Friday, March 30, 2012

New Planet Off Grid Pale Ale

I was a major beer lover before I found out that I couldn't have gluten.  I've been able to find substitutions for almost everything with gluten - except beer (and Combos).  I've tried about 8-10 gluten free beers and so far Daura is my favorite.  I don't like Redbridge very much, but it will do in a pinch on a hot summer day - and it gets credit for being the first easy to find gluten free beer. 

New Planet has three gluten free beers: Off Grid Pale Ale, Tread Lightly Ale, and 3R Raspberry Ale.  My friend said that the 3R Raspberry Ale is gross, so I'm not going to bother with that one.  I had an Off Grid Pale Ale tonight and I'd rank it in the middle - about a 5 or 6.  It taste more like an Amber beer to me (if I remember what regular beer tastes like), but it has a bitter aftertaste like a pale ale.  It's made from sorghum and brown rice extract, and I can definitely taste the sorghum.  Gluten free beer is not "light" and this follows suit at 170 calories for a 12 oz. bottle - which is the same amount as a PINT of Guinness.  I miss Guinness so much...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Goodale Park

Goodale Park March 26, 2012

Goodale Park is one of my favorite places in Columbus and it was beautiful last Friday while we were walking to the Blue Jackets game.  I would have taken more pictures, but it was actually raining at the time and I didn't want to get soaked.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Corned Beef and Coleslaw

I was busy lazy before St. Patrick's Day weekend, so didn't get the corned beef made until the next week.  I didn't know that I liked corned beef until we went to Skillet and I had corned beef hash.  I didn't even know what it was, but it sounded pretty gross.  What is "corned" anyway?  So once I knew I liked it, I decided to buy it when it was on sale for $3.99/lb. before St. Patty's.  I also bought a bunch of cabbage for a couple of different recipes and used the last half a head in this coleslaw recipe.  We don't generally love coleslaw, but this recipe looked good and I thought it would go well with the beef.  The original recipe also had a Guinness dipping sauce that sounded AMAZING, but I can't have beer because of gluten.

Corned Beef and Coleslaw
inspired by this recipe 
 2-2 1/2 pound corned beef brisket
corn tortillas

3 cups thinly sliced green and/or purple cabbage
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle pepper (in adobo sauce)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

For corned beef:
Place corned beef, fatty side up, in a slow cooker and sprinkle seasoning packet on top. Add 1/2 cup of water to the crockpot.  Set on low and cook for 10 hours.  Remove corned beef from water and let sit at about 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Scrape off the gross fat layer and discard. Shred remaining meat.  If you have a husband, make him do this part.  It's gross.

For coleslaw:
Mix together cabbage, red onion and jalapeno in a large bowl.
In another bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Pour over cabbage mixture and toss until combined.

I didn't have any good pics, but I one during lunch the next day and dinner the next night, which is why they aren't in a tortilla. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March Birchbox Review!

I'm way late in reviewing March's Birchbox delivery, which is bad because I REALLY liked this box!  I didn't think February's box fit my profile very well, but March was way better.

Birchbox is a monthly subscription service for upscale beauty products.  For $10, you get a box with 4-5 generous samples including makeup, skincare, fragrance, body, and hair care. 

Wanna try Birchbox?  I'd love it if you used my referral invite: Click here

1.  Color Club Nail Lacquer in Age of Aquarius:  I didn't think I was going to like this on my fingernails, but I went for it anyway.  It felt a little thick when I was applying the second coat, but once a topcoat was added, it looked really smooth.  I used CND Stickey as a basecoat and used various topcoats throughout the week.  I've had it on for 6 days and I've only had to touch up one nail that chipped this morning.  The color was way brighter than I usually wear on my nails and took several days for me to get used to it.  It's definitely great for a toenail color, so I'm sure I'll continue to use this throughout the spring and summer.  I'm impressed with how long it has lasted - and at $8 for a full-sized product, it's around the price I usually pay for OPI and other salon brands.

2. Harvey Prince Ageless Perfume:  I don't wear perfume all of the time, but I did like this nice fresh scent.  It wasn't too powerful or flowery/sweet.  I'll definitely use this sample, but rarely buy a larger size perfume.

 3.  Lulu Organics Lavender + Clay Sage Hair Powder:  I was incredibly excited about this because I love dry shampoo.  My hair is fine and on the oily side, so I can rarely go without washing my hair everyday, which is totally annoying (and bad for highlights).  I love having no-shower Sundays, so I used this in my hair before we went to the movies on Sunday to see Hunger Games.  While I was thrilled with the movie, I wasn't thrilled with this product.  It seemed too heavy for my fine hair, so it still felt heavy and greasy.  I think it looked okay though, so it wasn't a failure.  I did like the scent a lot.  I normally use Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo, which feels really light in my hair, and I won't be switching brands. For those with thicker hair, at $20 for a full-size product, it's a decent deal.

