Rudi’s Gluten-Free Help Find “Soft & Fluffy” Giveaway

Rudi’s Gluten Free recently launched a contest to help find “Soft & Fluffy”, which is exactly what has been missing from gluten-free bread.  Are you interested in helping find “Soft & Fluffy”?  If so, read on.

There is a $1,000 reward sweepstakes taking place right now!  A successful detective needs the proper gear to help them find what it is they are looking for, right?  Rudi’s Gluten-Free has offered to give one of my lucky readers a giveaway package, worth $100, full of tools to help find “Soft & Fluffy”.

Tools for finding soft & fluffy GIVEAWAY

Items in the giveaway package:

  • Enjoy Life Trail Mix
  • Peter Rabbit Organic Fruit Snack
  • Kelty Backpack
  • Stainless Steel Water Bottle
  • Compass
  • Field Notebook

All you have to do to enter to win is complete the tasks in the Rafflecopter box below.    Continue reading

Weekly Menu Plan–January 20, 2013

Tomorrow is Inauguration Day! This will be the 57th Presidential Inauguration.  The first Presidential Inauguration was on April 30, 1789.  Do you plan on tuning in to watch?  The first Presidential Inauguration that I remember being aware of was on January 21, 1985 for Ronald Reagan’s second term when I had just turned 12.  There is your dose of history for the day. 

Udi’s is really on the roll with new products lately!  I just found out the other day they are debuting tortillas and now I saw on their new products page they are also debuting granola bars



I can’t wait to sample some of these new products and share my thoughts with you guys!

Menu for the Week

Sunday – Black bean chipotle quinoa bowl and salad

Monday – BBQ pulled pork sammies, sweet potato puffs, broccoli and salad

Tuesday – Leftovers

Wednesday – Mexican pizzas and salad

Thursday – Italian Grilled Chicken, coconut baked brown rice and salad

Friday – Make your own pizza and salad

Saturday – Take out

Week in Review

Applegate Naturals recalls chicken nuggets

Udi’s Double Vanilla Muffins are the BOMB! Launches “Dine GF” app

Recipe Update: Thai Chile Salmon

Have a great week!

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Recall Alert–Undeclared Wheat!

I always do my best to try to alert you guys to recalls as soon as I get the information.  I received an email late last night about this recall and then it was also shared on my Facebook page by a friend.  If you have purchased this product recently or know someone that does, please take care to make sure to return it or throw it out.  The product in question is made by Applegate Naturals – the Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets. 


More from Applegate Naturals on the recall:

Frequently Asked Questions
January 18, 2013

Applegate strives to provide an experience with our brand that reflects our attention to quality from farm to table and we regret having to recall a product that does not meet our standards.

What product is affected by the recall?
8-ounce packages of Applegate Naturals Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets with the “Best Before” date of August 28, 2013 and Lot Code 210864. These are the ONLY products affected by the recall.

How much of this product is out in the marketplace?
We have confirmed that 3,144 packages of Applegate Naturals Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets are potentially affected. The shipment of this product has been tracked and all retailers with affected product have been notified.

Are any other Applegate products affected by the recall?
No. Only Applegate Naturals Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets with the “Best Before” date of August 28, 2013 is included in this recall. No other Applegate products are affected.

Why is Applegate issuing a recall?
The identified batch of Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets was mislabeled and may contain gluten.

What do I do if I have affected product and how do I get reimbursed?
If you have the Applegate Naturals Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets, please return affected product to the retailer where it was purchased for a full refund.

How did Applegate know there was a problem with the recalled product?
The problem was detected by a consumer who is familiar with the product and noted a color difference. This product was labeled with a Lot Code 210864 and a “Best Before” date of August 28, 2013.

Has anyone become ill from the recalled product?
No. Applegate has received no reports of illness nor has the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. Nevertheless, anyone concerned about an allergic reaction should contact a healthcare provider.

How did the problem occur?
During the packaging process, the product containing gluten was packed in boxes that are labeled as gluten-free. This was an isolated issue and did not impact any other products.

How will Applegate prevent this from happening in the future?
We have carefully evaluated every step in the processing and packaging of this product. As a result, we have identified and implemented the following steps that will provide added assurance against a similar incident occurring in the future.

