Thursday, March 26, 2015

Will The REAL GF Jules Please Stand Up

After having the awesome experience of sampling some of GF Jules products (see HERE), having that turn into a muffin throw-down with GF Mom Certified at the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event in Charlotte (look for details under #Charlotte #GFAFEvent) AND a giveaway (WHAT? You missed it and DIDN'T enter???) I can say that I am left with some wonderful recipe ideas, a winner and a brand new kitchen must-have! (OK, totally a run-on sentence but let's just go with it, ok?)

Let's Clarify
Because I care about this product, the wonderful person behind the product and because I care about helping all of YOU find the best allergy-friendly products, I feel I need to show you what you should look for to avoid any confusion. Imagine being told about a great product and then having that huge disappointment when another product that is similar (but in my opinion, not even remotely as good. Please keep in mind that this is just my opinion and your choices may vary) appear instead #FrownyFace, right? Now, I am a visual person so I will assume all of you are too. Even if you're not, just keep reading :)

I give you the REAL GF Jules (THIS is the product I am saying you NEED to get)


And this, is, well...the other one...

  I guess the best way to sum it up is in a version of an Eminem song....

All the other Slim Shadys are just imitating
So won't the real Slim Shady please stand up,
Please stand up, Please stand up?
(Only, it should read can the REAL GF Jules please stand up)

Without further explanation, here is the woman of the hour!


(Well, not Slim Shady BUT she is the REAL GF Jules!)

The REAL Winner!
Back to announcing the winner of the Keeping it REAL Giveaway- I mean, that's why we are all here, right?

Congratulations to 
DENISE MORSE!

Denise, you will receive a 1.5 lb box of GF Jules Flour AND 1 Mix of Your Choice! Please email me at Nutrimom@yahoo.com with shipping information and which mix you would like to get so you too can get this artful, humorous package shipped directly to your home too!

Clever packaging, Miss GF Jules! 
REAL Recipes
I, Nutrimom am here to show all of you how to rethink your gluten free products (channeled through Jules Shephard, of course). So, I had her Gluten Free Brownie Mix and yes, I could have just followed the directions to prepare them. But I had a muffin challenge and I knew I had to mix it up a bit (mix it up, see- that's funny). I added one mashed avocado, 1- 4 oz. applesauce and a tad of rice milk with Ener-G Powdered Egg Replacer. I baked them as a muffin in IfYouCare muffin cups (just like little parchment, no-stick papers, love them!) Once done, I heated some SunButter to drizzle over the top and sprinkled them with Enjoy Life Foods chocolate chips- simple and delish! Like individual snacks from heaven.

The other package I received was a box of Jules's Whole Grain Bread Mix. Not only does she send you three packs to use with the yeast and a recipe but I used one package and it made a large portion as well as being very easy to use (just as an FYI, I used raw honey, 1 cup of rice milk & 1/4 cup almond milk, Winona Pure Olive Oil and powdered egg replacer). I prepared the mix, covered it and set it into the 200 degree oven for one hour to rise, just as directed. But this is where my brain said "Uh, uh- no loaf pan...got to do something else".

I took out my handy dandy Ebelskiver pan and tried a few things. I am happy to report that you can use GF Jules to make Bread Bites! For those of you have have never used an Ebelskiver pan before- the trick is to 1) preheat the pan on low/medium 2) squirt a bit of oil* in each pan indent before filling each time, and be patient while checking to see when the filling should be turned over. Again, here's another visual for you. I have found that a plastic frosting utensil and a toothpick work best to turn and not damage the pan. You can also use the toothpick to insert, testing for doneness. If the pan heat is too high, you will burn the outside and the inside will be uncooked so start with a lower temp and give it time.

Bread Bites
There is no real recipe other than preparing the mix (as mentioned above) and then choosing your filling. You will spoon a small amount of prepared mix into the oiled inserts and shape the dough into a small well to fill (Don't overfill it- less is more). Then top with additional dough, rounding it with the spoon but also making sure it's not too high. You will need to gently loosen the sides with the frosting utensil before turning over. I made three varieties-

Buffalo Chicken- Simply chop up leftover, cooked chicken and add your favorite hot sauce for the stuffing. You can also add a touch of cheese or cayenne pepper. Nothing is better than having a fast and easy spicy snack for a fast grab-n-go, football game snacks, a new treat for your friends or even just as a little something for you to pack into your lunch.



Apple Cinnamon- Apple of your choice cut into small pieces, cinnamon, allspice & honey. These are great warm with nothing added but may I even recommend a light dusting of sugar after they are done? (For this, I would recommend a very small respray of Sunflower oil and rolling them in a bowl full of your favorite sugar (brown, powdered, date or a combination). It's almost like a portable apple pie.


