AHA! Found them, finally!

I have been on the hunt for the new Gluten-Free Chex flavors since I heard about General Mills converting a bunch of the flavors (Strawberry, Rice, Corn, Honey Nut & Cinnamon) over to Gluten-Free.  I have been eating the Rice Chex for a while and don’t have an issue finding it GF at all.  Within the past month or so, we have been able to find the Strawberry Chex, though the boxes are still mixed on shelves with boxes that have gluten, so you have to be very careful not to get the wrong box.  Both Jon and I love the Strawberry Chex….they remind us of the Sugar topping on strawberry Pop-Tarts.  Not as sweet, but same type of flavor.  YUM! 

I set off yesterday on my weekly grocery shopping trip.  I hadn’t planned on buying cereal because we had plenty, but when I saw this:

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I couldn’t help myself!!  AHHHHHH!!  I have been hoping that I would find one of the new flavors and I did!  YAY!  I had some today, just right from the box and YUMMMMMMMM!!  They ROCK!  I am going to mix them up with my Strawberry & Rice Chex tomorrow for a nice snack.  Maybe I will toss in some vanilla yogurt, too, for kicks.  :)  I love yogurt on cereal.  If you use the YoPlus, with fiber and says “GF” on the container, it adds a nice boost of fiber to your snack or breakfast.  So, I found these for $3.39/box.  Not the cheapest, but less than a lot of the specialty cereals out there.  The new Chex flavors are supposed to be all over by June 1st according to General Mills. 

Back of the box:

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Product Review: Trader Joe’s Rye-less Rye

I have run across Trader Joe’s Rye-Less Rye more times than I can count at Trader Joe’s.  This is because I buy the Trader Joe’s French Rolls on a regular basis.  I had always been scared (LOL) to buy the Rye-less Rye, but took the plunge a week or so ago.  It was $3.49/loaf and Trader Joe’s is really good about taking back stuff (and giving a store credit) for things that you don’t like or aren’t up to your expectations.  I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this bread.  Yes, you have to toast it.  Also, I put my loaf directly into the freezer so that it would keep, as I would never eat it all before the date stamped on the package.  Now I enjoy in various ways, a piece or 2 at a time.  The bread toasts up wonderfully and has that “rye” taste that I remember from my pre-gluten-free days.  The texture is amazing.  The only thing negative I have to say about this bread is that the pieces aren’t bigger.  I am not talking thickness of slice here, but size of the slice.  These are relatively small, way too small for a lunch-sized sandwich, in my opinion.  Of course, I am a big eater, so maybe for someone with a smaller appetite, this bread would work perfectly for sandwiches.  Being the creative person that I am…LOL…I have found many other uses for this bread.  Here is my “after dinner rye-less rye”, complete with strawberry fruit spread & some chocolate chips (BTW, those are regular size chocolate chips, so you can get an idea of the size of the bread):

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Some other uses are with peanut butter or almond butter as a snack, with butter with a meal, with cream cheese as a snack or with a meal.  You could use these for appetizers, too.  Maybe cut each slice in make Crostini

I would absolutely buy this product again and again.  Highly recommend.

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Menu Plan ~ April 5, 2009

Well, here we are in April!  Well, at least some of us are.  Mother Nature seems to be lagging behind a bit.  Or nodding off.  We have days of sun & warmth and then days of freezing cold, like what they are predicting for tomorrow.  Not only will it be cold, but it is supposed to snow.  WHAT?  Come on!  We should be warming up and staying warm!  It is time to get out and weed the gardens and get ready to plant the veggie plants!  There is nothing like homegrown produce.  Tomatoes, zucchini, peppers…..YUM!  Salads are one of my favorite things!  I can’t wait.  Apparently, Mother Nature is testing my patience.  That is fine.  I guess I will suck it up.  ;)

Here is our menu plan for the week.  Kind of low-key for once, or at least right now it is.  That could change in an instant.  Jon gets his braces on tomorrow, so not sure how much of this food he will be eating.  He may exist for a while on yogurt and Carnation Instant Breakfast.  That, or I will blend his meals up in the blender.  ;)

Sunday ~ Breakfast for dinner (veggie omelet for me; Jon wants his eggs cooked in a “nest” in his toast in a pan; not sure what Aaron & Hannah want yet;  sweet potato fries, Trader Joe’s Rye-less Rye Toast & OJ)

