Thursday, April 23, 2009

How I celebrated!

``I warn you. This post is long. There is a lot of back story...and maybe some unnecessary ones but hey, it is my wheat free anniversary and I can reminisce if I want to!

Today, as I have stated several times already is my WHEAT FREE ANNIVERSARY! I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do to celebrate this momentous occasion in my life. I know that it may sound silly but living wheat free is a big part of my life. Taking the wheat out took a lot of pain out of my life (not all, once I took the gluten out, I felt a million times better!) but it it was a start. So, I needed to do something to celebrate. Well, as a food blogger, naturally I would turn to food. I love to bake, so I figured I would bake. I started to think about foods that I loved. You probably assumed an eclair, since I am always raving that I need one. But I think I would have a melt down baking that, so I am saving that for another day.

There is a food item that is a comfort food for me. I don't eat it often but I can actually recall big moments of my life where I did eat it. NUTELLA. I remember the first time I ate it, I was back in my home state of New York visiting my Dad. He sent me to day camp and I was homesick for my Mom. My Grandmother would make me sandwiches with bread and Nutella. It was delicious.

From time to time, I would eat this sandwich, each time thinking of day camp. The next time I craved Nutella was when I was pregnant with Jacob. I actually hid Nutella throughout my house. I have no clue if my ex-husband knows. I was a Nutella addict when I was pregnant.

I am even part of a Nutella group on FACEBOOK called "Nutella Is Sex In A Bottle". I wanted the desert that I was making to be an orgasm with one bite! I needed Nutella to be a part of it!

I hadn't had Nutella since my pregnancy. I knew that Nutella had to be a part of this celebration. I ended up purchasing some Nutella for the cupcakes I was making and I couldn't even wait for today. I ate a ton of it. Nutella, you and me...we click.

I literally baked cupcakes all day! Jacob had a blast.

I made a ton of cupcakes! This isn't even all of them! There are some that are being sent to my Mom's work and some that I am sending to my friends and family!

365 (Whole Foods Brand) Chocolate Cake Mix ( any mix will d0) & items to make mix
White Chocolate Shavings
Make the cake mix according to the box. Then line the cup cake pan with the liners ( I used heart liners because I love being wheat free/ gluten free!) and bake. Cool thoroughly. Using an injector for frosting, inject desired amount of Nutella in each cupcake on the top of each cupcake. Be careful not to put too much because that can cause the cupcake to rupture. Do not worry about the hole being visible, the frosting will cover the hole! Using the chocolate butter cream frosting below, then frost the top of the cupcake and garnish with white chocolate shavings!

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting Recipe:
-1 ounce chocolate chips melted
-1 cup solid white vegetable shortening
-1 teaspoon Flavor (Vanilla, Almond, or Butter) {I used Butter}
-2 tablespoons or milk or water {I always use milk, it makes it creamier}
-1 lb. pure cane confectioners sugar (approximately 4 cups)
-1 tablespoon Meringue Powder

Cream shortening, flavoring and water. Add dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. Blend for an additional minute or so, until creamy.

Jacob is bummed out because I cut him off from cupcakes. Poor kid. Stephanie came over to enjoy gluten free cupcakes! So did Melissa who called me to say that they were awesome. She then Twittered that "@Michelle2008az Your gluten free cupcakes were amazing! They could even rival Sprinkles (and you know how much I love Sprinkles)." Thanks Melissa!

It was an awesome night! It was a great year of being wheat free :) Cant wait for the many years to come. I believe that this lifestyle is the best for me, thanks for reading me and watching me on this journey!

Happy Anniversary To ME!

This is what I wrote on April 23, 2008 my first day being wheat free ever:

Today was day one on my new wheat free lifestyle. I have not gotten one stomach ache, head ache, cranky moment or tired moment. Even though I will have to say goodbye to a lot of my favorite foods, it will be worth it if I feel better.

You can find that on my Endless Possibilities blog. The next day on the same blog I wrote about my first experience ordering food wheat free:

I spent time with my friend Kelly today. She and I have been friends since 9th grade. She is a lot of fun and I am totally excited for her because she and her husband are expecting their first child! We went to lunch at Johnny Rockets and I stuck to my wheat free diet by ordering a hamburger with no mayo and no bun. Afterwards, we went to Whole Foods and did some shopping. The day was great and I totally cherish the time that I spend with her since we both lead pretty busy lives. Kelly enjoying her french fries.

