Adventures in Gluten (and Sugar) Freedom from a southern blogger chick!

Monday, December 2, 2013

New Nabisco Rice Thins -- ready for the holidays

Welcome to the holiday party season.  After years of being gluten free, I've come to feel that I don't fit in at holiday settings at all -- whether I'm relegated to the fruit and veggie tray, or I'm told I should consider bringing my own food.

Well hahaha to you this year.  Nabisco has introduced some delicious new Rice Thins crackers, and I have been carting them around with me to make sure I'm the one with the tastiest treats!

Nabisco recognizes it is sometimes difficult for consumers to find a gluten free snack they can enjoy and thus created a product that caters to everyone. It’s no longer difficult to entertain when you have guests with gluten-free restrictions; with Rice Thins it’s easy to satisfy all lifestyles and palates. Rice Thins is available in three varieties:
  • White Rice Original
  • Brown Rice White Cheddar
  • Brown Rice Sea Salt & Pepper.

Here are a couple of things I've used with Rice Thins:

Pick-a-Peppa Sauce on top of a block of light cream cheese.  This is especially tasty with the sea salt and pepper. 

Cheese balls -- I make mine with cheddar cheese, cream cheese, finely chopped green onions, and I roll them in chopped pecans.  Sometimes I make a cheese ring and fill the center with my homemade pepper jelly. This is great for the plain crackers.

Spinach dip is always a big favorite at holiday gatherings -- these crackers are perfect for dipping in the homemade spinach dip with sour cream, mayo, chopped fresh cooked greens, green onions, parsley, dill and oregano.  In fact, I stopped using the packaged veggie soup mix a long time ago,

I think the cheddar crackers are great with small slices of deli turkey or ham. 

These crackers are readily available -- I've found them locally at Publix, Kroger and WalMart.

Here's a link to the nutritional information for the Cheddar thins.

I hope you'll consider trying them!

Much love,

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sometimes, my life gets a little bit wonky

I'd say that best describes the last THREE MONTHS when I haven't posted to my blog.

For those who sent me information, I will do my best to get the information up here in the next few weeks. I've tried a lot of great products that would be awesome stocking stuffers/gifts for your gluten-free friends.

 I also have a long post I've been working on about sustainability, local food movements, and feeding your family well with local input.  I actually changed my stubborn mind about things this year. While I am still fiercely committed to local food, I am finding more availability as I look around.

I've studied a lot of information this summer (last summer) about local seafood, and I've had a real problem making decisions about actually eating seafood.  I made a promise and I plan to keep it.

Finally, if you follow me on Facebook, you know I made a bucket-list trip to Germany, Austrian and Italy in September.  Then I came home and was sick in bed until the middle of October.  I'm glad I considered it a bucket list trip -- I can't travel like I used to.

But I had a blast.  I just didn't blog much. (I used my Tumblr blog "Squirrels are just rats with good PR" for the travel posts.

I ask your forgiveness, and as I now endeavor to write my missing posts, I ask your patience.

Much Love,

PS  I am in the middle of assessing my CNS Temporal Arteritis and visiting a new rheumatologist, a new endocrinologist, and anyone else at Emory who can help us.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Join the Gluten-Free Awareness Tour in DETROIT

I am very honored to be a part of the blogger team for these wonderful events!  I hope if you live near Detroit, you'll kick off Celiac Disease Awareness Month and attend this extracaganza.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The best s'mores ever made -- hooray for @Plushpuffs

Do you love marshmallows but hate that they're so filled with preservatives?

I think everyone should snap up a few boxes of these delightful artisan marshmallows for the rest of the summer's cook out desserts. Or to eat out of the box. Or to eat out of the...wait. I already said that. You can order them from the site directly, in boxes or in bulk. Or both.

While the site has some great recipes I adapted a 

GRILL TOP S'more RECIPE (here's what they look like assembled).

