Friday, April 24, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things

It's no secret that I love to cook and bake, but sometimes you just don't feel like doing either. So when that happens, what's a Celiac to do? Well, if you're like me, you probably keep some nukeable foods that you can just pop in the microwave or oven. In case you don't have many, here's a few of my favorites.

Glutenfreeda Pizza Wraps
I love Italian food, so being able to buy one of these in a handy little wrap is just great! They come in three varieties: Italian Sausage, Three Cheese, and Pesto Chicken. They are reasonably priced, and easy to heat up.

LiveGfree Pizza Pockets
Unlike the Glutenfreeda wraps, these pizza pockets are baked inside of a flaky crust. They also include pepperoni, which I absolutely love. They are easy to heat up, and are quite tasty. You can buy LiveGfree products at Aldi stores, and they are all cheaply priced and yummy!

Udi's Frozen Pizzas
If you want something that you can cook in an oven, then check out Udi's frozen pizzas. You can get cheese, pepperoni, or margherita. All of the varieties are great! They are about 5 to 8 bucks per pizza for the full size version, but well worth the price.

Gluten Free Girl Scout Cookies
This year, I finally got to try the gluten free offerings from the Girl Scouts. There were two varieties to try. The first is the Trios, which have peanut butter, oats, and chocolate chips all mixed into one tiny and tasty cookie. The second, is the Toffee-tastic which are butter cookies, with crunch toffee bits. I can honestly say that I love both varieties and will be buying them again next year.

Dr. Schar Sugar Wafers
These have always been a favorite gluten free snack of mine. They are sweet and delicious, and you can easily eat the whole box in one sitting. Be careful, you will find yourself craving them!

Pamela's Simple Bites - Extreme Chocolate
These tiny cookies are oh so good! They are melt in your mouth chocolatey and I guarantee you can't stop at just one. They come in a resealable bag, so they are a good snack to keep in your desk at work.

Pamela's Whenever Bars - Oat Raisin Walnut Spice
These are a great versatile item. They can be breakfast, or just a snack on the go. They have a great cinnamon spice flavor to them, and are moist and rich.

Glutino Breakfast Pastries - Strawberry
Of course, I must have my pop-tart alternative in here. I love these breakfast pastries from Glutino. They have all the goodness of a pop-tart, without the gluten.

If you have a favorite gluten free food that isn't on the list, please comment below.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

What's in A Recipe?

Recipes are passed down from one generation to another in my family. Some of them are written down, and some of them are made so much we just know them by heart. Being diagnosed as a Celiac put a slight snag in being able to make those recipes as is, but instead of just giving up on them, I've decided to remake them my way.

There was a time when I thought I would never be able to cook anything that tasted good again, but I was quite surprised to learn that the truth was quite the opposite. The past two years I have spent much of my free time trying new recipes that I either adapted from an old family recipe, or just made up off the top of my head.

If you're going to adapt a recipe, you need to consider the ingredients carefully and cook times as well. Some recipes aren't as simple as substituting one cup of gluten free flour for one cup of regular flour. If you are going to make up a recipe, here's what you need to know.

The first thing is to figure out what you want to make. If you are new to making your own recipes, it's a good idea to look up a couple of different ways to make the dish you are trying to create. Obviously you don't want to copy those recipes, but it helps to look at the ingredients as an inspiration. Once you've done that, just decide what ingredients you want to use and, most importantly, write it down! You can make the most amazing recipe in the world, but it won't be useful again if you don't remember what you put in it. Amounts of ingredients are really important too, so if you want to make slight adjustments, you know how much of each ingredient you used.

These same rules apply for baking, only here, it's even more important to measure every ingredient and write those measurements down. You've probably heard some people say that they can just throw ingredients in a dish and bake them up into a delicious dessert without measuring a thing. I can do that now, but I couldn't when I first started baking. Part of that skill is knowing your ingredients, and what each measurement looks like without using the utensils.

Sometimes, recipes can also be made as a way to use certain food items around your house. An example of this is using cups of instant oatmeal that I got at an expo to make the most amazing blueberry muffins I have ever had. I'm not really a fan of the texture of oatmeal, but using the raw ingredients in a muffin was perfect! It gives the muffin a great texture, and keeps me from wasting gluten free food.

Something to remember is that it may take a few tries to get the recipe just right, and that's okay. My Dad always says practice makes perfect, and that really does apply here. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Gluten Free Summer Camp

This past week, I attended our local Council's Boy Scout summer camp program. There was a kitchen staff that provided food for the campers, but what about me? Since I am a Celiac, I wound up providing my own meals for this excursion. How did I do it? Planning, Ziploc bags, and airtight containers.

I decided the best way to do this, was to make it as easy as possible. I had to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each day I was there. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am very organized and quite O.C.D. as well. I had one airtight container for each meal of the day. Inside those containers, I had a Ziploc bag for each meal. That way, when it was time to eat all I had to do was grab a bag out of the container.
For breakfast, each bag had two things. Some of the bags had a vanilla Greek yogurt and an Udi's Cinnamon Raisin Bagel. The other bags had the vanilla Greek yogurt and an Udi's Blueberry Oatmeal Muffin Top. This way I got some variation while I was there.

For Lunch, I had crackers, ham and turkey rounds, cheese blocks, and a pickle.

