JASON Kids Only! Gluten Free Toothpaste

A recent funny post that Kim made over at Gluten-Free Is Life, titled “True Blogger Confessions,” got me to thinking about GF dental products, so I wanted to share the brand of toothpaste that I buy for my boys.  JASON Kids Only! is an all-natural line of products that are specifically designed for children. The following is some information from the JASON Everyday Natural Care website:

Safe and natural ingredients are crucial to a child’s health and wellness. Children’s skin is approximately 30% thinner than adults so pure and effective natural ingredients become ever more important. JASON Kids Only! are free of harsh chemicals and contain an abundance of natural essential oils and extracts to protect, hydrate and soothe. Delicious natural fruity flavors and fragrances to make bathing time fun! Easy to use packaging. Ten product range to cover a child from head to toe.

  • Kids Only! is Paraben and Sulfate Free
  • Kids Only! is Wheat and Gluten Free
  • Kids Only! is Mineral Oil, Lanolin and Petrolatum Free
  • Kids Only! is Fluoride and Glycol Free
  • Kids Only! is Tear and Phthalate Free

Sam and Luke love the taste of the Strawberry Toothpaste.  I love the fact that “Wheat and Gluten Free” are written right on the front of the tube! 😀

Ingredient Label for the Strawberry Toothpaste

JASON has an entire line of kid products that include shampoo, conditioner, bath gels, hand soap and toothpaste, all gluten-free!  Click here for a store locator in your area.  Know where I buy mine?  Toys R’ Us!

A couple of other quick things that you might be interested in:

In case you did not get to see the insert on Celiac Disease in the May 7th copy of the USA Today, you can read it in full here. For more great celiac awareness information, visit the American Celiac Disease Alliance.

Also, if you have a kiddo that loves pancakes, be sure to check out the NordicWare Pancake Pan Giveaway that Alta of Tasty Eats At Home is doing! Alta also made a GREAT post on Celiac and Gluten Intolerance Awareness yesterday.  Alta offered quite a few links to some wonderful resources that you may find as helpful as I have!  There are two in particular she linked to, that I want to draw your attention to (especially if you are new to the gluten-free lifestyle).  One is Shirley Braden’s (of Gluten-Free Easily) list of “50+ Things You Can Eat Today.” The other is by Karina Allrich (of Gluten Free Goddess) and it is called “Gluten-Free ABC’s for Going G-Free.”  Be sure to check out those links over at Tasty Eats At Home, and while you are there…  tempt yourself with these delectable GF Brownie Bites that Alta made (these would be great to make for Mother’s Day tomorrow!).  I mean really, with treats like that, who wouldn’t want to be gluten-free!? 🙂

Looking for more gluten-free Mother’s Day Inspiration?

Check out:

Amy’s Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream over at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free.

Jeanne’s Tres Leche Cake over at Four Chickens.

Jill’s Monkey Bread over at Hey, that taste’s good! (she’s not kidding, that tastes GOOD!)

Glutino Chocolate and Yogurt Covered Pretzels

Yesterday, my shipment of Glutino Chocolate and Yogurt Covered Pretzels arrived!  There has been quite a bit of buzz around this new product since the announcement was made in March on Food Biz Daily, so the second I heard they were available for sale on GlutenFree.com, I had to order some.  Sam used to love the Pretzel Flipz back in his gluten days so I decided to wait and let him be the one to open the package and be the first sampler.

Now, Sam is only 6 so his taste-testing and critiquing skills are still rather limited, as is his database of descriptive words, so keep that in mind with his review (it’s a short one, LOL!).

Sam: GLUUUU-TEN, yeah, yeah, gluten!

Translation: The Glutino Chocolate and Yogurt covered pretzels taste just as good as the Pretzel Flipz in Sam’s memory!

Click the following links for ingredient and nutritional information: Glutino Chocolate Covered Pretzels and Glutino Yogurt Covered Pretzels.

