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GF Harvest Oats

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I found myself craving oatmeal.  I mean, the cravings were so bad that I started dreaming about it, too!  I had been to afraid to try oats once I was diagnosed with celiac disease.  I didn’t trust that they could really be safe.  So, I did a good deal of research and came across the GF Harvest Company.  Honestly, it sounded too good to be true.  Of course I called them up to legitimize my cravings.  Not only did they kindly sent me samples of Steel Cut Oats, Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats, and Oatmeal Cookie Crisp Granola, but they also provided lots of useful information.  (They also carry gluten-free groats and gluten-free oat flour.)  I was overjoyed to have satisfied my craving, with the knowledge that these were gluten-free right down to the ground.

It turned out that Seaton Smith, the owner of this small, Celiac disease-family run company, was tickled pink to talk and tell me all about their oats while assuaging my fears and anxieties.  And, in 2013 they were even awarded the BBB Torch Awards for Ethics.  I learned so much about the processing of their oats and the scrutiny his oats go through to make sure there is no cross-contamination.  Here are a few things I learned and why I am now GF Harvest’s biggest fan:

To read more, click here . . .

This article can also be found on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’s Gluten-Free Hot Products Page

A Special Thanks goes out to my friend, Jessica Schaefer, who used these oats to make me special gf oatmeal cookies!

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Apple Crumble with GF Harvest Oats on top

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Cheezy Crisps & Grammy Crisps

Are you always on the hunt for the perfect gluten-free cracker?  Finding them too bland, tasting like cardboard, or flimsy?  Well, I definitely am!  Every time I go to the grocery store, I’m always scanning the cracker aisle, looking for a suitable gluten-free cracker to replace all those buttery, flaky, gluten ones, and yet, I’ve been hard pressed to find a replacement . . . until today!

So, you can imagine my surprise when I ventured to try Crunchmaster’s certified gluten-free Cheezy Crisps and Grammy Crisps and was wowed to the max!

To read more, click here . . .

This article can also be found on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’s Gluten-Free Hot Products Page

A special thanks goes out to Stephanie Gill, Pam Vassilikos, and of course my daughter who were instrumental in the reviewing of the crackers!

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Polenta topped with Ragout

I decided it was time to use a different grain tonight.  I was thinking of rice, but then I realized we should try something else.  Polenta is considered the Italian version of grits.  It’s a super fast cooking grain.  I even took a quicker fix than just using the grain and making a paste with water, I used the tube!!

This dish makes an excellent side dish or hors d’oeuvre for a dinner party.

Gluten-Free Broiled Polenta with Spinach and

Mushroom Ragout

Serving Size: about 20 polenta rounds

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp evol (used for polenta)
  • 1 tube of polenta precooked
  • 2 tbsp evol (used for sautéing)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 package mushrooms, chopped
  • 2-3 cups of fresh spinach
  • generous amount of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of crushed dried rosemary
  • 4 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2-1 cup water
  • *optional – parmesan cheese (do not use if vegan)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to broil and arrange the top rack about 4″ from the top.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Slice the tube of polenta into 1/4″ thick rounds and lay them out on the baking sheet.
  4. Using the TBSP of olive oil, lightly brush the tops of each round and then broil them until the begin to brown about 10-15 minutes.
  5. While they are cooking, put olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  6. When the oil is warm, put in the diced onions and as they begin to brown, add the garlic, sauteing for another 30 seconds or so.
  7. To the onion mixture, add the mushrooms and cook on a high heat (or medium-high) until they release their juices.
  8. Continue stirring for another few minutes until all the juices have been reabsorbed.  Then all the handfuls of spinach and toss until wilted.
  9. Add salt, pepper, and rosemary.  Cook for another 30 seconds.
  10. Then add in the tomato paste and 1/2 cup of the water.  (I actually used 4 previously frozen ice cubes of tomato paste.)  Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Continue adding water little by little if the mixture is drying out.
  11. Once water is absorbed (about 10 minutes), remove from heat and add the balsamic vinegar.

