Saturday, September 26, 2015

Gluten Free Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Gravy

It's no secret that I love living in Durham, NC.

The city itself is not too big or too small. There are tons of green spaces and parks. Not a weekend passes without a fun event, and yes - the restaurants are amazing. Durham was named Tastiest Town in the South by Southern Living magazine after all!

There are lots of gluten free options, and while I never feel deprived by any means, I wouldn't call Durham Gluten Free Heaven.

Nope. Because that title belongs to Asheville, NC!!

This past weekend the Ravelli family headed to the mountains for a quick getaway. Parrish and I were celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary on the 18th and his birthday on Monday, so a long weekend away was the perfect gift to us both!

And of course we brought Mason since he's the best gift - ever.

The only real plans for the weekend were hanging out with our friends that live in Asheville. We were so excited to just spend some real time with them and eat ALL THE FOOD in the land!

As soon as we arrived in town, we dropped our bags at our house for the weekend and headed out to our first meal. But first, we made a pit stop for cider. 

I will ALWAYS make a pit stop for cider - if you're headed to Asheville, definitely put Urban Orchard Cider Co. on your must visit list!

I had a hard time choosing, so I ended up ordering a flight of 4 ciders.

And while they were all yummy, the Pineapple Lavender - yes, Pineapple Lavender !!! - was by far my favorite. I could NOT stop thinking about that cider! I am fully regretting not buying a growler full to bring home.

After the cider stop, we headed to King Daddy's Chicken & Waffle for an early supper,

and it did not disappoint!

We started the meal with sweet potato hushpuppies - yep, gluten free.

Hush puppies y'all. HUSH PUPPIES. Every Southern girls dream!

Well, hush puppies AND fried chicken that is!

I can't even fully express how amazing this meal was. The gluten free fried chicken was moist on the inside, with a crazy crispy batter on the outside. And that waffle. OH that waffle. I almost asked our server if he was sure that it was gluten free; it was that good!

The next morning we woke up and enjoyed a slower morning with no plans until brunch. Baby Mason enjoyed crawling around on the wood floors - yep - CRAWLING around, while Parrish and I enjoyed that relaxing feeling you can only get when you're not in your own home with a to-do list a mile long.

To say that I was excited about brunch would be a huge understatement. I have been dreaming about going to Posana for....YEARS. A completely gluten free restaurant? Yes please!

We started our meal with an order of Doughnut Holes. I could have eaten a hundred of these. Parrish had a few and then he could sense my growing urge to no longer share them - he's a smart guy. So he and Mason shared some Avocado Toast with Salmon and left me to relish in my doughnuts alone.

For my meal I ordered the Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Gravy and a side of Cheddar Grits. I also ordered two biscuits for Mason and I to share because....

BISCUITS y'all - they need no explanation.

I ate every single bite. I stuffed myself to the gills and I still wanted more! The food was simply incredible. My only regret is that we were only able to eat there once.

If you're heading to Asheville or within a 3 hour driving distance of Asheville, you have to make eating at Posana a priority. And honestly, it's not necessarily that the food is gluten free, it's just good food! I'm already planning my next trip!

After brunch we headed out to explore the town with friends. We walked around the Farmer's Market, bought some apples, and hit up a few (of the many) breweries.

I wasn't sure it was possible, but all the walking around (with 20 pounds of squishy baby love attached to my chest) actually helped me work up an appetite after ALL THE FOOD at Posana, so we had an early dinner out at Asheville Brewing Company.

We rarely get to eat dinner out since having Mason - that baby LOVES an early bedtime. But we were on mountain time that weekend and he didn't seem to mind staying up a bit...especially if there was food involved!

Baby Mason LOVES to eat! He enjoyed a meal of puffs, sweet potatoes, and corn, while Parrish and I shared an AMAZING gluten free pizza.

I'm telling you, not one bad meal the entire trip! Even Parrish remarked on how good this gluten free pizza was. If it hadn't been smaller in size, I would have wondered if it were actually gluten free!

After having fried chicken TWICE in one weekend, pizza was the perfect way to end our trip.

Monday morning came all too quickly, and I'll admit that I had a hard time leaving Asheville. It was such a relaxing weekend, a welcome break from all the stresses and pressure of our home life currently. I can't wait to visit again!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Dear Mason, A Reflection on Months 6 & 7

*Edited to Add: Two days before your 7 month birthday you caught your first virus! Today is September 2nd, and you've had a fever for 5 days. It spiked yesterday and you were the saddest you have been. ever. It's hard to see the happiest baby in the world cry, but me and Daddy have been taking good care of you. Extra snuggles at night and lots of napping. Hopefully you will feel better soon.

