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Beach Trip 2011

ritz carlton amelia island We just got back on Thursday night from our vacation for this year. We were so lucky to be able to go to the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island, FL for almost free since Austin was speaking at a conference there! Our trip started out Sunday we actually stayed in Jacksonville for the night because Austin had to do some business there on Monday morning. Monday we made our way to Amelia Island. I had been here when I was in the 7th grade so I didnt remember too much about it. Its a great casual chill place. It was really relaxing!! Here is the view from our room:

ritz carlton amelia island Beautiful, right??! The Ritz Carlton was amazing and I think its going to be hard to go back to staying at Hampton Inns haha :) Tuesday and Wednesday were spent going to the pool and beach, but thunderstorms every afternoon cut that short a little which was sad, but it was still nice. The storms cooled everything off so the weather was perfect! Austin gave his talk on Wednesday and then Wednesday night was our nice dinner kind of celebrating our anniversary from the beginning of June and celebrating being on vacation! Unfortunately we had to leave on Thursday and make our way back but it was a very nice and relaxing trip! I definitely recommend taking a trip there, its about 6 hours from Atlanta and it really is a beautiful place! The Ritz was wonderful, but if you cant stay there, there looks like alot of other wonderful places to stay too!! Vacation is over so its back to reality now! Bummer until vacation 2012! Cant wait!

Alot to Celebrate!

 

1821-celebration

photo courtesy of pitchfork.com

Today we are headed to the beach!! whoo!! Austin is speaking at an Accounting Conference and they are generously paying for our gas and room at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island! YAY! So this is our summer vacation which is awesome because it is practically free! So, that is definitely worth celebrating, but  there will be another post on this when we get home!

Ok, so the real celebrations! Today marks the day one year ago that I was baptized at Buckhead Church! I accepted Christ when I was a junior in high school but I dont think I ever really understood what baptism really meant. I knew that you didnt have to be baptized to go to heaven, but why would you need to go get dunked in water?? When I started attending Buckhead Church almost 3 years I would constantly hear Andy Stanley and the other speakers mention baptism and it started to get me thinking. Alot of my friends had already been baptized and everytime I heard the word baptism I felt convicted and like God was nudging me along. Austin was already a member of Buckhead Church and I knew this is where I wanted my home church to be so I decided I should be a member too! Well, to be a member you have to have been baptized. Ok, God I get it now, I need to get baptized!! Although I needed to be baptized to be a member I knew this was God telling me to finally go out there and share my story with everyone and have accountability to grow even more.That was the final push I needed and I filled out my inquiry online in March. It was a long process but they did an amazing job preparing you! I had to write a little script of what I wanted to say and then go record it at the church. I was SO nervous. I hate public speaking and reading aloud in front of people so this was not exciting to me! I sat in a room with the 5 other people that were going to be baptized that day and we all went around the circle and read our stories. Instead of being nervous I listened as I heard these amazing stories of what God has done in other people’s lives and I realized that this is nothing to be scared of, you need to celebrate this, this is YOUR story and there is only one. Well, it was now my turn to read my story aloud and go film it. Surprisingly I only had to record mine 3 times! The cameramen were great and totally made me laugh and get my mind off being nervous and hoping that I remembered what I wanted to say.

Well, it came time for the day of my baptism. Austin’s parents came into town for it and all my friends were going to be there! I arrived to the church pretty early and the other guy getting baptized and I prayed and read scripture with the pastor baptizing us. Then we were able to worship up in the balcony, and then it was time! We got these awesome blue tops with matching shorts that were HUGE on me haha. I stepped out into the water and it felt like a bath. I watched as my video played on the big screen and then BOOM, light on me! Ok, all I have to do is hold on really tight to his arm so I dont drown, that is pretty simple, right? 1, 2, 3, dipped in the water, and now its done. It was a like a wedding, it was alot of planning and went by in 2 seconds!  That day was kind of a blur, but I think now that it has been a year later I can appreciate it more because now I can continually see what God is doing and how He has been there every step of the way, and will continue to be throughout my journey.

