Cyber Monday Holiday Fun: Tate’s Gluten Free Giveaway!

Cookies, holiday cheer, and traditions are all things which come to mind when I think of December. Typically I’m one who is counting down the days where it is socially acceptable to listen to christmas music, however this year I can’t get into the excitement of the holidays. I definitely took advantage of the Cyber Monday Deals and got most of my Christmas shopping done this weekend and avoided the craziness of the mall. 

I have no doubt, I will soon get into the holiday cheer, as this is the first year in 6 years which I am “home for the holidays”. I’m looking forward to snuggling up on the couch and watching christmas movies, like Elf and Frozen, can’t wait till our annual cookie party, and am excited to watch the ‘full’ NBC Christmas lighting, now that I am back in New York! 

So while everyone is taking advantage of those cyber Monday deals, I thought it would be fun to throw a little giveaway on the blog thanks to Tate’s Bake Shop.

Though I am unable to eat Tate’s Gluten-Free goodies, I knew these products would be loved by the gluten-eaters in my house, considering how much of a fan Mama Clifford is of this Long Island bakery.  They were all great taste testers, and loved all the treats the Tate’s generously sent.  Out of all the products the unanimous favorite was Tate’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies! 

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Not only do you have a chance to win a gift basket of your very own, but you can also purchase all your holiday Tate’s gluten-free gift baskets at a discounted price by using this code:  gfblog14 (20% off – valid through December 16, 2014)

All gift baskets will include: 

  • One 8oz bag of our GF Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • One 8oz bag of our GF Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • One 8oz bag of our GF Ginger Zinger Cookies
  • One of our GF Brownies
  • One of our GF Blondies
  • Our GF Chocolate Chip Cookie Peppermint Bark

The giveaway will remain open for seven days. All you need to do is enter using the Raffelopter giveaway tool. Follow the easy steps to enter.  As a reminder email addresses will not be shared. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you Tate’s for sending me this delicious gluten-free gift basket! To learn more about Tate’s Bake Shop, visit their website or connect with them on their social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest

Power Thru Monday Oatmeal

Where the heck is November going? It’s hard to believe that we are already half-way thru the month and SO close to Thanksgiving. I honestly don’t even know what I have been doing these past couple of weeks. Well really, who am I kidding, I’ve been falling more in love with yoga.  We might as well say, that yoga and I are in a committed relationship and have no intention of breaking up any time soon.

To complement this loving relationship I’ve been feeding myself some pretty cool super foods, and have been feeling stronger each day I continue to eat clean.  

I’m nourishing my body, mind and soul; boy, does it feel good!  

I would have thought after a few weeks on a ‘clean diet’ that I would have missed cookies, and gluten-free pretzels, but instead, I find myself reaching for raw cashews and veggies – lots of veggies.  

Processed with RookieIf you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen a lot of food porn and some pretty yummy looking oatmeal like this one. Now, I’ve finally took the time to share the recipe with you: 

Healthy Oatmeal
gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, peanut-free
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 c. water
  2. 1/2 c. gluten-free steel cut oats
  3. 2 TBPS. blueberries
  4. 1 TBSP coconut milk
  5. 1 Tsp slivered almonds
  6. 2 Tsp pure maple syrup
  7. 3/4 Tsp ground cinnamon
  8. 1/8 Tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add oats and reduce the stove top to low. Cook for about 25 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Cook for about 5 more minutes and serve.
http://www.embracegfree.com/

 Now go kick some Monday butt & Have a great day!! 

 

More Crock Pot Lovein': Crock Pot Whole Chicken

If you read my blog back in January, you will remember that my roommate and I heavily relied on our crock pot.  It was the lifesaver, to our busy days, and long nights. As the cold crisp air is slowly creeps into the northeast, I want more and more crock pot meals.

Considering that I don’t eat red meat I have had to get creative in finding recipes, as it seems as though there are always pork, and beef recipes for the crock pot. However, with the little extra time on my hands I don’t mind doing a bit of research.  One recipe which I had been dying to try was cooking a whole chicken in the crock pot.  I always love roasting a chicken in the oven, however, it always seems to take FOREVER.  Cooking a chicken in the crock pot seemed perfect because I could do the prep work in the morning before work and it would be ready by the time I got home.  All I would have to do is make my sides.  

