Monthly Archives: July 2011

Easiest (Yet Still Yummy) GF Dinner!

Usually when I want chicken fingers I make them myself. However, when I first went gluten-free I did not even know that GF bread crumbs existed.

One of the first things my mom purchased was Bell & Evans GF chicken fingers. She knew Bell & Evans was a good chicken company, so this was an easy and “safe” option for me, as we were still trying to navigate through the new gluten-free world.

Though I now prefer to make homemade chicken fingers, whenever Bell & Evans GF chicken fingers are on sale we pick them up, and put them in the freezer. They are great to have on hand. Whether you are looking for a quick dinner, or are looking to bring something other than a sandwich to a party, these chicken fingers are a great option.

Take for example Tuesday night. My family was having pizza and I wanted to eat earlier, since I still had to complete my night time workout.  I popped a few chicken fingers in the oven, and cut up some fruit with carrots. There you have it, probably the easiest (but still yummy) dinner was created!

It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere, and I Got the Perfect Snack for You!

So my grandpa has this philosophy. If he wants a drink (and it’s not quite 5 o’clock) he says “well, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!”  My family has gladly adopted this philosophy.

The other day my family and I were relaxing by the pool, and the time came around where we were all hungry and wanted some drinks! My mom grabbed the beverages and I ran up stairs. I had the perfect afternoon snack for my family that I discovered at Food Fete. Deep River Snack Chips!<

As the company states, it is “a great snack with serious flavor!” Deep River offers snacks that are all natural, gluten free, and kosher. This snack also has no trans-fats or cholesterol.

At Food Fete I had the opportunity to sample one of Deep River Snack Chips flavors, and then brought home two additional flavors to sample. Here is my break down of our sampling:

<Nacho Kick: I tried these chips at Food Fete. If you loved Doritos in your pre-gluten free days, these are the chips for you. However, the difference is this chip is made with real ingredients. It is a great whole grain chip with a bold nacho cheese taste! Note: Deep River also carries three additional whole grain chips, which are all made using whole grain corn, brown rice flour, and quinoa.

Mesquite BBQ: I had my dad try these since he enjoys BBQ chips. His first reaction, “These are gluten-free? They are really good!” With that reaction my mom had to give them a try. (Note: She does not usually like BBQ chips) Her reaction: These are delicious! Needless to say they really enjoyed them.

Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips – Lightly salted (40%reduced fat): The whole family sampled these chips. We all thought they were very good. To me they were not too salty, and tasted like a traditional kettle cooked chip. However they contain less fat, and are only made with three ingredients!!

The next time you are looking for a perfect snack to go along with your mid-day cocktails, Deep River Snacks has some wonderful options! You are bound to find the perfect flavor for you. Not only does this company create “better for you snacks” which are made in a nut-free facility, but what is unique about their company is that each flavor promotes a charity.

To find out more about Deep River Snacks visit their website, or find them on Facebook and Twitter!

My First Support Group Meeting

Back in February I blogged about the when you go GF. When I went GF I knew of the Suffolk County Celiac support group, but never considered going since I’m up at school when many of the meetings take place. Hence why I turned to the Internet.

However, as time went on the more I thought about it, and the more I wanted to attend a meeting. Yet I was nervous, felt funny, and kept putting it off. However, after I read Erin Smith’s article that appeared in the Easy Eats magazine “Gluten-free Support Groups: Finding your Flock”, and talked to her about support groups when I met her at Food Fete, I told myself I was going to go to the next Suffolk Celiac meeting.

Leading up to the meeting I was nervous, but knew I needed to step “out of the box” and go. Not only would it be helpful for myself, but being that I am going to be a future counselor I wanted to be able to know how my clients may feel when they first attend a support group.

I was planning on attending the meeting on my own, but as I was about to leave my mom saw that I was nervous. I wanted to be able to do it on my own and show her that I would be fine, so I told her that she did not have to come. However deep down I knew that I would feel more comfortable if she came with me, since it was my first time going. I just did not want to admit it. Thankfully (I have the best mom in the world) and she came.

