Graduation!

Guess who’s high school’s newest graduate? This girl!

graduation

I’m so happy to finally be done! I am free. I made it. It doesn’t quite feel real yet; it’s still sinking in that I am now a college student, not a high school student. I have New Student Orientation at UDel in less than a week. I keep having to stop and remind myself that this is actually happening and I’m not dreaming!

Anyway, after the graduation ceremony, which was very nice, I was faced with the difficult decision of where we would go for our celebratory dinner. Actually, it wasn’t that difficult—kind of a no-brainer really—Earth Pizza! I got the Four Cheese Sundried pizza, which had their special cheese blend, goat cheese, parmesan, sundried tomatoes, and (extra) roasted garlic. And let me just say, pizza is the best celebration. It was delicious! I also mixed it up and got the Chicken Tenders as an appetizer and those were awesome. But since I’ve already reviewed Earth Pizza and shared my dear love for it, we’re gonna talk about the delicious food we had at my graduation party.

So on Sunday, my family and I had a little party to celebrate with everyone. And obviously the ever important part of having a party is what food to serve. Since we all know I have a  slightly obsessive love for pasta, that is obviously what we had to make! We made penne vodka, which consisted of the two very difficult steps of cooking a bag of Tinkyada penne, and pouring Victoria Vodka Sauce over it. A lot of work, I know. My mom also grilled up some chicken and made a nice little salad to have with it. It all was wonderful!

And now, even more important, dessert! My mom made one of my favorite cakes, Strawberry Shortcake. Strawberry Shortcake always feels so summery and fresh and light to me. And it’s always delicious! For the cake, we used Wegman’s Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Mix. All you need is 4 tablespoons softened butter, a large egg, and 2/3 cups of milk. Then just cream your butter and 1/2 a cup of the cake mix with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, then add the rest of the cake mix, egg, and milk, and combine it all together.  Then pour it up in the pan of your choosing (we used a big 9×11 pan since we were serving a bunch of people) and bake it for 35-38 minutes in a 350° oven. After the cake is totally cooled, it’s time for the topping! We whipped up our own fresh whipped cream to put on the cake (which is seriously a hundred times better than the stuff in the can). All you have to do is use about 8-10 ounces of heavy cream, about a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and powdered sugar to taste and whip it with an electric mixer. I could literally just eat this all day straight out of the bowl. It’s just heavenly. So after you’ve resisted eating it all before it even hits the surface of the cake, spread it all over the top evenly. Then slice some strawberries and lay them all over on top of the whipped cream!

gluten free strawberry shortcake

Another option for this cake assembly would be to make two smaller round cakes and put them on top of each other with whipped cream and strawberries in between and on top. No matter how you put it together, it’s going to be amazing. I am crazy for this cake. I’m literally eating a leftover slice as I write this. It somehow feels like a healthy version of cake, probably because it’s a little lighter with the whipped cream and fresh strawberries instead of a sweet, heavy frosting.

Overall, I celebrated my graduation with some pretty awesome food. And what better way to celebrate is there than with that? I can’t wait for this next chapter of my life at the University of Delaware. It’s going to be so exciting and new and fantastic! And I am so ready for it. I will now leave you with a picture of my decorated graduation cap that I love. 🙂

graduation cap

Just to let you guys know, next week I will be heading off to Europe for my cruise (YAY), and I’m not sure if I will be able to post anything in that time, so it may be a while til you hear from me next, but I can’t wait to share my stories from the trip!!

Gold Award Ceremony

girl scout gold award ceremony 2016

On Thursday, I received my Girl Scout Gold Award at a nice little ceremony at The Mill in Spring Lake, NJ! It’s the highest honor a Girl Scout can get, and I am so proud that I was able to complete my project. As I’ve said, this blog is a big part of the project, and I have enjoyed it immensely—even more than I ever thought I would.

So of course, I’ve got to talk about the food that was served at the ceremony! I’m always a little nervous going into banquet type events because I don’t know if they’ll have anything for me to eat. So we called ahead of time and were told that they didn’t have the menu for the night on hand (the woman on the phone couldn’t get a hold of the catering manager), but they would definitely be able to serve me something that would be gluten free. I was also extra comforted by the fact that on their regular restaurant menu they have plenty of gluten free options marked. So even if what they were serving at the dinner wasn’t gluten free, they would have the resources to make me something.

the mill gluten free salad

So while everyone was still arriving and checking out the project displays (you can see mine in the middle picture of the collage up at the top), the servers started bringing out salads to every table. At this point I hadn’t spoken to anyone yet to make sure I got gluten free meals, so I asked a server who then went to confirm that the salad dressing was gluten free, and it was! So I sat down and enjoyed my little salad with what I assumed was some kind of raspberry vinaigrette. I liked it, it was tasty, but just a salad. I found it strange that the pieces of cucumber were so tiny. My mom and I were joking that it seemed like they ran out of cucumber and had to cut it up really small to make sure every plate got a little bit. It made me sad because I love cucumber and I like having big rounds of it in my salad. Otherwise, a nice salad.

the mill gluten free stuffed pepper

The main course was where my concern was. There were three options: chicken, tilapia, and a stuffed pepper. And it turned out the stuffed pepper was gluten free, so no need for a separate meal! Yay! It was a roasted red pepper stuffed with quinoa and served with vegetables. It was delicious! I initially looked at it and thought it was weird that there were golden raisins in the quinoa, which I don’t really like, but as I ate it I didn’t even taste the raisins. Overall, the pepper was awesome. The vegetables were also really good. Only complaint: the carrots were pretty undercooked, some of mine even tasted raw. But the zucchini and yellow squash were very well cooked and very yummy. This was a pretty successful meal.

the mill gluten free dessert

Dessert is always the part of the meal that I expect to just have to skip. But when we were being called up to receive our awards and the cake was being served, I asked my waiter if he could find me something gluten free. He came back with this cute little glass of strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. It was so nice! I refrained from eating it until after I was called, because I had this vision of me having berry seeds stuck in my teeth as I’m smiling nice and big for my pictures. But once I got back, I very much enjoyed my little berry glass.

Overall a successful meal and a very successful night.  I feel so honored to have received this award. I’m so excited that all the hours and hard work that went into my project has paid off and I can’t wait to keep it going in the future! I also want to say thank you to all of you who have followed my blog and supported me, and I hope that I have been able to help you all in some way. 🙂