GF Easy Treats/Yummy Source: NutsOnline

Goodies from Nuts Online

One of the interesting aspects about blogging that I never really thought about was the opportunity to try new products.  Sometimes manufacturers or publishers contact us to inquire if we would like to try their products – in an genius effort to get some PR from our possible blog posts about their products.  I have a couple recipe books that I will give away next month for Celiac Awareness thanks to these promotions – so we are all going to win from their generosity. 😀  (Gotta love that!)

Before I went into the hospital for Rory, I was contacted by Nuts Online to see if I was interested in reviewing their GF products.  I told them that the post might take a while for me to put together.  After all, there’s another priority in the house as if the Chicklet wasn’t enough!  They still wanted to have me try their goodies.  And boy, am I glad I did!  They sent a box of numerous tasties in PERFECT sizes for me to make lunch for the Chicklet and I and STILL have a little taste for my Love when he came home.

Two of the items they included were millet and quinoa.  There are perfectly easy for me with a newborn in the house as I could just pop it into a rice cooker with some seasonings and broth and walk away.  The rice cooker isn’t a fire worry for me if I flake out like the gas stove is AND it will keep it warm until I get a chance to eat something.  The protein from the quinoa and the vitamin rich millet are definitely the right kind of nutritional boosts that I need too.  (Unlike the chocolate bar hiding out in my purse or my left arm… both of which look like they might be tasty when I’m starving!)

In addition to millet and quinoa, Nuts Online also sent out some Chile-Lime Pistachios (yum!), Chocolate/Candy coated sunflower seeds (the Chicklet approves!  LOL), walnuts, fried veggie chips,  walnuts, etc.  They offer a wide range of gluten free shopping options.  You can find their gluten free goodies here.    I am seriously tempted to order some goji berries from them and see what they are like too.  The reviews of their goji berries seems to indicate that they are not going to be the shriveled little nuggets I can find locally.  (The local ones do VERY little to encourage me – or my Love to incorporate them into our diets.)

And… I want to try their Hearty Whole Grain Gluten Free Bread mix.  They list directions for the bread maker as well as for the oven – so I’m good to go no matter which I am able to use.  (Although I think our stand-mixer is showing signs of giving out (BOO!), so the bread maker might be getting a new round of testing soon!)

The *only* thing i wish I could find on their site is the ingredient list of the mixes (like the bread mix I list above or the other GF mixes they have available). (Ignore that…I’m a dork and found the ingredients listed at the very bottom of the product page.  DUR!)   I’m not a fan of some gluten free flours (as I’m sure many of us are), so I try to avoid buying products with flours that have flavors that I don’t care for.   I also know that some of us can’t have every flour.  Just because it is gluten free, doesn’t mean that it is a green light for everyone.

Have you ordered anything from Nuts Online?
Do you buy your gluten free products online?
What do you buy online for your gluten free eating and baking?

Hmmm… I might have to check out some online options for things I want to try or can’t find locally.
Shopping with a newborn and a toddler is proving to be a time-consuming and muscle-building endeavor that may not always be feasible. 😉
Got any tips?  I could use them!
~Kate

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

Where does one start with a topic as big as our daily food. For me, the real food choices began when I thought I didn’t have any choices left that I could make. But that takes a while to get to. Forgive me. I’m going to ramble a bit.

Growing up, my mom cooked great food for us. We weren’t the house on the block with the “candy cupboard” (and yes, there was a neighbor who had a pantry stocked completely with candy and chips for their kids). My mom also had veggies, fruits, bran muffins, meats, milk, juice, etc. in the house for us. And, we had our beloved peanut butter and Kraft Mac-N-Cheese (we were a brand loyal bunch on our mac-n-cheese as a group). My mom cooked healthy meals – all with veggies, milks, meats, etc. We were treated to fabulous fresh corn on the cob, watermelon, cherries, strawberries, etc in the summer and other seasonal items.

I don’t know if my mom thought about the fact that she was choosing the foundations of our healthy eating for life. At least not like there is pressure to do so today. I *do* know that my mom chose wisely. We didn’t have Hostess cakes and soda endlessly on hand (although we begged for soda… that didn’t come until I was a teenager…LOL). We ate family meals – TOGETHER – not apart and not in front of a television. She packed healthy lunches (when we brought them from home…) and support our food choices in other ways.

