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.

IMG_9517

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.

IMG_9557

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.

IMG_9560

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.

IMG_9565

IMG_9571

IMG_9569

IMG_9566

IMG_9573

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.

IMG_9577

IMG_9578

IMG_9584

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.

IMG_9591

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.

IMG_9593

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

Signature

MIMM: 18 Hours in Richmond

Happy Monday, y’all!  Can you believe that Friday is already August 1st?!  School didn’t end until the last week of June and between tutoring a few times each week, spending time with family/friends, hosting a Gender Reveal Party, going on our babymoon Caribbean cruise, traveling for weddings and work, starting to pack for our move, and preparing for a baby…  The month of July has flown by.  This weekend was no exception.

Thanks Katie for hosting another marvelous link-up!

Saturday morning Ryan and I drove down to Richmond for a family friend’s wedding.  Unfortunately, we spent 3+ hours in traffic {beach traffic, most likely} so we entertained ourselves by making up silly songs and playing “I Spy.”  Ryan has a knack for creating silly songs – give him a topic and he’ll make a verse.  The next Weird Al?

IMG_9420

We did make a couple of stops along the way to use the bathroom {pregnancy problems} and buy drinks/snacks, despite having a cooler full of lunch/snack foods…  I can’t go anywhere over a two hours without snacks because when hunger strikes, it strikes hard.  Once we finally got to Richmond around 1:30PM we made a pit stop to see the new Redskins training facility.  It’s rumored to have cost a whopping $10 million dollars.

IMG_9424

IMG_9430

IMG_9432

IMG_9433

IMG_9438

IMG_9441

IMG_9446

Practice starts daily at 8:35AM and as we learned, typically lasts until 11:30ish.  We couldn’t stay for the 4:10PM walk-through because we needed to get ready for the wedding, so we didn’t see the guys in action, but the facility and field were nice looking.  On our way to the hotel, we stopped by my old house where I lived in from birth until I was about 5-years-old.

IMG_9449

Isn’t the key lime front door lovely?

After we primped and prepped, my momma, Ryan, and I drove over to the church.  I wish I could have taken a picture inside the church because the architecture and organ were breathtaking, but the wedding party politely asked for no pictures.  Not to mention, the bride looked stunning.  The last time we saw her she was dressed in her vestments {clothing worn by people who conduct worship services} at our wedding!

IMG_9454

IMG_9458

IMG_9461

St. James Church

picture via St. James’s Episcopal Church website

The reception was held at The Country Club of Virginia, which again, was beautiful!  No dinner was served, but there were plenty of delicious passed hors d’oeuvres and stations.  The shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, fresh pastas, and beef tenderloin were our favorites.  Towards the end of the evening, the couple cut the cake and served it with the an impressive coffee and tea station – chocolate shavings, real whipped cream, multiple milks/sugars – I felt like I was at a high tea party!

IMG_9473

IMG_9475

IMG_9485

IMG_9484

IMG_9490

After a late night of celebrating, waking up at 7AM was tough.  Ryan had a flight to catch so we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to get home in case we got stuck in traffic {again}.  Thankfully, it took us only half of the time to get home as it did to get down to Richmond so we took Charlie for a walk, ate lunch, and relaxed before getting back into the car to go to the airport.

Even though I see him daily and we haven’t been in a long-distance relationship since I was in college, saying “See ya later!” to my husband is still hard.  I know that I’ll see him again soon and traveling is required for work {gotta make ze monies}, but I’m not sure that it’ll ever get easier – especially after we add a baby into the mix.  While driving home it felt like I had a pair of socks stuck in my throat and the radio magically played all of the sad songs…  Isn’t it ironic?

The rest of the afternoon was spent running errands, going to the gym, and cuddling with Charlie.  PSA to all women: don’t watch the movie Jersey Girl while pregnant.  The first 10 minutes got me all emotional.

IMG_9529

he’s the best cuddler

Question:  Do you prefer hors d’oeuvres {no dinner served}, a buffet, or a plated dinner at weddings?  This was my first experience where dinner wasn’t served, but I didn’t leave hungry.  It was nice having the opportunity to taste a little bit of everything, choose how much I wanted, and munch throughout the evening.  Buffets are nice because like hors d’oeuvres, they give guests the opportunity to taste a little bit of everything and take however much they want, but they also can be frustrating if the food runs out by the time your table is called to eat or if you have to wait in a long line.  Plated dinners typically are more formal and guests don’t have to wait in a line, but sometimes dinner comes out cold or what sounds good when you RSVP months ago may not look good when it’s actually in front of you.  Obviously, each option has its pros and cons!

Question:  What’s your favorite road trip snack?

— Allison

Signature

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

Source

- 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

IMG_9150

IMG_9151

IMG_9152

IMG_9160

IMG_9161

IMG_9163

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.

IMG_9165

IMG_9166

IMG_9167

IMG_9170

IMG_9175

IMG_9171

IMG_9176

IMG_9178

IMG_9173

IMG_9187

IMG_9188

IMG_9210

IMG_9214

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

Signature