Gluten-Free Spaghetti And Meatballs

9.28.2012


So you can't eat gluten. Yes, that is a problem, especially if you love eating bread by the loaf, pasta by the bucket-fulls, and cake by the platter. But guess what? There is a wonderful, alternative gluten-free world out there, hiding in the shelves at the grocery store. It's almost like the Narnia of food. Magical things truly can happen when you reach back into the dark recesses of the dusty, organic food shelves and discover things like gluten-free pasta. Oh yes, it exists. Just like Mr. Tumnus and talking animals.

You shout at the top of your lungs, "I can eat spaghetti again! My life isn't over!" The grandma picking up tomato paste gives you the stink-eye; the stock boy asks if he can help you (help you find your sanity, that is). As you skip your way to the checkout line, you are on your way to feeling like a normal part of society again, as you get ready for a hearty meal of spaghetti and meatballs.

Gluten-Free Spaghetti and Meatballs

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

-1 package of gluten-free spaghetti (found mine at Von's, which is part of the Safeway chain, or you can get it at any Sprouts, Trader Joe's or Whole Foods)
-1/2 lb ground beef
-1 egg 
-1/4 cup minced onion
-2 tbsp water
-1/2 tsp parmesan cheese
-1/2 tsp garlic salt
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/8 tsp pepper


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot, cook spaghetti noodles.

While noodles are cooking, get your meatballs ready. Mix all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Once mixed, add in ground beef, breaking it into chunks. With your hands, fold the beef into the wet ingredients so it is mixed well. Mold your meatballs into 1" balls, and place onto a cookie sheet with foil. Place in oven at 350º and bake for 25 minutes.

Once they are nice and brown, smother them in some delicious marinara sauce atop your gluten-free noodles, and garnish with oregano and parmesan. Serve with a green salad and this yummy dressing. Dive in and ignore the somewhat pasty texture of gluten-free noodles. It's a small price to pay to eat spaghetti and meatballs! Buon appetito!

Seeing The Happy In The Crappy

9.27.2012

 Shirt: LOFT. Trousers: LOFT (similar). Suspenders: Flashbacks (local store). Platforms: c/o JellyPop Shoes. Earrings: c/o Tacori.

No DIY today. Sad face. I didn't make it to the store to get the supplies, but you bet your bottom dollar I'll have an excellent one ready to go next week! In the meantime, here is some food for thought...

Remember how your mom always told you (or still does tell you) to look for the positive in a negative situation? Boast an "always look on the bright side of life" attitude? Yes, watching Monty Python helps when experiencing feelings of self-pity and melancholy.

Well, I am on a mission to look for the happy in the crappy, because let's face it, life can be lame sometimes and the best way to combat sadness is to focus on the good. 

Here is my personal list I've compiled from life experiences:

  • Tootsie Rolls are always that perfect chewy texture when the air conditioning isn't available. That 85 degree indoor temperature is good for something!
  • Getting pulled over on your way to work or an appointment when you are already late gives you a legitimate excuse! Now your boss or the snotty secretary can't hassle you, and chances are you'll get an, "Awww, that is terrible. Go take the day off." 
  • Nobody gives a darn if you sleep 18 hours a day like you are a teenager again when you have a baby. In fact, it is looked upon as a necessity when you have a newborn and feel like you are going to die from sleep deprivation.
  • You lost your wallet. Sorry, I can't find the happy in that one. That is just an all-around crappy situation.
  • Not being able to eat anything with gluten means you are forced to eat healthy. No wheat = no major amounts of carbs. No major amount of carbs + tons of fruits and veggies = skinny.
  • Living in a 900 sq ft condo versus a 3 bedroom house means less cleaning! I'll take it. Either way, I am extremely grateful I have a roof over my head!
  • You didn't get accepted into the program or for the job you so desperately desired. That's okay, there is something phenomenally better just right around the corner.
  • The engine gave out on your car. Don't fret. The problem with your car just possibly prevented you from a frightful car wreck.
  • Not having loads of money means no impending doom when all your assets and investments tank and plummet into nothing. Mo' money, mo' problems.

My Little Helper

9.26.2012


Luke is the ultimate sidekick. He watches the laundry, just to make sure it doesn't bubble over. The dishwasher gets unloaded with the pitter-pat of little hands banging and splashing in the leftover water. He army crawls throughout the house doubling as a broom, and instead of emptying the garbage, he just eats it.