What she didn’t control – nor could she -were the food choices that we made outside of the home. Like what we ate when we ate the “hot lunch” at school. Although I must admit, in elementary school my memory of our school lunches is sketchy at best. Beyond the day when we were somehow treated to marlin or the ever present turkey-chunks-in-gravy-on-mashed-potatoes, I don’t remember much. I do know that I wasn’t a chocolate milk drinker (still don’t) nor did I eat chocolate cake (still don’t). I enjoyed the canned fruit “salads” that were served… but now when I read the ingredients, I wonder about what I really ate. Some of the canned fruit items are decent… others are dubious.

In middle school, the school favorite food was a vending machine. And NOT a junk food vending machine either. It was filled with huge, crunchy red apples and sunflower seeds. Students would rush to the machine during lunches and after school for our snacks. It was honestly a highlight. The lunches didn’t improve (more turkey-chunks-in-gravy) but the snack options were new to middle school.

It was in high school that student choice really mattered. Our high school had (has?) an award-winning lunch program. They had a fresh salad bar, an “ethnic” food line (changing everyday of the week to a new cuisine type), the regular “hot lunch” offering… and a veritable school-run mini-burger joint (read: french fries, hamburgers, fried chicken patty sandwiches, “nuggets” of some sort, etc). Here’s the deal though: the school MAY have had the other fabulous offerings, but my friends and I ate 99% of our meals from the mini-burger options. In fact, I’m sure I could blame much of my booty on the daily cheeseburger I chose for myself.

The thing about food and me in high school is that I never connected the dots. I never saw my food choices as being the things that are driving my long-term health or that they would eventually lead to serious health issues in my future (or my major continuing booty issues that are now thigh and tummy issues too…LOL). I guess I figured that I “could” change or “would” change and that the change would be easy, quick, life-altering and have immediate impact on my health. As though eating an apple could cure me of any illness or any crappy food I had ingested within the last month or lifetime. Oh yeah, I was an optimist (or naive).

Food choices are something that changed when I thought I didn’t have a choice any more. Upon being diagnosed with Celiac Sprue, I was informed (as I have said before) that it would “easy”. “You just can’t eat bread, pasta, pizza, cakes, cookies, etc anymore,” the doctor said before hanging up the phone. I immediately went over to the computer and tried to figure out how to spell “Celiac” based on his pronunciation on the phone. When I found the only and only cookbook (Thank you, Bette Hagman) that existed within 25 miles of my house (and I lived in Chicago, people!) that address my “new” needs, I realized that “easy” was not the term I would be using for a while to explain my new diet.

Within a few days, my Love and I cleaned out our pantry of all things gluten-filled and fill many a grocery bag for donation to food banks, a few more bags of things to bring to friends (flour, etc) and sadly, a few more garbage bags for the dumpster out back of open containers of things that we wouldn’t be using any more.

Then my food choices got REAL. We realized that seasonings and bases of items that are naturally gluten-free were NOT gluten free. That my Love’s fabulous egg rolls and stir fries would need to be adjusted so that we could enjoy them together again. We began shopping at different markets that had more natural food offerings because that was the easiest place to start. I still employ the skills I learned in those first few months of gluten free shopping when I go to our local grocer. And while organic is great when we can afford it or are willing to buy it (like for dairy products for the Chicklet), I know how to cook better. I’m willing to pick up new items, take them home and try them. I shop where I know I will find the “safe” food to eat and I go at it. 😀

My  Chicklet is well primed to cook and bake too.  She is always in the kitchen when we are baking and cooking.  She rushes in when she hears the mixer or the food processor kick in to gear.  She loves “dips” (like hummus, etc) on her plate and is fearless about what she is willing to dip in to it too!  (Garlic hummus on your orange slices, anyone?  What about with your blueberries?  A little barbeque sauce?).  She relishes  fresh fruits and veggies. (So far, she has only declined to eat broccoli, but we’re working on it.)  She think juicy meats are to die for and there is no better treat than a lovely slice of orange, apple, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc after school.  I love this kid.  And my husband and I are committed to helping her maintain her love of good food as she grows up too.  We fill her lunch bag with the goodness she enjoys and a few new treats to try as well (today it was a mini-box of raisins).  Someday that lunch bag will have broccoli in it, I promise, too!

This month (May), my niece and nephew turn a year older and the Chicklet turns two.  My nephew enjoys cooking and baking.  He likes the challenge of trying a new ingredient or finding a new recipe to try.  His parents (my sister and her husband) are completely supportive of their boys exploring foods and the kitchen.

