Gluten-Free Thai Curry Pasta

I was reading BuzzFeed yesterday and was inspired by this “19 Delicious Spaghetti Dinners” post. We usually do pasta one night a week and I decided to spice it up a bit. I gave Z a bunch of options to choose from and he picked Thai. I used their recipe for “Spaghetti With Red Curry, Green Beans And Peanuts” and added a bunch of my own toppings and some protein.

I had most of the ingredients in the pantry or out in the garden but had to go buy the seafood, curry paste, and green beans.

I headed to America Seafood to pick up some gigantic Gulf Shrimp (from Key West) and some big sea scallops. I usually buy seafood at the grocery store but have been wanting to find a seafood store/distributor. America Seafood is super small and pretty pricey but the owners were nice and the seafood was fresh and delicious!


The first step was to peel and de-vein the shrimp before boiling them (just under 90 seconds in the same pot I cooked the pasta in).


Step 2: Remove little rubbery fin-thing on the scallop, rinse, pat dry, and season with salt and pepper.


Step 3: Gather all ingredients, chop toppings, and snap/trim green beans.


Step 4: Blanch green beans.


Step 5: Toast curry paste in vegetable oil for about 30 seconds (be careful of the splatter!). The recipe called for 2 tablespoons, but I used 4 tablespoons!


Step 6: Add coconut milk and green beans. DSC_0541

Undocumented final steps: cook GF pasta, cook seafood (boiled shrimp, seared scallops), mix pasta in with sauce, assemble the plates, pour the wine, and ENJOY!


The pasta was topped with fresh jalapenos, tomato (garden), basil (garden), cucumber, lime, and chopped peanuts.



The pasta had great flavor and a range of textures, the seafood was outstanding (super duper fresh), and the dish was really comforting. Z had two plates! Guess he was happy with his choice!

Side note: So many good things happening in our lives right now (aside from the nail in my foot). More on all those good things (and maybe the nail) coming soon…

Spring Break in Williamsburg, VA

I had a week off of school in April, so Z also took a couple days off and we took a little road trip!


We arrived just in time for lunch. Since Williamsburg is a college town (home of William and Mary) we stopped at Paul’s Deli which is like a college deli/diner.


Greek salad for me!


French Dip sandwich for Z.


After lunch we headed down to Colonial Williamsburg to check out the sites.


One of the highlights for me was seeing this baby calf!




I spy a cardinal…


The garden was SUPER cool!


We stopped at a candy shop and I picked up some sea salt caramels for me and some turtles for my mom (who watched Louis for us!). We sat in some rocking chairs on the campus of William and Mary where I enjoyed one of my treats!


After a few hours (and lots of miles) walking, we headed back to our hotel to rest before cleaning up for dinner.

We stopped at Dog Street Pub for a few drinks before our 8:45pm dinner reservation.


Our dinner reservations were just across the street from the pub so we were right on time!

I chose Fat Canary because I read such great reviews everywhere! The restaurant was super cute and we got a great private table with an awesome server (Hi Tink!).



We started with the Rappahannock Oysters – yum!


z also ordered the seasonal corn soup.


We got a nice bottle of wine to share since we walked in to town!


For my entrée I got the scallops with smoked tomatoes! I haven’t eaten scallops since this dinner because they were SO PERFECT and nothing will measure up!


z ordered a fish special which was also awesome.


We even splurged and got espresso profiteroles for dessert!


A great meal and a great day in Williamsburg! Happy Spring Break to me!

Garden and Backyard Progress!

Let’s go back in to the archives to see what our backyard looked like when we bought our house in September…

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Overgrown and scary!

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We immediately went to work removing/killing the English Ivy that had taken over and began to think about how many trees needed to come down.

This picture is after having some trees removed and clearing a lot of the brush/bushes.


This is the stump of the GIANT Locust from the middle of the yard – it was rotten on the inside! Scary.


Getting there…


After we had cleared as much as we could for the time being, Z tilled a patch of dirt and put up a fence for our new garden!


My awesome husband made this gate! Sweet!


Anaheim and Habanero peppers in a container. I painted the little rock markers to distinguish.


Planting potatoes.


Gardening bench.


This is our backyard and garden TODAY (May 9th) after lots of love and hard work:


I’m not sure who loves our backyard more…Z or the dog!


I think Louis has a slight edge because I haven’t seen Z roll in the grass…yet!


When we moved in to our new house, the previous owners left a large compost bin in the yard. It had not been used or taken care of in years, but the bin was still in good shape. We cleaned it out and got motivated to start composting!

