Sunday, June 30, 2013

Weekly Menu July 1, 2013

Happy July!!  I'm not sure what happened to June, I think I blinked.  Ever have months like that?  Seems like time is going by so fast these days!

This week is another fun one for us.  Hubby is at church camp for a few days so its me, the kids and babysitters.  Dinners this week are easy and the kids' favorites.  I picked up a rotisseri chicken from the grocery store that I will use for at least 3 meals this week to make life easier!

I'll be posting a super easy recipe for Gluten Free Key Lime Pie later this week so make sure you don't miss it!

Monday -  Chicken Alfredo using Viviana Plain Fettuccine pasta 
Tuesday - Mexican Lasagna
Wednesday - Sliced ham, tater tots, and green beans (very kid friendly!)
Thursday - Happy 4th of July!!! Grilling out hamburgers and hot dogs
Friday - Chicken Cacciatore- using eMeals Recipe
Saturday - Chicken Fried Rice

Don't forget to check out my cookbook on Amazon!

Use Promo code "summer" for 15% off!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Dr. Pepper Roast Pork

Yes, you read the title correctly!  This is a recipe for slow cooked roast pork cooked in Dr. Pepper.  You see Dr. Pepper is the preferred beverage of my sweet hubby and he lovingly refers to it as the "nectar of the gods".  He can't go two hours without a glass of the stuff.  So when I saw The Pioneer Woman had a Dr. Pepper pork recipe I knew I had to make it for my hubby!  Ree is so much cooler than I will EVER be!  

Our family isn't big into spicy food so I changed the recipe some to match our family's taste.  We also had dinner guests of two teenage boys from hubby's youth group over so I made tons of sides to feed them.  For a quick lesson of Southern BBQ check out this post where I discuss NC terms, technique and sides.

What You Need:
1 onion
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp GF Worcestershire sauce
Salt & pepper
2 cups of Dr. Pepper
4-5 lb pork butt or roast

How to Make It:
Quarter the onion and make a layer on the bottom of your slow cooker (I used my 6 qt).  Season the pork with salt and pepper then place on top of the onions.  Pour in the sugar, sauce and Dr. Pepper.  

Cook low and slow for 8 hours.  The pork will be falling apart by dinner!  And you will want to have a party when you experience how good this makes your house smell.

I served ours with green beans, GF Mac n cheese, GF cornbread and zucchini casserole.  Dessert was strawberry cobbler.  This was a huge hit with the hubby and the teenage boys.  Everyone got second helpings! 

The pork was so tender and juicy!  It was also surprisingly not sweet.  I thought the Dr. Pepper would make it sweeter.  Next time I will try to make a glaze with part of the yummy juices! 


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lavender Asian Bistro Restaurant Review

If you are ever in the Atlanta area it is worth the drive to Lawrenceville, GA to visit the Lavender Asian Bistro.  This gem of a restaurant is unassumingly sitting in a strip mall that you may just drive by.  When I was in Atlanta for the GFAF Wellness Event a group of us met at the Lavender Asian Bistro the night before the event.  When I sat down at the table and saw a FIVE PAGE menu in front of me, I verified that it was the Gluten Free menu.  Turns out they have a HUGE Gluten Free selection with tons of options.  When I ordered I actually threatened the waiter to make sure the amazing sounding food was in fact GF. 

The atmosphere was wonderful.  The restaurant has a bar, plenty of seating and an open kitchen.  It was a nice, upscale Asian restaurant.  

I started my meal with a nice glass of red wine and the Basil Spring Rolls without the shrimp.  They were good but a little heavy on the basil.

For my main course I ordered the Sweet and Sour Chicken with Fried Rice.  This was the star of the night!  The chicken was battered in rice flour and fried in a dedicated fryer.  The sauce was wonderful and had fresh strawberries and pineapples.   The fried rice was very flavorful!  

I ended up sharing my dish with others in our party because it was so good!  Other people ordered the fried calamari, cashew chicken, and kung pao scollops.  It was a wonderful dining experience for all!   

If you are in the area check them out!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cookie Truffles

Our nephew turned five this past week and we had a family birthday party for him over the weekend.  I wanted to bring a fun treat that the kids would love and was Gluten Free for Little B and me.  So as usual I turned to Pinterest for ideas and found a number of recipes for Cookie Truffles.  Some of the recipes had peanut butter, rice cereal and marshmallows   Those all sounded like good add ins but since this was my first attempt I wanted to go basic.  

