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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Namaste Contest Winner!


The Winner of the Namaste bag filled with Namaste Products  is Angela B. from CA.

Angela wrote:
I fell in love with Namaste's Perfect Flour Blend at Thanksgiving. I made bread with it then made that bread into croutons for some fabulous GF stuffing! It also makes a WONDERFUL banana bread! I'm not a huge baker anymore (since going GF), but Namaste has some great products to make it easy again!

Her gift bag and products will be on the way to her shortly. Congratulations Angela, we hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs...




Hello again...Well here is that delicious recipe I promised using the Original bread crumbs from Gillian's Foods. Just to let you know I LOVE homemade sauce, while my husband prefers his from a jar, go figure!!! Anyway, I compromised and used products to please us both as you will see in  the recipe that follows. ( I hope you enjoy )



Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs:

                                   1 lb extra lean ground beef
                                   1/2 cup finely chopped onion
                                   1/2 cup (Gillian's GF Original) bread crumbs
                                   1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
                                   1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
                                   1 tsp dried basil
                                   2 T extra virgin olive oil
                                   1- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
                                   1-23 oz jar GF mushroom spaghetti sauce
                                             (or your favorite flavor)
                                   3 cups water
                                   1 lb GF spaghetti (I used Penne)

In a large bowl combine beef, onion, bread crumbs, cheese, Italian seasoning and basil. Use your hands to mix, mixture will be slightly dry. Scoop out enough mixture, about 2 T each, and form into balls. I used a cookie scoop for this step, which makes it a little easier and you get more uniform sized meatballs.
In a large saucepan heat the 2 T of oil over a med-high heat. Cook the meatballs, turning often, until all sides are browned. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, pasta sauce and 3 cups of water, then bring to a boil. Cover the pan leaving the lid slightly ajar, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally until meatballs are thoroughly cooked and flavors are blended..
Cook pasta according to directions. Drain, add sauce and enjoy!

No Nutritional Information given for this recipe.






Gillian's All purpose bread crumbs review...


First I would like to tell you a little about this company. Gillian's Foods are all gluten, wheat, dairy and nut free products. They are all baked or produced in a G/F facility. They are also AIB audited and certified.
Their products include gluten free rolls, onion rolls, sandwich bread, ziti, pasta, pizza dough, pizza, pie shells, pumpkin pie, cakes, bread crumbs, rice flour, potato flour, tapioca flour, and also gluten and wheat free mixes. Products all made without the harmful ingredients that you must avoid if you are living wheat free, or have Celiac disease.
They were kind enough to supply me with  a tub of their Original bread crumbs, so yesterday I made home made spaghetti sauce with meatballs....YUM!
The tub of Original bread crumbs is 12 oz in weight and sells for $3.99 on their site. The Italian bread crumbs are also 12 oz tubs and sell for $4.50. Don't let the weight per tub scare you, as there are plenty of crumbs for several different recipes. I keep mine in the freezer until I need them so as to keep them fresh.
My husband being an Italian really enjoyed this meal. The meatballs turned out to perfection and were so moist and tender, and no eggs were used! The flavor wasn't any different than meatballs I have made in the past using regular wheat bread crumbs, even more tastier I believe.
The taste of the bread crumbs themselves, before adding any ingredients, were light and crunchy with a mild taste and held up well to the moist ingredients of the recipe. I was quite satisfied at the texture and taste of the bread crumbs and the tenderness they gave the meatballs in the recipe I used.
  
The ingredients in the Original bread crumbs are:
Rice flour, water, yeast,salt, sugar.

Rating:  5 Stars



To see what other baked goods and mixes they have to offer visit their site at http://www.gilliansfoods.com


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sun Flour Mills Pizza Crust & French Bread mix

I received a Whole Grain Pizza Crust & French Bread mix compliments of Sun Flour Mills. This being only the second "homemade" pizza crust mix I have ever used I was kind of excited. Hey, I tried one before and didn't do to bad, so I wanted to see if  I could conquer this mix also.  Besides...I NOW have a pizza pan!
I have to admit preparing this pizza crust was a bit more frustrating than the last mix I had tried, and honestly I wasn’t sure if it would turn out. The dough was so soft and sticky, it was really hard to spread evenly in the pan.  The directions call to use sprayed plastic wrap to smooth the dough out in the pan and it just wasn't working to well for for me, but I pressed on and finally seemed to make the most out of it.
After the dough rose and I had pre-baked the crust it looked quite uneven, high in spots, low in others.  I was ready to give up and  just toss the whole thing, but it had smelled so good while baking that I added the sauce, toppings, and cheese and popped back in the oven to finish baking. The crust came out medium thick with a nice crunchy edge, with a mild flavor. I have to admit that even though the dough is not so easy to work with, baked high in some areas and low in others,  it was definitely a winner in the end as it tasted almost like regular pizza dough from days gone bye. It was all eaten, right down to the last slice!
The box also lists recipes for  bagels, donuts and bread sticks that you can make from the mix which is also nice, giving you a variety of choices.

