Friday, June 29, 2012

Brides & Birthdays

Well gang, Chris has been out of town this week, so our kitchen’s been closed for the most part. Nothing too exciting happening other than some gf pasta and squash stir fry (a variation on this), so I thought I’d share a little bit about Kathryn’s wedding!

Needless to say, it was great. She was absolutely stunning, and everything went off without a hitch (other than they got hitched…haha).

The reception was super fun, complete with signature cocktails for the bride and groom, and a delicious menu that was also fairly gluten-free friendly. I had the honor of working on the program and signage for the wedding, and I have to say, everything looked perfect. Sally, Kathryn’s sister, had the great idea to specially mark the gluten-free or vegetarian menu items. Kathryn and Kevin opted for a heavy hors devours/buffet type set-up, which worked great for the venue and the number of guests Weddings and special events are usually pretty tough on special diet folks like me, so it was an exciting surprise to be able to eat so many of the options. More pictures to come, but here are a few, and some of my signage.

After the wedding, Kat and Kev road off into the sunset (it had long been set by the time they left, but still) and are honeymooning in the Caribbean!

We spent the rest of the weekend celebrating Chris’s 23rd birthday! Saturday was chock full of fun, complete with pool time, Mexican for dinner at El Taco, and plenty of drinks and dancing all night.

We’re excited to get back to cooking next week. This weekend’s temps are supposed be in the 100’s, so we plan on lots of grilling out to keep the heat outside where it belongs!

I miss you, Christy! Can’t wait for you to come home!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

This is how we do it!

Whoa, June is already over half way over! Summer is flying by, and shows no signs of slowing down. In case you haven’t noticed, we have big plans this summer.

On Friday, our friend Bethany had us over for dinner, drinks, and lady-time. She made an amazing gluten-free pasta meal complete with gf appetizers, too! She's the best. Check out her recipe and blog here!

This week, I’m thrilled to be a bridesmaid my friend Kathryn’s wedding. We’ve been buds since 8th grade, and I can’t wait to be a part of her special day. Seems like not so long ago that we were playing snake on our Nokia brick phones, prank calling boys, and having sleepovers.

Saturday was Kat’s Bachelorette Party, and we did things up right. A-town style. We started things off at the W in Midtown, had an amazing dinner at South City Kitchen, had a little lingerie shower, then hit the town. Things didn’t wrap up until about 4:30 AM. It was awesome.

Kathryn’s got some great friends, and I had a fabulous time getting to know them. At dinner, my being gluten-free came up in conversation when I asked our waiter for a gluten-free menu (yep, they had one). I, of course, love to talk about it, so I filled their ears. That conversation got me thinking about the FAQ’s I get on a consistent basis, so I’m going to address a few of them for those of you that are dying to know.

So this is how we do it...

1.     What do you eat for lunches?
·      Nope, I don’t eat sandwiches, you’re right. During the week, I try my best to bring dinner leftovers from home. Thanks to our handy dandy Google doc meal plan, this usually works out. When it doesn’t, I go grab a quick bite to eat at some gluten-friendly establishment near my office. My faves are Whole Foods, Chipotle, and Farm Burger.
2.     What do you do for dinners?
·      Meal planning. It’s probably the best thing we’ve started doing, not only my dietary needs, but also for our wallets. Every Monday, we plan out each dinner for that week by scouring Pinterest and the weekly ad at Kroger. We plan for things that have ingredients that  are gluten-free, and also happen to be on sale. We also take into account what we already have at home. No food-wasting here! Some of our favorites are Stir-Fry, Red Beans & Rice, and Mexican. A typical weekly meal plan looks like this:
3.     Aren’t gluten-free products expensive? How do you afford them?
·      Yes, they are, and no, I don’t. For the most part, I stick with naturally gluten-free things like rice, corn, quinoa, fruits & veggies, meat, etc. We buy the fresh stuff mostly. It really doesn’t cost that much more (especially when its on sale), and we avoid the preservatives and overly processed nonsense. As far as snacks go, I really love these.
4.     What do you miss the most?
·      Pizza and beer. Boom. I love(d) pizza, but I will say that we’ve found a few great gf pizza places in Atlanta, like Cameli's and Do. Mellow Mushroom’s gluten-free crust isn’t bad either. I also miss fast food, but strictly due to the convenience of being able to eat on the road.
5.     Do you ever cheat?
·      Not intentionally. It’s not worth it, believe me. I’ll try bites of things, or sips of things, but never more than that. It’s not as hard as it seems, I promise.
6.     How do you go out to eat?
·      I really hate being a burden when I go out to eat, so I try to be as flexible as possible. I can pretty much find something anywhere. After a year, I’ve gotten really good at it. I can decode a menu pretty well. And I will say that when dinner is up to me, I frequent places that I know have gluten-free menus. No thinking required. Also, I can always count on Mexican places to have plenty of options for me. We eat a LOT of Mexican.