Two aluminum cupcake pans lined with an aluminum foil cupcake liner (important for removal -- I get these at the Dollar Tree).
I graham cracker, broken in half, for each cup I use American Gra-Frutti gluten free graham crackers.
Two bars Bittersweet or Dark Chocolate (we used Lindt) Broken into chunks
One PLUSH PUFF per cup

Take the tin, and place a half graham cracker on the bottom.
Top with a crumble of chocolate, then a PLUSH PUFF, then more chocolate.
Make a hat for it with another chunk of Graham Cracker.

Place on the grill for about three-five minutes,  Watch carefully! Don't leave them.


Here's more information about PLUSH PUFFS:

Plush Puffs Gourmet Marshmallows are handmade, all natural, low-fat intensely flavored marshmallows! Many varieties are gluten free and have no high-fructose corn syrup. Light, fluffy, billowy puffs of sticky, gooey goodness, these gourmet marshmallows are made the old fashioned way – handmade in a two day process of whipping to a heavenly lightness, and flavored with the absolute highest quality all-natural ingredients. From whipping at a precise time and temperature to cutting them by hand, there are no short cuts taken to make these gourmet Puffs.
Plus there's a great assortment of gluten-free products.  

I hope you like them as much as I did! Order some now for your next treat!

Much love,

Six months in -- retirement at a glance (or, why I'm so behind on my blogging).

This is a profound apology to all of those merchants who've been sending me samples.

I'm behind and I apologize.

Those who know of my battle with Giant Cell Arteritis/Temporal Arteritis know I'm on chemo and prednisone and battle chronic illnesses. I don't use my health as an excuse lightly -- but I have been behind in my blogging about some fine gluten free products.

If you want to read about my health, click here.

I'm going to try to catch up as soon as I can. I appreciate your patience.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

a Great Fathers Day treat from @Switchtoturkey Jenni-O Turkey Products

Photo: Jenn-O website

Throughout the Spring, I've been trying to lighten our cholesterol and consume more lean protein. I was impressed that the Jenni-O turkey products are healthy, lean, and gluten free.

The kind folks at Jenni-O sent me coupons to share with my friends and readers, and the winners were:

•Katy G
•Tabitha G
•Randi B
•April B
•Sheila B
•Monica E

I used two coupons to try some wonderful GF turkey meatballs. 

But the best find -- and the one I suggest for the Fathers Day or July 4 Grill, are these burgers --
Turkey Jalapeno Jack burgers.  I admit it took it a while to find them locally, but I'm really glad I did! They are delicious as a burger steak -- we topped with homemade Ninfa's Sauce and more pepper jack cheese. Who needs buns?

Here's a history of this sauce, and also the recipe.

MAKE AHEAD: The green sauce's flavors and texture improve when the salsa is refrigerated for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day in advance.

Makes 9 cups (18 servings)


  • 20 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 6 jalapeno peppers, seeded and stemmed
  • 2 medium onions, cut into quarters
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and wrapped as a group in aluminum foil
  • 6 ripe Hass/dark-skinned avocados
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
Position the top oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element; preheat the broiler.
Arrange the tomatillos, jalapenos, onions and garlic packet on a baking sheet. Broil for 15 to 20 minutes, monitoring theables closely and turning them regularly to ensure even charring. Let them cool on the sheet.
While the vegetables are roasting and cooling, cut the avocados in half horizontally. Remove their pits and scoop out the flesh.
Working in batches, transfer the tomatillos, avocados, onions, jalapenos and roasted garlic to a blender; puree until smooth. (For a spicier green sauce, you can always roast extra jalapenos and add them one at a time until you reach your desired heat level; you can also leave the seeds and stems intact.)
Pour the batches of pureed green sauce into a mixing bowl large enough to hold 9 cups or more. Fold in the sour cream until you reach the consistency you desire. Fold in the chopped cilantro and the salt.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day before serving; taste and adjust the salt as needed.

Recipe Source:

Adapted from a recipe in Walsh's "The Tex-Mex Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos" (Broadway Books, 2004).

Much love, and many thanks Jenni-O!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Exploring Soyfoods as part of a gluten-free diet

There's still another week to go in National Celiac Awareness Month, and I've got a really cool recipe for you to try.  

