Saturday, August 29, 2015

Homemade Chesapeake Mayo

Summer always seems to drag on in North Carolina. By the time September arrives, I am MORE than ready for autumn. I mean who doesn't love crisp air and pumpkin spiced everything?! But even though I always find myself wishing summer away at the end of August, it only takes one trip to the Farmers Market to remind myself to savor the season while its here!

I mean, tomatoes out of season just aren't worth it.

So Parrish and I have been eating our weight in tomatoes. We've had them on top of salads, sandwiches, and stuffed in omelets. I've had a few slices at breakfast and on top of pizza for supper. To me, tomatoes are the BEST of summer produce, and while I'd eat them on nearly anything, to me there is no better way to enjoy a tomato than a simple sandwich.

A freshly toasted gluten free baguette from the downtown Durham Farmers Market topped with a Pineapple Tomato and local bacon. When we had these for supper the other night, I made two different types of homemade mayo to spice things up. I whipped up my usual Lemon Garlic, and then made a special treat for Parrish: Chesapeake Mayo.

So stinkin' good and super easy to make. In a mason jar, combine one egg and 1/2 cup Tessemae's Lemon Chesapeake Dressing. Blend using an immersion blender and drizzle in light tasting olive oil until you get a thick consistency. I've been keeping a small jar of it in the fridge for sandwiches. I would like to say that it will keep for a week but ours never lasts that long!

We ended up having our tomato sandwiches tapas style because neither of us could decide which mayo we wanted.

Which was really the best choice! Both the mayos are just too good to commit to one.

Mason is currently taking his morning nap, but as soon as he wakes up we're headed back to the Farmer's Market. I need more tomatoes!

I'll grab a couple more for sandwiches, and then a handful to make my Potato Crust Pizza.  (Which is still one of my most visited posts of all time!) I haven't made salsa yet either, so I should grab a few for that....and fried green tomatoes. So many delicious tomato dishes - too little time!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Whole 30 Creamy Potatoes

I've been wanting to do the Whole 30 for months.

After being pregnant and nauseous for a million years 40 weeks, and then having some not so happy digestive issues postpartum, I've been feeling more than ready to change my eating habits. (Never heard of the Whole 30? Read more here.)

I'm fairly certain that I have an issue with tapioca starch (an issue being that it gives me the most terrible smelling gas EVER) but I really need to do an elimination diet to be sure. The Whole 30 seems like the most straight forward way for me to do that. Plus I like the idea of not "dieting" but just cleaning up what I eat. I eat fairly healthy now but typically follow the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy foods and 20% treats, like gluten free donuts. And I'm pretty sure that 20% category is what's leaving me in gastric distress.

And at the same time....I love creamy foods.

Sour cream, cream cheese, sharp cheddar, and ranch are some of my favorite foods. Coupled with the fact that breastfeeding gives me a hunger like no other, and let's just say that my will power is very low right now. Plus I don't exactly have a lot of extra time to meal plan or food prep, so if I'm going to do the Whole 30, I have to be prepared beforehand.

But being gluten free, I'm already accustomed to making most of my own meals. Add to that having a 6 1/2 month old baby, and I'm not exactly dining out a lot. So really, now is the perfect time for me to try the Whole 30 - I don't know why it feels so hard.

Not hard: my supper last night. It came together so easily, and imagine my surprise when I realized that my entire meal was actually Whole 30 compliant - including my creamy potatoes!

These potatoes are super easy to make - served alongside grilled steaks and a salad, it's a real weeknight treat!

And yes, potatoes are Whole 30 compliant! Yippee! Read more about the rule change here.

You'll need:

12 small white potatoes (or small red potatoes)
coconut oil (not doing the Whole 30? Use olive oil!)
salt & pepper
Tessemae's Lemon Garlic Dressing
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped scallion (or chives)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place the potatoes in a large pot and fill with just enough water to cover plus one inch. Bring to a boil, then simmer with a lid on until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and let the potatoes cool for just a few minutes. 

Heat your coconut oil to make it easy to drizzle. Drizzle a small amount of coconut oil  onto a baking sheet. Using a fork, flatten each potato and place onto baking sheet. Drizzle the tops with coconut oil and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops begin to crisp and brown. 

Using an immersion blender, blend 1/2 cup Tessemae's dressing with one egg. 

Once blended, drizzle in coconut oil until you get your desired consistency. I went for a little bit runny but not watery, like a dressing.

Drizzle the baked potatoes and then top with chopped scallions. Serve hot.

Monday, August 17, 2015

I Don't Always Cry for Gluten Free Pizza....

Last night was hard. 

The kind of hard that makes you question your abilities. 

The kind of hard that leaves you sobbing big fat blubbering tears while you cradle your screaming baby in your arms, vulnerable, having absolutely no idea what to do. 

I'm lucky I guess. I can actually count on two hands the amount of times that Mason Modesto has cried actual tears, and I can count on one hand the amount of times that he has cried and I had no idea what to do. 

But last night was one of those nights. He's crying. I'm crying. He's screaming. I'm shushing and bouncing and rocking and swaying and kissing and rubbing and holding and praying - praying real hard - that I can comfort Mason. 

After nearly an hour of working through it together, I finally had MM quietly sleeping in his crib. When I walked out of his room I realized that not only was I completely exhausted but I was also starving. 

And friends, in times like that, only one meal will do:

Gluten Free Pizza!