This was a very busy day because this was the day I also decided that I was going to go to the doctor to be tested for Celiac’s Disease. I got sick the morning of my baptism and I was so angry, thinking this is supposed to be such a wonderful day and now I just feel horrible. Thankfully I felt better before I arrived at church, but it definitely put a little bit of a damper on things. That afternoon I told myself, this has got to stop, I have to figure out what is wrong because this cant ruin the rest of my life. I made an appointment the next day, and now a year later I am gluten free! My life changed alot that day and positively! I think its important to reflect on significant times in your life and see how far you have come. Now I have this blog, I know how to cook gluten free and I dont have to be afraid that Ill get sick anymore, and I have a Savior who loves me.

I think that is worth celebrating don’t you? Do you have something, big or small, that you can celebrate today?

GF Two Bean Chicken Chili

chicken chili

Yesterday was a very stormy day here in Atlanta, and today it is still the same. Although it is still in the 80′s when it rains it makes me want to eat something warm like soup. Austin is not a big soup person because its not enough of a meal for him, so I decided chili would be better. I found this recipe on my sweet friend Meredith’s blog. You should check it out because she re does furniture from garage sales, so cute!! Anyways, I found this but I did a little adjusting for GF, and what I had at home already! I hope this will keep you cozy & dry inside!

What you need:
-1 container GF Chicken Stock (I used Pacific brand)
-2 cans navy beans ( I only had one, so I did kidney & navy)
-1 tsbp olive oil
-1/4 cup onion chopped
-1 tbsp cumin
-1 tsbp oregano
-black pepper to taste
-salt to taste
-red pepper flakes to taste
-7 chicken tenderloins boiled then chopped
-1 tsbp garlic
-Meredith put in 1 can green chilies I did not
-I added 1 cup of  white rice just for more thickness, Austin needed something more filling :)

Directions:
1) Heat oil in pot and saute onion.
2) Add in garlic and herbs until fragrant
3.) Add in the beans and chicken and (Rice if you want) and cover with chicken stock. Simmer 1 hour.

ENJOY!!

GF/DF Classic Scones

classic scones

I LOVE London. I love British people. I might just have a slight obsession for all things English! I just love their accents, the people are lovely, they have tea time, and scones!! yay!

I studied abroad in 2006 and was lucky enough to spend one week in London during that trip with my friend Joy Beth. It immediately became one of my favorite places in the world and I even considered moving there until I saw how hard it was to get my dog over there and I felt horrible about leaving her behind!!

joy beth and I in london

Joy Beth & I at tea time in London

Since becoming gfree not being able to eat biscuits/scones has been really sad so I thought I would try and recreate one of my favorite British treats! Yesterday’s post was dairy free clotted cream, check that out too and put it on your scone!

I adapted the recipe from here. If you do not have any allergies you can use this one the way it is!

What you need:
-2 cups white rice flour
-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-5 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces (Earth Balance)
-1/2 cup coconut milk
-1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 large egg white
-2 teaspoons coconut milk
-2 teaspoons turbinado or granulated sugar
-1/4 tsp xanthan gum

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 425°.
2.) Combine flour, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt in a bowl; stir with a whisk.
3.) Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
4.) Combine 1/2 cup coconut milk, vanilla, and egg white in a bowl. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist (dough will be soft). Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
5.) Pat dough into an 8-inch circle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut dough into 12 wedges, cutting into, but not through, dough. Brush 2 teaspoons milk over surface of dough; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar. Bake for 17 minutes or until golden. Serve warm with butter or clotted cream!

ENJOY!!

 

Dairy Free Clotted Cream

clotted cream beforeIf you have not had the pleasure of visiting England then you are probably thinking, “wow, this sounds really gross!” The name really does not do justice to the yumminess of this treat! I was in London in 2006 and that was the first time I had ever heard or had clotted cream. They serve it at tea time with scones and its like a thicker butter with a hint of sweetness. SO GOOD!!