I made this Sunday.  It's awesome. 

And here's the recipe:
(I used olive oil/butter, light cream cheese, and almond milk. This could be completely dairy free if need be.)

Chicken and Noodle Toss
2 8-ounce packages tofu shirataki noodles, fettucine-shaped  
1 tablespoon butter
4 ounces cream cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup lowfat milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup sliced baby Portobello mushrooms
2 medium red and/or yellow bell peppers, cut into thin slices
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen edamame
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste

1.     Rinse and drain shirataki noodles thoroughly. Transfer to a microwave safe bowl and microwave one minute. Dry noodles thoroughly and set aside.

2.     In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add cream cheese and use a heat-resistant spoon or spatula to blend it with the butter. Add cheese, mixing to combine. Whisk in milk and heat until sauce is smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

3.     In a large skillet, heat oil. Add mushrooms and peppers and sauté a few minutes. Add garlic and edamame and heat until vegetables are desired tenderness. Add chicken, noodles, and cheese sauce to the skillet, mixing to combine. Season with salt and black pepper, if desired. Warm mixture a few more minutes, then serve. Makes 4 servings.

Here's info on the Soyfoods Council and Soyfoods:
As we observe National Celiac Disease Awareness Month in May, remember that soyfoods are a great choice for people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease affecting the digestive system. The Soyfoods Council offers resources, including “How to Eat and Live Gluten-Free.” The free brochure includes recipes and easy-to-understand explanations about celiac disease. It also offers suggestions for making gluten-free flour mixes, and provides tips for baking with soy flour. You’ll find recipes such as Cheesy Polenta Casserole, an Italian-inspired layered dish to serve in place of lasagna, Chicken and Noodle Toss made with tofu shirataki noodles, Curried Corn and Pepper Chowder with a protein boost from soymilk, and Edamame and Walnut Salad. In addition, another free brochure, “Cookies for any Occasion,” includes an easy recipe for Gluten-Free Refrigerator Cookies made with soy flour and flavored with lemon or almond extract. 
For people who have celiac disease, eating gluten—found in wheat, rye and barley—causes an immune system reaction. The reaction damages the lining of the small intestine so that it loses its ability to absorb food nutrients. Avoiding gluten can allow the small intestine to heal. Gluten-free diets avoid most breads, pastas and cereals. In addition, many processed foods such as sauces, dressings and marinades contain gluten. Because gluten-free eating can be complicated, it’s best to consult a registered dietician for help in planning meals and snacks. Keep in mind, too, that when going gluten-free, soyfoods can address several nutrition concerns. Here are a few examples: 
• Soyfoods can add nutrients to your gluten-free diet. Avoiding breads and cereals that have been fortified with vitamins and minerals can mean missing out on important nutrients like iron, calcium, fiber and B-vitamins. However, soyfoods can replace many of these nutrients. Soybeans, soymilk and tofu provide calcium. Soybeans, soy flour, TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) and flour provide B-vitamins and iron. Soy also offers complete protein and fiber.
• Many soyfoods are naturally gluten-free: Many soyfoods, including tofu and edamame, are naturally gluten-free. Tofu is great in stir-fry dishes, smoothies and desserts. Roasted soynuts make great gluten-free, crunchy snacks. Because some flavored varieties may contain gluten, it’s best to stick with plain soynuts or add your own flavorings. 
• Soy flour can stand in for all-purpose (wheat) flour in baking. For best results, mix soy flour with other gluten-free flours. Baked goods made with soy flour may brown more quickly, so lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees to avoid over-browning. In baking, use one of these flour mixes to replace an equal amount of all-purpose flour in recipes:   -- ½ cup soy flour + ½ cup potato starch flour   -- ½ cup soy flour + ½ cup rice flour        -- ½ cup soy flour + ¼ cup potato flour + ¼ cup rice flour      -- ¼ cup soy flour + ¼ cup tapioca flour + ½ cup brown rice flour
For additional information about how soyfoods fit into a gluten free diet, visit The Soyfoods Council website at It’s your one-stop resource for materials such as the brochures “How to Eat and Live Gluten-Free!” and “Cookies for Any Occasion.” You’ll also find recipes for meals, snacks and celebrations, along with cooking tips, instructional videos and health and nutrition information. Bookmark the site and visit it often, because new recipes and resources are constantly being added.
About the Soyfoods Council: The Soyfoods Council is a non-profit organization, created and funded by Iowa soybean farmers, providing a complete resource to increase awareness of soyfoods, educate and inform media, healthcare professionals, consumers and the retail and foodservice market about the many benefits of soyfoods.  Iowa is the country’s number one grower of soybeans and is the Soyfoods Capital of the world.

