Red, white, and blue…everywhere!

Monica says:

We are slowly approaching America’s birthday….and that means red, white, and blue!

One of my favorite breakfasts is oatmeal with cinnamon sprinkled on it….so to be patriotic and add some wonderful antioxidants to my diet, I added a bunch of blueberries and strawberries!

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Delicious and nutritious!

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This post is a little different because in early June, in honor of Flag Day (June 14th), I made a red, white, and blue wreath for my front door.

It was inspired by Meredith while reading her blog Wait ’til Your Father Gets Home. When I came upon her post and saw the wreath, I knew I had to replicate it! So thanks to Meredith!

So I decided to add in a few pics of the way I constructed it…that way, you may be inspired, too!

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Gather your materials….you will need a wire wreath as shown; 3 colors of tulle (red, white, and blue); 4 spools of ribbon (red, white and blue designed) and 2 large spools of wired ribbon (red, white and blue designed); scissors or rotary cutter, and a ruler.

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If you are using a rotary cutter, you will need a mat or cutting board (I used an old plaque).

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You will need to cut 96 total pieces of blue tulle to place on wreath….

12 pieces on each wire using 2 of the 9 sections that make up the wreath.

Then cut 112 pieces of white and 112 pieces of red.

Place 8 total pieces on each wire alternating white and red. Put 2 red, then 2 white, etc.

Place these all around the remaining 7 sections of the wreath.

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As I cut my tulle, I gathered the pieces into groups of 10 and clipped them with a clothespin.

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While I was making it, I enjoyed a bowl of blueberries in a red colander draining in a white bowl….planned?

No, it just happened to be my mid-morning snack!

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Now cut your ribbons….small ribbons with red white, and blue designs are cut to approximately 10 inches.., you can cut as many as you want. We also added in very fine white ribbon to our wreaths!

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Make sure that wider ribbon that you buy is WIRED because it will make the final look amazing, as you can manipulate it!

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The wider ribbon is cut to about 13 inches and our wreaths had 8 pieces added. Three of one design and five of the other design!

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It’s looking great and the blueberries are disappearing!!

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LOVE it!

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Now to attach it to the door, we need to add some fishing line!

Do you see the pricetag on this line?? Holy cow, that’s how long I’ve had it!

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Voila! Our patriotic welcome!

Anyway, once visitors to our home saw it, they, too, had to make one!

So my sister Maria started her wreath with the help of her sweet granddaughter, Emily.

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Emily, in turn, wanted to make one for her house, so now we are up to three!

Emily’s is super special because we used sparkle white and sparkle red for her wreath!

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Didn’t Emily do a great job? She is super proud of her work, as she should be!20150621_184107

Emily and I say, “Ta-Da!!”

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And Gracie (my sister Maria’s other granddaughter) gets in on the act! Too cute for words!

So what are you planning to do for the biggest birthday celebration in the world?

Whatever you do, enjoy with pride and patriotism!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

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Summer means strawberries!

Monica says:

One of our favorite summer pastimes when Daria and Claudia got out of school was to go picking our own strawberries at a nearby farm!

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We made it an annual expedition and made sure that we had our containers ready, the correct clothing on, (including our hats), wore sunblock…the works!

It was so hard not to eat the berries while picking them! I remember when each of the girls had braces and I warned them that if they ate any while picking, the farmer would have to weigh them, too! Too funny!

Besides just stuffing our faces with fresh strawberries, our favorite thing to make with our “strawberry haul,” was strawberry pie! It became a birthday tradition for many years, as we three girls are Junebabies!

Picking these little powerhouses of Vitamin C was always so much fun! Since the girls have been living on their own for many years, we have not been able to resurrect this tradition!

That’s why I was so happy when my nieces, Dawn (mom) and Emily (daughter) expressed an interest in going to pick strawberries this year! I was ready to go!

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We set out at 7:30 am ready to beat the heat and drove to a great little farm with our bowls and containers (I washed and saved all of my plastic containers from purchasing blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries in the supermarket). We were pumped and ready to get started!

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The farmer pointed out a field (WAY across from the stand) that he claimed was ripe and ready to be picked…

we looked at each other and agreed to make the trek!

And boy, was it worth it!

Within 45 minutes, we had picked our little hands off!

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And just in the right amount of time because it started to get super-hot and humid! Our trip home was sweet-smelling!

