December 1, 2011

#BeFitChat on Twitter


Tweet, tweet, tweetle-dee-dee deet!  Are you on "the Twitter"?  You know, that amazing little site where you can spew off 140 characters at a time?  You can tweet about what you're doing, what you're thinking, and best of all, have a conversation with gabillions of people (friends, family, celebrities, companies, organizations...Chelsea Handler's dog) at the same time.

Every Thursday night for an hour at 9pm (EST), there is a health and fitness chat called BeFitChat.  All you have to do is search for #BeFitChat and you're there.  These reoccurring BeFitChats are still in the early stages, but already there have been some great conversations about healthy eating and exercise.

I'm thrilled to have been asked to host the chat for tonight (12/1) about the gluten free lifestyle!  It's a big topic in the news these days and it's definitely peaked people's interest.  Whether you are celiac, gluten intolerant, gluten allergic, or going gluten free for other reasons, please join in the conversation tonight!

Also, towards the end of that chat (right before 10pm (EST), I will be giving away a copy of Elana Amsterdam's newest cookbook, Gluten Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour. 

So login to Twitter at 9pm (EST) and look for #BeFitChat.  I'll be starting off the conversation (@betsybetsybetsy).  I'll start off with a few questions to get the ball rollin'.  Be sure to include #BeFitChat with all of your replies so we can see your responses! 

Chat with you all soon!!

November 28, 2011

Souper-Duper

The Monday after Thanksgiving.  Hello. What an icky-ish day in Chicago.  Cold and dreary.  I just wanted something warm and delicious for dinner tonight.  Not too long ago I bought a head of cabbage to make one of my favorite soup recipes and tonight was the perfect night to finally whip that up.

Four years ago on the Monday after Thanksgiving, a co-worker and I came into work and said to each other, "Let's join Weight Watchers." Just like that.*  We went online, found a meeting that met Wednesdays during lunch across the street at the Merchandise Mart, and each signed up then and there.  It was within one of those little Weight Watcher booklets that one of the best recipes for vegetable soup was found.

Mise en place!

Behold...the Zero Point Garden Vegetable Soup**!  This soup is sooo easy to make, soooo delicious, and gives you room to play around with the ingredients.  Don't like carrots, skip 'em!  Love celery, go ahead and add it!  Wanna add some more herbs, OK!  Want some chicken or beef or pork or beans or tofu?  Well...you get the idea.  This is a very healthy soup to recharge your bod after a weekend of stuffing, pies, and whatnot.

Garden Vegetable Soup

Ingredients
Big ol' pot of soup!
  • 4 cups of gluten free broth (I use CelifibR Chicken bouillon cubes)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 Medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 c. green beans
  • 1 small head of cabbage
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions
  1. If making broth with bouillon, boil the water and prepare as package directs. If using a pre-made broth, cool, you're one step ahead!
  2. Heat a large pot until warm (if you flick a little water in the pan and it sizzles, it's ready), add the oil to coat the pan.  Add garlic, onion, and carrots and saute for about 5 minutes. The onions and garlic will begin to brown.
  3. Add broth, tomato paste, green beans, cabbage, basil and oregano. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes. The vegetable will be nice and tender.
  4. Add zucchini and simmer for 5-10 more minutes.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
I added some Great White Northern Beans, yum!

* Well more like "ugh...what DIDN'T we eat this weekend? We gotta do something about this..."

** This soup is no longer zero points, since WW switched to Points+. They don't even list this recipe in their eTools database anymore, just a similar "Italian Inspired Soup" which omits the cabbage (the best part!!!) which is 1 Points+. Also if you add anything extra (like I did with the beans), that cranks up the points/calories value.

November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!



Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I'm so thankful for my readers, fellow bloggers, the amazing Celiac Disease and Gluten Free organizations who are such value resources to us gluten free rockstars, and the wonderful companies that make gluten free foods (and of course, the ones that offer me the chance to sample their products).

This little blog wouldn't be what it is without all of you, and for that I am so grateful for all of you.  I hope you all have a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day!

-Betsy

November 22, 2011

Pumpkin Rollin' With The Homies

First off, I have to thank everyone who commented or sent me emails about my last post regarding the changes in my diet. I'm so grateful for the suggestions on dairy free, sugar free, and low carb recipes. I haven't tried all of them yet, but promise I will soon and let everyone know how they went. Now on to Thanksgiving...



