Review: New GF NuGo Nutrition Dark Chocolate Bars

Chocolate is one of my favorite foods.  There aren’t many things that I will turn down if they have some kind of chocolate in or on them, gluten-free, of course.  NuGo Nutrition has some of the best protein bars on the market and they just made two more of their Dark Chocolate bars gluten-free!  The two newly gluten-free bars are the Mocha Chocolate and Chocolate Chocolate Chip


I ordered samples from the website – 3 bars (including the Dark Chocolate Mint bar that tastes like Thin Mints) for $6.00, including shipping!  I knew that I would fall in love with these bars, just like I had the rest of the NuGo Dark line.  The quality of the ingredients shines through in each bite.  While I love these new flavors, I adore the Dark Chocolate Pretzel and Dark Chocolate Mint.  I know what to ask Santa to put in my stocking this year!  The bars are also free of dairy in addition to gluten!

The newly gluten-free bars will be working their way into stores close to you, but please exercise caution.  Check the Mocha Chocolate and Chocolate Chocolate Chip bars to ensure that you have picked up the newly certified GF bars and not the older bars that are not gluten-free

One of the reasons I like the NuGo Dark line so much is because NuGo Nutrition uses real dark chocolate as opposed to fake dark chocolate made from vegetable oils (including palm oil).  The FDA currently doesn’t have any standards in place for the labeling of dark chocolate, only for milk and white chocolate.  Dark chocolate has many health benefits and some consumers are being deceived by companies that are falsely labeling their products as containing dark chocolate, when they really contain fake dark chocolate.  NuGo has put together a petition to urge the FDA to stop the deception and require proper labeling. 

Check this out:

Have you tried any of the NuGo Dark bars?  Do you have a favorite?

Recipe: Pumpkin Shrimp Pasta

A short time ago I had the pleasure of reviewing a pumpkin pasta sauce.  I love all things pumpkin and this sauce is no different! Since my first taste, I have been dreaming up new ways to use this pasta and my latest creation is paired with shrimp. 

Pumpkin Shrimp Pasta*

  • 2 oz Tinkyada spinach fettuccine
  • 1/2 cup Cucina-Antica Tuscany Pumpkin pasta sauce
  • 8-10 shrimp
  • Sea salt & pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

1.  Boil water for the pasta.  Cook and drain pasta and set aside. 

2.  Heat pasta sauce in a pan on the stove.

3.  Heat oil to cook shrimp in a saute pan.  Cook shrimp until cooked through and then toss with sauce and cooked pasta. 

4.  Enjoy!


*Since I was the only one eating this specific night, the measurements above are for 1 serving.  The dish can easily be made for as many you would like. 

I was extremely pleased with the flavor combination in this dish.  The creaminess of the pumpkin sauce was the perfect compliment to the pasta and shrimp. 

The Cucina-Antica Tuscany Pumpkin sauce can be purchased right on the Cucina-Antica website or in select stores

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

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Halloween Weekly Menu Plan–October 28, 2012

BRR!  It was 80+ degrees on Thursday and it is very chilly and windy here in Ohio.  While we aren’t in the direct path of Sandy, we are definitely feeling some of the effects.  Halloween may be very cold and possibly snowy.  If you are anywhere in the path of this nasty storm, please stay safe!


That won’t stop Hannah, though, she is all ready in her “Candy Corn Spellcaster” costume.  She has been asking to wear this since the day we bought it 2 weeks ago.


Sunday – Teriyaki chicken, brown rice and asparagus

Monday – Chicken fettuccine Alfredo with broccoli and salad

Tuesday – Easy Enchilada Bake, corn and salad

Wednesday – Trick or Treat = Pei Wei Take-Out

Thursday – BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans and salad

Friday – Make your own pizza and salad

Saturday – Dinner out – Anniversary

Week in Review:

Gluten-Free “Holiday How-Tos” Webinar

Glutino Gluten-Free Snack Attack

Fat Toad Farm Goat’s Milk Caramel – Salted Bourbon is out of this world!

Review: Annie’s Deluxe Mac & Cheese


Have a great week!!