I learned a lot!  Thank you!

Much love,

TO BE CONTINUED...............

A giveaway from @MyBlogSpark and @BettyCrocker

A recent poll of gluten free people (and a recent best of gluten free contest) still is picking the Betty Crocker gluten-free products as a big winner!  If you've tried them, you know this is correct -- many consider the Betty Crocker Brownie Mix the best of all time!

I am happy to announce a new giveaway with Betty Crocker and MyBlogSpark -- and it's a tremendous offer.  It come with the announce of TWO NEW Betty Crocker gluten-free mix products. Read this info from Betty:

Gluten Free baking gets even easier (and tastier!) with two all-new additions to the delicious line of Betty Crocker Gluten Free baking products — introducing Gluten Free Sugar Cookie mix and All-Purpose Gluten Free Rice Flour Blend.
Smart moms already trust the great taste of Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownie, Cookie and Cake mixes that the whole family can enjoy, and now beginner-to-expert bakers can use mixes or create from scratch delicious recipes year-round!
So why are Gluten Free moms choosing Betty Crocker?
Yoplait® Greek 100 Calories
  • Taste — Our consumers rave about the great taste of our Gluten Free products. Check out some of the great comments here (hyperlink -
  • Shareable — You can make one dessert for the whole family.
  • Normalcy — You can feel "normal again" baking for your family just like before you went gluten free.
Gluten Free

SOOO how do you win a wonderful prize pack of some super baking tools from MBlogSpark and
Betty Crocker?  Easy as gluten-free pie!

1. Follow this blog
2. Tweet me the comment Pick Me to @GingerCM on Twitter
3. Or, post that comment here on the blog
4. Wait until June 1 at 7 p.m. and I'll post who wins!

Here's what you get:

Your gift pack will contain:
  • Baking Tool Set
  • 8" Square Cake Pan
  • Retail Value: $60

And here's the disclosure that lets you know it's legit:

"The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark."

Much Love, and tweet me!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Reflections on the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event in Atlanta

This week, I celebrate my gluten-free anniversary.  It was in May of 2007 when I entered into a life of gluten freedom, a journey from which I have never looked back.

Earlier this month, I had the privilege to attend the GFAF Wellness Event in Atlanta. I say privilege because I am also humbled by the companies that dedicate themselves to making product for gluten-free and allergy sensitive people. 

What I found at the expo was interesting -- I would say that maybe half the vendors were from Metro Atlanta. I remember the first expo I attended in 2008 -- there were impressive vendors from all over the U.S.. but the number of locally made products was small.

Not anymore. It's amazing the types of product you can purchase in a storefront in Metro Atlanta. And they're good products at that. I remember when no bakery made a gluten-free cupcake.  Now.....  

Look at the folks lining up for samples....

I found a couple of tasty new (to me) products at the event. 

• I am enchanted by Frannie's Gluten Free Muffins, zucchini muffins -- one of my favorite flavors.  And owner Frannie designed her own packaging. She also has a sweet and very proud Mom. One of the things I liked was her packaging -- she wraps her muffins individually, which keeps them fresher and cross-contamination free.

• Jules Dowler Shepard, a good buddy from past expos and Twitter, was also appealing to the crowd, selling her flour from her Jules Gluten Free  site.  Her product line really is great for the newly gluten free. Her afternoon demo was sponsored by Earth Balance -- who also provided some fine vegan butter-tasting popcorn!

