Tablet Companion

I am writing this blog post from my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.  While it seems awkward right now, it is nice to know that I can do so without bringing my big, heavy laptop along when I am on the go.  I often have chunks of time – 15-20 minutes – where I could draft or upload blog posts instead of waiting until I got home, where it is much more likely that I’ll get distracted.


The WordPress App allows me to utilize the tools I need to draft posts, upload posts and access other parts of my blog.

Google Drive is another App I have at the ready on my tablet and other devices.  I can draft, store and access all kinds of documents, including workouts for my clients.  Drive allows me to share documents with select individuals…great for  clients who want to access a past workout.

The standard social media apps…Twitter and Facebook…allow me to keep up with my accounts on the go. YouTube comes in handy for quick workouts on the go or for uploading workouts I have created and recorded.

Kindle and Nook are great for reading whether you are borrowing or purchasing books or magazines.  Keeping the apps on both my tablet and Droid RAZR HD make it easy to keep my place. The app syncs your most current location upon opening.

There seems to be an app for just about anything and everything.  The 4G service, combined with WiFi, make it possible to be “in touch” anytime I need (or want) to be.  I love technology!

*Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Health and Fitness Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device, FitBit One, Verizon Gift Card, Samsung Galaxy 2 10.1 and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the products.

Udi’s Gluten-Free On-the-Go

Traveling when you are following the gluten-free diet can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be.  I truly believe the key to success is planning.  If you fail to plan, you basically plan to fail.  Udi’s Gluten-Free helps make planning to travel gluten-free easy since most of their products don’t require refrigeration and can be eaten at room temperature. 


Granola Bars:  Udi’s has three different varieties – Chocolate Chip, Cranberry Almond and Ancient Grain.  They all travel well, but the Chocolate Chips do melt if they are stored in a hot environment.  I like to keep these in my purse for emergency food situations.  You know, the ones where someone has either inadvertently glutened the food that is being served or your are unsure about the status of it.  When in doubt, go without.

Granola: Udi’s Granola comes in six different varieties – Au Naturel, Crunchy Original, Cranberry, Vanilla, Cherry Almond and Blueberry Cashew.  Granola is uber portable and is great to add to ice cream, salads, fruit salads or eat straight from the bag.  If you are really stuck and need an easy meal or snack, grab some milk and a bowl from a fast food restaurant or gas station, pour granola & milk into bowl and enjoy. 

Muffins: Muffins are great for packing for road trips, picnics, school/work breakfast/lunch, snacks, etc.  Udi’s offers five different muffin options – Blueberry, Double Vanilla, Lemon Streusel, Harvest Crunch and Double Chocolate.  It’s not necessary to keep the muffins cold or to heat them up…they are perfect at room temperature.  Grab a hot cup of coffee or tea and enjoy!

Bread: There are enough varieties of Udi’s Gluten-Free bread that there is sure to be one to please every taste palate.  Choose from Whole Grain, White Sandwich, Cinnamon Raisin, Millet-Chia and Omega Flax & Fiber.  Making sandwiches ahead of time on room temperature bread or bringing the bread and toppings/fillings along separately are both realistic options; I have had success both ways.  I especially like PB & J sandwiches on Udi’s Gluten-Free White Sandwich Bread.

Chips: Do you get snacky when you are road trips?  My kids sure do!  Udi’s Gluten-Free has three varieties of chips that are perfect for eating on-the-go – Aged Cheddar Ancient Grain, Jalapeno Ancient Grain, Sea Salt Ancient Grain.  All three varieties taste great alone, but can be dipped into salsa, French onion dip or hummus for an extra kick. These are great to pass around the car on a road trip or serve at a picnic or tailgate party. 


Cookies & Brownies:  Don’t worry, Udi’s didn’t forget about dessert.  I have a wicked sweet tooth and love to finish off a meal with a small cookie, brownie or handful of jelly beans. Udi’s has seven varieties of cookies & brownies – Snickerdoodle Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites, Salted Caramel Cashew, Cookies Maple Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies and Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies.  It is hard to figure out which one I like best as they are all awesome! The best thing is the option to choose multiple varieties so that everyone is happy.

Udi’s Gluten Free products can be found in stores across the US and onlineWhat is your favorite Udi’s Gluten-Free product and how do you use it? 

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

Weekly Menu Plan–August 26, 2013

School has started and we are in the last week of summer.  Labor Day weekend is upon us, though the temps feel more like mid-July than they do heading into September.  I am getting busier in the evenings with personal training clients (YAY!), so menu planning and keeping my calendar organized is becoming an absolute necessity. 


Thankfully my brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is just the perfect device to help me manage all of the above.  The calendar app syncs with my Google Calendar, which also has the personal training studio calendar integrated, for constant access to my “life”. 


Here is a quick glimpse of how the calendar is filled in.  I can select different options to show the year, month, week, day, list or task.  The same calendar can be accessed and edited by my Droid Razr HD if I need to make a change in a hurry.  While it is hard for me to get rid of my schedule book completely, and I still carry it as a back-up for now, I really like that when I add an appointment, or make a change, it is shown on all devices.  One of these days soon I will ditch that schedule book.

Another fabulous feature of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is the 4G service.  Having the 4G service allows me to access PayPal (to accept payments from clients who wish to pay via credit card) even if WiFi is not available. 

*Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Health and Fitness Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device, FitBit One, Verizon Gift Card, Samsung Galaxy 2 10.1 and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the products.


Monday – Tyson Gluten-Free chicken fingers, baked steak fries, salad

Tuesday – Tacos, black beans, corn and salad

Wednesday- Grilled Italian chicken breast, brown rice pasta, broccoli and salad

Thursday – Burgers, sweet potato fries and salad

Friday – Pizza with Pillsbury GF dough and salad

Saturday – Take-out

Weekly Recap

Recipe: Gluten-Free Beef Pot Pie

NFCA Webinar: Understanding the FDA’s Gluten-Free Labeling Rule: What you need to know.

Cheating on the Gluten-Free Diet

Have a great week!


Pillsbury Gluten-Free Pie Crust = Beef Pot Pie

This post is sponsored by Pillsbury.  All opinions are my own.

Many people think fruit or dessert pie when they hear “pie dough”.  Why not a savory or dinner pie?  My Mom’s Beef Pot Pie is out of this world and one of my favorite childhood dishes. 


Pillsbury’s new Gluten-Free Pie Dough is the perfect way to help simplify this dinner by removing the work of making a dough from scratch. 


The use of the pressure cooker to cook the beef stew meat, further simplifies the meal by producing a wonderfully tender end product that would take hours to cook any other way. 

Beef Pot Pie

1.25 lbs beef stew meat
1 lb carrots, cut to bite size pieces
4 medium potatoes, peeled & cut to bite size pieces
4 stalks celery, cut to bite size pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 TBSP Kitchen Bouquet
3 TBSP Cornstarch
2 TBSP Vegetable Oil
3 cups water total, divided
1 10oz box package frozen mixed vegetables
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Thyme or Marjoram, to taste, approx. 1 tsp

1. Cut beef into bite size pieces. Heat oil in pressure cooker; brown meat. Remove meat from pressure cooker to insert cooking platform/basket; add ½ cup water and add beef to basket. Seal pressure cooker and cook for 10 minutes after rocker/pressure is reached.
2. Cool pressure cooker to remove lid. Add all veggies (including frozen ones), salt & pepper, add another ½ cup water; seal pressure cooker, bring to pressure, cook 5 minutes. Cool pressure cooker to remove lid.
3. Dump basket of food back into pressure cooker pot.
4. In gravy shaker add 2 cups cold water, 3 TBSP cornstarch, thyme or marjoram & Kitchen Bouquet and shake well.
5. Bring pressure cooker to boil then add cornstarch solution. Stir until boiling & thickened. Taste, add more seasonings if necessary.
6. Pour into prepared pie crust, careful not to overfill.  Use extra filling as beef stew.
7. Top with remaining crust
8. Bake at 350 for 30 – 40 minutes or until crust is nicely browned.

