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... 😉

Canyon Bakehouse Review and Giveaway!

Recently, I was the lucky recipient of some complimentary gluten-free bread products from Canyon Bakehouse, a dedicated gluten-free facility in Loveland, Colorado. All I can say is… YUM!

Funny story; the day the Canyon Bakehouse products arrived, I placed them on the counter and waited patiently until Mike and the boys got home from work/school before I tore into them. The very second Sam saw the loaves of bread, he said, “MOM! Why is there “gluten” here?” Taken aback, I asked what he was talking about (because we have a dedicated GF house). He pointed to the Canyon Bakehouse packaging and I got it, they DO look like packages of “real wheat bread,” LOL!  If you have been reading my blog for long, then you know how packaging and appearance are a VERY BIG DEAL to Sam right now, so score 1 for Canyon Bakehouse!

A little information on Canyon Bakehouse:

At Canyon Bakehouse, we believe making healthy choices shouldn’t mean compromising on the quality of the foods we love. More and more people are deciding to go “gluten free.” For people with celiac disease, avoiding gluten is a medical necessity. For others, it is simply a choice for their health and well-being. Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free breads have been specifically created to bring back the joy of real bread to those following a gluten-free diet. We think you’ll find Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Bread has all the texture and taste of normal bread!

I received a letter with my package of samples that goes into further detail about how Canyon Bakehouse came to be, and here are a few highlights:

Canyon Bakehouse is owned by husband and wife, Josh and Christi Skow and Master Baker, Ed Miknevicius.

Christi was diagnosed with celiac disease 3 years ago through a routine physical. She had been anemic, tired and had skin issues for years for unknown reasons. After being diagnosed, she had a difficult time transitioning to a 100% gluten-free diet. There were few choices for gluten-free bread on the market and what was available was very expensive and did not taste good.

Christi’s husband, Josh and Master Baker, Ed came up with the idea for their products in 2009 as they were sitting in a small Colorado Cafe near the Flat Top Wilderness area discussing the lack of good tasting and healthy gluten-free breads. At that point, Ed set out to create gluten-free bakery products that tasted good, were healthy and had the same texture as regular bread. The mission of Canyon Bakehouse was born, to “create delicious and nutritious gluten-free products the whole family can enjoy.”

All three of the sliced breads are great, but there was something in particular about the San Juan 7-Grain bread that really stood out to me… it looks and smells like whole wheat bread! I couldn’t help but just sit there with my nose in the bag, taking in an aroma that I had long forgot. It was a beautiful moment indeed. The bread also has that deep caramel color reminiscent of wheat bread and I was excited to try something that I had been wanting to try but never had a dark enough GF bread to do it with… Sandwich Puzzles!

Sam has really enjoyed these, just use a cookie cutter (that is supposed to be a baseball and bat in the above photo), to cut the same shape out of contrasting colored bread and switch! I made up a bunch one afternoon and filled with PB & J, bagged them up in a freezer bag and packing Sam's lunchbox was easy peasy! Score 2 for Canyon Bakehouse!

Can't you just smell it?? 😉

1 slice of the San Juan 7-Grain bread has only 90 calories, 1 gram of fat, 2 grams of Fiber and just 2 grams of Sugar!! So a sandwich with 2 slices of bread has 4 grams of fiber... score 3!

Click here for more detailed information on the San Juan 7-Grain bread.

Mountain White Bread

Click here for more detailed info on the Mountain White bread.

I recently cracked on my store-bought tomato boycott.... the good thing though, they are really not all that great, so I can definitely wait until the local tomatoes are in season! 🙂

Cinnamon Raisin Bread.

Click here for more detailed info on the Cinnamon Raisin bread.

The Cinnamon Raisin Bread was another favorite around here. You do not need to toast any of the Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free breads but I like Cinnamon Raisin Toast for breakfast on occasion. I did notice that the Canyon Bakehouse breads toast up differently from the crispy toast I am accustomed to, it toasts up well on the outside, but stays soft on the inside. An interesting contrast of textures, but yummy nonetheless!