Weekly Menu Plan – October 22, 2012

Welcome to the last full week of October! If you haven’t already done so, please make sure to enter to win the EVOL Foods giveaway – it ends in 2 days!! Yesterday I ran in the Nationwide Columbus Half Marathon and had a blast. I will have a race recap up soon, but must tell you that I have found the best way to gain crowd support during a race – wear a tutu:


This week’s menu plan will hopefully be followed a little better than the past few weeks. It has really be a struggle lately, so I am pledging here, in cyberspace, to stick to my plan this week. Any one else struggle with this? I know half of the battle is planning, but I need to follow through.

Monday – Leftover mac & cheese with tuna and salad
Tuesday – Mexican pizzas with black beans and corn, salad
Wednesday – Bourbon chicken, coconut baked brown rice, broccoli and salad
Thursday – Bison or turkey burgers, steak fries and salad
Friday – Make your own pizza and salad
Saturday – Take out

What did you do this past weekend?  Do you meal plan?  If so, how do you stick to it?

National Gluten-Free Month Giveaway: evol. bowls

Sorry for being MIA for the better part of the week.  I had every intention of getting this giveaway up a few days ago and it just didn’t happen.  My marathon week, that was supposed to be somewhat calm and laid back, turned into a whirlwind that was kicked off by my having an allergic reaction after my allergy shots.  I am fine now, after a breathing treatment and steroid shot, but I learned that running after the allergy shots is not a good idea.  I honestly never thought about it in the past because I usually run first thing in the morning, long before I get my shots.  Lesson learned and lots of catching up going on around here.  Moving forward.  Check out my review and giveaway that my friends from EVOL Foods have put together in celebration of National Gluten Free Month.


More about the evol. gluten-free bowls:

EVOL Foods’ bowls; a quick, all-natural, frozen option with big taste.

EVOL Foods makes real food with simple, easy to recognize ingredients that you would find in your kitchen. EVOL Bowls are free of artificials and preservatives and made with only hormone-free meats and cheeses from US Family Farms. EVOL Bowls also come in a home compostable bowl.

EVOL makes four gluten free meals: Bean & Cheese Enchilada (vegetarian), Chicken Enchilada, Fire Grilled Steak, and Teriyaki Chicken.

The Teriyaki Chicken bowl is one of our most popular items and has been featured on the Dr. Oz Show. It is made with all-natural grilled white meat chicken, steamed brown rice, vegetables and our delicious teriyaki sauce, inspired by our chef, Phil Anson- not food scientists.

We test all of our finished products for the presence of gluten via a quantitative gluten test which must achieve results less than 20 parts per million (this is the FDA standard).

There are four different varieties available:

Teriyaki Chicken: Grilled white meat chicken, steamed brown rice, red & green bell peppers, snap peas, carrots and broccoli- All topped with an insanely tasty teriyaki sauce.
Natural, 13g Protein, 3g Fiber, Low-Fat, Gluten Free, Net Wt. 9oz

Fire Grilled Steak: Fire-grilled steak, black beans, cilantro lime rice, roasted red and green bell peppers and cheddar cheese- All topped with an insanely tasty cilantro lime pesto.
Natural, 20g Protein, 9g Fiber, Gluten Free, Net Wt. 9oz

Chicken Enchilada: Tender braised white meat chicken, pinto beans, cilantro lime rice, cheddar cheese and roasted corn layered between authentic corn tortillas- All topped with an insanely tasty green enchilada sauce.
Natural, 22g Protein, 7g Fiber, Gluten Free, Net Wt. 9oz

Bean & Cheese Enchilada: Pinto beans, cilantro lime rice, cheddar cheese and roasted corn layered between authentic corn tortillas-All topped with an insanely tasty red enchilada sauce.
Natural, 18g Protein, 8g fiber, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Net Wt. 9oz

Jon really enjoyed the enchilada bowls and asked if I would buy him some more.  If you know this kid, he doesn’t do that unless he really likes something.  I loved both the teriyaki and fire grilled steak bowls.  I am really glad that my Earth Fare store right up the street carries these, as they make great meals on busy nights that I don’t feel guilty about eating or feeding to my family.  The bowls can be found in many grocery stores across the US.