A year later I am still wheat free ( I celebrate my gluten free anniversary in August!) and I cannot be happier. I love the choices that I have made for myself and my health. I was told by some friends that maybe I was allergic to wheat. My best friend Stephanie has celiacs but I didn't want to think that I could possibly have it too. When I did get the diagnosis I got on the ball and took charge of my health. I will be celebrating all day this change in my life. Check back later to see how I celebrated this change in my life! Oh, and the no mayo thing was because I was on Weight Watchers at the time, not because of the wheat intolerance.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Is there an item in your pantry that you are dying to use but you don't know how to utilize it? Or an item in your fridge about to go bad but you don't know how to use it? Sick of using bananas in smoothies or gluten free banana bread? I found an awesome website!

CookThink.Com will create a list of recipies for the food item that you typed in and incopreate it! Woo hoo, just use the recipie search tool! Just thought I would share my find :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Outback & Some Love

I ate dinner at Outback! I loved their gluten free menu!

My dinner!
I try to eat salmon when ever I can! It is super healthy! OK, so that is butter on my potato, the waitress looked at me like I was crazy because I asked her if the butter was free from cross contamination...hum, is that a strange question? I think not! Way too much butter, so I removed most of it.

The best part was the gluten-free dessert! I loved the gluten-free brownie, which I split!
I would eat there all the time just for the dessert! Loved it! I want to go back....STAT!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Trader Joe's Organic Brown Rice Marshmallow Treats

I was a big fan of Rice Crispy Treats and I am really bummed out that they are not gluten free. I know that Rice Chex treats are even more delicious (OK, my opinion) but I liked the convenience of unwrapping that blue, sinful package and indulging in some yummy goodness! My mother came home with from Trader Joe's recently with a box of ORGANIC BROWN RICE MARSHMALLOW TREATS! I was so excited I couldn't wait to try them! Plus, the box advertises that it is gluten free, vegan, free from high fructose corn syrup and low in sodium! Sounds like a winner...right?

The Review:

These caught my eye before dinner and I wanted to try them so badly. However, I had to follow the advice that I now give my own child and I resisted the urge to eat sweets before dinner. I quickly ate my dinner and waited until I was no longer full. I unwrapped the package and noticed a funky smell coming from the treat. Hum...did I want to eat this? I was committed. I had already unwrapped it and the curiosity was already too high, I had to find out if it tasted like those treats I once loved so much. I bit in expecting ecstasy and all I got was a nastiness with a kicking after taste. Yuck. I was not feeling nostalgic one bit. Maybe that smell was a warning? I should have known better.

The Verdict:

The Stats:
Serving Size: 1 Bar
Calories :100
Total Fat: 2.5 grams
Carbs: 18 grams
Protein: less than 1

Monday, April 13, 2009

One of my favorite healthy snacks!

Nuts are healthy in moderation and raisins are loaded with antioxidants. I have a large zip-lock bag mixed with raisins and almonds. When I am not eating something yummy to review for the blog and I have a sweet tooth, I grab a handful and indulge! It is the perfect snack and it is good for you too!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Share the gluten-free love!

I had an awesome day with my friend Melissa today. To read all about it, check out the Endless Possibilities Blog. During out adventures, we ate at Pei Wei!

I ate the Spicy Chicken (prepared mild though) with the brown rice:

So yummy!

Afterward, we went to AJ's Fine Market and I looked around for gluten free treats! I walked by the pastry case and saw eclairs. I was so bummed out because I spotted my biggest temptation! I asked a clerk there if they sold gluten free eclairs and she told Melissa and I that we should check the freezer case. They didn't have eclairs but they had gluten free donuts. Woo hoo! SOLD!


After I cooked them because they come frozen! Isn't the apron so cute?

This is us trying them!

Kinnikinnick Chocolate Dipped Donut Review!
I love donuts! I was on a first name basis with several types of donuts in my gluten eating days and I thought those days were long gone...until I stumbled upon these at AJ's today.

