Friday, May 31, 2013

Cookbook and T-shirt Giveaway

It's time for a Family Approved Gluten Free Recipes cookbook and Gluten Makes Me Sick t-shirt giveaway!  

The cookbook has over 50 recipes that are easy, tasty, and Gluten Free!  Some of the highlights include onion rings, bacon ranch puffs, lemon squares and tater tot casserole.  

You can read Lauren from Epi Family's review here.

You can read Erica from Celiac and the Beast's review here.

The awesome Gluten Makes me Sick shirts are 100% cotton and lets everyone know you aren't on a fad Gluten Free diet!  I love to wear it to restaurants to warn people!  The winner will be able to choose their size and color from what I have available. 

To enter use the Rafflecopter app below.  Giveaway ends June 15th!  The winner will have 48 hours to respond via email or I will randomly select a different winner. 

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Virtuous Living Spices

Finding tasty and Gluten Free spices can be tricky.  Many of the store brand mixes have wheat and hidden Gluten in the "natural flavors" so I tend to avoid them.  My spice combination is normally salt and pepper.  So when I first met the amazing women of Virtuous Living I was excited to try their Gluten Free spices to broaden my spice options.  I first encountered Nichole and Bronique at the GFAF Wellness Event in Charlotte.  They were giving out small samples of their Faith, Hope and Love spices.  The smell of the spices alone made me want to cook something.  I saw the ladies again at the Atlanta Wellness Event and scored full size bottles of the spices!
Source 

Virtuous Living was created by Nichole when she and her daughter found out they were gluten intolerant.  She wanted to create spices for her family that were good and fulfilling without sacrificing flavor.  The spices are organic, gluten free, kosher, non-GMO and halal.
Me and Nichole in Atlanta

Virtuous Beliefs
1 - Love Thy Food and it Will Love You Back
2 - It's Not the Food's Fault
3 - Gluten Free is not a Sacrifice



Here are just some of the meals we have used the spices on! 

Without exaggeration there are only a couple meals in the last 3 weeks where I have not used these spices.  Overall my favorite is the Hope spice which is the "all spice" blend.  I use it on meat and veggies.  We enjoy the Love spice on chicken.  I have used the Faith spice on sweet potatoes that came out great. 

You can purchase their awesome spices online or at expos.  These will have a permanent place in our kitchen.  My Gluten loving hubby said, "you could put those spices on anything and it would taste awesome!"  

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I was given the products to try and review.  The opinions and photos are my own. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Feeding a Gluten Free Toddler

We have three blessings also known as children.  "Curly" is our four year old daughter who is so smart and tender hearted.  She will talk your ear off!   We also have boy/girl 18 month old twins.  "Little A" is our son and full of energy.  He is the definition of a boy - makes noises, climbs and destroys.  "Little B" is our sweet, laid back daughter.  She is happiest organizing toys quietly by herself.  

My Celiac Diagnosis showed up two months before I found out we were pregnant with the twins.  So I had a Gluten Free pregnancy and kept the twins Gluten Free for 10 months to decrease their chances of getting Celiac.  During the twins' 18 month check up this past week we brought up our concerns about Little B's size with the doctor.  She is small and always has been.  She is in the 5% for size.  I expressed that I thought she might have Celiac and that could be contributing to her size and runny diapers.  The doctor said she is too little for a blood test to give us a true diagnosis so we should take her off Gluten for two months as a test.  So Tuesday May 21st Little B went Gluten Free like Mommy!

Eating Gluten Free as an adult isn't so bad once you get used to it.  However I have found that keeping a picky 1.5 year old Gluten Free is a challenge.  Our house is already filled with lots of GF snacks, bread, pasta, and cereal so that helps a ton!  We have made two grocery store runs for more "kid-friendly" GF treats.  

Here are some of the things she's been enjoying:
Glutino Crackers 
Glutino Vanilla Creme Cookies
Schar Cheese Bites
Schar Honeygrams
Qwackers
Mi Del Arrowroot Cookies 
Popchips 
Chobani Yogurt 

We aren't even a week in and we have seen a change in the diaper area which rocks!  We will do a weight check in a month and I'll let you know how it goes!

I would love any GF food suggestions from parents feeding GF kids.  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Weekly Menu May 27


Hope you all had a great weekend!  We had a slow, family weekend which was perfect.  Saturday I ran my first 10k and felt great.  I plan to run 2 more before my half marathon in October.   As an added bonus hubby and I even snuck away Saturday night for a date!  

We have a few activities this week so dinners' may be off a little but here is the overall plan.