This is such an easy dessert to make, tastes amazing and looks very impressive.  The process is similar to my cake balls but the cookie truffles are faster.  Start to finish, even with freezing time, you could be done in an hour!

What you need:
GF "oreo" cookies - I used Glutino but I'm sure Trader Joe's new Joe's Joes would be good too
8oz of softened cream cheese
16 oz bag of chocolate - I used white for the color contrast

How to make them:
Grind up your cookies in a blender or food processor.  My Magic Bullet worked great!  

Then mix the cookie crumbs and softened cream cheese together.  

Scoop into balls and place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.  

Freeze for at least 30 minutes.  I left mine over night.  Then melt your chocolate and coat your cookie balls.  

Immediately return to cookie sheet and put on sprinkles.  

I put mine back in the freezer for an hour before we went to the party so they would get hard.   Makes 20 cookie truffles.  

These were a HUGE hit!  Gluten eaters raved about them!  You could easily put lollipop sticks in these and make cookie pops with them!  I even saved a few that I froze for later when I need a fix!  There are a number of super tasty add ins that I will try in the future.  So excited about these!  Can you tell? 


This post linked to Gluten-Free Homemaker Gluten-Free Wednesdays and Vegetarian Mammas Gluten Free Fridays.  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Weekly Menu June 24 2013

Summer is here and so is a summer cold.  Little B and I are both sick with it.  The other two kids are healthy so far - fingers crossed!  This is a big work week and Dr. visit week.  This means lots of running around.     

Now down to Gluten Free business!  There is still time to enter 
the giveaway for a $35 gift card to Red Apple Lipstick.  100% Gluten Free cosmetics that rock!  This has been our biggest giveaway yet!

In other exciting news it has also been our biggest week on Facebook we went from 500 to 600 likes in one week!  I'm humbled!  Thank you for all the love!

Monday -  Dijon and Lime Baked Chicken - using eMeals Recipe
Tuesday - Breakfast for dinner!  - Pancakes, eggs and bacon
Wednesday - Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork - using Pioneer Woman's recipe but I'll use my slow cooker. 
Thursday - Chops with Mushrooms - using eMeals Recipe
Friday - Dinner out at an event in our cute downtown - Food trucks!!
Saturday - Pepperoni Bake - When I made it a few weeks ago I froze half for an easy dinner for later.  Well now is later! 

Don't forget to check out my cookbook on Amazon!

Use Promo code "summer" for 15% off!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Instagram Picture Frame

Yes, I know this is a Gluten Free blog but I wanted to share a really fun crafty project that I did with my food photos.  You see I take pictures of my food every day.  That is a lot of photos of really yummy and colorful food; most of which are on Instragram.  With hundreds of these photos I was looking for something fun to do with them.  So I turned to Pinterest and found a picture of this awesome frame and had my inspiration!  After a trip to the local flea market, the hardware store and I was set.

Here Is What You Need
- Wood frame without the glass - I got mine at the flea market, $1 for the small one and $6 for the large one
- Metal wire for hanging pictures
- Small clothes pins or clips of some kind
- Staple gun and staples
- Tape measure and pencil
- Instagram photos  

How To Put It Together
1. Clean the frames
2. Using a measuring tape, mark on the back where you want the wire to go.  My picture prints are 3"x3" so I used that as my guide.
3. Use a staple gun to staple the wire to the back of the frame.  

Bend the wire over if there is extra. 

Repeat for as many wires you want.
4. Use pins to hang pictures

I love the finished products of these!  The small one is for my food photos.  I plan to hang this in our kitchen and take it with me to expos.  The large one has family photos and I'll hang it up in our hallway.  I love how versatile these are!  As you take updated pictures, just print and pin!

I used because it was a simple process and it was economical at $.25 per print.  They were also shipped pretty quickly.  I plan to make some of these as gifts in the future for friends and family.  In total I spent less than $10 to make both frames!

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mexican Lasagna

This yummy and easy recipe all started when I spotted a can of GLUTEN FREE  Chicken Cheese Enchilada Flavor soup by Progresso at the grocery store!  The possibilities seemed endless with a GF soup like that.  After considering many options I decided to create a Mexican Lasagna since I had GF noodles, some cooked chicken and veggies laying around.  This recipe can be adjusted in so many ways to fit your family's taste.  We aren't really into spicy foods but I would imagine some hot peppers or salsa would be great in this dish.  Here is how we created a Gluten Free Mexican Lasagna.

