Category Archives : Food

WalMart Is Now Carrying More Gluten Free Options! 12 comments   Recently updated !

I hate having to search to find gluten free options.  Although, to be honest, I have to count myself lucky/blessed in that there are now more gluten free options available than ever.  WalMart is actually joining the bandwagon and bringing more gluten-free specific products to their store.


gf4 gf5My daughter and I went to my local WalMart last Saturday to see their new gluten free demonstration and products.  There was a small setup near the freezer section of the grocery side of the store, where Quaker’s PopChips and grilled cheese sandwiches made with Udis bread were being sampled.  The two ladies there demonstrating were so sweet!  I had a good time chatting with them, and I’m sure I thoroughly embarrassed and bugged Munchkin, who was with me, patiently waiting for me to do my shopping so we could go. :)


There were two places specific to gluten free that I saw.  One is the freezer section.  I was bummed out that so many items were sold out, but hey, when there’s demand, there’s demand, right?  I was looking forward to purchasing an Udi’s pizza with uncured pepperoni, but I’ll have to try again next time.  The other spot I found was in the bakery.  There was one rack on the very bottom with fresh Udis bread, as well as some GF cookies.  There were also signs for muffins and brownies that were not in stock.


gf6I purchased myself one of those fresh loaves of Udi’s bread.  It’s a new type, I think – Country Style Seeded Bread.  I was so happy to be able to try it out that I made poor Munchkin pose for a picture, ha ha!


Anyway, I wanted to share this experience with you to let you know about the new gluten-free options available at WalMart.  I was very excited, and thought my gluten free readers might be too!  You’ll have to check out your local WalMarts to see if they’re carrying these as well.  And if they are not, then let them know you want them! :D


GO HERE to see the Gluten Free brands that WalMart is now carrying.  You can also see if there are any product demonstrations/samplings happening in your area!



Using Nutritional Yeast in Allergen-Free Cooking

You may remember that last summer I did a complete overhaul on my diet, due to some health complications I’d been dealing with.  Along with an overhaul, I had a lot of blood work and testing done, and discovered that in addition to my intolerance to gluten, I also have a sensitivity to dairy.  Because of that, dairy has now been cut out of my diet permanently.  One of the new foods I’ve tried and learned more about during this process is nutritional yeast.


Now, a lot of nutritional yeasts are fortified – which sounds good, but usually means there are synthesized ingredients, which of course equals processed, or not natural.  Part of my overhaul was cutting out as much processed food as possible, and I’ve seen the positive difference it has made in my health.



Sari Foods has 100% natural and non-fortified nutritional yeast flakes.  It tastes pretty good and is dairy free, gluten free, extremely low and fat and sodium and is loaded with vitamins and nutrients.  I received some and have been having a lot of fun experimenting with different recipes and ideas for how to use it.  People say that it provides a cheesy flavor, and I haven’t yet decided if I agree.  I suppose it can give a hint of cheese flavor, but I don’t think it’ll ever replace the true flavor of cheese.  Still, I like the extra something something that it gives to foods.  My two favorite ways to eat it are in scrambled eggs and on top of air popped popcorn.  IMG_7367

One things I appreciated specifically about this particular brand was that after purchasing the Sari Foods Nutritional Yeast on, the company sent me an email with recipes that I could try out!  I thought that was a really nice gesture, and I’ve already tried two of the recipes so far.  That in and of itself has created a loyalty for me.  I love when a company will do a little extra, a little more, just to help complete the experience!


The bag I purchased is 8 oz, and I believe it’ll last me a good, long time, especially since I like it best in small amounts as a mini flavor enhancer.  Seriously, I’ve used this in soups, on eggs, on potatoes, and more.  I really can’t say anything bad about it.  To learn more about nutritional yeast and Sari Foods, you can visit them on Facebook and/or on Twitter.


*I received the product in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are mine alone, and no monetary compensation was provided.