Rosemary & Thyme Focaccia

The Focaccia was incredibly moist with a pronounced Rosemary flavor and I absolutely love Rosemary! The Focaccia bread is thicker than what I am used to, so a little goes a long way! I do wish I had put mine in the freezer right away though (it’s a lot of bread for 2.5 people), because the moist Focaccia did succumb to decay rather quickly (which technically speaking is a GOOD thing, because it means NO CHEMICAL PRESERVATIVES!), just keep that in mind and learn from my mistake. 😉

Click here for more detailed info on the Rosemary & Thyme Focaccia bread.

Now for my personal favorite of all the products we sampled (and this was surprising to me), the Cranberry Crunch Muffins!

I cannot recall having ever seen a more beautiful muffin in my life! It was almost too pretty to eat (but boy did I eat them)! The Cranberry Crunch Muffins were honestly the product I was least excited to try because I do not like baked goods with nuts, seeds, etc., it’s a texture thing carried over from childhood.

The Cranberry Crunch Muffins have Cranberries, Pumpkin Seeds, Whole Grain Millet and Poppy Seeds in them, see why I was worried? Well, those worries were completely unfounded because I loved, loved, LOVED the muffins!! The crunch was a delightful surprise and not “too much,” if you know what I mean. Either my taste buds are really evolving as I have been trying new foods or the folks at Canyon Bakehouse have found the perfect ratio of crunch to fluffy muffin… not too much, not too little! Another score for Canyon Bakehouse!

Click here for more detailed info on the Cranberry Crunch Muffins.

Sigh… I miss these.

Would you like to try a sampling of the Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free baked goods?? Well, here is your chance to do so for free! The kind folks at Canyon Bakehouse have offered up the exact same package that they sent to me; to giveaway to one of my lucky readers!

The winner will receive one of each: Mountain White, San Juan 7-Grain, and Cinnamon Raisin sliced bread, a package of the Focaccia and a package of the Cranberry Crunch Muffins!

To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment in the reply box about:

“In which stores do you prefer to buy your gluten-free products?”

I personally shop all over the place, Online, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Sunflower Market, R. Down Nutrition Center, my local Co-Op and Smith’s. Wow… that is a lot of driving! 🙂 I dream of a day when there is a Healthy Gluten-Free Super Center! 😉

How about you? Do you stick with one place or shop at several stores?

For Bonus entries:

  • For 2 bonus entries: Tweet about this giveaway and include a link back to this post. Be sure to also include @adventuresgfmom in your tweet so I know that you have done this.

I will use a Random Number Generator to pick the winner on Friday, April 23, 2010.

Good Luck! 😀

Yoplait Greek Yogurt “Nourish Your Inner Goddess” Winner

Thanks everyone for entering the “Nourish Your Inner Goddess” Giveaway, courtesy of Yoplait and MyBlogSpark!

Total Number of Entries: 8

Random Generated Number: 7

So the winner is… Kathleen Schmitz!

Congratulations Kathleen, I will email you for your shipping information.

I have another review and giveaway that I will be posting later today, so be sure to check back! 😀

Yoplait Greek Yogurt “Nourish Your Inner Goddess” Giveaway

I recently had the opportunity to sample the new Yoplait Greek Yogurt when the folks at Yoplait and MyBlogSpark offered to send me coupons for two free cups of Greek yogurt and a “Nourish Your Inner Goddess” gift pack.  Naturally, I was all over that one!  They have even offered to give one of my lucky readers the same gift pack, so read on! 😀

First, more on Yoplait’s Greek Yogurt (and yes, it’s gluten-free!):

With 12 grams of protein — twice that found in leading yogurts– new Yoplait Greek nourishes from the inside out. Available in four delicious flavors, Strawberry, Blueberry, Honey Vanilla and Plain, the brand´s newest offering has a unique thick and creamy texture with the unmatched taste expected of Yoplait.

