Review: NuGo Dark Protein Bars

Not too long ago I shared some very exciting news from NuGo about their Dark Chocolate bars.  Three of the five varieties are now certified gluten-free!  I was finally able to find the Chocolate Pretzel with Sea Salt and Peanut Butter Cup varieties the other day at Giant Eagle.  They were on sale and I need to make sure to go back for more now that I am in love. 

Haha!  I love Elf


The first bar that I tried was the Chocolate Pretzel with Sea Salt.  I am not lying when I tell you that I did a little dance after taking my first bite.  Unfortunately I was at the gas station filling up my van with gas after my workout, so I apologize to those who may have been subject to my absurdity.  I even whipped out my iPhone to take this picture to show you the yummy goodness:


Do you see the sea salt?  I literally inhaled this bar!!  It has just moved to the top of my list for protein bars!

The Peanut Butter Chocolate is a very good bar, don’t get me wrong, but I am in love the the Chocolate Pretzel with Sea Salt! 



The bars are vegan, certified gluten-free (GFCO), kosher and low fat.  If you are looking for a bar that is also soy-free, check out the NuGo Free Bars. 

NuGo Dark bars can be found in many stores across the US and onlineHave you tried the certified gluten-free NuGo Dark bars?

Panera Bread–Summer 2012 Updated Information

After doing some behind-the-scenes work on my blog last week, I noticed that many people find my blog by searching for gluten-free Panera Bread information.  Panera Bread has offered gluten-free choices for years, but they have never had any gluten-free baked goods on the menu.  I emailed them last week to get the current list of their menu items that are free of gluten and will be sharing them below.  Since Panera Bread has predominantly bread items, there is a risk of cross-contamination. 


This is the response I received from Panera:

Dear Kimberly,
Thank you for contacting Panera Bread. I have included below a list of our menu items that do not contain gluten-containing ingredients. However, because we bake fresh bread daily in our bakery-cafes and bread is core to our menu, we simply cannot ensure that there has been no contact between these items, or any other menu items, and gluten.

Not all of the items listed are currently on our menu and some new menu items have not yet been evaluated for the purposes of inclusion on this list. However, you can find complete ingredients listings for current menu items on our website. (When you choose a menu item in our online Nutrition Calculator, click on the "ingredients" link for ingredients information for that item.)

Please note that nutritional information on our website is updated periodically. New products may be available in our bakery-cafes before a periodic update of this site. In addition, some menu items may be available only on a regional, test or seasonal basis. Nutritional information about these menu items is available at the participating bakery-cafes. Tests of new recipes of existing products may be conducted from time to time in certain markets. These new recipes may contain different/additional ingredients, including allergens, as compared to the original version. For the most update-to-date information, please call or visit your nearest bakery-cafe to speak with a manager.

Thank you again for contacting us. We appreciate your business and value your comments.
Customer Comment Coordinator

**Although we try to meet your special requirements, we cannot ensure that these items have not come into contact with gluten in our bakery-café.
** Gorgonzola and bleu cheeses are commonly made with mold incubated on wheat. Some may choose to avoid these cheeses for this reason and you may substitute another cheese if you prefer. Items containing these ingredients are indicated below with (G) or (BC).
Salads: (including the salad dressing) (source of modified food starch is corn)
• Greek Salad
• Caesar Salad (without croutons)
• Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad (without croutons)
• Asian Sesame Chicken Salad (without Won Ton noodles)
• Classic Cafe Salad
• Fuji Apple Chicken Salad & Roasted Turkey Fuji Apple Salad (G)
• Chopped Chicken Cobb Salad & Chopped Chicken Cobb with Avocado Salad (G)
• BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad
• Seasonal Fruit Cups
• Chopped Steak & Blue Cheese (without crispy onions) (BC)
• Thai Chopped Chicken Salad (without wontons, vinaigrette, and peanut sauce)
• Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad
Salad Dressings:
• Balsamic Vinaigrette
• Caesar
• Greek/Herb Vinaigrette
• Asian Sesame Vinaigrette
• White Balsamic Fuji Apple Vinaigrette
• BBQ Ranch
• BBQ Sauce
• Cabernet Sauce
• Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
• Light Buttermilk Ranch
• Fat Free Poppyseed Dressing
• Low Fat Vegetarian Black Bean
• Creamy Tomato (without croutons)
• Low Fat Chicken Tortilla with or without the tortilla strips
• Vegetarian Summer Corn Chowder
• Coffee- all varieties
• Juice, both apple and orange
• Lemonade
• Milk
• Soda, fountain and bottled
• Brewed Tea, tea bags, Chai Tea (hot & iced) and green tea
• All lattes, espresso drinks & Frozen beverages
• Low-Fat Smoothies
• Hot Chocolate
• All Cream Cheese Spread flavors
• Panera Bread Potato Chips
• All meats (including roast beef, ham, turkey, roasted turkey, salami, bacon, ABF citrus pepper chicken, smoked chicken, Salmon [seasonal], Lobster [select areas only], all natural sausage patty).
• All cheeses (see gorgonzola and blue cheese reference above)

