January 30, 2012

Pizza, Pancakes, and (cake) Pops

Usually my weekends are pretty ordinary. Fun, but not many new gluten free discoveries worth sharing. That is until this weekend.

Friday night I met up with my bestie to watch the Lifetime made-for-tv movie, Drew Peterson: Untouchable.  We kind of have an obsession for the Lifetime Movie Network and the big time scandalous stories, as sad as that sounds. Between Rob Lowe's bleached hair and fat suit, we decided we needed pizza and some wine.  One quick phone call to Leona's and a delicious gluten free pizza was on its way to me. I heard that they started to carry gluten free pizza crust, but had yet to try it.  I was a little weary of the rice flour crust, but it actually held together very well and tasted phenomenal! I highly recommend giving it a shot if they have a location near you.

As if I wasn't spoiled enough with "new" gluten free finds Friday night, I met up Sunday morning for brunch with Andrea from Rockin' Gluten Free.  Ever since I discovered Prasino last fall, I've been dying to try their breakfast menu - hello, gluten free pancakes! I had my eye on those Carrot Cake Pancakes for quite some time, but when I looked at the menu further and saw they had crepes, I couldn't make up my mind.  Unfortunately, our server made it quite easy for me when he informed me that they didn't make the crepes gluten free. Pancakes it was.  And excellent choice, I might add.

Fluffy pancakes filled with shredded carrots, golden raisins, cinnamon, and nutmeg and then topped with pecans and a dash of powdered sugar.  The side of sweat cream (think cream cheese frosting as a thin glaze) just put this dish over the top.  Incredible!

Back in September, my friends took me out to dinner at the Wicker Park location and towards the end of the night, T. and I were ordering a lovely juice drink called Honeymoon.  We were both head over heels in love with this magical concoction and probably drank three or four glasses each.  It could have been the honey, or the fresh apple slices, but either way, we couldn't get enough of them.  Naturally I had to order myself one to go along with my pancakes. How cute is that apple star garnish?

My weekend wouldn't be complete without seeing my niece and nephew, so needless to say I was thrilled when I came home and saw they were already there waiting for me.  After an afternoon reading the Jingle books, painting our nails, and making Valentine's Day crafts, we decided to put my Cake Pop Maker to good use. We each strapped on an apron and got to work making the batter.  Using the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Devil's Food Cake mix, we ended up with a katrillion little cake balls.  We ate some while they were still plain and warm, but glazed the rest and rolled them in some Glutino Chocolate Sandwich Cookie crumbles I had leftover from making the Christmas bark. Instant "Oreo" balls!

Nom nom nom!
The night ended with Downton Abbey.  Oh, how I love this miniseries! If I had a nickel for every time I gasped or "oooh'ed" I'd probably have a dollar. SO GOOD!!!  Who else is watching? How do you like this season so far?  I actually just read today that Shirley MacLaine is going to be in the next season as Lady Grantham's mother. I can only imagine how she and Maggie Smith's character, Violet, will get along! Oohh!

(Photo credit)

January 28, 2012

And We're Back... With Green is the New Breakfast

My, that was a longer break from blogging than expected! Sorry about that. Around the holidays my free time was spent at boot camp, parties, shopping, and relaxing.  I had so many great ideas for holiday blog posts (lots of movie tie-ins) that never came to light.  Next Christmas - I promise.

And again, January got away from me. I've been reading lots of wonderful books. Ironically all by female Chicago writers. I don't know how that happened, but let's hear it for my hometown girls Rebecca Skloot, Melanie Benjamin, and Wendy McClure.

Apparently January is Ladies Month in my book selections.

When I wasn't swept away in a good book, I was detoxing.  In late November I joined For the Glow's Resolution Challenge which kicked off January 1st and all I can say is, "why didn't I do this sooner?"  I had been subscribed to Jenn's updates for years now (back when she ran Sweat in the City), but didn't jump on the chance to join any of her programs until now.  With my newly recommended diet (which I failed miserably with during the holidays) I knew I had to get back on board and make some serious changes, because I felt like crap all of the time. The Detox Diet in the Resolution Challenge was just what I needed to get my body back on track. I never ate so many greens in one day in my entire life, and you know what, I loved it.

Not only did I feel incredible, I was completely satisfied with the recipes and fell in love with my new favorite things: Green Smoothies and Green Juice. I was so hardcore serious when I joined the program. I even went so far as to buy a juicer and powdered seaweed. I'm so glad I did, because I'm now completely addicted to them.  My breakfast every morning is now a Green Smoothie which gives me so much energy (thanks, Spirulina!) I'm practically dancing my way in to the office.  It's so incredible, I can't wait to share it with you.  Try it, you'll like it!

Betsy's All Time Favorite Green Breakfast Smoothie

1 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk
2 cups fresh, organic spinach
1 cup frozen organic blueberries (or your berry of choice. I've tried strawberry and raspberry, but they tend to be a little too seedy for my full enjoyment)
1 Tbsp spirulina powder
1 or 2 Tbsp Raw Cacao

Using a blender, blend together the almond milk and spinach. Add in fruit, spirulina, and cacao.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

How the yum is made.