To celebrate its new Greek yogurt and to encourage women to nourish their inner goddess, Yoplait has teamed up with actress Izabella Miko, who plays Greek Goddess Athena in the epic adventure new Warner Bros. Pictures´ and Legendary Pictures´ film “Clash of the Titans,” in theatres April 2 in 3D.

I love Greek Yogurt and it’s all I eat. Chobani is my personal favorite so keep that in mind (if you’re a Chobani fan, you know what I mean).  I’ve only tried the strawberry flavor of the Yoplait Greek Yogurt thus far, and I thought it was okay.  It is thick and creamy, just not as “velvety smooth” as the Chobani (if that makes sense).

The Yoplait Greek Yogurt is not a “fruit on the bottom” style of yogurt, so there are no fruit pieces in it.  My kids have not taken to “textured” yogurt yet, so this was right up their alley.  The sugar content of the strawberry flavor was a little high for me though, at 18 grams (which is why I usually just eat plain Greek yogurt and my own add fresh or frozen fruit and a fiber supplement to it).  I haven’t been able to find the plain variety of Yoplait’s Greek Yogurt yet, but will try it as soon as I do!

“Nourish Your Inner Goddess” Giveaway

Yoplait and MyBlogSpark have given me a “Nourish Your Inner Goddess Giftpack” to giveaway to one of my readers!

I love the bath wrap and it is perfect for those days when my guys are gone doing “boy things” and I actually have time to relax with a hot cup of my favorite Pomegranate White Tea and give myself a pedicure!

How do you like to “Nourish Your Inner Goddess?”

To enter this giveaway, simply leave your reply in a comment box!

I will pick a winner using a Random Number Generator on Monday, April 19th, 2010.

Good Luck! 😀

If you are interested in trying Yoplait’s Greek Yogurt today, you can click here for a downloadable coupon to save 30¢ on one cup of the new Yoplait Greek Yogurt.

Zevia All-Natural Diet Soda Review, with some added “food for thought”

I have found myself with a bit of spring fever lately and cannot seem to get myself back in the kitchen. Although I haven’t been outside as much as I would like because the New Mexico winds can be rather ferocious in the spring time! I have lived here for 12 years, and I still cannot get over the tumbling tumbleweeds that blow everywhere, they get stuck underneath my car, I get piles of them in my backyard, I even have to run away from them when I am out for my daily walk… crazy!  I saw this picture on Google Images and had to share it, it’s funny but so true!

Anyway, Sam, Luke and I were out and about yesterday afternoon and we stopped by one of my favorite places to buy gluten-free products, R. Downs Nutrition Center. Mike was out of town on a business trip so I decided we would do something different for dinner, to make it fun for the boys because they were missing their dad (he really is like a 3rd child when it comes to playtime) and so I didn’t have to do any dishes!. We splurged on some gluten-free packaged foods for dinner (will be doing reviews of those soon), and I “kicked it up a notch” by trying a new product (new to us anyway), Zevia All Natural Diet Sodas. I can’t say I was optimistic about this, as I have tried many “Natural Sodas” over the years, while trying to kick my nasty Diet Coke/Diet Pepsi habit, but my curiosity got the best of me.

I didn’t start drinking diet soda because I wanted to lose weight, but my dad has battled Type-2 Diabetes for years and when I was growing up, if there was soda in the house, it was diet soda. I developed an affinity for that artificial taste at an early age. I was never a big plain water drinker as a teen/young adult (although I am now… is it just me or does your craving for water only increase the more you drink??), I guess I thought it was too boring. 😀 Because of my own experience, my kids drink mostly water, milk or I allow them a juice in their lunch box (no more than one a day). I want better for them and I know that if you start kids young enough eating and drinking healthfully (and naturally), that is what they will prefer, at least in the long run.

