Cooking for Gluten-Free Guests

Today’s post is brought to you by my sister, Kelly Fons.  Kelly graciously accommodated our needs & fed us safely on our visit to Atlanta this past week, so I asked her to share how she goes about doing so.  I figured this could be helpful to those visiting family, as they could pass along some of Kelly’s tips.  Here is a picture of my beautiful, younger sister:


A little side note – I was looking for a picture of Kelly on my laptop & found this one of us as kids!  LOL!  I am on the right, Kelly is on the left.  Okay, enough of the past.  Here is a current picture with baby Garrett:


And now, without further ado, here is Kelly:

As a person who does not have food intolerances, I think it can be easy to get overwhelmed when a guest comes to stay who does. My sister and her son, both with Celiac, are staying with us for a week for their spring break. While this used to be an anxiety-producing event because of the uncertainty about what to cook, I can now say that I can entertain gluten-free guests with confidence after adopting these three basic concepts:

1. Go with what you know:

I find it is easiest if you look for recipes you may already make that are naturally gluten-free and start from there. There are many idiosyncrasies in substitutions that can be daunting if you are not familiar with how they behave (Case in point: what is xanthan gum??), and so I try to avoid substitutions. I am sharing a recipe below that I made for our gluten-free guests last night, and I am happy to say that not only did everyone love it, no one got sick!! (Yes, this is always a bonus when entertaining!)

2. Watch for Cross-contamination

If you do not eat gluten-free, your kitchen likely has gluten everywhere, even after you have cleaned – from the crevices in a wood cutting board that you used to make yesterday’s sandwich, to the mayonnaise that may have collected stray crumbs from a double-dip of the knife. Just be aware of what has been there before this meal and keep the kitchen clean as best as you can; use a clean plate for your cutting surface, open a fresh jar of mayo –you get the idea. I also find it easiest if the entire meal is gluten-free, rather than just making something separate for the GF guests. That way, you know there is no gluten currently in the preparation area.

3. Read labels – When in doubt, leave it out!

There are so many things that are not obvious gluten offenders that the average cook may think are safe but could actually be dangerous. Just be sure to read the labels – if it says that something “comes from a facility that also processes wheat, etc.,” even though you can’t identify one specific ingredient containing gluten, consider it off-limits.

The most important thing is to cook with the confidence that you can prepare a gluten-free meal; just being aware is half the battle. Relax and enjoy your guests!

(picture courtesy of the


Roasted Pork with Blackberry Sauce

(recipe inspired by Better Homes & Gardens online)

Makes 6 servings

Prep: 20 Minutes

Marinate: 2-5 hours

Cook: 5 minutes

Roast: 425 for 40 minutes (until temperature has reached 155 degrees)

1 ½ lb. Pork Tenderloin

½ cup blackberry preserves, melted and cooled

½ cup white wine or pear juice (I used pear juice)

4 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

4 tbsp. olive oil

4 tbsp. Dijon mustard

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. orange zest

1 tsp. snipped fresh rosemary

· Place tenderloin in zip-top bag. For marinade, whisk together preserves, wine/juice, vinegar, olive oil, mustard, garlic, soy sauce, orange zest and rosemary. Pour half of marinade over pork (reserving the rest for the reduction sauce). Seal bag and refrigerate pork for 2-5 hours, turning bag occasionally.

· Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drain pork. Place meat on rack in shallow roasting pan. Roast 35-45 minutes or until slightly pink in the center (155 degrees)

· Meanwhile, for sauce, in small sauce pan, bring reserved marinade to boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer 5 minutes.

· Let pork rest for 10 minutes when finished roasting. Slice pork. Serve with reduction and steamed green beans and mashed potatoes.

The pork tenderloin & reduction was awesome!  I can definitely see making this at home for the family.

Guest Blog: Amy Jones

I am thrilled to introduce you to Amy Jones, RD at Mary Rutan Hospital in Marysville, Ohio.  Amy has been kind enough to share a guest blog today – enjoy!!

The Dietitian-Patient Relationship Critical to the Success of a GF Diet


I want to thank my friend Kim for trusting me to guest blog one day this week. I stumbled upon this blog by accident –a recurring theme in my journey in Celiac, as you will read later. Kim and I are both runners, and we both ran the Capital City Half Marathon last May (me much more slowly than her!) I ran the race to raise money for Team Gluten Free (from the National Celiac Disease Foundation). The shirt I wore during the race got Kim’s attention and we’ve been friends ever since.


(gotta love neon green!)

So, how did I get here? Well, just another happy accident in my professional life. About 3 years ago, I found myself somewhat embarrassed by my lack of knowledge and ability to provide good care for Celiac/GF patients who came to the small community hospital in which I work. Whenever I would have to do a diet instruction or get good GF meals up to patients, I always found myself scrambling and never feeling like I did a good job. Mentioning this to a Facebook friend, she said “Amy, you have to meet someone. Her daughter is 9 and has Celiac.” So I scheduled a lunch date, and found myself getting an education on Celiac that inspired me to do more.

I came home that night and told my husband “I think I just started a Celiac support group.” Over the next few months, I digested (pun intended) every book and magazine I could find. I spent time with the marvelous Mary Kay Sharrett from Nationwide Children’s Hospital. I scheduled our first support group meeting for May, 2010 and hoped a few people would show up, just to show the hospital I worked for that this was worth all the work. I had requested RSVPs for our first meeting, and when my list hit 45 people, I knew it most definitely was worth the work, and that a need in our area was finally being met.

Over the last 2 years, I have fallen in love–with the people in this group, with Celiac/Gluten Intolerance, and with the joy and fulfillment that being a dietitian can bring. What I LOVE about Celiac and teaching this to my clients–is how it truly changes lives. Clients feel better, get excited, go through joys and struggles, and develop a relationship with me and with each other.

That relationship with your dietitian is what I want to talk about today. So many times, I read on blogs how dietitians aren’t as helpful to Celiac clients as they could be. While this is always a little disappointing to read, to be fair, Celiac is a very specialized area of dietetics. And it’s also still an emerging area. Just 15 years ago in college, I was told I would never see Celiac in clinical practice. Boy, how times have changed! And so many dietitians just simply don’t have the comfort level and experience they need to effectively counsel these patients. This can leave patients feeling like they didn’t have a good experience or didn’t leave their appointment with the tools they needed.

Just as you would choose a physician who specializes in Celiac, I think it’s very important to find a dietitian who does as well. This dietitian may not be at your local hospital unfortunately. So it may require some commitment to travel (hopefully a short distance) and to really research whom you want to see. Websites like the Gluten Intolerance Group, G-Free Connect, Gluten Free Dietitian, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, all have listings of dietitians who provide counseling to those with Celiac disease. I strongly encourage you to utilize one of these listings when selecting a dietitian. Dietitians who list themselves on these sites have made a commitment to stay up on the latest research and are utilizing evidence-based guidelines in counseling and practice. If you can’t find one close to your area from these listings, ask around at your local Celiac support group.

Finding the right dietitian can make the difference between getting off on the right foot with Celiac or not. Finding someone who is committed to your success and is willing to establish a long-term professional relationship is key. Do your own research and ask your physician for a referral to the person who will be able to give you what you need to be successful.

Hey, I’m doing a webinar on weight management and the Gluten Free diet on April 18th! I’d love to have you listen in. It’s FREE and will be available on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. You can register here!

You can also check out our support group’s website. We meet the 2nd Monday of each month here in Bellefontaine (about an hour from Columbus). You can also check out my website. It’s just getting started, but more content will be added every day!

Thanks, Amy, for taking the time to share such important information with all of us!

Review: Topricin Pain Relief & Healing Cream

With running & exercising comes sore muscles, injuries, etc.  One can only take so many NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – Aleve, ibuprofen, naproxen) safely.  Not only can taking NSAIDS long term have some potentially dangerous side effects, but there have been studies that taking those types of medications before long runs or hard workouts can cause a serious condition called “hypernatremia”.  There has to be a safer way, right?  Enter Topricin.


Topricin is a pain relief & healing cream.  It seems that I have some sort of ache & pain a few times a week, usually due to my increasing mileage and/or strength training.  These come with the territory, so when Topricin contacted me to see if I would be interested in sampling their products, I said “YES!”

More about Topricin:

Topricin® is the culmination of many years of research in the area of regulated natural medicines. The result is a line of pain relief products for the whole family that work with no side effects. Our patented topical formula aids in the healing process by improving blood flow to the injured tissue and draining toxins and fluids that build up as a result of injury or painful ailments like arthritis. Unlike many other over the counter pain relief creams and medications that just mask symptoms, Topricin® stimulates the body’s desire to heal the damage that is causing the pain. Whether for muscle pain, joint pain, soft tissue pain or injury, Topricin® is often the first treatment that doctors, chiropractors and physical therapists recommend. An FDA-regulated over the counter medicine, Topricin® is the leading natural therapeutic brand.

Doctor-recommended Topricin® is called “a miracle treatment” by doctors and patients alike. It works because it doesn’t just mask the pain. Topricin® uses no volatile oils such as camphor, menthol, or irritating chemicals and can be used as many times a day as needed with no fear of overuse or interference with other medications.

Effective For:

  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Bruises
  • Bursitis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Minor burns
  • Sciatica
  • Scrapes
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Tendinitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Then, just when I thought it couldn’t sound any better, I saw that they also had a foot therapy cream:

Podiatrist-recommended Topricin® Foot Therapy Cream is specially formulated to relieve foot and ankle pain. It offers soothing treatment for swelling and soreness and effectively treats dry, cracked skin. Whatever the reason causing you to have aching feet, this fast absorbing, paraben-free formula will get you back on your feet in no time.
Learn more
Effective For:

  • Achilles Tendinitis
  • Bruising
  • Gouty Arthritis
  • Heel Pain
  • Impact Injuries
  • Leg Cramps
  • Nerve Pain
  • Neuromas
  • Overuse
  • Planar Fasciitis
  • Sports Injuries
  • Sprains
  • Strains

After all of my issues with plantar fasciits and neuromas, I think that this product may have been designed for me.  I have been going to weekly ART (active release technique) sessions for my plantar fasciitis and metatarsalgia and while that does help, adding the foot cream to my regimen can’t hurt.  I have been using it a couple of times a day for the past few days & have noticed a difference.  I need to really use it the recommended 3-4 times per day regularly to see where that gets me.

I have also been using the original cream on my low back/glute that has been tight/sore and I have definitely felt better when I use the cream than when I don’t.  I read the page about “Why Topricin Works” and was specifically interested in the fact that it doesn’t mask the pain symptoms, but it stimulates healing so that the damage that is causing the pain is healed.  Topricin is odorless (thank goodness!), won’t stain your clothes, safe for diabetics and kids (there is a kids version).  The ingredients can be viewed here.

Topricin can be found in select stores across the world.  Click here to find the location nearest you.  My mom went in search of some the other day for her back/leg pain and while Publix didn’t carry it, the pharmacy was willing to order it in.  If you are having trouble finding it, consider asking your pharmacist to do the same.  It can also be ordered online.  Topricin Pain Relief and Healing Cream is available in a convenient 2-ounce tube (MSRP $16.95) that is just the right size to store in a backpack, gym bag or glove compartment. The product is also available in two larger sizes: 4-ounce jar (MSRP $24.95) and 8-ounce bottle (MSRP $39.95).

Have you tried Topricin before?  If so, what did you think?

***Please get any pain that is severe or lasts longer than a few days evaluated by a doctor.  I feel comfortable treating my aches/injuries this way because I am under the care of a doctor.

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

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win a copy of Elizabeth Barbone’s new cookbook: How to Cook Gluten-Free.

Travelling Gluten-Free

If you have travelled gluten-free, you are aware that it can be challenging at times.  The past couple of years have been wonderful in terms of gluten-free & Celiac Disease awareness with the addition of gluten-free menus to many restaurants.  Additionally, more & more mainstream grocery stores are stocking gluten-free replacement products, making it easier to purchase food once reaching your destination.


We travel a few times a year, each time being roughly 1-2 weeks.  I used to pack bags & bags of gluten-free replacement foods to bring with us.  I guess I was afraid of going hungry, though now that I look back, I know that I was probably overdoing it.   A mainstream grocery store has all the food you need, even without taking into account gluten-free replacement products.

  • meats
  • fresh produce
  • rice
  • potatoes
  • dairy products
  • eggs
  • spices/herbs
  • wine

I try to map out grocery stores & gluten-free friendly restaurants before we leave town.  Having this information with us makes me feel a lot more comfortable.  Over the years I have trimmed down to one bag and a cooler with food that we eat along the way.  Yes, there are usually plenty of options on the road, but I prefer to save time & money by eating home-packed lunches.

There are also many gluten-free apps available for both iPhone and Android phones with information on the location of restaurants that are gluten-free friendly.  Always make sure to follow up with the current staff to ensure the practices are still in place, as management can change from the time the app was published.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win a copy of Elizabeth Barbone’s new cookbook: How to Cook Gluten-Free.

Review: Twenty-4 Zen Granola

Looking for a different way to enjoy granola with your breakfast?  I find myself getting into a breakfast rut, but these gluten-free granolas from Twenty-4 Zen certainly add a tasty twist! 


These are just 2 of the 3 varieties – the third is “Haute Chocolate”.  The “Haute Chocolate” is the newest variety & the packaging hasn’t been finished yet. 

Lemon Ginger GranolaIngredients: Gluten-free Oats. Almonds. Expeller Pressed Canola Oil. Agave Syrup. Brown Sugar. Lemon peel. Lemon Oil. Ginger. Nutment. Salt.

Nutritional Facts:
Serving Size 1/4 cup. Servings per container about 12. Amount per serving; Calories 120. Calories from fat 5.
Total Fat 6 g. Saturated fat 0. Trans Fat 0. Cholesterol 0 mg. Sodium 50 mg. Total Carbohydrate 15 g. Dietary Fiber 2g. Sugars 5g. Protein 4g. Vitamin A 0%. Vitamin C 0%.
Calcium 4%. Iron 8%.

Mild Chili Mango GranolaIngredients: Gluten-free Oats. Almonds. Dried Mango. Pumpkin Seeds. Sunflower Seeds. Brown Sugar. Agave Syrup. Expeller Pressed Canola Oil. Natural Vanilla Flavor. Salt. Chili Powder. Cayenne Powder. Citric Acid.

Nutritional Facts:
Serving Size 1/4 cup. Servings per container about 12. Amount per serving; Calories 130. Calories from fat 6.
Total Fat 6 g. Saturated fat 0. Trans Fat 0. Cholesterol 0 mg. Sodium 50 mg. Total Carbohydrate 14 g. Dietary Fiber 2g. Sugars 5g. Protein 4g. Vitamin A 4%. Vitamin C 0%.
Calcium 2%. Iron 6%.

All 3 of the granolas have unique flavor combinations & textures that left me wanting more.  If I had to choose a favorite, I think it is the Mild Chili Mango.  I ate these straight out of the package, but they would be great with a touch of almond milk drizzled over the top or paired with Greek yogurt.  More about the granola:

Twenty-4 Zen Granola is a balancing, harmonizing granola for those who seek nirvana. It fuses a burst unexpected flavors with gluten-free oats carefully roasted in small, hand made batches. Nature’s treasures of pepitas, sliced almonds, piquant ginger, slightly tart lemon, a sweet zing of mango and chili pleasantly surprise even the most sophisticated palate. Crunch with Intention.

The oats in the granola are from Bob’s Red Mill, though they are switching to a certified gluten-free producer.  The granola is produced right here in Columbus, Ohio!  How cool is that?  The granola can be purchased right from the Twenty-4 Zen website.  They take Paypal in addition to credit cards. 

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win a copy of Elizabeth Barbone’s new cookbook: How to Cook Gluten-Free

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Gluten-Free Cookalong + a Giveaway

I am flattered that I have the pleasure of being a part of the How to Cook Gluten-Free “Pizza and Pasta Cookalong” with Elizabeth Barbone.  I have known Elizabeth for several years now. I believe that we “met” on a Yahoo group for those following the gluten-free diet, if I remember correctly.  Elizabeth has a new cookbook due to be released on March 16th, just a few days from today.

HTCGF Cover-500px wide

I have drooled over Elizabeth’s recipes for years and couldn’t wait to make the “Powdered Sugar Doughnut” Muffins once I read the recipe.  Jon is always asking for a baked sweet treat, so I knew that he would be pleased to come home from school to these.  The ingredients were all things that I had already in my pantry, which makes it much more likely that I will make these again.


Powdered Sugar Doughnut Muffins

Dry Ingredients
3/4 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Wet Ingredients
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 package (1 pound) powdered sugar
1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and
preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease the
cavities of a mini muffin pan with nonstick
cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry
ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and whisk
to combine. The batter will be thin.
3. Fill the muffin cavities about half full. Bake for
20 to 25 minutes, until the muffins are golden

4. While the muffins are baking, fill an 8-inch
square baking dish with the powdered sugar.
5. Remove the muffins from the oven and
working in batches, place them directly into
the powdered sugar. Gently roll the muffins in
the sugar to cover them. The steam from the
hot muffins will make the sugar stick to the
muffins. Remove the muffins from the sugar
and tap off any excess. Transfer the muffins
to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight
container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1
Makes 24 mini muffins

My recipe notes:

I used mini and full size muffin pans – the full size turned out much better and would be perfect to fill with a custard or jelly.

The recipe called for removing the muffins right away & tossing in the powdered sugar; I found they held together better if I waited 5 minutes.


Jon adored these!  He originally came home from school upset that I hadn’t made Crispy Rice Treats, but quickly quieted down once he shoved a few of these in his mouth.  I believe he used the words “freakin’ awesome” to describe them.

Now comes the fun part – one lucky reader will win a copy of Elizabeth Barbone’s new book: How to Cook Gluten-Free: Over 150 Recipes that Really Work.  Just follow the directions below to enter to win.

Continue reading

Gluten-Free Mocktails

With the weather warming up, all I want to do at the end of the day is sit out on our patio/deck & drink refreshing cocktails.  Since I don’t think downing multiple cocktails each day is probably the best idea, I have been experimenting with “mocktails”.  They are just as refreshing, lower in calorie and you can still drive safely after more than one of them. 


My latest creation is based on a simple vodka and cranberry, minus the vodka.  


I use La Croix pure sparkling water with a splash of 100% cranberry juice and a fresh lime.  For this particular drink, I used the lemon version of La Croix, though I would love to try the new coconut variety in this!  I can see using the coconut with pineapple juice!  YUM!  The La Croix Facebook page is full of mocktail recipes and a coupon for $1.00 off of a 12-pack. 

Mocktails are also great options for big “drinking holidays” so that you can still feel like you are part of the celebration without the effects of alcohol. 

Do you have a favorite go-to mocktail?

Winner of the So Lucky Gifts “So Active” box

Review: Betty Lou’s Fruit Bars

A few weeks ago I received some fruit bars from Betty Lou’s to sample & review.  I thought these would be perfect for Jon to have as a snack, but he turned his nose up at them without tasting them the first time I offered them.  I asked him how he could say he didn’t like them if he had never tried them.  He didn’t really have a “good” answer.  His answer was more along the lines of “because I know”, which is standard teenage speak because life can’t just be simple.  I put them in a bowl on the island in our kitchen and planned on working my way through them.

I came home from picking up Hannah from school a few days later and Jon came downstairs proclaiming that the bars were the best thing he had ever tasted!  I said that I thought he didn’t like them, to which he said “I didn’t say that!”.  Do you see what I go through?  He said they reminded him of cereal bars that he used to eat before starting the gluten-free diet.  The first day he tried them, he worked his way through 4 of them.  I don’t recommend eating them in the quantity that Jon did, though I was just pleased he was interested in a food other than Chipotle & Cool Ranch Doritos.


The gluten-free fruit bars come in five different varieties:

Blueberry – Blueberry Fruit Filling (Fruit Juice Concentrate [Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Apple], Blueberries, Apples, Inulin, Tapioca Starch, Apple Powder, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Pectin, Locust Bean Gum, Organic Rice Flour, Red Cabbage Extract for Color), Fruitrim® (Fruit Juices, Natural Grain Dextrins), Gluten-Free Oats, Gluten-Free Flour Blend (Potato Starch, Brown Rice Flour, Stone Ground Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour), Safflower Oil, Inulin (dietary fiber), Water, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sea Salt, Cinnamon, Baking Soda, Ginger.

Apple cinnamon – Apple Cinnamon Fruit Filling (Fruit Juice Concentrate [Pear, Pineapple, Apple, Peach], Apples, Inulin, Tapioca Starch, Natural Flavors, Apple Powder, Zante Currants, Citric Acid, Pectin, Water, Cinnamon, Locust Bean Gum, Annatto Extract and Turmeric for color), Fruitrim® (Fruit Juices, Natural Grain Dextrins), Gluten-Free Oats, Gluten-Free Flour Blend (Potato Starch, Brown Rice Flour, Stone Ground Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour), Safflower Oil, Inulin (dietary fiber), Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sea Salt, Cinnamon, Baking Soda, Ginger.

Apricot – Apricot Filling (Fruit Juice Concentrate [Pear, Pineapple, Apple, Peach], Apricots, Inulin, Tapioca Starch, Apple Powder, Natural Flavor, Apricot Juice Concentrate, Water, Turmeric and Annatto Extract for color, Citric Acid, Pectin, Locust Bean Gum), Fruitrim® (Fruit Juices, Natural Grain Dextrins), Gluten-Free Oats, Gluten-Free Flour Blend (Potato Starch, Brown Rice Flour, Stone Ground Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour), Safflower Oil, Inulin (dietary fiber), Water, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sea Salt, Cinnamon, Baking Soda, Ginger.

Cherry – Cherry Fruit Filling [Fruit Juice Concentrate (Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Apple), Cherries, Apple Powder, Tapioca Starch, Inulin, Natural Flavors, Water, Pectin, Locust Bean Gum, Citric Acid, Red Cabbage Extract, Red Beet Juice Concentrate and Annatto for color], Fruitrim® (Fruit Juices, Natural Grain Dextrins), Gluten-Free Oats, Gluten-Free Flour Blend (Potato Starch, Brown Rice Flour, Stone Ground Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour), Safflower Oil, Inulin (dietary fiber), Water, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sea Salt, Cinnamon, Baking Soda, Ginger.

Strawberry – Strawberry Fruit Filling [Fruit Juice Concentrate (Pear, Pineapple, Apple, Peach), Apple Powder, Inulin, Tapioca Starch, Strawberries, Natural Flavor, Evaporated Apples, Pectin, Citric Acid, Red Beet Juice Concentrate for color, Locust Bean Gum, Red Cabbage Extract and Annatto for color], Fruitrim® (Fruit Juices, Natural Grain Dextrins), Gluten-Free Oats, Gluten-Free Flour Blend (Potato Starch, Brown Rice Flour, Stone Ground Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour), Safflower Oil, Inulin (dietary fiber), Water, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sea Salt, Cinnamon, Baking Soda, Ginger.

Each bar has 180 – 190 calories, 3 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein.  In addition to being free of gluten, they are also free of corn, soy & dairy.  Betty Lou’s can be purchased in stores across the US and online at Betty Lou’s & Amazon.

Obviously these were a huge hit in our house.  I am glad that I snuck one before Jon discovered his newfound love.  In fact, he asked me to get him some more as soon as I could.  Have you tried Betty Lou’s fruit bars?  What did you think?

***The products reviewed in this post were sent to us free of charge for review purposes.  The opinions posted here are mine (and Jon’s) and have not been influenced in any way.

Weekly Menu Plan–March 11, 2012

Did you remember to Spring Forward?  I went to bed at 8:30 last night in hopes of catching that hour of sleep I was going to lose.  No, seriously, I was worn out from my 9 mile run and studying.  This week the weather is predicted to be awesome – 60s and 70s?  Yes, please!  The sun is out and there is not a cloud in the sky right now.  What a great way to start the week!

Have you guys ever tried these San-J sauces?


I have always been a fan of their tamari sauce and Thai peanut sauce, but haven’t tried the Asian BBQ yet.  Aaron just tried the Thai peanut for the first time and he can’t get enough of it!  He has made chicken stir fry a few times since I received these samples and it looks like I may need to be buying more now!  I hope to make a recipe this week using the Asian BBQ either with salmon or this Asian Green Tea BBQ Wild Rice.

Asian Green Tea BBQ Wild Rice

Created by: Amie Valpone
12 ounces fresh cranberries
1 ½ cups brewed green tea, chilled
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 cup fresh kale, chopped
1 ½ cups wild rice
3 cups apple cider
2 large plum tomatoes, diced
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup soy nuts
1/4 cup San-J Asian BBQ Sauce
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Plump the cranberries in brewed green tea for 30 minutes. Drain cranberries and set aside; transfer liquid to a large pot over medium heat. Add onions; cook until translucent. Add kale, cook for another 4 minutes.
In a large sauce pot, bring the wild rice and apple cider to a boil. Transfer mixture to a deep baking dish. Add onion mixture; mix well to combine. Bake in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes or until the rice absorbs all liquid. Remove from oven.
In a large serving bowl, gently toss cooked wild rice with cranberries. Add plum tomatoes, celery, olive oil, soy nuts, San-J Asian BBQ Sauce and pepper. Garnish with cilantro.
Serves 4.

(recipe courtesy of San-J)

***It is important to note that not all of the San-J products are gluten-free.  The gluten-free products will be clearly marked. 

Sunday – Rotisserie chicken, Asian green tea BBQ wild rice and salad

Monday – Bison burgers, baked sweet potato, steamed broccoli & salad

Tuesday – Easy enchilada bake and salad

Wednesday – Chicken stir fry w/ Thai peanut sauce, brown rice & salad

Thursday – Chipotle take-out

Friday – Dinner with family

Saturday – Dinner with family

Don’t forget to enter to win the So Lucky “So Active” Box giveaway.  It ends Monday night!

Rudi’s Gluten Free introduces flour tortillas.

The newest installment of NFCA webinars: “Maintaining a Healthy Weight While Eating Gluten-Free: The Importance of Physical Activity and Mindful Eating”

Recall: Jelly Belly recalls Easter mix

The lowdown on gluten-free flour mixes

Larabar introduces new bars: Sweet & salty Uber bars

Gluten-free Meal Planning

**The sauces mentioned above were sent to me free of charge for review purposes. 

Spring Forward

Don’t forget tonight is the night to Spring forward!  I can’t believe it is this time already!  I so excited about it being light later, that I really don’t care about the hour of lost sleep.  Make sure to ask me how I feel about that in a couple of weeks when my schedule is all screwed up, okay? 

With Spring, comes St. Patrick’s Day and Easter.  I don’t quite celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the way I used to, and my body thanks me for that.  This St. Patrick’s Day, perhaps I’ll indulge in some green eggs & ham or Pistachio Cheesecake (just happens to be green), instead of green beer. 

Pistachio Cheesecake


1 stick butter

1 ¼ cups gluten-free flour

½ cup chopped pecans

8 oz. Cream cheese (softened)

1 cup powdered sugar

8 oz. Carton of Cool Whip

2 small pkg. Pistachio Instant Pudding Mix

3 cups milk

  1. Making the Crust:

Blend melted stick of butter, 1 ¼ cups of flour & pecans. Spread in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. ***Note: I used an 8 x 11 pan and didn’t double. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 or until light golden brown. COOL COMPLETELY!

  1. Making the Cheesecake Filling:

Mix 8 oz. Softened cream cheese and 1 cup powdered sugar. Then fold in

½ carton of Cool Whip. Spread on top of cooled crust. Refrigerate for 30


  1. Topping:

Mix 2 small packages of pudding mix with 3 cups of milk. Beat for 2

2 minutes. Pour on top of cooled filling. Chill until set & then top with

remaining Cool Whip.

What will you be doing to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

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