Monday, April 30, 2012

Wine & Wrestling: The New Peas & Carrots?

Man, the weekends have been going by so incredibly fast. Maybe it is because they are action packed? Or because it seems like I end up sick every. single. Sunday.

Saturday was great though. We went back to Glen Prairie for brunch, and I got some super-fabulous gluten-free French toast and sausage. I didn't even think to take a picture, but it looked like French toast. With strawberries and bananas. It was very yum.

I also got to host some of my favorite people for a wine and game night. There was certainly less emphasis on game. I put out some great Glutino GF crackers and cheese, and some of the delicious cookies I have been amassing, and we drank ... too many bottles of wine. Or maybe just enough. All I know is we ended up listening to *NSYNC and looking at pictures from high school.

Sunday was supposed to be the day of hopes, ambitions and housecleaning, but a certain Celiac spent most of the day with what felt like a Valyrian steel dagger in her abdomen, so she instead spent the day on the couch, moving only to make chicken soup or get more water. I'm glad I have a doc appointment in the next couple of weeks, because I am getting pretty sick of the stabbing pains. Before going GF I was sick a lot, and it has been much better, but now the pains are different:( And no, it wasn't a hangover. That would have been preferable.

I had to pull myself up by the bootstraps Sunday night though. You'll remember my Wrestlemania post from a few weeks ago. Or maybe not. But it happened. So being the overachiever that I am, I went one step further and actually attended a WWE event.

It was sort of awesome.

Granted, I spent a bulk of the evening wincing every time I had to stand up to let someone pass (and it was a lot of times. Blessing and curse of sitting on the aisle, I suppose, but aren't people supposed to be there for the event, not to parade nachos past me every thirty seconds?). But it was really cool to see the whole spectacle of the show. It seems so much grander on television, but the lighting rigs were huge, and there were lots of pyrotechnics, and since I am a six-year-old, it distracted me just long enough to forget about the alien spawn that was eating through my abdomen. Also? Looking at hot dudes is not awful. Just sayin'.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Since I have been playing single lady this week, my big adventures have mainly consisted of reading books and trying to trick my dog into eating her food (she is not interested in eating when she's sad. Wish I had that problem).

1. I. Hate. Dentists. Not like personally or anything (except for my previous dentist. He was a bit of a tool), but I hate the whole fingers in mouth and also drilling and pain and awfulness. But I had to get a cavity filled this morning, so I sucked it up and didn't cry or anything. I promptly rewarded myself with some homemade chocolate chip muffins ... that I couldn't eat. Didn't stop me from trying.

2. It's really hard not to watch shows on your DVR that you promised your husband you would wait for him to watch with you. Particularly when you are bored. And really into Game of Thrones.

3. I won one of the raffles that Red Apple Lipstick had at the GFAF expo a couple weeks ago, and since I have been wanting to do a post about the epic wonderfulness that is RAL, look for some extreme gushing to come this weekend. Maybe even in vlog form.

3.5. I know. Three Things Thursday. I get it. But I am using this half thing to shamelessly self-promote. If you are on Facebook, like the Breaking up with Captain Crunch page. I like connecting with you wacky people.

Home Alone (AHHHH!)

So Luke is being Mr. Business McBusinesspants and is traveling for work this week, leaving me and our dog flyin' solo (does it count as flying solo if you have a dog?).

I tried channeling my inner Macauly Culkin and setting traps for potential home invaders, but then I got bored and ate a bag of Jelly Bellies.

I also had to do some writing for a side project, which meant I spent a good chunk of time farking around on Facebook and playing Draw Something. I also ate P.F. Chang's for dinner. Twice. (To be fair? It was leftovers. But still. Dang you, Chang, and your delicious evilness).

And I got to spend several nights looking into the face of sadness that is a pining doggie.

 She would have taken this emo/hipster picture herself, but she doesn't have thumbs. One more thing to cry about.

But all is well, since the hubby is back now, saving both of us from perpetual boredom and the pile of laundry that was threatening to invade. Welcome home. Washing machine's over there.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

More Social Media

Hey kids, now you can follow everyone's favorite whimsically neurotic Celiac blogger on Facebook!

If I get enough "likes" for the page, who knows, maybe I'll have a giveaway...