When we got to the meeting there was so many people there. At this point I was so relieved that I had my mom to lean on. Before the meeting started it was nice to see a familiar face. I bumped into Joan of Joan’s GF Great Bakes and she told me how wonderful the group was. During the meeting Everybody Eatswas at the meeting sampling and selling their products and Dr.Malahiasspoke about Celiac Disease and dental enamel. It was a really interesting discussion. Overall, I am really happy I attended and hope that I will be able to attend again when I am home from school.

So what did I learn from this experience? I learned that going to your first support group meeting can be a little intimidating, but if you ask someone to come with you, it can be a lot less overwhelming. I learned that support groups can be filled with valuable information and it is a great way for you to come together with people that have similar experiences.

I am sure if I was able to attend these support group meetings more frequently it would be a great benefit. It would also be another great way to strengthen my support system. If you have a local support group by you I would recommend checking it out.

Below are the links to some support groups that are in the NY area:
Suffolk County Celiacs 
NYC Celiac Disease Meet-up

NYNJ R.O.C.K Rockland/Bergen Chapter of (Raising Our Celiac Kids)

Finally, It’s Not a Mystery Anymore!

As many of you may know this summer, I have been dealing with a foot injury, and have been in search of answers. Last Friday, we finally got an explanation for my pain. I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). While this has been an 8 month search, in reality I have had this condition for a little over two years.

For now the treatment is an intensive exercise program that I must complete three times a day. Thankfully I love the gym so completing these workouts haven’t been a problem ( though I’m starting to develop a love, hate relationship with the gym).  This past week has been exhausting but, I am willing to do whatever it takes to get out of pain. It’s honestly hard to believe that we finally have the “missing piece of the puzzle.”

On the drive home from the doctor, my mind was going in a million directions, yet one thing occurred to me. Receiving this diagnosis felt a lot like receiving the gluten intolerance diagnosis.

Everything seemed to make sense to the doctor when I explained my history to him. It was like he had heard my story many times before. Similarly when I went to the Celiac Center at Columbia my symptoms finally made sense to the doctor. In both cases there was a reason why I was in so much pain. It was not “all in my head!”

Before I was diagnosed both conditions had been going on for longer then I thought. While I was sick for 5 years before my gluten intolerance diagnosis I was having symptoms years before that, yet I thought it was “normal.” Same thing with my foot pain. I was having symptoms that I “just dealt” with because I thought it was of no relevance, however it was related to CRPS ( i.e. my right foot is colder then left).

Yet for both conditions the treatment seems too good to be true. The treatment for CRPS seems too simple, exercise 3 times a day, go to PT once a week, and I will hopefully start to see results in 12 weeks. It is hard for me to wrap my mind around it. However, I think what is making me have a belief in this approach is, I have seen how (a simple … I use that word very lightly) change in my diet has literally changed my life!

I have a long road ahead for me. Some days will be easier then others, but for now I am going to stay as positive as I can and hold on to the idea that this treatment, will get me stronger, pain-free, and healthier! Be well, and enjoy the day.

Mom’s Zucchini Bread: G-free Style!

Probably one of the best things about summer is there are so many fruits in season and we can enjoy fresh vegetables from the garden. This past week we picked our first zucchini from the family garden. Can you guess what that meant for me?!

This weekend I broke out my KitchenAide Mixer and got to work. I haven’t enjoyed my mom’s zucchini bread in the longest time ( I actually forgot what it tasted like) so I decided to make the bread using her recipe. Since my mom was also going to a work conference I made muffins as well, so she could take them along for the ride, and share them with her friends.