Although the dough is a bit hard to work with, I have to admit the flavor made it well worth the effort. I would give it this mix:

5 Stars for flavor
BUT
4 Stars for the difficulty of working with the dough

Ingredients: Brown rice flour, Cornstarch, Tapioca starch, Cane sugar, Salt, Xanthan gum, Yeast
Nutritional Snapshot ( mix only): 140 calories, 0 g fat, 3 g. fiber, 2 g. sugar, 2 g, protein

If you would like to try this mix or others offered by Sun Flour Mills you can visit their home site at: http://www.sunflourmills.com/

Taste of Gluten Free Pizza Crust mix...

Taste of Gluten Free sent me a pizza crust mix to try. I have never made my own pizza crust before as we have always eaten pizza out, but  since beginning my wheat/gluten free adventure I decided to give it a try, and hope I didn't mess up to bad.
It comes in a 12 ounce mix that makes one large pizza, and sells for $5 on their home site. It is packaged in a  black thick bag, which I like, as it  helps to  protect the mix from the light.
To prepare the crust you must  first mix  2 teaspoons of  vinegar, 2 teaspoons of  oil, and 1 1/3 cup of warm water. Since this was my first time making pizza crust at home I didn't have a pizza pan so I used a rectangle cookie sheet and placed the dough on it. Using rice flour as the directions call for to keep the dough from sticking to my  hands I formed the dough to the shape of the pan making a nice border edge of dough.
 I placed the pizza into a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. I then added my home made pizza sauce and cheese (recipe for sauce previously posted on blog) and  placed the pizza back in the oven for an additional 25 minutes.
The crust held up to the toppings and cheese although it was not as thick as I had imagined it would be, possibly the shape and size of the pan I used... The crust is soft and chewy, yet not so soft where it falls apart. I found that the edges were a little crisp but not dry 
There are Italian seasoning in the crust which add a nice flavor. Although I like the flavor of this crust it turned out a little to thin for my personal taste. When I try this crust the next time I will use the new pizza pan I have recently purchased, as this  might make a difference in the thickness of the crust.

Rating 4  Stars
Ingredients: Rice flour, Tapioca starch, Dry milk powder, Yeast, Xanthan gum, Gelatin powder, Italian seasoning, Salt, Sugar.
No nutritional information is provided on the bag for this mix.
If you would like to try this mix for yourself visit their home site at: http://tasteofglutenfree.net

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bella Gluten Free Multigrain sandwich bread mix...

Today I made a loaf of fresh multi grain bread in my bread maker compliments of Bella Gluten Free. The nice thing about this bread mix from Bella is that it gives you the option of hand mixing and baking it in the oven or using a bread machine. Since I recently bought a bread machine I opted to use these directions.

The directions were quite easy. After placing all the ingredients in the pan according to the directions on the bag I set the cycle to gluten free and walked away. Two hours and ten minutes later I had my fresh loaf of multi grain yeast bread cooling on the rack.

This bread was moist and had a great hearty multi grain taste. It toasts evenly and holds up to the "sandwich test". I love the fact that it is 100% Allergen Free. No wheat, No gluten, No soy, No nuts, Peanut free, Egg free, Lactose/Casein free, No Modified starches and No GMO's. ( You can use eggs in the mix or egg substitute)

All the ingredients are also 100% natural and organic:
Tapioca flour, Brown rice flour, Sorghum flour, Potato starch, Flax seed meal, Sesame seeds, Sea salt, Sunflower seeds, Organic evaporated cane juice, Xanthan gum, and Yeast packet.

The mix comes in a 13.8 oz thick sturdy zip bag to help protect and keep fresh. Since Mary Capone  the creator of Bella Gluten Free has Celiac children of her own she knows what it takes to create delicious desirable products.

The only disappointment I found was that it made a fairly smaller loaf than most mixes I have used, ( It was so tasty I wanted more) but for all other purposes I was more that satisfied and this mix will definitely become a staple in my kitchen.

Rating: 5 Stars
To purchase this and other products from Bella Gluten Free you can visit their website at: http://www.bellaglutenfree.com/

Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice & Mixed Berries cereal...

Attune Foods was kind enough to provide me with a box of their Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice & Mixed Berries cereal to try. As a kid we always had a box of Rice Crispies in the cupboard for those mornings when we were just plain feeling "lazy". I use to love listening to the sounds of  "snap..crackle...pop' during breakfast.

The Erewhon version of this cereal reminds me of a lightly sweetened  Rice Krispies type cereal, but is much healthier and tastier. The only ingredients are organic brown rice, organic brown rice syrup, organic honey, freeze dried blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, sea salt and natural berry flavor.

The cereal held up well in milk and didn't become soggy as most cereals tend to do, however the crisp flakes did seem to have a tendency to clump  together, I believe this to possibly be from the brown rice and honey syrups when they become wet from the milk.

Also the  amounts of protein and fiber in the cereal are not significant enough that it will tide you over and keep you full, so be prepared with a mid morning snack. However, having said this, I did enjoy the blending of the lightly sweetened brown rice flakes and the freeze dried berries. 