Here is a little more information on Composting from Planet Natural:

In the kitchen, we have a small OXO Good Grips Compost Bin to put our every day food scraps. We empty the bin 1-2 times a week which means we don’t have to use a filter or charcoal and it doesn’t get too smelly!  DSC_0515

We pretty much stick to composting fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, and coffee/espresso grounds. We don’t put any scraps in the bin that have been cooked or prepared (no oil or grease!). We also don’t put any meat, fish or dairy in our compost.



Every weekend we make a point of adding our kitchen compost bin to our larger bin outside.


Z turns it over with a shovel to make sure it’s all mixed together and that the broken down scraps are helping the new scraps.


It’s nice and sweaty (and wormy) in our compost bin. The leaves, dirt, and scraps produce heat which helps break everything down.


We are so excited to be creating this nutrient-dense soil to fertilize our garden naturally! We have also SIGNIFICANTLY cut down on our trash production.

Recycling + Composting + Reusing = less trash in our landfills!

We are so excited to have so much space to do things like composting and gardening! Speaking of gardening…

Stay tuned for my next post to introduce you to our garden!


Lately, 90′s R&B has been the ONLY station I will listen to on Pandora…



Lately…I have been slacking in the blog posting area so I will dump all pictures into one post. I’m sorry or you’re welcome.

treats and puppy backpack from cousin SAMBA (Aunt A and Uncle P too!).



solo viewing.


gf cookie making.


bike maintenance class at Papillon Cycles.


post-bike class dinner at P. Brennan’s on the Pike.





z’s homemade Old Bay shrimp boil.


first time at Wegmans with Dad. Yum.


road trip to NJ with mom for sister-in-law’s baby shower.



jersey diner.


baby shower cake.


tofu hot dogs.


weird book at school.


homemade mojitos with brown sugar.


loving our screened-in porch.



pre and post puppy haircut.


pretty rain barrel, painted by Z.



gigantic burrito at Taqueria Poblano.


morning after dinner with T&E and Dan’s 30th bday party. Ouch.


Advocare 24-day challenge.


healthy, Advocare-friendly meals.



oil lamp (awesome wedding gift).


cut my first whole pineapple then ate the whole thing in two days.


two weekends in a row of native plant sales.




cinco de mayo.


morning picture message to my mom.


Advocare smoothie.


900 pictures in one post. Awesome. Hope it’s not too long before I update again…

A Day in the Life (Snowy St. Paddy’s Day Edition).

So, I went back to work last week and to keep myself from doing any work at home today (consultants don’t get paid to telework), I decided to do a “day in the life” post!

Wake up 5am. z goes downstairs to check on the weather. No work for me, telework for z.


Turn off alarm and go back to sleep until 8:30! While I’m sleeping, z takes the pup out for a walk and measures the snow! I love the pictures he took!




While I was sleeping, z also put corned beef and veggies in the crockpot for dinner.

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I finally get up and make some green juice for pre-breakfast. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Check email, blogs, and social media before pouring a bowl of cereal. I found this new cereal at Costco yesterday so I’m excited to try it.


Cut strawberries and pour unsweetened almond milk on top of cereal. Verdict: yum!


Post up on the couch with laptop and Louis.



After browsing the internet, with a baking project in mind, I find this recipe, for Lemon Chia Coffee Cake, and get to work! I deviated a little by using gluten free flour, extra zest, and blueberry Activia!


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Behind the scenes it’s a crazy mess…



I washed dishes, put away clean dishes and ate lunch while it baked: Gluten Free Quinoa Tabbouleh with a piece of cheese and some horseradish hummus!


After 50 minutes of baking, I took the cake out of the oven and let it cool slightly before sampling…

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Oh it’s good. Really good. z was even surprised that it was gluten free! Success!

lemon cake yum

Around 3:11 I reheated my coffee that I’d forgotten about…Phew, still good!

cold coffee

After a little walk with Louis, I cleaned off the cars (holy cow, that’s a TON of snow!). I was on the computer a lot today – I had to renew my anti-virus, play on Pinterest, etc. Very important work.

I started prepping for dinner around 5:30 which meant chopping cabbage, onions, and garlic to sauté. I also boiled some potatoes.



Guinness, of course.


My meal: cabbage, potatoes, and a veggie burger.

vegetarianluck o the irish

z had corned beef, cabbage, and crock pot veggies!

corned beef dinner

A nice St. Patrick’s snow day at home with my boys!




