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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Great vacation...

Hi everyone. I am back from vacation and ready to once again review more products. I had a great time with my daughter and grandsons.  I made gluten free pasta springs while visiting and my grandsons both asked for seconds, and never knew the difference We also made gluten free cupcakes! Wow, I must be doing something right. I got lots of hugs and kisses this past week and I miss them terribly already.

This blog is all about being "REAL", whether it be about good food, recipes, reviews, or just life and family in general. Life is too short to miss out on the little things, so if keeping healthy will give me more time to enjoy each and every moment along the way, then I am hopefully on the right track.

I received two boxes of products while I was  away and I can't wait to start the "tastings". I hope you are all enjoying your summer vacations, and have been brave enough to have tried something new along the way.

I look forward to my next product testing review, as I hope you do. Until then...have a great wheat free day!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Biscuits with Better Batter mix review...

Last night I decided to make biscuits to go with Chili for dinner and change it up a little from everyday bread. I used the Pancake & Biscuit mix from Better Batter and followed the easy directions listed on the box. 2 1/4 C mix, 2/3 to 1 C milk, buttermilk, or water. (I used Almond milk and added 1 T of vinegar to make a mock buttermilk)  I mixed the ingredients by hand using a pastry blender until a soft, sticky dough formed. I used the drop method, although you also have the option of rolling the dough to create rolled biscuits. Quick and easy was what I was in the mood for...and this was both.

The biscuits were soft, flaky, and  tender with a great taste. I smeared butter on them and definitely ate my share. The recipe will make 6-8 biscuits depending upon the size.This mix can also be used to make pancakes and waffles, which I plan to try in the future.

I have tried several of Better Batters products and have been satisfied with each and everyone I have tried. This is a great mix to have on hand as it is quick, easy, and delicious. It is nice to know that the company also gives a percentage of their profits to charities.

Each box is stamped with a" Best Before Date" in print large enough for the most visually challenged person to be able to see, and their site has recipes to share and enjoy, as well as a gluten free community. The products are made in Pennsylvania ( my home state...Yeah!) in the USA. This product is also accepted for Vegetarian, Vegan and OU Kosher.

You can visit their site to find information or to order products at Better Batter

Ingredients:
White rice flour, Brown rice Flour, Tapioca starch, potato starch, Canola oil, Sugar, Potato flour, Sodium acid pyrophosphate, Xantham gum, Pectin, Baking soda, Salt, Cream of tarter, monocalcium, Phosphate Monohydrate.

Rating 5 Stars


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Enjoy Life cookie review...

This past week I received four crunchy cookie varieties from Enjoy Life to sample. All these cookies are made in a dedicated nut and gluten free bakery and are products of the USA. I have tried a few of Enjoy Life's products recently and was curious to see if their already baked cookies were going to measure up to their other products, and I was not disappointed.
 It was one of those days when everything that could go wrong seemed to do so, and I needed a "sweet" fix bad, so I tried all four varieties at once!

I hadn't had a sugar cookie for quite awhile so I started with this variety. The cookies were thin and crisp, with just the right amount of sweetness to them, great for dunking in milk. They had that buttery taste and texture like recipes I have made in the past where I have substituted butter for the shortening or margarine called for in a recipe, which results in a flatter and crisper cookie.
I enjoyed the rich taste and even used these to make a crust for a "No Bake Cheesecake." Each variety comes packed in quantities of fourteen cookies to a box, so there are plenty to share. 

Ingredients:

White rice flour, Millet flour, Buckwheat flour, Evaporated cane juice, Palm oil, brown pure cane sugar, Natural flavor, Salt, vanilla, Baking soda, Sodium acid pyrophosphate, Xanthan gum, Rosemary extract

Rating: 4 1/2  Stars

Next I tried the Honey Vanilla Graham cookie. These cookies resemble a graham cracker in taste, loaded with vanilla. I do like graham crackers on occasion, but the slight buttery flavor of these cookies seemed to contradict with the graham taste for my liking.

Ingredients:

Brown and white rice flour, Buckwheat flour, Millet flour, Palm oil, Brown pure cane sugar, Evaporated cane juice, Honey, Natural flavors, Vanilla, Salt, Baking soda, Xanthan gum, Sodium acid pyrophosphate, Rosemary extract.