Although I enjoyed eating it straight from the box as more of a snack other than as a breakfast cereal it is a nice staple to have in the cupboard. My grandsons seemed to enjoy it and even asked for seconds!

Overall, I love the simple ingredients in the Attune Foods cereals and their commitment to quality organic ingredients. My hat goes off to a company who cares about those who must eat Gluten Free!

Rating:   4 1/4 Stars

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

One man's trash...

"One man's trash is another man's treasure"... I am sure you have heard this saying many times over the years, just as I have. I never really believed this until recently though, and now I am a true believer. Let me explain...
Lately I have been making allot of homemade bread and only recently bought a bread maker with a gluten free cycle on it. It's not that I am too lazy to make my own  gluten free bread from scratch, it is just I am too impatient!
I love bread, homemade for sure, and going wheat/gluten free in the very beginning of my adventure was I admit, extremely tough for me. I had tried many store bought gluten free breads only to be disappointed, and a few dollars short, because most of them went in the garbage!
As a child we had home made bread and rolls for dinner every Friday evening, it was a part of my youth I will always remember. Even now I can remember the thrill of getting off the school bus and entering a world filled with the aroma of warm fresh baked bread. As a child my only job was to sit down at the dinner table and enjoy every bite I would put into my mouth. As a adult however, I not only have to weigh and measure the ingredients to make such a loaf, but have to figure out how to slice it evenly. The dilemma being, I needed a bread slicing guide!
I researched the web and read reviews on which was the best, or the least favorite, only to find that if I wanted a even uniform slice of tasty bread I was going to have to pay anywhere from $29.00 for a hand slicing guide and up to in the $1000's for a electric slicer. I did see one that I liked,  the Presto, only to find that  this particular slicer unfortunately is out of production. It had a  inclined angle which helps keep the bread firmly lodged for better slicing and you can make thick or thin slices. Just my luck!
Okay, so here is the real story. This weekend my daughter and her husband came for a visit. We love to go to second hand stores and find a bargain here and there. She, for slightly used clothes for the grandchildren. I myself like to browse the furniture and decor isles for items that I might be able to bring back to life for a more "green" living lifestyle.
While in the household isle my eyes drifted downward to the bottom shelf and caught the word "Presto" on a item on the shelf. It was white, odd looking and it took a moment or two before I realized it was the exact bread slicing guide I had been interested in on the web. I picked it up to investigate and found that it had only been slightly used and looked to be almost brand new. I could barely contain my excitement as my daughter rounded the corner! The best thing was the price tag....only $2.99.
So today as you can guess I will be making a loaf of fresh baked gluten free bread and trying out my "new" Presto bread slicing guide. If you are interested in finding a slightly used Presto guide for yourself you can visit Amazon or EBay as there are several for sale on both sites....Just not for $2.99!!!

Enjoy your day!
Sharon

Monday, May 21, 2012

Applesauce Cake mix review from Taste of Gluten Free...

Taste of Gluten Free sent me a 19.5 ounce gluten free applesauce cake mix to try. I love apple cake and haven't made one for quite some time now, so I was really excited to give this mix a try.  The mix makes a 9 inch cake and retails for $5.00 on their website.
The directions were fairly easy. I combined the the wet ingredients called for in the directions, added the dry mix and poured into a 9" square pan.  I baked the cake for the full 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven, and although the cake tester came out clean I added another 5 minutes onto the baking time as the cake still looked quite moist yet, and I wanted to be sure it was done. I let it cool completely before cutting and the cake was one of the moistest cakes I have ever made.
I could  taste the spices slightly a little more than the apples, leaning the cake a little more in a spice cake direction for my tastes.
This gluten free applesauce cake was extremely moist, so moist in fact that I was leery of attempting to frost it, so I just added a dollop of whipped topping and served.
Overall, this is a very tasty cake and I will be adding it as a regular to my pantry.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars
Ingredients: sugar, rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, egg replacer, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground cloves, ground allspice. If you are interested in trying this Applesauce Cake for yourself you can find it on their home site at:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Product review...Pamela's Almond Anise Biscotti...

This was one of my lazy mornings and instead of making my eggs and toast, which was my initial intention, I decided to take the easy route. Cold cereal wasn't a option as we were expecting rain again and I needed something warm!
I had some Almond Anise Biscotti  in the cupboard, thanks to Pamela's, and since I hadn't had the opportunity to try them yet, now was the perfect time. The box comes with six individually wrapped cookies which is perfect, as I won't have to eat the whole box before they go stale. Great idea. I can even throw one in my purse for traveling as a quick snack.
They are only 120 calories, with only 5g of sugar each.  I found the taste quite similar to other biscotti's I have eaten in the past which were loaded with wheat, even though Pamela's are wheat/gluten free. They were crunchy but not to sweet. I found toasted almonds in almost every bite. I also found they held up well even when dunked in my hot tea.
This is the first product I have tried in Pamela's line and I was quite pleased. Although they did not have the exact crispness in comparison to  the "wheat laden" varieties, I found  the taste and flavor to be just as good.
Rating: 4 3/4 STARS

Ingredients/Almond Anise Biscotti:

Brown Rice Base (Brown rice flour, White Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Sweet Rice Flour, Xanthan gum); Molasses & Honey; BUTTER; EGG WHITES; ALMONDS; White Rice Flour, Gluten- Free Natural Flavors; Grainless and Aluminum Free Baking Powder (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Potato Starch); Sea Salt; Baking Soda; Xanthan Gum.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hormel gluten free food list...

