Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kozy Shack Pudding

I don't buy pudding all that often, but I have had Kozy Shack chocolate pudding many times. Along with chocolate, they also have tapioca and rice pudding (all labeled gluten-free). Their website also lists some seasonal flavors for their regular pudding including Key Lime, Country Peach, and Pumpkin.

This past weekend I received a coupon for their new Simplywell pudding so I thought I would give it a try.  The Simplywell flavors (all listed gluten-free as well) include Dark Chocolate, French Vanilla, Green Tea Chai, Lemon Ginger, and Pear Mangosteen.

They are all available in a 4 pack (4 - 100 calorie cups) and list the following health benefits:

> Good source of Antioxidant Vitamin E
> Good source of Calcium and Vitamin D
> Good source of Prebiotic Fiber to Help Promote Digestive Health

I bought the dark chocolate Simplywell pudding from my regular grocery store and tried it last night.  It was delicious!  I have 3 cups left before I have to run back to the store to get some more.  I may have to try the French Vanilla next!

Kozy Shack also sells Flan, No Sugar Puddings and Soy Puddings.  While these are all listed as gluten-free as well, the Soy Puddings include organic wheat starch.  According to their website, the protein fraction (where the gluten is contained) is separated from the carbohydrate fraction during processing and only the part without gluten is used.  Please visit their website for more information on the Soy Puddings.

If you haven't tried Kozy Shack puddings before, I would definitely recommend checking them out.  Enjoy!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ortega Yellow Corn Taco Shells

I usually buy a different brand of taco shells, but tonight I tried Ortega. We used these shells to make tacos with ground turkey and McCormick Original Taco Seasoning.  

You can find these taco shells in your regular grocery store!
The front of the box is labeled gluten-free!
They taste great!

I'll be using this brand of taco shells from now on.  Be sure to check these out for your next fiesta!  

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Don't Forget Your Snacks

Whether you are traveling, going to a long business meeting, or just going to run some errands, always make sure you take a snack along.   While there are plenty of gluten-free snack options out there (not necessarily labeled "gluten-free"), sometimes they aren't always available when you need them. It is best to plan ahead and be prepared so you don't go hungry! Your snack could be a bag of chips or a candy bar, but some fresh fruit is a great healthy option. 

I usually always have some type of snack in my purse because I am always hungry, but I actually didn't follow my own advice today and ended up starving.  I was attending a CEU course in a conference room of a local hotel. The course was from 8:00 am - 1:00 pm.  I had a small gluten-free roll with some orange juice before leaving my house at around 7:00 am.  I just assumed (not a very good idea) they would have some snacks at the course so I didn't bring any food with me.  When I arrived I saw that they had breakfast set up for everyone just outside the conference room. There was a long table set up with tons of bagels and muffins, and one small tray of fruit.  With close to 200 attendees, there was very little fruit left by the time I made it through the line. At about 10:00 am, they brought out cookies for the mid-morning snack, so I was out of luck again. By 11:45 am I was starving, so I made my way to the other side of the hotel to the gift shop and bought some M&Ms from their limited selection of snacks. Clearly this wasn't a life or death situation, but it did make for an unpleasant experience.

The moral of my story is to always be prepared and not assume you will find something to eat right away, wherever you are.  Always bring a snack with you because you never know when you may need it.       

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Favorite Pasta - Tinkyada

Growing up, I was always a pasta girl. Whether we made it at home or went out to eat, pasta was always one of my favorite meals. When I went away to college, I lived on pasta because it was cheap and easy.  After college (when I was actually making a decent living), I continued to make pasta once a week and made sure I had enough leftovers for a few lunches.  So when I made the switch to a gluten-free diet a few years ago, I was crushed at the thought of never being able to eat one of my favorite foods again.

I soon discovered that they made several different types of gluten-free pasta, and I tried several brands.  The more brands I tried, the more depressed I became over the fact that my pasta would never taste the same.  Then I tried Tinkyada...

Tinkyada pasta tastes just like regular pasta!  I was so ecstatic that I was able to make one of my favorite meals again and actually enjoy it.  We usually make spaghetti and meat sauce once a week.  Every now and then for a special treat, we make spaghetti and pan-seared scallops with olive oil, garlic, and mushrooms (I love the large scallops from Costco).  Last night my mother came over for dinner.  We made spaghetti with shrimp. It was actually the first time she had eaten gluten-free pasta and she thought it was delicious.  She said it didn't taste any different than regular pasta.   It was so good, we didn't have any leftovers!

I am fortunate enough to have a Whole Foods right down the street from my house, and they sell Tinkyada pasta.  For those of you who are not able to find this brand in a store near you, it is definitely worth purchasing online.    

Tinkyada pasta is another simple and delicious gluten-free meal!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beef Stir-Fry

As I've mentioned in previous posts, there are many great gluten-free books and blogs with wonderful recipes.  Some are simple recipes and some are more elaborate.  I am just your average cook, so recipes with several ingredients can be a little overwhelming for me.  That's not to say I won't try something new that looks really tempting, but it hasn't happened too often so far.

