a 30 before I turn 30 challenge. Either way, I’m looking forward to new goals!

Happy Last Day of the year friends! Thank you all for making 2012 a little bit better and I look forward to sharing 2013 with you!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

EASY Gluten Free Chicken Cordon Bleu

Are you ready for Christmas to be over?

I am one of those people who gets a little bit...well maybe more than a little bit sad to see the season pass. I love it so much that I actually start getting a little sad on Christmas Eve because I know it's almost over. 

But even though I miss it. Even though I love it. I was actually ready to pack up all the decorations on Christmas Day. I was ready to rid my house of the glittery clutter and move on into 2013!

I'm not sure if it's because I start my new job tomorrow and I want to have the house straightened. Or if it's because I'm ready for 2012 to be over. It has been a tough year for the Ravellis,and I think that both Parrish and I are ready to start a new year. 

A fresh start. 

I have lots of New Year posts planned. Lots of yummy, healthy recipes to help us all get back on track. Some new ideas for cutting out the bad and inviting in the good. Tips and tricks to make it all a little easier. Have any requests or ideas for posts? Shoot me an email!

But for now, one more recipe that will impress your friends and family. One more EASY recipe that will have your loved ones thinking you're the next Top Chef.

It's a super easy Chicken Cordon Bleu - Recipe found here

Just make sure you pick up a box of Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Panko Breadcrumbs and this recipe is quickly transformed into a safe - easy recipe that will take 30 minutes from start to finish. 

So easy and so darn good!! And forgive the iPhone photo. I'm at bestie's house for a few days soaking in some baby time and celebrating GHM Dad's birthday. 

But even though this picture isn't great - the lighting is bad and the camera quality doesn't match James Dean's, I think you get an idea. It's a tender chicken breast topped with smoky ham, melty cheese, and crisp panko. Drizzled with a dijion cream sauce - umm yes. Delicious. I'll take seconds of that please.


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Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve Y’all

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I am rushing about this morning working on THESE gluten free tartlets for my family party today. I spent last night putting the last touches on some holiday games ( I can’t wait to share them with you all!!!) and getting in the Christmas spirit.

Best way to get into the Christmas spirit?

Watching past Christmas episodes of The Office, starting with Season 2. ALSO…you could read the past GHM Christmas Eve posts!

And don’t you dare talk about how young I look in the 2009 post. Don’t you do it!!

christmas eve 019 December 2009 – Twas the Night Before Christmas

gluten free 063 December 2010- Gluten Free Christmas Cheesecake

gluten free 054 December 2010 – Twas the Night before Christmas - GF

gluten free 022 December 2010 – A Collini Christmas Supper

christmas eve 004 December 2011 – Sake it to Me

uprising December 2012 – Christmas in Wilmington

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Gluten Free Christmas in Wilmington

I had no doubt that Christmas in Wilmington would be anything less than amazing. The entire time I lived my in-laws, they were so incredibly supportive of my special eating needs. But my extended family BLEW me away!

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My MIL had an entire spread complete with a ‘Gluten Free Zone’ sign. And the above is just half of the offerings!

All the food was catered by Whole Foods in Wilmington. She requested it all gluten free except for a few trays and they were able to deliver! It was simply amazing.

It seems silly, but I felt absolute joy in being able to look at platters and platters of food and know that I could eat off of any of them. It’s the simple things in life my friends.

AND all that joy came before we even cut the cake!! My MIL hit the ball out of the park when she picked up a gluten free cake from a local bakery in Wilmington: Uprising.

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If I hadn’t been told that the above cake was gluten free, I would have had NO IDEA! The frosting was creamy with the perfect amount of sweetness. The cake was moist and chocolate-y.

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I mean…when is the last time you enjoyed a layer cake!?!

I can’t even remember the last time I ate an actual slice of layer cake. Again…it’s the simple things my friends.

Being around Parrish’s family is always a joy. It sounds like bragging…and honestly maybe I am a little bit. But his family is so warm, loving, and inviting.

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It should come as no surprise that such an amazing family raised such an incredible man.

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I feel truly blessed. And this time of year it feels all the more special. All the more…Christmas-y. It’s all about the simple things.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Gluten Free Christmas Breakfast

Do you plan a tasty breakfast for Christmas morning?

Maybe your family has a traditional breakfast you’ve enjoyed for years, or maybe you plan something new and extravagant every year.

Either way – I have a proposal for you.

Make this:

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Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Caramelized Bananas – Gluten Free

Just do it.

I will be enjoying this delicious breakfast on Christmas morning and I don’t want you to miss out!