Don’t forget Pillsbury also offers Gluten-Free Cookie Dough and Gluten-Free Thin Crust Pizza Dough in their new line-up.  Head on over to this post to enter to win this premium baking set to use with the new gluten-free doughs. 


If a sweet fruit pie is more up your alley, be sure to check out this Caramel Apple Pie recipe from Pillsbury.


Coupons for the new Pillsbury Gluten-Free Doughs can be found on the website.  If you are having trouble finding the dough in your area, make sure to check the product locator to see where you can find it. Don’t forget to enter to win the premium baking set if you haven’t done so yet! 

Full disclosure: this article is financially supported by Pillsbury®

ER, What?

Last summer I discovered that drinking water wasn’t enough to keep me hydrated when exercising in the heat and humidity.  I would fight dehydration after each and every long run or hard workout.  That telltale headache would start to creep in and the rest of my day would be spent fighting to rehydrate myself.  Once I started to drink Gatorade during every run and then continue to do so after, I noticed a big change.  The headaches were gone for the most part.  I learned that hydration for summer exercise is a 24/7 job and for me, it was vital to drink Gatorade daily, running or not. 

Yesterday I headed out for my run later than I intended to due to a morning appointment.  It was 75ish when I headed out and warmed up to 80 by the time I finished.  The sun was out and there wasn’t really any shade, but that didn’t seem to bother me at the time.  In fact, I felt really strong during my run, even mentioned so in my workout log, and kept my HR average in high zone 2.  I refueled with a protein shake, showered, ate lunch and went about my day like I normally do. 

When I was at the studio training my afternoon clients, I noticed a headache creeping in.  Not just “a” headache, “the” headache.  I thought it was odd at the time because I had already had 32 oz. of Gatorade.  I had my bottle of water, so I kept on drinking.  On the way home from work my headache intensified.  It was 5:30ish, so I grabbed a Larabar ALT bar from my purse and hoped that would help.  Nope.  I still felt really crappy by the time I got home, so I took some Tylenol and grabbed another bottle of Gatorade.  It was at this point that I realized that something wasn’t right. 

It is rare nowadays for me to have a headache like this.  If I do get a headache, I can usually get rid of it by drinking extra Gatorade and popping a couple of Tylenol.  As the evening went on, I was feeling worse and worse.  The pain in my head was intensifying and making me nauseous.  After vomiting, I told Aaron that I was going to go to the ER because I suspected I was dehydrated and the pain in my head was getting worse.  Fortunately we only live a few minutes away from OhioHealth Westerville Medical Center ER

I arrived at the ER and promptly vomited, which quickly resulted in this:


The next few hours included more vomiting, a couple of bags of fluid, blood work, a couple doses of Zofran, Toradol and a CT scan.  Bottom line?  Dehydration.  I kept thinking (and saying to the doctor and nurse) that I know better.  I talk about hydration (and how to prevent dehydration) until I am blue in the face to my clients and MIT participants.  The ER doctor said I did everything right, but it was hot outside and we have had cooler weather over the past couple of weeks, which meant my body wasn’t used to the heat. She gave me a prescription for Zofran to take home and discharged me.  They actually fill the script right there in the ER now!  What a wonderful service.  Last thing I wanted to do at 10:30 last night was find a 24-hour pharmacy. 

By midnight – 1:00 AM, I was feeling much better.  Headache gone, nausea gone, just thirsty.  I ate some ice chips, sipped some Gatorade and finally fell asleep after 2:00 AM.  This morning I am working on bland food and more hydration.  Needless to say, I won’t be going for a run today.  Now, drink up!!

Easy Gluten-Free Pizza with Pillsbury + Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Pillsbury.  All opinions are my own. 

Friday night in our house are often “Make Your Own Pizza” night.  In the past I have used a gluten-free packaged mix or gluten-free frozen crust as the base, but now that Pillsbury is offering a refrigerated gluten-free pizza dough, I have been using it. 


