WIAW: The Best {Gluten Free} Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you ever eaten a mouthful of peppercorns?  They’re those tiny black bombshells that most people grind up to make fresh pepper…  Except me.  Today I took it to a whole new level of crazy and ate what was probably close to 1/8 cup {which sounds even more badass than 2 tablespoons} because I hate letting food go to waste.  Especially meatballs.

When I flipped the plastic cover off and started twisting to grind the kernels, the whole top popped off!  Peppercorns spewed EVERYWHERE – into my bowl, onto the counter, bouncing across the hardwood floors.  It was a spicy mess.  Just when I thought that Charlie would eat anything off of the floor, I was wrong.  He wanted nothing to do with the menacing kernels.

This week my momma and I are having quality mother-daughter time while Ryan is traveling.  Sleeping in my Lily Pulitzer inspired room, having someone to watch The Bachelorette Season Finale with, eating dinner outside on the deck, and being introduced to THE BEST gluten free chocolate chip cookies…  The #estrogenparty has been fabulous!

Thanks Jenn for hosting another tasty link-up!

Breakfast yesterday was a bowl of apple pie oatmeal with a side of newspaper, specifically the style section.  Sudoku puzzles make me feel like a wizard, crossword puzzles make me feel dumb.

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apple cinnamon oats + plain Greek yogurt + diced apple + drizzle of maple syrup

I had a tutoring session at 9:30AM so on my way over to the kiddo’s house I stopped by Starbucks for some “teacher fuel” <– that’s what my students from last year called it.

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a banana & a decaf Coffee Light Frappuccino

Between tutoring and a lunch date with my momma, I swung by the gym and did in 45 minutes of cardio.  I don’t remember the elliptical being that hard…?  The backs of my legs are feeling it today.

Lunch was a treat.  My momma and I have been going to the same hole-in-the-wall sushi joint since I was in high school and neither of our orders have changed.  Miso soup, ginger salad, and the #3 lunch special {California Roll, no roe + Cucumber Roll} for me, miso soup and shrimp tempura for her.

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exchanged the California Roll above because it had mayo {blah} for one with real crab

We had no afternoon plans and since it was a nippy 68*F we decided against the pool.  If you’re familiar with the DMV {DC, Maryland, VA} area, you’ve probably heard that the new Silver Line on the Metro started running this past weekend.  There are a total of five new stops and a few of them are right near my momma’s house so we decided to take a test ride and go on an adventure.

After spending 10 minutes figuring out how to get a parking ticket to dispense and another 10 minutes getting my momma a Metro card, Dumb & Dumber finally made it onto the train.  It was hilarious, we couldn’t stop laughing at ourselves and neither could the Metro employees!

We took the Silver Line to the Eastern Market and sampled our way through the outdoor stands before perusing the shops inside.  It was my first time visiting during the week {my momma’s first time ever}, but I was surprised by how few vendors there were compared to the weekend.

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While walking I munched on an apple and some peanut butter sandwich crackers.  We eventually wandered into a baby store, passed by the Capitol Building, and then walked over to Union Station to catch the Metro home.

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Beef burritos were what we planned to make for dinner, but after our big adventure we both agreed to save the cooking for tonight.  I ended up making an orzo dish and served it with a small salad, cheesy tortillas, and a helping of organic ketchup because I currently can’t get enough of the stuff.  It was very random, but satisfying.

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orzo + artichokes + peas + Trader Joe’s frozen turkey meatballs + spices

And since I have to end every day on a sweet note, dessert was eaten while watching Extreme Weight Loss.  OH.MY.GOSH.  A little secret…  Trader Joe’s makes THE BEST gluten free chocolate chip cookies.  Although I typically prefer my cookies to be full of gluten, dense, and chewy, these were delicious – buttery, crispy, very chocolatey, and no icky gluten free flour aftertaste. My momma says that she’s been buying them from years…  I don’t know why she’s now just sharing them with me.

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cottage cheese + banana slices + THE BEST gluten free chocolate chip cookies

Question:  What’s your favorite gluten free cookie?  Homemade or store-bought?

Question:  Extreme Weight Loss or The Biggest Loser – which do you prefer?  I think that I like Extreme Weight Loss better?!  I know that’s a bold statement considering I’ve only watched it once, but I like how the trainers focus on one person and his/her goals, not a group of people.  Also, the weight loss doesn’t seem as dramatic and the contestants seem to be provided with more knowledge than on TBL.

— Allison

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WIAW: Spinach Stuffed Shells

This morning didn’t go as planned.  Nothing bad happened, but nothing went how I envisioned in my head last night.  I planned to wake up, eat breakfast, write this post, go to BodyPump, stop by the grocery store, and indulge in leftovers from last night.

But instead…  I woke up, ate breakfast, made breakfast for Ryan, and then took a “nap.”  Are they called naps in the morning?  Or should I just say that I went back to sleep?  Oh well, I’m pregnant – that’s my excuse.  When in doubt, blame it on the baby because she’ll never know.  I’m kidding.

