Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Super Easy Oven Risotto

Since Mason was born, I think it's been pretty obvious that I've been in a food rut. 

I'm not really sure what to attribute this slump to, but I'm sure it has something to do with my life completely changing (for the better) the day that little babe was born. 

It's like I've honestly forgotten how to cook. Meals with more than a few steps just seem too hard. Also hard: even thinking of ideas for meals. Ugh. Hard. 

I need all the inspiration I can get. So in addition to Pinterest, I've started looking at blogs for meal ideas, including my own! It's hard to believe that I've been writing Gluten Hates Me for 8 years, and over that time, I've had some pretty yummy meals!

Including this:

Oven Chicken Risotto

A recipe from my bestie sister, I first blogged about this dish in January of 2012!

It's super easy to prepare and it reheats well - two of my favorite qualities in a recipe. But the best part of this recipe:

the pockets of cheese!!! I used Cabot's Seriously Sharp for this particular dish and it was oh so good!

You can customize the filling of this dish to meet your personal tastebuds. In 2013, I used caramelized onions and white beans with smoked gouda as my filling. My sister adds basil to her rendition, and I've even used sautéed mushrooms in the past instead of chicken. 

No matter what you choose, the base of the risotto will turn out perfectly every time, so feel free to experiment. It makes a big dish too, so you could serve 4 for dinner or have leftovers for lunch!

Gotta love leftovers!

I really can't recommend this recipe enough - try it, I know you'll love it!

Oven Chicken Risotto

You’ll need:

2 tbsp. butter

2 1/2 cups chicken broth (be sure it’s gluten free! I like the Pacific brand)

1 cup Arborio rice

1/2 small yellow onion, diced

8 oz. cheese, cubed (I used Cabot Seriously Sharp but mozzarella is great too!)

1 container cherry tomatoes, halved

1 bag spinach, roughly cut into smaller bite size bits

1 cup diced, cooked chicken (I use a rotisserie chicken – aka lazy man’s chicken)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large (and deep) brownie pan or roasting pan, add the butter and pop into the oven to melt. Once melted, add in the onion and give it a good stir.

Then add in the broth and rice. Stir to combine and then cover your pan with aluminum foil.

Bake for 35 minutes. While this bakes, prep the rest of your ingredients.

After the 35 minutes, remove the pan from the oven carefully, and remove the foil. Fluff the rice with a fork. The liquid should be sucked up and the rice cooked. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, stirring well to combine.

Pop back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes, to wilt your spinach and melt the mozzarella.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Gluten Free Doughnuts + Weekend Fun

Is it just me or do super fun weekends make Monday just a little bit harder?

I was smart and went to bed really early last night (like 8:15 early) so that I could make it to 5:30 bootcamp this morning. I have found that if I start the week out well rested, then it's easier to maintain my fitness (meaning get up well before the sun and workout) for the rest of the week.

Now, if only I could get back on track with meal prepping on Sunday! But that is a post for another day.

Back to the weekend - we had such a great one!

Saturday started out slowly. Parrish was working out of town, so it was a Mommy + Mason day. I cleaned up around the house while Mason entertained himself....

with popsicles and Mommy's tank top! :) He has been so funny lately grabbing my clothing and wanting to wear it. He wore it as a dress for most of the morning. 

And those popsicles are SO EASY to make! I bought a popsicle mold at a local shop and have been filling it with pureed strawberries and blueberries all summer. That's it! Just pureed fruit - no sugar or added ingredients. He loves them and I love how easy they are to make.

Once the fun of trucks wore off, I decided to head to The Museum of Life & Science in our town, which is basically heaven for Mason.

I find full days of single parenting way easier if we have an activity that takes us out of the house. We explored for a bit, played in the water, and finished the trip riding the train. Then it was back in the car for snacks and the drive home.

I tried a new-to-me snack: Justin's Peanut Butter with Banana Chips. It was super yummy and definitely hit the spot, but at $1.99 price point (at Target), I think they will have to remain a special treat for very busy days.

After naptime, we headed back outside to play with the neighbors and you guessed it....

more trucks! Just in the last two weeks, Mason has really started playing with trucks. He affectionately refers to all vehicles as "go-gos" and can't seem to get enough. Luckily some of his neighborhood friends have quite a collection in their backyard and let him play with them whenever he wants.

Whereas Saturday started slowly, Sunday started with an adventure!

Since Parrish and I were both home, and I found a random $20 bill in a pair of old jeans, I devised a plan that would entail a new play place for Mason AND gluten free doughnuts for me!

First stop - doughnuts of course!

Fresh Levant in Raleigh has the most amazing gluten free doughnuts on Sundays! It's 30 minutes from our house, so we don't go often - they're a real treat!

Soft and doughy - they are worth every. single. calorie!

Fresh Levant is in this cute little area, that actually has something for the entire family. Doughnuts for me, a coffee shop with killer (full of gluten) biscuits for Parrish, and a big grassy area WITH a fountain for Mason!

Since we're keeping Mason gluten free for a while, I was excited to share my doughnut with him. He took one bite and that was it. Not interested! Apparently doughnuts have nothing on dirty fountain water.

After the pit stop for doughnuts, we headed in to downtown Raleigh to visit the Marbles Kids Museum. We had never been and I have to say - if you have kids in the Triangle area, it is a MUST visit! Mason had so much fun and literally wore himself out, which is not an easy thing to do!

Then it was back home for lunch and naps. I tackled our grocery shopping for the week while Mason slept and by the time I was back home, it was time for more fun. We headed to the park for the afternoon, but cut the trip short because it was just too dang hot!

I for one cannot wait until Autumn, playing outside will be so much more enjoyable for everyone.

And that was it! Such a fun weekend with our favorite little guy, which does make Monday morning and childcare drop off tough (just for me, Mason loves playing with his friends) but it's also nice to be back in to the routine.

Now - off to work!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Summer + Snacks + Tacos

For the first time since college, I feel like I'm actually enjoying summer!

My new work/home life balance is allowing me to take it a bit easier than I'm used to and I have to admit - I LOOOOVE it! I was worried that I would miss my old job, but funnily enough I haven't even had a moment of longing to return. It's nice to know that I made the right decision, not only for me, but for my family too!

So far the summer has been FULL of fun. We've traveled a bit, played outside a ton, and eaten lots of yummy gluten free food.

In fact, yesterday I ate quite possibly the BEST taco I've ever had!

It's Restaurant Week in Raleigh, so a friend and I went to lunch at Virgil's Original Taqueria. That delicious taco above was INCREDIBLE. Pulled pork carnitas that was tender and crispy. I seriously can't wait to eat there again.

Plus the meal started with....

tasty guacamole, salsa, and homemade corn chips - so I knew it was going to be good!

The staff was super knowledgable on gluten free dining options, including cross contamination in shared fryers. The chips have their own designated fryer! The service was fast and the food was super tasty - I highly recommend trying it out. If you go for lunch, get there early!

Not quite as tasty as tacos, but I have been enjoying a few delicious snacks lately. Since I started going to Burn Bootcamp 5-6 days a week, I've had to really pay attention to what I eat....meaning, I have to be sure to eat enough!

My current favorite snack: apples with Cabot cheddar and Justin's peanut butter

And as it turns out, I'm not the only Ravelli that enjoys snack time ;)

One of the best parts of going to the pool - the snacks!

And yes, Mason is now 1 1/2 years old and sitting in a chair all by himself like a big kid - ugh. It's awesome and devastating...all at the same time!

What about you? What's your current favorite snack?