I haven’t had any issues getting glutened when eating Panera, though it is not something I do often.  When I do eat at Panera, I always speak with the manager on duty to make sure that the employee handling my food changes his or her gloves and is subsequently the only employee to handle my food.  I love the Chai Tea Lattes, Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean soup, and Greek Salad! 

Do you eat at Panera Bread gluten-free?  What is your favorite menu item?

Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City Goes Gluten-Free

It has been a long time since I have been to Atlantic City, but I was excited to see an email about Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City offering gourmet gluten-free options.  Read on…



Dos Caminos, Luke Palladino and The Steakhouse at Harrah’s Resort amongst restaurants offering gluten free items including Carmarones En Cazuela, Linguini Alla Primavera, and NY Sirloin Strip Steak

(Atlantic City, N.J.)—June 20, 2012 – Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City will be taking the gluten out of gourmet this summer as all of their popular restaurants have begun to offer gluten-free menu items as a supplement to their traditional culinary menus, embracing the gluten-free dietary restriction without compromising the quality and taste of great food. Whether you are in the mood for a classic burger and fries or a fine dining experience, all culinary options at Harrah’s Resort will offer dishes to fit those with gluten intolerances.  Fine Dining options include, Bluepoint, Dos Caminos, Luke Palladino, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood, and The Steakhouse while casual dining options are Sammy D’s Restaurant and Bar, Bill’s Bar & Burger, Taste of the Shore Food Court, Temptations Fine Chocolate & Coffee and Waterfront Buffet.

Gluten intolerances are becoming more and more common as 1 in 133 American’s today face dietary restrictions. Several nationally recognized celebrities such as The View’s Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Shameless actress Emmy Rossum and Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Susie Essman, have been outspoken about living with the disease and how they can still enjoy some of their favorite foods and restaurants.  Gluten-challenged guests of Luke Palladino, The Steakhouse and Dos Caminos can now indulge in delicious gourmet offerings at these well-regarded culinary destinations designed specifically with their dietary restrictions in mind.

“Harrah’s Resort is committed to offering Atlantic City’s residents and visitors the highest quality food and dining experience in the region. Our gluten-free menus are meant to include all diners as we have recognized that a dietary restriction should not compromise a culinary experience,” said Chef John Whelan, Executive Chef at Harrah’s Resort for Caesars Entertainment. “We are proud to offer these outstanding options at our restaurants and are excited to include these menus amongst our current selection of creative and well-recognized dishes.”

Renowned Chef Luke Palladino’s namesake restaurant is a seasonally-driven Italian-inspired restaurant, best-known for its use of fresh, locally-sourced produce and sought-after gourmet ingredients from native Italian regions. Chef Palladino has made his dishes more accessible by acting on his acclaimed culinary sensibility and putting forth a special menu that is sensitive to a gluten-free diet.   Gluten-free menu items include Linguini Alla Primavera, veal or lamb chops, whole roasted fish, as well as a daily market fish. To satisfy the sweet tooth they also offer a flourless chocolate-nocella walnut torta.

At The Steakhouse at Harrah’s Resort the restaurant choices go far beyond the temperature of your steak. Executive Chef Louis Heckel is accommodating diners with a gluten-free diet by offering a variety of the highest-quality USDA certified beefs and several seafood appetizer options, including littleneck clams, market fresh oysters or chilled poached shrimp can be enjoyed.

Dos Caminos Corporate Executive Chef Ivy Stark has been putting forth authentic gluten free cuisine since its grand opening in March 2011. Her staple Mexico City style tacos, tuna ceviche and fresh guacamole can be enjoyed by diners who follow gluten restrictions. The corn tortillas lack flour and are therefore safe for the gluten-free diet and can be enjoyed with chicken, pork, fish or grilled sirloin. Dos Caminos also offers indulgent current entrée options that include the Yucatecan style pit-barbecue pork, Chilean sea bass and skewered prime rib eye.



