Has it really been a month?

It has…it really has.

July flew by! This means it’s time for the Foodie Pen Pal reveal!

The Lean Green Bean
If you click that button it will give you more information on how you can participate!
This package was sent by the lovely Melaina from It Really Works!
I actually squealed when I opened the box.
She sent:
~a few cups of these delicious, highly addicting banana chips from her local health food store. My husband and I ate those far too quickly. I went to the store and bought some more that weren’t nearly as good. (I still ate them ALL because even if they weren’t as good, they were still addicting.)
~a pack of Dark Chocolate Sun Cups. I was skeptical since I LOVE peanut butter cups. However, the Sun Butter was surprisingly yummy.
~a box of her favorite gluten free pasta made from a quinoa and corn blend. I typically use corn based pasta because it holds up and has a similar consistency to regular pasta.
~a jar of heirloom tomatoes with basil from MMLocal. I’m thinking this is what made me squeal. I love all things tomato and I tend to forget how much better they are in season.
The night this package arrived, I made dinner for Cary and I using the pasta and tomatoes. Melaina suggested I just toss those tomatoes with the pasta, which is a perfectly good suggestion. My husband, however, is an unapologetic carnivore. If there’s no meat, he won’t eat. (He’ll eat, but he’ll whine a lot and then find whatever meat he can in the fridge.)
So I threw the tomatoes in with some spicy chicken sausage and some mushrooms so that all the flavors got along.
Then I tossed it with some pasta and topped with some shaved Parmesan.
And then, because I LOVE cheese, I topped it with some shredded cheese of some kind. I can’t remember, but it was stinky and wonderful!
Thanks Melaina for an awesome dinner and a fantastic box of goodies!
Tomorrow I’ll be blogging about  my August challenge. I have two friends (Ben and Ryan)starting different projects and they have inspired me to do the same. I’ll explain more about that tomorrow, because right now I can’t stop drooling over that pasta…
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Sort of a repeat on marriage.

Saturday our friends Jonny and Kristin will begin their life as husband and wife with a beautiful out door ceremony and reception. Cary and I will be running a 5k in Indy that morning. Not just any 5k, The Color Run. We’re hoping all of the color will come out in the shower but we have to drive back up from Indy to make it to their wedding and we’d rather be there on time than look pretty. So please pardon the rainbow of colors that might be in my hair.

We’ve had many talks with them about marriage, but I wanted to honor them on my blog. So, I’m reposting the blog I wrote for my friend Julia when she got married. It’s applicable, you can change your names for it to fit you. It might seem like I’m being lazy, but really, THIS is marriage!

Jules,

Due to the fact that you’re an amazing writer and have been so poignant in your advice to me in the past I wanted to give you a gift in kind and explain the beauty of marriage.  To give you a hint into what you will soon embark upon.

So I stared blankly at my screen for about an hour and a half. I thought, “I should tell her how dependence upon each other is so important even when you don’t want to do it, you should.”

This brought to mind a story that happened before I found out about my gluten intolerance.  I passed out in the bathroom.  Cary heard me hit the tub and came running to my aid like a knight in shining armor.  When I awoke I had no strength to move but knew that if I didn’t get on a toilet soon, we’d both be in trouble.

So he picked me up and held me on the toilet while I evacuated my bowels until they were purged (which is the nice way of saying “I crapped like a MOTHA!”).  In the middle of the “evacuation” I reached back and flushed the toilet as a courtesy.  Cary said “THANK YOU” and in that moment I realized you have to depend on each other! I depended on him to keep me on the toilet and he depended on me to courteously flush so he wouldn’t in turn, pass out.  You see? It’s reciprocal!

So at this point I realized I’m not a writer and I will never be able to be as eloquent and well…not gross…as you are.  I’m more of a TMI tell it like it is kind of girl.  So here it is:

If he’s not your best friend now, he will be soon.

You’ll learn to laugh at things you never thought you could. You’ll argue about things you never thought you would.  Then hopefully you’ll laugh about that too.

