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July 25, 2013

The Warmest Housewarming Party- Gluten Free Style!


Last weekend we hosted our housewarming party and I couldn't have been happier with how everything went! I recently read you are ready to have a housewarming party when you're able to check off all of the below items:

-Unpacked
-Updated your address
-Purchased necessities

-Settled into a daily routine

Being able to cross off all 4,we were convinced it was time! One of the great things about a housewarming party, is that it already has a theme and additional decorations are not necessary. You can simply showcase your home as is, and highlight the improvements and projects that you have worked on the months following the big move. As stressful as it was preparing for this "unveiling,"  we were motivated to hang pictures, and finish odds and ends which had been lingering for months on our to-do list. It was wonderful having our friends and family under our roof and to finally call our place home.

I had spent the weeks prior to our party searching "Housewarming Party Ideas and Favors" and finally decided on a few things that made all the difference, so of course I had to share :) I had a few guests who were lactose intolerant, so I not only wanted to focus on gluten free items, but also include a few dishes that were dairy free. My goal was bite size, finger foods, that were small portions and were easy to enjoy while  leisurely walking around. Because who wants cocktail sauce on their white carpet? Not me!

Mark and I opted for a 1-5 pm party where friends and family could drop by at their convenience, and enjoy a few delicious bites before heading to a Saturday night dinner. Below is the full menu  and a few colorful pictures to help plan your next party. Regardless of the type of party you may be throwing, all of the below food items were a hit! 


 Silverware:

Even though I didn't decorate for this party, I tried to add touches of "new home" where I could. I found this idea on Pinterest and with a pile of paint swatches from our painting adventure had all the supplies I needed. I simply stapled 2 paint swatches together and folded the napkin and stuffed each with a fork. The more colors the better!


Appetizers:

Chicken Pecan Skewers with Pineapple Salsa- a party hit! Recipe HERE! Let's just say I sent out a mass email after our party with the recipe because so many people wanted to know how to make them :)


Shrimp Cocktail in individual cocktail glasses with a garnish of parsley. The cocktail sauce was served on the side so the shrimp wouldn't get soggy.



Fruit Salad- strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, and pineapple. Fresh and perfect on a hot day. 


Vegetable Platter- carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, celery and cucumbers with 2 dip options: original hummus from Trader Joe's and a buttermilk ranch- Recipe HERE


Caprese Skewers- marinated mozzarella balls with fresh basil and a cherry tomato with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Mozzarella balls and basil purchased at Trader Joe's. 


Simple Cheese and Summer Sausage plate for the kids- Cracker Barrel pepper jack and sharp cheddar, with Glutnio's Mutigrain crackers.



Desserts:

"Brookies"- simple & amazing! I prepared the brownie and cookie batter as suggested on both of the packages and then layered both batters into an 8 x 8 dish. Suggested brands- Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownie Mix and Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. 


Raspberry Sorbet served in lemons- simple and refreshing for the summer months! I prepared a plate ahead of time and brought them out a few times throughout the party so they didn't melt on the table.


Rice Krispies dipped in white chocolate- The only complaint I got was that the rice krisipie bars were not COMPLETELY covered in white chocolate, hint hint! that is all you need to change. 





Drinks:

Sangria- The first beverage I think of during the summer is Sangria, so I was sold on having A white Wine sangria. Recipe HERE. Once I prepared the fruit salad I had several different berries left over and merely tossed them in for added flavor. Be sure to prepare this the night before and add the ginger ale a few hours before the party starts.

Beer & Bottled Water

Non-alcoholic beverages- several vintage sodas including- Bubble Up, Honey Lemonade, Bulldog Rootbeer and a classic- San Pellegrino Sparkling Beverage, Blood Orange, all purchased at World Trade Market.

Party Favors:

The more I "Googled," the more I realized the importance of having a party favor. Given that we were definitely on a budget for this party, I decided on one of my favorites- chocolate covered pretzels. Salty large and bite sized pretzels dipped in smooth, semisweet chocolate were the perfect blend of salty and sweet. To personalize the party favor I added a tag shaped as a house and include the phrase- "Thank you for filling our new home with love and laughter." xoxo M&M. Simple & Sweet!


Some helpful sites/ "to-do" lists that kept me in line the past few weeks:


Purple Trail- Party Ideas Blog- Houswarming Party Ideas, Show off your new home!

From MyMove.com- a brochure that details everything you need to do/know for a housewarming party



Good luck party planning! I can't wait to plan our next get together!

July 23, 2013

Crepes & Corks- Restaurant Review


On Sunday, Mark and I decided  to venture out for breakfast. As I have mentioned before, I am hesitant to start one of my favorite weekend days off with a meal outside the comfort of our place, but Sunday we were feeling adventurous. We as always couldn't sleep in past 7:30 in the morning and agreed it was now or never if we wanted to beat the Sunday morning rush.  Mark diligently searched for a few gluten free options nearby and luckily for ME stumbled upon Crepes & Corks in Del Mar. From the name, I thought Crepes (definitely not gluten free), and Corks (not breakfast), but I was too quick to judge and was happy to be wrong. 


