Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Go Raw!

I was at Whole Foods yesterday & picked up some "Original Super Cookies" made by Go Raw. The ingredients were are simple: Coconut, Sprouted Sesame Seeds & Dates - all organic.  The tag line reads: "real live food" and the package states "Gluten Free, Wheat Free & Nut Free".  All hand made (!!), Raw Kitchen, Family Owned.

Well shoot.  I figured I might as well try them! I'm glad I did.  The super cookies resemble little crackers but they're chewy and slightly sweet (hence the coconuts & dates).  Turned out to be a very tasty little treat!

In addition to being gluten free, they also made you feel like you're a part of a secret super healthy alliance of raw food eaters - without actually dedicating yourself to eating raw food all the time.  There's nothing wrong with trying something new & different!  Especially when it makes you feel so good!

Kudos to Go Raw for making such a healthy, tasty product!  I will be trying their other gluten free products sometime in the future.

I also saw on the calendar at our local Whole Foods that they are having a Gluten Free Fair on July 9th!  It's a Saturday and I'll just bet they'll have all kinds of yummy GF items to try.  I put it on our schedule to go & see what's up.  I really like our local WF.  I think we'll make it more of a regular shopping stop in the very near future.

Monday, June 20, 2011

7 Layer Mexican Dip

The other super yummy thing I made to take to a gathering this weekend (to make sure there was something I could eat) was a 5 Layer Mexican Dip from Kraft that I turned into a 7 layer dip.

This was SO good I can't even tell  you.  We served it with Tostitos and literally couldn't stop eating it!

I added one smooshed up avacado layer, which turned it into 7 layers.  I'm not sure why it's considered a 5 layer dip by craft when there are 6 layers to start with, but who cares? It's YUMMY. 

Make sure you buy gluten free beans!

What You Need

1 can (15-1/2 oz.) refried black beans - make sure they are gluten free!
1 Tbsp.  chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup  BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese
3   green onions, sliced
1/3 cup sliced black olives
1   tomato, chopped

Make It

MIX beans, chili powder and cumin; spread onto bottom of 9-inch pie plate.
TOP with layers of remaining ingredients.
REFRIGERATE several hours.

Kraft 3 Step Lemon Cheesecake Bars

For a gathering on Saturday I made 2 things to ensure that I had a gluten free good time, one of which was Kraft's Lemon Cheesecake Bars, which were insanely easy to make.  Instead of macaroon cookie crumbs, (which I'm sure I could find pre-made & gluten free if I were to go to Whole Foods or Wegmans), I bought a package of gluten free ginger snaps and pulverized them into crumbs. 

These Lemon Cheesecake Bars were a great hit and I will make them again.  I might make a raspberry compote to put on top & it into a round (more like a cheesecake).  I did use the juice of an entire lemon to get the flavor right but it's up to your taste!

What You Need

1-1/2 cups soft coconut macaroon cookie crumbs
2 Tbsp.  margarine, melted
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup  sugar
1/2 tsp. zest and 1 Tbsp. juice from 1 lemon
1/2 tsp.  imitation vanilla
2 eggs

Make It

HEAT oven to 350°F.
MIX cookie crumbs and margarine; press onto bottom of 8-inch square pan sprayed with cooking spray.
BEAT cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, juice and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing after each just until blended. Pour over crust.
BAKE 20 to 25 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 3 hours.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Quinoa Salad

2 cups quinoa*
4 cups water

Cook the quinoa by boiling water, adding the quinoa, boiling it again (just like rice), cover and lower the temp to simmer for 15 min.  Cool off the quinoa by putting it in the freezer while you chop the following veggies:

1 large de-seeded tomato
1 large de-seeded cucumber
1 large de-seeded green pepper (or if you like - use a different color to make it vibrant)
1 bunch (4-5 stalks) green onion

1 cup crumbled feta
3 lemons
1/2-3/4 cup olive oil

fresh chopped dill to taste
fresh chopped flat leave parsley to taste
salt/pepper to taste

Once you have the quinoa cooked and chilled and the veggies chopped it's pretty easy.  I whip up the olive oil & juice from three lemons in a big bowl.  Add salt/pepper to taste and then throw all the veggies in with the dressing.  At the end, toss in the feta cheese.

