National Eat Your Vegetables Day

June 17th, that is what today is.  I was so excited to hear that vegetables get their own day!  I love my veggies!!  The best thing about veggies?  They are gluten-free in their natural state!  YAY!  I don’t think I could pick just one favorite, so I will list my top choices, in no particular order:

  • asparagus
  • spinach
  • zucchini
  • tomatoes
  • eggplant
  • brussel sprouts
  • sugar snap peas
  • snow peas
  • butternut squash
  • sweet potato

 

I started my day out with an egg white scramble with spinach & Roma tomatoes (not pretty, but tastes great!).  I top with Frank’s Red Hot.  :)

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A site with all kinds of great veggie info.

What is your favorite veggie?

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Homemade Frozen Yogurt

I love frozen yogurt and when I bought some Fage today at Trader Joe’s, I decided to take half of it and pop it into the blender along with some raspberries & strawberries and then freeze for an after dinner treat. 

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I blended up my concoction at lunch time & went to eat about 8 PM.  Well, it was a little more frozen then I would have liked.  I need to find a happy medium.  LOL!  I ended up popping it in the micro for a few and it did soften up a bit.  Probably a better choice would be to take out of the freezer an hour or 2 before eating if it has been frozen for a while.  I topped mine with coconut & a few chocolate chips.  YUM!!  This was super easy & the Greek yogurt makes it super creamy!  :)

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I think I am going to toss in bananas & peanut butter next time…YUM!

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Review: Gluten-Free Chocolate Chex

Finally, I have found the last puzzle piece.  Seriously, this has been like a wild goose chase through grocery stores across the country!  LOL!  Since I first heard that General Mills was converting 6 of their Chex Cereals over to gluten-free, I have been keeping my eyes peeled for the cereals.  I was in Atlanta over Spring Break; I looked in several grocery stores there.  I was in North & South Carolina for the past 2 weeks and looked in several grocery stores there.  I have looked in every grocery store here in Columbus.  Before today I had found every new variety of gluten-free Chex cereal, except for Cinnamon, which I did an exchange for with my pal Lisa.   Lisa couldn’t find the Strawberry, so we did an exchange.  :) 

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Today I had to run to Kroger to grab a couple things.  Normally I don’t shop at Kroger, but I hadn’t looked there recently for my Chex and I wanted to check for the Betty Crocker Gluten-Free mixes there, too.  I swear I danced in the aisle when I found those GF Chocolate Chex.  I wish you could have seen it.  You all know how much I love chocolate, this stuff is heaven in a box!!  I think that this is by far my favorite variety, though I don’t have any that I don’t like.  As a matter of fact, I think I have all 6 varieties in my pantry right now!  **BLUSH**  Hi, my name is Kim and I am a cereal-a-holic!  I can’t wait to start making some of the snack mixes that Chex has on their website!  The best part about these Chex (other than them being chocolate)?  They are $2.99!  The other Chex cereals are $3.49 at Kroger.  I don’t know why these are cheaper, but I bought 2 boxes.  :)  This product gets 5 stars from me!! 

Want to know what else?  I found 3 out of the 4 Betty Crocker Mixes at Kroger!  WOOHOO!!!!  

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I was a little disappointed at the price ($4.49/box) and that they didn’t have the Devil’s Food Cake, but hey, it is a start.  I’ll take it.  I am just excited that General Mills is taking this step.  It is huge!!  Gluten-free food has come a long way in the past 3 years since I have been following the diet.  I will review these 1 by 1 as I bake & sample them.  Hopefully starting tomorrow.  :)

Prayers for Collin

This post will have nothing to do with Celiac Disease or the gluten-free diet.  This post is dedicated solely to asking for prayers & basically a miracle for a sweet 6 year old little boy who has been plagued by a horrible, devastating disease for the past 1.5 years of his life.  Collin was diagnosed with Devic’s Disease by the Center for Pediatric Onset Demyelinating Diseases (CPODD) at the University of Alabama in Birmingham on March 5, 2008.  Now , his family is struggling to deal with this devastating diagnosis and everything that comes with it. 

Here is a picture of Collin with his favorite Nascar Driver, Jimmy Johnson.

Collin’s family has sacrificed so much for his treatment and they have done whatever they have had to do to try to keep him well, including a move to another state for better treatment options.  This meant his parents had to change jobs & try to find new ones in this horrible economy.  Their house (the one they were unable to sell where they used to live) is in the process of foreclosure. 

