Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Berry Oatmeal Bars

A few weeks ago a friend of mine shared a recipe on Facebook that caught my eye. The recipe was for Ree Drummond’s Strawberry Oatmeal Bars. If you don’t know who Ree Drummond is, check out her blog called The Pioneer Woman. Her recipes are showcased with step-by-step photos that will leave drool on your keyboard – seriously! Obviously I couldn’t make the recipe as written because it wasn’t gluten or dairy-free, but I could modify it so that we could enjoy our own little piece of heaven. 

Surprisingly I had everything I needed on hand. Here are some of the substitutions I made and the recipe with the changes I made will follow. 

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Bakery on Main Happy Quick Oats & Enjoy Life All-Purpose Flour

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Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Sticks

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Crofter’s Berry Harvest Organic Premium Fruit Spread

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The finished bars. Holy guacamole were these good! Not only were they amazing when they were still warm, but once chilled in the refrigerator, which is where I stored them. Jon ate these for breakfast every day until they were gone. He loved them and asked that I make them again really soon!

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Berry Oatmeal Bars

*Modified from the original recipe courtesy of The Pioneer Woman – Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

  • 1 3/4 sticks cold Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Sticks
  • 1 1/2 cups Enjoy Life All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 Bakery on Main Happy Quick Oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10-12 ounces Crofter’s Berry Harvest Organic Premium Fruit Spread

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 or 8 x 10 baking dish with cooking spray. 

2. Mix together dry ingredients.

3. Cut in the Earth Balance with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse sand.

4. Sprinkle half of the mixture into the pan and press down lightly to pack it down.

5. Spoon the Crofter’s spread over the mixture and use a spoon or butter knife to spread evenly.

6. Sprinkle the other half of the mixture evenly over the top and press down lightly. 

7. Bake until the top is light golden brown. This took me about 40-45 minutes, but I started checking it at 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan. Once cool, slice into squares and enjoy!

Have a great day! 

~ Kim

Chocolate Red Wine Cupcakes – Gluten & Dairy-Free

A few years ago a dear friend made me a gluten-free birthday cake from the King Arthur GF Chocolate Cake Mix. The cake was one of the best I have ever tasted, gluten-free or not gluten-free. When I was thinking about what to bring to a get together last week, I knew I had to make cupcakes with that mix. 

After verifying that the mix is indeed dairy-free in addition to gluten-free, I began to read through the comments on the King Arthur product page. The first comment suggested using red wine in place of the water the mix suggested and olive oil in place of the vegetable oil. I love wine, and the get together was wine-themed, so I made the cupcakes with those substitutions. 

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Hannah helped me bake them and made sure to arrange the cupcake liners so that we had an even amount of each color. After the cupcakes cooled, I frosted them with homemade chocolate frosting based on the recipe on the side of the Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa can. 

Dark Chocolate Frosting

Gluten and dairy-free

1. Combine Earth Balance and cocoa with mixer until blended. 

2. Alternatively add powdered sugar (about a cup at a time) and almond milk until desired consistency is reached. 

3. Add vanilla and blend well. 

4. Frost cupcakes and enjoy! 

*Leftover frosting can be frozen. 

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These cupcakes were a huge hit! So much so that Hannah was still raving about them three days later when she finished off the last one. This comes from our uber picky eater that typically balks at anything gluten and/or dairy-free. 

If you try these, please check back and let me know how you liked them!

Happy Baking!

Zing Bar Introduces 100-Calorie Snack Bars

I can’t believe it has been over 6 years since I first reviewed Zing Bars. Zing Bars have now added a 100-calorie bar that is perfect for snacking, dessert, or packing in your school lunch boxes. I received complementary samples to review here on the blog a couple of months back. The smaller size is perfect for smaller children, to hold you over until your next meal, or satisfy a sweet tooth in place of a candy bar. 


More about Zing Bars:

Zing’s ‘clean energy’ snacks are not the typical nutrition bar.  The nutrition and energy bar industry was originally founded to address the needs of athletes.   These recipes relied on high glycemic carbs that could be burned quickly by athletes during exercise.    Zing has reformulated the nutrition bar recipe for real people, not athletes. The Zing formula is deeply rooted in ‘nutrition science’ around blood sugar— by turning the calories regular people eat into useable energy without the spikes and crashes, the low energy, the cravings, and the buildup of body fat.  All Zing Bars are wheat and soy free, gluten-free and kosher-certified. Nine of the twelve SKUs are Vegan and verified non-GMO.

Known for their great taste, Zing Bars have a nut or seed butter base and contain real dark chocolate, as opposed to the more commonly used compound chocolates. The new 22g-25g mini Zing Bars have between 90 and 110 calories each and come in six popular flavors: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Dark Chocolate Coconut, Coconut Cashew Crisp, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Mint and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip.

There isn’t a variety of Zing Bars that I didn’t like. I am a huge fan of chocolate, so I am loving the dairy-free/vegan chocolate bars! I think my favorite is the Dark Chocolate Mint or the Coconut Cashew Crisp. 

Zing Bars mini are sold in packages of 6 or 18 and are roughly $1.29/each. Look for the bars in select stores across the US or shop online

If you haven’t had a chance to try Zing Bars, put them on your grocery list today!

Seventeen Years Smoke-Free

Today marks seventeen years since I last smoked a cigarette. Seventeen years. That’s a long time. There are still times when I think about it; I would be lying if I told you that I never think about it. Then I have a flash of the following run through my head – why I quit:

  • my kids
  • my paternal grandmother (she died of lung cancer in 1999, shortly after I quit smoking)
  • how one puff will erase all of those years of my not smoking

I often referred to these facts to help get me through the tough spots:

  • 20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure will drop.
  • 12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood falls to normal.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation and lung function improve.
  • 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath are reduced.
  • 1 year after quitting: Your risk of coronary heart disease is reduced to half of what it was when you smoked.
  • 5 years after quitting: Your risk of stroke is the same as if you had never smoked.
  • 10 years after quitting: Your chances of dying from lung cancer are now half of what it would have been had you continued to smoke. Your risk of getting cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas has also decreased.
  • 15 years after quitting: Your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as if you’d never smoked. <—-THIS IS ME NOW!!!


I thank God for that day in spring of 1999 when I went to see my gynecologist and she recommended I try Zyban to quit smoking. I wasn’t sure I was really ready. I had been “ready” before, but I think that I really just wanted to satisfy those who wanted me to quit. Along with my doctor giving me some hard facts, my grandmother was dying of lung cancer and would pass away shortly after I quit. I took this as a huge sign that I needed to give quitting smoking everything that I had.

It wasn’t easy, but I did it. I remember smoking that last cigarette down as far as I could. I had started taking the Zyban a week or so before I quit, so that it would be in my system. It definitely helped with the cravings for nicotine, but I had to really work on changing my habits. I would drive a different route to work; follow a different routine for after meals, when I most wanted to smoke.

A lot has changed since that day in July 1999. I could write a book about all of the things that have happened, but I want to highlight those that have to do with my health and well being.

  • I got married to the man of my dreams. 
  • I gave birth to our daughter, Hannah.
  • I watched our son, Jon, graduate from high school and head off to college.
  • I went gluten-free and dairy-free.
  • I joined a gym and fell in love with strength training.
  • I discovered my love of running.
  • I have run 17+ half marathons, 2 full marathons, and numerous 5K and 10K races.
  • I became a personal trainer and strive to help other women realize their health and fitness goals.

Many of the above may not have been possible had I not quit smoking. 

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My friend, Laurie, and me after a July 4th 5K race. 

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Our family

Life is short. If you are a smoker, no one can make you quit, you have to want it. You have to want to be free from those chains and reach out for help. Help comes in many shapes and sizes and what works for one person may not work for another. Find what works for you. Have faith. Know that it won’t be easy, but I promise it will be worth it

– Kim

Dear Younger Me

Have you ever looked back on things you did in the past and wish you hadn’t done something or wish had done it differently? Those things are part of who you are today. They helped shape you into the person you are today, yet often times those things are painful, not only at the time of occurrence, but as we grow older. 

Even though I know changing anything I did in the past would make me a different person today, possibly one without the people I love, there are times I really struggle and wonder…what if?

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A couple of months back I went to the MercyMe concert with a couple of close friends. They played a song from their new album that really spoke to me. I was instantly drawn to this song and the important reminders within it.

“Dear Younger Me” – MercyMe

Dear younger me

Where do I start

If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far

Then you could be

One step ahead

Of all the painful memories still running thru my head

I wonder how much different things would be

Dear younger me


Dear younger me

I cannot decide

Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life

Or do I go deep

And try to change

The choices that you’ll make cuz they’re choices that made me

Even though I love this crazy life

Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride

Dear younger me

Dear younger me


Oh, If I knew then what I know now

Condemnation would’ve had no power

My joy my pain would’ve never been my worth

If I knew then what I know now

Would’ve not been hard to figure out

What I would’ve changed if I had heard


Dear younger me

It’s not your fault

You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross

Dear younger me


You are holy

You are righteous

You are one of the redeemed

Set apart a brand new heart

Oh You are free indeed

Every mountain every valley

Thru each heartache you will see

Every moment brings you closer

To who you were meant to be

Dear younger me, dear younger me


You are holy

You are righteous

You are one of the redeemed

Set apart a brand new heart

Oh You are free indeed


You are holy

You are righteous

You are one of the redeemed

Set apart a brand new heart

Oh You are free indeed


You are holy

You are righteous

You are one of the redeemed

Set apart a brand new heart

Oh You are free indeed


We are loved just as we are. Today, tomorrow, always. 