What you Need
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
Salt & pepper to taste
1 can Pregresso GF Chicken Cheese Enchilada Flavor soup
1 cup cut up cooked chicken - I used leftover rotisserie chicken
8 oz of cottage cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Uncooked GF lasagna noodles - I use De Boles

How to Make it
Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In one bowl mix together the green pepper, tomato, beans and salt and pepper.  In a second bowl mix together the soup, chicken, and cottage cheese.  

Take a small amount of the soup mix and put in on the bottom of a 9x9 casserole dish.  Then start making your layers of noodles, soup mix, veggie mix, cheese and repeat.  

Bake covered for 45 to 50 minutes.

This was a great looking and tasting dish.  I also think it tasted better the next day for lunch when it was reheated like regular lasagna.  This recipe is a definite keeper for our family.  I look forward to throwing in more ingredients to see how it comes out.


This post linked to Gluten Free Wednesdays and  Gluten Free Fridays

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weekly Menu June 17 2013

I hope you all had a great weekend and had fun celebrating your dad's and grandpas.  We had a great family day Sunday filled with parks, pools and grilled pork! 

A few news items... Jennifer H. #266 won the cookbook and t-shirt giveaway!  Congrats!  

There is a new giveaway up for a $35 gift card to Red Apple Lipstick.  100% Gluten Free cosmetics that rock!  

Also we hit 500 likes on Facebook this weekend!!!  Thank you for all the love!

Monday -  Mexican Lasagna - if it goes well I'll post the recipe!
Tuesday - Sliced Ham with veggies and tater tots
Wednesday - BBQ Pork Chops and rice 
Thursday - Homemade chicken nuggets, green beans and mac n cheese
Friday - Grilled chicken seasoned with Virtuous Living and grilled veggies
Saturday - Dinner out with family 

Don't forget to check out my cookbook on Amazon!

Use Promo code "summer" for 15% off!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Why Red Apple Lipstick Rocks with a Giveaway

Did you know your makeup and lipstick could be making you sick?  Did you know that a lot of makeup has Gluten in it?  As a person with Celiac Disease or a Gluten Sensitivity you need to be aware of what you are putting on your face and your lips!  I have found a safe solution ladies - enter Red Apple Lipstick!  

I first meet these wonderful people in Chicago and was blown away by their passion and knowledge.  Not only do they make amazing Gluten Free products but they truly care!  Jay Harper started Red Apple Lipstick in 2007 to create a better, safer cosmetic product for women.  They even have 10 reasons why you should use Red Apple Lipstick.  If that's not enough, it was rated the Best Gluten Free Cosmetic Brand by  They are even listed in the next issue of Delight Magazine.

Their products are all 100% Gluten Free, all paraben free, lead free, soy free, not tested on animals and vitamin E enriched.  The cosmetics are also made in the USA and they have great customer service!

I personally bought the Ruby Glass Lipgloss and the Rallye Balm.  I LOVE both!  The lipgloss is magical!  It stays on, looks great with everything and feels so good on your lips.  The Rallye Balm is great for daily use and on my runs because it is SPF-8.  It is a really smooth and light balm that conditions your lips.  The balm is my go to when my lips are chapped.  

Here is a picture of sweet Andrea, Jay's wife, putting some Petal Pusher lipstick on me for the Chicago expo.  The color matches the letters on my shirt! 

Their website is a wealth of knowledge just like Jay and Andrea!  If you sign up for their email list you get a 20% off code and a free copy of Jay's ebook.  Totally worth it!

Because the team at Red Apple Lipstick are so awesome they have donated a $35 gift card to one lucky reader!  Use the Rafflecopter app below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Father's Day Menu from eMeals

Are you still trying to figure out what you are going to make Dad tomorrow?  Do you want to make him a special meal but just don't know what to cook?  Well eMeals is sharing their amazing Father's Day menu!  It does have to be adjusted to be made Gluten Free but for the most part it is a safe meal.  The dessert is what caught my eye!

Here is the entire menu plan!

eMeals is also running a special deal that if you use the code "DADS" you get 15% off their menu plans!  You can read about my experience with eMeals here.

If you want to take advantage of this great deal click on the logo below and use the promo code.  