* NOTE: This statement is found on their site:
We ( Hormel ) are providing the following list of products as a general guideline for those presently produced and distributed in the United States with formulas that do not contain gluten in the form of wheat, rye, oats, and barley. Although our products are labeled in compliance with government regulations, it is always necessary to read the labels on the products to determine if the food product meets your required needs. Parents and individuals with food allergies and/or food indolence's are responsible for reading the label of all products.

Shelf-Stable Foods Not Containing Gluten:

  • Black Label® Canned Hams
  • CHI-CHI’S® Chips - all varieties
  • CHI-CHI’S® Con Queso
  • CHI-CHI’S® Corn Tortillas
  • CHI-CHI’S® Fiesta Plates™ Creamy Chipotle Chicken
  • CHI-CHI’S® Fiesta Plates™ Salsa Chicken
  • CHI-CHI’S® Fiesta Plates™ Savory Garlic Chicken
  • CHI-CHI’S® Fiesta Restaurante Seasoning Mix
  • CHI-CHI’S® Fiesta Sweet Corn Cake Mix
  • CHI-CHI’S® Green Chilies
  • CHI-CHI’S® Nacho Cheese Snackers
  • CHI-CHI’S® Taco Sauce
  • Del Fuerte® Tomato Sauce
  • Di Lusso® Green Ionian Olives
  • Di Lusso® Mediterranean Mixed Olives
  • Di Lusso® Roasted Red Peppers
  • Dinty Moore® Beef or Chicken Stew
  • Dinty Moore® Microwaveable Cups: Scalloped Potatoes & Ham, Beef Stew
  • Dubuque® Canned Hams
  • El Torito® Sweet Corn Cake Mix
  • Embasa® Salsa Casera, Hot
  • Embasa® Salsa Mexicana, Medium
  • Embasa® Sliced Nopalitos
  • Embasa® Whole Tomatillos
  • Herb-Ox® Bouillon: Beef, Chicken, Vegetable
  • Hormel® Bacon Bits, Pieces, Crumbles
  • Hormel® Beef Tamales
  • Hormel® Chili No Bean
  • Hormel® Chili with Beans: Regular, Chunky, Hot, Low Sodium Chili with Beans Not Vegetarian, Not Turkey, Not the Compleats® Homestyle Chili with Beans
  • Hormel® Chunk Meats: Breast of Chicken, Chicken, Ham, Turkey
  • Hormel® Compleats® Microwaveable 10 oz. Meals: Chicken & Rice
  • Hormel® Corned Beef
  • Hormel® Corned Beef Hash
  • Hormel® Dried Beef
  • Hormel® Microwaveable Cup Bean & Ham Soup
  • Hormel® Microwaveable Cup Chicken With Vegetables & Rice Soup
  • Hormel® Pepperoni Stix, Hard Salami Stix, Italian Dry Sausage Stix, Turkey Pepperoni Stix (shelf stable)
  • Hormel® Pizza Topping Original Pepperoni, Hot & Spicy Pepperoni
  • Hormel® Sandwich Makers Chicken with BBQ Sauce, Chicken with Buffalo Style Sauce, Seasoned Pork with BBQ Sauce
  • House of Tsang® Hot Chili Sesame Oil
  • House of Tsang® Mongolian Fire® Oil
  • House of Tsang® Sesame Oil
  • House of Tsang® Wok Oil
  • Kid's Kitchen® Beans & Wieners
  • La Victoria® Cilantro, Mild
  • La Victoria® Cilantro, Medium
  • La Victoria® Green Chiles, Diced & Whole
  • La Victoria® Jalapeño Peppers, Diced
  • La Victoria® Thick ‘N Chunky Verde, Mild
  • La Victoria® Thick ‘N Chunky Verde, Medium
  • Peloponnese® Antipasto Party Olives, Baba Ghanoush, Country Gourmet Mixed, Cracked Green Olives, Cracked Olives, Country Olive, Dolmas, Eggplant Meze, Eggplant Spread, Grape Leaves, Greek Green (stuffed), Ionian Olives, Kalamata Olive Spread, Kalamata Olives, Roasted Florina Sweet Peppers, Roasted Sweet Pepper Spread
  • SPAM® Family of Products: Classic, Lite, Hot and Spicy, Less Sodium, Smoke Flavored, Oven Roasted Turkey, SPAM® with Cheese and SPAM® with Bacon, Jalapeño Flavored, Black Pepper Flavored
  • SPAM® Roasted Potato and gravy entrée
  • SPAM® Red Beans and Rice entrée
  • Valley Fresh® Family of Products: Chicken, Turkey
To find their other gluten free products such as deli, refrigerated, frozen and miscellaneous products please visit http://www.hormelfoods.com/ for a complete llist. Click on BRANDS in the tool bar...scroll down and click on Gluten Free Product List.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Correction to J&D's Bacon Salt Product review!