I decided to do a little experiment to see if using coconut cream instead of heavy cream would work. It didn’t turn out as perfect as it would be with heavy cream and of course it has a hint of coconut but it did clot so I guess I would say that the experiment was a success! It is a pretty long process so definitely needs to be on a day when you can stay home! This is the recipe I followed: click here!

The only ingredient you need is coconut cream. I did a cup, you can do as much as you want it just might take longer the more you do. The photo above is the coconut cream before going in the oven. Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Place the cream in an oven safe pan with a lid and place in there for 8 hours. Yeah, its long! hah After the 8 hrs is up then let it cool, it should have a skin on top which is the clot. Then place in the refrigerator 8 hrs or overnight. Scrape off the skin and that is your clotted cream!

 

scone and clotted creamHere is the cream on top of the scone! Check out the scone recipe in the next post!!

ENJOY!

GF Double Chocolate Chews

double chocolate chew cookies

Happy Friday!! I sure am glad that it is the start of the weekend, this has not been a great week :( But what is better than a chocolate cookie to cheer you up??! I know that works for me! This is another adaptation from my Cooking Light cookbook. Sometimes you just need some chocolate and yesterday was one of those days, so I made these little treats! This one is a little different from your typical cookie because of its chewiness which I really loved! I hope that you have a wonderful weekend, and add a little chocolate to it! :)

What you need:

-1 3/4 cup white rice flour
-2/3 cup powdered sugar
-1/3 cup cocoa
-1/8 tsp. salt
-2 1/4 tsp baking power
-1 cup chocolate chips (I used white choc. thats all I had!)
-3 tbsp. olive oil
-1 cup brown sugar
-2 1/2 tsp light corn syrup
-1 tbsp water
-2 1/2 tsp. vanilla
-3 egg whites (lightly beaten)
-1/2 tsp xanthan gum

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.) In a small bowl add flour, powdered sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum. Set aside.
3.) In another bowl melt 3/4 of the chocolate chips and olive oil in a bowl in the mircrowave. The directions said to use a skillet, but microwave is faster and easier!! Pour in the bowl of the mixer and let sit for 5 minutes.
4.) After chocolate has cooled down add in the brown sugar, corn syrup, water, vanilla, egg whites and stir. Gradually add in flour mixture until everything is combined. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips.
5.) My batter was a bit on the soupy side so dont place them to close together on the baking sheet because they get pretty big. Make sure to spray the baking sheets really well with cooking spray, my cookies stuck a little bit. Cook for 10 minutes or until firm.

ENJOY!

 

GF Pizza Toast

pizza toast

I have to give a shout out to Austin for coming up with this one!

We LOVE pizza! And now being Gluten Free, pizza can cost alot so we usually just make our own from Udi’s Gfree Crust. Two of Udi’s Crusts are almost $6 so that is a little bummer because its still not cheap. Last night was just one of those where I  didnt have any ideas of what to cook, nor was I in the mood too. I was in a bad mood, just finding out that the air condition in my car was broken and sweated all the way home in a black car that had been sitting outside for 9 hours in the sun :( So, yeah no cooking was happening, I just wanted to cry & scream. So, about the pizza.

When Austin got home I was not in a good mood at all, so we just decided to make our own dinners and he came up with Pizza Toast! I made it for him, but he did come up with the idea. It is more like Gfree Redneck Pizza I guess! It is easy and quick, but really good. If it was round it would remind me of a Bagel Bite, which I used to eat ALL the time, loved those things! If you are in a hurry, want a pizza fix & you want it cheap this is for you!

What you Need:

-Udi’s Gfree Bread (or any gfree bread)
- Pizza Sauce
-Mozzarella Cheese
-Pepperonis (optional) Or any other topping you want!