My review: the Glutino Chocolate and Yogurt covered pretzels ARE good, however, they are kind of pricey after you add in the shipping costs.  I ordered one 5.5-ounce package of each flavor from GlutenFree.com, each retailing for $5.99.  After adding in the $12.00 shipping cost, each package essentially cost $12.00.  I cannot wrap my brain around that, no matter how good they are.  I would definitely buy these again, but I will wait until they are available in local stores.  Until then, I will just keep making my own (with Glutino’s GF pretzels of course!).  There is an added benefit to making my own too…  I have to make them in order to eat them, so there is a built in “self-control” mechanism going on.  When the Glutino Chocolate and Yogurt Covered Pretzels hit my local store shelves, I might be in trouble in the waistline department! 🙂

These are my homemade version of Glutino Chocolate Covered Pretzels... they are certainly not as pretty and I do not have a Yogurt version! I do have white chocolate though, hmm... 😉

Tribe All-Natural Hummus

On a recent trip to Costco, I found a package of Tribe Hummus Snacker Packs and I thought they would be great for tossing into the boy’s Easy Lunchboxes (a great “prepackaged” 100-calorie pack! Just toss in some carrots or other raw veggies and there you have it! 😉 ).  A box of 16 individual snack packs cost just under $6.00!  I read the ingredient label and could noticed that there were no gluten containing ingredients but the gluten-free label that used to be on packages of Tribe Hummus had vanished from the package.  I went ahead and bought it but decided to contact the company to inquire about the GF status before I presumed it was okay.  The simple removal of a gluten-free label that was once on a package can easily make one believe that the product is no longer safe to consume.

I emailed Tribe and received the following reply:

March 30, 2010

Hello Heidi,

Thank you for your interest in Tribe products.
Just wanted to let you know regarding your question,
“all” our hummus flavors are “Gluten Free.” Hope this
eases your mind.

I am sending you some money saving coupons toward your
next purchase. Enjoy!


Peg Volpe

Consumer Affairs Specialist

A week or so after I received the email confirming that Tribe Hummus is still gluten-free, I received a letter and coupons (thank you Tribe!) further explaining why the gluten-free label is no longer on their packaging:

In case you have trouble reading the letter:

June 5th, 2009

To Our Valued Customers,

We recently removed the phrase “gluten free” from our packaging.” Our marketing department continually revises the claims and information on our packaging to keep with current trends and to provide our customers with the information we feel is most pertinent.

Nothing has changed in Tribes process or ingredients; hummus is inherently a gluten-free food, and Tribe will continue testing to ensure such.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.


Jesse Norris, Quality Control Manager

Tribe Mediterranean Food Inc.

774-961-0000 x 117


They must not have known that gluten-free foods would be one of the hottest trends of 2010! In fact, it was rated as #3 back in January by The Daily Beast.

Is it just me (assuming you have been at this for awhile too), or did we just become part of the “cool kids?” 😀

Gluten-Free Easter Candy

Mike and I are trying something new this year with our boys for Easter.  We are kickin’ it old school!

Not sure how popular the “Easter Bunny” will be in our house come Sunday, but I am keeping my fingers crossed!  Instead of loading their baskets with neon colored commercial candies, I am making a few molded chocolates (baseball gloves, footballs, bunnies and “magic wands“).  Sam is also getting his first “big boy” bike and Luke is getting a “daddy-built” sandbox complete with dump trucks, shovels and the like.  I also bought some cute Jelly Belly Bubbles (sugar-free!), that I found at Toys R’ Us. 😀

Making your own chocolate candies is actually not as difficult as it sounds (trust me on this, even my husband has made them!). All you need are some inexpensive molds, which you can find at any craft store (or online) for about $1.99 each. You also need chocolate (I’m not talking Couverture chocolate here, which needs tempering, that is WAY over my head!). You can use gluten-free melting wafers (I use Chocoley’s Bada Bing Bada Boom Candy Melts), but you can also get them at craft stores; Make’n Mold Candy Wafers are also gluten-free and they come in all sorts of colors. You can also use vegan chocolate chips if you need need something that is dairy-free.

While I personally prefer the taste of Chocoley’s candy melts (over the Make’n Mold Candy Wafers), I have also made candy using the 365 Organics Vegan Chocolate Chips. The first time I just melted the chips in a double boiler then poured into the molds and placed in the fridge to set. The candies set up fine (and tasted fine as well) but there were a bunch of unsightly white spots all over the candy.  I think that was something called chocolate bloom (remember, I am not an expert!):

Spotty chocolate using vegan chocolate chips without the added Spectrum Shortening.