And while we're talking shameless self promotion, you can follow me on Twitter, too. Just look for @divinemissliss. Your children will thank you.

Gluten-Free Gluttons: Glen Prairie

Guess who remembered to take pictures this time?

Luke and I were looking forward to dinner at Glen Prairie as soon as we sampled the duck tacos at Gluten-Free Expo last week.

We had reservations, and I'm glad we did, because the joint was jumping when we got there at 6:30. And I was starving. Like, ZOMG, FOOD NOW starving.

I was instantly impressed, not only because the place has a swanky-yet-cozy vibe, but also because the menu is incredibly gluten-free friendly. It's so gluten-free friendly that a good 80 percent of the items can be adapted to suit GF diners, and they are designated by a little GF next to the price on each item. It was really cool to see so many options, and as soon as we sat down, I told our server we'd be a GF table, and she immediately asked if it was the severe allergy. She assured me she'd take good care of me, and if I had any questions about prep or ingredients or anything, she'd be happy to help. Homegirl earned her tip right there.

While we pondered the menu and downed sipped some wine, we had some gluten-free rolls to nosh on. Could have been the wine, could have been the starving, but these things were fabulous. They came with an herb butter that was creamy and delightful, and we may or may not have had to have a second basket sent out. What? I'm not ashamed.

For an appetizer, we ordered the famous duck tacos. I've tried duck on numerous occasions before, and never really cared for it, but these bad boys may have converted me. The seasoning was perfect - savory and smoky and awesome, and the pineapple salsa was incredibly fresh. I loooooove cilantro, and it paired so perfectly with the sweetness of the fruit. Needless to say, the tacos lived up to my expectation. Luke was nice enough to let me eat the extra one. And by "nice enough," I mean he drew back his hands so he didn't end up with bloody stumps. If these would have been an entree, I would have ordered them, but just an app on the dinner menu. I think they are a meal option for lunch, though. Guess I will have to go back and double check.

It took me a really long time to figure out what I wanted for an entree, because everything on the menu sounded completely awesome. I finally landed on the espresso-rubbed pork loin with mashed sweet potatoes and roasted cauliflower. There was a spicy peach salsa as a sauce, and all the flavors melded really well together. I was sorely tempted to lick the plate clean, but seeing as we were in a nice place and I was wearing heels, I refrained. Luke got braised short ribs on cheesy polenta with roasted brussels sprouts (all super delish, but my pic didn't turn out. Wah waaaah).

To top it off? A spot of coffee, and my favorite thing in the world (hint: I have composed love ballads to it in the past).

The meal was fantastic, the service was dang near perfect and I was incredibly pleased. Luke and I agreed - not only was this the best meal we've had since I've gone gluten-free, it might be in the top 5 ever. Like, EVER. We'll be back to try their brunch menu (gluten-free French toast. Need I say more?)

Totally unrelated to our meal  - there was a lady with like six kids who came in and sat at the table next to us. Normally, I'm not crazy about children under the age of 8 in nice restaurants, so I immediately prepared to have our quiet, cozy meal interrupted. But then I heard the mom tell one of the little girls, "See honey, you can get a gluten-free grilled cheese!" and my heart absolutely melted. I really wanted to go give that kid a hug, but Luke doesn't let me approach small, strange children, so I let it go. And yes, those kids were amazingly well-behaved.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Today has NOT been a motivating day. But I haven't missed a Thursday yet. So let's do this.

1) I am seriously contemplating getting inked. I've wanted a butterfly tattoo for awhile, maybe now is the time?

2) If you don't already read The Bloggess, you probably should. Unless you hate humor. Or profanity. If you do already read her, you are probably aware of her new book. I pre-ordered mine ages ago, and it's here, and I know how I will be spending my weekend.

3) I'm trying my hand at pottery this weekend with the fabulous Kelly. I don't think we are going to have any weird Ghost moments, but she is pretty hot, so we'll see.

That's all I got, kids. I'm tapping out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fab Find: Enjoy Life Cookies

Get ready for an onslaught of product reviews, thanks to the wonderment that was the GFAF Expo this past weekend.