Dinner was a ham, turkey, and cheese sandwich on Udi's Multigrain bread with carrots and a pickle.

Each bag had the ham and turkey in smaller bags so that the bread and crackers didn't end up soggy before I got to eat them. The pickles also had their own bags for the same reason. Each kit also had napkins, and any necessary utensils.

If there is one thing that being a Celiac has taught me, it is that you can make anything work with some planning and a little bit of work.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Gluten Free at Braum's

I have been gluten free ever since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 12 years ago. The great thing about how long I have been on the diet, is that my family is always on the lookout for new products or places to buy them. A few days ago, my sister and her kids discovered that our local Braum's is now carrying a ton of gluten free items.


The great thing about this, is that I no longer have to drive all the way to Wichita Falls to get gluten free food. I can now drive about 2 minutes from my house and get whatever product I need. It's really exciting to me to see more and more stores starting to carry gluten free products. 


As far as prices go, they are about what I would expect for gluten free foods. For me, they are a tad cheaper, because I no longer have to waste gas driving to the next town to buy my groceries. 

I would like to thank Braum's for making my life, and the lives of those like me, just a little bit easier. 

Aldi's LiveGFree Review

Recently, I came across an Aldi's sale paper and noticed that they were advertising a ton of new gluten free products. These products are from the new Aldi's line LiveGFree. The first thing that caught my eye was the prices on these products. I immediately decided to go buy them so I could give them a taste.

When I went to buy the products, one thing that blew me away was how each product was labeled free of whatever allergens it doesn't contain. For example, it might say dairy free or soy free. I personally love this because I am lactose intolerant, so it was easy for me to tell what products contained dairy or not. 

I managed to make it out of the store with about a dozen products, and it only cost me 30 bucks!

The first product I tried was the Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies, which were absolutely delectable. 

The product I was most excited to try was the Pepperoni Pizza Stuffed Sandwiches, and these were off the chain amazing!! I have really missed having a good stuffed sandwich pocket since being diagnosed 12 years ago, but this one certainly fits that description. The crust is flaky and crispy all at the same time. The filling has just the right amount of spice and cheesy goodness. These are certainly my favorite of all the items I bought.

I also tried the Southwest Veggie Stuffed Sandwiches, and like the other products, they were also tasty. I will caution you about these, because they are spicy! I actually liked that about these sandwiches, but you'll definitely want to have a drink on hand.

Another product I tried was the Very Berry Chewy Bars. These are a perfect item to take camping for a gluten free easy breakfast. They have a wonderful flavor to them, and are soft a chewy.

The last product I have tried is the Pepperoni Pizza. I thought this product was good, but I tend to lean toward making my own pizza over buying it frozen in a store.

I still have many more items to try, and as I do, I will update this blog post. Stay tuned for more tasty gluten free reviews.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year, Same Me

The beginning of a new year marks a time for people to decide what their goals are. For most, their goal is to lose weight or eat healthier. One phrase we hear all too much is "New Year, New You". This year, I decided to depart from the usual, and instead use the motto "New Year, Same Me". To do this, I have set three simple goals for myself.

The first is just to be myself. I've spent a lot of my life trying to fit in and be like everyone else, but the truth is, I'm not. I'm that girl that gets exited about gluten free food, new places to buy gluten free food, geeky things, and pretty much anything related to technology. That's the girl that I am, and that's the girl that the world needs to get to know.

My second goal for 2014 is to believe in myself. I've realized that I can do just about anything that I put my mind to. It doesn't matter what anyone else says. I know what I'm capable of and it's time to stop listening to what others say, and just trust in that.

Finally, my last goal is to be smarter and make better decisions. With every experience you learn what you could have done different, and sometimes, what you could have done better. I need to take that knowledge and apply it to my actions.

When I think back on the last year, I realize how many things have changed for me. I learned that with enough work and determination, I can accomplish anything. I also learned how one person can make a huge impact on others. I've set my goals for 2014, but there is one outcome that will result from these three things. That is to be happy. More than anything, that is what I hope to accomplish in the next year. 2014 is the year for me to be true to myself and happy.

Now that you know my goals for the next year, I would like to know what your New Year's resolutions are. Leave a comment below, or share with me on Facebook or Twitter.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Old El Paso Frozen Entrees

I don't usually blog about food that I won't eat, but since I live in a house that is not completely gluten free, I'm making an exception for the new Old El Paso Frozen Entrees. When I first heard about these products, I wanted to try them. However, though certain products do not have gluten containing ingredients, the manufacturer will not label them gluten free due to the risk of cross contamination. General Mills is amazing about making sure that any product labeled gluten free can be trusted, and I certainly appreciate that. Due to the contamination risk, I will not chance eating the items. 

I was given an opportunity to try the new frozen entrees, but since I'm unable to, my family was willing to try the product for me and give a review. The product that they tried was the Chicken Quesadillas. One box comes with four quesadillas, which is enough for two people. They are easy to heat up, and ready to go. The quesadillas had good flavor, the right amount of spice, and were filling too. For about 6 bucks, you're getting a convenient and tasty dinner for two. I would definitely buy these again for my family to eat when we just don't have time to cook.

If you'd like to see what products Old El Paso has to offer, you can find them at their website. Also be sure to check them out on Facebook.