In the Atlantic City marina district, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City offers an environment like none other. Guests enjoy an all-inclusive resort experience including accommodations in one of five hotel towers anchored by the 44 story Waterfront Tower, an open-concept casino floor, fine dining options including Luke Palladino at Harrah’s Resort and McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood, the city’s only Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa and Viking Cooking School, as well as galleria shopping at the Waterfront Shops. Harrah’s Resort is also home to The Pool – a domed tropical paradise that creates an endless summer with myriad pools, cabanas, bars, 40 foot palm trees and nightly entertainment activities. Harrah’s Resort is located at 777 Harrah’s Boulevard in Atlantic City, New Jersey. For more information, call 1-800-441-5000 or visit

It is great to see yet another establishment take such careful consideration for those of us having to follow a gluten-free diet.  If you have dined at any of the fine restaurants listed above and would like to share your experience, please contact me.

Wholesome Cravings Protein Snack Cake

Who doesn’t like cake?  Wholesome Cravings combines protein and cake, which is a definite win-win in my book. 


More about Wholesome Cravings:

Mission Statement- Wholesome Cravings is passionate about producing delicious, healthy, all-natural and gluten-free products that embody the best in whole food nutrition. We use only high quality ingredients without preservatives, fillers or artificial sweeteners. We are committed to developing high nutrition food that satiates the cravings for sweets, snacks and treats without sacrificing health. Wholesome Cravings’ unique line of gluten-free protein snack cake mixes and protein bars fill a void in the marketplace. Our protein bars and gluten-free mixes are high in protein and nutrition, and full of delicious home-baked taste. Now, you can have your craving and eat it too!

There are five varieties of the protein cake mix: Banana Chocolate Chip, Decadent Chocolate, Pumpkin Spice, Caramel Apple, and Apple Ginger.  I was able to sample the Banana Chocolate Chip.  The protein cake is super easy to make – I just had to add 2.5 bananas, 3 eggs and a sweetener of my choice.  The box recommended agave nectar, but I am out, so I used maple syrup.  I had a hard time letting these cool down before I cut into the pan to sample them. 



Whey protein, flaxseed, oat flour, chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, and vanilla extract), pure vanilla powder (dextrose and vanilla bean extractives), baking powder (sodium aluminum sulfate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate), baking soda, salt. Contains: milk/dairy and soy.

Each bar (when cut into 7 servings) contains 190 calories and 11 grams of protein.  I was very impressed with the flavor and texture of this cake!  As I have said in the past, I am always looking for a good way to refuel after my runs and/or workouts and what better way then with a piece of cake?  The protein cake mixes are certified gluten-free, but while the premade bars are gluten-free, they are not made in a dedicated facility.

Are your Protein Snack Cake Mixes and Protein Bars gluten-free?

Our 5 flavors of Protein Snack Cake Mixes are Certified Gluten-Free and are made in a Certified Gluten-Free facility in Vermont. Our 5 flavors of Protein Bars are made without gluten but are not baked in a certified gluten-free facility.

The mixes can be purchased right from the website for $6.50 each.  There are also individual bars available for purchase on the website for $2.50 each.  Wholesome Cravings can be found in select stores in the state of Vermont. 

**This cake mix was sent to me free of charge for review purposes.  The opinions shared here are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything

Weekly Menu Plan–June 24, 2012

How did it get to be the last week of June already?  I feel like I have been in a fog this week.  As a friend put it, “vacation hangover”, and I think she is right.  Vacation hangover is that period of time – seeming to be right around a week long for me – that it takes to get back in the groove of things.  Unpacking, putting things away, cleaning the house, catching up on sleep, etc.  Of course I have to make time in there to go to the pool with Hannah, right?  Even that seemed like a chore on Thursday.  I need a few good naps to straighten me out. 


We seem to be getting a reprieve from the heat for the next couple of days – only in the mid-70s, which is fine by me.  Still warm enough to go to the pool, but not oppressive.  When it gets too hot to go to the pool, we have been hitting the movie theater.  Last movie we saw was “Madagascar3”.  Not bad, but I truly believe that the funniest parts were show in the previews.  Only an hour and a half long, so not torture on parents.

Onto the menu.  Goal for the week – quit being lazy and actually cook and bake the things I tell you all that I am going to.

Sunday – Going away party at BJ’s Brewhouse

Monday – Italian grilled chicken, brown rice, snow peas and salad

Tuesday – Easy enchilada bake and salad

Wednesday – Turkey burgers, sweet potato puffs, corn on the cob and salad

Thursday – Thai sweet chile salmon, coconut baked quinoa, green beans and salad

Friday – Make your own pizza and salad

Saturday – Breakfast for dinner and fruit salad


Chocolate chip cookies


Weekly recap

Camelot Cellars Summer Events – Columbus locals – make sure to check this out!