After filling up my gas tank {getting stranded on the side of the road is a real fear!}, I managed to go to the gym for 50 minutes of cardio and enjoyed a large plate of  spinach stuffed shells when I got home.  I suppose the day hasn’t been a complete wash, although I have no idea what I’m going to do after I publish this post.  Maybe I’ll see Melissa McCarthy’s new movie, Tammy.

While on summer break, I’ve been trying to make an effort to make/create new recipes.  Some days my stomach has been wonky and all I’ve wanted to eat is carbs  and drink ginger ale #pregnancyproblems, but yesterday’s eats didn’t disappoint.

Thanks Jenn for hosting another tasty link-up!

breakfast

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coffee, {farm fresh} peaches, & chocolate chip oatmeal pancakes topped with plain Greek yogurt + peanut butter + grape jelly

morning snack

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bite-sized {farm fresh} plums & an English muffin with horseradish hummus

lunch

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{farm fresh} corn, orange slices, a wafflewich with eggs + lettuce + ketchup + Parmesan yogurt spread, & pretzels

afternoon snack

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orange slices & rice cakes with {scraps from the bottom of the jar} peanut butter + grape jelly

dinner

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a simple green salad & Skinnytaste’s Spinach Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce

*I subbed dried basil for fresh, added a shot of Tabasco, & omitted the ground turkey because we didn’t have any*

dessert

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Cheerios + vanilla yogurt + dark chocolate chips + banana slices + whipped cream

Question:  Do you like stuffed shells?  I’m either experiencing an intense pregnancy craving or this is my new favorite recipe!  I typically don’t care for leftovers, but I ate them for lunch today and probably will have them again tonight for dinner.

Question:  What myths have you’ve heard about how to lose cellulite?  Dr. Oz just came on and that’s today’s topic.  By the way, his props are always so cool.  Mad “props” to whoever creates them ;)

— Allison

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Pick-Your-Own Produce at Hollin Farms

First, a couple of random tidbits from yesterday…

- I didn’t recognize Lady Gaga on Ellen {it was a rerun from 2013, I think?}.  She looked beautiful in a pink dress with her hair down, although her shoes were over the top.  Two things I learned: (1) her costumes are her way of coping and (2) she still hasn’t bought a house…  Because that would make her feel like a grown-up and she’s not ready to be a grown-up yet.

YES.  Exactly.  That’s how I feel too, Lady.  Except I’m having a baby in 4 months…

ellen

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- I love companies with great customer service.  Sunday night we ordered pizzas from Dominos and I was bummed that they messed up my order.  I ordered a veggie pizzas and requested the addition of bell peppers and jalapenos, but they must have read it as ONLY bell peppers and jalapenos because that’s all that was on it.  Imagine: dough, pizza sauce, a few bell pepper strips, and boat-loads of jalapenos.  After a quick tweet to the company, someone responded and the store owner called yesterday to apologize and graciously offered to make it up to me.  Thank you!

- Going to the movies by myself is one of my favorite ways to spend some “me time.”  Not only are movies cheaper in the morning/middle of the day, but the theaters are nearly empty so it’s like you’re at a private screening.  Yesterday afternoon I saw Begin Again with Keira Knightley and Adam Levine.  I wasn’t expecting much going into it, but it was surprisingly good.

~~~~~

On Saturday afternoon, Ryan and I drove west to a little town called Delaplane to a pick-your-own produce farm called Hollin Farms.  For the past two years, we’ve enjoyed picking apples in the fall so we thought we’d try picking some other produce.

Why You Should Pick-Your-Own Produce

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From the Hollin Farms website:

Hollin Farms is a four-generation family farm next to Sky Meadows State Park in Fauquier County, Northern Virginia, about 45 minutes from the Washington, DC Beltway.  We specialize in grass-fed natural Angus beef, hay for horses, and a variety of pick-your-own fruits and vegetables throughout the seasons.  Hollin Farms was started by the late Robert C. Davenport in the early 1950s.  The farm is named after Hollin Hills, an award-winning community of modern houses that he developed in Fairfax County in the 1950s and 60s.

When we arrived at the farm we were greeted by a few employees wearing bright yellow aprons and wide brimmed hats.  They informed us of what fruits and veggies were ripe for picking, pointed out where the different crops were located, and then let us free to roam the fields on our own.

We spent about an hour exploring and gathering – Japanese plums, sweet corn, peaches, cucumbers {only saw tiny ones}, peppers {couldn’t find any}, berries {weren’t ripe}, tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, and green beans.

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For just $20 we got all of the produce above {plus an ice cream for the road}.  All of the cherry tomatoes and plums {SO juicy!} have been eaten, half of the corn is gone, and the peaches are just beginning to ripen.

If you’re interested in finding a pick-your-own farm near you, this website is awesome –> PickYourOwn.org.  It provides a list of pick-your-own farms in the US, Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and more.

Question:  Have a delicious recipe for pie?  Leave a link!  We’re hoping to go back to the farm at least once this summer and I’d love to bake a fresh fruit pie – not much beats a slice of pie with vanilla ice cream on a hot summer night!

Question:  Do you ever go to movies by yourself?

— Allison

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