NuVal, Meijer & Gluten-free

What do those 3 things have in common?  I am going to tell you.  NuVal is a company that makes choosing healthy foods at the grocery store a little easier.  NuVal scores food based on a combination of nutritional factors and comes up with a number.  The numbers range from 1 to 100 – the higher the number, but more nutritious the food choice.  You can find out more about how NuVal works and the science of it here. 

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Now, moving on.  Last week Tina from Carrots’N’Cake asked for volunteers who shopped at Meijer to check out the NuVal program at their local store.  I volunteered and thought it would be fun to see the gluten-free side of it as well.  Sometimes the gluten-free replacement foods aren’t as nutritious as the traditional version due to the removal of the whole wheat, rye, barley & oats.  This makes trading-up, as NuVal calls it, even more important.  If you are trying to choose between vegetables or fruits, choose with one with the higher number.  Spinach is rated with a 99! 

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Apples?  Rated a 96.  :)  My favorite!

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Want to trade-up for a healthier sandwich?  Forgo the cheese and add a slice or 2 of avocado.

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You can even choose a healthier cooking oil.

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As you can see, the Canola Oil is the healthier choice. 

Cereals?  Sometimes it is hard to find mainstream gluten-free cereal, but you can even make healthier trade-ups there.

Strawberry Chex- 26

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Honey Cinnamon Puffins (the only gluten-free puffins) – 25

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Kix Cereal – 29

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I checked the gluten-free product aisle and there were no scores on the gluten-free foods there.  It would be great to see the NuVal scores there eventually, too, to help make even more great trade-ups. 

You can see if there is a store that has NuVal in your area here.  You can check the scores of some of your favorite foods here.

 

 

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Reminder: Always Double Check Labels

An email that I received this morning from Amazon inspired me to write this post today.  The email was about Gluten-free items on Amazon being up to 40% off.  The one item in particular that caught my eye was the Dr. Kracker Flatbread Krackers – Sunflower Cheddar.   Not only were these listed in the email ad as gluten-free items, but on the item description page, “Great for gluten-free diets”, is highlighted.  Then you scroll down to the ingredients:

Ingredients
Organic Whole Grain Spelt Flour, Filtered Water, Organic Cheddar Cheese (Organic Pasteurized Milk, Hannilase Enzyme, Salt, Cultures), Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Flaxseeds, Sea Salt, Organic Sesame Seeds, Organic Spelt Bran, Yeast, Organic Barley Malt Syrup.

And then safety information:

Safety Information
Contains milk and wheat.

And then, the CYA disclaimer:

Legal Disclaimer
Actual product packaging and materials may contain more and different information than what is shown on our website. We recommend that you do not rely solely on the information presented and that you always read labels, warnings, and directions before using or consuming a product. Please
see our full disclaimer below.

Ultimately we are responsible for ourselves & the food we put into our mouths.  If the product is labeled correctly, the information is there for use to protect ourselves, even if a company is calling the product “gluten-free” by putting it in an ad or on a shelf that says so. 

This is just a reminder to read labels every.single.time. you buy/eat a product.  I know how easy it is to become complacent when buying and eating the same products over & over.  I am very loyal to the brands I know I can trust, however, I always double check.  You never know when a recipe or a supplier has changed. 

On another note, Hannah said something today to me regarding my having to follow a gluten-free diet.  She said “Mom, I am so sorry that you have to eat gluten-free.”  I looked at her and smiled and then said “Thank you, but I am thankful for being able to eat gluten-free.”  I went on, “I feel better than I used to feel and I am thankful that if I have to have a disease, that it is Celiac Disease and not something more serious, like Cancer.”  I think that too often, when the going gets tough, we start to feel sorry for ourselves & mourn the loss of what we thought was our beloved gluten-filled foods.  Little did we know that those foods were damaging our bodies and all we had to do to change that, is change our diet. 

Have a wonderful, gluten-free day!

 

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A Day of Eats

I have done a few days like this in the past where I capture all the gluten-free food that I eat in a day.  I chose last Friday, a day that I ran 8 miles, to show you how I refuel after a longer run.  Before my run I had a pack of Sharkies and during my run I drank watered down powdered Gatorade.