4.  One Love Organics Skin Savior Waterless Beauty Balm:  I haven't used this product yet, but I'm excited about the possibilities.  Its a two-in-one cleanser and moisturizer that can be used as a waterless cleanser with a shammy that wasn't included, so I'm not sure if a wash cloth would work the same.  It can also be used as a moisturizer or mixed with your mineral foundation for a custom cream foundation.  I hope that I don't love this, because at $68 for full-size, I can't afford it!

5. Supergoop! Sunscreen Swipes:  I've used Supergoop Sunscreen before, so I'm excited about these "Swipes".  This sunscreen is one of the few skin- and environmentally-safe sunscreens on the market.  A $40 pack of swipes is $34....a little pricey, but for a convenient, safe sunscreen, that's not too bad. 

Lifestyle Extra  Tea Forte:  These antioxidant teas are supposed to be beneficial for your skin.  I haven't tasted them yet, but I took them into work, so will probably try them soon.  At $6 for 16 bags, I probably won't purchase these unless I really love the flavors. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Workouts: March 19 - 23

 This was just an average workout week.  I didn't do anything particularly special, but got some good workouts (and soreness) in.  My elbow isn't really getting better or getting worse, so I'm trying not to do anything extra outside of using it for volleyball, yoga, and spinning.

Noon:  Most of the exercises from P90X Legs – I didn’t really keep track again.  Between every 2 exercises I jump roped 100 times and rowed 500 meters.
5:30:  Core Power Yoga
Noon:  Elliptical Trainer 35 minutes, 80 walking lunges, hip exercises (from IT band therapy)

6:30:  Co-ed Power Volleyball in Dublin. FUN!  I love this league - I'm just a sub since I had to be replaced last year, but I'll probably sub several times this session.
Noon:  No workout - Lunch with a friend 
5:45:  Spinning at Arena District Fitness
Noon:  Spinning - this was harder than usual because she had us "hover" a lot during every song.  Hovering is when you sit just above the seat and only move your legs, keeping your upper body still - HARD.
5:30: Yoga – Great class, as usual 
Noon:  Elliptical for 40 minutes.  I was really sore from the days before, so I wanted to take it easy (and read People magazine)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Butter. It's not just for bread.

I saw this article on Wisebread and thought it was pretty useful.  The tip about coating a pill in butter to make it easier to swallow makes me want to gag, but there good ones such as preserving a cut onion or hard cheese, and making snow shoveling easier (not that we get snow in Ohio anymore!).   

Out of the Frying Pan: 24 Unusual Uses for Butter

Friday, March 23, 2012

GF Snack Attack! T.J.'s Crispy Crunchy C.C. Cookies

These cookies from Trader Joe's are GOOD! My friend Kelley recommended these and she was so right! I don't love crispy chocolate cookies usually, but these were melt-in-your-mouth good. The bag contains 2 separately wrapped packs of 7 cookies for $3.99 - so while they aren't cheap, they aren't terribly priced compared to a lot of gluten-free goodies.


I would say that these are a BIG winner.  While I usually like to make homemade baked goods, I will definitely be buying these in the future.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Caffeine Bomb!

Last night after volleyball, I started to get a migraine.  It's started out feeling like a tension headache, but then my vision got blurry in the bottom outer side of my right eye, and I knew it was coming.  I took an excedrin and then a tylenol pm before I went to sleep, so I had no trouble falling asleep.  When I woke up, it was still there but to a lesser degree. 

After my morning 1.5 cups of coffee didn't do the trick, I decided to caffeine-bomb my migraine.  I went to Einstein's Bagels with a friend for lunch and had the chipotle chicken salad along with an ice coffee (16 oz).  When I was done with lunch, I refilled my cup with iced tea.  Lo said he doesn't think you're supposed to refill your beverage with something else, but if they're all free refills, I don't know what the problem would be.  Okay, I can kind of see the difference but I didn't think about it then. 

After that 32 oz. of caffeine, I drank a water, and then made myself another iced tea.  It's safe to say, that after all of that, my migraine was gone!  And I had to pee a lot.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Recap and why it'll never be the same for me...

They're all so good!
For the last two years, St. Patrick's Day has been a hard day for me.  Not hard in the way that anything bad happens, but just that I am a little disappointed in the day.

