Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012: Nothing Short of Thankful.

Ok, ok, I know. It’s been a while, but before I start rattling off excuses for my extended absence, let me get a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The Bonner-Schroeder drop of 2013
I’m starting 2013 with a week off of work and more than enough time to blog. I’m a happy lady.

So the end of 2012 came and went before we knew it. In true form, we packed in plenty of excitement; a year’s worth if you ask me. Here’s a little run-down.

Thanksgiving was spent with the fam, and it was lovingly gluten-free. As I mentioned before the holidays, I took on the gluten-free stuffing challenge. I’ll get to that later. We ate, we shopped, and then we invited all of our out-of-towner friends over and partied. The best part about the holidays is togetherness, and we were (are) so thankful.

Found these little gems at Dad's:

My how things have changed
Dad's awesome and GF Thanksgiving meal.

Good friends.

After Thanksgiving, Chris and I decked the halls and fa la la la la-ed for the rest of the season. We picked a Charlie Brown-esque tree because Chris couldn’t help herself, and I couldn’t say no. When it was all said and done, it looked amazing. We were inspired by Young House Love and dressed up our tree with faux sheepskin from Ikea. We (and our tree) felt like grown ups. We were also pin-spired to add ornaments to our glass vase on the mantel. The compliments were pouring in and we were very pleased with ourselves. Ha.

We spent time with our amazing lady group, attended a few Holiday parties, and all was merry and bright.

I love this girl and this picture so much.
Arlo and I spent Christmas Eve at Dad’s. He made an awesome gluten-free dinner. Standing rib roast, gluten-free Yorkshire pudding, asparagus, spinach, and potatoes. And a Whole Food’s GF Pecan pie. Yum. After dinner, we watched Home Alone and opened presents. Couldn’t have asked for a better evening.

Arlo's favorite gifts. Paper towels and popcorn.
Christmas morning was at Mom’s, complete with GF chocolate chip pancakes and even more presents. Pretty great Christmas, huh? Arlo and I got so many great presents, mostly for our kitchens. It’s funny how the types of gifts you receive get “older” with you. Who would have thought little Arlo would ever be excited to get a set of pots or a bath mat?!

And guess what? I got a surprise stomach bug on Christmas evening! My brother and my dad dealt with me like champs, I’m sure I was less than pleasant. Thanks guys! And everyone, go wash your hands!

Other than that, my holiday was amazing and I’m nothing short of thankful.

We have a lot of things to look forward to in 2013, and first and foremost, I’m pleased to announce that my little partner in crime will begin full time employment on January 7th
We celebrated with some bubbly. Thanks Kevin!
One of our lady friends, Beano, of Love Ya, Bean It, has a feature on her blog about lady life in our 20’s. 
Chris, a world-class guest blogger, wrote about the trials and tribulations of life post-grad and the ol’ job hunt. The day after her post was posted, Chris was offered a job with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Marcus Autism Center. It’s truly her dream job and she couldn’t be more excited. We’re convinced Beano’s blog is magical…Sam also got her dream job after being featured on Love ya, Bean it. So proud of my talented friends. Read Chris’s thoughts here, and Anna’s and Sam’s too!

OH, and speaking of my girls, we’re headed WEST in 2013! Colorado is calling our names, so we’ll be venturing to Boulder come May. Chris has already downloaded a countdown app. I’m a little worried I won’t want to come back! Can’t wait to breathe that western air.

So anyway, back to my Thanksgiving contribution. I even surprised myself with this one. I’d never made stuffing before, and to be honest, I was dreading it. I found this recipe online, and got busy on Thanksgiving morning before heading up to Dad’s. Guess what, it wasn’t that hard. It really wasn’t. We already had all of the spices, so all I had to do was buy the produce and meat. And I had half a loaf of bread in the freezer, then Whitney had another, different GF loaf she donated to the cause. And (I think) my gluten-loving family really enjoyed it. Thanks for working with me, guys!

Here it goes.

Lazy GF Stuffing

  • 1 loaf gluten-free bread, cut into bite-size cubes (8-9 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 links sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 2 cups chopped celery (about 4 large stalks)
  • 2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large onion)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about four cloves)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups gluten-free vegetable stock

Preheat oven to 325 °F. Cut bread into cubes and toast them in a 9 x 13 pan until bread is golden brown and dry, about 30 minutes.
In a large skillet, add sausage, break apart into small bites with a fork as it cooks. 

Cook until no pink pieces of sausage remain, about three minutes. Remove the sausage from the oil using a slotted spoon. Place sausage on a plate and set aside.

Add celery. Cook until celery just begins to soften, about two minutes. Stirring frequently. Add onion. Cook for two minutes, continue to stir frequently.

Add garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper. Cook until celery and onions are soft and aromatic. 
Add the vegetables onto the bread cubes. Add sausage pieces and stir.
Pour about two cups of the broth over the bread. Stir until cubes absorb the broth. This takes a minute. Add an additional cup of broth. Continue to stir until broth is absorbed. If bread seems dry, add final cup of broth. (Bread cubes should be moist but not soggy. It’s okay it the some of the cubes fall apart. This is normal.) Transfer stuffing to prepared pan.
 Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake in a 325 °F oven for about 30 minutes. 

Remove foil and return pan to the oven and bake until golden brown, about five minutes.
It turned out well, but I think next time I’ll use a little less liquid, and stick with the multi-grain bread instead of using the rice bread. All in all, it was a success! I kind of want to try a GF cornbread stuffing next year. Hmmm.

See?! Holidays can easily be translated to gluten-free language without buying those crazy ingredients.

2012 was a whirlwind year, and if it taught me anything, it's that you just never know. And I'm beginning to realize that our parents were right. It goes by fast. And to quote Sex and the City: "Don't worry -- they have a very lovely life..." 

 I said it, but I’m going to say it again. Thank you to all of my amazing friends and awesome family for supporting my being gluten-free. Without question, they make sure there are options for me always. I’m lucky and so very thankful.

P.S. I got a cookbook and a food processor for Christmas; get ready.   

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