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.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review: Joe Corbi's Gluten Free Fundraising Items

A few weeks ago, I told you about gluten free fundraising items that I found from Joe Corbi's. I decided to order both options to test them out and see how good they are. The items are a gluten free pizza kit that has everything you need to make four personal gluten free pizzas and a tub of gluten free chocolate chip cookies.


Let's start with the gluten free pizza kit. The kit comes in the box in the picture above with the crusts in one package, sauce in two other packages, and cheese in two packages as well. The instructions are on the box and very easy to follow. To make the first pizza, I took a frozen crust and topped it with half of one package of sauce. Since the sauce is also frozen, I put it in the microwave in a bowl for about 30 seconds to get it soft enough to spread on the crust. After that, I topped it with half of one package of cheese. Then, I added some pepperoni that I bought at the grocery store, and I popped it in the oven for about 10 minutes. When it came out of the oven, the cheese was melted and bubbly, and the crust was golden and crispy. This pizza was amazing! The crust was not a bit soggy or dry, it was crispy and delicious. The sauce had a wonderful flavor to it and the cheese was perfect. This kit was so good, I plan to order more of them.

Now on to Grandma Corbi's Gluten Free Casein Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. I kept the tub of dough in the freezer until I was ready to bake some. The night before I wanted to bake, I put the tub in the fridge to thaw the dough. When I was ready to bake them, I scooped out teaspoonfuls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet and put them in the oven for 12 minutes to bake. When they came out of the oven, they were soft and chewy. The cookies have great flavor, but as with most gluten free items, the raw dough has an awful taste to it from the uncooked flour.

All in all, these foods are amazing, and certainly well worth ordering. I am most impressed by my first gluten free fundraising items, and look forward to seeing what I find next.

To check out what Joe Corbi's has to offer, click here.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Gluten Free Fundraisers

With school back in for a while now, you've more than likely been hit up for one fundraiser or another. I know I have been hit up with fundraisers for school, band, and Boy Scouts of America just in the last month. With all of these fundraisers coming at me, and all of them being food, I started wondering what the fundraising world has to offer the gluten free community. The day my nephew got his band fundraiser packet, I got an answer to that question. When he called to tell me about the new fundraiser, he told me that he asked his teacher if there was anything gluten free. The teacher instructed him to look on the website that is on the fundraiser brochure. Once he gave me the web address, I immediately went to check it out. 

I was surprised when I visited the Joe Corbi's fundraising site to find not one, but two products that are gluten free. They have a gluten free pizza kit that makes 4 personal size pizzas, and a tub of gluten free chocolate chip cookie dough. The price is just a tad higher than the other products, but certainly worth it in my opinion.

I will be ordering these items in the next week, and as soon as I get them will put up a review of the products. I have to say that I am so proud of my nephew for asking his teacher about the gluten free items. I also think it's really great that I am finally able to buy something from a fundraiser that I can actually eat!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Gluten Free Baking Made Easy

It's no secret that I love to bake, but I have to acknowledge that for some baking may not come so easily. Luckily, the wonderful folks at Betty Crocker have come up with the perfect mixes to help you with that. The are six mixes now that can be used for a variety of recipes, including two new ones. These are the Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Mix and All-Purpose Gluten Free Rice Flour Blend.

The mix that I have decided to use for this post is one of my favorites because of its versatility, the Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix. I love cake as much as anyone, but my real weakness is donuts! So I decided to use the cake mix to make donut holes for breakfast this week. In order to do this, it's very simple. Here's what you need:

1 Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
3 Tbs Cinnamon
1 Cup Sugar
1 Gallon Size Plastic Zipper Bag

To bake these donut holes, I used an electronic donut hole maker that I got for Christmas. You could, however get a cake pop pan and bake them in that as well.

The first thing I did was to mix up the cake batter following the instructions on the box. Once the mix was prepared, I added 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon to the batter. Then I sat the batter aside to get the donut hole maker ready. While the donut hole maker was heating up, I took the gallon size bag and added the cup of sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons of cinnamon. Then I closed the bag and shook up the contents to mix the sugar and cinnamon.
Once the donut hole maker was heated, I took a pastry brush and greased the pan well with vegetable oil. Once coated, I added one teaspoon of mix to each hole in the pan and cooked for 5 minutes. When they were finished cooking, I took them out of the pan and let them cool for a minute. Then I dropped them in the cinnamon sugar mix, closed the bag and shook it up to coat the donut holes completely.

Just like that, I had delicious cinnamon sugar donut holes. You could also easily coat these in powdered sugar instead of cinnamon. There is a ton of possibilities for using these mixes. You can make just about anything with them.

Because I want you to give these mixes a try, I'm going to give you the utensils to bake with. 

Here's what you get:

A Baking Tool Set and an 8" Square Cake Pan

All you have to do to be entered to win this set is like our new page Gluten Free Goodys on Facebook, and comment on this blog post with what you would use this set to bake. Would you make one of the Betty Crocker Mixes, or would you make a recipe of your own?

Also, make sure you check out our Friends at Betty Crocker at their website, and on Facebook and Twitter!

Contest ends on Saturday, June 1st at Midnight. The winner will be contacted via email on Sunday, June 2nd. Good luck to everyone!

**The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Making a Difference

Earlier this week, I attended an all day conference for work. Since it was an all day event, we were served lunch. Everything was going so well until I got in the line for lunch. I was horrified to see that the only thing on the table that I could eat was potato chips. Now, being a Celiac for over 10 years now, I always have a contingency plan when I go to events like these. So, instead of having lunch at the conference, I left to go buy my own lunch and then came back afterwards. I know that I should have checked before the conference to make sure there was something that I could eat, but sometimes I find myself assuming with the amount of awareness out there now that there will always be something for me.
What this event taught me is that there is still so much more work to be done on spreading awareness about Celiac Disease and making sure that there is always lunch for those who can't eat just anything. After lunch that day, I listened to a speaker who talked about never giving up on what you want. She told us that if you believe in yourself, you can make anything happen. When I left that room, I found myself more determined than ever to get the word out there about Celiac Disease and the gluten free diet. That is one of the biggest reasons that I am hosting the Gluten Free Expo in Wichita Falls, Texas in less than a month. I want people to know what Celiac Disease is, and what it means to those who have it. 
This expo will be the first of many events to raise awareness in Wichita Falls, Texas. This experience has given me a new sense of purpose to help give those with Celiac Disease a voice and see to it that no one has to feel like an outsider at any event they attend. I admit this is not going to be an easy task, but it will certainly be worth it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Newest Addiction

We gluten free cooks spend a ton of time looking for and coming up with new recipes. Now, it's easier than ever to find those recipes online, with iPhone apps, and especially with Pinterest. For anyone who has never used Pinterest before, I caution you. It is incredibly addicting! When I first started using the site, I was amazed to see how many gluten free recipes, ideas, and product reviews that were available. Now there isn't a day that goes by that I am not on Pinterest checking out new recipes, products, and a ton of other things. The great thing about the site is that you get all of these things from people who are just like you, and even share the enthusiasm that I know I have when I find a new gluten free product. It's really amazing to have yet one more resource at your fingertips to get gluten free information from. I use Pinterest on my iPhone and iPad about 99% of the time. I do occasionally get on the computer to check the site out, but I like having the capability of checking it anytime and anywhere. So give it a try and see what great gluten free treats and dinner recipes you can find.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Remaking Recipes

Sometimes it's not so easy to make a recipe you used before going gluten free into a gluten free success. However, it is possible. It might take a couple of tries so don't give up if you don't succeed the first time. 
The first thing you should do when trying to convert a recipe is to make sure you know what ingredients on your recipe are not gluten free. Once you know that, figure out what a suitable replacement for those ingredients will be. Keep in mind that with a gluten free flour or baking mix, you might need a little more moisture in your recipes than you did before. 
The other thing that may need to be adjusted on your recipes is cooking time. Cooking times with gluten free ingredients are not always the same as their gluten containing cousins. 
One recipe that I converted shortly after going gluten free was an easy pie crust recipe that I use for every holiday and party. This pie is so good that I have my 10 year old cousin and my 11 year old nephew requesting them for every family dinner. This delectable dish was taken to my family's Easter dinner this past weekend, and the boys ate all but one little slice of it.

This go to dessert took me a couple tries to get a flavor combination that liked in the crust. After trying it with Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour and also with Gluten Free Bisquick, I wound up choosing the Bisquick.
After a few attempts with converting recipes, you'll get the hang of it. After several years of cooking gluten free, I can now convert recipes with ease and even make up my own all the time. I've failed at some recipes and some have taken several tries, but if you stick to it, you can figure anything out.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Gluten Free New Year

Another year has passed, and with it many things have changed. Celiac Disease and the gluten free diet have become mainstream with new foods coming out every day. You can also buy those wonderful gluten free foods at grocery store chains like United Supermarket and Albertsons and superstores like Walmart and Target. More and more companies are also labeling their foods gluten free and some are even going that extra step to reformulate their existing products to be gluten free. Some of these companies include General Mills and Post.

There are more places than ever to get information on how to live gluten free and so many wonderful people out there to lend a hand to those who need it. Gluten free expos and events are popping up everywhere and are easier to find than ever with sites like Gluten Free Calendar

You also have the gluten free companies like Udi's Gluten Free, Katz Gluten Free, Rudi's Gluten-Free, Lucy's, and many more that have expanded their product lines to include more and more delicious offerings. 

And of course, you can't forget the strides that have been made over the past year in fighting for standardized gluten free labeling. This effort gave the gluten free community a chance to stand up and tell the world why this is so important to us. 

I think 2013 is going to bring many amazing changes to living gluten free and I can't wait to see what's in store. In the past week alone, I have seen news about Dunkin' Donuts adding gluten free options in test markets as well as Van's Natural Foods expanding their gluten free selection. I can only hope this trend will continue and things will get even better for living gluten free.