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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Thinking Out Loud: Momma’s Birthday

First and foremost, I need to say happy birthday to the most important woman in my life…  Happy Birthday, Momma!  I love you so much!

DSC00448 on the Cape for my cousin’s wedding, summer 2013

Per tradition, the birthday boy/girl gets to choose where we dine on his/her birthday and this year my momma picked J. Gilbert’s.  We all love it – the seafood is my favorite, Ryan and Danny love their steaks, and my momma loves their bar (they make a mean cosmopolitan).

I’ve enjoyed Amanda‘s Thinking Out Loud link-up the past two weeks (read: week 1, week 2) so I’m letting my random thoughts flow again this week.  Sticking with the birthday theme…

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Thought #1:  Chocolate or vanilla cake?  Chocolate or vanilla frosting?  Vanilla cake with vanilla icing. Unless it’s chocolate lava cake…

Thought #2:  What do you call it – frosting or icing?  I use the terms interchangeably (see above), but through a little investigation, I learned (via this post) that there are some who believe that there is a difference.  They say that frosting is thicker (butter/cream base), icing is thinner (simple sugar base), and even add a third into the mix, a glaze.

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Thought #3:  If you could go back in time to any age, what would it be?  I’m actually very happy with my current age so I’ll stay at 24-years-old.  If I had to choose a different age, I’d prefer to fast forward than rewind.

Thought #4:  What’s your most memorable birthday party?  My momma spoiled my brother and me when we were kids.  Pinatas were essential, lots of food and cake was consumed, and oftentimes there was some sort of talent.  One year I had a puppet show which was pretty cool, but my absolute favorite party was my Power Ranger themed birthday.  I was super psyched to have the pink and green Power Rangers make an appearance!  We were instant best friends (ironic that pink and green are still my favorite colors?).

Thought #5:  Would you rather be surprised or in-the-know on your birthday?  I love surprises, but I’m nosy and as soon as I start to suspect anything, I start digging and looking.  Not to mention, when I’m on the flip-side (planning the party), I have a hard time keeping the surprise a secret…  I’ve been known to spill the beans.

Surprise Birthday

Thought #6:  Ice cream cake – yay or nay?  Yay!  The chocolate crunchies between layers are my favorite – I wish I could eat them straight from a bowl with a large spoon.

Thought #7:  How do you feel when you unwrap gifts in front of a crowd?  Awkward.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly grateful and thankful to receive the gifts, but unwrapping them in front of a crowd can be overwhelming.  Like that time my momma gave me lingerie at my bridal shower where both my friends and her friends were in attendance…  I turned 50 shades of red.

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Thought #8:  What’s your favorite birthday tradition?  Birthday dinner.

Thought #9:  Do any celebrities share the same birthday?  There are a handful of hunky men who share my momma’s birthday but more women share my birthday.  Check your birthday here.

Thought #10:  Do you sing “Happy Birthday”?  Even if you’re out in public?  Yes!  We’ll be singing tonight ;)

Question:  Answer one or more of the thoughts above!

— Allison

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Wonderful 48 Hours of Christmas

I hope that y’all had a marvelously Merry Christmas!

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year!  Beginning with Thanksgiving and lasting through Christmas…  People are full of cheer, clothing is festive and gaudy, the eats are primarily sweet, the weeks are packed with holiday gatherings, and family and friends are eager to reunite.

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Ryan, Charlie, and I have a tradition of opening our gifts on Christmas Eve because we spend Christmas day with our families.  This year we (rather, I) couldn’t wait until we got home from dinner so we exchanged gifts mid-afternoon.  We all were extremely happy with what we received, especially Charlie who immediately dug into a new bag of bacon bones.

Later in the afternoon we freshened up and went over to my momma’s house for a traditional ham dinner.  While dinner was being prepared, we sipped wine and snacked on shrimp cocktail and veggies – Ryan and I could easily eat a whole tray of shrimp cocktail by ourselves.  Dinner featured a HoneyBaked ham (always a delicious treat!), parmesan green beans, and red potatoes.  For dessert we had pumpkin pie and homemade icebox cake.

Have y’all ever had icebox cake?  My momma has made it for as long as I can remember, but it was Ryan’s first experience!  An icebox cake is chocolate wafers slathered with fresh, thick whipped cream and formed into a log that is laid on its side.  When you cut it on an angle it looks like chocolate ripples are flowing throughout.  It’s truly sinful!  You can also find the recipe on the back of Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers.

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It took us a little longer than planned to get moving on Christmas morning – coffee was flowing, eggnog french toast was cooking, and we got too cozy on the couch watching A Christmas Story.  We finally made our way over to my momma’s house where we opened our stockings and exchanged presents by the fire.  Ryan also helped install her new Blu-ray player and printer which she was super thankful for because when it comes to electronics my momma is not so up-to-date.  After lunch Ryan and I went to his grandparent’s house where we met his family for our second round of gift giving.

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For dinner I tried a new recipe and it turned out to be a tasty success!  It was super simple and I’ll definitely make it again when I’m crunched for time since it took about 15 minutes from start to finish, hence why I’m calling it Deliciously Simple Chicken Parm.  We ate dinner on the couch while watching The Switch – a cute and funny chick-flick with Jennifer Aniston.

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It was truly a wonderful 48 hours of Christmas!

Question:  What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

Question:  Do you shop the post-holiday sales?

— Allison

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