Monday, November 29, 2010

Gluten-Free Bread Heaven!!!

I have found my bread heaven!  I am now one happy gluten-free eater.   Rudi's Organic Bakery now offers gluten-free products.  The Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery Original  is the BEST gluten-free bread I have eaten and honestly I don't think I'll be trying any more.  I swear it tastes just like real bread.  It's soft and not dry at all.  You can find it in the freezer section and I've seen it at several different grocery stores.  I would also keep it frozen at home.  Defrost it in your toaster.  I tried it today by having a tuna fish sandwich.  It was so good I was tempted to have a second sandwich just because I was so happy to eat "real" bread again.

Updated on May 2, 2012
I know longer thing Rudi's Gluten-Free is the best bread around.  It does taste good, but I've found it crumbles way too much.  Before you are finished with your sandwich your bread is in a big pile of crumbles on the plate. I will have to write a new post about better breads I've found.

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Gluten Free Product Reviews

I had the gluten-free macaroni and cheese for dinner tonight.  OH. MY. GOD. that stuff is seriously good.  It's expensive at around $3.50 for one serving, but if you are in need of some comfort food this is definitely what you are looking for.  I also love the cheese enchilada's.  Best enchilada's outside of an authentic mexican restaurant in my opinion.   I have the veggie burgers in my freezer, but haven't tried them yet.  They also make gluten free pizza's that I'm excited to try.

I've already reviewed the pretzels, which are delicious.  They now have pretzel sticks in addition to the traditional pretzel shapes.  I have since tried their original and vegetable crackers; also very delicious.   The original are a good substitute for saltine crackers.  I think the vegetable crackers would be good with some veggie or chive flavored cream cheese on them. 

Gluten Free Pantry products are also part of the Glutino family.  I have the all-purpose flour mix.  I use it for when a recipe calls for a small amount of flour and so far so good.

Udi's Gluten Free Pizza Crust
I did not care for Udi's white sandwich bread.  Did I review that already?  Anyway I picked up this pizza crust the other day and it is very, very good.  There are two personal sized pizza crusts in the package.  I think this would also be a good alternative for flour tortillas to make quesadilla's on and even a good choice for making a panini sandwich with the george foreman grill. 

Kettle Cuisine Soups
I tried both the chickenoodle soup  and the potato mushroom.  I was not at all impressed with this soup.  The package makes it sounds like they are made by a world famous soup chef so I expected more out of them.   The chicken noodle soup needed more noodles.  There was too much dark meat chicken and the base was very bland and watery tasting.   The Potato Mushroom was ok, but not great.  The potato part was actually very good, but the mushrooms were very rubbery.   I was very disappointed in this brand and will probably not try any of the other flavors.

Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookies
Not bad.  The dough is the consistency of sand.  You have to form the dough with your hands to get cookie shapes.  They dry out quickly after being removed from the oven and are crunchy like store bought cookies.  So, if you can look past that part they are actually not too bad.  I personally like soft and gooey cookies, but if I can't have Nestle Tollhouse these'll do.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chain Restaurants That Are Gluten-Free Friendly

I like to eat out.  A lot.  I know there are more and more restaurants become gluten-free friendly.  I do usually prefer to eat at smaller local restaurants, but this past week I visited two chain restaurants that I was very impressed with and felt they needed some recognition.

Panera Bread
My local military spouse meetup group had a breakfast meetup at Panera this past week.  I had asked the cashier if she knew if there was gluten in a particular soup.  It turns out they have a very large binder with all of their menu items in it.  Each Item has the nutritional info, the entire list of ingredients, and allergy information listed.  I was very impressed.  She didn't seem annoyed at all by looking up different things for me, but it also wasn't quite the lunch rush either.  I definitely would not recommend trying this at any Panera between 11am and 1pm.   You can also go to and find the nutrtional information and allergen statements for each menu item. 

Red Robin
My husband had a co-worker tell him that Red Robin was gluten-free friendly.  We did our own investigating and found out that, yes indeed, they are.   Their regular fries are not gluten free because of the seasoning they put on them.  Also, they have a dedicated fryer for making gluten-free fries so there is no cross contanimation from using the same fryers as breaded foods.  The chefs know what items have gluten in them. On one visit, I had asked for carmalized onions and the waitress came back to let me know that they did have gluten in them.   On a second occasion I asked about a different item.  The waiter printed up a gluten free menu for me to take home.   Their gluten-free menu can also be found online at   At the main Red Robin website click on the FAQ page and you will also be able to obtain menus for other food allergies.  You can also sign up to receive email updates when their ingredients or allergens change.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lesson Learned

So I know you all want to know what happened to me and why I ended up in the hospital for four days. 