Enjoying each other comes naturally in the beginning but it may be harder later on.  Work at it because it’s worth it.  It might be more difficult but it’s WORTH IT!

Get a king sized bed!  Don’t listen to people who say “You’ll get used to a queen”.  Those people have never slept in a king!  You’ll sleep better, and on Sunday mornings Bella (and your future children) can run in and snuggle and you can all read the paper together.  Also sick kids fit better in a king size bed when they don’t want to sleep in theirs!  Can you tell we LOVE our king size bed??

Do “IT” even when you don’t want to or think you’re too tired.  Once it’s over, you’ll be glad you did.

Marriage is AWESOME!  Those who say it isn’t just weren’t good at it and had no desire to try and BECOME good at it.

I love you Jules!  I’m ecstatic for you to finally start this part of your life with the man of your dreams.  Life is beautiful and now you have someone beautiful to enjoy it with!

Sorry about the poop story!

Love,

Erin

Jonny and Kristin, enjoy your wedding because it’s over in an eye-blink. But that’s OK because as much as it feels like the happiest day of your life, it’s only the beginning of MANY happy days.

The Mayo Rant and a Recipe…sort of

After posting a this pic on Facebook yesterday, it brought up an interesting discussion so I figured I would jump on my Mayonnaise soap box.

As a child I couldn’t stand mayo. It just seemed really gross to me. Of course I was always picky and only ate mac and cheese or hot dogs for the first several years of my life. Because of this, I never ate potato salad, or macaroni salad, two things I absolutely LOVE now. I honestly can’t remember at what point I started enjoying a bit of mayo here and there, but it was sometime in high school I’m sure. My mom made THE BEST potato salad and macaroni salad.

I have a book of recipes handed down by my mom and our family.

Neither of these recipes are in the book. They are “throw together” recipes, which I’m pretty sure, is why they’re so good! Both include mayo and my mom was very specific about using Hellmann’s only. The thing I love about them is they make it with like 4 ingredients and it’s fluffy and delicious. The thing I don’t like about it is that it’s made with soybean oil.

I try to avoid soy as much as possible. It increases estrogen production, which is no good for women of child bearing age and under. Not to mention, it’s next to impossible to find non-genetically modified soy beans. I’m sure Hellmann’s isn’t using non-GMO soy.  Although they do use Cage-free eggs so hooray for them!

That being said, I’m not going to stop eating mayo. I’m just not going to eat it every day. I’m not going to eat 7 servings of macaroni salad and 12 servings of potato salad in one day. You see, my mom made those two delights ONCE. A. YEAR. So my dad and I would GORGE ourselves on it. They both take a bit of time and they’re honestly better the next day.  It takes some planing.

So I’ve decided to make it about once a month. I can also feel less guilty because cooled potatoes have a lower glycemic index than hot potatoes. Hooray again!

There are so many of these “bad for you” foods that we don’t necessarily need to abstain from, completely. Sometimes when I’m eating something I love and am having a hard time stopping, I have to remind myself “This is not the last time you’re going to eat this. It’s OK, there will be more.” When something is delicious I often eat like I’m starving instead of savoring it like I should.

I would post the recipes, but the pictures won’t look good and as I said before it’s throw together and hard to describe without you being in my kitchen with me.  So here’s a throw together recipe you can easily recreate, and IT’S PIZZA!!

Pictures are limited.

Gluten-Free Grilled Pizza

Ingredients:

Udi’s Gluten Free Pizza Crust
Peeled Clove of Garlic
About 1/2cup of Tomato Sauce
Sprinkle of Parmesan
Handful of Marinated Artichokes chopped
Handful of Mushrooms (whatever you like, I like baby bellas)
Like 5 Sundried Tomatoes in Oil chopped
Some shredded mozzarella

Take the peeled clove of garlic and rub it all over the front and back of the pizza crust until the clove is almost completely gone. Spray both sides with olive oil. (DON’T USE PAM! Go get a Misto Olive Oil sprayer. It’s worth the $8 you’ll pay at TJ Max)
Now sprinkle garlic salt on both sides as well according to your taste.

