my week(s) in review: the view from here, there, and everywhere

Hi. Hello. Hola.

How are you?

Where have you been?

Wait, where have I been? (on Instagram mostly… join me: celiacinthecity)

Let me tell you guys, things have been craaaaazy around the Nielsen household this past month.

We’re moving. To a temporary condo. With a puppy. But currently living up at the cottage in the northwoods of Wisconsin. With our puppy. We’re house hunting. We need a yard. For our puppy.

Did I mention we got a puppy? 😉

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Now I get the term furbabies — until we have babies of our own, this little guy will be getting all of my bottled up unconditional love.

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He’s as much work as we expected and then some, but he has also brought JOY to our lives.

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While we’re “roughing it” up here, we’ve had visitors….

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The bubbas! (big fans of the hammock — who isn’t?!)

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We celebrated my celiac sista’s birthday in style — with cake for breakfast. 🙂 photo 2

We take nap time seriously around here.

And food. We don’t joke around about food.  photo 1

Grilled flank steak with our secret marinade. (*update: it’s not a secret anymore, you can get it in one of the gluten-free boxes from Pairdd!)

Local asparagus makes me smile. Have you ever “hunted” for asparagus? We used to go out and cut asparagus in the ditches every spring while growing up in Minnesota, with our grandpa and grandma. My mamasita makes a mean creamed of asparagus over toast. How are you cooking up this seasonal favorite?

And the pasta salad? You should make it tonight. Just cook your favorite GF pasta (we used Jovial) and top it with either store bought or homemade Greek Vinaigrette dressing, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and cucumbers. It was a hit, even with the kiddos.

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We used leftovers for “Anything Goes Egg Cups.” Really, you can use anything. And if you don’t have meat to put in the bottom, you can just scramble all the ingredients.

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I’ve been taking part of a “100 Days of Workouts” challenge with some girlfriends — it’s now day 68 and still going strong.

It’s easy when there are views like this up here…photo 5

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I snuck off to the “big city” to plug in quick and say hello to you all, isn’t the Java Lodge peaceful? (it’s way easier than trying to “share” your morning coffee with little Lincoln)photo 5

He’s on his way into town now with dad so we can test out the leash. Wish me luck. And stay tuned, I’ll check in when I can — when the internet is available, when the moving is over, and when we can get back to the kitchen together. I’ve been wanting to make Blueberry Mojito Muffins… who’s with me?

But for now? We play. photo 4

EnJOY your day.

xoxo   Sarah & Lincoln 🙂

{my week in photos: the view from here}



It’s funny how we rush through our days, anxious to get to the next event, take another call, send a follow up email. So rare that we take a moment to just BE. I was in the exact opposite position driving home from the cottage — I wanted time to stand still, rewind actually. Have another week up north where there is no phone ringing, reception is iffy to even check your email, and the biggest plan of the day is deciding what to cook and which movie to watch.

I want to go (back) to there.

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We did all kinds of crazy spring cleaning over the weekend, including cleaning the carpets and “shoveling” the roof. You would not believe the snow we had up there.

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The kind of snow that is too deep for the ATV to handle. (he had to dig himself out)

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The kind of snow that is perfect for snowshoeing — if only I had dug these out BEFORE trekking out to fill the bird feeder.

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Old Fashioneds, however, can cure any and all sore muscle issues. 😉

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The only downside was that when we arrived late Friday night (after dinner and drinks at Jungle Jim’s — where they stock GF beer, cider, and cook for me safely every single time) we had NO HEAT. It was 43 degrees inside and the snow was coming down outside. Brrr!

So we camped out by the fire and made the most of it with a Band of Brothers marathon. 🙂

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After a weekend of cleaning, we celebrated the wee bit of Irish in us with another trip to Jungle Jim’s to hang with the locals and have another Voo Doo unwich. Before heading out, we toasted to a clean cottage in the Irish mugs from Mamasita. (we had no green beer, but Mark loves Brussels sprouts, so we got a little green in there) photo 1


Our Monday morning “commute” through the National Forest, just for fun.

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We eased back into real life doing Taco Thursday with the in-laws. Mamasita’s salsa was a hit as usual and we wowed them with both regular and venison tacos in a marinade that had my mother-in-law believing it was just steak. If you aren’t sure about venison, try marinading it or serving it with a sauce — my first encounters with it weren’t my favorite, but now I have become a big fan and look forward to it every year. photo 5

For dessert: angel food cake with strawberry sauce and real whipped cream.

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I had been holding on to a gift card from my mama for Andrea’s Gluten-Free Bakery in MO — one of the first places I fell in love with at the GF Expo in Chicago over five years ago. They are now moving on to bigger and better things with a larger facility, but will only be selling their products in grocery stores, including Hy-Vee, so be sure to ask for their products if you have one in your area. (hint, hint to my celiac sista) So I splurged on a sweet treat and stocked up on soft dinner rolls for Easter — which I am over the moon excited for because my sister and all the boys are coming!

Want an easy way to make a fancy dessert? Cut the cake, bars, cookies, whatever you are serving, into cubes and coat it with strawberry or chocolate sauce. For this, I had some strawberries with sugar frozen and just heated them in a sauce pan to thicken it up, cooled slightly and poured over the cake. Then impress them with real whipped cream — just heavy whipping cream, a little sweetener of your choice, and a few drops of vanilla. Then mix at high speed with the whisk attachment until thick and creamy. Dollop on top. Serve and enjoy the moments of silence while they soak in the sweet goodness.

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(I saved the other cake for when my best buddies come.)

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I used to think the only way to have flowers in the house was to have someone give them to you — and Mark does from time to time, but why not just pick them out myself? Then I get my favorite color every time.

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Isn’t she pretty? It’s my brand new bread machine, one of the top prizes for my 3rd place finish in the GF Cookie Swap contest. photo 4

I decided to go basic (I haven’t used a bread machine in years!) and adapt Gluten-Free Girl’s bread recipe to the bread machine. We have been wanting to make her crusty boule  again, it went over well with “Team GF” a couple of years ago for Christmas, so I figured it couldn’t be that hard to convert it over. And it just so happened that Autumn Makes and Does thought the same thing — so between Shauna’s recipe, Autumn’s notes, tips from around the web, and the user manual, I made something happen.

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It’s cooling as I type. The aroma in here between that bread and tonight’s dinner is making my mouth water. If when it turns out perfectly and we slice it up for beef sammies later, I’ll be back with the recipe. Cross your fingers and stay tuned. (and if you are already a whiz with the bread machine — can you tell me your secrets?)

Have a JOYful weekend!




{my week in photos: the view from here}



Mark just called and said he’ll be here in ten minutes — so let’s make this short and sweet shall we? We’re headed up north for spring break!

But before I hit the road, here’s what the week looked like.



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My newest breakfast obsession — avocado toast with an egg and drizzled balsamic. Try it!

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Siggi’s sent us coupons for free yogurt for the last GF Get Together. (thanks, guys!) Perfect pairing for some “granilla” as Chef Carter calls it. 🙂

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After coming to the sad realization that I was out of hot cocoa for a RumChata Chocolate... I took matters into my own hands and made some chai tea. A ChaiChata. Problem solved.

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Some of our best creations come from cleaning out the fridge — like these “Pizza Tostadas” we whipped up this week. Just use corn tortillas and a skillet. Get the tortillas heating up, add your favorite pizza sauce (we used Mid’s) and toppings, let the tortilla get crispy and the cheese melt and BOOM. DONE. Dinner is served! Easy-peasy — my kind of weeknight meal.

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It was Mark’s birthday this week and he was actually home to celebrate it! Our dear friend made brownies for him — and of course she did them gluten-free style so I could have a taste too. (she used Betty Crocker’s mix — thanks, LT!)