I've blogged about Enjoy Life before, but these cookies were new to me:

They come in several flavors - the chocolate (pictured above) and well as chocolate chip, sugar and vanilla honey. My favorite was the vanilla honey - it tastes kind of like the honey Teddy Grahams I loved as a kid (you know, and up until like three months ago). I wanted to snap a pic of that, but I ate it and threw away the wrapper without it ever dawning on me that I should do so. Huh. I need to get better about that.


The chocolate is really good, too, especially if you are having an "I-need-chocolate-NOW" moment, since it is double-dosed with it. The sugar and the chocolate chip are yummy, too. They all have this super-crisp crunch that is highly satisfying.

Well done, Enjoy Life. You are quickly becoming one of my favorite brands...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Not-So-Stir Fry

Lunch is hard. I am bad at meal planning, so having to figure out something that is portable, filling and tasty? Not easy for me. I always have the lofty goal of making enough dinner to last for lunch the next day, but it rarely happens. So come about 12:30 on any given day, I am usually pining for the Mickey D's days of yore. If only I had a personal chef to make all my meal accommodations for me. And if he looked like Hugh Jackman? Even better.

But alas, I am Hugh-less, and chef-less too, so I just have to bite the bullet and *gasp* prepare my own food.

Even before I went GF, I looooved these Minute Rice cups. Not only are they portable and fast to re-heat, but they taste pretty good, too. So I always have a ready stock of these on hand. But rice alone isn't really a meal, so I have been looking for ways to supplement it, without having to get up early enough to prepare a whole dinner in the morning.

Last night, I had a brainstorm. Not-So-Stir Fry.

So today, I took one of my handy packets of GF tamari sauce, a cup of rice and a container of veggies. I just steamed the veggies in the microwave, heated up the rice and added tamari to make this:

I know, throwing instant rice and broccoli together does not a culinary genius make, but I was pretty darn pleased with myself for whipping this up. And I wasn't hungry five minutes later, which happens with my usual lunch go-to of Gorilla Munch and almond milk.

Best Place in the World Possibly Ever

Continuing on with the weekend of win, Luke and I had tickets to the Gluten-Free Allergy-Free Expo on Saturday. It was like Christmas, but less wheaty.

We heard about it like a month ago, and bought tickets immediately, since I love expos. Mostly for the swag.

Seriously though? It was like Willy Wonka's factory, but for Celiacs. I was kind of shocked when we got there, about 20 minutes before they opened the doors, to find this:

Mob. Scene. I had no idea so many people in the Chi-Town area were living la vida GF, but it was kinda cool to see so many folks there to support the companies that make GF products.

Well, cool until people started pushing us out of the way to get to samples. Then I sorta wanted to start throwing 'bos.

I knew I was in for an awesome morning when the first table I saw was Red Apple Lipstick, which I have been lusting over for a few weeks, but couldn't work up the nerve to pony up the cash for shades I'd never tried. Needless to say I overloaded on lip products and a review will be forthcoming:)

I think there was something like 150 vendors there, all gluten free. Luke commented that it must have been Mecca for me, being in a place where I could go to any table and start noshing. I got to sample some great new things onsite (duck tacos that were to. die. for) as well as taking home one of these:

Filled with this:
I almost wanted to dive into the pile Scrooge McDuck style.

I also got to hob-knob with some vendors whose products I genuinely love, try many, many, MANY varieties of GF beer and cider, network the heck out of anyone who would take my card, and revel in the awesome that was being surrounded by people who are just. like. me.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Nerdfest 2012

In case it wasn't glaringly apparent, for the record? I am a bit of a nerd.

I know, I know. I seem so cool, what with my librarian-ing, and my Wrestlemania-watching. But underneath this Rico Suave exterior is a geeky 13-year-old just dying to get out.

And sometimes? I let her.

Like during C2E2, one of the many dorkapaloozas hosted by Chicago every year.

It's basically all manner of nerdiness, from comics to television to books, all housed in the world's largest convention center.

And I get to go for work (did I mention I love my job?).

They do a special teachers and librarians morning on the Friday the con opens, so several of my compatriots and I saddled up and headed into the city for as much nerd as we could handle.

Did I mention there were costumes?

Me rocking my Katniss garb with a co-librarian as Effie Trinket

Anyway, the day was full of celebs:

Hanging out with Dotcom from 30 Rock, probably as close to Tina Fey as I will legally get.