OH CRUD!! Did you turn on the grill? You’ll want to turn it on to medium/low heat. The target temp is 350 degrees on a gas grill.

Saute the mushrooms in a hot skillet. You actually don’t need oil or anything. Just throw them in a hot skillet and toss them around every now and then until they release their juices. Then you’re done!

Spread your desired amount of tomato sauce on the crust., then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Top with mushrooms, artichokes and sundried tomatoes. It should look something like this:

Oh my goodness, it looks so good you would think I married a guy who worked at a pizza place for 7 years….oh wait…

Sprinkle that beautiful work of art with some more garlic salt. Not a TON, just a little to give it some more flavors. Then top with Mozzarella, as much as you’re comfortable with. I’m comfortable with quite a bit. So mine looks like this:

It’s actually not that much cheese. It’s what I like to call the “normal” amount of cheese. Or the “right” amount of cheese.

Put it on the grill, directly on the grates and close the lid. Set your timer for 10 minutes (assuming your grill is at a stable 350, if not, I’d check it in 5 minutes) When your timer goes off go check the underside of the crust to make sure it’s not getting burnt. If it’s getting dark, you’ll want to put a piece of foil on the grates and then transfer the pizza so it can continue to cook without burning further. Continue to cook the pizza until it has those lovely tan marks on the cheese. That means it’s done and REALLY yummy!

So yummy in fact, I didn’t take a picture of the final product. I let it rest about 5 minutes, cut that bad boy up and devoured half of it. I probably would have eaten the whole thing but Cary insisted on eating some. PFFT!

There’s a very small amount of protein on this pie, so you’ll need to eat it as a snack or an appetizer. It’s not a complete meal. It is however, life changing!

Note: Udi’s Pizza Crusts come in twos. You might as well just make 2 if there are more than 2 people eating. You’ll be sorry if you don’t.

 

Thankful Thursday

It’s been a difficult day. I decided that instead of freaking out and worrying, I would turn it around and look at the bright side.

So here we go:

I’m thankful for rain! We had an amazing storm last night and yes, it left several people without power. In fact Cary got goofy and made a meme about it.

I’m also thankful for the NIPSCO (our power company) workers who take time, overnight, away from their families, in the dark to get our power back on.  People don’t realize how hard NIPSCO works to make sure people have their power restored. I for one know how hard they work because I would sometimes go days without seeing my dad when he was on standby. It sucks for the families so have a little grace and be thankful that there are people willing to do that thankless job. (sorry that was a little gripey)
I’m thankful for friends with generators. I was on call last night and staying at my friends Mary and Mike’s house. I got to listen to that incredible storm and watch the lightening streak across the sky and not worry about whether I would be without power. This also motivates us to get one ASAP. (And by ASAP I mean after we: finish our kitchen, drywall, pain, and install the washer and drying in the bonus room, replace the carpet in all the bedrooms, redo our main bathroom…..aw crap Geoff is right, it’ll probably be 12 years before we actually get one)

I’m thankful for work cancellations, with or without pay. Today I had a cancellation where I don’t have to go to work, but I still get paid because the cancellation was last minute. I had a cancellation for tomorrow and Saturday where I won’t be paid because they gave adequate notice and that’s a HUGE chunk of change I’m losing. However, my house is a PIT! Because we’ve lost power two nights in a row it’s a mess. So tomorrow, I can clean it. Also, Saturday, I get to celebrate a friend’s pending nuptials with cowboy boots and line dancing. I used to think that was incredibly lame, but now, I’m actually excited! I think it will be a blast!

