Friday, November 27, 2009

Milky Way Candy Bars --NOT Gluten Free!

Did you know this???

I'm really second guessing myself here -- I could swear up and down and sideways that I have read the ingredients label of a Milky Way bar on more than more occasion, and within the last few months. So, while I want to say that they have reformulated their candy bars, I'm not going to. But, I do want to share this story with you.

Milky Way candy bars have always been one of my go-to candy bars. On Tuesday, my husband and I were at the grocery store picking up some last minute ingredients for our pre-Thanksgiving extravaganza. While at the register, I last minute tossed a Milky Way on the conveyor belt because I am incapable of resisting temptation. I ate half of the candy bar in the car on the way home.

I had a very serious, very quick reaction while still in the car. I'm pretty sure my intestines were thowing dishes at the wall, talking smack about my Mom (sorry Mom), and packing their bags to get the heck out of dodge. We had no idea why. (I say we because Brandon is my little gluten wrangler). We thought it was because I absent-mindly ate a piece of steak that fell out of Brandon's burrito at Chipotle earlier (yeah, I know, I know. Somebody slap me around, please).

It wasn't until last night when I went to indulge in the other half of the candy bar that something, out of pure luck, caught my eye. Right there, on the back of the wrapper, staring at me and waving it's gluten-y arms around, was MALTED BARLEY.

I'm pretty sure I blurted out a choice obscenity that is not appropriate to repeat as this is a family friendly blog.

Whoops.

So people, the moral of the story is, don't be as stupid as me. Please read the labels EVERY TIME. And do not buy Milky Ways.

(P.S. Can someone please put me out of my misery and tell me if you've ever read the ingredient label on a Milky Way and deemed it safe? Did they reformulate? Have I really missed this all this time?)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pomegranate Orange Banana Smoothie

I've been meaning to post this for a while, but was waiting to get some pictures of this delicious smoothie. Unfortunately, my poor little blender has taken a turn for the worse, and I fear, is now on it's last breath (RIP little buddy).

The fantastic folks at Pom Wonderful offered to send me some of their pomegranate juice to try. Everyone knows that pomegranates are delicious, but who knew they were so good for you?

POM Wonderful is the only company that provides 100% real pomegranate fruit juice! There are no other juices added as filler and no added sugars. Not only that, but POM wonderful is the only pomegranate juice used in scientific research studies that seek to understand all the benefits of pomegranates. Besides having antioxidants out the wah-zoo, pomegranates have been shown to benefit cardiovascular, prostate, and erectile health when consumed daily!

So it's tasty and good for you....can't say that about too many things, can you? Lol :)

I find that the juice on it's own is very tart so I wanted to mix it with some sweet ingredients to mellow it out. I came up with this breakfast smoothie. Again, sorry no pictures. I couldn't recreate it for a photo shoot due to the unfortunate incident with my late blender.

Pomegranate Orange Banana Breakfast Smoothie
(measurements are approximate. Just throw it all in the blender and decide what looks good)

1 cup ice
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup POM Wonderful pomegranate juice
1 banana
1/2 c to 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt

Place all ingredients in a blender and liquify until smooth.

This made about 2 smoothies!

I'm going to be trying a few more things with the pomegranate juice, so I'll post if anything turns out well. (I tried to make frozen yogurt, but unfortunately it didn't come out right because I don't have an ice cream maker).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Fruit Snack and Prize Pack Giveaway Winner!

Alright, so we have a winner! I did them in the order in which they were received and used Random.org to pick the winning number! The winning number was #3...

TRACI!!

Traci, email me your address at gfsteph@gmail.com to claim your prize!!

Thanks to those who entered!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gluten Free Country Store Opening in Gilbert, AZ -- UPDATE

I have the latest, up-to-the-minute news for you on the opening on Gluten Free Country Store in Gilbert, AZ.

I have been informed as of tonight that, unfortunately, the store will not be able to open its doors to the public on November 17th as previously stated. I'm sure you all can understand what goes into the opening of a store like this, and all the channels and approvals you must go through before you can start delighting the masses with your plethora of gluten free goodies.

As of right now, I do not have an open date. But, just as I've jumped on my computer tonight to tell you this information, you can bet that I will be updating you with the opening information within minutes of hearing it. I know you all are just as excited as I am to get your foot in the door at Gluten Free Country Store! I can assure you that your interest and excitement is very much appreciated by the owners of the store; they are equally as anxious to open and meet everyone!

For all you Glass-Is-Half-Full folks (because I always like to balance the negative with the positive), the good news is this: You have more time to clean out your trunk to make room for all the stocking up on delicious gluten free food you'll be doing as soon as this store does open! (For those of you that have seen my car, you know what a dire situation my trunk is in. I need to get crackin').

In case you missed it, here is all their information:

Gluten Free Country Store
3345 S Val Vista Dr, Suite 101 (202 Santan Freeway and Val Vista)
Gilbert, AZ 85297
480-889-9932
Email: glutenfreecountrystore@yahoo.com

In the meantime, while you're waiting, don't forget to tell all your friends and family about this great new store coming to our community!


(P.S. Have you entered my giveaway yet?? Betty Crocker GF Fruit snacks and prize pack! Last day to enter is Tuesday, November 17th!)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks Are Now Gluten Free! AND -- A GIVEAWAY!!