Rating: 3 stars

The third variety was the Double Chocolate crunch. If you love chocolate this is going to be a big hit. The cookie was loaded with a rich chocolaty flavor, and each cookie is loaded with chips.

Ingredients:

White rice flour, Buckwheat flour, Millet flour, Chocolate chips (evaporated cane juice, chocolate liquor, non dairy cocoa butter) Palm oil, Brown pure cane sugar, Evaporated cane juice, Natural process cocoa powder, Natural flavors, Vanilla, Salt, Baking soda, Sodium acid pyrophosphate, Xanthan gum, Rosemary extract.

Rating 4 1/2  Stars

The last variety was the crunchy Chocolate Chip. What can I say about these except that they were rich, crunchy and tasty! I must admit that if it is a dense doughy cookie you are looking for,  these will not fit that bill. Yet, if it is a buttery, crunchy treat you desire, than these are right down your alley.

Ingredients:

White rice flour, Buckwheat flour, Millet flour, Chocolate chips (evaporated cane juice, chocolate liquor, non dairy cocoa butter) Palm oil, Evaporated cane juice, Brown pure cane sugar, Natural flavor, Salt, Vanilla, Sodium acid pyrophosphate, Baking soda, Xanthan gum, Rosemary extract.

Rating 4 1/2 Stars

Enjoy Life offers quite a variety of Gluten Free products on their home site. All their products are gluten free and contain No artificial ingredients, trans fat,s or genetically modified ingredients

You might have seen their products featured on numerous programs such as Food Network's Unwrapped,"or the Today Show's segment "Healthy Lunch Box Finds," to name a few.

The company just  introduced "Plentils...Enjoy Life's first salty snack product in March 2012.
To visit their site to order, or for information, visit....Enjoy Life You can also find many of their products in your local supermarket nationwide.
        
As always, have a wheat free kind of day!



















Friday, July 13, 2012

Namaste Foods Pasta Pisavera Review...

Tonight my husband and I decided to have a light dinner. A nice green salad and a Pasta Pisavera meal kit from Namaste Foods sounded just about right. I was hoping this Italian Pasta kit was going to be as good as others were saying it was.
Now to know me, you would know I have never been a great lover of meal kits. Hamburger Helper has never reached my pantry shelves, SORRY!) So to try a meal in a bag is a adventure in itself for me.
The directions looked simple enough. All I needed was 3 Tablespoons of oil.

Ingredients:
Vegetable pasta (brown rice, spinach powder, tomato powder, carrot powder, water).
Shelled Hemp seed, tomato powder, salt, granulated garlic, Italian seasoning, granulated onion, and silicon dioxide (added to prevent caking).
*Namaste products are made in a dedicated facility free of: Gluten, Wheat, Soy, Corn, Potato, Peanuts, Tree nuts, Dairy and Casein for those with these food allergies.

Okay...I wasn't sure what shelled hemp seed was but I didn't have to look far as they tell you right on the bag. It seems that it is an excellent source of easily digestible, gluten free protein. It has more protein than nuts, fish, meat or poultry. It also has essential fatty acids your body needs as well as all essential amino acids. Tasty, and good for you? ...I'm in!

When I opened the bag there was a package of spiral noodles in three different colors. Great, as I love vegetable noodles! The second packet was a small packet of seasonings.
After the noodles cooked all I had to do was add the packet of seasoning to the oil, toss into the cooked, drained pasta and I was done. Quick, easy and painless!
The bag does offer suggestions on adding a variation of other ingredients but I skipped this part because tonight I wanted quick and easy, besides  I already had fresh ingredients and veggies in the salad.

I must say this dish was a big hit. Not only was it easy to prepare but delicious also. I am now anxious to try their two other varieties of meal kits which include the Say Cheez and Taco Pasta meal. All sell for $4.79 on their site and currently the Say Cheez meal  is on sale for $4.49. This kit makes 4 side dish servings or 2 entree servings, so it was perfect for the two of us. This kit will soon become a handy staple in my pantry for those hectic, or not so hectic days.
You can view these and all other Namaste products at http://www.namastefoods.com

Rating: 5 Stars

Busy, busy, busy...

