Quick & Fun News

I have some exciting news to share today.  First, I will now be writing for Celiac-Disease.com in addition to writing here and for the Examiner.  Celiac-Disease.com is a wonderful site that has several writers contributing to it.  I have been reading Celiac-Disease.com through my Google Reader for a while now.  I am proud to be a part of it now!  You can see my posts here (once I start posting). 

Second – I got my own domain name!  I have been thinking about this for a while now and I finally took the leap today.  I will be working over the next few days to get everything set up and once I do, I will make sure you all have the link.  You will need to update your readers with the new link once everything is set up. 

Lastly, I got the recipe for the beloved cream-filled donuts that my MIL made last week.  I will get that typed up & share with you as soon as I can.  I can’t wait to try them out myself! 

 

Weekly Menu Plan -January 17, 2010

Is January really half over?  Where has the time gone?  It has really warmed up here in Ohio this week.  Hope it has where you are, too.  Monday night we went out to dinner at Columbus Fish Market to celebrate my birthday with my Dad, step mom & little sister.  The dinner was so good – I had Chilean sea bass, steamed veggies, salad (with dates & pine nuts) and raspberry sorbet.  I really enjoy eating at the CFM because they have an extensive gluten-free menu and are well versed on the diet.  You can see another post on CFM here.  I loved the sea bass so much that I checked Whole Foods for it on Wednesday & was astounded by the price.  Are you sitting down?  $21.99/pound!  OUCH!  I guess it would be one thing for a special occasion and if I knew how to prepare it without screwing it up, but I just can’t go there.  Speaking of birthdays, I got the Yaktrax that I so desired from my Dad & family!  I am so excited to try them out!  Figures it warms up & the snow disappears when I finally have the gear to use outside.  Well, if that is all it takes to keep the snow away…..LOL!  Wishful thinking on my part. 

Esther at Lilac Kitchen is hosting this week’s gluten-free menu swap and her ingredient choice is: parsnips.  Wow, I have never made parsnips, but they have piqued my interest after seeing several other bloggers making fries out of them. I love fries in any shape or form, so I just may grab some parsnips & give them a try this week.  I have made sweet potato fries, butternut squash fries, yucca fries & rutabaga fries.    I am interested in seeing what the other bloggers do with parsnips. 

Sunday – Tilapia (perhaps coconut or teriyaki), baked sweet potato, steamed broccoli & carrots & salad

Monday- Turkey Burgers, butternut squash fries, asparagus & salad

Tuesday- Spaghetti & marinara, brown rice pasta, zucchini & salad

Wednesday- Breakfast for dinner (omelets, sweet potato fries & fruit salad)

Thursday- Bourbon Chicken (I am trying out tofu, too), coconut baked rice, green beans & salad

Friday- Baked Chicken Fingers, mashed potatoes, veggies & salad

Saturday-Leftovers

 

Baked Goods

Bread

Muffins of some sort

 

Make sure to stop by Orgjunkie for lots more menu ideas. 

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I got some very exciting news today.  I can’t share yet, but I will in the next few days.  Stay tuned!! 

Columbus peeps – Raisin Rack will now be carrying Everybody Eats products!  Review to come later this week! 

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If you would like to help out those suffering in Haiti, there are several ways to do this.  You can “Dress down for Haiti“.  Lauren, at Celiac teen is collecting recipes from bloggers (gluten-free or not) and putting together an ebook to help raise money for those in need.  And lastly, onate money right to the Red Cross.  You can do so via their website or by texting “Haiti” to 90999 and $10 will be charged to your cell phone bill.

 

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Product Review – Organicville Salad Dressings & Marinades

A couple months back I was sent some complimentary samples by Lisa from Organicville.  I was really excited about this opportunity as I have been looking for ways to minimize the amount of sugar, and especially high fructose corn syrup, in our diets.  According to this article, the average American consumes 150-170  pounds of sugar per year!  That is just ridiculous.  Sugar & HFCS are found in places that they shouldn’t be – breads, crackers, pickles, canned or frozen vegetables – just to name a few.  Anything I can do to help cut back on the sugar in our diets, I am all for it.  Organicville’s products contain no added sugar and use agave nectar to sweeten them.  I am not a fan of artificial sweeteners like Nutrasweet or Splenda, so this aspect of the Organicville product line really appealed to me. 