Two of the most important reasons I wouldn’t change a thing…


Review: Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bread

Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery introduced two new gluten-free breads in January. These breads can be found outside of the freezer section, in the baked goods or bread aisles in grocery stores across the US. More about the new breads:

  • Found in a store’s bread aisle or baked goods area, outside of the freezer section. No more defrosting!
  • Still has the incredible taste and fluffy texture gluten-free fans love from Rudi’s
  • Provides 5 grams of fiber per two slice serving
  • Made with non-GMO ingredients
  • Certified to 10ppm or less gluten per serving by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO)
  • Sweetened with a hint of golden honey, a fact made sweeter because Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery™  has donated to the Xerces Society to protect the bees that make it all possible

The new breads come in two different varieties:

Original – INGREDIENTS: Water, brown rice flour, rice starch, potato extract, bamboo fiber, sorghum flour, Non-GMO and expeller pressed canola oil, cane sugar, dried whole egg, honey, yeast, dried egg whites, chia protein, xanthan gum, sea salt, distilled vinegar.CONTAINS: Egg

Multi-Grain – INGREDIENTS: Water, brown rice flour, rice starch, potato extract, bamboo fiber, sorghum flour, Non-GMO and expeller pressed canola oil, cane sugar, dried whole egg, honey, yeast, millet, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, dried egg whites, chia protein, xanthan gum, sea salt, distilled vinegar.CONTAINS: Egg


In addition to being free of gluten, these breads are also dairy-free and Non-GMO. The ingredients are easy to recognize and pronounce, which isn’t always the case with gluten-free breads. 

I decided to dig into Rudi’s Gluten-Free Multigrain Bread first. I needed something quick to eat after my Saturday long run before I took Hannah to ice skating. I decided that a PB & J would hit the spot and could be taken with me, if need be. I was disappointed that when I took two slices of bread out of the bag they didn’t seem to be sturdy enough to make any kind of a sandwich. I switched my thinking over to PB & J toast and tossed the bread into the toaster. I wanted to only lightly toast the bread, but it was almost falling apart, so I put it back into the toaster. This is what I ended up with…

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Too dark and still not sturdy, one piece falling apart. 

Today I tried a different approach using the Rudi’s Gluten-Free Original Bread. The bread seems a little sturdier and I lightly toasted it so that I could spread PB & J on it. Pre-toasting…

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Post-toasting with PB & J…

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This worked much better, though they bread still isn’t super-sturdy and I’m not sure it would stand up to anything but light sandwich fillings. The bread is also very small, so I probably could have eaten 4 slices of PB & J toast if I hadn’t had a large bowl of fruit along with this. I hate to be so negative about this bread because it really does have a great taste to it, but it doesn’t seem to be functional. I am going to see about using it to make French Toast. Eating the bread with a fork may be the best option. 

Have you tried the new Rudi’s Gluten-Free Breads? Did you have better luck with it? 

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

Review: Cedarlane Quinoa & Vegetable Enchiladas

Sometimes eating gluten-free when you are crunched for time can be a challenge. Cedarlane helps to make those times a little easier with their gluten-free frozen meals. This new meal is especially appetizing and contains 12 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, and under 400 calories.

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Since I can no longer eat dairy, I had a local gluten-free friend sample these for me. She was kind enough to write her thoughts down for me to share with you all once she was done. 

I have enjoyed several frozen meals by CedarLane, since they have a nice selection of gluten free options. These enchiladas were no exception. Like many busy people, I don’t have time to prepare and pack my lunch every day. In a pinch, I grabbed enchilada meal on my way out the door for lunch at work. I followed the microwave instructions to microwave on high for 3 ½ to 4 minutes. I felt like the meal was still slightly cool, so I added another 30 seconds of time. The sauce was very creamy and tasty with a touch of spiciness. The enchiladas were filled with quinoa, roasted corn and black beans, which I found to be a nice blend of flavors. 

Look for Cedarlane products can be found in mainstream and health food stores across the US. It is important to note that not all of their products are gluten-free, but those that are will be clearly labeled. 

Have you tried any of the Cedarlane gluten-free meals? If so, what did you think? You can find reviews on some of the other Cedarlane gluten-free products here. 