Since I haven't been blogging as much as I would like to, I've been trying to update my Facebook page with links to recipes, articles, and other gluten free goodies. This past week I've posted some wonderful gluten free menu ideas from Cooking Light and Silvana Nardone, as well as recipe links for stuffing, desserts, and pie crust.  Go check it out.

While I went out this weekend and bought the coconut palm sugar that was suggested for my alternative sugar baking, I have yet to experiment with it yet.  Until I do, I'm digging into the archives of "recipes I never posted" for one of the desserts I'm most looking forward to this Thanksgiving, pumpkin roll.  For some reason whenever I make this, as I'm rolling it up, I think of that once scene in Clueless.  You know....



My grandma Beverly used to make this dessert often and was the one that introduced it to my at the time non-gluten free palate. I've only attempted to make it once with gluten free flours and it turned out decently.

Recently Babs made it for a work party and it turned out beautifully.  As she peeled the foil away, it came off in one smooth, delicate lift.  Both of us couldn't believe how cleanly it it separated.  In all of the times she's made this gluten free and gluten full, it's never turned out as perfectly as it did then. She used Jules All Purpose Gluten Free Flour and her co-workers couldn't even tell the difference, in fact it was a huge hit.  Here's how you can make your own and dazzle your dinner guests:
Not the perfect pumpkin roll as mentioned above, but still tasty!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll
adapted from Libby's

Ingredients
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
c. canned pumpkin
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¾ c. Gluten Free Flour (I use Jules)
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
1 c. chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans) - optional

Filling Ingredients
1 c. shifted powdered sugar
6 oz cream cheese
4 Tbsp butter/margarine
½ tsp vanilla

Directions
* Preheat oven to 375 F
* Line a cookie sheet with foil and grease and lightly dust with GF flour (or just rice flour)
1. In a large bowl, beat eggs for 5 minutes on high.
2. Gradually beat in sugar.
3. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice.
4. In another bowl shift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Fold this into pumpkin mixture.
5. Spread mixture into pan and sprinkle with nuts.
6. Bake for 15 minutes.
7. When cool, turn out onto a kitchen towel (clean, obviously, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and roll that baby up. (Rollin' with the homies!)
8. Chill in the fridge for a few hours.
9. Make the filling by beating all of the filling ingredients together until smooth.
10. Unroll cake, spread on filling and re-roll (this time without the towel!)
11. Wrap the entire roll in foil and chill again for several hours.
12. Slice, serve, and ENJOY!

*Note, since this recipe is totally cool and needs time to chill, I recommend making it either the night before serving or the morning of.

What's your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?  Are you a pumpkin pie person? Cake? Gingerbread? Let me know!

November 8, 2011

Red Light, Green Light!


This hasn't been my year in the health department. I can't really pinpoint when I started to feel like crap all of the time, but I'm sick of being sick. I've been bouncing around doctors all year and when I was referred to the same naturopathic doctor by a handful of people I decided to give her a shot.  I made an appointment in the spring and the earliest I could get in was a full six months later, no joke.

As it turned out, gluten is not my only problem. My body is so stressed that dairy, sugar, and too many refined carbs are wreaking havoc on my systems as well. Yikes!

Too many reds!!!


The solution: a few supplements and a major re-haul of my diet.



It's been a couple weeks now and while it was going well in the beginning, I'm getting kind of bored with what I'm eating. I've been eating the same thing day in and day out.  Lots of chicken breast, turkey breast, steamed veggies, and some non-starchy fruit.  My lunch for an entire week was a lettuce wrap with turkey and hummus.  I ate eggs with pico de gallo for breakfast every morning.  I can't even stomach another egg right these days.  I've been eating an apple with almond butter every morning this week, but we're now out of apples, so I'm in trouble come tomorrow. 


I have been feeling better, so I know I'm doing something right.  I'm obviously not 100% better since I just started this healing process, but I am finally on the road to recovery and feeling healthy again.

Is anyone else following a diet such as this?  No gluten, no dairy, no sugar, and low carb-ish?  What are your meal ideas?