The Review:

Would this bag reignite my love affair with donuts? Well, I was happy to have Melissa with me to test these out! I always worry that my taste buds have changed due to the lack of gluten and I no longer know what tastes good. I have news for you all...these are good! I mean they taste like what I remember donuts to taste like. Melissa ate hers too and she liked it!

The Verdict:

The Stats:
Serving Size: 1 donut
Calories: 229
Total Fat: 9 grams
Carbs: 37
Protein: 4 grams

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My Almost Competly Gluten Free Passover.


Mom eating Matzoh:
I am sad because I cant:


My son having a melt down:

All better!
Our dinner was simple, fresh and easy.

There was also chicken. The only non-gluten free item at the table was the Matzoh.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Food reviews on Pamela's cookies and Fabulous Recipe !

Back in March I gave a mixed review to Pamela's Products Dark Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk Cookies. I had mentioned that I may try out the other cookies in the line. So, I tried out the CHUNKY CHOCOLATE CHIP and the LEMON SHORTBREAD.


The Review:
I had my glass of milk ready. I was prepared to try and mask the taste and to try basically drown out the taste of the cookie . Don't I sound like a skeptic? Well, I was pleasantly surprised by my first bite! I did end up dipping my cookie in the milk because I really like the cookie-dunk technique. I had a hard time sticking to the recommended serving size of one cookie but I did because I had another cookie to review!

By the way...there is no dairy in the cookies itself, unless you decide to dunk the cookie in milk like I did.

The Verdict:

The Stats:
Serving Size: One cookie
Calories: 120
Total Fat: 6 grams
Total Carbs: 14 grams
Protein 1gram

The Review:
I love lemon. I love anything lemon. I had high expectations for this cookie. In my days prior to my diagnosis, I would get lemon pies, lemon donuts and well...lemon anything. Now that I have to be careful with dressings, I sprinkle lemon juice on my salad. I was not too worried about the flavor of these cookies, since I had already sampled the goodness of the chocolate chip ones.

I decided to ditch the milk. I wanted to try these with out the dairy taste in my mouth. I wanted to taste the wonderful lemon. I really loved the lemon shortbread cookies. I found them to be perfectly tart and divine! They are great on their own or they would perfectly accompany a cup of tea!
The Verdict:

The Stats:
Serving Size: 1 cookie
Calories: 120
Total Fat: 6 grams
Carbs: 15 grams
Protein: .5 grams

!!!!!!THE RECIPE!!!!!

This recipe is super casual. You only need enough to make as much as you need. I only made one so I didn't make much. It is so yummy and perfect for spring and summer!

-Chocolate Pudding (you don't need to make from scratch, you can use a pudding snack pack!)
-Strawberries (washed & sliced)
- Gluten Free Lemon Shortbread Cookie
-Whipped Cream

Fill the glass about 1/4 full with pudding. Then take the cookie and cut it in pieces. Place it in the pudding. Take the strawberries and cover glass in strawberry goodness!. I loaded mine up. Then garnish the top with whipped cream. The lemon and strawberries make this so tasty and chocolate is always delicious!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Maggiano's Little Italy

Ella and I went to Maggiano's Little Italy today for lunch. It was her second time there and my first time there. She had told me about the gluten free pasta, so I was game!

For an appetizer, we split the Tomato Caprese.

We both found it light, fresh and very refreshing.

For Ella's main course, she ate the Chicken & Spinach Manicotti (not gluten free), and she found it to be very good. I ordered the Chicken Pesto Linguine with Gluten-Free pasta ( comes with pine nuts in case anyone has a nut allergy)
Maggiano's provided many firsts first for me. It was the first time I ever sent a dish back. I always thought of that as something that was unthinkable and just not my style, however, my sister explained to me that I shouldn't force myself to eat something I don't like...and she was right. I took two bites of the chicken pesto and I was done. I called the really nice server and I asked to change my order and she obliged. She called the chef over because I had some gluten free questions.

The other first was that I have never met such a knowledgeable chef at a restaurant regarding cross contamination and gluten free cooking. I was told about the separate kitchen for gluten free cooking, meaning NO CROSS CONTAMINATION! I was told that I was not limited to the gluten free pasta. For instance, I could eat the salmon with the sauce. I asked about the sauce having four and he explained the process of cooking as well as how he thickened it without flour. He even told me about a Celiac Support Group that frequented the restaurant. I felt confident that I would not be getting sick after my visit at Maggiano's.