I stand corrected and wish to make a correction to my post about J&D's Bacon Salt products.  In my recent product review I stated that the Natural Bacon Salt was J&D's only gluten free product. ( I have made corrections to that post ) I was unaware that J&D's actually offered several other gluten free products in their line. They include: Bacon Ranch, Bacon Lip Balm, Regular BaconPOP, and Cheddar BaconPOP. 

Although they do not claim Baconnaise and Lite Baconnaise as "gluten-free", glutens are not included in their ingredients. The reason given for this is that it is manufactured in a facility that processes other foodstuffs that may contain glutens, however, the cleansing process I am assured is quite extensive.

I apologize to J&D's and to you my readers for this mistake on my part, and I promise to do more in depth research when reviewing products in the future. I am however happy to hear that there are several more products from which to choose for my "bacon" cravings in their line!

Weigh in...Week 9

So this week has been quite a week with all the product reviews, grocery shopping, cooking and freezing future dinners,  and still I have maintained the same weight and dropped a 1/4 inch from my stomach and I am feeling good.
I must admit I have had trouble sleeping a few nights but I blame that on the large amount of ice tea I have drank this past week...Tea and caffeine, and a good nights sleep do not work well for me!
I have also had a headache a few of those days....Caffeine?
The only real thing I did different this week was to hold in my stomach muscles whenever I remembered, to help strengthen them.
Well today is sunny and warm so I plan on taking a walk and enjoying the out of doors. Have a great wheat free day! :)

Week 1:                                                       Week 9:
Weight      131.8                                           Weight    128.6
Waist        37 "                                              Waist      33 1/2 "
Stomach    40"                                               Stomach  36 1/2 "
Hips           38 "                                             Hips         37 1/4 "

Friday, May 11, 2012

Homemade Pizza sauce...quick and easy...

Good morning readers. It is such a beautiful day out today and since I have so many of my dinners cooked and already in the freezer for the next few weeks I thought I would make something fun and easy for dinner tonight...Pizza.
The weekend is here and I just want to kick back, take a break and enjoy. I did however want to share with you my all time favorite home made pizza sauce recipe. I just can not get accustomed to the taste of store bought sauces, and I have tried many over the years, so I like to make my own from scratch. This recipe is quick, easy, and you can actually make it while your pizza dough is rising. It is easy to double the recipe too, if you are making more than one pizza at a time. Hope you enjoy!

Pizza Sauce
 
8 oz gluten-free tomato sauce  
½ tsp dried oregano 
½ tsp dried basil 
½ tsp dried rosemary 
½ tsp fennel seeds 
¼ tsp gluten-free garlic powder 
2 tsp sugar or 1 tsp honey (optional) 
½ tsp salt 
 
Combine all ingredients in small sauce pan and bring to boil over medium heat. 
Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Top pizza crust with sauce and your favorite toppings. Makes about  1 cup sauce. 
 
Preparation time: 15 minutes. 
 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Product review...J&D's Natural Bacon Salt..

As you already know I do not eat red meat or pork. Give me chicken, turkey or fish and I am a happy camper, but I do miss my bacon on occasion. In my search for wheat free products I was lucky enough  to stumble upon J&D's Bacon salt site and was happy to learn they have a product that is suppose to satisfy your "bacon" cravings and  that is gluten free. So if you are like me and avoid such meats, but miss your bacon, then please read on.
J&D's was kind enough to send me a complimentary jar of their "NATURAL Bacon Salt" which is gluten free and low sodium, and I was pleasantly surprised at the taste. Heck...it even smells like bacon.
I have tried it on baked potatoes with butter and sour cream. Although it doesn't have the crunch of bacon  it adds a nice flavor.
I sprinkled it in my homemade potato and leek soup. It turns the soup a slight orange color, but tastes great, without actually adding any bacon.
 I have even sprinkled a little on my "MOCK" BLT with tomatoes, lettuce and mayo. I sprinkle it on my scrambled eggs for that bacon and egg breakfast treat.
It is definitely not bacon, bacon is bacon of course, but for those of us who are "bacon free eaters" it is a nice substitute.
It has zero calories and zero fat. It is vegetarian, kosher and gluten free. It contains no artificial flavors, no MSG, no pork products and is low in sodium.
Their home site offers recipes of which I have yet to explore. As a substitute for the real thing I have to admit it does a decent job. If you are interested in trying the gluten free Natural Bacon Salt you can visit their website at http://www.baconsalt.com/
Rating:  4 1/2 STARS

JD's Natural Bacon Salt
Ingredients:
Salt
Garlic
Paprika
Maltodextrin
Autolyzed Yeast Extract,  and less than 2% Silicon Dioxide added to prevent caking
Spices
Natural Flavor