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And celebrate we did. I took him to Circa, which ironically is the old Olive Pit, where we had our rehearsal dinner before our wedding. Big changes over there, it’s lovely inside. I’ll be writing more on it later, but I am still talking about the food!

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I may sneak away to the little local coffee shop early next week, but until then you’ll find me in front of the fire with a book and a cup of coffee, tea, or a ChaiChata. (bee-ing so relaxed!)

Have a JOYful weekend!



My week in photos: the view from here.


As you know, I find joy in the little things in life — like my Christmas Cactus that is taking bloom this week. Everyone in our family got part of the plant from my grandparents’ home, after they had passed away, and I look forward to the blooms every year. (which come just before my grandma’s birthday in March, not at Christmas) 🙂

photo 1 Have you had the soft pretzels from Molly’s GF Bakery? We heated them in the oven with some Penzeys Pizza Seasoning and dipped them in Mid’s pizza sauce, our new go-to pizza sauce.

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We made a big blue pot of chicken noodle soup this week with Jovial Egg Noodles — by far THE best pasta we have tried for soup. Made the soup on Saturday and ate it all this week for lunch. The flavor was enhanced each day and the noodles were firm until the last bowl.

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If you are looking for the perfect pasta for soup, try Jovial. (you can read my review of their other noodles here, along with an easy Tuna Noodle recipe) They were kind enough to send pasta samples for everyone at our Gluten-Free Get Together 3rd Anniversary party last month — thanks, Jovial!

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Tis the season of citrus! I can’t seem to get enough oranges, grapefruits, and clementines lately. We had a surplus and decided sangria sounded like a solution. 😉

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The whole Food section of the Journal Sentinel was a gluten-free feature — and I made the front page! You can see the JSOnline version herephoto 2

The husband was pretty excited. (me too, what an honor!)

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I’m trying to incorporate more tea and a little less coffee into my mornings — this was a honey-lemon-ginseng blend, but I’d love to hear what you tea experts are drinking, looking for suggestions.

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After using up all the oranges in the sangria, I was out of luck for my New Grist having an orange slice. The husband suggested a lemon, noting that most of the beers I drank pre-GF went with a lemon slice. He was right! (yes, I’m admitting it)

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The “giving thanks” jars got a seasonal makeover — any other jelly bean fans out there? It’s my spring weakness. Be sure you get the gluten-free ones. Here is a mini list, waiting on some of the more extensive ones to hit the web this week.

Speaking of giving thanks… we got dumped on with snow last week and I can’t help but feel sorry for the custodians that are out there shoveling, one of the women in our building uses a cane some days, yet was out there breaking her back, so I wanted to do something. I show my gratitude best with food. photo 5

These Powdered Sugar Doughnut Muffins from Elizabeth Barbone were a hit with the custodians, they were thanking me all week. And now we can all give thanks to Elizabeth, who was willing to share the recipe with you!

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When you do make them (and you really should, for Easter maybe, or this week?) take my advice and do a re-sugaring before serving. I also sprinkle cinnamon into the powdered sugar for a twist. photo 2

PS: dry erase markers work well for the ever changing labels on your storage jars.   photo 1

Powdered Sugar Doughnut Muffins

       From, “How to Cook Gluten-Free” by Elizabeth Barbone (Lake Isle Press, 2012)

Dry Ingredients
3/4 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking power
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Wet Ingredients
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg

1 package (1 pound) powdered sugar


1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to
350ºF. Lightly grease the cavities of a mini muffin pan with nonstick
cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet
ingredients and whisk to combine. The batter will be thin.

3. Fill the muffin cavities about half full. Bake for 20 to 25
minutes, until the muffins are golden brown.

4. While the muffins are baking, fill an 8-inch square baking dish
with the powdered sugar.

5. Remove the muffins from the oven and working in batches, place them
directly into the powdered sugar. Gently roll the muffins in the sugar
to cover them. The steam from the hot muffins will make the sugar
stick to the muffins. Remove the muffins from the sugar and tap off
any excess. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool. Store in an
airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Makes about 24 muffins. Yield varies depending on pan size. (All mini
muffin pans vary slightly.)