Two years ago I was in Ireland for St. Patrick's Day with my sister and two friends.  You can't really beat that atmosphere.  I am absolutely in love with Ireland and it was just amazing.  We went to the Guinness Factory in the morning, saw a flash mob (before they were everywhere in the US), hung out at a carnival, and went to a bunch of pubs.
Look how happy Guinness makes me...

Bar at the top at Guinness
Guinness Factory
Flash Mob in Guinness Factory
At the original Brazen Head

St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland

Last year, things just didn't work out with plans after work, and I had to work the next day anyway, so I didn't do anything.  Lo made me a green beer when he got home from meeting friends because he thought I should have one.  

This year, I had a good day, but it just wasn't the same now that I can't drink beer.  I really love Guinness.  Vodka just doesn't have the same appeal on a day when everyone is drinking beer.  Luckily, my friends are awesome, so I still had a good time overall.  We went to Tilted Kilt and watched the Buckeye game and after a stop at home (and a quick nap for me due to a bellyache from sweet drinks), we met friends at Woodland's Tavern.  We spent the last few hours on our friends' porch just hanging out. 

Sadly, it's never going to be the same until I can have a Guinness!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Workouts: March 12 - 16

This was a decent workout week - my legs were sore most of the week, and after Death by Squrpees and yoga on Thursday, my back was really sore. 

Noon:  Most of the exercises from P90X Legs – I didn’t really keep track

5:30:  Core Power Yoga

Noon:  I honestly can’t remember what I did. It was either Elliptical for 45 minutes or a “100 Workout”, like this:
100 jumprope
90 sec. wall sit
80 squats
70 bridge lifts
60 sec. plank
50 situps (25 full situps and 25 low ab lifts b/c upper abs were too sore from yoga to do 50 full)
40 back lunges, each leg
30 single leg dead lifts, each leg
20 jump squats
10 burpees

No workout: Luncheon at work, dinner with friends that night

Noon: I totally forgot it was Thursday and wore my Vibrams to the gym (which I can’t spin in).  So I decided to “punish” myself and make up for the lack of workout on Wednesday with this workout I made up. 
“Death by Squrpees Up and Down the Mountain”
Squrpee = a squat and a burpee.  “Death By…” workouts are were you complete one rep on the start of the first minute, two reps on the second minute, three reps on the third minute, and so on until you can no longer complete the number of reps required for that round “for example, you fail to complete 16 squrpees in the 16th minute).  I didn’t take it to failure, because I wanted to make it back down the mountain.  So I went up the mountain to 15 (15 squrpees in the 15th minute) and then back down to 1 (which was 1 burpee in the 30th minute).  I did take a 30 second break between two 15 rounds at the top of the mountain because I was DYING for some water. 
It was HARD.  My face was red for about an hour after the workout.  I used the “round timer” on the Seconds Free app on my phone, which made it easy to keep track of how many reps I was supposed to be doing in each round. 

5:30: Yoga – this class was hard, but good. 

Noon:  Since I didn’t spin on Thursday, I wanted to on Friday.  The spinning studio is empty at noon on Fridays, so I put on my headphones and did my own spinning class.  I just had my workout playlist set to random and it couldn’t have been more perfect.  I just fit the workout around what songs were playing to decide when to spring, jump, climb, etc.  I was just as sweaty after that class as I am after other spinning classes, so I would say it was a good workout. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Proscuitto and Egg Cups

If you need to make a simple breakfast to impress, this is your dish.  It's beautiful and tasty - and super-easy.  You may be able to substitute thinly sliced bacon for the prosciutto, but it's worth buying the prosciutto for.  Serve with some toast and cantaloupe.

Proscuitto and Egg Cups
serves 6

cooking spray
12 thin slices prosciutto
4 oz. parmesean blend
6-8 leaves fresh basil, torn
12 eggs
fresh pepper

Coat muffin tin with cooking spray.  Place a prosciutto slice into each tin.  Divide half of the cheese and basil among the cups.  Crack an egg into each and add remaining cheese and basil to the eggs.  Bake at 375 degrees until set, about 15 minutes.  Egg should be be set, but not overcooked.  Season with pepper.  Loosen around edges with knife to unmold.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Skillet, Rustic.Urban.Food

Last Saturday we went to breakfast with two good friends and I wanted to make sure I mentioned it before this weekend because it was SO good.  We went to Skillet, Rustic.Urban.Food on Whittier in German Village.  I'd read reviews about how small the place is, and how there is often a long wait, so we decided to get there around 10 a.m.  I figured that we'd miss the early-riser diners, but get there before the late-sleeper/brunch crew.  Also, it was the earliest that I would commit to waking up.  Our timing was pretty good - there was only one table on the list in front of us, and several groups of people got there immediately after we signed in.  We did have to wait for about 25 minutes because we had four in our group and there are fewer 4 top tables.  