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Now to decide what to make with all of this yummy goodness!

While pie was tempting, I decided to make strawberry shortcake. And I was thinking about using a prepared mix to hasten the baking process (since the strawberries were so ripe and needed to be eaten).

I also wanted to limit the sugar content in the shortcakes and let the strawberries shine! So here is what I came up with!

 

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GF Strawberry Shortcakes

Ingredients

3 cups Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking & Pancake Mix (plus a little more if it’s too runny!)

¼ cup sugar

1/3 cup cold butter

¾ cup milk of your choice (we used Lactaid milk)

3 eggs, beaten

¾ teaspoon vanilla

4 cups (1 quart) fresh strawberries, sliced

¾ cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Prepare cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In medium bowl, combine Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking & Pancake Mix with ¼ cup of sugar. Cut in cold butter with pastry blender or fork.

Beat eggs. Add to mixture. Stir in milk and vanilla. Using an ice cream scoop, drop 2 scoops per shortcake onto cookie sheet.*

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Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown.

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Cool 5 minutes.

With serrated knife, split the shortcakes and put whipped cream and a layer of strawberries on each stacked piece.

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Yield: 8 shortcakes

* We made 5 large shortcakes (2 scoops) and 6 small  shortcakes (1 scoop).

NOTE: No sugar was added to the strawberries to enhance the flavor;

they were plenty sweet on their own!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

whisks

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Strawberries have amazing health benefits! They contain wonderful antioxidants that boost your immunity and can aid in the prevention of cancer and cataracts. These little wonders also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, as they help in the production of collagen!

For more information and reasons to eat strawberries, go to Best Health Magazine online.

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My main reason for eating strawberries is the taste! And I am so grateful to have all of the great health benefits, too!

So if you are looking for a fun way to spend a morning, go strawberry picking!

And then have a very berry day!

 

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

The “Junebabies” celebrate in NYC!

Monica says:

I swear we didn’t plan it!

Both of our daughters are born in June and so am I…it just kinda happened! But I’m so glad it did!

Having wee little ones born in the summer where we live, is much easier on new parents than winter babies! No worries about snowsuits, bad weather, etc.

Since my girls are 10 days shy of 3 years apart, it was always so hard for Claudia (my older one) to understand that her younger sister, Daria, actually had her birthday celebrated earlier in the month than she did! We went through this for years…until one day, it clicked!

girls in 1987

By then, she didn’t care much….my birthday starts off the month of June, then Daria, and by the time Claudia’s special day arrives, we are in the swing!

Poor Lewie (my hubby and the girls’ daddy) loses most of his paycheck in June!

As the girls have grown, we really look forward to spending some quality time to celebrate our birthdays. It’s not too often, unfortunately, that that three of us get to see one another at the same time. Claudia is super busy teaching and working on her PhD, while Daria spends almost every waking hour at the restaurant baking and designing new recipes.

In a word, the girls are….BUSY!

So it is up to this (less busy) “Junebaby” to coordinate a birthday event for the three of us!

This year, we decided several months ago, that we would attend a performance by the New York City Ballet. We love the dancing, we love the music….we love it all!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream was on the June schedule at the David Koch Theater at Lincoln Center….PERFECT!

Daria and I headed up to NYC to meet Claudia (since it’s been her hometown for several years).

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We checked into our hotel and when we spotted her coming along the sidewalk, we just broke out into huge smiles! She had just gotten her hair chopped and she looked adorable!

Being together in the hotel was very special and nostalgic for me. When the girls were in their mid-teens, they decided to move back into one bedroom to be closer to one another and seeing them together talking and laughing like old times was great!

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Even though Daria over packed for ONE NIGHT!! What a girl!

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They enjoyed opening up their “birthday boxes” (old cigar boxes) filled with dark chocolate, their favorite candy bars, and some good old cash that I folded into butterflies and fish (origami style)!

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What hams they are!

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I’m so happy that they have each other!

Anyway, once we got ready for the evening, we set out to find some gluten-free food!

Claudia knows quite a few places that we can safely eat.

It didn’t matter to me where we chose to dine, and after considering several restaurants, the girls decided on Bareburger. This eatery, which has several locations in the city, boasts of a “build your own burger” from organic ingredients and features your choice of patty from classic beef, bison, chicken, elk, wild boar, duck, turkey, black bean, sweet potato with wild rice, to farmer’s quinoa.