Happy Father's Day and Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lemon Berry Cupcakes

This past weekend Curly and I were at the local flea market looking for goodies for a pinterest project (more on that later!).  Of all the items for a 4 year old to pick up she chose the May 28, 2007 copy of Taste of Home magazine for a whooping $.25.  I'm sure the fact that there were cupcakes on the front cover helped her selection!  After looking through the magazine she decided we needed to make the berry cupcakes.  Basically they are white cupcakes with white icing with blueberries and strawberries on top.  I added my own twist with the lemon.

This morning she decided today was the day to make them.  We had everything we needed but the strawberries.  So I decided to load all three kids up and head to the strawberry patch in 90 degree weather for a little fun this afternoon.  We all had a blast and came home armed with our final ingredient.  Here is how we made our Gluten Free Lemon Berry Cupcakes!

What You Need:
1 box of white GF cake mix - I used XO Baking Co
1 jar or mix for GF vanilla frosting - I used XO Baking Co
1 cup of sliced strawberries 
1 cup of blueberries
1 tsp GF vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon juice
lemon zest of half a lemon

How To Make It:
Follow the instructions on the box to make the cupcakes.  If you are using the GF Betty Crocker mix I HIGHLY recommend following these instructions instead of the ones on the box.  You end up with a much better tasting cupcake - trust me!  Allow the cupcakes to cool.  Prepare frosting and mix in vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Top cooled cupcakes with the lemon frosting and decorate with the berries.

Our mix made 24 cupcakes but know the GF Betty Crocker mix only makes 12ish.

The twins devoured a frosting free cupcake in seconds!  Curly, hubby and I really enjoyed these cupcakes.  The berries and lemon flavor give them a nice summer flavor.  We will be making these again!

Curly plans to take some to play school tomorrow to share with her friends!  I love her heart!

This was my first experience with XO Baking Co products and was very pleased.  The taste and texture were perfect!  I will buy them again.


This post linked to Gluten-Free WednesdaysSlightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten Free Fridays

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chef Peter Pollay from Posana Cafe

Have you ever dreamed of going to a restaurant that is 100% Gluten Free run by a chef and staff who truly care?!  Well let me introduce you to Chef Peter Pollay from Posana Cafe!  This man is amazing!  I was honored to sit down with him a few weeks ago to learn about his impressive story and his restaurant.   To say this chef's resume is impressive is an understatement   He has worked directly under Wolfgang Puck, graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America, worked under Dave Burke, and done catering for high end sky boxes at stadiums.  He has worked in restaurants in Chicago, New York, Las Vegas,  Los Angeles and now has his own restaurant in Asheville, NC.

Why does such a talented chef decide to come to NC and run a 100% Gluten Free restaurant you ask?  Enter his wife, Martha, who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2004.  They moved to NC for a slower pace of life for their family in 2003 and Peter was actually in real estate at the time.  When she was diagnosed with CD Peter used his cooking knowledge to turn the whole house Gluten Free and make good meals for the whole family.  Peter said his strategy was to have a protein, a vegetable, a starch and a sauce.  Peter and his family would frequent the local farmer's market in Asheville to get their family produce.

When the perfect location in downtown Asheville opened up, Peter and Martha jumped on the chance to open their own restaurant.  As they talked about what it would look like it just made sense to cook the same kinds of food they made at home - Gluten Free meals.

Peter used his relationships from the farmers market to focus on farm to table food.  In his early years as a chef Peter learned from Wolfgang Puck that you need to respect the ingredient through the whole process.  These days Peter actually visits the farms where his vegetables come from to understand all the work that goes into growing the produce.  He wants to know what is going in his body and create meals to "Feed Your Well-Being", which is the motto of Posana Cafe.  The menu is seasonal based on what is locally available.   They make everything in house including their drinks!  No soda machine in Pollay's restaurant.

Another cool thing about Posana Cafe is that they do not make a big deal that their restaurant as a Gluten Free restaurant.  They describe themselves as An Upscale Casual Farm-to-Table Restaurant Featuring A Locally Inspired, Seasonal Menu.  When you go in your don't have to ask for the Gluten Free menu because everything is already GF - just imagine!

During my discussion with Chef Peter I was able to ask him some questions about cooking for a Gluten Free family.  What is Chef Peter's favorite ingredient you ask?  The answer is ginger!  Since I have never used ginger he was gracious enough to give me some tips and some quick recipes.  I also asked him how he gets his two kids to eat their vegetables.   He says he just doesn't hide them.  They eat kale chips for snacks and make eating vegetables fun.  What does Chef Peter see as the biggest challenge for a Gluten Free child?  Making them feel normal.  He says to help them feel they are no different from anyone else and help the family accommodate the GF person and remove Gluten from the house.  