October 20, 2011

Gluten Free Betsy Bookclub: Babycakes Covers the Classics



I haven't baked in forever.  Other than a box mix here and there, I haven't created anything from scratch in quite a while. I think I'm finally getting over my scars from being kicked out of culinary school last year.  I never talked about it on here because I never knew how to approach the subject.

In a nutshell, I enrolled in baking classes at my local community college last fall, they approved me working with gluten free flours, then they reneged on the decision and forced me to either work with regular flour and get sick (I would be required to taste the products and that wasn't going to happen since I would never knowingly poison myself) or leave.  With lots of tears and heartache, I chose the latter.  I took it pretty hard and stopped baking altogether.

Then last month I turned 30 and decided that I wasn't getting any younger and the time to do what I love is now.  So I picked up my mixing bowls and got to it.  Ever the encouraging soul, my dear celiac sister (from another mister) continued to buy me cookbooks and baking goodies.  For my birthday, she gave me Babycakes Covers The Classics. As I was flipping through it my friend, Stacy, was looking at it over my shoulder and told me, "you need to master all of those recipes by my New Year's party." Done and done!  Everything looked so good, especially the donuts.



I ordered a mini donut pan from Amazon.com and when it arrived I whipped up a few batches of the cake donuts.

What I loved about this recipe was the ease of throwing everything together.  You'd think with vegan donuts, there were be lots of complicated steps involved, but it couldn't have been simpler.  A nice blend of gluten free flours, unsweetened apple sauce, and coconut oil made these donuts soft and delicious.  The ¼ cup of vanilla extract threw me off, however; I put ¼ tsp of vanilla bean paste in for the first batch and then added a little more for the second and third batches, probably about a tablespoon altogether.  Dipped in cinnamon and sugar, we all thought they turned out perfect.

Mini Cinnamon Sugar Cake Donuts


Have you tried any of the recipes from Babycakes Covers The Classics? Or rather, what's your favorite gluten free donut recipe? 

October 14, 2011

Last Minute Reminder for UC Celiac Event - TOMORROW!!

If you follow my blog through Facebook, you may have seen an update a couple of months ago about the University of Chicago Celiac Center's Free Annual Celiac Screening.  Well guess what?  That day is HERE!

Tomorrow, October 15th, the UC Celiac Center will hold free blood screenings for celiac disease.  The blood screenings are by registration only and registration has now ended, but you can still attend the very informative expert panel and vendor fair for F-R-E-E!

The event starts at 8:30am and continues until noon, with the experts speaking at 10:30am - 11:30am.  There is no need to register to visit the vendors or hear the speakers, just show up hungry and enjoy finding new gluten free products and foods.




I, unfortunately, will not be in attendance this year, but I've gone for the past three years to enjoy samples (Helllloooo...Swirlz Cupcakes, Marcello's Pizza, Udi's Gluten Free, Kettle Cuisine, Glutino, and many, many more!) and listen to the top Celiac experts speak about the latest discoveries in celiac research and answer questions from audience members.  It's well worth the trip out, even if you already have been diagnosed with celiac disease or other gluten issues.  You can meet other gluten free people and receive lots of gluten free samples. 

September 30, 2011

Didja miss me?

Yes, I've been away from blogging for a bit (took the summer off and whoopsies, a little more!).  I've discovered lots delicious goodies and can't wait to share them with everyone.

First things first, I just ate this piece of deliciousness...



A gluten free Pumpkin Pie Cupcake from the Cupcakes for Courage truck, which was every bit phenomenal as the picture looks.  If the image alone didn't get your mouth watering, this is their description:
All of the traditional pumpkin pie spices:  cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.  Topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with homemade pie crust crumble.
Nom!  If you're in Chicago, you MUST taste their gluten free cupcakes which are on the menu every Friday.  Can't think of a better way to end the work week, can you?

June 29, 2011

Final hours to enter the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Baking Contest!

I'm about to enter my recipe now...totally a wait to the last minute gal! If you haven't thought of anything, maybe seeing this will get those juices flowing...




This video was provided by Betty Crocker through MyBlogSpark

June 18, 2011

Mi-Del Gluten Free Cookies Winners!



It's just been giveaway galore around here!  The winners for the Mi-Del Gluten Free Cookies are...


