Gift Guide: For The Celiac In Your Life

Pull someone who has Celiac as a secret Santa? Not sure what to get for them but still want to make it special? Below are just some suggestions on things that I’ve found handy over the past couple of years (and at various price points, too!)

UNDER $15:

Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes, and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free

I received this book from a Secret Santa the Christmas after I was diagnosed with Celiac. The diagnosis was still fresh and this book helped make the news more bearable. Packed with gluten-free recipes, funny stories, and relatable advice, this book is a great ‘under $15’ gift for any gluten-free friend.

UNDER $20:

Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes to Make Anytime

After my diagnosis, there was a huge learning curve on 1) how to cook in general and 2) how to cook for my new dietary restrictions. This cookbook has great recipes that are easy to follow and with very few ingredients. Between this and Hello Fresh, I’ve graduated from novice to basic chef. That’s a small jump, right? Anyway, this cookbook would be the perfect ‘under $20’ gift for a fellow Celiac.

UNDER $30:

Gluten-Free Spiced Apple Quick Bread Mix

Not into gifting books? That’s okay. A gift basket filled with GF treats would make any Celiac smile. These gluten-free spiced apple muffins are so good and so easy to whip up. Add in Williams-Sonoma’s lemon cake and pumpkin bread mixes and you’ve got an excellent ‘under $30’ gift. PS – They’re currently on sale!

UNDER $50:

Hello Fresh Meal Delivery Subscription

Like I said earlier, I quickly had to learn how to cook for myself (and Josh) after I got diagnosed. Ordering take out or going out to dinner wasn’t as easy as it used to be, so I had to adapt. Hello Fresh’s easy-to-follow recipe cards made the transition to the gluten-free lifestyle super smooth. They have so many recipes to choose from weekly, and many already come gluten-free. I always keep rice (an easy swap for tortillas to create a bowl) and GF pasta on hand, so whipping up meals for Josh and I is no problem! A subscription (or maybe just their first box) would be an awesome gift for a Celiac.

 

If you’re a fellow Celiac, what gluten-free gift ideas are you asking for this year? If you’re gifting a Celiac, what are you thinking about getting them? Comment below or on my Instagram post – I’d love to hear from you! 

December 2019

Well, folks. It’s here. The last monthly playlist of the year (and DECADE?!?!?!).

I’m going to let that one sit in for a sec.

 

Okay, now that you’ve fully come to terms with the fact that we are about to enter another decade (WHAAAAAAA?!), it’s time to see what’s on the December playlist. It’s a shorter one this month because if you’re like me, you most likely have NSYNC’s “Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays” + John Legend’s “What Christmas Means to Me” on repeat already and don’t have that much time for normal jams. Also, you’re probably busy watching every A Christmas Prince or Vanessa Hudgens Christmas installment on Netflix, so obviously can’t simultaneously listen to music and pay attention. It’s also hard to hear regular music over the sound of you munching on Christmas cookies. I’m just making it easier on you guys, really.

Here’s what you’d hear on December’s playlist:

  • Kissing Other People – Lennon Stella (Reminder that this is the girl from Nashville tv show with Hayden P.)
  • All This Time – Deorro
  • Luna – Bombay Bicycle Club
  • Up All Night – Khalid (He can do no wrong)
  • Watermelon Sugar – Harry Styles
  • Live Before I Die – Naughty Boy & Mike Posner
  • Mean It – Lauv & LANY
  • Gonna Get Funky – GRiZ
  • Feels Like – Midsplit, Proto & Chin Chilla
  • Say Hi – Codeko & Austin Mahone
  • Used to Love – Martin Garrix & Dean Lewis
  • Now I’m In It – HAIM
  • Say It Again – AJ Mitchell
  • Crash Into Me – Steve Aoki & Darren Criss (Had this one on repeat for a bit yesterday. Before reverting back to holiday music – I’m not a monster.)
  • One Foot – Walk The Moon
  • Fades Away (feat. MishCatt) [Tribute Concert Version] – Avicii
  • Put A Little Love On Me – Niall Horan (Once again, the OneD guys released new music on the same day. Do their agents talk? Is this planned? Would love to know.)
  • Family (with Kygo) – The Chainsmokers & Kygo
  • Adore You – Harry Styles

 

Alright, that’s it. Just over an hour of music for ya. As always, head over to Spotify or Apple Music, search “baconama.” Spotify’s playlists are titled “Against the Grain_December 2019” and Apple Music’s are just “December 2019.” Hope you enjoy and happy holidays, everyone!