Couldn't ask for a better helper ;)

Wednesday Giveaway!


CNash Designs is a handmade jewelry shop and they are giving away a gorgeous pair of earrings today! The earrings are the perfect finishing touch to an outfit, and who wouldn't want that? You lucky people.

CNash Designs specializes in beaded work, and each piece is unique and one-of-a-kind. They recently made custom necklaces for a wedding party because their designs are classic and trend relevant. Custom designs are always the best! Oh, and get a load of this neon beauty. Move over bubble necklace, this necklace is awesome!

Support the handmade community and get on to entering the giveaway below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sponsor Along Abbey Road

9.25.2012

 
I am accepting sponsors for October! Along Abbey Road is a wonderful, affordable place to advertise your blog and business to get more customers and readers! The last few months have brought a large increase in traffic and followers for my sponsors, and we keep it fun and relaxed around this joint. Also, I have some awesome holiday things lined up you won't want to miss, as well as some features and giveaways on blogs that will in turn bring more traffic to you!

Click here for information on sponsoring and come join this par-tay!

A Random Thing Or Two-sday

 Shirt & Pants: LOFT. Oxfords: Steve Madden. Bracelet: Flashbacks (local store).

1) Fact: If Mario (from the original Super Mario Bros) stood at 6 feet tall, he would have a jump height of 27 feet (source). He would for sure have mad dunking skills. Could you imagine Mario in the NBA? It would be glorious.

2) I'm getting excited for Christmas. As in I want to put up Christmas decorations on November 1st and start listening to holiday music, however that always leads to hating Christmas by December. And that is never fun.

3) Before I get ahead of myself focusing on Christmas, Luke and I have our Halloween costumes ready to go. Cannot wait to reveal what we are! I'll give you a hint: it's really cute.

4) I leave my keys in the door on almost a daily basis. Like, until Matt comes home at the end of his work day and hands them to me after they've been in there for hours. If you find my head, email me and I'll give you my address so you can mail it back to me.

5) If you were a contestant on The Voice, whose team would you choose to be on?

You've Got A Friend In Me

9.24.2012

 Luke loves people. When we go out he is constantly smiling and making new buddies. When we hang out with friends, he snuggles up and will fight going to sleep because he doesn't want to miss out on the action. My little extrovert is sharpening his social skills as early as possible, and it is adorable.

Last week, we were playing in his room, when out of nowhere he spotted the baby on the diaper box. He kept talking (babbling) to it and going back and forth to give it kisses. I was dying of laughter, because at one point he started crying because his fake cardboard pal wasn't interacting with him. 

Finally, Luke realized it wasn't real (or gave up trying to make friends) and settled for a hug and a kiss from his mama. Goodness, I love that kid!

I Choose To Be A Mom

9.21.2012

Luke at 1 week old

In a world of high-powered, entrepreneurial women, the notion of motherhood has morphed into a new standard. The apron-wearing homemaker no longer stands as the ultimate symbol of womanhood, which I appreciate. I firmly believe in equality for women, and love that women possess the opportunities to pave their own path career-wise, socially, and politically. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the subject of my very first research project in 7th grade. I even dressed up like her, the whole kit and caboodle, and the whole thing laid the foundation for the feminist side of me. Girl power all the way. 

This is exactly why I chose to become a mother, first and foremost. You may be scratching your head in stupor thinking, "how is being a stay at home mom in any way related to feminism?" and that makes sense at first glance, but allow me to explain.

Being a mother is by far the most challenging, painful, self-improving, and beautiful job in existence. It is something so divine that only we as women have the power to perform. From the beginning, we sacrifice our bodies to grow these amazing humans. We struggle, scream, and cry tears of incomprehensible joy as we birth them, and continue this as we rear them. Do you think a man could handle this? No way, jose! We women have been given this ability because we are strong, smart, and innately full of ridiculous amounts of love and compassion (even if it is only for our offspring).