Monday -  Grilling out
Tuesday - Chicken of many colors- using eMeals recipe (didn't get to it last week and it sounded too good not to make!)
Wednesday - I have a work event so hubby will feed kids leftovers
Thursday - Southwestern Pork Chops with Black Beans  - using eMeals recipe
Friday - Mexican Shepherd's Pie 
Saturday - I'll be in Maryland for the GF Expo so hubby will cook

Don't forget to check out my cookbook! 



Friday, May 24, 2013

Washington DC Gluten Free Expo

The next awesome Gluten Free Expo is in Washington DC next weekend!  This is the third year for the Washington DC expo.  




Bringing the best of Gluten Free to DC!


Sunday June 2, 2013


12pm-4pm


Doubletree Bethesda Hotel 



The expo will have over 70 vendors and over 2,000 attendees!  General admission is $10 and kids are only $5!  You can buy tickets here


I will be walking around eating lots of great Gluten Free goodies and would love to meet you!  I will be live tweeting from the event using #dcgfexpo.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Southern BBQ Low and Slow

In the South BBQ is something you eat not something you do.  A cookout is when you grill out and have friends over for a meal.  BBQ is typically beef, pork or chicken cooked over low heat for a long time.  Side dishes eaten with BBQ normally include a corn dish, a bean dish, cole slaw and a vegetable dish.  Dessert is usually a cobbler of some sort.   


Our town has some of the best BBQ restaurants that unfortunately have nothing for this Gluten Free girl but I like to roll my window down as I drive by and smell the meat cooking!  A key component to good BBQ is the sauce!  My favorite is Bone Suckin' Sauce.  It is a nice balance of vinegar and ketchup.  I also love that it is a local company but you can order it online.

My method to create good BBQ is to use my crock pot!   This recipe is for pork tenderloin but you could use other cuts of meat if you prefer.  I imagine pork shoulder would be great with this if you had a big enough crock pot!

BBQ Pork Tenderloin

What You Need:
2-3 lb pork tenderloin
1/2 cup of BBQ sauce - I use Bone Suckin' Sauce
1 1/4 cup of water
2 tbsp of a good spice rub - I use Hope from Virtuous Living
2 tbsp butter

How to Make It:
In a skillet over high heat melt the butter.  Generously apply the spice rub to your pork on all sides.  Put the seasoned pork in the skillet and brown on each side for 3 minutes.  Put the pork into the crock pot and cover with the water and BBQ sauce.  Cook on low for 8 hours.
When its done slice or shred the pork and serve with the sauce from the crock pot!

For my corn dish I decided to make bacon cheddar cornbread!   What compliments a pork dish better than more pork right?!


Bacon Cheddar Cornbread


What You Need:
2 cups of GF cornbread mix - I used Palmetto Farms Corn Pancake Mix
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp cooked bacon pieces
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

How to Make It:
Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease your baking dish.  Mix together milk and eggs.  Slowly add in cornbread mix, cheese and bacon.  Pour into greased baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes.

I also served the meal with a Zucchini and Squash casserole adapted from Spoonful At A Time's recipe and GF mac-n-cheese to make the kids happy.

This a great meal for family gatherings like a cookout or covered dish.  

Enjoy!

This post is part of FrannyCakes 


This post linked to Gluten Free Fridays

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Blog and Cookbook Love

The Gluten Free community never ceases to amaze me!  I just love you all and how much we support one another!  Here are three amazing GF women who were so kind to write about me and my cookbook.  Please visit their blogs and check them out!

Erica from Celiac and the Beast is doing a huge GF giveaway this month with a pile of wonderful products.  She even included a copy of my cookbook!  Visit her blog and enter!



Lauren from Epi Family did an amazing review of my cookbook on her fantastic blog!  She has even made five of the recipes so far!!  You can read it here.  


Claudine from Gluten Free Green Bean is featuring a number of bloggers this month and I was honored to be on her list!  Check out all the other bloggers too!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

eMeals Review

Last week I used eMeals planning system for our meals.  It is an online resource for weekly recipes that include instructions and shopping lists tailored to the grocery store you choose.  You can access the menu plan easily online, through your email or on your smart phone.



They have a four step process to explain how it works:
  1. Pick Your Plan
  2. Get Great Recipes
  3. Shop and Save
  4. Relax and Enjoy
They have 11 plan options to include slow cooker, Gluten Free, Paleo and vegetarian.  Each Wednesday you get a new menu that includes 7 meals, side dishes and an organized shopping list.   You are even able to skip one of the meals and it updates your shopping list if the meal doesn't work for your family.  

