Where I’ve been!

Hi friends!  Sorry I haven’t been posting as often.  I’m taking a little break from the blog until things quiet down for me.  Things are a little crazy right now…for a good reason!  We had our second child, Gia, in July and we could not be happier!  She is such a blessing!

Instead of posting weekly, which I eventually plan to get back to, I will be posting as time permits.  I have really enjoyed starting this blog and would love to keep it going!  I hope to add info about post-baby fitness progress as well.

Be sure to comment and let me know what content you would like to see more of (general gluten free, recipes, food reviews, restaurant reviews, fitness, other…)!

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Review: Gluten Free Protein Shakes

 

As a busy mom I sometimes need a quick mini-meal or something I can take on the go.  I try to choose things that have 10+ grams of protein to keep me feeling satiated for several hours.  I recently came across two new-to-me brands of protein shakes and I thought I would give them a try.

First, I tried Svelte organic vanilla protein shake.  I had scored this ready-to-drink free sample at the Gluten Free Expo this year.  They were being handed out by Wegman’s and I was excited to try it since I had seen it at the store but never had purchased it.  I had only seen it in 4 packs and protein shakes can be tasty or very, very bad and I didn’t want to take the risk.  This is why I love free samples!

Pros:

  •  2:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein, though I wish it had a bit more protein
  •  6 grams of sugar – reasonable since a lot of protein shakes and other “healthy” drinks can be sugar bombs
  • 5 grams of fiber
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • I’m not a fan of the taste of stevia; however, I couldn’t taste it.
  • Smooth and not chalky at all!
  • Organic – a bonus!
  • Also comes in chocolate and cappuccino, which I have not tried but would love to.

Cons:

  • Too sweet
  • Unappealing brown color – possibly from vanilla extract?  Not a deal breaker though.
  • Soy protein – while it’s a pro that it was organic protein I’m still on the fence over soy.  One day I read that it’s great for you, the next I read that it’s not.  For this reason I try to limit my exposure as much as possible and when I consume it, I shoot for organic.

Overall:

Although there a lot of pros I probably wouldn’t buy it because it was just too sweet for me.  If I found myself at a convenience store and needed something quick I might consider buying a single serving in a pinch.

I also tried the Orgain organic vanilla protein shake.  This was in powder form and you could add your own milk or water.  I chose to mix mine with organic skim milk.  I got the free sample about a month ago when Orgain was offering it on their website (which it doesn’t look like they are any longer.)

Pros:

  • Only 150 calories
  • 21 grams of filling protein
  • 5 grams of fiber
  • No added sugar
  • Organic – a bonus!

Cons:

  • Sugar alcohol (erythritol)
  • Horrible aftertaste – probably from the erythritol
  • Too sweet
  • Very chalky

Overall:

FAIL! (Sorry Orgain.)  I literally couldn’t drink it. I tried adding crushed ice to “water it down”/make it less sweet, but turned into ice cream of sorts.  It actually looked a lot like frozen banana ice cream if you’ve ever made that.  This made it taste less sweet but it still had a terrible aftertaste.  It was not as chalky, but still was chalky enough to deem it undrinkable.  Good thing it was free!

If you are still interested in seeing for yourself, even after my glowing review (hah!), their Facebook page is currently offering coupons.  I don’t know…maybe erythritol doesn’t bother you as much as me?

I had to eat something afterwards to get rid of the aftertaste.  I happened to choose a gluten free cookie.  Oopsie!  Even after that I could still kind of taste it.  Not worth it!  I had been excited to try it because it had pea protein and I’ve heard good things about that.  I hope this was not the reason it was chalky!

Has anyone else tried something with pea protein?  Was it chalky?

What are your thoughts on soy?

What brand is your favorite protein shake?  Powder or pre-made?