This makes a great salad - serve cold or at room temp.  It's very filling, gluten free and a tasty way to get your veggies!

*You might be asking, what the hell is quinoa?  WHFoods says this about quinoa:   

Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It is a recently rediscovered ancient "grain" once considered "the gold of the Incas." 

If you are used to couscous - quinoa is very similar and quite versatile.

Celiac Disease (huh?) a/k/a I can't eat gluten (oooh!)

I had an appointment with my doctor yesterday to go over some test results.  I asked her a few weeks ago to include a Celiac & food allergy test in with blood work.  She got the results back and guess what? I'm positive for Celiac Disease.  As a result, I'm going on a gluten free diet for a few months (at least).  I've been having some gastro issues and have had no interest in food.  I had a sneaky suspicion that perhaps I had a food allergy or couldn't tolerate gluten.  Turns out I was right!

As soon as I heard the news I started eating gluten free.  I think I have to.  There's a difference between wanting to follow on a diet to lose weight and needing to go on a specific diet so your body can absorb nutrients so you can continue to live.  There's a difference in my head anyway.

It especially hit home when I did a bit of googling and found that uncontrolled Celiac Disease in women can result in premature birth, miscarriage or underweight babies.  During my entire pregnancy I didn't want to eat anything.  The only thing I craved were popsicles.  I had to make myself eat.  I gained about 8 pounds.  Elizabeth was born (3 lbs, 6 oz) at 32 weeks because an ultrasound showed the umbilical cord wasn't providing nourishment to her.  I told my midwives I thought something was strange about my lack of appetite but they told me it was good I wasn't gaining a crazy amount of weight (since I'm already a bit over).

So let's get this straight.  Celiac Disease keeps mom from absorbing nutrients, which thereby keeps baby from absorbing nutrients, which results in pre-term birth, stillbirth or miscarriage.

That's some serious stuff!  This diagnosis might explain my illness last year when I had Elizabeth.  They diagnosed me with HELLP syndrome but what if it was untreated CD instead?

To start me on my journey this morning I had a bowl of Eco-Planet Instant Hot Cereal (which sounds odd but really it's the same as oatmeal to me) with sliced donut peaches (which sound fancy but really they're just adorable little peaches that I bought at our local Whole Foods).

My husband has decided to try this diet with me in an effort to feel better & lose some weight.  It's ironic.  I finally got to the point in my  life where I was comfortable with my size and didn't have any urge to "get skinny".  I did want to get in shape, but that urge to fit into a size 8 jeans is gone.  Now I'm going on an eating plan that will inevitably end in weight loss.  Well there you go.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I never seem to have the time to figure out this whole blogging thing but lately it seems I have things to say.  I guess most of my better friends (and husband) would say that I always have things to say but if you read my blog you'd say "So much for that theory!" since I haven't written in over a year.

I got into grad school at University of South Carolina for this fall.  My major?  Library Science.  It's a lifelong dream and dreams are important.  So in the fall I start classes part time - long distance (from Northern VA) to get my MLIS in digital libraries.  I'm still working in insurance but I have an exit plan.  Who in their right mind has a dream to be a digital librarian?  I ask you.  Am I crazy?  Probably.

As a mom it seems my priorities in life have changed. When I hear of a child's death or illness I am more affected than I was before.  I want to DO something.  It seems the empathy I have always had for animals has evolved and expanded into people as well.  Some would probably say I've always had empathy for people but it's changed somehow.  It's difficult to explain.  There seem to be more children born early than ever before.  We were lucky with Elizabeth (born at 32 weeks).  She is alive and healthy.  Many people are not so lucky.

I'm actively working with myself to see how this new found empathy can be used.  I started a March of Dimes team this year and we raised $2,000!  It is an issue near & dear to my heart.

Elizabeth's 1st birthday is coming up (August 5th) and I think we'll do a Tinker Bell theme for her party.  Maybe next year we'll call our team "Claps for Tink".  I think I like that!

Do check out the March of Dimes.  They do great work.  Did you know polio no longer exists because of research funded by the March of Dimes?