Screen shot from my phone while shopping.  
What I Liked About It:
  • Gluten Free option is huge!
  • Great recipe ideas
  • Shopping list was awesome!  I used the app on my phone and it made everything so easy!
  • I was actually under our grocery budget by $30 using their plan!
  • I like that it opens up our recipe options
  • Even if I didn't follow the recipes exactly I liked the overall recipe concept
  • You can mix and match main dishes and sides
  • You can change the plan at any time so if you want to change from Wal-Mart to Aldi you could
  • They even have lunch and breakfast plans you can buy
  • When you pick your plan you select how many people you are feeding and the recipe quantities adjust accordingly 
  • I bought ingredients that I normally don't - mushrooms!!
Top left- Taco salad, top right - Beef and Broccoli
Bottom left - Sausage and peppers, bottom right - Cajun Chicken

The Food:
Our menu for last week was:
- Sausage with summer veggies
- Salmon with horseradish sauce (skipped this one)
- Turkey taco salad
- Cajun chicken
- Chinese beef and broccoli (my favorite)
- Grilled balsamic kabobs (skipped this one)
- Spiced chicken and tomato sauce (skipped this one)

Below are some of the recipes we cooked  

eMeals is really an easy way to do meal planning for your family.  I plan to mix in their recipes often!   

If you want to try it out click the link below and use the discount code: DINNER15 for 15% off! 



Disclaimer: I was given a membership to eMeals to review their product.  The opinions are my own. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekly Menu May 20th


Happy Monday all!  I hope you all had a great weekend!  It was a little rainy here but we still had good family time.

The recipes from eMeals worked out so well last week I'm going to try a couple more this week.  It really is an easy system to use.  




Monday - Chicken pot pie 
Tuesday - Chicken of many colors- using eMeals recipe
Wednesday - BBQ Pork Loin slow cooker using Virtuous Living spices
Thursday - Green potatoes and ham - using eMeals recipe
Friday - Beef Non-Stew
Saturday - Grilling hot dogs and hamburgers


EMEALS EASY AND DELICIOUS DINNER RECIPES

Saturday, May 18, 2013

How to Have a Gluten Free Pregnancy

I have had two pregnancies - one filled with Gluten indulgences and one Gluten Free.  During my first pregnancy my Celiac Disease was still undiagnosed so I was eating everything I wanted.  I remember one trip to Chili's I ordered a side of fries and the chocolate lava cake for my meal!  There were also 11pm Dominos pizza runs. There is a reason I gained over 40 pounds during that pregnancy!
36 weeks with twins

My second pregnancy was with twins and I only gained 31 pounds.  I had been Gluten Free for four months when we found out I was pregnant.  There were times when it was very hard to be Gluten Free.  When a craving for a particular food hits and you don't have a safe alternative it is very hard to make good decisions.  But a safe and healthy Gluten Free pregnancy is possible even without the 11pm pizza runs!

Here are some survival tips:
  1. Snacks - you will be very hungry so always have at least two Gluten Free snacks on you.  I say two because sometimes one of the options won't sound good to your pregnant stomach at the time.  I typically had a GF protein bar and some nuts with me.  Protein is good because it is a good filler.
  2. Be prepared - have a good stock of fast and easy GF food items available.  Fill your freezer with store bought GF pizza, bagels, meals, cookies etc.   When you are seven months pregnant and hungry at 9pm you don't want quinoa and kale chips.  
  3. Eating Out - have a list of safe places you can eat at in a pinch.  If you are out and hungry you need to know where you can go and get safe food.  Wendy's baked potato and side salad was my go to.
  4. Junk Food - during my pregnancies I always wanted to eat junk food!  Pregnancy is a great excuse to eat whatever you want.  Make sure you know of some good, safe recipes for things like onion rings, baked potato skins or mug cake!  

Hospital Stay:
  1. Bring snacks - As soon as I was in the recovery room they wanted me to eat.  Even knowing I had Celiac Disease the nurse was about to give me saltine crackers!  Luckily my mom had brought some GF protein bars.  Once in your room with your baby you will want safe foods that you can snack on.  
  2. Communicate - Get a hold of the manager of the cafeteria and explain your dietary needs.  They may have a Gluten Free menu for you to use.  But be careful to always make sure they bring you the right food.  During my four day stay at the hospital I had at least five Gluten meals brought to me!  I cried and yelled twice!  
Nursing Gluten Free:

From the studies I read and the nutritionists I talked to we decided to keep the babies Gluten Free for the first 10 months then slowly introduce it.  I was told that you want to keep it out of their milk or formula until 10 months.  This was supposed to help them from getting Celiac.  Since the twins are only 18 months this is yet to be proved to have worked, but my fingers are crossed!

