August 21, 2014

I Did the #IceBucketChallenge to #StrikeOutALS

Whelp! I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge last night. I thought I would get away scot-free, but I'm pretty sure everyone and their brother will be nominated sooner or later. Either way, I didn't mind. I'm actually pretty jazzed that ALS is gaining attention and awareness.

Learning about ALS isn't anything new to me. For many years, I've been walking for life with the Les Turner ALS Foundation to raise money for researching a cure for ALS. This all started in 2006 when family friends learned their mother/grandmother/mother-in-law, Betty Ciurej, had the disease. This was such a heart-breaking time since Betty was so active, so talkative, and so involved in her family's lives.

Betty by Ciurej & Lochman

It was very difficult for everyone to watch her wither away into a shell of the vivacious person she once was. Since there is no cure for this disease and the average ALS patient's lifespan continues for only three to five years after diagnosis, her family and friends decided to get involved in the fundraising efforts for researching a cure. Betty was too sick to participate in the first walk we did in 2006 and sadly she was never able to cheer us on for the future walks since she passed away from this horrible disease in March 2007. We continue to walk to remember her and all of the others with a loved one battling ALS. 

We'll be doing it again this September and our team, Betty's Bunch, would love your support! Donate to our fundraising efforts at

Speaking of Ice Buckets...

I know there is a lot of controversy out there about wasting water. Also why can't we just donate and skip the whole bucket thing?  I can only imagine the bucket and bagged iced industries are also booming as well as the ALS charities.

The thing's working. Ice or not, donations are skyrocketing, which is amazing. ALS charities aren't the only ones benefiting. Many people are also donating to Charity:Water and other charitable organizations. 

How did this all start you ask? Friends and supporters of Pete Frates, a college baseball player who was diagnosed with ALS in his late 20s. Watch his story here:


Other Ice Bucket Challenge videos of note? 

Buzz Feed's The 22 People Who Should Definitely Not Taken the Ice Bucket Challenge
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner
Foo Fighters's Carrie
Bill Gates
Chris Pratt
Stephanie Izard's Flashdance
This really funny/sad one from Anthony Carbajal

Have you done the Ice Bucket Challenge? 

August 14, 2014

Easy Herb Butter with Outer Spice

One of those hidden gluten spots can sometimes be in your spice cabinet. Whether those dried herbs were sharing the same line as wheat or your spice mix contains flour, it's always important to check the ingredient label every single time.

I typically use McCormick spices or Spice Island, but when I was offered to review a new line of gluten free spice mixes, I quickly agreed, because who doesn't like to shake things up every once in a while?

Comes in Low Salt and No Salt!
Outer Spice has created four highly versatile new low salt and no salt seasoning blends that are gluten-free, rich in anti-oxidants and contain no MSG. Not only that, they are made from all natural non-GMO ingredients. Woo!

They can transform bland healthy foods in to delicious meals without compromising health. Each spice blend is made to order to ensure freshness and quality, and designed to provide the right flavor to every dish and meal.

It gets better: Outer Spice partners with farmers and suppliers to assure fair trade and good profit margins for each family or person they do business with.

What a great company, right?

I sampled the No Salt Original Blend which goes with just about anything. It's made with garlic, black pepper, onion, allspice, scallions, dill, nutmeg, thyme, lemon thyme, cilantro, basil, peppers, cinnamon, and caraway. I used it on chicken, eggs, and in soups, but my favorite use was making an herbed butter to spread on gluten free rolls, baked potatoes, and roasted corn on the cob. YUM!

This "fancy" butter was inspired by the Food Network Star season 10 finalist, Chef Chris Kyler, when he created truffle butter coins for a challenge. After watching him easily whip up butter blended with truffles and spread it on a beautiful baguette, I was craving herbed butter! Sadly lacking truffles (cuz, hi. who i iz?), I turned to the next flavorful thing in my pantry - Outer Spice!

It couldn't be easier! Just soften the butter, add the Outer Spice, whip it up, and voilà! You have a delicious, flavorful, buttery spread in minutes!