#8 - Vfuqua!  Who said...

I also like the arrowroot cookies, they remind me of animal crackers. I would love to try the S'mores type. Yum!! Thank You for this opporunity. :-) 

#12 - Adam! Who said...

I want to try the cinnamon snaps and choc sandwich cookies. Love gluten free  "oreos". Total weakness. 

and #15 - Galwayshawl! Who said...

I'm already a Mi-Del addict! Arrowroot cookies, ginger snaps, chocolate sandwich cookies...those are my favs. I would love to try the cinnamon snaps or the pecan flavored cookies. Smores might be nice too... :)

Winners, please email me at betsy@glutenfreebetsy.com with you mailing address so I can get your prize out to you!

June 16, 2011

Betty Crocker Prize Pack Winner Is....



Drum roll please.....

#7 - Pamela!  Pamela wrote:

I would have to say it's a tie between the Devil's Food Gluten Free cake mix and the Yellow Gluten Free cake mix! They both make very moist and delicious cakes!

Thanks for all who entered and remember all Betty Crocker Baking Mixes are on sale 20% off through the end of June at GlutenFreely.com!

If you didn't win this time, there is still another day to enter the Mi-Del Cookie Giveaway!

June 10, 2011

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Baking Contest - Giveaway!


As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Betty Crocker is having their first ever gluten free baking contest! Now through June 30th, bakers can submit their gluten free holiday recipes made from Betty Crocker Gluten Free Dessert Mixes or Gluten Free Bisquick on the GlutenFreely Baker's Challenge website.  One lucky winner will win $5,000 and a Gluten Free Baking Gift Basket.  10 Finalists will also win a Gluten Free Gift Basket!  For all of the details, please visit the GlutenFreely Baker's Challenge website.

Are you excited?!  I am, which is why the awesome Betty Crocker, through the help of MyBlogSpark, set me up with all of the information and a product prize pack to help me get started.  Even better, they are providing another product prize pack (1 of each Betty Crocker Gluten Free Dessert Mix and 1 box of Gluten Free Bisquick) for one lucky Gluten Free Betsy reader!



Two giveaways at once?  Yes!  The Baker's Challenge ends June 30th, so we need to get you started right away!  From now until Thursday, June 16th at noon (Central time) you can enter to win this amazing box of Gluten Free goodies compliments of Betty Crocker and MyBlogSpark!

To enter, please leave a comment below (on GlutenFreeBetsy.com, if you are reading this in an email) stating your favorite Gluten Free Betty Crocker Baking Mix.  If you haven't tried any of them yet, just leave a comment with which one looks best to you.  Please be sure to include your email or twitter handle so I can contact you!

For additional entries, you can get an entry for each of the following:
Be sure to come back here and post a comment with your email/twitter after you've done each additional thing in order to be entered into the giveaway!

 

Psst...can't wait until next week to see if you've won?  GlutenFreely.com has put the five Gluten Free Betty Crocker baking mixes on sale at 20% off through the end of June!  Purchase a box now!

June 4, 2011

Mi-Del Gluten Free Cookies Review AND Giveaway!

Can you remember your first gluten free cookie?  For some of you, that moment may be etched into your memory, your life forever changed.  For me, I don't quite remember.  It was very long ago, but I think it might have been a Mi-Del Gluten Free Arrowroot Cookie.  I remember they were the first brand of gluten free cookies I discovered after I was diagnosed with celiac in January 2000.  Still to this day, I find myself placing them in my cart time after time at the grocery store.  They are as familiar to me as Chips-Ahoy or Oreos are to those who gluten.

When Mi-Del approached me to review their gluten free cookies and host a giveaway, I was more than happy to share my thoughts with my readers.  They sent me coupons for free products, so I got to chose what to share.  As much as I was tempted to grab a bag of my old standbys, I recently saw a recipe in the June 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living for a Strawberry Lemonade Icebox Pie that I thought I would incite you all with.  I mean, seriously, doesn't this look phenom?


Martha Stewart's Strawberry Lemonade Icebox Pie

Well, mine didn't turn out quite as pretty.  It was all kinds of delicious, but my family and I failed to wait the "chill overnight" step and ate it while it was still warm.  In that it was more like a bowl of lemon pudding with pecan cookie chunks and fresh strawberries than a pie.  My attempts to showcase Mi-Del's Gluten Free Pecan Flavored Cookies didn't go over so well.