  • We have improved our label verification process. A sample of each of our gluten-free retail boxes is now verified against a printed image of each box and all employees who process or pack the product have been fully educated on this improved process.
  • If more than one product is packed on the same line on the same day, we will document and verify that all packaging from the prior run is removed from the area before starting a new product run.

Where can consumers go for more information?
Consumers can visit the Applegate website at or call us at 866-587-5858.

Consumers can also contact "Ask Karen," the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service virtual representative available 24 hours a day at The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

We don’t purchase these on a regular basis, but we have purchased them in the past.  Please pass this along!

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The Best Water Bottle–EVER!

Hydration is very important for our bodies to function properly.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to have water available for each and every workout, not just high intensity activities like running, spinning and hot yoga.  Walking, weight lifting, strength training, etc – water is necessary to replace fluids lost.  Sometimes water isn’t enough for me.  I need electrolytes in addition to the just water and I will use Gatorade for this purpose.  I am not the only one preaching about hydration, check out the information below from mountaineer Melissa Arnot:

This past May, mountaineer Melissa Arnot completed her fourth summit of Mount Everest – more than any other woman in history, at the young age of 29.  If that wasn’t enough, she also summited Mount Rainier 91 times. She’s an inspiration to so many, and knows first-hand the importance of hydration for safety. “No matter if you are climbing Everest or just training to climb the stairs, hydration is one of the single most important tools for success,” said Arnot.

Below are a few helpful tips from Melissa for staying healthy and hydrated:

· Hydration for safety: “When you are under exertion, your body is using fluid from anywhere it can get it, which puts stress on your other body systems. You are losing body moisture through sweat and respiration, so hydration is a key element of safety.”

· Follow the liter rule: “I always start any day of activity with a liter of water prior to my exertion. After my activities start, I keep hydrated by drinking a half-liter every hour.”

· Avex water bottles: “The Avex AUTOSPOUT lid has a press-to-release button that quickly opens the drinking spout, offering me the ability to quickly rehydrate without the risk of losing the lid to my bottle. Often, hydration hoses just won’t work since they tend to freeze in colder temperatures. The Avex bottle allows me to rapidly re-hydrate and I notice that I am able to drink even more then I used to with a traditional bottle. Being hydrated is critical to safety and success. No matter where I am traveling I am never without water, since I know it can literally save my life at very high altitude.”

Have you seen or hear about the Avex water bottles?  I hadn’t until I received one to try out.  I am very impatient when it comes to running and workout gear.  I like things to be easy and if I have to take a bunch of pieces of a water bottle apart to wash, it will most likely end up sitting around and not getting used.  One of the features of this Glacier Autoseal water bottle that caught my eye from the get-go was it being dishwasher safe (top rack). 


32 ounces is perfect!  I easily drink 2-3 of these per day. 


The top has “autoseal” so there is no leaking or spilling.  I will throw a water bottle away if it leaks, so I was very interested to see how this worked.  The white part flips back to open the bottle, but no water comes out until you press the “autoseal” button.  Want to know what is even better?  You can do it all with one hand, making it perfect for fast-moving fitness classes like Body Pump or heated power yoga. 


The true test was putting the bottle in my workout bag and transporting it to class that way.  Guess what?  No spills or leaks!  I am amazed and very pleased!  I love how easy this bottle is to use and clean! 

Avex water bottles can be purchased on many websites, though I haven’t checked locally to see if I can find them in stores.  It seems they come in more than just the 32 ounce size.  They also have travel mugs, which would be great for coffee!  Click here to see where to find them close to you.

Do you have a favorite water bottle to use while working out?

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

Recipe Update: Thai Chile Salmon

When I first shared my love of Thai Chile Salmon, I paired it with roasted potatoes and okra.  Recently I have been eating a lot of quinoa in an effort to eat more nutrient dense foods.  Low iron stores on my last blood work means more bison (higher in iron than beef), spinach and other leafy greens and subbing quinoa for brown rice.  Check out the comparison below.

Brown Rice – 1 cup:

  • Protein – 5 grams
  • Fiber – 4 grams
  • Calcium – 2%
  • Iron – 4%

Quinoa – 1 cup:

  • Protein – 8 grams
  • Fiber – 5 grams
  • Calcium – 3%
  • Iron – 15%

Instead of pairing the salmon with potatoes, I paired it with quinoa. The quinoa is very quick to cook by following the directions on the box with one change – I cooked the quinoa in canned lite coconut milk instead of water.


Sweet Thai Chile Salmon

  • Trader Joe’s Sweet Thai Chile Sauce
  • Salmon
  • Paprika, Salt & Pepper

1.  Pour 1TBSP or so sweet Thai chile sauce on each piece of salmon

2. Sprinkle salmon with paprika, salt and pepper.

3.  Bake at 375 for 12 min or so.

4.  Broil for 1-2 minutes.

5.  Be careful not to overcook.

In order to add some veggies to my dish, I sauteed some sliced zucchini for 10-12 minutes and placed on top of the quinoa and salmon in a bowl.  This was perfect!  I can’t wait to have it again soon!

Gluten-Free Anniversary & Menu Plan

Yesterday, January 12th, marked the 7th anniversary of being on the gluten-free diet for me.  I am so much healthier now than I was seven years ago.  This isn’t entirely due to following the gluten-free diet, but it sure plays a large part.  I just turned 40 and am in the best shape of my life – partly due to the gluten-free diet and the fact that I feel good, so I have the energy to pursue my running goals 100%.  So much has changed in the world of gluten-free over the past 7 years, including the debut and expansion of food in the gluten-free marketplace. 


Here is a list of some of the things I have learned over the years.  Some are taken from my post that I shared last year on my 6th anniversary.

  • There are way more things that I can eat, than can’t.
  • Even after 6 7 years, I still make mistakes.
  • There is life after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease and starting the gluten-free diet.
  • The selection of gluten-free foods in grocery stores is much better now than it was 6 7 years ago.
  • Even with all of the publicity the gluten-free diet has been getting, some people still look at me like I have 2 heads when I ask if they have a gluten-free menu.
  • The gluten-free diet isn’t necessarily a healthy or an unhealthy diet; your diet is what you make it.  There are plenty of healthy & unhealthy gluten-free foods out there, just like every other diet.
  • Focusing on friends and family at gatherings is way more productive & feels better than focusing on the food, whether I can eat it or not.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff – this works for the gluten-free diet just as it does for the rest of your life.  Keep a gluten-free protein bar or snack in your purse, bag or car so that you always have a back up.

Sunday – Take-out

Monday – Chicken fingers, baked steak fries, broccoli and salad

Tuesday – Baked Ziti and salad

Wednesday – Sweet Thai chile salmon, coconut baked brown rice, sugar snap peas and salad

Thursday – Breakfast for dinner and fruit salad

Friday – Dinner with friends

Saturday – Make your own pizza and salad

Week in review:

Bob Evan’s updates and expands gluten-free menu

Review: Katz Gluten Free Blueberry Pie

Review: BoomChickaPop Popcorn

Review: Katz Gluten-Free English Muffins

Have a great week!


Do you like surprise parties?  When Aaron turned 25 I threw a surprise party for him, only I had him plan it.  Are you wondering how he planned his own surprise party?  I convinced him that my BFF’s birthday was coming up (even though it was September and her birthday isn’t until February) and wanted to throw a party for her.  He went to great lengths to reserve a party room, get a keg of beer and organized logistics so she would be surprised, only he didn’t know that I was doing just the same thing with the logistics on my side so that he would be surprised.  When the day of the party came, he worked fervently to make sure we got my friend to the party room without raising suspicion.  His plan was to walk in first to turn the lights on and then have her come in to “help him” carry something to the car, only since he was walking in first, his friends jumped out and yelled “SURPRISE!”!  He quickly shushed the crowd informing them that my friend was on her way in and to get ready to jump out and surprise her.  It took one of his friends to point out that the party was for him, not her, since they didn’t even know who she was.  He was thoroughly shocked and surprised!  It is a good thing I was able to pull that off because there will never be a way to surprise him like that again.

