Product Review: Trader Joe’s Savory Thin Mini Edamame Crackers

Last time I was in Trader Joe’s I was getting the kids a sample of some biscotti (not gluten-free).  The nice man who was manning the “kitchen” area where they make the meals & samples asked if I wanted some biscotti.  I told him that I had to follow a gluten-free diet and he directed me to several new products!  These mini crackers were one of those products.

tjmt

tjth

 

I wasn’t sure what to expect with these crackers, but they are really good.  They have a great crunch to them and they don’t crumble.  They are seasoned, though I can’t put my finger on what they taste like.  Definitely tasty, though.  They would be great dipped in hummus, ranch, dill dip, crumbled on a salad, with soup, the possibilities are endless!  I also picked up a Red Pepper Spread with Eggplant that I will be reviewing soon that they are great dipped in!!  If you have a Trader Joe’s close by, give these babies a try!  There are a couple other cracker thins they have that are gluten-free as well.  Gotta love a store that really goes above & beyond for those of us who have to follow this diet.  :) 

Exciting Times!

While out running our errands this morning, we stopped into the Holiday Baking Company.  I had first happened upon this place back in March when driving to the library & stopped in to check it out.  I had never been into any bakery that made gluten-free products until that day.  Jon had a couple dollars burning a hole in his pocket, so he wanted to pop in and get a nice gluten-free treat.  He chose an amazing Cappuccino Chip Muffin.  YUM!!  While we were there we found out that the bakery is going completely gluten-free in early July!!!  OMG!  This is so exciting!  Lisa, the proprietor, told me that one of her employees was just diagnosed with Celiac.  I noticed that the selection of gluten-free baked goods way outweighed the non-gluten-free options.  They now have 12-inch gluten-free pizza crust & foccacia bread.  They will have hamburger buns starting tomorrow.  I can’t wait to go back in next week to give those buns a try!  :) 

If you are in or near the Columbus (Worthington) area, make sure to check this place out!!

 

LiveJournal Tags: ,

One of My Favorite Quotes

“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

That just about sums it all up. :)

Product Review: Naturally Nutty Vanilla Almond Butter

I finally found a product I have been searching for for a while.  I kn0w I could have ordered it online, but I despise paying shipping costs, so I was patient and waited like a good girl. ;)  I know I have a nut butter obsession, but I really don’t plan on doing anything about it anytime soon, except feeding it.  ;)

012

I have heard about the Naturally Nutty Products for a while now.  I had emailed them a while back to check on the gluten-free status of their products & I got an email from Katie Kearney, the president of Naturally Nutty Foods, Inc herself:

Thank you so much for your inquiry.  Yes, all of our products are completely gluten free.  We are slowly adding that to our labels! 

Thanks,

Katie

My first experience with the Vanilla Almond Butter was last Friday.  I spread some atop my Van’s gluten-free waffle and topped with some blackberry fruit spread.  O.M.G.  The flavors danced on my tongue!  What a fantastic combo!  The ingredients in this almond butter are so simple, yet so good for you:

Almonds, Organic Flax Seed, Vanilla Powder, Organic Hemp Seed

That is it!  It doesn’t get much better than that.  This nut butter has definitely moved up to the top of my list, just about even with my beloved Barney Butter!  I love having options! :)  I can’t wait to try some of the other varieties that Naturally Nutty makes.  I hope my local store starts to carry more than just the Vanilla Almond Butter.  I would love to try the Mocha Peanut Butter, White Chocolate Coconut PB and the Chocolate Butter Toffee PB!

017

Give this stuff a try if you find it!  A definite don’t miss!!

Product Review: Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Brownies

036

The other day I happened upon 3 of the 4 gluten-free Betty Crocker mixes.  Okay, so I didn’t “happen upon” them.  I have been actively seeking them out since I heard they were coming out!  LOL!  I made & reviewed the Chocolate Chip Cookies the other day and we love them!  I needed a dessert for Father’s Day dinner, so what better dessert to make than the Betty Crocker Gluten-free Brownies?  I have to say that I have a new favorite person and her name is Betty Crocker!  These brownies were A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!  They were super simple to make and bake.  Before making these, my favorite gluten-free brownie mixes were made by 1, 2, 3 Gluten-Free (super expensive ~ $10.00/mix) and Pamela’s (about half the price of the 1, 2, 3 Gluten-Free mix and $1.00 or so more than the Betty Crocker mix).  I served these brownies to 7 people total and every single one of them raved about them.  Comments like “You can’t even tell these are GF” and “These are better than regular brownies!” were flying around the room.  They were rich, chocolaty, fudgy and all the marvelous things a brownie should be.  I chose not to frost them this time because I wanted a true sample of the product.  Next time I might dust with powdered sugar or frost with my Mom’s famous (okay, maybe n0t famous, but the recipe from the Hershey’s Cocoa can) chocolate frosting recipe for extra goodness. 