I made the candy bars again, but this time I added 1 Tbs. of Spectrum Shortening to each cup of vegan chocolate chips as I was melting the chocolate in the double boiler.  I then repeated everything else the same and no white spots!!  This version of homemade chocolate candy will melt more easily, so keep it in the fridge!

No spots after I added the Spectrum Shortening to the vegan chocolate chips!

I made some gluten-free “Nestle Crunch” candy bars back in December and have since been trying other add-in’s like sunflower seeds and graham crackers bits.  We really like the sunflower seeds as an add-in (see above picture), the perfect blend of salty and sweet. This would be a great candy bar for those allergic to peanuts and tree nuts!

This candy bar has broken pieces of Kinnikinnick's "S'moreables," a GREAT GF Graham Cracker!!

Miss Twix candy bars? I made a gluten-free version of Twix last summer (I really shouldn’t link to it, so embarrassing to look at my newbie blog posts)! I still use the Schar Shortbread Cookies (they are soooo good!) but I no longer use the Kraft Caramels. I use Chocoley’s Caramel instead.

Gluten-Free "Twix"

Chocolate Dipped S'moreables GF Graham Crackers

The chocolate "dish" was a fun mold to experiment with!

Homemade Chocolate Dipped Glutino's GF Pretzel Twists

Looking forward to Glutino’s Chocolate and Yogurt Covered Pretzels coming out!!

Teeny-Tiny Magic Wands with Glutino's GF Pretzel Sticks

I am still working on my campaign to get Glutino to make some gluten-free pretzel rods! I have strapping “manly men” in my house and the teeny-tiny magic wands just don’t cut it, (nor do my homemade pretzel rods!) LOL! 😀

As I was scrolling through some older photos from back in December (still need to catch up on some long overdue reviews), I saw a photo that I had completely forgotten about. I received a lot of great goodies from Schar and one of the products were “Italian Breadsticks.” They are great on their own, but I tried to turn them into pretzel rods by brushing them with melted butter and sprinkling Kosher salt on top before baking them for a few minutes to set the salt:

Dip faux GF pretzel rod in melted chocolate.

Add GF Sprinkles, then place in the refrigerator to set!

THIS is what I was trying to achieve for Sam’s Friday Fun Snack a few weeks ago when they were making “magic wands!” There are also a lot of fun chocolate pretzel rod molds that are hard to make without a GF pretzel rod! Have I made my case for Glutino to make GF Pretzel Rods???? If you’re with me on this, let’s bombard Glutino with Tweets and emails, Towanda!!! 😀

I found some foil candy wrappers at the craft store to add the finishing touch!

One last thing. A couple of days ago I found Annie’s Homegrown Gluten-Free Bunny Cookies (at La Montanita Coop for folks who live in the Albuquerque area). They are perfect for Easter and I also happen to need them for Sam’s Friday Fun Snack next week when they are making Mud Pies from Chocolate Teddy Grahams. You have no idea how HAPPY I am, that I don’t have to try and make a GF version from scratch!!!!

These are really good! Now if Annie’s would just make a gluten-free version of their Cheddar Bunnies, I might be able to get out of the kitchen more often! 😉 Might need to launch another campaign…

All that being said, there is a great gluten-free Easter candy list over at MyGlutenFacts.com. Denis and Josh run a GREAT website and I love their videos!

So check it out and subscribe to MyGlutenFacts.com… it’s FREE!!

Easy Lunchbox System Winner and A Few Lunchbox Ideas

WOW! What an amazing giveaway this has been! It is nice to know that I am not alone in my struggle to come up with creative lunchbox meals for my boys… and my quest to find the “perfect” lunchbox solution! I had a lot of fun this weekend cleaning out all of our old lunchboxes, containers with missing lids, etc., etc. and taking them to Goodwill.

It was L.I.B.E.R.A.T.I.N.G.!

I now have a nice little stack of 8 Easy Lunchbox Containers (I ordered another set plus 2 more lunchboxes!) that stack so well together and take up very little space.

Priceless. 😀

Okay, so it is time to announce the winner!

There were 251 entries after I tallied up all the bonus entries (THANK YOU!! I so deeply appreciate all your efforts, we loved reading everyone’s comments and we got some GREAT lunch ideas!). I used a Random Number Generator to pick the winner and that winner is…

Jen Hadley!!!!

