Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Honest Tea. Gluten-Free....Honestly!

I love soda.  Recently, I've been trying to cut back on my beloved soda.  Not because I've fallen out of love with it, but because I know that it's probably not the best drink choice.

As far as plain water goes...I'm not a fan.  I'm sorry, I'm just not.

I've tried flavored waters, sports drinks, seltzer and juice.  Nothing floats my boat.

Until now.

I've found a new love.

It's called Honest Tea.  I picked up a bottle of Pomegranate Red Tea with Goji Berry at Honest Weight Food Co-op last week.  I wasn't expecting much because, well, I also don't care for iced tea very much.  Bottled ice teas are usually way too sweet for me and most of them have caffeine, which sends my heart into a pounding frenzy.

Boy, was I pleasantly surprised!  This tea was amazing!  The bottle states "Just a Tad Sweet" and they are right.

Honest Tea is USDA Organic, Gluten-Free, Caffeine-Free, Certified Fair Trade, No GMO's.  It is sweetend with organic cane sugar and organic honeybush and chock full of antioxidants.  There are only 70 calories in the whole bottle!  Wow!

The down-side is that it costs a bit more than soda.  My single 16 oz. bottle was $1.65.  I might have to dig a little deeper to support my new "habit".  ;)


I would also like to mention that Heidi Kelly over at Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom is running a contest to win a free Easy Lunchbox System.  This lunchbox system looks amazing!  Head on over to Heidi's blog and check it out!


Have a great, gluten-free day!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Belly Aches, Viruses and Gluten-Free Chicken Soup

March seems to be "going out like a lion" in our household.  My husband came down with a flu-like virus last week while he was out of town and still hasn't fully recovered.  Over the weekend, my belly decided it wasn't having any of it, so I've been on the Aciphex, Citrucel and Imodium diet ever since.  Then, to top it all off, I just returned from picking up my daughter from the school nurse's office.  It seems she may have caught whatever it is that my husband has.  *deep sigh*

So, I did what every good mother does when the family isn't feeling up to par.  I made chicken soup.

I've made this recipe before.  I don't really have any exact measurements to follow.  Just a handful of this and a pinch of that.  I like it that way.  I don't usually make big batches to freeze, although you definitely could, just use a bigger pot and add more stuff!  ;)

My recipe goes something like this.

In a saucepan, heat some olive oil.  Throw in some chopped celery, carrots and onions and saute' until soft.

  Add some minced garlic and a box of gluten-free chicken broth.

Throw in some pre-cooked chicken.  I used some of a roaster chicken I had bought on sale, cut up and put in the freezer for just such an occasion.  I put the rest back in the deep freeze to use at a later date.

Add some gluten-free noodles, any kind you like.  I used Bionaturae Gluten-Free Spaghetti.  I broke it up into pieces before throwing it in the pot.  Sea Salt and Pepper to taste.

You can also add a bay leaf, if you can find it in your spice drawer.  I couldn't.  (Note to self:  Do SOMETHING about that spice drawer!)

Let it all bubble away until the pasta is cooked.  Serve nice and hot so that you can breath in the steam!

Hopefully, with a little rest, plenty of fluids and my homemade chicken soup, the family will be back to "normal" soon.  (Whatever that is! LOL!)

Have a great gluten-free day!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Ninja and the Green Monster

Wow.  It isn't Friday yet?  I totally thought it was when I woke up this morning.  *deep sigh*

I started out this Thursday morning by trying the Nature's Path Organic Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise Cereal I bought yesterday.  I'm a big fan of other Nature's Path gluten-free cereals such as Whole O's and Envirokidz Koala Crisps and Panda Puffs.  I was looking forward to trying this cereal because I knew it just had to be good!  I was not disappointed.  I love this cereal.   It is light and crunchy with a very mild, yummy vanilla taste.

From the Nature's Path website:

NEW! A delicious warm real vanilla breakfast cereal taste with a variety of crunchy textures from flakes, puffs and crispies make this a genuinely tasty gluten free breakfast.

Made with love and ...