What I’m Making For Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays and it’s mainly due to the amazing comfort food (and the fact that you can get away with wearing stretchy pants and laying around after the meal, but I digress…). When I was first diagnosed with Celiac, Thanksgiving was super daunting to me because so many of my favorite dishes were filled with gluten – stuffing, gravy, pie… Luckily, we live in a time of heightened awareness of what’s in our food and so many food manufacturers are not only calling out allergens on their packaging, but they’re even creating separate gluten free product lines for Celiacs and anyone out there wishing to eliminate or decrease their gluten intake.

Stuffing:

  • This year, I’ll be using Schar gluten-free bread to make my breadcrumbs.
    • I like Schar better than Udi’s – I just think it holds up a little bit better. (Note that it does contain soy, so be careful if that’s a sensitive food for you).
    • If you’re in a rush, they also have pre-made breadcrumbs, but I like cutting up the bread and toasting the pieces myself for a larger crumb size.
  • Chicken broth (and most other broth flavors while we’re at it) can contain wheat ingredients. I’ve discovered the Pacific Foods brand and won’t go back to anything else. Their broths and some soups are dairy free, gluten free, soy free, yeast free, corn free, and the list goes on. I’m using this organic broth for my stuffing this year.
  • I haven’t purchased the sausage for my stuffing yet, but I’ll most likely be picking up this Boar’s Head robust Italian chicken sausage because it’s packed with flavor and gluten free. I plan on using a trick I learned from Hello Fresh and slicing off the casing to use the inside only.

Gravy:

  • Since I’m not cooking in a kitchen near the turkey, I plan on using a mix to make my gluten free gravy – no judgment whatsoever to people who use the packets. It’s easy! I’ll be whipping up my gravy with this McCormick gluten free turkey gravy mix.

Dessert:

  • This one is simple – I make a sweet potato pie but just without the crust. I’ll share my recipe soon, but just know that it’s basically the same recipe as a normal sweet potato pie. Butter up the sides of your pan so that the sweet potato can crisp up and form a crust of its own.

What are YOU making for Thanksgiving this year? Do you have a creative gluten-free spin on a traditional dish? I’d love to hear what you’re cooking up! Reach out by commenting below or leaving a comment on my Instagram post.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

 

 

*Note: None of the links in today’s post are affiliate links. I’m not making any money off of them. I just really love these products and want you to love them too. 

November 2019

Well folks, fall is officially here and I have the inevitable post-flu shot cold that comes with the season. ‘Tis the time to stock up on apple cider and gluten-free donuts (shout out to the true MVP, Yates Cider Mill) and break out the flannel button downs and fuzzy vests. 

While you’re at it, why don’t you pop over to Apple Music or Spotify, check out the most recent ATG playlist and jam away? Perhaps while you carve pumpkins or sip your Captains and cider by the fireplace? Maybe even while you’re digging into turkey & gluten-free stuffing? Just a thought… Here’s what you’d hear if you did:

  • Spicy (feat. Charli XCX) – Herve Pagez & Diplo [90s chicks rejoice!]
  • Love U – Monsta X
  • RITMO (Bad Boys for Life) – The Black Eyed Peas & J Balvin [another 90s throwback]
  • Baila Conmigo – Jennifer Lopez
  • Hurt People – Gryffin & Aloe Blacc
  • Baggage – Gryffin, Gorgon City & AlunaGeorge
  • Nice to Meet Ya – Niall Horan
  • Lights Up – Harry Styles [Interesting timing that Niall and Harry (& Liam but whatev) would release new songs in the same week…]
  • Lose You to Love Me – Selena Gomez [No doubt this is about JB and I’m here for it]
  • Make It Right (feat. Lauv) – BTS
  • Problems – A R I Z O N A
  • Look At Her Now – Selena Gomez
  • I’ll Be There – Walk Off The Earth
  • Lose Control – Meduza, Becky Hill, Goodboys
  • 10,000 Hours (w/ Justin Bieber) – Dan + Shay
  • Sims – Lauv
  • Lie – Lukas Graham
  • Make You Mine – Public
  • Bruises (Live) – Lewis Capaldi
  • Need Your Love – Gryffin, Seven Lions & Noah Kahan
  • Trigger – Major Lazer & Khalid [More on the chill side for Major Lazer, which I don’t hate]
  • Faith (feat. Mr. Probz) – Galantis & Dolly Parton [Yes, you read that right]
  • Turn It Up – Hootie & The Blowfish [Yes, you read that one correctly too… what a strange world 2019 is]
  • Raising Hell (feat. Big Freedia) – Kesha
  • You Don’t Even Know Me – Faouzia [Someone get this chick on a track with Sia & Florence & The Machine ASAP]
  • Body Back (feat. Maia Wright) – Gryffin
  • Survivor – 2WEI
  • Mirror – Samantha Smith
  • Orphans – Coldplay
  • Blind Leading the Blind – Mumford & Sons

You guys can find this playlist (and all others!) by searching “baconama” on SpotifyI updated my photo so I’m easier to find. If you see a face with gold jacks-like earrings, you’re in the right spot. This month’s playlist is titled “Against The Grain_November 2019“. For my Apple Music followers (hi mom, Stephen, & Stacy!), search “baconama” and you’ll find the “November 2019” playlist. 

Affiliate Links

Hey, you! Heads up on those links you may see on some of my posts: They’re affiliate links! I’m only providing links to items that I use and love, so you can rest assured that I won’t be spamming you with a bunch of random items to make an extra buck. If you decide to purchase something that I’ve linked, I may get a small percentage of that sale from my affiliate partners. I’ll add a #ad to the bottom of the post so you know when it’s happening. Just putting that out there into the universe. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Nice, France

Ever heard the saying, ‘Nice is nice’? Welp, it’s true.

Last May, Josh and I went on a two-week trip to Iceland, Paris, and Nice. Ending our trip in Nice was the perfect decision because it has a great mix of sight-seeing, yummy food, and beach time. We had been on the go for 9 days and were ready to soak up being engaged [and not having a day-by-day itinerary like we did in Iceland]. We didn’t even go in with anything in mind – no known places to see, restaurants in which to dine, or things to do.

Since this was Josh’s first time to Europe, we decided to take the scenic route and booked 2 first class seats on the TGV, France’s high-speed train. The journey from Gare de Lyon to Nice Ville took us about 6 hours. We were able to check out France’s countryside – something we definitely wouldn’t have been able to do from 30,000 feet up.

For our 3 days in Nice, we stayed in an AirBnb on Rue Paradis, right off of a cute pedestrian-only route, Rue Massena. The apartment was right near le Jardin d’Albert and was a super quick walk to Place Massena, their version of a town square. Our place was so central that we didn’t need to grab a cab for the duration of our stay, which is always clutch.

Here are some of the things we did:

  • Visited the #ILoveNice sign – A must-do in Nice in the age of Instagram. If you don’t get a picture with the sign, were you even in Nice?! How would anyone know?!
  • Walked around Place Massena
  • Checked out the Monument Aux Morts de NiceMonument_Nice
  • Walked along La Promenade des Anglais/Quai des Etats-Unis
    • The best views of the water, lots of restaurants, tons of shops & beach clubs

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  • Spent a half day laying out by the water at Plage Beau Rivage . One thing to note: the beaches in Nice are very pebbly and are uncomfortable to lay on without a beach chair. Since we didn’t bring beach towels, we opted to pay to hang out at Beau Rivage, where we had reserved beach chairs, towels, and had wait service right at our chairs. They even had burlap down as walkways to help with the heat and ouchies from walkingon stones.
    Beach 2_Nice
  • Wandered through the pedestrian streets and popped into the tiny shops. It’s so fun to get lost in the tiny foot-traffic-only alleys in European cities (more on this to come in my Greece notes) and to stumble upon some really great restaurants.