That blurry guy over my shoulder? Sean "Rudy" "Samwise Gamgee" Astin himself. Resisted urge to chant at him. Barely.

It was also full of, ahem, professional development and learning and swag. The one downside of the day? McCormick Place is sorta gluten-free unfriendly. I was able to sneak my lunch in, but had I not, I would have been starving, since none of the food places in the exhibit hall had anything I could eat. As is, I was pretty hungry by the end of the day (I couldn't fit much food in my Katnissy leather backpack. But it looked cool).

Now to gear up for the next con in August...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Even though I am feeling much better today, I'm still sort of in a sour mood. Guess it's the frustration bubbling up. Or the fact that I am still having alien-baby spasms in my stomach, either way.

But I will have to put my happy pants on, anyway, because there is too much fun stuff happening this weekend. So with that, I will put this week behind me and look forward to these three awesome things:

1. C2E2, lovingly referred to as Nerdfest 2012, is happening this weekend, and I get to go for work tomorrow. Hooray for the perks of being a librarian.

2. Gluten Free Allergy Free Expo is also happening in Chi-town this weekend, and I will be hitting it up Saturday for some serious GF swag.

3. Finishing out my weekend of total geekdom, Luke and I will be going on a ghost tour on Sunday. I am a huuuuge fan of ghost tours and history and awesomeness, and this is supposed to be one of the best in Chicago. I will wear the tightest Ed Hardy shirt I can find in honor of Zak Bagans

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

F*&#! Gluten

Hey, 'member how last night I was all, "oh delicious fiesta meal, I would like to have your baby?"

Instead of love, it gave me gluten. I think. Well, I know something glutened me, but once again I HAVE NO FREAKIN' IDEA what it could be.

So I got to spend the day laying on the couch guzzling water and tea, locked down with my heating pad. And I still feel like buttcakes.

I am starting to get really frustrated that I'm getting sick so often. This marks the fourth time since going GF in February. And it's not that I am being negligent - I had a cleaning company come detox the house, I've switched the dog to gluten-free food and treats, and I basically put Luke through Hazmat de-tox any time he enters the house. I've gotten new pots and pans, threw enough food out of my pantry to feed an Ethiopian family for a year. I read labels on everything and basically pass up anything that hasn't been blessed by the Pope. So why am I still getting sick?

Grrr. At least I had this adorable mug to stare at all day.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Fiesta Night!

Tonight, I made the most amazing meal. Ground turkey tacos with guacamole and home-made Mexican rice. It was so. good. See? It even looks pretty, right?

I haven't ever used ground turkey before, but I like the way it cooked up WAAAY better than ground beef, so I think I will be using it in the future. I just used the McCormick's taco seasoning (they are pretty good about being GF friendly - yay McCormick!) and some Mission tostadas. I threw some greens on for *ahem* health, and black olives since I had them around.

The rice was my real accomplishment - Luke and I love Uncle Ben's brown rice so we almost always have a box around. I cooked it in some beef broth (gluten free, of course) with some minced garlic and a little cumin, then drained a can of diced tomatoes and chiles and added that when it was done. All that this meal needed was a margarita...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Let Them Eat (Lamb) Cake

All I have to say about Easter weekend can be summed up in one photo:

This beauty came from Sweet Ali's bakery, and was absolutely delightful, and entirely gluten-free.

Hope everyone else had an awesomely sweet weekend!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I Can't Stop Eating P.F. Chang's

Soooo, remember how I was waxing poetic about P.F. Chang's a few weeks ago? I have been back twice. Plus ordered from their take-out place, Pei Wei. I think I might have a problem. A delicious, delicious problem. Anyway, the only reason it warrants mentioning again, other than the sheer nom-iness that is P.F. Chang's, is that they have recently added a bunch of stuff to their gluten-free menu. Seriously. It's huge. Also, they have one of the best chocolate desserts ever. I tried to get a good "before" picture, but I think the "after" is more telling.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Three Things Thursday

It's that time again. Sort of phoning it in this week, but I make up for it with gratuitous marshmallow goodness.

1. I discovered Peeps are gluten free. This is important because a) I eat Peeps like a boss and b) I will feel better about Peep Jousting if I know I'm not exploding gluten all over my microwave.