What I immediately liked about this little organic place was that as soon as we were seated, the waitress came over and explained all of the menu choices. And since the menu is extensive (includes many other choices of salads and shakes, too), she made sure that we were aware of the gluten-free items…very nice!

I decided to go for the organic classic beef patty with grilled onions!

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And did I mention a hemp milk bun? This was by far, the BEST gluten-free bun that we tasted in a restaurant!

When you pressed on it, it actually sprung back….something that doesn’t usually happen in the gluten-free world!

And of course, I needed a side salad!

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Daria decided on the lemon chicken with alfalfa sprouts! And she had a side of wasabi carrot slaw!

So yummy!

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We just sat and ate and ate and had a great time….loved the atmosphere, too!

Great shot of this upcycled light above our booth!

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After a visit to Washington Square Park (a favorite place to “people watch”) and eat ice cream (only Claudia enjoyed a sprinkled cone)…

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…we walked to the Strand Bookstore to satisfy our literary needs!

A NYC favorite for book lovers, this place is amazing!

Soon after we hit the subway and made our way to Lincoln Center to enjoy the ballet….such a great evening!

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The next morning, Daria and I headed for home.

Since we didn’t have breakfast in the city, we stopped at Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, NJ, for brunch….how about an omelette?

I had the veggie omelette while Daria had the steak and cheese (only took a pic of mine)!

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I made sure to ask if the home fries were done on the griddle and not in a fryer!

We have gotten sick more than once!

We had a great mid-week “Junebaby” birthday celebration!

Life is so busy….you have to partake in as much fun as you possibly can!

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Happy birthday my dear girls….hope to spend it with you again next year!

xoxoxo

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antiquing in Rhinebeck, NY!

Monica says:

We really lucked out on this trip!

The weather was perfect, the company sublime, and I found great gluten-free food along the way!

My dear friends, Carmine and Margie, responded with a resounding YES when I suggested we take a road trip to the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY, way back in February.

We planned and planned and the weekend finally arrived….we put on our matching sunglasses and we were READY!

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When we were all young mothers with little ones, one of our saving graces was to go “yard-sailing” every Saturday morning throughout our geographic area. It was bonding time for us to just laugh and share our lives with one another. We had so much fun!

There are so many “treasures” throughout my home (and each of them would agree) that make me smile when I look at them, because I can remember the exact story that brought me to that piece!

We had never spent an entire weekend looking for “treasures” so we knew we were up to the challenge!

Our first stop was the CIA, Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park, where we needed to have a small bite to get us going! The girls were so excited as we wandered around the beautiful grounds of the campus!

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My choice this morning was coconut tapioca featuring a lemon curd & poached pineapple garnish….

it was delightful and of course, gluten-free!

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Even my tea, Jasmine Dragon Pearl, hit the spot!

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Day One…and we were off to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck to find the fair! 

How happy we are to be together and make memories again!!

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Walking around, talking with vendors, and getting ideas….just spells H-A-P-P-Y!

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Our evening dinner took us back to the CIA, Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici, where we dined for hours!

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We were so busy that I forgot to take pictures of my entrée, which was Brodetto Pesce e Verdure, roasted seabass with an aromatic broth and spring vegetables.

Thanks to Chef Coppedge (Daria’s mentor), once again, for the gluten-free breadsticks!

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We were exhausted since we had been awake since 4:30 am…time for bed!

Day Two: We started our adventure with brunch at the famous Hyde Park eatery, the Eveready Diner!

This 24-hour establishment has been a landmark in the Hudson Valley for nearly forty years! It was even featured on an episode of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri!

Daria told me that this place was a “must-see” for the ladies….she has great memories of this diner from her days at the CIA!

We open our menus and here’s what we saw….there is “Ed’s Breakfast” and “Carmine’s  Omelette!”

Too funny since our Carmine is married to Eddie!!

Hence the photos below!

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And did I forget to say that the ham and cheese omelette with the side of grilled home fries was served with the best gluten-free toast ever??

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It was a pillow of yummy!

With our bellies full, we were off to the fair for round 2!

Along the way, we searched in several antique shops for treasures, too. Me… I found an old chicken coop that I plan to upcycle into a coffee table! That’s another post!

We once again, saw some great ideas and made a few purchases! How could we not?