I realized that yes, ground up with cinnamon and butter, Mi-Del gluten free cookies make wonderful pie crusts.  But they are just as good by themselves in their original form.  My current favorites are the Gluten Free Lunchbox S'mores!  Available in a cute "lunchbox" style box with five little 90-calorie bags, they are the perfect size for on the go (I ate one in the doctor's waiting room yesterday...just sayin').  And the taste?  Chocolate? Check. Marshmallow? Check. Crunch graham? Check!  If you love S'mores, but hate the mess, these cookies were made for you!


You must try them!  And 3 of you will win a Prize Pack filled with 3 Mi-Del Free Product coupons!  To enter do one or all of the below:
  • Visit Mi-Del Cookies and in the comment form below, tell me which product you'd like to try. 
  • "Like" Mi-Del Cookies on Facebook and leave a separate comment letting me know
  • Leave Mi-Del Cookies a Facebook wall post telling them Gluten Free Betsy sent you. Come back here and leave a comment telling me you graffiti-ed their wall.   :-D
  • "Like" Gluten Free Betsy on Facebook and leave a separate comment letting me know, as if I couldn't already feel your love behind my glowing monitor.
  • Follow Mi-Del on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway, leave a separate comment below letting me know. Tweet-tweet!
  • Tell me your funny story of a botched recipe. This is worth two points if if happens to be a Martha Steward recipe.
I'll use my favorite random generator (random.org) to pick 3 winners on Saturday, June 18th.  Good luck!

May 29, 2011

Gluten Free Obsessions

Have you ever gone through a food phase where you just want to eat the same thing over and over?  I've been obsessed with a few food items lately that I have literally been eating them every day.  They are just sooooo good!  Here are some of my favorite gluten free finds that deserve warning labels due to their highly addictive taste.

Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Crunch Granola
At the VIP tour and the University of Chicago Celiac Center's Spring Flours event, I received some complementary bags of Enjoy Life's new Double Chocolate Granola and have been hooked ever since. I have a bag at work and a bag at home and find myself grabbing handfuls several times a day.  As the name says it's crunchy and chocolaty, and I find it perfect to satisfy my sweet tooth.  It's also amazing sprinkled over yogurt, which brings me to my next obsession...


 


Chobani Yogurt
I was introduced to Chobani Greek Yogurt by a coworker when we were grabbing lunch one day.  She was in love with this yogurt and wanted to get one for lunch.  I didn't know what I had a taste for, so I decided to give them a whirl.  It was love at first bite.  I had the black cherry yogurt for lunch that day, and then that night I went to the grocery store and bought every flavor.  It's been my go-to snack every morning since.  Chobani Yogurt is naturally gluten free and certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization.  May I suggest the black cherry, blueberry, and lemon flavors?


Wholly Guacamole
I'm not sure how it happened, but stumbled upon Wholly Guacamole 100 Calorie packs at Target a couple weeks ago and found myself tossing them in the cart.  Lately, I've been packing my lunch with a bag of baby carrots and a pack of guacamole. I absolutely adore this guac!  I never understood guacamole that was made with sour cream.  We always just mashed up an avocado, chopped up tomatoes and onion, threw some cilantro and a squirt of lime in there and bam...guacamole.  This is just like that minus the prep work, smooth, creamy and busting with all of those authentic flavors. The ingredient list has just five ingredients, all gluten free!
 

Sensible Portions Veggie Straws
A gluten free co-worker of Babs was telling her about Sensible Portions Veggie Straws one day.  She raved about these snacks that she found at Costco and sent my dear mother home with a ziploc bag filled with the straws and a hand-written nutrition label and ingredient list.  Needless to say, we gobbled them up in no time.  Next thing I know, the rockstar co-worker gave us a GIANT bag of the veggie straws. If you are a fan of veggie chips, you will absolutely love these!  The best part is a serving size is 38 straws!  I counted them out one day and it was huge!  No more 9 to 11 chips for 130-140 calories.  These straws are the perfect salty snacks in just the right portion size.