Menu Monday – Weekly Goals and Menu Plan 01/26 2 comments


Howdy, howdy!  Can you believe it’s the last week of January already?  I’m still writing 2014 on everything!  :)


We are continuing the “eating out of the pantry” thing this week.  It’s been challenging, but kind of fun, to come up with meal ideas from what we already have at home.  I’m trying two new recipes this week, and will have to let you know how they turn out.  Anyway, here’s the plan:


MondayBaked Apple and Pork Meatballs, green salad, brown rice


Tuesday:  Breakfast for Dinner – cereal, oatmeal, fresh fruit, sausage


Wednesday:  Sandwich night – I’ll give the family members the option to choose which kind of sandwich they’d like to each have:  Tuna, BLT, Grilled Cheese or PB&J.  Fresh carrot sticks on the side.


ThursdayKalua Pork Tacos with Avocado Mango Salsa


Friday:  Dill-baked Chicken Thighs (will post the recipe later), roasted potatoes and carrots


Saturday:  Leftover night


Sunday: TBD – again, ha ha



As for the weekly goals, last week’s went well.  We were able to get everything on the to-do list completed, including the animal reports, the music building report, gymnastics, scouts, etc.  This week will look much the same, but with some new changes.  My husband and I received a call to head the Cub Scouts, the Wolves in particular.  It’ll be fun to do it together, and a learning experience for me.  I know nothing about the Scout program!  Here are my goals for the week:


  1. Get the Cub Scouts materials, go to the Pack meeting, and figure out what I’m doing.
  2. Munchkin is going ice skating for the first time – I’ll need to sign the release form and take her to that.
  3. Rock climbing with the kids.
  4. Post at least 3 new blog posts.
  5. Gather and organize tax materials.
  6. Set up budget for the first half of February.


I hope you all have a great week!



*Linked at OrgJunkie!

Menu Monday – Weekly Menu Plan and Goals 01/19


First of all, happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to all of my friends in the U.S.  I hope you are able to take some time today to do something for another, in honoring the legacy he left behind. :)





I’ve decided that another step we are going to be taking in our quest to get rid of our debt, we’ll be eating out of the pantry, and using our food storage more heavily.  Our meals will be based on food we have in our pantry and in our chest freezer.



3933f44992d957ece30721c425e40f30Monday:  Nacho Bar – Homemade tortilla chips, various toppings (refried beans, leftover meat, cheese, salsa, etc)

Tuesday: Turkey and vegetable soup (meat and veggies from the freezer), fresh baked bread (for the gluten eaters)

Wednesday:  Breakfast for dinner – Homemade hashbrowns (made with sweet and white potatoes), Gluten-Free pancakes, Fruit salad, etc

Thursday:  Leftover night

FridaySweet and sour chicken, Vegetable fried rice

Saturday:  Homemade Pizza

Sunday:  To be determined (as usual)



The goals for this week are kinda simple, and more of a to-do list.  We’ve got cub scouts and swimming lessons for Buddy Boy, Young Women’s and gymnastics for Munchkin, Activity Days for the girls in my church, an animal report due for Buddy Boy, and a gluten-free cooking demonstration for me.

What are your plans for the week?


*Linked up at OrgJunkie.

Best of 2014: My Favorite Healthy Recipe Finds! 2 comments

I love looking back this time of year, and reminding myself what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve experienced, and what I’ve learned.  2014 brought some major dietary changes to my life, with the 2nd half filled with new anti-inflammatory style of eating.  I’ve found some recipes that I hated, and I found more that I loved.  I’d like to share with you the latter, in case you ever need/want to start an anti-inflammatory diet, or simply want to cut the sugar and other unhealthy foods:


(These recipes are in no particular order – I love them all!)


banana-2This 3-Ingredient Banana Pudding proved to be a lifesaver when I was desperate for something sweet and dessert-like!



Paleo-Plantain-Chips-and-GuacamoleThese Paleo Plantain Chips – INCREDIBLE.  Make sure you use GREEN plantains for your chips!  Holy cow, I’m hungry just thinking about them.


153382-425x325-chicken-tendersThe Coconut Chicken Tenders (the first recipe on the page) became a staple for me.  They still are.



picmonkey-1024x579Love, LOVE this Quinoa Crusted Chicken!


banana-milk-side-660x425Banana Milk is a simple but tasty option.  I love adding a pinch of sea salt and a spoonful of almond butter to it!  I also prefer to make it with frozen bananas.