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Here is some great information that Lisa sent to me:

Organicville Foods

Food chemicals and high-sugar additives plague the grocery store aisles nationwide. Most brands sweeten their products with high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners which are contributors to higher risk for obesity and diabetes more than ever before. These synthetically processed substances in many of America’s food favorites dangerously impact the glycemic levels.

But now, people can choose a healthier option that delivers the same great taste. Organicville, makers of USDA certified organic, vegan and gluten-free ketchup, barbeque and teriyaki sauces, salsa’s and vinaigrettes are made with agave – a 100% natural sweetener, which digests more easily compared to other types of sugar, and delivers the same great taste. The products are gourmet solutions for a healthier, more environmentally focused lifestyle – including products that are safe for those with special dietary concerns, and tasty enough for all – even kids love them!

Founded by Rachel Kruse, a 33 year-old entrepreneur, third-generation vegetarian and organic consumer, she turned to creating delicious, healthy products to offer a better alternative to sugars, preservatives and processed foods – as growing up, she couldn’t find organic dressings and condiments that tasted great. The goal: to enjoy a great tasting organic product without having to sacrifice flavor or quality.

Organicville’s Product Quick Facts:

· Products: ketchup, salsas, BBQ and teriyaki sauces, and vinaigrettes.

· Vinaigrettes are available in 11 great flavors including: Orange Cranberry, Miso Ginger, Olive Oil & Balsamic, Sun Dried Tomato & Garlic, Herbs De Provence, Tarragon Dijon, Sesame Tamari, Pomegranate, Sesame Goddess, Non-Dairy Ranch and French (fourth largest salad dressing brand nationally)

· Gluten free

· USDA certified organic

· Sweetened with agave nectar

· No High Fructose Corn Syrup – ever!

· No added sugar

· Contain less sodium than other brands

· Fat and cholesterol free

· Vegan

Organicville’s organic ketchup, barbeque and teriyaki sauces, salsa’s and vinaigrettes are available for purchase in supermarket chains, natural food stores nationwide and online at www.amazon.com. Additional product and availability information can be found at www.organicvillefoods.com.

I was sent 2 different BBQ sauces, 2 salad dressings & 2 marinades to try.  I passed the marinades along to a friend with Celiac because I can’t eat sesame seeds and they both contained sesame seeds.  Her opinion will be shared below, too.

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I served the Organicville salad dressings – Herbs de Provence & Sun Dried Tomato & Garlic at our Thanksgiving day dinner.  They were a great addition to our menu and were well liked by all who tried them.  I loved that neither dressing was heavy – they were both very light & flavorful.  The Herbs de Provence is a very unique dressing that I have come to love on a salad of arugula, mushrooms & grape tomatoes. 

The Organicville BBQ sauces rank right up there with my previous favorite – Sweet Baby Ray’s.  The obvious benefit to the Organicville sauce is no HFCS and organic ingredients.  I love to use the BBQ sauce on chicken breast, pizza & salmon. 

Lindsey, my friend that I passed the marinades along to, really enjoyed the Island Teriyaki marinade.  She also tried the Sesame, but said it wasn’t as good and had a really strong sesame flavor. 

Keep an eye out this week for another post on Organicville and a couple of great recipes for Superbowl Sunday! 

 

"Dress Down" to help Haiti

This post has nothing to do with Celiac or gluten-free living.  It has to do with helping if you can.  Val over at Chicago Marathon Val posted a wonderful idea on raising money for the people of Haiti.  Please stop by Val’s to check out her “Dress Down” for Haiti” notes.  Another way to help is to donate money right to the Red Cross.  You can do so via their website or by texting “Haiti” to 90999 and $10 will be charged to your cell phone bill.

I am keeping all of those effected by the earthquake in my thoughts & prayers.  I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like in Haiti right now.

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Product Review: Amy’s Kitchen Meals

Amy’s Kitchen is a great company.  Amy’s makes natural & organic foods and has a large line of gluten-free items.  According to their website, there are 77 gluten-free products in their line now.  I received a few $1 off coupons to try out some of their products last week.  I chose the Rice Macaroni & Cheese (for Jon) and the Teriyaki Bowl

First up, Rice Macaroni & Cheese. 

