Thursday, October 31, 2013

Three Confessions

Confession: I’m back up to three cups of coffee in the morning.

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It is such a terrible cycle! I’ve had quite a few early mornings recently, where one or two cups simply wouldn’t do. But a few hours later I am exhausted! So I have another cup of coffee or a cup of tea.

The silly thing is, I’ve been down this road before! So I’m trying to turn over a new leaf today. One cup of coffee followed by tons and tons of water. Fingers crossed it works!

Confession: I am OBSESSED with spaghetti squash!

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I hadn’t planned baking any squash this week, but then they were on sale at Harris Teeter, so I couldn’t resist!

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I baked the above squash on Tuesday night. After a long day at work, I really didn’t feel like doing anything fancy with the squash. Parrish was out of town, so I simply baked the squash,

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and forked out the “noodles”. Then I just topped it with spaghetti sauce. And you know what? It was totally delicious! Don’t get me wrong, Spaghetti Squash Caprese and Spaghetti Au Gratin are really yummy, but in a pinch, just plain sauce was good too!

Confession: My twin brother took all the drawing skills in the womb.

Exhibit A:

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My map is on the left – my co-worker Katie’s is on the right. Yep.

Good thing I work with great folks….and that my paycheck doesn’t rely on artistic ability!

Winking smile

Happy Thursday!

What are your three confessions? Go!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Delicious Vegan EggNog Hot Chocolate

Is it just me, or do most special “Holiday” flavors and food items have gluten in them? Pumpkin Doughnuts, Gingerbread, even Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride Tea – all full of gluten!

So imagine my excitement when I discovered Taza Chocolate’s new HOLIDAY FLAVORS: Gingerbread and Spiked Eggnog Fair Trade Chocolate!

I first discovered Taza a few years ago. Working in the Fair Trade industry, I ran across their yummy stone ground chocolate during a sales call. I was instantly in love! I typically just eat the bars straight.

I mean, when is the last time you had anything gingerbread flavored?! Back to the chocolate bars…

They’re delicious. Gluten Free and Soy Free and DAIRY FREE! Yup. And since they’re stone ground, they have an amazing gritty texture. Pretty much just like cookie dough.

I scooped up the Spiked Eggnog chocolate right away with every intention of just eating it straight. But then I saw a recipe on their website for hot chocolate using their bars….

And….

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Vegan Spiked Eggnog Hot Chocolate was born!

For one serving, start by heating one cup of almond milk over medium heat. Not worried about dairy? Use cows milk. I used Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk – love it!

While the milk is heating, chop one of the Taza Discs of chocolate. (One package contains two discs)

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Once the milk is heated, add the chocolate shavings and pinch of salt, then whisk your heart out!

I used my frother from Ikea to whisk:

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So easy and it gives the hot chocolate a nice foam.

Whisk the chocolate and milk until the chocolate has completely melted. Want foam? Keep whisking!

Then -

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pour and enjoy!

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I saved a pinch of the chocolate shavings to sprinkle on top Smile

This was such an amazing treat! I can’t wait to share this with my family for Christmas. I think I feel a new tradition!

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It’s sweet. Safe. And child slavery free! What more could you want from a chocolate?!

Want to find Taza in your area? Buy it online here or check your local Whole Foods!

Happy Wednesday!

I have a super EARLY morning today, and all this talk about hot chocolate is making me CRAVE a pumpkin spiced latte from Daisy Cakes!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Three Things I’m Loving

Last night I was watching a super cute FAQ video on a blog that I love, The Small Things Blog, it got me thinking.

There are tons of little things that I absolutely LOVE that make my life easier or happier that I would love to share with you all! I usually tell you about food and drinks, like this new-to-me cider:

from Angry Orchard, Cinnful Apple. SO YUM! It’s a bit sweet, so half a glass was the perfect amount for me, but I loved it! It had such an amazing cinnamon waft.

Another little thing I love – SCRATCH THAT – it’s no little thing. In fact, it’s changing my life!

Tresemme Dry Shampoo! I can go from this:

before

to this:

after

in about…28 minutes. Well, 28 minutes plus my beloved Curling Wand….and a killer Instagram filter!

But seriously. Before this dry shampoo, I had to wash my hair every day. I just have that kind of hair. It stinks! Now, I can extend that blow out and curl for two days! Love!

And, as an aside, I don’t know why I thought having shorter hair would be easier. Yes, it took a long time for my longer hair to dry. And yes, it did get really heavy. BUT short hair. EEESSH! It takes so much time. I can’t just let it air dry and go. I have to style it! Blech. Way to high maintenance for me!

Not high maintenance:

Immaculate Baking Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk cookies! Seriously. So good. So easy. And yes, super low maintenance.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Back on Track and it feels SO GOOD

Man. What a weekend.

Scratch that. What a WEEK!

I’m going to go ahead and warn you that this blog post is going to be ALL OVER the place! I tried to think about ways to seamlessly thread this all together….but it’s not really possible. So let’s just jump in shall we?!

First off, WORK IS CRAZY.

We all knew it was coming. Nearly every other conversation at work started with “blah blah blah during holiday season”. It always seemed so far away.

