Holidays–Healthy & Gluten-Free

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the next 4-6 weeks are likely to be filled with many treats of the food and drink variety.  Following the gluten-free diet can be helpful in avoiding some of those treats; don’t view having to avoid these gluten-filled treats as a bad thing – view it as avoiding excess calories and fat and treat yourself to something that is gluten-free and worth a small indulgence.  Those small indulgences can be a glass of red wine with dinner, a small serving of dark chocolate or even something non-food related like a new workout top, a book that has been on your “must read” list or some new tunes for your workout playlist. 

If Holiday treats are unavoidable, try to practice smart portion control and focus on getting plenty of gluten-free fruits, vegetables and lean proteins the rest of the day.  If you are in charge of making the meal or bringing a dish, consider healthy twists on old favorites or new healthier dishes in place of gluten-filled, calorie-laden traditional dishes. 

– Make a large salad to go along side of the ham, potatoes, and such.  Put small dishes of toppings around the large salad bowl and include choices like dried cranberries and walnuts for a festive twist. 

– Offer fruit skewers with dip or fruit salad along with desserts. 

– When dishes call for cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, use low fat or 2% versions.  They taste the same in recipes and help cut back a little on the fat and calories.  Stay clear of the fat free versions, as I have found that they don’t melt right or taste the same. 

What do you do if you found you have gone overboard on the food and/or drink?  Acknowledge it, accept it and move forward. We all make mistakes.  The key is to get right back on track for the next meal or workout.  Beating yourself up over it won’t do anything but make you feel bad, so skip it!  Tack an extra 10 minutes onto your workout for some extra endorphins! 

Can you possibly prevent yourself from going overboard in the first place?  The key to this is to know what causes you to go overboard or make bad choices.  Is it too much alcohol?  Not enough willpower?  Planned indulgence gone awry?  Once you have figured that out, you can take steps to avoid a repeat the next time around. 

Last, but not least, try to keep your workout schedule as normal as possible during the holiday season.  Not only will this help with the extra treats during the season, but it is a wonderful way to release stress. 

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Weekly Menu Plan–Back on Track

What a week!  The past five days sure were a whirlwind, but it was great to spend some of that time with family.  Wednesday was busy preparing for the big day.  The big day started with a traditional 4 mile race and then the big meal.  Friday = Black Friday.  We left the house at 4:20 AM and returned almost 12 hours later.  Phew.  I need a vacation from my weekend! 


Turkey Tip:  Consider stuffing your turkey with cut oranges to keep the meat tender and moist. 

I had an unfortunate run-in with gluten at a restaurant on Friday at lunch time.  Not only was I almost immediately quite sick, but it has taken the better part of the weekend to feel like myself.  Not only is getting sick from gluten frustrating, but I am sad because I thought I could trust this particular restaurant.  My step dad, Joe, and I shared a meal and he didn’t get sick, so I have no doubt that it was gluten that made me so sick.  There is always a risk when eating out on the gluten-free diet and I am fortunate that I don’t often have issues like the one I experienced on Friday.  Even more reason to re-evaluate my list of safe gluten-free establishments.


Monday – Spaghetti (brown rice pasta from Tinkyada) with Italian sausage marinara and salad

Tuesday – Tacos with soft corn tortillas, black beans, corn and salad

Wednesday – Burgers with sweet potato puffs and salad

Thursday – Italian grilled chicken, coconut baked brown rice, broccoli and salad

Friday – Make your own pizza and salad

Saturday – Take-out or breakfast for dinner and fruit salad

Week in Review

Don’t forget to enter to win the Sara Lee Giveaway!

Review: Gillian’s Home-Style Stuffing

Review: Gillian’s Pie Crust

Recipe: Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Review: Schar Table Crackers

Have a great week!!

Sara Lee Giveaway

Sara Lee Deli has recently taken steps to ensure their sliced-to-order turkey, ham and chicken deli meats are gluten-free.  In addition to being gluten-free, the deli meats do not contain any hormones, MSG, artificial flavors, fillers and have 0 grams of trans fat.



Below are three recipes that are made using the gluten-free sliced-to-order deli meats.  All of them sound good, but I can’t wait to make the Simple Spicy Peanut & Chicken Stir Fry!