My diet soda consumption only increased as I aged, especially after I started developing more serious health problems. I put on some serious poundage after my thyroid was ablated (Graves’ Disease) but before my “hidden” Celiac Disease and Dermatitis Herpetiformis were discovered. No joke, I was essentially without a thyroid for over 6 months, my TSH levels were in the 150’s at one point! I was probably putting on 2 – 4 lbs a week, despite being on Weight Watchers, drinking 4- 5 diet sodas a day (needed the caffeine for energy because I was so lethargic from the severe hypothyroidism) and exercising like a mad woman (when my energy levels were up enough to do so, which is why I drank so much diet soda and coffee). Looking back in hindsight, I believe I was only contributing to my weight gain by drinking so much diet soda! It was a vicious cycle. Check out this article on one of my favorite new blogs: Fooducate, I HIGHLY recommend subscribing to it, they do a great job helping to break down the complexity of processed food ingredients! Here is another one from Fooducate: Phosphoric Acid.

Anyway, after my brilliant endocrinologist (you need to scroll down a bit on the page I linked to, for a great article on endocrinological disorders and celiac disease), returned from a medical conference (after being at his wits end as to why I was not absorbing my thyroid replacement hormone) and gave me the blood test for celiac disease. That was in 2005, when it was exceptionally unusual for doctors, especially non-GI doctors, to do a random blood test on someone without the classic GI symptoms of celiac disease. I really do love that man, well, after 2 years of therapy I do, because before that, I cursed his name for handing me that diagnosis! 😀

Anyway, on to my review (Warning: this has turned into more than a simple review for me. I apologize in advance for my tangent 😀 ).

I have tried many natural soda alternatives over the years, including Oogave but it wasn’t close enough to what I craved to work for me. Oogave soda still has 17 grams of sugar, regardless of the fact that it is lower on the Glycemic Index, it is still sugar and diabetics especially, need to watch their sugar intake. I eventually gave up hope for finding something that would fill that diet soda void and after many fits and starts, I decided to suck it up and go a completely different route. Sparkling water with lemon or lime juice. It took a while to adjust to it, but now it is my beverage of choice when I want something bubbly. However, a cold, crisp sugar-free soda would be a really nice occasional treat (especially with some popcorn!). Zevia fills that void for me. I also think this soda would be helpful if one is trying to wean off of mainstream diet sodas (hopefully on the journey to drinking more WATER!). I am excited to see what my dad thinks of these.

First, a little bit about Zevia All-Natural Diet Sodas:

Based in Seattle, Washington, Zevia LLC is the creator of the world’s first all natural zero calorie soda: Zevia® Natural Diet Soda. Zevia® is branded Nature’s Answer To Diet Soda™ for one reason: the ingredients. Zevia® contains none of the chemically processed artificial sugar substitutes found in other diet sodas because Zevia® is sweetened with stevia. Other diet sodas also contain artificial flavors and colors. Zevia® does not. All seven delicious Zevia® varieties – Zevia® Natural Cola, Zevia® Natural Orange, Zevia® Natural Twist , Zevia® Natural Root Beer , Zevia® Natural Black Cherry , and Zevia® Natural Ginger Ale – are healthier and taste better than regular diet soda. Click here to read about the passionate and inspired history and people behind Zevia®, the world’s only truly all natural zero calorie soda. Click here to meet the management team at Zevia LLC.

I want to re-post something from the Zevia Website, that I found really interesting and wanted to see what others thought, my emphasis is added in bold, red type (remember my warning)!

Because stevia has no effect on blood sugar levels, it is attractive as a natural sweetener to people who must control their intake of certain carbohydrates. But, in 1991, responding to an anonymous complaint, the United States Food and Drug Administration labeled stevia as an “unsafe food additive” and restricted its import. Many believe the complaint came from Monsanto, owner of Nutrasweet® artificial sweetener. Stevia was later approved for use as a dietary supplement but not as a food additive. >Learn More. That meant we could offer ZEVIA, but we could not call it a “soda”. From January, 2007 until February, 2009, ZEVIA was labeled as a “carbonated stevia supplement”, consistent with the FDA requirements.

