SPRING Nourished Festival- Online GF Expo

SPRING Nourished Festival- Online GF Expo

Whether it’s gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, or by personal choice, living a gluten-free lifestyle isn’t always easy. But with knowledge, resources, and support, a gluten-free lifestyle is highly attainable, leading to a happier, healthier life for you and your family!

Get access to experts and resources at The Gluten-Free Expo on Mary 14 & 15, 2022. The Gluten-Free Expo is a FREE two-day event dedicated to the unique needs of those who need or want to lead a gluten-free lifestyle for themselves or their family. The all-virtual event will feature a full schedule of presentations, exhibitors, discounts, giveaways, and the ability to connect with others in the community. The Gluten-Free Expo will cover a variety of topics to help you lead your best gluten-free life, including:

  • Medical & Community Support
  • Specialty Diets
  • Supplements
  • Food Products
  • Skincare & Cosmetics
  • Household & Pet

Registration is free but is required to attend the event. https://www.nourishedfestival.com/gluten-free-expo

The exhibitor list and presentation schedule will be shared with registered attendees before the show. Full access to all event content and activities will be available at 10:00am (ET) on May 14th, 2022.

What to Expect

  • Engaging presentations and content from experts
  • 1-on-1 consultations (by appointment only)
  • Live events, chats, and private video networking sessions with exhibitors
  • Products and services from gluten-free brands
  • Samples, discounts, giveaways, and promotions
  • A safe environment to connect and communicate with others leading a gluten-free lifestyle
  • A virtual experience that you control—choose to browse, interact, participate as you desire

AND mark your calendars for The FALL Gluten-Free Expo coming Oct 15-16, 2022.

FALL Nourished Festival- Online GF Expo

FALL Nourished Festival- Online GF Expo

Get access to experts and resources at the Gluten-Free Expo on Sat, Nov. 6 – Sun, Nov. 7 2021. The Gluten-Free Expo is a FREE two-day event dedicated to the unique needs of those who need or want to lead a gluten-free lifestyle for themselves or their family. The all-virtual event will feature a full schedule of presentations, exhibitors, discounts, giveaways, and the ability to connect with others in the community. The Gluten-Free Expo will cover a variety of topics to help you lead your best gluten-free life, including:

  • Medical & Community Support
  • Specialty Diets
  • Supplements
  • Food Products
  • Skincare & Cosmetics
  • Household & Pet

Registration is free but is required to attend the event. https://www.nourishedfestival.com/gluten-free-expo

The exhibitor list and presentation schedule will be shared with registered attendees before the show. Full access to all event content and activities will be available at 10:00am (ET) on Sat, Nov. 6, and Sun, Nov. 7 2021.

What to Expect

  • Engaging presentations and content from experts
  • 1-on-1 consultations (by appointment only)
  • Live events, chats, and private video networking sessions with exhibitors
  • Products and services from gluten-free brands
  • Samples, discounts, giveaways, and promotions
  • A safe environment to connect and communicate with others leading a gluten-free lifestyle
  • A virtual experience that you control—choose to browse, interact, participate as you desire
Bob’s Red Mill Oat Crackers

Bob’s Red Mill Oat Crackers

I love Bob’s Red Mill products, and these were no exception. The crackers were thicker or denser than say Wheat Thins (even though the box says “thin & crisp”) and were delicious with hummus. Not salty like Wheat Thins, just right, and slightly larger. Great for cheese and cold cuts, but you will need to buy a few boxes if entertaining; it’s a small box (8″ x 4.5″ x 2″), and an even smaller bag of crackers inside (says “4 servings” and about “8 in a serving”, meaning 32 crackers in the box) and many of the crackers were broken, that was a disappointment. I found them in the Cracker aisle at Sprout’s for $3.99, not in the gluten-free aisle where I expected them to be.

They come in several flavors, I chose the “classic” flavor. Enjoy!

Good & Gather GF Homestyle Waffles

Good & Gather GF Homestyle Waffles

Good & Gather is the home brand of Target food products. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined Target having THE BEST gluten free waffles I’ve ever tasted! Hands down the most flavorful waffles, thick and crunchy. I’ve eaten Vans Gluten Free and Nature’s Path Organic Gluten Free, both in various flavors, none as good as the basic Homestyle waffles offered by Target. And the price is less than $2.50 for a box of 8 waffles. Go stock up!

  • Good & Gather GF Homestyle Waffles
  • NO artificial flavors, preservatives, or artificial sweeteners!
  • NO high fructose corn syrup
  • No synthetic color
  • Certified GF
  • 8 waffles in a package
  • Money back guarantee, so you can’t go wrong!
  • In Target’s freezer section
  • Allergens- contains soy
  • Also states on box that it “contains a bioengineered food product”, though I don’t know which ingredient it is.