The stay at home mom title garners a lot of negative attention, and in many circles is scoffed at. The modern notion of "housewife" makes many cringe with anger, but the reality is, we don't live in that idyllic fantasy land of the 50's anymore. We don't all  play house all day, scrubbing the cracks in the tiles until our fingers bleed or make nightly dinners enviable of a Thanksgiving feast. The end-all goal isn't to be the Betty Draper of the world (and we all know how that turned out), with only shiny china and a killer roast duck to show for it. At least it isn't for me. Being a stay at home mom means I am creating a comfortable, loving environment for my children to learn and be educated. I am fulfilling my responsibility to teach my children standards, goals, and the ability to think and choose for themselves, in the hope that they will lead a life in the direction of their convictions, which will ultimately lead to their success.

There is every type of mother out there, all for whom I hold the utmost respect. Especially the women who take on the role of executive, business-owner, editor-in-chief, etc. along with mother. In many instances women don't have the choice to stay at home exclusively even if they desired, and being the provider and mother of the family furthers my profound respect for them.  

Fortunately, we live in such a rich time in history, where unjust boundaries are melting, molding into the progression of a more opportune world. And I love my place in the middle of it all, standing boldly and proudly as a mom.

Dare I DIY?: Chalkboard Conversation Mug

9.20.2012


 Even though the temperatures here in California beg to differ, this mug is essential for you folks experiencing the crispy fall weather. Apple cider and hot cocoa drinking just became exponentially more awesome now that you can communicate with your friends and lovers without sacrificing quality drink time. You can doodle, "do not disturb" or even better, "kiss me, my lips are hot."

These make the perfect handmade gift for the holidays! Just bag up your favorite hot chocolate or tea in a charming cellophane bag with festive ribbons (I love this adorable example).

What message will display on the front of your mug?


You can pick up chalkboard paint at any hardware store and I used card stock paper to make my message bubble stencil by simply drawing the bubble free-hand and cutting the outline with scissors.

Woody Wagons And Luke's Future Girlfriend

9.19.2012


Our good friends from where we lived in the LA area came down for a visit! Their baby girl is due in just 3 weeks and we have unanimously agreed on an arranged marriage. Then there won't be any awkward in-law scenarios and we can all hang out together on holidays. Genius, right? ;)

The car show going on down the street from our house was filled to the brim with amazing cars, so we walked around and admired the Beach Boys homages displayed at practically every woody wagon.

 I tell you, there is nothing better than a sea of Hawaiian shirts with "Surfin' U.S.A" blasting in the background. Too bad I didn't have my ukulele.

A Random Thing Or Two-sday

9.18.2012

Shirt, Sandals: LOFT. Skirt: H&M.

1) Fact: Apples are more efficient at waking you up in the morning than caffeine (source).

2) So much for scarves, layers, and pumpkin infused drinks. It has been piping hot here in Southern California. I can't wear anything other than a tee and a skirt without feeling like I'm melting, so my beloved beanies, I will see you in a few months.

3) Remember this video? Turns out they have a blog!

4) We all know Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds tied the knot by now, so get a load of this photo of her ring! Next step: baby!

5) If you had one day left on earth, what would you do?

SeaWorld

9.17.2012


Luke and I shared a particularly special moment together over the weekend... We both saw our first dolphin at SeaWorld!

This may not strike the excitement nerve in you, but my love for dolphins began as a 2nd grader creating my first research project. I made one of those nifty shadow boxes to demonstrate a dolphin habitat. Using an old shoe box, I worked like a busy bee to perfect my dolphin world. Blue, sparkly Crest toothpaste acted as the ocean. Neon colored rocks and plastic Barbie bushes stood as a coral reef. And then there was my prized foam dolphin collection. My beautiful shadow box and glossy pictures in children's books were the closest I had ever been to seeing my favorite animal. 

Until last week.

They are even more cute and playful in person! One even smiled for the camera! Now that's what I call the world's coolest animal.

Luke loved the aquariums and watching the colorful fish whirl around in the water and we decided to save the Shamu show for next visit. 

Until then!

Fashion Theory

9.14.2012

Blouse: Vintage. Sweater: LOFT. Pants: Some store in Spain. Flats: Romwe. Earrings: Vintage.

A wave of nostalgia swept over me when I put together this outfit. The earrings belonged to my grandma, Nellie, meaning they are vintage in the most beautiful form.

Some people may feel that clothing is simply for the purpose of covering the body, so it doesn't really matter what how they dress. I can understand the simplicity in that approach to fashion and clothing, but for me "fashion" and "style" move beyond the surface level. The way we go about dressing ourselves can reflect pieces of our personality.