**Is it just me or do you suddenly find yourself hearing a lot about Monsanto these days? The above information re: Nutrasweet® may be common knowledge to a lot of people, but I only recently heard about Monsanto for the first time, after watching Food, Inc! I am amazed by all the products or political figures that seem to have a Monsanto connection. If you have not seen Food, Inc. yet, PBS will be airing the film on Wednesday, April 21, 2010, and I cannot recommend this film enough!!

I am still just completely dumbfounded and disturbed by what I viewed on Food, Inc. (as well as other food documentaries). I am just seeking the truth about the food I put into my mouth, not only for maintaining my disease, but for the overall health of my family. I just want the facts so I can decide what I want to buy or not buy. I have tried to have an open mind with both sides of the issue, but what I cannot get past, is that IF biotech food products are completely “safe” then WHY isn’t there a label on the product that tells me, that what I am about to purchase and consume, is not really what I think it is?

According to Bio.org, here is the reason:

Myth: Biotech crops increase food allergies.
Fact: There is no evidence that biotech crops increase food allergies; in fact, researchers are working to develop biotech foods that are free of known allergens, such as peanuts. In fact, according to the FDA’s labeling policy, biotech foods are required to be labeled if the product is significantly changed nutritionally or uses material from a potential allergen. Today, the majority of biotech products in the marketplace are not labeled since they are not derived from known allergens.

Okay, so what does that mean? The top 8 known allergens or ALL known allergens?

And what about this in regards to the Increasing Prevalence of Celiac Disease?

I am not a conspiracy theorist by any means, but I do have to say that the connections that have been made between Monsanto and certain US government employees, definitely raise my eyebrows. If you are interested, click here for more on Monsanto (Wikipedia article). Click here for Monsanto’s statement regarding the claims made in the film Food, Inc.

What are your thoughts on this issue??

I always worry about posting things like this because one, I do not want to come off as a person “on the fringe,” because I am not, and I usually just “tune out” people that I think are extreme. Second, I don’t have any real answers because I do not know what the “truth” is. I just hope to encourage people “to ask the next question.” Our health and well-being is a matter of personal responsibility, but it is difficult to make the best decisions for ourselves when there is so much hidden, incorrect or conflicting information out there.**

There really is no “quick post” with me, is there? LOL! 😉 Moving along…

About Stevia

Stevia is an herb in the sunflower family, native to subtropical and tropical South America and Central America. For centuries, the Guarani Native Americans of Paraguay and Brazil used stevia as a sweetener in native foods and medicinal teas. The extract from the stevia leaf has no calories, no effect on blood sugar levels, and is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar.

Stevia Has Other Health Benefits

Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry concludes that stevia could also be a rich source of antioxidants and may protect against DNA damage and cancer. <click here for an abstract of the research.>

Stevia also has shown promise in medical research on high blood pressure <Research Link #1> , inflamation <Research Link #2> , insulin efficiency <Research Link #3> , cellular immuntiy and nutrition <Research Link #4> , and healthy cell growth <Research Link #5>.

Purdue University’s Dental Science Research Group concluded after two studies that stevia “significantly” inhibits the development of plaque and may help to prevent cavities.

Here is another article that is just plain educational on how the food industry works. The article is on artificial sweeteners, including Splenda and it also mentions Stevia. Some of the information is outdated as the article is from 2007.

As for how Zevia All-Natural Diet Sodas taste? While the Cola is not exactly like Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi, I think it is really darned close!!! The Ginger Root Beer and Orange flavors were our favorites. The Twist was good too, but it has a much more pronounced lemon lime flavor than say Diet 7-Up or Diet Sprite, and I presume that is because the lemon lime flavor is derived from lemon and lime oils, which are more pronounced (if you have ever used oil flavorings in baked goods, instead of extracts, you will know what I mean). Mike thought it tasted like the “old” Gatorade, only carbonated. Mike is excited to try the Dr. Zevia if I can find some. There is also Black Cherry and Ginger Ale, which we haven’t tried yet.