I’m thankful for the ability to make gluten free things delicious. I recently found a company that makes INCREDIBLE Gluten-free (and vegan) cupcakes. Now I want to start making cupcakes, with fillings, and not insanely sweet frosting. These cupcakes are really fantastic and I’ll write more about it when I can get good pics. Every time I bring one home from Chicago the frosting is flopped carelessly all over the container. Not very pretty, but delicious regardless!

I’m thankful for friends who start crazy 30 day challenges to improve themselves and better their health. Ben had a wild 30 day challenge in June over here. (For those of you unfamiliar with these highlighted underline things, if you click on it, it will take you to a different page, it’s called a link, this sounds really snooty, I’m sorry, I didn’t know how else to put it, that’s a lot of commas) Now my friend Ryan is doing a challenge that’s not quite as extensive, but it will be an uphill battle! You should go here and cheer him on!

Hey look at that! I feel better now!  I might even go do some dishes and cook dinner now! Or maybe I’ll watch last night’s big brother and eat a smushed up gluten free cupcake…..before dinner….because I’m an adult and can do that…..and for that I am also grateful!

Why I’m “girl dating”… kind of a funny title after my last blog

I recently finished a book entitled MWF seeking BFF. It was really a random selection. I went to see my favorite blogger The Bloggess at her book signing and Rachel happened to be on the same panel. She read a portion of her book and it sounded both interesting and funny!

I’m not a book reviewer, I would be terrible at that I think.
I will however tell you what I gleaned from reading it.

I’m lonely.

Well, maybe not lonely, but there’s a missing piece.

My husband and dogs do a fantastic job of keeping me busy. Most of my time is devoted to work due to our mountain of debt. I like to say that I’ll work like the devil now to get that paid down so I can spend time with our children when we have them. Unfortunately, true to the saying, all work and no play makes Rinnie a dull girl, a boring girl, a sad girl. I just didn’t realize it.

At least it’s not this bad!

Rachel made girl dating sound SO appealing that I started making a mental list of people I needed to contact to make plans. I have my trusty regular friends that I try to get together with once every few weeks (actually I pretty much have one person in my life like that right now and that’s Trista and she’s fabulous!) but there are people I have a pretty steady relationship with on Facebook that I haven’t seen in years and they live an hour (give or take) away.

We like to tell ourselves we’re too busy. Honestly, we’re just lazy (at least I am). Time goes by so quickly. Can you believe it’s the middle of July??

I’ve decided I’m done with letting time pass me by. There are people I love and care about that I’m ignoring and that just doesn’t sit right with me. If you really think about it for a moment, this might be true about your life as well.  This book made me realize I have SO MANY FRIENDS I just don’t make visiting them a priority.

My FAVORITE part about girl dating is getting to try new (to me) restaurants!

My friend Robin sent me a text a few weeks ago saying “We’re in Chicago, what’s the name of that burger place you went to?” I had just gone to Epic Burger the week before which was ok, but not entirely epic for me since I had to have the burger without a bun. I gave her the name and later found out she actually meant a place I went to back even before I started this blog. So at that point I decided that I really need to start a list of places Rinnie recommends for those of us who like gluten free food that doesn’t taste like cardboard.

However, I will not bash restaurants that I think did a lousy job of accommodating me or had lousy service. There was a time, that I would’ve loved to do that. I’m realizing more and more that my idea of a great restaurant is NOT the same as everyone else. So I’ll be recommending things I love but I won’t be saying a word about the places I don’t necessarily like.

Which is why I won’t mention where I went for my first girl date with the lovely Kristen of (pico de gallo fame). I will however say that if you have a friend in your life that you can text message and say “I’ve got a great idea for The Bloggess’ book signing!  We’ll wear cat headbands.” and her response is ” YES! I LOVE IT!” That’s someone you need to hold on to and make time for.

These kinds of friends are like GOLD!

Marrying him is the best thing I’ve ever done.

We have friends who are engaged and getting married in two weeks. We remember engagement. It was a fun 5 months!

Six years ago, I was smiling so hard my face hurt and I literally couldn’t stop smiling. I was actually trying to frown or relax my mouth and it wouldn’t work. People thought I was drunk and I hadn’t had a drop. I was just so damn happy!