Breakfast consisted of 2 Van’s Blueberry GF Waffles topped with Trader Joe’s Almond Butter, Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter, cinnamon & raisins.  I also had a cut up Macintosh apple on the side.  I ran out of my beloved Honeycrisp, so Macintosh had to do.  I also had an unpictured cup of decaf with cinnamon & vanilla almond breeze.

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Days like this are hard for me to gauge food wise.  Some days when I run longer (usually 8+ miles), I have no appetite whatsoever and have to watch the clock to make sure that I am eating every 3 hours or so.  Other days I can’t get enough.  This day fell into the “can’t get enough” category.

Snack, not even 3 hours after breakfast, was a bowl of Glutenfreeda’s Instant Apple Cinnamon & Flax Oatmeal.

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Lunch was a Baby Spinach Salad + grape tomatoes & Kraft Fat Free French Dressing, chicken, pear & sriracha sandwich on Pamela’s Bread, cut up pear & Glutino Pretzels.

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Dessert, a must have after lunch, a mini Heath bar.

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Snack time couldn’t come soon enough!  LOL!  I had a bowl of cereal, which included Rice Chex, Peanut Butter Panda Puffs & Barbara’s Honey Cinnamon Puffins with a cut up Macintosh apple.  Yes, I like my fruit. ;)

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Friday was homemade pizza night.  I used Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Crust Mix.  I made mine with Trader Joe’s Tomato Chutney as the sauce base & topped it with roasted eggplant, mushrooms, spinach, goat cheese & pine nuts.  Kalamata olives would have really finished this off nicely, but I didn’t have any. :(  I also had a large mixed greens salad on the side.

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I ate half of the pizza and all of the salad.  For dessert, which I forgot to photograph, I had a small helping of Edy’s Pumpkin Ice cream & some dark chocolate chocolate chips on top.

It was a good day and I felt refueled enough to run 5 miles the next AM and finished my last mile in 8 min. 24 seconds.  Love runs like that!

Hope you all had a a great weekend!

Weekly Menu Plan – November 15, 2009

I don’t know what the weather has been like by you, but it has been glorious here the past few days.  I have been taking full advantage of that before we enter into the land of the frozen tundra for the next several months.

In My Box is hosting this week’s gluten-free menu swap with the them of “Dutch Ovens”.  I don’t have anything on this week’s menu that would utilize my dutch oven, but I do occasionally use mine to make pot roast with potatoes & carrots.  With the weather getting colder, it may be time to break it out & cook up a great roast!

Sunday – Rotisserie Chicken, sweet potato hash browns, steamed veggies & salad

Monday – Chicken/Eggplant Parmesan, brown rice/quinoa pasta, broccoli & salad

Tuesday – Honey Baked Lentils & spaghetti squash & salad

Wednesday – Filet mignon, baked potatoes w/Oikos, roasted asparagus & salad

Thursday – Bourbon Chicken, coconut brown rice, zucchini & salad

Friday – Breakfast for dinner

Saturday – Leftovers

Baked Goods

Bread

Bagels

Pumpkin Drop Biscuits

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Last night Aaron & I went out to celebrate our anniversary at Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse.  What an amazing dinner.  The chef was extremely helpful & knowledgeable about the gluten-free diet.  We both ordered off the Sea & Shore 3-Course Menu.  My dinner included a beefsteak tomato & onion salad (sans onion) with hard smoked mozzarella cheese & balsamic vinaigrette, 7 oz medium rare filet mignon, Colossal Sea Scallops with lemon citrus sauce, broccolini and creme brulee for dessert.  I also had a nice glass of pinot noir & syrah.  Aaron had the same thing, but had a Caesar salad & crab cakes for his salad & seafood.  He opted for the cheesecake for dessert.   We came home & watched Orphan.  Talk about a freaky movie!  Yikes!

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Don’t forget to check out Orgjunkie for more menu ideas.

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Another fun blogging event to check out this week: Gluten-free Thanksgiving Progressive Dinner Party.  For more details, please see The Whole Gang.

Have a great week!

Contest Winner – Betty Crocker "Simple Joys" Prize Pack

Thank you all to commented, tweeted and shared your favorite game!  What fun it was for me to read all of the comments.  I used to love to play Life, Monopoly, UNO, Capture the Flag, Ghosts in the Graveyard & Four Square.  Now, without further delay or rambling from me, the winner of this giveaway is:

 

Amanda, on November 12th, 2009 at 11:23 pm Said: Edit Comment

My favorite outside game was kickball. My favorite board game has always been candy land!!