I regularly use these waffles for almond butter & jelly sandwiches, egg sandwiches, with syrup, and with sliced bananas. Also great drenched with berries!

As an aside, I see from numerous reviews on the Target site, that many people hate the crunchiness of these waffles. Frankly, I am so tired of mushy, limp GF waffles and tortillas that I would take dry any day! Here’s the link to Target’s waffle page for more reviews.

https://www.target.com/p/gluten-free-homestyle-frozen-waffle-8ct-good-38-gather-8482/-/A-80952978

Red’s GF Chicken, Cilantro and Lime Bowl

Red’s GF Chicken, Cilantro and Lime Bowl

I found this entree at Sprout’s, and because I was alone that night, I bought it to enjoy on my own. It’s been a long time since I’ve purchased a rice bowl, it’s my favorite because of all the fun ingredients- rice, chicken, veggies/beans, and from the picture, I got the impression the chicken was tender and flavorful.

It was easy to microwave for a quick meal. Cut a few 1″ slits in the plastic wrap and pop in the microwave for 4 minutes on high, then let sit for a minute before you stir and enjoy.

I did pause it at the 2-minute mark to stir it for even cooking. I didn’t stir it so much as shake it a bit to mix.

When I removed the plastic wrap, it looked rather bland & dull, not enticing like the entree pictured.

The flavor was real peppery (pepper is the last ingredient on the list), the brown rice mushy not light and fluffy (more similar to oatmeal, soggy and wet), the roasted red bell peppers limp and sad. The chicken flavor was bland, unsavory.

I ate half, mainly focusing on eating the chicken, and debated saving the rest for the next day, I chose to throw the rest away.

Not a product I’d buy again. I think it was on sale for $4.99.

  • Red’s brand
  • 15G protein
  • Gluten free
  • No antibiotics
  • One serving bowl
  • $4.99 on sale at Sprout’s Market
Front of box, the picture of bowl made me look forward to the taste.
Low fat, high protein, good amount of fiber and potassium.

“World’s Best” Mac and Cheese

“World’s Best” Mac and Cheese

I got a text from my daughter-in-law telling me about “the best mac & cheese” they’d ever tasted AND it was gluten-free (they don’t have sensitivities, they just decided to try it out). Happened to be “on sale” for $9.99 (regularly $12.99) at the grocery store she works at.

And for the next few months, they asked if I’d tried it, but each store in my area did not carry the gluten-free product. I finally found it at a Safeway, same price, $9.99 on sale for an 18oz package.

Make sure it bears the orange certified “gluten-free” packaging. It may be sitting next to the regular product.

I haven’t had real mac & cheese in ages! Mainly because I’d been avoiding dairy/cheese (for sensitivity reasons) and only recently added it back into my meals. This was the real deal as far as macaroni & cheese goes- very cheesy, rich, creamy…almost too creamy when it first comes out of the microwave, very soupy sauce. Maybe I just didn’t let it sit long enough after microwaving (it asks you to “let set for up to 2 minutes before serving”). I think this is so the penne pasta absorbs the runny cheesy goodness, as I found the noodles seemed a bit undercooked/firm and dry, not at all tender…at first.

The more I ate, the better it tasted! Soupy with cheese!!! And it left me thinking if I had been alone, I might have eaten the whole package, which at 2.5 servings per package and 14G of *saturated fat* PER SERVING, would be a bit over the top.

The package made 2 meals (one for me and then next day for hubby). My portion was generous and I added parmesan cheese to thicken the soupy sauce. There was still too much sauce at the bottom of the bowl when I was finished with the pasta, so I added a few sliced tomatoes, which didn’t sop up the sauce as much as make it runnier but the tomatoes added a new dimension to the sauce and ideas for next time.

My hubby enjoyed it with some grilled shrimp, and deemed Beecher’s “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese as worthy of another purchase.

$9.99 is a steep price for cheesy noodles, even gluten-free, but in a pinch, if you don’t want or have the time to make it yourself, this is a great alternative and a delicious treat.

Ideas for extending or embellishing the meal-

  • add tomatoes or other veggies for color,
  • add meat or fish,
  • enjoy with a salad,
  • use as a side dish.

Beecher’s “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese

Certified gluten-free

Frozen food section, you may have to ask for it

Serves 2-4

It’s vegetarian too

Conventional oven or microwave cooking directions

Allergens- contains milk

Mac and Cheese before baking.