Have you tried Zevia All-Natural Diet Sodas yet? If so, what did you think of them?

PureFit Nutrition Bars Product Review

A few months ago, I received some complimentary nutrition bars from PureFit to sample and review on my blog. I feel like a real heel that I am just now posting this review in April. Truth be told, I forgot about it because my boys ate them too fast so I didn’t have a bar sitting around to trigger my memory. It didn’t help that this was during the mayhem of the holiday season either. Maybe if I had been eating more balanced nutrition bars instead of sugar cookies, the sugar induced  “brain fog” would not have been present! 😀

First, a little info on PureFit Nutrition Bars:

Kosher-certified and vegan-approved PureFit bars do not contain dairy, wheat, or gluten, and will not melt in their packaging. PureFit works diligently to provide high-quality, award-winning nutrition bars without artificial ingredients, sugar alcohols or common allergens, including milk, wheat or gluten.

Our bars are an integral part of The PureFit Fat-Burning System. It provides many of the nutrients and calories you need to round out your PureFit diet. And it does not contain harmful ingredients found in virtually every nutrition bar on the market. 100% All-Natural Ingredients, 18 Grams of Soy Protein, Non-GMO Soy, Unprecedented Great Taste. This low glycemic, nondairy bar is based on over 20 years of research and was not practical to manufacture until now. It offers:

  • NO Hydrogenated Oils
  • NO Animal Products – Vegan
  • NO Cholesterol or Trans Fatty Acids
  • NO Wheat or Gluten
  • NO Artificial Sweeteners
  • NO Hidden Carbohydrates
  • NO Sugar Alcohol

Did you see that little blurb about PureFit bars not melting in their packaging? I plan on sending these with Sam to his Sports Summer Day Camp in a few months as an easy “pick-me-up’ snack, they would also be great to take to the pool, beach, etc.!

There is also some great information on PureFit’sChoose The Right Bar” page:

A lot of so-called nutrition bars contain as many hollow calories as the average fast food sandwich. Keep in mind that one-pound equals 3,500 calories, and that in order to maintain your current weight, your body requires 10 calories per pound per day. In other words, if you weigh 190 pounds, your body requires 1,900 calories per day to maintain that weight.

If you consume a candy bar-like nutrition bar, one that accounts for nearly 20% of your daily caloric needs, you’re bound get into trouble. Of course, you need to take into account that exercise burns calories, but still, err on the safe side by looking for nutrition bars with approximately 150 to 300 calories per serving.

Here is a piece from the “Ingredients Matter” section. Click here for more information on Sugar Alcohols.

Not all nutrition bars are created equal, and to see this for yourself, just look at the list of ingredients of your average nutrition bar. Many are loaded with sugar, partially hydrogenated oil, artificial sweeteners, and other ingredients that just aren’t very good for you. As one example, some popular nutrition bar companies use maltitol syrup in their bars.

Maltitol syrup is a sweetener that can produce gas, bloating and a laxative so overpowering that many countries now require a warning label on foods contain the item.

Other commonly used sugar alcohols you may want to avoid include: malitol syrup (notice the different spelling), glycol, isomalt, lactitol, glycerol, glycerine, erythritol, arabitol, xylitol, ribitol, mannitol, and sorbitol.

