Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gluten Free Holidays

I'm about to go Celiac on your ass. That's right, this is a gluten-free filled post, but with some things, you non-celiac, but gluten-friendly readers may enjoy.

The holidays can be a tough time to be celiac. What do I eat at these Holiday parties? Are naturally gluten-free choices like cheese and veggies safe, or have they been cross contaminated? Christmas cookies? Yup, the indulgence most people try to avoid, I HAVE to avoid, and sit and drool over them wondering if I could ever make a gluten free alternative to my mom's famous cut out cookies that would taste half as delicious as her's.

So, that's why I have a few great things for you celiacs and gluten-free lovers in my life these holidays.

Last night, I had a great gluten free meal at Wildfire Restaurant with my friend Kristin. I had eaten at their Minnesota location before I was gluten free, and it was delicious, but was anxious to try their gluten free menu.

Because of being in a nice suburb, and near the Vikings practice facility, the Minnesota location is a well known Cougar Den (if you don't know what that means, check it out on Urban Dictionary), their Virginia location had a different feel, with a vibrant bar area filled with people of all ages and several work holiday outings happening, making for a busy Tuesday night.

I had heard from my friend Amy that their gluten free menu was delicious and diverse, and she was not kidding. I had a side Caesar salad and a gluten free pizza with crumbled sausage and caramelized onions. Delicious. They have great gluten free practices, assured me of them, and I can't wait to go back. Plus, with it being a steak house, I know my husband will really enjoy this gluten free friendly restaurant because there's plenty of meat and potatoes for him! I meant to take a picture of my pizza before I ate the leftovers for lunch today, but it smelled so good, I gobbled it up before I remembered!

For gluten free at home eating, I found a great, easy, and wasn't even trying to be gluten free, recipe from Mellissa at Fit and Spicy Life I have to share with you all, her Bean and Feta Salad. It's easy, clean food, filling and delicious. I highly suggest you check out this recipe, and her blog for other great similar recipes. I made this in under ten minutes, and it made a huge portion!

Bean and Feta Salad for lunch!

Another easy to make gluten free recipe I've come to love with soups and salads is this gluten free cornbread. It is easy, delicious and no one can tell it's gluten free when I serve it to them!

Now, one of my favorite gluten free brands, Rudi's, is offering you a special gluten free Holiday gift pack you could win.

This "swag bag"includes: A Rudi's bag, a t-shirt (and I have this t-shirt, it's super comfortable, and great for lounging in), a coupon for Rudi's goods, Gluten Free Recipes, post it notes, a sandwich box, and a bread clip!

Awesome Swag Bag!

There are a few ways you can enter (and leave a separate comment for each entry)
  1. Leave a comment telling me what your favorite gluten free snack is
  2. Tweet the following and tell me that you did: "@AlexaTC is giving away @RudisGlutenFree #glutenfree Holiday swag bag, check it out!"
  3. Link this give away on your blog, and leave a comment with a link to it
  4. Leave a comment with a link to, or write out, a gluten free recipe

Rudi's is not paying me to endorse their brand, or do this giveaway, I am simply doing it because I love gluten free, great tasting, foods and want to share them.

The giveaway is open to enter until Friday, December 31, 2011 at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

The randomly chosen winner must contact me at: by 11:00 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, January 3, 2012, or a new winner will be drawn.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

For the love of my blender

Here I was rambling last week about the things I want for Christmas, and I forgot to mention the early Christmas gift I bought myself on Cyber Monday.

Yes!! THE Blender! It's magical really, it works so fast and well, and makes my cottage cheese pancakes even more delicious. I highly recommend this blender and am thankful Crate and Barrel had free shipping plus 15% off on Cyber Monday.

This past weekend, my bestest friend Ashley came to visit from Ann Arbor. I SO love when she and I visit each other. Our visits have definitly evolved from previous years. From wild nights of partying all night and shopping all day and spending all our money. To now, enjoying restaurants and movies while relaxing and shopping and only buying things we need--are we getting old or what?!