Restaurant Review: Psycho Donuts

Restaurant Review: Psycho Donuts

It’s been too long since I last visited Psycho Donuts to enjoy one of their gluten-free donuts. Part of the reason for the gap in time was I never really knew when they were going to be available, sometimes once a month. More recently, for a short trial period, they have GF donuts every Friday, so no calling, just show up.

I have to say, I was really excited about this visit. Psycho Donuts is famous for their crazy flavor combos, such as Cereal Killer (fruity cereal on top), Kooky Monster (topped with crushed Oreo cookies and blue drizzle), and the Dead Elvis (cream filled, bananas, bacon, peanut butter and jelly). The last time I had a donut was Katz Donuts (boxed and frozen, Sprouts Markets) which are delicious warmed up.. But you can imagine the feeling of walking in to buy fresh!…the mouth-watering scent! And in that aspect, Psycho did not disappoint.

GF donut options for 5/15/15
GF donut options for 5/15/15

The GF donuts are stored in clear plastic takeout containers in a back area separate from the displayed donuts up front. The “Crazy Nurse” pulled out a container and placed it on the counter. I was actually confused because there were 5 donuts in the container, one of each of the GF flavors that day, and I really only wanted one donut (at $3.00 each). She told me that I could get whatever combination I wanted, however, because of the way they’re packaged, I couldn’t buy several of one kind. So I opted to buy 3 of the 5 GF “flavors” they had that day – maple bacon with chocolate, strawberry chocolate, and peanut butter chocolate chip. The “Nurse” who helped me said the official Psycho names would be on the website, but the pictures on their site “menu” are only for their regular donuts, not GF, probably because the GF flavors change weekly.

I was rushed and ate them out of the paper bag with my fingers, however, the donuts really REALLY needed to be on a plate and enjoyed with a knife & fork; the icings were gooey, the toppings coming off easily, and the cake itself was dry and firm, so imagine the mess I had trying to break off a piece out of the bag. Ugh!

The best flavor (of course!) was the maple bacon chocolate, really strong, with the perfect mix of salty & sweet. My son felt differently when he tried a bite, he didn’t like how hard the bacon pieces were, “too chewy”. He complained about how hard the cake was, expecting soft & moist, which none of the donuts were. The strawberry chocolate was topped with dried strawberries which weren’t appetizing to look at but were deliciously tart and did remind me of chocolate covered strawberries. And the peanut butter chocolate chip’s topping immediately had that peanut buttery texture that sticks to the roof of your mouth and I enjoyed that.

I did take 2 days to eat all 3 donuts, so I savored the flavors. This will probably hold me over for several months before I pay them another visit; though the flavors were good, the donut cake itself was too dry for me.

Crazy Summer!

Crazy Summer!

My summer began with a scheduled trip to Nashville TN for a faith-based conference on body image and eating issues, Hungry for Hope. This *would* have been my 4th year in attendance, except that the kidney stones that had been plaguing me for 5 months decided to cause problems and my trip was canceled, surgery scheduled instead.

Between kidney stones, braces, and general stress related to family, my weight dropped and I am trying to stabilize. This is a daily challenge, as is the challenge of continuing to eat GF.

It has been ONE YEAR! And it is fantastic! Clearer head, depression pretty much gone, even with the issues mentioned above, I feel great! Productivity uP, I’m getting work done!

I’m taking a vacation and will bring back pictures and stories from far away. I’m hoping that I’ll have lots to share about GF eating while I travel. No internet or phone service (too expensive) so will sign out and be back after my trip.

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Restaurant Review: Dona Esther’s “Gluten Free” Menu

When my husband and I went to Dona Esther Mexican restaurant in San Juan Bautista http://donaesthermexicanrestaurant.com to enjoy their Artichoke Enchiladas this past May, it was my first visit since going GF last August.

Whenever I eat out, I always ask, “do you have a GF menu?”, but I was surprised when the waitress said, “yes” and returned with a 2-sided fully laminated menu! Unfortunately, as I looked it over, I saw discrepancies in what I thought was correctly, or incorrectly, deemed as gluten-free. Flautas gluten-free? Tostadas gluten-free? This was too good to be true! So I asked, “do you have a dedicated fryer? A separate fryer for your gluten-free items?” She said, no, they had only one fryer. I told her these items can’t be gluten-free if they are fried in the same fryer with everything else. To which she responded that they weren’t. I asked about the chips on the table and she said they were fried in the same fryer, so then the nachos on the menu were not gluten-free either.

