Picture Pizza Friday

It’s Friday!  Yay!!  I woke up this morning at 4 AM and could not fall back to sleep.  If my gym was open at 4 AM, I would have been there with bells on.  No point in laying in bed staring into darkness when I could be running, right?  While I was laying there, trying desperately to fall back to sleep, my mind drifted to pizza.  Mmmm…pizza!  I usually eat pizza on Friday night, so perhaps my mind was preparing for what is to come. 

IMG_3717 (640x427)

I do believe that this combination was one of my favorites.  I make this last week before my half marathon.  I would normally add more vegetables, but I don’t like to overdo the veggies before a long run, so as to minimize the risk of stomach issues.  This simple pizza turned out to be the perfect way to fuel for my race.

  • Udi’s gluten-free pizza crust
  • diced tomatoes
  • sliced mushrooms sauteed in Earth Balance coconut spread (seasoned with sea salt & pepper)
  • mozzarella cheese
  • sea salt

In case you were wondering, yes, I did eat that all by myself.  I think that I will make a variation of this for dinner tonight, only added some roasted veggies. 

If you haven’t entered my giveaway for Stephanie O’Dea’s Totally Together journal make sure to head on over to enter!  The giveaway is open until Monday, September 12, 2011 at midnight


Review: Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life

It is no secret that I have been trying to find ways to get organized for a long time – perhaps my whole life.  Laugh all you want, it is true.  Heck, I laugh at it.  I have done the “Household Notebook” and now have another paperweight thanks to that short-lived project.  I just recently bought a composition book/journal and titled it “Kim’s Latest Attempt at Trying to Get and Stay Organized”.  I can tell you that it isn’t going so well either.  So when I heard that Stephanie O’Dea, queen of gluten-free crock pot cooking, had a new book on getting organized, I figured I didn’t have much to lose and I would be supporting someone I love at the same time.


The book, Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life, seemed to be created just for me – the calendar starts in September and goes through August, so no time like the present to get started!  I love this quote on page 3:

clean less and play more

My kind of philosophy – I am liking this book already!

Stephanie makes some excellent points in the first few pages.  I am going to highlight some that I found very important to understand before beginning:

“In order to start getting your house in order, you need to start getting your house in order”

“Do not alphabetize the spice cabinet if you have a mountainous pile of dishes in the sink”

“Instead of trying to do too much all at once, let’s focus on establishing a daily routine and enlisting help from the entire family.”

And this about sums it up:

“When your house is on fire, don’t stop to weed the flower bed.”

Okay, time to get down to it.  I liked Stephanie’s approach to attacking the problem – bits & pieces.  Start by trying to working to complete the “Daily 7”.  These 7 chores are simple, yet often go undone because I used to feel that if I couldn’t clean the whole room the way I wanted, why bother with a part?  Well, it appears that I should have been bothering!  LOL!  Making the bed, wiping down the bathroom as I am getting ready, picking up for just 10 minutes before bed….  Those things seem so simple.  And they are, once they become habit.  I love the layout of the calendar with the “Daily 7” checklist and then other suggested chores, along with a spot to write down what is going on for the week.

The way the calendar is laid out, Stephanie gives tips & reminders to start thinking about upcoming dates & events.  I can see this really being helpful to me around the holidays when I really tend to get overwhelmed.

While this isn’t a quick fix, and I truly believe that there aren’t any quick fixes, it is a lifestyle change.  Lifestyle changes lead to lifelong habits.  Much like eating healthy.  Eating healthy is a lifestyle change/choice, not something you do for a short period of time to get to a certain point & then revert to old habits.  The method in this book is doable, which is a key component for me.

I have been following the “lifestyle change” now for about 1.5 weeks.  I managed to complete 75% of the suggested items in Week 1 and about 90% of the “Daily 7” items.  Week 2 is going better and instead of throwing my hands up in the air and quitting when I slack, I just get back on the wagon & continue from where I left off.  There are days that fall apart, but that is life.  Tomorrow is a new day and the beauty in that is starting with a clean slate.  We are all human and we all make mistakes.  We can dwell on them and criticize ourselves or we can learn from them and move forward.

Now for the best part!  One of my lucky readers will win a copy of  “Totally Together”!!  All you have to do is follow the instructions provided by Rafflecopter below.

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Weekly Meal Plan–September 4, 2011

Okay, so this is a couple of days late.  I get a pass because I it was a holiday weekend and I ran a half marathon on Sunday, right?  Has the weather gotten cool where you live?  I was able to turn off our A/C yesterday and let all of the ragweed in (achoo!).  I think I have a couple more days in me before I close the house back to block out the allergens. 


The cool weather has me wanting to bake – pumpkin bread, banana bread, applesauce cake!  What is your favorite fall baked goodie?

Sunday – Rotisserie chicken, fried potatoes, broccoli and salad

Monday – Bonefish Grill (Hannah and I had a great day out shopping & then dinner)

Tuesday – Homemade Chipotle burrito bowls (instructions below)

Wednesday – Spaghetti with marinutta sauce and salad

Thursday – Bison burgers, sweet potato puffs, green beans & salad

Friday – Udi’s gluten-free pizza crust with tomato & mushroom (recipe to come soon) and salad

Saturday – Bourbon Chicken, brown rice, broccoli & salad

This week I will be sharing my thoughts on Stephanie O’Dea’s Totally Together Journal and giving away a copy, so make sure to check back in!  To see if you won my last giveaway, Rudi’s gluten-free bread & sandwich box, click here

To make the Chipotle-like burrito bowl (Aaron created this for Jon since the kid has a serious addiction.  I may or may not share the same addiction):

  • Brown rice cooked with lime juice & sea salt and then tosses with fresh chopped cilantro
  • Flank steak sliced & cooked with cumin, chili pepper, sea salt & pepper and then tossed with Aaron’s version of hot sauce (includes Sriracha and Red Hot – I don’t have exact measurements b/c he doesn’t measure anything)
  • Chopped iceburg lettuce
  • Sour cream
  • Cheddar cheese

Layer all of the above in a bowl & then drizzle with Ortega Mild Taco Sauce. 

Emerald City Half Marathon–In the Books

When I signed up for the Emerald City race, I signed up for the quarter marathon.  I knew that the Columbus Half was my goal race, so EC would be a training run.  Then one of my pace coaches with MIT talked me into the half.  No biggie, 2 halves in 6 weeks, I could do it.  I then planned on using EC as a training run.  Then my training was going well and I decided that maybe I could actually race EC and get a new PR.  My current PR is 2:01:22. 

When I went to bed Saturday night, I tried to focus on my breathing & drift off to sleep.  There was nothing more I could do at that point to improve my race, so no point in obsessing about it, right?  I fell asleep only to be awoken by storms at 12:30 AM and dear Hannah freaking out.  Mean mom that I am, I gave her 2 choices.  1.  Go back to sleep in my bed or 2.  Continue to whine and get your butt back in your own bed.  She opted for #1, but had to be threatened reminded a few times. 

I got up at 5:00 AM and began to get ready.  The storms were on the way out, so I was hopeful the race would go on.  I ate a quick bowl of Rice Chex as my pre-run fuel.  I have been practicing with dry cereal since January for pre-run fuel and as one of my MIT coaches preaches “Nothing new on race day”.  The key for me seems to be little to no sugar, but carbs.  Kix, Rice Chex, GF Rice Krispies all work for me.

As I was driving to Dublin, saw lightning off in the distance and said a quick prayer that the race would go off on time.  The later the race went off, the hotter & more humid it would be.  The race did indeed start at 7:00 AM with a light rain.  If you run, you know that a light rain is nice in temps like we had today.  While I didn’t originally think it was humid out, I soon discovered that I was wrong. 

I train using HR (heart rate) training.  This method has me keeping my HR in certain zones, not running at a pre-set pace.  My HR was not happy with the humidity and then came the hills.  I tried to keep my HR in the zones I was supposed to, but it was hard.   The middle miles of the race took us through a metro park that had a lot of ups & downs. I was able to pick up the pace after mile 9-10, but once I found out that I wasn’t going to PR, I pulled back a little.  No point in killing myself when I have another race in 6 weeks that will most likely be much cooler and flatter, which should = a better chance at a PR. 

This was my 4th half marathon & my 2nd fastest.  I am very proud of my time and my performance!  While it is discouraging that I didn’t meet my goal of a new PR, I finished and am feeling pretty good right now.  I need to focus and figure out how to goof-proof my plan for the Columbus Half in October. 


Oh, and the medal is HUGE!!  I smacked myself in the head with it when I bent over to take my shoes off!  OUCH!! 

One note I do want to touch on, if you ever get the chance to volunteer for a race, please do.  Many of my friends volunteered today and were at the first and last water stop.  It was such a huge boost of energy to see their smiling faces.  I will never forget that.  Thank you to all of the volunteers – without you, a lot could have gone wrong. 

My official time: 2:06:39. #407 out of 727 total and #31 out of 62 for my age group.

The winner of the Peeled Snacks giveaway can be viewed here.  Thanks to all who entered! 

Gluten-Free Meal Planning

With school back in session for most kids, I am sure the stress level in your house has picked up, just as mine has.  While we did keep busy during the summer, we didn’t seem to be on as tight of a schedule.  I figure that is because the kids didn’t have to be in bed at any certain time, and they could sleep in the following day.

Now that our schedule is crazy, it is really important that I not only plan out our meals, but stick to that plan.  I admit to being a really bad menu follower over the summer.  It was hot.  I was tired.  I have a plethora of excuses.  That is in the past and I am now looking towards the future and doing my darnedest to stay organized, so as to eliminate some of my stress.

I have never used a meal planning service, but came across one the other day.  I subscribe to Mamasource by Mamapedia (they send out deals like Groupon) and they sent out a deal the other day for a discounted meal planning service.  I was intrigued, so I went to the site to see about special diets.

The website is called The Six O’Clock Scramble.  Their mission:

Our mission is to improve the world one family dinner at a time.


  • Encouraging family mealtime – We believe family dinners nourish bodies, minds and relationships.
  • Promoting healthy meals for children – We believe every child needs and deserves nutritious foods.
  • Supporting local farmers – We promote seasonal fruits and vegetables and support local farms and businesses.
  • Reducing our environmental footprint – We believe in doing our part for Mother Earth and her inhabitants by promoting less waste, eating less meat, reducing pesticides by eating more organic foods, and  favoring sustainable fish.
  • Our Community – We believe in giving back to our communities and the families who entrust us with their dinner night after night.

The service typically costs less than $7/month, but the special coupon that is being offered right now makes it $18 for a 6 month subscription.  After investigating the site, I found that they do indeed offer meal planning for special diets:

  • Weight loss
  • Vegetarian
  • Food allergies
  • Gluten-free
  • Kosher
  • Dairy-free
  • Low sodium

You not only get the menu plan, but grocery lists & healthy eating tips, too.

I haven’t used this service, but know that I have heard more than once how people struggle with menu planning.  While a service may not be the route for everyone or even a permanent solution, it could be a real help in getting you off on the right foot, especially with the discounted price.

As always, please double check recommended ingredients & groceries to ensure that they are indeed gluten-free.

Review: Five Star Marinade

This review is overdue and I apologize for not getting it up earlier.  Sometimes life gets busy &  gets away from me.  I take shortcuts where I can and that has been in cooking lately.  When I was putting away groceries earlier in the week, I noticed that I had a pork tenderloin in the freezer, so I put it into the refrigerator to make later in the week, planning on using the Five Star Marinade for it.

A little more about Five Star Marinade:

  • No MSG
  • No sugar
  • No oils or fats
  • No preservatives

While growing up,  holidays were special for many reasons. Getting together with family, good food and lots of laughter. Most meals were potluck,  making it easier on those hosting the event. We always had the traditional turkey or ham as a main course, but my Grandmother would provide another meat with her marinade. Everyone loved the flavor so much that often the family dinners would break tradition serving only her meat dish.  Little did Grandma know that her marinade was a healthy substitute for sugar or molasses based barbeque sauce.

Grandma is gone now but I have taken the recipe and bottled this great taste for everyone wishing great flavor without the worry of calories, preservatives or fat. The marinade is easy to use and is excellent for barbeque, broiling or baking making it enjoyable all year no matter the weather.

My marinade is just the thing for those on restricted diets such as those on low sodium, sugar free, gluten free or Diabetics.

When Wednesday rolled around, I marinated the pork in the marinade after breakfast and let it sit in the refrigerator all day like that.  I had planned on grilling the pork after getting home from gymnastics that evening.  I ended up cooking the pork in the oven instead and it turned out great!  I loved the flavor of the marinade &  it kept the meat nice & moist.  This first night I simply sliced the pork and topped my large salad with it.   The following night I made Jon BBQ pork quesadillas and Hannah a pulled pork sandwich.  Both kids were unsure at first, as they aren’t keen on trying new things, but they both really liked it!

The ingredients are:

Vinegar, salt, spices, paprika, and garlic.

Simple.  Nutritional stats per tsp.: Calories – 0, Fat – 0g, Sodium-100 mg, Carbohydrates – 0g.

While Aaron and the kids chose to add BBQ sauce to the meat after cooking, I did not.  I thought the marinade added a nice flavor to the meat without adding anything extra.

Five Star Marinade can be purchased on their website for $10.50/bottle.  Shipping is free on all orders.

Remember to enter the Rudi’s gluten-free giveawaybefore Monday night!



**The product reviewed in this blog was sent to me free of charge for review purposes.  The opinions stated here are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything. 

Double Check

As I was jogging along on the treadmill this morning, peacefully reading my new Runner’s World magazine and drooling over the pretty new running shoes, I caught a glimpse of a story coming on the news about the gluten-free diet.  The premise was “The New Diet Trend”.  I wish I could have heard the piece because it infuriates me when people call the gluten-free diet a “trend” and bill it as the new greatest weight lost plan.  I’ll get back to that in a minute, but first, I need to rant about the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes recommendation.  While I didn’t hear the story, I did read it on closed captioning and they were talking about safe foods….fruits, salads, corn, etc.

It is true, there is no wheat in Kellogg’s Corn Flakes.  There is, however, malt flavoring, which comes from barley, which is gluten.  I have tried to find the video online to share, but was unable to locate it.

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes® cereal



This reinforces, more than ever, the need to always read labels.  It doesn’t matter if you have eaten the product for years.  It doesn’t matter if it says “gluten-free” on the front, as I have seen that claim on the front and the ingredient list on the back has listed wheat.  Only you are responsible for you. 

Now, back to the diet trend.  As I have said repeatedly on my blog – a diet is what you make it.  You can make it healthy, or you can make it unhealthy.  Can you lose weigh on the gluten-free diet?  Sure, just as you can lose weight on just about any diet out there.  There was even a guy who lost weight on “The Twinkie Diet”.

Okay, rant over.  Now I can get on with my Friday.

Rudi’s Gluten-Free Giveaway

Are you ready for another fun giveaway here on Gluten-Free is Life?  This time there will be 2 winners!  Yep, that is right, 2!!  Rudi’s Gluten-Free has graciously offered to give 2 of my readers a gift package that includes a free loaf of Rudi’s Gluten-Free bread and a sandwich box.  I have one of the sandwich boxes & use it all of the time!


Additionally, in celebration of the upcoming Labor Day holiday, I would like to share 2 recipes from Rudi’s using their products – gluten-free hamburger buns & gluten-free pizza crust.

Rudi’s Greek Turkey Burger

* 1 pound ground turkey
* 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
* 1/2 cup sliced olives (kalamata preferred)
* 2 teaspoons dried oregano
* 2 teaspoons cumin
* Ground black pepper to taste
* Handful of spinach for topping


* Preheat the grill for medium high heat.
* In a large bowl, combine turkey, feta cheese, olives, oregano,
cumin, and pepper. Mix together, and form into patties.
* Cook the patties on the grill until cooked thoroughly.
* Toast Rudi’s Gluten-Free buns on the grills for a minute or
* Layer burger and spinach

Rudi’s BBQ Gluten-Free Pizza

* Heat up your grill till it’s nice and toasty.
* Top your Rudi’s Gluten Free Pizza Crust with olive oil
and your favorite sauce.
* Sprinkle cheese and lots of veggies or
your choice of meat.
* Place your pizza on your grill for about
ten minutes.
* Ready, set, EAT!

Follow the directions below to enter the giveaway! Good luck!!

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