Reply

 

Congrats Amanda!!  Please contact me at kbouldin@insight.rr.com so I can get your mailing information to send your package out. 

 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. 

 

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Product Review: POM Wonderful

A few weeks back, Kristen from POM Wonderful, contacted me to see if I would be interested in some samples to review on my blog.  I immediately accepted.  I have been seeing & hearing all kids of good things about POM Wonderful for a while. 

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On my recent trip to Atlanta, I took some POM Wonderful and shared to get some other reactions.  My brother-in-law, Greg, and Step Dad, Joe both sampled the juice.  They both had good things to say about the juice.  Greg mentioned that it tasted similar to cranberry juice.  I can’t say that I disagree.  I really liked the POM Wonderful juice.  I am not a fan of overly sweet juices and this one is just right.  It has a great, tart zing to it.  I especially liked it mixed with a little Stoli vodka for a nice cocktail.  Now, the real taste test.  I gave the juice to my picky 7 year old.  I consider Hannah a juice connoisseur.   She really liked the funky bottle that the POM Wonderful came in and asked to try it.  Here is how her taste test went:

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She loved it!!!  She asked for more after the little bit she had was gone.  She has been asking for it every day now. 

On top of tasting great, POM Wonderful has some great health benefits

Now, Mom’s favorite way to drink POM:

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Go ahead, give POM Wonderful a try if you get a chance.  You won’t be disappointed.  Thanks Kristen for sending me the samples.  We are enjoying them.  Next up?  Recipes using the POM juice. 

 

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Gluten-free Cracker Review

Usually when I review a product I write one post for one product.  I am mixing things up a little bit today.  I am going to include 2 products in one post.  I know! Things are getting all crazy over here at Gluten-free is Life.  Today is cracker day at Gluten-free is Life.  I have 2 different brands of crackers to review today.  Glutino and Hol-Grain

I will start with Glutino because alphabetically, “G” comes before “H”.  :)  Glutino makes 4 different kinds of crackers – original, vegetable flavor, cheddar flavor & multigrain flavor.  Today I am reviewing the original.  These crackers are very close to the gluten-filled Townhouse or Ritz crackers that I remember.  Jon has also sampled them and said “Whoa!  These taste just like regular crackers!”  He is spreading peanut butter on them and making them into peanut butter sandwich crackers as I write this review.  This product gets an A+.

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Hol-Grain Crackers are crackers that are made from brown rice with a touch of salt.   If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that there isn’t much that I don’t like.  I like food in general and I am fairly easy to please.  Well, brace yourselves.  This product was horrible.  Horrible, as in going back to the store and I am asking for a store credit or my money back.  I had such high hopes for these crackers!  I wasn’t turned off by the ingredient list – only brown rice & salt.  I eat rice cakes with those ingredients in them daily.  The cracker was not appealing to look at; there was no crunch.  They almost tasted stale.  I didn’t even finish one of the crackers.  I hesitate to write a review like this, but I hate to see anyone else waste their money, especially in this economy, on a product that is not cheap ($4 – $6/box).  Has anyone else tried these?  Did I just get a bad box?

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Other good  gluten-free crackers are Blue Diamond Nut Thins and Mary’s Gone Crackers. If you made me choose a favorite, it would be between the Glutino & Blue Diamond Nut Thins.

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December preview: “A Cookie A Day“.  I will be sharing a cookie recipe a day during the month of December.  In order to keep my life from being completely nuts, I am going to do weekdays only.  Still, that will be 23 cookie recipes for you all to check out!  I love holiday cookies and am hoping to try some fun new recipes this year to add to some old favorites. 

 

New Giveaway: Betty Crocker "Simple Joys" Prize Pack

Betty Crocker is a rockin’ company.  Betty Crocker is the first mainstream company to make gluten-free baking mixes.  Their parent company, General Mills, is awesome too.  They are the makers of the Chex brand cereals. 

BC Fruit-Flavored Snacks  Prize Pack

Today I bring you a giveaway made possibly by MyBlogSpark & Betty Crocker.  Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks are labeled “Gluten-free” and are easy to grab while on the go.  My daughter really likes the fruit snacks** – the Fruit by the Foot in particular.  The “Simple Joys” prize pack includes 2 packages of Betty Crocker Fruit-Flavored Snacks, a retro Pick `em Up Sticks game, a light-up yo-yo and a classic Frisbee.