But the past week has made it apparent:

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holiday is here!

And while it is super busy, I have to keep reminding myself: It’s only two months! In two short months it will be over and we’ll be wishing for the busy times again. Yes, I may be eating my breakfasts with one hand and unpacking new items with another…

but it won’t be like this forever. So I’m trying to soak it all up – take it all in, and enjoy the fun CRAZINESS while it lasts.

And yes, it doesn’t hurt that the weather has been positively gorgeous:

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Beautiful, Fair Trade Jacket weather Smile

And it also doesn’t hurt that I have been VERTIGO FREE since my appointment on Thursday with an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist!

The Audiologist did a repositioning technique with my head which was BRUTAL but so far it seems to have worked! I still have a bit of fogginess…and I still have to sleep sitting up, 

sitting up

but I can see the light at the end of the vertigo tunnel.

I’m sure you can imagine – I was practically giddy over the weekend. Even though I was working, I was over the moon. It’s a firm reminder not to take my health for granted. If my body is healthy and able, I need to be active!

I’m sure you can also imagine that the lack of spinning lead to a lack of nausea. Which lead to an appetite for a DELICIOUS Sunday lunch:

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SO DARN GOOD! And right on track with not taking my health for granted right? Smile

But seriously, an occasional burger isn’t going to kill me. And with quality local ingredients, who needs a stinkin’ bun?

Not me! I enjoyed the above beauty at Mattie B’s Public House, a new restaurant in South Durham (Southie D). If you haven’t had pimento cheese on your burger, try it! Right away! Cool, Creamy, and oh so good.

Love.

I also LOVE that I get to go to ZUMBA TONIGHT and work off a little bit of that bacon!

I did attend two Zumba classes while I had vertigo but I couldn’t give it my all. I’m excited to really exercise tonight. Plus it’s a Halloween Zumba party! Can’t wait to share photos of my costume with you all tomorrow!

Happy Monday!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who sent me sweet comments, emails, and messages while I had vertigo! I LOVE you all!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Product Review: Silver Hills Gluten Free Bread

A little over a month ago, I was contacted by Silver Hills Bakery to try out their gluten free bread. I was surprised, because I thought that I had tried every gluten free bread on the market!

I happily agreed, and I am SO EXCITED to share with you my new FAVORITE gluten free breakfast bread! Plus, it’s not only gluten free – it’s VEGAN too!

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Silver Hills Gluten Free Omega Flax bread is only 80 calories per slice, with 3 grams of healthy fat, 3 grams of protein, and a whopping 5 grams of keep-you-full fiber.

It’s definitely a bread that you have to toast, but it’s worth it!

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The consistency and texture is just like a pumpernickel bread – thick and dense with the right amount of fluff. Certified Organic with No Artificial Preservatives, this is a no guilt bread for sure!

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The heartiness of the bread makes it perfect for topping. I actually prefer an open-faced sandwich. It’s healthier for my diet, and easier on my wallet – my bags of bread last for months!

My favorite topping:

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Thick slices of Cabot Cheese, Fluffy Scrambled Eggs, and Avocado. All that’s missing is hot sauce! This breakfast keeps me full for a good 4 to 5 hours. If I have a particularly hard day, I’ll have two slices. Two slices my friend, and I am golden until 2pm!

Plus, good news for my Canadian friends: Silver Hills is available all over Canada! Want to find Silver Hills in your area? Try their Store Locator here.

Happy Tuesday!

What’s your favorite fill-you-up breakfast?

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Gluten Free Unicorn

Well friends, I can’t believe it’s been over a week since I blogged! At the same time, I can’t believe that I’ve had FREAKING VERTIGO for 10 days either…

Photo: Yesterday I thought my vertigo was on it's way out - tonight I tried some online exercises and it's back with a vengeance. This is seriously one of the craziest sicknesses I have ever had. #ugh #overit #thegypsycurseisreal

but I’m going to try my best not to dwell on the dizziness. Obviously it’s a huge bummer, and quite honestly, I’m a bit depressed over the whole situation. But that may also have to do with the fact that I can’t exercise right now….

OR drink alcohol!

Yep, I’ve only had a few sips of the unicorn MOH found for me:

Photo: I'm so lucky @chola_rose loves me!! #unicorn moment with Woodchuck Pumpkin Cider

If you don’t follow me on Instagram, then you may be wondering what the heck a unicorn is. A unicorn is what a term I use when talking about AMAZING gluten free goodies that I can’t seem to find anywhere. The above unicorn is Woodchuck’s Seasonal Pumpkin Cider. It’s delicious and 6.9 % alcohol!  I wish I could drink that whole six pack and at least be dizzy for a fun reason.

I’m praying every night that I wake up and the terrible mystery that is vertigo is gone – you could send a few up for me too!

And while I’m not in the best of spirits right now, I’m back. I have some great product reviews for you this week, and some easy YUMMY recipes that have been filling my belly.

So with that, Happy Monday!

Friday, October 11, 2013

What is black and white and never stops turning

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Vertigo is a four letter word.