Monday ~Maple Glazed Salmon (Cooking Light); Scallops for Jon, risotto, veggies & salad

Tuesday ~Burgers, sweet potato fries, veggies & salad

Wednesday ~Bourbon Chicken, Brown Rice, broccoli & salad

Thursday~ Enchilada Bake, corn & salad

Friday~ Homemade pizza, veggies & salad

Saturday~ leftovers

Baked Goods

Bread

Peanut Butter Cookies

Cornbread (for Easter Dinner)

Snickerdoodle Cake (Easter Dinner….recipe to follow)

 

Celiacs in the House is hosting this week’s Gluten-Free Menu Swap.  The theme is “favorite salads or sides”.  this is right up my alley!  I love salad!  If you look at my plan I have salad on it every night.  I usually have one for lunch too, though that one is simpler, mostly just fresh spinach, grape tomatoes & a touch of Light Creamy French Dressing.  My dinner salad is where I get all crazy.  I love mixed greens…arugula is one of my favs.  I like to mix it in with lots of other greens.  I add lots of fresh veggies to my salads, too.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, snow peas, zucchini, mushrooms, black olives.  Sometimes I toss on some beans…black beans or garbanzo.  Sometimes I toss on cheese…cheddar, mozzarella or goat cheese (my fav).  For croutons, if I am in the mood, I will make my own or used crushed up GF pretzels, Fritos or Glutino Breadsticks.  The possibilities are endless.  For dressings I use the one listed above or balsamic vinaigrette or just EVOO & balsamic vinegar. 

Don’t forget to check out more menu plans at Orgjunkie, too!

 

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Product Review: Trader Joe’s Popped Potato Chips

Have you ever tried a brand new product and almost immediately wondered why you thought that it would be good?  Well, that is how I felt upon trying my first bite of these chips.  However, they really, really grew on me and I can honestly say that I really enjoy them now.  I think that I was expecting a typical potato chip or baked potato chip and these are nothing like that whatsoever.  These chips are very light & crispy and have a nice flavor to them.  They almost taste like they have a touch of parmesan cheese in them, but the label says nothing about cheese. 

These chips are relatively healthy, chip speaking, of course.  They are only 120 calories for a serving (approx. 22 chips) and haev only 4 grams of fat.  They have no trans fats and aren’t baked or fried.  They are popped!  They also state on the package that there are “no gluten ingredients used”!  Yay for Trader Joe’s!  The price was decent on this bag of chips as well, though I don’t remember exactly what it was.  I believe it was right around $2.00. 

Definitely would buy these again.  Great to snack on with lunch or with some cut up cheese. 

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Product Review: Kerrygold Cheese

About a month ago I received some coupons from Kerrygold to sample & review their cheeses and/or butters.  I have used one of the coupons and am saving the other for when I hopefully find the butter somewhere in a local store.  I purchased the Blarney Castle and the Aged Cheddar cheeses.  They are both amazing.  I love cheese, so that is pretty much a given.  However, these both have wonderful rich & creamy tastes.  I have used the cheddar to top salads, shredded, tacos & Mexican pizzas.  I use the Blarney Castle mainly for sandwiches, melted on top of turkey or roasted chicken breast.  It is an excellent melting cheese.  Here is the cheese, before melting on my deli meat:

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Here is the finished product on top of my Pamela’s toasted Gluten-Free Bread, dotted with Frank’s Red Hot!   I had my sandwich along side a salad, Claussen pickle (my fav) and some Trader Joe’s Popped Potato Chips (to be reviewed in the next day or 2). 

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I would absolutely buy this cheese again.  The cheddar is zingy!  I love a good, sharp cheddar.  Perfect for any occasion that would warrant eating cheese. ;)

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Product Review: Justin’s Almond Butter & Peanut Butter Packets