I found this informative (about the 40-30-30 philosophy), it is from the “Watch Your Balance” section:

Choosing a nutrition bar with the right balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein is critical to optimal performance, and here’s why: A diet composed of approximately 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat is ideal for body fat loss and consistent energy. This nutritional philosophy is commonly referred to as “The Zone,” and is, in our opinion, the greatest dietary discovery of the last 50 years. In short, it is especially difficult, if not impossible, to lose weight when eating a diet primarily comprised of carbohydrates, especially if you work out consistently, because you force your body to burn carbohydrates (sugars). When you eat a diet composed of about one-third protein, you allow your body to burn stored body fat—the reason most of us work out. In other words, the ratio of the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in your diet determines if you will predominately burn carbohydrates or stored body fat.

The PureFit website even offers a free downloadable fat burning guide which has some great tips for eating better, including sample meal plans. While you are on that page, check out the link titled “Low Carb Myth,” it talks a little bit about sugar alcohols and package labeling. You can even see a clip of the PureFit Bars being featured on “The Real Housewives of Orange County!”

As for the taste, all I can tell you is how the bars were received by my sons, and they loved them! They both fought over the Chocolate Brownie Bar (Luke won, but gave a tiny piece to his brother in the spirit of “sharing”). Sam ended up enjoying the Peanut Butter Crunch Bar even more. I personally did not get to try them because Mike gave them to the boys without realizing they were for a review… when I wasn’t at home to guard them!

I had Mike run out to Smith’s (part of the Kroger Company) last night to get more bars so I could personally sample them and take photos for this post, but unfortunately, they are not carrying them anymore and here is why. I personally plan on contacting the Kroger Company as well, because PureFit has done a lot to help spread awareness of celiac disease. Check out all the PureFit Blog posts that Robb Dorf, Founder and CEO of PureFit, Inc. has made on Celiac Disease, Autism, and Type 1 Diabetes (I highly recommend watching the video on this post about IronKIDz. I watched it with Sam and it was a great teaching moment to show him how other kids have “differences” too, that he is not alone in dealing with a major medical issue at such a young age. It validated his feelings and showed him at the same time that celiac disease is just one part of him and not the entire definition of who he is).

I believe it is important to support companies that take the next step by raising awareness for and supporting medical research of the health issues that affect their customers. Thank you Robb, I really appreciate your efforts!

Udi’s Gluten Free Bagels & A Fun Breakfast Treat for GF Kids

A few weeks ago, while on one of my rare grocery adventures (I kid you not, I get lost in label land)! Anyhoo, after a few hours of doing the “Gluten-Free Nancy Drew” thing, I remembered that I needed to pick up some more bread. When I approached the freezer case to get my beloved Udi’s GF Bread, I just about fainted. There they were. The ever elusive, softly whispered, government conspiracy cover-up… UDI’S BAGELS!!

I was so excited, I bought 5 packages!

As soon as I got home, I had to have one, with cream cheese!

The first thing I noticed as I pulled a bagel out of the bag… these are REALLY BIG bagels! They are so big, that I could only eat 1/4 of it! The other thing I noticed is that they do not really taste like the gluten bagels I remember. They are good mind you, but they are not the boiled bagels that I think of; with the crunchy crust and chewy inside. To me, they are the same as Udi’s great gluten-free bread, only in the shape of a bagel (which is a big plus, especially for a 6 year old)! Sam loves the bagels, because they make him feel “normal.” Know what I think these are? A GREAT gluten-free hamburger bun, only with a hole in the middle! Just place a piece of lettuce at the top to keep the condiments contained and wa-la!

Told you they were big! Sam will not eat lettuce on his burger, but it wasn't too messy!

I got this idea from Disney’s Family Fun Magazine, UFO Breakfast Treats!

That's my boy, thinking "outside the box!"

Why can't he be this "neat" with chocolate??

Neither one of my boy’s will eat a hard boiled egg (yet they love egg salad??).

I hope you have a happy Easter or I hope you’ve had a good Passover!

((Hugs)),

Heidi

Nathan’s Famous Beef Cocktail Franks

Very cool find today, Nathan’s Beef Cocktail Franks are now GLUTEN-FREE!! This should make making gluten-free pigs in a blanket a little bit easier!

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 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 ! 🙂