INGREDIENTS: Organic whole grain corn meal, organic evaporated cane juice, organic brown rice flour, organic yellow corn flour, organic inulin, organic quinoa puffs, organic flax seeds, natural vanilla flavor, organic buckwheat flour, organic quinoa, sea salt, organic amaranth, organic molasses, tocopherols (natural vitamin E). Produced in a facility that uses peanuts, tree nuts and soy.

For lunch, I decided to try something I've been seeing a lot of on many blogs, in books and on tv shows lately.  They call it "The Green Monster".  I've seen Dr. Oz drink it on his show, Montel Williams wrote about it in his book, I even saw it on an infomercial for the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer.  Yesterday, while I was catching up on my favorite blogs, I saw many recipes from Jenna over at Eat, Live, Run.  She even drinks them out of applesauce jars!  She does!  Check out her blog and you'll see!

I wanted to make a smaller version of the green monster, so I used 1/2 a frozen banana, a handful of fresh spinach, a handful of blueberries, a tablespoon of  Chocolate Infusion Amazing Meal and about 1/2 c of  vanilla soymilk.

I threw it all in my Ninja and gave it a whirl!

I even put it into one of my Irish coffee mugs...

I ate it with the rest of my Quinoa Salad I bought yesterday and a slice of Saratoga Gluten-Free Bakery Multigrain Bread with a pat of real, organic butter (yum).

I have to say, I wasn't sure what to expect from my Green Monster, but, it was delicious!  What a great way to get your veggies!  I will definitely be drinking these more often and playing with the ingredients!

While I was out and about today, I got a nice compliment on my Vincent van Gogh water bottle.

It always makes me smile when I look at it and I can't help but think of the song in my head...

Starry, starry night.

Paint your palette blue and grey,

Look out on a summer's day,

With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.

Shadows on the hills,

Sketch the trees and the daffodils,

Catch the breeze and the winter chills,

In colors on the snowy linen land.

~ Don Mclean

I hope you all have a wonderful, starry, starry night!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Going Green" for St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

To celebrate, today I put on my green t-shirt and headed off to Honest Weight Food Co-op (HWFC).  I thought it would be a great way to celebrate the beginning of Spring and pick up some local "greens"!

HWFC is owned and operated by members and is open to the public.  It is a bit of a hike from my house, about a 30 minute ride.   The last time I was there, the trip was a bit rushed as I was with my husband and daughter, who are not exactly enthralled  when I drag them to "healthy food stores".   It seems that the problem is mostly all of the "smells" that they are just not used to.  My husband is definitely a "city" guy and my daughter is being raised in the suburbs.  I was also raised in the "burbs", but every month we would go to my grandparent's house out in the country.  I played in the barns, ran through the garden and watched the cows being herded across the road in the early evening.  The sites and smells of farmer's markets and stores such as HWFC bring back great memories for me.

Yes.  This is me in 1963, with my Grandma, God bless her wonderful sole, playing with her cat on the farm.

Ok, so, back to HWFC!  I spent quite a bit of time there and brought home some great food. 

Organic blueberries, strawberries, spinach, potatoes and beets.  Locally grown spinach.  I also picked up some frozen Cascadian Farm vegetables that they had on sale 2/$5, Amy's Tuscan Bean and Rice Soup (which I've never seen before), Nature's Path Organic Gluten-Free Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise Cereal, Food Should Taste Good Buffalo Chips and Glenny Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies.  Since it was almost lunch time, I picked up a container of Gluten-Free Light & Lively Quinoa Salad at the Deli Counter and a bottle of Honest Tea Company Red Pomegranate Iced Tea with Goji Berry.  I plan to review some of these items in upcoming posts.

One of the nicest things about HWFC is that nearly everything is labeled.  Even the fresh produce.  You can tell whether the item is organic or conventional, hydroponic, pesticide free.  You can see where it came from, local, USA, Canada, Mexico, etc.  You definitely don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what you are buying!  The carrots above are from Schoharie, coinsidentally where my grandparent's farm was.  :)

After I put all of my goodies away, I had some lunch.

It was 60 degrees outside, so I went out and sat on our deck.

I read all of the literature I picked up at HWFC.

I got my favorite flip flops out of the closet.

