Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Simple. Fast. Awesome.

1 C cocoa powder
1-1/2 C sugar
1/8 t salt
1/2 t espresso powder (optional)
1 C hot water
1-1/2 T vanilla

Mix dry ingredients in a large saucepan. Add enough hot water to make a paste, then add the remaining water.
Bring to a boil. Stir constantly.
Boil 3 min, take off heat, add vanilla.
Pour into clean pint jar.
Store in fridge.
Try not to eat the whole thing. ;-)

Perfect for ice cream, cakes & baked goods, PMS, chocolate cravings, etc.

Truly yummy!

*recipe compliments go to my sister, the co-author of this blog.*

One of our favorite cereals!

EnviroKids Koala Crisp

It's an awful lot like Coco Crispies/Coco Pebbles.
Turns your milk chocolately!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Master Meat Mix

2 lb ground beef
1 C GF oats (uncooked)
1/2 C diced onion
1 t salt
1/2 t (heaping) garlic powder
2 eggs
3/4 C ketchup (or tomato sauce)
1 large handful spinach, shredded

Mix well with hands.

Form into balls with small cookie scoop. Line 2 cookie sheets with aluminum foil. Place balls on sheets. Bake at 375 F for 20-30 min, until lightly browned/no longer pink in the center.

Place in loaf pan and pack it down. Bake at 350F for approx 1 hr, or until no longer pink in middle.

Freezes well as both balls and/or loaf. Just thaw completely before preparing.
Dinner this evening:
-Meatballs (master meat mix)
-Steamed broccoli & shredded cheddar
-Cottage cheese


Our lunches often consist of finger foods.

Like today, the kids had:
tortilla chips, cheese, black olives, & yogurt

Power Smoothie

1 sm container flavored yogurt
6 oz + milk
1 T flax meal
1 T coconut oil
1 handful fresh spinach*
1 T + honey
1 banana
3/4 C frozen berries/fruit
Blend until smooth.

*Promise you can't taste the spinach. It blends right in. :-)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Taco Seasoning Mix

Want an easy, delicious, GF powder mix to season your meat for tacos?

4 T chili powder
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
3/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 t dried oregano
2 t paprika
2 T ground cumin
4 t sea salt
3 t black pepper
4 t beef soup base (optional)

Mix well. Store in closed container.

1 packet= 2 T mix

For (1) lb meat:
2 T mix + 1/2 C water
Stir well until thick.


Like I've mentioned in earlier posts, I LOVE foreign foods, especially Mexican! Corn chips and corn tacos are a-ok! Load 'em up with all the toppings you like!

The only thing to be concerned with is taco seasoning used for the meat. Several on the market contain gluten. Look for it!
(Aldi's is GF, though!)

*photo credit*

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dinner Tonight

-Leftover green beans, potato, & sausage
(frozen green beans, fried potatoes, ground pork sausage, seasoning salt, dried minced onion, garlic powder, onion powder)
-Seasoned pinto beans
(onion powder, garlic powder, beef base, salt and pepper)
-Italian salad
(salad topped with pepperoni, basil, and oregano)

Ranch Dip & Dressing

Dry Ranch Mix:
5 T dried minced onion
7 t parsley flakes
4 t salt
1 t garlic powder

Mix well.

Add 2 T of Dry Ranch Mix to 16 oz container of sour cream. Mix well and allow to set in fridge for a few hours for full flavor to spread.

This makes a wonderful thick dip.
If you're wanting to use this for salad dressing, it can be thinned with a bit of buttermilk. (Or olive juice, as my family does.)

Believe me, once you try this super easy yummy Ranch mix, you won't go back to the store bought.

All natural ingredients. Wonderful flavor!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

More candy bar dessert

Schwan's dark cherry & strawberry ice cream's topped with chopped Hershey Dark chocolate bar.

Be still my heart!

Tonight's plate

Lemon pepper herbed chicken
Brown rice
Spaghetti squash

Then I toasted & salted the spaghetti squash seeds for snacking.

Yum! :-D

Chicken & veggies

Seasoning salt
Minced onion
Herbs D'Provence

Another highly versatile meal. Add any veggie you want!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Meat & potatoes

This is another super easy/versatile meal. This is simply fried potatoes and sweet potatoes, ground beef, garlic and onion, seasoning salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Scratch 'n Dent & Bulk Food Outing

Score! Hit the jackpot! Got LOTS of goodies!

Pic 1:
Bush Beans- Original
Salsa Verde
Sun-dried tomatoes
Mini chocolate chips
Tapioca starch
Potato starch

Pic 2:
King Arthur Flours GF Brownie Mix
Betty Crocker GF yellow cake mix
Annie Chun's sushi wraps
Three Musketeers
Hershey Dark Chocolate

Pic 3:
GF Asian Helper
Simply Asia- chicken soup bowls
A Taste of Thai- peanut noodles
I've noticed that a LOT of Asian, Indian, and Mexican food is safe to eat, as they use a LOT of rice and corn. And I really like their fares, as they tend to be quite flavorful.

