Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mixteca Mexican Food

If Brandon is ever in Glendale (which is fairly frequently), I don't even have to guess what he is getting for lunch. He swears by this Mexican food restaurant called Mixteca. I've heard him tell me countless times about their super soft corn tortillas and their shredded chicken meat that comprises their sinfully delicious chicken tacos.

Two days ago while in Glendale for work, Brandon inquired about whether or not their tacos were gluten free. The owner said that he could very easily make sure they were gluten free. All he had to do was really scrub down the grill, and if Brandon gave him some time, it would be no problem at all.

So that's what Brandon did. He returned to Mixteca after work to pick up 4 chicken tacos to bring home for dinner so I could try the now infamous Mixteca chicken tacos. And you know what this frugal wife loves? It only cost 10 bucks.

My first thought upon seeing these tacos was, Oh my gosh, that's a HUGE taco. They do not skimp on anything! I was so hungry that I literally INHALED my first (enormous) taco before even considering taking a photo! HA!

They are double wrapped in two of the softest corn tortillas that you will ever encounter. How do they do that? Because I would surely enjoy corn tortillas a LOT more if I could always get them that soft and pliable. It didn't even bother me that there were two of them...normally that would be corn tortilla overload for me, as I'm not that wild about them.

These pictures really don't do them justice. This was my second taco after I had already taken 2 bites out of it, lol. That's not easy to work around. :)

The chicken meat is SO GOOD. Its tender, with peppers mixed throughout. And my favorite ingredient? CINNAMON! It's not overwhelmed by cinnamon, but its just enough to grab your taste buds and make you say, wow! They also come with salsa on the side that is fantastic.

All in all, these tacos started a party in my mouth and I loved every second. I might even need to find an excuse to drive through Glendale (which is like, an hour and a half from my house) on a weekly basis...

They don't have a website that I can find, so here is their information. I definitely recommend checking them out if you are ever in the area!

6731 W Bell Rd
Glendale, AZ 85308

I love it when we find somewhere that is more than willing to accomodate a gluten free diet! And finally, a place to eat Mexican food that ISN'T Chipotle! Hooray for having choices!

My Gluten Free Wedding! (Lots of pics!)

So, as you probably already know (because it's OLD NEWS by!), Brandon and I got married on April 4th!

It turned out EXACTLY like we wanted: small, simplistic, and FUN! Oh, and for the most part, it was gluten free!!

There were only like 60 people there, which was great. At first we were concerned that the wedding kept growing and growing, but in the end, the amount of people there was perfect. The weather was not as good as we had hoped, but it was better than every other day that week! Apparently in Arizona, we don't get rain in the Spring, just lots of wind and dust! The whole week (and particularly the day before the wedding--it was the worst) had winds of 35 mph with gusts up to 50! There was dust everywhere. Did I forget to mention that our entire wedding and reception was outdoors in a park? Yeah. Fortunately, the wind died down on our wedding day to about 10 mph and eventually stopped in the evening. It was only about 75 that day (it was 85-ish the rest of the week!) so it got COLD at night. Luckily the rental place (Affordable Rentals in Tempe) were AWESOME. We managed to get ahold of them, AFTER HOURS, and they rushed like 6 or 8 heaters out to us. It made a WORLD of difference, and everyone could get their dance on without shivering!

I made my grand entrance on our Arctic Cat, driven by my dad. It was definitely an original idea and reflected our life/personalities perfectly! It was even decorated by the groom himself with tulle (you'll see it in the pictures!) It was definitely a conversation piece!

We had John Ore, a Justice of the Peace from Chandler, as our officiant. Let me tell you, if you are in Arizona and are getting married, we HIGHLY recommend him! He brought a little humor to the ceremony, which all our guests loved (and so did we!).

And now, to the important stuff. Gluten free food!