There you have it. How I do it in a lazy nutshell.

Anyway, it had been a while since we tried something new, so Chris and I were both on the hunt for new recipes. My mom inspired me to look into cooking in aluminum foil. Since summertime is so busy, we haven’t had as much time (or desire) to clean. 

We like pork, especially our Teaspoon Tenderloin, and we've ventured into fried pork chops, but this time we opted for something different. Foil cooking is great because all of the mess stays in the packets, then you just throw them away. I wanted a good, filling, balanced meal with minimal mess, so these Pork Chops in foil were just the ticket. We adapted our own little version of this recipe.

BBQ Pork Chops in Foil

  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¾ cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • A pinch of Cajun seasoning
  • A pinch of Italian seasoning
  • 8 small red potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 boneless pork chops

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Chop the veggies.


In a large bowl, whisk together ketchup, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, oil, Cajun seasonings, Italian seasonings, chili powder, and pepper.

Dip the pork chops into the sauce, coating both sides. Then place aside on a plate.
 Then add the veggies to the remaining sauce and toss until coated.

Tear off a large sheet of aluminum foil. Place one pork chop in the center of the foil. Then scoop 1/4 of the veggie mixture onto the piece of pork. Repeat 2 more times. Then fold the foil into packets and place on a large baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the pork is done and the veggies are tender.

The pork came out super moist and tender, and the veggies were perfect. We really liked the sauce…it had a sweet and spicy punch to it. I ended up being stuck at work until super late that night, so my sweet little wifey took this recipe over. She’s the best. 

We want to try grilling with foil soon! We’ll share Chris’s recipe choice next week.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bacon is good for me.

Well everyone,

Last week, I celebrated a few exciting milestones (since they’re few and far between nowadays) in my almost 24 year old life…

It’s been about a year now since I graduated from Clemson, found the best first job a girl could ask for (a couple days shy of graduation, I might add), moved back to Georgia, and last but not least, joined the GLUTEN-FREE ranks!

BBDO Anniversary balloons!
That’s right, it’s been a grand year, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the transitions. Admittedly, change is not one of my favorite things. More than a few times this year, I missed college (and all of the great things and people I left there), and brownies, and NOT having so many bills, and beer and pizza. And my long hair. 

With all of that being said, I love my new, grown-up life. I feel super settled in my gluten-free city life, and I’m excited to start year two!
City girls
 A year ago, I was struggling to understand why I couldn’t stomach some of the most basic staples in everyone else’s diets. Read more about my pre-GF life here. I felt like this:

After making the decision to live and be gluten-free, I’m still 100% satisfied with my decision, and I’m never going back. And I’ve gotten pretty damn good at it! I know how to order at restaurants, and with Chris by my side, I kinda know how to cook (in an easy, cop-out way, of course).

Today I thought I’d share one of our absolute FAVORITE Pinterest finds that we literally use all the time.

If you know anything about us, you know that we love breakfast food. If you know anything about Chris, you know how much she especially loves bacon. Almost as much as this kid:

We both enjoy our bacon crispy, but we do NOT enjoy the messy, greasy skillet process. Luckily, we ran across this pin, straight from good ol’ Martha Stewart. We tweaked it a little, but to each her own. We made it at Whitney’s the other day for lady brunch. We’re awesome.

How we make the best bacon you’ll ever have:
Preheat the oven to 350°

Line a cookie sheet with foil
Place as much bacon on the pan as desired, making a single layer. *

Bake for 20ish minutes, or until it reaches the right crispiness.

*We like center-cut bacon for less fat (when it’s on sale)

Seriously, this is our favorite FAVORITE Pinterest find. What did people do before such a great website?

While bacon may not be the healthiest of options, we get it as a treat when the good stuff is on sale. It’s fine. In the words of Curtis, "BACON IS GOOD FOR ME".