Product Review: Trader Joe’s Moisturizing Cream

I don’t know about you guys, but my skin is very dry this time of year.  Not only the skin on my legs & arms, but my hands are so dry they are cracking!  I wash my hands 40,000 times a day, so that has a lot to do with it.  Okay, maybe it isn’t that much, but it is a lot. Between changing diapers, making gluten-filled foods for Hannah and just staying germ free, I feel like I am constantly at the sink.  I have tried many hand lotions in the past.  Last year I talked about using Curel Target Hand Cream.  I found a new product that I am now loving last week.  I was shopping at one of my favorite stores, Trader Joe’s, when I spotted this lotion:

 

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Trader Joe’s A Midsummer Night’s Cream – Extra Dry Formula.  I am surprised it didn’t say “For Kim” on the front.  This 16 oz. bottle (complete with handy dandy hand pump) was under $4.  I keep this puppy right next to my kitchen sink so that after I soap up & dry, I can immediately apply the cream.  So far, so good.  Jon has also been using it and it helped his dry hands, too.  This product is gluten-free and cruelty-free (produced with no animal by-products and without any animal testing. 

 

Birthday Shout Outs & Such

Seems there are a few other January Capricorns running around out there.  Not only is my birthday on Saturday, but so is my Mom’s and Erin’s of Gluten-free Fitness!  Happy birthday Erin & Mom!  I hope you both have great days!  My Mom will be coming to town in a few weeks so we can celebrate our special day.  Aaron & I are going out to dinner with friends tonight to enjoy some adult conversation.

Here you go Erin & Mom:

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Over the past few days I have been mostly trying to stay warm, but when I had to venture out, I found an amazing discovery at Raisin Rack – you can read more about it here.

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Burger King is now offering gluten-free menu choices.

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Did you hear about The Washington Post’s article about Celiac Disease being “in” in 2010?    While I am overjoyed that more press=more awareness=more people getting much-needed diagnoses, I am also concerned that this will lead to the gluten-free diet being labeled as a fad diet & not being taken seriously by places serving gluten-free foods to those that really do need them.

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Word on the street is that Mellow Mushroom is currently working on a gluten-free pizza crust.  This is what they “tweeted” to me the other day:

@kbouldin Mellow Mushroom is currently working on a gf pizza crust but its not ready just yet….Its Coming Soon!

YAY!!!  There is a Mellow Mushroom right up the street from me!

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Did you catch my review of Glow Gluten-free Cookies?  Amazing!

Hope you all have a nice weekend.  :)

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Product Review: Susta Natural Sweetener

Back in December I was contacted by NXT Nutritionals about a healthy alternative to table sugar & artificial sweeteners.  Carlee sent me out a complimentary sample of Susta to sample & review for the blog.  Susta comes packaged in a box of 50 little packets, much like sugar or Splenda packets. 

From the NXT Nutritionals website:

SUSTA Natural Sweetener is a proprietary blend of non-caloric ingredients that can put the “brakes” on higher glycemic foods or beverages from adversely effecting your blood sugar. Products using SUSTATM Natural Sweetener are high fiber, with nutrients and minerals, no or low fats and have no added trans or hydrogenated fats. SUSTATM is great energy and nutrition for your heart, bones, and immune system.

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There are many benefits to Susta Natural Sweetener:

  • Contains Probiotics
  • Supports Digestive & Immune Health
  • Low Glycemic Index Food
  • Gluten-free
  • Only 5 calories

You can see the comparison of Susta & several other sweeteners below:

I have been using Susta to sweeten my coffee and as a treat on my Oikos & fruit.  Susta provides just enough sweetness without over doing it.  It also didn’t upset my stomach like some of the low calorie artificial sweeteners on the market do.  This is a great option for those who are looking for a low calorie, natural sweetener to add to their coffee, tea or foods.  You can purchase Susta here for $6.99/box.  Also, NXT Nutritionals will be making a baking version of Susta that can be preordered on their website now.  Susta & NXT Nutritionals are proud supporters of the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). 