 

Most Helpful Gluten Free Website

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One of the most frustrating things when I became gluten free was not understanding that gluten can be hidden in many ingredients. Just to give you an idea here is a LIST from Celiac.com of the foods that MAY OR MAY NOT contain gluten, depending on how/where they’re sourced:

“The following items may or may not contain gluten depending on where and how they are made, and it is sometimes necessary to check with the manufacturer to find out:

Artificial Color4
baking powder4
Caramel Color1, 3
Caramel Flavoring1, 3
Clarifying Agents4
Coloring4
Dextrins1,7
Dextrimaltose1,7
Dry Roasted Nuts4
Emulsifiers4
enzymes4
Fat Replacer4
Flavoring6
food Starch1, 4
Food Starch Modified1, 4
Glucose Syrup4
Gravy Cubes4
Ground Spices4
HPP4
HVP4
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein4
Hydrolyzed Protein4
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein4
Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate4
Hydroxypropylated Starch4
Maltose4
Miso4
Mixed Tocopherols4
Modified Food Starch1, 4
Modified Starch1, 4
Natural Flavoring6
Natural Flavors6
Natural Juices4
Non-dairy Creamer4
Pregelatinized Starch4
Protein Hydrolysates4
Seafood Analogs4
Seasonings4
Sirimi4
Smoke Flavoring4
Soba Noodles4
Soy Sauce4
Soy Sauce Solids4
Sphingolipids4
Stabilizers4
Starch1, 4
Stock Cubes4
Suet4
Tocopherols4
Vegetable Broth4
Vegetable Gum4
Vegetable Protein4
Vegetable Starch4
vitamins4
Wheat Starch5

1) If this ingredient is made in North America it is likely to be gluten-free.

3) The problem with caramel color is it may or may not contain gluten depending on how it is manufactured. In the USA caramel color must conform with the FDA standard of identity from 21CFR CH.1. This statute says: the color additive caramel is the dark-brown liquid or solid material resulting from the carefully controlled heat treatment of the following food-grade carbohydrates: Dextrose (corn sugar), invert sugar, lactose (milk sugar), malt syrup (usually from barley malt), molasses (from cane), starch hydrolysates and fractions thereof (can include wheat), sucrose (cane or beet). Also, acids, alkalis and salts are listed as additives which may be employed to assist the caramelization process.

4) Can utilize a gluten-containing grain or by-product in the manufacturing process, or as an ingredient.

5) Most celiac organizations in the USA and Canada do not believe that wheat starch is safe for celiacs. In Europe, however, Codex Alimentarius Quality wheat starch is considered acceptable in the celiac diet by most doctors and celiac organizations. This is a higher quality of wheat starch than is generally available in the USA or Canada.

6) According to 21 C.F.R. S 101,22(a)(3): [t]he terns natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof. Whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.

7) Dextrin is an incompletely hydrolyzed starch. It is prepared by dry heating corn, waxy maize, waxy milo, potato, arrowroot, WHEAT, rice, tapioca, or sago starches, or by dry heating the starches after: (1) Treatment with safe and suitable alkalis, acids, or pH control agents and (2) drying the acid or alkali treated starch. (1) Therefore, unless you know the source, you must avoid dextrin.”

Just a little light reading for you 😉 So this just gives you can idea of all of the places gluten can be hiding.  It’s super fun to try to figure out, isn’t it?  Four and a half years ago, foods were not labeled “gluten free” as readily as they are now, although some foods are still lacking.  I would have to read through the ingredient list and if I found something from the “may/may not list” I would just put it back on the shelf because I didn’t want to risk making myself sick.  Then I found GF Overflow, my go-to website when I need to figure out if something is gluten free. You can even search by category or brand.  For example, you could search “BBQ sauce” if you’re trying to decide which brand to buy at the grocery store or you could search “Newman’s Own” if you’re at a picnic and you know what brand the host used.

I have even referred my non-gluten free friends and family to this website when they’re nice enough to prepare me something and want to make sure it’s safe for me to eat.  They can search their ingredients to make sure what they’re buying is gluten free.

