January 30, 2011

G.F.B. - I'm dynamite.

I can't help but think of the AC/DC lyrics to T.N.T. when I think of the GFB.  The Gluten Free Bar is definitely a power-load of goodness with all natural, dairy-free, and low sodium ingredients.  Being low glycemic with a good source of omega-3s, this nutrition bar has it all.

The creators of the GFB sent me some samples a few months ago in hopes that I would enjoy them enough to share them with my readers.  I can definitely say that I did!  With two delicious flavors, Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter Chocolate, you can't go wrong.  What I liked most about these bars was the slight crunchiness of the organic brown rice.  The rich peanut taste with hints of flax made for the perfect snack. 

For me, these bars have been a lifesaver for that 3pm lull in the day.  You know, that time in the afternoon where you're starting to get a little bit hungry, but still have a few more hours to go between working and commuting home.  After a GFB, I'm satisfied and tied over until dinner.  Must be the 12 - 13 grams of protein.

Created in a dedicated gluten free facility, The Gluten Free Bars used to be exclusively sold online, but I'm happy to announce that they are now being sold in a few stores.  Try 'em!

January 23, 2011

Bloggin', da Bears, and Butternut Squash Soup

It's definitely a lazy Sunday (that link still makes me laugh after all these years) and I'm just sitting around with the Bears game on and a bowl of butternut squash soup in my belly. This is my favorite soup and quite possibly the easiest one to make too.

I found this recipe in a Health magazine about a hundred years ago. It wasn't even really a recipe, rather just a little blurb about eating vegetables in season and a sentence or two on how to prepare them. It sounded good and looked simple enough, so I figured I'd give it a go.

Turns out this soup is magical. Seriously. Everyone I've ever served it to asks for the recipe and everyone they serve it to then asks them for the recipe. It's just that good! Not only is it delicious, but it's also super healthy and perfect for a cold winter day.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 cups gluten free vegetable or chicken broth (Pacific Naturals is my favorite)
2 tablespoons olive/canola/walnut oil


1. Peel the butternut squash, discard the seedy center, and cube into small (about 1-inch) pieces. Note: The easiest way to do this is to poke with a fork and stick in the microwave for a few minutes to soften the skin. Chop off the stem, then cut into two pieces - the long narrow section and then the round bottom. It will be easier to peel this way. More tips on how to handle your squash can be found here.

2. Heat a large pot over medium. When hot, add 2 tbsp oil and then add the onions. Cook for about 5 minutes or until they are a nice golden brown.

3. Add butternut squash cubes to the pot and immediately cover with broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the squash cubes are soft and can break apart when poked.

4. If you have an immersion blender, go ahead and blend it up. If not, ladle it into a regular ol' blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

I enjoy this soup by itself, but it's also delicious topped with crushed walnuts.

January 16, 2011

Spread the Bread! Rudi's Gluten Free Bread Coupon

Earlier this month, Rudi's Gluten Free Bakery and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness announced their partnership in an effort to increase education and diagnosis of celiac disease through a nationwide coupon program called Spread the Bread.

For every $1 off coupon downloaded for a loaf of Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bread, Rudi’s will donate $1 to support the NFCA’s CME program, up to $20,000. Coupons are available now on Rudi’s Gluten-Free’s website and Facebook page, and will remain available through February, or until the goal is reached.

I was recently given the opportunity to try all three varieties of their breads, and lemme tell you, they are wonderful. From sandwiches to toast, I found Rudi's gluten free bread to fit perfectly into my meal and I urge everyone to Spread the Bread and take advantage of downloading the coupon and supporting the NFCA's Continuing Medical Education (CME) program, a program in which NFCA teamed up with top celiac doctors nationwide to create a program that provides education for primary care physicians focused on celiac disease with the goal of improving diagnosis and management of the disease.

“Every year, millions of people suffer unnecessarily as a result of the lack of diagnosis of celiac disease,” said Alice Bast, Founder and President of NFCA. “Our mission is to decrease the amount of time it takes for someone to get diagnosed, improve quality of life, and with the support of companies like Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery, we can better reach that goal.”

“We created Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery so people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance can once again take pleasure in eating tasty and healthy breads,” said Doug Radi, vice president of marketing for Rudi’s Organic Bakery. “In addition to creating great-tasting gluten-free breads, we’re also committed to raising awareness and furthering education about celiac disease through partnerships with organizations like NFCA. The Continuing Medical Education program’s goal to teach doctors to diagnose celiac disease will greatly impact the gluten-free community.”

So go on, Spread the Bread!

January 9, 2011

I went shopping

Weaning myself off sugar hasn't been the easiest. I originally wanted to go cold turkey and not eat any of it, but later I found myself knee deep in a bag of cookies.

With that said, my first week without sugar went decently...until Friday night when I arrived home to gluten free chocolate chip cookies and brownies leftover from Bab's birthday celebration at work. Throwing all caution to the wind, I helped myself to one cookie. Then a brownie. And then another cookie. Yeesh!

I decided that I am focusing on "low-sugar" right now, so I will not feel deprived to the point of binging on sugar loaded cookies. This weekend I went shopping to find some low sugar snacks. This is what I returned with:

I'm looking for items with sugars in the single digits. Let's break these down.

16 Crackers for 1 sugar. Not bad.

2 tablespoons, zero sugar.

3 crackers, 1 sugar.
2 slices, o sugar.

And for when I'm feeling I need a cookie, Mi-Del Gluten Free Chocolate Caramel mini cookies.

23 cookies for 7 sugars. Not too shabby.

I tried everything, but the Sesmark crackers and everything is delicious! These are definitely easy, worry-free options. What are you favorite low-sugar snacks and treats?

January 3, 2011

Oh thank heaven, for 20-11

What can I say, 2010 was a rough year. I'm glad it's over. Just like everyone else in this world, I'm wiping the slate clean as I put up a new calendar. I know I can make changes any day I want, but it's so much more appealing to start fresh in a new year.

This past year I let my health and well-being fall to the wayside big time! I had a couple of setbacks at the veryveryvery end of 2009 and they didn't make it easy for a great new year. I never really rebounded. In fact I got fat, lazy, and very unmotivated.

But I've decided that my pity party is over. A couple of weeks ago I started to see a wonderful chiropractor/nutritionist/awesome lady who has helped me with all of my aches and pains as well as focus on better nutrition. After getting the results of my blood work and seeing my glucose numbers dangerously close to being "out of range", I've come to realize that I desperately need to cut back on the sugar. Just one google search of "sugar effects" and I'm convinced.

So more recipes for healthy meals will soon be appearing on these pages. I hope to be able to convert some of my beloved sweets too. Right now, my guides are Miss Amy Green at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Karina, The Gluten Free Goddess, and her Mediterranean Diet Recipes. There are tons of others who I will be looking to for help, but baby steps...

And speaking of all this healthy good news...

I'd like to introduce a new little section to my blog. The book club.

Basically I read books on gluten free/celiac/food allergy topics and tell you what I think. You're more than welcome to read along with me, but by no means is that necessary. But I'd definitely love to hear your opinion too if you've already read the book that shows up on my book shelf.

The gluten free book I'm currently reading is The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf. I've only gotten as far as the first chapter, but as it turns out *spoiler alert* the author has celiac disease. Full review to follow.

Happiest of happy new years to everyone! I so greatly appreciate each and every one of you who has read my blog. I'm glad to have brought you gluten free information, recipes, and events (yes, I still update the Chicago gluten free events calendar!) and hope to help you continue to live a happy and healthy gluten free life.