Directions:

1) Turn oven to Broil on High. Place however many pieces of bread you want on a baking sheet. I put olive oil on the bottom side just so it would crisp and not stick. Put pizza sauce on bread. Put on toppings, I just did pepperonis, 4 per piece of bread was good. Top with cheese!! Now, put in the oven but watch very closely because Broil goes pretty quick and before you know it it is burnt! I like my cheese brown and bubbly, but cook until it looks like what you like!!

ENJOY!

A Matter Close To My Heart: Adopt a Dog!

Jake and Angie rescued dogs!!

My puppies!!

 I know I usually just post recipes on here, but this blog was intended to be about my life as a whole. So, I thought I would write about something that is very near and dear to my heart: animals; specifically dogs. I remember when I was 4 or 5 I asked for a dog for Christmas and my parents ended up getting me a stuffed animal dog. I was devasted, I cried ALOT. I begged for a dog every year after that even though I already had a cat. When I was 10 we finally got a dog! We went to the pet store and picked out a basset hound puppy. She was the cutest! At this point we had one dog, 2 cats, a fish and at one point some rabbits and a guinea pig, and no we did not live on a farm! When I was in middle school we started rescuing Basset Hounds everytime we would pass an adoption at Petsmart so we had 3 Basset Hounds, a cat & a fish. I wanted to be a vet when I was little and thought about doing it and that is one of the reasons I went to Auburn, but ultimately opted out because im not a fan of blood & cutting animals open :( When I went to college I rescued Angie (in the picture above) and my brother rescued a dog as well. So, it was a full house when I came home, we had 5 dogs, 1 cat & a fish!

When Austin and I got married he definitely knew that I loved dogs & wanted more of them so that was good! He grew up a little different than I did, they had a weiner dog for a little while until it chewed up their furniture & they gave him away, so that was Austin’s only dog experiance! About 9 months after we were married we adopted Jake (the lab in the picture above) from the Atlanta Humane Society. Going in there it just breaks your heart with all of the sweet little faces that need homes. I could have taken them all home! So, right now we are renting a house, but we are definitely hoping to purchase our own in the coming year and are talking about getting another dog then, rescued of course! We seriously considered adopting this precious puppy that looks exactly like Jake but we know its just not the right time now, but oh how I wish it was!

My dream would definitely be to foster dogs who need homes and make a place for ones that have been abandoned. I never have had a “mom” instinct and Im not sure if I even want to have kids, but I definitely feel like this is where my heart is and a way that I can do good in this life.  I will now go on a Bob Barker rant and ask if you do have pets please make sure they are fixed and if you are looking to add a pet to your family here are some great places/organizations to check and please seriously think about adopting!!

Links:

Atlanta Humane Society
Angels Among Us
Atlanta Pet Rescue
Atlanta Lab Rescue

Basset Hound Rescue of GA
Forgotten Paws Pet Rescue

No Bake: Chocolate Trail Mix Clusters

chocolate ganache clusters

There is a heat wave sweeping the nation, I know here in Atlanta we are not the only ones that are hot! There is a local radio station here that has a campaign against people calling it HOTLANTA because they think it is dumb and outdated. They want you to say ATL or anything that isn’t HOTLANTA. Well, right now i dont know what else to call it because it is pretty darn hot here!!

When it is so hot outside the last thing you want to do is heat up your house. We are renting an old ranch style house and the kitchen and living room get so hot when I use the oven! I had some leftover Chocolate Ganache from my wedding cake recipe and I didn’t want to throw it out,I mean WHY would you throw out chocolate??? CRAZY TALK! This is a recipe where you can just throw in whatever you have so it is great if you want a quick sweet treat! Feel free to follow this or use whatever you have! It only took me about 5 minutes to do this & no heat required!

 

What you need:

-chocolate ganache ( or just melt some chocolate chips)
-craisins
-peanuts/cashews
-marshmallows
-Gfree Chex cereal

Directions:

1) Melt the chocolate
2) stir in all of nuts, etc. or anything else you want to add!
3) place in freezer until they have hardened

ENJOY!