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  • Most importantly, ate a lot of charcuterie and macarons.

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    Have you ever been to Southern France? Which cities did you go to? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a note below or on ATG’s Instagram to share and stay tuned for more itineraries/city guides in the weeks to come!

 

Baked Chickpeas – Sarah Elsea Style

What a lovely surprise it was to have Sarah Elsea walk into my old work a few years ago! From day one, the two of us bonded over our shared love of J.Crew’s tissue turtlenecks, candy, wedding planning, and now blogging. Even though we don’t work together anymore (ICYMI, I moved to Chicago), we still chat several times a week to check in on each other and vent about what’s happening in our lives.

Sarah and I started our blogs around the same time and we’ve been helping each other figure this whole #bloggerlife out. I think together, we have a total of maybe 300 followers, but we’re getting there?!

When Sarah shared her easy baked chickpea recipe, I knew I had to share it with my followers. So… head on over to Sarah’s page, give her a follow, and try out this awesome recipe. I know I will!

Italian Tomato & Garbanzo Bean Soup

I first encountered the recipe for this Italian tomato & garbanzo bean soup through Hello Fresh and I’ll admit that initially, I was skeptical. I didn’t think that chickpeas, or garbanzo beans to you official folks, belonged in a soup. Long story short, I was quickly proven wrong and they’re actually my favorite part of this recipe. I’ve tweaked a few things and made the process even more foolproof, making this one of my favorite go-to meals when the weather turns cooler.

This dump-everything-in-a-pot-and-let-it-simmer recipe is SO easy and the end result is a hearty, makes-your-soul-feel-good, semi-healthy bowl of yumminess. Intrigued yet?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1.5 cups (ish) chicken stock (you can easily swap this for veggie broth to make this vegetarian friendly!)
  • Celery, onions, & carrots (I made it easy and used this mirepoix mix)
  • Garlic (I used 3 cloves, but you go with what your heart tells you on this one)
  • Italian herb seasoning
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish

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Here’s what you do:

  • Mince garlic.
  • In a relatively large pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Dump the whole mirepoix mix bag into pan and stir occasionally until veggies are softened, 3-4 minutes. Season with Italian herb seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Add minced garlic to pan and stir combo for an additional minute or until super fragrant.
  • Pour entire cans of crushed tomatoes & garbanzo beans into pan.
  • Add in 1.5 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  • Cover, lower heat, and let stand for 20-25 minutes.
  • Divide into bowls & garnish with shredded parm – enjoy!

Do you have a go-to cool weather soup? Leave a note here or on Instagram with your favorite winter soup!

Williams-Sonoma’s Spiced Apple Muffins

It seems like we’re in a Williams-Sonoma store once a week these days – returning or exchanging registry gifts that we received for our wedding. Every time I’m in the store, I wander around seeing if anything new sparks my attention. This past weekend, I discovered their gluten-free spiced apple quick bread mix and my eyes lit up.

Instead of following the instructions and making one single loaf of bread, we divided the mix into muffin tins and created individual bread muffins. Besides from that, we didn’t deviate from the instructions and they turned out to be so yummy AND made our apartment smell like Bath and Body Works’ Cider Lane candle (bonus!):

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Melt one stick butter
  • Blend butter, 2 eggs, quick bread mix, and 1 cup of water in a big bowl
  • Divide into pre-buttered/greased muffin tins
  • Cook for 55 minutes or until nice and browned
  • Sit for 10 minutes – or if you’re like me, let them sit for maybe 2 minutes, bite into one, and immediately regret it because it’s too hot and you should have listened and waited 10 minutes.

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For all of my Celiac or gluten-sensitive friends, I definitely recommend this mix come holiday time. They’re the perfect little treat with the best flavoring and are so easy to bake. 10/10.

September and October 2019

After taking a month away from ATGchi to get hitched and travel to Greece (stay tuned for some pretty sweet itineraries), I’m back and have a special treat for you! Since I didn’t make a playlist for September (except an awesome 6.5+ hour playlist of your dreams called “Wedding Day Beats” that can be found on my Spotify profile), I’m giving you a DOUBLE playlist! That’s right – two months’ worth of tunes for your eardrums.