Wednesday night I thought I would throw a little gluten in my diet and we ate dinner at The Olive Garden.   I ordered the Fettucinni Alfredo.   Later that night my stomach started to hurt.

When I woke up Thursday, every muscle in my abdomen hurt like I had done a thousand sit-ups, but I haven't been doing any ab exercises.  My intestines also felt like they were tied up in knots.   Of course I just chalked it up to eating the pasta.  My hands were all tingly as well, but I just assumed that it had to do with my neck injuries and I was going to go see the physical therapist that morning anyway.

After the physical therapist I went to Chik-Fil-A to hang out with some of my friends.  My tummy still hurt, but I didn't think it was anything serious.  After Chik-Fil-A I went home.  Around 1pm I was feeling extremely short of breath.  I couldn't walk across a room without hyperventilating.  Everytime I would sit or stand up I would have sweat pouring off me and felt like I was going to pass out.  I decided to take a nap until it was time for me to do my crossing guard duty at 3:30.   I lasted about 15 minutes and nearly passed out in the street.  I felt so sick I just left and drove home.  I checked my blood pressure and it was 90/60 and my heart rate was 137.   I thought I was having a heart attack and promptly drove myself to the hospital.  I felt so awful I honestly was afraid I was going to die if I waited for someone to come get me.  Thankfully, we only live one mile from the hospital.

When I got to the E.R. counter all I said was shortness of breath and they rushed me to the triage room.  I didn't even get to finish telling them what else until a little bit later.  I had to wait in the triage room for about 10 minutes while they found a room to put me in.  I almost passed out in the triage room waiting.

Of course in the E.R. they did a million tests.  I still thought that my low blood pressure/feeling faint and my stomach pain were unrelated.  My white blood count was 23,000 and the normal range is 3,000 - 10,000.   They also did a lactic acid test.  My level was 2.8 and the normal range for that was 0.6 -2.2  This meant I had lactic acidosis, which apparantly is bad.   Also because of all the digestive problems I have had over the last few months they did a CT scan on my abdomen which showed that my intestines were inflamed.   They assumed there was an infection in my intestine.   They did urine and blood cultures to tet for bacteria, started administering antibiotics, and admitted me to the hospital.   The E.R. doctor made it quite clear several times that I was very, very sick when I came in to the E.R. and it was a good thing I went in when I did.

I was in the E.R. room for six hours.  Remember that tingling I had in my hands earlier that morning?  Well it started travelling all over my body, but stayed mostly in my hands and face.  The dr. said that it was most likely due to my blood pressure being so low.  My blood pressure stayed around 90/60 for quite a few hours.   I was given oxygen for a couple of hours as well which REALLY helped with my breathing. 

I pretty much just slept the rest of the time.  I was getting two different antibiotics pumped into me plus saline.   They actually had to turn the saline off because it was making my blood pressure too high and my hands and feet looked like balloons.  They were pumping 200ml/hour into me.  That doesn't mean anything to me, but the nurses said it was a lot. 

Yesterday morning the dr. gave me the choice between going home last night if I could keep a meal down or staying until this morning.  I decided to stay just to be on the safe side.  When the dr. came to see me this morning she said that the blood and urine cultures came back negative for anything.   She lectured me sternly about eating the gluten.  I asked her if the gluten really could make me that sick and, of course, she said yes.  

I have read up some on Celiac Disease and I know it is an autoimmune disorder.  So apparantly what happened is that I ate too much gluten and my body started attacking my intestines.  It really was kind of like a severe allergic reaction.  

So there you go, that is the whole sordid story.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kinnikinnick Gluten Free English Muffins

Kinnikinnick Gluten Free English Muffins  
These muffins are found in the freezer section at the grocery store.   They are really more like a biscuit than an english muffin, but oh man are they good.  Only four came in a package for $6.00, but for someone who can't eat regular bread they are worth every penny.  I think these "english muffins" would also make a good substitute for bread to have a small sandwich on.  I look forward to trying some of this company's other products and hope that they taste as good.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Gluten Free Product Reviews

I was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  This means I have to stop eating gluten.  I don't think this will be as hard as it sounds.  This may sound funny, but yesterday I was walking through the grocery store looking at all the things I couldn't have, but normally wouldn't even buy.  Just knowing that I couldn't have them made me want them that much more.

I'm amazed at the number of gluten-free products that are now available in the grocery stores.  I know just a year or so ago it was extremely difficult to find anything that was gluten free.  As I try products I will write up reviews for you all.

This morning we had pancakes for breakfast with gluten free bisquick.  Let me just say YUMMY!  The box is very small, about half the size of a normal bisquick box, and it costs about the same price as regular bisquick.  However, this will definitely be a staple in my pantry.

For dinner, we had my favorite steak pasta salad.  I used Tinkyada spirals for the pasta.  It was perfect!  My husband even said that if I didn't tell him the pasta was gluten-free he would never have known.

Last week I made spaghetti with Bionaturae spaghetti noodles.  Actually, I attempted it twice.  The first time the noodles were nothing but a pile of mush.  The second time they cooked better.  I found that you have to stir and test them constantly to make sure they don't overcook.  They were o.k., but I definitely like the Tinkyada noodles better.

Yesterday I made pizzas with Chebe's on the go pizza crust.  They are found in the freezer section. The size of the crusts were small.  I'd say just a little larger than 5x7.  The crust tastes very good, but for the price (5.79 for two crusts) it isn't a very good buy.   One crust was about the same as two small slices of pizza.  There are several dry crust mixes that have had good reviews.  There are also a couple of recipes for pizza crust on that have good reviews.  Since my kids think we need pizza every friday I have plenty of opportunity to try other products/recipes.

I have also tried a few gluten free snacks.  The first is cookies.  Jo-Sef's makes sandwich cookies similar to Oreos.  They're definitely not Oreos, but a pretty close second.  Thankfully they're expensive so I don't have to worry about eating too many.

Glutino makes pretzals.  They are good and my kids approve!  I don't care how much they cost we will be buying these often.  I have some Glutino crackers and all purpose flour as well, but have not tried them yet.

Lastly I tried the sea salt flavored Sticks and Twigs from Mary's Gone Crackers.  They were kind of weird.  I'm not really sure how I feel about them yet.  They did taste good, but they had a weird texture and they made my stomach hurt.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cable and Sattelite TV

The only reason I have cable t.v. is because I have cable internet.  See, if I just had the internet it would cost me the same amount of money as having the internet and the very basic cable package.   If it weren't for that, we would not have cable.   I'm cheap. I'm also making a statement.  I don't watch a lot of t.v. and most of the stuff I do want to watch I can get over the air, stream live on the internet, or rent on Netflix.   Satellite isn't any cheaper than cable so it's not really an option for me either.

I see these "deals" all the time for both cable and satellite that make me think about upgrading.  The problem is that they are not really deals.   I received a "deal" for DishNetwork in the Valpak coupons I get in the mail.  This "deal" is $24.99 for 12* months.   I could get 120 channels including locals, free* HD for life, Free* 2-room HD DVR receiver, Free HBO and Showtime (for three months with activation*), and Free* activation.

Do you see all those little asterisks?  Yeah, I thought so.   First of all you have to sign a 24 month agreement for all of those "free" things.  They don't tell you what the price is after the first year.  I called and asked.  The response I got was it depends on what package I choose, how many tv's I have, and whether or not I even qualify for the deal in the first place.    Secondly, you have to give them your social security number and have a valid major credit card.   HD programming requires an HD t.v.  Now, most people would realize this, but unfortunately there are some people out there that don't.   They will give you the DVR for free, but if you want to be able to use it you have to pay a $6.00 monthly fee.  You will also have to agree to autopay and paperless billing.  Wow!  That doesn't sound like such a good deal anymore.

I went to the DishNetwork website to see if I could figure out how much it would cost me after a year.  I looked at the different packages and channel lineups.  You know what I realized?  I don't want half those channels anyway.  I always complain about the same thing with cable t.v.  Who wants to watch this stuff?

I've come up with a great idea to solve this problem.  Instead of these companies giving you a list of channels you don't want to watch and telling you how much it's going to cost, they should allow you to pick and choose.  I wouldn't mind paying for cable if I knew I was going to get 60 channels I actually wanted to see.   I would be happy with only picking 10 channels.  

I'm sure it's possible for companies to do this.  But, why would they?  So many people out there pay the astronomical prices for the services offered now.  People think they "have" to have a million channels so cable and satellite  so they pay the prices and complain about it. 