My favorite ice cream

I LOVE ice cream with chunks of goodies in it!

Prior to being GF, I was a sucker for chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and the like.

Unfortunately, I had to say farewell.
But HELLO chopped candy bars on ice cream!!!

My dessert today consisted of chopped up 3 Musketeers on Schwans chocolate ice cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup. Absolutely yummy!

***If someone is Celiac and cannot handle even slight cross-contamination, you should not doll up your ice cream like this. Candy bar makers cannot promise their bars being gluten free because it's processed in the same plant as some of the bars and candies that do contain it. There very well could be cross-contamination.

To date, candy bars that do not blatantly contain wheat, barley, malt, or oat ingredients do not bother me. And I am QUITE sensitive to gluten.

Fall breakfast

Free From the Gluten that Binds: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ran out of chocolate chips so I just added a lump of Nutella (the best thing since sliced bread).

Completed with a cup of coffee.

Great Fall breakfast!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Got a "Colicky Baby"?

Could it be the gluten from mom's diet passing to her baby through breastmilk????

Babies & Kids | Sure Foods Living - gluten-free and allergen-free living

Here's an excerpt:

"Many people wonder if gluten passes through breastmilk. According to a study of breastmilk of mothers on an unrestricted diet (hence, consuming gluten), high levels of gliadin (a protein that is part of gluten) were found. If a baby is having problems, a pediatrician may recommend that the mother change her diet to eliminate dairy, citrus, eggs, or other foods, but gluten often doesn’t make the list. This is unfortunate, since some babies labeled as “colicky” are later diagnosed with celiac disease. Those poor babies weren’t crying for no reason, as the definition of colic suggests, but probably had stomach discomfort or pain. While there is no medical evidence about the effects of gluten in breastmilk, there is anecdotal evidence —stories from mothers who went gluten-free and saw changes in their babies behavior, sleep patterns, comfort and bowel movements. So, if your baby suffers from gas, discomfort, is irritable or unhappy, you might consider gluten as the culprit."

Beans & Rice

This recipe is one of my favorites as it is so versatile!

This particular picture includes the following:
-black beans
-brown rice
-sauteed onions & garlic
-Italian seasoning
-1 cube chicken bouillon
-splash of lime juice
-salt & pepper to taste

But by all means, rice and beans can be the base for something spicy like Indian. Or try it Mexican-style (with corn & taco seasoning), or Italian (with sun dried or fresh tomatoes), or Haitian.

Change out the meats. Mix up the spices. Be creative!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Daily foods

A lot of newbies to GF living wonder what on earth they can eat from day to day. I hope to take pics of what we eat in order to inspire you with ideas.

For lunch today, we ate:
-BBQ beef (using Bull's Eye Memphis Style)
-Annie's GF mac-n-cheese

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gluten Free Goodies

This weekend the family and I went to visit my folks in Michigan. Just wanted to share some of our GF goodies!!!

We visited a fabulous restaurant called Guido's in Okemos, MI. They have an entire gluten/wheat free section to their restaurant, complete with pizza, breadsticks, subs, etc.

We bought a pineapple/ham/bacon pizza and a ranch club sub. Yum! It took an awfully long time to make so if you're interested in purchasing from there, CALL AHEAD! But it is SO worth the wait!
We also made GF "acorns" with mini chocolate chip cookies (Ian's), Hershey kisses, and chocolate chips. Simply melt a couple of kisses in the microwave and use that as the "glue" to put the pieces together. Fun and easy project to do with kids!

                                                    GF Pumpkin Pie, sporting the acorns!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What is gluten intolerance?

What is Gluten Intolerance?

At a very basic level it can be defined as: a genetically inherited disorder in which gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, spelt, and barley) causes an abnormal inflammation of the intestinal lining. This, in turn, causes a malabsorption of vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in the foods eaten.

An extreme form of Gluten Intolerance is called Celiac Disease, a chronic autoimmune condition that presents itself with actual damage to the intestinal lining and bowel.

What are the symptoms?

Here is a list of the most common symptoms:
* Stomach and abdominal pain/cramping
* Bloating
* Constipation
* Diarrhea
* Gas, often very foul
* Heartburn or acid reflux

A list of other symptoms:
* Weight loss
* Stubborn weight gain
* Vomiting
* Floating/fatty stools
* Foul smelling or bloody stools
* Delayed growth/puberty
* Failure to Thrive (in infants/small children)
* Type 1 Diabetes
* Irritable Bowel Syndrome
* Autism/behavioral issues
* Bone loss/osteoporosis/bone pain
* Depression, irritability
* Fatigue
* Infertility
* Arthritis/Joint pain
* Mouth sores/ulcers
* Seizures/epilepsy
* Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
* Hypoglycemia
* Hair loss (Alopecia)
* Lactose intolerance
* Teeth and gum problems
* Mineral and vitamin deficiency, esp anemia
* Dermatitis Herpetiformis (a skin rash)

Pleasant, eh? It's all because nutrients are NOT being properly absorbed in the intestines! Even an individual with an extremely healthy diet can show signs of malnutrition. If the intolerance progresses to full-blown Celiac Disease, the villi and microvilli of the small intestine experience actual damage and proteins and toxins will freely pass through the intestinal lining into the bloodstream (called Leaky Gut Syndrome), causing a myriad of health issues (as seen in the symptom list above).