Past St. Paddy’s Day Festivities:

Making a Rain Barrel.

z and I went to a rain barrel workshop that was offered by the Virginia Cooperative Extension. There was a brief overview about why rain barrels are useful, environmentally friendly, and cost-saving. We also got to see a demonstration of how to put the rain barrel together before they let us make one ourselves.


Our rain barrel used to have pickles inside!


I literally had to climb in to help attach adhesive and a washer to the inside part of the spigot!


I’d say I did a good job…


z hard at work!


We’re proud of our rain barrel!


We are excited to get Gherkin (yes, we named our rain barrel) painted and in to our yard to save money and water our plants!

Mardi Gras 2014

Last Tuesday was Mardi Gras! As lovers of all things New Orleans, z and I always celebrate!

glitter sign



Our meal showcased our favorite blackened seasoning blend: Blackened Redfish Magic from Chef Paul Prudhomme (remember when we went to his restaurant!?)


z read my mind and brought home some Abita!




Blackened tilapia, black beans (cooked with the “holy trinity”), rice, avocado, and cornbread!


For dessert, I made my own colored sugar (granulated sugar and food coloring) to put on top of the baby king cakes.


(Even though they sort of look like king cakes, these are really just super healthy, vegan cupcakes I made using a mini bundt pan)



Happy Mardi Gras, ya’ll!

Here’s how we’ve celebrated Mardi Gras in the past:

Meal Planning Rocks.

Remember when we bought a house and were renovating the kitchen…yea it’s still not done, but at least the fridge is decorated and we’re able to use the kitchen.

Meal planning has been a huge help to us since we moved in – it helps us save money, save gas (1 trip a week to the store), and answer the “What’s for dinner?” question! We have successfully meal-planned for each week of 2014 and we’re not stopping any time soon! Here is a sneak peek in to our process each weekend:


We create a meal plan and post it on the fridge each week! This helps if either of us are out of the house and the other wants to start prepping dinner.


This week, I knew I wanted to make a big pot of chili and cornbread on Sunday which would help us with leftovers during the week. I first made a giant pot of black beans (from dry beans) with soaked beans, garlic, bay leaves, and epazote. I used this in the chili and saved some because it’s Mardi Gras on Tuesday and we want to celebrate with festive food (blackened fish with rice and beans).


We typically do one pasta night and at least one fish night which greatly eases the process of choosing meals. After the meals are chosen, I make a list of all the ingredients that we need to purchase as well as other staples for breakfast, lunch, snacks, etc. Please forgive my handwriting!

Side note: I never remember meeting an adult with poor handwriting while growing up and now, at 29 years old, I fear I may be the only “adult” with really awful pen(wo)manship!

meal planning

I try to keep all my grocery shops under 100 dollars for the week. Meal planning, and keeping a stocked pantry/freezer, really helps with this goal!

Here are some of the fun, and zero-stress, weeknight meals we have made thanks to proper meal planning:

Parmesan Spinach Quinoa and Grapefruit Avocado Salad




Fish Tacos


Roasted Red Pepper Soup


Pizza and Calzones (with homemade dough)


Southwestern Stuffed Peppers


Swordfish Curry


Pressed Sandwiches with Sweet Potato “Fries”


It feels almost luxurious to have cohesive, delicious meals on a weeknight, but it’s totally possible if you meal plan! We are definitely big believers in this house!

Turmeric and Pancakes (Not Together)

I have been on a turmeric kick lately, all thanks to this Instagram post by Lilveggiepatch and the long list of health benefits!

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Homemade turmeric shot…(convinced my mom, dad, AND little brother to take them too!)

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Turmeric and coconut oil eggs…

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and swordfish curry. Turmeric is awesome!

swordfish curry

Want to know how to incorporate more turmeric into your day? Check out this great post by Mind Body Green: 10 Ways To Get More Turmeric

Now on to the pancakes! z and I got this huge electric griddle from my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas. I use it almost every weekend to make a big batch of regular and gluten-free pancakes that we freeze for the week! I typically make blueberry pancakes for z and change it up with my GF cakes.

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I just got a new cookbook: BabyCakes Covers the Classics – after I was finished reading it cover to cover (like a novel), I had to make the gingerbread pancakes!



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I’ll leave you with a random picture of z, Louis, and z’s new wooden 6-pack carrier I got him for Christmas from this Etsy shop: ReImagine UpCycling

He loves to store beer in the basement fridge (yes, we have two refrigerators) and bring them up 6 at a time with his new carrier! Cute.

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It’s a snow day around here, so I’m likely to shoot out a couple more blog posts…