I ate the Shrimp & Angle Hair al' Arrabbiata (gluten free pasta).

It was much better than the pesto dish I sent back. However, I found the diavolo sauce to be a bit runny, you can tell in the photo that is almost soup like. I think that if the sauce was not as runny, the dish would have been perfect.

My favorite thing that I ate there was the Tomato Caprese. I recommend trying out Maggiano's Little Italy for yourself but speak to the chef first because he can talk you through the menu and tell you what he can do for you. He was super knowledgeable and I don't think he will steer you wrong. Actually, everyone there is really nice!

A Gluten Free Wedding!

Stephanie (GF Steph) married her perfect match! They are now in paradise enjoying Jamaica! The wedding was perfect!

Stephanie & I:

Stephanie had an almost completely gluten free wedding! At dinner the only gluten there was croutons served on the side and a basket of bread. The cake was beautiful! The top layer was gluten free! It was spared from cross contamination with a separator that kept Stephanie & I from getting violently ill since we were the only cool ones know...being gluten free and all! Us celiacs gotta stick together...ok, her groom is awesome too!

The gluten free cake was awesome! All of the food was! The grooms cake was not gluten free but it was really awesome to look at! It is an Arctic Cat :

It was an honor to be Steph's Maid Of Honor and witness to the love Brandon & her share!

For tons more pictures, check out the Endless Possibilities Blog!

That deserves a smack on the lips!

I am always reaching for chap stick. I have heard that some of them may have wheat in them but I have never looked at the packaging because all of the kind I have purchased since my diagnosis have been safe, however, I have an abundance of LIP SMACKER chap stick. I use that the most because it tastes great and keeps my lips soft or so I thought. The part right by the inside of my mouth were always hurting and it always slightly chapped no matter how much I used. I was at the supermarket with my boyfriend buying some waterproof eyeliner & mascara for my best friends wedding and I grabbed a three pack of lip smackers and went to the check out. Once we were back at his house, I looked at the ingredients for the heck of it and it listed wheat! WHY? WHY!!!!WHY?

I LOVE this product and now I can not use it. It makes sense as to why my lips hurt a lot though. So, I threw out all of the lip smackers I had and I gave my brand new three pack to my Mom!

*FOR AN UPDATE AS OF 2010, click HERE!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Avanti= Awesome Italian Done Right

I was nervous about going to dinner tonight. I dreaded eating Italian at a restaurant and getting sick. I haven't done it since finding out about my gluten intolerance. My sister's 30th birthday was today (happy birthday again) and she wanted to eat at Avanti to celebrate this grand occasion. I didn't glance at the menu like I normally would have. But because at other Italian restaurants I had not seen many gluten free options, I didn't bother. I walked in expecting to order a salad with no dressing and a side of lemon to sprinkle on top. Once inside, I talk to the owner. He is a wonderful Italian man that is so sweet and accommodating. I told him all about celiacs and he understood everything. He went to the kitchen and came out with a box of gluten free pene! I was so happy! He told me that he was even going to cook it himself to make sure it was ok in a kitchen they didn't use much! Woo hoo, I didn't have to worry about cross contamination! I asked him if I could eat meatballs there and it turns out that they use wheat in them, so stay away from there meatballs if you cant eat gluten! But, the food is really good!

The lovely owner and I:

I love this place!

My mom wanted to order appetizers so I looked through the menu and I figured out that I could eat the Beef Carpaccio. It comes with the bread on a separate plate and do not eat the dip on the side because I do not know what is in it. It was fabulous. I found it to be very fresh.
My dinner was the Glutino Brand penne pasta, grilled chicken, tomato sauce, fresh basil and a ton of Parmesan cheese!
Can you tell...I am happy with my food! I love Avanti!
For dessert, I had Creme Brulee with Berries!

My sister & I on her big night!
I also met Doris Roberts, the actress on "Everybody Loves Raymond"!

Avanti took away my fear of eating out at an Italian restaurant. They showed me the magic of speaking up in order to get the type of food I want. I know that my last post was a real bummer because I spoke about how bad my last restaurant experience was. Avanti really helped show me the difference between a bad experience and a good one. I cant recommend Avanti enough.

For more pictures of the night, check out the Endless Possiblities Blog.