While it doesn’t list every gluten free food on the planet, it does have over 10,000 products in its database.  In the event that I can’t find a specific brand/product here I just Google it alongside “gluten free” which can sometimes, but not always, answer my question if something is gluten free or not.  Using GF Overflow is definitely a lot quicker and easier though! They also offer an app for iPhone and iPad for only $2.99.  Personally, I don’t have it because I just open the website in Safari, but it got a 5/5 star review and the reviewers said the app is faster than Safari.GFO appAlso, it’s important to note that they use the manufacturer’s information to determine if a product is gluten free or not.  With that being said, while GF Overflow tries to be as accurate as possible with this information, manufacturers can change ingredients at any time so it’s always best to double-check your labels.  I will say that in the 4+ years I have been using this website I never ate anything listed that ended up not being gluten free.  So, for me, it has been accurate.

This was not a sponsored post.  This is just me sharing something I find super useful with the gluten free community in hopes it will help you too!

What is your favorite gluten free website?

 

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Four Ways to Save Money When Eating Gluten Free

Hoping everyone had an enjoyable holiday weekend!  Sorry for the late post, but we were celebrating 🙂

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It’s probably no secret that eating gluten free can be expensive.  Gluten free foods tend to cost more and it can be a hang up for people who may be considering this dietary change.  Fear not!  Here are my top four ways I save money when eating gluten free:

  1. Use coupons – I try to save money when buying gluten free foods (and grocery shopping in general) by using coupons. There are several websites available that have coupons for gluten free products such as Mambo Sprouts, Common Kindness, and Green Moms Meet.  I also use coupons.com because they will usually have a few gluten free items I buy.  Also, try searching “gluten free” or for your favorite products on the For the Mamas coupon database.  You can also sign up for coupons via email on company’s websites.  Just Google your favorite companies and see if they have coupons posted and/or have an email list so you can be notified when new coupons are released. Similarly, you can check company’s Facebook pages which will sometimes have coupons.  Just as an example, I recently reached out to Turkey Hill via Facebook message asking for coupons.  My mom had success in calling their customer service and asking for coupons (which you could do as well) and they were happy to oblige.  I thought it might be quicker to try Facebook and they sent me $10 in coupons within a few days!  (Turkey Hill is not a “gluten free” company but they have lots of gluten free options you can search here.) IMG_6670
  2. Ask for samples – One of the philosophies I believe in is “it never hurts to ask”.  What’s the worst that could happen?  They say “no” and you’re no worse off than if you never asked in the first place. So, I also reached out to KIND via Facebook message and asked for coupons and/or samples.  They told me they didn’t have any coupons right now but they could send me some samples. Within a few days this lovely box arrived with samples of 12, YES 12, different bars!!  These bars retail for well over $1.25 each! Stay tuned for a review post on each of those!IMG_6711 IMG_6773
  3. Rebate apps for Smartphone users – I love to use ibotta (<—my referral link – I get $5 and you will get $10 once you sign up and redeem a rebate within 2 weeks if you decide it’s something you want to try.)  It’s quite easy to use.  Choose one of 80+ grocery stores and that store will have hundreds of ever-changing rebates for items purchased.  A lot of times they will have generic items (produce, salad dressing, cereal, etc.) listed and sometimes gluten free items too.  Even if you can’t find any gluten free stuff, you can still save on other items on your grocery bill.  One way to look at it is that you can then put that money towards your gluten free items.  Once you look through the list of rebates available you will either just click it to open rebate/add to your list, answer a question, or watch a 15 second video.  Then once you buy the item at said store you scan the bar code (I do it as I’m unloading my groceries), take a photo of receipt, and boom you get $ back.  (I am probably making it sound harder than it is.)  You can “cash in” once you reach $20.  I have gotten at LEAST $70-90 so far (I forget how many times I’ve cashed in!) and I am ready to cash in soon again.IMG_4109
  4. Shop the perimeter – Some of you have probably heard before that it’s healthier to shop the perimeter of the store (produce, meats, and diary) versus the middle aisles where all of the processed food is located. While it is important and true, it’s also where a lot of the “naturally” gluten free foods are. There’s no gluten in fruits and veggies, folks! Really, I feel most of the expense of gluten free shopping comes in when buying processed foods, which I try to limit for health reasons anyway.

How do you save money when shopping gluten free?  Share in the comments below!

