Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday and a Few Wedding Shots!

It's been quite the quiet Monday over here today!  I woke up early and was out the door before 6:45 am - totally not the norm - but I definitely beat almost all of the traffic in my commute.  The work day flew by and before I knew it, I was home.  I did some cleaning in the house and made black bean and chicken tacos for dinner, with a side of HGTV.

The relaxation started because I've been sick for awhile and took a trip to my doctor today after a pretty unhelpful appointment at the Healthcare Clinic at Walgreens yesterday.  Now, I'm fully stocked with antibiotics and an inhaler to get back on the mend :)  Thanks, but no thanks bronchitis.  I also made a quick trip to Target on the way home and picked up a new-to-me nail polish from Essie.

While it's nice to rest and relax minus the awful coughing, the downfall is that I've had to take a break from running!  I've been thinking about signing up for the Thanksgiving race after being encouraged by one of my very best friends, the Running Dietitian, and I found this 10k training plan online.  Granted, I did run 2.5 miles on Saturday, despite my hacking cough, so maybe it could still be a go once I'm all patched up...any runners out there have any advice?

In the meantime and totally unrelated, here are some wedding photos that my sister-in-law happened to find online!  Our photographer was Blue Martini Photography (totally amazing if you live in Cincinnati by the way), but she had two assistant photographers who posted some of the pictures they took on their Facebook page.  To make a long story short, my SIL ran into one of them and they gave her the deets of where they were posted, as they have their own photography company Sixteen-Fourteen Photography.  They're beautiful and I can't wait to get them all back - our photography team was amazing and I can't wait to have all of these pictures forever.  Here are a few shots - I'm off to bed!

Any big plans for the week?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Gluten-Free Sandals Honeymoon

Hi there!  For those of you that don't know, I got married in August.  Wedding planning was a huge blur and led to me putting a lot of things on the backseat - including my blog.  They aren't kidding when they say planning a wedding is like having a second job.  While planning our wedding, we also planned a honeymoon.  Needless to say, we were both excited for a relaxing week away together after 12 months of crazy wedding planning.

We met with a few travel agents and narrowed down our list.  We wanted someplace warm, safe, beachy with lots of opportunities for excursions.  We finally settled on St. Lucia!  We decided to stay at an all-inclusive, something we'd never done before.  I was a little nervous about how my gluten-free diet would go over - Would there be options for me to eat?  Would I feel like I was bothering the staff?  Would anyone even know what gluten was? Most importantly, would the food be good?

Little did I know, the answer to all those questions was yes!  We stayed at the Sandals Regency La Toc in a butler suite- it was truly breathtaking and we had an amazing experience.  Prior to arriving at the resort, we checked in online and filled out a questionnaire regarding food preferences/allergies.  Once we actually arrived at Sandals, our butler coordinated a meeting between the chef and I - the chef informed me of all the gluten-free options that they had - pasta, pancakes, bread etc. and promised that everyone would be accommodating.

The first thing I noticed about our dining experiences were that the server would immediately ask if anyone in our party had a food allergy.  This took away a lot of the awkwardness of having to say that I'm gluten free.

Breakfasts were easy choices - I rolled with the omelets and home fries.

Our favorite lunch spot was Neptune's - a Mediterranean spot on the water.  Some of my favorites from the week included gluten-free pizza, gluten-free onion rings, stuffed grape leaves and an amazing feta salad. OH and how could I forget the gluten-free mozzarella sticks?! I'm still dreaming of them.

For dinner, we hopped around the resort.  On the night that we dined at Kimono's, the hibachi steakhouse, and I was brought a selection of gluten-free sauces to enjoy with my meal.  My fried rice was prepared separately from everyone else's using tamari instead of soy sauce.

Later in the week, we took the shuttle to one of the other Sandals resorts on the island to try out their Italian restaurant.  I ordered the pasta carbonara with gluten-free pasta - it was delicious :) 

There you have it - it's possible to still enjoy fantastic food on your honeymoon at Sandals!

What's your favorite vacation spot?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Birthday Nonpareils

About three years ago, my grandmother gave me one of the best birthday gifts of all time. A pink Kitchenaid mixer.  Growing up, I had so many memories with her of baking cookies, pies, cakes.  I was only a few feet tall, but I remembered that white - and later green - Kitchenaid spinning around delicious desserts.  Each item was handcrafted with love.

Now, if you're a longt-time reader, you'll remember that I selected the color of the Kitchenaid on my 26th birthday and went with pale pink.  I knew I would have few opportunities in life to score a pink Kitchenaid.  Eventually, I would probably fall in love and get married.  I figured a pink Kitchenaid would not be on my future husband's wish list.

Here I am, about to turn 29.  I'm now married to my very best friend and so many things in life have changed.  Not only since those young years when I stood in the kitchen baking with my grandma, but also since the day I was given that Kitchenaid mixer.  My love of cupcakes hasn't :)

Nonpareils Cupcakes, adapted from How Sweet It Is 


1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill gluten-free all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 cup soy milk
1/2 nonpareilles

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together sugar and butter in a stand mixer until smooth using paddle attachment - add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients with a whisk, add to batter slowly.
3. Add milk, combine. Fold in nonpareilles. Batter will be very sticky. Pour 2/3 way into cupcake tins lined with paper - about 15.
4. Bake for ~25 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Buttercream Icing, adapted from Williams Sonoma


3 cups powdered sugar
1 stick butter
2 tbsp soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Allow ingredients to come to room temperature.  Lightly cream together powdered sugar and butter in stand mixer using whisk attachment.  Add soy milk and vanilla extract.
2.  Continue to cream together icing mixture until light and fluffy.

What's your favorite cupcake flavor?