Cooper and Ashley spending quality time together

This weekend we did get some great Christmas shopping hitting up Leesburg Premium Outlets with my co-worker Christine as well. If you're in Northern Virginia, you MUST check these outlets out. They are the biggest ones I've ever been to, with a great selection, and although it's the height of the Holiday Season, they never felt packed.

We all made a great dent in our Christmas shopping, and I succeeded in buying nothing for myself. After I purchased the blender I decided I would not buy anything else for myself this month that wasn't a necessity. I really want to wait for Christmas for the fun surprises and try to save a little extra cash. It's December 13, and so far, so good!

This week, Ben and I need to finish up our Christmas shopping and get the items shipped out to our families in Idaho and Wisconsin. I'm dorky excited for our Friday night shopping date, eek!

I'm also going to try and dive into my friend Nina's French Macaroon Recipe, as I keep wanting to make them, but haven't yet, as much as I love to eat them. I absolutley cannot wait until I can sink my teeth into a French Macaroon from Cocoa and Fig when I am back in Minneapolis. If you live in the Twin Cities and haven't tried one of their macaroons, do it! Quick!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Wish List!

Not going to lie, this year my Christmas wish list could be considered pretty boring. We don't need much more "stuff," and there are there some things I need, but don't want to spend money on. Things like: socks for work, Smart Wool Socks (if you don't know what these are, you MUST check them out here), a cold weather running headband and new Tupperware. I always ask for gift cards for places like Starbucks, Target or Whole Foods to help shave off other monthly expenses as well.

As far as things I've found I'd like just because, there are a few, of course. =)

The Help on Blu-Ray. Great book, great movie, love it!

West Elm Square Lacquer Tray to add some Pizazz to our Coffee Table

A Pair of TOMS Shoes. They're cute, comfortable, and a good cause, as they donate a pair of shoes for everyone bought. There are so many different colors and patterns for them too!
Photo Source

This striped, reversible with thumb holes, running shirt from Lululemon. They have it in a ton of other cute colors in store too, besides this one. I love their stuff, I don't care how overpriced it is. It feels great to work out in, and looks good too. It's hard to justify buying it for myself though.

Tiered Shirt from Ann Taylor Loft. The Tiers hide my worst areas, and I love that. Plus, their stuff always fits me well, and runs big, so it makes me feel skinnier, who doesn't love that?!
Photo Source

What is on your Christmas list this year?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December is here

December has arrived, and the Christmas season is in full force.

This past month has been a blur with work, weekend road trips, thanksgiving, visitors, etc.

Ben and I went to Philadelphia to see my friend Megan run the Philly Marathon. She lives in North Dakota now, and we were Journalism School classmates at the University of Minnesota. She's constantly entertaining, as you can see by her "Gladiator" outfit for the race.

Megan did great, per usual. I mean, she was flexing her muscles at Mile 19, how could she not do well?!

Ben and I also enjoyed some touristy time in Philadelphia, taking a double decker bus tour and Ben eating THREE cheesesteaks in 36 hours.

We also saw our great friends Abby and Josh who Ben worked with in Minneapolis.

SO great to see them! They showed us a good time with great eats and drinks.

We enjoyed our first Thanksgiving in DC, and I wish I would have taken a more pictures of the AWESOME food! Our hosts Kristin and Suni made sure nearly everything was gluten free, including stuffing, so great! The turkey there was out of this world, as was the cranberry sauce. We also got to spend some quality time with Ben's sister, brother-in-law and adorable niece, and had a great weekend relaxing.

Suni, very proud of his turkey--and he should be, it was delicious!

On Thanksgiving Day, Lynne and I hit up our Turkey Trot 5K as well, and had a great time catching up while running. The best part of the race? It was cheap, a nice route, had a nice cotton long sleeve shirt I'll actually wear again, and there were coupons for free coffee and donuts at Dunkin after the race (Ben and I hit that up for sure!)

This weekend, will be spent Christmas shopping, hitting up a few new restaurants and finally seeing The Muppets Movie!