When it comes to making dinner during the week (especially after a very long day at work), I am all about simple...

Tonight we had beef stir-fry with broccoli, water chestnuts, and baby corn over rice.  I use San-J's Tamari (wheat-free / gluten-free soy sauce). 

My simple dinner was ready in under 30 minutes and tasted delicious!  

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Breakfast Sandwich

This egg and cheese sandwich is a simple and healthy breakfast.

1 Ener-G Tapioca Dinner Roll
1 Scrambled Egg
1 Slice of Swiss Cheese

The key to the roll is to slice it in half and then warm it in the microwave for 30 seconds. These rolls also work great as hamburger buns. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Fellow Gluten-Free Bloggers

When I first switched to a gluten-free diet a few years ago, I considered myself pretty internet savvy.  I did my research and thought I had found a significant amount of information about celiac disease and living gluten-free on and, but times sure have changed. These are still great resources, but there is so much more information out there now. It wasn't until I first decided to start this blog that I really became aware of how much more!

There are blogs on gluten-free travel, gluten-free restaurants, gluten-free products, gluten-free recipes, everyday living gluten-free and the list goes on...

After starting my blog, I also joined Twitter.  I was amazed at the number of people on Twitter tagged as glutenfree (over 16,000 as of today) and celiac (over 11,000 and growing).

Since on Twitter, I have learned about so many additional gluten-free blogs including: Guaranteed GF, Switch 2 Gluten Free, Grandma's Gluten-Free Baking N Cooking, and Gluten Free Adventure Girl.

Living gluten-free does have some challenges, but the information and support from all of these fellow bloggers makes it so much easier.  You know you are not alone!

I'm sorry I'm not able to list everyone.  Please feel free to comment on this post and I will add you to my blog list.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Washington, DC

Washington, DC is an incredible place to visit. We were there recently for a long weekend to celebrate a special birthday and had an amazing time. We stayed in Georgetown, but ventured out to explore as much as DC as we could on foot and on the Metro (they have a fantastic public transportation system).  I hadn't been there in many years, so we visited the memorials, monuments, museums, and Arlington National Cemetery.  It was my first time at Arlington, and I would definitely recommend going there when you visit DC.

Before the trip, I did my usual research for gluten-friendly establishments. I did some research online, but also found some great recommendations in The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide from Triumph Dining.  We ended up having some wonderful meals while we were there. We had dinner at The Capital Grille to celebrate the BIG birthday!  We also had dinner at Clyde's of Georgetown and Legal Sea Foods (one of my favorites in many cities).  We also had a great lunch at Mitsitam Cafe located inside the National Museum of the American Indian.  It is set up cafeteria style with different food stations.  Gluten-free options are actually labeled at each station and the staff is very helpful.  You don't want to miss this one!

I had a few other recommended restaurants that I wanted to go to, but we were only there for a few days.  I'll have to add them to the list for my next visit!     

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Traveling Gluten-Free

Traveling gluten-free can create some anxiety, but it isn't going to stop me.  I have traveled more in recent years (for business and pleasure) since going gluten-free, and it does seem to get a little easier each time.  Depending on where I'm going and how long I will be gone dictates how much planning I need to do (and how many gluten-free snacks I'm going to bring with me)!  I usually like to travel with some gluten-free pretzels and breakfast bars.      

I have been able to see some amazing places in the last few years that I didn't think I would ever see!  We went on a 14-Day Caribbean cruise and 10-Day Mediterranean cruise, both on Oceania Cruises.  I have heard that many cruise lines will accommodate for special diets (with advance notice), but my cruising experience has only been with this one cruise line so far. They were incredible and are known for their fine dining.  With a few weeks notice of my dietary restrictions, they were able to make accommodations for me.  For nights that I planned to eat in the Grand Dining Room, the menu would be dropped off at my room in the morning.  I would check off what I wanted and return the menu to the front desk so they would be ready for me when I arrived later.  The chef was always available to point out what I could and couldn't eat at the buffet (and there was plenty I could eat), and gluten-free bread and rolls were available for me at every meal.  I ate so well that I never wanted to leave!

The shore excursions were a little challenging at times.  I had done some research about gluten-friendly establishments before our trips,
but when we chose a shore excursion
through the cruise line, we didn't have as much freedom to go off on our own.  I would definitely recommend going on some of the formal excursions, but you may want to bring some snacks on those days just in case!  

The Caribbean cruise was easier because it sailed out of Miami (close to home). For the Mediterranean cruise we had to fly from Miami to Barcelona on Iberia airlines, and then fly back home from Athens on Delta. Both airlines were able to provide gluten-free meals with advance notice (I don't know that Delta will do this on domestic flights), but I am still always a little cautious when it comes to eating and flying (especially on very long flights).  Again, your personal gluten-free snacks can come in very handy for these situations. 

I'm sure there are many other gluten-free travelers out there that are probably more adventurous than I am, but this works for me.  I am seeing the world and LIVING gluten-free.