Every time I clip on my grandma's earrings, I am reminded of her crisp, subtle, and timeless fashion sense. She never lived extravagantly, but always approached life in a simple and minimalist way, which showed her good taste and class. This translated to her style, and the result was always a well-kept women with the perfect touch of chic.

I examine my own style and can't say that I fit into a specific classification. I consider myself to have a free sense of style, meaning one day I girl it up with color, flowers, glitter, lace and bows, and the next I go for monochromatic, sleek, and geometric with a side of spikes that could puncture a hole in your body. I wear what I like. If you know me, this is very much my personality. I am the free spirit type (although I've toned it down a bit), and can be a little extreme at times. I also love art and the creative, so clothing is just another way for me to express my love for the two.

What is your fashion type and how does it relate to your personality? Let's get some Freudian and Jung's theory moving in this discussion. We can start a new wave of fashion psychoanalysis.

Friday Giveaway


The fabulous Jackie of Sweet & Wild is giving away some fun items from her shop, Sweet & Wild Stationary, and some goodies from a fellow etsy creator, One for One Creations

The Sweet & Wild stationary is simple, sweet, and perfect for adding that personal touch to your notes and cards. An infinity scarf belongs in every girl's closet, and the One for One Creations come in every color and print you would want for fall (polka dots and mustards? Kill me dead).

Can I enter this giveaway too? You all are so lucky because these items are lovely! Support the handmade community and enter below, m'dears. Good luck!

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Restructuring My Diet... Help!

9.13.2012

Today I discussed the results of my blood tests and the ultrasounds I had done for my thyroid with my endocrinologist. If you read my post the other day, I don't have any thyroid tumors, which was the big concern. However, today I went in and found out I have what looks to be celiac disease. Let me just mention that today is Celiac Awareness Day. Alanis Morissette needs to incorporate me into her "Ironic" song... "It's finding you can never again eat wheat, barley or rye. Oh, and it's Celiac Awareness Day, so go have a good cry. It's like raaaaiiinnn on your wedding day..."

Honestly, I am so frustrated. The writing has been on the wall for a large portion of my life, and I am scratching my head as to why it has taken years for a health professional to find it now.

I am not writing this to get sympathy, but I am hoping that some of you can point me in the right direction for diet restrictions, great gluten-free recipes, and all around gluten-free living resources. Maybe we can even start a celiac disease club! I'll make the t-shirts, you bring the cookies. The ones with fake sugar and overwhelmingly healthy ingredients.  

In the meantime, here is the one and only gluten-free thing I've made (I tried it out the other day when I was suspecting I could have a gluten allergy). It is delicious, and I wanted to share it. You should try it out, whether or not your small intestines are deteriorating.


Agave and Lime Salmon (recipe taken from Gluten-Free Goddess)

Ingredients:
  • 4 serving sized pieces of wild caught salmon
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • For the sauce:
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup raw organic agave nectar
  • Fresh lime juice from two large limes
  • A tiny, secret pinch of cinnamon- don't tell

Instructions:
  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Tear off eight pieces of foil; two for each piece of salmon. Place one serving of salmon on one piece of foil. Season with a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
  • Combine the olive oil, agave, lime juice and touch of cinnamon in a glass measuring cup. Pour the sauce all over the salmon pieces.
  • Sprinkle the salmon with onions, scallions and garlic. Place the remaining pieces of foil on each serving and fold the edges to create a packet.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for roughly 20 minutes, till it flakes easily- but is not dried out.
  • Enjoy!

Dare I DIY?: Striped Fringe Bag

 
This striped bag sat, and sat, aaand sat in my closet for the longest time. Slowly collecting dust, it eventually threw itself off the shelf in my face, screaming, "Use me or lose me!"

Naturally, I took one good look at it and saw a more fanciful future for it. One that would take it from summer to fall... one with fringe benefits. Literally. And oh is it such a beautiful pairing. Every time it's on my arm, I feel compelled to bust out in the Charleston. Not to be confused with The Carlton.
Once again, this DIY requires very basic supplies. Meaning, you don't have to use a sewing machine! Fabric glue is slowly becoming my favorite craft item, simply for the fact that I don't have to use a needle and thread. Anything to avoid pulling out that beast. I use Aleene's OK to Wash-It from Michaels. Also, this is a great way to repurpose that ratty old shirt you never wear anymore.

Let the fringing begin!