Zesty Harvest Quinoa Salad*

(Serves 2-4)


  • 2 cups red quinoa; cooked
  • 2-3 slices of Sara Lee® Deli Sliced-to-Order Oven Roasted Turkey Breast; cut 1/4 inch thick and medium dice
  • 1 cup red apple (Gala, Honeycrisp or Braeburn); medium dice
  • 1/2 cup walnuts; toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4cup green onions; chopped
  • 3/4 Tablespoon lemon zest


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic; grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper


Combine all of the dressing ingredients except olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  While whisking, add olive oil in a steady stream until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.  Drizzle with dressing and stir to combine.

*This recipe contains Sara Lee® Deli Sliced-to-Order Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, which is labeled gluten free, and other ingredients that are not expected to contain gluten.  When preparing gluten free recipes, it is important to read ingredient labels and avoid gluten contamination that may occur if foods are prepared on common surfaces or with utensils that are not thoroughly cleaned after preparation of gluten-containing foods.

Country Scrambler*

(Serves 1)


  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 slices of Sara Lee® Deli Sliced-to-Order Virginia Brand Ham; roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup low fat or skim cheese; grated
  • 2 Tablespoons 2% milk
  • 1 Tablespoon green onions; chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon butter flavored non-stick cook spray
  • salt
  • pepper


Whisk eggs, milk, dash of salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Apply non-stick butter flavored cook spray to frying pan over medium heat. Add eggs and let cook until they begin to set.  Using a heat-resistant spatula, push the set eggs into the center of the pan allowing the uncooked eggs to run underneath.  Continue doing this until they are almost completely cooked.

Add in ham, onions and cheese and give a quick stir to distribute the ingredients throughout.  Remove from heat and stir until ham is warmed and cheese is melted.  Serve immediately.


*This recipe contains Sara Lee® Deli Sliced-to-Order Virginia Brand Ham, which is labeled gluten free, and other ingredients that are not expected to contain gluten.  When preparing gluten free recipes, it is important to read ingredient labels and avoid gluten contamination that may occur if foods are prepared on common surfaces or with utensils that are not thoroughly cleaned after preparation of gluten-containing foods.

Simple Spicy Peanut and Chicken Stir-Fry*

(Serves 4)


  • 3-4 slices of Sliced-to-Order Oven Roasted Chicken Breast; ¼ inch thick slice; diced
  • 2 cups brown rice; cooked
  • 1 cup red bell peppers; cut into strips
  • 1 cup green bell peppers; cut into strips
  • 1 cup broccoli; chopped into small florets
  • 1 cup carrots; sliced on diagonal
  • 1/2cup yellow onions; sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut oil

Spicy Peanut Sauce:

(yield 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1/2cup all-natural gluten free smooth peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup lite coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 1/2Tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2Tablespoons ginger; chopped
  • 1 1/2Tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic; chopped
  • 1/2 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon gluten free chili paste


  • Green onions; chopped
  • Dry-roasted peanuts; chopped


Combine all peanut sauce ingredients except coconut milk in a food processor.  Turn on processor and pour coconut milk in a steady stream until fully emulsified.  Stop processor and scrap down sides.  Pulse until incorporated.  Set aside.

Heat one Tablespoon of peanut oil in medium sauté pan.  Add onions and sauté until fragrant, approximately 5 minutes.  Add remaining vegetables and chicken, sauté until crisp-tender, approximately 6-8 minutes.  Add 2/3 cup peanut sauce and stir to combine and heat through. Remove from heat.


Garnish with green onions and chopped peanuts and serve over brown rice.

*This recipe contains Sara Lee® Deli Sliced-to-Order Oven Roasted Chicken Breast, which is labeled gluten free, and other ingredients that are not expected to contain gluten.  When preparing gluten free recipes, it is important to read ingredient labels and avoid gluten contamination that may occur if foods are prepared on common surfaces or with utensils that are not thoroughly cleaned after preparation of gluten-containing foods.

Now for the fun part!  The giveaway! Follow the directions in the Rafflecopterbox below to enter!