We should have just left, but I ended up ordering their Veggie Fajitas (pictured), with corn tortillas, which was delicious. Although I did not have a reaction, you must question whether there is cross-contamination in their kitchen because they really don’t know what “gluten-free” means.

Be cautious, even when a menu is provided.

Great combination of fresh vegetables in their fajitas!
Great combination of fresh vegetables in their fajitas!

Party Food

Party Food

Let's Party

We had a recent party for 20, some light refreshments after a graduation. Since I am the only GF person, we compromised on what we served.

  • We ordered some sushi from TGI Sushi (ask for Chris).  Making sure at least some was GF. With any sushi, BEWARE any soy sauce and the fake crab. We ordered a huge platter of sushi. TGI Sushi claims their rice is GF. I only ordered cucumber rolls and asparagus rolls for myself, I did not trust the fake crab that they said was GF, so no California rolls for me. The platter was gorgeous, heaps of wasabi, and bowls of ginger which I shoveled into.
  • Trader Joe’s Smooth & Creamy Hummus GF- we served the Roasted Red Pepper, very good, with Crunchmaster GF crackers. The crackers you can buy at Costco. Someone said they liked them not knowing they were GF. That is a compliment!
  • My husband thinly sliced some tri-tip and chicken breasts, marinated them (Tri-tip marinade recipe- Tamari Lite GF Soy Sauce, freshly grated ginger, black pepper, powdered garlic, and brown sugar/chicken marinade- from Costco, GF Organic Ville Sesame Teriyaki Sauce) and put them on skewers the night before to BBQ. He BBQd them in the morning, refrigerated them, reheated at 400 degrees for 1/2 an hour and then served as needed on a platter. This was the food highlight of the party.
  • Vegetable platter and fruit platter.
  • And Nothing Bundt Cake bundtinis. These are not GF, but my husband got me a GF Bundtlet (this is the only size they make in GF, only flavor is “Chocolate Chip Cookie” which actually tastes like cookie dough, not all locations carry GF. Call to ask.) Also, check Groupon, they sometimes have coupons.

The event was perfect, the food delicious, and I had no reactions from the food I ate.

IMG_1298

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Restaurant Review: L&L Hawaiian BBQ

Restaurant Review: L&L Hawaiian BBQ

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There is an L&L Hawaiian BBQ close to our house, I pass it and smell the scent whenever I shop at Costco. My son loves their Chicken Katsu and whenever he has it, it is a celebration (for him) and that delicious scent is in my house, making my mouth water. I have resisted the urge to taste it.


The last time I went to Costco, I stopped in to ask whether *anything* on their menu was GF. I got a weird look and the woman wasn’t understanding, as I think most aren’t.

Yesterday, my husband stopped at L&L to get himself & my son dinner (I fend for myself on evenings like this and I’m fine with that). I got a text that he found an employee who understood GF and said ALL their meat is soaked in a marinade that contains “wheat”. I’m out of luck ever eating there, but the scent, the mouth-watering scent, can be mine GF and dollar-free.

Nature Valley Granola Bars GF?

Nature Valley Granola Bars GF?

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My son, who isn’t a GF eater, now prefers Clif bars to be added to his lunches, instead of the dry granola bars I now have in abundance in the pantry. So, as I clear out old soon-to-expire food and move it forward in the rotation to use, this bin of Nature Valley granola bars is staring at me. BGF (before gluten-free), I loved these, but I have avoided eating them now because they don’t say GF on them. I did throw out the box months ago, so I only have the info listed on each individual bar to go by, and there is no mention about wheat, although they do have “whole grain oats” which I always question.

Not really wanting to throw them out, I decided to check online for more info about the bars. I found a blog that was helpful and chose to throw out the bars.

3/28/14- Desperate times lead to desperate measures and I was at the hospital on an emergency, having not eaten, I was in a bind, literally about to pass out. I had 2 packages of these granola bars in my purse, I keep them there to hand to a homeless person if they ask for money. I thought twice but needed something to eat and ate one package (2 bars). I feel fine, although I will go prepared next time so I don’t have to be relying on this product.

9/27/21- Updating this page to remove an old link that is not good, and adding a link to The Nature Valley site that now has GF protein bars! Yay!

https://www.naturevalley.com/products/protein-bars/

Restaurant Review: Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!

Restaurant Review: Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!

The night I first ate GF last August 2013, we ordered a special pizza from Patxi’s Pizza Campbell. I had searched online for local GF pizza places and it had high marks, plus it was close by. Upon his bringing it home, I told my husband the pizza was not correct; they had used real cheese, not soy cheese. I couldn’t eat it.