As I mentioned before, we had our wedding cake done by Sugarlips Cakery. The cake was absolutely beautiful. It was 3 tiers, with the top tier being gluten free. It was a vanilla or white gluten free cake with strawberry and buttercream filling. It was so good. Then the bottom two tiers were regular vanilla cake and raspberry filling. The groom said it was amazing. AND the best part is, they separated the top tier from the others with TWO plate-thingys (I can't for the life of me think of what they're called right now, lol), one the exact size of the cake, and the other a little bigger to make sure none of it touched! HOORAY!

The catering was done by Crackers and Company Cafe. I will never, ever, EVER be able to sing enough praises for Crackers and Company. Seriously. They were absolutely AMAZING!! From the moment we contacted them, they were completely on board for preparing the meal gluten free. They were so helpful and so detailed in the menu. We ended up having:

Pork loin (which had some sort of apple glaze or something...incredible)
A carving station of turkey breast (with cranberry sauce on the side)
Roasted red potatoes (that had peppers in it..everyone LOVED them)
A vegetable medley
Salad topped with all kinds of goodies: mushrooms, peppers, etc (croutons and dressings on the side)

They had a bread display, away from everything. They had servers at the buffet table and totally understood the importance of making sure that spoons did not travel. These people blew my mind. We spoke with the owner directly (she was even at our wedding) and they went over EVERY single thing that was going into the food. They sent me a fax of photocopies of ingredient labels for everything, even the meats. They faxed me copies of emails they sent with their providers, ensuring everything's gluten free status. They even told me that if the meat was not gluten free they would go down to AJ's the day of the wedding and buy me my own pork loin! Oh, and I had originally wanted lemon herb chicken for the menu, but picky eaters created a problem (read: my DAD), so the chef offered to make my maid of honor and I our own lemon herb chicken breasts, aside from everything. They were so accomodating! The chef called me the day before the wedding to read me the ingredient label of something before he made the apple glaze. The owner went to back and grabbed the ranch dressing container they use at the restaurant and let Brandon read the label himself. And to top everything off, they said if it ended up raining on our wedding day, that we could move our reception to their restaurant (not even 5 minutes down the street) and have it all to ourselves at no cost!! OMG, right? I could not have wished, hoped, or DREAMED for a better wedding catering experience. They are incredible, friendly, helpful people at Crackers and Company, and seriously, if you are in Arizona, stop by their restaurant--they have a few locations. (And no I'm not getting paid to say all this, LOL! They just did a phenominal job and really went above and beyond; they deserve all the business they get! I've never been to a single restaurant where I've gotten such great service.)

And the pictures. Our photography was done by Cayla Rynerson Photography...she did such a great job on these photos! She was also a lot of fun and VERY affordable!

These are in no particular order..they uploaded all funny. But there's too many to go back and rearrange :)

Our first kiss as husband and wife!

The gluten free cake! Neither of us trusting the other to not smash it in our face :)

The Arctic Cat!

I now pronounce you Mr and Mrs Brandon S.

The ceremony. It was beautiful! Everything we wanted!

My maid of honor, Michelle, and I!

I love this picture!

The wedding cake! Top tier was gluten free!

A friend of mine called this photo, "erotic." LOL!

My incredible sexy groom! My favorite pics of him.

The boys!
This is very close to being my favorite picture! It's hard to decide, but I LOVE it. Cayla Rynerson Photography...for real, she's awesome.

Husband and wife!

So there you go, now I'm a gluten free newlywed!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Gluten Free Bachelorette Party!

My bachelorette party was on March 28th -- the weekend before my wedding! I have NO pictures pretty much...I was too intoxicated to photograph! LOL!

It started with Misty (Brandon's brother's that? Lol) making me gluten free cheese danishes, a fruit salad, and a mimosa for breakfast! It turned out great! Then it was off to a full body massage, which I was a little nervous about at first! I've had massage therapy in the past that left me feeling sore and like my muscles were bruised. I enjoyed the massage though and it was definitely what I needed after all the stress that I was under! Turns out my shoulders were incredibly tense and so was my right arm, which explained the numbness that I'd occassionally have in my right hand! The nerves in my fingers felt like they were dancing in jubilee after the arm/hand massage.