Easy as 1, 2, 3!

nom nom on a Schar Roll!

Have you heard of or tried Outer Spice? What food would use with herbed butter?

Outer Spice provided me with this product to use in my recipe; however, the opinions I share in this post are my own. 

August 2, 2014

Summer and Runnin' With the LUNA Chix

How's everyone's summer been? Good? Good! I know it's been ages since my last post, but I've been super busy checking things off my summer bucket list that I haven't even turned on my computer in months! In fact I wasn't quite sure if I even wanted to continue gluten free blogging. As much as I love the GF community and all the news and excitement it brings, sitting down to craft a blog entry after a long day of sitting at a desk (for my full time job) has lost its luster and appeal to me. I try to keep up with all of the happenings on Twitter and Facebook, but sometimes it's too much and I just want to be Regular Betsy again who just happens to eat gluten free because of Celiac Disease.

I told you I wanted to incorporate more of my life into my blog and I really thought I was going to, but again, I was too busy living in the moment and not documenting those experiences to recap for ya. My bad?

Earlier this month, as my blog lay slowing dying, I received a very unexpected and much welcomed email from someone working with Team LUNA Chix offering me an opportunity I couldn't pass up. An opportunity I knew I would want to blog about. That opportunity? To be trained by a professional athlete for the LUNA sponsored The Magnificent Mile Women's Half Marathon & 5K!!

Now the email originally said "Chicago Women's Half Marathon" and I did a

Half Marathon? Yikes! I'm so not ready for that. When I clicked on the link and saw that it was also a 5K, I felt a lot better. I can do that. It would be hard, but I have done several 5K races in the past, and I could train and do it again.

I was thrilled when I was told "of course you can do the 5K!" I knew being coached by a pro athlete is not something that happens everyday. I never gave up on my "resolution" to find my fitness groove, but my workouts really haven't gotten beyond yoga and Leslie Sansone DVDs. This commitment to LUNA, my coach, and myself would kick my workout routine up several notches.

I'm one and a half weeks into my training and lemme tell ya, it hasn't been easy, but it feels great. I haven't been running in a long time. I used to love/hate it and then I didn't do it so it didn't matter. It was only recently that I have been thinking about how I would love to "get back into running". A couple weeks later, I got the sign in the form of that email that I knew the time was right.

The ladies and my coach at Team LUNA couldn't be nicer. Their support and encouragement has been a godsend. On one of my conference calls with them, I asked what I could do for them in return for everything they're doing for me. They said that their number one priority is to support me and make sure I'm taken care of and that they don't need anything in return (other than my participation). If I'd like to blog about it and share my experience, that's great and definitely appreciated, but not required.

I knew since I was so lucky to be chosen for this experience I couldn't keep quiet about it. I know there are so many people that are back at square one with their fitness routine/goals and have no idea where to start. I'm pretty much right there along with them and would love to share the advice of Team Luna Chix with them.

Over the course of the next month I'll be here to share my training experience, introduce you to my A-M-A-Z-I-N-G coach, and share fitness tips and healthy recipes as I prepare for Race Day!

Have you ever had a personal trainer or fitness coach? How do you prepare for athletic events?

May 24, 2014

Flavor Hacking With Massel Bouillon - Recipe Roundup & Giveaway

Massel bouillon and seasoning sponsored this post and provided me with products to use in the recipes; however, the opinions I share in this post are my own

One of my favorite ways to kick up a recipe is to add a little extra flavoring. Instead of using just water when cooking rice or quinoa, I'll add Massel bouillon cubes. When sautéing veggies, I sprinkle in a little Massel's powdered bouillon. When simmering leafy greens, I'll add a bit of Massel liquid stock. I'll poach chicken or fish in broth made from Massel bouillon. You get the idea. A simple little addition or swap can really enhance the taste of your recipe.