It was totally worth the wait.  The place IS small and we were a little tight at the booth, but it was fine.  The coffee is from Cafe Brioso downtown and was amazing.  The food is fresh, seasonal, and "farm to fork".  

I'll get on to the food.  Lo ordered Short Ribs and Grits.  I didn't take a picture and the menu isn't available online, but it was basically short ribs and grits in a gravy made with stout and porter.  He said it was amazing, I really wanted to try it but couldn't because of the beer. The other three of us all got the corned beef hash.  I'd never had corned beef hash before, but for some reason it sounded really good (maybe because it's nearing St. Patrick's Day?).  I really, really liked it.  I was craving something salty and it was perfect.  While breakfast is easy enough to order on a gluten-free diet, it can get a little boring to always have just eggs or omelets.  So this was a perfect combination of eggs, meat, and potatoes.  The corned beef has was served with a biscuit which apparently were amazing, but since I couldn't have it, Lo got mine.  His didn't come with a biscuit, which was surprising because it was perfect for sopping up the extra gravy.  He actually ordered another biscuit later because he wanted to eat ALL of the gravy.  I got a side of apple wood smoked bacon (or something like that) and it was probably the best bacon I've ever had.  One of our friends ordered one of the famous cinnamon rolls, which looked and tasted amazing (according to everyone who tried it). 

Skillet is a little expensive for breakfast, but that's because you're getting such high quality and fresh food.  I think our choices were each around $12 and the coffees and sides were reasonable (about $3).  There was plenty of food, and again, the quality was outstanding.  We definitely plan to go back again sometime.  

Check out their Facebook page.  Sometimes they stop taking new customers because the wait list exceeds the closing time, so I definitely recommend going earlier. 

Have you ever been to Skillet?  What did you think?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

I made these cupcakes to take into work near Easter last year, and not only were they adorable, they were SO good!  I had been craving peanut butter and banana (like Elvis), so I went on a recipe search.  The cake was nice and fluffy, but tasted like banana bread, which is what I was hoping for.  I just couldn't get over how cute they were with the mini eggs on top.  I did NOT make these gluten-free last year, because it was before I found out about my intolerance, but I intend to make these again and will just sub gluten-free all purpose flour for the regular flour.  I'll let you know how they turn out this year!

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
Adapted from this Bon Appetit recipe

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (or sub gluten-free flour, preferable with xanthum gum added)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe large bananas, peeled
3/4 cup sour cream (lite works fine)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
mini candy coated chocolate eggs, like Cadbury or Hershey

For cupcakes:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 12 standard (1/3-cup) muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Mash bananas with fork in another medium bowl until smooth. Mix sour cream and vanilla into bananas.
Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and egg yolk and beat until well blended. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with banana-sour cream mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until blended after each addition. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups (generous 1/4 cup for each).
Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center of each comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to rack and let cool completely.
For frosting:
Sift powdered sugar into large bowl. Add cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until smooth.
If it's too thin, you can stir in more sifted powdered sugar until you get the right consistency.  If you use 1/3 less fat cream cheese, you may need extra powdered sugar.  You'll want it to be able to hold a little shape if you intend to make it look like a nest with the eggs.  Spread frosting over top of cupcakes, dividing equally.  

I tried to make mine look like nests by spreading the icing on with a knife and randomly pulling the knife up off of the frosting (does that even make sense?) to create peaks.  If you want to make the frosting look even more like a nest, stir in some coconut so it looks like straw.  Place the mini candy eggs in the "nest" of frosting before serving.  If you are going to store these for more than a couple of hours, you may want to wait to add the eggs to the top, as the candy may start melting. 

By the way, I think I frosted these and them put them back in the cupcake pan so I could take them somewhere.  Otherwise, I don't know why they would still be in the pan since I would have removed them to allow them to cool and then to frost.   

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Workouts: March 5 - 10

A little late posting this...

I felt like I got a little more back on track this week, probably because I made it to yoga twice, even though my lunchtime workouts weren't great on Monday and Tuesday.  

Noon:  Nap – I was “gluten-ed” at a restaurant the night before (not their fault, I didn’t ask about the enchilada sauce), so I was awake for some of the night with nausea and dry-heaving (awesome).  I was extra tired the next day from that, plus I usually get lethargic from gluten, so I slept on my office floor for that hour because I really wanted to do yoga that night and knew I wouldn’t if I wasn’t feeling better.