It was a good day and I can't wait to try all of the delicious, healthy foods I bought!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Yesterday was the two-year anniversary of my neck surgery.  I didn't have a party.  I did however, take time to reflect on the struggles I've had and how far I've come.   Recovery has been a long road.  I still have a lot of days when I retreat to the sofa with my heating pad and my ibuprofen.  I have to take nerve meds every day, just to feel somewhat normal.  I still have nerve pain and strange, twitching muscles (especially my eyelids, which drives me insane!)  Sleeping is uncomfortable.  Many days I wake up feeling less than rested. 

I do have many good days, though.  For these days, I am very greatful.  One thing this experience has taught me is to live life to the fullest on the good days.  I've also learned I have limitations, even though I don't like to admit that I have any!!!

Instead of throwing myself a party (or a pity party), I celebrated today by going to the gym and making good on my New Year's resolution to run a mile.  This is something I have NEVER done.  Not even as a kid.  I am very excited that I am 1/2 way there!  I'm no spring chicken, as my mom would say and it's hard and it hurts, but I'm doing it.  I'm not giving up this time.  Once I reach my 1 mile goal, I've promised myself a brand, new, shiny pair of running shoes.  :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Be Still My "Peep"-ing Heart!

Can it be true?  I think I shall faint!  Just Born has come out with Chocolate covered Peeps!!!  And the word is out that they are gluten-free!  Has anyone seen these in the stores yet?  Have you tried them?  I MUST get my hands on some!

You can read an article in the Huffington Post here.

Since we are talkin' sweets, anyone who knows me, knows that I love caramel corn!  While I was shopping last week at our Price Chopper, I saw a whole display of Smartsnacks Caramel Popcorn!

The best part, other than that they were $1 a bag, was that the bag is labeled "Gluten-Free", right there on the front!  I snagged five bags.  The worst part is, well, I can't stay away from it!  I'm seriously addicted.  Just check my hands...they are all sugary and sticky!

Speaking of addictions, I am a pasta eater.  When I found out I had Celiac Disease, my first thought was that I wouldn't be able to eat pasta again.  At least not good pasta.  The first few rice pastas I tried tasted horrible and my family wouldn't eat them because of the difference in texture from regular pasta.  And then....I found Schar Pastas!  I honestly can't tell the difference between regular, wheat pasta and Schar brand.  My family eats it right along with me.

Last week, I found out that our local grocery store was no longer going to carry Schar Spaghetti.  I was heart-broken.  Luckily, there is!  I was able to purchase my beloved Schar Spaghetti and it was delivered right to my door this week!  I actually gave a loud "whoop" when the package was delivered!

I love how's boxes have a smile on them!  Oh, and I also ordered a Tally Counter to help track my laps around the track at the gym (to work off all of that pasta!).  The only problem is that it never shuts off, so I'm guessing the batteries won't last long.  I've pulled them out for now, until I can hit the gym!  LOL!

And just a couple more tidbits...

Have you seen the April 2010 Martha Stewart Living Magazine?  There is a whole section full of gluten-free recipes!  There is one for a Zucchini Lasagna that I will definitely be trying.  If you haven't grabbed a copy yet...go get one!!!

Also...I am very excited to be listed in the Foodie Blogroll this week!  If you haven't checked out all the wonderful blogs and recipes on this site, you really, really should!

I hope you all have a terrific, gluten-free weekend!  Don't forget to set your clocks ahead!  ;)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake and Tubing

Wow.  I can't believe the week is almost half over already.  Last weekend came and went and I was so busy, I didn't have time to blog about it!  So, here's a little review.

Saturday, I made my family's favorite Gluten-Free Carrot Cake.  Now, even though I am the only gluten-free person in the house, I try to bake almost exclusively gluten-free.  That way I don't have to worry about cross-contamination of my utensils, pot, pans, etc.  There are some times when I do make my family a special "regular" treat, but I make sure to line the baking pans with foil or parchment paper and wash them and all baking utensils very carefully.

Now, back to the carrot cake!  I make the cake from Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix.  You can view the entire recipe on Pamela's website here.  I added raisins instead of walnuts and I frosted the cake with a can of Betty Crocker Cream Cheese Frosting.  I used my Salad Shooter to grate the carrots.  Boy, I love that thing!  It was a hand-me-down from my mom.  You can have your Cuisinarts and your mandolin graters, I like my Shooter!