With my 40th birthday coming up I suspected that Aaron may try to pull something off to help celebrate the event.  As the day approached, I headed to meet my family along with my mom and step dad for dinner.  There weren’t any people hiding behind walls or tables, so I thought I was in the clear as the next night Aaron and I were headed to our favorite restaurant for date night.  Little did I know that date night was not really date night, but a gathering of life-long friends and family waiting to surprise me!


As we pulled into the empty parking lot of our favorite restaurant I made a joke that if he was having a surprise party for me here there would be no place to hide the cars, as there were only a couple of other cars in the parking lot.  He laughed and brushed it off.  The hostess took our coats and walked us to our table.  I sat down and began to peruse the wine list as I heard Aaron say, “Bazinga!”  What?  (We are big fans of ‘The Big Bang Theory’)  He said it again and I looked at him like he was crazy and then I saw Hannah, my little sister, Regan and my mom walk around the corner!  They brought me back to a private dining room full of people who yelled, “SURPRISE!”  My middle sister, who lives in Atlanta with her family, grabbed me and gave me a huge hug and noogie since I had been harassing her all day about a surprise visit to Ohio for my birthday.  I had no idea about the party, but I did suspect that she was en route for a variety of reasons, including her phone going right to voice mail (being turned off on the plane).


What a wonderful, thoughtful way to help me celebrate my 40th birthday!  I am so grateful and blessed to have such a wonderful family!  The dinner included my favorite menu items – filet mignon, chop salad and flourless chocolate torte for dessert (all gluten-free, of course!).


My sneaky sister, Kelly.


Not the best picture due to the lighting in the restaurant, but my dear friends (from right to left, Stacy, Holly, me, Amanda), all of whom I have known for over 15 years!  Amanda (she is the BFF that Aaron thought he was planning the party for) and I have been friends for 25 years. 


The man who made it all happen – Aaron!  I couldn’t have asked for a better husband!  He went to such great lengths to make sure my 40th birthday was celebrated with those who are near and dear to me.  Thank you, Aaron, I love you!! 


I also want to take a moment to thank my mother, as we share a birthday.  Thank you for all that you have done for me – and for sharing your birthday – I love you!  Happy birthday, Mom!

Recipe: Chicken, Walnut & Raisin Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

Last week I shared one of my recent favorite dinner salads – Simple Steak Salad.  This week I want to share another simple salad using a store-bought rotisserie chicken.  Eating healthy doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated.  By using a store-bought rotisserie chicken (remember to check the gluten-free status), the time it takes to prepare this meal is less than 15 minutes.  Of course if you want to cut down on processed foods and prepare your own chicken, roast it on Sunday and then you can use it for several meals during the week. 


Once the chicken is prepared or purchased, the rest of the preparation is simple.  Some people choose to cut all of their veggies up at one time for the entire week.  I like to cut them up as I use them.  To each his own. 

Chicken, Walnut & Raisin Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

After I enjoyed my very large dinner salad I thought of a couple ingredients that I might add the next time I make this – avocado and/or goat cheese.  The best thing about dinner salads like this is playing around with the ingredients to find the combination you fall in love with. 

What is your favorite dinner salad combination?

Birthday Week Menu Plan–January 7, 2013

Phew!  What a whirlwind the past few days have been!  More on that (celebrations) later this week.  Before I move onto the meal plan for the week, I want to show you what I did to entertain myself today.  I was looking for a fun bowl or container to put some popcorn in to take pictures of for a review and couldn’t find anything suitable, so I ended up using a wine glass.  What a fun way to eat popcorn! 


These wine glasses hold 7-9 oz of wine if they are filled most of the way up, so they don’t get used often.  I love my new popcorn dish! 

Now, let’s get down to business – the menu plan. 

Monday – Rotisserie chicken with rice or salad, green beans

Tuesday – Ground beef tacos, black beans, corn and salad

Wednesday – Thai Peanut Salmon, quinoa and zucchini

Thursday – Baked Ziti and salad

Friday – Breakfast for dinner and fruit salad

Saturday – Take out

Sunday – Italian grilled chicken Alfredo, asparagus and salad

Don’t forget to enter the Daiya New Year’s Giveaway – only a few hours left!

Red Lobster gluten-free options

Review: Bob’s Red Mil Gluten-Free Museli

Review: Udi’s Mighty Bagels

Have a great week!

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