5:30:  Core Power Yoga – I was really excited to do yoga after having to miss it the last several times.  The Monday night class isn’t my favorite, but it’s still a heck of a workout.  The instructor gave me some options so that vinyasa pushups wouldn’t hurt my elbow – and she also watched me closely on those so I would do them “right”, so I couldn’t even slack on them (which is good, but it was hard)! There were only 2 of us taking that class, so we had lots of attention/adjustments.  The front of my shoulders were SO sore the next day, as well as the top half of my abs.

Noon:  Elliptical for 45 minutes.  I didn’t do a harder workout because I gave blood that morning and wasn’t supposed to workout at all.  I figured reading People Magazine on the elliptical wasn’t too bad, even if I did the Hills program. 

Noon: I’m still feeling wimpy about my elbow, so I did all legs for this “100” workout:
100 jumprope
90 sec. wall sit
80 squats
70 bridge lifts
60 sec. plank
50 situps (25 full situps and 25 low ab lifts b/c upper abs were too sore from yoga to do 50 full)
40 back lunges, each leg
30 single leg dead lifts, each leg
20 jump squats
10 burpees

Noon: Spinning at Capital Club

5:30: Yoga – oh how I love this class…this was quite a challenge – lots of planks and vinyasa pushups and deep leg work.  I continually impress myself with how much I improve for each class (pats self on back)

Noon:  I recommend “Seconds Free” as an Iphone app for doing Tabata or timed exercises/rounds – you can problem intervals, rest time, and amount of rounds and it will vibrate and/or beep when it’s time to change – plus you can still listen to your music in your headphones.
Tabata 50/10x4 - do each exercise for 50 sec, rest 10 sec, complete 4 rounds (I rested for 30 seconds between each round because my legs were already so sore and I needed it)
Squat Jumps
Alternating Lunges
Mountain Climbers
Squat Thrusts (burpees)
Deadlifts w/ kettlebell

Monday, March 12, 2012

Michael Season's Baked Hot Chili Pepper Cheese Curls

We got these cheese curls at Whole Foods in January and LOVED them!  When I said I wanted to buy them, Lo said he wasn't a big fan of cheese curls (WHAT??!  I know - who doesn't love fake cheese!).  But he actually really liked them and I loved them.  They had just the right amount of cheese (though there can never be too much) and spice.  There are several other flavors, and though I haven't tried those, I'm sure I'll stick to the Hot Chili Pepper.  Unless they come out with a Chipotle Cheddar flavor - chipotle beats everything. 

I just googled these and found the ingredients on Amazon - not only are they gluten free, they are also natural and partially organic:

Michael Season's Baked Hot Chili Pepper Cheese Curls
Org cornmeal, cornmeal, corn/sunflower oil, Whey, Reduced Lactose Whey Buttermilk, cheddar blue cheese, salt, lactic acid, citric acid, chile peppers contains milk

I can't remember how much I paid for these at Whole Foods, but the price on Amazon is pretty good.  You can get a case of 12 (5.5 oz) bags for $25.43 (when you sign up for subscribe and save, which can be cancelled right after you order).  It sounds like a lot, but it's only about $2.12/bag, which is very likely less than at Whole Foods. 

Do you have any favorite snacks?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Vitamin Fail.

I am a failure at taking vitamins.  Lo got me a vitamin organizer and fills it each week for me, which helps, but I still regularly forget to take them.  He fills the container each Wednesday and just informed me that I took 9 out of 42 vitamins from the container in one week. 

My intent is to take some of them in the morning and some of them right before I go to bed (because the one upsets my stomach if I'm awake).  I often fail at taking them over the weekend, but this was probably the worst week ever.  I know that I eat well and get plenty of nutrition from lots of fruits and veggies, but some of these are still important for me to take, considering my gluten intolerance and the fact that I am of child-bearing age. 

I don't know why I am so bad at taking them.  The act of swallowing vitamins isn't a problem for me like it is for some people, but for some reason, I cannot get into this habit!  I can literally have the vitamins sitting on my desk where I am for 8 hours a day and will still "forget" to take them.

Anyone else have this problem?  Solutions?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Columbus 200!

The year 2012 is the bicentennial for Columbus, Ohio.  Yay, Columbus!  Nationwide occasionally spells out words in the windows at night and I have to admit when I first saw this several weeks ago, I totally asked Lo why they spelled out "Columbus Zoo" in the windows.  And then I got it 3 seconds later....
Happy Birthday Columbus!