Thursday, April 21, 2011


This past weekend Ben and I went to Boston with his family. His mom and brother, Rose and Peter, were running the marathon for a third time (they are ROCK STARS!) and we were there to support them, and get a little vacation out of it too.

Sunday before the marathon we all headed to Fenway Park (minus the runners, who were resting up) to watch the Red Sox play the Toronto Blue Jays. It was the perfect day for a game once the sun came out after some pre-game showers. We sat in the outfield seats, and they did not disappoint. I even got a pretty wicked sunburn on my forehead at the game; first sunburn of the year!

Ben received so many comments about his Minnesota North Stars sweatshirt; most of them in hilarious Boston accents. "Hey Minnesota, how much you want for that sweatshirt?"

Also, Fenway has so many diverse food choices, Gluten Free, Kosher, Vegan, etc., very cool!

I got my first look at the famous Citgo sign. The neighborhood around Fenway is such a fun area.

The next morning we were up bright and early to hit the marathon course and cheer on Rose and Peter.

We headed to Framingham, right past the 10K mark for our first stop. I loved how the course wound through these little towns that still had so much colonial charm. We saw the elite runners take off past us there.

We also saw Rose and Peter looking strong!

Next we headed to Wellesley College that's known for the sound of high pitched screaming girls cheering on the racers. There we spotted Rose, but she didn't see us, she was way too focused. She looked determined coming up this incline, that's her, right in the middle sticking out from the pack.

She also looked fierce when we saw her at Boston College right after the 20 mile mark. This is where so many runners hit their wall, but she still looked strong, if not stronger than when we saw her before.

This was a great spot for all the energetic students, and also the area of the infamous "heartbreak" hill that's an incline for nearly a half mile when many marathoners are suffering the most.

Rose finished strong, in 4:46 even after suffering cramps. I am always impressed by her, and the fact that she's in her late 50's and running marathons. My in-laws are seriously SO active, golfing, traveling, biking, swimming, taking history courses; I hope Ben and I can be like them when we're that age!

Unfortunately, Peter did not finish the race, as he wasn't feeling well, and then started to cramp badly. He had to make the tough choice to pull off the course, or he knew he would end up in the medical tent. Peter is such a strong athlete, and I commend him for this decision, a lot of people would not have put their health first like he did.

Post marathon, once showers and massages were had, we all headed over to Cambridge near Harvard for a great meal at Grafton Street Pub and Grill. This place was delicious! I had HUGE scallops with butternut squash puree mixed with apples and bacon vinaigrette. So delicious that I gobbled them up before I took a picture.

For dessert, I also had their Gluten Free flowerless chocolate cake, yum! It was so warm and delicious. The hardest part of this gluten free diet for me is giving up a lot of sweets I love (it's also probably good for me too!) so this hit the spot.

I also had my first Gluten Free beer while in Boston, RedBridge, and it was so refreshing. I was a Miller Lite gal pre-celiac, so I don't expect much out of a beer, so maybe to beer snobs they'd hate it, but I loved just being able to have a cold one!

Boston was all in all a great time. Ben's dad kept calling it an "unlivable city" and I'd have to say that I agree. Although a great city, it's set up very goofy, and even with good public transit, it's not a city you can completely go carless in, like New York City. I surely can't wait to visit again though.

Oh, and if you're wondering why Boston is called "Beantown,", here's why.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Fashion!

Spring is pretty much here. The snow is nearly all melted in Minnesota, and that means people are anxious to get on their tank tops, shorts, skirts and flip flops, and I'm right on board!

Lately, I've found some CUTE good deals, that I had to share.

Just last week, I found this ruffle top from Ann Taylor Loft, and then upon a trip to Banana Republic where all sale items were 40% off, I found this vest to pair with it for $17.99 (the vest isn't featured on their website anymore, sorry!)

I put low lights for the first time in my hair recently, so weird to see it this dark!

I also recently found this Tunic at New York and Company. I don't normally shop at this store, but I love their basic body shaper tank tops, so when I went to pick up a white one, I spotted this and knew I had to have it (currently sold out on their website, so no link, but check back!)

I'm a huge fan of wearing capris like these ones from Macy's in the summer and spring, so I thought this Tunic would go perfect with them! Plus, I feel tunics are flattering to a middle heavier figure like mine.

I also picked up this simple, floral strapless dress from Target, that I think will pair great with a denim jacket, or my gray boyfriend blazer. It will be great for a little dressier outfit for running around on hot summer weekends! It comes in various designs, including a Navy Blue with White Polka Dots that's also really cute.

The biggest thing I've noticed about spring fashions, is that you shouldn't be paying full price for anything! Everyone wants your money because consumers are so frugal right now.

Ann Taylor Loft is always having sales, last week the whole store was 40% off when I went in. Personally, I think you're wasting your money if you ever buy anything full price at that store!