The cake came out great, except for the center, which didn't bake all the way and fell when it started to cool.  This isn't the first time I've made this cake and it didn't do that the other times, so I'm not sure what happened!  I even tested the cake when the timer went off and left it in for an additional 10 minutes.  I had to fill the sunkin-in middle with extra frosting.  ;)

I didn't have a shamrock cookie cutter (which I will purchase next time I see one!), so I used a flower instead and filled it in with green sugar.   I think it looks a little bit Irish, don't you?

On Sunday, we went to West Mountain to go tubing.  It was a beautiful, sunny, 50 degree day and we all had a great time.

Now that I've reminised about last weekend, I'm wondering what we will do exciting this coming weekend???  Hmmmmm.....

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Gluten-Free Trip to BJ's

Boy, did I have a great time at BJ's Wholesale Club this morning. I went in to buy garbage bags and tissue (yawn). I came out with several yummy, gluten-free finds. I thought about separating my reviews into separate posts, but naaaaaaaah. So, hold on to your hats folks...this is going to be a looooooong post! Mrs. May's Naturals Cran-Blueberry Crunch If you love crunchy, nutty treats, this one's for you! Mrs. May's is Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free Dairy-Free and Vegan and has no cholesterol and no preservatives. The ingredients in this snack are cashews, almonds, pistachios, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, natural flavor, sesame seeds, rice malt, evaporated cane juice and sea salt. The serving size is 6 pieces and each serving has 172 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 12 grams of fat, making it 4 WW points. It also has 5 grams of protein. The 20 oz. bag was $6.99. It even has the Celiac Sprue Association stamp of approval on the bag! I loved this snack. The crunchy, little fruity, nutty nuggets are really tasty. It's hard to stop at 6 pieces!!! Second Nature Wholesome Medley My family loves trail mix. When I saw this bag, I just couldn't resist. Who could resist "A naturally savory and sweet assortment of dark chocolate chunks, roasted and salted peanuts, almonds and cashews, tart red cherries and dried cranberries"? Well, obviously, not me!
This trail mix is not marked gluten-free, however, I didn't see anything in the ingredients that would make me suspect gluten. The allergy information does state however, that it is manufactured on equipment that also processes peanuts, tree nuts, soybeans, milk and wheat.
The Serving size is about 3 tablespoons. Each serving has 130 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 9 grams of fat. 3 WW points. It has 4 grams of protein. What I really like about this trail mix is that it has big chunks of antioxidant-packed dark chocolate! Yum! (Now, if my daughter doesn't pick out all of the chocolate chunks and leave only nuts and berries! LOL!) Oh, and the 32 oz. bag cost me $9.99.
If there's anything my daughter likes more than trail mix, it would be gummy candy. I definitely had her in mind when I saw these.
Sunkist Fruit Gems are from the makers of Jelly Belly. They are made with 5 fruit juices, 100% Daily Value of Vitamin C per serving, Naturally Flavored, Naturally Fat and Gluten-Free and are OU Kosher Certified.
They come individually wrapped and come in Lime, Lemon, Orange, Raspberry and Grapefruit flavors. A nice little treat for in a child's (or adults) lunch box!
They do have sugar and corn syrup in them, if you are sensitive to either of those ingredients. The service size is 4 pieces. There are 130 calories, 0 fiber and 0 fat per serving. 3 WW points. The 2 pound bag cost $7.99.
Classico Pasta Sauce
I buy Classico Pasta Sauce all the time. We really like the taste, especially the Four Cheese and the Cabernet Marinara with Herbs. So when I saw a three-pack that included these flavors, I had to grab it! The three pack included two jars of Four Cheese and one jar of Marinara.
This sauce is labeled gluten-free right on the back.
The Cabernet Marinara with Herbs has 70 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of fat in one 125 gram serving. Which I think is about a 1/2 cup. 1 WW point.
The Four Cheese has 80 calories, 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of fat. Also 1 WW point.
The three-pack was $5.99, which isn't really much of a savings over the Walmart price. :(
Other Notes:
~ Did you all see Jillian mention Larabars on The Biggest Loser Tuesday night? :)
~ I was very disappointed earlier this week to find out that one of our local Price Chopper stores actually REMOVED their gluten-free section (and items) from their store. Wow. There are some items still located throughout the store, but you have to hunt for them.
~ Along with the disappearance of the gluten-free section, I am also no longer able to find my favorite Schar brand spaghetti at Price Chopper. First, they get me hooked on Bell and Evan's Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets and then stop carrying them and now my pasta!!! Shame, shame on them!
~ I was happy to find that carries Schar GF Spaghetti for $18.92 for a 5 pack ($3.78 ea) . Which is cheaper than the $4.49 each I was paying at Price Chopper. So...pfffffffttttt! :P
So now I come to the end of my really looooong post! I hope you stayed with me!
Have a healthy, gluten-free day!!! :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thoughts for the Week