The dietitian I am seeing shared the website 100 days of Real Food with me, and I absolutely love it.  While not all the recipes suit my needs, I can easily make modifications. So here it is.  The best whole chicken recipe {with some modifications}.  Not only does this recipe make dinner a little easier, but it also makes the perfect leftover lunch. Just toss-up a salad and throw some chicken on – yummy.

This chicken is full of flavor and will literally fall apart when it is done cooking. Hence why there is no photo accompanying this post. This dish tasted better than it looked on the plate. Enjoy! 

The Best Whole Chicken
gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free
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Ingredients
  1. 1 teaspoon salt
  2. 1 teaspoon onion powder
  3. 1 teaspoon thyme
  4. ½ teaspoon rosemary
  5. ¼ teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
  6. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  7. 1 onion
  8. 2 stalks of celery
  9. 1/2 lemon
  10. handful of baby carrots
  11. 1 large chicken
Instructions
  1. Combine the dried spices in a small bowl. Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Remove any giblets from the chicken and then rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts. Sqeeze lemon juice onto chicken. Place lemon remains in the cavity with a few carrots. Put prepared chicken on top of the onions, celery, and carrots in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. There is no need to add any liquid.
  3. Cook for 6-8 on low or until the chicken is falling off the bone. Don't forget to make your
Adapted from 100 Days of Real Food
http://www.embracegfree.com/

Gluten-Free Company Love: Rebecca’s Gluten Free

There are countless things I love about the gluten-free community, the passion, the perseverance,  and the unity.  Individuals in the gluten-free community have come together to advocate in order to reach a common goal, have made connections and formed a friendship, have shared their story to help someone else, and have changed career paths because they recognized a need.  Overall as a community we have had the ability to take a difficult situation and turn it into something positive.  Many have taken the attitude to look at what foods they can eat, rather what they cannot, and have shown gratitude recognizing that Celiac disease is the only autoimmune disease which can be treated with food. And then there have been those extraordinary individuals who have been the ones who decided not to settle and to be the one to create those very foods we see on the shelves as we shop at our local natural food store or grocery store.   Don’t get me wrong it’s great to see mainstream company make gluten-free foods, however, it is those small businesses the ones who started in their small kitchens who often have those personal connections to this disease. They start because they didn’t want to settle for less, and because they want to feed their families, great gluten-free foods.   I love these companies,  love hearing their stories,  and love learning about the inspiration behind why they developed their product.  As a young adult, just starting out in the real world, and trying to find my fit, these stories are inspiring to me. They are that reminder  to keep chasing after my dreams, even if it’s not a clear path and a lot of twists and turns to get there.   One of the perks of being a blogger is when new companies reach out to me.  As a small blogger myself, I know what it’s like to start and promote your brand.  Even almost 4 years into blogging, I still feel as though I’m trying to learn how to promote my brand and get my message out.  This is why I was excited when Rebecca of Rebecca’s Gluten Free contacted me to test out her cookie mixes.  After doing some research and discovering I could not eat this product, I decided to have my test tasters try these out. Who better to test out a gluten-free product then gluten-eaters! If it pass their taste buds, you know it’s a good product.   I agreed to bake &  Mama and Papa Clifford agreed to do the testing. It was a win-win.  I could cure my want to bake, and they would have a dessert which was effortless on their part.    Rebecca’s Gluten Free mix come in 6 different varieties. For reviewing purposes she generously sent me her brownie and coconut cookie mix.  Since Papa Clifford is not a fan of coconut I decided to save this mix for a later date and make the brownie cookies.  The cookies were so simple to prepare and the process probably took me about 10 minutes {Plus another 12 to bake}  all I needed to do is add butter and eggs. 

After the cookies were cool, my little friend and I had a fun photo shoot. 

How cute is he? 

Cookies

Both Mama & Papa Clifford gave these cookies rave reviews.  My mom’s immediate reaction was that she couldn’t tell the cookies gluten-free. Papa Clifford gave these cookies two thumbs up and said they were one of his favorites.  These are a keeper folks! 

To learn more about Rebecca’s Gluten Free, visit their website or find them on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. My family can’t wait to test out the next batch of cookies. 

 Note: The products highlighted in this post were provided to me at no cost, but the opinions expressed on this blog are completely my own. 

Product Spotlight: Smart Flour Foods

As a New Yorker there is one food which is loved by most: Pizza. When you follow a gluten-free diet there are many great mixes and pre-made crust to indulge in.  However, when you add no eggs and dairy to the equation, things get a little tricky.  I’ve had great success with making my on pizza crust gluten, dairy, and egg free, however all the pre-made crusts I used to enjoy contain eggs.  Although I love making my crust, some nights I want dinner to be quick and easy. 