I discovered these cute little packets of Almond Butter & Peanut Butter at my Raisin Rack the other day.  I have been craving Almond Butter ever since I ran out of my Barney Butter a month or so ago.  They don’t carry that locally anywhere and the shipping is too pricey!  I can’t justify spending $8 to $10 on a jar of almond butter that I am not sure I will even like.  So, these packets were perfect!  They were $.69/each!  WOOOHOOO!!  I got 2 Almond butter and 1 Honey Peanut Butter Blend.  Justin’s Natural is marked Gluten-Free & Dairy Free!  Can I get a “Heck Yeah!”?  I just love supporting companies that recognize the need for clear labeling for those of us who have to follow this diet.  Justin’s also makes their nut butters without hydrogenated oils, another big plus!  I had the Almond Butter this morning for breakfast smeared on 2 Van’s Wheat-Free Waffles.  (side note…I just got distracted on the Van’s web site…it appears they now have GF French Toast Sticks & Pancakes!  Where have I been?)  Okay, back to your scheduled programming.  I topped my waffles & AB with Blackberry Fruit Spread.  YUM!  Now, there was no Barney Butter, that is for sure, but what a wonderful flavor this AB had!  You could really taste the nutty flavor.  1 packet is a serving and has 200 calories, 18 grams fat, 4 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of protein! Excellent breakfast that kept me full for almost 4 hours and that is a lot for me!  The main difference between Justin’s Almond Butter & Barney Butter is that Barney Butter has evaporated cane juice to sweeten the flavor, where as Justin’s only has dry roasted almonda & organic palm fruit oil in it.  So, the Barney Butter is going to taste sweeter. 

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I can think of many uses for these packs.  Of course the obvious is packing for lunch…..works very nicely for GF bread….you can toast your bread in the AM and pack separately from the PB and Fruit Spread so that it doesn’t get soggy!  You can keep a pack or 2 in your purse for emergency snacks.  If there is 1 thing I have learned being GF for over 3 years, it is to never be without a substantial snack when leaving the house.  I always keep nuts or a bar of some sort in my purse in case I end up some place that doesn’t have safe food for me to eat.  I am a very cranky hungry person, so this is a must for me.  These packs would work very nicely for the purse. 

So, my rating?  Great product! Great taste!  Can’t wait to try the Honey PB next!  I think I will incorporate it into my Sunday AM Oatmeal Bowl-of-Fun!  Definitely would purchase again or recommend.

I am going to post a picture of the back of the pack.  Notice the GF labeling! 

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Cheesy Stuffed Shells ~ Yummy Goodness!

A few weeks back I was shopping at my local health food store, Raisin Rack, and happened upon Tinkyada’s Large Pasta Shells for making stuffed shells.  I love stuffed shells and haven’t had any since going gluten-free and figured Jon (and the rest of the family) would like them too.  I picked up a couple of boxes and set out to make them this evening.  I found some recipes online and them tweaked them to be my own.  Jon LOVED this!  He asked for 2nds and then 3rds.  I think he had 4 or 5 shells after all was said & done.  He begged me to make this every week and said it was better than lasagna, which has been his absolute favorite for years! 

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Cheesy Stuffed Shells ~ Gluten-Free

1 box Tinkyada Large/Jumbo Shells (box is about 8 oz and has roughly 28+ or – shells)

30 oz. Ricotta Cheese (I used low-fat Meijer brand)

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I used part-skim)

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (split in half)

1/2 tsp. salt

pinch of black pepper

1 tsp basil, dried

1 tsp oregano, dried

1 jar of spaghetti sauce (I used Prego Three Cheese, but like Classico Four Cheese, too)

Fresh Basil, chopped, to sprinkle on top when done baking (which I forgot!!!!)

 

1.  Cook pasta according to box directions.  Note that Tinkyada suggests cutting cooking time by 2 min if you plan on baking.

2.  Combine ricotta cheese, eggs, dried spices, 1/4 cup of parmesan and 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese.  Mix well and set aside.

3. Heat sauce in pan on stove.

4.  Assembly….Pour sauce into a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish sprayed with Pam; spoon a thin layer of sauce across the bottom.  Scoop 1-2 TBSP of cheese mixture into each shell and place in dish.  Repeat until finished.  Pour remaining sauce over top and top with remaining parmesan & mozzarella. 

5.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, covered.  Remove covers and back for another 5-10 minutes. 

6.  Top with freshly cut basil and serve!  YUM! 

 

**Variations….stuff with ground turkey seasoned with Italian seasonings (garlic, basil, oregano); stuff with spinach & cheese (the option I would have loved, but my family would not have touched..hmmmm…more for ME!).

 

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I served with broccoli and a yummy salad of spinach, arugula, snow peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and French dressing.  Oh, for “croutons”, I use Glutino Pizza Breadsticks crushed up.  I am not a huge fan of these alone, but they are great on a salad as my “croutons”!

 

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