**Update 2/28/2012**
I get many questions and concerns about Sensible Portions Veggie Straws containing gluten. In a conversation on my Facebook Page, I posted the ingredient list and the information I received when I called the company, which was this:


OK, just got off the phone with Pam at customer relations and here's the deal: 

The veggie straws are made with non-gluten containing ingredients. Those ingredients are kept away from the other major allergens (they are not even on the same floor as wheat/gluten products). 

The machines are cleaned thoroughly after runs of wheat containing products, and the first batch they run of veggie straws is a half batch, which is tossed. (I guess if trace amounts of gluten were still in the machine, they'd stick to the 1/2 batch that gets tossed?)

The large giant bag that you see labeled gluten free at Costco or wherever IS tested for gluten. The smaller bags are not tested, therefore are not labeled gluten free. Everything is made in the same facility, so I'm not sure why they don't test the small bags too. Hopefully one day soon they will
.

Photo credit: Peter Ardito
Raspberry Parfait
This is actually a recipe called "Lemon Raspberry Fruit Salad", but I prefer to call it a raspberry parfait since it contains ricotta cheese, which is then topped with raspberries.  While flipping through the May 2011 (or was it June?) issue of Fitness Magazine, they had an article for a beach body boot camp program complete with a diet plan.  This lemon raspberry treat was a breakfast recipe under 300 calories which looked too good not to try.  It was simple to prepare, contained all gluten free items, and looked like it'd be a refreshing breakfast on a hot summer morning.  I use Polaner Seedless Raspberry Jam with Fiber to mix with the ricotta cheese.  It does not contain high fructose corn syrup and it's gluten free.  I use Diamond Nuts Slivered Almonds for the topping, which are gluten free.


What are your favorite gluten free foods these days?

May 24, 2011

Bake it like Betty


Every year Betty Crocker hosts a cooking contest that excludes the gluten free mixes, well....hold the gluten, grab your aprons, and start your ovens!

Betty Crocker’s first-ever gluten-free recipe contest, The Baker’s Challenge Gluten Free Recipe Contest, is open for entries Wednesday, June 1st - Thursday, June 30, 2011.  Gluten-free bakers from across the country can enter online at www.glutenfreely.com/bakerschallenge for the chance to win a Grand Prize of $5,000 and the chance to be featured on a Betty Crocker® Gluten Free dessert mix or Bisquick® Gluten Free baking mix package and/or be featured in a Betty Crocker publication!

Entrants will be challenged to create an original gluten free holiday-themed appetizer, bread or dessert recipe, using any Betty Crocker Gluten Free dessert mix or Bisquick Gluten Free baking mix.


 
Submitted recipes must be entirely gluten free and will be judged on five key categories:
  1. taste
  2. creativity
  3. ease of preparation
  4. consumer appeal
  5. appearance
On or about September 20, 2011, Betty Crocker will announce the 10 selected finalists, who will each receive a Betty Crocker Gluten Free Baking gift basket filled with baking items and Betty Crocker Gluten Free mixes (estimated retail value of $119). The finalists’ recipes will be voted on by the public on www.glutenfreely.com/bakerschallenge, and the finalist whose recipe receives the most votes will be announced as the winner on or around November 1, 2011.

 
“We’re excited to offer this opportunity to the gluten free community,” said Allison Miller, Marketing Manager, Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Mixes. “The Betty Crocker Baker’s Challenge Gluten Free Recipe Contest is a great way for gluten free bakers to share their innovative creations and show the world how delicious living gluten freely can be.”

For gluten-free recipe inspiration and more information about the Betty Crocker Baker’s Challenge Gluten Free Recipe Contest, visit http://www.glutenfreely.com/ today. In addition, through the end of June, save 20% on the purchase of any of the five of the Betty Crocker Gluten Free mixes at www.glutenfreely.com/ourstore.

Go, go, go!  Enter!  I can't wait to see all of the spectacular creations!  As you know, I loves me from gluten free Betty Crocker mix!

On a related voting note, have you voted for my Cinnamon Apple Baked French Toast in the Rudi's Unbelievably Good Gluten Free Recipe Contest?  Remember, you can vote every 24 hours through June 6th!

May 21, 2011

A Blogger A Day


Today I'm the featured blogger for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness A Blogger a Day Program!   