Black Bean Quinoa Chopped Salad

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With summer officially here I find myself craving salads more and more.  This Black Bean Quinoa Chopped Salad has become a summer staple for me.  I originally found this recipe in my April 2012 “Fitness” magazine and I keep coming back to it year after year. My version has been modified from the original “California Chipotle Chopped Salad”.  I omitted the salt (since the beans I buy already have it added), chipotle chile powder, 1T of the olive oil (since I usually cook w/ spray oil) and red onion.  I increased the quinoa and added feta cheese.

I’ve talked to so many people that are intimidated by making quinoa.  I have an easy fix.  Get yourself a rice cooker. It’s the easiest thing EVER.  Pour in 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa and hit the button. (Mine has a brown rice and white rice setting. I use the brown rice setting.) Forget about it until 60-90 minutes later when it’s done!  Thank you to my mother-in-law for buying me this since it is something I never would have bought myself.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I would even use it that much and now it’s the only way I make rice/quinoa. The hardest part is remembering to prep it in advance of prepping the rest of the meal, which is usually no big deal.

Ingredients and nutritionals:

Vinaigrette:

  • 3T extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2T apple cider vinegar
  • 2T agave nectar
  • ¼ cup of fresh lime juice

Salad:

  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2t minced garlic
  • 2T finely chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup dry quinoa – to be cooked in rice cooker
  • 1 large head of romaine lettuce
  • 1 large tomato or red bell pepper
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup feta cheese

cal chopped salad nutr

  1. Prepare quinoa – use ½ cup of quinoa to 1 cup of water if using rice cooker.
  2. Sauté minced garlic, black beans, and cilantro in pan sprayed w/ cooking oil.
  3. Combine lettuce, tomato, avocado in large bowl.
  4. Blend apple cider vinegar, EVOO, agave nectar, and lime juice in NutriBullet or blender.
  5. Top lettuce with black bean mixture, quinoa, feta cheese, and vinaigrette & toss to coat.

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The quinoa and black bean mixture can even be prepared ahead of time and chilled, which is a nice option if you need to quickly throw dinner together.

In this salad you have the sweetness of the vinaigrette, the creaminess of the avocado, the earthiness of the quinoa, and the saltiness of the feta cheese all alongside the crisp crunchiness of the salad itself.  It’s so satisfying!   Let me know if you give it a try.

What is your favorite summer salad recipe?

 

 

 

My Gluten Free Eats in Dewey Beach

I recently went on vacation to Dewey Beach, DE with my family and our friends’ families.  I was planning on blogging about all of the places I went to with gluten free food. As it turned out, we ate most meals at home (which wasn’t a bad thing) so I will just let you know about the 2 places I DID go as well as a gluten free pizza crust that my friend, Brooke, made.

The first night at the beach Brooke made everyone pizza.  She had even texted me ahead of time to see if I could eat Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix.  This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but for those of us that have a food allergy/sensitivity it means SO MUCH when someone goes out of their way to include you.  She was even mindful to roll out my dough and use the cutter first for my pizza and wash everything to avoid cross-contamination.  Thanks, Brooke!

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She made me a margherita pizza which is topped with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and tomato sauce. It was delicious!  The crust was thicker (but there was enough that it could’ve been rolled thinner) and it had somewhat of a biscuit-like consistency.  “Bob” could’ve added some seasoning to the crust for more flavor but that is something that could easily be added to your liking.  It also made great lunch leftovers for the rest of our time at the beach!

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The second night we went to Dogfish Head in Rehoboth Beach.  I used my Find Me Gluten Free app and it had said that there was not a gluten free menu but the last review was from 2 years ago.  My friends really wanted to eat here and I didn’t want to be the reason they didn’t.  I figured I’d give it a try thinking that surely in two year’s time they have come up with some gluten free options since a lot of places seem to be accommodating the gluten free crowd.  Well…I was wrong.  The waitress informed me that nothing was technically gluten free there because they use beer in almost everything they make (including their Midas Touch vinaigrette) so there is a chance of cross-contamination.  I ended up ordering the Pub Salad (spring mix, tomatoes, cucumber, and carrots) sans red onions because we are not friends.  I had to get the red wine and vinegar for my dressing because at 32 weeks pregnant I couldn’t have the homemade Caesar dressing (thanks, raw egg!) and I wasn’t feeling the goat cheese ranch, since goat cheese is not my friend either.  The salad was just OK.  The good news is that I didn’t get sick!  I was also thankful to be fueling my body with something healthy and also that there was even one option at all.  Also, Dogfish does have a gluten free bottled beer, Tweason’ale, but since I am preggers I did not indulge. (I don’t really like beer anyway.)