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    Mushroom Spinach Ragout

  12. Top the broiled polenta with the mushroom mixture and if desired, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
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    The Simplicity of Polenta

     

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My Daughter with her New Glow-in-the-Dark Necklace

Glow-in-the-dark Necklace

made from the $.25 Machine

inspired by a project in the magazine Family Fun

Tools:

  • an awl or nail to piece a hole
  • 2 feet of kite string or some other type of yarn
  • at least 4 glow-in-the-dark beads, to make it glow-in-the-dark, but any kind of bead or button will do.  We used perler beads
  • $.25 machine plastic container

Directions:

  1. Take purchase a little toy for $.25 at the grocery store, but make sure it comes in one of those little plastic containers.
  2. Remove the toy.
  3. Using an awl or some other sharp tool like a nail, pierce a whole through the top of the container.
  4. Cut a piece of string about 2 feet long.  You can always trim it when you’re done.
  5. Thread a bead or a button into the middle of the string.  Knot the string several times just above the bead.
  6. Put one end of the string next to the otherand thread it through the underside of the hole.  This way, the bead will keep the string in place.

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    Strung Bottom Bead

  7. Place charms or other beads along each side of the string.
  8. When you’re ready, tie the two ends of the string together in a knot.
  9. Fill the container with whatever excites your child, i.e. glow-in-the-dark beads, bugs, snack, etc.  We filled our with glow-in-the-dark beads, so that the necklace will glow-in-the-dark!
  10. Place the necklace around your child’s neck.
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Our Glow-in-the-Dark Necklace

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I was fortunately to be invited to my dear friends’ house for Passover dinner while I was in Atlanta.  Rebecca is a fantastic cook, and they always serve the most wonderful food.   The best part about it was that it was all gluten-free (and soy-free), because neither of which you can have on Passover!!  And on top of that, two of their kids have Celiac Disease, which just means I can eat with them and always feel good!

This recipe has been adapted from both my mom’s version (which usually uses Ramen Noodles) and Rebecca’s version with candied nuts.  I had leftover chicken to through in, which just made it even better!  This is a great, fast dish to take to potlucks and parties.

On a side note, my husband who had refused to eat it upon hearing its name, decided it was delicious and really enjoyed the candied nut addition.

Oriental Cabbage Salad with Candied Nuts Recipe

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Oriental Cabbage Salad

Serving Size: If used as a side dish about 12 people

Storage Note:  I store the chicken, nuts, and dressing separate from the other salad ingredients to keep them from getting soggy and gross.

Ingredients for Cabbage Salad:

(feel free to leave off or add any ingredients as you see fit)

  • 1 cabbage, shredded or cut super thin
  • 4-5 carrots, grated
  • a bunch of scallions, chopped (but since I didn’t have any, I used about 1/2 an onion)
  • *Optional: pre-cooked chicken, chopped into small pieces (I used grilled chicken from the previous night)
  • candied nuts (click here for recipe) – (*If vegan, just toast nuts instead*)

Ingredients for Oriental Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup of  safflower oil (or some other non-tasting oil)
  • 1/4 cup of sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of honey (you can substitute this for sugar as well)
  • 1/4 cup of sugar

Directions for Cabbage Salad:

  1. Mix together cabbage, onions, carrots in a large bowl.
  2. When ready to serve, add chicken and candied nuts.
  3. Pour dressing on last, so the salad doesn’t get soggy.

Directions for Salad Dressing:

  1. In a large measuring cup, pour in the vinegar and sugar/honey and whisk it till well combined.
  2. Add in the cider vinegar a little at a time while continuing to whisk.
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Oriental Salad Ready to Eat!

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Gluten Free Conscious Box

Are you ready for your FREE 3-month  subscription to Conscious Box?

If so,  join in the giveaway. . .

from Monday, April 15, 2013 – Monday, April 22, 2013 

TO SEE ENTRY RULES, SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE

Not sure if you want a Conscious Box yet?  Keep reading . . .

I was so excited to receive in the mail my first GLUTEN FREE Conscious Box!  Remember when you were little and you use to get grab bags, just for the surprise of not knowing what’s in them?  This is the adult version! It’s like getting a monthly present to yourself in the mail, full of surprises!!!  And I LOVE surprises!!  (If you want to see what was in my box, scroll down to the bottom.)