My niece, on the other hand, has a mom who loves to eat… but doesn’t cook.  At.  All.  Really.  My sister (the other one, I have two) taught my niece how to make mac-n-cheese (from a box) and “Hamburger Helper” (from a box) so she wouldn’t have to live off the microwave-ready meals that her sweet mom makes for them both.

Since birthdays are around the corner, I am delighted to be giving both of these kids something they will LOVE:  Jamie’s Food Revolution Cookbook.

Jamie Oliver, a reknown chef from the UK, has worked for years to change the eating habits of children in the UK by changing their school lunch programs.  He has a culinary school that seeks to give skills to at-risk teenagers and young adults, and then employs them in his restaurant “15“.  He has several professional accomplishments, cookbooks, acknowledgements, etc.  but he CHOOSES to use his time and money to help change the way we – and people in the UK – view, consume and manage our food choices.  And he is starting with our kids.  There is a lot to review a learn about the “Food Revolution” that you may find of interest to you and your family as well.  Jamie is hoping to arrive in Washington DC with 1,000,000 signature on a petition (over 500,000 have already signed, including yours truly and my Love) to help get change moving through our school lunch programs.  Things have to change in order for our kids to have better.

Remember the day when ketchup was considered a vegetable serving for kids in schools?

Well, things like that are still happening.

I’ve seen it.  Teaching certainly brings the food and beverages that kids are being served and eating right in to my daily life.

Our school lunch program guidelines have run amok and afoul of our knowledge of food and nutrition and our kids are paying the price.  This is the first generation of young people who have a predicted shorter life span than their parents.   That blows my mind.  Our hard-work to create conveniences is killing us slowing essentially.  There are many families (like my nieces) who sustain themselves on what is available, what is convenient, etc.  I get it, I do!  Trust me!  I have a toddler at home and am almost 7 months pregnant.  There are days when I wish for more convenience too – but then I realize that it doesn’t take more than 30 minutes for me to get a healthy meal on the table for my family (fajitas last night… mmmm YUMMY!) and the price is cheaper than if we went out to eat.  (Not to mention, since I made them, I know everything is gluten-free and there is no danger of cross-contact or outright gluten-filled goodies hitting my plate.)

So I guess I’m posting this to see if you are willing to sign the petition to support this change for our kids… AND US.  What a great gift it would be to know that sending our kids off to school (where MANY MANY MANY kids eat their only meals of the day) also meant that we were caring for their bodies and health and not just their minds.

So if you can, if you have the time, here are a few things to check out.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Site

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Petition

Jamie Oliver’s Platform for Change

About the Food Revolution

(info after the last episode of the TV show highlight the change in Huntington, WV)


And a quote from Jamie to finish (and yes, he is straight to his point):

Oliver said: “Parents can be the most positive, powerful force in a country or they can be disgusting, backstabbing traitors. When little Johnny comes home and says, ‘I didn’t get my nugget today,’ it’s wrong to say ‘Oh, all right, darling,’ and give him some [expletive] horrible Lunchable and a pack of potato chips and a luminous drink.”

In the end, Oliver said, he will do whatever is necessary: “One thing you have to learn about me is that I do not think I am a superman. I do not think I’m special. I’m in a position that I’m using. I believe in people. I believe in local ambassadors of change. I genuinely think there is an energy right now. It’s the time to put some common-sense things in place.”

Please sign the petition today.

Happy gluten free & healthy eating to all!
~Kate

PS.  I’ll be back in the next couple days with our fajita recipe.  It was so easy!  Really!  You’re going to love it too!

Latest video from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution just came in my mailbox…thought I’d update the post with it:

Anyone up for a BBQ?

I am!

If only the weather would cooperate! It’s NOT pleasant. I’m cold! (I know, I should NOT complain about this as it could become QUITE hot when I’m home this summer…without air conditioning…and the house is wrapped in plastic (no windows to open) for the painters…bah!).

There are two+ weeks of school left before I will get a chance to catch my breath. I’m lost in the tornado that is the end of a school year for a teacher. It’s always a little bittersweet for me. I know my students really well by June and I hate to see the year end…but I’m so stinkin’ tired and have very little energy left to keep coming up with creative ways to engage their brains. I need a break. So do they.

