Product Review: Ethel’s Edibles

Have you heard of Ethel’s Edibles before?  I hadn’t until I was asked if I would like to receive samples of their baked goods to try.  Ethel’s Edibles is located in Grosse Pointe,  Michigan and was inspired by the owner’s,  Jill,  grandmother who was named “Ethel”.   The desserts are handmade from pure ingredients and that certainly shows through in the product.


Ethel’s offer 2 dessert bars – Hot Blondies and Pecan Dandys.


Hot Blondies – Sweet brown sugar, creamy butter, milk chocolate with loveand attention make our Hot Blondies melt in your mouth!  There are no shortcuts, nothing quick, just pure goodness, which just happens to be gluten free. Ingredients: Butter,Gluten-Free Flour Blend(Expandex Modified Tapioca Starch, potato starch, corn starch, corn flour, white rice flour, xanthan gum), brown sugar, milk chocolate chips (sugar, unsweetened chocolate, whole milk powder, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla) eggs, vanilla, baking powder, salt.

Pecan Dandys – We combine premium ingredients that make this a delectablecombination of buttery shortbread, toasty pecans, rich caramel and pure joy in every bite… the Pecan DandyIngredients: Butter, brown sugar, pecans, Gluten-Free Flour Blend(Expandex modified tapioca starch, potato starch, corn starch, corn flour, white rice flour, xanthan gum), honey ,sugar, eggs, heavy cream, pure vanilla extract, baking powder, salt.   

Both of these treats were very good,  but the Pecan Dandys were my favorite!  They reminded me of pecan pie with a thicker crust.  Jon also enjoyed both of these;  so much so that I only got part of 1! 

Ethel’s Edibles can be ordered online and shipped directly to your door or found in select markets across the US.  The Pecan Dandys are $8.50 for 3 bars/6 servings and the Hot Blondies are $7.00 for 3 bars/6 servings.

Have you tried either of these scrumptious treats from Ethel’s Edibles?

***The products reviewed in this blog were sent to us free of charge.  The opinions in this blog are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything. 

Fourth of July–Gluten-Free Style

It is that time of the year when cookouts are cropping up all over the place and they can be a source of stress for those trying to follow a special diet.  This doesn’t have to be the case, though.  There are so many gluten-free products these days, that eating great gluten-free food isn’t hard to do.

Whether or not you are hosting the cookout or attending one, it should be relatively simple to enjoy yourself without feeling left out.  Let’s start with hosting.  There are some great ideas in my post this month on Gluten Freely, so make sure to check it out.

If you are attending a cookout, don’t worry.  Make a simple call to the host or hostess and find out what you can bring to help.  Make a gluten-free side dish, salad, meal or dessert to share.  If burgers & dogs will be provided, consider bringing your own gluten-free buns along. Canyon Bakehouse buns are some of the newest that we have sampled lately.  Jon liked these buns so much that I didn’t get any!  He had burgers and deli sandwiches on all four of them.


If you are concerned about the burgers being cross contaminated, bring along your own!

No cookout is complete without some adult beverages, right?  Mike’s Light Hard Lemonade & Light Hard Cranberry Lemonade are now labeled gluten-free and only 90-110 calories per drink!  Wine is always gluten-free, as is Woodchuck Hard Cider and there are various gluten-free beer choices on the market now.  In fact, I just sampled a new brand of gluten-free beer this week that I can’t wait to share with you all.

Alcoholic beverages not your thing?  Iced teas, homemade lemonade and Hint Naturally Flavored Water are all gluten-free.  Enjoy as you will.

One of the most traditional 4th of July foods is baked beans.  I happened upon a great recipe in an email earlier this week from Trader Joe’s that I am going to share with you all.

O Beautiful for BBQ Beans


  • 1 cup TJ’s Applewood Bacon Ends and Pieces
  • 1 cup TJ’s Onions, chopped
  • 1 clove TJ’s Garlic, chopped
  • 4 cans TJ’s Organic Baked Beans (Beans are marked GF on the TJ’s GF list, but not specifically Organic Baked Beans; Bush’s Baked Beans are GF)
  • 1 teaspoon TJ’s Organic Yellow Mustard
  • 1/3 cup TJ’s Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup TJ’s Kansas City BBQ Sauce (BBQ sauce is on the TJ’s GF list, but not specifically Kansas City; Sweet Baby Ray’s and Organicville are GF )
  • TJ’s Salt and TJ’s pepper to taste

Click here for the cooking instructions.

All ingredients are gluten-free, as listed per the Trader Joe’s gluten-free list.  My mouth is watering just looking at the picture!!


Last, but not least, be safe.  Fireworks can be very dangerous in the wrong hands or even sometimes in the right hands in the case of a freak accident.


Will you be attending any special Fourth of July activities? I will be running in a 5K on Monday July 4th.



***The Canyon Bakehouse buns mentioned in this post were sent to me free of charge.  The opinions stated here are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything.

Review: Hint Naturally Flavored Water

When I was first asked if I wanted to do a review of Hint Naturally Flavored Water I was on the fence.  I normally drink plain old water and I like it.  In fact, 95% of what I drink is water.  The other 5% is coffee, almond milk & wine.  Once I found out that Hint doesn’t have any artificial sweeteners in it and has zero calories, my ears perked up.  Seriously?  I had to try this stuff. 


Hint comes in 10 different flavors.  Those flavors are:

  • Cucumber
  • Blackberry
  • Raspberry-Lime
  • Watermelon
  • Pomegranate-Tangerine
  • Honeydew-Hibiscus
  • Mango-Grapefruit
  • Lime
  • Strawberry-Kiwi
  • Pear

I was able to sample 6 flavors of Hint (the ones in bold) and I loved them all!  These could not have arrived at a better time!  The summer weather is here to stay and it is hot & humid.  These are a perfect way to cool off at the end of a long day.  I loved that these literally have a hint of flavor without being sickeningly sweet.  There was no sugar residue or aftertaste lingering in my mouth.  They were all very refreshing!  I think the Mango-Grapefruit was my favorite. 

More about Hint:

The idea behind Hint is simple: pure water, nature’s original refreshment, accented with a hint of natural flavor. No sugar, no artificial sweeteners: Hint is a refreshing alternative to sodas, juice and other sweetened drinks and it tastes great.

Sound good? It tastes even better.

We thank you for trying hint, hope that you and your family enjoy it, and wish you excellent health.

Kara Goldin
CEO, Founder
Hint, Inc.

Hint is sold in many stores across the US or online.  I love that both Whole Foods & Starbucks carry Hint, as I happen to frequent them both, much to the dismay of my wallet.  Amazon also sells Hint and if you choose to be part of the Subscribe & Save program, it is a little cheaper.  The bottles seem to cost approximately $1.83 each, $44.00 for a case of 24 or $22.00 for a case of 12. 

Have you tried Hint water?  Do you have a favorite refreshing summer drink?

*The products review in this post were sent to me free of charge to review.  The opinions stated here are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything. 


Laying Low Menu Plan & Van’s Update

Not much activity here in our house.  Our main activities include helping Hannah get comfortable, getting her to the bathroom and administering her meds.  She has made great strides today, though.  She can get up on her own now, get to the bathroom on her own and arrange her pillows.

Since I missed a whole night of sleep and wake every 4 hours to check on Hannah, I have been focusing on simple meals.  No complicated ingredients or prep involved at this point in time.  Even cutting too much fruit or veggies seems too much right now.

Sunday – Rotisserie chicken and turkey taco meat (made enough to have leftovers), refried beans, corn & salad

Monday – Leftovers stuffed in baked potatoes and salad

Tuesday – Breakfast for dinner – dippy eggs, toast & fruit salad

Wednesday – Spaghetti with roasted veggies, marinara, salad & gluten-free garlic toast

Thursday – Burgers, baked sweet potatoes, broccoli & salad

Friday –MYOP (Udi’s gluten-free crust) and salad

Saturday – Take out

Now, an update on the Van’s Waffle issues that I wrote about last week.

I received a response back from Van’s….read below:


Thank you for letting us know about your recent blog post called ‘Van’s Waffles-Quality Issue?’. We’re so so sorry you’re experiencing troubles with our gluten free waffles. The only change we’ve made recently was to the packaging (in mid-2010). We are aware that some people have had problems with the texture of our waffles or crumbling, and we’re working to figure out the problem. We would like to chat with anyone–you and/or your readers–who has experienced this. If you’re willing to share your experience, please email us at so we can follow-up with you.

We truly appreciate your feedback and take your comments seriously. We care very much about making sure you love Van’s products.

Thank you, Lobelia

I plan on contacting them later today.  If you have experienced the same issues that I wrote about, please make sure to use the email listed above to share your experience.


Gluten-free in a Hospital

This past week we had an unexpected trip to the hospital.  Hannah fell while playing outside in flip flops and ended up breaking her arm in 2 different places.  She had to have surgery on Thursday and 3 pins put in to help her arm heal.  Check out the before X-ray below.


If there had been any doubt in our minds, and there hadn’t been, there certainly wasn’t after seeing this.  The after picture with the pins:


She is now in a cast and sling for the next 4 weeks.  At least we already got our vacation out of the way earlier in June. 

While we were at the hospital, I needed to eat several meals.  My first trip to the cafeteria proved to be sufficient, as I was a basket case and wasn’t able to eat much.  There was a corner that said “Gluten-Free Zone”, but was poorly stocked with a few Schar cookies and a single NuGo Bar.  There was a board that advertised gluten-free bread, bagels, etc upon request, so I set off to investigate.  Turns out all they had was a couple of frozen chocolate muffins that were more like a dessert than breakfast or lunch.  I have to tell you that I was a little disappointed in this, as why bother advertising a “Gluten-Free Zone” and the above mentioned items if you don’t stock them?  There were other gluten-free items such as Rice Chex, fresh fruit, peanut butter, eggs, etc.  I picked up the one only NuGo Bar, a very green banana, coffee and Rice Chex. 


I tossed the bar in my purse for emergency purposes.  I normally keep my LaraBars or Luna Protein Bars in my purse for times like this, but had removed them so they wouldn’t melt in the heat.  Figures, right? 

Lunch time rolled around and Hannah was in surgery.  Though I wasn’t hungry, I knew that I needed to eat.  I once again headed to the cafeteria.  The bar was my back up, as I wanted something “real” if I could find it.  I ended up getting a baked sweet potato and salad from the salad bar.  They had a lot of options on the salad bar, but I stuck with the ingredients that weren’t close to any gluten ingredients.  I looked for yogurt, but they only had Dannon and Dannon doesn’t claim any of their yogurt is GF except the plain.  I stuck with my salad & potato and Diet Dr. Pepper.  I don’t normally drink pop (soda), but I was tired of coffee and they didn’t have caffeine IVs offered on the menu. 

Since the fall happened at 8:30 PM, we were up all night and surgery wasn’t until 11 AM the following day.  It was some bizarre miracle that I was still functioning at this point.  I snacked on some Sour Skittles to keep my mind off of Hannah being in surgery – another rockin’ choice, right? 

Good news is that we are home now.  Hannah is still in a lot of pain, but improving slowly.  We got her hair cut yesterday so that taking care of it would be easier, as she can’t get the cast wet at all. 


On another note, it was so hard to not break down in front of Hannah.  I was terrified for her, but couldn’t let her see that.  As soon as they wheeled her back for surgery, I broke down.  The staff was wonderful on keeping us posted about Hannah’s progress and taking care of her.  I just wanted to take the pain away from her. 

Now we are playing lots of board game and watching movies.  Found out one of Hannah’s good friends had broken both of her wrists recently and is also incapacitated, so they can spend some time together & commiserate. 