 

 

How To: Cut Down Costs on Expensive Allergy-Free Foods

Udi's products

photo courtesy of glutenfreegreenie.blogspot.com

So, you first get the news that you have an allergy. Ok, no problem just totally change my diet, easy. Now, step 2: go to the grocery store and try not to spend $200 on just speciality/organic foods. I was shocked the first time I went shopping for gluten free and dairy free foods. Austin and I first started going to Whole Foods because Kroger still didn’t have a great selection. Then we started going to both, and now we just go to Kroger.  My friend Meghan over at Loquacious Lady  just did a series on couponing that everyone should definitely check out! She went through Drug Store and Grocery Coupons and how to double them and when to use. Now, when you have an allergy the unfortunate thing is that there are usually no coupons for the foods you need and they rarely go on sale. I have recently wanted to get better at saving money and I have been trying really hard at this coupon thing! So, these are the things I do to try and save a little money on the foods that are most expensive.

1) For Udi’s Products: Sign up for Udi’s newsletter. They just included a coupon for $1.50 any product in the one they sent out yesterday. There are coupons every couple of weeks for $1.00 off an Udi’s product that you can find on Coupons.com or sign up for Southern Savers, which I talk about on #2. At Kroger sometimes they have managers special and once Udi’s was on sale for $1.50 and I had $1.00 off coupon, $0.50 Udi’s alright!! I usually buy at least 2 bread at a time and freeze one so at least you have some when you need it and you aren’t running to the store every couple of days. Stock up if you have a coupon or they are on sale, that is the time to strike!

2) Sign up for Southern Savers . You will thank me! This is the best coupon site EVER! She emails you almost daily and tells you about deals going on and gives you coupons to print out. This is where I usually find coupons for Udis.

3) Nut Thins: Southern Savers usually has a coupon for Blue Diamond products as well, usually $0.50 off an item. Kroger has them on sale alot, I usually buy 4-6 if they are on sale and Ive got coupons. In the organic section at Kroger they have kind of a discount section where they put random stuff and its like $1.00 or less. They have had NutThins in that section before and Ive got them for $1.00 or less, so watch out for that.

4) Flours/Baking: I use Bob’s Red Mill. Ive never seen a coupon for Bob’s Red Mill but every couple of weeks Kroger has my flour on sale for about a $1.00 less and I usually buy 2.

5) Blue Diamond/Silk Milks: There are coupons for these on Southern Savers as well. There are usually $0.50 off a gallon, there have been $1.00 off as well. If you shop Kroger we usually get alot of catalina coupons (Meghan can explain what these are!) for Silk and Kroger usually has the electronic ones for Blue Diamond right by the milk and I usually take as many as i can, they don’t expire for awhile usually!

6)Larabars: These are my little on the go snacks saviors! Southern Savers had a coupon for these $1.00/4 and Whole Foods usually has a coupon on their website for them too. Kroger will have them for 10/$10 and I usually stock up.

7) Chex cereals: I eat this for breakfast almost everyday! There are 4 gfree kinds so lots to choose from! Kroger almost always has the Rice Chex on sale and there are almost always coupons on Southern Savers for $1.00-$1.50-$2.00 off if you buy 2,3, or 4 boxes. I usually buy either 2 or 4 and that lasts us at least 2 weeks. If they are on sale and you have a coupon you definitely want to stock up on these also.

Here is my little plug for Kroger:
1) If you transfer a prescription to them you get $25 worth of FREE groceries! So, that’s like 5 loaves of Udi’s bread!
2) The more you spend the more gas fuel points you get. For every 100 points you get 10 cents off a gallon so 300 points=$0.30!
So, we all know its easy to spend alot on our allergy free food, but at least you are getting rewarded some way! And for every
prescription refill you get 50 fuel points!

I hope this was helpful. There are ways to eat allergy free and not feel like you are draining the wallet! Please let me know if you have any other suggestions/recommendations to add, I would love to hear them!

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