Lucy’s Maple Bliss cookies

Review: The Sexy Vegan Cookbook

Review: Apple Cinnamon Chex – You MUST try these!

Mike’s Hard Lemonade Update


How are you spending your summer?

Wordless Wednesday







Pictured above are my eats from yesterday.  Thought it would be fun to feature on Wordless Wednesday, though I am adding some words here.  Unpictured eats:

  • Gimbals jelly beans (my weakness)
  • Perfectly Simple cranberry almond protein bar
  • Breyer’s Smooth & Dreamy triple chocolate ice cream bar

Summer – June 18, 2012 Menu Plan

Now that vacation is over, it is time to enjoy the lazy days of summer!  Jon is away at camp, so that leaves Hannah and me.  Hannah has lots of great ideas for things to do this summer – some of those things include:

  • Pool
  • Summer reading program with the library – she is already 12 hours in! 
  • Freedom Center – She learned about this in school and asked to visit.  I see a day trip!
  • Movies – On the list are MIB 3 and Madagascar 3 so far
  • Visiting Grandma Linda and Grandpa Joe in Dayton and Grandma Marbles in Cleveland

It all sounds good to me!

Here are a couple of pictures from our vacation:

A picture from one of my many morning runs from atop of the bridge onto the island – I could get used to this!


Representing both of my Columbus running groups in the Carolinas


What would a trip to the beach be without sand castles?


Sunday – Lasagna (not gluten-free noodles, as I made it for Aaron as part of his Father’s Day gift)

Monday – Turkey burgers, sweet potato puffs, sugar snap peas and salad

Tuesday – Mexican pizzas – refried black beans, roasted corn, goat cheese, tomatoes & shredded lettuce and salad

Wednesday – Leftovers or breakfast for dinner

Thursday – Grilled chicken, baked coconut brown rice, broccoli and salad

Friday – Make your own pizza and salad

Saturday – Playing it by ear

Don’t forget to check in to see if you won the Truebar or Poptillas giveaways! 

Did you see – Ding Dong the Wheat is Gone from Doritos Nacho Cheese?

Abuelo’s Gluten-Free Restaurant review 

Bob’s Red Mill offers “Gluten Freedom” to food service establishments

Review: Chocovine – if you haven’t tried this stuff, you are missing out!


How will you be spending your summer?


Vacation rocks, but waking up in your own bed after being away for two weeks may rock even a little bit more.  I love that we are able to go on vacation for longer than one week, as it affords us more flexibility and down time.  I prefer to operate on a somewhat laid back schedule when on vacation so that I am not running around in circles, like I do at home.  That being said, once the last day of vacation arrives, I am ready to just be home. 


Yesterday morning the kids and I were sitting around and discussing what time we had planned on leaving the following morning (Saturday – also known as today).  I don’t remember which one of us said that we should just leave right then, but it certainly caught my attention.  I started to think about it and the more I did, the better it sounded.  The only commitment we had Friday was at 4 PM for a family picture.  Once that was taken, there was no reason we couldn’t hop in the car and leave.  While the kids and I were all about this impromptu plan, Aaron took a little more convincing.  I decided to step up my packing as we worked towards getting Aaron on board and before we knew it, he was game! 

At 4:30 PM the family picture had been taken and the car was packed and ready to go.  We said our goodbyes and set out for home. 


The drive would be long, but we now could look forward to gaining a whole day – Saturday – once we woke up.  The time passed quickly for the first several hours in the car with chatter about the vacation and what we all had coming up in the next few weeks.  We stopped to get some food, though there were not many options for Jon and me.  I had packed a salad and protein bar for myself, but Mr. Picky wasn’t going for either of those and seemed to have an insatiable hunger.  Around 8:30 PM and many discussions about what to eat, Aaron came up with a brilliant idea – see if there was a Domino’s pizza along our route that we could call ahead and order a gluten-free pizza from. 

Thanks to technology from our iPhones, we were able to locate a Domino’s pizza that was roughly 20-30 minutes away.  I called to ask about the gluten-free pizza and 20 minutes later our boy was scarfing down his meal.  I don’t know why it had never dawned on me to do something like this until Aaron mentioned it, but I am glad that we did it!  Not only was Jon able to fill his belly, but we had fun on this little detour!

At 3:15 AM we rolled into our driveway.  I thought that I would immediately crash and fall fast asleep, but that wasn’t quite the case.  The last time I saw the clock it said 4:05 AM and then I woke up at 8:15 AM.  Something tells me that it is going to be a long day requiring lots of this:


I plan on playing catch up over the next few days.  I will announce the winner of the Bakery on Main Truebar giveaway ASAP!