Product review....GONE native products

Today is my "Cooking" day when I assemble most of my family's meals for the next two weeks and then freeze. I have sauerkraut and kielbasa in the crock pot, turkey meat loaf in the oven and potato and leek soup simmering on the stove. Soon I will be making my taco meat mix for quick easy tacos for future lunches, but for now it was time to take a break and enjoy today's lunch.
I received a complimentary jar of "GONE natives" organic grown Tomato and Basil sauce along with a jar of their Raspberry-Honey Vinaigrette and decided this would be today's lunch as it is light and simple.
All of their products are grown locally to Lancaster. Pa. by a organic cooperative of more than 75 small scale family farms. All fruits, vegetables and herbs are organic (except for the raw honey as it is not produced locally). Little or no salt is added so you will need to add your own, or not. They also come packed in glass jars, the old fashioned way!
I love a pasta dish with light natural ingredients and Gone natives sauce did not leave me disappointed.The sauce itself  contains all organic ingredients, you wont find anything artificial here and it is gluten free.
The taste is that of fresh tomatoes straight from the garden, chopped, then simmered with seeds, skins and all with just a faint hint of fresh hand picked herbs. Although it is a little more watery than most sauces, I found that when I left it sit for a few minutes combined with the noodles it became thickened slightly. If you like the taste of tomatoes picked fresh from garden then I am sure this sauce will delight your taste buds.
GONE native is located in Lancaster Pa and although they do not have online sales you can find their products in several states including Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. They do have a "Contact Us on their home page so if you would love to have their products in your area please drop them a line and let them know.
I would rate this 4 Stars only because it was a a little runny straight from the jar.

Tomato Basil Sauce
Ingredients:

Organic Tomatoes
Organic Basil
Organic Garlic
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Citric Acid
Organic Black Pepper


The Raspberry-Honey Vinaigrette   has a sweetness of the raspberries and the tang of the vinegar. You can actually see the seeds and pieces of raspberries in the dressing, no skimping here. It tasted great on my salad to which I had added some fresh raspberries, walnuts and feta cheese on top of the greens and I  didn't find the dressing to over power the salad but added a nice mix of flavors.
I would rate this dressing  4 1/2 Stars.

Raspberry-Honey Vinaigrette
Ingredients:

Water
Organic Sunflower Oil
Organic Red Wine Vinegar
Organic Raspberries
Raw Honey
Sea Salt
Xanthan Gum
Organic Black Pepper


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Product review...Sun Flour Mills GF Chocolate cake mix

As most of you know by now I love to bake. Cakes, cookies, brownies, breads...you name it I like to bake it. When I was younger it was kind of a stress reliever for me, however it seems that as of late it has become more of a passion, as a whole new world of taste choices has opened up right before my eyes.
I recently made a Gluten free whole grain chocolate cake from a mix compliments of Sun Flour Mills, a company located in Boise Idaho. All of Sun Flour Mills mixes and their flour mix  are free of dairy, soy, wheat/gluten, nuts and eggs. Whole grains are incorporated into the mixes to provide not just great tasting products but also healthier products high in fiber and protein, something that many gluten free products on the market lack.
They were awarded "Best Overall Dessert" for their chocolate cake mix in both 2009 and 2010, both awards were  in gluten free contests, and I can see why. The cake was moist, chocolaty and delicious. The top of the cake seemed to look very tender so instead of icing  it I sprinkled a little powdered sugar on the top and dug in while still warm  from the oven.  I did seem to get a slight whole grain taste and texture in my mouth, but once the cake cooked this mostly seemed to go away. I do however like the fact that the fiber in the cake makes you feel full longer so I didn't have to go back for seconds as I normally would have. The edges of the cake seemed to pucker slightly and looked "dry" but this was not the case as it was still as moist as the rest of the cake.
The cake tasted even better the second day  because  I could really get the full effect of the creamy chocolaty taste of the cake itself, so moist and tender. The directions on the box were very simple to follow, just add eggs, oil and water. They even have "egg free" instructions on the box.
The directions said to use two 9" cake pans and since I was in a lazy mood I used a 9'x13' cake pan and my cake sunk slightly in the middle, so I do recommend following the directions if you want a well raised cake. This may have even been the cause for my top to have been so moist...
On their home site you will find recipes for variations of using this mix from a Caramel chocolate cake, Molton lava cake, Double chocolate chip cookies and several more, as you will with each of their mixes.
They even have a Resource list  where you can find out more about the effects of gluten in your life.
Although the cake seemed very "tender" on the top and I chose not to attempt to put icing on mine, it may have just been because I used a larger pan.  My family enjoyed the cake and it disappeared within days.
I would give this mix a 4 3/4 Star.
You can view all their products at http://sunflourmills.com

Ingredients:
Cane sugar
Cocoa
White rice flour
Sorghum flour
Cornstarch
Baking powder
Xanthan gum
Salt
Baking soda