This weekend the foreign exchange students (there are three girls here + one boy…plus one American student…OMG!!)) are coming for an overnight at our house. (What were we thinking?!?) We had hoped to be able to set them up outside, have a BBQ, build a fire in the fire pit and let them sit around, roasting marshmallows and talking until all hours of the night. However, the weather looks like it will be too chilly for a BBQ….maybe even too wet for a fire pit and roasting marshmallows. So we are moving inside for fondue and caramel popcorn (or peanut butter popcorn, which they love too).

However, I still want a BBQ.

And more importantly, as all parties at our house are gluten-free – I want a GF BBQ with Steve, Ginger, Carrie, Natalie, Jill, Seamaiden, Jeff, Lucy, Cassandra, MaryFrances, Dianne, Kay, The GlutiGirls, Thomas, Anna, Sheltie Girl, …. okay.. I feel like the magic mirror moment here could sweep me away. I’d better stop – but trust me, YOU ARE INVITED!

Let’s have a VIRTUAL Gluten-Free BBQ

Make something that you would bring to a BBQ in a park or at a friend’s house – and let’s have a party! Post your pictures, recipes, etc on your blog (or email them to me if you aren’t a blogger and I’ll help share your goodies) by July 7th and I’l post a round up for us all to share the goodies. I hope we can build a resource for everyone for the rest of the summer.

I truly excited to try and make a game out of this too. Do you remember the children’s game “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring….”? The first person says something that begins with a letter A and then the second person says something that begins with a letter B, etc OH! We could have fun! So let’s add a wrinkle. Sign up and tell me which letter of the alphabet you want for your post too!

  • WHAT: A Virtual Gluten Free BBQ Party
  • WHO: YOU! (of course! Blogger or not – join the fun!)
  • HOW: Pick a letter of the alphabet (or not), create your picnic/BBQ dish (Like Apple Coleslaw = A, etc), take a picture, post your recipe/picture on your blog (or email it to me), post it or email it by July 7th and link back to me here.
  • LOGOS: Here are two logos for you to use with your post:

  • HOW DO YOU SIGN UP: Comment, babee, comment!
  • AVAILABLE LETTERS OF THE ALPHABET:

GF Joe’s – A new local Gluten Free Market

Shop with reckless abandon, but retrain your brain a bit too.

Gone are the days of buying the three remaining boxes of your goodies on the grocer shelves out of fear of never seeing it appear there again. Yeap, I officially now live in gluten-free shopping near-perfect heaven. (Now, if only Whole Foods would build a bakehouse and a green grocer here…..)

In April of this year, Joe Spancic and his wife, Kaylee, opened “G.F. Joe’s Market” in Tumwater, WA. This local market fulfills the wishes of many and consolidates the shopping for all of us. (And the GRAND OPENING Celebration is THIS WEEKEND – May 17 & 18 – with free balloons, samples, and door prizes – beginning at 10AM on Saturday 5/17! I hope to see you there!)

On my first visit in April, I stopped in on a whim. A friend had told me about the market opening and I convinced my husband that we should go “check it out”. My poor love. He’s been on so many car trips while we venture off into the never-explored lands to find some gluten-free item,goodies, store, rare flour, etc. Really. He’s a trooper.

That first night we ventured out and he tried to pull back my aspirations a bit. After all, we knew nothing about what to expect or what a “gluten free market” here – in a small-ish community – would look like. We have grown accustomed to shopping in Seattle monthly, or the two local co-ops plus local markets.

And now? Now I have my choice of at least 5 different brands of pastas (yea, babee!!) on ONE shelf in ONE store – not FIVE shelves in FIVE stores. Thank you, Joe!

And the pastas aren’t even the tip of the iceberg. What do you crave? Joe’s got it.

(Like the best EVER (and vegetarian, to boot!) Vitamin-C gummy bears in the world, or maybe you crave the new Schar’s crackers…the one like Saltine’s that help you tummy?….. or maybe you just want to pick up a bag of certified gluten-free oats? or Montina flour blend? or rice bran? or soy sauce? or… the list goes on and on and on!)

I sat down with Joe and his wife, Kaylee this Saturday. While I had originally had thought I might include their responses here to our conversation as an interview type blog entry, the more I spoke with them, the more I realized that the entry would be too formal and stiff to represent why I wanted to write it in the first place.

You see, since I was diagnosed in October of 2000, I have done what many of you have: Use the internet as my primary connection point about Celiac and going gluten-free. In fact, my doctor merely told me the name of the disease and a few other things like “no pasta, no bread, etc” and that was that for him.