+Sarah’s Notes: I have never used a whole bag of powdered sugar, instead I just put some scoops into the bowl/platter and then keep adding as I need more, but to avoid waste. My mini muffin pans make almost double what the recipe says, but as she points out, muffin tin sizes varies. (and who would complain about more muffins!?!) Try sprinkling cinnamon in the powdered sugar if you love it as much as I do. EnJOY them with a cup of coffee or tea. 

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Don’t they have the cutest stickers for your coffee at Stone Creek Coffee? Before Mamasita headed back home, we had a day of errands, including a “coffee break” in the car wash. 🙂
Keep calm and enJOY your week!

Friday Photos: the view from here



After running around doing errands this afternoon, my mama and I collapsed on the couch this evening and fed our Downton Abbey addiction. We can’t help ourselves.

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Mark served us dinner — Sheperd’s Pie —  in front of the TV. We do that sometimes. 😉


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I blame Mamasita for these. (they’re my Easter fave) She “snuck” them into our cart at Target.


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I balanced it all out with the Greek Salad and Veggie Chili at City Market in Whitefish Bay.


One of our go-to places when my mama visits is Cafe Hollander.

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They have some new additions to their GF menu.

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Like this Quinoa Skillet. YUM!

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I completed it all with a side of bacon. (it was lacking in meat!)

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But the real reason we go? For the beverages. 🙂


We may have found a new tradition.

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Anaba Tea Room in Shorewood for a light lunch — the options were limited, but a young lady working in the store said they have more dinner options, so I’ll have to go back to check things out. The Pear Ginger Chicken Salad over greens was a unique twist on one of my top picks for lunch.

Need to rest up for tomorrow — we’re off to the Winter Farmers’ Market in the morning, followed by a trip to Molly’s GF Bakery, and then a visit with my soul sister and her mama. It’s my last full day with my mama. It has been such a treat to have her here this week… coffee in the mornings, a new show we can’t get enough of, crafternights, too much chocolate, and enough one on one time to last me until I get to see her again. (which I hope is soon!) Love her to the moon and back. #soveryblessed

Good night!

Have a JOYful weekend!


PS: want in on our new monthly photo fun? It’s “31 Days of Real Life” for March — join us on Instagram. You can find me at: celiacinthecity. #31daysIRL




Friday Photos: the view from here


Thursday afternoon this little guy showed up. (along with his mama, my mama, and his three brothers) Our apartment was alive. Two were crawling. Two were racing up to the attic, their new found secret hiding place — which turned out to be not-so-secret as we questioned the stability of the ceiling taking on their game of tag and dodgeball. 😉

We stayed up too late, ate more cookies than we should have, sang our ABCs at least 54 times, (it’s the soothing tune that will catch the bubbas’ attention in an instant and keep them calm) watched Uncle Mark entertain all four boys effortlessly while we secretly praised him from the kitchen for letting us girls sit down for coffee together, packed up the cars and headed to our GF Get Together celebration, played in the snow, welcomed a photographer from the Journal Sentinel for a photo shoot, and celebrated National Margarita Day in style — what.a.weekend. (hence Friday Photos showing up on Sunday — that will happen sometimes, you know this blog is real life)

Take a peek…

photo 2Whoooo wants coffee? (from West Elm)

milwaukee journal sentinel gluten free photo shootA morning photo shoot meant… we had to eat cookies for breakfast. (they didn’t mind)


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The Journal Sentinel is doing a piece on gluten-free living, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks with the media — and in case you missed my debut last week, check out the video on Fox 6. Stay tuned for more details on the article!