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Gigi’s Trattoria in Rhinebeck, was our choice for dinner. I had read about this restaurant online before the trip and I knew that they had gluten-free pasta and pizza, so we ventured in to satisfy our hunger for something Italian.

We decided to split a salad called Rughetta, which featured baby arugula, Parmesan, lemon, and olive oil. And what a good choice!

While the girls enjoyed Tagliatelle, featuring house-made fettuccine with a Gigi Bolognese and fresh ricotta, I decided to try the gluten-free gnocchi. Sadly, our waiter informed me that they had run out of the gluten-free option, so I ordered a gluten-free pizza, or as they called it a Gigi Skizza ™ .

My choice was a pizza called the Rustica, featuring a ricotta-roasted garlic spread, sausage, broccoli rabe, shaved Parmesan, and chili flakes. It was a crispy gluten-free flatbread. Not bad!

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Since Margie’s sweet grandkids call her Gigi, we only thought it appropriate that this picture highlight only her!!

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Time to return to the hotel and crash! Another day of laughter and great fun!

Day Three: Our last day in the Hudson Valley….we are ready to pack in as much as we could before we hit the road for our three-hour ride home!

We decided to try the hotel’s breakfast to get started and unfortunately, I found very little to eat. I chose a banana and ran back up to the room to get a gluten-free bagel that I had packed for the trip! Grabbed some peanut butter and jelly and I was set for the morning!

While we headed back up to Rhinebeck and began looking for a parking space, we stumbled upon a fantastic farmer’s market (which happens every Sunday all year long!). We wished that we had packed a huge cooler…they were selling everything from fresh produce to seafood and garden plants!

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We continued our exploration of Rhinebeck and discovered some great little shops and considered taking a Pilates class…nah, only kidding!

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Soon our appetite alarms sounded and we decided on a Thai restaurant called aroi Thai.

Voted the “Best Thai restaurant in the Hudson Valley in 2014,” this quaint little place did not disappoint!

My entrée choice was Pad Kee Mao with shrimp, which has flat rice noodles sautéed with basil chili sauce, bell peppers and green onions….

it was superb!

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I always make sure that the soy sauce used in any Asian dish is gluten-free….just ask! People are so accommodating! Or better yet, check the menu ahead of time and consider emailing the chef to ensure ingredients are gluten-free!

Our last stop before we headed home was the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site in Hyde Park. I had been on the grounds before but never had gone inside, so we decided to take the tour and enjoy the sights!

The tour began in the Visitor Center which was originally the home for the family used when the main house was being built.

We started off by snapping a picture of a huge chandelier and enlisted the help of a bison!

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This fifty-four-room mansion, which was described as a cottage in comparison to the other homes owned by the Vanderbilts, is a remarkable example of the gilded-age of architecture.  It includes 14 bathrooms, 10 guest bedrooms, and several rooms for male and female servants.

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We were completely flabbergasted at the opulence of this home!

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One word can describe the mansion….eclectic!

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Its contents remain virtually unchanged from the time the Vanderbilts lived there!

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Carmine (her Daddy was a great plumber) LOVED the indoor plumbing with hot and cold running water and flush toilets…

again, a first in the area at that time!

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My favorite chandelier….this home was the first in Hyde Park to have electricity!

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Just enjoying this tour so much!

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A few pics of the floor below where the staff and servants lived and worked!

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LOVED the staircase….both down

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…and up!

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The grounds of the mansion were beautiful and we could only imagine how much care went into keeping an estate like this looking its best. The formal gardens were meticulously planned and what a wonderful feast for your eyes!

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Here is the gorgeous view from the east bank of the Hudson River!

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“Buh-bye” Hudson Valley….we enjoyed EVERY single minute!

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The car is packed to the max! Thanks, Daria, for letting us borrow your CR-V!

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Margie only has ONE seat going home (funny, she had TWO going up)….the rest is our treasures!

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So sad to go, but we will be back…promise!

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If you’ve never visited the Hudson Valley, plan a trip soon! It is a very welcoming area and there is so much to see!

And eat!

And buy!

And most of all, a great place to make happy memories!

We had an easy and incident-free ride home, thankfully….and we are grateful to be home safe and sound!

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Thanks for reading about

The misadventures of  3 ladies who love to antique OR 3 antique ladies who love to go…”Where are we going?”

 

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk