Superfoods–Naturally Gluten-Free

This is going to be a combination running and gluten-free post.  This is now my 2nd season with MIT (Marathoners in Training) and I really can’t say enough good things about it.  If you don’t live here in the Columbus area, I only hope that you have access to a wonderful training program such as MIT.  Not only do I have friends & coaches to run my weekly long runs with, but I have access to many runners with lots more knowledge about running that I have. 

One awesome benefit of MIT is the weekly emails we get with all kinds of useful information.  This week’s email included information on superfoods for runners.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that all of the foods on the list were naturally gluten-free!   I am not sure if non-members have access to the website or not, so here is a list the foods:

  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli 
  • Tomatoes  
  • Potatoes  
  • Avocados 
  • Bananas 
  • Beets   
  • Nuts and Seeds  
  • Salmon  
  • Water  

Not only are all of the above naturally gluten-free, but they are all already included in my diet!  I know that beets sometimes scare people, but I try to tell those people that just try them roasted once and if you don’t like them, fine.  They are really tasty roasted with a little extra virgin olive oil, sea salt & pepper.  This is the latest dish I made using beets.

A simple combination of roasted beets, red wine quinoa and goat cheese garnished with cilantro. 

Avocados are another one of my current favorites – I eat at least 1/2 –1 avocado/day.  I eat them on sandwiches, salads or spread on toast & topped with sea salt.  

Blueberries are eaten by the handful – in fact I try to hide them or I will easily eat a pint a day.

Potatoes are great for stuffing.  I stuff them with a protein, veggies and then top with feta or goat cheese and avocado.  Shrimp works well here, as does a Sunshine Burger.  Pair with a salad for a great, quick meal.

I can only think of a couple of things missing from the superfoods list above.  I would add the following 3 foods:

  • chocolate
  • ice cream
  • wine (red, of course)

There, now it is perfect!  Winking smile

Before I leave you all, I want to wish my mom a Happy Half Birthday!!!  My mom has always been big on celebrating half birthdays.  Okay, really just when we were kids, but now my sister makes sure we carry on the tradition.  So, since my mom’s b-day is on January 9th, along with mine, today is our half birthday.  I prefer to stay under 40, so I am going to stop counting now, okay? 

Have a great weekend!


Dear Trader Joe’s…

Dear Trader Joe’s,

I have a problem.  I can’t stay out of your store and when you keep making new, amazing gluten-free products, I have an even harder time.  If my current list of “must haves” isn’t enough, I now have to include the following on that list:



You sure know the way to a girl’s heart.  Some of my other favorites:

  • 2 Buck Chuck
  • Almond butter – creamy with sea salt
  • Crunchy Curls
  • French rolls
  • 2 Buck Chuck
  • Chocolate calcium chews
  • All nuts & dried fruit
  • Gluten-free waffles
  • Edamame
  • Gluten-free boxed macaroni & cheese
  • Gluten-free gingersnaps
  • 2 Buck Chuck (did I already mention that?)

There is one product that I was not overly crazy about lately and I am not sure if it is me or the product.  Just not a fan.  Sad smile


So, keep up the good work and before long I will have to get a job there to afford my “problem”. 



P.S. Do you think if I drink enough of the Peaberry from Kenya that I will start to run like a Kenyan?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  Winking smile

An Adoption of Sorts

No, we didn’t adopt a child, but I did adopt a blogger recipe of sorts.  I’ll get to that in a minute.  I read blogs in my “spare” time.  I don’t have a lot of that so-called, ever-coveted, spare time, but when I have a few minutes here & there, I read blogs. I use Google Reader to manage my blog subscriptions so that I can easily access them on my computer or phone.  There are times in life when we have to wait – whether it is at a doctor’s office, for laundry to finish, for hockey practice to end, or for that watched pot to boil.  So, I strongly believe in multi-tasking to fill that time.  I read all different kind of blogs.  They may be written by friends of mine or by strangers who have become friends.  They may be about gluten-free cooking & baking, Celiac Disease, healthy living or running. 

One blog I have been following for a little over a year or so is Peas and Thank You.  Mama Pea isn’t gluten-free, but vegan.  She makes most of her food from scratch at home and everything she makes sounds so darn good! I had to try her Mmmm Sauce after I began to see numerous bloggers trying it and putting it on everything! 

The ingredients seemed simple enough and I had most of them on hand:


  • 1/4 c. canola oil (or oil of your choice)
  • 1/4 c. almonds
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1/4 c. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast
  • 2 1/2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 3/4 t. curry powder
  • 1/2 t. dried oregano
  • 1/2 t. dried cilantro*

Click here to see the instructions.  I made a small change – I didn’t have dried cilantro, but fresh, so that is what I used.  I probably used about 1-2 TBSP.  It is best to taste as you go along (less is always better) if you choose to go this route, as too much cilantro can be a bad thing. 

After I processed in my food processor, I chilled the sauce overnight.  Then I got to brainstorming what I could drizzle it on.  I tried it first right out of the bowl and am surprised I didn’t sit down on the couch with a spoon. It.Was.That.Good.  Funny thing is that I would have never dreamed of combining all of those things together to make a sauce.  I drizzled over my huge lunch salad that had roasted beets, chickpeas, goat cheese, greens & such.  Phenomenal.  Dinner rolled around and I didn’t go with my planned menu item because I was the only one eating at the time AND I wanted to plan my meal around the Mmmm Sauce, not what was in my fridge or on my menu plan.  I ended up with another large salad, but this time instead of using the sauce as a dressing, I used it as a spread on my Food for Life GF English Muffin. 

I could go on & on about how good this combo tasted.  I love these muffins, but the Mmmm Sauce makes them even better, if you can believe that!  I seriously considered having another one after I finished this one and my huge salad.  Only problem was that I was stuffed!  LOL! 

Some other ways I plan on using my sauce:

  • Sunshine burger’s “special sauce”
  • In a roasted veggie wrap
  • Fried eggs or omelet
  • Pizza sauce on Udi’s crust topped with spinach & tomatoes
  • And probably much to Mama Pea’s chagrin, on chicken (sorry – but it is THAT good!)

If you end up trying this sauce, please share in the comments below & tell me how you used it! 


Review: SPIbelt & 5K Recap

Before I ran my first marathon in Cleveland last May (2010), I purchased a SPIbelt to carry some essentials when I ran.  I had previously used another belt, made by Amphipod, I think, and it hit me in the wrong spot on the waist & caused a nice abrasion after my first half marathon.  Before you think I am dissing Amphipod, I am not, I actually have a hand-held water bottle made by them that I love.  The belt was just not for me.

I purchased the pink SPIbelt to match my marathon outfit.

While I believe the SPIbelt is a brilliant idea, it does not quite work as the website claims.  The website claims the following:

The SPIbelt does not bounce, ride or shift while running or doing other activities.

I beg to differ.  I have never been able to get the SPIbelt to NOT bounce.  It never really was that big of a deal until yesterday, July 4th, during my 5K race.  I wore my SPIbelt during a 5K only because I carried my phone with me.  Aaron stayed home with Hannah so she wouldn’t have to stand around too much with her arm in a cast & sling.  Normally I wouldn’t carry my phone in a race of such a short distance.  Anyway, in addition to the SPIbelt I wore a Nike running skirt.  This was the skirt I wore, but in black:


Do you see how it is split up the side?  There are built-in biker/booty shorts under the skirt, thank God (I’ll get to that in a bit).

As I am running the race, my SPIbelt is bouncing all over the place.  I am irritated, but not surprised.  Oh well, lesson learned, right?  Well, the story doesn’t end there my friends.  As I finished the race, I began to walk around to cool down.  My normal routine when wearing the above skirt is to reach slightly up under the skirt to pull down the shorts a bit, as they ride up a little.  Imagine my surprise when I find that the back of my skirt is stuck up under my SPIbelt!?!?!  So, I had been running with the back of my skirt stuck up under my SPIbelt for God knows how long.  It could have been half a mile, it could have been 2+ miles.  I would love to publicly apologize to anyone that was behind me and was subjected to my almost 40-year-old self in booty shorts.  Running skirt = cute; booty shorts = not so cute on someone my age.

On a side note, the SPIbelt does hold a lot of things – phone, keys, gels, etc.  It is durable, but does not stay in place no matter how tight you make it.  I thought maybe this was just me & my body shape, but I have spoken with several others and everyone has said the same thing, though they haven’t had the unfortunate experience of practically mooning the racers behind them.

Onto the recap.  This was my first ever 5K race, so I was super excited!  Even though I have run a 10K, half marathons and a full marathon, the 5K requires a completely different strategy.  While pacing yourself seems to be important, running at a faster pace than I am used to in races was also a must.  I have been running my tempo runs at a fairly fast pace (based on my heart rate training), so I knew I could do it, but I was still unsure of how it would go.  I figured any time would be a PR since I had never run a 5K before and then I would know how to strategize better next time.

The day started out humid & overcast.  The race started right on the dot at 8 AM.  I did warm up for a little over a half a mile & then stretched some, as I knew that I couldn’t wait until a mile or so in for my legs to warm up in such a short race.  I think that is the first time I have ever done this in a race.  The first mile was all about finding a pace that I felt somewhat comfortable in, yet I was still pushing.  I knew that pace would be somewhere under 9 min/mile, but because of the humidity, I was not sure where it would be.  My first mile was done at an 8:14 pace.  Okay, cool.  A little faster than I had thought it would be, but I felt good and kept pushing on.  Mile 2 had a bit of a hill (incline is probably a more appropriate term) and I slowed a little bit.  Finished out mile 2 at 8:28/mile.  Once I knew I was in mile 3, I picked it back up a little.  I knew that I could hold on for a mile.  After running several half marathons & 1 full marathon, I knew that this was the home stretch.  When we made the turn for the finish line and hit 3 miles (3rd mile was 8:15/mile) I pulled out all the stops.  Finished in 25:41!  My last .10 of a mile was at a 7:04/mile pace.  I was thrilled with how I ran this race, especially in the humidity and it gives me a good reference point for speed work in training for my upcoming half marathon.

Now, of course, I can’t wait to run another 5K and am actively looking to find one that works with my schedule.  Not only are they a lot of fun, but a great place to work on speed and they usually cost much less than the half or full marathons.

You didn’t think I would finish this post off without talking about gluten-free food, did you?  If you have never run or attended a road race, you should know that there is almost always food for the runners at the end.  Common food supplied to runners for refueling are bagels, water, chocolate milk, bananas, oranges, cookies, etc.  It really just depends on the race.  If you have to eat gluten-free, sometimes you glance over at the choices & cringe.  Other times you are desperately grabbing for anything and quickly scanning the label (if it has one) for gluten and then getting into your body as quickly as possible.  Fortunately whole fruits – bananas & oranges are almost always present and naturally gluten-free.  Chocolate milk is usually safe, but double check to make sure.  I have yet to see a gluten-free bagel provided, though maybe one day soon.  When I ran a half marathon in Atlanta last year, they handed out Go-Gurt yogurt, which says “gluten-free” right on it.  The race I ran yesterday had bananas & oranges and I had those in addition to a couple of bottles of water.  While the bagels looked good, I was plenty satisfied with what I had.  It would be nice if races would start providing coffee at the end of the race.  Winking smile

Review: Al Fresco Chicken Sausage

When I was sent some samples of Al Fresco Chicken Sausage,  I was very excited.  I am not a huge fan of hot dogs,  but these really appeal to me.  I have seen these many times in the store,  but never picked them up before.  A little more about Al Fresco:

al fresco. It’s all about fresh flavor from fresh ingredients. Our mission is to provide delicious all natural products that are easy to prepare as part of a healthy lifestyle – live life with flavor. Executive chef, Susanna Tolini revels in introducing our customers to a whole new way to enjoy chicken sausage- from scrumptious unexpected flavors such as Roasted Pepper & Asiago and Spinach & Feta to great, easy recipe ideas for all of our 14 al fresco gourmet flavors.

Our roots are grounded in over 100 years of quality sausage making. Al fresco’s founder, Deb O’Donnell is the granddaughter of Kazimierz Monkiewicz who in 1909 sold his handmade sausage out of a horse drawn wagon and started Kayem Foods. Kayem is now a premier manufacturer of some of the country’s leading brands of meats including al fresco.

While studying for her MBA, Deb saw a need that wasn’t being met amongst her fellow female classmates – a delicious tasting sausage that was also good for you. Hence the light bulb that is al fresco was lit and armed with her sausage making heritage and savvy grasp of customer needs, Deb started developing recipes for an all natural, delicious and healthy chicken sausage.

al fresco is now the #1 chicken sausage brand in the U.S. We offer our all natural chicken sausage in dinner and breakfast varieties. All of our products have 70% less fat than pork sausage and are free of nitrites, nitrates, preservatives and artificial ingredients, but full of flavor.

Just as Deb’s idea for al fresco came from listening to her classmates, we continue to listen to our customers every day. We’d LOVE to hear from you. Be it a new flavor idea, a recipe, a compliment or healthy criticism, we want to hear it all so that we can continually surprise and delight you, our customers.

Al Fresco has nine varieties of chicken sausage.  Those varieties include:

  • Buffalo style
  • Roasted pepper & asiago
  • Sundried tomato
  • Chipotle chorizo
  • Spicy jalapeno
  • Sweet apple
  • Roasted garlic
  • Spinach & feta
  • Sweet Italian

All of the chicken sausage varieties are gluten-free,  making them a great choice for those with Celiac disease.  With summer in full swing,  what better way to enjoy it than a good meal with chicken sausage on an Udi’s hot dog bun? 


I have tried the roasted pepper & asiago,  sweet Italian style and sweet apple varieties and love them all!  They each have a unique flavor and can be paired with different foods to make the meal tie together nicely.  For example,  I paired the sweet apple chicken sausage with sweet potato fries and a salad.  We haven’t tried the chicken meatballs yet,  but I will make sure to let you know when I do.  Here is another example of a meal I created with the sweet Italian style –  I chopped up the sausage and added it to a bowl of brown rice,  sauteed mushrooms,  zucchini,  okra & brown rice. 


Al Fresco products can be found in stores across the US

Have you tried any of the chicken sausages from Al Fresco?  If so, which kind? 

***I received the above products free of charge for review.  The review posted here is my opinion and was not influenced by anyone or anything. 


Fourth of July Menu Plan & Numbers

Quickly,  before I get to the menu plan for the week,  I have to share some interesting facts.

First, this post on running clothes,  was my 900th blog post!  I can’t believe I have written that much here!  It has been almost 3 years,  so I guess that is about right – roughly 300 posts/year.

Next, as of my 6 mile run in a thunderstorm yesterday with MIT,  I have run 600 miles for the year!  If I keep up my current pace,  I should hit 1200 miles for the year,  which would make my biggest mileage year yet!  Let’s hope the legs & feet hold up!

Now,  the menu.   Holiday weeks are great for spending time with family & getting an extra day or 2 off work.  They are not great for keeping on schedule.  The trash gets pushed back a day;  I get easily confused through the week as to which day it is;   my sleep gets messed up.  Yes,  I am getting old and persnickety.  I would like to know when I turned into a curmudgeon.  I like predictability,  people,  and I haven’t had too much of it recently.

Sunday – Pei Wei (how is that for predictability?)

Monday – Quinoa with roasted veggies & edamame and salad

Tuesday – Bison burgers,  sweet potato puffs,  broccoli & salad

Wednesday – Sweet Thai chile salmon,  brown rice,  sugar snap peas & salad

Thursday –Breakfast sandwiches,  homemade hash browns,  fruit salad

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

Saturday – Hoping to try California Pizza Kitchen’s gluten-free pizza

Week in review

Enjoy Life is now making crunchy cookies!

Soy Joy has a new flavor – pineapple!

Canyon Bakehouse foccacia recipes.

Edy’s is gluten-free friendly

Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free products

Gluten-free buns & beer in Columbus

Snowville Creamery chocolate milk review


Last,  but not least,  I want to share a quick fireworks show that some friends did a few years back:



Have a safe & Happy 4th of July!


Summer Veggies–‘Tis the Season

Not too long ago I took advantage of a Groupon for Rock Dove Farm – I paid $9 for $25 worth of vegetables!  Technically,  I paid nothing because I had a credit on Groupon for referring friends – SCORE!  Nothing tastes better than free,  local summer vegetables,  except maybe those grown in your own garden.  I have issues with my garden,  as I wrote about here.  Though,  I may be closer to figuring out my mystery.  I’ll get to that in a bit.  Now,  back to Rock Dove Farm. 

Rock Dove Farm is located in West Jefferson, Ohio.  I visited their booth at the Worthington Farmer’s Market a couple of weeks back to check out their selection.  The nice guy working that day informed me that I may want to hold off on using my Groupon to get the best selection of vegetables.  The Groupon is good through July and he said the selection would be much better in July than in the beginning of June,  when I was at the market.  Good deal!  I was just peeking at their vegetable selection today to see if I wanted to use my Groupon yet.  Some of the vegetables that I would like to get are:

  • arugula
  • tomatoes
  • kale
  • peppers
  • cilantro
  • carrots
  • cucumbers
  • eggplant
  • oregano
  • sweet corn

All I have to do is let them know in advance what I would like to order and pick it up at the Farmer’s Market.  Simple! 

Now,  back to my garden.  My mystery plants are growing and I think they may be cucumber and eggplant.  The newest photos of them (pay no attention to the weeds….on my “to-do” list for this weekend):



I don’t know whether I am more excited about the veggies I will get from these or the surprise of finding out what the heck they are!  LOL!

So, what vegetables are you looking forward to this summer?  Do you grow any vegetables yourself?  If so,  what?  Best thing about fresh vegetables is they are naturally gluten-free!



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Old Navy Running Clothes

Okay, maybe I am behind the times here, but I had no idea that Old Navy had decent running clothes.  Here I am paying lots of money for running shorts & skirts and I just picked up the most comfortable pair of running shorts at Old Navy today for $10!  The shorts normally retail for $15.99, but were on sale.  I bought them in black, but they came in numerous other colors as well.  I probably didn’t need another pair of running shorts, but I had a Groupon for Old Navy and aside from a 4th of July tank, nothing else was really catching my eye.

Today is my “long run” day, so I figured this was an appropriate day to post my review of the shorts.


Yes, I have a sports bra on, so get your mind out of the gutters.  I love the wide elastic waist band on the shorts! I seem to have such a hard time finding shorts that I like they way they sit on my waist.  These are perfect!

Now, the real test, how do they preform?  I wore these for my interval run on Thursday morning at the gym.   Not only did I run, but I lifted weights before my run.  These shorts do have a built-in pair of undies, something that did take some getting used to (when I first started wearing shorts with them – not these).  I now prefer my running shorts to have the built-in undies.  These shorts stayed in place without moving much at all; they didn’t fall down, the undies didn’t creep up.  Even though I was really sprinting through these intervals, these shorts stayed put!  A+++  I think that I need to make a trip back to Old Navy to pick up a few more pairs of these shorts.  The next test will be a long run to see if they cause any chaffing.  I think that I will be fine, as nothing seemed to bother me in the least bit while running.

I saw Dr. Bright on Monday for my right foot.  It isn’t hurting when I run at all, but since we were at the beach, it has been a little achy throughout some days & my toes will occasionally get numb.  He worked his ART magic on my foot and it felt a lot looser.  I asked what was going on…was I doing something wrong?  Was I running too fast (insert giggles here)?  He said it was likely related to the stress fracture I had last year – just the muscles getting tight.  Apparently the muscles have a memory & tend to get tight like they “remember” being.  Nice, right?  I asked what we could do to prevent this and he said there were a number of things we can try.  He was encouraged that I don’t have pain when I run (as am I).  For now he just did ART (active release technique).  We can try custom orthotics if it continues or some other stuff that we didn’t talk about.  I am all for a new right foot, but I don’t think that was included in the options he mentioned.  In all seriousness, I am thankful that I am able to run and don’t ever take that for granted.

I hope you all have a fun & safe holiday weekend!

Review: New Planet Beer

When I was asked if I wanted to sample New Planet Beer,  I jumped at the chance.  I miss my Amstel Light from my pre-gluten-free days,  so I enjoy tasting new varieties of gluten-free beer.  Previously I have tried New Grist,  Red Bridge and Bard’s Tale gluten-free beers.

New Planet has 3 different varieties of gluten-free beer:

Tread Lightly Ale

Made with Sorghum,  Corn,  Orange Peel,  Hops,  Yeast
5% ABV
12 Fluid Ounces / 4 & 6 Packs
125 Calories

3R Raspberry Ale

Made with Sorghum,  Corn Extract,  Natural Oregon Raspberry Puree,  Orange Peel,  Hops,  Yeast
5% ABV
12 Fluid Ounces / 4 Packs
160 Calories

Off Grid Pale Ale

Made with Sorghum,  Brown Rice Extract,  Molasses,  Tapioca Maltodextrin,  Caramel Color,  Hops,  Yeast
5% ABV
12 Fluid Ounces / 4 Packs
170 Calories

The first beer I tried was the Tread Lightly Ale and I loved it!  It was light,  yet flavorful.  It was the perfect accompaniment to my bison burger & salad.  Next up was the 3R Raspberry Ale,  which I also loved!  I drank this beer ice cold and by itself,  though it would go well with burgers,  nachos  or BBQ pulled pork sandwiches.  Last up was the Off Grid Pale Ale.  While this beer was good,  it wasn’t really my cup of tea beer.  The molasses provided a much stronger,  more bitter taste,  which may appeal to some people,  but was a tad too strong for me.  What I love about New Planet is the variety so that there is something for everyone!

More about New Planet Beer:

Our Planet

We named our company New Planet Beer as a way to express our desire for a new and invigorated planet. Our purpose is to help everyone celebrate life and to do good things for the planet. It’s our core mission to make great gluten-free beer and to donate a portion of our proceeds to environmental efforts in the areas in which we serve.

Current Programs

Each of our beer labels is named after a concept that helps “do good things” for the planet. Our current label Tread Lightly Ale, along with future labels 3R and Off the Grid highlight actions we can take to help our planet. Each year, we will give a portion of our proceeds to non-profit organizations that support direct action projects that make a tangible, demonstrable difference. We will only make donations in the regions in which we are sold.

Tread Lightly Ale: Trail Restoration Program

Tread Lightly Ale reminds us whenever we’re traversing by foot, ski, or wheels, to do it carefully and thoughtfully. Leave as little impact to your visit to the wild places of the world, pick up any trash or debris you may see and help to restore any damage caused by humans. New Planet Beer will donate a portion of their profits each year to organizations working to restore trails.

3R Raspberry Ale: Waste Reduction Program

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – the 3 R’s of waste reduction education. By reducing the materials we use, reusing what we already have, and recycling what we did use, than we can help promote and protect a healthy environment. New Planet Beer will donate a portion of our proceeds from the sale of 3R to non-profit organizations taking direct action to reduce, reuse and recycle.

  • 2011 Recipient: Bottlehood – Recycled Bottles to Glassware

Off Grid Pale Ale: Alternative Energy Program

Off the Grid means living in a self sufficient manner without the reliance on public utilities like gas and electric. Alternative and renewable energies like solar, geothermal and wind are becoming more and more available and affordable. So if we can help influence people to become aware of their usage of fossil fuels for heating and powering their homes and take steps to reduce that load, the better off our planet will be. New Planet Beer will donate a portion of our proceeds from the sale of Off the Grid to non-profit organizations taking direct action to provide and promote alternative energy.

  • 2011 Recipient: Will be selected in August of 2011

New Planet Beer can be found in eleven different states across the US or online where allowed.   The beer is $2.79/bottle or $15.19 for a 6-pack sampler.  Due to restrictions in the respective state laws, they are not able to ship alcohol to AK, AR, DE, HI, KS, KY, ME, MD, MA, MI, MS, MT, NH, OK, PA, RI, SD, TX, UT, VA, WA and WV.

Have you tried any of the New Planet Beer flavors?  What did you think?

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

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