 

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Glowing Review: Glow Gluten-free Cookies

I was the very lucky recipient of a package containing 4 complimentary boxes of gluten-free cookies from Glow Gluten-free the other day.  First I have to say that Jill from Glow Gluten-free is so sweet.  She is great to follow on Twitter and we have had some good laughs over the past few days.  Some of these giggles came from Heidi at Adventures of a Gluten-free Mom finding out that I had received & tasted a Double Chocolate cookie from Glow Gluten-free.  I had tweeted that I loved the cookie & Heidi caught wind of that & then began the tweets back that I must try the Snickerdoodles immediately!  Take about peer pressure!  ;)  LOL!  Of course I had to oblige.  I couldn’t not try them at this point.  By the end of the night I had eaten 1 whole cookie & multiple bites of the other cookies to taste them all.  Jon was the lucky recipient of the remaining cookie parts – a job he did not complain about.  Good thing I am training for a marathon!  Talk about carb loading.  Maybe I will have to stock up on these cookies closer to the race. ;) 

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Now, down to the details.  Not only are Glow Gluten-free cookies gluten-free, but they are casein-free, trans fat free and preservative free.  Each cookie contains 100 calories and is between 5 – 6 grams of fat.  They also contain 2 grams a fiber – bonus!  I love that the ingredient list for the cookies is easy to read & the flours used are garbanzo bean & fava bean.  Healthier than using a white rice, tapioca or potato starch (though they do have their place).  Also, notice the adorable packing – how cute is that?  Very eye catching & clever. 

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Chocolate Chip – These remind me of Chips Ahoy, which I loved to eat as a child.  Jon adored these cookies!  I needed a glass of milk to dip these in! 

Snickerdoodle – The cookie that Heidi made me eat.  ;)  These rock!  They have an amazing cinnamon flavor & as Heidi suggested this morning, I should crumble them up as cereal because they taste like Apple Jacks!  I see these as a topping to my oatmeal in the very near future. 

Double Chocolate- I want to say enough said, but that wouldn’t be doing these cookies justice.  They are so chocolately, crunchy & exciting!  They wake up your taste buds & would be awesome paired with a glass of merlot. 

Gingersnap – Classic gingersnap cookie.  I have always loved gingersnaps and these did not disappoint.  I would say that they would be great as a pie crust, but I don’t think that I am willing to sacrifice them for that!  LOL! 

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I think I am going to take the plunge & say that these now rank up there as one of the best gluten-free packaged cookies that I have tasted.  Both Jill and her daughter have Celiac Disease.  I love that Jill says in her brochure that she was trying to recreate their old favorites (Mrs. Field’s, Chips Ahoy, Famous Amos), not create a packaged gluten-free cookie to resemble something you make at home.  I think that Jill & Glow Gluten-free hit that recreation spot on.  Job well done. 

Had to share one more picture – can you see that sugar on top of the gingersnap?  Mmmmmm!

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Thanks Jill & Glow Gluten-free for sending us these samples to review.  We thoroughly enjoyed them.  You can find Glow-Gluten-free cookies at these locations

 

 

Weekly Menu Plan – January 4, 2010

BRRRR!!!  I am freezing!  I can’t tell you how much I hate being cold.  I currently have on 2 shirts & a fleece, jeans and wool socks.  My toes get numb, specifically my freakishly long 2nd toe on each foot.  Then, once those are numb, the rest of my toes must feel bad for the others because they join right in.  My nose runs.  My skin is dry.  Ick!  It is 14 today and we are going to be in a heat wave close to the end of the week with temps in the high 20s!  Yay! 

Manda from Asparagus Thin is hosting this week’s gluten-free menu swap with “movie themed food” as the theme of the week.  I can’t think of any movie themed foods that I make off the top of my head.  Well, unless you count tossing microwave popcorn into the microwave or opening up a bag of Skittles.  My BIL makes some amazing kettle corn in a pot on the stove that is just oil, popcorn & sugar.  It is seriously like crack.  You can’t stop eating it once you start.  It is never a good idea to start eating Alex’s kettle corn if you have had even a drop of alcohol.  Last time I did, I think I ate a whole bowl myself.  I really need to learn how to make this stuff, or wait, maybe I don’t.  Hmm. 

Here is our menu for the week:

Sunday- Pei Wei Asian Diner with some friends

Monday- Blackened Salmon, baked sweet potatoes, asparagus & salad

Tuesday-Taco Tuesday – soft tacos, corn, refried beans & salad

Wednesday-Spaghetti with roasted veggies & salad

Thursday-Breakfast for dinner – we haven’t done this in a long time & I have missed it!

