EmptySpoonful MOVED!

Here we go!

Oh yeah, said we’re movin’ on up…to wordpress.org….

Moved you say? Yes, I moved! Don’t worry, I didn’t go far. I only moved around the corner to WordPress.org! If you happened to visit earlier and got this message:

Screen Shot Error

I am very sorry! As with any move, nothing ever seems to go exactly as planned. There were some slight technical difficulties; but now we’re back on track! For those of you who have made this transition from another blog site before, whew, you know what a HUGE undertaking it is!

For those of you who haven’t, well just compare it to your last actual move…it’s completely exhausting. The toughest part is, as much as you like your new place and you try to unpack, decorate, and settle in; it just doesn’t quite feel like home yet.

What does this mean for you, you ask? I know, it’s all about you.

Don’t worry, the hard work is over. You don’t have to pretend that you have big important plans this weekend; I’m not going to recruit you and six of your strongest friends to help move my furniture for a pizza and six-pack of beer (all gluten-free of course). Nope. Not today.

You don’t have to do anything…well close to nothing. I do ask that you please double-check your subscription because you might need to re-subscribe.

Yuck. I know, you have enough on your plate. But otherwise you could miss out on some of the great stuff that’s coming up, and as your friend I can’t let that happen to you!

Hooray, it's MOO-ving day!

Hooray, it’s MOO-ving day! 

Well c’mon, what are you waiting for? Let’s go check out the new diggs:

http://www.emptyspoonful.com

If you have any issues or get lost along the way, just leave me a comment or email me at: emptyspoonful [at] gmail.com. I would never leave you behind and thanks again for hanging in there; I truly appreciate your support!

Back From Vacation and End of Summer Blues…

sunset

Goodbye Labor Day. As much as I love a good vacation, there is inevitably the brutal letdown that follows. “Time to get back to reality” people say. Well…Reality Bites (no, I’m not talking about the 90’s flick…which I completely forgot about until I read the recap here…now it feels like I just watched it again yesterday).

Unpacking and laundry...yuck and double yuck...welcome home...

Unpacking and laundry…yuck and double yuck…welcome home…

I’m talking about unpacking the car, dragging your suitcases into the house (here it’s up two flights of stairs and Das Boot hates acting as a bellhop), unpacking luggage, facing mounds of dirty laundry, actually tackling all of that laundry, throwing away the moldy remains of what was once food in your refrigerator, grocery shopping so you can now prepare, cook, and eat a home cooked meal that feels long overdue after all of the dining out you inevitably did over said vacation, oh and by the way…now summer is officially over.

It has been years since I have had the opportunity to travel as much as I have this summer. You have already read about my Florida trip, but don’t worry, I have a lot more to tell. A last minute quick trip to Hawaii (last minute? quick trip? Hawaii? how does that even go together…don’t worry, I’ll explain…more posts to come!). Then home to quickly repack because we were back on the road to Wisconsin for a Labor Day weekend getaway. We had planned this trip months ago as an early second wedding anniversary celebration, and since we can’t seem to stay in the same state together for more than five minutes (did I mention Mr. EmptySpoonful travels a lot for work? Yeah, he’s a road warrior) we figured we had better celebrate sooner rather than later!

WI traffic

We are usually able to travel outside of the peak travel days/times, but this year we were forced to deal with the returning Labor Day traffic. A trip that should have taken 6 hours turned into 9 thanks to traffic. Everyone stuck in that bumper to bumper traffic with us looked sunburned, exhausted, and miserable. Rightfully so; summer fun is done.

But wait, before you leap in front of that speeding ice cream truck, the best news is still to come. Guess what? Summer may be over, but fall is almost here!

I don’t know about you, but fall is the season I live for every year. Fall is the reason I had to move out of Florida years ago; I live for jackets and sweaters! Cooler temperatures, leaves changing colors, a crisp snap in the air and everyone’s fall favorite…Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes (I am so jealous of those of you who can still handle these…you can’t take away my memories though…yumm…in my mind I’m drinking one right now…).