EVOL Foods has graciously offered to give one lucky winner 5 free product coupons and 10 $1 off coupons for the evol. bowls.  All you have to do to enter is follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter box below.  Good luck!

Continue reading

Thanksgiving Chat: Stuffing/Dressing

One of the first things I worried about when I started the gluten-free diet was my beloved Thanksgiving Day stuffing.  Some people call it dressing, whatever, I call it delicious!  I have tried many different bread options for the dish – gluten-free bread, gluten-free cornbread and most recently Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free bread.


Canyon Bakehouse asked me to try their stuffing recipe out with a loaf of their Mountain White bread.  The Rosemary Focaccia bread can be used in its place for a fun, flavorful twist on stuffing.

Canyon Bakehouse Rosemary and Thyme Focaccia Stuffing



  • 1 Loaf of Canyon Bakehouse Focaccia <—I used Mountain White
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, more for baking dish
  • 8 oz pancetta or bacon <— I used sausage
  • 1 large onion <— I omitted
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees to toast the focaccia. Once the focaccia is toasted then preheat the oven to 350 degrees to bake the stuffing. Butter a shallow baking dish, a 15x10x2 baking dish works well. Cut the focaccia into cubes and bake on a baking sheet at 400 degrees until golden brown or for approx 15-20 minutes to toast. Cool the focaccia cubes before using. Chop the onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms, garlic and parsley. Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté until crisp about 10 minutes. Remove pancetta and place on a dish lined with a paper towel. Add the remaining butter to same pan over medium heat and add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and mushrooms. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Saute until tender about 12 minutes. In a large bowl add the sautéed vegetables, parmesan cheese and focaccia cubes. Add the chicken broth to moisten. Beat 2 eggs and add the eggs and pancetta. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the parsley. Mix well to combine all the ingredients. Transfer the stuffing to the baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for approx 40 minutes or until the stuffing is golden brown.

Love the addition of parmesan cheese to stuffing!  I have never thought about using it in stuffing, but it really adds a unique flavor.  I can’t wait to try this out with the focaccia bread!  Canyon Bakehouse products can be purchased in select stores across the US or online.

If cornbread stuffing is more your speed, make sure to give this recipe a try.


Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage – ingredients

  • 2 batches of cornbread
  • 1 roll of sausage (check to make sure it is GF)
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • Chopped celery
  • Chopped onion (I omit b/c I can’t eat onions)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Poultry Seasoning
  • Broth – turkey or chicken

I am going to go through the entire method below.  From baking the cornbread to making the sausage and combining it all together.  Also, I make the cornbread a few days in advance.  You can leave it partially uncovered to help dry it out.


**From the back of the Quaker Yellow Corn Meal Box

***Double this for the stuffing

  • 1 ¼ cups Pamela’s Baking Mix
  • ¾ cup cornmeal (Used Bob’s Red Mill Stone Ground Cornmeal)
  • ¼ cup sugar (1/8 cup for stuffing cornbread)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt (I omitted this b/c there is salt in Pamela’s baking mix)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (the box says to use skim, I like buttermilk in my cornbread)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
  • 2 egg whites or 1 egg beaten (I used the beaten egg.

Heat oven to 400. Pam 8 or 9 inch baking pan. Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. (I did 20 minutes).

The day of preparation

Crumble the cornbread onto cookie sheets in a single layer & place in oven at 250 – 300 degrees and check frequently until it gets dried out, but not burnt.  While you are doing this, you can prepare the sausage (I used Tennesee Pride Mild).

What is your favorite recipe for stuffing/dressing?  Do you use gluten-free bread, cornbread or rice?

*Disclosure: Canyon Bakehouse provided the bread for me to use in the top recipe.  The thoughts and opinions shared here are my own.

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Weekly Menu Plan–October 15, 2012

The other day I shared the information about Crunch thinkThin bars being involved in the recent round of peanut recalls.  I have since found out that another popular gluten-free bar has also been added to the list: PureFit Peanut Butter Crunch Bars.  More information:



Please make sure to check your supply if you buy either variety of the bars I have posted about in the past few days.