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The third night my friend, Ryan, made some amazing pulled pork with a homemade gluten free BBQ sauce, corn on the cob, and baby potatoes.  It was amazing!  Sadly, it was so wonderful that I completely forgot to take pictures of the amazing-ness.   Womp Womp!

On our last full day we found ourselves on the Rehoboth boardwalk since it was overcast with showers. The kids wanted to go to Funland anyway for the games and rides.  Since there aren’t too many gluten free options on the boardwalk, according to my app, and some people were feelin’ pizza again, we ended up at Grotto’s.  I had wanted to try their gluten free pizza since I had heard they offered it last year.  I ordered the 9” gluten free pizza for $10.99, which I thought was reasonable.  The crust was the best I have had in my 4+ years gluten free!  It wasn’t cracker-like or too thick. It was somewhere in the middle and light and crispy.  Also, I did not get sick which means there was no cross-contamination in the kitchen while making my pizza.  The service was excellent as well.

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All in all it was a fun and successful (=I didn’t get glutened) trip! Next year I hope to get to some additional places, including some breakfast/lunch/dessert places.

Where is your favorite gluten free place to eat at DE or NJ beaches?

 

 

 

Peanut Butter & Jelly Overnight Oats

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PB& J overnight oats are my summer breakfast go-to.  I first tried overnight oats last summer.  They kind of seemed to be the latest craze on some of the blogs I read so I thought I would see what the buzz was about. I love oatmeal but I didn’t want to eat something hot in the summertime so it seemed like a great idea. Plus, when I wake up I need coffee and food immediately and it’s great to pull something out of the fridge that’s ready to eat.  This is something you can heat up during the cooler months as well, but I prefer my overnight oats cold.

It takes less than 5 minutes to prep the night before (the tricky part is remembering!) You just throw it all in a bowl, stir, and refrigerate.  I tried to get in the routine of doing it right after dinner so I didn’t forget.  It’s kind of terrible when you wake up wanting to eat your oats and you realize there’s nothing waiting for you in the fridge.  I’ve even resorted to setting a reminder on my phone (because I have to do this for EVERYTHING or things don’t get done).

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This recipe from “My Whole Food Life” was the first one I tried and I LOVE it. Much like my earlier post about the banana oat yogurt muffins, when I find a tasty recipe I make it until I get tired of it and move on.  It’s such a bummer when you try a new recipe and it’s the pits. I hate wasting food, but I also hate “wasting calories” on something that doesn’t taste great.  That’s why I am using this blog to share my favorites with you!

The only changes I made were using peanut butter instead of almond butter and organic fat free cow’s milk instead of almond milk.  I really want to like almond butter, but it’s just OK.  Considering it costs twice as much as peanut butter I’m not going to spend extra on something I find mediocre tasting.  I don’t dislike almond milk, I just don’t have an issue with dairy and I prefer the taste and extra protein of cow’s milk.  You can also add fresh fruit, nuts, or protein powder to this recipe too.  I’ll be honest, I tried subbing whey protein for the peanut butter and it was not. good.  But feel free to try…you may feel differently!

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Here are the nutritionals based off of the way that I make it:

nutrition PBJoats

To some of you 413 calories may seem a little steep.  I’m ok with it because I try to eat a hardy breakfast to fuel me for the morning.  Check out the 11g of fiber and 17g of protein! This fills me up for 3+ hours so I don’t need a morning snack.

Do you have a favorite overnight oats recipe? Please share in the comments below!