So, what is a Conscious Box you might ask?

It is a gluten-free box filled with ethical and sustainable products.  There’s food, cleaners, spice rubs, etc.  Conscious Box says it all.  The company is conscious of where it sources its products and even ideas of how to reuse the box!

I really liked the cleverness of the box design.  When I opened it, the first card I read told me how I could reuse the box to grow a flower right through the hole.

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First Conscious Box Impressions – Growing Flower Through the Hole

How Does Conscious Box work?

(quoted from the Conscious Box website:) Conscious Box is the best way to discover the most ethical and sustainable products on the planet! Focusing on strict tenets of organic, fair trade, and pure and natural products, each month Conscious Box will introduce you to healthy and honest alternatives for every aspect of your life and for every member of your family. Discover the best natural products, earn points for leaving feedback and reviews, and buy your favorites at incredible discounts!

      • Get a variety of unique pure & natural products every month!
    • From organic food to vegan beauty products, you’re sure to find new favorites!
    • Discover ethical and purpose-driven businesses of all sizes!
    • Get content on daily living tips, exciting monthly themes, and creative ways to use your box!
    • Easily earn points you can apply to full size products for unbeatable discounts!

Do I have to get a Conscious Box Every Month?

With Conscious Box, you can sign up for just 1 month, 3 months at a time, six months at a time, or yearly.  You can choose from a classic, vegan, or gluten-free box for $19.95/month (which includes free shipping).

If I Sign Up, is there a Discount?

You bet! 50% OFF discount for any Conscious Box subscription. Use code: LOVELIFE

Here’s what came in my box:

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Inside the Box

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More Inside the Box

If you already get it, tell me what you think!

Entry Rules:

For each rule you follow below and then comment on this blog post, your name will be added that many times in the drawing.   So, you have 4 possible ways to comment on this post below, allowing you to have your name in the drawing 4 possible times.

  1. Go to ConsciousBox.com and create a profile.  Then comment on this blog post below that you have done this, and what find thing you might hope to be in your box.
  2. Go to www.facebook.com/ConsciousBox and like the page!  Make sure to leave a comment about Gluten Freedoms blog, so I know you were there.  Then comment on this blog post below that you have done this.
  3. Go to www.facebook.com/GlutenFreedoms and like the page!  Then comment on this blog post below that you have done this.
  4. Sign up for Gluten Freedoms blog by going to www.glutenfreedoms.wordpress.com and looking on the right hand side where it says Follow Blog Via Email.  Write your email address and click follow. Then comment on this blog post below that you have done this.A winner will be chosen on April 22, 2013 to win a Free 3-month gluten-free Conscious Box subscription.

And don’t forget to sign up for your FREE 3-month subscription to Conscious Box.  Entry Rules above!

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Fridgigears

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Playing with Newly Acquired Fridgigear!

It was one of the first beautiful, warm, and sunny days outside, so why I ventured to the basement to find this newly acquired toy from a swap, I have NO idea!!  We still did make it outside to play.  I guess I was super excited about this toy myself.  (A good sign in my opinion).

Nevertheless, this fridgigear toy is made up of magnetic gears that double as a puzzle.  It also comes with one gear that’s a motor to operate the gears.  It was a good hour of GLUTEN-FREE entertainment!  Not only did we experiment with the gears, but the next level of fun was rearranging the puzzle pieces to form newly colored gears.

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Rearranging the Puzzle Pieces to form New Gears

After much searching, I have been unable to find the puzzle gears.  I have found fridgigears that glow in the dark and double as a picture frame, but no puzzle pieces.  I still highly recommend this toy as great entertainment in the kitchen while you’re cooking!

I just bought some extra sets for presents.  I found an AMAZING deal at www.scientificsonline.com for $19, and you can get another 12% off if you use the code TY2.  It’s also free shipping if you choose the slower route.

Let me know if you’ve come across other types of refrigerator fun that you love!

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