DSC_0094 copyThe lovely thing about quinoa salads is that you can change up what you add to it any time.  This Green Quinoa Salad is definitely a winning combination.



IMG_7330Last but not least, roasting your own chickpeas is a dang good way to enjoy some good snacking.  You can make them sweet and spicy like these, or go for a savory, or simply sweet.  There are SO many options!

BakeItFun Baking Mat Review/Roasted Chickpeas Recipe 3 comments

I am in a war with my debt. I’m focusing all my efforts on getting my family completely out of debt. 2014 was very unkind to us, financially, and I plan on doing whatever it takes to remedy that! I’ve shared a lot of different things I do, particularly in the kitchen, to save money, but this is a new and unexpected one (at least unexpected for me). resize_8e962b06c4b02396b38bca3d0f57c6fc32a18e18caa1c8b978a48f0937dc768b4dda6dd2256256 I go through parchment paper like crazy. Ever since going gluten free, I’ve used it a lot, and I’m so sick of the expense! I heard about this BakeItFun silicone baking mat and the claims that it can eliminate my need for parchment paper or foil. I decided it was worth trying out, you know, see if it would actually work well and save me some money.


I’m thrilled to say that it works really well.  It’s been SO easy to clean off and reuse, and I’ve made several different “batches” of food with it.  I started with my roasted chickpeas, and it worked beautifully.  One thing I like about it is that it has measurements on the sides.  I tend to just eyeball things when I’m baking and spacing, but it’s nice to have measurements if I’m wanting a cookie or something to turn out just right, and I don’t want pieces of dough to cook together.  It also provides a visual (as you can see in the above picture) that you can use if you want perfect spacing!  Right now it’s on sale for 73% off at, so it may be worth looking into.  I don’t know how long the discount will last.


More about the mat:


1. STOP WASTING MONEY Buy your BakeitFun Premium silicone baking mat Now And Eliminate the Need for Parchment Paper or Aluminum Foil. Re-use it up to 2000, think about how much less trash you’ll make.

2. DURABLE AND RESISTANT Multipurpose uses, perfect for cooking anything, Sugar Candy, Melted Cheese, Garlic and Cookies. Stop being afraid of buying cheap smelly silicone baking mats. Oven, Dishwasher and Microwave safe.

3. SAVE TIME Get your food from freezer to the oven. Then rinse it off and forget about scrubbing sheets.

4. SAFE MATERIALS Made from fiberglass coated with food grade silicone, this non-stick silicone baking mat offers multipurpose uses for preparing, cooking, and heating up food. FDA and LFGB approved. It’s 100% BPA free.

5. BAKE WITH YOUR KIDS BakeitFun makes cooking fun for all ages! Turn a simple task in the kitchen into a fun and exciting moment with your kids – they’ll be thankful later!



I’ve loved using it and am very happy to be able to save money and not buy that dang parchment paper anymore.  I am also thrilled to have a huge batch of roasted chickpeas ready and available for my snacking pleasure now. :)




Roasted Chickpeas

  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp sweetener (I use stevia or nectresse)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin

Mix the ingredients together and store in a small jar or bowl.  To roast the chickpeas, either open a can of chickpeas or cook some from scratch in your slow cooker.  Drain the chickpeas well and pat dry with a clean towel.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  In a bowl, combine the chickpeas with a drizzle of olive oil (about 1 Tbsp per 2 cups of beans).  Mix well and spread out onto a baking sheet.  Sprinkle generously with the seasoning mix to taste.  Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes.  After the first 30 minutes in the oven, check on them and stir.  Roast until they are crunchy.  So good!

**No monetary compensation was received. I received the product in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are mine alone.