Common phrases like “This world keeps turning” , “My life turned upside down” , and “as the world turns” are haunting me.

No fun food around these parts friends. As it turns out, vertigo doesn’t exactly make you hungry.

But I’ll take your prayers and well wishes. I think I need a ton of them to overturn this GYPSY CURSE.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pinned it, Prepared it, DELICIOUS

Man. Pinterest has been on point lately!

I’ve pretty much loved Pinterest since the first time I used it. And even though I haven’t completed ONE Crafty DIY project that I’ve pinned, I have used TONS of the recipes! Most recently:

The Spaghetti Squash Caprese from two weeks ago: Pinned it, Prepared it, DELICIOUS!

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin: Pinned it, Prepared it, DELICIOUS!

And last night: Homemade Pho: Pinned it, Prepared it, DELICIOUS!

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I hadn’t actually ever had Pho because I’m not a huge star anise fan. In fact, I hate star anise. So when I found this recipe on Eat, Live, Run and realized it didn’t include star anise, I knew I had to try it!

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Warm, comforting, with just the right amount of heat. Fresh cilantro on top really brought it home. Loved it!

I used Annie Chun’s Brown Rice Mai Fun Noodles for this recipe.

Maifun Brown Rice Noodles

Gluten Free and super tasty! I love how thin these noodles are. Tasty! And I love the option to have brown rice in lieu of white rice!

Try it, I know you’ll love it!

Happy Monday!

I’m trying a new outlook on Mondays. Instead of being depressed that the weekend is over, I’m going to focus on the hopefulness of starting a new week fresh! Well…and two cups of coffee for Monday mornings won’t hurt either!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hurry Up and Get in MY BELLY

When I get home from Zumba on Tuesdays and Thursdays, two things are always true:

First, I’m SWEATY. I have to shower right away.

Second, I’m STARVING. I need to eat – and fast!

My favorite post-Zumba feast: Hilary’s Eat Well Veggie Bites

veggie bites

I love their veggie burgers, and the bites are perfect for a quick meal.

The only bummer about the Bites is that I can only find them at Whole Foods. That’s not a huge deal, there’s a Whole Foods right by my work, but when I come from Zumba it’s not convenient on my drive home.

Plus, when Parrish and I grocery shop for the week we’re no where near the Whole Foods. So I don’t always remember when I run out. I had been wishing there was a gluten free veggie burger available at either Harris Teeter or Target, and then last week I spotted them:

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Quinoa Burgers!

After Tuesday’s class, I popped one of the burgers in the toaster. I had to do a few rounds in the toaster, but it crisped nicely.

I served it up on a Rudi’s Gluten Free Fiesta Tortilla,

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with Cabot Sharp Cheddar, plain Greek yogurt, and an obscene amount of avocado.

Perfect!

I liked the Qrunch burger. Not as tasty as the Hilary’s, but a yummy second.

On a totally unrelated note….

I had this yummy cider last night. Posted the picture on IG and a friend gave me the heads up about a PUMPKIN CIDER!! After internet searching for this unicorn, I discovered the Woodchuck has released a limited time PUMPKIN CIDER!!!!

Have you tried it? Have you tried it and NOT TOLD ME?!?! I’m literally dying. I HAVE to get that cider.

I am on Mission Pumpkin.

Happy Thursday!

I’m so excited – Just ONE MORE DAY until I’m reunited with MOH!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Four Meals in One

If you’ve been reading this blog for long, then you may have picked up on the fact that I’m a bit of a planner.

It’s true. I love a good list. I love checking things off. I love organization. I like to know what’s coming up next. And honestly, the planner in me makes being gluten free TONS easier.

We all know it’s true. Spontaneity is fun, but when it comes to what we’re going to eat, surprises don’t always work. For me, there’s not much worse than being hungry and not knowing what I’m going to eat.

Meal planning works for me. It helps my hunger not turn in to anger, (which is good for my marriage!!) and it helps me keep my meals healthy.

With the busy season of my job ramping up, I realized that I really needed to start planning my lunches as well. It works perfectly for supper, so why not lunch too? I mean, when I’m busy I’ll just eat a protein bar or drink a smoothie, which works in a pinch, but isn’t great for my overall health.

Plus, I realized that most of my lunches can be made easily if I just plan to make larger supper portions. But I will have to change it up to keep it interesting.

This week we started out with a YUMMY Sunday night meal: Grilled Steak with Grilled Balsamic Glazed Onions and broccoli.

How does that translate into lunches?

Enough steak for lunch on Monday, and we also threw some chicken on the grill to use for Tuesday supper and Wednesday lunch and some peppers for Tuesday lunch. 

Steak for lunch:

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In the form of a Steak Fajita Salad. DELICIOUS!

steak fajita salad

Parrish and I agreed, this lunch felt like a real treat – even though it was crazy easy to throw together.

And last night’s supper? SUPER FAST with our pre-grilled chicken from Sunday! View the recipe in this video:

I’m excited to try planning lunches, and I hope that this will help with the Holiday Hustle and Bustle at work!

What about you? Do you plan your meals?