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This dish reminds me of the Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese that I used to eat as a kid and before I went gluten-free.  Jon loves this.  We don’t do a lot of frozen pre-made meals, but this is great to have on hand for those nights or days when things are super busy.  I would absolutely buy this again.  You can find Amy’s Meals in most grocery stores across the US, which also makes this a good choice if you are traveling – all you need is a microwave, which you can find in most convenience stores and even hotels if you ask the front desk.  I have also made this at home and put in a thermos for Jon to take to school. 

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Teriyaki Bowl

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Not only is the Teriyaki Bowl gluten-free, but dairy-free as well!  This is also one of very few Amy’s Meals without onions. I can assure you that I would eat most of those Mexican bowls & dishes if they were free of onions – they are right up my alley.  This dish was a fantastic combination of flavors.  I wasn’t expecting it to taste as good as it did.  I did beef it up with about a half cup of garbanzo beans & a salad, because 290 calories for dinner for me is just not enough.  I liked this so much that when I saw they were on sale at Giant Eagle this week (2 for $6), I grabbed another one! 

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Amy’s is now offering many of the dishes in a “lower sodium” version to help keep the dishes as healthy as possible.  Make sure to check out Amy’s Soups, too, we love the Chunky Tomato Bisque in our house.  Perfect with a grilled cheese sammie! 

 

Product Review: So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer

I had been hearing about the So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer for some time on Twitter.  It was like each tweet I read about it was torturing me because I couldn’t find the creamer anywhere.  I have tried other So Delicious products and based on how I felt about those, I was anxious to try the creamer.

While at my meeting at Whole Foods yesterday, I ran through the store to grab a few things.  I spotted the creamer out of the corner of my eye!  They had the original, vanilla & hazelnut flavors.  I chose original.  Not only were they  in stock, but on sale for $1.79 or so!  Score!  I couldn’t wait for breakfast this morning to try it out. 

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I am, once again, going to sing the praises of a So Delicious product.  They sure knew what they were doing when they named this brand!  The creamer is awesome!  It adds a nice flavor & creaminess to my coffee without making it overly sweet.  For reference, I normally drink black coffee or coffee with a touch of unsweetened vanilla almond milk in it.  I chose the original this time because I wanted to be able to give a fair review without the added flavors of the vanilla or hazelnut.  However, I do have to drive past Whole Foods today, so I can’t say that I won’t stop to grab the hazelnut flavor to try out! 

Some facts about So Delicious Creamer:

  • Dairy Free / Lactose Free
  • Soy Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Rich in Medium Chain Fatty Acids
  • Cholesterol Free
  • No Trans Fats
  • Certified Vegan

Additionally, there is no added HFCS, artificial flavors or mono & diglycerides. 

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Goodies, and lots of them

Over the past week or so I have received a number of gluten-free products to sample & review.  I am so excited about this!  All of these goodies look so good – I can’t wait to dive into each & every one.  All in good time.  Be on the lookout for lots of good stuff!
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Sunday night my mother-in-law, Mary, called & asked to stop by.  Twenty minutes later she showed up with the most incredible gluten-free delicacy you could imagine.  Can you guess what she brought over?  Gluten-free cream-filled chocolate frosted doughnuts. 

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These puppies tasted better than I remember Krispy Kreme’s tasting.  Jon has counted them so that no one steals his beloved treats.  I hope to get the recipe from Mary & share it with you guys in the next few days. 

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I was able to make my own, personalized chocolate bar at Chocomize the other day!  What fun I had creating that!   I chose to make my bar out of dark chocolate with dried blueberries & cashews.  I have yet to dig in, but I promise to report back when I do.  Here is a teaser picture for you:

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I was very fortunate today to meet with a very special woman named Shelley at Whole Foods.  Shelley started a company called Moondance Heavenly Desserts after finding out that she was both wheat & gluten intolerant.  In Shelley’s quest to find gluten-free desserts she enjoyed, she perfected several gluten-free recipes & opened her own business.  I will expand much more on Shelley & Moondance Heavenly Desserts in my review of the products.  For now, I leave you with a picture of the treats that were graciously given to us to sample & review:

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I am especially looking forward to the Pumpkin Cheesecake.  Those of you who have been reading Gluten-free is Life for a while know about my love for pumpkin – it is right up there with chocolate.  Make sure to check back soon for our review of Shelley’s treats. 

 

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One last quick note – Starbuck’s is now carrying gluten-free treats again.  You can read more about it here in my latest Examiner article. 