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Fox News to Present “Fox Files” on Celiac Disease with Jennifer Esposito

There has been a lot of chatter in the news and across the social networks in the past few weeks about fellow Celiac Jennifer Esposito and her recent struggles with the disease.  Fox News Channel will air an exclusive interview tonight, November 18, 2012 from 9 PM – 10PM.  Make sure to check out the details below.





What: FOX News Channel (FNC) will present “FOX FILES,” co-anchored by Bill Hemmer and Arthel Neville on Sunday, November 18th from 9:00-10:00PM/ET. In the program, Arthel takes an in-depth look at celiac disease, a genetic disorder characterized by gluten intolerance that affects 1 out of every 133 Americans. Actress Jennifer Esposito from the CBS show “Blue Bloods,” shares her struggle with the disease and speaks exclusively about the ongoing turmoil with the show after they put her character on a leave of absence due to her health issues. Additionally, two- time Stanley Cup winner Mickey Redmond also discusses his battle with the condition.


In addition, Hemmer examines the hermit kingdom of North Korea, an underground railroad system used to escape the country, and the regime of its dictator Kim Jong Un. He also speaks with two Korean Americans who are leading defectors to freedom, as well as a defector that shares his story of how he and his family escaped North Korea.



Where: FOX News Channel (FNC)


When: Sunday, November 18th from 9:00-10:00PM/ET


Here is a short clip of the interview that will be aired tonight.  If you haven’t checked out Jennifer’s Way, Esposito’s journey back to health via the gluten-free diet, including gluten-free mixes.

Gluten-Free Tailgating Tips

Football season is well under way and nothing says “Go Team” like tailgating with your favorite game day foods.   Times like this can be stressful for those following the gluten-free diet (an estimated 43 million Americans  – including those with Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity).  I like to plan in advance to make sure that my experience is as stress-free as possible and there is no better way to do this than with the help of Udi’s Gluten Free.  As the quote by Harvey MacKay goes, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.”


Udi’s Gluten Free has everything you need for a successful tailgate party.  Their buns and breads don’t require refrigeration or toasting to store or eat and are free of soy, dairy and nuts in addition to gluten. 

Tailgating Tips from Udi’s Gluten Free:

1. BYOB- Bring Your Own Buns. Forget lonely hamburger patties and hot dogs, Udi’s Gluten Free Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns are delicious enough that even the most discerning fan won’t be able to taste the difference!

2. Make an Impression with a Signature Drink. Since beer isn’t gluten free, create a signature cocktail. Extra points for a drink name with team spirit.

3. Keep Food Flavorful with Your Own Marinades and Spices. Did you know that many marinades and seasoning mixtures contain hidden gluten? Read the labels to avoid ingredients like soy sauce, malt and modified food starch*, or simply make your own.

4. Chips and Dips. Avoid a foul by leaving behind the flour tortilla chips. Instead, buy corn tortilla chips or cut Udi’s Gluten Free Tortillas into triangles and bake homemade chips. Raw vegetables also make for a great surprise dipper that is both naturally gluten free and nutritious!

5. 4th Quarter Desserts. Don’t lose steam in the final stretch. Serve Udi’s Gluten Free cookies and brownies. The amazing taste and texture consistently win fans even if they don’t eat gluten free, so everyone can enjoy the same sweet treats.

*modified food starch is usually gluten-free in the US and will be clearly labeled if it is not.


The hot dog buns hold up well to the weight of a bun-length hot dog and toppings.  Jon likes to add chopped pickles to the top of his hot dogs, but I managed to snap this picture before he added them. 


Hot dogs or burgers not your cup of tea?  Deli sandwiches are another great game day choice.  Serve gluten-free deli meats, cheese and toppings along with Udi’s Gluten Free breads, gluten-free pretzels and a veggie tray. 


Last, but certainly not least, dessert.  Udi’s Gluten free offers a nice variety of desserts, including these Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites.  This was the first opportunity I had to sample these decadent little bites of perfection and I quickly fell in love!  They were so good that Jon tried to convince me that they were “mini muffins” so that he could have them for breakfast.  Nice try, Jon! 

If you are at a loss for what to serve at your tailgate party or bring to another, make sure to check out the recipes section on the Udi’s Gluten Free page.  There is sure to be a recipe there that will catch your eye and please your tummy. 