Congratulations Jen, you FINALLY won one of my giveaways! 🙂 I will email you to get your shipping information and your color choice for a lunchbox.

For everyone else, don’t forget to visit Jasmere.com tomorrow, March 30, 2010 and order the Easy Lunchbox System for up to 70% off!! Jasmere is really cool concept, check it out here (be sure to watch the short video too)!! The Easy Lunchbox System will be featured for just 24 hours!!

I want to order more to keep on hand and give as gifts!! I plan on getting my “Tweet On” and posting all over Facebook to help drive the price down for EVERYONE! Wanna join me? 😉

The bees are little cupcake picks that I found at the store where I have been taking my cake decorating classes, a fun way to keep “meat roll-ups” from coming undone!

Sam and Luke love the Chocolate Greek Yogurt by Stonyfield Farms, click here for Stonyfield Farms gluten-free product list.

The monkey is an icepack that I found at Walmart.

Yogos are one of those “once in a blue moon” treats I get for the boy’s lunchboxes, I think this is only the second box I have bought this school year. I could never imagine sending one of these in their lunch every day, they maybe get one a month.

13 Grams of Sugar!!! And there are not a lot of Yogos per package either:

31 Yogos = 13 grams of sugar. How much is 13 grams of sugar? According to Dr. Robyn Silverman, 13 grams of sugar is equal to 3 1/4 TEASPOONS!!

That, my friends, is 3 1/4 teaspoons of sugar. The same amount in one package of Yogos, OYE, I think I need to sit down! Seriously, I am a college graduate so I do have some smarts about about me but holey moley, I had no idea! This just makes me mad, sad and embarrassed at the same time! Maybe I should take these photos off and pretend I didn’t just send my sons to school with this junk! 😉

I realize my tangent is running a little long so I will pass over the partially hydrogenated oil and the common food colorings but check this out on Carmine Coloring. Ewww! Here’s a funny article on Carmine Coloring which I think I will be reading to Sam tonight to see if I can persuade him to drop the Yogos, LOL! Ever notice that if you can trick your kids into “making the decision,” then they don’t fight you on the matter?? I am a BIG fan of Reverse Psychology! 😉

Sam saw these one day when we were in Target and mentioned that a classmate took these in his lunch sometimes. Naturally, Sam wanted to know if he could have them too and sure enough, the Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn by Frito-Lay is gluten-free!

One last thing before signing off… did you get a chance to see Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution, airing on Friday nights on ABC?  Well, if you missed it like I did, you can watch the first two full episodes here, then set your DVR to record it!! Also, you can sign Jaime’s Food Revolution Petition by clicking the picture below!

Also be sure to check out Jaime’s “Get Cooking” page for some great looking recipes and tips for setting up your own kitchen!

There is also a great page for schools with advice, menu plans and even some free downloadable “stickers” for motivating kids!

I love it!

Easy Lunchboxes Update

You are gonna LOVE this!

I signed up for the Easylunchboxes.com Newsletter after I totally fell in love with this lunch box system and guess what I found in my email inbox today??

A Newsletter!

Warning: You MUST laugh at my joke, even though it really isn’t funny, or even a joke for that matter. I am delirious from making 1,000 gluten-free Goldfish Crackers (Kindergarten class project), plus some gluten-free “Nilla Wafers” and sugar cookies for Sam’s Friday Fun Snack (they are building “Cat In The Hat” cookies), PLUS this weekend is my mom’s birthday and my mom-in-law’s birthday is shortly thereafter, not to mention I am going on a double date Saturday for my BFF’s 40th birthday so I better make her a cake (I am WAY younger than her, like 20 years younger!). Before you begin to think otherwise, re-read my previous warning.) I am also baking GF cupcakes for Luke’s preschool Easter celebration and I totally forgot that I signed up for a “Stage Cakes” decorating class on Saturday morning, so that is 3 more GF cakes!

Oh yeah, the newsletter mentioned an upcoming sale, on one day only, for…

up to 70% OFF!!

Click here for more information!

Easy Lunchbox System Review and Giveaway

I cannot even BEGIN to tell you how thrilled I am with this lunchbox system!!