I went with the Steak and Blue on a gluten free crust from Uncle Maddio's - my current absolute fave! Spinach, basil, tomatoes, thinly sliced steak, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze - it is so good!

And it is SO HARD not to eat the entire pizza at once. 

This was the first time I haven't been sharing the pizza with another person - fingers crossed it reheats well for lunch today!

Friday, August 14, 2015


After losing my beloved lap top a few months ago, I've been trying to find my blogging rhythm again. 

I already struggle balancing my home life and my work life - we won't even get in to my fitness life right now - so taking a little bit of a break from blogging just made sense. 

But the truth is, I miss it.

I miss reflecting on my life and typing about my day. I miss cooking actual meals, and working on new recipes. 

I definitely miss meal planning. 

So I'm recommitting myself to cooking one new recipe a week and blogging at at least once a week as well. Even if it's just one adorable picture of Mason Modesto and two sentences; I will focus on self reflection at least once a week! 

Featured Above: 

Fry Days - after a very long week, fries were necessary
My Pinterest Success from last week - Thai Peanut Chicken Pineapple Satay
Mason Modesto - MM found his new favorite toy at his 6 month doctor visit; nothing like sanitary paper

Friday, August 7, 2015

Cheerios, Chompers, and Crock Pots

Mason slept for 10 hours straight last night – from 6pm until 4:30am, then he nursed and went straight back to sleep! For the last couple months he has reliably woken up somewhere between midnight and 1am in addition to the 4am wake up, so yeah, I’m pretty excited that he dropped that wake up last night.

So here I am at 5 in the morning, feeling well rested AND chugging Cheerios like its my job:


I have been finishing a box in less than a week – I can’t help it! It’s been over 8 years since I was able to eat Cheerios, so I guess you could say that I’m making up for lost time.

Also, breastfeeding makes me SO HUNGRY in the morning. Typically I have first breakfast around 5am, second breakfast around 6:30, and third breakfast around 9:30.

I can’t believe I’m actually blogging twice this week!

I’m finally getting to a place at work where I feel caught up. Balancing work and home has been really hard for me. But I finally found a rhythm of doing a few hours of work at night after Mason has gone to bed and an hour in the morning when I first wake up and Mason is still sleeping that is helping me stay on top of things. I don’t think it will always be like this, but for now it’s working.

Also working – poor little Mason’s teeth!

IMG_7681 IMG_7688

Who knew growing teeth could be so hard?!

I swear this little babe has been “teething” for over a month now and still no chompers. He’s such a good sport though and smiles through the whimpers. I can’t even imagine what it must feel like to grow teeth.

And I had another Pinterest success – two in one week!

Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli from Creme de la Crumb


So FREAKING GOOD AND prepared in a Crock Pot – my current favorite kitchen tool!

It’s easily adapted for gluten free, just sub out the soy sauce for Gluten Free Tamari, and double check that your beef broth is gluten free as well.

You will LOVE this recipe, the leftovers are even better the next day for lunch!

Alright, time for a quick shower before Mason wakes up and our day gets started. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Gluten Free Fast – Hawaiian Chicken Pineapple Kebabs

I used to get emails all the time from first time Moms, asking if I had any good gluten free recipes that could be prepared quickly or tips for eating gluten free on the go.

I would always stress the importance of setting aside time to do food prep, that way your work was easier during the week. Baby-free me from 3 years ago honestly didn’t understand how someone could not have time to make simple meals – I mean I was super busy at the time balancing work and fitness, surely a Mom could find an hour or two to make some food.

OH how little did I know!! That first time mom didn’t have time for food prep! She barely had time to use the bathroom. And now that Mason Modesto is here (and has been here for 6 months) I totally get it! Being in charge of keeping a baby alive is hard, and there have totally been days where Parrish and I put Mason to bed only to realize we have nothing to eat for supper.

But this past weekend we had two glorious days of co-parenting, meaning that neither one of us had to work over the weekend AND we weren’t traveling. Two days of domestic bliss, to finally get some work done around the house and whip our yard in to shape before our neighbors kick us out of the cul de sac.

So on Sunday morning I sat down with my beloved Pinterest and searched for a new recipe. My search parameters included the ability to prepare on the grill (so the kitchen stays clean) and utilizes a pineapple (so the one I bought a week ago didn’t end up in the trash).

We have basically been eating the same four recipes for weeks now and I was more than ready for something new. Pinterest is always full of great ideas, and it wasn’t hard to find a drool worthy summer recipe perfect for the grill:


Hawaiian Chicken Pineapple Kebabs from Cooking Classy

After working in the yard on Sunday with my little helper:


I can’t believe this baby used to be in my belly!!


I laid MM down for his afternoon nap and knew that I had at least 30 minutes to get some food prep done. So to make the kebabs doable for a weeknight, I went ahead and pre-chopped my veggies:


and my chicken. That way all I had to do on Tuesday morning was whip up the marinade for the chicken and then skewer it all on Tuesday night.


This recipe was SO GOOD! It is easily made gluten free by subbing out the soy sauce and using Gluten Free Tamari. Two large chicken breasts equaled 4 skewers, which was plenty for Parrish and I.

We even had one skewer left over for lunch the next day!

The only thing I would change would be the green pepper. I think next time I’ll use red or yellow pepper – I’m just not a green pepper fan. Does green pepper taste bitter to anyone else or is it just me?

I will definitely be using this recipe again, and maybe adding some brown rice on the side to round it out.

What about you? Have you tried a new recipe lately that you loved?