Running Socks

This post has nothing whatsoever to do with gluten-free food,  but I am gluten-free,  so there you have it. Winking smile

Once I find something that works for me,  I am extremely loyal.  When I first started running,  I was told,  heard & read that I should buy “running” socks.  I thought I already had them,  you know,  the Nike or Adidas socks that I had purchased at Kohl’s with my 30% off coupon.  I didn’t need those expensive socks that they sell at the running specialty store,  the ones that cost $10+/pair.  Boy, I was sorely mistaken.

After several runs with my socks falling down in my shoes,  having to stop to fix my socks,  my feet sweating , etc,  I began to understand why these so-called “running” socks were maybe a better idea than I originally thought they were.  Off I went to Fleet Feet to enter into the world of running socks (and lots of other expensive,  but “must have” running paraphernalia”).  I believe that at this point I should own stock in Fleet Feet,  but that is another post.  Winking smile

The first pair of running socks that I purchased ending up working out very well for me and they are the only socks that I will run in today.  They are Balega running socks.  Here is a little bit of background on Balega:

  • Balega comes from South Africa.
  • The word is Zulu and has no literal translation, but means “to move with speed”

I have tried other running specific socks and keep coming back to my beloved Balega socks.  The others either didn’t stay put,  hugged my feet too tight or separated my toes and my toes like to be next to their buddy toes.  Over the past 2-3 years that I have been running, I have become the proud owner of more pair of Balega socks than days of the week.  I have them in many colors,  too!  There have been days when I have had to sub another pair of socks for a run for some reason or another and they just don’t feel nearly as good,  so I usually go out and purchase another pair or 2 to make sure that never happens again.  The only blister I have ever gotten while wearing these socks occurred the day we ran 16 miles in a monsoon back in March of this year.  We were literally running through ankle keep water at times.  I don’t blame the socks,  I blame soaken wet feet.  I have run over 1500 miles in Balega socks and hope to run 1500+ more in them!  My current favorite pair:


Do you have a pair of socks that you swear by?

Van’s Waffles–Quality Issue?

Do you eat Van’s Gluten-Free Waffles?  If so, I have a question for you.  Have you noticed a difference in the quality lately? 

Let me preface by saying that I eat these waffles once or twice a week, so often enough to have a close relationship with the waffles & notice if things start to change.  I noticed a few weeks back that the waffles seemed less stable, though I am not sure that is the right word.  They seemed to fall apart much easier.  I often spread almond butter or jelly on the waffles & then top with fruit.  When I would go to spread my almond butter, they would fall apart.  At first I was not overly concerned.  I simply pieced them together on my plate & went about my breakfast, as I usually eat them with a fork anyway. 

Fast forward to our beach vacation.  I bought a box of the same waffles at Food Lion in North Carolina and they had the same issues.  Clearly this wasn’t just an isolated incident at this point.  I purchased 2 boxes while in NC and both boxes had “less than perfect” waffles.  It seemed that I had to come close to over-toasting the waffles or toasting until they were “well done” in order to keep them from falling apart.  Not good. 

I didn’t see any information on the box or the website about a “new & improved” recipe or taste, so I don’t know that a recipe change is to blame.  I shot an email off to Van’s yesterday, so I will let you all know what I find out. 

Anyone else notice a difference with their Van’s gluten-free waffles? 

Simple Gluten-Free Sandwich Cookies

I received some complimentary mixes courtesy of MyBlogspark recently and decided to get creative yesterday with the cookie mix.  Jon had been asking for cookies, so I made sure to get the butter out to soften as soon as I got up.  One of the things I love about this mix is how simple it is.  You add butter, 1 egg and 1 tsp of vanilla.  That is it.  If you don’t want to keep a supply of gluten-free flours, baking soda, baking powder and xanthan gum around, this is the way to go.  Perfect for college students!


Then I considered sandwiching ice cream between 2 cookies, but didn’t want to soften the ice cream, refreeze, etc.  I remembered I had some frosting in the pantry!  Perfect!


I don’t normally use pre-made frosting, I make my own.  However, there is a place for convenience, and this was the place.  Best thing about these Betty Crocker frostings is the label – clearly marked “gluten-free”.


I smeared some frosting on the bottom of a cookie.


And then I sandwiched the other cookie on top. 


Jon proclaimed this “awesome”, so it must be a keeper of an idea! 

I only made one cookie like this, just in case Jon didn’t like them.  I stuck the remaining frosting in the refrigerator.  I plan on making the rest of the cookies into sandwiches later today.  I do have a problem, though, there is an odd number of cookies.  Winking smile  Guess that means I’ll have to eat the leftover cookie.  I hate when that happens. 

Never Ceases to Amaze Me

My mom and I were talking over vacation about her last visit with her gastrointestinal doctor and the one she had coming up.  She asked to be tested for Celiac Disease, to which her doctor said:

“What will you do if the results come back positive?”

Seriously?  The conversation we were having had a very casual note to it, until I heard that.  I got really, really fired up.  My mom went on to tell the doctor that she would get the endoscopy and biopsy of her small intestine to confirm the diagnosis and then begin following the gluten-free diet.  The dr then went on to ask why they didn’t just go straight to the endoscopy.  My mom explained that she didn’t want to have such an invasive procedure unless the blood tests came back positive. 

I am floored that this woman is a gastrointestinal doctor.  How can my mom take any advice this woman has seriously at this point?  How can Celiac Disease not even be on this woman’s radar at this point in time?  Not just for my mom, but for anyone who she sees in her practice.  What doctor tries to discourage a patient from getting testing for Celiac Disease when 2 family members have it?!  My mom has ulcerative colitis and has been on maintenance medication for it for years.  She has been in “remission” and was curious to find out if she needs to continue the medication she is on and if she does, if she should stay on the same dosage.  I honestly don’t see how she can take anything that this doctor says seriously at this point in time. 

I suggested that my mom go to her appointment and inform said doctor why she was leaving the practice and hand her the newest research on Celiac Disease or at least the link to the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University directed by Dr. Peter Green or 

She did end up keeping her appointment and asking the questions about her ulcerative colitis, however, she plans on finding a new gastrointestinal doctor and getting a second opinion.  Anyone know of a good GI doctor in the Dayton, Ohio area that is a more knowledgeable about their specialty? 

On a positive note, I wanted to share a video with you all that my friend Jules, of Jules Gluten Free, shared with me.  It is a nice montage of food made by Jules.

Exciting news from Jules Gluten Free – they are now offering gluten-free oats

Off to make cookies! 



What a whirlwind we have had the past 10+ days!  Just got back from the beach and boy do I have a lot of work to do!  I am not sure when or how I will get it all done, but sitting here whining about it isn’t helping, right?  Onwards!

The kids are obviously out of school.  I know have a sophomore & a 4th grader.  I would like to know when my kids grew up and when I got old.  Time really does go by way too fast.  Since today is Father’s Day, the day was all about Aaron.  No extravagant gifts or anything, he isn’t big on gifts.  I just made sure that he was able to relax, made his favorite dinner (lasagna) and ran the kids around so he didn’t have to.

I am loving all of the summer fruits at the grocery store!  Berries all over, peaches & plums, watermelon!  YUM!  I went outside to check on my basil today and noticed 2 new plants in the same bed.  I have no clue what they are or how they got there.  I know that I did not plant them.  Either they are volunteer tomatoes, as that is where we usually plant them or someone planted something for us while we were away. 

Anyone know?




Weeds?  They really don’t like like weeds and they are evenly spaced.  I am plant challenged, if you can’t tell. 

Sunday – Lasagna, broccoli and salad

Monday – Easy quinoa veggie bowl and salad

Tuesday – Taco Tuesday, refried beans, corn & salad

Wednesday – Grilled chicken, baked sweet potato, corn on the cob & salad

Thursday – Breakfast for dinner

Friday – MYOP (make your own pizza) and salad

Saturday – BBQ Pork Sandwiches, grilled zucchini and salad

Hope you all have a great week!  I’ll leave you with a beach picture….


Happy Father’s Day!

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