After the full body massage, Misty took me for a facial. I have never had a facial before. It was very relaxing, and included a hand/foot massage. I do have to say that it is very weird to have some stranger squeezing gunk out of your pores, lol. She did tell me that I had very nice skin though, so I got over it quickly. I've discovered that I don't really like my feet being massaged...she would rub my feet then rub my legs and I just felt like I was covered in foot-ness. Yes, I am aware that I am weird. The facial was very nice and relaxing, but the moisturizer she put on me last left me feeling greasy and oily. Yuck. It soaked in though, and was eventually fine. It was a day of pampering!

After the facial, Misty and I went to Dos Gringos for lunch and this is where the boozing officially began. We had 2 tequila shots, and on top of that I probably had 4 margaritas (and I think my straw may have found its way into Misty's margarita at some point too). I was HAMMERED. Lol. Chris came over to hang out for a bit after he got done playing softball, so I convinced Brandon to come by too. He was cracking up at my drunk antics. Then, the boys drove Misty and I to the mall to do some shopping! Brandon gave Misty $100 to give me for shopping money! Isn't he the best?!? We were not at the mall long, though, because we had to get home to get ready for our evening! All I ended up buying at the mall was candy, everything else was blurry! HA!

So I went home and threw myself together and Misty picked me up. She had a very STRONG peach belini waiting for me! Oh man.

We met up with everyone at Picazzo's, my favorite gluten free friendly restaurant! My maid of honor Michelle (whom I have sung many praises about before) put together a great bachelorette party/dinner!

She had fun pink Girls Night Out leis for everyone and shot glass favors on the tables! She gave me a Bachelorette sash and a Bride To Be hat, complete with a veil attached to it! I arrived to dinner still drunk, so I was game for anything!

I even started wearing the bows from the presents on my head!

I had a delicious lemon drop martini, which is MY FAVE (and according to other pictures I've seen, I drank Misty's too...what is up with that! HA) We ordered gluten free pizza for everyone, which everyone LOVED. We ordered Ulimate Pepperoni and the Chicken and Applewood Smoked Bacon (my personal favorite). Picazzo's NEVER disappoints!

We opened presents, which I will not be posting pictures of, because, well, it was a bachelorette party and the pictures aren't for kids. :)

The bartender mixed us up some sort of shot, for all of us, on the house! They were TERRIBLE, but that didn't stop me from drinking two!

Michelle did a great job putting everything together, and I had a blast!! After Picazzo's, we had a bit of a house party, where I never saw my mimosa glass empty, so I couldn't even tell you how much I drank. I think there were some shots in there too, that were awful. Bleh. I had so much fun. Michelle, though sober, danced crazy with me to Lady GaGa!

Looking back, the party should have ended there because I was going downhill fast, but the night was still young. We went to a club in Scottsdale named Jackrabbit. It wasn't long before I was puking in the bathroom! Yuck. We did hang out there for a bit, but I got overheated and had to leave. The night was pretty much unsalvagable at that point; I threw up in the bathroom at the club, in a gift bag in the car, and in a trash can at a gas station. All of which got some small amount of puke on my person. If it wasn't my Bachelorette party, I would be horribly embarrassed about getting that drunk. But I hardly ever drink, and that's just what you do, right? Lol.

At least we didn't get arrested or anything, I mean, THAT, would be CRAZY!! :)

For more stories and pictures from the evening, check out the post Michelle wrote here. She remembers a lot more than I do :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Stephanie's 5 Things

I was tagged by Kortnei!