I want so badly for things to turn around for Collin, for his family.  I am praying that they can get Collin well and work something out with their house.  Lisa & Carey, Collin’s parents, are amazing people with unbelievable strength & courage, but how much can one family handle? 

For more information on Collin & what he & his family are going through, including updates, please go here:  Collin’s Quest

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Winery Fun

Last Monday, while on vacation, my Mom and I took some “Girly” time to visit a local winery.  We went to Silver Coast Winery.  We got to tour the area where they make wine, though they weren’t making any on this day in particular.  They also don’t grow the grapes there on the property, but in the mountains of North Carolina, where it is cooler. 

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After our tour, we were led to the bar to sample some of the wines.  We chose to sample both red & white.  There were 6 red wines & 5 white wines. 

Reds

  • Calabash Red ~ The dark ruby color provides a hint of the black cherry, plum and floral notes that entertain the nose of this vibrant red. The palate is offered red cherry violets, a hint of currant and plum. The finish is enhanced with a hint of spice. Pastas and red meats are complimented by this wine.
  • 2002 Merlot ~ Dark and rich in color, with a leather, smoke, and black pepper nose. This wine has tastes of black current and leather, and a touch of licorice on the finish. Aged 14 months in oak. A fantastic wine when paired with a delicious grilled steak!
  • 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon ~ Dark garnet color entices the eyes with licorice, black cherries, vanilla, and violets on the nose. This medium body wine offers lush mouthfuls of black raspberry, cranberries, and rich dark fruit. Balanced acidity contributes to a long, lingering finish with hints of smoke and rich berries.
  • 2006 Touriga ~ Deep berry and plum ,with subtle dark cherry and lavendar notes, accent this rustic style Portuguese varietal. The palate is treated to dark cherry and deep plum with smokey overtones and soft tannins..The deep color of this wine enhances it’s presentation.
  • Holiday Red ~ Aromas of nice fleshy cherry fruit with hints of apice lead to roasted sugar plum flavors accented with a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon. Soft and sensual, this is a nice wine to enjoy next to the fireplace!
  • 2007 Cabernet Franc ~  Intriguing aromas of blueberries, dried leaves and cedar leads to complex flavors of ripe black plum and cherries. Rich and full bodied with a long lingering finish marked by leather, dried cherries and vanilla.

My Mom

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Me (disregard my Rudolph the Reindeer sunburned nose)

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Whites

  • Stainless Chardonnay ~ Straw in color, hints of green apple skins, pineapple & minerals are surrendered to the nose of this wine.   The palate is entertained with Granny Smith apples, pineapple & tropical citrus.  Hints of minerals and of well balance acidity beg this chardonnay to be paired with food in cream sauces, salads, cheese & poached salmon.
  • Calabash White ~ The eyes are greeted with green highlighted straw color. The nose is treated to apple and pear. This soft, round, well balanced wine seduces the palate with spiced pear and lemon grass. A hint of sweetness and acidity make this wine a perfect pairing for seafood or poultry.
  • 2008 Seyval Blanc ~ Delicate, smooth and crisp with hints of pineapple and apricot. Great with creamy cheeses and light meals.
  • RosΓ© ~ A crisp, fruity style that exhibits multiple layers of berry and tropical fruit flavors. A complex blend of grapes with a slightly sweet, medium body. Ideal for sipping or when paired with appetizers, sharp cheeses and smoked meats.
  • 2005 White Merlot ~Ripe strawberry and rose petal aromatics, immediately on the nose of this vibrant, lighter bodied sipper. This wine also shows some subtle white pepper spice on the back palate. Delightful as a dessert wine.

The Bartender

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Bartender teaching us how to “swish” the wine

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After sampling all of the wines, my Mom and I decided to split a glass of one of the top wines on our list: 2008 Seyval Blanc.  I can’t put into words how amazing this wine tasted!! 

My favorite red was probably the Calabash Red (odd because I always end up liking the most expensive wines and this was the least expensive!  HA!).  I also really liked the Cab Franc & Merlot.  I didn’t care for the Cabernet Sauvignon, which is again, odd, because it is one of the only reds I drink at home.  If you were to come over to my house, you would always find a bottle of Cab Sauvignon and most likely Pinot Noir.  The Touriga (which has won a double gold), was good, but not as good as I expected.  It is a different grape, though, so we were told up front that it is almost an acquired taste.  Also, they recommend opening the bottle & letting it breathe for 45 minutes before drinking and also placing in the fridge for 15 min to get the temperature to about 64 degrees.  The Touriga we sampled was not prepared like that. 