Regarding food I had to eat SO MUCH I actually got tired of eating.  I was nursing twins so that took a ton of calories but I also found that GF food didn't last long.  Meat and veggies aren't so filling!  Needless to say I ate piles of food.  

Good luck with your pregnancy and know it can be done Gluten Free! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Kemnitz Family Kitchen Review

If your house, office and relatives' kitchen are not all 100% Gluten Free knowing what is safe can be hard.  Knowing which mayonnaise jar is safe to use or which dish at a pot luck is safe is tricky.  Kemnitz Family Kitchen has created fun allergy-friendly and Gluten Fre Labels to make knowing what is safe easy!  Their moto is to "Enjoy with Confidence".  

They carry a LARGE variety of labels, picks, and stickers for all seasons, holidays and all occasions.  They carry casual, formal and holiday styles. 

Susan and Ken created the company out of necessity to survive large family gatherings.  When you have many different allergies and food sensitivities it is hard to know what someone can eat.   They now enjoy family meals with clearly marking dishes and utensils.




I was first introduced to Kemnitz Family Kitchen at the GFAF Expo in Chicago.  They had so many creative ways to label items as GF or allergy free.  Some items included jars, tupperware, serving spoons, toasters and product boxes. 

Disclaimer: I was given the products to try and review at an Expo.  The pictures are mine and from the Kemnitz website

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gluten Free Product Deals

I wanted to share some great Gluten Free product deals I've found for Celiac Awareness Month!

First, Amazon has a ton of Gluten Free items discounted!
Glutino is 15% off 
Bisquick is 20% off
Betty Crocker is 25% off
Plus much more!


Second, if you are in NC, SC, or VA and have a Lowe's Foods grocery store close by go this week!  They have amazing deals on Gluten Free products!  I loaded up this morning on top name brands and everything was $1 to $2 off!  I got 4 bags full of products for only $50!  I may drop by again tomorrow to get more stuff!

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Enjoy Life Foods Products

Enjoy Life Foods creates tasty Gluten Free snacks and it is clear they really care about their customers' needs.  All of their products are free of all eight common allergens plus Gluten, casein, sesame and sulfites!  There are also no trans fat, GMO's or artificial ingredients.  So what does all that mean you ask?  You can eat it and give it to your allergy sensitive kids without fear.  So many people I meet can't have Gluten AND something else.  Enjoy Life Foods is a great brand for the GF AND ... crowd.  If you are allergic or sensitive to it, chances are you won't find it in these products.



Their products include cookies, granola, bars, seed & nut mixes, chocolate chips, cereals, chips and chocolate bars.




My top three favorite products are the Seed & Fruit Mix - Mountain Mambo,   Decadent Soft Baked Bars - S'mores, and the Plentils - Light Sea Salt.  


Their website also has some great recipes available to include meatloaf and pizza boats!  Their products can also be found in most of the Go Picnic box lunches.  You can buy their products online or at many Whole Foods and coming soon to a Target near you! 

Disclaimer: These products were given to me at Expos and events to try.  The photos are all from the Enjoy Life Foods website.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekly Menu April 13th Featuring eMeals


I was just talking with one of my blog friends last week about how we are both in recipe ruts.  You know where you keep making the same things?!   It is during these times that I look for new recipes to try.  

A great resource that I have recently found is eMeals!  It is an online meal planning guide. 

How it works is you:
1- Pick your plan (yes they have a Gluten Free option!!)
2- Get great recipes
3- Shop and save
4- Relax and enjoy

I created my profile this morning and headed to the store to go shopping using their fun iPhone app.  It gives you a shopping list for the grocery store you choose!  I'll do a follow up review of the recipes next week once I've cooked them.  


Monday - Family - leftovers, me - dinner out
Tuesday - Sausage and Peppers - using eMeals recipe
Wednesday - Taco Salad - using eMeals recipe
Thursday - Chinese Beef and broccoli - using eMeals recipe
Friday - Cajun Chicken - using eMeals recipe
Saturday - Spiced Chicken with Tomato sauce - using eMeals recipe


Friday, May 10, 2013

Pascha Organic Dark Chocolate

There are two things in life that if they weren't Gluten Free I would eat anyway. Those two items are chocolate and red wine.  I also prefer to have them together!  I have had the opportunity to travel a lot and always seek out good chocolate from the various places I go.  When I went to Chicago I didn't think I would discover amazing chocolate, but I was blown away by Pascha.  Simon and his team were sampling their amazing chocolate at the GFAF Expo.  I have never had such smooth dark chocolate before!  

Aside from tasting amazing the chocolate is also free of all 8 major allergens plus Gluten!
  
