Lent.  It is that time of year again.  When I saw everyone sharing what they were giving up for Lent, I remembered that I, too, needed to figure out what I was going to give up.  In years past I have given up chocolate, wine, soda and caffeine and I find that instead of having the intended purpose, it makes me bitter and I lose focus about the real purpose behind giving something up.  This year I am going to try a new approach.   I am going to really try to focus on new ways to handle situations when I feel that crankiness and irritability creeping in.  I have been letting things get to me way too easily lately and it ends up not only affecting me, but my whole family. 

I have to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Things take time and I tend to set standards for myself that are unachievable.  When I don’t achieve what I have set out to do, I am very hard on myself, which then results in irritability.  The key for me is learning to set more realistic goals.  When I make to-do lists, I am going to start making a monthly one and then a daily one.  This way I can put the things down that I would like to accomplish for the month, but not feel overwhelmed looking at that goal or to-do item daily and seeing it fall further & further down my list.  Then it becomes that dreaded thing on my to-do list that I haven’t done and I feel like I have failed.  I need to remove that word from my vocabulary. 

I have a habit of trying to find new ways to accomplish goals and then when that new way doesn’t work, I feel as if there is something wrong with me.  I feel disorganized & overwhelmed.  I hate that feeling.  One example is a “Household Notebook” that I started last year.  Yeah, that lasted for less than a month.  It was a good exercise in paper wasting and wasting a good chunk of time that I could have spent with my family putting together a notebook that didn’t end up working for me.  I felt like I let myself down because that method didn’t work from me.  What I should have done was take the kids out for ice cream or to a movie instead.  Hindsight, right?

So, for the next 40 days I am going to focus on keeping my expectations of situations low, going with the flow and not stressing out when things go awry.  I am hoping that by doing the previous things, I can be less irritable & cranky.  No one likes a sourpuss, right?  A little chocolate & wine is sure to help.  Winking smile

Tastiest Gluten-Free–Do you agree?

Ha ha….do you like my fancy rhyme?  That isn’t why I am writing this post.  I saw an article on Glutenfreeville that linked over to an iVillage article on some gluten-free foods that they (Sloane Miller aka Allergic Girl) found the tastiest. 

Here are the 12 products that Miller/iVillage has listed as “The Tastiest Gluten-Free Foods”

1.  Kinnikinnick KinniToo’s

2.  Udi’s Gluten-free White Sandwich Bread

3.  La Veneziane Corn Pasta

4.  Angie’s Kettle Corn

5.  Boar’s Head Deli Meat

6.  Cherrybrook Kitchen’s Fudge Brownie Mix

7.  Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Medium Cornmeal

8.  Enjoy Life’s boom CHOCO boom Crispy Rice Bar

9.  Gluten-free Bisquick

10.  Erewhon Cocoa Crispy Brown Rice

11. Nielsen-Massey Flavorings – Pure Vanilla Extract

12.  Betty Crocker’s Gluten-free Brownie Mix

I have sampled many of the above products, but not all of them.  I have not tried the La Veneziane Corn Pasta, Cherrybrook Kitchen’s Brownie Mix or Nielson-Massey Flavorings. While I agree with a lot of the food listed, I do have some of my own opinions.  Bet you wouldn’t have guessed that, huh?

  • Our Sandwich Cookie Choice is the KinniToo’s, but our Chocolate Chip Cookie is Udi’s– they taste homemade!
  • We love Udi’s Gluten-Free White Sandwich Bread, but Rudi’s is also good, as is Canyon Bakehouse.
  • Angie’s Popcorn is the bomb! 
  • Boar’s Head Deli Meat is one of our favorites.  If I had to choose a 2nd here, it would be Applegate Farms.
  • I don’t think I have had a bad product from Bob’s Red Mill.  Their Gluten-Free Medium Cornmeal is great for frying okra!  YUM!
  • Enjoy Life makes a wonderful variety of gluten-free chocolate and if you are missing Nestle Crunch Bars, the Crispy Rice Bar will do wonders for your cravings.  Smile 
  • Even our non-gluten-free members of the family enjoy Gluten-Free Bisquick.  These girls are some tough critics.  Great product that can easily be found in mainstream stores.  If you don’t care for the GF Bisquick, Better Batter Pancake Mix is excellent. 
  • While we do like the Erewhon Cocoa Crispy Brown Rice, we prefer Envirokidz Leapin’ Lemurs – small fascination with chocolate & peanut butter going on here. 
  • Brownies – Betty Crocker does make a great mix that is easy to find and reasonably priced.  However, our favorite GF Brownie Mix is made by 1,2,3 Gluten-Free.  Even my non-gluten-free, super-texture-sensitive sister, Kelly, loved these! 

Care to share your thoughts on this list or share yours?  I am always interested in seeing what others like and learning about new products.  Just for fun I thought I would share a post I wrote back in August 2008 about my gluten-free favorites.  Fun to see how times have changed! 

Stirring the Pot?

First and foremost, I am sorry for disappearing towards the end of last week again.  It seems like I take one step forward & 2 steps back with this darn sinus infection.  Another doctor’s visit and a medication change, I believe that I may be on the right path. I hesitate to say that I am getting better because each time I have said that, I end up getting worse the next day.  Needless to say, I have all of my fingers crossed. 

Over the past few days I have been laying low and catching up on my DVR.  Aaron and I watch Parenthood together (it is “our” show – meaning we don’t watch without each other) and were several episodes behind, so spent some time catching up.  We finally watched the episode with the birthday party for Max where Kristina is running around preparing for the party.  During this time she mentions, more than once, gluten-free food and cupcakes.  A mom calls to make sure the food is gluten-free.  Then, later you see another regular character, Sarah, eating one of the cupcakes & saying that something doesn’t taste right.  Once Kristina mentions that they are gluten-free, she changes her tune and says they taste great, but has an odd look on her face.  Those aren’t the exact lines, but you get the picture. 

**Image courtesy of

I couldn’t help but feel a little funny about that scene.  Maybe I took offense because I am always trying to convince skeptics that gluten-free food really can taste good.  I don’t know.  Don’t get me wrong, I love that more & more Prime Time TV shows are putting in bits & pieces of gluten-free products and/or storylines.  I just hate to see any more skepticism added to an already highly-criticized way of life.  I love that when I say “gluten-free” it is rare that someone looks at me like I have 2 heads; though they may not know what exactly the diet entails, they have heard of it, which is more than I can say for when I first started the diet in 2006.  Just call me an optimist, but I always try to put a positive spin on things.  Jon and I, along with many others, don’t follow this diet because it is the “in” thing to do, we follow it because we can’t eat gluten for one reason or another. 

What do you think?  Are you of the mind that any press is good press?  Or, does stuff like this get your knickers in a bunch? 

I also read on Vanessa’s blog today that ABC’s Brothers & Sisters had a gluten-free moment as well! 

Want to help with Celiac Awareness?

Check this out!

Be the Face of Celiac Awareness!

Submit Your Photo to NFCA’s Celiac Mosaic

Whether you have celiac disease, are gluten intolerant or know someone who is, help us spread awareness by participating in NFCA’s mosaic.Celiac Collage

In May, NFCA’s Facebook page will feature a collage of photos submitted by the celiac and gluten-free community. The mosaic will put a face on gluten-free needs and bring supporters together in solidarity. We will encourage those who submit photos to tag themselves in the mosaic to show their pride and draw attention to the cause.

We’re starting to collect photos now so the collage will be big and beautiful by May 1st. To join the effort, email your picture to today. Please send your photo as a jpeg attachment. We encourage you to share the word with support group members and the rest of the gluten-free community!

Are you going to submit your photo?  Do it today!  I am off to submit mine right now!

Healthy Lunches

Working from home allows me access to my kitchen all day long.  This can be good and this can be bad.  It is good because I have a variety of options at my fingertips.  It is bad because I have a variety of options at my fingertips.  LOL!  Boredom can lead to mindless snacking, so I have become disciplined in eating only when my body is truly hungry, not bored or thirsty. 

Lunches can sometimes be a challenge if we don’t have food leftover from the dinner the night before.  If I start grazing on fruit when I am making the kids lunches, it is too easy for me to skip lunch all together, so even though fruit is healthy, I try to limit my grazing unless I am sitting down with a bowl of fruit or a snack. 

One of my current favorites for lunch is a salad, sandwich & simple side of sweet potato fries.  Alexia makes sweet potato fries that are super simple to prepare.  Just preheat the oven and toss the fries in on a baking sheet, turn half way through the baking time and then you have fresh fries!


See how good that lunch looks?  I prepared a turkey sandwich with havarti, spinach & mustard and served along side fresh cantaloupe and Alexia sweet potato fries.  I used Udi’s gluten-free bread to make the sandwich and gently toasted it in the toaster oven before assembling my sandwich.

Alexia makes many products, but they are not all gluten-free.  Their gluten-free products include all of the potato items with the exception of the “Alexia Potato Bites”.  For more FAQ, click here

Click here to get a $1 off coupon for Alexia foods. 


In addition to my sandwich, fries & fruit, I always have a side salad.  I make a large spinach salad with grape tomatoes topped with a drizzle of French dressing.  I can’t seem to get enough fresh spinach lately.  What do you have for lunch?  Do you make lunch to take with you to work?  Do you eat lunch out?  At home?

***As part of theFoodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received the Alexia Sweet Potato Fries free of charge.  The opinions stated in this blog are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything.

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