May 19, 2011

Take the Go Gluten Free Challenge!


In the mist of Celiac Awareness month, there’s not a better time to take the Go Gluten Free Challenge this weekend, May 21 & 22nd. The challenge was created by the Gluten Intolerance Group, Pamela’s Products, Living Without Magazine, and Edward and Sons to encourage friends and family of gluten free dieters to go gluten free for one weekend. They're not trying to convert anyone, they just want to show that being gluten free isn’t so bad at all!

How many times have you had a family dinner and had to prepare two separate meals? How about going out with friends and having a hard time finding something on the menu you could eat? Or my favorite, you experiment with a gluten free dish and no one wants to try it except for you. With this challenge, your gluten eating pals can learn that they will be just as satisfied with a gluten free meal as they would be with a gluten meal. You can all go out and have (gluten free) pizza together again!

Come on, do it! Walk in our gluten free shoes for a weekend! By signing up for the program, you will get email updates with recipes and tips of the day, access to gluten free information, and get support from the “How’s it Going” blog. Sign up today to be able to get in on the free product giveaways and follow them on Facebook.

I have to admit, most of my friends and family where incredibly supportive of my gluten free needs. In addition to separate meals, they’ve even went the gluten free route at restaurants. When most college kids ordered pizza to their dorms, my best friend and I would drive 15 miles to go get a gluten free pizza from Guardis Pizza and come home and eat it. Talk about a challenge! Just getting there and back was half the battle! That was ten years ago and now we can get gluten free pizza at a restaurant less than a mile away.  See how easy this challenge can be?

May 15, 2011

Vote for Me! Rudi's Gluten Free Recipe Contest!

Last month Rudi's Gluten Free Bakery kicked off an Unbelievably Good Gluten Free Recipe Contest on Facebook.  Rudi's Facebook fans can submit their recipe on the Rudi's Gluten Free Bakery Facebook page from April 18 through May 20th. From there, all fans of Rudi's Gluten Free Bakery can vote for their favorite recipe in the recipe gallery every 24 hours until June 6th.

The top 10 finalists will win some great prizes like a goodie bag of Rudi's products, the top 3 finalists will win a trip to Boulder, Colorado to visit the Rudi's Gluten Free Bakery and compete in a final Recipe Bake-Off.  The winner will get to appear in a video of Alternative Appetites cooking show with Renegade Kitchen.  Cool, huh?

Here's where it gets tricky...the top 10 finalists are chosen through Facebook votes.  So if you enter the best gluten free recipe in the world on May 20th, you have to get a ton of votes within the next two and a half weeks, whereas a recipe entered on April 18th gets a lot more time for votes to tally up since you can vote every day. 

So...I need your help!  I entered a bit late, and I need your votes!

Get the recipe for my delicious Apple Cinnamon Baked French Toast and place your vote!

May 9, 2011

thinkThin Helps Celebrate Celiac Awareness Month


thinkThin is helping to spread the word about celiac and other health conditions that benefit from a gluten free diet with a series of videos that feature thinkThin bars, all of which are gluten free.  From recipes to personal stories from Lizanne Falsetto, the CEO and mother of a gluten sensitive child, the videos are informative and helpful for those looking for quick and healthy, not to mention tasty, snacks. 

If you are unfamiliar with thinkThin bars, they are wonderful gluten free snack bars with low to no sugar and lots of protein. With three types of bars available: High Protein Bars, Nut Crunch Bars, and 100 Calorie Bites, in many flavors, you're sure to find at least one that you love.  I adore the Chocolate Toffee Nut Bites and am still mourning the loss of  thinkFruit bars (which I used to buy by the box of 15).

Here's one of my favorite videos in the series....a recipe for S'mores! 



Don't forget to check out the other videos and read more thinkThin gluten free stories and recipes on their blog.

May 2, 2011

Wild (gluten free) Weekend!

I'm exhausted.  Seriously.  It feels as if this past weekend has been the longest weekend of my life!  It was the Gluten Free and Allergen Free Cooking Expo and this year it felt like a blogger reunion of sorts.  I was *so thrilled* to meet all of the talented bloggers I've been following for the past couple of years, it really was great!