My favorite white was probably the Chardonnay with the Seyval Blanc coming in a very close second or tie.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that I really like the RosΓ© and White Merlots, as blushes are usually not my thing.  The bartender asked if the blushes that I had had in the past were white zins and I said “yes” and he said that was what he thought. πŸ˜‰  LOL!  He recommended having the Seyval Blanc with Chocolate Covered Apricots.  Too bad I didn’t have any in my purse. πŸ˜‰

After our tasting my Mom & I wandered around in the gift shop.  This place has the right idea…..offer you alcoholic beverages & then set you free in the gift shop!  Aside from my buying 2 bottles of wine, my Mom bought several & we had to have these sparkly t-shirts, too!  Mine says “Save  water, drink wine” and hers says “Group Therapy”. 

In the garden finishing up our wine

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We had a wonderful time!!  :)  We hope to make this one of our new vacation “traditions”, just like the ice cream trips I posted about last week. 

I will leave you with one last picture….this is my attempt at a self portrait of my Mom & I.  Fortunately, our designated driver arrived & took a picture for us.  :)  Thanks, honey!

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Menu Plan ~ June 14, 2009

Home again, home again, diggity dog.  Oh, being home from the beach has been bittersweet.  We had a great time (though we feel badly that Aaron’s Mom had an accident while we were there and broke both of her ankles ~ GET WELL SOON, MARY!).  Aside from the accident, the first week it was just our family and we enjoyed the time together.  The second week it was nice to see additional family members and I have already shared some of the fun stuff we did, with a couple more posts coming in the next week or so.  2 weeks is a long time to be away.  It seems a week isn’t enough, but 2 weeks almost borders on too long.  I feel so behind.  I feel like I will never catch up.  Sigh.  I know I will, but I want it all done now!!  LOL!  I sat down to make our menu plan for the week, going through the freezer first.  Oh, I forgot, used all the meat before leaving town.  Time to start all over!  So, my grocery list was longer than normal this week….I had to re-stock meat and other necessities.  Here is the plan I came up with:

Sunday ~ Burgers (beef for the fam; portobello mushroom for me that I marinated in a Thai Peanut sauce..YUM!), baked sweet potato & sauteed asparagus.

Monday ~ Sweet Thai Chile Salmon, red quinoa, sugar snap peas & salad

Tuesday ~Grilled Balsamic Chicken, Rosemary Garlic Potatoes, Broccoli & Salad

Wednesday ~ Enchilada Bake, corn & salad

Thursday ~ Bourbon Chicken, brown rice, green beans & salad

Friday ~ Bob’s Red Mill Pizza (cheese for fam, veggie for me) and salad

Saturday ~ leftovers

Baked Goods

Pamela’s Bread

Brownies (GFP mix I have on hand)

That’s all folks!

Have a great week! Make sure to check out the Gluten-Free Menu Swap at Gluten-Free Goodness. Thanks for hosting, Cheryl!

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Product Review: PURE Cherry Cashew Bar

A month or so ago, I tried the PURE Chocolate Brownie Bar.  I wrote a review here.  This time I tried the the Cherry Cashew version.  I was super impressed!!  I got a picture of the wrapper this AM, but had eaten it yesterday on our trip back while it was still dark out, so no picture of the bar itself.  The flavor & chunks in this bar are amazing!  I like these much better than the Cherry Pie Lara Bars.  Now, I am not dissing my Lara Bars, because they do hold a special place in my heart (especially that chocolate coffee flavor & the peanut butter cookie, too). 

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The Cherry Cashew bar is organic,raw, vegan, has 1.5 servings of fruit, omega-3s, 4 grams of fiber & 6 grams of protein per bar.  What a bang for your buck (or $2, depending on where you get them)!!  I like to keep these on hand for emergency situations……no safe food or healthy choices (while Frito’s & Snicker’s are both gluten-free, they don’t qualify as healthy choices for emergency snacks or meal replacements).  Obviously this bar would not hold me over for more than 2-3 hours, but it will do the trick in a pinch.  What I did yesterday was I ate a banana at 5:30 AM or so, then I opened the bar around 7:30 or so and then did lunch around 11:30 AM.  I could have probably eaten lunch sooner, but being on the road for 12 hours and having to find a place to stop & use the restroom didn’t allow for it. 

I highly recommend this bar and can’t wait to try more PURE Bar flavors.  Maybe the PURE Bar people want to send me some samples to review (hint, hint). πŸ˜‰  LOL! 