Friday-Homemade personal pizzas – kids get to make & choose their toppings, broccoli & salad

Saturday – Aaron & I are going out with friends for my birthday (I am turning 29 again on the 9th ;) )

 

Baked Goods

Bread

Sweet Potato Brownies (a mix I was sent to sample)

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Hope you all have a wonderful week!  Do you do anything special to celebrate birthdays?  Aaron & I try to drag our birthdays out for the weekend or week.  LOL!  We try to pawn on things like chores on others because it is our “birthday week/weekend”.  It seems to work better for Aaron than it does for me.  :) 

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Check out this post from Dr. Mark Hyman MD “Gluten: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You“.  It is very eye opening.  I have always believed that gluten intolerance is way bigger than just Celiac Disease.  This is no surprise since wheat has become so prevalent in processed foods.   Barley malt flavoring is also used in many processed foods to add flavor.  There are other, non-gluten substitutes that can be used in place of barley malt.  General Mills is a good example of a company that has removed barely malt in some of their cereals to make them gluten-free.  Molasses was used in place of the barley malt.  Anyway, please read the article.

 

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Marathon Training & Such

So my marathon training starts on Monday.  The funny thing about the plan that I am following (Hal Higdon’s Novice, slightly modified) is that it has me running less mileage per week for the first 4-5 weeks than I am already running.  I have been trying to maintain roughly 25 mpw since I recovered from running my half marathon back in October.  This coming week I will only be running 15.  At first I was really concerned about this and considered starting my training later and jumping in where I was in my mileage.  I have since decided that it would probably do my legs (and body) good to ease up a little for the next few weeks.  I have had some shin and calf issues on my right side that could use some TLC.  I have added in some yoga & more stretching & foam rolling to manage the tightness.  Another change is cross training.  Previously I was running 5 days a week.  This plan calls for 4 days of running & 1 day of cross training.  I didn’t like the sounds of that at first, but also think that this will be a good thing in my training.  For cross training I use the Arc Trainer, spin bike or elliptical.  I would love to swim in my gym’s pool, but I am not sure I swim well enough to call it exercise!  For the next 18 weeks I will hopefully prepare my body well enough to run 26.2 miles on May 16th. 

Training for a marathon calls for some fun gear.  I have my trusty Polar heart rate monitor/watch and Garmin that I use for running & tracking my outside miles.  These tools allow me to monitor my progress a little easier.  I have to give a shout out to Chris at Polar for helping expedite the repair of my Polar watch over the past 2 weeks.  I thought that my battery just needed replaced, so I took the watch to a Batteries Plus store.  The store manager informed me that he placed 3 brand new batteries in the watch & the watch completely drained them.  I was told to contact Polar.  Fortunately my watch was still under warranty, so I sent it right off.  I sent my watch out on 12/23/2009 and it was fixed & back in my hands on 12/29/2009!  Amazing, especially considering there was a holiday in there!  Talk about great customer service.  Thank you to Chris & Polar for helping me out.  I may also be purchasing some YakTrax here shortly for my long, weekend outside runs.  These are supposed to help grip the ground in snow or ice.  As much as I hate to be cold, I don’t think I can run any longer than 8 miles on the treadmill.  Anyone have any input on the YakTrax?

Training also calls for careful planning with food and fueling.  I am always learning how to do this better.  I don’t think you can learn to much about this topic, so if you have some tried & true tips you would like to share, I am all ears.  I have recently tried Zing Bars and will be doing a review on them here shortly after I try all of the flavors.  I really enjoyed the Cranberry Orange bar that I sampled the other day.  These have more protein in them than Lara or Pure Bars, so better for fueling, especially after a run to help repair muscles.  Love that they are gluten-free!  There are so many more choices out there now. 

Hope you all have a great weekend!  I kept thinking that yesterday was Sunday!  I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that it was Friday.  Now I have a whole weekend ahead of me!

 

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Favorite Gluten-free Recipes & Products – 2009

I have spent the last few days looking back over the year.  I wanted to put into one post my favorite gluten-free recipes & products of the year.  I hope that you guys enjoy this as much as I did putting it together. 