2. I finally finished Game of Thrones, which took me roughly ten thousand hours to read. I typically power through books in a sitting or two, but this, this white whale of a beast eluded me. I felt strangely accomplished until I picked up book 2 and realized it is even longer. Le sigh.

3. I ... uh, can't think of a third thing. What? I'm tired because Luke and I were up watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (movie, not show) because HE'S NEVER SEEN IT. Unforgivable.

I wish this was a Bon Jovi Friday for me, but alas, we heathens in the library world still have to work tomorrow. In the mean time, I leave you with this:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Fab Find: Thanks Jordan Raw Vegan Cafe

I like cows. They are adorable. And also delicious. And to me, a world without bacon is a bleak world indeed. But when I heard that Thanks Jordan was opening a raw vegan cafe not far from me, I thought it might be interesting to check it out. When I found out the whole menu was gluten free, it was a done deal.

I stopped in today for a smoothie for lunch, since I was a dork and definitely didn't bring anything to work with me. If you are a normie and that happens, you don't have to worry about it, you can just hit up the Mickey D's drive through, but us Celiac-ers don't really have that luxury. So to the vegan cafe I went, ready for a delicious smoothie.

The place is really cute, and it is incredible to believe that it is staffed entirely of volunteers. Plus, all the proceeds go to charity, so you get to eat healthy AND give back. Good for body and soul. The menu they have is crazy, and I will definitely be back to try some of the real food, not just a quick drink. The volunteers working the counter (including the head chef) were incredibly helpful (I even learned how to make my own almond milk?!?) and they were both really knowledgeable about the GF lifestyle.

Not to mention the smoothie was pretty scrumptious.

This is a great place to try if you are interested in the raw food diet, or if you are looking for something beyond the normal fast food place. As the wise Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, "I'll be back."

Nothing Like a Sunday Night Pay-Per-View

Get your mind out of the gutter. It was Wrestlemania, not porn. Although, there were lots of sweaty, mostly-naked guys wearing glitter and spandex and canoodling. Maybe not canoodling. I don't fully understand the rules.

I never thought I would be the kind of person who watches Wrestlemania, let alone has a viewing party (and not in an ironic, hipster way). But alas, Sunday night found me with a living room full of boys, a counter full of Pizza Hut, and a brand spankin' new CM Punk t-shirt.

Though the wrasslin' was the focus of the evening for everyone else, for me the main event was food (when isn't the main event food for me?) and I had to be uber-cautious with all the gluten that was being bandied about. It didn't help that there was beer-tastrophe at the beginning of the night that left my carpet wet and wheaty.

Part of the problem was that I accidentally fell asleep on the couch after doing all the prep, so I was still in the shower when the first guests arrived (now that is a set-up for a Pay-Per-View), and I was late getting MY pizza in the oven and had to watch everyone eat their real, gluteny Pizza Hut. I got over it, though, once mine came out of the oven, all home-made and delicious, and the rest of the night was a lot of fun.

I feel like we did a pretty good job of keeping my food separate from everything else, and thanks to paper plates and plastic cups (sorry, Mother Earth), we were able to clean up pretty easily, too. Hooray for not getting glutened at Glutenfest Wrestlemania. Also, hooray for abs that look like they are carved out of granite. Just sayin'.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Fab Find: Twitter

Okay, I know. I KNOW. I am several years a little late to the party on this one, but I can't help but wax a bit poetic about the Twittermachine. I just joined recently, and I am gobsmacked by the awesome. And not just because I love getting to see famous people I like behaving like the rest of us (although my love for Alton Brown has been renewed, tenfold) (okay, maybe mostly because of that).

But also, in the few weeks I've been a-Twitter, I've found more recipes, restaurants and products for the GF lifestyle than I could have imagined, and they MAGICALLY APPEAR ON MY FEED. I don't even have to look for them. It's crazy. A little Big Brother-ish, but in a good way. Technology, huh?

Anyway, I'm sure most of you are aware of the awesome already, but any time I find I can use social media to do something legit and not just entertain me, I feel I have to share. It makes this oft-lonely zaniness of Celiac seem a lot less lonely. If you want to follow me, you can click the little doohickey at the top of this page, and if you know anyone who's great to follow, let me know. I am always willing to feed the obsession.