All you need is 1 stick of butter and 2 eggs (oh, and the mix ;)).

024

 

Mix in a bowl.

030

Spread into your pan.

032

Bake & then cool.

035

Cut & enjoy!

036

If you haven’t tried these, seriously, get your hands on some soon & dive in!! 

Menu Plan ~ June 21, 2009

Summer is here!!  YAY!!!  Sure, it has felt like summer for a while, but according to the calendar, Summer is officially here.  :)  This week starts some craziness.  Swimming lessons start today (I thought they started last week and actually took the kids!).  Baseball is in full swing, though Jon may have broken his wrist….he is going for an x-ray today.  He was playing catcher on Saturday & another player slid into him.  Mary’s surgery went well and she is at home recovering nicely.  Hope all the Dads out there had a great Father’s day!  We had Betty Crocker’s GF Brownies for dessert last night…they were TO.DIE.FOR!!  Review coming up soon!

Sunday ~ Herb Roasted Pork Loin, Rosemary Potatoes, Sauteed Asparagus, Steamed Broccoli & Salad (made over at Mary’s for Father’s Day)

Monday ~ grilled chicken, brown rice, steamed green beans & salad

Tuesday ~ Enchilada Bake, corn & salad (didn’t get to last week)

Wednesday ~ Stuffed Shells, steamed broccoli, & Salad

Thursday~ Mac & Cheese, baked beans, steamed veggies & salad (Kim out with friends)

Friday~ Salmon, Baked Potato/Sweet Potato, roasted carrots/zucchini & salad

Saturday~ Leftovers or homemade pizza (Bob’s Red Mill crust)

Baked Goods for the Week

Pamela’s Bread

Testing a new bread mix for a company that sent me a mix to sample (top secret ;))

Betty Crocker’s Devils Food Cake

Crepes from Pamela’s Baking Mix

Lilac Kitchen is hosting this week’s gluten-free menu swap.  Her featured ingredient is black currants.  I have never tried these, so I might have to seek some out this week & pay attention to the recipes! 

Don’t forget to check out Orgjunkie for lots of other menu planning fun & ideas!

LiveJournal Tags:

Operation Beautiful

Caitlin over at Healthy Tipping Point has started a wonderful program this week.  It is called “Operation Beautiful“.  The idea is to end fat talk one anonymous post-it note at a time.  All you need to participate in Operation Beautiful is a pen and a piece of paper (tape or post-it note).  Write down a positive message and then leave the note posted on mirrors in bathrooms at the gym, grocery stores, work, really any public place.  I chose to write down this….”You are beautiful.  Don’t let anyone tell you any different” on my note.  I left my first note on the mirror in the bathroom at my sports med doctor today.  Hannah asked what I was doing with my camera & paper in the bathroom and I told her that I was hopefully making someone’s day a little brighter.  Funny part?  A lady walked in when I was taking the picture & gave me a strange look.  Hopefully she read the note when she came out of the stall to wash her hands. 

Here is my picture:

001

 

So, get your pen & paper & make someone’s day a little brighter. 

 If you want to join the mission, send Caitlin an e-mail at seebriderun@gmail.com with a photograph of your Operation Beautiful note or a description of your experience, and she will post it on her blog !  And feel free to spread the word on your blog as well!

LiveJournal Tags:

Asking for Positive Thoughts & Prayers

Today my Mother-in-Law, Mary is undergoing surgery on her ankle.  When we were all on vacation last week in North Carolina, she missed the last step coming down the stairs outside her beach house & fell.  She broke both of her ankles.  The left in 2 places and the right in 3.  She is having surgery on the right ankle this morning.  She has to be off her feet for 3 months.  This is going to be a long road to recovery, so she can use all the positive thoughts & prayers she can get. 

Get well soon, Mary.  We hope that you have a speedy recovery! 

LiveJournal Tags:

Product Review: Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been waiting for months to write out that title.  Today is finally the day!  Can I get an AMEN??  LOL!  I posted yesterday that I had finally found the GF Chocolate Chex & 3 of the 4 Betty Crocker Mixes at Kroger.  I had to make one of the mixes and the Chocolate Chip Cookies it was.  Jon wanted to help/watch.  See if they looked any different than the ones I make from scratch. 