Pepperoni Pizza- You know those commercials for the frozen pizza treats? This is the answer to that dilemma! Mozzarella, tiny bit of sauce and pepperoni (I used Applegate). I do recommend chopping up the pepperoni and mixing the ingredients together before stuffing just because it's easier. You can also just use cheese and choice of a meat for a stuffed Stromboli too. Just make sure you make enough to both feed your endless-pit-of-eating teenager and for yourself. Also, just as a tidbit- when preparing this recipe, you may need to wipe out the inserts between each respray with a clean, damp sponge (no soap) to avoid sticky due to the cheese.

One package of GF Jules Whole-Grain Sandwich Bread mix made approximately 20 Bread Bites but this will vary depending on amount & type of stuffing used.

One last word of advice from me, Nutrimom-




I was not compensated in any way for my product review other than the products themselves- my thoughts and opinions are always truthful & my own.



 * Why do I keep mentioning Winona Pure Oil? Because they contain no propellants, soy or additives. NutriFamily is all about how to help #PurifyYourLife 









Monday, March 23, 2015

Keeping it REAL

I pride myself on keeping my thoughts, posts and actions within the food allergy world real and true to my word. Many people do not but I also tend to gravitate to others that hold the same ideals. To me, my word is what portrays me within our community and if I cannot be honest, then I cannot truly feel as if I am helping properly. Today, I wanted to celebrate that passion by giving back to all of you with the help of another truly awesome member within the food allergy world.

For Real?
By now, all of you know I love to host giveaways because (without ALL of you) I would not be where I am and I will always appreciate that. Being a fellow food allergy parent, I understand how difficult it can be working on a budget and trying to nourish your family with a safe product. I also know how hard it can be to find those products that are safe and taste good too. What better way to show all of you love, give you a chance to win some items and have it be from a truly dedicated person as well. I am talking about Jules Shephard and her oober-awesome company GFJules

The REAL Jules
Here's where it gets a little tricky- awhile back, Jules Shephard began to go through an ordeal that nobody should ever have to go through. She put her heart and gluten free soul into starting her company and it was, well, simply taken without her permission. I am asking ALL of you to help her out to show her how much we appreciate her products and need them. (In case you are fuzzy on the details, view the post that GlutenDude shared)

REALLY- It's Time So Enter NOW!
It's a short & sweet giveaway so make sure you enter, share, tweet and do your magic to get extra entries while also helping out Jules (the REAL Jules).

1 winner will receive (1) 1.5 pound box of GF Jules Flour & (1) Mix of your choice
*FYI, I made her Gluten Free Brownie Mix for the first annual Muffin Throw Down- yum! I added 1 pureed avocado, 1 4-oz applesauce, Ener-G Powdered Egg Replacer and I topped it with warmed, drizzled SunButter and Enjoy Life Foods chocolate chips.

*Tweet- PLEASE use this phrase when tweeting
@TracyBNutrimom has a REAL giveaway 4 @THEgfJules-RT 2 Enter
(Tweeting gives you additional entries but to enter, you MUST click on the Rafflecopter Giveaway link below)

ENTER HERE!

(Apologies for the lack of an actual giveaway timer/counter do-dad...simply click the link to arrive at the entry destination & good luck!)

Want To Really Help?
If you appreciate Jules Shephard, you can show her extra love too! How can we do this? Easy-

  • Go to GF Jules to subscribe as well as linking up on her other media sites & make sure you tell her how much you appreciate her (we all like to hear that!)
  • Spread the word- share with others to let them know who the REAL GF Jules is
  • Make your opinion known to the other company that you no longer support them! Go to julesglutenfree.com unsubscribe, unlink and tell them why you don't want to be a part of their company anymore 
  • Always make sure you look for the GF Jules logo to ensure you are getting the REAL products that you love and deserve 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I Want Oodles & Oodles of Soodles

As a person who grew up on things like donuts, cinnamon rolls, graham crackers and cake, I sometimes miss those childhood treats. I mean, yes, over the years I have managed to seek out great allergy-friendly products that closely mimic them and I have even impressed myself with some pretty darn good recipes. But from one allergy mom to another- sometimes, I just want to be able to open a package and eat, period. Yes, not the best method but my son is thirteen now and that's a lot of years of continual cooking. This mama craves delicious ready-to-eat goodies.

And then, it was as if the universe heard my request. I received an email from Soodles Bake Shop. (Say it with me, it's fun- you know it is! SOODLES! SOODLES, Soodles, Soodles!) Like many other emails, I read and thought "I bet there will be something in it that my son can't have" which often happens when you have multiple food allergies. Upon reading- gasp! No- he could have ALL of these items! Soodles Bake Shop is free of gluten, dairy, egg, fish & shellfish, sesame, peanuts and tree nuts (they do use coconut) and their facility is dedicated free of these ingredients as well. Goodness, (wiping drool off mouth) I can have even more of them (because, you know, I do need to do a proper product review). 

What Did I Get to Try Soodles sent me four of their delicious products (and in the cutest bags, I might add)- Cinnamon Coffee Cake, Double Chocolate Baked Donuts, Honey Grahams and Chocolate Dipped Vanilla Cake Pops. They are frozen but you just need to leave them out at room temperature to thaw and then, bam! Instant awesomely wonderful ready-to-eat treats (the only exception of a minor effort being that the donuts need to be iced but the frosting is sent with it).

Cinnamon Coffee Cake You know how you walk past "that cinnamon bun place" in the mall and the smell hits you? You know those cinnamon rolls in a can that are gooey but chock full of allergens and unhealthy ingredients? THIS is the answer to both of those! This coffee cake is moist, smells heavenly and did not even last more than a few minutes. Slice, heat- gone! Not to mention NutriKids trying to rip open the other packages which is a no-no until after I taste and photograph. I silently love to torture them because, well, I can.


Double Chocolate Baked Donuts If I could take a Devil's Food cake and shape it into a donut, this is what I would say these tasty treats remind me of. With a hint of cinnamon and ultra-fudgy frosting that comes with them, Snoodles has managed to make a downright decadent treat for even the pickiest chocolate lover. As I have mentioned in the past, NutriSon is uber-picky so I had a blast saying "Just try it!", watching him chew, make a face and then hearing "Can I have the rest? It's good!" as I am leaving the room.

Honey Grahams This is a tuffy for me to describe to all of you properly. Soodles has somehow managed to create a graham cracker that is crunchy but not teeth-shattering crunchy (come on fellow gluten free peeps- you all understand!) as well as capturing a familiar smell that I still cannot place. If you begin by opening the bag and inhaling the addictive Honey Graham smell, you will understand what I mean. Is it the coconut? Do they remind me of a wafer? Am I just so entwined with these products that no matter what I eat, I simply must have them? Poor NutriDaughter- through this whole process, she somehow got to eat only two of these...sorry, they were staring at me.

Chocolate Dipped Vanilla Cake Pops These are, without a doubt, the perfect allergy-friendly pops! The vanilla cake was moist, texture was fluffy and the outer chocolate was just the right amount of coverage to give them that extra crunch effect....yum, oh yum! Mom Tip- to easily hide evidence of noshing, eat over the kitchen sink as most moms do. This will allow you to wash away the chocolate particles as needed without having to share. I mean, sharing is nice but sometimes being just a tad selfish is not such a bad thing either.

Want Some? Great news- Soodles Bake Shop has multiple ways for all of you to get their allergy-friendly items.

  • Online shipping so you can have them delivered to your doorstep (unless you live in or near Columbus, OH then you can go get them)
  • Restaurants & Pizzerias (Ohio only) - yes, you read that correctly! Click here for a list of places that you could dine and have safe and tasty options 
  • Stores (also in Ohio only) - Imagine shopping and being able to pick up a treat as well
Get Some Cheap(er) Soodles Bake Shop is also going to introduce a special coupon code for all of my wonderful Nutrimom peeps! Details to be shared soon~
Soodles Bake Shop also has other items that I did not review. For a complete list of what is available, please visit them at http://soodlesbakeshop.com/. 


Huge, completely satisfied and uncontrollable hugs going out to the peeps at Soodles Bake Shop for sending me all of their items to try. (Even though, I truly believe it was a secret plot to get me hooked to continue to need more!) If that's the case, I don't blame them one bit- every single bite is definitely nothing less than allergy-free perfection!



*I was not compensated in any way other than receiving the products themselves to review- my opinions are always honest.









Monday, March 16, 2015

Gluten Free Good Luck

I, Nutrimom, do not have one iota of Irish blood. However, this did not stop me from wanting to
share this gluten free treat with all of you for St. Patrick's Day. The shamrock is a symbol of good luck so I felt the need to offer you a good luck treat for the day (or, for any day really). Not only good luck but gluten free good luck! Gosh, now if I could have figured out how to make green chocolate....

Before I explain, I also want to send a shout out to Rosie Reeves ( one of my Facebook page members) who put the idea into my head after I posted a picture of my product swag from Glutino. Rosie- because you inspired this shamrock recipe, please email me at Nutrimom@yahoo.com and I will send you a thank you prize.

If your family is like ours, we love Glutino Pretzel Chips. If you haven't tried them yet, they are a thinner version of a pretzel, like someone sliced a pretzel in half and made it into a wonderfully light and crunchy chip. As much as we love to eat them plain, smear them with SunButter or even use them to make a mini slider (yup, no bread just a pretzel chip) I do have to comment that, well, they don't seem to ship very well. As delicious as they are, the bags often look as if the delivery people have played hacky sack with them. It doesn't effect the taste as all but they do tend to look like this upon opening. Gasp! Do you think it's because people are fighting over the bags?! I have no doubt ;)

What I DO know is that what one person may see as broken pieces, Nutrimom sees as new recipe ideas. For say, I don't know, maybe the perfect shamrock stem!!!

Gluten Free Shamrocks
Glutino Pretzel Chips (broken)
Glutino Sesame Rings
Enjoy Life Foods chocolate chips

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper.

Using broken Pretzel Chips, remove excess pieces of them and keep the curved sections of the chips (to use as a shamrock stem). For each stem, set aside 3 Sesame Rings for the shamrock itself. Make piles ahead of time and place them aside.

Melt the chocolate chips on low heat, stirring frequently to avoid clumping or burning. Optional- for a shinier finished treat, add a squirt of Winona Pure Oil to the chocolate while melting.

Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and add 3 rings and 1 stem, coating evenly. With a fork, gently flip to cover equally with chocolate. Place the rings onto the lined baking sheet first followed by the stem wedged in between the bottom rings. Add another dab of chocolate over the connecting areas of all of the pretzels as a "glue".

Let cool completely to allow the chocolate to set. For a faster process, you may place them into the fridge or freezer to cool.

Serving sizes will vary depending on how many product items you use.


Not enough chocolate? Try this option that combines the pretzel crunch with a stuffed chocolate covered SunButter filling (like those Easter eggs everyone wishes they could have).

For an added bonus, fill in the empty holes of the shamrock (the sesame rings) with more chocolate while it's on the lined baking sheet. Cool completely.

While cooling, prepare the filling by following THIS recipe by Jazzy Allergy Recipes. Once the shamrock bases are cooled and formed, fill the loops with the filling and top with additional melted chocolate. Cool completely to avoid chocolate wastage.

The finished product will have be allergy-friendly, crunchy, chocolaty and may even become your family's newest St. Patrick's Day treat. Enjoy!


Wishing all of my friends a happy, healthy St. Patrick's Day ~

"Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers-
Miles and miles of Irish smiles-
For golden happy hours-
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life though!"












Friday, March 13, 2015

Who Got the Golden Tickets?


Thank you all for participating in my giveaway for the Charlotte Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event on March 21st (also known as#Charlotte  #GFAFEvent). For only four days, I had this contest and I love how many of you commented, shared and participated. Most of all, I am excited to hear that so many of you are planning on being there too!

So who are the lucky winners that each get 2 tickets to next Saturday's expo?

Congratulations 
Lynn Shires & Sabrina Medina!


Both of you will receive 2 free tickets. Please contact me at Nutrimom@yahoo.com with your name and email address. The event coordinator will leave your tickets at the will call booth. The only thing left to do is wait for March 21st!

Event details (in case you don't have them)
Saturday, March 21st
5700 Westpark Drive
Charlotte, NC 10 AM - 4 PM

Please make sure you contact the wonderful peeps at The Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event and let them know that Nutrimom sent you- they'll take good care of all of you! 

Lynn & Sabrina (and guests) as well as everyone else that will be there, PLEASE make sure you stop by The Healing Arts Club booth and ask for me (or) look for me floating around to say hello. Don't be shy-I love meeting all of you! Tell a friend, bring your family and prepare for a great day!


                                          



Monday, March 9, 2015

#GFAFEvent- It's a Hashtag, It's an Event- It's a Giveaway!

Are you in or near Charlotte, North Carolina (OR, are you willing to come visit us)? Are you excited at the thought of an entire room full of gluten-free products, information and giveaways and are packing your car as we speak? How about a chance to win 2 free tickets to the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event in Charlotte, NC for March 21st?

Yup, FREE!!! 

Watch for THIS picture each day on Facebook to enter

Giveaway Details
  • Contest will run March 9 - 12th ONLY
  • Comment on my Nutrimom page (here) to be entered whenever I post the above picture 
  • Comment on this post (below) and earn an additional chance to win 
  • No limit on entries- the more you enter, the more chances you get
  • PLEASE remember to include #Charlotte #GFAFEvent (even if you are not a Twitter person) 
  • 2 Winners will be chosen randomly (each winner will get 2 tickets)
  • Winners will be announced Friday, March 13th  
  • Sharing is always encouraged and appreciated 


Expo Details
March 21, 2015
10 AM - 4 PM
5700 Westpark Drive
Charlotte, NC

Did I mention I will be there with The Healing Arts Club? Even if you are not a giveaway winner, come to find me & say hello- I love meeting all of you.

Not sure what the Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event is all about? Here is a recap of one of last year's events (read here).

STILL not sure? Check out the event flyer (as well as the Charlotte event page to view all of the participating sponsors)


Is everyone ready to enter? 
No time like the present- Comment, share, tweet! This ticket could be yours!



Friday, March 6, 2015

No More Enjoy Life Foods!

This was the thought that immediately went through my head after I read the latest announcement of the partnership with Mondelez International (here). I felt angry and betrayed- one of our family's favorite companies that we have trusted for so long has sold out. No reason to beat around the bush as I have never been one to hide my feelings well anyway. It's a never-ending battle. Why, why are so many companies beginning to join forces with all of these other companies?

Photo courtesy SnackSafely.com
(Pretend You Are a Fly on the Wall)

Me:  "WHAT?!! No! NO, NO, NO!!!!"
NutriKids:  "What mom, what's wrong?"
Me:  "NO!! Oh my God, NO!!!"
NutriKids:  "Are you ok? What is it?"
Me:  (shaking my head) "No, I'm not ok. This....I don't understand how or why...GRRRR!!! I need to go open this on my computer and read it!" (Ignoring NutriChildren, stomping upstairs, grumbling and shaking with anger).

As I began to weed through pages and pages of comments, I felt overwhelmingly isolated. I felt annoyed that others were commenting with what was (in my opinion at the time) just out and out brown-nosing for fear of being different and standing tall. How did all of these people not see that a merger between Enjoy Life Foods and Mondelez meant eminent allergy takeover? Why was nobody else flipping out about the possibility that our beloved allergy-friendly products would "remain the same" for now but deep, deep down I could not shake the horrible feeling that in years to come, we will all realize that GMO's had been silently worked into our most favorite foods?! And by the time we all find out, it will be too late.

So I commented, leaving my thoughts within a considerable professional level, silently removed my Official Enjoy Life Foods blogger button, unliked and unsubscribed. I silently moved on with my life. In the grand scheme of things, does my little Nutrimom voice truly matter?

Then, I Got the Call
Photo courtesy EnjoyLifeFoods
Just about the time I had calmed down, Joel Warady (CMO of Enjoy Life Foods) called me. Yes- me, the little Nutrimom voice that didn't matter. I listened, he explained and at the end of the conversation, I had to continue to do some soul searching. You see, as I explained to Joel, it's not so much that I don't trust Enjoy Life Foods but that I don't for one second trust Mondelez and why should I? Although I had my silent little rant at home and I swore up and down that I was ending our family's relationship with Enjoy Life Foods forever, my conversation with Joel made me put some of those feelings aside to dig down to see what it was that was truly upsetting me about the whole merger. I have to say that all of the stories and comments put together could not have helped me come to the my conclusion as much as my talk with Joel. Although I can't go into depth about what was discussed, I can tell you where I am at with this company merger today.

Holding My Breath
This is the only way I can describe how I feel now and how I will most likely feel for awhile. For now, I will step down off of my preconceived notions box and hand over my trust to the peeps at Enjoy Life Foods, hoping that they will hold my trust as dear as their own. For now, I will remember that Joel took the time out of his day to speak to me because I do make a difference just like every other person within our food allergy community. For now, I will wait patiently to see if what Enjoy Life Foods has promised to uphold continues to happen as such.

I realized that what I was feeling was almost like the loss of a family member (if that makes sense). Enjoy Life Foods has been with our family for a long, long time. When I began to look at all of the products that would no longer be with us, I felt as if a part of our family would be gone as well. Anyone without a food allergy may think this is ridiculous but safe products that a food allergy family can use and trust is a huge deal. As hard as it is for me to feel as if I am giving in, I have to urge everyone to listen to what their instincts tell them since mine have never steered me wrong. I am always telling people to listen and then decide but in this case, I didn't. In this case, it was more like heard and stomped away.

What I have learned is that if you don't allow yourself to listen to everything, you may never know what you didn't get to hear. I want to hear what's next, I want to see what will come out of this because after all was said and done, I thought about all of the things that I don't even know about yet that my family may actually be missing out on. That's the opposite of what I tell everyone- with limited options, we need to think outside of the box.

I'm here now and I'm listening~