Before I go into the specifics of the Easy Lunchbox System though, I need to vent. 😀

I kid you not, I am overflowing with lunchboxes and containers! I have never found a “one size fits all” solution to packing the boys lunches for school. It’s hard enough to pack a regular lunch, but when you have to pack food for children with dietary restrictions, you are including not only lunch, but snacks too (and drinks). There have been times when I have had to send not one, but TWO separate lunchboxes for the boys, one for lunch and one for snacks and drinks! The lunchboxes are usually too small to hold several little containers, so I have to use baggies to make the food fit, which often leads to “smushed” sandwiches, broken chips, etc., plus you have to fit an ice pack in the lunchbox on top of it! Arrrggghhh!

Personally, I am not a huge fan of the Laptop Lunchbox system, I love the idea of it, but I have had issues with ours. There are too many pieces to keep up with and the containers are restrictive for what they can hold. It worked okay when Sam was in preschool with an itty-bitty appetite but he is a growing boy, with a growing appetite to boot. Plus, the Laptop Lunchbox and its containers were difficult for Sam and Luke to open on their own, I couldn’t fit one of our ice packs in it and you have to clip the beverage to the outside which doesn’t keep it cool and makes it awkward to carry. And they are expensive, at $37.99 for the Original System, which is what I have.

Earlier in the school year, I reviewed the Rachael Ray Meal Carrier. At the time, it was the best lunchbox I had found but that was before I started to make Sam the occasional GF Lunchable, which does not fit in the Rachael Ray Meal Carrier, so I had to use a different style of lunchbox to fit a GF Lunchable, and even then, I had to stick it in on its side so everything slid to the bottom. I still like the Rachael Ray Meal Carrier, but it has some limitations for me.

Packing the boys lunches had become an hour long process between making the food, searching for container pieces and finding the right size lunchbox to fit everything in! Not my idea of a good time! 😉 I won’t even mention what clutter does to my ADD mind.

A couple of weeks ago, I was searching the internet for a better solution and I happened upon the EasyLunchBoxes.com website. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! Kelly sent me a complimentary lunchbox and a 4-pack of containers to test-drive and review on my blog. Let me just say this, as I am working on my “Spring Cleaning,” ALL of my former lunchboxes and their “pieces” are going to Goodwill! 😀

I am going to order 3 more lunchboxes (only $7.95 each) and one more set of containers ($13.95 for a set of 4 containers)!!

Kelly Lester is the BRILLIANT mom behind the Easy Lunchbox System (and my new hero!). Here is a little bit of information on Kelly:

KELLY LESTER is the owner, creator, and mom behind Easylunchboxes.com. During the last two decades she has been an entrepreneur, wife, and mother of three. She is also an actress and singer.

Easylunchboxes.com was born out of Kelly’s innate ability to do things efficiently while on a shoestring budget, and her desire to send her daughters to school with simple, healthy food, with little to no extra packaging or ingredients. Her past struggle with weight control inspires her to teach and model healthy eating habits for her children, and has fueled her dedication to always send them off to school with a great lunch. Kelly’s healthy lifestyle was recently featured on MOM TRENDS.

Kelly combined her self taught business-savvy with her natural inclination to think “what would other parents want?” — to develop the perfect lunchbox system. She is thrilled and proud to share her Easylunchboxes and lunch bags with other families who will benefit by their simple design, great price, and amazing functionality. Additionally, by promoting the waste-free lunch movement, EasyLunchboxes.com is helping the planet one lunch box at a time.

Kelly has been married to actor Loren Lester since 1988. They live in Woodland Hills, CA with their three daughters, Jenny, Lily, & Julia, and their dog, Albany.

For more on Kelly, click here.

There are currently 5 colors of lunchboxes to choose from. It would be cool to see pink or another “girly” color come available. 😉

4-pack of Containers.

In case you are wondering (like I did) if these are made of a similar material to the GladWare containers (that tend to warp), the answer is no. The Easy Lunchbox containers are of much higher quality, because they are a harder plastic (but no fear…they are BPA-free! See the FAQ section below for more info on the plastic used).

Note: If you order a set of these (or are the winner of this giveaway) be sure to unpack the containers carefully. They arrive stacked together and tightly packed. Be patient and separate them slowly so they don’t crack (like one of mine did). If I had taken the time to read the note in the package beforehand, I would have KNOWN that, but I was just like a child on Christmas morning when the box arrived! 🙂

Sam is starting to think these are “cooler” than the GF Lunchable! I think I smell a “mommy victory” in the air! 😉

A few FAQS on the Easy Lunchbox System:

What are the dimensions of the Lunch Container?
9.48 x 6.1 x 2

What are the dimensions of the Lunch Bag?
9 x 6.5 x 6.5” (the sides flex out a bit to hold the container securely and without wiggle room, ensuring that the container does not shake around in the bag, thereby keeping the food stabilized).