Crepes & Corks is a small family owned European bistro and wine bar which opened their doors in October 2007.  This cozy eatery has a beautiful dining room and a spacious outdoor patio and tables lining the sidewalks. One of my favorite outdoor accessories is white twinkling lights and I was so excited when I looked up and saw them strung across the lattice patio cover. 


Crepes & Corks caters to the gluten free diet by offering a buckwheat option for an additional $2.00 for both their Savory and Sweet crepe options. The savory ones includes crepes filled with cheese, ham, eggs, vegetables and various meat options, while the sweet crepes include Nutella, preserves, sugar, maple syrup, lemon juice, whipped cream, fruit spreads, custard, and sliced soft fruits.  I devoured the Red, Black & White: Strawberries, Nutella, and Whip cream for $7.95. Since being diagnosed in 2007, I would never have guessed I would enjoy such a delicious breakfast at a local restaurant. I have to admit, I now prefer crepes over pancakes, as they are less dense and thinner than a typical pancake and pair well with a variety of fruits.  Check out my mouth watering  meal, isn't it just spectacular? Thank you Crepes & Corks for offering a gluten free option, Mark and I look forward to seeing you every Sunday for breakfast! Cheers!



Crepes & Cork's Contact 

1328 Camino Del Mar  Del Mar, CA 92014
Phone: (858) 847-3382
Monday- Closed
Tuesday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Wednesday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Friday 9:00 am – 11:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sunday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Follow Crepes & Corks on Facebook

July 16, 2013

Stealth Health Lunches Kids Love: A NEW Gluten Free Cookbook- Review & Giveaway!


I may not be a mom quite yet, but I understand the importance of packing and making healthy and nutritious lunches. From Monday through Friday, I can be spotted carrying my Hawaiian lunch bag into work every day with everything but the kitchen sink. I have my favorite pack and go dishes and weekly favorites, although I am always trying to think of new ways I can incorporate leftovers, more nutrients, different flavors and most importantly something to add to my weekly MUST have menu.
I was fortunate enough to be offered a copy of Tracy Griffith’s NEW cookbook titled Stealth Health Lunches Kids Love to review and host a giveaway on my blog. The cookbook is filled with unique gluten free recipes that are nutrient rich, and designed to give us a happy, healthy and energized day. The book is full of tips, tricks and innovative recipes for unique gluten free sandwich wraps. Each recipe has detailed instructions for making ordinary sandwiches into different shapes, and sizes while hiding healthy ingredients for kids, while satisfying sophisticated adult taste buds. J The book not only provides great recipes, but also gives great tips and strategies for utilizing and incorporating leftovers and preparing meals the night before.  
The book is laid out into 9 chapters, each featuring exciting and healthy recipes that are a fun, nutritious twist to the bland gluten free bread option. From pita pockets to delicious spreads, your lunch is guaranteed to be packed with ingredients that will leave you stuffed and energized for the rest of your day.
Even though Stealth Health Lunches Kids Love was created with littles in mind, my boyfriend and I have now had a few at home sushi dates, making our own favorite rolls with fresh and mouthwatering ingredients thanks to Chapter 3- Rolls. We have enjoyed Coconut Shrimp and Mango in Origami Mango Wraps, Cucumber and Avocado Inside-out Nori Rolls and Salmon Sushi Rolls with Lemon Rice. Sounds like a 5 star gourmet restaurant, doesn’t it? Well it is all thanks to Tracy Griffith!
I am excited to announce my amazing readers have an opportunity to win a FREE copy of Stealth Health Lunches Kids Love to add to your cookbook collection, just in time for back to school! Please see giveaway details below. You can also pre-order a copy HERE on Amazon. 
This giveaway will be open until Tuesday, July 23rd at 8:00 pm PST.  One winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Wednesday, July 24th and will have 48 hours to contact me with their mailing address or another winner will be selected. 

To Enter*:
1. Follow GlutenExchange on Twitter and tweet-  
My lunch will be filled w/#glutenfree eats w/a chance 2 win @sushigirrrl Stealth Health Lunches Kids Love #cookbooks from @GlutenExchange 
(Please leave a comment here saying you did so.)

Additional Entries:
2. Like Stealth HealthLunches Kids Love on Facebook
3. Like The Gluten Exchange on Facebook and/or Follow @GlutenExchange on Instagram

*One winner per household, email address or home address. If you have won this prize on another blog you are ineligible to win again. (U.S. Only) Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of Stealth Health Lunched Kids Love at no cost and for review purposes only. All opinions are my own.  

July 6, 2013

Two Years

Happy 2nd Birthday to the Gluten Exchange! 
Thank you all for your support! I’m so appreciative of the gluten free community this space has created and I love sharing parts of my gluten free life. Thank you for following.