Thankfully I discovered a pizza crust which didn’t contain any of my food intolerances and was pre-made! Recently my local Whole Foods started carrying Smart Flour Foods pizza crust.  I was excited to try this product because I had heard great things from individuals in the community about their pizza. 

Smart Flour Foods makes 3 varieties of pizzas all of which contain dairy. However, their pizza crust is free of gluten, dairy, eggs, casein, soy, and rice. Additionally, Smart Flour Foods makes gluten-free hamburger buns which is free of gluten, dairy, casein, soy and rice. All products are certified gluten-free.  

When I got home from Whole Foods, I quickly went to work.  I was hungry for pizza and had the perfect toppings.  Lately I have been really getting into veggies. I liked veggies before, but would eat the same ones. However, I’m been trying to expand my taste buds, and have been exploring different flavors –  pesto, zucchini, tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower seemed like a great new combination to try out on this pizza crust! 

Pizza 2While the broccoli and cauliflower were roasting in the oven I cut the rest of the veggies, spread the pesto on the crust, and made a salad.  Once the broccoli and cauliflower were done cooking, on the pizza they went, and into the oven the pizza crust went.  Cooked for 10-15 minutes and dinner is ready. 

I really liked the taste of the crust and enjoyed that I could ‘fold’ my fully topped pizza. It was an easy but delicious dinner. Though the serving size suggested a 1/2 crust for one person, I ended up eating the whole pie by myself because it was so good! 

To learn more about Smart Flour Foods, visit their website or find them on Facebook and Twitter

 Note: The products highlighted in this post were provided to me at no cost, but the opinions expressed on this blog are completely my own. 

A Little Bite of Everything: Halloween Goodies, Ginnybakes & The Teal Pumpkin!

I feel like I was just sitting on the beach, soaking up the sun. Yet, somehow, It’s  nearly the end of October! While I’m not Halloween’s # 1 fan, when you have a three-year old cousin to go trick or treating with, this day get’s 10x better. 

In my younger days, I was one who could run door to door without a care in the world. All candy which was fully wrapped was free game. Oh how times have changed… Now candy doesn’t even appeal to me and there are definitely more types that are off-limits that not.

But after all, when I look back on this childhood memory, I don’t recall the joy of eating candy, but rather, the fun my friends and I had running from door to door dressed up in costumes, and always giving Mama Clifford the first Almond Joy I sighted!

Now days, there are so many alternative to handing out candy to trick or trickers; non-food items and food items included. Not to mention the amount of snack-size bags many gluten-free companies are now developing.  One of which includes an up-and-coming company Ginnybakes.  Ginny Bakes

Recently, Ginny Bakes sent me two of their cookie products, and while I thought they were free of food intolerances, they contain milk, eggs, and soy.  However, have no fear because I have plenty of taste testers at my finger tips. This time I but both Mama Clifford and Joe to the test.  Both gluten-eaters, gave this product two thumbs up. 

“Made with only premium ingredients and zero preservatives or chemicals, ginnybakes goods are a guilt-free indulgence everyone can enjoy. Crafted with love in small batches and baked fresh each morning by artisan bakers, ginnybakes are made with real whole-food ingredients like dark chocolate, coconut, fruit and nuts to deliver a gourmet, just-from-the-oven taste experience. The perfectly-packaged ginnyminis are great to throw in your bag or purse for a sweet snack on-the-go!”

Thanks to Ginnybakes for sending the Clifford household some yummy samples.  To learn more about this company, visit their website or find them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! Do you have a favorite Ginnybakes cookie?  

What will you be handing out for Halloween? Personally, if I was going to be home for Halloween, I would be supporting the teal pumpkin project! Love this creative, and innovative idea from FARE which will allow ALL children to have a safe Halloween night. 

The-Teal-Pumpkin-Project-2

The Power of Food: Homemade Clif Bars

Discovering I had non-gluten sensitivity was the start of my journey towards health.  A post-diagnosis journey which has had, highs, brief moments of calm, and lows. Discovering food was the culprit to my mystery health problems, really made me reevaluate my life and look at the choices I was making.  

My college days weren’t full of beer and pizza, but rather I befriended quinoa and then broke up with dairy, eggs, peanuts, garlic, peas, grapefruit, and pineapple.