I have had the pleasure of tasting Chef Peter's food at a number of GF expos and have gone back for seconds!  His pasta is amazing and you can tell the vegetables are fresh.  A trip to Asheville is in my near future just to visit Posana Cafe.  If I plan it correctly I can hit it for dinner Friday, brunch and lunch on Saturday.  And don't worry you will hear all about what I eat!

If you are ever close to Asheville, NC I encourage you to make a trip to Posana Cafe and try some of Chef Peter's amazing GF food!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Weekly Menu June 10 2013

Hello all! We had some crazy weather here in NC this weekend.  Tons of rain and then beautiful blue skies all in the same day.  
Here is a photo of Curly jumping in puddles Saturday morning when she and I went to the local farmers market. So Sweet!

Now for the food.  Our fridge is filled with leftovers so objective one is to clean out the fridge before I make any more meals!  I'm mixing in some family favorites with a new recipe from eMeals (see below for a discount code if you want to try it out!).  Check Instagram for photos of how it all turns out!  Also don't forget to enter the giveaway for a free copy of my cookbook and a Gluten Makes Me Sick t-shirt!  The giveaway ends June 15th!  

Monday -  Leftovers 
Tuesday - Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin with roasted veggies
Wednesday - Pepperoni Bake - didn't make it last week
Thursday - Pizza night! 
Friday - Juicy Pork Chops with Onion & Mustard Sauce - eMeals Recipe
Saturday -  One Dish Wonder 

Use Promo code "summer" for 15% off!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Washington DC Gluten Free Expo 2013 Recap

Sunday June 2nd over 2,000 Gluten Free people descended on Bethesda, Maryland for the third Washington DC Gluten Free Expo.   The expo was very good with a number of big and local vendors.  The crowd was very busy!  A number of vendors ran out of samples within the first two hours.  

All set to sell shirts and cookbooks!

I was honored to have a spot at the blogger / author table with Roben Ryberg.  She has written a number of great Gluten Free cookbooks including Gluten Free in Five Minutes and she has a new one coming out soon!  Check her out.

Top: Alicia and me
Bottom: Me and Anne from Schar

One of my best friends from my high school years, Alicia, lives in Bethesda and is a Celiac too!  It was so wonderful to spend time with her, have her help at my table and see her experience her first GF Expo!  She left with three bags full of goodies for her and her sister who was just diagnosed two weeks ago.

The people and the food were amazing!  I love walking into a room and knowing I can eat anything and I love being around so many people like me! 


Best Cupcake: Red Velvet Cupcakery they are local and make amazing vegan & GF white velvet cupcakes

Best Cake Mix: Sweetie Beans makes cake mixes and had super yummy samples.  I nabbed a bag that I will use soon. 

Best Chocolate: Dear Coco has mouth watering chocolate truffles  The salted Carmel was my favorite. 

Best Chips: Way Better Snacks has six flavors of corn chips that rock!  The sweet potato is my favorite. 

Best Sauces: San-J was there sampling their sauces and dressings.  They have a new beef marinade I'm looking forward to.  The have the best GF soy sauce!

Best Baking Mixes: Pamela's has so many good options for baking.  They have a cup for cup all purpose flour that I can't wait to try. 

Best Nut Product: Sweet Nuttings is a new company that makes nut cookies that are Gluten Free, Dairy Free and all natural. 

Best Restaurants:  Willow and Pete's.  Willow has a huge Gluten Free product line called Wheatless by Willow.  Their pizza was so good.  Pete's offers Gluten Free pizza and GF pasta dishes.  They were sampling some yummy pasta.  

Best Overall: Schar!  Ever since the GFAF Expo in Chicago I have been in love with their products!  And now that I'm feeding Little B Gluten Free their snack and bread products are making my life so much easier.  Plus their staff are so wonderful!

Others vendors I enjoyed:

Virtuous Living - the sweet ladies were their selling their awesome spices and giving out samples!  Love them!

Enjoy Live Foods - I always enjoy their Plentils and seed mixes

Glutino - great crackers and new toaster pastries

Relay Foods - Food delivered to your doorstep

Rudi's - Enjoyed their cheese quesadilla 

Udi's - so many good bread products 

Thanks to Vanessa and Jordan from Delight Magazine for organizing a great Expo!  Lets do it again next year!

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