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The Tradition

Every year when we go to Sunset Beach we have a tradition of walking down to the ice cream shop to get ice cream after dinner.  We don’t go every night, but usually every other.  The ice cream shop is part of Julie’s Rentals.  Julie’s serves Hershey’s Ice Cream

icecreamshop

 

The kids love the anticipation of walking down, choosing their flavor & then taking their first lick of their ice cream. 

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hannah

The adults love the fact that the walk to & from the ice cream store helps keep some of that ice cream off of their hips. πŸ˜‰

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Is it less expensive to buy ice cream & just serve everyone at home?  Yes.  However, then you lose out on the exercise, the bonding, the choice of flavor & creating memories & traditions.  Not worth it in my book.  πŸ˜‰

And now, I present, my new found love, Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip Ice Cream:

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This is probably my new favorite flavor.  Of course, there is the peach yogurt that has huge chunks of peaches in it, but they are out of that right now. :(  They saved the last scoop for this little old man that was leaving the beach.  I can’t fault them for that.  Another excellent choice is the cappuccino crunch (it has big chunks of Heath Bar!).  Then there are a dozen or so other flavors….rainbow sherbet, White house cherry, moose tracks, chocolate moose tracks, superman, cotton candy, vanilla, chocolate, chocolate chip, coconut, orange cream, mint chocolate chip, butter pecan. 

The last & final (and probably most important) fact about the ice cream at Julie’s Rentals is the fact that they “get” gluten-free.  The sweet girls that work there see us walk in & grab the  scoops & walk to the sink to wash them for us.  The ice cream is gluten-free (except for the obvious no-nos….anything with cookies or brownies or graham crackers in it).  You really can’t beat this place or this tradition.  I look forward to it every year. 

Review: Nature's Path Gluten-Free Waffles

I was so excited to fine these Organic Gluten-Free Buckwheat Wildberry waffles at the store the other day, I almost danced in the aisle.  Okay, I did dance in the aisle.  I typically eat Van’s Blueberry Waffles (the plain seem to crumble too much on me), but haven’t found these Nature’s Path waffles before.  Guess I had to come to North Carolina, all the way from Ohio, to get them!  Not only did I find them, they were on sale for $2.50 down from $3.69!  Score!   I had first heard about these from Erin at Gluten-Free with a Purpose.  I was thrilled to have these for breakfast this morning after 60 minutes on the elliptical machine!  I was starving! 

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These toasted up quick & easily.  They didn’t fall apart, even when spreading my beloved Barney Butter on them.  The taste & texture were amazing…so much closer to the real thing than the Van’s Waffles.  Not that I don’t like the Van’s, I do, but when you are missing old favorites, it is nice to get as close as you can to the original.

After toasting, pre-topping:

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After spreading with Barney Butter & Strawberry Simply Fruit & Hannah suggested I add some blueberries, too:

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I hope that I can find these when I get back to Ohio!  5 stars from me!!!

So, if you have been thinking about trying these, and haven’t, pick some up!!  Be careful, though, the Buckwheat Wildberry are the only ones that Nature’s Path makes that are gluten-free. 

The Face Behind the Blog

Erin over at Gluten Free with a Purpose did a cool post on 7 things about her & asked if anyone wanted to participate & to their own.  I think this is cool, so here is my “7 Things”.

First, a picture of me. 

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Now, onto my stuff.  Things you may not know about me.

1.  I was a gymnast growing up.  I started gymnastics at 5 and continued in it until I was 14 or so.  I wanted to be just like Nadia & Mary Lou Retton.  Obviously, that didn’t happen. πŸ˜‰

2.  I was born in Newport, Rhode Island.  My Dad was in the Navy, so that is where we lived the 1st 2 years of my life.

3.  My 2nd toe is longer than my big toe.  This was all fine & good until I started running and now seems to be causing some issues.  Stupid feet!

4.  I love to read.  We are on vacation right now & I brought no less than 10 books.  Aaron laughed at me.  I am already done with one & half way through the 2nd book and we have only been here 3.5 days.  Plus, I like choices.

5.  I never used to be a morning person, but am now.  I am up at 4:25 AM to hit the gym by 5 AM on weekdays.  What a difference from 10 – 15 years ago!

6.  I took violin lessons as a child.  When in middle school, I was 2nd chair in the orchestra/band.

7.  I never sang in front of people (well, except when forced in church choir as a child) until about 6 or 7 years ago.  Now I won’t stop!  LOL!  And, I really can’t sing! 

Well, there you have it.  7 things that you didn’t know about me before and may not care that you know now!  LOL! 

As Erin said, I am not going to tag anyone, but I would love it if you would participate & then let me know so I can check out your 7 things. 

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