Here are some of my favorite recipes where I've kicked up the flavor using Massel:

Kale and Butternut Squash Sauté

I sprinkle in Massel bouillon granules

Coconut Curried Tofu and Spinach

I use Massel 7's Bouillon Vegetable Cubes to make the broth the recipe calls for

Greek Chicken Quinoa Salad

I add Massel's 7's Bouillon Chicken Cubes to the quinoa

Spinach and Feta Brown Rice

I use Massel's Chicken Ultracubes when cooking the rice

Forbidden Rice with Sauteéd Onions, Tomato, and Spinach

This one is a simple creation all my own. An easy dish to throw together in a hurry.

A serving of Lotus Foods Organic Forbidden Rice cooked according to package with Massel 7's vegetable or chicken cube,
1 medium yellow onion sliced
a couple handfuls of fresh baby spinach
a few quartered campari tomatoes
goat cheese.

Sauté the onion in olive oil and Massel's bouillon granules
Once onion is nicely caramelized, add fresh spinach and tomatoes until wilted and soft
Serve veggies over the rice and top with goat cheese

Want to win some Massel bouillon to enhance your recipes? 

Leave a comment below with your favorite way to enhance the flavor of your recipes. Please leave an email address or way to reach you if you are a winner!

Want to up your chances of winning? Gain one additional entry for each of the following:
Follow me on Facebook and leave a comment below saying you did so
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If you already follow me or Massel on the above sites, still leave a comment saying you already are a follower for an entry.

Giveaway will end Saturday, May 31st at midnight. A winner will be chosen via and notified via email. Good luck!

The Giveaway is now closed.

Massel bouillon and seasoning sponsored this post and provided me with products to use in the recipes; however, the opinions I share in this post are my own

May 14, 2014

2014 Summer Bucket List

The view from Northerly Island

Last week Chicago was glorious in the weather department and I couldn't help but start thinking about the summer. The summers in Chicago make up for all of the horribleness of winter. Neighborhood fests, outdoor concerts, movies in the park, farmers markets are just some of the great things going on. Here’s what I’m looking forward to this summer:

Spring Flours - Kickin' it off with volunteering for the University of Chicago Celiac Center's annual benefit gala.
Wanderlust Festival - an outdoor yoga fest? Yes! 

Movies in the Park – Millennium Park alone has a great film series. I don’t even know where to begin. Ghostbusters? The Wizard of Oz? This is Spinal Tap? Woo!

Grab a Rainbow Cone (in a bowl, obv) 

Workouts in the Park – Once again Millennium Park is the place to be this summer.  For the past six or so years I've been telling myself that I’m going to do the Saturday morning workouts. This year for sure!

Logan Square Farmers' Market – Daley Plaza is usually my farmers market of choice, but now that I’m so close to Logan Square, I’m definitely going to check it out. Maybe even take a yoga class or two.

Downtown Sound - Really looking forward to My Brightest Diamond.

Dining al fresco - So many restaurants, so many patios.

Grant Park Music Festival - Basically I'm going to be hanging out at Millennium Park all summer.

Dining Out Gluten Free with Bruce - Da Luciano's dinner on the patio!

Hot Doug’s – Since word that Hot Doug’s is closing came, everyone in Chicago has been in hysterics over it. I've never been. I’ll have to BYOB and check it out before they close up shop for good.

#TECHmunch Chicago - Food Blogger's Conference.

Vintage Garage Sale – For the love of all things retro and vintage.
Magritte's "Time Transfixed"

Brunch at Tweet.

Eat ice cream sandwiches at Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream.

The Northman – Chicago’s first cider bar. Hopefully it will be open very soon!

Veruca Salt (circa 1994)
Chicago Jazz Fest  

VERUCA SALT! One of my favorite 90s bands has reunited and you bet I'll be hitting up a few of their shows.

Robyn and Röyksopp - Once again, I'll be at Millennium Park.

Head to the lake front. Beach? Biking? Just chillin'?

Support my awesomely talented friends - The Kates. Stardust Showcase. She's Crafty

Arcade Fire - You can never go to too many good concerts, right?

What are your plans for summer?