How Can I Get Tested?

Saliva, blood, or stool samplings are the methods.

As unpleasant as it may seem, a stool sample is best in testing for gluten intolerance because it will directly check for antibodies, your body's defense mechanism against the intestinal inflammation, that are already in the bowel. A blood sample would work for an actual Celiac patient because proteins and toxins have already entered the bloodstream through Leaky Gut Syndrome, causing an autoimmune response within the blood. Someone that only has a gluten intolerance may very well come back with a negative blood test result, as they are only producing antibodies within the intestines.

*Note: do NOT cut out gluten prior to taking a test. Maintain your normal diet for at least 4 weeks in order for an accurate test result.

Another simple way to test for gluten intolerance is to introduce your body to a gluten free diet for several weeks and see if the symptoms resolve themselves. This can seem very daunting and overwhelming at first because gluten is often "hidden" in foods, like "modified food starch" and "barley malt extract", etc. You have to read labels militantly and learn all the code words for gluten, like:

* Binder or binding
* Bulgur
* Couscous
* Duram (durum)
* Farina
* Filler
* Flour
* Graham
* Hydrolysed wheat protein
* Malt
* Natural Flavoring
* Semolina
* Starch
* Thickener or thickening
* Triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye)

As I began my journey of eating gluten free (summer '10), I stuck to meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, berries, and dairy pretty much exclusively until I began to feel comfortable and brave enough to branch out a bit. I was terrified of seasonings and processed/pre-packaged foods because I didn't know what everything meant on the labels. As I became more learned, I stepped out and began eating a more varied diet. I still eat mostly from scratch and as homemade as possible because I don't want to risk getting sick. An introduction to gluten causes me gastro-pains for 3 days!!!

If you suspect you may have a gluten intolerance, may I encourage you to get tested by your doctor or to start a change in diet. Your health is worth it!

**I am by no means a medical expert on this topic. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please contact your physician.

Friday, June 10, 2011

GF Breadmachine Bread


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon xanthan gum
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 cup soy flour
  • 2 cups white rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast


  1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer.
  2. Select the sweet dough cycle. Five minutes into the cycle, check the consistency of the dough. Add additional rice flour or liquid if necessary.
  3. When bread is finished, let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from pan.
Yields: 2 lb loaf

Some tips:
-if you don't have buttermilk, you can curdle regular milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice.
-if you don't have soy flour, you can substitute with GF all-purpose flour or tapioca starch/flour.
-this recipe is very versatile; you can jazz it up with cinnamon & sugar or make foccacia bread by adding Italian seasoning, sun dried tomatoes, and garlic. Just add your extras when your bread machine does its "add more ingredients" indicator beep thing.
-dough will have a "batter" like consistency.

Thank you,!!!

Fun finds!

Last night my husband and I were scoping out the Hispanic grocer section at our local Walmart. Now granted, we have a pretty extensive Hispanic population in our area so these finds may not follow across board, but we found some fun finds!

First of all, many of the sodas there, even name brand Coca-Cola!, are made from sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup (yippy!).
I remember taking a missions trip to Mexico when I was in high school and was introduced to apple soda- it was truly an amazing moment in my life for this stuff is SO GOOD! Found some right here at my local Walmart: Sidral Mundet! Be still my heart! Thoroughly enjoyed one last night. Yum!

Second, goodies such as:
-a huge bottle of organic agave nectar for $5-something
-huge containers of Knorr chicken, beef, and tomato bouillon for $5-something (never tried tomato bouillon myself,but I bet it's probably pretty good)
-huge cans of Herdez salsa for $2-something
-real vanilla (not imitation) for $1-something

There were also many other things that caught my eye, but those will have to wait for another trip. :-)

More "no high fructose corn syrup" alternatives


Our Hispanic grocer section at Walmart also has many varieties of soda, even Coca-Cola!, that is made of sugar rather than HFCS.

Other HFCS-free ideas that came to mind were:
-homemade or Amish-made jellies

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Favorite Noodles

On an earlier post, I discussed my favorite noodles...

Well... add these two brands to the list!!!



Stay away...

RD and I are making some changes.

Change #1: we're cutting out High Fructose Corn Syrup

We've been doing some research and high fructose corn syrup is a bad deal. I'm working on a write up now on what exactly it is and how it affects the body (negatively, I'll say that). But I'll save that rant for a future post.

If you read labels for any length of time, which all gluten free-er's do, you will see that high fructose corn syrup is in seemingly EVERYthing! Pop, sauces, dressings... even in breads and cereals. Check it out. You'll literally see it everywhere you turn!

As we're pulling this from our diet, here are several alternatives we've come across at the grocer: