Keen on Quinoa

The first time I tried quinoa a few years back, I wasn’t too “keen” on it.  I can’t remember where I purchased it, but I know that I cooked it like I do brown rice, only I didn’t rinse it.  Back in those days I was just cooking my brown rice in water, so that is how I cooked the quinoa.  It was somewhat bitter, which led to a less than stellar first impression. 

Since then, I have begun to rinse the quinoa, whether the package says to or not.  I also cook my quinoa in lite coconut milk or some kind of broth as opposed to water.  My favorite has to be the lite coconut milk!  The coconut milk really gives the quinoa a rich, creamy texture and it can be paired with cooked cinnamon apples for breakfast or a savory stir-fry for dinner. 

Quinoa has some pretty impressive nutritional stats with 1 cup containing 222 calories, 4g fat, 5g fiber and 8g of protein.  Additionally, each serving has 15% of the RDA of iron.  This is important for me as I have been anemic in the past and don’t do well with iron supplements.  The more iron I can get from my food, the better.  Another bonus?  Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and that makes me a happy camper. 

Trader Joe’s is often my source for gluten-free pasta, brown rice, gluten-free oats and quinoa.  I can count on them for the lowest prices & quality products.  The newest addition to their line-up is organic tricolor quinoa!


This tricolor quinoa is so pretty! 


There is a recipe on the back for black bean burgers using this quinoa that I plan to make in the near future, but last night I thought it would make the perfect bed for my pulled pork and roasted asparagus & grape tomatoes. 


I used lite coconut milk for this batch so that I could have it with the BBQ pork for dinner last night & cooked cinnamon apples & almond butter this morning.  I can’t even begin to explain how good this dinner was!!  If fact, I may have to have it again for dinner tonight if there are any leftovers!!

What is your favorite way to eat quinoa? 

Don’t forget to enter the Yoplait Lactose Free giveaway!

Check to see if you won the Rudi’s Gluten Free giveaway here

Is Wine Gluten-Free?

I love wine.  I don’t drink wine to get drunk; I drink wine because I love the taste & the experience the flavor lends to a good meal.  When I first started the gluten-free diet over six years ago, I mourned the passing of my beloved Amstel Light, but was somewhat comforted with the fact that wine was gluten-free, or so I had been told.


Fast forward a few years and I began to hear rumors on the internet of some wine potentially containing gluten!  NO!  The rumor was that some winemakers coated the insides of barrels with wheat-based paste or material.  I could never find any concrete information to back this up, and I wasn’t getting sick when I drank wine, so I left it be.

As I was catching up on Twitter the other day, I ran across a discussion on the Udi’s community page about this very topic.  Alta, of Tasty Eats at Home, mentions an article where this is discussed further, which I found helpful.  It seems the general consensus is that gluten is not used in winemaking and the barrel-coating process is “old school”, therefore making wine safe for those following the gluten-free diet.  Of course if there is any concern, a call can be placed to the manufacturer.

What has been your experience?  Do you drink wine?  Have you had any gluten-like reaction from drinking wine?

****Update:  An excellent article written by Peter Bronski on this topic.  Make sure to check it out!

**Don’t forget to head over to enter the Rudi’s giveaway – it ends tonight!!!

Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2012 has arrived!  Today I plan to make a surprise dinner for Aaron & the kids – something they all love and I don’t make nearly enough – lasagna.  I may whip up some brownies or cookies for dessert, but the kids have candy, so I am not sure that is necessary.  Aaron and I like to go out to celebrate, but we normally pick a day other than V-day to avoid the crazy busy restaurants. 


As far as candy & the gluten-free status of it, remember that holiday shaped/themed candy may contain gluten when it normally doesn’t.  This is just a friendly reminder to be vigilant in label reading.  Some fun Valentine’s Day ideas & candy lists can be found here. 

What do you plan on doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Do you go all out or is it just another “Hallmark Holiday”?

Make sure to check to see if you are one of the 3 lucky winners of the Jennie-O giveaway here

Review: Yoplait Lactose-Free Yogurt

Guess what?  You guys are my guinea pigs!  I am going to share my first vlog, or video blog today.  Please be gentle on me – I have a serious “um” issue and don’t really like to hear myself talk!  LOL!

I can’t watch it again, or I might not share it with you all.  I am posting…!

Prize pack will include:

  • A VIP coupon to purchase Yoplait Lactose Free yogurt
  • Lunch tote
  • 2 Gel packs
  • Individual bowl
  • Spoon

Yoplait Lactose Free Prize Pack Photo


For a $.30 off Yoplait Lactose-Free coupon, click here.  FYI….I did confirm that the Lactose-Free yogurt is also gluten-free, though it does not have the “gluten-free” label on the cup. Continue reading

Review: Popcorn Indiana Limited Edition

I had the pleasure of receiving two of the four limited edition flavors from Popcorn Indiana to review on Friday.  The caramel popcorn and the dark fudge chocolate chip kettlecorn arrived just before dinner time, so I sat it nicely on the counter, resisting temptation to skip dinner & dive right in. 


The popcorn is not only gluten-free, but also free of cholesterol, trans fats & preservatives.  More about Popcorn Indiana:

The all-natural ingredients and goodness of Popcorn, Indiana – from the fresh fields of the Midwest – are unearthed in every bag, and include 100% whole grains. It’s popcorn’s redemption – a new take on a familiar classic. They have created freshness and flavor that can’t be duplicated in the microwave oven. Nor do its products have any hidden chemicals that leave an aftertaste or alter its authenticity. Equally important, Popcorn, Indiana’s products are created by a company that prides itself on quality, service and most of all…customer satisfaction.

I was a good girl, and patiently waited until after dinner to dig into the popcorn, but it wasn’t easy.  Do you see why?



This popcorn was every bit as good as it looks x 1000 times better!!  I honestly didn’t expect to like it as much as I did and now I think I may have to go get some more because Jon ate all of the caramel corn in one sitting!  I got one handful.  One.  Lucky for me, Jon didn’t like the dark fudge chocolate chip kettlecorn!  I ate that as my dessert last night and plan on doing the same tonight. 

In addition to the 2 flavors we received to review, there are also 2 other limited edition flavors:  drizzled black & white kettlecorn and drizzled cinnamon sugar kettlecorn.  OH.MY.GOSH.  Both of those sound pretty darn amazing, too!  These all would make great, unique Valentine’s Day treats for your sweeties. 

Popcorn Indiana’s products can be found in select Walgreens, Wal-mart & Whole Foods store locations.  Remember, these 4 flavors are limited edition, but there are plenty of other great Popcorn Indian flavors to choose from.

***We received the products reviewed in this post free of charge for review purposes only.  The opinions stated here are mine (and Jon’s) and have not been influenced by anyone or anything

Review: Black Diamond Gizmo Headlamp

Last fall I bought a headlamp to light the way on my predawn neighborhood runs.  I did this partially so that I could avoid tripping or stepping on frogs (yes, I have encountered a few along my early summer morning runs) and also so I was easier to see.  My colder weather gear – jackets & pants – make me much easier to spot than my summer gear, which is often a sports bra & shorts when it is really hot & humid. 

I didn’t realize how horrible my old headlamp was until I went on a run with a friend and she asked if it was working properly.  I said it was always like that and she suggested that I might need to look into replacing the battery (did nothing) or buying a new one.  It became crystal clear that I had a POS when I passed another runner on the trail that morning that almost blinded me with his headlamp.  Yep, I needed to find another headlamp.

I stopped by Fleet Feet and asked the owner, Tim, what he recommended.  He didn’t have anything in stock, but highly recommended the Black Diamond Gizmo Headlamp & said he would order some.  More about the Gizmo:

Now with a slimmer, more powerful design, the Black Diamond Gizmo Headlamp is a ready-for-anything light that’s useful in more places than you can imagine. From chores around camp to a mellow night hike, the Gizmo’s 3 SinglePower LEDs provide up to 35 lumens of brightness as well as dimming and strobe modes. The headlamp also automatically powers off after 2 hours to avoid accidental battery drain.

I set out yesterday for my first run with Gizmo (love the name – reminds me of those little furry Gremilns that you can’t feed after midnight or get wet).  I was shocked at how bright it was and how far in front of me I could see!  I could also see my Garmin much easier than I could with the old POS headlamp.  Checking my HR, time or distance with my old headlamp required exact head tilting & light beam placement on the watch face.  This was not a safe thing to do unless I was standing still.  Now I can easily glance down at my watch while running & it is lit up with the Gizmo.  I am very pleased with my purchase! 


The Black Diamond Gizmo can be purchased online for $19.95 plus $5.00 shipping. If the Gizmo isn’t right for you, there are many other headlamp options.

Do you run with a headlamp in the dark?

Rudi’s Gluten-Free Giveaway

What is the best way to get rid of the winter blahs?  Free stuff!  Rudi’s Gluten-Free is doing “30 Days of Gluten Freebies” right now, so don’t miss out on your chance to score some really cool stuff to perk you right up!  More about “Gluten Freebies”:

Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery is on a mission to help those suffering from gluten-intolerance or celiac disease taste the good life through a 30 day Gluten Freebies Giveaway on Facebook.  Rudi’s Gluten-Free was founded on the idea that you don’t have to give anything up to go gluten-free – the company’s breads and baked goods look, taste and feel like the real thing – and is hosting this giveaway to share how delicious a gluten-free life can be.


“Now that at least one in 133 Americans has celiac disease, according to a study by Alessio Fasano in the Archives of Internal Medicine, we’re proud to show that even if you’re gluten-free you can enjoy food just like everyone else,” said Doug Radi, vice president of marketing for Rudi’s Organic Bakery. “Our 30 day giveaway gives new and old fans on our Facebook page the opportunity to win prizes that will spiff up their gluten-free cooking repertoire and put a little fun in their daily routine to help them live a happy, healthier, gluten-free life.”


Beginning on Feb. 6, fans can log onto the Rudi’s Gluten-Free Facebook page, “Like” the brand and receive a $2 off coupon. Additionally, by visiting the Giveaway tab on the Facebook page, consumers can enter weekly to win prizes given away each day, like Rudi’s Gluten-Free breads and baked goods, a Cuisinart toaster, Crofter’s Organic jams, a Kodak digital camera, and gluten-free cookbooks.


Unlike many gluten-free breads and baked goods on the market, Rudi’s Gluten-Free products are free of artificial ingredients, preservatives and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Plus, Rudi’s Gluten-Free’s products are soft and delicious, making life a little brighter for families that suffer from a gluten intolerance.


Rudi’s Gluten-Free products, including Original, Multigrain and Cinnamon Raisin Breads, Pizza Crust, Hamburger Buns and Hot Dog Rolls, are available nationally at natural foods stores and mainstream supermarkets. For more information and to find local availability, visit

Sounds pretty cool, right?  Well, I hope you are sitting down, because things are about to get crazy.  Rudi’s Gluten Free has offered to give one of our lucky readers a super-cool giveaway prize!  The lucky reader will receive the following, courtesy of Rudi’s Gluten-Free:

•         Rudi’s GF Sticky Notes

•         Rudi’s GF Bread Clip

•         Ruid’s GF Banana Pudding Recipe Card

•         5 Free Product Coupons

•         Spice Grinder

•         Delight Magazine

•         Gluten Free Living Magazine

•         Rudi’s GF Branded Toaster

•         Rudi’s GF Reusable Bag

Awesome, huh?


All you have to do to enter is follow the instructions below.

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Product Review: Nueva Cocina

I love rice.  I love all kinds of rice, but I was especially excited when I received these products from Nueva Cocina to review.


“Our delicious and versatile Nueva Cocina®Rice Mixes blend traditional Latin flavors with 100% natural ingredients. Nothing artificial, Gluten Free, no MSG or preservatives!”

I loved that the mixes were free of MSG and other preservatives.  The mixes were simple to prepare, taking less than 30 minutes per mix.


More about Nueva Cocina:

Welcome! Bienvenidos to Nueva Cocina®, the nation’s first line of all-natural, authentic and contemporary, Latin rice dishes, seasonings and soups. We are two Latina entrepreneurs who met in college and shared a passion for Latin cuisine. Our idea for a product line of all natural, authentic and convenient Latin foods had been brewing in our minds for years. We were two Cuban born women, away for college, who missed the delicious home cooked Latin meals we grew up on. It wasn’t until 2003 that we partnered to form Nueva Cocina® Foods – introducing the idea that exceptional tastes in Latin food can be easily achieved at home.

With food enthusiasts and modern-day families in mind, we created Nueva Cocina®. Each of our recipes start with a sofrito – a delicious combination of sautéed garlic, onion, peppers and spices which forms the savory foundation of most Latin foods.

Most of our products are also complete mixes; everything you need is in the box or pouch. Just add a little water, olive oil, and in unos minutos you have a complete meal. Nueva Cocina® makes it easy to enjoy the rich heritage, delicious tastes, aromas and colors of Latin foods at home. Nueva Cocina® is not only delicioso but all-natural; all our products contain no artificial ingredients or preservatives. Almost all our products are Gluten-Free and Vegetarian.

Nueva Cocina® is based in Miami, Florida, where culinary influences from all of Latin America thrive, serving as an inspiration for our recipes and new product ideas.

We invite you to try Nueva Cocina® Foods today. Shop for our products at your local supermarket and natural food stores, or shop online for all your favorite Latin dishes.

Buen Provecho,
Celeste De Armas & Corina Mascaro

I loved all of the rice mixes, but I think my favorite is the Mexican rice mix.  I added taco meat, corn, okra and avocado to my bowlful of rice and loved it so much I had it for my next 2 meals.  I love that these rice mixes don’t taste overly salty.  I remember some of the rice mixes I have used in the past as being way too salty.  The flavors were well balanced & left me wanting more!


The coconut raisin rice is a unique combination of flavors that goes very well with shrimp!  I was the only one in my family who would eat this (raisin haters) – I was pleased that I didn’t have to share!  The red beans & rice reminded me of my dad.  He used to eat red beans & rice a lot, mostly for carb loading before running.  This mix has wonderful flavor is great alone or with extra beans & veggies added in.

We still have to sample the soup mixes, which I hope to do this coming week. Nueva Cocina has a complete list of gluten-free foods here.  Many of the mixes are also vegetarian for those wishing to avoid meat.  The foods can be purchased directly from their website or from various grocery stores across the US.

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

Jennie-O Gluten-Free Giveaway

I have long been a fan of Jennie-O ground turkey and many of their other products.  I cook a lot with the ground turkey using it for burgers, tacos, lasagna & much more.


One of my favorite ways to eat Jennie-O ground turkey is in a huge taco salad.  In addition to seasoned ground turkey, I like to add rice, beans, avocado, tomato and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese.


Jennie-O has an extensive gluten-free list on their website.  As I was browsing the list, I found products that I didn’t even know they had!  I am super excited about the SO Easy Entrees turkey meatballs!  The website also has a recipe section that includes several gluten-free recipes.  Here is one I hope to try in the very near future after I pick up some more turkey bacon.


Turkey Bacon & Mushroom Omelet


  • 3 slices JENNIE-O TURKEY STORE® Extra Lean Turkey Bacon
  • 1/4 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped


Cook bacon as specified on the package.
Saute mushrooms for about 2 minutes until softened.
Beat eggs with water and pour into a hot 10 inch skillet; cook over medium-low heat for approximately 2 minutes, covered.
Uncover, sprinkle with cheese, tarragon, green onions, and sauted mushrooms. Lay the cooked turkey bacon slices in the middle. Cover again for an additional 3 minutes, or until the omelet is cooked. Fold two opposite sides into the middle of the omelet. Sprinkle with parsley.

Now for the fun part!  Jennie-O has offered to give 3 lucky readers each $10 worth of coupons for Jennie-O coupons!  The giveaway will start today & run through Monday, February 13, 2012 at midnight (EST).  All you have to do to enter is follow the instructions below.

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