The Pillsbury Gluten-Pizza Dough can be found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. 


Coupons for the new Pillsbury Gluten-Free Doughs can be found on the website

Our Friday night pizza can be simple or fancy depending on who is eating it.  I love toppings that my children won’t touch, so if they are home for dinner, I keep it simple.  I use a store bought marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. It really doesn’t get much easier than that. 

Pizza dough can be prepped in 2 different sizes for best results. Below are prep instructions for the 2 sizes and helpful tips.
A.    For a 12 x 10 rectangle pizza

1. HEAT oven to 400°F.
2.GREASE cookie sheet and hands.
3. SOFTEN dough by forming into a rounded ball.  Starting from center, press out dough to form a 12 x 10-inch rectangle.
4. PREBAKE dough 12-14 minutes or until edges are beginning to brown.
5. FLIP crust using a spatula.
6. SPREAD with pizza sauce. Top with cooked meat, cheese and other toppings as desired.
7. BAKE 4-8 minutes longer until crust is deep golden brown and cheese is melted.

B.     For two 10-inch pizzas

1. HEAT oven to 400°F.    Remove dough from container and divide in half.  If making one pizza, return half to container and refrigerate.
2. GREASE cookie sheet and hands.
3. SOFTEN dough by forming into a rounded ball.  Starting from center, press out dough to form a 10-inch round.
4. PREBAKE dough 7-11 minutes or until edges are beginning to brown.
5. FLIP crust using a spatula.
6. SPREAD with pizza sauce.   Top with cooked meat, cheese and other toppings as desired.
7. BAKE 4-8 minutes longer until crust is deep golden brown and cheese is melted.

C.     Helpful Tips

·  For easier dough handling, soften dough by either rolling smooth between greased hands or letting dough warm outside of refrigerator for 10-15 minutes prior to pressing into shape.
·  Brushing the top of the dough with oil, to prevent it from getting soggy from the toppings.
·  You can pinch the edges if you want to form a rim or lip.
·  Lightly sprinkle baking sheet with corn starch or rice flour.
·  Do not want edges to get too thin; will burn or get hard during the bake.
·  Press into shape by 1st forming a ball or rounded disk, press from center out to shape.
· Greasing hands also helps with dough handling or pressing into desired shape.
·  Use a Roller to even dough thickness for even cooking.

Another bonus to making a simple cheese pizza for the kids is adding an adult twist – fresh basil or arugula on top once it comes out of the oven.


Now for the fun part!  Pillsbury has offered to give one lucky reader this super-cool Premium Baking Set.  Last week I used the Cookie Dough to have warm cookies ready when the kids got home.  Next, I think these BBQ Chicken Mini Pizzas would make great appetizers!



To enter to win the Premium Baking Set shown above, visit the Pillsbury website and tell me which recipe you would make with the Pillsbury Gluten-Free Dough.  Which dough do you most want to try? 

Giveaway is open to US residents only and will run until August 23, 2013.  Winner will be announced on August 26, 2013. 


Full disclosure: this article is financially supported by Pillsbury®

This & That 2013

If you haven’t heard about the new Larabar ALT, listen up!  The new Larabar ALT bars have 10 grams of protein per bar, making them an ideal way to refuel after a run or workout.  The bars are on sale this week at Meijer stores – 10 bars for $10 and the 11th bar is FREE! 


The Lemon Pound Cake and Cinnamon Apple Crisp are my favorites. 


Yeah, I did.  I came home from my run and Aaron had cooked some bacon, which smelled heavenly!  I really wanted peanut butter toast, so I combined the two.  Yeah, not sure why I waited so long to try this combo. 

Word on the street is that Nabisco has come out with Gluten-Free Rice Thins in three varieties: Original, White Cheddar and Sea Salt & Pepper.  Have you seen or tried the new crackers?  I plan on keeping my eyes peeled and will make sure to let you know my thoughts. 

Tastefully Simple will be offering 4 gluten-free products this fall.


More info, including reviews, coming soon!

Happy Thursday!