Jon, ready for action (Please excuse the goofy look on his face.  Why he can’t smile is beyond me.  Oh, wait, I almost forgot, he is 13):

014

 

First things first, get all your ingredients out.  This mix is super simple.  You only need to add 1 egg and 1 tsp of vanilla.  It doesn’t get much easier then this.  I went ahead & told Jon not to get his expectations set too high.  He is in love with my homemade, from scratch, chocolate chip cookies and I didn’t want him to be disappointed with the cookies from the mix.  I didn’t think that the cookies would be bad, but just that they might not live up to the expectations of a 13 year old boy. ;) 

Box & powdered mix:

cookiebox

 

Into the bowl go the wet ingredients:

012

Dough mixed together:

016

 

On the tray, ready to bake:

021

Coming out of the oven….oh, boy, these smell amazing:

024

 

All plated up, ready to chow down:

026

 

Jon asked me to make him a “monster cookie”:

030

This thing was huge!  It was on the same size plate as those 2 “normal” size cookies above.  Jon treated this as his “pre-baseball game snack”, along with a glass of milk.  He made quick work of it:

034

037

Yes, he did indeed lick the plate.  That’s my boy!

038

Not only did Jon & I sample these cookies, but I fed them to 2, super-picky 6 & 7 year old non-gluten-free girls and they loved them!  was super impressed with the taste & texture.  They were freakily (is that a word?) close to my homemade, from scratch, chocolate chip cookies.  I also fed one to my Dad when he came to pick up my sister, he also loved it and couldn’t believe how good they were.  The last, but not least, taste tester was my BFF, Amanda.  She commented that she couldn’t tell they were GF at all and they tasted just like “normal” chocolate chip cookies!  Well done, Betty Crocker, well done.  :)  I can only find one negative about this cookie mix and that is that the price is a little higher than I expected it to be at $4.49/box.  It is cheaper than a lot of other GF mixes on the market, though, so really, not too bad.  Also, Betty Crocker’s mixes are available on Amazon.com and if you sign up for the “Subscribe & Save” program, they end up being $3.33/box (only come in cases of 6) and your shipping is free.  The program is free to join and you choose the frequency and can change or  cancel at any time. 

Estoy Loco por esta Crema de cacahuate

Did you get that?  It says “I am crazy for this peanut butter”!  For months I have read about P.B.Loco on many blogs, but never could find any in my local stores.  Sure, I could have ordered it online, but I really try to avoid shipping charges at any cost.  I waited patiently.  Good things come to those who wait.  :)  While on vacation last week in Sunset Beach, NC, we traveled South (my Mom & I) to Myrtle Beach for a day full of shopping & lunch out.  We hit up a store called   “The Peanut Shop“.  I love all things nuts, so I figured that I couldn’t go wrong in that store!  LOL!  I was purchasing some gifts (I can’t share yet) and overheard this woman saying something about chocolate chip cookie dough peanut butter.  My little ears perked right up and I made a beeline right over to where these nice ladies were.  Imagine my surprise when there was a nice display rack of P.B.Loco jars sitting there!  I almost squealed!  Okay, maybe I did a little bit.  I quickly grabbed the Dark Chocolate Duo, as it was the only one they had!  Hands off my dark chocolate, people!  ;)  Next I snagged a Sumatra Cinnamon Raisin and a Jungle Banana.  The only other kind they had that day was the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  I wasn’t sure if that variety was gluten-free, so I left it behind.  Later I saw that all 3 jars that I did pick up had “Gluten-Free” written on the side.  I wish I would have looked closer at the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough!  My Mom could do nothing but giggle at me. 

007

009

Fast forward to this morning.  Yes, I still have other nut butters open in my pantry, but had to open the Sumatra Cinnamon.  I couldn’t wait any longer.  I spread this delicacy on my brown rice cake (lots of raisins!).  I topped with Trader Joe’s Pumpkin butter.  If that was not just a little party in my mouth!!  OH.MY.GOSH!  Yes, I know those flavors say “Fall” more than “Summer”, but I don’t care.  My mouth doesn’t care.  This was an amazing combo.  This peanut butter is one of the most unique nut butters that I have tried.  A definite must purchase again product! 

Meal picture (sorry for the poor lighting…it was still dark out when I ate).

004

Now, onto the other new love of my life (my first love, other than my dear husband, is Barney Butter) is Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter.  I picked this up on the spur of the moment when I had won a gift card to Trader Joe’s.  It has been in my fridge, unopened, for about a month.  I thought today would be the perfect time to give it a try.  Another win!!  Wow!!  Perfect pumpkin flavor for the pumpkin freak that I am . 

006

If you love raisins, peanut butter & pumpkin, give these products a try! 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 54 other followers