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Over the river and through the wooods

We went hiking yesterday in the Pine Moutain area of Georgia. We were on one of the trails at FDR State Park. We walked about 3 miles total. It took us 2.5 hours to do. I was totally expecting my legs to be sore today. But, last night my abs started to hurt. They are so sore today it seriously hurts to be upright or turn from side to side.

I really wanted to be able to tell you about this trail we walked on, but thought I couldn't do it justice on my own. So, I took some pictures to show you all what kind of hiking we did.

First there were these handsome boys following me around :D

There were some REALLY cool looking trees

There was this really cool cave

A little waterfall

There was even a waterfall over a cave

The scenery truly was beautiful, but the part I wanted to share was the conditions of the trail itself. This is the only you'll be able to understand why it took us 2.5 hours to walk three miles.

The trail was covered in rocks that you had to step on, over, and around. I'm not talking about little pebbles either

Then there were a ton of tree roots in the path

and even bigger tree roots

There was even a tree we had to walk through. The tree fell over the path and some one cut out a step.

This trail wasn't just a nice straight flat trail either. It was curvy, up hill and down hill. A lot of times there were even tree roots and rocks together, but I don't have a picture of any of that.

There were muddle puddles we had to try and walk around

and to top it all off there was a stream winding around with the path. There were about six places we had to cross the stream to keep going. Unfortunately there weren't any bridges at these parts. Fortunately there were a few rocks big enough to step on to get across. The stream doesn't really look like much in this picture, but it was about 3 feet wide.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Exercise Schmexercise...

So I decided to give the whole exercise thing a try. Thursday I sat around for three hours *thinking* about exercising and then finally I gave in. I did the arms and the legs sessions on my 10 minutes pilates dvd for a total of 20 minutes. Then I took a 2 hour nap.

Friday Matt forced me to go to the gym at our apt. complex. I went and did 20 minutes on the Arc Trainer and some two upper body machines. Friday night I was ready to go back to the gym. Yesterday I was going to be lazy and not work out at all, but decided about halfway through the day to do it anyway. I did 20 minutes again on the Arc Trainer. Last night I had so much energy I was washing dishes by hand. Now, normally I won't even use the dish washer let alone by hand. Matt came back from the store and saw me doing that and wondered what in the heck was wrong with me. Today I was full of energy again. I,again, was not going to work out today, but ended up walking 30 minutes on uneven terrain up and down hills through the woods at Eddie's horseback riding lesson.

I really need to to some ab exercises because that is where the bulk of my weight is. I really like that Arc Trainer. It's kind of like an eliptical machine, but doesn't have the arm movements. The first time I used it my thighs burned so bad I thought I was going to die. The second time they didn't start burning until I was about 3/4 done. So hopefully the more I use it the easier it will be on my thighs.

I will definitely keep up this exercising gig though if I keep this energy level up. Now I just need to start eating better and cut that darned pop out.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Drug Crazed 60s and 70s

If you don't already know, I am a huge fan of cookbooks.  I especially like old cookbooks.  I have a large collection of Betty Crocker and Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks from the late 1960s and early 1970s.  I am in the mood to clean out old clutter.  As a result, I thought perhaps I should pare down my cookbook collection.  I've been looking through some of them tonight which inspired this post.   I have written in the past about the horrors of the Jello cookbook.  Let me tell you Better Homes and Gardens really didn't do much better.  I truly believe the recipes in these cookbooks were the inspiration of a cook on acid.   I mean, do you want to have Golden Nugget Meat Pie for dinner tomorrow night?  I know I sure don't.  I didn't even look at the ingredients.  The name alone was enough to scare me away.  I have a JC Penney catalog from 1972 so I know for a fact that clothes designers were on acid.  Now I'm convinced that the cooks in test kitchens were too.  They had to be on some kind of drugs. 

I leave you with an example of a tasty 1967 treat from the Better Homes and Gardens Jiffy Cooking:

Deviled Ham Pie rates high as a luncheon dish.  Deviled ham is surrounded with pastry, then topped with asparagus spears.  Prepare easy cheese sauce from canned soup.   Yum.  I know I can't wait to try it.

So basically you put a pie crust in a pan, spread one 4 1/2 oz can of deviled ham on the bottom, top the ham with a 3oz can of mushrooms, then put another pie crust on top of the whole thing.  Bake for 15 minutes.   In the mean time heat up a 10oz package of frozen asparagus.  Also heat one 11oz can of cheddar cheese soup and 1/4 cup milk.   Arrange the asparagus in a spoke fashion on top of the pie and then cover with the cheese sauce.