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Even if you’re like “Marlow, I don’t like bananas. They’re gross.” You will like this dish. Trade out the bananas for another fruit. Sauteed strawberries – yum. Blueberries – delicious.

OR just try the caramelized bananas!

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they’re crispy, sweet, creamy and nothing like raw bananas. SO GOOD.

To make this dish you’ll need:

SERVING ONE

2 pieces of gluten free bread (I used Udi’s)

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 tbsp. vanilla (make sure gluten free!)

cream cheese*

1 banana

cinnamon

syrup of choice

*As for the cream cheese, this is really your call. I used 2 tbsp. of just plain cream cheese to stuff (meaning spread on the bottom layer of french toast and then sandwich them together). If you want to get fancy, you could look up a recipe for cream cheese frosting and really indulge.

If you go the plain cream cheese route, measure out how much you want to use and then let it sit out at room temperature while you cook. This will help you spread it between the layers.

In a bowl (or pan) whisk together your eggs, milk, and vanilla. Dip in your toast and let it soak for one minute on each side.

In a large skillet, melt either 2 tbsp. of butter or spray the pan with cooking spray. (Since you’re caramelizing the bananas, I suggest butter) Cut up the bananas either in to small circle chunks or long pieces.

Once your pan is heated, cook your bananas on the outskirts of your pan WHILE cooking your french toast in the middle. One pan people! Less mess!!

Cook the bananas on each side around 5 minutes or until they begin to brown. When you flip the banana to cook the opposite side, sprinkle the cooked side with cinnamon.

Cook your french toast until browned on both sides. Spread cream cheese or pipe cream cheese onto the bottom layer and then sandwich with banana and the top layer of bread. Serve with warm syrup – you won’t need much!

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Thick slices of french toast with sweet, caramelized bananas and a tart, creamy stuffing. Perfect for Christmas morning…or a Tuesday morning…whatever.

Eat it! Love it! Send me an email declaring your undying love.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Product Review: Vigilant Eats–Quick GF Breakfast

Yesterday was a busy BUT fun-filled day!

I had the joy of spending the entire day with my mommy, something that I hope to have the ability to do even more in the future. Even as a grown-up, one-on-one time with my mom is still really special.

We spent the morning putting the last touches on the Christmas d├ęcor in their gorgeous old historic home. I love spending Christmas at my parent’s house. There is just something about a big old house that feels extra Christmas-y.

After decorating the two of us worked on all the floors, each with her own vacuum! But in just a few hours we had all the rooms finished, including the upstairs! Beds stripped and made for the incoming family and every surface dusted.

And that was all before lunch!

Luckily I had plenty of fuel to get me through, thanks to Vigilant Eats!

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Vigilant Eats takes breakfast on the go to the next level! Their gluten free, vegan oat-based cereal is certified organic and bursting at the seems with superfoods. It is literally the healthiest and quickest breakfast I have ever had the joy of eating. I mean look at these stats:

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The fiber and protein alone are amazing! Then add in the antioxidant power of Goji berries and Cacao nibs. BONUS!

Simply add cold water to the fill line on the bowl and scoop it up with the included spoon! Does it get any easier?!

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These would be perfect for travel and camping. And those mornings where you need to eat fast! Which…for me…is almost every morning!

Thank You Vigilant Eats for sending me this sample! I am so happy to have discovered this new, quick options for a healthy, delicious breakfast!

Looking for Vigilant Eats near you? Store Locator

After we finished cleaning and refueled with lunch, my Mom and I pumped up the Christmas music and wrapped all her gifts!

I LOVE gift wrapping!!

I know, I know. Most folks don’t, but I love it! Even more fun? Getting to wrap toys! I may be too old to play with Barbies, but I still love to check out the newest styles. So cute and so fun.

Want more gluten free product reviews?

Check out my Product Review page!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Creamy Bacon Carbonara–Gluten Free

Do you love the movie The Holiday as much as I do?

Oh. I just LOVE that movie. I’m pretty sure Parrish doesn’t love it…but that’s neither here nor there.

A few nights ago I was watching my beloved movie and I started getting hungry. There is just something about that scene where Kate Winslet and Jack Black make fettuccine alfredo. It always make me hungry…for creamy pasta!

And you know what’s better than alfredo sauce?

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Creamy Bacon Carbonara sauce!

Yep. I would choose carbonara over alfredo anytime.

And the key to this dishes success…aside from the bacon…is my favorite gluten free pasta:

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Schar gluten free spaghetti. I am OBSESSED with this pasta! Luckily they carry it at my local Harris Teeter, so I don’t have to travel far to pick up a pack. Or is that unlucky…. Winking smile

Anyway…back the carbonara!