When Betty Crocker emailed me and offered to send me some of their fruit snacks, I was so excited!

No, not only to get free fruit snacks, but because I had NO idea these were gluten free! I’m not sure if these have always been gluten free, or if they are newly reformulated to be gluten free. I always avoided them just because I assumed they weren’t.

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But LOOK:

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Right on the front!! Labeled gluten free!

Let me tell you, Betty Crocker is single handedly changing my life. :)

The sample package included Fruit-by-the-foot, Fruit Roll Ups, and Gushers, and they also sent a box of Create-A-Bug fruit snacks. My personal favorite are the Fruit-by-the-foot…I forgot how delicious they were! Next grocery store shop is going to include a box or two of those!! :)

I love that all these major companies and getting on board and becoming Celiac-friendly. It sure is making my life a lot easier!


UPDATED TO ADD: GIVEAWAY!!!

The fantastic people at Betty Crocker have offered another prize pack for me to GIVEAWAY to you!!

Here is what the prize pack includes:


All you have to do to enter to win is:

Leave a comment on my blog -- What is your favorite Betty Crocker gluten free product?

OR

@ reply or direct message me on Twitter (@GF_Steph) and tell me your favorite Betty Crocker gluten free product!

Last day to enter will be in one week -- November 17th! I'll announce the winner afterward!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mixes From The Heartland Gluten Free Pasta Veggie Soup Mix

 

Mixes From The Heartland is a company that sells certified gluten free, all natural, preservative free ready-made mixes. They sent me an email and offered to send me some samples, and, since I’ve never seen their products in ANY of my local stores, I jumped at the chance!

Upon looking at their website, I have to say, I was very impressed with their product line. They offer any mix you can think of, and others that you wouldn’t think of, but would want to try! They offer mixes for soups, stews, biscuits, breads, cakes, etc, and even offer mixes to make your own homemade noodles! It’s amazing!

What I love is the variety that you can get. Garlic roasted pepper biscuit mix? No problem. Apple cinnamon muffin mix? Yep, sign me up for that too. Taco Rice Skillet Meal? Oh mama, get in my belly.

I am so super excited to find out about this product because it is so difficult for me to put together week night meals. I work full time and go to school, so I am left with very little time to put together a respectable meal. These packets come with everything you need, all you have to do is add a thing or two (most of which you have in your pantry anyway). Ahhh…I see significantly less “What to make for dinner in a time crunch” stress in my future.

The first product I tried was their Pasta Veggie Soup. Here’s what it looks like:

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It’s got all the noodles and spices right in the pouch!

On the back it tells you what you need to add:

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And yes, this soup could be made vegetarian or vegan very easily. We actually didn’t put any meat in ours, simply because I didn’t have any on hand.

This soup really could not have been any easier. Throw two cans of tomatoes, 6 cups of water, 2 cans of beef stock, and the contents of the pouch in large pot and cook for 25 minutes. I actually got other stuff done around the house while this was cooking! It’s a miracle!

This was our finished soup:

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Mmmm…the noodles cooked up nicely and barely broke their shape. This soup was very filling, even without the addition of meat. We both really liked this soup.

I know what you’re thinking: Steph, you’re going on and on about how you love this product, but what didn’t you like? Well, if I’m being completely honest, some of the dehydrated vegetables didn’t quite cook through all the way, so a few of them still had a slightly odd crunch to them. I’m a huge texture person, so that was the only downside. Those little crunchy pieces were so few and far between though that it didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the soup.

Products from Mixes From The Heartland can be ordered online at their website, or, if you’re lucky enough to live in Arizona, an extensive amount of their product line will be carried at Gluten Free Country Store in Gilbert, AZ.

I’m excited to try several more of their products, so keep an eye out for more reviews!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chorizo and Black Bean Soup

We made this soup last night, and let me tell you, it is so, so good. It has just the right amount of spice. I was excited to eat the leftovers for lunch today and am also looking forward to eating it for dinner tonight too!

Chorizo and Black Bean Soup

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

3 Chorizo sausages (about 12 oz), casings removed

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you like SPICY)

1 teaspoon cumin

2 garlic cloves, minced

4-5 cups gluten free chicken broth

3 cans unseasoned black beans, rinsed

1 can whole kernel corn, drained

salt and pepper, to taste

shredded pepper jack cheese, for garnish

sour cream, for garnish (this really isn’t necessary unless you are worried about it being too spicy and need to cool it down)

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat oil and add the chorizo. Break up the sausage with a spoon. Let cook for 3-4 minutes on medium or medium-high (depending on your stove), then add the onion and bell peppers. Allow to cook 6-7 minutes to soften a bit, then add the red pepper flakes and cumin. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth, 2 cans of rinsed black beans, and the can of drained corn. Add salt and pepper (go easy on the pepper, it doesn’t really need it). Allow to simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Ladle 2 or 3 spoonfuls of the soup into a blender and puree. Pour back into the soup pot and stir. Add the last can of black beans. Serve and enjoy!

We really like chunky soup, so we only used 4 cups of broth and pureed only 2-3 spoonfuls. If you like your soup with more liquid, add the extra broth and puree the soup to your liking. I would say this makes about 6 or 7 servings, depending on your appetite. :)

If you try this, let me know what you think!