I called the restaurant, spoke to the woman I ordered the pizza from, she said they would deliver the corrected pizza to us. I confirmed it would take 20 minutes for cooking and then some added delivery time, figuring dinner was coming in no more than 40 minutes, we waited.

Pizza arrived 1-1/2 hours later, close to 9pm! It was one of the worst pizzas I’ve ever had, as well as one of the most expensive 14″ 3 topping thin crusts at $36!

That was a bad first day of being GF and I was afraid for the future of my eating. I love pizza, so going gluten-free put a damper on eating really delicious, covered-with-cheese & meat, thick & chewy crust meals with my husband & son. When they ordered a pizza, I made something else. And with Patxi’s, I’m holding a grudge…we have not, and will not, return.

Since that first horrible experience, I will usually use Udi’s GF Pizza Crusts and put veggies and soy cheese on it when hubby & son order pizza. That’s the quick and easy pizza, and the GF crusts take up little room in my freezer.

More recently, I have found 2 great places that have good GF pizza. One is Top This! Pizza in Los Gatos, an assembly line pizza service that is reasonably priced and occasionally has coupon offers on Groupon. For $10, you get a GF crust to top with your favorite pizza toppings. My husband actually preferred the GF crust to the regular crust they offer. And the Warm Caramel Apple Pie GF crust pizza we took home was incredible! (I am not sure whether the caramel topping was GF.)

And last week, I enjoyed a “real” pizza at BJ’s Brewhouse. Except for the cheese (they do not have soy), I was taken back to childhood with a meaty 10″ pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, and olive ($9.50 for GF crust, $1 per topping). The waitress said she’d add a single item to the pizza, no extra charge because I didn’t have cheese on it, however she charged me anyway (my bad for not noticing before I got home), so the total was $13.50 for this delicious meal, and worth more to me than that. It gave me faith that I can locate great GF food even at places that wouldn’t seem to be GF friendly.

IMG_1389 My tasty Udi’s.

IMG_1362 BJ’s Brewhouse pizza.

Gluten & Allergen Free Expo in San Mateo

Gluten & Allergen Free Expo in San Mateo

Last weekend, I attended the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo in San Mateo CA. I was willing to pay the $30 to go ($20 for entry, $10 for parking, + gas to get there), because I knew from the last event I attended in September, that the freebies would be plenty. I wasn’t disappointed!

I went prepared this time, with a folding crate cart to hold my stash, so my hands didn’t get overly tired from holding bags for 3+ hours like last time. At Fort Mason, there were less than 20 booths in a smaller room, but the food demonstrations and information talks were right there, easy to hear and see. In San Mateo, it was huge and the classes/talks took place in a separate room outside the main expo hall. I heard there were over 100 booths at this event and I’m not surprised by that number; compared to my first expo, the size was impressive and the people you had to maneuver through was sometimes difficult. There were many more free edible samples, although the free take-home packaged samples were much less; in September, at the Fort Mason/San Francisco event ($10 + $8 parking), my friend, Julie, and I left with whole loaves of GF bread, cans of GF boullion dry mix, and deep discounted GF pastas. Except for the Sprouts Market booth at the San Mateo expo which at the end of the weekend was handing out cases of single-serving GF popcorn, most of the goodies were single serving only. Samples to eat there included bread, crackers, pasta, and snack bars, and were in abundance. My head was swimming trying to remember what I liked best, and I left with an overly filled stomach.

At the Katz booth, I found a piece of heaven! I haven’t had a donut since August when I went GF. I’ve seen the GF packages at Sprouts in the freezer section, but was not willing to pay the price when I wasn’t sure how I’d like them. Also unsure about having the package in my house to tempt me. So, when I saw samples of the cinnamon donuts, I grabbed a bite to taste. I stood there like a crazy person, actual tears in my eyes, savoring it! The 2 women manning the booth paid little attention to me until I moaned over how good it was. I grabbed another bite and walked away, embarrassed.

Later in the week, when I shopped at Sprouts, I went straight to the freezer section to check out the donuts, and there they were. I haven’t tried them yet, they are sitting in my freezer for the perfect morning treat. I’ll give a review later.

One of the highlights of the expo was seeing Amy Fothergill of The Family Chef again. I first met her in Fort Mason where she did a talk and where I purchased her cookbook, The Warm Kitchen . I had just looked through it the previous night to see if she had any tofu recipes, and found none. She assisted me and gave the page numbers for *7* recipes that I could make with tofu! Now I can use that 4-cube package I just bought at Costco! Amy even remembered my name!

The Expo was a great afternoon of gluten-free food and fun, and I look forward to the next time it’s local.