Our 3 Year Anniversary Gluten-Free Get Together Celebration was BIG FUN at Cocina DeLeon. Each year, Linda hosts us for a private event fiesta, turning the store into a “restaurant” for us — with an all you can eat buffet!

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Friday was National Margarita Day — did you celebrate? You can get my only-four-ingredient margaritas right here.

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We sure did. 🙂 Made a quick addition of frozen strawberries and blended them for some fruity fun.

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My Mamasita is staying with me this week. (sadly, we had to say goodbye to my celiac sista, the bubbas, and the boys yesterday) She’s recovering from hand surgery, so I get to cook for her!

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And she loves eggs too, (we think Mark is intolerant, so I’ve been eating them solo) I filled her up for breakfast.

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We found these cute super scoopers yesterday, perfect for gluten-free friends.

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We skipped the scoops and filled our bowls with deconstructed banana splits today — while we fed our addiction to Downton Abbey. Thought it would be fun to start watching with her on Netflix… after Season 1, we realized that was the only season on Netflix. 😦  But I think I’ve got us hooked up via Amazon Prime for free live streaming, so that’s our plan for tonight — with a bowl of Italian Chili, which I’ll be sharing with you this week.

Anyone else have a Downton Abbely addiction? Or is your vice banana splits?

Hope you had a JOYful weekend!


Friday Photos: the view from here




My whirlwind of a week.

From Denver…


Have I mentioned how much I love Denver?


(Probably because there are always snacks waiting.)

And this little bee.


And her sweet pea sister.


And plenty of treats!





Back home to MKE for an evening with Ted Perry from Fox6.


He’s doing a story on gluten-free living — tune in this Wednesday at 10pm! set your DVR today. 🙂

Last night I got SPOILED by my dear friends Julie and Emmie — pizza, prizes, giggles, and sweets. (Mark was out if town, but we snuck in a morning chat.) A girls’ night was the perfect way to spend Valenitne’s Day…did you celebrate in style too?


And now I’m turning out the lights in St. Croix Falls tonight, in a cozy hotel room with my celiac sista and Mamasita. (It’s her birthday tomorrow and I’m surprising her with a cake from Molly’s…THANK YOU, Mary for being so sweet!)

A whirlwind indeed.

Good night!

Have a JOYful weekend.


PS: Thursday is our 3 year anniversary of GF Get Together events — we’re celebrating at Cocina DeLeon, a fiesta! And guess who’s coming? 🙂


Friday Photos: the view from here


Still on a high from chatting with a writer from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this morning. We talked all things gluten-free, which as you know, I could talk about all day. It was refreshing to speak with someone from the media who truly understands celiac disease. (Her daughter was diagnosed years ago and now lives in NYC, but feels Milwaukee is one gluten-free friendly place to be.) Agreed.

I’ll keep you guys in the loop — when it will run in the paper, what recipes we choose to share, which apron I’ll wear for the photos, etc. 🙂

Speaking of highs… we had the best time last night at Cafe Manna for our GF Get Together event.


Between appetizers and the meal, we put our creative sides to work making valentines for our friend Marty (his mom owns Molly’s Gluten Free Bakery) who just got a new heart — we’re all rooting for him and happy to hear he’s doing so well recovering.

Allison gave us a demo on her braille writer. Her valentine was the best one, hands down. You can check out her blog here, for all of her adventures with Gilbert, her best buddy. (And while I was searching around to link to her blog, I found this AMAZING video of her singing her buddy Gilbert to sleep.) Absolutely beautiful.

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But we didn’t stop with photos, we thought a video was in order.

For the record, Julie was very willing to order this appetizer with me, even though she isn’t a huge beet fan, she keeps an open mind. And although she didn’t dig into these wraps like I did — I loved them — she did end up eating the “wraps” after I ate the beets out of them, saying that, “I do like a little beet flavor.” Ha!  Stay tuned for more “Julie Reviews” in the future! 🙂

Mark came home with a new yogurt for me — anyone tried Siggi’s?