Are your products food safe?
We are very proud of our products’ safety ratings. We have ensured that all the materials used in our containers and bags are food and child safe and even pass strict FDA requirements! Easylunchbox products contain NO Lead, Vinyl, PVC, Phthalates, or Bisphenol A (BPA). Click HERE for more about our product safety info.

Are the containers safe to use in the microwave?
Our plastic containers are FDA-approved for microwave use. They are made with the highest grade polypropylene plastic (#5), a plastic that does not leach any BPA or Phthalates when heated or cooled. More info here.

Can I wash the containers in the dishwasher?
Absolutely! However, keep them away from the heating element.

For more FAQs, click here.

Check out this video:

The EasyLunchBoxes.com website has a great page called “Neat Ideas,” and I have gotten quite a few of them to use for Sam and Luke’s lunches.

Gallery of Yummy Lunches

Lunchmaking Hints and Tips

Links to Great Easy Lunch Recipe Ideas

Gallery of Creative Lunchbox Tags (there are some great ideas for lunchbox tags, which can be extremely useful for food allergy kids, see below).

We received the Easy Lunchbox System just as the boys went on Spring Break, so today is the first time Sam is actually taking it to school. Over the break though, they were very excited to eat every single meal out of them! Below are a few photos of different meal ideas, but first I want to point out the lunchbox tag feature.

This tag was issued by Sam’s school at the beginning of the year. I was inspired by the “Gallery of Lunchbox Tags,” so I am going to make some new tags for Sam. I will post pictures of those once I get them made. I love that this lunchbox has a ready-made hole for the tag, it has been tricky to clip this on some of the lunchboxes we have.

I am Bafoodled with all the room in this lunchbox!

Sam is at school from 8:30 – 4pm (including after school programs), then he has a 45 min. commute home so it is imperative that I send plenty of snacks in addition to lunch and drinks. I love that they all fit in this lunchbox, with room to spare!!

Over the break, I packed two meals (plus drinks and snacks) in one lunchbox, to send with the boys during a visit with Nana and Papa.

Sweet FREEDOM from my former Lunchbox Madness! 😀

The boys love to dip potato chips in Egg Salad, go figure!

We tried some Nutella over the break and Luke liked dipping his apples in it. My boys love the Boar’s Head Reduced-Sodium Turkey, but absolutely WILL NOT eat it as a sandwich, so I just do turkey rolls.

We went to see Walking With Dinosaurs over the break (VERY COOL show!!), so I made a quick and easy chicken nugget meal for the boys to eat in the car on the way.

This was for St. Patrick’s Day, the picks in the turkey rolls are cupcake picks that I re-purposed!

I made this Veggie Mac and Cheese using Tinkyada’s GF Vegetable Spirals that I buy on Amazon, and the White Cheddar Powder that I get from Frontier Co-op. I threw in some frozen mixed veggies (attempting to “hide” them among the colors of the pasta. They caught on to me, but ate it anyway). The hot dog is Applegate Farms Organic Grass-Fed Beef Hot Dog that I stuck on a chopstick. The boys also really like Glutino’s Pretzel Sticks stuck in a piece of cheese! BTW, have you heard about Glutino’s Chocolate and Yogurt-Covered Pretzels that are coming out soon?? YEA!! Sam used to love those Yogurt Covered Pretzel Flipz before going gluten-free. I am also working on making my own GF “Hostess” Cupcake but with a healthy twist (sneaking healthy stuff in the batter). The recipe is not ready yet, but hopefully soon!

Would you like a chance to “test-drive” the Easy LunchBox System?

For a chance to win a FREE Lunchbox (color of your choice) and Container Set, courtesy of EasyLunchBoxes.com:

Reply with a comment to this post about some of your favorite lunchbox ideas!

For a chance to earn multiple entries, do one (or all) of the following:

  • 1 Bonus Entry: Tweet about this contest and be sure to include a link to this post and include @adventuresgfmom in your Tweet.
  • 5 Bonus Entries: Blog about this giveaway in a blog post and include a link back to this post.

And one for some shameless self-promotion…

  • 10 Bonus Entries: If you are the author of a blog and add me your Blogroll (please and thank-you) 😀

Send me an Email at heidikelly13@gmail.com after completing the tasks for any bonus entries you qualify for.

I will use a Random Number Generator to pick the winner on Monday, March 29, 2010.

Good Luck!!

This giveaway is offered to US & Canadian residents only.

EasyLunchBoxes.com reserves the right to disqualify a winner if they have won and received product from EasyLunchBoxes.com within the past 6 months.

I’ve had a few things come up, so I will be taking the week off from blogging to attend to some personal matters, but will be responding to comments and emails daily ! 🙂

Jumping through the Pringles Loophole

I know that Pringles (which are NOT gluten-free) as well as many other mainstream chips are just not good for you, you will get no argument from me on that one. However, raising a child with celiac disease can be very difficult when it comes to social situations, as any parent with a child that has a dietary restriction knows. Our children often have to do without and “brown bagging” it to school everyday can leave some children feeling alone, different, etc., especially when they see their classmates getting “hot lunch” or pulling out a Lunchables meal… much “cooler” meals according to Sam.

My approach to parenting is one of being a mentor/coach. I am trying to teach my son how to navigate in a gluten world. Small things, like a GF Lunchable can help kids realize that being gluten-free is sometimes a daunting obstacle but one that can be overcome with a little creativity.  At some point, all of us as parents will have to mentor our children through the realization that something is “different” about them, whether it’s poor eyesight, struggles with weight, public speaking, etc.  Mike and I figure we can either teach Sam to simply “accept” his condition and slowly view any situation with food as something to avoid, or he can learn that whatever setbacks he faces in life can be used as learning experiences and opportunities to “raise his game.”  Every child will face some sort of setback at some point in their childhood, and in a way I am grateful that I have this opportunity to teach Sam a valuable life lesson at an early age, so that hopefully he is better equipped emotionally to handle the next challenge he might face.

Sam has recently been talking about how some kids take the little pre-packaged Pringles to school. I reminded him that he has chips that look just like Pringles (Lays STAX)… “yea, but they don’t have the same package.” Sam is so funny to me, you can tell he feels bad for caring about packaging, but he is 6 and that is what most 6 year olds do, which is why company’s market to children! 😉

So, I set out to find a package! I recalled having seen a little Pringles container years ago, so I went shopping to look for one. Apparently, the “Pringles POP Box” is no longer sold in the US! Not one to let that stop me (my stubborn determination can be useful at times), I found them on Ebay, but they are physically located in the United Kingdom, so there was some added shipping involved. I bought 3 POP Boxes for about $25 (give or take) after shipping costs were added. We don’t eat out much so this is what I splurge on instead! 🙂

Now for a gluten-free version of the stacked curvy chip that I remember turning into a “duck bill” as a kid!

Lays STAX are gluten-free. We bought one of each that was available at the store so I could take some photos of the ingredient labels:

Original Flavor

All of the STAX containers are labeled gluten-free.

I took photos of the other ingredient labels as well…

Sour Cream and Onion Flavor,

Mesquite Barbecue Flavor,

Salt and Vinegar Flavor

Sam and I had a nice little talk about the ingredient labels and “he” recommended we just stick with the “Original Flavor.” 🙂

The POP Boxes hold 10 chips (just under the technical serving size, so that is a little bonus) and the chips stay in one piece until lunchtime!

Sam has been so excited about these. He wants to “bling out” the black POP box with Darth Vader stickers…. fitting. 😉

Next week I will be doing several posts on lunchbox ideas to tie in with a super cool lunchbox system I found, there will be a giveaway too!! 😀

Amy’s Gluten-Free Non-Dairy Mac and Cheese Review

So in case it hasn’t been made clear yet, I like trying new things. Especially when it comes to innovative food substitutions! I haven’t done a lot of dairy-free/vegan posts because I try to avoid straight-up soy when possible. My mom is a breast cancer survivor and I prefer to not eat plant estrogen, “just in case.”  I’m not even sure there is any hard evidence on soy contributing to breast cancer because I honestly haven’t done much research, so don’t put a lost of stock into what I say on that. I do eat products that contain soy lecithin, etc. but I do not eat tofu, soy-based vegan cheese, edamame or drink soy milk.