Over the past 5 years I’ve learned to mend my relationship with food and have  learned I am the expert of my body. Some of my choices have caused some to shake their heads in disagreement, but over all, this journey has led me to where I am today – more confident, healthier, and the one who is in control of how I feel.

Knowledge is powerful. Gaining knowledge can lead to empowerment. Knowledge can lead you to a sense of control when life feels uncontrollable.

I am in control of the things that I can do to keep me healthy – what goes into my mind and what goes into my mouth. 

Hence my passion for positivity and total  wellness. 

Once again my theory came true this past September – Things don’t happen for a reason, but rather people walk into your life at the right time, when I started going to a new dietitian. For the past few months I had been feeling unusually tired, lost the desire to eat, was starting to notice food pain triggers, and just wasn’t feeling right, even though all my foods were gluten-free.  Knowing there was  nothing seriously wrong and  not wanting my life to be consumed with doctors appointments, I decided once again, it was time to take a close look at my diet. 

Since the day I got diagnosed with gluten-sensitivity I have truly believed, you are what you eat, and what is put into and onto your body matters. This belief continues to hold true. It’s been a month of cutting down on sugar, eating more veggies and raw foods, and less processed foods. 

Clif BarsI’ve made the switch from relying on processed foods to making my own alternatives.   It is definitely more time-consuming, but its helped me to once again see the healing power of food, and has left me feeling happier & healthier! Today, I’m sharing with you a great recipe that my dietitian gave me for homemade Clif bars, which happens to come from Chocolate Covered Katie

Homemade Clif Bars
gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free, soy-free
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup gluten-free quick oats or rolled oats
  2. 1/8 tsp Himalayan salt
  3. 1 cup freeze-dried raspberries or strawberries (I used combo of fresh)
  4. 1/3 cup Bare Barney Almond Butter (Nut-Free: use Sunbutter)
  5. 1/4 cup honey
Instructions
  1. Line a pan with parchment or wax paper, and set aside. (Recipe fills a 7×5 pan, or you can double the recipe and use a larger pan.) In a blender or food processor (or patiently with a fork), process the freeze-dried berries until they are broken up into tiny pieces or powder. Stir all dry ingredients together in a cereal bowl, then stir in the nut butter. (If your nut butter is from the fridge, gently heat it until stir-able before mixing with the dry ingredients.) Add in the honey and mix until a sticky dough forms. Transfer to the prepared pan, and smush down evenly into the pan with a second sheet of parchment or wax paper. Freeze the pan at least one hour, then cut the bars with a sharp knife. Store at room temp or in the refrigerator for a few days, OR freeze for up to a month. Makes 6 bars the size of the ones in the photos.
Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie
http://www.embracegfree.com/

 What has been some of the greatest lessons you have learned since being diagnosed with a celiac, gluten sensitivity or any other chronic health condition?

DF Mavens: Local & Delicious New Find

I’ve gotten away from posting about my finds at the GFAF expo in Secaucus , NJ. Although a month has passed I’ve still got some great products to inform you about. This year at the expo there weren’t many ‘new-to-me companies’ that I came across. However, when thinking about this category of companies, without a doubt my favorite was DF Mavens

They not only had a fun booth, but I love that this is a  local NY company who makes delicious dairy-free ice cream which even non-dairy lovers will enjoy. Mama Clifford was an instant fan after she tried their Key Lime flavor ice cream!DSC_0027DF Mavens is based in Astoria, Queens and creates a variety of dairy-free ice cream flavors, which includes coconut, almond, and soy based flavors.  All products made by DF Mavens are gluten and dairy free, are vegan, and are packed with great flavors.  Additionally DF Mavens makes a no sugar added line.  

At the expo I was overwhelmed with the array of flavors DF Mavens had to offer, so I asked one of their customer reps what their most popular flavors were. Currently their most popular flavors are Mint Almond Cookie, Mocha Almond Chip, Del Lago Chocolate, and New Orleans Salted Praline. However, because they didn’t have Del Lago Chocolate at the expo and I’m not a mint or mocha fan, I went with what Mama Clifford had. Two Key Lime ice creams coming right up! I loved the smoothness and flavor of this ice cream. 

DF Mavens

And if trying their ice cream at the expo didn’t make me happy enough, I was even more excited when I learned they will be opening a store front.  Soon I will be able to go out for ice cream in NYC!!

 Currently DF Mavens Ice Cream is being sold on the east coast and at Whole Foods, and can be delivered to your home!  To learn more about this up and coming company, visit their website or find them on Facebook and Twitter.