Review: Honey Bunches of Oats Chocolate

I have a new cereal love. While I don’t eat a lot of cereal, when I read about Honey Bunches of Oats Chocolate now being gluten-free, I began to keep my eyes open each time I went to the grocery store. *It is important to note that the Honey Bunches of Oats Chocolate is the only Honey Bunches of Oats version that is gluten-free. I finally found a box and didn’t waste anytime trying the new cereal. 

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Do you know what I like best about this cereal? It turns my almond milk all chocolatey. I have worked my way through an entire box and have had no stomach issues whatsoever. Post uses gluten-free oats in this variety of Honey Bunches of Oats, but not in any other versions of the cereal. 

Ingredients: Corn, Sugar, Rice, Whole Grain Rolled Oats*, Brown Sugar, Brown Rice Flour, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Canola Oil, Corn Syrup, Salt, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut And Palm Kernel Oils), Honey, Millet, Caramel Color, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Tocopherols (Added To Preserve Freshness), Annatto Extract (Color). Bht Added To Packaging Material To Preserve Product Freshness.

Honey Bunches of Oats Chocolate can be found in grocery stores across the US. It will be nice if they add some other gluten-free varieties in the future. 

Have you tried Honey Bunches of Oats Chocolate? What are your thoughts? 

Review: Honey Stinger New Gluten-Free Products

I have been a long-time fan of Honey Stinger Gels and Chews. I use them before or during my runs or long workouts. Many friends recommended the Honey Stinger Waffles as well, but they weren’t gluten-free at the time. Now Honey Stinger has introduced Gluten-Free Honey Stinger Waffles along with a new flavor of Gel and a brand new product: Honey Stinger Protein Chews

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There are three different varieties of Honey Stinger Gluten-Free Waffles (also dairy-free):

  • Organic Salted Caramel Waffle 
  • Organic Cinnamon Waffle 
  • Organic Maple Waffle

I immediately fell in love with these and don’t know that I can live without the Organic Salted Caramel Waffle. This may be my new go-to fuel for workouts. I can’t thank Honey Stinger enough for making these gluten-free! *It is important to note that not all flavors of the Honey Stinger Waffles are gluten-free. The gluten-free waffles are clearly labeled

Honey Stinger Blog

I have liked all of the previous Honey Stinger Gell varieties and this one is no different. The Mango Orange Gel is smooth and not overly sweet or too thick or thin. It is a nice addition to the line-up of gels. All of the Honey Stinger Gels are gluten and dairy-free. 

Honey Stinger Blog

The new Honey Stinger Raspberry Protein Chews are the first of their kind. The previous Honey Stinger Chews didn’t have added protein. These new chews are made with organic pea protein, so they are also free of dairy in addition to gluten. They contain 5 grams of protein per package. There are two more flavors debuting this month:

  • Cherry Lime Protein Chews
  • Juneberry Protein Chews

The protein chews are tasty, though I was able to detect a slight pea protein taste. This didn’t detract from the product for me, but wanted to mention in my review. I will definitely be buying these again in the future along with the GF Honey Stinger Waffles.You can purchase Honey Stinger products in select retailers across the US or online directly from their website

*The products mentioned in this post were 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. 

Review: Daiya Cheezecake

I have tried quite a few new products lately, so I better get busy and blog about them! One of the foods I have missed tremendously since giving up dairy in addition to gluten is cheesecake. Cheesecake has always been one of my favorite desserts. I would choose cheesecake over pie or regular cake as a child. 

When I was at Portia’s Cafe in January and realized they had dairy-free, gluten-free cheezecake I began to realized that maybe I didn’t have to go without. Then I found Daiya Cheesecake at Raisin Rack, our local health food store, a day or two later.

In addition to being free of gluten and dairy, the Daiya Cheezecake is also free of soy.

I followed the instructions on the box, thawing the cheezecake in the refrigerator for 5 to 6 hours, but still needed to let it sit out on the counter for a short amount of time. If there is one thing I have learned over the past 10 years of being gluten-free, and now dairy-free for the last 8 months, it is to not go into tasting something “new” with any preconceived notions. I didn’t want to imagine this cheezecake was going to taste identical to the cheesecake I was used to eating before. I cleared my palate and my head and dug in. Wow! I am impressed with both the flavor and texture of this cheesecake. The texture is dense and creamy, just like that of a regular cheesecake. Definitely something I will be purchasing again!

In addition to the New York Cheezecake variety, Daiya also offers a Key Lime, Strawberry, and Chocolate variety. Check the store locator to see where to find Daiya products close to you. 

Have you tried the Daiya Cheezecake? If so, what did you think?

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