Recently I have been hearing a lot on Daiya Vegan Cheese, which is not only gluten-free, diary-free, (casein-free, lactose-free and whey-free too) but soy-free, egg-free, rice-free and nut-free as well! I ordered some to sample and I have it in my possession but I am trying to figure out the best way to use it for sampling/recipe purposes. I think I will try to make Goldfish Crackers with the Cheddar Style Shreds, using arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch and palm shortening instead of butter, to see if we could get a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and corn-free Goldfish cracker for the kiddos that cannot have those ingredients! Cross your fingers! 😉

I’ll probably use the Italian Style Shreds for pizza!

Anyway, I recently picked up a package of Amy’s Gluten-Free, Non-Dairy Macaroni and Cheeze at my local Whole Foods to try out.

Right out of the microwave

Here is a close up so you can hopefully see the texture better.

We do eat dairy and real cheese so with that in mind, upon the first bite, we could tell “something” was different, but only a slight difference and definitely not enough to keep the four of us from polishing the entire thing off!

The texture of the cheese sauce was very creamy and well incorporated throughout. I have limited experience with non-dairy “cheese” and they were not positive ones for sure! Many of the non-dairy cheeses had either a rubbery or stringy texture that just made me very thankful for not needing to be dairy-free! The Amy’s Non-Dairy Mac and Cheeze was altogether different though and I could definitely eat it again. I also noticed that the macaroni noodles looked very similar to the macaroni noodles that Kraft uses, they were smaller and did not have the little ridges that the Tinkyada Rice Elbows have.

Here are the ingredients (copied from the Amy’s website):


And the Nutritional Label (also copied from the website; the fat, carbs and sodium content seem high to me, but at least there is some fiber! 😉 ):

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1
Servings Per Container: 1
Serving Weight: 227 g
Calories: 520
Calories from Fat:190
% Daily Value
Total Fat: 22g 34%
Saturated Fat: 5g 25%
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg 0%
Sodium: 740mg 31%
Carbohydrates: 72g 24%
Fiber: 3g 12%
Sugars: 0g
Protein: 8g
Organic: 77%
Vitamin A: 0% • Vitamin C: 0%
Calcium: 6% • Iron: 6%

Gluten-Free Pancakes on a Stick

I think I have seriously gone over the edge with this one!

A friend of mine casually mentioned to me a few weeks ago that her daughter likes to eat “Pancakes on a Stick” for breakfast. I had no idea what they were, but of course I found myself with a new gluten-free challenge! 😀

First, I needed to figure out what they were (I had an idea, but wanted to make sure). This is what I found:

So, how to make a gluten-free version of these?? A Google search brought me to this little contraption:

The Original Carnival Treat Factory! It is like a sandwich maker but for corn dogs. While I am a kitchen gadget fanatic, I usually do not like one use contraptions like this because they take up too much space, especially when it is not used very often. However, for a feat such as this, I could see no way around it (at least for the time being). I found the corn dog maker on Amazon for $17.81 plus shipping, a low enough price for me to take the bait and buy it, it was for gluten-free pancakes on a stick after all!

When it arrived on Thursday, I was beside myself with excitement. I could not wait to wake up and get to work. My gluten-free kids were going to have stars in their eyes!

So I made up some of Pamela’s Gluten-Free Pancake Batter (and added some maple extract to it…all the flavor, no added sugar!), skewered some sausage links with a lollipop stick (the corn dog maker comes with wooden skewers, but they were a little too sharp for my 2 year old… Luke would DEFINITELY poke his eye out!). 😉

Pour in some batter (I was just winging it, directions were not included)

Lay the sausages that have been “skewered” on top of the first layer of pancake batter.

This is the sausage I used, I found it at Super Walmart.

Apply second layer of pancake batter, as you can see, this is a messy process!

Close the griddle and wait… about 15 minutes or so (I would open and check frequently).

I probably made a few too many, but I froze them to pull out as needed for a quick breakfast on the go.

Know what Sam said as I handed him his first pancake on a stick?

Can I have my sausage and pancake separate please?

Clearly my husband helped Sam dress this particular morning, red/grey shirt with an orange vest… uh, NO!

My boys are not morning people!