October 8, 2013

Fallin' Into Autumn With My (Current) Favorite Things

September has been a crazy month! Birthday central (including my own!), babies gettin' born, old friends gettin' married, apple pickin', ALS Walk 4 Life, and work craziness.

Betty's Bunch; Dave and Megan's wedding
Apple Picking at County Line Orchard; Besties at Three Dots and a Dash

Let me fill you in on what I've been lovin' as of late:

Three Dots and a Dash skull hallway entrance
Amy and Jess
Delicious drinks!
Three Dots and a Dash
One of the newest Lettuce Entertain You restaurants, Three Dots and a Dash is the coolest place in Chicago.  This underground tiki bar has the most delicious tropical cocktails. Its laid back atmosphere, exotica music, and waitresses in floral dresses make you feel like you're in a speakeasy paradise...and I love it. The food menu is very limited and its gluten free status is questionable, but who needs food when you have "Tall as a Tree and Twice as Shady"?

Fudge Brownie and Vanilla Bean Pound Cake
Cinnamon Apple Cake
 Beer Bread (mini burgers!)
Tastefully Simple Gluten Free Mixes
Yeah, you heard me. Tastefully Simple has launched a new line of gluten free mixes. They were kind enough to send me samples of the new Gluten Free Fudgy Brownie mix, Gluten Free Vanilla Bean Pound Cake mix, Gluten Free Cinnamon Apple Cake mix, and Gluten Free Beer Bread mix. Let me tell you, everything was delicious. I had a few friends over this past weekend to taste everything and the votes were unanimous: Tastefully Simple Gluten Free Mixes are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. That's from both gluten free and gluten full eaters.

My favorite was the Cinnamon Apple cake. I added walnuts as the mix suggested and it was the perfect compliment to my morning coffee. The Fudgy Brownies were so moist and chewy, not to mention filled with chocolatey goodness. They were definitely the best gluten free brownie mix I've ever used. The Vanilla Bean Pound Cake was vanilla to the max. As I was preparing it, the batter was just bursting with tiny specks of vanilla. Once baked, it had a great flavor and texture. Last, but not least, the Beer Bread delivered. I've never had beer bread before going gluten free, so I'm not sure what to compare it to. I didn't have gluten free beer on hand, but since the directions said any carbonated beverage or soda could be used, I substituted Woodchuck Pink Cider, which made it a little sweet. I used the mix for mini buns for my take on White Castle burgers - recipe coming soon! Bottom line, find the first Tastefully Simple representative and order the new gluten free mixes!!

Udi's Gluten Free Harvest Crunch muffins
Pumpkin Latte coffee
Garden Lites Pumpkin Spice Souffle
 Fall Flavors (aka Pumpkin Everything)
'Tis the season for everything to be pumpkin, cranberry, and maple flavored. From drinks to baked goods, pumpkin is king. I'm diggin' my daily pumpkin latte coffee and found some other delicious fall goodies such as Udi's Gluten Free Harvest Crunch Muffins and Garden Lites Pumpkin Spice Souffle. Yum! Fall is my favorite season. I love the cooler weather, warm sweaters, the colorful leaves, the smell of bonfires, and crisp air. Good times...

What things have you been enjoying lately?