Pharmacy Frustration

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I recently went to pick up a prescription for myself at Giant Pharmacy.  I use this pharmacy because it’s close by and a lot of times when I am picking up a prescription there are other things I need too:  gluten free foods, grocery essentials, over-the-counter medication, etc.  Giant has a good gluten free selection whereas the drugstores do not.

Tech: Do you have any allergies?
Me: I have a sensitivity to gluten, but that should already be on file.
She said she would check.
Me: Doesn’t something “pop up” on the computer when you’re filling my prescription?
Tech: You would think that it would, but it doesn’t.
Excuse me, what?!

We continued to chat while the pharmacist looked in the fine print to see if my prescription had gluten. Then he ended up calling the company because he couldn’t verify it from the literature.  Keep in mind all of this is happening while my very energetic 4 year old son is plotting to destroy the store. (I kid, I kid!)  Silly me, I thought I was going to come and pick up my prescription and a loaf of bread and be on my merry way.

So FINALLY the pharmacist came back with a verdict: Sorry this medication has gluten it.
Fantastic.
Me: So now what do I do?
Pharmacist: You have to call around to different pharmacies and ask them if they carry this drug without gluten.
Cool. Because I have time for that.

This is so wrong on so many levels:
1-Had the tech not asked me if I had an allergy I would have left with my gluten-containing medicine and been none the wiser because I wrongly ASSUMED that they knew/it was on my file that I can’t have gluten.
2-Why on EARTH would their system not flag me/other people as having an allergy/sensitivity so they can check into whether medications are safe.  Major flaw if you ask me.
3-Why are drug companies still making gluten/allergy information so elusive that you have to jump through hoops to figure out if it’s safe for you or not?

I wanted to know the best and safest way to fill a prescription next time.
Me: How can I prevent getting gluten-containing medicine in the future?
Pharmacist: Either tell the Dr. to write gluten free in the notes on the script or you have to call and let the pharmacy know so they can research it ahead of time.

Since everything is sent electronically anymore this basically means I’m going to have to call because after all of this I’m not sure I can trust that even if I tell my Dr. to write it he/she will remember to do so.

Moral of the story: be your own advocate!! Never assume that the medication you are getting is gluten free, even if your file is marked as such.  Thankfully I am not routinely on prescription medicine and this was not a medication I need urgently.

Update: I called all of my local pharmacies and spent an hour on the phone only to find out that NONE of them carry my medicine in a gluten free form.  I had to call my dermatologist and get a different medicine.  When I went to pick it up I found out it was $40 more than what the original medicine would have cost me. #glutenfreeproblems

Has something similar happened to you?  What pharmacy do you use?

 

 

Greater Philly Gluten Free Expo Review – 2016

The Greater Philly Gluten Free Expo was even better than I imagined!  When I first walked in I was surprised at how small the venue was.  But we (my friend Jen & I) were there for over an hour and half and still didn’t get around to every stand.  I think more of this was due to crowding than too many vendors.  I felt the number of vendors was perfect but the venue itself should’ve been bigger and should’ve had better indoor traffic control/flow to handle the large number of people.  We got there right at 10:30 a.m. but about 30 minutes after that it was difficult to move around and navigate where the lines were.

Now to the good stuff…the food and samples!   Wegman’s was there handing out free pre-packaged samples and coupons.  There was seriously so much stuff.  I left with a grocery bag full of food.   I can’t wait to try everything.  I really wish there was a Wegman’s closer than 35 minutes away from my house!

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The food samples were AMAZING. There was nothing I tried that I didn’t like, but I definitely had two standout favorites in my mind: The Happy Mixer – Gluten Free Bakery and LUHV Food.