New York and Company has a ton of e-mail club coupons, so sign up for their e-mails! Banana Republic and Gap keep offering deals like 40% off clearance, as I mentioned above, or 40% off Wednesdays, where one regular priced item is 40% off on that particular day of the week.

This weekend Ben and I are going to Boston, and I'm hoping to find some fun finds there as well. Although, it's hard for me to justify buying clothes in other states when we're so lucky to not have tax on clothes in Minnesota--they're a necessity, hello!! ;)

What are your spring fashion finds? What can you not wait to wear come Summer?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Recipe Round Up!

Lately, I've discovered some great recipes, I had to share with you all. Some of them I made before the Celiac diagnosis, but most of them I can easily make gluten free, as I usually change some of them to be healthified anyway.

The first is from The Pioneer Woman, of course, her Sour Cream Noodle Bake. I substituted ground turkey for the beef, and used 1% Cottage cheese, and it tasted great! I also used Whole Wheat Egg Noodles. This was an easy dish, and I served when we had guests last week, and they loved it too. It also made for great leftovers.

The next is White Turkey Chili from A Fit and Spicy Life, yum! This recipe took a bit more time, and I ran out of white wine, so I tried to compensate with chicken stock, and that knocked out some the spiciness, but it was still delicious. Served with Cheddar Cheese and Sour Cream on top and it was a winner. This was also easily freezable for quick meals for months to come.

I also made these quick and easy, No Bake Almond Butter Bites from Oh She Glows, and loved them! I've heard that Rice Krispies are going to be going Gluten Free, so once they do, I'll be able to make this recipe again.

I'm so impressed by people who create their own recipes in the kitchen. I would be a disaster! Sure I can add a little spin to something simple, but much more of a recipe follower, than a recipe creator!

I hope you enjoy these recipes, feel free to comment and share your favorite new recipe finds!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Surprise Diagnosis: Celiac Disease

I don't know even where to begin with this post, the past week has been a whirlwind! In that time I was diagnosed with Celiac, had multiple tests, revamped my kitchen... and the list goes on!

To start at the beginning, over the last few months, I've put on some pounds. At first I thought they were Christmas pounds, from parties and being in Idaho enjoying food and drinks, but they weren't going away. No matter how many days I counted my calories, got in extra workouts, took the stairs at work, ate extra vegetables, the scale was not going in my favor. The weirdest thing was, all the weight was in my belly, and I usually gain weight in my face first. My clothes were not fitting well, and I felt like my mid-section was a bloated whale belly.

It came to a head about a week and a half ago when I hopped on the scale that Friday morning to see how my week's worth of strict eating and working out had payed off, to see I'd gained three pounds. WHAT?!? In total I had gained 12- 15 pounds since our wedding last June, depending on the day. This was NOT normal.

So, called my doctor, she wasn't in, and made an appointment with another doctor. I thought maybe my thyroid was acting up, because my mom and brother both suffer from Thyroid disease, but after googling "unexplained weight gain" I found some resources saying Celiac Disease, the allergy to Gluten and Wheat, could be the cause.

Luckily, I have a great resource in this area, my friend Amy who's daughter, brother and father have Celiac and she runs the blog the Savvy Celiac. When I told her my symptoms and asked her if she thought I should be tested, she told me that for sure I should be.

The doctor I saw (not my normal one) was hesitant to test me, saying that most people who have Celiac, lose weight not gain (a total myth I've learned), but I insisted that he test me, if only for piece of mind. I've learned from past experiences I have to be my own advocate in the doctor's office, and I don't pay my insurance premiums to not get what I want. After all, I may be the patient, but that also makes me the customer.

That following Tuesday I received the call, saying I had tested, "very positive" for Celiac. That a normal test was under 20, and my test read at 132. WOW! I was so glad I stood my ground and got this test, it was a simple blood test too.

Since this call, it's been a whirlwind, for both Ben, and I. I've met with a Gastroenterologist, had more blood tests, an upper endoscopy that involved a biopsy of my small intestine, and been to Whole Foods more times that ever before in a matter of a week.

I'm finding so many helpful resources, and often feel overwhelmed. I cried over my last gluten filled meal, a Punch Pizza last week, thinking of the lovely foods I would miss, and the life change ahead, but honestly, if cutting out Gluten and Wheat makes me feel better, that's all that matters.

The doctor told me over the next few months my energy will improve, my weight should go down as my body is able to absorb more nutrients, and I should just all around feel better. Yes to that!

I won't go on to explain the specifics of Celiac, but here is a link if you want to learn more. Don't be afraid to throw this blood test into the ones you already receive at your annual physical, it doesn't require much (maybe a few more drops of blood drawn) and could help improve your health immensely!

So, now a new journey begins for me. Full of rice flower, special menus, more fruits and veggies, and immersing myself into the Gluten Free Community. I promise this will not become a Celiac niche blog (we have Amy for that--she's got that down!) but still about healthiness and other random crap, although sometimes that will include Celiac. Thank you all in advance for your support!