Udi’s Gluten Free products can be purchased in stores across the US and online

**The products mentioned in this post were sent to me free of charge for the purpose of reviewing and sharing with you all.  The thoughts and opinions shared here are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything.

Easy Fruit Dip

As the holiday season is quickly approaching, parties and get togethers quickly fill up the calendar.  Whether you are hosting the party or attending it, a healthy, gluten-free option to serve guests is a tray of fresh fruit & cream cheese dip. 


The fruit dip is one that my sister first introduced me to several years back, but modified slightly.  The version Kelly shared with me incorporated Heath bits and was finished off with a dusting on top, while this version is three basic ingredients, all of which are naturally gluten-free.

Easy Cream Cheese Fruit Dip

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

1.  Blend cream cheese and vanilla in a stand mixer.  Gradually mix in brown sugar.  Mix until blended and fluffy.

2.  Serve along side fresh fruit pieces/chunks.

3.  Enjoy!

Simple, yet impressive.  Food doesn’t have to be complicated to impress. 

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Weekly Menu Plan–November 12, 2012

This past weekend was absolutely gorgeous!  Temperatures across central Ohio were in the high 60’s and low 70’s.  It doesn’t get much better than that in mid-November in Ohio.  Unfortunately I believe this will be the end of the nice, warm weather and we should prepare to hunker down and prepare for winter.  BRR!  The high today is 55 and low is 26 – 70% chance of rain.  Hello, cold!

I have been working through some leftovers in my refrigerator that need to be put to use in the next few meals.  Wait until you hear about some of these creations I have up my sleeve!  Dinner last night was a toasted French roll from Trader Joe’s with melted smoked gouda, drizzled with Nakano Balsamic Blend Vinegar and topped with chopped basil.  It was AMAZING!  I need to make sure to buy this cheese again!


I believe that dinner tonight will knock the socks right off of anyone who likes Buffalo Chicken Dip.

Monday – Buffalo Chicken Dip grilled cheese sandwich and salad

Tuesday – Easy Enchilada Bake, corn and salad

Wednesday – Leftovers

Thursday – Take-out

Friday – Make your own pizza with a new crust mix and salad

Saturday – Italian grilled chicken, sweet potato puffs, zucchini and salad

*For more gluten-free weekly meal ideas, make sure to visit

Week in Review

Recipe: Mozzarella Caprese Bites

Review: MI-DEL Gingerbread Men

A list of Hurricane Relief efforts going on – check to see what you can do to help!

Do you like nut butter?  Check out The Healthy Apple’s post on “10 Ways with Nut Butter” – Brilliant ideas!

Have a great week!

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Review: Kitch+Table Gluten-Free Brownies

I love chocolate.  If I were to be stranded on a remote island, as long as I had chocolate, red wine and water, I could survive.  When I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing some mixes from Kitch + Table, and brownies were included as one of the two mixes, I may have done a little happy dance! 


More about kitch+table":


The double chocolate brownie mix is just as easy to make as it claims on the front of the package.  I simply mixed 2 eggs and a half cup of melted butter together, stirred in the brownie mix and popped into my oven for 30-35 minutes.  The brownies cooked up evenly.  I allowed them to cool and then sliced for serving at my friend’s housewarming party.  They were a hit!  The plate full of brownies was devoured and only 2 were left when I last checked before I headed home.  The brownies were moist and fudgy, just the way I like them!  My friend, Melissa, topped hers with a dab of cream cheese dip and sliced of strawberry!  Divine!  My non-gluten-free and picky child also gave her stamp of approval = asking for seconds. 


The ingredients: Sugar, Gluten-Free Flour Blend (white rice flour, non-GMO cornstarch, potato starch, brown rice flour, tapioca starch), Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder, Leavening (sodium bicarbonate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate), Salt, Natural Flavors, Xanthan Gum.

The kitch+table mixes can be purchased right from the kitch+table website.  The brownie mix is $5.99 and one of the best ones I have tried!  Definitely add this one to your list of “don’t miss” gluten-free products!  I still have to make and sample the pizza crust, and I can assure you that will be happening sooner than later after I tried the brownies!

*This mix 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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