The weekend activities kicked off Thursday night at Wildfire Restaurant in River North.  Rudi's Gluten Free Bakery hosted a small dinner party for a handful of gluten free experts and bloggers.  It was hands down the best gluten free event I've ever attended.  The Rudi's folks are just so down to earth and welcoming, it felt like I was sitting down to dinner with old friends.  Although the dinner was unrelated to the expo, it was perfect timing since everyone involved was in town for the weekend event.  Rudi's hosted the dinner to preview their new gluten free hot dog buns and hamburger buns.  Together with Wildfire, they planned a wonderful meal.  Take a look....

Wildfire's Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Pizza
House Salad Bowl
Black Angus Burger (with grilled onions!) served on Rudi's Gluten Free Bakery Hamburger Bun
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream and Hot Fudge

Yum!  Everything was delicious and we were sent home with goodie bags filled with gluten free bread and the new gluten free hotdog buns.  The night couldn't have been better.




Continuing the fun, a tour of the Enjoy Life facility followed next. I had a lovely time on the ride over chatting with my fellow shuttle van riders Chelsey from Clean Eating Chelsey, Jennifer from Raw Jenergy, and Alicia from Living Without magazine.  We had a great time talking about blogs, food and the vegan diet.  I can't wait to catch up on their blogs...you should too!

The tour at Enjoy Life was really fun.  It looked like the funnest place to work and everyone who worked there was really nice.  I felt like I was at a family's home and meeting each member as they each explained their job at Enjoy Life. I always loved Enjoy Life products, but hearing each member speak passionately about the products and the great strides they go through to make sure everything is free of allergens and tastes great made me appreciate them more.  I'm obsessed with their Snickerdoodle cookies and lucky me...they were making them when we walked through the factory.  The delicious smells of cinnamon and sugar filled the air which reminded me of when my friends and I would drive past the Nabisco factory just to get a whiff of the cookies baking.  This was 100% better, because I could eat what was baking.  After a learning the history of the company, tasting the new products (um...the crunchy chocolate chip cookies are to DIE for!!), and the tour we were sent off on our merry way....with a giant bag of all their new products, which I will be reviewing very soon.

Did I mention I was passing out goodies at the Udi's Gluten Free table?  Yep.  I was helping the famous Heather Collins work the crowd and doling out samples of muffins, sandwiches from Jason's Deli, and hot dog buns. It was such a joy to see everyone so excited about Udi's Gluten Free products, especially the hot dog buns.  I loved hearing every one's story about how Udi's changed their lives and even meeting a few friends who stopped by. What a fun day!


Heather and I, photo courtesy of Celiac in the City

It was a great time and I ended my expo experience at the VIP party with bloggers and experts galore.  Please check out the blogs from everyone I met this weekend!

April 27, 2011

Gluten Free Cooking Expo...one weekend only!


There’s been lots of commotion in gluten free blog world about the Gluten Free Cooking Expo presented by Living Without magazine this upcoming weekend. For three days in the glamorous town of Lisle, IL gluten free foodies from across the nation will gather together for a big, bad gluten free event.


 
Tickets are still available for this Saturday or Sunday’s cooking classes where you can attend sessions on innovative lunch ideas, baking gluten free cakes, basic gluten free cooking techniques, and several more. Ticket prices are $175 per day and include a gluten free lunch.

 
Class instructors include

A more affordable route is attending the vendor fair. Why? It’s only $15 to sample over 70 vendor’s products. Think of all of your favorite gluten free products, chances are the companies that make them will be there passing out goodies. Plus this year there will be a vendor fair stage with presenters! But more importantly….

 
I will be there! As an Udi’s Gluten Free Ambassador I will be working at the Udi’s tables passing out samples and letting you know about all of the wonderful products from Udi’s Gluten Free.

We’ll be sampling all of the favorite Udi’s gluten free products, plus the long awaited buns (!!!!!), cookies (Udi’s makes gluten free cookies? Yep!), and something so incredible I can’t wait to see how our customers react! Some people don’t even know they exist! We’ll make sure you know where to find them and I’m pretty sure they’ll leave your taste buds in a tizzy. You’ll have to stop by to see what all the fuss is about. And please say hello….I love meeting people who read my blog!  



 See you soon!!