Our first three years of marriage were tough. Not like regular married crap where you’re trying to figure out who this person is that has moved into your house and taken over your closet. No we had actual problems. Two parents battling cancer and then those same two parents dying from cancer.

We laughed through most of it. Because we had to and that’s what my mom taught us to do. Because Abe Lincoln said it best:

We also clung to each other as if our life depended on it, and maybe it did.

The rough part, I believe, was when it was over. All we knew was death and dying and then we had to figure out how to be “us” without that.  It took some time but I think we did a good job. My goodness we love each other!

I remember my dad telling me once “Your mother and I can be in a room full of friends and have a great time, with only each other.” I used to wonder if that were really possible, though watching them I could believe it was true. Dad wasn’t lying, Cary and I experience that on a regular basis. We just love to have fun!

So I’m sure people are sick of it.

I’m tremendously proud of the man I married. I dote on him publicly on a regular basis. I do this on purpose, it’s his love language. Doting. (Bet you didn’t know doting is a love language)

I can’t believe it’s been 6 years. In some ways it seems short, but mostly I just can’t remember what life was like without him. I think it’s possible that I don’t want to remember because marrying him was the best thing I ever did.

We don’t typically do anything spectacular for our anniversary. We feel that we celebrate each other on a pretty regular basis. Yesterday to celebrate, we went to Lake Michigan and had a paddle boarding adventure. It was such a wonderful time with dear friends, in fact it was spectacular. We didn’t get a whole lot of up close shots. This one however, pretty much says it all.

There’s no place I’d rather be. There’s no life I’d rather live.

Fireworks in the freezer

On Sunday I had the final weigh in for the Summer Slim Down challenge I was involved in. My partner Rachel and I WON losing 7.01% of our weight. We each won $108, but more importantly, we feel and look FABULOUS! Since losing 13 pounds some weird things have been happening.  The part most people find so astonishing is that I barely did any cardio during this competition. Instead I started Powerlifting. Three days a week I did squat, deadlift, over-head press, bench press and pull-ups.* I know there’s this belief that lifting heavy weight will make you bulky. That’s simply not true, but I won’t continue on a rant. Instead, randomness

Monday night I finished dinner and said to Cary “I want something but don’t know what it is.” He knew what I wanted and suggested our local ice cream shoppe Tasty Cream (or whatever derivative it is now, it’s been bought out a few times).

“OOOOH! A Banana Royal (Hot fudge Sunday with bananas) He starts heading that direction, but after thinking for a moment I told him that I didn’t want ice cream after all.  Instead I came home and ate some of the BIGGEST Ranier cherries I’ve ever had and they were GOOOOOOOOOOOOD! I love the fact that I made a “good” decision in regards to dessert and I was completely satisfied instead of eating those cherries thinking “This is NOT a Banana Royal!”

Giant cherries that don’t look as big in a picture

 

So there I am enjoying my cherries and FB when I hear what sounds like Fireworks in my freezer. I mean LITERAL fireworks in my freezer.  Immediately I knew what it was.

A few hours prior to this I was sitting in a waiting room, waiting for my client to arrive when I remembered I had left a diet Pepsi in the freezer. I have done this countless times almost always with disastrous results. I knew I wouldn’t be home for hours and that it had probably exploded already so I put the thought out of my mind so as not to dwell on it.

I was wrong.

It hadn’t exploded.

Yet.

It was in there approximately 8 hours before it finally popped.

Clean up was much easier than it has been in the past!

 

 

 

It’s hard to see but it’s the top right can full of frozen diet Pepsi. I know I’m not the only one who has done this. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why I never remember to set a timer!

Probably because God likes giving me reasons to laugh at myself. And for that, I am grateful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Currently I can squat 160, Deadlift 160, overhead press 60, bench 85 and do pull-ups with only 40lbs of assistance. This officially makes me a BALLER!

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