Wow has this week flown by. I haven't stopped to catch my breath the past few days it seems. Grocery shopping, making meals ahead to freeze, getting ready for company, it has been non stop.
I just wanted to take a break and sit for a few minutes to try and catch my breath, so here I am.
The power outage here in Ohio really set me back this past week. EVERYTHING in both our refrigerator and freezer had to be thrown out. All that baking and cooking I have done these past few months had to be tossed. It broke my heart to see bag after bag get tossed into the trash can! What a waste!
Well hopefully things will get back to normal this coming week and I can start posting more reviews and recipes.
Until then have a GREAT wheat free weekend!!! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Power outage....

If you have been watching the news this past week you will know that several states had been hit with severe power outages, our area was one of those affected. Our home, along with those in the surrounding areas were without power for five full days, a few areas are still without power as I type.

Now I am not afraid of the dark, and I can even handle no air conditioning for a period of time, but this past week was unbearable with the heat in the high 90's and low 100's. So after only one day of no air, no lights, and definitely no way to cook meals, the heat sent us packing. Since we had nothing else to do we headed off to visit family in a different state and settled into a hotel for four full days.

My husband, smart man that he is, used forethought and booked a hotel room on the Internet from his cell on one of those sites that give you great prices, so we got a super deal on the price of the room. Cell phones are wonderful things but like everything else in our home they need to be recharged, and sitting in your car with the motor running just to recharge your cell phone is not my idea of fun so we packed our bags and headed out..

Needless to say we lost everything in our refrigerator and freezer while our home was without power. All my gluten free meals which I had prepared ahead were gone, ( not to mention all staples such as mayonnaise, ketchup, my special gluten free flours and such had to be tossed. As my mother always says..."Don't cry over spilt milk"...(well in this case spoiled milk), so its off to the grocery store to shop today.

I hope that those of you reading this who were without power are finally back to normal. Life gets bumpy along the way and sometimes throws you a curve ball when you least expect it. I might have lost hundreds of dollars of food but I got to spend unexpected precious time with those I love, and quality time with my husband. This reminds me of a saying I saw posted on a local church just awhile back..."Don't give up, ...Even Moses was a basket case once". So I will count my blessings, make out my grocery list, and go shopping.....again!
So till next post, be blessed and have a super wheat free day!


 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Product reviews...or not!

Hey everyone...I am so sorry there haven't been any posts the past few days. I had worked my "butt" off to review several products to post for you over the 4th of July only to find that when my husband bought and set up my new computer that they got lost somewhere in the transition :(
I will now have to take the time to re-write them so they can be posted. BUMMER!!!

I hope you all enjoyed the 4th and have new memories to hold on to. This was actually the first time in years that we went to see the fireworks, and they were spectacular! We visited family and I got to see my youngest grandson Levi, who is now slightly over two years old,  actually enjoy being in the water without the aide of someones assistance. My daughter had found this neat device that not only has arm floaters, but also goes around his chest to keep him afloat.

Then came the moment.... when he told her "no mommy" and pushed her away as he bobbed along in the water. She was hurt at his independence as most mothers would be, yet proud. Her little guy was growing up and was making a important decision to go it on his own, if even for just a moment. I must say it even put a little ache in my heart.

 For those of you who have children, you know that feeling...That very first step of independence gets you every time. Whether it be tying their shoe laces for the first time, the first "No" they utter, getting on the school bus for the very first time, whatever the first,  it tugs at your heartstrings each and every time.

I can remember back to several firsts in my life....My first boyfriend, first and favorite job, which just happened to be in a bakery....go figure!!! The birth of my first child. Every first involves decisions...the decision to learn, have children, become independent, become healthy.

This past week after once again "slipping" off my wheat free lifestyle I have come to this realization. If I do not stay true to my decision to be wheat free, no one else is going to do it for me. It is my choice...my decision...my first! I can once again feel the changes in my body from just a week of "cheating'. I am achy, tired, upset stomach, and just out of sorts. So this week it is back on track once again, with the realization that I need to really take responsibility for my decision and plan ahead for such trips. Others don't always understand our choices and are therefore not prepared to accommodate out lifestyle changes, so we must make the decision to be responsible for ourselves.
Unlike my grandson who will need his mother close to protect him and make the important decisions for him until the time he is able to do so himself, I need to take full responsibility for the decisions I make.

I personally don't like the old way I felt both physically nor mentally. I do enjoy the new healthier version of myself. So once again I am back on track with more determination than ever, trying to remind myself this is MY decision....not that of everyone around me!
Until later...Have a great wheat free day!