Siggi's yogurt

Very few 2

All about recycling. photo 3

Certified gluten-free. Gold star for the husband! photo 4

These happened this week too. Grandma G’s Monster Cookies — flourless, easy-peasy. Make them soon. photo 2

We wrapped up #31daysofcelebration and started #28daysoflove — join in over on Instagram, (you can find me as: celiacinthecity) or feel free to post the pics to Facebook too. Just use the hashtag #28daysoflove to see them all.

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That’s it from over here — tell me the best part of your week. Are you baking, cooking, dancing in the kitchen? Or just snuggled up on the couch avoiding these temps?

Have a JOYful weekend!

xoxo ~ Sarah

Friday Photos: the view from here

Where did this week go? (seriously, if someone could explain, please do.)

Wasn’t I just talking about being on a road trip to Minnesota?


It was our “Joy in January” party, which I think is going to become a tradition with my family — my sister (supermama of the year) was the hostess with the mostess the whole weekend. Check out my JOY pancakes, does she know me or what? 20130127-093513.jpg

From the morning yogurt bar with “granilla,” as Chef Carter calls it, to homemade pizzas for dinner, there was gluten-free goodness all around. I cannot tell you how relaxing it is to be away for the weekend and not have to bring ANY of my own food. (other than a plate of cookies, including my 3rd place Snowflakes, which my sister tried and said, “mmm…it’s like a brownie AND a cookie.”) 🙂 20130127-093506.jpg

Not worrying about food leaves all kinds of time for funny stache photos, and a few of the photos that have become routine. (aren’t the peanuts bubbas so big?) 20130127-093500.jpg

Have you seen the new Van’s items? My sister scored some recently and they are fans of the products — those crackers are good! 20130127-093542.jpg

Carter’s school now has a gluten-free lunch menu! This is a very big deal in his book. The cool part? Many of the items they serve him are purchased at a local natural food store. He’s thrilled to be able to eat at school whenever he wants. Score one for team gluten-free!

Last night, after a long day at an interpreting workshop, I stayed in Madison to dine at Bunky’s Cafe with my dear friend PK. It’s at the top of my list for places to eat gluten-free in Madison — I highly recommend it if you’re in the area. Almost everything on their menu can be made gluten-free, including: pastas, lasagna, pizza, falafel, and DESSERT! 🙂 20130127-093445.jpg20130127-093452.jpg 20130127-093437.jpg

We went all out. (and then vowed to hit up the gym ASAP) So, so worth it.

And then there’s a Friday night at home, with the husband in Orlando (didn’t he pick the perfect week to get out of this cold?) and me not wanting to cook — so it was cereal for dinner. It’s real life. It happens. And it hit the spot.


Did the rest of you get this cold front? Brrrrrrr! The chilly evenings lent themselves to hot tea and cozy slippers — the heat pad came out too! 20130127-093534.jpg

Cold winter nights = cooking & crafts. 20130127-093549.jpg

20130127-093555.jpgI started Project Life this month and am loving it — as you may have read, the 2013 List includes taking and actually printing more photos, so this project is perfect for me. Keeps my mind and hands busy.

Have a JOYful week! 🙂

{Friday Photos: the view from here}

We’re midway through our road trip to Minnesota, for “Christmas Joy in January” with my family.


This week…..

I’ve been playing around with my cinnamon bread recipe — made it into muffins, added some glaze, packed ’em up for the weekend.


(Don’t worry, I’ll share it after some tweaking.)

Speaking of sharing… the husband shared his sorbet. Peach Ginger will make your taste buds dance.


THE news of the week: my Snowflakes took 3rd pace in the Gluten Free Cookie Swap!


Take a look at those prizes…so very lucky! There will be much more to come on all this as the sweet prizes start showing up.

But for now, it’s time to go…. Minnesota, here we come!

Coffee. Stat.


Have a JOYful weekend!