Mom’s Zucchini Bread: G-free Style
(Recipe taken from Everyday Gourmet and adapted)
2 cups evaporated cane juice
3 eggs
1/2 c. oil
2 c. shredded zucchini, raw and unpeeled
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. chopped nuts
3 c. Jules GF flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
Note: I made one zucchini bread and 12 muffins with the recipe. This recipe will make 2 loafs.

Preheat oven to 350*. Beat evaporated cane juice, eggs, oil, zucchini, and vanilla until blended. Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Add dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture. Add nuts ( I used walnuts). Pour into 2 greased loaf pans, or prepared muffin tin. Bake loaf for 50-60 minutes. Muffins take about 25-30 minutes.

OMG!! This was seriously the best thing I baked all summer. They were moist, and the spice flavor was outstanding. This is definitely a recipe you will want to try out soon.

Embrace G-Free’s First Giveaway: Angie’s Kettle Corn!

When I attended Food Fete, one of the first vendors I headed over to was Angie’s Kettle Corn. I knew their product was certified gluten-free, and was eager to me them.

During the event I spoke with Angie (one of the founders) of the company. At Food Fete they were sampling their three wonderful varieties of popcorn and were also showing off their new Halloween snack packs that will be available exclusively at Target this Fall. This would be a great treat to hand out to your trick-or-treaters! Whether the child is GF or not they will all love Angie’s Classic Kettle corn.

On Friday I received a package from Angie’s which contained, not one but two bags of each variety. Since I had previously enjoyed the Classic Kettle Corn, I was eager to try the other varieties. I love sampling GF foods with others, so I graciously shared the samples with my family.  Below is my review from our tastings!

First up Angie’s Classic Kettle Corn: I had this variety once before, however it was the first for my family. After Food Fete, I picked up a bag of Angie’s Classic Kettle Corn, so that we could enjoy it with our appetizers on 4th of July. Needless to say it was probably one of the first items gone! The Clifford family gave it two thumbs up.

Next up Angie’s Carmel Corn: I was never one that liked Carmel popcorn. Whenever I was little and got a popcorn tin for Christmas I wouldn’t touch the Carmel flavored popcorn, it was too sweet. However, I loved Angie’s Carmel Corn!! It was the perfect blend. The Carmel seemed as though it was lightly added so it wasn’t overpowering (the company says the popcorn is “kissed with Carmel!”). It is a great snack if you are looking for something “sweet, and savory”!

Last but not least Angie’s Lite Kettle Corn: This has the same great taste as the Classic Kettle Corn, however it contains less calories and fat. This was my personal favorite. I liked how it was light and airy and had a hint of sweetness.  This is also a great option for the “calorie conscious eater.”

Not only is this kettle corn gluten and allergy free, it is kosher certified. What is special about Angie’s Kettle Corn is it is handcrafted in small batches and made with all-natural ingredients, has no trans fats, cholesterol, artificial flavoring or preservatives. Angie’s Kettle Corn can be found in a variety of locations including Club Foods, Supervalu-owned grocery stores, Costco, SuperTarget, and Whole Foods, in addition to being online.

In my package Angie’s also included a recipe for one of their gluten free snack mixes, that I am excited to try out!

6 cups of Angie’s Kettle Corn – Classic, Carmel or Lite
4 cups of Nature’s Path Whole O’s cereal
4 cups of Rice or Corn Chex
2 cups of salted peanuts
1 cup or packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup light Karo Syrup
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Line a large pan with parchment paper. Combine popcorn, cereal, and peanuts and place in a roasting pan. In a large saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup and butter. Bring to a rolling boil for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and quickly stir in vanilla and baking soda, until mixture is light and foamy. Immediately pour over popcorn mixture. Mix well. Bake uncovered at 250* for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely. Store in an air tight container.

Here is the fun part… Angie’s agreed to do a giveaway! One of you lucky readers will win a sample pack which will include, 2 bags of Classic Corn, 2 bags of Carmel Corn and 2 bags of Angie’s Lite kettle corn.

Thanks again Angie’s for the wonderful samples.