The Happy Mixer is located in Chalfont, PA and it’s probably a good thing that I don’t live near this place!  I have a bit of a (ok, a huge) sweet tooth.  At their stand I sampled monkey bread, peanut butter delights (their best seller), kiffles  (a jelly-filled cookie), and a cream filled doughnut. Yeaaaa…I was kind of in a carb coma after this!  The monkey bread was out of control.  I was seriously speechless.  The texture was doughy and chewy and the outside had a nice crunch from the sugar.  This is a special order item that they only make for holidays.  As a peanut butter lover and someone who grew up with my mom making her version of the peanut butter delights (“Peanut Butter Tandycakes”), I was very excited to see them there.  If you’re not familiar, it’s basically a sponge cake with a layer of peanut butter and topped w/ hardened chocolate. They were fantastic!  I see why they’re a best seller.  The kiffles were good.  My mom makes something similar, and I prefer hers.  I think she might use more cream cheese and/or add sour cream.  The doughnut was also pretty mind-blowing.  The only gluten free donuts I have had are the frozen kind, which are ok, but obviously not as good as something fresh.  These were so fluffy and delicious.  If you are a lover of sweets in southeastern Pennsylvania you must check this place out!

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LUHV was my favorite savory vendor. The black bean burgers were so flavorful. They served it on top of a salad (spring mix, carrots, onions, red cabbage) with a sweet chili dressing.  The dressing provided just the right amount heat (this coming from someone who does not like spicy things.) The Energy Soup was surprisingly excellent. I say surprisingly because it had kale and two different types of seaweed in the ingredients, two things I do not like.  But I couldn’t taste them at all!  They were very well hidden in the soup’s chili-like flavor.  I definitely plan to go to Kimberton Whole Foods and buy both of these items!

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Other yumminess included: Mompops’ chocolate sea salt popsicle, Sweet Megan’s edible brownie batter in a jar, Veggie Fries (Kale & Tuscan Bean and Chickpea & Red Pepper flavors).

It was such a foreign feeling to be able to eat anything I wanted and not have to stress if it was safe or not.  I didn’t have to ask questions or scrutinize ingredient labels.  It was seriously…So. Weird.  But definitely in a good/refreshing sort of way!  I didn’t realize just how stressful it is to have to analyze everything I eat until I didn’t have to do it.  I’m so glad I went and I am already planning on going to next year’s event.

Did you attend the Expo?  Which vendors were your favorites?

Gluten Free Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins

One of the reasons I started this blog was to hold myself accountable for actually MAKING all of the glorious recipes I’ve pinned on Pinterest.  When I find a recipe I like, I tend to make it over and over again which doesn’t leave room for the whole “getting through my Pinterest board” thing.  Sometimes it’s hard to remember which ones are good so here I can tell everyone (and remind myself!) which ones are worth making.

This recipe for Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins from Running With Spoons has definitely been one I have made several times in the past month or so.  Betcha can’t just eat one muffin!  I made them in my Ninja blender and then just poured into the muffin cups.  Easy peasey!  Tip: wash your blender right away 😉 Do not be like me and let it sit in the sink for hours and dry fast because it’s a nightmare to clean.  Oopsie!

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The only I did differently was I used two 5.3 oz cups of nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt instead of 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt.  I also used gluten free oats.   I figured out the nutritionals based off of my edits and it looks like this:

nutr banana yogurt muffins

I have been eating 2 for breakfast each day so that’s 12g protein and 364 calories.  Sounds good to me!  Honestly it’s hard to not have them for my afternoon snack too.

The second time I made them I altered the recipe a little more by cutting brown sugar to 1/8 cup, adding 1t cinnamon, and only sprinkling a few choc chips on top (instead of mixing them in. )  I’m not sure which I like better, but I CAN say that I like the chocolate chips spread throughout better!  The last time I made them I actually totally forgot about the blender and just mixed everything up in a mixing bowl with a spatula and they were still great.

Also notable: as she mentioned DO NOT use paper muffin holders.  They stick too much.  Foil still sticks but not as much.  I trialed w/ paper, foil, and using nothing but oil spray.   Spraying the tin w/ coconut oil worked great but then you have a tin to clean (which you probably will anyway unless you have excellent aim when pouring the batter!)

My son likes to help make them.  He is charge of pouring things into the blender. ..except sometimes he misses and then there are oats EVERYWHERE.  Oh well.  That’s what happens when your 4-year-old is your sous-chef!  He likes to vacuum them up with the dust buster so no big deal.  Enjoy!