Monday, May 7, 2012

Product review..." Flamous" Falafel Chips

On rainy days like today I like to sit around, relax and snack. Today both my Internet and TV were non- existent because of the rain storms passing through our area, so snack it was!
I had a light healthy snack with my lunch today, compliments of Flamous Falafel Chips.
Now for those of you who have been following the blog, you know that lately healthy eating is on top of my to do list. Well these chips are well on top of that list when it comes to health benefits. Ounce for ounce, the total antioxidant value of these chips measure 10x more than those of vegetable juice or green tea. They are a good source of fiber, protein and antioxidants.
You will find NO wheat, dairy, lactose, trans fat, cholesterol, MSG, hydrogenated oil, GMO, preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors or nuts in these chips, just great taste. They are also Certified Gluten Free and are Kid Kritics approved..
The chips come in two flavors, Original and Spicy. The company also has four flavors of Hummus Dressing and Dip. Sweet Cranberry, Ranch Dill, Mediterranean Basil and Smoked Chipolte.
Although the chips have a great taste straight from the bag they are both excellent dipped in hummus. After all this is THE chip for hummus dipping!
While I prefer the Originals dipped in garlic hummus my husband loves his a little on the spicier side, so the Spicy chips suite his tastes better.
The Original chips have a crisp texture and hold up well to the hummus.  They are crunchy and satisfying, and you can actually taste the array of spices and vegetables in every bite. The Spicy chips have just the right amount of heat to them. The heat isn't immediate but comes slowly. My husband likes these dipped in hot salsa as much as he enjoys them dipped in hummus.
These are not only a good healthy choice but also a delicious choice. They go great with tuna or grilled chicken salad sandwiches for a great light lunch.
 I  give this chip 5 stars and highly recommend them. You can find them at http://www.flamousbrands.com

Ingredients for Original Chips:
Organic Non-GMO whole corn
One or more of the following Organic Non GMO whole beans:
(Chickpeas, Fava beans, Black beans)
One or more of the following Organic oils:
(Med-high Oleic expeller pressed  Safflower, Sunflower)
Organic cumin
Organic onion
Organic basil
Organic garlic
Organic coriander seeds
Organic parsley
Organic spinach
Organic carrot
Organic red bell pepper
Organic tomato
Organic ginger
Organic turmeric
Organic lemon grass
Organic majoram
Organic oregano
Organic rosemary
Organic thyme
Organic green bell peppers
Organic celery
Organic cayenne chili
Sea salt





Saturday, May 5, 2012

Product review...Chappaqua Crunch granolas...

This morning was cold and rainy, like most of this past week has been. A warm bowl of oats would have been inviting, but since my gluten free batch of oats needs replenished, I decided to try a bowl of  gluten free *Simply Granola,* compliments of  Chappaqua Crunch.
Although the six original varieties of Chappaqua Crunch granola are wheat  free, they do have two additional varieties that are also gluten free which come in a Flax and Fruit flavor and Vanilla and Flax flavor. I decided to try the Flax and fruit since I could see the whole almonds peeking through the see through window of the package just calling my name!
I was not disappointed. The oats were roasted to a satisfying crunch with just the right amount of sweetness added. It contains real fruits and nuts, and the almonds were crisp and crunchy. I could not taste the flax as I do with most brands, although I know it is in this particular variety as it is listed on the label . The oats stayed crunchy in the milk, and even though I like milk with my breakfast granola and cereals, this would be great right from the bag as a snack!
The Fruit and Flax granola variety contains: Gluten Free whole grain rolled oats, evaporated cane juice, roasted almonds, raisins, sweetened dried cranberries, oat bran, sunflower seeds, honey, flax seed meal, non-GMO canola oil, maple syrup and spices.
 The thing I really liked about this granola other than the fact that it tasted great, is the fact that it is certified organic. It contains No trans fats, NO preservatives, NO artificial flavor, NO cholesterol and NO high fructose corn syrup or other corn sweeteners, and NO genetically modified ingredients. It is also an excellent source of whole grains and fiber. Now this is what a heart healthy breakfast should consist of.
The Flax and Fruit variety  for a 1/3 cup serving has only 110 calories, only contains 3g of total fat, 0 cholesterol, 3g dietary fiber and 4g of sugars.
My husband usually eats granola most mornings for breakfast, and loved the taste and texture of their Vanilla and Flax variety. He said it reminded him of a Snickerdoodle cookie, and since he is a diabetic and therefore tries to avoid most sugar laden products, this was a real treat.
If purchasing the granola from their home site the Gluten free varieties cost $5.75 per 12 oz bag of about 11 servings and the wheat free varieties are $4.75 per 12 oz bag for approximately a 11 serving bag. The bags have a zipper seal which helps keep it  fresh and aides with the elimination of having to place in  airtight containers, making it easy to store. It also has a see through window in the front of the package so you can see the product you are getting.
Although I have not been able to find Chappaqua's products local to my area, the shipping and handling is also fairly reasonable ranging from $7 for a $20 order and up to $12 for orders of $100.  If you purchase 12 bags of any one flavor you can also save 10% on the cost of the granola.
The six "wheat free" flavors are Original Granola, Simple Granola, Simple Granola  with pomegranate and flax, Simple Granola with cranberries, Simple Granola with raspberries, Simple Granola with blueberries and bananas.
This company offers a favorable variety whether you are eating  wheat free, or gluten free, and this product will now be added to my pantry as a regular staple. I can't wait to try the other flavors!
I would rate this product 5 Stars and would highly recommend it.
You can visit their site at: http://www.chappaquacrunchgranola.com


* Note about Wheat Free from Chappaqua:
We do not use wheat in our granola or our baking facility. The possibility exists that oats can be contaminated with other grains during harvest, transport or milling. We have our granola tested several times a year for gliadin, a component of gluten. The last test was conducted in July, 2010 and was negative at the 10 ppm level. A copy of our COA is available on request.

