Birthday Fun

As some of you know, this past week was my birthday and I know some of you would enjoy knowing what I did to celebrate; beyond online shopping for birthday gifts. (Being the introvert I am I get excited to have packages delivered at home without any malls or answering “can I help you?”.)

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The weekend before my birthday Luke took me out to all you can eat sushi at our favorite hole in the wall sushi place in Rochester. I filled up on plenty of spicy tuna  and we shared sake.

Afterwards Luke bought me shoes. Yes my husband bought me shoes for my birthday. We went to the Field and Stream by the mall and Luke bought me my first pair of Chacos. (He has been trying to get me a pair for a couple of years now).

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We then headed over to the movie theatre to see Jurassic World, which was surprisingly good. Who doesn’t like a dinosaur action movie with awesome John Williams music?

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Realizing the time after the movie we rushed over to our favorite yogurt shop just before they closed. We felt bad making her turn the machines on again which ment a soupy dessert and a few bug bites from eating it outside. Still it was a great birthday date.

very_berry_LOGOOther than this,  I decided also to make myself a few b-day treats. As you should know from reading my blog I enjoy baking and cooking new recipes so making my own b-day treats was fun.

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I made lemon cream scones for breakfasts which went perfect with goat cheese and strawberry rhubarb jelly.

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I also made shortcake with orange liquor macerated strawberries and homemade whipped cream. (Recipes of all of this to follow). And just in case your wondering, yes I shared my birthday treats with Luke.

Gluten Free Cereal Treats

Did you know that store bought rice cereal treats have malt or barley in the them?  Which is a problem for me. To learn more about this see why I’m barley free.

Rice cereals should be gluten free but many unfortunately are not. So I decided to make healthier gluten free cereal treats at home.

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Aldi’s has recently made new gluten free cereals so I combined two different types: brown rice and flax with chia.

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Also to change things up I  added dried apricots, blueberries, and cherries and white chocolate chips.

Here’s my recipe for Gluten Free Cereal Treats

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Ingredients:

1. 2 boxes of your choice of gluten free cereal; 9-10 oz. each or about 6-8 cups total

Note: make sure the cereal you buy is small and crunchy/hard in texture

2. 5-6 oz or about 2 cups of dried apricot

3. 5-6 oz or about 2 cups of dried blueberries/cherries or your choice of dried fruit

4. 1 1/2 -2 cups of while chocolate chips; depending how sweet you want it

Note: you can make this healthier by using yogurt chips

5. 2-3 cups mini marshmallows

6. 2 tsp salt

7. 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup butter

Note: you can exchange the butter for coconut oil for a healthier dessert

Instructions

1. Chop apricots, blueberries, and cherries

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2. Put dried fruit, cereal, and white chips into a large mixing bowl

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3. Grease two 9×11 pans

4. Heat butter in a small pot on low

5. Once the butter has softened add the marshmallows and salt

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6. Watch the marshmallow mixture on low and fold the butter/mallows together slowly with a spatula

7. Once the marshmallow mixture is completely melted pour into the cereal mixture

8. Mix with hand mixer or I used my kitchen aid mixer

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9. Once mixed, quickly place in pans, it is easiest to press down the gooey mix with greased hands or the back end of a large and wide spatula

10. Give the rice cereal treats time to cool in the fridge, once cool you can cut them into squares. Store the squares in a closed container in the fridge.

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My husband, who is not a huge fan of marshmallows thought these were much better then store bought or traditional rice cereal treats.

These were a perfect camping trip treat and easy summer snack boost.

Lessons Learned: Round 2

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Last weekend we reserved a campsite at a state park down the road from us in Dansville: stony brook park. We had been watching the weather reports closely and were not sure how much rain we would get but decided to go anyways. After, all we both have lived in the northwest.

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Thursday and most of Friday I spent buying supplies, prepping, and packing.  We left and got set up Friday night. We enjoyed our beautiful view of the brook from our campsite, set up the tent, and table, and got a fire and hot dogs going. Everything was going well.

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We had a good night sleep and next morning made a large camp stove breakfast with strong coffee. After a few hours enjoying the campsite, reading and relaxing, we decided to walk the gorge and rim trail. I got my sunscreen and bug spray on and was ready to go.

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We got less then a quarter mile in when we heard claps of thunder. I thought we had brought our thin rain coats with us to the trail head; but we  ended up driving back to the campsite. When we got back we decided to wait out the weather. Luke took a nap while I read. I stayed sunny the whole time.

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When Luke woke up the rain hit, and it hit hard. Luke had some work to do so we decided to go home for a few hours while it rained then go out to dinner. When we came back to our campsite it was still wet and raining.

We decided to get a fire going anyways and to make ourselves some berry cobbler over the fire in foil (which turned out very yummy). But when we got ready to go to the tent for the evening we discovered our sleeping bags were wet. There was water dripping in at the center of the tent.

Lesson Learned: If you are going to be adventurous and go camping in the rain make sure your tent has recently been waterproofed.

We  cleaned it up, put a towel down where it was dripping, and moved our sleeping bags and clothes away from walls and the center. We tried to settle into our sleeping bags for the night, but it was humid and the water that came into the tent caused everything to be a little damp. I knew I would get damp and as the temperature dropped after the storm passed, if it passed, I would get cold. We tried to stick it out.

Lesson Learned: If you want to be adventurous when camping, no matter the weather, do not go camping near your home. It is too much of a temptation to know you are 10 minutes from a warm dry bed.

By midnight we were back at home. When we returned to our campsite the next day we decided we needed to tear down camp. The rain was not letting up and we found our tent site was turning into a puddle. Because it was pouring we had to pack the dry items, then put towels down, then the wet items. When we got home we hung all wet items including sleeping bags, tents, picnic tablecloths etc. in the laundry room to dry.

It was still an enjoyable day and a half outdoor, we had a lot of laughs, and spent the rest of the weekend together, as we had planned, (mostly) away from technology. On the plus side also items on the house to-do list left on the list for months finally got accomplished.

Lessons Learned: Round 1

The past two weekends have not gone the way we thought or wanted them to. So we chalk them up to lessons learned-lessons I’ll share with you.

Memorial Day weekend, our engagement anniversary, we decided to get a couples massage and go out to dinner. We found a massage place through groupon in the Pittsford area near Rochester. The massage was great, it was afterward things went down hill.

I had taken a two year break from Indian food after a bad cashew curry reaction. To learn more about my tree nut allergy go to why I am tree-nut free. But we had another groupon for a Henrietta based Indian restaurant and I thought it was time I finally try again. We were extra cautious with our meal choice we also asked what oils they use to cook with and they reassured us no nut oils were used.

Still I had a few bites of rice, chicken, then I ate a green pepper and my lip started to blister and swell. I know I am not allergic to green peppers, I eat them almost every week. So I knew it was cross-contamination of cashew oil, possibly something was cooked in the same pan etc.

Lesson Learned: No Restaurant Indian food, especially for date night.

The date ended with my husband at Target getting me benadryl and ginger ale.  I will from now on learn to make curries etc. in my tree-nut free home kitchen.