How do you handle your end of vacation/end of summer blues?

Why Can’t I Ever Get to the Pineapple Before it Molds…A Metaphor for Life That Extends Beyond the Grocery Store

Pineapple1

Life is full of good intentions. When I buy fresh fruits and vegetables I don’t do it to be sadistic. It’s not like I enjoy watching them slowly wither on my countertop as the days slowly creep by. You would think I’m in it for the guilt, I must be, because why else would I spend money that I am essentially just going to end up throwing away? Not just once, but week, after week, after week.

It must be that grocery store high. When I’m grocery shopping I think of all the fresh, exciting and healthy dishes that I am going to whip up this week. At the grocery store I feel like wonder woman; I buy odd and exciting new fruits and vegetables; every ingredient under the sun is at my fingertips! I don’t need frozen food; I can peel, chop and dice until my heart is content and my stomach is full. I transform into a creative culinary genius. I tell myself “this week is going to be different, you’ll see, I’ll prove it to you…just buy that pineapple, we’ll chop it up and make a gorgeous fruit salad as soon as we get home”. I fill up my cart (along with my expectations) and then float home on cloud nine to get started.

This is where things go wrong…oh so terribly wrong. Once I schlep all of those groceries into the house and organize them in the refrigerator, in the pantry and on the counter, all of the superhero energy and excitement I had at the grocery store slowly slips away. Life happens. There are dishes in the sink, there’s laundry to do, emails are piling up…who has time to cook? What was I thinking?

Day by day the fruits and vegetables slowly wither. As hard as I try I can never seem to get to all of them. I start thinking off odd new ways to make strange combinations that in no way go together, just to get them off the back of my mind! Have you heard about my green bean, carrot, parsley and pineapple turkey meatloaf? No, you haven’t, because it was disgusting and I am looking out for you!

meatloaf collage

Turkey-Veggie Meatloaf Fiasco

Each time I walk by those fruits and veggies I make promises to them…empty promises. “Just give me a few hours to handle some other things, don’t worry pineapple, I WILL get to you tonight”. Tonight leads to tomorrow night and the next night. Then we’re both out of time because guess what? Pineapple molded.

Old pineapple collage

It’s a horrible cycle and I’m stuck, so completely stuck. Once I actually sat down to think about it, I realized that there are so many other avenues in my life where I find myself in the very same predicament. This is an issue that goes way beyond the grocery store. I try to take on the entire world in only a few hours just to find myself feeling completely defeated by the end of the day. I make empty promises to myself – whether it’s with weight loss, putting myself first, spending more time with my friends and family…I constantly set myself up for failure and then every day I wonder how I could have lost the battle.

They say acknowledging, accepting, and understanding your denial can be freeing. I’m trying to focus on the bigger picture every day. Starting with setting smaller goals and fully realizing that it’s not humanly possible to conquer the entire world in just one day. It’s not easy, but at least it’s one small step in the right direction.

               What cycles in your life keep you running in circles?

Faux Bagel Research…and a Dunkin’ Donuts Rant

gbagel

Glutino gluten-free bagel

The faux bagel research in order to perfect my “Fake-els” continues! I feel like it’s only right to give you an update on my faux bagel findings before the weekend gets here because if you are anything like me, the time when you crave bagels the most is usually on the weekends.

bagel slice

I’m not exactly sure why that is, but I have three ideas:

  1. The weekend is usually when I have some extra time to luxuriate in the morning and actually sit down to enjoy a bagel versus during the rest of the week when I would have to scarf it down in my car on my way to work.
  2. Maybe I’m still having a hard time breaking my Dunkin’ Donuts habit. Before these food allergies turned my life upside down I used to adore going to Dunkin’ (this habit literally started when I was in high school) for a vanilla iced coffee and a blueberry bagel (wow…old habits die hard…) it was always my favorite reward during the week and a fun weekend treat.
  3. I miss the entire bagel experience; bagels used to equal love for me. When someone would bring me a bagel, whether it was just while hanging out with friends at someone’s house, or at a corporate meeting; it made me feel special. Even the simple act of stopping in at Dunkin’ Donuts with the girls; it used to be so nice not to have any worries beyond “this bagel is totally going to make me fat”.