Weigh in week 8...

I don't know where you live but where I am the weather is rainy and chilly. Lets hope my weekly progress can brighten my day!

Week 1:                                        Week 8:
Weight      131.8                            Weight       128.6
Waist         37 "                              Waist         33 1/2 "
Stomach    40 "                               Stomach    36 3/4 "
Hips          38 "                               Hips           37 1/4 "

My waist and hips are both down 1/4 " from last weeks weigh in, and down quite a bit from when I first started my wheat free living adventure. Remember as I said in the beginning of this quest..."Slow and steady wins the race".
My lifestyle is not ordinary by any means. I go to bed and arise at different times each day. I sometimes am so busy during the day that overlooking lunch is not unheard of, so I snack quite allot. (usually on wheat free sweets) Sorry!
I am here...there...everywhere. I love that aspect of my "NOW" life after years of following a strict routine of jobs and raising my children. I intend to make my retirement everything I have always dreamt of.
This new eating adventure is amazing. It gives me the time and options of experimenting with foods I virtually never knew existed,  like flax, almond meal, coconut butter and flours. I never realized I was going through life with blinders on when it came to food choices. There are so many choices and options that have opened up to me, and hopefully to you.
I hope your new wheat free living adventure is bringing you steady results also. Till next post...Have a wheat free kind of day!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Namaste Giveaway!


Namaste Giveaway: Gluten Free Product Bag



Namaste is offering one Gluten Free Bag and an assortment of gluten free products to one lucky reader of this blog.  

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment to this post about your favorite gluten-free product or recipe.

Some brief guidelines: (1)  one comment per person; (2) Make sure your comment provides a way for me to contact you by leaving your name, address, and email for which you can be reached and prize shipped should you become the winner. To view all Namaste products visit their site at http://www.namastefoods.com
DISCLOSURE: Namaste has provided me with product samples and  product information and is offering the prize pack. Neither I am nor any immediate family member is an employee, officer, director or agent of Namaste or its respective parent, subsidiary and affiliated entities, advertising and promotional agencies. 

Good Luck!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Product review...Breads from Anna - GF Classic Herb

Last night I made a GF Classic Herb bread by Breads from Anna. Until recently when baking bread I have only used the Oven method directions, but for this one I made it  in my new Black and Decker bread machine which makes a tall high loaf using the GF setting, although Anna gives you directions to make it both ways.
When first reading the ingredients list it didn't sound all that appealing to me. Tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, millet flour, maple sugar, potato starch, chia flour, pinto bean flour, navy bean flour, chickpea flour, onion flakes, rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, yeast, xanthan gum, sea salt. By the time I got to the last eight ingredients it sounded a little better...
These mixes do contain bean flours so if you have problems tolerating bean flours these breads might not be the best choice for you. However if your allergens include dairy, soy, corn, nuts, wheat and even rice then read on, as these mixes might just be the best "bread fix" you could ever hope to find!
The bread had a perfect rise, it almost touched the window in my bread machine. The bread was soft, light and delicious with just the perfect amount of herbs. It had a delicious great whole grain flavor which was disarmingly similar to breads made with gluten with a outstanding texture.
The aroma of the bread during the baking cycle filled the kitchen with a sweetness similar to walking through a herb garden on a warm summer day. The bread didn't sink when cooling and sliced beautifully. Although the top of the loaf  wasn't perfectly  rounded  this is the only negative thing I could say about this bread. I cheated and sliced off the top crust while the bread was still warm and lathered it in butter. Wow! I felt as I was in an expensive Italian restaurant and was being served hot Italian bread and dipping oil..........Mmmmm.
This bread freezes very well and makes excellent toasted bread for sandwiches on even grilled cheese. Great for making BLT's.
Breads from Anna's  product  line includes bread, pancake, muffin and pie crust mixes. They are all wheat/gluten, soy, nut, and rice free. Many of her mixes are also yeast, dairy and corn free. They are filled with healthy grains, contain lots of fiber but NO fillers or loads of added sugars.
I would give  this Classic Herb bread 5 Stars!
You can purchase many of her products by clicking the  GLUTEN FREE MALL button to the right top of page, or by visiting their home site at http://breadsfromanna.com


NUTRITION FACTS for Classic Herb Bread:
Serving Size 28g
Servings per container 21
Amount per serving
Calories 90
Calories from fat 0g
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 115mg - 5%
Total Carbohydrates 16g - 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g - 11%
Sugars 2g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 4%
Iron 4%



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