Creamy Bacon Carbonara – Gluten Free

You’ll need:

2 eggs

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup shredded parmesan (plus additional for garnish)

gluten free spaghetti noodles

3-4 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

salt and pepper

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This pasta is so easy to make, and so delicious that your friends and family will think that you’re a master chef! Creamy, cheesy, and smokey flavors meld to make the ultimate comfort dish.

Start by making your sauce:

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WHISK: 2 eggs, 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup heavy cream, dash of salt and pepper

**Note: If you have access to a Whole Foods, I highly suggest substituting their Robusto cheese for parmesan. Robusto is an aged Dutch cheese that is sharp, creamy, and nutty. It’s not exclusive to Whole Foods, so other specialty cheese shops could carry it, but I always find it at Whole Foods.

Set your sauce aside and cook your gluten free noodles according to the package.

While your pasta is boiling you’ll need to cook three to four strips of bacon until crispy. Chop the crispy bacon into bite size bits.

Once your noodles are cooked, drained, and placed back in the pot, give your sauce a second whisk and then pour over the noodles. Stir the noodles and sauce, coating the noodles, removed from heat. Stir for a minute, continuing to coat the noodles, removed from the heat. THEN turn your stovetop to a medium low heat and stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens up a bit and stays coated on the noodles.

You don’t want to turn your heat up any higher than medium low! Any higher and the eggs in the sauce will scramble.

Once the sauce thickens, remove from heat and stir in the bacon. You’re ready to serve!

Top with a sprinkle of your cheese and enjoy!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Easy Creamy Spinach and Chicken Tartlets–Gluten Free

Tartlets.

I swear I’m not obsessed….

actually, strike that. I am. I am totally obsessed!

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But come on! How can you blame me?! Gluten Free folks don’t usually get adorable little appetizers. We get hummus….and veggies. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that)

A few nights ago I said to Parrish: I wonder if I could take my Chicken Crescents recipe and turn it in to a tartlet?

He turned to me and said: Were you not listening to me earlier?

…apparently he had suggested the same thing earlier. Umm…don’t try to talk to me while I’m on my google reader!

Anyway. Great minds think alike because these little babies are even better than my first round of tartlets!

Gluten Free Creamy Spinach Tartlets

make the tartlet shells according to the directions found here.

For the filling:

2-3 cups cooked chicken, shredded and diced small (see note)

2 packages cream cheese

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 bag frozen spinach

*Note: I often buy a rotisserie chicken to make this filling. You could also just bake or grill chicken. Either way, you just need the chicken pre-cooked and diced into very small bits.

Take one package of frozen spinach and place in a microwaveable bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes.

Place two packages cream cheese in a big mixing bowl. Take the hot spinach, squeeze out water using a spoon, and place on top of cream cheese.

The heat from the spinach will help the cream cheese mix easier. Add the garlic and mix well. (If you love garlic, add a few more minced cloves) Finally, add in the chicken. Mix well.

Spoon in one tbsp. filling into each tartlet shell.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until the tartlet shell begins to brown.

Serve warm!

AND if you like, I suggest serving with a dollop of cranberry sauce on top!

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I don’t know why this works, but there is something about cranberry sauce with this dish! Love it!

So there you have it! Creamy Spinach and Chicken Tartlets. Yes my friends. This is officially what I am preparing for my family’s annual Christmas Eve party.

I can’t wait to share them with everyone!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 17, 2012

UNCW Class of 2012–wait that’s me!

Graduation Day!

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UNCW Class of 2012 and it feels so good!

I am so lucky to have had so many amazing people in my life to help me get here…

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Dr. Ashe – the BEST professor and advisor ever. period.

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My amazing husband who let me leave my job and finish that degree. My amazing husband who kept the kitchen clean, cooked endless late night meals for me on the weekend, and took care of our fur babies when I couldn’t put down the books.

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My in-laws. The incredible Mama Emily and Papa Jeff who not only let me live with them for 8 months, but also cooked me meals, listened to my presentations, and quizzed me for tests. Words cannot properly describe how thankful I am for these two – they’re simply the best.

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My best friend Alex. Making time during the week for lunches, listening as I complained about how much work I had, and encouraging me to always make time for exercise. Love.

And finally, the folks who started this whole thing…

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my parents.

I honestly couldn’t even begin to list all the help they’ve given me over the past 11 years. This blog post would go on forever. My parents have always been willing to help. Open to making sure I have everything I need. From my parents I have learned the importance of hard work, the ability to stay strong during hard times, and the joy you can find when you work towards something you thought was impossible.