Dear Mason,

It really is no surprise to me that time got away from us these past few months and I ended up not being able to post your 6 Month Reflection. Life with you continues to be very busy!

6 months was the beginning of the real fun, and month 7 was a total blast!

You started sitting up by yourself for periods of time, which makes playing so much easier. At 6 months we would use a boppy to help you steady yourself, but at 7 months we just sit nearby or place a boppy behind you where your head would hit if you fell backwards. You are so much more sturdy at 7 months than you were at 6, but you haven't mastered sitting quite yet.

You are really ready to crawl, but you're not quite sure how to do it. When you're on your belly you push way up in to an upward facing dog yoga position, but you're not sure what to do with your legs yet. You can wiggle your way around in a circle, but you get frustrated when you realize you haven't moved anywhere. You've even started kicking your legs back and forth from a seated position and looking down expectantly like, "Hey legs?! Why aren't we going anywhere?!"

But you have mastered rolling. In fact, during month 7, you officially became a belly sleeper!

In month 6 we moved you from the Rock and Play in to your crib. Mommy and Daddy were nervous about it, but you did fine and it seems like you're enjoying the extra room. Some days you wiggle yourself diagonally in the crib, or you end up all the way at the bottom. But no matter where you are, you're on your belly.

Speaking of your belly, you are a growing baby!

At your 6 month check-up you weighed in at 20 pounds 5 ounces, which puts you in the 88th percentile for weight - which is no surprise to anyone that meets you because you have an appetite!

After your 6 month check-up, we got the go ahead to start feeding you 3 meals a day. And the Dr. told us to let you tell when you're full, instead of us stopping you from eating. At 6 months your favorite foods were butternut squash and sweet potatoes. At 7 months you are currently loving pears mixed with mangoes. You open your mouth REALLY WIDE for those.

You also hate avocados, which sort of breaks Mommy's heart because I love them so much. We've tried 3 times but each time you take a bite, shiver your whole body, and then won't take another bite! You're also not the biggest fan of kale, but if we mix in prunes you gobble it up.

You continue to be a happy-funny baby, and have showed no signs of being weary of strangers. You still let anyone hold you, and you love to give away smiles to new friends. Whether you're riding in the grocery cart or your stroller, you love "being on parade" and smile at everyone you pass by.

Crazily enough, you still have NO TEETH. You seem to be "teething" off and on but nothing comes out of it.

Big events of Month 6 included your first BIG road trip to Ohio for your Uncle Bud's wedding.

We were nervous about you sleeping in the hotel, but it was no problem at all! You were still sleeping in your Rock and Play then, which made travel super easy.

You did a great job in the car for a tiny baby, but 6 1/2 hours on the road at one time seemed to be your limit. When we were driving back we stopped at a hotel for the night in West Virginia, and you were SO HAPPY to be out of your car seat. I plopped you down on the king size bed and you rolled around and giggled and babbled for nearly 30 minutes.

You also attended your first music festival during month 6 which - no surprise - you loved! You are still at your happiest outside, so combining that with live music and new friends meant you were in heaven. You lasted ALL DAY and never showed signs of being done. It was so much fun!

Big events for Month 7 included sitting up on your own in a highchair in restaurants. You absolutely LOVE it and Mommy and Daddy love being able to eat without having their hands full.

You also started playing games this past month, including Peek-a-boo. You love to play after you've woken up from a nap but you're still in your crib, so we play peek-a-boo through your crib bumpers. You've also really started mastering toys and understanding how to turn things or stack things, so Mommy and Daddy bought you new toys that use those skills.

Another favorite: your fur brother and sister. You love to watch them walk around and try to "pet" Max regularly now. Hazel doesn't get close enough for you to pet but she has given you a few kisses.

You continue to LOVE your exersaucers, especially the Step n' Play piano. You have never seen a happier baby banging on the piano keys and jumping up and down.

And last but definitely not least, you love other babies!

You have started interacting with other children and it is the cutest thing ever. We meet up with friends at the library for Baby Lapsit and you stand and squawk and smile the entire time. We visited your friend Amelia and her new baby brother, and you kept lunging at Amelia to grab and hug her. You just love being around friends!

In fact, there is not much you don't love Mason Modesto...aside from avocados of course! You continue to be a happy funny baby, and Mommy and Daddy love you more and more everyday. You are our best buddy, and we can't wait to see what month 8 brings!

24 weeks

28 weeks

Past Letters to Mason: