Weekly Menu Plan–The One Where My Baby Grows Up

Sixteen years ago today was my due date when I was pregnant with Jon.  The little stinker wasn’t ready to come out yet, which is indicative of his personality.  Two days from now my “baby” will turn 16 and I am sending out a warning to all who live in Columbus – the boy is taking his driver’s test on Wednesday – clear the sidewalks! 

I have to share that no one in my immediate family passed their driver’s test the first time around.  I pray that this curse does not extend to Jon!  Both of my parents, myself and my sister all failed for one reason or another the first time around.  I did great on the maneuverability portion of my test.  During the driving portion, I went through a yellow light and it turned red, so I failed.  If I would have stopped, the car behind me would most likely have hit me, which would also have caused me to fail.  When I went to retake my test, the instructor asked me why I failed the first time around, because he saw no reason for me not to have passed.  I explained what had happened and he said he wouldn’t have failed me.  Too bad he wasn’t the instructor in the car at the time, right? 


Keychain was a gift from Grandma Mary!  How apropos! 

Good thing that Tuesday is “Taco Night” since that also happens to be one of Jon’s favorite meals!

Sunday – Leftovers – grilled chicken, burgers, baked beans and salad

Monday – Chicken fettucine Alfredo, steamed broccoli and salad

Tuesday – Taco Tuesday – soft tacos, black beans, corn and salad

Wednesday – Take-out – perhaps the boy can go pick it up with his sparkly new driver’s license?

Thursday – Perfect pork tenderloin, sweet potato puffs, green beans & salad

Friday – Make your own pizza and salad

Saturday – Pasta with marinutta sauce, roasted zucchini and salad

Lots of fun stuff going on in the past week – make sure to catch up on these posts if you missed them:

Cold Stone Creamery in Westerville makes gluten-free ice cream cakes!

Sharkies giveaway – make sure to enter before Wednesday at midnight!

Sweet Potato Pizza – perhaps one of my best accidental combination ever!

Gluten-free slutty brownies – Thanks to Brandie for sharing the recipe!!

ZonePerfect Perfectly Simple bars are gluten-free and safe to eat!

Easy, 3,2,1 Micrcowave Cake – Gluten-Free

Review: Popcorn Indiana Chip’ins

Hope you all have a wonderful week!!

Sharkies Giveaway and Review

Who likes free stuff?  I do!!  I have a pretty awesome giveaway for you guys today, but first I need to tell you about my love for Sharkies.


First and foremost, how cute are these snacks?  Okay, so I am getting close to being 40, but I can still act like a kid, right?  I will admit that I have been known to grab a pack of fruit snacks in the past, especially if I need a little carb boost before a workout, but don’t want to eat a big snack.  Food and I don’t get along well when I run or workout.  I do feel guilty at times, though, because I feel like I could be making a smarter choice than fruit snacks.  Sharkies are that smarter choice!

Sharkies® Organic Sports Chews are:

· USDA Certified Organic

· Have no artificial dyes or flavors

· Free of fat, gluten, wheat, nut and dairy free

· Vegan and vegetarian friendly

· Available in four flavors; Berry Blast, Fruit Splash, Citrus Squeeze, and Watermelon Scream

Not only are Sharkies® Organic Sports Chews USDA Certified Organic, they deliver a clean source of carbohydrates and naturally occurring electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, to provide a quick energy source before or during a workout. Containing 110mg sodium, 30mg potassium, and 36g total carbohydrates per serving – Sharkies® Organic Sports Chews help to replenish what’s lost during exercise.


Conveniently packaged in a portable snack pack, you can bring Sharkies® wherever your active journey may take you; whether you are shredding steeps of powder, cycling mountain roads, taking part in a marathon, or simply off to the gym, Sharkies® has a variety of products that will fit your whole family’s  needs.

So in addition to the sports chews, they now have a line of kids snacks that are free of high fructose corn syrup, wheat, gluten, nuts and fat!

· Sharkies® Organic Fruit Chews are USDA Certified Organic, are packed with 100% daily value of Vitamin C and contain no artificial dyes or flavors. They are available in Berry Bites and Fruit Splash flavors.

· Sharkies® Omega 3 Smart Twists provide kids with the benefits of vital and essential Omega-3s (EPA/DHA) in a conveniently twisted, great tasting rope. Equivalent to a serving of fruit and packed with 100% daily value of Vitamin C , Omega 3 Smart Twists are available in Berry Surf and Tropical Wave varieties.

Sharkies® are sold in select supermarkets, sports and specialty retailers, including bike and running shops nationwide, select regions of Whole Foods, REI, Sprouts and at Babies R Us. Check out the store locator at http://www.sharkiesinc.com/locator .

I loved every sample that I tried and I have tried the whole line!  The kids were also big fans!

Are you ready for the fun part?  One lucky reader will win:


· Samples of the Sharkies® varieties

· Exclusive Sharkies® Under Armor shirt

·BPA-free Sport Water Bottle with special freezer stick to keep your beverage cool

All you have to do to enter to win is to follow the directions below.  The giveaway will be open for entries until Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at midnight EST.

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Friday the 13th Fun

Today is Friday the 13th.  Are you superstitious?  I am to some degree.  By that I mean that the thought crosses my mind, thinking maybe I should be superstitious, but then I get busy and forget about it.  Some people say that Friday the 13th is a lucky day for them.  I believe I have always found it just to be another day.

I didn’t mean to leave you hanging drooling with that picture of the chocolate chip banana bread on Wordless Wednesday.  I am not supposed to use words, right?  Well, here is the mix I used. 


I thought we could all have some fun on this Friday the 13th with a “Friday Five” – gluten-free style.  Please leave your “Friday Five” answers in the comments section.

1.  Favorite gluten-free bread (pre-made, mix or made from scratch)

2.  Favorite gluten-free pizza crust (pre-made, mix or made from scratch)

3.  Favorite gluten-free dessert.

4.  Favorite gluten-free crackers.

5.  Favorite gluten-free cookbook.

My answers:

1.  Canyon bakehouse Colorado Caraway

2. Udi’s gluten-free pre-made or Bob’s Red Mill mix

3.  Carrot cake

4.  Crunchmaster sea salt

5.  Too many to name just one

Your turn!  Ready, set, GO!!! 

Review: Blueberry Hemp Superfood

I am always trying to make an effort to eat cleaner, naturally gluten-free food.  Not only does my body feel better when I eat like this, but my brain does as well.  By choosing foods that are naturally gluten-free, there is no deciphering of labels, just eat and enjoy.

Navitas Naturals has some pretty awesome products.  I love their Cacao Nibs, but today I am going to sing the praises of the latest product of theirs that I have tried:


More information on the power snacks:

Nourishing “Grab & Go” Snacks Made from Organic Superfoods

Novato, California (March 5, 2012) – Navitas Naturals is adding Blueberry Hemp to their award-winning line of organic Navitas Power Snacks. Blueberry HempNavitas Power Snacks provide a diversity of the most nutrient-dense organic superfoods and organic seeds, fruits and nuts. These bite-sized cubes have a healthy whole food appearance, delicious flavor and rich chewy texture. Navitas Power Snacks do not contain refined sugar, preservatives and artificial colors and flavors. In addition to being certified organic they are also certified gluten-free, and are GMO-free and dairy-free.

Organic food experts have been giving Navitas Power Snacks accolades since they were launched in 2011. In January 2012, they won the 2012 Grocery Headquarters Magazine Selling Wellness Trailblazer Award. Their team of editors judged hundreds of nominees on their innovative taste profile, ingredients, packaging and/or intrinsic health benefit. Navitas Power Snacks were also featured on Good Day Colorado (FOX 31) in a segment about the healthiest nutrition bars that stores should stock by Kelsey Blackwell, the Food Editor at Natural Foods Merchandiser Magazine (NFM). The video is a companion to an article in the January 2012 issue of NFM and on New Hope 360.

Why Hemp?  Nutrition experts recommend hemp seed because it’s an easily digested complete protein source. It is also one of the richest vegetable sources of the Omega 3 & 6 essential fats, and in an ideal ratio to support human health. Hemp seed is also a plentiful source of fiber, vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium.

Blueberries are famous for their delicious fruit flavor and abundance of phytonutrients, which many scientists believe provide powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may protect against heart disease, colon cancer and other ailments. In addition to the organic hemp powder and dried blueberries,Blueberry Hemp Power Snacks are made with other leading organic functional food stars such as chia, maca, lucuma, camu camu and maqui, as well as other wholesome raw foods such as date paste, sesame seeds, cashews and sunflower seeds.

Offered in an 8-ounce re-sealable and recyclable pouch for $8.99, Navitas Power Snacks and other Navitas products are available at thousands of stores throughout North America including Whole Foods Markets, Wegmans and HEB, and at many online stores such as NavitasNaturals.com and Amazon.com. Each 1-ounce serving is approximately 3 or 4 Navitas Power Snack nuggets.

I loved these snacks!  They do have sesame seeds (which bother me in large amounts), so I have been eating 2 squares at a time (with no issues, I might add!).  I had never tried anything with hemp in the past, so I was excited to try these.  I am sure you can imagine the smart remarks that Aaron made about the hemp…ha ha!  He actually opened the bag & tried one – I was shocked!  He said it tasted like a Fig Newton, but wasn’t a huge fan.  I was impressed that he tried it at all, as he is extremely picky.  These are the perfect snack to keep me from munching too much before dinner.

The snacks are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), organic, raw and vegan.  The ingredients are as follows:

Ingredients: date paste, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, dried blueberries, sesame seeds, hemp powder, maca powder, lucuma powder, maqui powder, natural blueberry flavor, camu camu powder

Each serving is 2-3 squares and contains 130 calories, 7 grams fat, 2.5 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein.  The Navitas Naturals Blueberry Hemp Superfood snacks can be found in stores across the US (Whole Foods is one of the many).

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

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Update: ZonePerfect Perfectly Simple Bars

Last week I wrote about the new ZonePerfect bars that I found at Target with the “gluten-free” label on them.  I sent an email asking about oats to ensure that they were gluten-free and to see which certification company Abbott was using.

This is the response I received:

Hello Kim,

I just wanted to get back in touch with you regarding your question about certification of the Perfectly Simple ZonePerfect bars.

Perfectly Simple bars meet the FDA definition of gluten-free and are compliant with all gluten-free regulations. The bars are made with gluten-free oats.

Equipment, ingredients, and finished product are tested to meet all requirements issued by the Gluten Free Organization (www.gfco.org). Perfectly Simple Bars are tested to meet the FDA standard of less than 20 ppm of gluten (i.e., ~1 mg/50g bar). In addition, Perfectly Simple bars are manufactured on a line that is certified and tested to be designated as gluten free by the Gluten Free Organization (www.gfco.org).

Please let us know if you have any additional questions.



Consumer Relations

Abbott Nutrition

So, anyone try the new Perfectly Simple bars yet?  If so, what did you think?  I hope to pick some up soon to try them out.  I can’t decide which one I want to try – they all sound good!

Miley Cyrus is Latest Celebrity on Gluten-Free Diet

If you happen to be on Facebook, Twitter or read any online news, I am sure you must have heard that Miley Cyrus is the latest celebrity to disclose that she is following the gluten-free diet.  She doesn’t mention anything about Celiac Disease, but a “gluten and lactose allergy”.  This is her explanation to those saying she is “anorexic”.


I love how this Huffington Post article goes on to explain what Celiac Disease and non-Celiac gluten sensitivity is!  While I love hearing about the gluten-free diet in the news, I don’t want people getting incorrect information or thinking that it is a fad diet.


One can only hope that if Cyrus is going to continue following the gluten-free diet that she is careful to make sure her facts are correct if she chooses to talk about it.  With as many followers as she has on Twitter, she has quite the arena to spread information.

Care to share your thoughts on this?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Reply

Guest Blog & Recipe: Slutty Brownies–Gluten-Free

I have mentioned in the past that I belong to a local running group, MIT.  Not only do I credit MIT with helping me train smart, but I have had the opportunity to meet some pretty awesome friends, too.  Last season I met Brandie Davisson as we were training for our fall races.  Brandie was not on the gluten-free diet at the time, but has since started the diet.  I asked Brandie to share her background story because I think it is really important for people to understand that just because a blood test may come back negative for Celiac Disease doesn’t mean that gluten can’t be causing issues.  In addition to the blood work not always being 100% accurate, the endoscopy can miss damage that may be in the small intestine.  Then, there is non-Celiac gluten-sensitivity.  Confusing, right?  As you will read in Brandie’s story, she wasn’t going to accept the cards she was dealt and be miserable; she found the problem (gluten) and has started down a path of better health.

Here is a quick picture of Brandie and me after our first race of 2012:


Now, without further ado, Brandie:

Over the past three years I’ve spent countless hours and thousands of dollars looking for an answer to the tummy troubles that have plagued me for years.  I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance in my early 20’s and then in my 30’s began struggling with what seemed to be everything I ate.


In 2010 my Gastroenterologist suggested that gluten may be the culprit and ordered a Celiac panel.  At this point I’d already started to have some suspicions that gluten intolerance or Celiac could be to blame for many of the health issues I’d experienced such as the obvious digestive issues, difficulty focusing at work and home and fatigue and vertigo to name a few.  My test came back negative so I started eating gluten again.


In summer of 2011 I started to exhibit gall bladder symptoms which only added to my already sensitive stomach.  I’m not at all in the “at risk” category.  I’m under 40, weigh 100 lbs, I’m a runner and stay very active, and I haven’t eaten fried foods or fatty foods in years.  Once it was determined that my gall bladder was in fact the issue and would require surgery I began doing my own research on  gall bladder disease and discovered that food allergies can actually have a enormous  impact on gall bladder health, which my surgeon confirmed at my post op visit.


I maintained a gluten free diet for about two months, before and after my surgery, and my symptoms disappeared.  However once I recouped from my surgery I began sneaking bread, granola bars and cereal to name a few and my symptoms returned with a vengeance.  In January of 2012 I’d finally decided it was time to completely cut gluten out of my diet.  In addition to the items mentioned above I’d also been coping with an itchy rash/welts on my lower back for about 3 years.  I’d tried different creams and soaps over the years but it never improved.   I’ve been completely gluten free for a little over two months and not only are my digestive issues gone, the rash that has plagued me for some many years has cleared 100% .  Though I’ve been tested for Celiac’s twice and both tests were negative my body has made it very clear that gluten simply isn’t an option for me any longer.  I’m new to the GF life and I’ve had some slip ups but I’m thankful I made the change and my body has responded favorably to my decision.



I’ve only been gluten free about two months so I’ve not yet mastered the art of gluten free baking. To be honest I never really mastered the art of baking at all and many of the gluten free recipes I’ve found online look not only time consuming but risky and costly so I’ve not experimented as much as I used to. I have a serious sweet tooth so passing on cakes and cookies at social gatherings has been though but I know what the outcome would be if I chose to indulge which keeps me in check, but still longing.

Recently many of my non gluten free friends have been blowing up Facebook with a recipe for “Slutty Brownies“. Ok so the name is wildly inappropriate I’ll admit, but this dessert is a chocolatey trifecta! The bottom layer is chocolate chip cookies followed by a layer of Oreos cookies then topped with brownies – what’s not to love?

On Friday a coworker brought in a batch to work and gave me one to try. I sniffed it for awhile weighing my options then decided that choosing to intentionally gluten myself the day before a 12 mile run was nothing short of insanity so I opted to give them to another coworker.  I watched her as she sunk her teeth into this heavenly treat, creepy yes, anxious to hear her response, which went a little something like this, “I’m in love.” It was at that moment I knew I had to figure out how to make a gluten free version of the “Slutty Brownie”.

There are a lot more gluten free options in the grocery stores these days for everything from Bisquick to Brownies.  I’ve experimented with a few and have found that some have a funky aftertaste while others taste very much like the full gluten versions of my past.

For this recipe  I choose Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a box, mixed according to the directions , for my bottom layer;  for the middle layer I used Kinnikinnick Kinnitoos chocolate sandwich creme cookies; and for the top layer I used Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Brownie Mix in a box, mixed according to directions.  It took a whopping 10 minutes to mix and assemble the ingredients. I placed each layer in an 8×8 glass pan and baked on 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.  It was just that easy and even more impressive, I didn’t burn them.

I waited a total of five minutes before I cut into them for a little taste test. The consistency and taste of each layer was just as I remembered. I cut up the rest of the pan once they cooled.  I was worried that they might crumble or fall apart but they came out perfectly. I enjoyed three-ish brownies today, my kids and husband each tried one and everyone gave them two big thumbs up.   I will definitely make these again, but next time I’ll try to show a little more self control.

I don’t know about you, but I need to make these – STAT!  Brandie and I talked about these on our 12 mile run on Saturday and I believe that I already have all of the ingredients!

Thank you Brandie for sharing your story and this recipe with us!  Baking gluten-free doesn’t have to be difficult – get creative & have some fun!

‘Tis Time to Taper

This weekend I completed my last long run before my upcoming half marathons.  The first one is on April 22nd (Earth Day).  Tapering is a great time for the body to rest and repair itself in preparation for race day, yet it is hard on the mind.  I have struggled before with tapering before a race and am working on a plan to get me through as painlessly as possible. 

1.  Think rationally.  Ha!  I am sure this is much easier said than done.  I always tend to feel like I need to do more – more speed work, more lifting, more.  Realize that “more” is not a good idea at this point in time and perhaps write out some goals to work towards after my upcoming races.

2.  Sleep.  The night before the race is never a good night to sleep for me.  I will try to focus on sleeping well between now & then. 

3.  Eat.  I have a tendency to cut back when I am not running or working out as much.  Focusing on proper nutrition to help my body recover from training and get ready for the race is going to be my way to combat this.

4.  Follow the training plan as written.  Do not add miles when tempted to.  The plan was written by an experienced coach and was written this way for a reason. 

5.  Hydrate properly.  I always do this, but it is more important now than ever.  Upping water intake the day before the race is too late. 

6.  Do not let my mind play tricks on me.  There is a quote that one of my MIT coaches uses “The hay is in the barn.”  There is nothing else that I can do now that will prepare me any better at this point. 

7.  Have faith in the hard work that I put in during my training.

I have written all of these out on a piece of paper that I plan on taping to the wall behind my desk. 


For more tips on tapering, check out this article from Runner’s World.

Happy Easter!

My kids are still in bed, can you believe it?  I expect it from the teenager, but Hannah is usually up at the crack of dawn.  Perhaps the Zyrtec she began taking this week is making her drowsy.  No complaints from me – a little extra quiet time to drink my coffee get some writing done is fine by me!

Since today is Easter, I thought I would share some links to gluten-free information on candy to make life a little easier should the kids (or adults) happen across some candy they are unsure of.

Though the following information may be included in the Hershey’s or MyGlutenFacts.com lists, I want to point it out:  Seasonal-shaped candies may not be gluten-free even though their normal-shaped versions are.  Please err on the side of caution – it isn’t worth getting sick.  Our motto is “When in doubt, go without!”

Our weekly menu plan:

Sunday – Glazed ham, garlic mashed potatoes, steamed fresh green beans & carrots and salad

Monday – Leftovers (I am sure we will have plenty)

Tuesday – Turkey tostadas, black beans, corn and salad

Wednesday – Shrimp scampi over gluten-free pasta, steamed broccoli and salad

Thursday – BBQ pulled pork sammies, sweet potato puffs, roasted zucchini and salad

Friday – Make your own pizza and salad

Saturday – First cookout of the year!  Burgers & grilled chicken (Aaron’s specialty), garlic rosemary roasted potatoes, baked beans, corn on the cob & salad

Baked Goods

New muffin mix for Jon (review to come soon)

Chai Scones (review to come soon)

Energy bars/bites (recipe to come soon)

What is your favorite Easter candy?  I love jelly beans – Gimbal’s are my current favorites – but chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is near and dear to my heart as well.  If you asked me to choose between the two, I might just have a nervous breakdown.  I don’t ever eat them together, though.  Ick!

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