Here are the details:
- 100% organic dark chocolate
- Certified fair trade
- Made in a dedicated allergen-free facility
- No GMO
- Preservative free
- Vegan
- Full ingredient traceability
- No artificial additives or colors

Their mission is to make the purest, safest chocolate without any allergenic ingredients.  

They have three levels for their dark chocolate: 55%, 70%, and 85%.  The 55% is the mildest and my personal favorite.  Simon says they made the 55% for the kids - I choose not to be offended by this:)  The 70% is good with a little kick.  The 85% was too much for me but I know many of my fellow bloggers liked it the best.  Apparently I have a kid's strength for dark chocolate!

I plan to come up with something fun to make with the 70%.  I'm leaning toward chocolate chunk cookies!

If you want to try this amazing chocolate you just need to check out the store locator to see where you can buy some.   If you see a bar in a store don't worry about the price just buy it.  Best dark chocolate that I've had - hands down!  If milk wasn't a major allergen I would try and convince Simon to make a milk chocolate version for me.

Disclaimer: The products were provided for me to try and review.  The pictures and opinions are my own.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Atlanta Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event Recap

The quick trip down to Atlanta for the GFAF Wellness event was great!  I got to see old friends, make new ones and taste some great Gluten Free food.  This expo was put on by the same group that does the Charlotte and Raleigh shows.  Nikki Everett and Jennifer Harris rock!  If you can make it to one of the other expos it is totally worth it.

I actually got to set up a whole table at the expo!  It was great to meet readers and talk to GF people about the products I love.  I sold a bunch of Gluten Makes Me Sick t-shirts!  I didn't have any of my cookbooks with me but hopefully some people will go to Amazon and pick up a copy!

I got a ton of awesome product samples and coupons from the expo!  Schar also loaded me down with a bag of products to try!  Love them!


NEW GLUTEN FREE PRODUCTS

Gluten Free Cutie is an allergy friendly bakery in Roswell, Ga.  They were also my neighbors at the event.  They had chocolate cupcakes with toasted marshmallow icing, cinnamon rolls and cinnamon streusel bread.  Their stuff tasted so good and the better news is they ship!  So if you want good GF baked goods that are also free of other allergens call these guys!  



Moon Rabbit Foods offers a huge variety of Gluten Free baking mixes.  I tried a bunch of their samples and took a plate full home with me.  My favorites are the pie dough (one bag makes three pies!), brownie mix and the white cake mix.  I have a pie dough bag that I will experiment with and tell you all about!


American Gra-Frutti is a Gluten Free bakery in Roswell, Ga.  They have crackers, bread, muffins, cakes, and pimento cheese.  I really enjoyed the crackers with the pimento cheese.


Graw Foods was a fun group of people that make really good raw products.  They had granola, nuts,  granola bars and seed based bread crumbs.  They were sampling their bread crumbs - pretty awesome!
They sell the crumbs in a big bag and have different flavorings available to add. 

GLUTEN FREE PRODUCT LOVE
The expo had a handful of GF companies that I love!

Virtuous Living has amazing Gluten Free spice mixes.  I used Nichole's Love spice on a pork loin roast last week that was fantastic!  She hooked me up with full size product so I will be using it frequently! 


Against The Grain is my favorite frozen GF pizza brand.  They just came out with a pepperoni pizza!

Mina's Purely Divine makes great GF baking mixes.  I actually got to meet sweet Mina this time!  Her dinner rolls wowed me!


Pascha Chocolate Company I loved in Chicago and I loved them in Atlanta.  They make amazing, pure chocolate that will make you melt!  I'll do a full review later this week. 


Bakery on Main love their granola mixes!

Luce's Gluten Free Artisan Bread has phenomenal sourdough bread mixes!

Enjoy Life Foods had their tasty new Plentils, seed mixes and snack bars.

Glutino rocked the show with more GF pop tarts.  I heart strawberry!

Udi's had yummy pizza and granola bars available.

Happy Family Brands is what we feed the twins when I didn't make their baby food.

Earth Balance was sampling their popcorn.  I liked the white cheddar.  


FUN PEOPLE

Brandy Wendler is the current Mrs. Nortwest and the past Mrs. Alaska.  We are social network friends who became real friends at the expo.  This chick is beautiful inside and out.  She was cracking me up when she talked about her beauty secrets.  Her two sisters were also very fun. 


Leah is the dietitian for Ingles grocery store and a huge GF advocate. 

Taylor is a Gluten Free teen blogger that is awesome!  Find him at Gluten Away

Free Cuisine is a fun group of ladies that blog about GF and corn free living.  Tracey is the chef and a bunch of funny!

So good to see everyone!  Thanks for making it a great expo!
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