Glutino Gluten-Free Pantry Instant Baking Mix

Glutino’s timing of their new Gluten-Free Pantry Instant Baking Mix is impeccable.  School starts tomorrow and that means crazy early mornings.  I am hoping that the smell of these pancakes will help me wake the kids from their beds and get them fueled up and ready to learn. 


The new mix comes in a handy bottle that allows you to mix the water right into the mix.  Once the batter is ready to go, simply pour onto the hot griddle in 3-inch circles.  Don’t need the whole package (10-12 pancakes) made at once?  No biggie, store in the refrigerator for up to four days.  How cool is that? 


I knew right away that these would be in a hit in our house.  There aren’t many foods that we all like, but pancakes happen to be one of those foods. 


I like to toss some chocolate chips on top of the pancake batter before I flip them on the griddle.  This allows the chips to get chocolaty and gooey right before they are served. It also allows for each person to choose their add-ins, if any. 

Glutino Gluten-Free Pantry Instant Baking Mix can be found in stores across the USWhat is your favorite way to eat pancakes? 

*The products mentioned in this blog post were sent to me free of charge as a part of the Very Important Gluten-Free Blogger Program.  The thoughts and opinions shared here are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything.

Simplicity With Pillsbury Gluten-Free

Being gluten-free is hard enough as an adult, imagine being a child or teen following the gluten-free diet!  My son, Jon, started the gluten-free diet when he was 10 years old.  He was not pleased about it at the time, nor is he today, 7 years after his diagnosis.  Things like gluten-free cookies and treats make having to follow the diet a more pleasant experience. 

Pillsbury recently debuted a line of gluten-free doughs that includes a chocolate chip cookie dough, so when they asked if I would be interested in sampling the new line and helping to spread the good news, I was thrilled! 


Today my focus on the Pillsbury Gluten-Free Cookie Dough and how simple it is to have warm and gooey chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven anytime you please.  The beauty of this dough is that you can make as many cookies as you want at a time.  Only want a couple of cookies to go with your afternoon coffee or tea?  No problem!  Just scoop out a couple of tablespoons of dough on the the cookie sheet and pop into the oven.  Have unexpected guests stop by?  Bake some cookies to serve as a snack. 



So simple that an older child or teen can make them on their own. 


Perfect!  Not just in the way they look, but in the way they taste, too!  We quickly fell in love with these cookies and knowing how easy they are to make, I am sure they will be made frequently. 

I can’t wait to try to make these Gluten-Free Chocolate Turtle Bars with the cookie dough.  YUM!


More about the cookie dough, available in the refrigerated aisle:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
•    14.3 oz. tub for easy storage
•    Makes approximately 16 2” cookies
•    Classic Chocolate Chip variety
•    110 calories per serving

Pillsbury Gluten-Free doughs can be found in grocery stores nationwide.  I have seen the products priced between $3.99 – $4.99/tub, which is very reasonable.  Stay tuned for more on the Pillsbury Gluten-Free doughs, including a giveaway for a baking set and coupons for free products. 

Full disclosure: this article is financially supported by Pillsbury®, though the thoughts and opinions shared here are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything.

Vanilla Chex Giveaway

If you haven’t had a chance to try the new Vanilla Chex cereal, you are missing out!  The kids and I didn’t waste any time plowing through the box of cereal once it was opened.


The cereal didn’t disappoint!  Each bite was full of vanilla yumminess and wasn’t overly sweet.  More about Vanilla Chex:

  • Gluten-free
  • No artificial flavors or colors
  • Delicious, natural vanilla flavoring
  • Kid-friendly
  • Made with 10g whole grain per serving
  • Contains 120 calories and 8g sugar per serving

chex ingredients

Vanilla Chex joins six other gluten-free Chex varieties: Rice, Corn, Honey Nut, Chocolate, Apple Cinnamon and Cinnamon.  All of the cereals can be found in grocery stores across the US and are priced at $3.39/box.

Now for the fun part…I am giving away 10 boxes of Vanilla Chex!  All you have to do to enter is follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter box below. Continue reading

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