Monday – Italian grilled chicken with roasted red skin potatoes, steamed fresh green beans and salad

Tuesday – Easy Enchilada Bake, corn and salad

Wednesday – Turkey burgers with avocado, tomato & lettuce, baked steak fries and salad

Thursday – Thai Chile salmon, coconut baked brown rice, zucchini and salad

Friday – Make your own pizza and salad

Saturday – Prerace dinner with running friends

Weekly Recap

Don’t forget to enter to win one of 5 prize packages from Kit’s Organic Fruit & Nut bars – the giveaway ends later tonight!

Review: Maple Grove Pancake and Waffle Mix – pretty fantastic pancakes!

Jennifer’s Way introduces baking mixes 2012 Halloween Candy List

Nationwide Children’s 25th Celiac Conference

Have a great week!!

Recall: Crunch thinkThin Bars

The recent recalls involving peanuts and peanut products from Sunland have me concerned.  I eat a lot of peanut products – peanut butter, granola with peanuts, protein bars.  The products from Sunland are being recalled due to possible contamination with Salmonella.  Salmonella is a common bacterial infection that affects the GI tract and can be serious in those with fragile immune systems.  I wanted to make sure I shared the latest information I just read this morning regarding Crunch thinkThin bars and the peanut recall. 



The recall does not involve the core line of thinkThin bars, but only the Crunch line.  More information from thinkThin:

Dear Valued Customers:

We want to inform you that thinkThin, LLC may have sourced blanched peanuts from Sunland Inc. that are being recalled for possible salmonella for use in our Crunch® line of products only.  No illnesses have been reported in connection with Crunch thinkThin products. No other varieties of any thinkThin products are included in this recall.  The safety and confidence of our partners and our consumers are our highest priority and while we have no reason to believe that any of our products pose a health risk, we have decided to voluntarily recall a limited number of our Crunch product line with specific “Best if Used By” dates in the flavors listed below.

This Recall Does NOT Include The Core thinkThin Line of Protein Bars(i.e., Creamy Peanut Butter, Brownie Crunch, Chunky Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate, Chocolate Fudge, Caramel Fudge, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Chocolate Espresso, Cookies & Cream, White Chocolate, Chocolate Toffee, Tangerine Cremesicle, and Lemon Cream Pie)

Crunch® thinkThin products with “Best if Used By” dates listed below are recalled voluntarily. We are taking this action out of an abundance of caution. Our first commitment is to our consumers and to the quality of our product. We go to great lengths to ensure that our products are safe and of the highest quality.

( For more information about the recall from Sunland Inc. please click here: )

Consumers who have products covered by this recall may request replacement product by contacting thinkThin, LLC at (866) 988-4465 or sending an e-mail to

Again, this recall does not include the thinkThin® line of protein bars.

Thank you for your continued support of thinkThin.

To your vitality,

Lizanne Falsetto, CEO

thinkThin, LLC

If you buy any of these products, please check your supply and make sure to contact thinkThin for replacement. 

Don’t forget to enter to win one of 5 prize packages from Kit’s Organic Fruit & Nut bars.

Gluten-Free or Not? Wine.

It was once again brought to my attention that while the majority of wine is gluten-free, it may be aged in oak barrels that are sealed with wheat paste.  According to a recent study by Tricia Thompson, MS, RD and contributors Amy Jones, MS, RD, Lisa Almenoff, MS, RD, Luke Emerson-Mason (Bia Diagnostics), Thomas Grace (Bia Diagnostics), Kristin Voorhees (NFCA), Cheryl McEvoy (NFCA) and FA (winery), wine aged in oak barrels sealed with wheat paste appears to be gluten-free

The sampling test relied on two different tests for gluten detection – the Sandwich R5 ELISA and the Competitive R5 ELISA.  The article and results can be viewed in entirety here


I drink wine on a very regular basis.  I love nothing more than a glass of cabernet or pinot noir with dinner.  I have to be honest, I haven’t really given much thought to checking the gluten-free status of my wine because it never seemed to cause me issues (not the right answer, for the record) and while I had heard about the possibility of oak barrels being sealed with wheat paste, there wasn’t much information out there. 

Do you drink wine?  Have you ever checked the gluten-free status of the wine before drinking it? 

Don’t forget to enter to win one of 5 prize packages from Kit’s Organic Fruit & Nut bars.

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