The love and respect and thankfulness I feel for my parents is boundless and never ending.

I was practically giddy all day on Saturday. Honestly…I have been practically giddy since I turned in that 20 page analytical research paper. I can’t believe I’m finished. I can’t believe I finally got here.

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graduation 181Woo Hoo!

*****

I’ll be back this afternoon with the a NEW tartlet recipe that is even better than the last one I posted!!!

Happy Monday friends!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Make a New Ending

7 months passed.

7 months of 8 am classes over.

12 classes completed.

36 credit hours taken.

Two languages spoken.

semanas y semanas de pruebas

36 assorted novels, 8 memoirs, 9 Shakespearean plays and 4 textbooks read.

47 analytical essays, responses, and research papers written.

5 1/2 active years at UNCW.

11 years since I started this journey.

And tomorrow…well…my friends, tomorrow is my graduation. I couldn’t be more excited.

But more than excited, I am completely humbled.

Over these years, so many friends and family members have supported my college education. Meals, gas money, help with bills, places to stay, shoulders to cry on, encouraging messages, phone calls, facebook posts and yes, blog comments.

Yep. Even you dear readers have helped me get here. You have helped me earn something that I honestly never thought I was worthy of.

And when I walk across that stage tomorrow, I will hold everyone in my heart. All the help. All the love. All the support. I will hold it all in my heart.

Because I know that I have accomplished something great. But I never could have done this alone. Six years ago earning my degree seemed like the last thing I would ever do, but tomorrow I will change that. Tomorrow I will make a new ending to my story. And for that…

Thank you.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

EASY Gluten Free Cheesy Spinach Tartlets

A few days ago I placed an all call to my GHM Facebook friends: What could they recommend for a work Christmas party?

And everyone blew me away!

Seriously, if you’re looking for easy, delicious ideas to prepare for the holidays, check out that thread.

After reading through everyone’s ideas and talking to bestie, I decided to try something brave.

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Tartlets!

And you know the best part about these tartlets?

I totally cheated. Yep. I cheated.

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I didn’t make that crust y’all!

Since I’ve been living the commuter life and living away from home, I have not kept up with my pantry. I do not have the necessary ingredients to make any sort of gluten free flour mix.

Plus, I don’t have the time!

So I bought a pack of two gluten free pie crusts from Whole Foods and let them thaw at room temperature for four hours. Once they were nice and doughy, I collected all the dough and kneaded it into a dough ball.

I floured my countertop with GF All Purpose Flour and used a rolling pin to roll out the pie crust to about a quarter of an inch. I used a small wine glass to cut out rounds. But if you have a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter then use that!

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Bestie let me borrow her mini cupcake pan and so I used that to make the tartlets. You want to use an ungreased pan. Using your fingers: press the small rounds of dough into the pan, forming a tartlet shell.

**Halfway through making them, I realized that I could take the round of dough and tear it in half. I took the half and rolled a dough ball and then flattened it into an even thinner round with my fingers. Doing this made a thinner tartlet shell which still worked great and it would take your yield from 24 to 48!**

Once you have your tartlets in the pan, they’re ready to be filled! No pre-baking necessary.

To make Cheesy Spinach Tartlets you’ll need:

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 cups packed chopped fresh spinach
1 egg
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (4 oz)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Over medium heat, heat your olive oil in a medium sized pan. Add in your spinach, stirring constantly. Cook 4-5 minutes or until the spinach is wilted. Set aside and let cool.

In a large bowl, mix all remaining ingredients: egg, feta, ricotta, dill, salt, and nutmeg. Stir to combine well. Add in the wilted spinach and stir to combine well.

Now you’re ready to fill your tartlets!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Using a tablespoon, scoop one tablespoon filling into each tartlet.

Bake 15-18 minutes.

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And here’s the important part: SERVE WARM!!!

I tasted these little beauties fresh out of the oven and they were amazing! 30 minutes later, they were still warm and delicious.

However, since it took nearly two hours to get to the party due to traffic, they were not warm by the time I made it to the party. Once the tartlets are cold they were pretty dry in my opinion.

So…SERVE WARM!!

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When these tartlets came out of the oven I was practically smug! I couldn’t believe that I had made something so….typically full of gluten! Cheesy, buttery, and bite size!

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There is just something about bite sized foods! I love them… Almost as much as I love dips…

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And I am already thinking of even more ways to fill these crusts! Mini quiches. Mini chicken pot pies. Mini fruit pies. The possibilities are endless!

SO there you have it!

Super fancy – Incredibly easy – Gluten Free Tartlets!

What about you?

What’s your go-to dish for pot luck parties and gatherings?