Roasted Chickpeas



Zester/Grater Review

crop_0fe4d57b56d31eca7d4e92d3b855c5286a7aecc7f04995cc1c97d24b3802eecb3e345c2c250250I’ve always wanted a zester/grater, but never had one until now.  I got the Best Premium Zester Grater from Smarty Pants Supplies.  I’m pretty much in love with it!
You can use this Zester to …
– Grate Parmesan cheese over soups and salads
– Add chocolate garnish to a chocolate-drizzled angel food cake
– Mince hot peppers to make a spicy guacamole for game day
– Grate lemons, limes, and oranges to add zest to pesto sauce, dressing, pound cake, and more
– Create an enticing marinade for seafood, chicken, and meat

And the best part is, the Best Premium Zester Grater is safe, easy-to-use, and a breeze to clean up.
– Super thick handle for a safe, comfortable grip – it just “feels right”!
– Extra long, 8 inch stainless steel blade means your zest is the perfect length every time!
– Toss it into the dishwasher when you’re done for easy clean up!
– Durable, built-to-last design is backed by a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

I, of course, am a huge fan of the fact that there is the 100% satisfaction guarantee, and I love the stainless steel blade.  I made some soup the other day and decided to liven it up a bit with some lemon zest.  Yum!lemonzest on sopu

I’m such a geek about wanting to make my food look pretty lately.  I’ve never really cared before, but with the new diet I’m doing, I need to liven thins up every chance I get – it makes it more enjoyable to behave, ha ha!

*No monetary compensation was received. I received the product in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are mine alone.

Save Money While Cooking 4 comments

With the prices of food going up (always!), it’s good to find ways to stretch things, if you can.  Fortunately, there are a lot of different ways to make the grocery budget stretch.  It seems that I learn new ideas every month, and I love it!  Need a few ideas?  Here are some of my newest favorite ways to make that grocery budget last a little longer:


  • rouxI make gravy after cooking meat in the saucepan.  Every time.  I sprinkle some bean flour in to thicken, and then I pour some water or homemade chicken stock into the pan, along with some onion powder and sea salt, to take advantage of the delicious drippings and bits left in the pan after cooking. You could also add milk or cream if you choose.  Meat is expensive, and so is the olive oil I’ll usually cook my meat in, and I’m not about to let any of it go to waste!  I’ll sometimes use it as a gravy, sometimes as a thickener in a soup later.


  • I put a filler in my ground meat.  Every time.  Whether I’m having pan fried hamburgers or meatballs, or taco meat, etc, I always add fillers.  Usually I’ll add an egg or two, but not always.  Sometimes it’s mashed potato flakes, sometimes it’s pureed beans, sometimes it’s leftover rice.  Anything to bulk that meat out is welcome.


  • Pop your own popcorn, instead of using the microwave popcorn packets.  Sometimes I’ll put 1/2 cup of dry popcorn kernels in a paper lunch bag and microwave it like that, and sometimes I’ll pop it over the stove in coconut oil with a little sea salt – yum!  It’s generally quite a bit healthier doing it that way as well.


  • If you make smoothies or banana bread or things like that, no need to buy full priced bananas.  At a few of my local stores, the overripe bananas are available for sale at a nice discount.  I’m going to freeze bananas anyway for my banana smoothie, so I buy the discounted ones and freeze the entire batch immediately.  I used to buy the regular-priced bananas and then when they got brown I’d freeze them.  No more.  Now I just buy ‘em brown and save that extra cash.


  • imagesEat leftover rice.  This tip is from my husband.  I told him that I’ve already shared recipes for this particular tip (HERE and HERE), and he quickly replied, “how about eat leftover mashed potatoes?”  Let me sum the whole thing up for you, dear….how about we all just eat leftover FOOD in general?  ha ha.  I had a good laugh and enjoyed making fun of him. :)  I suppose it IS a good point, anyway.  In fact, you can donate a night to leftovers.  One less meal to plan for the week.


  • Home make your snacks.  I no longer buy chips or crackers…this is mostly due to health concerns, but it’s definitely saved money.  When I want a crunchy snack, I reach for my homemade roasted chickpeas.  And these I NEVER make from the canned chickpeas – oh no, I cook them dry and then roast them.  Using dry beans is so much more economical, and I like being able to control the sodium.  The same goes for many snacks – cook your own plantain chips, your own potato chips, your own popcorn (as I mentioned above), etc.  Tastier, generally healthier, and cheaper!