I’m currently jamming to this playlist as I’m staring out the window at the gloomiest of gloomy days and can honestly say that these tunes are getting me through. Check out the perfect blend of mmst-mmst and mmm below:

  • All The Time – Zara Larsson
  • Keep You Mine – NOTD & Shy Martin
  • Kill The Lights (w/ Nile Rodgers) [Audien Remix] – Alex Newell, Jess Glynne & DJ Cassidy
  • Love On Me – Galantis & Hook N Sling
  • Young, Wild & Free – Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa
  • Right Back (feat. A Boogie wit da Hoodie) – Khalid
  • All Around the World (feat. Bryn Christopher) – Matoma
  • What Am I – Why Don’t We
  • RAIN – Ben Platt
  • Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince – Taylor Swift [Anyone else say the Half-Blood Prince? Just me? Cool.]
  • Paper Rings – Taylor Swift [We cut our wedding cake to this song!]
  • London Boy – Taylor Swift
  • Daylight – Taylor Swift
  • Rollercoaster – Jonas Brothers
  • Slow Dance (feat. Ava Max) – AJ Mitchell
  • The Git Up – Blanco Brown [The most addicting song ever]
  • Dance Monkey – Tones and I
  • Thing For You – David Guetta & Martin Solveig
  • Back & Forth – MK, Jonas Blue & Becky Hill
  • Walking On a Dream – Empire of the Sun [Flashbacks to MSU tailgates, anyone?]
  • Proud – Marshmello
  • Don’t Give Up On Me – Andy Grammer
  • if we never met – JOHN.k
  • Torn – Ava Max
  • Motivation – Normani [a JAM]
  • In Your Arms – Illenium & X Ambassadors
  • Dreams (feat. Dakota & T-Pain) – Alex Ross [Reminds me of a song that’d play in A&F circa 2007]
  • Call If You Need Me – Galantis
  • Peanut Butter Jelly – Galantis
  • I’m Not Alright – Loud Luxury & Bryce Vine [Slowly getting okay with this country & dance hybrid thing]
  • Wish You Well – Sigala & Becky Hill
  • Champion (feat. Tia Ray) – Jason Derulo
  • We Were Young (feat. JP Cooper) – Petit Biscuit & DROELOE
  • Look Away – Stephen Puth
  • Sax – Fleur East [If you’re in a bad mood, listen to this.]
  • Wanted – OneRepublic
  • Let It Be Me – Steve Aoki & Backstreet Boys [Backstreet’s back, alright?!]
  • OMG – Gryffin & Carly Rae Jepsen [Carly is having a MOMENT and I’m 100% here for it]
  • Lonely – Diplo & Jonas Brothers
  • Good Thing – Zedd & Kehlani
  • Heartless (feat. Morgan Wallen) – Diplo
  • Imperfections – Celine Dion [Celine!!!!!!!!]
  • Slide Away – Miley Cyrus
  • I Wish – Hayley Kiyoko
  • Love Me Less (feat. Kim Petras) – MAX & Kim Petras
  • Legends – Now United
  • Feelings – Lauv
  • Could Have Been You – Jake Miller
  • Holy Water – Galantis [Galantis can do no wrong, IMO]
  • Me Quedare Contigo (feat. Lenier & El Micha) – Pitbull & Ne-Yo
  • The Power – Duke Dumont & Zak Abel
  • This Is Real – Jax Jones & Ella Henderson [Great combo!]
  • Somebody To Love – OneRepublic
  • Lady – Blake Rose
  • Young And In Love – Ingrid Michaelson
  • Carry Me Away – John Mayer
  • Circles – Post Malone
  • Rooting For You – Alessia Cara
  • Shotgun – George Ezra

Reminder that you can find this playlist, and all others, by searching “baconama” on Spotify. This month’s playlist is titled “Against The Grain_Sept and Oct 2019“. For my Apple Music followers, search “baconama” and you’ll find the “September 2019” and “October 2019” playlists ready to go!