BTW, Earth Balance®  Vegan Buttery Sticks have been nominated for Vegetarian Times’ 2013 Foodie Awards in the category of Butter + Butter Alternatives. Polls are open until May 31so vote now—and spread the word!

• Always a gluten-free pacesetter, Marilyn Santulli from American Gra-Frutti was serving cookies made with her new Cassava flour. Look for a future recipe here using this flour.
Her new product line, Marilyn's Artisan Crackers, which includes my favorites, the cheese dots and the graham crackers.

• PASCHA Chocolate (check out their divine website)  is about to launch its chocolate into the gf world. I tasted the 66 percent chocolate -- it was a very dense, delicious bite of chocolate. I would buy this product. 

If you missed this expo, there are events in the future as well: 

Raleigh/Durham, NC ~ August 17, 2013 ~ Durham Convention Center 10 am - 4 pm
Baton Rouge, LA ~ November 2, 2013 ~ The Cook Hotel & Conference Center at LSU10 am - 4 pm

So with that, I'd like to encourage you to support vendors who support you in your being gluten free. I think they appreciate us!

Much love, and many thanks!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A few cool recipes from a cool new cookbook No Bake Makery

A few weeks ago I received this delightful little cookbook called "No Bake Makery," which was release just this week.  It is filled with lovely no-bake desserts, many of which are gluten free.  I also thought a lot of the recipes were easy to adapt to gluten free.

Want a copy of your very own?  Keep reading!

The publisher was kind enough to give me permission to publish two recipes that gluten free and might be perfect for the upcoming Spring and Summer holidays.Here are some details:

What's the easiest way to make delicious and adorable desserts? Without an oven especially with Summer around the corner! New Yorker and Miami-native Cristina Suarez Krumsick is all too familiar with the stress of baking in a kitchen that is both too small and too hot. But never one to say no to hosting a party, Cristina traded the frustrations of traditional baking for the whimsy and innovation of treats she could make sans oven. Experimenting with ingredients found right in her cupboards, Cristina has developed a range of treats (including ones that are gluten-free and gluten-free option!) perfect for any occasion. The recipes in NO BAKE MAKERY offer all the fun of baking (and eating!), but none of the fuss. As we like to say, these mini delicious treats are made with lovin', not an oven. 
The publisher also offered a couple of gluten-free recipes for this blog. I'm certain these Star Burst swould be great for Memorial Day! (and I just happen to have a big bag of Starburst from the food co-op haul last week.And the fudge?  I have a lot of almond butter around here right now!

Star Bursts:
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 15 ice pop sticks, cut in half
  • 30 Starburst candies
  1. Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, and orange juice in a large bowl. Using a rubber spatula, stir until evenly blended.
  1. Spoon the yogurt mixture into ice cube trays, filling each opening about three-quarters full. Tap the tray against a hard surface to even out the mixture.
  1. Stick the blunt side of an ice pop stick into a Starburst and place one in each ice cube slot. Tap the tray against a hard surface again to even it out.
  1. Freeze for 4 hours, or until solid. Carefully flex the tray to release the pops. 

Almond Butter Fudge: Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup unsalted creamy almond butter
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  1. Line an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  1. Place the butter in a small saute pan over low heat. When it is just barely melted, add 1/2 cup of the sliced almonds and toast until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  1. Combine the almond butter, condensed milk, honey, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the remaining untoasted sliced almonds in a large bowl. Using a rubber spatula, stir until evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
  1. Sprinkle the toasted almonds and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt over the mixture in the pan. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until the fudge is set.
  1. Gently remove the fudge from the pan and place it on a cutting board. Peel off the foil and cut into two-bite pieces.
Want a copy of this book?  Enter my giveaway!  Tweet me @GingerCM and tell me why you'd like to have this lovely book!  And enjoy the recipes here.  The contest will end May 20th at 5 p.m.

Much love and happy no bakeing!


 BAKE MAKERY (Grand Central Life & Style; 9781455525133; $20).