  •  Stick with the basics.  My diet is fairly predictable, perhaps even boring.  Every week includes at least one leftover night.  We always have a breakfast or taco night.  And you know what?  That’s okay!  If I ate the nice steak on a regular basis, it wouldn’t be very special anymore, now would it?  We definitely do our best to get a variety when it comes to produce, but we also buy in season, which means for the next few months we’ll be eating a lot more oranges.  Predictable?  Yep.  Frugal?  Yep again!


Of course, there are dozens of other great ways to save money in the kitchen.  What is your tried and true tip?


Gluten Free Crunchy Chicken Bites 2 comments

Crunch to the crunch, baby.


I love a good crunch to my chicken “nuggets”.  It’s something I had to give up over the summer when I started on my anti-inflammatory diet.    Well, in the last 2 months I’ve been allowed to slowly add new foods back into my diet, one at a time.  And while nuts are allowed, they just weren’t giving me the classic crunch I was looking for.

Crunchy Chicken Bites

So I cheated.


Actually, not TOTALLY.  As of this week, I am officially allowed to test out foods of my choosing.  But instead of picking a one-ingredient food, I chose to test out Rice Chex.


I know, I’m a cheater.  But oh, I SO enjoyed it!  I made me some CRUNCHY chicken, baby!  Dipped the chicken pieces in some gluten free flour, then in some egg, and then in the finely crushed Rice Chex pieces.  Fried those puppies up and enjoyed them thoroughly.  This is most definitely a “sometimes” food, as Cookie Monster says.  But man oh man, I’ll definitely enjoy it when sometimes comes!


Gluten Free Crunchy Chicken Bites


  • 1lb Chicken breast (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour (I used buckwheat)
  • 1 cup Rice Chex (crushed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Coconut or Olive oil (for cooking)


Step 1
Get out 3 separate bowls. In the first, mix the flour and seasonings. In the second, beat the egg. In the third, add the crushed Rice Chex.
Step 2
Heat olive oil or coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
Step 3
Dip chicken pieces first in flour mixture, and then in egg mixture, and finally in the Rice Chex. Add to the hot pan and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through. It'll be crispy and delicious!







Menu Monday and Weekly Goals – Thanksgiving Week! 4 comments

I’m so, SO much more excited for Thanksgiving this year than usual!  It’s all for lame, selfish reasons, too.  But hey, I’d rather be excited than not!


First of all, I’ve been cleared by my doctor to make some rolls for myself.  Granted, they have to be gluten/dairy free, but there are still tons more ingredients that I haven’t been previously allowed!  Yay for sometimes foods!!


Second, Thanksgiving week equals a 2-day work week.  I’m absolutely thrilled! :D


Lastly, we’ve got some family from out of town coming in to spend the holiday.  It will be so awesome to see them all!  Especially my cute little nieces.  I just love ‘em.


With this excitement mounding, I’m actually feeling motivated enough to create a menu plan for the week.  Like always, I keep all of MY personal meals gluten free, and therefore, most of the family’s.  I’ll sometimes give them a gluten-filled option, like a side of toast or something, but for dinner we’re usually pretty strict.  Here’s the plan:


picmonkey-1024x579Monday: Tostadas (corn tortillas fried in olive oil, topped with lettuce, beans, chicken, salsa, etc)

TuesdayHomemade Taco Bowls (use leftover beans and toppings from Monday)

Wednesday: Fried Rice with Veggies (use leftover rice from Tuesday)

Thursday: Thanksgiving meal

Friday: Leftover night (probably turkey, potatoes and pie, right?)

Saturday: Creamy White Chicken Chili (with leftover turkey instead of chicken)

SundayQuinoa-Crusted Chicken



As for the goals, well, I was able to get everything done last time I set some weekly goals.  The plan for this week isn’t anything grand, but I’m thinking baby steps are the best way to achieve the big stuff anyway:

  • Start new blog – My daughter wants to start a review site with me, where we’ll share our thoughts on fun, girly stuff:  hairstyles, beauty treatments, and products…you know, that type of stuff!
  • Post a movie review and giveaway (keep your eyes peeled!)
  • Go over November budget numbers.

Have a great week, everyone, and have a safe and happy holiday weekend for those in the U.S.!