Now when I go to Dunkin’ my options are pretty much narrowed down to hot tea. Exciting right?! Wait (you say) they have a few other gluten-free, dairy-free options, like iced tea! Well for some reason I always end up with an iced tea that tastes like coffee and even those yummy Strawberry Coolatta’s (which I though would be safe in my quest to remove dairy) contain both milk and soy!

But I digress…

plain bagel

I am still working on the “Fake-els” recipe, so don’t worry! In the meantime I decided to sample how the pro’s are doing gluten-free bagels. Not only to see how high this bar is set but also to find out if a gluten-free bagel already exists that can make me as happy as a Dunkin’ Donuts bagel. I have eaten Udi’s gluten-free bagels before and as much as I adore their bread, the bagel just didn’t cut it for me texture wise. It wasn’t awful, it just wasn’t crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside like I remember a really good bagel to be.

gbagel pkg

Glutino bagels on the other hand, now they are getting close to where I want my gluten-free bagel to be! The texture is there, they have that dense-ness that I am seeking. The flavor was pretty good too, but I did find it a little salty. The bad news is that these bagels contain milk and soy. I’m willing to let it go this time because I broke my own rules and slathered this bagel with cream cheese! I had to…it was calling me. To combat the saltiness I put some strawberry jam on top of the cream cheese (Welch’s Natural Strawberry Jam to be specific, because they don’t use high fructose corn syrup) and it was AMAZING!

cream cheese bagels

jelly bagel

So maybe just this weekend, instead of firing up the oven, wander over to the grocery store and get your bagel fix from a frozen Glutino bagel. Let me know what you think!

**Please note: I am not affiliated with any of the brands I mentioned. I am also not receiving any compensation for my product reviews; they are purely my opinion** 

If you’re going to buy a gluten-free bagel what brand is your favorite? What foods are you still emotionally attached to that you used to eat ?

 

Silicone Bakeware; The Ultimate Smoothie Solution

Ahhhh Walmart, how I love thee, let me count the ways! Where else can you get absolutely everything you need (plus a ton of stuff that you probably never ever needed nor should you ever have bought!) for a super low price?! That being said, I lose hours, maybe even days of my life there deciding what kitchen gadgets, beauty supplies, and even groceries I can’t live without! Today was no exception, even with my very specific list I ended up trolling the aisles for 3 hours…seriously, 3 hours! Imagine what else I could have done with even 1 of those spare hours; but it’s ok, I’m not going to dwell on it, well not for too much longer anyway! I got everything I needed plus the few extra things I suddenly decided I could not live without, and here is my latest fun kitchen gadget, check this out:

Final S G Men

My first piece of silicone bakeware! The thing I’m most excited about is that this bakeware can go directly from freezer to oven to dishwasher without cracking! Get ready, everything coming out of my oven and freezer is going to be gingerbread man shaped!

I was really inspired by Emily Ho’s post at thekitchn.com regarding Matt Kadey’s Muffin Tin Mania tips. Muffin tins, of course this is the answer! I’ve been looking for a way to not only preserve my smoothies but at the same time have a quick fix ready on a busy morning. I don’t make smoothies very often, even as much as I love them, because I can’t seem to make just one smoothie at a time, it tends to be entire blender-fulls! It drives me crazy to try to store it in the fridge and force myself to finish all of it before it melts. This usually leads to me slyly leaving glasses of smoothies all around the house as subtle hints for my husband to finish them, which is great, until it starts to feel like a bad scavenger hunt where the only prize is an overly full stomach! But fortunately this muffin tin idea is going to change the fate of smoothie day in my house forever, and not only that, but in fun gingerbread man shapes!

The ice men cometh!

The ice men cometh!

                               I’m off to make smoothies! Who else is with me?!