This has been an interesting week for me. I started running. Yes. Running. Now, I have never, ever considered myself all. I hated gym class in school. I even skipped so many gym classes my Senior year that I had to make them up before I could graduate. I could never run without getting a "stitch" in my side. I was once told by my very "manly" gym teacher that I should consider race-walking, because I had the right "gate" for it. I took it to mean that I ran funny. It stuck with me all this time. My husband began running a few years ago. I've now watched him run several 5K races and two half-marathons. I've seen him come home drenched in sweat and panting. I've seen him have to ice his shins. I've seen his black toenails. I've heard him groan when he tries to climb the stairs. I've asked myself a million times, "why would anyone put themselves through all that pain?" Last week, I began to change that question to, "why not?" And better yet, "why not ME?" And so, I started. I'm going slowly, so that hopefully I won't get injured. I bought some cool running clothes. Because, after all, you have to look good while you're sweating! I started logging my workouts on And you know what? I started to feel GOOD. I find myself smiling a lot more now. It's really strange. I guess it's true what they say about "runner's high". It's real.

I even took a picture of myself in my crazy new running tights. Wanna see? OK.

The picture is a little blurry. Couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. Must be something to do with the self-timer thingy. Now, not to get too carried away with all this running stuff, I do have some news on the gluten-free front to share. I stopped into Walgreen's yesterday to pick up my husband's allergy medicine and there, right on one of the end counters, was a display of Walgreen's Spice Drops, Gum Drops and Spearmint Leaves. Yum! I had heard that Walgreen's marked their gluten-free candies and I was happy when I saw "Gluten-Free" right there on the front of the bag! Of course, I picked up a bag of the Gum Drops and a bag of the Spice Drops. Pictured are the Spice Drops. The Gum Drops are looooonnnng gone! LOL!

When my daughter got home from school, I took her books out of her backpack and found a PTA fundraiser package. This fundraiser is Joe Corbi's Family Favorites. A catalog full of gluten-filled pizzas, cookies, brownies and cheesecakes. I immediately said to my daughter, "Well, I can't eat ANY of this stuff!" Then, as I was leafing through the pages, I saw this:

Yep. I read it right! Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough! Whoa! I nearly fell right off my chair! THE WORLD IS CHANGING!

The allergy warning states that the cookie dough contains eggs, and soy and is manufactured in a facility that uses wheat, dairy, peanuts, and tree nuts. Each cookie dough tub contains 48 frozen cookies and each cookie has 130 calories, 1 gram of fiber and 7 grams of fat. That's 3 WW points per cookie.

Even though I know I don't need the extra calories, I'm thinking I should order a tub just to see what they are like and maybe review them???

I also had a little gluten mishap this week. I mistakenly put my Van's Gluten-Free Flax Waffles in the "family" toaster, instead of in my gluten-free toaster. Ugh. I had to throw them away. I think this is the first time I've ever done anything like that in the 2+ years I've been gluten-free. Have any of you ever done something like that??? I'd love to hear about it!

I just realized that while I was sitting here writing, I opened the bag of Spice Drops and ate almost half the bag!!! Bleck. Now my tummy feels icky. I'd better sign off and get my crazy new running tights on and get to the gym!!! LOL!

Have a great gluten-free day!!!

Oh, and I apologize for the spacing issues I'm having on my blog. Every time I use the spellchecker, it puts a whole bunch of spaces between my paragraphs! **%$%$##$%%^!!!