 

 

Gluten-free for 4 Years Today

Today marks the 4th anniversary of my embarking on the gluten-free diet.  I received a call from my doctor on January 9, 2006 (my 33rd birthday) that my blood test for Celiac disease came back positive and the rest is history.  I can’t believe how much the gluten-free food market has changed over these past 4 years.  GF specialty food was close to impossible to find in the mainstream grocery stores.  Naturally gluten-free food was still as easy to find, but some of the questionable items that are now marked gluten-free weren’t as easy to identify.  Things have come a long way in just 4 years.  More & more companies are labeling their products “gluten-free” (Progresso Soups, Yoplait Yogurt, General Mills Cereal – just to name a few).  Many GF specialty foods have really exploded onto the market in the past 4 years.

So, today I celebrate being gluten-free.  I am thrilled that I am now following a diet that helps me feel better & is helping to make me the healthiest person I can be.  I celebrate that the “cure” is a diet change and not medication or surgery.  Things could really be much worse.  I have tried foods that I had never tried before & they have become new favorites.  So, if you are newly diagnosed & struggling, please take a moment to stop & think about it.  Mourn the beloved foods you are no longer able to eat & then move forward with an open mind.  You will discover a whole new world (try to think of that song from Aladdin – “a new fantastic point of view“).  Keeping a positive attitude will make your outlook seem much brighter.  :)

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Weekly Menu Plan – January 10, 2010

This week I am hosting the weekly gluten-free menu swap and I chose gluten-free pizza as the theme of the week.  I love pizza and love trying new combinations & crusts, so I hope to see some great ideas this week.  Over the past year I have tried some new crusts.  I have a new favorite, Bob’s Red Mill pizza crust mix.  I also use Pamela’s Bread mix for pizza crust or Carol Fenster’s recipe. As far as toppings go, Jon prefers the traditional marinara sauce, mozzarella & pepperoni, occasionally.  I like to mix things up.  I like Buffalo Chicken pizza, veggie style pizza and my newest favorite is a pizza that I top with Trader Joe’s Tomato Chutney, smashed chickpeas, feta or goat cheese & spinach.  It is so good.  What are your favorite crusts & toppings?

Buffalo Chicken & half cheese pizza

Veggie & half cheese pizza

Onto my menu for the week:

Sunday – Rotisserie Chicken, sweet potato steak fries, green beans & salad

Monday – Birthday dinner with my Dad, Step Mom & little sister

Tuesday- Taco salad

Wednesday- Salmon, brown rice couscous, asparagus & salad

Thursday -Chicken/Eggplant Parmesan, broccoli & salad

Friday – Pizza night!

Saturday -Hannah & I will have a girls night :)  Her choice

Baked Items

Bread

Sweet Potato Brownies (didn’t get to them last week)

Blueberry Muffins

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Please visit Food for Good Thought, Inc as they are holding a silent auction on January 23rd to raise money for autism.  They train& employ individuals with autism.  They make a great variety of gluten-free foods.  If you live in the Columbus area you can attend the silent auction.  If not and you want to donate, you can do so by visiting Food for Good Thought’s site.

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Have a great week!!  Thanks to Cheryl at Gluten-free Goodness who is currently coordinating the GF Menu Swap.  If you are interested in hosting, please contact Cheryl.

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Manda from Asparagus Thin is making pizzas from around the world this week.  I am especially interested in the deep dish polenta pizza..YUM!  I also love the song she posted at the top of her post – it will be in my head all day now. :)

In my Box is making a series of one-pot meals this week.  Again, polenta has caught my eye!  A mention of a Mexican pizza made on Udi’s crust also caught my eye – I love to sing the praises of Udi’s!

Heather from Celiac Family has a great menu planned!  She goes through her favorite pizzas (frozen, crusts & restaurant).  I hope she can find a ZPizza soon, they are one of the best restaurant gluten-free pizzas around!

Cheryl from Gluten-free Goodness is making Coconut Curried Lentils and I just might have to invite myself over for dinner!  YUM!!  She also tried out a yeast & grain free pizza a while back that looks really good.  I just may give that a try in the near future.

Esther from Lilac Kitchen is talking about making a pizza with a sweet apple base.  That sounds awesome to me, so I do hope she shares if she does!

For more great menu ideas, please visit Orgjunkie.

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. 

 

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