But not for me. Nope. I went right to the computer and typed in “celiac disease” in a google search box. Pouring forth from google were websites (celiac.com, celiac.org, gluten.net, etc), a few book/author names (Jax and Bette), etc. Within a few clicks, I had found communities of gluten-free people on a few forums or listservs (like the SillyYaks group on Yahoo).

They literally saved me from my own brain. I was staring at my box of now-verboten Kashi cereal and wondering what I was to do. The only flours used were rice, tapioca, potato (starch and flour) and buckwheat (rarely). We bravely made a few breads and even order a slew of pre-made breads and breakfast biscuits for traveling on our honeymoon. My love swears that 2/3 of the weight from our suitcase to Rome was due to the gluten free bread/biscuits inside. (I think he was right.) And… we left most of the gluten-free briquettes behind in Roma without even being touched. They weren’t good.

We attended one “support” group meeting. It was confusing and we felt very disconnected. I should have gone back… but didn’t. And then we moved….to a small town where the words “gluten free” had people asking about dog food.

My, oh my how things have changed, huh? I cannot imagine how good it must feel for those of you diagnosed many, MANY years before I!

And now my world has been improved even more so. Thanks to Joe and Kaylee’s amazing gluten-free market so close to me, I could cry!

Actually, I think I may have just gotten teary on my first night there when I laid eyes on cinnamon gluten-free “graham” crackers, frozen cheese ravioli and gluten freehoisin sauce (!) all in one place. While I had heard about all of these goodies online, I’m not a big fan of ordering food online without knowing what it will taste like. And now… well, now I have a bottle of hoisin sauce waiting for me to do some grilling tomorrow night.

Okay, I think I’m rambling now. No. I know I’m rambling now.

You see this post is harder to write than I imagined.

I wanted to talk about the importance of our gluten-free community. We each do something to help lift up someone else. I blog to share. Bette wrote cookbooks, spoke at meetings, etc. Others spread the word through connections at schools – telling teachers, nurses, etc. That’s what we do. That’s how we’ve been helped too.

And Joe opens a market with the love and support of his family.

On Saturday, while I was visiting with both Joe and his wife, new customers came in. In a heartbeat, you could tell which customers were there to begin the journey and who had already established their path. As I chatted with Joe, Kaylee got up to help the customers find what they needed. She asked who they were shopping for, what what occasion, etc and then lead them around the store to a few items that would fit their need. When they left, you could see the relief in their body language and they eyes. I remembered seeing Joe do this as well on my first night in the shop.

Within GF Joe’s Market, the Spancic family is there to serve as gluten-free guides as well. I began to wonder if every Celiac diagnosis should come with more than just a renovated kitchen to hold all of our goodies and staples, but also a tour of GF Joe’s with Joe & Kaylee.

I think that kind of welcome to the gluten-free life would really help bring out some gluten-free smiles too.

Before I forget, Joe’s son told me that his dad makes one mean Chicken-a-la-King. I even got the recipe. However, I didn’t have any chicken defrosted… SORRY!… so I’ll make and share Joe’s recipe with you all another day. I really wanted to get this post out. I want people to know about their market… and the grand opening….and about the wonderful community we make together.

Each one, reach one. That’s what we teachers say.
I think it fits for the gluten-free world too.

What do you think?
Who or what made your transition to the gluten-free life easier?
What do you wish you could find at your local markets?
What would you shop for at a local GF market if you had one?

I would love to have Joe get some happy WELCOME and GOOD LUCK email for his store.
You can send him email here or to Kaylee.
You can find his website here.
You can read an article from our local paper here about the store/market.

Please leave a comment below and tell me your favorite GF Market treat or food you’d like to try.
I’m going to learn from Carrie and Mary Frances and put all of your names in a hat and then pull one at random on Friday Night.

I’ll send a treat from GF Joe’s to the person whose name I draw after Joe’s Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday. 🙂 (I’ll mail the treat out early next week.)
(Please let me know if you have any other allergies or intolerances so I can find you something at Joe’s. He’s got it ALL, ya know.)

UPDATE: This weekend I attended GF Joe’s Grand Opening. I’m happy to say that my *mom* was with me and my love while we shopped. She even picked the winning name out for the treats. I shipped off a couple goodies to The Devil Dog Family on Sunday afternoon.

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