5 Things I was doing 5 years ago:

1. I was working as a cashier at Ashley furniture and barely making it through school
2. I was going to punk rock shows and Warped Tour
3. Got waay too many body piercings and a few tattoos too (wreckless youth, sheesh)
4. I moved out for the first time and ate too much fast food
5. Just found out I had celiac and was trying to figure out what that meant and how to cope

5 Things on my list to do today:

Super exciting stuff..
1. Write thank you notes
2. Do laundry
3. Go to bed early (I still haven't recovered from traveling!)
4. Blog
5. Clean up

5 Things I would do with a million dollars:

1. I'd like to say that I'd pay off this house (because I LOVE it), but I know Brandon would want to buy a bigger one.
2. Invest so we could both quit our jobs and live off the money for the rest of our lives
3. Start a chihuahua rescue (not many know that this is such a dream of mine!) and have like 6 chihuahuas of my own
4. Put myself through school and go more than part time! (Maybe actually chase that dream that I've been too scared/held back by real life to school anyone?)
5. Have a Duggar sized family (HAHAHA! jk...or am I? Brandon's probably sweating right now reading that)

5 Places I've lived:

1. Tucson, AZ
2. Schaumburg, IL
3. Gilbert, AZ
4. Mesa, AZ
5. Maricopa, AZ

5 Jobs I've held:

1. Cashier/Office manager at Ashley Furniture.
2. Office Assistant at Center for Athletic Performance and Physical Therapy. And yes, I had to say that whole title when I answered the phone
3. Customer Service Rep at Global Trans
4. Auditor at company that will remain unnamed (current)
5. That's it!

5 Things I want to be doing in 5 years:

1. Making babies (eyebrow wriggle)
2. Have a career in something that I am passionate about
3. Traveling (actually take the time to have REAL vacations)
4. Try to be more crafty/domestic
5. Create my own recipes

5 People I tag:

Everyone I would tag has already done this. Lol.

A Gluten Free Bridal Shower

Now that the wedding is over and I FINALLY have full use of my brain back, I am going to post on everything that I didn't have time to blog about before. I'm going to go through them in different posts, otherwise you'd be sitting there reading the one entry for HOURS. So, here we go, my gluten free bridal shower..

My bridal shower was actually on March 7th. I was adament that my bridal shower be 100% gluten free. My reasoning was that I couldn't have an entirely gluten free wedding, so I really wanted my bridal shower to be reflective of what is such a huge part of my life. Plus, there are less people to please. :)

So, me, Michelle, and my mom got together and planned a gluten free menu. Here is what we had:

Gluten free pizza from Uno Chicago Grill
Salad with cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. Ranch dressing and Italian dressing on the side
Several different chip/dip selections
Gluten free chocolate cupcakes
Fruit arrangement

My absolute favorite part, were the chocolate gluten free cupcakes from Sugarlips Cakery. My mom surprised me with the design:

They were beautiful! And DELICIOUS! I was craving cupcakes for WEEKS after this because they were so amazing. We did not tell everyone that the food was gluten free until after they had eaten to see if anyone would notice the difference. I also didn't want people to judge the food and then not eat it (it's happened to me before). And, I am happy to report that NO ONE could tell the difference. In fact, everyone went on and on about how good the food was and they couldn't believe it was all gluten free! Most had 2 cupcakes :)

Here is the fruit arrangement from Edible Arrangements. Oh my, these are fantastic and always very popular!

This is my best friend and maid of honor Michelle, and me standing by the game table. She worked so hard on the bridal shower and made it a fantastic event!

She put together all the games that were played and I wish I had pictures of it all! She called Brandon on the sly and asked him questions about himself, that I then had to answer! For every question I got wrong, I had to add another piece of bubbalicious! In my defense, I did get a lot of the questions right, but there were a few that Brandon gave the WRONG answer to! LOL! By the end I had a mouth full of sugary and slimey bubble gum! I was nearly choking on it! BLAH, that was gross, but a really fun game!

Everyone told me afterward what a great job Michelle did at the bridal shower and what a great friend she is! She's been my best friend for like 12 years or so now and I am so grateful for all she did during this whole process! Please go over to Gluten Free Gluttony and tell her how amazing she is!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hello from Jamaica!

We're on on honeymoon in Jamaica! We got married last Saturday, April 4th! I'll update on EVERYTHING once we're back!