I love to experiment with food, if you haven’t noticed.  I love to try to recreate old favorites and I love to try new things.  This year I found some products that were so close to their gluten-filled counterparts.  One of these products is La Tortilla Factory Teff Wraps.  These wraps are awesome.  They don’t crack!  I have used them for sandwich wraps, burritos, chimichangas etc.  They hold up.  Another product is Udi’s Gluten-free Bread.  This stuff is the best gluten-free bread I have ever tasted, hands down.  Their other products are amazing as well – love the pizza crust!  I am very excited that my local health food store, Raisin Rack, will be carrying their stuff soon.  Bob’s Red Mill has a great gluten-free pizza mix out now.  It has quickly become one of our favorites here at home.  I especially like it Buffalo Chicken style. 

Some companies are making it increasingly easier to eat gluten-free.  I think main one that comes to my mind is General Mills.  This year they have really expanded the gluten-free cereal market to include a number of Chex cereals.  They also have the new Betty Crocker line of gluten-free baking mixes.  General Mills has started to use “gluten-free” on the back of their labels a lot more, making things even easier.  I just recently noticed the gluten-free Progresso Soups are now labeled as such. 

Gluten-free pizza used to be hard to find.  Not only was it hard to find a good crust to make or buy, but it was virtually impossible to find a restaurant that made gluten-free pizza.  This year there have been huge breakthroughs on this front.  First, there was Uno’s Chicago Grill implementing their gluten-free crust in all of their locations, nationwide.  Then, we discovered Boston’s Gourmet Pizza.  Boston’s has a larger choice of toppings and the crust stands up a little better than Uno’s.  Finally, we hit the jackpot – Z Pizza.  Z Pizza has an amazing selection of gluten-free pizzas & toppings, not to mention salad, gluten-free beer and gluten-free cookies.  I think that is is my favorite place to eat gluten-free pizza out. 

Moving along to recipes.  Below I have listed some of my favorites from 2009.  I have many more favorites posted throughout my blog from years past. 

Some of my favorite recipes are:

Lemon Bundt Cake w/ Lemon Icing

Cheesy Stuffed Shells

Pistachio Cheesecake

Catholic Potatoes

POM Wonderful Cranberry Sauce

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Blueberry Chia Muffins

Cocoa Coconut Chili

Marinutta Sauce

Coconut Baked Brown Rice

Glazed Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Baked Ziti

Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf

Pumpkin Cornbread

Chocolate Covered Oreo Cake

Pumpkin Raisin Scones (vegan, too)

Almond Cranberry Bites

 

Now, one last thing.  A reader contacted me with this nice note about the Chocolate Covered Oreo Cake and sent along a picture to show me hers. 

Kimberly,

I made the “oreo” cake for my step-daughter’s birthday last Saturday and OMG it was sooooooooo good!

Thank you thank you thank you for sharing the recipe!

Tracey

christmas season 016 oreo cake 

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Tracey, thank you for sharing!!  I am so glad that you guys enjoyed the cake!  I would love to try this with a carrot cake!  YUM!! 

 

 

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Happy New Year – Welcome to 2010!

I hope you all have a wonderful & prosperous year.  I found this blurb from Mother Theresa as I was cleaning out my email today and thought I would share it with you guys:

 

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
The kindness you show today may be forgotten tomorrow. Be kind anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
The biggest person with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest person with the smallest mind. Think big anyway.
People really need help, but may attack you if you help them. Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world the best you have anyway.
~Mother Theresa

 

We are just hanging out.  I have the pork & sauerkraut in the crock pot already.  I also have a 2nd crock pot for those family members (everyone but me) who doesn’t like sauerkraut.  I am making pulled pork for those guys.  I have laundry going, though I have been told by some that this is bad luck on New Year’s Day.  Ruh roh.  It is clean sheet day here, so there is no stopping me now -beds are already stripped!  LOL!  I will make sure to eat extra pork & sauerkraut for good luck.  I think the kids & I are going to go shopping here shortly.  I apparently forgot to buy snow boots for Hannah.  She is very upset with me because she wants to play in the snow.  Then we are coming back to watch the Buckeyes beat Oregon.  ;)  Go BUCKS!!

What are you doing today?   Do you believe it is bad luck or good luck to do any one thing on New Year’s Day? 

 

 

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