To enter this contest, follow the instructions below:

1.  Leave a comment & tell me what your favorite game was as a child – did you like to play Pick ‘em Up Sticks?  Frisbee? 

2.  Tweet about this post and include @kbouldin.

3.  If you don’t have a Twitter account, blog about this post & link back.

Good luck!  This contest will end Thursday at midnight.  Winner will be announced on Friday. 

**I normally don’t buy processed foods like this, but they are nice to have on hand for traveling. 

 

Blog Awards :)

Last week I was presented with a fantastic award – it made my week.  Fayinagirl at Gluten-free Vegan nominated me for this award.  I was so honored to receive this award and now I get to pass along the fun!  :)

Here are the rules:

This award is bestowed upon blogs that are exceedingly charming.
These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends.
They are not interested in self-aggrandizement.
Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.
Please give more attention to these writers.
Deliver this award to six bloggers who must choose six more and include this cleverly written text into the body of their award.
I will pass this award to some of my bloggy friends that I find exceedingly charming…

Erin at Gluten-free Fitness.  Erin is not only super friendly & supportive, but sends me the most amazing recipes to try!  I am honored to know Erin & call her my friend. 

Heidi at Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom.  I had the pleasure of meeting Heidi last month when she was in town.  Heidi is such a sweetheart & is fun to be around.  She has some killer recipes, too!  Make sure to check out her blog.  You can see my post about our meeting here

Val at Chicago Marathon Val.  Val is so friendly & encouraging and always willing to give you advice if you need it.  Val just ran a marathon last month & I loved following her journey to the finish line.  She also has some great recipes on her blog. 

Diane at The Whole Gang.  Diane has some great recipes & has always been very helpful & outgoing.  I love  her Friday Foodie posts and look forward to participating every week.  What a great place to find a wealth of great recipes. 

Shirley at Gluten-free Easily.  Shirley has a great blog layout & her recipes & pictures look so appetizing.  I haven’t “known” Shirley for long, but can’t wait to get to know her better.  I have got to make her Pumpkin Pie Squares and soon!

Allison at Green Dog Wine.  Allison lives life to the fullest & I truly enjoy living life vicariously through her.  She is from Ohio (like me) and I hope that we can meet some day soon.  Allison also happens to be a fellow lover of Frank’s Red Hot.  Frank’s lovers unite!

Thank you all for the wonderful blogs!  I truly enjoy reading them all.  Blog on!

 

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Menu Plan – November 8, 2009

Last week had to be the saddest week of my life.  As I shared last week, my nephew passed away on 10/31/2009, just 22 days after his brother passed away.  Thursday around 3 AM, I got up and headed to Atlanta with Hannah and my Grandmother so that we could be there in time to attend the memorial service for Jack.  I continue to pray for Kelly, Greg & Noah as they begin this extremely hard journey down the road of recovery.

Now I am trying to organize my stuff and get ready for the start of a new week here at home.  What a whirlwind last week was.  Lots of planned things got shelved.  Time to play catch up, though my heart just isn’t in it.

This week’s gluten-free menu swap is hosted by Cheryl at Gluten-free Goodness and her theme is carrots.  I love carrots!  My favorite way to eat them is roasted, but I also made Cranberry Glazed Carrots for Thanksgiving last year and they were fantastic!!  Thanks for hosting, Cheryl!

Sunday – Rotisserie Chicken, sweet potato hash browns, asparagus & salad

Monday – BBQ Chicken Tenders,  coconut brown rice, roasted brussel sprouts & salad

Tuesday – Herb Roasted Pork Loin, baked potatoes, broccoli & salad

Wednesday – Mexican night – pizzas or tacos, white corn & salad

Thursday – Turkey Burgers, butternut squash fries, zucchini & salad

Friday – pizza night (homemade veggie & pepperoni) and salad

Saturday – Anniversary celebration (attempt #2)

Baked Goods

Pumpkin Cookies

Bread

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Don’t forget to check out Orgjunkie for lots of great menu ideas.

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A new giveaway is going up tomorrow (Tuesday).  Don’t forget to stop by to check it out!

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